Well, it’s been an interesting January here. Last week the weather service informed us that Wyoming was colder than Mars. We hit a crisp -40 F, while Mars only hit -30 below. Our wind chill factor hung around -50 F.
Have we ever told you the story of Wyatt?
It’s apt because Children of the Dawnland is being re-released this month.
Several years ago, Mike was in Texas helping his parents, while Kathy stayed home to watch the ranch and work on Children of the Dawnland. It was March, and March brings some of the worst weather to Wyoming, but that week proved Wyoming’s reputation. The ranch got about three feet of snow in two days, and the wind blew at a steady 20-30 MPH, piling drifts eight feet deep and closing the road in or out of the ranch.
Kathy was riding the snowmobile out to feed the buffalo, when she noticed a buffalo calf struggling through the snow. The little bull was alone and clearly an orphan. It’s unusual for a calf to be born in March. April-May is generally calving season. The calf’s name would become Wyatt—after Wyatt Earp. As it would turn out, he was one tough little guy.
Kathy knew she had to catch Wyatt and start bottle-feeding him or he was going to be dead, either killed by mountain lions or wolves, or just freeze to death. It took three days to catch him. The first day, she tracked Wyatt through the snow for ten hours, but Wyatt was determined not to let her catch him. He may only have been two days old, but he knew a predator when he saw it.
The second day started out sunny and 20 degrees above zero. When the temperature starting dropping at mid-day, Kathy was about a mile from her vehicle. The temperature dropped fifty degrees in an hour. That’s not unusual in Wyoming. We never go out unprepared, but when the blizzard blew in an hour later the temperature was hovering at -30 F. Wyatt was growing weaker, struggling in the deep snow, but still keeping ahead of Kathy. There was no question but that Wyatt was tougher than Kathy. Just before dark, she gave up and started for home, figuring she’d find him dead in the morning.
Not a chance. Wyatt huddled up in the lee of a drift and rode out the storm. Kathy caught him the next day and managed to get warm milk into his belly. That tough little guy grew up to sire many beautiful calves.
That is Wyoming. She never lets you forget that she’s in charge.
ON THE BOOK FRONT!
For those who’ve never read Children of the Dawnland, it’s set around 12,800 years ago and explores the coming of what the “Clovis Comet.”
CHILDREN OF THE DAWNLAND, Part 1
People would have been staring at the night sky in fear and awe 12,800 years ago as they watched the approach of a bizarre band of glowing gas filled with millions of points of light. Each night they would have seen it getting larger. Just before the end, it was visible even in broad daylight, but by then it would have been black and utterly terrifying.
It’s called the Younger Dryas Impact Event or the Clovis Comet. The comet had exploded perhaps thousands of years before leaving a massive debris field. When the earth passed through the debris, it was bombarded with huge chunks of ice, rocks, and microscopic meteorites that we still find embedded in the skulls of ancient bison. Anything or anyone standing outside when the bombardment began would have been killed instantly, but the worst was yet to come.
Each impact was like a nuclear explosion. It set fire to the entire planet. All the forests of North America burned. We also find evidence of the fiery devastation from Greenland to the southern tip of Chile, as well as 120 other sites on the globe. It resulted in mass extinctions, and bought on an Ice Age called the Younger Dryas.
In CHILDREN OF THE DAWNLAND we follow a young Dreamer named Twig and her best friend Gray Hawk as they try to discover the meaning of Twig’s dream that a light is about to explode in the sky and devastate their world. No one believes her…except a demented old shaman. Will Twig’s people ever heed her warnings? She’s just a twelve-summers-old girl…
CHILDREN OF THE DAWNLAND, Part 2
Archaeologists call it an “Impact Winter.”
After the Clovis Comet devastated the earth 12,800-years-ago, the challenges for all living things were monumental—but especially for children. Cataclysmic wildfires had ravaged the forests of North America, filling the sky with smoke and blocking sunlight. In just a couple of years, average temperatures dropped dramatically throwing the earth back into an Ice Age, and the cold lasted for 1,400 years. Ice dams that had held back huge lakes of glacial meltwater burst in central North America and the sudden, overwhelming floods scoured great swaths of the continent to bedrock. The largest animals, like mammoths and mastodons, starved. As did human beings. The extraordinary culture that archaeologists call “Clovis” ceased to exist.
In part 2 of Children of the Dawnland, you will follow two children and one old shaman into that apocalypse: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CNS31SS4
ALSO COMING… Athena Unleashed, the first book in the Athena trilogy. More on the background behind the Athena books in our February Newsletter!
If you want to get a headstart: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CLS5NQFR
Happy Reading to All. Stay warm!
Michael and Kathleen