Monday, September 08, 2008

Christian Book Release: Loving Cee Cee Johnson

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and her book:

Loving Cee Cee Johnson

Moody Publishers (September 1, 2008)


Linda Leigh Hargrove blends suspense, humor, and faith into compelling stories about race and class in America. Her writings include two novels: The Making of Isaac Hunt (June 2007) and Loving Cee Cee Johnson (September 2008). The former environmental engineer currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and three sons where she occasionally designs a Web site.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers (September 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802462707


Chapter One


Brother was screaming. He had come from the front of our trailer, running faster than the time the black snake chased him down the lane. He hid behind some of the bushes at the edge of the woods next to Fat Anne’s doublewide.

I could see his little body shaking from where I sat with my older sister Tabby on our back step. He was a fast little rabbit for a six year old but he wasn’t very smart. Daddy was sure to find his little tail hiding right there at the edge. He had run and hid in the bushes before and it was always because a beating was coming.

Tabby wiped the back of her hand across her Kool-Aid smile. I could see the red marks on her dark skin even in the shade. They curled like single cherry quotation marks on either side of her mouth. She had already finished two glassfuls. The greedy alligator!

She leaned forward and wagged her finger at the dusty boy in the brush. “He gonna get it this time. We need to teach him how to hide better.”

I giggled. The rumble of the sound mixing with the tinkle of ice in my half empty Kool-Aid glass. I was drinking it slowly, savoring it, letting the frosty droplets that covered the bottom of the glass drop on my bare knees.

“Brother, come back here,” Mama yelled through an open window. She called him Brother. Well, we all did. Not Junior. Not Quincy, Jr. Just Brother. I thought that was funny.

I was smiling about her calling him Brother when the music started. It was sudden like and way too loud. Daddy’s music. Some slow sensual tune. One of the 45s he’d bought from the records Miss Emily sold in the back of her grocery store downtown. Sade, Barry White, Earth Wind and Fire.

Mama yelled again. “Oh, no! No, Quincy!”

Then there were sounds of crashing, breaking. And then a shriek.

I closed my eyes but it didn’t stop my mind from replaying the bloody memories from the last time daddy beat her.

“Tabby, Cee Cee,” she yelled to us through a window. “Girls! Find Brother. Run. Hide!”

Hide! My mind raced but I didn’t, couldn’t move. Hide? Tabby yanked me up.

“My glass! What about my glass?” It was my favorite, a Ball canning jar from grandmamma. I looked to Tabby’s, a broken shell on the bottom step.

Tabby gritted her teeth and barked at me, “Come on!” She yanked harder on my arm. I let my glass slip from the fingers. Tabby was big for twelve and, it seemed, at least twelve times as strong as me.

Brother was already running when we reached him; Tabby grabbed his arm anyway. The movement snapped his little round head back.

“Tree house,” Tabby panted.

I wrenched myself free. “We gotta tell somebody.”

“No!” Tabby reached for me again.

“Miss Dusty. I’ll tell her and meet y’all at the tree house.”


“But, mama …”

“I’ll go to the grader for Mr. Abraham after I get y’all to the tree house. Now come on.”

The cucumber grader was on the other side of Thirty Foot Road. That was too far away. Anything could happen to mama by the time Tabby got back with the big white man.

“No,” I screamed back over my shoulder.

Miss Dusty was a better bet. I could see Miss Dusty’s old Ford pickup in back of her trailer halfway down the dirt lane that ran along the edge of the woods.

“I’ll meet you there.” I looked back to see Tabby crouched with Brother behind a big pine. She was breathing hard. Hate in her eyes.

“Cee Cee, you better come straight to the tree house. You hear me!”

Miss Dusty was my classmate Violet’s mama. The mother of five was always working. In fact, I was surprised, but grateful, to see her truck that day. She was forever willing to help mama and us when we needed it. Though mama only took her help grudgingly, saying the word trash under her breath.

Violet met me at the door. The sun slanted in across her bright yellow hair, her light blue eyes. She looked like a fairy princess, except that is for the black eye. It wasn’t fresh; just a puffy yellow half moon under her left eye, but I still winced when I saw it.

