Muse in the Gift Box

Muse in the Gift Box

Each year, the Florida Writer’s Association publishes a collection of member’s writings inspired by a theme.  This year’s theme was “Where does your Muse Live?”

I entered and was one of sixty selected out of hundreds of entrants for publication in this year’s book. The cover is at left, and the book will be launched at the Florida Writers Convention in October.

You get to see my entrant first!  Here it is:

My muse resides in a gift box under my hat; that’s where it’s at.  “Imagination” is her name.  She begins to percolate and germinate ideas and rhymes that are released when one of the four following “keys” opens my box:

1. Observation.  If one is going to be a great writer, artist, or speaker, one must become an observer of life and the world around him.  When it gets dark, and coincidently, when we sit down for dinner, five toads gather on the window by the dining table to catch insects attracted by the light.  We delight in watching them wait motionless, and suddenly jump to grab something.  Toads on the window. That’s unusual. Maybe there’s a rhyme there.  Rhyming is my fun gift.

Five toads on our window,
What did they do?
They tried to catch bugs and millers to chew.
And sometimes they caught a mosquito or two.

They joined us for dinner, and to have dinner too.
We watched them eat; did they watch us too?
Our time was up, and dinner was through,
We left the table, and the toads left too.

2. Visualization.  Forming a mental image of things that cannot be seen seems to get my “imagination” working. After reading in the Bible about going to Heaven forever, I began wondering what would I do for eternity.  What would I be happy doing forever?

They say that we’re going to Heaven,
With wonderful things there to see.
But what can we do for eternity?
What’s Heaven really going to be?

I know there’ll be sailboats in Heaven,
And a beautiful deep blue sea.
There’ll be bells to ring, and songs to sing
Because Heaven is made for me.

I’ll play my harp in Heaven,
And sing with the angels ‘neath the blue.
There’ll be music to play, and rhymes to say,
For God knows what I like to do.

My time in this world is not over.
There’s lots more to do and to see.
I don’t wonder or worry about Heaven,
Since I know God, and know He loves me.

3. Determination.  I started a poem, and then couldn’t find a rhyming word to finish the stanza.  Perhaps call it persistence, not inspiration, but there is work to change and search, to try different words, to change the other lines, and to work with other words until there is a rhyme.  Sometimes inspiration comes under pressure, and is released by effort.  My wife said, “Can you write a baby poem for our friends baby shower to go with her gift?  I need it Saturday.  That gives you two days.”   Two days!  “Imagination”, where are you?”  It took some work, but I made the deadline!

A new baby on the way;
Wonderful news! Wonderful day!
Nine months wait will soon speed by,
And then you’ll hear that newborn cry.

Doesn’t matter girl or boy,
Either way it’s a joy!
New life is an awesome thing,
Your heavenly gift will come next spring!

4. Recollection.  I remember when I was in high school, I would go to the country club on weekends to work as a caddy.  A beginning caddy got $1.25 for carrying a bag for eight holes.  The best part of working as a caddy was that at the end of the day, we could shoot a “round” of golf ourselves.  I loved being on the golf course, and the challenge of the game!

There is no sport that I can name,
That lifts the spirit like this game.
I’m as happy as can be,
As I step up to the tee.

I smacked a drive, a perfect shot,
Straight away, right in the slot,
Right down the fairway — watch it roll,
To bounce right in, the waterhole.

I hit the ball right off the tee.
It flew so far, I couldn’t see.
When I found it, woe is me,
It’s sitting right behind a tree.

My favorite ball hooked in the rough.
Finding it is really tough.
I wonder what that dog is doing?
Hey! That’s my ball he’s chewing!

The greatest pleasure I have seen,
To watch a ball bounce on the green.
Then make a beeline for the pole,
And go right straight into the hole!

I feel my racing heart swell up.
When the ball drops in the cup.
What can a game of golf be worth?
A touch of Heaven on the earth.

“Imagination” lives in my gift box.  I believe that God created my gift box, and put the gifts inside.  Now I know exactly where my muses reside.

Once I Was A Kid – get the whole book!

