Monday, January 1, 2018

Update and Excerpt from Kid Sensation #6

Happy New Year!  The time has truly flown by, because it feels like just yesterday that we were entering 2017.  Hopefully everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is ready to start the new year with a bang.

Getting right to the point, I know that many of my readers are anxiously awaiting the next Kid Sensation novel.  I really hate talking about progress and estimated completion dates because it always seems like doing so jinxes things.  That said, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I'm really close to finishing and hope to wrap it up by the end of January.  However, my publisher still has to work her magic on the manuscript afterwards, so that an actual release date probably won't be until February, at the earliest. (And that's not accounting for the time my formatting guy needs to do his thing.)

Anyway, I thought it might be worthwhile to publish an excerpt from the new book, with the usual caveats, of course (ie, my editor hasn't seen this yet, etc.):

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Despite having gone up against bad guys before, this was officially my first mission, the first one where my presence was actually sanctioned by the Alpha League. However, because of the individual we were about to face off with – Dream Machine – putting me (or someone like me) on the mission roster had almost been a foregone conclusion.
Technically, Dream Machine wasn’t a person. He had started off as an artificial intelligence – a set of complex computer programs designed to help people with dementia through direct interface with the human brain.
Initially, the project was considered a roaring success. Somehow, however, the AI not only outgrew its original programming but also became self-aware. Moreover, through its incipient work with those suffering from dementia, it had somehow developed to the ability to manipulate human perception.  In short, it could cause people to see hallucinations, among other things. Taking on the name Dream Machine (and a masculine persona), the AI had decided that it could best fulfill its original purpose of helping people by conquering humanity.  Thus, since escaping several years ago from the computer network where he was housed, Dream Machine had made world domination his top priority.
All of this flitted through my mind as we got closer to the elevator. Phasing through the roof, we found the interior of the elevator just as arenose and cobwebbed as the shaft we’d just left. Changing direction, I now moved us forward, taking us through the rusted-shut elevator doors.
The first thing I noticed when we emerged was light. Previously, we had been making our way through the subterranean tunnels and hallways in almost complete darkness. Now, however, there was a fair amount of illumination.
Glancing around, I saw that we were in a sizeable chamber that seemed to extend about a hundred feet ahead of us, as well as rise several stories in height. The light I had noticed apparently stemmed from two sources: electric bulbs that seemed to have been placed haphazardly throughout the place, and steel drums being used as burn barrels.
Much to my surprise, there were people scattered throughout the place – some old, some young, some alone, some with families.  I had no idea where they had come from or how they’d managed to find their way this far underground, but one look at their threadbare clothing, well-worn footwear, and the multitude of sleeping bags made it clear to me that they were homeless.
Picking up a minor twinge of surprise from Mouse, I leaned towards him and whispered, “They’re real.”
Mouse merely gave a solemn nod in response as he removed his goggles. Like me, he had clearly not expected to find people here, and my statement was an indication to him that these people actually existed, as opposed to being illusions fabricated by Dream Machine.
This was the real benefit of having me on this mission. Basically, Dream Machine’s illusions only appeared within the visible light spectrum. In other words, they only manifested within the range of the spectrum that was visible to the human eye. Ergo, people with normal vision were susceptible to the hallucinations he created, but someone like me – with my vision currently outside the visible light spectrum – couldn’t see them at all.  That meant I could tell what was real and what wasn’t. Moreover, my empathic abilities also served as a differentiator, since illusions don’t have emotions.
At the moment, I was picking up the usual emotions that one might expect from people dealing with homelessness: worry, fear, dread, and so on.  At the same time, however, I picked up on feelings of comfort, hope, friendliness, and the like. Basically, on an overall basis, it wasn’t much different that the sentiments I’d pick up from any random group of people. Thus, convinced that we were in no immediate danger, I placed Mouse and myself on the ground and made us substantial again. By that time, however, our presence had been noted.
