Beyond the Hollow Tree

Beyond the Hollow Tree is my unpublished fantasy novel for middle-grade readers. It follows the adventures of Gus, a very not-typical kid who discovers a world unlike anything he ever imagined. He soon learns, however, that he will need to imagine a whole lot more if he’s going to help the Land Below and its very special denizens survive.

If you are a publisher or literary agent and you would like to read more than the sample chapters presented here, I would be happy to provide you with the full manuscript. Just email me at


Photo by Phil on

David woke up before the sun rose that morning, sensing that something wasn’t quite right. He just had a certain way of knowing these things. Of course, nothing had been as it should be for some time in the Land Below. The sky was still a shimmering azure blue, and the flowers continued to blossom in the endless meadows, but things were changing—and not for the better. 

David rose from his bed, which was in a humble one-room cottage beside the royal stables. He dressed quickly and, skipping breakfast altogether, made his way to the stall where his horse, Xanthus, awaited him. 

He rode out into the still, quiet dawn just as the sun’s first rays were setting the waves of the Green Dolphin Sea ablaze with brilliant hues of yellow and orange light. As the air came alive with the sounds of singing birds and buzzing dragonflies, David urged Xanthus up the winding path that led to the castle.

What he found at the end of that path dismayed him. This was not the magnificent palace where he had spent so many happy childhood hours wandering the candlelit corridors and playing in the sun-dappled courtyards. No, unless his memory was betraying him, this was not the same place at all. The great granite walls that had stood atop the hill for as long as anyone could remember were beginning to crumble, and black vines had begun to snake their way up the stones.

Down in the Village, David knew, things were just as bad—spiky weeds choked the once-pristine lawns and paint peeled off the neat little buildings—but it was all happening so gradually that no one really seemed to notice.

David noticed. And he couldn’t shake the feeling that things would only get worse. The very existence of the Land Below was at stake, and something had to be done about it. He just had a certain way of knowing these things. He was very wise for a raccoon. Then again, he wasn’t just any raccoon. He was one of the Special Ones.

“I’ll talk to Lady Orsetta,” he said to Xanthus as they made their way back to the stables. “If anyone knows what to do about this, it will surely be her.”