Stories From the Road #6

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

Rick:

“I started in first grade with a kid named Dean Beard. Our birthdays were only days apart and we went all through school together. We formed our first band together in the late 40s or early 50s, a rockabilly band called “The Crew Cats.”

Dean was a great vocalist as well as a musician and loved to act up on stage. He earned the name of “The West Texas Wildman” because of his frantic stage presence and piano playing style.

Anyway, we were playing a gig out at Buffalo Gap one Saturday afternoon. This was where I got my first glimpse at how girls reacted to musicians. We played pretty straight rockabilly at that time and these teenage girls threw their underwear up on stage. I thought that was pretty neat. I was a big ol’ dumb kid and never saw anything like that before.

Dean Beard introduced me to Elvis Presley. I was working at the brickyard in Coleman and got in one Friday evening to find Dean waiting for me at my mom’s house with Elvis. Dean had picked him up at the bus station earlier in the day. I remember my mom offering Dean fifty cents to take Elvis across the street to a barber shop to get a haircut. She didn’t think he ought to go on stage looking like that with the big sideburns and long hair. Elvis played on my mom’s piano while I took a shower and got ready to go to Abilene to do a show. At that time, we were more popular than Elvis and it was no big deal to ride around with him in the car. No one knew who he was yet. Hell, we didn’t even take any pictures. That night, after the show, Elvis got sloppy drunk and Dean and I couldn’t wait to get him back on the bus to Memphis. A few days later, I heard my mom say that she didn’t see how that boy was ever going to make it in music.

Dean Beard and I split off and formed separate bands after high school. He kept the name Dean Beard and the Crew Cats and I named my band The King Cats. He stayed with the rockabilly sound and I went more traditional country. In 1958 Dean went to California along with Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts (who were part of his band) to work in the group called The Champs, who had produced the huge hit, “Tequila.” Later on that year, Dean was in a bad car wreck so he quit The Champs and came back home. We always came back around to doing shows together and worked with Slim Willet on the Big State Jamboree, but by 1970, Dean had pretty much given up on the music and suffered a lot of health problems. He died in April of 1989, only four years after I got out of prison.”

Both Rick Sikes and Dean Beard are listed as pioneers in the West Texas Music Hall of Fame

Listen to Dean Beard on YouTube

Rick Sikes The Cat
Rick Sikes and the King Cats

 

 

Rick, Dean and Band
Rick Sikes shaking Dean Beard’s hand

 

Rick and Band with Dean
Dean Beard to the left of Rick

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

 

 

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Stories From The Road #5

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

“I started out playing rodeos with George Sadler and the Saddle Pals. We’d go out all day on Saturdays to various little towns around the area and advertise the rodeo. They’d  have an old flatbed trailer set up as a stage on the courthouse square or somewhere downtown. We would play for fifteen or twenty minutes and plug the rodeo that night, then load up and go to the next town. George was a fiddler and loved to play hoedowns. I played rhythm guitar for him and sang.  Then, we’d play the rodeo dance that night. It was a good experience for me.

At one point during my time with The Saddle Pals, a guy came along named Gene Dunn. He was a tall slender fellow and a damned good lead guitar player. He worked in the oilfield (pipeline). His son is Ronnie Dunn of the famed Brooks & Dunn. Ronnie was born in Coleman during the time Gene worked with us.

We cut a record or two on King Records that never got pressed. George Sadler was quite a songwriter. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, he actually wrote, “Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes,” that Slim Willett and many others had huge hits with. I say this because I heard and played that song many times before Slim ever cut it. Slim came to me and asked me to teach his guitar player the riff when they were learning it, and that’s a true story. I don’t know the deal, whether George sold it to Slim or if he just cut it and claimed to be the writer. Lots of stuff like that went on back then. No one hardly ever copyrighted their songs. It was a different time. But, that song went on to be huge and I don’t know if George ever got a dime from it. He lived very poorly.

I’ll tell one more story about George Sadler. They lived in an old run down house out in Novice. They must have had ten kids. And, they had chickens. But, they let the chickens run in and out of the house, so needless to say, it wasn’t the cleanest place I’ve been. When I’d go out to talk to George, I’d have to shoo the chickens off the couch and try not to sit in chicken shit. But, this was just the way they lived. There’d be a baby crawling around on the floor and kids in stair-step ages running around. But, he was a great songwriter and fiddle player and I learned a lot from him. I just never stayed for dinner.”

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**I scoured through hundreds of photos looking for one of George Sadler, but found nothing and uncovered nothing on the internet. Another thing that was not commonplace back then was cameras.**

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

Stories From The Road #4

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

This segment involves the dedication of Hords Creek Lake, located 8 miles west of Coleman.

“We still lived out in the country when they dedicated Hord’s Creek Lake. The Corp of Engineers had Lefty Frizzell, Harry Choates, and the Chuck Wagon Gang out to provide entertainment for the day. At that time, Lefty was about the hottest thing happening. I was a big ol’ dumb country kid out there in the sticks thumping on a guitar. I thought Lefty was great. They had an old touring car – stretch car – not exactly a limousine, but what they used back then, to tour.

My, mom and dad, took me and my younger brother out to spend the day. Most everybody in Coleman County turned out for this thing. I went and sat in the backseat of the car with Lefty Frizzell and talked to him. I can only imagine now, what he must have thought about some hick country kid talking to him. I told him all about my aspirations of becoming a singer. I was starstruck and thrilled to talk to him. He told me he was going to California when he left. He had some gigs out there. He said, “Do you want to go to California with me?” I said, “Well sure, man. Are you joking?” He said, “No I’m not joking. Do you want to go to California with me? I’ll take you with me.” I told him I would be back in a little bit. I ran to find my mom and dad and told them what Lefty said and that I needed to go home and get some clothes.

My dad said, “Are you crazy, boy? You’re not going anywhere with that drunk son-of-a-bitch.” Lefty was very drunk that day. I told my dad, “This is my big chance.” And Dad said, “You’re not going anywhere with him. You gotta be out of your mind if you think we’re gonna let you go off with him to California or anywhere else.” And that was that.

I was pretty mad at Dad for a while. Of course, I thought I’d just blown my one big chance to “make it big.” Looking back, I know Lefty was just drunk-talking. But, it was another event that made a big impression on me at a young age.”

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And while this is not the exact car Lefty was touring in that day, it is a historically accurate example of what they used.

Cadillac_75_Imperial_Touring_Limousine_1938_2

What do you think would have happened if Rick had gone with Lefty that day? I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

Stories from the Road #3

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

This week we are traveling back to the late 40s or early 50s with another tale from Texas Singer/Songwriter, Rick Sikes

New Young Rick

“Here’s another experience I want to relate to you from my early formative years. Back in those days, bands would travel around and stop in every little town at every little radio station to promote their records. Sometimes, they’d do a live show of thirty minutes or so. Once, back in the 40s or early 50s, Webb Pierce came to Coleman. He was on his way somewhere else to play but stopped in at KSTA Radio to promote a record which I believe was “Wondering.” My mom took me and my younger brother out to the station to see him. I can gauge the year by the fact that I wasn’t old enough to drive yet. (A side note…my mom was a helluva piano player and she loved music almost as much as anyone I ever knew.) Anyway, she took us out to the station and we watched their show through the control room window. There was no one else there besides the DJ. I often wondered where everyone was. Perhaps they were working and couldn’t get away, as it was in the middle of the afternoon. At any rate, for whatever the reason, we had exclusive access. I distinctly remember the members of Webb Pierce’s band that were there that day: Jimmy Day on Pedal Steel, Tillman Franks on standup bass, Faron Young on rhythm guitar and fronting for Webb, Floyd Cramer on piano and Tommy Hill on fiddle.

After they finished their show, we got to visit with them. This was a real boost for me to see these guys because by then, I knew this was what I wanted to do the rest of my life – play music. They were driving a brand new shiny Pontiac car and had this nice little band trailer they were pulling. They were looking flashy for those times. I patterned myself after these heroes of mine when I launched my career. And while I never really cared much for Webb Pierce’s voice, I admired the hell out of him as a performer and businessman…”

Webb

Webb Pierce was known as the “KING OF HONKYTONK BLING” and this now famous car was lined on the inside with silver dollars while the outside sported a set of longhorns and pistols for door handles.

 

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

Stories from the Road #2

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

I’m beginning a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

“When I was a very young kid, around sixteen, Hank Williams Sr. played in Brownwood at the old Soldiers and Sailors Auditorium. He was definitely an idol of mine. It was sort of an amateur type show first, and then they brought Hank out as the big entertainment. I did my little part in the amateur show. I don’t remember what I sang. Little Joe Carson was there…some people may remember him. He was quite a musician. Anyway, I did my bit and I got to talk to Hank, which I found out in later years was very unusual. He didn’t talk that much, or at least that’s what I was told by Sammy Pruett, who was Hank’s guitar player. I did some gigs with Sammy years later on down the line and I related this story to him. He said that Hank simply didn’t often talk to people, but that every once in a while, he’d talk to a kid like me. Probably because I was young and sincere and he sensed something in me. Anyway, Hank Williams Sr. told me to go out there and ‘make the audience feel what you feel. You make them hear what you are saying…’

Projecting yourself is what it basically came down to. I watched him that night and I never saw any other entertainer that had the magnetism, or projection that this guy had. He was not flashy and it almost appeared as if he had stage fright. He had a presence. There was something around him beyond himself and it worked. He could captivate an audience with just his presence on stage before he said anything. It really wasn’t that he was all that great of a looking guy or anything like that, it was just something that he did. It was a form of magic and I worked hard to understand it and to learn to do that – to project. I got to where I could bring the audience to my way of thinking. I could make them cry or laugh or feel whatever emotion I wanted them to feel. I think this is probably one of the most important things an entertainer can learn to do.”

Hank_Sr
Hank Williams, Sr.

 

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A Very Young Rick Sikes

 

 

Stories From the Road #1

Road_Sunset

I’m beginning a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

I hope you enjoy this series, but before we get to the “road” stories, I want to go back a little farther to the beginning.

Rick Sikes got his first guitar when he was twelve years old. He recalls, “My uncle gave me an old Montgomery Ward guitar. The thing was an F-hole guitar and the strings on it were old and rusty. They were more like saw blades than guitar strings when you would run your fingers down them. The neck was warped, but I like that guitar a lot. Some of the strings were two strings tied together. They’d break where you could get up above the nut and tie them back enough to get them wrapped around the key. I loved plunking on that old guitar and trying to sing. I did a lot of it. I was so bad and getting a little braver and louder and finally, my dad asked me if I wouldn’t like to take the guitar down to the barn to the feed room where it was dry. I could go down there and get some practice and sing loud. In other words, he’d had about enough of that damn racket in the house and it was time to take it elsewhere. So, my first real audience was cows.”

Rick Sikes Junior High

(Just an interesting side note. Rick’s family moved to Odessa for a short time and during these years, 1948-1949, Rick attended school with Roy Orbison.)

Now on to the first stage appearance:

“Sometime in the late Forties, at the Coleman City Park, they had a Pavillion where guys would gather to sing and play music on Saturday nights. I would go and listen a lot. Some of the older musicians kept after me to get up and sing with them. So, I finally did. I’ll never forget the first song I sang. All those people were looking at me as I was singing “Your Cheating Heart.” I sang it through. The old guys in the band knew I was scared because my knees were knocking together. They wouldn’t stop and the band played on through the bridge and told me to sing another verse, and another and another. They wouldn’t let me quit. I just kept singing. I came home and stayed awake most of that night because I was a nervous wreck. Then I got to thinking…’Well, if I’m ever going to sing, I’m going to have to get up there and do it. I can’t put it off any longer and I can’t be afraid.’ It took me a few days of kicking it around trying to decide whether I ever wanted to get back up there again. I made up my mind it was what I wanted to do. I copped an attitude that the worse they could do is kill me and they probably wouldn’t want to eat me. So, I got back up there for many, many years afterward. I don’t recall a time during the first minute or two when I walked out on a stage that I didn’t have what I can only call an adrenaline rush. It was a moment of tension until after I got into the first song. By the time I was half through that first song, I was okay…I had it. Five minutes into the gig, I had the audience exactly like I wanted them. They didn’t have me, I had them zeroed in…”

 

Rick and Bobby 1956_1
Rick Sikes on the left and Bobby Sikes on the right – 1956

I hope you’ll come back each week as I share some of the “Stories from the Road” with Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels!

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Special Anniversary Days!

Luke_Darlina_Wedding

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!

WEBSITE        TWITTER        FACEBOOK

Http-www.jansikes.com

Reflection

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As I complete another trip around the sun, I am compelled to reflect back on a lot of things in life. I was born into a poor family in Hobbs, New Mexico on August 21, 1951. And that makes me exactly 66 years old.

