Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Self-Publishing Tip

Self-Publishing Tip—Have a plan: Map out a defined strategy/vision for your book, develop a detailed budget, create a realistic time line, know your target audience, do your research on industry standards and trends, and above all, PROMOTE!...to read more, visit my blog,

When I began my publishing journey I was as green as grass. All I knew was that I wanted to have the story I’d spent endless nights creating, published into a book. I spent 2 ½ years sending out query letters and doing research on the publishing industry before I finally decided to self-publish my novel, Unexpected Interruptions. But before I published my work, I knew I had to have a plan.

How I developed my plan:

The first thing I did was write down my vision for my work, which ultimately turned into my strategy. I determined what goals and milestones I wanted to achieve, and what kind of reach and exposure (regional, national, international) I wanted to accomplish. I also knew that in order to fully realize what I had envisioned, I had to have the money to do it, so I developed a concise, detailed budget. My budget was based on the extensive research I had done on the publishing industry. Through tedious homework each night, I learned what was required to properly publish a book and the many costs involved. After I knew what kind of expenses I would likely incur, I developed a time line. This step was invaluable and extremely helpful because it kept me on track with each task in front of me. It was my road map!

And above all, I PROMOTED! From the moment I decided to self-publish, I began telling everyone I knew about my book. The minute my book cover was complete I posted it on my newly designed website (every author should have a website!), uploaded it to bookselling and literary websites, made bookmarks and postcards, reached out to book clubs, and started setting up a book tour.

I followed my timeline and stuck with my plan (as closely as I could), and I believe to this day that it was a great factor in the success of, Unexpected Interruptions. Having a plan doesn’t ensure success because as we know, life doesn’t always happen the way we want it to. But, if you have a road map in front of you, you’ll have a good idea of where you need to go, and you’ll avoid a lot of pitfalls!

Visit me at www.tricehickman.com

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Self-Publishing Tip

I haven't been doing a very good job of posting lately, and it seems as though time gets away from me much too easily! But, I wanted to post this quick piece of advice for aspiring writers. I'm constantly asked, "How do I publish a book?"...The answer is long, complicated, and much too involved to explain in one setting. So, for those who are interested in publishing their own book, I'm going to post a tip each week. Here's the first one (this one is short, but oh so important):

Self-publishing tip for the day: The most important step in publishing on your own starts with research. Be a sponge, learn ALL you can, study best practices, and don't depend on others to always show you the ropes. If you demonstrate initiative (again, researching and informing yourself about industry standards and trends) others will gladly help you on your journey!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What Inspired Me To Become A Writer

Whether I'm doing a book signing, speaking to a civic organization, meeting with a book club, or lecturing to students, the same question always comes up...What inspired you to become a writer? My answer is simple—my love of reading, and a wonderful English course that changed my life!

I've loved reading since I was a small child. I have fond memories of my parents taking my siblings and me to the Half-Price Bookstore in my small hometown so we could buy books. Those trips to the bookstore were like Christmas to me. I loved reading because I was able to meet new people, travel to exciting places, and learn new words, all without leaving the comfort of my bedroom. I continued my love of reading throughout elementary, junior high, and high school. But once I entered Winston-Salem State University, my entire world changed.

While at WSSU, I enrolled in an advanced English Literature course taught by Dr. Elwanda Ingram (I'll never forget Dr. Ingram). That class reshaped my view of reading and literature. Until that time, I'd only read children’s books and young adult novels, but this course focused on African American female literary writers and poets. WOW! What an eye-opening experience. It's sad to say, but I'd never read books by black authors. They weren't plentiful back in the day, especially not in my small southern town. For the first time in my life I was reading stories written by women who shared my same skin, experiences, and community. They wrote about a world that was intimately familiar to me. Alice Walker, Zora Neal Hurston, Toni Morrison, bell hooks...I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong, I had loved my Nancy Drew books and all things Judy Bloom. But the novels I read in my English class resonated with me in a way that no other books ever had. They were stories I embraced. Seeing those black women who had produced beautiful, entertaining, and inspiring works of art made me think, "Hey, I can be a writer, too!"

My road to becoming a published author was a long and quite challenging one. I'll tell you more about that later. But for now, just know that if you want to write and you want to have your work published, don't EVER give up on that dream. Believe in yourself, believe in your story, and fight with all you have to make it happen. The journey will be well worth it!

Check out my author interview here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0wLDZNCYBo


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Body Image: What’s It Really All About?

Body image. It’s an issue most women struggle with at some point in our lives—I know I certainly have, and still do. During my 20’s everything was perky and tight. I ate whatever I wanted and I still looked pretty good. When I entered my 30’s I began to notice subtle changes. Things weren’t as they had been a decade before, but, it was still all good! When I slid into my 40’s reality started kicking in, my metabolism slowed down, and I found myself wondering what had happened to my body. Even shopping, one of my favorite pastimes, became challenging. *Cautionary Note*: There is nothing more sobering than taking your clothes off in a department store dressing room and looking at your half-naked self under the glare of those ultra bright lights. As we age, we gain things we didn’t have before, and lose things we wish we could hold on to.

