Yesterday, I received an email from an old friend and teammate, gentleman Sean Riley. He just completed reading Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ. When I get back home, I will add his comments to the “What They’re Saying” page. Sean recalled a few years back when I started writing Gaspar that I put the nativity sequence up on the website as a download. He asked for a copy so he could read it to his grandkids on Christmas Eve.
With thanks to all the people who have taken time to comment and review my work since The Olympian was published in 2008, I have to admit that Sean’s request means more to me than any I’ve received.
Every Christmas, I try to put up a free download on my websites as a gesture of my appreciation for the support and inspiration I get from readers and subscribers of my websites and of my novels. Two years ago, I put up the draft of the nativity sequence from Gaspar. I titled the nativity sequence The Star, which is the title of the chapter from which I take it. In December 2012, I wrote that I expected the book to be out by December 2013. I was only a year off!
This year, I have decided to offer the final version of the nativity sequence as it appears in the final version of the book published in August 2014. Sean’s email came when we had already made the decision to offer The Christmas Story from Gaspar as this year’s appreciation gift.
As I was preparing the short manuscript for download, I had another wild idea. I called my friend and business associate Alistair McKenzie in Los Angeles. Alistair produced the audio books for The Sixth Day, A 17,175-Word Novella About Creation and Prizefighting and The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas. He also wrote and performed the song We Pray for Light, which will undoubtedly be featured in The Sixth Day film – working title Third Man – if we get lucky and see it to fruition. I asked Alistair if he would consider reading the sequence and producing a short audio. He agreed. I pushed the envelope and asked him if he would consider writing a Christmas song to accompany the reading. Within a few days, he sent me his draft, an amazing original song tentatively titled We All Know.
When I told my friend Father Paul Coury at the Redemptorist Center what I was up to, he encouraged me to ‘witness’ why I wrote Gaspar and to read the sequence and play Alistair’s song at all three Masses over Epiphany weekend, January 3 and 4, 2015. I thought about it and called Alistair to discuss it. With little hesitation, Alistair McKenzie agreed to come to Tucson and read The Christmas Story from Gaspar at Our Lady of the Desert Church at the Redemptorist Center over Epiphany weekend. More on that later.
This is my initial announcement that this special gift – a PDF download of Gaspar’s Christmas Story, Alistair’s audio production and accompanying Christmas song – will be available for download at no charge later this month. Please look for it and spread the ‘good news.’ As much as I want to say this is my gift to you, I know it is as much a product of Alistair McKenzie’s generous and creative heart. More to follow soon …..