“I don’t feel my body, just the air cooling as color leaches from the forest, leaving the land strangely gray and shimmering. When the blue sky goes leaden, and the rounded patches of light falling through the trees curve into bladelike crescents, I faintly begin to sense my skin. I have the overwhelming urge to run, but I can’t. My legs do not exist...”
So begins BROKEN LAND, the third book in the PEOPLE OF THE LONGHOUSE series. It has been 12 years since the events you read about in THE DAWN COUNTRY. Odion, Wrass, Zateri, Tutelo, and the others have grown into adulthood. Koracoo has become a Standing Stone matron, taking the title of Jigonsaseh. Cord and Baji have gone back to their people, but the ties forged during the desperate hunt for Gannajero remain. They will become the glue that binds together a small band willing to resist the increasing threat of Atotarho’s brutal attacks.
THE BROKEN LAND is a January 2012 release, and is available on book store shelves and from all on-line vendors. ISBN 978-0-7653-2694-2. In the current market, with book sales in free fall, a limited number of first editions were printed, and not all bookstores received copies. If you like hardcovers, you might want to hurry.
The fourth and final book in the PEOPLE OF THE LONGHOUSE series is titled THE BLACK SUN. The manuscript is complete, has been turned in, and is currently scheduled for October 2012. We hope we managed to bring this grand epic to a worthy conclusion. One of our favorite characters in THE BLACK SUN is the forever loyal and devoted Gitchi! Victory, like all good things, only comes at a terrible price. We have to tell you, this quartet of books is one of our all time favorite PEOPLE stories.
And, yes! Black Shell, Pearl Hand, and the dogs are coming back! Following COMING OF THE STORM and FIRE THE SKY, the third and final book in the CONTACT series will be released in March. The title is A SEARING WIND. Black Shell must take the battle against Hernando de Soto home to his native Chicaza. The only question is who will kill him first? The Spanish invaders, or his own family? Pearl Hand, as usual, has her own laconic ideas about things. You can preorder on-line. Use any of the tags on the www.Gear-Gear.com home page. We don’t have an ISBN yet, but any bookseller should be able to figure it out.
Meanwhile, life just spins faster and faster! We’ve had a busy winter in the buffalo business. In December the Western Bison Association voted to pursue the delisting of Woods bison from the Endangered Species list. Recent genetic research has determined that Woods and Plains bison are the same. A couple of mitochondrial haplotypes (maternal family lines) have a higher frequency in the woods population, but no more so than certain human haplotypes in various places around the globe. Iowa State University has finished the initial phase of the bison genome. From the preliminary report, they’re having real trouble distinguishing bison from beef genes. Given the relatively recent split between bison and cattle, we’re probably looking at the reclassification of buffalo as Bos bison (it’s currently Bison bison) when this is all over…which is where it probably should have been all along.
On the book side, we’re in the process of having Kathleen’s ABYSS OF LIGHT, TREASURE OF LIGHT, and REDEMPTION OF LIGHT released as Kindle e-books. Note: She wrote these titles under Kathleen M. O’Neal. Michael’s WARRIORS OF SPIDER, WAY OF SPIDER, WEB OF SPIDER, THE ARTIFACT, STARSTRIKE, REQUIEM FOR THE CONQUEROR, RELIC OF EMPIRE, and COUNTERMEASURES will also be out on Kindle by the end of February. Our DARK INHERITANCE and RAISING ABEL, authored under W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear will be released at the same time. Pricing is at $5.99 a download. For those of you who have been waiting, the negotiations over the Macmillan titles continue to drag on...and on...and on. Eventually, we will get it worked out and you will be able to find all of our books as e-books.
Once again, Graphic Audio has released another of the PEOPLE books on their “Movie in your Mind” audio. The 3 volume set of PEOPLE OF THE RIVER joins PEOPLE OF THE WOLF, PEOPLE OF THE FIRE, and PEOPLE OF THE EARTH. If you haven’t tried the Graphic Audio, we urge you to. Simply Google WWW.GRAPHICAUDIO.NET for more details or call them at 1-800-670-5220. We’ve become rather addicted to these acted out audio editions, especially on those long Wyoming road trips. Trust us, from Thermopolis, you’ve got hours to anywhere that resembles a population center. It really helps to hear different actors adopting the roles of our favorite characters. Complete with sound effects! Graphic Audio did such a good job they researched the sounds that antelope make when they’re curious. We don’t think that any Gear collection is complete without these.
Coming up next? We’re working on a final edit of COMES A GREEN SKY and FRACTURE EVENT, the thrillers we sold to Germany. While both are still out to different US editors, we’re trying to get the manuscripts polished enough to release on Kindle as original fiction. Our fans have been asking for more Dusty and Maureen books for years, and we’ve had to tell everyone, “Sorry. They’re only out in Germany.” Assuming you haven’t read the German editions of DAS ENDE ALLER TAGE and DER EDEN EFFECT, they will soon be available in English as e-books.
As to what we will write next, that partially depends on our meetings with Tom Doherty, Linda Quinton, and Susan Chang at Tor/Forge in February. We’ll also meet our new editor at Simon & Schuster, Adam Wilson, and discuss future projects. Currently we’re hoping to dust off A TOUCH OF SANITY, a Civil War novel written years ago, and go through it again. We’re ready for a change of pace to recharge the creative batteries. Another inviting story is that of the Native woman carried back to Iceland by the first Viking settlers in North America around A.D. 1000. Her mitochondrial DNA has been recovered in several modern Icelandic lineages. Our problem is—given our penchant for research—do we really want to try and cross the North Atlantic from Labrador to Iceland in a Viking longboat? Some of you will recall that when we were writing PEOPLE OF THE MIST we decided we had to canoe across Chesapeake Bay to get a feel for The Panther’s journey. As veterans of many canoe trips, we would have never guessed how really, REALLY, frightening it is to be out in the middle of the Chesapeake in a canoe. A Viking longboat sounds way out of our league. But! You never know.
Our six-month schedule: We’re presenting a paper at the Society for American Archaeology meetings in Memphis again this April. We’re hoping to spend a couple of weeks on the BMW riding around the Southwest in late spring. We will also by at the Western Bison Association summer meeting and the “Bison Advantage” program in mid June in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Bison Advantage is an introductory workshop about raising buffalo and will be held at Cold Creek Bison Ranch on I-25 eight miles south of Cheyenne. See the westernbison.org website for more details. And, finally, we’ll be at Thrillerfest in New York City the second week of July.
Meanwhile, we wish you all health and good reading for 2012. After all, there has to be some alternative to listening to the political advertising. Now that the superpacs are in full swing, there will be tens of millions spent bombarding us with negative ads about every candidate! What better time to turn it all off, pick up a book, and slip into another universe…
W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear