Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Guest Blogger Eva Marie Everson: “It’s a Southern Thang (Y’all Wouldn’t Unda-stand)” AND Giveaway!

Julie, here, and sweet tea in the mornin', how I do love everything Southern! From peach cobbler and Southern pecan coffee ... to Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. Sigh ...

Needless to say, it's my pleasure today to introduce fellow Revell author and Seeker friend, Eva Marie Everson, a true Georgia peach who is not only an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction, but an award-winning national and international speaker as well. So grab a glass of sweet tea, put your feet up and let's head south ... with Eva Marie Everson!

In 1997, when I began my journey toward publication, I started with an idea set in a fictitious small Southern town, Brooksboro, Georgia. For a year I wrote about a two-week span of time in the life of Katharine—Katie—Webster, a 40-something woman from New York City, returning to this, her hometown. The last time she’d set foot on the cracked sidewalks or walked beneath the storefront awnings had been twenty-five years earlier when, as an eighteen-year-old, she’d left after a bitter argument with her mother.

In 2000, when this book was published (Shadow of Dreams, Barbour/Promise Press), readers gleaned a glimpse of what life in a small town was like. What Southern folks were about, as complex as that is. For some, this fictitious reality was all too familiar. For others, it was a fascination, like a bearded woman in a carnival show.

For me, it was completely real. Brooksboro had been fashioned after my hometown of Sylvania, Georgia, a place I’d left over twenty years before penning the first line of the book (although not after a fight with my mother). I made regular visits back home so the changes had come to me subtly. One by one. Little by little. It wasn’t unusual for me to say to Mother, “What is that building?” or “Where did the record store go?”

Which, of course, had become the video and DVD store.

To understand my character better, however, I purposefully put myself (mentally) back in my high school days. To the way things looked back then. Sounded. Felt. I remembered the scent of burgers and greasy fries lingering in the air around the school. The smell of tobacco. Dirt from the farmlands. Dogwoods and azaleas when spring blooms and blossoms along Main Street. The intoxication of roses climbing on the trellis.
Then I returned to Sylvania. Looked at things with fresh eyes. The way life had been was no longer the way life was. Some things had been made better. Some, for the sake of progress, had been lost.

A great pity.

In doing this, I allowed my readers to better understand what it feels like to “go home” when home is such a place as Brooksboro.

The writing of Shadow of Dreams felt right. It came from a place deep inside. Who I am. What I am about. The histories of a people steeped in pride and—sometimes—ignorance, as all people can be.

Stories that go back generations pulse through my veins. They remind me of what it means to be a member of my families. To be a woman. More importantly, to be a Southern woman. They demand that I be strong in character. Ready with my faith in God. Have at least a general understanding of guns and hunting and, yes, football. Of afternoon teas in grand parlors and canning vegetables in steamy kitchens. Of blushing appropriately and swatting gnats.
Or blowing gnats.
All good Southerners know how to properly blow a gnat.
For a while after Shadow of Dreams published and sold well, I continued to write the stories in my head. They took place in locations such as New York and Vermont. Places I knew little about.

Back in the early 2000s, I had been asked by Linda Evans Shepherd to co-write a novel (which became two series—The Potluck Club series and The Potluck Catering Club series, Baker/Revell) about a group of women living in Colorado. I’d only passed through the state or had visited a few days. I knew virtually nothing of it. Of her people. Their nuances. So, Linda and I went to her cabin in Frisco for a week. I hung out in this cozy ski town. Walked up and down the sidewalks. Perused the shops. Ate in the cafes and restaurants. Listened to how the locals spoke. How they dressed. Got a feel for what it’s like to live with snow piled up all around you and to see capped mountains all around.

But I made one of my characters a transplant from Georgia. Me, were I “Goldie.” I developed her character, her back story, and so on. When the books came out, an overwhelming number of fans said, “When you write in Goldie’s character, your work shines.”

Somewhere between the writing of the books—which was great fun—I took time out to really think about where my writing career was heading. Quite frankly, I was all over the map. My brain tends to run in overdrive and my work reflected that. But I felt that God was calling me to slow down, take stock, and figure it out.

What do I want to do with my calling as a writer?
The editor for the Potluck series is a Southern gal. She and I can talk for hours on end and neither one of have to say, “Whaddjasay?”
Or, “I’m confused. What’s a didja?”
So I asked for a meeting. We sat in comfy chairs in a hotel lobby and talked about all things Southern. More than just fried chicken on Sundays or apple pie cooling in the window. More than knowing that John Deere wasn’t one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and Moonshine has absolutely nothing to do with lunar illumination. And certainly more than a general understanding that the American Civil War will always and forever be known as The War of Northern Aggression.
When I declared that I’d finally figured it out, that I wanted to write about the South, specifically that I wanted to write Southern Fiction—which is so much more than stories set in Southern towns—she fully agreed. And, with that, I began to do what the experts have always said to do; I began to write what I know and know what I write.

Here’s a story from my life—sort of—to explain what I mean about the small town Southern way of life: During her lifetime, my great-aunt Della (who inspired Aunt Stella in Things Left Unspoken, Revell) lived in only two houses. The first she was born in, was reared in, and—when she married Jimmy—she stayed in. The agreement with her widowed mother was that, as long as they didn’t have children during Great-grandmother Collins lifetime, they could remain in the large Victorian of her childhood. For whatever reason, Aunt Della agreed to the conditions, she and Jimmy stayed in the house, Jimmy worked the farmland, Great-grandmother Collins died, and children never came.

Well … not their own children. But my mother, her brothers, and their cousins were constant guests. And, when they had children, their children, of which I was one. Let me tell you a little bit about my Aunt Della. Aunt Della was crusty. A chain-smoker. A whisky-sipper. A no-nonsense woman whose stern expression was second only to her wide smile and laughing countenance. Stories of Aunt Della’s antics are—in certain areas of the South—nearly as famous as Sherman’s March to the Sea.
When Uncle Jimmy died and Aunt Della could no longer live alone, she moved in with Mother, her niece. As her health continued to fail, Mother quit her job and became fulltime caregiver to a woman who increasingly became more and more difficult to live with. Several of Mother’s friends suggested a nursing home, but Mother—loyal to the woman who’d been her second mother after my grandmother’s too-early death—would hear nothing of it.
Aunt Della stayed in a hospital bed in Mother’s family room. Mother had taken to sleeping on the sofa so she’d be able to hear any whispered calls of need. One night, around 2:00 in the morning, Mother woke to silence. No more raspy breathing from the other side of the room. She called a neighbor. She thought Aunt Della had died but needed to be sure. A second opinion. After all, as she said later, “If I’d pulled that sheet over her head and she wasn’t dead, she’d-a been mad as a hornet.”
The neighbor confirmed Aunt Della’s time on earth had come to an end.
They made the necessary calls, including to the coroner, which is protocol when someone dies in your home. His wife answered. He wasn’t home, she said. He’d already left for his paper route. But she’d call him on his cell phone and tell him to stop by the house.
In my hometown, the mayor owned the hardware store. Postal carriers still walk from house to house, stop and talk with homeowners. It may take longer, but time moves slower in the South anyway.
Another Southern story, this time about my Yankee mother-in-law. To say my father-in-law’s family was upset when he—on leave from the Navy—brought this little beauty home to the backwoods of Georgia is putting it mildly. But nothing compares to how she reacted. My father-in-law, one of thirteen children, grew up on a poor-dirt farm in every since of the word. His second wife, Mary, had answered an ad in a newspaper to be his wife. To be the mother of his eight children who had recently lost their mother. She came with nothing more than a suitcase, a little girl with red curls, and a willingness to work hard.
But my mother-in-law knew nothing of this lifestyle. She’d grown up in a city. Lived in a walk-up. With indoor plumbing. Something my father-in-law’s childhood home didn’t have.
So stunned by the primitive lifestyle, she “held it” for three days until, finally, my desperate father-in-law drove her to the courthouse so she could use the indoor restroom. In their near-sixty years of marriage, she never got over it and, as it turned out, they never got over her. My husband grew up in the same region as his grandparents and never laid eyes on them.
Yep. Southern people sure can be stubborn. And, apparently, so can Northerners.
Ready for another story? My father and his second wife reared my step-niece, who I shall call Kim. Kim was afforded all the good things young Southern girls get to enjoy and, additionally, was sent to etiquette school, called Cotillion, at the age of twelve. In the South, a cotillion is a dance where debutantes “come out.” Where, typically at the age of sixteen, they are introduced to polite society. But first, we must learn social graces. We must know how to dance properly with a member of the opposite sex and, in the process, learn a number of acceptable dances. We must know which fork to eat what with and how to fold a napkin at the end of the meal.
For the cotillion all sorts of measures are taken. An escort is chosen for the young lady. Corsages and boutonnières are purchased. And, Lord have mercy and pass the black-eyed peas, there is the dress. White, of course. Only her bridal gown will be of more importance and they will cost about the same.
I went to my father’s home shortly before Kim’s debut, as it is called. She excitedly drug me through the house, to her grandparent’s bedroom, slid open the closet door and pulled out a gown that would have made Cinderella swoon. I ogled it with her. Asked her how she would wear her hair. What about her shoes? What kind of corsage would she have—lapel or wrist? Then, as we oh-so-carefully placed it back in the closet, I caught a glimpse of the price tag.
I returned to my home in Florida—filled with Northern transplants who know of no such thing as debutantes and cotillions and such—and shared the story with a few of my friends as we gathered for Bible Study.
“And what is this for?” one of the women asked me, clearly perplexed.
“For Kim’s coming out,” I said.
Coming out?” they all asked in unison.
One continued, “I wouldn’t think that kind of thing would be celebrated in the South. Isn’t that where the buckle of the Bible belt rests?”
Ah. Translation barrier.
Last story (from me): A few years back, on Season 5 of American Idol, a Southern boy named Bucky Covington tried out and made it all the way to the top seven when he was voted off. Bucky, from North Carolina, smiled through his disappointment but squared his shoulders when Ryan Seacrest asked, “How do you feel about being voted off, Bucky?”
Bucky tossed his long blond mane and said, “Ah-man, Idonmind. I jus wanna go home anpetma dawg.”
Ryan looked at the camera and said, “I didn’t understand a word he just said.”
My husband and I looked at each other, back to the television screen and said, “He doesn’t mind. He just wants to go home and pet his dog.”
Man. Simple English …

In the past couple of years—which, in the South can be anywhere from two to five—a book titled The Help has done more for Southern Fiction than any other book since Gone With the Wind. (Favorite line: “Oh, dear, Yankees in Georgia! How did they ever get in?”*) Okay, maybe Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil brought some attention. (When it comes to that book, my claim to fame is that I remember being introduced to Lady Chablis while in middle school.) And Southern Ladies and Gentlemen surely put a true spin on things while explaining the difference in a “good, good ole boy” and a “bad, good ole boy.” These books—and there are so many others—brought what is beloved and what is not-so-pure about the South to the surface.

We, of course, have our Southern-styled movies we are proud of. And we have our comedians, singers, and actors.

If you don’t know who Lewis Grizzard was, you are probably not from the South.

After reading a book of Southern Fiction, or watching a Southern movie, or listening to a Southern comedian, or to some good ole country music straight out of Nash-city, while one still may not understand her, one at least has to appreciate her rich history. And what makes her hold on to values like a magnolia hangs on to the thick green leaves of the tree.
Recently, someone asked, “Did you read The Help?
I said that I had.
“Did you love it?” she squealed.
“Love it?” I returned. “I lived it.”

Which is why I write about the South. I’ve lived it.
What about you? Do you have a favorite Southern fiction book? Movie? Line from either? As a Southerner, do you have a favorite story from your life or the life of your kin? As a writer, have you had to determine what you know and then write about it? Or, have you had to become familiar with something before you could write about it?

*Aunt Pittypat, Gone with the Wind.

BOOK GIVEAWAY: To win a copy of Eva Marie's latest book, Chasing Sunsets, share a favorite Southern memory, book, movie, line or simply leave a comment, and you will be entered in the contest. Good luck!

Eva Marie Everson is an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction as well as an award-winning national and international speaker. She has worked closely with Israel Ministry of Tourism to bring Christian pilgrims and journalists to The Land of the Bible, teaches at writers conferences across the US and, in 2011, served as a adjunct professor at Taylor University in Upland, IN. Eva Marie serves as the Executive Co-Chairman for Word Weavers, a national/international Christian writers critique group under the auspices of Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She also serves as one of CWG's writing mentors. She is a member of a number of organizations such as RWA, AWSA, ACFW, and Christian Writers Guild Word Weavers Orlando. Eva Marie has worked with a number of publishers--and not because she is difficult to get along with. Among those she has been honored to work with are: Barbour, David C. Cook, NavPress, Baker Publishing Group, and Thomas Nelson.


  1. I am not southern. I am Ozarkian.

    But I write from where I live and what I know.

    Coffee's ready.


  2. Hi Miss Eva Marie!

    (Definitely a southern thing, that "Miss" isn't it? I do love the South...)

    Also loved this: If you don’t know who Lewis Grizzard was, you are probably not from the South.

    One of my fave books by him is Don't Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes. So for those of you who don't know about Lewis, now you do. He's a HOOT!

    BTW, I just returned from CWG Boot Camp. WAWZAH! Loved being with the folks there. Perhaps we'll catch you another time! The CWG was/is a huge part of my life and I'm forever grateful.

    Thanks for a fun post!

  3. Hey Helen! Thanks for the coffee this morning! It's going to be a late night here!

  4. Hey, Eva Marie! Frisco, CO is a long way from the heart of the South! If you were talking snow and mountain fun, I hope you came prepared with all the snowbunny fixin's, LOL!

    I love your Southern stories and I love Bucky : ) Gotta love anyone who wants to go home and pet his dawg.

    So fun having you here in Seekerville. Always nice to host a little southern sunshine!!

    Did Julie mention Southern Pecan coffee? Mmm, my favorite.

  5. I was once asked if I would write Southern Fiction. No, no, no thank you! I'm too much a Northerner. But I probably understand Southern culture a little more than most Northerners. (lots of family in Mississippi)

    I took two trips to the South this year. I fell in love with the landscape. It sure is a different world and it sure was nice to finally arrive to my uncle's so he could translate. ;) I took my youngest daughter with me on the second trip and she had her first 'sweet tea' of course she said it's just like how we make it at home. And she's right.

    I think my favorite Southern thing besides, my family who has resided in, Tupelo, Hattiesburg, Yazoo and Pascagoula, is Peanut Butter Pie.

    Okay, I have to ask, what is up with all the Waffle Houses? They're almost on every block!

  6. One of my fondest Christmas memories took place in the South. We joined relatives caroling on the Gulf coast - off the Naples pier. Christmas sure sounds different with that Southern twang. ;)

    Thanks for the post, Miss Eva Marie.


  7. Mornin', all, and welcome, Eva Marie, to Seekerville!!

    In honor of Eva Marie's visit, we've got a Dixie delight brunch going on with peach-glazed ham, cheesy grits, maple-cured bacon, blackberry, peach & apple cobbler, Southern banana pudding, pecan squares, crab cake hash and Southern-style Eggs Benedict, along with hazelnut cinnamon and Southern pecan coffee and a selection of teas.

