First Sight Now Available on Amazon.com

After a decade of writing, editing, procrastinating, and working on other things, James Curtis has finally published his debut novel, First Sight. Available now on Amazon.com, and soon on Apple iTunes/iBooks as well as BarnesandNoble.com, the novel is the first of a long-planned trilogy (or more) called “The Kerr Chronicles.” Each novel follows the First-Sight-COVER-KDP-BlogKerr clan through a decade of life, love, mystery, and conflict. First Sight is set in the 1920s and has a rich backdrop on which to unfold the drama of lives which are not always as they appear.

While a fictional work, the author interweaves personality types encountered in a lifetime of exposure to ecclesiastical superstars as well as historical figures like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other key prominent people of the era. The soaring fortunes of Wall Street – and its dramatic crash at the end of the decade – make for a compelling context.

Some may believe that I am the eyes, ears, and voice of the narrator, John Knox Kerr, but alas I am not. I actually identify more with other characters in the novel. But I feel as though I have met Kerr – and other key figures – outside the pages of fiction. While the characters are certainly composite personalities at best, they come to life in First Sight.

As New York Times bestselling author, Ron Brackin, generously observed, this is “A historical novel set in the glamour and gluttony of the years preceding the Great Crash, First Sight is not your typical seamy/steamy, Roaring Twenties, Tommy-gun rattling pub-crawl. It is a love story with a Hitchcockian twist, that would be kinky were Hollywood telling the story, but which, despite its inner conflicts (or perhaps because of them) is delightfully dignified and uncomfortably human.”

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The Resurrection Changes Everything

Adrian Warnock, a physician/psychiatrist/charismatic leader/preacher from London, writes:

“The credit of Jesus’ righteousness is much larger than the debt of our sin. His account had more positive approval than the negative disapproval that was due to all of us. The debt was paid, and as a result, as a righteous man and the beloved Son of God, the Father was entirely just to raise him. Jesus had turned away God’s wrath, he had destroyed our sin, our guilt could now be taken away, and we could be counted righteous. If the cross was Jesus’ payment for our sins, then the resurrection marked God’s acceptance of that payment.”

Just how good was Jesus? Perfect covers a vast multitude of sin. Thank God!

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Walt was on to something

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Happy St. Patrick Valentine’s Day No. 25!

Twenty-five years ago today the Killion family celebrated its first St. Patrick Valentine’s Day . . . a make-good for moving a company and transitioning business while trying to survive on St. Valentine’s Day, 1986. So much water has passed under the old Irish bridge in those 25 years . . . and to two wonderful daughters we’ve added a terrific son-in-law and two grandchildren who are the best on the planet.

What’s missed most is my “old Irish father.” How we all miss him.

Celebrate with us the grace of God through it all.

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Dylan Thomas & Mike Breen: Together @ Last

FERN HILL
Dylan Thomas

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

AFFIRMATION & ATTENTION
Mike Breen

Our Identity has to come from somewhere outside of us. And it can be easy to seek the approval of others in lots of ways and let what they say dictate how we see ourselves…as either someone who is worth something or someone who isn’t. So instead of resting and being confidant as our Father’s child, which is an unshakable reality…we look for quick hits of Affirmation. There are plenty of ways we do this. Asking someone what they think of us when we already know the response, putting ourselves in places only so they praise us, doing something for the sole reason of someone saying we did a good job or to think we’re someone special. It creeps up everywhere in our lives.

Posted in Character, Honest Reflections, Honesty & Candor, Spiritual Journey | 1 Comment

The heartbeat of the Old South.

William Faulkner, marvelously complex and yet relentlessly simple at the same time, was a master of observation and melancholy. The haunting paragraph that opens the second chapter (“June second 1910”) of The Sound and the Fury lingers in the fog of the hours:

“When the shadow of the sash appeared on the curtains it was between seven and eight o’clock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch. It was Grandfather’s and when Father gave it to me he said, ‘I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it’s rather excruciatingly apt that you will use it to gain the reducto absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs no better than it fitted his or his father’s. I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won,’ he said. ‘They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.'”

Posted in Honest Reflections, Literature | 1 Comment

Quiet Cal ran deep.

President Calvin Coolidge was known for being a man of few words. The story is told of a Sunday when Mrs. Coolidge was ill and the President went to church alone. Upon returning from the service, Mrs. Coolidge is said to have asked her husband, “What did the pastor talk about today?”

“Sin,” replied Mr. Coolidge.

“What did he say about it?” inquired Mrs. Coolidge.

“He was against it,” said her husband.

Well, quiet Cal did have something profound to say now and again. To whit, I offer the following:

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”

Amen.

Posted in Politics, Values | 1 Comment

Delicious and refreshing.

Sometimes you need to cut some holes in your work to bring in more light.

