#TarotTuesday – The Magician

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, the Universe brings us another powerful card to ponder – The Magician!

From the Major Arcana, the keywords are: Manifestation, resourcefulness, power, and inspired action.

The Magician card is numbered One – the number of new beginnings and opportunities. (Perfect for beginning a new year!)  

The Magician’s robe is white, symbolizing purity, and his cloak is red, representing worldly experience and knowledge.

On the table in front of him are the four symbols of the Tarot suits – a cup, pentacle, sword and wand – each symbolizing one of the four elements – water, earth, air and fire. It is also a sign that he has all the tools (and elements) he needs to manifest his intentions into being. Above his head is the infinity symbol, and around his waist is a snake biting its own tail – both of which signal that he has access to unlimited potential. And in the foreground is an array of foliage and flowers, symbolizing the blossoming and fruition of his ideas and aspirations.

Now is the perfect time to move forward on an idea that you recently conceived. The seed of potential has sprouted, and you are being called to take action and bring your intention to fruition. The skills, knowledge and capabilities you have gathered along your life path have led you to where you are now, and whether or not you know it, you are ready to turn your ideas into reality.

In your quest to manifest your goals, you must establish a clear vision of what you will create (and why) before you act. It is not enough to be motivated by ego (money, status, or fame) – you need to have a soul connection to your goals and intentions. You are a powerful, creative being, and this is your opportunity to bring your Higher Self in alignment with your day-to-day actions to create the future you want most.

When you are clear about your ‘what’ and your ‘why’, the Magician calls on you to take inspired action. You will need focused attention and intense concentration to bring your goals to fruition. Focus on the ONE thing that will move you towards your goal. Commitment to the task is essential, so drop any distractions that may draw your focus away from what you want to achieve. Be methodical in your planning to make sure that you stay on track and carry out your tasks.

Wow! What an inspiring message! As we leave 2019 behind and enter 2020 let’s consider what goals we might want to achieve, then call on The Magician to help us manifest them!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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.

Looking Back – 2019 Music

As most of you know, I am a staff-writer for Buddy Magazine, The Original Texas Music Magazine. Because of that, I review lots of newly released music CDs throughout the year. This is a look back on some of the best of the best from Texas! The Albums are not listed in any particular order, so this is not a Top Ten list. It’s a recap of music that moved me!

An Indie artist that broke all the rules this year and came out on top was Cody Jinks!

He released an album on October 11 that premiered on the iTunes all-genre chart at #1. Then one week later, on October 18, he released a second album that did the same thing. The most impressive part of this is that, as an indie artist, he has no record label backing him and pouring tons of money into promo. He did it all on his own. So, it is my pleasure to honor these two albums.

“Each album has a theme,” Jinks said. “The Wanting is about the road life and going deeper into your art, while After The Fire is more about the home life, the settling and coming down period.”

Another album that touched me deeply was RIDE ME BACK HOME by the incomparable, Willie Nelson!

Part of this album’s appeal is that the title track, “Ride Me Back Home,” was written by a good friend of mine, Sonny Throckmorton. But, aside from that fact, it’s possibly one of Willie’s best!

Native Texan Bianca DeLeon writes about what she knows, her life growing up in the Texas-Mexico borderland. She’s lived through a lot, and it shows in her music. Her byline is “Texas Songwriter and Troubadour.” I absolutely loved reviewing her album, DANGEROUS ENDEAVOR. The first thing that struck me about this album is DeLeon’s voice. She’s gritty and gutsy with her delivery of the lyrics.

Pint-sized Jack Barksdale is making quite a name for himself in every music circle from the local DFW area to songwriter’s events across the United States. He’s twelve. Not only is he writing original material, but he also releases podcasts where he interviews other artists. Check out his YouTube page. He is one of the most amazing young artists I’ve ever seen! He released a new EP this year, Live From Niles City and it deserves to be on this list!

Here’s a YouTube video. You’ve gotta hear this kid!

Another incredibly diverse album that crossed my desk this year was FOG AND BLING By Shinyribs! It’s difficult to categorize this Austin-based band’s music. I’d say Shinyribs is an eclectic blend between New Orleans Jazz, R&B, Funk, Rock, and Psychedelic Country. It could aptly be called Swampadelic R&B.

Tom McElvain is known far and wide for his vocal prowess. But he is also fast rising to the top of the songwriting spectrum with songs like the ones found on his EP, DRIFTER. As he says, “This time it’s for the music, not the man.”  

On a side note, I am working with Tom McElvain on a book, “Lady In Red,” that will be released in May 2020! Believe me, I will be promoting it here on my blog!

Smile Into Life from Austin-based Blues-Funk Rocker, Hector Ward and his eight-piece Big Time band, is one of the most dynamic I heard all year.From start to finish, it’s solid with not one track that I wanted to skip. Ward is quoted as saying, “Listen to music…it will change your reality.”

I want to share a picture with you because, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Let me just say this man is inspiring. That is Hector Ward in the wheelchair. Listen to his music and see if you find one spec of self-pity. You won’t!

The Walk is singer/songwriter, Bonnie Bishop’s eighth album. Produced by Grammy-winner, Steve Jordan, the music connects listeners to the Texas vocal powerhouse in an intimate and personal way. I am a huge fan of her music and her honesty. She is an inspiration to women artists!

I love these two people, Andrew Jr. Boy Jones and Kerrie Lepai Jones! They are perfect ambassadors of the Dallas Blues scene and it was an honor to not only review their new CD, but to interview them for a feature in Buddy Magazine. You can read it here. Jr. Boy has been playing the blues for over five decades and no one does it better! Their new album, Jr. Boy & Kerrie’s Blues is nothing short of stellar! If you love the blues, give them a listen! Kerrie proves that a white girl CAN sing the blues!

I’ll close this post with a single off Cody Johnson’s 2019 Album, Ain’t Nothing To It. In my humble opinion this is the most sensual and sexy song I’ve heard since Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness.” Here’s Cody Johnson with “Nothin’ On.”

Maybe you are already familiar with some of this music but if you aren’t I do hope you’ll take a minute to discover something new! Thank you!

#TarotTuesday – Four of Cups

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.

Following the Four of Swords, today I drew the Four of Cups. Hmmmmm. There just might be something in those fours!

The keywords for this card are: Meditation, contemplation, apathy and, reevaluation.

The number 4 is a number of “being”,  it is the number that connects mind-body-spirit with the physical world of structure and organization. It is also known as the Angel Number and indicates the Angels are around you waiting for you to call on them for help.

The Four of Cups shows a young man sitting under a tree with his arms crossed, deep in contemplation and meditation. He is so engrossed in his thoughts that he does not seem to notice the outstretched arm offering him a cup. A further three cups stand at his feet, but again, he doesn’t seem to notice or care about these new opportunities either.

When the Four of Cups turns up in a Tarot reading, new invitations and opportunities are flowing to you, but for now, you’re saying “no” and turning them away. Perhaps the prospects do not interest you, or your cup is full, or you already have too much on your plate. Use your discernment to decide on what is truly important to you, and don’t be afraid to decline new projects that don’t align with your future path.

The Four of Cups can also indicate a time when you are turning your attention and your energy internally, to realign to this new phase of your life. You know that you need to be standing on terra firma before you can decide your next steps. While you may need to decline some very alluring opportunities, you do so knowing you will be in a better position to say ‘yes’ to the opportunities that are a better fit for you. You are creating the space within yourself so that you are ready to accept new opportunities later and give them the best possibility of success. Use this time for inward reflection, grounding, and contemplation before accepting the next ‘big thing’.

Sometimes this card brings the message, ‘Not now, but maybe later.’ While the man in the Four of Cups doesn’t accept the cups offered to him, he doesn’t wholly reject them either. You may be waiting for a sign or further information before taking an invitation or new project. Check in emotionally and spiritually before you say ‘yes’, to make sure the opportunity is a good fit and that you can commit to it in the long-term.

I can’t think of a better card to get us headed toward a new year. I always think of the new year as a clean slate… A place to start over, in a philosophical sort of way.

There will only be one more Tarot Tuesday post before 2020. And, other than these posts, I will not be blogging again until after the first of the new year.

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.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Jan Sikes Top-Ten Book List for 2019

AND THE WINNER IS!! I am ashamed to say that I almost forgot to draw a winner for this blog post, BUT, I saved myself at the last minute. 🙂 The winner of the $10 Amazon Gift card is Stephanie Ortiz Jenkins!! Stephanie watch your inbox! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It is always a challenge to pick just ten books from the many books I read each year. Because it was so difficult this year, I have listed a Bonus book and also some fabulous short stories. I hope you enjoy my Top Ten, and if you see a book that catches your interest, click on the purchase link and add it to your TBR list!

PURCHASE LINK: WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING

PURCHASE LINK: THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO

PURCHASE LINK: WHATEVER IT TAKES

PURCHASE LINK: THE OUTLAW’S MAIL ORDER BRIDE

PURCHASE LINK: VOYAGE OF THE LANTERNFISH

PURCHASE LINK: END OF DAY

PURCHASE LINK: VANISHED

PURCHASE LINK: MEMOIR OF A MAD WOMAN

PURCHASE LINK: THE LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME

PURCHASE LINK: WHEN CAN I STOP RUNNING?

PURCHASE L INK: REFLECTIONS

PURCHASE LINKS: RAVE WRITER’S INT’S SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA) ANTHOLOGY VOL I

CASTE METAL

VISITORS: A SHORT STORY MYSTERY

RED EYES IN THE DARKNESS – A SHORT STORY

MEGAMAX

SLIMMER

And, last but not least, I will be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift card to some lucky person! Just leave a comment and share this post to be entered! MERRY CHRISTMAS!! HO! HO! HO!

#TarotTuesday – Four 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, we are given the Four of Swords!

The keywords for this card are: Rest, relaxation, meditation, contemplation, and recuperation.

After the high energy action card we had last week, along with the incredibly powerful full moon, this card could not come at a better time.

The Four of Swords tells you to rest before you take on the next challenge. You have reached an important first milestone and must recharge your energy before the next phase begins so you are refreshed and ready to go. Even if you are highly productive and driven, take time out from your busy schedule to restore your energy and heal the body and the mind. Constant stress and tension will break even the hardest and most resilient of people but brief periods of rest enable you to refresh your energy, concentration and focus so that you are ready for the next challenge.

Take a day off work, travel to a new destination, or spend time with your loved ones – whatever you need to take a break. Now is not the time to make decisions.

In fact, the Four of Swords presents a new challenge: to stay silent and inactive. Now is the time to build up your mental strength by clearing your mind of any mental ‘clutter’ or stress. Meditate and spend time in a place that creates peace, calm and tranquility for you. Go on retreat or start a meditation course. You need to replenish your strength and spend time connecting with your Higher Self.

The Four of Swords suggests the need for seclusion. You need solitude to negotiate your situation and time apart from others to gather your thoughts and feelings. Solitude, although often difficult to bear, is necessary for you to recharge your batteries and rejuvenate your spirit. This solitary experience always bears fruit in greater inner strength and confidence.

In a practical sense, the Four of Swords is an indicator that you need to take some time to review your progress so far. This is an excellent time to re-assess your priorities. It is almost like conducting your own ‘post-implementation review’ following a major milestone or a significant challenge. Create time and space to evaluate what has worked well, what has not, and what you need to change. Pausing to reflect after each major challenge will position you well for success in the future.

Once again, the card has hit the proverbial nail on the head. I have completed the first full round of edits on the manuscript I am working on for singer/songwriter, Tom McElvain. Now is the time to recharge my batteries and get ready to plunge into a new year, new projects and new ideas. But not today! 🙂

How about you? Does this card speak 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.

Shop for books – Win prizes! #RRBC #BookBudzPopup Bookshop

HAPPY HOLIDAYS and welcome to the 2nd Annual RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S BOOKS & BUDZ “POP-UP” BOOK SHOP!!!

This is the perfect opportunity to shop for books from Indie Authors PLUS win amazing prizes! You DO NOT have to be a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB to take advantage of this event! But, you only have until December 17th!

It’s easy to shop! You can shop by Genre! You can shop by book price! Just visit the Book Zones and choose your category!

Please take time to stop by the Reading Room, where you can see videos of authors reading from their books. It’s like being in a real bookstore for meet and greet with authors!

And if you want to have an extra bit of fun while you are visiting, play the “Fake News Game!”

But most of all, browse the listings and stock up on great books!

And, YES, my books are all listed! I’d be honored for you to have one or all of them under your tree!

If you’d like to know more about the amazing community of THE RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, just ask.

Happy Holiday Reading!

#TarotTuesday – Knight 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 is The Knight of Swords.

Just a quick refresher because we haven’t had Swords in a while – Swords represent the intellect.

Keywords: Ambitious, action-oriented, driven to succeed, and fast-thinking.

This card is full of action!

As with all Knights of the Tarot deck, the Knight of Swords is a man (or woman) on a mission – once he has his mind set on something, nothing is stopping him. And as a Swords card, this Knight actively uses the power of his intellect to achieve his goals.

The Knight of Swords is a sign that you are highly driven, ambitious and action-oriented. You are so highly motivated to succeed that you will stop at nothing to pursue your dreams. The challenges, difficulties and obstacles on the path ahead don’t faze you because you know where you want to go. You thrive on high levels of energy that propel you forward and inspire you to take action to manifest your goals.

The Knight of Swords reminds you to be assertive in getting what you want. He doesn’t hang back and wait for something to happen. He is always making the first move and actively pursuing his goals. You can harness this energy in your life too, by being proactive and forward-thinking. See yourself as the creator of your future and be ready to take the necessary steps to make it happen.

The downside of the fast-thinking, quick-acting Knight of Swords is that sometimes you act too quickly and haven’t thoroughly thought things through. You may be unaware of potential challenges and issues that will stand in your way, or the unintended consequences of your actions.

The Knight of Swords also represents your need to understand the world from an intellectual point of view. You have well-developed communication skills and can easily form solid arguments and opinions on current affairs and important matters. You love to engage with others who have similar skills so that you can share your ideas and develop new points of view. You may be best suited to discussion groups with like-minded individuals where you can fire each other up and motivate one another.

This would have been a great card to have at the beginning of #NaNoWriMo! However, it applies today in that I am entering the home stretch of editing a book called “Lady In Red,” for singer/songwriter, Tom McElvain. This book is going to make an impact. It is very powerful. So, the Knight of Swords is encouraging me to charge forward and get it finished! How about you? How does this card speak 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.

#TarotTuesday – The Moon

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 comes from the Major Arcana – The Moon.

The keywords associated with this card are: Illusion, fear, anxiety, subconscious, and intuition.

Even though that may not sound very positive, I see this card as a powerful reminder. The Moon is a symbol of intuition, dreams, and the unconscious. Its light is dim compared to the sun, and only slightly illuminates the path to higher consciousness winding between the two towers.

In the foreground is a small pool, representing the watery, subconscious mind. A small crayfish crawls out of the pool, symbolizing the early stages of consciousness unfolding. A dog and a wolf stand in the grassy field, howling at the moon, representing both the tamed and the wild aspects of our minds.

