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Monday, November 28, 2011

Holidays 2011 Newsletter

Dear Gentle and Prodigious Readers,
Don Howard's wonderful caricature, http://www.donhoward.org

Linda and I are astonished that it's already the Holiday Season. Didn't I take the Christmas lights down just the other day?  Well, it's upon us, the lights are back up (with some new ones added - hooray!) and we're getting ready to make it the best one ever.  In fact, Linda might just be able to help you make yours a little better, too.  How, you may ask?  Read on and see!

THE WRITING LIFE:
In November, 2010, The Dinosaur Hunter was released upon an unsuspecting public.
Happily, that same public received it very well.   It was even an alternate selection of the Book of the Month Club and the Mystery Book of the Month Club!   We also ran a very successful "Get Caught Reading The Dinosaur Hunter" contest with some creative, entertaining entries.  We hope to do it again with the next book Crater. Burke Allen of Allen Media Strategies in association with St. Martin's (the publisher of TDH) set up a great series of radio and television interviews.  For those of you who, through some terrible oversight, haven't read the novel yet, go HERE  to read more about it and you can order an autographed copy easily - Linda is even offering 20% off ALL my autographed books for Holiday gifting, through her storefront, KnowInk. Be sure and read about it below in Linda’s section!
 
My next novel, titled Crater, is written and turned in to its publisher, the marvelous Thomas Nelson.  The first in the Helium-3 series, I think you're going to like it, and it will be published in April.  Although considered a Young Adult science fiction novel (a first for me), I think my adult readers will like it, too.  Here's a synopsis:

It's the 22nd Century and a tough, pioneering people are mining the moon to produce energy for a desperate, war torn Earth.  Crater Trueblood, an orphan, loves his life in Moontown, a frontier mining settlement.  Just turned sixteen, Crater is already a seasoned Helium 3 miner, hoping someday to be a foreman on the scrapes.  But "the Colonel," the man who owns the mine, has a different plan for Crater which includes Maria, the Colonel's daring young grandaughter.  Crater, accompanied by Maria and also his gillie—a sentient and sometimes insubordinate clump of slime mold cells—ventures forth on a forbidding river of dust to cross the hostile Lunar terrain before vaulting into the far reaches of space.  Danger, adventure, and discovery await them as Crater, the gillie, and Maria use their wits and courage to find a mysterious, historical treasure that may keep the ravages of war away from the moon.
Mango helps Linda edit Homer's manuscripts


What do you think?  Hope you like Crater and the next two novels in the series!  You can pre-order HERE or get an autographed copy in April through KnowInk by emailing LTerry@hiwaay.net. 



JOURNEYS: 
"Push once! More confuses gate."

We just returned from our wonderful home in St. John.  As always, we had a marvelous time there although we spent a good amount of our time scrubbing it clean from the mildew that always builds up during the shuttered time of hurricane season, plus repairing the usual nicks and dings that occur in a house that's also rented when we're not there.  We have the best guests in the world but wear and tear is normal and has to be fixed (like our gate!), leaving Linda and me with the choice of hiring someone to do it for us or doing it ourselves.  We end up doing a little of both.  Windspree, our wonderful property management company, provides us with "Punchlist Pete," who does great work for us but we also enjoy getting in there with screwdriver, drill, and paintbrush and adding the touches that only a homeowner can do. We had wonderful weather to snorkel and even deep sea fished with our good friends MaryJo and Rick and were in awe of several double rainbows from our deck!  Of course, if you're interested in renting Skyridge, we'd be thrilled to have you as guests.  Please go HERE to learn how to do that! Also, know that even though Skyridge has room for eight, we love renting to four folks or even two.  It's a great first, second, or third honeymoon escape with some of the prettiest views in the Caribbean!
Double rainbows are quite often part of our outstanding Skyridge view!
Our lawnmowers work pretty cheap and are fun to watch with a healthy adult beverage.
We NEVER get tired of just watching the boats go by, and some spectacular ones do!
Linda caught this parrotfish grinning.
A stingray glides over the reef. The snorkeling here is worldclass.


Al's octopus photo is perfect and they were able to watch him for some time as he looked for food.


Homer, Al and Chris hiked to the pectoglyphs on their "boy trip" to St. John to fix up the house.

We've covered much of our experiences in 2011 in previous blogs which you can read if you scroll below.  It was a good year but it had some sad times in it, too.  We lost our precious Maxx kitty after twenty years of enjoying her company. This wasn't long after we'd lost little black and white Flopsy, having had her for nineteen years.  The light went out of our lives just a little when they passed.  Before long, another cat came to join us.  Her name is April and she hasn't quite fit into the family as well.  It's a long story on how she came to us but let's just say, nobody else would have her.  Her favorite line, "I kill you," has gradually been replaced with "I slap you - I like you - but I slap you."  She's calming down although every so often, the other three cats come running to us, crying "There's a crazy cat in the house!"  We sigh and say, "We know.  She's your sister."


