New desk!

20170812_090413

For years, I have worked on a small student desk. And now, thanks to my two daughters, I have a “real” desk to work from.

Of course, there’s still lots to do. But, I will get it all put together (hopefully today).

20170812_091951.jpg

So, if I miss sharing a blog, Twitter post, Facebook post, or answering an email, forgive me. I will get it all back in order and return soon! Wish me luck. ūüôā

heart-1237269_1280

Texas Association of Authors – Did you Know?

txauthors-logo

I’ve been a member of the Texas Association of Authors for several years and for Indie Authors living in Texas, you won’t find more a comprehensive marketing avenue.

HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT TXAUTHORS

TxAuthors was created in the summer of 2011 and continues to expand every year.  Texas has an estimated 8,400 published authors and that number grows every year.
In 2016, we estimated our in-person outreach to 30,000 people, in addition to our Social Media following of over 25,000 people, to be a great value and resource in helping you get the word out about you and your book(s).
With each year, we continue to increase our outreach not only within the state but around the world.This alone is worth the membership price!
The only requirement for membership is one of the following items:
1 – You live in Texas and are a published author or
2 – Your heart is in Texas and you are a published author.
Below is everything that is included in our regular membership.
Plus, notice of new and exciting events that we create to help you market yourself and sell your books.
  • Listing and ability to sell your book(s)on our bookstore website¬† http://Books.TxAuthors.com¬†
  • Participation in the DEAR Texas event -listed on the website http://DearTexas.info
  • Dear Texas Radio Interview – No Less than 2 times in a calendar year.¬† The show is recorded live and then distributed as a Podcast on several channels.
  • Listing on the Texas Authors Institute of History website with the opportunity to sell your book(s).
  • Having your book(s) available for sale in our Pop-Up traveling bookstore. (In 2016 we did 15 events across the state of Texas)
  • Access to the Members Only section of this website that has articles, links, and connections to a variety of items and people to help you grow¬†in marketing your work.
  • Major discounts on events and programs sponsored by TxAuthors, which includes our Annual Book Contest, Short Story Contest, Authors Marketing(http://Authors.Marketing) event and other programs.
  • Access to Book Festival events at extremely low discounts
  • Assistance in videotaping a book reading or interview for use on YouTube
  • Listing on our YouTube channels
  • Printing discounts for marketing materials by a Texas printer
  • Weekly email newsletters with the latest information about TxAuthors and informative articles to help you succeed
  • Use of eBook Download Card system to sell Mobi & ePub books yourself and make more money.
  • Monthly tweets on 25 social media sites to over 30,000 followers and growing by 100 followers per week
  • Plus access to the Book Festival Network program which increases your exposure at book festivals and on the internet.
All of the above services are included in your membership.  Individually, you could spend up to $1,500 per year or more.  The cost of these services and more is only $125 for your first-year membership. We do offer payment plans.
TxAuthors is designed to help YOU save money and time while gaining exposure, which equates to the opportunity for more book sales.

Book Awards!

It’s that time of year when book awards are announced and I am thrilled beyond words that TWO of my books have received FIRST PLACE awards from the TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF AUTHORS!¬†

‘TIL DEATH DO US PART¬†received a First Place Award in the Biography Fiction Category.

bigorgaphy fic                        

Til Death Do Us Part is the fourth and final book in my series of true stories about a Texas musician who was a pioneer in the outlaw music movement long before it had a name.

Blurb: ¬†Veteran Texas musician, Luke Stone, has cheated death more times then he cares to remember. He’s been everything from a simple farm boy to a rowdy roughneck, a singing star to a convict and finally a husband and father whose goals consisted of building a home and raising a family…which he did.
Now, with a chance for a second music career, he knows the sand in his hourglass is running thin. His anchor in life and true love, Darlina, stands at his side determined to help make the dream a reality. But, his aging body is sabotaging every effort and the only thing that keeps him going is sheer will power and the love he has for Darlina.
When faced with being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Luke draws on every resource to continue to function and contribute to their home and to society.
This is a story of inspiration, endurance and most of all undying love. When Luke and Darlina face life-altering situations that would destroy a lesser man and woman, they draw on each other’s strength and determination to face them.
Will fate allow Luke to sing his last song?

DISCOVERY РPOETRY AND ART BY RICK AND JAN SIKES received a FIRST PLACE award in the POETRY AND ART cagetory.

poetry_art               

I am SO proud of this award. When I decided to publish this book, people told me, “Poetry doesn’t sell.” But, I didn’t publish it to sell thousands of copies (although, of course I’d be thrilled about that). I published it because it is such an incredibly beautiful expression of a man’s heart and soul not only through words, but through art. And, I believe there are others struggling who can find encouragement and hope within the pages of this book.

When Rick Sikes found himself inside the walls of Leavenworth prison, with a long sentence ahead, he had some decisions to make. It took several years, but he finally made up his mind to think and act positive in a negative situation. He became determined to accomplish something worthwhile even though imprisoned. And, this book is just one of the things he completed. The artwork is what he called Pen and Ink drawings, but the technical description is Pointillism. Thousands of tiny dots made with a simple ink pen are what make up the art.

I hope you’ll take a look at all of my books. You can find them all on Amazon¬†and on my website at¬†http://www.jansikes.com

Please join me this evening for an interview on DEAR Texas radio, at 7 pm CST when I’ll talk about these books and more! Here is the link. DEAR Texas Blog Talk Radio

See you there!!

Follow Jan on Twitter    Facebook    Website    LinkedIn     Instagram     Pinterest

txauthors-logo

Four Book Banner

 

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.

8ff5fc45ac68329c579a525b5658604b

giphy

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

 

JAN’s TOP TEN Best Books for 2016

top-10_2

Because I have read SO many fantastic books this year, I want to share with you the ones I enjoyed the most. Almost ALL of the amazing books on this list were written by Indie Authors!

#1     Pennies From Burger Heaven by Marcy McKay     Pennies-from-Burger-Heaven-3D-2-259x300

I had no trouble choosing the #1 book of the year for me. For months after I’d finished reading this one, it continued to haunt me. That, my friends, is the sign of a great story!

It is a gripping tale of an eleven-year-old homeless girl, Copper Penny who has lived on the streets with her mother for years. Their “home” is in the cemetery under an Angel statue. Copper awakes one morning to find her mother gone. She can’t find her anywhere and her search takes her into some scary, dangerous and gritty situations. You can read my full review here.

#2    To Love a Texas Ranger by Linda Broday                  texas-ranger-final

I didn’t choose this book to sit at #2 because Linda Broday is my sister. I chose it because it is such a HUGE story and the introduction to the Men of Legend Series. Stoker Legend has two sons (as far as he knows) and all he ever wanted was for them to help him run one of the largest ranches in Texas, The Lonestar Ranch. But, Sam Legend, has other desires and wants no roots. He is a hard-as-nails Texas Ranger but, a gang of outlaws hangs him and leaves him for dead. After a mysterious man saves his life, he is forced to return to the Lonestar to recuperate. What happens along the way will have you on the edge of your seat! You can read my full review here.

#3 ¬† ¬†¬†Shadow of the Drill¬†by Rhani D’Chae ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Shadow of the Drill

This is not a genre I normally read, but I was certainly glad I stepped out of my norm and picked up this book. The characters lingered with me long after I’d finished reading the last page. I couldn’t put it down as the story unfolded. Decker, The Drill, is hardened, tough and ruthless. He’s taken on the role of judge, juror and executioner and is on a mission to get revenge for an injustice that won’t stop haunting him. You can read my full review here.

#4      A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair                      AThousandYesteryears_hires

I love character driven stories and this book by Mae Clair fits that description. When Eve Parrish returns to Point Pleasant to settle her aunt’s estate, she is in for more than one surprise. The story is based around a tragic bridge collapse that had happened when Eve was just a child. Many lives were lost including her father’s and her best friend. To cope with the loss, Eve’s mother moved them away and this is the first time she’s returned since the tragedy. I will tell you that this book has everything – romance, strong characters, paranormal, murder and a mythical creature. You can read my full review here.

