Cast of Characters

The schedule is posted below for each week, and the extracts from Europa can be found right here on my blog site, with facts about each character

Feb 23-Mar 1 Dr. Nolan Drake
Mar 2-8 Angela Nestor
Mar 9-15 Seth Padgett
Mar 16-22 Dr. Philene Fanchon
Mar 23-29 Ulysses Tarrant
Mar 30-Apr 18 [Vacation]
Apr 20-Apr 26 President Jackson Forsythe
Apr 27-May 3 Carnelians
May 4-May 10 Lieutenant Matthew Shaw
May 11-May 17 Gillian Shea
May 18-May 31 [Vacation]
June 1-June 7 Dwight "Bud" Stephens
June 8-June 14 Adrian Blakely
June 15-June 21 Commander Thaddeus Kaspar
June 22-July 7 Europa Contest

Nolan Drake

Here's a sample extracted from my forthcoming sci-fi novel, Europa. Every week I will preview a certain character, this week belongs to scientist and volcano expert, Dr. Nolan Drake


45-year-old volcano expert, red hair, intelligent
scientist, at times roguish

Yellowstone National Park

Nolan Drake’s chopper was a crumpled heap, bars of steel bent around each other like a pretzel. The helicopter was tilted on her side, with Nolan stranded at the top in his seat, caught within the confines of his seat belt. The fire had started to engulf the entire chopper leaving Nolan Drake with little time for escape. The lava flow started its path towards the downed chopper, crawling along the ground fast.
Nolan’s seat belt gouged itself deep into his hips, slicing away at his skin, leaving a flap . His shirt was stained with blood, not all of it his. Carl had been decapitated, sending his blood across the windshield and Nolan’s body.
Nolan stared down at his lifeless friend with remorse. “Carl,” he whispered to his friend. “Timmy?” he muttered fidgeting with his belt. There was no answer.
Time was a factor, and if Nolan wanted to buy himself a chance at survival, now would be the time to make a break for it.
The remaining rescue vehicle was several yards away and he could make a dash for it. It was his only hope.
“Timmy?” Nolan called again.
When he managed to twist enough to see, Timmy’s body was a gnarled mess of broken bones and torn flesh. His eyes were glazed with fear, but he was alive.
“Nolan...” Timmy’s lips barely moved and blood spilled from the corners of his mouth, dribbling down his chin.
“Timmy, I'll get you out of this.” But he knew he couldn’t save his young apprentice.
“Go save yourself.” Timmy’s last words gave Nolan one last burst of energy.
Nolan freed himself, landing on top of Carl’s headless corpse. He could still feel the warmth of Carl’s skin as he climbed to the top of the helicopter. Fire roared into the cabin immediately engulfing the Carl and Timmy's bodies. There was nothing more he could do for them.
Wincing, Nolan leapt high into the air, just as the helicopter exploded behind him.
Nolan landed with a hard jolt on the hot soil. The sea of lava had reached the helicopter swelling over the metal like a swarm of hungry bees, swallowing the metal structure whole.
Nolan raced for the retreating vehicle, knowing he wouldn’t catch it in time. He looked at the devastation that had swallowed the national park. His only means of escape would take him across the Yellowstone River, which was within walking distance from his current location. Once across, he would enter Fishing Bridge Recreational Vehicle Park, where several camping units were stationed. Nolan's idea of finding an car, truck, or even a motorcycle, was his only chance at gaining an advantage on the lava flow.
Nolan changed direction and headed straight for the river. He stripped out of his protective gear to gain extra speed. He noticed his hands were bloody when he threw his helmet to the ground. His suit followed. Keeping only his boots, he took off, continually looking back to gauge how far the lava was behind him. Nolan stared death squarely in the face and gave it his all, but his injuries were slowing him down.
He could see the blue tint of the river's surface, and prepared to cross over the small bridge that hovered mere feet above the water. The lava flow whirled around, sending fiery embers hurtling through the summer air, igniting several trees over Nolan's head. The bridge's railings were metal, and connected to the wooden floorboards in a chain link pattern. Once on the bridge, Nolan's weight made some of the splitting boards creak. The lengthy bridge failed to deter him, as Nolan continued along, occasionally turning his head to see where the lava flow was.
Large sections of tree began to collapse, ablaze from high above, crashing into the river, spraying Nolan in hot water. Once the magma entered the shallow riverbed, Nolan knew it would swallow up the water evaporating it into steam, and continue on its way towards the eastern end of the park.
