Finally, a sneak preview of the opening chapters of Targeting the Telomeres, A Thiller (Book Two-Amanda’s Telomeres series) are unveiled.
Spoiler Alert: Don’t read further if you have not read Taming the Telomeres, a #1 Amazon Best Seller.
The first chapter of Book Two is set out below:
TARGETING THE TELOMERES (c) R.N. Shapiro 2016
Amanda Michaels, a teenager with genetically altered telomeres, was the sole survivor of a jet crash. After a new tragedy befalls her family, she decides vigilante justice is her only option.
‘Sleeper’ the opening chapter of Targeting the Telomeres, is a prologue, a foreshadowing of events deep inside the novel. Click the image below to read author insights and the opening chapter on the author’s portal at Bublish.com or just scroll down further.
What kind of scum-sucking cockroaches kidnap a defenseless baby, Amanda Michaels thinks while trying to fall asleep. She will make them regret that decision.
Lying on the cramped, lower bunk of the sleeper car, she feels with her fingertips along the thin foam-rubber pad masquerading as a mattress. There it is. She tugs on the lower portion of her backpack hiding the loaded pistol with the customized silencer, nestling what constitutes all her belongings in the crook of her right arm. The sheath strapped under the left pant leg of her jeans secures a long KA-Bar serrated edge fixed blade knife. And in the right pocket of her hoodie are two identical burner cell phones. One is her only means of communication with her compatriot, who is also on the train, both of them full-in with their improbable mission. Imagining the linen scent of her favorite candle briefly tricks her olfactory glands into ignoring the foul odors. The elderly Chinese lady on the bunk overhead smells of mildewing clothes. On the lower bunk an arm’s length away, a twenty-something Chinese girl sleeps with her jacket over her head. The sleeper car’s other occupant, a tiny woman who barely stands five-foot tall and can’t weigh 100 pounds, presses her torso against the tiny sink, paper towels surrounding the collar of her shirt, while she works some type of soapy liquid through her dark brown shoulder-length hair. Amanda decides to pass on that shower.
She thinks, all I wanted was to get some of my memory back from before the crash. Not this.
If she’s captured, what could Chinese intelligence agents possibly “get” out of her anyhow? Sure, she survived the Hemispheres plane crash, but she doesn’t know how or why. Only that it might have had something to do with her dad’s research and her being his test subject. To study her telomeres, maybe that’s what they would want? Most likely to torture her to learn whatever she knows.
The bullet train hurtling northbound towards Beijing at 180 miles per hour suddenly lurches, causing a metallic screech that soon fades.
Amanda thinks for a moment about a family photo. Of her dad, her, and her mom, sitting on the front porch of the house they lived in before the crash. The one she hopes to recall, that her Uncle Andy showed her. She mentally photoshops her baby brother Justin in too. Nothing can stop fantasies no one else can see.
The sink-showering lady climbs back up to her top bunk, and talks in Chinese with the other older lady.
If my plan fails, I won’t have to worry anymore, Amanda decides. Because I’ll be dead.
Tags: 2015 Book Award, Amanda Michaels, amnesia, author, Beijing, book authors, bullet train, cell research, China, ebook, fiction, Grisham, jet crash, medical thrillers, Middleburg, mystery, R.N. Shapiro, Shapiro, spy, survivor, taming the telomeres, telomerase, telomeres, thriller, thriller novel, Virginia
Scenes and places inspiring the suspense thriller Taming the Telomeres pinned on my Pinterest page:
A powerful subplot of my award winning fiction thriller Taming the Telomeres deals with DNA telomere research and its impact on human aging, and the possible extension of human life. TTT explores tragedy that befalls Amanda Michaels, and how she discovers that secret telomere research her biological father Ron Michaels was exploring had attracted the interest of the world’s most powerful nations. Amanda hunts for answers in the midst of spying, subterfuge, and nation’s seeking economic leverage over the telomere research.
As many of you may be aware, in 2009 three scientists shared a Nobel Prize for research on our DNA telomeres and the impact of telomerase enzyme on our cells. With regard to telomere research, readers of my first novel have commented in various ways:
“There wasn’t enough science about telomeres.”
“I didn’t understand the science, that bogged me down.”
“R.N. Shapiro wasn’t even accurate about the science.”
Lot’s of conflicting feedback. Not enough science. Too much science. If you had never heard of a telomere before you saw the title of my first novel, believe me you were not alone. Almost no one except geneticists or biological researchers had ever heard of one either. And when you deal with cutting edge science in a fiction thriller, it’s hard to please everyone all the time.
While it’s important to build a foundation on real science and medicine, fiction by definition may involve a leap of faith, something that might not be grounded 100% in science. Some people call that science fiction. Like getting dinosaur DNA out of petrified amber. There’s a kernel of possibility, but a leap of faith may be necessary.
