The participating authors have provided us with at least one copy of their books to give away. When an author is posting on both blogs, the giveaway entry form will be the same for the contest. You may enter on one blog, or you can double your chances and enter on both blogs. Check the bottom of this post for full list of the authors that will be sharing their school experiences during our Back To School, Back in Time feature!
First Day of School
by Charles Martin
Cal and I were having a tough time letting go of summer. The first day of school did little to help. He was waiting on me when I stepped off the bus.
He pushed his glasses up on his nose. “How was it?”
A shrug. “‘I like summer better.” Cal nodded. His attitude wasn’t much better.
We glanced at Old Woman Wicker’s tangerine tree. Bulging with color, the branches were sagging. Some touching the ground. We’d been waiting for weeks.
Old Woman Wicker lived alone, seldom emerged, drove a block-long Cadillac and had a back yard full of citrus trees. Most were bitter, unkempt, full of seeds and wrapped in a thin peeling. Good for little more than pegging passing cars. But one tree, the Tangelo, spilled over the fence into Cal’s yard. And we didn’t waste those on cars ! Sweet. Juicy. Seedless. A thick peeling you could peel in one piece. Old folks called them, ‘Honeybells.’ We called them citrus perfection.
And forbidden fruit.
She had been specific. Squinted her eyes and stuck that crooked arthritic finger in our faces as we crept along the fence. “You two boys…Stay off my fence, get out of my yard, and don’t touch my fruit.”
We glanced at the tree, remembered her finger, then eyed her front door. Cal spat. I said, “We could always ask her.” I shrugged. “You never know.”
We marched up her steps and knocked on the screen door. The conquest of a Huck-Finn-summer hanging on us and the knowledge that we were now eleven.
Nothing. The smell of dinner wafted through the screen. As did the sound of her walking. Old Woman Wicker was as wide as she was tall. Given all that downward pressure, her knees bowed inward and knocked when she walked. To make matters worse, she wore panty hose which made an odd nylon-on-nylon, “swish-swoosh” sound whenever she walked. We could hear her coming a mile away.
No answer. We knocked again.
“Swish-swoosh. Swish-swoosh.” She spied down on us through the screen.
Cal took one step behind me and then jabbed me in the rib. I managed, “Umm…yes ma’am. Miss Wicker, we was…were…wondering if…” I pointed toward her backyard. “If we could have some, or one, of your Tangelos. They look about ripe.”
She pursed her lips. Slanted one eye. A long pause. She held one finger in the air and disappeared to the kitchen. When she returned, she handed us each a piece of citrus. “You boys stay out of my yard.” And she shut the door ! We stood there. Holding that fruit — hard as a walnut, and about the same size. We backed up to the sidewalk and sunk our fingers in the peel. It was thin, brittle, the sections inside were small, hard, and each had thirty seeds a piece.
We pitched them in the bushes and eyed the tree.
Out of sight, we circled Cal’s house, crept along the fence, in the shadows of the tree and toward the river. Placing the limbs of the tree between us and her kitchen window, we scaled the brick fence and belly-crawled under the canopy of the tree. HIdden from view, we reached up, and twisted — careful not to shake the tree.
Perfect. One peeling. Seedless. Sweet. Exploding with juice. In less than ten minutes, we’d eaten a dozen each and the ground was littered with peeling. My chin dripped. A half hour later, bladders full, we knelt on the fence and pee’d as far out as we could.
Cal bragged. “I spelled my name and then got all the way back to ‘M.’
I’d gotten to ‘F’ but my cursive was better than his.
We zipped up and sat down. He twisted off two more. Number thirteen. Another single peeling. Proud of myself, I let the peeling drop, placed a section on my tongue and bit down. Then I looked up.
Funny, we’d never heard her coming.
Seldom do I peel an orange or tangelo that I don’t see that old woman’s face and that crooked finger. And every now and then, I’ll look back and wonder how I never heard the panty hose.
About the Author
Charles Martin is the author of seven novels. When not writing, his hobbies include bow hunting, working out (a blend of old school stuff and martial arts, called Fight Fit), and Tae Kwon Do, in which he currently has a blue belt, though he notes he is “the least flexible person you’ve ever met.” He lives with his wife, Christy, and their three sons in Jacksonville, Florida. His most recent novel is Thunder and Rain.
I have TWO hardcover copies of THUNDER AND RAIN to give away to lucky readers in the USA or CANADA!
About the Book
Thunder and Rain
by Charles Martin
Publication Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Center Street
Third generation Texas Ranger Tyler Steele is the last of a dying breed– a modern day cowboy hero living in a world that doesn’t quite understand his powerful sense of right and wrong and instinct to defend those who can’t defend themselves. Despite his strong moral compass, Ty has trouble seeing his greatest weakness. His hard outer shell, the one essential to his work, made him incapable of forging the emotional connection his wife Andie so desperately needed.
Now retired, rasing their son Brodie on his own, and at risk of losing his ranch, Ty does not know how to rebuild from the rubble of his life. The answer comes in the form of Samantha and her daughter Hope, on the run from a seemingly inescapable situation. They are in danger, desperate, and alone. Though they are strangers, Ty knows he can help– protecting the innocent is what he does best. As his relationship with Sam and Hope unfolds, Ty realizes he must confront his true weaknesses if he wants to become the man he needs to be.
1. One entry per person.
2. The giveaway will end September 14th at 11:59pm EST.
3. The two winners will be contacted once the giveaway concludes and will have 48 hours to respond to the winning notification email from Contestmachine. Failure to respond in the allotted time will result in forfeiture of the prize and selection of another winner.
4. Books will be mailed directly from the author/publisher. Please allow 4-6 weeks for prize delivery.
5. Neither Crazy-for-Books nor any participating author or publisher is responsible for lost or misdirected prize shipments. It is the winner’s responsibility to submit accurate mailing information within the allotted 48 hour time frame.
How to Enter:
Enter your name and e-mail address in the form below! Then head on over to Lori’s Reading Corner to check out the guest post and giveaway from author Jane Myers Perrine!
August 27 – Carla Stewart
August 28 – Spencer Quinn and Kaye George
August 29 – Krista Davis and Matthew Dicks
August 30 – Sheryn MacMunn
August 31 – Jane Myers Perrine, Charles Martin
September 3 – Denise Swanson
September 4 – Christa Black
September 5 – Joanna Campbell Slan, Josie Brown
September 6 – Reyna Grande, Nancy M. Griffis
September 7 – Cathy Lamb, D.E. Johnson
September 8 – Cleo Coyle
September 9 – Kristina McMorris
September 10 – J.T. Ellison