Love or Romance?

I’ve got be honest here, I’m a sucker when it comes to romance. That’s why I write it and that’s why I read it. I mean, what’s not to like? That rush you get when that certain someone makes you feel as if you’re the only person in the world; it’s a pretty heady feeling. So I decided to look up the meaning of romance and this is what I found.

“A feeling of mystery and remoteness from everyday life, associated with love.”

Hmmm. Remoteness from everyday life? Associated with love, but not necessarily love. Most of us have experienced romance, and usually love is involved, but not always. So I got to thinking, if you can have romance without love, can you have love without romance?

February 2nd is my 45th wedding anniversary and in those years I’ve experienced amazing love and amazing romance, but not always at the same time. I’ve always felt the love, but as life happened in our marriage, when kids came along, and careers brought pressure, the romance took a back seat. Doesn’t mean I liked it, but between sporting events, dance lessons, music lessons; well, you get the idea, we definitely fell in the category of love without romance.

So, if I could only have one for the rest of my life, which one would I choose? The excitement of romance, or the tenderness of love? Id go with love any day of the week. Because for me, this is what true love looks like.

I had a terrible cold, and was miserable. But then so was my husband. At 3:30 am I woke him up because my swollen sinuses were making my head feel like a watermelon about to be smashed, and I needed relief. In the cold, dark morning he went downstairs and got me a decongestant, along with a hot, steamy rag for my face. And then he wrapped me up in his arms and for the next hour massaged my head and neck, until I fell back to sleep. There’s not a flower or a sonnet in the world that could have been more romantic than that.

And just for the record, I get up some mornings and find sweet notes in the coffee can! Maybe not the romantic notes I sometimes yearn for, but the ones that tell me all I need to know. After 45 years my husband still wants me, and that’s love and romance all wrapped into one!

This is a picture from our wedding, when we were young and thought the highs of romance would follow us throughout our life. And you know what? Maybe they did, because 45 years together is quite a feat, and I look forward to every one of them yet to come.

Until we read again 📚…

Blessings,

Dana L ❤️

💝The giveaway celebrating love begins on my anniversary, February 2, 2019. Be watching for the links and the #450202, and enter by sending Charlotte or Nick a valentines message through my website comment section. The WINNER will receive both of my romance novels, personally signed to them💝

Contest runs through February 13, 2019

Everything Old is New Again!

A couple of weeks ago an new author I met on Twitter sent me a message telling me that our romance books were very much alike. Of course, I panicked because Lottie Loser was written in my head for two years before I ever sat down at a computer, and there was no way our books could be alike! Turns out they aren’t, but there are a few similarities, and that got me thinking about just how different books in the same genre can have some of the same features, without being identical.

Romance has a set style. A protagonist, often a beautiful woman, an antagonist, a handsome man if the protagonist is a female, some conflict along the way and ends with an HEA, Happily Ever After. But the nuances, like the storyline, the character’s personalities, even the setting is all determined by the author.

So why is it that after Lottie was published I was reading a book and the protagonist had an elderly neighbor, like Lottie’s Mrs. Danvers, that she befriended? Or the times since when a book I was reading vacillated between today and another period in the characters life, and even though it was presented differently, it still felt very similar.

Then last week I was reading a brand new book and all of a sudden I thought, “Hey! This is a lot like my series.” Old friends, whose relationship ended uncomfortably meet again after several years, and you guessed it, the connection between them is still strong. There was even a little back and forth in time, but presented differently than my books do.

At first I was concerned, but pretty quickly realized that this new book was just like the ones I read after Lottie was published. I hadn’t taken anything from another author, and this one hadn’t taken anything from me. We each had a concept for a book, and when we wrote them, we each thought we were brilliantly coming up with something fresh and new.

So is there really any brand new way to present a romance story? Of course, and lots of authors find them, but there are still a lot of books out there that are totally different, but subtly the same. The good news is, if a reader falls in love with your books, they don’t seem to mind.

Until we read again📚…

Blessings,

Dana L. ❤️

💝February is the month of love so beginning February 2, my wedding anniversary, through February 13, I’m holding a giveaway for one winner to receive a signed copy of both Lottie Loser and Call Me Charlotte. Be watching for more details next week and for the posted links.💝


Social Media and Me!


Until 2017 I had no Facebook account. Until 2017 I had no Twitter acount, and until 2018 I had to Instagram account. I guess you could say I was a Social Media recluse; and then I wrote Lottie Loser. What a difference a day makes.

I need to be really honest with you here, and tell you that I never had any intention of sharing my life over the internet. Social Media, in my opinion, was intrusive and dangerous, and I wanted no part of it. So why did writing a book make a difference? You guessed it, exposer.

