Friday, May 6, 2016

Weekly Roundup: May 6, 2016

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! We hope you followed our blog all week for the thoughtful posts and commentary of our authors. This week, Joe Nowlan (Media Blitz and The Zyratron Affair) pondered whether you can derive inspiration from reading, and Marilyn Meredith provided a status report on the last phase of the epic blog tour for her latest release A Crushing Death. Please be sure to enjoy these posts and leave a comment! 

Then check out the award-winning titles in the OTP bookstore as well. We have compelling stand-alone mysteries and mystery series, thrillers, romances, police procedurals, westerns, memoirs, and children's bookseven some paranormal storiesmany of which have been acknowledged as prizewinners or finalists for regional and national book awards. Whatever your tastes, you'll find a book to love among our titles. 

We have more options than ever for ebook lovers! In addition to being available for Barnes and Noble's Nook and Amazon's Kindle readers and apps, our books are now for sale at All Romance and its partner site OmniLit. These sites run promotions at times, giving you a chance to fill your library at a reduced cost. We are also making OTP books available as iBooks through Apple's iTunes.

Our latest ebook venture is our storefront at Papertrell, a partnership with Hummingbird Digital Media. Readers can shop online or by using the My Must Reads app. Up to five devices can be linked to each individual Papertrell account. 

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.

"First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!"
~Ray Bradbury

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We're excited to announce the winners of our annual contest! All of the 2015 entries were exceptional and we had a difficult time narrowing down the best of the best.

Dark Oak Mysteries 
First Place - A Penchant for Poe by Marilyn Wilton
Second Place - The Boat House by Elaine Lohrman
Third Place - Junior by Bruce Post 

Cop Tales 
First Place - Well of Rage by Lynn Hesse
Second Place - Ten Hours in July by Tekla Dennison Miller 
Third Place - Jaguarundi by Mike Hartman 

Timeless Love Romance 
First Place - Makeover by Barbara Lorna Hudson
Second Place - Love in America by Daniel J. Uebbing

Congratulations to these writers! Our 2016 contest will open soon, and we'll announce the call for entries here in the Weekly Roundup and on the OTP website. Get your manuscripts ready!


Marilyn Meredith (aka F. M. Meredith) was interviewed on Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum blog on April 30 as part of her blog tour for her latest release A Crushing Death, the 12th book in her Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

Patricia elicits some interesting information from Marilyn. For example, 

"Patricia: Marilyn, when did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

Very soon after I learned how to read.  My first long efforts began after reading the Little House on the Prairie books. I wrote my own version of one. And no, I don’t have a copy, it was when I was about 10 or 11. Sometime in that same period I wrote and illustrated a book about a fairy—and I received my first rejection from a publisher. The note told me to keep on writing."

You can read the full interview here.

In A Crushing Death, a pile of rocks is found on a dead body beneath the condemned pier, a teacher is accused of molesting a student, the new police chief is threatened by someone she once arrested for violent attacks on women, and Officer Milligan’s teenage daughter has a problem.


Marilyn Meredith (aka F. M. Meredith) was featured on several blogs this week as part of her blog tour for her latest release A Crushing Death, the 12th book in her Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series.

On May 1, she was featured on M. K. Graff's Auntie M Writes blog. Marilyn's topic was how to keep a series fresh.

She explains, "In order to keep people wanting to read the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, these are the things that I try to do

"This is a mystery series first, so of course, there must be an intriguing mystery and usually that means someone is murdered, though not always. As with any mystery, there will be several possible suspects and it’s up to my detectives to figure out who is the guilty person."

You can read about the rest of her techniques here. 

On May 2, she was featured on Maggie King's blog, where she answered the question, How much grit do you want in your mystery?

"She begins, "My first Rocky Bluff P.D. mysteries were far grittier in the beginning than they are now. By grittier, I mean more descriptive of horrific crimes and a bit more sex. Now, I tend to shut the door and let the reader imagine what’s going on.I could say the same thing about my Tempe Crabtree series. In both series, I wrote books about horrendous crimes against children, which I’ll never do again."

You can read the full post here. 

On May 3, Marilyn analyzed the first two pages of Murder in the Worst Degree, on B. K. Stevens's The First Two Pages blog.

She writes, "The purpose of this blog is for me to analyze the first two pages of a previous book—and I chose an earlier book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series: M​urder in the Worst Degree. I chose it because it has one of my best first lines."

