A Story of Love and Time

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a Rick Sikes original story and this one always touched me. Of course he writes in parables, but I see the comparisons clearly. Enjoy!

A STORY OF LOVE AND TIME BY RICK SIKES

     I can’t tell you why men write and I have been thinking pretty hard on it these past few hours. It could be a man finds something inside of him so damn beautiful that he wants to get it down on paper before it slips away. I guess it could be that a man stumbles onto a thought so damned earth-shaking he figures just about everybody should get a chance to hear it. Who knows? Not me. I ain’t no writer. I’m a cowboy…

     But, here I am writing!

     It all started last night. You see, when the whistling West Texas wind drives chariots of tumbleweed across this God-forsaken plain, a man finds his body creeping closer to the fire as surely as he finds his mind seeking the warmer memories of his past… and last night was black ice, raw and bitter… and as surely as my fire drew me to its warmth, one of my memories drew my soul… until… like a Roman Candle exploding in huge darkness, I saw that memory in a new light… and I was wanting to write it down… so I could share it… earth-shaking or not…

     So, here I am, sitting on my saddle, with a pencil in my ol’ paw and an empty stomach, doing two things I ain’t never done before…

     Missing breakfast and writing a story!

     But, sometimes a thought can feed what a meal can’t. Depends on a man’s hunger I reckon.

     I know the thoughts in the Good Book used to feed my mama, and I can remember a teacher I had once, years ago. They fed me so much poetry that my heart was filled to bursting because I couldn’t let it out for fear that my pals would laugh me to shame.

     Funny, ain’t it… how one thought leads on to another? And that brings me to the memory I discovered last night.

     I grew into manhood on a rocky Texas ranch. Pa died early. Ma still lives on the place. The soil ain’t good for nothing but cactus and windstorms on that place and it weren’t no different when I was growing up. But, we had some times on the old place worth remembering, and I find it’s true the older I get, a few things happened there a boy had to grow into understanding. My story’s about one of those things.

     There was an old billy goat on our place. He was wild and wicked, crafty and cantankerous and smelly and scrawny. He was also lonely. His smell would gag a buzzard and he was so scraggly looking that the horned-toads paraded their ugliness past him like it was finery. Pa used to say, when we’d catch a glimpse of that ol’ goat, he was so poorly looking that he’d force a train to take a dirt road. I always smiled and nodded.

     Pa died in the winter of my fourteenth year. Later the same year, April I think it was, I came up on a sight which I didn’t give much thought to ‘til last night. I was with our hired hand and his boy, Junior Bascomb.

     Junior was my best and only friend growing up. He was two years older than me and I always thought of him as a kind of god. I guess he must’ve known the answer to every growing-up question I ever wanted to ask.

     Anyway, we rode up on one of the prettiest roses a man could ever want to see. Right next to that rose, laid out and dry, was the bones of that ol’ billy goat. I can remember Junior Bascomb saying, “Well, now, ain’t that the purdy’est rose you ever seen?” And his Pa answering, “It surely is.” I can remember how we all noticed the skeleton of that ol’ goat and sort of laughed when Junior’s Pa said the old billy would’ve eaten it sure.

     Junior wanted to pick the rose for a little gal he was seeing in town, but his Pa told him to leave it where it grew. When Junior asked why, his Pa said, “Well, son, I think it’s kinda nice for old Billy, onery cuss he was, to have such a purdy flower growing there by his grave…”

     And we rode on…

     And I’ve been riding on ever since.

      I’ll be fifty come June.

    But, somewhere between then and now, I’ve come to look on that long ago day with a different view… and I guess my story is a little more than the story of an old billy goat and his rose. Just as a man sees things a tad different than a boy… because in my man’s soul I can almost see that old, lonely billy goat wandering through his empty days. That lonely little rose was solitary but splendid; nourished by a tiny stream and hemmed in by a few weeds.

    I can see the old billy goat coming up to that little rose, and I can see him wanting to eat it, but he didn’t because he felt something just in looking at it that he hadn’t felt in years.