Most parts of the telomere passages in my first novel was based on real science, but I will admit not all of Amanda’s special characteristics are scientifically based. And how will the telomere elixir she was transfused with impact Amanda in the future? Hmm.
I’m currently researching and writing a follow along sequel to Taming the Telomeres, with the working title “Targeting the Telomeres.” Amanda Michaels, Andy Michaels, and several other characters in the first book are involved in the sequel, which begins less than a year after the end of the first telomeres novel. Along with many new characters. Now, in the midst of writing the second telomeres/Amanda Michaels novel, there have been a number of important genetic research announcements involving telomeres and telomerase enzyme since 2009. And yes these worldwide announcements and discoveries that impact human aging have been exciting.
So what telomere discoveries have been achieved since the 2009 Nobel Prize announcement?
Cancer: One breakthrough involves telomerase enzyme in cancer cells. Cancer cell telomeres get very short, but the abnormal, damaged cancer cells somehow escape cell death by continually making more telomerase enzyme. Medical researchers are making strides in cutting off the telomerase enzyme in breast and prostate cancer cells to make them die rather than continually reproducing and causing the spread of abnormal cancer tumor cells. But one resultant problem with blocking telomerase enzyme production is that the same elimination can impair fertility, wound healing and production of blood and immune system cells.
Shorter Telomeres=Shorter Lives: In other studies, scientists have shown that shorter telomeres are associated with shorter human lives. In persons over 60, shorter telomeres meant they were three times more likely to die from heart and other infectious diseases than persons with longer telomeres. Even people with longer telomeres after age 60 still experience telomere shortening as they age but noted geneticist Richard Cawthon believes that 10 to 30 years could be added to human life by lengthening our telomeres. Dr. Cawthon says that if all processes of aging could be eliminated and oxidative stress damage could be repaired, one estimate is that the human body could live 1000 years.
Increases in Mice Median Lifespan: By late 2010, Harvard genetic researchers showed that telomerase enzyme in mice genes reversed aging and degenerative processes in the mice. A later 2012 telomere study on laboratory mice increased their median lifespans between 13% and 24% with telomere manipulation. And a genetic study just announced during 2016 from Spain showed that embryonic stem cells with hyper-long telomeres can give rise to organisms (here, mice) with longer telomeres that remain young at the molecular level far longer. Meaning that the longer telomere in stem cells can divide and divide, and the mouse’s cell telomeres become longer. The Spanish scientists are now researching the natural additional question: can they show extension of mice median lifespan based on the hyper-long telomeres?
Human Lifespan Extension: Are scientists inching closer to effectively providing the fountain of youth for our human cells? Perhaps. How many years will it take to roll out medications that will materially extend human life expectancy? No one can yet say.
Back to my second novel, Targeting the Telomeres, which is still a work in progress. On the telomere front, USA biological researchers will address how to effectively use and deliver telomerase enzyme to lengthen the telomeres in human cells, in more than one way. Powerful competing international “interests” will engage in efforts to gain access to this classified biological genetic research, but in the midst of this, the Michaels family suffers a new family crisis. That’s as far as I can go at this time, but rest assured that much of the telomere science in the second novel will have a solid foundation in recent telomere discoveries.
Just want to say “wow” and “thank you” to every reader of Taming the Telomeres, as the novel about Amanda Michaels, and her tale of survival and redemption, held the #1 position on Amazon’s best seller charts in the suspense action thriller category in early May.
Taming the Telomeres is now available in ebook, paperback or audiobook on Audible.com and on iTunes.
Working hard on the sequel with the working title ‘Targeting the Telomeres’ which will pickup within a year of where TTT leaves off.
They say that heroes leave behind a little part of themselves in each of us. I don’t know if that’s true, but I want to tell you why I wish I’d met Matt Schnirel, who I think was a hero. And he’s not the only one either.
Singer songwriter Jack Johnson asked: “Where’d all the good people go? I keep changing channels. I don’t see them on the TV shows…” But–if heroes surrounded us every day, they wouldn’t seem heroic, would they? Why? Because heroes are rare. And, they make you aspire to be a person of integrity. Someone you hope you can be.
Michael Doran was a fantastic trial attorney from Buffalo, and a professional friend of mine. He hired Matt Schnirel right out of law school to work at his small law firm. He didn’t hire him because he finished at the top of his class. He hired him because he had clerked for his small law firm in Buffalo, and everybody that met Matt loved him. Michael was a very successful, persuasive attorney in front of juries. And he was a great judge of a lawyer’s character.
