The Nine Dragons Safe – a Hong Kong Mystery.
(Middle grade contemporary Mystery – with a humorous side)

Status: Currently seeking representation (80k words)

December 7th, 1941: The same morning Pearl Harbor was bombed, the Japanese invaded Hong Kong. In the chaos a traitor stole the city’s greatest treasure – The Nine Dragons Safe.

Fast forward to modern times, and some old missing safe is the last thing twelve year-old Poe Chan is worried about. He breaks one little porcelain figurine at school and people are screaming expulsion. (They should really put signs on priceless Taoist relics like that.)

chinese dragon

Inside the broken statue, Poe finds a cryptic clue – it could lead to the fabled Nine Dragons Safe. True believers say the safe contains Hong Kong’s greatest treasure. Whatever…Poe just wants the safe for leverage to make his little “expulsion problem” go away. Too bad the clue is a Japanese riddle.

To decipher it he’ll need to make nice with his arch nemesis, Wei-ling (aka she who rats out fellow students for breaking porcelain figurines). But solving the first riddle leads to more riddles, each tougher than the last.

Poe and Wei-ling are closing in on the safe, but it proves to be more popular than a second chopstick in a rice eating contest. Wei-ling (who’s starting to seem not quite so nemesis-ey after all) needs the safe to buy her family’s house out of hock. Then there’s the shady bowling-ball shaped antiquities collector – he frames Poe and Wei-ling for destruction of public property (never mind that they sort of did). His price for getting them off the hook…a certain WWII era safe.

Chinese safePoe can’t decide if the safe is his trump card for avoiding expulsion, the only way to save Wei-ling’s home, or a bargaining chip to get old bowling-ball boy off his back. Maybe it’s none of those things. Because when Poe finds the Nine Dragons Safe…just like a clever fortune cookie…what’s inside isn’t quite what anyone expected

A story pulled from my experiences living in Hong Kong, where my wife was born. I’ve come to know and love the small corner of the world often called “Asia’s World City.” I’ve personally visited the unique locations found in the story, and most of the historical characters and events are also accurate (although I took some poetic license in fleshing out the details). Hong Kong’s eccentric blend of culture, history, and quirky customs also play a role in the story of Hong Kong’s lost treasure – the Nine Dragons Safe.


My life as a Middle School Mob Boss
(Middle grade contemporary humor)

Status: Currently seeking representation (65k words)

Summary: Due to a case of mistaken identity, seventh grader Nelson Dinkleman accidentally-on-purpose passes himself off as the new Middle School Mob Boss. Class Kingpin has its perks: primo locker that doesn’t smell like gym socks, dibs on the dodgeballs that aren’t flat, and pint-sized lackeys willing to literally chew his chicken nuggets for him. (Gross! No thanks!)

The work ain’t half-bad either. Sure, it’s a bit weird laundering bonus points for cafeteria desserts, but that extra bowl of tapioca pudding could mean the difference between life and death in a take-no-prisoners food fight. Pretending to be the grade-school godfather has just one downside. Nelson has to help Otto, the son of a real Chicago mobster pass the big test – without cheating.

Too bad Otto is anything but a wiseguy when it comes to schoolwork. His best grade ever was a mercy C minus for his essay cleverly titled Which Country is Bigger: Europe or Alaska? His conclusion was both. Otto’s stellar academic record isn’t the only problem Nelson is facing. There’s a mole in the school working for a rival mob boss, and he’s out to ice Otto’s chances of passing.

Nelson is cutting deals to get Otto the best tutors contraband Twinkies can buy, but the mole isn’t playing fair. He frames Nelson and Otto for attempted bow-tie larceny – a high crime according to the fashion-challenged school principal.MSM

Forget passing. They’re facing expulsion if they can’t clear their names from the Principal’s list of public enemies. Easy-peasy. Nelson has a plan…sort of. Only problem is he’ll have to admit he’s a fake, which could expose the real secret Nelson has been hiding all along – he’s mixed up with an organization way worse than any mafia: the Feds!

The Boy and the Silver Tree
(Book one of the Silver Tree series)

Status: Seeking representation (60k words).

Summary: Oscar avoids oil-based shampoos, hungry giraffes, and most of all going to school on Arbor Day. Life’s tough for a seventh grader with leaves sproutiSilver treeng from his head. He does his best to keep his secret under wraps, but things get really strange really fast when Matty, a boy no one seems to know, shows up and claims Oscar is a wood troll.

An enchanted tree has been poisoned, and according to Matty only a wood troll can save it. If Oscar helps, then Matty promises to fix Oscar’s little hair problem. All Oscar has to do is convince a dryad queen to give him an apple to replant the tree. If he can’t though, the tree’s death will unleash Moedredd, a dark wizard bent on wiping out the noble family of the realm – which includes Matty’s entire bloodline.

Simple-Silver-TreeOscar figures getting a magic apple can’t be that hard. The boys just have to fend off bloodthirsty boar-creatures, outsmart dimwitted mountain men, and avoid becoming a snack for a tribe of carnivorous beetle people. And Matty neglected to mention Moedredd’s lieutenant, a fire witch with a penchant for hurtling flames as readily as she does threats. Fortunately the trees are willing to lend Oscar a hand (eh…branch). But Matty’s been telling lies and now Oscar doesn’t know who to trust anymore. To save the realm and get a hairdo that’s more blond than botanical, Oscar has to unravel the mystery of who he really is: a boy, a wood troll, or merely a pawn in Moedredd’s master plan.

Oscar and Matty interview the author (Seriously? Who’s crazy idea was this?)

The Wood Troll who Wasn’t
(Book two of the Silver Tree series)

Status: Complete (65k words)

Summary: Oscar and Matty are back, but this time they’ve got help…sort of. Bree says she’s a master thief, but so far the only thing they’ve seen her take is a nap. There’s also the mystery of why things always seem to fall apart around her – literally. Windows, walls, and even giant rock formations have a habit of ending up in a pile of rubble at her feet.tree in wind

That’s the least of Oscar’s worries though. The Silvergress tree has been poisoned and Oscar (the only known wood troll left in the realm) looks like the prime suspect. On top of that, the dark wizard Moedredd, knows Oscar can save the tree and will stop at nothing to destroy him.

Together, the three friends face off against ax wielding giants, sand squids and a mysterious old hag with a nasty hobby of collecting other people’s destinies. Constantly pursued, their friendship begins to unravel as suspicions flare up over Bree’s true identity, and a secret from Oscar’s past comes to light. He might not really be a wood troll after all.

Fed up with half-truths and hidden agendas, Oscar pushes his friends away – and accidently pushes Matty into making a bargain that changes Oscar’s fate and seals Matty’s. To save his friend, Oscar will have to gamble his own life, the life of the silver tree and even the future of the realm – everything comes down to finding the solution to an ancient riddle.

What Oscar doesn’t’ realize is that some questions don’t come with answers.

The Death of the Silver Tree
(Book three of the Silver Tree series)

Status: Work in progress.

Summary: Oscar has everything he needs to save the Silvergress…but he’s starting to doubt if he should. So many things have been hidden from him and he’s not sure who to trust anymore. Even the evil plan of the dark wizard Moedredd turns out to be something other than what Oscar was led to believe.

Clues keep surfacing from his past and he questions who his own parents were – and who he really is. If he’s not a wood troll then what is he, and more importantly which world does he really belong to?

With the future of both worlds hanging in the balance, Oscar has to choose a path:

One path leads to Oscar’s deepest wish, life as a normal boy.

One path leads to fulfilling the promise he made to his friends.

But the most dangerous path of all is the one Oscar never saw coming – the truth.