Monday, February 29, 2016

Promoting with Piggyback Publications by Robert Richter

For many writers the hardest work begins after the book has been written and produced, and that is the marketing. While some authors have the dogged determination of door-to-door salesmen (like some OTP authors at the Tucson Festival of Books last year) in face-to-face contact with the reader, others are not so comfortable and practiced in public sales or giving readings. The social media outlets are also used and managed beautifully by some, especially those with a large social base of “friends” to start; while other authors struggle to attract any attention at all in the storm of book production and promotion on the internet.

I am a naturally reclusive person (think Thoreau here) and find public appearance difficult, although I can put on that mask for a while. I also live in a decidedly “red” and sparsely populated state where my spouse (different name) is a public figure, and I write with a decidedly “blue” point of view on uncomfortable subjects. Not really an ideal setting for regional self-promotion. I do have a social media presence, which is expanding, but started with few contacts and connections, and the load has been time-consuming. What has worked best for me in getting my work in front of more readers has been the use of “piggyback publication,” that is, getting shorter pieces of my writing in anthologies, genre E-magazines, and book promotion sites that feature excerpts and serializations of larger works.

The best example for me has been the inclusion of the first chapter of Something Like a Dream from my Cotton Waters series in an anthology developed, produced, and promoted by Egretbooks.com. The anthology Mexico: Sunlight and Shadows, featured 21 other Mexico Writers, some more and some less established than I, but each with his/her own reader base. Each writer promoted the anthology, and each had his/her work available on 21 new bases of potential readers. The book has been in the “Top 40” of E-books about Mexico since its publication five months ago and prompted a print edition, which produced more readers. OTP was producing a similar project two years ago with a recipe collection related to or coming from mystery writers’ work, I don’t know what happened to it since. The trick to success here is developing the anthology concept in a thematic way that draws new kinds of readers. An intra-house anthology has its own built-in limitations with most in-house authors already taking advantage of one another’s blogs and reader connections.

Another piggybacking example is creating a collection of short stories and getting these stories accepted in E-magazines featuring your genre. Each story accepted is an announcement of the collection’s existence as well as the whole series. A long short story or novella can also be produced as an E-chapbook, which can include synopses and/or excerpts of other books in the series. EgretBooks, a publisher focusing on Mexico, produced a 99-cent E-chapbook of the first story in my newest work in the Cotton Waters series, Something to Die For: The Cotton Waters Stories, and it included excerpts from the previous novels and review quips. I have used it mostly as a promotional freebie on Kindle in conjunction with other promo activities such as having other works of the series featured on book promo sites like Venture Galleries. Offering a free download of the chapbook before Christmas on various Facebook book promotion sites brought more searches and a few sales since. It can also be offered free in conjunction with blog interviews and other social media activity.

With limited skill and comfort levels in public and social media promotion, I’ve had some success with these methods for getting my name and series noticed. The clearest benefit for me has been more name recognition in the professional field of Mexico Writers, more positive reviews about from professionals covering that subject. Hopefully more sales will eventually follow.

          --The author of ten books, including poetry, fiction, and regional history, Robert Richter has a forty-year relationship with Latin America, and that cultural geography inspires his work. In 2000 Richter won the Nebraska Arts Council’s Literary Achievement Award for nonfiction, and in 2007, he was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Buenos Aires. Richter has also been a wheat farmer, substitute teacher, and tour guide in Latin America. Besides the "Something" series, Richter's other books on Mexico include Search for the Camino Real: A History of San Blas and the Road to Get There, and Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas and the Roots of Mexico's New Democracy.

Something to Die For: The Cotton Waters Stories is the newest and third in the series published by Oak Tree Press. Cotton Waters is a gringo expatriate in exile on the Mexican west coast, an illegal alien and ex-political activist with old and unresolved legal problems in the U.S. Known to his cantina buddies as "Algo," or Something in Spanish, for years he's scrounged a lazy fishing village lifestyle and a little beer out of the Puerto Vallarta tourist trade as tour guide, cultural consultant, and a private hustler of a Mexican Riviera lost-and-found--helping some people get lost and finding others--if the price is right or the client's cause worth the time and interest.

