Seeing Through The Eyes of the Heart

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We all have filters that affect the way we view different people, situations, and circumstances in life.

And, when the Universe sends me a message in multiple forms, I take it as a sign that it is something I need to pay attention to. And that is the case with the title of today’s blog.

Listening to the radio yesterday, I heard a song that caught my ear. The man was singing about two lovers and the lyrics went like this: “He didn’t see her through his eyes, he saw her through the eyes of his heart…”

I loved that line.

Our physical eyes are very related to our conditioned or filtered thoughts. You’ve heard the saying, “Seeing is believing.” But this is actually totally inaccurate. Instead, scientists have discovered that ‘Believing is seeing.” We only see what we believe we are seeing. Our conditioned thoughts filter and re-arrange what we see to fit our beliefs.

So if we want to see the world as it is, we can’t rely on our physical senses. They are much too distorted by our conditioned beliefs. Instead, we can learn to see through our heart. We can learn to see the world through feeling.

The Oglala Lakota Chief, Black Elk, said, “We can all see in the day, and this seeing is sacred for it represents the sight of that real world which we may have through the eye of the heart.”

This morning on Annette Rochelle Aben’s Attitude of Gratitude blog, I found the same message about looking through the eyes of the heart, and how different things appear.

So, I felt compelled to pass along that thought.

I recently found myself in a social situation where there was this perfect woman. She had the perfect body, blonde hair, straight shiny white teeth, fashionable clothes, the latest trendy shoes, and she exuded money and social perfection.  As any other woman would do, I felt intimidated and small next to her.

I don’t know about you, but I hate that feeling of inadequacy. I know it goes back to my childhood and being an outcast in school because of the religion forced on me,  but I fight it with every ounce of my being.

As soon as I could do so with appearing obvious, I slipped away and went home. Did I feel down? Heck, yes. Should I have? Heck, NO!

Because at the end of the day, our physical appearance is not the reality of who and what we are. The physical body will disintegrate into dust (or ashes in my case) and what remains is the heart and soul of the person.

I don’t know this woman on a personal level. I only judged her through my mind’s eye, not from my heart.

So, even though this powerful message was for me, since I am compelled to share it, I am to believe it may be for someone else as well.

We know who and what we are on the inside. And, when our earthly journey ends, that is what will remain. Perspective is everything.

Try looking through the eyes of the heart for just one day and see what a difference it makes.

Big Hugs and thank you for taking the time to read this message. I hope it inspires one person today!

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Hunger

I originally wrote this as a song, but never got it recorded. Think old Tammy Wynette style when you read it.

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HUNGER

BY JAN SIKES

I MET A MAN ON THE STREET JUST THIS MORNING.

HE HELD A SIGN THAT SAID, “HELP ME PLEASE.”

I STOPPED AND DROPPED A COIN IN THE CUP BESIDE HIS KNEE.

AND AS I TURNED, HE WHISPERED TEARFULLY,

HE SAID, “HUNGER WILL MAKE A MAN DO FOOLISH THINGS.

I ONCE HAD A WIFE, A HOME A FAMILY.

ENOUGH WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME.

I WANTED FAME AND FORTUNE – THOUGHT IT WOULD SET ME FREE.

I LOST A SENSE OF ALL REALITY.”

 HUNGER WILL MAKE A MAN DO FOOLISH THINGS.

HE’LL TRADE HIS SOUL TO GRAB THE BRASS RING.

HE’LL LET WARM LOVE TURN COLD,

JUST TO TOUCH THE RICH MAN’S GOLD.

THEN, FIND HIMSELF BROKEN ALONE AND OLD.

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 SHE SAT SILENT, ALONE WITH TEARDROPS FALLING.

DIM LIGHTS OF THE BARROOM HID HER FACE.

I ORDERED HER A DRINK, HER SORROW TO ERASE.

SHE SAID, “I DON’T BELONG HERE IN THIS PLACE.

HUNGER WILL MAKE A GIRL DO FOOLISH THINGS.

