Crystal Beach

I am sharing my sister’s blog post with some snippets from our trip to the Gulf Coast and the Bolivar Peninsula. It was such an incredible and much-deserved vacation!

Come With Me To The Texas Gulf Coast

And I’ll add a few of my own thoughts.

Getting to go onboard the sailing ship, The Elissa, was one of the highlights of our trip. They allow visitors to walk all through the ship, see the sleeping quarters, kitchen, captain’s quarters and read some amazing sailing stories. It is noted as a tall ship with three masts and was put into service in 1877.

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This was the most dazzling sunset I’ve ever witnessed!

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My brother caught a small shark. 🙂 Yikes!

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This enormous Pelican greeted us outside Stingaree’s restaurant. A majestic bird.

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And we were gifted this rainbow on the morning we had to head home.

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It was a fabulous week spent with family. My oldest sister is now 82 and I realized every moment we can share is special. The years are short and getting shorter.

I came back home behind on everything and I know I missed some fabulous blogs, but I’ll eventually catch up. It was worth it!

 

Stories From the Road #12

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

This is part of a 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 bus 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:

“One time we had bookings out in California. We left Brownwood, Texas and made the mistake of stopping in Juarez, Mexico. We had too much fun…drank too much and hung out with too many senoritas. We didn’t really have a whole lot of money left by the time we got out of Juarez, but we had to get on to California to work. Then, the worst happened when we got into Arizona somewhere. The bus started making an engine noise. We had to stop and get it fixed. To the best of my memory, it was an oil pump. At any rate, we were sincerely broke by the time we reached California. We found a motel that rented apartment type rooms; like two bedroom motel rooms. I told the lady who managed it, “We’re musicians and we get paid next week. We get paid every week. We just blew into town from Texas and had some bus trouble so we don’t really have the money to pay you in advance, but we would like to rent the place. We’re going to be here at least six weeks.” I have no idea what possessed her to agree, but she said, “Ok. I’m going to trust you for this week.”

We settled in and had just enough money to buy a pound of bologna and a loaf of bread. We’d managed to get out of Mexico with a few cartons of Mexican cigarettes and a few bottles of Cognac. So, we drank Cognac, smoked Mexican cigarettes and ate bologna and bread for a week.

Finally, at the end of that week, we got paid. That night we went to a place down the street from the motel that advertised all the chicken you could eat for a buck. We almost wiped the poor guy out. I mean, we were hungry! I told him fair and square, “This is the first time we’ve really eaten in a week. We’ve been living off bologna and bread. I’m sorry we wiped you out.” He laughed and said, “No, no. You guys eat all you want and come back again. That is all I ask; that you come back and see me. I’ll come out in the long run.” So, we ate fried chicken there often, but we didn’t eat hardly as much as that first time.

The irony of this band business…this music business, is that I would be up on stage with a fifteen-hundred dollar suit on, high dollar boots, Stetson hat and all kind of fancy hand-made belts and guitar straps. I would be up there looking like I had a million dollars when I didn’t have fifty cents to my name. People would say to me, “Man, I wish we were like y’all are. You get up there and work only four hours a night and make a lot of money, get all the women and have all the fun. And, I would be thinking, “Man they have no idea what this is all about. No idea.” They didn’t know how many hundreds of hours of rehearsal we put in and all the money that had to be paid out. It was not as it appeared. ”

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

Mike Blakely – CD Review

Award-winning novelist and singer/songwriter Mike Blakely has published 18 books, released by major New York City publishers.

As a performing songwriter, Mike has released 12 CDs, performed all over the U.S., and made 16 tours to Europe.  His songs have been recorded by Alan Jackson, Gary P. Nunn, Red Steagall, Flaco Jimenez and Raul Malo, John Arthur Martinez, Randy Brown, Geronimo Trevino III and Johnny Rodriguez, Johnny Bush, Pauline Reese, Debbi Walton and others.

And now he has a new CD release which I had the pleasure of reviewing.

Keepsake

KEEPSAKE – MIKE BLAKELY

Independent Release

 Nothing describes Mike Blakely’s vocal and songwriting style better than straightforward and genuine.

Listening to his new CD, Keepsake, is like going on an easy rambling trail ride. Mike’s “no frills” music touches something deep inside.

