Like my plucky heroine, Emma “J” for Joy Pearce, I moved to San Francisco from the Midwest after completing my Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate degrees at the University of Michigan, and I well remember my first earthquake. A five-pointer-plus. Like Emma, I’d just moved to the penthouse of a cool old apartment building on what turned out to be landfill and, wow, the place shook around.

Everything that is the first time of just about anything in life tends to be terrifying, so was I terrified? You better believe it!

Like Emma, I moved to solid bedrock—the famous Telegraph Hill. I felt safe living there, but I still worked downtown in a huge skyscraper on landfill. During my very first days at work, the big front-page news was of a study the brainiacs at Stanford University had worked up. They’d concocted a computer model of what would happen to downtown San Francisco if (and when) the Big One struck. Whole entire skyscrapers–the model said—would sink into the landfill beneath them up to the twentieth floor. The office wits joked, “Well, we’re on the twenty-first floor, so we’ll be fine. We’ll punch out some plate glass and walk out onto the beach.”

Ha ha. Very funny.

It was then that I began my research about earthquakes and what people could expect when disaster struck. I discovered that modern science doesn’t completely understand how earthquakes occur or why or predicting when. To this day, several conflicting theories exist and, if someone wanted to invent a device to prevent or mitigate a big earthquake, that invention would have to produce an effect depending on what the inventor believes.

Not what the truth may be. What he or she believes.

Which harkens back to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in quantum physics. A photon—the basic unit of light—appears as a wave or a particle depending on how the experimenter sets up the recording apparatus. Which leads to the further speculation—what is reality, anyway?

I explore these ideas in my two time travels, Summer of Love and The Gilded Age, but the ambiguity of science—hard science that affects the world—informs my earthquake story, as well, and leads to an exploration of truth and lies, morality and evil, in the drama of a dark romance.

This is my ebook adaptation (and major expansion into short novel form) of Deus Ex Machina, published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in the anthology Transcendental Tales From Asimov’s (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide.

Shaken, a Thriller, by New York Times Notable Author Lisa Mason, is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Emma J for Joy Pearce is at her editorial offices on the twenty-second floor of Three Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco when the long-dreaded next Great Earthquake devastates the Bay area. Amid horrific destruction, she rescues a man trapped in the rubble. In the heat of survival, she swiftly bonds with him, causing her to question her marriage to her long-time boyfriend.

But Jason Gibb is not the charming photojournalist he pretends to be. As Emma discovers his true identity, his mission in the city, and the dark secrets behind the catastrophe, she finds the choices she makes may mean the difference between her own life or death.

A list of Sources is included in the ebook.

Shaken, a Thriller, by New York Times Notable Author Lisa Mason, is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add some stars, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and spread the word to your friends. Your response really matters.

More bargains for your reading enjoyment:

The Garden of Abracadabra is available in three affordable installments on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Summer of Love is available free on Kindle Prime until March 1, 2013 in the Summer of Love Serials 1 through 7.

And don’t miss The Story That Sold To The Movies. TOMORROW’S CHILD began as a medical documentary, then got published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold to Universal Pictures, where the project is now in development. On Nook and Kindle. Also on UK Kindle.

New! Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! If you love romantic suspense or historical mystery, this is both. Please give Lily Modjeska a try!

Thank you for your readership!