Today, my blog has been taken over by the main character of C.K. Volnek's upcoming tween novel, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island. She sent him over with promises he would behave and so far it has been a pleasure to meet him. I hope you agree when you read his account of what happened to him when he moved from Ohio to Roanoke Island in North Carolina. How would you feel if you had to leave all your friends and travel to another state when you were almost thirteen?
Meet Jack Dahlgren
Hi, Barbara. I suppose you were expecting C.K. Volnek to be here today, but she was busy. Said something about getting ready for a book birthday. She seems pretty excited about that. Anyway, she asked me to step in and introduce myself…and reminded me to tell you thanks for inviting me to your blog. C.K. thought your readers might like to get to know the characters from her book a little better if I step in.
My name is Jack Dahlgren. Jack, not Jackie, like my dad calls me. Geesh, I’m almost 13 and he still treats me like a baby. I’m the main character from C.K.’s ghost story for tweens, GHOST DOG OF ROANOKE ISLAND.
Dad moved us to this beach house on Roanoke Island about two months ago. I wasn’t too happy about it. I’d rather be in Ohio. That’s where I’ve lived my whole life. That was home. But Dad got laid off last year. Things got pretty bad. I heard Mom and Dad whispering about the bank and someone taking the house. Then we got news my Great-grandma Ellis left us this house on Roanoke Island. I didn’t know Great-grandma very well. She’s had Alzheimer’s for as long as I can remember. She didn’t even recognize my mom and she’d raised her. Funny thing though, my mom didn’t know about the house on Roanoke Island. Guess Great-grandma had kept it a secret.
Anyway, Dad went to scope the house out. He found a job in nearby Manteo and that was all she wrote. He up and moved us, not even asking if it was okay by me. Guess my vote doesn’t count at all.
Dad kept making stupid comments about how cool it would be to live on an island off the coast of North Carolina, like he thought he would change my mind about Ohio. Won’t happen. It’s not like Ohio at all. I don’t have any friends or anything. None of the kids at school want to have much to do with me. They’re always teasing me about our creepy house, saying it’s haunted. The beach house is pretty run down and Dad is either at work or working on the house. Never has any time for me. He won’t even let me go exploring in the woods or the bluff...not since Kimmy’s accident.
(Sigh) Kimmy’s my little sister. She’s six. She fell off the bluff next to our house three weeks ago and is in the hospital. It’s not that high but she hit her head on a rock and has been unconscious ever since. Dad blames me for her fall. But I didn’t know she’d followed me up there! I’d do anything to take it back. Guess he’s got a right to blame me. I wasn’t supposed to be up there either. Mom’s been with Kimmy at the hospital since she fell. I wish she’d come home. Seems like I’m always in trouble with Dad. He’s so mad at me. He promised I could get a dog when we moved to the island. Except now he won’t talk about…not since the accident. But I’ve got to find a way to make him let me keep that big Mastiff I saw on the bluff. He’s a cool dog! And he must need a good home and he’ll be a great dog to have around. He’s already saved me from whatever that thing was I came across in the cave.
Dad would kill me if he found out…but I went back up the bluff. The hurricane was coming and I thought I’d heard Dad calling for help at the dock. But it wasn’t him, it was the dog. I followed him up the bluff to try and rescue him, but I fell over the side of the bluff just like Kimmy. I didn’t fall onto the rocks like she did though. I managed to hang onto the vines and all of a sudden this cave appeared. I jumped into it not knowing there was something else already there. As I was trying to find another way out of the cave, this thing came after me. I didn’t know what it was at first. It was really big and ugly. Pretty scary. But like I said, the dog saved me. Pretty brave for a dog.
Then I met this guy named Manny. He’s really cool even if he is an adult. He a Native American Shaman. He’s going to teach me how to whittle. He also seems to know what this thing in the cave is and said he’ll help me figure out how to stop it. Manny says it’s an evil creature conjured up a long time ago, from when the first colonists landed on Roanoke Island in 1587. My history book said 117 colonists disappeared back then...disappeared without a trace. I think this creature has something to do with it. Manny says I’m the only one who can stop it. I don’t understand, but I have to find out why. First I have to figure out what it is though and why it’s here. It’s scary but if I don’t stop this thing, it will continue to haunt the island and hurt or even kill people. I can’t let it get my family. I promised Kimmy I wouldn’t let anything bad ever happen to her again. Plus, if I can stop it, maybe Dad won’t be so mad at me anymore. It could show him I’m responsible enough and he’ll let me keep the dog. Man I want that dog! But first, I’ve got to stop this monster thing...before it stops me.
