Posts By donnaeve

Book Stalker


Folks, I’m in the throes of making some minor revisions on BITTERSWEET and wrangling holiday decorations.  When I’m not doing that, I’m trolling the ‘net, stalking my book, trying to figure out how it’s doing.  Time for some tongue in cheek, debut writer shenanigans, I mean savvy business behavior.  Oh, the things this debut writer will do.  Searching.  Analyzing.  Figuring out ways to uncover the obscure details regarding her little darlin’ that probably mean nothing, or leave her speculating.

Actually, my clumsy, puny efforts have paid off in that I have figured out a couple things, and I’ve run across some wonderful reviews too.  For instance, I kind a/sort a know how it’s doing at independent bookstores because I “happened” upon a list.

Happened is actually like discovering your kid standing in the kitchen, cheeks packed with cookies, and you ask, “how did you find them?”

“I don’t know.”

The look they give you tells you s/he went to some effort to “find” the secret stash.  So, I’ve done a little digging too.  Not to say that doing that is akin to snooping through the cabinets, but for some reason, I do feel silly, in a way, trying to discover how it’s selling.  New debut writers hope for at least a tinge of moderate success.  What that means – I don’t really know.  Yet.  Give me time.

Anyway, every now and then, a kind soul – you know who you are – will drop me a thrilling tidbit.  “The book is selling like hotcakes at…”

And!  There’s always Amazon to lurk about, and since they made it a Top Ten Pick + their Featured Debut, I find myself wandering by frequently, checking things out.  Something they’ve done for authors is like a fix for a data addict – ahem, like me.  Amazon has built some tools into the Author Page you can set up if you want.  I set mine up a few weeks ago, not really knowing what it would provide, but boy, am I glad I did.  I LOVE what they have, author ranking, sales ranking + Nielsen BookScan information.  I had to do some reading from their Help page to make sure I understood exactly what all that data meant.  I’d read somewhere in my ‘net travels that ratings drive the Amazon rankings, but, that’s not true.  Sales drive it, and that makes sense to me.  Sales are hard data targets.  Ratings are soft targets, in that ratings are simply opinions, and as we’ve heard over and over, opinions = subjective.

Nielsen BookScan updates are scheduled for 12:00 a.m. Friday and it’s the same with the independent bookstore reports of sales, which updates every Wednesday.  With Nielsen BookScan data, four to five days have passed by the time it’s released.  The most recent data came in last night (no I wasn’t up at 12:00 a.m. sweating the results – it sometimes comes early) and was for November 7 – 13 book sales, yet it’s already November 18th.  New data won’t arrive until next Friday, which means I have to cool my jets for another week.  🙂

Either way, you get the idea.  There’s a myriad of information floating around out there and it’s no wonder I find myself trolling around, looking for what I might miss.

And…every now and then someone will send me a picture of my book “in the wild” as folks like to say when it’s spotted far, far away from where it was created.  These are like extra goodies, and give me a sense of accomplishment, a “look what I did!” feeling.  The pictures below were kindly sent to me by Kim Michele Richardson (author of Liar’s Bench and Godpretty In The Tobacco Field), and Teri Carter, who’s had more op-eds, opinion pieces and essays in magazines than anyone else I know.

Miss Dixie is shown at one of the Joseph Beth Bookstores in Kentucky (left) and at the airport in Denver CO.  ***Notice that sign in the pic on the right.  Yeah.  I notice that kind of thing.  Can’t.  Help.  It.  What does it mean???  I’m sitting here sort of laughing at myself as I type this.

 

My question about all this is, don’t you think after all the work to write a book, and have it published, it’s only natural to want to know? 

 

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The Road To Bittersweet


I wanted to wait for things to settle down (ha!) a little bit before I shared this with y’all.  Unbeknownst to many, except family…oh, okay, maybe I let this slip out to a few close friends, here’s some news about what else I’ve been up to.

This is the Publisher’s Marketplace announcement which came out Wednesday:

THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE author, and Indie Next and Amazon Top 10 Best Book of the Month pick, Donna Everhart’s THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET, a coming of age story set in 1940 in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina that tells the story of a family and two unique sisters who share an exceptional bond until the events following a flood force them all into unimaginable circumstances for survival, and where the younger sister learns to face and accept her sister’s differences, to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, by John Talbot at Talbot Fortune Agency (World).

Coming, January 2018.

 

BIG NEWS!!!


Amazon (!!!) has selected The Education of Dixie Dupree as their “Debut Spotlight” book along with being on their list of TOP 10 Picks for November!

 

the education of dixie dupree

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THE FINALE of First Sentence Fridays!


And here we are…can you believe it?  It’s the finale of First Sentence Friday, and let me just say, this one’s a doozy!

CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT

I bet a year seems like an awfully long time when you’re sitting in jail.

We are now three days past the official release date of October 25th.  The Education of Dixie Dupree is out on bookshelves and in stores everywhere – and if you don’t see it?  Ask for it!

I’ve had a lot of fun preparing the posts to go with the sentences, and I hope you’ve enjoyed following along and reading them.   I hope they have intrigued you enough to want to know more about Dixie’s story.

The blog will now move back into the usual operation – which means when I figure out what I’m going to blog about going forward, I’ll post something!   In the meantime, like I said in the “She’s Here!” post, drop me a line and let me know your thoughts on the book.

I’d love to hear from you.

the education of dixie dupree

 

She’s Here!!!


Can you believe it?

It’s THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE Release Day!

I sincerely appreciate your support, thoughtful comments and shared excitement throughout the last 19 months.  Thank you from me, and from Dixie.

This is a collage of moments, pictures to capture my journey to publication:

It all began here…(notice who’s website is up…I’d forgot about her other background)

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A lot of time was spent here, working at Nortel, going back to school to get my degree, writing THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE until…in March of 2012…

AGENT!

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But, the writing continued…below are the completed manuscripts of THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE, THE REDEMPTION OF TRUITT AMES, and A BLACK WATER SEASON  <– the manuscript that would eventually affect my path to publication.  (–>BLACK WATER was the ms actually on submission when it was passed on, but the lovely editor who would become my editor asked to see something else.  Note to writers – always have a back up.)

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Meanwhile, life changing events happened…I lost “my girls” in late 2012, and my father in early 2015…

Just when I really needed things to look up, in April 2015, THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE sold to

Kensington-logo!!!!

 

And the process begins.  I received this package from my lovely editor.

DD Edits

My first ever real red pencil edits !  Yep, I was excited even though this is considered “work.”

And, after the editing was done, including not only revisions, but copy editing, the book cover was designed by the awesome Art Department at Kensington, a cover we ALL loved.  Then, along came the ARC’s, like Christmas in the Spring!

 

 

I began to do the First Sentence Friday’s in the early summer 2016, when publication was still months away.  Feedback from the Sales Department indicated booksellers wanted the title of the book highlighted, so the Art Department came up with this design, which we loved even more.

 

Meanwhile, publicity was working hard to get the word out, and boy did they.  I found out I’d been invited to the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) a huge trade show for booksellers, sales, and authors.  It was G.R.E.A.T.!

And in the meantime, the work between everyone from Marketing, to Sales to Publicity was paying off, when THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE started receiving recognition.

indienextlist-logo

bookbub-logo

 

LJ logo

 

deep-south-magazine

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And now?

She’s in your hands, dear readers.

I hope you’ll fall in love with my brave little heroine, Dixie Dupree.

Drop me a line …let me know your thoughts!

 

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First Sentence Friday!


Did you keep a diary while growing up?  It’s sort of funny, and I never thought about it until recently, but all the diaries I ever came across (even now) are patterned with the idea of a little girl writing in it.  Pink, pastels, flowery designs.

I had a diary for a long time.  I wrote in it from the time I was about ten until I was in my early twenties.  And then…I lost it, and if I had to guess where it was, I’d say it’s still resting somewhere in the attic of that small ranch house where I used to live with my first husband, in Zebulon, NC.

As we know, Dixie had a diary, and…so did her Mama.

CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN

I sat in stunned silence, staring at the last page of Mama’s diary.

the education of dixie dupree

***I’m using #FirstSentenceFridays on Twitter and tagging @Kensington Publishing Corporation.  Follow along and tweet out/share if you’d like!***

First Sentence Friday!


CHAPTER TWENTY SIX

In the end, it hadn’t mattered who would have believed me about Uncle Ray, because afterward, no one would forget.

I’m going to let that stand as it is.  No commentary.

It’s hard to believe there are only two more First Sentence Fridays left, which means there are just under two weeks before the release of this book!  Since it first sold in April of 2015 until now, I’ve learned a lot about all of the work that goes into creating the end product you, dear readers, will hold in your hands.  She’s almost here!

the education of dixie dupree  ***I’m using #FirstSentenceFridays on Twitter and tagging @Kensington Publishing Corporation.  Follow along and tweet out/share if you’d like!***

Aftermath


We are fourth for states producing hurricane force winds, and in my lifetime alone, there have been 126 tropical, sub-tropical cyclones to hit North Carolina.

Before I write anything else, I want to remember the ones who lost their lives in the storm, the ones displaced, the ones waiting to go home, those who are still in need.

I can’t remember all of the hurricanes – mainly because I was very young when some came through, or their impact just didn’t leave me with any memory of them.

And then, there are ones you don’t forget.

There was Hurricane Fran in 1996 – I remember that one well.  Upstairs in my bedroom, I could feel my headboard move when a strong gust blew. That distinctive cracking of large trees falling in the middle of the night?  Burned into memory.  We went without power for days.

Then, after I was married, and we moved here to Dunn, and there was Hurricane Floyd in 1999.  We lost a huge holly tree, and our basement flooded.  We’d only been in the house a year, and had no idea it would.  Ah, so that’s what those sump pumps were for…but with no electricity?

