Monday, June 25, 2018
Research Round Up
I write so much in so many areas I find it nice to bring it all together on occasion. This will also go beyond the curtains to reveal some of the strategies that govern my writing and priorities. For example, the research round up lets me write about writing, which helps me organize key thoughts (which could also be used as a pitch in the future) and meet a deadline in a way that’s easier than coming up with original material. Without further ado, lets dive into it.
I have several free lance writing gigs. My most frequent one is from Opslens Magazine, though I also write for Strategy and Tactics, and have occasional posts at the Salt Lake Tribune, Lifezette, Real Clear Defense, Fox News (don’t hold that against me), and many others. Again, you have to have a strategy in getting published, so I make sure to use my historical knowledge and specializing in China to offer timely and pertinent articles, though I also write on conservative matters.
Anniversaries are a great way to get otherwise ignored articles published. For example, Friday was the anniversary of the start of the Soviet German War. I write about the myths that resulted from the war. My June 7th article shows my strategy really well. Most Americans tend to remember June 6th because of D-Day. But June 7th is a huge day in Chinese history and their fight against the Japanese.
I spent time in grad school towards a PhD in Chinese military history so I make sure to use those skills. I talked about piracy in the South China Sea. And I can’t believe they let me keep that joke in the title about counterrrrr measures. I build upon my previous analysis of NATO exercises to discuss a base in Poland.
I’m also a conservative. My strategy is often to find a unique angel to a situation. For example, people have been losing their mind over the migrant crisis on the border. I summarize some of the conservative positions, but more importantly, I look at a hidden conservative argument that Trump critics are making. This is a good time to mention that I’m not Marco Rubio at a CNN gun debate, so I will delete comments on this thread that include moral preening and denunciations.
The long term strategy is to focus on books. Royalties are a passive income stream that pays me for work done years ago. I wrote my first book, Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon, in a fit of confidence back in 2011, and finally got it published a few years later. It would never be on the New York Times Best Selling list, but it’s gratifying to get a check for work I did almost ten years ago.
I published a follow up on the Book of Mormon, From Sinners to Saints, this year. I haven’t talked much about it because I’m waiting for a review from another perma blogger here at Wheat and Tares, plus the other reviews at various sources in Mormon intellectual circles. The basic premise is a revisionist history of the text that reassesses heroes and villains. Many Latter Day Saints treat the book as historical, but then they read the text as though its bad propaganda instead of history so I reassess the behavior of both heroes and villains of the text.
I also didn’t advertise that book heavily because one of my first posts as a perma blogger was about Decisive Battles in Chinese History. I felt it was a bit of overkill to just talk about my books all the time.
I’ve got another one in the works tentatively titled from the Cree to Korea: World History of Battle at 400. This one started because I noticed many battles around the same time period. The Roman defeat at Adrianople in 378 (though after researching I switched to the Battle of Frigidus River), a key battle near Tikal in 378 that became a post here, the battle of Fei River in my Chinese battles book in 384, and researching I found key monuments about a Japanese invasion of Korea in 400. I’ve got a draft of that written, I’m waiting to hear back from publishers, as having that contract signed becomes great motivation to finally do those edits I’ve been planning. But I have a few polished sample chapters that I can send to publishers and edits of drafts are far easier than writing so I'm good.
My free-lance gig above is starting their own press soon. So I thought I should have something in the chamber and ready to go. I didn’t plan on doing this, but I wrote a primer on Chinese strategy that I both started and finished in a single day. I was greatly aided by about 4 years worth of free lance writing on contemporary Chinese military history informed by my historical study. I have numerous posts on specific Chinese hardware such as the J20, its specific limitations and drawbacks, limitations of Chinese and American training, possible clues from history, analysis of Chinese strategy, and geographical considerations. After reading this book I expect readers to have a basis of knowledge to assess news coming from China and not give into fear mongering.
Anybody who has seen my Lego collection knows I have an active imagination. I’ve branched out into writing fiction though these are projects that are far away. I’ve always thought I should focus on having a career as a military analyst before I jump into fiction, but this stuff tends to come a bit easier so I’ve been branching out. I always thought some dramatization of the war chapters was fantasy on a number of levels until this post at W&T came out well. I have a killer dream journal that offers a number of great ideas. Some are just notes but some I’ve fleshed out into incredible short stories that rival any space opera and some are rather sweet and funny. Cedar Fort books just sent me an email offering some kind of self publishing package, so I will check that out when the time comes.
I also wrote a piece for a Mormon steam punk anthology. I don’t know a ton about steam punk, but I do know about being a scared missionary feeling overwhelmed on the first day. So my missionary from a Dickens like Salt Lake goes on a mission to find Nephite artifacts. He bails out of his exploding airship, marches through the jungle in his suit, dodges hostile anti Mormons with their dart guns, uses a laser gun that doesn’t work, finds an ancient glittering city, and has to write home and convince his mother that he’s okay through his letter and convince himself that he can complete his mission. I called it, “Dearest Mother: My Mission is going well as I survived the fall from my airship.” I rather enjoyed it, but it didn’t make the cut for the anthology. It will likely be one of the short stories I make from my dream journal, or possibly the first chapter in a steam punk mission.
So that is what I’ve recently completed or I’m working on. As you can see there is a good deal of synergy between my writing gigs as I use knowledge from one area to enhance by ability to write for another and offer unique angles. What are you working on? What intrigues you the most from the above list? Is there anything you want to see?