Writing–too busy to blog

Torpedo's Away!I’d like to take the time to write something profound here, but I’m too darned busy completing my latest project, Uncle Herb’s World War II story, which is itself pretty profound. Suffice it to say I’m about halfway through the first full draft of the novel, and on a timeline to get that draft done within a week or two. Right about on schedule.

At the moment, I’m taking just a short break to let you know this project is nearing the finish line. I just plowed my way through the central description of Herb’s gun battle with Japanese Zeros bent on avenging his torpedo bomber striking a destroyer of the Imperial Japanese Fleet.

That unequal fight (against seven Zeros) didn’t work out too well for Herb. Next I’ll be writing about his crash in flames on a tropical jungle island.

So now you know what I’ve been up to. I’d better get back to it!

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The volcanic landscape of Gale Crater, Mars

Gale Crater erupts!As the Mars rover Curiosity explores the landscape of Gale Crater, a 96 mile (154 km) wide hole in the planet with an imposing 3.4 mile (18 km) high central peak in its middle, a scientific conundrum has been reported by the investigators who are operating the rover’s science instruments. Everywhere they look with the rover’s camera eyes, they see landforms that suggest wind and water laid down the rock layers that make up the landscape. But when they analyze the chemistry of the rock layers, they find that water could not have been involved, because water would have altered the chemistry of the sand and dust particles it carried.

One principle investigator has stated the problem succinctly: the rock layers have the appearance of sedimentary rocks put in place by windblown dunes or river sandbars—but they have the chemistry of pure basaltic, volcanic, lava.

In my view, these investigators may have been misled somewhat by their primary mission goals, which include a directive to “follow the water” and to look for environments where life could have existed. Because such environments must include ample amounts of liquid water, it seems possible the investigators are distracted from seeing other possibilities in the landforms they are investigating, especially volcanic landforms lacking water and therefore non-conducive to life.

It seems quite reasonable that investigators trying to fit their data to life-compatible scenarios might overlook alternative, harsher conditions that could explain their raw data much more precisely than they have done in their published reports. This presentation will address their data, and offer an alternative model for the evolution of the landscape of Gale Crater—namely, via volcanism.

Mars before GaleBoth models start from the same point of departure: about 3.6 billion years ago, an asteroid struck Mars with enough force to put that 96 mile hole in the ground and send a powerful shock wave deep into the crust. All agree that this event started a series of subsequent developments that led to today’s landscape at Gale Crater. The point of divergence comes when one either takes the wind-and-water rationale the rover team has adopted, or uses volcanism as the primary mechanism.

Gale at impactPyroclastic deposits from volcanic eruptions come in a tremendous variety of forms. Because it is not my intent to review these, it is sufficient to select the one that best fits the data obtained from Curiosity’s cameras and chemistry experiments, which show that most rocks examined so far have a mineral composition quite close to basalt, the most common form of volcanic rock on Mars and Earth. Hand lens imaging and microscopic imaging have shown the rocks to be generally grainy, as opposed to glassy or vesiculated (a bubbled form common to many basaltic rocks on earth). Importantly, not all earthly pyroclastic deposits have significant amounts of glassy materials in them. Some can be quite granular at a fine scale, as is seen in the Mt. St. Helens ash sample collected by Dr. M. A. Wilson of the College of Geology, Wooster University, Ohio. That sample has abundant crystalline rock particles in it, derived from the basalt of the volcano by the ultra-violent conditions of a Plinian explosion and pyroclastic flow. Dr. Wilson’s sample contains minimal amounts of glassy shards. Instead it includes some rounded particles of glassy material mixed in with the crystalline particles.

Perhaps such pyroclastic materials form the bulk of the outcrops on the bottom of Gale Crater and the slopes of Mount Sharp, the central peak. What remains then, is to explain how those landforms were created from this pulverized material. If the apparently windblown and waterborne formations were not actually emplaced by wind and water, then how did they come about?

Gale Crater erupts!Again, Mt. St. Helens and other earthly volcanoes provide appropriate examples. The deposits on their sides, or laid down farther from their central vents, provide examples of all the outcrops encountered by Curiosity. Investigators working with the rover’s imaging systems have reported layered deposits, which they have characterized as possible riverbed or lakebed deposits, and sloping layered deposits they characterize as possible dunes, or the advancing edges of river deltas. However, these deposition histories are not the only ones that fit the landforms seen.

