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Science Quick Hits: June 12th episode

Before I jump in I want to take time to thank everyone who wrote to me or commented on my last episode on the science of cryonics (if you missed it, here is the link: https://mailchi.mp/e762b3f1d4b4/jothams-monthly-newsletter-cryonics). A couple readers wondered why I said cryonics and not cryogenics like you read in books and hear in movies.

Definition time:

Cryogenics is the production and behaviour of materials at very low temperatures

Cryonics is the low temperature-freezing (usually at −196 °C or −320.8 °F or 77.1 K) and storage of a human corpse or severed head, with the speculative hope that resurrection may be possible in the future.

Similar words, but in movies and books cryonics is the term they should be using, but Handwavium need not obey definitions. 

Okay, on to the 24,000 years and sex in space.

Okay, I’m not going to make you wait, let’s talk birds and bees or in this case mice. Remember, a long time ago when I first started this newsletter I explored the ins-and-outs of getting busy in space, or the difficulties (you can reread that episode here). One of the issues was space radiation and what it could do to sperm during space travel. A recent study was just released (check it out here) that in short frozen mouse spermatozoa stored on the Interntional Space Station (ISS) was not affected by space radiation and produced viable and genetically healthy offspring. This is good news for space travelers that one day want to reproduce. 

Next, a story straight out of science fiction, a 24,000 year old organism was revived from frozen Siberian Permafrost. Wasn’t this how The Thing got started—put the flamethrower down MacReady—oh never mind.

This is cool, but this group also discovered and revived a 30,000-year-old nematode worm, Arctic moss and some plants. “Now, the team adds rotifers to the list of organisms with a remarkable ability to survive, seemingly indefinitely, in a state of suspended animation beneath the frozen landscape,” the press release stated. 

Understanding how these multi-cellular organisms can be frozen and revived will be important in future space travel and cryonics (see what I did there).

That’s two quick hits of science. Hope you enjoyed and I’ll try to keep you up to date on the science that dosen’t make the headlines (like morphing pasta noodles or two new species of woolly flying squirrels discovered)

June Update

Where has the time gone? May zipped by and we are smack dab into June. I spent some time getting plants in the garden (tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants) and relaxed a bit and tried a new gin at 18th Street Distillery!

I was interviewed by fellow author Katherine Soto this month, you can read it here: https://buff.ly/3piJ357


        

In writing land, I finished the first draft of the two Novellas that will be published this fall. Also, I got three manuscript requests (two full and a partial) for my novel “The Cost of Us,” a cyberpunk thriller.

As many of you know, my debut novel, “Will You Still Love Me If I Become Someone Else?’ was released on February 23rd 2021. Still haven’t read it, go check it out here. Hopefully, with COVID restrictions easing (folks are getting vaccinated which is good) I may be able to do book signings and other fun things, stay tuned for details! I do have books in the wild at Paul Henry’s Art Gallery in Hammond, IN and at the Green Witch Cafe in Highland, IN.

Preorder for ‘Moonlight: A Limited Edition Paranormal Romance Anthology’ is now available here


Yes, I will have a novella in this anthology! The first draft of the novella about Eve who is a werewolf (And yes, I did a science of werewolf episode) looking to protect her pact, but finds love along the way. So, last episode I had a longer working title, but after some though I am leaning to just “Eve” as the title. There is an awesome lineup of authors so click the link and preorder now

And, you read correctly, I said two novellas are being released this fall. The second will be in the Emerging Worlds Anthology. I am doing a post-zombie novella titled, “The Cure”. They promised the Cure would end Zombie and return life to normal, but nobody promised normal would be easy. I’ve wanted to write a zombie story for some time, and looking at post zombie life is fun. I just finished writing this one, but I will have to do a Rabbit Hole of Research on Zombies!!

And don’t worry, there will be a new issue of Rabbit Hole of Research on June 26th, and I’l going to get in the weeds! If you want to read past issues, check them out here

Follow me online, and feel free to Email me with questions, comments, questionable science, or who you’d like to see interviewed.

May Update: What happened to April?

