Goodreads Giveaway!

It’s the Christmas Season and the time for giving. I shared this on Facebook and Instagram, but not with all of you. I’ve just opened my Instagram account, so still finding my way around there. I’m older, so stick with me, it takes a while to figure it all out. Only yesterday I discovered that I could link my group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/216963165342784/

to my author page on Facebook. It’s probably been available for months, or even years, but at least I have it now!

I’m having a giveaway on Goodreads! This is for my newest release and runs until the 8th of January…2018! Wow! It will take me a while to remember that year. Until about July I’m still functioning in the previous one. So, be sure to enter. To date, I’ve given away 18 books in giveaways on Goodreads. So check it out!

Follow this link to enter for a chance to win one of three signed copies of my newest release! https://www.goodreads.com/givea…/show/269283-when-love-grows

That also gives you time to read the first book in the series, When Hope Blooms. You may purchase the first book, or any of my books right here: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Ann-Dykem…/e/…/ref=sr_tc_2_0…

All books are available in paperback, or kindle editions on Amazon. If you purchase the paperback, the kindle edition is yours for free!

Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million (BAM), and Walmart also carry my books for online purchasing. Please share with all your book-loving family and friends, and remember…reviews are greatly appreciated! Merry Christmas Everyone!

When Love Grows Cover - 6.2 x 9.5 measurements I love the colors on this cover! Red is my favorite one, and it does remind me of Christmas colors.

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I Was Where?

At one time in my life, I spent literally hours at shopping malls. I kept up this habit until we had two small children. By then it was a great way to get out of the house for a few hours and incorporate some much-needed walking into my day. I never really spent much money, but I recall the people-watching and the store windows. At Christmas time, I loved the decorations and the music, the shoppers with the common goal of locating that perfect gift.

Then, for many years, the thought of entering that brightly-lit fray had the power to make me feel as though an elephant was sitting on my chest. The mall was the last place I wanted to be, and during the Christmas season I really wanted to avoid it. My comfy office chair guided me through many years of birthday and Christmas shopping.

I’ve noticed that life seems to travel in full circles. I’m also the person that would always do the opposite of others, not wanting to follow the crowds. If hair was to be short, mine was long, and if curls were the go-to style, I wouldn’t fuss so much to have that bounce. I haven’t told my family this, but the other day when I was contemplating the painting of our house, two sides one color and two sides of another color flashed through my head. After all, people don’t normally decide to do this to their homes. (And, if you live in a neighborhood with rules, you may not be allowed to do this!) I just know that our house has been the same color for over ten years now, and I want something different and unique, but all in good taste…of course!

So maybe that is the greater reason that I found enjoyment in not one, but two days at two malls…all in the same week! That, or the company I was with. It was also an excellent way to get that walking in! Because I was having such a good time, I even had my picture taken a few times…also a rarity. Thank you to my husband and our youngest for two fun days. It reminded me of why I once spent many hours at the mall, and shopping. The picture below is actually at Home Depot. I’ve never looked so good in red!

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I think this is one of my favorite pictures of my husband and me. It just makes me smile. Merry Christmas! May your Christmas shopping be peaceful, enjoyable and those gifts right at your fingertips.

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The Christmas Village 🎅🏻🎄🎁☃️

Okay…Halloween is over. So I can tolerate seeing Christmas advertising. I wanted to share this post because it just put me in the frame of mind to start thinking about Christmas. It just looked happy…and we need a bit of happy right now. Enjoy!

SerendipiDIY

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It’s that time of the year! Ever since I was little I’ve always loved going to this huge store in Tombolo, Italy, called Green Village. They sell flowers, plants, accessories, toys, things for the house etc. But once a year, from October to December they set up a Christmas village with loads and loads of Christmas decorations. The atmosphere is just so cozy and nice. Yesterday I went there and bought a bunch of decorations for the Christmas tree and the house. I took some pictures as well so here are some, hope you enjoy it. P.s. Don’t miss the gifs!!! ☃️🎅🏻🎁🎄 HUGE gallery starts nnnooww! ↓

20161113_163050 Welcome to the Christmas village

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There were so many moving stands as well; take a look at this one:

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These two moved too, kids loved this:

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And here are some Christmas decoration ideas!

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20161113_163825 Love this Advent Calendar idea

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It was all divided into…

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Have Fun…Shop Local

I had the pleasure of attending another event in our little town on Saturday night. It’s called Candlelight Charm and it’s held every year on the first Saturday in November. The purpose is to get everyone in the Christmas shopping mode. The stores all stay open late and they have specials, drawings and refreshments for the shoppers. It’s just another neat tradition our little town has.

Of course I was there with my books! Our oldest daughter was chained to our booth, so she didn’t get a chance to walk around like she loves to do. But it was great to have her there for moral support and to talk to people. I’m a much better writer than ‘speaker-to-people’ person. If I have a speaking event, then I’m good with that. But small talk is not my forte! I usually end up babbling, talking in circles, until my face turns red and I just smile.

But when a grandchild enters, I have no problem babbling.

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As you can see, when it comes to grandchildren, I can be a pretty scary person. Poor Ava, if she could walk, she probably would have jumped from the stroller and run very, very far away.

We had a good time, sold a few books, ate some fudge and met lots of people. All in all a great evening. Until next year…

Here’s the rest of the family, minus a couple working sons-in-law, and of course the picture taker, our second oldest. I think they had a good time too.

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Shop Local…Because you WANT to

I’ve been reading more and more lately about being an author, and handling it like a small business, especially in your town.

I don’t know if I like that or not. So I will think on it for while.

