Monday, May 29, 2017

The awful things about a writing career - - -


The need for massive Internet promotion when you don't have a kid handy to explain the ins and outs of the technology you need to at least understand if not master.  Check.

The isolation for days and days while you type words on a screen, ponder their appropriateness and even their connection to "proper English."   Check

The hours awake during the night while story ideas jiggle through your head and you make notes on a lighted pad by your bed. Check

Times when you get up at 2:00 a.m. to actually write a scene into your computer.  Check

The worry that some this or that in your story is (pick a word) boring, silly, dumb, inappropriate, spoiling, and so on.  Check

The worry about publishing details, whatever they may be. Check

The isolation from former friends who haven't a clue how a writer's life works, ask unsettling questions when they see you, and then, quite often, don't buy or read your books when they're published.  Check

Nope, none of that, though of course one or more of them are problems many writers are burdened with.  Yes, I am familiar with all of them.  But they aren't the awfullest. (I think I used an invented word.)


Mom read to me as a baby.  I was sent to a pre-school and began reading words before I was five. Big print words about a flying pig and a lost doll.  I still have those books, and am still grateful to their authors.

There was only one public library in our town and it took a long bus ride to get there, but Mom and I visited about once a week and I went home with a stack of books "appropriate" for a single-digit age girl hooked on reading. A librarian there eventually introduced me to Nancy Drew. The die was cast. I didn't know it, but, nearly fifty years later, I would become a writer of mysteries. 

Appropriate age books?  My Saturday task when I was in grade school was to dust the corner What- not in our living room. (Many homes had such a pieces of furniture back then. Special treasures were displayed on What-not shelves.)  My mom's What-not included, to anchor it, a large book on the bottom shelf. "Gone with the Wind."  Not material for a child in third grade but, each Saturday, seated on the step into our living room, I read that book. It took a year, reading bits at a time, and keeping my reading a secret from Mom. I was fascinated. Still remember the plot very well, and much of the dialogue ("Miss Scarlett, I don't know nothin' about birthin' babies.")  Truth be told, I learned a lot from that book, and some of it was of value.

I went on to read all the available Nancy Drew Books, The Hardy Boys, Bobbsey Twins, and many more "age-appropriate" novels. I progressed to Agatha Christie, all the "Dead British Ladies" (not all were dead at that time) and more. At my own birthday party I hid in my room for a time, reading, while my mother served cake and ice cream and entertained my friends with silly games.  (Of course I did. The book's plot had reached a thrilling point.)

But now?  I was heading into our living room yesterday to spend a bit of time reading the most recent mystery novel by an author I know well when this computer called. I had over sixty incoming messages to deal with and I knew it. I turned around and headed into my office.

Sigh. So, dear writing friends, if I don't buy all your books and comment on line about how I loved each one, you know why.  As an author myself, I have little time to read anything but my own words.

Like these.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


John M. Daniel’s Blog
May 13, 2017


Greetings, friends and celebrators of the joy to be found in stories—writing them, reading them, telling them, or hearing them. If you enjoy a good story, this weekly blog is for you.

I’ve decided this week to post a story I first published in the magazine Black Lamb. I believe I’ve also posted it on this blog at some time in the past, so some of you may find it familiar. If so, I hope you’ll agree it’s worth another reading. It recalls a favorite moment in my early twenties, when I had a part-time job as a teacher’s aide in a preschool. That happened to be my first paying job as a musician and my first paying job as a teacher. I learned a lot from that experience, and from its young protagonist, a boy named Milo.


John M. Daniel
Post Office Box 2790
McKinleyville, CA 95591
(707) 839-3495

When I graduated from Stanford in December 1964, six months behind my class because I’d lost some time along the way to mononucleosis, I was already married, and my wife and I lived in an apartment above a garage in downtown Palo Alto. I got a job clerking in a bookstore in town for what was left of the Christmas season. When Christmas was over, I needed another temporary job quickly. We were being thrifty and earning as much as we could, saving for an open-ended trip to Europe. Our plan was to leave in March and stay abroad till the money ran out. Back then an American could still “do” Europe on five dollars a day.
 So I scoured the want ads and checked with the Stanford student employment center, looking for work I wouldn’t have to commit to beyond the first of March. Nothing presented itself.  Then I found a notice on the bulletin board of the Co-op Market in South Palo Alto: WANTED: Assistant Teacher for Greenmeadow Nursery School. Temporary part-time position.
I walked in, carrying my guitar, sat down, played and sang “High Hopes” for the kids, and was hired on the spot by the director, Doreen Croft. I was about to embark on my first job as a teacher and my first gig as a professional musician. I was also soon to learn a great deal from the little people in my life. As Oscar Hammerstein told us, “If you become a teacher, by your pupils you’ll be taught.”
Almost the very first thing I learned was that, no matter what Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir were telling us at the time, there is la difference between the sexes. Boys are unruly, loud, independent, and generally happy-go-lucky. Girls are businesslike, bossy, and quite sure of themselves on a number of subjects that boys don’t care anything about.
Kids of both sexes enjoy hazing, although even by the age of four or five they’re socialized enough not to be violent. But lord did they tease. Boys teased anybody who couldn’t do the monkey bars or took a spill on a trike. Girls were more indoor teasers: laughing in packs at the artwork of klutzes. Boys liked to hoot at girls’ undergarments, and girls liked to tell boys to wipe their noses. And there’s always one kid who gets teased the most. At Greenmeadow Nursery School, that winter of 1965, the schnook was a short, whiny, snot-nosed, eager boy named Milo. Milo was always It, whether the game was tag or just plain let’s-make-fun-of-somebody.
On sunny mornings I supervised sandbox play, monkey bars, and the swing set. In nasty weather, which was more often than not that winter, I helped out with finger paints and playdough, always careful (as Doreen instructed me) not to “teach” kids how to draw or mold anything representational. Most fun for me was playing songs for the kids, songs the kids could sing, like “Twinkle Twinkle,” “Itsy Bitsy,” “Muffin Man?,” “Give a Little Whistle,” “Swinging on a Star,” “Zippity Doo Dah,” and “Do-Re-Mi.” They couldn’t sing all of those, but Doreen let me sing them anyway, and for the most part they listened. Especially the girls. That’s another difference between the sexes. Girls pay attention when I sing. Boys don’t. It’s always been that way.
Then there were the musical games, which sometimes required my musical talents but often didn’t. Just standing around and keeping the enthusiasm up for such games as London Bridge Is Falling Down, Musical Chairs, and The Farmer in the Dell.
One especially rainy day, when we’d been through all the songs we knew and the kids were too restless for fingerpaint and playdough and wouldn’t sit still for Dr. Seuss, Doreen suggested that we play The Farmer in the Dell. “Everybody get in a great big circle,” she said.
The kids obeyed. They adored Doreen. I did too, for that matter. Researching for this piece, I learned that she died not long ago at the age of eighty-one, after careers as a trailblazing child psychologist, the director of the nursery school, the author of textbooks on children’s activities, and then as an actor on the big and small screens.
She taught them the song, and I accompanied her:
The Farmer in the Dell, the Farmer in the Dell
Hi-Ho the Derry-Oh, the Farmer in the Dell
We rehearsed that until everybody seemed to know the song. The girls learned it quicker, and the boys learned it louder, although some of the girls were pretty loud themselves. Then Doreen taught them the way the game is played, as the Farmer takes the Wife, the Wife takes the Child, the Child takes the Nurse, the Nurse the Cow, the Cow the Dog, the Dog the Cat, the Cat the Rat, the Rat the Cheese. One by one, members of the chorus are chosen by each other to step out of the circle and join the principal players in the center, the Farmer (chosen by lot) chooƄsing the Wife, the Wife choosing the Child, and so on until the Rat chooses the Cheese. Then all the players except the cheese go back out and join the circle, and:
The Cheese Stands Alone, the Cheese Stands Alone,
Hi-Ho the Derry-Oh, the Cheese Stands Alone!
The chances of Milo ending up in the middle, chosen by the Rat, who had been chosen by the Cat, and so on back to the Farmer, who had been chosen by lot, were slim to say the least. My guess is that the Rat was a rat indeed, and a tease (I forget of which gender), who wanted to see poor Milo stranded and terrified in the center of all the other kids, who laughed at him and pointed at him and sang, almost shouted at him,
The Cheese Stands Alone, the Cheese Stands Alone,
Hi-Ho the Derry-Oh, the Cheese Stands Alone!
Little Milo was close to breaking, leaking tears and snot, until Doreen took charge and somehow got all those kids, those former farm personnel and bystanders, clapping for Milo, bowing to Milo, smiling their approval of Milo as they slowly, then faster and faster, circled Milo with what passed for love.
And Milo beamed.
After three final choruses, the game broke up, and Doreen put her hand on the star’s head. I know just how wonderful that hand felt.

