Press Release For Interview I Did With Ross Powell of Survival 401K


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Released 10.5.2016 (please forward feature to contact below)

 Contact: Andy Valadez Direct: 713.560.3348 E-mail:      Survival 401k (


Full Spectrum Preparation: Learning Through Fiction

By Ross Powell

 Believe it or not, fiction is one of our most useful tools for spreading awareness about preparing for adverse scenarios and actually getting prepared ourselves. Effective, relevant fiction writing is capable of reaching audiences that manuals, articles, and essays cannot. People who aren’t already fully dedicated to the concepts of risk assessment and tactical preparation – and even many who are – just get bored when they encounter material that reads like instructions for assembling furniture. This is an unfortunate facet of human nature that has been exacerbated by our current cultural climate, but we must acknowledge the facts on the ground even if we would prefer them to be otherwise. A full spectrum preparation mindset requires this attitude of realism. Fiction is not a catch-all tool, but it must be part of our toolbox as we engage our communities and plan for a variety of potential situations. Remember: the truth is stranger than fiction.

The best and most appropriate fictional content for expanding the effectiveness of our real-world preparations is relevant, current, and easily imaginable. Often when people read or watch various media that portrays scenarios like a zombie apocalypse they automatically relegate it to the realm of fictional impossibility. Such a compartmentalization removes any impetus to ask about practical preparations because most simply cannot imagine such a situation playing out. Even when people read dramatic nonfictional accounts of war, natural disasters, and major accidents they tend to assume an ‘it could never happen to me’ attitude. In order for our fiction tool to be sharp and robust, the material we deploy must be able to vibrantly demonstrate a plausible set of circumstances that leads to the following line of questions and realizations:

What would I do if I were in this situation?

Could this actually happen?

Could this really happen to me?

What do I need to do to prepare?

 The first question is critical because it is a natural attitude for a general audience to take. We all have a tendency to armchair quarterback from time to time regardless of the content that we’re consuming. If the scenario being presented is realistic enough to have teeth, then the first question is going to have some bite for those with an open enough mind to consider what is happening and engage with the subject. Identifiable characters, genuine emotions, and believable situations are the hooks that can lead those who haven’t given much thought to practical preparation into spending time on the natural follow up questions and taking necessary steps to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.

But the effectiveness of fiction and the questions listed above are not limited to expanding awareness among people who haven’t given much or any prior thought to preparation. Even seasoned preppers can benefit from encountering a scenario that they haven’t fully considered or ran through in a while. Sometimes all it takes is one moment to trigger a question or thought process that enlightens a crucial detail or aspect and solidifies our tactical plans. We must prepare with a full spectrum mindset, and while laundry lists of items are indeed important, sometimes only the vibrancy and detail of a fictional scenario can lead us to visualize something that we hadn’t noticed before and then to prepare for it.

A fantastic source for fiction writing that is relevant, tactical, and engaging is author Franklin Horton ( His book series The Borrowed World checks off all the boxes that we have discussed here. Here is the synopsis from the first book in the series:

In a night of devastating terror, ISIS operatives have unleashed a coordinated attack on America’s infrastructure. Life as we know it in America grinds to a halt as the electrical grid collapses, communication networks are damaged, critical bridges and dams are destroyed, and major fuel refineries go up in massive fiery clouds. When the government responds by immediately halting fuel sales to the public, Jim Powell finds himself in a terrifying predicament – trapped five hundred miles from home with a group of coworkers.

With thousands of trapped travelers and scarce law enforcement, the miles between Jim and his family become a brutal gauntlet where the rules of civilized society no longer apply. As Jim puts his years of preparation and planning to the test, he is forced to ask himself if he has what it takes to make it home. Does he have the strength, the brutality, required to meet this new world toe-to-toe? (

You can listen to a recent interview I was able to do with Franklin Horton on “The Price of Business Show”:

Grab a copy today. Ask yourself necessary questions. Point other people to the content. Develop a full spectrum preparation mindset. Expand your toolbox. Commit yourself to taking the small steps that add up to massive progress over the course of time.


About Ross Powell,

Ross Powell is the Founder of Survival 401k, LLC. Ross was raised in San Antonio and graduated from the University of Texas and is a veteran Naval Officer.

Ross worked in banking and finance for almost 30 years including some of the largest banks and insurance companies in the country. His intimate knowledge of the inner workings of financial institutions helps him direct clients into our Solo 401k product to take control of their retirement funds and escape the pitfalls many see in modern retirement portfolios. His knowledge and access to alternative investments outside of Wall Street has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs find predictable results by helping them segment their retirement plans into wealth preservation, growth and liquidity. An avid fan of being prepared for the unexpected, Ross also guides his clients in preparing their lives and portfolios for the changing world to make Wise Decisions in Perilous Times.


