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!

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. 

"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!


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

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
9532 Hemlock Dr. SE
Huntsville AL 35803

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



  1. What a great Newsletter! My imagination runs away with me, a loyal fan of your work and lifestyle. Keep it up! looking forward to reading another Hickam book and will follow up later. Your views from Skyridge are breathtaking and almost don't seem real. My oldest and best friend in Lebanon, OH lives 3/4 mile on Rt. 123 from Niel Armstrong's former farm, which is still looking well kept. Small world for space pioneers and rocket engineers.

  2. Your glorious pictures from St. John make me terribly homesick. I too had mobile lawn mowers at my home on St Thomas :-)

    I definitely will want to possess an autographed edition of Crater when it is published. Please let me know when it will be available.

    Enjoy your holidays and my cat, Zelda, sends her best to Mango.

    When you come stateside, again, please consider visiting the Chesapeake Bay area and our lighthouses. Here is a link to my blog on the subject: http://tinyurl.com/3dqco97


    Waddell (XiNeutrino) Robey

  3. Your newsletter is great and very informative! As a former McDowell County kid, the Coalwood books are my favorites. It is so great to read them and remember many of the names and places mentioned. I am looking forward to the new Crater series.

    The pictures of Skyridge are beautiful--I would love to see it in person. I attended the opening night of Rocket Boys--the Musical at Grandview and really enjoyed it. Keep up the great work, with the writings and the cats! Happy Holidays to you both.

  4. Keep on writing Homer.

    I love your books. I've read most of them and have the rest just waiting for time to read them. I grew up in a coal camp on Campbells Creek near Charleston, so your Coalwood stories were books I couldn't put down. I'd read, Torpedo Junction, several years ago and have re-read it since then, never connecting it's author with the Rocket Boys, until I started reading your Coalwood books. I loved your WWII series too, but I think Josh needs to go on to Korea and maybe Vietnam. I've had a PADI certification since 1973, so I'd prolly like the Homer Hickam 'Sea Hunt' series too.('Josh goes diving')

    I'm proud of you Homer. You've done your native state proud. So as a fellow West Virginian I salute you. I've even forgiven you for being a republican.

    Ron Ratliff
    Saint Albans WV.

  5. Beautiful photos! I really enjoyed reading your newsletter! Sorry to hear about the loss of the older kitties - good luck with April! I look forward to reading the Crater series and sharing it with my soon to be 13 year old daughter!

  6. Just exhaled! Reading through the newsletter, seeing the photos, thinking about the absolute joy you bring to us all, had me not breathing!
    Go figure!
    From High Springs (Springs, the operative word), and an Alabama bride of 43 years, Birmingham-style, have the finest Christmas ever. We have a cat like yours, with a sweet little pooch and a border collie 13. We all pinch ourselves every day!
    Bob Sutton

  7. Growing up in America during the 50's and 60's has been a very "family event" and you have captured the marvel and mystery of it all in your books and in your life. The scene in "Rocket Boys" where Dr. von Braun shook your hand without you being aware of it really caused a flashback to those glorious rocket days. I first met Dr. von Braun in 1966 when I parked in his parking space at the "von Braun Hilton" at Marshall Space Flight Center. It was an awkward meeting that also involved two MP's. Thanks to you and Linda for keeping these memories alive along with all of your other prodigious books!

  8. Great Newsletter Homer and Linda. It is easy to read and informative. We hope you both have a wonderful holiday season. Our cat Rascal throws up his paw to ya. Alan & Carol Pritchard

  9. assisti seu filme, e, gostei tanto que comprei um só para mim. Hoje assisto várias vezes.
    October Sky (Ceu de Outubro)
    tem me incentivado muito
    felicidades e sucesso, sempre, saúde

  10. I teach at a Title 1 middle school. I am always amazed when I discover just how little background knowledge my students have. A 7th grade advanced student asked if I could give him a ruler for his science fair project. When I gave him one, he asked if I would tell him what the lines on the ruler meant. How does a student get into 7th grade without learning that?

    But I have never known a student that did not have rockets and space as background knowledge. I put on my G Force 1 and Space Camp flight suits, stand before a group of students, and their eyes grow large and light up and they listen and learn.

    I sometimes speak to a group of 500 or more middle school students. You can here a pin drop. That is amazing.

    I have an unusual perspective of the students that are our future. We owe John Kennedy and the Rocket Boys and Girls more than most Americans know.

    Thank God for the Rocket Boys and Girls from our past, present, and future.

  11. Hi Homer and Linda,
    Have not read your news letter in a long time. Very interesting. Sounds like the two of you enjoy life and that is as it should be.

    I wish you a Merry Christmas and for sure a great 2012 !!! Sonny, a question? Do you like cats because your Mother did??

    Bill Todd

  12. I have read Rocket Boys and loved it. I am only
    12 but it inspired me so much. I really hope you can come to my school, Patuxent Valley Middle School, for our rocket day. It would really be an honor.

  13. I'm trying to order one of the Rocket Boy caps for my dad for Christmas. Is that the correct email because I haven't gotten an answer?

  14. If emails fail on your orders of books and caps, try Lterry@hiwaay.net .

  15. So delighted that you have been able to re-invent yourself into an inspirational writer as well as your other achievements. THAT story should be told as well!

  16. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello! The Dinosaur Hunter definitely deserved a spot in my top 5 reads for the year. Looking forward to what you do next.

  17. Hi Homer and Linda !

    Your cats are lovable !!

    I was at home when they landed ............

    I missed nothing about that time !

    It was marvelous.