Hurricane Ivan

Can a Hurricane Change Your Life For The Better?

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Hurricane Ivan changed my life.

September 16, 2004, the day Hurricane Ivan arrived, I awoke at two a.m. to pitch black, wind howling outside, and a curious sound in the bedroom: my dog lapping water. But our wonderful blond lab, Maggie, lay at our feet, sleeping. The sound was swamp water percolating under the baseboards. Rolling off the mattress, my wife and I waded into stinky water, floating Purina Dog Chow and paper shredder confetti–welcome to the hurricane parade.

I’d had a great year: both daughters got married, I caught a 150 lb. tarpon on a fly rod, started a promising practice with great docs, and my son had orchestrated a surprise fiftieth birthday party. After 9/11 I started writing my first novel, The Next Daya horror, techno-thriller about what would have happened if bio-weapons were released to finish off what was started at 9/11, sure to outsell Steven King. But I was nowhere near finishing. I had no time, with being a doctor and a family.

The day before the water came, the news said it was a monster: Hurricane Ivan, Cat 5 in the Gulf.

I smashed one thumb and nearly fell off the ladder boarding up the second story windows. This made the inside a tomb of darkness, the garage door the only exit. Lynn and I discussed leaving the state. We filled the bathtubs, organized canned food and peanut butter (I could live off peanut butter and honey sandwiches for weeks), then moved the computer upstairs along with the important papers, dog food, fresh batteries in flashlights, etc.

At 7 p.m., in purple-olive twilight and paltry wind and misty rain, I played fetch outside with Maggie. No big deal. The news announced Ivan would weaken to Cat 3 at landfall. We decided to stay. Yes! No waiting for a week after the storm to get back over
the bridge while looters had a field day, or water leaks went from tiny to disastrous.

We hunkered down—that’s hurricane talk—in our upstairs bedroom. The wind howled, trying to tear off the roof … right over our heads. No thank you. We trundled everything back downstairs, including a mattress, to the bedroom our son vacated last week. After all, our neighborhood had never flooded in recorded history. Who needed flood insurance?

Our house had survived two other Cat 3’s with piddling damage. No prob.

Right. We’d never been in the northeast quadrant. Apparently we forgot.

For weeks afterwards we survived in a post-flood environment that reminded me footage I’d seen of Sarajevo: feral dogs, fetid piles of rubbish, no water or AC, roving, camouflaged National Guard Humvees, and Red Cross water and food tents. I nearly lopped off a leg chain-sawing shattered trees, screwed up a knee replacing wallboard, and continued to work forty-hour weeks, sitting in rubbish-removal traffic jams for hours.

It shook our hearts and souls like a dirty rug. But we couldn’t get clean.

The neighbors had the first, and last, Tiger Point trailer-trash party in their camper on their driveway next to the POD that held all their worldly goods. Their home was unlivable.

We sang, we drank, but we all knew: Never again.

My wife and I moved to Colorado, closer to roots and family. I fulfilled a lifelong dream and became a writer.

I finished The Next Day. I also guided fly fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park, which led to my third novel, The Guide.

No hurricane in sight at 10,500 feet!

thinking of what to write, after I get back from fishing!

My wife became a hooker—wool art hooking, okay. We camped in Yellowstone with Maggie. Then I realized I was not Steven King; gas prices skyrocketed; the adult kids moved back; guiding fly fishing made no money.

Time to go back to what I knew best, doctoring. I went to work for the VA. A hurricane is nothing compared to war. War had crippled our best, their bodies and minds, but not their souls.

Veterans taught me a disaster can change your life for the better. 

I finished The Next Day and started on my second novel, Dan’s War, a near-future sci-fi thriller about the end of world oil . . .  in two weeks. Cajuns and one lone computer geek try to save us from an eco-fanatic and his army who think they have the solution to Global Warming.  One of the characters survived Hurricane Katrina. Dan’s War won an award at the Pikes Peak Writers contest.

The Next DayDan's War The Guide

I was living my dream, writing novels. A disaster is not the end of your dreams. Remember that. live your dream.

Milt Mays

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Millennials protesting politics

Should Politics mix with Writing Stories and Songs?

Authors should stay away from politics and social activism, right?

 

That's what all the marketing experts tell us. Stay away from Politics or your books will bomb. Forget voting discussions. Verboten. 
Yet, many famous authors and writers write about current political/social issues: 
Faulkner--novels about corrupt politicians, the despicable plight of black people, and whether the United States would survive. Nobel Prize
Steinbeck--the shabby treatment of migrants by the right, Nobel Prize. They burned his book in California, The Grapes of Wrath 
George Orwell--Stalinism, socialism
Solzhenitsyn--the Russian authoritarianism and horrible gulags, Novel Prize  
Margaret Atwood--political subjugation of women 
Bob Dillon--Vietnam, The 60s, first songwriter to receive Nobel Peace Prize, 
Rachel Carson--Silent Spring and the conservative government's refusal to ban certain pesticides 
Tony Morrison--the politically and socially trampled rights of black people--Nobel Prize. . . and the list goes on and on.

So, I don't feel wrong in publishing a video song I wrote in order to get Millennials voting in November.
 
Okay, so it's not a story, but songs can be more powerful. I hope you can get beyond the lack of commercial PIZZAZZ to the background
 and quality of the recording. all I had was my iPhone and my writing room. It's not Bob Dillon, but I hope you pass it on.
Perhaps it will  motivate at least one more millennial to vote.

Millennials are cool, but have a horrible voting turnout percentage, and they can make a huge difference. It is their future I worry about.
 
Especially if they don't turnout and vote in the November midterms. The main reason I wrote the song.

I thought making a music video for YouTube would be easy. Yeah, what planet was I living on. First, you have to write the lyrics, then the 
arrangement and music. That turned out to be pretty easy compared to what followed. I didn't have a professional video studio, just my iPhone
and my writing room. Rearrange this and that, take down glaring photos, and the background was acceptable. But the worst part, the most tedious
was doing the video over and over, at least 7,000 times, to weed out mistakes. Because, even little things turn out big on a video. Also, no cut and paste
allowed on home videos. Start to finish, clean, flowing, with good transitions. Hard!!

Please take a look at the video. I think you will enjoy the words, at the very least. And, please vote! 

Milt

 

Think, love, enjoy, write.

Why I write

Why write? Everyone has their own reasons,

but I suspect they all boil down to, “I write so people will read my book.”
What to Write. When to fish!

thinking of what to write, after I get back from fishing!

Why do I want people to read my book?

Because I want them to learn and feel what I did after I’d written it. To thrill readers with an adventure, wonder, give them hope, make them cry or sometimes shout with joy. I always loved Michael Crichton so this novel needed that flavor: near future, business and government screwing up science.

The first novel, The Next Day, I started writing immediately after 9/11.

I experienced so many feelings stuffed into a tiny box together, patriotism, sadness, anger, hatred, love, all about to explode. I needed to figure out why this happened.

Islam was not a religion of hatred or murder. How could someone with so much passion for Islam become so hateful toward other humans to the point of murdering thousands? From Naval Academy days, I had picked up a book when studying Islam called The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, translated by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall. Now I read it in earnest, in addition to many, many websites.

On the other side of the coin, there were Americans, my compatriots, wanting to strike back at ALL Muslims. Everywhere. Kill them all. Some of my Naval Academy friends said, “Nuke ‘em ‘til their sand turns to glass.” My medical partner at one time was Muslim and Pakistani. She and her family suffered a lot just trying to pray in her back yard. It became an obsession to write these things into the novel.

Could there have been WMD that Iraq hid?

The President and his Weapons of Mass Destruction thought to be in Iraq, but then never found. What if there really were WMD, like bioweapons, easily hidden away to be used quickly. A movie had come out a year before about mutants, X-men, and my medical mind thought it possible for viral and bacterial infections to mutate human DNA. Quite possible, it turns out. And what if that mutation caused the humans to enhance their underlying personality traits, good became better, bad became evil. Alex Smith and Jabril El Fahd were born. A battle of good against evil started forming.

How would it feel if I had been completely isolated from the news on 9/11, yet had loved ones killed in those events? I would be furious, crazy with the need for revenge. Alex Smith and Rachel Anne Lane felt that way, too, in the beginnings of the book.

And then came the cast of characters

After researching all things Islam, WMD, mutations, bio-warfare, I developed the characters into unusual people, people who loved the environment, wolves, rock-climbing, fly fishing, wilderness photography, one major character an Apache Indian, the Navy and NSA, just so much FUN to write about!

