Prepper Book Festival 9: The Toymaker by Joe Nobody

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  November 24, 2020
Prepper Book Festival 9: The Toymaker by Joe Nobody

Living in a post-apocalyptic world is something we can only imagine.  Sure, we can watch movies and read books, but no one can really predict what life will be like after SHFT.  On the other hand, stretching our imagination is something we absolutely must do to mentally prepare for life during uncertain times.

With that introduction, I would like to introduce the next book in  Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival 9.  The Toymaker is the latest book from Joe Nobody and his Holding Their Own series that follows the lives of Bishop and Terri as they suffer through the challenges of living in a society that has turned upside down.

Prepper Book Festival 9: The Toymaker by Joe Nobody | Backdoor Survival

Joe has answered a new bunch of interview questions and of course, has held a copy of The Toymaker for one lucky reader.

Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway.

An Interview with Joe Nobody, Author of Holding Their Own: The Toymaker

What one single event (or point in time) did you decide to become a prepper?

I think it was Hurricane Rita in 2005.

We lived in rural area outside Houston, Texas at the time, and were without electrical power for over two weeks. While I had always been “survival minded,” experiencing that episode focused my preparations. The average Joe just doesn’t realize what 14 days without electricity does to you, your family, and morale.

Most preppers have some sort of EDC (Every Day Carry). What items do you carry with you at all times?

The only item I have on my person all day, every day, is a good pocket knife. My vehicle has a complete get-home kit at all times, and our family’s bug-out bags are always packed and ready. But physically on my person, whether at the mall, riding my bike, or cooking out on the grill – it’s just a pocket knife. I carry a Case Peanut.

I will carry a sidearm, depending on where I’m going. But I don’t walk around the house armed. I carry a 1911 in .45 caliber. I prefer a shoulder holster, but have numerous options, depending on weather, style of dress, and destination.

My computer bag has a ND3 light, 100 feet of paracord, a Benchmade folder, a survival net, a bottle of water, and two power bars. (Yes, there’s still room for a laptop)

Our bugout bags have dozens of items. So many in fact, I actually wrote a book about it.

Have you ever lived through a real disaster and therefore had to live on your preps? If so, for how long? What were some of the mistakes you encountered along the way?

As mentioned above, Hurricane Rita for 14 days.

Like many Gulf Coast residents, we had a generator and “storm supplies.” The generator’s gasoline supply lasted four days, and was only large enough to power the refrigerator, freezer, and a few fans. Our fuel supply lasted half of what I thought it would.

Our food was okay, but was getting low by the time the electricity came back on and we could go shopping to replenish.

Lessons learned:

1. It is extremely difficult to sleep in a modern house without AC. Despite windows being opened and fans running, it wasn’t unusual for our home to be over 90 degrees at night. That lack of rest led to short tempers, low morale, and every little task being more difficult that it should have been.

2. Potable water was always a problem. I was boiling water on the propane grill using pots and pans. There’s never enough capacity for hand washing, tooth brushing, cooking, and dishwashing. It seemed like I was spending most of my day “making water.” There were often fights over what was already sanitized and the priority for use. It was surprising to me how much aqua a family of four uses for daily activity.

3. Don’t overlook entertainment for short-term preps. Board games, books, and a deck of cards kept us from tearing each other apart. Remember, teenagers are used to phones and social media. Many of us older folks like television or a movie. Unless you want a bunch of old grouches grumbling around your domain, plan for something to keep folks (and especially kids) occupied.

If not, what steps have you taken to ensure that your and your family are disaster-proof?

We changed our food storage to a more likable fare. We upgraded our generator to where it will now run a small window AC unit that can keep one room cool at night. It can also power the DVD and television. I have 10 fuel cans now. They are a pain to cycle and keep fresh, but it beats doing without any electric power.

But overall, we upgraded our preps. Now, older and wiser, I might bug out, depending on the perceived threat and duration. We are far more prepared than 10 years ago.

Lesson learned.

Bugging out poses a major dilemma for many preppers. Family obligations, money, jobs, and health considerations all play a role in the bug-out, bug-in decision. What advice do you have for those that who will be required to bug-in?

1. Resist spending money on preps that don’t have a dual purpose. We like to camp. Camping gear is great in a survival situation. We would camp, preppers or not, so our investment is rewarded even if an event never occurs. The same could be said of gardening, buying food in bulk (saves money), or learning to hunt/shoot. All preps can be recreational activities that pay back in entertainment value and quality of life.

2. Spread your resources across the five basic categories of need: Water, Food, Shelter, Security, and Medical (wellbeing). A shortcoming in any category can make survival difficult.