     He felt younger, richer and less lonely.

     So, he grazed all around the area and he fell in love with the awesome intensity only an old creature can feel. The sight of the rose made him spry and the scent of the rose put him in a romantic mood. One day, he became so jealous of the weeds growing around his rose that he tore them from the ground and gobbled them down in a frenzy that he hadn’t felt in years. They tasted terrible in his mouth, but seeing them gone made him feel pure in his soul. He had never been so happy. At night, the warm breeze blew the fragrance of his rose softly into his nostrils and he slept well.

     The summer passed well. Every day began with the sight of his lovely, dew-kissed rose, and every day ended with perfume and dreams.

     But as summer ended and the rose began to fade, the old goat began to eat less and less and worry more and more. When the frost came, chilling and killing his love, it killed something in the old goat too. One by one, the petals dropped from the rose into the dust and the old goat followed soon after.

    Every year, around spring the rose returned to bloom beautifully, beside the bleached bones of the old billy goat. Eventually, the sands shifted, covering both Billy and his rose…

     But what is covered is not always forgotten,

     And what truly matters finds a way to bloom again.

     Even in the heart of an old cowboy.

For more about the life, times and music of Rick Sikes:

http://www/ricksikes.com

http://www.jansikes.com

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

2018 The Year of the Short Story!

I’m still looking back at 2018, and one thing that stands out for me, in the literary world, is the number of short stories that were published.

Part of the reason for the large surge was a 90 Day Alpha/Omega Beginning to End Short Story contest sponsored by the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

While I didn’t read every entry, I did devour a good many and was completely amazed at the writing talent!

I’m going to list a few of the top reads I found and hope you’ll check them out.

I have to start with some shameless self-promotion. “Two Shorts and a Snort” won the GRAND PRIZE in the contest! Needless to say, I was speechless.

Purchase Link

This book consists of two short stories and a poem. The first story, “Obsessed” is a story about a man who will do anything, even commit murder to win a lady’s hand in marriage. The second story, “Maggie” is about a baby found in the snow. Could it be that Frank and Mary prayed this baby up? The poem is one that is all-too-familiar. When friends of the opposite sex cross lines and become lovers. “Well, I think I liked you better when we were friends instead of lovers.”

Next up is the first-runner-up from the contest, “Tequila Rose Virginity Blues” by Wendy Jayne!

Purchase Link

It is no secret that I’m a huge fan of Wendy Jayne Scott’s writing. And this short story grabbed me from the first page!

Here’s a short excerpt from my review:
“When Tequila Rose wakes up one morning with a hangover and no memory of the night before, things get even more complicated as a strange man is there with coffee and soup. Who is this incredibly hot and handsome man?”

The author of this next great short story is Rhani D’Chae. “I’ve Always Loved Women” took me by surprise and the twist that came was unexpected.

Purchase Link

Here’s an excerpt from my review:
“When a man falls in love for the first time and she is married to an abusive man, it can’t possibly end well. But, what happens next shocked and surprised. Is he an angel of mercy or a cold-blooded killer? You decide. Well-written and easy to read in thirty minutes or under.”

Another short story I read that was absolutely fantastic was “Open, Shut” by Nonnie Jules. It tells such a compelling story of the power of faith.

Purchase Link

Here’s an excerpt from my Review:
“This is an easy-to-read short story you can finish in around thirty minutes. It shares of one girl’s unwavering faith and the ripples of that faith long after she’s gone from this life. I loved the way so many people were deeply affected and changed in the short duration of this story. “

Another short story I thoroughly enjoyed came from Author, D.L. Finn entitled, “Bigfoot – A Short Story.”

Purchase Link

Here’s an excerpt from my Review:
“Many stories have been told about the mythical Bigfoot, but in this short story, D.L. Finn presents a different twist on every theory out there. With only a few characters, the author manages to weave an entire story including some backstory. Could it be that Bigfoot was from another planet in our galaxy? I don’t know. Read this short story and find out. This is a quick read and can easily be done on a lunch break. It will leave you wondering.”

I normally wouldn’t list two short stories by the same author, but this story was that good and I wanted to include “Hexed: A Purr-fect Catastrophe” by Wendy Jayne.

Purchase Link

An excerpt from my Review:
“I loved, loved, loved this short story! It has a bit of everything in the mix from magic to shapeshifters. When Cassidy finds herself with a big problem, she is determined to find out who has put this damnable hex on her and what she can do to reverse it. Warlock, Hunter Rutherford, wants Cassidy. He’s courted her for months and is no closer to getting intimate than he was at the beginning, but why? He can see the desire in Cassidy’s eyes.”

That’s six short stories you can read in a short period of time and be thoroughly entertained. I hope I interested you in at least one.

All these authors are members of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and RAVE WRITERS INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS.

Day #11 Welcome to WATCH RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour #RRBC #RRBCWRW

Blog Tour Banners

Thank you all for joining me today on this amazing showcase tour being sponsored by RWISA (RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS), an elite branch of the amazing RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

This showcase will feature 19 talented writers, each having their own special day to be featured on multiple blogs.  Please take a moment after you’ve read the author’s work, to click on the link to take you to that author’s profile page on the  RWISA site.  On my blog, that link will be the author’s name.

Today’s special guest: Oh Look! It’s me! Jan Sikes

PARADISE BELOW

JAN SIKES

Emma Dupont shifted her backpack and lowered her head as she struggled through the crowded street. Panic struck as the sunlight faded.

It would mean sure death to get caught out after dark

“Watch where you’re goin’, you stupid bitch!”

Rough hands shoved her into the edge of speeding traffic. With great effort, she steadied herself, stepped back onto the sidewalk, and quickened her pace.

Making sure no one noticed her, she ducked into an alleyway and banged on the side of a blue dumpster with a series of raps. A camouflaged door slid open.

She tossed her backpack inside then hurried down the metal steps into the arms of a dark-haired man who held her while she sobbed.

“Susan, please bring Emma a cup of tea,” he instructed.

A tall blonde woman hurried away.

“I can’t go back up there again, Donovan. I just can’t.” Emma moaned. “They are no more than savages. Armed soldiers are everywhere, questioning everyone, barely controlling the mobs of hate-filled people. It’s awful.”

She didn’t tell him she’d felt someone watching her as she pushed through the street. The noose was tightening, but she’d die before she’d expose their hiding place.

Donovan rubbed her shoulders. “Don’t think about that right now.”

Susan appeared with a steaming cup and pressed it into Emma’s hands.

“Try to relax,” Donovan tucked a tendril of brown hair behind her ear.

Emma sank down against the cold concrete wall and let the warmth of the tea soothe her ragged nerves She watched while Donovan emptied the contents of the backpack.

When he looked up, his eyes shone. “You did good, love. We almost have enough.”

After the last election, conditions in the US had deteriorated. Humanity had gone crazy. Hate flourished and people killed each other over the slightest disagreement. Satan reigned.

Evil permeated every corner. Small handfuls of people banded together and escaped into underground tunnels determined to live in peace and raise their children.

Fed up with the insanity, Emma didn’t hesitate to join. Her group had one plan.

They had to get to Mexico.

The government’s restriction of money forced them to withdraw small amounts at a time. Emma’s experience of working in banks gave her the ability to gather the funds they needed to escape.

They were almost there, but nine months of living beneath the crazed streets of Dallas had taken its toll, especially on the children. Deprived of vitamin D, they grew lethargic and pale.

Resources, time and patience grew thin.

“I’ve been in communication with others in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. We’re almost ready to make our move,” Donovan said. “But, one mistake will mean death.”

Emma nodded. She didn’t care. The thought of dying didn’t frighten her.

Jasmine tea helped slow her heart rate and settle her nerves.

Donovan dropped beside her. “I never imagined that the ‘Land of the Free’ and the ‘Home of the Brave’ would deteriorate into such a state of evil, and hate.” He blew out a long sigh. “We’ve lost everything.”

