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Historical Novel Captures the Smoke and Grit of Pittsburgh at Its Industrial Peak

(NewsUSA) - This is not a gilded age novel. It’s a novel of the smoke and grit that were the pride of a booming city. It takes readers to another time and another world that is distant but familiar.

Steel City by William J. Miller Jr. takes readers to the cauldron of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the late nineteenth century. The steel business has made the city the industrial capital of not just the country but the world. And through the eyes of Jamie Dalton, readers witness the titanic events of that city in that age:

  • The Johnstown Flood that killed over 2,000 people, the country’s greatest natural disaster of the century.
  • The Homestead Steel Strike of 1892, in which Henry Clay Frick sent an army of Pinkertons to break the back of the labor movement.
  • An anarchist’s assassination attempt on Frick’s life in revenge for Homestead.
  • The fight to the death between Frick and Andrew Carnegie for control of the country’s predominant steel company.
  • The inside story of what is still the largest corporate buyout of all time.

At the time, Pittsburgh’s technological innovations and wealth creation made it the Silicon Valley of its day. It was first in steel, food processing, and electricity, and the leaders of those industries—Carnegie, Frick, Heinz, and Westinghouse—are names we still know today.

The author, William J. Miller Jr., grew up in Pittsburgh and was always fascinated by the living connections to its storied past: the Carnegie Library and Museum, the Carnegie Institute of Technology, and, in his own neighborhood, the Frick mansion, where Henry Frick’s daughter, Helen, still lived. Miller has spent his entire career in journalistic enterprises as reporter, publisher, blogger, and Time Inc. consumer marketing veteran. 


In this historical novel, Jamie, his father Richard, his mother Eleanor, and Pittsburgh society high and low navigate the social and economic issues of the late nineteenth century that still resonate today: corporate vs. individual responsibility, labor relations, suffrage, income inequality, substance abuse, media ethics. Steel City portrays the rich panoply of that era.

Jamie, a recent Yale graduate and son of a corporate lawyer, must decide whether to accede to his father’s wishes and pursue a career in law or the steel business, or follow his own instincts and become a newspaperman. The Johnstown Flood confirms his choice to be a journalist, and Jamie goes on to cover Pittsburgh’s business titans, labor strikes and assassination attempts.

While reporting on the unions of the era, he is exposed to a very different world, symbolized by his infatuation with a mysterious woman under the sway of an Eastern European anarchist. Jamie struggles with balancing the access he has to Pittsburgh’s business elite while maintaining the objectivity to tell the hard truths about those same people. Ultimately, he must thwart a terrorist plot that could disrupt the massive corporate merger that would restructure the nation’s largest industry: steel.

With deep research and a bibliography that shows an abiding respect for the facts and for the context of the lifestyle and the geopolitical environment of the time, readers leave Steel City with a sense of what life was like during this period. Purchase at

Revised 3/7/2023

BookTrib’s Bites: More Books to Keep You Turning the Pages

(NewsUSA) - Lobster WarsLobster Wars by Mark E. Greene

A tight, fast-paced social satire about what happens when reality TV comes to a small fishing village in Maine. The locals think they’re going to get famous and rich. But it’s never that easy -- especially when Connor Nichols, a telegenic outsider, a guy from “away,” gets a lobster fishing license and horns in on their good fortune.

The TV show airs to great ratings, only increasing the pressure, prompting a few unsavory characters to do anything they can to get in on the action. With filming about to begin, everything now hinges on season two. But it’s reality TV—what could go wrong? From an award-winning author with an offbeat sense of humor and a sharp eye for the absurd. Purchase at


promiseThe Promise of America by William Sanchez

Born in Spanish Harlem to Cuban refugee parents, Will Sanchez has represented marginalized communities ever since he graduated from Georgetown Law. Having served the country as a White House appointee and Special Counsel shortly after 9/11, he recently ran for U.S. Senate in Florida as a progressive with bold ideas for America’s future. 

