GENRE: MG Adventure
WORD COUNT: 55,000
Stray has just blown his sister’s chance at the scholarship of a lifetime, and their father’s old pirate stories may be the only way to set things right. One stolen death certificate, a caged research assistant (he totally had it coming!), and an unearthed grave later, Stray faces his first real challenge. His sister wants to join the treasure hunt. Along with three friends—and one reluctant enemy—the siblings inch closer to a stash long dismissed as legend. In turn, two modern-day pirates hunt a prize of their own. Stray. And they’ll gladly kill anyone who tries to stop them.
DOUBLE-CROSSED (55,000 words) is a middle grade adventure rooted in the history and legends of my hometown, Amelia Island, Florida. This tiny island has flown eight different flags, including two hoisted by pirates who changed the course of Florida history. Following in these illustrious footsteps, I routinely pillage the local library and procured a degree in Modern Treasure (a.k.a. Finance) after forcing its previous owner to walk the plank.
Like THE GOONIES and the more recent SUPER 8, DOUBLE-CROSSED is driven by character relationships, which are illuminated—and tested—by each plot twist and danger. I hope the sample below leaves you wanting more.
CHAPTER ONE: STRAY MESSES UP. BIG TIME.
In 1817, notorious con artist Gregor MacGregor set sail for Spanish Florida, where he conquered the quiet island of Amelia. Scallywags and thieves immediately overran the tiny port, filling MacGregor’s coffers with their ill-gotten spoil. As U.S. troops closed in, determined to restore order, MacGregor fled, but not before meeting with fellow pirate Luis Aury.
To this day, no one knows what occurred during this meeting aboard Aury’s ship, the Congresso Mexicano. All anyone can say for sure is that, when the U.S. finally arrived, Aury claimed to be destitute – and MacGregor’s loot had vanished.
Two zillion and eleven.
That’s how many times Amee had repeated that story to sunburnt tourists at her dad’s Amelia Museum of Piracy.
But never again. Not after today.
All she had to do was ace the Ramirez Sporting Goods scholarship contest, and she’d be free. She glanced over at her biggest competition, beach-bum Greg Johannsen. His genius idea for community improvement was park benches made out of old surfboards.
Amee had this in the bag.
Amelia High’s air conditioner labored against the May heat, sounding like a dragon snoring on the roof. News cameras flanked the walls, all trained on the Ramirezes.