Friday, May 31, 2013


Welcome to the Round-Up everyone!

We lost one of our authors this week. DOUG DANIELSON, author of “Shore Loser” and “Sea-Duction.” This was written by his friend, David:
Doug Danielson passed away Monday, May 27 at approximately 4:15 p.m. in a Ventura, California hospital. His wife Karen was at his side. Doug had been battling cancer.

For over fifteen years, Doug was one of the most active members of the Puerto Vallarta Writers Group. During this time, he wrote and published several fiction novels, and many of his articles appeared in online and print journals on varied subjects including sailing, his passion and vocation. He was the first to actively promote the idea of an anthology of group members’ work, but perhaps his greatest legacy is the annual writer’s conference. Doug conceived of, and single-handedly organized the first conference, and has been a guiding force in almost every event since.

Whether you knew Doug well or only slightly, two of his many notable character traits impressed immediately, his modesty, and sincerity. In his final moments, with Karen’s help, Doug was calling friends to tell them how much they had meant to him in his life. How many of us would have loved the chance to convey to him that very same thought?

Karen assured me that his passing was peaceful. Doug will be remembered for what he was, a very fine man. And he will be missed by all of us fortunate to have known him.

On May 28, TERRY AMBROSE, author of “License to Lie,” spoke to the Carlsbad Rotary Club members about how to avoid scams and cons. He covered five of the most popular scams, including those that involve smartphones and one of the latest scams, the Facebook Lottery Promotion.

MARY MONTAGUE SIKES spent Memorial Day weekend signing books and giving painting demonstrations at the Art Fair in Tides Inn, Irvington VA. Monti does the artwork for her Passenger to Paradise series.
And, check out her piece about the A to Z challenge at the Blog Corral below.


MICHAEL BLACK, author of  The Incredible Adventures of Doc Atlas” and “Pope's Last Case and Other Stories” will be showing at Printers Row on June 8 & 9 in Chicago.

On June 1, BERYL REICHENBURG, author of children's books will teach “Writing Children's Books and Getting Them Published” from 11 to noon at the Curious Cup Bookstore, Carpinteria, CA. The cost is $10 and pre-registration is required. Contact Kiona Gross, (805) 220-6608, or

ROBERT WEIBEZAHL, author of  “The Dead Don't Forget,” will be doing a book signing June 1, 2:30 pm, at Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach, CA.
ROBERT is also offering copies of his book to two lucky winners at a Good Reads giveaway. The contest runs until June 25.


JIM CALLAN, author of  “A Ton of Gold,” has been busy. He did a guest post titled "The SideKick Takes Center Stage" at the Northwest Christian Writers' Association website:

Then he had his sidekick's interviewed. You can find Crystal Moore, the protagonist of A Ton of Gold, on Marji Laine's site:

And Brandi Brewer, the sidekick to Crystal in “A Ton of Gold” was interviewed on Ralene Burke's site,

And Jim has a guest blog up at Venture Galleries titled "You Can Sell a Book by Its Cover."

Stephen Woodfin wrote a review of Jim's mystery/suspense “Murder a Cappella” on the Venture Galleries site.

What does it say when universities start unloading their scientific collections? See how a Georgia Museum gained and DAC CROSSLEY'S take on the whole thing at his blog "A Night At The Museum." Dac is the author of “The Return of the Texas Ranger.”

Monsters, sweet dreams, and laughter: JOHN DANIEL, author of “Behind the Redwood Door,” talks about our strange encounters when we write the stories of our lives. by:

WILLIAM DOONAN, author of  “American Caliphate,” is over at Novel Spaces talking about innovative book marketing ideas.

William also did a guest post over at Murder Lab:

JOHN LINDERMUTH (“Sooner Than Gold”) talks about killing characters the natural way:

MARJA MCGRAW, author of the Bogey series, interviewed Oak Tree publisher, Billie Johnson:

MARILYN MEREDITH (“Dangerous Impulses”) writes about keeping up with two mystery series.

Marilyn also wrote about the first book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, “Deadly Trail”and planning ahead for the next one, “Spirit Shapes.”  