Not much personal news to update you with, so I thought I’d share a photo from a project I was working on at work, modeling limb development in embryos. On the big screen, the green is the nucleus and the blue is the outline of the cell body. On the little screen you can see the all the electron micrograph of the cells that I’m modeling. 

As many of you know, my debut novel, “Will You Still Love Me If I Become Someone Else?’ was released on February 23rd 2021. Still haven’t read it, go check it out here. Hopefully, with COVID restrictions easing (folks are getting vaccinated which is good) I may be able to do book signings and other fun things, stay tuned for details! And I’m working on two new Novellas releasing later this year. Check out the cover:


Preorder for ‘Moonlight: A Limited Edition Paranormal Romance Anthology’ is now available here. The first draft of the novella about Eve who is a werewolf (And yes, I did a science of werewolf episode) looking to protect her pact, but finds love along the way—is hot off the keyboard and will let in cool off before I start editing. Working title is “All Your Stars Are But Moonbeams in My Hair.” What do you think about the title? Email and let me know.

And, you read correctly, i said two novellas are being released this fall. The second will be in the Emerging Worlds Anthology. I am doing a post-zombie novella titled, “The Cure”. They promised the Cure would end Zombie and return life to normal, but nobody promised normal would be easy. I’ve wanted to write a zombie story for some time, and looking at post zombie life is fun. I’m about 14K words in (Whoa, I’m half way there…now that song is stuck in your head).

And don’t worry, there will be a new issue of Rabbit Hole of Research on May 29th, and it’s going to be frosty! If you want to read past issues, check them out here!

Follow me online, and feel free to Email me with questions, comments, questionable science, or who you’d like to see interviewed.

March Update: Launch Day and Everything After

Here is a picture of me on release day morning for my debut novel, ‘Will You Still Love Me If I Become Someone Else?’ (still need a copy, click here). I didn’t know what to expect (like a ballon drop when the clock struck midnight or something), that didn’t happen, but it was exciting to get congratulations from friends and family.

It is often hard to take time and appreciate all of the hard work, dedication and sacrifice that goes into writing, editing, and marketing a book. And after all this effort I was holding my breath waiting for reviews. Did I have a typo? Did I tell the best story that I could? Will people get all the twists, turns, and clever writing that I put into the story? Did I— I had to stop and enjoy the moment and accept the fact that my baby is out in the world being read. I finished my coffee, didn’t set anything on fire, and went to work.

By the time I got home, my wife and boys had planned a surprise dinner and carrot cake (my favorite). I also promised myself a glass of Writer’s Tears Whiskey. I have saved this bottle to open once my first novel was published, and I’ll not have another drink until my second (It was delicious). I was all smiles as I reclaimed some of my tears on this long journey from idea to 406 page novel! Cheers!

Launch day was very different than I imagined. I had planned to throw a party and sign books, but that didn’t happen (you know—Covid and all). I am still waiting for my books to arrive from the printer so I can sign them and send them to folks who would have been at the launch party book signing event (the delay is all Covid’s fault). I am sure many creatives had to change their plans and release their work in the electronic vacuum of Zoom congratulations. I am thankful for all the friends and family that made the day special.

I thought the anxiety had been released, but the strangest thing was the next day, self-doubt and imposter syndrome started to creep in. As I held a copy of my book in my hands I felt overwhelmed with dread that people are reading this thing. Is it a good book? Will people like it? Will they throw tomatoes at me? Why is my Amazon sales rank going up and down like a yo-yo? What, I’m 9th on the New Release Metaphysical Fiction list? Is that good? What does that mean? Arghhh—

All day Wednesday I was tormenting myself with these type of thoughts, even as the congratulations were rolling in. It all came to a head on Thursday morning as I was waiting in my car for my dental checkup and cleaning. My phone dinged with notifications that 2 editorial reviews from Readers’ Favorite had arrived. My heart thumped loud in my chest and the voice of self doubt was screaming between my ears, preparing me for one star reviews and negative comments. My trembling finger pressed the link and all the air in the car was sucked into my lungs—I saw the reviews—Both 4 stars and gushing with praise on the construction, the story, how the characters moved them. I had to stop reading the reviews because my vision blurred with tears, and, thankfully, I started breathing again. I wiped my eyes with the heel of my hand and the call for me to go into the office came—

Why was I so effected by this? I had dozens of friends and advance readers already tell me the story was good. My publisher and editors said the story was good. And I knew I had written and put the effort in to craft a great story I’d be proud to release to the world. But in that moment in the car, holding my breath, that was the sum of my anxiety—

I am still waiting for more Editorial reviews to come in, I’m not holding my breath, but breathing easy and getting started on the next projects—details on these soon!

