No, this isn’t a post about ghosts playing baseball. We submitted a “pitch”–a description of our completed middle grade book, The Ghost in The Gardens–to find out what readers and agents think of its possibilities. We’re hoping for some thoughtful responses–oh, heck! We’re hoping we WIN, because we’re really competitive! And of course, we really are hoping for some thoughtful responses because we’re always interested in improving our work.
The pitch is on the Adventures in YA contests blog here, and it’s one of 90 entries vying to make it to Round 2 of the contest. Please go take a look, and if you like what you see, please give us a vote!
As a thank you in advance, here’s a preview of the beginning of The Ghost in the Gardens–a little extra you won’t find in the pitch.
I was standing in my favorite place in the entire world when I figured out why the dark hours just before dawn were called the dead of night.
Because that was when the dead came to visit.
Even now, hours after The Dream, when cheerful sunlight warmed an early June morning, I shivered. The Water Garden, a green, magical fairyland of trickling streams and arched bridges in the center of the Floribundus Society Botanical Gardens, turned ominous, full of shifting shadows and furtive rustlings.
I’d never seen a ghost before, not even after my dad died four years ago. So why had one picked this week to start haunting me?
“Just lucky, I guess,” I said aloud.
As if. So far, having my own personal ghost had been anything but lucky.
I said, “What do you think, Barkley?”
My long-legged Schnauzer scratched his ear with his hind foot.
“That’s what I think, too.”
I ran my fingers over Barkley’s wiry black beard and reached for one of the quarter-size flat stones scattered beside the path where we stood. I tossed the stone into the deep end of the Water Garden pond. My dog scrambled to the bank to investigate the splash, then yipped and jumped back, almost jerking the leash from my hand. The ruff on his neck rose straight up. He stared at the pond, his lips curled, exposing his teeth.
My fingers tightened on the red plastic leash grip. I didn’t want to look. I knew what was there.
She liked water.
When Barkley growled, I forced myself to peer into the pond. My eyes locked with those in the indistinct, wavy outline of the colorless feminine face filling my dreams. Her pale lips, reed-thin and white as unearthed slugs, parted. She tried to form a word. A gurgle rose from the depths like a deep sigh.
Bubbles roiled the surface of the black water. Barkley growled again. I tipped forward, toward the ghostly image, into the embrace of the cold, dark water. My glasses slipped down my nose.