3. People will most likely be the problem in a severe, long term event. Unless you fear packs of wild dogs or escaped tigers from the zoo, your primary threat will be other humans. I know it sounds terrible to say that, but historically it’s been proven over and over again.

Think through how you are going to avoid others. How can you protect yourself? How can you help others without putting you and your family at risk?

What specifically would you like Backdoor Survival readers to learn from your book?

As with all of the Bishop and Terri books, the primary messages are simple:

-The human mind is the greatest survival tool of all.

-There are always two sides to every story.

-When the chips are down, we can all be more than what we think we are.

-Having a strong partner becomes even more important when things go badly.

The Giveaway

Joe has reserved a copy of Holding Their Own: The Toymaker for this Book Festival Giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Note:  If you are having difficulty with the Rafflecopter, attempt to clear your browser cache to see if that helps.  Instructions are here:  //  If that does not work, contact support at

The Final Word

Having read a number of Joe’s books, starting with Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it all Falls Apart and through Apocalypse Drift on the fiction side, I can honestly say that it was inspiring to read and learn from the mistakes made while suffering through Hurricane Rita.

Furthermore, his point is well taken; we need to focus now on what we might do to maintain morale when the situation and circumstances are dire.

I would like to once again thank Joe and his publisher, Prepper Press, for participating in this latest Book Festival.   As always, your books are the best!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.


Spotlight:  Holding Their Own: The Toymaker

Life as a post-apocalyptic rancher isn’t easy for Bishop and his family. The Texan’s struggles are further complicated by a recovery that has left him feeling out-of-touch with the new realities of a rapidly changing society.


Out of the West comes the most serious challenge the Alliance has ever faced, a danger so potent that it could lead to another downfall and spell the end of the grand experiment in self-reliance. Respecting Bishop and Terri’s wishes to live a normal, secluded life, the Alliance leadership does its best to overcome the new threat. Despite heroic acts and the best intentions, their efforts only succeed in pulling society closer to the brink of another collapse.

With their friends in danger, war looming on the horizon, and the Alliance’s future teetering on the brink, the couple is thrust into a fast-paced adventure that tests the limits of their skills, intellect, and love for each other.

For your convenience, here is a list of all of the books in the current Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival.

Prepper Book Festival 9 – Non-Fiction

Chickens from Scratch: Raising Your Own Chickens from Hatch to Egg Laying and Beyond
Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies
Shotguns: A Comprehensive Guide (PrepSmart Volume 3)
The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource
The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget

Prepper Book Festival 9 – Fiction

Cascadia’s Curse
Apocalypse by Government
New Recruits (The Shadow Patriots Volume 2)
The Line of Departure: A Postapocalyptic Novel
Holding Their Own: The Toymaker

Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage

No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.  The eBook print version is available.


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50 Responses to “Prepper Book Festival 9: The Toymaker by Joe Nobody”

  1. I love his books and was very interested in his thoughts in this interview. Thanks as always for sharing great information, materials, etc. I love the quote spread your investment across the 5 important areas! I think that is so wise. I always am concerned about water in my area because it’s quite a walk to the lake and lots of dangers could exist. I’d be ok for a while but long term I know it would be an issue.

  2. Everyone should prepare where and how best they can. You just never know what might happen in your area. Joe reminds us of the basics we should include.

  3. Nothing like living it to be able to write a good book on a subject. I have never read his books but would like to. I understand doing without electric. We do without electric on a regular basis here in WV. Usually a week at a time in the Winter. Last Winter we did a week without electric, water, and phone. I was going crazy by the end of the week.

  4. What will you use as a “morale booster” if and when the SHTF? Short term is cards and a book. Long term, I am trying to figure that out.

  5. Good books that I can read over and over, and bubbles – yes the little plastic bottle stuff for kids. Its cheap, its fun, and you can’t be upset blowing bubbles.

  6. In my home currently, we are experimenting with how to use water wisely when it’s scarce. Where I live we are in drought situation do at anytime, I expect to see the local government mandate water restrictions. Given this, here’s what we are doing:
    I bought 2 large Ziploc plastic bowls with covers which can also be used when fixing large amounts of salads or something about the size of a small RV sink which is where we wash our dishes. The gray water, then either goes in a bucket to be carried out to water our garden or it’s used in the toilet for flushing. I bought an orange 5 gallon bucket from a chain store for this, so people know it’s not drinkable.
    At each water tap, there is a gallon container to catch the cold water from the hot water tap before the water begins to warm up. This water, for now, also goes for watering the garden and the plants indoors.
    All non-drinkable water containers are marked with bright orange for non-drinkable. I’m considering further refinement here after reading the above comments from this author.
    O and anyone who doesn’t finish a glass of water, that water too, goes into the orange bucket.
    Comments so far have been ok but I do get complains about doing this a little because of the inconvenience. That’s when I point to California as an example of non-preparedness. 😉 Now I’ll include the story here and Katrina. 🙂
    BTW: If anyone drains those cans of veggies or fruit down the drain…instead pour into that gray water container, the garden plants love the extra dose of nutrients contained in that liquid. 🙂

