Friday, July 15, 2016

Weekly Roundup: July 15, 2016

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! Our authors have again generously agreed to contribute to our blog this summer. This week, Nancy LiPetri (The Wooded Path) discussed the concept of setting in fiction. Should a writer take liberties with the facts and details of place? Find out in her post.

Be sure to tune in during the week for our authors' singular perspectives on writing and the many facets of telling a good story.

And speaking of good stories, OTP publishes 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. Browse through our bookstore to find your next great read! 

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.

"Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book."
~Jane Smiley

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Radine Trees Nehring was a guest on PJ Nunn's BookBrowsing blog this week. Her post, titled "After Thirty Years—Why Am I Still a Writer?"

The post touches on promoting one's work and getting attention in a publishing marketplace saturated with books and how she stays motivated to continue writing.

She writes, "As a mystery writer, I believe that, when evil happens and my characters react to it, there is a truth in the background waiting to be discovered. Of course book people will be the ones to do this–after I discover in my thought-file ways to resolve the challenges I have placed before them. Often I do not know how an issue will be resolved when the problem is presented but, over the years, I have learned the answer is there and always appears when needed."  

Radine's latest book is A Portrait to Die For, the next installment in her 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.

You can read the full post here.


The winners of the East Texas Writers Guild's Second Annual First Chapter Book Contest were announced this week on the Venture Galleries website, and OTP authors were well represented.

This year's contest was even more popular than last year's. The website states that "According to Roger Middleton, president of the Guild, 'We received a far greater number of entries this year in both categories, and they came from as far away as Great Britain and Canada, as well as from noted authors across the United States from New York and Florida to California and Washington. Included were many authors who have attained bestseller status from U. S. A. Today and Amazon. According to judges, the writing, across all genres, was at an extremely high level with only a minimal amount of points separating the entries from top to bottom.'

"Each entry was judged blindly by three different judges from a panel representing editors, authors, educators, librarians, independent bookstore owners, and avid readers.

"Judges reported that the critical and overriding factor in determining the winners centered on both the hook at the beginning of the book and the cliffhanger at the end of the First Chapter. In most cases, the determining factor was:  Will the first chapter make me want to read the rest of the book when it is published?"

Richard Marranca was awarded second place overall for historical fiction in the Published Books category for his recently published The New Romantics

“Reading Richard's stories always touch something deep inside me, a
longing for the mystical in the ordinary, for a deeper meaning in our everyday lives. If you're ready to embrace the unknown, these stories will take you on a fantastic ride!" ~Xenia Melzer, author of the Gods of War series published by DreamSpinner Press 

Denise Weeks was a finalist for romance in the Published Books category for her novel Love Is the Bridge. She was also a finalist for mystery/thriller in the Works in Progress category for her novel The Wrong Hostage. 

Denise is the author of Nice Work, winner of OTP's 2011 Dark Oak Mysteries Contest. In the novel, Jacquidon Carroll has problems. She's diagnosed with diabetes and laid off from her job the same week, but that's nothing compared to being a suspect in the murder of her ex-boss. Jacquidon is convinced her replacement—a young woman recruited from an Internet sex site—is the real killer.

To clear herself, Jacquidon steals information from the boss’s computer and the young woman's diary. The clues lead through a network of local sex clubs and the seamy underside of the BDSM (S & M) lifestyle. By the time Jacquidon gathers her evidence, the murderer is on the same page—and intends to stop her. 



Children’s book author Beryl Reichenberg is once again presenting 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 summer fun book and teaching them how to illustrate their writing projects at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles, California, on Friday, July 15, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

On Monday, July 18, at 11 a.m., she'll be helping the children make a paper bag book for field notes at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Gardens in San Luis Obispo, California. Beryl is also participating in the botanical garden's Kid's Mediterranean Adventure Camp 2016, which is held in the park across from Cuesta College.

Then on July 23 and August 3 from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Centennial Park White Oak Room, she'll offer a children's class on making pop-up forms through Paso Robles Recreation Services. Parents can sign their children up here

Beryl will also have her books available for sale. She is the author of Ants on a Log, Butterfly Girls, Camouflage, The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake, When Caterpillars Dream, and Clowning Around.

Clowning Around is the story of Charlie, a young clown fish who delights in performing antics for the children who come to the aquarium to watch the action in the fish tank.


Jackie Taylor Zortman has been invited by Kathryn Burke, owner/publisher of San Juan Publishing to attend the Coffee Traders Hosts Local Authors event at Coffee Traders in Montrose, Colorado on Friday, July 15, from 7 to 9 a.m., and Saturday, July 16, from 9 to 11 a.m. Carol McDermott, Carol Bucy, Wini Tappan, and other San Juan Publishing authors will entertain with poetry and prose as attendees enjoy their favorite beverages. Kathryn will also be discussing her new book Caregiver's Journey.

Jackie is the author of the award-winning novel Footprints in the Frost, which introduces homicide detective, Max Richards, and involves his life both on the job and away from it. When he 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?

Jackie is also the author of We Are Different Now. 



Richard Paolinelli will be appearing on The Authors Show during the week of July 18 to 24. We'll post additional details when the program airs. Richard is the author of Reservations.

Reservations, a mystery/thriller, is 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.


J. L. Greger will sign copies of her novels and speak on the topic science or fiction at the Algeria Community Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on July 20. Her latest book is Murder: A Way to Lose Weight.

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.


Nicholas Checker will be a guest panelist at Ro-Con, a fantasy and science fiction convention being held on July 22 to 24 at the Ramada Mystic in Mystic, Connecticut. Nick is also preparing a special presentation on adapting stage and screen works into literary formats (and vice-versa). Nick will also have his novels Scratch and Druids available for sale.

Scratch is a chilling tale of loyalty, friendship, and courage – set in the mysterious world of feral cats. It also contains reflections of how cultures too often misread and mistrust one another, leading to ends that might have been avoided. 

White Saja, a renowned tomcat of the wild woodlands, returns to his old haunts to rescue his onetime clan from a gruesome fate. It leads him on a fearful quest into the brooding Dark Woods where he and a reluctant rival must seek the aid of a dread creature whose very name has long invoked terror in them all. Enter the pages of Scratch and discover unrelenting adventure!  


J. R. Lindermuth posted about the value of curiosity for writers at his Lindy's Lair blog this week. He writes, " It's generally agreed, when our ancestors left Africa to populate the rest of the world they were driven by concerns of  climate and population growth. I believe another reason needs to be considered--curiosity.

"The innate curiosity of our species has been responsible for every advance, development, discovery you might consider. Have you heard the story about Isaac Newton poking himself in the eye with a needle? He did it as a scientific experiment. I'd say that's carrying curiosity to the extreme. Still, without curiosity, there can be no driving force."

You can read the full post here.

J. R. is the author of Fallen from Grace and Sooner Than Gold.


Nancy LiPetri posted this week at her Nancy on Lake Norman blog with thoughts on accuracy and authenticity in fiction. She was inspired by an apparent hoax video and how it misled her friend.

Nancy writes, "There's an online video, set to menacing music, that claims to be taken on Lake Norman and has my friend, who will be visiting from Vermont, afraid to come swim. Even though LKN, as it’s affectionately called, draws millions of tourists every year, is home to wealthy celebrities, hosts national fishing tournaments and wakeboard competitions and more, my northern friends sometimes have to be persuaded to come jump on in.

"I can already hear the locals laughing, but for those who aren't in the know, the habitat of alligators in North Carolina is only near the coast. LKN is located in the piedmont region of the state.

"As readers of The Wooded Path know, I like to be accurate in my descriptions of the region, especially when it comes to its wildlife and natural features. Even in fiction, just as other Oak Tree Press authors take you to historic Central California or the present day coast . . . the border between Texas and Mexico . . . Beirut . . . Hawaii . . . Colorado . . . the NC coast . . . I am careful to provide an authentic escape to my real-life setting. Don't we all appreciate an authentic experience?”

You can read the full post here.


Dac Crossley's Western Blog has been busy lately. In a recent post, he talks about the land on which he lives and how it bears the marks of history.

He writes, "An early summer evening and I sit on the deck of my Cabin on the Ridge, looking out across the woodlands. A stand of trees, mostly oaks, the canopy closed and only a little undergrowth. My woods are going through ecological succession. They’ve been through their pine phase. I note a pine stump or two, and a few skinny logs of heart-pine. Now my trees are in a slow growth phase.

"Like so much of Georgia, my cabin sits on what was once a cotton field of sorts. The ridge-top was plowed into a set of narrow terraces, their rims marked by pile of rocks where larger trees have grown. How narrow? The terraces are only about fifty feet apart. I’m guessing they were plowed using mules. Mules? When I first came to Athens, Georgia, Commissioner Bullock had a mule lot out on the highway. Within a few years he exchanged mules for tractors. (There’s a restaurant there now).

"Cotton is a heavy feeder and drives soil fertility way down. Once abandoned, soils recover very slowly. Down toward the river, my land slopes into a set of erosion gullies, the legacy of generations of southern farming."

You can read the full post here

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


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

Glad to see everyone busy! I can't wait to hear from the authors at PSWA this week. Here's hoping I can make it next year! Again, thanks for a great job of keeping us up-to-date, Nancy!

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Like Amy, I can't wait to hear how things went at PSWA. Tomorrow should be the awards day and I hope we have lots of OTP authors in that. Once again, life intervened and we didn't make it to Las Vegas and I envy those who did. As always, Nancy, the blog is well done. We appreciate all of your hard work to get this together each week.

John M. Wills said...

Things are going well at the conference

Beryl Reichenberg said...

Thanks Nancy for a super job. Each week there is more and more goodies to read about the OTP authors. Beryl