Friday, November 20, 2015

Weekly Roundup: November 20, 2015

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! This week was another exciting one for books and readers with the announcement of the National Book Award winners. This years winners are Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson (fiction), Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (nonfiction), Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis (poetry), and Challenger Deep by Neil Shusterman (young people's literature).

Fortune Smiles comprises six stories that delve "deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal." Between the World and Me is a letter to Coates's adolescent son in which he addresses questions about race and its history in America, ultimately giving readers "a powerful new framework for understanding America’s history and current crisis, and a transcendent vision for a way forward." 

The poems in Voyage of the Sable Venus also touch on issues of race and the self, together creating "a thrilling aesthetic anthem to the complexity of race -- a full embrace of its pleasure and horror, in equal parts." Finally, Shusterman's Challenger Deep is the story of high school student Caden Bosch, designated artist in residence on a galleon headed for the deepest point on Earth -- the southern part of the Marianas Trench. As he documents the journey with images, he becomes torn "between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny." He is also dealing with schizophrenia, and "as fantasy and paranoia begin to take over, his parents have only one choice left."

Do you enjoy reading prominent award winners as a way to stretch your reading skills and strengthen your own writing? 

Oak Tree Press has its share of award-winning authors as well, two of whom are authors of our latest releases. You'll find other others in all of our categories: mysteries, thrillers, romances, and paranormal tales. You'll find them all in our bookstore

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


"The habit of reading is the only enjoyment I know in which there is no alloy. It lasts when all other pleasures fade. It will be there to support you when all other resources are gone. It will be present to you when the energies of your body have fallen away from you. It will last you until your death. It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live."

~Anthony Trollope


A reminder from Jeana: All OTP books are on Manic Readers!

Need help choosing a great book to read?
Check out our sample chapters on

We have plenty to choose from. Just click on a title and you will be directed to a free read! These sample chapters will be updated frequently, and new releases will also be featured. 


We're excited to announce our latest releases, A Fox with Earrings by Loyd Little and Black Indian, Red Heart (White Justice) by Frederick H. Savage. These books are out now in paperback and will soon be available for Kindle.

In A Fox with Earrings, Nolan Chastain is three months into a consuming affair with Cass Tolley, a woman he’s known and been fascinated with for more than a decade. It is not the sort of thing Nolan is used to. Frankly, he’s a little reserved and formal. Divorced two years ago, Nolan owns a small but upscale real estate firm in Augusta.

After the first day of showing million dollar homes to a recently retired Air Force general and his wife, Nolan arrives at Cass’s home to find police cars and blue lights―Cass has been shot and killed. Clues are sparse. No sign of breaking and entering or of a struggle. Ty Marion, chief of detectives and a college friend of Nolan’s questions him.

Going into the house, they pass a stuffed fox that Cass had picked up from the taxidermist two days earlier.  For fun, she and Nolan had pinned a pair of her mother’s earrings on the fox. The police suspect Nolan, and he realizes he must discover the actual killer before the scandal taints his business and the police charge him with murder.

Loyd Little is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and has taught creative writing at UNC-Chapel Hill and the North Carolina community college system. He was an editor/managing editor of four newspapers in North and South Carolina. He has lectured at various literary events and has critiqued novels and short stories for the North Carolina Writers Network for more than 20 years.

His published novels include Parthian Shot (Viking/Ivy, 1975), winner of the 1976 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction and a Playboy Book-of-the-Month selection; In the Village of the Man (Viking-Penguin, 1977), Smokehouse Jam, (Available Press, a division of Ballantine Books, 1989), and Roll On Sugaree (Author House, 2013). He has also published several short stories and the nonfiction Fragile Islands of Memories, a picture book about the Hre Montagnards around Gia Vuc, a Special Forces camp where he served in 1965.

You can learn more about Loyd and his writing at his website.

Black Indian, Red Heart (White Justice) is a story set in the Civil War era that takes the issues of slavery and injustice head on. The main character, Colton Sage, is the son of a runaway slave and an Indian woman. He is born free into a world of unending prejudice and bias. He grows up to become one of the most notorious Indian outlaws in the land, the infamous "Black Bat from Hell."

The novel is a no-holds-barred account of the events that led up to the Indian war of 1862 and the largest mass execution in US history. Not for the fainthearted, this historically engaging work of fiction is told with a series of cliff hanger chapter endings and a "can’t put it down" storyline.

Black Indian, Red Heart (White Justice) was a first-place winner in the Florida Writers Association's 2014 Royal Palm Literary Awards.

Frederick H. Savage is an award-winning Wyoming author who has written works that deal with child abuse and neglect, children’s issues, traditional poetry, Western themes, and the Vietnam War. His stories were recognized by Wyoming Writers Inc. in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 and by the National Writers Inc. in 2007.

Frederick is a veteran who served proudly in the Vietnam War with the US Army Airborne Infantry. You can learn more about his awards and writing at his website.


Radine Trees Nehring's books have been given prominent display in the Tulsa NightWriters 2015 Holiday Special Issue, "The Best Little Book Shop in Oklahoma."

This holiday shopping guide "was born of an appreciation for the authors who make the Tulsa NightWriters such an exemplary writers’ club, as well as a desire to bring those authors’ accomplishments before a larger audience."

The catalog was mailed to more than 1,000 recipients. 

Radine's latest book, A Fair to Die For, joins a host of award-winning fiction and non-fiction titles. Take a look at the screen shots from the catalog (posted on our OTP Writers Facebook page here, here, and here) to appreciate her prolific and celebrated writing and the great offerings she has for readers.


Richard Paolinelli's Reservations was featured at Venture Galleries as a Saturday Sampler on November 14.

Jack Del Rio felt the projectile whip past his head and heard it angrily impact the wall behind him.

That was entirely too damn close, Del Rio thought to himself as he crouched his tall, lean frame a little further down, no longer feeling as safely concealed in the place he’d chosen as shelter. His gun was drawn; he was ready to return fire, but while his quarry could fire away indiscriminately, Del Rio’s hand was stayed by the hostage. A pretty young blonde who’d gone to work at the bank that morning like any other day, never expecting to find herself right in the middle of a gun battle before lunch, was being used as a human shield by the gunman.

As an FBI Agent, Del Rio’s first duty was the young woman’s safety, but her captor had a lengthy record of killing his hostages once he no longer had need of their protection. As much as he couldn’t risk the woman’s life in a straightforward confrontation, he also didn’t dare let this killer get away to put someone else in jeopardy.

You can read the full sample here.


Marilyn Levinson was interviewed on Sharon Buchbinder's blog on November 19. In the interview, Marilyn talks about her approach to writing novels and her latest book, the YA horror novel The Devil's Pawn. She also shares some writing advice and an excerpt from the novel.

You can read the full interview here.

Marilyn is also the author of Murder a la Christie. You can read more about her writing projects at her website.  


Beryl Reichenberg, OTP children's book author and artist, will be in Paso Robles, California, at Studios on the Park on November 20 rom 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. for another children's bookmaking workshop.

The children will be making a falling leaf book, and Beryl will be reading her new book Dancing with Leaves, which is due out at the beginning of 2016.

 Beryl has published six children's books with OTP: Ants on a Log, Butterfly Girls, Camouflage, Clowning Around, When Caterpillars Dream, and The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake.


Mary Montague Sikes will participate in the Bay School Community Arts Center's Holiday Open House in Mathews, Virginia, on November 27 and 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. She will sign her novel, Evening of the Dragonfly, and display some of the artwork inspired by the heroine of the novel, Farrah Ferand.

In the novel, threatening telephone calls and strange cars with dark-tinted windows plague artist/teacher Farrah Ferand. Recovering from the tragic loss of her mother, Farrah is trying to adapt to the life of a small-town art teacher when she encounters Dirk Lawrence, a mysterious stranger. Her attraction to him is immediate and electric until Farrah discovers Dirk is part of the Lawrence and Pendesky investment firm that led to her mother's downfall a few years earlier.

Farrah's not-too-perfect dating relationship with Tom Douglas, the town favorite football coach, worsens. An unexpected encounter leads to dates with Dirk and his help with the construction of a dream art studio in her rented house. But trouble looms with Tom who believes he and Farrah are engaged, and the entire town appears to be drawn in. Haunting dreams and lost memories overwhelm Farrah as she creates paintings for a one-person art show. Will shadows of the past ruin all hope for Farrah and Dirk? 


Tekla Miller will be a guest bookseller/local author at Maria's Bookshop in Durango, Colorado, on Saturday, November 28. This date happens to be Small Business Saturday. Tekla will be promoting her book, Mother Rabbit, to local shoppers and readers.

Mother Rabbit is a collaborative memoir about Alyce Bonura, a woman like so many others in the 1960s, caught between living according to traditional societal mores and pursuing the promises of the feminist movement. Alyce’s stint as a Bunny Mother is set during a particularly turbulent era when even such a secluded environment as the Playboy Club is affected by the Vietnam War, the Apollo I tragedy, and back-alley abortions.

Her story pays tribute to the women who had the courage to break free from the oppressive standards of the day while also dealing with the universal dilemmas of single mothers including abuse, financial crises, the special difficulties of parenthood and the quest for self-fulfillment.


Ann Howley had a great time at the Local Authors' Night event at the Barnes & Noble at Settler's Ridge in Robinson, Pennsylvania on Friday, November 13. Ann discussed and signed copies of her coming-of-age memoir Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad. 

She also reports that she "met other local authors and readers, sold some books and enjoyed the evening. The store manager also said she's going to put autographed copies of my book on a special promotional table on Black Friday, which was fantastic news!"


Ken Oxman had a fun and successful Veteran's Day book talk on his novel, Reluctant Assassin, at New Canaan Historical Society in New Canaan, Connecticut.

He discussed how elements of the story related to achievements, experiences and tragedies of veterans from World War 2.



Additional details about these events will appear in future Roundups.

Nicholas Checker will be at Dragon's Egg Studio in Ledyard, Connecticut, to present his novels Druids and Scratch at a holiday bazaar on Saturday, December 5, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Ed Traylor will be signing copies of his novel The Crossing on Saturday, December 12, at The Sly Fox independent bookstore in Virden, Illinois, and on Saturday, December 19, at the Girard Township Library in Girard, Illinois (in the morning), and Cherry Tree Treasures and Gifts in Carlinville, Illinois (afternoon).

Oak Tree Press will be attending the Tucson Festival of Books on Saturday, March 12 and Sunday, March 13, 2016 on the beautiful University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona.

The festival enters its eighth year as the fourth largest literary event in the country attracting over 450 authors and more than 130,000 participants during the weekend.


If you haven't been following Lesley Diehl's blog lately, you should get caught up! She's been talking about the inclusion of serious themes in cozy mysteries, and several notable guests have chimed in.

See what authors Judy Penz Sheluk, Linda Hengerer, and Lynn Cahoon have added to this fascinating discussion! 

Lesley is the author of the Big Lake mystery series, which includes the titles Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Chilled and Killed. You can read about her other writing projects and her writing life at her website.


John Lindermuth received a 5-star Amazon review for his novel Fallen From Grace. Reader John M. Daniel writes, "It's an intriguing mystery. I didn't guess who the guilty party was, but when that became clear I was not disappointed. My favorite aspect of this book is the narrator's voice and personality."

You can read the complete review here.


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

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Billie Johnson, Publisher