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.
The daughter of a
Georgia plantation owner, Diantha Ames was raised and educated to be a lady.
Surviving the Civil War as a child, her family, in a desperate, but ultimately
unsuccessful bid to save the property of both her father and her uncle,
arranges a marriage between her and her first cousin. Although not a love match,
she and Eugene were amiable. As information about her husband comes to light
after his death in the Gold King Mine disaster that took so many lives in
Wildcat Ridge, she is left with her husband’s hotel and postmaster position to
fill—and a lot of questions.
former laundress gone, she hires Hilaina Dowd, whose family hails from the
mountains of Appalachia. Hilaina loyally stays with her mother who wishes to
live out her life in Wildcat Ridge and be buried next to her husband who died
in the mine disaster.
Cauley is branded a failure after refusing to be part of his father’s Salt Lake
City brick-making business and then losing his stationary and book store
business. To bury him far away, his brother and conniving sister-on-law use
their political influence with the territorial Congressional representative to
award him the postmaster position in Wildcat Ridge. He arrives in town to take
over the position starting the first of September only to discover the
postmistress, Diantha, knows nothing about the change, and is not relieved she
no longer is obligated to fill this position originally awarded to her deceased
husband. Finding himself surrounded by those loyal to the soft-spoken, Southern
lady, is he destined to also be a failure in Wildcat Ridge?
Kramer, wrangler on the Grassy Fork Ranch in Colorado, has not been totally
satisfied with his lot ever since the trip he took to Wildcat Ridge earlier in
the summer with his boss and best friend now he sees the happiness of family
life the two men enjoy after they brought back wives. When two trail-worn young
brothers stumble onto the ranch looking for a meal and permanent jobs, but are
told with winter coming on there is only room for one, Buck insists on leaving
in order to keep the brothers together. Is Buck really dissatisfied with his
job on the ranch, or is this an excuse to return to Wildcat Ridge and the woman
he has not been able to get out of his mind?
Diantha, Book 14,
is a stand-alone novel. However, you might enjoy it best by reading all the
books in the series, The Widows of Wildcat Ridge. Also, my other book in the
series, Nissa, Book 3, was written to
be a duet with Diantha—a series
within a series. You might also enjoy reading Nissa if you have not already done so.
Q&A With the Author:
1. What is your
advice to “binge readers”?
You want to read because you enjoy reading, not
because you’ve made yourself so sick you must stay in bed and can do little
else other than read. Keep the following in mind:
Whether you read in bed or while sitting in a chair or on the couch, maintain
good posture. Use pillows—big and small—to support your back, neck, and feet.
As you age, it is important that you not slump and roll forward. Doing so cuts
off your oxygen and/or negatively affects your spine and muscles. The older you
get, the more important this is.
Maintain a comfortable temperature, especially for your feet. If you get too
cold (or too hot) because you are too engrossed in your book to grab some slippers,
or a blanket, or a robe or sweatshirt, or turn on a fan or the air conditioner,
you risk making yourself sick. (Am I the only one who has made herself sick by
continuing to read instead of doing one of these things?)
your bladder says to go, go. Don’t wait.
good lighting. Even if you read from a back-lit e-reader, it helps to have some
light. Safer, too. Remember my advice about the bladder.
you are going to binge-read at night, make sure you spend part of your day
doing something active.
– I am
not going to tell you that when you are tired, you need to close the book/turn
off the e-reader and go to bed. You should. However, if I advise you to do
that, it would make me a hypocrite.
2. What are your favorite reading foods?
Mine are chocolate, crackers, dried fruit and nut mix,
toast, soda, and peppermint tea.
3. Do you have any
suggestions to help budding authors become better writers?
Don’t write solid all day. Get some exercise, no
matter how minimal. Break up your writing by making sure to get up and move
around periodically—fold clothes, take care of
your animals, sweep and mop a floor, walk to the mailbox, etc. When your
bladder forces you to make a trip down the hall, while you’re up, find a five
minute on-your-feet-move-and-do task to complete. Keep your muscles and blood
moving. It is good for your brain, heart, circulation, and it keeps down the
swelling in your feet.
Watch what you eat. The older you get, and the more
health issues you develop, the more important this becomes. If you spend lots
of time sitting while you write and/or read, eat fiber, avoid too much salt,
drink water, and watch your carbonated drink consumption. Drinking soda might
not affect you at first—maybe not for years. However, unless a person with a
sedentary job or lifestyle (i.e., a writer and/or a reader) is not careful,
things will back up in the digestive system and cause “issues.” That is when
you trade your greasy chips for crackers full of fiber, your dark chocolate for
York Peppermint Patties or Altoids’ Peppermints, and most of your carbonated
drinks for peppermint or ginger tea.
Avoid running “dumb errands” outside of the house
during your writing time. How it works for me is, once I leave the house to run
a few quick errands, the rest of the day is shot. It is almost impossible to
settle back down to my writing.
I would tell you, for good health, another real
important thing to avoid is stress.
However – (laughs hysterically) – we are talking about being writers, right?
4. Do you have any
other warnings for writers?
Beware the “rabbit
What does it mean to “go down the rabbit hole”? From a Google search: “To enter
into a situation or begin a process or journey that is particularly strange,
problematic, difficult, complex, or chaotic, especially one that becomes
increasingly so as it develops or unfolds. (An allusion to Alice’s Adventures
in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.)”
Rabbit holes for writers:
Unnecessary, repetitive emails or email “jokes”
To a lesser degree, blog posts and newsletters can
fall in this category unless you approach them with organization and discipline.
If you are a writer, like me, you may use many of
these for marketing. They are important to your success—but only if you make
the time to write and publish something you can promote.
Write first. Research first. As much as possible, save
the “rabbit hole” tasks for later in the day. That way, if you get distracted
and spend hours “down the rabbit hole,” it becomes your “entertainment” for the
evening, instead of watching television or (what you really want to do) reading
a good book.
Britney Mills was born in Utah but
parts of her heart lie in Boston, Washington D.C. and Germany. Her love of
writing began with the third grade book her teacher assigned her to write and
she spent hours hidden behind her mother’s couch writing pages and pages about
knights and castles. Now she writes about romance. Go figure.
When she’s not mothering her 4 small children, writing or reading, she’s
probably out playing a sport, going on a hike, or binge watching a murder mystery
series. The way to her heart is through homemade chocolate chip cookies and
five minutes peace.
A self-made billionaire, his real
estate agent and three weeks to find the right property.
Jackson Walker hasn’t had the best family life. Growing up in the foster system
in Australia, it wasn’t until he met his college football coach that he
understood what a normal family looked like. When he gets the call that Coach
has passed away, he returns to California for the funeral and to find a place
to honor the man.
Hailey Montgomery threw herself into real estate soon after breaking up with
her boyfriend nearly five years ago. She’s been working to build a name for
herself and when the chance to make partner at her firm becomes available, she
jumps at the chance. But the only way to achieve that distinction is to find a
commercial property for the guy she’s nicknamed ‘Golden Boy’ from all the
stories her father told about him.
As spending time together brings them closer, the trust between them is called into
question. Can they work through what’s happened in their individual pasts to
create a relationship that will last?
Top Ten List:
1. I was born in October and that day
there was record breaking snow.
2. I played softball at Boston
3. I lived in Munich, Germany for a
summer playing softball.
4. I was able to visit Paris, Venice,
Florence, Amsterdam and Prague that summer.
5. My husband and I got married four
months from the time we started dating (2 months dating, 2 months engaged).
6. My English teacher said a certain
percentage of the students in our high school classroom would be English majors
in college. I said to myself, “No way.” Junior year of college I
declared as an English major.
7. I have four kids ages 6 and under.
(6, 3, 3, 3).
8. I got to see Matt Damon and Julia
Stiles at the premier of Bourne Ultimatum in Berlin.
9. I broke my hand twice, the first
time a hairline fracture and the next time it was completely broken.
10. I write during nap time and for a
little bit of time at night.
