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Butler County's great daily newspaper

County writers weave tales, offer enlightenment

Books by Butler County authors deal with many subjects, including science fiction, romance, industry, enlightenment and stories for children.

Below are recent publications.

'Uncanny Valley'

In “Uncanny Valley,” science fiction author Mike Kilroy weaves the story of an android, a disfigured girl and a megalomaniac set in a futuristic San Francisco.

Addis is a “Cannie,” one of the artificial beings made to look and act human. His singular reason to exist is to see to every need of the Bedards: Max, who created millions of Cannies; and Max's daughter, Renae, a young woman with a disfigured face.

But when the Cannies revolt, secrets are revealed about both humans and Cannies.

Kilroy, a sports reporter for the Butler Eagle, also wrote “Nine Meals,” “17,” “Solo” and “Into Dust.”

“Uncanny Valley” is available in both digital and paperback formats online.

'The Keeper'

Former Butler native Rebecca Neely has released “The Keeper,” the first book in a planned Crossing Realms paranormal romance series, from Soul Mate Publishing.

The series is set in Pittsburgh, where all's not fair in love and war as Keepers battle Betrayers to save the human race from destruction.

The book is available in digital format online.

Neely also is the author of “A Mighty Good Man,” a contemporary romance with a punch of suspense that takes place in the fictional Western Pennsylvania small town of Fiddler's Elbow.

Since 2001, Neely has been freelance writing. She is a member of Romance Writers of America.

'A Nice Place to Visit'

Aaron Cowan, associate professor of history at Slippery Rock University, argues in his book “A Nice Place to Visit,” that urban tourism has played a central role in the revitalization of Pittsburgh, as well as three other rust belt cities he studied; Baltimore, St. Louis and Cincinnati.

Published by Temple University Press, the book provides a historical analysis of how the four cities remade themselves into tourist locales in the post-industrial era, largely through image-making and investment in tourist infrastructure such as hotels, convention centers and sports stadiums.

“A Nice Place to Visit” is available online in paperback and digital formats.

'When Pirates Took Over My School'

Melissa Busler's debut children's book, “When Pirates Took Over My School,” is geared toward children ages 7 to 10.

In the chapter book, Jimmy Rodden arrives at Freedom Elementary one ordinary Monday morning to discover his third grade teacher missing, and in her place a pirate named Captain Jack Bluebeard. And the pirate crew members start digging up the school grounds in search of buried treasure.

Sometimes fun, sometimes frightening, the pirates are a mystery that Jimmy and his friends do their best to figure out.The Butler resident published her debut novel, a contemporary young adult book called “Vicky's Newsworthy Summer,” in 2014.Busler teaches middle school science at St. Luke Lutheran School in Jefferson Township.“When Pirates Took Over My School” is available in paperback. Visit'Slate Roof Bible'Joe Jenkins has released the third edition of the “Slate Roof Bible.”Jenkins climbed on his first stone roof in 1968 in Butler at the age of 16, under the tutelage of a 63-year-old Ukrainian roofer named Peter Odrey.Jenkins, now 63, has collected a lifetime of experience about slate roofs and published it in a hardcover, full-color work of 374 pages with almost 900 illustrations in 21 chapters. Previous editions are available in paperback.The books are offered at For more information, call 814-786-9085.'Bird by Bird Watching'Westminster College English professor emeritus Dr. James Perkins has released “Bird by Bird Watching” published by Dawn Valley Press.Perkins' latest literary endeavor, his 21st book since coming to Westminster, is a collaboration with his longtime friend and colleague, the late Nelson Oestreich, whose woodcut bird prints illustrate this volume of Perkins' poems.The book is available in paperback online. For more information, call 724-946-7347 or send e-mail to'The Nightmare Birds'

Amie Irene Winters of Grove City has published her second book in the Strange Luck series, “The Nightmare Birds.”In the story, Daisy Darling sets out to uncover the truth about the Theater of Secrets legend and is thrown headlong into a life as the theater's ringleader.Previously, the author explored various careers in environmentalism and communications, adding archaeologist, park ranger, and museum curator to her résumé, but writing fiction has always been her passion.She is currently working on the next book in the series. Visit'Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment'For Christopher Niebauer, associate professor of psychology at Slippery Rock University, writing inspiration struck at a most unusual moment: while he was lying in a hospital bed battling epiglottitis eight years ago.Epiglottitis is a condition where the small cartilage structure in your throat that covers the windpipe swells and can be life threatening.The end result was Niebauer's first book, “The Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment: How the Left-Brain Plays Unending Games of Self-Improvement.”While his book is based on the teachings of Alan Watts and Eckhart Tolle, it integrates the findings of modern neuroscience that reveal that “it is the desire for enlightenment that is the biggest block to happiness and peace.”His book is available in paperback and digital formats.For more information, visit Lsf7iINl.dpuf.

Melissa Busler
Aaron Cowan