Posts Tagged With: action

Audiobook of Becoming Human

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The audiobook of Becoming Human is about to be released. The actor/narrator, Kevin Chambers did an excellent job of bringing my humble effort to life. Here is a link to a sample: https://www.dropbox.com/s/agrbstuyvd98rzu/becoming%201st%2015%20edited%202%20mp3.mp3?dl=0 . Please let me know what you think.

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Audiobook – Almost Human

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I’m excited to announce that the audiobook version of Almost Human will be released soon. I want to thank Kevin Chambers at ACX for his excellent narration. I’m pleased with the results.

Please click below for a sample of Chapter One:

 

I hope you enjoy it!

 

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Amazon Giveaway: Almost Human

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See this Amazon Giveaway for a chance to win: Almost Human (Kindle Edition) by Kenneth L. Decroo. https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/33a857b3ceb6c514 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends Feb 16, 2019, 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.
Giveaway Summary:
Link: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/33a857b3ceb6c514
Duration: Feb 9, 2019 6:32 PM PST – Feb 16, 2019 11:59 PM PST
Prize: Almost Human (Kindle Edition)
Number of Prizes: 25
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Kenneth L. Decroo’s Interview, NBC KSEE24

 

 

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Kenneth L. Decroo, Ph.D.

 

I had a great time appearing on NBC KSEE24 talking about my new book, Becoming Human. Click on the photo above to view the interview.

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Becoming Human – Exploring the Ethics of Science – Alpine Mountaineer

 

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Photo by MJ Lanyon – Alpine Mountaineer

Exploring the Ethics of Science 

By MARY-JUSTINE LANYON 

Managing Editor 

Renaissance Man – that term sums up the essence of Running Springs resident Ken Decroo. The retired educator has been a building contractor, a college professor, a teacher, a principal, an operator of fishing boats, an animal trainer. 

Decroo is now an author. His first book, Almost Human, grew out of a conversation he had with two of the actors on the set of the movie Animal Behavior. Decroo was on set with Mike the chimp, whom he had taught some sign language. One of the actors, Armand Assante, told Decroo he couldn’t believe how humanlike Mike was. 

“I put on my professor hat and told Armand about the similarities between humans and chimps,” Decroo said. “There’s a difference of one chromosome. The chimp is more closely related to us than they are to a gorilla.” 

That conversation led to Decroo sitting down at the typewriter and writing the beginning of what would become a three-book series. 

In Almost Human, creatures with the enormous strength and power of a chimpanzee and the intelligence and size of a human being are discovered in a remote area of equatorial Africa. Drs. Ken Turner and Fred Savage follow the rumors of these chimp-human hybrids, wanting to study them. The government, however, wants to exploit them. 

While it took Decroo Thirty years to complete the first book, his second flowed much more quickly. He will be signing copies of Becoming Human at SkyPark at Santa’s Village on Feb. 7 from 4 to 7 p.m. All the proceeds from sales of the book will go to the PTA beautification project at Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School, where Decroo served as principal. 

Decroo did not have a vision for a sci-fi thriller series but his characters, he said, “didn’t like the ending” he wrote for Almost Human. “There was more to tell,” Decroo said. 

In Becoming Human he has tried to “flush out the ethics of science and our human relationship to animals – how it can go awry very quickly. Some of the characters are in it for the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Others are in it for how that knowledge could profit them,” Decroo said. 

In Dr. Turner, readers will see the “ethics of what we owe animals.” 

Much of what happens in Becoming Human actually occurred when Decroo was working with Washoe, a chimp he taught to communicate using 350 words of American Sign Language. “We were approached by the Department of Defense, offering us strings-attached grants to do research on the retrieval of dangerous devices using chimps. They put a lot of pressure on us but we weren’t interested,” Decroo said. 

In the book, however, “they do bend. It’s tempting when there’s that kind of money involved.” 

Decroo’s series of books – the third one, which will be called More Than Human, should go to press in the spring – “has to do with the ethics of science and the ethics of people who work with animals – what is expected of us. We don’t always come up to snuff,” Decroo said. 

Becoming Human sets up the third book, in which Decroo will tie in some of the mysteries and myths of the Pacific Northwest. 

Decroo said he usually writes in the evening when it’s quiet. “Some days the characters come and help me out,” he said. 

Decroo is somewhat baffled when people ask him if he ever gets writer’s block. “Writers write – that’s what they do.” And while he tries not to set goals, if he writes 2,000 words, that’s a good day. A couple of hundred words is a less good day – but it all adds up, Decroo noted. 

He tells the story of seeing a woman sitting on a beach in Mexico, reading Almost Human. It was a sight that amazed him. 

And Decroo was amazed when he heard from Stephen King. Apparently, King had been considering writing a book with the same title, Almost Human, and came across Decroo’s book. “He bought it, read it, liked it and realized it was very different from what he was thinking of doing.” 

That led to an exchange of emails between the two authors. King has offered some sage advice, like don’t read any reviews. He told Decroo that’s what his agent is for. He also suggested writing the first draft of a book with the door closed – in other words, don’t show that to anyone. “Don’t think of grammar, don’t edit,” King told Decroo. “You don’t want to affect the rhythm and flow of the story.” The second draft is the one you show to a select few people you trust. 

