Tag Archives: RRBC

The Style & Profile Series #RRBC

As a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, I get to host blog tours for them and for 4-Wills Publishing. Today, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Kim Cox and her Style & Profile series. You guys make her feel welcome, and those sharing buttons are there so you can easily help Kim spread the word.

***

About the Main Characters: Style & Profile Series

This is for the books published and planned so far: ALL THIS TIME (book 1), BEFORE WE WED (book 2), and FOR THE DEFENSE (book 3)

JENNY MORGAN – In book one, Jenny is a serious workaholic who is the CEO and owner of Morgan Fashions after her father retires. She’s divorced, never dates, and stays away from relationships. She becomes best friends with her employees, Sarah Martin and Lynsi Patterson. In book two, she’s a great friend to the main characters Sarah Martin and Jon Clayton.

TREVOR DRAKE – In book one, he’s Jenny’s best friend and co-worker and thought to be not very ambitious and a womanizer. In truth, he only has eyes for Jenny but he likes to have a good time and doesn’t take life very serious. He sets out to prove himself as reliable to Jenny and her father. In book two, he’s Jon Clayton’s best friend and his best man.

SARAH MARTIN – In book one, Sarah is Trevor Drake’s administrative assistant who aspires to be an associate editor at the magazine. She’s taking classes to become more of a candidate for the next opening. She wears a lot of flashy jewelry and tight clothes to work. Men find her sexy. She’s the type that if bad luck happens, it finds her but she’s always happy anyway. Due to Jenny’s jealousy and Sarah’s car problems, Trevor introduces Sarah to his good friend and mechanic, Jon Clayton. They hit it off and start dating. In book two, BEFORE WE WED, Sarah’s dreams are starting to come true, she’s been promoted to managing editor and she’s marrying Jon Clayton but bad luck finds her again.

JON CLAYTON – He comes late into book one as the mechanic who falls for Sarah Martin. Sarah had a lot of car trouble and Jon has his own auto shop, Clayton’s Auto. In book two, BEFORE WE WED, he’s going to marry Sarah but when bad luck strikes, it’s after him too. He’s arrested before they complete their vows. He has a son from a previous marriage that he loves very much. Before his arrest, he shares custody with his ex-wife. To marry Sarah and to see his son again, he needs to be cleared of the charges.

LYNSI PATTERSON – In book one, ALL THIS TIME, she’s Jenny Morgan’s administrative assistant. She’s smart, dependable, conscientious, and Jenny’s right hand. In book two, BEFORE WE WED, she’s moved into the position of associate editor at Style & Profile, the new men’s magazine. She’s still the one who gets the job done, including finding Jon a lawyer, Jaxon Montgomery (Jax) who becomes her love interest. In book three, FOR THE DEFENSE, she and Jax are dating but life gets in the way when Jax decides to defend a woman who was convicted of murder. Someone doesn’t want her to go free.

JAXON MONTGOMERY – He’s a lawyer with the reputation for representing the wrongly accused and wrongly convicted. In book two, BEFORE WE WED, he represents Jon Clayton and starts to fall for Lynsi. In book three, FOR THE DEFENSE, he represents a woman who was convicted of a murder many years ago. There are people who want the truth to stay hidden and will do anything to make sure it does.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Just as Sarah Martin and Jon Clayton say their vows, the police crash the wedding to arrest the groom. Jon is terrified and Sarah is heartbroken. Thankfully, their friends support them emotionally and help find Jon an excellent attorney.

When evidence of John’s guilt is found, he swears he’s innocent. But how can he prove it? As if an arrest and pending trial aren’t bad enough, his ex-wife refuses to let him near their seven-year-old son, and has their shared custody agreement rescinded as part of his bail agreement. But when Jon Jon is injured, Jon breaks the agreement and his bail is revoked.

Sarah sees strange men in Jon’s business one night. One follows her home and attacks her. When Jon finds out, he pushes her way to protect her, but it doesn’t deter her loyalty to him or the attacker’s determination to killer her. Will the enemy get to her?

Is Jon truly innocent, and does he have no idea how the damaging evidence found its way into his business? Are there more sinister people involved? Will Sarah find the evidence she needs to clear him, or will she find out he’s fooled them all? If someone else is framing Jon, who is it and what are their motives?

