Flowers And Stone – Book Review

I want to offer a HUGE “Thank You” to Rox Burkey for this incredibly poignant review of “Flowers and Stone!”

Honestly, I have known this author for a long time. I’ve listened to her play guitar, heard the sadness when she shared some details of her life and love of Rick Sikes, and cheered loudly at her achievements and awards. I had only read a few of her poems and a short story, until she suggested I consider Flowers and Stone.  

After book one of this first series, I am truly hooked on her writing. In this debut novel, Jan Sikes creates the scenes in a way that makes you feel you are a part of the story. I could hear the music, see characters with their smiles and tears, and more than once had to dry my eyes as emotions coursed through me at different places in this story.

This complex love story centers around Luke Stone and Darlina Flowers, an unlikely couple at first glance. Luke, an experienced musician and older man, and Darlina a young inexperienced woman, learn many lessons from each other. I like how Luke, smitten early on for this special girl, goes to extraordinary lengths to find out if he should be serious. Ms. Sikes details the steps leading up to this meeting, though this meeting touched a chord of sweetness in my heart and kept me until the end of this book.

“             The bell rang, announcing someone’s arrival.  She half turned. “May I…” She paused in mid-question, shocked to see Luke standing there with the trademark crooked grin on his face. “…Help you?” she finished.

               “That is exactly what I’ve been asking myself,” Luke replied.

               “What are you doing here?”

               “I came to see if you were for real or a figment of my imagination.”

               “For real?”

               Luke’s smile widened, “Yes, for real. You see, I thought maybe I just made you up so had to come and see.”

               Darlina didn’t reply, and Luke quickly continued, I brought you a little something.”

               She stood and walked to the open window that separated her and Luke. “Okay, what did you bring me and more importantly, why? After all, you barely know me.”

               She wondered what kind of strings might be attached to any gift from Luke Stone.

               Luke fished the small box out of his pocked and handed it to her. Their hands briefly touched, and an electrical current passed between them. She looked up at Luke, then down at the box.

               “Open it,” Luke encouraged.

               Darlina gasped as she opened the box to find the delicate gold heart necklace. “Oh, Luke, how beautiful. I’m not sure what to say.”

               “Well, you could say thank you, and you could say that you’ll have dinner with me, just me, and you could say that you’ll give a chance to redeem myself.”

From this point forward I was drawn into the story as these people travel down the road of growing up, growing together, and realizing their differences are key to their magic. In many ways he is a rogue and she is naïve, but in the 70s the music and freedom was what they both wanted and needed. Its easy to recommend this love story to college age and above. There is more to the story and thankfully more books in the series.

About the author

Author Jan Sikes

Multi-Award-Winning author, Jan Sikes, has been called a wordsmith by her peers. Jan openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author, but she had a story to tell.  Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation.

She published four biographical fiction books about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love. True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

Jan also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has published a book of poetry and art and nine short stories.

Author Jan Sikes is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, and the Executive Council at Rave Writers’ Int’l Society of Authors. She is also a member of the Writer’s League of Texas and Authors Marketing Guild.

Connect through Jan’s website: http://www.jansikes.com
Follow Jan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks
Follow Jan on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks
Follow Jan’s Blog: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com    

I want to invite you to visit Rox Burkey’s blog site and if it interests you, please follow her! She is an avid book reviewer!

New Look! #RRBC

Happy New Year to all my wonderful followers!

I’d like to invite you to visit the ALL-NEW RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB at our new location RaveReviewsBookClub.wordpress.com.

This international book club of which I am a proud member, has a new home, new URL and new look!

But, it’s still the same organization with the same mission: {The Mission and Goal of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB are to Profile, Promote & Propel the careers of Indie authors.   The only way that we can do that, is by supporting each of our authors with book sales and HONEST reviews. 

The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is a not just an organization, it’s a community. Our mantra at RRBC is those that are most supportive here, are the ones who are most supported here.  Those who are expecting to add their name to our roster and then just disappear without making any connections within the club, or without supporting any of their fellow members, probably won’t get out of it what they are expecting.  What you put in, is what you’ll get out.

So, while the premise, mission and guidelines for RRBC haven’t changed, if you take a look, you’ll find lots of new and amazing opportunities within the club such as a LITERARY SESSIONS LIBRARY AUTHOR PAGESRRBC CIRCLE OF BOOKSRRBC FREE TO REVIEW!

RRBC has a huge catalog of all genres! RRBC CATALOG I read at least 80% from this catalog and I’d love to find your book listed!

You will not find an organization anywhere in the world that offers what the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB does! If you are an Indie Author struggling to keep your boat afloat in a huge sea of other books and authors, take a look at this club and see if it possibly fits your needs. But, I want to stress again that TO BE SUPPORTED, YOU MUST GIVE SUPPORT TO OTHERS! That’s how it works.

Want to know more?

FAQ

HOW RRBC PROFILES, PROMOTES, PROPELS

JOIN

If this interests you, as an Indie or Traditionally published author, and you decide to join, please give my name as the person who referred you! I’d be honored!

Jan Sikes Top-Ten Book List for 2019

AND THE WINNER IS!! I am ashamed to say that I almost forgot to draw a winner for this blog post, BUT, I saved myself at the last minute. 🙂 The winner of the $10 Amazon Gift card is Stephanie Ortiz Jenkins!! Stephanie watch your inbox! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It is always a challenge to pick just ten books from the many books I read each year. Because it was so difficult this year, I have listed a Bonus book and also some fabulous short stories. I hope you enjoy my Top Ten, and if you see a book that catches your interest, click on the purchase link and add it to your TBR list!

PURCHASE LINK: WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING

PURCHASE LINK: THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO

PURCHASE LINK: WHATEVER IT TAKES

PURCHASE LINK: THE OUTLAW’S MAIL ORDER BRIDE

PURCHASE LINK: VOYAGE OF THE LANTERNFISH

PURCHASE LINK: END OF DAY

PURCHASE LINK: VANISHED

PURCHASE LINK: MEMOIR OF A MAD WOMAN

PURCHASE LINK: THE LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME

PURCHASE LINK: WHEN CAN I STOP RUNNING?

PURCHASE L INK: REFLECTIONS

PURCHASE LINKS: RAVE WRITER’S INT’S SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA) ANTHOLOGY VOL I

CASTE METAL

VISITORS: A SHORT STORY MYSTERY

RED EYES IN THE DARKNESS – A SHORT STORY

MEGAMAX

SLIMMER

And, last but not least, I will be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift card to some lucky person! Just leave a comment and share this post to be entered! MERRY CHRISTMAS!! HO! HO! HO!

#RRBC Pay It Forward Day! Meet Author, Karl Morgan

Today is one of my favorite events at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! It’s the day we set aside our own “buy my book” efforts to support someone else.

I choose to support author, Karl J. Morgan, a super supportive member of RRBC!

Words and numbers are my life. As an accountant and author of numerous fantasy novels, I am realizing my life’s purpose. Storytelling is a big part of my life, whether novels or business cases. My tales are always action-packed and full of surprises. I write from my laptop in sunny Southern California. I invite you to join the adventure.

Connect with Karl via…

Twitter:  @KarlJMorgan

Facebook

Blog:

Join The Adventure!

“WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/Nonnie Jules Interview 

Buy Karl’s Books!!!

The Carl Prescott series is young adult fantasy, and the tale is just beginning. These books tell the story of four friends who discover their amazing talents and begin incredible adventures together. The books so far are: The Sleeping One and The Demon Queen.

The four-part Revolution series is a dystopian fiction story, which follows young Jack Kennedy, his family, and friends as they flee a corrupt government which has almost destroyed the United States of America. The tales are both raw and violent. Our hero must somehow change the course of history to restore the nation. The books are: 212121222123, and 2125.

The Modern Prophet series tells the story of four different protagonists. Three of the stories involve the battle between ultimate good and evil. The Reluctant Prophet is different, and brings back a connection to some key players from the Dave Brewster series. The series includes: Two DoorsThe Reluctant ProphetHand of God, and Demonic.

The Dave Brewster science fiction series is the first I created. The books tell the story of our hero who is summoned to the future to restart humanity’s drive out into space. As his crew encounters new life forms and distant worlds, his network of friends and enemies grows. The titles are: Showdown over NeptuneThe Second Predaxian WarThe HiveTears of Gallia, and The Accord.

The Heartstone series was my first fantasy series. The hero discovers a magic stone buried under the Earth that connects our planet to others throughout the universe. Unfortunately, that stone has also led terrible dangers to our planet. Let us hope Henry Marshall can learn to control the power of the Heartstone before all is lost. The two books in this series are: Sentinels of Far Sun, and The Time Walker.

These books were not written as part of a series. Each stands on its own. Whistlestop and The Old House are fantasies. Remembrances is a spiritual self-help tome. These stories are: RemembrancesWhistlestop, and The Old House.

Now, isn’t that quite the catalog? Wow!! Please share this everywhere on social media today and let’s lift and support Karl J. Morgan!

Welcome to “MOMENTS WE LOVE” Blog Tour! @BalroopShado @4WillsPub #RRBC

It is my pleasure today to host Balroop Singh and her newest book of poetry!

Moments of fragrant love that stand frozen in time, of dreams that dare not unfold, of passion that fleets by, of erratic joy that we meet at the crossroads of life, butterflies of time that add color to our dark moments to scare the demons away – I have gathered all of them in this book. Some of them whisper softly to create a magical aura while spring of life sings with them, trying to wipe silent tears. Mother Nature steps in with all her grandeur to breath quiet messages of tranquility.

Each poem would soothe your emotions with élan and add a dash of color to your life. Life – that doesn’t halt for your sad moments; that just floats by. You just need to dive in to soak in myriads of moments to discover how it could ignite positive tones. All the poems in this collection are imaginary but inspired from people around me, some of whom chose to share their frustrations and tremors with me. Sometimes I could read between the lines to pen my thoughts down.

Memories and moments merge here

Today when I return to share

The glow of rainbows

Embers of emotional entreaties

And smoldering debris.

Buying links:

US UK DE FR ES IT NL JP BR CA MX AU IN

Excerpt from Moments We Love:

Thaw

The warmth of walking beside you

Just like wrapping that old blanket

The wait for your cold arm

Yearning to reach me

That ear shattering peace

Eased by the doves above

Icy winds – a somber reminder

Of fragile emotional embankments

A laconic reply – a clear message

Yet those sunbeams

Dappling on the alienated path

Alluring us toward each other

Embers are alive within

Mist around the eyes is receding

As I could hear unspoken words

Echoing smoldering emotions

Which were buried

At the behest of hubris.

© Balroop Singh

Author Bio:

Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educationalist always had a passion for writing.  She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life,  Emerging From Shadows and Timeless Echoes – her widely acclaimed poetry books. She has also written When Success Eludes, Emotional Truths Of Relationships, Allow Yourself to be a Better Person, her latest poetry bookMoments We Love has just been released.

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

You can visit her blog at: https://balroop2013.wordpress.com

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  

Thanks for supporting this author and her work!  

Welcome to “THE MEREST LOSS” Blog Tour! @StevenNeil12 @4WillsPub

GUEST BLOG!

Today, I welcome Steven Neil to my blogsite to tell you about his latest book.

And, there are Giveaways!!

Steven is giving away (3) Signed Paperback copies of “THE MEREST LOSS.”  For your chance to win, be sure to leave him a comment below.

Take it away, Steven!

A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.

Character Studies

I always draft character studies of my main characters and keep them close when I am writing. The more detail the better and the more likely it is that continuity errors can be avoided. Here are some extracts for three characters in my 19th century historical romance novel The Merest Loss.

Harriet Howard b. 1823

Harriet is born Elizabeth Ann Harryet. She is the daughter of Joseph Gawan Harryet, self styled Squire but actually a boot maker and son of a Brighton hotel owner. Joseph Harryet inherits wealth when his father dies and the hotel is sold.

     Elizabeth has a private education and is coached to achieve her father’s ambition for her that she should enter society and marry well.

     The young Elizabeth is beautiful, capricious, and precocious. She has a touch of arrogance about her. Whilst disguised as a boy, aged thirteen she has an encounter with a livery yard owner and attempts to secure a hunter hireling from him:

     ‘Well find me something else and be quick about it. I am Squire Harryet’s son and he wishes me to hunt in his place. We are guests of the Duke and I am keeping him waiting. And you sir are keeping me waiting.’

     As she becomes a young woman she retains her flamboyance but adds charm and humility to her personality. She is a talented mimic and has a wicked sense of humour. She has ambitions to be an actress.

     When she meets Jem Mason she is infatuated with him and runs away to live with him in London when she is still only fifteen.

     She is the heroine.

Jem Mason b. 1816

Jem Mason is born in Stilton, Cambridgeshire and is the son of John Mason; horse dealer to the gentry and very wealthy as a consequence.

     Jem is educated at Huntingdon Grammar School and later given private tuition. He is a talented rider from a young age and destined to become a successful jockey.

     Jem is handsome, elegant, well-dressed, slim, tall, gifted and athletic. He is also witty, smart, charming, and charismatic and has an easy, confident manner.

     He smokes cigars and drinks champagne. He likes the opera, ballet and the theatre.

     One story told about him is that when walking the steeplechase course at Stratford, in company with other jockeys, they come to two options: a five-bar gate and a bullfinch (a tall birch hedge which is jumped through rather than over). One of the jockeys asks Jem whether he would have the fence or the gate.

     ‘I’ll be hanged if I am going to scratch my face. I’m going to the opera tonight. I shall have the gate, forty miles an hour, and defy any man in England to follow me’

     The Sporting Life described him as ‘a lath-like elegant figure, beautiful seat and hands and a very quick eye.’

     When Jem and Harriet (then Elizabeth) meet they are immediately attracted to each other.

Major Francis Mountjoy Martin b. 1808

Francis Mountjoy Martin is the son of Charles Fuller Martin, former Sherriff of Calcutta who was by all accounts a rather eccentric character. Francis and his brother are reputedly the sons of an Indian mother.

     Francis is public school and Eton educated and becomes a Guards officer. He is the perfect gentleman. He is stiff, polite and very correct. He is tall, chivalrous and well-spoken. He is also quite shy in company and can speak with a stammer. He is artistic and also a musician and plays the violin

     In the novel he is an operational officer in the British Secret Service. He works for Nicholas Sly, Head of Espionage, French Operations.

     He is Harriet’s cover story and she lives under his ‘guardianship’ in London. It is believed that he is the father of Harriet’s son. It is ambiguous whether Harriet and Francis have a relationship or whether it is a business arrangement.

     He apparently provides a home and a trust fund for Harriet as he is not free to marry. This lends credibility to her wealth. In reality the money is provided by the British Government which is grooming Harriet to seduce Louis Napoleon.

     He acts as a sympathetic mentor to Harriet as the novel develops.

PURCHASE LINKS:

AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

Amazon France: https://www.amazon.fr/Merest-Loss-English-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

Amzon Au: https://www.amazon.com.au/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

Amazon Ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

Follow Steven Neil on https://twitter.com/stevenneil12 for information on how to purchase the paperback through an independent bookseller in the UK.

Bio

Steven has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. He has been a bookmaker’s clerk, bloodstock agent, racehorse breeder and management consultant amongst other professions in his varied career. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire, England. The Merest Loss is his debut novel.

Twitter

@stevenneil12

IAN author page

https://www.independentauthornetwork.com/steven-neil.html

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  Thanks for supporting this author and his work! 

My Short Stories Won!! #RRBC

I am truly speechless! To have TWO of my short stories as 1st and 2nd place winners in this International short story contest is beyond my belief!! I am honored and humbled!

These two stories are available on Amazon for only 99 cents!

For almost eighteen years, Jewel has known little beyond hopelessness and hunger. Barely existing in a ramshackle cabin, on the edge of a Louisiana swamp with her little sister and their mother, she sees no way to stop the downward spiral. When her mother falls gravely ill, Jewel learns that her life is about to take a drastic turn. But will it lead to joy or more devastation?
Take a heart-warming journey with Jewel as she struggles to rise from the clutches of poverty and shame.

At the tender age of fourteen, Jennifer shoulders the full responsibility of running a household and caring for her seven-year-old sister. It’s bad enough that their father is lost at war in Afghanistan, but troubles multiply when their so-called mother abandons them for another man. Hardships and struggles are constant companions. Family is whatever Jennifer can make it. That’s the way the cards have been dealt, and that’s the way she’ll play them.
This strong young girl meets every obstacle head-on, while never losing hope for a better tomorrow.

I’d be thrilled and honored if you’d pick them up today!! You can see all of my books on my Amazon Author Page!

I want to give a HUGE “Thank You” to those who have already purchased, read and reviewed these stories!

But most of all, Thank You to the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and Nonnie Jules for providing opportunities such as this contest! And to the RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA) because it inspires and pushes me to be a better writer!

#RRBC’s Spotlight Author for September – @JohnJFioravanti #RWISA

Hello, and welcome to the next stop on the RRBC Spotlight Author Blog Tour for the amazing author, John Fioravanti!

It is an honor to introduce you to John and his work!

The REFLECTIONS Blog Tour

I’m grateful to my host of this fifth post of the REFLECTIONS TOUR, and to Nonnie Jules and the #RRBC Team who arranged it all!

Reflection 26 – Love Yourself – You’re Worth It!

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”

~ Buddha

Buddhism is based upon the teachings of Gautama Buddha who taught in eastern India over twenty-five centuries ago. His philosophy sought a middle way between unbridled sensuality and a-self discipline that denied any sensual pleasure. His teachings were handed down by oral tradition until put into writing four centuries later.

I read this quote twice to make sure I got it right the first time. My immediate reaction was, Really?  On reading his words a third time, there came a glimmer of understanding. As I began to see his meaning, I realized that it is my own life experience that allowed me not only to understand, but to admire his wisdom. I’m afraid that as a young man, this lesson would have completely escaped me.

We are social beings, and we search for love because it is one of our basic needs. Yet most, if not all of us, look outside of ourselves to find those worthy of our love. At this point, I’m not differentiating between familial, platonic, or romantic love relationships, because I don’t think this teaching is about any one of them. In my mind, this statement is about all of them. We look outside of ourselves for our best friends and our intimate romantic partners. What we don’t do is look within first.

Buddha is not only teaching us that we must love ourselves first, but he goes further by saying that no one is more worthy of our love than ourselves. That means that I am at least as worthy of my love as any other person I might choose. Embracing his meaning, my mind reeled… I wasn’t used to thinking along these lines!

I was raised in a culture that taught self-denial to make me worthy of God’s love. I equated self-love with selfishness – another negative characteristic that one would do well to eliminate. Christianity taught me to focus my love and good deeds outside of myself… do unto others… look after the needs of others first… are just a couple of lessons that come to mind from my early religious instruction.

How many of us grew to adulthood with a jaded view of ourselves? I was taught to control my urges – all of them – lest they lead me into sin. I’m sure this is why Buddha’s words seemed so alien to me at first; it was culture shock. When I take the time to digest this idea, it is enlightening… charity or caritas begins at home.

I’m sure we’ve all met people who suffer from self-loathing. They are not happy and they do not love others. How can they? It stands to reason that if I do not believe myself worthy of my own love, then how could I see myself as worthy of love from another; how could I trust another to be worthy of my love? On the other hand, if I accept myself, not as a perfect being, but as a worthy being, I can love myself. In loving myself, I can make choices that are good for me. I’m not talking about being self-indulgent, constantly seeking to satisfy every desire, with no consideration of the consequences. I mean that I must look after my own best interests by doing the hard work that is necessary to make me into the kind of person I wish to become! But I can’t do that unless I start by recognizing my own worthiness.

In recognizing my own worthiness to be loved by myself, I am not denying that I am a flawed being. This does not negate the fact that I get impatient easily, or that I lose my temper and hurt those around me. But I am sure that by being wise enough to love myself, I will find it easier to deal with my shortcomings more successfully. A friend has been trying to teach me this lesson for quite some time, and now, I think I understand.

In loving myself in this way, I am eminently qualified to take a lover and cherish that person in a way that testifies to their worthiness to be loved. In the same way, I am free to love another person as my best friend. Because I acknowledge my own worthiness to be loved, I can extend that caring to my best friend who will be inclined to reciprocate in kind. You reap what you sow. Because of this teaching, taken to heart and internalized, I am more open to the lessons of love – no matter what their origin.

Author Bio:

John Fioravanti is a retired secondary school educator who completed his thirty-five year career in the classroom in June, 2008.

Throughout his career, John focused on developing research, analysis, and essay writing skills in his History classroom. This led to the publication of his first non-fiction work for student use, Getting It Right in History Class. A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching is his second non-fiction work; it attempts to crystallize the struggles, accomplishments, and setbacks experienced in more than three decades of effort to achieve excellence in his chosen field.

John’s first work of fiction is Passion & Struggle, Book One of The Genesis Saga, and is set within Kenneth Tam’s Equations universe (Iceberg Publishing). He claims that, after two non-fiction books, he’s having the time of his life bringing new stories and characters to life! Book Two is Treachery & Triumph.

At present, John lives in Waterloo, Ontario with Anne, his bride of forty-six years. They have three children and three grandchildren. In December of 2013, John and Anne founded Fiora Books for the express purpose of publishing John’s books.

Connect with John via Twitter @johnjfioravanti

Thank you so much for dropping by today to support John and his work.  Please drop by the “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR forum at RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB to find out more about John’s time in the spotlight.

If you’d like to be featured in one of the many wonderful hot-seats held by RRBC members, we invite you to JOIN US!  We’d love to have you!

How do your value yourself as a writer?

I saw something the other day about how we perceive ourselves in our everyday worlds and it got me thinking about how we see ourselves as writers. How much value do you place on yourself as a writer?

And what does that even mean? It may mean something different to each one of us because we are unique individuals. But, there are some aspects of writing that are the same for all. In this world of self-publishing where anyone can upload a book to Amazon, we have all experienced running across books that are sub-par in every aspect from grammar and punctuation to dialogue and unbelievable characters. What kind of impression does that leave with you about the writer?

I do not want to be known as a writer who produces work riddled with errors. Of course, we make mistakes. We are human. But, to gain credibility in this over-crowded industry, we must strive to make every aspect of our written communication as perfect as possible.

That doesn’t mean just our books. That means our blogs, our tweets, our facebook posts and our emails as well. It all reflects on us as self-claimed professionals.

But, in order to value our writing, we must first value ourselves!

I never thought about my self-image reflecting in my writing, especially with writing fiction. After all, it’s a made-up world with made-up people. But, the part that reflects is the pride we take in our writing. For me it all starts with a clean uncluttered writing space (again, I know we are all different). If my work space is clear, my mind is more at ease and I can get into a creative flow.

Expressing the scene we see in our minds is not always the easiest thing to do. When we start to put it into words, if we don’t choose the best descriptive words possible, the scene starts to get fuzzy around the edges and can fade. I use tools. Next to my computer, I have three reference books I grab often. “Emotional Beats” by Nicholas Rossis (who is a member of RRBC) is a fantastic tool to find a more descriptive way to show an emotion, as is “The Emotion Thesaurus” by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman. Those gals know how to put it all together as does Nicholas! The third book I reach for is “Strong Verbs Strong Voice” by Ann Everett.

The saying comes to mind about doing things right the first time. Any extra effort is reflected in our work. So, even though it might take a few more minutes to reach for one of these tools, it’s worth it in the end product. And, our work is a product.

Another aspect of valuing ourselves comes from valuing others. I know that may sound strange, but it is true. Don’t compare yourself to other writers because there are always going to be writers better than you. And even if your best friend, who has been only writing since last spring, did get published, you can’t wallow in self-doubt that you’re not good enough. Take this negative comparing energy and move it towards positive creating energy. Your time will come. Get back into your chair and create! Oh, and create some good karma and congratulate your friend with love and sincerity.

When I was accepted as a member into the RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, I knew I had to “up” my game. It is advertised and promoted as the place where the best writers within RRBC reside. And, it has been a great motivator for me. I now proof every email, tweet, FB post and blog post before I hit the publish button. Why? Because I don’t want bad writing to reflect on the organization that so kindly accepted me as a member. AND, I don’t want to be that writer who is criticized for constant grammatical errors. I do value myself as a writer!

If you want others to value you as a writer, it all starts with YOU. Take pride in your work and value what you do. I have read some of the best books in my life written by indie authors! Slowly but surely, we are breaking the misconception that all indie writers are writing slobs. And it all goes back to valuing yourself as an author!

I loved this when I ran across it. Don’t mark your price tag down. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you see yourself as a professional in an industry that is over-saturated with sloppy work. We can continue to change that one great story at a time!

#RRBC JULY SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR – KARL MORGAN

I am happy to showcase the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S July 2019 Spotlight Author, Karl Morgan!

Carl Prescott and the Demon Queen

Excerpt from Chapter 20

They stood on a beach where gentle waves rolled up toward their feet. Both wore shorts and pullover shirts. Sylvia led Carl off the beach toward a small house that sat behind a picket fence. They went up onto the porch and stopped. Sylvia stared at the door. “This was a bad idea. I don’t think I’m ready for this.”

“We don’t have to stay,” Carl replied. “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

She turned, put her arms around him, and hugged him tightly. “Now, that’s the Carl that I know. Don’t ever change, okay?” He nodded. She released him and walked over to the rail at the edge of the porch. “This place reminds you of something, doesn’t it?”

He joined her at the railing and looked around the area. “This is a lot like my secret place.”

She nodded. “I figure when we were on the Rope Bridge, you must have seen this place in my memories.” She put her hand on his upper arm. “And that’s why your island is similar to mine.” She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “You put a piece of me into your place, just like I did.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You will. I’m okay now, and I really want you to come inside.” She walked over to the door, took a deep breath, pushed the door open, and stepped inside.

Carl walked inside and gasped. The main room was identical to his island home, even down to the placement of identical furniture and the doilies on the back of the couch. “This is amazing.” He put his arm around her shoulders. “We must have an amazing connection.”

She sighed, walked over to a closed door, and turned to face him. After a few deep breaths, she said, “My bedroom is behind this door. Whenever I’m feeling the most vulnerable, I come here to cry myself to sleep.” She turned and ran her hand over the door. “If you come inside, you’ll know everything. I’m terrified that you will be shocked, horrified, or hate me forever.”

“I don’t have to go in there. This is your choice.”

She turned back to him and wiped tears from her face. “Is it?” She turned to the door and pushed the door slightly ajar. “I think you deserve to know everything about me, Carl Sandberg Prescott.” She sighed, pushed open the door, and stepped inside.

Carl could hear her crying, so he followed her into the room. Sylvia was sitting on the bed with her hands over her face. Tears dripped down her arms and fell onto the coverlet. Carl looked around the room. There were dozens of portraits of men filling most of the open wall space. Carl’s picture hung near the bed. He walked over and sat next to her. “Are you okay? I really like that picture of me.”

She dropped her hands and chuckled. “Which one?”

He pointed. “This is the only one, Sylvia.”

She groaned, stood up, and faced him. “Carl, these are the pictures of every man I’ve ever loved. All of them are you! Don’t you get it?”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“In every one of these lives, I have lived like a normal person, yet we always ended up together. I didn’t even realize all had the same soul until you were about to step off the Rope Bridge. In that instant, I saw all of these men in you. When you left me behind, I thought I’d lost you forever.” She began to cry again.

Carl stood and held her. At first, she resisted, but eventually held him back. “I am so happy to have had so many lives with you, Sylvia. I had no idea.”

She moved back and wiped her eyes. “Neither did I until the Rope Bridge. Now, I look around at these pictures and don’t know what to think. You said before there is a chance we could be together in this life, right?”

He smiled. “Yes, that is true, but as you’ve said, I’m still a teenager, and like everyone will have different relationships before I’m ready for marriage or anything serious.”

“What do you want me to do, Carl?”

“First, I don’t want you to join with the others. It won’t work, and countless lives could be lost, including yours.”

She nodded. “I’ll think about it, okay?” He smiled. “Now, take my hand.”

Carl reappeared outside of Death’s bungalow, which was now surrounded by hundreds of thousands of supplicants headed to pledge allegiance to the demon queen. Carl walked up on the porch and sat on a rocking chair. “I can’t believe this is all about me.”

Death stepped out of the door and offered a mug of coffee. “Busy day, huh?”

Carl took the mug and sipped his drink. “This isn’t regular coffee, Mort.”

“I know what you witnessed, Carl. I thought a little fortified drink might help you cope with what you saw. Full disclosure, I have been to that place before.”

“Am I really the only man she’s ever loved?”

Death sat on the other rocking chair. “Yes, but that isn’t the point.”

Carl sighed and looked at his feet. “I am so confused right now and why isn’t that the point?”

“You are a mortal human, and she is an immortal demon. What Sylvia did is not unusual. Many immortals choose to live regular lives in order to experience the unimaginable power of life, love, and desire. The only thing they are incapable of knowing that it always ends too soon. That is what makes life so perfect. It is temporary, and every moment could be the last, which makes every experience, emotion, and feeling real and important.”

“I never thought of it that way, Mort.”

“Of course, you didn’t. As a human, life is a journey. It is impossible for you to imagine eternity, even though the spirit within you is eternal. Sylvia is different and more like me. In my job, I experience death constantly, not my own, but those of my children. Even I do not comprehend their emotional state and those they have left behind.” He sighed. “Oh, how I wish I could sometimes.”

Author Bio:
Karl Morgan has a lifelong fascination with stories in the science fiction and fantasy genres, whether it was the Tom Swift novels by Victor Appleton he read as a young boy, or television like Lost in Space and Star Trek, and especially films like Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. All of those tales put the protagonist in terrible situations where the odds are against them and, yet, somehow they prevail. The reader/viewer is always left with a sense that something greater than ourselves is watching over us.
In his new Carl Prescott young adult fantasy series, the journey continues as our hero faces terrible danger and odds to help his friends and family. At the end, he will learn new things that will change his perspective on life.
Karl lives in the San Diego area with his best, four-legged friend, his toy poodle Chachis. 
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Please follow along on Karl’s tour as he shares writing advice as well as excerpts from his new book!