What the heck is it? #RRBC


Just what is the Rave Reviews Book Club anyway?

The word that comes to mind immediately is Community.

Here is the definition of Community, according to Webster:

  1. 1.
    a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
    “Rhode Island’s Japanese community”
  2. 2.
    a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
    “the sense of community that organized religion can provide”

    So, based on the official definition, I would say that the Rave Reviews Book Club is a  Community of authors and readers, sharing fellowship and common attitudes, interest and goals. 

Having been a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club for two years, I can openly and honestly state that the members of this club adhere to the idea of supporting, uplifting and promoting each other.

Rise by lifting others

If you are of the mindset that being an author and selling your books is a competition, then the Rave Reviews Book Club is definitely not a good fit for you. If you understand the simple truth, that in supporting others, you are supported, then please, by all means, take a close look at this community.





And, if you decide this is a community you’d like to be a part of, tell them Jan Sikes sent you!

True Fan! Dolly Shine

Anyone who reads my blog knows how much music is a huge part of my life. And if you don’t know, you will soon figure it out. Music is more than a Universal language to me. It represents family – a music family that I have come to love, admire and respect.


Writing for Buddy Magazine, the original Texas music magazine, I have the opportunity to discover new artists, their music, and what makes them tick.

I love doing the CD reviews as much as I love doing book reviews for books I read and enjoy, because I get to tell potential listeners/readers my thoughts.

That being said, I was asked to review a new CD by the Texas-based group, Dolly Shine.

Wow!! That word isn’t strong enough, but it’s all I’ve got.



If the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Ray Wylie Hubbard had a love child, it would be called Dolly Shine!

High energy, raw, brilliantly delivered lyrics and musical arrangement is what you will find on Dolly Shine’s new Indie CD, Walkabout. From the first song, “Blackbird” to the last, “Old Flame,” I enjoyed this musical journey.

What a talented group of young men who all contribute to the writing and playing of their music, telling of self-discovery, heartbreak and hard truths. Wes Hall, plays the fiddle with intensity and precision. Zack McGinn is lead vocalist and writer of a large percentage of their songs. Ben Hussey plays bass and is also writer and co-writer on two songs. Jerrod Flusche (also a writer) and Josh Serrato take credit for the outstanding electric guitar work and Johnny Goodson keeps the back beat going on the drums.

I couldn’t help but hear a touch of Ray Wiley Hubbard’s rockin’ style on “Blackbird.” “Come Out Swingin’” is a song most anyone can relate to; when the old girlfriend shows up at a club and she still has a death grip on your heart. “Closing Time” delivers engaging lyrics, “I love you woman but I hate you/I can’t live with your new way of life.” “Rattlesnake” is making a splash on the music charts and with good reason. It is a toe-tapper with haunting lyrics; “Train whistle blowing, can’t you hear that lonesome sound?” Ben Hussey is co-writer on “Twist the Knife,” a lament to breaking up. Hussey’s “Anywhere Close to Fine” is a delivery of hard truth to a country rocking beat. Jerrod Flusche wrote “Snakeskin Boots” and I have to admit the lyrics and song delivery gave me goosebumps. Isaac Hoskins wrote “Hitchhikin” and holds true to its title. Randy Radicke joins Zack on an evocative “Old Flame.”

These talented writers and musicians obviously contribute equally to Dolly Shine. I give this album a big 5 Star review!!

For more on this talented group, visit: Website



Phenomenal Story! Freedom and Jeff

This is the kind of story you need when it seems like the world is spiraling out of control.  Not many people get a picture of this proud bird snuggled up next to themmime-attachment3

Freedom and Jeff

Freedom and I have been together 11 years this summer.  She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings.  Her left wing doesn’t open all the way even after surgery, it was broken in 4 places.   She’s my baby.

When Freedom came in, she could not stand and both wings were broken.  She was emaciated and covered in lice.  We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vet’s office.  From then on, I was always around her.  We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in.

I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes.  We also had to tube feed her for weeks.  This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still couldn’t stand.  It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn’t stand in a week.  You know you don’t want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning.

She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in on that Thursday afternoon.  I didn’t want to go to the center that Thursday, because I couldn’t bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear.  I went immediately back to her cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle.  She was ready to live.  I was just about in tears by then.

That was a very good day.  We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her.  I got her used to the glove, and then to jesses, and we started doing education programs for schools in western Washington.  We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV.  Miracle Pets even did a show about us.

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo.  Lost the hair

—  the whole bit.  I missed a lot of work.

When I felt good enough, I would take Freedom out for walks.  Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer.  This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November 2000.  The day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last checkup.  I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant.  Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results.  I went in Monday, and I was told that all the cancer was gone.

So the first thing I did was take the big girl out for a walk.  It was misty and cold.  I went to her flight and jessed her up, and we went out front to the top of the hill.  I hadn’t said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew.  She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back (I was engulfed in eagle wings), and she touched my nose with her beak and stared into my eyes, and we just stood there like that for I don’t know how long.

That was a magic moment.  We have been soul mates ever since she came in.  This is a very special bird.

On a side note:  I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them.  I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her.  His knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power course through his body.  I have so many stories like that.

I never forget the honor I have of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedom!!

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Hope you enjoyed this!

What I have Learned #65

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I am in the smack middle of my birthday week. I can’t remember exactly when I decided to celebrate for a week, but the idea stuck and now it is tradition.

This is a BIG birthday for me. I will be 65 years young on Sunday. Wow! Where did the years go?


So, I thought about some of the things I’ve learned in my 65 years of living. Perhaps there is one nugget in here that you will relate to or it will relate to you. 🙂

  • I’ve learned that nothing in life lasts forever and the more you hold onto something the harder it is to let go when it’s time.
  • I’ve learned the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
  • I’ve learned that Love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t mean security.
  • I’ve learned that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises
  • I’ve learned to work on building my roads today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans.
  • I’ve learned that falling feels like flying for a little while.
  • I’ve learned that I can breathe through most any situation life brings my way.
  • I’ve learned that I have worth.
  • I’ve learned what unconditional love means.
  • I’ve learned that no matter what I may look like on the outside, inside I’m still the same thirty year old woman I knew thirty-five years ago..
  • I’ve learned the importance of nurturing my body because I want it to last longer.
  • I’ve learned to nurture my soul because that is where I find the peace and contentment that I crave.
  • But most of all, as the years fly by, I’ve learned the importance of grabbing every sweet ounce of today and embracing it because it is all fleeting.


I look forward to at least another 25 good years of healthy life ahead!!




There are many stops along this Rave Reviews Book Club Back To School Book and Blog party, and this is one of them. Please take a look around RWISA. If you like what you see, join us!


Blog Party 1

We’re coming to you from all over the world!

There will be 2 winners here today!


I invite you to take a stroll thru RWISA Island and check out some of the showcases of these talented authors!  To get to those showcases, start here. Then, if you feel that your work is RWISA-ready, we invite you to join us!

 Be sure to visit the other stop that’s on the tour line-up today!

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Book Review – Pennies from Burger Heaven

WOW!! I don’t even know what to say about this book. It has been a very long time since I picked up a story that immediately gripped me like Pennies From Burger Heaven by Marcy McKay. I couldn’t stop reading. My heart became invested in the story and I anguished with the characters. Here is my review:


Copper Daniels awakens like any normal morning beneath the cemetery’s Warrior Angel. But unlike any normal morning, her mother is not sleeping beside her in her own sleeping bag..

The eleven year old girl is flung into the depths of hell as she searches for her mother. She can’t remember a time when they didn’t live on the streets, but without her mother, she is sure she can’t survive.

She continually remembers what her mother taught her…never trust anyone. But, in the desperate search for Corinne Daniels, she finds that she has to have help. O’Dell who is the cemetery’s groundskeeper’s nephew helps her more than once.

Tommy Tucker, another street kid, joins forces with her when his own father turns up missing.

Copper ‘Penny’ Daniels has a lucky penny with a blue dot beside Mr. Lincoln’s head that a nun gave to her mother years ago. Her mother gave it to Copper and she has carried in her pocket for luck ever since. In a jam, she rubs Mr. Lincoln’s beard and asks for good luck.  When she finds a large amount of money stashed in a hiding place in the Warrior Angel, she knows that her mother was saving up to get them off the streets and to California where the sun always shines. But when she loses the money and her lucky penny, she also loses all  hope.

Attacked by a powerful street gang, she finds that her mother stole from the drug dealer and he gives her 24 hours to get $1,000 to him or else she dies.

The mission, where the street people go for food, offers a glimmer of hope when Mr. Jesus and Miz Jesus, TV show personalities, come to the mission to preach. Miz Jesus gives Copper $100. She has a plan. A few more visits to the mission for chunch (Copper’s name for lunch because they can’t eat until they attend church) and she’ll have the money she needs to pay Diablo back for what her mother stole.

Through the streets of ‘Paradise’, the roughest part of town imaginable, this journey with Copper Daniels is gripping, raw, gritty and real. Marcy McKay did an amazing job of writing this story. It makes me wonder if she had some firsthand knowledge of how life is for street people. Seeing it through the eyes of a child is even more realistic. The nicknames they give each other such as Butt Munch, Corn Dog and Turdmouth are entertaining and bring a bit of humor into a very dark story. This plot takes some unpredictable twists and resolution. I did not know until the very end who was responsible for the ‘Disappeareds’ and it shocked me!

Marcy McKay wove a tale with believable characters, harrowing events and tragedy beyond the normal human grasp. This story lingers long after the last page is read.

Marcy McKay

Marcy McKay is an award-winning short-story author and copywriter, as well as a freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, Accent West, Roots & Wings, The Write Practice, Write to Done, and Positive Writer and Jane Friedman.

For more on Marcy McKay  visit her WEBSITE  **  Twitter  **  FACEBOOK


#RRBC Back-To-School Book & Blog Block Party!

Blog Party 1

Hello, and “WELCOME” to Rave Reviews Book Club Back-To-School Book and Blog Party!

Coming to you from McKinney, Texas

Here’s what I am giving away today


TWO eBooks of FLOWERS AND STONE (Book 1 of the series)


You must “Like” and “Comment” on this post to enter drawing

I’d like to introduce you to my books and am honored that you stopped by to check them out! First and foremost, my books are true stories (a series of four books) about a veteran Texas Musician, a young girl who loved him and the many twists and turns his/her life took including fifteen years of incarceration in Leavenworth prison.

Today, famed TV personality, Ike The Interviewer, will be conducting an interview with the main character in the books, Luke Stone.  Ike is tall and balding with kind eyes. He is dressed in a casual open front white shirt and slacks.. Luke Stone has silver gray hair, piercing blue eyes and wearing blue jeans, western shirt, boots and hat. 

Ike The Interviewer
Rick Sikes

Ike:  Well, Mr. Stone, we finally get a chance to ask you some personal questions. Thank you for allowing me to interview me.

Luke:  It’s my pleasure.

Ike:   The first question I have for you is this: How do you feel about Jan Sikes telling your story to the world?

Luke chuckles: That little gal has more grit and determination than anyone I’ve ever known. When she sinks her teeth into something, she sees it through to the end. As far as how I feel about it, I think she did a great job. I have to confess though, I think she made me look better on paper than I was in real life.

Ike:  So everything in these four books really happened?

Luke:  Yep. It all happened and a whole lot more that she didn’t tell about.

Ike:  Did you fall in love with Darlina Flowers, or did she fall in love with you?

Luke takes a sip from his water glass: You know I’ve asked myself that same question before and I guess truthfully, it was a mutual falling. She was young and a breath of fresh air to me. I’d been hanging around those ol’ Texas honky-tonks all of my adult life and as you well know, the women who hang around those joints are a different breed. One thing, though, that I’ll never understand is what in the hell she ever saw in me.

Ike:  What do you mean?

Luke:  I was tough back then. I had a reputation for kicking ass and taking names and I got arrogant. I had also grown tired of the merry-go-round I was on, but couldn’t find any way to jump off. I was married and had a house full of kids with a woman I didn’t love and couldn’t stand to be around. I had a band that depended on me to feed them and their families and everyone looked to me to keep the party going. So, I got to a point that I just didn’t care anymore. At least I thought I didn’t care.

Ike:  So, how did Darlina change that?

Luke:  She saw something in me that I could no longer see in myself. She believed in me and my talent as a songwriter and performer. It had been a very long time since anyone gave a damn about me as a person.

Ike:  And, can you tell us why you didn’t divorce your wife and marry her?

Luke:  Damn, how I wanted to. I wanted that more than anything, but I had already gotten too deep into some shit that she didn’t need to be a part of.

Ike: Oh? Can you tell us about that?

Luke:  Well, if you’ve read Jan Sikes’ books, you already know that I got mixed up with some guys that were robbing banks. I can tell you in all honesty that I never went in a bank with a gun and robbed it. But, my reputation had already set the stage for what was about to happen and I was too big and dumb to do anything but barrel into it believing that you couldn’t be convicted of a crime you hadn’t committed. Boy, was I wrong.

Luke becomes pensive:  If only I had met Darlina a couple of years earlier. It would have changed everything.

Ike:  What happened next?

Luke: I stood trial and was railroaded. Because I wouldn’t tell the Texas Rangers and FBI what I knew about the robberies, they threw the book at me. I wound up with 75 years to serve in prison for two separate bank robberies. Luke turns to face the nearest camera. I can honestly say that I never went in a bank with a gun and robbed it.

Ike:  Whew! That’s a long time.

Luke:  You’re telling me. I thought my life was over. I was angry and bitter and rebellious and I hit prison determined to show them that I couldn’t be caged.

Ike:  What happened to Darlina then?

Luke:  That little gal kept on loving me. Damned if I knew why, but she did. I would write letters to her and tell her that she needed to get on with a life and forget about me. She deserved to find somebody that would take care of her and give her a home and children. Oh, she eventually got married, but it didn’t last long. She was what kept me going in prison. I lived for her letters. I could smell her sweet scent on them. She inspired me to become a better person and damned if I didn’t do it.

Ike: I want to delve into your music career when we come back from commercial break, Luke. But first, we have to pay some bills.

Luke: Sounds good, podnah.

Ike:  Don’t go away. We’ll be right back with another segment of the Life of Luke Stone!

Jan Sikes has told this story in a series of four books. It begins with Flowers and Stone when Luke and Darlina meet. Buy it on Amazon for 0.99!


The story continues with The Convict and the Rose.How does a man deal with a prison sentence for a crime he didn’t commit? After many struggles, he picks himself up, dusts himself off and learns how to be and do positive,  in a very negative place. Darlina, in a prison of her own, agonizes over her loss. This book won Best in Biography Fiction 2015 from the Texas Association of Authors! Buy on Amazon.


When Luke is finally released from prison after almost fifteen years, he heads back to Texas, Darlina and HOME with a heart full of dreams and empty pockets. The trials ahead are severe but they face them together. This book won TWO awards – one for Best General Fiction from the 2016 North Texas Book Festival and one for Best Biography Fiction from the Texas Association of Authors!  Buy on Amazon

Home At Last_3D

As the sand in Luke’s hourglass begins to run thin, he and Darlina grab for every moment, wringing the most out of each one. Buy on Amazon


The Music that accompanies these books:ONLINE_DiscoveryAD

I hope you have enjoyed this short interview with Luke Stone, the main character in these books. I’d be honored if you find them intriguing enough to read!

Thank you for stopping by and don’t forget to “Like” the post and leave a “Comment” to be entered to win a prize!!


Jan Sikes is a member of THE RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB

What #RRBC has done for me


Rave Reviews Book Club is a community of writers and readers like nothing that can be found anywhere else in the world. I love the ideology behind the book club – Promoting and propelling each other to great heights. Founder of the club, Nonnie Jules, once quoted this: “You are only successful as an author when you are lifting someone else higher than yourself.” That really struck a chord with me because I love supporting others. This is not a competition. If I support another author, that does not mean I am losing sales of my own work. In fact, quite the contrary. When I support others, my own sales ranking goes up. Amazing, huh?
I recently had a book chosen by the club as the Book of the Month for July 2016. I could not have been more honored and humbled. The amount of support that book, “Home At Last,” received was astounding. Did it shoot to the top of the Amazon rankings as a best seller? No, it didn’t, but I saw a spike in sales, not only for “Home At Last,” but for my other three books in the series. That is testimony as to what the power of supporting each other can do.
My hat is off to this organization and what it stands for. I am loving being a part of this tight-knit family and honored to be supported by them.
You get out of it what you put into it. That is not only the way RRBC works, but is a law of physics. I am looking forward to sharing my new work with these amazing members, and sharing their work with others!

If you are an author and looking for a place to be supported, get your work read and reviewed, learn new writing skills, and support others, the Rave Reviews Book Club might be just what you need.

If you go, tell ’em I sent you!