Title: LETH5L: DEEP CUTS
Entry Nickname: Boy Band Ninja Assassins
Word Count: 80K
Genre: YA Adventure Comedy
When the members of the world’s biggest boy band, Leth5l, stumble into a robbery in progress, they easily thwart the crooks and save the day with sick choreography. Roughly six seconds later, videos of their ninja moves hit the internet. Rumors start to fly about “The Cute One” Derrick’s alleged demise in the robbery. Consequently, their Manager/Handler sends twin bloggers along on Leth5l’s next tour/mission to prove Derrick’s alive and they’re just another boy band. (And definitely not a clandestine group of trained under-the-covers agents working for the Special Intelligence Network for Global Espionage, Recon and Security.)
The mission: take out the leaders of European drug ring, “El Ejército.” (That’s Spanish for “The Army.”) Things get dicey when, to protect his cover, Derrick takes a hit of Rewind, The Army’s dangerous new drug that allows users to experience moments from their past, complete with all the feelings and emotions of the first time. While tripping on Rewind, Derrick “meets” his biological mother, who abandoned him when he was a baby. Now he’s got three bad guys to take out, two nosy (also, hot!) bloggers up in his business, and one mother of a mother issue.
At least his hair’s still on point.
Five-part harmony is ridiculously hard in the morning. Especially before coffee. Yet, here we are, singing our asses off at five-freaking-thirty A.M. on Wake Up, Whichever-City-We’re-In!
They don’t pay me enough for this.
Actually, that’s not true. Two jobs, two salaries. I get paid loads. And what I don’t make in terms of cash, I make in fringe benefits, so I suppose I should turn off my brain and turn on my dimple. Give the people what they want.
Yep. It works every time. Morning anchor, Hannah Hannibal—whom I clock as at least ten years older than me—is all over me during the interview. “Yes, our new song was inspired by real life events, Hannah…Sure, we’ll set you up with backstage passes tonight…No, I don’t currently have a girlfriend. Can you help me out with that?” Wink.
Four paces outside the TV studio, Jay starts in on me, as usual. “Do you think that you could, for once, turn your thousand-watt smile down a bit? How are the rest of us supposed to compete? The make-up chick was under my spell until you Derricked her to death.”
I dive into the backseat of the SUV. “I wasn’t aware that my name is a verb now. Good to know. How, exactly, does one Derrick somebody?”
Dash slides in next to me. “Don’t act like you don’t know.”
“I have no clue what you’re talking about.”
Maybe that’s a bit of a lie. Lying is one of the things I do best. Lying, and carrying lead vocals.
~ VERSUS ~
Title: The Last First Daughter
Entry Nickname: Girl Takes Back the White House
Word count: 98K
Genre: YA Adventure, Retelling
When a mysterious group attacks the White House, eighteen-year-old First Daughter Rosalind (Lindy) Edwards is the only surviving member of the First Family. After the attack, Lindy finds her country under the control of a cruel, oppressive new regime—and she and Henry, the secret service officer who saved her, the targets of a countrywide manhunt.
Using fake identities and Lindy’s engineering skills, which allow her to build a network of radios, Lindy and Henry join a group planning to fight back against the new regime. Without realizing they are actually speaking to the First Daughter, the group asks Lindy to pretend to be the First Daughter in order to rally support for their movement.
Lindy had always feared the high-stakes decision-making demanded of her mother as President, but is accepting this role what her mother would want? As Lindy struggles with loss and reluctant leadership, she must decide if she is ready to sacrifice her safety—and possibly her life—to give millions of others hope for their future.
Television will broadcast today for the first time in almost ten years and I will be the first thing that viewers see.
But not if I cut the cable in my hand. I don’t mean to think it, but there’s an idea, leaping up like a perfect solution. My pulse accelerates and pounds in my throat. I spy the wire cutters within arm’s length and my fingers twitch. If I ruin this cable, the broadcast won’t happen today. I won’t have to stand with my family pretending to project the perfect image of security and happiness to the whole country. No need to act calm in front of the camera while questions bounce back and forth rapid-fire in my brain. How will the country react to getting telecommunications back after a decade of silence? Even with all the preparations, what do we really know about—
The tap, tap, tapping of a pencil on a notepad brings me back to the moment. Celene sighs and slides the notebook over to me, equations scribbled all over it.
“Looks like you’re finished with the cable inventory? Will you check my work on this equation here?” Celene taps the spot on the paper she means. “I want to be absolutely sure the cable lengths won’t cause any static.”
I try to swallow but the pounding in my throat, and the guilt, makes it impossible. I put the cable down and pull Celene’s notebook to me. I grin a little when I recognize the equation.