• JoyBussuAuthor

Sometimes being an author is hard...

For the most part, I am the happiest I have ever been in my life, I'm excited about something everyday because let's face it none of us is promised tomorrow and after surviving triple-negative breast cancer I don't take even one day for granted.

My mind is constantly in motion so when things are not matching my momentum it can be hard. The common misconception is you write a book, you get signed to a publisher, your book gets published and BOOM! Instant best-seller! I'm here to tell you that is not how any of this works.

Honestly with the thousands upon thousands of authors out there not to mention the ones in your exact genre, you are up against some pretty stiff competition so you gotta work and work hard to get yourself out there and fun fact in most cases that is not solely your publisher's job it's yours too!

I am blessed to have a group of amazing authors and pen sisters and brothers behind me that support me 100% but I still have to promote for myself and for me in the beginning that was hard!

Yeah, I talk a lot about my books but mainly to people I already know. Putting myself out there to be rejected by everybody on my pages and every group I post in on social media was and still is terrifying!

Just because you make a post doesn't mean anyone read it and just because you shared a link doesn't mean anyone is going to click it and if you don't make the top 100 new releases in your genre when you first come out? Talk about a letdown, it's tough!

So why do I do it? Why do I continue to release book after book with all this doubt and uncertainty lingering over my head? Because I LOVE IT! If only three people purchase my book and enjoy it then so be it, hopefully, I will get six new readers on my next release, besides, I love to get my new covers and seeing my hard work in print.

Being able to share them with everyone I can, yeah it's way out of my comfort zone but to be able to see that and say 'I did that' or 'I wrote that' is an amazing feeling and if that feeling ever goes away I know I am done writing, period.

So yeah it can be hard sometimes and like anyone else out there writing or pursuing a goal or dream, you do have weak moments and ask yourself is all this hard work and effort worth it? In my case, I would have to say yes. I'm not where I want to be yet but every day I honestly believe I'm one step closer to my goal than I was the day before. I will keep putting that energy out in the universe until it returns to me manifested, remember words and thoughts have power! So my advice to you is never give up and give it all you can, you will get there. It might not be in the crazy time tables we set for ourselves but in our due and perfect time, we will get there.

Well, that's it for today, I made my blog a bit longer because I wound be available to blog next week, I am going on a cruise to Cozumel with my beautiful daughter so I'm going to take a much-needed break and decompress I hope you all understand. Until then let's check in on Nikki and see what that crazy thing called love brings her next.....

Light and Love Always Lovelies!

Natalie L. Gamble, Author

Chapter 3

High school was a lot like middle school to me, I was still incredibly shy and the important on boys mind seemed to be about or involve sex.

I had come to the conclusion that boys were a waste of time and pretty much dedicated my time to my studies(even though I still hated school) and my newfound love for writing.

It was my sophomore year in high school before I even bothered to notice someone of the opposite sex again. He was 23 years old when I met him again. I was 15, he was an old friend of my brother Josh and my cousin Raunda was dating one of the rappers in his group.

That’s where our paths crossed, mixing and scratching for the Jam Masters.

“Raunda where exactly does Jam live?” It was a Friday afternoon and I was spending the night with my cousins.

My cousin Raunda had roped me into going to her new boyfriend’s house after school as we were not allowed to go out alone, in my family especially with my mom and Aunt Bettie, the buddy system was in full effect.

We had already been on the bus in the snow for over an hour and we still weren’t there, I was getting annoyed while she was checking her hair and makeup, she wanted to look her best and as usual she did.

They had been dating for about two months now and kept telling me she wanted me to meet him, why? I have no idea but I knew I couldn't avoid going with her forever because eventually Aunt Bettie was going to catch on that we were not together like I kept telling her we were I would be grounded for life.

“Nikki pull the cord, the next stop is ours.” She announced standing up and moving to the backdoor of the bus. When the doors opened arctic wind blew in and wreaked havoc on Raundas hair, I couldn't help but laugh.

“How long are we going to be there? You know I promised Tori we would practice her new song tonight.” I told her buryng my gloved hands deeper into my coat pockets as we walked.

Raundas sister Tori was two years older than me and Raunda and aspired to be a musician and was the one who encouraged me to write lyrics instead of poetry. She also was teaching me how to play the keyboard.”

