Wednesday, October 29, 2014


It has been a busy week due to my novel, FAMILY SECRETS published by Fire Star Press, being released and available for sale yesterday and preparing for the online release party to be held this Saturday, November 1st. But, I have another story being published I need to announce. Who can not like that kind of busy?

I wish to share the beautiful cover for my short story (15,000 words, not quite a novella, but just right for the busy holiday season coming up) titled A Christmas Promise. It is scheduled to be released on November 6th by Prairie Rose Publications.

There are some tidbits about this story:

After twenty years in the cavalry, a sergeant at Fort Laramie plans to muster out of the Army in order to go into ranching--and start a family. A new widow, grateful to have work as a housekeeper, struggles to provide Christmas gifts for her two children. An eleven year-old boy, still fiercely loyal to the dead father who neglected him while alive,endeavors to learn how to grow to be a man. A younger sister is starved for the attention and affection only a father can give. This heartwarming tale of a bleak Christmas set in 1873 Wyoming tells of the gift of second chances and a promise for a brighter future.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Release Day! FAMILY SECRETS is published

Today I am happy to announce that my novel, Family Secrets, is published. It is now available from the following vendors:

1. Amazon for Kindle.

2. Amazon as a print book.

3. Barnes & Noble for Nook.

4. Smashwords, in which the book can be downloaded to your computer or tablet in several formats.

The following is the novel description:

Jennie Graves Howell has a secret, including being thought of as a loyal wife to her husband serving in Afghanistan, a husband who has demanded a divorce.

Jennie’s family do not want her to delve into the past. Grandpa Mike refuses to talk about his experiences in the Vietnam War and the aftermath. He wants the biggest mistake he ever made to remain hidden in the past, including family members Jennie never heard about until hints of their existence begin to seep through the cracks of secrecy.

Her new friends at the Golden Oaks Family Ties club are willing to teach Jennie the skills she needs to unlock her family’s secrets, but is she willing and emotionally strong enough to learn what her family has kept hidden?

The following excerpt tells how Jennie starts her journey of discovery into revealing her family's secrets:

            Jennie chatted with Garrett and her parents through the meal. She waited towards the end to execute her plan, but she knew she better catch her parents before they left the table if she wanted some answers about the family. When she judged it to be just the right moment, she fished the paper with her questions from her jeans pocket. Keeping her tone light and casual, she asked her first question regarding the full, legal names of her grandparents?
            Christy glared at Jennie, a frown creasing her face. “What brought this on?”
          “Oh, I was sharing a table in the library with our neighbor, Mrs. Moore, and we started talking about what she does for a living. I told her I knew your full names, but I also realized that I’m not sure of the first and middle names of my grandparents. So, she helped me put together a list so I could learn more about my family.”
            “What kind of information about the family?” Christy demanded sharply.
            Jennie hesitated as she picked up on the concern in her mother’s voice. She looked up to see her mother’s expression hard and forbidding as a high stone wall. Jennie realized she needed to reassure her of her intentions.
         "You know, like the full, legal names of my grandparents, for starters,” I said. “Grandpa, Grandma, Granddad and Nana are okay when I’m around them, but I know that’s not what is on their birth certificates.”
            Jennie waited, but neither of her parents spoke. In the silence, broken only by Garrett making airplane noises as he swooped his fork over his plate, Jennie noticed that her father was not looking at her. He was intently watching her mother. Something was going on, but Jennie could not guess what it might be.
            “I guess that would be okay,” Jennie’s mom finally said.
            Jennie’s dad was the next to speak. “My father’s full name is John Kevin and the last name is Graves, of course. My mother’s name is Amy Renate Walding.”
            Then Christy told Jennie her parents’ full names, pausing as Jennie carefully recorded them.
         "Okay, I know all their birthdays, but I’m not sure of the years,” Jennie continued. She recorded the birth years of her four grandparents.
            “Okay, where were they all born?” she asked next.
            “Why do you need all this information? What else is on that list of yours, anyway?” Christy demanded.
            Jennie’s senses went on full alert. Her mother was definitely frowning, her voice hostile, her jaw clenched and her body rigid. Jennie looked at her father. His eyes were darting back and forth between her and her mother. At that point, she realized she was somehow touching on a sensitive subject for her mother. What could it possibly be?
            “Just the usual genealogy questions, I guess,” Jennie said. “Names of everyone in the family. Date and place of birth for everyone. Date and place of marriage….”
            “I don’t see any reason for you to be digging into all this,” Her mom cut her off. “This is all in the past. Our family is who we are now, and that is what counts.”
            Jennie felt completely confused as she stared at her mother. Had someone in the family done something wrong that everyone was trying to keep quiet? Jennie did not know what was behind her mother’s reluctance, but she knew she better proceed carefully if she was going to get any more information.
            “Mom, my grandparents are important to me. I just want to find out a little more about them. But, maybe I should just wait and ask them.”
            “No, Jennie, forget it,” Christy ordered her. “I do not want you to ask your grandparents a lot of personal questions like that. I don’t want you saying anything that may hurt someone’s feelings.”
            Jennie blinked, feeling befuddled.
         "I have no intentions of saying anything that would hurt anyone’s feelings,” Jennie said carefully. “I love my grandparents. I would never want to make them unhappy.”
            “I think that is enough for tonight,” Rob cut in kindly. “I know you would never knowingly say or do anything to hurt your family, but some things may be best left alone.”
            “Okay. Sure,” Jennie stammered. Even her father was in on whatever they were trying to keep from her. “But this is the first time I ever suspected we may have some deep, dark secrets in our family.”
            Jennie was sorry as soon as she said it.
            “That’s enough!” her father spoke sharply.
          “There aren’t any deep, dark secrets in our family,” Christy spoke quietly, as she rubbed the sides of her face with both hands. “It’s just….”
          The three all looked at each other in the silence that followed. Even Garrett stopped his playing and looked around the table in confusion.
            Jennie silently folded her paper and put it back into her pocket.
            “I’m sorry, Mom.”

