Friday, July 31, 2015

Weekly Roundup July 31, 2015

It's Weekly Roundup time again at Oak Tree Press—our last roundup of the month. Where does the time go? Please check out our bookstore for a complete list of all the great books we have available. We have something for everyone!

We're so glad you've stopped by again this week. Here as always, for your reading pleasure, we have news, book signings, events, reviews, blogs and more from our authors to share with you. 


"A book is a device to ignite the imagination."

~Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader


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.

    There's still plenty of time to polish up your manuscript and get it in to our judges. Since 1999, we have been publishing the winners of our contests. In a heartbeat, you can go from an author-in-waiting to published writer!
    We are looking for mysteries, romances, Westerns and hard-edged cop/true crime stories. Read about the guidelines at our website.


Oak Tree Press had a great showing in the Public Safety Writer Association's 2015 Writing Competition. The contest results were announced at the recent PSWA conference in Las Vegas (July 16-19), and we are proud and excited to have so many winners on the list! Congratulations to all whose talents and creative achievements were recognized by PSWA.

J.L. Greger won first place in the Fiction Book, Published category for her medical thriller Malignancy. In the novel, men disguised as police officers shoot at Sara Almquist twice in one day. The real police suspect that Jim Mazzone, a drug czar currently awaiting trial in Albuquerque, will order more hits on Sara. After all, Sara was the key to Mazzone’s capture in Bolivia while she was consulting on public health problems there.

 So when colleagues in the State Department invite Sara to arrange scientific exchanges between the U.S. and Cuba, she jumps at the chance to get out of Albuquerque. But maybe she should be questioning their motives.

Janet thanks Billie and OTP for having faith in her novels. 


John M. Wills won third place in the Fiction Book, Published category for his novel Healer. Healer tells the story of sixteen-year-old Billy Anderson, whose short life has been full of daunting challenges. A birth defect and the death of his parents force him to live with his Aunt Staci.

That situation becomes untenable for Billy and he chooses to live on the street. One day things change dramatically when Billy receives the “Gift of Healing.” Not only does Billy’s own life take a dramatic turn, but his new gift also affects those around him. Is this gift a blessing or a curse?

John was also awarded won first place in the Flash Fiction, Non-Published category for "Monica's Surprise," and he won both second place and an honorable mention in the Poetry, Non-Published category for his works "Goodbye" and "First Responders," respectively. 

Ed Traylor was awarded second place in the Fiction Book, Non-Published category for his forthcoming thriller, The Crossing, which tells the story of Racheed Ul-Bashar, a Pakistani whose grandfather and sister are killed in an American drone strike in Pakistan. Driven by revenge, Racheed develops a minutely detailed plot, a synchronized strike on three American cities on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. He contacts Juan Rodrequs, a violent, ruthless drug cartel leader in Juarez, Mexico, who agrees -- for a price -- to help by moving terrorists and supplies across the border.
All goes well until Diego Garcia, a trusted ally and confidant of the cartel leader, is stopped in Illinois for a speeding violation while transporting 400 kilograms of cocaine. Facing significant prison time, Garcia becomes an informant for the FBI Terrorism Task Force to save himself. But unbeknownst to him, the other terrorists, or the task force, Racheed and his partner decide to enter the U.S. at a different location, forcing the FBI Task Force to scramble. Will they be able to eliminate the threat to some of America’s largest cities and most cherished attractions? 

Albert vande Steeg received an honorable mention in the Fiction Book, Non-Published category for his novel The Black Band. The half inch wide black velvet band that is placed around the Peace Officer’s badge symbolizes the grief and pain that grips the heart behind the badge. The Black Band begins at the graveside service of Officer Augustino as he is laid to rest. The sound of the bagpipe drifts over the departing crowd as they drift back to their duties fighting crime, corruption or mourn with friends and family.

 The story brings the reader into the hearts and lives of these cops at work and at the cop bar where they tell stories to unwind and try to make sense out of the lives they lead. The stories bring insight into the anxiety while working their beats and at home where wives and children wait to hear news of which officer was slain. The Black Band portrays cops at work, catching burglars in the act of committing crimes, discovering evidence of a robbery/homicide during a routine parole check and attempting to clean up prostitution and drug dealing.

Other PSA winners included Joseph Haggerty, Jr., who was awarded first place in the Poetry, Published category for "To Live and Die in DC"; second place in the Short Story, Non-Published category for "A Father’s Honor"; second place in the Non-Fiction Creative Non-Technical, Non-Published category for Justice Undone; and third place in the Poetry, Non-Published category for "Working the Street 24-7-365."

Jackie Taylor Zortman won first place and an honorable mention in the Non-Fiction Creative Non-Technical, Non-Published category for The Beginning and the End and The Ride to Hell's Fire River, respectively.

Ron Corbin received first place in the Non-Fiction Creative Technical, Non-Published category for It's Just a Matter of Time; first place in the Poetry, Non-Published category for "Tell My Wife I Love Her"; and third place in the Non-Fiction Creative Non-Technical, Non-Published for Go FISH.