The causes Something takes on lead him from the glitz and glamour of Puerto Vallarta and the Mexican Riviera to the backwater poverty of coastal fishing villages and jungle living, from the modern urban bustle of Guadalajara to sierra outposts of indigenous clans still living in the pre-colonial past. His clients range from the jet set rich and frivolous to poor villagers and derelict friends still struggling to survive the modern world's hard knocks. The people he encounters come from every stratum of American and Mexican culture and economics living in and roaming northwestern Mexico. The series includes the previously published novels, Something in Vallarta, Something Like a Dream, and Something for Nothing.

Read more about Robert's writing at his website.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Weekly Roundup: February 26, 2016

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! Our blog was busy this week with guest posts from our authors. Virgil Alexander (Saints & Sinners, The Baleful Owl) posted on Sunday about research for fiction writers and the research he did for his own novels. Then Ronald Wendling (Unsuitable Treasure) contributed an interesting post about a book he recently read, a netsuke collection, and how they got him thinking about the writing of his own memoir.

Finally, Radine Trees Nehring (A Fair to Die For) wrote about how fiction writers can take readers on journeys and acquaint them with places they've never been before or have only visited. Don't miss out on these extras, and please post your comments and questions for the authors and the OTP community.

While you're enjoying all things OTP, please be sure to stop by our bookstore, where you'll find all of the great titles by our talented writers. We have mysteries, memoirs, thrillers, romances, and westerns for every taste. Check out our recent bestsellers to start your browsing.

And of course, 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.


"For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word."
~Catherine Drinker Bowen
 


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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LATEST RELEASES

We’re excited to announce our latest releases! 

Something to Die For, by Robert Richter, is the latest in the Cotton Waters series. In the novel, Cotton Waters is a gringo expatriate in exile on the Mexican west coast, an illegal alien and ex-political activist with old and unresolved legal problems in the U.S. Known to his cantina buddies as "Algo," or "Something" in Spanish, for years he's scrounged a lazy fishing village lifestyle and a little beer money out of the Puerto Vallarta tourist trade as tour guide, cultural consultant, and a private hustler of a Mexican Riviera lost-and-found -- helping some people get lost and finding others -- if the price is right or the client's cause worth the time and interest. 

Also available for Kindle and Nook.

About the author: Robert Richter is the author of eight books, including poetry, fiction, and regional history. Robert has a forty-year relationship with Latin America, and that cultural geography inspires his work. In 2000 Richter won the Nebraska Arts Council’s Literary Achievement Award for nonfiction, and in 2007, he was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Buenos Aires. Richter has also been a wheat farmer, substitute teacher, and tour guide in Latin America. His other books on Mexico include Something in Vallarta (1991), Something Like A Dream (2014), Something for Nothing (2015), Search for the Camino Real: A History of San Blas and the Road To Get There (2011), and Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas and the Roots of Mexico's New Democracy (2000). Robert's Cotton Waters mysteries are set on Mexico's western Riviera.

At the Crossroad by Amy M. Bennett. At the Crossroad is the fourth in Amy's Black Horse Campground mystery series.

Trouble often comes in threes. 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 disappeared over a fifteen year period. It seems no one has ever taken the cases seriously... or even properly investigated them. Then J.D. receives news that he's about to receive a 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. And Sheriff Rick Sutton has his hands full dodging his ex-wife, Meghan, who insists on 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?

Also available for Kindle and Nook.

About the author: Amy M. Bennett was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. She is a 1985 graduate of Father Yermo High School and attended the University of Texas at El Paso. In 1988, she married her husband, Paul, and moved to Alamogordo, New Mexico, where she attended New Mexico State University Alamogordo, and, with the exception of a six-month stint in Mt. Kisco, New York, has been a resident of New Mexico ever since.

