Sunday, January 31, 2016

Making a good story better

RICHARD PAOLINELLI
Reviews, good, bad or indifferent, are literally the lifeblood of any writer. The word of mouth from a review can propel sales for a writer and makes said writer’s bank account a happier place too.

Reservations, the first of my four-book series being published by Oak Tree Press, recently was reviewed by a book blogger who brought up a couple of points that got me thinking about the creative process a writer goes through and how even the small decisions a writer makes can make a big difference on how the story is received.

First, she mentioned that some of the places I had written about seemed very real which in turn made the entire fictional story feel more believable to her.

Reservations is set in and around Gallup, New Mexico. I lived there for five years and spent a considerable amount of time on the three reservations that lay nearby. Many of the locations included in Reservations actually exist in real life.

In the book, Jack Del Rio and Lucy Chee meet the Mayor and Police Chief of Gallup as well as the County Sheriff inside a restaurant called Richards. If you ever find yourself in Gallup stop by Earls Restaurant and try to get the table next to the end of the counter on the edge of the secondary dining area. You’ll be sitting at the table where that meeting took place.

The last time my wife and I went through Gallup we stopped there and I talked the waitress into letting us sit at that table. You can imagine the goosebumps on my arm when no sooner had we sat down than a young Navajo girl was the first to stop at our table with a tray of Navajo jewelry for sale.

And the El Rancho Hotel, complete with neon sign, rooms named after old Hollywood stars and the Ronald Reagan burger with a side of jelly beans? Yep, you can find all of those there too.

So don’t be afraid to incorporate something real that you know into your fictional writing. Even though the details above were very minor, and the story would have progressed just fine without them, that little bit of realism sprinkled in can make your story all that better

As to her second point, while she thought the main character, Jack Del Rio, was well written she really liked the Lucy Chee character and that the book would not have been the same if Chee had not been included.

So here’s the dirty little secret that no one has ever been told before now. In the original draft of Reservations, Lucy Chee did not exist. It wasn’t until I’d finished the first draft and was working on my first read/write through that I decided something was missing. After a couple of minor tweaks did little to dispel that feeling, Lucy Chee was born and written into the story.

And I am very glad Lucy Chee became a part of the world of Jack Del Rio that I created, even though she is involved in the toughest chapter I’ve ever had to write in my entire life.

The lesson?

Don’t be afraid to go back and rewrite – even if you think you’ve already written your final draft – and take a chance or two along the way. It won’t always work out, but when it does it can be pretty special.


Richard Paolinelli is the author of the four-book Jack Del Rio mystery-thriller series. The first book, Reservations, was released in 2015 and the second, Betrayals, is set for a September 2016 release. He is also the author of the sci-fi novel, Maelstrom, and the sports non-fiction, From The Fields. He is an award-winning sportswriter and lives in California.

His website is: www.richardpaolinelli.com 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Weekly Roundup: January 29, 2016


Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! Our guest bloggers have been busy again this week. Amy Bennett, author of the Black Horse Campground mystery series (which includes End of the Road, No Lifeguard on Duty, and No Vacancy) stopped by as part of her blog tour for the next book in the series, At the Crossroad. She talks about why she loves writing and reading mysteries. 

Ronald Wendling, author of the memoir Unsuitable Treasure, generously contributed again this week, writing about the connection between his book and his career in education. Dac Crossley, author of Code of the Texas Ranger, Guns of the Texas Ranger, and Revenge of the Texas Ranger, blogged about writing the western novel.

Please take a look at these posts and leave your comments and questions for the authors and the OTP community.

How many books have you read so far this year? If you're looking for your next good read, you'll find it among the compelling memoirs, mysteries, thrillers, westerns, romances, and paranormal tales available in the OTP bookstore. We have lots of novels that you won't be able to put down until "The End."

Thank you for stopping by our blog 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.


"A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading."
~William Styron



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
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.





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REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS

Richard Paolinelli was interviewed on Carolyn Howard Johnson's New Book Review blog on January 24. Richard discusses his writing, influences, and marketing approaches in the interview. For example,

"What is your writing style? Do you outline? Linearly? By scene? Why? I like to create three dimensional characters that the readers can fully connect with, put them into a situation that really puts them to the test and hopefully take the reader on a great ride from the first page until the last. I outline because I like have each step of the story fully laid out before I begin. The one quirk I have is that I write the opening chapter first and then I write the last chapter before going back to end of the first chapter and finishing the story from there." 

You can read the full post here.

Richard is the author of Reservations. In a land deeply seeded in beliefs and legends, someone is eliminating the leaders of the Navajo Nation disguised as the trickster Coyote. Whoever it is has the Navajo President squarely in his sights, and everyone else “seeing things.” 

As the body count rises, the FBI sends in their best man, Special Agent Jack Del Rio, to put an end to the killings—a white man who is not trusted nor wanted. A decorated hero for thwarting a terrorist attack in London, Del Rio finds himself in a completely different world among the three Reservations—Navajo, Hopi and Zuni—located in the Four Corners of the American Southwest.

When the past and the present collide, only one leader shall remain.



AWARDS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Lorna Collins has announced that the Hawaiian anthology Paradise, Passion, Murder, which she edited, was released on January 26 in ebook and paperback. The book is also available as audiobook.

All proceeds from this book will go to Read Aloud America, a literary program in Hawaii. Lorna writes, " I feel very privileged to have worked on this one."






UPCOMING

Mary Montague Sikes is teaching two "Creating Collage Art" classes during the month of February. A course offering through Arts Alive will take place on Wednesday, February 3, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pamunkey Regional Library's West Point Branch in West Point, Virginia.

The second offering will take place again on Saturday, February 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Gloucester Arts on Main in Gloucester, Virginia.


Mary will be the featured member on the front page of the Chesapeake Bay Writers Club website during the month of February. 

Mary is the author of both novels and nonfiction books published by OTP. You can read about these books as well as her artistic projects at her website. Her 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?

 
*

 
OTP children’s book author and artist Beryl Reichenberg will be at the Gallery at the Network at 778 Higuera in San Luis Obispo, California, on Friday, February 5, from 6 to 9 p.m. to show children and adults how to make a Valentine bookmark.

On the first Friday of each month, the city of San Luis Obispo sponsors Art After Dark from 6 to 9 p.m. The gallery participates in this downtown event, and Beryl will be there this month to help celebrate Valentine’s Day and sell her children’s books.

Beryl says, “I always enjoy showing the public how to make a paper craft project, not only because it is a way to meet people and promote my books but also because I often make new contacts for my kid’s classes. The bookmarks are easy to make, and both adults and children enjoy this project."

Beryl will also be teaching bookmark making at the Paso Robles Public Library at 11th and Park Streets in Paso Robles on Monday, February 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. in conjunction with the annual Take Your Child to the Library Day. This event is mostly for children, although kids under six may need adult help. Adults are also encouraged to join in. 

Beryl explains, "I find that adults enjoy making these project as much as children, so I will encourage them to sign up on my email list for my monthly newsletter. I will also be handing out my brochures in the hope that parents will walk across the park to the Studios on the Park or go online to buy one of my books.“

Tuesday, February 9, is the monthly SLO NightWriters meeting. Beryl will be selling her books at this meeting from 5:15 to 9 PM. 


Her most recent OTP children's book is Clowning Around, 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.

You can read about her writing and other creative projects at her website.






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In preparation for the release of At the Crossroad, the fourth book in the Black Horse Campground mystery series, Amy Bennett is undertaking a blog tour. The lineup is here, with links to each blog where she'll be hosted. Follow along and meet new authors, and help her build momentum for the release date!

Friday, January 22

John M. Wills, author of Healer and The Year Without Christmas 

Sunday, January 24
Oak Tree Press blog 

Wednesday, January 27
Marilyn Meredith, author of the Rocky Bluff P.D. and Tempe Crabtree mysteries 

Friday, January 29
Stephen Brayton, author of ALPHA, a Mallory Petersen mystery 

Wednesday, February 3
Janet (J.L.) Greger, author of the Sara Almquist mysteries, including Malignancy, I Saw You in Beirut, and others

Friday, February 5
Ilene Schneider, author of the Rabbi Aviva Cohen mysteries Chanukah Guilt and Unleavened Dead

Wednesday, February 10
Erin McCole Cupp

Amy encourages readers to stop by each blog and leave a comment. All those who do will be entered in a drawing to win a Black Horse Campground-themed prize and the opportunity to have a character in an upcoming Black Horse Campground mystery named after them!


In the novel, trouble often comes in threes, and it’s no different at the Black Horse Campground. On his first day as detective with the Bonney Police Department, J.D. Wilder finds three cold case files on his desk—three women who have disappeared over a fifteen year period at five-year intervals. It seems that no one has ever taken the cases seriously . . . or even properly investigated them.

Then J.D. receives a visit from two former colleagues who inform him that he’s about to receive another visitor; a woman from his past who is in trouble and needs his help. Again. The timing couldn’t be worse, since he’s finally about to ask Corrie on a date, but then Corrie also has a visitor from her past show up . . . someone who’s hoping for a second chance with her. In the meantime, Sheriff Rick Sutton has his hands full dodging his ex-wife, Meghan, who insists on discussing personal business with him -- business that has to do with digging up a painful past.

