August Reflection

I purposefully left the “Hemingway” post up an extra few days and didn’t post again on Wednesday.  I want to thank everyone who visited the blog, left comments, liked and shared.

I am going to give away a copy of the book and album to someone who leaves a comment on this post today. And, if you missed it the first time around, here is an Amazon Purchase Link: Hemingway

REFLECTION

August is such a big month for me each year. It is not only the month Rick and I both had birthdays, but also the month he returned home from prison after fifteen years AND the month we got married.

So, I want to share a couple of short excerpts from “Home At Last.”

CHAPTER 2:

The air brakes brought the lumbering bus to a stop and the door flew open. Luke stood and gathered his meager belongings, consisting of a cheap cardboard case with a change of underwear, one change of clothes, a comb, toothbrush and shaving razor he’d been issued when he left prison. In his pocket, he carried his parole papers, which he’d glanced at often since leaving Kansas.

When he spotted Darlina at the entrance of bus station, he swallowed hard.

He maneuvered his lanky frame to the front of the bus and stepped off. He dropped his case and wrapped his arms tightly around her when she ran forward. They stood quietly, barely breathing.

His chest tightened when he saw big tears welling up in her blue eyes. He hated to see her cry, even if they were tears of joy.

“Oh Luke. You’re finally home,” her voice quivered.

CHAPTER 3:

Lily and Nicole bounded out of the front door before the car came to a complete stop.

The minute Luke opened the car door, they both flew at him. “Daddy, Daddy!” Nicole yelled.

“Let me get out of the car, girls, then I can give you both a big hug.”

Darlina watched, misty-eyed, as the girls grabbed Luke’s hands and pulled him toward the house. Luke glanced back over his shoulder at her. “Come on, Mama. Let’s join the party.”

She smiled and caught up with them.

The entire family had gathered to welcome Luke home and Mom Stone had prepared a feast including homemade chocolate pie.

Tears and laughter filled the air with joyous celebration.

When Mom Stone hugged her son, she sobbed into his shoulder. “Bubba, I didn’t think you’d ever get home.”

“Don’t cry, Mom. I’m here now and I’m not going anywhere else.” He reached for Darlina who wrapped her arms around them both.

Luke’s eyes misted when he hugged his only brother, which in turn brought a lump to Darlina’s throat. Because of cancer, Bobby no longer had any vocal chords and after suffering a stroke, he walked with a cane and dragged his left leg.

Voice hoarse with emotion, Luke hugged Bobby a second time. “It’s damn sure good to be home, stud.”

CHAPTER 4

In the chaos of everyone talking and laughing, Darlina linked her arm through Luke’s. “We did it, baby. We finally did it. Are you happy?”

Luke gave her a positively sinful grin that made her heart lurch. “Darlin’, I’ll show you how much a bit later. Bet I can get you out of that beautiful dress in nothin’ flat.”

Darlina laughed. “Promises promises”

It was a very big day in the lives of Luke and Darlina Stone. One that would never be forgotten.

A union created in heaven and sealed on earth.

End_Chapter3_Pic4

***

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To everyone who has read and reviewed, “Home At Last,” THANK YOU!!

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5 Year Anniversary

5_Anniversary

Five years ago, I published my first book, Flowers and Stone.

I had no idea where the journey would lead me. All I knew was that I had a story to tell.

I can’t even begin to list the things that have happened, doors that have opened and people that I’ve met. I was not following one blog five years ago and never imagined I would not only follow lots of amazing blogs but would have one myself. I certainly didn’t belong to an international author’s organization. I literally had no idea what I was doing.

Looking back now, I can see that my Angels were hard at work lining up opportunities, putting me with the right people and organizations, and keeping me moving forward when I lacked the energy to do it for myself.

And here I sit, five years and five books later with an active blog following, a solid fan-base, so many reviews from all over the globe and a wonderful website. And that’s just touching the tip of the iceberg. I have been a very busy woman.

So, now with all of that done, I ask myself, where do I go from here?

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Sure, I’ve published six short stories and that was truly fun! And, I write for two magazines and thoroughly enjoy that, but after writing such big novels, I feel as if I am sloughing off. Does anyone ever feel like that after completing a big project that drives you?

I had a dream the other night where I was driving a car and my sister was with me. There were two red wasps flying around in the car and she started to open the door. I yelled at her to open the windows and that I’d stop. I pulled into a small convenience store/gas station and she went inside. I opened all the doors to shoo out the wasps but never saw them again. When she returned to the car, I looked at her and said, “I have no idea where we are or where we are going. All I know to do is go back the way we came.”

That may hold no significance to anyone but myself, but I awoke knowing the profoundness of the dream.

I have written a fiction novel – in fact, I finished it last year and started pitching it to publishers. I’ve had no takers yet. I ‘ve also written the first chapter of the second book in the series, but I feel as if I am constantly spinning my wheels and going nowhere.

The anniversary of my first published book has brought all of this to a culmination in my mind. The dream – go back the way I came – holds a message. Is the message to go ahead and self-publish the fiction series? I’m groaning as I type it. I want the support and backing of a publisher. That’s the bottom line. Will I get it? Heck, if I know. All I do know is that I work long hours every day and while I know where I’ve been and where I am, I haven’t a clue about where I’m going but still enjoying the journey and still trusting the Angels to get me there. 🙂

Thanks for letting me share. Happy Anniversary to Flowers and Stone!

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WEBSITE: http://www.jansikes.com

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TIL DEATH DO US PART – A REVIEW BY @dlfinnauthor

When someone reads and leaves a review for one of my books, I am always moved. But, this review from D.L. Finn made my eyes misty.

Here is her review on Amazon:

“This is the final book in the fictionalized true-story of Luke and Darlina Stone. The story continues where it left off in “Home at Last” for Luke and Darlina. The remarkable journey of this couple comes full circle when music reenters their lives. I loved that Darlina (and their daughter) joined Luke on stage. It was beautiful to read the process of this couple creating music together. I felt every emotion reading “’Til Death Do Us Part”, especially knowing it’s the real story of the author– and it was the last book. I was heartbroken watching the decline of Luke’s health, but was amazed, again, at how strong their love was. When I hear an owl hoot at night it will always remind me of this couple’s unwavering love. A beautifully written series I highly recommend.”

Thank you to D.L. for the kind words! Please visit the original post on her BLOG.

Christmas is coming! If you’d like an autographed copy of TIL DEATH DO US PART, visit my website.

And, of course, this book can be purchased on Amazon

You can find out more about all of my books on my website

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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!

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The Convict and the Rose marked down!

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The Convict and the Rose inspires hope and shows how ANYONE can turn a dark negative situation into a positive one. But more importantly, the story portrays a love that goes beyond earthly confines and proves how persistence and faith come with their own sweet reward.
Join Luke and Darlina as they continue their epic journey with love as their constant North Star and freedom as the driving force.

The Convict and the Rose has 27 Five Star Reviews! You can read them here.

Listen to The Convict and the Rose come to life with voice actors on RAVE WAVES SPOTLIGHT THEATER. 

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I hope you will find this book interesting enough to invest 99 cents!

And, of course, I’d be honored if you will take the time to post a review once you’ ve read The Convict and the Rose.

Thank you for your awesome support! Thank you