Book excerpt: Sapient by Jerry Kaczzmarowski

Recently I was contacted about running an excerpt from the book Sapient by Jerry Kaczzmarowski here on the blog. Here is the info:

Jerry Kaczmarowski released his latest thriller Sapient in April 2015. It is available for sale on Amazon in eBook and paperback.

 Synopsis:

Sapient Book Cover Abandoned by her husband after the birth of their child, Jane Dixon’s world is defined by her autistic son and the research she does to find a cure for his condition. She knows her work on animal intelligence may hold the key. She also knows that the research will take decades to complete. None of it will ultimately benefit her son.

All that changes when a lab rat named Einstein demonstrates that he can read and write. Just as her research yields results, the U.S. government discovers her program. The army wants to harness her research for its military potential.  The CDC wants to shut her down completely.  The implications of animal intelligence are too dangerous, particularly when the previously inert virus proves to be highly contagious.

She steals the virus to cure her son, but the government discovers the theft. She must now escape to Canada before the authorities can replace her son’s mental prison with a physical one.

Praise for Sapient:

“A timely, winning adventure that brings up serious questions about technology and medical research.” – Reviewed by Kirkus

“The plot is fast-paced, thought provoking, funny at times, and kept me reading to find out what would happen next. I think that the YA audience will love it.” – Reviewed by Dana Bjornstad

“”Sapient by Jerry Kaczmarowski is an intense, action-packed, suspenseful and thrilling read! The storyline is definitely unique and pulls readers in right away… The book was fast-paced, flowed nicely and provided a thought provoking message. I believe Sapient will really make readers wonder just how far and to what lengths they would go to save someone they love.” – Reviewed by Charity Tober for Readers’ Favorite

“I loved this story and I especially liked its animal characters – Einstein the lab rat with the keen sense of humor and Bear, the one-eyed German Shepherd dog who seems to always be the butt of Einstein’s jokes. And the human characters aren’t half bad either.” – Reviewed by Cheryl Stout

“A timeless, engrossing and perfectly-paced techno thriller about the promise – and fear – of modern medical science.” – Reviewed by Best Thrillers

If that doesn’t make you want to buy Sapient, here is an excerpt:

Chapter 1

A young research assistant poked his head through the laboratory door and said, “We’re heading out to grab some beers. Want to join us?”

Dr. Jane Dixon brushed aside a strand of dark hair that had fallen from her ponytail. She waved the offer off without turning to face him and gave a curt, “Too much work.” I need to get out of here at a decent time to see Robbie, or I’m going to need to find a new nanny.

“Come on, Dr. Dixon. One quick drink. It’s Friday.”

She sighed and faced him, removing her dark-rimmed glasses. “How about a rain check?” She gave the younger man her best smile, but Jane knew she sounded insincere.

“Sure, a rain check.” The research assistant gave a perfunctory nod and let the door swing shut. Jane wouldn’t receive another invitation anytime soon, which was fine with her.

She put her hands in the small of her back and stretched, yielding a satisfying pop. Not for the first time, she congratulated herself on the regularity of her yoga workouts. They were one of the few distractions she permitted herself. With forty in the not-too- distant future, it was one distraction she couldn’t afford to forgo. She pulled her stool closer to her computer and checked her maze for the final time. She chuckled to herself. After all her years of education, she was reduced to playing video games with rodents. Using a virtual maze allowed her to create a level of complexity unrealistic with traditional animal intelligence testing.

Jane walked into an adjoining room with rows of cages where her subjects spent most of their day. She approached a cage adorned with a garish blue first-place ribbon. Her assistant had put it on the door as a joke. At first, it migrated back and forth as different rats outperformed others. For the past two months, it hadn’t moved.

She opened the cage and made a coaxing motion. “Come here, Einstein.” A fat, white rat dashed out the door onto her hand and scrambled up her right shoulder. His neon-blue eyes gave off an icy intelligence. The change in eye color was one of many side effects of her tests Jane still couldn’t explain. The rat whipped its tail into her hair for balance, hopping from paw to paw.