I ONCE  HAD A HOME, A MAN THAT TRUSTED.

HE GAVE ME ALL THE STABLE THINGS IN LIFE.

FOR YEARS I WAS A FAITHFUL, GOOD AND LOVING WIFE,

THEN WANTING WON AND NOW I PAY THE PRICE.”

 HUNGER WILL MAKE A GIRL DO FOOLISH THINGS.

SHE’LL TRADE HER PRIDE FOR A ONE NIGHT FLING.

SHE’LL LET PASSION RULE HER HEAD, TAKE A LOVER TO HER BED

AND IN THE END, HER WORLD IS LEFT IN SHREDS.

HUNGER SURE CAN MAKE FOLKS DO FOOLISH THINGS.

 I hope you enjoyed this poem/song. If you’d like to hear other songs I’ve written, they are on the CD, “I’ll Be Home When the Roses Bloom Again.”  I’d be honored! 

Jan and Gitjo
The first instrument I learned to play – a Gitjo. Rick took a Banjo and put a guitar neck on it. 🙂 I was very young.

A story as big as Texas itself!

Jan’s Website

2018 #RRBC WRITERS’ CONFERENCE & BOOK EXPO

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This is the third year for the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB Writers’ Conference & Book Expo and it keeps getting bigger and better!

There are SO many reasons to attend this conference and NO reason to not attend.

This is a virtual conference. So, that means that you can log in and attend the workshop sessions at your leisure, heck even in your pajamas if you want.  You can visit the Author Booths, compete for prizes and have fun while you are learning.

But, time is running out! JULY 15TH is the absolutely LAST day to register as these LOW prices!

Take a look. If you are a beginning writer or a seasoned author, there are workshops that will benefit you. This crazy business of writing is one of constant learning and growing. Don’t be left behind!

*General Info – https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo18.wordpress.com/

*Registration Info – https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo18.wordpress.com/register-now/registration-general-info-rrbc-wcbe/

*Registration Packages & Pricing – https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo18.wordpress.com/register-now/registration-packages-pricing/

*Registration Page – https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo18.wordpress.com/register-now/

*Sponsorship Info – https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo18.wordpress.com/sponsors-rrbc-wcbe/\

*Raffle Tickets Registration – https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo18.wordpress.com/raffle-rrbc-rwisa/

AND, if you’d like to have your own Author Booth or Vendor Booth, there’s still time to register for those as well. CLICK HERE

SEE YOU THERE!

Support

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It doesn’t matter how strong you are, how resilient you are or how determined you are, there are times when you need an arm around your shoulders or a pat on the back.

My subject today is just that…lending support to others.

Many think they are in competition with others, whether it be authors or music artists. But, the whole truth of the matter is that we are all in this together and when we realize that and offer a helping hand to another, the Universe automatically responds. It is an unspoken and invisible law. That is not to say your motivation for supporting someone else should be for a reward. In fact, quite the opposite. When you give freely of your time, your space, your words and your energy with no expectations of a return is when you absolutely get the most.

Here’s a good example. My late husband and I had an antique and collectibles store in the small town of Coleman, Tx.

Sat Store

The opportunity arose for us to purchase the property across the street, so we did. Then, we rented the building to a lady and her mother who wanted to put in another antique and collectibles store.  Everyone thought we were crazy. Why would we want competition right across the street? Because we knew that if there was more than one store for folks to browse through, they’d more likely make the drive from the bigger cities to an out-of-the-way place. And it worked.

That was a lesson in support and networking that I never forgot.

I spend a good deal of my blogging time and space supporting other authors and music artists. And, I enjoy it. I love helping spread the word about a new book release, or a new music CD. I like to post reviews for books that capture my attention. Sharing new discoveries with everyone who follows my blog makes my heart sing.

I find a lot of this same support within the blogging community and I want to take this opportunity to say thank you!

Also, I belong to an organization of authors who offers support on so many different levels. The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB not only helps spread the word about you and your books but becomes more like family and lifts you up through difficult times such illness or deaths. I have never found an organization quite like this one. Lasting friendships have formed around the globe and many members of this book club have read and reviewed my books. I can’t remember who first told me about this organization, but to whoever it was, I am forever grateful.

If you are looking for a kind of uplifting support you can’t get anywhere else, I suggest you take a peek. If you think it is a fit for you, join us! I’d be thrilled to help support you and your books.

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A New Kind of High

Songwriters are more often than not, hidden in the background. It’s the artists who turn the songs into hits. Then, we associate the song with the artist, not the songwriter.

I have a great friend, Sonny Throckmorton, who has had over twenty number one songs and well over 1,000 recorded by artists. He is a member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and has been awarded Songwriter of the Year by both BMI and the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International. But, only a handful of people know the name.

However, here are some of his songs that you’re sure to recognize:

“The Way I Am” – A huge hit for Merle Haggard

“This is Where the Cowboy Rides Away” – A hit for George Strait

“The Last Cheater’s Waltz” – A #1 hit for T.G. Sheppard

“Trying To Love Two Women” – The Oak Ridge Boys

“Middle Age Crazy” – Jerry Lee Lewis

“Friday Night Blues” – John Conlee

“I Wish You Could Have Turned My head and Left My Heart Alone” – Oak Ridge Boys

And last, but certainly not least nor anywhere near the end of the list, “I Wish I Was Eighteen Again,” made famous by George Burns.

I say all of this to introduce you to a new album released by Sonny Throckmorton. I wanted you to know the calibre of songwriter I am promoting.

A New Kind of High

A NEW KIND OF HIGH is different from anything Sonny has ever done. It verges on country-funk with catchy lyrics and thought-provoking phrases.

The album opens with “A Little Bit of That.” A mix of electronica and rap, the lyrics say it all. “I’m tired of being hungry/Tired of being poor/All my friends are driving Benz/And I want a little bit more…”

While “Next” is more reminiscent of bluegrass on steroids, it is again, quite a different twist for Sonny.

Party Man” is more like the old Sonny Throckmorton style waltz with a twinge of loneliness thrown in.

Willie Nelson included “Butterfly” on his album, God’s Problem Child. Its slow easy flow is beautiful and the lyrics go deep.

Pink Limousine” has an odd combination of banjo and electronica that I’ve never heard. The lyrics go like this. “I dreamed all night of a pink limousine/Full of beautiful ladies, the cream of the cream/And I caught a ride if you know what I mean/And I rode all night in a pink limousine…”

Full-on-country, “Wasting a Fire” is a two-stepping unrequited love song.

Look What I Missed,” ramps up the countrified gospel funk to a new kind of high.

A soft flowing melody accompanies “Little Miss Out of the Blue.” I could hear someone with a smooth voice like the late Ray Price singing this and turning it into another hit for Sonny.

Deal Breaker” starts off with heavy reverb on lead guitar and a driving beat. “Looking for somebody that doesn’t have a cat/I don’t want no feline on my welcome mat/You’re a kitty lover well I’m a dirty rat/Looking for somebody that doesn’t have a cat/Well, it’s a deal-breaker…” Ha! I think we can all relate to that in one way or another whether or not it has anything to do with a cat. 🙂

The album ends with “Ride Me Back Home,” a poignant story song. “Ride me back home to a much better place/Blue skies, sunshine, plenty of space/Somewhere where they would leave you alone/Somewhere I could call home/And you would just ride me back home…”

I think it’s safe to say that Sonny Throckmorton, even at the age of 77, isn’t anywhere close to being done.

I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity enough that you’ll take a look at Sonny’s new release. Who knows. Maybe one day, we’ll hear some of these songs on the radio and soaring up the charts again for this talented phenomenal songwriter.

PURCHASE LINKS:

CDBABY

AMAZON

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Me and Sonny Throckmorton in May 2009.
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Left to Right – Jan Sikes, Janie Fricke, Rick Sikes, Sonny Throckmorton, Sharon, Sonny’s Sister

Completing a Challenge #RRBC #RWISA

There are times when you throw your hat in the ring in response to a challenge and then find yourself saying, “What have I done?”

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case for me this time with the RRBC 90-day Alpha/Omega Beginning-to-End short story challenge. 

I listen to a lot of music and my favorite songs are the ones that tell a story such as “Loving County,” written by Charlie Robison and Jack Ingram.

So, when I accepted this challenge, I knew I wanted to write a short story based loosely on this song.

The first story in my new book, TWO SHORTS AND A SNORT, is “OBSESSED,” taken from the song. There is a moral to my story and that is, “If the price tag is too high, walk away.”

The second story in TWO SHORTS AND A SNORT IS “MAGGIE.” Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

Then the SNORT is a poem. Yes, I know it wasn’t part of the challenge, but it was just there, so I went with it.

I designed the cover for TWO SHORTS AND A SNORT. I’m not a cover-designer, so this was another challenge unto itself.

TWO SHORTS&A SNORT_Final2

Then I had another challenge and that was trying to format this little twenty-one-page book. I spent hours and days trying to get it right because again, I am not a formatter.

But, I eventually got it all done and even went a step farther and created a book trailer video to accompany it.

So, if you are inclined to read some very short short stories, I’d be honored if you’d pick up a copy of the book today. It’s only 99 cents on Amazon.

PURCHASE LINK

And if you are curious about the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and the many opportunities like this they offer, take a look! It could just be the right community of supportive authors for you.

Oh yes, and HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

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Autographs in the Rain

I very recently had the pleasure of interviewing the ever-enigmatic Kinky Friedman for a magazine feature. He has released an album after a forty-year hiatus, CIRCUS OF LIFE. I want to share two stories with you.

First, he talked about a phone call he got from Willie Nelson at 3 am. Kinky was in Texas and Willie in Hawaii. The conversation went like this according to Kinky.

Willie: “Hi, Kinky. What are you doing?”

Kinky: “Watching Matlock.”

Willie: “Kinky, that’s a sure sign of depression Turn it off. Turn off Matlock and get busy writing.”

And, so he did.

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On this album, I found a tribute song to Willie, “Autographs in the Rain.” Kinky stated that he’d seen this happen many times. People would be lined up for autographs and when the rain started. the fans didn’t leave and neither did Willie. And, while I couldn’t find a photo of Willie signing in the rain, I did find one of him signing a woman’s boob. 🙂

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Everyone loves Willie. And the main reason for that is he has always taken time to connect with his fans. He understood that if those people didn’t pay their money and spend their time to come and see him, he wouldn’t have much of a career. And, he’s always been sincere about it. Many of today’s artists have forgotten that or they are just paranoid to get too close to their fans.

I have met Willie personally on three occasions. Once, Rick and I even had dinner with the band backstage. I was awestruck!

I love Willie Nelson. He is now 85 years young and eventually, his journey here will end. That day will break my heart. Here are a few personal photos of the graciousness of Willie Nelson.

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Willie Nelson and Rick Sikes reunited after 40 years. And Willie remembered.
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Wilie signing Rick’s 1964 Martin D-35. I still have it and it is a prized possession.
Willie Group Pic
Group picture = L-R Rick Sikes, Willie Nelson, Jan Sikes, Kay Shields Perot
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Willie taking a look at my sister, Linda Broday’s, first published book!
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Willie talking to Rick Sikes after a show. He was exhausted, but still took time to visit.
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Jan Sikes and Willie after the concert. Look at the sweat under Willie’s arm. He was exhausted and I don’t know where my smile was. I think I was just feeling his exhaustion.

And, then last, but certainly not least, I want to share a pen and ink drawing Rick did of Willie. I thought he captured the essence of Willie Nelson perfectly!

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I can’t say why I was particularly drawn to share this with you. Perhaps it was the conversation with Kinky that sparked it. The feature article will appear in the July issue of Buddy Magazine.

The Billy Battles Saga – Ron Yates #RRBC #RWISA

RRBC and RWISA author, Ron Yates has just released the third and final book of his Billy Battles series and I am honored to host him here today!

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Where in the world is Billy Battles?

As Book Three of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy begins we know where Billy is. He is in Chicago with his wife, the former Baroness Katharina von Schreiber living a sedate and comfortable life after years of adventure and tragedy. That changes with a single telephone call that yanks Billy and Katharina back into a life of turmoil and peril.

Persuaded by a powerful old friend to go undercover for the U.S. government the two find themselves in Mexico during the height of the violent 1910-1920 revolution. There they encounter assorted German spies, Mexican revolutionaries, devious political operatives, and other malefactors. Caught in the middle of the 1914 American invasion of Veracruz, they must find a way out while keeping their real identities secret.

After managing to extract themselves from danger, disaster strikes. It is a tragedy Billy is all too familiar with and one that will send him plummeting into a painful abyss of despair and agony. Consequently, Billy vanishes leaving family and friends to wonder what happened to him. Where is he? Is he dead or alive? What provoked his disappearance? In Book 3 of the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy, those questions are answered, and the mystery behind Billy’s disappearance is finally revealed.

PURCHASE LINK: THE LOST YEARS OF BILLY BATTLES

And now a little about the rest of the series

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About the Finding Billy Battles Series

The Finding Billy Battles series tells the story of a man who is born in 1860 and who dies in 1960. In between William Fitzroy Raglan Battles lives an improbable and staggering life of adventure, peril, transgression, and redemption. Then, Billy (that’s what his friends call him) mysteriously disappears. For several years his family has no idea where he is or what he is doing.

Finally, with his life coming to an end, Billy resurfaces in an old soldiers’ home in Leavenworth, Kansas. It is there when he is 98 that he meets his 12-year-old great-grandson and bequeaths his journals and his other property to him — though he is not to receive them until he is much older.

Years later, the great-grandson reads the journals and fashions a three-volume trilogy that tells of his great-grandfather’s audacious life in the old west, as well as his journeys to the Far East of the 1890s—including French Indochina and The Philippines—and finally, in the early 20th century, to Europe and Latin America where his adventures and predicaments continue. Trouble and tragedy dog Billy his entire life. In each book of the trilogy, we witness Billy’s ability to handle setbacks and misfortune as well as his successes and relationships.

Each chapter in the trilogy blends historical fact with fiction. The chapters are meticulously researched down to the last detail so readers not only find themselves immersed in a compelling story, but are exposed to historical events and real people that make the worlds of the late 19th and early 20th centuries come alive.

Before writing the Finding Billy Battles series, I spent some 27 years as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. During that time I lived and worked in Asia and Latin America, including most of the places in which my books are set. Therefore, descriptions of cities such as Saigon, Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Veracruz, etc. are based on my personal experiences and observations.

During that time, I covered several wars, revolutions, and popular uprisings which greatly aided in the descriptions of conflict that arise occasionally in the trilogy.

My purpose in writing the series was to tell a compelling story that, while fiction, is grounded in accurate historical fact. As such, I was careful to use the vernacular of the time and to describe places and events as they were in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

There is no great literary message in the books, other than to demonstrate that many people in the past lived remarkable lives filled with adventure, sadness, struggle, joy, and love just as today. They were not, as so often portrayed in the pallid black and white photographs of the time, stiff, lifeless figures without vivacity and depth.

The Finding Billy Battles series is targeted at readers who enjoy historical fiction topped off with a generous helping of action and adventure. It takes readers to an earlier time devoid of the relentless intrusion of today’s prevailing technology.

People who lived during Billy’s prime were not dominated by and yoked to technology the way so many of us are today. It was a time when the notions of “honor,” “fidelity,” and “duty” were guiding principles in most people’s lives. People were less harried and stressed and more disposed to stop and smell the flowers than their 21st-century counterparts.

If there is one message my books have it is this: Reading a book is a lot like life; you live it one page at a time.

PURCHASE LINK FOR $$ SAVING BUNDLE: BILLY BATTLES TRILOGY BUNDLE

ABOUT RON YATES:

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RONALD E. YATES

Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and award-winning Finding Billy Battles trilogy. His extraordinarily accurate books have captivated fans the world over who applaud his ability to blend fact and fiction.

Ron is a former award-winning foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois where he was also the Dean of the College of Media.

His book, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles,” is the second in his Finding Billy Battles trilogy of novels and was published in June 2016. It has won multiple awards, including the 2017 KCT International Literary Award, the 2017 John E. Weaver Excellent Reads Award for Historical Fiction, the 2016 New Apple Literary Award in the Action/Adventure category and First Place in the 2016 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Literary Category. It was also a finalist for the United Kingdom’s Diamond Book Award. The first book in the trilogy, “Finding Billy Battles,was published in 2014 and was a Kansas Book Festival Selection and a finalist for a Chanticleer Laramie Award. Book 3 of the trilogy (The Lost Years of Billy Battles) was published June 6, 2018.

Ron has been a presenting author at the Kansas Book Festival and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, among other venues. He is also the author of The Kikkoman Chronicles: A Global Company with A Japanese Soul, published by McGraw-Hill. Other books include Aboard the Tokyo Express: A Foreign Correspondent’s Journey through Japan, a collection of columns translated into Japanese, as well as three journalism textbooks: The Journalist’s Handbook, International Reporting and Foreign Correspondents, and Business and Financial Reporting in a Global Economy.

Before leaving the world of professional journalism where he toiled 25 years, Ron lived and worked in Japan, Southeast Asia, and both Central and South America where he covered several history-making events including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia; the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing; and wars and revolutions in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, among other places.

Ron’s work as a war correspondent resulted in several awards, including the Inter-American Press Association’s Tom Wallace Award for coverage of Central and South America; the Peter Lisagor Award from the Society of Professional Journalists; three Edward Scott Beck Awards for International Reporting, and three Pulitzer nominations.

He lives in Murrieta, California and is a proud graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas.

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Ron Yates’ Amazon Author’s page:

https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B001KHDVZI/-/e/B00KQAYMA8/?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

Website: https://ronaldyatesbooks.com/

Blog: https://ronaldyatesbooks.com/category/foreign-correspondent/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jhawker69

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ronaldyatesbooks/

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RonYates

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/?trk=tab_h

 

 

Amusement Park – 3

Last week, we left Jennifer on her way back to the amusement park after searching at home for her seven-year-old little sister who had mysteriously disappeared off the roller coaster ride. The owner of the amusement park, Mr. Parker, had recruited the other workers to help search for the little girl. Jennifer is just arriving back at the park. Let’s see if anyone has found Emily yet.

***

The look on Mr. Parker’s face told me they hadn’t found her yet. I shoved the cell phone back in his hand and muttered. “Thanks, Mr. Parker. Emily wasn’t there.”

Mr. Parker narrowed his eyes at me. “Where is your mother, young lady? She should be here.”

I cast my eyes to the ground. “She was out.”

“Well, no matter. Put your thinking cap on. What is Emily’s favorite part of the park?”

“She loves the hall of mirrors. She goes every chance she gets.”

“Then, let’s go look there.”

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I walked alongside the man who had shown nothing but kindness. Tears threatened to spill, and I blinked hard.

“Why do I have a feeling there is something you aren’t telling me, Jennifer?” He asked.

“I don’t know sir.” I picked up the pace and walked a few steps in front of him, reaching the Hall of Mirrors first. I stepped inside and called out. “Emily. Emily Ann, where are you? If you’re hiding you better come out right now or you’re in big trouble.”

The only response was a slight echo. I rushed through, not taking time to glance at my reflection in the mirrors that made Emmy giggle so. I just had to find her.

Mr. Parker’s phone jangled causing me to jump. “Hello,” he said. “Yeah, okay. We’ll be right there.”