When I went to nursery school in Cleveland in the mid-1940s, I was four, going on five. I don’t remember much of that experience. I do remember (or remember remembering) that there was a project where each of us was to bring an empty Quaker Oats box (a cardboard cylinder, remember those?) and follow the steps to turn it into an Indian tomtom. I made a mess of mine. I think I was good at playdough, although back then it was clay.
I don’t remember the teacher except in connection with one incident. We kids all sat on little chairs arranged in a semicircle, our attention focused on the teacher, who was reading us a story. I don’t remember which story. Maybe it was Dr. Seuss’s first book, still my favorite, To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
“Johnny, stop that.”
Huh? Stop what? Johnny who? Me?
Yes, me, and now everyone in the class, young and old, was staring at me and snickering. What was I doing? I was doing something with my hands. What?
I’m sorry. I don’t remember. Perhaps I’ve suppressed it, but I think more likely it’s because even then I wasn’t told specifically what it was I was doing. But it must have been something pretty special, enough to make the teacher snap the book shut, pull a big bandanna out of somewhere, march across the semicircle, and bundle my hands in bright red cloth, to the hilarity of all my friends.
“You may wear that for the rest of the day,” she told me quietly, but loud enough to fill the room. “So you’ll remember, next time.”
Remember what? I’ll never know. But I do remember keeping to myself for the rest of the day, foregoing tricycles, clay, and Simon Says. I don’t remember being teased for wearing my red flag, but I do remember being ignored. I think I was supposed to feel embarrassed or ashamed, but what I felt was lonely.
Time came for us to sit in the semicircle again, back on our little chairs. Spread out on the floor before us were the poster-sized cards with pictures of the symphony instruments. The music game. My favorite. The teacher wound up the Victrola and put on the record, which played one instrument after another. One by one, in order round the semicircle, kids got up and walked in among the cards and chose the instrument that was playing. If a kid didn’t know the instrument, the next kid got to go. One by one, until it was my turn.
I knew every instrument, and this one was my favorite. The rippling, honey-toned, heavenly harp.
I realized I was the center of attention. How was I supposed to pick up the harp card with my hands bound together?
The teacher stood up and walked toward me, reaching out to untie the bandanna, but I turned my back on her, skirted around her skirts, and picked up the harp card with both bound hands.
The music stopped. The teacher dropped to her knees, untied my scarlet shame, and hugged me with what passed for love.
I think that even then, at the age of five, I understood a few things about this turning point in my life. My teacher had tried to embarrass me. She failed. She embarrassed herself instead. I learned, though it took me decades to realize that I had learned, that nobody can embarrass me. Only I can embarrass me. (And I’ve done plenty of that, but those are other stories to be told another time.)

