Eight Questions

Today, I’m participating in Dale Eldon’s “The Next Big Thing” blog hop. If you’re an author and would like to participate– leave me a comment with your e-mail address and I’ll link to you here. Your post must be set for Jan 3, 2013.

It’s simple: answer these questions about your current WIP.

1. What is the working title of your book?

Peril– book #3 of the Bloodline Trilogy. It follows Proof and Poison, the first two books in the Bloodline Trilogy. Poison releases Feb 1, 2013.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve been fascinated by the stories of transplant patients remembering things only their donor would know. Is it possible that memories can be transferred between individuals? As a medical thriller author, I like to take things in medicine that HAVE happened and then ask a question or pose an ethical dilemma. Peril will be a very controversial book.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Medical  Thriller

4. What’s the synopsis of your book?

Three armed men take a pediatric ICU hostage in order to force a researcher to disclose why they are suffering horrific medical complications after they’ve had a neural graft placed to give them superior autobiographical memory.

5. Will our book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be published by Kregel, October 2013. A good spooky read.

6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About six months.

7. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Chromosome 6 by Robin Cook

A Heartbeat Away by Harry Kraus

8. What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?

If you LOVE tense suspense novels– you will love this book. I like to bring readers along on a very scary ride but I also like to pose ethical questions. What do you think about life? When does it start? What differentiates us— makes us special– what gives us our humanness. So, along with scaring off your pants, I’d like people to consider some of these questions.

Dale– thanks so much for allowing me to participate in your parade. It’s been  A LOT of fun.


Creating a Monster: Part 4/4

Today we end Dale’s zombie fest. Hasn’t it been interesting? Remember, leave a comment for your chance to win two zombie fiction books. Drawing will be midnight tonight!! Must live in the USA to be eligible.

Now– try not to bite your nails as you read an excerpt from Dale’s novel….

What is in a zombie virus? This is not something from a supernatural realm. We are talking about a living organism that changes what we know about human anatomy. In the series, “The Walking Dead”, the zombie virus killed the host, and then reactivated a portion of the brain. While I use that template, I take it one step further.
 Here is an excerpt from the first draft of Smell of the Dead:
           Topher tried to wipe the blood off then Davis stood up fast. Too fast for someone who was in perfect health, way too fast for someone who is sick. He staggered a little as the coughing started to go down. He stood clutching his stomach. He removed his goggles then Topher saw his eyes. Davis had brown eyes before, but now the iris was black with the pupil pearl white. The sclera was reddish white, as if he had been doing some kid of super drug.
            He looked bewildered. He twitched his head about taking in his surroundings. Reddish black blood trickled from his mouth. The smell was atrocious. Topher… confused slowly backed up. Davis sniffed at the air, and then sharply turned his head towards Topher. He looked at his old friend like he was the last meal on the planet. Davis’s lips twitched like an animal ready to devour.


