Crazy and Insane

Dear Followers of www.donnaeverhart.com


I did mention that website change, didn’t I?  Are you finding me?  No?  This is what happens when they let me have hold of the power tools.

DSCF0058

Juuust kidding.  I haven’t been doing the work, but, here’s what has been going on – without getting too far into the weeds.  The website is now redesigned.  As part of that redesign, it is also being supported by a new web-hosting entity.  These back end changes to enable that have resulted in two sites.

Old.  New.

You are likely not getting to the old site if you have it bookmarked.  Even though the old site could have been found under http://www.donnaeverhart.com, it was really www.donnaeverhart.wordpress.com.

That’s how you would find it today.

Meanwhile, the new site is here.  But, then I noticed my stats showed zero visitors to the new site.  And that I had zero (!!!) followers.  Which made me…

crying-woman

Hmmm.  What could be the problem?

Ah.  All of you are over there on – I mean here – on the old site – and maybe not even here because of “broken” links. (bookmark).  Yikes.  What I didn’t know was creating the new site would leave you behind.  I thought it would be a seamless transfer.

The question is, have you missed me?  If so, I would love it if you would follow me over at the new place.  Check it out.  See what you think.  At the bottom of each page, you’ll see how to follow my blog – again.

I hope to see you, HERE!

monarch-favorite

 

Advertisements

New Year, New Look


Fyi, y’all.

My website is undergoing an overhaul – this time not by me, but by professionals.

Amen to that!

As much as I like plunking around and figuring out themes for a new look on occasion, the end result never quite meets my expectations when I’m done.  And then there’s the HTML code, of which I know just enough to be dangerous, but is needed to make some of the “buttons” work, or to add in giveaway information, etc.  I usually figure it out, but it can consume a lot of time.

I don’t know the exact timeframe for when the web design team will be done, I’m thinking sometime towards the third week or so of this month.

I can’t wait for you to see the new design!

DSCF0058

Yep, that’s me running a power tool with my Rosie the Riveter do rag on my head.  *Taken in Bucha Ukraine, Mission Trip 2006

 

Holiday Blowback and A Southerner’s New Year’s Day Meal


Over the holidays it got so busy I believe there were several times my brain and body disconnected.  Matter of fact, I know they did.  It was like I was on some sort of mental auto-pilot more than once.

One of those moments happened when I thought I lost my rings.  That would be my engagement ring and wedding band, and my mother’s birthstone ring which is about 60 years old.  I put them in the pocket of an apron I was wearing (yes, an ACTUAL apron!) on Christmas Eve while at my MIL’s house.  I realized I didn’t have them after I got home.   Panic.  I called my mother in law at 11:30 p.m. and left a vm, “Don’t wash the apron, whatever you do!  I’ll call you in the  morning.”  I called her at 7:00 a.m.  No rings.  She was very logical telling me I MUST have put them in another pocket.  We backtracked and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember doing anything other than dropping them in the apron pocket.  Until I go check my coat pocket – and there they were.  And no memory of placing them there  – at all.  It was sort of scary when I thought about how we can be SO involved our brains just sort of takeover and do what we might be thinking sub-consciously.

Another time I was so doggone tired, I found I was doing The Things I Hate To Do.  A thought would send me into one room where I’d promptly forget why I was there, so I’d start to do something else, only to leave it, go to another room, start a new thing – entirely different, leave that, move some stuff around and then end up looking for what I’d moved the rest of the day.  Eventually I’d find an item where I left it hours before, and then discover those half done “things” I was also intent on finishing hours before.

Boy.  That’s what I call holiday blowback.

At any rate, I hate seeing any year end as it fills me with nostalgia and the realization it’s a time we will never get back – as is every single second of our lives.  Yet, on the other hand, I balance that nostalgia with the happiness and appreciation for all that I have and have accomplished.  There’s an eagerness in thinking about what’s to come when the clock officially sets us at the beginning of 2017.  I mean, might as well get on with it, ya know?  Ain’t no stopping the clock.

