Starting Today…#2!

It’s Monday!

The second book in the Rubyville series, A Place of Refuge will be FREE today through Friday, November 15th at midnight.

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Book #2 – Rubyville

Get your free ebook copy today! https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Ann-Dykeman/e/B01B2BYPK6?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1572544500&sr=1-1

Vintage Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner. Some areas of the United States are even covered in white as I write this. For many of us it’s a harried time of trying to work a full-time job, Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating, baking, and what seems like an endless round of parties, functions, and to-do lists.

And that’s not how I want to remember Christmas.

I stumbled upon this on Facebook today. It’s a long read, but a very well-written story, and one that will soothe your soul. Even though it was an account of years ago, I believe there is still this kind of love and humanity in the world today. It just may be a bit harder to find.

It was Christmas Eve 1942. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas.

We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Daddy wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Daddy to get down the old Bible.

I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Daddy didn’t get the Bible instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn’t worry about it long though I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon he came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I was really upset then. Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now he was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew he was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my coat. Mommy gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn’t know what..

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Daddy was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn’t happy. When I was on, Daddy pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed.

“I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said. “Here, help me.” The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on.

Then Daddy went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. I asked, “what are you doing?” You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked. Mrs.Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I’d been by, but so what?

Yeah,” I said, “Why?”

“I rode by just today,” he said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.” That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, he called a halt to our loading then we went to the smoke house and he took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

“What’s in the little sack?” I asked. Shoes, they’re out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a little candy.”

We rode the two miles to Mrs.Jensen’s pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Daddy was doing. We didn’t have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was he buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?” “Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?”

Mrs.Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Mrs.Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

“We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Daddy said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then he handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at my Daddy like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.

“We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” he said. Then turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.” I wasn’t the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak.

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Daddy handed them each a piece of candy and Mrs.Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.”

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I’d never thought of my Daddy in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Daddy had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Mommy and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Daddy insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave. My Daddy took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn’t want us to go. I could see that they missed their Daddy and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door he turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We’ll be by to get you about eleven. It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.” I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Mrs.Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, Brother Miles. I don’t have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will.”

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Daddy turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something. Your Mother and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough.

Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your Mom and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Daddy had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. He had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Mrs. Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children. For the rest of my life, Whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside of my Daddy that night. He had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life..

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Here is the link to the Facebook page. I do not know anything about the origin of the story, but I think the person that shared it has a heart for humanity as well. https://www.facebook.com/alan.riser.9

Branding and Marketing

When I first started attending conferences for writing…I discovered how much I didn’t know about writing. And then the journey of learning more about writing began. One of the items that was shared was to make memes for Facebook and other social media to help with branding, marketing, and promoting books. So I jumped on and created memes every week. Now I have a bunch to pull from if I need one…but I still love to create new ones. And as with the writing, I have learned so much more about creating memes since my first ones!

To design memes, my business cards, bookmarks, banners, posters for events, book covers, and the list goes on…I use https://www.canva.com/ . I get my pictures from https://pixabay.com/ . These two sites have been a gigantic help for me in developing a brand and marketing my work. They are very user-friendly sites, and I find them fun. If you have a creative side, you should check them out! Canva has updated and you can now share directly to social media sites rather than downloading, etc. What will they think of next?

So now you have two great tools to go out and design for yourself. One thing that was pointed out…when making a meme, sign it as you would art work. I use my website, and I use the same font each time. People remember that. For example, what comes to mind when I say any brand name? You think of their logo. Great branding and marketing right there. Coke anyone? 😉

Remember, this week A Place to Call Home is being promoted as a free ebook. Get your copy today! Yesterday, this book was doing this:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

It’s pretty exciting! Below is one of the first memes I did. I’ve learned a little bit more about downloading, etc. now, but I still love the picture I found on Pixabay. Have a great Thursday everyone!

 

Rubyville - A Place to Call Home

 

A Chocolate Theme

It’s that time of year when my thoughts turn to baking, and I probably post something about it every year…on about this date. When the leaves turn and begin to fall, and the temperatures cool, I like to be in the kitchen. That feeling of home and coziness usually lasts until about April. Then my thoughts turn to yard work. But I’ll post about that in the spring.

I was scrolling through my pictures on this site, and I found many  featuring chocolate. No surprise there, I do love the stuff. So I’ll share a few on here, just to make you drool as I was a few minutes ago.

You are probably seeing the chocolate theme. Whenever I look for recipes, that’s what I gravitate to. Of course a great, strong cup of this is the perfect combination.

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A couple of years ago now, my husband told me about Cafe Du Monde coffee. I love it! I’ve always enjoyed very strong coffee, especially with a slice of cheesecake, but that coffee is the best. I put some coconut butter in mine, sometimes some organic cocoa powder and then cream. Yes, real cream. I blend it all together until frothy and put it in my 32 ounce stainless steel cup. It lasts hot for several hours. At least long enough to get me through several thousand words! Here is how they drink it in New Orleans:

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You may learn more about this delicious drink right here: https://shop.cafedumonde.com/

Another place I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes is right on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/besteasyrecipems/

I printed off a recipe for cinnamon roll cake that looks absolutely delicious! There was also a chocolate cake recipe that caught my eye as well. I have lots of recipes to try during this winter season. How about you? What are some of your favorite desserts to make?

Rubyville, Kansas…

is a fictional town. But it is very much like so many small towns in the state of Kansas that are becoming only a memory. This series of four books has been very popular, and they are pretty special to me as well. The Barton women are like part of my family. I cried with sadness and despair, and rejoiced with them down through the years. I learned a lot while writing this set of books. Not only in the area of research in writing historical books, but in my Christian walk as well. So many readers have identified with the Barton women and their very real struggles.

For the month of November, I want to share these books with you. With the start of your work week, each Monday a book will be available for FREE! Get your free ebook for the entire week!

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Book #1 – Rubyville

A Place to Call Home, the first book in the series will be available for FREE on Monday, November 4th through Friday, November 8th at midnight. Please leave a review when you have finished reading it, and let me know what you thought. It doesn’t need to be long or detailed. Just a few words is greatly appreciated.

Get your free copy today! https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Ann-Dykeman/e/B01B2BYPK6?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1572544500&sr=1-1

Bring It On!

A day spent with family is always fantastic! Our oldest had planned a day with their family at the  Walter’s Pumpkin Patch. It was scheduled for several weeks, and we were all looking forward to. Well, Monday turned out to be one frigid day here in Kansas! We drove to Burns, Kansas with a mix of rain and snow on the windshield. It didn’t get any better. But our grandchildren are a hardy mix, and they still tried out all the slides, bikes, tree houses and games the Pumpkin Patch had to offer. We had a good time, but will be looking forward to warmer temperatures next year. If you are interested in visiting, here is a link:

https://www.thewaltersfarm.com/index.htm

After a hot summer, you tend to forget what it means to dress warmly. Even though we had on layers, my husband and I were pretty cold. Here’s a picture of us having lots of fun!

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We even turned on our heat in the house! I baked a pumpkin dessert last night, and we had hot tea with it. Bring on winter! I hope you’re ready in your neck of the woods!

Review, review, review please!

Today is the last day you can get your free ebook for my newest release, When Faith Begins. It’s been a lot of fun having the book promotions for the When series of books. By far, When Love Grows was the most popular in the giveaway. I think it’s the cover…which goes to show, your cover matters…a lot! I love the color red, and it looks as though many others do.

If you are a writer, trying to get your book published, and then branding, marketing and hoping to sell your work…well you know it’s a long, difficult process. Most of us don’t hit the New York Times bestseller list the first time out, if ever. It takes daily contact with readers, your target audience, and places to promote your work. Some writers may use a blog, website, newsletter, Facebook, etc., to do this. Many use all of those listed and then some!

My WIP is a manuscript I wrote in 1998. It’s 124,000+ pages long, and I wrote it on a typewriter in two weeks. I had four children at the time. I got them up, got them dressed, tossed some food at them and then sat about five feet away from them to write. Repeated two more meals each day, and then did the reverse at night for bedtime. Those were the days when our oldest was 12 and our youngest 2. Those were the days when I still made bread every day, and we had healthy smoothies for breakfast. We didn’t eat out. I relied heavily on my 12 year old, who is now my editor.

But that book had to be written at that time, and I wrote 24 hours a day for those two weeks. I wouldn’t recommend that, but we artistic people can be strange at times. Maybe most of the time! Now, I am rewriting and editing that book, and the three others in that series that I wrote several years later. It will take me a while, because it is a mess. And when I hand it over to my editor, proofreader, etc., it will probably still be a mess.

I have so appreciated the feedback from my readers during this book promotion! But I want to clarify a couple items. Those that write and are trying to sell books, will understand. Today, my rating for When Faith Begins is here:

If you go to the above links…you have to go to the FREE section to see mine. Not the paid.

That is huge for me! My books are usually in the thousands, if not millions. But this is for the FREE ebooks. Not the paid list. I’ve had several people comment about my royalties now. I’ve made under $10 dollars this month. The book promotions are about me getting my name out there, and loving that people are taking the time to look at my covers, read a portion of my books online, and then even downloading them. If I can earn money off my books at some time, that will be super fantastic!!! But right now, people don’t know me, and that’s where all of you can help…and writers should be helping one another.

Authors LOVE reviews, even bad ones. It helps them tone and tweak their craft. Please ALWAYS leave a review when you read a book. My books are desperately in need of reviews. The other huge help to authors, and anyone promoting a business, is to SHARE on Facebook and other social media. Again, it gets their name and business out there for all to see. There can be so much wrong with social media, but sharing a business for someone is a great opportunity to help. (An apology here to an editor that told me I shouldn’t cap words, but…) 😉

Again, thank you for all the support. Prayers and best wishes for those of you struggling in this writing market. And of course…be looking for my next book promotion, because there will be one!

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Whoee!!!

I usually try not to bore you with too many posts about my writing career. But I’ve been offering a promotion on my latest series. All three books of the When series have been free for a limited time. When Faith Begins started today. Get your free ebook copy until October 28th. When Love Grows promotion will end tomorrow.

But this post isn’t just about that. This post is to share some fantastic news with all of you. I was checking my stats on Amazon.

I was absolutely shocked to see When Love Grows at #18 in Western & Frontier Christian Romance, and #58 in Religious Romance!!! When Faith Begins is currently at #23 in Women’s Christian Fiction, and #42 in Contemporary Christian Romance!!!

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kindle-Store-Western-Frontier-Christian-Romance/zgbs/digital-text/8917428011/ref=zg_bs?_encoding=UTF8&tf=1&fbclid=IwAR0o

Wow!!!

Remember, that is for their genre, not the overall ranking on Amazon, but the overall ranking is still pretty fantastic! Being around 1,500 in the millions of authors and books on Amazon is pretty special. Amazon’s rankings change very quickly, so you can be sure I’ll be watching these today, but it’s made my day!  Thanks to all of you for reading my posts and my books! Now, back to writing so I can do this again someday! 😉

Free!

I’m having so much fun with my free ebook promotion for my When series of books! The first book in the series, When Hope Blooms garnered a lot of attention, many people ‘purchasing’ it. Right now, the free ebook promotion is on for the second book in the series, When Love Grows!

Get your copy until October 25th, midnight, right here: https://www.amazon.com/When-Love-Grows-Deborah-Dykeman/dp/1978088914/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=deborah+ann+dykeman&qid=1571850701&s=books&sr=1-3

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Be watching for the third book in the series and my newest release, When Faith Begins.

Happy reading everyone!

When Simple Was Special

If you are a city person, loving the lights and glamour, then this post is probably not for you! This post is about simplicity, and the pleasure found in having little, access to nothing.

Years ago, young couples wanting to marry and begin life together, didn’t start off with car loans, home mortgages or exorbitant rent. They didn’t plan for a vacation every year to an exotic place, running up credit cards to do it. What was a credit card?

At one time, life was based on survival. You hoped, prayed, and worked for a shelter to cover you, something to keep you safe and warm from the environment. Often times the home was built by a young man or couple. You grew your own food, made your own clothes, and were thankful to have loved ones around you. Maybe you had a small church to attend where you could fellowship with others. 

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Yes, life was probably difficult, a daily struggle, and your years on earth were not as long as they are now. But there is much to be said for simplicity, taking pleasures in the little things in life.

The world today, and those of us living in it, face a much different reality. Yes, we have beautiful homes, each child having their own space. A chef’s kitchen awaits us, while we spend a big percentage of our paychecks eating out. We have manicured yards that we may sit in once in a while, but much more time is spent keeping them that way. The lawn mower is more familiar with the grass under our feet than we are. If we have gardens, the goal is to grow big and beautiful, chemicals helping us along the way. The food harvested there is not for our survival, but a fun hobby.

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It is no wonder that the tiny house movement has become so popular. We are burned-out on surviving in this world today, trying to keep the pace at a fast and furious rate that our ancestors would not have tried, or even wanted.

I know I want off the merry-go-round. My head is spinning with all of the have-to items that we self-impose into our lives. I don’t want to have to be fashionably dressed, just decently clothed. I want to enjoy my yard in the peace and quiet of nature, and not worry about the town’s standards of what I should and shouldn’t do. I don’t want a career, but enough to meet our needs.

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I really wouldn’t mind living in a home such as these pictured, the only criteria being a porch for my rocking chair. For those of you that shake your head, saying I don’t know what I’m talking about…I do have a clue. I learned to cook on a wood cook-stove, baking seven loaves of whole-wheat bread every Saturday for several years. I’ve split firewood, unloaded cords of wood to heat a house for the winter. I am extremely grateful for my inside bathroom, and running water, but I could even get use to no electricity if needed.

It’s whatever we’ve become used to. What we’ve accepted as normal.

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I think I’m feeling nostalgic today. Autumn is playing for real now here in the mid-west. The trees are becoming bare, leaves scudding across the ground. My thoughts turn to outside chores needing to be done, and the holidays ahead. And like every year, I don’t want to be caught up in all the items that are expected of us. I just want to enjoy those people around me that care enough to be part of my life.

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In our world today, we have missed the bigger picture. We’re frantically trying to survive, by having the best education, successful career, showplace for a house, every opportunity for our children…and we have lost love for what life should really be about. That list above won’t last into eternity, and after we’re gone, we won’t care.

The holidays are coming and I challenge you as I will be doing myself to seek Him first in all things. Be thankful for what you do have in the forms of jobs, housing, family and friends. But strive to connect with what matters, and get rid of what doesn’t. All of us have much that we could put on a back burner…and especially during the next couple of months when we celebrate the holidays. Make time for family and friends. Put down the phone when in a public place and connect with those around you. And most certainly put the phone away and relate to the loved ones you’re with. They may not be there tomorrow.

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Strive to live a simple life among the luxuries of today. Think about those people and things that are really important to you, and make time for them. Don’t waste time on the other.