Bruce Forciea is known for taking complex scientific concepts and making them easy to understand through engaging stories and simple explanations. He is an Amazon Best Selling Author and author of several books on healing and biology, along with science ...

Author Interview: Bruce Forciea, author of ‘Alan 2’ and more...


Author Interview: Bruce Forciea, author of ‘Alan 2’

Bruce Forciea

Bruce Forciea is known for taking complex scientific concepts and making them easy to understand through engaging stories and simple explanations. He is an Amazon Best Selling Author and author of several books on healing and biology, along with science fiction thriller novels. His fiction writing draws on a diverse and eclectic background that includes touring and performing with a professional show, designing digital circuits, treating thousands of patients, and teaching. His stories include complex plots with unexpected twists and turns, quirky characters, and a reality very similar to our own. Dr. Forciea lives in Wisconsin and loves writing during the solitude of the long Northern winters.

Website & Social Links:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

Alan 2

Title: ALAN 2
Author: Bruce Forciea
Publisher: Open Books
Pages: 278
Genre: Cyber-Thriller

A brilliant artificial intelligence (AI) scientist, Dr. Alan Boyd, develops a new program that integrates part of his brain with a computer’s operating system. The program, Alan 2, can anticipate a user’s needs and automatically perform many tasks. A large software company, International Microsystems (IM) desperately wants the program and tempts Dr. Boyd with huge sums of money, but when Dr. Boyd refuses their offer, IM sabotages his job, leaving him in a difficult financial situation.

Dr. Boyd turns to Alan 2 for an answer to his financial problems, and Alan 2 develops plan Alpha, which is a cyber robin hood scheme to rob from rich corporations via a credit card scam.

Alan and his girlfriend Kaitlin travel to Mexico where they live the good life funded by plan Alpha, but the FBI cybercrime division has discovered part of Alan 2’s cyber escapades, and two agents, Rachel and Stu, trace the crime through the TOR network and Bitcoin.

Alan 2 discovers the FBI is on to them and advises Alan and Kaitlin to change locations. A dramatic chase ensues taking them to St. Thomas, a cruise ship bound for Spain, and finally to Morocco.

Will they escape detection? They will if Alan 2’s Plan Beta can be implemented in time. Or is ‘Plan B’ something altogether different than it appears to be, something wholly sinister that will affect the entire population of the world?

Watch the trailer at YouTube!

Purchase Information:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Publisher

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Bruce!  Can you tell us where you are from?

I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

The story is about an artificial intelligence scientist named Dr. Alan Boyd who develops a computer program that integrates part of his brain. The program sounds and speaks just like him so he called it Alan 2. I thought this would be a good title.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover.  Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

The cover was designed by my publisher, Open Books. They have done a wonderful job with both of my novels.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

If you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller that incorporates technology, cybercrime, hacking and espionage, this book is for you!

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

There are a few underlying themes. One has to do with the quantum connection between two people, or living things. Another has to do with what is going on with regard to our precious Earth. There is also some discussion about whether artificial intelligence can be identified as alive.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

I loved writing the entire story, but if I had to choose one, I would say it would be the chapter that introduces the FBI agents, Rachel and Stu. Rachel is in the midst of catching an online predator. I really enjoyed writing the online dialogue between Rachel and the predator, as well as between her and Stu.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

I felt as though artificial intelligence is really coming into vogue with systems like Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, IBM’s Watson and so on. I thought it would make a great story to take the idea of artificial intelligence to the next level and explore what it might decide to do.

Q:  Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

I guess it wouldn’t be a secret if I told you! One thing a lot of people don’t know about me is that before I worked in electronics, then became a chiropractor and now teach college, I was a figure skating coach and had toured with an ice show. Seems like another lifetime ago!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I would love to travel to many places, especially those with natural beauty. Places like Iceland and Tibet fascinate me.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

I’m better at different things at various times of the day. For work, it’s the morning that’s best. For exercise, it’s mid to late afternoon. For writing, it’s the evening.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

My daughter is a very talented writer. She is in high school and has written a fantasy novel which she hopes to get published and lots of great poetry.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Definitely, I love to spend a lot of time in my head and always have. I had a fantastic imagination when I was a child.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish.  What would that be?

