#RRBC Spotlight Author Blog Tour – D.L. Finn

It is such an honor to host this amazing lady on my blog site today! And congratulations to D.L. Finn for sitting in the RRBC Spotlight Author seat for November!

I have read this beautiful book of poetry, and I can tell you first-hand, it is a true work of art! I highly recommend it. Okay, D.L., I’ll turn it over to you!

Thank you, Jan, for having me on your blog for day two of the “Just Her Poetry” Spotlight Tour!

Finn Facts:

  1. I broke my foot on Friday the 13th, tripping over our black cat.
  2. I dislike mushrooms.

Blurb:

Take a journey with D.L. Finn as she blends her love of nature with her deepest emotions. Sit with her on the forest floor observing its tranquil beauty, or stroll along the ocean’s shore admiring the vastness of its horizon. Here in these peaceful moments you’ll be able to experience her thoughts and feelings in the light—and in the darkness. This is a thought-provoking collection of poetry that invites the reader into all the seasons of a soul.

Excerpt from Just Her Poetry: NATURE Fall and Winter

RED

Outside my kitchen window,

The dogwood trees light up the forest.

In their golden-pink and red splendor,

It is startling against the deep green.

Just like the bloom of a flower,

It is a temporary but satisfying pleasure.

Soon, the leaves will scatter on the land,

And the trees will stand brown and bare.

The chill of the impeding winter,

And their hibernation is coming.

But for now they give us,

The beauty of a red fall.

Where magic abounds…

And memories happen…

Where each walk is special…

And every glance rewarded…

When the nights are cooler…

And the days are growing shorter…

This is the gift of fall.

Not only a time to harvest our crops,

But harvest our perceptions.

This will carry us over until spring,

When the landscape bursts into life again.

But for now we enjoy the encore of beauty,

In the stunning red hue that flows from fall.

Amazon Purchase Link

D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.

D.L. Finn Links:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

D.L. Finn blog

I do hope you’ll join us at each stop along D.L. Finn’s Spotlight Tour! For a complete list of blogs, visit #RRBC November Spotlight Author page!

My progress – or lack thereof #NaNoWriMo

So, I committed to participate in #NaNoWriMo.

Then life happened in a really big way. And my word count progress is pitiful. But, I am not giving up. Any word count is good, right?

So here’s a snippet from my WIP, “JAGGED FEATHERS”:

Nakina understood more about him than he knew. He was keeping something from her. Something big enough, that he would go to any lengths for it to remain hidden.

Her heart broke for the soldier who took on her fight without hesitation. He’d simply been trying to rebuild his own life and find some semblance of peace. Then she came along with her baggage and disrupted his entire world.

Truth be told, she was happy it was Vann Noble that found her that cold morning. Perhaps there was such a thing as fate or kismet. She couldn’t imagine that anyone else would have so willingly jumped in to rescue her. She swallowed past the lump in her throat. They had to somehow get out of this alive.

So far, my word count for the month is around 7,500, while according to NaNoWriMo, to reach my goal, I should be over 10,000. But, as I said, any progress is good progress. At least I’ve returned to the story after almost a year. 🙂

I hope everyone participating in #NaNoWriMo is having less interruptions and more writing success!

#TarotTuesday – Ten of Swords

Welcome to another Tarot Tuesday!

If you are just joining me, let me explain the inspiration to begin these posts. In Texas, and all across the country, Taco Tuesday is a popular day when Tacos are usually 99 cents. So, I had the inspiration, or Angel nudge as I like to think of it, to create a Tarot Tuesday. Each Tuesday I will post a different Tarot card and give its meaning. I pray and ask for the right card that will bring a universal message.

I created a short video to demonstrate how I pull the card for the posts. If you’re interested, here’s a LINK.

Today’s card made me grimace. The Ten of Swords is not a happy-go-lucky card.

In case you don’t remember, Swords represent the mind or intellect.

The Ten of Swords shows a man lying face down, apparently dead, with ten swords in his back. A red cape drapes over the lower half of his body as a sign of dignity as he leaves this world. While the dark sky is ominous, the sun is rising on the horizon, bringing a renewed sense of hope and opportunity. The calm sea in the background also brings solace, suggesting that even in times of darkness, there is a sense of peace and calm to be found.

The keywords for this card are: Painful endings, deep wounds, betrayal, loss, and crisis. Like I said this card made me grimace.

The Ten of Swords marks a painful yet inevitable ending. For example, a relationship may come to an abrupt end, your job may be cut, or a contract is broken. It is as if this ending has come out of the blue and rocked your world. You are grieving the pain of this shocking loss and wonder if you will ever love or find work or trust again.

The Ten of Swords could signify that you may be the victim of another person’s betrayal or deceit. You feel as if you have been stabbed in the back and are reeling from someone else’s actions.

Or, it can suggest that you are taking on the role of ‘victim’ hoping others will pity you and save you from despair. You cannot change the actions of another person, but you can change how you respond. 

The Ten of Swords is about letting go and accepting your current circumstances. You no longer resist change but allow it to happen, even if it causes initial pain and hurt to you.

The good news is that the Ten of Swords marks the final ordeal – no more pain will come to you from that source. The hour is darkest before dawn, and you must experience the full impact of what has happened before you can move forward and start over. Is it going to be easy? No. But, will this ordeal last forever? No.

Pick yourself up off the ground and reflect upon what happened to you and why, and what you can learn from the experience. When you do this, the hurt and pain will fade, and you will soon see why all of this needed to happen so that you can evolve into your fullest potential. The pain and hurt you have endured have not gone without purpose. Use the positive power within you to learn from your pain and draw wisdom from defeat.

I don’t even know what to say about this card. The last few days have been totally chaotic. My attempt at NaNoWriMo has only produced 1500 words so far. Things beyond my control have prevented me from writing like I intended to. BUT, the good news is I am NOT giving up! I look forward to you sharing your thoughts about this card.

#NaNoWriMo – Taking the Challenge

For the first time, I have thrown my hat in the ring for National Novel Writing Month with the goal to write 50,000 words on my current WIP during the month.

This will require some schedule adjustments on my part. I normally start my day by going through emails, visiting blogs and doing social media. For the month of November, I will make my word count the top priority of the day then move on to the rest. That means I may not make it to all the blogs I love to follow every day and that’s okay. I know you bloggers will understand. That also means my own blogs will be limited in November. I will continue with my #TarotTuesday Blog and I am participating in the RWISA Rise-Up Blog Tour, but that’s it for me.

So, here’s what I will be working on. I started this story last year and it is book 2 of the White Rune Series.

This is only a working cover, as is the title. It is a Contemporary Romance with Paranormal aspects. I currently have 27,604 words. I will report my total word count at the end of November!

Here’s my SYNOPSIS:

JAGGED FEATHERS

In a desperate bid to reclaim his body, mind and spirit, after a devastating IED in Afghanistan took most of one leg, VANN NOBLE settles in a remote cabin on Wolf Creek. He quiets the noise in his head by creating art with pieces of wood he picks up along the creek bank, and sells them in a nearby town, Cedar Springs, Tx. He has in his possession, a White Rune with the Wunjo symbol given to him by a friend on her wedding day. It symbolizes a happy-ever-after. Vann is convinced that the war stole any chance he ever had of that.

His military counselors told him, ‘if you can’t find a reason to live, then find a reason not to die.’

He finds that reason when a severely injured dog that he names Champion, appears on his doorstep. 

Then, early one morning while in town, his reason for living multiplies when he spots a young woman with a backpack running as if the devil himself is chasing her. When she collapses in the street, he cannot leave her there. Two SUVs approach and his military training kicks in. He helps the woman into his jeep, tosses her backpack inside and he and Champion assume the role of protectors. Bullets fly and Vann zigzags down alleyways until he loses the pursuers.

NAKINA BIRD has a psychic gift. However, she can’t always determine if her visions are in the future, past or present. Guilt over deaths she believes she could have prevented torture her. Her only solace is painting intricate art scenes on feathers.  She’s seriously ill, having been exposed to the elements for days before Vann rescues her.

Her plight began several days prior, when her disheveled and distraught boss had thrust a package, key and bus ticket in her hand with instructions to go to Dallas. She realizes she’s being followed and in danger, so gets off the bus in Cedar Springs.

