Friday, July 29, 2011

Review of Possom Belly Queen

Possum Belly Queen by Robert O’Hanneson, published by Oak Tree Press, 232 pages.

This is not a cozy by any means, despite the title. I bought the book for a several reasons, I recently met Bob and his lovely wife at the PSWA conference, it was published by Oak Tree which also publishes my Rocky Bluff P.D. series, and last but certainly not least, I wanted to find out what the title meant.

It didn’t take me long to find out that the story is about missing girls and carnivals. Andy Zartanian sells rides to amusement parks and carnivals and though he knows a lot about the venue he doesn’t much like carnie life. With some reluctance, he takes on the job of trying to locate a missing granddaughter who may or may not be somehow involved with a carnival.

The plot is unusual, the settings are even more unusual, and as you read you’ll recognize the fact that the author has personal knowledge of carnivals and the rides that make them so popular. He brings to life the sights, sounds and smells of the midway and what goes on behind the scenes of the amusement parks. The non-stop action kept me turning pages as Andy searches for the missing girl in this fresh and remarkable thriller.

--Marilyn Meredith, under the name, F. M. Meredith, author of Angel Lost.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

great op-ed piece by mystery author

This is a pithy piece by one of my favorite mystery/crime writers, Jo Nesbo. He is Norwegian and his stories are deep and dark and often mention the rise of the radical right in his country.

In this op-ed piece for the NYTimes, he tackles what the horrific tragedy of last weekend means for Norway and the Norwegian people.

Really worth reading.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Free western novel offered.

I've just put my previously out of print western novel, THE WINNING HAND, up for free via the Smashwords website. You can get Kindle editions there, too. This offer is good through July 31. Enjoy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Congratulations to Clark Lohr for knocking the Pot Thief out of first place in Amazon sales among OTP books. I knew Devil’s Kitchen would be a hit. Kudus also to Sunny and Billie for recognizing a good book and signing Clark for Oak Tree.

While on the subject, I also want to congratulate Holli. Gumbo Justice is always on these lists, and with Jambalaya Justice hitting the shelves, it too will do well and each book will coattail the other.

Good to see Fool Rush In on the list. When Sunny finds enough time between reading submissions and helping other authors, she will have an audience waiting for number three in this series. And Marilyn has two of her Rocky Bluff PD series on the list, not even including the most recent. Talk about coattails.

Finally, I haven’t yet read Dismal River, The Last of the Railroad Police or Dumpster Dying, but it’s good to know I can fill out my TBR list with books from my own publisher.

Mike Orenduff

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Two Feet Below blog

There's a new post on my "Adventures of Miss China Bohannon" blog. To read about some of the technology China uses in 1896, go


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

PSWA Conference

Well, it's over and I'm exhausted but also happy. The program went well--we had a lot of fantastic speakers and panelists--and many were Oak Tree Press authors.

I spent some time with Billie Johnson, always fun.

And my goodness, there were a lot of OTP authors present.

Not going to list them because in my current state of tiredness I'd probably miss someone, but it sure was great to rub elbows with old friends and meet some new ones.

We all learned a lot. There's so much more we can be doing promotion wise. In the days to come I'll be putting together some highlights of the conference and posting them in a newsletter that will be published on the PSWA website where anyone can read it.

Now, I'm back to work for awhile. (Meaning sitting in front of my computer playing catch-up.)


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Jambalaya Justice and interviews with hot cops

I just received my second book, Jambalaya Justice, at the PSWA conference in Vegas. It was quite a thrill after spending two years writing and editing it. The cover came out even better than I had anticipated.

On the same note, just in time for the novel, Paula Petty has interviewed two of my hot cops from the novel, Detective Anthony "Shep" Chapetti and Detective Monte Carlson. The link is Both have roles in Gumbo Justice, but Monte has a somewhat larger role in Jambalaya than he did in Gumbo.

Jambalaya Justice should be on Amazon and other dotcoms soon. Tomorrow I will post more about PSWA, where I think everyone is having a great time, meeting some fun people, and learning a thing or two.

If you're not already a member of PSWA, you should consider joining. I am in a group with former FBI agents, former and current police officers, probation officers, fire chiefs, and so many others I can't even count right now. The group consists of every level from people just starting out on their writing journey, to those with multiple series. Not to mention several of our own Oak Tree authors. But I will post more on this later. Right now I have to prepare a presentation for tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Half-Assed: A Weight Loss Memoir

As writers, words are what we do.
We weave the written language into a tapestry of intrigue, mystery, and (if you're anything like me) humor.
There are very few times in my life where I couldn't express how I felt about something with words...or at least to the degree it merited. The first time was when I tried writing a few words to read to my husband at our wedding reception. Trying to tell the man you love just how much you love him, while including all the nuances, inside jokes, isolated moments, tender embraces, sotto voces, in a few little words seemed an impossible task. I fumbled something out, but it will never entirely cover all the bases of my love for him. Which is why I affectionately inscribed, "Words Can't Describe" on the inside of his wedding ring. Seemed fitting. And it's high praise to stump a writer with a concept that can't fully be developed in writing.

The second time this happened was when I read Half-Assed: A Weight Loss Memoir. Now, I'm not catagorizing my love for Jennette Fulda's book as the same love as I have for Cole, but I heart it. A lot. (See how simplisitic I get when I can't think of the words?)

Below are some of my favorite lines from the book. (PS I'm reading it on my Kindle, however, and the page numbers are not reflected on my digital pages.)

  • "Ever the overachiever, I gained the freshman fifty."
  • "You are almost never as fat as you think you are. If I could teach the fat girls of the world one thing, that would be it."
  • After a life-threatening surgery, Fulda decided to get thin. Then, "Only I didn't. I stayed fat for at least another year. Wake-up call recieved. Snooze button pushed."
  • "It was supposed to shock me into realizing I was consuming the gross national product of Ecuador daily. Mostly it made me crazy trying to remember if I'd had a soda with lunch."
  • "I hoped I wouldn't find myself holding up the local Krispy Kreme in a sugar-crash psychosis, wielding a grapefruit spoon like a shiv."
  • "My gynecologist had told me I had a pelvis, but I thought she was just starting a rumor."
  • "After taking a blood pressure test in a pharmacy, "The display read: 122/71. Woo-hoo! I wanted to take a victory lap around the feminine hygiene aisle, throwing tampons in the air like confetti."
  • "She must not want that fine culinary creation, I thought. She got a different piece of cake instead. It would be a shame to waste a piece of cake. It would make baby Jesus cry. For purely religous reasons, I leapt up, snatched the plate, devoured the cake, and shoved the empty plate onto my uncle's place setting. Fat girls first rule of stealing food: Always get rid of the evidence. Second rule: If necessary, frame someone else."
  • "My weight loss was a cross-country trip, not a race across town."
  • "...a wall of casseroles and baked goods lined the counter like the Great Wall of Carbohydrates."
I'm only half way through Half-Assed, and I feel like Jennette is a kindred spirit. [Wanna be BFF's Jennette? I won't ever tempt you into stealing cake at weddings, and I won't judge you if you do.]
I heart this book. 
Words can't describe how much.
It's my "thinspiration".

Plus it inspired me on my next writing project. (My first book is a YA novel called One-Armed Freak and is available at Amazon for Kindles only.) I'm gonna do a weight loss book too. Granted my 60 lbs is nothing in comparison to Jennette's feats in Weight Loss World, but my journey could inspire someone too.
Check out my weight loss blog: 
or Check out my main blog at:

I can't wait to finish it. 
May the flax seed be with you, Jennette.
Drink water and prosper.

--Rena Lesue-Smithey
One-Armed Freak

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Almost Time for PSWA Conference!

I'm excited and I hope that those of you who are going are excited too. I know that for those of you who are coming and have new books from OTP, our publisher has made a super woman effort to get those books out and to the hotel in time for the conference. A little prayer might be in order.

