Second Book in Middle Grade Paranormal Mystery Series Combines Ghost Dog Story with April Fool Hijinks. The GHOST Group 2 by Dawn Colclasure. Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, other fine eBook vendors and Gypsy Shadow Publishing at:
There’s something different about Sarah Town. It’s brimming with ghosts – and some of those ghosts need help! That’s where the GHOST Group comes in – the Ghost Helpers of Sarah Town. The GHOST Group is made up of five 11-year-old team members: Jesse, Jenny, Ryan, Trent, and Cassie.
The Ghost of the Irish Setter is a “ghost dog” story where team member Jesse must come to terms with losing his dog, Lolly, after she ran away. A ghost dog that is an Irish setter seeks Jesse’s help, but when the rest of the GHOST Group join the case, it becomes a matter of life or death after Cassie and Ryan are kidnapped! Can the GHOST Group help the ghost dog? And can Jesse find out what really happened to Lolly?
In The Ghost of the Missing Hiker, a day of April Fool’s hijinks turn into another mystery for the GHOST Group. Meanwhile, the group's helper ghost, Adam, has some bad news for the team, and Jenny realizes she must accept her special gift and learn how to use it so she can help other ghosts in Sarah Town.
Word Count: 31700
Pages to Print: 135
The Ghost of the Irish Setter
If there was one thing that could be said about Deanna Foster, it was this: She was not much of a cook. Jenny winced at the thought, recalling the many times her mother had served something burnt or unrecognizable for dinner. Good thing usually her dad did most of the cooking or they ate takeout. “Not much” was putting it delicately.
Oh, sure, her mom could make toast—when she didn’t burn it. And she could also figure out how to get the microwave to work to nuke something for them to eat—on a good day.
But put her in front of a stove or tell her how to bake something in the oven, and all of a sudden, she turned clueless. You might as well have been trying to explain to her how to perform brain surgery; it was uncharted territory to her.
So of course Jenny had been surprised when she noticed her mother looking through a bunch of cookbooks, searching for some recipe or another. When Jenny noticed what kind of cookbooks they were, it all made sense: Cookbooks for Irish meals.
Irish. Of course. This was March, after all, and the St. Patrick’s Day Festival—a big deal in Sarah Town—was coming up. Every year, her mother made some kind of dish for the St. Patrick’s Day Festival, and every year they all got to read about it in the newspaper the next day when people got sick or had to be rushed to the hospital from food poisoning.
Okay, maybe that last thought was an exaggeration. But, yeah, her mom and cooking just didn’t mesh. Still, her mom was never say die with that kinda thing. Proof: The many sounds of pots and pans clanging together in the kitchen for hours, the occasional screams of frustration or the sounds of crying and praying coming from behind the kitchen door.
Jenny frowned, looking down at the picture she’d been quietly working on the whole time her mom had been in the kitchen. She didn’t try to force herself to do something for the festival that she knew she wasn’t good at; instead, she did something she did know she was good at. She created art.
She held up the poster, admiring the picture she’d made. And it was a pretty good picture, too, she had to admit. She’d written Happy St. Patrick’s Day! in the center, drew a dancing leprechaun under that, then created a shower of shamrocks all over the top, with some of them circling the words in the center of the drawing as they came down around it.
Jenny looked in the direction of the sound as she placed her picture back down on the table.
“I’ve done it!” her mother declared, holding a plate of food in one hand and holding her other hand up as though she were praising the heavens. “Corned beef, cabbage and potatoes! The perfect dish for St. Patrick’s Day!”
Jenny winced. “Yuck. I’ll take Foods I Never Want to Eat for $200, Alex.”
“Well, eat it, anyway,” her mother said, walking over to place the plate of food onto the table in front of her. Jenny swallowed the puke that came rushing to her mouth at the sight of the disgusting food.
“This is the dish I’m making for the St. Patrick’s Day Festival,” her mother said, smiling. “And I need a taste tester.”
Jenny looked up at her. “Hey, Mom, why don’t you ask Dad to taste it for you? He’s the best taste tester in the world!”
Her mother didn’t say anything. All she did was heap that green and brown stuff up on a fork and hold it up to Jenny’s mouth.
Alarm bells screeched in Jenny’s head. Little people in charge of the Tasting Department frantically ran around, trying to control the chaos of impending doom. “Full alert!” one screeched. “Disgusting food about to enter the mouth! Batten down the hatches!”
“Taste it,” her mother encouraged. “Please?”
A knock sounded at the door. Jenny’s mother handed her the fork. “Here. I’ll be right back.” She turned around to walk out of the room.
Jenny made a face as she held the food up in front of her mouth. It smelled almost as bad as it looked! What excuse could she come up with to avoid eating this stuff? Tell her mother she was allergic to brown and green food?
No, that wouldn’t work. She wouldn’t be able to eat hamburgers or bacon in front of her mother again.
Maybe she could pretend the food she inched closer to her mouth was a nice juicy hamburger. Yes, that was it. Just a thick juicy burger with ketchup and lettuce and . . .
“Jenny! Cassie’s here.”
Jenny lowered the fork and let out a huge breath of relief. She hopped off the chair, ran from the table to leave the room, then ran back to where she’d been sitting to look up. “Thank you,” she whispered. She turned to run out of the room again.
“I smell food,” Cassie said, sniffing the air as she walked into Jenny’s house.
Jenny smiled at her friend. “And you just saved me from eating it, too. Mom’s practicing her dish for the St. Patrick’s Day Festival.”
Cassie frowned. “Are you guys Irish?”
Jenny shrugged. “How should I know? But I guess everybody's Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.”
Cassie chuckled. “My house smells like bread. I guess both our moms are making something for the festival.”
“Do you think Ryan’s mom will make anything? I know they are Irish.”
Cassie laughed. “Ryan’s mom isn’t much of a cook. She’ll probably grab something from the bakery. Have you found any new ghost cases for us yet?”
Jenny frowned, shaking her head. “Not yet.”
“Well, maybe something will turnip.” Cassie laughed.
Jenny only shook her head. Why on earth was Cassie bringing up turnips? And why did she use it in a sentence that way?
“Get it? Turnip? Turn up?” Cassie asked. When Jenny only stared at her, Cassie placed her arms on her hips. “Well! We were talking about food!”
Jenny forced a laugh. “Oh, right. I get it. Funny.”
Jenny walked over to the table, ignoring the horrible food still on the plate, and carefully removed her picture as though she were Indiana Jones removing the idol from the pedestal. She hurried away with her creation, a chill racing down her spine as thoughts of a giant ball of corned beef rolling behind her tugged at her mind; she paused until her friend caught up, grabbed Cassie’s hand and pulled her into her bedroom. Only after the threat of eating disgusting food was averted did she turn to Cassie and sigh. “Phew! We’re safe!”
Cassie laughed. “What was that about?”
“You don’t want to know,” Jenny replied, shaking her head. She smiled, remembering her poster. “Check out this poster I made!” She held her creation up for Cassie to see.
Cassie looked it over, her eyes widening. “Wow! That’s pretty good!”