Friday, September 13, 2019

Yvette M. Calleiro's Author Blog: Meet a RWISA Author - Jan Sikes!

Yvette M. Calleiro's Author Blog: Meet a RWISA Author - Jan Sikes!: Hi, beautiful readers! A couple of months ago, the  Rave Writers - International Society of Authors  ( RWISA ) hosted a showcase tour of ma...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why I Write

            Why do I write? Why does a painter paint and a sculptor sculpt? For the same reason I write.
            I am passionate about my writing projects. I am driven to tell a story with the hope that it might touch someone’s heart or life in a positive way.

            The stories I write (so far) are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. I believe with all my heart there is something that is worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond it all, love…True love that you only read about in stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits the stories that I share through my writing.

            I started writing when I was a young girl, around the age of eight. The first real piece I wrote was a gospel song. I had an uncle whom I loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from our home. So, I wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is my first memory of feeling the passion deep down to my toes for writing.

            Reading has been a true love of mine from the time I learned recognition of words. I loved fairy tales and checked out the Grimm’s book of fairy tales from the school library so many times, they had to create a new card for it.

            Books transport us to places and events that we would never be able to physically attend. We can be in Paris, France or the Appalachian mountains or on top of the North Pole by turning pages in books. That is true freedom!

            Through reading, I learned about making love (Harold Robbins) and how to be part of a motorcycle club (a book penned by the legendary Sonny Barger). I learned how to dress elegantly and be the ultimate hostess. I learned about life during the depression era (Grapes of Wrath) and life in the roaring twenties (The Great Gatsby) and on and on. By reading, we have the opportunity to explore many of the teachings of the masters who have lived on earth (Ram, Buddah, Krishna, Jesus, Black Elk, Chief Joseph Nez Perce) just to name a few.

            What an incredible gift the written word is. It is hard to name a favorite author because my life has been touched by so many. I love all genres and formats of writing.
I get a thrill from reading Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Robbins because they dare to defy most every rule ever made about writing and it works for them.

            My sister, Linda Broday, is a published author. Imagine that…it runs in the family. She has been my mentor as well as my sounding board and  my inspiration to try harder and reach farther in refining my craft of writing.
            My late husband was a lifetime singer/songwriter and at fifty, he taught me to play guitar. My love for music along with the written word gave me the tools I needed to write songs and I absolutely love it. As a result, I’ve written a rather large catalog of songs over the years with many of them being recorded.

            Since our lives revolved and evolved around music, along with my book projects, I also create and release a music cd to accompany each one. The music matches the time period of the story. Perhaps this is a bit unusual, but it works for me.

            My first book, Flowers and Stone, is set in the West Texas honky-tonks in 1970. It portrays the life of a Texas musician and the lifestyle that went with it during that time period. It is a love story with lots of music history and events woven throughout it. Then comes the twist when Luke Stone is arrested and convicted of bank robbery (a crime he did not commit).
            The cd released along with this book is titled Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels – Early recordings and is music taken off 45 rpm records that were made in the late 60s.

            The second book, The Convict and the Rose, is due for release in the next week and is the sequel to Flowers and Stone. It opens with Luke Stone’s arrival at Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas and shows an angry, bitter and rebellious man. It take him a while to figure out prison wasn’t going to change him and he certainly wasn’t going to change prison. Determined to find a way to be positive and worthwhile in an extremely negative situation, he manages to crawl forward one tiny step at a time. The woman he left behind, holding his heart, tries to find her way in life without him. She tries many different avenues…From drugs to gurus to different relationships…none are successful. I won’t give away the ending of the story here so will leave it at that.

            The cd released along with this book is as dear to my heart as the book itself. There are twelve tracks on the cd and all but one were actually recorded inside prison in a crude makeshift studio. The title track was written by Rick Sikes but never recorded. Jamie Richards, a talented singer/songwriter in his own right, agreed to put music to and record the lyrics and the end result is the amazing rendition of Forty Foot High, which is also the title of the cd.

            So, now you know the story of why I write. I sincerely hope you’ll check out both of these books and while you do that, I’ll be working feverishly on the third and last book of the trilogy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kristen's Author Blog Tour


Thanks to Jan Sikes for nominating me for this author’s tour and also for helping me edit my short story “Lost in Space.”

1.What am I working on?

I’ve been putting most of my writing efforts into my short stories (at the expense of my blog I must say), which I hope to culminate into a book. Despite being a positive and stable person, most of my characters deal with mental illness and feelings of captivity. Perhaps writing about it is one of the ways I deal with that which scares me the most in this world. I enjoy writing about the dark of life in hopes that the fears and tribulations of my characters will resonate with readers and make them connect with broader issues in their own life. I do believe that we must see and interact with the pain to embrace and appreciate happiness.

