books

California Writers Club – Author Panel

I’ve been invited! Hope you will join us.

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Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating

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The Back Story for the Almost Human Series

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I’m often asked what the backstory is to my Almost Human Series. Recently, I wrote a short collection of some of my stories. In one way or another, they’ve worked their way into my novels, Almost Human and Becoming Human. You can get a free copy by signing up for my newsletter on this blog or email me at decrkl@charter.net. These experiences served as the foundation on which I built my characters and settings. The plot came from a deeper place, late at night, when the characters came to visit me and tell their stories as I wrote.

Ernest Hemingway once said, “In order to write about life you must live it.” While I’m not Hemingway, I believe this and have tried to write about what I know and have lived.  Most of the time, my writing is loosely autobiographical.

I hope you enjoy them. For those of you who have read Almost Human or Becoming Human, they will seem familiar and you’ll get the connection.

Here is the first chapter of Animal Days. I hope you enjoy it!

Chapter One, Animal Days – Kenneth L. Decroo

One evening the mid-eighties, while working as the technical adviser and chimp trainer on the movie Animal Behavior, I relaxed after a long day of filming on location in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the movie’s human stars, Karen Allen and Armand Assante. After a few drinks, Armand commented on how humanlike my chimp Mike seemed. Mike, the animal star of the movie, played a chimp who used American Sign Language.

I put on my university professor hat and pontificated on all the traits we humans shared with chimps. I mentioned that they differed from us by only one chromosome; that we could catch a cold from them and them from us; that they had the same ABO blood type groups like us, and that they were more closely related to us than a gorilla. I talked about my work as a linguistic research assistant on a project in Reno that had successfully taught chimps to communicate using American Sign Language (ASL) as used by the deaf.

The information fascinated them, and Karen asked, “Since chimps are so closely related to us, could they breed with humans?

“The famous primatologist Robert Yerkes once mentioned in one of his lectures that it was not only possible but also it’s rumored that the Soviets had attempted it in the 1920s,” I replied— remember that we’d had at a few drinks! “The rumor goes as far as suggesting that the Soviets had had success but the hybrids were on a ship that had burned at sea.”

My audience’s eyes widened, and we continued talking into the evening.

After the bar closed, I drove back to my accommodation, rolled some paper into my old Royal typewriter, sat down, and wrote chapter two. The setting is the University of Nevada, Reno, where I’d worked. In that chapter, Dr. Ken Turner gives a lecture filled with the information I’d shared with Karen and Armand.

The hour grew late, and I had an early call time. I’d just finished chapter two and was preparing for bed when Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald played on the radio. Inspired by the music, I rolled in another paper and wrote the first chapter in which a Soviet cargo ship carrying a mysterious cargo runs aground during a big storm. And so The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is another link in the circle that became the Almost Human Series.

I wrote those two chapters in 1984.

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Becoming Human – Paperback is Out!

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See what my publisher and readers are saying about Becoming Human

 WHAT READERS ARE SAYING: “Becoming Human by Kenneth L. Decroo is a frightening tale of science unguided by ethics, and the devastation that can be wrought by government agencies that operate without benefit of effective oversight. Step-by-ominous-step, the author takes you from the relatively benign environs of Reno, Nevada to the dark menace of the Congolese jungles, to the even more dangerous environs of smuggling dens in Germany and the Netherlands. An eclectic, and all-too-believable cast of characters will hook your interest from page one, and at the end, leave you breathless and looking over your shoulder and wincing at every sound.” Charles Ray, Awesome Indies Book Awards.

 

AIAPUBLISHING.COM
When Kenneth L. Decroo came to me with Almost Human, he told me he had 2 more books in the series to come. I was so impressed with Almost Human that I agreed to publish the whole series, but saying something like that is always a risk – the next book could have been terrible! …
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I’ve been accepted to The California Writers Club!

CWC-Logo-with-R-284x300I’m humbled and honored to have been accepted into the California Writers Club. – Inland Empire Branch. I say humbled as it’s roster includes such luminaries as Jack London, Joaquin Miller and California’s first poet laureate, Ina Coolbrith.

I guess I better quit messing around and finish my next novel, More Than Human!

Here is a link to my listing: Click here.

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Becoming Human (Book 2) – Pre-orders

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After several years of work, Becoming Human is finally finished and the e-book version can be pre-ordered. As many of you know, Becoming Human is book two in the Almost Human Series. It has been a labor of love and I hope you enjoy my humble effort.

In celebration of finally finishing this work, the publisher has made the e-book version available at a discounted price ($2.99) until its scheduled release on December 14, 2018.

Pre-orders really help authors as they increase our ranking at outlets like Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

E-book, order here!

Amazon/Kindle

Apple

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

Autographed Copies: 

The pre-order price for an autographed paperback is $14.95, plus shipping and tax. Use the button below if you would like me to send you one when they are released.


 

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The Background Story of Almost Human

This short collection of stories is some of the events in my life, as a wild animal trainer, that inspired my novel, Almost Human. I’ve entitled this collection, Animal Days. I hope you enjoy my humble effort. Just click on the title above for a free copy. More Than Human the sequel will be released soon.

Oliver and Ken

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Almost Human, Second Edition, is coming soon!

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The second edition of Almost Human is coming soon! AIA Publishing reedited and rebranded it with a new cover! It is scheduled for release in mid-June, 2018. I’m very excited with my new publisher and contract. More Than Human, the sequel, will follow!

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