I don’t know a woman alive who thinks, “My body is great just the way it is!” I’m sure such women exist, and that they are actually inhabiting this planet (well-adjusted aliens living among us, disguised as humans)…just kidding…a little! If I conducted a poll and asked the average woman to name one thing she’d like to change about her body, I guarantee she could come up with at least three different things off the top of her head. Some want thinner thighs, smaller waistlines, slimmer hips, and firmer everything! And on the flip side, some long for larger thighs, rounder behinds…and yes, firmer everything! Whether we’re big or small we fantasize about having the perfect bikini body. But let’s face it, even the svelte swim suit models gracing the fashion magazines are airbrushed to death, so what’s it really all about?...I believe it all starts with good self-esteem combined with good health and fitness habits.

Our society has become obsessed with beauty over substance. We live in an age of mid-drift bearing, booty-shakin’, breast implant having, show-what-you-got, in-your-face boldness. The unrealistic standards of beauty and body size thrust in front of us by way of magazines and music videos can make the average woman feel inadequate…and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of succumbing to the hype.

I’ve often bemoaned and criticized my wide hips, thick thighs, and big legs. But slowly, and I mean very slowly, I’m learning to appreciate my curvy, grown woman shape. The other day I stood in front of the mirror, naked as the day I came into this world, and studied my body closely. Every inch of it. I closed my eyes, then opened them again. I spoke affirming words to the woman staring back at me. I embraced my soft, smooth, cocoa-colored skin that protects my body, and I thanked my big legs for allowing me to walk everywhere I need to go. I’m truly thankful for both. And even though I didn’t get around to praising my wide hips or thick thighs, I know I’ll get there soon, and when I do I will appreciate them, regardless of their size. This whole thing is a process—and it’s called acceptance. Loving who you are is a necessary exercise. Both the mind and body must be treated with reverence and care.

It’s important to be healthy, no matter your body size. There are thin women who are grossly out of shape and haven’t an ounce of cardio endurance, while there are overweight women who are fit and can run circles around their thinner counterparts. As I’ve gotten older, I realize how much more important it is to feel good than to look good (but for the record, I do want to look good, too!). I’ve also learned that educating yourself about proper diet and exercise, and incorporating both into your daily lifestyle is essential at any age. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, and moving your body in some sort of aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes a day can make all the difference in the world. When we do good things for our bodies we get great result. And when we love what’s on the inside, that’s an unbeatable feeling!

So tell me, how do you feel about your body and what issues are you struggling with, if any? What are some of the things you’re doing to stay fit and healthy? Let me know and share some of the health and nutrition tips that have worked for you?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

In The Land Of Good And Evil, Exclusively Available on A Chapter A Month!

In the Land Of Good And Evil, is set during the summer of 1969 in the small southern town of Nedine, South Carolina. John Small, a successful New York City banker, is ready to leave Wall Street and return to his hometown of Nedine to open the city's first African American owned bank. But trouble soon arises, and John quickly learns that things aren't as they appear! Old friends have become new foes, and old enemies are now new allies. With so much going on, John's really not sure whom he can trust until he gets help from two unlikely sources--his wise, ninety-year-old grandmother who has the mysterious gift of prophecy, and a sweet young woman named Elizabeth who steals his heart. But, will their love and protection be enough to save John from the sinister forces that are out to claim his soul?...Love, betrayal, and the supernatural abound!...oh yeah, and there's some STEAMY romance thrown in between! Check out my story as it unfolds every month at www.achapteramonth.com!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Carry Both Their Names and Their Pride: Honoring My Grandfathers During Black History Month

During Black History Month we celebrate great men and women of African descent who have contributed to the betterment and equality of African Americans and all citizens of this country, for their contributions have impacted us across race and gender lines. We’re all familiar with Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, and other phenomenal individuals who championed equality and civil rights.
But when I think about giants who fought for justice while reaching out to help their fellow man, two names always come to mind—Reverend W. G. Hickman, my paternal grandfather, and James Thomas Trice, my maternal grandfather. I carry their both names and their pride.

Granddaddy Hickman, (Willie Gray, as his family called him) was a powerful man. He was one of the first black male teachers at the local high school I attended, he was instrumental in helping to start the Voter's League in my hometown, and he was president of the local NAACP chapter for many years. Granddaddy was also a pastor, and boy could he preach! As a child I remember sitting in the pew at his church and listening to his thunderous voice as he delivered his sermon. (I would later do the same with my own father). He marched with Dr. King, and he championed the rights of underserved and underrepresented citizens. He was a business owner and community leader. Granddaddy stood up and spoke out during a time when it was dangerous for a black man to do so, especially in the South. He staged the first sit-in (and took my father with him when my Dad was just a small boy, setting an early example for him) at a restaurant in my hometown that refused to serve black people. He was an “agitator” (I love it!) who stood his ground and fought for what was right. He was proud and fearless, and I greatly admire him for his determined spirit.

James Trice was one of the best men I’ve ever known. Granddaddy James had what people called “the gift of gab.” He could talk to anyone about anything! I remember having conversations with him that lasted for hours…and that’s a really long time when you’re a kid! He was smart and wise, and he loved his family with a deep, unwavering passion. He was a man of honor, integrity, and kindness. Granddaddy James served honorably in the U.S. Army during World War II, and then worked for the federal government for 37 years before retiring. He was a member of the Masons, Shriners, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and he volunteered in his community. I always knew that he was a great man, but it wasn’t until his funeral that I realized the powerful impact he’d had on his community. His home going service lasted for several hours because person after person stood up and gave testimony about the good deeds he’d done over the years. From taking food out of his refrigerator to feed his neighbors, to physically saving one young man’s life, my granddaddy helped people whenever he could. And it’s ironic because for a man who loved to talk, he never breathed a word about his selfless acts of kindness. He just went about the work of being a good human being. His heart was so big, and I miss him so much.

Both of my grandfathers taught me valuable lessons about strength, determination, and kindness. No, they weren’t perfect men, but they were solid men. They stood tall in their deeds and beliefs. They provided for their families and were responsible citizens. And I’m confident in saying that their communities were better places because they had lived in them—what a lasting legacy! My two grandfathers are the yardstick by which I measure greatness, and that’s why I celebrate them during Black History Month.

I believe we all know unspoken hero’s—those individuals who’ve made a difference, touched a life, or fought for what was right. During Black History Month and every month thereafter, let’s honor these hero’s by remembering them, talking about them, sharing their stories, and celebrating their deeds. Who are the people in your family that deserve to be recognized and honored? I challenge you to tell their story…it just might inspire someone!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Day Tips...Spice Up Your Man's Day!

Valentine's Day Tips from Victoria Small of Divine Occasions

Who says that women are the only ones who like romance? Men like it, too! This Valentine's Day, make it ALL about him by showing your man you appreciate him in ways that will make him sit up, take notice, and beg for more! Here are a few tips from Divine Occasions owner, Victoria Small, to help you make your guy’s cupid day memorable!

Divine Occasions Valentine's Day Tip #1—Ladies, start your man's Valentine's Day morning off right by feeding him a delicious, healthy treat in bed. Mix strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries in a bowl, then top it off with a little whipped cream (on him!), and lick it off of him in small, delicious nibbles so you can have a sweet treat, too!

Divine Occasions Valentine's Day Tip #2—Pack your guy a sexy, heart-healthy Valentine's Day lunch. Every man loves to be fed, so before he walks out the door, hand your man a lunch bag that includes fresh fruits and nuts atop leafy salad greens, a juicy red apple, and a small box of red hot cinnamon candies...and don't forget to include a love note letting him know that you can't wait for him to get home so you can give him a "REAL" gift!

Divine Occasions Valentine's Day Tip #3—When your man comes home, greet him at the door in sexy lingerie and your most fierce pair of stilettos...but don't let him touch you. Take him to the dinner table (which should already be set with flowers, candles, and a delicious meal) and let him savor the pleasure of watching you dine in your sexy silk and lace (or leather if that’s your pleasure!). Then, continue your romantic evening by relaxing together in a warm bubble bath sprinkled with rose petals (by this time your lingerie should be off!).
Divine Occasions Valentine's Day Tip #4—Light an aromatherapy candle, turn on soft music, and give your man an all-over body massage with non-scented oil. Then, once you’re finished, hand feed him some delicious treats (chocolate covered strawberries, grapes, berries, and whipped cream)…Oh, and did I mention he should be blindfolded during this sensual pampering session!

Divine Occasions Valentines Tip #5—Wake him up with a sensual Lingam massage (It’s a Tantric, male centered massage that’s dedicated to one area of his anatomy) that will get his day started on the upswing *wink*. Meet your guy during his lunch break and sneak away for a sexy mid-day romp that will make him return to work with an extra pep in his step! Then, pick him up from work at the end of the day and tell him that the evening is his—do whatever he likes. He’ll appreciate that you made this day ALL about him!

Check out Victoria Small, her exciting life, and the amazingly colorful cast of jump-off-the-page characters in my novel, Unexpected Interruptions, (Dafina Books, March 29, 2011). Visit Trice Hickman at http://www.tricehickman.com/.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Welcome Back...To Me!

Wow! I can’t believe that I haven’t posted on my blog in a year and a half! Oh, shame, shame, shame on me! Where does the time go? A day turns into a week, which rolls into a month, and speeds into a year, and BAM!...There you are, scratching your head with a blank stare as you think about the things you wanted to do but didn’t.

But, there’s a wonderful thing about this gift we call life, it’s called “a second chance!” And, if we’re lucky, we might even get two, three, or more (um, but let’s not push it!).

How many times have we said we were going to do something, only to let time pass by without fulfilling the commitment our promise? Whether we vow to lose weight, get more exercise, cut back on sweets, remove negative habits (and people) from our lives, or vow to save more money, it can be hard to stay on track. But again, it’s that thing called a second chance that saves us!

Okay, so this is my second chance at blogging and I’m going to make the most of it. If, like me, you’ve fallen off the wagon with something, just remember there’s a second chance for you, right around the corner!