Because of the nature of the characters and the problems, the novel involved many nations, spread around the globe, ending with the battle between good and evil in my home state of Colorado at the Royal Gorge. It required multiple mistakes on time zones, careful study and restudy of travel times by air through multiple time zones. I needed a story line strung around the room!

Finally finished, I had to find a literary agent—Yeah.

That didn’t happen. After shopping 20 agents, I began another book, put The Next Day away, only to have it reappear after writing and publishing two other novels. It took a year to get it changed from WordStar to Word, to improving the writing, to editing, to publishing. But it’s there now, for all to read. Many of the characters are used again in the sequel, Anodyne Eyes, which also uses characters from Dan’s War.

I hope you enjoy each book in turn, though they are all stand alone. You do not need to read them in sequence, but I think you will enjoy Anodyne Eyes more if you read The Next Day first, then Dan’s War.

Next time

I will talk about what it has taken for a science and math guy like me to become a writer. Back to school!

Milt

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Anodyne Eyes Deep Character Dive

Anodyne Eyes–Deep Character Dive

Many unusual characters work in Anodyne Eyes, my thriller, sci-fi novel. To better understand them, read below where I review Alex, Jabril, Rachel, Dan, and Jeff below. These characters are in the prequels, Dan’s War, and The Next Day.

First, meet Alex, the father of Alexis, a fun-loving, adventurous guy. He works as a genetic engineer. Most importantly, Alex becomes a major character in the prequel, The Next Day

After 9/11, Alex creates illegal U.S. bio-weapon in a top-secret lab on the Amazon River in Brazil. The Amazon River in Brazil? Yep.

At 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, Alex faints while working on a new virus. At that moment his girlfriend incinerates 3,000 miles away in D.C. where a terrorist crashed a Boeing 767 into North Tower. The day after 9/11 (Yeah, the next day), he starts changing into an unusual creature, one he initially despised. Conclusion: Did the virus change him?  When terrorists attack his lab because they want bio-weapons, his new powers come into good use. Soon he will need them even more against Jabril El Fahd.

Next, meet Jabril, brought up a happy farm boy in Iraq with his mother, a nurse, and his kind father.

The U.S. embargo starves and kills over 500,000 children. His mother gets sick and dies due to the lack of antibiotics. Holding his dying mother, Jabril swears to avenge her death. His father turns jihadist and promises Jabril to bin Laden. Jabril rises through the ranks, smart, brutal, and unstoppable.

He plans to spread a bio-weapon developed in a secret Jakarta lab, hidden from American inspectors. The week after 9/11, he infects himself with a virus to kill millions of infidels. But, an ex-Army special forces contractor guard, Rock, recognizes him in the Jakarta airport, and subsequently tracks him. Jabril slaughters the scientists in the Jakarta lab and barely escapes Rock. He explodes the lab, and travels to the U.S. On the plane he begins changing into a brutal monster, thrilling at his newfound power.

More importantly, Rachel Ann Lane blossoms in Anodyne Eyes. She’s introduced in The Next Day as Alex’s old flame he still loves.

Rachel works for the same company Alex does, only she works in the D.C. lab. Despite breaking up with him, she still loves him. Because her passion is wilderness photography, she travels to vacation in Rocky Mountain National Park. On the way, she stays in Denver, at her grandmother’s, a survivor of the Depression era, who left her house to Rachel. On 9/11, she camps, snaps photos, and fly fishes in the back country of Rocky Mountain National Park. She dreams of Alex while her current boyfriend is killed by a plane crashing into the Pentagon.

The day she hikes out of the Park (Yeah, The Next Day) a serious Sergeant tells her of her boyfriend’s death and whisks to her lab in D.C. There, she hears of the attack on the Amazon Lab. As a result, she decides to go help Alex. But, a sleazy U.S. senator gets word her company makes illegal bio-weapons, and subsequently he uses his connections to shut down their operation. She narrowly escapes and in a harrowing boat ride across Chesapeake Bay meets with Sam Houston, a CIA agent par excellence. Then he flies her in his private plane to Chile, and additionally to end up at the Amazon lab to help Alex. Sam is the one character who ties Dan’s War, to The Next Day. He’s rich because of a million-dollar surf board business, which allows him unusual friends, deep cover and money to spare.

