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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ken and Anne Hicks Come Back for a Visit!!

Welcome Ken and Anne Rothman Hicks to my blog. I was pleased to be a guest on their blog earlier in July and now they are coming here to talk about their new book Stone Faces: An Alice and Friends book published by MuseItUp Publishing, which comes directly from Ken's fascination with rocks. To hear Ken and Anne talk about how they came to write this book you need to go to their interview on my show: Red River Radio Tales from the Pages on Blog Talk Radio. Today we are going to highlight the new book and learn more about this unusual writing team. 

Here is a little bit about Ken and Anne Rothmans Hicks:(taken from their blog)

We are somewhat scattered in approach.  Anne and I write novels for adults and for tweens and middle readers that are character driven and in whatever genre seems to fit the story — mainstream, mystery, suspense and fantasy.
We also take pictures and turn them into books or use them in our books for children.  We published  a book based on images of hearts that were made by accident out of paint or broken concrete or tar or any one of a number of things (Hearts (no flowers) Signs of Love in the Gritty City).  We published a book called  Picture Stones which is made up of photographs of stones with pictures on them that were just lying there on the beach until we happened to notice them and pick them up.  And then we did a middle reader book called Stone Faces that grew out of the fact that we had found a stone on the beach at Cape Cod.  That book has been published by MuseItYoung a division of MuseItUp Publishing in both digital formats and in paper.
Ken and Anne have also published adult stories: Weave a Murderous Web, (Adult fiction) (Melange BooksPraise Her, Praise Diana(adult fiction) (Melange Books) and Kate and the Kid (adult fiction) (Wings ePress)
So this is our approach — to stay aware of all  the things that are interesting and beautiful in the world and try our best to convey to all of our fellow citizens of the world just why we find them so interesting and beautiful.

And you have been able to capture the attention of many children and adults with your books. So they are multi-genre authors. 
Now let's look at their new book: Stone Faces: An Alice and Friends book, which suggests that there will be more in this series and if you listen to the interview you will hear Ken talking about the upcoming sequels to this book. The book came from their discovery of a rock that reminded both of them of a happy man. From this came the idea of the book, which originally was supposed to be a picture book. Then they decided to expand it and make it a middle grade book.
We know a little bit about this book, so let's see the blurb and an excerpt from this unusual book:

STONE FACES is the story of a ten-year-old girl named Alice who notices one day that her parents’ faces have turned to stone. Soon afterward, they tell her they are going to get divorced and, in reaction, she allows her own face to turn to stone because she doesn’t want anyone to know how much this hurts her. It is easier to deal with her friends when her stone face is in place, but she also begins to find herself alone more and more. 
While on her summer vacation at her aunt’s house on Cape Cod, she sees a stone on the beach in the shape of a laughing man’s face (called Mr. Happy Man). She soon discovers that this stone can talk and that it has friends among the other beach stones, who play games in the sand when people aren’t around. 
Together with Mr. Happy Man and his friends, Alice develops an ingenious scheme to help her parents resolve their differences. Their plans are thrown awry when a woman finds Mr. Happy Man in the sand and walks off with him. Alice decides to rescue the stone and sneaks into the woman’s house where she learns that the woman is actually a witch.

Now of course we need to see an excerpt from this extraordinary book!!!

I put on my stone face when my mom told me that my dad alone would be taking me to visit my aunt that summer. Aunt Bess was my father’s sister, so it would be awkward if Mommy brought me. And of course we couldn’t all go as a family. Of course.
“Then I’ll go by myself.” I said (okay, maybe I yelled), and I ran out of the room and slammed my bedroom door behind me and wasn’t nice to either of them until they agreed.
Even when they said I could go myself, I cried. Not in front of them, of course. I waited until I got back to my room and then the tears started rolling. I don’t think I ever cried that much in my entire life. It was a really bad day.
After that, I just did not want to talk to anybody because it seemed to me that everyone knew about my parents, and I didn’t want to hear that stupid lie that it would be all right. I didn’t want to go to dance class or soccer practice anymore. I didn’t care what I got on tests at school.
One day at recess, my friend Samantha came up to me.”
“I’m sorry your parents are living in different apartments,” she said.
I glared at her and mumbled something like, “Yeah, okay.”
“What’s it like to have two bedrooms?” she asked then.
“What’s it like to be so nosy?” I shot right back. She ran away.
That afternoon, my teacher, Mrs. Hamel, asked me to stay after class for a few minutes.
“You know it’s not unusual to be angry at your parents over a divorce,” she said. “And sometimes we’re even angry at our friends.”
I said nothing.
She paused. A sad sort of smile crossed her lips.
“If you would like to talk about it, I would be happy to listen. I might be able to help.”
Guess whose face was hard as stale saltwater taffy?
“Thank you, Mrs. Hamel,” I said and clamped my lips together.
After a few more minutes she let me go. My report card in June was not pretty.
The only good part of being a stone face was that it made it easier to get prepared for being on my own in Provincetown. When the day arrived for my trip, I was ready. Both my mom and my dad came to the bus station with me. My dad carried my bag and gave me two new comic books to read on the bus. My mom brought water and snacks, including my favorite cookies.
“Thank you, Mother,” I said. “Thank you, Father.”
When it was time to get on the bus, they each kissed me on the cheek.
I didn’t kiss them back.
“I’m going to miss you, Honey,” my mom said.
“Me, too, Sport,” said my dad.
“Goodbye,” I said in a small, cold voice that I imagined a stone-faced girl would use.
I climbed up the stairs to the bus and found a seat by a window. I did not cry. I breathed in and out and concentrated because I had read somewhere that monks who live in mountain caves practice breathing and can withstand cold and heat and wet and any kind of pain. My mom cried and my dad’s eyes got all red like he was going to cry too. I sat on my hands and stared at them out the window as the bus started to pull away. Then I saw my dad put his arm around my mom to comfort her, and she rested her head on his shoulder. A tear slid down his cheek too. I felt like my heart was being torn in half. Still, not one tear came out of my stony eyes.

You know as I told you on the show, I think this book is a great one to give to any child who might be going through something similar, because this girl's story gets to the heart of what a child might be experiencing. 

Here is their bio:

Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks

Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks have been married for a little over forty years and have produced about twenty books and exactly three children in that time. At press-time, they still love their children more.
Their most recent novels are set in New York City, where they have lived for most of their married lives. Anne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College where, in 1969, as the fabled Sixties were drawing to a close, she met Ken, who was a student at Haverford College. They don’t like to admit that they met at a college mixer, but there it is. Ken and Anne have a website: There, they have links to some of their books and display images that they hope will be used in future efforts. In case you were wondering abut the website address, “R” is for Rothman, “H” is for Hicks, and 71 is the year of their marriage. No secret codes or numerology anywhere. Sorry.
Finally, please give us your links:

Kenneth Hicks and Anne Rothman-Hicks
Facebook Author Page
Web site

Authors of:
Weave A Murderous Web(mystery/thriller) Melange Books
Praise Her, Praise Diana, (thriller) Melange Books 
Things Are Not What They Seem (middle reader) (MuseItUp)Kate and the Kid(mainstream)(Wings ePress)
Hearts (no flowers) Signs of Love in the Gritty City (Apple iBookstore)

Picture Stones, Nature's Own Art (Apple iBookstore)

Thank you Ken and Anne for coming back on the blog today. It is always a pleasure to have you here. If you have read this and not gone to the wonderful interview on my show you are missing a great opportunity to hear this delightful couple talk about their books and their writing style.
Until the next time I have three amazing guests for my next Red River Radio Tales from the Pages on the 4th Thursday of this month, August 25 at 4PM EST - 6PM: Nina Haberli, author and playwright, Judith Alter, who has been a guest author on this blog and Radine Nehring another excellent author. As always it will be a great show and there might be some surprises as well. 

Also I am publishing my very first book of poetry dedicated to my husband about my life with him. I do not have a publication date yet, but I am in the process of doing it.

My summer has been extremely hectic, because I have also been a guest poet on Poem Kubili. My poems were published for Poem Kubili 29, 30 and 31 as a guest poet. It has been a great experience and I have made some wonderful new friends who are excellent poets too! Check it out: Poem Kubili

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