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Science Makes a Great Mystery

Today I visit with J.L. Greger a fellow novelist and member of the Public Safety Writers Association. I’m sure you’ll find her new novel intriguing. Enjoy!reduced flu

Do you realize how many mystery and thriller writers have science backgrounds? Consider Arthur Conan Doyle (physician), Agatha Christie (apothecaries’ assistant during World War I) Michael Crichton (physician by training), Kathy Reichs (forensic anthropologist), and Robin Cook ( physician). Thus, it’s not surprising as a retired biology professor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I write mystery/suspense novels with tidbits of science.

Scientists, especially physicians, write mysteries and thrillers for several reasons: 1. Science is a way to add intriguing bits of reality to fiction. 2. Nothing is scarier than a disease which resists known medical treatments. 3. Finding a cure for a new disease or making a vaccine against a new virus is an example of problem solving. That’s pretty similar to solving a fictional mystery but with higher consequences. 4. The stress of medical emergencies bring out the best and worst in real or fictional characters.

Let me tell you how science is integral to the plot of my new thriller: In The Flu Is Coming, a new type of flu — the Philippine flu — kills nearly half of the residents in an upscale, gated community in less than a week. Those who survive become virtual prisoners in their homes when a quarantine is imposed. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recruits Sara Almquist, a resident of the community and a scientist, to apply her skills as an epidemiologist to find ways to limit the spread of the epidemic. As she pries into her neighbors’ lives, she finds promising scientific clues. Unfortunately, she also learns too much about several of them and violence ensues when they try to escape the quarantine.

The flu I describe in my thriller could happen.

CDC and the World Health Organization are constantly watching for emerging flu viruses, fearing one will emerge with the virulence of the virus that caused the flu pandemic of 1918. Did you know: One-third of the world’s population was infected with that virus and 50 million died worldwide?

All it would take for another flu pandemic are small mutations in avian or swine flu viruses (not previously occurring in humans) that allowed them to be transmitted among humans. In The Flu Is Coming, those mutations occurred in the Philippines. While scientist like, my heroine Sara Almquist, struggle to find clues that will allow the development of effective vaccines and antivirals, the flu spreads rapidly. Scary but real?

Of course, Sara gets involved in a lot more than science in The Flu Is Coming when she learns too much about the criminal activities of a couple of her neighbors. So, fans of police procedurals won’t be disappointed. They’ll get a snap shot of the problems faced by law enforcement agents during a quarantine.
Why don’t you read The Flu Is Coming and learn a little thrilling science?

Thumbnail of the new novel: In The Flu Is Coming, epidemiologist Sara Almquist is trying to stop two killers: the Philippine flu, which is rapidly wiping out everyone in a walled community in New Mexico, and a drug kingpin determined to break out of the quarantined enclave.

The paperback version of The Flu Is Coming is available at: https://www.amazon.com/Flu-Coming-Science-Traveler/dp/0578423251. The Kindle version at: https://www.amazon.com/Flu-Coming-Science-Traveler-Book-ebook/dp/B07KX3J37W

Bio: J.L. Greger is a scientist and research administrator turned novelist. She likes to include tidbits of science in her award-winning thriller/mystery novels: Murder: A Way to Lose, Riddled with Clues, and others. To learn more, visit http://www.jlgreger.com.

Snow Angel by Jackie Taylor Zortman

My fellow author and good friend, Jackie, has just released her new novel. You won’t want to miss another Max Richards mystery because it guarantees to hold your attention and have you fully invested in the story.

Here’s a preview:

Snow Angel Cover on AmazonWhen homicide detective, Max Richards, and his sister suddenly inherit their mother’s estate, they find an old wooden box on a shelf in her bedroom closet.  It reveals a secret she kept carefully hidden and connects them to an abandoned Victorian house in Snowflake, Colorado where Max and his wife already own a remote cabin.

During Christmas they fly to Snowflake to investigate the empty and abandoned old house.  Following their tire tracks in the snow, the new city police chief is introduced into their lives and quickly becomes an important part of their tight knit circle of friends.

