Testing the waters with new ideas

As many of you know, I’m currently a Master Class student with James Patterson as my instructor. I’ve been given an assignment: jot down my book ideas and share them to get feedback. So I’m testing the waters. Below are my next two book ideas in a new series for kids. What do you think? Would you read it? I mean, really read it? Give me your input. I’d like to know!

Maddie Jones and the Curse of the Terracotta Warriors

When business tycoon Rico Raja kidnaps Hank Jones, a museum curator who deciphered an ancient text involving the Terracotta Warriors, his teenage daughter Maddie, along with her two younger brothers, must uncover the secrets behind the greatest archaeological discovery of the twentieth-century in order to save him. But when those secrets reveal a 2,000 year old curse, and Rico’s plan to release the soul of the First Qin Emperor of China, Maddie must seek allies in the unlikeliest of places–from a Terracotta Warrior who has come to life, General Li Fei. Perhaps Maddie and her brothers should call the National Guard, or the Army, or the Ghostbusters, because things are getting out of hand.

Maddie Jones and the Grave of Robin Hood

When Maddie Jones accidentally blows up her dad’s museum, a mysterious metal box is recovered from the ashes. Inside, letters dating back to the fourteenth-century allude to the grave of Robin Hood and a hidden map revealing the location of a vast treasure. But when the letters fall into the hands of Vince Barrows, a ruthless mercenary with a penchant for artifacts said to grant immortality, Maddie and her younger brothers must race across England to reach Robin Hood first. Throw in a secret sect and a masked archer determined to keep Robin’s grave buried forever, and the Jones siblings are in for a historic ride. Rob from the rich and give to the poor. Pah, better to rob from the dead and keep it for yourself.


Readers are begging for my story!

Monday, I read an excerpt from my story Curse of the Conquistador to 800 kids during my author visit. The story is about three kids trapped in their dad’s museum while they’re being haunted by the ghost of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado. I couldn’t read the entire story due to its length. Plus, the story will be published soon in The Syndicate’s Adventures in the Arcane, Volume II on June 1. I ended on a cliffhanger, a good one, too. Now kids are begging to read the story, literally. I keep telling them the story will be out soon. But they want it. Now!

Wow, there is no higher praise. In the past year, my storytelling has changed. I have been emulating my craft after popular young adult authors, and it seems to be paying off. My next novel Medical MECH was written for middle schoolers. And my next book series about a teenaged archeologist (who happens to be the main character in Curse of the Conquistador) will be, too. I believe these stories have a lot of potential to reach a mainstream audience. The challenge is getting them into the right hands–a literary agent who believes in the stories as much as I do. Time will tell how things turn out, but I’m excited about the praise I’ve received thus far.

Eight hundred kids. One author. And one cussing parrot.

Today I spoke to over 800 kids about my books and the process of writing. I had an awesome time, and the kids seemed to enjoy my stories and corny jokes. I began by talking about a cussing parrot (don’t shoot me, I didn’t say a single cuss word). But my tale hooked the kids from the start. From there, I talked about the three elements of great storytelling–character, setting, and plot–and I shared how I was inspired to write my first novel, The Prophet of the Dragon. I also talked about my latest novel, The Hero’s Ballad.

Afterward, I read an excerpt from a story soon-to-be-published called Curse of the Conquistador. The story will appear in The Syndicate’s Adventures in the Arcane, Volume 2. Anyway, I’m excited to announce that the kids were in the palm of my hand as I read the story. To say they loved it would be an understatement. I was even approached afterward by teachers and the principal, who were impressed by how even the at-risk students were enthralled. The librarians said they hadn’t seen a more engaging author visit, which uplifted my spirits. I thoroughly believe I’m on the right track to writing that story, the one agents want to represent and publishers want to buy. It may still be years in the making, but I’ll keep slogging along with the hope that it’s possible.

To end, I autographed books. And that’s probably an author’s favorite part: a copy of your book in a reader’s hand. What a day! I’m exhausted and my voice is nearly gone, but it was worth it. I love talking about stories.