Emma placed a hand on his arm. “But, we haven’t given up. And, we’ve kept love in our hearts.”

Susan and several others gathered around. “With trust in God and help from the angels who watch over us, we’ll survive,” she said. “We’re the future of humanity. We are the Lightworkers.”

They formed a circle and joined hands. In a melodic voice, a woman with straight black hair sang, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…”

Voices blended sweetly, and an essence of light filled the dank tunnel.

###

Melchizedek bowed his head overcome with the beauty and faith of the small group. He called Nemamiah and Charmaine to his side.

“It is almost time. We must rally everyone to watch over and help them. Please meet with the Ashtar Command and give them a report.”

Nemamiah folded his wings and nodded. Charmaine smiled and opened her wings to take flight.

“It is done.”

###

Emma barely survived her last venture above ground. When three hoodlums grabbed her and dragged her into a deserted alleyway, she fought hard, but they stuffed a dirty rag in her mouth and kicked her with the sharp toes of their boots.

From their sneers and insinuations, she knew they intended to take more than the contents in her backpack. She silently prayed.

The moment her attackers dumped the money out of her backpack, a flock of Ravens descended from nowhere, flapping their wings and pecking at their heads and eyes until they ran screaming from the alley.

Emma was sure they’d attack her next, but to her surprise, the birds hovered around her while she picked up the money, then flew above her while she ran for safety.

She shook her head when Donovan questioned her bruises and told him the angels had protected her.

Wheels were in motion. They would soon be away from the nightmare.

Donovan gathered the group for final instructions. “Travel light. Anything you don’t need, leave it. We have two vans, but there’s limited room.”

While the rest did the same, Emma gathered her belongings. She wouldn’t take more than she could carry on her back. She stared at a photo before tucking it into a zippered pocket. That life was gone. All she had left was her faith, strong will, and this family determined to live in peace.

By the time the twelve adults and four children were ready, the first shy rays from the sun graced the sky. It would be a long day.

They piled into the vans in an orderly manner. Donovan would drive one vehicle, and Michael the other.

Emma got into Donavon’s van. They’d grown close over the months of their confinement. She wouldn’t call it romance, but pure love. She’d grown to love all these gentle souls. Together, they would build a new life in paradise.

They slapped magnetic signs on the sides of the vans that read, “Hollow Road Baptist Church” and crawled through early morning traffic toward I-35 south.

They hit a roadblock a few miles outside Dallas.

“Remember what we rehearsed,” said Donovan as he pulled over.

Several of the group placed Bibles on their laps. Emma held her breath.

Armed soldiers approached. “Papers,” one soldier barked, “and state your destination.”

“Camp Zephyr, sir, for a retreat.”  Donovan handed him papers.

Soldiers surrounded both vans and peered through the windows. Emma was sure they could hear her heart pounding. She forced a smile.

Donovan stared straight ahead.

After what seemed like forever, the soldier passed the papers back through the window. “You can go. But, stay on the main roads. There are crazies around.” He motioned them on.

Donovan nodded and pulled away. “Emma, pull up GPS and find a back route, then tell Michael what we’re doing.”

The route took them through miles of open pasture and small Texas towns. Finally, their headlights pierced the darkness and lit up a rusted VW van shell.

Donovan pulled to a stop. “Everyone stays put until we know it’s safe.”

He jumped out. He and Michael hurried toward the VW, looking in all directions.

Emma chewed her fingernails and stared out the window. Nothing could go wrong now. They were so close.

Donovan had explained that a Coyote would escort them through the tunnel into Matamoros, where they would find papers and transportation.

When the men turned and waved, the group grabbed their belongings and exited the vans. One-by-one, they climbed down rickety wooden steps into a damp tunnel. Flashlights reflected off dirt walls supported by boards and rocks.

Painted on one board, “Paradise Below” promised a long-awaited redemption. The narrow tunnel forced them to walk single-file, and some taller men had to hunch over.

But, discomfort didn’t matter.

In an hour, they emerged onto a deserted side street in Matamoros where a dilapidated bus waited.