D.R. Ransdell, author of Island Casualty and Mariachi Murder, received an honorable mention for her short story "The Distractor" in the 2015 Arizona Mystery Writers Contest. The story is about some tricky dealings at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. The reviewers commented that the characters were strong and believable and the setting was quite evocative of their experiences at the gem show. They advised her to send the story to a publication as soon as possible -- which she did! In case you're looking for your own cool setting, her travel blog this week covers Montmartre.


JoAnn Smith Ainsworth was a top-ten semifinalist in the published book category of the East Texas Writer's Guild's 2015 First Chapter Book Awards for her novel Expect Trouble. The first chapter of the novel was featured this week as the Monday Sampler on the Venture Galleries blog this week. "If you’re looking for an award-winning paranormal romantic thriller, this is the book you want to read," the bloggers write. You can read the commentary and the exciting first chapter here.

About Expect Trouble: The U.S. government recruits psychics to find Nazi spies on the East Coast during WWII. Opening herself to ridicule by revealing she’s clairvoyant is the last thing U.S. WAVE Livvy Delacourt wants, but when Uncle Sam needs her skill to track Nazi spies, she jumps in with both feet. Join this emotional journey through paranormal realms of fast-paced suspense and supernatural battles as U.S. Navy psychics pit themselves against their Nazi counterparts.



The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin published a story about the Ontario Police Museum that ended the article with a promotion for Albert vande Steeg's The Black Band, which is available for purchase at the museum. Albert serves on the board of the museum and is a longtime advocate for police officers. The newspaper describes the museum as "a real under-the-radar community treasure that chronicles the history of the police department over more than a century."



Virgil Alexander will be signing copies of his newly published novel The Baleful Owl at the Eastern Arizona Historical Museum on Saturday, August 8, from 11 am to 2 pm. The museum is housed in a historic building in Pima, Arizona, a small town in Graham County near Safford, Arivaipa Valley, and the San Carlos Apache Reservation, all of which feature prominently in his stories. Virgil is also the author of Saints & Sinners, which was published by OTP in 2014. 

Nicolas Checker author of the Druids and Scratch, will be participating as a guest panelist at the annual Pi-Con Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, being held July 31 to August 2 at the Sheraton Hotel, Bradley Airport in the Windsor-Hartford area in Connecticut. Nicolas says, "my inspiration for fantasy adventure writing came from the great J.R.R. Tolkien, the magnificent Michael Moorcock, and adventure gaming with gaming master Steve Loyd. So being on an authors' panel for this subject is a weekend I anticipate with pride and accomplishment!" The Cover designer for Druids, Katherine Loyd, has also been invited as a guest panelist.



Ronald Wendling attended a book signing and read from his memoir, Unsuitable Treasure, at RiverRead Books in downtown Binghamton, New York, on July 28.

In the book, Ronald recounts how his choices were influenced by his father's addiction. Ronald attended a Jesuit high school in Buffalo, New York, at the same time his father was recovering from alcoholism. But Ronald’s mother, unable to forgive her husband for his past mistreatment of her, fostered in her son a need to make up to her for his father’s sins and so delays the separation from her necessary to his growing up.

He entered the Jesuit order at seventeen, his father died of cancer shortly afterward, and nine lonely years later he left the Jesuits having discovered under their tutelage that he was not one of them. His marriage, his children, his career teaching literature, and the writing of this memoir all taught him mercy, especially to his body, and helped him bridge the gap between his appreciation of the Jesuits and the necessity he felt to leave them behind.


Nancy LiPetri was the guest on fellow OTP author Marilyn Meredith’s blog Marilyn’s Musings on July 30 and 31, where she talks about reader responses to her novel, The Wooded Path

She writes, "My fascination with psychology and the power of the subconscious lead my characters to struggle with confusion and temptations. I am happy to hear that my characters often reassure women that they are not alone in their secret dilemmas and midlife experiences, and that they see some of themselves or their friends in the story." You can read the entire blog post here

Nancy sends a big thank-you shout-out to Marilyn (aka F.M. Meredith) and continues to work on her sequel to The Wooded Path.


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

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Billie Johnson, Publisher


Ann K. Howley said...

Wiw! Congratulations to all the OTP authors who made such a great showing at PSWA!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

It was exciting at the PSWA conference awards ceremony!

Thonie Hevron said...

This post was filled with great info. I love reading about our fellow OTP authors. They inspire me!

Beryl Reichenberg said...

I see lots of winners in this week's roundup. Congratulations to you all and good job! Beryl

Lesley Diehl said...

This seems to have been a busy week for the OTP writers. Congratulations on all the awards, reviews and blog visits. This round-up is jsutanotehr example of the caliber of writers with OTP, and I'm delighted to be one of you!

Nancy LiPetri said...

Wow! Congratulations to all the award winners! And I see the cover we liked was picked and looking good. Thanks for my mention, too.

Doug Seaver said...

Great showing at PSWA. Congratulations to all.

Janet Greger said...

I'm sure all the winners want to thank Billie and Jeanna for all their support. Janet

Frederick Savage said...

I really enjoy the info found here! Question: is there a possibility for a 'different' genre classification for the writing contests? I would like to submit my manuscript 'Children of a Silent God' but it doesn't match the criteria. Thanks, Fred Savage