“Settle down, boy,” she said. She carried Einstein back into the lab with its virtual maze and extended her hand. He raced down her arm to the large trackball and made little jumps in anticipation of the race. As Jane clamped him gently into the metal rig that held him in place, he stopped jumping. Einstein differed from the other rats—he never struggled when Jane locked him in place. The other rats fought against the harness, making it difficult to complete the test preparations.

A two-dimensional overview of a simple maze flashed on the screen. Without hesitating, Einstein rolled through the maze on his trackball, completing the challenge in seconds.

“Too easy,” Jane said. “You don’t even deserve a prize.” Despite this, she stroked the rat’s head and gave him a small piece of cheese. Einstein snapped it up in his front paws. As soon as he devoured it, he pulled against his harness and chattered at Jane.

“Relax, big fella.” She tapped on her keyboard to reconfigure the course before bending down to eye level with Einstein. “Now the real challenge begins.” He stared into her sea- green eyes. The small rodent had the intense focus of a fighter about to get in the ring.

A second maze flashed on the screen. There was a straightforward solution that was long and twisting. A second solution existed, but so far, none of the rats had figured it out. The second path had two tiny virtual teleportation pads. If the rats stepped onto one of the pads, they were transported to a corresponding location in a different part of the maze. For this test, the pads would save precious seconds.

“Go,” Jane shouted, starting the timer. Einstein didn’t budge. Instead, he looked back and forth between the obvious path and the first teleportation pad.

“Clock’s ticking,” Jane said to herself in frustration.

Einstein shrieked as he noticed the decreasing progress bar. A tentative paw step forward cleared the maze overview and put him in a six-inch-high virtual hallway. He waddled straight to the teleportation pad but stopped short. He turned his gaze to Jane as his whiskers moved back and forth, up and down. Jane stared back, willing him to make the right move.

The rat rolled forward on his trackball across the pad. The screen flashed, and he teleported to within a few steps of the exit. With a final glance at Jane, he spun through the gate with twenty seconds left on the clock.

Jane clapped her hands. “You did it.” She reached toward him. He clambered up her arm, slower now that he was out of the virtual world. She gave him a piece of cheese and returned him to the steel table.

“Impressive,” she said to the empty room. At times like this she wished someone could appreciate her triumphs. Her coworkers were at the bar. And Robbie? Robbie is Robbie. The warm smile of a mother flitted across her face as she thought about her son.

Einstein broke her reverie as he scratched and clawed at an iPad on the table. “It’s like having a second child,” Jane sighed to herself. She obliged Einstein’s pestering by starting an old episode of Sesame Street. The classic show was his favorite. Most other children’s programming bored him. His second-favorite genre was as far from the Children’s Television Workshop gang as you could get. One of Jane’s more unsavory assistants had decided to play Rated R comedies on the screen in the evening when the animals were alone in their cages. The crass movies entertained Einstein for hours despite the fact he couldn’t understand any of them.

Jane’s mobile phone vibrated. A message from her nanny read, “WHERE R U!!!” She glanced at the time in the lower right of her screen and gave a sharp intake of breath. I did it again, she chided herself.

“Leaving now. Sorry.” She almost typed a sad face emoticon but caught herself. It wouldn’t be well received. She pushed Send and dropped the phone on the lab table. She pounded the results of today’s tests into her computer, not bothering to correct spelling errors as she raced to enter her observations while they were still fresh.

The phone buzzed again. Jane gritted her teeth at the unnecessary back-and-forth. These nastygrams would only delay her departure. She reached for the phone in frustration, but Einstein was perched over it, staring at the screen. She nudged the little rodent back and set her jaw as she read the text.

The screen read, “Who is Einstein?” As she struggled to make sense of the nanny’s text, her eyes scanned back to the previous outbound message. She juggled her phone, almost dropping it on the floor.

The screen read, “I am Einstein.”

About Jerry Kaczmarowski:

Jerry Kaczmarowski 10 Jerry Kaczmarowski lives in Seattle with his family. He writes techno-thrillers that explore the benefits and dangers of mankind’s scientific advancement. His first book, Moon Rising, was released in June 2014.  His second book, Sapient, was published in April 2015.

Jerry spent the first twenty years of his professional life in the consulting industry on the West Coast. His fascination with technology is matched only by his love of stories. His books intertwine action with a keen insight into how technology will shape our lives in the coming years.

To learn more, go to http://www.jerrykaczmarowski.com/

Connect with Jerry on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

 

Out From The Underworld

25047534Heather was six years old when her world was turned upside down. Her mother vanished leaving her family in a tailspin. Heather, along with her brother and sister were forced from a nice home to a dark basement where they lived with their father who never got over the loss of his wife. The children were eventually forced in and out of foster care with their only goals being to find out what happened to their mother and find a new home outside of the basement.

Out From The Underworld by Heather Siegel is a memoir about a dark childhood, but it’s also a story of hope and proof that patterns can be broken. The writing in the story is excellent and the characters seem like people you would see in your every day life, because they are. This is a story about neglect and abandonment but none of the characters in it are bad, they are more like shades of grey. Everyone has their own issues and what we have in this story is three siblings who learned that the only people they could trust 100 % was themselves.

I was impressed with the detailed memories that Heather has of this period of her life and I loved the fact that it seemed like this book was written from a kid’s point of view. Meaning that it wasn’t written from a viewpoint of an adult looking back on her childhood, the impression I got was that Heather was remembering everything from when she was a child and writing it as she saw it from her younger self’s viewpoint.

For instance one of my favorite scenes was early in the book when Heather’s grandma is complaining about her life and says she wishes she could move to Canada. Heather’s sister right away asks what’s stopping her from moving to Canada. Her grandma acts shocked and mentions several reasons why she can’t pick up and leave. I thought this was a great example of how children and adults look at the world differently. For kids its easy as saying this would make me happy so I’m going to do it, while an adult is more cynical and will come up with several reasons why they can’t be happy.

Another thing that really sticks out about Out From The Underworld is the realism. Heather talks about some horrible things in her childhood but she describes good times also.  She brings up some fond memories of one of the foster families she lived with but we hear of the family’s dark side as well. We also hear how everyones lives get better when Heather’s father gets a regular girlfriend but things eventually go bad. Another shade of grey in Heather’s life is her father. There are several instances in the book where you see that he is not really a good parental figure, but you also see instances where he shows love for his kids and because of his own upbringing never knew how to be a real father.

Out From The Underworld is a coming of age story by a woman who has suffered through more than most people suffer through. You hear about Heather’s world view and you see her opinions on life, working and school change as she gets older. The best part of this book though is that all the kids in the book managed to go on and live happy lives, but not all the people in the book had the same transformation. I think Out From The Underworld is a great example of how a memoir should be written and I hope other people who live under similar circumstances read this book and learn that it is possible to escape the cycle of a bad home life.

http://www.heathersiegel.net/

http://www.ireadbooktours.com/

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The Ghoul Archipelago

19101447There are many ways to tell a story that takes place in the zombie apocalypse. Lots of these stories have to do with people struggling to find food and survive in a world that has gone crazy. Then we have stories like The Ghoul Archipelago by Stephen Kozeniewski that gives an original spin on the sub genre of zombie fiction that is extremely popular right now. Stephen’s story takes place in the South Pacific and not only deals with zombies, it also deals with pirates, virtual sex software and religion.

The story begins with a ship captain taking supplies to sell to a small remote village in the Curien islands. The villagers aren’t happy to see the ship’s crew because what they really need is food and not material items. Soon afterwords the villagers and ship’s crew are attacked by pirates. This is just the tip of the iceberg, soon we have a showdown between a billionaire looking to make a profit off the apocalypse and a ghoul worshiping cult and of course we have zombies making everything more difficult.

One thing I liked about this book is the idea that some people won’t change even as society crumbles. One of the interesting characters in this story is Rand who makes sex software and refuses to let something like the end of the world get in the way of him making money. He comes up with the idea of a program where you can have virtual sex with the undead. I loved the idea that there would still be people who would cash in on a world gone mad and I liked what he does to carry out his plans.

Speaking of mad and holding on to life before the apocalypse we also have an interesting character in a reverend named Sonntag. Like Rand he is holding on to his former life but unlike Rand he seems to have a lot of people who hate him. That being said, he still has a large flock of followers. He is starting to question his beliefs as he witnesses the collapse of society but he still finds a way to use the apocalypse to his advantage by saying that he can offer salvation through god. Rand and Sonntag were the best parts of this book, they were believable and I think if the zombie apocalypse happened, there would be people like this out there that would use the end to their advantage.

The Ghoul Archipelago gets off to a rough start, there are so many characters and different storylines introduced that I found myself getting confused as to who’s who. The story gets better as it goes along though and after a bit I was hooked. You have to give the author points for originality and I liked the idea that even as society crumbles there will still be certain people out there who are just trying to make a little money. I also like the setting in this story, it was nice to see a zombie story that wasn’t all set in a city or in the Northern hemisphere. There is a lot going on in this book and if you like zombies its worth your time.

HorrorAddicts.net 112, Horror Addicts Guide to Life

I’m reposting episode 112 of Horror Addicts in celebration of The Horror Addicts Guide To Life coming out on kindle today: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XNZGLSY

HorrorAddicts.net

ha-tagHorror Addicts Episode# 112

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

writer’s workshop winner | lacuna coil | frankenstein: the true story

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

 

201 days till halloween

malcolm stewart, jesse orr, kathy bates, misery, stephen king, american horror story, hotel,  addict on the street, the walking dead, talking dead, salem, izombie, dan shaurette, lady gaga, poltergeist, jurassic world, mad max, fury road, unfriended, kbatz, kristin battestella, frankenstein: the true story, horror addicts guide to life, baycon, once upon a scream, laurel anne hill, j malcolm stewart, sumiko saulson, heather roulo, david watson, the undying, ethan reid, zombie, plague, top five, mimielle, makeup, vids, dj pitsiladis, nightmare fuel, werewolves, wisconsin, morbid meals, dan shaurette, berry fool, april fools, free fiction friday, emerian rich, dark soul, dawn wood, music corner, lacuna coil, swamped, jesse orr, grant me serenity, black jack, dead mail, nadine…

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Benjamin Buckingham And The Nightmare’s Nightmare

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Benjamin is your average 9-year-old kid but his dreams have been getting weird lately. When he compares himself to other kids, he sees his dreams as being boring. Most of the time he just dreams about being a part of his favorite show: Jurassic Superheroes. The show is about talking dinosaurs who fight evil, in his dreams he is helping the stars of the show battle bad guys. Lately though those dreams are turning into nightmares.

One night he wakes up from his nightmare and finds  a talking dinosaur named Snark in his bedroom. Both of them start screaming and Snark escapes through a hole under Benjamin’s bed. Benjamin then makes the choice that he would have much more fun exploring what’s in the hole under the bed then going to school. So he leaps down the hole and finds a world of dinosaurs, dragons, talking animals and castles where dreams and nightmares are created. Soon afterwords Benjamin finds himself on a quest to save a missing king and he has to stop nightmares from taking over dreams.

Benjamin Buckingham And The Nightmare’s Nightmare by Gregory Gershwin is a YA fantasy novel that will change the way you think about dreams. Who would have thought that dreams are made in another world by actors in a giant castle. I thought this was a really cool idea to base a book on and I liked the idea of Benjamin finding out that he is more important than he thinks and the dream world was not what he thought it was.

This book is a fun read, there were some parts of the story that didn’t makes sense to me and at times I felt the story could have used a little more action.  That being said, I enjoyed the dialogue in the story and loved all characters. Some of the exchanges between Benjamin and the other characters are hilarious. When he arrives in the castle he has to convince the king that he is not a monster and then later learns there is a lot that you are not allowed to talk about in the castle. Benjamin has another great conservation with my favorite character Myrna the caterpillar. Myrna sells maps to people who are entering the forest but her maps aren’t always correct. She is only one of the interesting creatures you meet in this story and they all have one thing in common, which you will find out when you read the book.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the ideas in the story. For instance there is a point where Benjamin is having a conversation with Myrna and she accuses Benjamin of being in love with a girl in the castle. Benjamin denies it and Myrna mentions if he is not in love then he must not have an imagination. I loved the idea of love and having an imagination being related. The book also gives the message that it’s ok to be different, which is a fact that every kid should know.   This book is the first novel by Gregory Gershwin and you can see that Gregory has a great imagination. This is a story that kids will love and it will be fun to see what  adventures Gregory will come up with in the future.

InQUIZitive Trivia Quiz & Pub Book Volume IV

22448430How smart are you? Do you think questions on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire or Jeopardy are too easy? When your with your friends are they in awe by all the trivia knowledge that you possess? Well if you’re looking for a new challenge or to gain some more trivia knowledge to impress people, check out InQUIZitive Trivia Quiz & Pub Book Volume IV by Sumit Dhar. This book will make you realize that you have a lot to learn.

The InQUIZitive book series is not your normal trivia book, it has a lot of information that you won’t find in other trivia books. Some of the questions range from Chinese history to rock music. InQUIZitive has a little something for everyone. The questions are hard, but you will learn a lot if you stick with it. I found as I was reading through the questions and answers that they are hard but I also realized that I was learning a lot of things that I didn’t know before.

InQUIZitive is an addictive read, its part quiz book and part history book. I had to read the answers after each question because I didn’t know any of them and once I started I couldn’t stop. If you’re a trivia buff you have to get into the InQUIZitive series. Once you start reading it you will realize that no matter how smart you are, you have a lot to learn.

If you don’t know who Malik Abdul Aziz is, or who Richard M. Schulze is, then you need this book. If you like Trivia Crack or Trivial Pursuit then you’ve got to try InQUIZitive. Sumit Dhar has created a book that is fun, informative and addictive. My first thought when I started it was that I’m not smart enough to read this book, but I also found that I couldn’t put it down. If the fact that this book is fun isn’t enough to get you to read it, just get it so you can impress your friends with how much you know.

Everville: The Fall Of Brackenbone

25272178Imagine two worlds and several different lands all connected by magic. We have the Eastern Falls University and the magical world of Everville. Something bad is brewing in both worlds and a hero is needed to find out what is happening. Owen Sage takes on the task and goes to search for the fourth pillar of truth and face the powerful but evil Governor Jahal. On Owen’s journey he will have to deal with dragons, giants and countries at war, but he must carry on because he is the only one who can save both worlds.

Everville The Fall Of Brackenbone  by Roy Huff is a work of epic fantasy. Roy has created his own mythology in the story of Everville and its a journey that fans of fantasy novels will love. What I liked most about this book was how all these different races of people and creatures are connected, everyone is important in their own way.

I like how imaginative this book  is and the messages he is trying to get across. I also think the author has some really creative ideas, but I have to admit I did have some problems with it. While I did enjoy it, starting with the fourth book in a series was not a good idea, I got the feeling the author meant for this book to continue a larger story and not be a stand alone novel. I found myself being a little lost, I didn’t know much about the characters, the different countries or how everyone got to where they were. That being said, reading this did make me want to pick up the other three books.

The other problem I had with it was that while the story was decent, it seemed more like a very detailed outline of a story then a full book. There were some scenes that I felt could have been expanded on, for instance there was a part where two characters fight monsters in a cave, but instead of a description of a great fight scene we got just a couple of sentences saying that it happened. Also at one point there is a scene where we find that two characters have to work together despite their mistrust of each other. At this point I found myself thinking that this is where the story will get really good. Instead the two resolve their differences quickly and we’re off to another part of the story.

There is a great concept and a lot of potential in Everville The Fall Of Brackenbone. I found the characters interesting, I loved how everything was connected, I liked how the magic in the story worked and how different all the races of creatures were. There is a lot to like in this book but it felt more like a small part of a much bigger story. If you read the first three in the series you will probably enjoy this book. Roy Huff has built a great fantasy world here that I would love to start reading from the beginning in Everville: The First Pillar 

http://www.owensage.com/