Larry Nye (Guitar), Kurt Baumer (Fiddle), Duke Davis (Upright Bass) and Shane Lively (Drums) accompany Mike on Keepsake, while Annie Blakely, Walt & Tina Wilkins and Larry Boyd sing backup vocals.

The album begins with a poignant song, “A Town Called Paradise,” written by Blakely and Ken Garrett. It is the perfect escape song. “My Same Old New Mexican Dream” is a clever play on words. “Easy Ramblin’” is all about slowing down.

Annie Blakey joined Mike in writing “Keepsake,” and it is a beautiful love song that fits the couple perfectly. “I missed you before I met you/I loved you before I knew you/Before we found each other/I was yours/you were mine.”

“Moonlight Colorado,” captured me completely. The melody and words weave a tantalizing dance.

Walt and Tina Wilkins lend their perfectly synced background vocal harmony on “I am Nobody.” The message carried in the lyrics is uplifting. “I am nobody/Nobody’s perfect/Therefore I’m perfect/Perfect for you.”

Written by Jeff Posey and Walt Wilkins, “Skipping Stone” is sweet and tender.

“Miranda’s Warning” is a haunting melody. He should have heeded Miranda’s warning. “The Island with No Name” has a Mexican flare and features Larry Nye on the acoustic guitar.

The album ends with “Don’t send Flowers” and is the longest track on the CD at five minutes. Wistful poetic lyrics weave a wish. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard a more authentically beautiful song about death.

If you enjoy listening to lyrics that have meaning, tell a story or carry a message while the melody flows like a cool mountain stream, you will enjoy Keepsake.

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Purchase Keepsake

About Mike Blakely

AND, Mike Blakely will be our speaker and entertainment at the Texas Authors Institute of History Fundraising Gala at The Main Street Gardens in Dallas on October 6th!

 

Springtime in #Texas

There is truly nothing more beautiful than the Texas Hill Country in Spring.

The bluebonnets come early in March and by the end of the month, literally fields of purple are found everywhere.

Bluebonnets     The-Bluebonnet-Ratlesnake-660x390                                                                          Danger lurks among the beauty, if you aren’t careful.

The Indian Paintbrush jump out and dot the landscape with even more color.

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Coreopsis, Sunflowers and Verbana join in the color brigade. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center predicted an early season this year and the warm weather we’ve had has brought them out in force.

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I love Texas, the spirit it embodies and the incredible landscapes.

I am proud to be a Texas author. My stories all take place in the Lonestar State!

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Ah, The World of Blogging

Who knew there was such a tight knit group to be found through blogging? I am just starting to realize the sense of community that rests within the world of bloggers. They share each other’s posts on social media, re-blog and comment almost daily.

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So, I thought about it. As a reader, what do I want to see in a blog?

For starters, I don’t often read a long blog. I prefer short and to the point. So, if it’s long, I’ll skim through, but won’t read it word-for-word.

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I like visuals that accompany the blog.

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Interesting subjects, ideas or philosophies always catch my attention.

What can I learn from the blog?

Will the blog enhance my life in any way or simply entertain me? I’m good with both things, but it must accomplish at least one of them.

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I love meeting new authors through blogs and can honestly say that I’ve ordered books simply by reading a guest blog from an author I’d never heard of. Yep, that has happened, Andrew Joyce.

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I follow lots of blogs and again, just being honest here, I prefer the blogs that only post once per day. When I get a Daily Digest from a blogger and see five or more blogs posted, I’ll skim the titles to see if anything draws my interest. I’m sure I’ve missed some great stuff by doing that, but I simply don’t have the time to read each one.

So, what are your preferences about blogs? I’d love to hear from you. Be honest!!

 

#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.)

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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

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New Release from Author, Linda Broday

texas-ranger-final  THE MEN OF LEGEND SERIES – BOOK 1

NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Linda Broday releases the first book in THE MEN OF LEGEND series. Some Legends are made and some are born! 

The state of Texas has 268,597 square miles so it’s no wonder we have huge ranches to match the size. Some are simply too enormous to comprehend. So I had no trouble setting a big ranch here for my latest Men of Legend series. I wanted it as big and bold as the father and sons who own it, so Texas certainly filled the bill. (It’s rumored that the state produces people with big personalities.) Strictly rumor of course. I’m laughing here.

