Saturday, February 16, 2013

Russian Meteor our Extinction Level Event? Don't scoff.

I didn’t do well in school. In fact, I went through most of my life believing that maybe perhaps in some aspects, I wasn’t the brightest bulb in the bunch. Now I’m thinking maybe I was right. Or … maybe I slept through science all those years … or my educators failed me. Combination of everything. Who knows? But, I do know this. On this day I feel massively deceived along with just plain dense.

How am I the only one who missed it? What am I talking about? The extinction of dinosaurs.

Yes, I know they went extinct, Good God, I’m not that dumb but … did you know it took 200,000 years for them to die off after the extinction level event? Yes, it’s true I just found it out.

Kind of reminded me of the time that I found out (At the age of 22) that Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden for having sex. I thought it was an apple all that time. I honestly thought an apple was a forbidden fruit and my grandmother was just asking for it every time she baked an apple pie.

Perhaps it is my infatuation over apocalypse scenarios that had me block out facts. When they said a meteor hit the earth and it caused dinosaurs to go extinct, I believed… the dinosaurs went extinct. Right then and there.

I mean this was reiterated by one of my favorite movies, Armageddon. The opening of the movie is the planet earth, Charlton Heston (I Love him) Voice over saying, “65 million years ago, earth was a lush and fertile planet. But a piece of rock, just six miles wide changed all that.”

Meteor slams into earth, it cascades into a chain of events and the earth is a blazing fireball. What the hell survives that? Apparently,  the dinosaurs … for 200,000 years.

Now, after learning the truth, it all is different in my mind. Before I envisioned the meteor hitting, the fire, the dinosaurs turning to ash. Now I see them running with T-Rex saying, “This way guys, I know a good underground place.’

What the hell? I’m still stumbled on how they survived that fireball impact. Or maybe science is wrong and the meteor just didn’t set the world ablaze like we originally were told.

No wonder it has taken science so long to determined what really wiped out the dinosaurs.  They can’t possibly really know, especially if it took so long.

And the meteor that landed in Mexico was called an extinction level event? Why call it an extinction level event if it isn’t an event that causes an immediate extinction?

Come on, really, under those guidelines anything can be an extinction level event. I think E.L.E, I picture a virus wiping out pretty much everyone in a good month. Or like the sun tossing a huge flame at us. To me, an extinction level happening is something that causes extinction … now.
Not 200,000 years after it happened.

If someone told you, that the meteor that landed in Chebarkul Lake, Russia was man’s extinction level event, would you believe them? No. Especially if they add, ‘It is Man’s Extinction Event, and in 10,000 years man will be done.’

Who cares? I would think man is smarter than the dinosaurs and would certainly figure out something in 10,000 years.

But thinking about it, this simple, bus size meteor that broke windows, injured a thousand people and crashed into an icy lake could indeed be the extinction level trigger. How? It crashed into the lake. Say it hit the floor, the shock of it weakens a fault line. There are fault lines everywhere and an earthquake belt is located on the Kazakhstan border between Russian. So, we have an earthquake. That Earthquake triggers a series that leads to a break in a deep earth Methane gas pocket and causes it to erupt. Um, yeah, if a methane gas pocket sealed deep in earth is breached … watch out. The chain reaction is a killer. Explosion, volcanic eruptions, dust in the atmosphere, tsunamis, ice age. Yikes.

According to Science Today: Methane gas is explosive in atmospheric ratios between 5% and 15% - a wider range than gasoline. Hundreds of billions of cubic feet of methane could burst free in a matter of seconds. The possible detonation and fireball has been referred to as "biblical" in size and destruction - several times larger than the most powerful nuclear weapon ever exploded.

Not to mention any gas released in the air is thick, planes can’t fly through it and they’ll just fall from the sky.

In fact if you think about it, ANY earthquake, especially in the ocean can cause an ELE.  Look into Methane pockets, it’s scary.

We probably already had our extinction level event and just don’t know it. If we did, take heart, you and I will be long gone before the effects of the event reach extinction level. Unless of course, it is a methane gas explosion, then you know, we have weeks.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Is it Really Worth Complaining? Stop before you do.

