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A ‘true fan’ pointed me to an interesting article.  The premise is that it is possible today for authors and artists to support their passion by finding just 1,000 ‘true fans.’  This is in contrast to the ‘traditional’ approach that tends to leave publishers and promoters fat and happy and artists ‘starving.’

So I thought, “Let’s give it a whirl.”

On the bottom left hand side of this page is a donation/subscription form that uses paypal to process payments, credit card and otherwise.

Here’s the deal:

  • If you subscribe to making $5 a month contributions, I will in return commit to writing a short story every month for your reading pleasure.  In addition, I will give you any soft cover copy of one of my books every year at no additional cost to you.
  • If you subscribe to making $10 a month, I will send along the short story I write each month AND let you read each chapter of the Birth Pangs books AS THEY ARE WRITTEN! Also, I will give you any hard or soft cover copy of one of my books every year at no additional cost to you.
  • If you subscribe to making $15 and up a month, I will include the above and allow you to comment on the Birth Pangs chapters as they are written.  This will allow you to be actively involved in the development of future books!

I will be exploring other options to add value to being a member of the AR Horvath ‘True Fan’ Book Club.  For now, have at it!

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‘Spero’ (Hope) is one of those Latin words that you sort of know, even if you were lucky enough to attend a school which didn’t obstinately prioritise fluency in dead languages.  It is incorporated in quite a few modern English words, most obviously ‘desperate’, or ‘de – sperate’, meaning literally ‘without hope’.  Fortunately, although the times that AR Horvath is writing about may indeed be desperate, the quality of the writing itself is far from it.

Spero elaborates on the events described in ‘Fidelis’, but starts and ends in different places.  This may sound like an odd way to tell a story (book two of a series traditionally picks up where book one finished, after all), but it proves to be a refreshing and clever way to – almost literally – weave a narrative, with a different thread of the future history that Horvath is constructing being plucked out of the tapestry of the whole and examined. Read the rest of this entry »

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If you are encountering the Birth Pangs series for the first time you may be wondering if you needed to start at the beginning, with Fidelis, in order to understand Spero.

Actually, the way that I’ve written the books they can each be read independently. You can read either or both and in any order.  This will be true for the remaining of the series, too.

Why?

The series is not linear.

In other words, Spero doesn’t start where Fidelis leads off.  For a number of reasons, I am writing the series with each book (except book 7) reflecting the perspective of a different character in the series.  The time frames covered by all of the books is roughly the same and where the characters of the different books interact, the same scene is present in each book, seen from that character’s unique perspective.  Where the characters depart from each other, the story branches off.  You might say that each book overlaps the others.

This approach allows me to lay ever deeper layers of meaning to the events in the books. One character will think nothing of an event in one book but in another book, another character will perceive the event as a turning point or startling development.

In short, you’ll be able to read any of the first six books in any order that you please.  Each is stand alone, but none are the whole story.

The seventh book will start, chronologically, where the first six books end, and proceed to tie up all the loose ends, weaving the six story lines into a single rope.

There are a number of reasons for why I took this approach.  One of them is that I perceive that our entire lives are like this.  Each of us is a character in a book.  There are some 10 billion books in the ‘series,’ with many of our ‘stories’ overlapping the stories of others. Taken together, our individual stories constitute one grand story.  This grand story contains elements that are astonishing, but in my view, missed if you take the stories of our lives one at a time.  At the same time, one cannot overlook our individual lives, for pieces of them are what make the grand story, the Mosaic, we’ll call it, what it is.

My seven book series is a very faint shadow of what I perceive is reality.  It begs the question:  if the Birth Pangs series are a mosaic of my authorship, who is the Author of the series of our lives?  Is there really no Author?  Really?  I don’t think so.  If you think that way, one of my aims is to persuade you otherwise.

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My friends at Sojourner Leather have moved their domain to http://leatherjournal.us.  These are the folks that create the leather covers for my hard cover editions.  They are fantastic.  If you search this forum you can find some samples.  Of course, they have some posted at their site, too.

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Are you interested in this topic? Then you really should consider buying my Birth Pangs series! That’s what the series is about…


As I’ve mentioned before, some readers of my series have indicated that they see resemblances in my series with some recent developments in the United States.  This article by a Russian analyst predicting the disintegration of the United States in 2010 brought in a couple of comments by readers.

So what do I think?

Well, I won’t rule anything out.  Anything can happen and can happen quickly if circumstances are right.  In the Birth Pangs series, it took between thirty and fifty years for events to unfold.  That remains in my mind much more plausible.  What Igor Panarin’s analysis omits is a catalyst of any kind.  In the Birth Pangs series, it was the destruction by atomic bomb of Washington DC.  I don’t see current events trending towards a disintegration any time soon without a suitable catalyst.

We also have to factor in logistics.  Panarin proposes that Russia will take back Alaska and that the Chinese will take the western side of the United States.  But in either case, for this to be accomplished, there have to be boots on the ground.  For Russia/Alaska, this isn’t very difficult.  But for China to dispatch the number of troops needed to occupy and subjugate the American West, there have to be transport vessels, a navy to defend those transports, and then suitable staging areas.  Without a catalyst leading to a massive debilitation of the American military, such conditions are unattainable in the near-term.  At best, China could stage an invasion from Mexico.