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Tf4l8v_youE?ecver=2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An author of Mystery, Suspense, Paranormal, and Romance, Kim Cox lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with her chainsaw artist husband, their West Highland White Terriers, (Scooter and Harley) and an adopted Yorkie/Maltese mix (Candi). She’s also a mother and grandmother.

Kim is published in novels, short stories and articles. Her published works consist of Romantic Suspense Novels, a Paranormal Mystery series, and short stories.

Besides writing, cover design, and publishing, Kim presently works a full-time position outside the home as MIS Specialist for a Workforce Development company.

She is a graduate of Writer’s Digest’s Writing to Sell Fiction and NRI’s Fiction Writing, and has associate degrees in the fields of Office Systems Technology and Web Technologies.

Go to Kim’s Readers List and visit her at the following sites:

Website: http://www.kimcoxauthor.com

Blogs: Kim’s Musings, Kim’s Author Support Page

Social Media locations:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kimcoxauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimCoxAuthor

Google: https://plus.google.com/+KimCoxAuthor/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kimcox

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kimwrtr/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimwrtr

* * *

Kim is hosting a giveaway, where FIVE lucky winners will receive one of the following prizes: (1) ebook copy of “ALL THIS TIME” and a $10 Amazon Gift Card or (4) ebook copy of ALL THIS TIME. To enter the contest, please leave a comment anywhere along the tour.

 

The tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.

58 Comments

Filed under Writing

It’s a party, yo! #RRBC style

Welcome to my stop along the Springtime Book & Block Party route. Let’s get the preliminary stuff out of the way first. I’m giving two prizes away, and you don’t have to be a member to win. All you have to do is leave a comment, and a random draw will decide the winners. Contestants are only eligible from North America, due to the restrictive cost of shipping.

So what could you win? How about one of these awesome coffee mugs, featuring my personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for my writing career, Lisa Burton the robot girl.

Look how beautiful that marble bust looks, oh and Lisa looks nice too. These things are huge, and you’re going to want one.

This time the party took me by surprise. Last time we did one of these, I timed a book release around it, and that worked out extremely well. I don’t have a book release today, but I can still give you the tour.

At the top of my blog there are a couple of pages that might interest you. There is the standard “about me” page, but there is also a free selection of Lisa Burton paper dolls if you’d like them. I wanted to come up with some swag for an author who only has ebooks available. Make sure you print the pdf files and not the images shown.

The fun one is called Lisa Burton Radio, I’ll let her tell you about it.

“Hi everyone, welcome to the new visitors, and I see some familiar faces here too. The show is really fun, and I interview the characters from your books. At the end I include covers, bios, purchase links, whatever you want, really.

“When the post goes live, I share it to Flipboard, Stumbleupon, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and two Facebook sites. I try to help as much as I can. I’m always looking for guests, so drop me an email. If you want to check out past interviews there is a link in Craig’s sidebar. I’ll let him tell you about the sidebar, he loves his sidebar.

Thanks, Lisa. I also tweet out the five most recent interviews every week after Lisa finishes with them. My sidebar starts out with a link to obtain a free reading app. As an ebook guy, I don’t want to make it difficult for anyone to read my stories. Then I post the two most recent publications with direct links to those books. I have all the covers in a slideshow, because it doesn’t feel right to have them all on there. Lisa mentioned the blog categories, and this is where you can always find her interviews. Those of you who write speculative fiction might find some inspiration in the Idea Mill posts too. Oh, and before I forget, there is an Entertaining Stories Facebook page too, if any of you are so inclined. It’s the only place you can see videos of my dog, Otto. (Don’t laugh, I know some of you are into this stuff.)

That’s the grand tour. Hope everyone is enjoying the party, it’s one of my favorite events. I hope to have two new books coming out soon, but I got caught without them ready yet. One is a collection of short stories called The Enhanced League, about a futuristic baseball league. The other is kind of an alternate world fantasy novel called The Yak Guy Project. Coming soon, I promise.

