Monday, February 17, 2020

OSKAR AWARD: Best 2019 Novel Written by Zina Abbott
























I am now on the final day of my "Oskar Awards" for my 2019 books. Today, I am featuring five of my six books published last year.  I chose them, not based on my favorites, because I greatly enjoyed writing them all. I selected these mainly based on the reception to them I received from my readers. These are the top five books I wrote in 2019:

Diantha:
          A widow, Diantha runs her late husband's hotel she inherited and the post office until Hank Cauley shows up bearing the news that he has been awarded the postmaster's position in place of Diantha's late husband. In a secondary romance, Buck returns to Wildcat Ridge to see if there can be a serious relationship between him and Hilaina. If so, can he find enough paying work to someday ask her to marry him?

Virginia's Vocation:
          Unwilling to settle for the expected role of women, Virginia uses her talent for writing articles published in a political magazine of the day. When her older brother and guardian decides to move west to Kansas Territory, she chooses to attend Oberlin College. There she meets Avery, one of her instructors and an aspiring writer who is envious of the success of Virginia pseudonym.

Escape from Gold Mountain:
          Based on real events and people, this tale of the stagecoach abduction of a Chinese woman held for ransom for eight days was taken from newspaper accounts and local histories. Woven with fictional characters and events, it is an alternative history bordering on the truth. 

Two Sisters and the Christmas Groom:

          Annie comes to Jubilee Springs to work as a maid for her former employer's daughter. Kate writes to a miner in Jubilee Springs in her attempt to escape the dead-end poverty of lower east Manhattan. Michael has been selected to live in company housing provided by Prosperity Mine as soon as he marries. As he gets to know both sisters, which will he choose?

Nathan's Nurse:
          Nothing at home for her after the death of her father, Dahlia agrees to write to men for the intent of finding a husband. Nathan offers a company house provided by his employer, Prosperity Mine, as soon as the two are married. Just before Dahlia arrives, he is injured in a mining accident and ends up in a coma. Between his injuries and a questionable marriage by proxy, the future does not look promising for this couple. 


And my choice for my best novel for 2019 is:

Escape from Gold Mountain

Escape from Gold Mountain was not historical fiction as much as it was fictionalized history. I spent more time doing research for this book than any other to date. I read several fiction books set in the same era which were written by Chinese-American authors to get a feel for the Cantonese Chinese culture. This book was almost a three year project. It is my longest novel to date. 

In my opinion, it is my best work, not just for 2019, but to date. 



For the full book description and purchase link,
please CLICKHERE.

If you missed the Oskar Award for Zina Abbott's best 2019 hero post, CLICK HERE
If you missed the Oskar Award for Zina Abbott's best 2019 heroine post, CLICK HERE
If you missed the Oskar Award for Zina Abbott's best 2019 secondary male character post, CLICK HERE
If you missed the Oskar Award for Zina Abbott's best 2019 secondary female character post, CLICK HERE
If you missed the Oskar Award for Zina Abbott's best 2019 antagonist/villian post, CLICK HERE
 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

OSKAR AWARD: Best Antagonist in Zina Abbott Books






















Today on my "Oskar Awards" series of posts, I am featuring my best antagonists in my 2019 books. Who better to make a plot exciting and interesting than a good villain? Here are my top five choices:

Spotted Horse in Charlie's Choice:
          Spotted Horse is my heroine Meadowlark's father. He is not a villain, but he is an antagonist. He is part of the tradition Kansa (Kaw) faction that rejects any interaction and intermarriage with white Americans. He opposes Charlie Gray Cloud's request to marry Meadowlark.

Mortimer Crane in Diantha:
          Mortimer Crane is a villain. He is common to the entire Widows of Wildcat Ridge series. He is mean and self-serving, always trying to get the widows under his control.

Charley Jardine in Escape from Gold Mountain:
          Based on a real person, Charley Jardine had been in trouble with the law for years. He was a mean drunk known to attack anyone who rubbed him the wrong way when inebriated. He rustled cattle, planned the stagecoach abduction, hired Tex to do the abduction, and held Ling Loi for ransom.

