Italians of Lackawanna County uses photography to show readers how the region’s Italian community seeks to preserve its heritage. Why was this an important book for you to write?
This book was extremely important to me to write, especially in a time when so many stereotypes against the Italian-American community as a whole exist. My goal was not just to seek to preserve and promote the Italian culture and heritage of Lackawanna County, it was also to show a positive image of Italian Americans working hard to celebrate their origins and how they are working to make the region a better place to live and work. Pictures tell the story in a way that words cannot—thanks to the wonderful photographers and community members who submitted photos, this book comes alive and readers hopefully get a true sense of what it means to be an Italian American living in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania.
In this book you not only cover modern day traditions but you also trace the history of Italian immigration. What kind of research did you undertake for this book?
I have worked as a historian focusing on Italian American studies for the past 15 or so years, always placing an emphasis on local Italian history because my region is so heavily populated with people of Italian origin, like myself. Most of the research for this book is through interviews with the citizens, as well as through archives, such as the Lackawanna Historical Society and the Dunmore Historical Society. I also consulted scholars and archivists in Italy as they also have a wonderful catalog of history surrounding the various town festivals—this helped provide a background for the festivals that were brought here and I was able to truly tie them in to their towns of origin. This kind of work is more of a historic reconstruction, because a lot of the background information has either been lost or is unavailable—because of this, I rely heavily on people in the community who are willing to share their stories.
This book showcases Italian-Americans’ pride in their heritage and place in America. What were some themes you wanted to focus on throughout this book?
As I said before, I truly wanted this book to be a positive representation of Italian Americans and show how they contribute to the good of our society. I really wanted to focus on the fact that we are three or four generations away from the original immigrant generation here in Lackawanna County, but people are still passionate and proud to preserve the traditions their ancestors brought over so long ago. I also wanted to highlight the fact that our area truly embraces everyone of all ethnicities—while I focus on Italians, I do make mention that our Italian festivals have become more inclusive and you don’t have to be Italian to participate. I think that welcoming spirit is one of Lackawanna County’s greatest attributes and I wanted to showcase it as best as I could.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have two projects that I am working on right now. The first is a passion project about the Guardiese community in the United States. My grandfather came to the United States from Guardia dei Lombardi (AV), Italy, and he was extremely proud of where he came from. These Guardiese traditions were passed down to me by my mother and inspired me to research our local as well as our national Guardiese community. My research locally is complete and now I am working on the national research.
I am also researching Sylvester Poli, a theater magnate from Italy who really revolutionized vaudeville. I was part of the Leadership Lackawanna Core Program this past year and our team project was to create a historic display in downtown Scranton’s Ritz Theater, which Poli founded in 1907. The research we did for the project took on a life of its own and I want to continue to pursue it and possibly publish a book.
Both projects do not have a set time commitment due to research, but I would like at least one to be complete within the next 2-3 years.
Boasting one of the nation’s largest and most diverse Italian American populations, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, joins old and new with events such as La Corsa dei Ceri or St. Ubaldo Day in Jessup and La Festa Italiana on Scranton’s Courthouse Square. Every town in the county with an Italian population has its own story. Whether the people can trace their origins to Guardia or Gubbio, Felitto or Perugia, the Italians of Lackawanna County all share one thing in common: a strong sense of pride in their ethnic origins. In Images of Modern America: Italians of Lackawanna County, readers will find familiar images of summertime traditions, as well as new representations of how the region’s Italian community seeks to preserve its heritage.
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American River: Currents continues the intriguing intertwined stories of three families. Did you want this book to be an extension of book one in the series, or did you want to explore new ideas in this book?
While Currents is a continuation of the story of three California families, I did want to explore some new directions in the book. First, I wanted to let Marian’s story expand, and to have her mature and grow as she faces the problems of trying to break into the New York art scene. So, the early days of the feminist movement emerge in this book. Also, the book spans the time period from 1963 to 1970, a period of enormous change and tumult that included the escalation of the Vietnam War, campus riots, political volatility and the rest of “the sixties” events from the growth of the civil rights movement to the murders of Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy and the Kent State massacre. There was a lot to explore in that period.
