As posted on Mudpilewood.com:
Technically a giveaway in return for reviews could be questioned as not being a giveaway, but that is the deal. I will post, to three readers, a copy of my book in return for their review. I will leave the giveaway open for two weeks.
I considered many complicated ways of holding this competition but decided simple is best.
Posted below is the first chapter of my book. The names of everyone who answer the following question will be put in a hat, (beanie) and three pulled out.
John and Sara Buggy were twins who didn’t look alike. They didn’t think or act alike either. In fact, they were complete opposites. Sara was a quiet, studious type while John was a messer who hated school and spent his days there playing practical jokes.
One blustery, grey Monday morning, they trudged their way to school, all set for another run-of-the-mill day in the tiny two-classroom building.
“Why are we walking so fast?” Sara asked John.
“I have something to do,” he replied, with the begining of a smile tugging at his mouth.
She knew that look but instead of pressing him further, concentrated on stretching her short legs to keep up with his longer stride. There was a six-inch height difference between them and while John had a head of smooth, dark brown hair, Sara was stuck with a headful of tangled red curls. This didn’t sit well with her.
“School is the oddest place because most of what we learn is pretty useless in the real world,” John was saying, as they walked through the main door.
Sara considered her answer for a moment.
“You may think you’re right but I like learning new things and it’s always so cosy in here.”
Once they were seated, Sara started to worry about what trick John was about to play on their teacher. Mrs Brown, she noticed, kept sniffing and clutching a hanky to her nose. Sara wondered if she were ill. She glanced at John who winked at her.
“Not long now,” he whispered.
“What have you done?” she hissed back.
Suddenly, Mrs Brown sneezed. John giggled. Sara turned her attention back to their teacher who sat in her chair with her nose twitching like a rabbit. She sneezed six times in succession, sending her glasses bouncing onto her desk. Eventually, she managed to stop long enough to hold her nose and shove her glasses back in place. Getting up from her desk she walked to the door and said very quickly, “Carry on with your maths.” This short statement was followed by more sneezing as she left the room.
John was given many high fives and claps on the back as his mates asked how he did it.
“A master never reveals his secrets,” he grinned.
Sara was not impressed.
“Someday Mrs Brown will get really mad at you and…”
“And what?” John demanded. “Writing a hundred lines is nothing I haven’t done before. Now, come on, it’s break time.”
Suddenly a shadow fell across his desk and Mrs Brown said, in a sharp tone, “Let’s try five hundred lines on the whiteboard today John, not on your tablet where you are a master at copy and paste. The line, I should not play pranks on the teacher, is to be written at lunchtime.”
Mrs Brown then turned to Sara adding, “And John is to do it on his own.”
“Yes, Mrs Brown,” Sara said.
At lunchtime Sara slipped back into the classroom to help her brother but found him staring at the whiteboard.
“You haven’t written many lines,” she said. Sara noticed a message written across the board – and it wasn’t in John’s handwriting.
School is a useful tool for life, John and Sara.
Sara read the words aloud and looked at John.
“I didn’t do it.The board was clean when I began and then it just appeared. It’s wrong anyway, school is stupid.”
He wiped the message away.
“Perhaps it is magic?” Sara said in a wistful tone.
“Huh, there is no such thing,” John sneered. “If there was I would click my fingers and the board would be full of lines, just like this.”
Turning to face Sara he clicked his fingers but noticed her smile fade as she pointed back to the board.
There before them, more lines of the same sentence appeared. They watched as they scrawled, with no sign of a marker, in neat, tidy rows.
Sara counted the lines.
“There are twenty rows of twenty-five lines.” She looked at John. “Did you do this? Do something else!”
“Two packets of crisps,” John shouted, then clicked his fingers and waited. Nothing happened.
Sara was busy staring at the board again. She read the message aloud.
You have enough lunch to eat in your schoolbag.
“I don’t like this. Is it a ghost? ” Sara whispered and jumped further away from the board.
John was curious and moved closer. “Rubbish! Ghosts don’t exist.”
“I wonder why it happened today?” And no sooner had she said it but the words changed and she read aloud, Today is my birthday, I am one hundred years old.
Gathering all of her courage Sara said, “Happy Birthday to you but who are you?”
I am the schoolhouse you are standing in and my name is Clearie.
“Clearie, what an awesome name!” John said.
The words on the bottom changed once more and they both read the message.
Clearie means minstrel and scholar in Irish.
Suddenly, the ringing of the bell announced the end of break and the arrival of the other children back into the room, prevented Sara and John from finding out more.
Sara did notice the last message was wiped clean before Mrs Brown arrived back to her desk but she instinctively knew it wouldn’t be the last of them.
In the meantime, there was John’s lack of lines to worry about…
What was the first message to appear on the board that was not written by either John or Sara?