Pinch Me I’m Dreaming

Silver Bells


I grew up listening to the old classic Christmas songs sung by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby,  Bobby Darin, Brenda Lee,  Alvin and the Chipmunks (yes, that one!)…the list goes on and on.  On Christmas Eve, Mom would put on a stack of records – for those of you born before this time – ya know, vinyl.  🙂  Those black round things that spin in a circle?

Anyway.  She would put on as many as the record player would allow.  Remember how you could get about six or seven of them balanced on the spindle ?  And as each finished, the arm would lift, move off to the side, and plunk!  The next album would drop in place, the arm would move to the edge, and the inevitable, sssshhh, sssshhhh, could be heard first and then the song would start.

What memories!  My brother and I would go to bed, and the music would play and play.  I realize now she was camouflaging the sound of her and Dad bringing out the presents.

All that said, for me, even as a little girl, no one could sing like Elvis.  Nope, not even Sinatra.  Not Bing.  Not Harry Belafonte.

I tried to find a live version of him performing this song, Silver Bells, but no luck.  Just close your eyes and listen.  Brrrrr!  His voice still gives me the shivers!

Advertisements

2016 In Review


I’m in a state of disbelief another year is just about gone, and so, what better time to gather up some pictures and share them here, thereby providing a “snapshot” of 2016 in review!

To say it’s been a wonderful, fun filled, exciting time doesn’t even come close to how I really feel.  The holidays are almost here and I find I’m in a reflective mood, feeling ever so grateful for all that’s happened while looking forward to what 2017 might bring.

images

And so it began…like every other New Year, with fireworks, that feeling of renewal, AND the ever present resolutions!  (did you break all of yours like I did mine?)

dscf1904

February arrived, and with it Miss Priss turned 1!  She likes cake.  A lot.  She will hate this picture in about 15 years.

In March, page proofs arrived for THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE.

Then came the ARC (notice the cover) and book plates.  So exciting to see!

dscf1949

Early April, and spring was here.  The rhododendrons were spectacular, as always!

dscf1966

Also, in April 2016, came my first ever book club presentation! Here we have some members of the Cosmopolitan Book Club.

dscf2032

In May came another event, a reading and publication discussion for Ye Olde Town Arts Club!

the education of dixie dupree

In June 2016, I received the good news that the book was really resonating with the Sales Department, and with booksellers.  The cover was tweaked to bring the title out more.

dscf2056

Despite all of the good things happening with THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE, I had to keep writing!  And in June, 2016, I completed my second novel, THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET.  And I had a celebratory beer.  🙂

July and August 2016 = typical summer months.  In other words, hot, hazy and humid, and a few violent storms.

dscf2169

In August, Mom turned 80, her second birthday without my Dad.  Here she is with her great grands, and though I can still see the sorrow in her eyes, she’s getting along okay.

indienextlist-logo

In mid September, I found out THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE was selected as a November 2016 Indie Next List pick!

prh-sales-rep

I was invited to attend the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA), also in September, where I signed books at the all around author event, participated on the Southern Reads panel, and met a lot of other great authors.  And yes, here’s a lovely Penguin Random House Sales Rep, and look there, what book do you see?  SO exciting!

And then?  Unbelievably, (while also thinking FINALLY!) it was time for the book to release on October 25th!  I held my official launch at Raleigh NC’s well known Quail Ridge Books, on November 1st.  Not only did the staff have to bring out more chairs, they sold out of the books.  🙂  I had the best time, and was so thankful for all of my family and friends who came out to  make it such a big success!

During this event, it was announced that THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE was selected as an Amazon Top Ten Pick for November, as well as being featured as the Debut Spotlight pick!

amazon-logo

And that certainly helped to propel it here! (along with the Kindle and the Bookbub deals that ran almost simutaneously!)

2016-11-18-2

In the meantime, Fall/Winter lists had been compiled, and the book made these lists!

bookbub-logo

It was a Library Journal Book Club Selection

LJ logo

 

And suddenly, folks were sending me pictures of the book from everywhere.  Here we show Miss Dixie Dupree at the local Wal-Mart,  Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), Denver, Kentucky and Seattle.

usa-today-logo

Then came the news the book hit the USA TODAY bestsellers list.         (!!! x a bajillion)

 

indiebound-logo

It made the IndieBound bestsellers list (and…it’s still there!)

So, you can see why I am feeling so grateful.

It’s hard to wrap my head around the idea that this book, THIS story, would resonate with so many.  It’s not an easy read.  It deals with dark subject matter, social issues, and as one reviewer pointed out, “all the triggers are going to be pulled.”  And, as I’ve mentioned before, The Washington Independent Review of Books said it was”a harrowing tale of domestic trauma with Southern Gothic flair.”

And there have been many more reviews, like that one, that removed a lot of the doubt I had about writing such a difficult story without mincing words.

dscf2384

Still, there is a lot of work yet to be done.  I was thrilled to be asked by my editor to read a manuscript and provide a blurb.  I am finalizing the revisions on BITTERSWEET.  I am working on my new book’s outline and first three chapters.  For now, though, I’m turning towards this holiday season and spirit of giving.  I wish each and every one of you joy, peace and hope.

Little Dog says, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too!

I hope to see you back here, in 2017.

xoxo,

Donna

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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)

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

A Flash Fiction Contest for THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE!


Folks, I’ve made it. I have arrived.  🙂

Well, that’s more or less what one of my writer friends (Micki, I’m looking at you) tweeted out; “You know you’ve made it when offers a contest in your honor!”

And yes, indeed Ms. Janet, NYC literary agent extraordinaire and Director of Literary Services at New Leaf Literary and Media, Inc., is doing just that.  There is a Flash Fiction contest this weekend in honor of THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE’s Next Indie Pick selection and the fact that the book is soon to be released!  (only a month away!)

For about five years, I’ve participated in these contests.  I’ve won some, had numerous finalist mentions, long list mentions, and several special recognition mentions.  The competition is fierce because the writers who hang out there are some of the best I know.  They have 100 words  (the word limit for these FF contests) to spin a story that incorporates a beginning, middle and end.  Some of the entries from past contests have taken my breath away, made me laugh, or made me sit in awe, while wondering how did they do that?

The prize?  Well, a copy of THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE – of course!

Good luck, y’all!  I can’t wait to read your entries!

the education of dixie dupree

Goodreads Giveaway!


Kensington has set up another Goodreads giveaway for THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE.

The contest will run June 8th –>June 27th to win one copy of an ARC or final copy!

If you’re not on Goodreads, now’s the time to join (free) because not only are there tons of these sorts of giveaways, it’s a great way to connect with authors, and readers.  Think of it like Facebook for…books!

Go here to enter the DIXIE DUPREE giveaway:  http://bit.ly/286qeUr

the education of dixie dupree

Christmas in March


This month has been full of little “gifts,” and for me that equates to Christmas in March because of the excitement it’s generated.  I’ve mentioned receiving these little goodies on Facebook, and then I realized I hadn’t shared it here!

Like I mentioned in the publication process post, these came (page proofs):

 

And then, a few days later, these showed up:

I believe these are called “book plates.”  I’m not sure.  They are prints of the actual cover that will be used on the First Edition print.  I love the paper they used, it’s sort of rough textured, and it will have what’s called “French flaps.”  I would “squee” here but I’ve sworn off the use of “squee.”

Then, a few days after those arrived, this heavy box showed up with these inside:

DSCF1927

Again, no one emailed me to say, “hey, your galleys (Advance Reader Copies, or ARCS) are on the way!  What a surprise it was to open the box, and see a stack of these!

Time to pull out the pictures of how I felt:

The Process of Publication


I’ve been wrapped up, enamored with, and possibly swooning over “The Process” of publication.

When I worked at Nortel, a Product Pipeline (it might have looked something like this-but there were many variations depending on the project manager) was often used to monitor the progress of products as they went through various stages of production.  Ultimately, each one reached a final production phase which meant they were ready for delivery to a customer.

I’ve pictured the process of publishing a book similar to what used to happen at Nortel.  Of course there is a ton of work I’m not privy to, but I thought I’d share what I do know, and what was required of me as an author.

Much of the time, there are many weeks of quiet which is great since I’m working on the new project.  Every now and then though, I’ll get an email from someone at Kensington.  This is always thrilling because it’s an indicator the book is moving along in their publication pipeline.

So, starting back in April of last year, here’s what’s happened so far:

  1. Answered Author Questionnaire (April)
  2. Received/signed/mailed copies of contract (May)
  3. Author photo (May)
  4. Completed edits – two kinds, red pencil and revisions to story (July/August)
  5. Received “cover copy” or back flap copy, to hyperventilate over (October)
  6. Publicist assigned (October)
  7. Bound manuscript sent out by Kensington to collect “blurbs” or quotes from other Authors (October)
  8. Completed changes/updates for Copy Editor (November)
  9. Received book cover .jpg to ooh and ah over (December)
  10. Blurbs/quotes from authors started coming in and were shared (February)
  11. Publicist recommends early promotional work such as a web site update, claim Goodreads Author page, create Author Facebook page, etc.  (February)
  12. Book became available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and eventually Indiebound and the Kensington site itself.  (February)
  13. Publicist created a Press Release (February)
  14. Page proofs – this is the step I’m at now.  So, this week, the Production Editor at Kensington contacted me to let me know I would be receiving “page proofs” for DIXIE DUPREE.  They will arrive today.  Page proofs are a Big Deal, as they are the final step, as I said over on my Author Facebook page (www.facebook.com/donnadaviseverhart ) where I – or the proofreader- can make any last minute corrections to spellings, or fix errors.  These changes need to be fairly limited.  One point of emphasis was to “try to avoid adding or deleting word(s) that will change the number of lines in a paragraph.”  This is because the book has already been typeset by a printer, and a change like that would be costly, and the publisher reserves the right to decide in the end.  (March)
  15. Advanced Reader Copies (ARC’s) will be printed, and sent out for reviews to national reviewers of all sorts.  Think Netgalley, Goodreads, etc. (Spring/Summer?)
  16. The First Edition printing takes place, which includes any/all reviews received via the ARC’s as well as earlier Author reviews. (late Summer/early Fall?)
  17. The book now exists and is sent out via distribution channels to stores – and a box is sent to me! Pre-orders can be shipped October 25!
  18. Enter the sandwich board promotional efforts by author! Official release/launch November 1, 2016

I have found every part of this fascinating and of course, that has everything to do with the fact it’s my book, but I thought you might like to have a peek behind the scenes.

Right now, it’s a bit like the lull before a storm because I know once I start promotional efforts, it will be all consuming.  I’ve received some “insider” advice on what to do to begin early promotion of the book, so, I plan to spend the Spring and Summer visiting local bookstores to introduce myself, among other things.

Bottom line?  I can’t wait to see DIXIE DUPREE “out and about!”  

Kensington-logoCover DIXIE DUPREE

%d bloggers like this: