Winner of Poetry Book

embarrassed_chimpanzee

It is with red-faced embarrassment I realize I never drew for a winner of the poetry book, Discovery from my April post.

Could it be that perhaps I am trying to juggle too much? Nah! Never. 🙂

Anyway, the winner of the eBook format of Discovery – Poetry and Art by Rick and Jan Sikes is none other than TINA FRISCO.

Tina, watch your email. The book is on its way and I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Meanwhile, back to your regularly scheduled program…

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Forbidden Love – Nonnie Jules #RRBC #RWISA

5-star-review

In my opinion, these two books go hand-in-hand and there is no way to separate them.

If Only There WAs Music              And the music played

“IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC – THE POETRY OF FORBIDDEN LOVE” BY NONNIE JULES AND GIANI JORDAN

BLURB:

This is a book of poetry for and about forbidden love. These poems are sexy, sensuous and hot, but most of all, they are poems of love… and the feelings they arouse in you are unbelievable! They “feel” like love songs and you will “feel” like singing, but they are only spoken words coming from your mouth, without music. If you aren’t in love before you begin reading this book, you will go seeking a love afterward.

MY 5 STAR REVIEW:

This book of poetry is unique, not only because of the authors and the way they collaborated to write these poems but also because of the subject matter ― Forbidden Love.

The emotion, longing and unbridled passion are expressed exquisitely. Divided into two sections, the book explores two points of view. The first is a compilation of poems written by Nonnie Jules. She approaches the subject of forbidden love through the eyes of the woman who is the object of Giani Jordan’s affection. The second part of the book is told through his eyes. The poems are raw and honest emotion felt by both as they take us, the readers, through a myriad of regrets and guilt to longing so intense it causes physical pain. What can two people do who fall in love, yet are committed to others?

In my opinion, the authors work through to a climactic solution and conclusion from one poem to the next. I felt as though I was watching two people waltzing across a dance floor or observing a well-executed opera. Each poem stands alone yet blends with perfection into the next. This is a beautiful book from cover to cover, and it is an absolute must that you take time to read about how the collaboration of these two authors came about.

“…AND THE MUSIC PLAYED” SHORT STORY BY NONNIE JULES

BLURB:

This book is the sequel and the final chapter in the love story between Giani and Christine. The first book, “IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC…The Poetry of Forbidden Love” (a co-authored project), was a love story told thru the eyes of two lovers…but written for the hearts of many.

Across oceans and thru many barriers, two hearts try to connect – but with the distance between them, will their love survive? And, with the forces-that-be against them coming in the form of murder plots and domestic abuse, the bigger question is…will they?

MY 5 STAR REVIEW:

I read this short story before I read the prequel to it, “If Only There Was Music – The Poetry of Forbidden Love.” And, because of the way this story affected me, I had to immediately go and read the book of poetry that inspired this short story. When Giani Jordan falls in love with beautiful Christine who lives halfway around the globe, he struggles with guilt. He is married. She is married. But, their love is so strong, so intense neither of them can deny it. So, when Giani walks into his house after making a trip to Italy to see Christine and hears his wife, Lena, making love to another man, he makes an easy decision. Divorce is the only answer. But, Lena’s greed takes over. After all, how can she be expected to live on a measly one million a year? When she recruits her ex-con boyfriend to kill Giani, she is smug and confident all the wealth soon be hers. But, justice is sweet. I won’t spoil the story by telling you what happens, but I couldn’t put this book down. I had to know who would triumph. If you love a satisfying short story filled with intense drama and emotion, you’ll love this one.

FOR MORE BOOKS BY NONNIE JULES, CLICK HERE

Nonnie Jules is the President and founder of THE RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and THE RAVE WRITERS’ INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS.  Both are International Organizations that provide support to and guidance for authors who want to get more reviews for their books and find new readers. But, there is a kicker. You have to give to get. You can read all about it here: https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/

 

Rick Sikes 8-5-35 to 5-1-09

It is hard to believe that it’s been nine years already. I’ll never forget that early morning exit from life that Rick made and how the Angels surrounded us. And, I know I will see him again.

This is my tribute to him today…

Did - Didn'tby Jan Sikes

2_ColorEdit_Luke_Darlina_2008

A story as big as Texas itself!

Poetry & ArtFrom the heartand soul.

 

http://www.jansikes.com

http://www.ricksikes.com

BOOKS

 

Poetry Connection #RRBC #RWISA

april-national-poetry-month-monet-claude-water-lillies

As we wind down to the end of National Poetry Month, I am compelled to share a couple of excerpts from our Poetry and Art Book, “Discovery.

I chose this first poem for many reasons, but mainly because it is such a pure organic expression of longing and love from within a prison cell. I hope you enjoy it and take time to FEEL it.

The Dream By Rick Sikes

I dreamed I was out of prison last night

The long awaited time to set things right

You were a picture of loveliness in my sight

For hours we kissed, as I held you tight

Soaring, orbiting the heavens, souls in flight

No windows barred in this world of sunlight

Tears of joy did I weep

So happy, I couldn’t go back to sleep

I thought of a rose, though the prison yard is deep in snow

Feeling great, awakening from a beautiful dream, you know

It seemed that I had touched you, it was grand

Tenderness of your eyes, the caress of your loving hand

Tasting of honey were your sweet lips

My eyes traced your soft body like fingertips

You snuggled up to me so warm, so mine

These moments totally divine

No light, no dark, no time, in this dream of ours

Filled with love scents and of wild-flowers

Talking about the many things we’ll do

My antics bringing gay laughter to you

Smiling, drifting into sleep; cuddled, you and me

Sailing peacefully into tomorrow’s reality

 

4B_Rick_Art
ARTWORK BY RICK SIKES

 

I chose this next poem because it is written from a base of truth. Rick has been gone now for nine years and at times I think maybe I should try opening myself up to have a relationship with someone else. But, then I read this and know it can never be…because “I am you and you are me.”

