Excerpt from My Upcoming Novella

Excerpt from My Upcoming Novella

 

Dear readers:

Here is an excerpt from a WIP that I have titled, “The Misadventures of Melody T.”. I haven’t decided on a definite date yet of when I will be releasing the Novella, so make sure you bookmark my site and follow me on either Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for updates!

P.S. “The Misadventures of Melody T.” will be sort of a prequel to my debut novel, “Drama University”.

10th grade had to be better. It just had to. In addition to my social awkwardness,  I’m about 5’7, which is slightly taller than the average 10th grade female. I hated that I had no, shape. Although skinny with all this unruly hair on my head, I tried to rock it my own way.

Mikey thinks I’m a lost cause. But what does he know? He’s always been a part of the “in” crew. He’s in all honors classes and have applied to all the top colleges he wants to attend.

Besides the fact that we have the same last name, you would never know he’s my brother. I’m a complete introvert, a nerd and frankly proud of it. I’ve never seen a good reason to run my mouth excessively, non-stop like say for example Jerica Jennings who was in my history class last year. She never, ever shuts up.  However, because of my quiet nature I started getting labeled as, “stuck up”. It’s like being the observant one is a curse.

“The quiet, light-skinned girl with glasses,” Shannon said. “Nobody really remembers your name. They just be like, who’s the skinny, light skin girl you always hang with? I’m always like that’s my girl Melody T! I thought you knew.”

Shannon had a comical way of telling stories sometimes. Like most best friends we shared a bunch of inside jokes that no one knew about but us. We connect on a level that’s different from everyone it seems. It’s always been that way though.

 

Just as I exited the front door, the bus came whizzing past the usual place it stopped. Just as the bus driver braked, a giant puff of lovely, black diesel exhaust spewed from the school bus flooding the air. Racing up the block, gripping both the straps of my backpack on my shoulder, just then I inhaled. Just as I went to hold my breath, it hit my throat making me choke and cough instantaneously. I hopped on the semi-empty bus taking the first empty seat I spot.

 

Shannon and I met up last night, so we could catch up and see what we were wearing tomorrow. She was riding with Bree, her older sister to school. I had no idea how she had closed that deal, because just like Mikey older siblings were not trying to have deal with us younger ones. “I whined to my mom, about how much I hated taking the bus. So she’s basically making her take me to and from school for now,” Shannon shrugged.

“Your Breanna really think she’s somebody special, I said rolling my eyes. “I know right. She ain’t nobody that’s why I’m not riding no school bus. Sorry, Mel you’re on your own this year.”

Breanna and Shannon were almost total opposites, sort of like Mikey and I. Bree was the fast talking, fighting, short skirt, titties out, I have a different boyfriend every week type. Shannon was pretty much laid back like me but was outspoken like her sister just a bit of a toned down version. Bree and I never got along. She was a bitch, who hated me from day one. I often wondered if she harbored some sort of resentment from when Mikey and her dated briefly and he broke it off with her. I just tried to steer clear of her, period.

 

Laying across the bed,I watched while Shannon pulled several items out of her closet with the tags on them. “Any word on how Mecca been doin’,” I sputtered. “Nope. I talked to her like a few weeks after school let out, before y’all left for that trip but nothing recently.”

“Yeah, all she said was they had to move out, so she was going to live at her grandma’s,” I said.

“Man what happened I wonder?,” Shannon turned around for a second and paused from what she was doing. I shrugged my shoulders. We were just happy she could still go to our school for the time being.

Upon exiting the bus, I walked up the stairs, through the metal framed, heavy plexi-glass doors and stopped. I paused and took a step to right, looking around and see if anyone I knew was around. My efforts to look fresh for the first day of school a last minute, half-assed attempt. I had on a brand new white Nike shirt with a big navy blue swish sign on the front and navy blue basketball shorts to match. I didn’t like my scrawny legs. Thank goodness my mom let me get contacts over the summer. I was finally able to ditch those goofy-looking pop bottle glasses, with the turtle shell frames I had been wearing since 7th grade. I wondered if anyone would even notice. Things felt different without them though. In a good or bad way, I wasn’t sure yet.

