Sunday, January 30, 2011

Forthcoming OTP Books

There's nothing I enjoy reading more than a good book from Oak Tree Press. I've already added Lesley Diehl's DUMPSTER DYING, Marja McGraw's BOGEY NIGHTS, and C.K.Crigger's TWO FEET BELOW to my "to be read" list. We get a discount, right Billie.

Mike Orenduff


Most writers want publicity. We want to get our name and the name of our book in front of potential readers. But for the vast majority of us, getting the media interested in writing about us or our book is easier said than done. However, I ound one way that worked for me, and another that was successful for an acquaintance.

In my research stage I contacted a local print reporter who covered my topic - the crime beat - and asked for his assistance in compiling information on where certain types of crimes took place, who was likely to be the victim and who was likely to be the perpetrator. It took a little time, but eventually we met for coffee.

I believe the meeting was important in three respects. It provided valuable information in creating realistic scenarios for my story. It demonstrated to the reporter that I was serious about producing a good product. And it got the reporter personally involved in what I was doing.

After that initial meeting I remained in contact with my new friend, asking more questions and even having him critique my depiction of some criminal events as the manuscript moved forward. Within three weeks of the book being published it was the subject of two nice articles.

There is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't have gotten that attention had I not involved the reporter in my project.

Another writer I know used a different route to get herself in the media. She wrote a book about dealing with the loss of a child, how she coped with that devastation in her own life and how she was reaching out to help others.

Her road to the press wasn't a planned strategy, but resulted from her efforts to get speaking engagements. She approached local grief counseling groups and told them about her book and offered to do non-paid talks at their meetings. Her offers were well-received and before long she had multiple bookings.

In turn, these groups already had media contacts that were more than happy to promote their special events, such as a guest author/speaker. The publicity for those events produced even more bookings. It turned out to be a win-win for everyone involved.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nice "bonus" from my employer

My employer (I use the word loosely in light of what adjunct professors get paid) did me a favor that is worth more than the paychecks I get. They did I nice piece on me on their website. Here is the link:

You have to check this out just to read the first line.

Mike Orenduff

Monday, January 24, 2011


Big congratulations to our very own OTP author,

"J. Michael Orenduff, The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein (Oak Tree Press)"

for his nomination of best humorous mystery novel for this year's Left Coast Crime.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

More About The Tucson Festival of Books

Join us for The Tucson Festival of Books on the weekend of March 12th and 13th, 2011, on the University of Arizona campus. Visit  for more details.  See my OTP blog of January 14th as well.

I received a call from a festival representative who told me author nominations are now closed. However, nominations are in order for the 2012 Tucson Festival of Books.  Nominate yourself if you are an author and wish to be considered. Also nominate authors you like, whether you yourself are an author or not.

A huge success since it began in 2009, this third annual Tucson Festival of Books features an array of heavy hitters who write crime: Robert Crais, J.A. Jance, C.J. Box, Martin Cruz Smith and others. Three of my favorite Tucson-based mystery authors will be there as well: Susan Cummins Miller, Elizabeth Gunn and J.M. Hayes.

Our festival features many authors from other areas as well. We'll have historians, writers of children's books, romance writers, culinary writers, poets. We have Wally "Famous" Amos lined up in the current events/pop culture category.  I think he deserves his own category and that would be Cookie God. 

Look for some of the top literary fiction writers in this country: Jim Harrison, Jennifer Lee Carrell, Elizabeth Berg and others.

Robert Crais, author of the Joe Pike novels, is listed as a literary fiction writer. James N. Frey, crime writer, would likely agree with that category. James N. Frey has written that: "Modern mysteries are not just diverting entertainment and puzzles to solve, but important contributions to our cultural life." Frey has also written: "When asked why he wrote detective fiction instead of serious fiction, Robert B. Parker said, 'Detective fiction is serious fiction.'"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Public Safety Writers Association Conference

Good news! The early bird rate for the conference has been extended until March 31. It might not show up on the registration form yet, but you can just check that rate when you sign up.

We have a fantastic group of presenters this year including our own Holli Castillo and Michael Orenduff. We've got a coroner on board and someone to tell us about writing screen plays. Go to the website and check on conference and you can read all about it.

One big plus for OTP authors is that you can spend time with our publisher, Billie Johnson, and other OTP authors.

Another is the fact that it's a small conference with only one track so you won't miss anything. You'll also have the opportunity to really get to know the experts.

Anyone who wants to can be on a panel as long as you're registered before June 1.

You can bring your books to sell, and PSWA only keeps 10%, far less than anywhere else you might have our books for sale.

Give the PSWA conference a try, you'll learn a lot and have a great time.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Monday Promotions

I’m trying something new at my W.S. Gager on Writing blog on Monday. In December I did the "12 days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Friends" and my blog stats careened upward to heights I never expected. I featured authors who had made a difference in my career and gave unselfishly of themselves. Because these authors (who included our own Sunny, Holli and Marilyn) were from different genres and areas of the country the people who came were varied and unique. The point of the blog wasn’t to drive people to my site but thank people. A great benefit I didn't anticipate.

Sometimes you learn the best lessons by accident. The topics about how to market on the Murder Must Advertise loop agree you can’t be pushy or hit people over the head with your message. But you do have to tell people you are a writer and wait for them to inquire. They also agree that some of the best promoters unselfishly give of themselves to others. I’ve always believed in volunteering but never put that lesson into practice with my writing. So in the spirit of the new year, I’m trying to give back within my limited knowledge of the book business.

Monday will be the debut of Mitch Malone Mondays. Each Monday Mitch will interview authors or characters about their books. In Mitch’s unique hard-nosed style as a crime beat reporter, he asks questions other interviewers might not in such a straightforward fashion. First up is one of my critique partners, Joselyn Vaughn, who knows Mitch very well and she gives as good as he tries to get her about her female characters. The following week is our own Sunny. This interview had some surprisingly frank answers about astrology and the psychic realm. Dare I say Sunny comes out of the closet about her gifts?

I have a few others scheduled but am willing to do anyone who asks if they understand the questions are in Mitch’s style and will not be sugarcoated. I also would like to do some with Mitch interviewing other characters. I can see Mitch going a couple of rounds with Ryan from Gumbo Justice or Hubie from the Pot Thief series.

Will these blogs sell my books? I don’t know. I hope they sell a few for whoever is featured but I can’t predict that answer either. What I do know is I’ve been having great fun being rude and obnoxious in the guise of Mitch Malone. I’m good with that and if it helps others, even better. Email me at if you are interested in a Monday on the hot seat.

Almost forgot: W.S. Gager On Writing: to check it out.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Tucson Festival of Books, March 12th-13th, 2011.

 The University of Arizona hosts the third annual Tucson Festival of Books on March 12th and 13th, 2011.  The festival drew 50,000 people and 450 authors in 2009. Even more people attended in March, 2010.

It’s an all ages show, very kid friendly, heavily staffed with volunteers, many of them University of Arizona employees.  We’ve got a huge, grassy mall at the UA and we turn it into a tent city.  You will see authors of all genres, some of the biggest names in America, speaking at the UA Gallagher Theater and at author panels held in auditoriums in buildings that front the mall.  Look for publishers, musicians, storytellers, theatre groups and food vendors as well.

If you are an author, you can nominate yourself for a place at the festival.  Go to:  or just check out the festival website at:

I alphabetized all OTP authors on the blog assignment list, checked it against the Tucson Festival of Books A to Z author list, and found none of us—yet.  A festival representative told me she didn’t know the closing deadline for nominating yourself or another author.  I suspect there is a deadline, but it seems there’s still time.

If you go, you’ll see authors like Diana Gabaldon and Elmore Leonard, as well as Tucson authors like Susan Cummins Miller and Elizabeth Gunn.  I write crime fiction. In past years I’ve heard and met guys like Don Herron, a biographer and Hammett scholar who has conducted the Dashiell Hammett Tour in San Francisco since 1977.  Hope to see you at the Tucson Festival of Books.
Clark Lohr
Clark Lohr’s novel, Devil’s Kitchen, a Southwest noir crime romance, is scheduled for publication by Oak Tree Press in early 2011.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New interview

I'm Jean Henry Mead's interviewee of the week on her Writers of the West blog. Here's the site if anyone is interested. Writers of the West: A Visit with Carol Crigger

Kind of fun to do an interview. It helps me clarify my own thinking.

Friday, January 7, 2011


By Sunny Frazier

Yes, another New Years Day has come and gone. Did any of you even attempt to make a resolution? I know I usually approach it the same way I approach Lent—sure, I'll give up candy or biting my nails. That lasts until the first box of Sees is put in my path.

But, this year I think I've made a resolution worth abiding. I've decided to keep a journal.

I used to keep journals—they were diaries back then. I have volumes chronicling my life from when I moved away from home, through the Navy years, documenting college, putting down memoirs of my newspaper days and the beginning of my career in law enforcement. The last entry was dated 1985.

So, what stopped me at that point? I was writing FOR REAL and had no time for scribbling down thoughts. What a shame that I didn't record the first time I met Sue Grafton or how I felt when my book got published. I feel like I missed a whole lot of my life because I didn't keep notes.

As a writer, people often give us “writer-ly” things. I've got fancy pens that never quite work when I'm doing a signing, bookmarks that I lose and use scrapes of paper to mark my place (oh come on—so do you!). I found a beautiful journal, one of those books with empty pages ready to be filled. People give them to me all the time. Sure, I need more pressure to write! I hate to mar them with my terrible handwriting. Part of me says why bother, save my precious words for publicatioin.

This new book has a cover that looks like a page out of the Book of Kells. There's lots of sparkley gold on it that apparently made the giver think of me. I'm hoping it inspires me. I've decided I should write down the names of authors I meet and the ones in Oak Tree. Who knows which of us will become famous? Maybe I'm hanging out with the next Agatha Christie or Hemingway.

I've also decided to come clean about the ESP and paranormal stuff in my life. It's been a part of me and my family for years, but we just shrug it off. Now I realize that there is a curiosity out there, maybe I should document events.

I don't like to write for myself, so I've decided to will the book to a writing friend in New Jersey. She's always been interested in woo-woo stuff and we talk endlessly about writing. What she does with it is her problem.

That's my resolution and we'll see if it takes. It's going to be easier than promising to diet or grow fingernails. So, what resolutions did the rest of you make for 2011?

Night Watch Trailer is a Finalist

Since I haven't really gotten into making book trailers myself, I found an author who has started a promotions and marketing business and got her to create a trailer for Night Watch. That trailer by Betty Ann Harris is a finalist in the Spunk on a Stick book trailer contest. This is the first book trailer contest I've entered, so, of course, I'm thrilled to be one of seven finalists. Please take a look at the Night Watch trailer. I hope you will go to Spunk on a Stick and vote for Night Watch. Voting will end Sunday night with winners announced on Monday.

I know some of you have book trailers. How have you used them in your book promotion?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Last Hurricane Katrina Case

When I previously blogged about my experience during Hurricane Katrina, charges were pending against numerous NOPD officers for their actions during the storm. All of the cases have now been handled in federal court, mostly pleas. The only case I'm aware of that went to trial was the case involving five officers, one accused of shooting and killing a man, two accused of burning his body, and the last two accused of covering it up. In case you didn't read the previous blogs, two of those officers accused are friends of mine, and things didn't work out so well for one of them. You can read my take on the story behind the charges and the results at

The trial ended a few weeks ago, but it has been a difficult topic for me to write about for many reasons, the prevalent being that I know two of the individuals involved. Anyway, please stop by the blog and leave a comment.

Holli Castillo
Gumbo Justice
Jambalaya Justice coming 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Any New Kindle Owners Out There?

It's time to support our fellow authors, especially those with OTP.

Why don't we make a point of ordering OTP books for our Kindles?

I keep reading that the New York published books are the ones selling on Kindle. They sell for more, some of them aren't nearly as good as OTP books, so why not take a chance and read some of them on your Kindle? Or Nook, or whatever kind of reader you have.

I've downloaded some and read them, now I'm going to find more to do same.

First, I want to say Happy New Year to all of you on this list.

For those of you with new Kindles, I hope you’ll try some of the authors on this list who have their books on Kindle and the Nook and other e-readers. I’ve heard that the New York best sellers are the ones that are being downloaded. This is really frustrating to those of us who have been e-book pioneers. Take a chance, try some of us.

I have a romance with a supernatural twist called Lingering Spirit on Kindle. And for my Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novels, you need to find them under the name F.M. Meredith—the latest being An Axe to Grind.

Happy Reading to all of you. Let's boost up sales for our fellow authors!