Monthly Archives: July 2015

Rick Dapp tells of all the things NOT to do when you find yourself unemployed


ktr_fcMECHANICSBURG, Pa.Sunbury Press has released Keep Turning Right: You’ll Get There Eventually, Rick Dapp’s humorous “how-not-to” book about life in the unemployment line.

Laid off? Let go? Down-sized? Right-sized? Made redundant? Author Rick Dapp relates his personal experiences dealing with unemployment at an inopportune time — near the end of his career. Dapp does this with modesty and good humor, enlightening us all along the way about what is most important in life.

It was an experience with my dad that provided the title for this book. Once, when I was hopelessly lost in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan, (a city of seemingly all one-way streets) I called him from a pay phone and expressed my frustration at ever finding my way out of my predicament. His reply was, “Keep turning right, you’ll get there eventually.” Those words stayed with me and, despite a variety…

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Attorney investigates death of woman who was uncovering sex trafficking

DoS_fcCARLISLE, Pa.Sunbury Press has released Dead of Summer, Sherry Knowlton’s second Alexa Williams novel. The first book, Dead of Autumn, was released last year.

In a tale of suspense that travels from Southcentral Pennsylvania to Africa to the iconic Woodstock Festival of 1969, Dead of Summerembroils Alexa Williams in the dangerous world of sex trafficking.

With help from friends, family, and her yoga practice, Alexa Williams is finally starting to recover from last autumn’s trauma of finding a dead body and the violence that ensued. The young attorney can’t believe that her summer has begun with the discovery of another body. This time, the dead woman was famous for her worldwide campaign against sex trafficking. The murder hits close to home: the late activist was a friend and mentor to Alexa’s best friend, Melissa.

While the town mourns, Alexa stumbles into a burglary at Melissa’s home, barely escaping serious harm. A client asks for help in convincing the police that her foster child is not a runaway, and Alexa learns that other local girls have gone missing. Drawn into the fight to save lost and exploited children, Alexa discovers a community of child activists. A local philanthropist wants Alexa to join his foster care empire. A sexy social worker and a hip college professor want a more personal connection with Alexa, but she is also drawn to the police detective leading the murder investigation.

Searching for answers, Alexa becomes entangled in a web of deception and danger that puts both her heart and her life at risk. By the time she discovers that the key to the present lies in the halcyon days of peace and music, it may be too late.

Sherry Knowlton is the author of the successful Alexa Williams suspense novels, DEAD of AUTUMNand DEAD of SUMMER. Sherry was born and raised in Chambersburg, PA (nee Sherry Rothenberger)where she developed a lifelong passion for books. She was that kid who would sneak a flashlight to bed at night so she could read beneath the covers. All the local librarians knew her by name.

Sherry spent much of her early career in state government, working primarily with social and human services programs, including services for abused children, rape crisis, domestic violence, and family planning. In the 1990s, she served as the Deputy Secretary for Medical Assistance in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The latter part of Sherry’s career has focused on the field of Medicaid managed care. Now retired from executive positions in the health insurance industry, Sherry runs her own health care consulting business.

Sherry has a B.A. in English and psychology from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.

Sherry and her husband, Mike, began their journey together in the days of peace and music when they traversed the country in a hippie van. Running out of money several months into the trip, Sherry waitressed the night shift at a cowboy hangout in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Mike washed dishes in a bakery. Undeterred, they embraced the travel experience and continue to explore far-flung places around the globe. Sherry and Mike have one son, Josh, a craft brewer.

Sherry lives in the mountains of South Central Pennsylvania, only a short distance from the Babes in the Woods memorial, which figures prominently in DEAD of AUTUMN.

Melissa abruptly stopped shouting and knocking. “Alexa, something is wrong. I’m going to check.”

Alexa let out a deep sigh and tilted her head to the left, then to the right, trying to dispel the tension building between her shoulder blades. Melissa was pushing her to the limit today. With reluctance, she gave in.

“We’ll both go. Does she have an alarm system?”

“I doubt it. Cecily rarely even locks the door.” Melissa reached for the doorknob, which turned easily in her hand, and the two women slipped into a mudroom area.

“Cecily?” Melissa called again in a hushed voice.

Alexa grabbed Melissa’s hand as they crept into the big kitchen. Following the scent of cinnamon, she noticed an uncovered plate of muffins next to the stove. The sight of a black pocketbook sitting undisturbed on the wide counter sent her pounding heart into overdrive.

“There’s a living room and an office through that door,” Melissa gestured, her steps slowing.

“Maybe we should go outside and call the police.”

“But what if Cecily has been hurt? Let’s at least check out the downstairs.” Melissa squared her shoulders and marched into the hall. Alexa scanned ahead and behind, on high alert, as she followed her friend.