Poor April has unfortunate markings that just make her look grumpy all the time. . .

Homer in Coalwood, in front of new signage about the town.
Homer as MC at the national Space Club.
Chuck Gordon and family and friends in Tuscaloosa

Let's see . . . as mentioned, this year, we made not only a recent but several visits to Skyridge. We also went to Allen, Texas to celebrate Rocket Boys picked as their annual read; to Radford University to celebrate Rocket Boys as their special book of the year; to the Challenger Middle School in Huntsville to help celebrate the eighth grade class again studying Rocket Boys; to the Space and Rocket Center here in Huntsville to help open their Dinosaur exhibit and a book signing for The Dinosaur Hunter; to Montana for dinosaur hunting with Linda (who proved to be a great dino-hunter); to Dallas for a speech to the Mars Society, to Beckley, West Virginia to work with Theatre West Virginia during their presentation of Rocket Boys The Musical; to Reno to accept the Excellence in the Arts award from the Vietnam Veterans of America; to Los Angeles to consult with my film agent on future projects and to visit with officials of Universal Studios; to the Space and Rocket Center to act as Master of Ceremonies (third year in a row) for the National Space Club of Huntsville at the annual Wernher von Braun dinner; and to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to attend a celebration honoring University of Alabama alum and our good friend Chuck Gordon (Producer of October Sky, Field of Dreams, etc.).  There was also a rainy October Sky festival in Coalwood, but still fun. Whew!  A lot of travel but it was all fun and interesting! We also still very much enjoy our volunteer work with Forgotten Felines and even fostered two kittens short term. We found them great homes before we fell in love with them, but again, out foursome here were NOT pleased, and did not think the little ones trying to play with them were at all cute, even if WE sure did!

Sonny


Valentine who became BooBoo
Here's a little extra fun.  Every month, I go out to WDHP radio to do a morning talk show with Toni and Gary.  We have so much fun!  I'm told I'm a pretty good guest so I guess they'll keep inviting me back.  To listen to me on the show, even call in to Toni and Gary, go HERE.

 

And don't let them tell you we engineers don't have fun! Here is a party at the Hickam house in October, featuring an anniversary present from Linda to me. . .
Ahead, I'm sure there will be many journeys, especially after Crater is published, and we look forward to them all.  As always, we appreciate your interest in our lives and our career.  Linda and I send our very best to you and your families and we wish you a prodigious Holiday Season which, as Linda will tell you below, she can help you perhaps make a little more prodigious! 

Your writer and friend,
Homer Hickam



FROM LINDA:
All the kitties are fine and we wish you a very Happy Happy Holidays from all the Hickams (a lot of H’s!!).

As Homer mentioned, I think maybe I might be able help you through the holiday season by offering some very special gifts for that difficult-to-buy-for person on your gift list.  I know, I know.  We've got them, too. 


You see, this year I started a little company I call KnowInk dedicated to providing gifts related to Homer's work including his classic memoir Rocket Boys and the film October Sky.  If you're reading this, likely you know folks who also like Homer's books and the movie, not to mention the Broadway musical that Theatre West Virginia put on last year and will soon be heading everywhere.


We had so many folks come to us looking for these special items so that's why I established the company.

Now, let me tell you about my Holiday sale that I hope can help solve part if not all your gift giving!  


Homer signing Rocket Boys!
20% off Holiday Sale  - Autographed Books and Rocket Boy Caps! 

Autographed by Homer, personalized, all embossed with special authenticity seal (we have seen books with faked autographs, I swan!) and mailed to you for that special gift. Order now, while my supply is good! Priority mailing.

NOW ONLY $24!  Everyones’ favorite, the classic Rocket Boys, hardcover book, (normally $30) Autographed and personalized by Homer Hickam, with special Rocket Boys authenticity embossed seal. Just let me know the name you want the book signed to. If you want a Rocket Boys Cap with any book order, on Holiday special, they are only $12, no extra mailing ($11 US priority)


Embossed seal is added to every book's signature.



 NOW $14  Rocket Boys Cap (Normally $18) $5 mailing for one, $11 for many many :)
  Caps added to any book order for $12 each, no extra mailing cost

NOW $50  The Coalwood Trilogy Set (Rocket Boys, The Coalwood Way, Sky of Stone) (Normally $60 - all but Rocket Boys are first editions and out of print, so collectible already! ) Add a cap for $12, and a special surprise included.