I’m not real sure how this blog will go over. Not that it will anger people, it just seems that when I don’t  write about celebrities, writing or Walking Dead, my blog stats don’t spike. But if one person who reads this, thinks before they act … well, I have done my job.
Admittedly, the original thought for this blog was motivated by self incident. It led me to research and think about complaining. This blog, for example can be a complaint. We all do it. Some more than others,. But at least once during the day you complain. The coffee isn’t hot enough, traffic is bad, prices are high. But it is what we do with the complaint that makes the difference.
Complaining relives stress. It stops it from being bottled up inside. Sometimes we do it for attention or even to make ourselves look superior.  But when we go from just being vocal to our coworkers, to taking action, then we not only affect our world, we start affecting the lives of others.
Sounds kind of grand scale? I’m not talking a faulty product that needs returned or a meal not meeting standards, I’m talking complaints grounded on human faults. That’s where we need to step back and think before we act.
We are human and as such we are controlled by emotions. Sometimes outrage gets the best of us. And it is in those times that we do the most damage. We want just reward for a bad thing, but do we think of the chain of events that follow.
Negative without positive doesn’t breed results. People are programmed to remember the negative and experts say it can take up to five positives to negate one negative comment.
So when we go from complaining to a friend to writing a complaint, we need to ask why we are doing it. Are we doing it for replacement and reward? Are we doing it to get that one person in the store in trouble? Maybe, we just hope that they’ll change and take a look at how things are done. We don’t mean really any harm, nor want anyone to lose their jobs, but realistically, that’s the outcome.

What we do as people ultimately affects others. I’m not saying if you aren’t happy with something, don’t speak. I’m merely saying, when you do speak up, write or call a company, cool down and watch your phrasing. Again, to reiterate, I am addressing complaints about people.
Very easily I could have called McDonald’s and complained about the girl dropping my chocolate milk out the drive thru and then telling me to pull up, get out of the car and get it. It was so ridiculous I found it hysterical. But say I didn’t. Say I was angry and called. What was my gain? Did I really want to get the girl in trouble? Most of us aren’t complaining to get someone in trouble but rather be compensated for a bad experience.
Then again, some people may want to get someone in trouble. If that’s the case, we really need to examine what kind of person we are.
What if McDonald’s girl is an exceptional employee who had a bad day and the milk experience was a first. What if I called, she was reprimanded and it upset her. Who is to say it didn’t stay on her mind so much that she fails somewhere else in her day. Yells at her child, make a wrong turn, gets in an accident … anything can happen.  All because I couldn’t let it go.
I know, I know, sounds kind of hypocritical coming from a woman who wrote a blog to fire a judge on the show Chopped. But it was that blog, that got me thinking.
Yes, we want people to atone for bad performance that affects us, but do we want to be the one that pushes the envelope? Bad employees will eventually see their day. They don’t need our written complaints to push them along.
So before you write a letter of complaint about a specific person, stop and think. Did the incident affect you so much that you are willing to affect others? Think of the extreme consequences of your actions against what you are truly hoping to gain. Write the letter, tell of the bad experience, but think twice before naming a name of giving employee specifics.

And honestly, if the employee wronged you so badly, treated you so poorly, then speak up during the injustice. Don’t wait until you stew about it and call later. Deal with it on the spot. Trust me, one on one, it works. I had a grocery store employee give me attitude and call me stupid. I called her out right there.. I didn’t tell her manger she called me stupid. I said, “Hey, I’m a customer, and old enough to be your mother, your attitude is unacceptable and out of line.” She didn’t know what to say and though she didn’t apologize I bet she remembers it the next time she wants to flip out on a customer for questioning a price.
We all have been complained about and reprimanded. We all know how it feels and how we take it with us, especially if we feel it is unfair. It takes a lot to get rid of that bad feeling. So let’s think twice before we deliver it back at someone. That’s all I’m saying.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Walking Dead Returns .. so do my gripes

Fair warning, there are Spoilers!

It’s pretty much been two months and the wait is over for the return of Walking Dead, Season 3, the second half. During its hiatus I enjoyed Guy versus Rachel Celebrity cook off and I have to say, I have shouted, screamed and cringed a lot more during that show than most of this season’s Walking Dead.
            No, Johnny, no, it’s a hot dog competition. Where’s the hot dog?
            That being said, it’s back, tonight and I’m not wrought with excitement. I’m happy, yeah, but not counting down the hours.
            I think American Horror Story spoiled me. Thirteen weeks spanned decades of time, a tight story, wrapped up and left me on the edge of my seat every Wednesday. It takes three episodes for the cast to cross the street in Walking Dead.
            I blame it on poor writing.
            Blast me if you want, but that’s my thoughts.
            I understand they can’t follow the graphic novel, where’s the surprise. Forgot a lot of people haven’t read them, but in their attempt to stray and stay, they managed to make a lot of us go, ‘hmm, oh my’.
            It drags on. It really does. I care only about two characters. Daryl and Hershel. That’s it. The rest can bite it. No pun intended to our zombies.
            The writers really are scratching.
            To me it’s an attempt to drag out a money maker.
            I see it, onset of the season, a group of writers sitting around. “Okay guys, here’s our story line. Rick finds a prison. Woodbury is established, they fight to the death.”
            Let’s make that last 16 weeks.
            Really? That’s like 3 chapters in a book. That’s at tops, 3 episodes.
            If I were writing it, this season would end with Herschel running Woodbury, Rick losing his mind and thinking he’s Shane, that Mexican family from season one returning and experiments on the Walking Dead.
            Somehow, someway, a helicopter from France would land. After all, according to Jenner, they were the last foot hold in the world. Hell, I would have never killed Shane or TDog. They would have left together and returned in Season 4.
            Anyone notice in the preview how big Baby Judith is. She is hands down bigger than my eight month old granddaughter. And Judith is one week old.
            They’re gonna kill her you know. Not because she dies in the graphic novel, but mainly because the writers have done such a piss poor job of making us care about characters, there’s no one to cry for. Kill the baby for the shock effect. My opinion.
            Ok, so here is my speculation for the second half season opener.

            That little fight scene between Merle and Daryl? Where he kicks his brother and start beating the crap out of him. Fake. Brothers are brothers. They know how to fake fiht, sell it and make it look good. Especially if they are wrestling fans. Which I bet Merle and Daryl were.
            Of course our hero, half baked, Rick, will save the day. Toss some tear gas, get them out.
            Glen will whine about Merle returning to the prison. But I do predict Daryl and Merle will take off.  Leave and be on their own for some fun stuff.
            Andrea will not side with our prison. No way, no how. I think she should take hold of Woodbury and lead them to crush rick. After all, they left her for dead and forgot about her.
            Oh, yeah, Michonne. The character with the most promise and the biggest let down. I think she’ll soften up. Why? Because the writers don’t believe in strong women.  The women, if they aren’t cooking or sewing, or crying. They are being beaten or using sex as a tool.
            That constipation look of Michonne’s, that is written into the script because the writers didn’t have a clue what to do with her. They introduced strength and greatness, realized they did so in a woman and dropped the ball.
            The episode won’t progress much, God, I hope I’m wrong. It’ll end with a face to face with Rick and the Governor.
            I gripe and complain about the Walking Dead, I know. But I’ll watch it and hope that it will eventually be as spectacular as it started out. One can only hope. After all, they have a great outline to follow … the graphic novels. Follow them damn it. I don’t mind seeing something on the screet that I read, they do it all the time with movies.

Friday, February 8, 2013

When the World’s Lights Go Out, More than the Power Will Die

Ominous as the title of this  blog seems, the thought of what I am blogging about is worse

I had some weird revelation while going through the pictures on my iPhone. At first they were happy thoughts. You know, oh how cute ... Ah this was cool... My entire life over the course of the last six months is documented on my phone. Holidays, birthdays and appearances.

If I want to go further back ... Facebook or even MySpace. Pictorial documentary of my life's happy moments at a touch of a finger.

What are we, nuts?

It dawned on me that if the lights suddenly went out forever, not only would I never see those precious memories, I couldn't capture anymore.

I don't know about you, but if the world takes a nose dive I want to take pictures of man’s destruction for future generations. But we've all ditched our cameras and the world of instant Polaroid’s, while still available, are digital and nothing like the old day, self contained battery film pack.

Yes, some people still print up pictures, but not all. And most of us not at all. We display them in digital frames and instead of whipping out the wallet, we show them to friends from our phones.

 It's sad.

Ya know, if the world experienced nuclear war in the fifties, I honestly believe those back then would survive more than us. They were resilient and not pampered by technology.

I'm buying an instant camera. Seriously, I am. Unless I absolutely, have to. No more phone pictures. I'm buying vinyl records and more paperbacks.

We as a society, instead of a bug out bags and shelters packed with food, we should plan to preserve not only life but preserve humanity.

A smile, memory, our mothers face and Christmas morning, the songs that made us dance and feel and books that drive our emotions.

They are parts of what make humanity and remind us we are human.

If there is a loss if power we can't play CDs or mp3s, read a kindle. Not for long at least.

A hand can hold photos, flip a page, crank a victrola.

So when preparing for the apocalypse, prepare all the way around. Start now.

If the lights forever go dark, our way of life may be done for but worse, every photographic memory. Every song recorded after 2000, and for most of us, 80% of the greatest words ever written that we love...gone.

