Friday, August 14, 2015

Weekly Roundup: August 14, 2015

It's Weekly Roundup time again at Oak Tree Press. What are you reading—or writing? If you're in need of a new book to read or some inspiration for your writing projects, please check out our bookstore for a complete list of our excellent books. You'll find mysteries, memoirs, romance, Westerns, and even some paranormal tales. OTP has something for all tastes.

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


"A book, too, can be a star, 'explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,' a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe." 

~Madeleine L'Engle


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.

    Have you written a mystery, romance, Western, or hard-edged cop/true crime story? Then why not enter it in one of our writing contests? 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! Learn more about the submission guidelines at our website. Hope to see your manuscript soon!



OTP's latest release is the hard-boiled mystery LaCour's Destiny by Robert Downs. The book is Downs's third novel and it introduces readers to the character Sam LaCour. Sam LaCour hasn’t given up on men, even if they’ve given up on her, and she doesn’t give up on her colleagues either, even when a dead body turns up and she faints in front of the cameras, her family, and a television audience. You can read an excerpt here.

About the author: Robert aspired to be a writer before he realized how difficult the writing process was. Fortunately, he'd already fallen in love with the craft, otherwise his protagonists might never have seen print. Originally from West Virginia, he has lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, and New Mexico, and now resides in California. When he’s not writing, Robert can be found reviewing, blogging, or smiling. To find out more about Robert and his books, visit his website.



Mary Montague Sikes's "Passenger to Paradise" exhibition will be the focus of an open house at the Ward Center for Contemporary Art in Petersburg, Virginia, today from 6 to 9 p.m.

Two large seascapes in this show were created from photographs taken by the artist as a hurricane approached a beach in the Bahamas. Other works developed from pictures captured in Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, Barbados, and Hawaii. Dunn's River Falls features the water cascading over falls rocks during visits to Jamaica. An earlier painting created of the falls became part of a collection of art purchased by the Marriott Hotel in downtown Richmond when it first opened. Waterfalls in Kauai
Dunn's River Falls
are the subject of a smaller painting in the show.

Mary has several upcoming painting workshops scheduled for September, and the heroine of her most recent novel, Evening of the Dragonfly, will be featured in a series of original paintings at an invitational art exhibition at Arts Alive, opening on September 15 at the W.T. Robinson/Sture G. Olsson Civic Auditorium and Fine Arts Center in West Point, Virginia. Details on these events to come in future Roundups!

You can read more about Mary and her novels, art, travels, and other work at her blog, Notes Along the Way.


Children's book author and artist Beryl Reichenberg will be showing children how to make a butterfly book at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Gardens on Saturday August 15 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Featured will be her two butterfly picture books, When Caterpillars Dream and Butterfly Girls

Beryl says, "We'll talk about butterflies and how they are important to plants, their life cycle and migration patterns. Read one or both of my stories. Then the children will have an opportunity to decorate and even write in their newly made butterfly books."

Fun fact: California's Central Coast is the winter home of the migrating monarch butterfly.

During the month of August, Beryl is giving away a copy of another of her children’s books, I’m a City Bear, to a lucky newsletter reader. You can find out how to subscribe here.


Michael Black, will be teaching two classes at the Writers' Police Academy at the Fox Valley Technical College Public Safety Training Center in Appleton, Wisconsin, from August 20 to 23.

According to its website, the Writers’ Police Academy "offers the most hands-on, interactive and educational experience writers can find to enhance their understanding of all aspects of law enforcement and forensics." The event features real police, fire, and EMS training at an actual police academy with top instructors and experts.

Michael is the author of the OTP novel The Incredible Adventures of Doc Atlas and short story collection Pope's Last Case and Other Stories. His Ron Shade series, featuring the Chicago-based kickboxing private eye, has won several awards, as has his police procedural series featuring Frank Leal and Olivia Hart. He has also written two novels with television star Richard Belzer of Law & Order SVU. Black has written novels in the popular Don Pendleton Executioner series and recently published the thriller Chimes at Midnight

You can read more about Mike's inclusion in the academy's program and his accomplished law enforcement and writing careers here.


Award-winning author Virgil Alexander will be signing his books at several upcoming appearances. On Saturday, August 15, beginning at 10 a.m., he'll be at the Latter Day Cottage in Mesa, Arizona. Then on Saturday, August 22, he'll be at the Pickle Barrel Trading Post in Globe, Arizona, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Virgil is the author of The Wham Curse and the OTP titles Saints and Sinners and The Baleful Owl. Saints and Sinners was awarded second place in the Fiction Book, Published category of the 2014 Public Safety Writers Association Writing Competition.

In his just-published novel, The Baleful Owl, Apache Tribal Officer Al Victor and Arizona Antiquities Task Force deputies Bren Allred and Manny Sanchez investigate murder, attempted murder, and a sophisticated high-dollar artifact theft ring centered around the unique Baleful Owl effigy. 


Olga Horn will be signing copies of her novel OLHA at Crystal Crate and Cargo Limited in Beulah, Michigan, on September 6, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. OLHA is one of OTP's Mystic Oaks titles, a fantasy set in the tenth century, when the Tatars, Mongols, and Turkish hordes roamed the steppes of Ukraine. 