I Am You – You Are Me by Jan Sikes

I don’t know how it came to be

That we in spirit love were joined

Somewhere out in eternity

Then split apart like a germinating seed

And placed on earth each other to seek

We looked in many stranger’s eyes

Only to turn away and recognize

That this was not the one we sought

You and me

Then at last, fate heard our plea

And now forevermore we’ll be

Bound in love

By satin chains and golden threads

And endless love where we make our bed

And never again will we part

For we are joined heart-to-heart

From Spirit World to earthly plane

We’ll never need to search again

In love with you, I am set free

For I am you and you are me

I hope you enjoyed these excerpts from “Discovery.” I’d be honored if you’d pick up a copy and ecstatic if you read and review it.

discovery_3dcoverhb2_discovery_logo1

In print and eBook format on AMAZON

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I will give away one eBook of “DISCOVERY” to someone who leaves a comment and shares the post on social media. The winner will be chosen at random.  Thank you!

No Shame in Surrender

Surrender

This time of year brings around so many vivid memories, this being one.

On March 9, 2009, a long agonizing night began for me and Rick Sikes. He had been in and out of the hospital since January 2009 and we were back again for more IV antibiotics to try and fight the infection slowly eating away the flesh on his right leg. With daily hyperbaric treatments on top of the strongest blend of antibiotics available and morphine for pain, recovery remained elusive.

And then the unthinkable happened. I knew something wasn’t right as Rick struggled to breathe and his fever rose. But, the nurses assured me that he was not in distress.

When the Pulmonary Therapist made his daily rounds the next morning, he immediately recognized the signs and went into action. Rick had developed pneumonia. Within less than an hour, a ventilator was in place, all pain meds stopped and the vigil continued.

When the wound care team came to change the dressing on his leg, my heart broke at the tormented cries that escaped from his throat. It took every ounce of strength I had to stay calm and try to comfort him.

I thought we’d reached the end. And, during the wee hours of the morning, after another sleepless night, I wrote this poem, never imagining I would have a chance to read it to him.

Surrender

There is no shame in surrender when it is time

Like General Lee, you’ve known when to lay low and when to climb

I’ve watched you suffer for so many years

Your life seemed destined to one of pain and of tears

Yet you fought on – the valiant soldier in fierce battle

You boldly sang your song – rode tall in the saddle

You’ve now come down to the last battle call

You’ll hang up your sword, tired and weary you will fall

But know that you’ve left many good marks behind

While you learned how to love and how to be kind

Taught lessons to all who shared your many paths

That will long be remembered after you’ve passed

There is no shame in surrender when it is time…

I did get to read it to him several days later, as he survived pneumonia. We both cried. Then on May 1st, he hung up his sword and left this earth.

April is National Poetry Month. In celebration, I have discounted the eBook version of Discovery – Poetry and Art by Rick and Jan Sikes.

I’d be honored if you’d pick up a copy, read and review it!!

Order here.

FrontCover_Discovery

For more on my books and music, visit: WEBSITE

Discovery – Book Trailer Contest

BOOK TRAILER CONTEST!

My book trailer for DISCOVERY – POETRY AND ART BY RICK AND JAN SIKES is entered in this contest. I would deeply appreciate your vote!

Voting is easy. Just click on this link to cast your vote: NORTH TEXAS BOOK FESTIVAL BOOK TRAILER VOTING 

Thank you in advance!!

FrontCover_Discovery

Want to purchase DISCOVERY?

For an autographed discounted copy, visit: books.txauthors

Thank you

 

 

Watch #RWISA Write – D.L. Finn

RWISA TOUR (1) (1)    DL Finn

As a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, I am thrilled to promote outstanding authors who are also members of the exclusive RAVE Writers International Society of Authors RWISA through a blog tour that will run the entire month of August.

Today I introduce to you, D. L. Finn!

EXPANSION

Flowing out before me – while approaching –

In the sweeping motion of a grand gesture

Presenting its soulful sweetness.

Behind me is a small desert I’ve crossed – shoeless

While carefully stepping over the littered offerings.

Salt saturates my senses

As the gentle-wind styles my hair,

With the latest sea breeze fashion.

My eyes are opened to new possibilities

With a window into its wonders,

With every wave that greets my feet,

The sun soaks into my skin

Cradling me in its warmth and completing the moment.

I stand in awe before the substantial sea

Observing its vast expansion of life-

That I’m humbly a part of.

 

SOARING

I soar above it all

In a human-made machine

Taking me places

Only my soul has dared to venture.

Up into the heavens,

Higher than the loftiest of birds,

I soar above my life

Going from one place to another.

The clouds which usually blanket me

Are perched like a safety net below,

Holding me above the sea.

Lives seem so small

As our group is thrust forward

Some sleep-

Some read-

Some watch movies-

While others drink.

It’s a long trip with strangers

All going to the same destination

But right now, we are…

Above it all in our metal bird—soaring!

 

DOORWAY

Through the trees

The sky is orange, red, and grey

Covering the fleeing blue stratosphere

As the night suppresses the day.

 

The birds fill the trees

Singing their goodnights

As I pull on a sweater

In a shiver from the receding light.

 

The setting sun is a time of reflection

Of the night and of the day

A balance of both places

In the sunset’s doorway.

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, to 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:

Author, D.L. Finn’s RWISA Author Page

#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.

FrontCover_Discovery

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

 

4A_Rick_Art
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

#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!

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