Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blitz : The Heart’s Journey Home

The Heart of a Writer

I have eclectic tastes that spill over to what I love to read and the movies I love to watch. I’ll go on a jag and watch the same movie again and again, seriously, upwards of 10-12 times. My most recent jag includes – Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars (though I had to come to terms with Divergent’s Tris/Shailene Woodley dating her brother Caleb/Ansel Elgort in Fault – Hazel/Gus).

I’ve seen the following movies at least a dozen times:
Captain America, Thor, The Avengers (I’m a huge Marvel fan), i-Robot, both of the new Star Trek movies (with Chris Pine), Despicable Me, Brave, Tangled and Epic. I also love Turner Classic Movies, timeless black and white hits such as Hondo, the Great Escape, The Yearling, Sunset Boulevard and To Kill a Mocking Bird. Around the holidays I can’t get enough of Alf and all the various versions of A Christmas Carol.

I love books in the same way I eclectically love movies – all and then some. But isn’t that the best way we can be as readers and writers? In that eclectic means - a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources (bing’s definition) isn’t this what the world craves, if not needs? Individuals brimming over with diversity – unique, sporadic, odd, extraordinary, from the inside out.

As an African-American, who says I can’t write books where the majority of the characters aren’t Black? Because I have gray in my hair who says I can’t write a book where the plot and themes revolve around teenagers? Because I live in Michigan who says I can’t write scenes that take place in California or West Virginia? Who says?

As writers we take our readers on adventures many will never take themselves. We stretch their imaginations, introducing them to new thoughts while at the same time challenging the popular or mainstream mindsets and opinions of their circular worlds: suggesting there’s perhaps another way to see, to think, to be. At the end of the day we writers want to entertain, yes, but we want the reader to grow and expand too. That’s why I became a writer.

Aldous Huxley, writer of Brave New World had this to say - “Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”

That’s what I hope to do as a writer, pierce the reader to their very core. I want you to laugh and cry and get mad, and I want to make you think. I want you to think outside your home and neighborhood, your gender and age and yes the color of your skin. I want you to see the world around you through maybe a bit of a different lens, and I want you to realize that at the end of the day you and I really aren’t all that different. Ultimately, we writers just want to be your friend. 

The Heart’s Journey Home by Nikki Jackson

Publication date: September 12th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Goodreads: Click
Purchase: Amazon


California Blend Summer Vacation is the first book of this series.

As book one it introduces the three main characters: Tori Logan, AJ Reynolds and Kalea Kinimaka.

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.

The Heart’s Journey Home Book CoverTori, 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.


“I gotta go,” Tori said.
“I was thinking that for the first day of summer vacation maybe we could do something as a family,” Rachael faintly smiled. “When you dad wakes up...”
“Dad got home late and won’t be waking up until 4, by then it’ll almost be time for the bar-b-que so I’ll see you guys anyway.” Tori was talking and backing out of the kitchen.
“Then maybe you and I...” Rachael started but Tori cut her off.
“Look, you’re my dad’s girlfriend not my mother, we don’t have to hang. I gotta jet. I’m meeting AJ at Kalea’s.” And with that Tori bounded out of the kitchen and ran towards the front door.
Rachael sighed shaking her head. “How long?” she whispered.
page3image7752.png ¬ page3image7920.png ¬
I could really use a belt. Fin thought as he jumped from the porch, bounding over the five steps. Running down the graveled drive at break-neck speed he cursed the fact he was wearing tennis shoes - that along with the baggy, beltless pants was hemming up his stride.
The sound of shrieks and a male voice yelling at him in a foreign language didn’t help the matter. Fin tripped over his own size 12 feet, rolled and got up running. After gathering his wits about him he heard a muffled roar zoom past him followed by a streak of green. He was unsure of what it was but he was too scared to try to figure it out – he was running now – minus the jeans and a tennis shoe.
Fin all but dove into his Camaro thankful he’d left the keys in the ignition and not in his pants pocket. He turned the key and sped down the drive, kicking dirt and gravel in his wake. In his rear-view mirror he could see the crazy man chasing him with the longest, sharpest sword he’d ever seen.
Making it to the end of the drive, Fin did a complete donut, spun the vehicle around in the right direction and then tore off down the street. Tori had grabbed his errant shoe and AJ leaned down to scoop up the jeans, then the two of them tore down the drive after Fin.
Kale Kinimaka stomped angrily up the drive to the house. “You get in the house!” he yelled as his daughter Kalea was climbing onto her own scooter, a 1960s era Vespa 90SS, refurbished in a shiny hot pink.
“Daddy! We were just going to the Observatory,” she whined.
“In the house!” he ordered. Kalea shoved the scooter to the side and stomped past her mother.
“I hope you realize you’re hampering the exploration of knowledge!” she cried over her shoulder. Disappearing down the hall, a door slammed in the distance.
“Oh Kale,” Pualani shook her head.
“Surely you’re kidding me Loni,” Kale waved the sword toward the door. “Some boy comes to pick up my daughter and his pants are halfway down his butt?! Then he’s driving my only child away in some car and he’s already half out of his clothes! At the door! And how old is he anyway!” Kale stomped and sputtered, swearing in Hawaiian.

“Will you put that thing away before you cut yourself?” Pualani said. Kale looked at the exquisite sword forgetting it was in his hand. The Katana had been given to him by his father who received it from his father before him, and so on all the way back to the original owner – a Japanese Samurai.

Author Bio:

Nikki Jackson considers herself to be an Indie Writer, Journeyman and Traveler. She's camped out in the Grand Canyon just to see the sunrise over a stupendous backdrop and she yet dreams to travel to Mount Everest, not to climb any part of it but to simply stand at the North Base Camp and take it all in, in person. Nikki's love of adventure was inspired at an early age at the local library where she spent summers reading about young travelers going cross-country and around the world. She loved the adventures that took her out of the bottom bunk of her bed (her favorite reading spot) and had her soaring across the clouds to lands filled with wonderful and diverse people. It was then and there Nikki decided she wanted to be a writer - she wanted to have the same effect on people reading books had on her. The Heart's Journey Home is the beginning of the adventure.

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