2014 TAZ Winners


Published – Children’s Books

1st place– Klinger, Betsy Beard

Klinger, A Story of Honor and Hope is the endearing story of a young horse dreaming of fame as a racehorse. Klinger was written by the mother of a fallen hero for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a national nonprofit Veterans Service Organization that brings help, hope, and healing to those whose loved one has died in military service.

2nd Place– The Gift of Holiday Valley~ JoAnn Forrester

A lovely fable about Happy Valley where the people are kind and respectful. Then one day, they are challenged to share the things that make them special with the OUTSIDE! “The Gift of Holiday Valley” is a wonderful holiday story that inspires and amuses both adults and children — and the perfect stocking stuffer.

3rd Place-Fun Days in Pittsburgh~ Pat McGrath Avery, Joyce Faulkner

Whether you are a visitor or a resident, Pittsburgh celebrates families. “Fun Days in Pittsburgh” is a picture book of Pat McGrath Avery’s glorious photos of Pittsburgh aimed at children and the adults that love them.


Published -Historical Fiction

1st place-Windshift~ Joyce Faulkner

Shirley Maxwell is a troubled young woman facing a complicated personal life, a culture that restricts female options, and a world at war. Yet, together with friends — Emmie, Delores, and Mags — she joins Jackie Cochran’s Women’s Air Service Pilots program (WASP) and participates in the adventure, challenges, and tragedies of the 1940s with determination and courage. Shirley and her friends know what they are tackling will be hard, but they do it anyway and relish the effort. In the process, they change what is possible in the minds of young girls everywhere. Lively and moving, Windshift inspires and educates. Appropriate for history buffs interested in the World War II era, students of social change, those who love tales of derring do — and those who just love airplanes


2nd place-Consecrated Dust~ Mary Frailey Calland

Inspired by these two real-life tragedies, Consecrated Dust tells the story of four young northerners – feminist, Clara Ambrose; soldier, Garrett Cameron; industrialist, Edgar Gliddon; and immigrant, Annie Burke – friends, lovers, and bitter rivals. In the teeming streets and factories of Pittsburgh, and on the battlefields of the Army of the Potomac, they struggle to survive, forced to choose between love and duty, sacrifice and greed. Their choices ultimately lead to their presence at both the Arsenal and the Antietam battlefield on that fateful September day, a day that reveals the true meaning of courage – a day not all of them will survive.

3rd place-The Kansas NCO ~ Joe Campolo Jr

The Kansas NCO is a novel about an Air Force senior NCO (non-commissioned officer) who runs what is possibly the largest black market operation of the Vietnam War, in the later stages of the American involvement there. Several of his underlings become entangled in a a drug operation and end up outside the wire for several weeks, fighting for their very lives.

They find themselves victimized by treachery in their own ranks, as well as being hunted by the Viet Cong, with nowhere to turn. As the story unfolds our men find some unlikely allies….along with some surprising enemies as their journey to their final destination takes them back where they started.

Although this book is fiction much of it is based on fact and personal experience.


Historical Non Fiction

1st Place-Firehammer ~Ric Hunter

FIREHAMMER is a novel based on a true story about the final battle of the Vietnam War. Written by Ric Hunter, a fighter pilot who participated in this event, this book educates, entertains and excites the reader. It also honors those who served including the author’s high school friend, Tim Davies, USMC — who died earlier in the war.

2nd place= In the Shadow of a Badge~ Lillie Leonardi

An outstanding and inspirational story that will provide its readers with hope and renew their faith in God and mankind. During her work at the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, surrounding the fateful events of September 11, 2001, Leonardi is forced to confront her connection to the divine something she has struggled with since her youth. Her gripping personal account of the 12 days she spent acting as an FBI liaison between the law enforcement and social service agencies carries you into a world that combines the factual and logistical with the angelic and mystical..