I hope you’ll visit me in September when my book comes out. It’s one heck of a ghost story, with lots of action and adventure.
Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island, by C.K. Volnek. Coming September, 2011 by MuseItUp Publishing.
In 1587, 117 colonists disappeared without a trace from Roanoke Island, North Carolina, leaving behind not only unanswered questions, but a terrifying evil...
Twelve-year-old Jack Dahlgren hates his new home on Roanoke Island. Not only does Dad treat him like a baby, but now Dad blames him for his little sister’s accident as well. And no one at school wants to get to know the kid who lives in the old Ellis ‘haunted’ house. Could things get any worse?
Jack is about to find out it can. Inside a mysterious cave on the bluff next to Jack’s new home, a terrifying evil awaits—the same malevolent curse surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the Lost Colony. Now, it’s up to Jack to unravel the four-hundred-year-old mystery and save his family from the demon that haunts his island. With the help of an elusive Mastiff and new-found friend, Manny, a Native American shaman, Jack must discover what this devil is and find a way to put an end to its eternal hatred. But can he defeat it before it destroys him?
Jack rushed to the front door and reached for the doorknob. His hand stopped in midair as the door shuddered violently, shaking on its hinges. A deafening howl roared on the other side. The boards covering the windows shook, the nails screeching as though giant hands were trying to rip them from the house. The lights flickered and went out, leaving the house pitch dark.
Sweat broke out on Jack’s forehead. His heart drummed in his ears. Turning, he fumbled with the dials of the battery-operated radio on the end table. The announcer’s voice sputtered between static crackles. “Hurricane Da...earlier than expec...winds reaching...residents on Roanoke Island…take cover immediately. Stay…”
Jack leaned against the door, his mind whirling. Regret twisted inside as the argument with his dad hammered in his head…
* * * *
“Why can’t I stay home? I don’t need—”
Dad rushed around the front room, putting on his rubber boots and black slicker. “No. Get your coat on. I can’t trust—”
“Come on, Dad. I’ll be fine. It wasn’t my fault Kimmy—”
“Enough! Don’t argue with me, Jackie.”
Jack stiffened at the name. “I’m not a baby anymore. I’m almost thirteen, you know.”
Dad spun around, eyes flashing. “Then why don’t you act like it?” He let out a long breath. “Fine. Stay here. But don’t do anything stupid. I’ll be back before the storm—”
Jack bristled, his jaw twitching. “I’m not stupid.”
“That’s not what I meant—”
Jack didn’t let him finish. “Just leave! And I hope you never come back!” He stomped to his bedroom, slamming his door behind him.
* * * *
Jack swallowed. But, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get the beach ball-sized lump out of his throat. “I didn’t mean it, Dad.”
Something banged against the porch, scraping along the boards. Jack jumped and listened. Was someone calling for help? Yanking the front door open, he stepped outside.
“Dad?” His voice was lost in the storm.
He strained to hear, something—anything. The boards of the long walkway leading into the water creaked and groaned. Someone was on the dock.
Ducking back inside the door, he grabbed his yellow slicker off the hook, slipped it on, and charged down the steps. A gust of wind shoved him back. Clenching his teeth with determination, he leaned against it, forcing his eyes to stay focused on the wild ocean.
Dad would need his help getting the boat secured in this storm.
Jack staggered down the sloppy trail leading to the dock. The storm howled in his ears. A heavy sheet of rain tore loose from the sky. Dime-sized raindrops pelted his body, plastering his hair against his scalp. He pulled his hood up over his head and clutched it tight with one hand, but the wind tore it off again.
