Homer Hickam for $1.99

If you are a Kindle kind of reader, Amazon has a deal today (June 12) on a book by West Virginia native Homer Hickam.

“Crater,” which is about a mining colony on the moon, is priced at $1.99.

Hickam is best known for his books about growing up in McDowell County. He is the author of “Rocket Boys” and “The Coalwood Way.”

I’ve never read “Crater,” but here’s what Kirkus Reviews says about it:

It’s the 22nd Century. A tough, pioneering people mine the moon for Helium-3 to produce energy for a desperate, war-torn Earth.

Sixteen-year-old Crater Trueblood loves his job as a Helium-3 miner. But when he saves a fellow miner, his life changes forever. Impressed by his heroism, the owner of the mine orders Crater to undertake a dangerous mission. Crater doubts himself, but has no choice. He must go.

With the help of Maria, the mine owner’s frustrating but gorgeous granddaughter, and his gillie—a sentient and sometimes insubordinate clump of slime mold cells—Crater must fight both human and subhuman enemies. He’ll battle his way across a thousand miles of deadly lunar terrain and face genetically altered super warriors in his quest to recover an astonishing object that will alter the lives of everyone on the moon.

“Long-haul trucking on the Moon . . . with raiders, romance and a secret mission . . . High adventure on the space frontier.” —Kirkus Reviews

By the way, you can also get another Hickam creation — “Paco: The Cat Who Meowed in Space” — for $1.99. It’s a Kindle Single, which means it’s a shorter bit of reading at a relatively inexpensive price.


Clay in my hands, art in my heart

Have you been to one of those places where you make your own pottery?

And by “make your own pottery,” I mean the basic mug or cup has already been shaped and you add splashes of design and color to the best of your ability.

Well, I have, and I am a natural.

My kids took me to “The Pottery Place,” which is one such local establishment — although there is probably a different but similar place wherever you may live.

The first time I went, I selected a mug to decorate. At first it was plain, but I quickly gave it some character.

Questionable character.

It was supposed to represent how I feel when I need more coffee.

Or when I have had too much coffee.

I’m pretty sure I succeeded, artistically.

It was a creation of beauty, and I now drink my coffee from it when I am in the office. I have many admirers.

The next time I went to The Pottery Place, I strived to make a companion piece.

I chose a plate. And a monkey.

Using stencils, I quickly traced a monkey design. Then I put my steady hands to work at filling in my design with pleasing colors.

It was, indeed, artistry. Practical monkey artistry.

Once you have completed your pottery, you leave it at the store for a week so it can be put in the kiln and then … well, I’m not sure what all happens. It dries or sets or sits on a shelf, building you up with anticipation.

Then you return for your masterpiece.

My monkey plate is not only beautiful, it also enhances the delicious noontime meals I eat at work. Meals like leftover spaghetti.

Can you imagine my joy?

Well, yes, you can because I would like to show you a video.

What will you design at a Pottery Place near you?

The many faces of Superman

Are you as excited about the latest Superman movie as I am? Have you spent your whole life dreaming you could rip off your button-down white shirt and tie and transform into a guy who does not fear wearing red shorts on top of blue tights? Yeah, me too. This interactive is for the likes of us. It was put together by our colleagues at Digital First Media: