Sontag’s “The Silver Coin” is the third book of the “Ancient Elements” historical YA series

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Sunbury Press has released The Silver Coin, Marie Sontag’s historical young adult novel that is the third volume in the Ancient Elements series.

About the Book:
The Mycenaean captain laughed and addressed his prisoners. “By the time people realize you’re missing, you’ll all be slaves of Greek merchants or landowners. And I’ll be that much richer!” Sam swallowed hard. Now I’ll never find Uncle Zim. And who will want to buy a crippled slave? Numbness overtook him as he saw his hopes, like the sail of the Phoenician ship, go up in flames.

tsc_fcWhat Others Are Saying:
“Sontag’s Mediterranean world is a vivid one, and the story makes clear that even thousands of years ago, residents of the region were well traveled and knowledgeable about their realm. . . . individuals looking for curriculum-based fiction may find the book a valuable tool.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Sontag’s final book of her Ancient Element’s trilogy was an exhilarating conclusion to this Indiana Jones-like journey through the civilizations of the ancient middle eastern kingdoms. Students reading her books will effortlessly be educated, richly enhancing the core curriculum they are learning in their middle school classes.” — Jean Fujiki, Library Media Clerk, Cupertino, CA

“Sontag once again delivers heart stopping excitement as Samsuluna embarks on his next adventure. A masterful work of historical fiction that brings the ancient past to life. You will not be disappointed!” — Roberta Hendricks, Reading Intervention Specialist, TX

“The Silver Coin is so visual throughout, using conversation to move the characters forward in this third book of Dr. Sontag’s trilogy. My sixth grade students love to read her books!” — Susan Peers, Social Studies Teacher, San Jose, CA

Excerpt:
Peret, Season of Planting, 1777 BC – Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Egypt

boatFifteen-year-old Samsuluna fingered the remaining silver coin given to him by his adoptive father, Balashi. As the ship rocked beneath his sandaled feet, he eyed the ominous, black clouds gathering in the distance. “They say it takes about seven days to sail from Egypt to the Phoenician city of Tyre,” Samsuluna told his friend, Keret. “Once we get to Tyre, I’ll finally be able to complete my quest and reunite with my uncle, Zim-ri-lin.”

Seventeen-year-old Keret leaned over the Phoenician ship’s wicker railing to look at the dark sea that churned below. Keret then observed the swift moving clouds overhead. “I don’t know, Sam.” Keret shook his head. “It may take more than seven days to reach Phoenicia if a storm rolls in.”

Sam returned his coin to the leather pouch strapped around his neck and tucked the pouch beneath his tunic. “Well, at least I’ll have a place to call home again,” Sam said. “Since Balashi’s death . . .” Sam’s voice trailed off as he gazed at the clouds once again.

Sam turned his head when one of the Phoenician crewmen walked over and stood next to him, scanning the horizon. Something in the sailor’s intent gaze caused Sam to tighten his grip on the ship’s railing.

About the Author:
Dr. Marie Sontag taught middle school for over 15 years. She has a BA in Social Science, and an MA and PhD in Education. When on speaking events, she’s always accompanied by her authenticated 3,000-year-old bronze dagger, alabaster jar, and silver coin.

Books in the Ancient Elements Series:
Book One: The Bronze Dagger
Book Two: The Alabaster Jar
Book Three: The Silver Coin

Books in the Warsaw Rising Series
Book One: Rising Hope
Available Soon:
Book Two: A Door of Hope
Book Three: A Banner of Hope

The Silver Coin
Authored by Marie Sontag
List Price: $9.99
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
140 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620067987
ISBN-10: 1620067986
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Historical / Ancient Civilizations

Coming soon on Kindle

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Silver-Coin-97816200…

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Interview with Jess Steven Hughes, Author

Beyond the Precipice

I am delighted to have Jess Steven Hughes as my guest today. Thank you, Jess, for joining me on my website.

Jess, can you tell us about yourself and your background? What do you currently do outside of writing?

