Donna Everhart

First Sentence Friday and Free Book Friday!!!

Hello once again, readers!

Welcome to this week’s installment of First Sentence Friday and Free Book Friday!  Again, this week I’m giving out an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of When the Jessamine Grows. ????

Recently, a reader of my work asked me via Facebook if I thought about first sentences for the chapters as I wrote, and the answer is yes. (Hi, Susan ???????? surprise!) That was really insightful because she understood the challenge in coming up with SOMETHING to write about here in these posts, especially when the sentence doesn’t give much away.

Like, this week, it’s a bit of a turn in the weather. ????‍♀️

The thing is, I love nothing more than sinking a reader into a scene, and it’s not easy to do because there are a million ways to describe something, and I know I’ve spent half a day on A SENTENCE, trying to get it just right because I want my readers (you!) to feel like you’re right there with that character. One of the first things writers are encouraged to do is to rely on use of the five human senses. Describing what a character is seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, or touching is a wonderful tool that helps create a story world, and there’s nothing better than reading books where the author is a master at it. Recently, I’ve been listening to Daisy Jones and the Six, and Taylor Jenkins Reid is a real PRO at this. She’s making my heart ache for her characters, particularly Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne. I mean, I’m driving down the road with a death grip on the steering wheel as I listen, and I can see/feel/experience their moments so distinctly and it’s playing in my head like a movie scene – which may or may not be such a good thing since I’m supposed to SEE the car in front of me.???? This is why writers LOVE to read. It hones our skills, and provides examples what makes it work and why.



The change of season brought a distinct coolness to the air as she drove the wagon toward the Caldwell farm.



For a chance to win a signed Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of When the Jessamine Grows, tell us about a book you’ve read where the author gave you a Daisy Jones/Billy Dunne moment, like Taylor Jenkins Reid did for me.



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. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Years later, there are still scenes in that book that haunt me!

  2. Surprise! I can only imagine how long it takes you sometime to write a single sentence, let alone a paragraph, chapter, or entire novel! (This is why I’m a reader, not a writer!) And your books resonate with me—more than many others—because I feel like I’m right there with your characters. Another author who stirs those same emotions for me is Rebecca Yarros. She has become well known in the last few months because of her fantasy novel The Fourth Wonf—which I devoured. But the rest of her books, which are women’s fiction/romance/historical fiction take my emotions for a wild ride.

    1. Yes! I’m familiar with her book, but had never heard of her before it came out. That’s all it takes sometimes – ONE book!

    2. Oh, and I got so carried away with my other comment, I meant to say, thank you, I’m so glad my books do that for you!

  3. My “Daisy Jones/Billy Dunne” moment would probably be Mel and Jack in Virgin River – the scene in the storm when Mel finally reveals her pain and Jack just wants to make it all go away.

  4. Having just finished the two Book Woman books, by Kim Michele Richardson, there are many descriptions where I felt as though I was there, on the back of Junia, the mule, riding through the rough trails of Kentucky, delivering books to those in need of connecting with the outside world. Junia proved to be the “Waze” for Honey and her mom, while navigating the Appalachian terrain. I am now reading the Gap Creek series, by Robert Morgan. I can’t get enough of my mountain heritage!

    1. I LOVE Robert Morgan’s Gap Creek! I’ve read that, as well as The Road From Gap Creek, and The Truest Pleasure. 🙂

  5. Hi Donna. I love books that I’m able to get fully immersed in. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller was an audiobook that captured all my senses. I’ll never forget crying buckets just as I happened upon a road construction crew. I was so embarrassed, but oh well.

    1. It’s funny because I’ve only seen the movie! Actually, I was pretty surprised at the story, because of it’s simplicity, but it packed a powerful punch. And yes, I can only imagine what that road crew was thinking. ????????‍♀️

  6. I recently read The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson and I was so engrossed in that book. It had me laughing, crying and being scared. I still think of scenes from the book weeks later.

  7. It would be “Desperate Acts” by Alexandra Ivy. The tension will have you holding your breath, then sighing in relief. The story will take you into a labyrinth; lots of twists and turns, with a surprise around every corner. Highly recommend!!!

  8. “The only memory I have of Mama, she was on fire.” That opening for The Moonshiner’s Daughter nailed it. Talk about creating an image…. wow!

    1. ???????????? Made my day! I don’t know if you might’ve been part of a book event where I talked about that being based on a true story. If not, I’ll tell you about it one of these days!

    1. Yes, there were many scenes for me in that story too. I think b/c Owens being a biologist – she really nailed the environment so well. Like I recall her description of the difference between a swamp and a marsh. Brilliant.

  9. I never read a book that made me feel the way it made you feel.
    I would love to win and read your fabulous book when the Jasmine grows.

  10. I think “The Mountains Sing” by NGUYỄN PHAN QUẾ MAI is a great example of a book in which the author evokes a visceral and sensate experience in the reader. The historical, set in North Vietnam depicts family relationships, escape, betrayal all in the context if what are often lush descriptions of both the city and countryside. You feel as if you are there. The book made a big impact on me.

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