“Mama’s not here,” she said in response to my question.

I looked at the truck and saw for the first time that the one of the rear tires was gone. The metal parts of the wheel were sitting up on cinder blocks.

“Broke down as usual.”

The TV was blaring behind her but I could hear her daddy snoring, kids yelling and throwing mess around.

“Y’all’s phone working,” I asked.

She stepped out onto their cinderblock steps and closed the door carefully behind her. I couldn’t see why since half the screen hung from the frame.

“Naw. Why? What you need it for?”

Suddenly I was embarrassed or maybe just not certain what she could do to help mama. My mother’s screams made me jump.

I took off running for home. Violet followed. She stumbled into me when I stopped, beyond words at the sight of my father making a fire in the trash barrel behind our trailer. Mama sat on the bottom back step.

By the way she was crying I could tell daddy wasn’t just taking out the trash.

He reached into a cardboard box at his feet, pulled out a large brown envelope, and tossed it in the fire.

Mama’s book.

Tears filled my eyes. My mother had been typing on it almost every night for months. Grown folks business, she told tell me whenever I asked to read it. Now it was gone.

“Good God A’mighty,” Violet whispered and covered her mouth.

“What?” I followed her gaze.

Violet had seen what I didn’t at first. Daddy had a gun. As he turned the evil thing, barely bigger than his hand, it glinted like fresh tar in the sun. He pointed it toward mama and pulled something else from the box on the ground.

My Jesus statue.

I had recited the Twenty-third Psalm flawlessly for the VBS lady and received the all nine inches of sanctified plastic at First Baptist VBS on Freeman Street. That meddling white-Negro church, as daddy called it.

More things from VBS went into the fire. Tabby’s Noah’s Arc drawings and Brother’s David slingshot. Then three tiny New Testaments. All consumed by the flames.

I didn’t hear Tabby and Brother coming through the bushes. Neither did I hear Violet leave. I used my sleeve to wipe at my tears, choking on the smells from the trash barrel. Thick smoke climbed into the air.

Nearby pine trees had begun to drop their needles from the heat. What else had daddy put in the fire?

“Where’d Violet go?”

“Cee Cee,” Tabby hissed, shaking me like she did when it was time to get up for school.

“He’s burning it all, Tabby.”

“Come on, I gotta get y’all to the tree house.”

I followed numbly, thinking of mama’s bare feet among the broken pieces of grandmamma’s canning jar and Jesus in the fire with mama’s novel and all our VBS treasures.


M. C. Pearson said...

Thanks for posting, Dee. :-)