Without a word, the group filed onto the bus. The driver closed the door and ground the gears into forward motion.

Emma sat beside Donovan and reached for his hand. “We’re going to make it.”

He sighed and leaned back against the seat. “We are.”

A brilliant red sun rose over the ocean, bringing with it a new day, as the bus lumbered to a stop many hours later. Gentle waves lapped the shore and seagulls cawed as they swooped down searching for breakfast.

When the bus door opened, a couple dressed like American tourists greeted each person.

A woman with flaming red hair hugged Emma. “Welcome to Mexico. I’m sure you’re exhausted. We have rooms prepared for each of you.”

“Thank you,” Emma murmured soaking up the tropical scenery.

Paradise! They’d made it. No more hate, no more violence, and no more hiding.

They’d reached Pueblo de Luz, (City of Light).

A band of angels hovered above the group with tears of joy shining in their eyes.

There was hope for humanity.

Hope in these small groups that dared to keep love alive.

 The End

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Jan Sikes RWISA Author Page

How would you like to become a RWISA Member so that you’re able to receive this same awesome FREE support? Simply click HERE to make an application!

And now for the winners in the giveaway on my 500th blog post! 

CONGRATULATIONS! 

MARK BIERMAN

GRACIE BRADFORD

Please visit the RRBC Catalog and email me at rijan21@gmail.com with your choice of eBook written by Suzanne Burke (aka Stacey Danson)!

You will find her books in these categories:

Biographies & Memoirs

Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Paranormal, Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Taking a break?

takeabreak

Or is it? Are you like me and feel that you have to work like a Trojan workhorse every day, day in and day out?

But what happens when we do? I can only speak from my own personal experience.

  1. Creativity all but comes to a screeching halt
  2. I find it hard to shut my brain off at night for sleep
  3. I feel exhausted all the time
  4. I get grouchy when I am not creating
  5. I get tunnel vision

Here’s the truth of it. Most of us are ambitious and anxious to write great books and get them into the hands of readers. But, no matter how much we do, there is always more to do: more writing, more marketing, more admin. A writer’s work is never done.

Writer's Work

I have one novel already written and two more in the series vaguely outlined and waiting. I fear I have failed miserably, as an author, this year. Yes, I put out several short stories and maintained my blog, but have not given much more than a glance toward my next full-length book. There’s a couple of reasons for that. I have been in this state of limbo since last year, waiting with bated breath to see if a publisher will take the first book of The White Rune Series. Guess what? I’m still waiting.

So, why couldn’t I force myself to work on the next one while I’m waiting? That would be the smart thing to do. I guess the truthful answer is I need to feel like it is worthwhile. Yes, I know. Everything we are inspired to do is worthwhile in some way or another. Maybe the better word for it is validation.

In telling Rick’s and my stories, I had passion. I was driven to get the story down and out into the hands of readers. I need to feel that burning passion again.

burning passion

I’m open to any advice. My sister tells me that if you don’t write a story, you lose it. I don’t want to lose them because they are good stories. Such a dilemma.

Then I have to ask myself this question. If the publisher that currently has the manuscript passes on it, what then?

Yes, I know I can self-publish, but I don’t have another $2,000 to $3,000 to invest with little hope of ever recouping. Since I suck at cover design and formatting, I’d have to pay for both of those services plus editing. If anyone ever said writing and publishing books is easy, they told a big lie.

So, the bottom line to all of this is that I took a break from working on the novels. Is that good? I suppose only time will tell.

How about you? Do you take breaks? Do you have books waiting to be published? Please tell me I’m not in this boat alone.

alone-in-a-boat

Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing for my latest collection of short stories, “Two Shorts and a Snort.” I’m giving away three eBooks.

TWO SHORTS&A SNORT_Final2

This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Obsessed:

How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.

Maggie:

It is possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.

Friends Instead of Lovers:

Sometimes it’s better to remain friends instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.

