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One fateful day in July 2001, a nine year-old Afghan girl, slipped while filling a kerosene heater and set herself on fire. Her burns were so severe, no one thought she’d live. But Zubaida survived, and her father brought her all over the region, finally to the American army base in Kandahar, trying to get help. A Green Beret listened, and Zubaida was flown to a specialized burn center in America for a year of reconstructive surgeries. Flacco’s depiction of Zubaida’s culture shock is remarkable. The TV and film writer explains how, for the first time, Zubaida was going to school, getting to make personal choices and spending time with children who had the luxury of imagining limitless futures. The medically complex procedures were successful; the social adjustments were difficult. With improved language skills, therapy and lots of love from her host family, Zubaida began to thrive (she even appeared on Oprah). But then it was time to return to Afghanistan, where she felt like a model ship in a bottle—perfectly formed but going nowhere. Flacco’s empathy and ability to tell Zubaida’s story like he’s inside her head makes for an engrossing feel-good read.

TINY DANCER is available from Amazon.


After reading TINY DANCER, one cannot help but be in awe of the human spirit. And it is a story of profound transformation, not merely physical, but that of the heart.”
— Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

“From the first paragraph, we were mesmerized by Zubaida’s experience. It is a compelling journey that stretches across the barriers of religion, nationality, and politics to tell a tale of bravery and fierce determination. Quite simply it is the most compelling, inspirational and triumphant story we’ve ever read.”
— Linda and Jerry Bruckheimer


Anthony was born in Oklahoma and grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, one of four brothers. Their father was an Air Force pilot and mother was a talented artist and painter.

His background as a trained stage actor with over 2,000 performances under his Actors Equity membership provides the primary basis for his critically acclaimed ability to empathize with a wide cross-section of personalities. He moved into screenwriting when he was selected for the prestigious American Film Institute fellowship in Screenwriting, and received his MFA in screenwriting there in 1990 after winning AFI’s Paramount Studios Fellowship Award for his film script, The Frog’s Legacy. He was then selected out of 2,000 entrants for the Walt Disney Studios Screenwriting Fellowship, and spent a year writing for the Touchstone Pictures division.

His screenwriting experience drives narrative stories that are visually compelling, whether for a movie theater or the screen of a reader’s imagination.

In 1994, his first nonfiction book, A Checklist for Murder, was acquired in auction by Dell Books as a mass market paperback and turned in solid sales.

Anthony then adapted his book into a screenplay for a two-hour television movie script and sold it to NBC Studios for a movie of the week. For the next several years, he worked as a freelance script doctor and story editor.

During that time, Anthony was hired by the Discovery Channel to write a two-hour documentary entitled Deadly Spree, and his true crime writing was also featured on a one-hour episode of The Prosecutors for Court TV.

In 2003, Anthony served as a national Judge for the Illinois Arts Council, writing individual evaluations for over 100 screenplays for their 2003 Writing Awards.

In 2005, with the publication of his nonfiction book Tiny Dancer (St. Martin’s Press) the book was selected by Reader’s Digest as their Editor’s Choice for August, 2005 — which was their 1,000th Commemorative Issue. The book has been internationally acclaimed, and the Kansas City Star named Tiny Dancer “one of the 100 Most Noteworthy Books of 2005.” In 2007, the book received Best Seller status in Italy and continues to be popular there.

Back in the U.S., his first two novels of historical fiction are from Mortalis Books at Random House. The first book, The Last Nightingale, was released in June of 2007 and was one of five nominees for “Best Original Paperback” from the International Thriller Writers Association. The second book, The Hidden Man, published in June of 2008 and created widespread interest in his historical writing within the publishing community.

In November of 2009 his historical true crime book was released by Sterling Publishing — The Road Out Of Hell: The True Story of Sanford Clark and the Wineville Murders. It won the USA NEWS 2009 Best True Crime Book of the Year.

Publish Your Nonfiction Book (Writer’s Digest Books), which Anthony co-authored with literary manager, Sharlene Martin, was also published in 2009.

He wrote Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Release by SEAL Team Six published on May 14, 2013 with Atria Books/Simon and Schuster.

His historical novel, In the Matter of Nikola Tesla: A Romance of the Mind, has been published in Italy as “L’Ultimo Segreto di Tesla”,” and published in January 2013 as an e-book with Diversion Books.

He is an experienced public speaker and frequently gives seminars on crime writing, and is a featured speaker on writing for writers conferences and clubs.

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