The Promise of America guides readers through personal family stories as well as broader topics touching on America’s promise for the future and the absolute need to protect and strengthen the democracy. “My background had a great impact on my respect for America’s cherished principles. The recent attacks on our democracy inspired me to get more directly involved in trying to secure that America as nation will be greater in the future than it is now.  Purchase at


BurntBurned Out by Dean Mafako

Eric Philson came to the Children's Hospital of Biloxi with a goal ― to build the cardiac intensive care unit from the ground up. The physician faces insurmountable odds: the devastating aftereffects of a hurricane, deprivation of essential staff and resources, and a cardiac surgeon resistant to change. 

Dr. Philson will do whatever it takes to help improve the care for children, until the job begins to take a toll on his free time, marriage, and health. How much is he willing to sacrifice? Working hundred-hour weeks, overcoming the impossible, and facing personal ruin are only the start of what he will face. Does he have the grit and determination to do what's right, even if it costs him everything? Purchase at


LearnDid We Learn Anything from WTC Towers Collapse?...  By Gregory Szuladzinski

The most extensive investigation of the event was made by NIST, a government-funded institution. The most glaring error was to treat the fireballs associated with aircraft impacts as merely a fuel-burning action and ignoring the devastating pressure impulse involved.

NIST reports describe in detail the condition of the structure prior to collapse. It is said that a high-temperature softening of steel was responsible for the initiation of collapse, but such an explanation is suitable for an engineering student, not for a large team of specialists. What was needed was the exact sequence of element failures, because only from it can we learn about the design's weaknesses.

Another flaw was the lack of comprehensive treatment of thermal insulation. There was no awareness of the fact that too thick insulation may fall off under impact conditions. Purchase at


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Lessons from pro bettors to win part of the $10 billion March Madness pie

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The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, known as March Madness, is one of the most anticipated events in the sports calendar. In 2023, March Madness promises to be bigger and better than ever before.

Online sportsbooks offer a wide range of betting options for March Madness, from traditional bets like point spreads and money lines, to proposition bets on individual player performances and game outcomes.

While most casual bettors won’t use deep statistical analysis, there are some lessons anyone can learn from the pros.

Analyze first. Check out the teams in the tournament. Look at statistics, including strength of schedule, offensive and defensive efficiency, and the team's record against other tournament teams.  Also pay close attention to recent form; which teams seem to have found their momentum – or lost it.

Check the odds. Start looking at the odds and identifying potential value bets – remember, oddsmakers set opening lines and move lines based on how they feel the public will bet – not on how they feel about any team’s odds to win, lose or cover a spread.

Sportsbooks such as BetUS make money via the small commission, or markup, on each bet, not by setting out to “beat” all their customers.

Placing your bets at the right time to get the best point spread or the best ‘price’ can increase your win rate substantially.  Be patient and let the betting line move favorably for the bet you want to place.  If it doesn’t happen, reconsider your bet.

Check out the underdogs. Upsets are common in March Madness, and the high level of variance in a single-elimination format means that even lower-seeded teams can pull off surprise victories. By betting on underdogs, you can take advantage of these upsets and potentially earn a significant payout.

Play defense. Another approach is to focus on teams with strong defenses. In a tournament format where every game is high-stakes, limiting opponents' scoring opportunities can be a major advantage.

Pay attention. As the field narrows and the stakes get higher, the dynamics of the tournament can change. By staying up to date, you can make informed decisions about which teams to bet on and when to adjust your wagers (or hedge your standing bets by using live wagering, which allows bettors to place wagers on games as they happen).

Look to the future. In addition to traditional point spread and moneyline bets, there are also futures bets that allow bettors to place wagers on which team will win the tournament outright. BetUS already has odds available for customers that can offer incredible value.

By following a systematic approach and focusing on underdogs and strong defenses, as well as team statistics, betting lines, and tournament dynamics, bettors on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament can maximize their profits and reduce their risks.

How We Have Fallen Short in Teaching Literacy -- And What To Do About It

(NewsUSA) - This may be difficult to read, but did you know:

  • In the last 15 years, 15 million students graduated from high schools testing below the basic reading level.
  • One in five college students enroll in remedial reading classes in their freshman year.
  • More than 42 million Americans are functionally illiterate; they can’t follow the directions on a can of soup.