Not only does are way of life die, but so do all the things that make us remember life.

Remember to preserve those as well. Start now.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why You Should NOT Self Publish Your First Book

You’re probably thinking, why in the world would a primarily self published … oh, wait, PC term Indy published author say not to self publish a book?

Allow me to add to the title of this blog. It should be, ‘Why you should NOT self Publish your first book … right away’
‘Right away’ being the key words here.
I have a friend who right now is going through the tedious content edits of his first book. I know they’re tedious, I did the first half. I left page after page of notes and suggestions. The book is very good and it has the makings of a really good seller. Anyhow, midst of the edits he is sending out queries to agents. A little ahead of the game, but ambitious is never a bad thing. When he told me this, I was like, “What the piss, Dude. Why would you go through all that, give fifteen percent of your ten percent when the world of digital editions is at your fingertips and easy …”
Ah, that’s the word … easy.
It’s easy.
I’m from the old world of publishing, when self published or vanity held a stigma. It still kinda, sort of does, but it’s getting better. But I am also from the time when you worked so damned hard to get published, that you dropped to your knees in gratefulness over that acceptance letter and framed that first royalty check for $1.35.
I am fortunate enough to be in that percentage of indy authors who makes some money from their writing. Not as much as I would like, but a hell of a lot more than I did years ago. Heck, if I had a time machine and went back to show a present royalty statement to my past self as I read through rejections, past-me probably would tell me, “yeah, right’.
But I wouldn’t tell my past self that. In fact, I wouldn’t  tell my past self about the opportunities in the future. Why? Because I wouldn't have worked so hard.
Yeah, I have some success, but I don’t measure my success by dollars, I measure it by the people I have enjoying my work. People are reading my stuff! That’s all I ever wanted. Really. Read it and like it.
I can say few have been rejected more than me. I said I’d quit when I had enough rejections (Books, poems, short stories, screenplays) to place one on each step of the Empire State Building. I didn’t quit, I just stopped counting … at 1172.
I have been rejected, told I sucked, told to give up, and even ridiculed for my genre of writing. But I didn’t give up. I was beaten many times, cried over it, but I kept writing.
I called them the ‘dreaded thumps’, when a publisher would ask to read the entire book. But when they rejected it and sent it back, it landed with a ‘thump’ on my porch.
I remember one day, my daughter, still a little girl and innocent said to me as she opened the door, “Mommy, another one of your books was rejected. It’s just laying there. Sad.”
That day forever stands in my mind, because I think that day I felt as if I looked so pathetic to my own kids. Did I suck so badly that no one wanted to take a chance on my work.
Someone did, it wasn’t the best opportunity but it was an opportunity. Then another took a chance. But after years of zero royalties, I took that chance on Kindle.
Again, I’m doing okay, my works is out there, but I appreciate it more than anyone knows. Each time a stranger emails me to say they enjoyed my work or a regular reader compliments, it means the world, I’m doing what I was mean to do. I’m doing what I love to do. I am a writer. But without that long road, that hard road of rejection and self doubt, self publishing would have been too easy and I wouldn’t have appreciation for what I have, I would probably be greedy for more. Make sense?
So, no. Do not self publish your first book right away. Submit, query and send to anyone that you think may be interested in your work. If you get rejected, embrace it. After you feel like you are a complete failure and no one wants to publish you … submit again. Hey, you may strike gold.  Pick a magic number. Carrie was rejected 120 times. One you hit your magic number, and you absolutely feel you have exhausted all avenues, then self publish. And it will be worth it. For most of us, I honestly believe the rewards in the literary world match the road you have taken to get there. For some the rewards are financial, for others, like me, it’s people reading and enjoying their work.
Appreciation is the operative term here. Self publishing is too easy today. And true appreciation doesn’t come when rewards are easy.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A New Final Sneak Peak of 'Sealed In'

In just a few short days, what I believe is one of my most creative PA books to date, Sealed In, will be released. This book has been waiting fot it's day since my appearance on the History Channel. I wanted to release it when the show came out, but better late than never and I think this one is worth waiting for. Here is the synopsis and beginning of the book. The contents of the prologue (Not posted) was featured  on the show.


Following a distress call from the State Police, Dr. Edward Neil and a team from the Centers for Disease Control enter the small town of Hartworth, Montana. Immediately they encounter a man in a pickup truck holding a quarantine post. His body decimated by a disease like they have never seen. The entire town, population a little under a thousand … dead. Men, women and children. The unknown germ hit so fast, the town did not stand a chance of survival. But it didn’t hit so fast that they couldn’t shut down and protect others from what they had.

