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

 

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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

Hey Young Love

Hey Young Love

Young love sucks! Well, sometime.

Thinking back on it, I always seemed to have a crush on someone who wouldn’t even give me a second look. Ha, they probably didn’t know that I even existed. It’s a challenge for some of us who aren’t necessarily with the “cool” kids. Back then I really thought I was doing something. I understand now, I wasn’t necessarily “very cool” in school. I tried my best to fit in, but what my interests were, were normally was different than most. I liked to read, zone out to music, write stories and poetry. (OK, I admit I was a nerd and still am).

Young love can be so fickle and flaky, so vulnerable.

Everything’s so fresh and new, until one day someone says or does something wrong or decide they just want to date someone else. The next thing, you’re breaking up. Now days, it’s just even more complicated with social media and all. Who wrote what on whose wall and who liked whose pics. I can imagine having social media back in my day in school and boy, that’s an ugly picture!

In the early 2000’s when my character Melody, from my upcoming novel (to be released this fall) is in College, she has a pretty rough time with love. Being able to reach your boyfriend anytime, anywhere by cellphone was just becoming a “thing”.  Back in 2002, dating you had to pick up your house phone and return a call. If they weren’t home, they weren’t home and you had to wait for them to get back home to call.

This might be giving away my age, but it’s true!

In College, Melody is able to feel more comfortable to be herself though. However, dealing with missed calls, a seemingly confused boyfriend and the pressure to continue to be a scholar student in school is a lot. She’s finally came into her looks and all these different young men on campus, are actually taking notice. This is most certainly a distraction. For Melody, this is a whole new world.

Young love is wishy washy, it’s sweet and it can get a bit grimy.

So, moral of the story is don’t sweat it too, too much when that long relationship of 6 weeks doesn’t work out for you. There are other guys out there. I promise!

Heartbreak sucks too! But I think I’ll make this a whole separate topic.

Come back Tuesday for my post on heartbreak.

Have a great weekend you guys!

-Nicole Alicia

What’s Your Book About?

What

Well…I’m glad you asked.

Most of the time when I casually mention that I’ve written a novel, the next question is “Oh, what’s it about?”

Now for me, it’s hard to summarize my work for some reason with out telling the whole story and being my own major spoiler alert. I get so excited about sharing sometimes, I forget I do want people to actually buy my book, LOL.

I am currently working on the finishing touches for my debut novel to be released in the fall. I am still working on a narrowing down a definite release date though, so stay tuned. Be sure to follow me on this blog or Instagram for the definite release date, cover reveal and more.

Many of you read the excerpt from the book I posted on this blog Thursday, from Chapter 5 and the small piece I shared on Instagram.

However, I realized this weekend that I kind of started in middle with out giving you guys any context as to what my novel is about.

How rude of me I know, I apologize.

I’ll post an official book blurb later on, but for now I’ll just share a little about what the book is about.
My main character Melody Thomas, is starting her first year of college. She is very excited and is looking forward to being on her own. Up until this point she’s been pretty sheltered by her parents and is ready for a change of scenery. She’s expecting to have a smooth transition and wonderful time, since her high school sweetheart, Xavier is going to the same college as well.
 
Melody’s expectations are high. Coming off a great summer spent mostly saying goodbyes while hanging with friends staying back home and hanging out with her boyfriend. During freshman orientation however, things start going left and Melody is left feeling very confused.
This novel covers so many different topics. Some of the topics I’ll be blogging about and engaging YOU my readers in are:
Love & Relationships
Surviving Heartbreak
Friendships
Being Broke aka Learning to survive on less
and more
I guess I’ll leave it right there, for now.
Thursday, I’ll be blogging about young love and heartbreak.
Until Thursday, I’ll catch you on social media.
Thanks for reading!
-Nicole Alicia

My Novel Writing Process

My Novel Writing Process (1)

When I first got the idea that I wanted to write a novel, I felt overwhelmed.

I kept pushing the thought away that I could even be a writer, let alone write an entire novel. I thought to myself, who would want to read anything I have to written? But you and I both know if you have that attitude you wont get to far anyway.

