A Pandemic Strikes Earth. TWO JOURNEYS – the postapocalyptic adventure

Excerpt from my new postapocalyptic novel (not published yet, work-in progress!), the sequel to Two Journeys and Fields of Fire:

She and my son had been looking forward to have a child, but it was not to have been. I had my suspicions why. The pandemic had not only caused the deaths of billions of people, so that only a few thousand or so had survived. Without humans, there was no maintenance, and so one by one all the machines had come to a standstill. Thus, the storage baths for the nuclear fuel elements weren’t cooled anymore, and the liquid had subsequently evaporated. Once that had happened, the uranium and plutonium rods of hundreds of reactors had overheated and Poof! Evaporated into the atmosphere. I shuddered at the idea, and hardly shared it with anyone; it would have a dramatic effect on humanity, on life on this planet, on each single one of us… I suspected that it may have caused my daughter in law’s miscarriage too.

Humanity has gone a long time without a major pandemic. Outbreaks of viruses such as SARS, corona or influenza (e.g. H2N2 or the Asian Flu H3N2; or bird flu) have occurred again and again. Are we prepared? 

The story continues! If you love post-apocalyptic stories, these are the right books for you. If you love plain adventure, make sure to get a copy too.

Learn more about my novels here.

How Do You Give Money to the Homeless ?

We visited Paris a few months ago. As we left the train and the station, we met a beggar, and a few streets down the next one… and then the next. How to deal with this as a tourist? Emotionally, we wanted to give money, rationally we hesitated: would the Parisians be pleased if millions of tourists start funding homeless people, potentially increasing their numbers ? What will an individual homeless person do with the donation? Buy food, finance a roof for the night, or buy drugs? Or is the homeless person part of a commercial enterprise? Shockingly, there were couples getting ready for the night on the street with babies. Should we supported them too?

Just like tipping and charity, giving money to homeless people has a bad side to it. It crowds out community- and state-involvement. A minimum existence should not be left to the whims of tourists. Shouldn’t it be something that we collectively decide to guarantee for everyone? In the perfect society, there ought to be no need to beg, there shouldn’t be a need to rely on the irregular kindness of passing people.

A dilemma. In the end we think we found a way out of this. We started counting the number of beggars that we met. We tripled that number and after we returned home we searched and found a charity in Paris that supports homeless people. We donated the calculated sum to that organization. Not the best solution, but workable.

Read more here: http://www.clemenssuter.com/tag/writing

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CELETERRA. An Adventure Novel set on Earth & in Heaven. 100+ Pages of High Speed Adventure.

Celeterra – a hellish novel set in heaven! Read the adventures of Vance and his one-eyed dog Eugene. Adventure and romance, humor and mystery, Celeterra is a book impossible to put down.

Available as eBook!

paperback

Nothing speaks against reading paperbacks. Let me guess, the biggest challenge, however, is something called “prejudice”. Ebooks are not your type, and most probably you find them too difficult, too messy, and definitely not sweet enough?

 

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Shocking secrets hide within a simple cover

Vance descended into the cellar. He found the light switch. They entered the space where the Biedermeier desk had stood. Quickly, he walked into to the wine cellar. He passed by the empty barrels. His hand searched for the handle behind the paintings. He pulled it and the hidden door opened with a click. Fumbling in the semidarkness, he made sure that the lever remained hidden behind the old paintings. He switched on the light in the secret room. He retraced his steps and made sure that he hadn’t left any footprints in the dirt of the wine cellar. He turned off the basement light, reentered the room, and pushed the door shut behind him. After hastily opening the cans of food, he switched off the light in this room too, as he was afraid that it might spill into the night through some hidden shaft. Vance drank first and then allowed the hound to drink. They ate their food in the darkness, the dog wolfing it down hurriedly. Vance ate a can of cold peas, which was not very tasty but at least rich in calories.

After that, they stretched out on the damp sand. Vance was exhausted and he shivered uncontrollably. Obviously his body was trying to get rid of some substance, some poison – a drug. He tried to recall how to combat withdrawal symptoms, but under the circumstances, he could only think of drinking a lot of water. In a way, he had been lucky. His stomach had been upset the last few days and due to that, he hadn’t eaten much and had mostly turned to drinking plain tap water. The amount of drugs in his bloodstream must have gone down and as a result, his head had slowly cleared.

The pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place. He began to realize that the occurrences of the last weeks were all interconnected. The rococo table, Darwin’s letter, this mansion, the religious sect, Enrique and the fake heaven – they were all interrelated like threads that stick out of a ball of wool. He felt that if he would follow just one of those threads, he would arrive at the core of the ball. Again he imagined that an instigator was waiting there, waiting for him. An individual, pulling all the ropes, manipulating the lives of many people, the perpetrator that had organized Vance’s ordeal.

Who had been in the car that had driven away as he had arrived at the house? What had this visitor been up to at this mansion? He was almost certain that this person had seen him, possibly even recognized him. Had this been the mastermind behind the entire affair?

With that question in his mind, he fell asleep, exhausted.

His sleep was filled with nightmares. He was hunted by wild animals, lions, and tigers. He tried to escape by climbing up a tree, but its bark was wet and slippery and his hands could not get a hold. A male lion came closer and closer, staring at him, both evilly and indifferent.

Eugene woke him up. The dog trembled and growled softly and Vance quickly put his hand on the animal’s snout. They listened. After a while, Vance could hear sounds. As he had suspected there was a shaft or a pipe leading from the ground level down into the cellar. It ensured that fresh air could reach this hideout, even when the door was closed. Now, that shaft transported the sounds from the outside world down to him. A car approached slowly, its wheels grinding on the gravel of the driveway. The engine was almost inaudible. Vance imagined that it was a big vehicle.

Was this the same car that he had seen departing earlier? The car stopped and the engine was switched off. Absolute silence followed, only interrupted by the ticking sounds of the cooling motor. Then several doors opened. Feet stepped onto the small stones. After a few seconds, three doors closed softly. Vance strained his ears. Slow footsteps approached, toiling on the gravel.

With his eyes closed, Vance imagined three, perhaps four men. He imagined that they were going towards the back door. Suddenly it was silent again. Eugene stirred. Vance stroked the animal’s head and went sssh. They waited. It remained silent for a long time. Vance thought that half the world must be able to hear his breathing. He opened his mouth wide to reduce the sound as much as possible.

A man’s voice could be heard, whispering, but unexpectedly clear. They must have stopped very close to the exit of the shaft.

Want to read more? Follow this link:  https://clemenssuter.com/2017/01/22/how-to-order-the-books-by-clemens-suter/

Tokyo, Japan. Backdrop for TWO JOURNEYS, the Corona Pandemic novel.

Arguably, Tokyo is the most populated city in the world, with 36 million inhabitants during the day and 22 million at night. It is impressive how this city runs so smoothly with that many inhabitants. What would happen if it would come to a sudden standstill? The opening chapters of TWO JOURNEYS (my 2011 CORONA PANDEMIC novel) describe just that.
Below some pictures that I took in Tokyo during past visits and that inspired me to place my post apocalyptic work in this mega city.

Highrises in Tokyo. The sheer bulk of these buildings is overwhelming.

Alan, the hero of Two Journeys visits Tokyo around Christmas time.

Should an epidemic of the proportions described in Two Journeys strike, the lights (above) would extinguish rapidly, the trains such as the one below (famously overfilled) would halt.

Find out more about my books here.

Deep dive into the marvelous world of amazing creatures #newspudding

At university, I was most impressed by one professor for molecular genetics, who not only was extremely knowledgeable in his field of study, but also suffered from the worst case of dandruff I’ve ever encountered. The shoulders of his black jackets were covered with powdery skin residue, to such an extend that his scientific credence was somewhat overtoned by student jest. I have moved on since, and this dermally challenged professor dropped from sight. But science has progressed, so that now we know that dandruff is caused by yeast: and in fact, these Malassezia species cause most skin disease in humans. M. globosa and M. restricta seem to be the worst culprits when it comes to dandruff. Read more in Wikipedia… and better use a shampoo that effectively combats these yeasts.

Readers will know that I enjoy Wikipedia and that I thumb through the articles almost on a daily basis. However, and slightly disappointing, if it comes to bagpipes, Wikipedia only tells half the story. Little mention about the long term hazardous effects of blowing the bagpipe on the health of the musician. Bagpipe lung can be added to the list of alternative monikers for hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which is already known as “bird fancier’s lung”, “farmer’s lung” and  “hot tub lung,” after the wide range of activities to which it has previously been linked. Instruments can become infested with mould and this can be related to potentially fatal lung disease. Next time you see (or hear) a bagpipe playing, or even think of giving the old bag a squeeze yourself – consider that !