NOW $20!  The Coalwood Way, (hardback, 1st edition) Normally $30

NOW $20!  Sky of Stone, (hardback, 1st edition) Normally $30

NOW $24!  The Dinosaur Hunter (hardback, 1st edition) Normally $30

 


NOW $24!  Red Helmet (hardback, 1st edition) Normally $30
 



 

NOW $20!  The Far Reaches (hardback, 1st edition)  
Normally $30






NOW $20!  The Ambassador's Son (hardback, 1st edition) Normally $30



NOW $50   Josh Thurlow Set - hardcover of The Keeper's Son, The Ambassador's Son, The Far Reaches - Normally $75

NOW $20!  Torpedo Junction (oversize paperback WWII non-fiction) Normally $25



 

NOW $13   We Are Not Afraid (paperback, inspirational)  
Normally $16


**Check or money order only to Linda Hickam
Shipping & Handling, USPS Priority, $11 first book & $2 each additional book. Shipping for sets is only $11.

Mail to:
Linda Hickam
KnowInk
9532 Hemlock Dr. SE
Huntsville AL 35803

If you have questions about these items, please email me at LTerry@hiwaay.net.

THANKS AND MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ALL THE HICKAM FAMILY!!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our Summer 2011 Newsletter


Homer Hickam Newsletter      
Summer, 2011

Dear Gentle and Prodigious Readers,

I love summers, always have.  Growing up in Coalwood, summer was the time for adventurous fun in the hills, woods, and creeks of our mountain home.  We kids ran, climbed, swam, fished, biked, and simply played, all without any adult supervision.  We were FREE! Maybe that's why I love summers most of all.  Now, with this summer ending, it's time to reflect on a very busy season.  But before I get to that, here's something very important I want you to know.

THERE ARE THREE MORE DAYS LEFT IN THEATRE WEST VIRGINIA'S PRESENTATION OF ROCKET BOYS THE MUSICAL!
Home page of the Rocket Boys, The Musical!



September 2, 3, & 4 will be IT!  So if you can get to the Cliffside Amphitheater in Grandview near Beckley, West Virginia, please attend.  Linda and I will also be there on Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 3-4) to enjoy the show and say hello to the audience.

The show has had a brilliant run to date. The reviews and comments have been overwhelmingly positive.  Here's one of the local articles:  Musical Review

To order tickets to the show, please go here:  Theatre West Virginia.  You can get your tickets over the Internet or call and have them held at the box office.  Bring the whole family!!!!

The marvelous cast and crew involved with this production are brilliant and I couldn't be happier with Theatre West Virginia's involvement.   Here are some photographs taken of the show.
Linda and Homer go for a piece of the RBoys cake.
The cast and crew watch the cutting of the RBoys cake.
Carl Anthony Tramon & Linda Hickam before the premiere.
Homer signs a program for the actor who plays "Buck"
Dan Tramon's prodigious 
scientific tie!
Close to the end...Valentine, left, gives Sonny the eye.
"Rise", the finale!
CAT and Homer
Of course, I have to mention my marvelous co-writer of the stageplay, Carl Anthony Tramon.  CAT, as we call him, brilliantly plays "Sonny" (that's the name I went by back in 1950's Coalwood) in the musical and is co-director.   Diana Belkowski and Dan Tramon, the composers of the wonderful music, are simply geniuses.  I am so proud to be associated with them.
Diana Tramon Belkowski, Dan Tramon and CAT Tramon

Where we will take the show next isn't set but we've heard from many cities who are interested in having us.  Even Japan is interested in a long run!  Wherever it is, we look forward to the next production.  Every time we put it on, we learn what works and what doesn't, and it allows us to hone even more this musical as we march toward Broadway.  Though sharpening a play is part of the process, I think the play as Theatre West Virginia presents it is pretty darn close to what the Broadway version will be.  Come out to see us, you hear? 

THE WRITING LIFE:
 

A quick mention of The Dinosaur Hunter, my novel published by St. Martin's in November, 2010.  I'm happy to report it has done very well.  If you haven't read it, no time like right now!  Of course, if you don't like page-turners...   It's a great read, even if I do say so myself (and I do).  Go here for more information:  The Dinosaur Hunter Page.  Linda can also get you an autographed copy.  See her section below!




Exciting news! The next Homer Hickam book is the initial volume of the Helium-3 Trilogy.  Set on the moon 120 years in the future, the first book is titled CRATER (A Helium-3 Novel).

Here's a quick synopsis:
It's the 22nd Century and a tough, pioneering people are mining the moon to produce energy for a desperate, war torn Earth.  Crater Trueblood, an orphan, loves his life in Moontown, a frontier mining settlement.  Just turned 16, Crater is already a seasoned Helium-3 miner.  Riding on his shoulder is a sentient clump of slime mold cells called a gillie.  The gillie, illegal on Earth, is the only thing Crater's parents left him.  With capabilities that even Crater doesn't realize, the gillie both helps and frustrates Crater.  Another companion of Crater's is his fellow orphan, an older boy named Petro.  Then, a girl named Maria enters Crater's life.  She is the granddaughter of the man who owns Moontown whom everyone calls "the Colonel."   When the Colonel requires Crater to take on a special assignment,  Crater, the gillie, Petro, and Maria venture forth on a forbidding river of dust to cross the hostile Lunar terrain before vaulting into the far reaches of space.  Danger, adventure, and discovery await them as they use their wits and courage to stave off a team of assassins while looking for an astonishing, surprising, historical treasure that may be needed to save the people of the moon.