Up to that point, there had been a multitude of conversations going on, but they quickly ground to a halt as those assembled became aware of strangers in their midst. Slowly, like the tide inexorably crashing on the shore, a wave of silence seemed to wash over those around us as all eyes turned in our direction.
I didn’t pick up on any indications of malice, but the sea of staring eyes made me wary.  Then, almost simultaneously (and so closely in unison that it might have been choreographed), everyone around us pointed towards the far end of the chamber, where another set of double doors was located. Quite plainly, they knew who we were (or at least why we were there).
Taking our cue, Mouse and I began heading towards the doors. As we walked, I couldn’t help but feel a slight bit of guilt as I noticed those around us huddling close to the burn barrels for warmth. Although we were on the verge of spring, it was still cold outside.  Assuming there was some kind of ventilation system down here – and there had to be for these people to get air (not to mention preventing the burn barrels from filling the place with smoke) – it was probably cold air that was coming in. Thus, while not as wintry as being on the streets, it was quite likely that it could get cold enough down here to get uncomfortable.
For Mouse and I, the League uniforms that we wore were not just well-insulated, but also loaded with so much technology that getting a chill was the last thing we had to worry about.  Needless to say, we hadn’t done anything wrong, but I felt guilty all the same about being warm and cozy.
In addition, I noticed that the space we were in wasn’t actually designed to be the huge chamber I initially took it to be. Upon closer inspection, I saw that Mouse and I were actually on the ground floor of what had been a multi-story facility of some sort. (In retrospect, I actually remembered floating past several floors as we had come down the elevator shaft.) From all indications, some portion of the structure had collapsed, leaving several rooms on multiple floors open and visible, thereby creating the semblance of a large space. Frankly speaking, it put me in mind of a wrecking ball that had smashed into the side of a building, leaving much of the interior exposed to the outside.
We were about a quarter of the way to the double doors when everyone – again, in synchronized fashion – dropped their hands. Presumably we knew which way to go at that juncture, so the chamber’s occupants (at least those on the same floor as us) busied themselves with hurriedly stepping out of our path, as if we had a disease they might catch. They still didn’t speak, however; they merely continued to watch us in stony silence.
We had almost reached the double doors when a young girl – about eight years old or so – dropped a doll she was holding as she stepped out of our path. I had just come abreast of her at the time, so I bent down to retrieve her plaything at the same time that the girl herself did. Our simultaneous action resulted in us almost bumping heads, but our comic timing was slightly off.  Thus, although we didn’t inadvertently head butt each other, her face did wind up close to my ear.
“Watch the shadows,” she hastily whispered, at the same time taking her doll (which I had reached first) from my hand.
I stood up, frowning slightly over what I’d just heard and trying to discern the meaning. I glanced at the girl, who had just been gripped firmly by the arm, pulled back, and shushed by a woman who presumably was her mother. Still pondering her words, I stepped forward to join Mouse, who was already at the doors (which appeared to be locked). My mentor looked at me expectantly. Knowing what he wanted, I phased the doors and we stepped through.
We now found ourselves in a spacious tunnel. The place was modestly lit with a few incandescent lights, which provided enough illumination that Mouse didn’t need his NVGs. A couple of darkened, recessed spaces in the tunnel walls indicated the presence of several corridors that presumably led to other areas.
“There,” Mouse said, pointing at what appeared to be a metal post with some blinking lights that stood in the middle of the tunnel. He ran towards it, with me right on his heels.
As we approached, I realized that the flashing lights were actually diodes on a small black box about the size of my palm. It was attached to the pole at a height of about four feet.  The pole itself was about nine feet tall and was not just in the middle of the tunnel, but also centered between two railway tracks.
“This is it,” Mouse said, pulling a thin cable from a pouch at his belt. “One of the computer hubs connected to Dream Machine.”
“That’s a computer?” I asked in surprise as Mouse used the cable to connect his tablet to a port on the black box.”
“Yeah,” Mouse assured me. “Why?”
I shrugged.  “I guess when I think ‘computer’ I envision things like a keyboard and monitor.”
“Dream Machine is an AI. He doesn’t need that kind of interface to interact with a computer program or software.”
“So why have lights down here?  He obviously doesn’t need those either.”
“That’s for our benefit - so we can see whatever he sends at us. Now get ready. Even with the distraction provided by the others, we can’t expect to go undetected.”
I nodded in agreement. Mouse’s last statement alluded to the fact that the two of us weren’t the only Alpha League contingent currently engaging with Dream Machine. Somewhere well above us and miles away, another team was making a direct assault on an isolated warehouse that had been identified as the AI’s main base of operations. With any luck, he’d be so preoccupied with the main team knocking down his front door that he wouldn’t pay close to attention to us slipping in the back.  In short, what Mouse and I were doing could be generally construed as a sneak attack on Dream Machine’s unprotected rear. 
What we were hoping to do, of course, was put a stop to the AI’s current machinations, which included uploading a malicious code to an orbiting communications satellite. Basically, in order to manipulate what a person was seeing or hearing, Dream Machine usually had to be in close proximity to the affected individual. However, if he could take control of the satellite in question (which is what the code was designed to do), it would give the AI a much broader reach – global in fact. In brief, he’d be able to influence the perception of almost anyone, anywhere on the planet. And if Mouse’s calculations were correct (which was usually the case), the upload would be complete in about fifteen minutes.
Needless to say, the easiest way to stop Dream Machine would have been to simply shut down the satellite.  Unfortunately, permission to do so hadn’t been forthcoming. Apparently the satellite in question had certain military applications, and making it go dark – even temporarily – would have compromised several sensitive operations. (The requisite bureaucratic decision makers had pretty much dismissed the suggestion out of hand.) Thus, we had been forced to employ our current stratagem.
I thought about all of this as Mouse went to work typing on his tablet. In addition to giving us access to Dream Machine’s systems, hubs like the one Mouse had connected his tablet to were used by the AI as an escape hatch – a means for him to make a quick getaway to the internet when necessary. Thus, we were not only hoping to use it to disrupt his current plans, but to also trap him but shutting down his exit route.
Without warning, I heard a noise like the growl of a large predator coming from somewhere nearby. Quickly, I spun around in a circle, trying to pinpoint the source of the sound, but couldn’t see anything. Moreover, I wasn’t picking up any emotional vibes from anything other than Mouse.
The growl sounded again – closer, and in a way that hinted at anger…or hunger.
“Polar bear,” Mouse announced in answer to my unasked question.
“Where?” I asked still looking around.
“Right in front of me,” Mouse stated, continuing to type without missing a beat. “Just took a swipe at my head with a massive paw.”
“I don’t see anything.”
“Good,” Mouse declared. “That’s the entire reason you’re here.”
I didn’t respond, but his words reminded me of why I had been included on this mission: my ability to see outside the visible light spectrum, which meant that I would be unaffected by any hallucinations that Dream Machine might employ.  Being able to separate fact from fantasy was absolutely critical at this juncture if we were going to stop him.
Unfortunately, although I wasn’t visually vulnerable to Dream Machine’s illusions, I was affected on an auditory level. In essence, I could still hear them, even though they weren’t visible to me. Thus, when I looked to where Mouse indicated the polar bear was located, I didn’t see anything other than mentor’s shadow cast against the wall.  With his fingers flying across the tablet as he typed, the image on the wall gave the impression of a mad composer trying to complete his magnus opus within the span of a few minutes.
After a few seconds, the sound of the growling polar bear melted away. It was replaced almost immediately, however, by an ominous creaking, followed by the sound of numerous heavy items thunderously striking the ground.
“Cave in,” Mouse said by way of explanation.
And so we continued for the next minute or two, with me hearing an odd new sound every few seconds, and Mouse identifying it for my benefit. It would almost have been a game of sorts, were the situation not so serious, because Dream Machine obviously knew we were here and was trying to run us off. But if this was the best the AI could do, we probably didn’t have much to worry about.
A deafening, animalistic roar suddenly sounded in front of me, catching me off guard.
“What was that?” I practically demanded.
“A dragon, by the looks of it,” Mouse replied.
“A dragon?” I repeated, unable to hide my surprise.
“Yeah – a fire-breathing one, at that.”
Okay, this I have to see, I thought. I cycled my vision back to the visible light spectrum, and sure enough – just as Mouse had said – there was an enormous, fire-breathing dragon right in front of us. It was winged and covered in gold-and-green scales, with a long, supple tail that whipped back-and-forth. As I watched, the creature’s nostrils flared and its diaphragm expanded; a moment later, its mouth opened and a stream of fire shot out, bathing me and Mouse in flames.
I had to give Dream Machine credit: his creation was beautiful and incredibly life-like. Even knowing that it wasn’t real, I still half-expected us to get burnt to a crisp. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and when the flames died down the dragon was gone.
A moment later, however, I heard an odd clicking noise coming from overhead.  Looking up, I’m sure my eyes bulged as I saw a bloated, man-sized spider descending towards us on a silky line of webbing from its spinneret. Almost completely black and with mandibles clacking together spasmodically, it reached towards Mouse with long, spindly legs.  Unexpectedly, it lunged in an apparent attempt to bite my mentor’s head off. It was all I could do not to shout out a warning, but just before its fangs made contact, the spider disappeared.
Mouse gave me a quick sideways glance, but didn’t say anything. It was a sure bet that I’d given him some non-verbal cues that I’d switched my vision to the visible spectrum. (Plus he was no longer giving me a play-by-play overview of Dream Machine’s illusions, which suggested he knew that I could see them myself.)
A light suddenly began shining at the far end of the tunnel directly ahead of us. As I watched, it seemed to move closer towards us, like someone with a flashlight walking in our direction – except the light seemed to be held in a steady position. A moment, a noise like an airhorn reverberated through the tunnel.
No, not an airhorn, I thought.  A subway horn!
As if in confirmation of this, the rails on either side of us began to vibrate, and I heard the sound of a train car in motion – metal wheels grinding on metal tracks. Dream Machine’s latest illusion was headed right for us.
With the light shining in our faces, I wasn’t able to get a good look at the AI’s latest fabrication, although I imagined it was a full-length subway train. However, as it drew closer, the lights in the tunnel caused the train’s shadow to form on the wall, and I was a little disappointed to note that it was seemingly just a single subway car.
Shadow!
With klaxons going off in my head, the word leaped to the forefront of my brain – along with the dire warning of the little homeless girl. Thoughts racing, I reflected back on the illusions I had seen and suddenly realized that neither of them had cast shadows.  That meant…
I immediately – almost simultaneously – did three things:  I cycled my vision away from the visible spectrum; shouted a warning to Mouse that consisted solely of the word “Real!”; and phased the two of us.
The subway car – which was in no way an illusion – was almost on us at that point. The fact that he sent something real (and capable of causing us grievous harm) was a sure indicator that Dream Machine was no longer fooling around. He was intent on stopping us by any means necessary.
Thankfully, I had phased us in time for the subway car to pass through us harmlessly. Unfortunately, in my haste, I forgot to phase the metal post with the computer hub attached (although I had phased Mouse’s tablet). The train hit it at ramming speed, ripping the post up from the ground and dragging it along with it down the tracks. Mouse, who – to his credit – had never stopped working even when I’d shouted that the train was real, merely turned and watched as the post, now caught beneath the subway car’s wheels, spewed forth a bright shower of sparks. A moment later, accompanied by the squeal of grinding metal, the train derailed and crashed into the wall of the tunnel with a sound like a bomb going off. The tunnel shook for a moment, causing the lights to flicker briefly as dust came cascading down from the ceiling.
 A slight popping noise drew my attention to the floor, where I noticed some exposed wiring from several cables that had snapped when the post was dragged away.  The popping noise sounded again, in concert with a few sparks from the wiring.
“Please tell me that you stopped the upload,” I said as Mouse and I stepped back from what was obviously a live wire and I made the two of us solid again.
“Not enough time,” Mouse said solemnly.
I let out a sigh of disgust, furious with myself. I had failed miserably. The entire reason for me being here was my ability to differentiate reality from illusion, and I had allowed myself to get so distracted that it affected the mission.

“So, that’s it,” I said, feeling wretched. “Dream Machine wins.”

65 comments:

  1. Hi Mr. Hardman, just wanted to say I'm a huge fan of your Kid Sensation series, and was just wondering how many books you're planning for the series? Thanks a lot!

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  2. Thanks for being a fan. As for how many books I have planned for the series, I've always said I would keep writing them as long as fans had an interest in reading them. To that end, I've already got Kid Sensation #7 pretty much worked out in my head, as well as certain aspects of 8, 9 and 10. Beyond that, I've actually been toying with the idea of skipping ahead a bit to the future starting with Book 11 - maybe with Jim in his late teens or early twenties. I've got a lot of ideas I can work with in that setting. Of course, there's still a ton of stuff I can do with him in his current age bracket, so it's almost an embarrassment of riches from a storytelling point of view. We'll probably just have to wait and see.

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    1. Do it! One series I can't see myself getting bored of, I also like the thought of finding put how things turn put when jims a bit older, having adult jim come back in time to provide back up against some time travelling villain is something would be amazing too, basically if I've got anything to do with it kid sensation will be coming out for many years to come!

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    2. LOL. Thanks for the vote of confidence. We'll see how things are looking after the next couple of books. Basically, these stories tend to tell themselves, so what I'm envisioning at the moment may not be how things end up. (Case in point, the very first book Kid Sensation book ended up being entirely different than what I initially intended to write.) That said, I hope to write Kid Sensation books for a long time to come.

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    3. You've intrigued me now! Any chance I could get you to briefly tell us where it would have ended up?

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    4. It's probably more than I can squeeze in here. (Maybe I'll do a blog post on it.) But there were going to be a couple of darker themes, although I may incorporate some of that into later books.

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    5. I will forever be interested with Kid Sensation. Please keep writing. I will continue to buy these books.

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    6. Thanks. I appreciate the encouragement.

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    7. Honestly a lot of people go that "jump ahead" route and I never really like it because they all eventually make filler books. I'd love to watch Jim grow throughout the series and not jump ahead.

      But seriously, this is one of the best super hero series I have ever read. Keep up the amazing work.

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    8. Thanks - your compliments are certainly high praise. I've hit a few speed bumps on Book 6, but hope to have it done in the next week or so. As to Jim growing, I've got some interesting things planned for the next few books...

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    9. Your work is the best and I'm surprised that you don't do it full time. Also your kid sensation series is the best ever. I read the first 5 and linked books in under a month and have been waiting for this for ages! Don't stop now it's amazing!����

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    10. Thanks for speaking so highly of my work. I'm blessed to be making a decent amount of scratch from my writing, but I'm still working the day job. I may go full time at some juncture (at which point you may be looking at a new book every other month), but we'll see.

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  3. Good. This is a great series. Keep them coming.

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    1. Thanks. I appreciate the compliment and the words of encouragement.

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  4. Been a while since I came to the site. Looking forward to the next Kid book.

    That being said I really need to read your other series as well.

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    1. Hey! Great to hear from you! I'm trying to get the next KS novel finished as fast as possible. As to my other books, my neutral, unbiased opinion is that they are fantastic reads. ;>)

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  5. Is this book going to pick up where the last one left off or Will there be a time skip?

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    1. It picks up after the last book.

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    2. Any news on release dates? I want to tine my reread of the series.

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    3. No date yet. I'm a little behind on the schedule, but I'm hoping to finish in the next week or so.

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  6. I can't wait to see who jim is going to pick. and if he will master his new power and his mind reading powers hope it's done soon.

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    1. Trying to wrap it up in the next week, which would hopefully put release some time in March.

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  7. A new KS possibly by March? Wooo I know what I'm getting for my birthday. Thank you for creating such a rich world. I'm dying to know what's next because even though we know Electra is a smart girl, Jim bringing back another girl home...well I hope Mouse or AP has an electric proof panic room

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    1. LOL. Yes, fiancees and girlfriends usually don't mix well together.

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    2. Lol that usually part worries me, better go light a candle for Jim's recovery. Thank you for replying. I just finished another re-read of the series with the novellas included and what I love about this series besides the superheroes and all that, is how real and relatable the characters are. Though with things calm on the motherland shouldnt it be okay for Indigo to pay a visit in the near future?

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    3. Thanks for the kind words. As far as a visit from Indigo, that's certainly not out of the question.

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    4. I just want the new book so bad. Pls Hurry!!! Love your work btw.

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    5. LOL. Thanks, I'm trying to get it out as soon as possible.

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  8. Does jim have a range limit to his teleporting abilities or is it all in his head?

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    1. A definitive range hasn't been established, but it's at least intercontinental. (Of course, Jim hasn't pushed himself to the limit in this regard either.)

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  9. As I eagerly await the next book, I am imagining a KS cover capturing the Electra's static glare at Isteria- the girlfriend and the affianced. To mix the boiling stew further, there is still the Vestibule payback. Lots of juicy interactions to await.