 

Rolling my eyes, I proceeded in. With two quick glances, I scanned the large crowd that was formed in the front hall. I didn’t spot Shannon and Mecca anywhere.Walking a bit further I started slowly down the hall, walking around a small group that gathered down the hallway by the gym. Everyone displayed such a look of excitement. That “new” glow. A familiar feeling I was remembering from years past.

It was a fashion show of sorts. The oohs at the cute guys was a familiar sound. Some had bulked up over the summer or something as simple as a new haircut and outfit benefited them greatly. Walking past the gym, the familiar sound of squeaking shoes, screeching against the freshly buffed wood floor blasted through the gym doors.

 

Making my way up the hall, I turned to go to the band room. There I found Shannon standing with Brooklyn and Vicki right by the entrance. Shannon, Brooklyn, Vicki and I all used to be really close friends. In middle school, something changed with Brooklyn and Vicki. They started hanging out with some girls in our class who didn’t really get along with Shannon’s outgoing personality and my awkward silence.

I slowly approached the trio reluctantly giving a soft, “Hey”.

 

“When did you get here?” Shannon pulled her hands out of her jean shorts, reaching in for a sisterly hug.

“Bus, just got here a little bit ago. It took me awhile to get through the crowds in the halls.”

Standing to my right, I could feel Brooklyn’s eyes scanning me, from head to toe. Attempting to pretend that I didn’t notice the annoying stare she gave when I was around.

“I had those shoes last year, remember.” Brooklyn stood pointing casually at my new white Nike’s. Shooting me a look, she swayed her head around to Vicki, who gave a soft chuckle. I looked down at my shoes and then at her.

“They cute though. Simple, but cute,” Vicki replied shaking her head in reassurance. I still didn’t know why Shannon even associated with them. I rolled my eyes and shook my head trying to flee the situation when Shannon intervened rather quickly, rolling her eyes too.

“Ooooh, okay, anyways guess who we just saw though this morning?,” Shannon grabbed my arm, pulling me toward her then putting her arm around my neck. I looked at her bug-eyed expression and shook my head, “Who?”

I figured she was talking about one of the guys she was crushing on last year. This dude we called “Rell” or her ex she went with most of 8th grade and part of Freshman year named Jay.

She reviewed my face once more, then started shaking her head at me.

“Uh, you’re no fun, but I’ll tell you anyway,” she took a deep dramatic breath and paused.

With hand gestures that read, surprise like a gift I was opening. She exclaimed, waving both hands simultaneously.

“Oh my god, Dominic Davidson!”

I was thinking in my head, she couldn’t have been more dramatic about it. I felt my brow raise all on it’s own .Shannon looked even more bug-eyed than usual, now raising both of her perfectly drawn on eyebrows at me. All I could manage to let out was a low, “Mmmmm”. Brooklyn and Vicki just looked at each other. I couldn’t really tell what that was about.

I paused for a moment and tried to play it cool, shaking my head slightly to agree with Shannon’s excitement.

“That’s cool.”

“He’s still cute, girl just taller”, Shannon shrugged. “You’ll probably see him around here today.”

“Yep, maybe,” I said. Just then Brooklyn and Vicki finally walked away and I felt like I could have a regular conversation with my best friend. “ So, what classes do you have after this semester? I know you told me, but I forgot already.”

Shannon dug into her fresh new purple backpack, then handed me a crumpled up piece of paper, I could barely read.  We had enrollment for school only two weeks before, but knowing her she got it and threw it in the backseat of Bree’s car and left it until this morning when she realized she needed it.

 

Let me know what you think down in the comments!!!

Nicole Alicia sig

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Hopes & Dreams For 2018

Hopes & Dreams For 2018

This holiday, season was truly a blessed one. It was a bit hectic though. This was the first time in a few years that we bought gifts our immediate family. I think the deciding part, is mainly the most stressful part.

