Thursday, October 6, 2016

Top 10 coolest extinct animals --#10 -#6


Part of writing The Sixth Event involved lots of research into prehistory, and it was hard not to get distracted by reading about all the cool animals that used to roam our world. Here’s a small list of them for everyone to enjoy! The first five will be posted today, and the rest tomorrow!

Some of these animals even made it into the book! Once you read it, see if you can figure out which ones they are—I didn’t always make it obvious. ;)


10. Mammoth 


We all know Mammoths—giant furry elephants. These guys roamed the ice age tundra, and were one of the more recently extinct creatures on this list. They were enormous, and it’s very clear that prehistoric humans hunted them for food as well as for their tusks and hair. In fact, some researchers theorize that ancient human hunters were what ultimately drove the mammoth to extinction. Pour one out for the mammoths—they gave us a lot while they lived.

9. Tiktaalik


Going way back to the Ordovician period, Tiktaalik was one of the earliest animals to crawl out of the sea. In fact, its sometimes called the “fishapod,” since it looked like a fish with legs. One of the transition species between fish and amphibians, if you see a movie or TV show depicting evolution where a fish with legs crawls out of the surf, you’re likely looking at something modeled after Tiktaalik.

8. Terror Bird



Hailing from South America in the Cenozoic, Terror Birds were the terror of their time. Enormous flightless birds, like an ostrich with cruel claws and a hammer beak, Terror Birds were the undisputed top predators for almost 60 million years. They  couldn’t fly, but they didn’t need to—they could be up to 8 feet tall and could run down their prey with ease. They only went extinct as more modern predators—like wolves and big cats--evolved and flourished, competing with them for food.

7. Eohippus


Now for something cuter. Eohippus were tiny little hooved mammals that ate plants and frolicked around forests in North America 50 million years ago. Around the size of a fox and sporting a very small skull, it probably wasn’t a brainiac, but it marked the very first stage in the evolution of what would eventually be a very intelligent, helpful animal to humanity—the horse.

6. Saurolophus 



When I was young, my favorite dinosaurs were “the plant eaters with the long bone on their heads.” I had to look it up, but I discovered the Saurolophus, which roamed the late cretaceous and was apparently very successful, since fossils of the species can be found all over the world. The “long bone” on their heads was a bony crest that could have been used in anything from combat to mating displays. Like all other dinosaurs, these guys died out with the comet that ended the cretaceous.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Songs I listened to while writing



Everyone loves good music, and authors are no exception. While writing, I tend to put on music without words, mostly just enjoying the mood of the music. Since I write sci fi, I listen to a lot of techno, and sometimes anime, game and movie soundtracks.

For now, I’ll share some of the techno songs I listened to while writing The Sixth Event, or ones that just inspired me and gave me the energy to write. There’s also one song with words that sums up The Sixth Event perfectly.

1. Cherry Earth, by The Cynic Project. This is a happy, upbeat techno song that makes me think about the natural world. It’s a hopeful sounding song, contrasting a bit with the thriller-ish aspects of the book, but I still love it.



2. Winterbliss, by cycerin.  This is another pretty upbeat song, but it has the definite undertone of a winter day. It reminds me of the tundra where Raquel and Chris saw the mammoths. It’s also featured in a video game for Xbox called Castle Crashers.

            Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvfF2c1amLY

3. Dance with my pants, by Crazy Rockerz. I cheated a bit since this one has words, which are “I wanna dance with my pants.” It doesn’t really make any sense, but it makes me laugh and its super energetic. It reminds me of Chris, who tries to be humorous all the time.

            Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAKPykZ4Rpo

4. Mission to Venus, by dreamnation. This one is super energetic and makes me think about going on an adventure through spacetime—like the book. I love techno songs that have a lot of bounciness to them.

            Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLXLyn9z_wg

5. Pompeii by Bastille: This one is super obvious. The lyrics fit The Sixth Event to a T. Huge world ending disaster, but its like nothing ever happened (because time reset.) The song itself is referring to the eruption of the volcano that buried the city of Pompeii, with a strong thread of environmental awareness. If The Sixth Event ever gets made into a movie, this song is what I imagine would be in the trailer.

            Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F90Cw4l-8NY

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Giveaway for The Sixth Event!

Hello everyone!

If you have an account on Goodreads, you can enter for a chance to win a signed print copy of The Sixth Event!



 
 


    Goodreads Book Giveaway
 

   

        The Sixth Event by Kristen Morie-Osisek
   

   

     


          The Sixth Event
     
     


          by Kristen Morie-Osisek
     

     

         
            Giveaway ends July 01, 2016.
         
         
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.
         
     
   
   



    Enter Giveaway



Friday, May 20, 2016

The Sixth Event Weeklong Release party: Day 5!