It is that kind of scenario that the Birth Pangs series envisions but even then Mexico has to want to go along with the Chinese. My series explains why Mexico goes along with the Chinese.  it is odd that Panarin thinks that the Mexicans wouldn’t take California and Arizona for themselves. Why would La Raza allow that?

Also, without the needful catalyst, it is difficult to imagine any kind of dissolution being followed by international occupation.  Panarin underestimates the cultural homogeneity that exists in this country.  I have relatives in numerous states in the union and have no particular loyalty to one American state over another.  To the extent that those in the US have rivalries, they are fairly benign, of the University of Michigan versus The Worthless Ohio Buckeyes type or the Packers versus the Bears or Dallas versus Everyone.  This is profoundly different than the British/Irish rivalry and Chechnya and Georgia versus Russia.

The American Civil War was over something of real substance and not on petty ethnic grounds.  Slavery was a suitable catalyst- no such catalyst is imminent… at least not as long as Hawaii keeps its iron grip on certain birth records.

Another thing Panarin underestimates is the Constitutional right to bear arms.  The fact that there are a lot of guns in this country might support a civil war hypothesis it weakens a foreign invader hypothesis- again assuming there isn’t a catalyst, and in this aspect, one that disarms the average citizen.  Foreign invaders would find it difficult to subdue the American people.  One finds themselves almost wishing someone would try to attack Texas.  I mean, good luck.

Finally, much has been said about the thinning of the American military but this isn’t really accurate.  Yes, we have American soldiers spread throughout the world but barring a global EMP assault (which would also undermine foreign armies) these soldiers could be quickly recalled.  Not only that, but the fact that they’ve been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan means that American soldiers have something that most of the world’s armies do not have- battle hardened troops both at home and abroad.

Finally, thinking in Panarin’s terms, I see no reason why the upper midwest and the East coast wouldn’t remain largely untouched.  Canada isn’t known to be expansionist and precisely what European countries could conceivably lay a hand on the East coast beyond New York, where the only armed people are cops and criminals? Pennsylvania, Georgia, Virginia, etc, are easily a match to Eurpean attackers.

So, all in all, assuming things continue as they have been with no catalysts, I must pronounce Panarin’s hypothesis as untenable, and the similarities to the Birth Pangs series passing and superficial.

Here is Panarin’s map:

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I noticed that I am selling my books for less than Amazon.com so I thought I would look around to see what other prices are.

To my surprise, BarnesandNoble is offering the best prices hands down- even beating me- especially on the hard cover.

Here are current prices:

  Fidelis soft cover Fidelis hard cover Spero soft cover Spero hard cover
Birth Pangs (signed) 14.95 24.95 14.95 24.95
Amazon.com 15.95 29.95 14.35 29.95
BarnesandNoble.com 14.35 23.96 14.35 23.96
       

Amazon.com

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I got word today that Steven McEvoy at Bookreviewsandmore.ca has posted a review of book 1, Fidelis.  As you can guess from the review, I’ll be definitely interested to read his review of book 2, Spero.  I hope I was able to sustain Steven’s interest!

Fidelis is the best speculative fiction I have read since the early 80’s. Reminiscent of Heinlein’s writings with the skills of a master wordsmith, A.R. Horvath has created an amazing world and looks to a possible future that is dark and brooding. He creates a world in which the United States has entered a second dark ages after a military defeat. The writing is superb, the characters believable and engaging. As you read you become transported into the events by Horvath’s skill with the pen for he draws you in and captivates you. His storytelling is masterful.

Read the rest of the review.

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The biggest day of shopping each year is coming up in just a few days.  We are all told we must buy buy buy in order to save the economy.  Just in time, I am bringing out the first book Fidelis, with a new cover and larger print.  This second edition of the soft cover has the same cover as the hard cover of Fidelis.  Now, with the Birth Pangs series now consistently themed, you will find that a gift of the Birth Pangs series is an attractive, matching gift for the holidays.

If you recently purchases a copy of Fidelis in the first edition cover, please contact me and I will send out the second edition to you for $10 which includes media mail shipping.  This is essentially sending you a copy at cost.  Email me at [email protected]

I note that Amazon.com is now selling Spero for $14.35, undercutting me by a good sixty cents!  No biggie.  I can still do what Amazon.com can’t, though, and that’s sign the books.  An autographed set of a second edition Fidelis and first edition Spero is just right for the readers in your life.

In conclusion, make sure that if you buy Fidelis in soft cover that the cover is red and has the ISBN of 978-0979127656. Hopefully, the old one (978-0979127618) will be replaced by outlets like Amazon.com and the reviews transferred over appropriately.

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Jean Heimann has posted a review of Spero on her blog.  She also had reviewed FidelisCheck out her Spero review! (The link to her review of Fidelis is posted on that same page)

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