Friday, November 27, 2015

Weekly Roundup: November 27, 2015

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! November is Native American Heritage Month, when we "pay tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans." Publishers Weekly marked the occasion by surveying the representation of Native Americans in children's literature, in which books published about of by Native Americans are unfortunately scarce. Because a full 566 federally recognized tribes compose the Native American population, no single story or voice could represent all.

Stories with Native American protagonists are essential for children as well as for adult readers. Many of us are uninformed about the contemporary and historical lives of native peoples and would benefit greatly from novels that offered accurate portrayals of Native Americans. Through literature, we might be better able to appreciate and recognize these citizens' current and past contributions to this country as well as their histories and struggles.      

Oak Tree Press has several authors who are intimately familiar with Native American culture and write about Native American characters, situations, and settings. Please look for these titles in our bookstore! One of them is among our recent releases.

The season of giving is truly upon us, and now is a great time to begin the search for that special gift of a book -- perhaps even a signed copy or a new Kindle pre-loaded with great titles -- for the reader on your holiday shopping list!

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.


"The first time I read an excellent book, it is to me just as if I had gained a new friend. When I read over a book I have perused before, it resembles the meeting with an old one."

~Oliver Goldsmith


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

We have plenty to choose from. Just click on a title and you will be directed to a free read! These sample chapters will be updated frequently, and new releases will also be featured. 


Our latest release is the next novel by award-winning author J.L. Greger. In I Saw You in Beruit, a mysterious source of leaks on the Iranian nuclear industry identified only as "F" sends an email from Tabriz. “Help. Contact Almquist.” Intelligence sources determine the message refers to Sara Almquist, a former professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and draw her into the plan to identify and rescue F from Iran. Sara is forced to dredge up long-forgotten memories to ascertain the identity of F, taking her on a journey that shifts from her student days through her career as a globe-trotting epidemiologist. Soon she is caught in crossfire during a shoot-out in the Midwest, then put on a transport plan to the Middle East, followed by journeys in small boats and overland in Lebanon with danger as her companion. 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?

J.L. Greger writes thrillers and mystery novels with tidbits about recent scientific advances. For example, did you know Cuban researchers recently patented a vaccine against a rare type of lung cancer? When you read her thriller Malignancy, you’ll see this fact makes modern Cuba emerge from the pages of the novel.

Don’t worry if you’re not much interested in science, her novels are filled with action and suspense, twisted but convincing plots, and the characters just quirky enough to be appealing. Her other mystery/ thrillers include Coming Flu, Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight, and Ignore the Pain.

While a professor in the biological sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, J.L. sharpened her story-telling skills with lectures in biochemistry and nutrition at eight-thirty in the morning. She found that students were more likely attend class and retain the “dry” facts if she “humanized” the science with relevant stories. She enjoys writing novels because now the facts are secondary to the story, instead of vice versa. 

Her two great passions are Bug and travel. Bug is a pet therapy dog at local hospitals and the inspiration for the Bug in her novels. She's included her travels to Bolivia and Cuba in Ignore the Pain and Malignancy. J.L. has also done consulting in the Untied Arab Emirates and Lebanon. When she's not traveling, she lives with Bug in the American Southwest. 

J.L.'s short stories focus on families and their crises. One of them, “Shoes,” won an award from the Public Safety Writers Association. Malignancy was a first-place winner in the association's Writing Competition in 2015

In case you missed them last week, these latest releases a secon week. A Fox with Earrings by Loyd Little and Black Indian, Red Heart (White Justice) by Frederick H. Savage are out now in paperback and will soon be available for Kindle.

In A Fox with Earrings, Nolan Chastain is three months into a consuming affair with Cass Tolley, a woman he’s known and been fascinated with for more than a decade. It is not the sort of thing Nolan is used to. Frankly, he’s a little reserved and formal. Divorced two years ago, Nolan owns a small but upscale real estate firm in Augusta.

After the first day of showing million dollar homes to a recently retired Air Force general and his wife, Nolan arrives at Cass’s home to find police cars and blue lights―Cass has been shot and killed. Clues are sparse. No sign of breaking and entering or of a struggle. Ty Marion, chief of detectives and a college friend of Nolan’s questions him.

Going into the house, they pass a stuffed fox that Cass had picked up from the taxidermist two days earlier.  For fun, she and Nolan had pinned a pair of her mother’s earrings on the fox. The police suspect Nolan, and he realizes he must discover the actual killer before the scandal taints his business and the police charge him with murder.

Loyd Little is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and has taught creative writing at UNC-Chapel Hill and the North Carolina community college system. He was an editor/managing editor of four newspapers in North and South Carolina. He has lectured at various literary events and has critiqued novels and short stories for the North Carolina Writers Network for more than 20 years.

His published novels include Parthian Shot (Viking/Ivy, 1975), winner of the 1976 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction and a Playboy Book-of-the-Month selection; In the Village of the Man (Viking-Penguin, 1977), Smokehouse Jam, (Available Press, a division of Ballantine Books, 1989), and Roll On Sugaree (Author House, 2013). He has also published several short stories and the nonfiction Fragile Islands of Memories, a picture book about the Hre Montagnards around Gia Vuc, a Special Forces camp where he served in 1965.

You can learn more about Loyd and his writing at his website.

Black Indian, Red Heart (White Justice) is a story set in the Civil War era that takes the issues of slavery and injustice head on. The main character, Colton Sage, is the son of a runaway slave and an Indian woman. He is born free into a world of unending prejudice and bias. He grows up to become one of the most notorious Indian outlaws in the land, the infamous "Black Bat from Hell."

The novel is a no-holds-barred account of the events that led up to the Indian war of 1862 and the largest mass execution in US history. Not for the fainthearted, this historically engaging work of fiction is told with a series of cliff hanger chapter endings and a "can’t put it down" storyline.

