Welcome to the #RRBC October-Ween Book, Blog & Trailer Block Party!

Hi and “WELCOME” to Rave Reviews Book Club’s BOOK, BLOG & TRAILER BLOCK PARTY  “Writing and Music!”

AND THE WINNERS ARE:

$10 AMAZON GIFT CARDS!FORREST STEPNOWSKI AND MARK BIERMAN

ONE (1) eBOOK “JEWEL”CASSIDY SALEM

ONE (1) eBOOK “A SOLDIER’S CHILDREN” – MIRIAM HURDLE

ONE (1) eBOOK “VOODOO OR DESTINY: YOU DECIDE”WATCHINGTHE DAISIES (BRIGID GALLAGHER

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL FIVE WINNERS!

If you are new to my blog, I do hope you’ll take a minute to look around and if you like what you see, please follow me!

Since this is a month-long book, blog and trailer block party, I decided I’d give your eyes a break and let your ears do the work at this stop today.

Below you’ll find a short excerpt from “JEWEL” and one from “A SOLDIER’S CHILDREN.”

am SO super proud of these short stories as JEWEL won the Grand Prize in the recent 90-Day Alpha/Omega Beginning to End Short Story Contest sponsored by the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

A SOLDIER’S CHILDREN received an honorable mention!

Now, here is an excerpt from JEWEL!

Excerpt from A SOLDIER’S CHILDREN!

And now just for fun, a tune I wrote and recorded several years ago. Enjoy!

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!

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!

Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! Day 10#RRBC #RWISA

Welcome to Day 10 of the WATCH RWISA WRITE Showcase Blog Tour!

Today I get to feature myself and my own work! I’ll call it self-promotion. 🙂

SHE DANCES WITH A MEMORY

JAN SIKES

Gertrude McNabb placed a gnarled hand on her arthritic back as she bent over to take a chocolate cake from the oven. She inhaled the sweet aroma and put it on a rack to cool.

A black-and-white photograph of a dark-haired man with twinkling eyes sat nearby on the cabinet. “This is for you, Hiram. I didn’t forget it was your birthday. It’s your favorite. I’ll always remember how your face would light up when I baked this special recipe for you.”

Gertrude picked up the framed snapshot, held it against her heart, and shuffled into the living room.

“We might as well make use of the time while I wait for your cake to cool. Then I’ll frost it with your favorite French vanilla icing. The kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids are all going to be here in a couple of hours, and it will be nothing but pure chaos,” she said.

The mahogany stereo cabinet from the 1960s occupied the same spot in the living room that it had since the day Hiram McNabb brought it home as a Christmas surprise. They’d spent many happy days and nights listening to record albums.  Hiram never tried to hide the fact that he adored Rosemary Clooney. But, not Gertrude. For her, it was ol’ Blue Eyes himself that got her blood going.

Oh, the wonderful and countless hours they’d waltzed away across the living room floor to the beautiful music that wafted out of those state-of-the-art stereo speakers.

She adjusted her glasses and thumbed through a stack of record albums. It seemed to take forever nowadays to do even the simplest task. She pulled out a favorite and held it up in front of the photo she’d perched on the coffee table. “Since it’s your birthday, my dear, and such a special occasion, how about Nat King Cole?”

Her fingers, once nimble and efficient, struggled to remove the round disc from its package.

“Remember how this one caught my eye in the record store, but we didn’t buy it?” She chuckled. “And then you brought it home the very next day.” She blew out a sigh.  

Once she had the disk secured on the turntable, she took the pins from her silver hair, and it tumbled down her back.

She clicked on the stereo and waited until the tiny red light turned green, then gently placed the needle onto the black groove.

Then with a great flourish, she picked up the photo and held her arms out for her imaginary dance partner.

Even though she hardly moved from the spot where she stood, with her eyes closed, she was transported back in time, back to days of youth when it had been impossible to imagine ever growing old.

“It was fascination, I know, seeing you alone with the moonlight above,” Nat King Cole sang.

A smile graced her lips.

She whispered, “Hiram Edward McNabb, you swept me off my feet the first time I saw you. You were so handsome in your Army uniform. I’ll never forget that night at the county fair. My older brother and sister took me, and since they wanted to stick around for the dance, I got to stay with them.”

She paused and steadied herself.

“You asked me to dance and didn’t let me sit down one time the whole night.” She giggled. “From then on, I knew we were meant to be together. I’d always hated my name, and you agreed that Gertrude sounded like an old lady, so you called me by my middle name. I was your Rose.”

Memories swirled around in her mind. Sweet remembrances of laughter, of falling in love and of daring to live the fullest life imaginable flew by the way scenes from a movie might do.

No, they hadn’t been wealthy, but Hiram made a decent living for them, and they always had what they needed. However, it was his steadfast love for her, for life, and the music they embraced that kept her excited and happy for over sixty years.  

As impossible as it seemed, he’d now been gone over two years. Never a day passed that she didn’t carry on a conversation with him. It started with a good morning greeting and ended with a good night declaration of love.

Sometimes, she could swear that he answered her.

The needle reached the end of the record. She set the photo back down and focused her attention on choosing another album.

“Rosie.”

She turned around. “Hiram?”

No one was there. Then she heard it again. Was she going daft?

“Well, I’ve certainly let my imagination get the best of me. I guess that’s what happens to old ladies when they’re alone too long.”

As she reached for her favorite Frank Sinatra album, a hand brushed against hers.

Now she was sure she was losing what little bit of sensibility she had left.

When she was a child, her relatives shared stories about spirit visits from beyond the veil. To her, it was nothing more than hogwash and products of overactive imaginations. After all, what did old folks know?

As hard as it was to admit, she might have been wrong about that, and a little hasty to judge. Perhaps Hiram had shown up to celebrate his birthday.

Whatever it was, she would enjoy it and soak up every moment, even if it wasn’t real. She could make it true in her mind.

With Frank Sinatra crooning a love song, she reached again for the photo but instead, chose to leave it sitting and simply held out her wrinkled and trembling arms.

Her feet moved, and she twirled just like she’d done thousands of times before. She threw back her head and laughed. She was twenty again, as Hiram swept her across the big wooden dance floor inside the SPJST Hall.

Song after song played, and still, they danced, they laughed, and they kissed.

Then the record reached an end and she was met with deafening silence. She opened her eyes, surprised to find that she stood in the same spot where she’d been. She truly had been waltzing and twirling with Hiram.

“I’m tired now, my love.” She moved toward her easy chair. “I just need to rest awhile.”

Perhaps one day before long, she’d be waltzing again with her sweetheart for the remainder of eternity. But for now, she had the memories, and she’d continue to dance with them until that day came.

She reached for the photo and pressed it to her heart.

Her eyes drifted shut, and she smiled.

THE END

Thank you for supporting me along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  If you have enjoyed my writing, please visit my Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more about my writing, along with contact and social media links.

Please, also check out my books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again, for your support and I hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author(me):

Jan Sikes’ Author Page

And now for a little more self-promotion!

PURCHASE LINK
PURCHASE LINK
PURCHASE LINK

ALL OF MY BOOKS ON AMAZON!

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!