She currently works as a cake decorator at Walmart in Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico (this is her fifteenth year with Walmart) and has been a "vino slinger" at Noisy Water Winery in Ruidoso, New Mexico, for the last two years. She has been a "closet" novelist for over twenty years and has an impressive collection of rejection letters to show for it! Her End of the Road started as a project for National Novel Writing Month in 2009; it won the Oak Tree Press Dark Oak Mystery contest in 2012. She's then wrote two more titles for the series, No Lifeguard on Duty and No Vacancy. Amy and her husband currently reside in Bent, New Mexico, with their son, Paul Michael, who grew up believing that having a mother who writes mystery novels is normal.

 
Ichabod Wolfe by Frank Fiordalisi. 

"Frank Fiordalisi has written a wonderful book, a page-turner, filled with surprise and a deep understanding of the human condition." -- Rick Sapp, author the Great Uncle series

"Don’t let the title or the vibrantly rendered 1860s Kansas setting fool you, Ichabod Wolfe is more than western or a detective thriller. Frank Fiordalisi vividly delivers the tale of one good man, from boyhood into middle-age, in a time before law and order was the order of the land.  Ichabod Wolfe is a character who will stay with you for a long time, a quietly smart man who keeps his head -- and his heart -- in the face of perversity and corruption, an investigator in the time before the certainties of fingerprints and DNA. A good yarn, a trial of justice, well told. -- Rhonda Riley, author of Adam Hope 

"Ichabod Wolfe doesn't fit the stereotype of an Old West lawman. Forensic law ahead of its time in the Wild Wild West!" -- Bonnie Ogle, author of Arthur the Arthropod 

Also available for Kindle and Nook.

About the author: Frank Fiordalisi was born in NYC and attended St. John’s University, where he received a B.S. in pharmacy. After teaching high school science, he returned to the practice of retail pharmacy. He later moved to Miami, Florida, and joined the Miami-Dade County Police Department, where he served in a number of assignments, retiring as a detective sergeant after twenty-nine years of service. He has a daughter, Jacqueline, and a son, Francis. He currently lives with his wife, Christine, in Gainesville, Florida.



REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS


Mary Montague Sikes was a featured on Victoria Adams's blog Victoria's Pages of Romance. The post shows several of Mary's paintings, created as a way to showcase the heroine of her most recent novel, Evening of the Dragonfly. "Farrah's art show" has brought Mary's character to life at several events promoting the novel.

You can see the paintings here.

In the novel, 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?




*

Amy Bennett was featured in the online lifestyle magazine Female First in an article titled "10 things I want my readers to know about me."

Among her revelations are gems like this one: "I'm an amateur photographer . . . but I've taken all the cover photos for my four mystery novels!"

You can read the full list here.

Amy was also interviewed by Gweneth Marhanka of the Ruidoso News about the latest book -- At the Crossroad -- in her Black Horse Campground mystery series. The article appears in the Friday entertainment insert ¡Vamanos! and talks about the inspiration Amy draws from the local region for the setting of her books, the fictional Bonney County, New Mexico.

The article also promotes Amy's upcoming launch party for At the Crossroad. You can read the full article here.

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?


UPCOMING

Mary Montague Sikes is 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?


 
*
 

Children’s book author and artist Beryl Reichenberg be at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, at 705 South McClelland in Santa Maria, California, on Saturday, February 28, from 3 to 4 p.m., to teach a children's paper craft class.

In this class, she'll be showing the kids how to make a "space cadet" pop-out card. She explains, “This card only requires two cuts, some measuring, and some folding but kids younger than 6 may need adult help.

"Naturally, the children can come up with their own designs for the background and color their space creature as they wish. These classes are all about encouraging them to unleash their creativity."

Beryl will also be promoting her children’s picture books at the event. Among her many titles for children are six titles from OTP: Ants on a Log, Butterfly Girls, Camouflage, Clowning Around, When Caterpillars Dream, and The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake. 

You can read about her writing and art projects at her website.




 *

Serita Stevens will be sharing her expertise as an award-winning writer of books, scripts, and adaptations and a teacher of writing at the West Coast Writers Conferences' Digital Author and Indie/Self Publishing Conference on Friday, February 26. The conference is being held at Los Angeles Valley College, and Serita's talks that day will include "Plot versus Character" and "The Crucial First 10 Pages."

Serita is the author of the forthcoming Heathen Heart and Deceptive Desires. The latter is a classic story of the American frontier in which a young woman travels to the town of Ruby City, Montana, to find her twin brother, but he does not meet her stagecoach. Though unnerved, she must find her own way in this rugged and unfamiliar country. 

You can read more about her many projects at her website. 


*

David Freedland's Lincoln 9 will be available for sale by request at the Oregon Reserve Police Officers conference being held Saturday, February 27, in Keizer, Oregon.

Lincoln 9 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.







*


Amy Bennett will be holding a launch party for her upcoming novel At the Crossroad, the fourth book in her Black Horse Campground Mystery series, on Sunday, February 28, at Noisy Water Winery from 2 to 4 p.m.

The winery is located at 2342 Sudderth Drive in midtown Ruidoso, New Mexico, and is the home of Jo Mamma's White table wine, which makes an appearance in Amy's novels.

The party will feature special discounts and a drawing.

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?

*



Oak Tree Press authors will be attending the Tucson Festival of Books on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona, on the weekend of March 12 and 13. The festivities begin each day at 9:30 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. 

The festival features exhibits, author presentations, panel discussions, and of course, books!





*


Ronald Wendling is planning an anniversary celebration for the publication of his memoir Unsuitable Treasure: An Ex-Jesuit Makes Peace with the Past. He writes: "I did not have time to have a launch party last March when my memoir, Unsuitable Treasure: An Ex-Jesuit Makes Peace with the Past, was published. But the book has been out for nearly a full year now, and so a First Anniversary Celebration is in the works.

"My wife and I were inspired to throw this party largely by the warm reception my memoir has received from the friends and neighbors in our condominium. From the time we displayed a copy of the book in the downstairs library and invited everyone in the condo to take it out and return it in due time for the next reader, any number of our neighbors have mentioned that they read and enjoyed it (“I had a family a lot like that,” some said). Many suggested the book to another condominium neighbor, some ordered copies for their friends or relatives to read, and so the word spread.

"We sent out invitations this past week, and already five or six from our condo have said they would definitely be there. Some nearby family members and academic colleagues have also been invited, and I will let you know a little over a month from now it all turned out."

RECENT 

Michael Matson, author of the OTP title The Dancing Boy, has published a book of short stories titled The Chinese Girl and Other Western Short Stories. Michael invites readers who like westerns to read and review his stories.

The Chinese Girl and Other Western Short Stories: Montana Cowboys Western Adventures from the Old West and Wild West Frontier. Read and enjoy these enthralling western short stories of old west adventures with intriguing titles such as:
"The Chinese Girl"
"The Kid"
"Who Shot the Sheriff"
"The Bear"
"Indians"
"Three Kings"
"Everything but the Boots"
"Elephant"





ADVANCE NOTICE

Additional details about these events will appear in future Roundups. 

Tekla Dennison Miller will be the La Plata County Colorado speaker at the American Association of University Women/Durango Book and Author Luncheon on Saturday, March 26 beginning at 11:15 a.m., at the Fort Lewis College's Vallecito Room in Durango, Colorado.








NOW AVAILABLE FOR NOOK

We’ve been busy always adding many OTP ebooks to the collections available for Barnes and Noble's Nook readers and apps. 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 device to read e-books. You can read on your computer, smartphone, or tablet by downloading the Nook app from Barnes and Noble. 

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. 


Blue ICE by I.C. Enger. What the agents discover at Three Cranes Lake will change how you view terrorism...forever. 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. 



Chanukah Guilt by Ilene Schneider. Rabbi Aviva Cohen is a 50-something, twice-divorced rabbi living a fairly uneventful life in South Jersey. True, she has a family that is rather unconventional. And her first ex-husband is moving to her town. But her life takes a truly interesting -- and sinister -- turn when she agrees to officiate at the funeral of an unpopular land developer. She doesn't expect to be told by two different people that he had been murdered. Nor does she expect that the first funeral will result in a suicide. Her search for the story behind the suicide (or was it murder?) will lead her to discover the truism "appearances can be deceiving" is accurate, while putting her life in jeopardy.


