Thursday, February 14, 2019

Corruption Blog Tour with Author Nick Wilford + Nanobots!

Hi Tyrean! Thanks for hosting me as part of my blog tour. Today I'd like to get a bit more serious by having a look at the antidote used against the disease in Corruption and how it's been inspired by real-life developments.

(Thank you for stopping by, Nick!)

At the beginning of Corruption we see Dr George Tindleson, Chief Scientist at the Harmonian research lab, working on the antidote to the disease that is ravaging the land of Loretania. A flotation tank had been used to cure the young hero, Wellesbury, after he was infected in Book 1. But that’s too cumbersome to cure people en masse, so George needs a lightweight version that he can take overseas in large quantities. The key ingredient? Nanobots. Tiny robots that eat away at the disease cells while leaving the healthy ones intact.

Does this have any basis in reality, and are we anywhere close to using these nanobots to treat conditions? Let’s find out.

Nanobots are not yet widely used in treatments for cancer and other diseases, but it seems we’re getting close. The problem with many traditional cancer treatments is that they cannot distinguish between cancerous cells and healthy ones. Nanobots, however, would have the benefit of artificial intelligence that would allow them to carry out a pre-programmed task. They could discriminate between the various objects they encounter and would have many of the same characteristics as the robots currently used in things like car manufacture, just on a microscopic scale.

The tiny bots have the potential to deliver drugs to sites that need them and could even be equipped with tools to carry out miniature medical procedures. They could also attack tumours by cutting off their blood supply. According to NBCNews, in 2018 scientists from China and Arizona reported that they had developed robots a few hundred nanometres in diameter – to get a sense of scale, there are 25 million nanometres in an inch. These bots were constructed from a sheet of DNA rolled into a tube that could hold a blood-clotting drug. On the outside of the tube was placed a small DNA molecule that binds with a protein found only in tumours. When they injected them into the bloodstream of mice, the bots travelled to the tumours and this molecule attached itself to the protein, which triggered the sheet to unroll and administer the drug.

Nanobots would also have the ability to act autonomously and intuitively, latching on to the body’s natural processes. For example, they could use magnetic fields to navigate to where they need to go, leaving little need for external intervention.

Sci-fi writers have long dreamed of us becoming one with the machines, a prospect that has often seemed frightening. However, if these machines are small, inoffensive, and have the potential to perhaps one day offer a cure for cancer, our fusion with technology looks a lot more inviting.
Title: Corruption
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian Series: Black & White Series #: 2 of 3
Release date: 11th February 2019
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing
Blurb:
Wellesbury Noon and Ezmerelda Dontible have found themselves in a position where they can make their native land somewhere that lives up to its name: Harmonia. However, they’re setting their sights further afield for their number one task: eradicating the disease that has plagued the neighbouring country of Loretania for generations and allowed the privileged Harmonians to live in a sterile environment.

After dispatching a team of scientists to Loretania, armed with cratefuls of an antidote and vaccine and headed up by their friend, Dr George Tindleson, Welles, Ez, and Welles’s brother Mal – who grew up in that benighted nation – start to worry when they hear nothing back, despite what they had agreed. Commandeering a fishing boat to follow the science team over the sea, they soon find that, while the disease may be on the way out, a new kind of infection has set in – the corruption they thought they had stamped out in Harmonia.

Can they get to the root of the problem and eliminate it before even more damage is done to an innocent people?

*** Warning – this book contains themes that some sensitive readers may find upsetting. ***

Purchase Links:
Meet the author:
Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.


Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Snow Days and Determination

This last week has been snowy. (We had a final total of 9.5 inches at our house before it turned to rain.)
View Down our Gravel Driveway

Walking on Day 3

Foolish Adventures in Driving on Day 5 - getting slightly stuck in front of my parent's house after dropping them off.

The deck.

Under the trees in our backyard, it wasn't so deep.



I've had a few new worries on the health side of my life. A few medical tests down, a few more to come, and some answers, but not all the answers. The waiting and the in-between moments are the worst for me, when my imagination goes wild in the wrong way.

Last week on Wednesday, I basically shut down and just worried all day - I didn't get a single bit of anything done - not for IWSG, not for teaching, not for writing, not anything. It was just a worry day. I think I did my steps, but that's it. I breathed. I walked. I worried. I pet the cat and dog. I didn't even realize it was Wednesday or IWSG day or anything. It was a day of personal storm.

It wasn't a good day. But, I had to get through it. I had to find my way out of the other side with prayer, some journal writing filled with exclamation points, and a bit of music and movement (not happy dancing, but dancing that helped me get through the mood).

I know I can be healthy - physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. But, my health isn't going to look like everyone else's health. I have physical illnesses and potential physical illnesses which are life-long. Some of them are inherited. Some just are. I have to live with them, but I don't have to let them own me.

I may have Hashimoto's Disease, Meniere's Disease, SIBO (current, but I'm killing it with a special diet), and a handful of other issues (undergoing tests, etc), but they don't own me. I refuse to let them define me.

I am an author. I am a mom. I am a wife. I am a teacher. I am a Child of God.

I am a dancer (not a good one, but a dance around the house one). I am a singer. I am a reader. I am a walker. I have been and will be again a skier and bicyclist.

I am not giving up. I am embracing a future of hope and promise.


What do you do when you are snowed in? (Literally or Figuratively)?


BTW - Come Back on Valentine's Day for a Guest Post from Nick Wilford!




Wednesday, February 6, 2019

#TheIWSG February 2018



This post ended up long. Please jump to any area that interests you.

OPTIONAL QUESTION: Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

Photography - with my phone and a "nicer" camera
Singing
Dancing around the house

My main goal for 2019: 

Small Steps.
Literally: I am getting my exercise in small steps (10,000 a day, five times a week), not jogging, running, or even hiking or galumphing along (my term for how I usually walk), but small steps. I have including a bit of "dancing around the house" but I am keeping it fun and light. 
Why? Because I keep twisting my left ankle, foot, and knee doing anything bigger. Small steps are my answer.

Figuratively: Taking every big goal down to small chunks and making them manageable. This applies to writing, household, and career projects. Everything can be made manageable, smaller, doable, and more positive. 

Progress: 
Literal: In January, I only accomplished 10,000 or more steps a day 13 times, but I did make it over 5,000 steps a day for a total of 21 times (includes the 13), so I feel like I'm definitely heading in the right direction. I did not twist or strain anything, and I spent three days on an indoor exercise bike for 25 minutes each session. 
Figurative: I took part in the IWSGPit event as a host and an author. I managed the IWSG Instagram page with fewer posts but decent engagement. I taught three classes. I went to a job interview. I queried a novel. I queried short stories. I sang for Praise Team each Sunday. I started a critique group discussion which is turning into an actual critique group in February. I went to Write-Ins almost every Tuesday night. I gave myself a few minutes of time each week to take photos.

When I look back at that, it's actually a lot. Sometimes, I don't see my accomplishments because I don't write them down.

Take-away: Write down finished tasks and accomplishments. It helps to see progress made and it gives a boost of confidence for the next small steps. 

READING REPORT: January

I read a lot and I read fast (except for books I beta read). It's like breathing for me. I don't think about it, plan it, or even push myself, I just do it. I can't "not" read. If I go for two weeks without reading a novel, I start to feel desperate and cranky. So, this isn't a brag list as much as a report of my crazy reading habits.

I'll put my February Reading Report in an end-of-the-month post because this became a bit long for IWSG day ...

On my Kindle:

Writing Secrets of the World's Most Prolific Authors by Sean McLachlan. I loved it!!! It's super-inspiring and highly recommended.


Writers Unblocked: Insightful Tips from Award-Winning Authors In and Around Seattle compiled by EC Murray. It's short but also great writing inspiration with tips from authors like JA Jance.


Voice of Command by Melanie Cellier is the second book in a fantasy series about a young woman who can speak with magical power. Melanie is a gifted and prolific author of clean fantasy and sweet fairy tale romance with a tiny bit of Christian faith in the background of each of her books. As a reading writer, I have enjoyed seeing her writing skill grow with each book and series. I think Voice of Command is her best so far. (Favorite Fiction Read of the Month!)


Shifted: Siren Prophecy 1, the first in a series of shape-shifter fantasy books by a group of authors who are intent on releasing each novel six weeks apart. Again, both a gifted and prolific group of writers. This is a fun series so far.


3rd and Starlight is the third book in a Fantasy-SciFi series of anthologies with works by several authors. I really liked some of the stories and really disliked some of the others. It's definitely interesting to read new authors and new "worlds."







In Print:


The Kracken Project by Douglas Preston is about a rogue AI with some great characterization. My parents handed it to me to read, saying it was "new and exciting material," but I've read a few rogue AI books before, so it's an old trope for me and midway through I was somewhere between "meh" and "it's okay." At this point, one of the female characters (the computer programmer) had been described as - tall, beautiful, amazon, genius. I felt annoyed, like I'd been force-fed stereotypical adjectives too quickly.
However, other characters started to make a greater impact (a depressed boy with a dorky robot) and the AI herself. The story picked up speed and a few twists took place, and when I ended the book, I thought "wow." So, it makes sense that Douglas Preston is a best-selling author, even if I couldn't see it at the beginning of this book and I still think the computer programmer (blonde amazon genius) needed a few different adjectives to describe her, especially in the thoughts of Wyman Ford (a slightly less-than-believable love interest for various reasons - two tall beautiful people will not necessarily fall in love with each other if they are truly disgusted by each other's eating and cleanliness habits).


 I reread: The Two Towers (Tolkien) and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch because I'm using those books in two of the classes I teach.

Still Reading:

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel - a good craft book that I put down because I wanted to to apply what I was getting from it. I plan to pick it up again in February. Some non-fiction books are slow for me.









On Overdrive, but switching to paperback (so still reading): Big Magic - This IWSG Goodreads Book Club read grabbed me in the first chapter but I really want my own paper copy of it so I can write in the margins the old-fashioned way. (Yes, I am a tree-killer with most non-fiction books.)

IWSG AND WEP TOGETHER FROM FEB 1-FEB 20




The IWSG Instagram February Challenge


The February-March IWSG Goodreads Book




Recommended Ted Talk from Andrew Stanton (Pixar Storyteller) "The Clues to a Great Story." It's been around since 2014 but since I just watched it, I'm passing it along now.




What other creative outlets do you have? Do you track your progress and accomplishments?