Discovery – Poetry and Art

It’s been a while since I did any self-promotion. I do love supporting other authors and music artists. It makes me happy when I can help spread the word about the work of another.

But, today, I want to talk about a book that I am probably the proudest of, out of all of my babies, and that is the poetry and art book, DISCOVERY.

You may have noticed the author names include Rick Sikes. In truth, the only reason I included my name as an author, was so I could legally publish the book since Rick is deceased. And, I do write poetry, so I included some of my work in the back.

Several things about this book set it apart from other poetry and art books. Firstly, Rick wrote this book in its entirety while he was incarcerated in Leavenworth Prison. Secondly, he created all the artwork that is included in the book including the cover.

He’d always had artistic talent, but until he was locked behind bars, he didn’t discover it fully. The artwork represented here is what we referred to as ‘pen-and-ink’ drawings, but the correct name is Pointillism. The drawings are made up of millions of tiny dots. I loved to watch over his shoulder, after he came home, while he created a new piece. But, all the drawings in Discovery except for one of Willie Nelson were created while he was in prison.


The original title Rick gave the poetry book was “Etchings In Stone.” But, since we released a music CD with that title, I needed to find something different.

You can see all of Rick’s music on my webpage

The first poem in the book is entitled, “Discovery,” and it tells of a turning point in Rick’s life when he decided to be, think and do only positive things in a negative situation. It was a resolve that served him well the rest of his life.

You’ll find everything from raw bleeding hurt and emotion, to off-the-cuff silly poetry, to strong political statements included in this book. It is a true baring of the soul.

The Forward to this book was graciously provided by Connie Nelson, ex-wife of Willie Nelson.

Myself with Connie Nelson

This beautiful book is available in Hardback, Paperback and eBook formats.

PURCHASE LINK

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#RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop – Day 3 Gwen Plano

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“Greetings!  Welcome to the 2nd RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop!  These members of RRBC have penned and published some really great reads and we’d like to honor and showcase their talent.  Oddly, all of the listed Winners are RWISA members!  Way to go RWISA!

We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed, and after reading it, leave a review.  There will be other books on tour for the next few days, so please visit the “HOP’S” main page to follow along.

Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the “HOP’S” main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for a gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!”

Author, Gwen Plano

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Book: LETTING GO INTO PERFECT LOVE https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K7WYTW6/

Letting Go

 

Book Blurb: Inspiring and unforgettable, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a riveting account of a journey through the terror of domestic violence to a faith that transforms all. As a college administrator, Gwendolyn M. Plano lived her professional life in a highly visible and accountable space–but as a wife and mother, behind closed doors, she and her family experienced unpredictable threat. The statistics are staggering–every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten–but to Gwen, this was her secret; it was her shame. When her husband eventually turned his brutality on her son, she knew she could no longer remain silent.

 Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, this is a story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s uplifting account of learning how to forgive the unforgivable, recover her sense of self, bring healing into her family, and honor the journey home. Accompanied by glimpses of celestial beings, Gwen charts a path through sorrow to joy–and ultimately, writes of the one perfect love we all seek

Twitter: @gmplano

#RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop – Day 2 – M.A. Adler

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“Greetings!  Welcome to the 2nd RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop!  These members of RRBC have penned and published some really great reads and we’d like to honor and showcase their talent.  Oddly, all of the listed Winners are RWISA members!  Way to go RWISA!

We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed, and after reading it, leave a review.  There will be other books on tour for the next few days, so please visit the “HOP’S” main page to follow along.

Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the “HOP’S” main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for a gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!”

Author, Mary Adler

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Book: IN THE SHADOW OF LIEShttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K7WYTSU/

In The Shadow of Lies by Mary Adler

Book Blurb: Richmond, California. World War II.  Marine Lieutenant Oliver Wright comes home from the war in the Pacific injured and afraid his career as a homicide detective is over.  But when an Italian Prisoner of War is murdered the night the Port Chicago Mutiny verdicts are announced, and black soldiers are suspected of the crime, the Army asks Oliver to find out the truth.

 He and his canine partner Harley join forces with an Italian POW captain and with a black MP embittered by a segregated military. During their investigation, these unlikely allies expose layers of deceit and violence that stretch back to World War I and uncover a common thread that connects the murder to earlier crimes.

 In the Shadow of Lies reveals the darkness and turmoil of the Bay Area during World War II, while celebrating the spirit of the everyday people who made up the home front. Its intriguing characters will resonate with the reader long after its deftly intertwined mysteries are solved.

Twitter: @MAAdlerWrites

 

Special Anniversary Days!

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August has always been a BIG month for me. Well, at least it has been since 1985.