When three bodies are discovered that prove the missing women were murdered, J.D.’s investigation reveals that all of their visitors have some connection to the victims. But which one of them killed three women… and is prepared to kill again?

When trouble comes to Bonney County, Corrie, Rick, and J.D. band together to protect each other and their community. But can they solve the mystery before the murderer strikes again?

*

C. Ed Traylor will be signing copies of his novel The Crossing at the Litchfield Public Library in Litchfield, Illinois, on Saturday, February 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

In 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.

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?

*

David Freedland will be presenting his novel Lincoln 9 on Wednesday, February 10, in Mission Viejo, California, at the Mission Viejo Rotary Club at 7 a.m., and at the Tiagua/Ambar Book Club of Mission Viejo at 6 p.m.

His book will also be available at the Oregon Reserve Police Officers conference being held Saturday, February 27, in Keizer, Oregon.


David is the author of Lincoln 9, which follows the career of Lieutenant Scott Hunter, the consummate cop who rises to the level of responsibility to lead a team of detectives on a mission aimed at connecting the clues and solving these crimes. The story conveys the pressures associated with working within an organization that hires only 4% of its applicants, and whose efforts result in perennial accolades for achieving the lowest numbers of violent crime.

Readers who enjoy the challenges of attempting to solve crime dramas will appreciate the first third of the book, which provides opportunities for the suspect’s identification. In addition, it introduces a look behind the curtain of secrecy shielding the role played by Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams in the development of leaders.  




 
 



RECENT

Radine Trees Nehring I thoroughly enjoyed joining five fellow Ozarks authors at a book event at the Barnes & Noble in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Saturday, January 23, from 1:00 to 4:00. The host was Rachel McAdams, the community business development manager, and her enthusiasm swept over us, warming up even a couple of newer authors who soon got over feeling shy. Some of them had invited family members, so we met several parents and siblings."*

"I had a poster of my upcoming Oak Tree Press novel, A Portrait to Die For, on my table, in addition to the B&N stock of A Fair to Die For. A number of people stopped to talk, and look at Fair. Ten bought copies, probably 30 took post cards and my business cards and asked about ebook availability. (The book is available for Nook and Kindle.)

*Radine notes, "I have long regretted that my own mom was gone just a couple of years before my first book sold to a publisher in 1993. Also, fellow authors at events like these (generally not 'famous' authors) are so often very friendly! We share a profession and common interests. In this type of group, very few are 'stuck up.'
"



NOW AVAILABLE FOR NOOK

Many OTP books are now being made available for Barnes and Noble's Nook. E-books are perfect for budget-conscious or on-the-go readers who like to have a library at their fingertips. Remember: you don't need to own a Nook to read e-books. You can read on your computer, smartphone, or tablet by downloading the Nook app from Barnes and Noble.

A Convenient Death at San Diego by John O'Hagan. Move over Brother Cadfael. Father Ibarra is on the scene. It’s a new era, and in fact a New World. In the tumultuous and violent territory that is Alta California, young Father Juan Ibarra, a Franciscan/physician finds himself called upon to solve not just one, but two murders. This is not what he anticipated the life of a medical missionary would be. Was it an act of revenge by an outraged Spanish army officer? Perhaps a “falling out among thieves” or maybe simple retributive justice meted out by the people themselves?

While his medical skills are being put to tests he never imagined and he tries to sort out some very confused facts Father Juan finds himself swept up in the political, cultural, and sexual revolution which is having a convulsive effect on the territory. In all of this, he is drawn to the shamanistic practices and cures of the very people he had hoped to educate. Perhaps they have something to teach him about medicine.


LaCours Destiny by Robert Downs. Sam LaCour hasn’t given up on men, even if they’ve given up on her, and she doesn’t give up on her colleagues either, even when a dead body turns up, and she faints in front of the cameras, her family, and a television audience. 

Is Everybody Happy Now by Shirley Skufca Hickman. During World War II, Shirley Skufca lived in Crested Butte, Colorado, populated by Eastern European immigrants who were Catholic and Democrats. When Shirley was eleven, her family moved to Gunnison, a ranching community composed of Protestants and Republicans. Shirley had never heard the words, culture shock, but after moving to Gunnison, she was plunged into a world so different from the one she had grown up in, she wondered if she’d ever adapt to this new community.




