Ghost for Rent

GHOST FOR RENT is now available from 4RV Publishing, LLC.  It is packaged as a two-for-one along with the sequel GHOST FOR LUNCH



    This middle grade, paranormal, mystery story is aimed at youth in grades four to six. The story begins when eleven year old Wendy Wiles learns her parents are planning to get divorced.  Forced to leave her beloved city home for a cheaper country place, Wendy, her mother, and her twelve year old brother move to rural Warren, Oregon.
    On move-in day, Wendy meets a neighbor girl who tells her their quaint country home is haunted.  Events proceed quickly as Wendy, her new friend, Jennifer, and Wendy's brother, Mike, see ghostly figures dancing in the woods.  Despite Mom's claims that "there's no such thing as ghosts," paranormal events continue to occur in the Wiles' home. Meanwhile her brother Mike, arch-tease, continues to torment Wendy, claiming he's causing the unusual happenings.
    Wendy searches through library records to get to the bottom of the mystery.  Finally with Jennifer's help, Wendy begins to unravel the truth. At last even Mike can no longer disbelieve and decides to aid Wendy in her search.  By the end of the story, the three young sleuths have uncovered an accidental death, a suicide and a murder.

REVIEWS from earlier

publication 2002

Ghost stories are some of my favorite books, and this one kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next.

Ms. Lockwood has written a chilling tale that once you start reading it, you'll turn on all the lights and check your doors to be sure they're locked, unless you'd like a visit from a ghost. This is a great story for middle-grade readers who love a good mystery and the paranormal. The brother and sister relationship is true-to-life, and you root for the children to succeed in their quest. I think even older folks will enjoy the book. I know I did.

Beverly Stowe McClure, author


First it's separating parents, then moving (out of the city, no less) and now her new home is haunted??? What is eleven year-old Wendy to do? Solve the mystery of the haunting ghosts, of course.

This is the simple basis for "Ghost for Rent." However, there is more here than first meets the eye. Ms. Lockwood explores the emotions of one child; as Wendy deals with annoyance, hurt, anger, fear, not being believed, to finally being accepted. Emotions we adults tend to forget are very strong in our young. Emotions I can remember running through on a weekly basis with my childhood friends. However, I never lived in a haunted farmhouse. Wish I had.

"Ghost for Rent" entertains on different levels. It is a read that brought me back to my own childhood and what I loved to read at Wendy's age, a spooky tale with just enough scare without the horror. As an adult it's a refreshing fright from the more sensual scares that seem to be the norm, today. More importantly, as a mother I can't wait to share "Ghost for Rent" with my daughter and introduce her to the fun of being scared.

Chris Speakman, author,

* * * *

Told with a quick-paced style, Penny Lockwood brings to life a cast of characters that will keep readers in the 9-12 year-old age group interested and wondering what happens next. Leaving many of the details to the reader's imagination, Ghost for Rent is plot-driven. This allows more opportunity for young readers to identify with the characters.

I can see a future for Penny Lockwood in this genre. Here easy, flowing language and fast-paced plot will help draw young readers in and have them enjoying the read so much they want more. I give Ghost For Rent five colors on the Rainbow Scale of Reading Excellence.

Joyce Anthony, author

* * * *

This spine-tingling paranormal is a great read for kids aged 9-12. This is a page-turner that will keep them engaged beginning till end.

Nancy Sharpe, author

* * * *

Ghost For Rent is a delightful story for young lovers of mystery.

I particularly enjoyed the author's banter between Wendy and her young brother. The dialog was funny and realistic and I think young readers will most definitely relate. Additionally, I loved the way that the author used Wendy's love of poetry to help her cope with her new surrounding and her life. Wendy's character really came to life for me and I couldn't help but root for her throughout this charming book.

Lizette Brodey, author

* * * *

The author involves the reader in the mystery as she puts you in the terrifying situations that the children face as they confront the apparitions that are desperately trying to find a way to communicate their message to the new inhabitants of the house.

Told in Wendy's point of view the reader encounters the ghosts at the same time as she does, and as the real life story of the ghosts comes to light it is evident that this is not your usual ghost story. Intertwined with the ghost story is the uncomfortable experience of separation from Wendy's Dad and her mother's assimilation into a small town existence. The author writes of small towns with tenderness and makes the one in the story very inviting.

You will find it a very fast and enjoyable read. Though it is written with younger characters, the story, which delves into teen age issues, should appeal to older readers as well.

Barbara Ehrentreu, author

* * * *

Not an overly complex story, but one that draws the reader in and keeps her turning the pages to see if she can figure out what happened in Wendy's house before Wendy, Jennifer and Mike do.  I honestly didn't expect it all to play out the way it did, which is one of the reasons I love mysteries–it's so much fun seeing if you pick up on the right clues.

Ghost for Rent is a quick read, and perfect for the middle grade market.  I would love to see Wendy, Jennifer, Mike and maybe Jennifer's brother, Peter team up and solve more mysteries in their little town.

Cheryl Malandrinos, author

Excerpt Ghost for Rent



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 rumbled 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.


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