Now, a cognitive developmental psychologist with more than 30 years in the classroom has scoured the research, made her own professional observations and notes from personal experience, and put together a fascinating book that takes aim at what’s wrong with the learning process – reading in particular – and has set out to offer solutions.

The book certainly has an appropriate title: This May Be Difficult to Read. Within it, the author, Dr. Claire Rubman, breaks down myths about reading, separates fact from fiction, and works to get parents and educators on the right course. Choosing the right strategy for children to read, Rubman believes, is “the most politicized topic in the field of education.”

“I’ve watched my children succeed and fail with phonics, reading, reading comprehension, and learning,” she says. “I’ve seen our collective children hurting, and I’ve also seen them succeed beyond their wildest dreams. I have such a passion for watching them develop a love for reading and learning that I wanted to share it with parents, educators and anyone else concerned with helping our children read.”

Dr. Rubman hopes this book will serve as a catalyst for change that will disrupt early childhood education so that children of all ages and backgrounds will fall in love with reading. This, in turn, will allow children to learn to use the printed word to think, grow, and challenge the status quo.

Clarie RubmanThis book is designed to alleviate some of the frustration we often experience when trying to teach our children. The book looks at the learning process through a child’s eyes to more fully appreciate how children think, learn, and process information within the context of learning to read and comprehend the written word.

To that end, Dr. Rubman offers solutions to combat reading comprehension failure, perhaps foremost the task of transforming one’s home so that reading becomes as natural as speaking. Parents must create a “need to read’ in their homes and make learning a byproduct of fun.

Dr. Rubman’s writing style is both scholarly and relatable. She knows her stuff, is quite thorough, and supplements her learning points with personal examples of the how and why, often using her own family as her “characters.” She takes a complex topic and makes it user-friendly and readable so that it can be processed by a larger audience than just literacy professionals and learned parents.

“I have watched some students struggle badly,” says Dr. Rubman. “These are clearly highly verbal students, but their reading comprehension skills sell them short in the classroom.”

“Will your child be one of the success stories or struggle with textbooks and comprehending the printed word? This book is about inspiring the greatest number of children to love reading and the comprehension process so that they can’t wait to pick up a book.”

Learn more at

BookTrib’s Bites: A Black History Month Hero and Other Intriguing Stories

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If Someday ComesIf Someday Comes 
by David Calloway

A true story of the author’s great grandfather George Calloway, a slave in Cleveland, Tennessee, before and during the Civil War. It is written as historical fiction, based on George’s life, and stories the author heard growing up. It is a tale of determination, perseverance, and achievement.

“Calloway’s elegant prose effectively captures the tension and textures of the period…He shows himself to be such a talented writer of historical fiction that the biographical element of the work barely registers.” – Kirkus Reviews

George protected his family through war, famine, and plague; he risked his life repeatedly to protect his owner’s family, and thus his own wife and children. George was then, and remains, a hero of his family.  Five-star reviews on Amazon. 

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Bornto RiseBorn to Rise
by Lorna Blake

A young woman's journey from abandonment, abuse and rejection to her empowerment and success. The story of a young girl who felt counted out, discounted and knocked down by the hand she was dealt at birth. From being abandoned by her father to abuse by her mother, the death of her beloved grandmother and sexual abuse by a stepfather, she felt she had been walloped by life.

With the strength of her ancestors encoded in her DNA, she refused to stay down. She found a way to courageously rise from obscurity to infinite possibility. The author shares her story with humor, eloquence and wisdom to inspire others to recognize they too have the power to climb out from under and create a fantastic comeback from life's setbacks. 

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Extreme VettingExtreme Vetting
by Roxana Arama

Immigration attorney and single mom Laura Holban is an immigrant herself, guiding clients through a Kafkaesque system of ever-changing rules, where overworked judges make life-shattering decisions in minutes. Laura’s newest client is Emilio Ramirez, who was arrested in front of his sons at their high school and thrown in detention.