For me the end of the year also consisted of business planning for 2018 as far as my writing projects go and my vintage/handmade business Dear Alice Company.

This year was one of the happiest I’ve had since 2014 when my son was born.( But then 2014 was a challenging year as well! Learning to be a mother and recovering from sitting in the a bed for 3 1/2 months on bed rest was no cake walk).

What made 2017 great? (I shared it in my blog post, “What 2017 Taught Me“) 2018 though, I want to excel and take things to another level. I have been told that this means stepping out of your comfort zone. For me that makes me all antsy. To some it seems super exciting. For me the phrase, “stepping out of your comfort zone” spells fear and makes me say, “Aww, do I have to?”

But, to get to where I’m going, I see it’s going to be a bit of discomfort on the way!

This year, I’m planning to release a novella and start my YouTube channel that will be a supplement to this blog. To me it’s about trying something new. I had been contemplating this for awhile and had been given the idea by my Uncle and I was like yeah no. But like my favorite Basketball player, Russell Westbrook says, “Why Not?”

As a self-published author, entrepreneur, (not to mention mom and wife) I am the publicist, the janitor, the marketing team, the graphic designer and the copywriter all in one I become exhausted after going non-stop. So this year, I plan to exercise more self-care. Like taking at least a day a month to myself (which I found is necessary for your sanity as a woman).

Even though this year was good, I am aiming for it to be awesome in 2018!

No resolutions being made over here, just plans and goals!

What’s your plans for the new year?

Leave a comment below…

Until next time…

Nicole Alicia sig

 

The Debut Novel From Nicole Alicia is HERE!

The Debut Novel From Nicole Alicia is HERE!

Wow!

So today is the day…

I finally get to let the entire whole world read my baby, that I’ve been working on for so long “Drama University”.

I already wrote a post on the backstory of how this novel came to be called “Drama University: The Backstory”.

Since today is the release day, I’d like to give you, my readers a little something to go along with the release…

Here’s the Spotify playlist that I put together of a few of my favorite songs from 2002-2006, which is the time-period the book is set in, so I hope that you enjoy the book and enjoy this playlist!

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/prettynikki02/playlist/0YlDhBgaoNMHsHcBLaPBf9

Until next time…

-Nicole Alicia

College & Stress

College & Stress

 

As an only child and the oldest cousin, I was the first to go to college. My mother stayed home and went to college and my father only went away to college for a short time. I didn’t really have anyone to give me any real advice on how to handle a lot of stuff.

So when things got difficult, I had trouble managing. I didn’t really know what exactly to do.

At one point there was just so much going on in my life. Classes were getting harder, my relationship with my boyfriend was on the fritz for like the umpteenth time. My grandmother, which I was very close to underwent heart surgery and didn’t ever recover. On top of that, things at home weren’t great either.

Plus, it was college and like I mentioned in my previous post, “College 101: Making It On Nothing” money was tight. I was a broke college student, who didn’t have much cash to work with and tuition, gas money, food, etc. was a constant worry.

To put it lightly, I was overwhelmed!

School is hard! There’s no argument there.

Be very careful with stress during these times. In college, there is a ton of easy access to drugs and alcohol. It may seem like a simple solution at the time. However, we know what adverse affect this can have on your body and your life. It’s dangerous!

Plus, it’s only a temporary fix.

I’m not sure about you, but when I’m overwhelmed all I want to do is find a way to relieve my stress. Back when I was in I was partying was my solution was drinking and smoking. Partying and drinking was a easy way to forget all of my problems. Was it the best solution? Absolutely not! (Disclaimer: Hangovers SUCK!!! Hugging a toilet and making your friends bathroom, your room for the night is NOT cute!)

Here are some alternative ways to handle college and stress:

Sometimes going home for a weekend to clear your head can help. Being around family, people who genuinely care about your well being.