I would like to think that Milo also learned something from his turning point in the middle of the circle, in the middle of the Dell. He might have learned that being the center of attention can be a good thing, that it’s okay to stand alone if you’re the Cheese, and that whatever affection you receive can pass for love. Unfortunately for Milo, if he learned those lessons, they were ephemeral, and good for one ride only.
Because the next time it rained too hard to play outside, and Doreen asked the children what game they’d like to play inside, Milo grinned and shouted, “I want to play the Farmer in the Dell, and I get to be the Cheese!”
Doreen said, “Milo, there’s no way of knowing who will be the cheese—”
“Me! I’m going to be the Cheese!”
“How about you be the Farmer this time? The Farmer in the Dell?”
“No! I get to be the Cheese!”
Well, Doreen gave in. A Farmer was chosen, and as the game progressed, The Farmer Took the Wife, and the Wife chose Milo to be the Child.
“No! I get to be the Cheese!”
So another Child was chosen, and the Child chose a Nurse, who chose, guess who?
“No! I get to be the Cheese, I said!”
And so on to the inevitable disappointment that we all must face and learn from: that there is no unfairness greater than the absolute fairness of the Universe, which hands out triumph and failure, joy and pain, creation and destruction, in equal and unpredictable measure.
We can’t always get what we want. Mick Jagger told us that.

And so it went. I earned my five dollars a day, my wife and I went to Europe, and that wasn’t quite what we expected either, but that’s another story.


post script

This morning I tried to post a story on my blog, but it appears that Google Blogspot (or whatever it's called) has decided to post me not on my own blog site (which may no longer exist) but as one of many bloggers who post occasional contributions to the blog of Oak Tree Press. I admire Oak Tree Press, and I'm grateful to them for publishing a couple of my books, but I don't want my blog swallowed up by another blog. Even theirs.

You may be able to find my post, if you want to read my story "The Cheese," by googling Oak Tree Press Blog. But that would be for this week only, because I'm taking this change as a message from some wise source telling me it's time to quit blogging. 

My schedule is too busy anyway, what with a publishing company to work for and a physical therapy routine that I must attend to.

It's sad saying goodbye to all of you who have read my blog, and especially those of you who have responded and those of you who have contributed 99-word stories every month. I urge you all to keep on writing if you write, and keep on enjoying the art and pleasure of stories wherever you find them.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

When you realize you have too many books

I’m probably on safe ground here in thinking that many of you have a lot of books at home.
Some of you may keep them on bookshelves where they are easy to locate. Others (Ahem, like me) may also have them stored in a somewhat less organized manner. Scattered about, under the bed, etc.

I’m also pretty confident that many of you – like me – are almost constitutionally incapable of throwing books out. Even if most of them are somewhat aged, worn paperbacks, I’m still not one to throw them away. With the trash? Books? Not gonna happen.
But sometimes to you have to make room for more, if you follow me.

A recent Boston Globe article got me to thinking about all this. It analyzes how some families, after the death of a loved one, find themselves with a LOT of books. Where to put them?

It’s getting more difficult to find “good homes” for those books. These books may not be collectors’ items or first editions. And not all used bookstores can take them. They, too, can only handle so many.
My neighborhood library here in Boston holds a book sale/flea market each spring. Usually I can round up a bag of paperbacks for them. And a few hardcovers perhaps. Maybe someone buys a few for a buck a book? And the library gets the money. Good enough for me.

So what do some of you do when there are, pardon the expression, too many books?
Any other suggestions?
-- Joe Nowlan



Thursday, October 27, 2016

Beryl's Interview with NightWriters

This month’s spotlight is on Beryl Reichenberg, Beryl has been with Nightwriters for quite a while, but I for one, do not know her as well as I should. I’m sure this is true for our newer members. So with great pleasure, let’s get acquainted with, or re-acquainted with Beryl.

NW: “Who are you?”
      Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself. Many of you probably know that I write and illustrate children’s books. You may not know that I am also a fiber artist. I have lived in San Luis Obispo for nearly 50 years, spending most of my life in California.

NW: Who is your greatest inspiration?
      My greatest inspiration is my grandfather. As a young child, I remember listening to his stories about the adventures of the three jolly fleas as we sat in an old rocking chair by the fireplace. Sadly, none of these stories were preserved. They only survive as warm memories from my childhood.

NW: Do you have a blog or website?
      My author website is My other website is devoted to my paper craft and art pieces at My blog site is

NW: What genre do you like to write?
      I write and illustrate children’s picture books both fiction and non-fiction. Recently I began writing a chapter book for older children, ages seven to ten. Although I usually illustrate my books, I do collaborate with other artists, including a talented, eleven-year-old girl. Her delightful dragons in my picture book, A Real Dragon, are exceptional and well liked by my readers.
      A small publisher, Oak Tree Press, published six of my books, and I self-published the rest of my stories.

NW: Tell us about your favorite story that you have written.
      My favorite picture book is Ants on a Log, partly because it is a retelling of my son’s childhood and his dislike for vegetables.  In my rendition, a young rabbit named Jack also hates vegetables until he eats a school snack, called ants on a log. (For those who don’t know, ants on a log is a celery stick, with peanut butter inside and raisins on top.) Eventually, Jack learns to like salads, vegetable pizza and even cooked carrots.

NW: Tell us about your latest project.
     I usually have several projects going at once. I am reworking a picture book to self-publish with CreateSpace. Dancing Critter in the Trees is written in rhyme for young children three to six years old.  In writing this story, I was inspired by watching a squirrel swinging through the trees attempting to grab peanuts from a bird feeder.
     I am also s co-author on another picture book, Slideville Critters Become Champs. This story is about a unique baseball team, featuring a kangaroo, a cheetah and an elephant. These animals use their special skills to help their team win a championship.  Our manuscript is finished, and we are currently collaborating with an illustrator.
     My third project is a chapter book for children, ages six to ten.  My Secret Kid Sister is a ghost story. It is a retelling of my nine-year-old granddaughter’s recent visit to the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley. Like several other hotels around the country, this hotel is said to be haunted.

NW: Do you have a day job?
     Fortunately, I am retired and can create to my heart’s content, although writing, publishing and marketing can seem like a full-time job.

    NW: How does your family support you in your writing?      
Charlie, my husband, is my in-house editor. He once worked for McGraw-Hill as an editor. His editing experience is of tremendous help, especially with proof reading my manuscripts and discussing story ideas.
     My four grandchildren, ranging in age from six to eleven, represent the biggest inspirations for stories. Sometimes I ask them to read my manuscripts and offer suggestions from a child’s perspective. They are my biggest fans.

    NW: How does NW help you?
     NightWriters is invaluable. Early on, I joined a NW critique group and met several talented children book authors. They provided both useful advice and support. The general meetings are important learning experiences, especially the pre-program critique group. I also find the Cuesta Writer’s Conferences and the Society of Children Book Authors and Illustrators helpful.

     NW: How do you handle rejection letters?
           At first, I dreaded rejection letters. But over time, I realized that I had         
     a number of options.  I could send the manuscript to another agent/publisher,
     let the story ferment, revise my manuscript or publish it myself.

NW: Tell us something surprising about yourself.
           I have a twin sister, but we are not identical.

NW: Besides writing, what are your other hobbies?

I am a fiber artist working mostly with paper and mixed media. I usually create three-dimensional, sculptural and book-art pieces. I belong to both the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art and the Gallery at the Network participating in many of their exhibits and juried shows and also exhibiting in other galleries and museums. On a regular basis, I teach local children paper craft and bookmaking. I enjoy traveling to foreign countries and have been all over the world. Charlie and I usually take two or more trips a year. For relaxation, I like to read, usually mystery stories or non-fiction history, archaeology and science.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Way I Was by Ronald C. Wendling

     Robert Frost famously defined “home” as the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in.  Buffalo, New York is no longer my home in that sense because no one has been there for a long time now who in any way required to take me in. My father and mother remain there in Mt. Olivet cemetery (see the photo below) but I am no longer in touch in a deep sense with any of those who were in other ways once family to me.