Rick Sikes, aka Luke Stone, left Leavenworth prison on August 15, 1985, and arrived on a Greyhound bus in Brownwood, Texas on August 17th. So, of course, it was a big day for Luke and Darlina after being separated by walls and bars for fifteen years. Even now, when I think about it, my heart races. Here is an excerpt from Home At Last.

During the ride back to Coleman, Luke never let go of Darlina’s
hand. He savored the countryside that he’d known as home
for all but the last miserable fifteen years of his life. Prickly pear
cactus grew wild in the pastures and along the roadway
amongst the cedar and mesquite trees. A lot had changed in
his absence, and yet so much remained the same.

The moment they stepped through the door of the small
apartment Darlina had rented for them, Luke drew her into the
circle of his arms and kissed her, savoring the uninhibited way
she responded.
He ached for her in ways that only a man who’d been
deprived for years could ache. The need and raw hunger overtook
everything else.
In minutes, the two lovers lay on the living room floor with
remnants of clothing scattered about. It didn’t matter that they
hadn’t made it to the bed. Nothing mattered except the moment.
Luke’s insatiable appetite grew more with each release. They
devoured each other lost in a span of time and space where the
entire Universe stopped spinning just for them.
Finally, out of breath and spent, Luke sat up with his back
against the sofa and gathered Darlina close beside him. “You
have no idea how many nights I dreamed of this and how those
dreams kept me going when there didn’t seem to be any other
reason.”
She snuggled into the crook of his arm. “I’ve died and gone
to heaven. I looked for some way to replace you after you left,
but I never found it.”

Then just 8 short days later, Luke and Darlina stood at the altar and repeated marriage vows.

Excerpt:

Luke placed his arm through the crook of Darlina’s and
together they walked toward their future.
The pastor of the Northside Community Baptist Church
waited to officially pronounce them man and wife.

The ceremony passed in a blur. All Darlina could focus on
was that she would finally and forevermore be Mrs. Luke Stone.
Her voice wavered and her hands shook as she read the
poem she’d written for the ceremony. “Today I stand here next
to you, to pledge my love faithful and true. At your side, I’ll
always be, from now throughout eternity. And so, in sight of
God and man, I promise as I take your hand, to love you deep
and strong and true and with you be, though storms may brew.
Never may our love grow cold even though we’ll both grow
old. So, today, they’ll say I belong to you, although that fact we
already knew.”

Luke chose to speak from the heart. “I’ve loved you for
always and promise to love, protect and adore you for always
and forever. You have my pledge to be faithful and true, and
you can rest assured I’ll never ever lie to you. You and these
two girls are my family now and I intend to make sure you
never regret this union. You are my everything. You’re all I
need.”
***

And so today, I choose to honor that anniversary from thirty-two years ago. Did Luke and Darlina have any idea what lay ahead? Of course not. But, it wouldn’t have changed anything if they had.

I hope you found the excerpts of interest and that you’ll pick up the book and help me celebrate this anniversary, and many more!

HOME AT LAST ON AMAZON

Thank you for your support!

WEBSITE        TWITTER        FACEBOOK

Http-www.jansikes.com

#RRBC Springtime Book & Blog Party!

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Hi! And welcome to the  Rave Reviews Book Club’s BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY at Writing and Music coming to you from Plano, Texas.

Here is what I am giving away today!

One $5.00 Amazon Gift Card

One $10.00 iTunes Gift Card

One ebook of FLOWERS AND STONE

One ebook of THE CONVICT AND THE ROSE

WINNERS FOR THIS STOP – 4

I have published five books in the past four years. Four of those five have won book competition awards..

When I began this crazy journey by writing Flowers and Stone, I had no idea that it would take four books to tell the entire story. I also had no idea all I would learn along the way. But, I knew I had a story that begged to be told.

I started out by writing in first person. It became glaringly obvious that I couldn’t tell the story this way. When a close friend mentioned that I should consider telling it through fictitious characters, a light clicked on. That was the perfect solution for me. So, I chose to tell the story through Darlina Flowers and Luke Stone. In doing this, I was able to separate myself from a deeply personal story and tell it through their eyes.

Here are the top FIVE things I’ve learned over the past four years:

  1.  DO NOT forego professional editing! That is number one and the most important.  It doesn’t matter how wonderful and talented you are at writing, you cannot edit your own work successfully.
  2. Spend a good deal of time and thought about your cover. People really do judge a book by its cover.
  3. Write your blurb. Then delete it and write it again. Cut out extra words and tweak it until you are saying precisely what will sell the reader on your book in the fewest amount of words possible.
  4. Get ready to market! I have never been a salesman, so marketing does not come naturally for me. But, through marketing conferences and trial and error, I have found that basically marketing consists of FOUR things: Visibility, Consistency, Honesty (honesty about yourself and about your books) and Networking.
  5.  Keep writing! Don’t think that because you’ve written and published one book you can sit back and reap the rewards. If you have a true passion for telling stories, you must keep writing. There are millions of books out there, but here’s something I want you to take to heart: NO ONE WRITES LIKE YOU! We are all unique and individual.