When I started writing my first novel, I was 23 years old. I had been journaling and writing short stories off and on since I was about 5.

It was 2007, I started writing down my ideas for the story line. I knew it was going to be about relationships and school and that was about all I had. I kept thinking what else?Like, what was my story going to be about? Then I thought about who my main character was going to be.Then from there I wrote out some of the events I wanted to have occur and got more detailed about who my main character was and where she was from, etc. From there the wheels just really started to turn in my head.

At this point, I was using paper and pen only.

I love, love, love notebooks and journals (p.s. I make notebooks also and sell the over at Dear Alice Company). For some reason, I love the feel of paper and pen in my hands. It just feels more real to me. I am a bit obsessed with it. In the beginning, I would just keep a pad of paper on my desk at work and jot down little ideas about my story line or characters. At the end of the day I would tear off those sheets and take them home with me.

Even though I had a computer with MS Word on it, it was so super hard for me at first to just sit down at a computer and begin typing words onto this blank screen so I began writing my story in a notebook with pen. This turned into me filling up the entire 70 page single subject notebook with the first 3 chapters.

I would have loved to continue on like this, but I feared that if I kept going it was going to be entirely to hard to go back and type all of this handwritten mess. Instead I forced myself to type up what I had. From there I brought in my knowledge from past English classes and started a actual outline and kind of just filled in from there. I started like a I was writing a play and used Acts.

Yes, “Acts”!

If you’ve ever seen a playwright you have Act I, Act II, Act III and so forth and so on. I chose to divide mine into three different Acts and outline each chapter from there.

I know some writers don’t go in chronological order from the jump. I did at first, but then I hit a wall around say Chapter 5 which is the part of the beginning. I then started writing my ending chapter and working my way back and it helped me finish the rest.

Now I know many of you are like, “WOW it’s 2017 and you’re just now trying to edit and publish this thing?”

YES!

While I was writing this novel I had more than a few of life tragedies, health scares and the birth of my first child occur that have derailed me in my quest for publishing. I took breaks, had moments of why am I even doing this in the first place and time where I just let it sit for no reason at all.

Writing a novel is most definitely is a journey and not a destination! But, so is being a writer, period.

As with anything in writing or anything creative for that matter, you just have find what works for you. Disclaimer: This is only what worked for me. I am not writing a how to article just sharing my knowledge!

Do you want to write a Novel? Have you written a Novel? What was your experience?

-Nicole Alicia

 

 

 

 

Novel Excerpt #1

 

Copy of Who Is Melody T. -

As many of you know from previous posts, I have written a novel and a novella. Currently, I am in the process of trying to do self-editing on my novel and eventually publish these works.

The below is an excerpt taken from a Chapter 5 of this novel. Please read and comment below!

Taken from Chapter 5 of “untitled” Novel…

It was humid out. I thought about taking my little chair and sitting outside on the front walkway in front our suite, but not today. I decided it was best to stay in my room and try to get some more reading done for my Government 101 class before heading over for dinner. But the stories I had already made up in my head kept playing over and over. After reading for about 5 pages about Government and it’s history in America, I put down the book and got on my computer.

Maybe Xavier would be online on Instant Messenger and I could chat with him.  I knew anytime he turned on his computer it automatically signed him in to his account, but sometimes he didn’t turn his computer off and it just looked like he was online. I logged on and didn’t see that yellow happy face next to his name.

“Where the heck is he?!”

I was beginning to get that sick feeling in my stomach. The same one like when we had broken up before. Maybe it was all the excitement of the first day, maybe it was that I had to eat dinner soon because I was starving. I knew something wasn’t right and wanted to know why. I needed an explanation. He was not going to play me to the left again THIS time.

I tried not to think about it. Shoving all the negative thoughts to the back of my head. I, Melody Thomas was most certainly was not going to chase him. But forcing myself not to dial that number for me was like taking a deep breath and seeing how long you could your head under water. 

We had just started back dating four months ago and now this again. I was starting to feeling like a Yo-Yo. A toy. I most certainly didn’t like being toyed with. Being played with emotionally was the worst feeling.

“Damn!,” I said out loud.

