Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Manic Reader Review of The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras

We just had another book reviewed through Manic Readers..... wonderful review for Mike Orenduff !!! " The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras "

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fab four fans love 'Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper'

This review was recently posted on Readers can sign up at this site for a giveaway drawing for a free copy of the book. The signup deadline is Oct. 29.

Book Review: The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper by Sally Carpenter
What a delight this book was to read! I had seen this book mentioned on and decided to find the author and ask for a review copy. Ms. Carpenter said she’d contact her publisher about getting a copy to me, but after several weeks my mailbox was still empty, so I just bought my own. I prefer buying my own copies to review anyway so I don’t feel obligated to the authors/bands/producers.
Though not really a Beatle book, this fictitious murder mystery takes place in 1993 at a Beatles convention in southern Indiana. When a member of the local Beatles tribute band is murdered, Sandy Fairfax becomes suspect #1 in the eyes of the local police. Sandy is a childhood TV star turned popstar in the 70′s. Pulling from his four years on TV as Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth, Sandy sets out to clear his name and find the real killer.
This is author Sally Carpenter’s first book in her ‘Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol Mystery Series’ and I think she’s done a great job depicting the nuances of a Beatles fan convention. Throughout the book, we Beatles fans will find many similarities to the well-known Fest for Beatles Fans that take place every year in NY and Chicago. In fact, Ms. Carpenter even mentions Mr. Lapidos’ conventions in her book. Another nice touch is the chapters are named for Beatles songs and Beatles lyrics are hidden within the text of the book.
I find this book to be a great little easy and leisurely read. I only wish Ms. Carpenter were going to write more stories with the Beatles as a theme.
By the time I was halfway through this book, my review copy showed up in the mail! So, I’d like to share this copy with my readers. Anyone posting a comment in the comments section of this post will be entered to win a copy of ’The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper’! Contest entries will only be accepted until 11:59 pm on Saturday, October 29, 2011. I will use the random number generator at to pick the winner and post it on Sunday, October 30th. Good Luck!
You can read another review of this book and an interview with the author here.
This book is available on
I rate this movie: 3 out of 4 Beetles

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Emerging Novelists and other interviews

Thanks to Jeana, Emerging Novelists has posted an interview with me as well as background information about Jambalaya Justice. The site is at and the interview is at

Every time I do an interview, I wonder what information I should include. Obviously, I want to include things readers might find interesting about me, and those things that might make a reader want to take a look at one of my books. But there's always that hesitancy about how much personal information to include.

Some things to stay away from are obvious, such as no names of my kids or my pets, address and phone number off limits, school names and direct employers name avoided, but there are other things that are not quite as clear cut.

I try to include things I consider public record, such as things people could find out about me anyway. While I clearly want to avoid drawing the interest of stalkers and serial killers, especially because I write about stalkers and serial killers, I also want to spice up my background a little to seem interesting enough that someone might want to know what I write about.

Holli Castillo

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Great Review of an older title

I have added most of our books on a website called manic readers. A review of an older title came through today. I wanted to share it with all of you, it is a wonderful review the best this site will give.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Denise Solter's "Jetta's Journey" just had a Big review, in Healthy Pets Magazine ! This is such fabulous news I wanted to share it with all the Oak Tree Press authors. Way to go Denise !!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Disappointed with Book Store Signings?

This is a photo from a couple of years ago at Nipomo.

I seldom do a traditional bookstore signing anymore. For one thing we don't have any traditional bookstores anywhere near by. We do have a used bookstore and I've done and will continue to do bookstore signings there. For a couple of reasons, I really want the owners to make it and they are wonderful about furnishing refreshments, setting everything up for me, though I'm the one who does all the advertising. The last one I did wasn't all that great, only 4 books were sold. However, the owners have me leave books on consignment and the do sell them. Just received a nice little check today.

There's a bookstore up in the mountains above Fresno that I really like to go to and I usually give some kind of presentation on a subject the local writer's group has asked for. Unfortunately sales haven't been all that good lately, so I may scratch it off my list.

In my little town, I have books on consignment in our local thrift shop. Once a month I get a check from the organization that runs the shop.

Where I seem to do best selling books is craft fairs and book festivals. This weekend we have a big one in our town, The Apple Festival. It's work because we have to put up our own tent, I have some great banners that I hang, we haul in a table, the table decorations, two chairs, a cooler with water and snacks, and of course the books.

 I always attend the Central Coast Book Festival, another good one and they furnish the tables, table cover, and 2 chairs. I like to go to the craft fair put on by the Friends of the Library in Nipomo also. In fact, I'll do just about anything that involves going to the Central Coast.

I know that there are these sorts of events in every state because I see postings from other authors.

Any other ideas folks for selling your paper books?


Monday, October 10, 2011

Photo from Bouchercon

My good friend, Radine Trees Nehring, sent me this photo taken at Bouchercon.

I didn't get to go this time, but Radine did. I had recently seen her at Killer Nashville, and in face Billie went to dinner with us and our spouses one night while we were there.

Jeana, Oak Tree Press's fearless publicity person, is in the middle, and on the left is our great publisher, Billie Johnson.

Billie and Jeana took the opportunity to drive down to Bouchercon and spread the word about OTP's book. I thought you'd all like to see this.


Sunday, October 9, 2011


As arranged thanks to Jeana, a new interview with yours truly just went up today at Mike Murphy's . Same site will soon be featuring other OTP authors, so please give it a look-see.
Hope everyone is getting out and about on these lovely weekends and enjoying the fall colors (which, unfortunately, are rather sparse out my way). It won't be long before the primary color for many of us is going to be white.

Persevere --- WD

A Good Time To Read

What are you reading?

Note I didn’t ask what you’re writing, which might be the obvious question on a blog like this.

The reason for my question is because October is National Book Month—a time to honor and celebrate the book.

One of the key ingredients of advice to aspiring writers is to read. The neophyte might then ask, what am I to read? Does it mean how-to books? Books written by the advisor? What?

Personally, I’d say a writer should read the types of books he or she wishes to write. Most would-be writers are already readers. Inspired by the books they read for pleasure or edification, they strive to emulate, feeding both an innate need and a desire to share their thoughts and imaginings with others.

What moves a person to become a writer or engage in other creative activities is a matter for the psychologist and not our interest here. What is obvious is not every person who loves to read becomes or wants to become a writer. What is also obvious is the person who wants to write will eventually do so, regardless of advice or lack thereof.

I’ve never met a writer who wasn’t a reader. I think most of us would agree it was love of reading that first stimulated our desire to write. How, then, should a writer read? The answer, of course, is alertly. No writer worth his/her salt should ever read without a notebook at hand.

As Dumas put it a long time ago: Writing can not be taught; it can only be learned. One learns, initially, by reading. Anything you read will influence your writing style, either consciously or subconsciously. That’s why many novelists refrain from reading while working on a book. However, it has been found that reading good writing can provide the impetus for recharging the creative juices when you’re stalled or suffering a block. Even junk can be beneficial, but if you want to do creative writing, then you should read the best writing available. You can improve your style, your language and rhythm by the subconscious influence of good literature.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I Can Sleep When I'm Dead

I've been crazy busy (as you might be able to tell from my title), between handling cases for my "job-job", writing articles for my second "job-job," working on the third in my series, Chocolate City Justice, doing what I need to as president of my youngest daughter's school Co-Op (similar to PTA or PTO), and trying to squeeze in a little promotion around helping with homework, making sure everyone has clean underwear, and scooping out the litter box. I do lead a glamorous life, don't I?

With the limited time I have had for promotion I was excited to get an email from Morgen Bailey this morning reminding me that an interview on her blog was up today. I did the interview a few months back, when things were a tad slower, and am glad I did. At the time, it seemed October as such a long way off, but now it seems as if it flew by. Her interview can be found at

In the interview, I also have an excerpt from Chocolate City Justice.

My contest winner from Ebay's First Amendment Project auction finally came to the Big Easy and enjoyed a few drinks with us at our bar. I was a little nervous, hoping she and her husband wouldn't think we were all crazy, but we got along famously and had a great time, despite the fact that we have rival football teams. I now consider her a new friend. She ended up naming a stripper in Jambalaya Justice, Pamela "Bubbles LaRue" Briggs. Pam was a hoot and I couldn't believe how much we all ended up having in common. I'm getting ready to send her a copy of Jambalaya Justice as part of her auction winning, and hope she comes back down when Chocolate City Justice is out.