A Columbian drug cartel will kill to get the package and key from Nakina, and Vann will do whatever he must to see that they don’t. The stakes are raised when the cartel uses Nakina’s younger sister as a bargaining chip.

Neither Vann nor Nakina have any intention of falling in love. In fact, the odds are against it. But odds can’t dictate to the heart.

Together, Nakina, Vann, and Champion find what they need most; love, acceptance and healing.

I hope the story line was enough to interest you. This is a different kind of story for me as I have no military background or experience, so research has been huge. I also have no experience with a drug cartel other than watching “Queen of the South” on Netflix. 🙂

Wish me luck and I hope that within the next year, I have this book published along with “When Two Worlds Collide,” Book 1 of The White Rune Series!

Snow Quartz Runes

Oh, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

#TarotTuesday – The Chariot

Welcome to another Tarot Tuesday!

If you are just joining me, let me explain the inspiration to begin these posts. In Texas, and all across the country, Taco Tuesday is a popular day when Tacos are usually 99 cents. So, I had the inspiration, or Angel nudge as I like to think of it, to create a Tarot Tuesday. Each Tuesday I will post a different Tarot card and give its meaning. I pray and ask for the right card that will bring a universal message.

I created a short video to demonstrate how I pull the card for the posts. If you’re interested, here’s a LINK.

Today’s card is from the Major Aarcana – The Chariot

The keywords to this card are: Control, willpower, success, action, and determination.

The Chariot Tarot card shows a brave warrior standing inside a chariot. He wears armor decorated with crescent moons (representing what is coming into being), a tunic with a square (the strength of will) and other alchemical symbols (spiritual transformation). The laurel and star crown signals victory, success and spiritual evolution. Although he appears to be driving the chariot, the charioteer holds no reins – just a wand symbolizing that he controls through the strength of his will and mind.

When the Chariot appears in a Tarot reading, take it as a sign of encouragement. You have set your objectives and are now channelling your inner power with a fierce dedication to bring them to fruition. When you apply discipline, commitment and willpower to achieve your goals, you will succeed.

Now isn’t the time to be passive in the hope that things will work out in your favor. Take focused action and stick to the course, no matter what challenges may come your way – because, believe me, there will be challenges. You may be pulled in opposite directions and find your strength and conviction tested. Others may try to block you, distract you, or drag down the pursuit of your goal. But the Chariot is an invitation to draw upon your willpower, so you can push past the obstacles in your way.

If you are curious about whether you have what it takes to achieve your aim or complete an important project, the Chariot is a sign you will be successful so long as you keep your focus and remain confident in your abilities. You need to use your willpower and self-discipline to concentrate on the task at hand. You can’t cut corners or take the easy route, or you will fail. Instead, see this endeavor as a test of your strength and conviction, and recognize that victory is within reach, but it’s up to you to follow through.

Be bold in expressing your desires and laying down your boundaries; otherwise, you will not get your way. You need to have faith in yourself and know fundamentally who you are and what you stand for.

In a very literal sense, the Chariot can represent travel, especially driving or taking a road trip. You may even be considering selling your home and buying an RV so you can head off and roam the country!

And there we go! I also want to note that the number 7 is associated to this card. The number 7 is the number of the spiritual quest. Even if the person who resonates with the number 7 is in a secular profession, they will pursue their goals with an energy and determination that is nothing short of zealotry.

Wow! I swear you can’t make this stuff up. I have thrown my hat in the ring for NaNoWriMo and this card spells it out in no uncertain terms. It is all about staying focused, having will power and remaining confident. Okay. I’m ready! How does it relate to you?

Thank you for joining me! See you next Tuesday for another inspiring message from the Universe via the Tarot Cards!

As always, I use the Rider-Waite Radiance deck and BiddyTarot.com for interpretations.

Two Amazing Ladies of Music! Claudia Nygaard and Ruby Lovett

One of my greatest joys in life is supporting music artists. I receive a lot of press releases because I write for Buddy Magazine. We are strictly a Texas Music magazine. However, I often receive music from artists who aren’t based in Texas but deserve a shout-out.

