rocket summer YA novel

Now available as a novel – print or Kindle – on Amazon.



Small-town teens secretly build a rocket-powered car, but family troubles and a lack of mechanical know-how make staying secret, and staying safe, nearly impossible.


This screenplay sold to eKidsFilms. We are currently looking for co-production and financial resources to bring this story to the screen. Contact me to learn more.


Lacey Patterson is thirteen years old, and her life in the tiny desert town of Alice, Nevada is boring and predictable. Her mom died three years ago, and her dad’s been so busy working that she’s pretty much been on her own ever since. For her and her friends Kenny and Charlie, it’s looking like another summer of washing dishes, fixing irrigation pipes and poking sticks at armadillos…

Until they make an exciting – and dangerous – discovery.

Lacey’s stumbled across a crate filled with surplus military rockets. So she and Kenny have decided to do what any kid would do… build a rocket powered car on the outskirts of town.

Of course, they know nothing about cars, and have no way to move the rockets. Oh, and they’ll probably get killed in the process.

Luckily, Kenny’s delinquent older sister Darlene does know cars, and she has a pickup. So they scrounge for small change to keep her in hush money, and she helps them steal parts and tools. With enough duct tape and baling wire, and a healthy dose of not-knowing-any-better, they’re bent on making this a summer to remember… if they can just stay alive long enough to enjoy it.

With a tone that feels like Breaking Away meets October Sky, Rocket Summer is a family drama about the universal challenges of growing up and growing apart, told against the backdrop of the well-known urban legend of the JATO powered car. This quirky teen ensemble story investigates themes of love, humor and loss as the kids struggle to balance their own desires for escape and adventure against small town expectations of responsibility and tradition. Ultimately, the story is not so much about the rocket-powered car, but about the revelations of family and friendship that the kids have along the way, as they learn that life is not rocket science.


“This story is touching on many levels. You are a talented writer, with a wonderful unique style.”

– 2004 Monterey County Film Commission Script Competition


I am THRILLED to say that Miss Julie Brown has expressed interest in appearing in Rocket Summer, in the role of Mercy. I’ve worked with Julie before (on Fat Rose and Squeaky) and would love to have a chance to work with her again!

Rocket Summer is great, I love it and would love to be in it! — Julie Brown