Friday, December 18, 2015

Weekly Roundup: December 18, 2015

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup 

Well, no more procrastinating. You simply must visit our bookstore now to get your literary gifts in time for the Christmas holiday. There's still plenty of time for last-minute shopping from our titles for Kindle, but don't delay unless you enjoy that holiday rush!

We wish you and yours a happy holiday season filled with good company and memorable times. We're already looking forward to the books and announcements that are to come for 2016. If you're an aspiring author, please keep an eye out for our 2016 contests, and for some of you whose favorite mystery series writer is among our authors, we expect to have some exciting news to come as well. We'll be bringing you new authors as well and compelling stories and exciting characters that will become new favorites. Stay tuned!

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. 


"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."

~Maya Angelou


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. 


Denise Weeks (aka Shalanna Collins) was a guest on Red River Radio's "No Limits" with Barbara M. Hodges on December 15, 2015.

You can hear the archived interviews here.

Denise Weeks is the author of Nice Work, the winner of the 2011 Dark Oak Mystery Contest and the first in the Jacquidon Carroll mystery series. In the novel, Jacquidon Carroll has problems. She's diagnosed with diabetes and laid off from her job the same week, but that's nothing compared to being a suspect in the murder of her ex-boss. Jacquidon is convinced her replacement -- a young woman recruited from an Internet sex site -- is the real killer.

To clear herself, Jacquidon steals information from the boss’s computer and the young woman's diary. The clues lead through a network of local sex clubs and the seamy underside of the BDSM (S&M) lifestyle. By the time Jacquidon gathers her evidence, the murderer is on the same page -- and intends to stop her.


Lesley Diehl was interviewed on Terry Odell's Terry's Place blog on December 15. In the exchange, she answered questions not usually asked in an interview. Here's an example:

You’re a new addi­tion to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
I’d be green, the color I asso­ciate with the early foliage of Spring, my favorite season.

Lesley says of the interview
, "It's fun and you might find out something about me you never knew. Stop by and leave a comment."

You can read the interview here.

Lesley is the author of the Big Lake Murder Mystery series, which includes Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Chilled and Killed. In Grilled, Chilled and Killed, Emily Rhodes, retired preschool teacher and bartender turned amateur snoop, wonders if she is destined to discover dead bodies. This time she finds one of the contestants at the local barbeque cook-off dead and covered in barbeque sauce in a beer cooler.

She should be used to stumbling onto corpses by now and the question of who killed the guy should pique her curiosity, but Emily decides to let Detective Lewis handle this one, at least until she figures his theory of who did the deed is wrong, wrong, wrong.


Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) was a guest on Anastasia Pollack's Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, where she wrote about basket weaving. Marilyn says, "I am no expert, but I've seen some gorgeous baskets woven by our local Indians."

Marilyn explains that "deergrass was once a native grass that flourished in the Central Valley. Its use in basket weaving was important because it was flexible, long, and had the ability to become 'watertight as the stalks began expanding.'”

You can read the full interview here.

Marilyn is the author of the Rocky Bluff PD Mystery series, which includes 11 novels, the most recent of which is Violent Departures. In the novel, 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.

J. Mike Orenduff, author of The Pot Thief mysteries, says of the series, “F.M. Meredith's Rocky Bluff Police Department series fans will be delighted to learn that it delivers everything we have come to expect in these books – characters that feel like neighbors and a handful and a half of subplots all neatly woven together. Meredith wraps everything up in a most satisfactory fashion. These books are a sort of cross between 'The Waltons' and 'Hill Street Blues,' and I hope there are many more to come."


Richard Paolinelli appeared on author David Clarke's online radio show "Different Strokes For Different Folks" on Sunday, December 13, where he talked about his recently published mystery thriller Reservations, the first book in an upcoming series.

Richard reports that "it is amazing how fast an hour goes by when you're doing one of these appearances. It seemed like we'd just got started when it was suddenly time to wrap things up.