I was as shocked as everyone in Buffalo that knew Michael and Matt when I heard the news that Michael Doran’s small Cirrus plane crashed in 2009 after it took off from a municipal Cleveland airport, after Michael and Matt had attended a hearing there. Something went horribly wrong right after take-off and Michael tried to get the plane back to the airstrip when it crashed not far from the airport. And, it was one of those planes with a special parachute that can be deployed, but only after the plane reaches a certain altitude.
I went to the funeral for Michael Doran, and that was where I heard a lot about Matt Schnirel, who was a new, young lawyer working with Michael’s law firm and who was the only other passenger who lost his life in the crash.
Heroes don’t panic in life threatening situations. I learned a great story about Matt Schnirel after Michael’s funeral at a tribute for Michael and Matt. Matt and a group of his high school friends accidentally went down a wrong trail on a Jay Peak Vermont ski slope in 2003 on a frigid winter afternoon-ending up stranded at nightfall in a deserted valley with no ability to get out (and no cell phone service).
Night fell, and the temperatures dropped to 30 below zero, and as each hour passed they all became more and more desperate. One lighter proved pivotal—Matt and the others broke off tree branches and built a fire and continued to feed it hour after hour, fighting off frostbite. At dawn, Matt led his friends to try to find their way up and out of the valley, and during that effort rescuers found them.
Matt Schnirel retold this story in his personal statement to Buffalo school of law in his application, and he was (you guessed) accepted there.
Other heroes don’t help save anyone, but still are heroic. My late aunt, Annette Halprin, may never have “saved” anyone but she lived live with a certain savoir-faire, meaning she was adaptable, knowing what to do in any situation. She treated everyone around her with dignity, she was funny, and she was always someone who I looked up to. She’s another hero, and I was privileged to give a eulogy at her funeral.
Perhaps that’s why I wrote about a hero named Amanda Michaels, the leading female character in my first fiction thriller, “Taming the Telomeres.” I am sure I infused a part of Matt and a part of Annette in the character development for Amanda. Though Amanda seems imperfect and perhaps not heroic at the beginning of “Taming,” she manages to pull through against her seemingly insurmountable obstacles after being the sole survivor of a jet crash.
I wish I had met Matt Schnirel. We all have heroes. I’m sure you know someone like him or my aunt, and no, all the good people are not gone. They are just hard to find.
This answer is not found within a species or genus of monkey. Nor on Madagascar. A telomere is the protective tip at the end of cell chromosomes, involved in controlling cell life. And death. A nobel prize was awarded in 2009 for scientific strides in telomere biology: how the chromosomes can be copied in a complete way during cell divisions and how they are protected against degradation. The Nobel Laureates showed that the solution is to be found in the ends of the chromosomes – the telomeres – and in an enzyme that forms them – telomerase. Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak discovered that a unique DNA sequence in the telomeres protects the chromosomes from degradation.
Taming the Telomeres (TTT) is a fiction thriller that examines the vast commercial potential of telomere research to the world’s super powers. The value of extending human life even 15% is mind boggling, and biological spying on these advances is hardly surprising.
While not about taming monkeys on Madagascar, TTT won the 2015 Gold Award for top fiction thriller in the Readers Favorite Int’l. Book contest, and was the lone medalist in the New Apple Literary Awards for ebook fiction thriller also.
Some call TTT a biological thriller, or a medical thriller. Amanda Michaels is the lone survivor of a jet crash that killed all aboard. Except her. She comes to learn that she possesses biological secrets that covert agents will kill over.
Tags: 2015 Book Award, amnesia, attorney, biology, book authors, cell research, ebook, fiction, genetics, madagascar, medical thrillers, monkey, mystery, R.N. Shapiro, species of monkey, taming telomeres, taming the telomeres, telomerase, telomeres, thriller, thriller novel
Taming the Telomeres was named the Medalist in the 2015 New Apple Literary award contest, for ebook mystery/thriller.
Click to head to New Apple Literary Award website:
Profuse thanks to Patrick Austin, who now is the editor of the Virginia State Bar Docket Call Newsletter, for a nice interview about the ethical dilemmas faced by trial attorney Andy Michaels in Taming the Telomeres, my fiction thriller. The Judges also have some serious ethical issues as well. Click below for the interview.
VSB interview RNS [Click link].
Quite pleased to report that the audiobook narrated by Mikael Naramore is now available on itunes, Amazon, and on audible.com. It was a real pleasure working with producer/narrator Naramore, and the review and editing process was illuminating. Rather than “typos” the main issues involve pronunciation preferences and many other subtle preferences. See the screen shots.
There has been a major increase in audible sales of books since users can listen to an audible book through their mobile phone and use bluetooth in a car, which eliminates the need to have any CD’s, like 5 years ago. Now, Taming the Telomeres is available in audio format.
Click to see my latest author comments about the “Doctors Explain” book chapter from Taming the Telomeres, when Amanda Michaels first comes out of her coma, surrounded by medical doctors.