Monday, February 22, 2016


Genre: MG Mystery
Word Count: 41,000

My Main Character would use snow or snow to battle their biggest obstacle:

 Sonny (a.k.a. Kid Fire) likes the cold and damp of remote Vallon Island. Until he doesn’t.  He’d hoped that here there’d be no such things as unexplained fires that he could be blamed for, but two blazes near his school have put Sonny in the “hot seat” and his only hope is for a spate of frigid rain until he can come up with a plan to clear his name. Whoever is starting the mysterious fires that are popping up must be stopped with a cool and cunning trap—and Sonny needs time to figure out how to set one.


Thirteen-year-old Sonny Bulee resolves to put his past behind him. No more bullies in black hoodies. No more waiting at bus stops for a no-show parent. Cedars School on Vallon Island might have terrible food, a bunch of nerdy students who get in his way, and teachers who eye him with suspicion, but it’s isolated and safe. Until it’s not.

Falsely accused of starting a fire at his previous school, Sonny attracts the attention of the dean of Cedars when small fires break out on the island. The dean insists he’s not blaming, only monitoring what Sonny does. Sonny resolves to elude the watchfulness of the dean and his over-protective grandfather, clear his name, and uncover the real culprits. However, a Shakespeare-spouting, ghost-buster-wannabe research partner named Cord and her ally, Will, another seventh grader who draws pictures that no one else can see, continually thwart his efforts in their conviction that ghosts are afoot and causing trouble.

 Sonny tries not to let any of them spook him too much, but when he starts to hear the whispers, feel the clammy touch and see shadowy forms in the school hallways and along the pathways around the island, he suspects the infamous ghosts of Vallon Island are on the move. He’ll need to joins forces with Cord and Will to flush out the ghosts  at a mysterious shed in the woods called The Piano Box before the island spirits ignite another fire— one that might burn away the truth and put Sonny in line for yet another suspension.

 First 250 words:

The first week in Colorado Springs was almost as bad as the last.

It started at the empty bus station that smelled like stale bologna and old cigarettes. A beady-eyed man behind a counter glared at me when my battered X- Men suitcase scraped across the floor. Counter Man barked, “Waiting for someone?”

I nodded, slumped on a bench, held my nose, and stared at the distant mountains. Forgotten. I didn’t cry. Not then and not later.

The hands on the dusty wall clock inched along. I popped open my suitcase and reached for a stick of gum. I chewed and watched the clock. When the second hand hit 5, I blew a bubble. When the hand hit 7, I pulled in my breath. Pop.

Counter Man grunted. “You sure someone’s coming? Been over an hour.”

Like I don’t know that, I thought. I just nodded and pushed the gum under my tongue.

When the door flew open, Dad looked the same as always. He marched toward me, grabbed my suitcase and nodded at Counter Man. I scrambled out of my seat. “Dad, I—”

“Let’s go,” Dad commanded. “Judy’s circling and the girls are cranky.”

Outside, no car in sight. I shifted my foot from side to side, and Dad scrolled though his phone. Was he mad at me? He’d barely spoken. I thought about how we used to wrestle on the couch, screaming with laughter until Mom came running thinking something was wrong. Nothing had been wrong then…


  1. An ice cold first 50 pages please! To rena (at) thedeborahharrisagency (dot) com

  2. Bring on the snow! I would love to take a look at the full manuscript. Please feel free to send it along to as a word attachment. Please put the query in the email and Sun vs Snow in the subject line. Thanks!