From all accounts, I was a happy child. I had no idea we were poor until much later in life. My nickname in school was Smiley.

My sister, Linda, was (and is) my best friend in the world. Even at a very young age, I was holding her hand.

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I have a vague memory of the oxygen tanks that were delivered to our house on a regular basis because my Grandfather was dying of some sort of lung disease.

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All of my siblings were born in a tent. I was the only one born in a hospital. Mama and Daddy built the house I grew up in. They didn’t have contractors to come in and do the work. They did all of it and held down full-time jobs. I have a vivid memory of my short round little mama on the roof nailing down shingles.

But, I learned so much from both of them. I learned how to control my emotions from my daddy. He had a terrible temper and many times I dodged flying tools when he worked on one of our old cars. From my mom, I learned how to be strong in the face of adversity and how to never EVER give up.

When I was probably four years old, my mom decided to join a Pentecostal church. Daddy went along with it because he loved her, but I’m not convinced his heart was ever in it. So I was raised in a strict fear-based religion.

And I couldn’t wait to spread my wings and explore the world when I turned eighteen.

Jan 1970's  I had NO idea!

But, when I was nineteen, I met Rick Sikes. And, oh my! How I fell in love. And, so did he. It seemed destined to fail from the beginning. Not only was he sixteen years older than I, but he was a musician and band leader and no stranger to the Texas honky-tonk life. Nothing could be farther from a Pentecostal raising. 🙂

ONLINE_RickAndJan_Heart

And then…he was arrested on two counts of armed bank robbery and sentenced to 25 years and 50 years in prison. Not much hope of that love ever surviving.

But, it did and in 1985, we were married. Luke_Darlina_Wedding.JPG

And for the next 25 years, we did a lot of living! I learned how to play guitar and write songs and perform on stage with him.

Rick_Jan_MasonTx  Rick - 2002  Rick_Jan_Bootscooters_2002 (2017_03_11 18_36_10 UTC)

And then, his health began to fail. In 2003, he became confined to a wheelchair when he had to have his left leg amputated

Amputation.

But, we didn’t give up. We built a recording studio and recorded lots of our songs. Curious? You can see them all here.

And then on May 1st in 2009, he left me, to travel to the next world. I have so many memories and lots of regrets. There were so many things I could have done differently. But, once today is gone, there is no returning to it.

In 2011, I began the journey of writing our story, Rick’s and mine. It’s been a pretty incredible adventure and I have learned SO much since that first book, Flowers and Stone.

Many times, people ask me if I wrote all of these stories as a tribute to Rick and I quickly reply, “No.”  I wrote them because it was a story that begged to be told. It encompasses everything from passion, music, crime, redemption, second chances, more music, and mortality. My hope from telling these stories is that they might inspire someone else.

It’s been a helluva ride and I’m not getting off the horse just yet. 🙂

Thanks for letting me reflect a little. This poem I wrote many years ago pretty much sums it all up.  (Taken from the Poetry and Art book, DISCOVERY)

Comes the Dawn
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

Luke_Darlina_2008

Happy Birthday to me! AND, I get a Solar Eclipse for my birthday.

Http-www.jansikes.com

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Hate The Sin

Back in another lifetime, I was a songwriter. It was a time I treasure with all my heart, along with the recordings that we managed to preserve our music with.

Jan in NO vest (2)       Rick_Anson_Texas

 

We had an outdoor spa building behind our house. One night I was in the hot tub by myself and this song came to me. I wrote it all within twenty minutes. (We kept pad and pen close at all times.)

The result of that late night soak was “Hate The Sin But Don’t Hate The Sinner.

I loved every aspect of this creative mode from jotting an idea down to finishing out verses and chorus and walking into the studio to record.. Do I miss it? Heck yeah, but the writing just simply turned a corner in another direction.

Hope you enjoy!!

Hate The Sin But Don’t Hate The Sinner by Jan Sikes

Purchase Links:

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Rick & Jan 06-22-08

 

#Writing Journey

I am often asked the question, “When did you first start writing?”

To the best of my memory, I was around eight when I wrote my first string of words that made sense. I had an alcoholic uncle whom I adored. He lived with us off and on throughout my growing up years and occasionally he’d twist off, so Mom would make him move out. During one of those episodes,  I was worried about him, so I wrote a gospel song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus.

But, before that, I can remember loving anything written. I loved the Dick and Jane books in first grade. I loved fairy tales. I loved reading and devoured books of all kinds. In fifth grade, I checked out the Grimm’s Book of Fairy Tales so many times they had to make a new library card.

Grimm's

Ah, the smell of libraries. I still love them. I never outgrew my love for reading. It was my entertainment, education, and adventure. And it still is!

Fast forward many years where I found myself in a serious songwriting vibe. My late husband, Rick, was a singer/songwriter and several years after we’d married, he pulled his vintage Martin D35 out from under the bed and returned to writing and playing the music he loved.

I wanted desperately to join him. I loved singing harmony with him, but I wanted to play. We had a second-hand/antique store, and some guy stopped in one day and sold Rick an old banjo. He took the instrument apart and put a guitar neck on it to create a Gitjo. And it was on that instrument I learned my first chords.

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When he saw  I was dead serious about learning, he bought me a 3/4 size Applause guitar for my birthday. I was fifty years old. So, NEVER let anyone tell you are too old to learn something new!

albumart

And it took off from there. I played on that little guitar every day and we wrote songs every day. When I’d get home from my day job, I’d hurry to put supper on the table so that we could toss around ideas, chords, melodies, and lyrics. It was an exciting part of life for me. We booked gigs and I got to play and sing on stage with him.  We built a recording studio so that we could record our songs, and we published our own music.

But, now those are simply fading memories with pictures and CDs to prove it all happened. And I moved on after his death, in another direction of writing.

Compelled to tell our story (his and mine) I began to write books.  And, I decided that I would continue to promote our music by releasing a music CD with each book that matched the time period of the story.

The first book, Flowers and Stone, was a HUGE learning curve for me. I am often tempted to pull it down and rework it and I may some day.

flowers_and_stone_3d_cover       3d_early_rec

Set in 1970, this is the beginning of an epic love story with a musical twist as Luke Stone and Darlina Flowers (our fictitious names) travel the roads of Texas with Luke’s band. It is real and raw with a devastating conclusion.

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The second book in the series, The Convict and the Rose, is not only the story of Luke’s determination to survive many years behind prison bars, but Darlina’s own struggle to survive in a prison of her own where the bars were invisible. It is inspiring with a lesson in turning a negative situation into a positive one. This book garnered my first writing competition award – First Place in the Biographical Fiction Category from the Texas Association of Authors!

       Jan Sikes CD

Ah, the reunion. Finally,  Luke and Darlina earn a chance to build the life they’ve always dreamed of. But, the struggles are real and the price of love is high.  Home At Last won two First-Place writing awards.

    Jan Sikes CD

Then, all too soon, it’s over. Twenty-five years seemed like nothing. But, this is not a book about death. Instead, it is a book about living and wringing the most out of every moment – ‘Til Death Do Us Part.

I never stopped learning as I moved through this writing journey. I always strived to make each book better than the one before, while continuing to tell this true story. Thank God for my older sister, Linda Broday, who helped guide me along the way. I took classes. I learned about POV and head-hopping, sentence structure, show-don’t-tell, and passive voice vs. active voice. And guess what! I’m still learning and still striving to be better.

I released one more book, a beautiful expression of poetry and art. It is a combination of poems from both Rick and myself and pieces of his amazing artwork accompany them.  Discovery is available in hardback, paperback, and eBook.

Is my writing journey over now that I’ve told this story? Oh goodness, NO! I’m almost done with my first fiction novel, which I’ve entitled When Two Worlds Collide. It has been so much fun to create and live vicariously through these fictitious characters. I’m fully invested in them and their story as it unfolds in my imagination.

I also write for two magazines. Buddy Magazine is the Original Texas Music Magazine for which I interview artists, review CDs and feature innovative, creative, and talented musicians. The Oklahoma Farm and Ranch Magazine has a music section and I have the honor and privilege of filling it each month.

Will I ever stop writing? No. I don’t think so. 🙂

For more, visit my Website

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I am a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB where I sit on the Board of Directors

I am a huge fan of The Texas Musicians Museum, where I also am a board member.

The Texas Author’s Institute of History is a place where Texas literary works are preserved and I am a board member of that organization as well.