Flood.

Speaking of flood.  It’s been said the predictions for rainfall here with Hurricane Matthew were underestimated, but no matter, because flooding would have occurred at the 8-10 inches they’d forecasted.  We’d already had at least that much the week before.  And instead, this time we got something more like 12 inches, or 14 – depending on who you listen to.

All I know is we got A LOT.  Astonishingly, some got MORE.  And 17 (so far) Make that 20…have tragically lost their lives.  😦

We lost our internet and phone service first.  Yes, hallelujah for cell phones!  We also have a generator – one strong enough to plug in both refrigerators, TV’s, a couple lamps, and the most important item of all…the beloved coffee pot.  We have a gas stove, so we could cook by using a lighter to fire it up.  We didn’t have hot water – but who’s trying to win a beauty contest?  The generator once it got cranking provided us those few amenities, and despite being LOUD as a yard blower inside your house, it was well worth it.

Sections of I-95 are closed down – right at our exit.  They (DOT) are diverting traffic off of the interstate because of flooding.  Here I was, driving North (I don’t think I was supposed to be – notice NO CARS) while Southbound is being diverted – right on into my town of Dunn. i-95

Rivers are expected to crest tomorrow so the danger is still imminent for those nearby.  The picture below is the Black Creek.  Creek – yeah, um, not so much.  This was on my way to Wal-Mart, a trip that usually takes 5 minutes and took 20.  (remember that I-95 diversion)

black-creek

There are things one does during times like this.  Without power, you still flip on light switches as you go into a room.  You watch or listen to the Weather Channel 24/7.  You drive an hour and half to find a bag of coffee.  You wait in line at McDonald’s for two hours.  You stare out the window at the storm and pray.

And.. you realize you’re not as prepared as you thought you were.

Here are some trees down in the “hood.”  It might be kind of hard to see unless you click on the picture (?) but either way, one tree down looks like any tree down – if only they had missed those doggone wires.

Here’s a funny story.  The night we got our power back on, I had just said “I love our generator, but I’ll be glad when we can shut that thing off.”  Blip.  Two seconds later, the lights came on.  I wish my husband had taken a picture of my facial expression.

I wanted to go around and turn on EVERY light in the house – just because I could.  I grinned like a fool for hours.  WE still don’t have internet or phone service.  I’m posting this via a little wifi hotspot.

I feel grateful.  And sad.  And conflicted.

Good riddance Hurricane Matthew.  We will never hear your name again.  You took good people from their families, and friends.  You scared the hell out of us.  And you’re one storm I will remember.

What’s your hurricane story?

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First Sentence Friday!


Do you remember your mother quizzing you, expecting certain answers to questions?  I sure do.  It was meant to see if I did as I was told, or if I went somewhere I wasn’t supposed to, would that sneakiness creep into my facial expression or make my voice change.  All mothers have that way about them.

My own kids say, “you have The Look.”  The Look was (evidently) even more effective than a question.  I got my answer just by watching them, how their eyes would shift, the collapse of their mouths signaling, “aw, I’ve been caught!”

Sometimes my questions were meant to feel them out, see what they really thought about a plan or idea, so I could come to some sort of decision, and I would ask in a roundabout way, not hinting at the truth behind the asking.

Dixie is in this sort of predicament, feeling that Mama’s questions are a bit of a trap.  No matter what answers she or her brother give, it will likely affect their future.

CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE

Everything had been going great until Mama started asking me and AJ insinuating questions.

the education of dixie dupree

***I’m using #FirstSentenceFridays on Twitter and tagging @Kensington Publishing Corporation.  Follow along and tweet out/share if you’d like!***

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First Sentence Friday!


We used to take trips to Maine every summer, which is Mom’s home state.  That trip was the highlight of the summer months.  We always left in the evening, around 6:00 p.m., after Dad got off work.  Mom would have spent the week before packing and making sure everything was just so.  When Dad got home, he’d load up the car, and my brother and I would grab our pillows off our beds, and crawl into the back seat, both of us talking non-stop.  Dad would drive all night, staying awake by taking “No Doz” smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee from a thermos.  Eventually I would fall asleep, and only wake up if we stopped for gas or at one of those shiny diners, where we’d go in and sit on pastel colored bar stools.  My parents would order more coffee, and hot chocolate for me and my brother.  We would stop in Connecticut the next morning, spend the day and night there with an aunt and uncle, before we made the last leg of the trip to Maine.
Dixie and her family have traveled north too, except, unlike us, this is a place they’ve never visited before, where they will meet relatives they don’t really  know.  They are going to New Hampshire, their own Mama’s home state.
CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR
Mama wanted to visit all her old haunts, all the places she’d been growing up.
the education of dixie dupree
***I’m using #FirstSentenceFridays on Twitter and tagging @Kensington Publishing Corporation.  Follow along and tweet out/share if you’d like!***

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