Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Not-So-Famous in Lundy ~ and a GIVEAWAY


Many thanks to Kathleen Rice Adams for inviting me as a guest author so I might share some information about my latest novella, Her Independent Spirit, as part of my blog blitz.

Almost a decade ago, I went on a hunting trip with my husband to zone X9a on the eastern side of the Sierra-Nevada mountains, even though the only "weapon" I shoot is a camera. This hunting zone includes Mono Lake and the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center north of Lee Vining, CA where I picked of this interesting book simpley titled Lundy written by Alan H. Patera. It is about people living in a gold mining town that no longer exists except as a seasonal fishing camp.

Mono Basin Visitors' Center and Bookstore
 This book caught my attention because of all the detail in it taken from census records, newspaper articles, mining documents and other sources. It is a genealogist’s dream if said genealogist had ancestors in Lundy. But, for me as a writer, it gave me not only insight into the everyday life of people living in a gold mining town in that era, it also provided a wonderful secondary cast of characters for my stories.

Fast-forward to 2014 when I to write a historical romance series using California as my locality. I didn’t want the San Francisco/Forty-niner gold rush scenario. After a little online research, and dusting off of my books I bought on my “hunting” trip, my Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series set in Lundy and Bridgeport was born.

All the main characters in my series are fictional. But, it sure has been fun to drop names of 1880's real people with known occupations in my stories. For other books I've written, I have been known to peruse census records, town records and local newspapers of an area in an effort to discover this information. It was such a pleasure to keep at my fingertips this gem of a book where I had it all at my fingertips.

And, it isn’t just name-dropping. The incident of the shutting down of the May Lundy Mine and May Lundy Mill on August 21, 1884 that is a part of my plot in my latest book actually happened. Thanks to the newspaper snippets included in this history, this book gave me a more complete history than often found in many research sources.

In my third book in the series, Her Independent Spirit, I refer to the following actual people who lived in Lundy and Bridgeport during the time period of the novel:

  • Frederick Gluntz and Leonard Haas, co-proprietors of the Arcade Saloon;
  • Mrs. Mary A. Ford, owner of the Pioneer Lodging House;
  • Charles McLean, butcher and elected justice of the peace;
  • Doctor Rafael Carlos Guirado, physician and owner of the local drug store;
  • Andrew Barnes, furniture maker, coffin builder and mortician;
  • William Long “Bill” Callahan, constable;
  • Alexander Rosenwald, co-proprietor of the Pioneer Cash store run by Rosenwald, Coblentz & Co. and the Postoffice store, also the postmaster;
  • C.F. “Charley” Hector, owner of the Lundy and Bodie Stage Line and his livery plus his younger brother, Eddie Hector, driver;
  • Under Sheriff Wilcox of Bridgeport.

The excerpt I am sharing in this blog post includes a scene when two of my fictional characters meet with Mrs. Mary Ford. She really lived in Lundy at the time. What did my research book Lundy tell me about her? She was a widow with seven children. She was an Irish immigrant. She owned the Pioneer Lodging House which she had been trying to sell since 1883. She owned stock in several of the local mines around Lundy. I was able to develop her into a great secondary character in the Her Independent Spirit.

As part of my blog blitz, I am offering a one in fifty chance of winning a copy of Her Independent Spirit by playing the Amazon Giveaway sweepstakes. You may access Amazon Giveaway by CLICKING HERE and following the instructions.

I also hope you will take this opportunity to learn about my new releases and special offers by signing up to receive my monthly NEWSLETTER  by CLICKING HERE.

Here is what the book is about:

Beth Dodd has made a promise to help “Lulu”, a young prostitute at the Blue Feather, keep her baby if she decides to leave the whorehouse and become a respectable woman. But Beth hadn’t counted on the obstacles she and the new mother will face from society in the mining town of Lundy. From the obstinate landlady, Mrs. Ford, to her intractable German boss, Gus Herschel, Beth must fight for the woman she’s promised to help. But Beth Dodd never gives in, and she keeps her word with a stubbornness that Lundy folks are not accustomed to seeing from a woman.

