For a short time the ebook of A New Year's Tale will be free.  I don't know when (or whether) I will do this again.  We are going on walkabout next week.  "Walkabout" is an Australian word for wandering without any schedule or destination, my favorite kind of vacation.  When you book hotels or campsites you are put on a SCHEDULE  and can't take advantage of a perfectly beautiful discovery because you have to move on.  Harold worries that we won't find a place to stay at the last minute, but that's why God created sleeping bags.  You have all kinds of adventures.  Once I camped out on a lovely beach to wake up after the tide came in and I was floating away.  Enjoy the ebook.

A New Year's Tale, my adult novel, is free for download today, June 15, 2013.  This is for the ebook only.  The paperback edition has been priced as low as I am allowed by CreateSpace.  Enjoy.

To answer Angel Garcia (my, you ARE busy):  I am considering a separate topic on my website about writing.  I trained myself from scratch in Central Africa -- no MFA, no writing courses, no support group.  I had an old manual typewriter and ribbons that were so dried out you could hardly read the print.  I had yellowish paper that degraded into dust after a couple of years.  And yet I succeeded.  I probably won't do this new topic until after we come back from walkabout -- August, probably.  Harold and I wander for a month in places with no cell phone coverage, no internet connection, TV or radio.

As for whether I have Native American blood, everyone whose family has been in the U.S. since 1620 (or before) has Native American blood.  The question is how much?  All four of my grandparents supplied it, but were vague about how it came about.  People used to lie about such things.  What I do know is that my brother and I don't look Indian at all, but our mother did and our sister does.  One story I was able to track down was about my father's mother.  Her grandfather was from an English Catholic family that fled to Portugal during the battles between Catholics and Protestant.  He was the third son, which meant that instead of inheriting or going into the army, he was shipped off to a monastery.  He escaped and fled to England, where he was promptly sent back by relatives.  The next time he escaped he changed his name, signed onto a ship going to America and went out into the wilds to live with the Iroquois.  He had two Iroquois wives and it is from there that the family tree descended.

What was my mother's father doing on a reservation?  There's an interesting story to that, too.  He was herding sheep in Northern Utah when he came down with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from a tick bite.  This is often fatal and in those days there were no antibiotics.  Grandpa was so weak he could only crawl.  He saw a fire in the distance and managed to reach a camp full of cattlemen.  Cattlemen and sheepmen fought bitterly in those days, and they told him to crawl on.  They weren't going to help him.  After a while Grandpa saw another, smaller fire and found a group of Ute Indians.  They had a shaman with them, who mixed up a perfectly vile medicine.  The Indians had to hold Grandpa down and pry open his jaws to get him to drink it.  But it worked!  They cared for him until he was better.  Later, he took the job of running the trading post on the White Rocks Reservation.  The previous merchant had been killed during the last war the Utes ever had.  This was known as the Meeker Massacre, and Meeker was killed by a woman called Old Sugar who drove a stake through his head.  Grandpa, however, got along fine and learned to speak Ute.


My new adult novel, A New Year's Tale, is free to download today.  This refers to the ebook only.  Enjoy.

On a personal note, here is a photograph of myself as a small child on the Ute reservation in Whiterocks, Utah, where my mother grew up.  I never knew this picture existed.  I had entirely forgotten about the woman sitting next to me until I saw it.  Her name was Nellie Yannawits (my brother says her name was Yannawoods, but I can't find it anywhere) and she was a friend of my grandmother.  I followed her around and Nellie was kind enough to put up with me.  She once made me a straw doll with a corn husk dress and corn silk hair.  I loved it, but didn't realize that corn silk spoils rapidly.  The next day the hair had turned black and I was devastated, so Nellie glued on more hair from a silk weed plant.  Once she led me to a wild crab apple tree loaded with fruit.  She allowed me to eat as much as I wanted (17 apples) and of course I was sick later.  I guess she figured I would have to learn the hard way when to stop.  In this picture Nellie looks about ninety, but she was probably sixty.  She had led a hard life.  I look about five, but was probably seven.  I was extremely small for my age.