Category Archives: Books

When Writing Strikes

Writers are compelled to write. We are constantly having ideas. We are constantly thinking about twist or problems in our storylines and we see inspiration just about everywhere. Generally speaking, the challenge is not creative flow. Writers are bursting through the seams with creativity. Things like organization, structure, and TIME are our biggest enemy.

I submitted my final draft of my new book (Book 1 of 3) to my editor just as summer break began. The second half of my novel was completed just as my final undergrad semester was beginning. By way of a rough critique, I have summarized that, critical thinking and strategic writing for school has a negative effect on my creative writing flow. One would think that I took that new learning and adapted it. One would think that I have spent the entire summer writing. Well fans… I did not.

BREAK TIME

My break from all things thought provoking has been well over do. I am a mother, wife, student, dedicated member of church, and full-time career woman. My mind is always spinning and at the end of the publishing process I was stressed and overstretched. Aside from journaling and brainstorming the cover specifications for my new book. I did not commit any new creative ideas to paper (or screen) all summer. This does not mean I didn’t have them, only that I took time to clear my focus and relax.
Upside: I feel rested and clear.
Downside: School starts in less than a week, and suddenly I have been hit with an overwhelming urge to do corrections, plan out new ideas, and inspiration for book 2 in my new series.

TIME TO WRITE

During the rewrite process of Dreams of the Heart, I struggled with the working and writing. Writing and books are my passion. As many of my followers know, I do not work in that industry. My time to do creative writing was limited and sometimes nonexistence. The emotional toll of “not writing” was at times so heavy that it would manifest itself through tears or intense journaling. Oddly enough I learned that if I had time to cry and journal about NOT WRITING, then I had time to rewrite and improve Dreams of the Heart. Eventually, I came to some solid resolves about the time needed to write and invest in my career as an author. I applied those lessons to my writing schedule while working on my second novel and finished in half the time. It is still a struggle, but I no longer fret over the common problem. We make time for what is important in life. Pushing my creativity, my stories into the world is one of the most important things to me. How long it takes it not nearly as important as the act of getting it done.

TIME TO WORK

As I start the Master’s in Library Science program at Kent State and I looking forward to all the new things that I will learn. I have been preparing myself for the 3 classes and the overload of papers that I undoubtedly will have to write. I understand that my time will be locked up with reading and writing research papers and that the time to work on my book series will be limited. I have somewhat purposeful put myself on “downtime” behavior in preparation for taking 3 classes in the fall. I have a strong feeling that my life for the next 3 months will be writing; one way or another.

However, as God allowed me to do with my debut novel Dreams of the Heart, I will push through it. God gave me this gift for a reason and I will use it. The work needed to be become a successful author is hard with or without school. I plan to rise to the challenge. My ideas are solid and despite only having a few days to outline them into a writing plan for next month, I will do it.

Writing Room Inspirations

So, working on my second novel post-school has really made me take notice of my writing spaces. I have an awesome desk purchased some years back. It is cherry wood with a leather map of the world imprinted on it. I love my desk and anybody that knows me well would even say I am a little particular about it. Okay, I will be honest, if you are not Tanela Hicks I prefer you not touch it. The general rule of thumb is only writing specific or book related things touch the surface. A long time ago I read somewhere that owning and designated a writing space was an important routine when building your craft. The article kinda of stuck with me and thus far the technique has work, but as I move into the next phase of my writing career I am dreaming of more.

Now technically I do not have the space for what I dream of, but that has not stopped me from sketching and imagining.

Ideally, I would love an open office space that functions as a mini library and creative space. Obviously, books move and inspire me and the more I read the more I want to write. This library/office is beautiful.

However, I also love scenery. Water views or rustic scenes draw my focus when I can’t not solve an existing plot line. While bustling cityscapes help me develop characters and background detail. These views below are perfect creative thinking spaces as well.

Style, decor, and furniture all make up a big piece of my multi faceted dream. I honestly believe I would need two spaces just to accommodate my two different writing personalities. When I am creating the bones of my story or a character. I sketch and scribble a lot while typing out what I want to say. I tend to listen to loud neo soul or jazz and I need complete concentration. Aside from music, or the movies Twilight, Shawshank Redemption, or Lake House playing on the television; there can be no other activity around me. Since I have a family and small home generally I have headphones on and drinking coffee or tea while eating dry cereal (trade secrets).

When I am editing, rewriting, reviewing, or fixing something in my work; my writing personalities is different. I can, while at a minimum, carry on another conversation with someone (other than talking to myself). HGTV or similarly formatted television can be on but not loud. I do not have to be at my writing desk (bed, couch, elsewhere) and best of all I CAN DRINK. A glass of wine always makes my mistakes more noticeable.

So, my dream writing space would be doubled. I would love to have an open-air space featuring some variation of all the styles mentioned. 

But then I would love to have a private space with installation, views, and no distractions. I believe it would love something like this!

 

READER ENGAGEMENT TIME!

Want to learn more about the characters in Dreams of the Heart? Want to know why Sasha is still so scared of her past? Want to know more about Kathy and her birth mother? Come out and spend time with me.

When: February 12, 2018 between 1-3 PM

Where: Washington Centerville Library-    111 W Spring Valley Pike Centerville, Ohio 45458

PDF of 2nd Monday Authors Advertisement
Come Out and Engage

 

 “Being a book lover means loving more than just the story. You must love the feeling, the words, and the themes throughout the story. Understanding the writer and predicting the audience’s reactions as if you are actually in the story yourself. That is the embodiment of a book lover. “

Lessons for a Book Lover

I have spent the last few months on a romance book binge. It has been fun and relaxing to read stories that are fresh yet relatable and enjoyable. The last 3 months I have read and listened to 14 titles that are strictly contemporary romance or adult romance. For those that know me, this may be a surprise. My love for paranormal, magical, world changing, empire reigning faeries stories has never wavered, but yet I found myself engulfed in love without wings.

I cannot pin point my shift in habit directly. It stills amazes and bewilders me that my first published novel is of the contemporary women’s fiction brand. Do not dismay friends, anything I write will always have elements of love, but my true heart is somewhere between a raising moon and its alternate reality. My next novel will please those with the same longing and I look forward to sharing the imaginative reality of the Blue Moon Series.

As I finish up this binge, I must make note of some delightful revelations about traditional romance novels.

You always want to root for the bad boy/bad girl.

In the book Heartless: Amato Brother Series by Winter Renshaw, the main character was so scared he was bitter, mean, and almost unworthy of the love being offered to him. However somewhere between ignoring his feelings, and fighting his feeling, I found myself hoping for his healing.

Story continuations do not have to be harmonious.

Often times with paranormal/fantasy stories, the series starts and then builds on the previous story. It is almost imperative to read book 1 before book 5. And if you enjoy the writing, you will be clenching to get to book 6 just to see how the story ends. During my binge I read most of Kristen Proby’s Boudreaux Series. While I did start with book one Easy Love, I skipped to book #6 Easy Nights, because I was interested in that character focus. Then I went back to book 5 Easy Magic. Reading the stories out of sequence did not take away from the knight in shining armor quality of her writing.

All romance novels aren’t about love, some make you feel.

This lesson was welcomed and has helped me understand my own creativity and development of my non-fantasy brand. A love story should make you feel for the character and anyone else you see and know in a similar situation. Brittainy C. Cherry is one of my new favorite authors. Her novel The Air He Breathes caught me totally by surprise and I enjoyed every minute of it. I felt every moment of Tristian’ pain and Elizabeth’s strong will to push forward despite her pain. The character’s development is nothing short of fiction perfection for me. The emotion the writer pulled through the words puts her in my top list for the year 2017. I enjoyed her story so much I followed up The Air He breathes with The Gravity of Us and I was not disappointment. The story showed me that not all romance has to portray the strength and trial of love between adults. Sometimes the triumph of learning to love your family and yourself is all the love story one needs. Brittainy C. Cherry story inspired my so much I have written separate full-length reviews, check them out then read her books.

I am not sure if I am done with the romance reads quite yet, but as I moved into the edit and 2nd draft phase of my own urban fantasy novel, I find that it is helpful to stay balanced with my reading choices. Hopefully you are reading something engaging and amazing too this year.

~Dream~Create~Inspire

Tanela

National Novel Writing Month 2017

It is National Novel Writing Month. November is the month to stretch your muscle, and your fingers to create the next great novel right. RIGHT!

National Novel Writing Month has a special place in my heart. This year as many may know, I published my first novel. I started Dreams of the Heart before my first participation year of NaNo, however the year I did participate, my first experience was the best. I was so encouraged, and simultaneously paranoid about my first novel project. Looking back, it was comical how scared I was to share my work, or even the amount of words I wrote; which is main element in the NaNo challenge I develop my own word count marco spreadsheet. Given my background in Information Technology, this is not an unrealistic resolution. Despite my misguided attempted at NaNo, through my writing journey I have learned that sharing helps you gain insight and perspective on everything from characters, to plot timing.

This year I will be focusing on the ending transition for series format and the overall rewrite. I plan to have these steps fully completed y NOVEMEBER 30th. This is important because I plan to publish my novel Twin Souls: A Blue Moon Series Novel is the winter of 2018. Getting the book to my editor is my primary goal for the end of 2017 and National Novel Writing Month is the best time to push myself to new goals.

I am looking forward to interacting more with the writing community and learning more about writing dialogue and time shifting within a single plot. Writing is my life.

Please keep in touch and follow me on this journey right here on my TanelaWrites.

Thank You For Your Support

Thank you to all. The Dreams of the Heart Book Launch was amazing. I felt so incredible loved and honored. My dream of completing my first novel came to completion. Every element of the party was exactly like I dreamed it would be. I ask the Lord to show me my story and He did. I ask him to help me show others, and He has. God has brought me and my creativity so far and I have full faith that he can do the same for others.

This party was a small private affair and I promise to have a bigger more public celebration in the next few months. Until then please show your support by purchasing Dreams of the Heart on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other major book retailers. If you have read my debut novel already please review and like the book online on Amazon or GoodReads. Look for more news and information coming soon about my writings and book right here! 

 

Dreams of the Heart is Available

I am pleased to announce my debut novel

Dreams of the Heart

is NOW AVAILABLE for sale!

My writing journey has been long and at times tough, but God has blessed me and my family so much through my creativity. I am beyond thankful to EVERYONE who has played a part in this publication. 

Please get your copy at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and other major book retailers. If you do not see it, ASK! Enjoy

Dream~Create~Inspire

 

Author’s Open Letter

Speaking about my novel Dreams of the Heart has not been easy. Despite all my excitement and enthusiasm, I still seem to lack the words to fully encompasses what my story is about. Of course, I know, and I course I believe that anyone who reads my novel will be emotional inspired. Yet still describing my story has become my post completion challenge.

As a part of my marketing strategy I was ask what novel can Dreams of the Heart be closely compared to. As a reader, you have probably seen this often. Phrases like “Twilight meets Pride and Prejudice” or “Wuthering Heights meets Maximum Ride”. Or my favorite, “For Lovers of Nicholas Sparks’ “The Notebook”. It has been hard to find those comparisons. First let’s be honest, Nicholas Sparks ability to pull a heart into a story that cannot duplicated. And Twilight was epic, despite what naysayers think and I would never use its imagination and drawl as a marketing tool for my stories.

So where does that leave me. As a true book lover and story engager I have looked for proper novel comparisons and found none. So, I have turned to my next love, music. Dreams of the Heart was bred in music and love. I listened to music all the time, especially when writing. I can recall all the music I listened to while writing Jamice’s story. Every line written portraying Greyson’s hunky description was fueled by a song of sexy inspiration. Relating Dreams of the Heart to music is more accurate. The beginning of my story is a mix of “It’s Alright” by Ledisi and “It Never Rains” by Tony! Toni! Tone’, which are songs that long for happiness’. The middle story and crux of my novel; the core of who Jamice is, would be a mix of Usher’s sinful repentance of the 90’s and Jagged Edge’s bargaining for love in every song they made on their debut album. Chapter 21 of my novel was written to one song on repeat for 2 days. “Alone” by the RnB great Joe. Jamice’s best friend and their ride or die relationship is a mix between Luke’s “I Wanna Rock” and Destiny Child entire Survivor album. Sasha is fierce and strong, and all woman.

Dreams of the Heart has music woven all throughout its story. Please while you are reading my new novel, listen to some music. Try some Anthony Hamilton, Brandy, Luther or even Joe. If none of those artist work well or you, at minimum, please listen to Ledisi. All of her albums from “Lost and Found” to “The Truth” can in many ways tell you what Dreams of the Heart is about. The story of love and healing is one that will move the most stubborn spirit to follow their heart. That is my dream, to motive someone to love and then share that love with someone who has lost hope. New analogy “Dreams Meet Hope”, how’s that for marketing!

Tanela Hicks

Surrounded by Great Friends and Great Books

Great Friends

Writing is a skill that many have but few enjoy. When I discovered that my friend Diondra had a love for writing, I immediately became a supporter. Learning about someone through written words can give you great appreciation for the person they are.

An avid reader, Diondra is a devoted Christian, teacher, awesome singers, and a writer. Her new website shares some of the most amazing experiences and heartfelt emotions. I encourage you to take a look around. Check out diondrasplace. Here is the link to my favorite post thus far https://www.diondrasplace.com/9-movies-to-look-out-for/

 

Great Books 

 

So I have been reading a lot lately. After my first semester at Kent State, I had to purge some of the technical habits that were blocking my creativity. I went on a high level binge of paranormal fantasy books. I update my reviews on goodreads.com often, so to access my full list of reviewed book please visit Fun Stuff tab.

However today I must call out a series that has surprised me and wrapped me in paranormal fiction delight. After looking for a gargoyle story for more than 4 months, I had given up. It seemed that the creativity on paranormal creatures were limited to Vampires, Werewolves, Faeries, Casters, and of course Angels. Most that know me well understand I love a good vampire romance (thanks Twilight) and stories of Faerie Warriors disarm me every time (thanks Sarah Maas). Despite my continued love affair with the “out of this world” element, I yearned for a gargoyle story. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the early 80’s and have fond memories of short lived tv series “Gargoyles”.

Well I found what I was looking for in the Revelations series by Randi Coley Wilson. The series follows Eve Collins who has just become aware she is something special and has an important part to play in a war she did not even know existed. Her protector Asher St. Michael holds all he secrets and is tied to Eve and her destiny in more ways than one. Now she has a gargoyle clan of her own and must train and fight to be everything everyone else expects her to be. The story has love, hate, fights, faeries, and magic all in one and I am tickled that I came across it when I did. The world the author has built is somehow magical although it clearly has an urban real-world setting. The character’s descriptions and abilities stretch the imagination even for the fantasy genre, but they are very real in their emotions. The plot of each installment twists and turn just enough to hook you in and make you root for the good guy AND the bad guy. Eve and Asher’s intense bond throughout this saga is engaging and keeps you thinking of romantic and forbidden love.

Currently I am on book 3 of 5 on the series. And while I do tend to read series that follow the same characters, I rarely find myself reading them back to back within 1 weeks’ time (except Sarah Maas books). I read the first book Revelations in about 1 week, and immediately read book two finishing it in under two days. Now I am on book three and I had slow myself down to do some of my own writing. To read my full review of each book, but visit my Fun Stuff tab and click in the image of the book. 

At the End of the Line There is Creativity

Writing is a passionate tool I use to share stories and feelings with the hope that it will help someone, even if it is only myself. When I began this journey, it was just a release of my dreams and nightmares. Writing this novel was a method of decompression. Somewhere along the line it became a fulfilling piece of me.

In the end, I am glad I made the choice to completed the story and share this small piece of my creativity. I am very pleased with the final product and I hope you will be too.

I am thrilled to announce that Dreams of the Heart is officially set for publication October 10th, 2017.

My single hope is that this story will inspire someone; move them to heal and love again. We were all created in love so we all deserve a little.

Please click here learn more about my debut novel, Dreams of the Heart.