Posts tagged with: travel

Ebola

My novel The Devil on Chardonnay is about an Ebola outbreak that spreads to the United States.  I’ve been fascinated by this illness since I was the Pentagon action officer creating the Global Emerging Infectious Disease Surveillance and response System.  I had access to the world’s experts on Ebola and I milked them shamelessly for insight as I was going to write a novel about it. The beginning of The Devil on Chardonnay  is based on the account I got in person from the army veterinarian who observed the Kikwit outbreak for the World Health Organization in 1996.

Ebola lives in the jungle of the Congo basin, and outbreaks start when people kill and butcher monkeys for food.  Ebola spreads from contact with bodily fluid, especially blood, and it’s 80% fatal.  No other illness except rabies has that high a fatality rate; not smallpox, not anthrax, not meningitis.  It isn’t endemic in monkeys because it kills them as fast as it kills people, so a small group that gets Ebola is wiped out.  Where does Ebola live between primate outbreaks?  That’s the biggest mystery in microbiology.

I did extensive research for The Devil on Chardonnay.  The only departure from scientific fact in the story involves a slight evolution that makes it viable in a mosquito’s stomach and therefore transmissible by that insect vector.  Ebola doesn’t do that.  Everything else, including the vaccine technology in the story is factual.  It is one hell of a story.  If you want to know all about Ebola, read The Devil on Chardonnay.

 

 

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The Mingrelian: Published!

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Boyd Chailland is back, and The Mingrelian, his most exciting adventure yet will keep thriller readers in their seats for the whole ride.  He’s already done West Texas, the Indian Ocean, and the Azores; now he’s undercover again, in Central Asia.  It’s intrigue, espionage, romance, and conflict beneath the snowcapped Caucasus Mountains in the Republic of Georgia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.   Boyd’s mission is to find The Mingrelian, America’s most important source of secrets about Iranian nuclear weapons, but he finds much more.  First, there’s a Circassian beauty who sweeps Boyd off his feet, then Iran has a nuclear coming out party.   Then the action starts.  This isn’t about the world coming to the brink of anything, this is about the big party, The Great Game, as Russia, Iran and the United States compete for influence in Central Asia.   When you finish this story, and sit there with your heart pumping and goosebumps, you will say, “Yeah, this could happen just like this tomorrow.”  And, you’d be right.

The official release date for The Mingrelian is June 1st, when it should be available through any bookstore (probably have to order it).  It is published by Brasfield Books through Ingram Spark, the publishing arm of Ingram, the largest distributer of books in the United States.  In addition, it will be available in eBook format from Amazon, Kobo, and Itunes, as well as any other eBook source, and to libraries through Baker and Taylor.  The eBook is available now as a Kindle book from Amazon.   Read it, review it, let the world know what you think of The Mingrelian.

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Writing and The Day Job

TheDevilCharSliderAll writers need day jobs.  We have to write what we know, and if we’ve never had a job we don’t know anything.   So, policemen and reporters write crime stories, lawyers write legal thrillers, soldiers write war stories, and everyone tries to write political drama.  What about Tom Clancy?  He was an insurance salesman with a passion for all things naval, but no first hand experience.  He read naval documents and studies meant for career naval officers.  He took that dull factual knowledge and created a genre; the techno-thriller.   Clancy dominated that market for twenty years.

Research becomes the day job.  Graham Greene started writing about his experiences in Africa during World War II, but after he told that story he traveled to Haiti and lived in that corrupt society to write The Comedians.  It was written in the fifties, and it’s amazing how true it remains today.  That’s a real writer doing his job.

Bookman arose from my days selling books in college.  The Other Pilot is a thriller that began with my Air National Guard fascination with all things flying, while The Devil on Chardonnay draws from my Pentagon job as an action officer creating the Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System, and the two years I spent in the Azores.  Next week I’ll
travel to Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia by way of Istanbul, Turkey to research The Mingrelian.  That thriller began with a military exchange trip to Central Asia in 1998, and my tour at Strategic Command in Omaha writing nuclear war plans 2000-2003.  Like Tom Clancy and Graham Greene, I’m getting better at writing.   I’ll have this one finished before the end of the year (I hope).

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