After the holidays, Max returns to the city emotionally restless. He retires from his thirty year homicide job, pulls up roots and moves permanently to Snowflake where he quickly becomes part of the small police force. Unexpected twists and turns take control of their lives and changes things in ways they never dreamed.

Find out what was in that box that had such power and what paths it led Max, Sami and his sister, Willow, to follow.

About Jackie

Jackie Taylor Zortman is the author of a non-fiction book “We Are Different Now”, first Jackie by Amyplace award winning fiction novel “Footprints in the Frost” and award winning novel “Snow Angel”. “Footprints in the Frost introduced homicide detective Max Richards and explored his life on and off the job. “Snow Angel” continues his story.

She has written and had published numerous articles and short stores for various publications for the last 26 years.  She is a Charter Member of the Public Safety Writers Association and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. A contributing author to the anthologies “Felons, Flames & Ambulance Rides”, “American Blue”, “The Centennial Book of the National Society of Daughters of the Union” and “Recipes by the Book, Oak Tree Authors Cook”.  She also writes poetry, genealogy and history. She has won 10 writing awards in the last four years.

She lives in a bustling quaint tourist town high in the beautiful mountains of Colorado with her husband and Siamese cat. When the deep snows of winter blanket the terrain surrounding her home, it becomes the perfect spot in which to write.

Learn more about Jackie and her books at Jackie’s Mountain Memos – www.jtzortman.wordpress.com.

Who Knew They Were Free?

books-xlargeDespite rumors and predictions to the contrary, printed books continue to enjoy huge popularity. Ebooks, however, maintain their large share of the market, mostly due to their convenience and lower price. That said, if you are a voracious reader there’s a way to get popular titles at  greatly reduced prices.

Bookbub.com offers a service in the form of a daily email listing ebooks that are free or deeply discounted for a limited time. Recent examples are: The Girl on the Train, slashed from $11.99 to $1.99 for one day only; Gone Girl from $9.99 to $2.99; The Da Vinci Code was given away free for one week.

The Bookpub emails are sent out each day and more than 7 million readers have taken advantage of this remarkable service, downloading books on Kindles, Nooks, iPads, iPhones, Droids, and more. One reader exclaimed she’s downloaded more books than she can read in a lifetime.

There’s something for everyone—fiction, non-fiction, romance—more than 20 categories to choose from, and all at least 75% off retail or free. The bottom line is readers can save hundreds of dollars using this service. Check them out.

Search Engine Optimization

isAll of us with websites and blogs constantly try to devise ways to drive traffic to our sites. Good writing, coupled with keywords, are a part of that strategy. However, the game keeps changing and what worked yesterday may not work as well today. There is a new technique known as “The Long Tail Keyword.” I stumbled upon this concept as I searched for ways to optimize my blog. I give full attribution to the website, eHow, for the following information:

The Long Tail Keyword is King

Optimizing your website with a high-ranking, generic keyword will do little to generate traffic. A generic keyword such as “tablet computer” will simply have too much competition for you to have a shot at getting into the first page of search engine results. Instead, the so-called “long tail” strategy works best — and that is to focus on longer key phrases, written in natural speech, which will be used to guide users to specific and often localized information. Of course, there is a place for the shorter keywords in each page’s metadata, although Google now puts more emphasis on actual, visible content than those invisible indicators.

 

Your Web page that includes the word “tablet computer” may come in on page 25 of the search engine results, but you’ll have a better chance of getting to page one if you optimize on something more specific, like “How do I fix my tablet computer,” or “tablet computer won’t boot,” or “adding games to a tablet computer.” Search engine optimization has changed significantly over the last few years, and SEO experts have to think less like a machine, and more like a human. And that’s the key to good writing.

To read the entire article, How to Use SEO Keywords, copy and paste this link in your browser: http://www.ehow.com/how_4480667_use-seo-keywords.html?ref=Track2&utm_source=ask

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