When Laura files for Emilio’s asylum, the world turns upside down. False criminal charges prevent his release, someone is following his family, and an ICE prosecutor threatens to revoke Laura’s US citizenship. None of it makes sense—until she uncovers a deadly conspiracy involving ICE, stolen data, and human trafficking.

Now the man at the center of it all is coming after Laura and Emilio, who must find a way to survive—and keep their families safe.

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The Cherokee BrideThe Cherokee Bride
by Stephen A. Enna

This story keeps readers on edge as they follow three people in their 2,000-mile trek across the U.S. Territories to the California Gold Rush in 1850. Seventeen-year-old Maggie Carter is an out-of-control kid who is half Cherokee Indian and half white. When she hears about Major Peter Jenkins organizing a wagon train heading for the California Gold Rush, she signs up and is selected to be one of the scouts for the train.

When the wagon train arrives in Grand River Oklahoma, Peter recruits five Cherokee Indians as scouts. Their knowledge will help lead the train across the long prairies, around the huge mountains in the path and across deserts. The lead brave selected as Chief Scout is Jimmy light feather Chawkta, who was practically born on a horse. Follow Maggie, Jimmy and Peter as they travel 2000 miles across the country and face all the difficulties that a trip of this nature will bring. Try to imagine if you could do it. 

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Humorous, Poetic & Allegorical Tale Reminiscent of Dante’s Inferno

(NewsUSA) - Theatrical essence, we know, relies upon a shared experience of space and time. How else does one describe the crescendo between the stage and stalls during a curtain call?

In Presence, the PlayWilliam E. Jefferson’s protagonist puts it like this: “So many years, scripts scripted, performers performing, music scored, songs sung — it’s live, it’s real, it’s present. The theatre — what can be better, tell me? You can’t.”

Presence, the Play is an allegorical tale woven across multiple levels: Christian theology, media critique, the hero’s journey, poetic reimagining of classic works, and sheer entertainment. The work vigorously explores the concept of presence and its many manifestations, both divine and mundane.

This timely, captivating novel speaks to a growing hunger for a way of life that’s real and tangible -- the opposite of an artificial existence lived in a realm of mediated connectivity.

The novel’s meticulously crafted storyline evokes the imaginative prose of J.R.R. Tolkien, the spirited perception of C. S. Lewis, and the dramatic flair of Dante’s Divine Comedy.


On the Isle of Estillyen (an enchanting isle described in masterful and concise detail on the author’s website), lives a community of monks renowned for storytelling. One of the monks, named Script, has written a stage play, titled Presence, the Play. On opening night, a packed crowd eagerly awaits the performance while Script hurries to claim his balcony seat.

Amidst all the excitement, Script has a terrible fall. Medics rush the playwright to the sanatorium, where he lapses into a deep coma. The novel plays out in Script’s comatose state. Readers join Script on an epic mission to save the Isle of Estillyen from the forces of darkness, experiencing many daunting adventures along the way.

Script is a lovable, relatable and somewhat quirky character, and there’s much humor to be found as our unwitting protagonist bumbles his way to hell and back.

William Jefferson“The motivation for writing Presence, the Play was not a spark, or an idea that suddenly pressed upon my mind,” says the author. “Over time, the idea maturated until one day I began to view presence itself as an aspirational antidote to the distant mediated connectivity spurred on by social media platforms. It’s been said that the greatest gift you can give someone is your presence. I wholeheartedly agree.”

While Jefferson calls upon the works of Frost, Chaucer and Poe to add depth to the story, it is Dante’s Inferno and biblical texts that inform the novel as a whole. With each trip to hell, Script must pass through one of five doors that open onto a scene related to stories from the Gospels. He must observe the characters and their interactions, then find and follow a path to hell.

Jefferson’s visions of Hades are wildly imaginative, populated by armies of tussling swarms of demons and vast numbers of sinners getting their (often ironic and thoroughly modern) comeuppances.

