Friday, March 9, 2012

Arctic Fire and Catalyst by Paul Byers

Catalyst - A World War II ThrillerArctic Fire

Act of God

Action...      Adventure...    Mystery....    Intrigue...    Suspense...

About the Book:

Wealthy entrepreneur Nigel Cain has devised an efficient new way to bring the earth's most precious resource - clean water - to the masses by transporting massive man-made icebergs from the frigid arctic and delivering them literally to the doorsteps of millions. Gabriel Pike works in a small engineering firm that has been handed the chance of a lifetime - they have been chosen to give the final safety approval to pilot the gigantic block of ice into New York harbor. 

A consummate showman, Cain has built a fabulous 5-Star hotel and casino high atop the iceberg so his celebrity guests and media elite can cover this news-breaking event from beginning to the end. Pike is whisked away and dumped in the lap of luxury where he is expected by all too simply rubber-stamp his inspection. 

A brutal winter storms ravages the iceberg and only through Pike's quick thinking are they able to survive. But the storm reveals more than Pike's ability to think on his feet, he makes some disturbing discoveries and has serious doubts about the safety or the real intentions of the project. A grisly double homicide on the ice puts the inspections on the back burner and Pike's life is suddenly spiraling out of control as he is accused of being the jealous murderer in a lover's triangle. 

But Pike soon discovers that there is far more than just his life on the line. He uncovers a conspiracy more heinous than anything he could have imagined - a plot that will level a city, change the political face of America and whose shockwaves will be felt around the world. Now, if only he can only survive long enough to stop it.

About the Author:

Image of Paul Byers

Paul grew up in Oregon on the shores of the mighty and mysterious Columbia River, and spent endless hours daydreaming on the beach in front of his house, making up stories about the ships from exotic ports all over the world that steamed up the river – what secret cargo might they be carrying; did they harbor spies who were on dark and exciting missions?

Later in adult life, he moved to another mysterious and provocative city – Las Vegas, just outside the famous Nellis Air Force base.  After work he would sit on his porch and watch the fighters take off and land, igniting his imagination with visions of secret missions and rich speculation about what could possibly be hidden at Area 51.

After moving back to his native Pacific Northwest, Paul worked for the Navy and took every opportunity he could to speak with veterans from WWII to the Gulf War, listening to them swap stories and relate the experiences of a lifetime.

So it is this combination of a passionate love of history, a vivid “what if” imagination, and a philosophy of life that boils down to the belief that – there are few things in life that a bigger hammer won’t fix – that led Paul to become a writer of exciting, fact-based action-thrillers.  His greatest joy is leaving his readers wondering where the facts end and the fiction begins.

Guest Post by Paul Byers

Where do they come up with this stuff?

“Hurry, hurry step right up ladies and gentlemen. What I have here in this little bottle will cure all your ills. Feeling tired, depressed? Why just take two of these little gems and in the morning you’ll feel like a new man. You there, young lady in the front row, tired of slaving over laundry that just won’t come clean? Just take two of these pills, grind them up and put them in your soapy water and presto! Your whites are white and your colors are more beautiful than a spring morning!” (these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA for accuracy)

With claims like these, it is buyer beware and you had better do your research, and in this day and age, research is easier than ever with the internet.

While research is important to help you save money in everyday living, it’s also essential in getting your facts straight in a book. To most people, “doing research” sounds dull and boring, but it can be both fun and interesting. And who knows, if you ever get to be on Jeopardy, you could win your fame and fortune. “For the Daily Double, what sank the Titanic?”                                               
 “Yes Alex, and the answer would be, what is the curse of the mummy?”

And now you’re asking yourself, Titanic, curse of the mummy?  Bet you didn’t know that huh? As with most tragedies, there are those who don’t accept things at face value. While doing research for Arctic Fire, I came across some very interesting theories of how the great ship sank other than the accepted iceberg story.

They range from an insurance scam where the White Star Line, owners of the Titanic, switched her identity to her damaged sister ship, the Olympic. The plot was to sink the damaged ship and collect the insurance money rather than spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to repair her.

Another, more sinister theory reads like a great Dan Brown novel. The Jesuits, an order of the Catholic Church, wanted to set up their own world banking system (the Federal Reserve) and they got those who were opposed to their idea on board the Titanic so that their opposition would go down along with the ship. The Federal Reserve was installed in 1913, one year and eight months after the Titanic sank.