Marketing and sales are kind of my thing. I did both in my previous life as a banker, and was good at them, but selling myself as an author, as well as getting Lottie into the hands of a broad sector, was going to take more. A lot more.

Having daughters who are part of Generation X was my saving grace in setting up both Facebook and Twitter accounts. I posted things related to Lottie, and even started liking and replying to other people’s posts, and before long, I was one of those annoying people with their face in their phone, watching to see what the world around me was doing. Ugh.

Then Call Me Charlotte released and I really got serious about my Social Media presence. Wait! I wasn’t serious before? Apparently not, so with a little help from my friends I’ve become more enlightened on how to use Twitter, and in 2019 I’m reinventing myself.

I’m not strong technically, and my skills with graphics could be better, but I can post words with the best of them! And thankfully those words have led me to some amazing new Social Media friends, several of whom are authors.

Jerri Hines…author of The Southern Legacy Series, was one of the first authors to follow me, and read and wrote an endorsement for inside Lottie Loser.

David Edmonds…Multiple Award Winning Author of Lily of Peru and The Girl in the Glyphs, was one of my first Social Media friends because we both published with Southern Yellow Pines Publishing. David also wrote an endorsement for Lottie.

SE Rose…author of the Portenous Destiny Series, follows me on every Social Media site, and even subscribes to my Blog.

Willie Handler…author of The Road Ahead, is a Twitter guru and has been helping me with my brand. Who knew I even needed one?!

Sandy Barker…author of the Someone Series, is a fresh new voice in romance, and even asked me to write a blurb for her newest book.

Meka James…whose latest book, Anything Once releases January 22, actually came to The Decatur, Georgia Book Festival just to meet me. Me!

KJ Gillenwater is my newest Twitter author friend, and not only do we both write romance, we found out we’re going on the same writing cruise! We’ve had so much fun getting to know each other through Twitter that I know we’ll glean from each other on and after the cruise.

So where am I going with this? Well, I have to be honest again and tell you that I now enjoy Social Media in a way I never thought I would, and Twitter especially, has expanded my horizons in a whole new direction. I no longer cringe at the idea of Social Media, and while I’m still careful about posting when I’m going to be out of town, and don’t share really personal things, I now look forward to getting up every morning to see what has posted overnight. And yes, I check it throughout the day, too!

Social Media and me? Let’s just say we have an understanding. I give information to her, and she helps me get it to just the right people.🤗

Look for me on Facebook:@DanaLBrownAuthor

Twitter : @DanaLBrownBooks

Instagram: dana _brown_author

And on my Amazon Author Page: http://Amazon.com/author/danalbrown


Now if I could just get motivated towards all the other Social Media sites out there, but baby steps, right?!

Until we read again📚

Blessings,

Dana L. ❤️


Author Zelle Andrews; The Beginning of Me

Zelle and I became friends this past year through our publisher, Southern Yellow Pines, and sealed the deal at the 2018 Florida Authors and Publishers Conference in August. We share many similarities in our writing style and genre, although our characters are totally different. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed both of her books, and encourage you to try them for yourself. They are available from all the large retail channels as well as http://www.syppublishing.com

When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?  

Shortly after my daughter was born, I tossed around the idea of writing a novel, but life got in the way and raising my children took priority. It wasn’t until twenty plus years later that I was sitting at work one day and the bug bit me again. I kept my notes and writing to myself for a while. I didn’t even tell my husband

Tell us the story of your husband finding notes around your house with bits and pieces of ideas for a novel?

One day while we were cleaning the kitchen he ran across a scrap piece of paper that I had written the beginning of chapter one on and began reading it. I yanked it away and whispered in embarrassment that I was writing a story. He was more excited about it than I was and has been supportive all the way. It took three years to write my debut novel ‘Paisley Memories’.

How did you come up with the story-line for Paisley Memories?

I’m one of those people who can drive a car and if a random image pops up, I’ll write a scene or story in my head. With this particular story, I was thinking what a single, teenage, mom would do faced with raising a child that has down syndrome alone. I didn’t write a story-outline. It literally played out like a movie in my head and I just ran with it.

Is there any part of Tess, your Main Character and Paisley’s mother, that comes from your own life?

Both of my novels, PAISLEY MEMORIES, and DANCING WITH DANDELIONS, are works of fiction. The only similarity I have with the character Tess is that we both have a daughter with down syndrome. It is not a recollection of my life with her. Although, I have incorporated a few snippets of funny things she may have said growing up or a random scene slightly altered to fit the story.

