#SundaySpotlight – Chaz Marie @chaz_marie

Welcome to another SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT! Today’s feature is a no-holds barred rockin’ female artist with a sexy sultry voice that makes her a force to be reckoned with.

It is my pleasure to turn my blog over to Chaz Marie!

Thank you, Jan, for allowing me a space to share my music, my passion and my story!

In the early 2000’s,  I cut a record with my sister Kessie, entitled the Marie Sisters.  After being turned down by everyone on Music Row twice in a six year period, we moved back home to Dallas from Nashville, thinking that was it.  Three months later, we secured a record deal with Universal Music Group New York.  Things were amazing at the time.  We toured with legends and newbies just like us.  Our record was way before its time. (It’s still out there).

I was always told, “You’re too soulful for country music, pull it back.”  But how do I change what I am? How do I change the voice that God gave me? I’m not good enough, I’m gonna ruin everything.  Those were the thoughts going thru my young mind.  What it came down to is a label who didn’t know what to do with us. It may sound crazy, but I’m grateful.  We had a blast, we lived a dream not many get the chance to live. One day, we woke up to a hot fax (inside media news) that said we had been cut from the label.  We were devastated.  Life as we knew it was done…but you pick up the pieces and you move on. My sis and I decided to part ways musically, but we remain very close today.  

I couldn’t let the fire, or the passion for music leave my life.  It’s my first love.  I tried a couple of different music projects, that led nowhere.  So I decided to start a band in Dallas, Texas. I was tired of being the “female singer” in the band.  I knew I could offer a great show and great music all by myself – a standalone, female fronted original artist.  I started playing everywhere I could to promote myself.  It started building, and I knew it was getting better everyday.  I wanted so badly to record an original project. I made two attempts and the magic just wasn’t there. So, I kept booking and playing and have been consistently, for the last 15 years.  

Fast forward….I had been trying to get Quinten Hope on a gig for a couple years, with no luck.  Then one day, 30 mins before I called him, his gig canceled and he was able to play with me on May 2, 2015.  That’s when everything just clicked.  We got engaged in August and married in Sept.  Fast track for sure. Lol! We started writing and working toward this project and well, here it is!

We got our friends Will Lee, Rob Arthur, Dan Wojciehowski, David Deshazo, Carson Wagner,  Milo Deering, Paul Harrington and of course Quinten Hope to put their magic on it.  We cut it all right there in Dallas, except for Will’s vocals. He cut those at his studio in NY and sent them over to us.  It’s quite the mix, as far as sound.  To be honest, I got tired of trying to release music under a specific genre. It’s hard to put creatives in a box….so I just recorded the music that was in me.  I wrote what was in me – what I felt.  That’s what this EP is.  FINALLY a project, I had complete control over artistically.  It feels good.  Quentin and I are Independent Music Artists.  We write, produce, record, finance, promote, book, etc… all on our own.  It’s not easy sometimes, but if it’s your passion, it never feels like work.  At least not to me.  

Here’s a sample of what you’ll find on the EP we named, CHAZ MARIE!

You can find more music from Chaz Marie here:

https://www.chazmarie.com/music
https://music.apple.com/us/album/chaz-marie-ep/1530009074
https://music.amazon.com/albums/B08HCSDN1S?ref=dm_sh_d64d-3a16-dmcp-c4d6-d1c4e&musicTerritory=US&marketplaceId=ATVPDKIKX0DER
https://open.spotify.com/album/4sDNSEf3sl6Ram9ZIseln0?si=s8W33ieLSoeVj9RnVkrFxA

Social Media Links:
Website:  https://www.chazmarie.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/chazmariemusic/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chaz_marie_/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/chaz_marie
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/Chazzeroni/

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed this introduction to CHAZ MARIE! Please feel free to leave a comment and share on all your Social Media platforms!

#BookReviews! @JacqBiggar @howellwave @marciameara

It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to post some book reviews, so I want to share these three recent books I’ve read.

The books and reviews are listed in random order.

THE BLURB:

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save mankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

MY 5 STAR REVIEW:

I loved everything about this unique story by John Howell. When James dies in a single-car accident, he is met in the afterlife by a childhood friend who disappeared when they were in grade school, and her body was never found. She has taken the assignment of helping James adapt to the afterlife and find his eternal home. The adventures start when they experience time travel back to pivotal times in history, and all while still in the ’56 Olds that James crashed in the physical world. From the gunfight at the OK Corral to the Alamo, to a World War, James finds himself placed at strategic moments of time which facilitate self-discovery. He even has a face-to-face encounter with Satan himself. And in the midst of it all, Sam and James learn what it means to love someone. They even have love-making adventures, However, one of my favorite parts of the story is when Sam comes face-to-face with her murderer and he gets the justice he deserves at his own hand. If you are looking for a story that is different from anything you’ve ever read, have a fascination with a “what-if” scenario about the afterlife and love adventures, you will love this new book from Mr. Howell! It is well-written and fast-paced.

PURCHASE LINK:

THE BLURB:

What happens when Miss Perfection clashes with Mr. Casual?
Chaos!

