"I write so that my handful of pebbles, cast into still waters, will create a ripple."

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Zina Abbott


 Robyn is a fellow Women Writing the West member and an author who sets her historical novels in my part of rugged California. I hope you'll get to know this talented author during her book blitz today. 


     by Zina Abbott 

 A widow with two small children, Nissa Stillwell was forced out of the mining  supervisor's house after her husband died in the mine disaster in Wildcat Ridge, Utah. She quickly learns before his death, he went heavily into debt. She leaves    what few possessions remain behind and contracts with the Ridge Hotel to do their laundry and live in the laundry shed and drying yard
next to the hotel. She is able to make ends meet—barely.

          Being left with only the furnishings and personal items that make up James Stillwell’s estate, Mortimer Crane goes after Nissa to pay the balance owed. She refuses, but he insists she work off the debt in his Gentlemen Only Salon.

          Rancher Dallin Walsh has been too busy building up his spread in the isolated mountains of western Colorado to look for a wife. He comes to Wildcat Ridge for a big horse auction. Between Crane and three drifters, he comes to Nissa’s defense more than once. Desperate to leave Wildcat Ridge, Nissa asks him to hire her as a housekeeper. Does Dallin want a housekeeper—or does he have something else in mind?

          Hal and Buck, two wranglers who work for Dallin, soon find most women in town are as eager to find husbands to move to Wildcat Ridge so they can keep their homes as they are to sell horses. A woman in difficulty captures Hal’s attention. Another woman finds Buck, but he definitely is not interested in a wife.

          Who will go to Colorado, and who will stay in Wildcat Ridge?

Introducing Author 

Zina Abbott


My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen I use for my historical novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West and Western Writers of America. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”

I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.

I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.

Facebook ~ Website ~

More info about Zina, giveaways and games at her official event today. Drop on over! 

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Book Blitz Page  for giveaways and more about Zina

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Rocking the Red Letter Days

In the past two months, four of our friends called us to share their diagnoses of late-stage cancer. One passed early in her treatment. Another passed this week. One is undergoing debilitating chemo that has stolen his energy and his body fat, but he's gritty and determined. Their suffering has been a reminder that our time is limited. We need to be grateful for each moment, especially the ones that lend a lift to our step, plant a smile on our lips and make evident the angels that walk among us.

I had a day like that yesterday—one to balance out the pencilled dates in my calendar for doctors appointment, septic tank clean-outs, juice fasts and trash days. Not that I hadn't planted seeds. It's just that the whole field sprouted on the same day. I want to give a sincere "thank you" to the Power That Be. A writer walks a tight rope between enthusiastic marketing and crowing, and sometimes we miss the nuances, as my dear sister might point out to me under the influence of too much wine. 

The important thing is to recognize the day. It's the first step in seizing it. Recog Diem!

Gratitude begets blessings. That's why writers have adventures that end up in their books. I know mine do. In fact, my boomer memoir is devoted to recognizing the red-letter days in a woman’s life of small steps. For me, living in a state of gratitude became a habit.   

Yesterday, an email from a publishing house started a chain of events that will occupy me for two years. A bookstore contacted me about an event in early September. I volleyed ideas with an editor over a novella that will be released next year. Granddaughters want me to go to San Francisco with them to see a play. My husband took me to Red Robin for $6.99 burgers and salads. We drove home the long way, through the dark woods, listening to the Garth Brooks Channel on Sirius and talking about things close to our heart. 

A Red Letter Day.

I'd love to hear about your RLD's. What can you teach us about gratitude? 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

50 Years and a Rag-Tag Wedding Ring Story

Back in 1968, Steve and I were college kids, scrambling to get married before I “started showing,” to use the popular vernacular of the times. We counted our cash and scraped up a little over a hundred dollars between us. With a baby on the way and college to finish, we found a Columbia Merchandise Catalog and sent away for a ring with a diamond that looked, in the photo, like a cocktail ring Elizabeth Taylor might wear.

Ten days later, on a Saturday morning, Steve presented me with a parcel still wrapped in its brown shipping paper. I used my butter knife to cut the Scotch tape and opened the plastic case. Inside was a microscopic diamond in a 10-carat white gold setting. The engagement ring had a swerve to the band where the wedding ring would mate up. I glanced at the wedding ring; it looked like a fishhook or a beer can opener. With my girlish fantasies blown to smithereens, I tried to smile.

On our wedding day, my rings were blessed by the priest for a life of happy ever-afters. Joined, the set looked better together, but each ring had a difficult time settling in to marriage. They seemed awkward and self-centered, each wanting to do its own thing instead of working as a team. I visited a jeweler and had them soldered together.  

Eventually, despite fillings and repairs, the gold wore thin. On our 25th Anniversary, my husband bought me a white gold anniversary ring with a circle of small diamonds. I wore that as my wedding ring for the next fifteen years. When my husband’s tiny Portuguese grandmother passed away, I inherited her gold ring and had it cut and soldered onto my band. I thought my little ring family was complete. But life sometimes brings surprises.

Last year my mother passed. Among her jewelry was an assortment of gold and diamond rings, including a man’s pinkie ring. “It’s George Mort’s, I think,” my sister said.

Image result for art nouveau diamond ringGeorge and Loulla Mort were a colorful couple who drove into our lives on a hot summer afternoon in 1962, to inquire about renting my grandmother’s bunkhouse. George had been a riverboat gambler and Loulla a brothel madam, as close as we could tell. She had a son whom the county took away when he was a baby. They had traveled the country, making a living playing Five-Card Stud and various other side jobs. They rented from my grandmother, off and on, for a decade. When George died, Loulla traded his pinkie ring for back rent and Grandma let her stay on until she “lost her mind” as they used to say, and the county took her away. Grandma looked in on her at the nursing home until she passed.

I wear George’s ring now. It’s a platinum filigree art nouveau diamond ring with a beveled diamond that sparkles in the light. 

I smile every time I look down at the hodge-podge collection of memories on my finger. Fifty years will do that for a person; one ends up with a lot of recollections—and if you’re lucky, you get a good man, too. So this week is our 50th  Anniversary. Where did the time fly?