Friday, November 6, 2015

Weekly Roundup: November 6, 2015

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! Confession time! Do you have a growing list of books on your "to-read" list? Maybe it's a stack on your desk or a virtual bookshelf in Goodreads or a burgeoning number of downloads on your e-reader. Finding the time to read can be challenging with writing projects, work, daily life, and family all vying for the precious few hours in every day.

Perhaps there's another time burglar in our midst as well: social media, smartphones, the Internet. These tools are great for authors and publishers, allowing us to reach audiences worldwide to share our stories and talents. They're nice for keeping up with friends and fans as well. But Globe and Mail columnist Harvey Schachter suggests that they may also be culprits in our missed reading goals and disappointment about reading for pleasure less often than we want to. Check out his recent column "Wish you could find more time to read? Here's how" -- does it ring true for you?
Then when you've carved out additional time for reading, head over to our bookstore and check out our array of good books that will jump to the front of your reading list. We have award-winning mysteries, thrillers, romances, and even some paranormal tales from talented authors.

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. You'll see that holiday events are beginning for our authors. Now's a great time to think about your holiday gift-giving and finding the special gift of a book -- perhaps even a signed copy -- for the reader on your holiday shopping list!


"Books are a uniquely portable magic."

~Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


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's contest-winning story "Goody, Goody" appeared in Kings River Life online magazine on October 31. The story was the runner-up in the magazine's Halloween mystery short story contest. The winners were announced in mid-October, and the stories were published last week in celebration of the holiday.

“Mr. Peters, this is a marvelous old house. I’ve driven past it, on the road, but it’s set so far back, you can’t see much of it. I had no idea. The house is so large and the interior – so well preserved. It’s hard to believe that it’s – how old did you say?”

“Eighteen ought eight. That’s when the original structure was built. Of course it’s been added to. My ancestors left Savannah and moved up the river. They established their plantation here, facing this tributary of the river. And it’s been in the family ever since.”

“And now, Mr. Peters, you want to give it to the Historical Society. As a gift. A marvelous gift. Why, this will be the centerpiece of our Society’s holdings. I – I just don’t know what to say.”

“Mr. Devlin, I am the sole surviving member of my family. As you can see, I am not a young man. I would like to think that my ancestral home will be preserved. I can’t think of a better way to do that, than to give it to your Historical Society. The Broadacres Plantation has more than 300 acres of good bottom land. Properly managed, it will provide adequate income for the maintenance of the property.”

“Call me John, Mr. Peters. And may I call you Harry? I hope, I believe, that we will have a long and pleasant relationship.”

“Very well – John. Let’s walk down the hall to the kitchen. I have some documents to show you, things you’ll want to take with you when you make your presentation to your Society.”

“Indeed, Harry. But just a moment. This quaint room to the side here – is it a library? May I have a look at it?”

“Later, John. Of course. I have some coffee on in the kitchen. I could use a cup. Could you?”

But John Devlin had turned from the hall and stepped to the middle of a small room. Only about eight by ten feet, it was surrounded on two sides by floor to ceiling bookcases which were filled with volumes. The far wall contained a single window, flanked on both sides by mirrors. Several comfortable chairs were arranged in the center of the room.window

John Devlin rotated in the center of the room, peering closely at the walls and ceiling. “This is marvelous. This woodwork could have been completed only yesterday. So well preserved. This room is….”

“An original part of the house,” said Harry Peters. “The part first built by my ancestor. Come, John, you can see all this later.”

“But we have company.” John gestured towards a wing-backed chair in the center of the room. It faced the far wall. Someone, evidently a woman, was sitting in the chair; only her head was visible. Long strands of curly red hair hung down the back of the chair.

“Oh, my,” said Harry.

You can enjoy the rest of the story here.


Richard Marranca's interview with archaeologist and scholar Guy Hepp in Oaxaca, Mexico, has been published in the November/December 2015 issues of Minerva, a London-based international magazine of art and archaeology. Richard spoke with Guy about early communities in Oaxaca, the beginnings of settled life, music, art and more.

The interview is available to subscribers, and you can find out more here.

Richard is the author of Dragon Sutra.

While wandering around Asia, Jason comes to Cambodia, where he’s drawn into a dangerous underworld and political violence. He and Rachany, a beautiful woman he met at the Russian Market, are pursued by a mysterious foe. They flee across Cambodia, Laos and Thailand through exotic tribes, ancient cities... and end up in Burma’s rebellion.

The beauty and luster of passion and love is counterpointed by the darkness of the criminal underworld and the Cambodian holocaust. Will the fateful past destroy Jason and Rachany? Will their affections flower amidst the corruption and violence?


John M. Daniel is honored to be a guest today on James R. Callan's The Author Blog. On the blog, John presumes to say what he believes about fate, good, and evil in fantasy fiction. "Writing murder mysteries, the trick is to make the reader sort out the good characters from the bad ones." he begins. "A crime has been committed, and our sleuth has to figure out who done it, and that means finding out who’s naughty and who’s nice. That’s not always so easy, because the bad guys and gals are often good at acting nice and fooling everyone, including the sleuth and the reader. But in the end, of course, good wins over evil and the perp’s brought to justice.

As a writer of mysteries, I have stuck to these rules more or less. But for my latest novel, I turned to the realm of fantasy, where it’s pretty clear at the outset who’s the villain or evil sorceress and who’s the hero or heroine."

You can read the full interview here


Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) will be at the Porterville Art Association's Holiday Boutique on Main St. today, November 6, and Saturday, November 7, all day.

She’ll have copies of the books in both of her mysteries series -- including all of the Rocky Bluff P.D. series published by OTP. If you are in Porterville, please do stop by and see her.

The most recent book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series is 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. 


Richard Paolinelli will be at Campbell Con on Saturday, 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.


Mary Montague Sikes is one of the Prince George Art & Frame artists who will participate in a Holiday Open House on Saturday, November 7 at the Prince George Art and Frame gallery at 1303 Jamestown Rd. in Williamsburg, Virginia.

From 1 to 4 p.m., she will be meeting with guests and painting from a still life set up inside the gallery. 

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


Ann Howley will be at the Cooper-Siegel Community Library in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania, where she was asked by library staff to present another memoir writing workshop. The event will take place on Saturday, November 7, at 10 a.m.

She will also be offering a more in-depth look at memoir-writing tips and techniques
at the Frank Sarris Public Library in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. The workshop takes place on Monday, November 9, at 6 p.m.

Then on Friday, November 13 at 6 p.m., Ann has been invited to participate in the Local Authors' Night event at the Barnes & Noble at Settler's Ridge in Robinson, Pennsylvania. Ann will discuss and sign copies of her coming-of-age memoir Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad. 

The memoir is a wry, humorous coming-of-age look at 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.


Gary Best will be signing his novel Tink's Tank on Saturday, November 7, at The Book Shop in Convina, California, beginning at 4 p.m. 

Tink’s Tank chronicles the adventures of the crewmembers of a U.S. Eighth Air Force B-17 during WW II. The narrator tells his tail in response to a request from his granddaughter who is enrolled in a college course about the history of WW II. He tells her about each of his fellow crewmembers, the people they meet during their war time experiences in England, the locale for most of the story.

Crew members of Tank’s Tank find themselves involved in experiences in London and between themselves that transform each as they fight to stay alive in air battles that test their courage and stamina as a crew. It is more than a coming-of-age story and more than a story of the air war over Europe -- it is the interactions and connections of events, people, fact and fiction that foment growth, change and deliverance from the past. Tink's Tank takes one on an adventure and returns the reader to post-war life through twist and turns in the epilogue.

Best will also be signing copies of his nonfiction title Silent Invaders: Combat Gliders of the Second World War (Fonthill Media), which has been nominated for a book of the year medal in its genre by the Military Writers Society of America. The book that is dedicated to the brave men who were trained and assigned to guide gliders into battle -- pilots who had no motors, armament, parachutes and no second chances and  served under impossible odds on D-Day, the doomed Operation Market Garden in Holland, and Hitler’s radical commando raid to rescue Mussolini.

