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!

NEW RELEASES – SHORT STORIES #RRBC

I am SO excited to release three new short stories as a result of the 2019 90-Day Alpha/Omega Beginning to End Short Story Contest at #RRBC!

I love how this contest pushes me out of my comfort zone and gets my creative juices flowing!

I’ll list the three short stories in no particular order. I sincerely hope that at least one will pique your interest!

BLURB:

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.

PURCHASE LINK:

BLURB:

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.

PURCHASE LINK:

BLURB:

Claire Winters is heartbroken when her husband of many years says he’s found a new love and wants a divorce. While having a pity party with her best friend, Jade, they come up with a daring idea. Together, they construct a Voodoo doll and with the help of several bottles of wine, create a ceremony to bring the same heartbreak to Daniel Winters as he brought to Claire. But do they go too far? You decide!

PURCHASE LINK:

I enjoyed writing these vastly different stories and I hope you enjoy reading them!

Do Press Releases work?

Press Release Crossword

As a staff writer for two magazines, I receive a plethora of Press Releases every day.

I can tell you some grab my eye immediately and some I never open. So what is the secret?

First of all let me answer the question: Do Press Releases have value?

The immediate and short answer is “Yes.”

The longer answer is:

  • Press Releases are a great way to shout out an accomplishment
  • Press Releases can open doors for interviews
  • Press Releases can gain you new followers and fans
  • Press Releases offer a way to reach many with one click

So, what is it about these Press Releases that prompt me to open or delete them?

The first thing I watch for is relevance. I write for music magazines, so a press release about a new company opening down the street will not get my attention (unless it is a recording studio or music store).

That is the number one point I’d like to make. If you are considering sending out a Press Release about an award you received for a book, don’t send it to a publication that only specializes in politics (unless your book is about politics). You wouldn’t want to send your press release to a publication that only does music reviews (unless your book is about music.) I’m sure you get the idea.

In my case, if the press release I receive is not about an artist relevant to Texas or Oklahoma, I delete it.

The headline of the press release is the next most important aspect to me. It can make or break the effort. A boring headline won’t prompt me to open it, but an excited, energetic headline will draw me every time. I’ve even opened Press Releases that I knew had no relevance to me just because of the compelling subject title. They made me want to know more. That is probably the single biggest challenge for anyone writing a Press Release.

Here is a formula that might be useful.

Headline Formula

If you can get them to open it, you at least have a 50-50 chance of some follow-up action.

Since my book of short stories, “Two Shorts and a Snort,” won the Grand Prize in the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB 90-day Alpha/Omega Beginning to End Short Story contest, I will be sending out press releases locally and statewide.

Here is my headline for local media:

Local Indie Author wins the Grand Prize in an International Short Story Challenge

And for statewide media:

Texas Indie Author wins the Grand Prize in an International Short Story Challenge

Then, in the body of the ONE page Press Release, I can give more details. To me, the draw in the headline is three things – One that I am a local author, two this was not a local contest and three I am an indie author.

What are your thoughts? Have you sent Press Releases in the past? Did you get any results?  I’ll keep you posted as to my results. I’ve had a good response in the past, getting two newspaper features and a TV appearance.

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In the meantime, if you haven’t yet picked up your copy of “Two Shorts and a Snort,” here is the purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Two-Shorts-Snort-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B07DY8FSWL/

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Blown Away!

I am astounded to learn that my collection of short stories, “Two Shorts and a Snort” won the GRAND PRIZE in the #RRBC 90-day Alpha/Omega short story writing challenge!!

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Wow! I certainly was not expecting this. I have read a lot of the short stories that were created for the challenge and I have to say that some of them were outstanding. You can see all of them in the RRBC Catalogue.

The first story in my book, “Obsession,” was inspired by a song, “Loving County” by Charlie Robison and Jack Ingram. I posted a link before, but here it is again if you want to listen.

I am grateful, honored and humbled to receive this award.

And, it couldn’t have come at a better time. If you follow my blog, you know that I’ve been trying to get a publisher interested in my latest novel. I had begun to feel like I didn’t have what it takes.

This award gives me much-needed validation. It also gives me the motivation to push forward.

You can pick up your copy of “Two Shorts and a Snort” for 99 cents on Amazon. Just click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/Two-Shorts-Snort-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B07DY8FSWL/

That being said, I’d also like to announce the winners from my last blog post. They are:

Janet Gogerty, John Howell, and Craig Boyack. Watch your mailboxes for “Two Shorts and a Snort.” I sincerely hope you all enjoy the short read. 

Next, I’d like to recognize the 1st Place Runner-up

“Tequila Rose Virginity Blues” by Wendy Jayne is a great short story!

Tequila Rose

BLURB:

Tequila Rose may have met the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, she wakes up suffering from alcoholic amnesia and doesn’t remember anything about the night before. Tall, dark, and Jack may be the cure her jaded heart desperately needs, but Tequila’s wary as friends warn her that Jack hangs out with the local drug dealer. Thrust together at a Speed Dating event, their chemistry sizzles, but is Jack after a different kind of fix?

You can read my 5 Star review HERE: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1J5Y7KX7QH80Y/

AND you can pick up a copy for 99 cents while you are there!

A HUGE THANK YOU to the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB for all the amazing benefits offered to authors and for encouragement when we need it the most!

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