    I wonder:
    -if Jim has to be severely grieved to activate is healing powers
    -if Jim will heal John, sending him to visit his wife Indigo with the ship that brought Jim home
    -if Isteria will develop more powers
    -why the advanced Caelesians cannot communicate with Earth since the Nagreb have that capability over an even greater distance

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    1. I usually don't give much thought to the cover until after the book is done. That said, I've been toying with some ideas, but nothing has stood out in my mind yet.

      With respect to the other items, the first three will be addressed as future Kid Sensation novels unfold. Regarding the last, I'd posit that the Caelesians can communicate with Earth; however, they've generally chosen not to. (And Indigo, essentially being under house arrest on the homeworld, wasn't allowed to.)

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  10. Big fan of the series, looking forward to the upcoming release! I was just struck with this sudden thought. We know from the first book that Jim can teleport to places he hasn't been and can teleport with only a memory. We know from the second book and the syringe that he can teleport things across dimensions as well. In the latest book it was established that telepaths possess the ability to send memories almost like a package. So couldn't a powerful telepath find Alpha Prime's memories of his home dimension, give it to Jim and have him teleport AP there? Maybe Jim would be able to if the Beobona affected him in some way, since we know he becomes even more powerful while creating an empire.


    Questions:
    Are AP and Megaton references to Optimus Prime and his brother Megatron?
    Will we ever see his coeval cognizance come into play again?
    When does he get the frickin bolt beam?
    Could you ever see Mouse turning against the Alpha League (maybe he uses logic to conclude it has to happen) and having to fight Jim?

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  11. Thanks for being a fan. Hmmm...you put forth an interesting thought about Jim teleporting across dimensions. However, it's something he's only done once - inadvertently - while hallucinating. I think under those circumstances, it's difficult to develop faith in the ability to do it again. (I suppose it's a lot like Dumbo flying for the first time: sure, he'd done it - but didn't know that he'd done it, didn't know how he did it, and couldn't repeat it.) In addition, this would be teleporting to a place that he's never been, something that Jim has shown extreme reluctance to do. Also, he'd be relying on the telepath to do a good job of finding and extracting the memory, which woud require power AND precision, and not all telepaths are skillful regarding the latter. (Think of a quarterback who's strong enough to chuck the ball all the way down the field, but has no acuracy. Power, but no precision.) Finally, you'd be betting a lot on the accuracy of the memory itself - that it's a true and correct representation of the place you're trying to go. (And believe me, people have poor memories - most of them can't tell you what they had for lunch last Tuesday.) All in all, it's a lot variables to hang your hat on in terms of going to another dimension.

    Regarding your questions, I'd have to say that the Transformers reference is interesting but completely unintended. (In fact, I hadn't even noticed it until you mentioned it.) AP's name was meant to imply that he's an alpha male and first/best among supers. With Megaton, I wanted a moniker to indicate that he was powerful in his own right.

    Coeval cognizance is an unusual ability in that, for one thing, it's not something that Jim consciously controls. Moreover, it seems to manifest itself in the form of dreams and is indistinguishable from real dreams. In short, the power might be manifesting itself regularly, but without the ability to differentiate it from real dreams Jim just ignores it. (After all, he can't running down everything he sees in a dream on the off-chance that it might be an actual occurrence.)

    With regard to the bolt beam, I've given some thought to that, but I'm not sure it's a power Jim actually wants. Assuming it manifests, the minute he displays it he'll immediately become identified with Alpha Prime (and although their relationship has obviously improved, it's probably not something he's ready to deal with yet in terms of everyone knowing). That said, it's an ability that is clearly in his genes, so who knows?

    On the Mouse question, it touches on (but doesn't completely square up with) an idea I had for a story, but we'll see.

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    1. Evil clone/alternate reality version of mouse maybe? Evil goatee included :) also in regards to the bolt blast it's already been outed that jim is related to megaton and while not a lot I would think that all it would take was one nosey and quick witted reporter to find the truth and let's face it your going to have to throw jim and his dad to the sharks at some point what better way then jim obtaining and using the bolt blast in a very public setting .

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    2. Thanks for the reply!

      I'm pretty sure only the fact that Jim and Avis are cousins was outed and that the Megaton/Avis familial relationship is secret.

      I wondered about the Mouse idea after the two companion novels, which introduced a potential replacement for Mouse (Vir), and Future Mouse's vague warning about the Kid. Also the backstory of how Mouse was(n't) recruited and the various hints that he still is not satisfied with the Alpha League seemed to foreshadow that for me.