I enjoyed the deeply emotional relationships the characters had. Is there anything from your own life that you put into your story?
In many ways, the entire trilogy is shaped by my experiences during that time period. I was in graduate school during 1965-69 and getting involved in the women’s liberation movement and joining the Women’s Caucus for Art and writing about women’s art and why it was so important. I also wanted to write about Mexico where I had spent time and came to love and appreciate very much. So, I took Nick and Marian to Valle de Bravo so I could write about the adventures I had there. I also wanted to write about Stefan Molnar whose character was based on a friend of mine and to explore Kate’s problems of trying to find a balance between a romantic and a platonic relationship. And, I was also interested in exploring California politics and the problems between the land owners and the (usually) Mexican workers on whom they relied yet didn’t want to fully recognize.
You continue to impress me with the exceptional depth of your characters. Who was your favorite character to write for?
I have to confess that I love all of my characters. They’re like my children in that I created them, and I want to care for them and help them grow and flourish, but I can’t always save them from either the obstacles that they face or from themselves. I love Carl even though he can be a real jerk, but he was a fascinating character to write and I enjoyed doing the research into his musical training ad his career. I took classes in conducting and music theory. I interviewed orchestra conductors and tried to understand both Carl’s ambitions and his insecurities. I also had a wonderful time exploring Tommy’s attempt to understand his Japanese heritage by immersing himself in Japanese culture and marrying a Japanese woman. Even though this ultimately led to tragedy, it was an extremely fulfilling experience. I also loved to write about Alex and her profoundly narcissistic view of the world. And Owen’s growth from old style conservative to a more enlightened view was fun to explore.
Where will book three in the American River trilogy take readers and when will it be available?
Book three allows all of the characters to finally come to grips with who they are and what’s most important to them. They all have to grow up and face the consequences of the decisions they’ve made and the relationships they’ve forged. I hope that my readers will themselves learn something about how we can be blinded by our own world view and how we have to take off our blinders and try to learn from our mistakes and seek a wider understanding of ourselves and what we truly can accomplish.
Book three, American River: Confluence, is available on Amazon, from Archway Publishing, on Mallory’s website: mallorymoconnor.com. and in some regional bookstores.
In the second book of the American River trilogy, a cavalcade of disastersboth personal and publicthreatens to overwhelm the scattered members of the McPhalan, Ashida, and Morales clans during the tumultuous 1960s.
Katestill mourning the death of her brother, Julianfinds herself torn between her love for Carl, now a celebrated conductor who is looking for career opportunities on the East Coast, and her devotion to the West and especially the family ranch at Mockingbird. Also, while attending a music festival in Venice, Italy, she meets Stefan Molnar, a renowned concert pianist, who has become her sister Alexs mentor (and lover). As Kate and Stefans unintentional relationship grows, complications multiply.
Meanwhile, Tommy Ashida, now studying in Japan, falls in love with Emiko Namura, the beautiful, sheltered daughter of a Tokyo businessman. He hopes she holds the key to understanding his Japanese heritage, but will that knowledge lead to happiness or something darker?
Determined to make her mark in the male-dominated art world, Kates mother, Marian, decides to move to New York while Kates father, Owen, becomes involved in local politics. When he is elected to the California Assembly, he finds himself in direct opposition to Jorge Morales, Carls father.
Alliances fray, relationships dissolve, divisive secrets are revealed, and promises are broken as the members of three California families struggle to salvage their shattered dreams.
Set against the natural beauty of Northern California, OConnor weaves a complex tapestry of interrelationships and betrayals that captures the mood and resonance of a decade that began in innocence and ended in despair.
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Antebellum Struggles follows the lives of several characters and shows how they are all intertwined as a result of slavery in the south. What served as your inspiration while writing this book?
I couldn’t comprehend how people could “own” other people and treat them like farm animals. I wanted to “get into their heads” to understand this mentality, from the perspectives of both slaves and owners.
I really enjoyed the depth of each character. What were some driving ideals behind your characters?
