Friday, May 17, 2019

"Free Pizza" by G. C. McRae

Free Pizza
by G. C. McRae

Free Pizza by G. C. McRae

Free Pizza by G. C. McRae is currently on tour with iRead Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Brian McSpadden is always hungry. Does he have a disease? Worms? Does it have something to do with his being adopted? He spends his days at his crazy friend Danny’s house, hoping for snacks, but nothing seems to fill the void.
Then Brian receives a mysterious birthday card that says Free Pizza. He soon discovers the card has nothing to do with food and everything to do with the big questions in his life: where did I come from, why did my mother give me up and is there anyone out there who will like me the way I am?

As soon as he was in the door, the boys came tearing out of their room and went for the hugs and their daddy time. That meant that as soon as he sat down in the kitchen, they climbed up onto his lap and hijacked his first half an hour at home. Today they got to him down in the landing, before he had his shoes off.
“We went to the doctor!” Kyle announced.
I was way too antsy to sit there. So I got up and went around into the kitchen and slouched in Mom’s chair to listen.
“I know,” Dad said. “Are you all right?”
Mom was at the kitchen counter. “Oooh, I’ve had a day of it. It was a complete waste of time. We already knew it isn’t allergies.”
“No? What is it, then?”
“He doesn’t know. He’s sending Kyle for more tests. To a nose specialist. They got us in next Monday. At least we don’t have to wait too long.”
“So what’s wrong with him?” Dad came up into the kitchen. He pushed through the boys and went straight to the fridge for his after-work beer. Whenever he took his hat off after work, he always had a piece of his white hair sticking out in some weird direction. He never noticed and he never cared. Today, it was a bunch of jagged spikes veering off to the left.
“They have to do a scope thing up in his sinuses or whatever. Polyps. He might have polyps. That’s what’s making his nose run.”
It was Kyle’s turn to interject. “I got plops, Daddy!”
Dad laughed.
“Paul-ips,” Mom corrected him. “Like Saint Paul?”
There was silence in the kitchen, as if no one knew what she was talking about.
Dad cracked his beer and sat down opposite me. The boys piled onto his lap. Out of habit, Dad tried to keep Kyle’s nose away from the white shirt of his security guard uniform. “So what do they do about ’em?”
“Well,” Mom huffed, furious, “he wasn’t going to do anything! Ten months of this nonsense. With the drugstore full of things we could use? Then he says, oh no, not till after we see the specialist. I got so angry! I told him I wasn’t leaving without a prescription.”
“Then we stood in line forever. It’s a spray.”
“It goes up here!”
“Kyle, get your finger out of there.”
“Did it hurt?”
“No. Yes! But it tickled.”
“Did you ask about Jayden’s tummy pains?”
Jayden had been having stomach troubles on and off for the last couple of weeks.
“Oh, he poked him in the side and looked down his throat. Then he says, ‘It’s probably gas or growing pains.’ I swear we need a new doctor. All morning, for what?”
“That’s too bad.”
“That’s not the half of it,” Mom said.
“I asked Dr. Tan how Kyle could have gotten these polyps things—if that’s what he has. You know what he said?”
“He asked if there was dust or cobwebs or dirty carpets in our house. I was so insulted. Of course not, I told him. I clean every day. Their clothes are spotless. And my house is immaculate. And you know what he says?”
“He says, ‘Well, perhaps your house is too clean.’ Can you imagine? I just about packed up the kids and walked right out of there.”
Jayden decided to steer the conversation back to hilarity. “And Kyle’s got pull-ups in his nose!”
“That’s nice,” Dad said. Then to Mom: “I imagine you were upset.”
“Oh, like I said, that’s not the half of my day. You have to hear about Brian.”
That got me out of my slouch in a hurry.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“This story covers a myriad of situations that a child or teenager might experience and would give them a character to relate to if they read this book. It might spur some conversations between parents and their children.” ~ StoreyBook Reviews
Free Pizza is a humorous - yet real - look at the family and life of a 12-year-old. The author really did a great job telling this story from the viewpoint of a 12-year-old boy. […] McRae keeps readers interested from start to finish. I settled into the story immediately. I loved the author's writing style and the pace of his story. […] I think this is an excellent read for older elementary aged students or middle school readers.” ~ Angela
Free Pizza is a charming, wholesome and amusing story about a very typical 12 year old boy. I immediately felt as if Brian could be any 12 year old boy that I had known, always hungry, trying to do his best, but somehow keeps getting in trouble. […] Between Brian's family, his birth mother's family and Danny's family, the fact that there is no normal is really highlighted. Each of these families are unique and a little crazy in their own way, but all of them share love and acceptance.” ~ Stephanie
“I thought it was a pretty good read that will keep the reader laughing out loud and, also, learn some very valuable life lessons. I recommend it. I would love to read more like this one by G. C. McRae in the future. I look forward to reading more by him.” ~ Amy C
“This story is well-written, with humor, action adventure and mystery included within its pages.” ~ LAWonder10