Unsuitable Treasure by Ronald Wendling. A memoir telling how the author’s choices were influenced by his father’s addiction. Ronald attends a Jesuit high school in Buffalo, New York at the same time his father is recovering from alcoholism. But Ronald’s mother, unable to forgive her husband for his past mistreatment of her, fosters in her son a need to make up to her for his father’s sins and so delays the separation from her necessary to his growing up. He enters the Jesuit order at seventeen, his father dies of cancer shortly afterward, and nine lonely years later he leaves the Jesuits having discovered under their tutelage that he was not one of them. His marriage, his children, his career teaching literature, and the writing of this memoir all teach him mercy, especially to his body, and help him bridge the gap between his appreciation of the Jesuits and the necessity he felt to leave them behind.


Footprints in the Frost by Jackie Taylor Zortman. First place award winning novel Footprints 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?
  

Bright Morning Star by Tom Coffey. Bright Morning Star 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.


Always a Kicker by Jeff Zwagerman. A horrific accident happens when Zander is fifteen years old. It shapes the next twenty years of his life. His wanderlust and passion for uncommitted relationships seems to be a direct result of his girlfriend’s death. But something was nagging at his core and it was telling him that past events were not what they appeared. Zander’s seemingly pointless life leads him from a small town in Iowa to Omaha, Nebraska and finally to Frisco, Colorado. The people he meets may finally give him some meaning to an unfulfilled life. Then the unthinkable, a private investigator tells him Sara Jane may be alive. But he always knew that. Always A Kicker is a story of dealing with events of the past and learning to make your own luck by taking life head on even when dealt a rotten hand.


The Sawtooth Complex by Susan Lang. The Sawtooth Complex deals vigorously with the dilemmas of human life on the planet. Our willy-nilly destruction of the exquisite natural world is set against the efforts of some people to protect and care for the biology that sustains us. Most characters are torn by contradictions, both personal and political. A few are avid developers; others seek a balance between humanity and nature. Several touching love stories develop and falter among them. The true hero, Maddie Farley, is an inspiring and reluctant monkey-wrencher who lives most closely to the earth. The natural world she inhabits is invoked with poignant accuracy and love. Ultimately, nature itself blows up everyone’s world in a startling forest fire that overpowers the land and the people, laying waste to most everything. The writing about this thrilling climatic event is terrifying, spellbinding, very intense and powerful. And then a miracle occurs. In the wreckage left behind, the author, who is no sentimental idealist or doomsday prophet, finds reason to hope.


The Crossing by C. Ed Traylor. 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?


Rogue Wave by Helen Osterman. Emma Winberry and Nate Sandler, her significant other, plan a vacation on a sailboat on the Caribbean. Emma has misgivings about the trip and discusses it with her Guardian Angel who tells her there will be trials ahead. This makes Emma more uncomfortable.

At the beginning of the sail, the ocean is calm and they relax. While sailing from the island of Curaçao to Bonaire, they see a small uninhabited island with a lone palm tree. Emma notices a flashing light, as if someone is sending an SOS. They have no idea that Estrella Montoya, wife of a Venezuelan drug lord, is being held captive there.

When returning to Curaçao, they encounter a violent storm. Nate is washed overboard by a rogue wave. Is he lost forever? How does Emma get involved with the drug lord and his family?

Follow the characters through storms at sea, piracy, drug lords, and heroism to the pulse pounding conclusion.



Reservations by Richard Paolinelli. In a land deeply seeded in beliefs and legends, someone is eliminating the leaders of the Navajo Nation disguised as the trickster Coyote. Whoever it is has the Navajo President squarely in his sights, and everyone else “seeing things.”

As the body count rises, the FBI sends in their best man, Special Agent Jack Del Rio, to put an end to the killings—a white man who is not trusted nor wanted. A decorated hero for thwarting a terrorist attack in London, Del Rio finds himself in a completely different world among the three Reservations—Navajo, Hopi and Zuni—located in the Four Corners of the American Southwest.

When the past and the present collide, only one leader shall remain.


Greenfellas by Robert Lopresti. Greenfellas is the comic tale of Sal Caetano, a happy man who's the brains behind a New Jersey Mafia family and expects to be made a boss soon. But everything changes on the night his first grandchild is born and he hears a news report claiming that by the time she grows up, climate change will have wrecked the world.

Sal decides to use all of his Mafia skills to save the environment, but change turns out to be harder than he thought it would be. Soon he is fighting for his life with rivals inside and outside of his own family -- not to mention the FBI, which holds a grudge against him.



Blue Ice by by I.C. Enger. A much anticipated new start for Brooke Breckenridge erupts into an explosion of murder and international intrigue when she travels from Seattle to an isolated lake on the Canadian border to find seclusion and healing. Strange and dangerous things begin to happen, soon events at the lake house attract the attention of Homeland Security Special Agent Jack Strickland and she finds herself entangled in suspicion, crime and dangerous attraction. 





Black Ice by I.C. Enger. Black ICE delivers a buffet of possibilities into the unknown. Both chilling and thought provoking, it is a page turner with a bombshell ending you won't anticipate. Homeland Security Special Agent Jack Strickland and Brooke Breckenridge are thrown into a maelstrom of intrigue, murder and kidnapping by the discovery of a mysterious silver sphere lying quietly at the bottom of Three Cranes Lake.

This perplexing sphere becomes the center of a mystery involving an ancient Hopi Indian prophecy of the Blue Kachina and a remote cave hidden deep within the earth. The secrets discovered there are both frightening and wondrous. Throw in a troubled teen and suspicions of a leak within Homeland Security, and the fun and games begin. 
 

American Caliphate by William Doonan. Archaeologists Jila Wells and Ben Juarez reluctantly return to Peru to join Professor Beckham’s distinguished team at Santiago de Paz pyramids. Jila is still haunted by the prior dig which ended in a near-fatal ambush. But the ruins hide a document that will shock the Islamic world.

Details found in an ancient diary tell of an illegal expedition to Spanish Peru, intending to bring the word of Allah to the pagan Americans.

As the archaeologists brace for the ravages of El Niño, Jila and Ben hurry to complete their excavations. But they’re not the only ones interested in this project. Other forces are determined to keep the document hidden.

A Rainbow for Christmas by Mary Montague Sikes. Meg, her niece and brother set out on a wagon train headed for Denver where Meg's fiancè in an arranged marriage awaits. When a senseless murder claims her brother's life, Meg determines to push on. However, when she meets handsome Cade Russell, the wagon master, her conviction to enter a loveless marriage wavers. Will Meg honor her father's wishes and marry John O'Sullivan, whose dowry will save the family farm from foreclosure? Meg has difficult choices to make.





ALPHA by Stephen L. Brayton. On a rainy October morning, Mallory Petersen, private detective and martial artist, discovers the corpse of her boyfriend, Bobby Furillo, in front of her office in Des Moines.

Bucking police authority and continually attacked by unknown adversaries, Mallory uncovers Bobby's devastating secrets. Each new revelation puts Mallory in deeper peril from powerful and dangerous people. And just what are those enigmatic RSVP cards that keep showing up in Mallory's mail?




BLOG CORRAL

Marilyn Meredith hosted Amy Bennett on her Marilyn's Musings blog on January 27. Amy says, "My blog tour in promotion of At the Crossroad took me to fellow OTP author Marilyn Meredith's blog, where I talked about keeping a series alive."

She writes, "It's hard to believe that just three years ago, the Black Horse Campground mystery series was just getting its start with the first book, End of the Road. Corrie Black, Rick Sutton, and J.D. Wilder were about to make their debut into the world and no one knew where their adventures would take them in future books.

"Four books later, I'm still trying to figure out where they'll be next!"


You can read the rest of her post here. Don't forget to stop by and leave a comment, and you could win a Black Horse Campground-themed gift and a chance to have a character named you in a future book!

Marilyn also wrote for the Ladies of Mystery blog this week. Her topic was good and bad authors.

She writes, "I'd decided to write about 'good' authors and 'bad' authors, but not good and bad in the way you might think. I’m not referring to how someone writes, but rather, how someone acts."

You can read the full post here.  

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Stephen Brayton also hosted Amy Bennett on his blog, Brayton's Briefs, for her At the Crossroad blog tour on January 29. In this post, she talks about how a special memorial called a "descano" opens the novel.

She writes, "When I set out to write my Black Horse Campground mystery series -- having decided to set it in the semi-rural areas of south-central New Mexico -- I naturally undertook to add as much local flavor to the setting as I could. While I’ll use a future post to talk about 'flavor' in a more pleasant way, today I’ll talk about an element that I introduced into At the Crossroad that is quite common in the area around my home and fictional Bonney County as well.

You can find out more about this special element in the full post.

 Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing to win a Black Horse Campground-themed gift and a chance to have a character named you in a future book!

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Lorna Collins this week writes about the frustrations of home repairs and the housing tract in which she grew up in Alhambra, California.

"Is January now the official repair month?" she asks on January 22, referring to numerous vehicle and appliance breakdowns she and her husband Larry have been dealing with.

Then on January 29, she turns to reminiscing. "Midwick was the perfect place to grow up. Nearly all the mothers were housewives and stayed at home all day. The downside was we couldn’t get away with anything. The minute we did something wrong, our mothers knew before we arrived home," she writes.

You can read more here about the and the special memories that she has of that time.  


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