Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Welcome Guest Author Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz! #pennylockwood #youngadultfiction

STEPH: 'd like to welcome author Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz to today's Children's Corner.  Today she's talking about her latest release and her "Ghost" series." 

PENNY: Hi Steph, thanks so much for hosting me today.  You’ve asked some great questions.

STEPH: What genre is your book and tell us a little about the plot.

PENNY: Ghostly Visions is a two-for-one middle grade mystery containing Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch. Hardshell Word Factory first published Ghost for Rent in 2002 but went out of business a couple of years later.  In the meantime, I had written a sequel Ghost for Lunch and sought out a publisher.  4RV Publishing, LLC accepted the book and when they found out there was a first book, they decided they wanted to publish them both in one volume.  Thus, Ghostly Visions was born.

In Ghost for Rent, my main character, Wendy Wiles, along with her mother and brother, move from the big city to a small rural community only to find two ghosts are haunting their rental house.  The ghosts appear to Wendy, and no one else, except her new friend Jennifer, believes her.  Wendy and Jennifer set out to learn who the ghosts are and why they are haunting the Wiles’ home.

In Ghost for Lunch, Jennifer moves, but Wendy and her brother Mike befriend their new neighbor, Jon.  Jon’s family purchased an historic hotel and restaurant in a neighboring city.  It turns out the place is haunted, and it’s up to Jon, Mike, and Wendy to find out why.

While both of the stories are ghostly mysteries, they are also about the importance of family, friends, and cooperation. Both books are set in the 1990s, and the kids have to resort to the “old fashioned” methods of deduction like using a library and asking older members of their families for information.

In the first story, Wendy has to overcome her distaste of small towns and leaving her friends and home behind.  In the second, she loses the one good friend she’s made, but finds herself attracted to her new neighbor.  In both books, she has a whole lot of new feelings to sort out.

STEPH: What was the inspiration behind the story?

PENNY: I have been writing short stories and articles since the 1980s. When my daughter was in grade school, she wanted me to write a “real” book.  While talking with a neighbor, I was inspired to write Ghost for Rent when she told me about hearing piano music playing in her rental house.  I had been considering writing a children’s novel and decided a ghost story would be fun.

Ghost for Lunch resulted from an article I read in our local newspaper about a haunted restaurant in our area. Since I had so much fun writing Ghost for Rent, I wanted to use the same characters, but I wanted to move the story up a year and give them some new challenges.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

PENNY: The actual writing of the two books was probably a couple of months for each.  What takes a long time is getting the book published.  After signing the initial contracts, discussions with editors began in early 2011.  The final book wasn’t ready for publication until 2016.

STEPH: Who is the main character? What are their strengths?

PENNY: Wendy Wiles is my main character. She’s eleven years old and thinks of herself as a tortured poet.  She composes poems in her head about leaving her long-time home in Portland, Oregon.  She writes about meeting her new friend, Jennifer.  She quotes Shakespeare to her brother.

But despite her quirks, Wendy is tenacious.  When she learns her house is haunted, she takes on the task of finding out who the ghosts are and why they are haunting her new home.  Despite her fears and the fact her mother insists “there’s no such things as ghosts,” she doesn’t let go and enlists the help of her new friend and eventually even convinces her brother to help search out clues.

STEPH: How does the cover represent the story?

PENNY: There are actually three covers: one each for Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch, and the overall cover for Ghostly Visions. The interior covers depict a specific scene from each story. 

The Ghost for Rent cover shows the first time Wendy, Jennifer, and Mike see ghostly figures and Wendy realizes the stories she’s been hearing are real.

The cover for Ghost for Lunch depicts the scene when both her brother and Jon finally believe Wendy hasn’t been imagining ghosts at the new restaurant Jon’s parents purchased.

Crystalwizard designed the interior covers and Aidana Willow Raven designed the outer cover and book content.  I’m very pleased with all of the artwork and the final product.

STEPH: Tell us about your writing space?

PENNY: I have a lovely little office on the first floor of our home with a wrap-around desk and lots of bookshelves, plus a window that overlooks my garden.  However, when it’s nice, I will take my laptop outside to my patio and work there. When I’m editing, I may just put my feet up so my two Lhasapoo dogs can lie on my legs while I’m working.

STEPH: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

PENNY: I am definitely a pantser.  I read recently most people are a little of both but lean toward one side or the other.  This is probably true, but I don’t outline.  I have a general idea of what my story will be about and then I take off from there. For my fiction, it’s usually something I’ve heard, like my neighbor talking about hearing a piano playing, or something I’ve read, like the article about the haunted restaurant. When I’m absorbed by my story, I tend to see it playing out in my head as though I’m watching a movie.

STEPH: It's summertime! What's your favorite summer fruit?

PENNY: Berries, definitely berries.  I love all kinds though strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are my favorites.

STEPH: What are some of your favorite hobbies?

PENNY: When the weather warms, I enjoy puttering in my many little gardens.  I have both vegetable and flower gardens.  Like all authors, I love reading.  I also enjoy crocheting, sewing, and cooking. I try to walk or go to the pool five days a week and love getting together with my family and friends.