#5       Lodestone Book 1 (Witch Hunt) by Wendy Scott     Lodestone

I ¬†love paranormal books and was drawn into this one from page one. I couldn’t stop until I reached the end, and even then, I wanted it to continue. I hope that Wendy Scott is writing a sequel to this book…I will be watching for it.¬†Sabrina has been at the ‚ÄėHealing School‚Äô since she was a very small child. She finds herself thrown into chaos at her graduation when she learns she is the direct descendant of Lauren, a woman who is considered evil. She is given a diary, written in Lauren‚Äôs own hand, along with a sliver of stone, and is told she must leave the school. Now it is up to Sabrina to unravel the mystery surrounding Lauren’s Order and end its reign of terror. You can read my full review here.

#6       Jazz Baby by Beem Weeks                                          A+ Jazz Baby 2 Front Cover

This is a coming-of-age story about Emily Ann “Baby” Teagarten, who can sing. She has one dream and that is to be on the big stage singing Jazz. When she loses both of her parents within a few short months, the man who takes her under his wing seems to be the answer to her dream. But, as we continue through the story, we see the selfish motives of everyone who claims to want to help her. This is another character-driven book and the tragedies that “Baby” had to endure were heart-wrenching to say the least. You can read my full review here.

#7 ¬† ¬†Daydream’s Daughter/Nighmare’s Friend¬†by Nonnie Jules ¬†daydreams-daughter-cover¬†

This is a story of unimaginable abuse which eventually leads to murder. My heart broke for this young girl who suffered so much. There seemed to be no escape for her even in adulthood. As the story unfolds, Nonnie takes us inside scenarios that are unfortunately, all too common and all too real in life. You can read my full review here

#8     His Revenge by John Howell                                            his-revenge-resized        

This is the second book in the John Cannon series and again, is not my normal genre to read. However, I loved this book. It is gripping, full of adventure, danger and a high stakes game that can bring this country to its knees. John Cannon, the main character, stumbles into this story simply by chance and where it takes him will keep you on the edge of your seat! You can read my full review here.   

#9     Jem by Michelle Abbott                                                 jem     

The scars of abuse run deep from childhood to adulthood and Jem carries those scars physically and mentally. All he’s known is hatred and pain except for one, his angel, whose kindness he could never forget. He’s tough and determined not to take any crap from anyone. When his “angel” shows up in the oceanside town where he lives, how can he let her know that he’s never forgotten? This is a gripping romance with plenty of hardcore action to keep you turning the pages. You can read my full review here

#10 ¬† ¬†Novy’s Son – The Selfish Genius¬†by Karen Ingalls¬†¬† ¬† NOVY'S SON¬† ¬† ¬†

I gave this story a five star review and believe that every young man, as they come of age, should be required to read it. Murray Clark, the selfish genius, is destined to be a victim his entire life because he never takes responsibility for his own actions. Karen Ingalls takes us through nine decades with Murray’s story and she does it in such a way that the reader never loses interest. She refers to the “Iron John” philosophy throughout the book which turns out to be a story written by Robert Ely as a sort of guide book on how to be a man. Novy’s Son is a MUST READ for all young men! ¬†You can read my full review here.

I cannot end this list of amazing books without mentioning one more.

Emotional Beats: How to Easily Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings (Author Tools Book 1) by Nicholas Rossis   

emotional-beats

This book is an invaluable resource and reference book for all writers. Because of the way our brains are wired, readers empathize more strongly if you don’t name the emotion you are trying to describe. As soon as you name an emotion, readers go into thinking mode. And when they think about an emotion, they distance themselves from feeling it.

A great way to show anger, fear, indifference, and the whole range of emotions that characterize the human experience, is through beats. These action snippets that pepper dialogue can help describe a wide range of emotions, while avoiding lazy writing. The power of beats lies in their innate ability to create richer, more immediate, deeper writing.

This book includes hundreds of examples that you can use for your inspiration, so that you, too, can harness this technique to easily convert your writing into palpable feelings.

Well, there you have it. I enjoyed these and many more books throughout the year and all but two of these authors I discovered through the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! It pays to belong! 

Of course, I’d be thrilled if you’d check out my own books and you can find them all here!

Or visit my website for more information!

51hidjsj2xl-_uy250_     51amkqztl-_uy250_    51zrzfrbkjl-_uy250_    51cd-fknmml-_uy250_                                        51mezg9nebl-_uy250_                      texas-shorts                                                           3d_early_rec     online_3d-cd_cover_fortyfoothigh1    online_frontcover_whentherosesbloomagain     etchings_in_stone_updated

 

 

Made It Into the TOP 5!

What a pleasant surprise to find this video in my Inbox this morning from the Texas Association of Authors! 

I made it into the TOP FIVE Bestselling Authors list.

What is TxAuthors?

Very simply put, it is a non-profit organization created to assist Indie Authors in Texas with the marketing of their books and this is done in a variety of ways.

  • DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Texas
  • Texas Authors Institute of History (A museum dedicated to preserving Texas Literary History)
  • Lone Star Book Festival
  • Representation to the American Library Association as well as TLA
  • Website and Social Media support
  • A variety of Book Festivals held across the Lonestar state
  • Opportunity for readings in Libraries and Indie Book Stores
  • Writing Contests
  • Virtual Bookstore as well as a traveling Bookstore
  • Dedicated work with Texas Government officials for author recognition
  • BlogTalk Radio Shows

This is simply a brief list of ways that the Texas Association of Authors supports authors who live in the State of Texas, or as the founder of the organization says, whose heart is in Texas.

If you think this organization may be helpful to you, I invite you to take a look and decide for yourself.

In the meantime, I am ecstatic that I made the TOP FIVE list of Bestselling Authors in the organization!

 

Texas Short Stories

texas-shorts

I will be at Half Price Book Store, 5803 E. Northwest Highway, Dallas Texas from 1 – 6 on Sunday, November 6th, with a bunch of other COOL authors who also have winning short stories.

hpb-signsCome out and join us!

Short Stories by TEXAS AUTHORS

texas-shorts

This is a collection of short stories from winning entries in a contest sponsored by the Texas Association of Authors and DEAR Texas.

I am honored to have a short story, MOUNTAIN LAUREL,  published within the covers of this book along with other talented Texas authors!

Reviews are starting to come in. Here are a few.

Ruthie Jones reviewed “A Private War”

“Johnny shook the doorknob and when it did not turn, he put his shoulder to the door.


And then he was filling the space between them and reaching for her arm.
The soft flesh yielded so easily. She watched it swell between his fingers.
When her eyes flashed up at him, she was smiling.‚ÄĚ

~ from A Private War by Mary Bryan Stafford (First Place for Fiction/Suspense)

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked A Private War to read for a bonus review, but wowza! I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just say that when a woman has had enough, she’s had enough! Domestic violence and living in fear of someone who is supposed to have your back is horrifying and unfortunately all too real for many people. But what happens when the abuser goes off to war, providing you with some much-needed peace? What happens when the one who actually has your back is a German Shepherd that followed you home one day? What happens when the abuser returns from war drunk and full of demands?

A Private War by Mary Bryan Stafford is just one of the amazing stories in this book.

Storybook Reviews reviewed “Homecoming Queen”

I chose one of the short stories to read just to get a flair for what might be included in this book.  As they are all short stories I don’t think they will take long to read, in fact the story I chose, Homecoming Queen (YA) took maybe 5 minutes to read.  Great when you just need a little something and don’t have a lot of time.

Homecoming Queen is about a young woman, Pam, that loses her life in an auto accident and is learning how to cross others over when it is their time.  In this story, there are two older ladies in a hospital room and one is ready to go and the other is not…and of course it is the one that is not ready to go that is being called home.  As is with most people that are younger, they do not understand there is a method to all the madness and why one person is chosen over another.  While the story is short, it is also poignant and has a lesson for us.

I can’t wait to read the other stories!

