Yes, we’ve been remiss about the newsletter. The past six months have been like living inside a tornado, but we’ve made some major changes in our lives. Most notably, we now only own five buffalo, and have leased the ranch to our long-time manager and friend, John Gerrells. Disentangling and shutting down the buffalo business has been a long and involved process, and distracted us from the newsletter, for which we beg forgiveness. But we found a wonderful home for the animals we’ve loved for sixteen years. They’re being well cared for, and have about thirty times as much land to roam.
But we have been writing! The immediate news is that CHILDREN OF THE DAWNLAND will be in bookstores on July 7th. For years people have asked us to write a children’s book, and we have always wanted to. At last, here it is. The YA novel is set at the close of the Clovis, Paleo-Indian culture. Our best guess these days is that the disappearance of Clovis Culture may be tied to a comet strike over the Laurentide ice sheet. Think apocalyptic! The story is about how Twig, a girl on the verge of womanhood, deals with a gnarly spirit-helper and the coming catastrophe. A teacher’s guide is also available.
PEOPLE OF THE THUNDER, our New York Times bestseller, will be available in paperback—yes, we hear you cheering—by Thanksgiving, and February will see the release of our new series, CONTACT: THE BATTLE FOR AMERICA. The first novel, COMING OF THE STORM, will be out in hardback February 1, 2010. For those of you who read the blog, this is the story of Black Shell and Pearl Hand. They encounter Hernando de Soto’s 1539 entrada into Florida. You’ll be surprised to discover that de Soto was not the “hero” you learned about in school, but a really brutal piece of work. And, despite all the odds, Black Shell and Pearl Hand have to figure out how to beat the monster. This is currently the first of three books, so we hope you like Black Shell, saucy Pearl Hand, and their faithful dogs as much as we do. They’ll be around for a while.
PEOPLE OF THE LONGHOUSE will be released in July of 2010. This will be the first in a series of People books about the origins of the Iroquois Confederacy; it’s set during the 1400s. All across America, the 1400s were a period of warfare, and resource competition. The climate had cooled off, shortened the growing season, and people simply couldn’t produce enough food to feed their children. The Northeast was especially hard-hit. The Iroquois were under severe stress. Set against the backdrop of war, young Odion is stolen during a raid and sold to the witch, Gannajero. It is up to War Chief Koracoo and her deputy, Gonda—Odion’s parents--to find him before Gannajero kills him. If you like forest chases, with mysterious characters, and many twists and turns of plot, we think you’ll enjoy PEOPLE OF THE LONGHOUSE.
Currently we are working on sequels for both COMING OF THE STORM and PEOPLE OF THE LONGHOUSE. Delivery for both manuscripts is set for August. We don’t know yet when they’ll be published but will let you know as soon as we do.
As a final note, we have just learned that our long-time friend, Don Coldsmith, author of the “Spanish Bit” series, has passed on. We pray, Don, that divinity, in all of its wonder, wraps itself around you and bears you to the afterlife. Keep the coffee pot on, will you? We’ll see you on the other side.
Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear