Friday, March 4, 2016

Weekly Roundup: March 4, 2016

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! Our authors came through again this week with some great additions to our blog. Robert Richter (Something Like a Dream, Something for Nothing, Something to Die For) to gave some advice about "piggyback promotions" as a way to get one's writing noticed. Then Sharon Ervin (Jingo Street) shared her formula for book writing and talked about her road to becoming a published author.  Don't miss out on these extras, and please post your comments and questions for the authors and the OTP community.

The PEN literary award winners for 2016 were announced earlier this week, and they include notable writers such as Toni Morrison. Winning a PEN award is an impressive honor, and OTP is ecstatic to be able to count a PEN winner among our authors. Loyd Little was the 1976 winner of the PEN/Hemmingway award for debut fiction for his novel Parthian Shot. 1976 was the inaugural year for the award, which was established by Mary Hemmingway "to honor the memory of her husband, Ernest Hemingway, and to recognize distinguished first books of fiction."

Loyd is the author of the very recently released A Fox with Earrings, a delightful mystery in which in innocent man must scramble to find his girlfriend's real killer among their acquaintances before his status as prime suspect results in an indictment for murder. The writing is as good as the story in this novel, and it's no wonder.

You can find A Fox with Earrings in our bookstore along with the many other titles we offer from our talented authors. We have mysteries, memoirs, thrillers, romances, and westerns for every taste. Check out our recent bestsellers to start your browsing!

And of course, thank you for stopping by 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.

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We’re excited to announce our latest releases! 

The Wicked and the Dead by Robert Weibezahl. Screenwriter Billy Winnetka likes to write about crime, not solve it. But when an old producer friend dies under suspicious circumstances, Billy's doubts about the cause of death are too troubling to ignore. True, Harold Clausen was embroiled in some shady business deals—and he might have been having an affair—but that's all par for the course in Tinseltown. Yet, as one by one more movie veterans are permanently cut from the picture, Billy suspects a more complex plot.

When an irascible cop named Goold dismisses his theory that all these deaths are linked, the curious writer enlists the help of Harold's erstwhile, guileless assistant, Tony, to help find the murderer. The pursuit leads to a cast of eccentric characters even a B-list screenwriter couldn't dream up. But the killer eludes them . . . until Billy and Tony themselves become his next candidates for the big sleep.

The first in the series, and back in print at last, The Wicked and the Dead blends elements of classic Los Angeles noir with a more light-hearted skewering of the insular world of the film industry. 

Robert Weibezahl is the author of two crime novels -- The Wicked and the Dead and The Dead Don't Forget -- featuring screenwriter-sleuth Billy Winnetka. Robert has also written a number of short stories, including the Derringer Award finalist "Identity Theft," which appears in the anthology Deadly by the Dozen. His two literary cookbooks/anthologies -- A Taste of Murder and A Second Helping of Murder, co-edited with Jo Grossman, were both finalists for the Agatha and Macavity Awards. A columnist for BookPage since 2002, his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Reader, Ventura County Star, Mystery Readers Journal, Bikini, Irish America, and many other national and regional publications.

Praise for the novel:

"Set in Hollywood in the ‘90s, The Wicked and the Dead is a fun read with engaging characters and a fast-moving plot that keeps you guessing till the very end!" ~Amy M. Bennett, author of the Black Horse Campground mystery series


New author Dave Cropp was a guest on Marilyn Meredith's Marilyn's Musings blog on February 29. He talks about  the writing and publication of his first novel, Valley Heat, which is forthcoming from OTP.

He writes, "I am new to the blogosphere.

"I am excited about my first novel that will be coming out this summer. . . .

"It is based on my many years in law enforcement with a loose analogy to Dante’s Divine Comedy, specifically his journey through hell (inferno).

"It’s taken me years to write.  The idea fascinated me from the start, and the challenge of fitting my cop stories into a new fiction format was important to me." 

You can read the rest of the post here. 


Robert Richter was a guest on P.J. Nunn's Bookbrowsing blog on February 17, where he shares his thoughts about writing and describes how he came to pursue writing fiction.

He writes, "Early on, I made the decision that I wasn’t a professional or a laborer who wrote.  I was a writer who labored at other professions to be able to write as I wanted, what I wanted.  For twenty years I was a writer who farmed.  For another twenty I was a writer who drove trucks, led tours in Mexico, taught part-time, interpreted in the courts.  For all those years and more, I was a writer who wrote.  Every day." 

You can read the full post here. 

Robert is most recently the author of Something to Die For: The Cotton Waters Stories. Cotton Waters is a gringo expatriate in exile on the Mexican west coast, an illegal alien and ex-political activist with old and unresolved legal problems in the U.S. Known to his cantina buddies as "Algo," or Something  in Spanish, for years he's scrounged a lazy fishing village lifestyle and a little beer money out of the Puerto  Vallarta tourist trade as tour guide, cultural consultant, and a private hustler of a Mexican Riviera lost-and-found--helping some people get lost and finding others--if the price is right or the client's cause worth the time and interest.   


Thonie Hevron is emceeing the monthly Copperfield's/Redwood Writers Fiction Book Club through June. In the photo on the left, she's introducing Marilyn Campbell, author of Trains to Concordia, to the crowd. In May, book club co-chair Billie Payton-Settles will be emceeing because Thonie's second book, Intent to Hold is the book for that month.

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.

Children’s book author and artist Beryl Reichenberg will be teaching several bookmaking and paper craft classes for children during the month of March.

On March 12, from 3 to 4 p.m., she'll be at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum in Santa Maria, California, and the topic of the class will be leaves. The children will talk about the importance of trees and leaves in our lives, including releasing oxygen and taking up CO2, and providing food and shelter for us, animals, and other creatures, shelter. She'll be teaching two pop-out card forms to accompany this subject. She'll also be reading her most recent book, Dancing with Leaves.
On March 18, she'll be In Paso Robles, California, at Studios on the Park from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. There she'll be showing the children how to make an exploding box.

Beryl writes, "I encourage adults to try their hand at the projects and help any of their children under six years old. I show kids how to make the basic card form and leave the decorations up to them. My samples are for information only and I encourage kids to use their own imagination and creativity. I try to develop projects that will appeal to all age groups and skill levels."

Beryl will also be selling and promoting her other children’s picture books at the event. Among her many titles for children are six titles from OTP: Ants on a Log, Butterfly Girls, Camouflage, Clowning Around, When Caterpillars Dream, and The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake. 

You can read about her writing and art projects at her website.


Oak Tree Press authors will be attending the Tucson Festival of Books on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona, on the weekend of March 12 and 13. The festivities begin each day at 9:30 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. 

The festival features exhibits, author presentations, panel discussions, and of course, books!

OTP will be in booth 119, which is kitty-corner from the booth for The Arizona Daily Star, one of the main sponsors of the event. 

The following OTP authors will be attending the festival and present in the booth: 

Virgil Alexander
Amy Bennett

J.L. Greger
Sharon Arthur Moore
Carolyn Niethammer

Richard Paolinelli 
D.R. Ransdell
Robert Richter

Also attending, but not present in the booth, will be Susan Lang and Channing Whittaker. Publisher Bille Johnson will be accompanied by Monica McLanahan, an editor and writing group facilitator and former bookseller from Oakhurst, California.

The festival enters its eighth year as the fourth largest literary event in the country attracting over 450 authors and over 130,000 participants during the weekend. All proceeds from the festival are donated to local non-profit organizations that support improved literacy in Southern Arizona . . . more than $1,250,000 has been donated since the festival began in 2009.


D.R. Ransdell will be holding a launch party for her latest novel, Dizzy in Durango, on Monday, March 14, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at 5434 E. 9th ST. (near Broadway and Craycroft), in Tucson, Arizona. The festivities for the night will include the following:

5 to 5:30: Warm-up music with Cookie and Ellen

5:30 to 6:30: Book talk and signing

6:30 to 7:30: Mariachis for your pleasure! 

In Dizzy in Durango, the third in the Andy Veracruz mystery series, 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! 


Nicholas Checker reports that on March 2, he heard something very encouraging: "A friend of mine who purchased both my Oak Tree Press novels, Druids and Scratch, loaned them to someone who was going through some struggles.

The person said she not only enjoyed the books immensely, but that they were key factors in her escaping her darker moments and gaining a sense of comfort. Wow! There are times when I realize how important it is to write a story just for the telling."


Dac Crossley reports that "Texas Hill Country in the springtime tugs at me, an old exile now living in Georgia. I'm off middle of the month to the Hill Country, where I'll lose myself in all those wildflowers. The old childhood haunts call to me, now that winter has been banished. A new camera and new short-focus binoculars will let me get right there with the birds and butterflies. Don't have a pair of close focusing binoculars? You're missing out!"


Additional details about these events will appear in future Roundups. 

John Lindermuth's short story, "A Clue With A Double Meaning," will be in the March issue of Mystery Weekly Magazine and also will be included in the magazine's free weekly email on March 28.


John Wills will be signing his books at the 6th Annual Home & Garden Show at the Fauquier County Fairgrounds, 6209 Old Auburn Rd, Warrenton, Virginia, on Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


We’ve been busy always adding many OTP ebooks to the collections available for Barnes and Noble's Nook readers and apps. 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 Nook device to read e-books. You can read on your computer, smartphone, or tablet by downloading the Nook app from Barnes and Noble.

Druids by Nicholas Checker. Druids is a medieval fantasy adventure of an isolated lad born with an eerie sense that earns him the suspicion and contempt of those who fail to see it as a gift. He joins with two renowned knights -- both caught up in a terse gender rivalry -- while on a perilous quest to liberate a ruined land from a druid-lord’s deranged sorcery. It raises images of a nerve-wracking game of chess come to life a broken castle, a captive queen in dire need of being released, a dread knight whose very name terrorizes foes, and underling foot-soldiers deemed “pons” -- who yet harbor a latent strength of their own. And rippling through the saga, like a whispery breeze, is the mysterious Cryptic Sense -- possessed by those destined to become druids. A blend of ancient beliefs like animism and the early science of alchemy – and draped in the Native American spiritualism of Manitou. The Cryptic Sense of this tale explores the tight bond between druids nature.

Ignore the Pain by J.L. Greger. Sara Almquist couldn’t say no when invited to be the epidemiologist on a public health mission to Bolivia. Soon she finds dangers lurk around every corner of the Witches’ Market and churches of La Paz as someone from her past pursues her. Unfortunately, she can’t decide which of her colleagues to trust as she learns more than she ever wanted to know about coca production, the god Tio of the silver mines of Potosí, and Bolivian politicians.

Jingo Street by Sharon Ervin. Max Marco, 36, murdered his first man when he was eight years old. New attorney Anne Krease, 24, grew up sheltered like a hothouse orchid. When naive Anne meets the semiretired “enforcer,” the chemistry between them is magnetic. Jingo Street is a love story, not a romance. It has an inevitable ending, not a happily ever-after one.


Malignancy by J.L. Greger. Men disguised as police officers shoot at Sara Almquist twice in one day. The real police suspect Jim Mazzone, a drug czar currently awaiting trial in Albuquerque, will order more hits on Sara. After all, Sara was the key to Mazzone’s capture in Bolivia while she was consulting on public health problems there. Thus when colleagues in the State Department invite Sara to arrange scientific exchanges between the U.S. and Cuba, she jumps at the chance to get out of Albuquerque. Maybe, she should question their motives. 

The Purloined Skull by Velda Brotherton. When dogs dig up a human skeleton people in Cedarton, Arkansas learn that murder can happen even in a small town in the Ozarks. Dal Starr, the newly hired crime scene investigator balks at having local reporter Jessie Stone tag along on his investigation. Sparks fly between the two as they try to learn who was buried under a bluff and who killed him. The discovery of a lost skull threatens to reveal hidden secrets and end two careers.

Sarah Darlin' by Shirley Skufca Hickman.  English aristocrat, Richard Moresby, seeks his fortune in the California gold fields so he can reclaim his ancestral estate. But when he meets spirited Sarah O’Malley at the Jenny Lind Theater, his thoughts of England fade. Accustomed to rebuffing male attentions in 1850s San Francisco, Sarah is surprised to find Richard intrigues and excites her, but she knows Moresby’s rakish reputation and fears damaging hers, so she rebuffs him. Moresby persists, and continues to pursue her, but before they can declare their love, they must deal with prejudice, a murder trial, a lynching party, a fire at the Jenny Lind and a terrible secret from Sarah’s past.

Sooner than Gold by John Lindermuth. It’s the summer of 1898. The nation, just coming out of an economic slump, has been at war with Spain since April. And Sylvester Tilghman, sheriff of Arahpot, Pennsylvania, has a murder victim with many enemies. There’s Claude, found with a knife in his hand, and Rachel, a surly teen who say she intended harm. The gypsies claim the victim is the goryo who stole their young woman. If this isn’t complication enough, add in threats to his job, a run-in with a female horse thief; scary predictions by a fortuneteller, and the theft of Doc Mariner’s new motorcar, plus plenty of good eating, church-going and socializing.

Spooky Tells by Tanis Rush. Sarah “Spooky” Knight, a clairvoyant private detective and Detective Michael Balcher of Las Vegas Police Department are thrown together in a suspenseful race to outwit The Ice Man, a dangerous man who stumbled upon Spooky’s deepest secret—the fact that she can teleport. When he corners Spooky on a casino rooftop, Balcher tries to save her, but they are forced over the edge. In a mid-fall rescue, Spooky grabs onto Balcher and teleports them back to her bedroom. The process indelibly entwines them—through perils and trials and a few sensual escapades, they eventually master their newfound power and turn it against the Ice Man.

Sports Therapy for the Mediocre by Donald Caplin. What does a sports therapist do? In this novel, based on his own experiences, author Donald Caplin takes us through one would-be athlete’s treatment. The therapist looks over the client’s emails, interviews his competitors, and faces him on the field to learn what’s keeping this mediocre athlete from finding his athletic niche.

Sweet Dreams: 50 Romantic Bedtime Stories for Big Girls by April Knight. Funny, tender, inspiring romance stories for busy women who think they don’t have time to read. Every story is different, takes less than ten minutes to read, will touch your heart, and make you smile. Perfect for reading while riding a bus, having coffee, during the kids’ naps or just before going to bed at night. The stories are about imperfect people searching for perfect love -- young love, old love, lost love and re-found love -- and feature unforgettable characters of all ages.


Teed Off! by Nicola Furlong. When coroner Riley Quinn tees off an investigation into the suspicious death of her boss and brother-in-law, she finds herself sand-wedged by a villainous environmental group, a mysterious Japanese consortium and her estranged sister. In order to catch a cunning and ruthless murderer, Riley must face a nasty past she thought dead and buried. The chocoholic club pro quickly discovers that not all bad lies are on the golf course; unfortunately, sometimes they’re much closer to home.

The Zyratron Affair by Joe Nowlan.  Zyratron -- star” of 1960s horror movies made in Japan, met with minimal success. The producers marketed figurines of the robot-like monster but, like the movies, figurine sales bombed. But now newer audiences see them as hilariously awful and campishly enjoyable. Consequently, the few remaining Zyratrons are so coveted that someone in Boston is stealing them and killing their owners. Adding to the confusion, imitation Zyratrons have emerged, confounding the thieves and murderers as well as photographer Ben Hudson, his Boston Banner colleagues, the Boston Police . . . eventually, even the FBI.

Wild Justice by B.A. Kelly. Not since Butch and Sundance have there been two such likable characters, but, likable or not, and even though they're innocent, Rin Cutter and his partner Ben Santiago are all set to hang for killing Ty Madden in a poker game. When they escape and become involved with beautiful, independent Tory Trent, also on the run for something she is falsely accused of, the chase is on. Throughout their headlong flight, from the eastern slopes of the Colorado Rockies to Santa Fe, the three fugitives encounter Apaches, bounty hunters and old—and sometimes treacherous—friends, including a horse with a mind of his own. And to complicate matters, it looks like Cutter and Santiago are falling in love with Tory.


Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredity) published twice on writing-related blogs on March 1.

On the Make Mine Mystery blog, she wrote about her inspiration for writing police procedurals. You can read her post here.   

She also wrote on The Stiletto Gang blog about why she gets items on her to-do list completed ahead of time as often as she can -- because disruptions can come up without warning.

She writes, "My to-do list is always full and I try to cross things off as quickly as I can.

"I've always lived by my calendar and kept track of what is schedules. Every day I check my calendar to see what I'm supposed to do and where I'm supposed to be.

"A big disruption happened on Sunday morning. 

Find out what happened here.

After reading these posts, you might want an update on Marilyn's life and family. You'll find it on her Marilyn's Musings blog in a post she wrote on March 4. 


Lorna Collins blogged this week about her marriage, talking about how she and her husband have stayed together for more than 50 years. This post is the first in a series.

She writes, "On Saturday night, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our good friends, Ron and Julie. We celebrated our own last September. Several others were married the same year, and still others will celebrate their milestone anniversaries this year and next.

"Often people ask us how we managed to make it this long. With all the golden wedding anniversary parties we have attended and expect to attend, I’ve given quite a bit of thought to the question.

You can read the rest of her thoughts here.  


That wraps up the Roundup for this week! We hope you enjoyed our news.
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Amy Bennett said...

How wonderful to see our books being made even more widely available. And I'm happy to say I've read a few of the ones listed this week (means I'm getting through my list!)

I'll be seeing some of you in Tucson next weekend! Can't wait!

John M. Wills said...

OTP=One Tough Publisher.

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

I love being able to read what my fellow OTP authors are up to.

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

It's like a busy bee hive around OTP authors these days. Great blog, as always.

Billie Johnson said...

What a great WRU....I am busy getting ready for TUCSON FOB, but had to take time out to see what everyone is up to...plenty, it is obvious! OTP authors are the best!!

Beryl Reichenberg said...

Enjoy your trip to the wildflowers, Dac. And for those who are going to Tucson for the book festival have fun! I know you will. Meeting the public and being with other authors is a delight. Beryl

Helen Osterman said...

I would love to go to Tucson, but I live in the midwest and have a few health issues that prevent my traveling so far. Good luck to all who are going.\Helen Osterman

Holli Castillo said...

As usual OTP authors are on the move. Finally found my Kindle buried under a stack of paperwork on my desk, had to update the software, but can now read all those OTP books I've downloaded. Yay!

Radine Trees Nehring said...

Lots of good news in the RoundUp. I especially enjoyed the photos and always like seeing the book cover art.

nancy said...

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Nancy J.

Nancy LiPetri said...

Nick Checker's thought about helping readers escape their troubles through storytelling--it's the best reward, I agree :) Great newsy and inspiring roundup.

Ronald Wendling said...

Great to see the new books, new authors, and all the good promotional activity.

Eileen Obser said...

Glad to read the weekly blog, as usual! Wonderful goings-on with our authors.

David Freedland said...

The Author Connection is a great resource for promotion ideas, but this Roundup really shows how OTP authors put promotion in action. Great motivator.