Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bringing Up Mike by Mark Duncan - Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mark will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five Things You Might Not Know About Mark Duncan

I’m a long-term cancer survivor

I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma when I broke the top of my right femur. I’ve had several radiation treatments, a bone marrow transplant at Stanford, and seven years of chemotherapy. After seventeen years, the myeloma appears to have burned itself out. I’ve had several side effects such as cataracts, kidney damage, and vertebroplasty to repair lesions in my lower back. Despite this, I stay active and engaged in life.

Participated in Lifespring when I was 25

Lifespring was a New Age/Human Potential company that helped people to see how others perceive and experience them. For myself, it came as a rude awakening that I was seen as being negative and critical. It helped me realized that I wanted to have more friends and caused me to work at being more positive and supportive. It took years to make these changes, but I’m much happier as a result.

Spent time at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) when I was in high school

When I was in high school, personal computers didn’t exist. If you were interested in computers, you had to get access to a minicomputer. There was an educational computer company at the San Carlos, CA airport called Technica that let high school kids use their equipment. Subsequently found that Digital Equipment allowed access to the minicomputers at their new training center in Sunnyvale. It subsequently occurred to me to ask for access to the timeshared SAIL facility, and to my surprise, access was given to my classmate, Steve Gibson and myself on Friday and Saturday nights. It was the first exposure I had to email and computer games!

I was the shortest kid in my elementary school classes

It wasn’t until the fifth grade that I was no longer the shortest kid in my class. In 9th grade I weighed 98 pounds, but by the 10th I was at 132 pounds and 5’9” in height. The only reason I remember these particular facts was that I was on the wrestling team in high school!

I often got in one or more fights each day in elementary school

While I was very short, I was all muscle, since I wrestled and worked out at the downtown Pasadena, CA YMCA. I suffered from bad allergies—it was like I had a constant cold–so it contributed to a violent temper. At recess I frequently got into one or more fights. I didn’t like school, so I would come home and bury myself in a book to escape. Often I read three or four books a day (I was a fast reader, reading two thousand words a minute). It was faster to read a book than watch a movie! Like many other things, I’ve slowed down— I read at a small fraction of this speed today.

What happens when Joe, a teen prodigy makes drastic changes to his life and attends high school incognito with Mike, an artificial intelligence? His plans take an unexpected turn when he buys a neglected former racehorse.

Bringing Up Mike is a tapestry of intertwined stories over the course of a school year: A teen genius who has grown up too fast, a neglected former racehorse, a bereaved couple morning the death of their son, a girl struggling to attend college, and a former mobster determined to be top dog.

Bringing Up Mike is about people given a second chance at happiness and success and how they become better people and mature.

Enjoy an excerpt:

As he walked down the windowless hallway, Joe’s long hair swung back and forth across his back. He swiped his badge against the door lock, entered a PIN code, and it clicked open. He took another gulp of coffee and entered his office.

He touched his finger to the keyboard to scan his fingerprint, then gestured on a touchpad to log in and authenticate himself. The lights went off in the office, the lock clicked in place, and the introduction to The Outer Limits began to play: “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust”

“Mike, very funny. Stop the effects, turn on the lights.”

The office lights flickered on. “Your wish is my command, O Master.”

“Enough with mimicking the genie from Aladdin.”

“I don’t sound like Robin Williams?”

“No, you’re perfect. I’m just not a morning person.” He pulled off his thick glasses and rubbed his brows before placing them back. “Any interesting news or urgent emails?”

“Nothing earth-shattering, the usual please respond immediately emails. Answered the trivial ones, but there are three that need your attention eventually.”

“How’s the meeting going?”

“Started half an hour ago. I gave your update ten minutes ago. Told them how we’d found and neutralized one hundred and four viruses and Trojans, and that if they didn’t like your acronym DAWG for Deleterious Adaptive Web Gladiator, you were open to suggestions. You want to listen?”

“No, I’ll nap for a bit. Wake me if anything comes up.”

About the Author:
Mark Duncan grew up in Pasadena, not far from Caltech. In high school he spent Friday and Saturday nights at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) and subsequently was a member of the Homebrew Computer Club. He received his BSEE from UC Berkeley. He has worked or consulted for numerous startups in Silicon Valley. He lives in Menlo Park, near Stanford and has written extensively on emerging technology topics. He enjoys photography, movies, theater, fine dining and has visited all 50 states and much of Europe. He is the author of Bringing Up Mike.

Book and Author Links Book Website: up mike.html
Publisher Website:
Author Website: duncan.html
Author Twitter:
Author Facebook:

Buy the book at Amazon, Amazon UK, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I enjoyed reading the Five Things. I'm glad you are feeling okay now.

  2. Stanford Hospital is an amazing place, and I'm glad they did well by you!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  3. Thanks for the excerpt and the chance to win!
    Happy Holidays!


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