In all events, each person has their own unique perspective, feelings, and prejudices. I try to describe these so the reader understands each character’s outlook from their distinct perceptions.
The book delivers a graphic image of life during slavery. How did you go about setting up the backdrop for this story and what were some conscious decisions you made along the way?
A few scenes were difficult to write about. People hear and read about slavery, but rarely choose to envision the actual horror that some slaves suffered. I felt some examples had to be exposed in order to convey that truth.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
The second book (“Keeper of Slaves”) was published through Amazon on April 11, 2019. It’s a continuation of the characters revealed in “Antebellum Struggles”.
After toiling in the Colonel’s sugar cane fields, Amana’s brought into his mansion as a house servant for the Colonel and his wife, Collette. Collette’s suspicions and jealousies arise, but are tempered from the guilt of her own infidelity. The field slave, Tabari, finally escapes but is hunted by two saddle tramps and the law. Throughout it all, the scalawag Doctor disrupts everyone’s lives, managing to line his own pockets all the while. Set in and around New Orleans, this deeply moving tale of scandal, sex, and suspense follows the voyages of these very different characters in the 1850s.
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On Loving follows Rose who must deal with a storm of emotional chaos involving family, secrets and another man. What was the source of inspiration for the journey that Rose goes on in this book?
As a family physician, I’ve had a true chance to work with different people, men or women, at different stages of their lives and this gave me a chance to get more familiar with humans’ emotional changes and the way they affect people’s lives. People that I’ve come to know and worked with always inspire me. An important lesson I’ve learned during all these years of practicing was that self-awareness and self-scrutiny are the hardest tasks to get through in life and people who have the chance to achieve them are, indeed, the luckiest people alive. Rose is an accomplished woman, modern and respected. A woman with a good career and education who has a wealthy family with all the possibilities in front of her, but she is still missing something, and she doesn’t feel complete. She needs to know her roots and she needs to go through her personal growth to become satisfied with herself. Falling in love and what comes next gives her this opportunity to know herself, her strengths, her weaknesses and how to overcome her fears and open her heart to embrace her life at every stage of it. She learns that being a woman is a privilege and something to be proud of.
Rose is an intriguing and thoroughly developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character?
“Rose”, a symbol of new beginnings, hope and resilience, was the name I chose for this main female character. The year is 1972 and the world is changing. She is a modern and educated woman with the respect for her fellow human beings. She is a strong-willed character, but weak and fragile at the same time during the challenges she faces while taking many steps of her love-driven life journey. As in real life, being a professional particularly being a physician, doesn’t protect her from the devastating and destroying effects of tragedies she endures in her turbulent life. She is a human being with all the flaws and faults, beauties and capabilities possible. She falls, she breaks into pieces, but she stands up again and moves on in her own ways. The title is chosen in a loving memory of the late, controversial Iranian poet, Forugh Farrokhzad, who was also a modern woman with her modern ideas much ahead of her time in a society that discriminated woman and criticized her for her ideas and the way she expressed her emotions. Just like Rose, she was a free spirit who explored her emotions and as a poet she brought them to life by writing beautiful poetry that showed the delicate soul of a young woman in a modest and pure manner. I intended Rose to represent such a woman, but in another type of setting, a surgeon with a good knowledge about literature who learns how to analyze her emotional journey and connect to her inner being to become a better person.
This novel is emotional and explores the meaning of love in new ways. What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?
“On Loving” is a love story, but more importantly it is a story about love itself: its psychology, its physiology and the research behind it. The concept of conditional versus unconditional love has been explored in depth in this story. Both main male characters were following their own agendas representing these two concepts from the beginning till the end. Valuing and getting to know your emotions (including love, anger, fear, jealousy, etc.) by working to achieve self-awareness was another main point I was intending to explore. Unfortunately, unknown or miscomprehended emotions can make us vulnerable in life and be the main source for depression and anxiety disorders. Rose, on the other hand, explored the real meaning of love (both of the above concepts), depression, bereavement and their inevitable consequences all through this story. Being a physician with the knowledge of these mental health issues never made her immune to these unfortunate consequences. In fact, she was missing the signs for years and this is what we see in real life of many people including health care professionals.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on a new story which is also about women’s related issues and the issues I work with as a physician. The title, “Greeting the Sun Again”, has also been chosen to honor Forugh Farrokhzad, the late Iranian poet, and it has been taken from the title of her popular and famous poem called, “I will Greet the Sun Again”. Just like “On Loving”, It is a love story twisted with literature, history and everyday life realities. I’m expecting it to be out by next year.