I guess if I’m going to promote something, The Playground could use a bit of review love. I know some of you are holding shiny new Amazon gift cards at this point in the tour. The club even has a list of who you are. Mwa ha ha…

For those of you who aren’t RRBC members, this is an awesome club. We thrive on mutual support, and it’s kind of a pay it forward system. We’re growing by leaps and bounds, and we’d love to count you among our members. There are too many benefits to mention here, but things like this blog party are happening all the time. Why don’t you check it out at this link.

Party on! Sign up for your own character interview. Leave me a comment. I love interacting with everyone, and you could win a prize.

114 Comments

Filed under Writing

A day off

I managed about 1500 words today on The Enhanced League. I could have finished the first draft, but I had some other commitments. I wrote one complete micro, and it needs a bit of something. I also started the last short story. I will add one more micro after the short, and may include another anthem piece. The anthem would allow me to talk about the Hot Stove season without spending a bunch of time on it.

I had to finalize next week's Lisa Burton Radio, and get it scheduled. I also have a fun guest appearance of my own where I get to be a castaway. These things take time too, and they're important. I want to do a good job for my guests and my hosts, and didn't want to take shortcuts with any of it.

I tried to participate in the Rave Reviews Book Club's “Pay it Forward” day. I believe in paying it forward, and sent out quite a few tweets using #RRBC, and made my own hashtag #RRBCPIF – you know, just in case it helps. I don't know if anyone else picked it up, but it's out there now.

Beyond that, there was a bunch of Otto time. I may need Tommy John surgery after all the throwing I've been doing. He's a ball playing boy.

He actually watched the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on television. I've had dogs who notice the TV before, but he watched the show. He seems to get more excited over the white dogs. I decided this could be because he can see them better, but he could be one of those guys who prefers blondes too.

I posted a couple photos on the Entertaining Stories Facebook page. People love Otto photos, and my FB page could use more traffic so I tend to post them there. Here's a link, just in case you need it.

There you have it. Dabbling mostly, working toward the end of the Enhanced League season, while looking forward to the MLB actual season. Blog work, plus some puppy time, and that was my day. Back to the grind tomorrow.

22 Comments

Filed under Writing

The Rave Awards! #RRBC

The limousine pulled into a row of other limos. Lisa Burton* sat across from me in the back. A four-hundred pound man sat next to me in a tux. “Why is he here again?”

“Don’t worry about him,” Lisa said. “He’s from Harry Winston, and he comes with the diamonds. I have to give them all back after the program.”

“That’s too bad. They look really nice.” We pulled forward a few car lengths, and I asked him to let me out.

“What are you doing? You’ll miss the red carpet.”

“That’s the idea. I’m slipping in the back, grabbing a beer, and meeting you at our table. You’re the spokesmodel. It’s your job to take this bullet for me.”

“You’re such a baby. Don’t worry, I’ve got this.”

I wound my way to our table and sat where my name card indicated. The room filled up as Lisa wound her way over. She paused to pose for selfies, and sign some autographs.

The show started and we applauded when Jan Sikes won for most creative tweets. Lisa grabbed my arm, “Her character appeared on Lisa Burton Radio, and she included you in her presentation on promotion. So excited for her.”

“I agree, she’s a talented lady.

Rea Nolan Martin’s, The Ansesthesia Game won for best cover, and Beem Week’s, Jazz Baby won for best book trailer. We applauded their victories. I started chewing my nails.

The award for best blog site was called. “In third place, Entertaining Stories, by C. S. Boyack.” The crowd applauded and I waived. The cameras were mostly focused on Lisa though. “In second place, Fiction Favorites, by John Howell.” We applauded again.

Lisa grabbed my forearm. “John’s so nice. I’ve been to his house, and his characters appeared on my radio show a couple of times too.”

“And the Blog of the Year goes to, Nonnie Jules for Watch Nonnie Write.” The crowd went crazy. Nonnie is one of the hardest working people I know, and deserves all the awards she can take home.

Nonnie also won the award for Most Giving Hands. The Most Supportive Member of 2016 is Wendy Scott. Jan Hawk won for Member of the Year, and Lisa reminded me that Jan’s characters have appeared on her show too.