Here’s a little about each of my books:

flowers_and_stone_3d_cover Flowers and Stone is set in the rowdy Texas honky-tonks in 1970. Link to BOOK TRAILER

One Reviewer wrote: “As I close this amazing book by Jan Sikes, my heart aches for the hand Luke and Darlina have been dealt. Flowers and Stone is an amazing, fast paced story of two people who against all odds have found a true and binding love. The love story they create with one another is heart-gripping, turbulent, and heartbreaking. This is a true story of two souls brought together, soulmates, who were given the chance of true love until society and the justice system decided, differently.”

online_3d_cover_theconvictandtherose  The Convict and the Rose  alternates between Leavenworth Prison and Texas. Link to BOOK TRAILER 

A FIVE Star Review: “Luke struggles to adjust to life behind bars, going from a successful career as a musician to another number in the system. I thought this story might be bleak as a result, but it is far from depressing. Watching Luke cope to his new existence and rise above the situation made for riveting reading. And as Luke’s life unfolds, Darlina grows from a young, naïve girl to a stronger woman. Her journey has many ups and downs, strewn with doubts, hardships and new experiences. Through it all, she keeps in touch with Luke. And that’s what really resonated with me—the undying love these two hold for each other despite the separation they’re forced to endure.”

home-at-last_3d  Home At Last is set in a small West Texas town. Link to BOOK TRAILER

A FIVE Star Review: “Although Luke’s transition back into civilian life wasn’t easy for him, Darlina, and their two girls, they never gave up believing in second chances and living life to the fullest through all their hard work and endeavors. Many heartaches, losses, and struggles met them head-on, but for Luke and Darlina there wasn’t any mountain to high for them to scale.”

online_3d_cover_tildeathdouspart ‘Til Death Do Us Part concludes the series. Link to BOOK TRAILER

A FIVE STAR Review: “What a joy and what a sorrow. There is a gambit of emotions to be experienced in ‘Til Death Do Us Part, the concluding chapter in the Darlina Flowers and Luke Stone series. This story of love that knows no bounds will hold you captivated from being to end…Written from the heart, this is a book (and a series) that shouldn’t be missed. From hurdles to triumphs, it will make you believe in steadfast love. I had shivers about the owl hoots, especially at the end. I applaud the author for sharing her story with us and hope to see this series made into a movie someday.”

discovery_3dcoverhb2_discovery_logo1  Discovery Breaths of life from a prison cell

This poetry and art book is unique in many different ways. First and foremost, it was written and compiled by Rick Sikes during the fifteen years he spent in prison. The original documents were typed on onion skin paper. Remember that? 😊 It covers all topics from the deep dark loneliness of prison to a crazy and perhaps twisted sense of humor. It was a means of maintaining sanity in an insane setting.

The other thing that makes this book unique is the artwork found inside. Rick called them pen and ink drawings, but the proper name for this type of art is Pointillism. It is comprised of thousands of tiny dots made with a simple ink pen. He later added color to the drawings. Because the originals were black and white, I currently have two editions of the poetry book. One is hard cover and full color and the other paperback and black and white. I am in the process of getting this beautiful book formatted for ebook and it will be available soon.

I would LOVE it if you would take a look at the BOOK TRAILER for this beautiful book!

I hope you’ve enjoyed a preview of my books.

This tour is brought to you by the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB – a community of authors and readers who are constantly creating new ways to PROFILE, PROMOTE & PROPEL our members.  You mean you haven’t joined yet?  Well, you can…right here, right now, today!. You’ll not find another organization like this anywhere on the planet.

For a complete list of participants in the Block party, click HERE.

Once again, thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of this post.  Good luck on winning my giveaways!  I’ll see you at the next stop of this awesome BLOCK PARTY!

Follow me on: TWITTER   FACEBOOK   LinkedIn   PINTEREST    INSTAGRAM

 

Book Cover Contest Finalist!

Wow!! I am elated. I had forgotten all about entering this book cover contest with Authorsdb. So, you can imagine my surprise when the email came.

Home At Last

Named Finalist in Authorsdb Book Cover Contest!

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Released from federal prison after fifteen long years, Luke Stone boards a Greyhound bus bound for Texas, for home and the woman who holds his heart. He happily hangs up his neon dreams for a paint brush and hammer. Darlina Flowers has waited her entire adult life to become Mrs. Luke Stone, but will the hardships of starting over with nothing be too much? Their love is tested to the core as the story unfolds.