For the rest of you who are coming I hope you're looking forward to an energizing three days of learning new things about writing and much, much more, meeting exciting people, making new friends and connecting with old ones.

I hope to be posting on my blog while I'm there, but I'll be doing Facebook for sure.

Hope you can make it to the Thursday night get-together, think it starts at 5:30 p.m. this year--but I'll be at the registration table from 3 p.m. on. Stop by and visit.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Copper interview

I guess a link to Paula's blog would help. Here you go.

Interview with a "copper."

Paula Petty has put up an interview with Sgt. Lars Hansen, the sometimes honest policeman from Two Feet Below. Check it out to see how Lars handles an interview.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Marja McGraw

Recently the question came up, does blogging sell books? My first thought was that there’s a lot more to it than merely selling books. Hopefully, the readers will glean some information from the blogs they read. Let’s start with what constitutes a blog. It’s basically just another word for an article, and it can be journaling.

Some people blog about their latest vacation, or what they had for dinner last Saturday night, or maybe what their kids are up to. Me? I prefer to blog about writing and books. That’s my passion—and if I’m passionate about something, I can write or talk about it ‘til the cows come home. (Just thought I’d throw in a little figure of speech to see if you’re paying attention, or are you groaning.) The thing is that the blogs allow people to get to know the author a little more with each one they read. I believe that the blog should reflect your personality, and hopefully be an unofficial showcase for your writing skills.

I blog about my books, the books of others, the art of writing, the job of writing (yes, it is a job), and where storylines and characters come from, among other things like marketing and promoting. Over the past six months I’ve written my own weekly blog at and I’ve done several guest blogs, including the Mystery We Write Blog Tour which is in progress now. This was something I said I’d never do, but with a nudge from the right person, I started blogging my little heart out, and I discovered that I kind of like sharing my thoughts. Who knew?

Then the person I mentioned earlier asked me if I thought these blogs were helping book sales. Do the number of comments left on the site equal sales? The truth of it is, I have no idea. I know that every time I put up a new article, more people visit my website. I know that even though there may not be many comments left by visitors, the number of “hits” on the blog are quite large. I know that after a guest author (Marilyn Meredith) did a blog on my site I received an email from someone who said they were so interested in her blog that they went right out and bought the first book in her series. This person also said that after reading the book, she was hooked on the series and would be buying the rest of the books. Success! Maybe not for me, but for the guest blogger. And who knows? Maybe someone has had the same reaction to my blogs and books.

The point is that the number of comments left didn’t equal the number of hits on the blog site, and the article ultimately sold books whether a comment was left or not. So, yes, I believe that the blogs are working, and I genuinely hope they entertain visitors who read them. They’re fun to write, and often informative.

And now, I have to once again mention that Bogey Nights- A Bogey Man Mystery, came out from Oak Tree Press in March of 2011, and Old Murders Never Die – A Sandi Webster Mystery, will be out in July of 2011 from Wings ePress. That’s two books in one year, and I’m pretty excited. If you’d like to know what the books are about, please visit my website at and click on the Books Page. I don’t think you’ll regret spending a couple of minutes there.

Until next time, thank you to Oak Tree Press and eWings Press for their confidence in me and my writing. I hope you have someone who instills confidence in you.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Sunny here.

How about you? Do you realize every word you write (other than those in your novels) are worthy of recycling? I take my blogs and re-post them on various sites on the Internet after a bit of time has passed. There's a new readership at every site.

I just checked in on Cyber Village Authors to respond to a comment on one of my blogs. I added a few of my latests and dated them to come up once a month. I'm already up to June 2012. Without any further effort on my part, my words keep circulating. I'm on 35 such sites. People think I'm everywhere and putting out all this effort. I'm not. I'm just efficient.

In my opinion, these are some of the best blogs I've ever penned. They are about writing, marketing, small press, building a platform, how to handle the media, much of what we talk about here. If you are new to OTP, they are somewhat of a guide.

Don't say it and be done. Recycle!