Guest Post: J.W. Nicklaus

When I first came to WordPress I did what I suspect most people do pre-blogging—I did some ‘reading around.’ If you’ve never ‘read around’ then you’re missing out; it’s much less complicated than other ‘around’ activities and the worst thing you can contract is a screaming case of lost time.

Anyhow, I came across a blog titled SlightlyIgnorant. The name alone was enough to intrigue me. I couldn’t tell you what the first post was that I read but to this day I frequent her blog, and I am genuinely thrilled to have been asked to guest-post here. Anyone who has read my comments to some of her posts knows of my appreciation for her talents—yes, I’m something of a fan :^)

This is the first of two guest posts I’ll be doing for Ms. Slightly. Beginning April 1st I’ll be doing a blog tour in support of my debut book The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between. Appropriately she has asked me to relate how the book went from nebulous thoughts to bound printed word.

It was a stormy night, filled with the kind of thunder that makes the stars shake . . .

Okay, not really, but I’ve always wanted to lead off a story with something like that. Truth is I hadn’t the slightest inkling I’d ever attempt to have my stories published. Each time I’d write one I’d stow it away and re-visit it some time later, for revising or perhaps just out of simple nostalgia. What I discovered, though, was that when I shared this story or that, reader response wasn’t so much positive as it much as it was mostly emotion-based. This was a pleasant, if not unplanned, outcome; an ego-stroke, assuredly, but you didn’t need to spray me with India ink to make me realize the upside to such a gift. If I can make only one person smile, or another warm from the inside out, then how could I not want to repeat it?

I suppose the deeper question is Where does the inspiration come from? The easy answer would be “from experience.” The more esoteric answer, and more revealing, is that I draw from my personal well of hopeless romanticism. Where that comes from I can’t honestly pin down. Some stories are indeed based on actual experience: Blind and In the Name Of Love are two such examples. I could regale you with summaries of each one but then it wouldn’t be as fun to read them, would it! I will tell you that Blind stems from an incident that occurred one night as I left work. I happened upon a blind man who lived nearby but who wasn’t sure where his house was. Turned out we were standing right next to it. The oddness of the encounter prompted me to work it into a short story, mostly because I had the distinct impression I was meant to run into this gentleman.

Other stories, like Emissary and Winter Rose had their genesis in stories of utterly disparate narratives. I had entirely different ideas about each of them when I started writing each one,  and both evolved into something much more meaningful as I worked through them. Emissary, a story about a man who loses his beloved wife at sea, began as a story about a man who scales a suspension bridge at night only to sit atop one of the towers and question his life’s purpose—the original title was to be Bridge and Emissary. While I may return to the initial concept someday I am very pleased that Emissary is the first story in the book. Without a doubt it showcases my ‘voice’ and reveals a sliver of the romantic in me.

Winter Rose began as a tale about a man who’s capacity for hope had gone fallow, until he finds a solitary rose growing from under a blanket of snow. Suffice to say you’ll find no such imagery in the final story of the book, but I think the end result is far more emotionally gratifying.

Eventually I came to realize, after looking at a good number of short stories I’d written, that there existed a common thread of Hope that ran through most all of them. Some were just fun, some clearly uplifting, and a couple slightly darker. As the idea of querying possible publishers began to fester I lit upon the title and stuck doggedly to it: The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between. It is nothing less than fitting. While the idea of putting my words out for all to see can indeed be frightening, I have come to the calm acceptance of two key facts:
(1) Not everyone will like my style, much less the stories themselves
(2) Conversely, there will be some who do . . .on both counts

I hope that many of you will tag along this month as I make my way through this virtual tour. I can’t possibly dream of having the kind of readership that Ms. Slightly, <a href=”>Joy Erikson</a> (you’ve <i><b>got</b></i> to see the one-way glass toilet!), <a href=””>The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly</a> (she’s <b>not</b> a morning person, but she’s got a wicked sense of humor),  or <a href=””>Ugly Ass Opinions</a> (a veritable Zion of Common Sense) have. But I hope, in my own way, to entertain those of you who choose to follow along or even read the book. I’ve vowed to be as punctual as possible about posting tour stops on <a href=””>my own blog</a>, so I certainly hope to see some of you along the way! :^)

My thanks again to Ms. Slightly for the opportunity to prattle on about my book.


13 thoughts on “Guest Post: J.W. Nicklaus

  1. Holly says:

    Very nicely written J.W. 🙂 I am looking forward to “following” you along the way this month and looking even more forward to reading the book. I know firsthand what kind of writer you are… from way back. I hope that one day I can finally be able to tell you that in person.

    Best of luck my dear dear friend!

  2. HOLLY!

    You made it! :^) I’m absolutely tickled that you not only made it here, but you’re the first one (well, besides Ms. Emily, of course). Thank you so much for taking some time to start with me here. When you get a chance, please browse around Emily’s blog here–she’s got some chops herself.

    I’ll be watching for you as I traipse around the blogosphere :^)

  3. I’ll be looking forward to your blog tour. Thank you so much for coming to my blog. I’ll be sure to follow you around. Good job.

  4. Thanks Joy :^)

    I read your blog more than I let on. I don’t always leave comments but I have long enjoyed and smiled when visiting your blog. I’m delighted that you’ll be tagging along!

  5. That was awfully nice of you to say this early in the morning ;^) Of course, you’ve been up a while by now. Glad you’re back home safe and sound from CA.

    At some point I’d love to have you and Joy interview each other. That would be intense fun to read!

  6. JW, leave a comment so I know you were there. I’d love that.

    Yes Ilana, don’t you for a second doubt we like to be here.

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