Beryl Reichenberg, OTP children's book author and artist, is in the midst of a three-session children's class on paper craft and bookmaking at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. The class vbegan on November 3 and takes place on Tuesdays 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."
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.


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.


David Freedland will be participating in the annual Men of Mystery conference on Saturday, November 14, 2015, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel in Irvine, California. David will be promoting his novel Lincoln 9. Authors are tasked with making a one-minute presentation on their mystery books to conference attendees.

Lincoln 9, follows the career of Lieutenant Scott Hunter, the consummate cop who rises to the level of responsibility to lead a team of detectives on a mission aimed at connecting the clues and solving these crimes. The story conveys the pressures associated with working within an organization that hires only 4% of its applicants, and whose efforts result in perennial accolades for achieving the lowest numbers of violent crime. 

Readers who enjoy the challenges of attempting to solve crime dramas will appreciate the first third of the book, which provides opportunities for the suspect’s identification. In addition, it introduces a look behind the curtain of secrecy shielding the role played by Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams in the development of leaders. 



Virgil Alexander will be a guest on Red River Radio's "No Limits" with Barbara M. Hodges on Tuesday, November 17 at 3 p.m. Central. Virgil's 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.

You can access the live podcast here, and the call-in number is (646) 595-4478.

In The Baleful Owl, the murder of an archeology student and attempted murder of a second pull Apache tribal officer Al Victor into what seems to him a senseless killing. The Arizona Antiquities Task Force brings deputies Bren Allred and Manny Sanchez into the case. They find themselves investigating a sophisticated high dollar artifact theft ring centered around the unique Baleful Owl effigy. The ruthless ring leader is not motivated by greed, but vengeance for imagined wrongs. Before the case is solved, one of the officers will be the unwitting target of the skilled assassin.

Virgil will also be a presenter in the Hardscrabble Lectures at the Bullion Plaza Cultural Center and Museum in Miami, Arizona, on November 18 beginning at 6:30 p.m. 

He will be giving a talk on Arizona entrepreneur and "mining wizard" John B. "Jack" Newman. Newman became an influential figure in the Globe, Arizona, area in the late 1800s and early 1900s after immigrating to the United States from Europe in 1878.

Virgil will give a shorter version of this presentation at the Arizona History Convention in April 2016.


Amy Bennett will also be Barbara M. Hodges's guest on Red River Radio's "No Limits" on Tuesday, November 17 at 3 p.m. Central. Amy will be talking about No Vacancy and the other books in her Black Horse Campground mystery series. She'll also be sharing information about her next book, At the Cross Road.

In No Vacancy, an ominous note is shoved under the door of the Black Horse Campground store as Corrie Black and her staff celebrate the first “no vacancy” day of the season. But is the note meant to be a warning... or a threat? When a man suspected of writing the note is found dead in a cabin, it seems that the threat is averted. Until the man's identity is revealed. Someone from Corrie's past. Someone who knew a lot about the Black Horse family -- a lot more than even Corrie knew. 

With the help of Bonney County Sheriff Rick Sutton and former Houston PD Lieutenant J.D. Wilder, Corrie has to dig into the past, into secrets that her parents kept, to find out who is threatening her and the Black Horse Campground and what it is they want from Corrie. But the deeper she digs, the more she finds out things that could change her life forever... if not end it!e 

You can access the live podcast here, and the call-in number is (646) 595-4478.

You can even set up an e-mail reminder so you don't miss the show!

Susan Sagarra will be will be the guest speaker at the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce’s general membership luncheon on Wednesday, November 18 at Persimmons Wood Golf Club in St. Charles, Missouri. The event begins at 11:15 a.m.

On Thursday, November 19, she will be participating in the Local Author Open House event organized by the Spencer Road Branch of the St. Charles City-County Library. More than 100 other St. Louis area authors will be in attendance at the event, which begins at 6 p.m.

Susan is the author of Cracks in the Cobblestones. Set in a fictional town modeled after the historic main street of St. Charles, Missouri, the novel  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.


