Friday, October 16, 2015

Weekly Roundup: October 16, 2015

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! The excitement around books and literature continued this week with the announcement of the 2015 Man Booker Prize, which was awarded to Marlon James for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings.

James is the first Jamaican novelist to win the prize. A Brief History of Seven Killings is an ambitious fictional history of the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in 1976, and the writing style and approach to the story -- which is told in Jamaican patois and verse -- was the unanimous choice of the judges.

James's win is inspiring not just for the great accomplishment of his writing but also for his perseverance. An anecdote reported widely after the announcement of the award reflects James's early struggles as a writer. He almost gave up fiction after his debut novel, John Crow's Devil, was rejected by publishers 78 times before its publication in 2005. The lesson? Keep writing!

And keep reading as well. We have wonderful titles in our bookstore that make great reads and great gifts. And we have award winners of our own that you are sure to enjoy. Find your next favorite author on our shelves!

Thank you for stopping by our blog for the roundup 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. 


"Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened, and invigorated: by the other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished, and confirmed."

~Joseph Addison


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. 


F.M. Meredith's Murder in the Worst Degree, book 10 in the Rocky Bluff PD series, received a 5-star review on Nighttime Narratives. The reviewer notes that "a distinctive feature of the book is the interaction between the daily professional and personal lives of the officers in the Rocky Bluff P.D. . . . The book even touches on how small towns handle the pressure of rising crime with budget cuts and the shortage of resources."

The reviewer concludes by stating that "Rocky Bluff is a heartwarming place where you can get to know the characters while trying to figure out the mystery. . . . I am now motivated to read all of the books in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series by F.M. Meredith."

You can read the complete review here

In Murder in the Worst Degree, Officer Gordon Butler is called to the scene of a body washed up on the beach, a new police chief makes changes, a rapist attacks two women, Ryan and Barbara Strickland’s baby is born, but he faces an even bigger test. Detectives Milligan and Zachary follow a twisted path of clues to find a killer.


Helen Osterman's Rogue Wave was featured on Book Daily on October 13. You can read a sample chapter here

Rogue Wave is the latest in the Emma Winberry cozy mystery series. In the novel, 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.


An interview with John Adieggo, author of The Jaguar Tree, was featured at Dawn's Reading Nook on October 11. In the interview, John talks about his writing process and book recommendations, and he gives some advice for new writers.

You can read the full interview here.

In the novel, tropical storm winds topple a tree in Nicaragua, unearthing the bones of three men killed twenty years ago. Frank Alvarado, an American cop who’s come to Central America on a personal mission to retrieve a little boy, is urged by a priest to help in the murder investigation.

Traveling down the San Juan River in search of the boy, Alvarado gets entangled with drug-runners in a web of deceit leading to the boy’s whereabouts: the hidden compound of El Tigrillo (The Jaguar), a sadistic mercenary commander. Here, in the heart of the jungle, Alvarado finds the source of old crimes and new as he discovers the identity of the triple murderer.


Channing Whitaker, author of Until the Sun Rises, was interviewed on Dawn's Reading Nook on October 15. The interview covers Channing's current and future writing projects and his writing process. And he has some surprising things to say about why he had to change the ending of Until the Sun Rises.

You can read the complete interview here.

Eighty years ago, a wealthy Midwest family returned home from a magic show, after which neither they, nor the magician, Malvern Kamrar, were ever heard from again. When several bystanders died in their mansion, the house was sealed. After nearly a century of rumors and haunted stories, for a live TV event the mansion will be opened, allowing five contestants to spend one night and win their share of a million dollars. The contestants: a psychic, a high-tech ghost hunter, a Hollywood scream queen, a local woman, and a skeptic, fuel excitement as each tries to solve the mystery.

Upon entering, the journal of the family patriarch, Vinton Drake, is discovered, illuminating the mystery, rooted all the way back to Vinton’s service as a medic in WWI, when he first met the magician. Departing from the familiar haunted house tale, this story explores the very nature of belief in the supernatural, with consequences more frightening than any ghost story. Intensity sours when the contestants discover their lives, and thousands more, are in genuine peril. Is the mansion haunted? What fate befell Malvern and the Drake family? And will the contestants uncover the truth in time to save themselves?



John M. Wills will be signing his books Healer and The Year Without Christmas at the Culpeper County Public Library in Culpeper, Virginia, on October 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Healer won third place in the Fiction Book, Published category of the Public Safety Writers Association 2015 Writing Competition. 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 of that competition.


D.R. Ransdell is the featured speaker at the October 17 meeting of the Tucson chapter of Sisters in Crime. at the Viscount Suite Hotel near downtown Tucson. The topic of the presentation will be neurolinguistic programming for writers.

