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We're happy to introduce Ken Harris, a comic fan and a YA author whose recent book Jet Set Jeff: The Science Defender intrigued us so much that we couldn't resit and invited Ken to share the book details. Read the exclusive excerpt below and immerse in this amazing story. Enjoy!
P.S. Ken prepared a surprise for BookLikes readers. Use the links below to find the book at the special reduced prices.
Happy Birthday, Ken!
-- An author guest post by Kenneth Harris
Hello! My name is Kenneth Harris. I am a children’s book author excited for the opportunity here on BookLikes to interact with readers like you. Please visit my blog at http://JETSETJEFF.BOOKLIKES.COM.
I am a fan of the history of old-school comic strips, comic book heroes, and their creators. I have started a FREE monthly newsletter dedicated to this art medium that emerged during the Great Depression and reached its peak during the 1980s. You can subscribe to my newsletter at http://kforpartnership.wixsite.com/educ.
In my latest book, a 10-year-old boy secretly creates a malfunctioning Gadget suit to protect his first responder parents.
From October 19th to October 31st I am offering a discount for this Amazon chapter-book, Jet Set Jeff: The Science Defender. Regular price for the paperback is $5.99 and the EBook is $3.99. For the remainder of this month, the hardcopy has been reduced to $3.60 and the digital at $2.99. Click here. You and the children in your life will like this action-packed humorous story. You can learn more about me and my other titles here. Thank you!
Residents in Springdale City were afraid of the rising crime problem. Police and firefighters were risking their lives to keep residents safe from thieves and burning buildings. Innocent people were afraid to walk the streets.
A ten-year-old boy had an idea to ease his own anxiety. Inside his tree house up in a shady oak tree, his weird experiment was underway.
Outside a corner guarded by drapes, Ike Jones let out a loud sigh. His round face was twisted with boredom. He was a short, pudgy kid. Ice cream preyed on his mind, like usual.
“Jeff, how much longer is this going to take?” Ike pleaded. “I’m so hungry; I could swallow one hundred snow cones.”
“Preparation requires patience,” said Jeff behind the curtains. “Soon, you will witness the greatest experiment in the world.”
Suddenly, Jeff Morgan leaped out, smiling excitedly. He was thin and wore prism glasses over his small eyes. He had on a weird spandex suit with a utility belt. Thrusters, host to little rockets, were strapped to his back. As the machine hummed and crackled, its loose bolts pelted the floor.
Ting! Ting! Ting!
“Finally,” continued Jeff as he stood proudly on a chair. “My jetpack is perfected.”
Unimpressed, Ike’s eyes narrowed to the size of toothpicks. “What is that junk on your back really? It looks like an air-conditioner.”
Jeff brushed off his friend’s ridicule and pointed up. “The time has come at last to demonstrate the flight of my latest gadget.”
“Did you go to the city landfill again to dig up worthless parts?”
“If there’s nothing more to be said, I shall fly. Stand aside, if you please.”
Jeff took off running to the open door. When he reached the edge, he leaped and cried out like Tarzan. In slow motion, he drifted about in the air, amazed at the scenery of the grassland stretching in all directions.
Then, the realization of trouble burst upon his worried face. He wasn’t flying. He was falling like a shooting star. He nervously fumbled away at the dozens of buttons on his special utility belt.
“Not good!” Jeff shouted.
“Jeff!” cried Ike.
Jeff hurtled downward at terrific speed. He landed face down on a pile of neatly stacked leaves.
Ike climbed aboard an upright barrel. He grasped a rope above and pulled it. The barrel dropped to the surface like an elevator.
Jeff, slightly dazed, got to his feet as Ike made his way over to him.
“Don’t tell me you weren’t expecting to fall on your face,” Ike taunted.
“This is no problem,” Jeff stammered. “I can rectify this malfunction.”
The loud racket from his jetpack intensified. Surely, there was a big problem with his latest device. Jeff tapped a few switches on his belt in hopes of turning it off. Despite his efforts, it continued to crackle and pop loudly.
Ike kindly slapped Jeff on the shoulder. “Why don’t you find another hobby? Chasing after an ice cream truck is more fun-licious.”
“After I repair my jetpack, no ice cream truck will outrun us,” Jeff snarled.
“I commend your latest effort, but I have to be home for dessert.”
Jeff gasped, “Ike, you said you already ate dessert. Don’t let sweets distract you from this secret mission. After all, you agreed to be my assistant.”
“That was twenty experiments ago,” Ike said as he backed away to the surrounding bushes. “Nothing you build ever works right. I quit.”
“But we’re so close.”
Ike ran off through a break in the bushes. He was unaware of his friend’s disappointment in his departure.
Jeff took off his whirring jetpack. He studied it closely. He promised himself he wouldn’t give up on fixing it. In order to protect his mom and dad, he knew he had to succeed. They worked dangerous jobs that always made him nervous.
He heard a twig snapped. Somebody was coming. He quickly hid the jetpack behind a tree. He also removed his gadget suit and tossed it over his humming device.
“Jeff!?” a woman’s frustrated voice hailed.
Ms. Fisher emerged from the woods with his one-year-old brother Wade in her arms. The wrinkled-faced babysitter was angry. She disliked long walks from the house.
Jeff couldn’t help but smile merrily at them. A pacifier dangled from Wade’s mouth.
Luckily, the noise from the jet thruster lowered to a faint squawking. Jeff hoped Ms. Fisher wouldn’t hear it.
“Yes, Ms. Fisher?”
“Jeffrey Morgan! You know I’m not fond of straying from the house in the evening.”
“Sorry, I forgot.”
“Dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes. Be sure to wash your hands before you eat.”
“I copy that radio transmission, Sargent Fisher,” Jeff joked.
The raising of her eyebrow meant she didn’t take kindly to his mockery. Jeff bit his tongue. The last thing he wanted was his parents to find out about his bad behavior. Ms. Fisher was a cranky old woman with no sense of humor.
“That will be enough out of you,” she countered. “Be at the dinner table and don’t have me come looking for you.”
Ms. Fisher stomped away with Wade back to the house.
Jeff had spent many months working on his experiment. He wasn’t ready to give up easily. He slipped on his costume once again. Jeff fastened the jetpack over his back and jumped into the barrel. He pulled the rope with both hands. The barrel shot up to a port beneath the tree house.
There Jeff figured out the answer to the problem.
His hand caught a lever on the side of his pack. He dragged the handle down. Spitting flames radiated brightly from the rims of his rockets. He felt himself being slowly lifted into the air.
“I’m flying!” Jeff cried excitedly. “I’m flying!”
Jeff hurriedly squeezed his feet into ski boots. His hand snatched a mask-like helmet from a table. When he placed it over his head, he looked like an astronaut who crawled out of a trash compactor.
He flew out the window like a soaring bird.
Jeff blazed upward like a fast launching jet. The bird’s eye view of the green land formations was quite clear. Eventually, the sight of the city loomed largely. His flight was a success.
Jeff swirled and twisted playfully as he hung in mid-air. His fun was cut short when a distant disturbance below caught his eye.
A thick wisp of smoke was rising from a fiery midtown apartment building. Jeff knew his father, who was a firefighter, would be at that scene. Jeff believed he had a duty to protect him.
He sped towards the leaping flames.
Fire and smoke poured out of the open windows of the apartment building. Panicking firefighters were manning the hoses. Others were on ladders pulling choking residents out of the burning building. From the safety of the sidewalk, tenants watched with wearied eyes.
“A firefighter is still in that building!” cried a woman.
“No one can save him in time,” said a distraught man. “The fire is too much!”
“Stand aside!” Jeff commanded in a firm tone.
The man and woman looked up and saw Jeff flying sternly over them.
“What in the blazes is that?” asked the woman.
Jeff twisted a dial on his utility belt to activate the landing gear in his boots.
It didn’t work.
“Oh my goodness!” he gasped.
He crashed through the fourth-floor window. Inside the dark smoke, he collided with a wall and fell face down. Jeff quickly got to his feet. He flicked a switch on his belt to turn on emergency lights installed in his helmet. The broken blinkers flashed on and off repeatedly.
Jeff realized he was on the top floor balcony, and the fire was all around him. He heard a man coughing. He looked down over the railing and saw his father on the floor beneath him.
Surprisingly, he didn’t have his mask on.
“Dad!” Jeff cried.
His father didn’t hear him because he was on his knees choking from the cloud of smoke. He had his hand around his neck. The floor where he was located was on the verge of collapsing.
Jeff knew he had to think of a way to save him fast.
The third level shattered. His father fell with the debris of what was once was a floor. Jeff pointed a wrist device at him. A handcuff, attach to a long cable, swept down. Its jaws draped over his father’s flailing wrist.
“Got you!” Jeff said excitedly.
His father dangled in the air below, leaping flames engulfing the lobby. He looked up to see who saved him. He nearly fainted. “What are you?” he asked.
“Just a good astronaut…I mean Samaritan,” answered Jeff. “I have to get you out of here, Dad.”
Mr. Morgan was greatly startled. “What did you call me!?”
Jeff realized his mistake and blushed. “I said drag! It’s sure a drag getting you out of here.”
Jeff flew over the fire as his father dangled in disbelief. Jeff guided him out of the smashed window through which he came. The burning ceiling came down just as they escaped.
Once outside, Jeff swung his father into the arms of grateful firefighters.
“That little guy saved my life,” said Mr. Morgan.
“Who are you?” asked a curious firefighter.
Jeff thought about that as he floated. Loose bolts hurtled from his noisy gadget suit.
“I haven’t given that much thought,” he replied.
Another excited firefighter drew closer. “That strange suit of yours is a success. With your help, we can save many lives.”
