Monday, April 13, 2015

Rocket Boys the Musical to be presented at Atlanta's Legacy Theatre April-May 2015!

April-May 2015

Dear Friends and Readers:

This is a special newsletter to announce the opening of Rocket Boys the Musical at The Legacy Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.

Opening night (already sold out) is on April 17, 2015. After that shows will be presented on April 18-19, April 24-26, May 1-3, and May 8-10. I hope that you will make plans now to go see this amazing production! To order tickets, just go to www.thelegacytheatre.org!

If you haven't heard about the musical, go to www.rocketboysthemusical.com for a taste of the music.

Here's a little background on how the musical came about. I had always thought Rocket Boys would make a good play and had it in the back of my mind to someday get around to it. But then, one day, a package arrived and in that package, I found a CD with a note that it was music written by some young people that could be the basis for a musical based on the Rocket Boys of October Sky. Quite honestly, I came very close to tossing the package into the trashcan but, at the last minute, decided to listen to the music.

It was amazing! I was nearly reduced to tears listening to the haunting melodies and made to laugh at the vigorous songs! The composers were geniuses! So I reached out and contacted Diana Belkowski and Dan Tramon, the composers, and writer Carl Tramon and told them I was in!

The Rocket Boys the Musical Creative Team!
From L-R: Carl Tramon, Homer Hickam, Diana Belkowski, and Dan Tramon

Now, after a three year development run at Theatre West Virginia, we are able to take the next step and that's this production in Atlanta's magnificent Legacy Theatre (actually located in Tyrone, Georgia, just south of metro Atlanta). After that, who knows? We intend to take the show as high as it will go.

Please come and join us for an evening of fun, adventure, drama, songs, tears, and laughter! We are especially pleased to announce that Broadway star Melissa Van Der Schyff will be taking the role of Elsie Hickam! I'd especially like to thank Mark and Bethany Smith, owners and operators of The Legacy Theatre, for choosing our musical for their spring run. Mark is also our most prodigious director!

Homer Hickam with the Cast and Crew of The Legacy Theatre's
Production of Rocket Boys the Musical!

This much I can guarantee. After seeing Rocket Boys the Musical, you will leave the theater ready to take on the world!

Keep Aiming High!

Homer Hickam

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Here Comes Pluto!
Homer Hickam

       The first time I heard about Pluto was when Mrs. Brown, my second grade teacher at the school in Coalwood, West Virginia, said it was our 9th planet. As far as I'm concerned, it still is. Everything Mrs. Brown taught me has proved to be true so I have no reason to doubt her about Pluto, either.
Homer "Sonny" Hickam about the time he heard
about an odd little world called Pluto
      Of course, Pluto is a bit different from the other eight worlds circling our sun. For one thing, it's smaller than the others and has an odd, tilted, eccentric orbit that requires 248 years for it to move around the sun. Pluto also has several moons that Mrs. Brown didn't know about. The biggest one is Charon that we think is about half the size of its host. Imagine an Earth with a moon half its size! Talk about a high tide! The other Plutonian moons, Nix, Hydra, Styx, and Kerberos, are probably just big icy rocks but we don't know for certain. That, fortunately, is about to change.
       Any time I want to the see our solar system, I don't require fancy computer graphics. All I have to do is mentally hover over the Sun and watch hot Mercury, cloudy Venus, blue marble Earth, red Mars, the jumbled asteroid belt, banded Jupiter, ringed Saturn, robin-egg blue Uranus, and blue-green Neptune rolling along on their endless orbits. I can even swoop in and see most of the solar system's moons. There's our boot-printed Luna plus Jupiter's ice-bound Europa, Saturn's Titan with its methane seas, and all the rest. The reason I can picture these planets, moons, and asteroids is because I've seen pictures of them that were taken by spacecraft swinging by for a close look.