Karen Ingalls is the Top Reviewer of 2016. Stephanie Collins is the Top Recruiter of 2016. I took my napkin and dabbed it across my forehead.

“For Book of the Year, in third place, The Playground by C. S. Boyack.” I waved once more, and Lisa attracted camera flashes. “In second place, She Dies at the End, by A. M. Manay. And the Book of the Year, for 2016, goes to Type and Cross by Staci Troilo.” The crowd went wild. The Book of the Year competition was tough, and all the entries were good. Lisa grabbed me once more and reminded me that Max the dog appeared on her show.

I shook hands with those around me, and slipped quietly to the lobby. The bar was only a few steps further, so I went inside. John Howell was already there. I offered my hand. “Congratulations, John.”

He waived down the waitress and she slid me a dark frothy beer. “Congratulations yourself. Where’s Lisa? Is she joining us?”

“Hardly. She went to the Governors Ball. I think she wants to recruit characters for her radio show.”

“How does she rate? She isn’t even a nominee.”

“That doesn’t matter. Velvet ropes just move aside for her.”

“I can see that. I heard they have an upgraded bar at the ball. Wanna check it out?”

“Why didn’t you say so sooner, John.” I dropped a twenty on the bar and we headed across the street.

***

*Lisa Burton is my personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. She’s also a robot, and makes regular appearances here.

***

You might guess that we have a lot of fun in the Rave Reviews Book Club. It’s all about supporting each other, and climbing that ladder together. The Rave Awards are only one fun event, and there are a couple of blog parties and some writing contests that are worth checking out. In December they held an online convention that was very popular.

If you think this club might have something to offer you, please check us out at this link.

86 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Writing

Welcome Author, Marlena Smith #RRBC

One of the benefits of membership in the Rave Reviews Book Club is the ability to host other authors. Today it’s my turn to bring you Marlena Smith, one of the hardest working members in the club. Please give her a warm welcome in the comments and with the sharing buttons.

***

Hi, there!

Welcome to Day 1 of my RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour! I am so excited to have you join me! A huge THANKS to RRBC and to my awesome host!!

To kick this tour off, I thought some Q&A would be fun, your chance to get to know the author!

1. You have been writing for a long time now, since you were a child. What were some of your first story ideas?

Yes, my earliest memory of writing comes from 2nd grade. I wrote a story about my mother and received the honor of attending the Young Author’s Conference in my state. At 8 years old, it seemed like a big deal!

I still have all of the things I wrote as a child/teenager. One story was about princesses who had magical powers. Another was about a family on a ranch that go through some hardships. Looking back, the ideas were kind of all over the place!

2. What influenced you to take a career path in writing?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, putting my thoughts and ideas on paper. It has always been an escape for me, even to this day. I’ve tried other jobs, other ideas, but I’ve always came back to writing. It’s my home, where I belong. When you continuously come back to a certain thing, you realize maybe you should just stick to it.

3. What inspires your writing?

Nature, people I see or speak to, the world… Inspiration can be found in so many places if you simply open your eyes or your ears. Life, itself, can be inspiring.

I’ve also had a few ideas come from my dreams. It’s funny, I rarely remember my dreams. But when I do, it’s usually something to write about.

4. What part of writing do you find most exhilarating?

Putting the idea onto paper. You take a simple idea, and turn it into a book. You create a world, characters, meaning, drama, romance… all from an idea. That’s an amazing thing to me.

5. What part is most difficult?

Actually publishing it. Putting your book, your work in someone else’s hands. It’s in the public eye for all to see. Some will love it, others may hate it. It can be a scary thing. I think that’s why I’ve always procrastinated with my own writing. What if all that hard work that you put into your book isn’t received well? I suppose, though, that’s a risk we take in a lot of things. You just never know.

6. What is your process for creating characters?

For me, the story idea comes first. Then, I create the characters to make the story come alive.

When I do create my characters, I like to be thorough. Give them a personality and an appearance. From that, they develop throughout the story, almost on their own. I hear so many authors say that their characters often take over the story. This is so true. Sometimes, the story leads a completely different path than you planned… All because of the character.