TJ Amberson hails from the Pacific
Northwest. With a love of writing in several genres, TJ strives to provide
well-written, age-appropriate, & original novels for tweens, teens, and new
Dark times are upon the land of
Nereth. Centuries have passed since the rightful heir to the throne was
banished. The people are losing hope in ancient legend, which foretells of one
who will rise up, overthrow the evil king and queen, and restore peace. Like
all others in Nereth, Edlyn has suffered greatly. Orphaned as a child, Edlyn
grew up as the serf of a drunken lord. Now a spirited seventeen-year-old, Edlyn
works to buy her freedom while fighting off the unwanted advances of Sheriff
Hurst. One morning, Edlyn discovers a young man hiding in the stable. He is
fleeing from Sheriff Hurst and inflicted with a sword wound that will surely be
fatal without her help. In a split-second decision, Edlyn conceals the young
man from Sheriff Hurst and begins nursing him back to health. As the young
man’s strength returns, Edlyn learns that his name is Maddock, and she is
stunned to find that he has come from the mysterious land to the north. Maddock
soon comes to Edlyn’s aid, rescuing her from Sheriff Hurst. Suddenly declared
outlaws, both Edlyn and Maddock must escape for their lives to enchanted
Ravenshire Forest and then the desolate mountains beyond. As their adventure
unfolds, Edlyn and Maddock discover that their meeting may have been more than
chance, for their lives prove bound by a fate that neither of them could
possibly have imagined.
Top Ten List:
-10 of my favorite things:
5. The smell of newly mowed grass
I grew up in Southeast Missouri; home
of the Throwed Rolls, high cotton, and the St. Louis Cardinals. I have a little
family consisting of son, daughter, son-in-law and a little Pi. Other than my
children (and grandchild), my passion is writing. My current project is The
Three Crowns Series. Sweet Tea is the first book in this seven-novel series
which published October 15, 2013.
Besides reading and writing, I enjoy singing. I love music period. Music is in
our family. Whether it be the bluegrass from the Ozarks that my Grandpa Sutton
use to play on his banjo or fiddle, or the smooth, family harmony in which I am
fortunate enough to sing with my Dad and Brother. But you can give me some
kickin’ AC/DC too! I like it all!
I work full-time as an Administrative Assistant. Every free moment is dedicated
to my family and my current project, The Three Crowns, a seven-novel paranormal
It all starts with a Queen and a Plan.
The Three Crowns is a New
Adult/Paranormal Romance series. There are seven books to complete the series,
with a novella. This series has your modern day vampires dealing with the Old
World Laws creating a struggle for ultimate power in the Night World.
THE THREE CROWNS SERIES SYNOPSIS
The Three Crowns series is about a normal girl whose life is more than what she
will allow herself to imagine. It is the journey of her accepting that
everything is not black and white, and our logic of what we understand does not
mean something does exist. Throughout the story she is protected, loved,
groomed and pushed to her limits to prepare her for what lies ahead of her. She
is tested in all areas of her humanity which will someday bring her to know the
person she is destined to be. The human nature of love is a tangled web of
emotions for she feels the love of two men who are continually being taken away
from her for the sake of their positions in the future as well.
Q&A With the Author:
1. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I work full time as an Administrative
Assistant, so the weekends are usually spent cleaning house and doing laundry.
But every Sunday I make time to sing with my dad and brother. I love being with
my family. My son is 21 so he doesn’t like being around his mom so much, but I
still like when he is home. My daughter’s family lives in TN so I enjoy any
time they come and visit with the little granddaughter who is a spitfire!
2. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to write in first person, that
way you feel the depth of the story and how it is affecting everyone. Being a
reader myself, I love a good cliffhanger, so it is only natural that I love to
write leaving good cliffhangers myself. I know, I know. Some of you don’t like
them, but I love reading and writing them!
3. Do you have any suggestions to help budding authors become better writers?
If so, what are they?
Stay true to your voice when you
Talk with other authors when you can
Appreciate the small victories
4. Where do you get information
and ideas for your books?