Eighteen-year-old Raquel isn't eighteen anymore...
During Raquel's first semester of college, she witnesses the end of the world, only to wake up in her old room at her parents' house two years in the past. Even worse, it seems she's the only one who remembers—until Chris Lyley, a boy Raquel always thought was a loser, tells her he remembers the catastrophe. 
Before long, they both discover new abilities. They're able to understand any language and teleport through time and space.  If Raquel and Chris can figure out what caused the end of their world, maybe they can stop it.
All week long, I will be visiting other blogs and writing about the book. There will be excerpts, discussion of writing, and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

The schedule, so you can check out previous days as well, is here at bridging the gap promotions!

There's a lot today! We have:


Fanatical Paranormal Romantical - Spotlight
Reading in Sarah's Corner - Spotlight
PNR Book Lover Reviews FB page  - Spotlight
Natural Bri FB Page - Top 10/Fav 5--Don't miss my article on the top 10 coolest extinct animals!
Eskie Mama Reads - Spotlight
ARe Cafe - Spotlight

Be sure to check it out!

Stop by tomorrow for one final release announcement! 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sixth Event Weeklong release party: Day 4!


Eighteen-year-old Raquel isn't eighteen anymore...
During Raquel's first semester of college, she witnesses the end of the world, only to wake up in her old room at her parents' house two years in the past. Even worse, it seems she's the only one who remembers—until Chris Lyley, a boy Raquel always thought was a loser, tells her he remembers the catastrophe. 
Before long, they both discover new abilities. They're able to understand any language and teleport through time and space.  If Raquel and Chris can figure out what caused the end of their world, maybe they can stop it.
All week long, I will be visiting other blogs and writing about the book. There will be excerpts, discussion of writing, and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

The schedule is here at bridging the gap promotions!

For today, we have:

May 19
6 Feet Under Books - Author Interview!
Book Lovers Life - Book Spotlight!

Be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sixth Event weeklong release party: Day 3!

Eighteen-year-old Raquel isn't eighteen anymore...
During Raquel's first semester of college, she witnesses the end of the world, only to wake up in her old room at her parents' house two years in the past. Even worse, it seems she's the only one who remembers—until Chris Lyley, a boy Raquel always thought was a loser, tells her he remembers the catastrophe. 
Before long, they both discover new abilities. They're able to understand any language and teleport through time and space.  If Raquel and Chris can figure out what caused the end of their world, maybe they can stop it.
All week long, I will be visiting other blogs and writing about the book. There will be excerpts, discussion of writing, and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

The schedule is here at bridging the gap promotions!

For today, we have:

Cover to Cover - Book Spotlight!
Natural Bri FB Page - Top 10/Fav 5 post by me!
Reviews by Crystal - Book Spotlight!

Be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sixth Event weeklong release party: Day 2!




Eighteen-year-old Raquel isn't eighteen anymore...
During Raquel's first semester of college, she witnesses the end of the world, only to wake up in her old room at her parents' house two years in the past. Even worse, it seems she's the only one who remembers—until Chris Lyley, a boy Raquel always thought was a loser, tells her he remembers the catastrophe. 
Before long, they both discover new abilities. They're able to understand any language and teleport through time and space.  If Raquel and Chris can figure out what caused the end of their world, maybe they can stop it.
All week long, I will be visiting other blogs and writing about the book. There will be excerpts, discussion of writing, and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

The schedule is here at bridging the gap promotions!

For today, we have:

An author interview at Passion for Romance!


Be sure to check it out!

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Sixth Event--weeklong release party!

Hello everyone!

The Sixth Event is out!

Eighteen-year-old Raquel isn't eighteen anymore...
During Raquel's first semester of college, she witnesses the end of the world, only to wake up in her old room at her parents' house two years in the past. Even worse, it seems she's the only one who remembers—until Chris Lyley, a boy Raquel always thought was a loser, tells her he remembers the catastrophe. 
Before long, they both discover new abilities. They're able to understand any language and teleport through time and space.  If Raquel and Chris can figure out what caused the end of their world, maybe they can stop it.
All week long, I will be visiting other blogs and writing about the book. There will be excerpts, discussion of writing, and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

The schedule is here at bridging the gap promotions!

For today, we have:

Queen of All She Reads  A guest post by me!
 Book Banshee  A quick playlist of songs I listened to while writing!
My Book and My Coffee  A book spotlight!


Be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Sixth Event: Cover reveal!

I've got the cover for my upcoming book, The Sixth Event! 

Eighteen year old Raquel isn't eighteen anymore.

During her first semester of college, Raquel witnesses the end of the world. Ash falls from a green sky, birds die at her feet, and falling rocks crush her. Then she wakes up back at home in her sixteen year old body. She is haunted by the destruction she saw and is disturbed even more when she realizes no one else has any memory of what happened.