You can read the full analysis here.   

On May 6, she was featured on Lois Winston's Killer Crafts & Craft Killers blog, the blog of her mystery series protagonist Anastasia Pollack Craft. Marilyn was the Book Club Friday guest on the blog, and she wrote about mistakes people make on Facebook.

She writes, "Facebook is great! I post on it first thing in the morning and often several times during the day.

"I have lots of friends and love reading what they are doing, how they think, and seeing photos of them, their children and grandchildren and their activities. However, I also see things they should never put on Facebook." 

You can read the full post here.

Marilyn was also hosted by fellow OTP authors this week. See the Blog Corral section below for details!  

In A Crushing Death, a pile of rocks is found on a dead body beneath the condemned pier, a teacher is accused of molesting a student, the new police chief is threatened by someone she once arrested for violent attacks on women, and Officer Milligan’s teenage daughter has a problem.


Ilene Schneider was also a featured blogger this week on Lois Winston's Killer Crafts & Craft Killers blog. Ilene's post was the first of a new “Favorites, Failures, and Frustrations” feature at the blog.

In the post, Ilene shares ruminations on the frustration and ultimate failure she suffered trying to learn how to play the piano when she was in her 50s.

She writes, "Once upon a time, there was a little girl who thought she could sing, despite all evidence to the contrary. Instead, she was the student whom the music teacher told to 'mouth the words' in school assemblies.

"She also thought she could play a musical instrument. After all, her grandfather had been a professional saxophone player in Paul Whiteman’s society dance band in the early 1920s, and her father had been in the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, as was her cousin. Then she was introduced to the recorder in fourth grade. All she could produce were squeaks.

"Fast-forward about forty-five years." 

You can read the full post here. 

Ilene's prizewinning novel Unleavened Dead was chosen by the Congregation Beth Israel Sisterhood book club (2200 Broadway, Bellingham, Washington) for discussion at its May 15 meeting. Ilene thanks Terri Weiner (married to fellow OTP author Robert Lopresti, whose book Greenfellas is a hoot) for letting her know about this selection.

In Unleavened Dead, the second in her Rabbi Aviva Cohen mystery series. Two members of Rabbi Aviva Cohen’s congregation are found dead, victims, they say, of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. But Aviva has info that leads her to doubt it was an accident. Then, police suspect Aviva’s niece’s partner in a hit-and-run death. Aviva is sure the woman is innocent, even though her SUV has a body-sized dent on the hood.

As she looks into the two disparate cases, Aviva discovers they may be connected, and her amateur sleuthing takes a sinister turn that involves sexual abuse of teenage girls, money laundering, stolen identities, and an FBI investigation. Once again, her curiosity has put her life in jeopardy. 


Richard Paolinelli was interviewed on the Word Nerd Book Reviews blog this week. Richard answers questions about his favorite writers and his writing projects past and present. He also talks about his preferences as a reader.

"For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

"I prefer hardcover. But I have to admit it is nice to go on a long road trip and have over 120 books on my tablet to choose from instead of having to lug around a large, heavy trunk of books."

You can read the full post here.

Richard's most recent novel is Reservations, a mystery/thriller set near Gallup, New Mexico, where the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni reservations are adjacent. Three tribal leaders have been murdered —murdered in a fashion that suggests the deeds were carried out by the Coyote, a legendary evil trickster feared by many Native Americans. 

The tribal president contacts his old friend in the FBI for assistance in solving the crimes and preventing more murders. The FBI selects its star agent, Jack Del Rio, and dispatches him to New Mexico. Del Rio finds a situation tangled in political intrigue, and must work through those issues on his way to solving the mystery. Assisting him in his quest is Officer Lucy Chee. A romantic interest develops between the two. Del Rio identifies the murderer, but not without further bloodshed and loss.


Tara Willis will be signing her novel Carry Me Home during an appearance at Fireside Books in Pal, Alaska, on Saturday, May 7, beginning at noon.

Following the passing of their invalid father, the poverty-stricken Montoya family is barely surviving, as, together, they wage a daily war against the ravages of extreme poverty, racism and a system bent on separating and destroying them. Nine months after her husband’s death, his widow makes the difficult decision to accept an advantageous marriage proposal from a close friend, for the sake of her nine young children. 

The eldest, thirteen year old Celina, is hurt and angry about the remarriage which appears, to her, a betrayal to her dear father’s memory. Just as the young family is growing close, a stranger from the past appears and reveals the shocking secret Celina’s mother has kept for many yearsa secret that will test the Gonzalez family’s love for each other and leave them changed forever.


Radine Trees Nehring is having a book release party for her latest novel, A Portrait to Die For, on Saturday, May 7, from 1 to 3 p.m., at Nightbird Books, 205 W. Dickson in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

A reading from the novel, discussion, and Q&A at will take place at 2 p.m., and refreshments will be served. The novel is the latest in her Something To Die For mystery series. 

In the novel, Carrie discovers two versions of a supposedly original portrait in a loan exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. When a reporter who interviewed Carrie at the museum disappears, Carrie must choose between her promise to stop crime-solving or work to find the woman -- a college friend of her son's.   


Author and artist Beryl Reichenberg will present a paper craft class for children at the San Luis Obispo Makerspace Expo in the Mission Plaza on May 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This annual event brings together artists, inventors, techies, tinkerers, explorers, recyclers, and dreamers of all ages demonstrating to kids and adults how they make their art and products. This year Beryl will help kids make another Mother's Day card which they can decorate and give to a loved one. The expo organizers anticipates a large crowd and is free to the public.

She will be teaching a similar class at the Santa Maria Discovery Museum (702 McClelland) in Santa Maria, California, on May 14 from 3 to 4 p.m. The craft project for this session will be the garden book.

Beryl's children's books will be featured at both events.

Beryl is being featured at the Gallery at the Network in San Luis Obispo in a fiber show during April and May. Anyone interested in seeing some of Beryl’s book art form should visit the gallery at 778 Higuera Street, Suite B, during the day or during Art After Dark on the first Friday of May.

Beryl is the author many titles for children, including six from OTP: Butterfly Girls, Ants on a Log, Camouflage, Clowning Around, When Caterpillars Dream, and The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake.


Mary Montague Sikes will be promoting her art and books at Paws for Celebration on Saturday, May 14, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the West Point Town Park in West Point, Virginia. The event is sponsored by the Indian Rivers Humane Society (Four Paws).

Mary writes, "In early April, I had the opportunity to see firsthand the dedication of the Four Paws volunteers. For a couple of years, I had been feeding a feral cat with matted fur that wouldn't let me near him. When Gina Fetterolf came by to pick up a donation, she noticed Fluffy Noir and insisted he needed to be trapped for shots, matted fur, etc. With great patience, Joan Coven came to our house and worked to trap poor, wild Fluffy. I was terrified for the cat and amazed at Joan's skill and compassion.

"After several days, Fluffy was captured, and I felt like a traitor. Joan took him to the vet and then kept him overnight at her house -- something she does for many cats. When she returned him, mat-shaven, he shot like a dart from the trap and flew to hide in the far bushes. I thought he might never return, so I was happy when I found him the next morning, waiting to be fed. He appears to hold no grudge for me.

"My thanks go out to Joan, Gina, and all the other wonderful Four Paws volunteers who have done so much for the feral cats of the area. Please stop by our booth on May 14 to visit. Please thank the Four Paws volunteers for all they do."

Mary will also be presenting her art and promoting her books on Sunday, May 15, at the Vines of Art Showcase at Saudé Creek Winery in Lanexa, Virginia, from 11 a.m to 5 p.m.

Stroll the lawn with your favorite Saudé Creek wine while mingling with various local artists from the New Town Art Gallery.

Mary's most recent novel is Evening of the Dragonfly. 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?

C. Ed Traylor will be speaking and signing copies of his award-winning novel, The Crossing, on Thursday, May 19, at 7:30 a.m. during the weekly meeting of the Taylorville Optimist Club. The meeting takes place in community room of the U.S. Bank on West Market Street.

The novel focuses on Racheed Ul-Bashar, a Pakistani whose grandfather and sister are killed in an American drone strike in Pakistan. Driven by revenge against the United States, the obsessive Racheed develops a minutely detailed plot, a synchronized attack that will hit three American cities on the anniversary of September 11. He obtains contact information of Juan Rodrequs, a violent, ruthless drug cartel leader in Juarez, Mexico, who agrees – for a price ― to move terrorists across the border and supply all materials needed for the attacks.

All goes well until Diego Garcia, a trusted ally and confidant of the cartel leader, is stopped for a speeding violation in Illinois.  There, 400 kilograms of cocaine are discovered, concealed in his vehicle, and he is facing significant prison time.  To save himself, Garcia, becomes an informant for agents of the FBI Anti-Terrorism Task Force.

Unbeknownst to the other terrorists, the informant, or the FBI Task Force, Racheed and his partner change plans at the last minute and enter the U.S. at a different location. This unexpected move forces 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?


Marilyn Meredith (aka F. M. Meredith) is in the midst off a blog tour for her latest release, A Crushing Death—the 12th in her Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series.

With more than two dozen stops, this tour is extensive, and Marilyn will be answering a host of questions about herself and the novel as well as sharing advice about writing and publishing. You won't want to miss these posts.

Another reason to keep up is Marilyn's blog tour contest. She explains that "the person who comments on the most blogs during this tour can have a character named after them in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery."

The full schedule and destinations of the tour are available here, and we'll be covering them throughout sections of the Weekly Roundup as they take place.

April 15 - Bookbrowsing blog: Why with All Your Experience Did You Choose to Write Mysteries?
April 16 - Writers Who Kill blog: What a Great Name for a Blog!
April 17 - Celebrate With a Book blog: What Makes Me Write?
April 18 - John M. Wills's blog: The Basics of a Blog Tour
April 19 - Jacqueline Vick's blog: Public Appearances
April 19 - Buried under Books blog: The Confessions of an Almost Cured Introvert
April 20 - Thonie Hevron's blog: The Setting for A Crushing Death
April 21 - J. L. Greger's blog: What Makes a Series Work?

April 22 - M. M. Gornell's blog: A Favorite Character in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series
April 23 - Profiles of Murder blog: Where Did the Idea for A Crushing Death Come From?
April 24 - Will Kill for a Story blog: About the Rocky Bluff P.D. Series
April 25 - Lorna Collins's blog: Questions About My Younger Life
April 26 - Linda Thorne's blog: The Challenge of Coming Up with New and Interesting Topics for a Blog Tour

April 27 - Joanne Guidoccio's blog: Ten Interesting Facts About Chief Chandra Taylor
April 28 - Dru's Book Musing blog: A Day in the Life of Chief Chandra Taylor
April 29 - S. D. Skye's blog: Interview
April 30 - Patricia Gligor's Writer's Forum blog: Questions Answered
May 1 - M. K. Graff's blog: Keeping a Series Fresh
May 2 - Holli Castillo's blog: Naming Characters
May 2 - Maggie King's blog: How Much Grit do you Want?

May 3 - B. K. Stevens's blog: The First Two Pages
May 5 - Jackie Taylor Zortman's Mountain Memos blog: Jackie Zortman is a Character in A Crushing Death
May 6 - Anastasia Pollock's blog: Mistakes People Make on Facebook
May 7 - Serita Stevens's blog: Crossing Paths on the Internet and in Person
May 9 - Amy Bennett's Back Deck blog: Critique Groups
May 10 - Dave Cropp's blog: My Most Favorite Writing Conference
May 11 - Evelyn Cullett's blog: A Review and Excerpt (This is the last stop on the tour. The contest winner will be notified by email or Facebook message and announced in many places.)
May 26 - Murderous Musings blog: Summing Up My Blog Tour

In A Crushing Death, a pile of rocks is found on a dead body beneath the condemned pier, a teacher is accused of molesting a student, the new police chief is threatened by someone she once arrested for violent attacks on women, and Officer Milligan’s teenage daughter has a problem.


Oak Tree Press author Liberty the Pig recently won the attention of Peter Greenberg, the CBS News travel editor. The unexpected introduction took place at the 2016 Illinois Governor's Conference on Travel and Tourism in Springfield, Illinois.

As keynote speaker, reporter Greenberg sought authentic stories told by real-life ambassadors. Carol Alexander, "as-told-to author" of Liberty's true memoir, The Big Squeal, was in the audience. She volunteered Liberty, whose inspiring story of Abraham Lincoln versus courthouse pigs has enjoyed Amazon bestseller ranking.

Charmed by Liberty's story of the American dream, Greenberg promised to visit the celebrity pig's hometown of Taylorville, Illinois. Literary Liberty will serve as tour guide for the famous globetrotter and looks forward to sharing her triumph over homelessness with his vast audience. 


Additional details about these events will appear in future Roundups.

