Monday, November 25, 2013

IHS Holiday Author Fair Dec. 7

Join me and a host of other Indiana authors at the annual Indiana Historical Society Holiday Author Fair from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, in Lilly Hall at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis. Admission to the IHS is free that day.

At the event, you can also meet basketball legend Bobby "Slick" Leonard, best-selling authors Philip Gulley and James Alexander Thom, former Indianapolis Star columnist Dan Carpenter, and award-winning author Helen Frost.

This year's books range in topics form local treasures L. S. Ayres and Company, Crown Hill Cemetery and the Indianapolis Colts to World War II and the Civil War to music, cooking, media, nature and more. You will find a variety of fiction, nonfiction, and children's titles. The perfect place for all of your holiday shopping needs.

Friday, May 31, 2013

June 18 Talk on Jim Jontz

At noon on Tuesday, June 18, I will be talking about my book The People's Choice: Congressman Jim Jontz of Indiana as part of the Indiana Historical Society's Author Series. The free program will be held in the multipurpose room on the lower level of the Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis.

For the talk, I will discuss how I came to write the book, Jontz's days growing up in Indianapolis, how he came to be an important part of the environmental movement in the Hoosier State in the 1970s, his longshot attempt at political office to help stop a dam/reservoir project in Warren County, his subsequent successful career as a state legislator and U.S. congressman, and his work for a variety of national environmental organizations.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Jontz Biography Honored

My biography of Hoosier politician and environmentalist Jim Jontz was honored in the annual Indiana Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists' Best in Indiana Journalism contest. The People's Choice: Congressman Jim Jontz of Indiana won first place in the non-fiction book category.

The judge for the category said of my work: "Ray E. Boomhower's thoroughly researched and documented biography of Jim Jontz is a touching story well told--an inspiring portrait of a man's passion for the environment."

Friday, March 8, 2013

Indiana Authors Breakfast

Nearly 20 percent of people suffer from dyslexia, a language-based learning disability. You can assist the efforts of the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana in fighting this affliction by attending its annual Indiana Authors Breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Meridian Hills Country Club, 7099 Spring Mill Road, Indianapolis, Indiana. 

I will be one of the authors at the breakfast, which will be emceed by Dick Wolfsie. The authors at the breakfast, and their books, are:
  • Marie J. Albertson, Old Librarians Never Die: They Jump Out of Airplanes: Adventuring through the Senior Years in Indiana
  • Ray E. Boomhower, The People's Choice: Congressman Jim Jontz of Indiana
  • Lorene Burkhart, Bookstraps: How Women Pull Themselves Up through Tough Times
  • Wes D. Gehring, I, Red Skelton: Exit Laughing, or, A Man, His Movies and Sometimes His Monkeys
  • Ken Turchi, L. S. Ayres & Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America
  • Dick Wolfsie, Indiana Curiosities
The Authors Breakfast is DII's largest solely operated fund-raising event, with 100 percent of the proceeds from this event going directly to provide needed tutoring services to adults and children with specific reading/language disabilities, to provide alternative literacy education for children with dyslexia in Indiana, and to support Indiana authors and the importance of reading as an ongoing source of education.

The event includes a generous buffet breakfast, an entertaining author panel, a silent auction, and the chance to meet the authors and purchase their books. Tickets are $40 for general admission, $60 for Patron, and $1,000 for a table of ten. Tickets can be purchased online or by phone at (317) 222-6635.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Talk at Monticello Library Feb. 23

I will be talking about my new book The People's Choice: Congressman Jim Jontz of Indiana at a free public program at 1 p.m. Saturday, February 23, at the Monticello-Union Township Public Library, 321 West Broadway, Monticello, Indiana. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the talk.

This first-ever biography of Jontz examines his remarkable long shot political career and lifetime involvement in local, state, and national environmental issues. As a liberal Democrat (he preferred the terms progressive or populist) usually running in conservative districts, Jontz had political pundits predicting his defeat in every election only to see him celebrating another victory with his happy supporters, always clad in a scruffy plaid jacket with a hood from high school that he wore for good luck. “I always hope for the best and fight for the worst,” said Jontz. He won five terms as state representative for the Twentieth District (Benton, Newton, Warren, and White Counties), served two years in the Indiana Senate, and captured three terms in the U.S. Congress representing the sprawling Fifth Congressional District in northwestern Indiana that stretched from Lake County in the north to Grant County in the south. Jontz told a reporter that his political career had always “been based on my willingness and role as a spokesman for the average citizen.”

From his first campaign for elective office until his death from colon cancer in 2007, Jontz had an abiding passion for protecting the environment. A dam project that threatened to destroy the scenic Fall Creek Gorge area in Warren County inspired Jontz to enter the political fray, and he continued his conservation efforts in Washington, D.C., sponsoring legislation to help protect old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest—an attempt that made him a hero to many environmentalists, but enraged timber-industry supporters and fellow congressmen. Although it might sound too grandiose to say that Jontz wanted to save the planet, his former wife, Elaine Caldwell Emmi, noted “that was his ultimate goal, to be a spokesman for those that couldn’t speak—the trees, the animals, the air, the water.”

Defeated in his try for a fourth term representing the Fifth District in 1992, Jontz, two years later, made his final try for political office, failing in an attempt to unseat U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, a fellow Eagle Scout. After his defeat, Jontz left Indiana to work on behalf of a number of progressive causes in an attempt to forge coalitions among labor and environmental groups. He led an unsuccessful campaign to stop the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the Citizens Trade Campaign, helped protect the Endangered Species Act when it was under attack in the 1990s as director of the Endangered Species Coalition, campaigned to save old-growth forests as executive director of the Western Ancient Forest Campaign, and tried to foster progressive causes as president of the Americans for Democratic Action. 

According to environmental activist Brock Evans, Jontz’s most enduring legacy is his constant reminder that “even seeming hopeless causes can be won. All we need is the right kind of leader, a person of high spirit and sunny optimism, and, above all, a large and courageous heart.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Indiana Authors Breakfast

I will be one of five Hoosier writers part of the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana's fourth annual Indiana Authors Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, at the Meridian Hills Country Club, 7099 Spring Mill Road, Indianapolis.

The breakfast, which will be emceed by Dick Wolfsie of WISH-TV Channel 8, will feature, in addition to me, Indiana authors Marie J. Albertson, Lorene Burkhart, Wes Gehring, and Ken Turchi. 

Tickets are $40 for general admission, $60 for patron, or $1,000 for a corporate table of ten. All proceeds benefit the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Tickets may be purchased online or by phone at (317) 222-6635.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Apollo 1 Programs in January

January 27, 2013, marks the forty-sixth anniversary of the Apollo 1 tragedy that took the lives of astronauts Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. I will be presenting  programs on the fire that almost halted America's efforts to put a man on the moon and return him safely to earth before the end of the 1960s at two public libraries in the state.

I will be giving my talk, "Tragedy on Pad 34: Gus Grissom and the Apollo 1 Fire" at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 12, at the Pendleton Community Public Library, 595 East Water Street, Pendleton, Indiana, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, January 27, at the Logansport Cass County Public Library, 616 East Broadway, Logansport, Indiana. Both programs are free and open to the public. Also, I will have available for sale at both locations my biography of the Hoosier astronaut, Gus Grissom: The Lost Astronaut, first published in 2004 by the Indiana Historical Society Press as part of its Indiana Biography Series.