Bracing himself on one leg, Jack leaned over the railing and stared down the long wooden walkway bouncing on the water. Dad’s green runabout was nowhere to be seen. He scanned the choppy waves beyond the pier. Nothing. No one.
Jack shuddered and gazed back at the house; the run-down beach house they’d moved into two months ago.
Had it only been two months? It felt like two years.
Dad spent every free minute cleaning and fixing it up, even drafting Jack to help paint it, though Jack couldn’t seem to do anything right by his standards. Slowly, it had started looking like a normal house. Now, boarded up it looked haunted…like Tyler Johnson said it was.
Jack huffed, a sour taste filling his mouth. That was stupid. Tyler was stupid.
Jack closed his eyes. For a moment he was back in Ohio. In Ohio he had friends. He was on the baseball team, lead archer in boy scouts, and point leader in math wars at school. Here, there was no math wars, no boy scouts, and no teammates. No one wanted to be his friend. Tyler had made sure of that. No one wanted to get close to the kid who lived in the creepy old Ellis place.
The sound of splintering wood crashed behind him. Jack jolted and turned around. Waves heaved the wooden pier upward; smashing it into a hundred pieces.
Something moved alongside the detached garage at the far edge of the yard, sliding past the darkened yard-light. The light’s rusted frame hung in a half salute, a dejected soldier of metal. Jack blinked against the rain as a light-brown figure crept slowly, deliberately following the slope that led to the bluff at the back of the building. It stopped and opened it black mouth, a sad howl drifting on the wind. It was a dog. A Mastiff. Like the one he’d seen at the baseball field in Ohio last summer.
Jack stared. What was a dog doing out in the hurricane? He glanced around the large yard, expecting the dog’s master to appear. But, there was no one.
How could anyone leave a dog out in this?
The Mastiff turned and loped up a trail leading to the top of the bluff, his v-shaped ears flopping, long tan tail swinging.
Where was the dog going?
Jack gazed up at the vine-covered ridge and swiped at the water smearing his face. The bluff wasn’t really that high. Not a mile high cliff or anything. Why was Dad so worked up over it? Jack bit his lip. He knew why.
The Mastiff stopped midway up and looked back, his black eyes drilling into Jack’s. With a quick shake, the dog charged again to the top.
Jack felt dwarfed by the ridge. At the top a massive dead oak towered into the sky. A white sentry; its brittle, leafless branches reached so high they seemed to spear the dark clouds. Since Kimmy’s fall, Dad had forbidden him from ever going up there again. His stomach knotted.
C.K.’s contact information is:
Web Page: www.ckvolnek.com
You can also find her on Facebook (C.K. Volnek) or Twitter (@CKVolnek), Good Reads and Jacket Flap.
Her book trailers are on YouTube under the titles or ck volnek. Here is one of them:
Her books are available at the MuseItUp Book Store: , as well as Amazon and many other fine book locations on-line.
Please let Jack know how much you enjoyed his post by leaving a comment. There might be a prize of a free book when it is released in September.:)
Until the next time, I apologize for not posting regularly, but a variety of real life issues kept me from it. I appreciate the visitors who enjoyed my last post and I assure you that if you check the scheduled appearances here for the rest of July, August and September you will see I am very filled.:) We are holding an MG/YA Blog Tour and you can see all the stops I will make and who will be visiting here during the month of September. I will also be posting on various blogs and you can find my schedule here too. Go to Pages on the top of the blog.
Also I will be reading an excerpt from my YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor on a webinar on August 14th. I will be posting the flyer for that in my next post. Meanwhile if you are interested, please go here to register for it. We also have a Facebook page devoted to the reading called Book Reads
If you go to the Facebook page please click Like. The reading will be on August 14, a Sunday at 8PM EST. If you miss it, there will be a way to hear it in archives. You can either listen on the webinar site or you can listen on your phone. There are lots of options. I will be with three other great writers.
Also my Blog Talk Radio Show, RRWL Tales from the Pages is going to have as my guests next Thursday, July 28th, Author R. Jeffrey and Richard Jennings, writer of Ghost Town. I will be reviewing Ghost Town before he comes on the show. If you have an elementary school aged child, you are going to want to listen to this show.