Find somewhere to just go and chill and meditate. Quiet, is hard to find on a college campus. You may live in a noisy dorm or apartment where your roommate(s) are always there. Even sometimes the library can be noisy. If you can find sometime to yourself to gather your thoughts. Do it. Maybe even a local coffee shop in town? Because who doesn’t love coffee or a hot cup of cocoa in the cooler temps?

Pray. I realize everyone isn’t spiritual or religious. But, I sure wish I would have talked to God a lot more in college. I usually only talked to him when I was in trouble, to very frank. Prayer in many different religions is the center. If this is something you do, do more of it!

Keep a journal. Even in college, while I was super busy and really didn’t want to write by hand because I had been doing it all day in class taking notes…I used to keep a little journal. I still have it to this day. It really only has a few pages with a sentence or a small paragraph of writing of my feelings, but it was helpful. Even just jotting down something small as to how your feeling can be a way to blow off some steam. I believe journaling can be very therapeutic!

Talk to someone. If at all possible talk to someone outside of your circle. If you feel like you need help, it’s there. Don’t be ashamed! Many universities have counselors on campus, who are willing and waiting to listen and try to offer some solutions.

Lastly, I want you to remember that this thing with studying and all the other pressures of college are temporary! Try to focus on the big picture, which is graduating and getting that degree girl!!!

If you’re in college currently, away or at home. How do you manage stress?

Comment below!

Until next time ladies…

-Nicole Alicia

Be Happy With Yourself First

 

Be Happy With Yourself First

I am odd. I love reading books and writing. I’d rather sit at home and read, than go out most of the time. I enjoy being alone sometimes. I am socially awkward. I rarely speak in social settings, because I am in deep thought or analyzing a situation. I am very slim and that hasn’t changed and I’m almost certain it won’t ever.

A lot of these things may be interpreted different by different individuals.

For years I was told by teachers and peers that I need to be more talkative, more assertive, more this and more that, less this, less that.

Now in my thirties, I just recent was able to accept me.

In previous relationships, I was told that I was weird, too closed off and stayed to myself too much. I was also told that I was needy. I was told that I was too skinny, too hairy and not pretty enough. Unfortunately, because I had all of the confidence knocked out of me by this bad relationship, I began to believe these untrue things about myself.

Another guy came along and told me that I was all that and that I was beautiful and wasn’t too skinny and that what I was asking for in a relationship wasn’t a lot or abnormal. For some reason I was looking for outward affirmation. But I needed to realize who I was and be happy with myself. Looking for approval with in your relationship or with another person is so unhealthy.

God made you unique! There is no one on this planet exactly like you.

Once I learned to accept me, I was able to say this is who I am. Love me or hit the road!

However, I had to realize it for myself. Sometimes it’s an on going battle because we all have our bad days when we get down on ourselves right?

It’s so important to learn to love yourself. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s so true.

If you don’t accept yourself first and who you are as a young lady. Be happy with you!

Take a moment between relationships, take a moment before you get into a relationship.

Don’t let anyone change you for the worse! You’re beautiful!

Until next time ladies, peace and love!

-Nicole Alicia

College 101: Time Management Tips

College 101- Time Management Tips

When my main character Melody Thomas from my debut novel “Drama University” was in College in the early 2000’s, there weren’t any iPhones or Google Calendars to keep track of all of her assignments and social events. She just used her good ‘ol student planner like she always had. Many people still use a paper planner. I know I prefer to!

Now days there’s so many choices to uses to stay organized. But this isn’t even about staying organized. It’s about being on your own for the first time in you life.

There’s no one to tell you when to wake up, when to eat breakfast, when to go home it’s all up to you (unless you have a dorm curfew, which I suggest you abide by).

College is a great experience! Enjoy it, savor it! I loved my college experience for the most part. I am a very disciplined person, but I still had to reign myself in and know when it was time to study and such.

I loved to party and enjoy myself like everyone else but I also knew and kept in the back of my head that there was a specific reason… to get that degree!