Getting stuck while writing your manuscript? Having a hard time even getting started? A little NLP might do just the trick. In this interactive presentation, we will discuss limiting beliefs that may negatively affect our writing, discuss ways to combat those beliefs, and construct beliefs that may be more useful. We’ll also discuss the importance of creating visualizations and changing our state. We’ll develop power moves and discuss “flow,” the ultimate writing tool.

D.R. is the author of Mariachi Murder and Island Casualty. Her next novel will also be published by Oak Tree Press.


Nicholas Checker will perform a theatrical reading from his novel, Scratch, at an Alley Cat Allies Feral Cat Month event at Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut, on October 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. The event aims to make people more aware of the kindness and compassion deserved by wandering feral and stray cats who desire only friendship and maybe some food and a little help from a world that is not always kind to them.

Nick explains that "Cats were domesticated ages ago and the company of humans is something even ferals still seek, yet barely understand. Yes, they may bolt when they see you, but in time they will become the most welcome company you could desire, even if all they do is hang out in your yard and watch you through grateful eyes, knowing you've made their lives better by being a friend." 

In Nick's performance, Scratch’s “Hound of the Hill” -- a most fascinating creature with much to say regarding humans -- will speak out.

Scratch is a chilling tale of loyalty, friendship, and courage – set in the mysterious world of feral cats. It also contains reflections of how cultures too often misread and mistrust one another, leading to ends that might have been avoided. White Saja, a renowned tomcat of the wild woodlands, returns to his old haunts to rescue his onetime clan from a gruesome fate. It leads him on a fearful quest into the brooding Dark Woods where he and a reluctant rival must seek the aid of a dread creature whose very name has long invoked terror in them all. Enter the pages of Scratch and discover unrelenting adventure!

On October 17, OTP will have a booth at the Taste the Arts festival in Visalia, California, an event organized by The Arts Consortium. The event takes place from noon to 6 p.m. and will feature more than 70 artists and local entertainers. We'll be in booth 105, near Garden and Main.

This annual event in downtown Visalia is a celebration of the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the community. According to the event website, "the Central Valley is known for the diverse crops grown in our area. This diversity also attracts a broad spectrum of cultures to our region, each with its own distinctive arts and traditions. Taste the Arts celebrates this multi-cultural background with an event just as unique!"

OTP's appearance will mark our third year of participating in this event!


Ann Howley will be at the Cooper-Siegel Community Library in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, October 21, at 6 p.m., to present a workshop on memoir writing.

On Thursday, October 22, she'll be presenting a workshop called "Research: No Skimping Allowed" at 10 a.m., at The Authors Zone Writing Conference at the Rivers Club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ann reports that she was particularly excited to be invited to speak at this conference because the keynote speaker is Lee Gutkind, founder of Creative Nonfiction magazine.

Ann is the author of Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad, 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.

Beryl Reichenberg, OTP children's book author and artist, will be at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum in Santa Maria, California, on Saturday, October 24, from 3 to 4 p.m. to present a paper craft and bookmaking class for children.

She'll be teaching the class again at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles, California, on October 30.

Beryl is also giving away a copy of her children's book Hopping to the Moon to a lucky newsletter reader during the month of October. You can find out how to sign up here.

Beryl has published six children's books with OTP: Ants on a Log, Butterfly Girls, Camouflage, Clowning Around, When Caterpillars Dream, and The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake


Mary Montague Sikes will be teaching "Painting with Texture and Design" workshops on October 29 and 30, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Bay School Community Arts Center, 279 Main Street, Mathews, Virginia.

In Mary's most recent book, Evening of the Dragonfly, threatening telephone calls and strange cars with dark-tinted windows plague artist/teacher Farrah Ferand. Recovering from the tragic loss of her mother, Farrah is trying to adapt to the life of a small-town art teacher when she encounters Dirk Lawrence, a mysterious stranger. Her attraction to him is immediate and electric until Farrah discovers Dirk is part of the Lawrence and Pendesky investment firm that led to her mother's downfall a few years earlier.

 Farrah's not-too-perfect dating relationship with Tom Douglas, the town favorite football coach, worsens. An unexpected encounter leads to dates with Dirk and his help with the construction of a dream art studio in her rented house. But trouble looms with Tom who believes he and Farrah are engaged, and the entire town appears to be drawn in. Haunting dreams and lost memories overwhelm Farrah as she creates paintings for a one-person art show. Will shadows of the past ruin all hope for Farrah and Dirk?



Additional details about these events will appear in future Roundups.

Ken Oxman will be will be giving a book talk on November 11 at the New Canaan Historical Society in New Cannaan, Connecticut, on November 11th.  Ken is the author of Reluctant Assassin. He recently signed copies of his book at the Fairfield University Bookshop/Follett.


