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Friday Book Club (Free Novels for You!)

I have poured my heart into hundreds of books, traveled through countless worlds, created a wide array of interesting characters, and explored a myriad of themes to unlock the doors of imagination, challenge perceptions, and provoke thought among millions of readers.

Americana is hot off the presses, and right now, it’s exclusive to my fiction list.

While watching the docuseries Sins of the Amish late in 2022 — somewhere between the first and second episodes — I had the seed of an idea for this book, which you can download for free at the bottom of this post.

The show is about how Amish communities can get away with a lot of ugly behavior, because local law enforcement often looks the other way on account of how essential the tourist trade has become to their communities, and because of the belief that if a society, no matter how small, has frozen itself in time, then conduct that today would be considered unbecoming — if not downright abominable — can get a free pass instead.

The Amish work to preserve an 18th-century rural lifestyle and culture. They dress, speak, and use technology from that era. They wear plain clothing without modern conveniences like zippers or snaps and speak in dialects that preserve their heritage. But according to Sins of the Amish, rape, misogyny, and pedophilia all run rampant in those communities, with barely any consequence.

Mingling with that thought was the reality of how much America has always been in love with itself. We’re a nation of storytellers telling a version of history perverted to make us look like the heroes even when we weren’t.

So, what if there were theme parks in the future celebrating an America without perspective or apology? An absurd idea, sure, but one that felt ripe for exploration.

Given the amount of polarization in our world, the premise felt extra interesting to me. And exactly the type of idea I would have developed with Johnny, once upon a time. But we started writing together less than we used to, and those ideas were stacking up.

Something about Americana refused to wait.

I wrote more last year than I ever have before, but much of that was an assignment of some sort. I penned Americana in my “free time.” This was the story I spent my earliest mornings with, before the world was awake, from still dark outside until just past sunrise, when the first of the day’s deer frolicked across my lawn.

I am so excited to share Americana with you:

Diana Smith-Patel is a liaison for the Gaia Commonwealth, a new country formed after the early 21st-century climate collapse brought Western civilization to its knees and sparked a second American Civil War. Diana’s job? Make sure nothing threatens the delicate balance of peace — especially the descendants of the war’s losers, the rebels who withdrew to the Free Frontier States.

The only place citizens of the two countries ever meet is Americana, a historical Frontier theme park with an emphasis on American exceptionalism. It’s unregulated, offering a taste of complete freedom to the restrained, self-disciplined Gaians — it’s the Wild West, but with better guns.

I have so many other stories I’d love to share with — including some more free downloads if you’re on my fiction list — so I’ll be exploring a book from my back catalog every Friday. In most instances, that book will be free on this site until the following Friday.

Next week, we’ll start with a book that Johnny told me he would punch me in the dick if I didn’t publish.

Until then, I hope you enjoy Americana!