Donna Everhart

First Sentence Friday and Free Book Friday!!!

Hello readers!

Welcome to this week’s installment of First Sentence Friday and Free Book Friday!  For the foreseeable future, the free book is a signed Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of When the Jessamine Grows. ????

Death is the topic of this week’s post. How appropriate – it’s Friday the 13th AND October.

Graphic details – may not be appropriate for the squeamish ????

There is no shortage of macabre information out on the internet, as I’m sure you can imagine. I’ve done plenty of research when it comes to how the deceased were prepared for burial, like for my sophomore novel, The Road to Bittersweet, which takes place in 1940. A family’s finances, traditions/beliefs, location, a final will and testament and other factors, often determine what takes place to a person after death.

It’s been a while since I wrote that story, but several interesting things I learned during my research stayed with me. For one, rigor mortis sets in quicker than I thought. In the face, it’s within 2 hours, and the complete body, six to eight hours after death. Sometimes, depending on circumstances, whatever they might have been, the arms or legs of the deceased had to be broken to get an item of clothing off or on. Coins were often placed on the eyes so they wouldn’t pop open. Bodies are known to sit up. Essentially, Mother Nature proceeds on her schedule, not ours.

During the Victorian era, (1837-1901) death photos were often taken of the deceased and placed in an album for the family. These were called The Book of the Dead. Eyes were sometimes painted on the closed lids before a photo. Mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters posed with their dead relatives. The dead were paraded through streets. Think about Abraham Lincoln and how his body toured the country for three weeks on a 1,645-mile journey before he reached his final resting place. I remember reading somewhere they had to keep working on his face, so it looked the way it had been, because again – Mother Nature.

Even while the period for When the Jessamine Grows is almost 80 years earlier, what was done for the deceased from the 1860s to even now hasn’t changed much except more individuals are embalmed, and there’s an increase or desire for cremation instead of a typical burial.

All this leads to the sentence of the week!


Chapter 18

For her, the moldering was irrelevant.



For this week’s chance to win a signed ARC of When the Jessamine Grows, let’s get spooky early! (don’t worry, I’m not going to ask about anything morbid about death/dying!) Tell us, what’s the scariest book you’ve ever read?



Pre-orders gauge the interest and signal to the publisher readers are eager for an author’s work! Please consider pre-ordering because it really does help! If you’re holding out because you might win an ARC or a finished copy, remember you can always give away the extra as a gift to one of your reader friends. ????

Pre-order links for your convenience:

Kensington Publishing Corporation

Barnes & Noble




Last, but not least, don’t forget to:

25 thoughts on “First Sentence Friday and Free Book Friday!!!”

  1. I am not one to really read “spooky” books. One that I remember most is Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst. It really stuck with me.
    Thank you for the chance, and have a great weekend!

    1. The one I remember scaring me so bad was Cujo by Steven King, or most of his books really!

      1. He had a knack for sure! What about IT? No one’s mentioned that one, but ho boy. That creepy clown in the gutter looking up gave me nightmares.

  2. Don’t read spooky books but I did read The Marathon Man back in the 70s which to me was spooky!

    1. Was that Stephen King? Thinking it was . . . I probably have it (and don’t even know it haha) I read a lot of his work back in the day.

  3. Baby Teeth haunted me for a long time. I don’t usually read scary books. Not even sure why I read that one!

    1. OMG, you just reminded I have that one and haven’t read it yet. I need to pull it out and if I get done with some of the others I’m reading, I’ll have to start it.

  4. The scariest book was The Stand by Stephen King. I used to read his books all the time but I haven’t read one in a while.

    1. Same! I mention him in the other comments above. Actually, The Stand was the very first book of his I read and I was HOOKED. He was my go-to author for a long time.

  5. The book that creeped me out the most was Amityville Horror when it came out in 1977. I was in my late teens and had heard the story was all true. I remember sitting up late at night with my back against the wall facing my bedroom door, certain someone was coming to get me!

    1. Oooo, that’s a good one – and quite honestly, when I hear a story is based on facts, then I’m even more scared – like you were! I remember when it came out, too. Everyone was talking about how creepy it was!

    1. I remember hearing about that book when it came out, but I never read it. I can’t imagine the psychological impact of such an event. (her little brother ????)

  6. Bless me Ultima, not too scary, but scary enough, or at least it got me to thinking. Have a great weekend. Thank you for the chance.

    1. I had to go look it up – and while I skimmed the plot summary Wikipedia offers, I got the gist of it, and can imagine a young boy growing up with a shaman would be very different – and potentially unnerving, as this person shares their knowledge.

  7. It’s an oldie but “Amityville Horror.” I read it as a teenager and those red eyes in the story creeped me out! I had to turn all the lights on and move away from the windows.

    1. Not to an “old” Stephen King fan! I didn’t read it, but I remember the title. It’s like the Richard Bachman series. I’ve got the one called The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King, and one called “Thinner,” also a Bachman book.????

  8. The one I remember scaring me so bad was Cujo by Steven King, or most of his books really!

    1. Most of them – for sure. If they weren’t downright creepy, they had you on the edge of your seat in suspense. He’s a master.

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