Jan Sikes at the Bar – #SoCS

It’s Saturday, and we are happy to be able to rest under sunny skies after a day where winter was clearing her inventory of snow sleet and ice. We have a guest at the bar today (making up for the fact that we skipped January). In keeping with the fat-finger theme of last week, I apologize in advance for any anagram typos of skies and Sikes. Jan Sikes is our guest today, and we’re going to try to take care of Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt while we chat.

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘rest.’ Use it any way you like. Enjoy!”

If we were having a beer, you’d be in a mild panic.

“Dan, did you warn Jan?”

“Huh? Why would I warn her, David?”

“She’s coming today, right?”

“Yes. She’ll be here soon. Is the place on fire? What’s wrong?”

“Hey guys, I hear you’re having a guest today. I’m not usually working when you have guests. You want your drinks now, or do you want to wait?”

“Ahh, I get it. Hello Skippy. I think we’ll wait until Jan arrives.”

“No problem.”

“Just when I thought he was getting better, Dan…same old Skippy.”

“Here’s she is now. Welcome, Jan. Sorry about the snow. I know you don’t see much of that in Texas.”

“Thanks Dan. I’m glad to be here. We don’t see much snow, but it is pretty. You must be David. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“The pleasure is mine. I’m glad you weren’t delayed by this weather.”

“Hi there, you must be Jan. I’m, well, they call me Skippy. Can I get you something to drink?”

“Hi Skippy. I’m going to join David and have John Howell’s Bourbon on the rocks.”

“Wow! I didn’t expect anyone to know about John Howell’s Bourbon. Of course, you’re from Texas.”

“Um, yes, and I know John.”

“OK, that explains it. I’ll be right back.”

“Don’t mind him, Jan. It’s good to have another bourbon drinker at the bar.”

“Hi David. I’m glad to be here.”

“If you don’t mind getting straight to business, I want to start off with a question before Dan steals the show.”

“Go ahead.”

“I’ve heard…”

“OK, folks here are your drinks. Let me know if I can get anything else for you. Dan, please note my signature two-lime balance.”

“Noted, Skippy.”

“Um, excuse me, I ordered a glass of bourbon. What’s with the rest of these glasses? Are they all for me?”

“Yep, they’re all yours. I thought you wanted a John Howell’s Special.”

“No, Skippy, I just wanted a glass of John Howell’s Bourbon – on the rocks.”

“Oh, OK. Well, you can put some of the ice from this glass in the glass with the bourbon. I won’t charge Dan for the seltzer.”

“What about these cherries?”

“I’ll take those, Jan.”

“Fine, David. Now please continue with your question.”

“Yes. I’ve heard different people mention runes in their writing. I thought runes were ancient letters of a sort. For those of us unfamiliar with what I assume is a deeper meaning, can you explain?”

“Sure. You’re correct, Runes were originally an ancient Germanic Alphabet created by the Vikings as a sort of code way of communicating. Symbols have been found carved on buildings, etched into rocks, or painted on surfaces. Each rune symbol has a specific meaning.

“Over the years, the use of runes has morphed into a divination tool, much like the tarot cards. Nowadays, most runes are either carved or painted on small wooden pieces, gemstones, or rocks. I have one set of runes made from Coyote bones.”

“Thanks for the segue, David. Jan, ‘Jagged Feathers’ is the second book in The White Rune Series. How did you get the ideas for the books in this series?”

“I got the idea and inspiration for the first book when I was in the middle of writing my series of true stories. I couldn’t stop what I was doing and switch over to this fiction story, so I took some notes, wrote the first chapter, and put it away.”

“Did you always plan for it to be a series?”

“No, Dan. When I went back to finish writing it, I had no idea it would turn into a series. My sister, who is an accomplished author, encouraged me to think of it in that way and I had to find something that would tie the books together.”

“Dan, that wasn’t a segue. Perhaps now I can ask the rest of my question. Jan, are paranormal and metaphysical elements what you like to write? Are they just what you’re writing now, or is there a deeper connection that has driven you to these themes?”

“It’s definitely a deeper connection, David. When I turned to writing fiction, I knew I wanted every story I wrote to have some sort of message. Then I expanded that to include some of my metaphysical studies. I lived in Colorado for a year in 2012 and while there, took several metaphysical classes as well as participating in weekly group meetings. I learned so much that I wanted to share through my stories.”

“Are you finished, David?”

“Yes, Dan.”

“I didn’t want to change the subject. Jan, both characters in Jagged Feathers are artists. How does their art play into the story?”

“Vann is a wounded soldier, trying to regain his footing in the world after losing a limb in Afghanistan. He discovered a natural talent for carving scenes into pieces of wood he found along the creek bank. He also discovered it helped to quiet the incessant noise in his head. Nakina is Native American, and her grandmother taught her to paint on bird feathers when she was a little girl. It’s a fascinating art form. In fact, I brought some to show you.”

“Those are amazing.”

“I know people who attach significance to feathers and finding feathers. Are feathers important to you, or was it just an interesting character trait?”

“This question goes back to the metaphysical training I received in Colorado, Dan. To me, when I find a random feather in an odd place, it’s a sign that the Angels are sending me love.”

“I was looking at your blog, Jan. The title is, ‘Writing and Music’ – Can I go off-topic and ask about your relationship with music?”

“Sure David, or should I say, ‘no problem’ – just kidding. My relationship with music starts back when I was nineteen years old and met the man who would eventually be my husband. He was a singer/songwriter and had a highly popular Texas band. I loved everything about the crazy lifestyle of a musician and fell right into it. I never lost my love for LIVE music. It’s an energy exchange between the performer, the song lyrics, and the audience. I love all types of music.”

“Do you like all music or are there some favorite types?”

“Most people relate me to Classic Country because that was what my late husband played and wrote, but I love Blues, Zydeco, Classic Rock, Mountain Folk Music, Bluegrass, and everything in between. I don’t care for rap. To me, it isn’t music.”

“Well, those are seven kinds of music you won’t hear on the playlist here.”

“Don’t get me started, Dan. The playlist here is awful. You guys ready for another round?”

“I think we are, Skippy. And, I can happily add that, listening to Jan, I can easily ignore the music.”

“And yet you complain about it when listening to me, Dan.”

“Keen observation, David. However, back to our guest. Jan, the dog in Jagged Feathers is a significant character, what made you decide to include him in the story?”

“I love all animals, Dan, but especially dogs and cats. I think they can be a great way of showing deeper insight into a character just through their actions. The next book in the White Rune Series is set on a horse ranch. I don’t have an animal right now because I live on the fourth floor of an apartment building, but I get to love on my granddogs.”

“Jan, once again, from my review of your previous books, you visit the subject of war in your writing often. Perhaps it’s better to say that war is often in the background. Is there a message for us, or is it more a subject that you’re comfortable writing about?”

“It’s funny, David, but someone asked me this same question last night. I have absolutely zero experience with war or the military, but my heart breaks for the soldiers who give their all and come home left to struggle to find a way to fit back into living. How do you go from killing to bouncing a baby on your knee?”

“Well, I wasn’t involved in a war, but it’s hard enough to fit back in after coming home from military service.”

“David was in the Coast Guard, forever. I think it’s where he learned to drink. One last question, Jan. I think I’ve read that you have a regular job. I had to wait until I retired to even think about writing seriously, how do you work writing into your schedule?”

“Actually, Dan, I retired from the State of Texas in 2011. But because my pension and social security aren’t enough to live on monthly, I provide childcare for two grandchildren after school. It’s a win-win for all of us. I get to see my granddaughters every day, and my daughter knows I will give them the best care possible. She would have to pay someone else to do it if I didn’t, so she pays me. I do all of my blogging and writing in the mornings before school lets out at three. And it’s not uncommon to find me back at the computer when I get home at night.”

“Here you go. David, another John Howell’s special for you. Jan, another splash of bourbon and another Corona for Dan.”

“Skippy?”

“Yes Jan?”

“Could I get the rest of my bourbon on the rocks – you know, the rocks?”

“No problem.”

“Thanks for joining us today, Jan. I’m sorry Cheryl couldn’t be here – really sorry. Cheers!” “It was my pleasure, Dan, David. Don’t worry about the ice, cheers.”

BLURB:

Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann.

On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed.

A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks.

Will these two not only survive, but find an unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?

If you would like to read “Jagged Feather” you can click here to purchase.

126 comments

  1. Hi Jan good to meet you and hear about your book… How was your Burbon shame Skippy messed with it….is he an Aussie?
    David, Dan always a pleasure to join you guys I love the humour..and Dan fabulous photos 💜

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great bird photos, but you had to be very cold taking those. You and Maddie are hardy souls. (I’m with MuMu.) It’s always interesting to read how writers were pulled into their writings so today’s conversation with adult beverages was a good start to this Saturday. Thanks for all.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you could join us Maureen. It is fascinating to lean more about what goes into a story. As for those pictures, it was cold, but there was so much activity by the river, I couldn’t put my camera away. MuMu does have the best idea – lay in the sun, watch the world. Thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful interview with Jan at the bar. And your photos are fantastic. It’s amazing you caught the birds in flight, but the one of the little squirrel — extraordinarily precious. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Gwen. We have such mixed emotions with those squirrels. They are adorable, but they’ve done some damage, and we did buy the firewood for a reason (Other than building squirrel condominiums). I’m glad you could join us today. It was fun talking to Jan.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. A fun interview, Dan and Jan. I think you two covered all things Jan today very well. Jan’s job sounds like a dream. Also thanks for the several mentions. Best wishes to Jan on her latest. The photos were great, Dan.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Fun interview today. So nice to meet Jan and learn some of what makes authors tick. David was especially perky today. “No problem” having Skippy bar tending today. Jan knew just how to handle him! Now that’s a ‘feather’ in her cap!

    Apparently the birds and ducks in the park are working hard to get spring here. Hope they’re successful. The squirrel, or is it a chipmunk, poking out of the woodpile is adorable. BUT, they all need to be evicted. They’re taking squatters rights to a new level. Good luck with that!

    Maddie covered in snow looks so happy. And the shot of MuMu is fantastic with the blinding sun obliterating the curtains.

    Best of all is the reflection of Old Glory. Terrific shot Dan.

    Enjoy the weekend.
    Ginger

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Ginger. It’s great to meet you here at Dan’s bar today. I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview and Skippy added to the entertainment. We got it all worked out. I agree about Dan’s photo of Old Glory. Outstanding! Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. I’m glad yo could join us. I’m also glad I wasn’t seen as some odd bit of food by those birds.

      We will evict the squirrels after the inevitable transformation of the woodpile from winter retreat to maternity ward.

      Maddie loves the snow. Since you go out with Murphy, I’m sure you can understand our urging her to “focus!”

      I was glad Maddie didn’t disturb the flag reflection. Usually, if she sees I’m interested in something, she has to check it out.

      I hope you have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You had me with a dog being a significant character, not to mention art and feather signs. I ordered the novel for my kindle. Speaking of orders, that squirrel photo is adorable. I’m glad he or she has a safe, warm house.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Great visit! I need to put Jan’s book on my Wish List — I’ve bought so many books on your recommendation, I have to give my wallet a rest! Tell MuMu I’m with her: Bad weather is much nicer from inside.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. HI Dan, what a splendid visit with Jan you and David had today. I had not heard of runes before I read Jan’s first book in this series and I have learned more from her blog posts. I was interested that she works for her daughter, helping with her grandchildren. I pay my dad to collect my son from school and he does other errands and things that help me a great deal. It is great when families help each other out.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is so true, Robbie. Like I said in the interview, if I didn’t do it, my daughter would have to pay someone else, so it might as well be me and it’s a win-win for everyone. Thank you for stopping by today. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jan thanks for visiting with Dan. The use of feathers in Native American art and the meaning of found feathers are intriguing. Dan there is a bit more to see and hear than just the river at the River View.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Now I want to know if in Jan’s next book she will have an Irish Setter in it or a cat who spies on people through the windows…and a patriotic blackbird who guards the parks and flag? Now we know why Jan is the writer and I’m not LOL! Nice to meet Jan – thanks for hosting her. I’ll have to add her books to my TBR list!!

    Liked by 2 people

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