Hello, everyone. This is Memorial Day, a time for us to remember those who gave their all for our freedom and our country. There will be no Mystery Monday post this week, but I’ll return in July with more mysteries, unexplained events, and legends.

In the meantime, enjoy the holiday and remember to honor those who gave their all. Comments are closed.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia (one of my own photos)

Jagged Feathers – @jansikes3 #NewRelease #RomanticSuspense #WhiteRuneSeries

Hey, readers! I’m excited to welcome back friend and fellow author Jan Sikes today. She has a brand-new release, the second book of her White Rune Series. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while and have already picked up my copy.

Please welcome Jan to tell you all about it.

Thank you, Joan, for inviting me to your blog site today to talk about my new book, JAGGED FEATHERS! I appreciate your generosity.

Since you are a fellow Texan, I wanted to share this historic piece of the story with you and your followers. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with The Longhorn Ballroom and Motel in Dallas, Texas, but a part of my story takes place there.

(Photo courtesy of Jay Lafrance)

First a little history. The Longhorn Ballroom was built in the 1950s by an eccentric Dallas millionaire specifically for Bob Wills. It was said he wanted a stage large enough for Wills to ride his horse onto. It is unclear when the motel section was built, but altogether it is a large complex. It sold to Dewey Groom in the 1960s and ironically, my late husband and Groom were great friends. I have a photo of Rick presenting a pair of longhorns to Groom.

The property changed hands many times and currently belongs to Dallas Developer, Jay LaFrance. I saw an episode of “Queen of the South” that was set at the Longhorn motel and it gave me the idea to include it in my story as well.


The exit sign came up, and her gut clenched. She (Nakina) was getting close. A mixture of anger, danger, and fear for what lay ahead snaked itself around her, almost cutting off her breath.

A glance in her rearview mirror assured her that Vann was with Bridger directly behind her, in a dark-colored van with tinted windows. The rest of the team were invisible but already assembled and in their places, waiting.

The sign for the motel loomed ahead long before she reached it. She didn’t realize this was part of a complex. A statue of a giant longhorn steer faced the street and advertised the Longhorn Ballroom and Motel.

When she turned in the entrance, her heart raced. This was it. This had to be successful. There was no other outcome she would consider.

A blue feather floated down and landed on her windshield.

“Thank you,” she whispered. “Grandmother, stay with me. Help me.”

In an instant, her insides stopped shaking, replaced by steely determination.

As instructed, she parked in front of room 110, left the engine running, and car door open.

After a deep breath, she squared her shoulders, strode to the door, and knocked loudly.

No one answered. She knocked again, reaching out with her senses to feel any vibrations on the other side of the door. They had to be there. The rune tingled against her breast. 

She knocked a third time, apprehension crawling up her spine.

Finally, the door cracked open.

A man with a long scar running from his temple down his cheek growled. “You alone, puta?”

She nodded.

He opened the door wider, and she leaned forward attempting to peer inside.

“Get in here.”

She took a step backward, shook her head, and her voice dripped ice. “No. Bring my sister out, and I’ll give you what you want, but I’m not coming inside.”

The man poked his head out farther and scanned the area. “No one followed you? Where’s the gringo?” He grabbed her arm and tried to pull her inside.

Holding onto the door frame, she attached a death grip. “He’s not here. I did as I was told. Bring my sister out and let go of me.”

“Shit! You are some kind of loco, puta. You think I’m just going to hand your sister over without getting what I want?” He released her arm.

“No.” She reached into the side pocket of the duffel bag slung over her shoulder. “Here’s the key. Give me my sister, and you’ll get the rest.”

The man jerked the key from her hand, and the skull on the end of the keychain glittered in bright Texas sunlight.

“You better not be bullshitting. You will regret it.”

The door closed, and scuffling sounds came from inside.

When he reappeared, a wide-eyed Adele stood beside him, tape over her mouth and her hands tied behind her back.

Were you familiar with The Longhorn Ballroom and Motel? Have you ever been there? I attended several events there in the last five years, but I don’t know if it is still operating as I haven’t seen anything about it in a long time.


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?










Unknown Soldiers #MysteryMonday

Hey, everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve written a Mystery Monday post. This time, it’s more history than mystery, except for the names of the three men interred in a tomb in Arlington National Cemetery.

