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My Adventures as a Train Rider and Hobo Queen

Julianna Porrazzo-Ray


In 1979 at the age of 30, Julianna Porrazzo gave herself the hobo moniker of “Minneapolis Jewel” and hopped her first freight train to ride to Britt, Iowa, to attend the National Hobo Convention. She would take this trip every year for the next 40 years, becoming fully part of the hobo family, meeting gritty, one-of-a-kind individuals (one she even married), and being elected Queen of the Hobos five times. Wisdom and Nonsense is the story of her train rides, hobo friendships, adventures, and tragedy.



A Novel

Barbara Hacha


The 1930s: As the Great Depression deepens and her family disintegrates, Maddy Skobel flees her central Ohio town —by freight train—determined to make her own way. Learning to survive as a hobo while facing hardship, danger, and violence, Maddy must discover her own resourcefulness and strengths.


Through Maddy's eyes, Line by Line explores larger themes that especially resonate today: coming of age in times of economic devastation, trust in our government, and the life-shaping influence of family—both the family that we are born into and the family we create as we surround ourselves with those who matter most.

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Finalist, Best New Fiction

—USA Book News

“Best Books of 2011”


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Bronze Medal, Historical Fiction —Independent Publisher  Book Awards 2012


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BRAG Medallion Award


5 Star Fiction


Published March 2011 by

MediaMix Productions, LLC




A Novella

Barbara Hacha


In 1931, while riding the rails in the early years of the Great Depression, Maddy Skobel, desperate for food, knocked on the door of a young, pregnant mother's house in Steamburg, New York, and was given a bowl of chili she has never forgotten.  In the hobo tradition of working for a handout, Maddy made a drawing of the mother's little girl and promised to return one day to draw the new baby.


Now six years have passed and Maddy, troubled by her yet unfulfilled promise, decides to travel from her home in Auburn, New York, to Steamburg to repay the woman's kindness.  What should have been a short, uneventful trip quickly turns complicated as Maddy must deal with the consequences of her own mistakes and the turmoil and tragedy created by others.



Stories and Traditions

of American Hobos

Barbara Hacha


Ever since track was first laid for the great locomotives, hobos have listened to the call of the rails, lured by the possibility of free transportation to another place—if they could make their way unnoticed and unharmed. They rode the rails for various reasons—to escape economic hardship, satisfy an urge for adventure, or simply to feed their wanderlust. Along the way, they developed their own culture.

            Mulligan Stew contains a variety of ingredients from the hobo culture: hobo life as it was lived at the turn of the twentieth century, women hobos, hobo heroes, hobos signs and symbols, contemporary hobos telling of their experiences, and hobo traditions from the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa—an event that has opened a door into the hobo world every August for more than 100 years. The convention motto is "There's a Little Bit of Hobo in All of Us." Readers who are hobos at heart are invited to open this book and savor the stew.

The following books, edited by Barbara Hacha, are some of our favorites

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Sarah Wiseley Croley

It is 1965, and 11-year-old Ann Jones and her divorced mom move to the racially charged suburb of East Cleveland, Ohio. At her new school, Ann, who has disfiguring birthmarks, is shunned by all the students except Wanda,the first black girl at Caledonia Elementary, and Quan, an immigrant Chinese boy who barely speaks English. The three of them—the Underdogs—are befriended by Essie, an old woman with gray skin and a family mystery.

When a shocking, racially motivated attack is perpetrated against Wanda’s family, Essie and the underdog detectives start a hunt for the criminals, unaware that they may also be close to solving the mystery of Essie’s family.

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J. Everett Prewitt


Traumatized as a child after witnessing a hanging, the first black reporter at a southern newspaper, attempts to solve the mysterious abandonment of a small town and the disappearance of fourteen townspeople.

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J. Everett Prewitt



Black soldiers thought to be killed in action mysteriously reappear in Cu Chi, Vietnam. A curious war correspondent uncovers an illegal army mission gone awry.

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J. Everett Prewitt


Violence and turmoil continue to haunt black soldiers returning from Vietnam as they try to normalize their lives. Sometimes relying on the help of each other, and sometimes relying on the skills they’ve gained in combat, most prevail.

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Edited by Barbara Hacha


Essays, adventures, and poetry written by members of The Scribblers Group, a long-standing writers' group meeting monthly at Breckenridge Village in Willoughby, Ohio.Pages from the Ages is filled with unique stories written by people who survived the Great Depression and World War II. Their narrative tells of growing up on farms, in rural areas, and in cities. They are a well-educated group who has built bridges, engineered mechanical and electrical devices, taught in the inner cities and in colleges, served in the Army and National Guard, and edited newspapers—all while raising families. In the course of their lives, they’ve also dealt with racism and sexism and worked to change it. They have traveled to Europe, Australia, China, Japan, throughout the United States, and lived in difficult conditions in Alaska. In Pages from the Ages the authors share their perspectives and wisdom gained from their exceptional life experiences. Their voices give readers insight into a passing era.

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