Name: deb drick
Twitter Handle: @debdrick
YA or MG: MG
Title: Jaz and the Mysterious Tablet: Faraway World
Twitter Pitch (140 characters max): 12 y/o Jaz must solve clues on a magic farm to find keys to unlock portal to save dad in another world. If he can’t, he’ll lose dad forever.
1st 250 words of opening: The last thing I did before my father came back to life was try to beat Old Man Thompson in a game of chess.
I moved my queen, figuring the bored look on his wrinkled face meant he had no clue this twelve-year-old was about to own him.
I was wrong.
Even though I’ve been playing him every week since I was six, I’ve never beaten him. Ever. Not once. But I like the game enough to keep trying. To me, playing chess felt like being on an adventure and solving a mystery at the same time – even if the mystery was just something like The Case of What Was Mr. Thompson Going to Do with His Knight.
Also, it’s a whole lot more interesting than pretty much everything else in my life.
Mr. T had hardly waited for me to take my finger off of my queen’s head before his gnarled fingers dragged his bishop three spaces away from my king. He leaned back with his arms resting across his middle, and his eyes crinkled as he smirked at me. “Check mate.”
You never even saw that coming, said my inner pessimistic voice.
I sighed. “That one snuck up on me.”
He shook his head, chuckling. “You oughta keep an open mind, Jaz. Maybe it ends up better than you’re thinkin’ it will.”
“Yeah, maybe,” I said, but I was just being polite. For long as I could remember, my life had been the same thing every day.
Synopsis (200 word max): 12-year-old JAZ ZANE, was raised by his mother, LIZA ZANE, and homeschooled in a senior center.
He finds letters saying 1: his father didn’t die; rather, he disappeared, and 2: He and mom inherited grandparents’ farm.
They move to the Michigan farm, and Jaz begins finding items with strange properties. With new friends AJ and ISSY, he uncovers an ancient stone tablet with clues in a box with his father’s name on it.
Jaz believes the clues will provide answers about his father’s disappearance, and possibly take him there. He and his friends search the hundred-acre farm to solve the clues and find six magic stones, while at the same time trying not to get the crap beat out of him by the school bully.
After all the puzzles are solved, Jaz puts together the magic puzzle. It takes Jaz through a portal to a world where he suspects his father is the king – and yet held captive by THE SHADES, or evil guards.
Jaz meets “twinners” LANDON AND LOGAN, who help Jaz navigate a world back in time with no electricity or modern technology, and strange accents.
When Jaz finally sees his father for the first time, he nearly gives himself away. However, even though he stops himself from telling the king he has a son, the Shades suspect something amiss and capture him.
Just before they search him and find the magic neckstone that matches the king’s, he gets away and goes home. (Conclusion in Book II)
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