    Dig in, guys!


  8. My first finished ms was called 'Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits' and was loosely based on my experience in college as a lover of Austen, living with an amazing woman from Mississippi. Talk about translation barrier!

    I always loved her polite was of asking for things: 'It's a bit airish in here.' = 'Please turn up the heat since you're closest.'

    I was raised to stand up and yell real loud if I thought anyone was being mistreated because of their color/ nationality/ etc. My dear friend attended a private school that was founded the year desegregation hit the South. She had a senior class photo of a dress-up day and there were two guys in KKK outfits.

    But she brought me home when she got her ears pierced because she was afraid of what her mama was going to do, and if I was there, the worst might blow over by the time we went back to classes on Monday.

    I loved our visits to her hometown, I loved the food and the warm folks! I loved how pillow turned into 'pilla'...

  9. Helen! I have a friend from Ozark, Alabama. :)

    Christina, I've been to Tupelo! We had to make a roadtrip to Elvis's birthplace.

    I just loved all Eva marie's stories- especially the coming out party! Ha!

    Now going off to find more on lewis Gizzard...

  10. Virginia:

    I'm a Missouri Ozarkian. For several years I lived near the Lake of the Ozarks.

    Now I'm just north of the boot heel.


  11. Hello Eva Marie,

    The pictures on your post are lovely. Perhaps that is some of that Southern charm!

    I would love to win your book,
    Jan K.

  12. Hey, Julie! Hey, Eva Marie! I really enjoyed this post--you might say it "hits home" : ) I come from a long line of dramatic, intelligent, piercingly humorous Southern women. I was born and raised, and still reside, in a small railroad in the beautiful mountains of VA. My all-time favorite movie is "Show Boat" (1951), with Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson. When I was a kid, my mother, grandmother and I would sing along with the movies. Mom had the high voice, mine was lower, and Gran did the "silly singing". On a nonmusical note, my mother was totally enamored of the film "Gone With the Wind". I have truly lost track of the number of times that we saw it in the theater, and then again when it started being shown on TV. She thought Leslie Howard, who portrayed Ashley Wilkes, was quite a hunk! My most vivid memory of our "Gone With the Wind" experience was when it was shown at our local theater during my senior year in high school. Mom and I had to go, and we ended up sitting on the front row with two friends of mine from my high school class. We three girls spent as much time watching Mom and her expressions and taking in her comments as we did watching the movie. Many times through the years, my friends have told me that Mom made the movie memorable for them! I can still see her face, lit with an almost childish delight, and illuminated by the images on the screen. My beloved grandfather, who was the light of my life, had to deal with four generations of women from "our line": my great-grandmother, my Gran--his wife of almost 50 years, my mama, and me! He lost his hair at a young age (wonder why), but he never lost his good nature and responsible caring for all of us. I will always be a "Paw Paw's girl". A man who takes care of his family with his wealth is a provider. A hero is a man who takes care of his family in all circumstances, especially when wealth is unavailable or unattainable. A man with a compassionate heart, strong principles, honor and humor will always be heroic to those who love him. Money cannot buy those qualities. My grandfather was a modest and moderate man, and a real Southern gentleman. He loved the holidays more than all the rest of my family put together. He came from a close-knit, loving family unit. They didn't have a lot of money, but they had a lot of heart, and he had a happy childhood. He was a Christmas Tree Expert Extraordinaire! He also loved all the foods of the holidays, and every year he would ask me to make Spritz Cookies. I can't tell you how many of those little butter cookies we ate, but they were as much fun to make as they were to eat!


    2 1/2 cups sifted flour
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 cup butter
    1/2 cup granulated white or brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp. vanilla or other flavoring

    food coloring
    colored decorating sugar

    Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine flour and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla (or other flavoring), and if desired, food coloring. Gradually add flour/salt while mixer is running on low speed. Pack dough into a cookie press following manufacturer's instructions (or put into a pastry bag fitted with a large star shaped tip). Press mixture onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets. Top with sprinkles or colored sugar. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, depending upon cookie size.

  13. Great day in the morning, y'all! Don't you people ever sleep? My grandparents used to go to bed at 8 at night but were up around 3 in the morning (they also had a paper route). As a child I thought it the most ridiculous thing ever. That is, until I got older. And now, the older I get, the more it makes sense. Only, I don't have a paper route so, unless I'm catching a plane (or under deadline), I try not to get up that early!

    Having my coffee now, Helen! But I make it with a cup of no-fat milk, warmed in the microwave, add a cap full of vanilla, and a packet of instant coffee. It's delicious and it keeps me from being hungry until about 10 in the morning. :)

    Eva Marie

  14. KC: are you a members of CWG Word Weavers?

    Audra: I absolutely loved Frisco. I went for a week-long stretch probably five times while we were writing the books. I do love snow, something I never see here in Florida. And, living in Florida, I declare you have to go NORTH to get SOUTH of here.

    Christina: you are undoubtedly wise. Do not write about the South if you don't fully understand her. Shoot, people who grew up there don't really fully understand her ... but we try. Waffle Houses: Yep. The concept of Breakfast for Dinner. Cheap. There ya have it.

    Lyndee: Christmas FEELS different when it's 80 degrees, too!

  15. Julie: gracious girl, get out of the kitchen and go to bed!

    Virginia: My novel, THINGS LEFT UNSPOKEN, deals with the KKK's influence in the South. Many of my Southern readers wrote to me and said, "Oh, I was hoping you'd ignore that part of our history." Of course to ignore it would mean to repeat it. And we NEVER want to do that again. How horrifying it is to me that a school would allow that, and I'd like to say "that was then ..." but I know that prejudice --from both sides--still exists in the South. That said, great strides have been made. I am amazed and proud at the number of Southerners rallying around Herman Cain. (This is not a political endorsement but rather an observation.) Maybe we have grown up, I think.

  16. For those of you who don't know who Lewis Grizzard was, go to: http://www.lewisgrizzard.com/

    We lost Lewis too soon. His heart was bad, he had three valves replaced with the valves of a little pig. He often said that he felt just fine but when he passed by a barbecue place his eyes got a little misty.

  17. Spritz Cookies: yum, yum yum ... and me sitting here on a dang diet. Five pounds gone with 15 more to go (that is, if I can stay away from the Spritz Cookies!!!)

  18. Here's a question (and a way to know the real Southerners from the wannabes)

    What does it mean to "suwannee"? (And no peeking online!)

    Eva Marie

  19. I love glimpses of the South since I think I'm part Southern. Except for bugs the size of leopards and humidity. Other than that...

    Oh, and grits.

    I don't do grits.

    Other than that...

    Oh, and I'm really working on saying Pe-cahns.... Not Peee caaaaaaans

    This Southern thing is tougher than it looks, but I KNOW how to fry pies. And pickles. (Thank you, Tulsa!!!)

    And that should make me an honorary member.

  20. I'm also a Missouri Ozarkian. Not Southern, but not quite Northern either. It's what I write.

    And my Great-great Grandpa fought in the War of Northern Aggression too.

    I worked for Chick-fil-A for years and spend several weeks in Atlanta over the years for trainings. That's South. Most of my extended family is in LA or TX near LA.

    It's too early in the morning to come up with a good Southern story, but I'd love to be entered to win.

    carolmoncado at gmail dot com

  21. Ruth: And the fact that you begin all your sentences with "and" is a big indicator! :)

    Eva Marie

  22. Carol: LOVE Atlanta ('lanna). I'm from the Low Country of GA; our accents are different.

    When I went to see "The Help" (at the Picture Show, as we used to call it), I recognized the accent of the actor playing the main character's love interest. I told my friend Cheryl, who was with me, "That boy either grew up in Atlanta or he's studied the accent really well." Sure enough, the actor grew up in Atlanta!