    The November appearance of an essay of mine in a new book called The Buffalo Anthology will help me fill this void.  The essay, entitled "The Way We Were," is about my boyhood in the North Park section of Buffalo, which was a true neighborhood in that perhaps two or three other homes there would surely have taken me in if that had been necessary.
The photo below is of my mother and sister standing in front of our North Park home in the snow so typical of Buffalo.

    My North Park neighbors and friends (even the occasional bus driver with whom I chatted from North Park all the way downtown) filled in for my parents almost as much as my blood relatives, and my essay honors them for doing that. 

    Its story is the other side of the one about family dysfunction emphasized in my memoir, Unsuitable Treasure: An Ex-Jesuit Makes Peace with the Past Buffalo Anthology will be published by Belt Books, which also publishes on other so-called “Rust Belt" cities that are now generally thriving. It may be ordered (or pre-ordered) directly from Belt Publishing, 1667 E. 40th Street, Suite 101, Cleveland, Ohio 441103 or online at

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Weekly Roundup: October 21, 2016

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup!

OTP publishes award-winning stories as well: compelling stand-alone mysteries and mystery series, thrillers, romances, police procedurals, westerns, memoirs, and children's bookseven some paranormal stories. You don't have to wait to read them! Browse our bookstore for these and all of our great titles to read, review, and share with friends! 

Free samples of our book are also available at Manic Readers.

Thank you for stopping by for the roundup this week. Here's the week's news, book signings, events, reviews, blogs, and more from our authors to share for your reading pleasure.

"Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I'm always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it's very shocking to the system."
~Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose



We're excited to announce our latest release: The Hand of Lou Diamond by Dac Crossley.

Young Nicolette Devereux, an orphan raised in a San Francisco brothel, is sent to a Nashville finishing school for young ladies. Dismissed, she must make her way back, relying on her wits and her skill at card games. Handsome riverboat gambler Ethan Diamond takes Nicolette in hand, but then sells her to a New Orleans brothel. She avoids prostitution with her skills at poker under the name Lou Diamond. She accompanies Ethan when he returns for her. Does he love her? Nicolette is unsure about her feelings for him. Can she break free of him and return to San Francisco? Texas gets in her way.

About the author: Born in Kingsville, Texas.  U. S. Navy, 19451946.  Ph.D. (Entomology), University of Kansas.  Ecologist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 19561967. Professor (Ecology),  University of Georgia, 19671998. Now retired.

Growing up in South Texas, I roamed the brush country and enjoyed the seasonal changes in scrub and animals, horned toads and red ants. Learned to hunt and fish with friends from the King Ranch, where I enjoyed Hispanic culture. Steeped in Texas history and traditions by my old pioneer family.

My genre is historic fiction set in South Texas, where the old west persisted into the 1920s with undeclared border wars and Mexican bandits.  My grandfather fought bandits, his father fought Indians.  I grew up with sons of Texas Rangers and spent hours listening to their fathers.  I am well versed in South Texas history and culture.  I enjoy bringing that history and background to life in my fiction.  My settings are real and my characters drawn from experience.

Beryl Reichenberg, children’s book author and artist, will be doing her usual round of kid’s paper craft classes in cities along California's Central Coast to promote her children’s books this month

On Wednesday, October 26, Beryl will be teaching classes for the Paso Robles Department of Recreation at Centennial Park in Paso Robles. Halloween is the theme at these classes as well, and the children will be completing a spooky bat family projects. The classes run from 3:30 to 5 PM. She writes, “Most of my classes are free, but at the Recreation Department, there is a $15 fee for supplies and both sessions." 

Beryl also has two art pieces in the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art’s CraftMaker’s exhibit, titled “Falling," which opens on Friday, October 7. The show runs until mid-November. The Museum is at the Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo and is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Beryl has published six children's books with OTP.


John Wills will join 19 authors at at book-signing event at the Culpeper Library in Culpeper, Virginia, on Saturday, October 29, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

John's most recent novel is the award-winning Healer. Sixteen-year-old Billy Anderson’s short life has been full of daunting challenges. A birth defect and the death of his parents force him to live with his Aunt Staci.

