Friday, March 6, 2015


42,000 words
MG Science Fiction Adventure

Twelve-year-old Xavier Howell has a knack for making things go awry on a colossal scale. Like when his beetle trap experiment turned into a minefield of dung bombs. Otherwise, he's just an ordinary kid on a normal outer-world colony . . . as far as he knows.
When a mysterious black spaceship shows up and almost fries the colony to a crisp; Xavier uncovers a holographic message left by his long dead mother. She confesses to hiding a microchip in his head containing her super-secret artificial intelligence research and warns him that "The Man" (evil head of the Cornucopia Conglomerate) will do anything to get his hands on it.

With a band of eclectic sidekicks that include a quirky professor and a robot with multiple personalities, Xavier must escape the mysterious black spaceship and solve his mother's riddles—all while using his non-dorky ninja moves to dodge giant, man-eating plants.

First Page:

I thought to myself: Self, that’s not supposed to happen—just as the second dung bomb exploded.

Watching the smelly, sticky, brownish-green substance fly through the air like shrapnel, I realized I'd made a slight miscalculation somewhere. Crouched in one of the wheat fields that surrounded the colony on Kevin 5, I took a moment to review the parameters of my little beetle catching science fair experiment.

Mr. Finch, the colony's bug guy, assured me the chemical I'd used in the traps would be poisonous to the black-bellied grain beetle. The heap of cow dung covering the trays of chemicals was meant to attract said beetles (again according to the illustrious Mr. Finch)—not blowup. Perhaps I should've consulted the colony chemist, too?

The third beetle-trap-turned-dung-bomb exploded.

That's when the smell first hit me. I tried very hard not to let any more air penetrate my nose or mouth. The endeavor was unsuccessful and so I gagged … repeatedly.

"Xavier Howell!"

I cringed. I didn't recognize the voice (the colony was not that small), but its tone was certainly familiar. My reputation had preceded me. Turning around slowly, I came face to knees with one of the grain farmers. I couldn't remember the man’s name, but I might've been distracted by the fact that he was covered—from head to toe—in dung.

It was difficult to talk without first inhaling the putrid air. "Yes, sir?"

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