    I forgot, often we do what I taught in Girl Scouts. Everyone has their place setting with a net bag to hold everything in the place setting. Then we do the community dish wash in cold water. While doing this, we have a large stockpot on the stove/fire when it comes to a boil…each person dips their dishbag into the pot of boiling water to sanitize, then the bags get hung on a line with a clothes pin or a quick connect crampon (not sure of the term). Anything not handled per person gets washed by the person on KP which is alternated.

    • You are doing an incredible job, and thanks for the reminder about Girl Scouts! I lived through one of California’s droughts, and remembering not to flush was the hardest part for me. On the other hand, I got good at the bucket flush.

  7. Staying sane and healthy is a challenge even when everything seems to be working…..Heaven help us all if the major systems fail…….

  8. Keep games for people to play, cards, etc. and store items that can be used as prizes such as hard candy, etc. especially for the children. If your group consists of more than a few people maybe rotate something special among each one so they don’t feel left out if they can’t win at the games.

  9. A great interview. It’s nice to hear that you had some failures in your preps. It makes the rest of us feel better. I use to volunteer for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief, I traveled all over America after disasters. It’s crazy how many times I heard, ” I never thought it would happen to me.” I still here it. I counsel them to be prepared to take care of themselves for at least 2 weeks. Thanks Joe for the wonderful series.

  10. For morale booster: plenty of books since I love to read. I also love crossword puzzles, so I make sure I have plenty of those, board games and cards.

  11. We have lots of crayons, books paper toys, games (and goodies stocked) We are working on a solar generator to keep the sump running and the tv with the DVD /VHS player we have in storage along with the tapes and CDs. we check the tapes regularly to see if they are ok and thanks to garage sales have replaced a few that looked a bit iffy.Plus we have some old family movies and slides that are carefully preserved with the projectors to view them on. Yes we are in the process of trying to get everything on CDs but it takes time AND money.

  12. Chocolate, books, chocolate, my Kindle (I’ve gone to great lengths to secure a solar recharger), chocolate, board games, chocolate, card games, and did I mention chocolate?

  13. I love to read and usually have several unread books around. In addition I have my ham radio, which is strictly solar powered. Although it could run off of grid power, I am more comfortable running it on solar. With the radio there is a world of shortwave broadcasts to listen to, in addition to other hams to talk to.

  14. We play Cribbage, and read books out loud to each other. We also color and paint and play board games. Neither my hubby nor I are addicted to electrical entertainment. Both of us are storytellers, so we are in demand to others who haven’t got the skills to tell stories to groups of children or their adults.

  15. I am collecting as many books as possible, especially the classics so there will be plenty to read. My library also includes how to books, cookbooks, and history books as well as many bible study materials.

  16. I always get a boost from meditation/praying and yoga. It has to do with a calming down and not panicking. Always feel energized and renewed after stretching/yoga–that’s my go-to morale booster.

  17. I would have books to read, adult coloring books, crosswood puzzle books, a deck of cards, and my positive attitude that allows me to make the most of every situation. Chocolate wouldn’t hurt either!

  18. To boost our morale, we have paper and electronic books (including the Bible), board games, dice games, cards, Sudoku books,and electronic games on the iPad. We have a solar charger for our Kindles and iPad. In our food storage, we have various fruit and dessert options to allow for some sweet treats.

  19. What will you use as a “morale booster” if and when the SHTF? Games and will use as many survival tecniques as possible to teach my grandchildren so they can be participate and hopefully not be as scared .

  20. While I don’t love that you had shortcomings in your own preps, I love that what you experienced, taught you what they were, and in turn, it made you a better prepper, and that you would share this with the rest of us. So that we would be better prepared. Thank you.

  21. I have hard copy books, fiction and non fiction, and a kindle full of the same, lots of different genres. I keep an eye out at the thrift store for inexpensive board games and puzzles. Coloring books and crayons for ‘kids’ of all ages. Decks of cards. Stock up on school supplies when they are on sale, good for use in crafting as well as the ‘usual’ uses. Music is a good morale booster, be it an instrument to play, or plenty of records/cds and a means to play them. Sheet music, if you have an instrument. Treats, such as hard candy that stores well, go a long way to boosting morale as well.

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