Month: September 2018

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.