    Eva Marie

  23. HELEN, you sweetheart, you ... you have Southern roots in them thar Ozark hills, girl, don't ya know??? Thanks for putting the java on, sweetie pie -- you're a Seeker soldier true to the great and glorious cause! ;)


  24. Welcome to Seekerville, Eva Marie! Your post was a delight. I'm fascinated by all things southern. Love Gone with the Wind and The Help. Love Charleston and Savannah. Love a southern accent. Your books sound wonderful!

    Southerners immigrated to Indiana. You often hear a southern accent at that end of Hoosier land.

    I write small-town Americana. My grandparents lived on a farm with a pump, outdoor plumbing and wood stoves. I remember going to bed in their unheated upstairs with a cold nose, sock-covered hot bricks at my toes and comforters piled so high, I couldn't move. These early memories are no indication that I'm as old as my settings. :-)


  25. Yes, ma'am, AUDRA, we DO have Southern Peeee-cann coffee, girl, so belly up ... uh, to the breakfast bar, I mean! ;)

    And, VIRGINIA, 'Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits' truly???? LOVE IT!!! Not the grits, mind you, but the title -- too cute!!

    VIRGINIA C ... sounds like your mama and I would have gotten along just fine and dandy as young girls because I would have been in the front row with y'all, eyes glazed and mouth gaping. Did, in fact, do that very thing at the age of 16 when I dressed up like a nun to go see GWTW for the very first time. They released it every seven years back then and I had never seen it after I fell in love with the book at the age of 12, so when I found out they were having a free showing for the clergy in the area, I talked my friends into borrowing some nun outfits and off we went. Free popcorn, soda and Clark Gable. Sigh. Doesn't get any better than that for a 16-year-old GWTW freak, I'll tell ya. :) Oh, and spritz cookies??? One of my ALL-TIME faves!! Every year for years I made white flower spritz with jam in the center and green Christmas tree spritz with red-hot ornaments. YUM!!


  26. EVA MARIA ... WHICH, by the way, I always want to write "Ava Maria"!!! ... consider me "out of the kitchen" for the rest of the day, okay?? The McClares are calling ... :)

    Thank you for being such a gracious guest, girl, but then I would expect no less than full-blown Southern hospitality from a Southern belle like you!


  27. A southern gal here from South Miss. Goodness gracious, girl, I'd love to read this book. You know as Southerns seems like we call all girls things like - sister, girl, girlfriend... My next door neighbor rolls out "Shut yur mouth" all the time! She's so funny.

    I do know that my great-grandfather traded tobacco for his Indian bride. (Wonder how that made her feel).

    Oh and I know who Lewis Grizzard is too!

    Christina I'm from Mississippi!

    And to me it's still, breakfast-dinner-supper! haha

  28. I'm not southern - would never claim to be - but we lived in the near south for five years (Lexington, KY), and southern-influenced West Texas for another three year stint, so I've experienced just enough of the south to enjoy the music, the accents, the traditions, and yes, even the grits, Ruthy! Cheese grits are the best!

    But not the bugs, heat or humidity. No way. I used to hibernate in the summer. Miserable all the time.

    And the bugs still invade my dreams...they never go away...

    And I kind of miss being called "Miss Jan". Just thinking it makes me think of those southern voices.

    But I don't miss how words tended to grow syllables (I'm goin' ta go ta bay-ed early toni-yight).

    Give me a stiff northwest wind with a touch of snow and I'm happy!

    (A good freeze kills those bugs deader than Raid)

    But one thing I love about Southern Fiction is that it even makes us Yankees feel like we're coming home.

    Thanks for giving us a touch of the south today, Eva Marie!

  29. Eva, you already know you are my main Southern author and I loved the Bucky quote! Of course I knew what he said. “Ah-man, Idonmind. I jus wanna go home anpetma dawg.” All this talk about grits is really making me want to find a Shoney's and they closed 2 of them in the Daytona area. I just don't understand how they could do that!

    We can't talk Southern without talking about our mamas. I loved her old "sayings":

    She used to say "It's a great life if you don't weaken," "You have to laugh to keep from crying,” and "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

    And Mama always said, "What goes around comes around." That is what I would like imitate. That is why I want to sow seeds of goodness, kindness and love because those are the types of things I want to come back to my family. Bless your children and they will bless you. Love your husband and see what a return you get. It is the principal of "sowing and reaping." Mama also said, "Only the good die young." This must certainly be true. She died unexpectedly at age 62. Sometimes I try to imagine life with her still here. Many times I have gone over in my mind the things I wanted to do for her when she was alive. Whenever we have a family celebration or are eating at a restaurant, I am often wishing she were still alive and here enjoying herself. She loved to eat and used to say, "I'd rather die than not be able to eat what I want."

    Diabetes helped that statement come true.

    Mama, if I had you back for even one day, I would treat you like a queen. I would take you anywhere you wanted to go. I would make you whatever you liked for me to cook, carrot cake or the little fancy sandwiches for a picnic. We would find a “Po Folks” restaurant even if I had to drive you from Florida to Tennessee to do it. I would take you to a movie and to the flea market. I would rub your back with alcohol and then lotion and I would wash your tired feet with warm, scented water and my tears. I would pray a blessing upon you and show you how much I love you.

    Eva keep writing for us Southern girls, we are forever indebted to you. Love, Hope and Prayers,

    Donna Collins Tinsley

  30. Hi Eva Marie,

    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful stories of the South. I loved living in Southern Virginia and have two memories that always stand out. First, a friend’s aunt and uncle owned a plantation and when I was invited on a tour the aunt told me I was a sweet girl and shouldn’t visit anywhere north of Maryland. Second, was when I went to my boyfriend’s home for Thanksgiving and his mother was so upset she forgot to make regular iced tea for me and only had sweet tea. I drank the sweet tea, and that’s when I knew I would never be a Southerner. I couldn’t abide the stuff (I know heresy). But I just loved the people, and the food was amazing. :o)


  31. Jan, what we lose with the bug we make up for with the humidity. Now, I know that doesn't sound right but it is. You see, I've noticed that whenever I go North, my skin becomes so dry and "pulled." But when I'm in the South, what with it's humidity, my skin is subtle. This is the secret of Southern beauties who never seem to grow old. We don't stay out in the sun and when we ARE outside, the humidity is like a skin treatment.

    That's the only way I can live through it to be honest. :)

    Eva Marie

    PS: My dear sweet Julie. It's Eva Marie. Not Eva Maria. :) (That's a title I get a lot here in Florida, what with the Spanish influence!! LOL) However, I do love Ava Maria. LOVE that song!

  32. Hey Eva, great stories. Just had to stop by when I heard my friend Eva was sitting on y'all's porch today. As I'm reading, I have the pleasure some reading here don't...I can actually hear her voice telling each story. Folks, Eva's a southerner, for real, through and through.

    As for me, I'm kind of a mutt. Born in Philly, drove down in the backseat of my parent's car when my Dad was hired to work on the Apollo moonshot program. Wound up staying after the country discovered moon rocks weren't all that special.

    But see, growing up in FL when you're born a Yank, doesn't make you a Southerner, not like Eva. I don't know what I am. My only Southern expression is y'all. I only like half the food down here, even after 4 decades (okra? I don't think people were meant to eat such as that). Truth is, I'd take a Philly cheesesteak loaded with ketchup over Fried chicken, without batting an eye.