“Don't worry Nik we will be home on time.” The wind whipped around us blowing snow in our line of vision as we walked. My feet were slowly becoming blocks of ice.

“Raunda I swear I ain't coming out here for this shit again!” She smiled back at me and kept walking. She was used to me bitching about the weather, especially when it was cold outside, I was not about the snow at all!

“I promise next time Jam will pick us up.” Raunda called over her shoulder trudging on.

“Us?! Girl please I am not coming back out here again!” I snapped catching up.

“Nikki please you know our moms won't let us go anywhere alone and Tori is always with Robbie or doing her music thing so that leaves you so come on.” She grabbed my arm and dragged towards a house with loud music you could hear from the sidewalk. Raunda knocked on the door still holding on to my arm.

“Nikki how does my hair look?” She turned to me and I started laughing, “Girl, you really don’t want to know.” I said shaking my head still laughing.

“Uh girl shut up!” She slapped my arm and knocked harder.

A tall man with a dirty shirt on answered the door, crust from sleep still in his eyes.

“Oh hell naw Raunda!” I hissed as she walked in, grabbing my arm.

“Shhh that’s their roommate Larry.” She explained leading me through the house.

“Their? How many people live here?” I asked leaning closer to her after we ended up in the living room.

“Three, now quit fussing.” She was trying hard not to laugh at the look of disgust I was throwing Larry.

“Damn near 4 in the afternoon and his ass ain’t even touched water.” I mumbled with a shake of my head.

I lifted up a silent prayer that my cousin would not be playing matchmaker.

I just couldn't handle that right now.

Raunda was sitting on the couch. “Damn girl can't you hear?”

I shook my head clear looking down at her. “Sorry I was thinking what did you say?” I asked.

“DO YOU WANT TO SIT DOWN?” Raunda over pronounced every word with a smirk.

“Smart ass.” I mumbled sitting down next to her elbowing her playfully my hands still in my pockets.

“Jam your girl is here man!” Larry called out from the kitchen moving pots and pans around.

“Wait till you see Jam girl he is so fine.” I rolled my eyes smiling and sighed. Raunda’s boyfriends were all fine, that's all she attracted. I was still shivering, shuffling my feet to get the circulation going again.

“Nikki are you ok?” Raunda had taken off her coat and gloves.

“No Raunda I am not okay!” I whispered fiercely, “My feet are frozen, I can't feel my face or hands and all so you can drag me to the middle of nowhere to see your boyfriend with dirty ass room mates!”

She looked at me like I had lost my mind but I was saved from her rebuttal by a tall light skinned guy I could only assume was Jam the way her face lit up.

”Hey Jam.” She stood up wrapping her arms around his waist. “Jam this my cousin Nikki, Nikki this is Jam.”

I looked up still looking hostile. “Hey.”

Raunda shot me another dirty look. “You have to excuse Nikki she gets a little moody when she gets too cold.” She explained.

I sighed and smiled up at Jam “Yeah she’s right, I'm sorry nice to meet you Jam, Raunda has told me a lot of nice things about you.”

He smiled down at Raunda and kissed her on the forehead. “Good to hear, nice to meet you too Nikki.”

He looked over her shoulder. “Yo Reggie come meet my girl and her cousin!”

I gave Raunda a quick look as the loud music stopped she was wearing a sheepish grin. Damn her!

A tall cocoa brown man walked out of the room off to the left, oddly enough he looked familiar. I started racking my brain as he walked up to me grinning.

“Nikki girl is that you?!” As soon as I seen him closer I knew, Josh! He knew my brother Josh!

He pulled me to my feet and gave me a hug. “Damn girl you grew up.”

I saw Raunda smirking out of the corner of my eye.

“Hey Reggie how have you been?” I sat back down on the couch wrapped my coat back around my shoulders. Jam cleared his throat after his gaze bounced between me and Reggie.

“Reggie this is my girl Raunda and I guess you already know her cousin?” He asked, looking over at us again.

Raunda was looking from me to Reggie, her eyes dancing. “So how do you guys know each other?”

I shrugged. “He knows Josh, he used to take us with him when he was learning how to mix.”

Reggie was sitting next to me smiling and nodding “Yep I remember that.”

