Title: The Search for Alexander Gold
Entry Nickname: Kids + Monsters FTW?
Word Count: 52,000 words
Genre: MG Horror
What would you do if your father disappeared? Worse – what would you do if your father was kidnapped by giant bird-monster-things, which then turned around and tried to kill you?
Ruby Gold, daughter of the world-famous horror-writer Alexander Gold, faces these questions and more. And worse? Her mother, Lydia, doesn’t believe her!
She turns to her best friends, Ayla and Miles, for help. Of course she does. Wouldn’t you? These three misfits – from different backgrounds and different faiths in New York City’s Upper East Side – quickly learn: these creepy giant bird-monster-things? They’re featured in Alexander Gold’s latest book, the very book he worked on the morning before he disappeared!
There’s only one person who can help them solve the mystery and save Ruby’s father. The only problem? She’s a fictional character, straight out of Alexander Gold’s imagination. But when digital clues lead straight to the apartment of the great heroine, Calliope Clay, things only get…weirder. Deep beneath Manhattan subway tunnels, the misfits fight off monsters that only exist in Alexander Gold’s mind, as they make their way toward the ever-terrifying Overlord of the Bottomlands.
But the Bottomlands aren’t a final destination. They’re not even real. Or are they? With a narrator who loves to question reality, and a cast of monsters set for world-domination, THE SEARCH FOR ALEXANDER GOLD is a leap into disbelief, a dive out of reality, and a journey into darkness with some lovable misfit kids.
First 250 Words:
Hi there, friend.
Yes, that’s you I’m talking to. You who picked up this book. You who…
Well, let’s just say we’re about to go on a journey, you and me. We’re about to take a trip, meet some friends, learn some things about life and love and…monsters.
Of course we’re going to learn about monsters.
For here, there be monsters. Lots and lots of monsters.
I’m thrilled you’re here with me. I know you’ll add something very you to this tale.
So for now…buckle up. It’s going to be a ride.
Ruby Gold, it should be said from the get-go, never liked riding in cars after dark.
It terrified her, the blindness to everything outside the circular beams of the car’s headlights. Anything could hide in the darkness, and Ruby had a pretty good idea of what anything could be. Vampires, zombies, creepy alien monsters with long tentacles and slimy, pointed tongues. She’d read about them all, at night, head under the blanket, lit only by a flashlight, in the books her father wrote and her mother tried to keep her from reading. There were monsters out there. She was sure of it.
Of course, that early May morning, when her father, Alexander Gold (the famous writer – have you heard of him?) called to ask if she wanted to spend the afternoon with him down the Jersey shore, Ruby squealed. “Yes, yes,” even though it meant they’d drive home after dark. It wouldn’t matter…much. She’d be with her father.
~ VERSUS ~
Title: Mischief, Mysteries, and Milkshakes
Entry Nickname: Ice Cream Rebel Rousers
Word Count: 45,000
Genre: Middle Grade Mystery Humor
Eleven-year-old Gabe and his younger sister Lily are dreading summer vacation. They’d rather do anything than spend eight weeks with Aunt Helene in her big, old smelly house. No Wi-Fi, no cable, a grandfather clock called The Howler that randomly shrieks, and plenty of rules: Nothing slimy, loud, or messy. Keep all the rooms neat. And do not touch any of the antiques—especially the old writing desk in the library. It belonged to your Great Uncle Patrick and, well, some secrets should never see the light of day.
When Aunt Helene goes out for her weekly tea, where they wear white gloves and eat ridiculous tiny sandwiches, Gabe and Lily decide that some rules are made to be broken. They find the key and unlock the writing desk. Inside they discover a journal written by young Patrick. As they begin to read, Gabe and Lily realize their great uncle is writing about hidden rooms and tunnels throughout the house where a treasure is allegedly buried. Determined to learn more, Gabe and Lily enlist the help of their new friend, ten-year old Harper, a self-proclaimed milkshake addict, to launch an eight-week countdown to unravel the mystery. Can they do it before summer runs out?
The rules for Aunt Helene’s house were clear: Nothing slimy, loud, or messy, keep all rooms neat, ask before doing anything, and no fighting with my sister. Keeping the rules wouldn’t be impossible; they would just be inconvenient. As far as summers go, this one was officially going down in the books as the worst in my eleven-year history, and it hadn’t even started yet.
“Are we here?” my younger sister Lily asked in a nervous sounding whisper. She clutched her doll, Missyella close to her body with white knuckles as I peered out the window.
Dad had pulled the car over, but there was no sign we were getting out. Lily stared at me, waiting for some kind of confirmation. But how would I know if this was Aunt Helene’s house? I’d never been here before either. In fact, up until a few weeks ago, I never even knew we had an Aunt Helene. I mean, I guess maybe I’d heard of her, but I never paid much attention to those sorts of things, and I’d definitely had never met her before.
“Hey, Lil,” I whispered across the back seat of the car. My little sister turned her head slowly toward me.
“I heard Aunt Helene keeps pet rats in her basement.”
“Gabe!” Mom turned around from the front seat while Dad looked at us through his rear view mirror with a smirk on his face.