But then Chris Lyley, a boy Raquel always ignored in high school, tells her he remembers the catastrophe too. Mysteriously able to understand any language and teleport through time and space, Raquel and Chris set out to find others like them who remember the end of the world. After finding people from nearly every continent, they decide to try and figure out what happened. By traveling back in time to view the five major extinction events throughout Earth’s history, from the death of the dinosaurs to the time all the life in ancient seas perished, they hope to get an answer.

They know that their world will end in two years. If they can find a disaster from the past that matches what they saw in the future, maybe they can use the second chance they've been given to try and stop the sixth major extinction event. 

The Sixth Event will be released on May 13th!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Sixth Event: Road to publication

Before any release, its fun to talk about the road to getting published. With all the ways to get your writing out there today, each story is a little different. 

No publication happens without rejection first. The first version of The Sixth Event was shorter--much shorter, at 55k words, and paced like a break-neck thriller. I got a whole lot of agent interest, but ultimately, everyone passed. 

In the meantime, I send out the story to beta readers, and fleshed out the book itself. It went from 55k to 73k as I added in more characterization and expanded on the story, and slowed down the pacing a bit. From there, I tried querying agents again, but the interest from before seemed to have dried up. The market had shifted, as far as I could tell, and a few agents even told me the concept sounded cool but that SF was played out. Soon enough I stopped getting requests, as well, and I figured it was time to move on from agents. My beta readers had been positive enough that I knew the book would find a home. 

I never believe that an entire market could be played out, and even if agents weren't biting, small presses might. I tried one or two small ones, and while I did I submitted a pitch to a twitter pitch party, called Pit2Pub. The tweet was 

"#Pit2pub After time traveling to the five major extinction events, Raquel must use the information she finds to stop the sixth #YA #SF"

It was a quick, concise pitch, and got me 14 favorites from various small presses. After researching them all, I opted to submit to Evernight Teen first. They responded with an acceptance in less than two weeks, on February 13th. 

Three months later, on May 13th, the book will be released. It's a fast turnaround time, certainly! But I can't complain. And the cover is perfect! Don't worry--it will be revealed tomorrow!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Extinct animal of the day: Dimetrodon




Long before the dinosaurs, there was a genus of animals called Synapsids. They weren’t dinosaurs, or even reptiles, despite their appearance—they were more closely related to mammals of today.

The largest and most iconic Synapsid was dimetrodon, the enormous lizard-looking creature with a sail on its back. It roamed the ancient United States during the Permian period, over 250 millions years ago. It was the top predator of its time, feeding on fish and small reptiles. Their size ranged anywhere from 5 feet to nearly 18 feet in the largest species, and they could weigh between 60 and 550 pounds. Their teeth were uniquely shaped like teardrops.



Of course, the most unique aspect of these creatures was their enormous sail. Researchers disagree on what function this sail served—some say it was for display purposes for finding mates, while others argue that it was meant to help the animal regulate its body heat. Since Dimetrodon was a proto-mammal, not a mammal like we know today, the sail could be thought of as a sort of primitive way of being warm-blooded.

If the largest extinction event of all time had not happened, life on Earth would have been very different—these synapsids would have continued evolving, and the age of dinosaurs may never have happened. It’s fascinating to consider that our mammalian ancestors had such a good start before a disaster wiped them out for a while, leaving another genus to evolve in their place. In The Sixth Event, I portrayed these ancient ancestors of ours as pretty intelligent—but of course, there’s no way to tell what sort of behaviors they really had. Unfortunately, mysteries of a creature that lived 250 million years ago tend to stay buried.  


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Extinct animal of the day: Quetzalcoatlus




From the time of the dinosaurs comes the largest pterasaur of all: Quetzalcoatlus. The name sounds like Quetzalcoatl, the feathered god from Mesoamerica, and there's a reason for that. 

This animal was enormous, and was the largest flying animal to have ever lived. It had the largest wingspan of any pterasaur in history, and that naturally puts it far above any bird alive today. Wingspans from observed fossils range between 40 and 50 feet. For reference, bald eagles have a wingspan of about 8 feet, and the largest bird living today, the wandering albatross, has a wingspan of about 11 feet. Quetzalcoatlus was around the size of an F-16 jet. 



For all that size, though, little is known about how it lived, or even if it could fly. Something that large would have a hard time getting off the ground, and since it roamed the planet around the time of the cretaceous, there’s little evidence to be gleaned about its actual behaviors. It may have had to run to achieve liftoff, much like a jet taxiing down a runway.

It's also debatable how it hunted. Some researchers think it was a terrestrial scavenger, feeding off dead animals. Others think it had fast, agile flight, and would skim fish from the seas with its enormous beak. Others think it was a slow flyer, relying on air currents to get airborne, and would glide as high as 15000 feet over vast distances, much like an extreme version of albatrosses today.

