Friday, August 12, 2016

Weekly Roundup: August 12, 2016

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! This week, J. L. Greger (Murder: A Way to Lose Weight) blogged about the recent tax-free shopping day held in certain states and its relationship with books, and Radine Trees Nehring posted about life changes -- in particular, moving -- and the things we remember and miss about places we've lived, even when moving is what we want to do. Please stop by and leave your thoughts and comments.

So what's in your stack of books on the nightstand these days? Is the pile dwindling? Time to add something new, pehaps? 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 get your hands on these widely recognized stories or start a new series for the start of a new school year! 

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.

"Let's be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading."
~Lena Dunham

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.



Tom Coffey was featured recently at PJ Nunn's Book Browsing blog. In the post, he talks about publishing "then and now" and the rise of indie and self-publishing.

 He writes, "My first novel, THE SERPENT CLUB, a murder mystery and thriller, was published in 1999. It all seemed so simple then. You got an agent, and the agent negotiated a contract, and the book came out in hardcover, and then in paperback, and you did some promotion and hoped the mainstream media would review the book. Looking back on those days is like remembering the time when you had three working channels on your television set. Maybe you feel nostalgic, but do you really want to go back?

You can read the full post here.

Tom is the author of Bright Morning Star. The novel is is set in a familiar but faraway country
— the United States in the early 1900s. The novel’s protagonist, Emma Pierce, is the quintessential “new woman” of the times. Talented and sharp, she is the confidante and “right hand man” to her father, the head of the prestigious Seneca Institute. Here she writes speeches and letters for her father, and mingles with the great leaders and thinkers of the day, from Theodore Roosevelt to Mark Twain, and struggles to balance her father’s expectations with her growing sense of independence. This balance is tested when she meets Caleb Johnson, the charismatic son of a revivalist preacher, whose views on religion are anathema to her father’s free-thinking sensibilities.

The test proves to be too much, and Emma finds herself estranged from her father, separated from Caleb, and embarking on an ambitious new career as a magazine writer in New York. It is there that her skills come to serve her best. Emma is assigned to cover the case of a soldier returning to America from the war in the Philippines. He has been court-martialed for violent crimes against civilians and faces a 20-year prison sentence. But the case is personal — the convicted soldier is Caleb Johnson, who is refusing to talk about the events that resulted in his conviction, and Emma, as determined as ever, vows to discover what led this honorable man to commit atrocities. 


Jackie Taylor Zortman's Footprints in the Frost was featured as the Book of the Moment this week at Venture Galleries. The feature includes three stellar reviews.

Reviewer Christy Campbell writes, in part, "I was so drawn into their story that at one point, after falling asleep while reading the book late at night, I actually dreamed I was there in the peaks of Colorado with them. Theirs was a story I wanted to go back to throughout the day as I was doing other things, and I would welcome a future novel centered on the two of them."

You can read all of the reviews here

Footprings in the Frost 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?

The novel was awarded a first-place prize in the 2014 Public Safety Writers Association writing contest.


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."


Tekla Dennison Miller will be presenting a memoir writing workshop titled From Memory to Memoir on Saturday, August 13, at the Writers and Scribblers Literary Retreat in Silverton, Colorado. The retreat begins at 10am. My presentation is at 1:30. 

From the event Facebook page: "Take the day away from your writing, and come to Silverton, Colorado for the First Annual Writers & Scribblers Literary Retreat.

"The day will begin with a great keynote address from Art Goodtimes to be followed by a session on book buying from Jeanne Costello of Maria's Bookstore in Durango.
Lunch will be provided to all participants- followed by a lunchtime presentation by poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer.

"After lunch there will be a variety of workshops on Poetry, Photo Jounalism, Non-fiction, Memoir, Dialogue in fiction, and numerous more. Workshop Presentors are: Tekla Miller, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Kierstin Bridger, Elissa Dickson, Blair Runion, and Rachel & Jeremey Shockley.

"Tickets for the day are $25. Some scholarships are available."