Feature on Price of Business:

Anker PowerCore Portable Battery Bank


One of my biggest gripes about portable solar gear is if the panel is small and light, it charges slow.  If it’s of substantial size to charge at a decent pace, then it’s big and heavy.  I’ve used the Anker solar setup for several years and it’s worked well but it’s around 2 lbs.

Remember:  Pounds = Pain



So for my EDC (Every Day Carry) to work and for my short 1-3 night backpacking trips, I’ve moved toward this Anker rechargeable battery bank.  It charges in a USB port so you can charge it at home or in the vehicle.  It will charge my iPhone about seven times.

Your phone is a primary tool in preparedness.  Even if you’re comfortable disconnected from the world, it’s comforting to be able to check on your family and make sure they’re safe.

These run about $40 on Amazon and they’re a little over 12 oz, less than half of the solar panel.

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The latest from the desk of Franklin Horton

Just wanted to give you guys an update on what’s happening since I’ve not posted to the blog in a while.  First off, LOCKER NINE is rocking.  The book is doing well and I appreciate everyone whose read it.  For those that have asked, and there’ve been several of you, there will be another book in that series, probably coming in the winter 2017.

The reason for that delay is that I’m currently working on the next BORROWED WORLD book.  It’s called NO TIME FOR MOURNING, suggested by an old friend and one of my beta readers.  It will bring back many of the characters that you guys love.  As I write it, this story is telling itself and that makes me think it’s going to be a good one.  I can’t wait to see how it ends.

Also, I’d like to mention that I hear from folks nearly every day wanting a movie or series made of the books.  That’s beyond my control BUT if you know someone in the business, drop a hint.  I’d love to see the books made into a series for Netflix or Showtime or another venue where someone could do it justice.  Keep your fingers crossed that something will break loose on that front.

Finally, I’ve got paperbacks on hand ALL THE TIME.  For those of you who have mentioned that you want signed copies, there’s no need to order them from Amazon and then ship them to me.  You can send me a message and we’ll work out payment arrangements, then I can ship a signed book directly to you.

Thanks for reading.


Great Column in September GUNS Magazine On My Book Series


Over the winter I received an email from legendary gun writer Mike Venturino who had read my books and really enjoyed them.  He mentioned several times in our correspondence that he’d love to do an article on the books if he ever had the opportunity.  The opportunity came recently and he sent me a message to check out the September issue of GUNS magazine, which had just gone on sale.

At lunch, I went to my nearest magazine vendor — a grocery store — and there was a two page column on the books.  It was a fantastic review with several pictures, including one of me shooting my friend Steve Bird’s sweet VZ58 rifle.

As of this writing, the article is available free online at their website.

Interview with Engineer 775, aka Scott Hunt of Practical Preppers

While I was at Heritage Life Skills in Waynesville, NC, a few weeks back I had the opportunity to speak with Scott Hunt of Practical Preppers.  Scott is known to his legion of Youtube fans as Engineer775.  He did a short interview with me early one morning before things got rolling.  He was a great guy and I look forward to talking with him more in the future.  You can watch the interview below.

Great Times at Heritage Life Skills V


Just spent a great weekend in Western North Carolina at the Heritage Life Skills event put on by Carolina Readiness.  This was their fifth event and I had a blast.  Sold lots of books, met lots of folks, and had a  lot of great after-hours conversations with the people that stuck around for the entire weekend.

I was set up at a vendor booth with my friend Chris Weatherman, otherwise known as Angery American, author of the fantastic Going Home series.  Chris and I signed lots of books and had a lot of time to sit and BS about everything from kids to guns to prepping and everything in between.  He’s a great guy I can’t thank him enough for recommending my books to all the folks that came up and said they’d read all of his already.

Photo Apr 30, 12 15 57 PM

Chris and I also taught a class together on Friday and on Saturday we were the opening speakers at the night’s event.  It was a sort of a panel discussion with Chris and I being joined by Alan Kay, winner of the first season of ALONE.  Although Alan and I didn’t get to spend a lot of time together, I can tell you that people raved about his classes and workshops.  If you ever get the opportunity to participate in a training offered by Alan, whether it’s on foraging, bug out bags, or personal defense, you should grab that opportunity.

I also got to meet Survivor Jane, well known in the preparedness community for her books, lectures, and her Prepper Camp event that she hosts in the fall.  We had a good opportunity to spend the morning talking and I really enjoyed meeting her.


My buddy Steve Bird showed up on Sunday.  Steve and I always have a great time hanging out together.  He is on his second series of post-apocalyptic fiction now and you can find those on Amazon.  I’ve read through the first series and really enjoyed it.  In the picture, I’m not really depressed or anything but I was chewing gum and the camera caught me mid-chew.  The bearded guy on the right is Angery American.


I’ll be posting more on this later, but I also had the opportunity to meet one of my own preparedness heroes Dr. Joe Alton, otherwise known as Dr. Bones.  He did an interview with the Steve, Chris, and myself for his podcast.  I also told him that he had a mention in Legion of Despair during  a scene when someone is stitching someone up and stated that they learned that skill in Dr. Bones’ suture class.  Sure enough, Dr. Bones was conducting suture classes at HLS, too.

On the last morning, I also got the opportunity to meet Scott Hunt of Practical Preppers, known as Engineer775 to his Youtube following.  Scott did a short video interview with me which he’s already released and I’ll get a link up to that soon.

There were so many cool and interesting people that it’s hard to list them all, but I wanted to thank Jan and Bill Sterrett at Carolina Readiness for the invitation and hospitality; my camping buddies James Ashton (NCPREPPER on Youtube) and instructor Kerry “Gabby” Alzner for the entertaining evening conversation and storytelling; and my entertaining vendor neighbors Ken and Jen Elswick and #mountainfabulous realtor Stephanie Johnson.

Great people, great event, and I look forward to going back next year.

Legion of Despair Now Available for Pre-Order

Book Three in The Borrowed World Series, Legion of Despair, is now available for pre-order.  If you pre-order the book, it shows up automatically on your Kindle on the day of release.

The release date is scheduled for April 8th.  I wanted to get it out in March, but Amazon needs the finished file 10 days prior to release and I just can’t guarantee it will be ready any sooner.  Even with the manuscript completed, there’s a lot of steps between here and there.

Hopefully by pushing the release back into April, that will give me enough time to get the paperback and audiobook completed so that we can have a simultaneous release in all formats.

I look forward to your comments and hope you enjoy the book.

Legion of Despair

Book Three Is A Wrap


I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished Book Three of The Borrowed World Series.  I hope to have it edited this month and available toward the end of March.

This series is followed by a diverse group and they all enjoy different aspects of the books.  I hope there’s something here that appeals to everyone who liked the last two books.

I don’t want to reveal a lot, but I will say that this book picks up on Gary’s story and Alice’s story, which a lot of you have asked about.  Jim’s family is not left out, though, and there’s plenty of drama still going on in his valley.  There’s also a lot of the gritty, the terrifying, and the slightly disturbing elements that I enjoy writing.

As soon as we have a cover, I’ll share that and the title with you.

Thanks for the emails and the support.

Most of all, thanks for reading.

Chemical Lightsticks

In my book ASHES OF THE UNSPEAKABLE, a lightstick saves the day in a creative manner.  They are useful prepper gear for the Bug Out Bag, the Get Home Bag, or even for your vehicle.

As I write this, I am thinking of a story I heard on the news this morning.  Snow caused a twelve-hour, thirty-five mile long backup on a Kentucky interstate yesterday.  If you’re stuck on the highway for twelve hours, especially with kids, a light in the car can make a lot of difference.  Running the engine for twelve hours eats up a lot of fuel.  Most flashlights aren’t going to run twelve hours, either.  A twelve-hour lightstick in your car kit could be helpful.

Picture the following:

  • You lose your primary flashlight and have no backup
  • the cold weather zaps the batteries in your primary light and you have no backup
  • you need light but you don’t want to destroy your night vision
  • you need to mark a turn in the trail at night for other members of your party
  • you need to mark a distance for tactical purposes
  • the lights go out and you need a safe nightlight for the kids
  • you have a night vision device and need a way to distinguish the good guys from the bad

All of these are scenarios where you can put chemical lightsticks to use. They come in a variety of colors.  You can get white or yellow for providing good, usable light.  You can get red for preserving your night vision.

You can even get infrared IR lightsticks that produce light that is only visible to folks wearing nightvision.   This system is frequently used by military forces to distinguish the good guys from the bad in darkness.  The IR stick produces no visible light, but glows when viewed by a NVD.

Lightsticks are cheap, they don’t take up much room, and they don’t weigh much.  I’d encourage you to get a couple for your various gear bags.  You can buy them on Amazon in bulk to save money and find better variety.

Photo Jan 12, 5 54 36 PM

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