Monday, October 8, 2012

October 16th ~ THE PHANTOM STUDENT Book Two in the Phantom Series!

How about a sample of The Phantom Student, the second book in The Phantom Series? It is going to be published on October 23rd.

Book One was The Phantom Pilot.  It introduced Jase and Stevie-girl and their ghostly-mystery-solving abilities, so The Phantom Student continues in that line.

This time, the pair must figure out why Stevie is being haunted, and whether this phantom is connected to the new student at their school, Derol Pavey.  He's the boy from the Philippines.  He has Tourette syndrome and it is making him an easy target for the school bully.

Okay, so here is an excerpt from Chapter One of THE PHANTOM STUDENT.  Coming October 23rd from Cool Well Press.


To us, 1970 was a time of beginnings, but to the country, it was a time of endings. National guardsmen ended the lives of four students at Kent State College.  A hundred thousand marched on Washington to end the war in Vietnam, and in England, Paul McCartney announced the end of The Beatles.  It was also the year Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin both ended their lives through drug overdoses.  It felt as if the whole world was in turmoil.
            Our homeroom teacher said not to let the weight of the world stop us from being open to new experiences.  In fact she said it was more important than ever that we should be open-minded.  I wondered if she’d gone radical on us.  For a moment I thought she might pick up a sign and start chanting.
            Come to find out, she was simply prepping us for a new addition to our eighth grade class at Crossroads Junior High.  His name was Derol Pavey and he had something called Tourette Syndrome. 
Chapter One

            “What’s up?”  Jase’s voice was low, but then he was never very loud.  Guess that’s why we got along so well.
            I smiled up at him.  “Not much.”  I shifted my books from the crook of one arm to the crook of the other.  “What’s up with you?”
            Jase grimaced.  I could tell he wanted to say something. 
            I elbowed him in the ribs as we made our way across homeroom to our desks in the back corner.  “Why are you making that face?  What’s wrong?”
            “Nothing really,” he replied, his usually clear green eyes clouded and mysterious.  “It’s just that, well.  Have you heard about Janis Joplin?”
            That got my attention.  I loved Janis Joplin.  Jase had accidentally caught me wailing away to one of her records one afternoon when I was supposed to meet him in front of my house.  When I wasn’t outside, he just opened the screen door and came on inside.  He said he could hear my yowling as soon as his feet cleared the threshold.  After that, I always locked the front door before singing my Janis tunes.
            “What about her?”  I asked, a pang of unease settling in my stomach like the cherry pit I’d accidentally swallowed when I was about five.  Jimi Hendrix, who had electrified Woodstock only thirteen months earlier, had overdosed on a combination of drugs and alcohol just a couple of weeks ago.  And everyone knew Janis was every bit as wild as Jimi.  Maybe even wilder.
            Jase looked up as several other students entered the classroom.  “They found her in a motel room yesterday.  She overdosed, too.  Just like Hendrix.”
            I looked at the psychedelic pink and purple swirls decorating my notebook.  Snippets of my favorite Janis song, Piece of My Heart, swirled through my head in patterns very similar to the ones decorating my notebook.

              “Oh.”  My voice was small.  I couldn’t seem to say anything else.  Janis was a big star.  She wasn’t a friend or an acquaintance, but she was young and famous.  She shouldn’t have died.  She and Hendrix were both only twenty-seven years old.  I hated when people just up and died without warning.  It happened all the time in my little corner of the world.  I guess I thought famous people should be immune to death or something.  Irrational tears started in the corners of my eyes and began a lazy trek toward my chin.

            Jase reached across the aisle between our desks.  His hand was large and firm when he grasped my shoulder.  I’d taken hold of that hand on more than one occasion when he had to help me across a ditch or even the time I had to help him up after he fell down the stairs in the old haunted Taylor mansion.  But this show of concern right in front of everyone in the class, this was something altogether different.
            I shrugged my shoulder so he would take his hand away.
            He didn’t get mad or upset.  Jase didn’t get mad.  He understood me pretty well.  He knew I didn’t like to be the center of attention.  I smiled at him to let him know I appreciated the gesture of friendship, but I felt silly sitting there crying over someone who had caused her own demise by doing things that were illegal and stupid.
            Somehow, I’d identified with Janis, that’s why I’d admired her.  She succeeded even though she was differentmaybe because she was different.  It was as if she had taken her outcast image and made it larger than life.  I could never do that, even if I did feel the same way.  But I could relate to her, and I could admire her for it, and now she was gone, so I guess now I could grieve for her, too.
            I might have sat there wallowing in grief for the whole twenty-minute class period except that Derol Pavey chose that moment to make his entrance.

Okay, folks, that's all for this Sunday.  Check back next week if you would like to read more.  I may update again on Wednesday.  Let's see, we could call it Wordy Wednesday or something like that.  Actually, that's awful . . . I'm open to suggestions--what should I call mid-week excerpts?  
Afterthought: Maybe I should call it Mid-week Musings... 


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