Decroo said he developed the characters in his books based on real people “so people will know there are people who work with animals who truly love them.” Part of the purpose of writing these books is to show characters who are defined by their love of the animals. 

“I tried to shed some light on worlds right under our noses that the average person doesn’t know exists,” Decroo said. “The culture of circuses and movies – I was part of those worlds.” 

Ken Decroo will be signing his book Becoming Human at SkyPark at Santa’s Village on Feb 7 from 4 to 7 p.m. 

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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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The Pump Station

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It was going to be a night patrol but at least a routine one. Several of the pumps in our water system had been sabotaged over the last several days. We knew it was a setup for any patrol who went out to check on them. But it had to be done and it was best done at night. I hated night patrols especially in the rain.

Our mission was to check every pump along a steep ridge that climbed up above the jungle canopy. We left the “A” camp in the twilight with little ceremony. We had a job to do and it had to be done before dawn.

We always followed the same routine. I had the men check their weapons and ammo. I made sure personally that all gear was secured so as not to make any rattles in the night. We moved out as quietly as ghosts.

The first part of the hike was steep and slippery as it had rained. The jungle was lank and humid. Steam rose from the undergrowth making it hard to pick a way up the ridge. Moving stealthily with increased effort so we took a break among a pile of rocks when we finally cleared the trees. Regrouping, I briefed the men on how important it was to reach the stations undetected as it was a perfect scenario for an ambush.

A pale moon lit our way as we neared the first pump station. It had been situated so it’s tin roof was just below the ridgeline. The small building was covered with corrugated metal and had a narrow door, plenty big enough for our Vietnamese interpreter but just barely for me. I took a flashlight from my radioman with the idea of using it when I closed the door behind me so as not to draw sniper fire. A patrol had been ambushed a few nights before when checking another damaged pump station just like this one.

I had my men dig-in, setting up a tight perimeter around the small, tin shed. I felt uneasy as this first station was the lowest and we did not have the high ground. Further, I noticed several holes in the metal which might let light out when I closed the door and used the flashlight to the check the pipes and gauges. But the mission had to be done and I had decided to set an example and do it myself.

I nodded to the interrupter to open the door. I had to squeeze into the tight opening. My canteen caught on the door frame. I squirmed free with the help of the shutting door pushing me in.

The inside of the shed was pitch black. My eyes had grown accustomed to the pale light of moon outside but in was black in this little space. I was regretting my decision that found me alone in this tight, dark place.

I counted several heart beats until my nerves settled and turned my flashlight on. I was blinded at first but as my eyes adjusted I froze as I found myself eye level with a cobra. It swayed, fully hooded at the back of the shed behind a tangle of pipes. It hissed, spitting venom on the front of my flack vest.

I drew my 1911 service sidearm and emptied my magazine. Several pipes burst, spraying water in all directions but the cobra still performed a macabre sort of dance. I heard my men open fire into the darkness thinking we were under attack. The door flew open and one of my men pushed me out of the way. Seeing the cobra, he unloaded his M-16. More water sprayed but the cobra still swayed making slow sideways strikes.

It was chaos. My men fired into the darkness at nothing in particular and the pump station sprayed water in every direction; it’s walls pitted with bullet holes and the door flung off its hinges. I was just reloading when our interpreter stepped forward. Shaking his head, he picked up a stick and dispatched the snake with three dull thumps.

We moved out of the area as quickly as possible as we had broadcasted our position to every unfriendly from Phu Bai to Hanoi. My interpreter muttered to himself as we made our way back to our base shaking his head often.

I could not help but think of the sharp contrast between our efforts that night, backed by our so called advanced technology, and the interpreter’s simple common sense and the use of that stick. Looking back, it was prophetic when thinking of the outcome of the war.

You can probably guess how I wrote my report.

 

 

 

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Happy Father’s Day!

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The Decroos. My sister, Audrey Decroo and my dad, Ken,Sr. He will be 94 this September. He’s still hell on wheels.  My dad is a true american hero. He lived through poverty as a boy, combat during WWII in the South Pacific and is a true product of the American Dream. He raised a family, worked hard in construction all his life and made sure my sister and I had a better life than he and my mom had. He and mom were married for over sixty-five years. I once asked him how that was possible and he said, “Learn to loose the argument as quickly as possible.” Mom and dad wrote to each other throughout the war and married shortly after and settled in California.

Dad is part of the generation who built this country. They stormed the beaches of Okinowa and countless other islands when they were kids (my dad was 17). Fought that war with the knowledge that they would only get to come home when it was won. The Decroos serve. He lost many of his high school friends on those beaches and islands. He was wounded (purple heart) and silently carried those injuries to this day without complaint. Those kids had no “safe places” but rather had to make them for themselves.

My dad taught me many things but most importantly to be an honorable man. He has always said if your decision is good for people and your motivations are pure then let the chips fall where they may. Dad and mom made my sister and me who we are; for better or worse when it comes to me.

When the last of them pass, our country will have lost our greatest treasure. They are the spirit of this land. His generation is a non-renewable resource that will be missed. Don’t get me started on my mom!  I love you dad. 

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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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