All in all, Presence, the Play is a satisfying read for lovers of the spiritual, the literary and the fantastic. We invite you to venture forward.

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Keep Rocking This Year with Maaco’s Rock On In 2023 Sweepstakes

(NewsUSA) - Maaco, North America’s body shop, is celebrating the start of 2023 in rock and roll fashion by giving away 23 JBL speakers.

The sweepstakes, which invites entrants to share their favorite rock song of all time for a chance to win, can be entered at It will run from Monday, February 6 through 11:59 PM on February, 20 2023, and is open to anyone in the United States.

Following our 50th anniversary year, we are ready to continue our momentum into the next 50 years, thanking our valued customers for their continued support,” said Daryl Hurst, president, Maaco. “We’re hosting this giveaway to continue to show our appreciation to our customers and help them to keep rocking into this year and the future.”

Following the closing of the giveaway, 23 winners will be randomly selected on Wednesday, February 22. To receive their prize, the winner will be contacted through email and must respond within five business days.

Our family of dedicated owners has worked day in and day out to uphold their commitment to providing their customers the best quality repairs at an incredible value, leading to strong customer loyalty from across the country,” continued Hurst. “I’m thrilled to see our momentum carry into this year and beyond, which could not be done without the incredible support of our valued customers.”

Maaco was founded in 1972 by Anthony Martino, beginning its operations with the first location in Wilmington, DE. From here, the company has grown to over 400 independently owned and operated franchises across North America that have repaired more than 20 million vehicles.

For more information, the rules governing the giveaway, and to enter, visit


About Maaco

Maaco is North America’s body shop, with over 50 years of experience in providing affordable auto body repair and car painting. Maaco, with more than 400 independently owned and operated franchises across the United States and Canada, has been named a top automotive franchise numerous times by Entrepreneur Magazine in its Annual Franchise 500 ranking and Franchise Times’ list of Top 200 franchises. Maaco is a member of Driven Brands, the largest automotive services company in North America. For more information about Maaco, visit

About Driven Brands

Driven Brands™, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is the largest automotive services company in North America, providing a range of consumer and commercial automotive needs, including paint, collision, glass, vehicle repair, oil change, maintenance and car wash. Driven Brands is the parent company of some of North America's leading automotive service businesses including Take 5 Oil Change®, Take 5 Car Wash®, Meineke Car Care Centers®, Maaco®, 1-800-Radiator & A/C®, Auto Glass Now®, and CARSTAR®. Driven Brands has more than 4,700 locations across 15 countries, and services over 50 million vehicles annually. Driven Brands' network generates approximately $1.9 billion in annual revenue from more than $5.3 billion in system-wide sales.


Twin Sisters at the Core of Dark Coming-of-Age Psycho Thriller By Debut Author

(NewsUSA) - Most good thriller novels keep readers guessing until the end. Then there are some that cause jaws to drop.

TKO Rogue has launched debut author Janet Porter’s intriguing, intricate and gory psychological thriller FREE RIDER, a dark coming-of-age story set in 1970s New York City that follows twin sisters as corruption, decadence, and greed engulf any vestiges of innocence, trust, and security they may have left. 

Khalika and Violet, twin girls growing up in a privileged hell, are on the cusp of adulthood after barely surviving a childhood that threatened to shred their psyches before devouring them both in a seismic swirl of pure evil.

Violet and Khalika have grown up in a posh Westchester, NY, estate previously owned by the girls’ parents but later the domain of their stepparents Dick and Bianca. That is, until the stepparents are found brutally murdered. The stepparents’ murders are not the only ones that remain unsolved, and there are signs that point to one killer.

It takes several months, but Detective Mark Vincente follows the investigation and eventually locates Violet, whom he wants to question. Vincente is a subtle but dogged investigator, describing his work as “trying to put a puzzle together where the pieces have been scattered like gory confetti.” Eventually, he and Violet develop a romantic interest. Is it real or is it his way to get closer to his ultimate quest?

