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. ????

Can you believe it? This week marks the halfway point of First Sentence Fridays for When the Jessamine Grows! It’s hard for me to wrap my head about this because when I think of what’s on my schedule for the following months it only makes me realize how quickly time will pass.

At any rate, this week’s sentence is brief, but packs a punch – although you wouldn’t ever guess by reading it. That’s why I’m here – to put meaning behind this brief sentence!

Wars are fought with lots of strategizing and planning. Much like a football game – although deadly, and certainly more consequential – the mapping of maneuvers and counter-maneuvers resembles a play-by-play football gameboard.

The map above was toward the end of the war. (Averasboro is near my house) Wars aren’t fought, generally speaking, during the winter months. During the Civil War – and others – soldiers and their commanding officers would winter at a particular location. They would build something a little more substantial than the “pup” tents they used while on the march. Like these cabins you see here, (click on photo to get a better view)

Centreville VA 1861-62 (photo courtesy of American Battlefield Trust)

They were still very crude and offered little if any comfort. The plan was to hunker down until Spring, and then they’d be on the move again, marching toward their next encounter with their enemies. What did they do as they wintered? Drilled, drilled, and drilled some more. They cleaned their equipment. Repaired clothing. (they carried a “housewife” which was actually a sewing kit) They wrote letters home and read/re-read the ones they received. They played games, had the occasional snowball fight, but mostly they waited and sometimes, things did not go as planned.


Chapter 16

But it did not take until Spring.



For this week’s chance to win a signed ARC of When the Jessamine Grows tell me what’s something you’ve learned about a war – any war, that surprised you? For me, it was learning what I just wrote about – that wars stopped for winter.



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:

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

  1. I didn’t realize the war stopped for winter. I was just in New England, and I have a strange obsession with really old cemeteries….it was there that I learned that they referred to the Civil War as the Great Rebellion.

    1. Yes, the Great Rebellion – and these as well, the Lost Cause, the Second Revolution, the Brother’s War, and a few others.

      And, you took your annual (?) trip up North! I imagine Maine was on the agenda. 🙂

  2. Historical fiction is my favorite genre. After I read The Saints of Swallow Hill, we had a nice email exchange. I grew up in Waycross, Georgia surrounded by pine trees and the turpentine industry. That book really spoke to me. I’ve read a ton of books about WWII. It was only a couple of years ago that I read about the doughnut dollies. Goodnight, Irene by Luis Alberto Urrea is the best on that subject. Here we are 70 years after the end of the war and these remarkable women are just getting recognition. Young women who volunteered to drive trucks equipped with coffee and doughnut making equipment and followed the troops behind battles. That’s unbelievable.

    1. Thank you (again, if I already said it 🙂 ) for reading SAINTS!

      Wow, that is an interesting bit of history. I didn’t know this either. The coffee/doughnuts had to offer a tiny bit of creature comfort to those troops. Doughnut Dollies. Amazing!

  3. As a lover of living history, I joined a Revolutionary and Civil War reenactment group, decades ago. We had a wonderful lady member who had written cookbooks with very authentic recipes from the 1700s and 1800s. She mentored me as to meal preparation over an open fire, and using ingredients that probably would not be found in my local Food Lion! The constant use of herbs was fascinating to me. She put me in charge of cooking a fish tied to a plank. What a disaster! The plank caught on fire! I was so embarrassed, but she was thrilled! Apparently the burnt corner of the plank added authenticity to what probably actually happened when cooking over an open fire. She sketched it and later used the image in her cookbook, The Backcountry Housewife, page 43, “To Roast a Shad.”

    1. We went to a Civil War reenactment several years ago – one that’s held every one or two years – I can’t recall. There are two high profile battlefields near my home. I mentioned the Averasboro one in the post, but Bentonville isn’t far either. It was held there, and honestly, I felt like I’d been thrown back in time.

      Your story of cooking fish is funny! I can just imagine your reaction when that thing caught fire. LOL! But all’s well that ends well, as the saying goes, since your effort was rewarded with a sketch in a book. I saw the picture you sent via PM over on FB. That’s amazing! 🙂

  4. War changed our country… joined the war or were drafted. Women had to fill some of those roles. Women left their kitchens to work in factories, making goods used in the war, took care of their homes and family by themselves. It introduced women into the “working world” and it was a lasting change. Many women no longer stayed home, baked bread and cared for children and grandchildren their whole lives. It challenged us, expanded our world beyond our homes, which was a good change—it challenged us to being the best we can be.

    1. Well, I had typed out a reply and my website trashed it. I wrote that this is when the dynamic in households changed, when women began to realize they could make their (our) own money and have more independence. It was eye-opening to them. While financial equity is still at large, some women chose this new, and broadened path, no longer conforming to a cookie-cutter existence.

  5. How did I not know they stopped the war in winter during the Civil War?! Another thing that I continue to learn through other historical fiction books is all the “soldiers” who fought wars in different ways without ever stopping on the battlefield. The people who hid the hunted, the people who rescued downed pilots, the people who smuggled children into safety… so much done to help off the battlefields!

  6. It’s been awhile, but when I read about our military killing our military, that hurt to the core. I wasn’t even thinking that could happen. A harsh realization that hurts to the core.

    1. Oh my. Yes. I remember hearing about this, too. It’s called friendly fire. It’s the worst thing.

  7. Since both of my brothers fought in World War II, one in the Navy, on a ship protecting the coastal waters of France, and the other a Marine, who fought on Okinawa and Iwo Jimi! He was a Corporal and a rifle Sharpshooter in the Pacific area! My mom told me that my brother, the Marine, needed shoes as his was worn out, and his superior asked the Red Cross for shoes for him, they declined but thanks to the Salvation Army he got the shoes he needed! I’m sure you know which organization I will help and which I won’t!

    1. I find it astonishing a request for shoes would EVER be refused – by any organization! That is stunning. It’s a pair of shoes, for heaven’s sake! Gosh. That got me riled up – even though it was decades ago. ????

    1. I know – when I learned of this, I was like WOW. One or the other side could’ve taken advantage, and probably did at some point in time, somewhere. But, in general, I think it was considered the rules of war, or deemed like war etiquette. It was advantageous to both sides to stop. They weren’t geared up for marches through icy/cold/less than ideal conditions.

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