Month: December 2019

Reflections and rearview mirrors…🚨

Dearest Friends…

This will be my last post for 2019. As I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to convey it hit me that in two weeks it will have been a score since the dreaded Y2K was staring us in the face. I was still in banking, and we were preparing for the disaster that never arrived. Looking back it almost seems comical at the preparations everyone made, but at the time we were heading into an unknown that was surrounded by lots of hype.

I remember that New Years Eve well, because everyone in our family, with the exception of our youngest daughter and me, had the flu. Alison will remember that I almost OD us on Vitamin C, but I was determined that we stay well, and we did!

Being nineteen Alison had a date for New Years Eve, and I was home with The Captain(our nickname for my husband), who had already been sick for several days. I was fussy at the prospect of welcoming in a new century on my own, and I’m sure I didn’t try to hide it. I picked up carry out chicken for my dinner and spent most of the evening in Alison’s bed reading, and watching the new year/century come in. Definitely not a glamorous start to the year 2000, but to be honest, New Years Eve is usually a quiet event for us anyway.

So what have I been doing  for the last twenty years? I was promoted into a job within the bank that I dearly loved! It was a whole new world for me, and I think First Merchants was as happy with my performance as I was with the opportunity they gave me. But then in 2015 the desire to write a book  took hold of my heart, and wouldn’t let go. I’ve told you before how the announcement of my decision was received by my husband, but I did has he asked and worked one more year, before taking early retirement in 2016.

The last four years have without doubt been the most exciting and fulfilling of my life. Of course getting married and having three beautiful, remarkable daughters was the best part of my life, but writing Lottie Loser? That was all mine! And following up with Call Me Charlotte and The Greysons, and the spin-off starting with Noah’s Lark, well, all I can say is, that’s just been icing on the cake!

The title of this post is reflections and rear view mirrors , because it’s easy to look back and only see the happy times, or the accomplishments we’ve had. But that isn’t real life. I’ve made my share of mistakes, and even though I’ve moved past them, they still pop into my mind from time to time.  The one good thing about mistakes is that if you learn from them, you shouldn’t want to repeat them. I know that I don’t!

This New Years Eve I’ll spend with The Captain, and know how blessed I am to be doing so. All of our girls have families of their own now,  and lives of their own, which is how it should be. Being a mom is all I ever wanted to do, but I know I wasn’t as good of one as I could have been. I’m still not, but my family is everything to me, and I pray that twenty years from now we’ll all still be together, and those grandkids of mine will have made me a great grandmother.

Life is fragile, but it’s also wonderful and beautiful, and filled with laughter and love. Would I change anything if I could go back to New Years Eve 1999? Maybe less Vitamin C, and I’d be more compassionate to my husband, who’s loved me and supported me for almost forty-six years. He didn’t want to be sick anymore than I wanted him to be, but that’s a lesson I learned with maturity.  I read somewhere that you can’t see where you’re going if you keep looking in the review mirror, and my plan is to look towards the future, and let the past be a memory.

So to you, my dear friends and readers of the AMI Series, I say enjoy every day, and even on the worst ones, remember your blessings. For me, that’s all of you. Because without you my Fairytale would never have come true.👸🏼

Until we read again…📚

Blessing and love,

Dana L. ❤️

Christmas Bonus

In The Greysons Charlotte made Nick the  Sticky Buns for Christmas morning that his mom had always made when he was a child. It was one of the few happy memories that he had of her. This is an actual tradition in our house as well, one that my girls have continued.

So here is the recipe from our church cookbook, very easy and always delicious! Enjoy🎄

Hot Sticky Buns

2 loaves Rhoades or other frozen bread, thawed

1 C.  Pecan halves or chopped pecans

1 stick butter, plus more for dotting on top

1  C.   Brown sugar

2  small packages of REGULAR vanilla pudding (Not instant)

3 T. Milk

1-2 t.  Cinnamon

Cut each loaf lengthwise, then section into 16-18 pieces. In a well greased 9X13 pan place half of the bread pieces leaving spaces between each  piece. Cover with pecans.

In a heavy saucepan melt the butter, then add brown sugar, 2 pkgs. pudding, milk and cinnamon. Mix well until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbly.

Pour the hot mixture over the bread and nuts in the 9X13 pan and fill in the openings with the remaining chunks of bread. Dot with butter

I do this on Christmas Eve afternoon, then put them in the refrigerator covered, and let the bread rise overnight.

Bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. For a nice presentation turn the pan over on a large covered board or platter. These rolls are really are delicious, and a treat for any special occasion.

And remember this! If Nick’s mother could make them, you can, too!


Merry Christmas from Charlotte, Nick and the crew from AMI! And of course, from me!









That Was the Week That Was!🎄

When I was thirteen or so, there was a television program on called That Was the Week That Was. I believe it was on Sunday evenings, and looking back, it was a forerunner to Saturday Night Live, and all the political satire that faces us on every late night talk show. The premise was to look over the happenings of the week, and that’s where my reference comes from.

You don’t need to worry, I’m not good at satire, but last week was definitely my “week that was”, and I want to share some of it with you.

If you’re a Twitter user you understand about the character limits on tweets. It’s a learning curve until you get use to it, but basically you have 280 characters in which to get your message across. When I first started with Twitter the limit was about half that, and you can imagine what that was like.

Anyway, last week was one of the four pitch wars to Literary Agents that happen on Twitter every year, and I participated. And, because I wanted to do my best, I joined a Facebook group with a leader in the publishing industry to learn how. What a learning curve! #PitMad, as it’s called, has rules, special hashtags, and lots of writers, all hoping to get a “like” from an agent, although few actually do.  It’s fun and stressful, but I’m glad I participated. Regular Twitter users are not supposed to like tweets that use the #PitMad, so that the agents can, but they do anyway, and it can be daunting. I had forty seven likes on one of my pitches so I had to check each one in hopes they were coming from an agent. They weren’t, which I hated, but apparently other people liked my post! I wanted to be unique so my first pitch of the day I wrote in first person, and boy did it get a lot of interest. I’ve written it below to help you understand.

This is a pitch for the book I’m working on about a woman on the wrong side of fifty, who’s looking for some meaning to her life.


A friend of mine has become flirtatious, and I like it. A lot. Oh, and by the way. I’m a 58 year old married woman and my friend is a gorgeous single man, 13 years my junior.

I’m in deep shit.

#PitMad #WF #A (The #WF means the book is Women’s Fiction and the #A means it’s for adults)

I received all kinds of comments on that post, but I also got 150 new followers, so all wasn’t lost.

That all happened during the day on Thursday. That evening I held an outdoor book signing in conjunction with Light Up Downtown in Muncie, Indiana, the place where I grew up. It was cold and festive and tons of fun. But the best part was Robin, who comes every year for the newest release in the AMI Series. She buys them for her daughter, who teaches in another city, and went as far as to say she came to the event especially to purchase The Greysons. It was a magical evening.

This is Robin pictured with me inside the vendors tent.

On Friday morning I ventured to Centerville,Indiana to the Warm Glow Candle Outlet Holiday Open House. It’s another annual event, and it’s always so much fun. This year there was another vendor set up behind me, and like me, you won’t believe it! Warm Glow is pet friendly, so two therapy animals were brought in to visit with the shoppers. And not two small animals either! A 150 lb dog and an alpaca. You might want to read that line again!

Meet Griffy and Lucy. Best friends and the gentlest animals you’ll ever see. They were onsite for two hours and in that time tons of people stopped to visit them, or get a picture. And the best part for me? They also came by my table. Anytime I can have a conversation with a perspective reader is a WIN, as far as I’m concerned, and I had lots of great conversations with some wonderful people!

On Saturday I went back to Warm Glow, and had great time. A few people were returning readers from last year, a few bought the set, and a few wanted to dip their toes in the water, and only bought Lottie Loser. Regardless, it was a wonderful  day with lots of sales and conversations about my bank to books story.

So now you have my week that was. It’s rare for me to have three signing events so close together, but I loved every minute of the time spent sharing my story, and telling shoppers about Lottie Loser, Call Me Charlotte and The Greysons. I also enjoyed #PitMad, and I look forward to doing it again in the spring. Fingers crossed it won’t be the same week as other book events.😉

Until we read again…📚


Dana L. ❤️

This little guy is Dancy. I bought him as a remembrance of my dear friend Nancy, and the time we share together at the Warm Glow event. She goes with me every year and having her there is such a joy.



Book Report..Loss of Innocence 💔

One of my current favorite series to read is the Women’s Murder Club, by James Patterson. I love the grit, and trying to solve the murders, but more than that, I love the relationships. In fact, that’s what hooks me on any series, and why I still love writing the AMI Series. It’s the feeling that I know the people I’m reading or writing about that brings me back for more.

So, imagine my surprise when I thought I was checking out the next Women’s Murder Club book only to find out the book I brought home was by Richard North Patterson, titled Loss Of Innocence. It was too late in the day to return to the library, and I needed something to read so I tried it, and guess what? It was really good.

The majority of the book takes place in 1968, and that was what drew me in. I was a junior in high school and vividly remember Bobby Kennedy being shot, and the turmoil of the Vietnam war, and segregation. My dad had business in Atlanta the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr’s funeral, and took me and a friend of mine with him. Just being there at the same time as so many distinguished people was daunting.

Whitney Dane, the book’s main character, had recently graduated from Wheaton College and was spending the summer on Martha’s Vineyard with her family, while she plans her upcoming wedding to Peter Brooks. Peter had lost his own father when he was young, and very quickly became the son that Whitney’s father never had.

Whitney’s family was considered well off, and still very much a traditional 1968 family, where the father went off to work and the mother raised the children. The problem was that Whitney was beginning to question those values, much to the displeasure of her family, and even somewhat, her fiancé.

Enter Benjamin Blaine; an ambitious college dropout who had been an aide for Bobby Kennedy. A friendship blooms between he and Whitney, despite her parent’s concern over his importance in her life.

What happens next? You need to read the book to find out! There are several plot changes in Loss Of Innocence, so don’t be jumping to conclusions just yet. I haven’t even told you about Whitney’s sister, or best friend Clarice, and they both have important parts in the storyline.

I hope that you’ll look into Loss Of Innocence, and that you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. I grew up in a family very much like the Danes, which made me feel Whitney’s angst all the more. There have been a lot of changes in society since 1968, some great and some not so good, but it was a special time in our nation’s history, and one I’ll never forget.

Until we read again…📚


Dana L.❤️ Read more