My PhotoSHARON MOORE, upcoming “Mission: Impastable,”  includes recipes on her blog and asks people to name the culinary mystery that would have ice cream/frozen yogurt/gelato recipes.

Sharon also gives part 3 of the writer's business plan. You may be interested in her production schedule for the number of culinary mysteries she wants to write.

MARY MONTAGUE SIKES blogs about the promo cards she created from the Painting a Day animals she painted for the A to Z Challenge last month:

A Tale of Two Morgans: MORGAN ST. JAMES, co-author of  “Who's Got the Money?” was featured in the UK on Morgen Bailey's blog: Over at the Examiner, she writes that writing a book isn't all about sales:

Is there something “fishy” going on with CHRIS SWINNEY, author of soon-to-be-published “Gray Ghost?” He's writing about freshwater tarpon on his blog:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sunny Inspired Me!

All, I had so much fun watching Sunny's flash mob scene that I wanted to do something similar. I didn't have enough people for a mob, but I did gather some friends and make a little video. I still need to learn a lot more about making sophisticated videos, but for a first step, I had fun, they had fun, and if I'm lucky, I might get a few people interested in my book!Tucson Reads Mariachi Murder
Ransdell's Flash Mob to create Tucson Reads Mariachi Murder

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


When I first came upon Pinterest a year ago, I loved it and knew I would find a way to use it to promote my novel. Being an artist, I am very visual.  Sometimes I collect images as a way to relax. I don’t always feel like interacting on Facebook or Twitter, and simply looking through pins and pinning pictures is as social as I want to get. I hadn’t figured out how I would use Pinterest to promote until last month. 

There are many excellent ideas here at RachelleGardner’s site, but I haven’t been inclined to take the time to build Pinterest as suggested there. That feels too much like work, and I do enough social media ‘work.’

Why Pinterest?

Pinterest is a visual platform and what better way to get the image of your book out there than a picture of the product you are trying to sell (hopefully you have a captivating cover that gives a good sense of what your book is about)?

Last year a survey asked, “Do you use Pinterest or Facebook for any of the following reasons?” Note the results of the major questions:

An entertaining way to pass the time:
·         73% of people who use Social Media find Pinterest entertaining
·         61% for Facebook

A way to get inspiration on what to buy:
·         70% find Pinterest inspirational
·         17% for Facebook

A way to keep track of things they like, or follow the latest trends:
·         67% for Pinterest
·         21+% for Facebook

I decided Pinterest is a great way to connect with readers in a more personal way and pick up new readers that pin from my boards. I won’t get into the how-tos of Pinterest as there is plenty of info on the web. 

Pinterest to promote while
Readers get to know you better

If you were going to make a movie of your book, and you were the director, what would your movie look like? Dedicate a board on Pinterest as your story board. Collect images to show what you envision; the actors and actresses (or any interesting people you find that represent your characters), the setting, the food, the clothes—basically anything you want to add that will give the viewer a sense of your story. 

Before I went public with the pictures I was gathering, I kept my novel board a secret board (not to be viewed until I was ready to go public). Whenever I came across a picture I thought I might like to use, I would throw it in to be sorted later. That way I could edit out the less effective ones before I went public. I also us a secret board for inspiration ideas.

This link takes you to my Pinterest boards where you can see two boards at the top where more information can be found about my soon to be published book, Dance the Dream Awake.  I set my book cover as the cover picture which helps it stand out. 

For my novel-in-progress, Haiku Dance, the next board over, I put a picture that I feel captures the attention for that story for the moment.

When Dance the Dream Awake is finally published, I will link it to the Oak Tree Press page where it will be available for purchase—and later to the ebook stores as well.

Do you use Pinterest to promote your book? What else would you put on your Pinterest board as a way to promote your book?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Flash sales for e-books

Hi, folks.

Interesting article here in today's NY Times on how Amazon, among others, goes about deciding how to put certain books by certain authors on "flash sale" where for a few hours or so an e-book goes for $1.99 or thereabouts.

In some cases, it's been a good way to prime the pump as far as publicizing some semi-obscure authors. And some who are far from obscure, like Dennis Lehane, for example.

Publishing -- never a dull moment, I guess.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

An Event for Joy

I got my first migraine while I was staring at Geoffrey Chaucer’s grave.

I was twenty years old, living away at college in a different country, away from my parents for the first time in my life. It was a full-blown migraine too, not just the headache, but nausea, difficulty with lights, and visual disruption too. One moment I was staring at old Geoff’s grave, and the next moment, there was a strange ropy thing blocking my sight.

I took a step back and looked around Westminster Cathedral at night, looked at the other people, but I couldn’t see anyone’s face, just this strange hallucination, so I made the most obvious sort of deduction that I could.

Clearly, the ghost of Geoffrey Chaucer had reached into my head and fiddled around with the wiring.

I smiled despite the pain and confusion.

It seemed to me that the ghost of Geoffrey Chaucer had found fit to bless me, and this hallucination was the physical manifestation of that moment.

This isn’t as ridiculous a conclusion as it might seem. For me, right then, there was all kinds of magic, and this felt like just another moment of that magic.

I had moved to London, a city that I’d always wanted to go to, and it was better than I’d ever thought it could be. I had fallen in love (with the woman I’m married to now), studied, partied, drank too much, ate too much, saw bands, met authors, toured the city, hitchhiked in Wales, eaten Indian food, met people from the Soviet Union who’d escaped, met people who’d decided to hitchhike in Vietnam before I’d known going there was possible.

One rainy morning, I’d gone into the British Library’s reading room and had the whole place to myself. There were manuscripts lying about: “Ozymandias” lying next to the original handwritten copy of “Yesterday” next to an original print by William Blake next to one of Shakespeare’s folios. There didn’t seem to be any logic to the way they were arranged except that these were all the great works of British literature, and I realized halfway through that I was familiar with every single title.

And I realized that I wasn’t the stupid kid with no future and no hope that I thought I was.

And I realized that I was part of an intellectual community, not just someone on the outside looking in.

And I realized that I had something of value that I could give to the rest of the world.

And I realized that I wanted to write. I was going to be a poet, I decided, right there in that hall looking at those manuscripts.

For me, those days were magic. And it didn’t seem so outrageous to think that Chaucer might be reaching out from the grave and blessing me and my choice to be a part of his world. It seemed right, and I was glad he had done it.

I stood there in the middle of Westminster Cathedral on a cold night in February nauseated, dizzy, headachy, and nearly blind, but mostly what I felt was hope. Writing, traveling, poetry, and Chaucer had all worked together to make even a migraine an event for joy.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mystery Novels and the Overheard Conversation Snippet

Do you ever overhear a snippet of conversation in passing that piques your interest? While taking a walk this morning, I passed a woman who was walking three dogs and speaking on her cell phone. The part of the conversation I heard was, “There’s no need to feel guilty.”

My writer’s imagination went into full alert. Was this merely a supportive comment for someone who forgot to send to send a birthday card? Or was it more sinister. My mind began to churn. Maybe it referenced killing an abusive husband. Then I began to think, where might the body have been left? Hey, that’s the problem with being a mystery writer; even an innocuous statement can lead to a plot.

So if you’re around a mystery writer, be careful what you say.

Have you ever overheard an intriguing snippet?

Mike Befeler, Author of The V V Agency


Friday, May 24, 2013


Who's got an interview with the Lone Ranger? Is “Diet” a dirty word? Where else can you see a video on how to publish your poetry?

Welcome to the Weekly Round-Up everyone! This is the place to see what has been happening with Oak Tree Press and our amazing authors. Past, present and future. Lots of good articles and great information.

JOHN BRANTINGHAM, author of  “Mann of War,” has a new video posted on how to publish your poetry:

JOHN also has three blogs listed below in the Blog Corral.

RICHARD MARRANCA, “Dragon Sutra.” has a poem that takes place in Thailand in the upcoming issue of The Paterson Literary Review. He gave a shout-out to Oak Tree Press and his novel in his bio. The book was also featured in the Passaic County College newsletter and the college did an interview on Richard for the newspaper, Visions. In addition, an online newspaper called Roselie Park wrote about the novel. People are taking notice!

BERYL REICHENBERG, OTP children's book author, has a new review of her recently published picture book, "The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake" reviewed by DBR Books. Calling the book a "great read-aloud story time book for pre-schoolers and kindergartners," DBR Books noted that the story "encourages bravery,observation, friendship and kindness. It shows the importance of working together as a team and has a good lesson about kindness that can be grasped quite easily by readers of all ages." To see the whole review follow the link:


BERYL REICHENBERG will also be helping out at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art booth at the Paso Robles (CA) Festival of Arts on Saturday, May 25. She'll be demonstrating her book folding technique for children and talking about her children's books, especially her upcoming OTP titles, "Butterfly Girls" and "When Caterpillars Dream.” If you are in the area, drop by and make an accordion book.
On June 1, BERYL will teach “Writing Children's Books and Getting Them Published” from 11 to noon at the Curious Cup Bookstore, Carpinteria, CA. The cost is $10 and pre-registration is required. Contact Kiona Gross, (805) 220-6608, or

ROBERT WEIBEZAHL, author of  “The Dead Don't Forget,” will be doing a book signing June 1, 2:30 pm, at Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach, CA.


JOHN BRANTINGHAM, author of  “Mann of War,” of is blogging over at The Edible Bookshelf:

Over at Venture Galleries JOHN blogs about art and books changing who you are:

And, on his own blog, JOHN shares the first chapter of his next book, ”Mann of Action.”

Western author DAC CROSSLEY, of soon to be published “Guns Across the Rio,” interviews the Lone Ranger:


JOHN DANIEL, author of “Behind the Redwood Door,” hosts WILLIAM DOONAN (“American Caliphate”) telling about his experience with e-publishing his latest novel. Bill is an archaeologist and a wonderful writer.

MARJA MCGRAW, author of the Bogey series, explains you can learn a lot about character descriptions from reading the books of others.

MARILYN MEREDITH (“Dangerous Impulses”) writes about planning ahead for the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Spirit Shapes.

SHARON MOORE, upcoming “Mission: Impastable,” hosts J.L. GREGER, author of Coming Flu” and “Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight.” Greger gives advice about a four-letter word: DIET.

SHARON also offers the second part of her business plan:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cleaning Closets: Start Mode for Writing

Quirky Author Lesley A. Diehl

We made our trip north from Florida to our home in Upstate New York without incident.  That was much better than having a cat sick on the road or our car hit by a drunk driver in a motel parking lot.  And we came back to glorious weather, always a problematic issue this early in the season.  We’ve had snow here on May 18.  This year it was in the seventies for the first ten days, and we worked outside redoing our perennial garden and building an addition to our shed.  Things were just humming along.  I should have known it wouldn’t last.


One thing you must know about me is that I have a thing about clean and organized closets.  I leave them in disarray when we leave here in the fall.  They’re filled with stuff I decided to move out of sight during the summer or items I meant to put into the yard sale in July, and, to be honest, all those must haves’ I bought at other yard sales, but couldn’t find room for when I got them home.  I blithely cruise through my winter in Florida, all that closet jumble out of my mind.  Our place in the south is so much smaller than the one in New York that my closets there can hardly hold the necessary items unless everything is in its predetermined place.  So they never get too messy.


So why am I telling you all this?  What’s this compulsion with cleaning closets got to do with writing?  It’s simple.  Unless those closets are neat, clean and organized, I can’t write.  Given the idyllic nature of our trip this year, you’d think I’d be sitting on closets that could star on HGTV.  Not so.  I haven’t even cracked the door on any of them, and we’ve been back for three weeks.


The gods of misfortune have been letting me have it, thinking, I suppose, that having experienced nirvana on the road I should be able to handle a shot of chaos now.   Here’s why I’m not cleaning them and, therefore, why my writing is not on track.  Those of you who know about the ghost that inhabits my cottage may want to believe that Fred, the ghost, is getting back at me for abandoning him the entire winter to a cold house.  That’s possible.  I won’t rule it out.  Fred has his ways of getting my attention.


Here’s what’s been happening since we got back.  The weather changed; we went from mid-seventies for over a week to several nights of  severe frost.  My lilacs are not happy.  Two nights after we got here, I noticed long vertical streaks of something black on our walls.  Mold or soot?  It appears to be soot.  The furnace guy says nothing is wrong with the furnace.  Perhaps it’s running fine now, but sometime while we were gone it left us those streaks.  We washed walls for two days.  The streaks remained.  We’ll have to repaint.


We began to rip out the downstairs bathroom to put in a washer and dryer.  Everything was going fine until the shut-off valves for the hot water broke, and we had a minor flood in the basement.  No hot water for several days.  We showered at our health club, a twenty mile trip to town.


The good news?  Hubby announced when I returned from my shower today that we now have hot water.  Do I dare lay my hand on the closet door handle?


Better news?  Hubby’s motorcycle started right up when he pulled it out of the storage shed.  I think he may get on it and ride into the sunset, leaving me with an unfinished bathroom.  I wouldn’t blame him.


The best news?   I wrote this, didn’t I, and my closets are still a mess.  Maybe there’s a new me—the gal who writes while her house crumbles around her.


I’ll bet many of you have some quirky thing you have to do to be able to write.  C’mon.  Fess up.  Share with us.
Lesley is the author of two books with Oak Tree Press: Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Chilled and Killed.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Friday Weekly Round-Up

Welcome to the Weekly Round-Up everyone! This is the place to see what has been happening with Oak Tree Press and our amazing authors. Past, present and future. We have authors singing, books releasing, blogs posting, articles printing, authors greeting and more this week on the Round-up!

We had no idea we had a musician in our midst. JASON HUNT created a song and video for his novel “A Midsummer Night's Gunfight.” This is a must-see!

The latest edition of Tricks of the Trade, put out by MORGAN ST. JAMES (“Who's Got the Money?”) includes an article on shopping for ideas by  J.L. GREGER, “Building a Better Mousetrap” by SUNNY FRAZIER and excerpts from “La Bella Mafia” by MORGAN and DENNIS GRIFFIN. All that, plus conference info and much more.

J.L. GREGER, author of “Coming Flu” and “Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight,” made an appearance on July 16 at Oasis at Macy's in Albuquerque. She spoke of invisibility cloaks, cloning, Jurassic Park, flu epidemics (all examples of science in modern fiction).

CINDY LADAGE and JANE AUMANN (“My Name Is Huber”) received a book review in the Capital City Parent, which is part of the Illinois Times.

MARILYN MEREDITH's “Dangerous Impulses” is in the All Mystery eNewsletter.

BERYL REICHENBERG, author of children's books, met with a class of preschool children, part of the Mommy and Me Program, on Wednesday May 15 to read her books and talk about story telling. She reports the class was full of joyful three and four year olds and all had a delightful time.


STEPHEN BRAYTON,  “Alpha,” heard a weather forecast that struck an irritation with him so he decided to discuss four instances of common language misuses.

LORNA COLLINS, author of “Ghost Writer,” hosts Debi Sullivan, the intrepid chair of the EPIC eBook Awards, over at her blog:

CAROL CRIGGER author of  “Three Seconds to Thunder” and “Two Feet Below” blogs about dancing in the 1890s, and an excerpt from Three Seconds to Thunder.

JOHN DANIEL, author of “Behind the Redwood Door,” has 9 stories, 99 words each, from a variety of talented writers, all with the theme "Yes, You May."

SUNNY FRAZIER (“Fools Rush In,” and “Where Angels Fear,”) rants about blogs that promise more than they deliver:

MARJA MCGRAW, author of the Bogey series, says in a brief moment a life can change, and that includes characters in books.

MARILYN MEREDITH (“Dangerous Impulses”) explains why she chose the two small presses to publish her series:

It's all about muffins this week at SHARON MOORE's blog. Sharon is the author of the upcoming novel “Mission: Impastable,”

SHARON also shares her business plan:

CHRIS SWINNEY, author of soon-to-be-published “Gray Ghost.” scored an excerpt from Melodie Campbell's latest book.