Friday, October 23, 2015

Weekly Roundup: October 23, 2015

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! If you talk to a reader long enough, your conversation will probably come around to that friendly but spirited debate about which book format is better: e-books or print books. This debate isn't just one of hobby readers either. Publishers and authors alike take an avid interest in the trends and preferences of their customers and fans.

The rise of the e-book market shook up the publishing industry, with many in publishing and book sales fearing that a "digital apocalypse" was near at hand. But like any consumer trend, the sales of books in this format have changed over time. This year, e-book sales have reportedly dropped by 10%, which has given a breath of life to independent book sellers and spurred traditional publishers to expand their infrastructure for print book distribution. The intricate push and pull of blockbuster titles, consumer spending, the economy, and the pricing of books on Amazon are the devils in the details of the e-book versus print story. Print is not dead, but is its battle with e-books over? Perhaps we're still waiting to see.

Fortunately, when it comes to Oak Tree Press books, you don't have to choose a side. We have wonderful titles in our bookstore, and they're available in print and electronic formats. You can read in the format you prefer and gift a great book to readers among your friends and family in the formats they each like best as well. Our award-winning authors allow us to offer many options for ending the search for your next good read or book club selection!

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. 


"'A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,' said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one.'"

~George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons


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. 


Dac Crossley was the runner-up in the Kings River Life magazine Halloween mystery short story writing contest. His story, "Goody, Goody," will be featured in an upcoming edition of the online magazine. We'll post a link when it's available!

Dac is the author of three OTP books: Code of the Texas Ranger, Guns of the Texas Ranger, and Revenge of the Texas Ranger. You can read more about Dac and his work at his website.


Award-winning author Ilene Schneider's short story "Peanut Butter and Glitter" is featured on page 13 of the the October/November issue of Suspense Magazine. Ilene describes it as a black humor revenge fantasy that originally began as a personal project to cheer up a friend.

She reflects that her short stories are very different from her novels: "They do still have humor. Just much darker. I think I'm drawing on my childhood love of Hitchcock on TV."

You can read the story here (p. 13 of the PDF).

Ilene is the author of the OTP titles Chanukah Guilt and Unleavened Dead, which are part of the Rabbi Aviva Cohen mystery series.

Ilene's flash fiction story "Perfect" and short story "Miami Snow" were winners in the Flash Fiction, Published and Fiction Short Story, Published categories, respectively, at the Public Safety Writers Association 2014 Writing Competition.



Nancy LiPetri was interviewed for the Reade and Write blog. The interview went live on October 20—which marks the one-year anniversary of the publication of her novel, The Wooded Path. In celebration of the anniversary, Nancy reveals several facts readers may not already know about her first novel, her writing, and her current work-in-progress.

You can read the complete review here.

Ever wonder if you’re normal? Laine McClelland sure does. When the mysterious disappearance of a Bunco friend, Paula, shakes Laine's Lake Norman neighborhood, her seemingly perfect world is suddenly filled with dark thoughts, dangerous temptations, and surprising confessions. What is normal once you realize life’s short anyway? Was her marriage ever enough? She finds herself risking it all . . . and afraid of what really happened to Paula. 


C. Ed Traylor was featured in an October 17 interview on Rick Davis's weekly WSMI AM 1540 radio show "Around Macoupin County." On the show, Ed talks about the evolution of his debut novel, The Crossing, from a kernel of a plot idea to the finished manuscript. He also talks about his journey from first-time novels to award-winning writer.

Ed reports that the interview went very well, and he has received positive comments from many radio listeners. You can hear the full interview here.

The Crossing tells the story of Racheed Ul-Bashar, a Pakistani whose grandfather and sister are killed in an American drone strike in Pakistan. Driven by revenge, Racheed develops a minutely detailed plot, a synchronized strike on three American cities on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. He contacts Juan Rodrequs, a violent, ruthless drug cartel leader in Juarez, Mexico, who agrees -- for a price -- to help by moving terrorists and supplies across the border.

All goes well until Diego Garcia, a trusted ally and confidant of the cartel leader, is stopped in Illinois for a speeding violation while transporting 400 kilograms of cocaine. Facing significant prison time, Garcia becomes an informant for the FBI Terrorism Task Force to save himself. But unbeknownst to him, the other terrorists, or the task force, Racheed and his partner decide to enter the U.S. at a different location, forcing the FBI Task Force to scramble. Will they be able to eliminate the threat to some of America’s largest cities and most cherished attractions?

The Crossing won second place in the Public Safety Writers Association 2015 Writing Competition.



Channing Whitaker, will be be attending the Wizard World Comic Con event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on October 23-25, where he’ll be selling and signing copies of his novel Until the Sun Rises: One Night in Drake Mansion. The event is being held at the Cox Business Center

Wizard World Comic Con events celebrate graphic novels, comic books, movies, TV shows, gaming, technology, toys, and social networking and often feature celebrities from movies and TV, artists and writers, and events such as premiers, gaming tournaments, panels, and costume contests.

Channing's author page for the event is here.

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, showing them how to make a spooky bat book.

Beryl reports that "the kids at the botanical gardens two weeks ago enjoyed making this book because they could hang it up to decorate for Halloween. We used Halloween stamps for the first time; they were messy but fun. I plan on bringing the stamps for the other two events along with some wipes to clean little hands."

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


Ann Howley begins teaching the second of her four-week intensive memoir-writing courses at the Community College of Allegheny County main campus in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, October 28, and will return to the wonderful Upper Saint Clair Library in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, to give a presentation on book promotion Monday, November 2 at 7 p.m.

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. 


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.

The Bay School Community Arts Center was founded in 1997 by Wendy Wells, who was was passionate about her vision to have a community arts center in Mathews, a small rural town on the Middle Peninsula in eastern Virginia. The facility has
three classrooms, one of which is a pottery studio. Classes are also scheduled offsite at local artist studios to give students access to special equipment such as weaving looms and furnaces for glass blowing and welding.

More than 30 talented local artists conduct over 100 classes in fine art and crafts.

In addition to painting, Mary has published both fiction and nonfiction books with OTP. Her latest novel is Evening of the Dragonfly.


Virgil Alexander will be signing copies of his novels The Baleful Owl and Saints and Sinners at the Red Mountain branch of the Mesa Public Library in Mesa, Arizona, on October 31 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The library is located at 635 N. Power Road.

The Baleful Owl was recently published by OTP, and Saints and Sinners was a second-place winner in the Public Safety Writers Association 2014 Writing Competition. Virgil is also the author of The Wham Curse.


JL Greger signed copies of her medical mystery thrillers, including her most recent novel Malignancy, at the New Mexico Library Association annual conference, which was held from October 21 to October 23 at the Albuquerque Marriot Pyramid North in Albuquerque.

On October 23, she spoke at the conference, giving a presentation titled "Science in Your Fiction." The conference scheduled described the presentation as follows:

"Science, particularly biology, has been included in fiction for generations. Consider Faust, Frankenstein, The Fly, Coma, and Jurassic Park. Originally science was presented as a sinister force in fiction, but increasingly the image of scientists has become more positive. Now the difference between reality and fiction changes with each new scientific breakthrough.

"Look at modern fiction in a new way from the viewpoint of a scientist. Then you’ll be able to answer these questions: Could a Jurassic Park exist? Can scientists make invisibility cloaks? Could mutant viruses (developed naturally or in the lab) decimate human populations? Consider this new way to evaluate novels authenticity of science. Then the novels you purchase for your library will educate as sell as entertain readers."


Ann Howley was honored to present a workshop called "Research: No Skimping Allowed" on October 22, at The Authors Zone Writing Conference at the Rivers Club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Ann reports that the conference "was fantastic, and what an honor it was to be one of the presenters. In the evening, the keynote speaker was Lee Gutkind, founder of Creative Nonfiction magazine and it was a thrill to meet him."

Ann is pictured here with Mr. Gutkind.


Nicholas Checker had an "exceptional day" at his October 17 Bank Square Books event that combined Alley Cat Allies' National Feral Cat Day and his novel, Scratch. Nicholas reports that a captivated audience "embraced the notion of extending greater compassion toward stray and feral animals in need of human friendship -- as well as the message expressed in my novel that 'animals are not disposable items.'"

The presentation featured a short animation clip of Scratch created by the talented Bill Burke! Nicholas thanks store managers Elissa and John for their exceptional efforts in helping make this event so successful. Nicholas also had the pleasure of seeing many friends in the audience: former gymnast Katy Leigh (Getman) and writing students Robert Duerr, Trudy, and Shari L. Rosenthal. Larry Hirsch, a solid supporter of neglected animals and Alley Cat Allies was also present.

Nicholas thanks Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies for accepting the event as a part of the National Feral Cat Day campaign. He's proud to predict that more cats will benefit from this day!


The Oak Tree Books booth at the Visalia Taste the Arts festival was a success. Publisher Billie Johnson says "I always enjoy events, especially when shared with Marilyn Meredith!

"It was a fun day. Booths lined both sides of the street for three blocks in downtown Visalia. Our neighbor to the north set up a gallery of paintings and photographs, as did one across the street. Another across the way booth exhibited beautiful wooden items -- bowls and cutting boards and trays. Still another displayed hand made jewelry -- necklaces and earrings.

"In the festival tent (where one pays so that individual exhibitors don't have to handle payments and sales tax) there were many large pieces of metal sculpture. Also spotted on my shopping strolls were more jewelry, crocheted shopping bags, more framed art -- so many unique items. I treated myself to a couple of necklaces!"

Plan now to attend next year. OTP is planning to have a booth again, and we'd love to see you!



Additional details about these events will appear in future Roundups.

David Freedland has been invited to participate in the annual Men of Mystery conference November 14, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel in Irvine, California. David will be promoting his novel Lincoln 9 and will make a one-minute presentation on his mystery book to conference attendees.

The photo above was taken at the Lincoln 9 book launch. Al Murray, mayor of Tustin, California (Hawaiian shirt), and Jeff Wortheimer, general counsel for the Orange County Superior Court appear with David.


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


JL Greger said...

Another great RoundUp. I guess it proves ORP authors are busy.

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

These Roundups just keep getting better and better. Loved reading Ilene's article and also Nancy's interview. So much to do, so little time. Great job!

Amy Bennett said...

What a great bunch of writers! I'm so proud and happy to be counted among you all! Great roundup!

Eileen Obser said...

Good news once again about our OTP authors. A pleasure to read.

John M. Wills said...

Seems a new title is released each week. OTP has an extraordinary group of authors.

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

Great job all you wonderful OTP authors! So much fun to see all your faces and learn what you're up to.

Nancy LiPetri said...

Thanks for featuring my interview, Nancy J. Another action-packed RoundUp, and Ilene's article is as entertaining as expected from that wonderfully witty writer!

David Freedland said...

Great to see so many OTP authors with so many activities and accomplishments in support of their books. Also, thanks so much making note of my upcoming conference attendance - looking forward to meeting some interesting authors. The Round Up and the blog are outstanding sources of information, and are much appreciated.

Beryl Reichenberg said...

I enjoyed the post about print vs. ebooks. It's nice to know print books are holding their own. For me, the experience of taking a book off a shelf in the library or bookstore and thumbing through it is far more satisfying than searching through Amazon for an ebook title. Again, thanks Nancy for all your time and effort in making this Roundup so informative.

Billie Johnson said...

Avery impressive WRU, Nancy!

Holli Castillo said...

It's good to see print books picking up in sales. An indie bookstore in New Orleans just closed that was really upsetting to the locals, writers and non-writers alike. It also seems that the N.O. indie bookstores are catering more to big names for book signings. My daughter went last month to a book signing by Lea Michelle and a few months ago Rick Springfield had a book signing. Local celebrities also get a shot, but it seems local non-celeb writers are kind of locked out. Maybe if print book sales pick up, that will open up a bit more again.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thank you, Nancy. Always learn a lot from your Weekly Roundup!

Carolyn Niethammer said...

Incredible how active the OTP authors are. Really getting out there and mixing it up with the buying public. Hope everyone had some nice sales to reward your hard work.

Ann K. Howley said...

OTP authors.always motivate and inspire me. Great post!

Carolyn Niethammer said...

I just love the cover for Ghost Writer. It really nails the idea. As more of a word person than a visual person, I have trouble coming up with book cover ideas, so when I see one that is so perfect, I really apreciate it.