Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Today I welcome fellow 4RV Publishing author, Janet K Brown to my blog. Janet’s debut novel, Victoria and the Ghost made its first appearance at the Kansas Book Festival last September along with mine and a second novel by our “sister” author, Galand Nuchols.

Welcome to Celtic Connexions, Janet. It’s great having you here today. Enough of the preamble, I’m going to cut right to the chase. I’ve been dying to ask this question since your cover was revealed last summer.

victoria and the ghost coverDo you believe in ghosts? And is that why you wrote Victoria and the Ghost?

I don’t believe in séances, witches, or trying to communicate with the dead. What I do believe: the Almighty God of the Bible invented the supernatural (as we humans think of ghosts). We can’t understand angels, impossible or invisible beings, or any of the mysteries of the universe that God created.

On the other hand, if God sees a young woman like Victoria who needs and asks for His help, He can use any means at His disposal. Even a ghost.

I post about “Are ghosts real.” Find it in the archives on Wed., April 4, 2012 on my site: http://www.janetkbrown.com.

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.

Is Victoria and the Ghost your first novel?

In 2005, when I started studying the writing craft and trying my hand at finishing a novel and submitting it to editors and/or agents, my policy was if one was rejected, I started another one. Therefore, I have completed seven novels and am 2/3 through with my eighth.

Victoria and the Ghost was the first one I sold. I will always be thankful to Vivian Zabel and those at 4RV Publishing for taking a chance on a new author like me. Victoria and the Ghost is my only YA, but my work in progress now is the sequel.

My sentiments, too, Janet, not to mention my work in “lack of progress” is the sequel to my novel.

How did you find your publisher?

When I attended my usual Romance Writers of America chapter here in Wichita Falls, Texas, the year of 2010, two of the members, one from Altus, Oklahoma and one from Durant, Okla. told us about the organization of OWFI (Oklahoma Writers Federated International). They explained the wonderful conference they do each year in May in Oklahoma City. Since I live two hours away, a writer friend and I registered for the next conference.

I attended in May, 2011 for my first time. I carried with me a proposal for Victoria and the Ghost and made an editor appointment with Vivian Zabel. I met her at breakfast the first morning and found her delightful. When I heard her name mentioned, I told her I had an appointment later with her. She listened to my pitch at the designated time, showed interest, and requested I send her the full manuscript.

I sent it and received a contract my e-mail shortly afterward. I spent the next week dancing all over my house and calling or contacting online everyone I knew to share my excitement.

Your experience with Vivian sounds similar to mine, except I pitched to her at the MuseItUp online conference.

Have you written anything else?

I’ve written short stories for both teens and adults for several years selling most of them to Sunday school take-home papers, but others to magazines or newsletters. I continue to do that. I contract with one publishing company to write thirteen stories at a time. That helps the old cash-flow. Ha!

My completed novels are romance or women’s fiction. One is a coming-of-age romance. They are in various stages of editing or submitting.

I’m glad to hear that you’ve not given up totally on your other completed novels. It’s all a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

On December 6, 2012, Pen-L Publishing released my one and only non-fiction book titled Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. Since I struggled for years with compulsive overeating, this book came from old journals and memories, so it is a book close to my heart.

Are you working on any other projects that you can tell us about?

I’m 2/3 through with a sequel to Victoria and the Ghost. For those who read that one, they will remember Victoria’s irritating friend/enemy, red-headed Shelley. This will be her story of a country girl who must move to the city without friends or horses.

Her father gets a job of cleaning an old courthouse. When he fights alcoholism, Shelley covers for him by doing his job. I explore the ghost legend at the old courthouse of McKinney, Texas. My working title for the manuscript is A Ghost for Shelley.

I plan on once again attending the OWFI conference and pitching it to Vivian Zabel. I can only keep my fingers crossed.

Purchase links for Victoria and the Ghost

http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/janet-brown.php

http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Ghost-Janet-K-Brown/dp/0983801878/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=

Thank you for your kind welcome, today, Melanie.

It’s been my pleasure, Janet. Our writing journeys have paralleled each other’s in a number of ways.

About Janet…

Janet BrownJanet 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, July, 2012.

She studies her three grandchildren for help with teen expressions and actions.

Pen-L Publishing released Janet’s non-fiction book, Divine Dining Dec. 3, 2012. It’s a 365 devotion book to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness.

Janet belongs to such writing groups as ACFW, OWFI, CWFI, and RWA and continues to write short stories for teens and adults.

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

Contact Janet at:

Website:
E-mail:
janet.hope@att.net
Facebook: Janet K Brown Author
Twitter: @janetkbrowntx

You’ve heard Janet’s take on ghosts. Do you believe in ghosts?

18 thoughts on “Do You Believe in Ghosts?”

  1. I believe my grandmother said bye to me the night she died. I used to care for her as a teen. She was a stroke victim and was left paralyzed on one side and only able to speak maybe five words, so she rung a bell to let us know she needed something.

    That night, she had been taken to the hospital while I was in school. I arrived home with a note on the fridge as to where everybody was, so I decided to relax in the downstairs playroom, doing homework and watching music videos.

