The Bottom Line
Sunday, February 16, 2014

Keys author makes best seller list

Key Largo-based author Brenda Hiatt recently premiered at No. 4 on the New York Times Best Seller combined fiction list (No. 2 for ebooks in that category) and No. 12 on the USA Today list.

"Scandalous Brides" is a collaborative effort among four romance novelists, each of whom contributed one historical romance to create a virtual "boxed set," available as an ebook from all major ebook retailers. Available for preorder since October, "Scandalous Brides" shot to the top of the best seller lists after its Jan. 13 release.

The four novels comprising "Scandalous Brides" are "Unforgettable Rogue" by Annette Blair, "A Lady by Chance" by Cheryl Bolen, "Salt Bride" by Lucinda Brant and "Scandalous Virtue" by Hiatt.

The four authors are part of a group of 12 established historical romance authors who have joined together to support each other as they navigate the new publishing paradigm, according to a press release about the authors.

McNeil named employee of the year

Desiree McNeil recently was named Employee of the Year at the Key West Housing Authority.

McNeil has been with the Housing Authority full-time since 1999, moving up the ranks in the administrative office.

She now serves as the occupancy and admissions assistant.

She was recognized for the way she performs her tasks and the customer service she provides, states a housing authority press release.

The board of directors and McNeil's colleagues congratulate her for receiving the 2013 Melvine Sweeting Employee of the Year Award.

First State promotes Beeman

First State Bank of the Florida Keys recently announced the promotion of Jason Beeman to mortgage loan originator.

Beeman joined First State as a special assets analyst in 2011, bringing 15 years of banking and lending experience.

In his new role, he will be responsible for assisting customers with purchases and refinances of residential properties and managing the bank's residential loan portfolio.

His office will be located in the lobby of the bank's main branch at 1201 Simonton St. in Key West.

"Jason's promotion and expanded responsibilities are a reflection of his lending knowledge and experience," said Jeff Smith, senior vice president and senior lender. "We are proud to promote him and look forward to his enhanced contributions to the success of our lending department."

Beeman lives in Key West, where he is an avid volunteer at numerous bank-sponsored community events.