    But y'all listen to Eva, if you want to know the beauty and wonder of life in the South. She is for real.

  33. What a fun post, Eva. :) My story will be quick; I have kiddos to get off to school. :)

    Two "talking" stories. My husband's first assignment with the Air Force after we were married was to Montgomery, AL. I quickly learned the difference between "y'all" (singular) and "all y'all." (plural). That still tickled me. And in my mind, I confess, I sometimes correct people who use "y'all" as plural. :)

    The other story is of a gal who became a sweet friend in my life, a genuine Southern belle. She taught kindergarten. One day she came to Bible study, a little confused. She told me with her fun drawl: "Ah had the hahdest tahm teachin' my students the diff'rence betwueen 'quite' and 'quite.'" She said both "quite" and "quiet" the same way. :)

    Thanks for sharing your stories today. Off and runnin' hoping to stop back later and read comments. :)

  34. Good morning Eva Marie,

    Well that's Southern. Use of both names.

    Welcome to Seekerville and thanks for sharing all of your Southern secrets. How fun is that?

    My great Grandma headed West in a covered wagon from the South. So I have a Southern name and my family always used both also, esp when I was in trouble. LOL

    But people always ask me if I'm from the South because I guess Grandma and Mom passed down many Southern idioms which I must use.

    That's about all the Southern that I am though. I'm a Western gal through and through. And you're so right. We do use what we know in our stories. That is what makes them so real. My best stories are those that are set in the West.

    So thanks for sharing all of your info. So informative and I do love Southern food. Must have been passed down also. smile

  35. Hello to another Ga Lady, I live not far from Swainsboro and know what you mean when you talk about small town Ga, love your pics and the southern talk. I dont think I have read any of your books but will be looking now that I have seen this one today. looks like a terrific story. thanks for sharing your talant.
    I can see some of you know your southern goodies, everything looks so tasty..

    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

  36. I forgot to mention that my favorite name for the war also known as "The Civil War" or "The War of Northern Aggression" is "The Late Unpleasantness".

    And I had put Okra completely out of my mind until Dan mentioned it {{{shudder}}}. I still don't believe it's really food.

  37. I'm not Southern, although my mother was raised in Texas. I grew up drinking sweet tea that rivaled syrup and had to learn that Californians don't say aggs when they mean eggs.

    I'm a California native, and I set my stories in this part of the country. I understand how the people of the Far West think. I'd have to do a lot of research to think like a Southerner or a person from the Midwest. There are subtle differences only a person from that part of the country would know. Like you, if I were to set a book in another part of the country, I'd have to go there to get a feel for the place and its people.

  38. My grandmother was a transplant to S. Miss from Northern Michigan. She made it quite clear to me when I was a child and thought to show 'Southern' manners that she was not a Ma'am and never would be and I wasn't to address her as such.

    I was recently sent copies of a few of my gggg grandfather's journal entries. It was interesting to see that my gggg grandmother, who had never lifted a hand before the war, was unable to care for her children and her husband after the war.

    I love Southern names, they have such great character--Pearl Sabre, Charity Keziah, Jemina, Lula, Durham, Sims are just a few.

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. I grew up in Nebraska--in the 60s. We read about the Civil war--but it wasn't something that seemed relevant since our state wasn't part of the conflict AND of course it was something that happened so long ago. Then in the 70s I married a man from RI and we relocated to Washington, DC. At my first ladies gathering in our neighborhood, I was told, "You have arrived, you are south of the Mason Dixon." I just smiled, not wanting to tell anyone that I didn't know what the Mason Dixon was--but I learned bit by bit. Although we were only in that area for a year, I remember fondly the gracious style of my "Southern" lady friends. I'd love to win a copy of your new book. pgrau (dot) ggi (at) gmail (dot) com

  41. Patricia - I was told that same thing when we moved to Lexington, KY.

    I wasn't sure if it was a welcome or a warning.

    In Texas it was a warning.

  42. Oh my goodness!!! Pass the purple hull peas and cornbread, Eva Marie, honey!!! I grew up in LA, or Lower Alabama for you non-Southerners. But I was too poor to even know what a Cotillion was until I was grown and moved away from my economically and socially depressed rural area.

    Your blog post reads so smooth and feels as comfortable as my grandmother's quilt. I wrote a Southern novel. I still can't understand why it hasn't sold. It's set in the late 1800's in Alabama, which is not so different from where I grew up in the 1970's, if you know what I mean. I thought, this is what I know. This will get published before my Medievals. But no. Still in limbo. I don't know if it's the Southern setting or what.

    But it's awesome that The Help has done so well. I adored that book. And now I must read some of yours, Eva Marie!!! Because I'm feeling deprived at the thought that I haven't read a one!

  43. And did I mention that I'm named after Melanie in Gone with the Wind? Not the book, but the movie, since my mother wasn't a big reader. Although now she reads constantly.

  44. Alas, I have absolutely no connections to the South...I'm a Nebraska girl, born and raised (yay, Patricia is from NE too!). We're kind of in the middle, literally and figuratively: no east coast traditions or Southern charm, and not far enough west for to have a great cowboy culture. But that's OK, we have things that are unique to the Midwest, too.

    As for Southern fiction, I love Gone with the Wind, too, and John Jakes' amazing North and South trilogy. My favorite parts are before the war, when the Hazard family is staying at the Main family plantation of Mont Royal. Such southern gentility...

  45. I know it has different culture from the rest of the South, but my husband and I went to New Orleans for a week for a family wedding two years ago and loved it! Such a beautiful city! We decided we'd love to go there for a writer's retreat someday, and base a book in NoLA. With our characters being visitors, of course, since we couldn't totally capture that Southern-ness without being natives. :)

  46. I'm from Texas and I'm not sure where we fit in.

    We don't say peeee-cans. My father-in-law is from Georgia and when I was dating my husband, he suggested we go pick up peee-cans to make extra money. I had picked up aluminum cans before and it just didn't make sense why my husband stopped under a big tree.

    My parents names; Tex Autrey and Lillie Lou. Does that count as southern?

    My grandma dipped snuff.

    My daddy is the only person I've heard say, "That ain't much pumpkin."

    When I was little, I heard a discussion at Church when you should say "idea" or "ideal." An older lady spoke up, just as serious as she could be, and said, "It's i-dee."

    "Chocolate over biscuits" was a favorite on Sunday mornings.

    One of my critique partners told me "for sure" was a southern thing. (Notice I refrained in my first sentence?)

    Took my a while to figure out why I was having a hard time finding "loble" in the dictionary. ie. I'm loble to run to town this afternoon if it doesn't rain. It's "liable." Another word my dad uses a lot and probably not correctly.

  47. Oh my goodness. You brought back so many memories of my childhood. I was dirt poor, but did have an indoor bathroom! LOL I wouldn't trade growing up in the south for anything! Of course, I am still living in the south. Just moved from the boondocks/swamp of Florida, to the mountains of NC. Can't get away from the south! Would love to win this book! jumpforjoy@gmail.com

  48. Eva...God bless you, honey! I only have time for a quick peek at the comments now, but I brought grits.

    Ruthy mentioned grits, but she didn't offer any...

    Grits, anyone?

    I'm just a bit south of Atlanta...and not far from Lewis Grizzard's home. Remember Celestine Sibley? Another great Georgian.

    Have to run...I'll be back later!

  49. Eva Marie, the 'fake KKK' high school photo would have been around 1992, since we were the same age.

    And I think a place deep in traditions resists change... even the good kind. But I KNOW that most of those things we would faint at up here in the Pacific NW just aren't... that big of a deal. My friend actually had her HS picture on the WALL before people starting commenting on it. It just hadn't really occured to her before!

    I'm so glad your book addresses that! It's not a good story with parts missing, haha!!

  50. HAHAHA! These posts are killing me!!

    I love all these Southern stories!

  51. I always wanted to be a deb.

    That boat has sailed, but your book looks MAHVELOUS. Welcome to Seekerville.

  52. When Ruthy and Mary and I went to Tulsa last month I had the pleasure of eating okra again.

    What a total treat. Second only to fried catfish.

  53. I have a brother in law in Florida and he married a genuine southern girl.
    I remember once when we were visiting and they had two young children who were playing in the yard and the mom the children in a couple times, then, her patience waning, she calls out the door, "Y'all two, get in here."

    That struck me as so odd and interesting.
    I would have thought..."Y'all get in here."
    But "Y'all two..."

    It's charming and different and it HAS to be genuine because SHE was the real deal southern girl

  54. Connie Queen, you cracked me up, girl! I wasn't quite sure what you meant by this: My daddy is the only person I've heard say, "That ain't much pumpkin."

    Do you mean, "That ain't much, pumpkin."? Because if he called somebody pumpkin, he would have said "Punkin." I had to take five whole minutes to help my daughter practice saying her Great Aunt Punkin's name. She finally got it right, bless her heart. If you want to use this term of endearment, my Yankee friends, just let the first "n" kind of hang in the air when you say it. Be gentle on your consonants.

  55. Mary, she had to specify which two "y'alls" she meant. Y'all two, instead of all y'all.

    There's a difference.

    And Tina, fried okra is the best. Well, second only to fried squash. Mmmmmm. Making myself hungry.

  56. I'm from the north. Suburbs of NYC. I spent time in the Midwest. Now I live in the South. Methinks it isn't that much different no matter where you are, and many of the things are are "southern" like cotillions are more common across the nation than one thinks. What makes them southern, I guess, is the extent to which it is an inbred tradition going back generations vs. a good idea someone came up with and hopes will catch on.

    FL is a special kind of south, I think, because there are so many transplants. It's rare for me to meet a native Floridian, even after nearly a decade. Most everyone is from somewhere else.

  57. Oh, fried okra!!!! When we chance a garden okra is a must. So thankful to biscuit for coming out with a gluten free version. And chocolate gravy over biscuits is a Christmas tradition. Oh and 'yuns' I hear that word more than y'all.

    Okay, so, I didn't use the Internet but texted my cousin said she thought knew what suwannee means, but I'll see if anyone else answers first. She's a long time Mississippian but she though for sure it was a Georgia term. *g* She said Southern women knew sweet tea, fried chicken and bbq. LOL! And I thought BBQ was invented in Kansas City. ;)

  58. I'm a southern California girl transplanted to the Arkansas side of the Ozarks. It took a while to adjust to the lingo. And at first I was forever benging asked to slow down when I talk.

    For you Missouri Ozarkians, if you were even to suggest to an Arkie that the Ozarks aren't southern... well lets just say them hollows are might deep, a person could get lost. Our High school mascots are the Rebels.

  59. Y'all are weird.

    'Sall I'm sayin'.

    But I LOVE Southern novels, so that's okay.

    And I tried Teeeena's fried green stuff in Tulsa and it was good.

    Not as good as the pickles, though.

    Those were GREAT.

  60. Oh, I tell you, my in-laws are from the hills in Arkansas and they are definitely Southerners.

  61. Welcome, Eva Marie, and thanks for being with us today! I see you are definitely a true Southerner because you used the word "drug" correctly: "She drug me through the house."

    Here's a story for you. When my DH and I were planning our marriage, he decided he wanted to elope to the Smokies (largely, I think, because they don't require blood tests there, a thing he is terrified of.) Accordingly, we made a planning trip down to Sevierville, TN and went in to make an appointment with the Justice of the Peace, who happened to own the feed store. He asked us when we were hoping to have our ceremony and we gave him a date in October. "Honey," he called to his secretary/wife, "Is that a Big Orange day?" "No, it's OK," she replied, "It's an away game." My DH just looked at me and smiled and said, "We take our college football seriously here in the South."

    Y'all have a wonderful day!

  62. Hi, Eva Marie! I had this big long post and now its gone. Sigh...

    Like Helen, I'm an Ozarkian - not quite a Southerner (hillbilly more like it), but pretty close to the real deal. I grew up around words like yunz and y'all, over yonder, down the holler, I'll swan or I'll be horn-swoggled, and things like that. :D I drink sweet tea and could drive just about any vehicle daddy would bring home.

    I think I write mostly what I know. I do research as needed, but I stick close to what's familiar to me.

    Please add me to the drawing.

    BTW, I'm in the south now, for sure. SC :D

  63. Melanie,

    LOL. "That ain't much pumpkin," means it's not worth much. He's not calling someone pumpkin.
    Could be referring to a person, though, (He ain't much pumpkin.) or a situation. If you just bought a part for the tractor, put it on, and it broke, it wouldn't be worth much pumpkin.

  64. Daddy also would tell us kids to quit "wallering" on the couch. I think that's slang for "wallow." I used the term in a ms and a judge wrote back, "???" Maybe "wallowing" isn't as common as I thought it was. The pig wallowed in the mire in the Bible. Kids wallow on furniture. Makes sense to me.

  65. what a wonderful posting...

    eva, i love your novels...thanks for the opportunity to read your latest :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  66. Love this post! : ) It definitely makes me smile because I was born in Georgia and have lived most of my life here. Now I'm in a small south GA town and even though I'm only about 60 miles from my birthplace...a much bigger southern town ; )...I feel like I'm in a different world sometimes! I love Steel Magnolias, even though it always makes me cry, it also makes me laugh like crazy! For example:
    Clairee: I've just been to the dedication of the new children's park.
    Truvy: Yeah, how did that go?
    Clairee: Janice Van Meter got hit with a baseball. It was fabulous.
    Truvy: Was she hurt?
    Clairee: I doubt it. She got hit in the head.

    There are so many things I love about living here...the southern drawl, the peaches, the way you can wave and say hey to people you don't even know, and so much more!
    Thanks again for the post! I'd love to be in the drawing!

  67. Welcome Eva Marie!! Oh my goodness--I am THRILLED we have a Southern guest today!! (and I hate that I'm so late joining in, but I had to run errands earlier--it looks like it's fixin' to storm here).~ I SO enjoyed your post, Eva Marie, and could relate to so much of what you wrote (but I was NOT a debutante, teehee). Born in Atlanta, I've lived in the Atlanta area my entire life (and cannot imagine living anywhere else). LOVE my Georgia (well...except for the humidity, but that's just part of the south!). ~ My entire family was Lewis Grizzard fans, and when he passed away we all grieved. ~ Also am a big Gone With the Wind fan!! My precious Mama (now in Heaven) marched (with her Girls High school band) in the big parade in Atlanta when the movie was opening! She told me it was sooo exciting (and she got to see Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, and others). ~ Well, I could go on and on...but just wanted to say Welcome from another Southern lady and I'm looking forward to reading your latest book. Also, in honor of your visit today (even though others have already provided yummy food) I just baked a Georgia Peach Cobbler and took it out of my oven--also have whipped cream if you like that on top. ~ Hugs (from the McDonough area in GA), Patti Jo :)

  68. I've always loved the way Eva uses description in her novels. I feel like I'm right there. For my own novel, I had to do tons of research - nothing was familiar. But for the next one, I'm going to write a story set in my own hometown.

  69. Love catching up on all the personal stories...

    How 'bout the older ladies who often say, "My daughter carried me to the doctor." As in, my daughter drove/took me to the doctor.

