Author: Dana L Brown

K.I. Knight…Seeker of Truth

Three years ago when I attended my first Florida Authors and Publishers Conference I met Kathryn Knight. She immediately became my mentor and my friend, and I’m so honored to have her in my life. She’s a National Award Winning Author and genealogist, and I’m thrilled that during this busy week, and the release of Unveiled, she agreed to this interview.

  1. UnveiledThe Twenty & Odd: Documenting the First Africans in England’s America 1619-1625 and Beyond released on May 18. What was your driving force for writing this book?

I’m a truth-seeker.  The truth is important, especially when it reveals a different narrative than we teach students in our classrooms. 

2. Genealogy is your passion. How did you get started, and where does your love of the past come from?

When I was a little girl, my great-grandmother passed the torch to me and I was groomed to be the keeper of the ancestors. At  3 years old I picnicked in the local/family cemetery 2-3 times a week learning to recite stories about each person who lay there.  Stories I still remember today.

3.  How did you begin your research?

My research began in 2006 putting together a family tree for my father-in-law as a Christmas gift.  He knew very little about his ancestry yet, was inquisitive about a woman he remembered when as a child he visited his grandmother.  She had dark features and knew only her last name.  It became my quest to find this long-lost cousin.

4. Tell us a little about your historical fiction series, Fate & Freedom? Which by the way I have read and loved.

My historical series Fate & Freedom tells the story of two of the first Africans to arrive in the English settlement of Virginia in 1619.  The storyline follows them from 1619 until they fall from the historic records sixty-plus years later.  It takes the reader to another time where the struggle to live in the wilds of Virginia was real, a journey of perseverance and eventual prosperity.

5. The character Margaret in the Fate & Freedom Series is extremely authentic. Does her character represent a real person?

Yes, all the character’s names, places, and events in the series are factual.  As a genealogist, the authenticity of the story was very important.  Next year, the Fate & Freedom Research Companion will be released with all the information reference information I used to retrace their footsteps.  

6. You have become one of the foremost authorities on the subject of “the truth” behind Africans coming to America. Tell us about what you’re doing to spread the word, other than through your books?

There are lots of events happening this year to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in English America in 1619.  On June 1st, as a historian for Project 1619 and the Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society, I will be taping a documentary which will be used in several future formats to make sure the truth is revealed.  In addition, this summer will be quite eventful, as I will speaking to many associations, societies, and Universities across the nation spreading the truth. 

7. Do you have a new book or project in the works?

Yes, I am expanding my current research into DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC ACID, otherwise known as DNA and of course, writing about my research findings to identify my subjects in the aforementioned books with DNA from current day descendants.

8. Where can your books be purchased? 

You can purchase any of my books online from either the publishing website at www.firstfreedompublishing.com, amazon, or barnesandnoble.com.  If you order from the publisher you can request a signed copy! 

9. Is there one question that you’re asked the most about your research, and what you’ve discovered?

I’m frequently asked, “How did I find the information when no one else has?”  My answer – through what I call “cluster-genealogy” I was able to put the pieces of the puzzle back together.  There was no one single avenue which told the story.  It had to be compiled through a multitude of genealogies with a tid-bit here and a tid-bit there taking me more than 20,000 hours over a 13-year period.  You could say it became somewhat of an addiction.  Not uncommon throughout the genealogy world. 

10. What is it you want Readers to come away with after reading your book? 

The truth!  There are many versions of the truth in this history.  There are the half-truths –always two sides to each story.   Twisted truths – veiling the circumstances, yet not an outright untruth.  And then there is the entire truth.  Four-hundred years ago a veil was laid upon the first Africans.  Now, a new light shines upon them, unveiling their true circumstances, finally allowing them to now take their true place in history. 

The incomparable K.I. Knight
Kathryn is a nominee

This is not a book that you’ll want to miss!

Until we read again…📚

Blessings,

Dana L. ❤️

Saying Goodbye to A Friend 🌴

I’ve got to be honest, I love Charlotte Luce. After writing about her for over three years, and planning her story for two years before that, she’s like a part of my family. That’s why the release of The Greysons is bittersweet.

Five years ago an idea for a book started to form in my head and it wouldn’t let go. I named my main characters, wrote scenes in my head, and brought Charlotte Luce to life. She’s a part of my heart and I like to say she’s me with “upgrades”!

But now her story is coming to an end, and even though I’m very excited about The Greysons release, I’m a little sad as well. I love this book, and the way it comes full circle from Lottie Loser, and I hope that you will, too. I’ve already received so many emails and posts from readers on Social Media sites letting me know their book arrived, and they’re anxious to start reading, and that means everything to me.

Here are some pictures from the past three years and the evolution of The AMI Series. Thank you for being a part of my journey.🥂

At Book Expo America 2017 right after Lottie’s debut


May 11, 2018 Charlotte’s release day in Florida with my publisher, Terri Gerrell
Opening my first box of The Greysons, May 2019

My Fairytale come true. All 3 Books in the AMI Series. 🌴

Next week K.I. Knight, Author of the Fate & Freedom Series will be our guest. Her just released new book UnveiledThe Twenty & Odd: Documenting the First Africans in England’s America 1619-1625 and Beyond was a best seller before the book even released online. You won’t want to miss her compelling story.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on The Greysons!

Until we read again📚…

Blessings,

Dana L.❤️


Mother’s Day…a reflection💐

Now that my girls are grown and gone Mother’s Day is more about celebrating them than it is me. I’ve had some great Mother’s Days, and some that didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped, but isn’t that how every day is? There are few days in life that turn out exactly as you expect them to, but that’s all part of the journey.

For me the journey was to be a wife and mother and live in a vine covered cottage with a white picket fence. That was probably the dream of all little girls born in the 1950’s, but for me it was even more of an objective. You see my mom died on October 14, 1956 when I was 5 years old, and growing up I was sure I could recapture the feeling of love that only a mother can give, if I just had kids of my own.

I’ve been blessed with three beautiful, amazing daughters, but I’m sure they’ll tell you I wasn’t always in the running for Mom of the Year. Yet I must have done something right for all three of them to have turned out so well. Which is why Mother’s Day for me is about honoring them, and the many accomplishments of their lives.

I’ve had a wonderful stepmom since I was seventeen, and it’s because of her that I’m the strong, confident woman that I am today. But I can’t help but wonder what my life would be like if my own mother had lived. It would probably be different, but there’s no way it could be better. Now I write about life, love and family. All the things I ever wanted and exactly what I’ve received.

Below are some pictures that were sent to me by my aunt, my mother’s last living relative. It’s a little hard to see my mom in pictures with me because she looks so healthy and vibrant. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much before a very fast moving sickness took her away.

(In the picture of my mom’s bridge club, she’s in the back left corner in a white blouse. In the family picture she’s standing behind my brother, Tom. )

There is also a picture of me as a baby, sitting on my grandmother’s lap, and my senior picture from high school, and one of me at about twenty. What do you think, have I changed much?

Mom’s Bridge Club I’m on the lap of one of her friends.
The whole fam!
My Uncle Jim with my grandmother, holding me on her lap.


Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful girls, and to all the women in the world who make life so special for the rest of us.

Until we read again📚…

Blessings,

Dana L.❤️

The Last Dance by Aimee Brown

Highlighting author friends is one of my favorite privileges. Aimee Brown, no relation, is the writer of sweet and funny romance, and I know you will enjoy getting to know her.


About the book


Can you truly forgive and forget?
Ambri and Henry have been best friends forever. They’ve been through the highs and
lows of life with each other by their sides. The worst? When Henry’s wife, and Ambri’s
sister, died. Together, they can face it all. Until one night destroys everything.
Two years after he stepped out of it Henry walks back into Ambri’s life and she’s more
than a little shocked. But as old friends fall into even older habits they need to decide
whether they can forget the past and embrace their future.
Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult and Anna Bell.


