Month: August 2019

Book Review…The Witness

First things first! This weekend I’ll be at the Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, Georgia and would love to introduce you to Charlotte Luce!

Below is the schedule when I’ll definitely be in the booth.

Stop by the SYP Booth anytime!

You all know that I love the romance genre, but I love mystery and suspense just as much. And one author mixes the two beautifully, and of course that’s Nora Roberts. She’s the author whose style I want to emulate, without losing my voice in my writing.

The Witness isn’t a new release, in fact it has a copyright date of 2012, but for some reason I’d missed it. But oh is it good! The story begins with the short-lived teenage rebellion of sixteen year old Elizabeth Fitch and her desire to move out from under the control of her very domineering mother. And she does so in a big way.

The events of the next day, and the consequences she faces, are thankfully nothing like the teenage rebellion most of us go through. Elizabeth, who at the urging of a new found ally Julie, decides to rebrand herself as Liz, is about to face the horror that no teenager or adult should ever have to witness. The cold blooded murder of two people.

The Witness is written into parts, the first being titled Elizabeth, and is the backstory of the atrocities of her youth. Part two, titled Brooks, starts twelve years later and tells the reader about Brooks Gleason, the Chief of Police in a small town in the Ozark’s. He’s young, good looking, and an honest cop. He’s also very curious about the mysterious young woman living in his town named, Abigail.

I don’t want to give too much away because if you love romance and suspense, this book has it all. One of the the things Nora Roberts does best is write love scenes that are sensual, and allow you to use your imagination, without being overly descriptive. A line from Brooks reads “Let me take you to bed, Abigail.” Now tell me, is that sexy and provocative, or what?

The Witness earns a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review from me, and if you haven’t read it, and love a romantically written suspense story, you won’t be disappointed.

*The contest to WIN a Free ebook of Breaking The Barriers, by B.B. Swann ends on September 6th. It’s not too late to enter! The link is available on last week’s interview with Bonnie if you haven’t read it. Click the word WIN or use the link below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until we read again…📚


Dana L. ❤️

B.B. Swann…Breaking The 80’s!

My guest today is B.B. Swann, Author of the Breaking in the 80’s Novels. On top of her busy job as an author she’s a wife, mom and teacher to “firsties”, and a great mentor to new writers. It’s my honor to present, B.B. Swann.

You are a teacher and a mother. Do you feel an extra responsibility in guiding our youth through your books?

This is a battle I have in my head every time I write. I love happy endings and that’s what I want to give my readers. At the same time, I want to portray characters in a realistic, believable way, as any author should. But I don’t want to sound preachy to younger ears. I think sometimes, authors patronize teen readers and don’t give them enough credit for being able to understand difficult situations. In my twenty-five years as an educator, I’ve worked with families who face incredibly sad and difficult times. I’ve had students who’ve suffered or observed poverty, abuse, teen pregnancy, rape, murder, addictions, incarceration, and criminal activities. The resilience I’ve seen in many of these students amazes me. I know they can handle more than I would ever have thought they could, and I want to show readers like that a character who may be in the same situation and the choices that character makes for a different way of life. Sometimes people need to see themselves in a book to possibly gain hope that they CAN change their future. It’s my job as an author to give them that chance and I can’t do it if I shelter my reader from real life. I do draw the line at sexually explicit scenes. While my characters may have encounters, I don’t want to be the one to tell an innocent what happens. That’s their parent’s job! LOL! I focus more on the emotional end of those situations and it’s always a consensual act between two partners.

I was privileged to be an advanced reader for Barriers, and you know what I love most about the book! Who’s your favorite character and why?

Cindy runs a close second, but hands down, my fav is Mike. He was a fun character to write in Breaking the Bro Code, that’s why I decided to make him the MC of the second book. In Bro Code, he was the voice of reason for Hayden during his conflict. His advice wasn’t always the best, but his intentions were. In Barriers, Mike begins very naive about the world of relationships but thinks he’s already an expert. The way he views Cindy is adorable. He really does think their love should be a simple thing for everyone else to accept. I love seeing how he develops and matures throughout the story. Of course, he still has some growing to do, but maybe that will be a part of book three, right? 😊

Is any of Barriers based on true life experiences?


A lot of the story comes from little experiences I had growing up in the 80’s, but the scene that holds the most of my heart is where Cindy speaks to her father in the hospital. My own father passed away ten years ago after an accident. He and my mother lived so far away, by the time I got there, he was gone, and I wasn’t able to say goodbye. When writing that scene, I thought of the things I would have said and that my father would have probably said. It was a very emotional scene for me. I cried writing it and sobbed editing it. I think it’s a beautiful scene and really pulls on the heartstrings. I hope that it can maybe help a reader going through the same thing as Cindy or I did.

