GREAT SUMMER READS 2019, PART 2 – FEATURING 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.





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.

With Diantha’s 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.

Henry “Hank” 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?

Buckley “Buck” 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.



  
~ Universal Amazon Link
  


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?)
          – When your bladder says to go, go. Don’t wait.
          – Use 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.
          – If 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? Good luck.

4. Do you have any other warnings for writers?

Beware the “rabbit holes.” 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:
          – Pinterest
          – Facebook
          – Instagram
          – Twitter
          – 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.






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