My personal favorite theory of what happened, what really doomed the famous luxury line was…the curse of the mummy! The story goes that four Englishmen dug up the tomb around 1890 and immediately bad things happened to all four of them. The mummy was eventually donated to the British Museum and strange things also started to happen there as soon as it arrived. After some time, an American businessman bought the mummy and smuggled it aboard the ship because he knew the ship’s owners wouldn’t allow it onboard because of its history. He was later overheard in the ship’s lounge bragging about his little smugglers feat… the next night the ship sank.

But all information gained doesn’t boarder on the bizarre or dwell in the dark shadows of conspiracy theories. Some of it, while being interesting is also thought provoking.  Again, working on Arctic Fire, part of the premise for the book is about the present and not too distant future water shortages that are not only happening around the world but here in the US as well.

Interesting facts about water:

An average person in India uses 14 gallons per day. An average American uses 132 gallons. It takes approximately one gallon of water to process a quarter pound of hamburger. It takes 24 gallons to make one pound of plastic. We use 101 gallons to make one pound of wool or cotton and it takes a whopping 62,600 gallons to produce one ton of steel.

While interesting, some of these facts are also disturbing. Today, Lake Mead, just outside Las Vegas, Nevada is at 1,112 feet above sea level. Should the water levels fall to 1,075 feet, the federal government would cut the water to seven states that depend on the Colorado River.

If the drought persists and more water is diverted from the Colorado, the lake could drop to 1,050 feet. That would prevent water from flowing into the intake pipe and cut 40 percent of Las Vegas’s supply and wouldn’t be able to produce electricity for the 750,000 people it supplies in Los Angeles. At 1,000 feet, the remaining intakes and the rest of the Lake Mead water would go.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, take a look at my website link at the end of this article and go to the Arctic Fire tab, there you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

Not all research is mysterious or earth shaking, some of the information I come across is interesting and makes you go huh, I didn’t know that. For instance, while doing some research for Act of God, a collection of short stories, I came upon some unusual facts.

Did you know that the Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo Moon Missions (approximately 6% of Americans today still think the moon landings were faked) stands well over 350 feet high and weighs and amazing 5-6 million pounds. The average car weighs about 4000 pounds, (another interesting fact) so that’s like launching 1250 cars into orbit at once! I wonder what kind of deductible you need for space travel?

Another story from Act of God involves a nuclear powered submarine. We’ve all seen the WWII movies where the captain calls out, “Up periscope.” He flips down the handles and in a dramatic scene leans into the scope to see the enemy ship. Well, those days are gone.

On the newest of the American attack class submarines, the periscope is a thing of the past. Now, they see through a series of cameras and watch it all unfold on large computer monitors throughout the control room. Boy, talk about your ultimate video game!

As Indiana Jones knows, not all research is so clinic as thumbing through books or starting at a monitor while surfing the internet, some of it is just plain fun! My WWII spy thriller, Catalyst has a lot of aerial combat scenes in it and I was fortunate enough to be able take an incredible ride in one of the few remaining flyable B-17 Flying Fortress WWII bombers.

Being an aviation buff, this was particularly exciting for me. Once in the air, we were able to move about and I scampered over every inch of that plane from manning the top gun shooting down imaginary Me 109’s to sitting in the bombardiers’ seat looking through the top secret Norden bombsite. The bombsite was considered such an import and top secret weapon, that the bombardiers were sworn to protect it with their very lives.

Whether spending 15 minutes to do research can really save you on your car insurance or not is up to you, but it can save you money from buying that “miracle” snake oil product that claims to do everything. And research definitely makes reading more informative and fun.

I challenge you here to do a little research on your own. Many of us have heard the term “snake oil” before but I bet you didn’t know where it came from. Google, “Term snake oil” and see what you come up with!
In doing my research, I not only try to entertain the reader but to give them something to think about by blending research facts into my stories. My ultimate goal is to leave the reader wondering where the facts end and the imagination begins.

To learn more about Paul and his books, you can visit him at his website at

Or friend him on Face Book

Paul's books are available at Amazon:

        I am very busy these days with the ever-growing stack of books I need to read for reviews. But, there are so many good books out there waiting to be read that I decided to feature books without my review on my site. I have done a little research on each book and found it worthy of being included in this new feature on my blog (worthy according to “Lucy”- meaning I would review the book if my pile were not so high.) The author’s are anxiously awaiting reviews, so if you see a book that captures your fancy, please feel free to contact the author and let them know that you would like to review the book.

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  1. Hi! great giveaway
    I follow you via GFC as Ruth Benitez
    (email: rbenibooks(at)gmail(dot)com


  2. You did a great review here...and a great giveaway too


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