How the Three Crowns Series came about was my
daughter asked me to write a story about a girl on a ranch with all her
friends. That turned into eight books, and paranormal at that! I think life
inspires me. When we went to Florida last year and I was floating in the Gulf,
I knew I had to write about St. George Island. I have so many stories written
in notebooks or on my computer. I can only hope that one day I will get them
5. What do you think makes a good
I think it has to be heart-felt. If
I’m not feeling what I’m writing, my readers are not going to feel it. It
doesn’t matter the genre, you have to be able to relate to the characters and
feel what they are feeling.
6. Tell us about your favorite summer
vacation? Or what do you like to do in the summer?
My favorite summer vacation was last
year when we went to St. George Island. I didn’t want to leave! It was my first
time at the Gulf and I was fortunate enough to go with my kids. We stayed in a
house right on the beach, went swimming every day, chartered a boat and fished
for sharks and stingrays, watched the sun come up in the mornings over the
Gulf, ate wonderful food, and shopped in Apalachicola. I hope to go back again.
I’m a retired high school English teacher. A devourer of books
growing up, my profession introduced me to writings and authors from times long
Through my studies and teaching, I fell in love with the Ancient and
Now, I hope to inspire young readers and those Young-at-Heart
to read more through my Tales and Legends for Reluctant Readers set in these
If they fail…
She could die over 3300 years from home!
Tackle the elements & evil of Ancient Egypt…
A history-changing battle & Time Travel Thriller…
Fifteen-year-old Rosa doesn’t see dead people…
She hears them & talks to them.
When she agrees to help King Tut’s ghost find his lost queen & clear his
family’s name, she doesn’t count on falling for him.
She & Tut must also outwit an evil pharaoh determined to stop them…
Even if it means one of them must die.
Get it today and see who triumphs.
2015 IAN Book of the Year Finalist YA
2015 CAL Book Award Finalist YA Fiction
2014 Literary Classics Seal of Approval
2015 Readers’ Favorite Finalist YA
2014 Literary Classics Silver Medal for PreTeen/Tween
Top Ten List:
1. Things I
like to do when not writing:
I enjoy traveling—I will travel anywhere, any time;
reading; spending time with my family; and working in the yard. I’m definitely
not a housekeeper.
Sitting on the beach in Puerto Aventuras,
Blue’s always been my favorite color. It’s the color
of my eyes, of the sky, and of the ocean.
Just can’t pass up a good margarita!
I devour nachos and Auntie Anne’s
6. My your
The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, and The Mummy. I’ve watched each of these so
many times that I’ve lost track, and my husband shakes his head when he sees
one on and says, “Really?” I just smile.
I don’t usually go to sleep until
midnight, and now that I’m retired, I’m comfortable not seeing the sun come up
in the morning:)
That would be a smothered shredded beef
burrito followed by coconut ice cream.
Elton John, Sting, Paul McCartney, and
Mumford & Sons.
10. If I could
live anywhere, it would be in Colorado.
We have the best weather—All four seasons. I live next
to the foothills, and a drive up in the Rockies is a cure for any ailment. I
can see the world famous Red Rock Amphitheater from my couch, and if the wind
is just right, we can hear the concerts. My immediate family is all here,
except for one sister who lives in Texas, poor soul. In addition to being a
retired teacher, I’m also a retired airline employee. So, when I need a change,
it’s so easy just to hop a plane and go to the beach.
Since a young age Michael Brooks has been told he was best at making
things up. If it wasn’t concocting a lie to get out of trouble, it was creating
wild tales about aliens abducting cows from the barn, or stories of ghosts
haunting the woods that surrounded their farmhouse in Missouri. Now he’s all
grown up, earned a degree in creative writing, and has turned his passion for
“making things up” into a profession..
He lives in Utah with his beautiful wife, their five amazing kiddos,
four crazy chicken, too many fish to count, an impressive wand collection, and
one or two invisible dragons. He also writes and illustrates stories for
younger readers under the name Mikey Brooks. You can find more about him and
his other books at www.mikeybrooks.com.