Our Solar System (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
     But Pluto is still a mystery. What does it and its moons look like? We won't know until a plucky little spacecraft named New Horizons soars by this summer. It should be an amazing encounter.
      Sending a robot to Pluto wasn't easy but the initial steps here on Earth were perhaps the hardest. One of the scientists who fought to send a probe to Pluto happens to be a friend of mine, Dr. Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute. Before Alan got involved, NASA and the United States Congress had promised to send a couple of robotic craft to visit Pluto. The first one, the Pluto Fast Flyby, was cancelled for the lack of funds. The next one, the Pluto Kuiper Express, was cancelled for the same reason. When Alan came on board, he fought hard to get Pluto back on the "great place to visit" list and he was successful. In January, 2006, an Atlas V rocket sent New Horizons hurtling into the far wayback and the adventure was on!
New Horizons spacecraft (photo courtesy of NASA)
The New Horizons spacecraft is a pretty amazing little flyer. First off, after Jupiter gave it a gravity assist, it became the fastest spacecraft ever, zipping along at around 50,000 miles per hour. It will still be going 30,000 miles per hour when it zooms past Pluto so it will have to do a lot in a hurry. New Horizons isn't very big, only about the size of a grand piano, but packed aboard it are some amazing instruments.

Photograph of Pluto and Charon
taken by New Horizons, January 2015
(photo courtesy of NASA)
    Besides cameras, New Horizons has an ultraviolet spectrometer that will tell us a lot about Pluto's geology. It also has devices designed to measure its atmosphere, a solar wind detector, and a dust counter. It also contains the ashes of the man who discovered Pluto, an interesting fellow named Clyde Tombaugh.
Clyde Tombaugh (photo courtesy of NASA)

By every measure, Clyde Tombaugh shouldn't have discovered anything. The son of a Kansas farmer, Tombaugh put off college after hail ruined the crops and he had to work the farm. But, between plantings and harvestings, Tombaugh's eyes always strayed upward, so much so he built his own telescopes and set them up around the farmhouse. Eventually, he got a menial job at the Lowell Observatory and was tasked to look for anything that might be out beyond Neptune. A tenacious fellow, Tombaugh not only found Pluto but, beyond it, the Kuiper Belt, a primordial parking lot filled with careening planets, asteroids, rocks, and comets that had been overlooked for centuries. It was only after those amazing discoveries that Tombaugh took the time to get a doctorate in astronomy. Clearly, he was a man who couldn't wait to do what he was born to do.
          New Horizons is going to reach Pluto on July 14, 2015 but, well before that, photos of the planet and its moons are going to be sent out for us to enjoy and ponder. What will Pluto and its moons look like? Although gone now to the great schoolhouse in the sky, I'm sure Mrs. Brown would be pleased to know that one of her students is going to find out!

The Coalwood School where all the planets were taught

Monday, December 8, 2014

Autographed books available for the 2014 Holiday Christmas Season

Holiday Homer Hickam Newsletter
November, 2014
For description of each book, go to the BOOKS page on Homer's website and click on each cover. 

Dear Friends and Readers,  
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our friends and readers! Normally, we send along a newsy, chatty newsletter for the holidays and we promise to produce one of those the first minute we get the chance. But right now, I am deep into my next book, a family epic tentatively titled Carrying Albert Home (which stars my parents and a very special alligator.) It will be published in Fall of 2015.  And Linda is covered up with letters from fans that need answering. As for our cats, they're assigned to the bookstore shipping department and are busy at this very moment shredding wrapping paper and boxes in preparation for the upcoming gift sales of my books!

This missive therefore is being sent entirely to apprise you of the fantastic deal that my wife Linda's little KnowInk bookstore is offering for your holiday gift-giving pleasure. For you, our loyal newsletter subscribers, from now until December 21, she is reducing the price of every one of my books by 10%, each autographed and inscribed according to your instructions.

These have proved to be fantastically good surprise gifts for folks who enjoy good books or have a connection to my life in the coalfields and beyond! To figure out how to order these very special, valuable, and collectible books, just go to the list of books below and subtract 10% from each price listed.  

Shipping costs, of course, remain the same, but note that up to 6 books fit in the medium priority box and Linda will only charge you $11 if your books fit, which is actually less than the cost of shipping it.
So to get your order in, all you have to do is let Linda know what books you want by emailing her at LTHickam@homerhickam.com. The DVD of October Sky is also available with the 10% reduction in price. Easy? You bet! So get your orders in early, please. There are limited quantities available so do not wait until the last minute and be disappointed!
Happy Holidays to all of you.  
May there be Peace on Earth.
                                                            Homer Hickam

Note From Linda
BOOKS AUTOGRAPHED AND PERSONALIZED BY HOMER HICKAM AVAILABLE BY MAIL Special gifts to that "hard to find a gift for" person. Homer's many books can be personalized, autographed and mailed to you or the person gifted, even gift wrapped for a small price :)! Great gifts for Christmas, birthdays, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, special teacher, Father's Day, graduation and more!! If you want inscriptions on them, remember to let us know.

