Behind the books: A-K Valley authors tell about their tales

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

Caitlin Bauer believes it is always a positive experience when people who are passionate about reading and writing can be brought together.

That's why the adult-programming coordinator is excited about “A Gathering of Authors” on Nov. 29 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Natrona Heights.

Free and open to the public, it will feature about a dozen authors from the Alle-Kiski Valley and region representing a diversity of genres, briefly talking about their books, the writing process and answering questions from the audience.

They also will sign their work, which can be purchased that evening.

The first one held in August was so successful that another one timed for the holiday season seemed to be a natural.

“At the last event, the enthusiasm of the authors and the guests was contagious. It created such a positive atmosphere,” Bauer says.

She hopes this one will continue to spread the word about the depth of local talent. “Writing a book is not easy, and our guest authors deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication to their craft,” she says. “People really appreciate our local authors and enjoy supporting them in their endeavors.”

It is organized by Bill Davis, author of the “The Clive Aliston Mystery Series,” and his wife Linda Davis of Brackenridge with Tom and Francine Costello of Word Association Publishers of Tarentum, in collaboration with the library.

“The first event was a total success-plus and it went well beyond our expectations. The people attending just loved it. We were more than pleased at the response,” Bill Davis says. “We hope that what we are starting will open the eyes of the public to what we have here and the surrounding areas when it comes to writing talent. They are as talented as many well-known authors and only need that break to show that talent.”

Costello says that when he and his wife owned a book store in the Heights Plaza, Natrona Heights, they became aware of the existence of a cohesive reading community that appreciated being able to gather to hear and talk about books and writing.

“The lesson we learned in August by bringing eight authors together is that more is definitely more,” Tom Costello says. “Sometimes, when you see a single author at a book store signing, it can be a dreary sight if shoppers aren't approaching the table.”

That definitely was not the case at the Gathering of Authors, he assures. “Once the audience heard each of them speak, they not only hurried to make their purchases, but they crowded around to have their books signed,” he says.

The new program features a mix of authors who participated in the first gathering and those new to the program.

In addition to Davis, the lineup includes Chip Bell (author of the “Jake Sullivan Series”) of Arnold; Dennis Marsili (“Excessive Forces — A Pittsburgh Police Thriller”) and Pat Condelli (“Hassel Free Holidays”), New Kensington; Wayne Decroo (“Medjugorje, A Hesitant Husband's Journey”), Bob Tatrn (“Bob Tatrn's Sports Minutes”), John Dietz (“Braska Boys”) and George Guido (“Alle-Kiski Valley Sports History”) of Lower Burrell; Joe Szalanski (“Boarding the Westbound”), Vandergrift; and Bill Mays (My Son Billy: A Father Remembers the Greatest Pitchman to Ever Live”), Lou Vitti (“Ghosts of Bars and Christmas Past”) and Dan Kail (“The Unice Corn Chronicles”), Pittsburgh.

The gathering also is an opportunity to focus on the library system, “which needs all the help it can get,” Davis says.

Proceeds of a writer gift basket will benefit Community Library.

It is a reminder that libraries do far more than lend books, Bauer says. “They serve as a gathering place in the community where people can meet and interact in a positive way,” she says.

Events such as this one emphasize that point and encourage people to think about libraries in new ways, she adds.

“It encourages new people to visit our library and learn about all of the wonderful programs and services we provide,” Bauer says.

Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-226-4664.

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