I Met the Owner of the Bridge to Nowhere

Last weekend I hiked up to the Bridge to Nowhere. It’s not a fictional bridge created for my book. It’s a real place! The Bridge to Nowhere was built in 1936 and spans the East Fork of the San Gabriel River. It was meant to be part of a road connecting the San Gabriel Valley with the town of Wrightwood. The road was under construction when it was washed out during the great flood of March 1st, 1938. The road project was abandoned due to the floods leaving the completed bridge stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Reaching the bridge these days requires a five-mile hike on a rugged trail climbing over rockslides, granite boulders, darting past prickly Yucca plants, and crossing the San Gabriel River several times.

Once you reach the bridge you might be surprised to find a very active Bungee Jumping operation. This was my third time visiting the bridge but the first time meeting the current owner of the bridge and surrounding area, Dr. Ron Jones.

Ron has operated Bungee America since 1989 which is the only government certified bungee jumping company in California and counts more than 162,000 successful jumps.

I brought a copy of ASTEROIDS – Bridge to Nowhere with me on the hike to take some photos. When I met Ron and learned that he owns the bridge, I joked that I might owe him royalties for using an image of the bridge on the book cover.

He responded that if I gave him a copy of the book, he would call it even! I was happy to give him the copy I’d brought on the hike.

Ron also confirmed there are several old gold mines in the canyon, just as I described in the book, but I doubt any have been converted into something quite like Munday’s Hide-a-way!

If you’d like to schedule a bungee jump visit www.BungeeAmerica.com

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3 Asteroids are Zipping Past Earth Today

Is this the start of something?

Is Earth at Risk?

Almost every week there is news of a new, undiscovered asteroid flying past Earth.

How long until one comes too close?

If a meteor struck Earth, how would it be portrayed in the media?

Would the government invoke the Bliss Protocol like in the book ASTEROIDS to keep the public calm and ignorant?

 

Three asteroids are expected to hurtle past Earth today (Sept. 9). One will pass as near as 310,000 miles (500,000 kilometers) — closer than any potential asteroid near-miss for the next three months.

Asteroid 2019 QZ3 flew by at 6:49 a.m. ET; asteroid 2019 RG2 follows at around 3:13 p.m. ET, and the third, asteroid 2019 QY4, flashes past at 9:10 p.m. ET, the International Business Times reported.

QZ3 is the biggest of the trio, with a diameter of 220 feet (67 meters), while RG2 and QY4, respectively measure approximately 66 feet (20 m) and 52 feet (16 m) in length, according to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

 

Space rocks such as these, known as near-Earth objects (NEOS), are nudged by the gravity of neighboring planets into orbital paths that carry them fairly close to our cosmic address. But “close” in space is a relative term: At the closest point in their passage, all three of today’s asteroid visitors will be farther from Earth than the moon is, according to CNEOS.

RG2 is the fastest asteroid, speeding by at a velocity of nearly 50,000 miles per hour (80,000 kilometers/hour), while QY4 is moving at just over 17,000 mph (27,000 km/h). QZ3 is the slowpoke of the group, at 16,700 mph (26,800 km/h), according to IBT. Though QZ3 is the biggest asteroid, it is also the furthest from Earth, at a distance of approximately 2.3 million miles from our planet, CNEOS reported.

Another asteroid — 2006 QV89 — was previously thought to potentially follow a trajectory that could slam into Earth, with a 1-in-7,299 chance of an impact on Sept. 9. But experts announced in July that the asteroid did not appear in the area of the sky where it would have shown up if it were on a collision course with our planet, representatives with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said in a statement

CNEOS representatives confirmed on Aug. 15 that QV89 was no threat to Earth, and that the asteroid would instead rocket past our planet on Sept. 27 “at a comfortable distance of 4.3 million miles (6.9 million km), about 18 times the distance of the Moon.”

Currently, there are 878 NEOs that demonstrate some risk — however small it might be — of colliding with Earth, according to a list maintained by the European Space Agency (ESA). Of these, the biggest (and second on the list) is asteroid 1979 XB. Measuring about 2,300 feet (700 m) in length and traveling at more than 58,000 mph (93,300 km/h), the massive space rock is expected to come calling on Dec. 14, 2113, ESA reported.

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Astrophysicists: There May Be Black Holes Orbiting Our Sun

Scientists have long speculated that a “planet 9,” in orbit very far from the Sun, could explain why other bodies in our solar system have strange, hard-to-explain orbits.

Now, a pair of astrophysicists are suggesting a strange twist on that idea: that a black hole — or even a number of them — could be orbiting our Sun right now, way beyond Neptune.

This week, a pair of researchers from Durham University and the University of Illinois at Chicago published a paper outlining their theory on the pre-print server arXiv. In it, they suggest that the Sun’s orbit might have captured a free-floating “primordial black hole” — and it, or they, are still out there, circling the solar system.

In ASTEROIDS Bridge to Nowhere an asteroid storm destroys everything that has man built, forcing humankind to move below the surface to survive.

But how is it feasible or believable that an asteroid storm could occur? In writing the book, I had the help of Dr. Joe Nuth of the Goddard Space Flight Center. I sent him the draft of my concept for the cause of an asteroid storm. He told me my idea was completely wrong but was quick to suggest a legitimate cause. The result is what is written in ASTEROIDS.

So, when you read ASTEROIDS Bridge to Nowhere, I hope you find comfort in the knowledge that the asteroid storm destroying life as we know it has a scientific basis. Hint; see news story above.

News story credit: Futurism.com

 


 

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Quarter Finalist – BookLife Prize

ASTEROIDS-Bridge to Nowhere has been selected as a quarter finalist for the BookLife Prize in the Science Fiction category.

Wow. I’m really pleased and humbled that ASTEROIDS got this far.

Hopefully ASTEROIDS will make it to the next round and be named a semi-finalist.

Maybe you should read this book!

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ASTEROIDS – Book Relaunch

I am relaunching ASTEROIDS with the subtitle “Bridge to Nowhere” and the new cover art shown above.

ASTEROIDS was originally published in April 2019 with the subtitle, “Escape from the Arcadians.” The book garnered good reviews and I invested in several advertising and promotional activities, but sales did not gain any traction.

For example, ads on Goodreads had over 45,000 views but attracted only 5 clicks after four months.  Luckily, I paid only for the clicks.  Many times, the advertisements feature the cover artwork and a few words. It’s unfortunate, but the old cliché; people judge a book by its cover, seems to be true.

I felt the cover and subtitle should be more mysterious.  The old cover featured a guy on a motorcycle getting chased and subtitle, Escape from the Arcadians, told you all you needed to know.  A guy gets chased and he escapes. No need to know more. No mystery or intrigue.

I tested the new artwork on Goodreads and received 5 clicks in a few days, so it seems this new cover art will get more attention.

Am I doing this just because I want more sale? Yes, of course! I spent five years working on this book. I can’t just give up. I know I shouldn’t expect too much from my first effort, but I want to give the book the best chance it has at success.

I also believe this is all part of my learning process. I am learning how to write novels and hopefully, how to market them.

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