Title: Asher Locke and the Knights of Arcadia
Word count: 54,000
Genre: MG Fantasy
Thirteen-year-old Asher Locke would do anything to see his dad one more time. And when a sword-wielding wall of pecs named Gareth saves him from a bloodthirsty Grimhound, the moppy-haired seventh grader discovers that he may get his wish.
It turns out Asher’s dad isn’t really dead. He’s a prisoner of Lord Balor – a slimy dad-nabber who doesn’t even live in Asher’s world. He’s stowed away in Eden Worn, the world hidden behind the middle school’s boiler room.
Asher can't understand why anyone would steal his father, but he’s determined to find out. That is if he can make it through the horde of dragons, army of Troglins, and 10,000 miles of death in his way. Along with Gareth, two loony enchanters, his best friend, and the girl of his dreams, Asher launches a rescue mission as epic as it is insane. If he fails, he can kiss seeing his dad – and returning to his own world – goodbye.
The straight razor made a satisfying snikt as Asher freed the blade from its metal handle. He loved that sound.
Well, he used to anyway.
Just holding his dad's old blade was a kick in the gut. He loved how his dad would set him on the sink and let him pretend-shave with a spoon. Three years of living off nothing but memories still hurt, though.
No need to start boo-hooing about it now, though. Today was Asher’s birthday. Big 13. Officially a teenager. And if what Em told him was true, a thick mask of facial hair was right around the corner.
Asher adjusted his little finger on the curvy end of the handle and glanced up at the foam-covered face staring back at him in the mirror. He let out a long breath, sending a small wad of froth flying out of his nostril.
He pressed the blade against his face and a white-hot pinch seared his chin. Asher sucked in a quick breath, dropping the razor in the sink. A tiny bead of blood stained the shaving cream under his lower lip a pale pink.
"Seriously?" Round one with the razor and he nearly sliced his head in half. This was pointless. He washed off his face, hating the idea that he'd spend the first day of his teenage career looking just like he did when he was a kid: hairless and unmanly. And now reeking of his mom's Pink Mango-Splosion Lady Lather.
Title: Savage Jungle
Word Count: 60,000
Genre: MG Science Fiction
Twelve-year-old wimp and self-designated videogame pro Kreith Briggs’s birthday is off to a great, but scary start: a wild safari with his Uncle Tonas through the most treacherous jungle in the whole universe. The tour’s real fun, if not a bit creepy, until Kreith discovers he and his uncle have been set up.
The jungle’s got seven of the ten most exotic—and most lethal—animal species in the universe, including the super-sneaky electrocat and the giant land squid. But Wilmur Banx, the host of the tour, holds an old, even more lethal grudge against Uncle Tonas and the other twenty-four safari guests. That’s why he strands each pair of victims in separate places in the jungle with zero protection from the universe's fiercest beasts.
Kreith and Uncle Tonas head toward an old research facility where they can call for help and get off the planet alive. Only Kreith gets separated from his uncle and now he’s got no plan at all. Armed with a trusty new guidebook and his knack for all things techno-nerdy, his and his uncle’s survival—not to mention the lives of any remaining safari guests—rests squarely on his puny shoulders.
First 250 Words:
My heart rate doubles as Uncle Tonas hands me what I’ve been waiting for all day. Heck, all year—a present about the size of my fist. He always gets me the coolest gifts, like that fluorescent slug from planet Zambor last year for my eleventh birthday.
I rip the wrapping paper off the present without removing the bow, lift the lid off the cardboard box, and peer inside. A small electronic chip rests on the bottom.
“What’s—?” I ask.
“It’s a book,” Uncle Tonas says, eyes wide in his huge, muscular face. “Go on, download it.” He leans forward with those monstrous shoulders of his, a cigar between his pointer and middle finger. The total opposite of me. Sure, I’m only twelve years old, but my overly large black sweatshirt and baggy jeans hide the fact I’m as skinny as Uncle Tonas’s pinky finger.
“Uh…okay.” A book? That’s what he got me—a book? I try not to show my disappointment as I pick up the tiny chip and insert it into my Multipurpose Bracelet, my parents and Uncle Tonas looking on from the couch. I should really try to be grateful. It’s the thought that counts, after all.
“Would you like to download the book The Top 200 Most Treacherous Creatures in the Universe?” the MB asks in a voice as gruff as Uncle Tonas’s. I set the MB’s voice to that because it sounds like his and he’s the man, though I’m starting to doubt that after this sorry present…