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Saturday, July 28, 2012

SUMMER 2012 NEWSLETTER FROM HOMER AND LINDA HICKAM


 
SUMMER 2012 NEWSLETTER FROM HOMER AND LINDA HICKAM

Dear Gentle and Prodigious Readers,
A bit of our gardens

It's hot, humid, and a little buggy in northern Alabama but the leaves are green, our flower gardens are pretty, the pond is happily gurgling, and Linda and I are well.  Sadly, we lost our beloved Mango furchild kitty in July and are still working through that grief but our other cats are healthy and fine.  We remain hopeful for good times ahead.  Certainly, there are busy times before us.  Some of it is for fun, some of it is for business, but each is a part of the whole that makes us who we are.  Thank you so much for wanting to know what we're up to and for supporting my books and various projects.

THE WRITING LIFE:

Most readers will know that Crater, my first young adult novel, was published in April.  It was received quite well, enough that I immediately got to work on the second in what will be a trilogy.  I just turned in that manuscript and I think you're going to like it.  Untitled as of now, the second in the series may be considered a more powerful work than Crater and explores such themes as fighting for human independence, protecting the weak or those who are different, taking responsibility for one's actions, fighting for love, and survival in extreme situations. It will be published in spring 2013.

 If you haven’t seen it, the exciting Book Trailer for the first book,  Crater  CLICK HERE


Thomas Nelson, the most excellent publisher of Crater, has also created a great resource for teachers who are teaching about the moon and spaceflight:  http://www.helium3novels.com  It's an excellent site for anyone and actually a lot of fun!  Click and explore the moon!
 
A reminder for those interested in autographed and personalized first edition copies of Crater or any of my books, Linda has an on-line bookstore called Knowink.  She has a discount coupon code for our readers too! See her section below with details on specials and coupons.  Please keep us in mind when you're stuck for a gift, there's always available a very special personalized and signed Homer Hickam book!  Click on the gift box on www.homerhickam.com for the list of all fifteen of my books available and how to make that happen.  But remember to use the coupon code from below on those prices through September when you email Linda or send your check! Sometimes it does take a rocket scientist  . . .

We also had a lot of fun with our "Moon Dust Girl" contest based on a song in Crater.  The contest required entrants to take the lyrics of the song that Crater, the main character in the novel, sings at the Earthrise Bar & Grill in Moontown and make it into a real song and record it.  The winner of the contest is Ancient of Dayz. Ancient of Dayz can be found online at www.ancientofdayz.net.   Listen to their most excellent tune with graphics here:

More on the song is in this press release:

The choice was a difficult one.  Some of the other really great entries can be listened to here:

Also, don't forget my first Kindle Single titled Paco: The Cat Who Meowed in Space. This short memoir told about my early years at NASA and has gotten rave reviews from those folks curious as to what really happened to the Rocket Boy of October Sky. For those who haven’t read it yet, it's only $1.99 and you can get it instantly on your e-reader from Amazon here



JOURNEYS:
NASA Al, Homer, NASA Tony and NASA Jeff

Pretty hawksbill
Linda was too busy with the RocketCityGlassGirls (more on that below) to travel, so NASA Al, NASA Jeff, NASA Tony, and I, four present and retired NASA engineers, went to St. John/Skyridge to work on the house a little and get some snorkeling in.  Talk about a nerdfest!  Actually, all three are interesting fellows with lots of interests and we had a great time.  It was the first time there for Jeff and Tony but they quickly got into the island way of life and had some great experiences in the water and on the land. Turtles were saved, rum was consumed, tales were expanded upon. . . and most wonderfully, we fixed the famous infamous electronic gate (for now - I'm sure it's plotting some nefarious scheme to unleash on us when we least expect it).
Homer points to the new electronic arm

We got to stay at home for the remainder of May which was pretty wonderful.  The weather was nice and Linda and I enjoyed our daily jogs while I worked on Crater2.  During that time, we were very watchful of our marvelous Mango whose damaged heart was failing.  We had him on some new meds that were controlling the situation but every day we had him was a blessing.
Sweet Mango not feeling so good

