Friday, October 30, 2015

Weekly Roundup: October 30, 2015

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! It's almost Halloween, so why not get into a festive spirit by reading some suspenseful stories? We have a great selection of paranormal tales and mysteries to raise your hair and get your spine tingling.

Today's Roundup features a few of these titles, but please check out our bookstore for a complete list. Our award-winning authors are sure to have something that will grab your interest on this fall holiday -- all the way through to year's end.

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. 


"I know that books seem like the ultimate thing that's made by one person, but that's not true. Every reading of a book is a collaboration between the reader and the writer, who are making the story up together."

~John Green, author


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. 


Ronald Wendling’s memoir, Unsuitable Treasure: An Ex-Jesuit Makes Peace with the Past, received three notices that mean a great deal to him personally. The first was in the newsletter published by the Historical Society of St. Boniface and the Maryhill Community. Ronald is a great-great grandson of Joseph Wendling from Alsace, who was among the founding settlers of the village of Maryhill (then New Germany) in Ontario, Canada.

The second notice appeared in Think, the alumni magazine of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where he received his doctorate in 1970, and the third was in the newsletter of the university's Department of English, the academic discipline in which he earned that degree.

In the memoir, Ronald recounts how his choices were influenced by his father's addiction. Ronald attended a Jesuit high school in Buffalo, New York, at the same time his father was recovering from alcoholism. But Ronald’s mother, unable to forgive her husband for his past mistreatment of her, fostered in her son a need to make up to her for his father’s sins and so delays the separation from her necessary to his growing up.

He entered the Jesuit order at seventeen, his father died of cancer shortly afterward, and nine lonely years later he left the Jesuits having discovered under their tutelage that he was not one of them. His marriage, his children, his career teaching literature, and the writing of this memoir all taught him mercy, especially to his body, and helped him bridge the gap between his appreciation of the Jesuits and the necessity he felt to leave them behind.


Cindy Ladage, author of My Name is Huber (with Jane Aumann), Fairy Tales Are Fragile, and When Matilda Made Time Stand Still, was featured on Dawn's Reading Nook on October 24. The topic of the post was the importance of finishing a manuscript and why a first draft must be finished before the next steps in the publication process can start.

"I think we underestimate the importance, the success of finishing a writing project.  To finish a novel or children’s book is a huge accomplishment.  Every writer’s hope is that their creation will find print, but that is the next step, the first is to take the story, compose it and complete it," Cindy says. She also talks about her writing process in her most recent work, the children's picture book When Matilda Made Time Stand Still.

You can read the complete commentary here.

In the children's book, Matilda wants to continue to play when her mother tries to get her to take a nap. Matilda inadvertently breaks her mother's watch and time stands still. The little girl is happy to continue with her tea party and playing with her dolls until she herself becomes sleepy and worries that she doesn't know how to get time to start again.

Cindy blogs about her travels at Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl. Her Prairie Land Buzz story, "Outdoors in Southern Illinois" was a finalist in Destination Travel, Domestic Newspaper category of the North American Travel Journalist Association's 2014 NATJA Awards Competition.


Lorna Collins's main character from Ghost Writer, Nan Burton, and the book's ghost, Max Murdoch, were interviewed on Library of Erana on October 28. This one-of-a-kind interview gives a description of the story's plot from the main character's point of view, and learn about the character in her own words. The ghost makes an appearance, too, and his corrections and additions to Nan's answers during the interview provide a taste of the relationship that develops between these characters in the novel.

You can read the complete interview here.

In Ghost Writer, unemployed computer programmer Nan Burton inherits a California beach cottage from her great-aunt. She’s delighted, but she’s in for a huge surprise: The house is haunted by the ghost of famous romance writer Max Murdoch (pen name Maxine DuBois), who insists that Nan complete his last novel, threatening to keep her from sleeping until she agrees. The ensuing clash pits youth against the long-dead but still egotistical author with humorous and moving results.


Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) was featured at the Writers in Residence blog on October 30. The topic of the post was ghost and spirits and how she has incorporated them into her books.

Several of the books in her Tempe Crabtree mystery series feature Native American legend and mysticism, and Violent Departures, the most recent book in her Rocky Bluff PD mystery series, features a ghost.

"I’ve had many eerie experiences over the years, but no ghost sightings. I have lots of fun writing about what I think it might be like," she says. You can read the full interview here.

In Violent Departures, College student Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges. 


Helen Osterman was interviewed for an upcoming piece in the Homer Horizon, her neighborhood's newspaper. The journalist specifically asked her about her new book, Rogue Wave, and the Emma Winberry cozy mystery series.

Rogue Wave is the latest in the Emma Winberry 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.

You can read more about Helen's mysteries series and other writing projects at her website.


Mary Montague Sikes will be teaching the last of two "Painting with Texture and Design" workshops on 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.


Nicholas Checker has been invited to the 2nd Annual Authors' Day event at the Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich, Connecticut, on October 31 from 1 to 4 p.m. The event is a public celebration of talented Norwich and Connecticut writers and is sponsored by Friends of Slater Museum and Otis Library. Nicholas will be signing his novels Druids and Scratch.

Halloween is also the one-year anniversary of the publication of Druids!

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.

Beryl Reichenberg, OTP children's book author and artist, will be on presenting a paper craft and bookmaking class for children at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles, California, on October 30. The children will be learning how to make a spooky bat book.

She'll also be teaching a three-session children's class on paper craft and bookmaking at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. The first class will take place on Tuesdays, beginning on November 3, from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Beryl explains that "the first session will feature accordion books. I'll bring several examples from Burma, China, and the United States. We'll start with the basic accordion form and then try a couple of variations including a flag book and if time permits, a daisy chain book. The Museum is one of my sales venues and this is my way of thanking them as well as promoting my books."

Copies of two of Beryl's recent books, Lost in a Dark Forest and Meerkats Face Danger have been ordered by the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History in Morro Bay and Whiz Kids Toy Store in San Luis Obispo, California.

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 will be at the Upper Saint Clair Library in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, to give a presentation on book promotion on 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.


Richard Paolinelli will be at Campbell Con on November 7, in Campbell, California. The event is being held at the Campbell Community Center. The event is billed as a one-day pop culture convention that is fun for all ages and celebrates comic books, movies, fantasy and sci-fi, superheroes, collectibles, and more. Richard will be promoting his recent release Reservations and his other sci-fi work.

Reservations takes place in a land deeply seeded in beliefs and legends, where someone is eliminating the leaders of the Navajo Nation disguised as the trickster Coyote. Whoever it is has the Navajo President squarely in his sights, and everyone else “seeing things.”

As the body count rises, the FBI sends in their best man, Special Agent Jack Del Rio, to put an end to the killings -- a white man who is not trusted nor wanted. A decorated hero for thwarting a terrorist attack in London, Del Rio finds himself in a completely different world among the three Reservations -- Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni -- located in the Four Corners of the American Southwest.

When the past and the present collide, only one leader shall remain.


Ken Oxman will be will be giving a talk about his novel, The Reluctant Assassin, at the New Canaan Historical Society in New Cannaan, Connecticut, on November 11.

The story follows U.S. Navy Lieutenant Nathan Blake. He’s a government hit man, one of the best . . . and he wants out. It’s December 1941 and America is at war. Blake wants to fight the war as a sea-going officer, but he is much too good at killing up close, and his covert navy department will do what is necessary to keep him busy.

He’s deceived into eliminating both a lascivious Nazi general in North Africa who has gotten hold of information damaging to the Allies and a top German double agent in Singapore who wants to expose the Allies' Far East spy network.

While in Singapore, Blake searches for Abby Sinclair, the girl he fell in love with in London and who is now in the country on a clandestine mission with her boss. They are all caught up in the Singapore’s humiliating defeat by a merciless Japanese army. Their escape gives Blake a chance to finally go sailor over assassin – and lands them in the greatest danger of all.


Susan Sagarra signed copies of her mystery Cracks in the Cobblestone and gave out some Halloween treats on October 25, at The Book House in St. Louis, Missouri.

Set in a fictional town modeled after the historic main street of St. Charles, Missouri, Cracks in the Cobblestone follows two women who are taking a crack at adulthood in vastly different worlds. Their mutual obsession with the Titanic tragedy brings them together to solve a long-forgotten mystery in the quirky river town of Tirtmansic. 

Amelia Thornton is a feisty 25-year-old owner of a school for young ladies that is sinking in debt. A grieving detective comes to town to investigate when Amelia’s money -- and husband -- disappear. But the detective’s plans go awry. Later, an odd presence reveals itself to cub reporter Meghan Murphy as she walks on the town’s rickety, brick-laden street. Could the spirits inhabiting the cobblestone street and both women’s favorite haunt lead them to the long-buried secret of what happened. 


Additional details about these events will appear in future Roundups.

Thonie Hevron's Intent to Hold, the second book in the Nick and Meredith mystery series, has been selected for the Copperfield's/Redwood Writers Fiction Book Club (now known as the Sonoma Author Spotlight). 

Redwood Writers authors submitted their books to be selected for six coveted event slots beginning in January 2016 and running through June. The events are Q & A sessions as well as book signings. Writers commit to doing PR work in addition to publicity for Copperfield's, which will stock these books for purchase.


Lorna Collins is blogging about a recent trip she and her husband Larry took to Hawaii. She writes about the places she went and the attractions on the island of Maui in two posts.

"We spent the first five days in Maui with our good friend, Suzi O. She and Larry attended high school together, and I was a couple of years behind them. We have been in touch for many years, and she often makes our house her headquarters when she visits So. Cal. She has been after us to stay with her for several years. This time, it worked out perfectly."

You can read about why this visit was so memorable by following these links: part 1 and part 2.


Ronald Wendling received a 5-star Amazon review (September 13, 2015) for his memoir, Unsuitable Treasure: An Ex-Jesuit Makes Peace with the Past, from a former student. In response, Ron writes: 

"Teachers love to hear about the unknown impact they have had on a student’s life. . . . What I found so rewarding about the review was the connection it established between the inner lives of the literary figures I once covered in my literature courses and my own confusions and sufferings as I recorded them in the memoir I wrote after retiring from full time teaching.

"We all endure loss and hurt as we go through the world, and I was delighted to discover that my teaching and my writing together have helped a person I knew some thirty years ago accept that pain and the joys that go with it."


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...

It's always great to see what our authors are up to. Every time I read the Roundup, my "to-read" list gets longer. Great job, everyone!

Ann K. Howley said...

I want Beryl to teach me how to make a spooky bat book. Adorable! Happy Halloween everyone!

Ann K. Howley said...

I want Beryl to teach me how to make a spooky bat book. Adorable! Happy Halloween everyone!

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

Great round-up, as usual. What a great bunch of busy authors. Thank you, Nancy, for your hard work gathering this information and publishing it.

Thonie Hevron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thonie Hevron said...

I really like the lay-out of this post. Although it hasn't changed much, it seems more readable now. Great job, Nancy! Good job keeping up with busy OTP authors!

Frederick Savage said...

Excellent site: NOTE| - Black Indian - Red Heart (White Justice) is now available on amazon - THANKS Billie! Fred Savage

Nancy J. said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone! It's my pleasure to publish your news. I'm glad that the layout looks readable, Thonie. I appreciate your mentioning that!

John M. Wills said...

Wow, so much to choose from!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Lots of busy authors! That's great. Thank you, Nancy!

Beryl Reichenberg said...

I read Cindy's children's book "When Matilda Made Time Stand Still" and found it a delight. She has captured a children's sense of time and theeir frustration when hurried by adults especially if they have something "Important" to do. It's a story that kids can relate to and enjoy.

And Ann, thanks for liking the spooky bat book; the children and even some adults enjoyed making it.

Nancy LiPetri said...

Love that John Green quote. Great to see new authors and familiar favorites!

JL Greger said...

Interesting reading. And I feel like celebrating. I just finished editing the galleys for I SAW YOU IN BEIRUT- a thriller with bits from my consulting days in the Middle East.

JL Greger

Dave Cropp said...

I just started reading this ... glad I did. Lots of fascinating stuff. Nice work everyone!

Dave Cropp said...

I just started reading this ... glad I did. Lots of fascinating stuff. Nice work everyone!