MURDER MADE HIM A PRISONER. TRUTH CAN SET HIM FREE.
In a distant future, all
criminals of violent crimes are sentenced to life in the Arena where they must battle against both man
and beast in a fight to the death.
When sixteen-year-old Calvin Sawyer is wrongly convicted of his father’s murder, his charmed
life as the son of a senator is changed
forever. He’s stripped of his rights, his humanity, even his name. Now as the property of the
Arena, offender CS4521 must learn to
fight in the colosseum. It’s kill or be killed.
See what people are saying about the book
“Murder, friendship, and forbidden romance in a tech-heavy futuristic
world. Offender is everything we love about dystopian literature.”
—Rebecca Rode, USA Today bestselling author
of the Numbers Game Trilogy.
“Offender gripped me on the first page and didn’t let go until
the last line. Sharp and emotional writing combined with a hero you can’t help
but cheer on. It will keep you turning pages with anticipation. Can’t wait for
the next installment!”
— Ilima Todd, bestselling author of the Remake
hand touches mine and lingers. I take in a breath, then go for it. Millimeters
away from our lips touching, she turns her head, cutting me off. I’m not sure
what to do now. My hand feels awkward holding hers. I must have screwed
something up. Maybe I talked too much, or didn’t talk enough. I thought a date
in the park would be romantic, but what did I know about romance?
sorry, Cal.” She speaks in a whisper, and I’m afraid of what she might say. I
don’t want her to tell me that I’m not the guy for her when clearly we’re
not sure why I say it, but I do. “Mary, I like you.”
I tense up slightly as if I just placed my heart on the ground for her to stomp
like you too, Cal. A lot.” She hesitates and I wait for her to give me the
crushing blow. There’s something wrong with me, I’m sure. A girl like Mary can
get any guy she wants. She lets go of my hand and begins fidgeting with the
buttons on her sleeve. Before I know it, she yanks her sleeve up, revealing the
blue brand stamped on her forearm.
arrows under the brand mark her as a fifth generation defector.
sorry. I should’ve told you before, but you asked me out, and I really wanted
to be with you.” She pauses and the orange sky glints in her moist eyes. “I
don’t want you to get into trouble.”
take her hand and hold it tightly in mine. “You think I care about that? Screw
you could get in trouble. Your father—”
E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. For three and a half years she published the Confidence in Life newsletter for Alpha Production Ministries, in addition to writing tracts and devotionals.
Teaching a women’s Bible study at her church for eleven years naturally led to her current endeavor of writing inspirational romance novels and teen and young adult fiction. Her mission: spiritual maturity in the body of Christ through fiction.
Most sleepovers are simple. Food, fun, and
pillow fights. But sixteen-year-old Karen Duncan has bigger plans for her
slumber party. Family troubles have changed her over the past year, and she’s
no longer the petty, selfish girl she used to be. Now she’s ready to shake
things up with her friends. The guest list comes as a surprise to some and a
slap in the face to others. This popular girl has invited some not-so-popular
guests. Even more shocking, she’s left out some of the girls she’s hung out
with since middle school.
Diane and Evette are outsiders, nervous about being stuck in a house with the
same girls who tease them at school. Kathy, Lisa, and Joann come to the party
with the confidence of the in-crowd, but they’re masking inner-turmoil that is
bound to surface. Sandy and Angela are usually the voices of reason…usually.
And then there’s Linda, the friend that got away. She may not ever forgive the
girls who abandoned her years ago. Karen hopes to change her mind.
Her agenda is ambitious, and it could spell disaster. But Karen is convinced
God will use this party to spark a new beginning for everyone involved. This
companion book to A Living Hope gives us the inspired story Sadie Cummings
wrote for the girls of Shiatown.
Top Tens List:
2. Book: Pride
3. Western: Alias Smith and Jones
4. Cake: Yellow
with chocolate frosting
5. Ice cream: French vanilla
8. Beverage: Homemade lemonade
10. Hobby: Reading
and working jigsaw puzzles