Ruby’s Choice fun facts:
Chapter Titles: Ruby’s Choice is set in the late 1970’s and all of the chapter titles in Ruby’s Choice are songs from the 1970s.
Everglade General Store: There was a real Everglade General Store that was the basis for the store in Ruby’s Choice which was owned by Mr. Burns.
In fact, Everglade General Store and Post Office owned by Mr. Burns, and he was really my great- great grandfather and he eventually partnered with my great- grandfather, from 1865 to 1910. They also owned a lumber yard, saw mill, and blacksmith shop. It was known as the Burns Dynasty.
Campbell Ridge Cave: One of the most well-known caves in Middle Tennessee is Snail Shell Cave and it lies on an 88-acre preserve near Murfreesboro. I did go spelunking inside this cave many times during my college years. Inside, the cave has stalactites as large as a pickup truck which I reference in the story--and then some—but no totem, unlike what the girls in Ruby’s Choice, who found a totem and mystical stones from the Campbell Ridge cave.
Henry Horton State Park was constructed in the 1960s on the estate of the former governor of Tennessee, Henry Horton. The park is located on the Duck River and it has an Olympic-size swimming pool which is referenced in Chapter Two of Ruby’s Choice, it’s where Ruby goes to have fun at least once a week in the summertime.
MTSU: I am a proud alumni of MTSU and a True Blue Fan. Middle Tennessee State University is located at the geographic center of Tennessee, in Murfreesboro. It is the oldest and largest institution in the Tennessee Board of Regents system with an enrollment of about 23,000 students. The reason for the big shout out to MTSU is that all of my main characters in Ruby’s Choice attend MTSU.
Opryland USA was opened in 1972 and closed in 1997. The theme park offered many different venues for music and a host of park rides including roller coasters. The Opryland scene in Ruby’s Choice is a pivotal scene in my storyline.
The Tower: Reed takes Ruby to dinner at The Tower before they head out to the Bob Seger concert in Ruby’s Choice. There was a spinning restaurant which offered panoramic view of Nashville called the Polaris and it was located on the 28th floor of the hotel. The spinning restaurant referenced in Ruby’s Choice was opened in 1975 and closed in 2000.
Ditch Lane Diaries
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: D.F. Jones
Date of Publication: July 25, 2015
Number of pages: 173
Word Count: 61,570
Cover Artist: Amanda Northcutt, Jones Media
Ruby’s Choice is a coming of age story set in the late 1970’s in Middle Tennessee with a splash of paranormal which will blossom in the second and third books of the series.
Ever since Ruby discovered an amber-encased spider web in the Campbell Ridge Cave, she has had dreams of births, deaths and glimpses into the future.
Ruby’s shift is coming to a close at Everglade General Store. As she stacks the last row of bath soap, Ruby recalls the delicious dream she had the night before. In the dream, a gorgeous guy is kissing a tickle spot, just behind her left earlobe, sending shivers up her spine. If only that dream could come true, instead of the one where a state trooper gives her a seventy-five dollar speeding ticket!
Ruby snaps back to reality when she hears the store’s front door bells chime. If she didn’t know any better, she’d say the frickin’ Adonis from her sexy dream just walked through the door.
Reed Jackson and Brent Brown introduce themselves to Ruby as members of the local baseball team her brother, George, manages. Brent mentions they specifically came out to the store to meet George’s hot, little sister. Ruby is slightly confused when she hears Reed murmur Tap It under his breath, but then she remembers the rumor going around campus about Reed and Brent’s dating game, where the two best friends compete to have a girl profess undying love to one of them. And Tap It is a winner takes all—all of what, though, Ruby has no clue. Ruby decides that she’ll play along, but according to her rules. She’ll suss out if either of these players is worthy of her love and respect.
One thing is for sure, Ruby is no pawn.
Who will be Ruby’s Choice?
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Ca m p b e l l Ri d g e Ca v e 1972
RUBY, ANNA AND SANDY HAD their backpacks filled with water, extra flashlights and batteries for spelunking the cave on Campbell Ridge. Ruby had discovered the entrance of the cave with her brother, George, five years ago, when they were looking for Indian arrowheads. George had told her never under any circumstances to go inside of the cave. But today, Ruby and her best friends, Anna and Sandy, were looking for new adventures.
The girls were deep inside the cave, surrounded by complete darkness with only their flashlights to illuminate the interior walls. The limestone cave had beautiful rock formations, crystals and stalactites. The cave underground had seemed alien, almost unworldly. The air smelled of the dank earth, and the only sound was running water from the stream that ran through the cave.