3rd place-Beyond All Price ~Carolyn Poling Schriber

This is a historical novel. Nellie Chase was a fascinating and complex young woman, but she played only a small part in the machine that was the Union Army. History books have recorded only a few lines about her experiences as a Civil War nurse. She left no personal letters and no formal records, but those whose lives she touched remembered her as an angel of mercy. Her story, told here by a trained historian, is factual whenever events can be documented. Fictional descriptions, conversations, and transitions strive to reflect the true nature of the time in which she lived and struggled.


Finalist- Don’t ever take away My Freedom ~Thomas Patrick Locke

A compelling and refreshing look at our founding documents and what we stand to lose if we fail to remember our heritage.

Self help/Medicine

1st Place-Outsmarting Autism, Patricia S Lemer

Whether you are new to the world of autism, are familiar with treatment options, or are a veteran who has been there, done that, this book is for you! Discoveries about possible etiologies and promising therapies are emerging so quickly that you are sure to learn something new. Outsmarting Autism guides you step-by-step with practical information from a variety of fields that families, specialists, and educators can put to use immediately.

2nd Place-Vitamin C~ Sharise M. Hemby

Evidence shows that Vitamin C provides numerous health benefits and it is an essential nutrient for the human body. In the way Vitamin C provides nutrients for the body, so shall this book provide essential nutrients for the soul. Vitamin C for the Soul is about embracing our unique journeys in the healing process, understanding the lessons in the trying times and appreciating the good times you to tap into your inner strengths and equip you with new tools to embrace life’s complexities.

3rd Place-The Grief Revolution- Debbie Pakler, Ph.d

Since the dawn of modern psychology, even the greatest pioneers in the industry have been proven wrong when it comes to treating grief and bereavement..

The Grief Revolution rights the wrongs committed by the single-sighted theories that came before it and presents a fully integrated, comprehensive approach to overcoming grief that incorporates both psychological and metaphysical methods.

Finalist-T/E Ratios and Steroids Frank Georgiana Jr.

T/E Ratios and Steroids: The Gray Areas of Athletics is the first book ever written that speaks publicly about why and how athletes on three levels—collegiate, professional and international—are permitted to use anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. The author is not apprehensive about telling the truth. He interviewed the National Football League, National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and the International Olympic Committee to discover the facts.

Published –Inspirational/Poetry

1st place Special TAZ award for poetry-Whose A&& is That? Marylu Zuk

While getting ready to cover an outdoor P.R. event a few years ago, Marylu used the old two-mirror trick to see how she looked from the back. ‘Oh my God! Whose @ss is that?!’ she screamed. Believing that she couldn’t possibly be the only woman surprised by a view from that angle, the light bulb went off and her first book, Whose A&& Is That? was conceived.

Filled with Traycee Bosle’s adorably whimsical illustrations, it makes the perfect gift for your best friend, favorite aunt, and any gal pal with a sense of humor.

If I were a man would I still obsess about the size of my can every time I undress? ~ mlz


1st place for Self-help/spiritualityGood morning Have a Nice Day~ Elder Twila Wynn

Good Morning! Have a Nice Day…. is a book that will warm your heart like a hot cup of coffee or tea will warm you soul.. Good Morning! Have a Nice Day…. was written to empower, embolden, and to edify you through daily inspirations and motivational thoughts and actions for living your life full of freedom.

2nd place for Self help/Spirituality -Exquisite Zodiac~ Rick DiClemente

With the premise that the atoms inside our bodies are the same ones that comprise the universe, The Exquisite Zodiac reveals how every facet of the zodiac works in sync, and how we can apply the entirety of its intelligence and wisdom in a practical way..

