So you can read my books

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Portsmouth Square, San Francisco, during the gold rush, 1851
{Image in Public Domain}

I. Sign of the Green Dragon
 I smiled sadly. Young Sammy was all eyes as he walked the dirt sidewalk of the Barbary Coast.  His gait was that odd shuffle that stayed with him all his days.  

At sixteen, it gave him the odd appearance of old age.  When old that shuffle would grant him the illusion of youth.  

It fit the tangle of contradictions that was the boy who would grow to become Mark Twain.

Sammy smiled, "Did the editor of the San Francisco Herald really promise to make me a reporter?"

"Yes.  If I brought the murderer of its publisher, James King, to justice."

Sammy rubbed his hands together.  "Captain Sam, I am as good as hired!  You're the best lawmen ever."

I studied him.  "Isn't your mother worried about you being shot in this wild town?"


"She trusts me that much?"

"Of course not!  She says any boy destined to hang has nothing to fear from guns."

I smiled wryly.  That sounded like her all right.

 Before the Gold Rush of 1849, there were only a few hundred people living in tents and wooden shanties within San Francisco. 

However after the gold rush the population of San Francisco would increase fifty-fold in just two years—from 492 in 1847 to over 25,000 in 1849. 

That extreme growth combined with a lack of strong government had created many opportunities for criminals, corrupt politicians, and brothel owners.

Sammy's grey-blue eagle eyes widened as he hushed in a breath as we stepped onto the corner of Pacific and Montgomery Streets.

"Welcome to Casa," I said low.

Sammy rasped, "Excepting for that green dragon sign, it's like something you'd see in Old New Orleans with those lacy iron terraces."

"There's a Casa there, too.  And in Paris.  And in Los Angeles."


"A small trading post of 250 people about 400 miles south of here.  I own a lot of property there ... as I do here."

Sammy shook his head.  "Lord, I ain't never seen the like."

He arched his head back and took in the night sky. 

 "Yet even with the torches on those balconies, I can still see the constellations shining in their myriad majesty, 

and moving like an army dressed in silver mail, marching from unknown victories to conquer in distant wars."

Even so young, Sammy still had the Way about him and his words.

The tall Chinese man in the doorway breathed a sigh of relief.  "At last you come, Xian.  Qing Long has crossed the ocean for revenge."

Sammy frowned, "Qing Long?"

"The Azure Dragon," I murmured, feeling as if my sins in the Opium Wars would never stop haunting me.

"Th-That's just a nickname, right?" quavered Sammy.

I shook my head.

Sammy muttered, "Does Los Angeles have a newspaper, Captain Sam?"

The tall Chinese, who would never tell me his name, shook his head sadly.

"It is too, late, young sir, for the Green Dragon has also come for his treasure." 

Death and madness followed but that is another story.

And in 2016, a crumbling map from 1859 is found in the bony grip of something long dead 

propelling three boys into unsolved murder, modern crimes, lost ancestors, and dragons who guard the meaning of true treasure. 


On August 3rd, C. Lee McKenzie releases SIGN OF THE GREEN DRAGON

which holds the answers to your questions.



  1. I could hear young Sammy and Captain McCord clearly as I read this! And now we have more dragons arriving. What a fascinating time and place, and you've brought it to life.

    Thanks so much, Roland. Let the dragons roar!

    1. The dragons are roaring to herald the coming of your wonderful novel, Lee. :-)

    2. I give them tasty treats, too. Got to keep the beasties happy.

  2. Great introduction, Roland! I loved the book and anyone who loves dragons, history, mysteries, and adventure will too! Congratulations, Lee!

    1. Doesn't Roland know his history? I'm always impressed by how he weaves it into his character dialog. Thanks, Yolanda.

    2. Lee's book will fly off the cyber-shelves -- it is that good. Mark and Sam had to get into the act to help out their friend. :-)

  3. That is a kick-ass cover...and you really know how to introduce a book!

    1. Isn't that cover riveting and colorful? I try to make my book intro's for my friends' books as different and engaging as I can. Thanks for appreciating this one. :-)

    2. Thanks for the like on the cover. I hope the book lives up to it. But as an existentialist, an optimistic one at that, you know that it will be up to the individual reader to make sense of what value the book has in this world. Great to meet you here at Roland's place.

  4. Oooo, a prehistory to the story! Excellent, Roland. And the video about dragons that you found, very interesting. Loved seeing them in the clouds and sliding down the stairs. Very cool. Congratulations, Lee!

    1. Wasn't that video great? I thought it might be fun to do a prehistory to Lee's story without stealing her thunder, only adding to it. Glad you liked it.

    2. Wasn't this great? Imagine having a young Mark Twain as a lead in to your story. Roland aways surprises and delights.

  5. Great lead in to her book! And we don't get to hear much about young Twain.

    1. You can get more of young Twain (how he met McCord at the age of 12) in the prologue of DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE.

      I wanted to do a unique and different lead-in to Lee's wonderful. I am happy you like it. :-)

    2. Young Sam Clemens was a treat in Death in the House of Life. Roland knows his Mark Twain.