#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

Crackerjack lines!

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Everyone who knows me on any level knows how much I love music. But, even more than the melody, the WORDS draw me in. So, I thought it would be fun to list some of my favorite lines from songs that give me chills or make me turn up the radio.

There are hundreds of thousands of song lyrics and honestly to narrow it down to a few has to be from music I hear on the radio every day or music I’ve been introduced to through doing artist interviews recently. That being said, all of the lyric lines I’m listing are from current “today” artists (except for one obvious one) and most in the Texas Music Scene.

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Here we go in NO particular order.

“Took half the cops in Dallas County to put one coon-ass boy in jail…” Trudy by Charlie Daniels

“She only drinks Bloody Marys, Silver Bullet ain’t her style…” Wolfhowl by Jerrod Medulla

“I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when. I may not know where I’m going, but I SURE know where I’ve been…” Highway 87 by Hayes Carll

“I awoke in the early hours of morning, heard a song riding on the wind, felt the chill of a cold day dawning, saw the world coming to an end…” Early Hours of Mourning by Rick Sikes

“Shooting stars and whiskey bottles lay scattered across the yard and I’da stayed back home in Houston if I’d known it’d be this hard…”  Wish I hadn’t Stayed So Long by Hayes Carll

“So this is life, when you get lost in a fairy tale, when you dream big and you love well, you barely get by…” So This Is Life by Courtney Patton  **This song gets to me in a big way!** YouTube 

“Strap in those kids, give ’em a little bit of Vodka in a Cherry Coke, we’re going to Oklahoma…” Choctaw Bingo by Ray Wylie Hubbard 🙂

“Nobody cares about truth anymore. Ain’t that what songs are for…” Bad Liver and a Broken Heart by Hayes Carll

“”It’s not what you know, it’s who you know and I’ve done put my trust in two. I’ve got Sam Colt and Jesus. I’ve got nothing to fear…” Sam Colt and Jesus by Robby White

“If you want to know about limits, talk to a man of the law. If you want to know about salvation, talk to a man of the cloth. But, if you want to know about sorrow that runs deeper than time my friend, just sit right down beside him, you’ll be talking to the right man…”  Man In The Neon Moon by Jamie Richards **In addidition to the lyrics the chord progression and haunting melody grabs me**

“Walking through the front door, lonely silhouettes on old bar stools…” Man In The Neon Moon by Jamie Richards

“But beware the mouth of the dragon and the lungs of coal he keeps…” The Mountain by Shane Smith and the Saints. **This is another one that gives me chills. The harmonies are SO tight!

“Ain’t got no meat in my Frigidaire, my children’s feet they all need shoes to wear, Laid off my job I walk the streets all day, looking for work so I can make my way…” It’s Hard on a Good Man by Gus Samuelson

Truly, I could go ON and ON, but I will stop here. Hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into song lyrics that move me personally!

 

To Celebrate Valentine’s Week!

This is something I rarely do, but in honor of Valentine’s Week, I have made HOME AT LAST free on Amazon Kindle!

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With empty pockets, a heart full of love, and hope for a new beginning, Luke leaves behind the horrors of prison and embraces a bright future. In this book, he and Darlina are finally united after fifteen long years apart. Their tenacious love is what carries them through struggles that seem insurmountable.  Journey with them as they learn to live as one unit, facing difficulties head-on. Lessons learned the hard way and belief in their undying love is their strength!

An epic love story.

Get your copy today! CLICK HERE

AND, I’d be thrilled and honored if you’d pick up the music CD that accompanies this book. I’ll Be Home When The Roses Bloom Again” is a compilation of songs from the heart of Rick and Jan Sikes.

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THANK YOU FOR YOUR AWESOME SUPPORT!

Discovery – Post by Linda Broday

Hop on over to Linda Broday’s blog post today for an indepth look at the Poetry and Art Book, DISCOVERY!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a Hardcover copy. Folks, that’s a $24.95 value, so Linda is being very generous today.

http://lindabroday.com/jan-sikes-discovery/

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Code

This word conjures up several different meanings such as ‘code of conduct’ or the ‘code’ to a safe, but for this blog, I want to look at programming ‘code.’

Isn’t it amazing that by stringing together symbols, numbers, characters and letters, we can get beautiful images like these? They are so lifelike that you can almost hear the roar of the waterfall or feel the gentle touch of the butterfly lighting on your finger.

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It fascinates me!

In my new novel, When Two Worlds Collide, the protagonist, Jag Peters,  is a computer programmer. He spends his days writing code, but never unlocking the one leading to his own happiness.  He lives a settled life with few bumps in his road until he almost collides with Rena Jett and her candy-apple-red Harley. Rena carries deep scars from a lifetime of abuse and hides it behind a dark scowl and sharp tongue. It is a story about opposites with much to learn from each other and, of course, to fall in love with little hope of ever meshing their two worlds. Add in a paranormal aspect and it is shaping up to be a powerful story.

So, the next time you see a GIF like these, or play a computer game, think about the mile-long code it took to create it.

Computer Code HTML

Have you unlocked your own code to life? Have an AWESOME weekend!

 

A unique and entertaining series filled withPassion, Crime, Redemption, Second chances and inspiration.png

 

Phrases

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It’s that time of year

When we feel nostalgic

The tree stands tall

And Jingle Bells we hear…..

Phrases are often what triggers the memory of a person, especially once they have passed on.

Rick Sikes’ favorite saying and one he lived by was, “Always do the best you can with what you have where you are.” It was coined by Teddy Roosevelt, but fit Rick’s life philosophy.

He said lots more and many of them passed down through his family such as, “Colder than a well digger’s ass,” and “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

My mother had several, but the one I heard hundreds of times throughout her life was this bit of advice – “Just back your ears and do it.” 

Anytime I face a difficult task today, I can hear her saying it still. When she passed, I wrote Mama’s House as a tribute to her in song. That phrase had to be included in the lyrics.

My grandpa, who died when I was a teenager, had a pat answer whenever anyone asked him how he was getting along. He would always say, “Oh, fair to middlin’.” 

It has been said that as long as one person on earth still remembers you, that you are never truly gone.

I’d love to hear some of the phrases that have stuck with you and that you remember someone by.

Merry Christmas and Happy Winter Solstice day!  cowboychristmaswp

And, just in case you are still looking for a Christmas gift, I have specials on books and CDs through my website.

 

 

 

#REVIEWS

rosesWhoever said “Reviews are like receiving a bouquet of roses” expressed it perfectly as to how an author feels when he/she receives an honest review of their work.

I am grateful to have received numerous reviews of my books and only today realized there is one easy place to view them all!

So, I wanted to share that with you.

Many of these reviews came from members of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, for which I am eternally thankful!

Of course, I’d be thrilled if you check out the reviews and even more thrilled if you are inclined to purchase the books, read and review them!

ALL REVIEWS OF JAN SIKES’ BOOKS ON AMAZON

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Sunday #StoryTime

 

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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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#RRBC Holiday Train “Book Trailer” Block Party!

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It’s a PARTY and you’re invited!!

Hi, and WELCOME to the Rave Reviews Book Club Holiday Train “Book Trailer” Block Party at Writing and Music located in McKinney, Texas.

What I’m giving away:

1 set of 10 custom-made charms using your book cover or any design you choose from Dawn Judd Creations. (Shipping cost included on gift certificate.)

author-charms

1 – Ebook of Home At Last

1 – AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF “DISCOVERY – POETRY AND ART BY RICK AND JAN SIKES” (B&W EDITION) This book is hot off the press! 

NUMBER OF WINNERS – 3

FOR A CHANCE TO WIN, YOU MUST VISIT THE BOOK TRAILER VIA THE YOUTUBE LINK BELOW AND LEAVE A COMMENT. YOUR NAME WILL THEN BE ENTERED INTO A DRAWING FOR THESE COOL PRIZES!

HOME AT LAST

CLICK HERE TO VIEW BOOK TRAILER

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Released from federal prison after fifteen long years, Luke Stone boards a Greyhound bus bound for Texas, for home and the woman who holds his heart. He happily hangs up his neon dreams for a paint brush and hammer. Darlina Flowers has waited her entire adult life to become Mrs. Luke Stone, but will the hardships of starting over with nothing be too much? Their love is tested to the core as the story unfolds.

 

As with the other books in this series, Home At Last is a true story based on the lives of Rick and Jan Sikes.

Order on Amazon

OR

Order through my website for an autographed copy and the music CD that accompanies this story!

http://www.jansikes.com

HomeAtLast_BookAnd CD-Text

Book Cover Contest Finalist!

Wow!! I am elated. I had forgotten all about entering this book cover contest with Authorsdb. So, you can imagine my surprise when the email came.

Home At Last

Named Finalist in Authorsdb Book Cover Contest!

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Released from federal prison after fifteen long years, Luke Stone boards a Greyhound bus bound for Texas, for home and the woman who holds his heart. He happily hangs up his neon dreams for a paint brush and hammer. Darlina Flowers has waited her entire adult life to become Mrs. Luke Stone, but will the hardships of starting over with nothing be too much? Their love is tested to the core as the story unfolds.

You can order Home At Last today on Amazon

Or for an autographed copy order through my Website

View the Book Trailer here!