It was too early in the school year to be havin’ drama already. I had to figure this thing out.

It was time to play Shirlock Homegirl!

As I dialed Kianna’s number, I shook my head.

“I don’t have time for this.”

If anyone had experience with guys and the games that they played it was Kianna.

“Hey what’s up,” Kianna replied on the other end.

“Hey girl”

“You haven’t seen Xavier today, have you?”

“Naw, but I saw his friend Mark earlier,” Kianna replied laughing.

“Dang you know Mark already?,” I chimed.

“Oh my goodness, everyone or excuse me every female know’s that fool by now. He was in one of my classes for orientation and was trying to holla at my roommate.”

I rolled my eyes. “He is always trying to spit game to some chick. He’s so full of it,” Natasha echoed.

“I know……I haven’t seen or heard from Xavier all day and I told you how he’s been playing me to the left. I don’t know if he’s trying to make me mad so I’ll dump him first or he’s about to dump me. I just wish he’d just do it instead of stringing me along again.”

“I don’t know what’s going on with him. He seems so sweet,” Kianna replied.

“Let’s go to dinner though, it’s about that time and I’m starving.” I looked at my clock and it read 5:30pm on the dot.

“Yeah, I’ll meet you over in the Student Union in about 5 mins,”I said. I hung up, still frustrated.

I guessed I was caring about Xavier too much. I was feeling distracted, unfocused and off my game. That wasn’t like me. I had to do something fast. But what? I didn’t want to let a relationship ruin my joy. My mother’s word echoed in her head about if I didn’t do good my first year.

“Girl, you are there for one reason and if you don’t do good your butt will be back home next year.”

Xavier knew how I was with my studies, he knew me. Sometimes lately though, it seemed it didn’t matter. After dinner and talking with Kianna, I still felt like I needed to clear my head a bit more. I came back to my room said, “Hey” to Elle who was watching yet another re-run on TV Land. I grabbed my green folding chair and walked back out the room.

As I proceeded to unfold my chair to sit on the walk way outside our suite door, I knew I was taking watch. Watching for him, Xavier Michael. I would see which direction he was coming from and certainly he had to come walking through the courtyard to get to B Hall, in which everyone had already name “Watts” or “Compton”. They said it’s where they had stuck all the kids from the ‘hood.

It had seemed that they had purposely stuck all of the kids from the inner city schools in one dorm. It had already been one fight over there in the courtyard between two girls during orientation. What the fight was over, I never really found out.

The dorms looked like three square shaped U’s. Some say they looked like the projects. They all had ugly beige colored thick metal doors with the Suite number stamped on the front in black letters.

However to get to B Hall from campus where all of the classroom buildings are you had to walk through a passage way and down a long side walk that split off into three pathways like a “Y”. So there was no getting past my dorm unless he took the long way around, which no one did unless coming from the dorm parking lot.

As I sat outside “observing”, “watching”,“waiting” I saw Anthony coming out of his room down the way. I hadn’t noticed, but he must have stayed just around the way from me three doors down.

As he passed he nodded his head and spoke a quick, “What’s up?” I stared and managed to whisper,“Hey” as he walked by. I looked, surprised that he even spoke to me.

Just then I felt my heart drop then flutter. Anthony was cute.

“I have a boyfriend, right?”, I whispered to myself.  And He’s Xavier’s friend.

My eyes followed Anthony as he passed me and jogged down the loud clanking metal staircase. I waited for a minute to see if he was going to visit someone downstairs, on the first floor were a bunch of girls rooms were too. Sure enough he appeared in front of the door to the farthest suite room downstairs at the end, 112. The door opened by itself and shut and my eyes scanned back onto the courtyard pathway.  

I heard two all too familiar laughs coming my direction and to my surprise there was Xavier and Mark walking toward B Hall laughing loud, slapping each others shoulders. My eyes eagerly followed them and I saw them go upstairs to the second floor in their building to the room just above them.

