Episode 31- Newbie Writers Podcast

By Damien Newbie Writers Podcast Comments Off on Episode 31- Newbie Writers Podcast

Episode 31- Sci-Fi, Viruses and Messy Men

Special guest: Amy Rogers

Damiens rant about Mr Messy!

We talk about Sci-Fi, thrillers and what it’s like being a doctor!

What if bacteria turned all the gasoline in Los Angeles into vinegar?
Carmageddon doesn’t begin to describe it; Petroplague does.

UCLA graduate student Christina Gonzalez wanted to use biotechnology to free America from its dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Instead, an act of eco-terrorism unleashes her genetically-modified bacteria into the fuel supply of Los Angeles, making petroleum useless.

With the city paralyzed and slipping toward anarchy, Christina must find a way to rein in the microscopic monster she created. But not everyone wants to cure the petroplague–and some will do whatever it takes to spread it. From the La Brea Tar Pits to university laboratories to the wilds of the Angeles National Forest, Christina and her cousin River struggle against enemies seen and unseen to stop the infection before it’s too late.
Set in the mountain-ringed Los Angeles basin, this terrifyingly plausible science thriller about good intentions, unexpected consequences, Peak Oil, climate change, experimental biofuels, and the astonishing power of microorganisms will give you pause every time you fill up your car.

From Paul McEuen, author of international bestseller Spiral:
“Petroplague is a terrific thriller debut and Amy Rogers really knows her science. From a killer premise—scientists create a bacterium that stops the industrial world in its tracks—Petroplague ratchets up the tension and danger with every chapter. The tense, tight plot and interesting characters kept me reading late into the night … Amy Rogers is one to watch—I can’t wait for her next book.”

Available on amazon! http://www.amazon.com/Petroplague-ebook/dp/B005IK4WEC

Amy Rogers, M.D., Ph.D., writes thrilling science-themed novels that pose frightening what if? questions. Compelling characters and fictionalized science—not science fiction—make Amy’s books page-turners that open the reader’s eyes to threats they never imagined before. Harvard-educated and relentlessly curious, Amy is passionate about scientific literacy and nature education for kids. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children.

In addition to writing her own fiction and medical nonfiction, Amy reads every science- or medical-themed thriller she can and reviews these books at her website ScienceThrillers.

Tell us about your web site www.sciencethrillers.com

I liked your ratings of Sci/Med content using biohazard Symbols
What do you think are some of the pitfalls of science or science fiction (in the pure definition) writing?

Do writers need to be doctors or physicists to write a good Science Thriller?

What are the good elements for a science Thriller besides the plot/strong character mantra?

You are running a writing contest:

Submit any work of fiction (including, but not limited to, short stories, poetry, fables, and short graphic works/comics) that meets the following criteria:
The work is suitable for a youth audience (grades 4-12)
The work contains accurate scientific content
The scientific content should feel entertaining but secretly be educational.
The work should be between a few hundred and a few thousand words in length. Maximum length: 4,000 words.
If entry includes artwork, figures, or images they must be the original work of the contestant and must be submitted in digital format
Nonfiction entries are also permitted if the story is presented in a thrilling or entertaining style (for example, Richard Preston’s THE HOT ZONE).
PRIZES: (these are guaranteed minimums, prizes may be increased)
1st place: $100
2nd place: $50
3rd place: $25
Submissions will be accepted until June 30, 2012.  Winners will be chosen by August 1st, 2012.

Why? And tells us more about this.


Writing Prompt

Choose not to do something today, breath in at that very moment you are not doing it and say with great relish and no regret: Wow, I could be A. stuck in traffic B. Stuck in line at Target C. Stuck in a conversation with people I don’t really like. Enjoy the fact that you are here and not there.
Okay, okay, say you can’t avoid any of the above, what if you could? Write about it, relish it in fantasy.
Vow to not do it later.


Word of the Week


The great tradition of expressive American terms of the nineteenth century brought forth this verb, which has now vanished from daily life. It means to deceive by flattery or sweet talk, to swindle or cheat.

It has been variously spelt down the decades, with honey-fugle or honeyfugle being common variants. The flattery was usually assumed to be with an ulterior purpose, as here in the Atlantic Monthly in 1861:

His habit of ‘log-rolling,’ or, as the extreme Westerners call it, ‘honey-fugling’ for votes and support, had so grown upon him, that his sincere friends feared lest he would sink too low, and in the end defeat himself.

Among its last public appearances was one in the Syracuse Herald in 1934, in which President Roosevelt was described as “the prize honeyfugler of his time”. One of the reasons why it dropped out of common usage may have been that a sense grew up of sexual activity with young women (with fuggle being a modification of fuck), as a semi-euphemistic version of another, unambiguous, term.

The honey part is easy to link with sweet-talking, but the rest is puzzling. It’s usually assumed to be a variation on an English dialect word coneyfugle, to hoodwink or cajole by flattery, where coney is the old word for an adult rabbit and fugle is an even more enigmatic term that means to cheat. But how the two words came to be put together in order to have that meaning is unknown.

Bring out Your Dead

Mediocre at best.

Be good at one thing, mediocre at the rest.
Be ashamed once in a while, it prevents arrogance.
Be yourself but not always. People will think you weird otherwise.
Be average for an overachiever often burns out.

Try something new, but not to make you feel awkward
Try to cook fantastically, but only eggs and bacon.
Try to improve, but failing is acceptable.
Try to begin again something you though complete.

Take your wife on a date, but not someone else’s.
Take your mind off of here and float towards then.
Take a breath but exhale slowly.
Take a minute, then take a week.

Sit with someone old, and laugh with someone young.
Sit by yourself and listen to your thoughts.
Sit with strangers and ask someone a question.
Sit in front of a mirror and try to be yourself.


Shout outs:

Scott Fletcher: www.mrscottfletcher.com
Kevin Mcleod: www.incompetech.com
Steven Myers and his fantastic email.
Sharon Hamilton who featured me on her blog. Beth Baranay who is masterminding a writer’s intensive workshop May 19th and 20th in Oakland.


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