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

RWISA AUTHOR PAGE: https://ravewriters.wordpress.com/meet-the-authors/author-jan-sikes/

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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

Jonah – Part 10

Last week, when we left Jonah, he’d just faced a memory that both frightened and horrified him – his first kill. We left him exhausted on the sand and Tidus had dropped a leather pouch at his feet and ran after Jonah yelled at him. Let’s check back in and see what’s inside the pouch

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He pulled the strip of leather that held the pouch closed and peered inside. A lump filled his throat.

Wasting no time, he grabbed his clothes, shoved his legs into his pants and ran after Tidus. “Hey, Tidus. Come back. I’m sorry, kid. I didn’t mean to yell at you.”

He caught up to the boy when Tidus stopped and turned around. Tears streaked down Tidus’ face. “I’m sorry, Jonah. I only wanted to help.”

“I know. And you don’t have anything to apologize for. It’s me that’s being an ass. I just have so much going on in my head, and I all I want to do is go home. It’s obvious that ain’t gonna happen, but this?” Jonah dumped the contents of the pouch into his palm. “What am I supposed to do with these?”

Tidus shrugged and swiped his nose. “Plant ‘em.”

Jonah gestured at the tangled twisted landscape. “Where? Look at this.”

“We can clear a spot. It just takes a little work.”

“What are they?”

“Sunflower seeds.”

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“And this?” Jonah held up a triangular piece of black onyx outlined in bright red.

“It keeps away bad thoughts.”

“Hmm,” Jonah studied the shiny black triangle. “Guess I could sure use that.” He clapped Tidus on the shoulder. “Come back to camp with me and help me figure out a place to plant these seeds.” He funneled them back into the pouch and pulled the string.

Tidus grinned and fell into step beside Jonah. “Okay. I have lots of them growing on my side of the island. I wish I could take you there.”

“Me too, kid. Me too.”

His mind raced. Was this all part of his lesson? Instead of fighting the place he’d landed, maybe he needed to help turn it into something more pleasant. Would the simple act of planting Sunflowers help?

He glanced at Tidus. This kid was a mystery. As soon as he thought he had him figured out, he presented something new. What he wouldn’t give to see the other side of the island. Tidus made it sound like the Land of Milk and Honey.

Once they reached the clearing where Jonah’s hut sat, he stopped and scanned the area. “What about over there, Tidus?” He pointed to his right. “Would that be a good place to plant?”

Tidus studied the spot. “Too many rocks.” He turned in a semi-circle. “Maybe up there.” He indicated an area up a hill behind the hut.

“Whatever you say, kid. Do you have any tools we can use?”

“Yes. I can go get them and come back.” He hesitated. “That is, if they let me.”

Jonah ran his fingers through tangled hair. “I wish we knew who “they” were. I’d sure like to talk to them.”

Tidus shook his head. “That isn’t possible, Jonah.  They are everywhere.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. Are you telling me “they” aren’t human?”

“Well, sort of. It’s hard to explain.” Tidus turned. “I’m going to get tools and I’ll be back.”

“Okay, kid. I’ll be here.”

As soon as Tidus left, Jonah ducked inside the hut. His gaze landed on the open book and journal. Maybe he’d skip the exercises for now and just read the book. He flipped it shut and stacked the journal on top of it.

He stretched out and stared up at the grass roof. The memory that had sent him plunging into the water lingered. He reached into the pouch and pulled out the cool black stone. He noticed something about it he’d missed at first glance. A tiny hole at the top of the triangle streamed sunshine. He looked closer at the leather string holding the pouch closed. After he unthreaded it, he was not surprised to find that it fit perfectly around his neck.

He slid the black onyx onto the leather strip and tied it. Now, that ought to keep bad thoughts away. Could it be as simple as that?

The books he’d been reading talked about shifting old habits and perspectives, clearing out negative thinking to make room for positive. The next time he’d give it a try. Cancel, clear, delete, echoed in his head.

Flowers and Stone Re-Edited! #RRBC #RWISA

A HUGE thanks to Nonnie Jules for announcing the new and improved version of my first book, “Flowers and Stone!” via Let’s Play Follow The Leader – @rijanjks #RRBC #RWISA