Also, my mom read my book and sent me a text with her review of the novel (it has some spicy parts in there), but she really enjoyed it, here is part of it: “…found your novel intricate and sultry…With a touch of interludes of one’s mind…your novel…is mind boggling and Captivating… I couldn’t put it down till I reached the end…Congratulations!!”

And now I’m really breathing easy! Am I the only one that feels this way? Let me know, send me a note, I’ll write back!

Not to fear, Rabbit Hole of Research will be dropping on March 20th! Also, the back issues of Rabbit Hole of Research are posted on my website, and If you missed an issue (or you are new to my newsletter) go check them out here. They are a fun take on the quirky science in Fiction books and movies. And I’ll be back in March with an exciting new episode. I have gotten a few reader requests—plasma arrows, Independence Day, Tenet—I am making a list and checking it… You have an idea of quirky science in fiction, let me know


Personally, I never imagined that my writing career would start to lift off as it has, and I’d be worrying about marketing, Newsletters or launch dates for novel’s and stories. Thank you all and Hopefully one day soon we can all hang out and chat over beverages! Until then—

Follow me on the internet for updates: Social Links

February Update: Snow, Snow, more Snow and the Release of My Debut Novel

Since the last time we chatted it has been nothing but snow, snow, snow, and more snow. My trusty yellow snow shovel has gotten a lot of work in the last couple weeks. I hope everyone that’s been getting snow and cold are staying safe and healthy.

In all of this wintery wonderland fun, my debut novel, ‘Will You Still Love Me If I Become Someone Else?’ releases on February 23rd. Click here to check it out!


I have realized that once I start shoveling and am half way through clearing the driveway an idea for a story, a scene, or a great thread of dialogue between two characters pop up in my mind. And by the time I’m finished shoveling, the idea is—poof—gone to the wind!

Does this ever happen to you (shoveling, in the shower, landing a rover on Mars)? Let me know!

The Rabbit Hole of Research, will return next month, and I’m cooking up something special for these Modern Times!

Print by atomicnumber14

Not to fear, the back issues of Rabbit Hole of Research are posted on my website, and If you missed an issue (or you are new to my newsletter) go check them out here. They are a fun take on the quirky science in Fiction books and movies. And I’ll be back in March with an exciting new episode. I have gotten a few reader requests—plasma arrows, Independence Day, Tenet—I am making a list and checking it … well that’s a different story. LOL

Debut Novel Released on February 23rd 2021

The official release of my debut psychological technothriller novel, “Will You Still Love Me If I Become Someone Else?” is less than 2 weeks away—FEBRUARY 23rd!!

Preorder ebook version from major retailers around the world (only 99 cents, the price will go up after release):

Preorder Here

I will have paperback copies and bookplates that I will sign and ship off to you for sale on my website soon!

Keep your eyes out for a virtual launch party, where I’ll read an excerpt and you can ask me anything.

Check out my author website for preorder links, updates, events, links to my books and newsletter signup.

If you have read an advance copy of “Will You Still Love Me If I Become Someone Else?” —thank you for taking time to read it—You can start posting a review on Goodreads and BookBub, I’ll be sending a reminder email to ya with links to add your review.

I’m super excited to finally get my novel into your hands! Thanks for your continued support!

Picture of bookcover with illustration of a man’s face sith interconnected faces erupting from the top the title is in red brushstroke font that reads will you still love me if I become someone else? And author name Jotham Austin
Preorder Here

January 21st 2021 at 8pm CST: I’ll Be a Featured Author on Romance Happy Hour

I’m a featured artist on Romance Happy Hour and will be reading an except of my Rom-Com novella, ‘Tomorrow May Be Too Late”, during the January 21st Romance Happy Hour at 8pm CST! There are some amazing cocktails on the website for you to make and bring along to the reading.

