by Debra Coleman Jeter
GENRE: YA Suspense
She hoped winning the lottery would solve her problems.
Her problems have just begun....
It is 1975, an ordinary year for an ordinary Southern family. TRAY DUNAWAY, like thousands of other teenagers around the country, longs to be part of the popular set at school. Tray’s mother, EVELYN, lies in bed most days with a headache, and her bipolar tendency toward extreme highs or desperate lows veers more and more often toward depression. Tray’s grandmother GINNY, who lives with the family, still grieves the loss of her husband, Brook. She believes it’s time for her to move out, if she could afford to, and find a place of her own, maybe even a new romance. This doesn’t look likely, given the state of the family’s finances.
Then something extraordinary happens. A down-and-out friend of the family, PEE WEE JOHNSON, buys an extra lottery ticket. He gives it to Tray’s dad as a thank-you for driving Pee Wee to Hazard,
where he purchased the tickets. And what do you know? Illinois
When Johnson demands his cut, Tray’s dad refuses. As Evelyn’s illness spirals toward madness, Johnson turns threatening, and Tray makes some poor decisions, what initially seems like a stroke of good fortune suddenly triggers a disturbing chain of events.
“What are you talking about, Pee Wee?”
Something in Dad’s voice, an undercurrent of excitement, catches my attention. I listen closely, even as I draw out bologna, cheese, mustard, and mayo, and balance them gingerly while I push the refrigerator door shut with my foot. Dad can’t stand it if you leave the door open a second longer than you have to. Wastes electricity.
I decide to fry the bologna since I know he likes it that way. I put the skillet on the eye of the stove and drop just the least little dab of bacon grease into it. There’s always a crock of bacon and sausage grease next to the oven to use for seasoning beans and keeping stuff from sticking to the skillet, like when you’re frying potatoes. I don’t much like the smell of grease myself, but it does make things taste better and cook more smoothly.
“Slow down, Pee Wee, and tell it to me outright, straight and simple.” Dad’s body is motionless, and I can tell he’s hanging on every word being said on the other end. “How much?” he asks, in a funny choked sort of voice. Then, after a pause, “Are you sure? Let me write down the details. Hold on a sec.”
Dad fumbles with the phone, his eyes darting around until they meet mine. Despite the thinning hair, he is still a good-looking man, with his lean body, chiseled jawline, and bottle-green eyes. For a second, I can see him darting around the tennis court, making unbelievable shots you’d never expect him to reach. The bologna is spattering flecks of grease in my direction now, so I turn down the heat and take the bologna up before it can burn.
Pretending not to have been listening, I resume the sandwich-making process. Mustard on one side, mayonnaise on the other, bologna, and thin slices of cheese, the way he likes it. I decide to spread a little peanut butter on the meat, being careful not to burn my fingers.
But, out of the corner of my eye, I watch Dad. Frantically, he jerks open a drawer, locates a pen and a scrap of paper, and returns to his conversation. He writes carefully, eyebrows still drawn together in a single line. “I don’t know about that,” he says, the undercurrent of excitement more intense now, though his tone remains even and controlled. “We’ll see. We’ll have to see.”
Pen and paper in hand, he places the receiver gently in its cradle and looks at me. The expression in his eyes tells me he’s in no mood for my tennis tale. So I ask, “What did Pee Wee have to say?”
“He says—he says I’ve won the lottery.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
The Ticket is Debra Coleman Jeter’s first novel. It was a finalist for a Selah Award in two categories: Young Adult Fiction and First Novel. A Vanderbilt University professor, Debra Coleman Jeter has published fiction and nonfiction in popular magazines, including Working Woman, New Woman, Self, Home Life, Savvy, Christian Woman, and American Baby. Her story, “Recovery,” won first prize in a Christian Woman short story competition, and her nonfiction book “Pshaw, It’s Me Grandson”: Tales of a Young Actor was a finalist in the 2007 USA Book News Awards. She is a co-writer of the screenplay for Jess + Moss, a feature film which premiered in 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival, screened at nearly forty film festivals around the world, and captured several international awards. She lives in
, with her husband. Clarksville,
Website and Blog: www.debracolemanjeter.com
The Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1941103863/
The trailer: https://vimeo.com/50187275
Here's a link to the trailer on YouTube: https://youtu.be/FYTKJdd7Gqw
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Debra will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour