Friday, January 8, 2016

Weekly Roundup: January 8, 2015

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! In addition to our new blog design, which we rolled out last week, we're bringing author posts back to our blog. Each week, we'll be featuring short writing- and book-related commentary by our authors. 

This week, we hosted posts by Doug Seaver, Joe Nowlan, and Beryl Reichenburg. Please take a look and leave your comments and questions for the authors and the community.

Books by these authors—and all of our other titles—are available in the OTP bookstore, of course Take a look and find your next compelling read!

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.

"Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window."
~William Faulkner

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
Just click on a title and you will be directed to a free read! These sample chapters are updated frequently, and new releases are featured. Recently added titles include Track Three, I Saw You in Beirut, A Full Bubble Off Plumb, A Fox with Earrings, and Black Indian Red Heart (White Justice)



Oak Tree Press is excited to announce the publication of our latest title, A Perception of Murder by Carl Tiktin. Stuck in a mid-level job at an insurance agency, Evan Dorchester comes up with a way to beat the tedium of actuarial tables and legalese. He invents a shadow company, The Good Fortune Insurance Company and, under an alias as its rep, contacts his agency's corporate clients who have taken out insurance policies on key partners or employees. "What's it worth to you," he asks them, "to guarantee that the insured is deceased by a certain date?"

It's a wonderful prank that Evan delights in carrying out from the lobby pay phones at his office building. Then one day he gets the news that he's been found out, and the joke is now on him.

Praise for the novel:

A Perception of Murder is a masterpiece of the genre. The plot builds on itself cinematically as the main character spirals into complicity and danger like Brian Cranston's Walter White in "Breaking Bad." The arcana of life insurance is Tiktin's entrance into a such an intriguingly dark world with such richly formed characters and a perfectly pitched twist at the end that it becomes one of those works that one hates to finish. It is a joy to read. ~ John Weir Close, author of A Giant Cow-Tipping by Savages, award-winning editor at The American Lawyer, The Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times, and founder of The M&A Journal.

Author Carl Tiktin started studying theater and writing plays at the HB Studio in 1974. He had readings and productions at the studio, as well as Playwrights Horizons, New York Theater Academy, and the Direct Theatre. Then, he had two novels published by Arbor House: The Hourglass Man and Ron. His short stories have appeared in the GW Review, IdeaGems, The Avalon Literary Review, and Hippocampus Magazine. His novel Frigid, released in 2014, is available in eformat format from Amazon. His next novel, Our Marriage Counselor will be released later this year.


Kings River Life’s Sandra Murphy chose Robert Lopresti’s Greenfellas as one of her top books of 2015 in the online magazines year-end survey of its editors.

Greenfellas is the comic tale of Sal Caetano, a happy man who's the brains behind a New Jersey Mafia family and expects to be made a boss soon. But everything changes on the night his first grandchild is born and he hears a news report claiming that by the time she grows up, climate change will have wrecked the world.

Sal decides to use all of his Mafia skills to save the environment, but
change turns out to be harder than he thought it would be. Soon he is fighting for his life with rivals inside and outside of his own family -- not to mention the FBI, which holds a grudge against him.


Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) is the maven for the San Joaquin Sisters in Crime’s blog, Will Kill for a Story. Meredith reports that the blog will always have “information about the coming meeting, but there’s also news about new books and writing tips.”

To subscribe to the blog, simply enter your email in the box at the top of the page.

Marilyn is the author of the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series as well as the novel Lingering Spirit. You can read about all of her writing projects at her website.


Ronald Wendling reports that "2016 will be the first in my 43-year career at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia that I will not be teaching an English class. But I was less saddened than I might have been when I saw my memoir, Unsuitable Treasure, on a shelf of new acquisitions in the university’s library. There was my book in the company of Jane Smiley’s Early Warning; Mark C. Carnes’s Minds on Fire, a book about contemporary higher education; and right next to the latest Ian Fleming novel, Trigger Mortis."

Unsuitable Treasure is a memoir in which Ronald describes how the his choices were influenced by his father’s addiction. Ronald attends a Jesuit high school in Buffalo, New York, at the same time his father is recovering from alcoholism. But Ronald’s mother, unable to forgive her husband for his past mistreatment of her, fosters 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 enters the Jesuit order at seventeen, his father dies of cancer shortly afterward, and nine lonely years later he leaves 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 teach him mercy, especially to his body, and help him bridge the gap between his appreciation of the Jesuits and the necessity he felt to leave them behind. 