Thank you for shopping  
Small Businesses! 

How to order: PayPal is best, paid to LTHickam@homerhickam.com. Use "SEND MONEY" area at top and in comments area please include inscription wanted on each book and the shipping address.

Questions? Email Linda at LTHickam@homerhickam.com. The shipping listed after each book is for that book alone, BUT remember, up to 6 books can fit in one $11 priority box so keep that in mind and just order more books for the same shipping cost! :)

Choose from the list below and subtract 10% from the price until Dec. 21:

Rocket Boys, hardcover $30. Autographed and personalized by Homer Hickam, with special Rocket Boys authenticity embossed seal (we have seen forgeries!). ($11 priority mail shipping) - the box can hold up to 6 books, but this size is needed to keep this book safe. I am sorry at this time I cannot fulfill international orders.

October Sky DVD, autographed $16 ($6 Shipping)

NEWEST! Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company (A Helium-3 Novel): $12, ($6 shipping for one or two, $11 for more)

Crescent (A Helium-3 Novel) $12, with ($6 shipping for one, $11 for multiples)

Crater (A Helium-3 Novel) Trade, $12, ($6 shipping for one or two, $11 for more)

All Three Helium-3 novels! $30 ($11 shipping) Great young adult gift!

The Coalwood Way, hardcover, 1st edition, collectible $25 ($11 shipping)

Sky of Stone hardcover, 1st edition, collectible $25 ($11 shipping)

The Coalwood Trilogy Set (Rocket Boys, The Coalwood Way, Sky of Stone) SPECIAL, $65 (all but Rocket Boys are first editions and out of print, so collectible already!)

We Are Not Afraid Trade $15 ($6 shipping)

Back To The Moon hardcover VERY collectible, unavailable

My Dream of Stars co-written with Anousheh Ansari, hardcover, $30 ($11 shipping)

Red Helmet hardcover, 1st edition, collectible $30 ($11 shipping)
Red Helmet Trade, 1st edition, $15 ($6 shipping)

The Keeper's Son hardcover VERY collectible, (unfortunately not available at this time)

The Ambassador's Son hardcover, 1st edition, collectible $25 ($11 shipping)

The Far Reaches hardcover, 1st edition, collectible $25 ($11 shipping)
The Far Reaches
Trade  $15, ($6 shipping) 
The Dinosaur Hunter hardcover, 1st edition, collectible! $25 ($11 shipping)
The Dinosaur Hunter
Trade 1st edition, SPECIAL $5 ($6 shipping)

Paco: The Cat Who Meowed in Space
Trade $8 ($6 shipping)
From Rocket Boys to October Sky Trade, the behind the scenes story of how the movie got made! $10 ($6 shipping)

All shipments are USPS Priority. This is for US mail only. We're sorry, International readers, but at this time, it's nearly impossible for us to ship overseas due to the long lines and customs forms required.

Remember, pay by PayPal to LTHickam@homerhickam.com.
 If you do not have PayPal, you may send a check. Be sure to include any inscriptions desired and your mailing address to: 

Linda Hickam
4906 Whitesburg Dr. S
PO Box 16053
Huntsville, AL 35802

Books mailed when payment received,  

so PayPal is quickest!
Thank you! - Linda Hickam

In This Issue
Quick Links
Speaker, Homer Hickam
Homer is an often requested and talented speaker. However he cannot travel and speak and get a book or more written a year without it being well worth his while. Honorariums go towards maintaining our five college scholarships. Thank you for your understanding.
Please contact
Greater Talent Network
to find out his availability.

Eagle Scout Congratulations
This is a prodigious award and Homer could not be prouder of the young men who achieve this major landmark in their lives, but he has been put on some lists where he is receiving up to 50 requests a week! PLEASE, we require a SELF ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE for return congratulation letters. Send the requests and stamped envelope to:

Homer Hickam
Eagle Scout Request 
4906 Whitesburg Dr. S
PO Box 16053
Huntsville AL 35802

Stay Connected - these are Homer's links, say HI!

Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our videos on YouTube   Visit our blog   Find us on Google+   Find us on Pinterest
Copyright © 2013 - All Rights Reserved
All photos and content owned by www.homerhickam.com and cannot be used without permission

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Of Chained Dogs and Careless Cruelty

Of Chained Dogs and Careless Cruelty
Homer Hickam

As I sat in my office perched on the top floor of my house near Coral Bay on the isle of St. John, I lifted my eyes from my computer and took in the view which was spectacular and inspiring. As always, the magnificent blue sea and green forests of this magic island made me think: "What a wonderful place this is!"

But then I heard dogs barking. The way sound carries and is accentuated along the slopes of our neighborhood, it was almost as if they were just outside my window. Once begun, the barking kept going, eruptions of—what? Distress? Anger? Pain? Boredom? Entrapment? Thirst? Starvation? I had no way of knowing, just as everyone else (except perhaps their owners) who could hear them.

It is well known that there are certain sounds that cut deep into the hard-wired parts of the human brain. One of these is the sound of a crying baby. Babies who cry, our brains tell us, must be tended to. But what about barking dogs? Biologists who study these things believe that many humans respond to a barking dog very much the same as they do to crying children. Every time a dog barks, a shrill alarm goes off in our heads. Something must be done! These continual alarms sadly meant, for me, no work at my writing desk and, as the barking continued, little sleep at night. Night after night, day after day, barking and more barking.

Investigation was clearly in order to discover the source of the barking dogs and to determine if something might be done to solve their distressing behavior. My ears led my eyes toward an inholding property alongside the Johnny Horn trail in the National Park. The corrugations of the land near the Johnny Horn make it a perfect soundboard for vocalizations easily heard along our ridge. The barking was a combination of yelps, whines, and full-throated wailing. This dog (or dogs) clearly had problems.

Four-wheel drive and boots took me to the Johnny Horn property whereupon I discovered a ghastly sight, two big dogs with collars so tight they could scarcely breathe strung up on steel cables. Beside each of them was an empty food bowl and, scattered about, water bowls filled with filthy rain water, leaves, mosquito larvae, and mold. The overpowering stench of dog feces struck me full in the face. One of the dogs, a black female, had a nasty, rotten wood box for shelter although its cable made it nearly impossible to enter and the other one, a brindle pit bull, had no shelter at all. The lot was essentially a junkyard, a battered trailer in one corner, a plastic Home Depot-type tool shed nearby, rusted machinery all over, crushed plastic water jugs tossed about, and general filth and litter tossed indiscriminately everywhere. The dogs greeted me by leaping and straining against their ropes and steel tethers, not to attack but with plaintive, gurgling pleas for attention and assistance. This I provided in the form of food, fresh water, much petting and hugging, and a call to the St. John Animal Care Center.

 The St. John ACC does a magnificent job of caring for animals on our island and is particularly concerned about dogs that are chained up and neglected. The ACC representative I talked to was immediately concerned and subsequently spoke to the owner of the two dogs in question. Unfortunately, the report that came back was that the ACC probably couldn't do anything about the two "Johnny Horn" dogs because said owner told them he fed the dogs. The barking and crying and whimpering continued.

I also spoke to their owner and offered to buy and foster the dogs, or to help in any way I could to relieve their distress. The response from the owner was loud anger and a growling assurance that he would care or not care for his property—meaning the dogs—in any manner he pleased. And there the matter presently rests.

Of course, I haven't given up on saving these dogs. It is not in my nature to do so but I know it won't be easy to make the change for them because the man who owns them must change his view of what it means to own and care for an animal. Cruel people are usually miserable and, I suspect, must occasionally wonder why they are so afflicted. It is my belief that their misery comes from the negative karma that continuously washes across them because of their cruelty to those who depend on them the most, their innocent animals and, usually, their spouses and children, too. I'm not certain there is such a place as Hell but I kind of hope there is, just for people such as these. — Homer Hickam, November, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Special Newsletter Announcing Homer Hickam's The Lunar Rescue Company, the 3rd in the Helium-3 Series!