“Well we are going back to Jam’s room will you keep Nikki company?”Raunda asked I narrowed my eyes at her, Reggie perked up.

“Sure that’s no problem we can catch up.”

I leaned down and grabbed my purse, “Please it's not that serious I can just stay out here and read my book.” Reggie looked over from me to Raunda.

“She’s cool go ahead.” I shot one last scathing look at my cousin’s retreating back this was not over.

“Damn girl you still have those pretty ass eyes.” I looked over at him and smiled. “You haven’t really changed much that I can remember.”

He nodded “Yeah, so how's your brother? I haven't seen him for a while.” I shrugged, looking down at my feet before looking back over at him.

“Josh is doing really good he has a baby now, Josh Jr.” I told him.

“Yeah? Ole Josh with a baby huh? That's a trip.” His eyes were roaming up and down my body in spite of my coat.

“Are you cold?” He asked with a little frown watching me.

“Yeah it takes me awhile to thaw out when I get cold.” I answered shuffling my feet again, they were at the burning tingling stage of thawing out.

He walked over to the thermostat and turned the heat up a little, “I hope that helps, so hey how old are you now?” He asked and sat back down next to me.

I noticed he had really long eyelashes for a man and he kept staring at me.

“Thanks for that, I'm fifteen, how old are you now?”

He smiled at me again. “Twenty three, you are growing up to be a pretty one.” He remarked, shaking his head still looking me up and down.

I really looked at him then tall, not too skinny, nice chocolate colored skin, brown eyes and a nice smile but his staring was throwing me off.

“What?” He asked smiling over at me, his hands clasped together in front of him.

“What? What?” I blinked, shrugging over at him.

“You were just looking at me funny.” He shrugged back.

“Oh no, I was just thinking Josh has a kid do you?” I quickly lied, trying hard not to blush.

“I have a three year old son.” He looked over his shoulder for a quick second and back at me.

“Reggie look, like I said before I have a book to read if you have something to do. You don't need to entertain me.”

He smirked and mumbled. “I would really love to entertain you.”

Whoa time out he was really trippin, I sat back on the couch and folded my arms, glaring at him.

“Nikki that came out all wrong I’m sorry, seriously.” I just looked at him with a smirk.

“Anyway I need to finish the tape I’m working on, you want to watch?” I shook my head in the negative.

“No I’m good I will just sit here and wait for Raunda out here.” I answered with a little attitude still.

He was watching my lips. “Reggie what?” I asked looking over at him frowning.

“Huh?” He asked blushing slightly.

“You keep staring at me you’re making me nervous.” I admitted shifting nervously on the couch.

“I’m sorry it's just I’m tripping off of you, I mean you’re damn near grown. Seriously you should come watch me mix like you used to it's cool.”

I shook my head,

“ Naw, I’m fine just go, I have my book.” I held it up for him to see.

He shrugged and stood up, “ Alright then, if you change your mind I'm right over here.” He walked back towards his room and I opened my book.

I was about two paragraphs in when I felt someone looking at me, I looked up and Larry was in the doorway.

“Excuse me sister I just wanted to watch TV out here would that be alright?”

I jumped up, grabbed my coat and purse and headed towards Reggie’s room. He was the lesser of two evils.

“I didn't mean to scare you off.” Larry told me sitting down on the now vacant couch grabbing the remote and digging into his bowl of noodles.

I called over my shoulder as I went, “That's ok, enjoy your show.”

Reggie had paused his music again when he saw me in the doorway

“Changed your mind huh?” He was standing at his turntables with his headphones halfway on.

“Yeah I hope that's ok? By the way what’s up with Larry?” I asked leaning in the door jam.

He looked concerned. “Why? Did he do something?”

I shook my head “Oh no no he’s just interesting that's all.”

He laughed, nodding in agreement.

“Aw he’s cool just dances to his own beat, you'd be amazed when he rhymes though.”

He moved his attention back to his turntables and started mixing again I was still leaning on the door jam.

He looked up at me and frowned, “Nikki are you serious girl? This me, Reggie, come sit down.” He slapped his chest with the palm of his hand for emphasis.

“And sit where exactly? Just pull up a stack of records?” I gestured pointing out all of his records with a smirk, they were everywhere.

