Tales from the classroom
Earlier this year Dan Witmer was featured for his “Best of” collection Road Trip Dad blog, detailing his adventures in coaching the Oswego State men’s lacrosse team. Now the author returns with a new collection, this time reflecting on his 33 years teaching English at Hannibal Central School.
Witmer says “..and piles to go before I sleep – The Book of Wit” is 244 pages of “battles won and lost in the classroom, unforgettable field trips, an inside look at the faculty room, snow days in Central New York, memorable coaching stories, community service projects, and the Common Core,” and that it describes his work with Oswego State student teachers, practicum students, and some of his own experiences taking grad classes at age 50.
When asked about some of the highlights from his career, and the book, one of the first that comes to mind is from his first year of teaching.
“I had a book challenged by parents who wanted it banned from our curriculum. The book (“Boss” by Mike Royko) had been taught at Hannibal for about 10 years without any controversy, but there I was, a rookie teacher, at the center of the storm. The book-banning headlines made Syracuse news channels and newspapers, and even Royko, who was writing his nationally-syndicated column back then, got involved. Thankfully I had the support of the district and my union, but it was quite an introduction to a teaching career.”
Witmer believes that the book will be of interest to anyone who has ever taught, or sat, in a high school classroom.
Witmer will be offering a Q&A and book signing session on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. at the river’s end bookstore. “..and piles to go before I sleep – The Book of Wit” is available on Amazon.
Manners and murder
New author, Pseudonymous LeeAnne James, is a native of Cortland, studied journalism in college and spent time working local typesetting firm, working in both proofreading and layout/design, before going on to work as an administrative clerk for one of the local police departments.
All the while a story was building in her head. “(It) had been in my mind for quite a few years, but I never did anything with it. I had actually come up with the ending and just needed to decide what setting it would take place in. Then, last year, I was sick and out of work for a bit, so I decided it was as good a time as any to start writing, and that’s when the book came together.”
“Murder at Gatewood” is a mystery that takes place in England during the late 1800s, about the death of a Duke who thanks to his terrible demeanor leaves no one unhappy to see him gone, and many people with motive, when found bludgeoned to death with a brass elephant bookend. Even if no one is sad to about the Duke’s demise, there is still a crime to be solved, and Senior Inspector Patrick Duffy is the one to to do it.
Thanks to the initial positive reviews, James is excited to continue writing. “I do have a second book in the works, and possibly even a third, which would be a sequel to Murder at Gatewood,” he said.
“Murder at Gatewood” is being sold online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and directly from the publisher, Archway Publishing. It is also available in the Onondaga County Library system as an ebook. To learn more about James and possible upcoming events, visit her Facebook page.
First, do no harm?
Last month John Avanzato published the latest installment of his John Cesari medical-thriller series. In “Pace Yourself” Cesari finds himself embroiled in a private investigation into the disappearance of a former lover’s husband, which leads to the discovery of suspicious company in Manhattan that appears to be selling defective pacemakers to hospitals. Avanzato calls Cesari an “honor bound gangster turned physician hero” and shares that in his book he “takes on a ring of international hoodlums selling knock-off pacemakers to unsuspecting hospitals or so we are led to believe. As the mystery unfolds the risks become personal and the stakes far greater than imagined.”
Avanzato has spent years using his work as a gastroenterologist in Central New York to inform the plots of the John Cesari books, and the newest was inspired by real-life headlines. “This book was inspired by an article I read not too long ago about the multi-billion dollar knockoff industry throughout the world and the various attempts by manufacturers to stop them,” the author says.
“Pace Yourself” is the second John Cesari book to be published in 2018 and the eighth in the series overall. This past spring Avanzato published “Sea Sick,” which proved that trouble follows John Cesari wherever he goes, including on a cruise that’s meant to offer rest and a chance to get away from it all. While aboard he learns that one of the passengers is being forced in an unwanted marriage and Cesari decides he needs to save her.
All of Avanzato’s books are available on Amazon.
Even guinea pigs have grandparents
Longtime local writer Linda Germain has a new book perfect for young readers this holiday season, with a tale about the history of her beloved guinea pigs. Featured previously for her book, “Kirby’s Krazy Karrot Kaper,” there are now two more books written and illustrated by Germain: “A Piggly Poo Christmas,” published in 2017, and now “Squeakers, Whiskers, and Their Lighthouse Adventure.”
“The story revolves around (my) guinea pigs Great-grandfather Squeakers and Great-uncle Whiskers who help the West Pierhead Lighthouse acquire it’s Fresnel Lens in 1934 so that the lighthouse could light the way for lake travelers and later become the primary, beloved icon of Oswego,” Germain said.
Once again the author will be donating a portion of her book’s proceeds, this year in support of the H. Lee White Marine Museum and their ongoing mission of education and appreciation of Oswego’s Historic Maritime District.
Germain will be signing books at the Oswego Public Library on Saturday, Dec. 15 from 1-3. To stay up to date with all of Germain’s events and to purchase books, visit her Facebook page.
Have a book to share?Are you a local author or have you come across a book set in Central New York? Tell us about it. Send a brief description of the book and the author and we’ll add it as a candidate for coverage. Write us at [email protected]
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