I had a great success this January when The Sand Hill Review accepted my story “Lost in Space” for their 2014 issue, to be printed later this year.

When I write for my blog, it’s  a much different story. I’m all about exploring the world and finding revelations in new places, people, cultures, and beliefs. I travel a lot, so most of my posts are about places I’ve been, although lately they’ve been focused around my spiritual quest for happiness and Truth.

I also write reviews about fitness finds in Singapore at

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

In terms of short fiction, my work is unique in the simple fact that the author is unique, just as every other author is. Every story is different. I base my fiction heavily on my own experiences, encounters, and emotions and then expand from there.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write short fiction because it is a way for me to bring to life things inside me which cannot be satisfied any other way. I think in many ways, fiction makes more sense than real life, just as it can help us to make sense of real life. I’m always searching for Truth within a story. I like to make people think, and I like to hit people in their soul. It fascinates me how once a story leaves someone’s mind, is written, and then read, it no longer belongs to the author. It belongs to the reader, because how they interpret it and what they learn from it will entirely depend on the way they read it, rather than the way it is written. There is no guarantee that your audience will see the same things as you in a story. I love playing with the thought that my stories will be read innumerable ways, and it seems a bit less scary doing that with fiction than with non-fiction (although my next project will hopefully be a non-fiction book).

4. How does your writing process work?

Basically, I will be walking along day dreaming somewhere and all the sudden a story or a character will enter my head. I’ll give them a page or two of rambling, whether it’s dialogue, a character web, a description of their world, a scene from their childhood. Then, whenever I feel drawn to them I’ll continue to purge their story until I feel like I know where the story really begins and where it might head. I don’t like to plan my stories, because I believe that a reader isn’t surprised unless the author was surprised. I keep rewriting until I slowly get more information, revealing their true path. I’m shocked by where the story takes me. I love it. In this sense, I feel like my love of reading comes out in my love of writing, because I never know how a story will end when I start it.
Kristen's Website


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Author Blog Tour

Thank you, Linda Broday (insert link), for inviting me to come along on this Author Blog Tour!
Everyone hop on board and travel with us!

1. What am I working on?

I am knee-deep in the final edits of my second Creative Non-Fiction novel, “The Convict and the Rose.” This story is a sequel to my first book, “Flowers and Stone.” It begins at Leavenworth Penitentiary with Luke Stone, one of the main characters, arriving for a lengthy stay. He is bitter, angry and rebellious about being convicted of a crime he did not commit. The other main character, Darlina Flowers, left alone without the man who holds her heart, flounders at the task of trying to live without Luke. Throughout this story, we see tremendous growth in both characters as they face what would appear to be insurmountable obstacles...From literal shackles and chains to drugs and a guru.


Along with each book I write, I release a music CD of authentic and original music. “Forty Foot High” is the CD that accompanies “The Convict and the Rose.” It is a compilation of music that was recorded in a makeshift studio inside Leavenworth Penitentiary. The title song is the only track not recorded in prison. All of the songs on this CD were written by Rick Sikes. The title song is performed by Jamie Richards, who is a talented singer/songwriter in his own right. (Check out the samples on my web-page

1. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My work differs from other Creative Non-fiction stories in that they contain characters and dialog written in fiction form. Because the stories are very personal, it was the only way I could separate myself enough to actually write them. Even though they are true stories, they are entertaining and contain all of the elements of fiction writing. The fact that I produce music to accompany each book is also unique and something I absolutely love doing!

2. Why do I write what I do?

The main characters of my stories are Rick Sikes (my late husband aka Luke Stone) and myself (aka Darlina Flowers). Our story is unique and for years, we were told by many people who came to know us that someone should write it. When Rick passed away in 2009, I began to think along those lines and searched for someone to do just that. I awoke one morning to the realization that the only person who could write it was me since I was the one who lived it. So, I took classes, studied everything I could find from sentence structure to formatting. The story is a series of three books and since I’m about to release the second one, I have one more to go. Once the three books and music CDs are completed, I will write a screenplay for a movie.
I love writing and will never stop!

3  How does your writing process work?

Since my stories are true, I don’t have to make up anything. However, for the second book, I had to do lots of research through archives of letters, newspaper and magazine articles and even contacted a prison official for some information, as I was not physically locked up with Rick.
All of that being said, once I am finished with “our” story, I would like to try my hand at fiction writing.

Up Friday, March 28th is Kristen Smith!

Kristen Smith at is an American girl living and teaching abroad. Words and travel are her passion.

Kenny L. Mitchell, Author of the Loves Me Not trilogy will be blogging during the week of April 6th at

Charlotte Ann Moore, author of “Preserved for a Purpose,” will follow. She has been elevating audiences one set of ears at a time as a motivational speaker.