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
“My story is completely weird. It’s all about potatoes and snot and people falling out of trees. It’s about stamps and boobs and it even has a farmer from Alpha Centauri. […] My story has almost nothing to do with pizza, tragically. It’s mostly about me getting to meet my birth mom …” So begins the story of Brian McSpadden, whose birth mother makes contact with him on his twelfth birthday. His aunt gives him a strangely prophetic card saying Free Pizza, but it’s not what he was expecting. Neither is anything else, for that matter, as he spends the holidays pursuing crazy adventures with his friend Danny.
Our narrator has a great voice, full of irreverent humor and astute observations. He keeps the reader engrossed by foreshadowing events to come. The book is full of quirky characters. Unfortunately, I didn’t like any of them. Danny no redeeming qualities. Actually, neither does anyone else. The parents are all hopeless, the kids annoying and uncaring, and Danny’s mother is especially obnoxious. That I kept reading is a testament to the author’s writing. The book is a bit long for the target middle grade audience, with each scene being overly lengthy. Then, when the main story finally wraps up, we get nearly another year’s worth of story in just two chapters. There is just too much going on, in general. The author covers a range of heavy themes, including adoption, teen pregnancy, disability, stalking, bullying, home-schooling, hoarding, mental illness, embezzlement, robbery, breaking and entering, lying, assault, pedophilia, arson, foster care, and bad parenting. These are dealt with in a light-hearted manner and may serve as a starting point for conversations on these topics with your children. I understand the author has gone through numerous revisions of this book, which is semi-autobiographical. He might have been better off writing a number of shorter chapter books, each focusing on one topic.
Warnings: bad behavior by kids and adults alike.

Some of My Favorite Lines
“I’m a stranger who got made by strangers and the only instruction book that came with me was in a foreign language.”
“I tried getting a crowbar of words back into the conversation, to pry it open so I could defend myself, but she wouldn’t budge.”
“I wasn’t sure how I could hate myself any more than I already did, but hey, I had the whole night to try.”
“She ain’t got a maternal bone in her body. She likes her books. That’s her thing.”

Guest Post by the Author
Autobiography versus Fiction
I didn’t realize how much my own writing was at root autobiography until I started visiting schools and kids started asking me pointed questions. “Is there a real place like that?” a small girl asked after I’d read her class a fairy tale. It took me a second to fish for the answer. “Yes,” I admitted. “It’s in my back yard.”
On my way home, I went over the landscape of my most recent novel. The house where I grew up, check. My great aunt’s farm, check. A story told to me by a rough-looking farmer I met at the county dump, check. After a while, I started wondering, had I actually written anything original? Something that wasn’t rooted in my own time and place, my relatives, friends, acquaintances, and all the stories they’d told me over the years?
As a young writer, I tried to hide my origins, pretend I was born into the world of wood-paneled private libraries where geniuses in smoking jackets stood around exchanging witticisms over their cigars and single malt whiskeys. My first short stories, inspired by events in my own life, felt like slumming. It wasn’t until I had kids of my own that realized, no, this was my world, my only world. And the longer I lived in it, the more I saw the stories that were unique to it, the things that no one else would know how to write.
When I came to write the first drafts of Free Pizza, back when I was 25, I tried to stay close to my origins for the simple reason that I already had more than enough to contend with. Learning to write novels involves so many unfamiliar tasks, choosing to write about a world I knew was analogous to clinging to the side the pool, knowing there was ten feet of drownable water below me. It took 35 years and writing many other successful books, to finally let go of the side. By then, I had enough writing skill that I could pick and choose events and characters by pure invention, from research, or from my own life - according to the needs of the story. And that’s the place every writer wants to be: at the helm of their story, in control, and not blown around by laziness, lack of skill, or that devil that never seems to give a writer any peace: nostalgia.

About the Author
G. C. McRae
G. C. McRae is the bestselling author of two young adult novels, three illustrated children's books and a collection of original fairy tales. His writing is fall-down funny, even when the theme is darker than a coal-miner’s cough. McRae reads to anybody at any time, in person or online, for free, which probably explains why he meets so many people and sells so many books.
In his latest work, Free Pizza, McRae spins the highly emotional themes from his decidedly unfunny childhood into a brilliantly comic yarn. After being given up for adoption by his teenage mom back when single girls were forced to hide unplanned pregnancies, his adoptive parents didn’t exactly keep him under the stairs but, well, let's just say, there were spiders.
A lot has changed since then. McRae’s own children have now grown, and he runs a small farm with his wife, who is herself an award-winning writer.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three $20 Amazon gift card and a print copy of Free Pizza by G. C. McRae OR one of two print copies OR one of ten ebook copies (US/Canada only).

Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)

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