New Release: Mountain Laurel Christmas by Jan Sikes @JanSikes3 #Christmas #countrymusic #christmasgifts

Welcome, friends! I’m back after my November break, and delighted to welcome friend and Story Empire colleague, Jan Sikes, to my blog today. Jan has a brand new Christmas release out ready to warm your heart. Be sure to look for my review at the end of this post. Jan is also doing a giveaway which you won’t want to miss. Take it away, Jan!

Giveaway Christmas banner with pine cones, Christmas bulbs and Christmas lights. Giveaway for $20 gift card

What’s in a name? 

Anytime we create a story, readers can often visualize a character simply from their name. 

My character in Mountain Laurel Christmas has three names, and each one affects his personality differently. 

First, his given name, Norbert Angus Roberts, paints a picture of a character unsure of himself and subjected to lots of teasing in his growing-up years.


No kid should have to go through life as Norbert Angus. If I lived to be a hundred years old, I’d never understand what possessed Mama and Papa. At least, Papa had shortened it to Bert, but that wasn’t much better in my way of thinking. I took a lot of teasing from the other mountain kids.

Then when he arrives in Nashville, chasing a dream, he introduces himself as Andy Roberts. 

But that name is short-lived.


 As soon as she hired me, Corinna decided to change my name.

“You’ve got hair as black as coal, and your eyes are as dark as night. I think your stage name should be Cole Knight.”

So, my character became Cole Knight. 

If you are familiar with the music business, you’ll find many artists taking on fake stage names. 

In the country music world, some of the most notable are:

Conway Twitty – Harold Lloyd Jenkins 

Johnny Paycheck – Donald Eugene Lytle

Johnny Bush – John B. Shin

Tim McGraw – Samuel Timothy Smith

Patsy Cline – Virginia Patterson Hensley

Can you think of others? If you created a pen name for yourself, what would it be? 

Teaser ad for Mountain Laurel Christmas by Jan Sikes so ebook on snowy background with Christmas candles and gold star in front


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?  




Bio box for author Jan Sikes


Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you want a feel-good Christmas story, look no further. Cole Knight is a music superstar with the world at his feet. He has everything he could possibly ever want or need but his heart is hollow. With Christmas around the corner, he finds himself thinking back to his poverty-stricken childhood when times were hard but love of family made life worth living. In the decades since, he’s lost touch with his sister and has no idea what’s become of his younger brother. Circumstances conspire in such a way to give him a second chance and help him rediscover the connections he’s lost.

Told with heart, this is a story that shines a light on what matters most in life. It’s rife with emotion, memories, and the idea of recapturing lost chances. I love how the author brought her characters to life while painting a picture that spans from backwoods squalor to the glitz of the celebrity spotlight. A quick read, this enchanting novella is polished, heartwarming, and all-around entertaining. A beautiful holiday gem!

Thanks for visiting to cheer on Jan with her new release. Don’t forgot to leave a comment below to enter her giveaway and wish her well with Mountain Laurel Christmas! If you enjoy heartwarming holiday reads, this short tale is just ONE CLICK away!

100 thoughts on “New Release: Mountain Laurel Christmas by Jan Sikes @JanSikes3 #Christmas #countrymusic #christmasgifts

  1. Great post, Jan! Names are such an identifier. For some artists, having a different stage name allows them to turn on/off that alternate persona and keep it separate from their personal life. For others, it leaves them feeling disjointed and full of a loss of self. Looking forward to reading this story! Thanks for hosting, Mae! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Names fascinate me. I never liked mine, maybe that’s why. It’s probably also why I spend more time naming my characters than I do writing the stories. (That’s hyperbole, but sometimes it feels that way. It does take me a long time to name them, and I often change them if they aren’t working based on surprises in character development.)

    Loved this post and love this story. Wishing you all the best, Jan. Thanks for hosting, Mae.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree, Staci. Names fascinate me, too, and from the perspective of numerology, changing your name can change the whole course of your life. I am not sure any of us like our names. 🙂 That’s just the way it goes. I am Janice, but my older sister is the one who shortened it to Jan. However, there are still family members that call me Janice. Like you, I find myself changing characters’ names even after I’m deep into the story. Thank you for your comment and your amazing support!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have a cousin (technically, my ex does) named Janice, and she’s one of my favorite former family members. I have nothing but positive associations with that name.