Hall Ways reviewed “John Sleeps”

“Night pounced hungrily upon the woods, gobbling up all¬†remaining glimmers of light the sun had left behind.”

— from¬†John Sleeps¬†by David Hughes

Hall Ways Review:¬†I just had to take a peek — just one story — inside¬†Short Stories by Texas Authors, and I scored!¬†John Sleeps,¬†winning story in the horror category,¬†is super creepy and conjures up thoughts of spooky stories told around the campfire. Hughes makes his words count and does an amazing job of building up dread, doom, and gloom as the main character seeks safety from . . . well, you’ll just have to read it to find out.

If this story is any indicator of the caliber of stories and quality of writing in¬†Short Stories by Texas Authors,¬†readers are going to be doing a major happy dance. I can’t wait to read more.

Chapter Break Blog¬†reviewed “Todd”

Here‚Äôs¬†quick review of one of the short stories in this collection,¬†Todd¬†by¬†Fern Brady. This selection won First Prize in the Fiction/Science category. And it was a wild ride for being a short story!¬†Toddtakes place in an unspecified ‚Äúfuture‚ÄĚ time. A time where Big Brother watches every aspect of daily life, and all the fun things have been banned. Todd is on an illegal quest for some cigarettes. The story had my heart racing while we follow Todd, wondering if he‚Äôll succeed or not. And the very abrupt, but also very clear-cut ending was a stunner. One that works really well as social commentary for both no smoking, and not letting Big Brother take over our lives.

Got your interest? Grab your copy and enjoy all of the stories! Click here to order. Also available on Amazon

ALL proceeds go to support DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Texas literacy programs. 

dear-texas-logo_kids-web

The Texas Association of Authors is a progressive and innovative non-profit organization created to help Texas authors market their books. I invite you to take a look at the many programs offered through TxAuthors.

txauthors-logo

 

 

 

It’s Finally Here!

I am thrilled beyond words to announce the Pre-Order Sale for the fourth and final book of this series of true stories, ‘TIL DEATH DO US PART!!

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH TXAuthors.com

ONLINE_3D_Cover_TilDeathDoUsPart

Luke Stone has cheated death more times than he cares to remember. And now, with a chance for a second music career, he knows he won’t fill the Texas dance halls and honky-tonks as he’d done in his younger days, but is determined to give it his all. Darlina, his rock and anchor, longs to see his dreams fulfilled and vows to do everything possible to help him find success. But, will time allow Luke to sing his last song?

GET YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY TODAY!

THE FIRST 20 ORDERS WILL RECEIVE A FREE CD РETCHINGS IN STONE BY RICK SIKES

Estimated delivery date 4-20-16

Til Death Part2_TxAuthors

 

The State’s Biggest Book Festival!

Dear Texas Banner web

The largest statewide book festival in the history of Texas will take place on April 12th. The D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) event will involve twenty-four cities, thirty book stores and eighty-six authors including yours truly.
Jan_Sikes_Author_Picture
Award FB Timeline

D.E.A.R. programs have been held nationwide on April 12th in honor of Beverly Cleary’s birthday, since she first wrote about D.E.A.R. in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (pages 40-41). Inspired by letters from readers sharing their enthusiasm for the D.E.A.R. activities implemented in their schools, Mrs. Cleary decided to give the same experience to Ramona and her classmates. As D.E.A.R. has grown in popularity and scope, the program has expanded to span the entire month of April, offering classrooms and communities additional time to celebrate!

Many folks and organizations who work tirelessly to promote reading, literacy, and learning have joined the movement. The list of participating sponsors includes: National Education Association (NEA) National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association Reading Rockets General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) Newspaper Association of America Foundation (NAA) First Book Read Kiddo Read Walden Media HarperCollins Children’s Books.

In Texas, the program is being sponsored by Joe’s Crab Shack, Barnes and Noble and the C-Spot Magazine.

Jump on board and join in this nationwide event. If you are in Austin, Texas on April 12th, find your favorite book store and visit the authors who are there reading and selling their books.

I will be at Malvern’s Book Store on Sunday afternoon, April 12th!

For more information, click here