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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.

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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…

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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!

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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!

Merry Christmas From The Family


Right about now?  I sure do need me a good healthy dose of Robert Earl Keen.

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.

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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?)

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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!

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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

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

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It was a Library Journal Book Club Selection

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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.

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

 

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

A Little Christmas Story


This past Saturday I attended my book club’s Christmas Luncheon.  Earlier during the week, the vice president of the club came up with an idea for the program I thought creative and fun.  The idea was for each of us to provide something from our own personal holiday experiences, whether it was a memory, a favorite recipe, family traditions, or some other meaningful thing.  She mailed each of us a blank holiday card in advance and asked that we fill it out with our preference on what we wanted to contribute.

The card wasn’t big enough for my windbag tendencies.  True to form, I had decided to share two things, a story and a recipe, because I’m never satisfied with contributing what’s sufficient.

Just like presents, I believe more is better.

Once we arrived, we were to drop our cards in a basket and each member would draw the cards at random and read the contents.

This is the story I shared.  I shared it because it’s one of the clearest memories I have of believing in the magic of Christmas.

My Magic Stocking

When I was five, I recollect going to bed that Christmas eve, (eagerly for a change), so Santa could come. My mother made a big deal about showing me a stocking hanging from post of my spindle bed. This was a mistake.  The sock, actually one of my father’s old white socks she’d looped a red string through, immediately turned into something very special because, as she’d explained, Santa was going to put “goodies” in it, but only if I was asleep.

She kissed my forehead, turned off the light, and closed my door. I lay still for a second.  The sock was there.  Right there at the end of the bed, but shouldn’t I make sure?  I sat up, and crept down to the end of the bed to touch the sock.  I found myself searching, and searching.

No sock.  I sat back on my heels. Something was wrong.

“Mom!”

A scurry of slippers from the other room could be heard, and then, a sliver of light from the living room lamp fell into the room, capturing me at the end of my bed, like a spotlight.

“What is it?”

“I can’t find the sock!”

She came in, went to the end of the bed and found it right away, “It’s right here, see? Lie back down and go to sleep.”

I frowned at her, but, headed back up towards my pillow – at least that’s what she saw. As soon as I heard the click of the door, I crawled right back to the end of the bed, my fingers reaching around the post, up it, down it and over it methodically.

No sock.

The “Mom!” came louder this time.

I heard muffled exclamations. The door opened again.

“Donna, what is it?  No sock?”

I pointed at the post and said, “It’s not there.”

I heard the exasperation in my mother’s voice as she came into the room, “Oh yes it is, it’s here, just like I showed you, see?”

She stood at the end of the bed, the limp, white sock dangling from her fingers.  It was sort of embarrassing.  How come she could find it and I couldn’t?

She made me lie back down, fluffed my covers, handed me my stuffed tiger, and said, “Now, you better go to sleep or Santa won’t come.”

“Okay.”

The light goes out. The door closes.  And you know what I did.  I flew down to the end of the bed.  My mouth dropped.  NO SOCK! This was alarming. This was mysterious. What was going on?

I stared around the room nervously before shrieking, “Mom!”

This time I heard a loud noise, and louder muffled exclamations. The door flew open, the light flicked on with that sort of “click!” made by an “I’m losing my patience” hand. I was crouched at the end of the bed, on my knees, the bottom of my jammies twisted in my fingers. I was on the verge of crying.  Without one word, she marched to the end of the bed, and that doggone sock was right THERE.

She said, “It’s a magic sock! Santa’s been trying to come, but you keep getting up and making it disappear!  This is what happens when you don’t do as I say.  Now. If you don’t go to sleep…,”

“I will, I will, I promise!”

“Okay, then. Good night.”

The door closed and I noticed how it closed too, sort of like how that light switch sounded. Very firm. No nonsense. Still, you know, me being me and all, I couldn’t get down to the end of the bed fast enough. I blew out a sigh of relief. The sock was there. Finally, finally.  I could go to sleep, reassured Santa would come. No need to yell. No need to get in trouble. No need to worry.

Years later I learned my mother was removing the sock each time, then had to bring it back when I yelled, acting as if it had been there all along. To me, it seemed as if it was disappearing, just as she’d said.  It had seemed like magic to me.

And, well, it was magic, because it was all about innocence.

I mentioned I also shared a recipe, and I’m sharing that with you too!  I hope you enjoy!  (I save the egg whites and make egg white omelets.)

Amazingly Good Eggnog

  • 4 cups milk
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1  1/2 cups sugar
  • 2  1/2 cups light rum (optional)
  • 4 cups light cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.  In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.  Stir in rum (optional), cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

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