Georgina’s in trouble. The startup money she borrowed from her parents’ retirement fund is long gone and her dream of owning the next big thing in market-to-table cuisine disappeared with it.
Her only choice? Merge her company into the corporate giant, CLO, and hope she isn’t making a huge mistake.

Rhys Turner is his father’s progeny, born and raised to take over the empire when his dad deems him ready. Rhys doesn’t mind the fast-paced lifestyle, though he detests the coldblooded mantra of the corporation- Buy from the weak and sell at a profit.
It’s made his family millions. But now, just when CLO’s reins are within reach, he’s run into the one woman who could change everything.

A delightful mixture of women’s fiction, chick-lit, romantic comedy, and New adult, Perfectly Imperfect has something for every reader.

MY 4 STAR REVIEW:

This short entertaining story fits the classic – girl bumps into a handsome man, spills coffee all over his expensive clothes, then gets stuck in the elevator with him – scenario. Little does Georgina know that Rhys has come to squash her dream and sell her company. While the story was predictable from the first paragraph, I found it to be a quirky and entertaining read with a happy ending. It is well written and even has a puppy included. If you are looking for a quick read that will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling, you’ll like this story!

PURCHASE LINK:

THE BLURB:

The archangel Azrael created his emissaries to help mortals avoid choices that would doom them for eternity. He hadn’t planned on the youngest member of the team falling in love with one. In Marcia Meara’s final installment of her Emissary Trilogy, a Riverbend spinoff series of novellas, we find our heroes facing a new problem, and it’s all because Dodger died before having a chance to learn what love was all about. His request that Azrael help him correct that situation causes a multitude of problems no one could have foreseen. Except the angel, himself.

MY FOUR STAR REVIEW:

I came into the Emissary Trilogy with this book, which was the wrap-up and now I am compelled to go back and read the first two. The theme of this part of the story is a young man’s urge to find and know true love. Jake and Dodge are the two main characters and Dodge falls head-over-heels in love with Juliet. But everything is complicated by the emissary work Jake and Dodge are put on earth to do. Archangel Azrael is the head of the emissary program and keeps a close eye on all of his workers. The way he popped in and out brought a touch of humor to the story. But the one scene that stands out in my mind is when Jake and Dodge were on a mountain and watched Azrael descend with his huge white wings and shining radiance. In my mind, I could see this clearly and it took my breath away. Another favorite scene was the intervention that took place between Dodge and a young lady on that same mountain who was resigned to ending her life. The lessons, the growth, and the maturing that took place through this segment of the story were fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to going back now and reading the beginning of this series.

PURCHASE LINK:

There you have it. I hope at least one of these books grabbed your attention today and that you are hurrying over to Amazon to pick it up!

Thanks for stopping by!

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #20 NEW Image Prompt! Join in the fun! #IARTG #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction #ASMSG #WritingPrompts

Author Suzanne Burke posts a new writing prompt in the form of an image each week and the responses are absolutely amazing!

 Each week she features an image and invites you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

This is my contribution. I want to give you a little background on this poem. When my late husband was dealing with such a difficult physical decline, during one of the many hospital stays, he developed pneumonia and I feared he might not live until morning. I held vigil throughout that long night and this poem came to me. I remember searching for pen and paper to get it down, and I remember the tears that fell as I scribbled it. I felt that I had to give him permission to let go and I did it through this poem. He lived for a few more weeks after this incident and did recover from the pneumonia.

I cannot tell you the reason this image invoked this memory, but it did, so I am sharing.

Surrender

There is no shame in surrender when it is time

Like General Lee, you’ve known when to lay low

and when to climb

I’ve watched you suffer for so many years

Your life seemed destined to one of pain and of tears

Yet you fought on – the valiant soldier in fierce battle

You sang your song, rode tall in the saddle

You’ve now come down to the last battle call

You’ll hang up your sword, tired and weary you’ll fall

But know that you’ve left many good marks behind

While you learned how to love and how to be kind

Taught lessons to all who shared your many paths

That will be remembered long after you have passed

There is no shame in surrender when it is time

Excerpt from ‘TIL DEATH DO US PART

I hope you enjoyed this and that you’ll check out Soooz’s blog and participate in the prompts as you can.

Thank you!

New Book Release – Mrs. Molony @virgilante

I am super excited to turn my blog over to C.S. Boyack’s personal assistant and robot girl, Lisa Burton, today and let her tell you about his brand new release – another Lizzie and The Hat adventure!

Oh my gosh, Jan. It’s so nice to be here. This is a place I always wanted to visit, and promo for this book is perfect. This is the third book in The Hat Series, and this time it involves the country music scene.

Lizzie and the hat are on the trail of two vampires. They’ve kidnapped this poor woman and are feeding off her like some kind of milk cow. Before joining the ranks of the undead, they were team ropers. Turns out old habits die hard.

The rodeo circuit, and country folks in general, aren’t immune to a good party. This provides a fertile hunting ground for these particular vampires. At a party, some country girl is always going to get a little too drunk, and wind up becoming one of their victims. If hunting is slow, they always have the woman at home.

Since Lizzie and the hat have a small cover band, it gives them access to various events where they do a little hunting themselves. This is no simple feat, because the rodeo circuit moves around. Vamps have to hole-up during the day, so they can’t realistically move too far.

The hat had to do a little research, and increase the playlist for Lizzie and The Pythons. Being a younger person, Lizzie wasn’t overly fond of country music and this leads to a bit of tension between them.

Fortunately, I set her up with some expanded wardrobe that allowed her to fit in as a country performer. This all happened somewhat casually in Viral Blues, which I played a part in.

I should tell you that Craig worked pretty hard to make sure people don’t have to read this series in order. There are little things that cross over, like the wardrobe stuff, but you really can go out of order without confusion.

I know you’re involved in the music business, so this should be a good topic for you. For each of his books, Craig sends me to spend time with Sean Harrington to create some promotional artwork. I know the stories and try to recreate scenes from the book. This one is a concert image from one of the musical appearances.

Your fans are welcome to use it as iPad screens, phone backgrounds, or whatever they like.

Now I’d better get to the links and such before Craig gets upset.

Blurb: Lizzie and the hat are back, and this time they’re chasing vampires across a subculture of America. A pair of rodeo cowboys are holding a woman captive to use like a milk cow since they joined the undead.

The person who put them onto the trail is also a vampire, but he has to be the worst vampire in history. Is he really that pitiful, or is he setting a trap for our heroes? Does the woman even exists? Can Lizzie and the hat find her before she also takes up blood sucking?

Follow Lizzie and the hat as they use their cover band to stalk vamps across the country music scene.

Purchase your copy here: The Ballad of Mrs. Molony

Other stories in the series are:


The Hat
Viral Blues

You can contact Craig at the following locations:

BlogMy NovelsTwitterGoodreads | FacebookPinterestBookBub

#TAROTTUESDAY – KNIGHT OF PENTACLES

Welcome to another Tarot Tuesday!

If you are just joining me, let me explain the inspiration to begin these posts. In Texas, and all across the country, Taco Tuesday is a popular day when Tacos are usually 99 cents. So, I had the inspiration, or Angel nudge as I like to think of it, to create a Tarot Tuesday. Each Tuesday I will post a different Tarot card and give its meaning. I pray and ask for the right card that will bring a universal message.

I created a short video to demonstrate how I pull the card for the posts. If you’re interested, here’s a LINK.

Today’s card is the Knight of Pentacles.

Keywords for the Knight of Pentacles: Hard work, productivity, routine, and conservatism.

This Knight is the most hard-working, methodical and detailed-oriented character of the Tarot deck. He may not be the most inspiring or creative Knight, but he’ll do the work to get the results he seeks, even if that work is highly repetitive or routine.

When this card appears in a Tarot reading, you are working methodically towards your goals. You have a plan in place and are sticking to your schedule to get the job done. You may not work particularly quickly, but you are consistent, dedicated and committed to your goal. Put one foot in front of the other and finish the job. This card also asks you to continue doing what you are doing, plodding along and making gradual progress. No need to change your approach. Go with the flow, stick to your usual routines, and over time, you will reach your goals.

Meticulous in your approach, you make sure that everything is planned and executed down to the tiniest detail. And you will never leave a job half done. It is essential to you that you complete all assigned tasks and projects to a certain standard and that you follow through on your promises.

Sometimes, the Knight of Pentacles points to the more mundane or boring aspects of life – the daily grind, repetitive schedules, household chores, and other responsibilities and obligations. You may be assigned a project or given a task to do, and you will have to commit your time to see that project through to the end successfully. With the Knight of Pentacles, you will be required to accept responsibility without any complaints or grudges.

The Knight of Pentacles suggests that you are taking a moderated and conservative approach to life right now, and while you may be feeling that change is imminent, you are sticking to your tried and tested ways of doing things. You have established that you need routine and careful planning if you are to achieve your goals. It may not necessarily be an exciting period, but at least you know you are on the right path. Even if you are growing tired and want to quit, this Knight invites you to keep at it, and you will eventually see success.

Well, I don’t know about you, but this card fits me to a “T” right now. It’s all about buckling down and doing the work. The excitement of the creativity from the Aces and Eights cards has died down and now we just need to work. Does this card resonate with you?

As always, thank you for joining me! See you next Tuesday for another inspiring message from the Universe via the Tarot Cards!

I use the Rider-Waite Radiance deck and BiddyTarot.com for interpretation

I just had to hop back in and add this to today’s post. This is my astrological horoscope for today. 🙂 Oct 13, 2020 – This is a terrific day to roll up your sleeves and get to work, Leo, and the wonderful thing is that from the look of it you’ll enjoy every minute so don’t let the prospect of a little work scare you away.

Yep!

Welcome to the #RRBC “ROCKIN’ 2020 AWAY” BOOK, BLOG AND TRAILER Block Party! @jansikes3 #Giveaways

Hi, and welcome to my stop on the “Rockin 2020 Away” Book, Blog & Trailer Block Party presented by the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

CONGRATULATIONS TO MY WINNERS! PTL Perrin, Flossie Benton Rogers, Balroop Singh, Karen Black, Sam Polakoff  & Bette Stevens

WHAT I’M GIVING AWAY!

TWO $10 AMAZON GIFT CARDS

TWO COPIES OF MY NEW SHORT STORY “BRAZOS WIND”

TWO COPIES OF MY NEW SHORT STORY AND THE 2020 GRAND PRIZE WINNER OF THE #RRBC 90-DAY ALPHA/OMEGA BEGINNING TO END SHORT STORY CONTEST

“BROTHER’S KEEPER”

NUMBER OF WINNERS AT THIS STOP – SIX (6)

At the end of the tour, there will also be GRAND PRIZES awarded, as well!

*1st/Grand Prize:  $50 Amazon Gift Card 

*2nd/Grand Prize:  3-day Blog Tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing

*3rd/Grand Prize:  Book Bundle {10 books of your choice from the Kathryn C. Treat Book Giveaway Treasure Chest}

*4th/Grand Prize:  A *LIVE* interview on an upcoming segment of a RAVE WAVES “EYES ON THE BOOK” or a BOOK OF THE MONTH slot.

Today, I want to talk about my two new short stories, “Brazos Wind” and “Brother’s Keeper.”

I am so honored that “Brother’s Keeper” won #RRBC 90-Day Alpha/Omega Beginning to End Short Story Contest! And, because I have won the Grand Prize three years running, Nonnie has given the contest my name! Wow!

Story inspirations can come from anywhere and “Brother’s Keeper” came from a conversation with a family member. And while the circumstances depicted in this story are pure fiction, the seed was planted by a simple statement. I truly think that is what makes writers and artists different. My late husband used to talk about painting and how you don’t just see an object that you’re painting, you look into and beyond it. That never made any sense to me until I started writing my stories. Now, all these years later, I understand.

The main character, Quentin Marks, really came alive for me. He made an ultimate sacrifice for his younger brother.

Here’s the blurb:

Quentin Marks’ mother can only love one son, and from the day Rowdy was born, she makes Quentin, his little brother’s keeper. She demands that Quentin fix every problem for Rowdy and that he also protect him. The truth is, after a deadly snakebite, Quentin owes his very life to his little brother, a debt that will never be paid in full. Only now a man is dead, and once again, their mother calls on Quentin to make the problem go away and save Rowdy from prison. When is enough enough, and how much of his own life will Quentin Marks have to sacrifice?

AND, you guys get the premier viewing of the brand new book trailer for “Brother’s Keeper!” This was so much fun to make and my first time to experiment with video clips. Honest feedback welcome and appreciated!

The inspiration for “Brazos Wind” came from a song by the same title written by Texas singer/songer, Phil Hamilton. I had never attempted to write a western, but found that it came easily. I had no trouble putting myself back in the 1800s time period to write about Jack McClean and Savannah Logan.

Here is the blurb:

War-torn drifter, Jack McClean is left with nothing but bad memories, scars, and a restless soul. When he stumbles upon a burning homestead, and an unconscious woman, beside the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, he stops to render aid. Grieving widow, Savannah Logan, sees no reason to live, and only wants to join her husband and children in their graves. But, Jack refuses to let her die. In saving her, he might somehow find redemption for himself and hope for a new tomorrow. Is it possible that both Jack and Savannah can find a new destiny in the changeable flow of the Brazos wind?

I hope that this has piqued your interest enough to head over to Amazon and grab your copies! Click on the book titles anywhere in this blog and it will take you to Amazon! Or you can go to my Amazon Author Page.

I’d love it if you’d subscribe to my blog while you are here!

And, in case you don’t already know, here are all of my published books so far. 🙂

Once again, thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of this post.  Good luck on winning my giveaways!  I’ll see you at the next stop of this awesome BLOCK PARTY! Follow along on the RRBC Site!

If you’re not doing so already, I’d be grateful if you’d follow me on Social Media:

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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#BookReviews! @fredsdiary1981 @hmkindt @nonniejules @EnigmaSeries #RRBCAuthors

I read constantly. And it’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to post some of my reviews. So, today I’m going to remedy that.

The books and reviews are listed in random order.

THE BLURB:

A holiday can change everything…

…it did for Fred.

He went on a two-week break with three friends to the Spanish island of Ibiza in July 1976. It was so enjoyable they all vowed to come back for the following season.

In April 1977, Fred returned to Ibiza, alone, in pursuit of his dream.

Behind him, he left his family, his girlfriend, and a promising career in banking.

Challenges lay ahead.

This would be no holiday.

He needed a place to stay and to find work that would sustain him through the next six months.

This true to life memoir follows 21-year-old Fred’s adventures as he acclimatises to living abroad. In a time before instant communication, he keeps in touch with family and friends by letter. They are his lifeline to home.

If you enjoy reading about people’s life-changing experiences, then this book is for you.

MY 5 STAR REVIEW:

I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir from Robert (aka Fred) Fear! As he took me along with him on the many adventures he had in Ibiza during the summer of 1977, I never lost interest or got bored. That summer changed the author’s life. It was not all roses. He had to work hard at different jobs to make ends meet. He slept in a tiny room and shared a bathroom with other tenants. But the magic of the island outweighed the discomforts. Mr. Fear gave me an inside view of moving to a foreign place and becoming a local. He immersed himself in the culture, the people, and the jobs he had to work in order to stay the entire summer. It became apparent throughout the story, that he grew through the experience. His confidence increased and his determination to have more adventures grew. This is a well-written memoir. The author made me feel as if I was there with him. I found it to be highly interesting and entertaining. Anyone who loves to read true stories will surely enjoy this one!

