History of Jur

The Jur novels came about during slow night shifts in France. Around 1965 I was a squad leader for a bunch of Army MPs in Southern France. At night, while working the desk and my patrols were keeping law and order, to pass the time I created plots and characters attempting to write fiction. Nothing became of my interest in writing until 1970, after a tour in the jungle of Vietnam, and those plots came back to me. I wrote the first two novels during that year, and sent the first to publishers. Basically, my main characters were an Army Green Beret and a French archaeologist, who accidentally fall through a time tunnel to the Jurassic Period. When the first novel didn’t go anywhere I set the manuscripts aside. James Reasoner suggested I change the Green Beret and set the beginning after the Stock Market Crash of ’29. The rest is history. The sequence of the novels are: “Jur: A Story of Pre Dawn Earth”, “Savage Land of Jur”, “Lost Land of Jur”, “Queen of Jur”, “Treasure of Jur”, and “Drums of Jur”. "Pangaea: Eden's Planet" actually takes place in the Permian Period, prior to the Jurassic, but it is the story that truly begins the JUR series.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Eden's Planet Concept

Pangaea: Eden’s Planet

Pangaea: Eden’s Planet was a concept I came up with several years ago while looking for a possible book proposal to submit to Hollywood Studios. Yes, I’ve submitted several proposals without success yet, but I keep trying. I’ve actually gone through two agents that were not hungry enough to sell my books to Hollywood. Basically, Pangaea: Eden’s Planet is a character-driven novel and focuses on seven astronauts on a mission to Mars to begin a terra-farming project after a nuclear war on Earth. But problems arise when they enter a space anomaly that disables their ship, sending them back in time. The planet’s gravity pulls them back to Earth, where they crash land on an alien world 250 million years in the past. Their mission now turns into a survival situation, as fierce reptiles of the Permian Period, as well as explosive nature, endangers their very lives.

The seven astronauts are scientists in special fields that will be needed to fulfill their mission on Mars. This includes Colonel Evelyn Peterson and Major Adam Cooper, the pilots of Galileo Two; Colonel Peterson is the leader of the mission, the major is her second in command.  I gave each character individual personalities. The subplot was a romance building between Peterson and Cooper. When I first conceived the story, Evelyn was black and Cooper white, which I figured would be one of the problems keeping them apart, but later I changed my mind about pursuing this element of the story, and dropped all reference to her race. After all, her responsibility of keeping those under her command alive in a harsh environment is concern enough. Besides, in the 21st Century race should no longer be a stumbling block to romance.

My love of biology and study of paleontology and other zoological areas of science has always been a driving force in my writing. In Pangaea: Eden’s Planet, I fill my world with known creatures from the period, as well as a few from my own imagination. Sixty million years before the dawn of the dinosaurs, there were still predators as menacing as T-Rex. Colonel Peterson and Major Cooper were the only ones armed, and that consisted of small caliber pistols, each holding 15-round clips of ammunitions, and they were faced by incredible odds. Their survival would require ingenuity and fearlessness. We have seven people alone in a world of fierce reptiles, volcanic activity, and danger from the heavens.  But yet love will also find a way.

Readers that enjoy a story with action and danger, with a light touch of romantic tease will find Pangaea: Eden’s Planet a work of fiction both entertaining and, hopefully, memorable. There is drama and humor as the characters face each situation, good and bad, with the knowledge that life or death could be ahead of them. Their survival may depend on their next action. You will find laughter at times, and cry at others, but I believe you will come to know and love the characters, whatever their faults might be. Happy reading.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pangaea Now Available At ARE

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Pangaea: Eden's Planet
By: Tom Johnson | Other books by Tom Johnson
Published By: First Realm Publishing
ISBN # 9781497340749

Word Count: 50400
Heat Index  
Available in: N/A

About the book
NOTE: This is a previously published work. The title, author, and/or publisher may have changed.

A Love Story, 250 Million Years In The Making

Seven astronauts en route to Mars encounter a time warp in space that disables their ship. Crash landing on Earth, they discover an alien planet sixty million years before the dinosaurs. Pangaea, the super continent, is filled with danger and terror, as they must survive against fierce reptiles that ruled the Earth 250 million years in the past!

An excerpt from the book
Just as they thought they had reached the safety of the desert a giant Gorgon, fully twelve feet in length came out of nowhere, its long saber tooth-like tusks reaching for them. The colonel and Cooper had already holstered their guns in order to run unhampered, and the creature was upon them before either could draw their weapon.

Manning smiled. “Everyone has a purpose.” Without hesitation, he stepped between the monster and his shipmates.

Pangaea: Eden’s Planet Reviews:

Jaime J for Platinum Book Reviews 4-Stars

“Original, Well Written, And Thoroughly Researched.”

This book absolutely surprised me. I was thinking it was going to be your run of the mill, done a million times, sci-fi space exploration...but boy was I wrong. This book was very original, well written, and thoroughly researched. The characters were a perfect blend of different personalities, all having "quirks" to make them relate-able to the reader. Each individual was picked for their different skills to help on this mission, and they were all perfect in the role they played. I was eagerly turning the pages to learn what "new" findings greeted the group each day of exploration. The detail the author put into these prehistoric findings was exceptional and articulate. The interactions between the characters, had me laughing out loud at times, and certain situations left me broken hearted. By time I made it to the end of the book, I was hoping that it was going to lead into another to be released in the future. Tom didn't actually say it wasn't, but I was very pleased that he gave me closure and insight as to what happened in the following years for the characters.

Lototy Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance Rating 4-Stars

“An Adventure Like No Other.”

Colonel Evelyn Peterson is ready for the commission of a lifetime. Her career is a testament to years of hard work and dedication, and the trip to Mars is just one more feather in her cap. She will be among the first to build a living community on an alien planet.

Major Adam Cooper is second in command to the Colonel. His respect and admiration for her is absolute, and if he drives her a little nuts, it just keeps her on her toes. He would give his life for his crew mates, and there is no question in his mind that the Colonel would do the same.

Colonel Peterson and her crew set off on an adventure like no other. They are to set up a bio-dome on Mars, and start a terra forming project. However the mission quickly becomes one of survival on a planet so alien that it barely resembles Earth. The ship and its crew are swept back in time to the Permian Period of the Paleozoic Era; which is approximately 250 million years in the past. Colonel Peterson and Major Cooper along with their five crew mates fight for their lives against a primordial planet and its inhabitants. Humans may be the highest on the evolutionary ladder, but nature has a way of evening out the playing field. Does the crew have any hope of survival? Or will they become just another species to fall victim to the great extinction?

This story has such a fascinating concept, I was enthralled from the very beginning. If you are at all interested in prehistoric Earth, this is a fantastic fictional read. Mr. Johnson gives life to prehistoric Earth with amazing detail. His descriptions of plant and animal life, as well as the geographical layout makes the story come to life for the reader. From the scorching desert to the steaming swamps each page is loaded with an eye for detail. The characters are also fully developed, and have a great diversity of personality. I fully enjoyed this story, and hope that Mr. Johnson has many more to come.

Terry Roberts TRobertsReview@aol.com Rating 5-Stars

“A Fascinating Tale of Survival.”

After a devastating nuclear war, NASA selects seven special astronauts for a mission to Mars; America hopes to begin a terra-farming project on the red planet to bring life back to our neighboring world. Earth is slowly dying from the radioactive effects of the war, and we will need to eventually leave for a fresh start elsewhere.

Colonel Evelyn Peterson and Major Adam Cooper pilot the Galileo Two, with their five teammates, each a scientist in their own field. But things go drastically wrong from the start, as they encounter a space anomaly that damages their ship and sends them falling back to Earth. To their dismay, they discover it is a world alien to the one they just left. Somehow they’ve traveled back in time 250 million years, and the planet they once called home is now teaming with ferocious reptiles and volcanic danger that might yet destroy them.

This was a fascinating tale of survival that gives us a glimpse of our world’s past. The Permian Period was 60-million years before the dinosaurs, yet had reptile predators just as menacing and deadly as T-Rex. It’s also a love story, as two people slowly realize they’ve been fighting against their own feelings from the beginning, only to discover their love in the end.

Rhoda E’Torre Author of Goin' Postal & The Creek 4-Stars:

“An Entertaining Read.”

This is a well written sci-fi with a romantic twist.  Pangaea: Eden's Planet can greatly appeal to those who may not normally read sci-fi.  A NASA crew in our near future heads for a trip to Mars but soon finds themselves diverted to a strange world--a world 250 million years in the past. The story line is well written, the characters interact with distinct personalities, and although a sci-fi, it is not bogged down with technical terms that could distract or confuse some readers.  The flow is good, there are no grammar mistakes or typos, and there are no obvious repetitive words or statements.  With great lines such as, "his face a mask of excruciating pain", the reader is able to imagine the scene without endless pages of description.  This is certainly an entertaining read that I read in one day due to my enjoyment of it. 