Here in the south on New Year’s day, we’ll be filling our plates with greens and black-eyed peas, a tradition intended to bring one wealth and luck in the new year.  The greens are said to represent dollar bills and the beans coins – so I plan to eat a lot.  This dates back several hundred years although most know of it from the Civil War.  You can read a bit about it here.

And with that, I’m off to start cooking my Hoppin John!  Here’s to a Happy New Year!

Courtesy 2017.Org

Courtesy 2017.Org

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Out With The Old


…in with the new, as the old saying goes.

Yesterday I took the tree and decorations down.  Some will think, but what about the Twelve Days of Christmas leading up to the Feast of Epiphany?  A twelve days of Christmas celebration never took place in my family’s household.  Growing up, the tree came down soon after the 25th – maybe not as quick as mine, but quick enough.  I wonder how many of you actually follow the tradition – with your celebrations beginning on the 25th and lasting until January 6th, which is the 2016 timeframe?

I received a new Garmin fitness tracker for my birthday (earlier in December) and to give you an idea of what it means when I say “take the tree and decorations down,” consider that I logged over 4.5 miles of walking – inside my house and in my yard alone.  On top of that, I estimated I climbed the staircase with boxes, presents, and cleaning stuff at least 30 times – probably more.  At least that’s what my leg muscles are telling me this morning.

That new fitness tracker leads me to my next thought.  I’m not any different in that I love the idea of fresh starts and new beginnings.  I make resolutions, which I usually keep to myself – in case I don’t stick with them.  🙂  Statistics say most of us aren’t good at this resolution thing.  Check out some of those facts here.

2017 is peeking around the corner.  Are you ready?  What do you want most this year?

2016-to-17

Courtesy 123rf.com

 

 

 

 

 

More BIG News!


I was in Raleigh yesterday helping Mom.  This was the second time while away from my computer, emails, all manner of “connectedness,” that exciting news about THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE sat percolating in my inbox until I got home.

I’d spent the day with Mom raking leaves, going to the bank, emptying recycling bins, and checking her mail.  I’d bought her a Christmas tree and stand, got it set up and ready for her to decorate, and by the end of the day, I was tired.  A good tired though, you know?  Driving home I always take what we call “the country route,” shorter in mileage than the highway, but longer to drive because it’s…ya know.  A rural country road.  It was already dark, and so, I took my time, looking at the Christmas lights people had put up.  Traffic was heavier than usual, but typical for a Monday after a holiday, so it took me twice as long to drive home as it did to get to her house.

Soon as I pulled in the drive, I got the vehicle unloaded – because you never go to Mom’s without coming home with a boatload of things she think you ought to have – like jelly.  Canned tomatoes.  An ornament.

And finally, after all that, saying “Hi” and giving a hug to my hubby, I launched my computer.  And my eyes zeroed in on this absolutely wonderful news from my editor.

USA TODAY BEST-SELLING BOOKS TOP 150

November 20, 2016  #121 The Education of Dixie Dupree by Donna Everhart (Kensington $9.99)

Heart rate went up much higher than it had when I was raking those doggone leaves like some sort of maniac.

But, then, I saw MORE news.  I started making weird squeaky noises.  My husband saw my face, heard my noises, and paused in his cooking.

“Are you all right?”

There was some hand flapping.

Little Dog sat down and stared at me.

I continued to hyperventilate.  🙂

One of my publicists shared that the book has been in the bestseller rankings at the independent bookstores around the country, and she had written:

“You are officially Donna Everhart, USA Today and IndieBound Bestselling Author!”

THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE has been ranked at #24, #15, #16,  and most recent, #17 since it’s release.

What a way to end my day!

That tired feeling I had was ziiiiip!  Gone!  Yes, there may have been dancing around the house while juggling a beer to celebrate.

