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.

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? 


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
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


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


  1. I love your books. I grew up in Mingo County, WV. Are you aware of Mountain Top Removal coal mining and the terrible destruction to our beautiful mountains? If this were happening anywhere but Appalachia, people would be outraged.

  2. LaDonna and I saw Rocket Boys Tuesday night. The show soars. The sky is limitless for this creative joy.

  3. Thank you for the newsletter. My best too, to April. I am a long time cat lover and understand her plight.

    Hope you will consider a novel or even an hefty essay on how humankind is losing their way in space exploration. Somehow we need to restore and spread the spirit of Coalwood when the Rocket Boys were making their dreams come to life. Too many confused politicians think space science is only for the wealthy elite whereas we know it is just the opposite. It is for dreamers and they are always wealthy in their hearts.

    Thanks, always for being Homer Hickam.

    Waddell Robey

  4. so far i went through numerous books but the book R Boys is different from all and the only book that can drive anyone to their desired aim...love this book..thanks for this incredible job

  5. Thank you, Ghazi. I'm pleased that Rocket Boys is so well received around the world. Of course, I also think that my other books are just as good but RB is my classic, no doubt. Waddell, I think Back to the Moon did a good job of showing the frustrations of the people in the space business. Crater will show the unfortunate result of governments that get out of control, and the people's reactions to that. However, I am always optimistic as are many of my characters. On April, she gets better every day. She was an abused cat when we got her so she has a good excuse! Barefoot Bill and LaDonna, thank you so much. Glad you enjoyed the show! It means a lot to hear that from you. Anonymous, on mountaintop mining. I prefer underground mining, of course, but recognize that strip mining is not inherently evil (though ugly). More earth by far was moved in building the Interstate Highway System than will ever be moved by mountaintop mining. It should, however, be only used when others types of mining are not possible.

  6. Sir its my kudos to have these words from you well i believe i shall go through rest of the books soon and hope to meet more then i am expecting..

  7. Wow, I just advance ordered your new book Crater for my husband Mike. He has all, I think, so far. I didn't know it was the first of a set so we will be watching. He loves them.

    Nancy Rush in Fl now but WV hillbilly always.

  8. Barry Bandy, Richmond, VA.September 2, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    I enjoyed reading the ROCKET BOYS book. I, also have been busy building model rockets (kits) in my spare time. Thank you for the autographed (signed) book. I can understand how you guys in West Virginia grew up playing with your rockets. AIM FOR THE STARS.

  9. How about a bit of the musical on Youtube?

  10. From fossil fuels in West Virginia to rocket fuel in "Rocket Boys" then back to fossils in Montana,
    just shows how the "shuttle" works. Writing is truly a gift that spans time, and you surely have the gift. I enjoy your books and also your "odyssey" Homer!!! your mom named you well!

  11. Ari from "down under".September 3, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    Dear Homer & Linda, thank you for a wonderful newsletter, as always ! I have said it so many times before already but to me personally Rocket Boys/October Sky is just the best !! The trilogy is awesome read. Movie....must have watched it 7 times over time and the haunting music in it plays in my head nearly every day. No doubt in my mind the musical will go on and on, place to place. All the best to you both.

  12. I'm 14 years old and the Rocket Boys series are my favorite books, including Rocket Boys, The Coalwood Way, & Sky of Stone. We read October Sky in school and it has become one of my favorite books ever! Thanks for sharing your story with the world & for following your dream! I got so much out of each book! Thank you!

  13. Homer,
    You have a way of writing that captures the mind, heart and spirit of this reader. I have read all your books to date, always pine-ing away for next one. When I read your work, it's like watching an HD movie within my minds eye. Thanks for sharing your life and talent with the world, it's a better place because of it.

  14. Homer,
    As always, it's great to read about your latest "goings-on," and to realize just how wonderful all of your books have been. I often look back on my years of teaching reading to junior high kids, and the one story/movie that would motivate and "ignite" my most reluctant and stubborn students was ROCKET BOYS. There was never an attention span "issue" involved when we were doing that classic of yours! I remain your ardent follower. Continued good wishes to you and Linda (and those darned kitties!)

  15. The Guy's a Legend !!

    Lee ( England )

  16. Barry Bandy Richmond, VANovember 4, 2011 at 9:33 AM


    Homer,Sherman, Roy Lee, Quientin, Billy Rose and Odell
    Six ameture rocketeers have an interesting story to tell.

    Sputnik orbits across the West Virginia night sky.
    This inspired Homer Hickam to find a place
    to work with Dr. Von Braun and to be in outer space.

    Homer and the rest of the rocket boys get together to get the things they need
    to build their homemade rockets and create the Big Creek Missile Agency.

    Hammer, nails, glass, and scrapwood
    were used to build a blockhouse.
    Things are getting together to form Cape Coalwood.

    Many of the AUK rockets flew straight and true.
    Thanks to the rocket boys with their knowledge about rocketry that they already knew.

    Here is a bit of good news
    for people who fly rockets.
    "A rocket won't fly unless somebody light the fuse."

  17. I love the books you write and i hope to be able to go to a october sky festival one day and meet you! I am reading one of your books in my class at my school and we are launching our own rockets when we finish it.