Greetings! I am Black Shell, of the Chief Clan, of the Chicaza People. Yes, many of your have read my earlier entries…and I’m loose again. I still have to sneak out of the computer when Mike and Kathy aren’t looking. Currently they have me preparing to meet that spit-licking hoobuk wooksa de Soto in the third book. As to how that comes out? I can hardly wait. Maybe I’ll finally get my chance to deal with that two-footed maggot. Just so you know, Pearl Hand is fine. She has considered filtering her way out of the writing computer and making an entry here. (I think she’s smarter than I am and probably more articulate.) What worries her is that she’d have to write this in present tense and italics and include a flashback. What? Oh, you don’t get that “flashback” thing? Read COMING OF THE STORM and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I’m making a plea: Please stop sending all those Facebook requests asking when FIRE THE SKY is coming out. It’s here! On the shelves as of the 15th of February! The story picks up right after COMING OF THE STORM and you can come along as Pearl Hand, Blood Thorn, the dogs, and I take the fight to de Soto and his Kristianos. We have a pretty good run at him in Apalachee, which is where Tallahassee, Florida, is today. Then it’s off to Georgia, and into the Carolinas, where we finally have a chance to stop the monster. But then, that was before we knew about Cofitachequi’s troubles. Never heard of Cofitachequi? It’s pronounced Co-feeta-check-ee. What if I told you it was one of the largest nations in North America in the 1500s and covered most of North Carolina. The cities were big for the time, and tens of thousands of people were ruled by Sun Chiefs who lived in the city of Telemico. Didn’t know that, huh? That’s one of the great things about reading FIRE THE SKY. You’re going to hear about many large nations that existed here, in our country, and have been forgotten. Coosa, where Pearl Hand and I will go next, may have ruled between 50 and 70 thousand people in a nation that stretched from the Blue Ridge down the Tennessee River, into Georgia, and all the way east to Alabama. Meanwhile, Pearl Hand and I continue in our attempts to thwart de Soto. Unfortunately, he has figured out that we’re a civilized people, bound by rules for peaceful engagement and indicated by the presentation of a white arrow. De Soto, however, is a liar and a cheat with no sense of honor. And throughout FIRE THE SKY he’s using the white arrow against us. All the way to Mabila, where… Oh, I guess I’d better not say. After all, I’m a canny trader by training, right? The ending of FIRE THE SKY is, to put it mildly, intense. And part of the Power of trade is to ensure that you are delighted and awed when you finally read it. I do hope that you enjoy the story. As you’ll see, Pearl Hand and I had a tough time making it to the end. At the same time, please join us in hoping that Borders Books survives through the next few weeks. They’ve sold thousands of copies of COMING OF THE STORM, helping to place Pearl Hand’s and my story in the hands of so many readers. To the Borders employees who wept when Antonio killed Fetch, thank you, you get it. So, honored readers, if you get a chance to buy your copy from Borders during this time of trial, they would really appreciate it. All the best, Black Shell