    Gotta get carried somewhere! :)

    Or maybe, "I'm fixin' to be carried to the doctor."

    What are you fixin' to do?

  70. Welcome, Eva! Great post!

    When I moved to Atlanta, I started reading Lewis Grizzard's columns in the AJC (well, it wasn't the AJC then, it was either the Journal or the Constitution :)) and loved them so much! I started cutting them out of the paper and mailing them home to my mom and dad (in Kentucky). :)

    BTW, I finished The Help today. Loved it!

  71. Kirsten: "anywhere north of Maryland." That made me laugh out loud!

    Donna: I love you too!

  72. Tina: We should have an "over _6 Deb party!"

    Over 26.
    Over 36.
    Over .... um ... 56!

    Eva Marie

  73. Dan: People were only meant to eat Okra fried, honey. FRIED!! I don't eat nothing that goes down my throat before I can swallow!

    (or swalla!) :)

    Sandra: Yes, we Southerners do love our double names. I am often asked, "Do you go by Eva or Eva Marie." I reply: "Eva Marie is professional. My friends call me Eva. Be my friend." :) (That goes for you, too, Sandra!)

  74. Another Georgia lady!! I really enjoyed your post, Eva Marie!! I live in NE GA. And yes, it is hot & humid here!
    Hooray to Tina for liking fried okra.....we love it!
    I would love to read your book, Eva Marie!!!

  75. Got an older lady in the little church my "retired" hubby pastors. She loves to sing. And she sing "halleluyer, halleluyer."

  76. Jeanne: I had a teacher to said "Bomb" and "Bum" the same way. It took me forever to understand why the BUM did so much damage over there in Japan during World War II (which she said as War-War II)


    Kelli: "aggs" ... ROTFL!!! (What's so funny?)

    Patricia: I love it that you had arrived by crossing the Mason Dixon line. Yeah, it's funny how a war fought two centuries ago can still cause such pricklies.

    Eva Marie

  77. Forgot to say.....I loved The Help, too! Am now reading and loving
    To Have & To Hold...featured on fictitious island like Jekyll Island in GA....by Judith Miller and Tracie Peterson. A must read for you southern ladies (like me)!!!

  78. Melanie: Yes, darlin', I know what you mean. I truly, truly do.

    Stephanie: In the South we REAR our children and we RAISE our cattle. :)
    (That always cracks me up...)

    Connie: My grandma dipped, too! Spit into a Maxwell House coffee can. Or at least I think that's what it was. I didn't go near it!

  79. Christina: The story about your GGGGG grandmother is just ... well ... sad.

    Joy: Where are you in NC? I love it there. So genteel. So tar-heel!

    Jackie: Where are ya?

    EC: We take our football seriously in the South ... I'm just sayin' is all...

    Tina: did you eat your okra fried?

    Missy: Don't you miss Lewis?? I know I do.

  80. Linette: where are ya up there in South Carolina?

    Debby: You should read some of my old posts at my Southern Voice blog. I talk about the difference in being carried and toted.

  81. Tracey: My favorite line from Steel Magnolias is from Clairee: Ouiser, you know I love ya more'n my luggage!

    Another favorite line, also from Ouiser (who I swear I'm just like when I get riled up): This is it, I've found it, I'm in hell.

  82. Gone With the Wind is my favorite movie! Scarlett O'Hara--I'll think about that tomorrow. I'd love to win this book. Thanks for the chance!
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net.

  83. Thought I'd leave all y'all for a few minutes (I'm fixin to fix some supper) with this story:

    My husband and I went to Georgia with our daughter to meet our future son in law (us, for the first time. She'd met him before!) We went to a restaurant ... okay ... a steak house ... that was packed with people. You've never SEEN so many people standing in line for a baked potato and some beef.

    The hostess told us we'd have a long (and I do mean LONG) wait. UNLESS that is we wanted to go into the bar.

    The bar was not a BAR/BAR. But a sectioned off room where you could throw peanut hulls on the floor, get a beer, smoke a ciggy-butt or a cigar, listen to some really really loud County and Western music, and order your food.

    We were hungry so we said yes.

    Now please understand. My idea of roughing it is sleeping on the sofa at the Ritz Carlton. This is not my idea of a dinner out.

    But we were hungry. (Did I meantion that?)

    So into the smokey, noisy haze we went. And we got right to work on the peanuts (we were hungry ...). While my husband, daughter, and future son in law threw their hulls on the floor, I placed mine atop a napkin next to me on the table. Which was sticky.

    After several minutes of my absolute silence my daughter asked me, "Are you all right?"

    To which I replied: "I have died and gone to Hee Haw hell."

    True story.

    I couldn't make that one up!

    Eva Marie

  84. Hi Eva:

    I have a southern story. I’m a Yankee from NY and when I was 10 the family took a vacation to Florida. We stopped in Georgia for lunch at a classic southern kitchen restaurant where the waitresses wore antebellum dresses.

    I was afraid of southerners because, at the time, riots were on the evening news. Angry people were rioting while other people were being bitten by police dogs. I was afraid if they knew we were Yankees, that we’d wind-up in some small town jail and be put on a chain gang.

    The waitress came to our table all smiles and asked who wanted corn bread. I didn’t know what corn bread was but I didn’t want to be taken for a Yankee so I said, "I sure do".

    After the waitress left my father said, “You’re going to eat every bit of that corn bread.”

    I thought corn bread must be something very bad tasting only Southerners could stomach. Well, the corn bread came first and everyone was looking at me: my two brothers, mother and father. The piece was about 4 inches high and as soft as angle food cake. It had butter dripping down the sides. I took a piece with my fork and put it in my mouth. When the taste hit the pleasure center of my brain, the back of my head almost blew off.

    “This is the best thing I ever tasted.” No one in the family believed me.

    When we got back home I begged my mother to make me corn bread but she never did. Not once in her life. “We don’t eat corn bread in this family.”

    Years later I was caddying and had money of my own. I went into a restaurant in New Jersey and ordered corn bread. What came was a ¾” high, rock hard, substance that turned into sandy corn granules in my mouth.

    I don’t think you can get right proper corn bread outside the Deep South.


    P.S. When I was a senior in high school I read “A Member of the Wedding” by Carson McCullers, and I thought it was the best thing I ever read in my life. I quickly read her other three books. This was before 1961. If you say, ‘Southern Writing,’ to me I only think of Carson McCullers.

    I'd love to win your book:

    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

  85. Its Ironic but being an aussie I could work out some of the sayings. Here in Australia we tend to slur things together like onya. for Good on you. see you, for see you later or see you another time. We also shorten everything like breakky for breakfast, op for operation, arvo - afternoon.
    I know I confused my friends when I went to Canada.

  86. WHOOPS ... sorry about the slip on the name, Eva Marie!! Let's blame it on all those Catholic weddings I went to in my family of 13 kids, shall we??

    Boy, you're bee-boppin'here, my friend, and I'm sorry I've been scarce, but for the first time in TWO MONTHS, I have been on a roll today with The Cousins McClare, writing almost three scenes, which is UNHEARD OF!!! Been struggling with my nose to the wall lately, so this was a TOTAL BLESSING ... both you being here and the writing I got done!! :)


  87. I'm actually Canadian (so far north :) ), but I've learned a little about the US south from my husband (an American). For example, I'd never had Red Velvet cake before. I thought I could just add red food coloring to chocolate cake and voila.

  88. Marcy I agree with the Red velvet cake (need to go google it now)

  89. Vince: what a priceless story!!! My daughter has a cornbread recipe that'll make ya wanna slap ya mama!

    Marcy: My mother made me Red Velvet Cake every birthday. It was and will always remain my favorite.

