I will be the first to admit that my greatest reads in my early years were no other then the Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia. While I can tell you a great deal about dear Frodo, if I had to choose between the two, Aslan wins every single time.
As I have gotten older, my appreciation for C.S. Lewis and his books have only grown. While they aren't the longest fantasy books, the messages throughout are universal and timeless. The idea of Narnia, the talking animals, and just the adventures that the children had resonated to my core.
Today, there are two reasons for my sharing. To begin, it's the holiday season and well the White Witch will be arriving soon in my part of the world. Once snow begins to fall, I find my treks through the trails reminiscent of Narnia. With that in mind and the fact that last year while shopping I found another reminder of the world, magnifies this winter season. I have posted the picture for you to see.
For my writing, without Narnia, there would be no Luza. You can call it fan fiction if you want, but the world I created paid compliments to Lewis and to everything he shared. Even some of the characters, Aslan specifically, make an appearance if you pay close enough attention.
As the holiday season gets underway and you find yourself looking for a warm familiar read, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe might be a good choice and for those wanting a new adventure, take a look at Luza.
With school well underway, I have been busy to say the least. At night I have made a habit to read before bed. While I should be sharing more on the latest books that have caught my eye, in all honestly I have been revisiting my books for the last month or so. Going back to the beginning of September, I've been inspired by my special woman. First, I found myself revisiting my time living in Italy by reading Head over Heel by Chris Harrison. The book itself is not only a travelogue but a love story on how Chris relocated from Australia to be with his Italian love. I read the book prior to moving to Italy and then two times now since my return. All I can say is that if you truly want to understand the people and the ways of southern Italy, this is the book to read. The story encompasses the passion, love, and spirit of the Italian identity. For me this opportunity to read the book once more, made the time I had in Italy more meaningful and an experience I will cherish in the years to come.
Fittingly, after I traveled back from Puglia, I wanted to read some of my older books prior. I don't know if many authors do this, aside from the editing process, but this was a first for me. I hadn't read Swimming With Angels or Going Home since their release over four years ago. I will admit the reading was eventful. Sure I grimaced occasionally at an awkward line, word, or even typo, but I found myself intrigued with the writer who sat down and created this story. Where was I in my life when I wrote that chapter or developed those characters?
I don't know if revisiting these stories was cathartic, but personally I took so much from this reading experience. Where the writing process allowed me to work out continued grief over the loss of my twin and where I stood in that progression of time since his passing, the reading process was equally rewarding. With Christian embodying so many of my characteristics, I had a front row seat in his journey and could compare it to my own. I think in many ways, I was able to reflect and learn how to move forward in a manner that the character was unable to do.
While this is more personal than many of my blogs, I share it because I think we all should revisit a favorite book or story. There are layers of meanings for us to digest in the most juicy of tales. Even if we know the story by heart, the reader, you and I have changed in those days from the last sit down, that the experience alone might leave us forever changed.
In the days ahead, read a book from your youth or from days gone by. Who knows you might find a shift in yourself or a new appreciation for the story that you never knew.
Earlier on the radio this week, I heard the host state that fall arrived. Once Labor Day passes, at least in New Hampshire the shift away from summer is underway. Many of the tourists that blanketed our small coastline or went to their cabins in the Lakes Region, are back to school and the routines they left in June. While the weather is still warm and pleasant, the trees are telling a different story.
Some of the leaves are changing color, although they won't be glorious for several more weeks. There is a chill in the air one that we didn't notice a mere three weeks ago. Even last weekend, I was in the lake swimming. The water will remain pleasant enough until early October and then the downward spiral to winter will ensue.
Like many people I found myself busy the last month with a week vacation to Maine and then just getting ready for the pending school year. I have been with students now for three weeks and so in a way, my summer ended mid August. My summer goals of writing a new book had to be put aside for other things and so I look towards the months ahead and on when I can possibly return to those unfinished tales.
To that end, I'm grateful for the shift. While the winter is long in New Hampshire, as the seasons pass, I do look forward to the transition. I may still be out in shorts and a t-shirt, but others have already gathered up their hoodies and parkas. Whether out of habit or necessity, for them mid 60s means summer really has come to an end.
Inspired by Freddo's album, I decided to post a gallery of some of my favorite pictures the last five years. Many of these have influenced my books, whether it be specific scenes, characters, or even settings. As a rule, I like to place my books in real locations. I'll add comments on some for your enjoyment.
I have a love-hate relationship with blogging. In 2012 when I first started jfkwrites.com I blogged about grief. Specifically, how to manage grief. I then shifted to talking about different writing projects. In Italy, many of my topics were about life abroad. Now after a year back in the States, I decided it might be fun to revisit some older topics and even share some non book writings.
To that end, I am going to share the original writings before the books. Fresh out of high school I thought I would get into the film industry. It didn't pan out that way I had intended. There was a brief production assistant position for Slime Time Live, but that was the extent of my entertainment resume. I quickly shifted to military service and then educatoin. Still, I saved some of my earlier screenplays. For those avid readers you might enjoy the early writings. I am going to include in this post my third screenplay, "The Arrangement." This was a fun romantic comedy period piece I wrote for my girlfriend in 1999.
Feel free to take a look and stay tuned for more updates in the weeks ahead.
I've been meaning to do this for a few years now, ever since Freddo traveled to Italy for my two year stint living there. Freddo, "cold" in Italian, is a cousin to Luza from my young adult adventure series. He found himself throughout Europe. Here are some pictures from his travels.
In late fall of 2013, I did a series of podcasts on how to move forward after experiencing loss. The original idea behind these sessions was to share my experiences after the loss of my twin in 2006. For those that stumble across this blog, I thought I would share a link for those that might need another voice to work through their grief and loss.
Mainly so I won't lose these articles, I thought I would post some links to a series of guest columns I did for The Patch in fall of 2013. This was indirectly a promotion for Running With Vince, but also because many people thought it was time for me to share my perspective on losing my twin and how to move forward in life from that loss.
For those that haven't read Luza or Riley, the books have garnered some positive reviews and feedback. You can see for yourself on Goodreads or Amazon.com. For those that know of Readers' Favorite both books got 5 star reviews.
The three buttons posted are for Luza, Riley, and my adult orientated novel My Shenandoah Love. Read the reviews and then decide if you are ready to read these fun books.