Stories From the Road #6

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

Rick:

“I started in first grade with a kid named Dean Beard. Our birthdays were only days apart and we went all through school together. We formed our first band together in the late 40s or early 50s, a rockabilly band called “The Crew Cats.”

Dean was a great vocalist as well as a musician and loved to act up on stage. He earned the name of “The West Texas Wildman” because of his frantic stage presence and piano playing style.

Anyway, we were playing a gig out at Buffalo Gap one Saturday afternoon. This was where I got my first glimpse at how girls reacted to musicians. We played pretty straight rockabilly at that time and these teenage girls threw their underwear up on stage. I thought that was pretty neat. I was a big ol’ dumb kid and never saw anything like that before.

Dean Beard introduced me to Elvis Presley. I was working at the brickyard in Coleman and got in one Friday evening to find Dean waiting for me at my mom’s house with Elvis. Dean had picked him up at the bus station earlier in the day. I remember my mom offering Dean fifty cents to take Elvis across the street to a barber shop to get a haircut. She didn’t think he ought to go on stage looking like that with the big sideburns and long hair. Elvis played on my mom’s piano while I took a shower and got ready to go to Abilene to do a show. At that time, we were more popular than Elvis and it was no big deal to ride around with him in the car. No one knew who he was yet. Hell, we didn’t even take any pictures. That night, after the show, Elvis got sloppy drunk and Dean and I couldn’t wait to get him back on the bus to Memphis. A few days later, I heard my mom say that she didn’t see how that boy was ever going to make it in music.

Dean Beard and I split off and formed separate bands after high school. He kept the name Dean Beard and the Crew Cats and I named my band The King Cats. He stayed with the rockabilly sound and I went more traditional country. In 1958 Dean went to California along with Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts (who were part of his band) to work in the group called The Champs, who had produced the huge hit, “Tequila.” Later on that year, Dean was in a bad car wreck so he quit The Champs and came back home. We always came back around to doing shows together and worked with Slim Willet on the Big State Jamboree, but by 1970, Dean had pretty much given up on the music and suffered a lot of health problems. He died in April of 1989, only four years after I got out of prison.”

Both Rick Sikes and Dean Beard are listed as pioneers in the West Texas Music Hall of Fame

Listen to Dean Beard on YouTube

Rick Sikes The Cat
Rick Sikes and the King Cats

 

 

Rick, Dean and Band
Rick Sikes shaking Dean Beard’s hand

 

Rick and Band with Dean
Dean Beard to the left of Rick

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

 

 

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Foolish Old Woman

What if

FOOLISH OLD WOMAN

BY JAN SIKES

“Come sit with me.” He patted the leather bench beside him.

In silence, I sat while others at the table shifted to make room. Why did I feel so nervous? It wasn’t like I didn’t know these people. Although I have to admit, I didn’t know them well.

I tried hard to remember names that went with the faces.

But, in all honesty, it wasn’t the people who made me nervous. It was him.

Twenty years my junior, tall, slender and handsome with brown eyes that sparkled, I saw no reason for him to have any interest in me.

Oh, I was a looker in my day. I had a slender figure, pert breasts, and round ass, but time has taken its toll. At sixty-five, gravity has sagged my breasts and my once flat stomach has a slight pooch.

He casually draped an arm around my shoulders.

I tried to engage in conversation, but the tingles his touch left on my shoulders distracted me to the point of madness.

When his arm slipped behind me and around my waist, I panicked. He’d feel my flab. I wriggled and sucked in my stomach.

“Let’s go out on the veranda,” he suggested.

Clumsy and flushed, I managed a reply. “Okay.”

I slid off the seat then waited for him. I followed with my heart pounding in my ears. I scolded myself. You’re carrying on like a schoolgirl with her first crush. For God’s sake get a grip.

We strolled out into the cool night air. The moon and stars hung carefree in the black velvet sky and a slight breeze blew the hair back from my face.

Silence wrapped around us like a velvet cloak.

I faced him. “What are you doing?”

“I like you.” He touched my cheek. “You’re not like the others.” He pulled me into the circle of his arms and kissed me.

It wasn’t a tongue-tangling kiss, but a warm and sincere kiss.

“I don’t even know what that means.” I took a step back and drew in a deep breath.

After a long eight years of solitude, I found it hard to believe this handsome forty-something man found me attractive.

“It means that you’re honest. You’re not trying to get anything from me.”

I grinned. “Don’t be too sure about that.”

He pulled me against him and kissed me again.

“Come with me to my place,” I said as I pulled away.

“No.” He caressed my shoulders. “I’ve done that way too many times. I want it to be different with you.”

I spun and walked to the edge of the veranda.

He followed, slipped his arms around me from behind and nibbled on my neck. “You turn me on,” he whispered in my ear as he tightened his hold on me.

I turned around for another kiss only this time, he slipped in his tongue.

My eyes flew open and I lay still barely breathing soaking up the glorious feeling of being wanted, of being desirable.

Then ever so slowly, a hot scalding tear escaped and dripped onto my pillow. Then another and another followed…

“Foolish old woman,” I muttered to myself.

Sweet Dreams

Stories From The Road #5

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

“I started out playing rodeos with George Sadler and the Saddle Pals. We’d go out all day on Saturdays to various little towns around the area and advertise the rodeo. They’d  have an old flatbed trailer set up as a stage on the courthouse square or somewhere downtown. We would play for fifteen or twenty minutes and plug the rodeo that night, then load up and go to the next town. George was a fiddler and loved to play hoedowns. I played rhythm guitar for him and sang.  Then, we’d play the rodeo dance that night. It was a good experience for me.

At one point during my time with The Saddle Pals, a guy came along named Gene Dunn. He was a tall slender fellow and a damned good lead guitar player. He worked in the oilfield (pipeline). His son is Ronnie Dunn of the famed Brooks & Dunn. Ronnie was born in Coleman during the time Gene worked with us.

We cut a record or two on King Records that never got pressed. George Sadler was quite a songwriter. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, he actually wrote, “Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes,” that Slim Willett and many others had huge hits with. I say this because I heard and played that song many times before Slim ever cut it. Slim came to me and asked me to teach his guitar player the riff when they were learning it, and that’s a true story. I don’t know the deal, whether George sold it to Slim or if he just cut it and claimed to be the writer. Lots of stuff like that went on back then. No one hardly ever copyrighted their songs. It was a different time. But, that song went on to be huge and I don’t know if George ever got a dime from it. He lived very poorly.

I’ll tell one more story about George Sadler. They lived in an old run down house out in Novice. They must have had ten kids. And, they had chickens. But, they let the chickens run in and out of the house, so needless to say, it wasn’t the cleanest place I’ve been. When I’d go out to talk to George, I’d have to shoo the chickens off the couch and try not to sit in chicken shit. But, this was just the way they lived. There’d be a baby crawling around on the floor and kids in stair-step ages running around. But, he was a great songwriter and fiddle player and I learned a lot from him. I just never stayed for dinner.”

slim-willet-with-the-brush-cutters-dont-let-the-stars-get-in-your-eyes-4-star-78

**I scoured through hundreds of photos looking for one of George Sadler, but found nothing and uncovered nothing on the internet. Another thing that was not commonplace back then was cameras.**

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

Circumstances of Childhood by John Howell #RRBC

I am honored and thrilled to help a fellow author launch his newest book, Circumstances of Childhood by John Howell. 

Circumstances of Childhood final front

Available on Kindle

Priced at $0.99 for the introduction.

This is a different story for John. It is in the Family Life genre and tells the story of brotherly love, riches to rags, redemption and a little paranormal thrown in. Normally John writes thrillers but this time he has stepped into a different place. This book was written with love for the story and the hope it will be an enjoyable read.

Here is the blurb:

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of inspiration, riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

Here is an excerpt:

I look down at my drink and wonder what will happen tomorrow. My daughter Constance wants to come and visit. She lives in New York, and before all hell broke loose, we didn’t see each other often. I missed her so much, and it seemed as if I had to beg her even to talk on the phone. Now, it’s like she wants to be here every weekend. It’s only an hour’s flight by the shuttle or three by train so she can come when she wants. I just can’t figure out why she got so clingy. I have my troubles, but it doesn’t have anything to do with her. No use in asking her husband either. Though a nice enough guy, I always wonder if he has someplace important to go when I visit. He never sits still and stays busy on the phone or at the computer. He makes a good living, but it seems a person could take an hour to sit and talk. I’d looked forward to some kind of relationship when he and Constance got married. It’ll never happen with him.

When I take another pull at my drink, I notice the burn feels less. It happens every time. First sip initiation, I call it. It’s like the first puff of a cigarette, hits hard then, after, nothing. I decide to let Constance pretty much have the agenda tomorrow. She and I have not had a chance to talk about anything deep for a while. It could just be that she blames me for her mother running off with that guy with the house on the Hudson. He has a title, and the old gal couldn’t resist, but I think the daughter always felt I should have done something. Her mother’s sleeping with another guy and what the hell can I do about that?

I’ll just go with the flow. If she wants to go out, we will. If she wants to stay in, we can do that too. I better think about getting some food in the house. Of course, we can always order take out. I need to move on to my drink and let this go. Tomorrow will be what it is. I remember the day she was born. I looked down at her in my arms and promised I would do anything for her. I love her more than life itself, and I hope we can somehow get to the root of whatever’s wrong. She sounded strange on the phone this morning, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I hope she opens up when she gets here.

For some reason, I feel tired. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and finish my drink. Maybe I’ll just go home and forget the burger. First, though, I’ll just shut my eyes for a minute. My hands feel good when I put my head down.

“Hey, Greg,” Jerry says. I barely hear him. “What’s the matter? You taking a nap? Greg?” I can feel him shake me, but I have no interest in waking up. His voice gets further away, and I think he says, “Oh, my God, Sophie, call 911, quick.” Now the room goes silent.

Author Bio.

John Howell Headshot

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories.  His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The latest Circumstances of Childhood a family life story is available as of October 1st, 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books.

 

Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

John is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB

 

Stories From The Road #4

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

This segment involves the dedication of Hords Creek Lake, located 8 miles west of Coleman.

“We still lived out in the country when they dedicated Hord’s Creek Lake. The Corp of Engineers had Lefty Frizzell, Harry Choates, and the Chuck Wagon Gang out to provide entertainment for the day. At that time, Lefty was about the hottest thing happening. I was a big ol’ dumb country kid out there in the sticks thumping on a guitar. I thought Lefty was great. They had an old touring car – stretch car – not exactly a limousine, but what they used back then, to tour.

My, mom and dad, took me and my younger brother out to spend the day. Most everybody in Coleman County turned out for this thing. I went and sat in the backseat of the car with Lefty Frizzell and talked to him. I can only imagine now, what he must have thought about some hick country kid talking to him. I told him all about my aspirations of becoming a singer. I was starstruck and thrilled to talk to him. He told me he was going to California when he left. He had some gigs out there. He said, “Do you want to go to California with me?” I said, “Well sure, man. Are you joking?” He said, “No I’m not joking. Do you want to go to California with me? I’ll take you with me.” I told him I would be back in a little bit. I ran to find my mom and dad and told them what Lefty said and that I needed to go home and get some clothes.

My dad said, “Are you crazy, boy? You’re not going anywhere with that drunk son-of-a-bitch.” Lefty was very drunk that day. I told my dad, “This is my big chance.” And Dad said, “You’re not going anywhere with him. You gotta be out of your mind if you think we’re gonna let you go off with him to California or anywhere else.” And that was that.

I was pretty mad at Dad for a while. Of course, I thought I’d just blown my one big chance to “make it big.” Looking back, I know Lefty was just drunk-talking. But, it was another event that made a big impression on me at a young age.”

lefty-frizzell-2d84b4ed-f3bc-4adb-8c49-2d36bd91adda

And while this is not the exact car Lefty was touring in that day, it is a historically accurate example of what they used.

Cadillac_75_Imperial_Touring_Limousine_1938_2

What do you think would have happened if Rick had gone with Lefty that day? I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

D.L. Finn – Book Release #RRBC

Author D.L. Finn has spread her literary wings a little further and released a new Paranormal Romance This Second Chance. It is my great pleasure to showcase her new book here today!

This Second Chance eBook Cover

Blurb:

Newly married Rachael Battaglia finally had it all. The only detail that stained Rachael’s perfect wedding was a gift she received. It was the exact present that her late ex-husband had given her on their wedding day — a snow globe. That marriage was not what she had envisioned, and she endured years of his abuse and charm until one night she escaped with two kids and one on the way.  Now Rachael was headed to Hawaii with an amazing man and her chance at happiness.  Unbeknownst to Rachael, she had an Angel on her side, although this Angel might not be able to save Rachael and her family from the evil that surrounded them. This is a tale of love, past relationships, things unseen, and redemption. Will Rachael find her happy ending, or will this evil thing get its way?

Excerpt:

Prologue

They hovered over the familiar woman in the wedding dress. She looked terrified, and on the day that she should be at her happiest.

“You are getting a chance most do not get. You understand that, right?” Zelina asked.

He meekly nodded at her. Her brown eyes narrowed, piercing his soul. She clearly didn’t like him—not that he blamed her.

“Good. We are clear. You give Rachael her happy ending. Then you can move on and let go of some of that bad you did,” Zelina said, pursing her lips tightly together.

Her pale silver gown flowed around her like an ocean wave ebbing in and out. He never understood how angels’ clothes did that yet, at the same time, kept their form enough to cover them modestly.

“I understand, and I’m grateful I’ve been given this second chance. I won’t let you, or Rachael, down. I’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen,” he replied, more confidently than he felt.

Although it confused him that he was being given this chance, he’d never question this angel. He certainly didn’t deserve it and hadn’t had a moment’s peace since his death. Everything he’d done flashed before him—over and over. He was relieved to have a break from it and a chance to finally do some good, but he was merely a ghost—a soul, or a man without a body. What could he do to take away that expression on Rachael’s face?

“Yes, it is a break from your much-earned reflections.” Zelina crossed her arms, obviously irritated at him.

He felt his face redden as he nodded back at her. In this form, he felt all the physical and emotional reactions he had when he was alive but stronger. He needed to remember that angels always knew what he was thinking. He had no privacy now.

“I had to watch Rachael make some bad mistakes. I will not do this again; this is too important. You must figure out how to fix this and make your atonement. You know the rules. If I see you doing any harm, I will send you back. This is your only chance to do some good. I will be watching if you need some guidance, but I think you will figure it out,” Zelina finished, suddenly seeming taller to him.

Her black hair glowed as she put her hands on her hips with her wings fully extended. He never tired of seeing the shimmering, feathered wings that reminded him of a peacock tail. They were beautiful. Under all that splendor, he knew, there was a ferociousness akin to a bear protecting her young. Rachael was her cub.

When her wings were tucked behind her, unseen, Zelina seemed perfectly ordinary. She could walk among the humans unnoticed. She turned her gaze on him again and scowled. She oversaw people like him—the tough cases. He sighed. Zelina responded to his sigh with a smirk. On Earth that look would have infuriated him, coming from a woman. Now it scared him.

A sudden chill ran through him. “Is someone else here?” he asked.

“It is not a someone; it is more of a thing, and it is what you are up against. It has no conscience, unlike even someone like you; your conscience peeked out after your reign of terror. This thing has no empathy, no love—only hate. I cannot hear what it thinks. It is the purest form of evil and is called an evildwel. This one has consumed its human—even in death. You had one in control of you, but a part of you remained. Death might have saved you, or you might have fought it off someday. I do not know things like that. What I do know is that this evildwel means Rachael harm. Be careful, and do not disappoint me,” Zelina warned, and then she vanished.

In the corner of the room, there was no form for him to make out, only thick, dark mist. Did the evildwel know he was there? He suddenly wished Zelina hadn’t left him. He was afraid, yet he was going to do what Zelina requested—not because he had no choice, but because he had a lot of things to make up for. It was time to get to work.

Chapter 1

Rachael’s detachment from the image in the mirror smoothing the satin, off-white wedding gown puzzled her. After all, this was the same scalloped three-quarter dress, showing off her newly trim waist, that she’d pictured herself in after seeing it on a Bridal magazine cover over twenty years ago. Frowning, Rachael adjusted the tiny yellow roses and baby’s breath in her Gibson-styled, lightened auburn hair with her set of pink, acrylic nails.