He laughed and made a space for me to sit on his bed.

“I thought you were scared to be in here or something.” I walked over to the bed and opened my book again leaning against the wall.

He was watching me, adjusting his headphones “You good?” He asked.

I looked over at him. “Yeah I’m good go back to your tape so I can read my book.”

He smiled and winked at me and started mixing again.

“Nikki?” It was a while later and I had finally managed to thaw out when Raunda called my name from Reggie’s doorway.

I looked up at her from my book but didn't say anything, Raunda had her hair pulled back in a ponytail and had washed off her makeup.

I shook my head with a knowing grin. “You ready to go?” I asked closing my book.

She nodded. “Yeah otherwise the buses start running on the hour, Jam would take us home but he has to go to work in an hour.” She explained.

I dropped my book in my purse and grabbed my coat, the feeling of dreading the cold trek back home, making me moody again.

Reggie came from around the turntables. “I know you're not trying to leave here without giving me my hug girl.” He walked over and pulled me into his arms. “See you soon I hope?” He asked looking down at me then over at Raunda.

I shrugged. “Maybe, see you Reggie.” I walked over to Raunda pulling my coat on and waved at Jam, “Bye Jam, nice to meet you.”

I followed Raunda out the house and to the bus stop feeling a bit off.

“Nikki I’m sorry. I know it's cold and we should have left sooner.” Raunda said when we were climbing on the bus.

I shrugged. “It's ok Raunie.” I answered softly pulling my feet up on the seat looking out the window at the darkness.

We were at the back of the bus sitting by the heater.

“It's ok? Nik you always go off about being cold are you feeling okay?”She asked looking over at me in surprise.

I sat back staring out of the window. It was really dark outside. “Yeah I'm good, just thinking.”

She smiled “About Reggie?”

I gasped. “No! Just wondering how you do it Raunie.”

Her eyes grew to the size of saucers. “Oh my God Nik what happened with you and Reggie?” She grabbed my hands moving closer to me.

“Girl not that! I meant how do you know who to trust?”

She put her hand on her chest. “Whew, Girl you scared me! And what do you mean how do I know who to trust?” She asked.

“Who’s okay to date so you won't get hurt.” I looked over at her really wanting a real honest answer, hopefully it would help.

She shrugged “I don't know, I just do, why Nikki are you thinking about a boyfriend again?”

I smirked. “Nope just curious that's all, I do not have time for boys.”

She rolled her eyes.“Yeah ok you're so busy doing what? Making music with Tori girl please!”

“Raunda I like working with Tori and if a boyfriend doesn't line up with that then so be it.” I shrugged looking back out the window.

“Nikki it's been two years since Val don't you miss it?”

I sighed and rested my head on the window again wishing this boy/girl thing was easier, until Reggie not one boy crossed my mind this long since Valentino and it was bugging the hell out of me.

“Raunda come on!” It was freezing outside and snowing by the time we got back to our neighborhood and off the bus and Raunda had fallen asleep on the bus so she was dragging tail towards her house.

“Dang it got cold out here.” She pulled on her hood shivering. “Sorry Nik Jam wore me out.”

I grabbed her arm “We can talk about that later, but right now put some pep in your step it's cold as hell out here.” I snapped marching down the frozen sidewalk towards her house, snowflakes pelting me in the face as I went.

She kept dragging her feet so I left her about a half a block behind the whole way to the house and waited for her on the porch.

“Ya’ll hold it right there!” My Aunt Bettie was sitting in the living room waiting on us and she was pissed.

I looked back at Raunda looking confused. “What did we do now?” I mouthed to her.

“Where have you two been Nikki? Raunda?” I just blinked trying to remember the story Raunda told me we were using.

“Raunda I told you to be home by 8:00 it's damn near 9:30!” I shot my cousin a dirty look over my shoulder. She better start talking and quick I wasn't getting grounded again!

“Nikki did you hear me where the hell have you two been?” My aunt demanded while Raunda quietly pulled off her gloves and coat. My heart was beating in my throat!

“We went to Central’s game Aunt Bettie, Raunda said she told you this morning.” I said quickly when I remembered the lie I was supposed to use.

My Aunt smiled her knowing smile, we were so busted.