For fans of gore, horror and “the dark side,” FREE RIDER has it all. But Porter’s work is much more than that. It is a complex psychological study of two sisters, their slightly different paths, their inner thoughts and their resultant actions. The author does a marvelous job of getting into their heads and souls.

And what an ending – it will leave readers stunned!

Praise is already pouring in for FREE RIDER:

"Thought-provoking and atmospheric!” says one Amazon reviewer.

Janet Porter"Captures the darkness and grittiness of New York City in the Seventies and Eighties,” says another.

“Astute observations on the evil that human beings perpetrate,” says another reviewer.

The author, Janet Porter, was born in Pittsburgh and immediately began trying to injure herself by roller skating over broken pavement. Subsequently, the family moved to New York City, where the family lived in a series of ramshackle apartments in the borough of Queens. Janet has no writing credentials except those of anybody who has processed the daily grind and decided to fictionalize it. She lives by the words, “Write the book you want to read.”

In writing Free Rider, Porter said she keeps in mind the words of the dead guy in the movie “Ghost,” doomed to ride the subway for eternity after jumping in front of a train: “You take all your emotions, all your pain, all your love, all your passion, all your rage. Just push it all the way down into the pit of your stomach. And then let it explode, like a reactor! Pow!”

“Pow” is right. Pick up Free Rider and you’ll know what we mean.

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BookTrib’s Bites: Some Tasty Morsels in Assorted Genres

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The House at the End of the WorldThe House at the End of the World
by Dean Koontz

Soon no one on Earth will have a place to hide in this novel about fears known and unknown by #1 NYTimes bestselling master of suspense Dean Koontz. In retreat from a devastating loss and crushing injustice, Katie lives alone in a fortress-like stone house on Jacob’s Ladder island. Once a rising star in the art world, she finds refuge in her painting.

A neighboring island houses a secret government research facility. And now two agents have arrived on Jacob’s Ladder in search of someone―or something―they refuse to identify. Although an air of menace hangs over them, an infinitely greater threat has arrived.

Katie soon finds herself in a terrifying battle against an omnipresent terror that could bring about the end of the world.

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A Week’s WorthA Week’s Worth
by Thyme Lewis

To those who cross Mac, punishment comes on a daily basis. With a skill set rivaling special operatives in the world’s most elite gangs, Mac navigates the country working for FEMA, helping those less fortunate resurrect their lives after the USA’s most horrific natural disasters.

In A Week’s Worth, Mac receives a call that sends him home to California, where he will face a more personal disaster: His mother’s health is failing. His good intentions to help are met with resistance. And people keep dying around them. With a burning desire to right the wrongs of the past, Mac hopes this last road trip to Los Angeles will make their time together unforgettable. “Lewis paints a wry and unapologetically honest depiction of his characters,” says one reviewer.

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I Trust My Inner VoiceI Trust My Inner Voice
by Ana Parra Vivas

The author, a well-balanced Lifestyle Manifestation Expert, gives you a blueprint on how to TRUST your Inner Voice. She is a perfect example of how working to change your self-perception can have incredible and tangible benefits. Ana faced many difficulties in her life, and these difficulties challenged her beliefs in herself. She decided to study herself and, ultimately, she discovered the tools that brought her balance as she recovered her personal power.

This book is not only the story of how Ana found balance in her life, but also a guide for anyone struggling to take the next steps toward the life of independence and freedom they desire. The Inner Voice is a powerful tool, and this book can help readers harness that power.

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Failed StatesFailed States
by Justin O’Donnell

A grim, fast-paced speculative thriller in the vein of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It is a tale that deals with political, religious, and violent themes ranging from cannibalism to abortion, while calling into question the fundamental clash between security and liberty.

In an America on the edge of extinction, Thomas La Stella serves as a Deportation Force officer. Tom is old enough to remember America before Dayton Day, the attack that finally brought the country to its knees and the earth towards its death.

Still fighting for hope, Tom clings to his pregnant wife and begrudgingly serves a government on the brink of revolution. When the president goes missing, a new radical force rises from within and threatens every hope Tom has for a better future.

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