I almost let it get away – April – National Poetry Month

I am thrilled to announce the two winners of the book giveaway from this post!! Congratulatiaons to Yvette Calleiro and to Vashti Q! Your books will be on the way soon!

I would be remiss if I let this special month get away without celebrating a very beautiful book of poetry and art.

After I finished writing my four biographical fiction novels, it needed one more piece to complete the circle. And, that piece was a book of poetry accompanied by pen-and-ink drawings that Rick Sikes compiled in the years between 1975 and 1985 from inside Leavenworth Penitentiary.

Writing poetry and doing this incredibly tedious artwork were a small part of his determination to be, think and do only positive from a terribly negative place.

So, it was extremely satisfying to me, to get it edited, and published in 2017.

From the artwork that graces the cover, to the poems and artwork inside, you’ll find little pieces of the heart and soul of Rick Sikes.

The Foreword, written by Connie Nelson (Willie Nelson’s ex-wife) gives a brief glimpse at the level of respect Rick earned, even while in prison. In her words, “…what inspired me and drew me to build a friendship with Rick, was his love of beauty and his never ending, unbroken spirit. He never bought into discouragement or despair – he exuded only beauty…”

The original title of the poetry book started out as “Etchings in Stone.” But when we released a music CD in 2003 with that title, I knew the poetry book needed a different name.

For a copy of this CD, visit http://ww.jansikes.com

The first poem inside the book, “Discovery,” was truly a turning point in Rick’s life. He told the story about how the poem came to be. He was locked in the “hole” (solitary confinement) for some infraction, as often happened when he first arrived. After they escorted him to solitary, three guards went inside with him, and beat him, and kicked him with their boots until he was almost unconscious.

He had a dream or as he liked to put it, a “vision.” In that vision an angel with a broken wing came to him and spoke words that truly changed his life. The poem, Discovery, tells that story. Here’s a small snippet:

Through life’s wilderness I wandered aimlessly seeking my way

Seldom looking up to see the light of day

Stumbling blindly, ’til so weary, I could go no more

In total exhaustion I fell to the earthen floor

My eyes focused on a wounded but lovely thing

Seemingly an angel felled with a broken wing

Said I, “Stranger what will be your name?”

A voice spoke softly, “Yours, for our names are the same…”

Not all the poems and stories in this book are serious. There is a good mix of humor and satire, such as “The Title is Too Damned Long or (When Aunt Bessie Rode a Bike to the Belly-dancer’s Ball).”

So, if you’d like a one-of-a-kind book filled with poetry and art, including some of my poems, here’s the Amazon link. :https://www.amazon.com/Discovery-Poetry-Art-Rick-Sikes-ebook/dp/B072KXYHVY/

One reviewer had this to say, “Discovery by Jan and Rick Sikes is a powerful testimony of the human spirit. It is crafted such that the reader accompanies the writers not as a spectator but as a partner. “

As I approach the anniversary of Rick’s death, I am compelled to share his work with my readers. If you’ve read my novels, then you already know about Rick through the character Luke Stone. But a more personal look can be had through Discovery.

In honor of Rick’s memory and as a part of his legacy, I am giving away one hard-back full-color copy of the book (US only) and one copy of the ebook. Just share the post and leave a comment below for a chance to win!

Thank you for visiting! It’s always an honor!

JONAH – #NewRelease for #SundaySpotlight!

My Sundays are normally set aside for music artists to spotlight their music and while I have several waiting in the wings, I wanted to showcase my latest new story, JONAH!

Jonah was a very different story for me to write. It is fantasy, and yet very much set in reality. I got the idea for the story during a guided meditation, through which I traveled to an uninhabited deadly island and my mission was to transform it into something beautiful.

Well, Jonah doesn’t exactly do that.

However, he is forced to take a good hard look at himself. He is told that there is only one way off the godforsaken island. “You must examine yourself, face your truths and make peace with your demons,” the note read.

Here’s a little backstory. Jonah lived on the streets in a large futuristic city. He’s made his way through brute strength and ruthlessness. Everyone who knew him feared the “Wrath of Jonah.” When he’s arrested and convicted of crimes, he is given a choice of punishment – either imprisonment beneath the ground, or exile to a deserted island. He chose the island.

There are dangerous mythical creatures on the island along with thick tangled brush filled with thorns, stinging nettles and poisonous flowers. It is not an easy place to survive. Jonah tried several times unsuccessfully to swim back to the mainland. He’s doomed to spend the rest of his life in this horrible place.

There are some other characters in the story, as it unfolds, and one of them is a young boy, Titus, who says he lives on the other side of the island where everything is lush and beautiful. But when Titus tries to take Jonah there, legions of green slimy snakes block the way. It is not allowed.

The lesson in this story is that Jonah must face the darkest parts of himself and make peace with the demons within. It is the hardest thing he’s ever tried to do.

Here is the BLURB:

Fantasy meets reality when a young man is forced to choose his punishment for crimes committed. Jonah must decide between imprisonment in a concrete box beneath the earth or be exiled to a deserted, barren island. He chooses the island, but nothing can prepare him for the deadly creatures, and poisonous plants at every turn. Then there’s the maddening isolation that drives him to the brink of insanity. There is only one way off this island and it’s more difficult than anything he’s ever imagined. It’s much easier to face mortal danger than the demons within. Will he find redemption, or another unexpected offer?

PURCHASE LINK:

I hope the story appeals to you enough that you pick it up. It carries a deep life lesson for us all, not just Jonah!

Sometimes we have to lose everything to find what we truly seek.