Oct. 5, 2013 | Posted by patricia@patriciahickman.com

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From Publishers Weekly

Hickman kicks off her new series with this gentle, enjoyable yarn about four misfits cast adrift in Arkansas during the Great Depression. When Jeb Nubey flees Texas for Arkansas because of a possible murder charge, he picks up the three abandoned Wilbey children as unexpected hitchhikers along the way. After spending a stormy night in the Church in the Dell in Millwood Hollow, they wake up to the beaming faces of the parishioners who mistake them for the widowed Rev. Philemon Gracie and his three children. For Jeb, Angel, Willie and little Ida May, the misunderstanding is manna from heaven. “They’s money to be had, Jeb Nubey, in God’s work!” gloats 13-year-old Angel. With her coaching, the illiterate Jeb fakes his way through his new persona. Soon, the generosity of the smalltown folks and the attentions of a comely schoolteacher, Fern Coulter, soften Jeb’s heart and he yearns to be a better man. But he knows it’s only a matter of time until the real Gracie family shows up or someone recognizes him from the circulating “wanted” posters. Hickman tells her story with warmth, humor and some lovely descriptions. The ending is sweetly satisfying. Hickman (Katrina’s Wings) is a talented writer, and readers will sympathize with her unlikely ragtag group of characters.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

 

Tiny Dancer is Available Now!

Aug. 28, 2013 | Posted by patricia@patriciahickman.com

Tiny Dancer NEW Sml

Check Out the Starred Reviews! Read the Buzz About TINY DANCER!

Aug. 17, 2013 | Posted by patricia@patriciahickman.com

5 STARS! Set in Moore County NC in the sixties, the author draws on the real tension between the races to create a story about healing relationships. The main character, Flannery, is a teenager who has to work through difficult relationships with her family, her neighborhood, and her friends. The wisdom and love of a neighboring family who, as the only black family in a white neighborhood, have to endure persecution, give Flannery the courage to face her own demons.
Hickman allows us to feel Flannery’s pain and watch her grow into a wise young woman. It doesn’t descend into the melodramatic or paint a syrupy sweet picture of teenage life; Flannery is a very real character, dealing with real issues, such as death, divorce, step-parents, financial worries, discrimination, and the uncontrollable circumstances of life.
I really enjoyed it, and have to confess I put off doing other things in order to finish it, which is the test of how good a book is. The characters are engaging, the story is fast-moving, and the resolution is satisfying. What more could you ask for in a novel? Another winner from Patricia Hickman! 

    ~ Amazon Reviewer, TINY DANCERtinyurl.com/lyjrq6c

Tiny Dancer Gets Great Reviews on Goodreads

Jul. 29, 2013 | Posted by patricia@patriciahickman.com

And 5-star Reviews coming in on Goodreads:

One of the best books I’ve read this summer…there’s a lot of depth to it and it was fascinating all the way through with a lot of unexpected plot twists. Reviews compare it to The Help and The Secret Lives of Bees. It does have similar tones to both of those great reads, but can certainly hold its own. I highly recommend it! 
~ tinyurl.com/lyjrq6c Amber, Reader Goodreads

Tiny Dancer and 5-Star Reviews

Jul. 29, 2013 | Posted by patricia@patriciahickman.com

The reviews are coming in–Thirteen 5-star reviews for Tiny Dancer! Here’s one: 

I am a sucker for coming of age books about hard life lessons moving a child into adulthood–this book has a twist in which the kid IS the adult and her parents are the ones who need the hard life lessons to grow up. Most authors go from one extreme to another–either parents are the Waltons and Cleavers or else drunken abusive monsters. This is one of the rare in-between books about a really human family of flawed and foolish but well-intentioned losers, trying hard to force their kids into their own misconceived loser mold but too proud and set in their stubborn loser ways to learn better until life smacks them upside the head–more than once. This is not fluff fiction but heart and soul realism, tragic at times but filled with enough human spirit and resilience to not be dismal.
Hickman is one of my favorite authors, I have got to read the rest of her novels just to see if she has ever written any book that is less than wonderful. tinyurl.com/lyjrq6cBuy Tiny Dancer Today on Amazon!

