Another read-a-long! I do like excerpts, they're fun. You get a peek at the story, see if you like it and want to read the whole thing. For me, there's no question about today's excerpt. It's a J. A. Campbell story and I read those, she's an auto-buy. But for those of you not familiar with her works, she's touring to promote her Brown the ghost-hunting dog books and she wrote a story just for the tour. The excerpt you'll read today is not for sale anywhere; it's only available by following the tour and reading along. Follow every day and read along and you'll have read the whole story.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Follow the link to enter a contest to win a copy of Science Fiction Trails 10 in which Brown battles Martians. US only. Julie will send the winner a signed copy, the rest of the world, you have to take an unsigned copy, sorry. You gotta be willing to give Julie your address.
Julie writes fantasy novels. When she’s not out riding her horse, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer with a cat on her lap and her dog at her side.
Find Julie Online:
Brown is a Border Collie who hunts ghosts, and other things as it turns out, with her human, Elliott Gyles. You can find out more about her adventures here: https://writerjacampbell.wordpress.com/eye-of-the-dog/
The Read-A-Long Schedule:
Intro - June 11th – J. A. Campbell - https://writerjacampbell.wordpress.com/blog/
Part 1- June 12th – Sam Knight - http://samknight.com/
Part 2 - June 13th – Bea’s Book Nook - http://beasbooknook.blogspot.com/
Part 3 - June 14th – Amaleen Ison - http://www.amaleenison.com/
Part 4 - June 15th – Jen Wylie - http://jlwylie.wordpress.com/
Part 5 - June 16th – David Riley - http://sftrails.blogspot.com/Interview with Brown - June 17th – Anne Michaud - http://annecmichaud.wordpress.com
Brown and the End of the Line
By J. A. Campbell
“Let me get this straight. It’s rattling the cars, blowing wind around inside and knocking things over, especially in the dining car, and it makes things appear on the track.”
“Yes,” Clem said.
Resting my chin on Elliott’s knee, I listened to Clem’s story. This ghost sounded just as bad as the one in the Saloon.
“Does it appear in one spot, or does it affect only one train?”
“It’s happened on several different trains, though it does seem to be localized to one spot on the way to Dodge.”
“Do you know of anything bad that happened out there?”
Clem laughed and took another drink. “You name it, Elliott. This is Dodge City we’re talking about. Train robberies, murder, theft, famous bandits, infamous ones, hell, the Marshals were almost bigger rogues than the outlaws.”
“I see your point. I’ll need to experience the ghost myself to trap it.”
“Understood. I also understand that your dog helps you. I’ll make sure no one gives you any problems about her. You can keep your stock in the livery and I’ll get you a room for the night. Best be up early though. Train leaves as soon as it’s loaded. Usually not too long after sunup.”
Elliott and I were up before the sun. Breakfast was some leftover meat scraps that tasted marvelous, though I could tell the innkeeper wasn’t happy about having me in the dining room. However, Clem had insisted and since the railroad owned the town, they’d done what he said. I made sure to be on my best behavior. Once we were done, Elliott packed his hunting bag and some clothing and we headed to the platform.
Men hurried around, shouting above the noises from the train. A few seemed to be urging people to get back onto the cars. I thought they might be passengers by the way they were nicely dressed, and not coated with soot. Clem stood on the platform and shouted orders at everyone. Following Elliott, I tried to stay out of the way and by his side.
“Ahh. Elliott.” Clem said when he saw us. He gestured us forward. “This is Hal, the conductor. Hal, Mr. Gyles and his dog, Brown.”
“Nice to meet you.” A taller, lanky man wearing a uniform with shiny buttons held out his hand.
The conductor glanced down at me. “Is she house trained?”
I put up my paw as if to shake.
He laughed. “Should I take that as a yes?”
“Yes.” Elliott sounded offended but I forgave Hal when he shook my paw.
“I’ve told the stewards that she’s allowed and even though we officially don’t believe in ghosts, they know why you’re here. You shouldn’t be bothered,” Hal said.
“Elliott, make sure you get off in Dodge City. The conductors will know to let you and Brown on the train headed back this way as soon as you are ready. If you can’t get the ghost on the first trip, you can get it on the second,” Clem said.
Elliott smiled broadly at the mention of Dodge City.
“Now, if you’ll follow me, I’ll show you to your room. We’re about ready to leave,” Hal said.
We followed the conductor into one of the train cars. The isles were narrow and smelled of soot and lots of people and the barest hint of ghost. My hackles rose and I growled. “What’s that, Brown?” Elliott turned to glance at me. I flattened my ears and whined.
“She doesn’t like the train?” Hal guessed.
“No.” Elliott glanced around, but no one else was near. “I suspect she smells the ghost. Has this train been haunted?”
Hal nodded after also looking around.
I huffed, but quieted, following close behind Elliott. The conductor showed us to a small room that smelled reasonably clean by human standards and told us to settle in. Elliott slid the door shut after the conductor left. “Well, Brown. Our second real ghost. What do you think?”
Using my indoor bark, I woofed softly and thumped my tail, dropping my jaw in a doggy grin. I was glad to have a job.
“We have awhile before we get to the haunted spot. I’m going to do some research.”
I sighed and jumped up on the bed, making myself comfortable. Research was boring. Dozing while Elliott read, I dreamed of the last ghost we’d fought and how I’d teamed up with Scoot, the sheriff’s cattle dog.
Finally, Elliott woke me for dinner. I followed him through the train until we reached the car with the yummy smells. My stomach grumbled and I licked drool from my lips. The stewards brought me a plate along with Elliott and I happily dug in until someone screamed. I jumped up, looking around, certain the ghost was early.
Be sure to check out Amaleen’s blog (http://www.amaleenison.com/) tomorrow for Part Three!