Tekla is the author of Mother Rabbit, a collaborative memoir about a woman like so many others in the 1960’s, caught between living according to traditional societal mores and pursuing the promises of the feminist movement. Alyce’s stint as the Bunny Mother is set during a particularly turbulent era when even such a secluded environment as Playboy is affected by the Viet Nam War, the Apollo I tragedy and back-alley abortions.

Her story pays tribute to the women who had the courage to break free from the oppressive standards of the day while also dealing with the universal dilemmas of single mothers including abuse, financial crises, the special difficulties of parenthood and the quest for self-fulfillment.


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?


Mary Montague Sikes appeared on a panel at “The Word’s the Thing” at the Virginia Writers Club's 2016 Symposium on August 6 at the Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville, Virginia. She shared some of the highlights about the experience in her recent newsletter and at her blog.

 She writes, "Although I didn't know either Kim Dalferes or Angela Carter, the other two authors on "The Word's the Thing" panel for the Virginia Writer's Club Symposium earlier this month, I enjoyed the opportunity of discussing word choices with them from our three diverse angles. Kim talked about comedy; Angela, poetry; and I spoke about words in feature article writing and the word connection dredged up between art and writing. It was a lively and compelling panel, I heard afterwards from symposium attendees. Unfortunately, because of fire regulations for the room, some people were turned away at the door.

"As I prepared for the panel, I started to think about the importance of word choice. Long ago, when I first started writing for an afternoon metropolitan newspaper that no longer exists, I remember my shock and awe at the headlines written by others to go above the stories I filed. Those headlines brought extra power to the words in the leads I chose for my stories.  Sometimes the headline words changed the meaning of what I wrote and got me into trouble with county and town officials. Before I started my freelance writing career, I had no idea that such word power existed.

"During the day at Piedmont Community College in Charlottesville, I enjoyed hurrying by student artwork hanging in the hallways. Although I didn't stop to study the art, I found the atmosphere of the college enhanced by the presence of original paintings, prints, and photographs on the walls.

"We left as a severe storm began to pour rain down on the parking lot. While we drove away through the raindrops, I pondered what I had learned, or had reinforced, by the day spent with writers.

"Keywords. Select the right ones, group them together on Amazon, and get your book listed in the multiple categories. Target your audience. Create more than one elevator pitch. Craft a few Twitter pitches complete with hash tags.

"Market. Market. Market. (It works for art as well.) No matter what else you do as a writer, remember, 'the word's the thing.' All the great writers knew that."


Additional details about these events will appear in future Roundups.

Mary Montague Sikes will be teaching several upcoming art classes in September and fall 2016. She'll be teaching "Creating Paintings with Texture and Design" at the Art League of Hilton Head in Hilton Head, South Carolina in September 2016.

On Friday, September 23, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., she'll teach the watercolor and acrylics) class "Painting, Fun and Free" at Gloucester Arts on Main in Gloucester, Virginia. Contact Kay Van Dyke at 804-824-9464 for more information.

Finally, during fall 2016, she'll be teaching the acrylic class "Painting Like Georgia (O'Keeffe)" and "Painting, Fun and Free" at the Williamsburg Center for Contemporary Art in Williamsburg, Virginia.


Nicholas Checker is proud to announce that on Saturday, September 24th, Scratch will also be featured in conjunction with the magnificent Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic, Connecticut, as a means of encouraging kindness and decency to wildlife and domestic animals.

Also, a national animal welfare organization, Alley Cat Allies, has once again accepted a theatrical presentation of my Oak Tree Press novel Scratch as a means of promoting kindly treatment of animals for National Feral Cat Day. An event wil take place at October 29th, Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut, on October 29! 


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

Great roundup! I hope to add some information next week... gotta keep up with my fellow authors!

John M. Wills said...

OTP authors busy as usual.

Nancy LiPetri said...

Love the Lena Dunham quote, and all the OTP news. Plus, the featured book is one of my personal favorites I highly recommend--it'll have you smiling.

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

So great to read all the things OTP authors are up to.

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Lena Dunham's idea is fantastic! Wish it was feasible. I have a stack of books and, in my spare time, I'm reading as often as I can. It's always fun to see what everybody's been up to this week. Great job, Nancy!

Beryl Reichenberg said...

Good job OTP authors and Nancy as usual. Beryl