Friday, August 21, 2015

Weekly Roundup: August 21, 2015

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! We encourage you to check out our bookstore for a complete list of our excellent books. We publish new books every month, and you'll find many mysteries, memoirs, romance, Westerns, and even some paranormal tales to choose from. You're sure to find a book that sparks your interest and thrills your imagination!

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. 


"Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home." 

~Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life


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!



Robert Lopresti’s story “The Accessory,” which appeared in the June 2014 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, has been included in the Other Distinguished Stories list in Best American Mystery Stories 2015, edited by James Patterson and Otto Penzler. 

"Readers who haven't yet sampled the series . . . should be urged to check it out; they will discover that a well-told mystery story can pack all the wallop of a full-length novel." ~Booklist.

Robert has published nearly 50 short stories and two novels and has won two Derringer Awards and the Black Orchid Novella Award and has been nominated for the Anthony Award.


Carolyn Niethammer's The Piano Player was chosen by Story Circle Book Reviews as a Remarkable Book for August. Reviewer Tiffany Benton closed her review by saying, "I'm drawn to stories about women adventurers. Maybe a part of me wishes I had lived in their time and been able to do some of the things they did. In reading Frisco Rosie's tale, I wonder if I would have been as adventuresome and courageous as she was. Part of me likes to think so, but I'm not sure. She had to be really tough. Sometimes that cost her a great deal.
But I believe in the end her courage kept her going. The Piano Player is exciting, adventuresome, and filled with strong colorful characters. When it was over I was sorry not be following Mary Rose on another adventure."

You can read the whole review here.

The Piano Player was also chosen as a finalist for Best Novel by the Western Fictioneers



D.R. Ransdell's Island Casualty, the second book in her mystery series featuring mariachi violinist Andy Veracruz, was a Featured Book of the Moment selection at Venture Galleries. Reviewer Elise Holt praises the novel, saying "The characters in Island Casualty are well drawn, the setting is portrayed vividly, and the plot has enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. All these elements make an entertaining read." Reviewer A.Z. Roger concurs: "Island Casualty is a worthy successor to Mariachi Murder . . . . Andy has so many endearing qualities that you want to follow him and find out what is going to happen to him next." You can read more about the book and the complete interviews here.

In Island Casualty, mariachi player Andy Veracruz is heading to the Greek island of Amiros for what he hopes will be a sex holiday with Rachel, another mariachi player, when he meets a fellow passenger who accidentally leaves behind a package. By the time Andy realizes the man’s mistake, his acquaintance has melted off into the crowd. The next morning, the man is found floating in the harbor, and a photo in the island’s daily newspaper -- a picture of Andy enjoying a cup of coffee with the victim -- advertises their so-called close connection.

Worried about the newspaper’s claim that he and the deceased are spies, Andy turns himself in to the local police chief, who tells him not to worry. Later that evening, he’s run off the road by whizzing bullets, and he decides to begin his own investigation of the drowned man. The more he learns, the more he’s drawn into the history of the island and the complicated connections among its inhabitants.


Robert Lopresti discussed the first two pages of is latest novel Greenfellas this week as the featured author on B.K. Stevens's blog The First Two Pages. Robert talks about a specific writing challenge he faced in the book's opening scene, which is a restaurant meeting crowded with major and minor characters. How do you get readers engaged in the story while showing them which characters should be the focus of attention? Find out here.

Greenfellas is the comic tale of Sal Caetano, a happy man who's the brains behind a New Jersey Mafia family and expects to be made a boss soon. But everything changes on the night his first grandchild is born and he hears a news report claiming that by the time she grows up, climate change will have wrecked the world. Sal decides to use all of his Mafia skills to save the environment, but change turns out to be harder than he thought it would be. Soon he is fighting for his life with rivals inside and outside of his own family -- not to mention the FBI, which holds a grudge against him.


Virgil Alexander's recently released novel, The Baleful Owl, was reviewed in the Arizona Silver Belt on August 19. Reviewer Linda Pearce writes, "If you have ever watched an Apache burden basket being constructed, it is a work of art. Former Miami resident Virgil Alexander's mysteries are constructed in somewhat the same way.

"In his third novel, 'The Baleful Owl,' he begins with the crime (which is the point of the basket) and then the clues are the reeds extending wider and wider. The other very diverse knowledge Alexander has is woven in and around the backbone of those reeds into what becomes an excellent tale and a thing of beauty." You can read the complete review at Virgil's website.

The Baleful Owl follows Apache Tribal Officer Al Victor and Arizona Antiquities Task Force brings deputies Bren Allred and Manny Sanchez into the case as they investigate murder, attempted murder, and a sophisticated high-dollar artifact theft ring centered around the unique Baleful Owl effigy. 



Beryl Reichenberg, children's book author and artist, is in Paso Robles today, August 21, teaching children how to make a colorful flag book to celebrate the end of summer. The class takes place at the Studios on the Park, 1130 Pine Street, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The children will be using an array of colorful papers as well as punches and pens to decorate their books. Beryl will also have a collection of her books for sale, and they are also available at the studios for purchase at any time.

Beryl is the author of six children’s books published by OTP: Ants on a Log, Butterfly Girls, Camouflage, Clowning Around, When Caterpillars Dream, and The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake. 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.


J.L. Greger will participate in a panel on thrillers on August 22 at the Mystery Round Up conference at the Marriott Pyramid North in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The conference is a joint meeting of Croak & Dagger, the Albuquerque chapter of Sisters in Crime, and the Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America.

The conference is open to members, readers, and anyone interested in the crime genre. Activities include a Friday night dinner, panels of mystery authors all day Saturday, dinner Saturday night, and an Old Town Albuquerque ghost tour.

J.L. will also be signing her medical thrillers at the Turquoise Trail Art Festival on August 29 beginning at 10 a.m. The event will take place at the Paako Events Center in Sandia Park, New Mexico. 

Winner of the Public Safety Writers Association 2015 Writing Competition, Malignancy is J.L's most recent novel. Her other thrillers include Coming Flu, Ignore the Pain, and Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight.


Michael Black, is teaching two classes this weekend at the Writers' Police Academy at the Fox Valley Technical College Public Safety Training Center in Appleton, Wisconsin. The conference runs from August 20 to 23 and features real police, fire, and EMS training at an actual police academy with top instructors and experts that allow authors to gain real-life exposure to law enforcement procedures and forensics. 

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 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.


Lesley Diehl, author of the OTP mysteries Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Chilled and Killed and several other books, will join several other authors and sign copies of her books on August 22 at the Hobart Book Village of the Catskills' Author Signing Day in Hobart, New York, from 1 to 4 p.m. Lesley will be signing in the village's mystery bookstore.

The Hobart Book Village is the only book village east of the Mississippi. Established in 2005, this one-of-a-kind book town in the northern Catskill Mountains is a collection of five bookstores, a paper specialty/bookbinding shop, art galleries, and a home embellishments and antiques shop. An additional 20+ established booksellers can be found within a 50-mile radius of the Hobart Book Village.

The idea of a book village was first conceived in a small rural town along the border of England and Wales in 1961. Entrepreneur Richard Booth purchased several buildings in the town of Hay-on-Wye and turned them into bookstores. Today this British book town boasts 30 independent booksellers.  


Virgil Alexander will be signing copies of his novels at the Pickle Barrel Trading Post in Globe, Arizona, on August 22, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Virgil has had several recent appearances, but the Pickle Barrel Trading Post stands out. "This is such a neat venue," Virgil says. "Really high-quality Indian arts and crafts, things western, jewelry, and gemstones, and it's in the historic Old Dominion Copper Company freight depot and warehouse. Very apt for my book!"

The August 19 edition of the Arizona Silver Belt provided some advance publicity for the event, highlighting the third of Virgil's series of three crime novels set in eastern Arizona: "The Superior, Miami, and Globe area is one of the important settings in [The Baleful Owl], which ranges from Metro Phoenix to Ft. McDowell, Safford, Tucson, and Chaco Canyon, New Mexico."

You can read the complete announcement at Virgil's website.


Amy M. Bennett, author of the Black Horse Campground mystery series, will be signing copies of all three books -- End of the Road, No Lifeguard on Duty, and No Vacancy -- in the series on Saturday, August 22 at Barnes and Noble at the Fountains at Farah, 8889 Gateway Blvd. West, Suite 120, in El Paso, Texas, from 2 to 4 p.m. 

This signing will Amy's second of the summer at the El Paso location. At her last signing at the bookstore on July 11, 2015, she joined several comic book heroes who were special guests at a store event.

Batman stopped by to see if his services were required in Bonney County, but the Black Horse Campground gang has things well under control!


Nicholas Checker will present a theatrical reading from his novel Druids at noon on August 23 at the Book Trader Etc., 1064 Poquonnock Road, in Groton, Connecticut. Nicholas reports that the book is "picking up momentum. Druids started as a screenplay and impressed Hollywood personnel, who urged me to convert it to a novel to establish its name and attract attention from film groups." He'll be reading from Chapter 1 on Sunday, and discounted copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Druids is a medieval fantasy adventure of an isolated lad born with an eerie sense that earns him the suspicion and contempt of those who fail to see it as a gift. He joins two renowned knights -- both caught up in a terse gender rivalry -- while on a perilous quest to liberate a ruined land from a druid-lord’s deranged sorcery. 

Rippling through a saga as tense as a nerve-wracking game of chess is the mysterious Cryptic Sense possessed by those destined to become druids. A blend of ancient beliefs like animism and the early science of alchemy -- and draped in the Native American spiritualism of Manitou -- the Cryptic Sense of this tale explores the tight bond between druids and nature.


No Bells, a novel in the Rocky Bluff PD mystery series by Marilyn Meredith (aka F. M. Meredith) will be free for Kindle from August 24 through August 28.

Marilyn has this to say about the giveaway: "It’s a birthday present to myself. No Bells features Officer Gordon Butler -- definitely a hard luck guy, though he’s been a favorite of many of my readers. So much so, that when he needed a new place to live, someone offered the extra room at her house. I do hope many of you will try it out."

In No Bells, Rocky Bluff reels with the news that a woman’s body was found buried in a shallow grave, and the culprit of a series of home break-ins leaves a peculiar and disgusting calling card. Detective Milligan develops some concern that his partner has rushed to judgment on the case they are working, and the wrong person is accused of the crime. Officer Gordon Butler has finally found the love he’s been seeking for a long time, but there’s one big problem -- she’s the major suspect in the murder case.

You can enjoy No Bells even if you don't have a Kindle reader by downloading the Kindle app for your computer, smartphone, or tablet here. Then download No Bells here during the promotional period.



Additional details about these event will appear in future Roundups.

Ronald Wendling will be reading and signing copies of his memoir, Unsuitable Treasure: An Ex-Jesuit Makes Peace with the Past, on Monday, September 14, at 3:30 p.m., the library of Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, in the Wachterhauser Seminar Room on the second floor of Post Learning Commons.

This map of the campus will help you with parking and guide you to the correct location.


Tekla Dennison Miller has been selected to participate in the Local Authors Extravaganza sponsored by the Durango Public Library and Maria’s Bookshop on Saturday, September 26. She will be presenting Mother Rabbit, her most recent work. The event is part of the Sixth Annual Durango Public Library Literary Festival taking place from September 24 to 26 in Durango, Colorado,.