Black Indian, Red Heart (White Justice) was a first-place winner in the Florida Writers Association's 2014 Royal Palm Literary Awards.

Frederick H. Savage is an award-winning Wyoming author who has written works that deal with child abuse and neglect, children’s issues, traditional poetry, Western themes, and the Vietnam War. His stories were recognized by Wyoming Writers Inc. in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 and by the National Writers Inc. in 2007.

Frederick is a veteran who served proudly in the Vietnam War with the US Army Airborne Infantry. You can learn more about his awards and writing at his website.


The first chapter of Robert Richter's novel, Something Like a Dream, is one of 22 works in the the anthology of Mexico writers Mexico: Sunlight & Shadows, which has been recognized with a prestigious Benjamin Franklin Digital Award by the Independent Book Publishers Association. Robert reports that he is "pleased and proud to be recognized."

The book had received more than 40 reviews on Amazon.

In Something Like a Dream, 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.

Mexico: Sunlight & Shadow received the honor for being "one of the best books available about life for both expat residents and natives in villages and cities across Mexico. What sets it apart from most other books about living in Mexico is that it's a literary collection of short stories and essays, full of insights by contemporary authors who write and live full time in Mexico or who have spent a lot of time living in the country. The superb collection contains works by twenty-two authors, all but five of whom live full time in the country. Their writing spans a variety of topics; many contributions extol life in Mexico's abundant sunlight while others examine what the shadows sometimes obscure. It's a sampler of sorts, with active hyperlinks for more information about the authors and their other writing. Perhaps the best way to gain valuable insights about the day-to-day life of people in a foreign country is to read good books by authors living and/or writing in that country. The purpose of this book is to identify several writers who can help readers accomplish this for Mexico."


John Wills's photograph Hazelwild Barn was chosen for publication in the fall 2015 issue of The Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review. John is the author of the award-winning Healer as well as the novella Dancer and the novel The Year Without Christmas.

Healer was a third-place winner in the Public Safety Writers Association's 2015 Writing Competition. The novel tells the story of sixteen-year-old Billy Anderson, whose short life has been full of daunting challenges. A birth defect and the death of his parents force him to live with his Aunt Staci.

That situation becomes untenable for Billy and he chooses to live on the street. One day things change dramatically when Billy receives the “Gift of Healing.” Not only does Billy’s own life take a dramatic turn, but his new gift also affects those around him. Is this gift a blessing or a curse?  


Mary Montague Sikes will participate in the Bay School Community Arts Center's Holiday Open House in Mathews, Virginia, on Friday, November 27, and Saturday, November 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. She will sign her novel, Evening of the Dragonfly, and display some of the artwork inspired by the heroine of the novel, Farrah Ferand.

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? 


Tekla Miller will be a guest bookseller/local author at Maria's Bookshop in Durango, Colorado, for Small Business Saturday on November 28. Tekla will be promoting her book, Mother Rabbit, to local shoppers and readers.

Mother Rabbit is a collaborative memoir about Alyce Bonura, a woman like so many others in the 1960s, caught between living according to traditional societal mores and pursuing the promises of the feminist movement. Alyce’s stint as a Bunny Mother is set during a particularly turbulent era when even such a secluded environment as the Playboy Club is affected by the Vietnam 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.


Nicholas Checker will be at Dragon's Egg Studio in Ledyard, Connecticut, to present his novels Druids and Scratch at a holiday bazaar on Saturday, December 5, from 2 to 5 p.m. The books will be available at a discount for holiday shoppers.

Nicholas is also promoting Small Business Saturday and wants readers to know that both of his novels are available in the following shops in southeastern Connecticut: Bank Square Books (Mystic), The Book Barn (Niantic), Book Trader Etc. (Groton), and the Slater Memorial Museum (Norwich).

Scratch is a chilling tale of loyalty, friendship, and courage – set in the mysterious world of feral cats. It also contains reflections of how cultures too often misread and mistrust one another, leading to ends that might have been avoided. White Saja, a renowned tomcat of the wild woodlands, returns to his old haunts to rescue his onetime clan from a gruesome fate. It leads him on a fearful quest into the brooding Dark Woods where he and a reluctant rival must seek the aid of a dread creature whose very name has long invoked terror in them all. Enter the pages of Scratch and discover unrelenting adventure!

Druids is a medieval fantasy adventure of an isolated lad born with an eerie sense that earns him the suspicion and contempt of those who fail to see it as a gift. He joins two renowned knights -- both caught up in a terse gender rivalry -- while on a perilous quest to liberate a ruined land from a druid-lord’s deranged sorcery.


Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) will have a booth at Christmas Boutique at the Springville Ranch at the Big White Barn in Springville, California, on Saturday, December 5th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. She will have books from both her series there. 

In Springville, follow Route 190 to where the road splits off to Balch Park Rd. The Big White Barn is right there.

Then, on Thursday, December 10, at 6 p.m., she'll be speaking to the new Sisters in Crime group in Bakersfield at Lorene’s Coffee Shop in Bakersfield, California. 

Her topic will be what it takes to write nearly 40 books.

Marilyn's Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series contains 11 books, the latest of which is Violent Departures in which college student Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges. 


Lorna Collins continues her blog posts about the recent trip she took to Hawaii with her husband, Larry. You may recall that they are traveling in Waikiki now. The trip has been full of ups and downs, and things are changing in the place they've enjoyed before. 

You can read Lorna's reflections here.


John Wills reports that his day was made when he received an e-mail from a fellow author who had read his novel Healer three times. This reader thoroughly enjoyed the novel, which "is now firmly on the list of his favorite books."


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

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Billie Johnson, Publisher