“Not bad for age thirty-seven and three kids,” Rachael tried to reassure the pale image in the mirror.

It didn’t work. The urge to rip off the dress and fake nails and make a dash out the back door was even stronger now.

“Why?” Rachael asked the woman staring back at her in the mirror, unaware of her unseen visitors…

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT:

AMAZON

SMASHWORDS 

BARNES & NOBLE

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 cradled until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to her readers to join her.

d.l. finn author pic

Check out other books by D.L Finn:      AMAZON

Follow D.L.Finn:    TWITTER      FACEBOOK    WEBSITE

D.L. Finn is also a supportive member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB,

She is also a member of Rave Writers International Society of Writers (RWISA)

Stories from the Road #3

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

This week we are traveling back to the late 40s or early 50s with another tale from Texas Singer/Songwriter, Rick Sikes

New Young Rick

“Here’s another experience I want to relate to you from my early formative years. Back in those days, bands would travel around and stop in every little town at every little radio station to promote their records. Sometimes, they’d do a live show of thirty minutes or so. Once, back in the 40s or early 50s, Webb Pierce came to Coleman. He was on his way somewhere else to play but stopped in at KSTA Radio to promote a record which I believe was “Wondering.” My mom took me and my younger brother out to the station to see him. I can gauge the year by the fact that I wasn’t old enough to drive yet. (A side note…my mom was a helluva piano player and she loved music almost as much as anyone I ever knew.) Anyway, she took us out to the station and we watched their show through the control room window. There was no one else there besides the DJ. I often wondered where everyone was. Perhaps they were working and couldn’t get away, as it was in the middle of the afternoon. At any rate, for whatever the reason, we had exclusive access. I distinctly remember the members of Webb Pierce’s band that were there that day: Jimmy Day on Pedal Steel, Tillman Franks on standup bass, Faron Young on rhythm guitar and fronting for Webb, Floyd Cramer on piano and Tommy Hill on fiddle.

After they finished their show, we got to visit with them. This was a real boost for me to see these guys because by then, I knew this was what I wanted to do the rest of my life – play music. They were driving a brand new shiny Pontiac car and had this nice little band trailer they were pulling. They were looking flashy for those times. I patterned myself after these heroes of mine when I launched my career. And while I never really cared much for Webb Pierce’s voice, I admired the hell out of him as a performer and businessman…”

Webb

Webb Pierce was known as the “KING OF HONKYTONK BLING” and this now famous car was lined on the inside with silver dollars while the outside sported a set of longhorns and pistols for door handles.

 

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

John, Kris, and Me – Guest Post by, Andrew Joyce…

Because I LOVE music and all stories relating to music, I had to reblog this post written by Andrew Joyce. This is a true story that he’s included in his latest book, “Bedtime Stories for Grownups,” a compilation of short stories. Take a peek at his by-chance meeting with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson!

Source: John, Kris, and Me – Guest Post by, Andrew Joyce…

bedtime stories

To order this extraordinary book, visit Amazon

Click here for more books from Andrew Joyce

EMPTY CHAIRS – by Stacey Danson – Book #REVIEW! #RRBC

5 star

Empty Chairs

If I could give this book more than FIVE STARS, I would.

Here’s the Blurb For EMPTY CHAIRS: Standing Tall and Fighting Back Book 1

Stacey Danson, lived through and beyond horrific child abuse. This book tells of her brutal beginnings, the streets of Sydney at the age of eleven were preferable to the hell she endured at home. She ran, and those streets became her home for five years. She was alone, ill, and afraid. Stacey also had an unshakeable belief that she would do more than just survive her life. She would not allow her future to be determined by the horrors of her childhood. She reached out for something different; there had to be more to life; if she could only find it. She had a dream of a life where pain and humiliation had no place. She was determined to find that life. Empty Chairs is the beginning of the journey. Now she is living the dream.