In 1972, Dr. Rose Hemmings has just finished her general surgery residency when a haunted stranger is shot in front of her in a New York City bar, and their lives become forever intertwined. And when, having been given the blessing of her adoptive father on his deathbed, Rose travels to prerevolutionary Iran to discover the past her American family kept secret from her, she finds a true Pandora’s box. It is a world both foreign and familiar, in which her primary place is as the heiress to a great tribe. In Iran, Rose will find family she never dreamed of, her own people, and a man who loves her as passionately as he does the rare black roses of his garden. She will return to the United States carrying a new secret and torn between two men: the one she loves helplessly, and the one who loves her unconditionally.
Woven throughout with Persian poetry ancient and modern, On Loving is the story of one woman’s lifetime of love and loss, of societal change in a nomadic people, and of overcoming personal challenges, including mental and physical health, to find true contentment. Above all, it is a story of love: its physiology, psychology and philosophy; the many forms it takes; its myths and truths; its challenges, its joys and its gifts.
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Going through this book is akin to being virtually in touch with the Italian culture and customs. The author compiled text and images which show how beautiful the Italian community in America is and how wonderful the people are as they co-exist with others. Stephanie Longo tells the story of Italians of Lackawanna in a distinct and brilliant way that can’t help but admire the way of life of the Italians. The author starts by narrating the history of Italian immigrants who first moved to the county. The immigrants had to do menial jobs like farming, mining and other works that required hard labor. The first wave of Italian immigrants knew that only hard work would help them fend for their families. This notion was passed through different generations of Italian Americans as everyone had to work to survive.
The author shows the deep connection between Lackawanna county authorities and the Italians who live in the county. With pictures, the author talks about Italian-American themed events that happen throughout the county, the close ties between Pennsylvania administration and Italian officials in Sicily, the Lackawanna County Library System which promotes Italian American events throughout all nine of its branches, and the heritage and Italian pride witnessed in the county among other things. The author also highlights the monuments and buildings which were made in honor of Italian heroes and legends. They include the Gino J. Merli Veteran’s Center, The Christopher Columbus statue on Scranton’s Courthouse Square and the statue of Dante among others.
I absolutely loved the images Stephanie Longo shared of the La Cosra dei Ceri festival. The pictures were colorful and everything seemed perfect. La Cosra dei Ceri is a festival I would want to be part of if I ever get to be in Lackawanna County around May. I appreciate the author’s effort to explain in detail what the festival is about, and what each family does in honor of their patron saints. Religion and by extents Catholicism is a huge part of Italian living. It is beautiful how religion brings the masses together as they worship and celebrate life as one people.
Italians of Lackawanna County is about 70% images and 30% text. This is one of the things that made me enjoy reading this book. Pictures tell a lot and one can easily and quickly understand the content without having to read a bunch of words in a paragraph. I loved reading this book because the author shared a little history of the Italians in the county and how Italy is. Italians of Lackawanna County is a great educational read that I would recommend to everyone who wants to learn more about Italian-American culture.
Pages: 98 | ISBN: 1540228266
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When you find yourself wondering why society at large seems to be on a self-destructive path with little hope for survival, one of the most refreshing things that you can find is the idea that not all is, in fact, lost. That idea can mean many things to many different types of people. Whether the thought that we can still turn things around gives people hope or goes so far as to create a road-map for future success, any idea or discussion breathing new life into failing systems is a positive addition to our body of knowledge. Charlie Petersen, long-time technology management specialist turned author, seems to be a good source of game-changing ideas, and many of them make a lot of sense.
Wake Up America covers a lot of ground but is centered around the idea that if we, as global citizens, don’t change our ways we are headed for destruction of two types: war and/or depression. The author, Charlie Petersen, argues that in an ever more globalized society we all have a responsibility to choose a brighter path to planetary stability and harmony.
As it would seem pretty clear that most of us aren’t willing to initiate the kinds of changes that are required to avoid a meltdown, Petersen presents his ideas for change as being ones to be taken up by the governments of the world. He maps out a solution to reduce the dependency on oil and gas, while at the same time focusing on the coming water crises. Petersen discusses what would be required for a global paradigm shift and discusses why those holding power currently are not prepared to act, although they are aware that action is needed.
How can the status quo be reimagined? Who or what forces would be responsible for initiating a new approach? The author of Wake Up America goes to great lengths to answer those questions and more in this important work.
Wake up calls usually come in a couple of varieties. Those which are too far-fetched to do anyone any good, and those that deliver logic and science together with a solid dose of reasoning to make sense of it all. Wake Up America, published by Matchstick Literary, is the latter. All in all, Wake Up America contains in depth research and unique approaches to solving the current problems facing our world.
Pages: 344 | ISBN: 1642540447
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Boomerang Will Not Return follows a stealth bombers crew as they travel back through time and must battle for the future in the past. How did the idea for this novel start and how did it change as you were writing?
I always loved the time travel stories starting form the classic tale of the H.G. Wells The Time Machine and movies such as Time After Time, Back To The Future trilogy and the Terminator movie franchise. The idea for Boomerang Will Not Return came to me from two motion pictures featuring time travel, The Philadelphia Experiment and The Final Countdown. The novel had evolved from a short story I wrote titled Sword of Gabriel, which featured my story protagonists accidentally traveling back in time because of the time and space altering comet called Gabriel. I wanted the story to have a broader aspect and therefore the battle to save history happened in both past and resent.
Time travel is rife with paradoxes. Were there any challenges to writing because of this?
Yes, the time travel paradoxes presented an interesting challenge to me as a writer. The general theory of relativity does not forbid the time travel, but there are technological and moral questions that arise from the use of such an invention. I wanted my time travel story design to be simple and straightforward, and let the readers use their imagination as to how the process of time travel in my story had occurred. The best part about working on a time travel story is that it offers a possibility of a new timeline, where temporal interference alters history as we know it. Time travel is a great tool for entertainment and I hoped to make the best of it.
Your characters Stugel, Hartmann, and Crown are interesting and well developed. If Hollywood came knocking who would you cast to play your characters?
Characters are the ones who drive any story and I had a great time developing them to make them realistic and interesting. I am a military history buff and I learned that in any conflict there are decent people on both sides, who were caught in the maelstrom of war and did their duty to the best of their ability even if it was for a wrong reason. And if I was fortunate to be approached by the Hollywood agents with a movie offer and given a casting choice, I would probably cast Liam Helmsworth as Hartmann, Jennifer Lawrence as Crown and actor Alexander Ludwig as Stugel. I think they would be good for the roles.
Do you plan on continuing this series in another book?
Well, I would like to do it, except that I think the story had a definite ending and final resolution. If I decided to change history in my novel, then yes, I think a sequel or two might have been in order. Time travel story ideas are definitely on my shelf for the future projects, and as soon as I am ready, I shall develop another time travel tale with a new and fascinating plot that hopefully will be interesting and enjoyable.
It was supposed to be a simple mission–deliver six nuclear missiles back to the United States onboard the most advanced Stealth bomber in the world. The B-3 Boomerang is a super weapon that knows no equal. Nearly invisible to radar and lethal, it’s a paragon of present-day military technology. And America’s enemies want its secrets. What no one expected was an aerial phenomenon that catapults the plane and its crew from the present day to the year 1942 into the heart of Nazi Germany.
With their plane disabled and captured by the Nazis, Major Richard Hartman and his copilot, Captain Deana Crown, are forced to fight for survival in a hostile land decades away from home. With the plane’s superior technology and its nuclear onboard arsenal, the Nazis could win the Second World War. The battle for the future will happen in both past and present. The pilots trapped in time now have a new mission: to save history at any price.
