Three Authors (or Four) You Should Know!

Becoming an author has been an amazing ride, but I’ve found out that meeting other authors, and buying their books is addictive! That being said, I hope you will check out the author’s below, and better yet, buy and read their books!

The books I’m highlighting are ones I bought at the Decatur Book Festival on Labor Day.  Two of them were for gifts, and one is all mine!

Jilly That’s Silly is the second book in a series by Christa Carpenter Blaney, illustrated by Mark Wayne Adams. It’s the story of girls and their mom’s, and I bought it for our son in law’s sister, who gave birth to her first child, a daughter, while we were in Decatur.  Being able to give Baby Nora a book signed to her by both the author and illustrator, will be a keepsake I hope she will cherish.  The other books in the series are Nicholas That’s Ridiculous, about a boy and his mom, and the newest addition, Eddie That’s Spaghetti, about the family’s dog.

Lisbeth, written by Marina Brown, is for me! It’s the story of Claire Ellison who finds herself compelled to rebuild the house her mother inhabited forty years before. The synopsis on the back is extremely provocative and these words are in bold print.  Can the quest for revenge remain alive after death?  This will be a book for a rainy fall afternoon, wrapped in a throw with a hot cup of tea beside me. And yes, Sofi on my lap!

COCHABAMBA, written by Brinn Colenda, is my bother’s birthday present. It’s the story of a retired Air Force helicopter pilot, and his workings as an ExPat. Since Tom was in the Air Force, and likes military intrigue, I thought it was perfect for him.

In my picture is a fourth book, and it’s one that is bittersweet to share with you. The author, J Haviland, passed  away this summer, and this will be his last book. I never met Jaeme, but we both published our work with Southern Yellow Pine Publishing, and had talked through Facebook. Goldhead was a Bronze Medal winner, and is available through the publisher if you are interested. The synopsis reads “Two stories of greed and violence separated by four and a half centuries…..” Sounds pretty interesting!

Books have been my best friends since I was ten years old. They take me to places I might never get to visit on my own, and introduce me to characters whose lives are much more exciting than mine.  Even though I still have my Kindle, I’ve found that nothing beats holding a real book in my hand.

Make it a wonderful week, and if you have kids, or grandkids, don’t forget to read to them! There’s power in the written word.


As Always,

Dana L.




Interview with Author Talya Tate Boerner

  1.  When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved writing and reading. And, I always thought I would write a book someday. The funny thing is I never planned to be an actual writer. I imagined I would write a book in my spare time the same way one might cut the grass on Saturday afternoon. I have a degree in economics from Baylor University and spent my entire professional career in banking, most recently as a commercial lender in Dallas. But six years ago after a crystal-clear “aha” moment, I walked away from my banking career, returned to my home state of Arkansas, and threw my heart into writing full time.

2.  Where did the inspiration for The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee come from?

My childhood. I grew up on a cotton farm in northeast Arkansas near the Mississippi River. Our farm and soil and way of life is a huge part of who I am. Although the plot-line of Accidental Salvation is fictional, much of Gracie Lee’s world and the folks in it are based on real places and people from my life. And by the way, we still own our farm in the Arkansas delta.


3.   Is the counting like Gracie Lee did, One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, and so on, something that comes from your childhood, or does it come from your imagination?


Wait, don’t all kids count in Mississippis? LOL. Yes, I learned as a child that it took a full second to pronounce the word Mississippi. (Maybe living on the Mississippi River made this a thing for my friends and me?) Anyway, to estimate a minute while waiting for school to let out or piano lessons to be over, I counted in Mississippis. And I thought Gracie Lee should do the same thing.

4.  Gracie’s daddy was short tempered, just plain mean in her estimation.  Why?

The short answer—he carries the stress of farming on his shoulders, and he drinks too much. As a child, Gracie doesn’t understand how stressful farming can be for the entire family. She only sees the effects of it and labels it as a continuous bad mood.