Happy Dance

 

 

 

 

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? 

 

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

Save

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)

018

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!

DSCF1281

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.)

014

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

bustle-logo

c1Ja1.indd

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!

 

Save

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?

Save

Save

Save

SIBA Tradeshow


After learning I would be going to the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show in Savannah about two months ago, it’s hard for me to believe it’s already over with!  Like Christmas day, where we work our way up to the moment and before we’ve had a chance to let Christmas dinner digest, it seems like we’re taking the decorations down.

I was supposed to fly, but after realizing the entire trip would take 8 hours with the waiting at the airport, + the layover, etc., I decided to drive.  Friday morning I headed out at 7:00 a.m.  By the map calculations, it would take about 4 hours and 20 minutes to get there.  Admittedly, I was a little lead footed due to nerves.  Couple times I looked down and I was going about 85 m.p.h.  Yikes.  Before I knew it, I was only an hour away.

almost-there

My first event was at 2:00.  I arrived at around 11:15, found parking nearby, got checked into the hotel, and finally, registered.  How cool does that badge look, right?  That little blinking turtle thing was for a donation of $20.00 to support bookstore owners/employees, i.e. BINC which stands for Book Industry Charitable Foundation.  You can click on the link there, and read about what they do.  I also voted on the Bibb Pick – which I now realize I had my badge turned the wrong way when I took this pic, so it doesn’t show the sticker that says, “Bibb, I voted!”  For the Bibb pick, (named after Matt Bibb) you choose two independent bookstores to support, and then decide two ways to support them. The count is tallied, and whichever bookstores win, they are then supported in whichever manner chosen.  The two things I elected to do was a $ donation, + tweeting out about the bookstore.

dscf2202

My first event was the all around signing at 2:00, pictured below.  Things were still being set up.  Me and little ole Dixie were right in the middle of the room.  You couldn’t miss us.  🙂

signing-event

I was also on the Southern Reads Panel which I don’t have any pictures of, because I was too nervous, the room was as tight as it could get, and we were in chairs at the front, practically in the laps of the “audience,” i.e. booksellers.  We scattered to the wind before I even thought to say “Hey, how about a few selfies?”

A few of my fellow panelists gave me copies of their books, (and DESPERATION ROAD’s Michael Farris Smith offered me a few sips of his Johnny Walker and water – which I needed.  I think I could have drank the whole thing)  Ashley Mace Havird was kind enough to hand me a copy of LIGHTNINGSTRUCK, as did our panel moderator, Martin Pousson, whose BLACK SHEEP BOY promises to be a compelling read, with plenty of Louisiana bayou steaminess.  He signed it “To Donna, with thunder.”  I love that.

The other two books…one came from an author from Raleigh author, Adam Jones’ who wrote FATE BALL.  He came forward to talk to me because of our Raleigh connection.  And the other book “IT’S NOT LIKE I KNEW HER,” by Pat Spears, I picked up during the Publisher’s exhibits, when I found out it was edited by one of my favorite authors – Dorothy Allison.

dscf2203

After the two events, I spent time milling about with everyone else, having random conversations with booksellers and authors alike.

Savannah is a beautiful city.  None of the pictures I tried to take did it justice by any stretch.  There are huge oaks loaded with Spanish moss, and horse drawn buggies, and that salty scent of the Savannah river nearby. horse-drawn-buggy

view-from-hilton-room

View from the room

Saturday  I made sure to drop in on the publisher’s exhibits and it seemed everyone under the sun was there.

exhibits

I made a bee line for American Bookseller’s Association – the folks who nominated DIXIE DUPREE for the Next Indie Pick, so I could thank them.  You can just make out their blue and white sign (ABA) towards the back of this pic below:

more-exhibits

In the end, I met a bunch of other authors, and was invited to come visit with booksellers, which was the whole point of the trip – so I’ll say it was a big success!

dscf2195

 

 

Save

%d bloggers like this: