Tag Archives: Books

Old books can be the best books

If you’ve read my other posts, you might already know I have an affinity for books over other mediums for story-telling. I particularly like hardcovers, but it’s not a requirement for me to read it. The allure is simply having the paper in my hands. I’m not much of a collector of anything anymore, but I will occasionally pick up a book to add to my small pile of stories I like to read now and then.

I am in possession of several books that belonged to my Great-Grandmother. As a child, I remember at her house a literal floor to ceiling built-in book shelf that towered over the console television in her living room. It was full of old tomes from her childhood up to mine. Some were leather bound and well-worn. Some were newer books with modern dust jackets. Some were small paperbacks. It contained a full works of Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe to The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew for young readers. One day, as an adult, I started thumbing through a few of the ones I still have and discovered something I didn’t remember seeing before.

She had gone through and written her name in some of them. Some were inscribed to her from friends. Some were inscribed to others in the family and some were inscribed by the authors themselves. How could I have missed this before? How could I not have noticed this in all those years as a little boy looking through books I couldn’t even read yet? Suddenly that dusty old volume had a new point of interest. Who owned it before? Who was it a gift from? Not all of them had it but some did. Now it became a hunt to see how many I could find.

This book was a gift to my Great-Grandmother from her long-time family doctor’s wife, who also happened to be her backyard neighbor.

I found quite a few with names I didn’t recognize, or from people she must have known that I’ve now forgotten. Some are from relatives who passed long before me. One of my personal favorites is depicted below. The book is called Poems of the South by Col William Lightfoot Visscher. When I cracked this book open, I was amazed at what I found. It was a trove of its own history.

Inside the cover was an index-like card containing a quote dated June 19, 1923 by Frank Murray that reads “Judicious silence is much better than truth spoken without charity”. The handwriting, after comparison with other writings, belongs to my 2nd Great-Grandfather John Baskerville. On the next blank page inside the cover is an inscription from him to his son, my Great-Grandfather, Jim Baskerville. The on the opposite page is an inscription to John from the author himself, whom he refers to as “Col Visch”.

Inside cover inscription written by my 2nd Great-Grandfather, John Baskerville
Poems of the South and Other Verse by Col William Lightfoot Visscher. The author’s inscription reads: My Dear John Baskerville, I would not fear to wager something valuable that you can find times in this book that will clutch at your old Virginia heart. This because I wrote them from a heart that warms at the thought of the dear old south of the day, when you and I were young. Anyhow, I send you the book with the best wishes that I have on tap, and at this writing the memory of pleasant hours in your company, being of unusual congeniality. Cordially, Wm. Lightfoot Visscher, Chicago, January 1, 1922.
Author’s obituary, dated February 11th, 1924

It seems they were friends at some time and must have had a journey together, or at the least, they were more than just a passing acquaintance. The penmanship of the author is exquisite and his words flow right off the page. I can almost hear the Kentucky drawl he undoubtedly had while I read it. People don’t talk (or write) like that much anymore. It wasn’t until months after finding the inscriptions in the front that I found the author’s obituary in the back, which for me, painted the rest of a story I might not otherwise have ever known.

Last month I had the pleasure to meet Mrs. Lynne Tolley. Her name may not strike a bell, but I can promise you her famous uncle’s does. She came to speak at a luncheon about him and her experience being related to the most famous whiskey-maker in the world, Mr. Jack Daniel. She is his Great-Grandniece and still works at the Jack Daniel distillery, about 20 miles from where I am now sitting. While having lunch with her, we talked about all sorts of things before the subject turned to family heirlooms. I assumed being in the position she was in the Daniel lineage, she would have some significant items. I was right about that.

Among the many things she has that passed down from him through the family, one particular item stood out to me. She has a first edition of Ben-Hur, published in 1880 written by Lew Wallace. That alone is a valuable item, however, what else was in it makes it even more valuable and unique. Jack Daniel inscribed his copy with his signature in four different places in the book, as well as some other notes. It’s obvious by his note in the back cover it was valuable to him as well.

Ben-Hur First Edition, owned by Jack Daniel. Photo courtesy of Lynne Tolley.
Ben-Hur First Edition, owned by Jack Daniel. Photo courtesy of Lynne Tolley.
Inside cover inscription. I love the way he talks about the day. He must have really liked this book! Ben-Hur First Edition, owned by Jack Daniel. Photo courtesy of Lynne Tolley.
Rear cover inscription. Ben-Hur First Edition, owned by Jack Daniel. Photo courtesy of Lynne Tolley.

Next time you see an old book laying around, don’t judge it by the cover. Take a look inside. It may have more of a story to tell than just the title on the binding.

Welcome to the home of LSR Books!

Thank you for visiting my page. I’m grateful you’re here. This blog is a large first step toward the realization of my lifelong goal to become a published author. That goal grows nearer by the day!

Here you’ll find several creative outlets I enjoy; writing, drawing, music, books, and the occasional rant. I have several stories outlined and at various stages of completion. I also post a ‘Sketch of the Day’ when I can sit down to draw, and an occasional glimpse into my favorite musical artists.

Below is a list of stories in-progress that you’ll find on this site. If you’d like to read more about them, click on the image or the cover within the heading to go to that page. Thanks again for stopping by. If you’d like to keep up with my antics, I’d be grateful if you’d follow me by entering your email at the bottom of this page. I’d also love to hear from you, so feel free to drop a comment or a message any time. For now, sit back and enjoy these previews of what goes on in my mind!

Debut Novel – Code Name: Augustine

My first book is planned to release in late spring of 2022, titled Code Name: Augustine. It’s a Revolutionary War-era historical-fiction adventure based on the true story of Sergeant Major John Champe and his attempt to capture the traitor Benedict Arnold.

Currier and Ives publication of the escape of Sergeant Champe at the request of George Washington to retake Benedict Arnold from New York.

The idea first came to me when I read Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade. In it, he mentions a plot hatched by George Washington for a continental soldier to defect and get close to Arnold so he could capture and return him for trial. I was fascinated with the idea and astonished no one else had written anything about it. Over the last few years, I’ve been researching and writing on it, and am happy to announce it is almost ready for publication. This book is a labor of love and I cannot wait to share it with you.

Due in late Spring 2021!

cover updated
Cover design

“What do you think would be my fate if my misguided countrymen were to take me prisoner?”
—Benedict Arnold, 1781

Reportedly asked to a captured captain from the Colonial Army, as quoted in The Picturesque Hudson (1915) by Clifton Johnson; the captain is said to have replied, “They would cut off the leg that was wounded at Saratoga and bury it with the honors of war, and the rest of you they would hang on a gibbet.”

Other stories in progress

The Man in Cell 41

This horror novel is set in the early 1960s, and tells the story of Dean Talbot and a family curse he cannot escape. Accused of a murder he’s not sure he committed and sentenced to prison on Alcatraz Island, Dean finds himself facing a supernatural foe he never dreamed could exist, and that he’s connected to it in an unimaginable way!

Click the cover to read more and see my self-produced book trailer.

The Man in Cell 41
Cover art

Star Wars: Lifeboat – A Fan Fiction

Another labor of love. I’m a huge Star Wars nerd.

Set at the end of Return of the Jedi, Lifeboat tells the story of a group of Imperial survivors after the fall of the Empire. One carries a grudge, another carries a secret, and they all carry the scars of galactic civil war. They hurtle towards a destiny none of them could fathom aboard the deceased Emperor Palpatine’s shuttle; their life boat.

Cover art

Star Wars: Lifeboat – Part I

Star Wars: Lifeboat – Part II

Star Wars: Lifeboat – Part III

Star Wars: Lifeboat – Part IV

Star Wars: Lifeboat – Part V

Star Wars: Lifeboat – Part VI … coming soon!