Three more wishes??  If not, then to be happy and healthy.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Thank you very much. I really appreciate the opportunity to be interviewed and hope my readers enjoy Alan 2.

 

 

 

 

    


20 Questions with Author George Finney

George Finney

GEORGE FINNEY, ESQ., has worked in Cybersecurity for over 15 years and is the author of No More Magic Wands: Transformative Cybersecurity Change for Everyone. He is currently the Chief Information Security Officer for Southern Methodist University where he has also taught on the subject of Corporate Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. Mr. Finney is an attorney and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional as well as a Certified Information Security Systems Professional and has spoken on Cybersecurity topics across the country.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

About the Book:

No More Magic Wands

Once upon a time there was a company that made magic wands, but when they were hacked all the magic in the world couldn’t prevent their data from being stolen. If that company had a chance for a clean start, what would they have done differently? The unlikely hero isn’t a security guy. She’s a business elf who makes it her mission to change the way her company does business from the top down.

Most books on Cybersecurity are written for highly technical professionals, focus on specific compliance regulations, or are intended for reference. No More Magic Wands is different…it takes complex security concepts and puts them into practice in easy to read, relateable stories.

No More Magic Wands is available at AMAZON

 20-questions

  1. Are you a morning writer or a night writer? Morning, but not too early.
  2. Do you outline or are you a pantster? I fly by the seat of my pants, but I’ve learned to plan out my randomness. Occasionally.
  3. Which comes first – plot or character? I hear a character first, then I follow where they lead.
  4. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript? I like to put together a soundtrack to listen to when I’m writing and listen to it while I’m writing to keep in the same frame of mind each time I write.
  5. Favorite TV show? The Expanse on SyFy is the greatest.
  6. Favorite type of music? Classic rock.
  7. Favorite craft besides writing? Playing with my kid.
  8. Do you play a musical instrument? Still trying to learn to play the guitar after all these years.
  9. Single or married? Married.
  10. Children or no? Yep.
  11. Pets? Elvis the dog.
  12. Favorite place to write? Anywhere I can be alone!
  13. Favorite restaurant? I can’t think of just one. There are too many!
  14. Do you work outside the home? Yes.
  15. What was the name of the last movie you saw? Get Out.
  16. Favorite outdoor activity? Tennis
  17. Pet peeve? People who get onto elevators right as they open without waiting to see if there is anyone inside.
  18. Your goal in life? To help people improve their cybersecurity.
  19. Your most exciting moment? Getting to see the space shuttle in person.
  20. The love of your life? My daughter.

    


Interview with ‘The Feet Say Run’ Daniel A. Blum

Dan Blum

Daniel A. Blum grew up in New York, attended Brandeis University and currently lives outside of Boston with his family. His first novel Lisa33 was published by Viking in 2003. He has been featured in Poets and Writers magazine, Publisher’s Weekly and most recently, interviewed in Psychology Today.

Daniel writes a humor blog, The Rotting Post, that has developed a loyal following.

His latest release is the literary novel, The Feet Say Run.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

About the Book:

The Feet Say Run

At the age of eighty-five, Hans Jaeger finds himself a castaway among a group of survivors on a deserted island.  What is my particular crime?  he asks.   Why have I been chosen  for this fate?  And so he begins his extraordinary chronicle.

It would be an understatement to say he has lived a full life.  He has grown up in Nazi Germany and falls in love with Jewish girl.  He fights for the Germans on two continents, watches the Reich collapse spectacularly into occupation and starvation, and marries his former governess.  After the war he goes on wildflower expeditions in the Alps, finds solace among prostitutes while his wife lay in a coma, and marries a Brazilian chambermaid in order to receive a kidney from her.

By turns sardonic and tragic and surreal, Hans’s story is the story of all of the insanity, irony and horror of the modern world itself.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Dan!  Can you tell us where you are from?

I grew up in the exotic hinterlands of Long Island, New York.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

The phrase, “The Feet Say Run” is an expression of the ineluctable urge to flee – the fight or flight response.  The main character grapples with this feeling at pivotal moments in his life.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover.  Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

Hmm.  I thought they say you can’t judge a book by its cover.  But no matter.  Mine was designed by a water-color artist.  I had seen her work and admired it.   While the novel is quite dramatic and has a full, complicated plot, there is a wistful quality to it, a looking back on a long life, and I wanted that in the cover.  So there is “the present” which is the tropical island, the past, represented by the World War II fighter planes.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

If you want a novel that is as difficult to put down as your favorite page-turner, and as nicely written and thought-provoking like a really good literary novel, this is it.

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

I often get asked what the novel, “means”.  Many readers, survivors of Literature 101 and its ilk, seemed conditioned to ask this.  Yet few novelists go around planting hidden meanings, symbols, like so many Easter Eggs, waiting to be discovered.  (Perhaps some modern poets make a habit of this, but if you ask me, it’s a pretty annoying habit.)  In my own experience, what a good novelist wants to say, in almost every case, is pretty much right there in the story itself:  What it feels like to be alive, to have this odd thing we call consciouness, to have this or that extraordinary experience, to be alive in this time in history and in this particular place.

In The Feet Say Run the plot is intricate and involved, but what it says is not: That humans are capable of extraordinary cruelty and kindness, stupidity and brilliance; that life is chaotic and complex;  that this sturdy-seeming thing we call civilization is in truth desperately fragile.

Q: What was your favorite chapter to write and why?

There is a scene in The Feet Say Run that is just after the end of World War II in the ruins of Berlin.  The narrator takes his lover to the first concert at the re-opening of the Berling philharmonic.  There is still no heat inside.  Everyone is more-or-less hungry and in rags.  But the settle in to hear a Beethoven symphony, and it fills the narrator with this sea of emotion – grief at the horror of the war and this desire to turn back time, but also a sense that it was truly over, that it was possible again to think about something besides pure survival, to marvel at human achievement instead of human brutality.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how a novel is an act of empathy:  creating complete, believable characters requires the empathy of the author and appreciating those characters demands the empathy of the reader.  As a Jew writer writing an essentially sympathetic portrayal of a German who fought for the Nazis, my book felt in a way like the ultimate act of empathy.

But there is another, simpler explanation:  I love writing, spinning a tale, and this was a story that I felt had not really been told.

Q:  Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

Oh, I have a pretty good one:  I am also the author, under pseudonym, of Lisa33, which is an avante garde sex comedy set on the internet.  I got a received advance for the novel from a prestigious publisher, who then completely failed to market it. So I quickly returned to obscurity.  Please don’t ask me about my extensive “research” for that particular book.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

So many places I’d love to see.  Tahiti in the South Pacific appeals a lot.  I like cities and history, but my favorite vacations are all outdoors and full of natural beauty.  Add to the a tropical climate and an exotic feeling, great beaches, swimming, boating, diving, and it seems pretty nice.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Can I be neither?  Can I like to sleep late and go to bed early?  I think that describes it best.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

Yes, if one includes cousins and nephews and so on.  My immediate family are all either psychiatrists (father and brother) or psychologists (mother and sister).  So I suppose I could either be at least marginally introspective or go crazy.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

I definitely was, and I do think there is a connection between that and later wanting to write.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish.  What would that be?

Oh dear.  I’ll start with the appropriate response:  I want my kids to be happy, and to grow up in peaceful and just and merciful world.

But of course the self-absorbed novelist in me also wants a world where every single human goes and reads my books.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Thanks much.  If I say any more I’ll only further undermine myself, say something impolitic about reviewers, publishers, or otherwise say something else I probably should not.  So…we’ll leave it that.

 

    


What do Surgeon’s Story and Jimmy Kimmel have in common? Lots.

