Tuesday, June 22, 2010

School's Out For Summer!

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

No more pencils,
No more books,

No more teacher's dirty looks!


That's the rhyme my classmates and I used to chant every year during the last few days of school.

C'mon, I know you said it too! SOME of you, anyway. And even if you didn't, I know you were just like me and every other school kid and could not wait for summer vacation!

Oh, how I longed for those lazy warm summer days with nothing to do but sprawl out in the shade, reading a book or just relaxing. Doing NOTHING was so great! And I had almost three glorious months of it.

Of course, the reality of summer vacation was that usually by the middle of July, I was bored to tears, missing my friends, and running out of books to read (that were at my maturity level) at the library. If we got to go on a trip, it was usually the long car ride back to Texas to visit Grandpa and the other relatives and we were only gone ten or twelve days at the most. So even though I would never have admitted it, by the end of August, I was more than ready to go back to school.

But what about my teachers? More often than not, they were grumpy the first week or so of school. However, it never occurred to my childish self that maybe THEY weren't ready for their summer vacation to end!

And MAYBE the teachers were just as happy to see the last day of school as I was... WOW! That was a revelation. When I sat down to write The Wild Irish Sea, I decided to make my heroine Amber and her twin brother Parker both teachers. Amber teaches second and third grade and Parker teaches junior high school science and they are both THRILLED to be on their summer vacation.

Of course, being the dirty rotten romantic suspense writer that I am, I couldn't just let them laze around doing nothing like I did all those years ago. What fun would that be for me (and my readers)? If my characters aren't being tortured, then I'm falling down on my job as a d.r.r.s. writer!

So I sent Parker off to the auld sod to do a little research into his family tree and study a bit of marine biology. He's out on the ocean in a rowboat in a rain storm. And then... heh heh heh (Aunty laughs maliciously)!

...The unmistakable crack of a pistol tore across the waves. Parker flinched and lost his grip on the oars. Momentarily transfixed in horror, he watched one man slump forward. The other caught him and heaved him over the back of the boat...

A murder!

Holy sh*t!


He’d just witnessed a murder!

A mega dose of adrenaline rocketed through him, and Parker grabbed the oars and rowed for all he was worth. Unfortunately the pair in the sailboat must have heard him. Another shout echoed through the downpour, followed swiftly by another pistol retort.

Parker put his head down and kept rowing, puffing his cheeks with his rapid breaths.

Two more shots rang out. The second splintered the wood in front of the right oarlock...

The next bullet ripped through the wood close to his ankle. Seawater spewed into the opening. Instinctively, he lurched forward and another bullet tore through the side of his mackintosh, grazing a fiery trail across the flesh over his ribs.

He fell from the bench seat into the rising water in the bottom of the boat. The little vessel dipped drunkenly with the sudden shift in weight while yet another bullet lacerated the hull.

More water gushed in.

Oh God, I am seriously scr*wed!

Parker tried to pull himself back onto the seat, but slipped and banged his forehead against the oarlock.

...He was a thirty-year-old man about to die if he didn’t do something quick.

He knew what he had to do. He was a sitting duck in this tub. His only hope was to swim for it.

He crawled to the opposite side of the boat, sloshing up water all around him. His ribs burned like the salt water was a red-hot poker and he hissed in a sharp breath.

As the curragh dipped toward the sea, Parker risked a quick glance toward the shore, but he couldn’t tell if the bluffs were any closer. At least he was a good swimmer, though he didn’t really like swimming in the ocean. But he liked being shot a whole lot less.

With that morbid thought to cheer him, he launched himself over the side into the cold, black waves.

Poor Parker! About now, I'll bet he's wishing his summer vacation was over and he was back home lecturing to his students!

And I'm afraid if you want to find out what happens to Parker, you'll have to wait a couple more weeks. Heh! Heh! Heh! (Aunty's malicious laugh is not reserved for only her characters!) July 6th to be precise, for that is the day The Wild Irish Sea is scheduled to hit the book store shelves.

How did you spend your summer vacations as a child? Were you ready to return to school before the summer was over? Please share some of your summer vacation memories with us.

18 comments:

  1. Great post, AC!
    We went swimming a lot, but after we moved to the farm, we mostly rode our ponies in the summer. I remember having a much better tan back then, too. Now I just have freckles and age spots...