I wrote this post for Veteran’s Day back in 2019 but decided to take off for NaNoWriMo. Since Memorial Day—a time in which we honor the men and women who gave their lives in service of our country—is later this month, I thought this was a more appropriate time to share it.

Changing of the Guard Ceremony

I had the privilege of visiting The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier a few years ago and was able to see the changing of the guard ceremony. It was a touching and somber occasion. Here’s a bit of the history behind the tomb.

On Memorial Day 1921, the bodies of four unknown soldiers who served in World War I were exhumed from American Cemeteries in France.

Army Sgt. Edward F. Younger, a highly decorated veteran of the Great War, selected the first unknown soldier from four identical caskets. The chosen one was transported to the United States on the USS Olympia. The remaining three were interred in Meuse Argonne Cemetery in France.

The Unknown was interred in the tomb on November 11, 1921, with President Warren G. Harding officiating at the ceremony.

In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill to honor unknowns from World War II and the Korean Conflict.

Two unknowns from World War II—one from the Pacific Conflict, the other from the European Theater were exhumed. Four unknowns from the Korean War were disinterred from the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.

Army Master Sgt. Ned Lyle made the final selection. Both caskets lay in state at the Capitol Rotunda from May 28 – May 30, 1958.

President Eisenhower awarded both the Medal of Honor. They were then laid to rest beside their World War I comrade.

The Unknown service member from the Vietnam War was designated by Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Allan Jay Kellogg Jr. during a ceremony at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, May 17, 1984.

An Army caisson carried the Vietnam Unknown from the Capitol to the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 28, 1984. President Reagan presided over the funeral and presented the Medal of Honor to the Vietnam Unknown.

On May 14, 1998, the Vietnam Unknown’s remains were exhumed. Mitochondrial DNA testing confirmed the body was that of Air Force First Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, who was shot down in 1972. Blassie’s remains were returned to his family in St. Louis, Missouri, and he was reinterred at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

A marker over the crypt where his body once rested now reads, “Honoring and Keeping Faith with America’s Missing Servicemen.”

With advancements in DNA testing, there likely will never be another unknown soldier. However, the three entombed in Arlington serve as a reminder of the sacrifice made by many.

Thursday Thoughts

Hey, y’all. Yes, I’ve gone from rarely blogging to a regular schedule. I had planned to leave Thursdays open, but yesterday an idea came to mind – Thursday Thoughts. I don’t know if I’ll write these each week, but I do plan to have a Thursday post at least a couple of times per month.

The idea behind the post is random thoughts about something that caught my attention during the week. They may or may not pertain to writing. I hope you will enjoy them.

A coworker once asked me where I got ideas for my novels. My first response was, “A very active imagination.” While that is true, I recalled standing on the deck of a cruise ship with a friend a few years back admiring the beautiful scenery. Except for our ship, there were few signs of civilization, but I knew beyond those mountains were tiny towns and villages.

People lived and worked in those places. I began to wonder what their lives were like in a place with such harsh winters. What did they do for a living? How did they survive (without going crazy) during the winter months where they saw little or no daylight? Story ideas began to pop in my head.

After we returned home, I came across this quote by Orson Scott Card:

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”

Last week I happened upon a story that deeply touched me. It was a story fifty-two years in the making. The story of a father and a son.

In 1967 Major Roy A. Knight, a US Air Force pilot, was shot down while flying a mission over Laos. He was first declared missing in action. Military officials later changed his status to killed in action. He was posthumously promoted to Colonel and received several medals and commendations. Unfortunately for his family, his body was never located or recovered.

Almost fifty-two years passed until February 2019 when discovered remains were positively identified as belonging to Colonel Knight. Last Thursday, August 8, his son Brian, a Captain with Southwest Airlines, flew the plane carrying his father’s coffin into Dallas Love Field airport.

A “water salute” greeted the plane as it taxied toward the terminal. People inside the airport watched with interest as the plane pulled up to the jet bridge. Baggage handlers stood at attention. Passengers inside the plane clapped when they learned what had transpired. Many tears were shed, including my own.

For you see, Brian Knight was only five years old when he last saw his father in 1967. And the place they were last together? Dallas Love Field Airport.

I have always had the utmost respect for the men and women in our military. They put their lives on the line so we might have the freedoms we enjoy (and often take for granted). Colonel Knight’s story reminded me of the sacrifices made by many throughout the years.

Below is a short video of Captain Knight talking about his father and the trip “home.” Warning: you may want to have tissues handy.