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Friday, July 21, 2017



You have just received a mobi file of a new book as a prize for leaving a comment on one of the Prairie Rose Publications imprints blog posts about a new release. A new book to read, and you got it for free.

Now what? How do you get it on your Kindle?

1. Log into your Amazon account and bring up Manage Your Content and Devices.

2.  This is the page that will come up. Note it has three tabs across the top. The default tab is usually Your Content.

3.  Switch to the Settings Tab. At the top you will see your payment information for your Amazon account and the Country Settings.

4.  Scroll down until you reach the Personal Document Settings. Here you will find all the email addresses Amazon has created to go with all your Kindle accounts and apps. (If you are like me, you have had more than one Kindle, plus you may have had a Kindle app on your cell phone and/or computer.) Select the E-mail address connected to the Kindle to which you wish to send the mobi file. Write it down for reference.

5.  Scroll down even more until you reach the Approved Personal Document E-mail List section. You may see the list of email addresses that you have given permission to send files to your Kindle. Click on the add a new approved e-mail address to add any email address from which you are willing to accept documents being added to your Kindle. You may add your own email address, or an email address of a friend or associate who plans to send you a file. The reason you must do this is to prevent people from sending items to your Kindle who don’t have your permission to do so.

6.  Save the Kindle e-mail address for the Kindle to which you wish to send a file on your email program. To send a mobi or pdf, put that email address in the To field, attach the file to the email, and send it. Give it a few minutes, but eventually that file will show up on your Kindle carousel. You may then open your gift copy from a Prairie Rose Publications imprint author the same as if you had purchased a Kindle book from Amazon.

7.  If the mobi you send to your Kindle does not show up on the carousel within a short period of time, you may need to go into your Docs file to retrieve it.

8.  In your Docs file, locate the MOBI or pdf file you wish to read and click on the icon for the document. 

9.  That will send it to your carousel.

Ta-da! There is your book gift from one of your favorite authors who write for Prairie Rose Publications or one of its imprints. After you finish reading the book, please say thank you to the author.

How, you ask?

Please leave a book review on Amazon and Goodreads!

Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. Her novel, Family Secrets, was published by Fire Star Press.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

FLASH FICTION AND CAT POETRY, by Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer

Writing is a constant state of discovery. I’ve recently found two new ways to express the writer part of me: Flash fiction and cat poetry. 

I’ve wanted to learn to write flash fiction from the day I first heard the term and had to look it up on Google to find out what it was. Since it takes me longer to write short fiction than an entire full-length book, I couldn’t imagine the process of conveying any sort of attention-grabbing tale in under 1000 words. 

Flash fiction isn’t a new thing, having roots that go back to pre-history in the form of fables and parables. These extremely short works began reinventing themselves as they regained popularity a few decades ago with names like the “short-short story” and “sudden fiction”.  As flash fiction evolved, it split even further into sub-genres. Flash, itself, got shorter, and dribble (the 50-word story), drabble (the 100-word story), 140-character stories known as twitterature, as well as the impossible-to-imagine six-word-story came about. I’ve read successful examples of all but still had no clue how the writers came up with their work.  

When in doubt, learn from those who know. I took a workshop in flash fiction and this is what I found out: 

FF “implies” a larger story.
FF is about giving the reader hints. 
FF is about characters. 
Describe parts instead of the whole. 
Chose a universal theme. 
Condense the story by picking the right words. 
*FF can be a useful tool in blurb writing and even advertising.

The six-word-story was my nemesis, but apparently it’s all about hint. It’s a picture, a still life. It should evoke the imagination of the reader to fill in the blanks however they see fit. Here are my first attempts:

Anxiety. Short of breath. Not again! 

Sign reads “Lost cat”. Heartbreak. Hope. 

Six words? Give me a break!

What are some of your six-word-stories? I’d love to read them in the comment section. 

And I haven’t forgotten about cat poetry. More on that next time.

Check out more by Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer at:

Happy reading!

Friday, July 7, 2017


Does anyone else struggle with this one?
I was reading a post on Twitter this morning about how distractions can ruin a writer’s career. The irony hit me in the forehead—instead of writing that new novel I’ve been researching, I was cruising social media, in effect participating in those very distractions.
It’s not easy to be a writer these days. I’m not sure if it was any easier in Dashiell Hammett’s days or Geoffrey Chaucer’s but a million things compete for a writer’s attention today.  
Master writer Michael Crichton had a shack in his backyard with no communications whatsoever allowing him absolute quiet and privacy. I nicknamed Crichton’s shack the Man Cave and decided I needed one of my own. Not having enough room in my backyard for a shack, I dedicated one of the bedrooms in my house (when my son moved out, also ensuring he couldn’t move back in!) to be a She Shed.
My She Shed has several bookcases filled with my favorite books, DVDs and mementoes from my life. It has a couch and a television but only as a monitor. No cable. My She Shed also has a retro turntable to play the LPs I still have and dearly love, plus a CD player. My father always said, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
In other words, I got carried away with my She Shed and provided more distractions of another kind. It’s easy to do and Crichton would not be pleased. However, I do have a retreat from the world and I don’t allow the Internet to follow me into my private space. There’s a door and most of the time, my family stays out if the door is closed. Real thinking can be and is conducted there. If no other writing activity is produced in my retreat, thinking is surely number one.

It’s unique for every writer: that fine balance between life’s activities and the discipline needed to sit at some writing device and do the work. That’s what writing is—old-fashioned, butt-in-the-seat work. Creative thought doesn’t always come easily and if it does, don’t take it for granted. We each need to find our own Man Cave or She Shed, those quiet places to do what we’re meant to do: write.

                                                   The best writing tool
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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Plotter or Pantser?

Writers tend to fall into one of two broad categories: plotters or pantsers.

Plotters are those individuals who tend to have every aspect of their story recorded in a detailed outline before they ever put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as the case may be. The most die-hard of outliners  may even include sticky notes and color-coding in their process. I am both in awe of and somewhat baffled by these people. While I am a huge fan of both sticky notes and brightly colored pens, outlines are beyond me.

You see, I fall firmly into the pantser category. What's a pantser? In short, we don't outline, we fly - or in this case, write - by the seat of our pants. Outlines just don't work for me and never have, no matter how many well-intentioned teachers insisted on them. As much as I enjoyed my various Enlish/literature classes, the constant insistence on outlines brought out my rebellious streak. I never wrote an outline until after I had finished the paper. I never understood how I was supposed to know what I was going to write until I wrote it. I still don't.

Outline? No outline? There's no one right way to write.

A friend and aspiring writer recently contacted me with a few writing-related questions. She was taking an online writing class sponsored by a well-known author and said that he had them doing a lot of outlines and wanted to know if I did them. I told her that I do not. Of course, he is a best-selling author and I'm not, so my advice might not carry as much weight but I think the most important thing is to find what works for you and run with it. In my case, when I begin a story I know who my main characters are, how they meet, how the story begins, and how it ends. I also have a few random scenes and pieces of dialog that fit somewhere in between - the rest comes as I write.

I enjoy seeing the story unfold as I write. My husband is still baffled as to how my characters can do things that I don't plan but it happens all the time. When I was writing Dial V for Vampire (released by Fire Star Press last year), the hero suddenly offered the heroine a job. It caught me completely off-guard and wasn't what I had planned at all. I had to take a step back and rethink my story line a bit but I think the story worked better for the change.

I could probably force myself to outline but I think my stories would suffer for it if I did. I know me and if I commit an idea to an outline, I'm probably going to make myself to stick with it even if it isn't working. Not having an outline hanging over my head gives me more flexibility. In my newest short story, It's Meow or Never, I had a hard time writing the ending. I knew how I wanted the story to end but it just wasn't working. Every time I sat down to work on it I just got bogged down. I started thinking of it as the story that refused to end. Then one day I had a flash of inspiration - I removed the hero's fluffy white kitten and replaced it with a pit bull named Elvis and bam. The end of the story fell into place like magic. Who knew a pit bull could make such  a difference?

Fellow authors, are you  a plotter or a pantser?

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