Excerpts: Chapters 23 & 24

Dear Readers, Just one more week of excerpts to go. Let’s get ready for Launch Day on October 20th!


From Chapter 23, “The Keys from St. Barnabas”

The Leticia Emerald has been found! A celebration is in order:

The afternoon sun had just moved behind the cathedral . . . . Father Pete had everyone quickly circle and join hands. He said a brief blessing for the de Cordobas and their deceased ancestors.  . . . The priest congratulated the group and invited everyone to come to the cathedral soon for a tour and a celebration of life. All agreed it was a fabulous idea.

The group walked back to the house. “Well, two cases solved on the same day,” Isabela said to the kids. “You should be proud.”

“Not yet,” Lanny replied.


From Chapter 24, “The Green-Eyed Monster”

Some unfinished business regarding the found emerald is needed:

The de Cordobas and the kids were bursting to share the news that the emerald had been found. Instead, they chose to keep it a secret . . . [until it could be] shipped to its country of origin as Isabela intended. . . .

Isabela’s eyes were downcast. “All the news is certainly sobering today. I’m glad we didn’t share the finding of the Leticia Emerald—I mean, the Temple Emerald, with the world yet.”

Tomás said, “Yes, the emerald. We need to give it its freedom in more ways than one.”

Excerpts: Chapters 21 and 22

Dear Readers, I’m almost out of excerpts, which can only mean one thing:  We’re approaching Book Launch Time!

Watch for Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse to release on Amazon in paperback and eBook on October 20, 2020.


From Chapter 21, “Glittering Exposé”

The four detectives are suspicious of Madame Ronescu and decide to test her. They knock on the casita door:

“What do you want?” [Madame Ronescu] asked with a scowl and thick Romanian accent while blocking the kids’ view into the house.

With a bright smile, Rani said, “Madame Ronescu, bună dimineaţa. Eşti o vrăjitoare.”

“Huh?” she replied after a momentary pause. Her face had clearly paled.

Rani repeated the phrase.

“Oh, uh, I speak only English in America,” Madame Ronescu said. “I ask you again. What do you want?”

“We just wanted to bring you these pears from Ms. de Cordoba’s garden.” Rani pushed a small paper bag of fruit into Madame Ronescu’s gloved hands. “Have a nice day.”

The kids turned away before she could reply and strolled back toward the garden near where they had been hiding. After getting some distance away, Lexi said, “Rani, you were incredible. We now know at least one person is still inside. But what did you say to her?”

Rani giggled. “I said, ‘Good morning. You are a witch,’ in Romany.”


From Chapter 22, “Clues from Old Hollywood”

The group takes a break from the Puzzle Poem to focus on another clue—a silent movie starring Isabela and Tomás’s great-grandparents. Lanny has a surprising announcement as the movie ends:

Isabela led the group to what she called the movie room. The kids couldn’t believe what they were seeing. It was actually an old gilded theatre with scents of popcorn and candy lingering from bygone days. In no time, the group, including Oso, was gathered in front of the theatre-sized screen. Everyone settled into a plush velvet seat, and the lights faded to blackness.

Lanny barely ate any of the buttery snack, mesmerized by the film. There was Alondra in the wedding gown . . . . And Lorenzo appeared in a tuxedo . . . . Isabela and Tomás exchanged many smiles as they watched their great-grandparents’ performances. An hour passed. No clue.

Or so they thought.

Immediately as the movie ended, Lanny jumped to his feet and snapped his fingers.

“Guys, I know where the emerald is!”

Excerpts: Chapters 19 and 20

Hello, Readers!

Are you getting as excited as I am about October 20? What’s happening that day??? The release of Book 2, Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse.

Below, you will find the latest excerpts. They include one of my favorite chapters, #20, “Lantern in the Churchyard.” I hope you enjoy these!


From Chapter 19, “Aunt Connie Assists”

Isabela has invited the twins’ aunt Connie to dinner. The detectives share information with her about their case. Connie shares photos she took at the ARC gemstone preview party. One photo in particular catches everyone’s attention:

“And here’s one with some guests in the photo, but one person looks fuzzy,” Rani said. “See? She’s in the background. It definitely distracted me from the rest of the shot.” Rani pointed to a figure wearing something glittery and black by the dessert buffet.

“Yeah. It looks like a caterer photobombed the shot, Auntie C,” Lexi said.

“Yes, I noticed that, too,” said Aunt Connie. “Good eyes, you two. Scratch that photo.”

But something had caught Isabela’s eye. “May I see that, please?” Connie handed her the photo. Isabela’s smile slowly faded and her eyebrows knitted together more intensely the longer she stared at it.

“What’s wrong, sis?” Tomás’s attention shifted to the figure as well.