STEPH: What book are you reading now?

PENNY: I just finished my book group selection, Our Souls at Night, but I’m also reading Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series for fun. Recently I read a couple of children’s books, The Giving Meadow and The Shadow of the Unicorn series, both delightful reads.

Ghostly Visions Blurb

Wendy Wiles attracts ghosts, first in Ghost for Rent, when her parents separate and she, her brother, and mother move into a haunted house. The story begins in Portland, Oregon and quickly moves to small town, Scappoose, Oregon. Miserable at leaving her friends and beloved Portland behind, Wendy meets her neighbor Jennifer who tells her the house Wendy’s mom rented is haunted. After two of them appear to Wendy, the girls find themselves tracking down the mystery of who the ghosts are and why they "live" in the Wiles' home.

In Ghost for Lunch, Wendy’s friend, Jennifer, moves away, leaving Wendy sad until new neighbors and their restaurant in St. Helens bring ghosts back into Wendy's life. She, her brother, and their new friend discover the two cases are connected. Once again, the young sleuths use clues and lots of brainstorming to figure out who is haunting the restaurant.

While on the surface, these two stories appear to be about ghosts and the mystery of solving them, they are also about the importance of family and friends and working together to solve a problem.

Ghostly Visions is available direct from the publisher 4RV Publishing LLC for $15.99 including shipping and handling:  It can also be ordered from your local bookstore with the following ISBN numbers: ISBN-10: 0982642326, ISBN-13: 978-0982642320, or through Amazon,

The author is offering a special introductory discount to anyone who orders the book directly through her web page by sending a message using the contact button.

Excerpt Ghostly Visions

Before the girls could leave the porch, a light breeze came up, creating a swirling of mist and wet leaves. The twirling mass took on the shape of what appeared to be two people. Startled,
Wendy and Jennifer stumbled back and bumped into Mike. All three trembled.

Wendy couldn’t believe how scared she was. Her mouth was dry, and she licked her lips. She looked at Jennifer and Mike. Jennifer put her hand to her mouth and whimpered softly. Mike’s eyes looked like saucers in his face, and she saw his knuckles were white where he gripped the porch railing.

She turned her gaze back to the mist. While they didn’t have distinct features, clearly the swirling leaves looked like a couple dancing. Strange music played. Wendy’s hand grasped Champ standing between her and Jennifer. His neck fur stood on end, and a low growl rum- bled in his chest.

Mom said there was no such thing as ghosts, yet right before her danced two very ghostly beings. Could this be possible? She reached for Jennifer’s hand. It felt cold and clammy as Jennifer squeezed back. Jennifer at least was real. Frightened more than she had ever been before, Wendy felt tears in her eyes, and she squeezed them shut, hoping when she opened them the figures would be gone. They weren’t.

“What’s going on?” Wendy whispered. The hairs on her arms and the back of her neck stood up.

“I...I don’t know,” Jennifer said.

“What are you two scaredy-cats worried about? It’s just a bunch of leaves blowing in the wind.” Mike chuckled, but Wendy heard the tremor in his voice.

Unable to move, they watched the couple glide around the summerhouse, dipping and swirling to the music. The forms came together in an embrace. A third, smaller form appeared, and the embracing couple flew apart. The smaller figure tumbled backward, rolling down the steps followed by a crashing noise.

Wendy and Jennifer jumped. A strong wind blew through the open house, blowing the misty figures away and leaving wet leaves scattered on the floor. A strange stillness settled over everything.

Wendy and Jennifer looked at each other, wild-eyed.

“Boo!” Mike yelled.

They screamed and clutched at each other.


Penny Lockwood (Ehrenkranz) has published over 100 articles, 75 stories, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications, and non‑fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications.  She is a former editor for MuseItUp Publishing, 4RV Publishing, and Damnation Books.  Visit her web site at http:// and her writing blog at

4RV Publishing has joined her two middle grade novels (Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch) as Ghostly Visions. She recently released Boo’s Bad Day with 4RV Publishing and has one other children’s picture book under contract with them: Many Colored Coats. She has three romances published by MuseItUp Publishing: Love Delivery, Lady in Waiting, and Mirror, Mirror. Her short story collection, A Past and A Future, is available through Alban Lake Publishing and Smashwords.


  1. Terrific sounding books, Penny. Congratulations! I look forward to reading them.

  2. That was an interesting excerpt, best of luck with your writing!

  3. Dear Stephanie, Thanks for posting your interview with Penny. Penny Ghostly Visions sounds like two great adventurs for children. Good luck with it.

    Believe in you
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards
    Joan's Elder Care Guide

  4. Sounds wonderful! I wish you much success!

  5. Thanks for hosting me today, Steph. Thanks to all of you for your kind words. If you do get a chance to read Ghostly Visions, do let me know what you think. I tried to reply to your individual comments, but the reply button wasn't working on my iPad.

  6. Congrats out to Penny. The books sounds super. Thanks for sharing, Stephanie.

  7. Thanks, Janet. Looking forward to my visit on your blog, too.