Title: Liar of Hahnry
Entry Nickname: Fibs Taste Cruddy
Word count: 42K
Genre: MG Fantasy
Twelve-year-old Heshnee has been groomed to be the king’s advisor since birth. And holy-moons, she knows it’s an honor for a Kandrite. Her genetic traits allow her to see when others fib and unable to tell untruths. But her world is shattered when she accuses her father of plotting to kill King Jarrod—an outright lie.
Heshnee’s unintentional betrayal chisels at her heart. Her mother believes a curse caused the horrific event but magic can’t exist inside the protective dome of Hahnry. She must flee beyond the city into a world of magic with strange creatures like ghosnites—floating skeletal figures with charred and mummified skin. Journeying to find a cure to save her father and her family name, she encounters another magic that slowly transforms her to a tree. The Evil Magik Dauud holds the key to finding her cure and wants to keep it for himself. And furthering her trouble, the antidote is a one-wish granting flower. She must convince Dauud to give her the flower before her transformation and decide if she’ll save herself or save her parents.
There were two kinds of liars, those who fibbed for things of good and those who harmed with the rot of their words. But Kandrites were incapable of either. That’s why they’ve been advisors to the kings of Hahnry since the beginning of time. At least, until one accused another of plotting King Jarrod’s murder.
Heshnee longed to scream her accusations weren’t true but the words jellied in her throat. Her tongue forked in her mouth as she attempted to swallow each discrediting syllable. She blinked and repeated, “I overheard him in his study plotting with another man.”
She watched hopelessly as the soldiers dragged her father to the dungeon. Their metal uniforms clanked against the stone floor. Heshnee bowed her head as her father screamed his innocence.
“Take the women to their quarters,” said King Jarrod. “I’ll cross-examine them later.” Heshnee didn’t refuse but her mother and older sister, Kojlia, argued all the way.
In their bedroom, Kojlia loomed over Heshnee with nostrils flared. She shook her, fingers digging into Heshnee’s muscles. “You little maggot, fix this!”
Heshnee’s long hair caught under her sister’s fingers, pulling at her scalp. Ouch! She believed Kojlia would rip her apart if she didn’t comply.
But, every effort to tell the truth expelled another lie to cover the lie. “But he’s guilty.” She stumbled out of Kojlia’s grip. Her muscles weakened under the weight of her words. Grabbing her head, she shook. What the noggin-scum?
~ VERSUS ~
Title: The Adventures of Kirby Daring
Entry Nickname: Super Space Nerd
Word Count: 35K
Genre: MG Science Fiction
Kirby Daring is so not an action hero. He’s an eleven-year old super-genius who would much rather spend his time aboard Space Station Delta reading holo-comics or inventing a new device to help him get his chores done faster. His life would totally be easier if his best friend Jake would stop dreaming up new and exciting ways to get them both killed, such as taking a space cruiser for a joyride during a solar flare. Spoiler alert: explosive decompression is involved.
Even frequent near-death experiences aren’t Kirby’s biggest problem, however. It’s his dad, the famous Dr. Daring. Sure, being the chief scientist on Delta is kind of a big deal, but is his job really more important that his son? Couldn’t the man come home for dinner, like ever?
Nothing, not even Kirby being nearly eaten by a very nasty Snaarl seems to get Dr. Daring’s attention. Kirby starts to think he’d be better off on his own, but when his dad disappears just before a Snaarl warship attacks Delta, Kirby learns how wrong he was. To make matters worse, everyone else on the Station assumes Dr. Daring is a traitor.
Kirby embarks on a quest to find his dad and clear his name. As he begins to unravel the mystery, he uncovers the Snaarl’s true plan, and a secret weapon that could threaten the entire galaxy. To locate his dad and save the day, Kirby must make some very un-Kirby like choices, such as breaking into a restricted Science lab, eating some questionable fruit, and… sneaking aboard a massive Snaarl warship? He’s going to have to hero-up big time for this one.
Kirby Daring was full of great ideas. He also had good ideas and sometimes even OK ones. He glanced over at his best friend, Jake Merriweather, strapped into the pilot’s seat of a space cruiser.
Kirby was convinced. This was a terrible idea.
Jake grinned from ear to ear, practically vibrating with excitement. He clearly thought sneaking aboard an XJ-27 space cruiser and taking her for a little spin was a fantastic idea.
If Jake likes it, this must be a horrible idea.
It all started last week when Jake, hotshot member of the Jr. Space Pilots, would not shut up about the new high score he set in the flight simulator. After listening to a few hours of non-stop bragging, Kirby stupidly said, “Who cares? Just because you can fly a simulator doesn’t mean you can fly a real space-ship.”
And so here they were, down in the lowest level of Space Station Delta, in the early morning hours while everyone else was sleeping. With Kirby suffering from a mild panic attack and Jake looking like a kid on Christmas.
Worst. Idea. Ever. Kirby re-checked the safety harness pulled tight over his chubby belly. Still fastened.
Jake had calmed himself enough to focus, and was now busy going over the pre-flight checklist. “Navigation systems?”
Kirby looked at the display in front of him. All lights were green. “Navigation systems, check. Can we talk about this?”