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Author offers life lessons for youth

December 29, 2010 - A former Oxford resident has published a new novel designed to inspire young adults to actively seek happiness rather than just waiting for it to find them.

"The biggest lesson is that it's an individual's responsibility to make themselves happy," said author Jim Shaw, who resided in Oxford from 1973 until 2000. "Happiness can actually be a planned event."

Published by the Unionville, New York-based Royal Fireworks Publishing Company, his new book is entitled "Molly's Stallion" and its target audience is students in the fifth through ninth grades.

It's about a girl named Molly who lives in Ocala, Florida and is valiantly trying to rescue a small farm that's been in her family for generations.

Readers will follow Molly as she tries to turn a crippled foal into a champion race horse and in the process, also help the young horse's father return to his past glory on the track.

Unlike many young girls today, Molly is not interested in fashions, cell phones, text messaging or even boys.

"Molly reasons that if these are the important things in life, why do they change every few months?" said Shaw, who now resides in Port Richey, Florida. "Molly believes happiness can be a planned event and the happiest people are those who treasure land, family and tradition."

Shaw indicated that Molly isn't based on a real person, however, she is an "amalgam of lots and lots of junior high kids that I met along the way."

He was an English teacher and counselor in the Utica school district for 30 years before retiring in 2000.

"I always noticed that kids were not happy because they never planned their futures and I wanted to write a book about a kid who plans her future," Shaw said.

He once asked a troubled student named Bill what he wanted to be when he grew up.

Bill replied, "Happy."

"It remains the best answer I've ever heard," Shaw said.

Prior to this book, Shaw had one other novel published in 1998. It was called "Assassin's Destiny."

If "Molly's Stallion" does well, Shaw said Royal Fireworks is planning to publish two collections of his short stories. One is called "Cast of Characters," while the other's entitled "Lighthouses and Lamp Posts."

Longtime Oxford Leader readers may remember that Shaw took first and second places in the newspaper's Christmas writing competitions during the late 1990s.

"Molly's Stallion" is available by calling (845) 726-4444 or by visiting It's regular price is $9.99, but if purchased on-line, the price is $7.99.

"It's very inexpensive and that's done on purpose because they try to get the books in schools and home learning situations," Shaw noted.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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