Friday, August 7, 2015

Weekly Roundup: August 7, 2015

It's Weekly Roundup time again at Oak Tree Press. Summer is half over now, but plenty of warm -- and hopefully leisurely -- days remain to get into a good book or pursue your book-reading goals for the season.

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. Truly 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. 


"The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall; nations perish; civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the hearts of the men centuries dead." 

~Clarence Shepard Day, American author


A reminder from Jeana: All OTP books are on Manic Readers!

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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.

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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.



Night Owl Reviews chose Violent Departures by Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) as a Top Pick in July. Reviewer Pauline Michael gave the mystery 4.5 out of 5 stars, stating, "There is so much going on in this story and the author just weaves in layer upon layer of intricate details that kept me up all night reading. I'm not even sure where to start, I loved the book and how all of the character's lives interacted. I felt as if I had a deep connection to each and every character in this story, including the villain." You can read the complete review here.

In Violent Departures, members of the Rocky Bluff Police Department search for missing college student Veronica Randall, who disappears from her car in her own driveway. Meanwhile, Officer Butler faces the challenges of training a new hire, and away from work, Detective Milligan moves into a house that may be haunted, and his teenage daughter is becoming someone he barely recognizes.


Night Owl Reviews also reviewed Cracks in the Cobblestone by Susan Sagarra in July. “Amelia Thornton and Meghan Murphy are two fascinating heroines both intelligent, driven and determined and watching them interact with the quirky characters in Tirtmansic is a treat," writes reviewer Pauline Michael. "If you are looking for a quaint historical mystery full of lively characters in an appealing setting with a paranormal twist this is a good choice for you.” You can read the complete review here.

Cracks in the Cobblestone was also selected by the International Thriller Writers as one of the nine books in its August bookshelf giveaway on Stacy Alesi's site. All books are signed by their authors.


Thonie Hevron's work in progress With Malice Aforethought was featured as a Saturday's Sampler on the Venture Galleries blog on August 1. Thonie won third place in the East Texas Writers Guild's First Chapter Book Awards for Works in Progress for the first chapter of this novel. Here's an excerpt:


187.    (a) Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being…with malice aforethought.

Tuesday, May 18, late afternoon

A bead of sweat tracked from Raymond Cavanaugh’s scalp. The mid-afternoon sun scorched through his nicely broken-in Stetson. Perspiration rolled down his face as he savored the view. Green-gold oat grass carpeted the rolling hills, waving in the afternoon breeze. Twenty miles away at the coast, the cool ocean fog gathered to temper the land now glowing with sunlit warmth. A red-tailed hawk screeched in the distance, it’s long call interrupted by the steady plodding of rock-hard hooves against the dirt.

Cavanaugh’s heart swelled as he swayed along on his reliable old sorrel, Rocket. He pushed the horse to a rock ledge off the dirt road to sit and gaze at the hills. He loved being above the hectic pace of the world below; the stillness calmed him to the core. The noises surrounding him were the sweet melody of nature. He was happy to share it with the person he loved most, his seventeen-year-old grandson, Jake.
Behind him, a horse sneezed.

“Noisy up here, ain’t it?” Jake said. He wouldn’t expect an answer.

You can read the rest of the chapter here.


Helen Osterman's suspense novel Locked Within, one of several books in the Emma Winberry Mystery Series, was featured recently on the Venture Galleries Author Showcase. Venture Galleries reviewer Diana Duda writes, "Helen Osterman has once again, created a story which keeps the reader on the edge of their seat."

Reviewer Ruby Dynamite concurs: "Having never read any of the Emma Winberry books, I found myself immediately charmed by the easy intimacy and undeniable chemistry of Emma and her adoring companion, Nate Sandler. . . . This book feels like a curious mix of Agatha Christie and pulpy occult novels, what with its older protagonists and supernatural elements. This is definitely an interesting and fun read and fans of the series won’t be disappointed." You can read more about the book and the complete reviews here.


Jackie Taylor Zortman was interviewed by the UK's Female First magazine in a feature titled "Ten Things You Don't Know about Jackie Taylor Zortman." Jackie talks about key events and experiences in her life and the animal companions that have brightened her days. The full interview is here.

Jackie's award-winning novel Footprints in the Frost was also featured recently in the Venture Galleries Author Showcase. Reviewer Evelyn Cullet writes, "In Footprints in the Frost, the author interweaves a romance, a crime, police detection and court procedure into a story that’s skillfully written. The Colorado mountain setting is breathtaking. While the crime is a large part of the story, the reader is immediately drawn into the two main character’s thoughts and actions." More information about Jackie and the book as well as the complete review are here.  



Children’s book author and artist Beryl Reichenberg will be holding a series of kid’s paper craft and bookmaking classes in cities along California’s Central Coast. On Saturday, August 15 at 1 PM she'll be in San Luis Obispo at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Gardens. Then on Friday, August 21 at 3:30 PM, she'll be in Paso Robles at the Studios on the Park.

The series will conclude in Santa Maria on Saturday, August 29 at 3 PM at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum. 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.


Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) will be speaking to the Bakersfield branch of the California Writers Club on Saturday, August 15, at 10 AM. She'll be discussing how to create and sustain a mystery series. The meeting is at the Clarion Hotel, 3540 Rosedale Highway, Bakersfield, California, 93308.

Marilyn is the author of more than 30 published novels, including the Rocky Bluff PD crime series, the latest of which is Violent Departures.


Virgil Alexander will be signing copies of his newly released novel The Baleful Owl on August 15 beginning at 10 AM at Latter Day Cottage in Mesa, Arizona. In The Baleful Owl, the murder of an archeology student and attempted murder of a second pull Apache Tribal Officer Al Victor into what seems to him a senseless killing. The Arizona Antiquities Task Force brings Deputies Bren Allred and Manny Sanchez into the case. They find themselves investigating a sophisticated high-dollar artifact theft ring centered around the unique Baleful Owl effigy. 



J.L. Greger will participate in a panel discussion on thrillers at the Mystery Round Up conference on August 22 at the Marriott Pyramid North hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The conference is sponsored by Southwest Writers and Croak and Dagger, the Albuquerque chapter of Sisters in Crime.

J.L's medical thriller Malignancy was the first-place winner in the 2015 Public Safety Writers Association Writing Competition.


Ann Howley is pleased to announce that the Community College of Allegheny County has asked her to teach a pair of four-week intensive memoir-writing courses in the fall as part of their community education program. The first course will begin on September 21 and the second on October 28.

Ann is the author of the coming-of-age memoir Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad.



Thonie Hevron attended the Petaluma Literary Speakeasy at Aqus Café in Petaluma, California, on July 29. Featured readers were local booksellers, who chose passages from their favorite works. When one of the guests bowed out due to illness, the emcee asked Thonie whether she had anything that she could read. Why, yes!

Reading from By Force or Fear, Thonie shared a scene in which a sheriff's deputy had to kill a man intent on stabbing another deputy -- weighty stuff for Sonoma County residents, who are still reeling from the death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez.

Her hope is that the character perspective gave listeners a new way to think about officer-involved shootings. Thonie was also prepared with books, sell sheets, and bookmarks to let other writers and readers at the meeting know about her work.


On July 28, Radine Trees Nehring attended, by invitation, a Fayetteville, Arkansas, book club that had read her A Fair to Die For during the month of July. Radine writes of the experience, "I soon learned all the women (eleven of them attended, though more had read the book) were very well educated. Some were writers, at least of doctoral dissertations. The group included former and current university professors, and a retired University of Arkansas art professor who is an acknowledged studio artist (her paintings sell for four figures and up). The main feature common to them all? They were warm, friendly, and welcoming. I soon had eleven new friends."

Of the discussion with her readers, Radine reports, "Questions were numerous, sometimes challenging: 'How could Carrie remain calm when she was threatened with death?' 'Explain her thoughts then.' 'Why would she accept a woman saying she was a cousin without proof of the relationship?'  I had the answers, fortunately, and they seemed to satisfy. In fact, talking about the maybe fake cousin, one woman in the group told the questioner, 'Well, she had Henry to protect her -- he's a retired policeman.'  Others asked about my life as a writer. More than one said she was pleased by Carrie's use of the 91st Psalm, which they, too, loved. Several told me the characters seemed real -- had come alive to them. Could anything thrill an author more?"


Jackie Taylor Zortman will be the guest author on Marilyn Meredith’s blog on August 9 and 10. Jackie will be sharing the backstory of her novel Footprints in the Frost.

Revealing that the manuscript was first written 17 years ago, she'll explain how it was resurrected and quickly became both a first-place award winner in the Public Safety Writers Association 2014 Writing Competition and a published book.

Of the blog posts, Jackie says, “The message I want to convey is never give up on your work. You may be surprised when an item you have tossed aside evolves into something totally unexpected.” Stop by Marilyn's Musings for all the details and to find out where to purchase Footprints in the Frost.


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

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Billie Johnson, Publisher


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

Of course I loved this round-up, two mentions of me--and so many of the other wonderful writers of OTP/

Amy Bennett said...

Great round up! Proud to be a member of this elite group of writers!

Nancy LiPetri said...

So impressed at everything OTP authors do beyond writing, all the speaking, teaching and award-winning!

Thonie Hevron said...

Lots of good stuff, as always!

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Another great blog. Like Marilyn, how can I not like it when I'm in it twice. But I do think the blog has looked especially great lately and it's wonderful that everyone is so busy.

Beryl Reichenberg said...

Yes, Marilyn. It's wonderful when we see our name in print. And I notice you are probably one of the busiest OTP authors with lots of events to share. I love reading all about your exploits and the other OTP authors. Beryl