"hold out" (1) 1question (4) 1questionMay (2) 1questionspring (3) 1questionsummer (2) 1questionwinter (7) 2011 (2) 30 Days to Build a Better Blog (5) 30 Days to Build a Better Book Blog (17) 9/11 (2) a good man blog watch (2) aaliyah (2) about me (1) Academy award (2) acfw-vip (2) Africa (1) african america (3) african american christian fiction (19) african american history (8) altartainment (1) amazon (9) american heart (1) american idol (1) amish (4) amy grant (1) Amy wallace (1) andrew carroll (1) angela bassett (1) Arts (2) atlanta (3) atlanta journal (1) atlanta tornado (1) audition (1) authentic creation (1) author (1) author interview (12) author read-in (3) authors (6) authors read in (2) authors read-in (1) awards (11) barbie (1) Basketball (1) bath luxe (2) bational wear red day (1) bbaw (1) bea (2) best of (8) bestsellers (2) bethany house (4) bible (3) bible study (3) bill gates (1) billie jean (1) birthday (3) black authors (2) black authors network (1) black christian novel (1) black christmas plays (4) black hawk down (1) black history (1) black in america (2) black men in america (1) black spiritualism (4) blacklitchat (2) blog alliances (1) blog talk radio (22) blog tour (14) blogalicious (2) blogcatalog (1) bloggers unite (9) blogging (7) bloglight (1) blogtalkradio (6) blythe (1) book (3) book arts (1) book awards (12) book blogging (5) book chat (3) book club (6) book cover (4) book deals (1) book events (9) book fun (2) book marketing (51) book pick (1) book pr (1) book preview (9) book promotion (7) book proposal (2) book release party (2) book review (52) book review submission form (5) book signing (4) book tour (4) book trailer (21) bookbyte (3) bookclub (2) books (3) brook promotion (1) bubble bath (1) bynum (1) c.s. lewis (1) camy tang (2) career (1) carl weber (1) carleen brice (1) casting call (9) cba (2) cfba (4) children books (7) chip macgregor (2) choir (1) chris well (2) christian (2) christian comedy (1) christian detective novel (1) christian ethics (7) christian fiction (13) christian fiction blog alliance (2) christian fiction news (28) christian fiction online magazine (26) christian living (2) christian movie (1) christian novel (4) christian publisher (2) christian retailing (2) christian romance (4) christian summer book (9) christian writer's carnival (1) christian writer's guide (1) Christianity (4) christmas (14) christmas story (14) Christy Award (4) christy awards (3) chronicles of narnia (2) chuck holton (1) chuck palahniuk (1) church news (1) cindy (1) cindy woodsmall (9) civil rights (1) claudia burney (10) clown girl (1) cnn (2) coco brother (2) contest (20) contests (6) controversy (1) convention (3) copyright (1) craft (1) creston mapes (1) cupcakes (2) cyndy salzmann (1) darfur (2) dargur (1) david c. cook (4) David Talbert (1) deanne gist (2) deborah raney (1) decaturbookfestival (1) dee and marina (4) dee stewart (19) dee stewart hezekiah walker (1) dee stewart linda beed (1) deegospelpr (11) dekker (5) denzel washington (1) denzel washington. (1) Derek Fisher (1) designer shoes (1) devotions (1) DiAnn Mills (1) digital publishing (2) disney (2) domestic violence (1) don hoesel (1) doodle (1) dwan abrams (2) e-reader (4) e. lynn harris (1) Earth day (2) eartha kitt (1) easter (4) ecpa (1) editing (2) ella curry (2) England (1) eric wilson (1) essence magazine (3) ethics (3) excerpts (9) facebook (3) faith and fiction retreat (11) Faith anf fiction retreat (1) faith*in*fiction (3) fashion show (1) father's day (1) fictin in rather short takes (1) Fiction (1) fiction in rather short takes (33) flag of our fathers (1) followthereader (1) fox faith (1) frank peretti (1) friday afternoon club myster (1) friday afternoon club mystery (1) friday fest (8) fuge recipes (1) genesis awards (1) George Jackson (1) giveaway (8) Golden State Warriors (1) good reads (4) gospel dream (1) gospel fiction (3) gospel music (19) gospel play (13) Grace (1) guestblog (9) haiti (1) haley kilpatrick (1) hank stewart (1) harper collins (1) Harriet Beecher Stowe (1) harry potter (2) Hawaiian Islands (1) heart disease (2) help wanted (1) historical (9) hope for women (1) horror (3) house of faith (1) human trafficking (1) I Dream of Jeannie (1) ibook (2) imprints (1) inciting incident (1) infuze magazine (1) inspirational monday (2) inspys (1) interviews (12) iThink (1) itw (3) jeanee damoff (2) jeff gerke (1) jena 6 (3) jill