Since 1994, Mike Nasuti, who is an illustrator, and I have been publishing natural history guides to individual states in the Northeast. Currently, we have five titles, guides for New York, Eastern Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Our guides are unique and comprehensive. We began with a series of articles covering dozens of topics – with text, illustrations, charts and photographs – and are attempting to adapt the material to each state in the series, starting with those in the Northeast.
Each guide contains more than 400 full-color photographs and illustrations. The articles cover everything from bears and beavers to snakes and spiders to weather and wildflowers. Learn about a state's geology, its first human residents, its endangered species and its rivers and mountains. There are identification charts and photos for common birds, butterflies, trees and wildflowers. And there’s a month-by-month calendar showing when events in nature happen.
Bookstores can order these guides at a discount through
THE NATURAL HISTORY OF NEW YORK
Retail price – $23.95
First published in 2002, "The Natural History of New York" is an all-inclusive guide to the nature of New York. This second edition is 40 pages longer than the first version and adds new articles and more than 150 new photographs. Plus, it brings all the information in the original book up to date. Learn about the Iroquois Confederacy, Mount Marcy, the geology of Niagara Falls, the wildflowers of New York, the Finger Lakes, black bears, how the ice age formed Long Island, whales of New York coastal waters, the formation of the Adirondacks and Catskills, the monarch migration and more.
"A treasure chest of information for students of elementary and middle school age, and forward-looking parents ought to put it on their must-get list ... Easy-to-understand charts and tables and concise prose.”
– The Staten Island Advance
“Informative graphics, maps and charts load the pages of 'The Natural History of New York' ... A smart addition to classrooms and homes alike." – The Albany Times Union
THE NATURAL HISTORY OF EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS
Retail price – $23.95
First published in 1998, "The Natural History of Eastern Massachusetts" is an all-inclusive guide to the nature of Massachusetts east of Quabbin Reservoir. This second edition brings all the original information up to date and adds many new articles and dozens of new photographs, charts and maps. Learn about moose and black bears, the first Thanksgiving, the effect of the ice age on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, the geology of the region, the Worcester tornado of 1953, bobcats and coyotes, the Charles River, the whales of Stellwagen Bank, flight times for butterflies and the bloom times for wildflowers.
“If you buy a copy for your kids, you'll have a hard time putting it down yourself. The text by Stan Freeman is clear but does not oversimplify and the illustrations by Mike Nasuti are outstanding."
– The Quincy Patriot Ledger
“A wonderful introduction to the history and features of Massachusetts east of Quabbin Reservoir … Chock full of gorgeous photographs … It's also lots of fun."
– The North Andover Citizen
THE NATURAL HISTORY OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS
Retail price – $21.95
An update of our 2007 first edition, this edition contains new articles, charts and photographs. Like our first edition, the book highlights the nature of Massachusetts' four western counties – Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire counties. There's information about specific features and wildlife of the region, including Mount Greylock, the Connecticut River, timber rattlesnakes, the birds of Western Massachusetts, dragonflies, the Mohawk Trail State Forest, dinosaur footprints, bobcats, flight times for Western Massachusetts butterflies, bloom times for Western Massachusetts wildflowers, Quabbin Reservoir, old Lake Hitchcock and more.
“Over the years I've acquired several books on hiking, biking, kayaking, etc. ... Many of them are focused on the Northeast, or New England or Southern New England. They are good books, but precious few are dedicated to the Pioneer Valley area exclusively. Its trails, hills, wildlife. The nooks and crannies and beautiful places that only people who live here could know ... I finally came across the book that I'd been imagining, lo these many years ... Easy to read and understand, for us slower kids in the class. Easy concise local information. With brilliant photos, drawings, and graphics ... If you enjoy the valley, you'll enjoy this book.”
– Tony Mateus, thepioneervalley.blogspot.com
THE NATURAL HISTORY OF NEW JERSEY
Retail price – $23.95
Like all our guides, this is a comprehensive guide to the nature of the state. It covers bobcats and butterflies, right whales and red-tailed hawks, drifting continents and dragonflies.
Hurricane Sandy, the Passaic River, Kittatinny Mountain, the Haddonfield Hadrosaurus, the Newark Basin, Liberty State Park, the Pine Barrens, the Lenape people and the Delaware Water Gap are also covered.
As in our other state natural history guides for the Northeast, there are charts showing when butterflies appear and when wildflowers bloom. And there are checklists for New Jersey’s common birds, trees, butterflies and wildflowers.
THE NATURAL HISTORY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Retail price – $23.95
"The Natural History of Pennsylvania," a more recent entry in this series, does what our other guides do so well — offer a comprehensive overview of the nature of the state. The Allegheny plateau, American elk, the Johnstown flood, fox squirrels, Mount Davis, little brown bats, Cook State Forest, northern copperheads, the Gettysburg basin, American elk, the Drake oil well, baby bobcats, the Delaware River estuary, the Monarch migration, Penn's woods, leopard frogs and Ricketts Glenn State Park, are among the many topics covered.
Available on Amazon HERE
Fiction - novels
Pantomime - a novel
In the spring of 1911, a group of unemployed stage and vaudeville actors in New York City goes to work for a new film company making one-reelers in a converted milk-processing plant across the Hudson River in New Jersey. To their astonishment, they become some of the earliest stars of moving pictures.
“Pantomime” follows these actors’ lives through World War I and the rise of Hollywood in the 1920s. Some go on to great fame and wealth in motion pictures, while others slip into obscurity – and worse.
Prior to joining the film company, Estelle Harrison, one of the actresses, had been to a nickelodeon only once before in her life – a dingy, cramped hall in Chicago. Here is an excerpt from the novel about her experience:
The air was rank, and a man came down the center aisle spraying perfume from an atomizer. The benches quickly filled with men and a few rough-looking women, some cradling babies. Many of the men were smoking pipes or cigars and talking loudly. Estelle heard less English than Italian and French in the crowd of perhaps two hundred people.
The projection machine in the rear started with a sputter, and a beam of light illuminated the thick haze of smoke. The first photoplay, The Accidental Hero, was about a nearsighted man with an umbrella who foils a bank robbery by inadvertently poking the gun-toting robber in the eye.
Estelle thought it embarrassing for the actors, but she began to watch the audience as much as the film. Once the moving picture started, there was complete silence. At first, she was sure they hated it and felt some vindication for the theatre, but then she looked around to see that people were gazing openmouthed, as if awestruck by what unfolded on the screen. When the film ended, there was wild applause.
This novel was originally published in a print edition under the title “The Blanchard Brothers Film Company” and under the pseudonym R.D. Snowcroft.
Here are some of the reviews:
“A page-turning read steeped in the senses of yesteryear” – Midwest Book Review
“Although fiction, the story gives a wonderful insight into the human (and sometimes inhuman) side of the early motion-picture industry.” – Heartland Reviews
"Deftly evokes the various portraits of film industry 'types.' Although set a mere one hundred years ago, this book reminds us that the movie industry has changed so dramatically as to make this ancient history, and I mean that as a compliment." – Historical Novels Review
for Kindle ebook
Fiction - shorter works
THE JUGGLER, a novella, is about an Indiana farmboy, Richard Grenier, who teaches himself to juggle in the 1930s. Through long hours of practice, he develops astonishing skills, and almost accidentally sets the record for the most balls ever juggled, ten, a feat witnessed by a Ringling Brothers performer. Unfortunately, Grenier suffers medical problems in the closing days of World War II while in the Navy and is robbed of his ability to juggle. He returns to the United States a shadow of the person who left it.The story asks the question: How does someone lose what is essentially their life and muster the will to find a new one?
In THE GOD QUESTION, a novella, a scientific breakthrough at Stanford University produces the first supercomputer with intelligence greater than a human’s – far greater. It is also able to think independently, like humans. The software that made it possible is quickly confiscated by the U.S. government when the computer goes online and disrupts the Internet. However, Stephen Kendrick, a computer scientist at Johns Hopkins University, has a backup copy of the program and, working in secret, loads it onto his supercomputer. He then asks it the ultimate question. Is there evidence for God, for a spiritual framework to life? Stunningly, the computer arrives at an answer.
THE GALAPAGOS COLONY, a novella, is about a stranded human colony and its unique philosophy. In 2242, a settlement ship carrying several hundred people takes off for a distant planet but soon goes off course and becomes hopelessly lost. Eleven years pass before a hospitable planet is located. Once on the ground, the adult colonists begin to suffer a slow wasting disease and within five years, all are dead. The young children, who are unaffected by the illness, must learn to survive on their own. With only a few dozen pamphlets explaining basic living skills to guide them and no knowledge of human history or the sophisticated equipment that brought them there, they still manage to build a thriving colony based on a philosophy they arrive at on their own. Then, two centuries later, a passing deep-space probe detects them and a ship is sent to investigate this mysterious “Galapagos colony.”