Because I am headed out of the country and won’t return until Christmas Eve Eve, I wanted to extend my Merry Christmas wishes before I depart. My writing this year was directed in support of the children of Haiti. I’ve no ‘creative’ complimentary offering to extend this year. I do hope you will consider revisiting the previous two years’ offerings
I include my family as my friends, and I include my friends in my family. I have more friends than a person like me deserves to have. Each one is special.
I have written plenty on my friend and associate Alistair McKenzie, but not so much about his associate Jasmine Fontes. If you look closely at the cover of our Rosie Christmas story, you will note that the music was produced by Jasmine Fontes. Take a look at the cover for 2012’s audio book The Sixth Day available on Audible, and you will see that it was co-produced by Jasmine Fontes.
Who is Jasmine Fontes? I will not destroy the mystery except by saying that I met Jasmine in Los Angeles several years ago, and that she is a
very talented young lady who – like Alistair McKenzie – is a writer, producer, and musician … the list goes on. I could say that she is a beautiful young lady, but as beautiful as she is, her talent exceeds her beauty.
This afternoon, I received a recording from my friend and associate Alistair McKenzie, a recording of my favorite part of George Frederick Handel’s Messiah, “For Unto Us a Child Is Born.” Jasmine sings the vocal and Alistair provides the guitar background. If I said I’ve heard a more angelic voice, I’d be lying.
With Jasmine’s permission, I invite you to listen to her inspiring interpretation of Handel’s “For Unto Us a Child Is Born” from the Messiah.
Thank you, Jasmine. You have made my Christmas and the Christmas of those who listen to this a bit better.
As soon as I posted my ‘Christmas gift 2015,’ I contacted my friend and associate Alistair McKenzie. “Alistair,” I said, “would you consider reading and recording my story Rosie?” “Funny you should ask,” he replied, “I was thinking the same thing.”
If you remember, Alistair recorded the Christmas Story from Gaspar a year ago. I pushed him further. “Do you think you could write an original song to go with it?” Alistair explained how busy he was and that it might not be possible. Typical Alistair … two days later, he sent me his draft of “Promised Land.” I was knocked off my feet. He had done it again, this time, an ode to the marginalized people of the world.
Two weeks later, I am more than pleased and proud to announce that Alistair has graciously offered his reading and his song to everyone with the hope that – like Carl, the protagonist of the story – we can all make a difference.
Thanks are inadequate to my friend Alistair. He is indeed my friend and the most talented and creative person I am privileged to know.
Follow this link or click on the picture to the ‘complementary offerings’ page and scroll down to the Rosie audio. You will be glad you did. Speaking for me and for Alistair, Carl and Rosie
Each year, I offer a story to our subscribers and readers to thank you for your continued support throughout the year. I wrote this year’s story – Rosie, a Tale of Redemption – for my friend Jane Park Smith’s dog anthology, which she expects to publish in 2016. She graciously allows me to share the story on E.S. Kraay Online as my 2015 Christmas gift. Thank you, Jane.
I write stories. All are fiction woven around a truth that I hold with great conviction. Four of my six novels are historical, that is they are told within the context of events that actually occurred: the ancient Olympic Games; the Holocaust; the Civil War; the Roman Empire. The other two novels contain kernels of autobiographical truths, though I’ll not disclose the fact from the fiction.
I believe dog is man’s best friend, and that is the core conviction of Rosie. I believe dogs are so pure that I originally wrote The Sixth Day as ‘God’s only mistake,’ my belief that God created man because animals weren’t quite good enough. I softened the message and told The Sixth Day as ‘the day God almost quit.’
Rosie is a work of fiction. It is based, however on a story my friend has told me many times, the story of how his little dog saved his life, physically, mentally and emotionally. It is a story worth telling constructed around those kernels of truth that my friend has shared with others and with me. I have told the story in my own, fictionalized way with his permission. Thank you, Carl.
I hope you find value in this short story. Thank you for your support since the first words to The Olympian flowed from my pen in 2002, “I was 12-years old when my father took me to my first Olympic Games ….”
One of the highlights of my year occurred in early January when my friend Father Paul asked if I would read the nativity sequence from my novel Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ at the Sunday Masses on Epiphany weekend. Somewhat reluctant and embarrassed, I asked my friend and associate, actor, writer, musician Alistair McKenzie if he would come to Tucson from LA for the weekend to do it. He graciously agreed.
As I relate the experience, I tell people, “I was sitting in the front row for three of Alistair’s readings. I wrote the thing and I knew what was coming, but Alistair’s presentation forced me to choke back huge, emotional tears.”
As we embark on this season of peace, joy and love, I am reminded of what Christmas is really about. I invite you to re-visit Alistair’s incredible reading to remind you of how and where this all began. Click the link and scroll down to “The Christmas Story Audio.”
On this winter solstice – the longest night of the year – I think of the birth of light and how it grows to envelope the Earth and everything that is a part of creation. I will contemplate on that light every day this week as we approach Christmas Day. As I do, I will smile as I reflect on Alistair McKenzie’s song We All Know.