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The sign of good taste.

The following FoxNews story was picked up by the AP and appears in multiple newspapers across America.

SAN FRANCISCO — A vintage Coca-Cola sign decorating the side of a San Francisco house is falling flat with some residents.

City officials say the painted sign in the Bernal Heights neighborhood violates anti-billboard laws and must come down.

And that’s not the only offensive thing about Richard Modolo’s sign. Some residents also want it removed, saying it promotes obesity by advertising a sugary drink.

Supporters of the sign, which may date back to the 1930s, argue that it’s a relic from the neighborhood’s working-class past.

_____________________

Well, I suppose this is just the latest sign that the crazy folks in San Francisco are still smoking a little too much pot, even though legalization failed. But, one can only wonder if a cannabis leaf painted on the side of a house would even be noticed. Perhaps the most amusing part of the whole brouhaha is the assertion that the mere presence of a vintage Coca-Cola advertisement will produce more obesity in the crazy citizens by the Bay.

So I did a little research. You can do that without leaving your computer, you know. So here’s my research-fueled quiz.

Which has more grams of sugar:

  • The 6.5 ounce bottle of Coke the woman is quaffing
  • A red delicious apple
  • A navel orange

If you picked Orange, you’re right. The Coke has the fewest grams of sugar of the three. Maybe they should ban fruits from San Francisco. Oops, no, what have I said. That would be totally culturally insensitive.

Oh, well, as the good folks in Atlanta first suggested in the less combative times of 1979, have a Coke and a smile.

Posted in Humor, Memories | 1 Comment

Super Bowl Memories

I’ll never forget the first Super Bowl game I attended: XXVII at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena (1993). It created great memories, first and foremost because I was able to take my Dad. He and I, my business partner at the time, and a client/friend had seats about one-third of the way up the stands – exactly on the 50 yard line. It was an unbelievable experience, starting with all the free food and gimmes we got at NFL pregame parties that weekend and at the Rose Bowl – all part of an amazingly affordable American Express Platinum package. Among a plethora of NFL stars we met and talked with at a Beverly Hills reception, my dominant memory is of Gale Sayers. He was gracious, quietly affable, and not getting the level of attention he deserved. He didn’t complain, even as he stood waiting for his car from valet parking. Not special valet, but the one we all used. Still have an autographed football with his signature and many others. Only Joe Namath played the recalcitrant egotist.

The Cowboys were all over the Buffalo Bills, blowing them away early en route to a 52-17 victory. Troy Aikman began his march to the Pro Football Hall of Fame with a great performance, completing 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for 28 yards. Forgotten piece of trivia: O.J. Simpson performed the coin toss. More memorable bit of triva: Michael Jackson, the halftime entertainment, ushered in the era of the over-the-top Super Bowl halftime shows. Watching them setup and tear down between commercials was incredible. Amazing show.

My next Super Bowl was the contest – well, at least it was supposed to be a contest – between the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers in Miami (1995). The weather was Miami balmy, the game entertaining for the first half, and my seats not nearly as good. A late purchase, their point of interest was that we were surrounded by families of many of the players. No, they weren’t close to the 50 yard line. Again we took an important client along with senior vp of KMA, Butch Maltby. A three-day cruise with transportation to and from Joe Robbie Stadium (as it was then called) turned out to be the most cost effective way to handle accommodations and food. It was fabulous. We spent a good deal of time talking around the table with the Dallas Cowboys’ director of scouting, Larry Lacewell, and his wife. The only difference was that he and his wife sat in a box with Jerry Jones for the game. We met up again after the game for a lavish buffet in the open air upper deck of our cruise ship. To the relaxing beat of a steel drum band, we lived the high life into the night after the game. Great fun for all, especially Kathi and me. 49ers won easily, 49-26.

That brings us to the great sleet, ice, snow and howling subzero windchills of Super Bowl XLV. Right here in the Metroplex. No, I don’t have tickets to this one. Nor do I have clients expecting me to make their day. I’m just glad that the rolling blackouts have not hit our home yet. And while I’m not excited about going to the game, I am excited by the prospects that we will be able to get out of the house by the day of the game. The frigid temperatures and the frozen, icy, slick streets of the neighborhood have us watching life from a recliner. Not quite the same experience or level of exhilaration as one gets at a Super Bowl.

My one great satisfaction of Super Bowl XLV is the dramatic proof that Jerry Jones is not God. Let’s just hope that Jerry World doesn’t get clobbered by excess humidity or some other oddity that will make the game a sliding affair. For what it’s worth, I’m pulling for the Packers all the way. Tough call for a Cowboy fan, given the rivalries and disappointments we’ve experienced at the hands of the Steelers and the Packers. But, all the fun notwithstanding, it is just a game: a diversion for a nation that has made diversions its national priority.

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