The online release party which will be held on Facebook and this blog is scheduled for Saturday, November 1st. The details are on the blog post before this one, which you can access by clicking HERE. Please join me for more information and a chance to win some prizes.

Also, check out my FAMILY SECRETS Pinterest board. You can access it in the upper right-hand corner of this blog. The pictures will give you more details about the book.

Happy reading and enjoy!

Amazon Kindle & Print          Barnes & Noble Nook          Smashwords

                                               Zina Abbott Books Website

Saturday, October 25, 2014


A lot is happening now that Family Secrets is available for pre-order on both Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.

On October 28th, Family Secrets will be released by my publisher, Fire Star Press, an imprint of Prairie Rose Publications. It will be available on Amazon Kindle, Nook, Smashwords and as a trade paperback from Amazon.

I am in the process of updating my Amazon's Author page to show me as Robyn Echols writing as Zina Abbott. I am also updating my Zina Abbott Books website which can be found at I already have my Pinterest board for the novel which you can access from this blog. Now that the time is getting closer, I will be adding more pins to give you more hints about the book.

                   RELEASE PARTY

For those of you on Facebook, I have announced a Family Secrets release party on Saturday, November 1st, which will be held both there and on this blog. The Facebook portion will be an interactive sharing of images, recipes, buy links and, hopefully, feedback and comments from those who attend. If you have not already done so, please search for my Family Secrets page, "Like" it, and come to the party.

The names of all who comment on the Family Secrets Facebook page during the hours of the party will be thrown into Buck's cowboy hat. [In keeping with the Vietnam War theme which makes up a portion of this novel, I should say his steel pot (helmet). However, he left that behind when he got out of the Army. So, we'll use his cowboy hat.] I will pick one winner to be announced the last 5-10 minutes of the party. The winner will receive one digital copy of the novel from the vender of their choice.

For those of you not familiar with Smashwords, it has several file types available for download to your computer. They include epub (used on Nook), mobi (used on Kindle) and several other document formats. From there, you can read it on your computer or upload most of them to your e-reader, tablet or smartphone.

The hours for the portion of the party held on Facebook will be as follows:

Pacific Time Zone:        10:00am-12 noon
Mountain Time Zone:    11:00am-1:00pm
Central Time Zone:        12 noon-2:00pm
Eastern Time Zone:        1:00pm-3:00pm

In case you are wondering what these pictures to the right are, They go with the Zina Abbott Books blog portion of my release party.

The Zina Abbott Books blog portion will be held on Saturday, November 1st from 1:00am to 11:59pm Pacific Time Zone. I hope you will all stop by, read what I post for that day, and leave a comment.

On Monday, November 3rd, I will take all the names of those who comment on my Facebook page between 10:00am PDT and 11:59pm PDT on November 1st AND the names of those who leave a comment on this blog between 1:00am and 11:59pm PDT on November 1st and put those names in Buck's cowboy hat for a drawing. The prizes I'm offering for  this portion are:

1.  One "any way you read" book bag as pictured. (It should be obvious, but for legal-eagle reasons, I need to clarify that the e-readers and cell phone shown in these images are not included.] Since Family Secrets is part of my Golden Oaks series, I chose a fabric design using gilded oak leaves on a rusty red background. The large pocket holds a large reader or most tablets and the shorter pockets hold a small reader and/or a cell phone. The outside of the pockets are padded and I did a rough outline stitch around part of the design. 

2.  I will give away either a digital copy from the vendor of your choice or an autographed copy of the book in trade paperback format. (You will need to wait a couple of weeks for the print version.)

The following is a quick overview of Family Secrets:

In many ways, Family Secrets is three stories in one.

Even though Jennie is married to a soldier deployed to Afghanistan, and the novel includes scenes from the year Jennie's Grandpa Mike fought in the Vietnam War, Family Secrets is not a war story.

With the exception of one, the chapters dealing with the Vietnam War and the return to the SEATAC airport are loosely based on Buck's (my husband) experiences during his year in Vietnam. It is his pins and patches that are depicted on the red storyboard on the bottom of the novel cover.

Family Secrets is not a traditional Thanksgiving Day story, although Thanksgiving plays a big role in this novel. Not only do we learn of Mike's Thanksgiving experience in Vietnam, but, thanks to Jennie's prodding, over forty years after his return, he shares the reason it is important to him to celebrate this particular holiday surrounded by his family each year.

Family Secrets is about three generations of a family, their secrets, how they resolve their individual challenges and draw closer together.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Here it is - the cover for my novel, Family Secrets, being published by Fire Star Press. This is the first book in the Golden Oaks series.

Buck really likes it. He likes the yellow and black lettering (the current color scheme for the Army) and images of his badges and patches on the bottom band. Since several of his Vietnam War experiences are portrayed in this story, he is excited about it being published.

This is not a war story, although within the book there are scenes set in the Vietnam War.

This is not a Thanksgiving Day story, although many of the scenes in the book take place on Thanksgiving.

This story is about three generations of a family, their secrets and how they work to resolve the difficulties in their lives.

Release is scheduled for the last week in October. Stay in touch!