Finally to one of my favorite creatures! My youngest son told me a weird story that humans eat dozens of spiders each night… a tale that I found slightly disturbing, and mostly unbelievable. I advice you to do a quick internet search for “demodex” and look at the images and read the articles. These creatures dwell in the hair follicles of your eyebrows, come out at night to roam your face and live of the oil on your skin. Next time you look your loved one in the face, try not to think of this intriguing organism… and better not bring it up in pleasant conversation. I did, it kinda ruined the mood of the evening.

Get Smartner ! Cool comet Oumuamua. More #Newspudding

I was intrigued by the news about ‘Oumuamua, the first known interstellar body observed within our solar system. Speeding at tremendous speeds, ‘Oumuamua’s trajectory is hyperbolic, which will take it out of our solar system. And as the object doesn’t seem to have had any gravitational encounters with our planets, ‘Oumuamua most likely came from interstellar space, and may have been traveling for several billion years. It doesn’t seem to transmit any signals though – so it isn’t an extraterrestrial rocket filled with little spacemen. The core of this unusually elongated shape seems to be icy, but the surface consists of red grey dust that has collected over millions of years and which has turned into a hard layer under the merciless radiation levels of interstellar space. Read more in Wikipedia!

Finally, I stumbled across the company motto of Gartner, the famous market research company. They came up with an impressive yet simple statement that seems to capture the company philosophy and value in just three words: Smartner with Gartner“.  Congrats to the Garter Markneting department!

Read more like this here.

Find my books here.

 

eBook Promotion Campaigns, what works and what doesn’t?

As an author, you are probably always on the look-out for ways to get more readers of your work. There are different ways of promoting your work, and below I describe my mixed experiences with a few eBook Promotion Campaigns that I have used for my eBooks and paperbacks. Admittedly I use many methods to get into contact with (potential) readers (this blog is one of them – enjoying it so far?), so this is just a glance at the possibilities. Since I can track my eBook and paperback sales in quite some detail (minute by minute if need be, and by rough global location), I can track the success of any campaign quite well. So below a couple of ideas of what works and what doesn’t work if you are thinking about promoting your work.

Method 1. Facebook ads and promotions

It is possible to create ads on Facebook either to make your books better known throughout the community or to get more followers on your Facebook account. I have tried both. How to do this? Basically what you can do in Facebook is to create an ad with an image and an action, tailored to your audience. For my books I have for instance selected the “interest keyword” post-apocalyptic and I have also selected the regions where I would like to position my books (e.g. United States, Canada, Australia, UK or combinations). You can also select the age groups or other demographic characteristics of the people who you would like to target. Finally you can decide on the timeframe: one week or four weeks or only one day. Extremely easy to set up, even a fool can do it (of which I am living proof). The result? I have followed his approach with different variations over the last three years and the result has been disappointing in regards to increasing book sales. Although it is possible to reach thousands, if not millions of Facebook users, I have seen marginal increases in books sales at best. Urgh Yuck! I did succeed in generating a handful of followers for my Facebook page… but that is a nice to have and it is question whether this increases the book sales – not in the short run, mate. Taken together, Facebook is not ideal for eBook Promotion Campaigns.

paperback

Nothing speaks against reading paperbacks. Let me guess, the biggest challenge, however, is something called “prejudice”. Ebooks are not your type, and most probably you find them too difficult, too messy, and definitely not sweet enough?

The second approach

There are special services on offer like the one below (picture). “Shout my book” promises to reach hundreds and thousands of people through retweeting on Twitter, over a distinct period of time. For me this was an interesting experience, the provider was very kind and engaged and did more than promised actually, BUT the effect on the number of e-books sold was negligible.  The number of Twitter followers did show some slight increase. In conclusion I would be hesitant to use this option again.

Option number three for eBook Promotion Campaigns

Twitter. Here a very interesting observation, as some of us (many of us?) may regard twitter as a channel where everybody is simply shouting and hoping that somebody picks up their hollering from the resulting chaos and turmoil. However, what I’ve noticed is that as my activity on Twitter decreases (e.g. if I am “out of office” for longer times) a detrimental effect on the sales of my books occurs. Aha! So continuously engaging with the audience through twitter seems to have a direct effect on sales. The tweets shouldn’t be a steady stream of ads for the books though, I notice that most people will mostly follow links to interesting blog posts. People are interested to hear about my (weird) life in general.

This is a just a small and superficial glance at some eBook Promotion Campaigns that I have run. What’s your experience?

Example of a eBook campaign

Shout my book – Twitter eBook Promotion Campaigns

Learn more about the books by Clemens P. Suter: www.clemenssuter.com/books