Sunday, September 2, 2018

A GREAT Bargain!

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!
Amazon is offering my novel, Jacqueline, at half-price! This is the perfect back-to-school book for your favorite young reader. Get your copy TODAY!

Amazon.com/Jacqueline/Jackie Minniti

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Dana L. Brown - Romance with a Heart


Five years ago, Dana L. Brown had an epiphany. She’d been reading a book and decided she could write one like it. While biking with her husband, a complete story came into her head. It was then that she told her husband she wanted to retire from her 32 years as a regional bank manager and write a novel. Her husband convinced her to wait a year, which she did, and in 2017, Brown joined the ranks of romance writers with her first published book.

While Brown has no formal training as a writer, she's always loved reading and liked to write “for fun” when she was younger. In 2003, she joined a writer’s group hoping to hone her skills. “I loved it,” she says. “They had a writing contest, and I came in second. But I had young kids and was busy with my job, so I set it aside.” As her children grew and she advanced at work, she never lost her desire to write, and in 2016, with a now-empty nest, she left her day job and began working on her debut novel, a contemporary romance titled Lottie Loser.

“I was inspired by Liliana Hart’s books,” Brown says. “I love her characters, and I wanted to write a book like those.” She admits that writing Lottie Loser was easy for her. “The opening scene was just there,” she recalls. “As I’d ride my bike, new scenes would come into my head.”  The main character was inspired by the protagonists in other novels Brown had read. “Lottie’s strong, but also kind and loving,” Brown says. “I love her integrity and the way she cares for her friends.” One trait Brown and her character share is their struggle with weight. “I’ve struggled with food my whole life,” Brown says,  “so I decided that Lottie would have that issue. But her story is not my story. I like to think of her as me with a lot of upgrades.”

Set on Anna Maria Island, Lottie Loser chronicles the life and loves of Charlotte “Lottie” Luce.  Switching between past and present, the story follows Lottie’s development from insecure, overweight teenager to the slim, stylish president of Olde Florida Bank. Her new life is upended by the return of Nick Greyson, the man she has secretly loved since childhood, who comes home to help save his father’s business. The book was named a semi-finalist in the Royal Palms Literary Awards given by the Florida Writers Association.

Encouraged by the response to Lottie Loser, Brown decided to pen a sequel. Call Me Charlotte, published this year, has Charlotte trying to mend her broken relationship with Nick. “I like to stress the empowerment of forgiveness,” Brown says. “Charlotte’s refusal to forgive impacted the next twelve years of her life. When she realizes the power that comes when she forgives, it opens up a whole new world.” Call Me Charlotte received the gold medal for romance from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association.

Brown has recently completed The Greysons, the third in what she calls The Anna Maria Island Series. “The characters had so much to say, the first book became a second, then a trilogy, and maybe more.” She is also at work on a stand-alone novel about an older woman bemoaning the loss of her youth. “I love the creativity involved in writing,” Brown says. “It’s such fun to make up characters and give them backstory. I love using my imagination to make up stories, and I love reading them.”


For more information, visit her website at www.danalbrownbooks.com.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Little History in Your Mystery? - A Guest Post by Lucy Burdette (a.k.a. Roberta Isleib)

This month, Fabulous Florida Writers is pleased to welcome guest blogger Lucy Burdette. Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is a clinical psychologist who has published 16 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West Food Critic series, Death on the Menu (Crooked Lane Books, August 2018.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. A member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime, Burdette/Isleib blogs at JungleRedWriters.com and shares her love for food with the culinary writers at MysteryLoversKitchen.com.  She was our featured writer on March 15, 2017.


Though I’m a mystery writer, I don’t write historical fiction. However, Key West is famous for being the home of the Harry S. Truman Little White House, one of my favorite places to visit on the island, along with Hemingway’s home. The president spent a lot of working vacations on our island, and this modest place where he worked and relaxed (playing poker with members of his cabinet and members of the press) couldn't be more appealing. By the way, Bess Truman did not love Key West, so she often didn't come. And that didn't seem to bother anyone! Can you imagine that happening these days? The Little White House is a beautiful antique home, very simple and tropical—and I decided I needed to use this setting in a book.

So in my eighth Key West mystery, Death on the Menu, food critic Hayley Snow is thrilled to be working at a three-day international conference at the Harry S. Truman Little White House. Things get off to a bad start when Hemingway’s Nobel prize gold medal (which belongs to Cuba and is on display for this weekend only) disappears. And they only get worse when a body is discovered in the storeroom.

I have a good friend who is one of the tour guides at the Little White House and he was immensely helpful as I was writing. Not only did he give me extra private tours of the backstage areas of the building, he was loaded with plot ideas, including suggesting one of the denouements in the story. Now that's a great friend.

My husband and I were lucky enough to take a trip to Cuba in 2014, right before President Obama opened up relations between the two countries. Since Key West is only ninety miles from Havana, we hear a lot about the island, and many Key Westers have an intense curiosity about Cuba and what life might be like for its inhabitants. Over the past few years, we heard news stories about Cubans who attempted to reach the US in a variety of homemade, un-seaworthy vessels— even windsurfers—with some disastrous results. I wove some of that backstory and conflict into Death on the Menu. I had no idea that immigration would become a national hot button issue when I began to write this, but I’m happy to add to that conversation. Whatever a person might think about the special Cuban "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy that was in place for years (in which Cubans who reached the US were allowed to stay,) it’s hard not to be moved by the dangerous attempts immigrants made crossing the Straits of Florida. And it made for great conflict.

I learned so much while writing this book! How do you feel about history mixed with mystery or other fiction? If you enjoy reading historical mysteries, tell us about some of your favorites.



For more information, go to www.lucyburdette.com.