That situation becomes untenable for Billy and he chooses to live on the street. One day things change dramatically when Billy receives the “Gift of Healing.” Not only does Billy’s own life take a dramatic turn, but his new gift also affects those around him. Is this gift a blessing or a curse?

John is also the author of Dancer, The Year without Christmas, and the forthcoming The Storm.

Nicholas Checker is working again this year with the national animal welfare organization Alley Cat Allies and is giving a theatrical presentation of his Oak Tree Press novel Scratch to promote the kind treatment of animals to mark National Feral Cat Day. An event wil take place at October 29th, Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut.

Scratch is a chilling tale of loyalty, friendship, and courage – set in the mysterious world of feral cats. It also contains reflections of how cultures too often misread and mistrust one another, leading to ends that might have been avoided.

White Saja, a renowned tomcat of the wild woodlands, returns to his old haunts to rescue his onetime clan from a gruesome fate. It leads him on a fearful quest into the brooding Dark Woods where he and a reluctant rival must seek the aid of a dread creature whose very name has long invoked terror in them all. Enter the pages of Scratch and discover unrelenting adventure! 


Lynn Hesse has a speaking engagement titled "Never Give Up" scheduled for November 1, 2016, at 7 p.m., with the Village Writers Group at the Eagle Eye Book Shop in Decatur, Georgia.

Lynn's latest novel is Well of Rage. Carly Redmund, a Mobile, Alabama, police recruit is about to mess up her first major crime scene. Her training officer, J.C. Grey, orders her to give up the evidence found in the bottom of a well, a high school class ring. She does.

Grey tucks the ring in his pocket. What happened to the bag-it-and-tag-it evidence procedure? Carly is left guarding the crime scene tape as a news van pulls in and the crew sets up. She overhears the female reporter tell the cameraman that the bones in the well might be Terence, a missing African American kid from the ‘70s, and that heads need to roll at PD, the racist SOBs.

Why hasn’t Carly read about this case?

As she remembers the initials TWW inscribed on the inside of the ring, Grey walks back and tells the rookie to keep her mouth shut, and he’ll handle everything, including the report. That doesn’t make any sense. Rookies handle the grunt work. Grey is hiding more than the ring.

If he doesn’t put the ring in the property room, Carly will be blamed. She could lose her job. Worse, she could be charged with withholding evidence. Carly is in big trouble.

What Carly doesn’t know is that a white supremacist group is involved -- and also mayoral candidate Derrick Grey, Officer Grey’s brother. While dealing with her own personal demons, Carly must learn to survive in a hostile environment, develop friends fast in a new city, and solve a cold-case murder to bring justice to a grieving mother. 


At a recent event at the Georgia Museum of Natural History, OTP western author Dac Crossley met with Deborah Blum, Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist and director of the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dac recommends The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum to all authors of mysteries and crime fiction. He is president of the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Natural History. His newest OTP novel is The Hand of Lou Diamond.

Dac's other books include Code of the Texas Ranger, Guns of the Texas Ranger, and Revenge of the Texas Ranger.


Ilene Schneider has a new website,, that answers questions about Chanukah. She explains, "Off and on (mostly off) for several years, I've been compiling questions and answers about Chanukah. I decided not to self-publish my results, "Why Nine Candles for Chanukah? Questions You Never Thought to Ask," as an e-book and or physical book. Instead, I am releasing it on a dedicated website a few chapters at a time between now and mid-December.

"Please visit the site and click "follow" at the bottom of the landing page to receive email notices when the site is updated. You can also comment there or in the "contact" form (click on link on top right). 

"The chapters are also reached by clicking on the top right on the one you want to read. I also give permission to print out the material for educational purposes, but please give me full attribution. Enjoy!"

Ilene is the author of the Rabbi Aviva Cohen mystery series, which includes Chanukah Guilt, Unleavened Dead, and the forthcoming Yom Killer.


That wraps up the Roundup for this week! We hope you enjoyed our news.
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