Rumors of War by Clayton Barnett – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Clayton Barnett will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

See our review of the first book in this series, The Fourth Law (which is only 99 cents!) here.

Rumors of Wars – A short essay
An early proofreader of the Saga of Nichole 5, Part One, “Friend & Ally” noted that the story was basically built around three battles along the fringes of the city of Portland, former Oregon. I liked that idea so much that I broke the book into three parts, reflecting what he had noted!

I had not at all planned it this way: months before, what became “Friend and Ally” was a writing exercise called ‘Defiant’ where I first met Nichole and saw her initial adventure with IJN Kongo the day after her arrival in Portland. Weeks later I saw her riding with Muller’s horse cavalry troopers up the Columbia River valley on a ‘routine expedition’… we all know how those turn out! It was only in the late spring of 2018 when I decided to turn all this into a novel that I wrote what became the bridge (swidt?) between the two: the attack on the Lewis & Clark Bridge, downriver from the City.

I wouldn’t call it a ‘lazy’ form of writing, but battles take on a life of their own, pulling the writer, story, and characters along in their wake. The cannibal army’s first assault against the City’s main bridges ended quickly: light infantry against high-explosive tipped missiles is a foregone conclusion. Their second effort has them succeed and across the bridge into former Oregon territory. This battle takes place over three days and led me places I never saw: Nichole laying in the weeds, not breathing; a good friend later found dead of a nerve gas… when you’re a harmless middle-age fluffball like me, never deliberately setting out to hurt anyone, surprises like these are more of a shock. My wife reached the point where, with me sitting alone in the dark on our deck, she wouldn’t ask about my silly DayJob but instead, “who died, now?”

Similarly, the siege of Fort Reilly was five days with a casualty figure – for the City forces – over fifty percent. Anyone with a military background just stopped and re-read that figure; yes, it’s horrific. Nichole died. Fortunately, “mostly dead is still somewhat alive!” Many stories, once a battle is over, quickly follow the leads somewhere else, I chose to linger a few more days to see and tell about the fort’s repair, the care of the wounded, and the laying to rest of the dead.

It was a fascinating experience! I’ll end with just a few pulls that, hopefully, make you curious enough to read the books… and post a review!

F&A (The Ship):

She’d pulled herself onto the scaffolding, up the small ladder, and looked out north from next to the empty flagpole atop the bridge at her right. Staring into the distance, she toggled the radio.

“” She paused. About to take a step that no one like her had never, ever taken before. In a timeslice in her mind, she saw her family, Her Majesty, Joe, and Gil…


And the world changed.

Kongo was free of the pier and headed north, yet not to where she was. She heard the roar of the four missiles; at this short range…

She saw the impacts. Only a dull thud reached her ears.

Far, far down her processor chain, it was logged that humans were dead by her orders.

F&A (The Bridge):

General Tessmer turned forward. Miles went by. At one point he raised his hand to cup the earbud on his left. A nod to the air.

“I want you on the barge assaulting the opposite bank.” He again half turned. “Can you shoot to kill?”

“I don’t know.”

He bit off a curse.

“Can you at least take orders?!”


“Then at the cost of your life, help my Engineers blow that bridge!”

“I obey.” She bowed slightly.

He saw that and turned back to the barely illuminated road sliding under them.

“Thank you.” She heard him whisper to the wind.

F&A (The Fort):

Oh no. A line of eight more flatbed transporters. The missiles were already vertical… through the drone, she watched them launch.

There was nothing she could do. She radioed the gunboats. The flotilla Captain said that he could just see their dam. She fed him the coordinates of the fort, requesting close-in salvos once in range. He briefly tried to object about “shelling our own men” until she shouted him down, that friendly-fire casualties were preferable to a general massacre.

She never heard his reply. The second group of missiles went for the dam. Not to break it: impossible. But crippling the controls beyond repair? Very possible.

Nichole was tossed about, sometimes in the air, sometimes against walls and floor. The building about her collapsed. Had I been human, I’d be dead, she thought. She thought of Gil; did he just go through this?

She landed hard but was not broken. She twisted to avoid the larger pieces of concrete and debris that were raining down on her. She wasn’t crushed by any particular thing, but she stopped estimating the depth of the ruin above her when it got beyond three meters.

Power loss; signal loss. The weight from pressed down onto her. She flexed just slightly. No: trapped. No worries! She had almost a full charge, so she’d be aware for another twenty hours, if not more! After that, once they dug her out, all they had to do was plug her back in…

Who, besides Gil, would know to do that?

