One of the things I truly enjoy is sharing my writing with others. If it's my latest books of poems, how nice to have an opportunity to read them aloud. If it's a local history book, I not only get the chance to explain how I came to write about the subject, but I also get to hear the audience's reactions and memories of the topic. I am available to speak for libraries, clubs, organizations and school groups. Often my program includes a PowerPoint presentation. If you belong to a group that may be interested in me as a speaker, please let me know by using the "Contact" link at the top of the page.
Upcoming Readings and Book Signings
Thursday, May 16, 2019 7:00 pm
Runnings, 3949 NY-31, Liverpool, NY 13090
I have been invited to be part of the Liverpool Library’s "American Creed: Community Conversations" program, which invites audiences to consider what America's ideals and identity ought to be. I’ll be representing the city of Fulton, once home to many industries, including Nestle. I’ll be sharing my observations of how the chocolate factory profoundly changed our city. American Creed: Community Conversations is made possible by a grant from the American Library Association (ALA) in partnership with Citizen Film and the National Writing Project. Liverpool Public Library is one of 50 libraries nationwide selected as a grant recipient.
Monday, September 23, 2019 6:30 pm
The Hannibal Historical Society, 162 Oswego Street, Hannibal
Just down the road from Fulton is Hannibal and I’ve heard from many people of that town that they could smell the sweet smell of chocolate from the Nestle factory. We’ll be looking back at the strong ties between Fulton and Hannibal when I present my PowerPoint program on the history of Nestle in Fulton.
Tuesday, October 22, 2019 7:00 pm
The Sterling Historical Society, 1294 NY-104A, Sterling, NY 13156
This enthusiastic and welcoming group has invited me to talk about my latest research project, Camp Hollis. I’m collecting the history of this children’s residential camp located in the town of Oswego on Lake Ontario and at Sterling’s meeting I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned thus far.
Monday, November 18, 2019 1:00 pm
Betsy Baldwin Chapter Daughter of the American Revolution, Baldwinsville, NY. (location to be announced)
I’ll be providing the Nestle’s history program for this group. The general public is welcome to the program and then can leave after their business meeting.
Looking for a program for your group or organization?
Here are some topics I offer:
1) For nearly 0ne hundred years, the Nestle chocolate factory in Fulton provided the United States with candy bars, chocolate chip morsels, and beverage-enhancing powders like Nestle’s Quik and Strawberry Quik. My book, Nestle in Fulton, New York: How Sweet it Was, covers how the Swiss-based company first came to the United States and its century of success in Fulton. As part of this Nestle program, I provide a PowerPoint presentation which includes an overview of the factory’s history, stories I collected from former Nestle employees and their families, and informaton about the invention and development of Nestle’s most successful products: The Crunch Bar, Quik, Toll House Morsels, etc.
2) Based on the research I conducted for my Blizzard of '66 book and biography of Oswego weatherman Bob Sykes, I have put together a one-hour program about Central New York winter weather as seen through the eyes of its longtime residents. Using some of the incredible stories about what happened to people during the blizzard and anecdotes about our area's most memorable meteorologist from his SUNY Oswego students and colleagues, I shine a spotlight on the hearty people who manage to survive winter after winter of our amazing weather. A PowerPoint presentation brings the stories and memories alive. The program concludes with a question and answer period.
3) I have developed a presentation for my latest book of poems, Reach Out In The Darkness: How Pop Music Saved My Mortal Soul. Working with musicians Gina Holsopple and Matthew Wood, we mix some of the great pop tunes of the '60s and early '70s with my poetry, bringing to life the singers, songs and culture of that great era. We've done this program at the river's end bookstore and the Fulton Public Library and both times, the audience response has been wonderful. People sing along to their favorite songs and reflect on that time gone by. Those who've attended have said that the evening's program leaves them feeling uplifted. Matthew, Gina and I are looking for other places to present the program. Let me know if you are interested.
4) Over the past few years, I've been presenting a slideshow program at various locations in Central New York based on my latest book Of the Earth: Stories From Oswego County's Muck Farms. The book is a compilation I created after interviewing local muck farmers, their family members, neighbors and agricultural agency representatives. In the book I weave the interviews together to tell the story of how this unique type of farming got established in Oswego County, how it developed and prospered into a major industry and what the future holds for the mucks. The slideshow program includes photos from the farms and families I interviewed, as well as stories from the book. After the presentation I introduce any muck farm families in attendance and take questions from the audience.
5) In 1971, a family was vacationing at their summer home in the Adirondacks. One July afternoon, their eight-year-old son became lost. Despite a major search effort that drew nearly 1,000 people, the boy was never found. Many who participated in the search called it unorganized. As word spread about the boy's tragedy and the struggles in trying to find him, a man in Fulton, New York decided he would take action to address the lack of trained support when a person went missing. Gathering a group of like-minded people, this man started the first volunteer professional search and rescue team in New York State. I had the privilege of writing the story of how this group formed and they are the subject of my book Pioneers: The Story of Oswego County's Search and Rescue Team. My PowerPoint program includes stories of how the team developed their effective search techniques, descriptions of the high-profile searches they have participated in and information of how they continue to evolve and serve the families of those who go missing. Former and current members of the team often join me for these presentations.
In the last few years, I have had the pleasure of meeting people at:
Community Library of Dewitt & Jamesville
Bridge Street television show
Barnes & Noble, DeWitt
The Canal Walk Cafe
The Joe Kelly Show
CNY Literacy Festival
The Jordan Historical Society
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County
The Red Creek Free Library
The New Haven Seniors
The Rome Historical Society
The Clay Historical Society
The Liverpool Library
Cayuga Community College, Auburn and Fulton campuses
SUNY Polytech College, Utica, NY
Granby Town Hall
Hannibal Senior Center (The Elderberries)
Hannibal Historical Society
Phoenix Senior Nutrition Center
Fulton Senior Nutrition Center
Scriba Historical Society
Volney Town Hall
Town of Oswego History Group
Oswego Library Author program
Sterling Historical Society
Porchfest, Oswego, NY
Barnes & Noble, Clay
Fair Haven Artisans
Springside at Seneca Hill
The Niagara Mohawk Retiree's Organization
The Town of Minetto Historical Society
The Oneida County Historical Society
The Auburn Bookstore
The Singing Seniors of Trenton, New York
The Parish Library
The Pulaski Library
The Sandy Creek Library
The Central Square Library
Fulton Kiwanis Club
Fulton Lions Club
Fulton Sunrise and Noon Rotary Clubs
If you know of a group or organization that would like to have one of my programs, please contact me by using the "Contact" link at the top of this web page or by calling (315) 402-6164.