            Topher tried to jog from Davis but couldn’t get much speed up. Davis breathed hard as he charged towards Topher. Davis grabbed Topher and shoved him down on the ground, biting at his neck. Davis could only clamp his mouth on cloth from the coat.
            Throwing the best jabs he could, Topher fought against his friend. With no air in his lungs to cry out, he kept trying to get his friend off of him.
            Finally he got a hold of the knife he used earlier. He rammed the knife into Davis’s kidney, but he didn’t budge. Stabbing him over and over, Topher was still on the bottom of a violent attack.
            Topher got his arm around to in front of him and thrusted the blade into Davis’s eye socket.
            Davis let out a groan losing his bearings Topher pushed him off then grabbed a small shovel from his pack. He slammed it into Davis’ face, knocking him down. As he tried to get back up, Topher continued to hit him with the shovel.
            Then Topher started coughing this time. It was enough that it made him double over wrenching in pain. A tiny bit of blood spat up with some of the fibers that he had seen in the blood from Davis.
            His mind went fuzzy then became clear, like surreal a dream. Forcing himself to continue on, Topher retrieved a rope from his pack and tied up Davis. Red and black fibers perturbed from Davis’ face, with cloudy blackish circles of swollen skin. Davis got back up to his feet after the final knot was tightened. Ramming shoulder first into Topher’s chest, he ran like a Cheetah through the snow packed rocky path
            Davis was a madman.
            Topher couldn’t understand what the hell was wrong with his friend. One moment he was dead, the next some kind of monster from a Dean Koontz novel.
            Davis jogged up the rocks towards the cave from which they came. Then he collapsed meeting the snow face first.
            Topher wondered if Davis could get frostbite in this weather after what happened to him? At this point frostbite was the least of his worries. This was indeed a strange condition. And the fact that Dr. Michael Davis worked as a microbiologist with the CDC on the same project as Terry Marshal and Lefty Craven, the very project that forced the whole group to run, made him wonder how many of them had come in contact with the virus.
            Ribs ached in pain, another cough tore its way though Topher’s lungs and pried his jaws open in a relentless rapidity of malevolent force.
With the onslaught bursting through his mouth and the hundred mile an hour wind that kicked up out of nowhere, Topher hit the ground embracing himself to keep his body from tearing itself apart.
            Curled in the fetal position, covering the snow carpeted rocks inches from his mouth, Topher projected blood laced with the strange looking fibers. This was a little different then what Davis went through. There was, however, no mistaking the fact that the same virus infected him. The wind hammered his body as the chill swept down his spine. With his coat zipped up, his goggles covering his eyes, and wearing his gloves, Topher could still feel the frigid cold. The chill mixed with the sensation of hot pinpricks throughout his entire body.
            Fibers penetrated his skin as his insides churned.
With the character Michael Davis, I start the story off with him sick. Has been sick for days. As he slowly turns into the undead, not only has he infected others, but the virus changes from subject to subject.
Davis works like a human laboratory. As it grows inside, terraforming his innards, the virus becomes stronger, and effects the host quicker once they are infected.
With the fibers of Morgellons Disease, they have now become a condition of the zombies.  In Smell of the Dead, the zombies start out fast then slowly become slower as they deteriorate. But the trademark that will persist, are the fibers. They penetrate through the skin everywhere. They work like cactus spines that carry the infection.
The Lyme and MRSA are aliments of the turning.
Scientists in the real world are always tinkering with viruses, looking to combine them as either a weapon, or as a vaccine. There has even been talk of taking one type of bacteria and using it as a new kind of energy to power the world.
Author Dale Eldon lives in a Macomb, Illinois, and takes care of a sick mother while working overnights at McDonald’s. He spends his free time with loved ones and writing his butt off. Between blogging and writing anthology submission calls, he is currently working on a zombie trilogy for a series of novellas and a novel.

Creating A Monster: Part 3/4

We’re continuing our Monday zombie fest. Remember, leave a comment and be eligible to win two zombie books in my drawing on Monday, October 31st! Must also live in the USA.

Now, back to Dale and his zombie virus.

Last week I talked about my upcoming story, The Smell of the Dead, and how I got the ideas for the virus used. Today I want to go into more detail about the viruses.
First off, on the subject of  Morgellons Disease, this has to be one of the weirdest diseases I have ever heard off. After some research I couldn’t help but see a connection between Morgellons and a zombie virus. Here are a list of the symptoms:
Skin rashes or sores that can cause intense itching 
Crawling sensations on and under the skin, often compared to insects moving, stinging or biting,  or worms crawling under the skin.
Fibers or crystals, threads or black stringy material in and on the skin
Behavioral changes
Black specks in lesions that do not heal
Memory loss or general brain fog with difficulty concentrating
Imagine one moment you are alive but sick. The next you are coughing up blood with strange looking fibers scattered about in the mess. Then the fibers start to protrude from your skin. And to make matters worse, they spread a virus that turns people into zombies.
MRSA can look like a spider bite, pimple, or boil. They can quickly turn into painful abscesses that need surgical draining. The bacteria can stay confined in the skin, but can also burrow deep into the body, causing infections in the bones, bloodstream, surgical scars, heart valves, lungs, and joints.
Why or how could a zombie virus effect the body like it does? Or should I ask, why or how my virus would? This virus would effect the body on such a deep level, though it would begin with the brain, it spreads out  through the entire body. The zombie virus is this story, once in the final stage, is incurable.
What drew me to Lyme being a part of the virus, is the fact that the bacteria can hide among the DNA without being noticed. And since so many doctors don’t believe it is disease, wold make spotting this kind virus very hard.
The zombie virus is made up of several different types of viruses. Lyme makes it invisible to detect, and so many doctors wouldn’t even believe it exist.
Next week I will bring all of these together and show a brief scene of one the characters from The Smell of the Dead slowly turning into a zombie. 

Author Dale Eldon lives in a Macomb, Illinois, and takes care of a sick mother while working overnights at McDonald’s. He spends his free time with loved ones and writing his butt off. Between blogging and writing anthology submission calls, he is currently working on a zombie trilogy for a series of novellas and a novel.

Creating a Monster: Part 2/4

We’re returning to our Monday, Zombie Fest. Remember, leave a comment on any of Dale’s posts and be eligible to win two zombie books by David Moody and K. Bennett. Drawing Oct 31st! Must live in the USA.

Now Dale…

In my up coming zombie story, The Smell of the Dead, a group of scientists are now on the run. Their lives are in grave danger from their former employers. They make a plan to fake their deaths and take one last adventure.

High on the slopes of Mount Everest, foremost infectious disease expert Terry Marshall leads the group  to their dream summit, and to a new life, one where they can live without looking over their shoulders. However, a plan is in the works. One of them isn’t who they seem, and a deadly zombie virus is transforming inside one of the members.
About the Virus

MRSA under Electron Microscope

 The zombie virus is a combination of MRSA, Lyme disease, Morgellons Disease—or  Elliot’s Disease—or Worms-Under-Skin Disease, and the flu. At this point it is a mystery, but it is believed that there are several hundred different DNA strands of other viruses inside one zombie virus.

What made me decide to use a virus instead of the supernatural trend dating back to George Romeros, was the fact I love viral story lines. Even before the movie Contagion. Secondly, my mother who has always been a health nut (in a good way) told me about Morgellons and once she mentioned the symptoms I knew I had to use it in my story.
One of my favorite authors, Brandilyn Collins, wrote a book called, Over the Edge. A wonderfully written story about Lyme Disease. Along with her book, she posts articles about people who have suffered from Lyme, giving me even more ideas on splicing it with Morgellons.
Then the last thing that sparked my interest, I am on a conservative preparedness forum. Though I am rarely on there these days, aside from a lot of pointless bickering, there a lot of good articles on things to be prepared for. One of which, viral outbreaks.
I have read one in particular from a poster who was talking about expecting high death rates over the Swine Flu (H1NI). Although there was indeed a death rate, and a larger one than the media was allowed to talk about, it wasn’t near the scale that he had feared. But this article did do a great job at getting to the point on how something like a virus can destroy a world. Though that was only part of the post.
This man made a lot of good points. He is a survivalist, he is brilliant about economics, has even been on interviews discussing the current economy, and is working on a post apocalyptic story to one day publish. But, let’s just say that maybe he was wrong about which virus would cause a huge scale death toll, but not about the death toll of a viral outbreak.
In the past ten to fifteen years, scientists have been dropping dead.  Some are nuclear physicists, others are microbiologists. And the deaths only seem to rise. There is something going on that we don’t know about. While some of the scientists can be chalked up to natural causes or events from their own mistakes, a lot of issues raise doubts about how they died. And the fact that so many have perished makes one wonder if there wasn’t foul play.
Next week I will break down Morgellons Disease, MRSA and Lyme Disease. The week after that, I will bring them together as the zombie disease.
Thank you for reading!

Author Dale Eldon lives in a Macomb, Illinois, and takes care of a sick mother while working overnights at McDonald’s. He spends his free time with loved ones and writing his butt off. Between blogging and writing anthology submission calls, he is currently working on a zombie trilogy for a series of novellas and a novel.

Monday Zombie Fest: Part 1/4

This October, we’re having a Monday Zombie fest. I mean, isn’t everyone half dead on Monday anyway? And, October is the time to do spooky things. We’ll be talking with Dale about his eventual forthcoming novel about zombies and how he conceived the idea and made it medically feasible.

If you leave a comment on any of Dale’s posts and you live in the USA, you’ll be eligible to win a zombie prize pack that will include David Moody’s novel Autumn: The City and K. Bennett’s novel: Pay me in Flesh. The drawing will be midnight on October 31st which is also the one year anniversary of this fine blog.

We’re going to start our Dale/Zombie fest with a few medical questions.

Dale asks:

I was watching the first episode of The Walking Dead with my mom, and we were talking about what if this was real? What if you awoke from a coma in a world now in an apocalyptic condition, in this case zombies.

First off, the main question that struck me was how would the lead character, Rick Grimes, go into a coma from being shot behind the shoulder? I know that when I was a teenager, I had my finger smashed in a metal drawer and passed out for 30 seconds, so it can happen, but how? The injury had nothing to do with his brain, nor did mine.

Second big question, how long can coma patients survive without the IV bag being changed?

Jordyn says:

Aaahhh… how sweet to be watching zombie stuff with your mom! That’s awesome. As to your first question, the mechanism between your passing out from your finger getting smashed and Rick Grimes coma from being shot in the shoulder are likely different.

Dale, likely what you experienced was a vasovagal reaction. This can be a physical response to pain and causes low heart rate, lower blood pressure and eventual loss of consciousness. I did a post on this here that explains it more in depth. Not all people lose consciousness but may swoon. The same thing is occurring.

