Memories…

Fifty years ago five hundred plus young women and men walked away from their childhood and into their future. They were smart, strong, and many were scared to death, and I was one of them. This past weekend we came together to celebrate the joys and heartaches of the past half century, and how exciting it was to see that Muncie Central produced more than just amazing basketball teams. (The Bearcats had won 5 state championships by 1969, a state record, and went on to win 3 more by 1988)

From surgeons to judges, teachers and nurses, writers and a couple of published authors, the class of 1969 has definitely made it’s mark in history. We’ve also lost many classmates, some way too young, and hearing their names read, and remembering them as young and carefree kids, was very emotional.

For me the best part of the weekend was reminiscing with people I had forgotten I cared about! I know that almost seems like an oxymoron, but it’s true! Over the course of a lifetime we meet so many people that our brain has to compartmentalize them, but once you see that person’s face, or hear their voice, the memories all come rushing back. Many of my fellow graduates were with me from elementary school on, and those were the people I enjoyed talking with the most.

I realized as I started to write this that there isn’t a relationship that I’ve ever had that isn’t etched on my soul. Some are memories that I savor like a fine wine, and some I keep locked away, but each and every one has been special and had meaning, and I’m thankful for all of them. Our Fifty-fifth reunion is already scheduled for June 14, 2024! Can you believe it? It’s hard to think that once again there will be names read of people who are no longer with us, but for now I’m grateful for the wonderful time I had with old friends, and for all the blessings the last fifty years have brought to my life. And who knows. Maybe by the time the next reunion rolls around I’ll be a best selling author.

In 1969 we stepped into the world wearing Rose Colored glasses. In 2019 we walked out of our reunion aware of the realities of life, but holding tightly to wonderful memories…

Muncie Central, oh Muncie Central, Muncie Central, we’re all for you.

We will fight for the cream and purple, and to no one will we give in.

Never daunted, we shall not falter, in the battle we’re tried and true.

Muncie Central, oh Muncie Central, Muncie Central we’re all for you!

My two best friends from high school are still dear friends today.
Beth Brown Corey and Bonnie Turner Cooper
Alyson Jack Madsen and I have been friends since our days at West View Elementary School.
Linda and Pete came from California

Mike says we danced to In My Room by The Beach Boys at a party in 8th grade and I was the first girl he held in his arms. I do not remember that!

A photographer’s nightmare! This is only half the group
Bearcat paw chocolates! Is that class or what?

“In the end you always go back to the people that were there in the beginning”. My Dear Valentine 💜

Next weeks Blogpost is an interview with Sandy Barker, a self published author who now has an agent and a book deal! She’s a joy…don’t miss it.

Until we read again… 📚

Blessings,

Dana L.❤️

50 Great Authors Award

I am so excited to share that I have been named as a winner in the "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading" book awards! See below for the Press Release:

Dana L. Brown, National Award-Winning Author Of 'Lottie Loser', Named As Winner In 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading Book Awards

Brown was chosen from a field of hundreds of authors through a public voting process.

[Wilmington, NC December 10, 2018]  Dana L. Brown, award winning author of 'Lottie Loser', has been named as a winner in the 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading Book Awards. Brown was chosen from a field of hundreds of authors through a public voting process.

Dana L. Brown's Anna Maria Island Series has taken a number of high level industry awards. 'Lottie Loser', the first book in the series, was awarded a Silver Medal at the 2017 Florida Authors and Publishers Presidential Awards. 'Call Me Charlotte', the second book in the series, took 3 medals in the Florida Authors and Publishers 2018 Presidential Awards, including Gold in the Romantic Fiction category.

"I call my writing adventure 'My Fairytale', because it really has been a dream come true," Brown stated. "What other profession allows you to take thoughts from your imagination, give life to make believe characters and mix them together into something called a novel? I write because it brings pleasure to others, and that ultimately brings pleasure to me."

Reviews for 'Lottie Loser' have been overwhelmingly positive. K. I. Knight, author of the national award-winning series 'Fate and Freedom' said, "I have special praise for the author’s ability to weave the past and present in such a way that keeps you wanting more. In this national award-winning contemporary romance, you will be hooked on Lottie. Can’t wait for the second book in this captivating series!" Colleen Connally, Amazon Best Selling Author of the Secret Lives Series stated, "A thoroughly engaging romance where the characters jump off the pages and capture your heart. Read Dana L. Brown!"

Dana L. Brown is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below, or by email at info@danalbrownbooks.com. All of her books are available at online retail book outlets. More information is available at http://danalbrownbooks.com.

 

Profile:

Dana L. Brown is a long-time banker and graduate of the American Bankers Association School of Bank Marketing and Management, where she earned the distinction of Certified Financial Marketing Professional. She attended Ball State University, and majored in business.

The mother of three daughters, she lives with her husband in Indiana, but loves traveling to the laid-back lifestyles on the beaches of Florida.

Until we read again...📚

Blessings,

Dana L.❤️

Contact:

Dana L. Brown
info@danalbrownbooks.com
http://www.danalbrownbooks.com

Cooking with Charlotte🥫

I have said many times that Charlotte Luce is me with upgrades! Just like I wrote Nick to be my fantasy man, I also gave Charlotte all the attributes that I’m lacking. But there’s one place where I’m stronger, and that’s as a cook. If you’ve read The Greysons you know that Charlotte takes cooking lessons, so today I’m going to share the first dish that she makes…my famous lasagna.

When my girls were younger they used to help me in the kitchen and we even made up a song to sing while making this family favorite. Now they make it with their kids and the tradition continues!

*This recipe calls for pork sausage and that’s how it’s best, but if religious reasons call for you to abstain from pork, by all means use ground beef.

DANA L’S FAMOUS HOMEMADE LASAGNA

1 lbs good pork sausage

4-6 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced

Brown meat and garlic in a large skillet until brown, breaking the meat up as it cooks. Drain well.

Add 1-16 oz can whole or diced tomatoes, 12 oz. tomato paste, 1-T Italian seasoning, 1-T Basil and 1 t garlic powder. Simmer for 20 minutes

Combine 3 C Ricotta or cottage cheese, 8 oz softened cream cheese, 1 C good plain Greek yogurt, like FAGE, 1 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese and 2 beaten eggs. When mixed well add 2- T dried parsley. Set aside.

Spray the bottom of a 9×13, or lasagna pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with precooked lasagna noodles, taking care to completely cover the bottom. Sometimes I have to break noodles to cover the ends.

Spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture over the noodles and cover it with 8oz of Mozzarella cheese, or 1/2 of a 16 oz package of shredded mozzarella. Top with 1/2 of the meat mixture, laying it on by spoonfuls, but not spreading it out.

Repeat layers so you end up with meat on top. (The cheese will melt through and make a beautiful presentation.) Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until brown and bubbly. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe can be made ahead of time and frozen, or refrigerated if cooked with 24 hours. Be sure to thaw before cooking and to adjust cooking time if you’re not baking right away.

I know this recipe sounds complicated, but it truly isn’t. The first time it seems a little scary, but once you’ve made it you’ll realize how easy it really is.

The picture above are pieces of lasagna that I had leftover and cut to fit in a baking dish. But it shows you what yours will look like. Cheesy, meaty and delicious!

Until we read…or cook…again!📚

Blessings,

Dana L.❤️

Thank you…🇺🇸

In 2014, for our 40th anniversary The Captain and I celebrated by going to Hawaii. We spent a week of luxury on Maui, but first stayed a few days in Honolulu on the island of Oahu so we could tour Pearl Harbor. Both my dad and uncle served in the military during WW II, and it was important for us to see up close and personal this important part of our country’s history.

It’s said that when you stand on the USS Battleship Missouri today, and look across to the USS Arizona Memorial, you are experiencing the beginning and the end of WW II. It all happened before I was born, yet as you look down into the Arizona Memorial, and smell the oil that still leaks, your heart is right there with the men whose lives were taken.

My uncle, LT. JG Jack Reichart of the US Navy, was on the Might Mo when the peace treaty was signed, and it was an honor that he wore proudly. A documentary was made about his life, outlining his career on the brand new USS Battleship Missouri, through the peace treaty signing on September 2, 1945.

The USS Battleship Missouri overlooking the Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial
James H. Reichart, Jr. LT JG

My dad was in ROTC at Purdue University, and entered the army after graduation in 1938. Soon afterwards WW II began. The picture below was taken in 1945 and the words are his.

Major John William Reichart,
My Dad❤️

I’m so proud of my heritage, and the men in my family, from my grandfather to my brother, who fought for this country. Do I love everything that our government says or does? No, but the great part about being a citizen of the USA is that I’m allowed to express those feelings.

I love my country and I appreciate every man and woman who has served to keep my family safe. It’s a few days late, I know, but Thank you for your service, whether you peeled potatoes in Korea like my father-in-law did, or were a Green Beret and badass marine.

Until we read again…📚

Blessings,

Dana L❤️

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. ❤️