Friday, October 13, 2017


Come enjoy more of the harvest dance in Jubilee Springs.

My next book in the
Sweethearts of Jubilee Series
will be among those including the harvest dance,
the last official social gathering for the region surrounding
Jubilee Springs.

Below I am proud to share my cover for Book 15,
my fifth book,

Evasive Eddie Joe


I will not place this book on preorder, but will offer it at a preorder sales price of $.99 on the day of publication, which is scheduled for Tuesday, October 31st.
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Friday, October 6, 2017

True Confessions about DEAD SET DELPHINIA

True confessions about DeadSet Delphinia, my latest release (Book 11, and my fourth, in the Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs series).
The title should have been REVISED.

When I started collaborating on this series with other authors who write for the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, most of us decided we would like to see it as an ongoing series. I decided to write at least 24 books, each with a character whose name starts with a different letter in the alphabet. (Yes, in two books, I would have a set of twins.) I already messed up as far as keeping my books in alphabet order. I came up with a plot for Bargain Bessie, my third book, which starts with her and her mother being in Indianapolis, Indiana on Independence Day, but most of it takes place a few weeks later. However, in my first book, Aaron’s Annulment Bride, I needed a friend to help the bride in that story, Andrea, escape from her father's home so she could come to Jubilee Springs. Her friend was Catherine, or “Cat,” in Cat’s Meow (Much of that story, by the way, was inspired by the image of the kitty in the picnic basket which ended up on the cover.)


Back to my fourth book, and back to alphabet order. Its ORIGINAL title was Determined Delia. Delia Brownlee was mentioned in Aaron’s Annulment Bride as one of the two women with whom he corresponded. She didn’t come with the other brides for the Independence Day holiday weekend. The other woman with whom he corresponded chose to marry another miner. Aaron planned to wait until Delia Brownlee could come, but…well…if you already read that story, you know how that worked out.

Time for me to write Delia Brownlee’s story. I had a cover image, a name and four weeks until my publication day. I had no plot, no groom in mind—nada. This book was to be the first of the “Harvest Dance” cluster of stories which takes place the middle to the end of October, 1881. I needed to explain why Delia could not arrive on Independence Day weekend, 1881, but she showed up in time for the harvest dance the third week of October.


Delia Brownlee informed me on the very first page of the very first chapter that Delia was not her real name. It was an alias for Delphinia Blakewell. She was the daughter of a well-known, rich and powerful New York financial investor. After her father discovered she had used her alias to write to miners in Jubilee Springs she contacted through the Colorado Bridal Agency, her mother locked her in her room, put bars on her windows, and kept her there until she agreed to marry the man her parents picked out for her.


Once Delphinia finally arrived in Jubilee Springs, one of the first men she met was Bennett Nighy who owned the furniture store. Because he made his own wood furniture, and had the skills to nail together a pine box for a coffin, he had ended up becoming the town’s unofficial mortician. This was not that uncommon. While writing my Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series, my research into the history of Lundy, California revealed that in the 1880’s, Andrew Barnes owned the furniture store, built coffins, and served as mortician.
C. F. Bateman in front of his furniture store - Salida, Colorado
Considering Bennett Nighy’s occupation, plus a few elements in the story, the title was revised to Dead Set Delphinia.


I did a cover reveal a couple of weeks before my scheduled release date. Mostly I received positive comments. However, a few readers mentioned they found the hair disturbing. It was way too much, like she was wearing a helmet. I did a little more research of hair styles in the late 1870's and early 1880's and discovered many women wore their hair curly, high on the back of their heads, and contained said curls in either their bonnets or a fabric head wrap.

Hence, a little photo-editing later, I added a head wrap to the hair. The hair is just as high, but at least the head band breaks it up so it doesn't look like a football landed on her head. 

If you wish to see some of those hair styles which influenced this revision, please CLICK HERE to visit my post on the Cowboy Kisses blog titled "Frou-Frou Hair."


Originally, the Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs series was intended to be a collection of novellas 20–25,000 words in length. I found with the first book I do not do well “writing short.” That book came in at 36,000 words. The other two were shorter, but well over 25,000 words.

I looked at the four week deadline to finish Dead Set Delphinia and told myself—Zina, you have got to write a shorter story. You don’t have enough time to write 36,000, or even 28,000 (Cat’sMeow, my shortest in this series) words.

Didn’t happen. It was a week before I needed to have this published, I was already way over 50,000 words, and I had chapters to write. Publication day came, I was up to over 66,000 words, I still have one last chapter to finish, I still needed to go over the entire manuscript for obvious errors, and it goes without saying I have run out of time to get the finished manuscript to my line editor for final editing.

Hence, my revised publication date, which was last Saturday, September 30th. The book is out now, just under 67,000 words in length. Most of the errors in the first publication upload have since been cleaned up, and I am ready to move on to writing my next book, Evasive Eddie Joe. Hopefully, that one won’t also earn the distinction it should have been titled REVISED.