Colleen Drippe Author of GELLEN Rating 5-Stars

“A Blast From The Past.”

Tom's non-stop adventure story - no it never lets up - is a "blast from the past" in more ways than one.  Written in perfect early fifties style though retaining at least a veneer of modern science, this is a story of Earth's own past all the way back in the Permian. No dinosaurs, I'm afraid, but there are plenty of monsters and some lovely Dimetrodons as well as some sort of reptilian apemen.

The characters are very clearly drawn, though most of them get killed off at a pretty fast clip.  The whole crew might have stepped out of any vintage pulpzine, though the ladies get to be officers and scientists just like the men.  Even so, the whole book could have been serialized about 1952 with very few changes.  The author has the details down, along with a real feel for that golden age spirit – it is easy to visualize the action in grainy black and white with a mockup spaceship and some of early Hollywood's best monsters.

Don't want to spoil the ending but I will say it's not what I expected.  A pretty good ride as long as you can get into the spirit of things.

Tagon Maas Author of Machines of The Little People Rating 4-Stars

Do you remember going to the movies on Saturday to see your favorite hero?  Excited beyond words, getting your popcorn, finding just the right seat anxious to see what happens next.  I do.  Tom Johnson balances evolution against creationism... tit for tat with his tale filled with the wonders of technology, time, space travel and the images of a world in its violent beginning. This story has all action and adventure that those Saturday morning trips to the movies promised but without the popcorn and sticky floors.  I KNEW where this story was going right up until the hero I identified with was devoured like a stray cat by a wild dog.  It's very clear Mr. Johnson is a student of paleontology and uses this information to create a wild and believable world that asks "Could you survive?"... I used to think so... now I'm not so sure.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pangaea: Eden's Planet Now Available

Pangaea: Eden’s Planet

My novel, Pangaea: Eden’s Planet ISBN #978- 1497340749 has been picked up by First Realm Publishing, and scheduled for release June 18th for eBook, and July for paperback edition. More details will be forthcoming. Visit First Realm Publishing http://www.firstrealmpublishing.com/tom-johnson

The Gem Theater Blog http://thegemtheater.blogspot.com

Seven astronauts en route to Mars encounter a time warp in space that disables their ship. Crash landing on Earth, they discover an alien planet sixty million years before the dinosaurs. Pangaea, the super continent, is filled with danger and terror, as they must survive against fierce reptiles that ruled the Earth 250 million years in the past!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Book Signing

Book Signing

Seymour, Texas, June 7th, 2014. What can one say about Seymour? What comes to mind is the comedian that used to say, “I get no respect.” Remember him? Now I’m not him. I do get respect, just not from Seymour (LOL). Let me tell you about a few of my book signings and see if you don’t agree. Several years ago, during the Fall Festival, I was booked for a signing at the county library; they put my table outside by the north door, on a cold windy day. Can you say, pneumonia? (brrr). Last year, also during the Fall Festival, I had a table, again outside on a cold, cold morning. Remember that pneumonia? See the picture below.

Haskell, Texas, lets me sign inside. See Below.

So does Books A Million & Hastings In Wichita Falls. See Below. Yes, I finally decided to shave off the gray hair, so please no comments (G).

Even The Senior Citizens Let Me Sign Indoors. See Below.

Now June 7th, the day the Whiteside Museum of Natural History has its Grand Opening, I requested a table to sign books; not just any books, my books about dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles. After all, I am the Author in residence, and these are subjects that coincide with the Museum of Natural History. Guess where they put me? Yep, you guessed it, outside again. This time I sat at a table in over 100-degree temperature. Now, if I just don’t get heat stroke this time. Anyone want me to come to their town to sign books? I believe I’ll forget about Seymour next time. Ah, maybe I should have been a comedian after all. Enjoy the pictures.

Thankfully, we were in the shade, and had a nice wind. The heat never became much of a problem, though we did get a little hot. The sudden wind gusts did prove a problem, however, as my books went flying several times. Not a great day, but not a bad one, either. TREASURE OF JUR sold best, as people liked the tiger head on the cover. I didn’t have any new edition copies of PANGAEA: EDEN’S PLANET, but I did have the poster on hand.

Ginger went through the new museum first, while I sat with the table, and she took the pictures. I went after she returned, but my blood sugar took a sudden dive while inside, and I had to get out to my jellybeans before someone called an ambulance. I barely made it back to the table before collapsing.