Thursday, March 20, 2014

Looking for a Quick, Free Read, Ghostly Style? Check this one out.


Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Ghost
Release Date: March 20, 2014
Digital: ISBN: 13: 978-1-63112-017-6 ISBN: 10: 1631120174


A haunted mallet. A spooky song. An old west ghost story. Can Shelby survive a family camping trip or will the ghost of past misdeeds come calling?

Shelby didn’t want to go on the family camping trip with her parents and baby sister Rhea. Sitting around telling ghost stories couldn’t be more boring, even if one of the stories is supposedly true. When she accidently gets a scrape on her finger from the wooden mallet that is the heart of her mother’s ghost story, and not to mention also a bloodstained antique from the cowboy days, Shelby gets a glimpse of what she may have unwittingly unleashed into modern times. With the help of her family, Shelby must try to piece together the story of the haunted mallet and a certain song by the Eagles that keeps playing ... and playing ... and playing – before this Texas-sized ancestral ghost story takes a turn that just might be headed down a dead end. 

About Sara Barnard
Sara Barnard, who was most likely born into the wrong century, is mother to four awesome children. In addition to Rebekah’s Quilt, she has authored the historical romance Everlasting Heart series, consisting of bestselling A Heart on Hold, which was also a 2012 RONE award finalist, A Heart Broken, A Heart at Home, and A Heart Forever Wild – all from 5 Prince Publishing. She also writes for the younger among us. Chunky Sugars is a picture book from 5 Prince Kids and her independently published children’s nonfiction titles, The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants and The Big Bad Wolf Really Isn’t so Big and Bad, have hit bestseller lists several times. She and her family make their home in the far reaches of the west Texas desert with the Javalina, mesquite trees, and of course, lots and lots of oil.

Where to find Sara:
Twitter: @TheSaraBarnard

Excerpt of Deperado:
“Okay let’s have a contest to see who can tell the scariest story.” Mom’s voice was much too chipper for my taste. She was all into this camping stuff, but there was nowhere for me to plug in my curling iron, so I could care less about being out here.
The flames from the fire danced, as though alive, as I shot a pained look at Dad. Showing off his trademark grin, Dad gave me a wink and tiny nod as if to say, humor your mother, she loves you.
Defeated, I pulled my old holey blanket around my shoulders and tried to ignore the encroaching shadows that looked to be dancing with the flickering firelight.
My baby sister Rhea straightened her back and leaned forward in her camp chair. “I’ll go first,” she chirruped. Rhea’s seven-year-old voice tried to sound scary and her blue eyes widened as she began her tale. “Once upon a time, in a land far, far away...”
I stuffed a whole s’more into my mouth.
Rhea held her hands up like claws. “There was a blue, no wait, make that a green bird.” She looked from face to face until she got to mine. “No, not a bird, a sister.”
I rolled my eyes as the corners of my mouth twitched upward.
Unfazed, Rhea continued. “The green sister was silly.” She dropped her voice low. “And I mean very, very, very silly.” She dropped her claw-hands into her lap, sat back in the camp chair, and grinned. “The end.”
Mom and Dad applauded wildly. I hid my ghost of a smile behind a nose twitch and passed Rhea another gooey s’more. “That was pretty good, Sissy,” I commended. “Take a few storytelling classes and you’ll be as good as Stephen King someday.”
The fact that I adored my baby sister was no secret, and I flattered myself to think that the feeling was mutual.
Rhea blew her blonde bangs up in a dramatic huff. “Shelby, do you always have to talk about him?” Her voice was an octave away from a full-on whine. “That movie he wrote scared me.” She glanced over her shoulder and scooted closer to Dad.
I crossed my legs. “Rhea, he writes books. Not movies.” It was an old argument the two of us shared ever since she snuck in and hid behind the couch while I was watching Pet Sematary one night. Rhea had watched the entire thing before I discovered her back there, terrified. She’d been sleeping in my room ever since then. “They make movies based on his books—”
“Ahem.” I could feel Mom glaring at me. My cheeks burned as the rest of my sentence fizzled, forgotten. Busted.
“We will talk about movie rules when we get home tomorrow, young ladies,” she said sternly. “As for now, who wants to hear a scary story? A true, scary story.”
“I do. Oh, Mommy, I do,” Rhea trilled in her normal, singsong voice. She scooted a little closer to Mom.
Dad rose from his camp chair. “If you ladies will excuse me, I think I will go find a tree right quick.” Turning, he trotted off into the shadowy woods.
Mom cut her gaze to me. “Shelby, are you up to it?”
I nodded and scooted in a tad bit closer to the fire.
Mom pulled her pink camouflaged backpack into her lap. “Good. Well, when I was a little girl, we were at a family reunion, not too far from here.” She gestured widely with her arm toward the west. “Before we left for the hour’s ride home, my mom, grandmother, great-grandmother, and I stopped at a garage sale on the edge of town. The house itself looked like it was out of a Stephen King novel––boarded up windows, creaky wooden front door swinging to and fro, peeling paint––the works.” She glanced at me. I smiled. She knew I was eating this up.
Mom leaned in and shifted her gaze back to Rhea. “Your great-great grandmother noticed that the homeowner was in a hurry to sell everything off. When she started poking around in a box of kitchenware, he accepted twenty-five cents for the whole box of stuff. Antiques, he said they were.”
The fire glinted off Mom’s face, making her wide eyes sparkle even more than they usually did. Rhea’s mouth hung open, a bit of marshmallow stuck to her cheek. A rogue arctic blast suddenly swept through our campsite, sending a collective shiver through all three of us. I tugged at the ends of my blanket and snuggled down deeper into my camp chair, taking care to not look into the dark woods behind me.
“Antiques?” Rhea asked through sticky lips. “What’s that?”
“The man told Great Gran that the stuff she bought had come west with his grandparents by way of a wagon train. Everything in that box was all that had survived a hellish campfire accident on their journey from the Pennsylvania.”
Rhea was sticking and unsticking her fingers. “Oh. Okay.”
Mom slowly slid up the zipper of her backpack. “Well, on the ride home, we had the radio on while your great-great grandma sorted through her box of treasures. She gave a purple glass bottle marked 1806 to my mom, a strange little garlic press to me, and a tiny tin snuff can to my grandma. From the very bottom of the box, she pulled out this.”
Mom reached into her backpack and drew out a weird looking wooden kitchen instrument.
“Is that a mallet?” I asked, letting my eyes rove over the little tool. “And what’s that stain? Is it ...” I gulped. “Blood?”
Mom nodded. “Yes and yes. The wagon train came under attack by a bad outlaw after the campfire accident. His grandma grabbed this mallet and swung it to kill, knocking the desperado’s black hat clean off his head. As Great Gran told the story to us in the car, the song on the radio changed to Desperado by The Eagles.”
“Oh, I love The Eagles,” I cooed.
Ignoring me, Mom continued. “While she told the story, Great Gran somehow managed to cut her finger on the mallet. Probably on this rough spot right here.” Mom slowly held the mallet out to me.
Equally slow, I reached to feel the spot she spoke of. The world around me melted into the blackness of the night as I touched the ancient piece of wood.
Oh did we mention that is is FREE?

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