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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

#NewRelease -- Misadventures of a Tongue-Tied Witch by Livia J. Washburn --#99Cents

Boxed Set: Witch Got Your Tongue & Peck of Pickled Warlocks

Aren McAllister is a beautiful but shy and withdrawn young woman who has battled a stuttering problem her entire life. But then, seemingly by accident, she discovers that she wields an incredible power: she is actually a witch and can cast potent spells . . . but only by singing them.

This discovery throws Aren into a dangerous power struggle between different factions in the society of witches who live among humans unknown by them. And for the first time she encounters a romance that may change her life as much or more than the powers she never knew she had.
She has been lied to her whole life. Her father is trapped in a hostile world, and it's her fault. Her former lover is a warlock who can't be trusted. Her only hope to put things right is a thousand-year-old talisman that once belonged to a handsome warrior who was also the most powerful warlock in all the land . . .

WITCH GOT YOUR TONGUE is the first novel in the Tongue Tied Witch series by best-selling novelist Livia J. Washburn. Aren McAllister, the Tongue-Tied Witch, is back in A PECK OF PICKLED WARLOCKS. In this sequel to the critically acclaimed WITCH GOT YOUR TONGUE, Aren searches for a way to rescue her father from the other-worldly realm of the witches' council. From the sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast to the bright lights of Las Vegas to the dangerous depths of an abandoned silver mine, Aren's quest is filled with adventure, romance, and humor.

     I took a deep breath, trying to calm my nerves.  Then I had to tug up the neckline of the costume to make sure my boobs didn’t pop out, being careful I didn’t pull so much my panties showed.  I’d been doing that all day.  Even though it was Halloween, I couldn’t believe that on my very first day on this job I’d been sent out dressed like a sexy witch in this skimpy costume.
     It was gold with a black spider web design and had a tight orange corset with little black paw prints, cut low in front, and the fluttery skirt was so short the hemline was practically up to my butt.  I wore fishnet stockings and high heels with it (although I had a pair of comfortable shoes in my car for driving between jobs). A tall, pointed, cliché witch hat that matched the corset sat on my head.  I guess I looked okay.  My boss at the agency seemed to think so.  I’ve never been one for wearing racy outfits.
     I reached out and pressed the doorbell of the suburban house.  It was late afternoon, almost evening.  Kids would start trick-or-treating soon.  Meanwhile, I had a treat – or was it a trick? – of my own to deliver to the guy who lived here.
The door swung open, and the man who answered my ring stood there with his eyes widening at the sight of the sexy witch on his doorstep.  He was in his mid-thirties and looked like a high school athlete gone slightly to seed.  He had come in from work and shed his coat, but he still wore his tie.  It was loosened and his collar was unbuttoned, but he hadn’t gotten rid of it entirely yet.  He had a drink in his left hand.
     “Are you R-Ronnie Holt?” I asked.
     “Yeahhhh,” he said, sounding like he didn’t know what to make of me.
     I put what I hoped was a seductive smile on my face and said, “I’ve g-got something for you.”
     Stop right there.  I know what you’re thinking.  I wasn’t a hooker, no matter how I was dressed.  I wasn’t a process server, either, which is probably what the less dirty-minded of you were thinking.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Midnight Sun--Love Affair With Alaska

Years and years ago, my husband and I went to Alaska on one of those cruise adventures. At the time we had teenage sons (who strange as it sounds, were delighted to have us gone for 10 days), and couldn't afford something so expensive. However, we'd assumed a lot of care for my mother-in-law who'd recently gone blind, and she and my father-in-law decided to thank us by handing us the tickets. It took awhile for the shock to wear off but once it had, I became giddy as a child just before Christmas.

It's impossible to pick one day, one sight, one town, one mountain as the one that truly stood out for me, but Skagway is near the top. I was raised in California's gold country so maybe that's why Skagway, the jumping off point to the Klondike, spoke so intimately to me. I loved the museum with its wall-sized picture of an endless line of would-be miners trudging up the mountain carrying everything they believed they'd need for survival and eventual wealth. Sadly, most of them wound up broke but at the time of the climb they had hopes, high hopes.

These days Skagway mostly depends on the tourist dollar. Summer in Alaska is a frantic scramble to keep the roads operating and I was drawn to the rugged men and women (a number of Eskimo women) running the machinery. When I decided on Skagway as the setting for my contemporary romance, I had no doubt that my hero and heroine would be involved with road construction. Of course my hero was the contractor (rugged man, rugged occupation) while my heroine knew everything there was to know about operating heavy machinery.

To complicate things because romances always need complications, I decided that my heroine's father had his own construction company and he was being accused of shoddy work that resulted in a building collapse that nearly killed the hero. My hero believes the heroine's father is guilty. My heroine is determined to salvage her father's name.

Bring on the plot. Bring on physical and emotional attraction between two strong-minded people. Bring on an isolated but wonderful small town that's weaving a spell around my characters.

The only thing that's missing is me being able to return to Skagway Alaska which I'd do in a heartbeat. At least writing Midnight Sun made it possible for me to live there in my mind.