Once Lulu, now known as the more respectable Louisa Parmley, starts working for Gus in his kitchen, she proves that Beth was right to take a chance on her. She has every intention of making a good life for her new daughter. But can she also hope to find happiness with Gus? And will Gus be able to accept her and baby Sophie Ann as his? Love was never in the cards for Gus, but Louisa dreams of happiness with the stoic man, and Beth is determined to bring them together through HER INDEPENDENT SPIRIT.

Excerpt #7:

This is not a photo of
Mrs. Mary Ford. However, the
clothing style is correct for 1884,
and this is how Zina Abbott
pictures her.
     Albert straightened and turned to Louisa. “You take care of yourself now, Miss Lulu. Even though you’re no longer at the Blue Feather, you can still count me as your friend. If anyone gives you any trouble, you get word to me and I’ll run them off for you.”
     Louisa glanced over at Mrs. Ford who stood only a few feet away. She did her best to ignore the woman’s crossed arms and face screwed into a grimace. “Thank you, Albert. Your friendship has meant a lot to me. I-I hope I have no need to call on you to help me, but I appreciate your offer. Good-bye.”
     Albert nodded and turned to leave.
     “Mr. Albert,” Beth stopped him.
     Albert turned back to face her. “It’s just Albert, ma’am.”
     “Albert, she ain’t Lulu no more. She done left that kind of life behind. If you have call to speak to her again, it’s more fittin’ if you ask for Miss Parmley.”
     Albert stared at Beth for several seconds while he absorbed her words. Then he turned back to Louisa and nodded. “Good-bye, Miss Parmley.”

Catch all seven excerpts on participating blogs on Zina Abbott's website by CLICKING HERE.

Please join Zina Abbott on the Sweet/Clean Romance Facebook event
Monday, April 11th at noon/1:00/2:00/3:00p.m. or
Wednesday, April 13th at 3:00/4:00/5:00/6:00p.m.

About the Author:

Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. You may find the first two novellas in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series, Big Meadows Valentine and A Resurrected Heart, by clicking on the hyperlinks for the novel titles or by going to Zina Abbott’s Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.

Zina Abbott Author Links:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Goodreads  |  Google+  |  Twitter

Purchase links for Her Independent Spirit:

Amazon  |   Smashwords  |  Kobo  |  iBooks

Please tweet this blog post:
Excerpt 7 & #AmazonGiveaway on Blog Blitz:


  1. Welcome to Sweethearts of the West, Zina! I'm so pleased your ornery friend developed a sense of generosity and gave up her day. She gave up a lot because her posts are always super right-on. Anyway, here you are and it's a pleasure to be your hostess.
    Your research fascinated me. I often wonder where writers find their unique plots and ideas, and now I see you're a master at this. Thanks for the "teaching" moment. Now I have another way to find characters and plots.
    Much luck and success with your new venture.

    1. Thank you, Celia. I have enjoyed being on the blog. Fortunately, I enjoy research almost as much as writing, so I love being able to share the little tidbits I find.

      I also thank Kathleen for letting me use her spot this month.

      I appreciate your comments.

  2. Zina, what a clever way to write a historical romance. I love that you found actual records. I always make up the town's name, but you found a genuine ghost town to use. Congratulations!

    1. Thank you, Caroline. There is something to be said about using a fictional town. However, the events I read about in this book about Lundy reminded me of that saying that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. I would not have known about some of the events, nor gained a deep of an insight into life in these mining towns without the book. So, why not write about the actual town?

      I appreciate your comments.

  3. It must be an eerie feeling walking through a ghost town--and ripe with story fodder, too. I liked your pictures as well as your informative blog.
    I wish you tremendous success with Her Independent Spirit.

    1. Thank you for your comments and well wishes, Sarah. It was interesting to visit the site of the old town even though I don't think any of the original buildings are still there. The setting is still amazing. The book about old Lundy has photos that the author has pulled from private collections, and they are not on the internet that I have found. I found it fascinating.


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