      The tricky thing is that I'm pretty sure fighting Mouse would be like fighting Batman, he's already figured out how to neutralize every member of the league in the event that it became necessary.

      I am interested in how Isteria will work out too. Not just in terms of romance (although I feel Jim sticking with Electra the whole time would be boring, and they themselves admit it won't last forever) but how she is used in the plot. A lot of the books seem to have a "race to the finish" type of ending where the League must actively search for the plot device. They had to find the Kesserect Shells, the Neegrap Base, Electra found Vir, etc. With Isteria's power all of those types of scenarios are essential solved, unless there's limits on her range. I'm pretty sure that kind of plot ruining OP-ness is why Jim can't use telepathy well.

      I wonder what Gray would do if he knew that Jim could turn into the founder of an alien empire. At least if he follows through on his deportation threats then Jim has a place to go now.

      The bolt beam now makes me even more intrigued. What if he did have it but had to hide it from even other members of the league?

      Lastly, along the ideas of a possible time skip in future books to a more mature Jim; would he ever be renamed? I always thought he gave the name "Kid" when he signed up because he was angry at AP after altering his own brain, multiple signs that he was maybe not ready to join back then. They didn't really even get that name right anyway. Will he ever get a name more in keeping with the rest of the family? Based of the last question of AP and Megatons names, plus the meaning of Paramount, I would assume that eventually Jim ends up with a name that describes how powerful he is, not how flashy and immature he was.

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    3. You can't change your superhero name that's superhero 101 jim is just stuck with it.

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    4. Although if his father were to die/leave then he could inherit the alphaprime superhero name but that's the only way there are laws of superheroing that cannot be broken ;)

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    5. Aidster is correct in that Jim's relation to Megaton hasn't really been outed in the Kid Sensation universe; only a few people know. The fact that Avis called him her cousin doesn't shed a lot of light on the matter because the general public doesn't know exactly how they're rleated - whether their fathers are brothers, their mothers are sisters, etc. (In fact, most people don't even know who their parents are...)

      On the subject of Isteria/Myshtal's power, she can only locate things she has a connection to - for example, something she owns. Thus, she can't just find anything she thinks of. As to Gray, he has additional layers of depth that will be revealed in Book 6.

      LOL on changing your Superhero 101 and changing your superhero name! However, I will say that at least one person in the Kid Sensation universe has changed his name and seemingly reinvented himself: Megaton. Thus, anything's possible.

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    6. Wait megaton changed his superhero name! Gasp blasphemy! ;) and cool we are going to get to see more of gray that'll be fun hey can jim deck him right in the shnoz just once please he has it coming if you ask me.

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    7. Lol Superhero 101 that made my day. I think that both Jim and Electra have a lot going for them in terms where they can go. Esper said that to Electra Jim is not like other boys and Jim has showned it with his actions from arguing with his queen to buying Author knows how many presents in advance, you dont do that unless you're serious about the girl.

      The whole rogue Mouse sounds so fun, maybe likw Tower of Babel his plans get robbed or something.

      Jim with Bolt Blast would be cool and would throw a wrench into how he feels towards been AP son. But I can see him whinning to Mouse or BT see I got the stupid BB but not super strength. He has power issues, our Jim does.

      What I'm curious about is Smokey after his powers got juiced. We know he can turn into smoke but can his body turn into other types of gas, methane, maybe some paralitic agent or sleep gas? That be so cool.

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    8. We'll have to see about Gray getting decked. As for Smokey, more will be revealed when I finish the companion novel about him (working title: "Smoked").

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    9. I just want to say I hope Aidster is wrong about Jim and Electra eventually breaking up. I would find that excessively cliche and boring. It would be a much better story for them to stick it out through the rough patches as that simply doesn't happen anymore. I would be extremely disappointed if Kevin went with such a cliched storyline for those 2. Honestly I don't know if I'd continue reading, which sucks to say since so far KS is the best super hero novel I have read to date.

      Though I do like the idea of Mouse at some point going it alone. And yeah, I'd bet anything he has a plan to take on each individual member of the Alpha League if need be, since he has already had to fend them off once. Just, how do you plan for KS with all his abilities? Especially since he technically could escape even a dimensional trap.