"I really enjoyed the appearance and it gave me a different perspective on my writing and how my writing career has played out that I hadn't really considered before. As I have been doing these appearances, both on the radio and in person, I'm finding this to be the case nearly every time."

You can hear the archived interview here.

In the novel, which is set in a land deeply seeded in beliefs and legends, 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.


C. Ed Traylor will be selling and signing copies of his novel The Crossing on Saturday, December 19, at the Girard Township Library in Girard, Illinois, from 11 a.m. to noon, and at Cherry Tree Treasures and Gifts in Carlinville, Illinois, from 1 to 3 p.m. 

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 was a second-place winner in the Public Safety Writers Association's 2015 Writing Competition.

Lorna Collins will be offering her short-short story, "Christmas Miracle" for free on Amazon between December 20 and December 24.

In the story, Holly O'Malley plans to sell her parents' home until she meets a special realtor who brings a Christmas miracle.

Lorna, along with her husband Larry, is also giving away three audiobook copies of Larry's short story collection Lakeview Park. Comment on their Facebook page to enter the drawing!

Lakeview Park is a collection of O. Henry-like slice-of-life stories about the people who frequent a fictitious park. These tales reveal folks of all ages, from a small child to the elderly. Many people enjoy Lakeview Park, and each one has a unique story. Between the pages, you’ll meet

• Clarence, who thinks he might have found a winning lottery ticket.
• Kuniko, a grandmother and widow who discovers that friendship can bloom anywhere.
• Wayne, a former guitarist who rediscovers the joy of music
• Jenny, a mother whose husband is serving in Afghanistan
• Carol, whose journalistic assignment teaches her more than she expects
• Shirley, who discovers that some dreams are worth keeping
• Alex, for whom friendship bridges age differences and soothes a broken heart
• Gloria, who discovers her blessings and makes peace with her past
• Alice, who loves to tell jokes, even though her memory is fading
• Carl, who discovers that reality may hold more promise than long-held fantasy
• Carolina, a ghost searching for her lost child
• Tiffany, a teenager with hopes and dreams
• George, whose life is ebbing, but not his love
• Sheila, a young woman estranged from her family
• Carlos, the groundskeeper who has devoted his career to the park


Radine Trees Nehring reports that "For almost ten years, Nightbird Books in Fayetteville, Arkansas, has been a big factor in my book presentation and selling work. I have been featured at book signings there, attended a book club, heard talks by fellow authors, and given talks myself. I have also taught writing at Nightbird, and participated in several all-store events with other area authors, including one nine-year-old selling copies of his first 'novel.'

"Nightbird founder and owner, Lisa Sharp, has kept the shop active and open through thick and thin while many independent booksellers around the area did not survive. Over the years, Lisa has been a friend to authors, and sharer in all things 'bookish,' as well as a promoter of various Buy Local events."

On Saturday, December 5, Radine participated in an all-afternoon book sale and signing at Nightbird. She tells us that Fayetteville is a college town, and the bookstore attracts not only a general population of readers from the area, but also college students and professors looking for something other than textbooks to read.. That makes its visitors especially interesting as a cross-section of humanity -- including, occasionally, a homeless person or two!

Nadine is the author of A Fair to Die For


Nicholas Checker reports December 12 was an outstanding for the students in his Town of Groton Parks and Recreation screenwriting class. Their films were shown to a packed crowd at the beautiful Groton Senior Center. 

Nick says that he "could not have felt more satisfied and proud as a captivated audience watched these short films that were shot at the SEC-TV studios, one on an actual location, and one converted to short story format with a live presentation."

Nick is the author of the OTP titles Druids and Scratch.


Serita Stevens was present to hand out awards at the Hollywood International Film Festival award ceremony on December 15 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood. She gave awards for screenplays, shorts, features, best foreign film.

There were entries from many Asian countries -- China, S Korea, Vietnam -- as well as South Africa, Romania, Canada and of course some US, too. Serita was asked by some of her international fans to be on the board and she presented for best script.

She is also now on the board of Vesuvian Media Group.