What is your writing process?

  1.  Do you outline the story first? I have never written an outline. I’m a fly by the seat of your pants kinda writer. I write where the story takes me. I might be working on Chapter four when something comes to mind that I want to happen later in the story and I’ll jot it down to be merged into the story later.
  2. Are you a panster who just sits down and writes? I don’t have a scheduled time that I write. Almost every single time that I’ve designated or scheduled a time to write, something comes up. Whenever I have a free moment, and I’m not sucked into the social media world, I’m writing.
  3. Do you write the story in your mind before you ever put pen to paper? Of course! It plays out like a movie for me and my little chubby fingers have a hard time keeping up on the keyboard.If I think too hard about a story-line, the writing reads as if it’s forced and I end up starting over.

Who is your favorite author and why?

I think this is the hardest question for authors to answer. For me, it varies. It really depends on what I’m reading at the time. Currently, I’m reading Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown. It’s a glimpse into the life of Mary Rowlandson, a Puritan wife that was kidnapped by Native Americans in seventeenth-century Massachusetts. It’s loosely based on her account retelling of the actual events. I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on two novels. The third, and final, novel in my Paisley series and a historical fiction novel about a young woman who is accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials of 1692. The Paisley series is published through SYP Publishing. The historical fiction novel will be self-published.

Is writing your fulltime job?

Not at this time, but that is my goal.  I relish taking extra days off from work that flow into the weekend. I’m able to get a small glimpse of what life as a full-time author will be like.

What was your favorite book growing up?

I didn’t have a favorite. But the ones I enjoyed reading were The Little House on the Prarie series and any books that involved animals.

What’s one thing you’d like to share with my readers about you, your life or your books?

Writing has always been enjoyable for me. Even the editing process. Some authors hate that aspect of getting their manuscript ready for publication. I see it as making my baby the best it can be. I have so many story ideas rolling around in my head. As long as people enjoy reading my stories, I’ll keep writing them.

Keep your eye on Zelle! I’m expecting great things from her!

Until we read again📚…

Blessings,

Dana L. ❤️

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You’ve Got A Friend In Me!


This will be my last Blog of 2018, so it’s a little more personal than usual. I hope that it will be meaningful to you, because it comes from my heart.

One of the things I love most about the characters I write is their fierce loyalty to their friends and family. You’re going to say that I wrote them that way, right? Well, It may have been my finger doing the key strokes, but trust me, in the AMI Series the characters were in control!

Remember how Charlotte fought for her assistant, Carol, in Lottie Loser? Even though she knew it could end up costing her the job that she loved, she stood up for someone she cared about.

Or the way Noah supported his brother, even though they were both in love with Lottie? He could have used Nick and Charlotte’s breakup as a way to slip into her heart, but instead he did the honorable thing, and went to Nick’s defense.

And of of course, Lottie’s lifelong friendship with Becca. I have several really close friends, but not one of them has been part of my entire life. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have that one person whom you’ve known forever, and can count on, no matter what?

This year I have made some wonderful new friends. Some have mentored me, some have read my books, and some have just cheered me on, but everyone of them has made an impact on my life. I also made a new BFF when I sent The Greysons to a Beta Reader for clarity. Barb has listened to all of my frustrations, learned all about my life, and shared her heart without judging me. She’s the kind of friend I want to be to others.

I read this on Instagram this week and it really resonated with me.

Your circle should want to see you win.

Your circle should clap the loudest when you have good news.

If it doesn’t, get a new circle.

My point in all of this is to tell you how much I appreciate the support and friendship of everyone who has read Lottie Loser and Call Me Charlotte, and those who tell me they can’t wait for The Greysons to release. You are my circle, and  I can hear your applause in your emails, your Facebook and Twitter posts, and even the direct messages through Messanger. You have made 2018 one of the most special years of my life, and for that I say “Merci, Gracias, and Thank you.”

I have a friend in you, and you have a friend in me!

Until we read again📚….

Christmas Blessings,

Dana L.❤️


Big Mistake…Huge!

What happens when you’ve written a book, sent it to your publisher, who had it edited, printed and distributed, and then find out there’s an error? Your cringe or cry, or both. Anyway that’s what I did.

I was holding the very first copy of the book I had left my dream job to write, and right in front of me was a mistake. I called my mom, because even big girls need their mom, and she said the greatest thing.  She told me that in her opinion the only book ever written without errors was the Bible, and that she’d seen goofs in books from even the most famous of authors. After that I relaxed.

So my question to you is, what do you do when you see a mistake in a book that you’ve reading? Do you feel the need to point it out to the author, or are you able to move past it and not let it ruin your feelings about the storyline and the book overall?

Mistakes happen in publishing just as in any business, and as much as we wish they didn’t, they do. Stuart Woods, who writes the Stone Barrington series, even has a comment at the back of his books telling readers if they find a mistake he doesn’t want to know! And he writes lots of books and I’m sure make a nice income from them.

So, on behalf of authors everywhere I’m going to say this. If you feel the need to point out an error that you’ve found to an author in their book, please do it respectfully and privately. The same mistake that I found in Lottie Loser was pointed out to me by someone at a meeting I was attending, and then she said, “but I loved the book”. 😂 I’m happy that she loved the book, but pointing out the error that way was like a huge elephant in the room!

We are all human, and humans make mistakes, but it’s how we handle them that counts. I’m not afraid to own up to my blunders, and I’m not afraid to say I was wrong. What I am afraid to say is “it won’t happen again”, because it might. And if it does, please be kind if you decide to tell me.

Until we read again,📚

Dana L.

PJ Boox and Patti! Queen of life, love and wine!

I first met Patti Jefferson when Lottie Loser was nominated for a Florida Authors and Publishers Presidential Award. She sent me an email inviting me to shelve Lottie at PJ Boox and we’ve been friends ever since. Patti is funny and quirky, but she’s honest and really kind, and I love everyone of those qualities! Sit back, relax, and meet Patti and her wonderful Indie Bookstore, PJ Boox.

1. When you were a little girl what did you want to be when you grew up?

The first thing I remember wanting to be was a flight attendant but that was mostly because they had such stylish haircuts. I didn’t have any idea what they actually did other than serve drinks on airplanes.

2. When did you fall in love with books?

Gosh, I don’t really remember a time that I wasn’t in love with books! My mom was a reader so it just seemed like that was a thing people did. I’m so grateful that she and I still read books that we can talk about afterwards.

3. What is the first book you remember reading?

Hmm… I was always a fan of mysteries so I was super excited when my aunt gave me her  Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books. I still have some of those!

4. Besides owning and running PJ Boox, you’re also an author. Tell us about the books that you’ve written?

I started with “How Long Will You Love Me” in 2013 which is still my best seller. I think unconditional love is a great message for little ones. In 2014, I wrote “Stu’s Big Party”. It’s got a message of acceptance & diversity and was the first book I won an award for so it’s pretty special to me. My first foray into non-fiction was in 2018 with 365 Bright Ideas to Market Your Indie
Books which has now won a few awards. That was a labor of love to all of the struggling indie authors I have met in the last 5 years! And last but not least, I am releasing “I Love You to Pieces” which will be my 3rd children’s book in the beginning of 2019. It’s also about unconditional love… oh and replacement parts.

5. Where did the idea for PJ Boox come from?

PJ Boox was born out of frustration as an indie author. I wanted my books in bookstores but most independent bookstores are not set up for that in a way that makes sense for someone with children’s book margins. In most cases I was making $1 per book and chasing that dollar was more time-consuming than it was worth. I just figured there had to be a better way. There wasn’t… so I took matters into my own hands.

6. Tell us how it’s different from traditional book stores.

I used a model that has worked for antique malls and consignment shops. The authors rent space and get the proceeds from the sales. The authors keep 98% and the credit card processors get the rest. I don’t make money on the sales of the books at all. The best part of the bookstore
though is the community of authors that are involved. It’s amazing to see the support from everyone.

7. What is an Indie Author?

I like the term “authorpreneur”. Indie (independent) authors are writers who handle their book businesses personally. They create the content, select their teams (editors, designers, formatters, etc.), oversee production and often even handle all of the marketing and promotion. They are
rock stars!​

8. For people who don’t live near FT Myers is there a way to buy from PJ Boox?

Absolutely! We have a website www.pjboox.com and you can read about our authors and their books and make purchases from the site as well. Remember, most of our books are signed by the authors so a book from PJ Boox is usually more exciting than a book from Amazon 🙂

9. Tell us about Patti Jefferson and what makes her tick.

Ha! Some days I’m not sure ticking is even happening! I love to create – books, paintings, inventions, experiences – I love it all. I love being around creative people and having passionate conversations with them while drinking cheap red wine. I find myself funnier than I actually am
so I laugh a lot. I am horrible at sitting still and “doing nothing” unless that nothing is something like petting my dogs – that I can do for hours. Sunsets energize me. Sunsets with friends are even better. And no matter what productive things it looks like I am doing, I am probably just trying to
figure out how many words rhyme with tiara.

10. Now that that you’re all grownup, what do you wish you could go back and do differently?

I’m one of those people that wouldn’t change anything for fear of losing anything good along the way. I do wish, however, I had outgrown my insecurities earlier or at least discovered that wearing a tiara would diminish the self-doubt sooner. I was always willing to embrace my weirdness but I use to think it mattered if people were uncomfortable with it. I don’t so much now so I guess that means I’m actually growing up… finally!

11. What’s the one thing you’re most proud of in your life?

In spite of every challenge I have faced, I haven’t quit yet.

What a great interview! Thank you so much, Patti.

I hope all of you will visit PJ Boox online, and if you’re in the Fort Myers area, her store is something you don’t want to miss.

Until we read again,

Dana L. 📚

 

 

 

 

The Four Seasons of Summer Sneak Peak!

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) ends on Friday…Will I hit the goal on time?  We’ll see I guess, but since I’ve been writing so fervently, I thought this might be a good time to give you a sneak peak of what I’ve been working on.

Summer Alcott is a fifty-eight year old woman who still feels young and vibrant inside, and wants the world—her husband especially, to see her that way, as well. She meets a younger man, whose wife died tragically, and they begin an online romance.

This book has been harder for me to get into  than the AMI Series, but after months of no desire to write, I’m back in the grove, and loving Summer as I did Charlotte! I hope you will enjoy this preview of The Four Seasons of Summer.

 

Prologue

Summer picked up her phone with nervous apprehension, hoping there would be a message, even after she had just prayed for the strength to end the relationship. Relationship? Could it even be called that? It was really just two people chatting back and forth on a social media app, so why did her heart and her stomach hurt so badly?

Seeing that there were no new messages she laid her phone down and headed to the laundry room. Grabbing a pair of her husband’s jeans to throw in the wash, she could feel the tears coming, and was totally out of control to stop them. How did this happen? She asked herself through the sobbing. She had heard about women who got caught up in a social media romance, but she never believed it could happen to her.

The laundry going, Summer grabbed another cup of coffee and sat down to think about the past few months. Her hand was trembling from too much caffeine and feelings that she wanted to express but couldn’t, so like a spy in the night she picked up her cell phone and pulled up Jake’s Facebook page, looking for any new friends or posts about women. Because that’s what he was looking for, a woman to share his life with, and it couldn’t be her, they both knew that.

—————————————————————————————

Well, what do you think?! Summer is a different character than Charlotte (Lottie) Luce, but still has the same kind heart and longing for passion that Charlotte did.  I love romance, and I write what I love!

Until we read again,

Dana L.📚

 

 

Three Children’s Authors You Need to Know!

Last week I shared with you three young adult authors who write amazing stories for your 8-14 year old children. This week I have three more names of authors, and they write inspiring and delightful books for your little ones. The holidays are upon us and what makes better gifts than ones you can be a part of? The best memories of my girls childhood is when we read together.

Hayley Rose is an National Award Winning Author, and the books she writes about Fifo are nothing more than genius! She incorporates learning and fun, and reading her books to my granddaughter brings a smile to both of our faces.

Fifo’s Today I Feel Emotion won a Silver Medal at the recent Readers Favorite Awards in Miami for best preschool picture book, and I bought it for my youngest granddaughter’s first birthday.

For more charming books and information about Hayley visit:

http://booksbyhayleyrose.com

 

Many of you know that my three youngest grandchildren are adopted. I couldn’t love them anymore than if my daughter was their birth mother, but she’s their mommy in every way that counts. While I was at the Florida Authors and Publishers Awards in August I met author Silvia Lopez, and purchased her kid’s book on adoption.

Just Right Family takes you into the life of Meili, adopted from China, and her struggles when her parents tell her they are adopting a baby from Haiti. It’s a heartwarming story of what makes up the perfect family, and it’s a perfect book for adopted children. In fact, I’m giving a copy to my grandson today to celebrate his “Gottcha Day”.

Learn more about Silvia at:

http://www.silvialopezbooks.com

Jayne RoseVallee writes an aptly titled series Dinosaurs Living in My Hair, about Sabrina, the girl with the uncontrollable curls who has dinosaurs living in her hair! This delightful celebration of diversity is so relevant in today’s world, and I love the lessons about bully’s, and how to deal with them. Rose-Vallee’s rhyming text flows in perfect rhythm, and her vocabulary is unique and comfortable.

To find out more go to:

http://www.rosevalleecreations.com

I hope you won’t ever miss out on an opportunity to read with the kiddos in your life. It’s priceless for them and everlasting for you.

Until we read again…

Dana L. 📚