Title: Children of Mars
Nickname: When Bugbots Attack
Work count: 51K
Genre: Middle Grade Science Fiction
Twelve-year-old Zoey Graves was content to run amok through MIRA Station, the only inhabited colony on Mars. But then the shuttle carrying vital supplies from Earth exploded.
As the colony leaders bicker over survival strategies, Zoey escapes to the solitude of the tunnels deep below the colony. It is here she discovers the shuttle explosion was just a ruse.
When Zoey tells what she’s witnessed, she’s ignored by the adults and turns to her friends for help. But will a torrent of booby traps, escaped lab animals and robotic eyeballs be enough to defeat the coup that threatens to destroy their Martian home?
Zoey Graves knew all the rules, she just didn’t think that most applied to her. Sure she followed the big ones like never going outside and attending class more times than not, but the others were a nuisance. Besides, what could they do? Deport her? She wasn’t that lucky.
The atrium was the largest room on MIRA Station, the only inhabited colony on Mars. But just because it was inhabited didn’t mean it was nice. Every year they received word from Earth that the colony would be decommissioned soon, but no one really believed it anymore. Especially tonight, because tonight was Opposition, the biannual celebration that marked the arrival of the shuttle.
Zoey paused and stared up at the workers high overhead. She would be up there, too, volunteering with the rest of her class. Those who volunteered were always first in line at the buffet tables, but this time, she’d have to wait in line with all the rest.
One of the two elevators swooped into motion, prompting her to start walking again. She had to be quick, but not so fast as to draw attention. There was still plenty of time to find what she was looking for. Her nimble fingers pressed the white molded walls until a small panel dislodged and she moved it aside. With the ladder exposed, she pulled herself in, twisting her feet against the sides so she could fit the panel back in place, plunging her into darkness as she began her descent.
~ VERSUS ~
Title: Bubba T. Jones: Southern Fried Witch Hunter
Entry Nickname: Alabama Witch Hunters
Word Count: 45,000
Genre: MG Horror
José Villa wants to be brave like 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 homicidal Buck Miller’s pasture with Bubba in the middle of the night, he encounters a horror he couldn’t have imagined. Three words: 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 young witch expert, Goat Leg Sal—whose smell definitely lives up to her name—and the trio works together to stop Agatha, encountering a creepy undertaker, a crazed necromancer, and a horde of demonic squirrels along the way.
When his friends get locked up, José 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. He must learn to become the hero of the story.
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 was 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 crazy. 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 eighth 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 bein’ 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.