Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Guest Post: J.W. Nicklaus Author of The Light, The Dark & Ember Between

It all starts at the heart . . .

An astronomer doesn’t just gaze at the stars; she looks into them, through them. The fledgling botanist hunches tenderly over a single daisy studying the petal pattern, then glances up in quiet awe at the spread of wildflower color and patterns present in a meadow full of flowering life.

What do they both have in common? A passion that drives them from within. It’s not something that can be taught, but that’s not to say it can’t be learned. Sometimes it doesn’t take much at all to start a flame anew from a glowing ember.

I’ve known plenty of people who have told me they would love to be able to write better, or even write a book they’ve always had tumbling about in their heads. For some it comes down to simple lack of confidence, while for others it may be fear of rejection. Both only need to be acknowledged and accepted. It’s that easy, and that complex. But like the amateur stargazer or budding botanist, all you really need is that inner voice urging you forward. Somebody, somewhere, will love to read your story, whatever form it may take—not everybody, but if you make so much as one person smile, think, or feel, then isn’t that worth all the effort?

What if you haven’t so much as written the first sentence of your tale? Don’t worry about that, for I guarantee it’s safely stowed and locked away in a tiny sanctuary in your heart. You’ll find it again, I promise. In the meantime read anything and everything. Read what interests you, read for information, read for the sheer pleasure of the act. Most importantly, read with an open mind. Then, if you have the opportunity, discuss what you’ve read with others. The internet is one place to start with if you prefer some level of anonymity. Look for forums or bulletin boards that pertain to your current obsession; it doesn’t matter if it’s discourse on the variants of butter pound cake recipes or heated debate over the virtues of rice paper over tissue paper for origami. Get involved! Search your local newspaper (if you still have one *sigh*) for interest groups that pertain to your particular pursuit.

Reading or writing groups are great for learning the ins and outs of writing. They can seem a bit intimidating at first, but if you remain open to it, and positively constructive, then you can glean an amazing amount from those who have been in your shoes at some point or other.

Next arises a really interesting phenomenon: the urge to write will come to you, unbidden, at the strangest times, moreso as you start writing more often. You’ll be driving and see something, or hear something on the radio that will fire a spark, make some cerebral synapse flare. To pay it disregard is to cheat yourself from exercising your passion. Write as often as you can, as often as you read if possible. Remember, not everything you write will be for public consumption (unless you want it to be). The mere act of writing strengthens links which were once weak.

“Okay,” you say, “I’ve read all my life, and I’ve been trying to write. When do I become an author?”

“When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, Grasshopper.” Simply stated, when you’re ready to be. When you’re comfortable enough to have others parse through your words and thoughts. When you can accept another approach and then re-work it into something stronger. When you can see through the words and understand their proper place in the universe that is your story. When you can see how every letter in your words brings forth the subtle color and evocative feelings that your paragraph ‘meadow’ contains.

You’ll know when you’re ready, just as the astronomer and botanist know. That little voice inside you will tell you . . . but you have to listen.


J.W. Nicklaus resides in a place not entirely fit for human habitation about five months of the year. No pets to speak of, only the apparitions from which all romantics suffer.

An Arizona native, he’s been from one coast to the other, and a few places in between. College brought an AA in Journalism with a minor in Photography, and a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications. His work experience has run the gamut from Creative Director for a small advertising firm in Tucson to a litigation support bureau in Phoenix (and assuredly some awkward stuff in the mix).

Snow has been featured prominently in his stories, perhaps because of the seasonless cli-mate he lives in. Nature was meant to be enjoyed and experienced, not hidden from the senses. So to that end, he hopes someday to live amongst those who are able to live through four true seasons, and not just blast furnace and warm.

He enjoys the occasional Arizona Diamondbacks game with his son, as well as watching him grow up. The experience of being a single dad has taught him far more about himself than he ever thought possible.

Within the expanse of every waking moment, he hopes his guardian angel keeps its arms open wide and heart ever watchful, for there but for one true Hope goes She.

For more about J.W. visit


A collection of short stories, each a splinter's reflection of the human condition, firmly centered upon our oft tenuous, sometimes tensile bond with Hope, and careening flirtation with Love.

Fifteen stories: From the wispy fog of a love lost at sea, to an orphaned child who delivers a present of her own during a war-torn Christmas. These stories are gentle reminders to each of us of what it is to be human, and certainly of our affinity for the slightest glint of Hope.


Hudson said...

Seems like an interesting author who has lived a colorful but yet snowless life.One must wonder how you can exist without snow but I hear it can be done. The book sounds intriguing as well. Great post.

Morgan Mandel said...

That urge to write hit me about 15 years ago. I survived 45 years reading instead, not knowing the author bug would bite me.

Morgan Mandel

thewriterslife said...

I'm sorry and I know he's my client so this will seem like some kind of promotional thing, but this guy can write. I've had him on tour all month long and you should read some of his guest posts. Jeff, if you're reading this, I'm still amazed at how gifted you are with the written word. And I want to thank A Blog of Books for hosting him!

E. Lopez said...

Fantasic post by your guest. I love the sound of his words. His writing inspires me. Thank you for allowing him to guest. Our treat!!!
Jo Ann Hernandez

Anonymous said...

I try to read all the comments left on my stops, Dorothy!

Your comment flatters me beyond description, it truly does. Given the sheer number of authors/writers who have fallen under your aegis over the last couple years--to see you state my ability to write as "gifted" is beyond flattering. It's a gift in itself.

JoAnn and Morgan, I am grateful that two women of your notoriety have been following and commenting on my stops. Thank you so very much for participating.

I often feel bad because I can't do the same for many others on tour--my schedule simply doesn't allow enough hours in the day to do so. But I've been plenty blessed and incredibly fortunate to have been taken under the wing of such wonderful guides.