The Ticket by Debra Coleman Jeter – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Debra will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

mediakit_bookcover_theticketShe 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.

Enjoy an Exclusive Excerpt:

I have an inspiration. When I get home, I will split the legs of my best jeans, and Gram can sew an insert into each leg to convert them into gigantic bell bottoms. To escape the present conversation, I picture the jeans, see myself in them instead of this ridiculous skirt and tights. But I waffle between envisioning a bright red bandana for a bold contrast, or a less conspicuous blue fabric for the insert.

“Didn’t I tell you?” Poppy says. No one answers for a moment, and then I realize she’s talking to me.


“Didn’t I tell you to try to get some money for tonight?”

“Yes, I did try. But … but my dad wasn’t home.”

“When’s he going to be there?” Poppy demands.

“I don’t know. He works late a lot.”

Poppy snorts. “Well, I don’t see why. If I had all that dough, I’d never work again.”

“Yeah, well … my dad’s kind of different.”

“So where to?” Steve wants to know.

“Let’s go on to the bowling alley like we planned,” Leslie says.

“Maybe by the time we bowl a game or two, her dad’ll be home and she can get some cash,” says Candy.

“I doubt it,” I mumble.

“If we didn’t know better, we might think you didn’t want to ask him,” Poppy says.

“Let it go,” Leslie says. “Let’s just have some fun.”

“Sure, sure, fun,” agrees Poppy. Poppy’s jeans have ragged holes in the knees, and the bits of leg showing through the holes manage somehow to look curvaceous. Remembering all my hope and anticipation and excitement about tonight, I suddenly hate her. After way too much agonizing over what to wear, I could scarcely have chosen worse if I’d tried. Not that I own anything like Poppy’s brown leather boots or Candy’s fringed suede jacket anyway.

A few minutes later we’re inside the bowling alley, and the girls are mumbling together again and hooting with laughter. I can’t even understand what they’re saying, but I try to laugh along, my face feeling stiff and strained.

“What are you laughing about?” Poppy turns on me suddenly.

I don’t want to admit I have no idea. “None of your business,” I say, trying to sound saucy.

The girls hoot all the more. “None of our business! None of our business?” Suddenly Poppy stops hooting and glares at me. “What the hell do you mean none of our business?”

Something fierce and glittering in her eyes frightens me, and I reply honestly. “Nothing. I really wasn’t laughing at anything. I mean, I didn’t know what I was laughing about.” I want to crawl under the floor, into invisibility, into oblivion.

“Leave her alone,” Leslie says. “Let’s bowl.”

Bowling proves the worst disaster yet. My arms seem attached wrong or something, my legs don’t move together, and the ball wants to stick to my hand. Instead of gliding gracefully through the air, the ball drops with a thud when I finally manage to release it. It bumps unsteadily toward the gutter, where it settles time and again.

“Another nice one,” Poppy says, entering a gigantic zero on the scoreboard with a flourish.

“Too bad,” Leslie says. “You’ll get it next time.” Her kindness feels more like pity to me, and pity tastes almost as sour as sarcasm. Maybe worse.

THE TICKET – a novel by Debra Coleman Jeter – book trailer from Clay Jeter on Vimeo.


About the Author:

Debra Jeter Owen/accounting Debra is an accounting professor who also writes books and screenplays--and the screenplay she co-wrote for "Jess+Moss" premiered at Sundance in 2011. (Vanderbilt Photo / Daniel Dubois)

Debra Jeter
Debra is an accounting professor who also writes books and screenplays–and the screenplay she co-wrote for “Jess+Moss” premiered at Sundance in 2011.
(Vanderbilt Photo / Daniel Dubois)

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.

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Buy the book at Amazon.

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  1. Thanks for the excerpt

  2. Thanks for hosting!

  3. Debra Taylor says:

    Sounds like an interesting book with realistic problems to overcome. I’d consider reading this one.

  4. What an interesting premise for a book! I’ve read that a lot of lottery winners have big problems with friends, relatives, and acquaintences demanding cuts of the winnings even if they haven’t spoken to the winner in years.

    • Thanks for commenting. I have not experienced this personally having never so much as bought a lottery ticket. But I have heard this and it was the springboard for my story. Then I wondered: what if someone gave my family a ticket and it turned out to be the winner?

    • I am sorry if this is a repeat post, as I tried to reply earlier and I thought it went thru.I am currently in a different time zone and so there is a major delay with me seeing and responding in a timely manner. As to your comment: I have never experienced this personally since I have never bought a lottery ticket, but I have heard of this happening (the problems, not someone actually buying a ticket, lol). It got me to thinking to add the twist of having the winning ticket be a gift. I hope you will check out the book. It is only 99c on Kindle during the tour. Also don’t forget to check out the trailer.

  5. Pen or type writer or computer?

    • Start longhand on scraps of paper, used envelops, spiral notebooks. Then transcribe to the computer, a lot of times using Dragon Speak to help mitigate my migraines. Lastly edit, re-edit and more editing mostly on copies printed from the computer. Thankfully there is no carbon paper any more (some of you may need to Google that).

  6. Bridgett Wilbur says:

    I just love the cover.

  7. Thanks so much for hosting my excerpt. And thanks to all who comment.

  8. Great post – thanks for sharing the trailer 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting. Glad you liked the trailer. It was truly a family project including appearances by my husband, mother, son-in-law and myself. In addition, it was directed and photographed by my son, Clay Jeter, who is a director and filmmaker by profession and it is narrated by and features the actress/artist Sarah Hagan who also did the artwork on the original cover which is still shown on some Amazon pages.

  9. Nicole Wetherington says:

    Great post!

  10. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  11. Good luck and thanks for posting. Don’t forget to view the trailer.

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