Friday, December 25, 2015

Weekly Roundup: December 25, 2015

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup 

Life may get hectic during the holidays, but the business of publishing and promoting seems to go on! We have some news to share with you on this Christmas Day, and we'll be updating our blog again in coming days with information about our top sellers for the year. Just in time for your post-holiday leisure time!

How many books did you read this year?

We sincerely hope that you had many Oak Tree Press books on that list and that you'll pick up even more of our titles in 2016. Please visit our bookstore as you look for that last book or two to savor for 2015 and begin putting together your reading list and setting book goals for the coming year.
We'd love your reviews as well! On Amazon, Goodreads, and wherever else you talk about books

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.


"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."

~Sylvia Plath


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. 


Oak Tree Press is excited to announce the publication of our latest titles.

Dizzy in Durango is the third book in D.R. Ransdell's Andy Veracruz mystery series. In the story, missing women, abandoned children, and a crazy mariachi fan add up to further trouble for Andy Veracruz. After a fellow traveler disappears, he can’t concentrate on vacationing. Worse, he’s saddled with two children who aren’t his, an angry would-be girlfriend, and a self-appointed younger brother who is more reckless than he is. No wonder he starts seeing double.

Praise for Dizzy in Durango:

"Ransdell’s fluid style allows Andy’s story to unfold effortlessly. Besides providing a vivid insider's view of Durango, Ransdell demonstrates how the machismo attitude in Mexico warps the lives of women and children." ~J.L. Greger, author of I Saw You in Beirut

"With his personal and professional life in a mess, Andy Veracruz's head is already spinning when he heads to Mexico and gets mixed up with a missing woman, missing children, and a mariachi fan who's missing a few screws. Murder, mayhem, and mariachi music... how else would you expect to find Andy 'dizzy in Durango'?" ~Amy Bennett, author of the Black Horse Campground mysteries

D.R. Ransdell grew up in Springfield, Illinois, but she hides out from cold weather in Tucson, Arizona. She especially appreciates the sunny afternoons and perfect swimming weather. She moonlights in a mariachi band, which gives her plenty of ideas for murder victims. Her mystery series features mariachi musician Andy Veracruz (Mariachi Murder and Island Casualty). During the school season she teaches composition to international students. When vacation starts, she hits the road, leaving behind several mischievous cats. Thanks to beaches and bouzouki music, Greece is a frequent destination. You can read more about her writing at her website.
A Full Bubble Off Plumb is Jeff Zwagerman's second book with OTP and a continuation of the story of a protagonist introduced in his first novel, Always a Kicker.

Going home after twenty years is never easy.  It compounds itself, when the reason for going back home is to bury parents.  Zander could have done the easy thing and let others help him in his time of turmoil and grief.  He was powerless to follow that path, however.  His father had said it best.  He was like “a dog with a sock”.

Closing his parents’ estate and settling their affairs could have been done anywhere.  Zander chose to remain, and make sure it was done correctly.  He was, after all, “a dog with a sock”. Was there actually another reason?

In his search for some deeper truth, Zander reconnects with some old acquaintances from his past life.  He has hopes that these old friends and neighbors might be able to ground him once again. Then Quentin Stryker forces his way into an already damaged existence.

A Full Bubble Off Plumb is a story about walking away from the small insignificant irritations in life, before they take you beyond the point of no return. 

Jeff Zwagerman is a former educator who taught speech, theatre, and English. He was a high school principal and superintendent of schools with a B.S. in theatre and speech, an M.A. in educational administration, and ED.S. in education. He now lives on Lake Okoboji in Iowa, where he writes, boats, and fishes off his dock. South Of Sideways, the next book in the Zander series, is expected to be available in 2016.

Track Three is the latest novel from author John H. Gibson. Come along for the ride when a popular and top-rated investigative journalist, Elliott Lawder, and Katherine Lambert, a street-wise black British street urchin, are thrown together by the untimely death of an NSA systems analyst. Follow the adventure of our hero and heroine as the story moves at break-neck speed from Washington to London to Brussels to The Netherlands as the two attempt to discover the answer to why every US security agency, including the NSA and the CIA, are trying to kill them.

Track Three is a winner in the same thrilling tradition as John Gibson's first political suspense super thriller, Dummy. It's a tremendous read, even if it does keep you up all day and half night.

Praise for Track Three:

"I enjoy a good mystery thriller and read them in my spare time. Occasionally, however, a book surprises me, and I find myself devouring it. John Gibson’s latest novel, Track Three, is one of those books. It is essentially a thriller with generous portions of suspense and mystery. Even before the reader reaches Chapter One, it becomes clear that this will be a different flavor novel. The first puzzling question is which character is the hero, or antihero in this case? Next, what exactly is the mystery? In Track Three, the action spans two continents with a gamut of characters from investigative journalists and government agents to elite politicians and young outcasts. They scuffle in the world of politics, secrets, journalism, blackmail, affection, and everyday family problems as the protagonists try to outwit their opponents. Track Three is a solid addition to the genre, and I found it both entertaining and thought provoking. This tale will be engaging for the attentive reader, and is most definitely worth one’s time and attention." ~Frederick G. Johnson, Ph.D

John H. Gibson worked in the high-tech engineering field for more than 25 years. Growing up in Rochester, New York, while attending college, he found writing when he came to the conclusion that he could write as well as some of the authors he was reading from the local Barnes & Noble. Moving around the country for his work, he began writing thrillers as a diversion. It wasn’t long before the diversion became an obsession. 

