I am honored to have a guest post by author Nikki Jackson, who shares one of the most difficult things she's dealt with on her journey to being an author. Hugs and condolences to her and kudos for the courage to share her story. What a tribute, to immortalize Trey in her stories.
The Difficult Writing Path
by Nikki Jackson
I thought the most difficult thing I would have to overcome while on the path of becoming a published author was working full-time and trying to write a novel on the side. That ended up being easy. The most difficult thing I had to overcome while on the writing path was the death of my only child.
I’d only been writing the book for a few months. It was flowing like butter and I was on cloud nine. It was good and clear and I was writing pages everyday. I was having the time of my life. It was the Christmas holiday and I had two weeks’ vacation from work and I and my husband and son had all these plans – movies, visiting family, hanging with friends, spending time with each other, having fun. Christmas day we were all at my dad’s – about twenty of us and it was a loud, yelling, screaming, teasing, laughing mess. Trey, then 23 years old, was his normal energetic, outgoing self. We had the house in the normal uproar and it was simply fun. We got home about midnight and we were all excited about visiting family the next day, doing all this over again. Our son never woke up.
Trey had a serious heart condition we didn’t know anything about. It just stopped while he slept. My husband and I were devastated. Our only kid. He was graduating from Spring Arbor University the following year (they presented us with his Broadcasting degree posthumously at graduation) and he’d just finished an internship with Channel 2 and was hoping they would hire him once he graduated. He was a wonderful kid, never gave his dad and I any problems at all. He loved everyone – Black, White, it made no difference to him. He loved singing and acting. He enjoyed the heck out of life and he threw himself full-frontally, all in, into it.
We cried our eyes out. The shock was unbelievable. Missing him was straight-up painful. We closed his bedroom door because we couldn’t bear to look in his room without him there. I never realized how much noise that kid made – stomping around, always singing, he had a baritone voice that just boomed. Then there was silence. Awful, awful silence. Two years ago this Christmas.
I’m not sharing this to make you sad. I’m sharing this to help you understand that writing saved me. I want you to get that. I eventually went back to work and life just went on and I was a walking around zombie with my heart ripped out, crying on the side. Then one day I saw my writing pad and I picked it up and started writing the book again. I wrote with a vengeance, everyday, every spare minute I was writing. After a while I started living again. Joy came back. I mourned that wonderful kid. I still miss him, but there’s peace in me and joy.
I read the manuscript when I finished and laughed when I saw my kid sprinkled throughout. The geekie intensity of Kalea, AJ’s calm voice of reason, the resolve of Tori, her knowing what she wanted from life and her going after it – so much like my son. I was either going to write or never write again, that’s what I was faced with. I think my picking up a pen again was less a decision and more need and then determination. My kid and I talked about the book often. I shared with him my hopes and dreams and desire to be a published author once and for all. That was one of the last conversations we had together. I had to finish the book. I couldn’t let that die too.
The writing path isn’t always easy. We writers really do at times struggle and anguish to get that book to you readers. Yet when it happens, when we as writer and reader merge, the bliss is palatable and quite grand. It soothes more than you will ever know.
by Nikki Jackson
GENRE: Young Adult
It’s summer vacation, and all seventeen-year-old Tori Logan wants to do is hang out with her two best friends, practice her mixed martial arts and go to FBI spy camp. Summer means freedom (mostly from adults) and Tori plans to fill every spare moment of her last summer before graduating from High School with all the fun things she and her best pals can come up with.
Tori, whose mom died of breast cancer when she was young, has always relied on her own strength to get by - especially because her Archeologist father tends to leave her behind with his live-in girlfriend while he gallivants around the world on digs. Thankfully, Tori can take care of herself. She knows exactly who she is and what she wants to do with her life. Her Lakota Sioux grandfather, a former Navy SEAL, trained Tori in self-defense from a young age. Now, as a teenager, Tori excels at mixed martial arts and the use of various weapons. During the summer she will be attending an FBI sponsored Summer Camp which she hopes will lead to her dream job – becoming an FBI serial killer profiler.
With her two best friends at her side, Tori believes she can handle anything. And with summer vacation stretching before them, the trio plans to find plenty of adventure.
But while Tori is determined to be independent, life has other plans for this fierce young woman, and they include coming to grips with some hard - and surprising - truths about both her past and her future.
Tori was on Mitchell’s back, her right arm around his neck. As he flailed about trying to get loose, they rolled over which allowed Tori to cinch her choking arm under Mitchell’s chin. She clasped her left hand in her right and applied more pressure to his neck.
While he fruitlessly struggled she moved her left leg over his chest, then moved her right over the left shin locking her legs in place. Mitchell rocked helpless back and forth, but he couldn’t get loose.
The crowd was yelling instructions to Mitchell and to Tori. She bent her mouth close to his ear.
“Your choice Mickey.” she whispered loud enough for only him to hear. “I’m not gonna make you tap out in front of everybody, just blink your eyes.” she said. “Blink’em quick, outside of that you’re going to sleep.”
Mitchell felt his head getting foggy and he started seeing stars. He was grabbing madly with his hands but he couldn’t get himself free. He was starting to lose consciousness and he knew it. He would never be able to live down being choked out by a skinny girl. His life would be ruined!
While he still could he blinked his eyes with everything in him and he felt the hold loosening. With his last ounce of strength he rolled over shoving Tori hard, as far away as he could, gasping for breath as he came to his feet.
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ever since she was young, Nikki Jackson has loved reading and the way that books allow you to journey on wonderful adventures without ever leaving the comfort of home. She decided at a young age that she wanted to become a writer to enable others to experience the magic of books—and The Heart’s Journey Home is the result.
In addition to writing, Nikki Jackson is a contract worker for General Motors. She and her husband currently live in the Detroit metropolitan area.
The Heart’s Journey Home Blog is currently under construction and will be online soon.
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