Saturday, August 20, 2016

Weekly Roundup: August 19, 2016

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! This week Eileen Obser (Only You) posted on the OTP blog about sharing one's writing and why you should choose your critique partners wisely. Then Amy Bennett (At the Crossroad) chimed in again with a post about author branding. Don't miss these insights into the writing life! And please leave your thoughts and comments.

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 and find a great new book to read, review, 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.

"They say everything that can be written has been written. I say we are just getting started."
~ Andrew Barger, Mailboxes - Mansions - Memphistopheles: A Collection of Dark Tales 

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.



The results of the 2016 Public Safety Writer's Association Writing Competition were announced at the organization's annual conference in July. Now the results have been posted online, and OTP is proud to announce that its authors featured prominently among the winners. 

In the Fiction Book, Published category, OTP had two winning authors take three of the four awarded prizes.

J. L. Greger received first prize for Murder: A Way to Lose Weight and an honorable mention for I Saw You in Beirut.

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.  

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? 

John Taylor won second prize for OIS: Officer Involved Shooting. August, 2014. Oakland, California. A white police officer shoots and kills an unarmed black man. Protesters march and their rallying cries echo through the streets:  “Black lives matter! Hands up, don’t shoot! I can’t breathe!” Outside agitators swarm into the city to incite unrest. Police mobilize to prevent mob violence and looting. Rioting erupts. Oakland teeters on the verge of anarchy.

Buried under an avalanche of scathing criticism is OPD Officer Shane Barrow’s account of that fatal encounter.  A routine traffic stop escalates into a fierce life and death struggle between the driver and Shane for control of his holstered pistol, compelling Shane to shoot his attacker in a desperate fight for survival. But the Black Lives Matter movement scorns his version of the controversy and brands him as just another racist, trigger-happy cop guilty of murdering a defenseless black man.

This unjust persecution and relentless negative media coverage traumatizes Shane, cripples him with self-doubt, and sets the stage for a stunning conclusion with tragic consequences.

In the Fiction Book, Non-Published category, Thonie Hevron received third prize for her forthcoming OTP title With Malice Aforethought. Thonie is the author of Intent to Hold and By Force or By Fear.

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. 

In the Creative Non-Technical, Published category, OTP had two authors win three prizes.

Jackie Taylor Zortman was awarded first prize for her piece "Memoriam," which was published in the anthology Felons, Flames and Ambulance Rides (edited by Marilyn Olsen).

Jackie also received an honorable mention in this category for “Legacy of a Fallen Comrade,” which was published in American Blue (edited by Ed Nowicki).

Jackie's latest novel is
Footprints in the Frost, a first-place winner in the 2014 Public Safety Writers Association Writing Competition. The novel 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?

David Cropp was awarded second place for his piece "Not ‘Just the Facts’: How Cops Can Effectively Communicate." David is the author of Valley Heat.

In the novel, where Dante’s "Inferno" meets the streets of Sacramento, police sergeant, Jack Kavanaugh faces a soul-searching journey through hell within the backdrop of the streets and alleyways of the Capital City in the 1970s and 80s. In Valley Heat, Jack’s journey is analogous to Dante’s journey through hell, inferno. As a young man, Jack faces expulsion from a family laced with alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

He is eventually accepted into the Sacramento police academy in 1974 and soon begins the struggle between his risk-seeking soul, alcohol abuse and the deviant underworld of crime, prostitution and murder. Various scenarios and characters that Jack faces represent a downward spiral through each of Dante’s circles of inferno: “Behold Dis, and behold the place Where thou with fortitude must arm thyself.” "Inferno" XXXIV, Lines 20-21.

In the Creative Non-Technical, Non-Published category, Ron Corbin was awarded first prize for his piece "When Pigs Fly."