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  2. When I lived in Florida, we went to all-year school. We had 3 week vacations after every marking period was over. It was the best! Not enough time to get bored, but a great way to have a ski vacation and not fight the crowds...

    When I moved back north, we spent a couple weeks in the Hamptons and then I was on my sailboat the rest of the summer, so no, I was not happy to go back to school. I loved the freedom to have 5 or 6 books going at once and still read them fast.

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  3. Cindy,

    I'm looking forward to a lazy summer day so I can curl up in a lawn chair and find out what happens to Parker!

    Amelia

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  4. I can't WAIT for this book to come out - sounds terrific!!!!

    I was never idle in the summer. Took theatre summer school classes, was in productions, still had to practice cello & piano & voice. When I was little, my mother used to make me write book reports on every book I read over the summer. No rest for this kid!

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  5. LOL Cheryl on the freckles and age spots.

    I had freckles as a child but somewhere in my 20s they faded away and never came back. Of course that was also around the time I stopped trying to get a tan and started worrying about skin cancer! :-P

    And I always wanted a pony! My 9 year old self is extremely jealous of you!

    AC

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  6. OOO Robin, those 3 week vacations sound so much better than one long 3 month stretch!

    One of the school districts in my area has this same schedule. Unfortunately, my son was never in that district so I never got to experience the job of year-round school. ;-)

    AC

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  7. Thanx Amelia!

    Hope you enjoy The Wild Irish Sea. I had a blast writing about Parker, Amber, and Kevin!

    AC

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  8. Thanx Christi!

    I hope you enjoy TWIS. And your mother made you do book reports in the summer?!?! That's just wrong! :-P

    AC

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  9. I am SOOOO excited to have another McGary novel to read!!! It will be a wonderful summer for me with your newest book on my Kindle to occupy my mind during the long flight back east. So awesome!! And now I am even more excited because I HAVE to find out what is going on with poor Parker! Yippee for us!

    And yes, even though I was a total nerd who loved school and learning, I was always happy for summer. Of course, I did get a bit bored as well.

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  10. The three greatest things about being a teacher: June, July and August.

    I remember taking a lot of camping trips in the summer as a kid. My dad was an outdoorsman. The rest of us. Not so much.

    Love the excerpt!

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  11. Great post AC
    I loved summer holidays here in Australia they coincide with Christmas and we had 6 weeks off school from the middle of Dec to the end of Jan with Chrissy being the highlight of the holidays. Mum would always take us away after Chrissy somewhere close to the beach loved those holidays I would take books with me a read and swim great times.
    And again can I say how much I loved TWIS it really is a great adventure with a fantastic hero.

    Have Fun
    Helen

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  12. Thanx Sharon!
    You are so very good for my writer's ego. ;-)

    I ALWAYS read on the plane, so I hope you enjoy reading TWIS while cruising at 30,000 feet.

    AC

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  13. LOL Olivia about the 3 best things!

    I know what you mean about not being the outdoorsy type. My grandfather used to take us fishing, but I always enjoyed the fish fry afterward far more than the morning fishing expedition.

    Glad you enjoyed the excerpt and hope you like the rest of TWIS.

    AC

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  14. Helen,
    Christmas in Australia sounds FANTASTIC! I remember when I was there in Nov. and they were just putting up the Chrissy decorations -- Santa on a surfboard. How kewl is that?!?! I'd LOVE to spend my Christmas holiday at the beach.

    And yes, I NEVER get tired of hearing you say how much you LOVED TWIS and Kevin. ;-)

    THANX BUNCHES!
    AC

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  15. OOPS!
    Didn't mean to sound like I was in Oz last Nov. What I meant was the one and only (so far) time I was there it was Nov. which is a BEAUTIFUL time of year to go, btw.

    AC

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  16. Great excerpt - sounds exciting!

    I always had great plans for the summer and then it would be a few days before school starts and I wouldn't know where it all went. In fact, that's still happening to me - what happened to June?

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  17. LOL Amanda,
    I was just wondering the same thing when a friend emailed to remind me about her July 4th party. WHERE DID JUNE GO?!?!

    Glad you liked the excerpt. Hope you enjoy the rest of the book.

    AC

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  18. Just welcomed my son home from his last day today with that little ditty! He rolled his eyes of course. Best of luck with the new release!

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