The alternative to these wind- and water-driven mechanisms is the stratovolcano, a mountain like St. Helens, built of layer after layer of pyroclastic flows. In Mt. St. Helens’ historic eruption, the most prominent phenomenon of all was the explosion of rock and dust from the volcano’s caldera. Propelled by a devastating blast of gas, dust and rock fragments spread over the surrounding landscape for miles, traveling in incandescently-hot clouds of stupendous proportions.

Pyroclastic flows are driven by steam, carbon dioxide, and other gasses trapped under the volcano at extreme pressures and temperatures. The sudden release of pressure as the volcano explodes exerts violent forces that pulverize rocks and disperse fluid lavas into finely divided particles. The initial pyroclastic cloud of dust and rock comprises a mixture of large and small fragments, but as the flow moves downhill under the pull of gravity, this assortment of fragments begins to separate. Large rocks and boulders fall out early, while dust and smaller rocks (called lapilli) continue to move downhill.

This sorting-out of particle sizes has much to say about some of the layered deposits seen so far by Curiosity. Most common there are layers made of particles so fine that the rock appears featureless, even when examined up close with the “hand-lens” magnifier on the rover’s robotic arm. Other deposits appear fine-grained as well, but contain within them scattered dots of larger materials, on the order of a quarter-inch across. These look like the small lapilli that earthbound geologists have noted in some of our planet’s pyroclastic deposits. Finally, in just a few locations, rover geologists have reported layers of larger stones, in the range of one-half-inch to an inch in diameter. These latter deposits they describe as “conglomerate” rocks, geologic terminology for a rock layer that itself is comprised of many individual rocks solidified into one mass. However, within pyroclastic flows, such groups of larger, heavier fragments of stone are simply included within the continuum of things grouped under the term “lapilli.”

Gale goes extinctKey here is the notion that the farther a pyroclastic flow goes, the more it loses its larger rocks and comes to consist solely of fine ash. Alternatively, it is also true that the larger and more energetic an eruption is, the farther it will spread its larger rock fragments. So volcanoes, like rivers, can spread layers of rocks or fine powders, and deposit them in the same places, or separately.

The forgoing examples and discussions offer an alternative to the water- and wind-driven mechanisms proposed by the rover scientists to explain the different layered deposits they have been exploring. Simply put, multiple eruptions of pyroclastic flows, large and small, could have created all the landforms seen so far by Curiosity.

Rover scientists have noted variations within outcrops that appear like layers of wind-blown sand, and this forms the basis of one argument that the entire edifice of Mt. Sharp was piled up by the wind. However, in my pyroclastic model, these dune-like layers could have been blown by the gasses that carried the dust, with gusts caused by local variations in the landscape. Such wind-like variations have been described for pyroclastic ash accumulations on Earth.

Gale settles inWhile my volcanic concept requires no liquid water for emplacement of any landform seen so far, it does not exclude it. So far, there have been several, rare instances of deposits with a quite different chemical signature than basalt, namely clay minerals. Clays occur where basaltic materials are in contact with liquid water for long periods of time, and are altered by chemical reaction with the water. Therefore, if the Mt. Sharp volcano lay dormant for substantial amounts of time, then water from rain or underground aquifers might have filled parts of the crater floor, much the way Spirit Lake has formed beside Mt. St. Helens. Such lakes, although intermittent, would have left behind muddy layers of sediment deposited on their bottoms, which subsequently would have been buried by additional pyroclastic flows from Mt. Sharp. Therefore, while a volcanic model explains the major proportion of the landforms seen at Gale Crater, there is no reason to exclude some limited role for water in the landscape.

In summary, a model is presented in which Gale Crater’s Mount Sharp is a meteor-impact-derived strato-volcano, built by pyroclastic eruptions. This model explains the geological features encountered by the rover Curiosity without the need to invoke significant action by wind or liquid water.

Note added December 9, 2014: I have put this post into a pdf file. If you are interested in having a copy, you can download it here.

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Ebola convalescent serum–I should have guessed!

The antibody manRemember how strange it seemed when an Ebola patient was imported from West Africa into the US? Remember the odd scene when he was filmed walking around in an isolation moon suit in Atlanta? It almost seemed insane that the Centers for Disease Control had brought such a patient right into our midst.

As a writer of medical thrillers I–of all people–should have got it right off the bat. It was all about convalescent serum. Dr. Kent Brantly was not only a walking case of the world’s most dreaded disease, but he was also a walking gold mine of cure. As he recovers from the virus, his immunity can be passed on to other patients by dosing with his blood serum.

Duh. I should have spotted that one coming. Wasn’t my first professionally published medical mystery, Blood Tide, all about saving oneself with a dose of convalescent serum? And, weren’t the heroes of my tale researchers who were busy creating Zmapp-like mixtures of antibody molecules for treating the disease?

I’ll have to admit I wasn’t paying very close attention to what was going on in the real world. But now with NBC reporting that Brantly’s blood has been used to treat several other patients, including Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who contracted the virus from Thomas Eric Duncan, the only out-of-control case to invade America so far, it’s all becoming clear. The CDC has been planning to use convalescent sera all along. That’s why they imported a couple of moon-suited ebola patients. Something tells me there may be more, before this is all over.

NeahVirusI guess even when one is a writer of novels like The Neah Virus, in which an ebola-related virus breaks out in the US in the rainforests of Washington State, one can still miss a clue in the real world where truth can be stranger–or at least more convoluted–than fiction.

In my book (well, in my NEXT book, maybe) the intrepid researchers of the CDC stand out as sharp and highly motivated people who grapple with lethal threats on a daily basis, trying to keep the rest of us safe and sound. Keep up the great work, CDC!

Now then. Suppose I write a little tale about a fictitious Liberian missionary…

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Viruses, viruses, everywhere

Enterovirus cladogramIt’s a scary time for those of us who fear viruses. Oh. Of course, that’s all of us, isn’t it?

Ebola outbreaks in Africa. Cases turning up in America. The potential for horrific scenes of death and destruction abound.

But don’t forget those other viruses. These days, you don’t hear so much about influenza, which remains the top killer virus in the U.S. and around the world. Nor is much said about enterovirus 68, although I personally feel it may be the most ominous of all the dangerous microbes currently making the rounds.

You see, while we are preoccupied with the horrors of Ebola in Africa, and fears of what it might do, enterovirus 68 (EV-D68 for short) has been making subtle shifts, through mutation, to become more threatening with each new, small outbreak, over a period of decades.

Look at the image above. It is called a cladogram. It’s a sort of family tree of virus mutation, drawn up for the EV-D68 viruses isolated from sick patients in the decades since the first member of the family was identified back in 1968. The scariest thing about the cladogram is the number of branches it has. Each branch represents at least one, and sometimes several, mutations in the virus. Click it for a closer view.

So, while the world has been blissfully almost unaware of EV-D68 since its first small epidemic in 1968, the virus has stubbornly refused to go away. Instead, it has moved quietly through human populations worldwide, and has slowly changed its form.

It would seem that all this change might be of little concern to humanity. After all, the influenza and common-cold viruses are known to mutate constantly, and they seem almost a part of everyday life. They crop up somewhere in the world, and then disappear again.

But there are signs in the medical literature that suggest we should not be too complacent about EV-D68. First off, it has been striking young children very hard. This implies that older people have had one or another of the previous mutants in them already and have therefor developed enough immunity to hold the virus off. But babies with naive immune systems take the full brunt of the virus’s attack. Among young kids, the disease strikes powerfully. Most alarmingly, it sometimes causes more than congestion and coughing–it can infect the nervous system and cause paralysis.

This outcome is very rare and might engender little concern for the population in general, except for one thing: EV-D68 is a member of the picornavirus family. While this is the same family as the common-cold virus, it also contains within it the deadly polio virus. And so we are now confronted with a virus that is second-cousin to polio and has been slowly mutating, almost unobserved, into a form that can cause a polio-like disease. The experts at the Centers for Disease Control and others who monitor such things are worried. So am I.

I write medical thriller novels in part to take an advance look at what might happen if one or another virus got loose in a big way. And I feel the inspiration for another book coming on right now.

If you would like an overly-detailed look into this subject, the National Library of Medicine keeps a copy of the original article on EV-D68 mutation here.

Let’s hope the mutation rate slows down a bit. Otherwise, we may be looking at big trouble.

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Ebola vaccine overnight!

Hopp and Woods profileWould you think I was bragging if I said I could create an Ebola vaccine overnight?

Maybe I am bragging. Or, maybe I’m a biotech wizard who has been exiled for decades, who has wandered the scientific backwoods, and who now has reappeared saying I really can make an ebola vaccine overnight.

