Title: The Mean Freckle
Word count: 62,000
Genre: MG Historical
Abby Ray DeWoody is nine year-old girl prone to mischief, but nothing that would put her name on the FBI’s most wanted list. When Abby visits a nearby farm on a hot summer afternoon, a woman named Miss Lucy accuses the girl of having the Mean Freckle, a mark which dooms the bearer to hurt their loved ones. Miss Lucy (who may be a crazy lady or an evil witch) chants a rhyme that sets the rules. If Abby Ray can find the Mean Freckle and erase it, she will be free, but she must not speak a word to anyone about the mark.
Abby succumbs to the effects of the Mean Freckle immediately. She lies, she steals, and she pinches! She feels powerful and big when the Mean Freckle burns, but the disappointment in her parents’ eyes makes her sad. She loves her family and does not want to hurt them. She is willing to do anything to find a cure whether it’s smearing herself with sour cream, dipping her body in mustard, or visiting a spooky graveyard at midnight.
First 250 words:
The road was dusty and the afternoon sun blazing hot as I pulled my little brother’s red wagon to the Dairyberry farm. On the right side of the road, black and white cows stood behind a barbed wire fence flashing their backsides at me. Their tails swung back and forth shooing flies. Everything was the same old same-old that day. The red dirt. Blue sky. Dry weeds. Me. A freckle-faced kid. But trouble likes to hide under ‘the usual’.
My name is Abigail Ray DeWoody. Abby Ray for short. I’m named after my dead grandma and my alive-and-kicking father, Ray. He calls me “his little ray of sunshine.” I call him Daddy Ray. I am nine years old and three feet seven inches tall. My grandpa says I am ‘two drinks shy of a full pint’, meaning I am little. I’m also covered in brown freckles from my face to my feet. I even have Irish spots on the top of my dirty toes.
Grasshoppers popped this way and that as my bare feet trudged over the ruts and weeds. Lord, I hate those bugs with their stickery legs and black tobacco spit. A big hippity-hoppity ricocheted off my shirt and landed on my forehead. I knocked it to the ground and gave it good grind with my heel. Served it right!
I have lots of chores that I perform daily. It’s a big list of ‘have-tos’ which I ‘have to’ admit I hate.
Entry Nickname: World on a String
Title: The Day I Ruled the World
Word Count: 57,000
Genre: MG Fantasy
Twelve-year-old Teddy Bridwell loves her parents. Honestly, she thinks they’re great. They’re also wrong—she shouldn’t have to wait until she turns thirteen to start learning magic. So she practices in secret. That way, they don’t have to worry, and she doesn't have to get in trouble.
Until she gets caught, of course. Then she’s in all kinds of trouble. She’s grounded and stuck doing inventory on the junk Dad collects for his business. That’s where she finds the barrette.
Teddy can feel the magic in it, but she isn’t sure what it does. She thinks it might grant wishes, which would be stellar, but the truth is even better—the barrette makes people do what Teddy tells them to do. For the first time in her life, she’s the one with the power.
Unfortunately, the power Teddy uses to make her Dad teach her magic could do mega-damage in the wrong hands. And when the wrong hands show up to claim it, Teddy has to find a way to destroy the barrette before a crazed fanatic uses it to end all the pain and misery in the world—by turning everyone in the galaxy into his puppets. Until she does, Teddy and her stubbornness are the only things standing between humanity and slavery. Which, if humanity knew, they probably wouldn’t find too comforting.
First 250 Words:
Spying is rude, and I would never, ever do it. Not without a good reason anyway, like needing to know if my parents suspected I'd been practicing spells in secret.
For Snooper's Delight, I needed a mirror, some magic, and a little privacy. Good thing I had my own bedroom, so I wouldn’t be interrupted by bossy older sisters or nosy younger brothers.
I settled cross-legged on my bed, tugged on my pajama shorts to de-wedgie them, and balanced the mirror on my knee.
At six o’clock on a Saturday morning, Mom and Dad would normally be in the kitchen, eating breakfast alone while all the kids slept and talking about stuff they didn’t want us to hear. That was the scene I had to picture to work the spell—the counter along the back wall and the big dining table surrounded by chairs. When the mental image was as clear as I could make it, I slid it into the mirror to replace the reflection. My brain gave a satisfied sigh, and I opened my eyes. There it was, a perfect picture of my parents with plates of eggs and toast and glasses of juice set out on the table in front of them. I could practically smell the food.
I had one second to enjoy my success before the side-effects hit me, the slam of crazy emotions that came with every spell. This time it was a wave of totally-out-of-proportion, what-the-heck-does-this-have-to-do-with-anything sadness.