We hope you’re all having a wonderful summer. It’s been an interesting few months for us.
Firstly, for those of you who’ve been having problems getting PEOPLE OF THE LONGHOUSE—which was just released—at Amazon, we apologize. We’re working with the great people there to get the problem fixed. The book was selling quickly and apparently they couldn’t keep up with the demand and had to backorder some copies. They should be shipping very soon. In the meantime, we know there are many of you who collect the first editions. If you’re afraid Amazon’s delay may result in you’re getting second or third editions, we recommend you go to your local bookstore, Barnes and Noble.com, Borders, Hastings, Books-A-Million, or other places where books are sold. We understand many retailers still have the first edition available.
And for those who’ve already finished PEOPLE OF THE LONGHOUSE, we’ll soon have a special treat on the website…the first few chapters of Book 2: THE DAWN COUNTRY, A People of the Longhouse novel. We hope you enjoy this rare glimpse into the future of the story. We genuinely love these characters and this time period, and are hoping you will, too.
The past ten days have been exciting. We’ve had Dr. Laura Scheiber’s archaeological field crew from the University of Indiana on the ranch. Dr. Scheiber’s student, Katie, is finishing her Ph.D. on the Nostrum Springs Stage Stop along the Fort Washakie to Thermopolis Stage Road. The station began service some time between about 1880-1900. We can’t say for certain because the historical records are scanty. Hopefully archaeology will be able to answer this fundamental question, as well as many others. A few days ago, the crew found a curious object. If any of you have ever heard of this tradition, please let us know? Tucked into the mortar between the walls, the crew discovered a small, round, brass canister, about two inches in diameter. It was clearly deliberately placed in the wall, then mortared over, and plastered over that. The box makes a metallic clink when gently shaken, so there’s something metallic inside. Once we’ve all determined how to open the box without damaging it, we’ll let you know what’s inside. It’s been hidden for over a century, so a few more days won’t matter—though such things always bring out the “Indiana Jones” frenzy in archaeologists. “What do you mean we have to wait to open it? Where’s the hatchet?”
Three days ago, Dr. Linda Scott Cummings came up from PaleoResearch Institute in Colorado to talk to the crew about paleo-botany, and take home some samples from the stage station. Linda is one of the top paleo-botanists in the world and listening to her is always a revelation. We got a few results back today, and they’re intriguing. The large main roof pole of the stage station is Douglas fir and the cross beams are ponderosa pines. This is intriguing because neither species grows nearby. That means they must have traveled to the Owl Creek mountains, 20-30 miles away, to cut the trees and drag them back, probably with a team of horses. That was a lot of effort. Clearly the Nostrum’s planned to build a quality stop for the people traveling the stage road. We also know from historical records that the Nostrum’s had an apple and pear orchard that they used to dazzle stage travelers by providing fresh fruits as well as pies, jams, and jellies.
On another front, three weeks ago we attended Thrillerfest in New York, the annual conference of the International Thriller Writers, where we participated in a panel with Katherine Neville about religion in thrillers. We, naturally, were talking about prehistoric spiritual traditions. A great time was had by all. For beginning writers there is no better conference than the Craftfest portion of Thrillerfest. Even old hands like us learn something new every year.
Incidentally if you’ve never read the books of Katherine Neville, we think they’re fascinating and suspect you will also enjoy them. And our favorite newly discovered authors are Tosca Lee and Jon Land. Wow. They can write. It’s such a pleasure to find new authors who transform their reader’s world. We know how hard that is to do.
Lastly, we will soon be adding a new video section to our blog: “Campfire Readings with the Gears.” We hope you enjoy it.
We send our best regards,
Michael and Kathleen