My methods are published, but not well known. I have written about my process in the scientific literature, in several patents, and in two novels. I wrote the novels, The Jihad Virus and The Neah Virus, in part to compensate for the fact that I have no laboratory in which to create vaccines. If the scientific and patent literature are too complex for you to assimilate, then I recommend the novels. They bring the science down to terms that I hope are understandable to those lacking a PhD after their names. The scientific papers and patents give the details.

But seriously, folks, if anybody out there happens to have a fully equipped protein chemistry lab they can loan me, I could use the methods I have described to create an ebola vaccine overnight.

The Jihad Virus describes the exact process I would use. The Neah Virus describes what it would (will?) be like if an ebola-type virus ever gets loose in the United States.

Given the news breaking in Texas, perhaps it’s time someone invited this old wizard in from the cold.

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Flight of the Avenger

Turret manMy next novel will be very different from those before it. It’s based on the true story of my Uncle Herbert Hopp. A navy airman, he was one of those brave souls who shipped out to the South Pacific to fight it out with the airmen and sailors of the Japanese Imperial Fleet. He fought well, and spilled much blood—enemy blood, and his own. He came home a Disabled American Veteran and lived with the aftereffects of war for the rest of his life.

Herb was the turret gunner aboard a Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber, one of the most sophisticated and deadly flying machines of World War II. While the pilot and radioman/bombardier concentrated on attacking enemy warships, Herb’s job was to fend off the counterattacking Zero fighter planes, which had every intention of making casualty statistics out of him and his buddies before they could drop their torpedo.

Three brave airmenI have been researching Herb’s story for years, and the recent book and soon-to-be-released movie, “Unbroken,” which tell a similar story to Herb’s, have inspired me to finish this book. Hollywood will want to have a look at Herb’s story, I am certain. In many ways, it is even more compelling than Unbroken. Herb’s story shares the riveting excitement of attacking the enemy and being shot down. But Unbroken plays out mostly in prison camps, which are tough places. Herb’s story is even darker. Shot down onto a jungle island full of cannibals and crocodiles (no really!), and riddled with shrapnel and bullet holes, he crawled to a village of friendly natives and was canoed back to the relative safety of Guadalcanal, which itself was still under aerial bombardment by the Japanese.

And that’s not all. Herb’s life back in the states involved years of treatments for his wounds, and the devastating psychological effects of post-traumatic stress syndrome. And yet he went on and on.

I’ve given away about as much of the story as I care to right now. But you can expect it to appear in print and in ebook format in a matter of months. It’s a classic American tale of military bravery and sacrifice.

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Ebola vaccine–why so slow?

OwwThe news media have been flooded with stories about a new vaccine against the Ebola virus. So, where is it?

The answer: These Things Take Time, is not entirely satisfying. But that is just what the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control have been telling us since the news of an Ebola epidemic in Africa first hit the media. For instance, ABC, NPR, and the BBC have all run recent stories about the possibility of a new vaccine, and the impossibility of releasing it quickly to the public.

I suppose everyone knows that safety testing is the key issue, and the Food and Drug Administration is extremely strict in its guidelines for what it will and won’t allow in a clinical testing program for a new drug or vaccine. The FDA’s go-slow, be-safe attitude is the major rate limiting step in the process. But there are other issues as well.

Another criterion of the FDA is what they call “efficacy.” A new drug or vaccine isn’t deemed approvable if it just does no harm. It’s got to do some good, as well. And it’s this second criterion of efficacy that has everyone holding their collective breath about whether or not the Ebola vaccine now being tested will make the final cut. It’s already shown itself to be rather wimpy when put up against the virus.

There is a Catch 22 operating here. If you try to create a vaccine that causes a rip-roaring response in every vaccinated person, you are liable to create a vaccine that causes a lot of side-effects, up to and including death. So the choice is usually to tone the vaccine down somehow, and hope you haven’t killed its usefulness completely.

VirusThat’s what the first volunteers are getting: a heavily toned down vaccine. It’s already been shown in animal studies not to cause any detectable harm to vaccinees. On the other hand, it has been shown to wear off quickly, leaving them susceptible to the virus again after as little as 10 months. That’s a far cry from smallpox or polio vaccines, which usually give lifetime immunity.

However, smallpox and polio vaccines are made from whole viruses, either killed or mutated to less infectious forms in the lab. Even those sometimes revert to their deadly forms and cause the very disease they were intended to prevent. No wonder native populations are often afraid to allow themselves to be vaccinated.