Mike’s parents are pretty cool with his relationship with Cindy. Do you see interracial dating as easier or harder today than in it was in 1986?

I knew several multi-racial couples in the 80’s though I never experienced that myself. I do remember it being a huge deal where I lived. My hometown was the setting for Barriers, so I based the reactions of Mike and Cindy’s classmates on people I knew then and how they reacted. Many accepted it but a lot didn’t. I did a lot of research through interviews with older bi-racial couples about their experience in the 80’s and watching videos of the same types of interviews. Many said that even with the civil rights movement of the 60’s, the 80’s still had plenty of resistance. Today the reaction to these types of relationships seems different, but I am definitely not the best one to make that judgement. My son has been involved in a bi-racial relationship for the past five years. While he and his girlfriend say they haven’t had any problems, I still hear of others who aren’t as lucky. Hopefully one day, it won’t be an issue. As Cindy says, nobody should be punished for love.

If you could go back to the eighties, and change one thing in your life, what would it be?

I’m not sure I would change anything. My life is pretty good right now and I wouldn’t want to risk losing something now because I changed something then. BUT if I could guarantee to still have my life… I would go back and not change my major in college. I began as an English major and changed to Early Childhood Education. 5 and 6yo’s are exhausting! 😊 I would love to be an English teacher instead right now. Still, at least I don’t have to grade term papers in 1st grade.

What other books have you written?

I have 10 completed picture books, one of which comes out in October. KATIE COMMA is a story about a comma who gets blown from her sentence in a classroom book. She wanders around, hopping into other sentences to hide from the returning students. The sentences inform her that she doesn’t belong, and she continues to search for her home. It’s a simple story that teaches primary children about the correct use of commas but more importantly, it teaches about perseverance, to keep trying when things get difficult. Pelican Publishing will release it in October, and I am super excited. My illustrator, Maja Andersen, did a fabulous job on the pictures.

As for my YA books, I have 8 finished novels. Three are with my agent and one of those is out on submission with several fulls under review by some exciting editors. Right now I am playing the hurry up and wait game with them.  I’m pretty terrible at that game by the way. I also have another published book in the same world as Barriers. It’s called Breaking the Bro Code. It’s the story of Molly and Hayden’s romance, Mike and Cindy’s best friends. There’s a little more sports in it, which was fun to write. I based them off my sons and daughter. My boys played soccer and my daughter did cross country and track. It was fun to research those sports in 1986 to see how different they were then.

What is your next project?

There are several books bouncing around in my head, vying for the right to be heard, but I would like to finish the one I am working on currently first. It’s the follow-up book for the one on submission. I’m hoping to get a three-book deal for a cool million so I can retire early. Just kidding (sort of) but every now and then, an idea for a picture book jumps out and I have to stop everything and write it. They are kind of like children, impatient and always thinking of themselves.

When you find time to read what is your favorite genre?

I read a little bit of everything. If it sounds like a good story, I read it. But YA romance will always be my favorite. It has to be quirky and unique though. I usually write magical realism, though not in Barriers, and I love sci-fi and fantasy so that’s what I tend to seek out. But I can never seem to leave Target without browsing the children’s books and dropping a few new picture books in my cart. Thank God for the Target Redcard with 5% off!

Tell us everything we need to know about B.B. Swann.

You pretty much know it already from reading the Q/A above. I am a supporter of respecting each other despite our differences. I believe everyone deserves a fair chance at happiness and that those with should do what they can for those without. But I also believe that we all have a responsibility to WORK for our happiness. Nothing should (or will) be handed to us. We need to go out and make things happen. Integrity is important. Education is important. And love is most important of all. If we let hate take over, we’ve already lost that chance for happiness.

If all of that is too deep, I like cats, my favorite color is purple, and I have 5 years until I retire. 😊

If there was just one thing you want people to take away from Barriers, what would it be?

Life is filled with emotion and that’s what I want my readers to experience. While my purpose for writing is to make others happy, and I can promise I will never write a book with an unhappy ending, that doesn’t mean my readers will never cry or get angry. Those emotions deserve equal representation because without them, the good stuff isn’t as good. I hope they read Barriers and laugh, cry, and ultimately celebrate when the good stuff comes.

It has been my pleasure having you as a guest on my Wake-Up Wednesday blog and I can’t wait for the reviews on Breaking The Barriers. This is a definite must read for teenagers and their parents and I’ve already ordered my own copy!

Until we read again..📚
Dana L.❤

Family, Focus and a CEO!

Last week my daughter said “I want to give you a date to think about”, and I knew right away that meant she was looking for a babysitter. To her credit she knows me well enough to realize I’m not good at spur of the minute decisions, but I had just returned from the five day trip to the FAPA Conference, and I was exhausted. So being me, I told her to wait before even asking.

Grandmothers are supposed to want to be with their grandkids, right? And I do, but I also need time to do all the necessary parts of my job, and that’s where the disconnect comes in. Being a writer is my job; but only other writers understand that.

When I was in banking no one would have questioned the fact that I was working through the week, and not available for childcare. But now that I work from home it’s a whole new situation. Let me say right now that although I love my girls and my grandchildren, I took early retirement to write, not to be a babysitter.

Last week I was talking with a friend who has her grandkids all the time. I told her how much I admired her but she agreed that it can be a lot of work. She also shared that it might be different if she had a second career like I do, so I felt a small amount of relief for my feelings, but still a lot of guilt when I see how involved in their lives she is.

Is there a solution, because I can’t seem to find one. If I say “no” to requests to babysit I’m full of self reproach and it follows me like a dark cloud. If I say “yes” I see the time I need to be writing or editing slipping away, and that takes away from the enjoyment of being with the children.

What did I do when the question was finally asked? And yes, it was for babysitting services, but with options. At first I took the easiest, which was staying overnight on a Sunday evening to take my grandson to school on Monday morning, and then have my day left to write. But then this past weekend we were all together to celebrate birthdays and I saw my oldest grandson, who’s sixteen, six feet two and now a licensed driver, and I realized how much of his life I had missed out on during my busy banking career, and it broke my heart.

So now I’ve changed my mind and the other grandmother can have school duty and I’ll have a slumber party with my four year old granddaughter on Sunday night. We’ll play dolls and I’ll watch her ride her new bike on Monday while my daughter and her husband take the baby to their last court meeting before her adoption is final. Will I be totally frazzled by Monday evening? Yes, but I won’t feel guilty and I’ll have made some new memories with my grand-girl, who says I’m her best friend.

I’m still looking for guidance on how to get my family and friends to understand that writing is my job and it needs my time and focus, but until I find just the right words I’ll continue to be the CEO of my world. That’s Chief Everything Officer by the way!

Next week’s post is an interview with B.B. Swann, Author of Breaking The Barriers, a Young Adult Coming of Age Romance. Check it out on Amazon.

Until we read again…📚


Dana L❤️

This is a signed Will Moses print that I got when the first grandchild was three. It’s titled Visiting Grandma and it’s how I envisioned being a grandmother would be. It’s a beautiful picture but just not quite me!

FAPA 2019

The Greysons, Book III of the AMI Series, won two Silver Medals at this year’s FAPA Presidential awards. In honor of this exciting recognition my publisher, SYP Publishing, is offering the Kindle Box Set of The AMI Series FREE on August 8th! This is a 1 Day offer, so I hope you will take advantage of it.

This year’s Florida Authors and Publishers Conference was great! The sessions were interesting and informative, and I learned so much. Marketing was the focus, and even though I always feel that marketing is my strength, this was a different type of marketing . I’m anxious to go through my notes now and see what I can do better.

Two of my FAPA friends, Pat Stanford and Kathryn Knight, were up for Adult Cover Design along with me, and Pat’s book of poetry, The Proverbs of My Seasons, won the Gold Medal. Her book is beautiful so I’m fine with that decision. Kathryn and I tied for Silver, so it was truly a friendly fight!

A few weeks ago I highlighted Kathryn on this blog, and her book Unveiled The Twenty & Odd won the Gold Medal in the category of Adult Non Fiction. I’m so proud of her!

Hayley Rose, another dear author friend, was the Gold Medalist in Children’ Picture Book Ages 0-7 for FIFO, Today I Feel Emotion. I bought this book for my granddaughter’s 1st Birthday last fall, and she loves it!

Another Silver Medalist was Kip Koelsch, author of Delphys Rising. His book won in Adult Fiction Horror/ Suspense. I bought the book for The Captain, and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.

And of course, there’s me! Winning the Silver in Adult Romance was such a blessing and knowing how many entrants there were in the category makes it that much more special!

There were so many new people to meet this year, as well as old friends who didn’t attend, but overall it was a wonderful weekend and I’m exhausted. At our first FAPA Conference Bob had a wine glass made with Lottie Loser engraved on it and it’s a tradition that continues. It’s such a thoughtful gift and I cherish each one.

Don’t forget about the 1Day FREE offer of the Kindle Box Set of The AMI Series. It’s a great value and will have you ready for next year when Noah’s story releases.

Until we read again…📚


Dana L. ❤️