Monday, April 16, 2018

MUSIC: WRITING & BOOKS

MUSIC is an important part of my life. My choice of music is quite the opposite of most people, including my husband. My preference is quiet and melodic, so I listen mainly to classical (Beethoven, Schumann, Mozart, Brahms, to name a few) and what is often called "New Age" music. 

I listen to such music when I am writing, meditating, and reading. It relaxes and inspires me. If I hear lyrics I am disrupted. The music that was played during my video for my book, Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens captured the essence of this true story about unconditional love. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DA963A8/ref=dp-kindle


        

Over my many years of reading, I have read several books about Beethoven, Mozart, and Rachminoff. I have learned a deeper appreciation for each of them who had difficult challenges to face: deafness, poverty and mania, and depression. Yet they each overcame their individual challenges to compose magnificent music. 

I gained appreciation for music primarily from my grandmother who had dreamed of being a concert pianist. When I would visit her she played my three favorites: Beethoven's 5th Symphony, Mozart's Requiem, and Piano Concerto No. 2 by Rachminoff. She would tell me about each of them and lessons to be learned from their lives, which were never give up and follow your dreams.

The previous sentence leads to a different kind of book about music. It might be different, but it is powerful. If Only There Was Music..." by Nonnie Jules and Giani Jordan is a collection of poems about forbidden love. The poems can be touching, sexy, thought-provoking, and emotional. Each one is very special. Available at https://www.amazon.com/Only-There-Music-Poetry-Forbidden-ebook/dp/B00U3VYI5Y/ref=sr_


My review: 5 stars 

I do love poetry so I was excited to read this book. And since my husband and I met and fell in love while still married to others, forbidden love fit for me. Except it was not really forbidden...only in the eyes of society. Thirty years later we are still deeply in love.
The poems through HER eyes truly spoke to me. I liked the rhythm and music of them more than those through HIS eyes.Some of my favorites were "If That's Wrong," "This Is It," and "If You Should Ever."

I highly recommend this book for anyone in love, falling in love, or been in love. It is easy to read, yet the messages are deep and poignant.

A sequel is now available (...And the Music Played) https://www.amazon.com/MUSIC-PLAYED-Short-Story-ebook/dp/B07C1H7Y8C/ref=sr_ It is a short story that continues the story about the love between Giani and Christine. It is on my TBR list. 



What role does music play in your life? Does it capture the essence of who you are? Does it inspire, bring you peace, make you joyful, or increase your creativity? Does it express the love you have for another person?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

AUTHOR, JAN SIKES




I am honored to have author and blogger, Jan Sikes as my guest. She is a member of Rave Reviews Book Club and Rave Writer's International Society of Authors. Her award winning books are biographical and most recently, poetry. 





Thank you, Karen, for generously offering to host a guest post. I deeply appreciate it. 

You know, people ask me all the time if I wrote my books as a tribute to my late husband and my answer is always a quick, “No.”

These were stories that begged to be told and we thought for years that someone would come along to write them. 

After he passed away, I still thought someone else would write the story. I awoke one morning to the realization that I was the only one who could write it as I was the only one there. 

So, I got busy. I took writing courses at local Community Colleges and started with Chapter 1. 

I originally started writing in first person. After a couple of pages, I realized that wasn’t going to work. I was too close to the story to effectively tell it. 

A friend suggested that I tell the story through fictitious characters and I loved that idea. The names for the characters came almost instantly. When I was born, my mother had wanted to name me Darlene. My older brother had insisted on naming me Janice. Knowing that story, my character, Darlina, was born. Then Luke Stone’s name came just at fast. My favorite uncle growing up was Uncle Luke and the last name Stone fit, as did Darlina’s last name of Flowers. The last names also described their personalities. 

After that decision, it was much easier to step back and let the characters tell the story. 

Each book carries a different theme or premise. 

Flowers and Stoneis a love story. It starts in 1970 in the West Texas town of Abilene. Darlina Flowers is trying to figure out how to fit into a world she is most attracted to – the nightlife, live music and dancing. Luke Stone, a veteran Texas Musician believes he’s lost all reason for caring about his music career, his health and most especially his heart. A chance meeting with Darlina changes everything. But, is it too late? Has fate already determined the outcome?

The Convict and the Roseis not about how horrible prison is, but instead a story of how Luke Stone struggled to find the strength to think, act and do only positive in a dark and negative place. It’s also the story of how Darlina Flowers, trapped in a prison of her own, attempts to go on living with only half a heart. This is a tale of triumph and tragedy, loss and gain, accomplishments and redemption and is meant to inspire hope. 


Home At Lastis all about starting over from nothing to attempt to build a life. 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 Partconcludes the series. Luke Stone has cheated death more times than he cares to remember. With a second music career opportunity, he knows he won’t fill the Texas dancehalls and honky-tonks like he did in his younger days but is determined to give it his all. 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?

Because these stories all revolve and evolve around music, I also released a music CD with each book that matches the time period of the story. It is original music written by Rick and Jan Sikes. 






DISCOVERY – POETRY AND ART BY RICK AND JAN SIKESis a beautiful book of poems and pen-and-ink drawings. 
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.

In honor of NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, the eBook version of this poetry and art book is discounted.




Links:




Sunday, April 8, 2018

TWO BOOK REVIEWS

One of the many benefits being a member of Rave Reviews Book Club is meeting some very talented Indie authors. Their books are listed in the catalog so I am able to easily peruse them according to genre.
Today I am sharing about two books that I have recently read and reviewed.



Bruce A. Borders is a prolific writer who started writing when he was about fifteen. He wrote songs, short stories, and newspaper articles. He has fourteen completed books, many short stories and more than 500 songs in a catalog. He writes about the Bible, politics, legal issues, and westerns.

"Dead Broke" is the third book of Mr. Borders I have read and several other of his books are on my TBR list.


Detective Lana Denae is assigned to solve this murder case, which appears to be the perfect crime. Behine a locked door an elderly woman is found shot to death from one bullet. There is an inheritance of a million dollars, which adds to the intrigue and eliminates concern that this was a random murder. 

There are only a few characters and the crime scene is the primary scene to which the reader is returned several times. The detective is faced with a difficult challenge to first determine how the victim could be murdered inside a locked room, and then to find the individual responsible when there were no suspicious characters.

My review:

A story full of intrigue, mystery, suspense, and interesting characters. Lana is the main detective who is believable and likeable. The main suspect in the seven murders leaves the reader if he is guilty or is working for the real killer. Well written and a page turner. An interesting twist to the ending. A great read. (Feb. 17, 2018)

https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Broke-Lana-Denae-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01BV5R5FU/ref=sr_


                                                                       ********



Harriet Hodgson is also an accomplished author who has many award winning books. She is listed in Who's Who of American Women, World Who's Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories. "The Family Caregiver's Guide" is the book I am highlighting today.




After the sudden deaths of her daughter and son-in-law, she and her husband raised their twin grandchildren. The role of caregiver was thrust upon them. They learned about grieving, loss, and helping teenagers to come to healthy acceptance of the loss of their parents. 

This particular book is more detailed, informative, and helpful about the caregiver's role, the emotions involved, and resources available. She offers step by step solutions guiding the reader through the myriad of emotions, legal and health issues, and coping methods.

My review:

A very informative and well-written book about the role of the caregiver. Resources, groups, contacts are listed as well as some step by step ways to deal with the family member and understanding the caregiver's role. Ms. Hodgson has been in the role of caregiver for her mother and grandchildren and now for her husband. Her compassion, love, and gentleness is quite evident.
A must read for everyone. 

https://www.amazon.com/Family-Caregivers-Guide/dp/1608081265/


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

"GONE," A POEM BY D.L. FINN


The following poem is by D.L. Finn, an author, blogger, and member of Rave Reviews Book Club and Rave Writers International Society of Authors. Her gift in writing covers a wide spectrum from children's, biography, novel, to poetry. She encourages everyone "to embrace your inner child."
This poem is beautifully composed and has a message about the seasons. Enjoy!



20170422_163308
GONE
Gone are the days when I lay on the couch
By the crackling wood stove
Huddled under a blanket with five cats…
Sleeping on, or near me.

Gone are the cabin fevered stares
Of those cats who don’t understand
When I tell them it’s too cold outside…
It’s snowing.

Gone are the silent crisp nights
When I have to convince
Our two dogs they need to go outside…
They can’t hold it all night

Gone are the mornings
When I leave early to remove the built-up snow
From my car’s windshield…
And drive more carefully on the ice.

Gone are the times
When I sit in wonder.
Watching the landscape turn white…
In a beautiful dance of the snowflakes.

Gone is the silence of snow
And the soothing patter of rain
Or the roar of the wind…
Pounding its fury against the house.

Gone are those candle lit nights
When the outside rages on
Gone are the coats, boots, hats and mittens…
All tucked away until next season.

These things are gone
But, they are coming back
Until then I sit outside…
Surrounded by life.

The birds are singing,
And the crows screeching
As I catch the sweet scent of the flowers…
A small fluffy cloud floats by.

The cats sit by me, again
Basking in the sun, along with my dogs
This will be gone soon, too…
When the leaves start to fall.

Each season is unique
In what they have to offer
Now, I’m blessed in a spring moment…
In its blissful brilliance before--it’s gone.

Embrace your inner child with poetry! D.L. Finn


TWITTER: @DLFinn

Sunday, April 1, 2018

EASTER: STORY OF BURDENS

A FABLE ABOUT HOW BIRDS GOT THEIR WINGS



The story goes that initially they were created without them. Then God made the wings, set them down before the wingless birds, and said to them, “Take up these burdens and carry them.”
The birds had sweet voices for singing, and lovely feathers that glistened in the sunshine, but they could not soar in the air. When asked to pick up the burdens that lay at their feet, they hesitated at first. Yet soon they obeyed, picked up the wings with their beaks, and set them on their shoulders to carry them.
For some time, the load, this burden, seemed heavy and difficult to bear, but soon, as they continued to carry the burden and to fold the wings over their hearts, the wings grew attached to their little bodies. They quickly discovered how to use them and were lifted by the wings high into the air.
The burdens had become wings.
We each have burdens that we must carry until we learn how to carry them and tie them to our hearts. We must not run from them…where would we go? To be bitter or angry about them…only makes the burdens heavier. To try to have others carry our burden…what would we learn? To deny the existence of the burden…will keep us from growing.
Spring is a time of renewal. Trees get their leaves, flowers bloom, baby animals are born, and the weather warms up. The message of Easter is one of renewal, of giving our burdens to God thereby freeing ourselves to spread our wings and use them to soar like an eagle or fly from flower to flower like the hummingbird.
Wishing you the blessings of Easter today and everyday.
Fable of how birds got wings is from Streams in the Desert http://www.youdevotion.com/streams/july/08.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

ALL ABOUT THE #RRBC SPONSORS BLOG HOP!

Welcome to the first ever ALL ABOUT THE SPONSORS BLOG HOP!  These kind members of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB (RRBC)donated their support during the 2017 conference, in the way of gift card and Kindle e-book donations for our Gift Basket Raffle. They supported us and now we are showing our support of them by pushing their book(s).  

We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed and after reading it, leave a review.  There are several books on tour today, so please visit the HOP'S main page to follow along.  

Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the HOP'S main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!

Book:  



Blurb:  
You are invited into D.L. Finn's life, written through a princess’s viewpoint. While it’s usually assumed in fairy tales that the princess is beloved by all, this is one princess who doesn't feel loved. She dreams of a moment when her father will walk through the castle door, sweep her up in his arms and proclaim how much he misses her. That never happens. Instead, she is introduced to a new step family. Just like in the fairy tales, this is where the story takes a dark twist; where addiction, abuse and adolescence thrive together in retched misery. From her lowest point as a hopeless fourteen-year-old girl who gives up all hope-- comes a spark of faith. This is where she begins her quest for a happy ending.

Although the princess ends her very real fairy tale, D.L. Finn steps in and shares her thoughts, poetry and photographs. This entire narrative is the author’s reality from childhood through adulthood. She maintains the privacy of those involved while hanging on to her truth. 
                                                           
Author:  
D.L. FINN


                              This blog hop sponsored by:  4WillsPublishing

Friday, March 30, 2018

PATRICIA A. GUTHRIE BLOG TOUR

I am pleased to welcome Patricia Guthrie to today's blog, who is a member of Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC). She is an accomplished author of suspense novels, mysteries, and short stories. "Every experience is potential fodder for a novel," states  Ms. Guthrie. Today she will be highlighting her book "Legacy of Danger."

Good morning fellow readers and bloggers. Thanks to today's host! I thought I’d share the first chapter with you all.  

Chapter One

“I was murdered.”
The voice whispered through rustling trees. Startled, Elena Dkany looked around for the source. Nothing. No voice except the priest praying over her grandmother’s coffin. In ninety-degree weather, goose bumps popped out on her arms. Hearing non-existent voices was not a good thing. She shook the cobwebs from her brain. Must be imagining things, a result from the long tragic week.
Briar Hill College’s faculty and staff stood close by under the shade of the oak trees. They’d abandoned their classes to pay tribute to the widow of the man who’d been their president for decades.
As the coffin disappeared into the ground, a vapor materialized into a solid shape by her side and the scent of roses permeated Elena's immediate space. Its perfume overpowered the pines and moldy earth, but no rose bushes grew in the small cemetery. Roses where there was no rose garden. This is not happening.
But it was. Her grandmother stood by her side as though she’d never died—-like they were attending somebody else’s funeral. And nobody else seemed to notice. No startled looks, no wide-eyes, or 'oh my God's.'
The ghost of Magda Dkany spoke. “You must find your son.” Was it a voice or the wisp of wind that sounded like a murmur or a sigh?
My son? But, he died nine years ago before he’d even been a month old.
Elena focused on her apparition. It appeared like she’d looked only two days ago.
“Murdered. Your life...in danger. Your son in danger. Find Alexander.”
Her heart pounded fast enough without hearing her life might be in danger, or the name Alexander Brancusi. Not exactly someone she wanted to hear about. Overhead sea gulls squawked. A light wind blew in from Lake Michigan, dropping the temperature. Elena froze, but her chill didn’t come from the air. She turned too fast to the dematerializing ghost. “You're dead. You can’t talk to me.”
But the ghost's presence continued to thin. The voice softened. “Go to Dkany. Find your son.” Now she was hardly an outline. Then, just air.
“No. Please, don’t go. Why are you saying this?”
The scent of roses dissipated.
“Why do you have to leave?”
The onlookers across the coffin began to look at her with puzzled expressions. Worried looks crossed their faces.
Magda’s presence knocked Elena off balance. She scrambled to keep from toppling onto the casket halfway down into the earth. A man with musky aftershave replaced Magda's image and caught Elena's arm.
Outside the cemetery, a car horn honked, kids cheered from the little league field across the street, and somewhere a dog howled.
Father Christofides, the American-Romanian Orthodox priest who’d baptized Elena, appeared strange and intimidating. A huge crucifix hung around his neck like an ominous albatross of death. Everything moved in slow motion, a surrealistic emptiness of space and time. “Eternal your memory, Magda, our sister, worthy of blessedness and ever-remembered.”
With his words, the ceremony ended.
Elena turned to thank the man, but her friend Marina Brancusi now held her. She didn't know when Marina and the stranger changed places.


* * * 


Book Blurb:

Inheriting a castle, Elena Dkany travels to Romania, a land dipped in Myths, Folklore, and as legend has it, the Walking Dead. 

From the onset of her arrival, hearing a local proverb: “Do not speak badly of the Devil, because you cannot know to whom you will belong,” she soon understands the importance of adhering to this warning in this mysterious land. 

* * * 

Author Bio:

Patricia A. Guthrie is the author of romantic suspense novels, mysteries and short stories. She resides in the Chicago area and has taught in the Chicago Public School system. 

Guthrie’s current published novels ‘In the Arms of the Enemy,’ ‘Waterlilies Over My Grave’ and ‘Legacy of Danger’ are available in online bookstores such as Amazon.com. She also has short stories published in Amazon.com, Skyline Magazine and Affaire de Coeur and non-fiction articles in the Collie Cassette and the online ‘Nature Journal.’ She’s currently working on a mystery novel that she hopes to have published in 2018. 

Guthrie is an accomplished musician: opera singer, church soloist and music teacher. After leaving the opera, Guthrie became a music therapist in a school for children with special needs and then went on to teach music in the Chicago Public School system. 

She’s an avid animal lover and advocate. 

You can find her books on Amazon.com, as well as other online booksellers.

Follow Patricia on Social Media:



Twitter - @paguthrie1


"This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com."