For the first time in her life, a sound like a sob escaped her.


by Clayton Barnett

A history beginning in our near future, these stories are set in a world where the US dollar has been displaced as the world’s reserve currency, prompting its economic and political collapse, with a few areas able to hold onto civilization.
At the same time, across the Pacific, under a resurgent economy brought about by the implementation of new technology and deregulation, three Japanese companies produce breakthroughs in both artificial intelligence and robotics.  These newly made people exhibit an odd interest in the goings-on of the former United States.
To-date, my chronicling of this interest of theirs has led to stories that populate five novels, which I would like to share with everyone now!
The Fourth LawIn the near future, 23-year-old apprentice nurse Lily Barrett lives in a shattered time.  Following its economic collapse, the US has devolved into a group of a few barely functional smaller states and vast swathes of barbarian badlands.  His sister has been missing for years, and her father, after earning the opprobrium of most of the world for running a state terror organization, presumed dead.
Two things keep her going: her live-in job at a small, Catholic orphanage in the city of Waxahachie, Republic of Texas, and Ai, her odd but dear friend, whom she met online; a young woman who only shows herself to Lily as a rendered CG image.
Troubled by her past, haunted by her name, and facing an uncertain future, Lily seems only a quiet, simple life.  But, that past and her present conspire against her.


Echoes of Family Lost – Alive!  After four years believing her older sister lost and presumed dead in the horrible Breakup of the United States, Lily Barrett gets word from her dear friend, Ai – and Ai’s family of Machine Civilization – that Callie Barrett is very likely alive… but over 900 miles away in Knoxville.
Using the resources of her and Ai’s family, Lily puts together a search party to go find Callie:  old, broken, and burnt Orloff – an expert in surviving in the Badlands, Ai’s little sister, Fausta – her machine mind controlling a Combat Android to protect her friend, all together in a cart pulled by their sturdy pony, Clyde.


It’s almost a thousand miles to go, with something very odd trying to limit their ability to communicate over distance and even to cross bridges.  A chance meeting along the way in Huntsville, former Alabama, wrecks their plans, and puts all of their lives in danger.


Cursed HeartsEven with San Diego occupied by the Mexican Army, Katarina Sosabowski pursues her MBA at UCSD, and is happy to welcome and put up her visiting step-cousin from Japan, Christopher Dennou, for a night so he can complete his enrollment the following day.
But a minor earthquake brings a major surprise:  Chris’s younger sister, Maya, murders their mother and escapes Neuroi Institute, the research facility that created them.
While Chris and ‘Cat’ grow closer to one another, Maya inexorably crosses an ocean and half a continent to take back her brother, killing anyone who gets in her way.


Friend and AllyModel 5 is a prototype designed to fit seemlessly into human society.  A meeting in Tokyo derails Nichole’s planned training as she is dispatched to Portland, former Oregon; the last working deep water port on the West Coast of the imploding US.
There, under her cover as a Graduate Engineering Student, she is to do her utmost to nurture the people and politics of the City-State into a Friend and Ally of the Japanese Empire.  But from the first day in her new home, all of Nichole’s plans go awry.
Beset by those who want this small lamp of Western Civilization snuffed out, Nichole must find within herself the courage and ability to protect her new friends, at whatever consequence to herself.


Foes and Rivals – After residing nearly a year in Portland, Nichole’s life seems to finally settle down: with her classes, friends, and lover.  But troubling rumors about secret deals between the City’s master and the savage horsemen to the east reach her ears.
With her own skills augmented by her friends and allies, she sets plans into motion she hopes will thwart those in opposition to her dream of a peaceful future.
Once again denied a quiet, normal life, Nichole is faced to make hard, dangerous choices that will jeopardize her, her friends, and the survival of the City itself.


Meet the Author: One time engineer, some time pharmacy technician, full time husband and father, Clayton Barnett stumbled into writing a traditional novel November 2014 during National Novel Writing Month. Liking the results, he edited what would become “The Fourth Law” and set about teaching himself self-publishing. In the following four years he has produced four more novels as well as a children’s early reader, all in what is now called Machine Civilization.

Clayton Barnett lives in central Ohio with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs.

Find him at his website

Buy all the books in this series on Amazon or Smashwords. Echos of Family Lost and The Fourth Law are only 99c!

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. That you for hosting and for the review, as well!

  3. Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Rita Wray says

    Sounds like a good book.

  5. Bernie Wallace says

    What book would you like to see a sequel to?

  6. James Robert says

    Great post and I appreciate getting to find out about another great book. Thanks for all you do and for the hard work you put into this. Greatly appreciated!

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