“So why did Tory get home from that game over two hours ago?” She asked sweetly.

Raunda’s mouth snapped shut and she looked down at the floor.

I wanted to smack her!

“Mom we missed the connecting bus plus Tori rode home with Rochelle and them.” Raunda finally found her damn voice and said something!

“Lie to me again and I will slap fire from you! Now tell me where you were!” My Aunt Bettie demanded getting loud.

I felt faint, that's it we are dead and oh Lord when my Mom finds out she’s going to tell my Dad, God in heaven this was going to be my last say on earth! I reshuffled the events before we left for Jam’s in my head and I took a deep breath.

“Auntie I'm sorry after the game we went with Tony and Patrick to the arcade and lost track of time. Tony dropped us off on the corner because the street is really icy. We knew you get nervous when Tony drives on regular days and that’s why we didn’t tell you at first.” I explained nervously pulling my gloves off and shoving them in my coat pockets.

Tony aka Antony was my older step brother he was a year older than me and Raunda and we all went to the same school, he was the exact opposite of Josh who lived to make my life hell, he loved hanging out with me and would do anything for me. I was going to have to pay him back big time for this lie, that is if she even believed me.

“Y’all are going to get enough of running those streets every weekend, especially when Tony just got his license last summer.” My Aunt rose from her seat and headed towards her sewing room,“Get out of those wet clothes and eat some dinner.”

“Yes ma’am.” I nodded and followed Raunda down the hall towards her room and the guest room where I slept when I was over.

“Raunda one day I swear to God, I’m going to kill you!” I whispered fiercely.

“Shh, she can still hear us. I’m so sorry Nikki I just really wanted to see Jam and I knew if I told you what time we needed to be home you’d say no.” She whispered closing her bedroom door behind me.

I shook my head, my murderous thoughts on hold for now.

“You really got it bad for this fool huh?”

She smiled at me blushing, “Yeah Nik I really love him. I didn't think Mom would get that mad.” She explained sitting down on one of the twin beds in her room.

“Well thank God she believed us.” Raunda said unlacing her boots. “Do you think Tony will back up our story?” She asked kicking them to the side.

“Crap!” I snapped and threw my coat on her other bed before sneaking back down the hall and grabbing the phone dragging it back to the guest room dialing my own number.

“Hello?” Thank God it was Tony and not my Mom.

“Tony where are you?”I asked quickly.

He chuckled, “Um you just called the house so where do you think I am?” He said getting smart.

I waved his words away. “No I mean are you near Mom or Dad?”

I could hear him moving. I assumed he was heading downstairs towards our family room.

“Not anymore whats up?” He asked quietly so no one could hear our conversation.

I took a deep breath. “Ok so after we left you guys I went with Raunie to see her boyfriend and we got back over here late and we told Aunt Bettie we were with you and Patrick after the game so if she calls will you tell her and Mom that’s what happened please please Tony I will take your chores next week.” I begged, listening out to make sure I still heard the sewing machine humming. Again, the thought of killing my cousin crossed my mind.

He whistled through his teeth “So where did you guys go instead? To some dude’s house or something?” He asked, sounding annoyed.

“Tony you can lecture us later okay? Just please tell me you won't tell Mom or Aunt Bettie?”

He sighed, “The things I do for you girl, yeah I will tell them you were with me.”

I squealed, “Thank you so much Tony, love you so much Brother Dear!”

“Dang you are willing to do my chores, that bad huh?”

I laughed a little. “Yeah, you have no idea, worse even, I will explain it all when I get home.” I said listening again for Aunt Bettie’s sewing machine.

“You don't have to do my chores but if this backfires you die.”

I cradled the phone on my shoulder so I could untie my wet shoes.

“Trust me, If this backfires you will need to get in line.”

We talked for a few minutes and ended our conversation.

I found Raunda after I took a hot shower in the kitchen fixing her food.

“Hey Nik wanna eat in my room?” That was her way of saying we needed to talk in private,Aunt Betties sewing room was in the den off from the kitchen and she was still in there. I fixed a quick plate and went back to the Raundas room.

“Hey so what did Tony say?” She whispered, I sat on the floor at the foot of the bed across from her.

“He said he would cover for us-again.” I gave her a deadpan look.