      Jim getting the Bolt Blast could be awesome, but I doubt he'd use it unless no one was around. Could be a great storyline though. He has it, doesn't want to use it because it would directly link him to AP, and then something happens where using it could save a life and he doesn't. Would be an interesting character advancement plot to see how he struggles past the guilt and grows.

      I'd really like Grey to die, his entire character is a walking cliche. Might be interesting for Jim to prove Paramounts innocence in Grey's demise though. Or even maybe prove APs innocence in Greys demise. That might actually be better.

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    10. Thanks for the compliment; I'm glad you're enjoying he books. As for who stays together and who breaks up, we'll have to wait and see. (Also, as I mentioned before, more about Gray will be revealed in Book 6.)

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  12. How we looking on the new KS book? Still looking like it will be out this month?

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    1. I've had some things come up, so this month is looking doubtful, unfortunately.

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    2. Well hope you can get it down then. can't wait to see how Electra handles Jim's new ahem girl friend / fiance. probably lots and lots of electrocution. You know what they say about heaven,Hell and a women's scorn. Man superheroes have it rough.

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    3. Hope everything turns out okay with your situation and that it gets resolved to your satisfaction.

      Following what Danny said maybe Jim should invest in rubber clothing or go on an long vacation with his cousins until the storm blows over.

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    4. LOL! Yes, it's not an ideal situation for Jim. He'll have to tread carefully.

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  13. I think you should put up something like a progress bar on your blog somewhere where you can update your writing status. It might be an easier way for people to find out where you are with your books.

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    1. I've actually debated this a couple of times. The problem is that I'm not sure how useful it would be because I typically don't have a firm idea of how long a book will be when I start. (Part of this is my tendency to go back and add scenes when I'm reading through the manuscript.) That said, the last book in a series is usually a decent yardstick, so I may give it a try and see if the final product turns out to be close to the estimate.

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  14. I've loved your books ever since I found Wendigo Fever, I read all of your books I could get my hands on in less than a week. So I have to ask, is there any update on when KS 6 will be released?

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    1. Wow - all my books in a week? That must be a record (and needless to say, I'm incredibly flattered). Thanks for being a fan, and as to KS 6 I'm trying to finish it now.

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  15. I have really liked Kid sensation and I have been waiting for the newest addition to the series to come out. I wish you could give more updates on when the new book is coming because I am starting to stop checking whether it has come out. I read all of your books really fast so I am excited for the new one. Do you happen to have a date of when it would be able to come out?

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    1. I admittedly have not been great about providing updates (and not just because doing so almost assuredly jinxes things). That said, I'm trying to finish up the next book now. In the meantime, I may post another excerpt just to let readers know that the book is indeed progressing towards conclusion. Unfortunately, I don't have a release date at the moment, so all I can say is "soon." Regardless, thanks for being a fan, and I'll try to reward your patience as soon as possible.

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    2. Is soon measured in weeks or months? Really want this book now.

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    3. LOL! I appreciate the enthusiasm and will try to finish quickly. And I'd say "weeks" as opposed to "months."

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    4. So we're probably looking at the end of april early may then.

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  16. Excerpt incoming? Maybe a fun scene with Jim and his 2 ladies?

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    1. You practically read my mind, since I do have an excerpt along those lines already selected for posting. However, I was trying to wrap up another post on the Audible Romance Package (which I just finished). I'll probably post the second excerpt tomorrow.

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  17. Last time I chastised you for not having book 6 of Kid Sensation ready and demanded no more excuses from you. I apologize. My health is precarious and wanted to learn more of Jim's destiny before I lost the chance. I am invested emontionally in the story because it helps distract me from the pain and discomfort of my existence. Needless to say, I am a fan. The humor and action hooked me from the start.

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  18. Thanks for being a fan, and I appreciate your support. I'm so sorry about your health issues, but it's nice to hear that my work offers some form of comfort during a dark and difficult time. I had planned to finish the book quite a while ago and I'm way behind on that, so chastisement isn't completely undeserved. (And there's a silver lining in that readers feel so passionate about my work.) As to Jim's destiny, there are some interesting things in store and I honestly can't wait to share it with people. Whenever I make the move to full-time writer, you guys are likely to get a smorgasbord of Kid Sensation.

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