My heart started beating rapidly, as I forced myself to take a deep breath. I got up and moved further down the railing to see where they were going. I almost passed out trying to hold my breath and not say one of their names as they had passed by. I wanted to see where they were going and I got my answer. I thought I wanted to see if he was lying. But I didn’t brace myself for the way I would be feeling. My head was racing. I ran back inside to my room and grabbed my room phone to call Kianna.

What should I do, what should I do?

All I knew was to call anyone of my friends who would listen to me vent at that point.

She didn’t even wait for the phone to stop ringing, but I knew she would answer.

“Kianna, girl I got something to tell ya! I just saw Mark & Xavier go into the room above theirs and I know it’s an all girl’s room!”

“Oooooooh, I am soooo mad right now I’m shaking.” I whined.

“Breathe, girl, just breathe,” Kianna replied.

“Do you want me to go up there with you,” Kianna asked gently

I wasn’t sure Kianna had my back like that yet, but I  knew if she came with me it might be a fight. Kianna had been in several fights in Middle School and High School, but I didn’t want trouble like that. I just wanted to find out who she was.

My Editing Process for My Upcoming Novel

My Editing Process for My Upcoming Novel

On NicoleAliciaWrites.com, I’ll be walking you through the process of where I am on the road to getting my first novel published as an indie author or self-published author. I think it’s important to share your journey because you never know who you may help!

My goal is to have this Novel of mine published sometime this Fall.

After letting this manuscript sit since July 2015, I am just now doing the second read through to do line editing. I am in the process of going through and correcting all grammatical errors, words with missing letters and most importantly dialogue structure.

I know some people who do self-editing in stages for the entire manuscript all at one time. That just seems like a lot!

I have decided to do mine in steps!

More like itty, bitty baby steps compared to most of you guys!

I am doing two chapters at a time and that is all. I know some of you are saying that will take FOREVER. But it’s actually going quite well so far. Although, I am only on my second week of editing starting today I am on Chapter 3, which is about page 25 out of 230 pages. I know that sounds like I’m far away from finishing, I have hope!

At first, I was quite nervous going through and actually reading my writing in black and white when I had only been used to seeing it on a computer screen. I was surprised to learn that it is quite different to print your writing on paper and read it, but it’s been cool. I’ve actually enjoyed marking up the paper like an out of control English teacher (except, I refuse to use RED ink I’m using purple…one of my favorite colors)!

I know the words, “writer” and “perfectionist” might now be seen together very often, but this is an adequate description of me.

Before I even started writing a novel and before I started editing, I researched everywhere how to do this. Let me tell you there are 1 million posts and articles on how to do proper editing and writing. Most will scare you off before you even begin!

I had to remember that everyone starts differently and there’s more than one way to get something done!

So, I’ve decided just to jump in!

Even though editing is going well so far, my goodness I’ll be honest this first draft is a disaster and I’ve wanted to just quit more than once already. But as a writer I know that nothing is going to be perfect on the first shot.

So, I’m going to hang in there!

Next post…

I’ll share an excerpt from my upcoming novel!

Talk to you guys later!

-Nicole Alicia

Jumping On The Road To Being Published

Jumping On The Road To Publishing

It’s two years later after finishing the first draft of my first Novel. I am seriously pursuing publishing my first Novel. I have gone through a lot of different changes since I last edited it and thought about publishing it.

First, I got laid off from my corporate job, we lost a child and I started a handmade & vintage business. Initially, I started to put this book out under a “pen name” and even started a blog to promote my fiction writing under the name Daysha Devine, but I then I thought about it and I changed back to my original writer name Nicole Alicia (I’ll do a post about pen names later). Writing has always been my passion, but things such as depression and just life straight through me off track from my main mission. Now I’m back pursing being published as an indie author seriously.

I first started this blog when I was freelance writing, but now it will serve a different purpose which is to serve as a writer’s platform.

I have a finished Novel of about 250 some odd pages and a Novella of about 70 plus pages. The Novella I will be publishing in 2018. I don’t have a definite date for the Novel right now, but I would like to pursue publishing it in Fall of 2017 I’m aiming for about October. As many of you know the road to being published can be quite bumpy especially if it’s your first time.

I’m totally excited about sharing here on this blog and going more in-depth about my works.

-Nicole Alicia