Surgeon's Story

If you’ve been watching TV or been online at all today, you’ve seen the story about TV host Jimmy Kimmel’s newborn son having open heart surgery for a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. Jimmy made an incredibly moving speech about it at the start of his show last night. He and his wife were lucky in that they had access to Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles and one of the best pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons in the country to take care of their child.

In SURGEON’S STORY, my new book about pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Kristine Guleserian, the first patient we meet is eleven-month old Claudia, who also suffers from Tetralogy. Briefly, the cardiac problems common to this condition are;

  • Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) A hole between the two ventricles of the heart. The hole is there in the womb but is meant to close shortly after birth.
  • Overriding Aorta – The vessel which carries oxygenated blood to the body is positioned improperly on the heart.
  • Right Ventricular Outflow Tract Obstruction – Blood flow from the heart to the lungs is severely restricted, and,
  • Right Ventricular Hypertrophy, meaning the right ventricle is dangerously enlarged because it is having to do too much work to pump blood.

The Kimmel’s son also had Pulmonary atresia, meaning the valve carrying blood from the right ventricle to the lungs for oxygen has not formed correctly and is restricting flow.

Jimmy and Molly went through every type of agony once they got their son’s diagnosis. And while the first surgery he had was successful, he’ll have to have at least two more.

When Dr. Guleserian puts the child on the heart-lung machine and goes to work on the heart, the first thing to do is see if the damage she can visualize is approximately what she saw on the patient’s echocardiogram. Imaging studies can only show so much, and often times things are tougher than the pictures will show. Young Kimmel’s main problem was likely the malformed pulmonary artery. For blood to flow properly to the lungs for oxygen, this valve has to be working well. Sometimes the valve doesn’t have the proper number of flaps and adjustments must be made for that.  The hole between the ventricles, necessary in utero to make sure the heart and lungs are not overworked, must be closed, often with tissue taken from the pericardium, the sac that surrounds the heart.

Now, keep this last part in mind. Dr. Guleserian, and the surgeon who worked on young Mr. Kimmel, are working on hearts approximately the size of a walnut. The pulmonary valve, when transected, may be about the diameter of a green pea. This is why pediatric cardiothoracic surgery is generally considered the toughest of all surgical disciplines.

Jimmy and Molly were very luck to access to a world-class surgeon for their son’s surgery.

To find out more about what it’s like inside the OR during pediatric heart surgery, I direct you to the book Dr. Guleserian and I wrote, SURGEON’S STORY. Just as Jimmy Kimmel was last night, you’ll be speechless at the incredible talent these surgeons have.

Mark Oristano

www.surgeonsstory.com

mark@oristano.net

    

First Chapter Reveal: Miracle Man by William R. Leibowitz

Miracle Man

Title: MIRACLE MAN
Author: William Leibowitz
Publisher: Manifesto Media Group
Pages: 385
Genre: Thriller

REVERED     REVILED      REMARKABLE

The victim of an unspeakable crime, an infant rises to become a new type of superhero.  Unlike any that have come before him, he is not a fanciful creation of animators, he is real.

So begins the saga of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history.  But where did his extraordinary intelligence come from?

As agents of corporate greed vie with rabid anti-Western radicals to destroy him, an obsessive government leader launches a bizarre covert mission to exploit his intellect.  Yet Austin’s greatest fear is not of this world.

Aided by two exceptional women, one of whom will become his unlikely lover, Austin struggles against abandonment and betrayal.  But the forces that oppose him are more powerful than even he can understand.

Miracle Man was named by Amazon as one of the Top 100 Novels of 2015, an Amazon Top 10 thriller, an Amazon bestseller and an Amazon NY Times bestseller.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

First Chapter:

Prologue A tall figure wearing a black-hooded slicker walked quickly through the night carrying a large garbage bag.  His pale face was wet with rain.  He had picked a deserted part of town.  Old warehouse buildings were being gutted so they could be converted into apartments for non-existent buyers.  There were no stores, no restaurants and no people.

