#RRBC Springtime Book and Blog Block Party!

Welcome to the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB Springtime Book & Block Party!

This stop is being brought to you from Plano, Texas

What I’m giving away on this stop:

One (1) $5.00 Amazon Gift Card

One (1) $10.00 iTunes Gift Card

Two (2) Copies of Discovery – Poetry and Art eBook

Number of winners for this stop – Four (4)

For a Chance to win, please leave a comment on this post.

And, I’d be thrilled if you’d share it on Social Media.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to bring to you the Poetry and Art book, Discoveryin eBook format! 

First and foremost, I want to thank Jan Hawke for her hard work formatting the artwork and poems to convert to eBook. She did a phenomenal job. The clickable links in the Table of Contents take you directly to a specific poem or piece of artwork.

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This book is unique first of all because it was compiled by Rick Sikes during the fifteen years he was incarcerated in Leavenworth Prison. Secondly, the artwork that accompanies the poetry is what he called pen-and-ink drawings, which I have learned is technically called Pointillism – Artwork made up of millions of tiny dots.

A few bitter years into his imprisonment, Rick Sikes reached a pivotal turning point.

He made the decision to be, think, and act only in a positive manner. This poetry and art project was partially his means of doing just that.

What you’ll find between the covers of this book are expressions of raw emotion…Poems of deep sadness and loss, humorous musings, political wisdom, life observations and tender love from Rick, while Jan lends her own deeply personal poems at the end of the book to round it out.

This partial excerpt from the poem entitled “Discovery” is the first expression of that pivotal point in Rick’s life where he determined he was going to crawl up from the bottom and become a worthwhile human.

Discovery

Through life’s wilderness I wandered aimlessly seeking my way

Seldom looking up to see the light of day

Stumbling blindly, ‘til so weary, I could go no more

In total exhaustion I fell to the earthen floor

My eyes focused upon a wounded but lovely thing

Seemingly an angel felled with a broken wing

Said I, “Stranger, what will be your name?”

A voice spoke softly, “Yours, for our names are the same…”

                                                           RICK SIKES

 

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One example of Rick’s Artwork

Comes the Dawn by Jan Sikes

After a while you learn the subtle difference

Between holding a hand and chaining a soul

You learn that love doesn’t mean leaning

And company doesn’t mean security

Eventually, you understand that kisses aren’t contracts

And presents aren’t promises

Then you start to accept your defeats

Head up and eyes open wide

With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child

And learn to build your roads on today

Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans

Futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight

After a while you learn that even sunshine

Burns you if you get too much

So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul

Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

And you learn that you can endure

That you really are strong

You truly do have worth

And you learn and learn

With each goodbye  –  you learn

I hope you’ll take a peek at the Trailer for Discovery. Click HERE!

I hope I’ve piqued your interest and that you’ll check out this new eBook version of Discovery

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!

For More Stops on this RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB Book and Block Party, click HERE 

Order the eBook  Discovery HERE!

Follow Jan: WEBSITE       FACEBOOK        TWITTER       LINKEDIN       PINTEREST

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Sunday #StoryTime

 

welcome-to-storytime

I want to tell you a story. That’s what writers do, right?

This story is about a man who had a band and traveled the Southwest playing music. He’d grown up poor and discovered at a young age that he had a talent for writing and playing music. By the time he was out of high school, he’d formed his first band and played rodeos and fairs.

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The life of a road musician is often long and rocky. And, although he loved writing and performing music, he found himself caught on a merry go round – lots of booze, drugs and women.

After twenty years, he wanted off. He was burnt out and sullen. He’d blown two marriages and had four kids to support.

Maybe it was inevitable that he would be tempted by so-called easy money.

And this is where I met him.

In less than a year, from the time I met him, he was arrested and convicted on two counts of armed bank robbery.

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He’d never believed he could be found guilty of a crime he hadn’t committed. And, although he had been an accessory to the robberies, he’d never gone inside a bank with a gun and robbed it. But, because he wouldn’t rat out the men who’d done it, he got the full sentence.

Now, I’m telling you this story for a reason. There is a point to it.

You can well imagine that by the time he arrived at Leavenworth Penitentiary with 25 year federal sentence and another 50 years from the State of Texas, to run consecutively, he was angry, bitter and rebellious. He never thought he’d see freedom again in his lifetime.

He often said that he believed he’d reached a point in his life where he didn’t care about anything anymore. But, when the steel doors started closing behind him, locking him in the depths of the prison, he truly understood the meaning of caring. He left family, a lifetime of music and regional stardom, and he left children. He found that he cared more than he ever dreamed possible.

He had a decision to make.

It took him about three years to finally realize that he wasn’t going to change prison and prison wasn’t going to change him.

He learned that all he could control were his thoughts and actions. He couldn’t control his environment or other people.

And that’s when he made a life-altering decision.

He made up his mind to be, think and do positive things, to become a worthwhile human being. He learned that the best way to serve his time was by staying busy. He’d always been a writer and somewhat of an artist, but he discovered, among other things about himself, that he had true artistic talent.

He buried himself in words, paintings and any other art form he had access to. He taught himself to do Indian Beadwork. He learned to make jewelry, paint with oils and watercolors, but his true passion lay in pen-and-ink drawings.

He compiled a complete book of poetry and art. He wrote hundreds of songs, short stories and even wrote a screenplay. He learned to make and fire ceramics and tool leather.

He advocated for and after many years of asking, was given permission to build a recording studio inside Leavenworth. He had a burning desire to get songs to the outside world. To my knowledge, it was the only fully operational studio inside any federal prison.

 

luke-stone-at-mixing-board-recording-studio-leavenworth  homemade-console-recording-studio-leavenworthThe day he made the choice to think, be and do positive changed him forever.

So, that my friends is the point of the story.

You can’t control your environment or those around you. You only have control over yourself – your thoughts, your words, your actions.

I wrote this man’s story in my four books. It starts in the Texas honky-tonks with Flowers and Stone. Then, moves forward to the prison years, with The Convict and the Rose. He did finally get released from prison after serving fifteen years. Home At Last tells that part of the story. Then the last book in the series, ‘Til Death Do Us Part ends the journey with the man’s passing in 2009.

The poetry and art book, Discovery, is filled with pieces of his heart and soul as well as some of his amazing pen-and-ink drawings.

I encourage you to read the story and let it inspire you to make a better life for yourself. Sometimes it is helpful to see how someone else did it.

My goal is to get a copy of The Convict and the Rose and Discovery into every prison library in the country. It is a lofty goal, but one I believe in.

Remember the old Indian saying: “There are two wolves at war within you – one positive and one negative. Which one will win? The one you feed.”

Thank you for listening to my story today.

Think about your talents. How can you make your today better? It’s all up to you.

Do you have any questions or comments?

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