As this is a work of Star Wars fan fiction, I do not own or claim any rights to this story as mine or my idea. No printed copies will ever exist, and is available for free to read on this website for entertainment purposes only. Click the links above to start the story.

H.A.M.R.s (working title)

In the year 2307, man-kind faces extinction at the iron hands of their own mechanical creation, until a divine savior comes to their rescue. Click the picture below for a full outline of the story.

Fear, Itself (working title)

Set during the early 17th century witch trials of colonial America, a young boy discovers a dark secret within his humble home, but can’t tell anyone about it without casting suspicion of witchcraft on his family. He would soon discover the secret isn’t such a secret after all, and his family’s lives are all in danger from an unimaginable evil!

The Crimson King

In a time of medieval plague and strife, an unlikely hero sets into motion a chain of events to resurrect the legendary Crimson King, a monarch of ancient myth prophesied to save the kingdom in her darkest hour. However, many in the realm do not desire the return of the king and race to stop the prophecy from being fulfilled. This fantasy thriller is based on the music and lyrics of the 60’s progressive-rock band, King Crimson.

The Book of the Damned (working title)

During the Black Plague of the 1300’s, a disgraced English Nobleman returns from a long exile with an ancient and magical book of alchemy to exact revenge on the man who exiled him, King Edward III. He discovers an unlikely ally in 12-year-old Alice, and that his mystical book can give him a supernatural army to carry out his plan.

Scottish Knight Sir Dannag McColl is trying to find his place among the hostile English nobles at Edward’s court. Disliked and mistrusted by them because of his father’s traitorous legacy, Sir Dannag accepts a task that no one else at court wants: to investigate reports of a sickness in the village of Weymouth believed to be caused by witchcraft. Accompanied by a disgraced court physician and an ale-brewing friar, the trio embark into a dark world of betrayal, revenge, and witchcraft that will push them to the limits of sanity.

Down to the Crossroads: The Legend of Robert Johnson

Legendary bluesman Robert Johnson is a musician wrapped in mystery. It is said that one night, after being run off from a juke joint, Johnson took his guitar to a south Mississippi crossroads and there met Lucifer, the devil himself. Legend says he traded his soul to become the greatest blues player in the world. The devil tuned and played a bit on his guitar, granting Johnson’s wish and the rest is history.

One of the two known photos of Robert Johnson. This portrait was taken by the Hooks Bros. Photography Company in Memphis, Tenn., circa 1935.

Being a blues fan myself, Johnson’s story is fascinating to me and I’ve always wanted to write about it. One day, an outline came to me out of the blue (pun intended) for a different take on the legend of the man many consider to be the godfather of rock-n-roll. I’m looking forward to penning this historical fiction piece about love, danger, betrayal, music and a little bit of the supernatural and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Dear Satan Claus: A Christmas Comedy

Every 1,000 years, God challenges Lucifer with some menial earthly task for the chance to redeem his fallen son. God hopes above all hope that if Lucifer would see it through to completion, that he will be welcome back to Heaven with open arms.

Since his fall at the dawn of time, Lucifer has yet to complete one of these tasks. He finds them boring and mundane, and he’s not really sure he wants to go back to Heaven. But this time, the Devil will be handed the most challenging task God has ever charged him with: working at the Post Office on Christmas.

Colleen Critchlow is about to lose her job. In her decade with the United States Postal Service, her dyslexia has led to countless sorting errors and undelivered packages. As a final chance to stay employed, Colleen is reassigned to the USPS Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia, formerly known as the “dead letter office”. On her first day, she is assigned to sort this year’s “Dear Santa” letters and finds a few with misspellings to “Dear Satan”. Her new co-worker, “Lucien”, is very interested in these particular letters…

Thank you for visiting my site, and I hope you’ll consider following me for email updates on new posts and releases when they happen. All the best!