His first novel, Dummy (under consideration for republishing by Oak Tree Press), is an amazing tale of political intrigue, sudden death, and a spy chase that moves from New York City to Atlantic City to Washington, DC to San Francisco. John has traveled extensively, around the country and the world, and currently resides and writes in Washington State near Seattle..


Richard Paolinelli's Reservations received a 5-star review from Readers' Favorite on December 19. Reviewer Jack Magnus writes, "At the end of the story, several of Paolinelli’s characters leave some tantalizing hints about a future challenge facing this intrepid sleuth, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in this series. Reservations is most highly recommended."

You can read the complete review 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.


Helen Osterman recently attended a tea party held by a group of readers, where she talked about writing in general and her books. 

She writes, "I got lost trying to find the place, Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Since I didn't have the contact person's cell number, I almost turned around and went home. As I drove around one last time, there it was, tucked away in a corner. There were both men and women attending,a rather unique group. I did sell some books and enjoyed the afternoon."

Helen is the author of the Emma Winberry mystery series.


Christmas came early for Liberty the Pig, author of the Oak Tree Press memoir The Big Squeal. The as-told-to-author Carol Alexander read the book to Santa and Mrs. Claus during the annual Holiday Home Tour in Taylorville, Illinois, on December 4 and 5.

The next day, Carol joined three other authors for a book signing at Cottage Rose Gift Shoppe on the Taylorville town square. A true story, The Big Squeal introduces children to Abraham Lincoln through the adventures of a real live pig named Liberty. The pig came to town as a starving orphan, overcame homelessness, eluded hungry coyotes, and now is a global ambassador.


Additional details about these events will appear in future Roundups. 

JoAnn Smith Ainsworth will be a guest author speaker at the Kiwanis Club of San Leandro meeting on February 16, 2016. She'll be giving a behind the scenes look at book publishing. The event will be held at The Englander Sports Pub and Restaurant in San Leandro.


Marilyn Meredith hosted author Joann Guidoccio at her Marilyn's Musings blog this week. Joann gave advice about writing the hook or tagline for a novel in 25 words or fewer.

She writes,  "An effective logline provides enough interest to prolong the conversation with a prospective agent or publisher, encourages readers to pick up the book, and creates tweetable buzz."

You can read the rest of her advice here.

She's also giving away a free Kindle book -- your choice! -- from either of her mystery series to the first 20 people who contact her and ask. Check out the details here!


Lorna Collins has been writing about Christmas in her recent blog posts. On December 16, she wrote about her first Christmas memory.

"My earliest memory is from when I was sixteen months old. (I turned two at the end of August, and this was December.)

"I remember being lifted to stand on my grandparents’ dining room table. (My grandfather must have been responsible for putting me there, as my grandmother would never have approved of my standing on the furniture.)

"I remember the look of my black patent Mary Janes and the feel of my starched, ruffled, and ironed dress. I looked up to see a sea of adult faces."

What is the rest of her memory? You can find out here.

On December 21, she wrote about the best Christmas present she ever gave. She writes, "The gift that brought me the most satisfaction as the giver was one I gave to my mother many years ago."

What was the gift? Find out here.


Have you entered the OTP Goodreads Giveaway? 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 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

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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...

Merry Christmas to all OTP blog readers and the OTP authors! Enjoy the holidays and then let's get ready for 2016 and make it the best year ever!

Richard Paolinelli said...

Happy Holidays to all of our readers!!!! As a special gift go to my Facebook page: and check out a special offer that could lead to a free signed print copy of Reservations for two lucky winners.

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday. I'm enjoying reading about our pets. It's a nice stress break from the normal business of marketing during this hectic season. I'm ready to get back to that at the first of the year, though, bigger and better than ever.

Thonie Hevron said...

Wonderful blog illustrating the creative genius behind the titles-our OTP authors and Billie Johnson! Great covers on the new books, too!

Frederick Savage said...

A GREAT year coming to an end. A more GOOD-ER year ahead! Yeah, spell check okay:-)
Happy new year to all. Thanks again to Billie and Jenna for all you do.
Fred Savage: Black Indian, Red Heart (White Justice)

Frederick Savage said...

Oops from Fred Savage: Note to Jeana, I published my last comment before discovering I had spelled you name wrong! Message is still the same: THANK YOU for all you do. Jeana, you are appreciated. Fred

Beryl Reichenberg said...

Congratulations to all the big sellers for 2015! Great job.