The lava entered the river and sent its fiery path to the bridge, igniting the pathway. Nolan kept his hands over his face, trying to shield himself from the scattering debris and hot steam rising from the water. His legs burned from the crash, he had layers of skin scraping against his pants, all the while attempting a run for the other side. Using his last surge of adrenaline, Nolan dove for the end of the bride as tree limbs continued to crack and collapse into the riverbed.
Making it by the skin of his teeth, Nolan turned and saw the magma pouring into the riverbed, indeed swallowing the water in its wake.
He was still several yards away from Fishing Bridge, and thoughts of Maureen kept running through his mind. Her courage proved to be Nolan's outlet for strength. His determination to see her one more time powered his weary legs to reach his planned destination.
A series of stranded cars were packed tightly together in the camping parking lot. Nolan's plan was unfinished; he hoped to find some dangling keys left in the ignition, or he could a take a chance at hot wiring the car.
The magma continued its slow roll through the riverbed, and now headed straight for Nolan.
Nolan looked up at the darkening skies that were filling with ash and uranium deposits. He knew time was extremely short. Peering into the assortment of vehicles, he couldn't find one set of keys. “How ironic,” he grumbled. “A volcanologist dies in magma stream.” He heard a roar from the skies, watching, praying, it was a rescue chopper.
A vintage 1982 Coachmen mobile home was parked quietly off in the corner of the lot. Striped with orange and earth brown, the massive vehicle gave Nolan an idea. The lava churned through the parking lot, eating away the tires and metal frames of the cars, sinking them into its river of death. He stared briefly at the license plate. It read : Rogersville, Tennessee, NYG 128. His fingers grabbed hold of the well maintained ladder on the back of the trailer, and began his ascent to the roof. Slowly, the lava surrounded the trailer, sinking its large tires into its river. Nolan felt a sharp jerk to the left, nearly throwing him off the ladder. The fear of death propelling him up the ladder, Nolan reached the white roof, which was pocked with smashed berries, bird shit, and small broken branches.
Nolan felt another twist of the motor home, and skidded across the roof. His fingers adroitly grabbed the side railings and prevented him from lurching any further.
He was surrounded; there was no escape. Nolan stood up painfully and stared down the oncoming lava stream, watching it continue to splash around the trailer's tires, tilting the entire body of the vehicle closer to the ground.
An orange rescue chopper burst through the smoky cloud and hovered right above Nolan.
He looked up and breathed a sigh of relief. “Now, that’s what I’m talking about.”
He watched the pilot order his crew to lower a hoist with a red harness attached at the end.
“Hurry,” Nolan whispered, praying the rescue mission would be a success.
To Nolan's relief, the hoist spiraled down towards him. The motor spun wildly as the cable fell innocently to the shore below. Nolan, stretched, reaching for the careening harness, clasping it moments before it sailed past the side of the sinking trailer.
His fingers fumbling he finally slid the harness over his dirty, sweaty body, and clicked the golden clip in place securing him to the hoist.
The lava was now crumbling the trailer from underneath him, dragging him down. A series of magma bursts lurched into the air, landing on Nolan.
Screaming, Nolan gave the cable a sharp tug, and watched as the chopper started to bring him up. The harness sizzled underneath the fiery wisps of lava, and began to unravel one strand at a time.
Something wasn’t right. The cable wasn’t moving fast enough; the harness wasn't going to hold him any longer.
Inside the chopper, he could see sparks everywhere. The cable stalled in mid-air.
Nolan’s body dangled inches from the roof's decaying surface. The lava began to bear down on his lower body.“Pull him up! His harness is ripping!” the pilot commanded. “I have orders from the president that this man comes back in one piece!”
“We are trying! The cable’s stuck!”
The men looked down at Nolan as the lava splashed over his lower extremities.
“Hold on! We are not losing this man!” The pilot violently pulled up the helicopter with its lone survivor dangling below.
Nolan Drake closed his eyes and thought of a happy place. Hawaii. Mexico. The South Pole. When that didn’t work, Nolan thought of watching his Denver Broncos winning another Super Bowl with Maureen at his side.