LASR Anniversary: Ann Herrick – Guest Post and Giveaway

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 Summer Then, Summer Now

             When I was a kid, I just loved summer. It was a time of freedom. Freedom from school, freedom from heavy winter clothes, freedom to read just for fun, with no book report looming. On the last day of school summer stretched ahead like an endless horizon.Ann&Cats

I would wake up and think, “What should I do today? Who should I play with?” I lived in a neighborhood with plenty of kids. One was and still is my Best Friend Forever, though back then we would simply say, “best friend.” Others kids met certain interests. I would play “horses” with one friend. Hunt for rocks and arrowheads with another. Play softball with a group. Sometimes we would just flop on the ground and watch the clouds, imagining them to be everything from horses to giants. Or we’d curl up on a front porch and read. Reading for pleasure was always part of summer.

While I had some chores (clean my room, help my mother hang laundry, iron my father’s handkerchiefs), most of the summer days were for pure fun. I would ride my bike, roller skate, climb trees, make crafts, put on a “show,” for neighbors (and charge a nickel!), build a fort. I could walk down to the end of the street and watch boats in the harbor, or catch a few small crabs to sell to the fisherman and take my money to the little bait store that also sold candy and soda and get myself a treat.

When I was bit older I could walk to the town beach every day to swim, sunbathe, play cards and listen to the radio with my friends. I would stop at the library and pick out books to read. One year a friend and I got into a competition to see who could read the most Black Stallion books (in order of publication!).

My older brother might take me for a ride in the convertible he was working on or the new motorcycle he just bought.

But once I grew up, summer lost a bit of its glow for me. For one thing, I had to work through the summer. There were days when I would look out at a clear blue sky and just ache to be outdoors. But, of course, I had to stay inside and stick to my tasks.

The heat of summer began to bother me. I couldn’t just run through a sprinkler or go to the beach on a hot day. I had to go to and from a job, or do yard work, or raise my daughter—or write books. Now I grumble when the temperature gets to be over 75! And lying in the sun to get a tan lost its appeal once the news was out about the kinds of harm it could do to one’s skin. But reading for pleasure is still a summer delight. Although I read all year, there’s still something special about sitting in the shade with a book and reading just for the pure enjoyment of it.

So even though summer is no longer the carefree season it once was for me, a warm day with a soft breeze, the sound of birds chirping in the back yard, memories of the cherished days of my childhood, and reading a special book still make summer a wonderful season.

Sun, surf, sand and Alex–Katie was swept away!

Katie eagerly agrees to pretend she is Alex’s girlfriend for the summer in order to protect his job. Amid sundrenched waves, they develop a friendship that is on the verge of turning romantic, when who should arrive but Nicole, Alex’s old girlfriend. In three days, Nicole ruins Katie’s relationship with Alex. So Katie gets involved with Logan, Nicole’s handsome older brother, though Alex is the one for her.

Soon enough Katie learns that fake romances can get out of hand and lead to complications she never imagined.

Ann Herrick is the award-winning author of several books and short stories for kids and teens. Included in the awards her books have won are the ALA Recommended Book for Reluctant Readers, IRA/CBC Children’s Choice and EPIC Best YA Novel Finalist.
Ann grew up in Connecticut, where she graduated from The Morgan School and Quinnipiac University. She now lives in Oregon with her husband, who was her high-school sweetheart. Their wonderful daughter is grown, married and gainfully employed, and has given Ann her only grand-dog, Puff, a bloodhound-rottweiller-beagle mix and six grand-kitties. While she misses the East Coast, especially houses built before 1900, she enjoys the green valleys, fresh air and low humidity in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Ann loves cats, walking, the Oregon Ducks and working in her back yard. In addition to stories and books for children and young adults, Ann also writes copy for humorous and conventional greeting cards.

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  1. Shirley Ann Speakman says:

    Summer unfortunately does lose its appeal when you get older if you are luck you’ll get a couple of weeks off work in the summer and then it often rains!!!


  2. I agree as I got older summer didn’t hold the appeal as it once did. Now I just look forward to some quiet reading time outside.
    skpetal at hotmail dot com

  3. It’s weird living near a beach town in the summer–you see all the tourists freaking out, but you’re just hot and sick of the crowds and traffic! Oh, well…

  4. Hi Ann, Most everything in your piece struck a note inside me–the beach, hanging with friends, reading under a favorite tree. I still feel that same childhood sadness at the summer’s end, and I haven’t “worked” outside my home for a number of years.

  5. Never went to the beach as a kid but to a lake and hated, hated squishy mud in my toes. Loved summer. Still like it as long as the humidity stays low. Good trigger for memories.

  6. I agree with everything you said Ann and I still love summer. I had all those years when I had to work, but now I’ve retired and live close to the beach, it’s like my childhood all over again, especially when I share it with my grandchildren. I especially like the beach in the early evening at the end of a hot summer’s day. It’s a magic time when all the tourists have gone home.

    • How wonderful you live by the beach, Sheila! We’re about 1 1/4 hours from the Oregon coast. And we say “coast” here rather than “beach,” because the water is so cold and rough and it’s usually not very warm there even in the summer. 😉

  7. Sydell Voeller says:

    Although our responsibilities certainly change as we grow older, I’ll always love summer, and the memories of summers-gone-by make summer even more special for me. I always hate to see summer end.

  8. Oh yes, the long hot days of summer. I will never forget the fun we used to have. No electronic gadgets in thos days, we made our own fun outdoors.

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