You can order Home At Last today on Amazon

Or for an autographed copy order through my Website

View the Book Trailer here!

 

Texas Short Stories

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I will be at Half Price Book Store, 5803 E. Northwest Highway, Dallas Texas from 1 – 6 on Sunday, November 6th, with a bunch of other COOL authors who also have winning short stories.

hpb-signsCome out and join us!

Short Stories by TEXAS AUTHORS

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This is a collection of short stories from winning entries in a contest sponsored by the Texas Association of Authors and DEAR Texas.

I am honored to have a short story, MOUNTAIN LAUREL,  published within the covers of this book along with other talented Texas authors!

Reviews are starting to come in. Here are a few.

Ruthie Jones reviewed “A Private War”

“Johnny shook the doorknob and when it did not turn, he put his shoulder to the door.


And then he was filling the space between them and reaching for her arm.
The soft flesh yielded so easily. She watched it swell between his fingers.
When her eyes flashed up at him, she was smiling.”

~ from A Private War by Mary Bryan Stafford (First Place for Fiction/Suspense)

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked A Private War to read for a bonus review, but wowza! I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just say that when a woman has had enough, she’s had enough! Domestic violence and living in fear of someone who is supposed to have your back is horrifying and unfortunately all too real for many people. But what happens when the abuser goes off to war, providing you with some much-needed peace? What happens when the one who actually has your back is a German Shepherd that followed you home one day? What happens when the abuser returns from war drunk and full of demands?

A Private War by Mary Bryan Stafford is just one of the amazing stories in this book.

Storybook Reviews reviewed “Homecoming Queen”

I chose one of the short stories to read just to get a flair for what might be included in this book.  As they are all short stories I don’t think they will take long to read, in fact the story I chose, Homecoming Queen (YA) took maybe 5 minutes to read.  Great when you just need a little something and don’t have a lot of time.

Homecoming Queen is about a young woman, Pam, that loses her life in an auto accident and is learning how to cross others over when it is their time.  In this story, there are two older ladies in a hospital room and one is ready to go and the other is not…and of course it is the one that is not ready to go that is being called home.  As is with most people that are younger, they do not understand there is a method to all the madness and why one person is chosen over another.  While the story is short, it is also poignant and has a lesson for us.

I can’t wait to read the other stories!

Hall Ways reviewed “John Sleeps”

“Night pounced hungrily upon the woods, gobbling up all remaining glimmers of light the sun had left behind.”

— from John Sleeps by David Hughes

Hall Ways Review: I just had to take a peek — just one story — inside Short Stories by Texas Authors, and I scored! John Sleeps, winning story in the horror category, is super creepy and conjures up thoughts of spooky stories told around the campfire. Hughes makes his words count and does an amazing job of building up dread, doom, and gloom as the main character seeks safety from . . . well, you’ll just have to read it to find out.

If this story is any indicator of the caliber of stories and quality of writing in Short Stories by Texas Authors, readers are going to be doing a major happy dance. I can’t wait to read more.

Chapter Break Blog reviewed “Todd”

Here’s quick review of one of the short stories in this collection, Todd by Fern Brady. This selection won First Prize in the Fiction/Science category. And it was a wild ride for being a short story! Toddtakes place in an unspecified “future” time. A time where Big Brother watches every aspect of daily life, and all the fun things have been banned. Todd is on an illegal quest for some cigarettes. The story had my heart racing while we follow Todd, wondering if he’ll succeed or not. And the very abrupt, but also very clear-cut ending was a stunner. One that works really well as social commentary for both no smoking, and not letting Big Brother take over our lives.

Got your interest? Grab your copy and enjoy all of the stories! Click here to order. Also available on Amazon

ALL proceeds go to support DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Texas literacy programs. 

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The Texas Association of Authors is a progressive and innovative non-profit organization created to help Texas authors market their books. I invite you to take a look at the many programs offered through TxAuthors.

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Amazon Giveaway! Home At Last

Amazon giveaway for Home At Last. It’s easy to enter and win!!

Home At Last is an award-winning story about new beginnings. Luke stone has finally been released from prison after 15 long years.

He heads home with empty pockets and a heart filled with dreams. He puts his guitar in the closet and picks up a hammer and paint brush to go about the business of building a new life and family with the woman who has stood by him through the long prison years.

He’s been given a second chance at everything he’s ever held dear, and is damned determined to take full advantage of it.

Darlina has waited most of her adult life to finally become Mrs. Luke Stone. But, nothing could prepare her for the difficulties that lie ahead as they struggle with extreme poverty and life-threatening health issues. .

Home At Last_3D

ENTER TO WIN A FREE COPY TODAY! SIMPLY CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW. IT’S QUICK, IT’S EASY AND COSTS YOU NOTHING FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THIS AWARD WINNING BOOK.

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