Tex Wilson in Escape from Gold Mountain:
          Tex Wilson was known for cattle rustling and stagecoach robberies. Fresno County had a warrant out for his arrest. He carried out the stagecoach abduction. 

Herbert Price in Nathan's Nurse
          Herbert was more an antagonist than a villain with evil intent. He drank too much, was self-centered and disrespectful toward women, and resisted following rules. He caused continual trouble for his brother, Nathan.

And my choice for the best antagonist/villain is

Charley Jardine

In real life and in my book, Charley was an outlaw and a trouble-maker with complete disregard for the people around him. Although he worked as a miner, he felt no qualms about making extra money by any means--legal or illegal. He loved power and control. He had run with a rough crowd and terrorized the citizens of Lundy for years before the time this story takes place. Once the mines began to shut down there, he moved to Bodie, another rough and lawless town. In real life, between Charley (sometimes spelled Charlie) Jardine and Tex Wilson, which man took the prize for being the most lawless and violent, I don't know. However, in my book, it was Charley. I wrote it that way because local historians claimed he was the head of the gang that included Tex.



For the full book description and purchase link for Escape from Gold Mountain
please CLICK HERE.

If you missed the Oskar Award for Zina Abbott's best 2019 hero post, CLICK HERE
If you missed the Oskar Award for Zina Abbott's best 2019 heroine post, CLICK HERE
If you missed the Oskar Award for Zina Abbott's best 2019 secondary male character post, CLICK HERE
If you missed the Oskar Award for Zina Abbott's best 2019 secondary female character post, CLICK HERE


Friday, February 14, 2020

Valentine Countdown Blitz: The Stranger She Married





Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.


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When her parents and twin brother die within weeks of each other, Alicia and her younger sister are left in the hands of an uncle who has brought them all to financial and social ruin. Desperate to save her family from debtor's prison, Alicia vows to marry the first wealthy man to propose. She meets the dashing Lord Amesbury, and her heart whispers that this is the man she is destined to love, but his tainted past may forever stand in their way. Her choices in potential husbands narrow to either a scarred cripple with the heart of a poet, or a handsome rake with a deadly secret.

Cole Amesbury is tormented by his own ghosts, and believes he is beyond redemption, yet he cannot deny his attraction for the girl whose genuine goodness touches the heart he'd thought long dead. He fears the scars in his soul cut so deeply that he may never be able to offer Alicia a love that is true. When yet another bizarre mishap threatens her life, Alicia suspects the seemingly unrelated accidents that have plagued her loved ones are actually a killer's attempt to exterminate every member of her family. Despite the threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger to her heart. And Cole must protect Alicia from the killer who has been exterminating her family before she is the next target.

This romantic story of loss and betrayal, forgiveness and redemption, and strangers marrying, will leave you laughing, crying, and swooning. Sprinkled liberally with suspense, mystery, and heart-melting kisses, this is not your ordinary historical tale of an arranged marriage nor of redeeming the rakes. Fans of Victorian and Regency Eras as well as those seeking clean and wholesome romance with plenty of chemistry, not to mention the redemptive power of love, will love this story!

Dance with a duke, outwit pirates, save a kingdom, and fall in love. Believe in happily ever after.

The Rogue Hearts Series:
The Stranger She Married
The Guise of a Gentleman
A Perfect Secret
The Suspect's Daughter

Praise for Donna Hatch:
“Donna Hatch is one of the masters of clean romance with electric tension and smokin’ hot kisses.” ~ Reading is My Super Power Reviews


“Written with heart and depth, Donna Hatch’s books are absolute must-reads for any fan of swoon-worthy historical romance.”  ~ Sarah M. Eden, USA Today best-selling historical romance author

Join the Cover Reveal for the 5th book in the Rogue Hearts Series




Snippet:

     Mrs. Hancock beamed as Alicia reached her side, put an arm around Alicia, and brought her into their circle. “Miss Alicia Palmer, allow me to introduce Lord Amesbury.”
     Even more devastating up close, Lord Amesbury turned to her. His piercing blue eyes threatened the strength in her knees. Though taller than most ladies, Alicia still had to look up to meet his gaze. No other color existed in those eyes; no green or gray, only deep, dark blue, like the fathomless depths of the ocean.
     All the other men she had met lately, namely those her uncle insisted she consider for a husband, had taken careful note of her figure. But this gentleman only looked into her eyes. Very deeply.
     Lord Amesbury inclined his head. “Miss Palmer.” His resonant, bass voice touched her very soul.
     Alicia met his frank gaze and a sensation she did not quite understand stirred within her until breathing became a conscious effort. Mrs. Hancock discreetly coughed, and Alicia realized she’d been locked in eye contact with the Viscount much longer than appropriate.
     Unable to pull her eyes away, Alicia sank into a curtsey. “My lord.”
     No longer merely polite, his smile broadened, warmed, transforming an already handsome face into a perfectly stunning visage. Sensuality radiated off him, not in a manner that left her feeling threatened, but in a way that left her breathless for more. More of what, she did not know. But she wanted to find out.
     “Miss Palmer,” Lord Amesbury said, “May I have the next dance?”
     Alicia blinked. She looked back at Elizabeth who smiled encouragingly. Mrs. Hancock also smiled and nodded, but a touch of disappointment tainted her approval, reminding Alicia the dear lady had hoped her own daughter would attract the attention of the very eligible Lord Amesbury. That he’d singled out Alicia seemed a dream.
     She squelched all hope that she might hold his interest. Surely only politeness motivated him to dance with the plainest girl first. He’d soon turn his attention to the beautiful ladies.
     Finding her voice, Alicia replied, “I would be delighted, my lord.”
     As the final notes of the current dance ended and the next began, Lord Amesbury offered his arm. She took it, an unfamiliar quiver beginning in her stomach. The art of dancing, she found as the set began, had not abandoned her as completely as her wits. The handsome viscount danced with athletic grace, his attention focused upon her. The warmth of his hand seeped through their kidskin gloves. He held her gently, firmly.
     A playful glint touched his sapphire eyes. “I must warn you. Now that we’ve danced, my aunt will take it upon herself to ask you your opinion of me. She will most certainly interrogate me regarding you.”
     She met those probing eyes and her mouth curved. “Oh? Has your aunt become your self-proclaimed matchmaker?”
     A wry smile touched his lips. “Of course. I’m thirty and not yet married. She feels it her duty to ensure I produce an heir before I’m too old. Despite my efforts to delay that obligation, she persists.”
     Alicia nodded, her smile deepening at his indelicate statement. “That is a dilemma.”
     “Since you and I have only just met, it will be difficult to offer a fair assessment of your character. And if I say anything positive about you, she’ll plan the wedding.” His smile brightened, lighting up his stunning face.
     Alicia missed her step. Even while dancing with the very handsome Duke of Suttenberg two Seasons ago, such a keen attraction for a man had never overcome her as it did tonight. Yet she was nearly twenty, for heaven’s sake, not a missish schoolgirl!
     “Your aunt is a strong woman and a kind lady, my lord. I am sure you can reason with her.”
     “I suppose she possesses a good heart deep, deep down inside, but be truthful; she’s sharp-tongued and outspoken.”
     She laughed and then clapped her hand over her mouth. “My lord! She might hear you.”
     He chuckled. “Fear not. We needle each other as frequently as possible. I say worse things to her face. I enjoy watching her squirm and plot a counter- attack.”
     That reminded her of the playful banter she shared with her cousin Robert. “I don’t recall her ever mentioning you, my lord.”
     His smile turned self-deprecating. “I’m one of those relations no one mentions.”