Special Homer Hickam Newsletter
June, 2014

 Dear Parents, Grandparents, and Teachers:

Are you worried about the future of your children, grandchildren, and students? If you are, you aren't alone. Homer Hickam is, too. That's why he wrote the Helium-3 trilogy that began with Crater followed by Crescent and now joined by Crater Trueblood and The Lunar Rescue Company.

These books tell adventurous stories of the future that most young people, even reluctant readers, soon find themselves lost within, turning page after page in eager anticipation of what's going to happen next. Homer has written these tales to not only tell good stories but to also give young people fascinating details of what it will be like to live on the ultimate frontier of space.

How will these novels help your children, grandchildren, and students? Because folded within Homer's fascinating stories are lessons in science that don't seem like lessons at all. We have heard from science teachers nation-wide who love these novels because their students learn science the best way possible. While they are having fun!!!  
Young Crater Reader
Homer wrote these books for readers ages 10-18 but everyone will enjoy them. In fact, we think you'll want to read them before gifting them to the young people in your family or classroom! We're also certain you'll agree that there are few books more likely to be enjoyed by young readers while also teaching them some important lessons, not only in science but also on the value of hard work, courage, duty, and honor.

These books, although following a timeline, can be read in any order with the same enjoyment.  

For instance, early readers have acclaimed Crater Trueblood and The Lunar Rescue Company a great summer book and beach read!
Click on the titles below for the exciting video trailers for the three novels in the series:
To order any of the Helium-3 series from the most popular online booksellers, click on this wonderful interactive website. You will also want to alert teachers to this site because of its overall content which students will love. Many testimonials from teachers has shown that this site is a great help to teach about space science and the moon! 

To instantly order the new Lunar Rescue Company novel from the most popular Internet sites, including e-books, click here: Amazon   Barnes and Noble   ChristianBooks   

For more information on the brand new, just released Lunar Rescue Company novel, click here on Homer Hickam's website. There, you can also see all of Homer's books, great for gifts on any occasion including the upcoming Father's Day as well as Birthdays and other special Holidays.


Autographed and Personalized Books!! Homer will autograph and personalize the books you choose and send them to you or your young readers by mail. 
A very collectible Lunar Rescue Company (LRC) patch (pictured below) will be included in the first 40 orders and the next 20 orders will receive LRC stickers.  So act now to get these true collectibles! For our subscribers, ONLY $10, $4 shipping, $14 total. Two books to the same address are $26, sent in a padded Priority mailer.
PayPal only. Just open your PayPal, then click "Send Money" at the top. Click the "Send to friend " then key in the amount and use the email address to Linda Hickam, LTHickam@homerhickam.com 

In Instructions area, please include inscription wanted on each book and your shipping address. For more books or special orders, please email Linda Hickam and let her know what you want!

Crater and Crescent , the first two books in the series, 
are also available autographed and personalized for $10 each, $4 shipping.

The entire Helium-3 novels trilogy set is $30, $11 shipping, with a total of $41. More books can fit in that  $11 Priority mail box so please email Linda about that if you wish other Homer Hickam books in the package.  

Any other Questions?

This summer, please help your kids and grandkids get off mind-destroying video games and computers and into reading tales of space, science, and adventure where duty, honor, and courage are celebrated! Your gift of one or more of these novels may be just the push they need!

In This Issue

Quick Links

Speaker, Homer Hickam

Homer is an often requested and talented speaker. However he cannot travel and speak and get a book or more written a year without it being well worth his while. Honorariums go towards maintaining our five college scholarships. Thank you for your understanding.
Please contact
Greater Talent Network
to find out his availability.

Eagle Scout Congratulations
This is a prodigious award and Homer could not be prouder of the young men who achieve this major landmark in their lives, but he has been put on some lists where he is receiving up to 50 requests a week! PLEASE, we require a SELF ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE for return congratulation letters. Send the requests and stamped envelope to:

Homer Hickam
Eagle Scout Request 
4906 Whitesburg Dr. S
PO Box 16053
Huntsville AL 35802

Stay Connected - these are Homer's links, say HI!

Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our videos on YouTube   Visit our blog   Find us on Google+   Find us on Pinterest
Copyright © 2013 - All Rights Reserved
All photos and content owned by www.homerhickam.com and cannot be used without permission