Hello All: What’s this? That cunning Black Shell thinks he’s pretty smart, huh? Oh, man, never, never, never irritate an author. Mike’s good friend Crazy Geno can tell you about the time he was reading over Mike’s shoulder, making comments during the writing of a draft that would become MORNING RIVER. Geno suddenly appeared in the story and ended up lying gut-shot in the middle of the road. Curious, he never read over Mike’s shoulder again. So, what should we do about Black Shell? After all, you’ve got to keep characters in their place. Let’s see… de Soto: One bad dude. And then there’s Antonio, captured by Black Shell and Pearl Hand in book one. Yep, lots of trouble looms for Black Shell in book two. That will teach him to get his sticky fingers on our blog keys! Meanwhile, Mike rode the Beemer down to Atlanta, hitting a little rain on the way down. Just into Kentucky he was amazed by the sight of double rainbows! Wow! That was the highlight on the trip south. Mike stopped at the Etowah Mounds just outside Cartersville, and spent a windy afternoon walking the mounds, enjoying their excellent museum, and reacquainting himself with the site. That foul weasel, de Soto, spent an entire seven days there, inflicting misery on the locals. It’s always sobering to walk on the same soil a monster did. The veil of time grows thin, and often one doesn’t like what they just barely glimpse on the other side. This year’s Society for American Archaeology meetings were just super. After all the years we’ve been going to the SAAs, this was the best! Super symposia, stunning hotel, great presentations, excellent food, challenging converstations, and lots, and lots, and lots of new information on American archaeology. The book room was splendid, and at the Paleoresearch booth, they held a drawing for several “PEOPLE” books that were part of the display. Congratulations to the winners! Our poster presentation on food–involving excavation, analysis, and interpretation through fiction–was a hit. Curious age-grade reactions, though. The old gray-bearded archaeologists tended to look skeptically at the work, while the younger archaeologists mostly beamed, saying, “We need more of this.” Currently we’re considering a workshop on archaelogy and fiction at next year’s SAA. We’ll be doing this in coordination with Linda Cummings at Paleoresearch. For copies of this year’s poster presentation, they can be downloaded at the paleoresearch.com website. Enjoy! The ride home was great. Mike pointed the RT north, following–as best we can tell– Hernando de Soto’s route up through Georgia, to South Carolina, and into North Carolina and the lands of Coftiachequi. This is mostly city these days, but one can still gain a sense of the country. Then it was west through the mountains, along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Cherokee: Center of the Eastern Cherokee Tribe. To those who haven’t been there, you will find gorgeous country, friendly people, and a wealth of Cherokee tribal lore. And, yes, yes, that irritating Black Shell was correct. Mike rode the Dragon’s Tail, through Deal’s Gap, and did all 318 curves in the eleven miles of US 129. It’s a great technical section of road and Mike scuffed up the sides of his tires. The place is motorcycle nirvana, and the Beemer lived free, as God and German engineers intended. All in all, a Super trip, but now it’s back to work with Black Shell, Pearl Hand, Blood Thorn, and that slimey de Soto. Oh, and while Black Shell was up here inflicting his wit up on the blog readers, several revisions were made to the existing story. You see, Black Shell, that’s what you get when the author has a couple of weeks to think up new twists to the story… What? Yeah, you better worry, buddy. You’re in for it! Our latest fun read is Kim Harrison’s WHITE WITCH, BLACK CURSE. Good stuff for fun, thrills, and entertainment. Stay safe, watch for motorcycles, and be well. Mike and Kathy