        I didn’t know numerology could help pick a name to change the course of your life. I should look into getting a better name. With my luck, it would end up being worse than “Staci” is.

        Liked by 2 people

    • I think Staci is a fine name. I guess I’m one of those odd people who actually like my name, but I do spend an inordinate amount of time naming my characters. I’ve also been known to change them if they’re not working. Eve Parrish (in Point Pleasant) was originally Avery, and Maya (in Hode’s HIll) was originally Hannah. Both characters made it clear the names I had chosen for them weren’t working.

      Thanks for sharing today, Staci (of the lovely name). I’m glad you enjoyed Jan’s holiday tale, too!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Jan – I love the questions you ask in each post! I don’t know what my pen name would be but I would need one because my maiden name and married last name are both difficult to pronounce and remember. Excellent post, Mae!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pen names are a Godsend when you have a difficult last name, especially for those of us who aren’t NYT bestselling authors. Names are certainly fascinating. I loved Jan’s post today and am glad you popped in to read and comment, Tessa!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I really enjoyed this book! Thanks for hosting Jan, Mae. When my first book was published I was asked by my editor if I wanted to change my name since there were two other authors named Jill who wrote for the same line. I couldn’t imagine changing my name. Funny thing, I rarely meet anyone named Jill, but suddenly there were two! Congratulations to Jan!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s an interesting scenario, Jill. I have to agree with you. You are the only Jill I know. 🙂 Kudos to you for sticking with it and not changing your name. Thank you for your recommendation and your awesome support throughout this tour!

      Liked by 1 person

    • What a fun story, Jill. I have never encountered another “Mae” but both my first and last name (especially the last name) get spelled multiple ways. That’s caused a few glitches, but nothing drastic.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed Jan’s post today and also her lovely book. Thanks for visiting and sharing!

      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s lovely to have you here today, Jan. You are always welcome on my blog. I really enjoyed your psot today, and of course, you know I loved Mountain Laurel Christmas. Wishing you all the best with the novella!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It´s amazing the names parents saddle their children with, no wonder they often change them. I use my own name for my books but I used to wish my name was Shirley when I was a child (because that was my favourite teacher´s name). So I played with Shirley Dale as my author´s name for a while. A great review of Jan´s book.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Shirley Dale is a cool name, but I like Darlene Foster better 🙂
      I have a friend named Darlene. It’s not too often you hear that name so it makes it unusual.
      I always felt bad for Moon Unit Zappa. At least, she was able to shorten her name to Moon, LOL.
      Thanks for sharing and cheery on Jan today, Darlene!

      Liked by 2 people

    • That’s interesting, Darlene. When I wrote the series of true stories in which I am a character, I chose the name Darlina for me. And the reason for that was hearing the story that my mom had wanted to name me Darlene when I was born, but my brother insisted that I be called Janice. So I changed it up a bit to Darlina. 🙂 Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Darlina is a pretty name. I didn’t like my name as a child but am happy with it now. Dale is my middle name, after Dale Evans. One of my best friends in elementary school was named Janice. It’s a good name and you suit Jan.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Mae, a lovely introduction to and review of Jan’s latest book. It is fascinating how names may change over time and even though Norbet has become the successful Cole he realises he has left his heart and soul from his childhood behind him. Mountain Laurel Christmas sounds like a tender and captivating book, perfect for the season! Congratulations to Jan and it’s great seeing you around on the book tour!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’ve changed character names often. In a recent short story, it took four tries until I found a name that clicked for the male lead.

    Another music star – Ringo Starr is really Richard Starkey. Technically not country, but he did do a duo with Buck Owens.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Congrats on another stellar review, Jan! You’re right about names and the images they conjure up in the minds of readers. But with Norbert, the first thing I thought of was the dragon in Harry Potter, lol. Thanks for hosting, Mae!


    • Using multiple pen names does sound like it could get very complicated. I considered using a different name when I released In Search of McDoogal because it was so different than what I usually wrote, then vetoed the idea when I considered all the various social media accounts I’d have to create. Ugh! 😉

      So glad you dropped by to support Jan. Thanks, Flossie!


  9. Pingback: WINNER! Mountain Laurel Christmas #BlogTour – Writing and Music

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