1864, after four cruel years, the Civil War still raged without peace in sight. The Union Army’s manpower was stretched to its limits fighting on two fronts; one on the eastern battlefields against the Confederacy, the other to protect the Santa Fe Trail and western expansion of citizens from marauding Indian tribes and vicious Confederate guerrillas.
Jonah Gustafson’s family was dead, leaving him to aimlessly wander. Rather than wait for the coming draft, he joined the 3rd Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry, expecting to be sent east into the war between the states. Instead, his regiment went west to ‘Bleeding’ Kansas and war-torn Missouri. There, along the Santa Fe Trail, they fought every major Indian tribe and Quantrill’s Raiders, a roaming, bloodthirsty guerrilla unit. Horrid weather and deplorable living conditions were the lonely troopers’ constant companions. Death always lurked near whether from disease, a bullet, or an arrow. But the cavalry of the frontier fulfilled its duties against all odds.
“Into the Cauldron” is the life of Trooper Jonah Gustafson based upon true events written in the pages of a Civil War diary by a Wisconsin cavalryman that served on the frontier. It is a novel to enjoy and learn from; one that will carry you back in time to feel the joys, heartaches and anguish of those days.
Available at all major online booksellers. BookBaby Amazon KOBO
By invitation I recently spent three days at the 2019 Texas Gang Investigators Association (TGIA) Training Conference in Corpus Christi. Looking back to 2012 when I first attended their conference, TGIA has continually produced one of the premiere specialized law enforcement training conferences in our nation—and the number of attendees keeps growing! Each year the association’s dedicated board members find the best speakers and pertinent subject matter for every new and experienced person working in the trenches of gangland organized crime.
The TGIA is a non-profit organization, founded in 1991 by a small group of officers charged with the investigation of street gangs, prison gangs, organized crime and their related criminal activities. They saw the dire need for promoting better working relationships and the rapid dissemination of intelligence among everyone investigating gangs whether it be statewide, nationally, or internationally. And they moved mountains to bring TGIA to its high level of professionalism and expertise that it is today.
To the majority of the public, the word ‘gang’ evokes images of small-town punks running in groups to paint graffiti on fences and the sides of buildings. That’s the kindergarten level compared to what the members of TGIA have to work with every day. I’m talking organized crime that has nationwide and international roots; is highly orchestrated from prisons; yearly moves billions of dollars; feeds corrupt officials and has ties to just about every crime you can imagine—drugs, human trafficking and prostitution, protection rackets, murders, thefts, and the list keeps going. Organized gangs are integrated into every segment of the public’s life, and unfortunately, too many citizens turn a blind eye to gang problems because they don’t believe they are affected by it. Dealing with gangs is the dark, sewer side of life, one that is dangerous to our men and women embroiled in the fight. It’s butcherous too. Gangs don’t mind cutting heads off or murdering whole families to make a point.
As a former law enforcement officer and retired security manager of a global oil corporation, I was impressed with the security of the recent conference. To ensure no media or unauthorized personnel try to slide into the training sessions, conference credentials are checked at each door and no recordings are permitted unless advance authorization is obtained. Keeping the wrong persons out allows for straight talk to the attendees; the kind of talk that is needed.
Our country, its laws, and the very core of families and society are under attack. Murder and violence against our law enforcement personnel has been advocated as if it were some play game. But of course, those politicians promoting civil unrest are safely hidden behind their mansions’ high walls and armed guards. It’s the patrol and gang officers that have to deal with the real world every day. This is why I’m so glad to see TGIA bringing officers and judicial officials together, to work with one another and become closer. The ‘Blue Brotherhood’ is a family.
Through the years, even when I missed a conference, I have always returned to warm greetings and the long-term friendships of so many people. One case in point is ‘Joey’, a young man I’ve had the pleasure of watching grow into a remarkable teenager. He’s the son of an outstanding officer and TGIA board member and has worked alongside his father every year at the conferences. I know Joey’s parents are proud of him.
There’s always a wide selection of vendors at the conferences. This year’s training session was sponsored by Sun Coast Resources, Inc. There are government agencies (El Paso Intelligence Center and National Gang Intelligence Center) in attendance that provide 24/7 intelligence services and training materials.
One interesting agency was the Texas Correctional Industries (TCI). Christy Putnam of TCI (a department within TDCJ) showed me a full booklet of products made by the prisoners that are for sale. They make everything from furniture to clothing, and if your department needs something, it might be worth making contact with her. And there were many other vendors present too!
Of course, 10 of my 11 books were displayed and sold there (and THANK YOU to all that bought them or stopped by to talk.) New friendships were made, and I look forward to seeing everyone again in the future.
But I have to give a shout out to my long-time friend “Rocky” Dyer, retired from SAPD and now with Breaching Technologies Inc. Rocky and Bart Mora (retired ATF) were setup with an adjacent room for all energetic souls to attempt breeching a monster steel door with some of BTI’s rams and tactical tools. You have to love it when the rams have names like ‘Warhead,’ ‘Mity Mouse’ and the ‘Wasp.’ I enjoyed hearing how my Corps’ MARSOC operators always prefers to use a bit more explosives than needed to blow a door. “Semper Fi.”
My thanks to the Board of TGIA for putting on such a great training conference and all the hard work they do to make it so. It’s no easy feat to have a conference flow as smoothly as TGIA always has them perform. And special thanks to ‘the Zam’ man for allowing this old warrior to be a part of it all.
Actually, The Councilman has been released for months but I’ve been so heavily wrapped in projects that I’ve failed to promote my own book!
I know, I should be flogged for my negligence because I’ve had many people contact me to say how much they loved it. Most of its marketing has been by word-of-mouth, and fortunately, done quite well…
It was released with fanfare and a great release party—something I’ve never had with any of my other books. I must admit that signing books for your readers (especially when one was my great State Representative Ed Thompson) is an adrenaline rush that can never be matched. But receiving several photos of them proudly holding your book is fantastic. I’ve attached a few for everyone to see.
And my sincere thanks goes to my Creative Team and Battle Cry Revival who made this such a great release!
“The Councilman” is available at all major booksellers in ebook or print!
BLACK SUN recently won the “Book Excellence Awards” from the Literary Excellence Writing Competition. I am extremely proud of this achievement because it is BLACK SUN’s third award!
The first award was a Gold Medal in historical fiction from Military Writer’s Society of America.
The second was a 5 Star Review from Readers Favorite.
This novel holds tremendous personal importance for its telling of the stories I heard from and about my grandfather. If you wish to learn more, please visit my website and read My Journey with BLACK SUN. I truly believe you will find this article quite informative.
Thank you to all for your great comments, feedback, and readership of my novels. Knowing that I have touched so many people through my books is inspiring as well as gratifying.
BLACK SUN cover design by
Battle Cry Revival
THE HONJO is Coming!
Readers kept asking for a sequel to “Solomon’s Men” and now it’s on the horizon. “The Honjo” blends the ancient history of a priceless samurai sword with the present underworld of the Yakuza, and a foreign government’s quest for its return. And caught up in the dark world is Greg Valdez, with more at stake than a sword. Packed with the emotions, action and mystery that everyone loved in the first book, “The Honjo” will leave readers wanting more. Coming in 2018!
Cover Design by Battle Cry Revival