Dan Trotter we meet in the other prequel to Anodyne Eyes, Dan’s War. In spite of his Asperger’s syndrome, Dan functions well as CIA computer geek and make-up artist. He wants to live up to his father, a pilot and hero in Vietnam.

Partly due to his Asperger’s, Dan sees his loved ones in a green hues and bad people in red. He dislikes touching people, but loves his son, Jeff, and his wife Marci with a bottled-up passion. When Marci starts having an affair, and his son gets a drunk-driving ticket, Dan loses it. He’s spent his after-hours earning extra money for Jeff’s college fund, writing computer programs to interface with nanobots. And now, because of Dan’s program, an OPEC insider starts destroying world oil using nanobots interfaced with oil-eating bacteria. As a result, world war starts. Finally, Jeff may not go to college because he joins the Army.

After a heated argument with Jeff and Marci, Dan and his friend and field agent, Fred, must rush to Venezuela in order to investigate oil wells drying up. There, all hell breaks loose with the Venezuelan mafioso and a Louisiana gay character named Remmy. Fred is killed. Dan runs for his life through the jungle, dodging bullets, finally saved by a beautiful Louisiana Marine in a helicopter. As a result, Dan falls for her, in his odd way.

Sam Houston, the surfboard magnate, CIA field agent we first met in The Next Day now helps Dan. As the only character who runs through all three books, Sam ties them all together.

He parachutes onto Pensacola Beach and joins Dan, the Marine beauty, and his friends. Their mission: to stop whoever is causing oil wells all over the world to dry up. Subsequently, Dan finds out that one of his programs is being used by an OPEC insider to couple oil-eating bacteria with nanobots, destroying oil in all the OPEC wells, causing a world Oil War. And then he finds out Jeff joins the Army, so he redoubles his efforts to save the world, and his son along the way.

Finally, we meet Jeff, Dan’s son,

a happy teenager, great at basketball, enjoys sex with his girlfriend in the back of a ski bus. Because he gets caught driving drunk, argues with his dad, finds out his girlfriend is pregnant, he decides to join the Army when the Oil War starts. It wouldn’t be so bad, except he’s sent directly to the front in eastern Texas, where he gets trapped, under fire in a Humvee with a crazy sergeant.

Hope you enjoyed this deep dive into characters of Anodyne Eyes. For a better understanding, please click on the two prequel books listed below.

Have a great week. Fall is coming–soon I hope. I am tired of 90 degree heat! But at least I don’t have to worry about hurricanes here in Colorado. I can wade into a 55 degree river and catch beautiful rainbow trout on a dry fly. Can’t hate it. That’s why I wrote the other book The Guide.

 

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Designer Babies Genetic Modification

Designer Babies-Genetic Modification

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If I told you that in five years you could pick the sex, the eye color, the height, and the athleticism and intelligence of your child, would you believe me? What if I told you it was already being done? Genetic modification is here. Designer babies

Yes, they shut down that clinic. But that’s the USA. What about China?

(Credit: Getty Images)

China-the future of genetic modification-BBC. Crispr DNA modification has been used for years. And it can be used on the human DNA.

What if you could alter your daughter’s genes to end human violence and war…forever?

Well, you say, it would take several generations to get any DNA trait into the whole human population. Would it? Really? We can now wipe out mosquitoes that carry yellow fever or malaria or ZIKA in only ONE GENERATION with GENE DRIVE technology. You have to read about it here.

Scientists alter malaria mosquitoes with Gene Drive

One step further and we can do it to humans.

So now, in Gene Drive and Crispr DNA technology, we have tools to alter evolution, not in centuries, but in 30 years, in ONE generation.

Just think, a modern-day Hitler in say North Korea or China

could spread the gene for strength, intelligence, and lack of emotion to form an entire army, an entire nation, and have them ready to take over the world in 18 years—outsmart, out battle and kill without remorse. Brave New World was so benign compared to the real possibilities.

Maybe we need a gene alteration that would do the opposite, stop all human violence and wars.

What if I told you a piece of one teenage girl’s DNA could end all wars. Forever! What if that girl was your daughter and she was the target of the most brutal terrorist ever?

That’s Anodyne Eyes. Enter the future of Genetic Modification.

Buy it here: Anodyne Eyes

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