About the author


Aimee Brown is a writer of romantic comedies set in Portland, Oregon, and an avid reader.
She spends much of her time writing, raising three teenagers, binge-watching shows on
Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has
been known to utter profanities like she’s competing for a medal. Aimee grew up in Oregon,
but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three
teenage children, and far too many pets. She is a lot older than she looks and yes, that is a
tattoo across her chest. (In the Portlandia spirit, yes, I lived many years in PDX and I do
indeed have a bird tattooed on me (2!)) Aimee is very active on social media. You can find
her at any of the networks below. Stop by and say hello!


Follow Aimee:


Facebook: @authoraimeebrown

Twitter@AimeeBWrites

Until we read again…📚

Blessings,

Dana L.❤️





Don’t forget about the virtual release of The Greysons May 16 at 7:00pm on Facebook. The link is below:

https://www.facebook.com/events/2739167979430965/?ti=ia

The Greysons… Virtual Release Event!

The date has been set! The virtual release event for The Greysons. What is a virtual release, you might ask? Well, it’s like a release party, only on Facebook!

I’ll be honest, I’ve never held a virtual release, so this will be new for me as well, but I’m really excited about it. If you don’t follow me on Facebook I hope that you’ll start. Find me @DanaLBrownAuthor.

The link to the event is:

https://www.facebook.com/events/2739167979430965/?ti=ia

I look forward to engaging with you whether you’re a fan of The AMI Series, or haven’t read either Lottie Loser or Call Me Charlotte.. This is going to be a fun time with trivia questions and Charlotte approved prizes so you won’t want to miss it. One disclaimer. I can only send prizes to addresses within the USA. Please understand.

Go into the link and let me know that you will be attending or are interested and then mark your calendars for:

May 16, 2019 7:00pm EST

Please help me celebrate one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. The Greysons is the culmination of Charlotte Luce’s story, and it is through her that my Fairytale has come true.🌴

Until we read again…📚

Blessings,

Dana L.❤️

Some of the prizes to be given away during the virtual release of
The Greysons

Book Review…NEED TO KNOW📕

Last week I wanted to read, and I wanted to read a real book. Don’t get me wrong, I still download books to my Kindle, and I still enjoy reading them, but sometimes you just want to enjoy the feel of a real book in your hands, right? But it was a cold and rainy day and a trip to the library just wasn’t in the cards, and then I remembered my stash of books from Book Expo America.

BEA was the topic of last week’s blogpost, but I didn’t mention the stack of advance reader copies of books that I brought home from the event. I read several as soon as I returned, but in the busyness of everyday life, the others were forgotten. I know…shame on me! Anyway, in my quest for a real book to read and get wrapped up in, I remembered the box from BEA and started digging. And boy did I strike gold!

NEED TO KNOW by Karen Cleveland is the kind of novel that grabs you from the first page, and never lets go. It’s powerfully written, captures your heart, and makes you ask the question “What would I do if that were me?”

The protagonist in the story is a CIA analyst, as Karen herself was before writing this book, her debut novel. The crux of the story is Vivian Miller’s struggle to balance the love for her family with the love of her country, and the twists and turns will have you feeling like you’re on a roller coaster ride, but you won’t want to get off.

I’m not going to tell you more for fear of spoiling this addictive thriller, but I will share some facts. The actual book released in January of 2018 and has over 900 great reviews. On top of that, a movie is in the works with Charlize Theron producing and staring as Vivian.

Keep in mind that I’m addicted to romance novels, but this book captured my attention in a way that thrillers usually don’t. Even today, a week after I read the last page, the storyline haunts me enough that I may have to read it one more time.

NEED TO KNOW…don’t miss it!

Until we read again, 📚

Blessings…

Dana L. ❤️


Book Expo America…a book lovers dream!

In 2017, before Lottie Loser was released, I was given tickets to BEA in New York City. An opportunity to see my book on display at the country’s biggest book venue? No way was I not going to attend.

So, The Captain and I made our plans and traveled to the Big Apple in late May for a week of books, books and more books! With a few authors and other celebrities thrown in.