And now, my REVIEW:

This true story from Stacey Danson aka Suzanne Burke captivated me from the first word to the last. How could any so-called mother inflict such horrific and sadistic abuse on her young daughter? What kind of sick mind would let her think it was okay to sell her child’s body to soothe her addiction? Sassy-Girl’s mother, that’s who. So, when this child made the decision to run, looking forward to life on the streets as opposed to her current “life in hell,” I cheered for her. Did it matter that she’d beaten her mother severely? Hell no! I cheered for that too. But, this young girl of ten years old couldn’t have been more lost as she struggled to learn the rules of the streets. The daily chore of finding a safe place to wait out the nights proved difficult. Her instinctive distrust of people, in general, was her biggest ally. But, the part of the book where Sassy-Girl celebrated her first ever Christmas broke my heart. As she watched the families play in the park with children who ran and laughed and played, she realized on a small scale just what she’d missed. And the moment she started to think she had a grip of living on the streets, the unthinkable happened. A brutal rape that left her incapacitated for days on end only served to strengthen her resolve to not let herself be vulnerable ever again. And, when she lay sick and unable to move for days, I began to fear she would die. All I can say about this book is that if you think homeless kids on the streets are all thugs or brats, you need to sit down and read this. My heart will never forget this young child and the many others out there today like her. Stacey Danson bared her soul in such a way that at times I almost felt like an intruder for reading. This is a well-written gripping story from start to finish. But, if you are squeamish or faint-of-heart, this book might push you over the edge. And, now I am compelled to read the sequel to this story, “Faint Echoes of Laughter.

Suzanne_Burke

For more books by Suzanne Burke aka Stacey Danson, visit her Amazon Author Page

Suzanne Burke is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Follow Suzanne:

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Mike Blakely – CD Review

Award-winning novelist and singer/songwriter Mike Blakely has published 18 books, released by major New York City publishers.

As a performing songwriter, Mike has released 12 CDs, performed all over the U.S., and made 16 tours to Europe.  His songs have been recorded by Alan Jackson, Gary P. Nunn, Red Steagall, Flaco Jimenez and Raul Malo, John Arthur Martinez, Randy Brown, Geronimo Trevino III and Johnny Rodriguez, Johnny Bush, Pauline Reese, Debbi Walton and others.

And now he has a new CD release which I had the pleasure of reviewing.

Keepsake

KEEPSAKE – MIKE BLAKELY

Independent Release

 Nothing describes Mike Blakely’s vocal and songwriting style better than straightforward and genuine.

Listening to his new CD, Keepsake, is like going on an easy rambling trail ride. Mike’s “no frills” music touches something deep inside.

Larry Nye (Guitar), Kurt Baumer (Fiddle), Duke Davis (Upright Bass) and Shane Lively (Drums) accompany Mike on Keepsake, while Annie Blakely, Walt & Tina Wilkins and Larry Boyd sing backup vocals.

The album begins with a poignant song, “A Town Called Paradise,” written by Blakely and Ken Garrett. It is the perfect escape song. “My Same Old New Mexican Dream” is a clever play on words. “Easy Ramblin’” is all about slowing down.

Annie Blakey joined Mike in writing “Keepsake,” and it is a beautiful love song that fits the couple perfectly. “I missed you before I met you/I loved you before I knew you/Before we found each other/I was yours/you were mine.”

“Moonlight Colorado,” captured me completely. The melody and words weave a tantalizing dance.

Walt and Tina Wilkins lend their perfectly synced background vocal harmony on “I am Nobody.” The message carried in the lyrics is uplifting. “I am nobody/Nobody’s perfect/Therefore I’m perfect/Perfect for you.”

Written by Jeff Posey and Walt Wilkins, “Skipping Stone” is sweet and tender.

“Miranda’s Warning” is a haunting melody. He should have heeded Miranda’s warning. “The Island with No Name” has a Mexican flare and features Larry Nye on the acoustic guitar.

The album ends with “Don’t send Flowers” and is the longest track on the CD at five minutes. Wistful poetic lyrics weave a wish. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard a more authentically beautiful song about death.

If you enjoy listening to lyrics that have meaning, tell a story or carry a message while the melody flows like a cool mountain stream, you will enjoy Keepsake.

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Purchase Keepsake

About Mike Blakely

AND, Mike Blakely will be our speaker and entertainment at the Texas Authors Institute of History Fundraising Gala at The Main Street Gardens in Dallas on October 6th!