Jess Steven (Steve) Hughes portraitI am a retired police detective sergeant with twenty-five years experience in criminal investigation and a former U.S. Marine. I hold a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a minor in Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations from the University of Southern California. I have traveled and studied extensively in the areas forming the background of my novels, which brings vivid authenticity to the unique settings for my historical novels, The Wolf of Britannia, Part I, The Wolf of Britannia, Part II, and The Sign of the Eagle. I currently live with my wife, Liz, and our three horses in Eastern Washington. I am currently working on two more historical novels from the…

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Union captures Vicksburg! “I can’t spare this man. He fights!” says Lincoln of US Grant.

tlg_fcVICKSBURG, Miss. — Sunbury Press has released Taking Lady Gibraltar: Grant’s Convoluted Tour de Force in the West, Dick Schwirian’s historical novel about the capture of Vicksburg, Mississippi by Union forces in 1863.

About the Book:
Taking of Lady Gibraltar is about one of the major events of the Civil War, the campaign to seize Vicksburg by Union forces under Ulysses S. Grant. Before 1863, Vicksburg, situated on high bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, was thought to be impregnable. Grant created a new reality. The capture of Vicksburg and its garrison was, if not the signature northern victory of the Civil War, at least among the top contenders. It denied the Confederacy free access to the Mississippi River, it split the South in two, and, perhaps most importantly, it ultimately persuaded Abraham Lincoln to appoint Grant commander of all Union armies. In the words of the sixteenth president: “I can’t spare this man. He fights.”

It may be inaccurate to say that Grant won the Civil War for the North, but there is truth in the claim. His success, first in the west and later in the east, was phenomenal. Was he a military genius? Probably not. But he had a keen sense for the opportunistic moment and the fortitude to pursue a course of action relentlessly, once chosen. The Taking of Lady Gibraltar illustrates these qualities—and some shortcomings—in an exciting and stimulating read for anyone who loves Civil War history and historical fiction.

Battle of Vicksburg

Battle of Vicksburg

Excerpt:
April 7, 1862 – The Shiloh Battlefield

On the second day of battle, Union skirmishers began forming their lines at 3:00 AM and were ordered to find the enemy. They did. The evening before, P.G.T. Beauregard had entertained great hopes for taking the day for the Confederacy but was unaware of the Union reinforcements under Don Carlos Buell, who were then arriving from Nashville under cover of darkness. Beauregard had lost half his men on the first day of battle; Grant had gained twenty thousand more. The fighting on the second day was intense but brief. By 4:00 PM, Beauregard ordered a general withdrawal to Corinth, Mississippi in the middle of a cold, relentless hailstorm, some of the hailstones as big as eggs and as hard as musket balls.

Had he wanted to, Grant could have pursued and destroyed Beauregard’s exhausted army. Pursuit of a defeated foe was, after all, a maxim of military tactical manuals. However, pursuit was an undertaking that his own bone-weary, mud-caked army might not be able to sustain. They were tired too.

About the Author:
Dick Schwirian resides in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife Jo.

Taking Lady Gibraltar: Grant’s Convoluted Tour de Force in the West
Authored by Dick Schwirian
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
452 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620066508
ISBN-10: 1620066505
BISAC: Fiction / War & Military

Also available on Kindle

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Taking-Lady-Gibraltar-97…

Cash Payoffs, Porngate and the Kathleen Kane Scandal headline “Keystone Corruption Continues”

kcc_fcHARRISBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released Keystone Corruption Continues: Cash Payoffs, Porngate and the Kathleen Kane Scandal, Brad Bumsted’s latest compilation of Pennsylvania state government malfeasance.

About the Book:
Once again, a crime wave swept through Pennsylvania state government. During a 17-month period from early 2015 through mid-2016,  a sitting state treasurer, and a former state treasurer, both statewide elected officials who were guardians of taxpayers’ money, were charged with crimes, as was an ex-Governor’s chief of staff and the attorney general, the state’s chief law enforcement officer. It was preceded by a sting investigation that resulted in state legislators videotaped taking cash from an undercover operative posing as a lobbyist and an alleged pay to play scheme at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Porn and off-color emails  on government computers took out two Supreme Court justices. It’s all in Brad Bumsted’s latest book: Keystone Corruption Continues: Cash Payoffs, Porngate and the Kathleen Kane Scandal.

Contents:
Foreword by John Baer
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Sting
1. Lost Opportunity
2. Turnpike Scandal
3. “I’m Your Guy”
4. Business As Usual
5. “Make Work” and Big Bucks
6. “I Am the Fucking Senator”
7. An Ivy League Shakedown
8. “Not Prosecutable”
9. The Sprague Threat
10. “I Am An Attorney”
11. The Sandusky Report
12. Seth
13. The Lex Street Massacre
14. The Very Questionable Accident
15. “Happy Birthday Ron Waters”
16. Bizarre 24 Hours
17. Difficult to Manage
18. “Political Peep Show”
19. “Unholy Mess”
20. Risa
21. The Cartels
22. The Supremes
23. Porn Warfare
24. Citizen Kane?
25. LCB’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Culture
26. The Final Sting
27. In the Final Analysis
Epilogue by R.B. Swift
Reflections by Franklin Kury

bradbumstedAbout the Author:
Brad Bumsted is a prominent journalist in Pennsylvania, working for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He is noted for writing “reform minded stories” about the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

In 2005, he was named one of “Pennsylvania’s Most Influential Reporters” by the Pennsylvania political news website PoliticsPA. In 2008, the political website PolitickerPA.com named him one of the “Most Powerful Political Reporters” in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Report named him to the 2009 “The Pennsylvania Report 100” list of influential figures in Pennsylvania politics and described him as a “mainstay in the halls of the capitol.”

Keystone Corruption Continues: Cash Payoffs, Porngate and the Kathleen Kane Scandal
Authored by Brad Bumsted
List Price: $17.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
278 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620066935
ISBN-10: 1620066939
BISAC: Political Science / Government / State & Provincial

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Keystone-Corruption-Cont…

Fifty years of research to make “Cast Iron Signs of Pennsylvania Towns and Other Landmarks.”

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released Cast Iron Signs of Pennsylvania Towns and Other Landmarks, N. Clair Clawser’s compilation of early roadside markers in the Keystone state.

About the Book:
cis_fcAuthor and field researcher N. Clair Clawser has spent over 50 years traveling the highways and thoroughfares of Pennsylvania to capture images of the cast iron road signs placed there in the early days of automobiles. Many of these signs are long gone, but quite a few remain and have been restored.

Pennsylvania is unique with this type of town sign, which could become a thing of the past. (New York State has many cast iron signs, too, but they are on many subjects and not necessarily on town names.) Almost from the start Clair noticed some of these signs were being removed, even as he discovered that many still remained. Originally cast from about 1929 until 1942, these signs were made largely in either the Carlisle Foundry in Carlisle or Geiser Manufacturing Company in Waynesboro. Both companies are long out of business. There are a small number that were produced elsewhere, but not many. (Allegheny Foundry.) Jack Graham of the Keystone Markers Trust stated that the Department of Highways report for 1928-1930 said, “During the biennium 1,359 information signs were placed including historical, stream, state institution, speed limit and parking restriction signs.”

Many of these signs endure to this day, but are in constant danger of removal. A few new ones have been posted, but many more should be. The aforementioned report does not say how many were town signs. If the total was all towns and divided by 4 that would only be 339 towns. There are numerous stream signs still in existence today. These are 2-sided with just the name. Town signs are one-sided. We can only imagine that each town that had a cast iron sign may have had 4, one for each direction. Very few towns, that still have a sign, have more than two today. Hanover, a rarity, has six. Gettysburg has 4, as does Jonestown. York New Salem has 3, as does Lemoyne. Rothsville had 4, but one was removed. Schoeneck has 4 new ones installed by the Keystone Markers Trust, and Mountville has 3.

Signs from 67 Pennsylvania counties are listed, including the known contents each sign. Pictures are shown where available.

Cast Iron Signs of Pennsylvania Towns and Other Landmarks
Authored by N. Clair Clawser
List Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 146 pages
Publisher: Sunbury Press, Inc. (July 10, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620067374
ISBN-13: 978-1620067376
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic
TRANSPORTATION / Automotive / History
TRAVEL / Special Interest / General

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Cast-Iron-Signs-of-Penns…

Is the future duke hiding as an opera singer? 12-year-old Franni knows and won’t tell.

MANTUA, ItalyJuly 18, 2016PRLog — Sunbury Press has released Franni and the Duke, Anne E. Johnson’s middle-grade novel about two sisters trying out for Monteverdi’s opera in 1608, only to stumble upon a handsome and mysterious singer.

FATD_fcAbout the Book:
In May of 1608, the Duke of Mantua will throw the most spectacular wedding extravaganza in history. But it will all be ruined unless twelve-year-old Franni can keep a very big secret.

Franni and the Duke, a middle-grade novel, sets a fictional mystery against a specific historical backdrop. It takes place during rehearsals for Arianna, an opera by the great composer Claudio Monteverdi. When Franni and her older sister Alli run away to Mantua, they both find work in Monteverdi’s company. A messenger from the north announces that the next duke of the town of Bergamo is missing, and he may well be in Mantua. Alli notices that Luca, a singer she’s in love with, fits the missing Duke’s description. Although Franni thinks Luca is a pompous idiot, she promises for Alli’s sake to keep Luca’s secret safe and protect him from bounty hunters and Bergamo’s rival family. She does this with the help of the company’s set designer, a worldly wise and world-weary dwarf named Edgardo, who is not exactly what he seems.

Claudio Monteverdi

Claudio Monteverdi

Excerpt:
Thursday, May 8, 1608
“I’m hungry,” said Franni. She ached all over from hours of walking down rocky roads in the Northern Italian countryside. “Please, can we get some food, Alli?” She shivered in the chilly spring drizzle.

Franni’s older sister, Alessandra, walked in front as usual. She looked back and smiled weakly. “I know you’re hungry, Franni. I am, too.” Alli’s eyes were glassy in her drawn face. “We’re almost to Mantua. That’s a big city with lots of rich people. I’m sure someone will take pity on us there.”

Although Franni doubted it, she nodded. A day and a half ago, they’d run away from their stepfather in Verona. They’d left in the middle of the night, carrying only a satchel of clothes each, and one loaf of bread between them. The last town they’d been through hadn’t shown them much pity. When they’d taken a drink at the central fountain, a soldier had chased them right out of town.

“I’m so tired.” She hardly had the strength to get any sound out. There was no way Franni could take another step, so she sat down right there in the road.

Alli grabbed Franni’s elbow and yanked. “Come on. We’ve got to get to Mantua before the sun goes down.” A slender, delicate creature of seventeen, Alli was no match for Franni when the younger girl felt stubborn. Franni willed herself to weigh as much as the elephant her real father once saw in Algiers. He’d said it was the size of twenty men. Closing her eyes, Franni glued herself to the paving stones, thinking heavy thoughts.

“A cart!” Alli let go of Franni’s arm and stood up, waving.

Franni’s heavy mood turned to dandelion seeds and floated away. “A cart?” She craned to see the black horse drawing a workman’s cart slowly along the road toward them. “Do you think he’ll give us a ride?”

“He has to,” said Alli. It sounded like a prayer. “He just has to.”

We’re saved! thought Franni. But when the cart pulled near enough that they could smell the tang of horse sweat, she changed her mind. “He’s an undertaker,” she whispered. “Look at the white marble slabs he’s dragging in that cart. It would be bad luck to ride with him.” She backed off the road and pulled her embroidered scarf over her head and face.

To Franni’s distress, Alli stepped into the middle of the road and waved her arms wider. If only their mother could see them now, two noble girls, behaving like beggars. Surely Mama could see them as she looked down from Heaven. She probably also saw how their stepfather treated the girls after their mother died. Franni was sure Mama up in Heaven approved of how she and Alli had sneaked out of the gates of Verona one night to find a happier life.

“Whoa!” said the cart driver, pulling back on the horse’s reins. “What is it, child? Why are you in the road? Do you need help?”

About the Author:
Anne E. Johnson taught music history for many years in New York City, specializing in the Baroque and Renaissance periods, and she feels a particular connection to the music and times of Claudio Monteverdi. Besides fiction, she has also written performing arts journalism for publications includingThe New York Times and Stagebill Magazine. Dozens of her short stories, for both kids and adults, have appeared in print and online.

Anne lives in Brooklyn with her husband, playwright Ken Munch. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s probably baking or going to concerts and plays. Her website is http://AnneEJohnson.com.

Franni and the Duke
Authored by Anne E. Johnson
List Price: $9.99
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
156 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620067031
ISBN-10: 162006703X
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Performing Arts / Theater

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Franni-and-the-Duke-9781…

Paul Sorvino: “‘The Making of a Don’ is atavistic, primitive, and oh so hard to put down.”

NEW YORK — Sunbury Press has released The Making of a Don, Charles Ursitti’s fictionalized account of the rise of a Mafia boss in New York’s Little Italy decades ago.

Paul Sorvino

Paul Sorvino

What Others Are Saying:
This book is most rare in its chronicling of a mafia family. Ursitti tells the story without sentimentality or literary agenda. As easily as ordering a plate of pasta with sausages. His style seeks no approval for itself but in short order the minimalism, nay innocence, compels and invades so that you feel you are in the very rooms where the hits are agreed to and business is set aright and lurking death is assuaged once more. Atavistic, primitive and oh so hard to put down! — PAUL SORVINO (actor: Good Fellas, Nixon, Law & Order, Murder She Wrote, Moonlighting …)

About the Book:
Frankie Boy reminisces about his childhood living in a big, Italian, Mafia family in New York City and how excited everyone would get each time Uncle Frank, also his mentor and idol, came by his grandma’s house for a delicious, Italian meal. Uncle Frank is Frankie Boy’s entire world growing up, and he continues to be so throughout his life. However, Frankie Boy wants to pave his own path in life, a life of legitimacy, and a life where his hard-earned degree is being put to good use. With the help and support of Uncle Frank, he is able to do so. However, life doesn’t always unravel exactly as we’d like it to, especially when your uncle is Capo dei Capi, Boss of Bosses, and Frankie Boy finds himself once again searching for his place and purpose in life. Uncle Frank once again offers him the opportunity to learn tmoad_fcthe family business, and after much deliberating, Frankie Boy begins learning the ins and outs of mob life with his best friend Nicky at his side, a loyal and loving friend that goes to extreme lengths to ensure the success of Frankie.

The Making of a Don is a raw and very real portrayal of the inner workings and hierarchy of the Italian Mafia. Frankie Boy works his way up from the very bottom with the experienced guidance of his uncle, and he learns that even those that are closest, those that are “family,” can still betray you in the worst ways possible. Frankie must decide who he can really trust, who has his back, and what lengths to take to protect his business, his family, and his friendships. Nothing is at it seems when you’re in the mob, and Frankie must find ways to ensure all five families are happy and under his thumb.

About the Author:
Charles J. Ursitti grew up in New York City and has spent most of his life there.

After working in the corporate world for ten years, Charles turned his talents into producing and promoting billiards. His events were aired on ABC’s Wide World of Sports with Howard Cosell for five years, CBS Sports Spectacular with John Madden for seven years, NBC’s Sport World, ESPN, USA Cable and numerous other local cable stations. He managed and promoted the legends of the game including Willie Mosconi, Minnesota Fats, and Steve Mizerak, just to name a few. He also created

Charles Ursitti (right) shaking Willie Mosconi's hand while Howard Cosell looks on.

Charles Ursitti (right) shaking Willie Mosconi’s hand while Howard Cosell looks on.

the most accurate and complete history of both pocket billiards and three cushion billiards from their inception in 1878 to present times. He is known as one of the most knowledgeable billiard historians in the world. His efforts were rewarded when on October 29, 2015 Charlie became the 66th inductee in the prestigious Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame.

Charlie was also a firearms designer and a professional skeet, trap and handgun shooter. After a severe car accident in April of 2000, he retired from shooting and turned his skills to writing. He wrote for several billiard magazines and then turned to writing novels.

The Making Of A Don is his first published novel.

The Making of a Don
Authored by Charles J. Ursitti
List Price: $9.99
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
144 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620066775
ISBN-10: 1620066777
BISAC: Fiction / Thrillers / Crime

Also available on Kindle

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Making-of-a-Don-9781…