    I'll post a good ole fashioned Southern recipe in a few.

  90. AusJenny: They say Southerners talk closest to the Queen's English. And, being that the 1700s brought the English to Australia (to a penal colony as I recall)well ... I'm sure there's the connection. England Outlaws, ever' one of us! :)

  91. Julie: This has been fun!

    Just three, huh? :)

    Kidding ...


  92. Eva Marie,

    Thanks for the glimpse into the South. How wonderful.. Love those stories and love those beautiful porches!

    I could listen to that Southern accent all day!
    Back to Nano!!


    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  93. I'm going to have my assistant's daughter pick a number soon ... I'll announce the winner of my book AND I'll post the Red Velvet Cake (from an old Southern cookbook) here as well.


  94. Oh my goodness, I haven't laughed so much in a long time. Y'all have brought back memories.

    Connie, my mother used to hate it when we "wallered" all over the couch. And Debby, if you'll carry me to the store I'll tote your groceries to the car.

    Helen, Halleluyar. I can hear it, girlfriend!!!

    All the old people in my family dipped. So nasty.

  95. I am not southern (I live in the midwest) but enjoy reading books set in the south. I did live in Texas for a few years and learned to say, "y'all" but I know Texas isn't really the south.
    I read all of the Potluck books (both series) and liked them very much.

  96. You asked where I am.....about 60 miles west of Augusta (in a very small town). Have only lived here 3 yrs.....originally from a small town closer to Atlanta. Love the comments today!!

  97. I saw the comment that some of you are looking for a good red velvet cake recipe?! I just posted my mom's amazing red velvet recipe on my blog...along with her caramel cake recipe...if you're interested! I've never tasted a better version of either of these recipes! Hope ya'll enjoy it ; ). ~Stacey
    Here's the link: http://thedanielsgreatadventure.blogspot.com/2011/10/classic-cake-recipes-from-mom.html

  98. Hey again!!

    You said KC: are you a members of CWG Word Weavers?

    No... Perhaps I should be?

    Will check into that. We received a book bag, and it had the Word Weavers logo. :)

  99. I grew up in Kentucky where we consider ourselves southerners. In 1983 I packed my 3 year old son up and we moved to Athens, Ga for me to attend UGA's college of pharmacy.
    The first football weekend blew me away! I didn't have tickets, but we enjoyed watching the tailgaters before the game. I saw a girl with a t-shirt that said, "Jaw Jaw Dawgs." After ten years I moved back to KY to be close to family, but I love all things Georgia.
    Friday my husband are packing up and heading back to Athens for the UGA-UK football game. (He's a UK graduate.) We'll visit friends and reminiscent about our wonderful years in Georgia.
    I hope to win your book, but honestly I'll be looking for it in stores if I don't. I can't wait to read it.
    I loved your post today. I smiled through it all. The girls are beautiful in their picture.
    Thanks so much for sharing!
    Jackie Layton
    Oh yeah, GO DAWGS!

  100. Right,now I remember. Looked and nothing in TN. We are in RURAL middle TN too, so quite doubtful...


  101. Hey AusJenny,

    We had an Aussie friend who said, "Flat out, like a lizard drinking." Still one of my all time fave Aussie sayings!

  102. Go DAWGS is right, Jackie L!

    But I also cheer for UK!

    Lived at Fort Knox for many years...love My Old Kentucky Home!

  103. EVA MARIE!!! YES, this HAS been fun, girlfriend -- thank you for being such a GREAT hostess today!

    Uh ... all except your snide remark about my three scenes. Keep in mind I am NOT Mary Connealy or Ruth Logan Herne who turn out three to five books to my every one!! ;)

    Cannot WAIT to read your book, sweetie!


  104. Vince,

    You're so right! My grandmother still made the best cornbread. Oh MY... Definitely with buttermilk. YUMMO!

    Well Eva Marie, I believe you've made a hit today in Seekerville!

    'Night y'all!

  105. What a fun blog! I read The Help and saw the movie, too. Loved both.

    I'm a 100% Yankee, but I live in the south. My husband is a southerner with a genuine southern accent.

    Are you sure the Civil War wasn't really the 'War of Southern Rebellion'? Did I get that wrong?

    Seriously, I love southern books. Wonderful, quirky characters.

  106. Eva, it is sad. I was dismayed when I read it. I always had these grand illusions of her being a strong woman.

  107. I've always loved Nick Nolte's line from "The Prince of Tides." When Barbara Streisand says she'll be fine on going home. Nolte responds that "In the South, we always walk our women home."

  108. Red Velvet Cake

    2 1/2 cups plain flour
    1 1/2 tsp cup Wesson Oil
    1 tsp soda
    1 TBS cocoa
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 oz red food coloring
    2 eggs

    Mix oil, sugar. Add eggs, color, buttermilk and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients. Add to egg mixture. Bake in 3 layers for 30 to 35 minutes at 350.


    1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, soft
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/2 to 1 stick oleo or butter (told you this was an old Southern recipe!)
    1 cup pee-chans, chopped fine

    Soften cream cheese and butter together, mix until well blended. Add sugar, mix well then add vanilla and pecans. Keep refrigerated after frosting cake.


  109. I hope all y'all will join me at my blogsite:


  110. Loved the post oh so much this morning.

    My sister & her family live in a town just a little north of Atlanta, Georgia. When my niece was growing up, her accent was so very thick, when my mom would talk to her on the telephone I always had to get on the extention because my mom couldn't understand her so I translated. I understand "southern" and can speak it quite well too! We thought it was just a telephone thing, that when Mom & Kathy got together Mom would understand. Not true. We went for a visit when Kathy, my niece was about 5 years old and the whole time I was in translator mode. Unfortunately, by the time we left I was speaking so "souhtern" my mom couldn't understand me either. :)

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  111. My all-time favorite scene from The Help:

    Celia Foote: You're right! Maybe we oughta burn the chicken a little?
    **Minny Jackson: Minny don't burn chicken.** :D

    I think Minny was my favorite character!!!

  112. I'm a military brat, so I've lived in lots of places throughout the US. But my Grandmother was born & bred Georgia. Lots of people up 'north' (Ohio) never got used to her sweet tea (that should double as syrup if'n you run out in the mornin'). Since moving to North Carolina I've learned all kinds of things -- like what fatback is, where I stay, and most everyone is just down yonder.

  113. Eva Marie,
    I'm so sorry I missed this - but LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your examples.

    Maybe I should have written 'luv';-)
    I'm an Appalachian southern girl and totally get the generations of family and the cop/mechanic/store clerk 'small town' mentality. LOVE IT!

    And so many wonderful tales can come from life in a small town - add to it the quirky characters, southern charm, and a good dose of family traditions (or superstitions) and it's the perfect match :-)

    Thanks so much for being at Seekerville and supplying so many great examples.

  114. I'm a transplanted Southerner. Raised in Michigan, but have spent my adult life thus far in South Carolina. Love it here. Everything is just a bit more laid back, not so rushed...


  115. I loved the stories of the south you shared today. That is a style of living very far removed from my normal here in Canada. I really enjoy reading it though.

  116. Hello, Miss Eva Marie!

    Girl, you know how to write! What a fun blog "article"?!

    When you coming back to Cedar Key?! It's soon, isn't it?

    GOD bless you!


  117. Well, butter my biscuits and call me done! A true Southern sister! I was born and raised in Georgia and when I read Eva Marie's post, why my heart just pitter-pattered. But then she mentioned my darlin' Lewis Grizzard (who grew up right here next to my home town) well, my heart just went into overdrive. How we do miss that dear boy!
    So, Eva Marie, may I call you sister?