Friday, September 4, 2015

Weekly Roundup: September 4, 2015

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! Fall is in the air, even here in California's hot Central Valley. With the children back to school and new daily routines taking over, perhaps you have a little extra time to dive into a good book!

Please browse our bookstore for a complete list of our wonderful mysteries, memoirs, romances, Westerns, and even some paranormal tales. Many of our authors are award winners, and you're sure to find a compelling story to immerse yourself in! New books are published monthly.

Thank you for stopping by 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. 


"If the crowns of all the kingdoms of Europe were laid down at my feet in exchange for my books and my love of reading, I would spurn them all."

~François Fénelon


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 releases are A Convenient Death at San Diego by John O'Hagan and Rogue Wave by Helen Macie Osterman.

A Convenient Death at San Diego is John O'Hagan's first book with OTP. Move over Brother Cadfael. Father Ibarra is on the scene. It’s a new era, and in fact a New World. In the tumultuous and violent territory that is Alta California, young Father Juan Ibarra, a Franciscan/physician finds himself called upon to solve not just one, but two murders. This is not what he anticipated the life of a medical missionary would be. Was it an act of revenge by an outraged Spanish army officer? Perhaps a “falling out among thieves” or maybe simple retributive justice meted out by the people themselves?

While his medical skills are being put to tests he never imagined and he tries to sort out some very confused facts Father Juan finds himself swept up in the political, cultural, and sexual revolution which is having a convulsive effect on the territory. In all of this, he is drawn to the shamanistic practices and cures of the very people he had hoped to educate. Perhaps they have something to teach him about medicine. 

John is an amateur historian who specializes in the Spanish and Mexican eras of California. Having grown up on the central California Coast, he very early on developed a life-long love affair with the California missions. He is a member of the California Mission Studies Association (CMSA) and has been a frequent speaker at the organization's annual meeting and elsewhere on topics related to the missions.

John recently published Lands Never Trodden: The Franciscans and the California Missions, an exhaustive review of each of the 21 California missions. He is currently working on a book detailing the life of Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen, the second “Father President” of the California missions and the man most often given credit for the mission system as it exists today. He is also writing a series of murder mysteries, which will be fictional accounts based on documented historical events at the missions. John lives in Boise, Idaho and travels frequently to California to keep current on the happenings at his beloved missions. 

Rogue Wave is the next book in Helen Osterman's Emma Winberry mystery series. Emma Winberry and Nate Sandler, her significant other, plan a vacation on a sailboat on the Caribbean. Emma has misgivings about the trip and discusses it with her guardian angel who tells her there will be trials ahead.

At the beginning of the sail, the ocean is calm and they relax. While sailing from the island of Curaçao to Bonaire, they see a small uninhabited island with a lone palm tree. Emma notices a flashing light, as if someone is sending an SOS. They have no idea that Estrella Montoya, wife of a Venezuelan drug lord, is being held captive there. When returning to Curaçao, they encounter a violent storm. Nate is washed overboard by a rogue wave. Is he lost forever? How does Emma get involved with the drug lord and his family? Follow the characters through the world of storms at sea, piracy, drug lords, and heroism to the pulse-pounding conclusion.

Helen received a bachelor's degree in nursing and later earned a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University. Throughout her forty-five-year nursing career, she wrote articles for nursing and medical journals. She is a member of the American Association of University Women, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Authors Guild. She lives in Homer Glen, a suburb of Chicago.

Helen has also published the novels Locked Within and Danger by Design with OTP. You can read more about Helen's life and writing at



The Piano Player by Carolyn Neithammer was selected as a finalist in the Best Western Novel of 2015 and the First Western Novel categories in the Western Fictioneers 5th Annual Peacemaker Awards. According to it website, Western Fictioneers is the only professional writers organization composed entirely of authors who have written Western fiction, the classic American genre.

When well-bred Mary Rose follows her dream to rowdy 1882 Tombstone, she quickly discovers that her sheltered life has not prepared her for the challenges of being a piano player in The Bird Cage Theater. Help comes from her landlady, Nellie Cashman, proprietor of The Russ House. Though vastly different, the two women both must thrive in world outside of society’s norms.

Upon leaving Tombstone their lives diverge, but come together again with old friends to hike the treacherous Chilkoot Pass and seek their elusive fortunes in the 1898 Klondike gold rush. Together they deal with a lover who turns out to be a murderer, imprisonment in a Mexican jail, near death falling into the icy Yukon River and disappointment when their quest for gold is dashed. They postpone romance with the men who love them, until for one, it becomes too late.  



Ann Howley will be attending the The AJC Decatur Book Festival being held this weekend, September 4-6 in Atlanta, Georgia. She'll take the stage in the Emerging Authors Tent at 11:10 a.m. on Saturday, September 5, to talk about her coming-of-age memoir Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad. A book signing will follow.

Since its launch in 2006, the AJC Decatur Book Festival has become the largest independent book festivals in the country and one of the five largest overall.

Confessions of A Do-Gooder Gone Bad is a wry, humorous coming of age memoir about a well-intentioned "problem child" raised by conservative, evangelical Christian parents in Southern California during the Sixties and Seventies.

As she naively stumbles through her youth and young adulthood, one misadventure after another, she also struggles to reconcile her ultra-Christian upbringing with women's liberation, prejudice, protest and poverty during this turbulent era, eventually gaining a different perspective of faith in a world more complicated, terrifying, funny and wonderful than she expected.


Mary Montague Sikes will be teaching two acrylics workshops through the Art League of Hilton Head Island on September 8-10. The workshop Painting Like Georgia O’Keeffe will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, and Painting with Texture and Design will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on those dates. All classes will be held at the league's academy at 106 Cordillo Parkway,
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, 29928.

Mary is the author of eight novels and seven books of paintings and photography of notable landmarks. Her latest novel is Evening of the Dragonfly.

Farrah Ferand, the heroine of Evening of the Dragonfly, will come alive in an unusual way when a series of her original paintings are presented 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.
Among the works is a painting called Moonshine relating to tales her mother and her grandfather told Farrah about relatives making and selling moonshine in the back woods of western Virginia. Several paintings in the show evolved from Farrah's dreams that are featured in the novel. Farrah's Dream is a painting about one of those dreams. When Farrah sees a dragonfly or groups of them, she feels optimism. 

Although the pretty flying insects seem connected to the death of her grandfather and then the death of her mother, she believes sighting the dragonflies is like seeing the spirits of her departed loved ones. These symbols are depicted in the painting Optimism.

The opening reception will be Saturday, September 19 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the auditorium and arts center in West Point. You can read more about Mary, her travels, and her art and writing at her blog, Notes Along the Way.


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.

Ronald has this to say about the reading: "Though two years older than I, Pope Francis entered the Jesuits in Argentina two years after I did in the United States. The passages I will be reading take up Francis's emphasis on developing our capacity for mercy in our judgments as we try to lead more integrated lives.

"Attached is a photo of me in front of the River Read Bookstore at the corner of Court Street and the River Walk in downtown Binghamton, New York, where I gave a similar reading back in late July." 

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


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?


Beryl Reichenberg, children's book author and artist, has several appearances scheduled in cities along California’s Central Coast. She will be in Paso Robles on Friday, September 11, for a children's paper craft and bookmaking class at the Studios on the Park.

On September 18 and 19, she'll be at Cuesta College's Central Coast Writer's Conference in San Luis Obispo. The conference culminates with its Book and Author Fair at the Sea Crest Hotel in Pismo Beach on Sunday, September 20.

Finally, she'll be reading and signing books as part of the five-year anniversary celebration of EcoBambino in Monterey on Wednesday, September 23.Beryl is the author of six children’s books published by OTP. Additional details about these appearances will be forthcoming.

Beryl is also giving away a copy of her children's book Lost in a Dark Forest to a lucky newsletter reader during the month of September. You can find out how to sign up here.



Additional details about these event will appear in future Roundups.

OTP will have a presence at several local events for authors and artists in late September and October.

We'll be at the Oakhurst Library Authors’ Faire on Saturday, September 27 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Oakhurst Branch of the Madera County Library at 49044 Civic Circle Drive, Oakhurst, California. The event is local writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, and writing groups and provides an opportunity to meet authors, buy signed copies of books, and learn about writing and the publishing industry.

On October 17, OTP will have a booth at the Taste of the Arts festival in Visalia, California. The event takes place from noon to 6 p.m. and will feature more than 70 artists and local entertainers. OTP's appearance will mark the third year of participating in this event.



Mary Montague Sikes was a guest on Marilyn's Musings, the blog of Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith). Mary talks about her upcoming art exhibition and the inspiration behind creating a series of paintings for Farrah Ferand, the heroine of her latest novel, Evening of the Dragonfly.

She says, "As I painted, I realized she was working through her troubled emotions in the art she made. For me, creating this work brings a great deal of depth and meaning to Farrah's exhibition that is a major part of the plot of this book."

You can read the complete blog post here.



OTP is excited to announce the signing of D.R. Ransdell and Jeff Zwagerman for the publication of their upcoming novels. D.R. is the author of the OTP titles Mariachi Murder (2013) and Island Casualty (2014), and Jeff's Always a Kicker was published by OTP this past April.


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!



Two of the latest Oak Tree Press publications are now available on Kindle: LaCour's Destiny by Robert Downs and Is Everybody Happy Now: Growing Up After World War II by Shirley Skufca Hickman.

In the hard-boiled mystery LaCour's Destiny, Robert Downs introduces readers to Sam LaCour, who hasn’t given up on men, even if they’ve given up on her. 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 could win a free copy of LaCour's Destiny in our Goodreads giveaway. Find out how at the end of today's Roundup.

Shirley Skufca Hickman is an award-winning writer who grew up in a Colorado coal mining town during World War II. She wrote about her early years in her first book, Don’t Be Give Up, and the story of her family continues now in Is Everybody Happy Now, which covers the post-war years.

Remember that you don't need to own a Kindle device to read Kindle e-books. You can read on your computer, smartphone, or tablet by downloading the Kindle app from Amazon.

Do you read on a device, or do you prefer paper books? No need to choose, perhaps, because in today's publishing world, we can have hundreds of digital books at our fingertips (no more waiting in line the DMV with nothing to read!) as well as handsome libraries and book rooms stacked with our favorite titles.


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

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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!

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Billie Johnson, Publisher


Beryl Reichenberg said...

Wow Linda and fellow OTP authors, Fantastic job !

Nancy LiPetri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy LiPetri said...

Love that new title and cover, Rogue Wave. Sharing!

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

So many new books to choose from. I'm ready for a new read and think I've chosen one from this week's WRU. It sounds like something I will enjoy.

Thonie Hevron said...

Wow, love the blog again. Every Friday, so look forward to reading what's going on with OTP authors. This edition was exceptional!

Sharon Ervin said...

Enjoy the Roundup, particularly when it mentions JINGO STREET. Jackie is right. The selection is amazing. Just need to pick one and go with it. Thanks for tantalizing us.

John Addiego said...

I agree that this was a great blog, filled with a rich variety of books, and I like the Goodreads connection!

Lynda Bulla said...

How exciting to be a part of this family of authors. Sounds like a great group, I can't wait to get to know you all a bit better. Happy to be aboard. Thanks for the blog. It really helps this newbie.

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