Io Saturnalia, Merry Christmas, Schmiha Chanukah, Solstice Greetings, Happy Kwanza, Tidings of the Season, and Happy New Year to all. We’ve been deluged with tasks over the past month, all beginning with the Western Bison Association show and sale in Ogden the first week in December. We had a great time, and some of the finest bison in North America went for bargain prices in the sale. Anyone starting a herd could have picked up magnificent animals for a song. Kathy picked up a bad cold in Ogden, and was kind enough to share it with Michael, so we were both knocked off our feet for the following weeks as we tackled end-of-year tasks, made an emergency run to Billings, and tried to prepare for the holidays. Brother Mike and Mama came out for Christmas dinner with all the fixings, a feast orchestrated and prepared in the midst of vaccinating and tagging the buffalo calves, preg-testing the cows and yearling heifers, weaning, and penning. Most of the calves and yearlings were sold to Boyd Meyer at Cold Creek Buffalo just south of Cheyenne. Boyd is an old and dear friend, and we offered to deliver. Which meant we had snow each night before we were scheduled to make a trip. Despite plowing the road, we had to chain up to get the trailer out of the canyon. And then came the icy trip across Wyoming. The silver lining was a lot of road time where we were finally allowed to listen to the Graphic Audio performances of PEOPLE OF THE EARTH and PEOPLE OF THE RIVER. Wow! We were alternately amused, scared, stunned, and totally charmed and delighted. The actors’ interpretations of the characters was so remarkable, the quality of the production so ingenious, we wondered why the entire nation wasn’t beating Graphic Audio’s doors down for more. We could have done it in two trips, but a packrat had chewed the wiring on the big trailer, and the tires are nearly ten years old–we don’t take changes on crummy tires. Which meant three trips towing the smaller Titan. We take hauling animals very seriously. For us the sensation is of ten glowing souls back there in the trailer, all precious, and depending on us to get them where they’re going in health and safety. When we’re doing it on ice, with a bumper-pull trailer, we pray a great deal…and to just about every deity in the book! Thankfully, they listened. As this is written, everyone is where they are supposed to be. But wow, has it been a busy time. On the book front, we’re still dickering with Tor/Forge over the MORNING STAR series that we wanted to write about Cahokia. We’ve been waiting more than a month now for a marketing plan. Our new editor may not be enthusiastic about the project, which is a let down after the enthusiasm shown by the sales and marketing bosses at Macmillian this last summer. Hopefully by the time we come to some sort of agreement, the momentum will not have been squandered. As it is, negotiations have now been on-going for nine months. For us, 2013 has been a year of disappointments and set-backs; we’re looking forward to 2014. After a slow start we’ve seen several new projects make their first tentative steps into the publishing world, and hopefully, after an initial discouragement, they will find homes and flower. Starting over is always a trial, but then, tribulation is where a person is forced to measure character. Why, oh why, do we have to have so much character? Oh, yes, we’re delighted to see 2013 disappear in the past and hopefully become nothing more than faded memory. Coming in the new year, we’re anxiously awaiting the release of PEOPLE OF THE MORNING STAR in May. Hopefully the free-roaming buffalo movement–the people who put the “con” in conservation–will fade into the woodwork and go create trouble for some different species. (Maybe they could take up the call to preserve “wild” malaria or dengue, and plague the microbiologists for a while?) Kathy will be on a panel addressing the subject at the National Bison Association meetings in January. And we’re looking forward to escaping to the Texas Hill Country for the Society of American Archaeologists’ meetings in April. And, as always, ThrillerFest is coming up in July. Michael is already scheduled to teach at CraftFest again. And who knows? A miracle might happen? Our new editor at Tor/Forge might even manage to come up with a marketing plan? For everyone reading this, we wish you health and happiness, prosperity and fulfillment.