Ruby was forced to climb over a boulder on her belly to squeeze through a narrow pass. The boulder opened up into a hidden room. Ruby was still hanging onto the rock when she yelled back at the girls, “Hey, guys, you have to see this!” And then she slid down the rock into the room.
Anna and Sandy scrambled up and over the boulder, shining their lights into the hidden room. Anna slid down the boulder and entered with Sandy right behind her. The hidden room was roughly the size of a bedroom. “Holy cow, there are ancient drawing’s on the wall.”
Thousands of years of groundwater had caused the rocks on one side of the cave to drop down forming large stalactites the size of a pickup truck. The large drawings revealed intricate details of each person etched in the stone wall. Sandy inspected the drawings closer as she walked down the length of the wall. “It’s a story. I read about ancient drawings like these in one of my National Geographic magazines. This is far out.”
Ruby tripped over a small rock, dropping her flashlight. The light on the ground lit the far left corner, revealing a massive figure carved in the stone. “Geez Louise! This dude looks like a freaking astronaut. Look at his helmet!”
Anna bumped into Ruby, nearly making them both fall down. She held onto Ruby’s shoulder and said, “That’s some spooky shit.”
Anna walked past Sandy to the next group of drawings. “Here’s the same dude again. He’s holding a totem and there are three people kneeling before him. This looks like a ritual or rite of passage.”
Sandy sat down on a rock, mesmerized by what they had discovered. She flashed her light toward Ruby and Anna as they traced their fingers over the different drawings. Sandy asked, “Do you think we should tell our parents or teachers?”
Anna and Ruby walked over sit to on the ground next to Sandy. Ruby’s light fused with Sandy’s as Anna’s light circled around to the other parts of the room. There was only one wall dedicated to the drawings. Anna replied, “I don’t think so. A tribe sealed this room for some reason. We should leave. I’ve got a weird feeling, like we’re being watched.”
Sandy stood, tipping over the rock she had been sitting on, causing her flashlight to point downward. “Hey, look, something’s under this rock. Bring your lights over here.” Anna and Sandy shined their lights over the place where the rock had been, as Ruby knelt down, reached in and pulled out the object.
The girls plopped back down on the hard ground, staring wide-‐ eyed at the totem. Ruby’s voice trembled. “It’s the totem in the drawing, the same one the deity is handing over to the people kneeling on the ground. I know this sounds weird, but this thing is pulsing in my hands.”
Sandy reached over to pluck the totem out of Ruby’s hand. The totem was around six inches tall, made out of crystal and quartz with piercing sapphire eyes. The detailed carvings made the image of the face appear real, smooth as glass to the touch, as though sculpted by a master artisan, and no matter which way they turned the totem, it seemed to be watching them. “It’s a smaller version of the big guy in the corner. He is looking at me.”
Sandy handed the totem to Anna, who turned it over in her hands. “I see what you mean. This little dude is shooting energy to my fingertips. We need to place this thing back where we found it and get the hell out of Dodge. I have the creeps in here.”
Ruby took the totem and put it back in the hole. In another part of the cave, Ruby could hear rocks falling. “We need to get out of here because the cave is shifting.” The girls rolled the boulder back in place and made a hasty exit.
Outside in the daylight, they sat on a rock ledge, out of breath and speechless. Ruby opened her backpack and pulled out an amber-‐ encased spider web. “Well, shut the front door, what the heck? Look y’all, it’s a spider web inside a piece of amber?”
Anna found an amethyst stone in her pocket, and Sandy opened her thermos finding a hiddenite stone. Anna shook her head in bewilderment. “Well, I’m pretty sure these stones weren’t with us before we went inside the cave. If I wasn’t so dad blame scared, I’d take this back inside the cave, right now.”
Sandy stared at her stone and then spoke quietly. “I don’t want to spook you any further, but holding this stone gave me a vision of the deity who gave us the stones. In the vision, he is relaying that we’re to keep the stones on our person at all times. He will reveal to us in time what it means and we aren’t supposed to talk about this again until he reveals it to Ruby in a dream.”
The girls looked at each other wide-‐eyed, holding their stones in eerie silence. They never uttered a single word about the totem or the stones again—until years later.
About the Author:
D.F. Jones is a native of Middle Tennessee and is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. After college she landed a job with the ABC Affiliate in Nashville as a broadcast consultant. She opened her advertising agency in 1998. After years of writing creative for other people through her media company, she decided to write something for herself. It turned into her debut novel, Ruby’s Choice. If you love to read and get immersed into the characters of a book, then you will catch a small drift of how incredible it is to write your own characters and breathe them into life.