It is a race against the clock and not only must Edward Neil discover what wiped out the small town in just a couple days, he needs to determine if it crossed boundaries. The germ is strong, contagious, deadly and fast.. If it did escape Hartworth, humanity could very well face an extinction level event.

The germ frightens Edward more than anything he has ever encountered. More so because he learns quickly it is manmade. A biological weapon gone awry. As he fights and chases his answers, he must also ponder the question whether or not it is already too late.


Ground Zero - 1

Hartworth, Montana

December 23

The wide eyes seemed to stare at Dr. Edward Neil, following him around the room like a painting. Eyes that were open, didn’t blink, the color of them lost in the blood flow that had poured into the white portion of the eyeball and turned black.
The victim had to be in his twenties and he, like everyone else Edward Neil guessed that he would encounter in Hartworth, Montana, was dead.
The quiet, small town, nestled in the north of the state close to North Dakota and Canada, was an entity all to itself.
The nearest neighboring town was forty-three miles west.
It had been days since a car moved down the road or a person walked the streets
That’s what Edward estimated.
They entered into the town alone in protective garb. A fresh blanket of snow lay upon the unmoved cars, covering the Christmas decorations that gave even more a depth of sadness to the situation.
The song, Silent Night, would forever hold new meaning. It eerily played on ‘auto’ through the streets of the town.
How fitting.
There were homes and ranches within the boundaries of Hartworth; those had to be checked, as well. But Edward felt it would be useless.
They would bring no one else into the town until he and his team had thoroughly gone through and confirmed what had occurred.
Edward hadn’t a clue what killed everyone, not yet. Skin appeared as if it boiled below the surface, black as if burned, but it wasn’t charred; it was blood. Skin peeled off in layers and adhered to the bedding. This more than likely occurred while the victim was still alive. It happened only after they literally vomited their insides, and blood seeped from every orifice.
He stopped about five victims into his search and made his way to the utilitarian metal lab trailer set center of the one-stoplight town.
After disinfecting, he removed his garb and poured a cup of coffee. They’d only just set up, had not been in town that long, and already Neil felt the wind knocked from him.
He sipped his coffee. It made him sick. He had been in the field and worked for the CDC for years; never had he seen anything as horrendous as Hartworth, and he’d barely scratched the surface. When the call came about Hartworth, he was back in Vermont actually joking around with Dr. Walker about a zombie apocalypse. The odd timing of the call coupled with the conversation sent a chill up his spine.
Receiving only minimal details and a directive to pack a small team and go, Edward knew he wouldn’t be home for Christmas.
It was strictly confidential. In fact, Edward had never encountered something as classified as this.
A small team would go into Hartworth; four CDC security squads would police the neighboring roads wearing gas company logos. The story was a gas leak.
Hartworth, like many small Montana towns, was an entity of its own, so it wasn’t uncommon for someone from a neighboring town to go days or even weeks without having contact with Hartworth.
Because of that, Edward hadn’t a clue when the outbreak occurred or how long they were dead. Those were part of the answers he had to discover.
The dead town, however, was luckily discovered by a keen state trooper, Steve Irwin, who had a cousin that worked as a secretary for the CDC in Atlanta.
The trooper was at a crossroads about six miles from town and thought it odd that at two in the afternoon, there were no car tracks in the snow, nor had any attempt been made to maintain or ash the roads out of Hartworth.
He needed only to make it to the edge of town, and he knew.
He discovered the first body in a pickup truck right at the beginning of town, decimated by illness. The young man held a shot gun and looked as if he were standing guard, or rather sitting guard.
Irwin took a picture of it with his phone, and before calling it in to the station, he called his cousin at the CDC. The trooper’s slip in protocol was actually a good thing. It worked in favor of keeping the situation tight-lipped and secret.
The picture went through the CDC faster than any disease.
Irwin was told not to go into town, to report it as a gas leak, and position troopers on the outskirts to keep people away.
He did. Irwin and the other troopers immediately went into quarantine in a special CDC trailer.
As far as the story of the gas leak told to the State Police, Edward was still fielding questions regarding that.
Something he could handle
What he couldn’t handle was the daunting task of solving the mystery before him. He would with the others, bit by bit, piece by piece, body by body.
He had to do so quickly, because with something as deadly as what wiped out Hartworth, Edward was certain he didn’t have much time.
But before he found the answers to what happened in Hartworth, he had one very important task to complete. First and foremost he had to find out if the bug crossed boundaries. If it did, the CDC had bigger problems to face than just one small dot on the map.