What advice would you give to a want-to-be writer?

Writing is not something you choose to do. Writing chooses you.

What you decide to do with your gift is up to you.

I’ve always lived inside my head. I have a vivid imagination—not just for fiction but for living. I can picture myself on a plane to anywhere, anytime, even right this moment! I can read something in the news like the plane that crashed yesterday in Kazakhastan and imagine myself being a crew member when the plane went down. RIP 100 people.

I wander around my apartment in Istanbul—this time last year I was living in Mexico—and play out my next Code Raven Plot in my mind. Should I remain in Turkey, like The Istanbul Conspiracy I published on Christmas Day? The surprises in that book have me reeling! Maybe I will take CR 8 to Jerusalem, or Bangkok? Wait! But my next book will be another memoir!!

“Hah, you think you are in control, Lynda?” My cocky Muse.

“But…”

“No ‘but’s’ about it. You ended that political suspense book with too much drama. We have to know where this story will go. So sit down, and plot it out!”

“Wait. I really want to write another memoir! I traveled this year, I learned so much. I grew so much!! This memoir will be so filled with life and love. My fans are waiting.”

“Okay, we will compromise. You can work on both of them at the same time.”

“Muse! You are out of control!! First, you aged my young Alice by 7 years in this book! Then, you did the unspeakable! I mean, really, right before the wedding a terrorist attack! How could you?”

My Muse remained silent. I imagine she/he/God is smiling.

A quote comes to mind, “When man plans, God laughs.”

As a writer, I can plan all I want, but the magic happens when I let my Muse have her way with me.

The Convict and the Rose

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The Convict and the Rose  On Amazon or through Jan’s website at the bottom of the page.

Imagine an existence behind bars in Leavenworth Prison, and turning your life around so that you are able to create art and a musical legacy. This is an extremely personal, beautiful, sometimes very sad and yet uplifting memoir that reads like an edgy, intriguing novel. I wasn’t aware of what I was reading when I began the journey into the lives of a Convict(Rick Sikes) and his Rose(Jan Sikes.) I hadn’t read much about the book, all I knew was the reviews were all 5 stars! And everyone raved about the talented Jan Sikes, and that says it all. I can tell you that it’s not easy putting yourself out there in a memoir–imagine someone critiquing your life! But Jan has done it in this fascinating series.

I first met Jan Sikes through my association with RRBC an amazingly supportive group of writers. We interact through Twitter, online events, and the RRBC website. Today I want to introduce you to this very special woman who will share with you how this book came together.

Award-winning Biographical/Fiction sequel to Flowers and Stone. Luke and Darlina find their love severely tested as they struggle to overcome enormous odds.
When Texas veteran musician, Luke Stone, finds himself behind bars with a seventy-five-year sentence, he is filled with hate, anger, and rebelliousness. He’s lost everything that he treasures, including the woman who holds his heart.
How has it come down to this? He’s spent his entire life writing songs and making music, filling dance halls and bars from Texas to California. But, when he refuses to tell the FBI what he knows about certain bank robberies that he possesses knowledge of, they make sure he pays dearly.
Broken and alone, in a prison of her own, Darlina Flowers struggles to find a way to live without the man she loves so completely.
Over the next sixteen years, Luke and Darlina each search for ways to somehow survive the fate life has hurled them into.
In an effort to dull the pain of living with only half a heart, Darlina gets involved in drugs, then follows a guru and tries different relationships, but nothing fills the void.
Several years pass before Luke makes up his mind that prison will not break him. He crawls up from the bottom one tiny step at a time, determined to be and do something worthwhile and discovers artistic talents he never realized he had.
The Convict and the Rose inspire hope and show how anyone can turn a negative dark situation into a positive one. But more importantly, the story portrays a love that goes beyond earthly confines and proves how persistence and faith come with their own sweet reward.
Join Luke and Darlina as they continue their epic journey with love as their constant North Star and freedom as the driving force.

WHY I WROTE THE CONVICT AND THE ROSE    by  JAN SIKES

The simple answer to the question of why I wrote The Convict and the Rose is that it was the next segment in my series of true stories.

The complex answer to the question would be that I wanted to write the story in hopes that it might inspire others to think positive in negative situations and show them how one man did it. I also wanted the world to know what amazing things a person can accomplish when they set their mind to it.

There were many challenges to writing this book. The biggest challenge I faced was that I was not ever in prison. So, the prison scenes had to be constructed from writings Rick Sikes (aka Luke Stone) left behind, stories he told me and letters he’d written.

The second challenge was keeping the timeline straight and going back and forth between Leavenworth Prison and the outside world where his love, Darlina Flowers (aka Jan Sikes) struggled with her issues and the hurdles she faced.

There was a lot of research involved in writing this segment of the story, and part of that included contacting officials at the Prison to determine whatever become of the recording studio. It met it’s demise a year after Luke’s release.

I also had to get permission to tell parts of the story that involved Willie Nelson, and I made sure I kept all the written correspondence.

All-in-all, it was a growing and learning experience, and it is super special to me because it is the first book that won a literary award. 

Thanks, Jan, for sharing your life and that of Rick Sikes. I LOVED your story!

You can find Jan Sikes at:

http://www.jansikes.com

http://www.ricksikes.com

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks

http://www.facebook.com/RickSikesMusic

 

 

I really said what??

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Today’s author interview is with Lynda Filler, a very interesting lady. Take it away, Lynda. To begin, tell us a little about yourself. 

Creativity is a way of life for me, poetry, painting, photography, and writing. I spent the first half of my career in fashion—design, buying and selling; and now focus on painting, photography, and writing. I travel whenever I get an opportunity and that’s part of why I love to set my stories in exciting and beautiful locales like Puerto Vallarta where I live and Paris where my darling grandbaby Félix lives. Yes, I’m accused of writing about my personal life and calling it fiction—but as yet I’ve never admitted to any of that! I was told I had six months to live in 2008, and I responded: “My mother told me only the good die young.” So, I’m certain I’ll still be writing and chasing young guys when I’m 90!

When did your first realize you wanted to be a writer?

In my teens. I wrote poetry in my teens, and my first novel in my twenties—BC—before computers. I wrote in longhand and my sis typed my manuscript. I never published it and carried it around with me for years. I threw it out two years ago, by mistake, thinking it was something else.

Who or what inspired you to actually sit down and start writing?

I promised myself in 2009 I’d take six months off work to write. In 2008 when I’d been given 6 months to live, it shook me up enough to commit to fulfilling a dream and start publishing. In ’09, ’11 and ’13 I published 3 poetry collections. Then in the summer of 2015 Russell Blake, NYT and USA best-selling author invited me to write into his JET for Kindle Worlds. Now I have a fifth JET novella out this week, JET-Reborn. I got over my fear of failure and not being good enough, and published 2 more novellas in Toby Neal’s LEI Crime World, then 3 novels and a memoir! That totals 14 so far!

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Ian Fleming author of the James Bond series. I think he sparked a whole genre of writing, action films, and entertainment. Really, it would be difficult to find anyone who’s never heard of James Bond! He paved the way for so many authors to write this type of stories which in turn became movies. Imagine how many people even to this day still watch 007! That’s a legacy!
How many books have you written? 14 Contemporary Fiction, women’s fiction, memoir/self-help, action novellas.

Is there a general theme to your stories?

There’s always a social issue or political challenge of some kind running through my stories. In the JET series, I’ve covered cyber-warfare, Mexican drug cartels, the Hong Kong Triads, ISIL, Syria WMD, Kidnapping, and the refugee crisis. The TARGET in the SUN series, social issues in Mexico like the drug cartels, human trafficking, and human rights, and love. Lie to Me: an exposé on sex for money explores sexual mores, the taboo against women paying men for sex, and love.

The titles of your published books?

The Love Fix, Love Rehab, I (Spy) Love, JET-Exposed, JET-Abducted, JET-Ultimatum, JET-Displaced and now this week JET-Reborn. The Road to San Pancho & Narco Orphans, LEI Crime KW TARGET in the SUN Winner Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 BTRC, VANISHED in the SUN, Lie to me: an exposé on sex for money and a non-fiction/memoir LOVE The Beat Goes On

What do you consider your best/favorite line(s) you’ve written?

I think some of those lines are in Lie to me: an exposé on sex for money

A. She’d definitely crossed a professional line, but then, this is Mexico and there are no lines.
B. Ten minutes later, a little mascara, black mini, black lycra sleeveless top, gold strappy heels. Braless. Prowling clothes.
C. “Can we get together again?” Layla waited. Omar whispered in her ear. “You pay, I play.”

What is your favorite review of any one of your books?

Excerpt of a review on LOVE The Beat Goes On “This is a book every human alive should read and take away the lessons given. If I could give it ten stars, I would. It’s that good.” J. Sikes

Where can interested readers learn more about you and your books?
https://www.facebook.com/Lynda-Filler-Author-188513257895/
Author page on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Lynda-Filler/e/B00JNP2CS6

Thanks, Leta McCurry, that was a hoot! You can find Leta on FB at https://www.facebook.com/groups/417751701976803/permalink/424751547943485/?notif_id=1516388163122624&notif_t=tagged_with_story

My 10 All-time favorite books

 

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You know I’m right in the middle of the action in a great plot for novella #5 in my JET Kindle World series, but I can’t resist answering this Quora question. But it’s not going to be what you expect at all. Each book has affected me on an emotional level or given me “ah ha” moments that stayed with me forever.

  1. Outliers: The Story of Success – Kindle edition by Malcolm Gladwell. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. (Ah ha) He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? Brilliant. As a Canadian, the explanation about hockey players and their success stays with me.
  2. LOVE The Beat Goes On – Kindle edition by Lynda Filler. Self-Help Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. A journey from incurable to healed. “What would you do if the doctors gave you six months to live?” Everything in this memoir has changed my life and is changing the lives of others.
  3. Dreaming the Soul Back Home: Shamanic Dreaming for Healing and Becoming Whole – Kindle edition by Robert Moss. Health, Fitness & Dieting Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. In 2017 I published the above book—a memoir of a healing journey. In desperation for a cure for an ‘incurable’ diagnosis, I traveled to Sedona Arizona and worked with a Shaman named Akal. He introduced me to Robert Moss. I’ve been analyzing my dreams as a way of healing my soul ever since. This book has a special spot on my shelves.
  4. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – Kindle edition by Anne Lamott. Reference Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. (Emotional-for me) An authors’ handbook with all the encouragement and acknowledgment of what it takes to continue on a path that seems impossible at times.
  5. https://www.amazon.com/Lone-Wolf-Novel-Jodi-Picoult-ebook/dp/B005JSV0ZW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= (totally gut-wrenching reaction to an incredible story) The reviews are very mixed for this book, but there was something in the story of wolves that rocked my world.
  6. You Can Heal Your Life – Kindle edition by Louise L. Hay. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. I bought my first copy at a psychic convention in 1985 with my sister. Then I bought the 25th year anniversary copy. I lived with this book for most of my adult life. I’ve since written my own book on healing from incurable LOVE The Beat Goes ON.
  7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Kindle edition by Stephen R. Covey. Self-Help Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. Yes, you can learn from books that are perennial best-sellers.
  8. Eat Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia: Elizabeth Gilbert: 9780670034710: Amazon.com: Books I remember where I was sitting on the beach in Puerto Vallarta when a 26 year-old-woman who had recently graduated in Marketing told me about this book. The recent graduate had landed a job with a PR firm to work with this relatively unknown writer who’d penned a ‘travel’ book. A few months later I began a journey, a drive from PV, Mexico to Canada, that would change my life forever. On that trip, I stopped in a bookstore in a mall in Arizona and saw stacks of Eat Pray Love and bought it. Yes, LIz Gilbert affected so many women including myself with this amazing ‘travel’ memoir.
  9. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Series) – Kindle edition by Stieg Larsson. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. It was so incredibly different than anything I’d ever read.
  10. The Kill Artist (Gabriel Allon Series Book 1) – Kindle edition by Daniel Silva. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. I have several authors I read in the thriller/suspense/spy genre. I don’t care what any critics have to say. I don’t bother with reviews. These authors are my constant companions. And Daniel Silva is #1. I LOVE Gabriel Allon. How could you not fall in love with an Israel spy who’s also an art restorer and lives in Venice, restores works for the Vatican, and chases bad guys?

So there you have it.

I’d love to add my own books to the mix but if you’re interested you can check out what I’ve written. I published 3 this year and should be working right this minute on a 4th to add to my JET series.

Happy Holidays!

And don’t forget to check out my books on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Lynda-Filler/e/B00JNP2CS6

 

 

 

What Did You Do That Changed Your Life the Most?

 

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Who is Author Lynda Filler?

I fell in love with a Mexican man who was way younger than me, like over twenty years younger! I gave up my luxurious lifestyle, and high-powered position in Canada, and moved to Mexico to be with him. It was 2002 and without a doubt one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. I will always love him even though we’ve both moved on and found others to love.

I feel he grew up with me and I learned unconditional love with him. Together we healed those parts of us that were lost.

I’m a writer so I won’t say that Target In The Sun (Carlos & Mia Book 1) is our story, but people who know me are certain that most of this “fictional” romantic raunchy mystery book about an older woman and her younger Latino lover is true.

This is what I learned:

  1. If you are only going to live once, do it with #passion!
  2. Always listen to your #heart
  3. Never ever have regrets, #LOVE is everything
  4. Don’t stay in an unhappy marriage because of the kids. Leave that unhappy marriage for the kids
  5. be courageous in love, it will give you moments and memories that will last you for a lifetime

 

 

https://www.quora.com/What-did-you-do-that-changed-your-life-most/answer/Lynda-Filler

 

Follow LYNDA FILLER ON QUORA   https://www.quora.com/profile/Lynda-Filler

https://www.quora.com/What-did-you-do-that-changed-your-life-most/answer/Lynda-Filler

 

Welcome #RWISA Author Beem Weeks

RWISA TOUR (1) (1)

Beem Weeks

Wordless

 

“What’s that word say?”