5.  How much of yourself is in Gracie Lee?

Gracie is certainly part of me. But she’s much braver and more inquisitive than I was at her age. She has a voice and wants to be heard. I consider her to be a ten-year-old version of me with fifty years of hindsight.

6.  I love the name Grace Lee Eudora Abbott. Does it have any special meaning to you?

There is significance to Gracie’s name. When I set out to name my protagonist, I wanted her to dislike something about her name. I grew up with a name often mispronounced. As a kid, I found it annoying and wondered why my parents didn’t bless me with a “normal” name. Rather than give my protagonist a hard-to-pronounce name, I gave her four names which I imagined would be confusing to a child. I knew she needed a double first name—Gracie Lee—because that’s a very southern thing. I decided on Gracie because of spiritual themes in the story (and because my blog is Grace, Grits and Gardening), and Lee because that was my Dad’s middle name. In the story, Gracie’s dad added Eudora to her name in honor of his favorite southern storyteller, Eudora Welty.

7.  Did you intend The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee to be a Young Adult novel? How do you feel about it now?

Although the protagonist is ten-years-old, Accidental Salvation is classified as Adult Literary Fiction because the topics and themes of religion, family, and abuse are mature. But, I’ve discovered the book has crossed over into Young Adult which pleases me. It has been popular with a wide audience including both women and men, book club readers, high school and middle school readers. I believe there’s a little bit of Gracie Lee in all of us.

8.  How has your life changed since becoming an author?

My world has expanded in ways I never imagined. I went from focusing on a left brain career to right brain living. This journey has connected me to the most incredible readers and writers. As a writer, I push myself to take on more creative endeavors, and I feel more in tune with the natural world. Doing what one is meant to do is eye-opening. I highly recommend it!

9.  Tell us about your current work in process?

I don’t like to reveal too much too early. For now, I’ll just say my next book is a memoir (or perhaps creative non-fiction) about aging parents and my own mid-life crisis. It’s set in Dallas. The completed manuscript is currently in the hands of my editor. Fingers crossed it will be published in 2019.

10.  Some authors make outlines, others use journals for their ideas before actually writing. What is your writing process?

I keep a daily journal and do my serious writing in the morning when my mind is freshest. I don’t outline, but I do keep a timeline of events as they unfold in my story. I write long-hand first and do an initial edit when inputting into my Mac-book. My goal is to write four hours a day and read two hours a day.

11.  When reading for your own pleasure do you have a specific genre that you enjoy?

I enjoy a wide variety of genres and read an average of 5 – 7 books per month. My favorites are historical fiction, classics, memoir, and non-fiction. I LOVE Newbery Award-winning literature, too. Currently, I’m trying to read those books I’ve not yet read that were included on PBS’s Great American Read list.

12.  How would you pitch Gracie Lee to a movie producer?

Oh, elevator pitches are the most difficult! But I’ll give it a go… In the early 1970s, ten-year-old Arkansas farm girl, Gracie Lee Abbott, sets out to save her family from her alcoholic daddy. She longs for something more, takes solace in a mysterious gray house, and over time, confides her sins to Brother Brown, the somewhat boring preacher of Boon Chapel Baptist Church. As her dad’s disease progresses, Gracie’s grit and gumption sets into motion an escape and redemption that surprises even herself. Filled with both honey and vinegar, Accidental Salvation will make you laugh and cry and perhaps remind you of your own young dreams.

13.  What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Write and read every day. Find mentors. Expect to put in lots and lots of time and treat your writing like a start-up business. Much like anything worth doing, writing takes time and dedication. And when you want to put down your pen and quit, keep going.

14.  What has been the best part about becoming an author?

Receiving emails and reviews from readers who say Accidental Salvation touched them, reminded them of something they had forgotten. Seeing my book on the shelves of Barnes and Noble and at various libraries is a huge thrill, too.


15.  What’s one thing about you readers should know?

I still have a crush on Donny Osmond.

How can we find you? Social Media, website, etc.

Find me here:
Author Website: Talya Tate Boerner
Facebook: Author Page: Talya Tate Boerner
Goodreads: Talya Tate Boerner
Blog: Grace Grits and Gardening

Facebook: Grace Grits and Gardening
Instagram: gracegrits

Twitter: @gracegrits

Thank you Talya for your time, and for your wonderfully delightful novel, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee. You can find Gracie on Amazon, in print book, eBook and Audible Audiobook.. It’s also available on Barnes & Noble, and at Southern Yellow Pines Publishing.

Make it a reading kind of week!


Dana L.




Books, Books, and More Books!

Imagine a thousand books, and hundreds of authors all gathered together in one small, quaint town. Now take that by ten, and you have the Decatur Book Festival.  Every bibliophile’s dream.

To be honest, the only festivals of any kind that I’ve attended have been in Indiana in a field, so that was what I was expecting. I could not have been more wrong!

We were up and moving shortly after seven o’clock on Saturday morning and I was amazed at the charming college community, with three lined streets, and already positioned booths set-up everywhere.  By ten o’clock the group from my publisher, Southern Yellow Pines Publishing, had our books displayed, our banners up, and were ready for businesses!

We had been asked by Terri Gerrell, the owner of SYP, to engage and interact with people as they passed by, and if you know me very well, you know this is my forte.  My first question was always “what type of books do you like to read?”, to which almost everyone said “everything “. With a few more questions I was able to lead them to a book in their favorite genre, and if the author was with us, I turned the buyer over to them, and went back to selling.

Thruthfully, there were times when so many of us were in sales mode that it probably became a little overwhelming for the people passing by on the street, but pretty quickly we found our rhythm, and were able to help people chose just the right books for them.

Sales of kids books went extremely well, and with Author Christa Blaney and illustrator, Mark Wayne Adams on site, a lot of children and their parents left happy.  Their newest book, Eddie That’s Spaghetti, was a big seller.

Of course we also had Sam Staley and his pirate series with us, and William Mark, a real Florida policeman who writes a police series. Pat Stanford, author of Fixing BooBoo, a book about caring for someone with traumatic brain injury, Rocky Porch Moore, the sweetest woman you’d ever want to meet with her Southern Gothic Horror Books, and Marina Brown who writes Literary Fiction.

Charlotte Luce and I were there as well, and both Lottie Loser and Call Me Charlotte sold well. In fact, all but one copy of Lottie was sold over the weekend. Not bad for my first big sales event.

If you ever have an opportunity to attend a Book Festival  I urge you to go. They’re fun, and filled with everything a festival should have, and who knows, you might just meet your new favorite author there!

If someone we’re to ask me, “what’s your favorite pastime”, I would have to say “reading”.  Books take me to places I’ve never been, and introduce me to characters I might never meet in real life.

So today I hope that you can find a quiet place, and a good book, and let yourself get lost in a story. It’s the best way to enrich your mind and encourage your heart.


Dana L.


You’re the Author!

The responses to “You’re the Author” are in bold, underneath the question.  Thank you so much for your participation!

1. The Greysons, Book III of the AMI Series, isn’t published yet. How would you like to see it end?

The overwhelming majority wants to see Nick and Charlotte together, with a happily ever after.  There were a couple who are rooting for Noah though, so I guess you’ll have to wait to find out!

2. If you could make one change to Lottie Loser, what would it be?

That Ashley Marshall would have gotten  paid back for what she did to Lottie! This was hands down the biggest response.

3.  In Call Me Charlotte, Charlotte was very reticent about being intimate with Nick while others were around.  Would you have enjoyed a little more “spice”?

Most we’re fine with the way it was, a couple would have liked more heat!😉

4. Is there a character in the series whom you would like to see as the next protagonist, or lead character, if the AMI Series continues?  Why?

Pop and Noah ran neck in neck.  The reason? They’re both nice guys who deserve a good woman in their life.

I hope you enjoyed this game as much as I did, and that you’re anxiously awaiting the release of The Greysons to find out how Charlotte’s story ends.

Until next week, I wish you have nothing but Happy Endings!


Dana L.





Author Talks

By Rebecca Cahill

Dana L. Brown, author of the Award Winning novel, Lottie Loser and Call Me Charlotte, which won a Gold Medal in Romance! Check out her interview below!

Tell me more about yourself:

I took early retirement from a thirty-two career in banking to write the book that was burning in my soul! I am a wife, mother and grandmother, and a National Award Winning Author.

What inspired you to be an Author?

I love to read more than just about anything, and around five years ago the idea for a book crept into my head, and I just had to write it. I really believe all the books I’ve read in my life were my inspiration.

How long have you been writing for?

Just about two and a half years.

How many stories have you written?

I have my two published novels, plus the third book of the series is written, just waiting for publication. Other than that I wrote a story for a writing group about fifteen years ago.

Is writing your full time profession?

Yes, writing is my full time job.

What is the craziest thing you’ve had to research?

Fancy shoes!  I don’t wear high heels and had to learn all about them!

Who is your favorite character?

I love Charlotte.  She’s smart and sexy and kind…she’s who I want to be when I grow up.

What are your top five tips for an aspiring author?

1. You’re never too old to rewrite your personal story

2. Have confidence in your abilities

3. Never let anyone try to change your storyline because it doesn’t fit some rule.

4. Be grateful everyday for the opportunity to write

5. Believe…Fairytales do come true!

Author links:


Amazon Author Page:

Facebook: @DanaLBrownAuthor

Twitter: @DanaLBrownBooks

Instagram: dana_brown_author

The entire interview can be found at:

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday, and hopefully with a new book in your future! 📚

As Always,

Dana L.




The 4 C’s of Growing Your Platform

You don’t have to be an author to have a platform.  Everyone from Miss America to political candidates have one, and if you’re in any kind of business, you should consider having one, too.

Below are the 4 important C’s for Growing Your Platform.

  1.  Content

Information about you and your family

Information about your product and where it can be



2.  Consistency

Make sure your voice is recognized.

If you have a website or blog, post consistently.

Tell stories that relate back to your platform.

3.  Commitment

What is your commitment to your product? For me

this  would be my commitment to my writing.

What is your commitment to your patrons or followers?

4.  Community

Grow your tribe of followers or people who believe

In your and your product.

Be a mentor.  There’s always a new author, business

or someone who can benefit from your knowledge.

Finding influencers for your platform is a great way to get the word out about you and your product, which is part of why I do the blog.  You are all my tribe and your interest and support of my books helps to influence others to read them!

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday, and I look forward to hearing about your platform!

As Always,

Dana L.





Defining Your Target!

The 6 Things You Need to Know to Define Your Target Readers

  1.  Who is your target reader?





2.  Where do they shop?



Go to school?

3.  In what form do they prefer to receive your information?

4.  When do they want to buy your content?

5.   Why do they want to buy your content?

6.   How can you best reach them with your promotion?


Media appearances

Social Media

Personal selling


There’s a saying “Get your ducks in a row” and it’s especially true for authors.  It’s more than just putting words on paper, and to be successful, you need a plan!

Happy Writing to you all, and remember, it’s never too late to rewrite your personal story!

As Always,

Dana L.




A Love Affair With Words!

What are you currently reading and what book first made you fall in love with the written word?

Reader # 1

.I am currently reading The Witches by Stacy Schiff. It’s a nonfiction piece focusing on the hysteria that drove the Salem witch trials in 1692.

The first book book I remember reading that started my love affair with the written word was probably something by Dr. Seuss.  Why? His tales of made up worlds and far-away places, and the magic that can be conjured with words colored my world. My library card was a passport out of my ordinary life.

Reader # 2

I’m currently reading Orphan X by Greg Hurwitz.  It’s a Crime Thriller, not the genre I usually read. I’m an action adventure guy, but he’s an interesting writer, so I thought I would give it a try.

The first book I remember reading that helped me fall in love with books was Horacio Hornblower. It had adventure in exotic places, with lots of action and danger.

Reader # 3

I’m currently reading an ARC from Julia Wolf, Cut Free. It’s a Contemporary Romance that takes place in a small historical town, based on where the author and I live.

The first book I remember falling in love with was Charlotte’s Webb. My mom read it to me when I was about six, and I asked her to only read chapter books after that. Why Charlotte’s Webb? I loved animals and could relate to Fern.

Reader # 4

I haven’t started reading it yet, but I have The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry sitting on my bedside table. I’m always drawn to fiction, so I’m sure it won’t disappoint. It’s about a family of women from Salem, Massachusetts who have the ability to read the future in the patterns of lace.

I guess you could say that Nancy Drew mysteries helped me fall in love with books. I know that reflects my age, but you can’t beat a good teen mystery.

Reader # 5

I just bought the Bankers Wife by Cristina Alger, but haven’t started it yet.

I was a late bloomer to reading, but then I picked up The Pelican Brief, and then A Time to Kill and The Firm, and I was hooked! I love the side works of business and law.

Reader # 6

I am not currently reading a book, but the first book I fell in love with was Dear John, by Nicholas Sparks. I loved it so much that I went on to read several more of his books.  I also love the author Jody Picoult, especially the book, The Plain Truth.

Reader # 7

I am currently reading The Panther, by Nelson DeMille. It’s an international intrigue about a New York tough guy cop who goes to Yemen in search of terrorists who attacked the USS Cole-a true incident that killed 14 US Soilders. His character is an alpha male badass who, like all of DeMille’s lead characters, doesn’t cooperate with others and is politically incorrect.

I’ve been reading and enjoying books since I first figured out the alphabet (Hardy Boys Mysteries, Nancy Drew, Huck Finn, comics), but if I had to chose one that kept me awake at night and gave me a desire for adventure it would be a close call between Last of the Mohicans and Horatio Hornblower.

And me!

I’ve become infatuated with John Sandford novels this year.  His character, Lucas Davenport, is a little bit of a rogue cop, who also made millions by writing gaming programs.  There now is a spinoff character, Virgil Flowers, and he’s the lead in the book I’m reading Rough Country. Not really sure of the genre, but it’s a nice change after writing Women’s Fiction.

When I was in the fifth grade a friend loaned me her Trixie Beldon book, and I was hooked! Mysteries, but any type of series with a reoccurring character, is what I love.  I want to feel like I know the people I’m reading about, and a series helps me do just that.

Thank you so much to those of you who took the time to share your stories, and your love of books. We’ve been given lots  of good information, and new books to look for. I already have two of the ones written down for my next read.

I love the words From Reader #1. “My library card was a passport out of my ordinary life”  And isn’t that what books are meant to do? They take our ordinary life and make it exciting, and filled with adventure.

My wish for you this week is that you can read, at least a little bit each day, and that you can lose yourself in a world of make believe. I intend to!📚

As always,

Dana L.







Book Club Discussion

Book Club Discussion Questions…

  1.  Does the title of the book fit the storyline?

2.  How credible or believable did you find the narrator to be?  Did you feel like you got the true story?

3.  Any “If/Then” Questions? If the protagonist choose her other love interest, how might the book have been different?

4.  Was there enough tension or conflict throughout the book?

5.  Who was your favorite character and why?

6. How was the chemistry between the two main characters?

7. Was the book all about the characters, or the plot?

8.  Compare this book to your last Book Club read. Which did you enjoy more and why?

9. Was there a quote or a passage that really resonated with you?

10.  You’re the author…what changes, if any would you make and why?

Keep reading, keep writing and keep reaching!

As Always,

Dana L.