“Sorry, but I am not a super-hero.”
A panicking police captain pushed through the crowd with a radio in his hand. “There’s been a report of a bank robbery,” he said. “It’s the National Bank on the other side of town. We won’t get there in time.”
Jeff knew his mother, who was a police officer, was assigned to work in that sector of the city. He knew she would be there. He also knew he must protect her too.
A succession of rocket blasts sent him up and away. The crowd cheered their hero on.
“Hurry up, you idling fool!” demanded Glue Dude as he eyed the nervous bank teller. “I want that bag filled with all the money!” He was aiming his long glue soaker gun. “And don’t forget to add in a lollypop!”
The shivering manager passed from cage to cage, gathering the cash, and stuffing it into a satchel.
A wicked laugh burst from the mask of the evil scientist. “With the apartment fire I started downtown, the other cops will be very busy. They won’t get here in time to catch me. I fooled them all.”
The bank customers, including Mrs. Morgan who was on-duty as a police officer, were face down on the floor. Their trembling hands covered the backs of their heads. She lifted her eyes to the greedy robber.
“Glue Dude, you won’t get away with this,” Mrs. Morgan said.
“Don’t bet on that, Copper,” he said. Glue Dude brandished his weapon. “This glue soaker is my most valuable invention. One day, I will have enough money to build the most destructive weapon in the world. I shall finally be respected as the greatest scientist of them all!”
“Keep dreaming, Paste Face!” said Jeff as he skated into the lobby. Smoke billowed from his defected blazing jet skates.
“How dare you interrupt my plans!” said Glue Dude.
Mrs. Morgan was star-struck like the rest of the smiling patrons. “Who are you?” she asked. “A super-hero?”
Jeff blushed again. “Not exactly, Mom…I mean Ma’am!”
“You little rascal,” said Glue Dude. “One blast from my glue gun will leave you stuck and hopeless.”
“The only thing stuck and hopeless is your getaway.” Jeff taunted. “Make it easy on yourself and give up gluey brain!”
Glue Dude raised his glue gun. Thinking fast, Jeff removed his electronic boomerang from his utility belt. He threw it. Instantly, his jet rang traveled backward. Jeff looked confused. It sailed out the entrance door of the bank.
Jeff looked back at Glue Dude and stomped his feet “That wasn’t supposed to happen.”
Glue Dude shrugged. “It looks like it has an electrical problem.”
The jet rang came swirling back into the bank.
“Look out, Super-Hero!” cried Mrs. Morgan.
“Please, I am not a super-hero,” countered Jeff. “Just call me…”
The swirling boomerang rang against the back of Jeff’s head.
Jeff saw stars circling around him. He forgot what planet he was on. He slumped to the floor.
Glue Dude laughed merrily. Jeff struggled to get to his knees.
“You are a clumsy super-hero,” mocked Glue Dude. “Prepare to be swarm with paste.”
Glue Dude activated his glue gun. Hoping to fly up, Jeff turned a dial on his utility belt. A long wire shot out from his wrist device. The jawing handcuff seized Glue Dude by his wrist.
“Hey!” Glue Dude protested.
"Oops…" Jeff said. "That was supposed to activate my jet rockets."
The powerful tentacle pulled Glue Dude off his feet. Both Jeff and Glue Dude spun clockwise at high-speed. Glue Dude circled around like a blind fly. Jeff felt like he was spinning on a merry-go-round.
“My brain is becoming scrambled eggs,” cried Glue Dude. “I give up. Please release me.”
“I left the instruction manual at home,” Jeff joked. “I don’t how to turn it off.”
“Find the off switch before I vomit, you pile of rubble!” Glue Dude hissed.
“Oh,” prompted Jeff, “I think I created that button.”
The instant Jeff flicked a switch on his belt, the handcuff released Glue Dude. His swirling body crashed through a window.
Jeff paced toward the shattered window. Outside, across the street, he spotted Glue Dude running off into an ally.
“You’ll never get me,” said Glue Dude. “I assure you, this isn’t the last of Glue Dude.”
“Don’t come back!” warned Jeff.
A delighted Mrs. Morgan and the customers eagerly approached Jeff.
“Who are you?” Mrs. Morgan asked.
Jeff eyed his mother for a moment, thinking, and then continued. “For now, call me Jet Set, the Science Defender. Until next time, stay indoors and stay safe Springdale residents.”
Jeff saluted them. Afterward, he fired his rockets and began flying away. Loose screws from his humming suit rained down over the impressed spectators. They pushed and shoved to get at the screws they wanted to claim for souvenirs. Poor Officer Morgan had her hands full.
Back at his tree house, Jeff slipped off his gadget suit. On the ground level, he ran through the woods, out across the lawn and up the side steps to his rural home. He pushed open the side door that leads into the dining room.
Immediately, he found Ms. Fisher sizing him up. Her face was firm and her arms crossed. Jeff was startled.
END OF EXCERPT
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