TINY DANCER a Novel by Patricia Hickman

Jul. 21, 2013 | Posted by patricia@patriciahickman.com

Watch TINY DANCER BOOK TRAILER NOW!Tiny Dancer NEW Thumb

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5 Stars! Next time I read it, I can breathe. ~ Amazon Reviewer

Dark Secrets . . . Beautiful Surprises

Tiny Dancer is a soulful novel that isn’t afraid to tackle issues such as awkward teen crushes, survivor’s guilt, and becoming who you’re meant to be.

Flannery Curry is a girl driven by her deep desire to break out of the sameness afflicting her dad and stepmom, or else explode. Her lifelong crush on her dance coach, Billy Thornton, is her constant obsession, and one she can’t hide from her annoying best friend Claudia. Between her jealousy over Claudia’s perfect parents and daydreaming about elusive Billy’s beautiful face and silky long hair, her unspoken frustrations may cause her to do something drastic—like leave the safety of her own backyard to explore what’s on the other side of a forbidden sunflower forest.

Tiny Dancer is a teen novel that will appeal to fans of The Fault in Our Stars and The Beginning of Everything. Funny and smart, it proves that breaking through stereotypes and befriending the wrong people can come packaged with dark secrets and beautiful surprises.

 

One Summer Can Change Life Forever. . . Tiny Dancer, the Trailer

Jul. 20, 2013 | Posted by patricia@patriciahickman.com

Three Deadly Bombs that Will Kill Your Success as an Author-Entrepreneur

Jul. 17, 2013 | Posted by patricia@patriciahickman.com



Like most authors, I work long hours as a writer and I’ve worked longer hours marketing my books. But if I am to be honest, I haven’t always achieved the success I set out to achieve. This realization led me to ask myself another rather painful question—as an author, am I a doer or an achiever? Do I spend my time in the same daily rituals of doing versus breaking new ground, especially in the realm of marketing my novels? And if I am merely “doing”, am I unconsciously deep-sixing all of my efforts? It was while analyzing my own marketing weaknesses, I discovered three deadly bombs that were killing my success as an author.

Case in point: One spring, I developed a marketing plan for a newly releasing novel. I first ran the plan by a friend of mine, Stephen Arterburn. Steve is considered the most brilliant marketing person in faith-based publishing (I think he now runs a close tie alongside my other brilliant author buddy Karen Kingsbury) He called my plan “brilliant” and offered me one other suggestion that I incorporated immediately.
I then requested a phone meeting where I presented my marketing plan to the publishing house’s publicist. To my chagrin, she doused water all over my ideas and was very negative saying none of it would do any good. We chatted on a four-way call with the publicity department. So when  her team agreed with her and said so, I was deeply disappointed and felt silly for all the time I had spent on it. The problem was–who was I listening to? And worse, why did I feel so wounded? I’ll address the latter issue too, but here was the first career-killing grenade I had

to confront: The need to ask permission can kill your success.


Later on, after getting mad enough at my own weak resolve, I realized that I needed to stop asking permission. With a new resolve as fuel, I forged ahead with my marketing plan. I financed a FaceBook-based contest that not only increased my FB followers by several thousand, more importantly my book sales increased that month by an additional 3000 in sales. You might think It’s not a lot when you consider what writers like Kingsbury and Arterburn achieve. But the point was that I learned something about my abilities AND the publisher noticed. They called me and offered me some expense money to extend my campaign another six weeks.
But the deeper issue is what I alluded to earlier and the evil twin bomb to number one–My wounded self can also kill my success. 

I’ve been reading a book by Tim Keller called The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness. It’s a tiny book that can be read in two days. But it is chock full of wisdom. Keller starts out saying that we are not in need of more self-esteem because we are carnal beings who are forever afflicted with both low and high self-esteem; the point being that our wounded self is what inhibits our spiritual growth, not our lack of self-esteem. Studies have proven American students possess two conflicting traits—low international test grades but the highest self-esteem compared to students in other nations. Our ego, or our human nature, can be as self-destructive as it can be self-helpful. So where have all of our self-help gurus taken us, we are left to ponder?
The fact remained: a single person (whose opinion I valued over my own discernment and mission) was able to deep-six my vision and make me feel less than worthy of her views on how to market my book. The deeper issue, though, was not her opinions but mine. I was more interested in pleasing her than in expanding my reach of readers or else I would have forged ahead without her. When she ended our conference call by saying, “You let us publicize your book and you just return to writing, the thing you’re good at,” the message and subtext was clear. Her implication–I was not the better judge of what was good for my own marketing plan fed into my wounded self and made me feel as if she was right and knew more about my goals than I did. That toxic battery puts us in the sights of bomb number three:

Allowing another person to determine my goals and desires is a filter that will kill my success.