PURCHASE LINK:

THE BLURB:

Dottie Gale would hitch up with a tornado if it took her out of Kansas. Stuck in a dead-end teaching job beside her cheating ex Corbin isn’t her idea of a dream life. So when her wicked new principal Maxine Westward gifts her a trip to Las Vegas, she grabs her ruby slip-ons and heads for the nearest yellow brick road.

Forced to drive the entire way, Dotty picks up the motley trio of a dimwitted hunk, a heartless drifter, and a cowardly educator along the way. Far out of her comfort zone, the Kansas teacher and her passengers embark on a surprising adventure. But when Dottie reaches her destination and receives an unexpected declaration of love, she wonders if the journey has changed her far too much to accept…

As Westward’s fiendish plan to ruin her trip takes shape, will Dottie finally find her happiness somewhere over the rainbow?

Ruby Slips and Poker Chips: The Modern Tale of Dorothy Gale is an award-winning romantic comedy. If you like wise-cracking heroines, heartwarming stories, and hilarious twists and turns, then you’ll love Heather Kindt’s emerald of a novel.

MY 4 STAR REVIEW:

While this story is slightly comparable to the classic tale of the Wizard of Oz, I loved the way the author delivered it in a modern-day setting with realistic characters. Dorothy (Dottie) Gale wants out of small-town Kansas, especially after a new principal takes over the school where she teaches. She’s stuck in what she sees as a boring life with no future. Her childhood friend turned boyfriend, turned cheater (she thinks) is her main reason for wanting to run. So, when she is handed the chance to attend a teacher’s conference in Las Vegas, she jumps at it. But there are drawbacks. The evil principal insists that Dottie drive from Kansas to Las Vegas, and to save money, has to pick up two other teachers along the way. And that’s not all she picks up. A hitchhiker named Tina, joins the trio. The group has lots of adventures along the way including a visit to a county jail in handcuffs. I found this a very entertaining book to read. The choices Dottie is faced with, as well as the lessons she learns, are well executed. The author did a great job of telling this story and the book is error-free. If you like lighthearted stories with a touch of sizzling romance, you will enjoy this story.

PURCHASE LINK:

THE BLURB:

During this pandemic, I offer a 5-part Micro Read series on how COVID19 has impacted and interrupted lives around the world. Since the beginning of this crisis, I have followed and also documented every step and misstep along the way by the current administration in Washington, and also the plus and minus moments of our local leaders around the world. As deep as we are right now into this disease, some still don’t really know what’s going on, or how it’s impacting them – mentally, physically and emotionally. Now, the issue has moved extremely close to my heart. They want to send our kids back to school during the worst pandemic of our lives.

I am a Mom who values many things, but above all else, I am a Mom who values life.

Everyone is sharing their opinion about what we’re living through and how it should all be handled – now it’s time that you heard mine.

MY 4 STAR REVIEW:

Author, Nonnie Jules is well-known as someone who does not shy away from sensitive topics. In her new short story release, she stays true to that persona. She brings some valid points to light along with solid references and research. In the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, we face very uncertain times, not only in the world of education but in every facet of our lives. This short book is filled with advice, reasoning, and logic. My hat is off to educators everywhere and my hat is off to this author for putting together such a comprehensive narrative regarding the issues we face in our current times.

PURCHASE LINK:

THE BLURB:

Hopelessly in love and desperately fearful!

Zara and Buzz are products of vastly different upbringings. Their chance meeting ignites attraction they must explore. Even with lies and omissions, they find themselves falling in love. For them its good thing love is blind.

A defining incident offers the opportunity to explore a future together. They move away from everything for a fresh start. They optimize their experiences to build a life they never imagined in the Caribbean. Then their demons’ surface.

Zara distrusts love because of her past. She’s afraid to commit anyone. Buzz wants love, better than what he’d lost.

Will Zara slip through his fingers? Can they honestly bury their past? If those secrets are shared, will their love be destroyed?

MY 4 STAR REVIEW:

I love the idea of this story. It starts with a high tension rescue that grabbed me right away. Buzz and Zara have dark pasts, but they deeply love each other. This short story covers a span of several years within the twenty-five pages, which leaves a lot to the reader’s imagination. But, the main focus is the deep love they feel for each other. Buzz continuously, over the years, asks Zara to marry him and she always declines. We get a glimpse into her sordid past and what is holding her back from the big commitment. We also get to see the two share their passion for technology by imparting their knowledge to students who are hungry to learn, as they settle on the island of Puerto Rico. The ending is somewhat jolting. And it leaves the story open-ended for more, which I hope these authors will explore. I’d like to see this love resolved. While there is some inconsistency with points of view throughout the story, it is error-free and engaging. It can be read in about thirty to forty minutes.

PURCHASE LINK:

I hope at least one of the books grabbed your attention and that you are now hurrying over to Amazon to make your purchase! Thank you for stopping by and supporting these authors!

#TAROTTUESDAY – THE HANGED MAN

Welcome to another Tarot Tuesday!

