The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 9, 2012

Word processors | Area authors, those with local ties write books on variety of subjects


JOHNSTOWN — Local and regional authors and those with local ties have written novels, poetry and nonfiction on a variety of subjects.

The books and their authors are:

“Ten Thousand Gods: Book One in Tales of the Lalloure” by Sally C. Fink of Johnstown is a science fiction-fantasy novel containing love and suspense.

On the fantasy world Ertaetha, a catastrophic accident cuts off real time, but now realtimers have found their way back.

During the millennium in which they were gone, the Lalloure, an entirely new race, mutated into being.

They are telepathic, neutered and seemingly emotionless, living separately from the humans, with their lives and citadels protected by walls of ritual, tradition and stone.

On a routine pilgrimage, Rasong, a  Lalloure, discovers a human child with abilities that appear almost Lallourean, and inadvertently bonds with her.

And when the realtimers begin to covet the rich, verdant planet that is perfect for agricultural development, the very existence of the Lallourean race is jeopardized.

 Fink graduated at the top of her class from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1972.  

Her book contains her own illustrations of maps and characters.

Fink has worked as a department store fashion illustrator, manager of a fabric store and copywriter-layout artist for The Tribune-Democrat, where she eventually was promoted to art director.

Best known as a costumer, Fink began costuming in 1973 when she entered a futuristic fashion design contest.

She also has made historical clothing in the Society for Creative Anachronism and recently returned to science fiction-fantasy conventions and competition costuming.

Fink has had more than a dozen one-woman costume and art-to-wear shows at local venues in western Pennsylvania.

From 2004 to 2011, one of her fantasy costumes, “The Iron Orchid,” was on exhibition in the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, Wash.

“Ten Thousand Gods” is the first of four novels Fink began writing in 1988.

Book two in the series is “Gods of Crystal, Gods of Dreams,” due out in the spring; book three, “Gods of Changeling Love,” is expected in the summer or fall, and book four, “Gods in Flux and Flame,” and “Lalloure Dreams,” Fink’s short stories and poetry, are both due in 2014-15.

The first book of the series is available for $10.99 in paperback and 99 cents as an ebook on, and

Fink’s website is

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“Manifesting Dreams” by Robin Strachan of Johnstown is a novel that tells the story of Carole Hannah Sherard, a university vice president who quits her job to move back to fictional Walker’s Corner, Pa., to cook at her family’s business and write a cookbook.

Every member of the Sherard clan, including Carole Hannah, has inherited the Scottish Sight and has a psychic gift.

Her grandmother is a psychic healer, her father is a bartender who always senses what his customers need to hear, and her brother is a minister who cares deeply for his congregation and believes the Sight is a black mark on his soul.

Strachan’s poems, articles and feature stories have appeared in regional and national publications for more than 30 years.

Her novel is available for $16.95 as a soft cover and $3.99 as an ebook at and $13.22 as a soft cover and $3.99 as an ebook on

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“So You Think You Know Antietam?” by James and Suzanne Gindlesperger of Johnstown is part travel guide and part human interest stories from the Battle of Antietam.

The book is subtitled “The Stories Behind America’s Bloodiest Day” because it is the bloodiest one-day conflict in United States’ history in which 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing over the course of 12 hours.

Put into perspective, the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944, produced an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 American casualties.

The book reveals the stories behind Antietam’s 96 monuments and discusses in detail the people, places and events that defined the battle.

Ten color-coded chapters display almost 300 color photographs, maps and GPS coordinates of all monument locations for readers who plan to use the book as a guide when visiting Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md.

The book is the second in a series that began with “So You Think You Know Gettysburg?” which was published in 2010.

The Gindlespergers are members of Save the Historic Antietam Foundation, Friends of Gettysburg Foundation, National Trust for Historic Preservation and Civil War Preservation Trust.

Their book is available for $19.95 at and

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“Our Journey of Grace Through Faith” by Jimmy and Tracey Colson-Kensinger of Seward tells the true story of how the couple met and their journeys of faith.

Kensinger made headlines in Johnstown in 1971 when he robbed a bank in downtown Johnstown with a .38-caliber pistol, landing himself on the FBI’s most-wanted list.

Tracey Colson made headlines when she was severely injured in an automobile accident in 1988, which left her a quadriplegic.

The two met when a family member called New Day Inc., where Kensinger was working, to request someone to minister to the family who was caring for Colson.

A growing friendship blossomed into romance, and Kensinger and Colson were married Oct. 15, 1994, at Seward United Methodist Church.

The book details their individual stories from past to present and continues with a series of devotions.

The couple faced a seemingly endless series of trials that tested their faith, but they triumphed through the power of God.

Kensinger began serving as pastor at Montgomery Church of the Brethren in Indiana County in June 2008.

He counsels inmates at the Somerset County Jail as a volunteer for New Day, and, because he’s an ex-con, he is able to connect with them in a way that few can.

The Kensingers are hopeful that their story of how two broken people were brought together and triumphed over adversity will resonate with readers, especially those in pain – physical or otherwise.

Their book is available by contacting Noah’s Ark Publishing Co., 614 Freedom Ave., Johnstown, Pa. 15904 or by email at

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“The Pattern Maker’s Daughter” by Sandee Gertz Umbach of Washington, Pa., near Pittsburgh, is her debut book of poetry.

In her poems, the Dale Borough native focuses mainly on the 1977 Johnstown Flood, Johnstown’s steel mills and her Dale Borough neighborhood.

Umbach is founder and president of the Washington Community Arts and Cultural Center, where she leads the poetry program.

She also is a Commonwealth speaker with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and leads poetry workshops dealing with sense of place.

Umbach has returned to Dale Borough to teach poetry to children in a program she developed called “My Own Backyard” at the Dale Valley Arts Center.

She has published her poems in literary journals and has received the Sandburg-Livesay Award as well as a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Her book is available for $12.48 at

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“Waterproof: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood” by Altoona native Judith Redline Coopey tells a fictional story of the 1889 Johnstown Flood through the eyes of a survivor 50 years later.

Pamela McRae was 18 and preparing for her upcoming wedding in less than a month when the deafening roar of the 30-foot wall of water and debris chased her family from their Bedford Street home.

The flood’s devastation wiped out the lives of her fiance and her 11-year-old brother.

Her mother’s mind was never the same, and her father walked away from the family a year later.

After arranging for someone to care for her mother, McRae went to work for the Johnstown Clarion as a society reporter.

When her fiance reappears, he further complicates McRae’s life instead of being the answer to her prayers.

Someone is seeking revenge on the owners of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, the Pittsburgh millionaires who owned the failed dam that caused the flood, and McRae is afraid her fiance has something to do with it.

Coopey’s writing reflects her intense interest in Pennsylvania history and its themes of tolerance, equality and individual freedom.

Her first novel, “Redfield Farm,” told the story of the Underground Railroad in Bedford County.

“Waterproof” is available for $14.95 at or

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“Black Coal and White Lies” by Geri Monaghan, a Windber native now living in Brownsville, Texas, is a novel about being a teenager in Kolfield, a small coal-mining town in the mountains of western Pennsylvania in the 1950s.

The main character, Anna, is the youngest of five daughters reminiscing about her sisters and past memories –  until Ben shows up and she falls in love.

Amid the black coal and prejudice, the white lies begin.

It is available for $14 on

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“Smart, Strong and Sexy at 100?” by David A. Kekich, a former Johnstown resident who is CEO of the Maximum Life Foundation in Huntington Beach, Calif., is an easy-to-read manual that can help extend a healthy lifespan.

Kevich contends that the simple strategies he outlines will help to keep the body in good enough shape to benefit from emerging technologies that should significantly extend the human lifespan in the next few decades.

Kekich, who suffered a freak spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the chest down in 1978, was president of the Johnstown chapter, Spinal Cord Society, and worked to produce the Oldies Spring Breaks concerts.

His book is available for $17.95 as a paperback or $9.87 as an ebook at

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“Slash IRS Back Taxes” by Gary Lundgren of Johnstown is a useful and popular guide to the IRS’ offer-in-compromise program by an experienced IRS agent.

The book is available online on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and will soon be available on Apple’s iBooks.

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“Bone Sai” by Ruschelle Dillon of Johnstown is a horror novelette set in Japan during the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

It is available for $3.98 in various electronic formats at or

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“I’m Just Saying” by D.J. Yuhascik of Johnstown is a collection of poems.

Her book is available for $16.95 at and

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“Create a Healthy Lifestyle: Secrets of Health and Happiness” by family therapist Michael A. Panar of Johnstown explains how to achieve a healthy lifestyle in a more holistic way.

It is available for $16.95 at and

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“If You Got It, A Truck Brought It” by Robin Smith of New Florence is an educational, children’s picture book that serves as an adventurous introduction to the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

It is available for $6.50 at

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“Great Succession Crisis” by Laurel A. Rockefeller of Cresson is a political science fiction novel about a princess who expected to be queen, but now whoever she marries will dictate the fate of her world.

It is book one of the “Peers of Beinan” trilogy.

The ebook is available for 99 cents at or for $7.99 as a paperback on

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“Jack Attack” by Mark Weakland of Hollsopple is the author’s first nationally published science fiction adventure book for young adults.  

It is 2022 and 12-year-old Jack receives a neural implant that enables him to overcome his paralysis and control a robot using only his thoughts.

The ebook is available for $1.99 on, and

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Mystery author Kathleen George of Pittsburgh, a Johnstown native, has released “Simple,” the sixth in her series of Pittsburgh Richard Christie crime novels.

In this latest book, Christie returns to the city from vacation and reopens a murder investigation that had already been closed.

In the process, the police unearth secrets of politics, riches, class and race.

George’s book is available for $24 on, $17 on and $12 as an ebook.

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“The Real Deal” by Carisa J. Burrows of Pittsburgh has been published in the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul book, “Say Goodbye to Back Pain.”

The book is a collection of inspirational stories as well as medical advice for a healthy back.

Burrows is a Johnstown native, and her book is available for $9.95 on  

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“Writing Your Story for the Big Screen” by Shawn Fornari, a Nanty Glo native who now lives in Tequesta, Fla., reviews the basic building blocks of screenwriting for beginning and experienced writers.

It is available for $8.99 on   

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“Prank” by James Podgorney of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a quick-witted novel about a law student who gets caught up with a violent, cult-like group.

The former Johnstown resident’s book is available for $10 at

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