Sunday, September 23, 2012

Victoria and The Ghost by Janet K. Brown

     Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles. She began writing while her three daughters were kids but did not study the craft or submit her work until she retired in October, 2005. Writing became a second career.

     4RV Publishing released Janet’s debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, last month. Janet has written several inspirational romances and women’s fiction, but this is her first young adult. She studies her three grandchildren for help with teen expressions and actions.

     Janet contracts with Union Gospel Press for short stories for teens and adults. Her stories have shown up in such publications as Brio, Live, Standard, The Gem, and Cross and Quill. With a secondary passion for diet and fitness, Janet is shopping her first non-fiction book, a devotion book for compulsive overeaters.

     Janet belongs to such writing groups as ACFW, OWFI, CWFI, and RWA.

     She and her husband love to travel with their RV, visit with family, and work in their church.

     You can learn more about Janet on her website/blog; check her out on Facebook or connect with her on Twitter

Email:  Janet.hope (at) att (dot) net

Back Page Blurb:

    At fifteen, Victoria, a city girl, loses her mother’s love and copes with country isolation, no friends and no one who cares, until she meets a ghost.

      When her mother leaves the family to become a Dallas trophy wife, Victoria’s dad moves her and her sister to a North Texas farm to herd cattle and raise chickens. Refusing to believe this is more than a temporary set-back, Victoria tries to make new friends which isn’t an easy task. The first one stabs her in the back with gossip and a sharp tongue. Meanwhile, her new stepsister takes Victoria’s place in her mother’s heart. Rejection and anger stalk Victoria like a rattlesnake in the cemetery. Good thing she makes friends with a ghost and through him, a good-looking teenaged cowboy.

Chapter One
    “This place is awful,” Victoria said, spewing all the venom that a fifteen-year-old could muster.     Her dad sighed. “I know you’re mad at me for moving you to the country, but — ”
    “You bet I’m mad. I hate you.” She pressed her lips together until they hurt.
   “Well, I love you.” Her dad’s eyes displayed his hurt. The expression of pain on Dad's face was familiar since the divorce, but Mom wasn't the culprit this time. Victoria's sharp tongue cut off the kindness he tried to express now.
   She bit back the apology threatening to slip, glanced around the kitchen, and grimaced. Yellow and white wallpaper curled above the counter. A hideous dining room suite offered eating space for three. Dad gave Mom’s fancy French Provincial to the Salvation Army. From a neighbor’s farm, cows mooed and a horse whinnied.
   His expression hardened. “Why can’t you make friends like your sister? You haven’t even tried.”
   My sister is a nerd. She doesn’t need friends. “I’m not as old as Marcy.”
   “There’s only a two-year difference.” Dad leaned against the stove looking like he wanted to tie her to a chair until she begged for help.
   “Whatever.” She turned and stomped toward the living room. Her steps beat to the tune in her head, sounding like “I Hate the Country Blues.”
   “Where are you going?” Dad stood in the kitchen watching her leave. His loud words bounced through the small farmhouse and struck Victoria’s conscience.
   She went back and opened the fridge, the one minus the icemaker function. After snatching the tiny cooler she used for school lunches, she took a cola and a water bottle. “Exploring, OKAY? I have my cell.”
   When Victoria started to leave, her sister, Marcy, walked out of her bedroom. “Don’t forget; it’s your turn to fix supper. I did it yesterday.” Marcy glared at her little sis for emphasis.
   Whenever Dad jumped on Victoria about doing more housework, she became annoyed.
   “Whatever.” Though short, with more meat on her body than her track coach liked, Victoria stood as tall and straight as her stature allowed and slammed the front door behind her, glad to be out of there. She leaped from the porch, traveled the quarter mile to the road, and started her hike.
   A sticker stabbed her heel, which reminded her flip-flops weren’t the best walking shoes. After pulling out the culprit, she edged nearer the black top. Close to half a city block away, the flat ground swelled into a tiny hill like a pimple on the landscape. She wanted to explore what lay behind it. The country’s three weeks of rain had kept her inside and bored.
   Her stringy hair fell to the front of her shoulders like two cobwebs knit together to decorate her T-shirt. She caught the wisps of hair behind her ears and strained to climb over rocks and roots toward the stone Lutheran church atop the ridge. Near the entrance to the building, a plaque proclaimed, “Founded in 1886.”
   Sweat dripped into Victoria’s eyes as she read the words. Noonday sun scorched the top of her scalp, so she stepped under the shade of a towering oak. The tree’s roots disappeared underground near the church’s foundation.
   Why did Dad move her from the city? Did he just want to annoy her? If so, he succeeded. She aimed her phone, clicked, and hit send, so Emily, back in Dallas, could picture the landscape. Flat. Rocky. Yuck. She wouldn’t want Dallas friends to see her heated cheeks, sweaty hair, and dusty feet right now.
   Fields of grain the golden color of the dress Mom bought Victoria during their end-of-summer shopping trip last year sprawled before her.
   No more fun with Mom now.
   When Victoria approached the church’s double doors, the lock held. She turned and leaned against it to take a swig of her bottled water. A smell of polish emanated from the splintered wood indicating someone’s recent labor.
   A loud chirping startled her. A cricket perched on a rock not five feet away, making enough noise to wake the dead at the cemetery down the road from the church. When he jumped in her direction, she slid down the southern slope, past the tall cane stalks, and arrived on her blue-jeaned bottom at a black-topped road.
   She brushed herself off, surveyed the area for spectators, retrieved her flip-flops, and shuffled down the road. After she walked farther, heaving from the exertion, she paralleled the fence to an archway proclaiming Clara Cemetery.
   Interesting. What a forlorn place this was. How about that, a church and cemetery this far from civilization? She opened the creaky, iron gate and ventured forward.
   Impressive memorials surrounded her. A heavy cedar fragrance drifted on the prairie winds from the graveyard’s clumps of tall trees. Red, pink, and yellow colors from flowers and decorations dotted graves. Off to one side, a cement bench offered a place to sit and talk with dead family. Might as well talk to them; no live people in sight.

Purchase book in paperback from 4RV Publishing.

Janet K. Brown is giving away a copy of VICTORIA AND THE GHOST.

The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.

To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address.
You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.



Anonymous said...

With a stunning excerpt like that, you must be merciful and choose me! I really want to see how this story works out. Thanks for the giveaway <3

Teela said...

The teaser for Victoria and the Ghost, definitely did it's job in hooking me, wanting to read the entire book, by Ms. Brown. Thank you for the chance to win!

Anonymous said...

I would love to enter this contest. Thanks!`
Maxie ( )

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