The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

What's Happening

January 4, 2012

Area writers release variety of new books

Writers in the region are working on novels, humor and illustration and a bit of history.

One Johnstown author has taken a real-life event and crafted a paranormal novel around it.                      

“The Legend of Rachel Petersen” by James T. Baroni Sr. is the story of a sportswriter who quits his job to move to the country to write fiction, getting an idea for what turns out to be a best seller and blockbuster movie from a grave he stumbles upon in the woods.

His main character is compelled to write “The Legend of Rachel Petersen,” a horrific story based on the dead 12-year-old girl who was laid to rest beneath the tombstone he found.

Baroni, who is an avid deer hunter, came upon a lone grave while hunting last year, and his own novel began.

He is donating a portion of the book’s proceeds to the Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, Mich., through the Connumach Lions Club.

His older brother, Eugene, has been blind since birth and is on his third leader dog.

Baroni’s book is available for $4.50 as an ebook at or or for $12.54 for the paperback version.

“The Memory of Orchids” by Cherri Randall of Johnstown is a novel about three women in prison for three different crimes.

Randall teaches creative writing at Pitt-Johnstown.

Her first book is available for $24.99 for paperback or $7.99 for ebook at

“The Time Traveler’s Pocket Guide” by Katie Sekelsky of Johnstown is a humorous travel-guide parody with a science-fiction twist.

It features writing and illustrations by Sekelsky, who is a cartoonist, and is available for $9.99 at Bent Wookie Comix, 127 Fairfield Ave. in the Morrellville section of Johnstown or at

“The Bosses Club” by Richard A. Gregory of Boswell is a well-researched and easy-to-read historical fiction telling of the rivalry between the Cambria Iron Co. and Andrew Carnegie in an attempt to dominate the burgeoning steel industry.

It is available for $29.99 for hardcover or $19.99 for paperback at  CBM Business Machines,

647 Franklin St. in the Kernville section of Johnstown, and for $14.99 for paperback and $29.99 for hardcover on

“Letters Home – Corporal Haines” by Richard Sturtz of Stoystown is a tribute to the 22 men from Somerset County who died in combat during the Vietnam War.

The 31-page booklet is an edited version of the letters of Marine Cpl. Robert Haines, son of Earl and Olga Haines of Quemahoning Township.

It is available at Somerset Drug Store, 168 W. Main St., and Somerset Historical Society, 10649 Somerset Pike.

“The Miraculous Hollidaysburg Lights” by Bruce A. Bracken of Williamsburg, Va., is Christmastime fiction inspired by his visits to Hollidaysburg with his wife, an Altoona native.

In the book, a young boy grieving the loss of his grandfather is caught between being hit by a freight train and leaping from the Cresson Trestle.

It is available for $9.99 as an ebook at

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Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
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