    Around 7 pm, I heard Grandma’s bell ring, not softly, loudly, as if she wanted me to rush. I jumped up and bolted up the stairs. At the top, I froze, suddenly realizing no one but me was home. I stood very still while my mind raced, questioning whether I really heard what I know I heard. Was someone in the house? Someone uninvited?

    Suddenly, the phone rang. I snapped out of it and ran to the phone. It was the morgue asking if arrangements had been made for the transport of the body. Being 16, and just finding out my grandmother had died in such a rude manner, I screamed something at the man and hung up on him.

    I believe my grandmother rang her bell to say bye. I believe in ghosts.

    I had the honor of creating the cover for Victoria & the Ghost. It’s an awesome read 😀 I also had the honor of creating the cover for A Shadow in the Past, our host’s book.

    Aidana WillowRaven
    http://WillowRaven.weebly.com

  2. I really appreciate Janet’s take on ghosts. Although I don’t necessarily believe in them, i do believe that “No one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11b
    I enjoy exploring supernatural creatures and situations in my own writing and I find that it helps broaden my scope when I think about the God of the universe. Yes, ghosts and faeries and spirits are fiction (probably) but we can use them to explore real emotions and truths. At least that’s my opinion. 😉 Best of luck with Victoria and the Ghost!

  3. Can’t say I really believe in ghosts, but I know a host of stories from people who have had encounters that raised the hair on their arms. My daughter believes to this day she saw her father drive by her in his white Olds shortly after he had died. That would mean a ghostly man and ghostly car! My logical self puts the event down to an overactive imagination and grief. The spookiest event for me was right after I did the funeral service for a Native American boy who’d been roasted to death in a car crash. I know, it’s an ugly image. The reality was far worse for his mom. She had to identify the body. I did the Christian service, but the Native family members wanted their “shaman” to say a few words in their language, and then he did the ritual crumbling of tobacco (which they believe is holy) into the open grave as an offering to the creator. I was very uncomfortable with this part of their ceremony. (“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” being deeply ingrained in me.) Then the “shaman” said that it would thunder before sunset if the soul of the boy was received into “paradise.” Did I mention it was early January and the sky was a clear blue? And that’s how the weather stayed. Just before sunset and with a clear sky, it thundered. Spooky isn’t it. So that’s my two cents.

  4. Thanks for visiting and leaving your comments about your take on ghosts. I loved your story about your grandmother, Aidana. It was very touching.

    The house I live in is over 135 years old and I’ve experienced some, shall we say, unusual events in the 30+ years here. Whether or not it’s the ghosts of previous inhabitants making their presence known, or voicing their displeasure with something we’ve done to the place, I don’t know.

    Janet’s novel was a great read and I can’t wait for her next one!

  5. I loved Janet’s book. Since I know her personally, I can hear her voice as if she is speaking to me as I read it. Does that make her a ghost? Not yet and hopefully not for a long time. I can’t wait to read the sequel.
    My grandmother was scheduled to have a very serious surgery that had only been done three times before. She was only 28. The night before her surgery, she said her deceased mother appeared to her and told her to not worry because everything would be okay. My grandmother lived to be 83 years old.

  6. I live in a very old cottage where many folk have lived and died over the years but never have I ‘felt’ anything spooky or felt any presence yet, once I stayed in a very old ‘manor house’ hotel and could not sleep as I was quite terrified by what I ‘felt’. I couldn’t wait to get out of there the next morning. Did I feel a ghostly presence do you think?

    Janice xx

  7. That spooky manor house experience sounds terrifying, Janice! Did you ever try to find out who or what it was that frightened you so badly? Perhaps that’s another novella in the making – Voodoo Manor House?

  8. Aidana, you know you have a story there to tell — When Grandma Rang the Bell. Janet, I loved what you said about your policy of starting another novel when you got a rejection. Seven completed novels puts you in a good place when some editor down the road asks, “So, what else have you written?” Happy sales!

  9. Wow, Cass, what a story! Thanks for sharing. Just shows we don’t know everything. Melanie, I can sure see how a house that old could have secrets. Fascinating scene for book, don’t you think?

  10. Oh, thank you, Sue. You are such a dear friend. After we lost my baby granddaughter, I “saw” my then dead mother rocking my grandbaby as sure as I see you when we visit. God is above all our understanding. We just don’t know everything. At the same time, we must trust Him to not get us into “listening to demons” or we could be in trouble. Thanks, Melanie, for the wonderful compliment on my book.

  11. Sure makes you think, doesn’t it, Janice? Evil can be felt. We must tread carefully. Thanks all for stopping by. Many have e-mailed me with their stories, both good & bad. I love, love, love hearing them.

  12. I never read Janet’s book but the excerpt seems quite intrigue…. I would rather call it guardian angel than ghost. My dad came to visit me exactly after one week the same time he passed away a week before. I could feel him standing outside my bed room. I believe that he came to say “final good bye” to me and after that he never came back again. So, yes I believe in guardian angels and they are always there to help u !!!!

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