Donna Everhart

First Sentence Fridays – Chapter 29

Reminiscent of the novels of Lee Smith, Kaye Gibbons, and Sandra Dallas, Everhart builds a firm sense of place, portraying the tiredness and hope of a dry southern summer and voicing strong southern women.” 


I was in the kitchen baking cookies last week when my little dog shot out of his crate, ran into the hall and started barking. The Post Office has been delivering packages at odd hours, and the noise was like that, like a delivery left on the front porch.

Oddly, Mister quit barking, and that’s when I heard a male voice say, “I’ll just walk around.”

Someone was in the house. 

The hallway and the front door

Odd how fast adrenaline kicks in. I went toward the hallway, very much aware of this person being in my house. What did he want? What was he going to do? The owner of the voice stood by that piece of furniture that looks like a big table (it’s actually an antique piano).

He was relaxed, nonchalant almost, and as I stared at him wide eyed, he repeated what he’d said, a bit different, and now more of a question. “Maybe I’ll just walk around?”

Dumbfounded, I said, “What?”

I tried to understand why he was in my house while all sorts of horrible things zipped through my head. Those few split seconds of full blown fear had me wishing I’d grabbed a knife. While my brain tried to rationalize how fast I could run back to the kitchen for one, I suddenly noticed he had his own little dog on a leash, standing patiently by his feet.

The stranger then said, “Is this the Howard House?”

With a huge sense of relief, and a bit of annoyance, I said, “No. No it isn’t.”

Profuse apologies came then, and a scurrying for the front door. I followed him out and pointed him to the right house, where weddings and other events take place. That was what he was scoping out. His wedding venue. (Him – and his little dog too. 🙂 )

The last thing I said was “Cute dog!”as they made a hasty exit. (and s/he was – the cutest little dachsund in corduroy and plaid coat.) I came in and locked all my doors.

I went back to baking, but I noticed my hands shook for a minute or so. That sort fear gives you, as Kathy Bates put it in the movie Misery, an “oogie” feeling. I’ve had it before, and it’s one you don’t forget it. It’s not the same kind of fear you experience when you watch a scary movie. It’s very tangible, it makes you hyper-aware of your surroundings, it makes your brain go into overdrive and the possibilities of what could happen flip by the way you scroll through pictures in the gallery on your phone. This could happen. That could happen. This might be “it.”


Sonny Creech is experiencing a sort of fear she’s never known. She’s not ignorant to bad things, but she’s never seen true evil at work. As I wrote this scene, I felt she’d experience a similar fear as to what I felt when she gets caught disobeying Frank Fowler. Mr. Fowler decides he’s going to show her, Daniel and her brothers what happens when his rules aren’t followed.

Chapter 29

Though I was watched over by the man called Rufus, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere.

We are FIVE weeks away from the ON SALE date for the book, January 29, 2019. 

If you’d like to stay up on giveaways, and other publishing news, be sure to follow me on other social media!

I’m also on BookBub and Goodreads!

Happy Holidays to all!

4 thoughts on “First Sentence Fridays – Chapter 29”

  1. I love hearing how your own stories tie into your book’s story, your first sentences, and the picture of your cute little dog. Best to you, Donna!

    1. Thank you, Carol – mining that emotional data is exhausting sometimes. He’s a mess – he’s on our Christmas cards every year. 🙂 Happy holidays to you and yours!

  2. The old meme about writing what you know is still plying the waves for us. That is, even though, we are on the edge of the information age. You can dig into the interweb and come up with an answer to almost any question.

    Your tying in personal stories to these first sentences tells us what that meme really means.

    When forming your voice, use the emotions you know. You do that better than any writer I know.

    Hope Santa was good to you and you didn’t have to exhaust yourself getting there.

    1. You are right about that, Craig – write what you know. It’s my personal go to when I’m considering actions, words or deeds of a character.

      And what you just said is a fantastic compliment, Craig. I very much appreciate it. Wow. That made my heart skip a beat!

      Santa was good – but it was absolutely chaotic. My mom got sick and sounded like a man. My granddaughter was/is sick with something called RSV. (highly contagious – and she was coughing all over me/us/everyone, although adult versions of it aren’t supposed to be as severe) I’m just plain tired, but good. All good. I hope he was good to you and Kathy too! Now let’s ring in the New Year and get 2019 underway. Here’s to it being the best for you and yours.

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