News from Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Aliens and Killer Wasps

There’s more than one way to kill a Protagonist.
It had been a couple of months since I’d finished my romance novel, Maddie’s Choice—coming out later this year from Coffeetown Press—and I was casting about for ideas for my next book. A member of my writer’s group was a naturalist and an entomologist who spent most of his time in the woods, and each week he’d read about what he’d learned. He told about a South American wasp whose venom was so lethal one drop could put a human into a coma. There was no antidote. The Department of Defense had been trying to copy this venom for years to use it as a weapon.
Wasp’s do not eat dead food. They paralyze their victims and keep them alive in the nest until they get hungry. Sounded like a murder mystery to me, but killing by hypo is pretty boring.
But wait. What if the killer was not human? Maybe she’s a beautiful woman, part wasp, who killed by injecting victims with poison stored under her fingernails? An alien, maybe, but why is she here? She’s been sent to Earth to destroy another alien—a plant who looks like a man, my alien, Daniel. He was a seedpod, now hatched, and left behind by mistake by an exploring party from the planet Agra, a world inhabited entirely by intelligent plants that have learned to clone human-like beings that are capable of doing labor. He’s roaming around and he must be destroyed before the humans catch on. Aine is physically a plant, but she looks human and she’s been sent to kill him.
I decided that her weapons, all made from natural earth-borne plant or mammal DNA.  A swamp plant, duckweed, makes it possible to inflate her cells and become airborne. She has a lethal electric charge from an Amazon River eel. For the heck of it, let’s give her a set of human female hormones so she falls in love with her target, Daniel.
I’m an aromatherapist so I used that knowledge to make Daniel a natural healer. To protect himself, he can duplicate DNA from any thing living and become that thing. He changes his shape at will into an insect, a bush, a bird or, a wolf.
I’m off and running. I’ve got a superwoman female assassin who loves to kill, a gorgeous man who can’t harm anything unless he becomes murderously angry. Throw in some gangsters who become the dirty guys, indulging in human trafficking. set the book in Las Vegas, where Daniel learns how to play Texas Hold’em. add some confused detectives who are suddenly surrounded by maybe dead bodies, and rumors of werewolves. All this while Daniel is trying to make sense of human behavior, which is the most illogical, confusing mystery he can imagine.  He concludes that Earth would be paradise without the humans.  Daniel is a peaceful person until he gets very angry, which happens. He slips into killer mode determined to destroy the criminal element in his town. To do this he must change into some lethal creature, but what?
I admit the search for the must deadly living thing was a hoot.  Top of the list is a tiny frog, about two inches long, the Yellow Dart Frog from South America. Its skin is so toxic that to touch it means instant death to any human.  There’s a beetle in New Guinea whose bite brings death instantly. Clearly, those two won’t work. Being attacked by a tiny frog or a beetle is not scary enough.  I needed something terrifying enough for anyone. I settled on the Indian Taipan, the world’s most deadly snake.
Offing that gang of murderers was most satisfying.
Accidental Alien is an e-book available on Amazon.

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