3rd Place for self help/spirituality-Two Voices: Ego and Spirit~ Nickolas Martin Ed.D & Linda M Martin Mh.D

The two voices of Ego and Spirit speak profoundly within our lives. Two Voices: Ego and Spirit takes you on a journey in which you can hear more clearly what these two voices are saying, begin to speak with more of your voice within your life, and recognize the One Voice that connects you to all beings as One and in Unity

Finalist for self help/spirituality-Girl, Pray for Me` Penda L James, M.ed

Everyone has dreams, not everyone has intentional tenacity. Girl, Pray for Me will help you shatter excuses, overcome procrastination and confront fears. You already know how to accomplish goals; the guided journal exercises help you define what you need in an accountability partner and think intentionally about your action steps

Published –Biography~ Memoir

1st place best in biography– Honus Wagner: A Biography ~ Dennis DeValeria

The widely read sportswriter Hugh Fullteron referred to Wagner as “the nearest approach to a baseball machine ever constructed.” Honus Wagner is generally acknowledged as the finest shortstop in baseball history

And yet, amazingly, a full-length biography of Honus Wagner has never appeared. Here, Dennis and Jeanne DeValeria tell the sports hero’s whole story

Neither the “rowdy-ball” ruffian nor the teetotal saint constructed of legend, Wagner is presented here in a complete portrait-one that offers a vivid impression of the era when baseball was American’s game and the nation was evolving into the world’s industrial leader.


2nd place best in memoir=Breaking through-Discovering the riches within ~Allan McDougall

Breaking Through takes you into the life of an alcoholic with unforgiving detail. It leads you down the tortured path that brought Allan McDougall to the brink of suicide by alcohol and back from that hell into the light of a productive life again. Framed by the bawdy, brutal culture of hard rock miners in Northern Ontario, Canada, this is the memoir of a hard life, yet one that, more than 20 years after Allan’s critical moment on the brink, continues to be fully redeemed. “My intention”, says Allan “is never to see through people but to see people through.. Breaking Through, Discovering the Riches Within is such a story.


3rd place in memoir-Stabbed in the Heart~ Lynn Shiner

“I’m a doctor who treats the invisible injury – the deep and lasting pain of sudden, pointless, terrible loss. This book helps me. It can help you. Two remarkable women have woven their singular life stories together, describing the murders of their children, their own sense of shock, betrayal and despair, and then the ways they found sustenance and support, hope and love, and, ultimately, the energy and will to reform institutions and to assist others. We owe Lynn and Nancy more than recognition and gratitude. We owe them the brief time it takes to read their accounts, to absorb their skills in coping with cruelty, and to carry on their mission of embracing and encouraging those who suffer the most severe of human wounds.”

Frank M. Ochberg, MD, a pioneer in the study of trauma, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Michigan State University

Finalist in memoir-Cat got your Treadmill ~Jay Speyerer

A humorous collection of communication columns covering a range of subjects from irony in writing and the way music works in movies all the way to high school typing classes and why local newsreaders mangle the Mother Tongue. Oh yes, and the animals, smart and less so.

Published – Auto Biography

1st place-Riding the Airwaves~ Eleanor Schano


Long before the Katie Courics and Diane Sawyers of the world . . . when television was new and stereotypes about gender roles were old . . . one woman dared to take on the media’s male hierarchy and carve out the career of her dreams. Riding the Air Waves: The Life and Televised Times of Eleanor Schano is a chronicle of one reporter s fifty-year odyssey through the world of broadcasting and her groundbreaking accomplishments earned even as she suffered agonizing personal tragedies. Literally growing up in the public eye, Schano challenged traditional female roles in an era when women were expected to sit down and be pretty, not stand up and speak out and she carved the template for reporters who bring both professionalism and compassion to the hard news they report. Part history book, part personal memoir with a generous helping of celebrity encounters, hilarious anecdotes, and everyday wisdoms learned as a single mother working outside the home Schano s story is filled with courage, humor, and inspiration, and will speak to all readers about the power in each of us to make a difference.



2nd place-Girls Don’t ride Motorcycles~ Dorit Brauer

‘Girls Don’t Ride Motorbikes – A Spiritual Adventure Into Life’s Labyrinth’ chronicles a modern day pilgrimage in which Dorit Brauer embarks onto a 7,430 mile solo motorcycle adventure across the US to walk labyrinths. On her journey, Dorit recounts poetic life stories spanning her youth on a dairy farm in Germany, a 10-week solo backpacking trip in Brazil, the turmoil of living in Tel Aviv, to her most recent chronicles in the United States. As Dorit travels cross-country from labyrinth to labyrinth, these stories are woven together intricately to provide insights allowing the reader to reflect on their own spiritual journey. The title of the book, ‘Girls Don’t Ride Motorbikes,’ comes from a mantra of Dorit’s youth, embedded into her mind by her father. Born from very traditional parents with their own expectations, Dorit had the courage to make her own path. She pursued everything she wasn’t supposed to do and found adventure and true fulfillment in life. She is living her best life and through her example inspires everyone else to listen to their inner yearnings and follow the voice of their hearts.

3rd place-Confessions of a Do Gooder Gone Bad~Anne Howley

Confessions of A Do-Gooder Gone Bad is a wry, humorous coming of age memoir about a well-intentioned “problem child” raised by conservative, evangelical Christian parents in Southern California during the Sixties and Seventies. As she naively stumbles through her youth and young adulthood, one misadventure after another, she also struggles to reconcile her ultra-Christian upbringing with women’s liberation, prejudice, protest and poverty during this turbulent era, eventually gaining a different perspective of faith in a world more complicated, terrifying, funny and wonderful than she expected.

Finalist-Worth the Climb Audrey ~Jane Snyder, MS

Worth the Climb tells Audrey’s remarkable story of struggle and success in white-dominated corporate America. Leaving home at a young age, Audrey moved from secretary to prominent business success in the face of racism and discrimination. Throughout her 40-year struggle, Audrey pushed away anger, bitterness, and despair, clinging instead to excellence, perseverance, and the need to open doors for Black Americans who would follow her. Worth the Climb is a must read for anyone looking to move forward in spite of pitfalls and disappointments.


Published – Business/Reference

1st place -29% Solution~ Michelle Donovan


In many ways, success at networking is the uncommon application of common knowledge. Most people understand that networking is important to their success–they just lack a step-by-step process to get the results they want. Almost no one really implements a comprehensive methodology that will build a business through networking. Thus, the need to network is ‘common knowledge,’ and the development of the methodology required to be successful at it is the ‘uncommon application.’

By reading this book, you will experience the true essence and meaning of networking. The 29% Solution gives you the answers to two conflicting questions that a business owner or salesperson faces every day: How can I tend to my existing clients while at the same time network for new business? and, Should I place higher value on my current clients or on new clients?

2nd place-Slick Move Guide~ Jodi Velazquez

The Slick Move Guide Latest Edition is an updated version of the original Slick Move Guide. This consumer written, easy to read, informative and very detailed moving guide that can save a mover hundreds of dollars is now loaded with even more helpful information. This guide is used by companies, home builders, real estate agents, schools, and sports teams and leagues in America.

3rd place-Don’t be impatient, Read a short Story~ Raymond Grant

The title says it all, this is Flash fiction. A book of short stories written to entertain and challenge the reader.

Published – General fiction

1st place-Last Perfect Summer~ Ed Prence

Harry Kirkland was a star shortstop in a small Western Pennsylvania steel town where baseball was everything. Everyone in his home town eagerly followed this Little League hero’s career. Their adulation and loyalty convinced him that his life would continue on a golden road of success and good fortune. But Harry never fulfilled his dreams. Stricken with a bout of viral encephalitis and sent to live in a mental institution, he slowly faded away–brain-damaged, toothless, and void of hope. Until the day that Ted Tresh, Harry’s childhood friend, arrived at the hospital for a long-overdue visit. Armed with recollections of a simpler life, championship games, and lazy summer days, Ted takes Harry back to revisit their past, and reconnect with the boys they once were. “The Last Perfect Summer” is a nostalgic trip back to the 1960s–back to the days when a soda cost a dime and Mickey Mantle was every schoolboy’s idol. Back to a time when the innocence of youth allowed for any dream to come true.

2nd place-The Heart of a Man ~Michelle D Jackson

An inspirational story of redemption, love and acceptance. Conrad Bydon, a wealthy Atlanta businessman struggles to make peace with the death of his mother and friend while enduring challenges in his marriage and career. Through an unpredictable journey to self-discovery, Conrad becomes a testament to God’s power to change the heart and mind of those who love him.

3rd place-Growing Pains ~Paris Love

Growing Pains is a story about best friends searching for true love. Kiki is a naïve young lady who falls madly in love, but all is not as it seems. Myra has planned her entire life right down to the wedding ceremony, yet she struggles with finding Mr. Right. Darren wants to have his cake and eat it too, until it blows up in his face. Through good times and bad, they try to stay afloat and ahead of the game. Growing Pains captures the innocence of the heart, the mind, body and soul of friends who grow up searching for what we all desire . . . respect, loyalty and most of all, love and companionship.


1st place-Swing~ Philip Beard

-John Kostka is three feet tall but larger than life, moving through the world on gloved hands and powerful arms as if on a set of parallel bars. Henry Graham is a ten year-old boy whose father has just left home for good. When the two meet at a downtown bus stop, all they seem to have in common is their love of the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates. But that is enough to begin a life-long friendship that, eventually, enables both men to confront old enemies and heal old wounds.

Philip Beard’s third and most accomplished novel swings between two narratives the way John Kostka swings through life. The result is a multifaceted meditation on childhood heroes, the beauty of baseball and the power of love to heal a family in crisis.

2nd place-Resolve~ J.J. Hensley

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, 18,000 people from all over the world will participate. Over 9,500 will run the half marathon, 4,000 will run in relays while others plan to run brief stretches. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment and one man is going to be murdered.

When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows who is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill them.

As a professor of Criminology at Three Rivers University, and a former police officer, Dr. Cyprus Keller is an expert in criminal behavior and victimology. However, when one of his female students is murdered and his graduate assistant attempts to kill him, Keller finds himself frantically swinging back and forth between being a suspect and a victim. When the police assign a motive to the crimes that Keller knows cannot be true, he begins to ask questions that somebody out there does not want answered.

In the course of 26.2 miles, Keller recounts how he found himself encircled by a series of killings that have shocked the city, while literally pursuing his prey – the man who was behind it all.

3rd Place-Grave Secrets~ Linda Swink

Grave Secrets is a Mystery set in Willoughby, Ohio in the 19th Century.. Grave Secrets is full of unexpected turns, startling revelations, and suspense. In Hank Blankenship, she has given us a character we can like, both for his courage and humanness. An enjoyable read with a fresh

approach to time and place.” ~ Mark Holbrook, Civil War Historian, and Author of The Buckeye Vanguard: History of the Forty-ninth Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865. “The writing of a convincing mystery is a challenge for any author, but then to build that mystery in an authentic historical setting is a challenge indeed. Linda Swink succeeds on all counts with Grave Secrets.

Finalist-A Scratch with the Rebels~ Carolyn Schriber

On a muddy South Carolina battlefield, a sergeant sat propped up against a hedge and tried to focus on the spot where he thought his leg should be. There was nothing – only the tattered remains of his trousers and a pool of blood that grew ever larger. The whistle of artillery shells had stopped, and the sudden quiet was as jarring as the previous battle noises had been. Shock had deadened the pain, so

They were just two soldiers, alike in many ways but different in the one trait that mattered on that battlefield. One was North; the other, South. Sgt. James McCaskey belonged to the 100th Pennsylvania Regiment, known to their comrades as “The Roundheads.” They came from the farms of western Pennsylvania, determined to defend for all men the Calvinist principles they most valued – self-reliance, industriousness, and liberty. Gus Smythe served in the Washington Light Infantry, part of the 24th South Carolina Volunteers. He was a college student from a well-to-do Charleston family and an ardent supporter of the Confederate right to secede from a political union that did not serve the needs of its people. This is the story of how they came to their opposing positions, and how the Battle of Secessionville altered not only their own lives, but the lives of all those who shared their experiences.

TAZ awards are based on 80% content and 20% production of your book. Judges are authors/writers/teachers/editors from Pittsburgh and New York. Submit your book before September 13, 2019, for a TAZ Author Award ceremony and Authors’ Night Out.