Ghouls Just Want to Have Funby Kathleen Bacus
It's autumn in the heartland, where football rules and homecoming royalty reigns--and full moons don't just refer to a passing high school varsity bus. But this year, Tressa Jayne Turner isn't enjoying the frivolity of the season. Our intrepid young reporter is trying to
WHAT DO YOU CALL A BLONDE SKELETON IN THE CLOSET? LAST YEAR'S HIDE-'N'SEEK CHAMP
It's autumn in the heartland, where football rules and homecoming royalty reigns--and full moons don't just refer to a passing high school varsity bus. But this year, Tressa Jayne Turner isn't enjoying the frivolity of the season. Our intrepid young reporter is trying to recover from ten days at the Iowa State Fair. After being stalked by a psycho dunk-tank clown, all she wants is a slower pace, some candy corn and toffee apples--and a serious story she can sniff out on her own.
And guess what! She's in luck. Eccentric and reclusive bestselling writer, Elizabeth Courtney Howard is coming to little ol' Grandville to conduct some family business and finish her latest book. So, what's stopping Tressa from scoring this journalistic coup--besides a blackmailing six-foot-two-inch homecoming queen candidate with all the charm of Frankenstein in taffeta, a rival reporter out to scoop his competition, a seance-hosting roommate who happens to be her grandmother, and the sexy Natural Resources ranger-type who could tempt a nun to rethink those vows? Only the fact that the skeletons to uncover in this little expose are all in a closet in Haunted Hollowy Hall--a house only Norman Bates could love.
This could turn out to be one mother of a story...
(Note: This book is part of the author’s backlist, originally released in print in 2006 by Dorchester Publishing)
Read an Excerpt
Ghouls Just Want To Have Fun
By Kathleen Bacus
Copyright © 2006
All right reserved.
"I'm Tressa Turner from the Gazette," I said, sticking out my
hand. "As you know, we're running a feature on the homecoming
king and queen candidates and I just have a few questions."
"Answer one: I'm six feet two. Answers two through three:
No, I don't play basketball, volleyball or throw the shot-put,
so you can put any state championship dreams away until the
next Amazonian high schooler-hopefully one more athletically
inclined than I am-enrolls. And answer four: There's
absolutely no reason anyone would vote for me. Like Kylie
said, my being nominated is a big joke." Shelby Lynne crossed
her long arms. "So, get enough for your article? Did you
bring your long-angle lens? You know-to snap a picture of me.
Of course, you might have to run it in sections one and two
to get it all in."
I felt a smile lift the corners of my mouth. Sarcasm is
something I understand. As a matter of fact, I earned As in
Intro to Sarcasm through Advanced Sarcasm during high school.
Not that I'm proud of this accomplishment, you understand. It
was just the way it was. Just the way I was. And in lots of
ways, probably still am.
Being back in my old high school, coming face to face-okay,
face to upper torso-with someone who, rather than hide her
flawed buthuman self behind a blonde bimbo mask, chose to
hide in plain sight as the jolly, mean giant sort of freaked
me out. I was just starting to come to terms with certain
things about myself. About why I'd played it safe-and dumb-for
so many years. And how to give myself permission to risk
letting folks see the "sensitive, feeling" Tressa once in a
while. Okay, so I was basically a work-in-progress with the
mushy stuff. God knew there was still plenty of Calamity
Jayne in this country girl to wreak havoc with good ole
Grandville, USA. And I liked it that way.
"Not to worry," I replied. "With computer technology, we can
resize you." I motioned to the chair Kylie had vacated. "You
got a minute?"
Shelby shrugged and took a seat. I sat, too, happy that I was
now able to maintain eye contact without getting a crick in
"If you think this is all a lame joke, why not withdraw as
Kylie suggested?" I asked. "Why put yourself through it?"
She rolled her broad shoulders again. "To mess with people's
heads. Jerk them around." She paused and eyeballed me. "Or
then again, maybe I really do want to be queen. Can't you
just see me in heels and a tiara?"