Ann Howley and her husband just returned from two weeks in the Caribbean. She says, "It was FABULOUS, and if anyone ever cruises on the Celebrity Summit, they can find Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad in the ship's library.

Ann is pictured here with the sweet and lovely Miss Plus Size Diva that she met at the Independence Day Parade in Barbados.



Additional details about these events will appear in future Roundups.

Ann Howley will be at the Avani Institute of Pittsburgh on January 14, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. to talk about her favorite topic: memoir writing. 



Two more of our books are now available for Kindle. E-books are perfect for budget-conscious or on-the-go readers who like to have a library at their fingertips. Remember: you don't need to own a Kindle device to read Kindle e-books. You can read on your computer, smartphone, or tablet by downloading the Kindle app from Amazon.

Reservations by Richard Paolinelli 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.

A Fox with Earrings by Loyd Little. Nolan Chastain, a real estate agent, is three months into a consuming affair with Cass Tolley, a woman he’s known and been fascinated with for more than a decade. On Friday, after the first day of showing million dollar homes to a recently retired Air Force general and his wife, Nolan arrives at Cass’s home to find police cars and blue lights—Cass has been shot and killed.

Many had motive to kill her; far from virtuous, Cass had slept with most of the men she had ever known. Jealous spouses and men scorned headline the list. Nolan’s insatiable curiosity and desire to see justice inspires his compilation of suspects -- ironically all friends.

An exaggerated conversation concerning Krugerrands (Cass’s versions were always outrageous) tips the scales, but towards whom? How is the general involved? Which story does he believe? And what has the fox with earrings have to do with anything?


Marilyn Meredith welcomed guest blogger and fellow author Betty Webb to her Marilyn's Musings blog to talk about trusting your memory when writing fiction. Betty writes, "I’ve lived in Scottsdale AZ since 1982, and much of my time here has been spent as a reporter, driving back and forth across the Valley of the Sun chasing story after story. So I knew the Valley pretty well, right? Wrong.

"In the first draft of Desert Noir, my first mystery novel, I misnamed streets and put in intersections that don’t exist. I also wrote in tracts of empty desert that no longer exist, having long been replaced by sprawling subdivisions. I misnamed hotels, I misnamed corporations, I wrote in one-way streets running the wrong way.

"How did this happen? Easy. I was writing from 'memory of the known' only, and thus didn’t bother to fact-check my memory."

Find out some smart ways to avoid errors in memory by reading the rest of Marilyn's guest's post.


Lesley Diehl's fascinating blog series about serious themes in cozy mysteries continued this week with guest and author Cathy Perkins, who talk about her use of stalking in one of her cozy mysteries. 

She writes that "states are just now getting on board and adding laws criminalizing stalking. Like far too many crimes against women, it’s difficult for law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office to develop a case they think they can take to court—and win. . . .

"The statistics on women who are killed by an intimate partner are even more sobering. The victims reported stalking and abuse—to friends and the police—who were often as helpless as the victim to do anything about it.

"So what to do with these depressing statistics?

"I decided to put a human face on them." 

You can read the full post here.


Denise Weeks blogged this week about her appearance on Red River Radio's "No Limits" with Barbara M. Hodges on December 15, 2015.

She writes, "I was interviewed on for an hour (the other guest had an emergency, so I just kept talking when she didn't show up!). . . .

"Here is a SORT OF transcript of the show, or at least what I meant to say on the show. Some of this I said, and parts of it I didn't, but I thought it might be amusing for you. She didn't ask me all of the ten questions I prepared."  

But you can read her answers to all of them at the transcript/commentary here. 


Ilene Schneider reports that she recently closed down my original blog site (the address was too long and prone to typos when entering) and moved some still relevant postings to my current site. She transferred over eight entries from 2010, which is when she switched to the current address.

She writes: "Check it out if you're interested in my opinions and observations on typos and other errors; 'senior' writers; my favorite (and least favorite) writing venues; Amazon sales rankings; how I spent my day off; 'pantsers' vs. 'plotters;' a combination vacation and book tour in LA; or why I hate anachronisms."


Have you entered the OTP Goodreads Giveaways? We have two right now! To participate, you'll need to create a Goodreads account or log in (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.

We're giving away five copies of Nancy LiPetri's The Wooded Path to lucky readers in a random drawing. This giveaway begins ends on December 24. Follow this link to enter.

In The Wooded Path, Laine McClelland wonders whether she's normal. When the mysterious disappearance of a Bunco friend, Paula, shakes her 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. 

Beginning on December 20, we'll be giving away five copies of The River Hideaway by Billy Beasley. You'll have to wait until Sunday to enter, but you have until December 26 to add your name to the drawing.

In The River Hideaway, the year is 1967 and Wilmington, North Carolna, like much of the country, is embedded in racial turmoil. Two boys on the brink of manhood— Bret Marin and Clarence (Money) Wilkins—forge an unlikely friendship that alters the course of their lives forever.

Bret and Money find their friendship tested by the racially charged times, by the cruel demands of an overbearing father, and ultimately by an allure that develops between Bret and Money’s sister, Teke. 

It's easy to get in on the giveaway by following this link.


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


Carolyn Niethammer said...

Can't sit on your duff if you want to sell books, and these authors are certainly getting out there. Hope they all had great Christmas sales.

Richard Paolinelli said...

Looking good as always. Well done OTP writers!!!!

Billie Johnson said... is another great WRU!!

marta chausée said...

It's pretty daunting, all right.

Amy Bennett said...

I heard Denise/Shalanna on Red River Radio's show. Good job! Barbara (the host) is a great friend to authors and I hope her show gives us all a lot of exposure!

Beryl Reichenberg said...

Heading home heading home from Sri Lanka, I say good job OTP authors and wish you all a happy holiday season.

Nancy LiPetri said...

Happy holidays, all! So many great gift ideas listed here!

Dac said...

From the Cabin on the Ridge -- my weekend hideout -- I send warm holiday greetings to all. 30 degrees but a fire blazing away and biscuits in the oven. Doesn't get any better.

John M. Wills said...

Books that are perfect for Christmas gifts.

Frederick Savage said...

All these wonderful books: just in time for Christmas! Fred Savage - Black Indian, Red Heart (White Justice)

Sharon Arthur Moore said...

As usual, so much activities from so many authors. I have been absent for several months due to life circumstances, but I am back at work now, easing back into the social media stream. Sharon Moore

Helen Macie Osterman said...

Hi everyone. I was the other author supposed to be on Barbara Hodges Red River Radio blog along with Denise Weeks. I ended up in the emergency room and spent two days in the hospital. Am home now and feeling better. Sorry I missed the show. I also had to cancel my holiday trip to London with my family. Doctor said I'm not yet fit to travel.
Happy holidays to everyone.
Helen Osterman

JL Greger said...

Great Blog. Billie will be sponsoring a giveaway of my new thriller I SAW YOU IN BEIRUT at Goodreads on January 8-14. It's a safe way to travel to the Middle East.

Sharon, glad to see you're back in circulation.

Merry Christmas to all.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

So sorry about Helen missing her trip to London. What a grand array of activities from the very busy Oak Tree bunch. Thank you, Nancy, for another great WRU.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!
Mary Montague Sikes

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

It seems that each week the blog gets longer and more interesting. It's amazing that so many of our authors have the time and energy to do so many things at this hectic time of year. Great blog again, Nancy. I love the quote by Maya Angelou at the beginning. I'm sending my own personal wishes for Happy Holidays along with this last WRU before Christmas.

William said...

Looks like a very busy and interesting publishing house!

Joseph Chiba said...

Great job with the Roundup this week, Billie and Jeana!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Joe Chiba

Doug Seaver said...

This week's Round Up is tremendous! Congrats to a busy group of authors. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and Happy New Year to all.

Holli Castillo said...

Glad to see the OTP year is ending with such a bang! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year ya'll.

Nancy J. said...

To everyone: Thanks, as always, for reading!

Nancy J.