Ciao, amici! I’m delighted to host friend, fellow author, and Story Empire colleague Jan Sikes today. Jan’s work always reaches out and grabs me by the heart. Her latest is no different, a poignant tale perfect for the holidays. Here she is to tell you all about it. Please help me give her a warm welcome.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “all that glitters is not gold.” In this short story, my character has made it big in the country music world, and he has everything that comes with fame and fortune.
Yet, while he is living his dream, a deep part of him is empty, hollow, and tortured. A current music song playing on the radio has a line that says it all, “never alone, always lonely.”
Here’s a short excerpt:
The Grand Ole Opry has never felt so welcoming. Hundreds of music fans face me. Hot blinding stage lights, and the solid bass drum thumping behind me, give me an adrenaline high like nothing else. And have since 1969.
Six years. Yet, it seems like a lifetime. God, I feel old at twenty-six. But I made it to where I always dreamed of going.
Performing my music is the closest feeling of home I ever get.
* * *
I sing my heart out, then come back for an encore.
I close out the show, pose for the required photos, and hurry to change into comfortable jeans and a shirt, throwing on my soft leather jacket. Loneliness engulfs me.
Now I can have that drink.
Like so many stars, Cole is always surrounded by adoring fans. But they cannot take the place of genuine relationships. And loneliness is a constant companion, even in a room full of people.
Have you ever experienced that feeling? In a crowd, but alone? I am sure it can be exhausting.
About Mountain Laurel Christmas:
Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.
Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.
It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father.
It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family?
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Didn’t that excerpt just grab you? I know when I read that section, I needed to know what misery he was trying to drown. I devoured the story to find out.
I hope you find the passage as compelling as I did. Please take a moment to leave your thoughts and wish Jan well. Take special note of the last graphic. A comment and a share make you eligible to win an Amazon gift card. Good luck! Saluti!