That is the case with these two ladies. So, I am using my blog today to introduce you to Claudia Nygaard and Ruby Lovett!

Claudia Nygaard is Nashville based and Ruby Lovett is from Mississippi.

Their music touched me and I want to share!

Claudia Nygaard isn’t afraid to tackle sensitive or difficult subjects with her music. From that aspect, she reminded me of a younger Loretta Lynn. She is a fantastic storyteller, as is shown in the lyrics of the title track of the album, “Lucky Girl.”

It tells the tale of her great, great, great grandaddy, her great grandaddy and her grandmother all on her father’s side of the family. From Norway to North Dakota, it’s a journey of hard times and heartache, a tribute to one family’s ability to survive and thrive. With that kind of family lineage, it makes Claudia a lucky, lucky girl!

“Like a Moth to a Flame,” she relates a story that many of us have experienced. There are times in life where passion draws us too close to the fire and we singe our wings. I loved these lines from the song, “Mama if you need me, you can find me in my room/I’m pulling all the shades down, gonna sit here in the gloom/Mama I’ll be tending to these wings so badly singed/Mama I’ll be praying that he’ll pass this way again…” Sigh…Some lessons are never learned.

With songs like “The Codependent’s National Anthem,” “Tumbling Down,” and “I’m A Little Bit Embarrassed” it’s easy to see that Claudia doesn’t shy away from the raw honest truth.

This just might be my favorite line from this collection of emotion-driven songs. “This isn’t something ladylike to do/But you treated me like trash/So that’s how I’m treatin’ you…” The title of that song is “Me Too.”

If you’d like to sample Claudia’s music, here is her performance of “Lucky Girl.”

You can find her new CD, Lucky Me, wherever music is sold, but for your convenience, here is the Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Lucky-Girl-Claudia-Nygaard/dp/B07VC1DF79/

Follow Claudia Nygaard:

WEBSITE

Facebook

Twitter

When Ruby Lovett emerged on the music scene in the late 1990s, music critics said, “Lovett’s voice is a refreshing slice of hillbilly heaven. “

When I listened to her new CD, I had to agree. Her voice is authentic and real.

While she didn’t write all the songs on her album, It’s A Hard Life, she chose songs that fit the theme and tell compelling stories.

The first track, written by Nanci Griffith, “It’s A Hard Life,” speaks such strong truths! “If we poison our children with hatred/Then a hard life is all that they will know…” Isn’t that a message the entire world could pay heed to today?

Lovett did write the second song on the album, “A Father’s Love,” as a tribute to her adoptive father. This line says it all, “Some say blood is thicker than water/And tho’ I wasn’t born your daughter/You cherished me as if I were your own…”

“Catfish John,” takes us back to another place and time in history. “He was born a slave in the town of Vicksburg/Traded for a chestnut mare/But he never spoke in anger/Though his load was hard to bear…”

Another written by Lovett, “Straight From My Heart,” drips with genuine emotion and her delivery is nothing less than pure honesty. “Here in this changing world/where nothing lasts forever/A love that you can count on is sometimes hard to find…”

Ruby Lovett’s music is as real as she is, full of honest emotion and real life situations sung with pure grace and power. I’d like to tell you about every song on this beautiful album, but I’ll let you explore, if it has piqued your interest. 

Take a listen for yourself!


AMAZON purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/ItS-Hard-Life-Ruby-Lovett/dp/B07P6YXFRX/

Follow Ruby Lovett:

Website

Facebook

Thank you for allowing me to introduce these two amazing women and their music to you! I hope you’ve enjoyed it!

#TarotTuesday – King of Swords

Welcome to another Tarot Tuesday!

If you are just joining me, let me explain the inspiration to begin these posts. In Texas, and all across the country, Taco Tuesday is a popular day when Tacos are usually 99 cents. So, I had the inspiration, or Angel nudge as I like to think of it, to create a Tarot Tuesday. Each Tuesday I will post a different Tarot card and give its meaning. I pray and ask for the right card that will bring a universal message.

If you saw my post last Tuesday, you know I created a short video to demonstrate how I pull the card for the posts. If you missed it, here’s a LINK.

Today’s card is the KING OF SWORDS. The Suit of Swords deals with the mental level of consciousness that is centered around the mind and the intellect. Swords mirror the quality of mind present in your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs.

The keywords for this card are: Mental clarity, intellectual power, authority, and truth.

The King of Swords is a symbol of intellectual power and authority and has the courage and intellect to achieve all that he desires. It indicates that you have a clarity of mind and can perceive the truth, so it is up to you to take the lead with providing an objective point of view and making decisions based on impartial judgement. You are well-positioned to judge your situation appropriately and identify any limiting behaviors getting in the way. You are also masterful at keeping your emotions in check. You cut straight to the point and get to the heart of the matter for maximum efficiency and impact. While you may worry that you are not being particularly caring or sympathetic with others, this detachment is what you need most right now.

Often, the King of Swords represents a professional advisor, such as a solicitor or attorney, financial or taxation consultant. This person has a vast amount of knowledge in his particular field. He is impartial and will draw upon his experience and his innate understanding of the rules, systems and structures to give you well-researched advice. He may come across as detached or disinterested in your personal circumstances unless it relates specifically to his skill set. This is so he can provide only the most relevant guidance to you. He prides himself on his expertise and qualifications and is likely to charge a high fee for his services. Nonetheless, he offers the rigor and specialist knowledge that you need right now.

If you have not engaged the help of an expert, the arrival of the King of Swords suggests that it may be worthwhile to seek legal or financial advice. If you are expecting changes or particular circumstances that will require an expert opinion, you can be on the front foot by seeking help before they happen. That way, when they do roll through, you are ready to demand your rights and find an outcome that benefits you. You may also benefit from finding an advocate or mentor who can provide you with smart advice.

It will be interesting to see how this card resonates with everyone. I relate to it on two different fronts. First, I see this man as my son-in-law, who has a master’s degree in business. Secondly, I see it representing a mentor who I recently won an opportunity to work with through a blog tour giveaway. Another interesting synchronicity is the butterflies decorating his throne. Butterflies generally relate to transformation. I had a dream two nights ago that included a butterfly. That was before I pulled this card. I think there’s a message in that for me. How about you? Can you relate this card to any aspect of your life?

Thank you for joining me! See you next Tuesday for another inspiring message from the Universe via the Tarot Cards!

As always, I use the Rider-Waite Radiance deck and BiddyTarot.com for interpretations.

Taking Texas to Tennessee – Buddy Magazine

Since not everyone gets to see the Buddy Magazine publication, I decided to post a recent article I wrote after my trip to Nashville. So far, it’s getting some good attention and feedback!

A Tale of Two Music Cities Divided

By Jan Sikes

On the heels of the Ken Burns sensational documentary about the evolution of country music on PBS, the one undisputable fact is that country music has been and is a large part of American history.

At one time during that history, Nashville was the only place to go if an artist wanted to break into the business. However, over the years, that changed and Texas played a large part in that change.

It is no secret that there has been a complicated rift between Nashville and Texas music artists ever since Waylon bucked the establishment, insisting on making music his own way and Willie took his music home to Texas.

I compare it to the famous stand-off between the Hatfields and McCoys. Shots were fired, and many folks threatened, but now the dust has cleared, and hands shaken. Judging by the recent spate of Texas Musicians who’ve made the trek to the famous city to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, I’d say there is at the least, a truce. 

Could it be that the Nashville heads are watching the flourishing Texas music industry with some envy? Or perhaps they are only seeing dollar signs.

Whatever the reason, I recently had the distinct honor of witnessing something that I believe will have lasting ripple effects for years and artists to come. I traveled to Nashville along with approximately 500 other avid Texas music fans to see our legendary Texas performer, Gary P. Nunn, make his debut on the iconic Grand Ole Opry. And, it came as no surprise that Nunn performed his two mega-hits, “London Homesick Blues,” and “Last Thing I Needed The First Thing This morning.”

But the crowning moment was when Gary P. Nunn strode onto the Grand Ole Opry stage and stood in the legendary “circle” while his fans jumped to their feet to welcome him with a Texas-size display of love for their favorite artist. The significance of performing at the mother of all country music venues cannot be understated.