“Who’d wanna live in this shit place?”  he muttered to himself.  Even the nice neighborhoods of this dismal city had more “For Sale” signs than you could count.

He was disgusted with himself and disgusted with her, but they were too young to be burdened.  Life was already hard enough.    He shook his head incredulously.  She had been so damn sexy, funny, full of life.   Why the hell couldn’t she leave well enough alone?    She should have had some control.

He wanted to scream-out down the ugly street, “It’s her fucking fault that I’m in the rain in this crap neighborhood trying to evade the police.”

But he knew he hadn’t tried to slow her down either.   He kept giving her the drugs and she kept getting kinkier and kinkier and more dependent on him and that’s how he liked it.   She was adventurous and creative beyond her years.  Freaky and bizarre.  He had been enthralled, amazed.  The higher she got, the wilder she was.  Nothing was out of bounds.  Everything was in the game.

And so, they went farther and farther out there.  Together.  With the help of the chemicals.  They were co-conspirators, co-sponsors of their mutual dissipation.  How far they had traveled without ever leaving their cruddy little city.  They were so far ahead of all the other kids.

He squinted, and his mind reeled.  He tried to remember in what month of their senior year in high school the drugs became more important to her than he was.  And in what month did her face start looking so tired, her complexion prefacing the ravages to follow, her breath becoming foul as her teeth and gums deteriorated.  And in what month did her need for the drugs outstrip his and her cash resources.

He stopped walking and raised his hooded head to the sky so that the rain would pelt him full-on in the face.  He was hoping that somehow this would make him feel absolved.  It didn’t.  He shuddered as he clutched the shiny black bag, the increasingly cold wet wind blowing hard against him.  He didn’t even want to try to figure out how many guys she had sex with for the drugs.

The puddle-ridden deserted street had three large dumpsters on it.   One was almost empty.  It seemed huge and metallic and didn’t appeal to him. The second was two-thirds full.  He peered into it, but was repulsed by the odor, and he was pretty sure he saw the quick moving figures of rodents foraging in the mess. The third was piled above the brim with construction debris.

Holding the plastic bag, he climbed up on the rusty lip of the third dumpster.  Stretching forward, he placed the bag on top of some large garbage bags which were just a few feet inside of the dumpster’s rim.   As he climbed down, his body looked bent and crooked and his face was ashen. Tears streamed down his cheeks and bounced off his hands.  He barely could annunciate, “Please forgive me,” as he shuffled away, head bowed and snot dripping from his nose.

Chapter One:

Edith and Peter Austin sat stiffly in the worn wooden chairs of Dr. Ronald Draper’s waiting room as if they were being graded on their posture by the receptionist.   Edith’s round cherubic face was framed by graying hair that was neatly swept back and pinned.  Her dress was a loose fitting simple floral print that she had purchased at a clearance sale at JC Penny.  Their four year old son, Bobby, sat between them, his shiny black dress shoes swinging from legs too short to touch the floor.  Edith brushed the boy’s long sandy hair away from his light blue eyes that were intensely focused on the blank wall in front of him.   Peter, dressed in his construction foreman’s clothes, yawned deeply having been up since five in the morning, his weathered face wrinkled well beyond his years. Looking down at his heavy work boots, he placed his hand firmly on Edith’s knee to quiet her quivering leg.  When they were finally shown into Draper’s office, the receptionist signaled that Bobby should stay with her.

Ronald Draper was the Head of the Department of Child Psychology at Mount Sinai Hospital. A short portly man in his late forties, the few remaining strands of his brown hair were caked with pomade and combed straight across his narrow head. His dark eyes appeared abnormally large as a result of the strong lenses in his eye glasses and his short goatee only accentuated his receding chin.  Glancing at his wrist watch while he greeted Peter and Edith, Draper motioned for them to take a seat on the chairs facing his cluttered desk.  Draper had been referred by Bobby’s pediatrician when Bobby’s condition didn’t improve.

“Describe to me exactly what you’re concerned about,” Draper said.

Edit cleared her throat.  “It started about a year ago. At any time, without warning, Bobby will get quiet and withdrawn.  Then he’ll go over to his little chair and sit down, or he’ll lie down on the window seat in the living room.  He’ll stare directly in front of him as if in a trance and then his lids will close halfway.  His body will be motionless.  Maybe his eyes will blink occasionally.  That’s it.  This can go on for as much as forty minutes each time it happens.  When visitors to our house have seen it, they thought Bobby was catatonic.”

Draper looked up from the notes he was taking.  “When Bobby comes to, do you ask him about it?”

Edith’s hands fidgeted.  “Yes.  He says, ‘I was just thinking about some things.’  Then, when I ask him what things, he says, ‘those things I’m reading about.’”

Draper’s eyes narrowed.  “Did you say, things he was reading about?”

Edith nodded.

“He’s four, correct?”

Edith nodded again and Draper scribbled more notes.

“Do you question him further?”

“I ask him why he gets so quiet and still.  I’ve told him it’s real spooky.”

“And how does he respond to that, Mrs. Austin?”

Edith shook her head.  “He says he’s just concentrating.”

“And what other issues are there?”

“Bobby always slept much less than other children, even as an infant.  And he never took naps.  Then, starting about a year ago, almost every night, he has terrible nightmares.  He comes running into our bed crying hysterically.  He’s so agitated he’ll be shaking and sometimes even wets himself.”

Draper put his pen down and leaned back in his worn leather chair, which squeaked loudly.  “And what did your pediatrician, Dr. Stafford, say about all this?”

As Edith was about to reply, Peter squeezed her hand and said, “Dr. Stafford told us not to worry. He said Bobby’s smart and imaginative and bad dreams are common at this age for kids like him.  And he said Bobby’s trances are caused by his lack of sleep, that they’re just a sleep substitute—like some kind of ‘waking nap.’  He told us Bobby will outgrow these problems.  We thought the time had come to see a specialist.”

Tapping his pen against his folder, Draper asked Edith and Peter to bring Bobby into his office and wait in the reception area so he could speak with the boy alone.   “I’m sure we won’t be long,” he said.

His chin resting in his hand, Draper looked at the four year old who sat in front of him with his long hair and piercing light blue eyes.  “So, Robert.  I understand that you enjoy reading.”

“It’s the passion of my life, Doctor.”

Draper laughed.  “The passion of your life.  That’s quite a dramatic statement. And what are you reading now?”

“Well, I only like to read non-fiction, particularly, astronomy, physics, math and chemistry.  I’ve also just started reading a book called ‘Gray’s Anatomy.’”

“Gray’s Anatomy?”  Draper barely covered his mouth as he yawned, recalling how many times he had met with toddlers who supposedly read the New York Times. In his experience, driven parents were usually the ones who caused their kids’ problems.  “That’s a book most medical students dread.  It seems awfully advanced for a child of your age.”  Walking over to his bookcase, Draper stretched to reach the top shelf and pulled down a heavy tome.   Blowing the dust off the binding, he said, “So, is this the book that you’ve been reading?”

Bobby smiled.  “Yes, that’s it.”

“How did you get a copy?”

“I asked my Dad to get it for me from the library and he did.”

“And why did you want it?”

“I’m curious about the human body.”

“Oh, is that so?  Well, let’s have you read for me, and then I’ll ask you some questions about what you read.”

Smiling smugly as he randomly opened to a page in the middle of the book, Draper put the volume down on a table in front of Bobby.  Bobby stood on his toes so that he could see the page.  The four year old began to read the tiny print fluently, complete with the proper pronunciation of medical Latin terms.   His eyes narrowing, Draper scratched his chin.  “Ok, Bobby.  Now reading words on a page is one thing.  But understanding them is quite another.  So tell me the meaning of what you just read.”

Bobby gave Draper a dissertation on not only what he had just read, but how it tied it into aspects of the first five chapters of the book which he had read previously on his own.  By memory, Bobby also directed Draper to specific pages of the book identifying what diagrams Draper would find that supported what Bobby was saying.

Glassy eyed, Draper stared at the child as he grabbed the book and put it back on the shelf.  “Bobby, that was very interesting.  Your reading shows real promise.  Now let’s do a few puzzles.”

Pulling out a Rubik’s cube from his desk drawer, Draper asked, “Have you ever seen one of these?”

Bobby shook his head.  “What is it?”

Draper handed the cube to Bobby and explained the object of the game.  “Just explore it.  Take your time—there’s no rush.”

Bobby manipulated the cube with his tiny hands as he examined it from varying angles.  “I think I get the idea.”

“OK, Bobby—try to solve it.”

Thirty seconds later, Bobby handed the solved puzzle to Draper.

Draper’s eyes widened as he massaged his eyebrows.   “I see.  Well, let me mix it up really good this time and have you try again.”   Twenty seconds after being handed the cube a second time, Bobby was passing it back to Draper solved again.  Beginning to perspire, Draper removed his suit jacket.

“Bobby, we’re going to play a little game.  I’m going to slowly say a number, and then another number, and another after that—and so forth, and as I call them out I’m going to write them down.  When I’m finished, I’m going to ask you to recite back whatever numbers in the list you can remember.  Is that clear?

“Sure Doctor,” replied Bobby.

“Ok, here we go”.   At approximately one second intervals, Draper intoned, “729;  302; 128; 297; 186; 136;  423; 114;  169;  322;  873;  455; 388; 962;  666;  293;  725;  318;  131; 406.”

Bobby responded immediately with the full list in perfect order.  He then asked Draper if he would like to hear it backwards.   “Sure, why not,” replied Draper.

By the time Draper tired of this game, he was up to 80 numbers, each comprised of five digits.  Bobby didn’t miss a single one.  “Can we stop this game now please, Doctor?  It’s getting pretty monotonous, don’t you think?”

Draper loosened his tie.  He went through his remaining routines of tests and puzzles designed to gauge a person’s level of abstract mathematical reasoning, theoretical problem solving, linguistic nuances, and vocabulary. Rubbing his now oily face in his hands, he said, “Let’s take a break for a few minutes.”

“Why Doctor?  I’m not tired.”

“Well, I am.”

Taking Bobby back to the waiting room, Draper apologized to Peter and Edith for the long period during which he had sequestered Bobby.

“Is everything alright, Doctor?” Edith asked.

“Why don’t you take Bobby to the cafeteria for a snack and meet me back here with him in thirty minutes,” Draper replied.

When the Austins returned to Draper’s office, Draper had two of his colleagues with him.  He advised Peter and Edith that his associates would assist him in administering a few IQ tests to Bobby.

Peter’s eyes narrowed as he looked at Draper.  “What does that have to do with the nightmares and trances, Doctor?  We came here for those issues – not to have Bobby’s intelligence tested.”

“Be patient, please, Mr. Austin.  Everything is inter-connected.  We’re trying to get a complete picture.”

Draper and his associates, one a Ph.D in psychology and the other a Ph.D in education, administered three different types of intelligence tests to Bobby (utilizing abbreviated versions due to time constraints).  First, the Slosson Intelligence Test, then the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Revised (WISC-R) and finally, the Stanford-Binet L-M.

By the time the exams were concluded, Draper’s shirt was untucked and perspiration stains protruded from beneath his arms even though the room was cool.  He brought Bobby back to the reception area, and took Peter and Edith into a corner of the room, out of Bobby’s earshot.  “Your child isn’t normal.  Are any of your other children like this?”

About the Author

 William Leibowitz

William Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment/media law in New York City for a number of years.  He has represented numerous renowned creative people and many leading intellectual property companies.  William has a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University.  He lives in the village of Quogue, New York with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George.

William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times–when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero–and that, of course, is Robert James Austin, the protagonist in Miracle Man.

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