So Far Behind

so far behind

I just know I’m not the only one that ever feels this way. I have loaded myself down with more than any person can possibly do in a 24 hour time period. As a result, anytime something comes along that upsets the old apple cart, so to speak…

apple cart

Well, it gets overwhelming.

I have two amazing, beautiful, smart and talented daughters. (I have to brag just a little.)

Mom,Crys,Deva (2017_11_16 21_30_48 UTC)

Well, this is me and them many, many years ago. 🙂

So, the youngest daughter (yes, that little one above on the left) is a corporate attorney. While she has a very demanding and high-paying job, she also has two beautiful little girls of her own.
Sammy_Sydney

They are my sunshine.

My daughter had to travel to Milwaukee this week on business and needed me to step in and take care of these two little ones. “No worries,” I told her and myself. Sydney is in first grade, so she’ll be in school all day and the little one goes to a daycare. I can do this easy-peasey.

BUT…little one got sick right before my daughter had to leave. She was running a fever of 102. SO….need I say that I did not take her to daycare this entire week? Instead, we had two doctor visits and lots of cuddling and praying that she’d get better.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I am SO far behind on everything that I normally keep up with…your blogs,  my blog, your emails, the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, Texas Authors, the North Texas Book Festival, Buddy Magazine, The Oklahoma Farm and Ranch Magazine AND my book that I’m trying to write.

But…know what? I wouldn’t trade one minute of rocking that sweet baby, singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” or even bribing her with sweet Robin Eggs to take her horrible tasting medicine. Life is short. Babies quickly grow up to be adults and we just get older.

Forgive me if I haven’t responded. I will get to everything eventually.

Please-Forgive-Me-

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#RRBC Springtime Book & Blog Party!

RRBC Badges (2)

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

 

Let’s Play!

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Something similar to this circulated on Facebook not long back and I thought it would be fun to customize it a little for authors and bloggers. Let your readers find out something they might not know about you and in return you may learn something about your readers that you didn’t know. So, have fun and LET’S PLAY!

  • Do You have any Tattoos?    No
    • If yes, visible or not visible:
  • Where is the farthest place you’ve traveled?  Rome Italy
  • Pick one book shelf in your house and count the books on it:  124
  • Have you ever been to Vegas?   Yes
  • Do you gamble:      Yes (but only for FUN!)
  • Have you ever quit a job?   Yes
    • If Yes, Why?   To move to a different city
  • Have you ever sang Karoke?    Yes
  • What’s the most exotic animal you’ve seen:   A Bongko
    • Where were you?   Dallas Zoo
  • What is your biggest pet peeve in life?   Pet owners who don’t take care of their pets
  • What is the most exotic food you’ve eaten:  Fried Alligator
    • Where were you?     New Orleans, La. 
  • If you were granted ONE wish, what would you ask for?    Health
  • What is the scariest situation you’ve ever been in?   A war zone between biker gangs.
  • Have you ever seen a ghost?    Yes
    • Where were you?   In my bed in Coleman, Tx. I awoke and saw a small built little man with a fedora hat on standing and looking out the back window.
  • Do you have a bucket list:   Yes
    • If so, how many items are in it?   Lots
      • Can you name them?   I’ll name a few: I want to ride in a hot air balloon. I want to visit Ireland and Scotland. I want to visit every corner of America. I want to see New England in the Fall. I want to dance more before I get too old. I want to have a Bestseller book! I want to visit Switzerland and Amsterdam.
  • What’s the most memorable concert you ever attended?  That’s a hard one. I’ve been to so many amazing concerts, but in the 80s when Charlie Daniels was doing his Windows tour, he came to Shreveport and it was and still is memorable. Just amazing! 

  • If you could attend one concert anywhere in the world today, who would you see?  Again, that’s hard because I’ve seen so many. Dolly Parton, or maybe Joe Bonamassa. 
  • If you could sit down and visit with anyone alive or dead, who would it be?  Jacqueline Kennedy
    • Why?  I always admired the way she handled herself in good times and bad. She was the embodiment of a Goddess. 
  • What is one book you have read that changed you or you never forgot?   The Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell – eye-opening and fascinating! 

So my answers are in RED

Reblog and give me your answers, or simply copy and paste. Let’s get to know each other better!!

 

Ah, The World of Blogging

Who knew there was such a tight knit group to be found through blogging? I am just starting to realize the sense of community that rests within the world of bloggers. They share each other’s posts on social media, re-blog and comment almost daily.

Blogs in blue

So, I thought about it. As a reader, what do I want to see in a blog?

For starters, I don’t often read a long blog. I prefer short and to the point. So, if it’s long, I’ll skim through, but won’t read it word-for-word.

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I like visuals that accompany the blog.

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Interesting subjects, ideas or philosophies always catch my attention.

What can I learn from the blog?

Will the blog enhance my life in any way or simply entertain me? I’m good with both things, but it must accomplish at least one of them.

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I love meeting new authors through blogs and can honestly say that I’ve ordered books simply by reading a guest blog from an author I’d never heard of. Yep, that has happened, Andrew Joyce.

iloveblogging

I follow lots of blogs and again, just being honest here, I prefer the blogs that only post once per day. When I get a Daily Digest from a blogger and see five or more blogs posted, I’ll skim the titles to see if anything draws my interest. I’m sure I’ve missed some great stuff by doing that, but I simply don’t have the time to read each one.

So, what are your preferences about blogs? I’d love to hear from you. Be honest!!

 

Newsletters/Blogs Unusual Sources

In this world of frantic blogging and newsletters, I get an influx (as I am sure everyone does) into my Inbox.

But, this morning, I got a newsletter from, of all places, my dentist. Yes, you heard me right. My dentist now sends out a monthly newsletter.

So, what can a dentist blog about? Well here’s a sneak peak.

Your child’s sippy cup. Is it friend or foe?  Well, as someone who takes care of children on daily basis, I will tell you the answer to that one. It is not only a friend, but a necessity. Spills happen enough even with the awesome sippy cups!

toddler-bottle-transition-with-sippy-cup

Bye Bye Buck Teeth! How to overcome an overbite. This one is very dental related and fits with the theme, but the title made me think of “Bye Bye Birdie.”

bye-bye-birdie

Alcohol is everywhere. Are hidden sources hurting your teeth? Hidden sources of alcohol? Where? I keep my alcohol out in the open. And if the hidden sources are hurting your teeth, just think of what the out-in-the-open sources are doing.

hidden-wine

I’m not posting this to poke fun at my dentist. In fact, quite the contrary. Kudos to him for stepping out into the world of blogging and newsletters!

By the way, he is an awesome dentist. I never cringe when I have to go for an appointment – well, except for the $$$ that are going to fly out of my pocket.

Do you receive newsletters or blogs from unusual sources? What is the most unusual you’ve ever received? I’d love to hear from you.

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