Yes, I do see the point. If you are an indie author especially, you have to market, promote and sell your books. That is the business part of writing. And that’s the part I’m not too fond of.

But in reality, I do have a small business. I want others to purchase a product from me. And when you live in a small town, there is not a lot of room to bungle your small business  and you will, if you’re not careful.

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In any business you want to offer a product that others want, and desire enough to pay for. In a large city, the products are wanted and needed by many people. There is competition for that product, whatever it may be. In a small town, there aren’t so many choices.

In a big city, a smart business person will offer a product at a competitive price. They will offer that product in a clean, attractive way. They will be friendly and want repeat customers. They know if they do not do those things, the customer will go elsewhere and give someone else the money for the services needed. They want to keep that customer and their money.

The small town business should up their game even more. Because people can and will travel for better service and products. The attitude shouldn’t be to support the small town business just because it is in your town. That’s a nice thought. But you also still need to give that customer something, some reason to stay local. The small town business still needs to offer great prices and sales. They have to run their business well. Treat their customers like they are royalty, offer services that are not offered other places. One place that comes to mind is our local grocery store. They carry your bags to your car! I was flabbergasted the first time I saw this twenty years ago. What big grocery store chain can you think of that does that for their customers? This same store offered tremendous sales on baking items, etc. during the holidays. They wanted you to shop there and not drive out of town to get those same items. Another great aspect of this store was seeing the owner sweeping the parking lot, carrying out groceries, and talking with the customers. The store was always clean and friendly. I wanted to shop there! It was a pleasant place to be. Our local gift shop has lovely items and they gift-wrap for free. Where do you think I go when I need something pretty and special? Not Walmart! One local restaurant offered a terrific meal for a great price, drink included. We ate there many, many times over the year or so that took place. Again, making customers feel special and giving them a fantastic deal.

I want to shop local, but not just because I should.  I want to be treated better because I’m part of a community, offered better prices, shop in a cleaner, more friendly environment because that’s what a small business should do! You want your community to put their money back into it. So make it easy for them to do, and pleasant at the same time. As a small business you have the time and ability to treat your customers like royalty. And if you do consistently, they won’t want to be anywhere else.

This applies to the small business owner across the board, whether you own a restaurant, car dealership, grocery store, auto parts store, hair salon, heating and cooling, clothing, or write books. Offer your services in a friendly manner, make your business stand out and someplace people want to support and be a part of. Don’t put a guilt trip on your community about shopping local if you aren’t offering services above and beyond what they can find elsewhere.

Christmas shopping is just around the corner. Do you want to be a part of a huge chain store, an overworked clerk checking you out? Or would you rather stroll along a pretty street, popping in and out of bustling shops, music playing, being greeted by others you know and want you there? Do you want the store owner happy to see you, offering you a great deal and knowing your family, or a store clerk that could care less if you’re there or not? If you own a small business in a small town, think on that one. If you’re a savvy business owner, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out! Happy shopping!

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Shop ‘Til You Drop!

This post was from a year ago. I came across it today and it brought back fond memories of shopping with our two oldest daughters. By the time our son came along, I guess taking three small children to the mall wasn’t such fun anymore. I don’t recall going to the mall very much with three children, and certainly not at Christmas time! But I do remember the lights and decorations, and of course the crowds!

When I was younger…much younger, I used to live at the mall. Well, not really. I absolutely loved the mall and spent many a Saturday there. Once I had children, they had the ‘joy’ of going with me. After all, pushing a stroller and dragging a toddler is a pretty good workout!

I look back at that time period and wonder what that was all about. I didn’t really spend that much money there, especially after the children came along. So it must have been the ambiance. As you know, the atmosphere is really great at a mall!

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Christmas shopping was especially wonderful and exciting. The hour you cruised the parking lot, trying to find a parking spot in walking distance of that cement building rising from the pavement. Lugging out the stroller, diaper bag, and of course the coats. It would be freezing for that ‘walk’ to the mall and then you would have to find a place to ‘stuff’ them when you went back to normal clothing inside. I think our stroller had a weight limit of about 500 pounds, fully loaded! Then you would spend several hours, if not most of the day walking aimlessly along, trying to find a path through the masses of people doing the same.

Again, was this actually enjoyable? For some reason, I used to think so.

I think for me, it was the pull of the people. I have always LOVED to people watch. When I was a child, I could sit in an airport for hours, and sometimes it was about that long waiting for an overdue plane. I would imagine where they were going, if they were traveling alone, etc. People Christmas shopping hold the same allure. I would much rather sit and watch people shop these days, than actually shop. (You save a lot of money that way as well!)

The mall at Christmas time is beautiful. The decorations are always fun to look at, and the music puts you in that holiday frame of mind. But these days, my laptop is my BFF when it comes to shopping at any time of the year. Sounds pretty boring…huh?

I find as I get older, my thoughts are changing, the things I enjoy doing are not the same as they were even a few years ago. And I think that’s good and just fine. Many of us could not maintain the pace of our younger years. No, I still don’t want to become a couch potato and never go out, but I don’t enjoy being part of the crowd as much as I used to.

So, I reflect this morning over my young adulthood of shopping. I didn’t go to the mall this year, even though my husband tried to get me there this past Saturday. A couple of stores was about all I could handle. Most of my shopping was done from the comfort of my office at home. I could pull up sales and items from anywhere. They came right on time to my back door. I wrapped them in the comfort of my home, listening to Christmas music on Pandora. And I’m done…well in time for Christmas Day. Now that’s MY kind of shopping!