“Raunda how old is Jam?” I whispered looking over my shoulder to make sure the door was closed.

She finished chewing a bite of rice “He’s twenty one why?”

I just nodded. “Does Aunt Bettie or Tori know about him?” I finally asked after a few minutes of eating.

She coughed on her drink. “No I'm still breathing aren't I?”

I started playing with my food. Reggie was even older than Jam. I was out of my mind to be even thinking about that man, not boy but man!

She frowned. “What's wrong with you? You have been weird since the bus.”

I sighed and got up with my plate.

“Nothing just thinking, anyway I need to find Tori.”

“Nikki wait.”

I looked back “Yeah?”

“Thanks for coming with me I really appreciate it.”

I was leaning in the door about to leave her room “No problem Raunie.”

She had that damn Raunda smile that meant she was up to something.

“What are you thinking about Raunie?” “So Reggie is really cute don’t you think?”

“Raunda don't even think about it. I have enough trouble dealing with your love life!” I snapped

“I was just sayin dang.” She grabbed her phone as I left.

After rinsing off my plate and and putting it in the dishwasher I made my way downstairs to find Tori.

She was sitting in her boyfriend Robbie's lap kissing him like he was leaving for war the next day.

“Oh wow guys get a room!” I laughed as they jumped apart.

“Hey Nik when did you guys finally get home?” Tori was laughing, her boyfriend Robbie was blushing.

“Hey Tor about 45 minutes ago, nice shade of red there Robbie.” Tori’s boyfriend was adorable. Tall with long black hair, green eyes chiseled cheekbones, he was mixed with italian and black.

We hit it off from day one once I saw how happy he made Tori and he was crazy about her too.

“Nikki don't you have anywhere else to be?” He teased.

“Oh Robbie honey relax I just came to steal the keyboard from Tori so I can hear her new song.” I smirked at him.

She handed it to me and sat next to Robbie on the couch.

“Is everything ok? Mom was so mad.” She whispered.

I shrugged. “Yeah I'm just going to walk lightly for the rest of the night, I figure if I sneeze too loud I will get grounded.”

They both laughed. “So where were you guys?”

I sighed, “Ask Raunda I have already dug a big enough hole to drown in.”

She laughed.“Poor Nik. So I saw the changes you made on Now and Forever are you going to sing on this one?”

Even Robbie laughed,“Yeah right, I saw her freak out when I walked in and she was singing along to commercials while doing her homework.”

I remembered that day, I was doing science homework singing along with the jingles from the TV I had on for background noise.

“Yeah that was a little embarrassing, anyway I will listen to this and we should practice after choir rehearsal. Me and Raunda are going

to the mall tomorrow.” I headed back towards the stairs with Tori's keyboard.

“Hold on Nik.”

I peeked my head around the corner “Yeah?”

“Are you ready for Sunday?” Tori asked, smiling as Robbie pulled her closer.

I rolled my eyes at the thought, I had a song to lead at church this Sunday.

“Tori seriously I'm freaking out, I am not ready to sing in front of people but Aunt Bettie will kill me if I don't.”

She smiled. “Nikki it's not that bad it's one song you will do great.”

“Yeah one song with me standing in front of a microphone probably singing so bad that people will pray loudly so I stop.”

Robbie fell back holding his stomach laughing. “Nikki stop it, you can sing just stop being so hard on yourself.”

I shrugged and trotted up the stairs. I could write lyrics all day I just didn't want to sing on them. I headed towards ‘my room’, I could hear Raunda talking on the phone who I could only assume was Jam.

I plugged in the keyboard and listened to the new melody Tori created it was a light and pretty song I played around on the keyboard until I could duplicate a little bit of the beginning, then my mind started drifting to Reggie.

I wondered what he was really like, what he did besides DJ, and most of all why the heck couldn't I get him out of my head! He was like an itch I couldn't scratch and I needed to know why so I could go back to normal.

“He’s too old for you Nikki get over it and move on seriously girl.” I mumbled to myself and turned off the keyboard and grabbed the paper for my lead out of my purse.

I had made a half hearted attempt to practice it all week but I had to rehearse it tomorrow so I had to make sure I was ready. I laid back on my pillow and sang softly to myself before I knew it I had fallen asleep and it was morning.

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