Beryl Reichenberg will present a paper craft and bookmaking class for children on Saturday, May 28, during the Festival in the Park, the centerpiece of Paso Artsfest in Paso Robles, California. The event is being held at the Downtown City Park and begins at 10 a.m.

Lorna Collins and her husband Larry will be speaking to the Orange County chapter of California Writers Club at the Orange Public Library in Orange, California. Their topic will be writing the perfect pitch.


Oak Tree Press is exhibiting at two upcoming American Library Association conferences. Our display will feature titles that are geographically relevant to particular ALA chapters.

At the Maryland/Delaware event at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel In Ocean City, Maryland, on May 4-6, we're displaying the following books:

Chanukah Guilt by Ilene Schneider

Snapshot: The Hotel DuPont by Mary Montague Sikes

Unleavened Dead by Ilene Schneider

Our display at the Massachusetts event at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis in Hyannis, Massachusetts, on May 17-18, will include these titles:

Druids by Nicholas Checker
Media Blitz by Joe Nowlan
Reluctant Assassin
by Ken Oxman

Scratch by Nicholas Checker
The Zyratron Affair by Joe Nowlan


Marilyn Meredith (aka F. M. Meredith) hosted fellow OTP author J. L. Greger at her Marilyn's Musings blog on April 29. The topic? Writing a mystery is a lot like dieting.

Janet writes, "Before you say no, think about this standard advice to dieters.

1. Set realistic priorities. You are more apt to attain small achievable goals (such as losing a pound a week or writing a page a day) than larger goals with artificial deadlines (for example losing fifty pounds before your class reunion or writing a three hundred-page novel by Christmas).

2. Control problems and distractions. For writers, the distractions on the Internet are comparable to high fat, sugary foods to dieters. Perhaps this advice from Murder… A Way to Lose Weight will help you sort through your clutter.

There are three types of problems. A few problems are like wine. Those situations improve if you delay decisions and let them age. Most problems are like waste paper. You can ignore them because they don’t matter. Unfortunately like waste paper, they tend to be messy when they pile up. And some problems are like manure. You must identify them quickly before they stink.”  

You can read the rest of the comparison here. 

On May 1, Radine Trees Nehring was Marilyn's guest, blogging about living happily as a writer and friend.

Radine begins, "In times past some writers got into "the business" because they thought they'd make a lot of money. I have one friend who, early on, said she wanted to become a writer so she could quit her day job. She eventually understood there must be other reasons for writing, and has become active in a friendly, supportive critique group. Nothing published yet. She still holds that day job with no plans to quit, but, my-oh-my she enjoys writing and the friends she has made in her group." 

You can read the full post here.

Marilyn is the author of the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. 


Jackie Taylor Zortman's blog, Jackie's Mountain Memos, hosted Marilyn Meredith this week as a stop on Marilyn's blog tour for her latest release, A Crushing Death. In her guest post, Marilyn talks about using Jackie's name for a character in A Crushing Death. Jackie won the blog tour contest for Marilyn's last book, which is why she is a character now.

Marilyn explains: "My host for today, Jackie Taylor Zortman, won a contest like the one I’m running for this blog tour to have a character named after her.

"When I start the next book, I seldom have any idea which character the prize winner’s name will be given to. I have never made the winner a murderer or a murder victim. (I might if someone asked me to do that.) What I do try for is that the character probably won’t make an appearance in another book.

You can read the full post here.

Jackie is the author of We Are Different Now and Footprints in the Frost.


Holli Castillo's Works in Progress blog also hosted Marilyn Meredith on her blog tour for A Crushing Death this week. There, Marilyn wrote more about how she names her characters.

She writes, "There are many ways to choose characters’ names.

"One of the characters who has been in every book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, is Officer Doug Milligan. I have a favorite cousin named Doug and I always liked the name as I like the character. Milligan seem to fit for his last name. Often that’s the way it happens, the name just comes to me."

You can read the full post here.
Holli is the author of Gumbo Justice and Jambalaya Justice. 


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

As usual, I'm impressed with all the activity. I also want to thank OTP for making my children's books available on Kindle and the Nook. Increasingly I see young children with e devices. Hopefully the circle will widen. Beryl

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

This blog just gets better each time it appears. You ladies are doing a fantastic job and I'm proud to be a part of this busy stable of authors.

Richard Paolinelli said...

Looking good guys, keep up the hard work!

Sedef Üzen said...

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

I'll soon be through with my blog tour and I'm sure everyone will be happy! I know I will.