The Dancing Boy by Michael Matson. All Treat Mikkelson wants to do after a lifetime of investigating crime is lead a peaceful life on his small Puget Sound island but the death of a woman he’s never met draws him into an investigation that exposes the horrifying underbelly of child exploitation. Margaret Neilssen’s death appears accidental, a broken neck resulting from a fall late at night. Her good friend Cassie McLaren, however, suspects it was murder and beguiles Mikkelson into investigating. Reluctant to give up his isolation but attracted to Cassie, he agrees to talk to the local police and the medical examiner and discovers that Cassie is right.



Eva Pennington by Walter Luce. Suspenseful, riveting, as brilliant, vivacious women take on the banking industry. Born unwanted -- because she is a girl instead of a boy -- into a banking empire, Eva Pennington, at the age of twenty-three, inherits three banks, after her father commits suicide. While computerizing her banks, Eva realizes that women control ninety percent of the deposits in her banks, yet men make all of the decisions as to what to do with those deposits. She uses this knowledge to form a woman’s bank, securing huge deposits, and power, to become the largest banking institution in Florida. Eva’s motto, “Men, get out of the way. Women will lead, not serve.

Island Casualty (An Andy Veracruz Mystery) by D.R. Ransdell. In Island Casualty, the second Andy Veracruz mystery, Andy accepts the invitation of a friend who is working at a tavern on a Greek island. He’s hoping Rachel can help him forget the one he could not save, but life on a small island is much different from life in Squid Bay. Instead of a relaxing vacation, Andy finds secret engagements and crazy wives. As the savior of everyone except himself, Andy is soon involved in it all, but justice is not always black and white. 


 


Lincoln 9 by David Freedland.  Lincoln 9 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.
 


Locked Within by Helen Osterman. Emma Winberry is in her sixties and lives with her significant other, Nate Sandler. She has a "sixth sense" and talks to her Guardian Angel. Emma and Nate are extras in the opera and, when one of the singers, Delia Armanetti, suffers a stroke that affects her speech, Emma is there to help. Delia’s daughter-in-law wants to get rid of her, but Emma thwarts her plan and inevitably puts herself in danger. Does she succeed in helping her friend? 






Mother Rabbit by Tekla Dennison Miller. Mother Rabbit is 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 ally 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.

 

Mariachi Murder by D.R. Ransdell. An alluring woman, a guilty conscience, and a mariachi band in jeopardy add up to mariachi murder! Andy Veracruz is the leader of a mariachi band in Southern California, but when his boss goes out of town, the restaurant turns to chaos. The enticing Yiolanda tempts him even though he knows she’s a troublemaker. When she’s accused of murder, he’s not sure whether to help her or to run the other way. Worse still, Andy's normally tranquil Squid Bay has been trapped in heat, and not even dips in the Pacific can do enough to cool the violinist off. The more Andy learns, the more trouble he gets himself into. He's a sleuth only by accident. He would much rather spend afternoons working on new songs. Instead he has no choice but to spend sleepless nights walking around town and practice the art of breaking and entering. He goes to his brother for advice, but unfortunately, he doesn’t listen!



Miami Exit by Walter Luce. Turk Donatelli, self-made millionaire at twenty-four, earned his money skirting the edges of Miami Beach underworld in the construction and real estate industry. From his hard scrabble youth in a small Vermont lumber town through his service in the Vietnam War, Turk learned how to play tough in a tough world, but when the Miami Beach Mob leans on him to unionize his crews, Turk quickly realizes they are playing for stakes that could cost his life. Now the game is: How to liquidate his Florida assets and negotiate a deal with the mob for his . . . Miami exit.




No Sanctuary by F.M. Meredith. Officer Stacey Wilbur works with Detective Doug Milligan investigating the death of a popular minister’s wife, is given an undercover assignment to catch a pedophile, is offered a new job, and learns a church isn’t always a sanctuary.