So with that being said here are a few Time Management Tips for you that helped me tremendously in school:

College Can Be A lot Harder Than High School! Do NOT say I’ll do it later too many times. It will turn into a bad habit. You’ll likely forget about that assignment that’s due or Quiz you have Monday in Econ class. Plan ahead and accordingly when possible. Always try to have your assignments done ahead of time so that you can go have a good time guilt free!

Distractions Will Kill Your Study Time! There are a ton of distractions in college. Especially if you live in the dorms or on campus! I liked to study in the comfort of my own room, but sometimes that wasn’t possible. I had loud suite mates and some roommates who preferred to have their music on while I preferred quite to study. It’s just hard sometimes to find somewhere good to study! If it’s not your environment, sometimes it’s your phone that keeps going off with alerts (Silence that sucker and hide it in your bag or away from where you can grab it easily to check it). Whatever you do, try to find a comfortable spot that fits your study style whether it be the quiet of the library or a student lounge area. Get somewhere where you can concentrate and get ‘er done!

If You’re Late All The Time This Is For You! In college, often times I found myself constantly rushing here and rushing there. Sometimes it was my fault, sometimes it was because I had things to go to back to back and couldn’t help it. But often times it was my fault. I rushed everywhere! I rushed to work, I rushed to get to class, I rushed to get to Dinner in the Cafeteria. You get the point. I just was pretty horrible about keeping track of time. Say if class is at 9 am, I would often wake up at 8:45 am and expect to get to class on time walking from the furthest end of campus. Instead of waking up a bit earlier, so I could get breakfast and get to class on time and not have to run I chose to sit in class. What often happened is I would forget something. A book, my phone, my notebook for that class. It was horrible. I didn’t learn until about senior year when I had to be at work at 8 am in the morning and had class all day I better have everything I needed for the day because ain’t nobody got time to run all the way back to my apartment to get what I forgot I needed.

I hope some of these little tidbits help!

Until next time…

-Nicole Alicia

 

5 Reasons Why My College Experience Was NOT An Episode of “A Different World”

My College Experience Was Not An Episode of -A Different World-

As a matter of fact, I don’t know why it would have been because I didn’t attend an HBCU.

I was actually accepted to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri although my parents quickly crushed any hopes of me traveling that far to attend school. I also thought well what if I could go even further. See I had set my sights on Grambling State University in Louisiana along time ago. I was a band kid back then, with hopes of going to a school with a dope band. My mother quickly explained to me that was too far for her only baby to be going.

Growing up  my favorite sitcoms (and still are my favorite) were Cosby Show, Fresh Prince, Family Matters, Martin, Living Single and A Different World. We watched them together as a family religiously!

I particularly liked, “A Different World” because being the only child and being the oldest grand child I didn’t have anyone else around me who had this type of college experience. My aunt went to Lincoln University in the 80’s and had some stories for me. My mother stayed home and attended UMKC and my father went to NWMSU, but stayed only a year. So I didn’t have much to go off of other than this show.

Plus, Hillman College not only gave the black college experience but it gave the experience of black kids attending college for this first time.

The show “A Different World” was so important to the culture then and now. It covered so many different issues and topics that still important to this day.

So, I’d like to share 5 Reasons Why My College Experience was NOT an episode of            “A Different World”

1. I didn’t go to an HBCU – The University I went to was in the city of St. Joseph, Missouri (whoot, whoot Go Griffons!) which has roughly 45 minutes north of my home in Kansas City, Missouri. Honestly, I was accepted to a few different schools, UCM, Lincoln University and MWSU. MWSU was the most cost effective and my parents felt comfortable enough that if something happened, they could reach me. I ended becoming friends with a few people who went to HBCU’s and because of this, I visited Lincoln Universtiy, Spelman College and Morehouse. So, I did get to briefly experience what that life was like. I don’t feel like I missed out at all.