“That’s an easy one, Daddy. Just sound it out.”

Levi Bacchus can’t read. 36 years old, and he’d never learned the meaning of a single sentence.

“I just ain’t cut out for this, Jamie Lynn.”

The girl’s countenance dropped in disagreement—just like her mother, that one.

“So, you’re a quitter now?” she bellowed, sounding too much like the woman who’d walked out of their lives two years earlier.

Levi took offense. “Mind your manners, Missy. I ain’t never been called no quitter.”

“Reading is something everybody should be able to do, is all I’m saying.”

“It’s easy for you,” Levi argued. “You’re just a kid, still in school. You have teachers telling you what to do and how to do it. I’m just too old for learning.”

The girl narrowed her gaze, jabbed a finger into the open book. “From the beginning,” she demanded.

His heaving huff meant he’d do it again—if only for her sake.

Words formed in his head before finding place on his tongue. Some came through in broken bits and pieces, while others arrived fully formed and ready for sound.

Jamie’s excitement in the matter is why he kept trying. Well, that and the fact he’d long desired the ability to pick up the morning paper and offer complaint or praise for the direction of the nation. All those people in the break room at the plant held their own opinions on everything from the president to the latest championship season enjoyed by the local high school football team.

“That’s good, Daddy,” Jamie said, patting her father on the arm. “That’s really good. You’ll be reading books before too long.”

A smile worked at the edges of his lips, refusing to go unnoticed.

“I’d like that, Sweet Pea.” That’s all he’d say of the matter. If it came to that, well then, he’d have accomplished something worth appreciating.

Levi harbored bigger notions than merely reading books. When a man can read, he can do or be anything he wants to be. His own father often said a man who can’t read is forever in bondage. How can a man truly be free if he cannot read the document spelling out the very rights bestowed upon him by simple virtue of birth? No sir; being illiterate no longer appealed to him.

Of his immediate family—father, mother, two older brothers—only Levi failed to attend college. Oh, he graduated from high school. Being a star quarterback will afford that sort of luxury. But when those coaches from the universities came calling, low test scores couldn’t open doors that promised more than a life spent in auto factories.

He’d seen a show on TV about a man who’d been sent to prison for five years for armed robbery. While there, this man learned to read, took a course on the law, and became a legal secretary upon his release. Eight years later, he’d earned a law degree and opened his very own practice.

Levi didn’t see himself arguing cases in a court of law—defending criminals most likely to be guilty just didn’t appeal to his sense of right and wrong. What he did see, however, is the need for a good and honest person to run the city he’d forever called home.

“Think I could be mayor?” he asked his daughter.

Jamie Lynn always grinned over such talk. “Everybody has to have a dream, Daddy.”

It’s what she always says.

Everything begins with a dream.

She gets that part of her from her mother.

“Once I can read without stopping to ask questions,” he mused, “maybe I’ll throw my hat into the ring, huh?”

“There’s nothing wrong with asking questions,” she answered, weaving wisdom between her words.

*     *     *

She’d been a girl scout, his daughter—daisies and brownies before that. It’s the other girls who bullied her out of the joy that sort of thing once offered. Straight A’s have a way of making others feel inferior, even threatened.

But Jamie Lynn isn’t the type to pine or fret. She chose to tutor—and not just her father, either. Kids come to the house needing to know this and that among mathematics or English or science. Her dream? To be a teacher one day.

And she’ll accomplish that much and more.

Her mother had that very same sense about her as well. She knew what she wanted in life, and cleared the path upon which she traveled.

High school sweethearts they’d been, Jamie Lynn’s mother and father. She’d been the pretty cheerleader, he’d been the All-American boy with a cannon for an arm. She went to college, he didn’t.

But she returned to him, joyfully accepting his proposal for a life together. Her degree carried her back to the high school from which they’d both graduated. This time, rather than student, she became teacher—American History.

Levi went to work building Cadillacs in the local plant. It paid well, offered medical benefits and paid vacation time. Life settled into routines.

Then came their little bundle. This didn’t sit well with the newly-minted history teacher. No sir. It’s as if Levi had intentionally sabotaged his own wife’s career in some fiendish plot to keep her home.

Words of love became “stupid” and “ignorant” and “illiterate ass.” She walked out one evening and never came back to the home they’d built together.

A former student, he’d heard—five years her junior. They’d ran off together, supposedly making a new home somewhere out west.

Levi didn’t challenge it. He received the house and the kid in exchange for his signature on those papers he couldn’t even read.

Jamie Lynn, she’s the light that shined in his darkness, showed him there’s still so much more living to be done. And learning to read, well, that just added to the adventure.

*     *     *

The night came when he read an entire chapter from one of Jamie Lynn’s old middle school books—straight through, unpunctuated by all those starts and stops and nervous questions. By the end of the month, Levi had managed the entire story—all 207 pages.

“We have to celebrate, Daddy,” she insisted.

It’d been the silly draw of embarrassment that twisted his head left and right, his voice saying, “No need to make a fuss, Sweet Pea.”

But fuss is only the beginning. “Dinner and a movie,” she ordered. “Then we’ll stop off at the mall and pick out a few books that you might like.”

There were stories he recalled from his boyhood; books other kids clutched under their arms and took for granted. Stories that stirred so much excitement in those young lives.

They’d belong to him now.

“You’re finally blooming, Daddy—just like a flower.”

And so was his daughter.

A teacher in the making.

 

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we 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:

Beem Weeks

Super Sexy!! Wow!

Femme Fatale

I LOVE Dominic Piper’s books.

To say I’m addicted would be an understatement. His use of language is sexy, sensual and provocative. His words weave a story that will leave you breathless. He takes Daniel Beckett, a P.I. in the hard broiled style of times past and gives him an edgy modern style. The story is set in London and takes us through the underbelly of crime while treating us to a sensual experience of his life, his philosphy and his badass approach to solving crime. When you pick up this book be prepared to drop it only when you’ve completely finished reading it.
This 3rd book in the Daniel Becket series is a stand-alone and another 5 Star offering from best selling author Dominic Piper.

 

AKA Honesty Can Be Brutal

VISION BOARD 2016

Honesty can be brutal. And it can be scary. But it can also save your life.

When I sat down to write LOVE, The Beat Goes On, many habits that helped me achieve my life goals came back to me. One was the vision board.

In the early nineties, I was living in Montreal, worried about the recession, my future and that of my family. I started thinking about what I wanted in my life. I had two photos on my wall in my office. One showed incredible majestic ski home in Vail. The other photo was the turquoise water of the tropics. I wanted that life. I’d forgotten about both those photos until this year.

When I decided it was time to write LOVE–actually it was Dr. Wayne Dyer who reminded me it was time–I started writing down the habits I’d developed the things that helped me heal from incurable heart disease. Envisioning was a big one. And I remembered those photos.

Have you ever made a vision board? If not, it’s a great way to gather your thoughts on what precisely you want out of your life. Over the years I’ve cut and pasted photos on my cork board, written lists and notes to self. Last year in the fall, I was feeling restless and my dreams were begging me to pay attention. I’ve always been in tune with my heart, so I knew I needed to make changes in my life. I used Canva—a free online website dedicated to graphics—downloaded photos from the Internet, and designed a composite poster of the life I really wanted for myself.

In January events transpired that I could say were out of my control. But, were they?

I envisioned a life that would leave no room for the emotionally draining work I did at that time. I had what I thought was the perfect timeline stretched out over two years. I assumed I was in control. Major changes would have to happen for this life to occur. And they did. Quickly.  And then I woke up one morning saying “Oh my God!” It was clear to me. I knew I had created/envisioned the life I was meant to live.

It’s been a very busy spring. Two months ago I published my first non-fiction, a memoir/healing book LOVE The Beat Goes On. Six weeks ago I began a daily Yoga practice. It has turned into a physical commitment to gratitude for the extraordinary health and life I’ve been blessed to live. I’m writing full time now although Oprah hasn’t yet discovered my book. I’m traveling to Paris this summer to visit family. And my current work of fiction features this amazing home on the water in the PNW. All of the above are on my vision board, the one I created last summer.

Never, ever underestimate the power of your mind.

And by the way, that amazing ski home in Vail, I custom built something even more spectacular in Whistler B.C. in the late nineties. After I sold it, I found that tropical getaway in a coastal town in Mexico.

What inspired this blog? I was standing having lunch in my kitchen looking out at the swaying palm trees and thinking about the newest Jet-Displaced book 4 I’m currently editing. I wondered about my grandbaby in Paris and hoped he was enjoying his first airplane trip to Italy. I’m so excited to be spending a month with them in August. I had the sudden realization that I was truly living The Life I Was Meant to Live.

If it’s to be, it will always be up to me.

Ask yourself the question: do you deserve to live your dreams?