From Chapter 20, “Lantern in the Churchyard”

Lexi is awakened at two a.m. by an unlatched bedroom window banging in the wind. She has just closed it and is about to return to bed when:

Lexi . . . became transfixed by something she saw out the troublesome window. At the far western edge of the estate grounds, there appeared a light that seemed to be bobbing, then pulsing on and off. Lexi squinted her eyes to aid her focus.

“What’s going on?” Rani asked a moment later. She propped herself up on her elbows.

“There’s a twinkling light out there. Come see for yourself.” Lexi beckoned to Rani with both hands. “Hurry up, before it’s gone.”

Rani scrambled out of bed and joined Lexi in gazing in the direction her friend was pointing. Both girls watched as the light moved first one direction, then the other.

Rani craned her neck for a better view. “Creepy. What part of the garden is that?”

“I hope I’m wrong, but I think that’s the churchyard at St. Barnabas Cathedral.”

The girls stared at each other wide-eyed as Lexi squeezed Rani’s forearm.

Excerpts: Chapters 17 and 18

Dear Readers, I am continuing the march through Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse via weekly excerpts in anticipation of the book’s October 20, 2020, release.

I hope you enjoy these!


From Chapter 17, “Handy Work Above”

The group divides up to look for particular images to solve another stanza of the Puzzle Poem. Isabela and the girls are on the third floor, each exploring two rooms:

. . . Rani had almost completed her search of the office and guest bedroom. Still no calls from the other two, so she was about to give up hope of any of them having good luck. But luck changed. When she pushed aside the last sheet-draped work of art, she saw what they had been looking for.


From Chapter 18, “Up the Attic Stairs”

The detectives, Isabela, and Tomás make a major discovery in the attic:

The picture stubbornly clung to the wall, and nothing budged. Moki let out his frustration by saying some words in Hawaiian that no one asked to be translated. Apparently, they fueled his desire to succeed.

A moment later, a slight creaking sound was heard. Moki and Lexi stumbled backward as the entire wall panel released. It was hinged on the inside. Isabela gasped again, and everyone’s mouths dropped open.

But they weren’t shocked by the massive door.

They were shocked by what was beyond it.

Excerpts: Chapters 15 and 16

Dear Readers, more excerpts for you from Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse!

So get a clue: Watch for my Botanic Hill Detectives Book 2 to launch on October 20, 2020.


From Chapter 15, “The Secret Room”

A major discovery has been made, thanks to the group’s hard work deciphering Stanza 3 of the Puzzle Poem. Lanny says:

“ . . . this new discovery seems to show that we are definitely on a treasure hunt all over the estate. But we’ve done a lot of work today, and dinner will be ready soon. I suspect Ms. de Cordoba will want us to wait until tomorrow morning to tackle the fourth stanza and to continue to explore the passages.”

“Well, if we have to wait . . .” Lexi said.

But Lanny hadn’t really convinced himself about delaying, not even for dinner.


From Chapter 16, “Exploring in the Dark”

Lanny is awakened at four a.m. by the sound of footsteps coming from the room overhead. He and Moki head to the third floor to explore:

Their eyes had adjusted to the darkness. Lanny pointed to the door of the suspected room and flashed Moki an A-OK sign. They turned off their flashlights, noticing the room’s door was slightly ajar, and listened for any sounds. Nothing but the mournful “who-who” sound of the resident barn owl in the old magnolia tree outside. They waited two more minutes, shivering and wishing they hadn’t forgotten their bathrobes and slippers. Still no sounds came from the room. Even the owl became silent. Moki felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up.

Finally, Lanny pushed the door open slightly and slipped into the room. Moki followed.

Excerpts: Chapters 13 and 14

Dear Readers,

We are getting closer and closer to the October 20, 2020, launch of Eucalyptus Street: Egyptian Secrets!

I continue the excerpts to whet your appetite:


From Chapter 13, “What Sooty Walls Reveal”

While exploring for lions, the two girls end up in Isabela’s bedroom. A fireplace panel has just slid open, and an intruder is emerging:

[Lexi and Rani] weren’t ones to shrink from a chance to capture an intruder. Just as quickly as they shrieked, they bounded toward the fireplace to tackle the figure entering the room. Oso also jumped at him, and the intruder screamed, throwing his arms up.


From Chapter 14, “Blueprints and Perches”

Some dusty secret passages have been discovered. The detectives, Isabela, and her brother, Tomás, have entered one to investigate:

“Wow. Look at all the footprints. And what’s this?” Lanny asked. He bent down and picked up a rectangular, metal object and soon recognized it as an old portable cassette recorder. “Hmm, I’ll bet the intruder’s been recording what’s been said in the living room, but we can’t know for sure since the cassette is missing.” The others gathered around to inspect the device.

“Well, that’s possible according to the blueprints. The living room is right on the other side of this wall,” Tomás said. Lanny scrunched up his nose.

Isabela raised her hand to her mouth in shock. “Then the person might have heard me read the puzzle poem that first night when we also heard the footsteps upstairs.”