7. What can we expect to find in your first book?

THE POWER OF LOVE is about a woman needing a fresh start. She has left the place she once called home, her husband, her family, and is now living in an abandoned apartment alone. She keeps to herself, never acknowledging anyone that crosses her path. That is, until she bumps into Lucas. Lucas forces her out of her shell. He has this way of waking Scarlet up, making her alive again. We see her grow and embrace the new path she is on. We also see her constantly battle with herself and her past. It’s a story of heartache and pain, but also of hope and love.

8. Will you give us an insight into your main character?

Scarlet is a strong woman that has been through a lot. Taking the first step of living on her own, helps her to find her independence again. She takes chances and goes against her fears. With Scarlet’s character, you see hope. Hope for a better tomorrow, hope that you can and will find your own path.

9. What do you hope readers experience from this debut book?

I simply want readers to enjoy the book. To take from it, what I put into it. I hope they laugh and cry, and feel the emotion as they walk Scarlet’s journey.

10. What part of the romance genre do you find most exciting?

I’m such a hopeless romantic! I’ve always believed in true love and love at first sight, and all of those other cliches. I like where the romance genre can take you. It can often open your eyes, give you hope, make you believe again.

I also like the never-knowing, the constant guessing game of wondering if love will win. Like I mentioned before, your character can truly take over your book and you may have no idea how it will end. The woman doesn’t always need a man to save the day. Sometimes, she saves herself.

11. What’s the best tool or resource you’ve found during your writing career?

Of course, I believe social media is a must. Twitter, Facebook, and all the other sites and apps can be great marketing tools. You also get to connect with readers and other authors. Networking at its finest!

I also am a strong believer in finding a group or organization of people that are on the same journey as you, people that you can relate to, people that can help you and inspire you. I found that with RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB – an organization that is all about supporting and promoting one another. This group has been the push I need to put my words out there. You don’t find support anywhere else like you do at RRBC.

12. Aside from writing, what are your passions in life? What can you be found doing when you’re not behind a pen or computer?

Writing and reading definitely take up a majority of my time, as does RRBC. Being the secretary for a book club can keep you busy, which I love. My other passion is cooking, specifically baking. This is another escape for me. I enjoy being in the kitchen, seeing what new recipe I can create.

I am also a horror-fanatic. I can watch scary movies all day, especially Indie ones. I’m actually fascinated by the paranormal world and enjoy doing my own research and “hunting.” There’s a lot of incredible places in my state, places I have yet to explore.

13. What can we expect next from you?

Aside from THE POWER OF LOVE being released in Spring 2017, I have a few other works-in-progress.

I’m hoping my YA Romance novel, A MOMENTARY GLANCE, will be released this year. Of course, it’s still in the first draft stage. This is a story idea I’ve had for a very long time and can’t wait to get finished. You can find some snippets and such about this one on my blog.

I also have a horror screenplay in the works. The outline is done and it’s played out in my head; I just need to get it all on paper.

Thanks for stopping by!! Hope you’ll join me and my hosts for the rest of the tour! 🙂

***

Book Blurb:

All she wanted was a fresh start.

Eight months ago, Scarlet made the choice to leave the prison she called home, and to escape the man that put her there. She had made a new home for herself in the small town of Belmont, Montana. The abandoned apartment was far from luxury, but she was better off, away from her past life.

She never expected to meet Lucas, the local hero and town’s only doctor. She didn’t expect to enjoy the small town life. She didn’t expect her past to catch up to her.

Will she risk it all? Risk revealing her secrets at a chance of love? Will she be forced back into the life she hated? Will she gain control of her own destiny?

Available Spring 2017!!

***

Author Bio:

Author Marlena Smith is a true Southern Belle at heart. Her home has always been in Alabama and she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Growing up as a preacher’s daughter, faith and family played a large part in her life.

Her earliest memory of writing was that of 2nd grade when she was selected to attend the Young Author’s Conference in her home state. Little did she know then that her future was being mapped out.

Today, Marlena is an Author, Freelancer, Book Reviewer, Researcher and Secretary of Rave Reviews Book Club. She may wear many hats, but her passion remains with writing. That’s where her heart is and that’s where she feels she belongs. She has several works in progress, including an upcoming short romance, THE POWER OF LOVE, expected to be out in Spring 2017.

Until then, you can check out some of Marlena’s writing in the RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITER’S SOUL ANTHOLOGY, available on Amazon.

***

Find Marlena online:

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

Website

You can sample Marlena’s work in the anthology Rave Soup for the Writer’s Soul, available at this handy link.

 

75 Comments

Filed under Writing

Check out Marketing 101

Back in December, the Rave Reviews Book Club held its first annual Writing Conference & Book Expo. Other commitments kept me from attending, but Jan Sikes asked if she could use me as an example in creative marketing. As a reminder, Jan is the author of The Convict and the Rose, that was presented on Lisa Burton Radio yesterday. (Link here.)

This presentation comes in three helpful videos, and its full of useful information. Several popular authors and bloggers were mentioned, but since this is my blog, I'll mention that part three is where I'm featured. Lisa Burton is also mentioned, and you should check it out. It's packed with good information beyond the part where I'm discussed.

Here is the handy dandy link.

 

22 Comments

Filed under Writing

The Convict and the Rose, on Lisa Burton Radio #RRBC

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl. We just got finished saying goodbye to one year, and welcoming the new one. People end the year like a chapter in a book, and look forward with hope to a clean slate in the new year. Some people don't have that luxury. If you were incarcerated, you might mark off the old year for a completely different reason, and that's what today's show is about.

If I timed this out right, and I always do, my call should be coming right about now… “Hello, this is Lisa.”

“You're receiving a call from inmate Luke Stone, from the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Do you accept the charges?”

“Yes.”

“Good morning, Lisa. Thanks for accepting the collect call. Since they don't allow us inmates to have any money, it's hard to use the one and only pay phone in the facility. I'm happy to talk to you. What would you like for your listeners to know?”

“Good morning Luke. My bio says you were a fairly successful musician in the American Southwest. How does a budding career in music lead to a Federal prison sentence?”

“Heh! You don't pull any punches do you, little lady? I like that. You see it happened like this. I've played music since I was a teenager and got to be sort of a hot-shot star around Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California. I made a splash on the Billboard charts with a couple of songs and had one that made it all the way to number one in Denmark in 1965. I'd been on the road for years and was damned tired of it all – the honkytonks, the women, booze, drugs – you name it. But, I was caught on a merry-go-round and couldn't find a way to jump off. I'd screwed up two marriages and had some kids to support plus the band depended on me to keep their families fed, so I kept going. But I didn't give a shit anymore. I simply thought I didn't care. These guys who'd hung around the honkytonks and been friends of mine for years approached me with a business deal. If I'd case out banks when I was out on the circuit…draw the inside layout and maps in and out of town, they'd drop a few bucks in my hands. So, what the hell? I went for it. I can honestly say that I never went in a bank with a gun and robbed it.”

“So, if you're innocent, why not help the police out?”

“I've been a rebel and a no-good bastard all my life. I've walked outside the lines, but one thing I never was and never will be is a rat. Because of the bad-assed reputation I'd created and because I wouldn't tell what I knew about the robberies, they gave me a huge dose of so-called Texas justice. Hell, they even had me associated with the Dixie Mafia in the newspapers. Not that I wasn't friends with the head of the Dixie Mafia, but it had nothing to do with the robberies. They were looking for a scapegoat and I was big and dumb and defiant so I made myself a target. I truly believed that I couldn't be convicted of a crime I hadn't committed. Heh! I was damned sure wrong.”

“What kinds of things did you do to leave vengeance behind?”

“I hope we have time for me to answer that question because it's a big one. When I got here to Leavenworth in December of 1971, I was pissed off and bitter. I was determined that they weren't going to MAKE me follow their senseless rules. I remember one of the first incidents that happened after I got here. A sergeant chewed my ass out about the way I'd made my bunk. He said he wanted the sheets so tight you could bounce a quarter off them. I politely told him inmates weren't allowed to have quarters which pissed him off. He asked me if I'd ever been in the army and I told him the only army I recognized was the Confederate Army and most of the time those poor bastards didn't even have a blanket to lay on much less a bed. Anyway, that didn't win me any points with the guard, but I wasn't going to cave. I had a bad attitude and it took me about three or four years of being locked up, thrown in the hole and beaten many times before I finally got it through my thick skull that I wasn't going to change prison and it damned sure wasn't going to change me.

“I had to make a choice to make about how I was going to do my time. Appeals had been denied and I was staring at many years behind bars. You know when a man is thirty-five years old and has a twenty-five and fifty-year sentence to run consecutively, it's a helluva long time.

“So, I'd been thrown in the hole again–

“Sorry, what is the hole?”

“That's solitary confinement for those who don't know – and I had a dream or vision. I still don't know exactly what it was, but it created a turning point for me. I made up my mind I was going to be and do something positive, despite the negative situation I found myself in. I realized that the only true freedom a man ever has is inside his own mind… in his imagination. I discovered freedom through creating art of all kinds. I'd always had a little artistic talent on the outside. So, I taught myself how to do oil paintings, learned to tool leather, do lapidary and American Indian beadwork, make pottery and ceramics, but the thing I loved the most was writing. I wrote hundreds of songs, poems, short stories and even a screenplay. And I learned how to do pen-and-ink drawings.

“For years, I advocated for a recording studio so that we could get our music to the outside world legitimately. Finally, a new warden came in and everyone talked about what a fair man he was. So, I decided to write a song to get his attention and plea our cause one more time. It is the only contrived song I ever wrote. Anyway, the message got to him and he gave me permission to build a studio.”

“I understand there isn't much money for projects like the recording studio. How did you put it all together?”

“Once the warden agreed, he told me that he'd give me a room to work in but there was absolutely no funding available for a project like this. So, me and the other guys gathered up old broken pieces of electronics, discarded PA systems, radios and anything else we could use to get parts and pieces from. Then we begged the Chaplain for discarded carpeting from the Chapel, old drapes from the auditorium, cans of leftover paint and we went to work. We collected all the empty egg crates from the kitchen every day and glued them onto the concrete walls to buffer sound. We painted the room and the hallways leading up to the room with music notes and did all we could to make it look like a real studio.”

“I guess the next question has to be why, Luke? Are there that many talented musicians in prison that are deserving of a recording contract?”

“Music was and is my salvation. And, over the years as different inmates would pass through, I discovered lots of talented musicians locked up. We were all writing. I'd borrow a little cassette recorder from the Chaplain and a couple of Jesus tapes and someone would stand guard while we recorded our songs over them and smuggle them out to family. It was a way to make a man feel like he was living despite being confined in a cage. I have dreams about someone like Willie Nelson picking up one of my songs and recording it. All we can do in here is make decent demos. We aren't chasing record contracts for ourselves. It isn't possible.”

“It's kind of uplifting, how you made all the bits and pieces work, doing what you could with what you had. I've listened to this song of yours, From the Bottle to the Needle. There is the surface tragedy of what the singer is doing to his body, and the depression he's going through, but there is a deeper basis behind it. He's wasting away for someone he loves.”

“Like I said, that is the only contrived song I've ever written. Ninety percent of the people behind bars are there either directly or indirectly due to alcohol and/or drugs. And these men have all left behind family, children, lovers… you never stop desiring the touch of a lover. That line in the song that says, 'What good are memories, when I need to touch you?' Says it all. I left behind a little gal, Darlina Flowers, that had changed my whole life, but it was too little too late. I have tried all the years I've been locked up to get her to go on with her life and forget about me and she’s tried. But, dammit, love can't be confined by space or time and she stands beside me even today trying to help me get paroled. That's a love you can't define or deny.”

“That's such a powerful sentiment. Luke, you're a bit different than other characters who've been on this show. I've interviewed ghosts, dogs, dark goddesses, and more, but you are portraying a real man. You're a fictional stand-in for an otherwise true story. How far does the story deviate from the truth?”

“Everything that Jan Sikes put in the story really did happen. She did a great job of telling it but I think she made me look better than I really am. It made me very happy that she also released a CD of music that I've recorded in here along with the book. You know, Lisa, I've screwed up a lot but I'm determined to get it right if I get another shot at life.”

“The book is called The Convict and the Rose. It's pretty obvious that you're the convict. That must make Darlina the rose. What does the future hold for you two?”

“Yes, Darlina is the rose. She's my rose, my rock and my dream. And, we will be together in the future and build the life that we’ve written to each about in letters for years. I believe that with all my heart. It’s what keeps me going. Jan Sikes, the author of The Convict and The Rose has promised to tell our whole story, and I'd love to project myself into the future where they're all completed and available. I do know you can find all the books and music CDs on Jan's website, and on Amazon for starters.”

“Luke, it's been a pleasure having you on my show today. It's inspiring to see what one person can accomplish in the face of adversity. I don't know if it's appropriate, but I wish you a happy new year anyway.”

“Thank you, darlin'. It's been a real pleasure talking to you today. Happy New Year to you too and if you want to do another interview in the future, I hope it's not from this god-forsaken place.”

“My sponsor today is The Convict and the Rose, by Jan Sikes. I'll provide all of Luke's links on the blog site. Make sure to hit those sharing buttons, and when your character appears on the show maybe someone will do the same for you. For Lisa Burton Radio, I'm Lisa Burton.”

***

Because she's cool like that, Jan has priced THE CONVICT AND THE ROSE at 99¢ this week to coincide with this interview. Grab your copy while it's on sale.

THE CONVICT AND THE ROSE:

Rebel Texas musician, Luke Stone, loses everything that he treasures with the arrest and conviction for a crime he didn’t commit. Not only is he locked away in a cage, he's left behind the woman who holds his heart. Broken and alone, Darlina Flowers struggles to go on living without the man she loves so completely. Follow their journey through shackles and chains, drugs and gurus as they fight to find their way to freedom.

 

 

 

FLOWERS AND STONE:

A hot Texas summer in 1970, dim-lit honky-tonk barrooms, a naïve fledgling go-go dancer and a wild rebel Texas musician sets the stage for this story. Can Darlina Flowers ever hope to fit into this new world and even more important, can she trust Luke Stone with her heart?

Luke Stone, a good man who has made a career of bad decisions, finds himself at a crossroads. Fate has sealed his destiny and threatens it all.

HOME AT LAST:

Released from federal prison after fifteen long years, Luke Stone boards a Greyhound bus bound for Texas, for home and the woman who holds his heart. He happily hangs up his neon dreams for a paint brush and hammer. Darlina Flowers has waited her entire adult life to become Mrs. Luke Stone, but will the hardships of starting over with nothing be too much? Their love is tested to the core as the story unfolds.

‘TIL DEATH DO US PART:

Luke Stone has cheated death more times than he cares to remember. And now, with a chance for a second music career after so many years, he knows he won’t fill the Texas dancehalls and honky-tonks as he’d done in his younger days. Darlina, his rock and anchor, longs to see his dreams fulfilled and vows to do everything possible to help him find success. But, will time allow Luke to sing his last song?

DISCOVERY:

When all of life is stripped away, left with no freedom except in his mind, Rick Sikes journeys deep inside to discover his true self. He finds the only way to survive hopeless negativity is through creating with his hands and imagination. They confined his body in an iron cage, but could not lock away his mind.

What you’ll find between the covers of this book are expressions of raw emotion…Poems of deep sadness and loss, humorous musings, political wisdom, life observations and tender love from both Rick and Jan Sikes as well as pen-and-ink drawings from a true artisan.

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, weaves stories in a creative and entertaining way. She has been called a magician and wordsmith extraordinaire by her readers and peers.

Most recently, Jan completed a series of four books about a Texas musician who was a pioneer in the Outlaw Music movement before it ever had a name. She also released a music CD of original songs matching the time period of each story.

Jan writes songs, poetry, short stories, screenplays and novels. She resides in North Texas and sits on the board of directors for the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, North Texas Book Festival, The Texas Musicians Museum and the Texas Authors Institute of History.

Stalk Jan on the following social sites:

WEBSITE: http://www.jansikes.com

BLOG: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com

TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/authorjansikesbooks

PINTEREST: http://www.pinterest.com/jks0851/

All of Jan's books are available at her Amazon Author Site, for those of you who want to grab them all at once.

 

91 Comments

Filed under Lisa Burton Radio