On August 15, Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) was in Bakersfield, California, to give a presentation to the Writers of Kern, the Bakersfield branch of the California Writers Club. Speaking to a nearly full house at the Clarion Hotel, Marilyn explained to the audience the essentials of writing a mystery and how to create a mystery series and keep it fresh.

You can read about Marilyn's long list of published mysteries at her website. She also blogs frequently at Marilyn's Musings.


While awaiting OTP's September release of his novel Reservations, Richard Paolinelli celebrated the completion of his nonfiction book From The Fields: A History of Prep Football in Turlock, California, which was released last week. The project took Richard two years to research and write.

He has already received a favorable review and thank-you from one of the book's first readers, and he's looking forward to announcements about the book's release in the local media, which will surely add to the excitement that this project has generated in its specialized market.



Jackie Taylor Zortman hosted hosted Public Safety Writers Association 2015 Writing Competition winner Pete Klismet at her Jackie's Mountain Memos blog on August 15. Pete won awards in two categories at this year's contest, including first place in the Nonfiction Book, Non-Published category for FBI Diary: Homegrown Terror, and an honorable mention in the Nonfiction Book, Published category for FBI Animal House. (FBI Diary has since been published.)

Pete and Jackie have friends in common and have become good friends themselves as fellow writers. Their subject matter has overlapped at times, and both have achieved PSWA acclaim. In the blog post, Pete talks about his books and the law enforcement and other work that has kept him busy since retiring from the FBI. Pete is Jackie's first hosted author at her blog. You can read the complete post here.


Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) interviewed fellow OTP author John M. Wills on her Marilyn's Musings blog on August 15. John's novel Healer won third place in the Fiction Book, Published category of the Public Safety Writers Association 2015 Writing Competition, and John also won first place in the Flash Fiction, Non-Published category and second place and an honorable mention in the Poetry, Non-Published categories.

In the blog post, he talks about the writing process for Healer as well as the reasons for trying his hand at poetry, a genre for which he's had no formal training. John explains why he thinks writers should also be readers and reveals the identity of the boy on the cover of his award-winning novel in the full blog post.



Want to be among some lucky readers who will receive free copies of OTP's latest release or a recent offering that's getting some great reviews? Surf over to Goodreads and check out our giveaways for LaCour's Destiny, our latest release by Robert Downs, and last year's Jingo Street, by Sharon Ervin.

Twenty copies of LaCour's Destiny are up for grabs between August 20 and September 5. In this hard-boiled mystery, readers meet Sam LaCour, who hasn’t given up on men, even if they’ve given up on her. She also 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.

Ten copies of Jingo Street will also be given away between August 18 and September 10. This Dark Oak Mystery is a gripping novel about Max Marco, 36, who murdered his first man when he was eight years old. New attorney Anne Krease, 24, grew up sheltered like a hothouse orchid. When naive Anne meets the semiretired “enforcer,” the chemistry between them is magnetic.

It's easy to participate in these giveaways by following the links above. You'll need to create a Goodreads account or log in with an account you already have (you're already on Goodreads as an OTP author or avid reader, right?). Then just enter your address to complete your entry. Winners will be notified at the end of the contest. 

Good luck!


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

We look forward to your emails! If you have a news item you'd like to submit to the Weekly Roundup, please send the details to Photos welcome!

Big or small, old or new, your news helps us keep our blog updated and showcases the great books and talented authors we're so proud to have published. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome too. Please do drop us a line!

  Oak Tree Press Facebook! Like us on Facebook! And click on the icons below to share the Weekly Roundup on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social media sites!

Billie Johnson, Publisher


Amy Bennett said...

Lots of great news and events reported! This is one of the best roundups ever!

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Wonderful blog this week. I guess I can say that, even though I'm actually in it. I do have to sincerely state that I think our stable of authors (hope that's an appropriate description) stays extremely busy with a variety of things. Write on!!!

Beryl Reichenberg said...

WOW! We're all busy. Congratulations to those who won awards or received glowing reviews. Beryl