The trend in modern vaccine research has been to try to split the difference and come up with an efficacious vaccine that has carefully been designed to be unable to cause any type of disease. But there is no guarantee the researchers can hit this mark exactly. Hence the present caution with the Ebola vaccine, combined with doubts it will be strong enough. I wish us all well, on this one.

If all this gets you interested in the workings of vaccine labs and the people who inhabit them, then may I suggest my medical thrillers, The Neah Virus, and The Jihad Virus? These books give you the opportunity to learn about this branch of science while being engaged in some heart-stopping fictional tales of Ebola-like outbreaks.

In The Neah Virus, my super-intelligent biomedical sleuth, Dr. Peyton McKean, develops a subunit vaccine much like the current Ebola vaccine, which contains just a portion of the virus–one of the knobs shown on the gnarly virus at right, above. The story has it all: special interest groups protesting for quicker vaccine development, defects in the vaccine that may make it deadlier than the disease itself, corporate greed operating behind the scenes, and infighting among the scientists who are developing the product. Prepare to be astonished. It’s not too far from the way things really are!

In The Jihad Virus, poor Dr. McKean is infected with the virus himself, and must try the most desperate measure of all. He and his lab helpers design, synthesize, and inject themselves with a vaccine created virtually overnight. They do this by a method called chemical peptide synthesis, for which my old buddy Bruce Merrifield won the Nobel Prize. In my fictionalization of this process, the illustrious Dr. McKean tries to save himself with a vaccine he creates with unprecedented speed.

The Hopp and Woods methodWhat’s most interesting about this fictional concept is that it has a basis in real science that I published long ago, at the time I was a visiting scientist in Dr. Merrifield’s labs. Here’s the scientific literature reference, if you need too much detail. Even though the account of an overnight vaccine in The Jihad Virus is fictional, it could actually be accomplished in real life using my method.

Sometimes, late at night, I wonder why the FDA, CDC, and NIH haven’t contacted me to give it a try on Ebola. On darker nights, I sometimes wonder why the CIA, NSA, and the Army haven’t abducted me and forced me to make some for their clandestine purposes. Wait a minute! I feel another novel coming on…

Believe me, if I were infected with a new virus for which there was absolutely no vaccine available, I would most definitely go to a lab, use my method, make a vaccine overnight, and jab it in my arm. I am sure the FDA would look at this askance, but if my life were on the line… You get the picture.

For now, however, truth is slower then fiction.

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Ebola, anyone?

Bring out your deadOut of the rainforests of Africa, came Ebola. Out of the rainforests of Washington State, comes the Neah Virus!

With awful news coming out of Africa on a daily basis lately, it seems I crafted a very timely story when I wrote my medical thriller, The Neah Virus.

Almost daily someone asks what it would be like if such a deadly virus broke out in America. Well, no need to speculate further. Just pick up a copy of The Neah Virus and find out!

the culpritAs in all my mysteries and medical thrillers, I follow the exploits of Dr. Peyton McKean, a vaccine researcher and sometimes medical miracle worker.

In this story, a virus breaks out at the farthest tip of the Olympic Peninsula and spreads lethal contagion on a crash course for Seattle and every big city beyond. McKean is dispatched by the Centers for Disease Control to try to identify the source and find a cure. Along the way, his own life comes under mortal threat.

The Neah Virus is available in all popular ebook formats and in paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other outlets. Here’s a sample of an early moment as events are just beginning to unfold:

“Rabies!” I exclaimed. “So that’s what made Pete Whitehall go mad!”

“That makes some sense,” McKean allowed, “given Whitehall’s violent behavior. But this is not exactly rabies virus.”

“That makes me all the more nervous,” I said.

“I would conclude that this virus is indeed a member of the lyssavirus family,” McKean said, “but the DNA probes say it’s not authentic rabies. Maybe it’s a distant family member.”

“Family member? You mean there are other rabies viruses?”

“Oh, most assuredly,” said McKean. “Rabies belongs to a large group of related viruses, the mononegavirales, which include the rabies-like animal viruses Mokola, Duvenhage, and West Caucasian bat virus, as well as more distant cousins like measles, mumps, and Ebola.”

“Ebola!” I exclaimed. “Now you’ve got me scared.”

Janet added, “We didn’t test for all those viruses because we didn’t have the full set of virus microchips.”

“But you can get more?”

“Certainly,” she replied. “And we can keep looking until we find a set of viral DNA probes that match this virus exactly.”

“And if none match?”

“Then we’re looking at a previously unknown virus,” said McKean. He put a hand on Janet’s shoulder and his eyes lit with inspiration. “Imagine discovering a whole new member of the lyssavirus family.”

Janet smiled. “We could co-author a paper.”

“A whole series of articles,” McKean replied enthusiastically. “Or publish a book!”

“But wait a minute,” I said, interrupting their happy communion. “If it’s related to the rabies virus, it might be deadly. It killed the Spaniard, didn’t it?”

“Deadly? Quite possibly,” said McKean, his smile diminishing.

“If it killed the Spaniard,” I pressed him, “and if it killed Pete Whitehall, then—”

McKean’s smile disappeared and the light of scientific excitement faded from his eyes. “Then,” he concluded for me, “you and I may have been exposed to something dangerous.”

“And Gordon Steel’s claim of a Lost Souls disease—”

“Might have a basis in fact. But let’s not get ahead of our data.” He turned to Janet. “You can get microchips from Kay Erwin at Seattle Public Health Hospital covering every known mononegavirus. Let’s rule them all in or out. After that, we can decide whether or not we’ve got something new.”

My heart rate had kicked up several notches. “Are we in danger?” I asked.

McKean thought for a moment and then murmured, “Answer: unknown.”

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Dinosaur Wars 3 paperback available now!

DW3fullCoverThe trilogy is complete! I’ve just been snooping around the web and I’m delighted to report that the new paperback version of Dinosaur Wars: Blood On The Moon, the third book of the trilogy, is now in bookstores everywhere!

What you see here is the full cover, with front, spine and back covers shown in one piece, just the way it’s done when printing a hard copy of the book.

Things turned out just like I hoped they would. I’m thrilled with my publisher, CreateSpace, for doing such a great job.

So now, at last, if you have been following the adventures of Kit Daniels and Chase Armstrong on the printed page, you can complete their journey with them. This time around, they’ve taken on even greater challenges than before. They are en route to the moon to confront the evil dinosaurian leader Saurgon, in his lair at the south-polar crater, Phaeon.

Plenty of laser-blasting action. And this has got to be about the first time an M-16 assault rifle has been fired in the vacuum of space. Do you suppose they really work up there?

Read–and find out!

I think Kit looks rather fetching in her form-fitting spacesuit, don’t you? Nothing’s too good for the Princess Leia of this story. And how about Chase? He looks ready to be the second intrepid Armstrong to tread the lunar dust.

If you like the kind of excitement you find in Star Wars and Jurassic World, then check out this series from start to finish. It’s got it all: laser blasting space invaders, a simmering love affair, and a huge cast of dinosaurian characters. Find Blood On The Moon and the other paperbacks on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or other booksellers worldwide. And if you prefer your adventures in ebook format, you can find those too. Not only that, but the first ebook, Earthfall, is FREE while supplies last!

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DW3 gets a new cover

DW3ed2coverAs the release date for the new paperback edition of Dinosaur Wars: Blood On The Moon draws near, I’ve finally got the new cover art. I think it gets the point of the story across pretty well.

There’s Kit Daniels, looking pretty in her pink spacesuit, and as formidable as Princess Leia, given the M-16 assault rifle she’s chosen as an accessory.

And there behind her is her favorite beau, Chase Armstrong. He’s helmeted up for a jaunt on the surface of the moon, where some laser-blazing action awaits him.

Behind them, that’s their buddy Gar The Kra, lofting his deadly aseeta blade skyward in anticipation of a showdown with humanity’s arch nemesis, Saurgon, who awaits the heroes in his lair at the south pole of the moon.

AmazonianDW3Compared to the cover of the first edition (at right) this second-edition cover is much more detailed and does a better job of telling the story in the blink of an eye. Of course, it leaves the outcome of the adventure unstated. Debonaire as they may appear, there’s nothing on the cover to betray whether they all make it back from their lunar sojourn.

Those answers await the release of the new edition, which I expect to happen in the next few weeks. In fact, I’ve already pushed the go button for release of the paperback from CreateSpace. It takes a few weeks for a book–whether paperback or ebook–to work its way through the distribution channels, so it’s not time yet to shout it to the world. However, it wouldn’t hurt to check around if you’re interested, because Dinosaur Wars: Blood On The Moon–like Saurgon’s death ray–is poised to hit every corner of the earth!

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