It all began when…

I raised my foot to stomp on the ants on the big rock by the house, when Mom grabbed my arm and said, “Wait!  How would you feel if you looked up to see that giant shoe coming down on you?”  I squinted my eyes shut as I looked up into the bright summer sky, and imagined the bottom of my tennis shoe gradually filling the sky above me.  Scary!

Mom and I got down on our hands and knees and watched the ants going back and forth.  She asked, “What do you suppose those ants are doing?  Look at that one, he’s carrying something.  Maybe it’s food for the queen.  Imagine how important you would feel if you were carrying food for the queen!”

Yes!  Imagine!  Imagine, indeed!  My lifelong journey with imagination, and empathy for God’s living things had begun. 

Come enjoy with me some fun things I did, and happy days I had, as a child growing up on my grandfather’s farm, in the whole ebook: Once I Was A Kid With the Wild Things On the Farm.

Once I Was A Kid can be purchased at an introductory price of $0.99  wherever ebooks are sold.

Example:  If you have an account with Amazon – go to their website and type in the search bar – “Once I Was A Kid Robert Z Hicks” – to bring up the book.   If you don’t have a Kindle app – you can download their free app and the book will be downloaded to your device (computer, phone, or tablet).

OR  use the link below to all the ebook digital stores where Once I Was A Kid is available.  Click on the digital store of your choice. Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook),  Apple (iBooks) etc.

If you are inspired to write any comments on the site where you got the book, in their “write a review” section, it would be much appreciated.  It will really help get the book listed on the sites sales records.

Once I Was A Kid

Once I Was A Kid – With the Wild Things On the Farm

Big news!  My memoir book, Once I Was A Kid, With the Wild Things On the Farm, has been launched into the world of ebooks!

The cover of the book is a portrait of me, age eight, drawn by professional artist Ashley Otis, from a photograph taken in 1943.

Ashley added the crow on my shoulder, and the raccoon, to show two of my favorite pets of that time, Barney the crow, and Bandit the ‘coon.

Crystal Bowman, best-selling Christian children’s author, wrote the following about the book:

Robert Z. Hicks shares stories from his childhood adventures growing up on a farm in Michigan during the ’40’s.  Whether or not you lived in that era, and whether or not you lived on a farm, you will love the warm and humorous stories from Bob’s memories.  Bob’s encounters with cows, bees, birds, raccoons, skunks, and many more of God’s creatures will entertain both children and adults. His sometimes hilarious encounters with God’s creatures will stir your imagination.

 In between the stories, Bob treats us with his gift for rhyme with humorous, poignant, and delightful poems written as he relished the memories from his childhood.  Step back in time and imagine when life was sweet and innocent, and sometimes spiced with a bit of mischief here and there.”      

Bob writes: “Enjoy with me some fun things I did, and happy days I had, as a child growing up on my grandfather’s farm.  

Imagine too, the lessons I learned from Mom and my experiences, that imagination and empathy are key skills for good relationships and communication, and that God’s creatures are born to be free.

Come reminisce, and imagine along with me.”

Once I Was A Kid has been launched at an introductory price of $0.99 for a limited time.  It will be available wherever ebooks can be purchased.  You don’t need to buy an ebook reader.

If you have an account with Barnes & Noble or Amazon – go to their website and type in the search bar – Once I Was A Kid Robert Z Hicks – to bring up the book.
OR  use the link below to all the ebook digital stores where “Once I Was A Kid” is available:(Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Scribd, etc.)

This is my first ebook, so any feedback you give, and any review you would write, would be much appreciated.


Christmas Special Offer

Christmas Special Offer

The perfect gift for children of all ages for Christmas — a rhyming story picture book by Robert Z. Hicks!

Mouse in the Manger is the Christmas story told by Micah the mouse who was a secret observer of the birth of Christ.  Beautiful illustrations by Ashley Otis brings the Christmas story to life.


Tommie Turtle’s Secret is a beautiful hardcover picture book.  Tommie’s secret is revealed in this fun rhyming story of the day he raced Speedy Hoppy Bunny to teach the bunny valuable lessons about friendship.

My special offer is buy 2 books for $20 and get a third book FREE!  Choose any combination of the two books.