BUY LINKS MIDNIGHT SUN    Barnes and Noble Nook    Smashwords     Kobo

SUMMER FLAMES   Barnes and Noble Nook     Smashwords      Kobo

MEMORIES FROM MAPLE STREET   Smashwords    Barnes and Noble Nook   Kobo


Friday, October 16, 2015

TWITTER-pated, Part 1

I fought signing up for Twitter. I quickly developed a love for blogging and I’m addicted to Facebook and Pinterest. I even looked at Google+ and Goodreads on a regular basis. But, when it came to Twitter, I felt addlepated. Those @ and # symbols stopped me cold. I asked myself, how many times a day would my cell phone chirp with a notification of a new tweet?

Finally, enough author friends questioned why I wasn’t on Twitter to prompt me to look into it. Once I signed up, I realized there are a lot of similarities to other social media sites. There are pages of instructions and FAQs, but I focused only on what I needed to know to get around.

It didn’t take me long before I was hooked. Now I’m Twitter-pated.

The following is my far from being all-inclusive tutorial on effectively using Twitter. In other words, this is what I have discovered works for me.

Find the Sign Up and Log On screen at

If you don’t have an account, click on the Sign Up button, otherwise click on the Log In button.

If you are signing up for a new account, you will see a screen that looks like this. As part of the process you will need to choose a user name. That is where the @ symbol comes in. @ always precedes your user name, or Twitter name. In my case, I was fortunate that I could use @ZinaAbbott as my Twitter name. If your name is already taken, you may need to come up with something creative that is unique to you and will be easily identifiable to those searching for you. Because, once you get your Twitter account set up, you will want to search for people to Follow, and you hope they will Follow you back.

Just like many other social media sites, you can find the links to add your image and a banner. Look in the Help section for instructions. Or, do what I did and just feel your way around until you get it figured out.

Once you have your account going and have followed other tweeters, you may want to start sending out your own tweets. There are two places where you can easily start a tweet. One is by clicking on the blue box with a feather; the other is in the box below the blue bird and next to your image with the words What's happening?

I am going to compose a tweet about my novel, Family Secrets. There is a limit to the number of characters that can be fit into a tweet. Spaces and punctuation count as characters, so I use my periods and commas sparingly. When I want to add a hyperlink, I use a shortened version. 

There are instructions on Twitter how to use their hyperlink shortener. Personally, I have Bitly in my browser toolbar. I bring up another window and open Bitly for my hyperlinks. You can find Bitly at

Here is an example of a tweet using only words and a hyperlink connecting it to my purchase page on Amazon. 

Oops! There is a problem. It’s too long. I know because of two indicators: 1) the last several characters of the tweet are highlighted in pink, and 2) the numeral at the bottom next to the Tweet button is a negative number. If I tweet it as is, I will lose half my hyperlink.

I decide which part of the message will be the biggest attention-grabber and remove the rest. In addition to the message and the hyperlink, I decide to add some hashtags (#) to file this tweet into a category so I can easily find it again. In this case, I use the one for my name, #ZinaAbbott, and the one for my publisher, #FireStarPress. Notice that the red number at the bottom is positive, so the complete tweet will go through as it—with 10 characters to spare. This is a perfectly good tweet. If I am away from my computer and wish to use my cell to send a quick tweet, this will work.

However, in my opinion, this is not the most effective kind to tweet to send. I notice my eye tends to glide over tweets composed of only words without really reading them. Most often, the tweets that catch my eye are the ones that have an image attached.

Back to my tweet. I decide to add the book cover by clicking on the camera icon. Nothing has changed in the wording of my tweet, but my character allowance has dropped from 10 characters to spare to a minus 14. If I want to add the image, I need to trim the character count. 

I start by taking away any words that are not essential. Then I start trimming spaces and punctuation, and maybe rewording slightly to cut out a few letters. I work at it until I get it down to zero.

I click on the blue Tweet button, and here is my tweet. 

Because I used the hashtags, not only does my tweet show up on my home screen, but if I go up to the Search Twitter box and look for #FireStarPress, my tweet is there too. Same if I search for #ZinaAbbott.

Unless the person reading the tweet decides to make the effort to click on it to expand it, what I find to be more effective than a book cover which is half hidden is a twitter image shaped like a banner. Here is my tweet with much of the same message using an image that is completely visible on both the computer and the cell phone version of Twitter.

This is the end of Part 1 of TWITTER-pated, a brief tutorial on effectively using Twitter to market books. Part 2 will be on the PrairieRose Publications blog on Monday, October 19, 2015. You may access the blog by clicking HERE. On it I will include information on using hashtags, how to create twitter banners and how put together your visual images to go with your tweets quickly and easily.

For those readers who publish with Fire Star Press or Sundown Press, at the bottom of this post I have put what I call Twitter blanks with the logos which I have made for my own use. You are welcome to save these images to your own computer and use them for your tweets. 

On Monday I will add to the bottom of my post some Twitter blanks I put together for Prairie Rose Publications.

And the Twitter banner I will use to promote this blog post:


Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. Her novel, Family Secrets, was published by Fire Star Press.
The author is a member of Women Writing the West, American Night Writers Association, and Modesto Writers Meet Up. She currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She enjoys any kind of history including family history. When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.
Please visit and follow the Zina Abbott’s Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.

Zina Abbott Author Links:

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