As I embark on a new author-entrepreneur venture with my e-novel Tiny DancerI have to treat my marketing plan like a war strategy. The last thing I should do is kill my hard-earned efforts with a plan that self-destructs before it has time to broaden my outreach.

Since I prefer practical and usable advice, I offer three maxims, my “Three T’s” as fuel for the author-entrepreneur’s Tank, whether you are new to the publishing market or, like me, a veteran of traditional publishing:

  

         

·      Trust Yourself! You and your own creativity are the best judge of how best to market yourself and your books. If you and a million other writers are all “doing” the same thing, guess what? Your efforts are diluted by millions. Market fearlessly and creatively to your readers without first asking permission to do so and focus on achieving versus just doing.


·      Toughen up! Don’t be wounded by the little detractors whose main objective is to justify their own jobs or use you as a career stepping stone. That holds true of negative reviewers too who may be jealous of any writer who has achieved any modicum of success. Again, forge ahead fearlessly, moving your mission into expansion rather than retreat.


·     Team Lead Yourself! Be the captain of your own publishing ship. Avoid filtering your goals and vision for your book publishing dreams through another person who cannot possibly see what is unfolding in your mind’s eye. That doesn’t mean that, as a newbie, you ignore good editorial reviews. The book’s craft should take precedence, your knowledge of good writing ever increasing. Own that too!

The world does not need another copycat writer/author/entrepreneur. Nor do we as writers need to deep-six our mission, possibly robbing the world of the next best “it” book. Hungry readers are looking for the next fresh voice in storytelling. Your own personal creativity could be the fuel that will draw them to your stories.

Risk it!

The Making of Tiny Dancer

Jul. 4, 2013 | Posted by patricia@patriciahickman.com

Tiny Dancer has been one of the most complex stories to write and that may surprise some readers. Fifteen-year-old Flannery Curry, the heroine of this 60s based story, seems like a simple character. She lives in an idyllic village-like town in the North Carolina Sandhills. She is treated like a member of an affluent and influential family and that provides her with opportunities socially that would otherwise not be afforded her.

But when I set out to write a story about a teen girl who crosses through a forbidden garden, it took a great deal of time to shake out all of Flannery’s secrets, flaws, hidden motives, and the deeper things that drive her into her summer of rebellion.

I had written in my journal two words–survivor’s guilt. It is something that can weigh on the human senses and take on other powerful and destructive faces. Shame is one and an eroded sense of one’s identity is another  and that is how Flannery carries her own survivor’s guilt. But I needed something more if her story was going to rise out of the ordinary.

I searched for the missing element to exhaustion. I visited places outside the Sandhills where I picked

up scenes like the clam bake scene. I took notes in dark movie theaters, in outdoor cafes, and while walking the grounds of golf resorts. I had this strange sense that the element I sought was outside my normal daily routines. I was right.

We often attend Irish festivals because my ancestors were Irish. I’m from the clan of Muir. Our nephew, Jason Hickman on hubby’s side, is a highly gifted Irish dancer in another state. But it was at one of these events that a story unfolded in front of me. We were seated on a stadium bleacher where we watched the step dancers perform. A trio of girls were performing a hard shoe dance, a show stopper. Two teen girls bookended a tiny dancer in a curly blonde wig. They danced to perfection. But the tiny blonde dancer began to cry. She did not miss a step, but she didn’t want to be there.

I grabbed my journal, my heart racing. Here in a place that celebrated my ancestral roots I connected with the missing key to Flannery’s emotional architecture. It would not be the last component that I would chance to stumble upon. There were other secrets lurking behind the walls of Southern gentility. If I kept mining, would I find them?

From a Long Line of Deperadoes. . .

Apr. 7, 2013 | Posted by patricia@patriciahickman.com
A Hollywood screenwriter paid a visit to my father when I was a girl. He was researching the Jesse James gang for his upcoming movie. I sat stunned as the history of the James gang poured out of my dad. One of his relatives ran with the James gang. When I asked Dad why he hadn’t told us about this before, he told me to never tell anyone we were affiliated with outlaws. Of course, I told everyone. What eight-year-old wouldn’t? ~ Patricia Hickman