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 than 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, but every clue he uncovers only implicates his father further. When he stumbles upon the Snaarl’s true plan, and a secret weapon that could threaten the entire galaxy, he’ll have to 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 an XJ-27 space cruiser, practically vibrating with excitement.
If Jake likes it, it's 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. Taking an XJ-27 for a joyride, 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?”
~ VERSUS ~
Title: Bubba T. Jones: Southern Fried Witch Hunter
Entry Nickname: Alabama Witch Hunters
Word Count: 45,000
Genre: MG Horror
Twelve-year-old José Villa wants to be brave like his best friend, Bubba, but he’s more terrified than a fresh bass at a fish fry. So he accepts his role as sidekick in Bubba’s daring, and mostly harebrained, schemes and adventures.
But when José sneaks into a pasture with Bubba in the middle of the night, he encounters a horror he couldn’t have imagined: zombie freaking cows. Oh, and the evil witch Agatha Winters, back from the dead and ready to get revenge on the town that killed her.
Now, José and Bubba are in as much trouble as a three-legged donkey in a port-a-potty. They team up with a young witch expert, and the trio works together to stop Agatha, encountering a creepy undertaker, an incompetent sheriff, and a horde of demonic squirrels along the way.
When his friends get locked up, it’s up to José to become the hero of the story. He must overcome his fears and stop Agatha before she hoodwinks the whole town into jumping from the same cliff they pushed her off of years ago.
In Trout Bend, Alabama, cow tipping wasn’t just a hobby. It was an art form. All the great tippers came from our town: Billy the Bold, Cletus the Clever, Gil the Gassy. But the greatest of them all happened to be my best friend, Bubba—better known around these parts as the da Vinci of the Dairy.
Unfortunately, like most great artists, Bubba had started to go a little bit loco. Actually, scratch that. There was nothing little about it. That kid was nuttier than a pack of rabid squirrels on a cashew binge. I mean, why else would he have dragged me out to Buck Miller’s pasture in the middle of the night?
Gulping hard, I read the cracked wooden sign nailed to Buck’s fence. “Warning: Trespassers will be skinned alive and deep fried.”
A chill rattled my shoulders. It’d be a miracle if we lived to see the seventh grade. “Bubba, are you sure this is a smart idea?”
He laughed as he squeezed his round body between a couple strands of barbed wire. “Course it ain’t no smart idea, José. But it’s like my daddy always says, ‘Ain’t nobody ever have any fun being smart.’”
I wanted to point out that nobody had ever been arrested for being smart either, but Bubba didn’t like talking about that. I took a deep breath and slid my way through the fence.
Bubba was always dragging me around on some crazy adventure or another. Frankly, it terrified me. But I owed him.