My interview over at The Art and Craft of Writing Creatively is HERE

Purchase my book Images of America: Detroit Lakes HERE

Monday, June 24, 2013

Acre Blog Tour Guest Post: Ten Things People Do Not Know About George Johnson


Most of my adult life friends and family have said that I snored loudly. In college I had roommates change dormitory rooms on me because my snoring kept them awake. For the last two years I now sleep with a C-Pap machine. This forces enough air to my lungs and my snoring disappears.

As a young child I was Sweet Pea in a Halloween parade. I rode atop of an elephant made by my father. Below and in front of the elephant my brother Dave, who played Popeye the Sailor, guided us down Main Street. We won first prize for floats and took home fifteen dollars.

I did not like school. As a result I graduated close to the bottom of my class. The only time I applied myself was during baseball season when my grades had to be a certain level for me to play. I’ve always regretted that because I paid a terrible price for it when I went to college.

One summer I worked in a donut shop in the boardwalk in Ocean City. I saved three hundred dollars. Then I sent for my learner’s permit to learn to drive. After several futile efforts trying to persuade my brothers to teach me I took matters into my own hands. I took the car into the country myself, scraping gears all the way. The gear shift was on the floor. Breaking the law, I taught myself how to drive well enough that after three trips I felt I was prepared to take the test. I persuaded my father to go with me. I passed the driving test on my first trip.

Studying for an English course final examination in college three of us spent two nights preparing for the test. Using our class notes and copies of old exams given many semesters and years ago we felt we knew the material very well.

When we went to take the exam we were given the exact thing as one of the old exams we had studied for two nights. What was I to do? I purposely answered one question incorrectly.

As a teenager I hitch - hiked 35 miles to a baseball tryout with the Orioles. Fielding groundballs I leaned to make a play and the stitching in my old dungarees gave way from the fly and under the seat. By the end of the tryout I was taking in very serious air. When the tryout ended I was hitch - hiking back home trying desperately to conceal my southern exposure.

My favorite dog was one I could never afford to own. I always like the big chested English bulldog, but the price tag was too steep for me.

Learning to fly small planes was always a dream of mine. Finding money to pay for lessons was a problem, and the dream never came true.

Being avid campers, dictated by living on a teacher’s salary, we exposed our children to many places that many other children only read about in books. Many times, in their adult life, our children often relate back to these experiences.

As young boys we used to have corn cob battles. On Sundays, after church, we would go to a friend’s place, a huge farm, and there we would do battle. One team would be in the cow pound and the other team would be in the barn loft. After a good rain the cobs would leave brown splotches all over us. When we got home afterward our mother greeted us at the end of the back porch where we had to remove our clothes as she washed us down with a hose before she allowed us into the house.

George Johnson is a retired elementary school teacher from Prince George's County, Maryland.

He thought about Acre for two years before he finally put it in writing.Then, it took him three years, off and on, to complete it and put it in print. Being a late starter, the author completed his second book of fiction called Timber. Acre and Timber are brother and sister. Timber took him two years to complete.

At the present time, he is compiling a collection of short stories he has composed over the years. George Johnson lives in Hagerstown, Maryland with Sharon, his wife of fifty-four years.

Remember When Baseball Really Was America's Past Time?

Acre Thomas Tulley proved to be a product of his time.  In the late forties and early fifties, back before laptops and computer games, he was outside more than indoors.  He spent hours on the railroad tracks hitting cinders with a stick.  Afternoons were meant for swinging at corn cobs or having cob battles between the barn loft and the cow pound with his friends. Acre, George Johnson's debut novel, is about a boy from the heartland of America, who grows up to become baseball legend. It is a story that takes readers back to a time when family was everything, contracts were sealed with a handshake, and a man was as good as his word.

From swinging sticks at cinders, Acre grew up to hit baseballs with his bat. From the beginning, Acre Thomas Tulley set his goals high. He was still a teenager when he accomplished feats in major league baseball never achieved by any other player in the history of the game.

Keeping to his good family roots, Acre never forgot a promise he made early in his career.  But now, after achieving a legacy that will remain a benchmark for many years to come, will Acre Thomas Tulley walk away to keep that promise? Can he?