Saturday, March 12, 2011

#SampleSunday Night Camp

Night Camp is my children's book for middle grade readers. More and more children are getting Kindles and parents who are looking for affordable books might want to consider Night Camp.
About the book:
A spooky graveyard. A creepy basement. A pair of coffins.
Thirteen-year-old Shane Andrews hates summer camp. When his parents allow him to choose, Shane decides to pick the worst camp he can find. Night Camp must be terrible. For one thing, activities take place at night and campers sleep during the day. That can’t be good, Shane reasons. His parents will realize Night Camp is even worse than they thought and they’ll come back to get him. Then Shane’s plans for summer freedom fall apart. His cousin Brad, a boy with a huge collection of tabloid magazines, convinces Shane that two of the camp counselors are vampires. Shane enlists the help of Brad and a girl camper named Nicole. The three set out to save themselves and the other campers. Then Shane uncovers the secret of Night Camp…

Here's an excerpt from the middle of the book. Shane has concluded that the Talbot brothers, camp counselors are vampires. The counselors take the campers out to explore some local caverns. Shane likes to collect rocks and he manages to get separated from the group and get thoroughly lost.

            I dashed through the entrance and down a wide passageway. I didn't remember passing this way earlier, but I kept going. After all, one part of the cave looked pretty much like another. As long as I kept going in the right direction, I'd eventually find the others.
            Ten minutes later I had to admit to myself that I was lost. None of the passages or rooms looked even a tiny bit familiar. I had no idea if I was heading toward the opening or ever deeper into the cavern. At one point I'd followed the sound of trickling water and nearly toppled into a wide stream.
            "Have to save the light," I said out loud. It felt good to hear a human voice, even if it was my own. I switched off my flashlight and sat down with my back against the cave wall.  As soon as I stopped moving, cold seeped into me, and I pulled my knees up to my chest.
            "I won't panic. Wow, I must be freaking already, talking to myself. I could be lost in here for weeks or even forever. Boy, am I stupid for not paying attention."
            The thought of maybe starving to death made me hungry. I took my lunch out of my backpack and rationed myself to two bites of my squashed sandwich and one bite of my apple. My teeth were chattering so hard I could barely chew. I didn't open my orange juice.
            The light from the flashlight grew even dimmer, and I was forced to turn it off again. "I need a plan," I said. I didn't care anymore that I'd made a habit of speaking to myself out loud. "I guess the best thing to do is sit still and hope that someone finds me. Bloodhounds or something."
            "Wait," I said. "I didn't mean to say 'or something.'" Or something could mean vampires. I knew vampires could find me in the dark cave better than any bloodhound on earth. Starving to death had to be better than being attacked by hungry vampires.
            I sat shivering in the dark for what seemed like hours. Every once in a while I'd get up and stomp around in a small circle to warm myself. My feet went numb. They felt like blocks of wood glued to my legs.
                "Probably just a few minutes have passed, like in school when I can't wait for the bell to ring," I said finally, my teeth clicking with every word. I switched the light on again to check my watch.
            I gulped in surprise. Hours had passed. It was nearly morning.  
               I stood and stomped my feet and rubbed my hands together for warmth. That seemed about as effective as massaging an ice cube.
            "Help," I called half‑heartedly in case anyone was listening. My voice echoed off the cave walls, and then a minute later I heard a sound. At least, I thought I heard a sound.
            I didn't dare to breathe as I listened. There it was again. The faint squeaking that somehow seemed familiar. Only now it was closer.
            All at once I recognized that squeaking. I wanted to scream, only that would let the bat know exactly where I was. No point in handing out "Listen up, vampires, here's Shane" announcements.
            I couldn't just stand here and be killed without trying to escape. That would be even stupider than getting lost to begin with. I whirled and struck out blindly toward the opposite wall. I didn't even take time to switch on my flashlight.
            Somehow I managed to find the opening in the rock wall that led to another chamber. I groped my way through. This was the way I'd come in. I remembered that the next opening was directly opposite.
            The squeaking sounded as though it were only a few feet behind me now. I put on a burst of speed, taking off like a racehorse heading for the finish line.
                I took three giant strides and then the ground fell away. I felt myself tumbling into a space that turned into ice cold water. My entire body seemed to quick freeze as the water closed over my head.
            This isn't supposed to be here, I thought. 
            I could swim, but now the rocks in my backpack pulled me down like a giant hand gripping me from behind. I gasped automatically and sucked in about a gallon of water. I flailed around under the water, but that only made me sink faster. Then everything went black.


  1. Definitely creepy fun for vampire lovers...

  2. This is exactly right for your audience. The writing is direct, personal and exactly as it would happen if a person you liked were in the situation -someone who would not freak out and try to stay in good health.

  3. Very creepy! Really interesting premise, too!