In the Sixth Event, the characters have a run-in with a group of Quetzalcoatlus, and they observed these animals using a very unique hunting pattern! It’s quite fun to look at research and imagine how such a creature may have hunted and fed.

So if this animal was so powerful, what made them go extinct? The same thing that made all of the dinosaurs go extinct—the meteor impact event at the end of the cretaceous. But bones from these pterosaurs can still be found, and as we discover more, we can infer more about how they lived and what the time of the dinosaurs may have been like.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Periods of Prehistory: Hadean



 No book featuring time-travel into prehistory is complete without a basic understanding of how the Earth has changed over its 4.5 billion year lifespan. Today, we’re going to talk about the earliest epoch in Earth’s history—the Hadean!


In case the name didn’t give it away, the Hadean was not a particularly fun place to be. Long before life, and after the Earth formed out of a swirling mass of rock and stardust in the milky way, the surface was formed of a mix of molten rock and magma as volcanism was constant.  The earth was forming, so heavier elements, like iron, sank down and became the Earth’s core, while lighter ones like silica began to form the crust. Gases, like hydrogen and methane, escaped into space, because there wasn’t much of an atmosphere.

And of course, the Earth was being constantly bombarded by meteorites and debris. Getting hit by huge comets is thankfully rare nowadays, but back then it was common enough to contribute to the Earth’s very structure. Water ferried along by comets boiled as it hit the ultra-hot Earth, and eventually this formed an atmosphere made up of steam.

This was all around 4.5 billon years ago, when another very important comet hit Earth. Only this wasn’t a comet—it was a planetoid the size of Mars, called Theia. The resulting strike looked a little like this:



The result? The moon!

Indeed, the moon is thought to be formed out of a combination of bits of Earth ripped off the early forming Earth and the remnants of the planetoid that struck it. The moon is closer to home than we think.

The Hadean closed out when the constant impacts began to slow and the volcanism cooled down. With the cooling came the falling of the steam atmosphere as rain, forming the oceans. Plate tectonics, or the movement of the continents, began, and the Earth’s crust finished forming, with the earliest rocks like granite and quartz. And according to a few researchers, a few proteins began to coalesce, forming the precursors to life. 

No one from the Sixth Event visits the Hadean--that would be a very short trip. But knowing a little about the earliest Earth is still fascinating. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Opportunity at Evernight Teen!




My book isn't released just yet, but there are plenty of other great books by talented authors over at Evernight Teen! Check out the promotion, find some new authors, and get entered for a prize!


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Extinct Animal of the day: Mammoth


Characters in The Sixth Event travel through time--and the first thing they see that convinces them of that fact is the Woolly Mammoth.

Mammoths roamed during the ice age, and evolved about six million years ago when they diverged from their closest (still living) cousin, the Asian elephant. Mammoths only went extinct about ten thousand years ago, during the end of the last ice age, when most of the megafauna (aka large animals) in North America and Europe went extinct. The last continent where megafauna can be found is Africa--think giraffes, rhinos and hippos.

We definitely hunted mammoth as we spread across Europe and North America, and some researchers think human overhunting was the reason mammoths went extinct. Others say that it was the warming accompanying the end of the ice age that sounded the mammoth's death knell. Either way, mammoths were a magnificent animal, one of the largest land mammals in history, and are emblematic of the period of prehistory just before humans rose to power.

There is, strangely, hope for mammoths, in a way. We've sequenced the entire mammoth genome. If our technology advances enough, cloning a mammoth is not outside the realm of possibility.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sources of ideas--origin story for The Sixth Event

Writers don't write in a vacuum. Ideas have to come out of something--exposure to other people's works, tv shows, life experiences, or information about the world. Although, I suppose one could claim an idea came out of nothing if you were inspired by the idea of black holes, but the point still stands.

My upcoming book, The Sixth Event, was inspired by a story I wrote in college, which was itself inspired by a book I read as a child. I don't remember the name of the book, or even if it was a book or a short story. The passage I remember is a boy traveled back in time to kindergarten, and his mother was amazed that he could tie his shoes. That idea--of someone traveling back in time to a point in their childhood, but with all their memories intact--stayed with me for years.

The other inspiration for The Sixth Event came from my fascination with geology and the natural world. Human history is fascinating, but we are a small blip on geologic timescales. From the formation of the Earth when it was a swirling mass of magma, up to the last major ice age where we evolved, life has come and gone on a planet that only sometimes resembles the planet as it is now. I wanted a story to acknowledge that, and to acknowledge how much there is to learn about 4.5 billion years of Earth's history--and the history of life on the planet. Knowing what came before can help us figure out what may happen next, especially as we change our own world and head into a new future shaped by climate change. That is what makes humans truly unique out of all of the species that have come and gone before us--we shaped our own world. Hopefully it will turn out for the best.