Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bouncer Post #73

Genre: Middle Grade
Word count: 39,000 words


When ten-year-old Wyatt Cook and his older, jerk of a brother, Dustin,
venture alone into the mysterious greenbelt behind their Pacific
Northwest home for the first time, they have no idea the discovery of
a strange, blue-haired creature will thrust them into a timeless
battle between two raging realms of the forest, and it will fall upon
Wyatt to save them all.

As the woods around them manifest into talking beings, Dustin is taken
prisoner by the Axindae and Black Thorn and Wyatt is told he is the
only one who can save him - no pressure.  With help from the Knights
of the Wood, Pinecone Warriors, and a trusty golden retriever, Wyatt’s
adventure becomes a fight for his life and the existence of the
Emerald Wood.  Along the way, Wyatt must lead an army, save Dustin,
and find out what it truly means to be a brother.

Introducing a stunning new world filled with natural wonders, THE
EMERALD WOOD is a 39,000 word middle grade novel inspired by my own daily adventures in the 8 acres behind my childhood home in the
Pacific Northwest.  I remember every imaginary conversation I had with
the beautiful environment around me and can't wait to spark this same
thrill within every girl and boy who reads this book.

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts Education and English from
Central Washington University and I am a Theatre Arts Teacher at South
Kitsap High School.  I am an experienced public speaker with access to
over 2,000 High School students who are willing (and waiting) to buy,
promote, tweet and Facebook the heck out of this puppy.  In the spring
of 2007 I wrote, produced, and directed an adaptation of Lewis
Carroll’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND, entitled ALICE IN DISCOLAND.  It became the most successfully produced non-musical in school history.

First 250:

“Go Dustin, GO!”

The two brothers hit the tree line at a dead sprint, the bigger of the
two leading the way while the smaller, more agile figure egged him on
from behind.  It was the first day of summer break.  Dustin and Wyatt
Cook awakened at sunrise to get an early start on their first day of
freedom.  Stopping to kiss their mom good-bye and pack a few crucial
food items from the kitchen pantry, the Cook brothers sprinted through
the door and plunged into the great beyond of forest that lay behind
their house.

The brothers had been planning this day for several months.  Wyatt,
the younger of the two by four years, had turned ten in April and was
now allowed into the woods with only the supervision of his older
brother Dustin.  They saw this as a right of passage, almost a ritual
into manhood.  Not only did it mean the two boys were free from the
watchful eyes of adults, but Wyatt could now perform the sacred act of

Swashing was a technique for moving down Glenwood Creek, the small
creek that ran through the woods and emptied into a large pond at the
Johnson Farm about five miles east of the Cook house.  The reason it
was called swashing was because it wasn’t exactly swimming and it
wasn’t exactly running; it was just swashing.  There were spots where
the creek opened up and a person could run at a full speed.  At some
points one might find himself crawling on his stomach through water
with sticker bushes looming just inches from his back. Other times a
person might have to climb a fallen tree to navigate to the next open
part of the creek.  Regardless of one’s progression, the journey
always ended with the creek spilling into the pond at the Johnson


  1. I'm already intrigued... hope to see more.

  2. I know many young people who would love this!

  3. Growing up in Alaska and spending summers visiting family in Port Angeles, Gig Harbor, and Ashford, Washington, I too had many adventures in the magical woods of the Pacific Northwest. I would love to read this and to share it with my family members who are living there now!

  4. The query is clear and packed with an exciting story that makes you want to get to the excerpt. And it does not disappoint. This sounds like a story that would be enjoyed not just by the target audience but by anyone who remembers how our environments came alive around us. Nicely done.

  5. I love the older jerk of a brother line to begin the query. It gives me an idea of the relationship and the humor that any mg reader would appreciate. Swashing is explained pretty well and I think I did something similar so I can relate. The setting is full of possibilities and I would want more. I love these kinds of adventures. I hope you make it thru. I didn't get chosen yet either so i fyou have time and want to read my entry (66) that would be great.! Thank you

  6. Wow, I would love to read a book like this!

  7. Would love to read more.

  8. I would love to read more of this book!