I also have three things coming up on my agenda. First, I'm going to plan my book launch for Jambalaya Justice at the bar now that I have copies of Jambalaya Justice with the edited cover showing the seal from the PSWA fiction award. I think I'll stick with what worked already and let the attendees compete in a jambalaya cook off, with the winner getting to name a character in Chocolate City. (Last year's gumbo cook off winner for the book launch party for Gumbo Justice named a punk rock internet cafe clerk in Jambalaya Justice, "Christi Bouvier.")

I also am going to be revamping my blog. I think I am going to have one day a week to do post interviews, and one day a week see if I can get someone to guest blog, and one day a week post a review of a recent read. The other days will have to be downtime, maybe a thought of the day or let someone post a writing sample for others to critique, I'm not quite sure yet. I will let everyone know when it is up and running the way I want it to be, because I am hoping some of you will want to participate and get a little free publicity.

And speaking of publicity, I also want to do a virtual book tour, but am torn between paying for one or setting up one myself. Without having the time to do the research, I am thinking it would be better to pay to have one set up for me. There are also other free promotional opportunities, as well as inexpensive pay ones, but I have to make time to fit them into the schedule.

If anyone has a particularly good or bad experience with any particular virtual tours or promotion sites, I would appreciate the information. I previously did an inexpensive package with Apex for Gumbo Justice and my book sales went up, but it is difficult to know if that was an anomaly, or actually related to what the company did. The price did include a book trailer and a few other things. If anyone else has had experience with them that differed from mine, please post. I think everyone wouldn't mind knowing if there are inexpensive promotional pay sites that are worth it, or more expensive sites worth their price.

Holli Castillo
Jambalaya Justice

Become a Better Blogger

It's great that we have this blog for Oak Tree authors. I'm guilty of not visiting as often as I should or could. Recently I posted the following tips on my blog, and I think they can be useful for all of us.

Here are some of the tips I have learned that can help one become a better blogger:

1. Focus. Pick a topic and become known mostly for that topic. Alex is known for his movie reviews. And, no, scattered is not a good topic!

2. Visit the blogs of others. Follow the blogs you like.

3. Tweet about your blog and the blogs you follow.

4. Post regularly, even if it is only once or twice a week.

5. Write often about those things that will help others. Write sometimes about the things you love. Although I don't believe I have many artists among my followers, I sometimes cannot resist writing about art. Occasionally, I need to write about baseball as well. That's definitely breaking the rule on focus.

6. Join blogfests that interest you. You'll meet new people there and make friends. You'll expand your horizon.

7. Spend an hour a day, if you can, developing your blogging skills. If you can only spare 30 minutes, use that time to your advantage. It will be time well-spent.

8. Take a look at your blog statistics and see which posts attract the most visitors. I have never topped the number of visitors I got the day I posted my thoughts on the sudden ending to the Medium television series.

Today, my book, Jungle Jeopardy  is highlighted on Michael Di Gesu's In Time blog.

Mary Montague Sikes
Passenger to Paradise books

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New blog post

I have a new blog post up on Morgen Bailey's writing pages site. I'm discoursing on the Power of Names, if anyone is interested.‘power-with-a-capital-p’-by-carol-crigger/


Monday, October 3, 2011

Sally Carpenter

Lorie Ham over at Kings River Life Magazine has been very good to many of our authors here at Oak Tree Press, having our books reviewed and then doing many interviews and giveaways.

Sally Carpenter and her book "The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper " was just interviewed you can read her interview at


Clark Lohr

Mike Murphy over at Emerging Novelist has begun to work with me featuring our OTP authors. This week the featured novelist is Clark Lohr "Devil's Kitchen"

The Arizona Daily Star had this to say about Clark and his book... " A mix of local history and heady intrigue introduces trigger-prone Many Aguilar, a Hispanic-Yaqui sometime sheriff's deputy and sometimes P.I.who gets mixed up in a border drug war. Well written and well plotted, Lohr focuses on a violent slice of Southwestern life."

Saturday, October 1, 2011

From Sally Carpenter

I have my first review of my first OTP book! Terrance McArthur wrote a terrific review of "The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper" for the online magazine Kings River Life. OTP's own Marilyn Meredith interviews me as well. A big thank you to both! Earlier this year the magazine published my short story "Faster Than a Speeding Bullet," something I wrote to amuse myself while waiting for my book's release. "Faster" can be found in the KRL archives and concerns a murder among the costumed characters who work for tips among the tourists in Hollywood.

The review link is