Category Archives: Writing

Great Music New Natural

"We Are KING"



“We Are KING” by KING is easy eclectic listening. The album opens smooth and defined with Right One. You have a good understanding as to want type of music you are about to listening to; which in my book is a huge plus. Throughout the album you hear a lot of airy soft sounds which makes it a through and through album. The song order and transitions are seamless. I review enjoyed all the instrumental work. It is full on technique yet somehow not cluttered. I was so engulfed listening to the music that I had to go back through and focus on the lyrics. While there is nothing revolutionary lyrically the words in most the songs are very dreamy and vivid. Red Eye and Love Song are forward and pull you into a vision that a full of color and beauty. My only wish in this debut is I wanted to hear more of the group’s vocals. Maybe an a capella song or two would have been nice. These ladies are going to go far if the keep their niche and sound intact, but expand their vocals and of course exposure. Great job Ladies!

"Awaken, My Love!"

~ Childish Gambino

So, the winner of the year for odd and efficient goes to Childish Gambino AKA Donald Glover and his album “Awaken, My Love!”. Childish Gambino’s sound is intentionally alternative, almost not natural, but somehow still shines. The obvious Prince influence is all over this album which makes it intriguing. If you are looking for a standard hip hop rap album, this is not the album for you. If you are looking for deep lyrics mixed with trippy 70’s rock, then Awaken, My Love! is perfect. A mix between Lenny Kravitz and Andrae 3000, Childish Gambino’s lyrics are very socially conscious with songs like Riot, and Boogieman hitting all the relevant social tones of 2016. I could listen to it through and through, even opting to do it again, but mainly because I wasn’t sure what I heard. Stand Tall and Redbone were positive hits for me. The album seems to be weird for weird sake. I would have loved to hear some more jazz like instrumentals from him. Like his other albums, this was not produced for the masses, but for those who like creativity and accept the unexplainable. Good job Donald!

Non-Fiction Niche’

                   Anyone that knows me knows how much I love to read. I enjoy a wonderfully made story. The creative demonstration from an artist, writer, or musician is always something exciting and beautiful to see. Maybe it’s because I a writer and I enjoy the seeing the creative process unfold, or maybe creativity just inspires me. Either way I cannot get enough. Currently I am reading several books. The Barrier Between- Collector Series Book Two by Stacey Marie Brown, Always Watching- Elite Guardians by Lynette Eason, and Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley are on the top of my currently reading pile.

                   I am a die-hard Sci-Fi, paranormal fan. Imaginative stories with faraway lands and magical creatures take me away from the sterile corporate world I currently work in. If you add in some time travel it is like Christmas for a book lover girl like me. Because of this automatic pull I have created a strong motivation to stay diverse. I purposefully and regularly read “normal & mundane” stories. Most recently I read 2 of 3 books in the Hidden Identity series; which is a Christian fiction mystery series by the fast story teller Lynette Eason. I thoroughly enjoyed it and you can read my reviews for each book on my Review page.

So, that wasn’t too hard, right? Read a book with no werewolves or magic…. check. Now read some Non-Fiction Tanela.

                   I LOATH NON-FICTION! Again, my persistent thoughts on the cultural benefits of staying diverse with my entertainment choices force me to read at least one Nonfiction book a year. Thanks to my good friend, I had the chance to read a good one this year called Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson. The author has revealing and relatable concepts on raising Christian boys. I enjoyed it enough to chat with other mothers about it, but still not enough to write my standard review. See Non-Fiction is not evil, right, you just should easy into it. I still have a few others on my Non-Fiction list for the year, which includes Shonda’s Rhimes Year of Yes, but since I technically have made my quota for the year, I’m all set right?

                  Here comes the entire reason for writing this post. The accidental click on Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody changed tone on non-fiction. While I was clicking out of a different book on Amazon, I accidently selected Kendrick’s new memoir. Let me preference the rest of this mini fandom by acknowledging I am a little bit of a default fan. I have loosely followed Kendrick ever since the Twilight movie days because I thought she did an amazing job in those films. I have since, seen just about all her work and recently moved her to the actresses to watch category in my moviegoer pop culture mind. Okay, back to the book. So, I listened to the preview on Audible of Scrappy Little Nobody, narrated by the author Anna Kendrick (great idea) and I immediately felt her story as something I wanted to hear. She was so honest and transparent that I forgot I was reading about a celebrity. When she said in the first chapter that she wished she could call her book “A tweet, but longer.” I was sold. I downloaded the full book and started listening immediately finishing in just a few days. You can read my full review of Scrappy Little Nobody on my Review page. It’s an awesome book for all anyone.

My experience with this memoir has taught me a big lesson and I am kind of ashamed to admit it.I LIKE NON-FICTION I JUST DIDN’T REALIZE WHAT IT COULD BE TO ME
           This is shamefully because that is what I do. I Google everything about everyone; me and Wikipedia are virtual close friends, and I love learning about with world and people around me. I enjoy nosing around facts on topics from “last TV show to air on UPN” to “Aesop- real or fake storyteller” (FYI- that topic has a very interesting history, look it up). So, why have I never been moved to read a story about another person? True I still think that books like “How to Live a Better Life” would be of NO interest to me, but I am not considering reading Soledad Obrien’s book “The Next Big Story: My Journey Though the Land of Possibilities” and “Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation” by Aisha Tyler, which I have recommended and purchased for others, but never took the time to read myself. Crazy! Thanks to Anna Kendrick and her witty and revealing story telling about acceptance of one’s self, and perseverance I am excited to see what I can learn from the eyes and pens of other interesting people in the world. Non-Fiction has a Niche’ for me, and now I am right there in it.



I am excited to share with you some recent work and reveal some of my novel work.

SHAKESPEARE Magazine features uplifting content on life, fashion and inspiration. The owner Rebecca Strong of RJS Fashion provides people everywhere with a piece of herself through her unique jewelry and accessories collections. In addition to running a business, she spreads positive words and fashion tips in her publication. I am honored that she has allowed me to be a contributing author again this month. Please take a look at the fall 2016 free edition of SHAKESPEARE Magazine. Click here to download your own copy now.


I have had a lot of people ask how my writing is going, and I would like to thank them for their continued interest. Writing is going well and the Lord continues to bless me with new and refreshing ideas to write about. I have two additional projects in full swing and just like with my first, my goal is to share the story. Dreams of the Heart is my first novel. It is completed and ready for the right agent to come and help me by getting it into the hands of readers everywhere. This story holds a special place in my writing journey. The characters in the story are as familiar to me as my true friends are. I have cheered for Jamice’s breakthroughs and prayed for Sasha’s revelations. I know that it may sound a little crazy, but one of my favorite quotes says:

“Writes aren’t exactly people. They’re a lot of people trying to be one person.”

~F.Scott Fitzgerald author of The Great Gatsby

Today, I will be sharing a little of my heart with you. To read the first two chapters of Dreams of the Heart click here. Writing is a compulsion that does not go away. I will continue to write and share for as long as I can and as long as GOD allows.

National Novel Writing Month

Learning Myself Through My Writing Goals

By Tanela Hicks

                My history with National Novel Writing Month is a little give and take; love and hate. Just like getting use to a new car, or understanding a new computer system, it took a while, but we finally understand our role in each other’s life. NaNo (as it is affectionately called) is there to be a motivator and a tool to help drive my writing career and I am here to use it. Simple.

Just as an overview, NaNo to me is the celebration and awareness of the craft of writing. There is an entire culture that pushes you to meet your writing goals throughout the year. There are camps for young writers, weekly encouragement from published authors, and tons of advice. During the month of November specifically it is “Campaign Time”. To keep it simple, if you are participating in the organization sponsored activities, you can enter a contest to complete 50,000 words in 30 days. At the end of the month you can submit what you have written for critiques, publishing help, and more. This contest not only serves as incentive, but drives project productivity. It’s a wonderful opportunity and totally free…or not use.

My first year being a part of the NaNo community I was very excited. Being the over organized person I am, I made a word count spread sheet to compare against their suggested rate of process. Yes, there are formulas, and programming in this spreadsheet that automatically told me the messages like “Great Job” when I meet my daily goal or things like “Words Waiting” when I slacked off.


When I started in November 2013 with the NaNo, I actually had already completed the bulk of what “Dreams of the Heart” would come to be putting me well past the 50,000 benchmark the website set. So my big goal was to write every day. As you can see I did not succeeded at that, but overall I was thoroughly invigorated with the creativity process. I ended the month with approximately 18,000 thousand words and completed my first rough draft. Then came 2014 and I hit a huge drought. “Dreams of the Heart” draft one was complete and I was deep into rewrites. There were many complications, but my biggest headache was deciding on the level of adult content. The main character and I “fell out” multiple times the first half of the year over elements of the story that needed to be PG edited. As a true woman of faith and a new deacon’s wife it was very hard to determine what was right and what was wrong. I ultimately learned through experience and prayer to let the story direct your path no matter what. Once I settle on that school of thought, me and “Jamice”; main character of “Dreams of the Heart” become best buds again and my massive rewrite moved forward.

Writing novels, short stories, articles, or anything creative is not an easy task and those that can or even try to do it are special people. Reflecting back on my beginnings with NANO and “Dreams of the Heart” makes me smile and thank God for this talent that he has given me. I have learned so many lessons. I have applied advice received from that community and others to my two projects still in progress. Surrounding myself in a community of like-minded writers; all pushing towards similar goals, truly helped propel me to complete my first novel. If you are looking for a guide or catalyst this year for your writing try it. I will not guarantee you will hit the mark of 50,000 words, but you will learn something about your writing and a lot about yourself.

For more information on National Novel Writing Month Click Here

Happy Writing!