You can view a video of both books, and get all the details to order at    (If you are curious about our website address – take a look)

Local friends: You can order by calling us and coming to pick up your books.  727-842-8314

Danny the Dragon

DannyDanny the Dragon

There once was a little dragon.
Danny was his name.
Danny wasn’t like the other dragons,
He didn’t make a flame.

Dragons in mythology always had flames, but Danny chooses not to scare people, and keeps a low profile. BUT, when the bad guys show up, Danny rises to the occasion and becomes a hero by saving the kingdom.

Danny the Dragon is about a hero.

I have added Questions and Answers to test comprehension of young readers, and bring out the moral lesson about heroes.

Every illustration by Ashley Otis is a work of art. I feel blessed to have found such a gifted young artist!

Our campaign to market Danny begins now. Gaby Harris has created a new website for Danny – for people to order my current books, Mouse in the Manger and Tommie Turtles 
Secret, to help fund the publication.

We are asking friends to spread the word by social networks and media,

When the book is ready, there will be special promotions.

Thank you for your responses to “Where Did the Blogger Go”. I am blessed to have caring family and friends.

Coming! “Danny the Dragon”

Danny #4 - pComing! Danny the Dragon

People keep asking me, “When is the next book?”

We are excited that Ashley Otis, our artist extraordinaire who illustrated Mouse in the Manger, is hard at work on illustrations for Danny the Dragon.  Ashley has completed four illustrations so far and they are gorgeous!

Danny the Dragon is a delightful rhyming story of a gentle dragon who has the courage to be his own person, and the courage to stand up to challenges when needed.

Heeeeeeere’s Danny!


Mouse in the Manger report

Mouse front cover JPGWe received the following email from a children’s pastor in Texas.  We are delighted that Mouse in the Manger is being used by creative people to share the Christmas story.


Hi Mr. Bob,  Our church really enjoyed your book Mouse In The Manger.  I appreciate you signing it for us also 🙂

I read the book to the children who attended our annual Christmas Eve service.  All the children, about 45 in all, came up on stage by Christmas tree and Nativity scene.  I hid a small stuffed mouse in the Nativity scene.

After reading the precious story, I asked if any of the kids could find the mouse I hid in the scene.  They looked and smiled as many noticed where it was 🙂   We gave each child a small stuffed mouse to remember your story by.

Thanks again Mr. Bob.  Your story blessed our children and their families, who all heard your story for the first time.  God bless you.

Children’s Pastor
Trinity Church
San Antonio, Tx.

2015 USA Best Book Awards

191_bestbooksfinalistJPEG2015 USA Best Book Awards

Mouse In the Manger was a Finalist!

The 2015 USA Best Book Awards brought in over 2,000 entries, our biggest year since starting this program in 2004. By placing in this year’s awards, you have beat out 75% of your fellow entrants.


Children’s Religious

Winner: Little Lamb Finds Christmas by Cathy Gilmore, illustrated by Kim Wilson, Ligouri Publishing 978-0764824890

Finalist: Mouse In The Manger by Robert Z. Hicks, illustrated by Ashley Otis, RZ Enterprises of Florida 978-0-9792031-1-4

Finalist: Angels, Angels, Everywhere by Michelle Beber, Balboa Press 978-1-4525-1894-7

Finalist: Catherine’s Pascha: A Celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church by Charlotte Riggle, illustrated by R.J. Hughes, Phoenix Flair Press 978-0-9846124-3-7

Finalist: Googling God by Larry & Katelynn Haynes,  Splashing Cow Books, LLC 978-0-9966761-1-3

Finalist: The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin: A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah by Martha Seif Simpson, illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard, World Wisdom 978-1-937786-28-1

Finalist: The Great Carp Escape by Irish Beth Maddock, illustrated by Lucent Ouano, Word Alive Press 978-1-4866-0508-8

Mouse In The Manger in Frankfurt Book Fair

10537027_10153708319712302_5383924659652187067_nMouse In The Manger in Frankfurt Book Fair.

Mouse In The Manger was prominently displayed at the Independent Book Publishers Association booth at the Frankfurt, Germany Book Fair!

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the largest global marketplace for books, media, rights, and licenses worldwide. The 2015 fair took place October 14-18, 2015.

You can see Mouse In The Manger on the front corner, second row up on the right.