Join us here!

My novella will be released in the Askew Ever After Box-Set, January 19th 2021. This will be a limited release, so mark those Calendars, or better yet you can pre-order at your favorite e-book store here! If you already placed an order, thank-you. Preorder is 99 cents, this will go up after release!

January 2021: Updates

Here is a picture of my desk when I turned the lights out on 2020– and 2021has started with a bang!

I was working hard to get you the next edition of the Rabbit Hole of Research, but it’s not quite finished. It seems I have a bi-monthly newsletter now, one with updates, promos and another traveling down the Rabbit Hole of Research. Next month there may not be a Rabbit Hole of Research offering, because a lot of my time is being dedicated to marketing efforts building up to the release of my debut sci-fi psychological thriller, “Will You Still Love Me If I Become Someone Else?

Not to fear, the back issues of Rabbit Hole of Research are posted on my website, and If you missed an issue (or you are new to my newsletter) go check them out here. They are a fun take on the quirky science in Fiction books and movies. And I’ll be back in March with an exciting new episode. I have gotten a few reader requests—plasma arrows, Independence Day, Tenet—I am making a list and checking it … well that’s a different story. LOL

Speaking of marketing, I have been reaching out to fellow writers and influencers asking for blurbs and endorsements for my debut novel. I’ve had two great interactions after sending request email out.

I have been following an awesome comic writer, Jon Parrish. I meet him at a comic con a few years ago, and there is a long story about the mystery of a truck with a ClusterF@#K sticker (ClusterF@#K is the title of one of his comics). Turns out it was my truck—mystery solved. I signed up for Jon’s newsletter and reading his musings was one of the inspirations for me to start Rabbit Hole of Research. Jon’s newsletter is like looking into the mind of a creative—the successes, the struggles and everything inbetween. Jon wrote back to me and passed along some good newsletter advice and his motivations, “a newsletter should inform, educate, and/or entertain, and I try to do one of these with every one.” Please go and check out Jon’s work and sign up for his newsletter: Secrets and Shadows

The second interaction from my promotional efforts was from Mary Mcann! Mary is many things, a talented poet and story teller, performer, radio host, pioneer of internet radio, voice talent on audiobooks, and supporter of writers like me. I meet Mary while I was living in Tempe, AZ (late 90’s early 00’s) and she inspired and gave me sparks of confidence that people would enjoy and want to hear my words. There is always a longer story, but not only did Mary give me a platform to share my words, but through a series of performances after that, I met Georgia, my wife!

It was exciting to reconnect with Mary after many years, and after a year with no Cons connecting with Jon. I am looking forward to getting their feedback on my debut novel (and the other folks that are reviewing my novel—thanks in advance). Got my first five Star review on Goodreads!!

Personally, I never imagined that my writing career would start to lift off as it has, and I’d be worrying about marketing, Newsletters or launch dates for novel’s and stories.

Thanks for reading! Stay Healthy and Sane!

Follow me on the internet for updates: Social Links

December 2020 Newsletter: Bugs, How Big Can They Get?


Movies/books like Them!, Eight Legged Freaks, Starship Troopers (book and movie), Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series (giant spiders), James and the Giant Peach (book and movie), Empire of the Ants, Invasion of the Bee Girls, the Wasp Woman, The Fly (1958 & 1986), AntMan (not the man in the suit, but there was a giant ant playing the drums) and many others have giant terrifying arthropods.


I know what you are saying, “Jotham, it’s holiday season, where’s the holiday Rabbit hole of Research.” Bah humbug. Lol. Okay, don’t throw any snowballs at me. You want a holiday tie in to giant insects, never fear the internet rabbit hole always delivers: Edmund Gwenn, best known for his role as Santa Claus in the classic Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street, plays Dr. Harold Medford in “Them!”—Now that we have that matter settled, how big can bugs get.