Ron is the author of the memoir Beyond Recognition. Ron is a former Army combat helicopter pilot and Vietnam veteran who becomes a Los Angeles policeman, and eventually a pilot for LAPD’s Air Support Division (ASD). His military training and unique combat flying experience as a “Slick” Huey pilot, and background as an instructor pilot is recognized by the ASD captain, but not without creating fierce jealousies.

After an accident that puts Ron in the hospital, the LAPD assembles a Board of Inquiry. Ron’s detractors seek revenge--feeding misleading statements to the Board. It evolves into a “kangaroo court,” but Ron exposes a cover-up that has the attorneys scrambling to settle.

Finally, in the Poetry, Non-Published category, Joseph Haggerty Jr. won first and second prize for his poems "Walking a Beat" and "My Smoky Mountain Woman," respectively.

Joseph is the author of An Ocean in the Desert. In the novel, two private investigators specialize in finding missing children. If they find the child has been involved with a sexual predator, they indirectly offer the family an additional service that will guarantee there will be no future problems with the predator.

The investigations into locating the child and identifying the predator as well as law enforcements’ investigations as to who is eliminating these vultures.

Congratulations to all of the winners. You make us proud, and we're excited to be bringing your notable writing and books to the reading public.


Children’s book author and artist Beryl Reichenberg will present a paper craft class for children on Friday, August 19, from 3:30 to 4:30 at Studios at the Park in Paso Robles, California. The children will be completing a book in a box project.

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.

On Saturday, August 20, Beryl Reichenberg will be attending a critique session sponsored by SCBWI, a national children’s book association for writers and illustrators. “I’ve been writing a chapter book for middle grade kids. This is my first attempt as I usually write and illustrate picture books for younger children.

"Chapter books run from about 10,000 to 20,000 words and as the name implies is a book with distinct chapters, many different scenes and a more complicate story line than picture books with fewer illustrations. These books are designed as the next step toward encouraging kids to read more advanced novels like the Harry Potter series. Some are called easy readers and are gaged to a particular age and reading group and others are for middle grade kids who already know how to read but find a regular novel too involved or long. They can also be read by adults to a younger child as bedtime stories or can be used to be read by both child and adult alternating  sentences.

"I’ll be sharing parts of my new story (probably the first chapter), The Mysterious Ghost in Room 422, with the group for feedback. I’ve attended other critique groups in the past through SLO NightWriters but am attending this group as they are all children book authors. I am looking forward to their comments."


Mary Montague Sikes has three paintings in the Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center's exhibit of art work created by members of the Metropolitan Richmond Artists Association. The work will be displayed on the Slant Wall near the entrance for the month of August. All the work is for sale.

Mary also has work for sale in the center's sales shop. If you ask at the desk, they will open the sales shop for visitors. The shop is always open during theatre productions and other events there.

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?


Lorna Collins updated her blog this week with a post about her roses. She writes, "As I look on their roses, I am always reminded of the two most influential women in my life. Even though I miss them very much, their roses are a reminder of these special ladies.

"Have you ever noticed how flowers reflect the people who love them?"

You can read the full post (complete with photos) here. 

That wraps up the Roundup for this week! We hope you enjoyed our news.
We look forward to your emails! If you have a news item you'd like to submit to the Weekly Roundup, please send the details to Nancy at

Photos and your personal commentary about events, expectations, and outcomes are encouraged!

Big or small, old or new, your news helps us keep our blog updated and showcases the great books and talented authors we're so proud to have published. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome too. Please do drop us a line!

Like us on Facebook! And click on the icons below to share the Weekly Roundup on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social media sites!


Amy Bennett said...

Great roundup and congratulations to the contest winners! Thanks for doing such a terrific job of keeping us informed of everyone's activities, Nancy!

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

Always fun to read the roundup and see what my fellow authors are doing.

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Just remembered to check the blog out here on Sunday. Another great job, Nancy. I love to see what we're all up to each week.

Beryl Reichenberg said...

Congratulations to all the winners! Beryl

Nancy LiPetri said...

Thanks for the update on prize-winning, busy OTP authors!