If you are just joining me, let me explain the inspiration to begin these posts. In Texas, and all across the country, Taco Tuesday is a popular day when Tacos are usually 99 cents. So, I had the inspiration, or Angel nudge as I like to think of it, to create a Tarot Tuesday. Each Tuesday I will post a different Tarot card and give its meaning. I pray and ask for the right card that will bring a universal message.

I created a short video to demonstrate how I pull the card for the posts. If you’re interested, here’s a LINK.

Today’s card is from the Major Arcana – The Hanged Man.

After all the intense movement from the Aces and Eights the past four weeks, we get a reprieve.

Keywords: Pause, surrender, letting go, and new perspectives.

The Hanged Man reminds you that sometimes you have to put everything on hold before you can take the next step, or the Universe will do it on your behalf (and it may not always be at the most convenient time!). You may have heard the saying, ‘What got you here won’t get you there’, and that indeed is at play in this card. The Hanged Man calls you to release the old mental models and behavioral patterns that no longer serve you so you can see your world from a new perspective and embrace new opportunities that would have otherwise been hidden from you if you didn’t hit the brakes.

Here’s the thing. These ‘pauses’ can be voluntary or involuntary. If you’re in tune with your intuition, you’ll start to have a sense for when it’s time to hit the brakes and put things on hold – before things get out of hand. But if you’re out of alignment and oblivious to those intuitive signs, the Universe will probably put things on hold for you, in the form of continued obstacles, ill-health, and breakdowns. When you sense the ‘pause’ coming, pay attention to it; otherwise the Universe will turn up the volume until you can’t ignore it any longer.

When the Hanged Man appears in a Tarot reading, your projects and activities may be coming to an unexpected and abrupt halt. Don’t keep pushing forward, hoping that more force will drive you to where you want to go. Instead, surrender to the opportunity to pause and view it as your chance to reassess and re-evaluate where you are on your path. Something new is emerging, and you won’t be able to see it unless you allow the time and space for it to come through.

The Hanged Man is your invitation to welcome these ‘pauses’ with open arms and surrender to the ‘what is’ – even if it is different from what you expected. Take time away from your routine to connect with a new way of thinking and seeing. Sure, you might have to put important projects on hold while you do this (and it might be super inconvenient) but trust me, it’ll be worth it. This is the Universe’s way of helping you see new perspectives and preparing you for the next uplevelling that is happening in your life. If you push or resist, you will meet more obstacles along the way; instead, ‘allow’ the opportunities to flow smoothly and effortlessly to you.

The Hanged Man can sometimes reflect that you are feeling stuck or restricted in your life. What is holding you in this ‘stuck’ position? What is preventing you from moving forward? On one level, the Hanged Man is asking you to surrender and let go. Instead of investing in specific outcomes or resisting your current circumstances, accept them and allow yourself to flow with life. On another level, you are being called to change your perspective and shift your energy and may find that separating yourself from your everyday life is helpful, whether it’s going for a walk in nature, going on a retreat or moving to a new country. Change up your routine so you can start to shift your energy and flow more freely again.

The old saying ‘going with the flow’ comes to mind. It seems that the entire world has been put on pause. If we ignore the signs and keep pushing forward when we know we should be still, as the reading says, The Universe will put on the brakes for us. Last year in August, I fell and fractured some ribs. THAT, my friends, put me on a hard stop. I’d been ignoring the signs. So, let’s all take a deep breath, step back and see what unfolds. What say you?

As always, thank you for joining me! See you next Tuesday for another inspiring message from the Universe via the Tarot Cards!

I use the Rider-Waite Radiance deck and BiddyTarot.com for interpretation

#SUNDAYSPOTLIGHT – JARROD DICKENSON @jarroddickenson

Welcome to another Sunday Spotlight! I am super excited to introduce today’s artist! He has released two new albums in 2020 and the one I am going to let him tell you about today is Under A Texas Sky.

The album cover alone conjures up all sorts of musical visuals! But just wait until his voice and delivery of these tribute songs! I love to listen to couples make music together and Jarrod’s wife, Claire, can be heard on each of the songs along with him.

But I’ll let Jarrod tell you about it in his own words!

Texas. The word alone conjures up images of larger than life characters, and a vast and sprawling landscape. The lines between reality and myth are often blurred when it comes to The Lone Star State, and the truth is you can’t truly have one without the other. Texas is a world unto itself, and its inhabitants are as unique as the state they call home.

I grew up in a medium-sized city in Texas called Waco, which is situated equidistant between Dallas and Austin along Interstate 35. As a native Texan, I’ve always been aware of the rich musical heritage of my home state, but as one often does with the place they’re from, I took it for granted. It wasn’t really until I moved away from Texas that the music that grew out of that same soil from which I came truly started to grab a hold of me. For quite a while now I’ve wanted to pay tribute to the many great artists from The Lone Star State, and thus Under A Texas Sky was born.

Under A Texas Sky is a collection of songs by classic, fellow Texas-born artists that have inspired me and my own musical journey. Choosing just five artists from the state of Texas was a feat in itself, and one can’t even begin to scratch the surface of the incredible music that has come out of Texas in just five songs. That said, I wanted to show the diversity of the music that has come from my home state, and I wanted to choose artists and songs that maybe weren’t immediately obvious to the listener. With that in mind, this EP features my own renditions of songs by Roy Orbison, Esther Phillips, Willie Nelson, Doug Sahm and Guy Clark. Each of these artists, along with so many others, have made an enormous impact on my own musical path.

1. Uptown – (Roy Orbison)

Roy Orbison, born in Vernon, TX, is one of the early pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll, and the epitome of cool. He had an unmistakable sound and a golden, crooner-like voice that most singers would give their right arm for. With artists like Roy, I wanted to be careful not to choose a song that was too obvious, or too big a hit, but rather dig a little deeper into their catalogs to find hidden gems. ‘Uptown’ was originally released as a single by Roy Orbison in 1959, and later made another appearance on his ‘A Black & White Night’ concert special from 1988. The song itself is a straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll shuffle, with big, roomy drums by Josh Hunt, a driving bass line by Ted Pecchio and call-and-response backing vocals by Claire Dickenson and Stephanie Jean, who became affectionately known as “The Ward Sisters” during this session. This was the first song we recorded for the Under A Texas Sky project, and it set the mood for the rest of the session.

2. Try Me – (Esther Phillips)

When thinking of artists born in Texas, Esther Phillips is likely not one of the first names that would jump to mind, but this native of Galveston, TX was a powerhouse R&B singer who heavily influenced many artists who came after her. “Try Me” is a song written by Jimmy Radcliffe and Buddy Scott that she released as a single in 1966, and which featured the horn of King Curtis on the recording. Esther Phillips’ voice is haunting and full of yearning. This minor blues song knocked me off my feet the first time I heard it, and it has been a favorite of mine ever since. I wanted to try to capture the energy and longing and tension that her original version featured, while also putting my own spin on the tune. I played a warbling, staccato Leslie guitar part on this song that provided the bed that everything else sat atop. JP Ruggieri played a blistering guitar solo, while my wife Claire and Stephanie Jean, of the duo Ida Mae (known together as “The Ward Sisters”) provided hypnotizing backing vocals that glue the entire track together.

3. Seven Spanish Angels – (Willie Nelson + Ray Charles)

Any collection of Texas music, no matter how big or small, would be woefully incomplete without the inclusion of The Red Headed Stranger. Willie Nelson, born in Abbott, TX, has never been one to simply go with the grain, and do what’s expected. He has spent his entire career effortlessly weaving in and out of countless genres while always staying true to his unique voice and style. Willie was another artist with whom I was careful not to choose the most obvious song for this project. In fact, the song we recorded was originally a duet between Willie Nelson and Ray Charles for Ray’s 1984 album “Friendship”. Now, obviously Ray Charles was not born in Texas, so you may ask why he’s included in a collection of songs by Texas-born artists? To that I would say that Ray Charles is an American treasure who should be celebrated at every possible opportunity, and also that it’s my EP, so I make the rules! We wanted this song to be a big, gospel singalong, with foot stomps and hand claps and big Hammond organ swells. Chris Turpin, one half of the husband-wife duo Ida Mae, plays a beautifully musical resonator solo on this track, while Stephanie Jean, who makes up the other half of the bluesy duo holds down a throbbing Wurlitzer groove, and joins the chorus of voices.

4. I’m Glad For Your Sake (But Sorry For Mine) – (Doug Sahm)

Doug Sahm is hardly a household name these days, but those in the know are devout followers of this San Antonio native’s music. Sahm was a young musical prodigy, being offered a permanent spot on The Grand Ole Opry at the age of thirteen. Sahm, however, chose a different musical path, and with his bands The Sir Douglas Quintet and later the Texas Tornados, he became a trailblazer for what we now call “Americana music”. Sahm was one of the first to mix genres like Blues, Jazz, Country, Tejano and Rock ‘N’ Roll together to form an entirely new and unique sound. He was also among the first white artists to form a band with Hispanic musicians at a time when the American south was still a fairly segregated place. The song “I’m Glad For Your Sake” was originally recorded by Ray Charles in 1952, but it’s the Sir Douglas Quintet version from their 1968 Honkey Blues album that first really turned me on to the music of Doug Sahm. It had everything; Texas Blues at its finest. It swung, Sahm’s vocal was soulful and strong and the horns were out of this world. For our version, we didn’t have the brass, but we had a grooving rhythm section, a big Hammond organ and ‘50s Doo-Wop style backing vocals laid down by The Ward Sisters.

5. Dublin Blues – (Guy Clark)

When I had the initial idea of the Under A Texas Sky project, Guy Clark was the first artist that I knew I had to include. I discovered Guy’s music later than perhaps I should have since I grew up in Texas. It was until I had moved to Nashville (for the first time) in 2010 that my roommate at the time got me hip to his music. His songs stopped me in my tracks, much like John Steinbeck’s novels had stopped me in my tracks when I first discovered them. Guy Clark changed the way I thought about writing songs and telling stories. He was an absolute master of the craft, and remains a giant inspiration to me to this day. Clark grew up in Monahans, TX, which he described as being “between Pecos and nowhere”. His song “Dublin Blues” has been a song that my wife, Claire and I have sung together for several years now, and it’s always been a favorite in our live sets. This is the most stripped back song on the EP. We recorded it live, all in a circle with myself on acoustic guitar, Claire and I singing together, JP Ruggieri on pedal steel, Ted Pecchio on bass and Chris Turpin on his National resonator. It was a magical moment in the studio, and a fitting closer to the EP.

Under A Texas Sky was recorded live alongside good friends and musical cohorts in our current home of Nashville, TN at Johnny Duke’s Spirit Radio Studio. I tried to inject myself and put my own spin on these classic songs that have meant so much to me over the years. I hope you enjoy listening to these songs as much as I enjoyed recording them.

PURCHASE LINK

Photo Credit: Tatsuro_Nishimura

FOLLOW JARROD DICKENSON ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website – https://jarroddickenson.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jarroddickensonmusic

Instagram – https://instagram.com/jarroddickenson

Twitter – https://twitter.com/jarroddickenson


A Virtual Book Festival

COVID-19 changed the way we interact with the world around us. And, one of the biggest ways it has affected me, as an author, is the cancellation of ALL physical book festivals. I absolutely love spending a day visiting with potential readers, talking about my stories and learning about them and their interests.

So, as a way to try and continue having this experience and opportunity, we are experimenting with virtual book festivals.

How is it going to look? To be honest, I’m not quite sure. But I’m willing to take a chance and participate just in case anyone wants to pop in and chat.

I have a Zoom session scheduled to begin at 9:30 am Central time, on Saturday, October 3rd. It will run until Zoom kicks me off. 🙂 From what I understand, that will be 40 minutes.

So, if you are free on Saturday morning and want to stop by, I would absolutely LOVE to chat with you about any and everything!

Here is the invitation:

Jan Sikes is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: 3rd Virtual Book Festival AMG
Time: Oct 3, 2020 09:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/77057926887?pwd=N3h0OVBTNEFnWVROSk5IR3AzUGU2UT09

Meeting ID: 770 5792 6887
Passcode: 4a2wct

I’d love to see you there! Here is a lineup of all the participating authors.

3rd VBF Zoom Room (10 min)

B Alan Bourgeois VBF Zoom9:00 AM https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88248056069?pwd=MTEvT0V2SkxMY1dzWXJvbC9Wam1Rdz09  Barb Geiger VBF Zoom9:10 AM https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88248056069?pwd=MTEvT0V2SkxMY1dzWXJvbC9Wam1Rdz09  Denise Montgomery VBFZoom9:25 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88248056069?pwd=MTEvT0V2SkxMY1dzWXJvbC9Wam1Rdz09  Sandra Rhea VBF Zoom9:40 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88248056069?pwd=MTEvT0V2SkxMY1dzWXJvbC9Wam1Rdz09  Julie Connor VBF Zoom9:55 AM https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88248056069?pwd=MTEvT0V2SkxMY1dzWXJvbC9Wam1Rdz09 Julia Hayden VBF Zoom10:05 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88248056069?pwd=MTEvT0V2SkxMY1dzWXJvbC9Wam1Rdz09 Roxanne Hodge VBF Zoom10:20 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88248056069?pwd=MTEvT0V2SkxMY1dzWXJvbC9Wam1Rdz09 Diann Floyd Boehm VBF Zoom10:40 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88248056069?pwd=MTEvT0V2SkxMY1dzWXJvbC9Wam1Rdz09  Steve Freidman VBF Zoom10:55 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88248056069?pwd=MTEvT0V2SkxMY1dzWXJvbC9Wam1Rdz09  VBF Zoom11:10 AM https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88248056069?pwd=MTEvT0V2SkxMY1dzWXJvbC9Wam1Rdz09 

Their Own Zoom Rooms:

Greg KelsoZoom9:30 – 1010 AM https://us04web.zoom.us/j/9461221585?pwd=KzBGV2tjQURweFdVbUp0REc1NGNEZz09

Jan SikesZoom9:30 – 10 AM https://us04web.zoom.us/j/77057926887?pwd=N3h0OVBTNEFnWVROSk5IR3AzUGU2UT09

Marsha WestZoom9:30 – 10 AM https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88392322507?pwd=V3o1SW1zV0ZqV2hWVG0xbm5lKzlVQT09

Rachel BoehmZoom9:30 – 10 AM https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89147548284?pwd=bXJmbmY3Tm9TTzdyOVN2OG9iOEk0UT09

Ann NobleZoom9:20 – 10 AM https://us04web.zoom.us/j/7638188238?pwd=M1lPU2hHa0o0V29EVHZlbUxKYU0xZz09 

Shelly Lee (Lady Lee)Zoom10:30 – 11 AM https://us04web.zoom.us/j/74382538668?pwd=QTJxbEhqTDFNMzhKYWU0OUdIRXV5QT09

Michael NewmanZoom10 – 10:30 AM https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84576011322?pwd=TDJPaWJGT0JmN2IvN2Ird0VaNlVzZz09

Diane Windsor (Motina Books)Zoom12:30 PM https://us04web.zoom.us/j/77153608841?pwd=VUdmbTJnbmJZc2xIYXBRd3ZZbncwUT09