I nodded. "Yeah. Like I can see me on the runway modeling
the latest Versace fashions."
Shelby threw me a surprised glance. "Aren't you supposed to
be kissing up to me for your article?" she asked, her eyes
It was my turn to shrug. "Kylie gave me enough material for
an entire series," I said. "Besides, a newspaper reporter
lives for truth. It's the lifeblood of journalism."
Shelby had the uncouthness to snort. "You call writing about
something as banal and prosaic as homecoming king and queen
'journalism'? I call it bourgeois and stereotypical tripe.
But hey, who am I? Just a representative of the reading
public who doesn't get their news from MTV or Saturday Night
I'd have to look up "bourgeois," "banal," and "prosaic" later
just to make sure Sasquatch was really saying what I thought
she was saying, but "stereotypical tripe"? Even I could
interpret that message loud and clear.
I started to get that weird spastic sensation characterized by
a right eye twitch and blood pooling in my cheeks (facial)
that generally occurred just before I was about to do or say
something that would require me to draft letters of apology-or
recite huge mea culpas. Since neither of these came easily
for me, I generally tried to avoid putting myself in
situations where I might have to extend them.
I raised my eyebrows. "Oh? And this assessment from someone
who-what? Worked on the high school yearbook committee,
jotted soulful ditties in iambic pentameter for English class,
and scribbled little woe-is-me dear diaries entries about how
much life bites in her journal? Thanks for the critical
analysis, Miss Sawyer. If there's extra space in the article,
I'll be certain to add your insightful quote."
Shelby gave me another incredulous look and then started to
laugh. "Geez. And I thought I had an attitude, Miz
Calamity," she said. "Or do you prefer to be called Jayne?"
My eye crossed. I'm fairly certain of this as I suddenly saw
two Shelbys and neither was vastly appealing at the moment.
"Calamity Jayne. That's your nickname, right? You're
actually pretty famous around here. Or maybe I should say
infamous. Not everybody discovers multiple murder victims in
small town Iowa, or is stalked by a felonious clown at the
state's premier tourist attraction. With such impressive
credentials, I guess I thought you'd be writing more prescient
material. You know. More hard-core stuff."
I looked at her through narrowed eyes. Hard core? What kind
of writer did she think I was, anyway?
"What were you expecting? Something along the lines of
'Desperate Homecoming Queens?' 'Confessions of a Teen aged
Homecoming Drag Queen?' Sorry. I'm a serious journalist."
Or aspired to be one someday. When I grew up. And finally
finished college. And could cover the cost of my shoe binges
with something other than plastic with interest rates higher
than my age.
Shelby Lynne leaned forward in her chair. It protested with a
loud squeak. "Prove it," she said.
I threw her a 'huh?' look. I should protect this particular
facial expression with a trademark. It's been invented,
improved upon, and perfected by yours truly over a span of
twenty three years and counting.
"Prove it," Sasquatch-I mean Shelby-repeated. "Prove you're a
I fought the urge to find out if the neck across from me was
capable of being spanned with two hands. Purely for
scientific purposes, you understand.
"How?" I heard myself saying.
"By nabbing the interview of a lifetime," Shelby Lynne
replied, her remarkably pretty green eyes all of a sudden
bright and alert.
"Interview? With who? One of the throng of presidential
hopefuls who'll bring their dog-and-pony show to Iowa to press
voters' palms just in time for the Iowa caucuses? Sorry.
Politics really isn't my specialty."
"What about famous authors?" Shelby Lynne asked. "What about
New York Times-best-selling reclusive authors who haven't been
seen in public for almost twenty years and haven't given an
interview in well over a decade? Would that kind of story be
I could feel my spit dry up in my mouth and my ticker pick up
the pace. Anyone who'd ever read a book was familiar with the
unparalleled career and accompanying bizarre story of
Elizabeth Courtney Howard whose books flew to the top of the
best-seller lists with the speed of my grandma to the potluck
tables once the minister had blessed the food and said amen.