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What happened in Vietnam … didn’t stay in Vietnam.
It came home with us!
As one reviewer described the book, “Patrick Hogan pulls off what most cannot – invoke emotion using non-fiction. Fair warning, his description of the Vietnam War will make you angry, depressed, sad, and happy all at the same time.”
This edition of Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War, is an account of war – a tale of anger and determination – a chronicle written in sorrow and hope. It’s the story of countless veterans who served in Vietnam and many of their children.
The book is both a memoir and an investigational voyage into all the issues the U.S. government doesn’t want you to know about the Vietnam War.
It’s not just another paperback about Vietnam or Agent Orange. Rather it’s a “silver bullet” which cuts through to the heart of the circumstances and chemical used during that war—toxic enduring herbicides and insecticides—which in some cases are still being used to this very day all over the globe, even right here in America.
So, forget everything you’ve heard from the government and what you think you know about the Vietnam War because you will be absolutely stunned by what the US government had willingly dumped on Vietnam and its own troops.
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A memoir of four decades into the future set against the backdrop of difficult times in the United States, starting from late 2010 and ending in 2045. This is the story of an unusual American family as they struggle against the convergence of oncoming economic hard times, social ills and political instability. From witnessing a complete economic collapse to the unfolding of a race war to a full-scale revolution, the family matriarch’s dream of riding the success of American civilization, instead veers to living the nightmare of the country’s demise.
This is the only futurology book where three of the predictions in the book have, in such a short amount of time, manifested: the disintegration of the Iran nuclear deal, Trumps tariff wars and the Russian meddling in US affairs. Read to find out further…
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Collette should be one of the happiest women around. As the wife of a wealthy plantation owner, she has everything she could possibly want and lives in the home of her dreams. Her husband, however, makes living her best life impossible. As he has taken up with Amana, one of their slaves, Collette’s life has taken quite a tragic and sad turn. When Amana finds herself in just the right place at the ideal moment to save Collette’s life, both women begin to realize there is much more to their relationship than either of them could have ever imagined.
Keeper of Slaves, Antebellum Struggles Book 2, by Dickie Erman, traces the drama surrounding Trent and Collette Winters and the battle to survive via the Underground Railroad. Erman skillfully crafts a cast of characters who are deeply involved in making the Underground Railroad successful. The author appeals successfully to readers’ emotions and describes incredibly intense scenes of fearful and anxious moments of planning as the book’s main characters attempt to do what feels like the impossible given the time period and the extreme circumstances of their lives.
Even though Erman includes a brief summary of events from Book 1 at the outset, I feel there are several key elements I was missing as I read. Quite a bit of time was spent trying to visualize situations and subplots. There is a history between this entire cast of characters that is begging to be read.
I am beyond intrigued by the “ghost ship.” I found it to be a fantastic addition to the plot and was able to visualize each and every aspect of the ship and its lack of life, the missing supplies, and the eerie and overwhelming silence. Though it sounds a bit out of place in a story of this genre, it actually works quite well.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the concern I have over the dialect. While the bulk of the dialogue feels quite authentic, there are a few things I found distracting as I read. Accents and turns of phrase felt accurate throughout the book for the most part, but a few terms like “machismo” and “space aliens” struck me as odd and felt out of place for the book’s antebellum setting. Periodically, the reader is given the impression that the third person narrator is, indeed, part of the story. While this works in some cases, it doesn’t feel effective here. I was especially confused when, in the narration, the alligator that attacks Collette is referred to as a “gata.” The sudden switching on and off of the more personal narration is a bit difficult to reconcile with the rest of the book.
I am giving Keeper of Slaves, Antebellum Struggles Book 2, by Dickie Erman, 4 out of 5 stars. Fans of historical fiction who desire a bit of romance in their plots will enjoy Erman’s work. I highly recommend Keeper of the Slaves, Antebellum Struggles Book 2 to those who are particularly attracted to Civil War stories with generous amounts of character interaction and authentic dialogue.
Pages: 211 | ASIN: B07NN5ZF8X
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