Friday, July 22, 2016

HAUNTED BY LOVE-Evolution of a Cover

I’m very excited about the release of my latest novella, Haunted by Love, that came out yesterday. I am particularly pleased with the cover done by Livia of Prairie Rose Publications.

For my other book covers, she has used my photographs of the Lundy and Bridgeport area for the cover backgrounds. For this cover, I wanted to use an 1877 photo of the Leavitt House, the stagecoach inn in Bridgeport where at least half if not more of the story takes place. The good news was, because the photo was taken before 1877, it was not subject to copyright laws. The bad news was, the photo was in black and white.

Using my photo program, I spent hours one day “colorizing” the photograph.  This is version “d” where I worked on the roofline and buildings, but the man on horseback, the sheep and the mule were not even touched yet, let alone the window sashes.

The final version is letter “p” which gives you an idea of the number of steps I took as I colored a section, and then saved that version. More than once something did not turn out right and I had to go back to an earlier version in the process and start all over. After all was said and done, I still missed a section of eve on the roof line.

Livia took this image, chose the essential elements and worked her magic to come up with a great cover. A big part of the plot deals with the Leavitt House owned by Hiram Leavitt and his wife Eliza, the story takes place in autumn, and one of the characters is the White Lady, a ghost known to have appeared many times in room 16 of the inn. The color and design of the cover sets the mood.

Here is the book description:

Turned out by her guardian, Hazel Jessup is sent to live with her sister she hasn’t seen in over a year. A night spent in the Leavitt’s inn puts her in contact with the famed specter of the White Lady, a lonely ghost whose name is Charlotte. Charlotte speaks of a man who is waiting to love her—can it be Luther Caldwell, the handsome freight wagon driver who is seeing her to her sister’s home? 

Until 5:00p.m. PDT on Friday, July 22, 2016 you still sign up on my publisher’s blog for a chance to win a copy of Haunted by Love. Just CLICK HERE to add your comment to that blog.

Of course, if you can’t wait to see if you are a winner, here are the purchase links:

Amazon  |  B & N  |  Smashwords  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

Oh, and what happened to the Leavitt House? Today it is the historic Bridgeport Inn in rustic Bridgeport, California. Where the front porch used to be it has been closed in to expand the restaurant on the north side of the hotel and to add a bar on the south side, right next to the old “gentlemen’s lounge.”


 Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. Her novel, Family Secrets, was published by Fire Star Press. Her novelette, A Christmas Promise, and the first four novellas in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series, Big Meadows Valentine, A Resurrected Heart, Her Independent Spirit and Haunted by Love were published by Prairie Rose Publications. Her novelette, He Is a Good Man, was published in the Lariats, Letters and Lace anthology. Please visit and follow the Zina Abbott’s Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Spelunking is Rewarding by Paty Jager

Heading into the cave with some sunlight from the entrance
After moving to SE Oregon we had several locals ask if we’d been to Malheur Cave. We told them no and asked where it was. They gave us directions because most maps don’t show the cave and there aren’t any signs. The property is privately owned by the Masons. They only use it once a year and allow those who can find the cave permission to enter.
walking in the cave with lights

Walking through the eight foot high entrance, the first thing you smell is rodents. They live under the rocks off to the sides in the cave where daylight penetrates. As the light dims and darkness covers you like throwing a blanket over your head, the smell of rodent vanishes. Musty air fills your lungs and you fumble for the switch on your flashlight.

Why would anyone want to go into this cave? It’s large. The ceiling is 15-20 feet over your head. The walls are a good 40 feet apart. It is a large cavern with silver spidery lines on the ceiling and walls. The trail deeper into the cave is uneven and at times littered with rocks. But the reason people walk the half to three-quarters of a mile (depending on the time of year) is to see the lake. It is smooth, clear, and around 50 degrees all year round.

If you know me, after my first visit to the cave I had to research. I discovered the cave was first used by the Paiutes. Some bands wintered in the controlled climate of the cave. There is also a story that the Paiutes learned the Bannocks planned to raid them. The Bannocks outnumbered the Paiutes. Using their knowledge of the cave and its hidden water source, the Paiutes stored food, bedding, and wood in the cave and then barricaded the front with rocks. When the Bannocks arrived they couldn’t get to the Paiutes. Thinking they could wait them out, they soon gave up and went back to their territory. If you'd like to see some traditional Paiute baskets and cradleboards and learn how they are made check here.

kayaking on the lake in the cave
Because of this rock barricade it was years before a Whiteman discovered the cave.

Each time we take guest to see the cave, I come back with another idea for a story. It was my first trip to the cave that inspired a scene in my new release, Brody: Letters of Fate.

Historical western filled with steamy romance and the rawness of a growing country.

A letter from a grandfather he’s never met has Brody Yates escorted across the country to work on a ranch rather than entering prison. But his arrival in Oregon proves prison may have been the lesser of two evils. A revenge driven criminal, the high desert, and his grandfather’s beautiful ward may prove more dangerous than anything he’s faced on the New York docks.

Lilah Wells is committed to helping others: the judge who’d taken her in years ago, the neighboring children, and the ranch residents, which now includes the judge’s handsome wayward grandson. And it all gets more complicated when her heart starts ruling her actions.

Buy links:

In case you were wondering about the silver spidery lines in the ceiling and walls…during my research I discovered it is called cave slime and is made from the minerals present in the dirt and rocks lining the cave.
Have you ever been in a cave?

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western historical romance, and action adventure. She has garnered a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award for her Action Adventure and received the EPPIE Award for Best Contemporary Romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.

blog / websiteFacebook / Paty's Posse / Goodreads / Twitter 

 photos by Paty Jager

Friday, July 15, 2016



The Cowboys in the old west had their own way of expressing their thoughts and actions. Though some of the expressions they used are in use today, some are outdated.
Here are a few I thought interesting.

Ace-high ~ first class, respected.

Bend an elbow ~ have a drink.

Crowbait ~ derogatory term for a poor-quality horse.

Directly ~ soon.

Fish ~ a cowboy's rain slicker, from a rain gear manufacturer whose trademark was a fish logo.

Grass widow ~ divorcee.

Heeled ~ to be armed with a gun.

In apple pie order ~ in top shape.

Jawin’ me ta death – talking too much

Knocked into a cocked hat ~ fouled up, rendered useless.

Lunger ~ slang for someone with tuberculosis.

Mudsill ~ low-life, thoroughly disreputable person.

Nailed to the counter ~ proven a lie.

Odd stick ~ eccentric person.

Put a spoke in the wheel ~ to foul up or sabotage something.

Quirley ~ roll-your-own cigarette.

Raise hob – raise hell as in going to town to raise hell

Shave tail ~ a green, inexperienced person.

The Old States ~ back East.

Unreliable as woman’s watch – because women are always late

Viands – food, meals

Who-hit-John ~ Liquor, beer, intoxicating spirits.

X ~ Make the x mark when they couldn't write their name

Yarn the hours away – tell stories

Zonkard - One who is often in a drunken state

Agnes Alexander