Friday, July 1, 2016

Weekly Roundup: July 1, 2016

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup!

It's a holiday weekend, and that often means a little extra time to read and relax. Browse our bookstore for a good book to devour between your July 4th events! 

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. You're sure to find new favorites on our shelves to enjoy and share with friends

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.

"There is only one plot—things are not what they seem."
~Jim Thompson

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
Manic Readers!
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.



We're excited to announce our latest release, Family is Forever by Shirley Skufca Hickman (Kindle, Nook).

The 1950’s come alive in Shirley Skufca Hickman’s memoir, Family is Forever. A typical teenager, Shirley loves to dance, attend slumber parties, play in her high school’s award-winning band, and sing in a girls’ triple trio. Dreaming of becoming an actress, she stars in several high school plays. She enjoys her teenage years until her father’s death shatters her family. Without his love and support, their security is threatened. Shirley and her sisters, Mary and Vera, offer to drop out of school and support the family. Because their mother, a strong and intelligent woman, was forced to leave school after the eighth grade, she insists her daughters continue their education at all costs. Her parents had cashed in her father’s life insurance policy to make the down payment for their house and they have nothing. If they cannot pay the mortgage, they might lose their home. Although relatives and friends offer their support, the family must call upon their courage, resilience and love for one another to cope with this tragic loss.

About the author: Shirley Skufca Hickman grew up in Crested Butte and Gunnison, Colorado. After earning her B.A. from Western State College, she moved to California where she taught high school and college English. One of her many teaching awards is Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Her award winning nonfiction books are Don’t Be Give Up and Is Everybody Happy Now?, which chronicle the experiences of a young girl growing up in a coal mining town during World War II, and School Success: 500 Ways Busy Parents Can Help Their Children Succeed in School. Currently, she tutors students in Porterville, California where she lives with her husband, Joe. They have a son, Joseph. He and his wife, Lisa, are proud parents of Rylan and Steven.

Shirley is also the author of the novels Fall in Love with an Orange Tree or a Book, and Sarah Darlin'.  


Radine Trees Nehring's A Portrait to Die For was reviewed by Betty Webb in the summer issue of Mystery Scene Magazine (issue 145). Radine called the review "lovely (and insightful)" and added, "I feel grateful, honored, and humbled all at once. Lots of interest in the magazine in addition and, if you don't subscribe, I know Barnes & Noble stocks it and probably other booksellers." Excerpts from the magazine are also available online but this review was not featured. 

Radine also appeared on Blog Talk Radio's Webb Weaver Books show. She reports, "my time on [the show] was fun and very productive. After preliminary discussion with the host and her mention of reviews and other promo material while photos of my book covers rotated on screen, I read two excerpts from A Portrait to Die For. The event lasted something over 30 minutes and was well promoted online.

"So listen, and tell me what you think. This event was scheduled for me by my publicist, PJ Nunn of Breakthrough Promotions. The show host mentioned they work regularly with a number of publicists and medium to small press publishers who provide them with authors to appear on the program. Their special interest is in authors who will read interesting excerpts from their work."

You can listen to the full interview here

In A Portrait to Die For, 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.



Jackie Taylor Zortman was a recent guest on P. J. Nunn's BookBrowsing blog. In her post, she talked about her biggest obstacle to selling books.

She writes, "We live in a bustling and spectacular little tourist town inside a National Forest at 8000 feet in the southwestern Colorado mountains and unquestionably 'in the boondocks'. The tourist season runs from Memorial Day till mid-October. A few folks come for the holidays or ice festival in January. After that, the sidewalks seem to simply roll themselves up and things get extremely quiet and astoundingly deep in snow.  However, it does become the perfect cozy and quiet spot in which to write. I once owned a bookstore here and had no problem selling books. I sold the store in 1986, became a writer in 1990 and wrote my first book in 2013."

You can read the full post here.

Jackie is the author of We Are Different Now and the award-winning Footprints in the Frost. In the latter, homicide detective Max Richards is hand picked by the chief of police to work a long and complicated serial rape case involving five beautiful victims with whom he must spend much time, his life with girlfriend and bookstore owner, Sami Murphy, becomes extremely complicated.

Escaping from the city hustle and bustle to his beautiful and remote Colorado mountain cabin, the two of them attempt to relax and try to untangle the knots in their relationship. What will happen to this couple who are tremendously bonded, but have to decide if their jobs and lives can meld permanently or if it  would be better to go their separate ways?


Holli Castillo was acknowledged in a recent article about summer reading and Louisiana authors. Holli says, "The article lists 15 writers, including Truman Capote, John Kennedy Toole, and Ann Rice, and yours truly coming in at number 15 out of 15.  They did a sentence or two on me and a sentence or two on my series.  They got one thing wrong—that my third book was out already, although they did the one-sentence summary correct, so I won’t complain."

The article says, "Castillo comes to writing from a different perspective. She's a former prosecutor in New Orleans who now works as an appellate public defender. Her first novel, 'Gumbo Justice,' centers on Assistant District Attorney like Ryan Murphy, a woman with more than just court issues in her life. She's followed that up with two more books in the series, including one centered on Murphy's failure to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina."

You can read the full article here.

Holli is the author of Gumbo Justice and Jambalaya Justice. The latter is set against the
backdrop of pre-Katrina New Orleans and is the second in the Crescent City mystery series. When a dead hooker is discovered in a crackhouse, prosecutor Ryan Murphy refuses to let the case languish into yet another unsolved homicide. And if she hides her involvement from her detective boyfriend, it’s only because he’s busy working late nights on a secret case of his own.

When Ryan isn’t hounding the homicide detective for information or investigating the murder behind his back, she’s juggling her Strike Force cases, including a four-victim mob hit, a nasty domestic violence assault, and the armed robbery of a strip club. At first, Ryan’s only concern is getting justice for her victims. By the time the weekend ends, she’ll settle for staying alive.


Mary Montague Sikes's sculpture and painting is also part of the Painting, Poetry and Prose: A Creative Encounter show taking place through July 2 at the Bay School Community Arts Center in Mathews, Virginia. The show is part of an exhibition of writing and art presented by the Chesapeake Bay branch of the National League of American Pen Women.

In Mary's most recent book 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?

J. L. Greger will sign copies of her books I Saw You in Beirut and Murder: A Way to Lose Weight at BookWorks in Albuquerque on Tuesday, July 7.

Dieting is hard. So is fitting into a new job where you aren’t wanted. In Murder: A Way to Lose Weight, Dr. Linda Almquist is trying to do both as she investigates two diet doctors who are endangering the lives of their obese patients. When she finds one diet doctor dead, she and the police suspect the other diet doctor.

Maybe they’re wrong. The murders might be related to something in the past—something involving the dean of the medical school. While Linda fears for her job, the police fear for her life.

Janet is also the author of Coming Flu, Ignore the Pain, the award-winning Malignancy, and I Saw You in Beirut.


Ed Traylor will be promoting his novel At the Crossing at the St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library in St. Joseph, Illinois, on July 11, from 3 to 8 p.m.
In At the Crossing, a routine traffic stop in the Illinois heartland uncovers a sinister secret – a sweeping terrorist plot endangering the lives of thousands of Americans.
The Crossing 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?


Western writer Dac Crossley met with Pat Priest and the Athens (Georgia) Nature Writers Group to discuss the use of nature and natural systems in fiction. Dac promoted the significance of science writers such as Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) and Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac) and the relation of settings to story. Nature serves as more than a stage setting or a character in story.

Dac is the author of Code of the Texas Ranger, Guns of the Texas Ranger, and Revenge of the Texas Ranger. 


Lorna Collins blogged this week about the senior year. She writes, "With the recent graduation season over, I was reminded of my own senior year in high school. I could have graduated a year ahead if I’d taken US Government in summer school after my junior year. It was the only required class I hadn’t taken. My friend, Susie, did just that and graduated early.

"However, I didn’t want to miss all the special events of senior year, and after working so hard on academic subjects for three years, I wanted the opportunity to take a few electives. I also wanted to qualify for the National Honor Society, since any chance of college scholarships might depend on it."

You can read the full post here. 

Lorna is the author of Ghost Writer.


That wraps up the Roundup for this week! We hope you enjoyed our news.
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Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks, Nancy, for another informative Weekly Roundup. Happy July 4th!

Dac said...

Happy July 4th to all! Ring, Grandpa, Ring!

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

You've done another great job, Nancy. It's appreciated. Everyone please have a safe and happy July 4th.

Nancy LiPetri said...

Happy 4th of July all you talented writers and readers!

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

Happy Fourth to all our readers!

Amy Bennett said...

Had to take a break from slinging vino in Santa Fe to see what everyone was up to! Hope everyone has a wonderful July 4th holiday!

Beryl Reichenberg said...

I am now back from Portugal and northern Spain and see that a lot has happened since I left on vacation. Good job fellow writers! Beryl