While it was my first real visit to the city, I enjoyed exploring the places that created and now preserves country music history from throughout the decades.

Later that evening, Nunn had this to say about the experience.

“It’s always been on my bucket list to play the Grand Ole Opry and I never really thought I’d get the chance. It’s overwhelming.”

Add in the massive amount of folks that traveled to Music City to see him, and there was no denying that Nunn was deeply touched.

“When I looked out into the audience and saw all the Texas music fans that had traveled to Nashville to share this experience with me, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was completely blown away,” Nunn said with misty eyes.

Me and Gary P. Nunn at the After-Party in Nashville

Texas artist, Ray Wylie Hubbard, made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry on July 17 just before Nunn’s appearance on August 3.

Hubbard said, “There are certain moments in time more powerful than others. Walking onto the Grand Ole Opry stage is one of the most powerful.”

Cody Jinks made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry on August 28. He had this to say. “I was as nervous about playing the Opry as I’ve been about any show. It’s an amazing experience that’s hard to sum up. It’s just special.”

So, why is Nashville suddenly opening its arms to Texas Music artists?

I think the answer to that quintessential question is complex and can’t be answered in a few simple words.

However, The Country Music Hall of Fame Museum in Nashville could be partially responsible for the shift.

Imagine 5,000 sq. ft. of nothing but Texas music history. That’s larger than an NBA basketball court, and that is precisely what you’ll find with the “Outlaws and Armadillos – Country Music’s Roaring 70s” exhibit which resides on the third floor of the hall of fame building in downtown Nashville.

I had the honor of sitting down with exhibit co-curator, Michael Gray, in his office at the museum to talk about how this exhibit came into being.

“There is a perceived division between Texas and Tennessee. But that relationship between Nashville and Austin is maybe a little more surprising and complicated than people realize,” Gray said. “It started before the seventies when we began to see artists insist on taking charge of their music rather than having a label executive tell them what to do. But the seventies really brought it to a head when Willie left Nashville and went back home to Texas. We all know the story of how he began to play at the Armadillo World Headquarters, then contacted his friend, Waylon and invited him down. But, also at the time, even though these rebelling artists had taken their music out of Nashville, they often had to return to Nashville to record because, at the time, there were little to no studios in Texas.”

And the decades-long stand-off between Nashville and Austin grew exponentially with artists like Willie, Waylon, Bobby Bare, Gary P. Nunn, Jerry Jeff Walker, Michael Martin Murphey, Marcia Ball, Joe Ely, and many others who had a burning passion to create original music without boundaries.

Austin filmmaker, Eric Geadelmann, memorialized Texas music history in a series of documentaries, “They Called Us Outlaws,” which tells the story of Texas music directly through the artists themselves. The idea to create the “Outlaws and Armadillos – Country’s Roaring 70s” exhibit came from these documentaries.

Gray said, “Eric Geadelmann met with us about six years ago here at the hall of fame and shared that he was going to produce this documentary series about the outlaw movement in the 1970s. The Hall of Fame became an official partner with him on this series. We opened up our archives to him to help him make his film. We had an exhibit at the time in that exact same gallery that was all about the late sixties and early seventies in Nashville when Bob Dylan came to record along with all the folk and rock artists that followed him here and opened the city a little bit. So, as that exhibit grew to a close, we decided to do an exhibit that went along with Eric’s film. And that was how it all started.”

Gray went on to explain how trips back and forth between Austin and Nashville set it all in motion. And they weren’t just satisfied to explore and feature the music artists, but also the great visual artists who helped create a brand. Among those were Jim Franklin, known far and wide for his outrageous poster designs for the Armadillo World Headquarters, Micael Priest who designed the first poster for Willie Nelson’s 4th of July picnic, and Ken Featherston who created iconic posters for various Austin events and venues.  

Franklin designed the logo for the “Outlaws and Armadillos Country’s Roaring 70s exhibit.”

Over time, the Nashville museum curators met with numerous people in Texas as they gathered donations from family members, friends of these legendary artists to be used in the display.

The result is a comprehensive tribute to that special period of time when music artists embraced a newfound freedom of expression. This was the true emergence of singer/songwriters. No longer was the artist required by label heads to sing someone else’s songs. They took this creative power to write, publish and produce their own music. You only have to look back to recognize that the music speaks for itself.  

Not only is The Outlaws and Armadillos exhibit a fantastic display of artifacts, but it is educational as well. And it brings together the undeniable fact the impact the Outlaw Movement had on the direction of Country Music forever.

A large part of the exhibit is in photographs from music historians such as Chet Flippo, Ron McKeown, Joe Nick Potoski, Dave Hickey, Michael Bane, Jan Reid, and Kimmie Rhodes.

The exhibit is so large it is next to impossible to see everything in a few hours. I would like to have had the entire day to spend absorbing the rich and vibrant history of the Outlaw Movement.

The bottom line is that there is a shift. The tale between two cities seems to be morphing, and no longer are the Texas music artists looked down on by Nashville as the ugly stepsisters of country music.

In fact, the tale of two cities, in which music amounts to a way of life for a substantial number of the populace, is often reduced to a simple division of Nashville executives and Texas artists, when the story of the relationship is more complex and diverse.

While the ending to that story remains to be written, for now, the plot, premise, and characters are taking a new direction, carving out new roads, and taking millions of fans along.

Our beloved Texas music artists are getting to enjoy a monumental juncture in their careers by walking onto the Grand Ole Opry stage, as honored guests, and standing inside the historic and coveted circle. The place at the table has gotten much bigger, and I say it’s high time!

And, as each of the artists I spoke to expressed, there is nothing that compares. It is a dream come true. And for Texas music fans, it’s a great opportunity to explore Nashville and the rich music history it has to offer, like standing in the footsteps of so many greats who left a clearly marked path for others to follow.

An undeniable shiver ran up my spine when I stood in the middle of the famed circle on the Grand Ole Opry stage and imagined Hank Williams singing, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”  

When Nashville invited, Texas responded. By taking Texas to Tennessee, and Nashville opening its arms to iconic Texas musicians, are we perhaps seeing the end of the musical gulf that has separated the two for so long? Stay tuned!

Welcome to “MOMENTS WE LOVE” Blog Tour! @BalroopShado @4WillsPub #RRBC

It is my pleasure today to host Balroop Singh and her newest book of poetry!

Moments of fragrant love that stand frozen in time, of dreams that dare not unfold, of passion that fleets by, of erratic joy that we meet at the crossroads of life, butterflies of time that add color to our dark moments to scare the demons away – I have gathered all of them in this book. Some of them whisper softly to create a magical aura while spring of life sings with them, trying to wipe silent tears. Mother Nature steps in with all her grandeur to breath quiet messages of tranquility.

Each poem would soothe your emotions with élan and add a dash of color to your life. Life – that doesn’t halt for your sad moments; that just floats by. You just need to dive in to soak in myriads of moments to discover how it could ignite positive tones. All the poems in this collection are imaginary but inspired from people around me, some of whom chose to share their frustrations and tremors with me. Sometimes I could read between the lines to pen my thoughts down.

Memories and moments merge here

Today when I return to share

The glow of rainbows

Embers of emotional entreaties

And smoldering debris.

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Excerpt from Moments We Love:

Thaw

The warmth of walking beside you

Just like wrapping that old blanket

The wait for your cold arm

Yearning to reach me

That ear shattering peace

Eased by the doves above

Icy winds – a somber reminder

Of fragile emotional embankments

A laconic reply – a clear message

Yet those sunbeams

Dappling on the alienated path

Alluring us toward each other

Embers are alive within

Mist around the eyes is receding

As I could hear unspoken words

Echoing smoldering emotions

Which were buried

At the behest of hubris.

© Balroop Singh

Author Bio:

Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educationalist always had a passion for writing.  She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life,  Emerging From Shadows and Timeless Echoes – her widely acclaimed poetry books. She has also written When Success Eludes, Emotional Truths Of Relationships, Allow Yourself to be a Better Person, her latest poetry bookMoments We Love has just been released.

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

You can visit her blog at: https://balroop2013.wordpress.com

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