Donna Everhart

First Sentence Fridays – Chapter 5

Hello, hello!

It’s Friday again, and I’m here to deliver another sentence from my upcoming novel, The Saints of Swallow Hill, releasing on January 25, 2022.

As I share these sentences with you, small bits of the story emerge. For example, when I first mentioned the title of the book, I imagine some (most?) of you were like, hmm, The Saints of Swallow Hill? This week’s sentence happens to reveal more about the name Swallow Hill.


Chapter 5


At the crossroads, Tom pointed to a sign tacked to a big oak tree, crudely painted with the words, SWALLOW HILL WORK CAMP and an arrow pointing right.


History has shown labor camps were often used for those who broke the law. If not those, what about a chain gang? As an unfortunate outcome of bad economic times, particularly during the Depression, labor camps were established by the government, but these were known as something else. They had names like Emergency Conservation Work, (ECW) or Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC – the name was changed to the latter in 1937). Intended for single, young men whose families were on a relief program, they provided cheap, rustic accommodations, from small wooden shanties or shacks, to tents in some cases. They were intended to be mobile.

In the case of a place like Swallow Hill, the camp is run by an operator. In the story, who the land belongs to isn’t revealed, but oftentimes it was a private owner who would hire a company to extract pine gum and distill it for sale. Labor camps were like self-contained small towns with schools, churches, and a commissary. In a lot of cases there was a “juke joint” where laborers could go after a long day of work for a drink, music, and perhaps, other “entertainment.” Other necessities might be present, and for Swallow Hill, this was a cooper’s shed, (for making barrels) and the distillery, because the process to produce tar, pitch and turpentine is the same as moonshine. (Imagine my surprise at learning that!)

Distilling process demonstration from 1800s – at Campbell University, NC
Examples (Mason jars) of the end result – tar and pitch

As the back flap of the book says, ” Swallow Hill is no easy haven. The camp is isolated and squalid  . . . ”

I have a Pinterest page with lots of photos I used for research, but this was the only one I could find that might represent how Swallow Hill might have looked like.

Photo Credit, David Cecelski




Have you taken a sneak peek yet? You get to read the first SIX CHAPTERS of The Saints of Swallow Hill for FREE, and if that teaser doesn’t entice you to pick up your own personal copy to see what happens in the rest of the book, nothing will. 😉 You can select your choice of e-book, and one way to do this is via Goodreads where all varieties are available with one click.



Chirp! Chirp!

The “Chirp Deals” are still going on for all four of my novels. The Moonshiner’s Daughter is a “Featured Deal” for $2.99, and the other books are $3.99. If you haven’t taken advantage yet – tomorrow is the last day! Click HERE!

The Moonshiner’s Daughter in e-book form is still ON SALE:

Last, but not least, don’t forget to:


Add The Saints of Swallow Hill to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf

Share this post with your reader friends – or anywhere readers congregate!

Follow me on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, or my blog!

Doing the above helps a lot more than you think  . . . but most importantly, I’m grateful for all of you following along here each week!


2 thoughts on “First Sentence Fridays – Chapter 5”

  1. It’s getting better and better with each chapter! I read the sneak preview on Goodreads—wow!

    1. Yay – I’m glad you think so! Whenever I get ready for the sentence for the week, I always think – I can’t WAIT for everyone to read!

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