Ilene Schneider will join five other authors (Terri Brisbin, Traci Dunham, Patti Sheey, Carol Comegno, Janice Wilson Stridick) being featured at the first Meet the Author fundraiser hosted by the Woman's Club of Merchantville on Thursday, November 19, beginning at 7 p.m. The event will be held on the lower level of the Merchantville Community Center, 212 Somerset Avenue. The entrance is on side of building by the parking lot.

Each author will have the opportunity to talk about their work, sell and sign their books, socialize with attendees, and have a fun night, which includes refreshments and door prizes.

The entry fee of $10 will be donated to the charities and scholarships supported by the Woman’s Club. The program is open to the public and is both a pre-Black Friday gift-buying opportunity and a night out in support of worthy causes. ("Charities and scholarships, not starving authors," Ilene says.)

Ilene is the author of Chanukah Guilt and Unleavened Dead.


Nicholas Checker appeared on Ann M. Buonocore's weekly Everyday People TV Show on Sunday, November 1. He discussed his novels Druids and Scratch and talked about the the short story writing program (course # 246303) I run through the Town of Groton Parks and Recreation.

Nick also participated in the 2nd Annual Norwich Authors' Day at the Slater Museum Atrium in Norwich, Connecticut, on October 31. Nick reports that he was proud to have been invited as a participating author. He sold copies of his novels, including a purchase by the event sponsor, the Otis Library -- the fifth area library to carry the books. Nick writes that he "met more fellow authors I truly hope to see again soon!"


Additional details about these events will appear in future Roundups.

Mary Montague Sikes will participate in the Holiday Open House at the Mathews Bay School of the Arts on the weekend of November 27 and 28. The event begins at 10 a.m. at the center at 279 Main Street, Mathews, Virginia.



Lorna Collins continued her blog series about her recent trip to Hawaii with her husband Larry. This week she talks about the first day of their stay at the special Hale Koa Hotel.

Her first day there wasn't exactly the stuff of a dream vacation, but she writes that "fortunately, the hotel itself is  beautiful. We were so grateful that the Rughs invited us to join them. You have to be military (active or retired with a military ID) in order to stay there. Non-military people have to be sponsored by a military person. . . . Each of our rooms had a small balcony with a view of the ocean."

You can read the rest of the post here.


Writing at the Stiletto Gang and Make Mine Mystery blogs, Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) talks about getting her daily work done as a writer and the wonderful features of Morro Bay, California, a place that figures prominently in her most recent book, Not As It Seems (Mundania Press).

In an entry titled "Staying Organized, she writes, "The older I get, the shorter the days seem to be and I don't get quite as much accomplished as I once did. However, I still manage to write two books a year, do all the promotion they require, attend my weekly writers' critique group, a Sister in Crime meeting when I can (I belong to three), participate in book events, teach a kids' Sunday School class nearly every Sunday, do things with my family and when possible, sneak away for a day with my hubby (might just be doing errands, going to a movie, and nice restaurant meal.)"

How does she do it? Find out here. 

In talking about Morro Bay, Marilyn writes, "One of the reviews for Not As It Seems, despite 5 stars, hinted at the fact that I might have gone overboard describing attractions and restaurants in Morro Bay."

The rest of the post shows and tells why she loves the area and couldn't resist setting a novel there. Don't miss this tour of a great place in coastal California!


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


Thonie Hevron said...

Wow! We are a busy lot!

Amy Bennett said...

Lots of great author interviews I want to follow up on! I hope I don't forget about my own!

Great job, everyone!

Billie Johnson said...

Wow...what a lot of news! Great job, Nancy!

Nancy J. said...

Thanks, Billie, and thanks for reading, everyone!

Nancy LiPetri said...

Congrats to Dac and the rest of the news-making group!

Ann K. Howley said...

Congratulations Dac! I really enjoy reading about all the OTP author activities. Nancy does a fabulous job putting it all together.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Nice, Nancy! Thank you!!!

Beryl Reichenberg said...

I agree with Marilyn, Morro Bay is one of the best places along the California coast with all the benefits of a small town, sunsets, boats and of course, that wonderful rock. Good job everyone. Beryl