Food of the Gods
Sci-Fi short story (2nd draft)
Adam Durfy takes his fix at the betting table, but when he sinks his family’s savings, he’s forced to find another way to fund his son’s education and his own needs. Galactic senator, Xan, may be Adam’s ticket home. An illegal safari through the Seabus jungle promises danger and enough money to send two of his kids through school.
But Senator Xan is not paying for the thrill or the exotic experience. He wants the Primus Cacao and finding it is more than proving a myth. To him it is power. For Adam, it means freedom. Only the highest bidder will win, and that could cost them more than their lives.
Siphors: Book 1
YA Sci-Fi (5th draft)
For the past year, experts have labeled fifteen-year-old Chandler O’Connor everything from sociophobe to hyper sensitive, allergic to people, if that’s a thing. But he refuses to become the next bubble boy, even if he does black out when he’s around other people. Only Tyson, his older, much cooler cousin understands, and promises a way around the pain.
Chandler’s solitary confinement ends unexpectedly when the same illness sends Mom to the hospital, and Chandler to live with Tyson and Aunt Reyna. His release is short-lived, however, when his tyrannical aunt forces him to play lab rat for the unscrupulous Dr. Grindol. The doctor might be able to develop a cure, but he definitely put a girl in a coma, and Chandler isn’t eager to stick around.
Meanwhile, Tyson’s method grants him new life with friends and enhanced abilities. He learns to stretch his perceptions, increase his strength, and control people around him. But when his newfound powers endanger Mom further, Dr. Grindol may be her only hope, if Chandler’s willing to betray Tyson’s secret and give up the freedom that lies within his grasp. In the end, the line between hero and villain blurs as Chandler faces the truth about himself and what it means to save a soul.
Middle Grade Contemporary (4th draft)
Tali Drinkwater’s first day of seventh grade crashes and burns after a sudden visit from Aunt Flo leaks through her new white pants and onto the seat of Jeffery Palmer. His hatred goes beyond the incident to slurs targeting Tali’s Mexican half. It doesn’t matter that she can’t speak Spanish or fit in with the Latinos, all people see is her brown skin. Theatre offers Tali a way to be someone different and landing the lead role in the school musical would make everyone see her.
But when Mom is ordered on bed rest and Dad is deployed, Abuelita swoops in and transforms Tali’s home into a Mexican casita. Tali’s attempts to teach her grandma English and the American way fail to leave an impression. Instead, Tali is forced to wear a Mexican dress to picture day, go to Mass on Sundays, and interpret for Abuelita at parent-teacher conference. Not even ketchup burritos or a boycott against Spanish are enough to stop her influence.
When Tali’s fight leads to an accidental pantsing and subsequent suspension from school and the play, Tali must face the demons of her own prejudices or risk losing herself.