elizabeth nelson (1) job announcement (1) juanita bynum (3) juanita bynumemkm (1) juneteenth (4) karen kingsbury (3) kathy herman (1) kim brooks (1) kim cash tate (1) kimani press (1) kimberla lawson roby (2) Kindle (1) kristy dykes (2) laura bush (1) lent (11) leny (1) librarything book reviews (2) lifetime tv (1) lifeway (2) linda hargrove (2) links (1) lisa samson (3) literacy (1) literary agent (3) Literature (2) love (1) M M (1) madea girl talk (1) marcher lord press (1) marilynne robinson (1) marilynnn griffith (5) marina woods (2) marines (2) marketing (5) marketing christian fiction blog (1) marriage (1) mary demuth (1) mary hart (1) media candy (10) medical fiction (2) melody carlson (2) meme (1) Memorial day (3) michael jackson (1) mike duran (1) ministry (3) miranda parker (26) mochareaders (1) mombloggers (2) mommyfest (5) monday mention (3) monika drake (1) morgan freeman (1) mothers (3) motivationmonday (6) movie (14) mtv awards (1) myspace (1) nanowrimo (7) Nat Turner (1) National Basketball Association (1) national book month (1) NBA (1) networking (1) New York Times (1) Newsletters (1) nicole seitz (5) non-fiction (2) novel (2) novel writing (10) ny times bestseller (1) obama (14) off-topic Thursday (3) offf-topic Thursday (2) olympia vernon (1) online bookstore (5) oprah (2) ott (2) Pacific War (1) pam perry (1) parenting (2) party (1) pat simmons (1) pay it forward (2) Pearl Harbor (1) people magazine (1) Philippines (1) play (2) plug and play (1) po bronson (1) politics of the mass media (1) poll (1) prayer cell (4) prayer request (3) preorder pick (2) prince caspian (1) princess dominique (1) publishing (14) race and religion (3) radio (1) radio talk show (4) rawsistaz (4) reading series (4) rebeca seitz (1) reflections (1) relief journal (1) Relief Journal christian writing (3) Religion and Spirituality (3) renovating becky miller (1) reshonda tate billingsley (5) retreat (1) rhonda bowen (5) rhonda mcknight (9) richmond (1) romance (6) romantic times (2) romantic times magazine (8) rt convention (2) saint patrick's day (1) sally e.stuart (1) saturday christian carnival (3) Science fiction (3) secret life of bees (2) selah (3) self-publish (2) shana burton (8) sharon ewell foster (6) sharon hink (3) shawneda marks (1) shelfari (1) sher (1) sherri lewis (12) shine in 09 (5) shoes (1) Shopping (1) short story (2) Sidney Sheldon (1) single women (1) sistahfaith (1) skype (2) Slave ship (1) social media (7) social network (2) social network problogger (7) social networking (2) social networkingh (1) sormag (1) South Carolina (1) specfiction (3) speedlink (8) spiritual autobiography (3) Sports (1) spotlight (2) stacy hawkins adams (6) star wars (1) steeple hill (1) storytellers (3) stranger than fiction (1) sudan (1) summer (8) sunrise (1) survey (2) sxsw (1) t.l. hines angela hunt (1) tavis smiley (2) tavis smley (2) teen (4) the first lady (3) the master's artis (2) the master's artist (56) the masters artist (6) the shack (2) the spirit of your story (1) the stones cry out (1) the trouble with publishing (2) theology (2) thomas nelson (7) thriller thursday (7) tia mccollors (1) tiffany warren (7) titletrakk (1) to (1) tolkien (1) top ten (25) tosca lee (1) tours (1) trailer park tuesday (61) trailer park tuesdaycngdkvb (1) travis Hunter (1) tribute (12) tricia goyer (4) tuesday (2) tv (1) twitter (22) ty moody (3) tyler perry (55) tyler pery (1) tyler play (1) United States (3) urban christian book (5) Utah Jazz (1) utterz (10) valentine (2) vanessa davis griggs (1) vanessa miller (2) veteran's day (2) video (2) wachooreading (2) walmart (1) wanza leftwich (1) warren buffet (1) WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group (1) weakend read (2) wedding (1) wednesday wrap (11) weekend chat (29) weekend chatter (17) weekend read (11) westbow (1) what i'm reading (3) what's done in the dark (1) why fiction matters (9) widcard (1) wiki (1) wild card (12) wildcard (32) Wings of Glory (1) womanist thought (1) women (1) women of faith (2) women's ministry (1) workshops (4) world aids day (1) World War II (1) write-or-die chick (3) writer's call (3) writer's conference (8) writer's prompt (2) writing (4) writing conference (8) writing contest (8) writing journey (2) writing life (38) writing opportunities (2) writing project (5) writing tip (3) writing workshop (2) x-files (1) yolanda king (1) young adult (5) youtube (4) zondervan (5)