So, I like to think there are three categories of giant bugs in fiction: 1) Human to insect experiment gone wrong—i.e The Fly; 2) assisted evolution (chemical, nuclear fallout, etc accelerates growth): Them! (A-bomb testing in desert), Let The Ants Try, by Frederik Pohl (a great short story combining time travel and giant insects); and 3) giant insects from outer space—Starship Troopers (a great mix of military satire and giant insects, “The only good bug, is a dead bug…”
***
On a personal note, “Let the Ants Try,” originally published in the Winter 1949 issue of Planet Stories, was one of the first science fiction stories I ever read (and no, I’m not that old). It was in an anthology (i couldn’t remember the name) my dad was reading and he thought I’d like the story. I had forgotten about this until writing the newsletter. And the internet never fails: the anthology was edited by Robert Silverberg “Mutants: Eleven stories of science fiction” and yes I ordered it); back to the giant bugs—
***

So, should we be investing in giant fly seater technology or is giant insects just a fiction fantasy? Let’s go down the Rabbit Hole of Research and find out. Click here to read more

Sign up to the newsletter to never miss an issue!

How Big Did You Say That Arthropod Was?

Here are some of the largest Anthropods roaming the Earth today according to the internet

1. giant stick bugs can reach 2 feet long (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phasmatodea)

2. Giant weta, 4 inches long and weighing in at 2.5 ounces, the heaviest insect in the world (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_wētā)

3. Goliath Beetle can grow over 4 inches long and 3.5 ounces (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliathus)

4. Atlas Moths are bird sized insects. They have a wingspan of 1 foot in length. The cocoons of Atlas moths are so large they are used as purses in Taiwan. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attacus_atlas)

5. Tarantula Hawk are wasps that are so large they feed on tarantulas. They are 2 inches long with a stinger that is 9/32 inches and can deliver one of the most painful insect stings in the world. Luckily, they are docile unless disturbed. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarantula_hawk)

6. Giant Burrowing Cockroach, also called the rhinoceros cockroach can grow over 3 inches long. They can live up to 10 years and make good pets. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_burrowing_cockroach)

7. Titan beetle is one of the largest beetles in the world reaching lengths of 6.6 inches long. Know for their short, curved and sharp mandibles that can snap pencils in half and cut into human flesh. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_beetle)

8. Giant water bugs, also know as toe-biters and alligator ticks can reach lengths of 4.5 inches. They get their name because they are known for their powerful bite. In Thailand they are considered good eating, and black lights, which draws in the insects, are used to harvest them. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belostomatidae)

9. Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing is the largest butterfly in the world. It has a wingspan of over 1 foot. It was discovered in 1906 and the first specimens were collected using shotguns. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Alexandra%27s_birdwing)

10. Actaeon Beetle, another giant beetle, can grow to lengths of >5 inches and 1.5 inches thick. It has thick armor and almost no natural predators. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actaeon_beetle)

11. Brazilian salmon pink bird eating tarantula have a leg span of 11 inches, and the largest spider in terms of leg span (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lasiodora_parahybana

12. Goliath bird eater, also in the tarantula family and is the largest spider by mass (6.2 ounces) and up to 5.1 inches in length. Bird-eating derives from an early copper engraving that shows it eating a hummingbird, but they rarely prey on birds. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath_birdeater)

13. Heterometrus swammerdami and the African Imperial Scorpion (both scorpions) have a length up to 11.5 and 9 inches respectively. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterometrus_swammerdami) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_scorpion

14. Archispirostreptus gigas and Scaphistostreptus seychellarum (Millipedes) can reach sizes exceeding 11 inches. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archispirostreptus_gigas) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirostreptus)

15. Horseshoe crabs can grow to 24 inches. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_crab)

16. Coconut Crab are the biggest Anthropod living on land. They can grow up to 3 feet and 9 pounds. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconut_crab)

17. The Japanese spider crab is the biggest Anthropod. It has the advantage of living underwater where it’s weight is supported (more on that later). They have a leg span of 12.1 feet from claw to claw, a body size up to 16 inches and can weigh 42 pounds. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_spider_crab)