Thursday, June 29, 2017

To poison, or not to poison, that could be the question.

   Looking for a different way to kill off a character in your book? How about tetrodotoxin. It's more toxic than cyanide, and can enter the body of the victim by ingestion, injection, inhalation, or through abraded skin. 
   Tetrodotoxin (TTX), a potent neurotoxin, derives its name from Tetraodontiformes, an order that includes pufferfish, porcupinefish, ocean sunfish, and
triggerfish; Also found in several other
aquatic animals such
as the blue-ringed octopuses, rough-skinned newts, and moon snails.

Moon Snails! How could a critter that sounds so cute be so deadly. 

   The mechanism of toxicity is through the blockage of fast voltage-gated sodium channels, which are required for the normal transmission of signals between the body and brain. As a result, TTX causes loss of sensation, and paralysis of voluntary muscles including the diaphragm and intercostal muscles, stopping breathing.

The therapeutic use of puffer fish (tetraodon) eggs is mentioned in the first Chinese pharmacopoeia. The Book of Herbs   
  The first recorded cases of TTX poisoning affecting
Westerners are from the logs of Captain James Cook from September 7, 1774.

   On that date Cook recorded his crew eating some
local tropic fish (pufferfish), then feeding the remains to the pigs kept on board. 
   The crew experienced numbness and shortness of breath, while the pigs were all found dead the next morning. In hindsight, it is clear that the crew survived a mild dose of tetrodotoxin, while the pigs ate the pufferfish body parts that contain most of the toxin, thus being fatally poisoned.

     For your reference, symptoms typically develop within 30 minutes of ingestion, but may be delayed
by up to four hours; however, if the dose is fatal, symptoms are usually present within 17 minutes of ingestion. 
 The tingling, prickling, or burning numbness of the lips and tongue is followed by developing, hypersalivation, sweating, headache, weakness, lethargy, incoordination, tremor, paralysis, cyanosis, aphonia (inability to speak), dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), and seizures. 

   The gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal
pain. There is increasing respiratory distress, speech is affected and paralysis increases, leading to convulsions, mental impairment, and cardiac arrhythmia. 

  Does your Villain have revenge in mind? TTX would seem the perfect poison. Although completely paralyzed, your victim may be conscious and in some cases completely lucid until shortly before death, which generally occurs within 4 to 6 hours (range ~20 minutes to ~8 hours). 

   If your character survives 24 hours, recovery without any residual effects will usually occur over a few days.

   To save your hero, should he/she be poisoned, assure airway support, or if ingested, treatment would be to empty the stomach, and feed the victim activated charcoal to bind the toxin. 

   Forensic detection may be a concern or a help depending on whether you are the villain or the hero of the story. Tetrodotoxin may be quantified in serum,
whole blood or urine to confirm a diagnosis of poisoning. And can be found using mass spectrometric detection following gas or liquid chromatographic separation.

   The use of tetrodotoxin as a plot device for characters to fake death, or ambitious evil-does to cause death has been used in several books and films. But I'm sure your creativity can give it a new twist, and your mad scientist can find someway to refine its use, or your hero will find an antidote.   

                           Happy writing...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Thank you Still Moments Magazine for the beautiful Ad/Promo.

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     Iron Heart  5 stars / Medieval Chronicles.
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Friday, June 2, 2017

A Cowboy's Fate-Five stars from Net Galley

A new beginning,
that's just what Britannia needed.
Even the Tarot cards agreed. 

 A Cowboy's Fate
Available now only $3.99

  When East End London 
                           meets the Wild West, 
                                 sparks fly.
         5 stars/ Still Moments Magazine 
          5 stars/ Patricia @ NetGalley
  Colorado, 1880    
Kicked out of England for offending the Royal Family, Britania Rule heads for Leadville, in the Colorado backcountry. Passing herself off as a highborn lady, she pursues her dream of opening a parlor of spiritual enlightenment.

 Cody James, her guide, thinks he must be half-
crazy to hire-out to a female. But his luck at the gaming tables has run dry, and she’s his meal-ticket out of town. Betrayed by the only woman he ever loved, and shot and left for dead by a man he once called friend, Cody declares himself a loner.
     Traveling side by side, they deny their desire for one another, but the Tarot cards say otherwise—and their hot night of passion confirms the prediction. Will love be waiting at the end of the trail? Or could Cody’s past destroy their future?


              #fivestarwesternromance #tarotcardromance              #resourcefulheroine #tarotcardsandbullets

Patricia n, @ NetGalley said
   “A Cowboys Fate,” by Gini Rifkin is a fast-paced tale set in Colorado in the late 1880’s. Britania Rule had been deported from England after a misunderstanding of accusing the Queen’s nephew of being Jack the Ripper, and given the choices of her future destination, she accepts her fate and travels to Boston.  Britania has full faith in her abilities to read her cards and accept her fate, so when the cards tell her that her success lies in the town of Leadville, Colorado she seeks out an experienced guide to take her to her destination.  Cody James is a man who plays to win and due to circumstances in his past, he is a man on a mission to right the wrongs he experienced at the hands of his ex-partner.  Cody agrees to get Britania to Leadville, but he had no idea how much this trip would change his life.  Britania and Cody must fight for their burgeoning love affair against a force of evil that may be the death of them.  I was given this book to read by the author in exchange for an honest review.