To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 





Thursday, February 13, 2020

OSKAR AWARD: Best Secondary Female Character in Zina Abbott Books






















This is day four of my "Oskar Awards" for different categories of characters in my own 2019 books. Today I am featuring the characters I consider to be my best secondary female characters in 2019:

Chases Quail in Charlie's Choice:
          Chases Quail, or She-who-chases-quail, is my heroine Meadowlark's aunt. She is known for being meddlesome and gossipy, but she looks out for the daughter of her deceased sister.  She stands up to Meadowlark's father who opposes Charlie Gray Cloud's request to marry his daughter.

Hilaina Dowd in Diantha
          Hilaina is actually a secondary heroine, since she played that role in the secondary romance in the novel. A chatterbox, she is a hard-working woman, fearless when standing up for what is right, a character who knows what she wants and goes after it. Once Buck returns to Wildcat Ridge, she wants him.

Drusilla Chilton in Virginia's Vocation:
          Drusilla is a middle-aged, busy-body boardinghouse owner who rules over her dining table and meddles in the lives of her boarders. Her curiosity drives her to follow Virginia and discover her secret vocation. As annoying as she can be, in the end, she helps Virginia not only succeed in her vocation, but she throws Virginia and Avery together to encourage the attraction she knows they feel toward each other.

Kate Flanagan in Two Sisters and the Christmas Groom:
          Kate signs up as a mail order bride as a means to get out of the dead-end poverty of the Irish sector in lower east Manhattan. After one potential groom chooses another woman, she submits to her sister's pleas to marry Michael, a miner in Jubilee Springs. She is also a secondary character in another of my novels, Nathan's Nurse.

Fiona Flanagan in Two Sisters and the Christmas Groom.
          The mother of both Annie and Kate, Fiona must deal with the poverty of lower east Manhattan, her husband's alcoholism, finding enough money beyond what her husband spends on his drinking to keep her family fed and educated. Although she is resigned to stay with her husband to the end, her goal is to get all of her children away from the greater New York area to a place where they can have a better life.

This was a tough decision for me. In so many respects, my secondary characters are what make my books. Chases Quail, although annoying, is admirable. "Salt of the earth" Hilaina I love. Mrs. Chilton was so effective with her meddling her character annoyed one my readers to the degree she quit reading the book and left me a terrible review. Because her choices will greatly affect others, Kate's must make some difficult decisions. Same with the character of her mother.

And my choice for my best secondary female character is:


Fiona Flanagan

          Where Kate is not staunch in her Catholic faith, Fiona is. Fiona is intent on her daughters marrying Catholic men. Although he is a less-than-admirable character, Fiona takes her marriage vows to her drunkard husband seriously. She will stay with him for better or worse, until death separates them. She struggles to find the means to educate her children so they can find work other than the poverty-level employment currently available to them, less and less however, since immigrating Italians and other minorities are competing for the same jobs. All the while, she scrambles to get her hands on enough money to keep everyone fed. She makes tough decisions to achieve her goal to help her children escape the dead-end poverty of lower east Manhattan.


To find the book description and purchase link,
please CLICK HERE.

Three reasons why Zina Abbott is skipping tomorrow for her series of "Oskar Awards" posts:

1.  It is Valentine's Day.
2.  I am featuring a guest author on my Zina Abbott Books blog on Valentine's Day.
3.  I will be gone on a day trip for Valentine's Day. My sweetheart and I are taking our box of See's Nuts and Chews and driving up to Sonora, a town that is 4-5 miles from Columbia and is a secondary locality in my latest book. It is time I peruse the Tuolumne County Historical Museum and other historical buildings in this early California gold rush community.

My Oskar Awards posts will continue on Saturday (in lieu of my Saturday Snippet) and conclude on the President's Day holiday, Monday, February 17th.

If you missed the Oskar Award for Zina Abbott's best 2019 hero post, CLICK HERE
If you missed the Oskar Award for Zina Abbott's best 2019 heroine post, CLICK HERE
If you missed the Oskar Award for Zina Abbott's best 2019 secondary male character post, CLICK HERE