Title: Paper Seeds
Entry Nickname: Book Boys Gone Wild!
Word Count: 109K
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
When seventeen-year-old Harlow Jackson gets dumped at her grandma Minny’s wake, she’s devastated, pissed as hell, and without an escort for the debutante season starting the very next day. But then Harlow finds something Minny left her: paper seeds. Minny always told her that if you place a magical paper seed in a book, and plant it in the ground, you can grow anything you desire from its pages.
In a fit of desperation, revenge, and, okay fine, a little too much funeral punch, Harlow grows teenage versions of Mr. Knightley, Sherlock Holmes, Dorian Gray, and Dracula to be her and her friends’ debutante escorts. Because everyone knows there’s only one thing better than a handsome, well-groomed, drawling Southern beau… an English gentleman. Harlow is tired of feeling second rate in her small Southern town, and vows to use the boys to beat her ex, and the mean-girl debutantes, at their own game. Frankly, she’d love to burn their perfect curls off their pretty little heads, but that would just be gravy. Instead, she’ll settle for winning the debutante crown and the accompanying cash scholarship prize, which she badly needs.
Harlow passes the boys off as four rather eccentric foreign exchange students, and everything goes according to plan until the book-boys discover their own origins and run amok. At the same time, the town witch, Madame LeRoux, comes after Harlow for the paper seeds, claiming that planting them will have dark consequences for Harlow and the people she loves. Harlow must uncover the origin and twisted history of the paper seeds to discover a way to undo what she’s grown. But as generations of town secrets and lies begin to unravel, Harlow discovers it was her beloved grandmother Minny who may have been hiding the biggest, ugliest secret of them all.
If I hadn’t been standing in the middle of my grandmother Minny’s wake, I would have whacked that boy in the man parts so hard, people would be looking at pictures of his children in years to come and say—see the funny ear that kid has? Harlow Jackson did that.
But Jonathan took my hand and squeezed it, like he was bestowing some sort of warm comfort on me. He wore the gray shirt I’d saved up a week’s wages for, the one that was the exact color of his eyes.
Now, I wanted to rip it off him.
And not in a good way.
I took a deep breath and tried to be civil. “Your parents will get used to the idea of us. I have a way of winning people over, you know.” I smiled my most becoming smile and flashed my dimple. Jonathan loved my dimple. Everyone loved my dimple.
He closed his eyes. “It’s not that, Harlow.”
“Then what is it?” I said, too loud.
Madison Pace cocked her ear in our direction as she scooped bean dip onto her plate at the food table. Nosey was not an adjective in this town, it was a given.
I tugged Jonathan’s hand, and he followed me out onto the front porch. The sky was gray, just waiting to burst open, the air heavy and thick. October in Georgia was not a cool, crisp autumn. It’s more like standing over a pot of boiling pasta. Or maybe more like being the pasta.
Title: LETH5L: DEEP CUTS
Entry Nickname: Boy Band Ninja Assassins
Word Count: 80K
Genre: YA Adventure Comedy
When Derrick Dominick and the other members of the world’s hottest boy band stumble into a coffee shop robbery in progress, they easily thwart the crooks with killer choreography. They didn’t name the band ‘Leth5l’ for nothing. Audiences, fangirl hearts, bad guys—they can slay just about anything thanks to their training for the Special Intelligence Network for Global Espionage, Recon and Security. (And dance class.)
Due to a misunderstanding with the barista, Derrick ends up in the back of a cop car. Roughly six seconds after he leaves the station, photos, videos, and internet rumors spread faster than a bullet leaving a gun. Consequently, Leth5l’s Manager/Handler sends two bloggers along on their next tour/mission to prove they’re just another boy band and Derrick’s not a criminal with a dimple.
Things get dicey when, to protect his cover, Derrick is forced to take a dangerous new drug called Rewind. It turns out that reliving the moment your biological mom abandoned you can sting just as much at seventeen-years-old as it did as a baby. Rewind, his butt, he’d rather erase that memory completely. Now, on top of his mission, and the two nosy (and hot!) bloggers up in his business, he’s got one mother of a mother issue to deal with before he makes a mistake that might be lethal (minus the five) to one of his bandmates.
At least his hair’s still on point.
Five-part harmony is ridiculously hard in the morning. Especially before coffee. Yet, here we are, strolling out of W-IDK television station after singing our asses off at six-freaking-thirty A.M. on “Wake Up, Whichever-City-We’re-In!”
They’re awake now.
I learned—foster situation number two, specifically—my dimple has that effect on people. Thank God it stayed with me beyond the chubby-cheek baby phase. I can wield it like a sword, but that’s only for my second job. Other times, like today, I use it to give the people what they want. Because giving the people what they want is the best part of my day. Even if it’s at an unholy hour.
Four steps outside the studio, Jay starts in on me. Again. “Do you think that you could, for once, turn your thousand-watt smile down some? How are the rest of us supposed to compete? That make-up chick was under my spell until you Derricked her to death.”
I dive into the backseat of the SUV with Leth5l-standard blacked out windows. Can’t let fangirls or bad guys know our location. Though, I’d totally be down if some of the fangirls knew. “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, his untied tie flapping around his neck. “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.