My fictional Lone Star Ranch is a little on the puny side at 480,000 acres. I modeled it to some degree after the Waggoner Ranch which was 510,000 acres in 1954. When it sold in 2016, it had grown even larger. The Waggoner Ranch also fit the location of mine in North Texas, not far from the Red River.

The largest ranch in the world in 1880 was the XIT Ranch (stands for Ten in Texas) at a whopping three million acres and covered practically all of West Texas and the Panhandle. To put this in perspective, that’s roughly 4,687 square miles. Just think how long it would take to ride over it by horseback. All that land was owned by a syndicate of English investors. It was simply too large for words.

The mighty King Ranch down at the far end of the state was and still is one of the largest ranches in the world. It has well over a million acres. It was established in 1854 by partners Richard King and Gideon Lewis.

North Texas certainly has a lion’s share of ranch land. That’s mostly because the rugged, rocky, dry landscape is fit for little else. The Matador Land and Cattle Company (purchased by Scottish investors) is another large one at a million and half acres in the beginning. It has shrunk now but still going strong.

The 6666 Ranch is an interesting one that keeps on thriving. Captain Samuel Burk Burnett bought 350,000 acres in 1868 and started raising cattle. Rumors have swirled for decades that he named it this unusual name because he won it in a poker game with a hand of four sixes. Descendants swear that’s not true. It’s still a huge ranch at 275,000 acres. I always love driving past it and looking at the large herds of horses. Their buildings are always pristine and they even have an airstrip. It’s pretty.

Okay, back to my Lone Star Ranch. The patriarch, Stoker Legend, acquired roughly 1200 acres as payment for fighting in the Texas War for Independence. Everyone scoffed and said he had little chance of making the ranch thrive what with Indians, outlaws, drought, and the fact the land was extremely inhospitable. He paid them no mind and carved out the mighty ranch that serves as a legacy for his sons—Sam, Houston, and Luke.

Book #1 of this Men of Legend series is TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER. Sam Legend joined the Texas Rangers as soon as he could because ranching just doesn’t interest him in the least little bit. He has restless feet and is driven with a burning need to see what’s over the next hill. Sam runs across a desperate woman named Sierra Hunt who has been dragged from pillar to post all her life. She dreams of permanence—a little white house with a picket fence around it, flowers in front and a garden in back where she can put down deep roots. She’s not going to settle for anything less…not even for Sam.

There are lots of twists and turns in this story as they seek to find common ground and protect the fragile love that forms as they run from a ruthless band of outlaws.

Think the old TV western series Bonanza. This Legend family is every bit as big and bold as the Cartwrights. I’ve enjoying writing this so much.

There are still one million acre (and larger) ranches today across the United States. What do you think the biggest challenge would be to owning such a huge amount of land?

LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY  OR E-BOOK OF TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER!

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FOLLOW LINDA BRODAY:

WEBSITE

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Sizzling Romance!

Texas Mail Order Bride

Linda Broday has woven together another intriguing tale from the fringes of the Old West. In the first book of The Bachelor of Battle Creek series, we meet three brothers determined to never marry, Oh, they had their reasons alright, but Cooper Thorne was no match for the blonde haired beauty that stepped off the stage claiming to be his mail order bride.

It was obvious someone had tried to play matchmaker for the tall handsome cowboy, but who? It was also obvious that Cooper Thorne wanted nothing to do with this woman who claimed he’d sent for her.

Delta Dandridge wasn’t the kind of woman to tuck tail and run, never mind the fact that she had nowhere to run to. She dug her heels in and in no time, won the hearts of the residents of the small failing town of Battle Creek.

Cooper Thorne saw red when Delta not only stayed in Battle Creek, but set about spiffying up the town and seeing to it they gained a school and school teacher.

Through lots of twists and turns in this story, an old nemesis comes gunning for Cooper and his two brothers, dragging Delta dangerously into the fray. Cooper realizes he loves this woman and not only does he love her, but he can’t imagine life without her when she goes missing and he knows she is in grave danger.

I loved this story and all of the characters that are woven through it like a delicate spider web. Romance sizzles on the pages and the good guy wins. If you love a great love story set in the old West, you’ll love Texas Mail Order Bride!

Connect with Author, Linda Broday

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