Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Excerpt + #Giveaway: The Ticket by Debra Coleman Jeter @DebColemanJeter @GoddessFish

The Ticket
by Debra Coleman Jeter
GENRE:  YA Suspense


The Ticket

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, Illinois, where he purchased the tickets. And what do you know?

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.


A corner of my brain registers that PeeWee’s grammar isn’t usually so bad. Or is it? Maybe he’s posturing for the camera, too? Silence falls, and the cameras point once more at Jesse. “Is that true?”

Dad hesitates for just an instant before nodding.

The cameramen glance at each other. Then a tall man in a tee-shirt and jeans makes a brief motion with his forefinger. At this signal, they all move toward Pee Wee. Quickly. As if capturing an action sequence in a war zone. One of them asks Pee Wee, “Tell us—tell us everything.”

Pee Wee talks, his expression a little smug. I notice, as I have not noticed before, that he speaks with a strong southern twang. There’s no question now: we will all surely come across as a bunch of loony hicks. Longing to escape to my room, I instead remain frozen in place, listening to Pee Wee’s story. It has the ring of truth.

“See, I always buy the numbers from my mother’s birthday for myself,” he explains. “Usually my buddy Jay-bird drives me and him to Hazard, Illinois, to buy our tickets. But Jay-bird’s car was in the shop, so we asked Jesse—he’s Jay-bird’s brother-in-law—to drive us over. I don’t drive m’self. A lousy couple of tickets and they’ll take your license away, you know? Anyway, riding my bike keeps me fit. To make a long story short, ole Jesse said okay, he’d give us a lift. But when we git there, Jesse says he’ll just sit in the car. He don’t even want to go in and buy a ticket. Are you sure, I ask him, not believin’ my ears. He says he is, he don’t believe in throwin’ his money away on no lottery ticket. So to thank him an’ all, I bought him a ticket. But for Jesse’s ticket, I just changed one number on my mother’s birthday, making her a year younger as it were. So when I heard the winnin’ number announced, I knew right off it was the one I bought. So I called ole Jesse right away—he never would-a even knowed he
won if I hadn’t, not bein’ a lottery man hisself—and I told him the good news. I ain’t thinkin’ he believed me at first. But I just told him, like I’m a-telling all of you out there in television land … I only want a little share.”

Pee Wee pauses and looks imploringly from one cameraman to another. “It’s only fair,” he says. “Don’t you agree?”

Okay, I have to admit it does sound fair. Mama lets out a small sound, her mouth round. I’m not sure, but I think it is the word “no”—or maybe it’s “oh.” Her face is about to crumple into tears, and the cameras are all over her now. The cameramen are intent, but there is a hidden smile in their busyness. They are eating this up.

I move quickly to Mama’s side, taking her arm and pulling her out of the line of flashing cameras. “Excuse us, please,” I mutter. Then, with as much dignity as I can muster—not just for me, but for Mama too—I escort her from the room.


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 Clarksville, Tennessee, with her husband.

Buy Link:


$10 Amazon/BN GC

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


Debra Coleman Jeter said...

Thanks, Nancy, for hosting an excerpt from The Ticket on your website today. Also, my thanks to everyone who reads, comments, or poses questions. Don’t forget to click and view the trailer. I really appreciate every comment I get!

Debra Coleman Jeter said...

Thanks Lisa and good luck. Don't forget to view the trailer.

Victoria Alexander said...

Sounds like a great book, thanks for sharing the excerpt :)

Mary Preston said...

An interesting concept.

Debra Coleman Jeter said...

Thanks Victoria for following the tour.

Debra Coleman Jeter said...

Thanks Mary for the comment.