Virgil Alexander reports that his paper on Arizona entrepreneur John B. "Jack" Newman has been selected for presentation at the Arizona History Convention, which will take place in Yuma, Arizona, on April 14-17, 2016. The paper and presentation will be a condensed version of a more detailed presentation he'll making at the Bullion Plaza Cultural Center and Museum in Miami, Arizona, on November 18 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Virgil has two additional promotional events scheduled as well: a book signing at the Red Mountain branch of the Mesa Public Library on October 31 from 1 to 3 p.m., and an interview on the Red River Radio podcast on November 17 at 4 p.m.

Virgil is the author of The Baleful Owl, the award-winning Saints and Sinners, and The Wham Curse.  


Richard Paolinelli was a guest blogger on Marilyn Meredith's blog Mailyn's Musings this week. Richard talks about writing and his journey to becoming a published author.

He writes, "The process of getting my first traditionally published book on the shelves was a long one, filled with many peaks and valleys – and an abundance of rejection letters from agents and publishers as well – and there were many times when I was sorely tempted to give up trying.

But – and this is my best advice to others wanting to write a book and get it published – I set aside the setbacks and pushed ahead despite all of the negatives and it was the best thing I could have ever done."

You can read the complete post here.

Richard is the author of the newly released mystery/thriller Reservations.



Shirley Skufca Hickman has provided an updated description and praise for her newly released memoir Is Everybody Happy Now?

During World War II, Shirley lived in Crested Butte, Colorado, which was populated by Eastern European immigrants who were Catholic and Democrat. When Shirley was eleven, her family moved to Gunnison, a ranching community composed of Protestants and Republicans.

Shirley had never heard the words culture shock but after moving to Gunnison, she was plunged into a world so different from the one she had grown up in, she wondered if she’d ever adapt.

"Touching, often humorous and always filled with hope, this book rings true for anyone who’s ever been the new kid in a strange town, trying to be brave while struggling to make friends." ~Ken Jon Booth, author of The Stories of My Lives

"Although politics, religion, and family life are different in their new community, the abiding morals of their home provide the glue to hold the family together." ~Brent Gill, newspaper columnist

"The subtle humor lingers long after the reader turns the last page." ~Raghavendra Rao, physician and author


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 Nancy at Photos and your personal commentary about events, expectations, and outcomes are encouraged!

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


Amy Bennett said...

You all make me look like a slacker! I have to get busy! Great job everyone!

Thonie Hevron said...

So many new authors. Wow, Billie you don't ever sit still, do you?

Ann K. Howley said...

By the way, I love the howling wolf on the front of Richard Paolinelli's book, Reservations. Great cover!

Billie Johnson said...

What an impressive group...very motivating. And Nancy...another superb job on the Round UP!!

John Addiego said...

Thank you Billie and Nancy for posting my interview! I hope some people dared to read it (Dawn's Book Blog had a disclaimer about adult content). I don't think my interview was too smutty, but if you want to find out...

JL Greger said...

Wonderful blog. I loved the story on the Booker Award at the start.
JL Greger, author of edible mysteries and thrillers, including the soon to be released I SAW YOU IN BEIRUT

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Another great job by Nancy with the WRU. We have so many authors now that it's hard to keep up with everything that's going on. Glad to have the Roundup to help us do that.

Beryl Reichenberg said...

Nancy is doing a fantastic job keeping us all informed. Although I've only met a few OTP authors, I feel a part of a dynamic community when I read the weekly roundup.

Doug Seaver said...

Terrific! A busy, busy group of authors

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thank you, Nancy, for the great job you are doing with the weekly roundup. It makes me tired to see how much everyone is doing. Am glad to see that John Wills is signing in Culpeper. That's the area where I spent lots of time as a child! Good luck to everyone!

D.P. Richard said...

Nice to see how well everyone is doing. Great job with the blog Nancy.

Eileen Obser said...

Great to read about all the OTP authors. The weekly Roundup is looking good!

Holli Castillo said...

As usual OTP authors are a busy group. With Christmas right around the corner I've just gotten some great ideas for presents for the readers in my family.

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

Loved this post, how could I not when it led off with the great review. We are one busy bunch of authors. Spent yesterday with Billie at the Taste of the Arts where she had a booth. It was way too hot, and at the end, a gust of wind took our tent off like a parachute. Always fun to spend time with Billie.

Helen Macie Osterman said...

There are so many good books featured that it's difficult to decide which to read first.
Thanks for commenting on my post with Book DAily.

Nancy LiPetri said...

Great to read about the Jamaican author and story! Nice blog as always, Nancy J.

Anne Schroeder said...

Every week a wonderful lineup of mysteries. Oak Tree is making a name for itself in the mystery genre. Wonderful news for those who write intriguing mysteries. You all are to be congratulated.

Dave Cropp said...

These posts are really Inspirationall ... nice work everyone.

Dave Cropp said...

These posts are really Inspirationall ... nice work everyone.

Dave Cropp said...

These posts are really Inspirationall ... nice work everyone.