Cold Rock River by Jackie Lee Miles

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Cumberland House Publishing (October 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1581826680
ISBN-13: 978-1581826685

About the book:

In 1963 rural Georgia, with the Vietnam War cranking up, pregnant, seventeen-year-old Adie Jenkins discovers the diary of pregnant, seventeen-year-old Tempe Jordan, a slave girl, circa 1963, with the Civil War well under way.

Here is an excerpt, to give you a small taste of the book:

I was five that spring Annie choked on a jelly bean. She was twenty months old—she wasn’t supposed to have any. Mama made that quite clear. Sadly, I wasn’t a child that minded well, so I gave Annie one anyway. I figured she ought to taste how good they were. I figured wrong.

Annie choked bad on that jelly bean and Mama wasn’t home—she’d gone to Calhoun to sell her prized jams; sold twelve jars of her double-lemon marmalade. Imagine that; there’s Mama, waving folks over to get a sample of her jam—selling her heart out—and all the while Annie’s choking to death.

My pa slapped Annie on her back. Pa had hands the size of skillets. It didn’t do any good; might have made it worse. Annie stopped making the sucking sounds she made when her face changed colors, and her body went limp, and her pretty blue eyes just rolled up and disappeared right inside her cute little head.

My older sisters, Rebecca and Clarissa—twin girls Mama had two years before she had me—got on their knees and prayed like a preacher. I didn’t get on my knees. I watched Pa beat on Annie instead. It was more interesting.

“She can’t die,” I said. “She’s in our family.”

“Oh hush, you ninny,” Rebecca said. “You don’t know nothing.”

“Call an ambulance, Rebecca!” Pa shouted.

Rebecca dialed zero for the operator on the big black phone and tried to explain where Route 3, Box 949 was.

“It’s in Cold Rock, but it’s not on a street, ma’am,” she said. “It’s on a route! Ain’t you ever heard of a route? Who hired you anyway?”

Pa heard it all and realized help was not coming anytime soon. His eyes were crazed as a horse that’s been spooked by a snake. It scared me plenty. I dropped to my knees.

“Pleasegodpleasegodpleasegodpleasegod. . .” I chanted sing-song.

Pa stuck his thumb backwards down Annie’s throat and choked her worse. But, what do you know? That jelly bean popped right up out of her mouth! Annie started coughing real hard and crying. Pa hugged her to his chest and patted her softly on the back—like she was a China doll and would break—which I thought was very strange, seeing as he nearly pounded her to death when she was choking.

We found out later what Pa did is the worst thing to do if someone’s choking. Pa didn’t know that. He did what he thought he had to, and it saved Annie’s life. When Mama got home she hugged every one of us and said, “Well, sometimes the worst thing turns out to be the best thing.”

Too bad it didn’t work out like that the next time Annie needed help.

About the author:

J.L. (Jackie Lee) Miles, a resident of Georgia since 1975, hails from Wisconsin via South Dakota. She considers herself "a northern girl with a southern heart." Her paternal grandfather was christened Grant Lee by her great-grandmother in honor of the many fallen soldiers on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Ms. Miles is a former D.I.A.L. Systems Engineer for Baker/Audio Telecom, one of the premier forerunners of voice mail. In addition to systems application, she provided voice tracks for several major companies, including Delta Airlines and Frito-Lay Corporation.

COLD ROCK RIVER VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on October 1 and end on October 30. You can visit J.L.'s blog stops at in October to find out more about her latest book!
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