Thonie Hevron was the Spotlight Author on the Celebrate with a Book blog on January 5. She talked about being a late bloomer. She writes, “I’ve always been a late bloomer. I remember not feeling the excitement my friends did when the Beatles music came on the radio. It was much later that I recognized the genius in the lyrics and the beat finally got my toe tapping.

"It’s the same with writing.”

You can read the full post here.

Thonie is the author of By Force or Fear and Intent to Hold, both of which were selected as award winners by the Public Safety Writers Association. Her third novel, With Malice Aforethought, is forthcoming.

In Intent to Hold, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Reyes answers a call from his estranged wife in Mexico to help find her kidnapped brother. When he and his partner Meredith Ryan arrive, they find the crime is not as simple as they were told. Betrayed and caught by the police, they are expelled from Mexico. Returning to Puerto Vallarta by boat at night, Nick and Meredith battle nature, Federales, crime cartels and even Nick’s own family to rescue his brother-in-law. To complicate their mission, Nick must face the end of his marriage while Meredith hasn’t yet put her own nightmares to rest.


Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) was interviewed on three blogs this week.

On January 5, she was interviewed by Sharon Buchbinder's blog. In the interview, Marilyn talks about her writing process and approach to writing projects. She even shares a time management tip—something all writers can use.

"What’s your favorite time management tip? Always do what is most important first. If you don’t, you’ll be worrying about whatever it is and not be able to focus on the next task as you should. I do this with my writing too. I like to finish pending projects, or even something like paying bills, so I can put my full concentration on my writing."

You can read the full interview here.

On January 6, she was the featured author for this month's Coffee Chat on Ally Shields's blog. She discussed her Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.

Regarding the series, Marilyn says, "I don’t have a set plan about the future of the series. I don’t outline, I get an idea for the next book, often when I’m writing the latest. More ideas flow and I keep notes. Often I’ll have to do research about some aspect of what I plan to write.  No, I don’t have a set number of books planned. I suspect I’ll continue writing about Tempe until I am no longer able to write."

You can read the complete chat here.

She was also interviewed on Interviews with Writers, where she covered topics about her writing process and sources of inspiration:

"What inspires you to write?
It’s not so much inspiration to write as the absolute need to do so. Because I feel like the characters in my series are real, the only way to find out what happens to them next, is to write the next book." 

You can read the full interview here.

Marilyn is the author of nearly 40 books, including two mystery series, and the novel Lingering Spirit.

In Lingering Spirit, Nicole Ainsworth struggles with the changes forced on her life after her police officer husband is killed in the line of duty. Her efforts to focus on her daughters and cope with her grief are kept off balance by images of Steve, her deceased husband, who seems to be trying to communicate with her. Eventually, Nicole finds that Steve isn't the only one watching over her, and she discovers a second chance at happiness.


John H. Gibson's political suspense thriller Track Three was featured as the Friday Sampler on Venture Galleries. Venture Galleries blogger Linda Pirtle quotes a reader review of the novel: "John Gibson’s latest novel, Track Three . . . 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."

The Friday Sampler is "a series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today."

Sussex, England
. . . a shooting . . . ? a stabbing . . . ? a drowning . . . ?
Once again Douglas Wheeler relaxed into position in the chair, forced his brain free of clutter, commanded total concentration. Now, individually and at some length, he considered his choices. He tried to zero in on the virtues of each approach, tried to pinpoint inherent complications. He remained, for the longest time, motionless, evaluating each method again and again, concentrating, con – cen – trat – ing . . .Shit!

Douglas flung the pencil to the desktop, shoved his thin frame away from the desk, stood, charged off in the direction of the terrace doors. He simply could not understand it. He had been at it now for days, from dawn till dusk, but so far, nothing he had come up with came even remotely close to approaching the objective. He had tried everything,
everything, and still he could not formulate a suitable scheme with which to commit the murder. It was bloody frustrating, was what it was.

Douglas came to a halt at the windowed terrace-doors. How,
how, can you ever hope to gain their notice, he thought to himself. How can you ever hope to be taken seriously when you can’t even manage a little thing like this? He shook his head in disgust. What hopelessly glaring ineptitude.

He glared out of the terrace doors now. “I’ll bet you would know, wouldn’t you?” he said aloud, staring into the distance to the lush green English countryside. “You would have no trouble at all with this – after all, murder is your business, isn’t it?” . . .

You can read the full sample here.

John's book is also part of the January bookshelf giveaway on Stacy Alesi's website

In Track Three, readers 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 attempts 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.


Richard Paolinelli is offering a special promotion for his novel Reservations. Until January 15th, anyone who buys the Kindle version of the novel, leaves a review on Amazon, and sends him a link to the review via private message on Facebook, will be entered into a drawing for a signed print copy of the book.

Two copies in total will be given away to two lucky winners. There are no requirements on amount of stars or negative/positive reviews and the type of review will not be considered when drawing the two names of the winners.

Reservations 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.


Eileen Obser will be speaking about her memoir, Only You, on Thursday, January 14, at Vital-a-tea, at 49 Main Street, Riverhead, New York. The event begins at 6 p.m.

Set in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the memoir relates her personal experience growing up in Queens, New York -- her doomed-to-fail marriage at eighteen to a nineteen-year-old boy from their candy store crowd.

Eileen shows how two naïve, uninformed teenagers were influenced by social and religious pressures, to disastrous consequences.


OTP children’s book author and artist Beryl Reichenberg will host a series of children’s paper craft and bookmaking classes in cities along California’s Central Coast. She’ll be showing children how to make a pop-out book of monsters and animal faces at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles on Friday, January 15, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and on Sunday, January 24, at the Santa Maria Discovery Museum in Santa Maria from 3 to 4 p.m.

On Saturday, January 23, at 1 p.m., she’ll be at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden in San Luis Obispo helping children make a recycled book about elephant families and conservation.

Beryl is the author of six children's books with Oak Tree Press. You can read about these books and her other writing and artistic projects at her website.


Amy M. Bennett will launch a blog tour on Monday, January 18, for her upcoming novel At the Cross Road, the third book in her Black Horse Campground mystery series. She is actively seeking bloggers who are interested in hosting her on their blogs.

Amy says she can either "send a blog with a topic of my choosing or post on a specific topic, either writing related or personal, but preferably something specific instead of a general 'tell me about yourself' post." She's seeking blog appearances of all types for the tour, even those that are not writing related ("you never know what kind of a spin I can make on my books!" she writes).

Interested bloggers can contact Amy with their ideas via e-mail:


Larry K. and Lorna Collins will be the featured speakers at The Memory Keeper: A Literary Luncheon on January 18, 2016 at 11 a.m at the Costa Mesa Country Club in Costa Mesa, California. They'll be talking about and selling copies of their book, The Memory Keeper to an expected crowd of approximately 200 guests.

They’ll also be selling copies of Ghost Writer, which is set in the area and should attract the interest of attendees. The event is sponsored by the Santa Ana/Tustin and and Huntington Valley West committees of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

In Ghost Writer, unemployed computer programmer Nan Burton inherits a California beach cottage from her great-great-aunt and is 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 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.


Les Hoffman will be signing of his novel Sudden Justice on Wednesday, January 20, at 7 p.m., as part of the Joint Effort Leisure Ministries program sponsored by the Community Presbyterian Church in Port Aransas, Texas. The event will feature readings and a meet and greet with the author.

Les reports that this event is one of the "Winter Texan" events he plans to schedule in Port Aransas to promote his book to readers who arrive during the annual winter influx of tourists to the area.

In Sudden Justice, A Mexican drug lord expands his brutal enterprise into South Texas. An overbearing business executive entraps the women in his employ. A Southern patriarch and his son control a small Alabama town with an iron fist and a thieving hand. These situations have one thing in common. The perpetrators have found a way to operate outside the law, while the victims have nowhere to turn . . . or do they?

Bryce Daniels is a man who understands the pain and frustration of feeling helpless against the power of money and the arrogance that it breeds Resurrected from a troubled youth after the death of his father, he is now a family man, engineering professor, and community theater actor with a flair for costuming. But behind these idyllic circumstances, he uses all his skills to help those who find themselves outside the rule of law.

Daniels travels from the hills of Texas to the coastal wilds of Alabama to hunt a ruthless enemy, while being hunted himself by an investigative journalist piecing together his vigilante activities. The ensuing roller coaster of events culminates in a dire threat to himself, his family, and the belief system he has built his life around.  


J.L. Greger’s I Saw You in Beirut was featured on the first page of the December 2015 CoverReads, a service of the New Mexico Book Co-op.

The co-op promotes books and writers from America’s Southwest, distributing the monthly CoverReads flier to bookstores and libraries throughout the region.


Additional details about these events will appear in future Roundups. 

Serita Stevens will be speaking about pitching - do's and don'ts - at Women Helping Women on February 14. She'll be presenting on and pitching, writing scripts vs books, breaking into Hollywood, and other topics at the West Coast Writers conference on the weekend of February 26.


Richard Paolinelli has booked an April 21 appearance on The Writers Block, a program of the LA Talk Radio online network. The program will begin at 8 p.m. (PDT).


Marilyn Meredith hosted Sarah Wisseman on her Marilyn's Musings blog to talk about how to plan a mystery. Sarah writes, "I am like most writers: the blank computer screen scares me. So I use whatever physical and visual aids I can think of to get going—and keep going—on a new book.”

You can read the full post here.

Marilyn also posted to the Make Mine Mystery blog, asking the question, "What are your plans for 2016?" Fans of her Rocky Bluff P.D. series will take special note of this: "March will bring a new Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery to promote. I'm working on a blog tour now for mid April--that means finding people to host me and writing what I hope will be intriguing posts for each one."

Find out here what else she's planning -- publishing, writing, and otherwise -- for the coming year.


Lorna Collins blogged this week about making resolutions for 2016. Lorna writes, "It’s a new year, and most of us feel compelled to make New Year’s resolutions.


"Every year I say I’m not going to do it…except…

"I always resolve to get healthy. Every year. Sometimes I actually succeed. The frustration comes when factors beyond my control interfere."

You can find out here how she hopes to keep the resolution this year.


Jackie Taylor Zortman hosted author J.L. Greger on her blog on January 7 to talk about how memories can add realism to novels. Here's a excerpt from this interesting post:

"How did I use my memories in this thriller? Easy. I combined several of my memories with facts and lots of fiction. The University of Wisconsin-Madison was awash with Iranian students protesting the Shah in the late 1970s. I was a professor there and the graduate advisor of one of these students. Conversations with her and her friends served the basis of creating the fiery character Farideh in I Saw You in Beirut."

You can read the full post here.


Mary Montague Sikes posted on her Notes Along the Way blog this week about how writing the romance novel has changed during her time as a writer. In talking about her desire to write in the romance genre and struggles with finding an agent, she writes, "Many of the writers I started out with are now successful authors on The New York Times bestseller list. I applaud them. They had the 'write' stuff and the tenacity to stick with it. I didn't. Rejection letters blew me away. I couldn't keep going. I couldn't rewrite my books to follow "the formula."

Find out how Mary continued writing some romance after all in the full post here.



Marilyn Meredith received a 5-star review on December 31, 2015, for Fringe Benefits, the third of the 11 books currently composing her Rocky Bluff PD mystery series. The review comes on the heels of Marilyn’s recent giveaway of a Kindle book from either of her series to the first 20 readers who responded to her Christmas blog post.

In a review titled A Really Good Book, reader Rose Arbor writes “The author takes [many] threads and weaves them together into a tightly woven plot that will keep you guessing. I loved this book and look forward to more visits in Rocky Bluff.”

You can read the full review here.


Have you been entering the OTP Goodreads Giveaways? We have another one upcoming! 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 J.L. Greger's thriller I Saw You in Beiruit beginning on January 9th. You'll have to wait until then to enter, but once the giveaway begins, you'll have until December 16 to add your name to the drawing.

In I Saw You in Beirut, F, a mysterious source of leaks on the Iranian nuclear industry, sends an email from Tabriz. “Help. Contact Almquist.” As Sara Almquist is drawn into the plan to identify and rescue F from Iran, she is forced to remember and re-evaluate characters from her student days at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and from her career as a globe-trotting epidemiologist. 

Which of her past decisions put her in jeopardy? Or is her current friendship with Sanders, an urbane state department official, the real reason she’s being attacked?

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.
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Amy Bennett said...

Neither rain nor sleet nor snow can stop these authors! What a great way to kick off the New Year with a lot of new books and authors! Great job, Nancy!

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

My goodness, I feel like a blog hog. When you put it all together it seem like I'm awfully busy--actually, I'm not. A lot of these blog posts were written at an earlier time. To tell the truth, when I read them, I'm sometimes surprised by what I wrote. Thank you, Nancy, for gather all of this together!

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Another informative WRU, Nancy. You truly are quick at keeping things current, too. We do seem like a hive of truly busy bees. Marilyn, you are being modest. You accomplish more than anyone I know.

Beryl Reichenberg said...

You Marilyn deserve all the praise for your efforts. You are an inspiration for us all.

Nancy Jacoby said...

Thanks for reading and sending me your news, everyone. Working with all of you to put the Roundup together each week is truly my pleasure. :)

Nancy J.