On the first day we were invited to a breakfast where author Stephen King, actress and producer Whitney Cummins, photographer Pete Souza, astronaut Scott Kelly and author Jesmyn Ward spoke. It was magical. Listening to this illustrious group discuss their past writing, as well as the books they were presenting that week was every aspiring writers dream. I left there more determined than ever to become a real author.

It was also in New York where I first met Mark Wayne Adams. I had read a pre-BEA article from Mark, where he talked about the Florida Authors and Publishers Association, and that article is what encouraged me to enter their 2017 Presidential Awards. Lottie Loser went on to win a Silver Medal that year, and I will be forever grateful to him for pointing a brand new author in the right direction.

When the idea for this Blogpost came to mind I got to thinking about how many of the events from that week in New York appear in my books. In Call Me Charlotte, there’s a scene where Charlotte buys Nick the first two books in the Harry Boesch series by Michael Connelly. I actually met Mr. Connelly that year at BEA and have a picture and signed book to commemorate the day. His books are so well written and thought through, and I’ve read and loved every one.

You all know that I’m a voracious reader, and although I like most genres, romance has a special place in my heart. That’s why meeting Elin Hildebrand at BEA was so exciting. I waited in a long long to meet her, and get a signed copy of The Identicals, but I also got a cold Corona with a slice of lime and cookies decorated with covers of other books of her’s. If I’m ever rich and famous, that’s my goal for book signings!

In The Greysons you’ll find several of my actual experiences from that New York trip written into the book. I’m not going to tell you what they are, but instead hope that you will comment through my website with your ideas.

I hope someday to go to another BEA New York, and to live the life of an urbanite, even if only for a week. But in the meantime I’m going to keep writing and work towards my book signing goal; cookies decorated with the covers of my books!

Enjoy these pictures from BEA 2017

Me outside the Javits Center where BEA was held

Stephen King and his son

Me with Michael Connelly and Elin Hildebrands cookies!

Until we read again,📚

Blessings,

Dana L.❤️

With aut

*Thank you for all the interest in when The Greysons will release. The estimated date is April 30th and I promise to let you know just as soon as I do. In the meantime if you would like to preorder from the publisher here’s the link:

http://www.syppublishing.com/the-greysons-ami-series-book-3/

The Greysons is Coming!🌴

Today is cover reveal day! Writing a book and waiting for it to be published is like having a baby, and I’m so ready for this baby to be born!

This past week I’ve been running a video on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that’s a sneak peek of a scene from The Greysons, and I promised you some of the backstory. There’s more in the back of the book so be sure to look for it when you’re done reading.

My dad was an engineer, entrepreneur and inventor. When my brother was born Dad made up the “Lawnmower Song” and sang it to Tom. Five years later when I came along Dad took it out of storage and sang it to me. It’s been through my three girls and their seven children, and someday my Great Grandkids will hear it, too. It’s part of a tradition in my family so of course it had to be in Charlotte’s life, as well.

I am so excited to share this cover with you and I hope you will love it as much as I do. It conveys all the emotions I have about the completion of Charlotte’s story, and has the appearance of a Fairytale. And as you know, that’s exactly what my writing career has been.


Until we read again 📚

Blessings…

Dana L.❤️

A Beta Reader…The one thing I never knew I needed and now can’t live without!

This time last year I was busy getting Call Me Charlotte ready for release in Florida, and all was well with the world. Or so I thought. Several weeks before our journey my 93 year old mother sustained an injury that pretty much incapacitated her. While I was grateful that the The Captain and I were headed to Florida, and could help as caregivers, I knew it would be hard to really concentrate and enjoy releasing my book when my mom was in such pain.

When we returned home I knew it was time to get moving on The Greysons, but a comment from another author about Charlotte, paralyzed me. Was I not a good writer after all? Had Lottie Loser just been a fluke? The thoughts were like a tornado swirling in my head and for the first time I found myself doubting my decision to leave a job I loved to write.

Enter my Beta Reader. I call her mine because while she Betas for lots of authors, it’s because of her that I found joy again in writing. She’s become my friend, the keeper of my secrets, and a character in the book I’m working on, The Four Seasons of Summer. In the book her name is Dena Daniels, and to “protect the innocent” as they say, that’s what I’ll call her here.

