Friday, October 9, 2015

Weekly Roundup: October 9, 2015

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! It's been an exciting week for books and literature with the announcement of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature. The award went to Svetlana Alexievich, a nonfiction writer native to Belarus, "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time." Her writing, which combines reporting with oral history, has a quality likened to "a documentary film on paper."

Whether you're reading fiction or nonfiction, mysteries or memoirs, you'll find wonderful titles in our bookstore to add to your collection. We have some award winners of our own, and we invite you to take some time to discover them and share them with your fellow readers.

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 book is a dream that you hold in your hands."

~Neil Gaiman


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. 


J.S. Quelch was interviewed on Fiona Mcvie's Author Interviews blog on October 5. In the interview, J.S. talks about his interest in writing and music and the origins of his debut novel, Karl and the Kooltones. He also reveals some personal details about his life, his work, and his decision to become a writer. He's got another book in the works and provides a few hints about it in the interview.

Of his novel, he says that he hopes that it "provides some escape and stirs some musical memories," and he thinks that "many of the situations and emotions described in the book are experienced by all creative people. The uncertainty that your finished work was worth the effort and that people will like it; the fear that you’ll run out of ideas; the angst and difficulty of juggling often non lucrative creative ventures with the need to make a living."

You can read the complete interview here. You can also enter to win a free copy of Karl and the Kooltones in our Goodreads giveaway of the title. Scroll down to the Goodreads Giveaway section of this week's Roundup to read a description of the novel and find out how you can win.


John M. Wills will be competing in a flash fiction slam and the Fifth Annual Parade of Prose at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library's Salem Church branch in Spotsylvania, Virginia, on Saturday, October 10th. 

The event is sponsored by the Riverside Writers chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. The event also features workshops and networking opportunities for writers.

On October 11, he'll be signing his books Healer and The Year Without Christmas at the St. Matthew United Methodist Church's Annual Craft Fair in Annandale, Virginia, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. He'll also be promoting his books 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.

Lynda Bulla will be one of the featured authors at the Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca, California, on Saturday, October 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This public event is free and will be held at The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley at 1422 Grove Ave., Manteca, CA (also known as Bass Pro Center, Highway 120 at Union Road).

The event will feature 30+ authors on eight stages, booksellers, seminars, writers workshops, arts, crafts, costume parade, cooking demos, and slam poetry performances.

Lynda says, "If you come, look for me, visit my table, introduce yourself. I hope to find lots of OTP authors and fans." Her first book with OTP, a children's book and a picture book titled Blanket of Miracles, is forthcoming. She has published seven other children's books as well.


Beryl Reichenberg, OTP children's book author, will be at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Gardens in San Luis Obispo, California, on Saturday, October 10, at 2 p.m. to show children how to make a spooky bat book for Halloween. At 1 p.m., a wildlife expert will talk about bats and bring a live bat for the kids to see, and Beryl's class will follow the presentation.

Beryl says of the event, "We're going to make a spooky bat books; in fact, the kids can make a whole family of bat books that can be hung as decorations for Halloween." The Botanical Gardens are just north on Highway 1 on Dairy Creek Road across from Cuesta College near the golf course.

The gardens have just recently started carrying Beryl's children's books, and Whiz Kids Toy Store in San Luis Obispo has purchased five of Beryl's new book, Meerkats Face Danger.

This story is about a meerkat who falls asleep while on lookout duty, endangering his whole group. Surprisingly, meerkats do have trouble staying awake while standing on their hind legs looking for predators. Consequently, group members take turns on lookout duty.

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.


Mary Montague Sikes will be teaching several upcoming painting workshops.

"Painting Like Georgia O'Keeffe" will take place on October 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center, 219 North Boundary Street, Williamsburg, Virginia.

Her "Painting with Texture and Design" workshops will be presented 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.

Pictured below is a photo from one of her recent "Painting Like Georgia O'Keefe classes" (photo by MMSikes). She blogged this week about the benefits of creativity in the later stages of life. Scroll down to the Blog Corral section of this week's Roundup to read more!


Susan Sagarra, author of Cracks in the Cobblestone, will be attending West Newsmagazine's Better Living Expo on Sunday, October 11, at the Doubletree by Hilton St. Louis-Chesterfield in Chesterfield, Missouri. The free event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This year is the third for the event, which is billed as "a community tradition and the most significant marketing event serving West St. Louis County and St. Charles County." The event "serves as a one-stop, convenient setting for families, older adults and Baby Boomers to gather information and interact with businesses and community resources."

In Cracks in the Cobblestone, two women take 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 


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. The event is aimed at promoting compassion and decency toward feral animals born into environments in which the comfort afforded domestic companion animals is absent."

In this reading, Scratch’s “Hound of the Hill” -- a most fascinating creature with much to say regarding humans -- speaks 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.

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!



Radine Trees Nehring made an appearance at Hobbs State Park Fall Festival, which was held on October 4 at the Hobbs State Park Conservation Area. She had this to say about the experience: "After my first mystery novel was published, using a landscape I knew well (my own home and Ozarks area). I discovered it was fun -- and good business -- to set all my stories at true-to-life special places in the Ozarks.

First, a location had to say 'story' to me, and when it did, my deep research there led to novels and short stories that came to life in places easily recognizable to tourists and Ozarkers, themselves. Without realizing it in the beginning, I was creating a series of tales that provided enjoyment for me as well as my readers. I love these Ozarks -- can you tell?  

My Oak Tree Press novel A Fair to Die For takes place in three unique places in Benton County, Arkansas. These three are neighbors in the country east of the city of Rogers. One of them is Arkansas's largest state park, Hobbs, where an active interpretive staff plans special events for individuals and families almost every weekend.

One of those events is the Fall Festival. I have enjoyed selling books at this festival since A Fair to Die For was released. A sales and display table is set up for me in their large visitor center, and sales benefit both the park and me. 'It's a wonderful life!'"


Nicholas Checker reports "a day of triumph" for his novels Druids and Scratch. He recently attended Geekend Weekend, a "casual relaxicon" held in Groton, Connecticut, on October 3 and 4. The event featured games, food, workshops, and more.

Nick presented a dramatic presentation of his fantasy novel Druids at the event, and it was "a crowning success and a major triumph." His novel Scratch wound up in the mix too. In Nick's words, "My theatrical presentation of Druids was among the very best I've ever done -- and to a crowd extremely receptive. And since cat lovers were present, I couldn't resist throwing in a little for Scratch as well."

Audience members bought copies of both books, and Nick was especially delighted to add that he dedicated his presentation to Suzanne Yazell on her birthday. Susan first read Nick's books and referred them to editor Billie Johnson, who published them at OTP.

The Geekend Weekend event was organized by Michael Whitehouse, and Nick thanks him and his nephew, Harold Joyce, for his ongoing support of both novels. Katherine Loyd-Grossi designed the covers for the novels.


Mary Montague Sikes recently presented a series of original paintings at an invitational Arts Alive exhibition in September at the W.T. Robinson/Sture G. Olsson Civic Auditorium and Fine Arts Center in West Point, Virginia. The paintings brought to life Farrah Ferand, the artist heroine of her latest novel, Evening of the Dragonfly.

She writes, "Having a book signing to go with my painting show . . . creates lots of possibilities for talking with readers. Book signings are all too often awkward affairs. The art show is fun and came about as an idea for the A to Z Blog Challenge. The paintings helped me, as the author, get to know Farrah much better than I did while writing her story." 

Farrah's Art Show will be on display at the fine arts center until October 13.


Author Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) reports that she had a fantastic time at the Central Coast Writer's Conference Book and Author Fair in Pismo Beach, California, on September 20. 

In addition to selling and signing her books, she was included in a panel presentation called Strong Characters. At the fair, she met other OTP authors and staff as well as one of her followers on Facebook. According to Marilyn, the "best part was sharing the space with author Mara Purl [pictured]. She's a lovely and most talented young woman."



In her Notes Along the Way blog this week, Mary Montague Sikes blogged about how creativity and fitness can improve the brain.

In highlighting the benefits of undertaking creative projects in the later stages of life, she writes, "For older people, creativity provides a goal, a reason to get up in the morning and go out to an art class or head to an easel or art wall inside their own homes. The creative activity can take the form of painting, sculpture, pottery, jewelry and more. . . .

Because people are living longer, the 85-plus age is a fast-growing population segment. It's a group of people who can be inspired because of creative potential or they can be led into depression by those who do not understand their needs for purpose in life."

You can read the full post here.

Mary is a prolific writer and artist, having published a collection of nonfiction books featuring her original illustrations of notable landmarks as well as fictional stories and romances. Her mystery and adventure stories often contain psychic and paranormal elements. Her most recent novel is Evening of the Dragonfly.



There's still time to enter to win one of 12 free copies of Karl and the Kooltones by J.S. Quelch that are up for grabs by lucky readers on Goodreads.

Karl and the Kooltones tells the story of Karl, a cynical, melodramatic, mildly paranoid, professional-engineer-cum-musician in the throes of a midlife crisis. Growing up on a farm in the post Woodstock Midwest, coming of age in The City as Disco rose and Punk fell, passing his prime in The Suburbs as a family guy and director of the band Karl and Kooltones, music is the common thread of Karl’s journey. His art imitates his life as he transitions from relatively innocent youth playing tuba in a small time polka band, to rebellious heavy metal guitarist achieving not-enough-to-quit-the-day-job success, to fading middle aged lounge singer still on a Don Quixote like quest to keep the dream alive. But the thread is unraveling. His third wife and true soul mate has died, he is hopelessly caught in the corporate meat grinder, and the band is sadly floundering.

This giveaway ends on October 11.

It's easy to participate in these giveaways by following the link 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.



Looking for a good ghost story for the month of Halloween? Then check out Secrets by the Sea by Mary Montague Sikes.

When Dana Sinclair heads to the island of Antigua to seek answers about the murder of her grandfather, she discovers many secrets hidden in Edgewater Manor, the house she has inherited. The legend of Molly Dansey, the ghostly guardian of a lost treasure, is part of the mysterious history of the centuries-old mansion overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Clifton Wilder, the man who both intrigues and bewilders her, is also connected to ghosts of the manor's past. Although Dana's first encounter with the ghost of Molly Dansey frightens her, it also strengthens her determination to uncover the history of the old house as she searches for a murderer. 

Available in paperback (212 pp., $8.00) and for Kindle (214 pp., $5.95)
Published April 15, 2009

ISBN-10: 1892343118
ISBN-13: 978-1892343116 


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


Nancy LiPetri said...

Another great roundup full of intriguing titles!

John Addiego said...

Wow! Lots of great events all over the country!

Beryl Reichenberg said...

thanks Nancy, for all your hard work in making this all possible. I learn so much each time I read this roudup. Beryl

Nancy J. said...

Thanks for your contributions to my efforts, Beryl (and others!). I appreciate how hard you work, and I'm always excited to share your news. It's exciting to be part of something that reaches so far!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Nancy, thanks so much. I appreciate your using items from my blog about the importance of creativity and making art for mental health. I LOVE combining art and writing. It was so much fun creating paintings for Farrah Ferand, the heroine of Evening of the Dragonfly! Thanks for including photos from "her" show that is up now in West Point. Thanks, also, for all the time you obviously spent putting together this "Weekly Roundup"!

Billie Johnson said...

Each week, I am dazzled by the many and varied events our authors participate in .... I salute you all for your efforts and hard work!!

And of course to Nancy, who puts things together in such a perfect way....Huzzah!

Nancy J. said...

Thanks, Mary! Your documentation of your events provides a lot of great choices for visuals. Thank you for sharing all of that with your readers and followers and for allowing me to use here in the Roundup as well.

The Weekly Roundup has become a highlight of my weekly work. I'm glad my care for it shines through!

At your service,

Ronald Wendling said...

I'm proud to be in the company of so creative a group of authors as I meet each week on this Oak Tree Press blog!

hou said...

the house she has inherited. The legend of Molly Dansey, the ghostly guardian of a lost treasure, is part of the mysterious history of the centuries-old mansion overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
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