The Moon represents your fears and illusions and often comes out when you are projecting fear into your present and your future, based on your past experiences. You may have a painful memory that caused emotional distress, and rather than dealing with the emotions you pushed them down deep into your subconscious. Now, these emotions are making a reappearance, and you may find yourself under their influence on a conscious or subconscious level. For example, if you had a car accident when you were young but didn’t deal with the emotions, you may get sad or anxious every time you get into the backseat of a car. To remedy this, connect with your subconscious mind and release any fears or anxieties holding you back. Hypnosis, therapy and shamanic healing can support this process.

The Moon can indicate a time of uncertainty and illusion, when nothing is what it seems. Be careful of making fast decisions when the Moon appears because you may later realize you only had half the information you needed. You need to listen to and trust your intuition so you can see beyond what is in front of you. Feel into situations rather than thinking what they mean. Let go of your conscious mental blocks or negative self-talk and allow your intuition to guide you. Your dreams, intuitions and inner guidance lead you forward toward higher levels of understanding if you listen and use your judgement to help interpret the messages of the subconscious.

When the Moon card appears in your Tarot reading, pay close attention to the lunar cycles and attune to its divine power using ritual, visualization or Tarot readings. Connect with the divine feminine and uncover deep intuitive insights and visions of what lies beyond everyday life. On the New Moon (Dec. 26th), set your intentions and plant the seeds of opportunity so they can grow. And on the Full Moon (Dec. 12th), honor your achievements and look at what you need to release so that new aspects of yourself can shine.

I am a big follower of the moon cycles. On the full moons, I put my Crystals outside so the rays can charge and energize them. Also, the full moon is the perfect time to release things that no longer serve you. On new moons, I write out intentions, things I want to manifest. There is something super special about the full moon in December. It occurs on 12-12-19 at 12:12 am EST. 🙂 Fun stuff! What about you? Do you pay attention to the moon cycles?

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.

What worked? What didn't?

NaNoWriMo 2019 ended yesterday. Was it a success? I suppose, like most things in life, it’s the perspective with which you look at it, as to the answer to the question.

The original goal for NaNoWriMo was to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

After the second weekend, I realized I was not going to make that goal. So, I reduced my goal to 30,000 words and ended the month with 30,105. At least, then it didn’t look like an epic fail. 🙂 That brought my story to 56,724 words. And I’m now in the wrap-up phase of “Jagged Feathers.”

Here’s what worked:

  1. The motivation to participate was a huge propelling factor
  2. Knowing where my story needed to go (even though I don’t outline, I knew what needed to happen)
  3. Having my characters fully developed, and what each had to hide and had to learn
  4. Finding determination to write as much as I could without verging on the edge of insanity.
  5. Having personal experience with an amputation.

What didn’t work:

  1. I had to stop multiple times and do some research (for instance, what are the residual effects of being shot with an assault rifle wearing a bullet-proof vest, where in Dallas, Texas can you buy a certain kind of ammo, Can you buy live hand grenades in Dallas, Texas, Where is a military clothing store, are there storage lockers at the bus station, etc…) – So, note to self: try and do the research ahead of time. If someone was to look at my search history, they’d probably think I was a terrorist. 🙂
  2. Family events ( I wound up keeping all five grandchildren – three one time and two the next – for several days in a row) That interfered with writing for sure.
  3. Thanksgiving holiday (no matter how much I wanted to kid myself about having all this extra time, Thanksgiving was taken up with quality family time and I don’t regret it one bit!)
  4. Going back and reading what I’d written (one of the proponents of NaNoWriMo is to just write and not worry about sentence structure, plot points, grammar or punctuation. I found that I couldn’t do that.)
  5. Even though I had NaNoWriMo Buddies, there was little communication between us, so I don’t think I quite understood that part.

Will I do it again?
I can’t say yes and I can’t say no. So, I’ll just say, “we’ll see.” 🙂

It was certainly an experience and I’m very glad I did it. At least it got me back to the story that I’d abandoned a year ago.

To everyone who reached or exceeded the 50,000 word goal, my hat is off to you! Congratulations!