Reluctant Assassin by Ken Oxman. Meet U.S. Navy Lieutenant Nathan Blake. He’s a government hit man, one of the best . . . and he wants out. It’s December 1941 and America is at war. Blake wants to fight the war as a sea-going officer, but he is much too good at killing up close and his covert navy department will do what is necessary to keep him busy. He’s deceived into eliminating a lascivious Nazi general in North Africa, who has got hold of information damaging to the Allies, and a top German double agent in Singapore who wants to expose the Allies Far-Eastern spy network. While in Singapore Blake searches for Abby Sinclair, the girl he fell in love with in London and who is now in the country on a clandestine mission with her boss. They are all caught up in the Singapore’s humiliating defeat by a merciless Japanese army. Their escape gives Blake a chance to finally go sailor over assassin – and lands them in the greatest danger of all.


The River Hideaway by Billy Beasley. The year is 1967 and Wilmington, NC, like much of the country, is embedded in racial turmoil. Two boys on the brink of manhood— Bret Marin and Clarence (Money) Wilkins—forge an unlikely friendship that alters the course of their lives forever. Bret and Money find their friendship tested by the racially charged times, by the cruel demands of an overbearing father, and ultimately by an allure that develops between Bret and Money’s sister, Teke.


 

 
Saints & Sinners by Virgil Alexander. Seventeen-year-old Mariana Villalobos’ mystic gift creates a sensation in northern Mexico as hundreds of people undergo a religious epiphany. Even gangsters reject crime. Seeing revenues tumble in the drug trade, the Liones cartel issues a hit order on the girl. The Mexican police hide Mariana in the Gila Valley of Arizona while they work with a defector and international law enforcement to dismantle the gang. It’s a race against time...Can they bring the Liones cartel to justice before the girl is harmed?

 


Something Like a Dream by Robert Richter. A gringo expatriate on the Mexican west coast, Cotton Waters is known to his cantina buddies as "Algo" -- "something" in Spanish. Algo is an ex-political activist and beach bum. In Nayarit fishing villages, he scrounges his lazy living and a little beer money out of the Puerto Vallarta tourist trade as a hustler of a Mexican Riviera lost-and-found—helping some people get lost and finding others—if the price is right or the cause is worth it. In the summer of '82 the worthy cause is Corina Springfield, possibly the most beautiful woman Cotton Waters has ever seen.

 


Summer in Italy by Joe Chiba. When he finds a World War II letter hidden among his dead father's possessions, Joey recalls a long-lost cousin and flies to Italy determined to locate him. However, he never planned on Jeanette, a tall, stunning photographer with a tortuous laugh and a fondness for perfection. A season away from the wedding of her dreams, Jeanette agrees to tag along in a yellow Mini Cooper as Joey searches for his cousin. With lemons, cigars, and spiders along for the ride, a series of doomed misadventures sweeps them across southern Italy, changing them in ways they never imagined. But will their summer in Italy be enough to find the something they never knew was missing?



BLOG CORRAL

Jackie Taylor Zortman wrote about the late Harper Lee on the Jackie's Mountain Memos blog this week.

Of Lee's visit to Holcolmb, Kansas, with Truman Capote, Jackie writes, "My husband was born and raised just 75 miles east of Holcomb and I’ve seen the area many times. At the time of their visit, the population was 270. Therefore, I’m certain Truman Capote would have garnered much attention and would have been a tremendous culture shock to the quiet, unassuming people of that little remote, rural community, situated smack in the heart of the Bible Belt." 

You can read the rest of Jackie's tribute here.



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Lorna Collins blogged this week about writing the audiobook script for her memoir, co-written with husband Larry, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park. She writes, "I find it hard to believe how much I’ve forgotten!

"We published the book in 2005 from lots of source material, collected during the construction of the Universal Studios Japan theme park.

"I saved all the emails we sent home from Japan during our time there as well as other emails sent to and from the team. When we wrote the book, we used much of the material to present an accurate picture of our adventure.

"Reliving those experiences fifteen years after park opening has been a great deal of fun. I’ve laughed and cried and been transported back to the actual events. I have also mourned the colleagues we’ve lost in the interim.
"


You can read the rest of her thoughts here.  

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