2. Although I was light skin with “pretty hair”,  I was no Whitley Gilbert– Matter of fact far from it! It was through blessings of Jesus Christ himself, I graduated at all. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth and like many other students I went to school with, how you were going to pay tuition was a struggle from semester to semester. I didn’t even have a car on campus until my junior year. I had worked all summer to fix this hooptie, because the transmission was shot when I bought it.

3. There was no Colonel Taylor or Mr. Gaines I think the one black guy on staff when I started MWSU was a guy by the name of Mr. Karl Bell. He was about the closest thing we had to anybody like that, with wise banter and to keep us in line. He was head of the Black student group on campus and I think he left our school my sophomore year.

4. The guys I dated in college were NOTHING like Dwayne Wayne-Most of them cared academically, but some didn’t. Now that I look back, I think some of them were honestly just there for the girls and the partying. Dwayne Wayne was a borderline genius and I think all those kind of guys were taken or some how we never crossed paths.

5. My roommates where nothing like Kimmy or Julissa– Whew! I could tell you some roommate horror stories! But, I’ll save that for another post. Let’s just say, 1 out of 3 of my roommates was decent. Only one of them was older than me. She was very wise like the character Julissa and did try to steer my clear of trouble. None of them however, was going to school to be a doctor like Kimberly Jones.

My junior year, I went to visit a friend who attended Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. We toured Spelman and the neighboring school Morehouse. It was awesome, to say the least. It was a bit different, but mostly the same from what we experienced on campus in St. Joseph, Missouri. Just with a ton more style and swag! I actually did get to see that famous dorm they cut to and often showed on “A Different World” which was cool as well.

My character Melody Thomas in my upcoming novel, “Drama University” experiences college for herself, but it’s nothing like a sitcom!

Until next week…

-Nicole Alicia

 

My Summer Read: The Help

 

My Summer Read- The Help

I think by now everyone has seen the movie adaptation of the book,”The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.

This Summer, though I decided to tackle reading all 400 some odd pages of the book.  When I first picked this book up, I thought, “oh, shoot this thing is thick! It’s gonna take me awhile to get through this thing!”

I let the book sit for awhile, before I was able to find some space to pick it up and read nightly and often sometimes in the morning at breakfast.

I didn’t know anyone who had actually read the entire book.

I just knew I had to tackle this, because everyone knows the book is always better than the movie, right?

So this book takes place in the 1960’s in Jackson, Mississippi. Enough said. The south was known particularly for it’s racism during the civil rights movement, Mississippi in particular.

The movie went with the main character Aibileen, a black maid who worked for Elizabeth a woman who was racist as well.

I’d like to share with you what I liked about the book…

(WARNING: Their maybe a few spoiler alerts ahead for those of you who haven’t read the book!):

I liked that the author wrote from different characters perspectives. I am so attracted to authors that write like this. Terry McMillan is one of my favorite authors because she tells the entire story by writing from different perspectives. “The Help” switched back and forth between Skeeter, Minnie and Aibileen to tell the story. The movie just sort of told the story through the eyes of Aibileen and incorporated the other characters into the story.

It sheds a light on peoples backwards perspectives in the 1960’s which sadly today is some folks same way of thinking. Their is definitely a historical factor to both the movie and the book. The mentioning of civil rights activist Medgar Evers murder and JFK’s assassination being noted in the book, does give you a very solid time period and gives you a marker as to what times these were.

Back then talking ill of your employer, sharing stories with others and discrepancies with their employers wasn’t just a threat to their lively hood, their job, but a threat to their life and their families.

I love these books that have a certain historical factor to them because it makes me thankful for the life I live now, but also seeing how far we have come and how far we have to go.

I actually found the copy that I ended up reading at a local thrift store (hint: some thrift stores have some pretty current reads for sometimes less than a $1.). I often just pick up books at the thrift store, at different book sales and place them in our library. Then when I have time, or am looking for a good book to read, I don’t have to go out to the store and get one.

That is unless I’m wanting something that was just released.

Thanks for reading!

-Nicole Alicia