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Today we are delighted to feature Jan Sike’s book, The Convict and the Rose
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THE CONVICT AND THE ROSE
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT?
When Texas veteran musician, Luke Stone, finds himself behind bars with a seventy-five year prison 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 dancehalls 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.
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 inspires hope and shows 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.
This is a true story.
ALONG WITH EACH BOOK, A MUSIC CD OF ORIGINAL RICK SIKES MUSIC IS RELEASED!
Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels – Early Recordings accompanies Flowers and Stone
Rick Sikes and the Survivors and Jamie Richards – Forty Foot High accompanies The Convict and the Rose
HOW DOES THE BOOK START?
“They locked me in a tiny cell, made my life a miserable hell.”
The stone cold gray walls and unforgiving steps leading to Leavenworth Penitentiary spared no welcome to Luke Stone as he descended from the prison bus.
Iron ankle chains chafed his skin and the heavy handcuffs and belly chain bit into his wrists. He hopped from the bottom step to the ground and cast a wary glance at his destination.
The man ahead of him stumbled and fell to his knees. The guard quickly prodded him with his night stick. “Get up, convict. No lagging behind.”
Luke gritted his teeth and tightened his jaw but remained in line.
The formidable steps grew as he went. Thirty-seven…thirty-eight…The chains gnawed at the skin around his ankles…number forty-two. The massive doors groaned open, ready to swallow his life as he passed through.
Guards escorted the prisoners through a total of six heavy metal doors leading deeper into the belly of the prison. They slammed shut with a deadly ring that echoed off the stone walls.
Jaw set, eyes as hard as the steel that held him captive, Luke shuffled forward.
Armed guards stood with pointed guns, ready to fire at any sign of aggression as they lined the new prisoners up in military fashion.
Luke glared as a lieutenant removed his chains. “Welcome to Leavenworth Penitentiary, boys. You’re in admissions and orientation.” A captain walked down the line looking each convict in the eye. “This is gonna be your home for a while, so I suggest you treat it as such.”
Luke didn’t blink when the man paused in front of him. He’d never think of this prison as home. Thoughts of his family back in Texas crowded his mind, leaving an incurable ache inside his chest.
How could he have let himself get so reckless and uncaring? He’d been a damn fool to get caught in the tangled mess that landed him behind bars.
The words from the aging judge still echoed in his brain. “Luther Martin Stone, I hereby sentence you to twenty-five years in the federal penitentiary for armed bank robbery. This sentence is to run concurrently with the fifty year State of Texas sentence you already have.”
Shit! That was a lifetime. He longed for freedom and the open sky. His identity now consisted of a number, 87047-132. The last three digits indicated where the arrest and conviction took place. He guessed the first part of the number was simply the next available in line.
MEET SOME OF THE CAST
Luke Stone is a successful veteran Texas musician and band leader accustomed to getting what he wants when and where he desires it. As he finds himself heading to Leavenworth prison with a seventy-five year sentence on a trumped up charge and conviction, he is angry, bitter and rebellious. It takes Luke a few years to figure out that he can’t change the system and faces a decision. Does he try to escape and risk losing his life, or does he change his attitude and become a worthwhile human being?
Darlina Flowers is a young naïve girl raised in a strict religious home and out in the world determined to try everything that has been taboo or forbidden. After meeting Luke Stone, she completely gives her heart and their romance blossoms into full-blown undeniable and eternal love. When he is convicted and sent to prison, she’s left alone and broken with no desire to find her way. How can she replace what has been lost? She tries, but every substitute falls short.
WHO SAYS WHAT
Luke Stone: Luke finally folded the sheets of paper and stuffed them in an envelope. Would she answer him? His heart raced at the thought of opening a letter from her and smelling her sweet fragrance on the pages.
“Don’t count on it, fool,” he admonished himself.
Darlina Flowers: Yes, it had been the one time in life she’d had no need to wish for anything different. But, he’d been taken away. That life was gone and perhaps gone for good. It was up to her to make the best of what she now had.
Luke Stone: In the magic of the music, everything, even the forty foot walls surrounding them, could be forgotten.
Darlina Flowers: She’d tried with drugs, alcohol, religion and relationships but nothing had worked. Luke Stone was as much a part of her as the blood coursing through her veins.
Luke Stone: “I believe that a person can rise from the dirt with nothing but determination and make it to the top.”
Luke Stone: “It’s a bit of magic I’ve learned. If you’re willing to work hard enough for something, you can bring it into existence. It all starts with a single thought.”
WHERE DOES THE STORY TAKE PLACE?
This story alternates back and forth between Luke Stone who is locked behind the forty foot walls and iron bars of Leavenworth Penitentiary and Darlina Flowers who lives in Texas.
The scene changes with Darlina as the moves around to different cities.
The scene changes for Luke only once when he is transferred to the Springfield, Missouri Federal Medical Center.
TELL US ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began writing around the age of eight. Her first writing was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing.
As she continued to grow up, she became an avid reader of books and that became her main form of entertainment. She recalls, “Many times, I’d be in the middle of a good book when Mom called for lights out, so I would hide under the covers with a flashlight and continue reading.”
The stories she writes (so far) are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart, there is something that is worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories…and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits the stories that she shares.
The Convict and the Rose, her second book, has been awarded the book of the year in the Fiction/Biography category with the Texas Association of Authors.
The third book of the series, Home at Last, will be released in late spring, 2015.
She is passionate about her writing projects and is driven to tell a story with the hope that it might touch someone’s heart or life in a positive way.
She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a deep-rooted passion for music
Jan resides in North Texas, has five grandchildren and in her spare time, loves to volunteer at Texas music festivals.
WHAT DO READERS THINK?
“I never thought a story written about prison life and a descent into the bowels of hell would grip me so strongly. But when I read the first lines I was hooked.”
“Jan Sikes has penned a riveting novel of self-discovery sparked by willingness to battle one’s inner demons regardless of outcome.”
“Amazing read!!! Couldn’t put it down… Stayed up all night to finish…. Worth every missing wink!!!”
“This book is quite intense, its a revelation about life behind bars for convicts and life outside for their love ones”
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