Jan Sikes Gets Lost in Music and Romance

You’re in for a treat. Jan Sikes is sitting in for Linda Broday today and she has a heck of a new book to tell you about. Oh, by the way, she’s also Linda’s talented little sister. Please welcome her to the Junction!

I’m so happy to be here at P&P talking about my first contemporary romance. Thank you for having me. I’ve written four full-length biographical fictions about my life with country/western performer Rick Sikes. But now I’m writing romance and it’s so much fun. My creative juices are flowing in a totally different way.

One of my greatest joys in life is going to hear live music. I loved it as a little girl and even more now as an adult. COVID-19 has put a halt to all live music for the time being, but I miss it and long for it to return.

In Ghostly Interference, Jag Peters plays an electric keyboard. Music is his passion. He loves every aspect of it. He longs to play on the big stages to sold-out crowds. It’s the dream he holds and protects deep in his heart.

In a scene early in the book, he confesses this desire to Rena, then questions himself at his willingness to share that secret.

So, when his mother sets up a benefit concert and brings a man out of retirement to perform that Jag has idolized his entire life, he is on cloud nine. All his life, he’s wanted to meet his idol and now he has the chance. Little does he know this will change everything.

BOOK BLURB

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

EXCERPT

A local radio DJ personality took to the stage and slipped a microphone off the stand. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you’ll all take your seats, we’re just about ready to get this show started. Are you excited to be here?”

The crowd applauded and some whistled.

“All right! But first, I want to say a word about the charity you’re supporting here tonight. The Exodus Project has helped women escape from abusive situations for over six years here in Cedar Springs. And without your contributions and fundraisers like this one, it wouldn’t have the outreach that it currently does. So, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.”

Jag grinned and winked at his mother when she slipped into the empty seat next to Rena. Again, he had a strong feeling something was up with her.

The DJ continued. “So, without further ado, I present to you a man who has graced stages around the world, and we’re honored to have him here in Cedar Springs on this stage tonight, Damien Blue!”

Jag held his breath. The band came on first kicking it off with the intro to Damien’s first big hit. The high-energy straight-ahead rock, heavy on the backbeat sound, they were famous for poured out of them. 

The crowd cheered.

Thirty seconds later, Damien strolled onto the stage, guitar slung across his back, both hands in the air greeting the audience.

Jag felt Rena shift beside him and glanced at her to see her eyes wide and mouth slack.

Mesmerized, he focused on the man he’d admired for a lifetime. Tall and lean, he had a commanding presence. Dressed in black pinstripe pants, white silk shirt open to mid-chest and matching pinstripe vest, he could have stepped out of a fifties gangster movie. The fedora pulled low over his eyes and sharp-toed shiny black Spats completed the look.

People were on their feet, clapping, whistling and yelling. One woman’s voice rang out. “I love you, Damien!”

He flashed a dazzling grin and stepped up to the microphone. “I love you too, darlin’.”

Even under the fedora, Jag could see streaks of gray in his brown hair. He was close enough to see small lines at the edges of his idol’s blue-gray eyes. Eyes that held intrigue, mystery, and power.

When Damien shifted his vintage Les Paul Gold Top guitar around to the front and delivered a blistering riff, the audience went wild before they finally took their seats. Damien’s soulful whiskey flavored voice filled the auditorium.

Jag knew every word and every chord. He immersed his entire being into the music, unaware of anything else. He never took his eyes off his hero. The electricity he’d felt earlier settled down to a low steady hum under his skin and rang in his ears along with the amplifiers.

***

Tell me about the most amazing concert you ever attended. Did you get to meet the artist? I want to hear about it! I’m giving away one ebook copy of the book to two people who comment.

 

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Jan Sikes: Honky-Tonks and Flowers and Stone

 

When I was asked to be a guest blogger, I was thrilled. I have visited this sight often over the years since my sister, Linda Broday, is a founding Filly.

 

My next thought was,”What am I going to blog about that has to do with petticoats or pistols and in relation to my new book, Flowers and Stone?” It didn’t take long to come up with an answer.

 

My story is set in the rowdy honky-tonks of Texas in 1970; and back in that time, it was not uncommon for men to carry pistols (most often in their boot) and also very common to find ladies wearing a petticoat in the honky-tonk. After all, that was the best way to get a dancing partner for the night.

 

So, what I want to blog about is how that although time periods change, some practices do not. In the 1800’s music was the main source of entertainment. People worked hard and needed to have some way to relax and unwind (much like 1970). Alcohol was normally found to be a part of the event as well (much like 1970). There might be a fight or two break out (much like 1970) and two people might fall in love (much like 1970).

 

I’m sure you have heard stories about your parents or perhaps grandparents who met at a dance and wound up spending the rest of their lives together.

 

Then there were the saloons…now that’s where a big difference comes in. Women were shamed and ostracized in the 1800’s if they went inside a saloon, much less worked in one. In 1970, the honky-tonks thrived on the business women brought in because where there were women, men would follow and men drank, therefore spending money. All of the waitresses were women and in Texas, 1970, go-go dancing was a new rage.

 

In “Flowers and Stone” you will find young Darlina Flowers, a fledgling go-go dancer trying her wings out in the world, and a seasoned musician, Luke Stone, who finds himself inexplicably drawn to her. He has a strong urge to protect her from the rough honky-tonk world he’s lived in for a very long time.

 

As the story unfolds, they fall deeply in love and Darlina embraces the lifestyle, traveling with him and his band up and down the many roads of Texas playing their music. Luke decides to make her a part of his show bringing go-go girls to country music crowds. She is ecstatic to be included.  

 

I loved weaving some of Texas music’s history throughout the story and noted often how people came in great numbers to hear the band.

 

This is a true story based on my life with my husband, Rick Sikes. The band was Rick Sikes and The Rhythm Rebels, and they played in most of the honky-tonks, military bases, rodeos and even high school dances all over Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and on out to California. They must have traveled at least a million miles over the many years they played. Here are some pictures of Rick and the band and of him dressed in his confederate uniform that he loved.

 

Music brings people together and it doesn’t matter if you are making it or listening to it. The energy of music draws people into the emotion of the song. Sometimes it is the person making the music who draws people in, but it always captures our attention and sometimes even a little part of our soul. There is nothing better than true “soul” music and that is simply music that touches us.

 

I’ve really enjoyed reading some of the recent blogs on this site that shared what particular song the writer listens to while writing, or the history of a song that we’ve heard all our lives.

 

It truly is the universal language and remains as important today as it was 200 years ago. Some things won’t ever change….

 

Please click HERE to watch my book video. Rick is singing the song we used.


Tell me your favorite Honky-Tonk story for a chance to win an autographed copy of FLOWERS AND STONE.

 

FLOWERS AND STONE is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, My Texas Books, and through www.JanSikes.com.

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Jan began writing poetry at a young age, which coupled with her passion for music led to songwriting. She’s an accomplished singer and guitar player and she’s written a screenplay in addition to her first novel. You can visit her at www.JanSikes.com.