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Jerry MacDonald has been telling stories all his life. So about 10 years ago he thought maybe he could put some of those stories tales about growing up in Washington to print and show today's youth they can overcome life's obstacles.

MacDonald recently self-published his first story "Red Eyes & Crazy Jake," which is on sale at barnesandnoble.com and his own Web site, www.redeyescrazy.com.

"My motive was that lots of kids face all kinds of challenges in life, divorce, death of a loved one," he said. "And this was my way of saying life has its troubles, but you can get through them."

The book is primarily targeted at young boys, as main character Jeremiah Maccabee is an elementary school student.

MacDonald learned from local reading specialists and libraries that boys in grades three to six don't have a lot of books geared toward them, and then he found his target audience.

However, the book is for boys and girls alike, as MacDonald said he has told his stories to children and adults everywhere.

Born in Everett, Wash., MacDonald said his mother left him on the side of the road when he was just 18 months old. Over time he had three mothers and broken families. His life experiences soon became the stories he would tell at Toastmasters meetings, in schools, at church or to his own children and their friends.

He's currently writing "The Leaky Boat That Wouldn't Float," "A Serendipitous Christmas," "Cougar on the Roof At Cougar Lake (Was I Cougar Bait)" and


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"Bear on the Griddle."

However, because "Red Eyes & Crazy Jake" was self published, MacDonald said he's waiting for a return on the book before moving forward with publishing the others a total of 11 so far.

He said it took a long time to get "Red Eyes & Crazy Jake" published due to creative conflicts as well as the long editing process involved with book publishing.

"I wanted it to be the way I wanted it," he said, noting that's why he went the self-publishing route.

"These have come from real life," he said. "I've added a little bit of color to them and they may have changed just a little, but the basic core of the stories are all true."

MacDonald, 64, grew up in Gorst, Wash. and lived in Seattle for a time. He joined the Army and when he got out, decided he wanted to become a preacher.

He came to Milpitas from Washington with his wife four years ago to fill in as minister at Milpitas Church of Christ. He has four grown children and "lots" of grandkids, all of whom enjoy his stories.

"This is a living tribute that you can write a book if you put in the effort," he said. "I think there's a book in just about everybody, but you just have to have the diligence to get it done or else the world is going to miss out."