I asked “Dena” how she became a Beta, because trust me she does this for lots of authors, and this is her story.

One of her dear friends from her high school days wrote a book and asked Dena to read it for errors. Together they smoothed out the wrinkles, and she found that she enjoyed the task. With some urging from her friend, Dena decided to go public with her editing/Beta abilities, and voila! A Beta Star was born. She now reads books daily, giving feedback and editing suggestions to authors like me.

I’m not at all sure if Dena knows what she brings to me every day, both as an author, and as a person. I’ve never been good about sharing my work ahead of time, but Dena has read The Greysons, and gives it two thumbs up! But better yet she’s instilled in me the belief that I need to write what I enjoy and what makes me happy. Those words coming from a person who reads for a living, were music to my ears.

And Call Me Charlotte? Well as you know I won Gold Medal, a National award, from The Florida Authors and Publishers Association 2018 Presidential Awards, so someone liked it!

Now here it is a new year, and I’m preparing to release The Greysons. This time though I’m thinking a Virtual Release and maybe a party at my home for friends. This past year has brought me every emotion under the sun but I’m thankful to tell you that today my mom has recovered and I’m back to being me. The person who left a 32 year career in banking to write a book, and made her Fairytale come true.

Thank you “Dena” for your friendship and support.

Until we read again📚

Blessings,

Dana L.❤️

Be watching for the cover reveal of The Greyshons


AMI…The Place, Not the Series 🌴

Years ago I knew that someday I wanted to write a book that would take place on Anna Maria Island, Florida. It was a really long time from that goal to the completion of Lottie Loser, but it happened, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Why AMI, you might ask? In the early seventies my parents retired and bought a condo on Long Boat Key. They didn’t plan for Florida to be their permanent home, but they fell in love with the area, and never looked back. From the condo they bought a house, and eventually built a home at Key Royale, in the sleepy little village known as Anna Maria Island.

Today AMI is booming, the sleepy little village a thing of the past, but our family still loves it, and travels there as often as possible. My parents sold their home and moved inland quite a few years ago, and sadly my dad passed away, but mom is still active and goes to the island every Sunday after church for brunch.

Because of my book series I get asked a lot for recommendations on restaurants and places of interest on the island. Since this is spring break season, I thought it would be a good time to share our family favorites.

Hands down the best place to eat is The Cortez Kitchen. The atmosphere is old Florida and the food is out of this world! A grouper sandwich, onion rings, cheese grits and a Blue Moon Beer is pretty close to heaven on earth. The restaurant is off the beaten path, and can be hard to find, so definitely get directions, but definitely go. http://thecortezkitchen.com

The other place you’ll want to go is The Donut Experiment. People get up at the crack of dawn…and I do mean dawn…to wait in line to order donuts that are made fresh to order. They have everything from my favorite, Key Lime, to The Captain’s favorite, Maple Bacon. The donuts are good, but it’s the experience that you go fo. I hear you can order online now, but where’s the fun in that? http://thedonutexperiment

A trip to AMI would not be complete without stopping at the Island Coffee Haus for a delicious start to your day. The release event for Call Me Charlotte was held there, and things couldn’t have gone better. http://www.islandcoffeehaus.com

Your last venture has to be to Ginny’s & Jane E’s! This wonderfully eclectic Cafe and Costal Store has everything you need for your adventure on Anna Maria Island, plus they sell Lottie Loser and Call Me Charlotte! You can take home a memory made by a local artist, have lunch, or even a beer or a smoothie, but it’s definitely a destination in itself.http://ginnysandjanees.com

I’ve given you options to get your vacation started but you’ll want to find your own pieces of paradise, and that can only happen by exploring this charming island, and taking chances. You can’t go wrong…just go, and start making your own memories.

With my mom at The Cortez Kitchen
At the Island Coffee Haus release event for Call Me Charlotte


Until we read again📚

Blessings, ❤️

Dana L.