A long-planned trip to Italy happened in early June.  We went with our dear friends, the Rocket City Glass Girls and hubbies (Carol and Al plus Pat and David).  The other two couples went first to Venice, then Linda and I flew into Rome, rented a car, and drove up the coast to our villa in Tuscany to meet the others.  We had a great time.  Every day, we either caught the train to places such as Florence and Pisa, or drove to other small towns in Tuscany.  We toured, shopped, laughed, ate, and drank, then toured, shopped, laughed, ate, and drank some more.  The villa where we stayed was a delight as well and we enjoyed our mornings and evenings there. Carol, Pat and Linda found Casa Bini on TripAdviser here and we recommend it highly! Go, click here for the reviews! 
Our gang is all here
Dinner in our Tuscan Villa!
Homer at an Italian bookshop!

When we returned, Mango was about the same and we had hope the new meds were going to keep him going for a considerable time.  But then, he went into extreme congestive heart failure and we knew we were losing him.  Every night, I carried him to the bed so that he could sleep on or beside Linda, as he always loved to do.  Finally, he just couldn't go on anymore.  His breathing was labored, he stopped eating, and he gave us signs that he was preparing to go.  Our dear friends, Dr. Michelle and Roberta of Doorstep Veterinary Clinic, came and helped Mango cross that rainbow bridge.  Our hearts are broken but we are glad he isn’t in pain anymore.  Now, there is a silence in the house that not even our now seven month old kittens, who are into everything, can fill.  We know that gradually we will accept Mango being gone but right now, it's hard to look at the places where he once liked to sit, and not feel a lump in our throats.  He loved everyone and took such joy in that.  He will be forever missed.

Mango hits the mouse and paints on a program called Paint for Cats.


Homer with our Trex metatarsal.
 Another long-planned trip was our annual journey to Montana to look for the wily dinosaurs of the Cretaceous.  We enjoyed the hospitality of our great friends Frank and Naomi in Bozeman.  Since I'm on the National Advisory Board of the Museum of the Rockies, I first attended a board meeting.  After that, we drove to Jordan, county seat of Garfield County, to prepare to go out into the field.  Every day for the next five days, Frank, Linda, and I went into the badlands to prospect for dinosaur bones and we were pretty successful, finding Tyrannosaur, Hadrosaur, and Triceratops bones.  We hiked many miles and up and down each day in 100 – 104 degrees, but it was a dry heat (uh huh, right).  Only two rattlesnakes in the grass made us do the jump-up-high-and-sideways snake dance, and we smartly had our snake gaiters on.  Linda found a beautiful T.rex metatarsal and Frank and I found some very nice specimens.  Of course, all this reminds me to remind you that if you haven't read it yet, I think you'll find my novel The Dinosaur Hunter to be a very good, exciting read.  In honor of our hunt, Linda has a special on it, a hardcover first edition, only $30, autographed, personalized and priority mailed to you for that price.  Please see her section below.  It will not only inform you as to how dinosaurs are found and dug up, but it is also a fast-paced mystery/adventure tale of contemporary Montana. I think you will enjoy it.
Beautiful, but desolate country.


Capping off our Montana adventure, we attended a book club meeting at the ranch of our dear friends Mary and Wayland plus their wonderful kids, Maggie and Angus.  The book chosen was my Sky of Stone and I had a great time discussing it with the super nice women in Mary's club.  It's always fun to discuss anything with smart people! We celebrated National Daiquiri Day too.
Maggie, age 8, of Montana drew this great combo drawing of Homer's books Crater and The Dinosaur Hunter!
As I write this, my next journey will be to West Virginia to make two speeches, one for the Southern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments on July 30, the other for the Lewisburg Literary Festival on August 3.  Between those, Linda and I will get to attend the first few shows of Rocket Boys The Musical, performed by Theatre West Virginia.  If you haven't seen the show, trust me, it's great.  If you have seen the show, come and see it again as it will be a little different and even better.  We have changed some things in it and I think you'll find it even more fast-paced and fun! It runs August 1 – 16 and tickets can be gotten  at http://www.theatrewestvirginia.com/ For more information about the musical, see http://www.rocketboysthemusical.com/

Your writer and friend,

Homer Hickam



FROM LINDA:

Mango was more my sweet boy and I am heartbroken, not a day yet without tears.  We so wish we could have kept him with us longer, and he fought so hard to stay with us, but his big ole heart just couldn’t pump anymore. We now work ever harder to save the abandoned kitties, as he was, (nine years a feral!) through our volunteer work with tiny hardworking Forgotten Felines. We so appreciate those of you who have so kindly sent sweet condolences, cards and made donations in Mango's name at Forgotten Felines.  We are also still extremely grateful to those who helped with the awful situation in adjoining Limestone County where forty friendly cats were rescued from a drug house.  Our two kittens came from there.  To continue to help our efforts, or to adopt a sweetie if local to Huntsville, Alabama area, please go to http://forgottenfelinesff.petfinder.com

The aforementioned kittens, Wyatt and Curly Bill (aka The Adorables), are into everything and at seven months pretty big boys!  Quite cute and cuddly, they truly are fun and you never know what they will do next, like get in the shower with you! The old girls, China and Summer (aka the Fluffies), are not so fond of being chased by them but a little more tolerant.  April is enjoying being a garage and outdoor cat - sigh. She is so different when no other cat is around, actually sweet to us, asking to be petted and quite cheerful!  As it turns cold we will build her a warm place there and a cat door, and see if she will learn to use it. It is her choice and we will do our best to see that she is safe. All of us are so much happier when she's happy.
Curly Bill
Wyatt

April

Summer
China


As Homer said, we had an amazing time in Italy with my Glass Girls. Now we are getting ready for a couple more  art shows. If you want to order some of our glass by mail, the best place to see it is on our Facebook site, just ask to join my Group RocketCityGlassGirls.  Then you can message me about anything you see there and I will tell you availability and price. If local, we love doing “home shows” and there are great hostess gifts!
Roman Legionnaire confronts the Glass Girls!








Book COUPONS 
and sales

I love them, don’t you?! Email or write me using coupon code DINOBONE and receive $2 off each book through September!

If you want autographed, personalized copies of any Hickam books, here I am. Normal prices are below. . .you have to remember to use the coupon code to get the $2 off.  Of course the hot “must have” book is CraterCrater, autographed and personalized by Homer, with special authenticity embossed seal (because we have seen forged signatures) is $18, with $6 priority shipping, so a total of $24. Be sure to add the information about who it is to be inscribed to and let know if it is an occasion such as a birthday. For more than one book, shipping is increased to $11, but up to six books can fit in that box.

In honor of our successful Dino bone hunt, as Homer said, I am offering a special on The Dinosaur Hunter, a hardcover first edition, only $30 with shipping, autographed, personalized and priority mailed to you. If you order another book, you may deduct $5 shipping, so this book is $25, and use the coupon code for each other book, as I can put it in the $11 box priority box with the others – up to six books will fit for that price. Confused? Email me.

So how to order?  It's simple. Email me if you are confused about price and I’ll help with that. LTerry@Hiwaay(nospam).net - PLEASE remove no spam.  Then just write your check or money order to Linda Hickam and mail it here:


Linda Hickam
2124 Cecil Ashburn Dr
Suite #100
#210
Huntsville, AL 35802

Yes, those numbers are correct in the address.  Confusing, sorry, but that's the way it has to be. Again, be sure to add the information about who it is to be inscribed to and let know if it is an occasion such as a birthday, needed by a special date, etc.

For those who want to use credit cards, email me at LTerry@Hiwaay(nospam).net - PLEASE remove no spam - and I'll tell you how to pay with your credit card.  Forgive me for this added step but I'm not quite set up yet for you to enter your credit card number on-line without using my square. We'll get there, I swan! 

Stay cool!
Linda