Olha is the youngest spirited daughter of Rurik, ruler of Novgorod. Rurik dotes on his daughter,even letting her fence with his guards and learn martial arts. When Rurik informs Olha that she is to marry the Prince of Halych, she refuses. Given no choice in the matter, she reluctantly complies with her father's wishes. No one has ever bested her cunning, swiftness, or wit until she meets Uri, the most arrogant, domineering, handsome, red-blooded man she ever saw. Olha is aware of Uri's reluctance to marry, but must find a way to prevail without loosing her independence. Will Olha have the skills she need to out-maneuver and outwit her future husband before they reach Halych?


David Freedland will be a featured presenter at the California Association of Tactical Officers annual conference in Anaheim, California, on September 22. He will be debriefing a barricade/hostage/homicide event that occurred in Irvine, California, in 2009, and is set for trial this coming November.

David is the author of Lincoln 9, which follows the career of Lieutenant Scott Hunter, the consummate cop who rises to the level of responsibility to lead a team of detectives on a mission aimed at connecting the clues and solving crimes. The story conveys the pressures associated with working within an organization that hires only 4% of its applicants, and whose efforts result in perennial accolades for achieving the lowest numbers of violent crime.



Michael Black, mentioned above, was the keynote speaker at Writing in the Rockies, a creative writing workshop of Western State Colorado University held from July 24 to July 26 in Gunnison, Colorado. He also participated in two panels and a reading.

On August 12, he gave a presentation on crime scene investigation (CSI) at the Schaumburg Township District Library in Schaumburg, Illinois. The co-presenter was his buddy Dave Case of the Chicago Police Department.

Michael is the author of 25 books and more than 100 short stories and articles. He has a BA in English from Northern Illinois University and a MFA in fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago. He was a police officer in the south suburbs of Chicago for more than 30 years.


Ken Oxman, author of Reluctant Assassin, recently spent a day at the FBI's New York City field office. Along with other writers of thrillers and crime, organized by the International Thriller Writers, Ken was given a thorough and enlightened look into the workings of the FBI.

Special agents from various departments, including counterterrorism, transnational organized crime, cyber crimes, violent crimes, major theft, fugitive/arms trading, counterintelligence and criminal investigations, spoke of their duties and actions in great detail. Screen presentations showed actual footage of many of the cases worked on successfully by FBI agents. The day was so content packed that an excellent lunch was enjoyed without taking a break.

The FBI Office of Public Affairs explained that writers are welcomed as a means of showing the public face of the FBI, even if most times that face is fictionalized, as the organization attempts to account for its actions and very existence in a positive way. The agents jokingly mentioned they wished they had all the facilities and accomplishments of their fiction counterparts.

After an intensive Q & A session at the end of the day, the writers visited the FBI museum, a hallowed place not open to the public, where properties, photos, and case studies of past FBI actions were on display.

It was both an immensely enjoyable and instructional day, leaving this writer with many ideas for inclusion in future stories and a much clearer and positive understanding of the role of the FBI.


New York City had its own Transit Police Department from 1953 to 1995, and its detectives and uniformed and plainclothes officers handled quality-of-life crimes, such as graffiti and disorderly conduct, as well as theft and violent crime in the city's subway system. The sheer volume of daily travelers in the system and the endless opportunities for wrongdoing made policing the subway serious business. Indeed, the city's first female law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty, Irma Lozada, worked in the Transit Police Department.

But the work had a lighter side as well. For OTP's The Electric Sewer: War Stories of the NYC Transit Police, Trebor Nehoc took his years on the job with the transit police and transcribed them into some very funny, very touching stories.

Trebor worked all over the New York City subway. And not just as a cop but also as a sergeant and a lieutenant. He was assigned to everything from late-night solo train patrol to academy instruction and, finally, anti-crime supervisor. As they say in New York, he has been around the block -- twice. With great wit, sharp details, and some brisk writing, these war stories describe what life is like down there in the electric sewer.

Published in 2004, The Electric Sewer is our blast from the past this week. Why not pick up a cop tale that's a little unusual? Many cities have subways, but there's only one NYC subway!

Available in paperback (216 pages; $8.00) and for Kindle.
Published December 1, 2004.

ISBN-10: 1892343371
ISBN-13: 978-1892343376


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

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Billie Johnson, Publisher


Doug Seaver said...

Great weekly roundup
And OTP covers get better and better!

Lesley Diehl said...

If you're looking for summer reading, why would you go anywhere else but to the OTP writers? You can tell from the roundup how talented they are for mysteries, romance, children's books and mainstream fiction.

Thonie Hevron said...

So fun to read about all the new OTP authors and their activities.

Beryl Reichenberg said...

Great job, Nancy! Thanks for all your hard work. Beryl

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

The blog looks terrific, Nancy. Love to read about all our busy authors.

Nancy LiPetri said...

Enjoyed "meeting" new names in this one. Speaking of names, now that there are two Nancy's I think we need to call us Nancy L and Nancy J. :) I take no credit for this week's blog, except for enjoying it!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Nice! We are a busy group! Thank you for putting this together, Nancy!

Nancy Jacoby said...

Thanks for reading everyone. Glad you are enjoying the Roundups! It's a pleasure to work with you all.

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

Great blog post. What a busy bunch of authors. This was great fun to read!