The mechanism behind this character’s comatose state was likely shock. These two things are distinctly different. If a character is shot, he experiences blood loss. If you lose enough blood, the remaining level of red blood cells won’t be enough to supply all the oxygen to each cell. This lack of the body to meet its metabolic demands is termed shock. There are many possible causes of shock but the end result is the same– your body can’t deliver oxygen to its cells.

Your brain is very sensitive to lack of oxygen and can be starved of oxygen in this manner. If the brain is deprived of enough oxygen, it can lead to the patient slipping into a coma.

How long a patient can survive without their IV bag being changed has numerous factors. How fast was the IV running? I think a better way to look at this question would be to understand how much total water the patient would need for the day.

I actually found a pretty good resource to help my followers figure this out and it takes into consideration body weight, level of exercise and climate. You can find that here: http://www.csgnetwork.com/humanh2owater.html.

Once you know that, you can determine when his IV would stop running. A normal IV rate for an adult patient to stay hydrated would be 100-150ml/hr. IV fluids come in liter bags containing 1000ml so this would last approx 6-10 hours. After that point, he would no longer be receiving hydration.

Probably after three days, your character is going to be in dire straits. You can read more about how long you can live without water here: http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/death-dying/live-without-food-and-water2.htm.

What other thoughts do you have for Dale?

Author Dale Eldon lives in a Macomb, Illinois, and takes care of a sick mother while working overnights at McDonald’s. He spends his free time with loved ones and writing his butt off. Between blogging and writing anthology submission calls, he is currently working on a zombie trilogy for a series of novellas and a novel.

Transfusing Blood Products

I can always count on Dale for great medical questions. Dale asks:

I was curious about blood transfusions. Sometimes in stories when a character gets a transfusion the writer messes it up, and of course those who do this sort of thing for a living know better. So how does a blood transfusion work, and what type of blood is universal?

Jordyn says:

The first thing is to determine the patient’s blood type. This is typically referred to as a “type and cross” if we know we are going to transfuse the patient.

When you donate blood, you’re giving whole blood and this is rarely used for transfusion. The blood bank splits the whole blood up into several components (after testing for infectious diseases) into packed red blood cells, platelets, cryoprecipitate, and fresh frozen plasma. Each of these four components would be in a different bag and are used for different reasons.

Transfusing blood products is relatively simple. We’ll take packed red blood cells. You get the bag of blood up from the blood bank. For adults, it resembles the bag they collect when you donate. For pediatric pateints, it comes up in a syringe at times because we give a lot less volume.

You can prime the tubing with just the blood product or with normal saline. We only use normal saline for transfusion as it won’t cause the cells to break and rupture like other IV fluids will.

All hospitals require a couple of double checks to ensure the correct blood is given to the right patient. This generally includes a check when picking up the blood product from the blood bank, and a double check against the patient’s blood ID band (which the patient should be wearing) at the bedside (nurse/nurse, nurse/doctor). Who double checks the blood at the bedside is co-signed on the transfusion record.

In the case of packed red blood cells, the infusion is typically given IV over four hours and the patient is closely monitored for several types of reactions. Different blood products are given over different lengths of time. Of course, if needed, the blood can be given very rapidly if the patient requires it due to hemorrhage.

There is no universal blood type. What you might be thinking of is this. O negative blood is the universal blood donor. Anyone can receive O negative blood and it is often used in emergency situations if a patient needs blood before a type and cross can be done. Type AB positive is the universal recipient. A person with this blood type can be transfused with any blood type.

Here’s a previous post about how blood type is determined: http://www.jordynredwood.com/2011/02/how-to-determine-blood-type.html.

Have you written a scene that has a blood transfusion?


Here’s more about Dale in his own words:

My name is Dale Eldon, I am originally from Colorado Springs, and have spent most of my life in the Midwest. I am currently working on a four part sci-fi thriller series that takes espionage to the next level.
 In book one, two CIA agents fight to uncover the truth behind a terrorist related syndicate that seems to have their hands in a wide range of power across the country. Time is running out as the shadowy syndicate continues to practice dangerous experiments that could rip the space-time-continuum itself in half. The journey will go beyond personal sacrifice for a country; the world slowly through scientific manipulation is on the downward spiral to malicious hands.
 In book two, I will be focusing a lot on a FBI supervisory agent (profiler), who suffers from an unknown mental condition that is caused by one of these experiments. I had asked Jordyn to help me with some information on the medical side of what this character goes through.
 I am not yet published, but plan to be when I am finished writing my manuscripts.