Published by Thomas Nelson, Crater will be out in April, 2012.  It is already up on Amazon and will be available in hardcover, Kindle and most e-books, plus an audio version.  Get ready, get set, GO for adventure with Crater on the moon!!!!!  After they read  Crater, readers will know what it will be like to live (and sometimes die) on the moon. Of course, as with most of my work, you'll enjoy an adventure, a little romance, and some laughs, too.  Go HERE to preorder the book from Amazon!

If you'd like an autographed and/or inscribed copy of any of my books, contact LTHickam@homerhickam.com.  Linda has a little store now.  Please see her section below with news and photos.  She has some very special Homer Hickam gifts available!  Think Christmas now!

Off the deck, Skyridge, St. John, USVI
JOURNEYS:
Our adventures this summer were astounding. First, we returned to Skyridge, our wonderful home in St. John, United States Virgin Islands. With our friends Carol and Al English, we had one of our best times ever.  The view from our deck is soooo peaceful. In August, by the way, we caught the tail of Hurricane Irene, but luckily just a little tree damage was done to the island and lots of rain, good for the water collection cisterns that everyone uses.

Homer and Linda dinosaur hunting in Montana.
Then Linda and I journeyed to Montana to hunt dinosaur bones!  This was the first time Linda had joined Frank Stewart and me on one of our dino-hunting excursions and she proved to be a marvelous dinosaur hunter, indeed! We had great weather and enjoyed meeting up with all my old friends in Garfield County and also in Bozeman.  I love the Montanans I have had the privilege to meet over the dozen years I have been hunting the wily dinosaurs. Frank and I marked some interesting finds this year and hope they will be dug up by the paleo teams next season.

Homer logging a find.
The logo of the Museum of the Rockies as captured on the side of one of their trucks!
Linda looking for bones.

Frank and Homer hot on some dino bones on the side of a cliff.












 

Next, we were off to the Vietnam Veterans of American annual convention in Reno, Nevada where I was honored to receive the Excellence in the Arts award.  While there, we took a quick trip to spend a night at beautiful Lake Tahoe, on the California side.  We were enchanted!
Homer signing his books and meeting the vets in Reno.
Homer's most excellent award from his fellow Vietnam vets!
I hope to see you all soon, either while on book tour, making speeches, or at the upcoming October Sky Festival in Coalwood!  Go HERE for more information on the festival.  This year it's on Saturday, October 1!  Hope to see you there!!! Remember you can "like" me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HomerHickamOfficialPage

Your writer and friend,
Homer Hickam



FROM LINDA:

Yep, it HAS been a busy summer and we want to get this out today so those of you close enough can come to the musical, so I won't make this long. For the musical, I opened my own store and am selling  autographed books, caps, dvds of the movie and such. I call my company KnowInk.   :) 

Special Collectible Gift Package of these 4 items
I am offering a very special collectible gift set of an autographed hardcover of Rocket Boys with an authentic embossed seal over the signature, a neat Rocket Boys embroidered royal blue cap, a signed photo bookmark and a signed special edition DVD, all for $75.00 for your special someone who loves Rocket Boys/October Sky. Additional items in the set may be ordered to fill the box, with the same shipping price of $11 US Priority mail. Books are $30, Caps $18, Bookmarks $4 and DVDs $16. Everything but the ballcap can be personally inscribed also, so let me know to whom. 

Homer signing Rocket Boys at home



Other special sets will be available also such as The Coalwood Trilogy of Rocket Boys, The Coalwood Way and Sky of Stone, all hardcovers.  TCW and SoS hardcovers are out of print, so very collectible already, $75.00 the set. I also have copies of his many other books available to be personalized and mailed. Please ask. Please write me for more information at LTHickam@homerhickam.com. 
Check or money order only.


April says, "I keel you!"
Actually, she's a sweet kitty who's just misunderstood.
She'll get there.




The kitties are fine, but poor April is still not friends with anyone but Homer and still picking on everyone (me too), and especially she and China do not get along. We have hopes that this will resolve itself, sigh. She is such a lovely kitty and just has not had a good life until now.  Here she is helping Homer write Crater.


Oh, and while we were away, yikes, the goldfish had babies! Too many for our pond, but luckily we have a friend who has room for the 10 or so baby fish we have, very cute but just too many for our small pond!




April looking out our kitchen window at the pond.
All best, Linda


China loves to snooze in boxes.

Mango and Summer