“Did someone find her?” I tugged on his arm.

“It was Mickey. He just said to come quickly to the spooky tunnel. Let’s go.”

I didn’t wait for him. I ran as fast as I could through the maze of mirrors out into the fading sunlight and didn’t slow down until I reached the mouth of the darkened tunnel. My stomach turned a thousand summersaults.

Spook-Cars-edited

Mickey slouched against the opening of the darkened tunnel.

“Did you find her?”

He passed me his flashlight and motioned inside. I didn’t wait for him or Mr. Parker. I ran screaming. “Emily! Emmy! Where are you?”

“Sh,” A soft voice replied. “You’re gonna scare them.”

I didn’t exhale until I reached Emily. She sat on the ground deep in the tunnel with a tabby mama cat and a passel of kittens on her lap.

“Look, Jen.” She grinned up at me. “Aren’t they adorable? Can we take them home with us? Huh? Can we?”

I wrapped my arms around my little sister and wept into her soft brown hair. “Oh, Emmy. You scared me so bad. Why didn’t you tell me where you were going? We’ve looked all over and now Mr. Parker has had to pay everyone extra to stay and look for you.”

“But, I didn’t have time to tell you.” She stared at me with wide blue eyes. “I had to follow Miss Daisy and she wouldn’t wait. She needed my help.”

The mangy cat blinked her yellow-green eyes at me and meowed as if to confirm everything Emily said.

Tabby

Mr. Parker and Mickey reached us together.

“You gave us quite a scare, young lady,” Mr. Parker said with a deep stern voice.

“I’m sorry.” Emily’s bottom lip quivered. “I just had to help Miss Daisy.”

Mr. Parker replied, “Come on. We need to let the others know and call off the search.”

Emily stubbornly refused to stand up.

“Mr. Parker, you can go. I’ll deal with Emily and these cats.” I couldn’t stand to put him out any more than I already had. “And, sir, you can take out of my wages whatever you need to pay the others for staying.”

He laid a hand on my shoulder. “That won’t be necessary, Jennifer, but you are going to have to leave your little sister at home from now on when you come to work.”

I stared at the ground. “Yes, sir.”

As soon as they were gone, I dropped down beside my sister. “Oh, Emmy, you still don’t know what a problem you made, do you?”

“I didn’t mean to upset you and Mr. Parker. I just had to help Miss Daisy. She came and got me off the roller coaster when it stopped on the big curve.”

I smoothed back her hair. “I understand, but you can’t just disappear like that. If they had called the police, we’d both be in big trouble. You wouldn’t want us to be taken away and put in strange homes, would you?”

Tears welled up in her eyes. “No, Jenny. I wouldn’t want that at all.”

“Then you can’t just be disappearing without telling me, no matter what. Understand?”

Emily nodded and swiped at her nose.

“Well come on, then. We have to go. The park is closed.”

“But what about Miss Daisy and her kittens?”

“I’ll go find a box and we can take them with us. But, we have to go.”

Emily reached for my hand. “Thank you, Jenny.”

The cat meowed again.

What on earth was I going to do with more mouths to feed?

**This is NOT the end. I have lots more problems planned for these two girls. But, now that we’ve found Emily,  I am going to pull it off my blog and turn it into a YA novella. I hope I have enticed you enough with this opening to want to read more about Jennifer and Emily.**

The 2018 Author Interview Series Featuring Gwen Plano and John Howell

This honest and insightful interview with Gwen Plano and John Howell is so wonderful I had to share! Enjoy!

Author Don Massenzio

It’s time for the next subject for my 2018 author interview series. Author interviews are posted every Friday throughout the year.

This week is a two for one special. I’m happy to be interviewing Gwen Plano and John Howell. Gwen and John have just released a book that they co-authored called The Contract. I’m happy to have them both join me in a ‘he said/she said’ type of format.

You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.

If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com

Now, please enjoy this interview with Gwen Plano and John Howell:


Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Gwen: This is an interesting question, Don. I write because I am…

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