A perennial favorite with critics and readers alike, Howard
had suddenly disappeared from public view two decades ago but
had continued to pen her thrillers and chillers with clockwork
"You know E.C. Howard?" I asked.
Shelby shook her head. "Not exactly. But I know where she
is. Or I should say where she is going to be in the
not-too-distant future. Of course, information of this
magnitude does not come without a price."
I gave her a you've-got-to-be-joking look and pointed to my
white Plymouth beater parked illegally right outside the front
doors. "That's my mode of transportation. You think I can
afford your asking price?" I said.
Shelby Lynne shook her head. "I don't want cash. I want to
meet Elizabeth Courtney Howard. Be there when you interview
her. Talk to her. Pick her brain about writing. She's been
my inspiration since I discovered her when I was a child.
Nobody writes like E.C. Howard."
Excerpted from Ghouls Just Want To Have Fun
by Kathleen Bacus
Copyright © 2006 by Kathleen Bacus.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Kathleen Bacus's path to publication can certainly be described as "the road less traveled." A pioneer for women in law enforcement, she was one of the first female state troopers in Iowa, and learned two very valuable lessons that have served her well in her pursuit of a professional writing career: never give up and never stop laughing. The mother of triplets, Kathleen began writing when she was homebound with four children under the age of three. She says,"Writing was my way of getting away from it all--without ever leaving the house!"
Kathleen is an award-winning author and makes her home in central Iowa. Visit Kathleen at her website at www.kathybacus.com or follow the Killer Fiction Writers blog at www.killerfictionwriters.blogspot.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Grandville Gazette tyro reporter Tressa ¿Calamity¿ Jayne feels she needs to stop making the news (see CALAMITY JANE and CALAMITY JANE RIDES AGAIN) instead of reporting the news. She vows to follow insipid events to keep out of trouble and avoid psychos, lunatics, and cops.--------------- Tressa interviews 6 foot 2 inch sarcastic homecoming queen candidate Shelby Lynne, who challenges Calamity to obtain an interview with reclusive New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Courtney Howard. The writer quietly has arrived in Iowa. Tressa accepts the gauntlet deciding to interview the author as the young journalist assumes no trouble can come of that. However, the writer goes to incredible lengths to elude the obstinate Tressa starting with staying at haunted Holloway Hall. However the intrepid reporter with the towering female student taunting her soon gets involved with the strange events at Holloway Hall.------------ The third Calamity Jayne tale is an amusing lighthearted mystery with a touch of the paranormal. Readers will enjoy the antics of the heroine who wants to cover fluff, but from the opening face to upper torso battle between the two sarcastic female warriors until the final showdown at Holloway Hall, calamity follows every step Tressa takes. Readers will just have fun with Kathleen Bacus¿ humorous romp.------------ Harriet Klausner
I love these books. I can not put them down... I finish one and find myself wanting to read more... Amazing!
I cant put these books down they literally make me lol
Besides being an exceptional author, Ms. Bacus has a great laugh out loud sense of humor. This is my third Calamity Jayne book, and each one is as enjoyable to read as the first. I can't wait to read her next in the series. If you like J Janet Evanovich you will love, love, love these fantastic books.They are written in a similar style, but are uniquely hers. I highly recommend Kathleen Bacus' Calamity Jane series. ly hers.
The characters in these books and the exploits of Calamity are so good ... can't put the books down. Each book better than the last. Love this series.
Calamity Jayne stumbles her way to the solution of an unrecognized crime. That's all that needs be said for those of you as addicted to her exploits as I am. But don't expect it to be simple. Nothing in Jayne's life is simple.
Very fun i laughed outloud
Funny, quick easy reading with a mystery to solve!
Love the characters.
Do what l am doing.....remove yourself from the equation d he will leave you alone.
She sghs. My brother would so be better. That is unless you actually like s e x.
Calamity Jayne stricks again! Another hilarious adventure that is a great book in a series but can stand alone if you read this book first.
3rd book in the series and I have to say Kathleen Bacus is a great author! Was hooked from the first book, bought the second and had to get the third! Couldn't put it down. Great read