“I’ll check in here. You look in there.” Melissa disappeared through the door on the right, and Alexa turned into the room that Melissa indicated on the left. Clearly, this was the office. She could make out the shape of an old roll-top desk in the near corner.

The stormy twilight that filtered through the tall casement windows steeped the room in shadows. This whole thing was creeping Alexa out. She ran her hand along the wall next to the entry, searching for a light switch. Finding none, she took a deep breath and strode toward the silhouette of a floor lamp on the far side of the room. She flipped the switch and sighed with relief as light flooded the office.

That relief vanished when Alexa took in the roll-top desk to her right. The desk was a mess. It looked like someone had pulled papers out of the little cubbies in the back of the desk and dumped them in the center. The big drawers all stood open, and more paper littered the floor beside the desk. The computer monitor hung by a cord, facedown, perched over some files. When Alexa took a step toward the desk, the monitor shifted, hitting the table with a thump. Startled, she backed away.

A coppery smell, like new pennies baking in the sun, hung in the still air. In the silence, Alexa noticed a faint buzzing noise coming from outside the house. Beyond the reflection of lamplight, she could see hundreds of flies crawling over the wavy glass panes of the antique windows.

With dread, Alexa turned left to survey the rest of the room. She moaned and swayed when she spied a pool of blood on the floor at her feet. “Not again. This can’t be happening again,” she protested under her breath.

As she looked in revulsion at the blood, a thin crescent of red inched toward her like a scarlet claw. She jerked her foot away in horror before she realized that it was a lone, blood-drenched fly, staggering out of the crimson pool in a drunken stupor.

Dead of Summer
Authored by Sherry Knowlton
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
276 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065938
ISBN-10: 1620065932
BISAC: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths

Also available on Kindle

For more information, please see:…

Indian-settler shuttler diplomacy

The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia has been adding some fine entries lately, particularly regarding the region’s Native American history. The latest installment takes a fascinating look at one of the most ragtag yet important sets of characters roaming the early borderlands – Edward_Hicks_-_Penn's_Treaty_with_the_Indians_-_Google_Art_Projectthe intermediaries. These were ad-hoc diplomats and interpreters pressed into duty to facilitate talks between the Indian tribes and the Colonial authorities.

As the article’s author, Calvin College history professor Stephen T. Staggs, writes, “They ranged from a French-Shawnee fur trader to a German pioneer, from an acculturated Delaware to a Polish-Prussian missionary, and from an Oneida living in a Shawnee village to a Delaware captive.”

I was pleased to see the online encyclopedia focus on these go-betweens because they’re a factor in my historical novel about the Eastern woodlands, Visions of Teaoga. An interpreter is a constant presence at the 1790 Seneca-U.S. peace council that is the center of my action. With peace on the frontier at stake, President Washington’s envoy needed his words–his pledges–to be relayed carefully at the tense gathering. The historical record indicates that they were.

Further, the Shawnee protagonist of Visions of Teaoga, the matriarch known as Queen Esther, might herself have belonged to a family of intermediaries. These were the renowned Montours, namesake of Montoursville, Pa., and Montour County. For several generations during the 18th century, Madame Montour, French Margaret Montour, Catherine Montour and Andrew Montour shuttled through the province as go-betweens. Was Esther truly a Montour? Some have insisted she was, but I find the evidence thin and favor the alternate view that she was a full-blooded Shawnee.

In any event, history shows that the frontier intermediaries were not always honest brokers. “For many years,” Staggs writes, “they helped maintain a tenuous peace, but, with questionable methods such as fake maps and vague treaty statements, some intermediaries collaborated with the government of Pennsylvania and land speculators, thus triggering the Indians’ frustrations that played a role in the outbreak of violence and the Seven Years’ War.”

Esther and her people were victims of the notorious 1737 land fraud known as the Walking Purchase. As recounted in Visions of Teaoga, they were forced out of the Poconos to the intertribal “refugee town” of Shamokin (present-day Sunbury, Pa.). Shamokin’s Iroquois overlord, Shikellamy, and the colonial intermediary Conrad Weiser “helped orchestrate a series of major treaties between the leaders of Iroquoia and Pennsylvania in 1732, 1736, and 1742, which promoted trade and asserted control over the peoples living between Onondaga and Philadelphia,” Staggs explains. “The population increased steadily between the two capitals, however, leading to more frequent disputes between native and colonial neighbors.”

It was an era of connivance, conflict and reprisals that played out all the way through the Revolutionary War and led to the final dispossession of Native Americans from the new state of Pennsylvania.

Professor Staggs’ entry can be read in full at