Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Free Preview - Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.

Tap on the image of the book cover above and read the first few chapters of ANN BLYTH: ACTRESS. SINGER. STAR. for FREE!
From her 1976 appearance in West Springfield, Massachusetts, at the Storrowton Music Theater in Show Boat:

Show Boat closed the 1976 summer season at the Storrowton Theatre in West Springfield, Massachusetts.  Sam Hoffman of the Springfield Daily News reviewed the play:
Miss Blyth has lost none of her beautiful lyric soprano voice or any of her beauty.  She is a delight to see and to hear…Miss Blyth not only sings [the songs] for all their worth, she is capable of giving each a dramatic touch.
Magnolia just never looked as beautiful or was in finer voice than Miss Blyth.
Here Jay Garner filled in for an ill Andy Devine as Cap’n Andy, and Ed Evanko played Gaylord Ravenal.  In a follow-up article, Mr. Hoffman confessed his admiration for Ann Blyth was a torch he’d been carrying for some time.
…I remember her lovely lyric soprano voice that seemed to float right out of the screen in my direction.  I always managed to blot out the male star to make sure it was me she was singing to and not someone else. 
I was even a bit jealous when she upped and married a doctor for Ann Blyth has always been one of my favorite screen stars, someone I didn’t particularly care to share with another person.
He also noted in his interview with her, that she hoped to get in some tennis before the Thursday evening show.


Where do you suppose she played tennis?  Think she won?



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Model Railroad Show - West Springfield, Massachusetts

This weekend is the model railroaders' big event of the year - the annual Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show.  A universe of train layouts is spread out over four buildings on the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds.  The event attracts thousands every year, and is one of the most enjoyable outings of the winter season -- even if you're not a model railroader. 
There is something decidedly nostalgic, not only in the hobby, but in the towns through which the little trains run.  You step back into time, and everyone is greeted with a smile.  The dates and location are here:
Saturday January 30, 2016 - 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday January 31, 2016 - 10:00am - 5:00pm

The show is located in the Better Living Center and the adjacent Young, Stroh and Mallary Buildings at:

The Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds
1305 Memorial Avenue
West Springfield MA. 01089

You can read more info on the Amherst Railway Society site here.


There's even something for old movie buffs like me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Whitewash in the Berkshires


This is to announce my latest novel in the Double V Mysteries series - WHITEWASH IN THE BERKSHIRES.

Juliet Van Allen and Elmer Vartanian, the Hartford, Connecticut-based amateur sleuths are off in the fourth adventure in the series.  This time they shuttle between Hartford and the Berkshires of western Massachusetts in the bleak midwinter of 1951:

  An incident from Juliet's past puts her on a blacklist.  A priceless work of art brings her to a secret bunker.  A kidnapping and a threat to her life result in a desperate chase.  How does all this fit in with the unidentified corpse?  Elmer has no idea, but he's right behind her.  The partnership of the wealthy heiress and the ex-con continues in this fourth book in the Double V Mysteries series.
The cover art was done by Casey Koester, who also writes the blog: Noir Girl - Adventures of a '40s Girl in a Modern World.

Casey has done the first three covers in this series for me in a unique style that is whimsical, playful, and I think somewhat haunting.  I'm a great admirer of her work. 
The book will launch Friday, February 5th, but is available now on pre-order for Amazon.  It will be out in eBook and print. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Talk on the Ames Company - Chicopee, Massachusetts

Today I'll be speaking before the Chicopee Historical Commission at the City Council chambers for a talk on the Ames Manufacturing Company during the Civil War, which will be audio recorded for an archive project.  My thanks to Mr. Joseph Pasterniak of the Chicopee Historical Commission for inviting me to participate.

The material for this speech comes from my book: The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts, a Northern Factory Town's Perspective on the Civil War.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Double V Mysteries series FREE in eBook unti Jan. 5th!

My DOUBLE V MYSTERIES BOX SET - the first three novels in this "noir cozy" mystery series set in 1949-1950s New England is FREE in eBook until Tuesday, January 5th.

Books include:

Cadmium Yellow, Blood Red

Speak Out Before You Die

Dismount and Murder

 The fourth book in the series, Whitewash in the Berkshires, will be out next month. This will give you a chance to get acquainted, or caught up. Help yourself. Happy New Year. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HL0478S

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Valley Radio Reading Service - Springfield, Massachusetts

With the year winding down and the celebrations a couple days away, I'd like to take a moment draw your attention to the Valley Radio Reading Service, which provides a local news source for the blind and vision impaired in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts.

I've been volunteering as a reader for them for over a year, reading local news in a recording booth, and sometimes live.  I've been invited to read from one of my books, so for the past several weeks I've been reading from my novel on the Quabbin Reservoir and the Swift River Valley residents who had to leave their homes to make way for the construction -- Beside the Still Waters.

Community news is a very important aspect of our daily lives, and this is one area where the blind and vision impaired are at a loss.  They are able to get a wide array of national news from television or radio, but community news from daily newspapers -- and also in weekly newspapers of small distribution -- are lost to them.  The Valley Radio Reading Service helps them to connect with their community and to remain a vibrant part of it.  Local events and attractions, club news, meetings, and especially the local obituaries -- all are grist to our mill at the VRRS.  And one novel about the Quabbin.

The readers are volunteers.  But funds are needed constantly to maintain the broadcast equipment, the office, and keep our subscribers to this vital service informed and entertained.  If you care to make a donation, please contact the Valley Radio Reading Service at this website, or write to the VRRS at 44 Hampden Street, Springfield, MA, 01103, or call 413-747-7337.  Tell them I sent you, and thanks.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

For Christmas - Two eBook Offers

This is to announce a Christmas special offer of my book on the career of actress Ann Blyth. 

Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star., eBook version, will be priced at 99 cents for Christmas Day only (Eastern US Time) on Amazon.  That is a savings of $9 for the eBook.  The price of the print book remains the same.

UPDATE:  The sale price will be $1.99 - Amazon will not allow a 99-cent price for this eBook - but this is still a savings of $8.00.  Sorry for the change.  Merry Christmas.

Also for the holiday, our new children's picture book featuring cartoon illustrations by my twin brother John: Bob the Bear's Christmas Party. The continuing adventures of Bob the Bear and his little buddy Pedro the Pelican and their friends, and the complications of trying not to eat all the Christmas cookies. 

May I wish all those who celebrate a very Merry Christmas.