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Alle-Kiski Valley authors offer plenty of prose

| Saturday, March 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

With their latest works, writers from the Alle-Kiski Valley offer tales of adventure, intrigue and horror as well as history, mystery and financial advice.

“Blue Moon Over Cuba: Aerial Reconnaissance During the Cuban Missile Crisis” by Capt. William B. Ecker USN (ret.) & Kenneth V. Jack

Former Valley High School history teacher Kenneth V. Jack takes readers into the top-secret world of U.S. intelligence during the 1960s with “Blue Moon Over Cuba: Aerial Reconnaissance During the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

Written with information from the late retired Navy Capt. William B. Ecker, Jack's book shares the perspective of a key military unit flying the supersonic RF-8A Photo-Crusader. The book, which relies on details from declassified Cold War-era documents, makes the case that aerial photography from such missions helped President John Kennedy avert nuclear war.

Jack credits Ecker's son with the opportunity to write the book.

“Before his death in 2009, his son asked me to put (Ecker's story) into book form with expanded historical information about the crisis and to gather more squadron accounts of their missions over Cuba,” says the Alle-Kiski Valley native, now retired to Coudersport.

“I love history, especially military and naval aviation.”

Available at, Barnes & Noble. Website:

“12 Nights of Sorry”

By John Robert Shupeck Jr.

In “12 Nights of Sorry,” horror writer John Robert Shupeck Jr. returns with a novel that addresses the subject of child abduction.

“The twist in my book is the little girl in this situation does not get found or saved, but rather is able to capture her abductor and extract her vengeance on him for everything he's done to her,” Shupeck says.

With 17-year-old Cordelia James taking revenge on her captor of seven years, and the addition of subtle paranormal touches, the novel offers a grown-up tale that searches for answers, according to the author.

“The nagging urge to always question things is what motivates my writing,” Shupek says.

“12 Nights of Sorry” is the second book for the Leechburg-based writer, whose debut novel, “Red Town Lost,” published by Necro Publications, explored the supernatural forces operating in a small river town, which was inspired by his own.

Available at Website:

“X Marks the Scot”

By Victoria Roberts

Victoria Roberts sums up her novels in three words — ”passionate,” “heartfelt” and “adventure.”

Her latest romance, “X Marks the Scot,” tells the story of Lady Liadain Campbell and Declan MacGregor.

Although the two are from rival Scottish clans, he must protect her from the treachery of the English court.

“As soon as I picked up my first Scottish historical romance, I recognized this is where my path led,” says Roberts, a Harrison native who lives in Peters.

Her ‘Bad Boys of the Highlands' series includes “X Marks the Scot,” and the first book, “Temptation in a Kilt.”

“The series follows 17th-century Scottish lairds and clan members who are driving King James crazy with their constant clan battles and uproarious way of life,” she says.

The third novel in the series, “To Wed a Wicked Highlander,” will be released in September 2013.

Available at, Barnes & Noble; mass market paperback. Website:

“The Moorish Whore”

By Rebekah Scott

Based on a woman who lived 1,000 years ago in the Spanish neighborhood its author now calls home, “The Moorish Whore” is a historical novel with ties to today.

Writer Rebekah Scott is an Apollo-Ridge graduate who lives in the tiny Spanish town of Moratinos. Her pueblo home is “steeped in history and adventure,” so it's not hard to find tales to tell that have never been told in the English language.

Among those is the story of the book's main character, Zaida, who is buried in a royal tomb not far from Scott's home.

“I took what history I could find and spun a character from it,” she says, “a story with plenty of relevance to today's Muslim versus Christian anxieties, as well as the blossoming of art, architecture and engineering that came from the mix of cultures in the 11th century.”

Available at, Barnes & Noble. Website:

“Once I Was Told the Air is Not for Breathing and The Laundress Catches Her Breath”

By Paola Corso

Harrison-native Paola Corso returns to the Pittsburgh area after 20 years in New York, bringing with her two new books of poetry.

The poems of “Once I Was Told the Air is Not for Breathing” and “The Laundress Catches Her Breath” both address working-class life in industrial towns.

The first deals with workers in mills, sweatshops and factories.

Among its poems are those which draw upon Pittsburgh's environmental history and the working conditions in the steel industry. Corso's work references University of Pittsburgh research relating to both.

The second focuses on an Italian-American woman in a depressed mill town, her search for meaning in her working-class life and her relationships with her father and uncle.

Corso, a New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellow and Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award winner, is a lecturer at Chatham University, Pittsburgh.

“Once I Was Told the Air is Not for Breathing” is available through Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“The Laundress Catches Her Breath” is available on, Barnes & Noble and through CavanKerry Press Ltd. Website:

“The Missing Semester”

By Gene Natali and Matt Kabala

With “The Missing Semester,” Gene Natali and Matt Kabala aim to offer a lesson they posit is not often taught in school — that of financial responsibility.

McCandless resident Natali and Kabala, who lives in South Carolina, are both Fox Chapel graduates.

“We believe that there is a striking need for better education and counseling in the (financial) decisions that we make early in life — they can have an immediate and far-reaching impact,” Natali says.

“The Missing Semester” discusses the impact of money-related choices and encourages readers to take control of their financial futures.

Those are much much-needed lessons for all, according to Natali.

“Any given high school or college is going to have its share of eventual doctors, nurses, mechanics, teachers, engineers and even dropouts,” he says. “Every one of these young people are going to get that first car, credit card, cell phone or apartment, and precious little education exists to provide guidance.”

Available at, Barnes & Noble and select Hallmark stores.


“Avenge (The Patronus: Book 2)”

By Sarah M. Ross

With “Avenge,” the second book of her Patronus series, Sarah M. Ross continues the story of Lucy Donovan, a young woman who, upon death, finds herself part of a group of beings charged with guarding souls and spirits.

“Avenge” and the rest of the series offer what Ross, a New Kensington native now living in Florida, calls “YA fantasy with a hint of romance.”

Among the challenges her characters face are werewolves, vampires and souls in need of rescue.

Ross says she is amazed by her journey as an author, which began less than two years ago, first with a publishing house that later closed and then via the indie route.

“I have always been a writer, and having the opportunity to do this full-time, to have people write me and tell me how much they love the worlds I've created is a dream come true,” she says.

Additional books in the series include “Awaken” (The Patronus: Book 1) and “Atone” (The Patronus: Book 2.5), a novella told from the point of view of Lucy's love interest.

Available at, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords. Website:

“Cleveland Drive Mystery Series: The Hunt”

By Michele Henry

With her “Cleveland Drive Mystery Series,” Lower Burrell author Michele Henry not only hopes to have readers of the juvenile fiction books on the edge of their seats, she also wants them to feel like they are right there in the middle of the action.

“As a child, I was an avid reader and would get lost in the book I was reading,” she says. “I would imagine myself in the story itself. I have always dreamed of being able to accomplish this with my own writing.”

The first in the series, “Cleveland Drive Mysteries: The Hunt,” tells the story of two young sleuths whose friend goes missing. With the abductor sending threatening messages to one of the sleuths, their neighborhood is thrown into panic.

Henry, who is working on the second book in the series, says her faith and family have been helpful.

“My inspiration for writing comes from my husband and children,” she says. “They give me their unconditional love and support. They have always encouraged me to follow my dream of writing.”

Available at, Barnes & Noble and through publisher, Tate Publishing.


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