Guest Author Olivia deBelle Byrd

Not that long ago I was visiting Bev’s place, My Reader’s Block, reading one of her reviews, in which she was also hosting a giveaway for said book.  The review was fantastic, as only Bev can write, so I entered and to my surprise, I received an email, I had won.  If that wasn’t enough…..I then received another email.  This time from the author asking if I would like to be part of her blog tour.  This is such an honor for me to think that a little over a year ago, I didn’t even know blogs existed and now, authors are emailing me and asking to spend some time with us.  WooHoo!!!  The answer is a definite YES!!!  So today, my guest is, and I ask you to please help me welcome her to CMash, Ms. Olivia deBelle Byrd !!

Olivia deBelle Byrd was born and bred in the South. She is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and a Kappa Delta. She resides in Panama City, Florida, with her husband, Tommy, and is the proud mother of Tommy Jr. and Elizabeth.

You can visit her web site:

Like all good Southern storytellers, I hate to waste a good story. While repeating one of my tales one too many times my husband said to me with exasperation, “Why don’t you write this stuff down?”

What began as the quest of a husband to keep his wife quiet segued into a collection of Southern stories assembled as a Christmas gift for my children. Thirty-one months and fourteen rejection letters later, Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle was published by an independent New York publisher.

Thus was the beginning of Miss Hildreth—a humorous, satirical romp through my Southern life. I like to call it real-life fiction as all the people, places and events are real, but like all good Southern stories exaggeration and embellishment have been added to these real events. Because they are actual occurrences, the reader is drawn into the warmth and familiarity of the characters and their stories. What Southern mother has not threatened her offspring with grits and water for supper if that thank you note does not get written? What quaint Southern town does not have a grand dame who wears turbans and dark sunglasses and calls everyone “dahling” whether they are darling or not? Where else but the South can a mink be mistaken for possum?

Being raised by a Southern father and grandmother of great wit, humor flowed as freely as water from a faucet in our household. More years into adulthood then I am going to reveal, when prodded by my husband’s bid to shush me I put pen to paper and the stories poured forth as though an age-old tap had been discovered and turned on. With hours of sweat, spoonfuls of tenacity, and several strokes of plain good fortune, the amusement and idiosyncrasies that are so unique to the Deep South came to life on the pages of Miss Hildreth Wore Brown. The stories are punctuated with everyday mishaps that Southerners seem to have a knack for turning into entertainment. It turns out Bostonians do not always appreciate being called “ma’am” and New Yorkers can have Southern manners.

My humorous foray through Southern life has led me into a joyous romp through the land of authors and readers. As an old reader and a new writer, it warms the cockles of my Southern heart to know there are so many book lovers in this world. Through books, we become what we dream, we are educated and inspired, we travel into the souls of characters and find ourselves. To be a new author in the presence of so many creative minds has been a gift. To be in the presence of so many lovers and readers of books has been an inspiration. I believe deeply in the written word. Very simply, it gives meaning and beauty to life.

   While Olivia deBelle Byrd was repeating one of her many Southern stories

for the umpteenth time, her long-suffering husband looked at her with glazed over eyes and said, “Why don’t you write this stuff down?” Thus was born Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle. If the genesis for a book is to shut your wife up, I guess that’s as good as any.
   On top of that, Olivia’s mother had burdened her with one of those Southern middle names kids love to make fun. To see “deBelle” printed on the front of a book seemed vindication for all the childhood teasing.
   With storytelling written in the finest Southern tradition from the soap operas of Chandler Street in the quaint town of Gainesville, Georgia, to a country store on the Alabama state line, Olivia deBelle Byrd delves with wit and amusement into the world of the Deep South with all its unique idiosyncrasies and colloquialisms.
   The characters who dance across the pages range from Great-Aunt Lottie Mae, who is as “old-fashioned and opinionated as the day is long,” to Mrs. Brewton, who calls everyone “dahling” whether they are darling or not, to Isabella with her penchant for mint juleps and drama.
   Humorous anecdotes from a Christmas coffee, where one can converse with a lady who has Christmas trees with blinking lights dangling from her ears, to Sunday church, where a mink coat is mistaken for possum, will delight Southerners and baffle many a non-Southerner. There is the proverbial Southern beauty pageant, where even a six-month-old can win a tiara, to a funeral faux pas of the iron clad Southern rule—one never wears white after Labor Day and, dear gussy, most certainly not to a funeral.
   Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle is guaranteed to provide an afternoon of laugh-out-loud reading and hilarious enjoyment.

POSSUM QUEENSpeaking of beauty pageants, the only crown I ever managed to snag was in my senior year of high school, Miss Whirlwind. Don’t ask! When I went off to college, that being the only title I had ever possessed, I proudly listed it on my recommendation for sorority rush. Isabella later confided to me the sisters got a big laugh off that one. She said that during rush they half expected to see a whirling dervish come spinning through the
door. Being the sweet Southern gals they are, they let me in the sorority anyway, bless their pea-pickin’ hearts. My children still fall into gales of laughter whenever they see that title next to my name in my high school yearbook. But at least it wasn’t Possum Queen. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not making this up. In the little town of Wausau, in the
Florida Panhandle, they crown a Possum Queen every year complete with a Possum Festival. They even eat the stuff. This brings me to an incident that happened a few years after I got married. My husband had given me a mink jacket for our anniversary. Today I wouldn’t dream of wearing mink, what with PETA throwing paint on you and all. But back then I admit I was
more than a little proud of that mink jacket. One cold Sunday (that would be below ninety degrees in the South) I strutted into Sunday School in my new coat. I was practically preening I am sure. There was a very nice, young couple who had recently joined our class. The young man was a friendly, gregarious sort, quite tall and husky as my grandmother would say. After conversing with him, it was obvious he had been raised and bred in the woods—way back in the woods. Leaving Sunday School that morning, he
yelled to me in his robust voice, “That shor is a purty coat. Is it possum?” Now I know what you’re thinking. He was joking, right? Well, you’re wrong. He was dead serious. With a very red face, I muttered something about not being sure exactly what animal it was. Poor mink, I bet he’s the only mink in the universe that’s been mistaken for a possum. But I stand my ground. At least I was never Possum Queen


I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.

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