Dear All,

While Tamarind Hill Press is working hard on coming up with a cover and final edit for Spirits of the Ice Forest, my take on the Vikings’ attempt to colonize Newfoundland, Canada – still due for release in March 2021 – and dreaming up new adventures to write about in the coming year, I want to take a minute to wish you all a happy and safe festive season.

Merry Christmas, if that’s your thing.

I also want to take a minute as a Victorian volunteer firefighter to say please be careful on the roads. You see, wherever you are in the world, the holiday season is both a festive time of year for your local emergency services and a hard one. As time of work approaches, the car accidents stack up. That means ambulance workers, police, and firefighters, who instead of spending time with their families, will be spending time with the families of the victims or the victims themselves. Seeing them on what should have been a happy time, now the worst day of their lives. All because someone made a stupid decision. To prioritize between keeping up with the Joneses on the holidays or making that family lunch or dinner on time above making it there alive, or the safety of the countless lives of people when they take needless risks on the roads.

I’ll never forget leaving the scene of an accident during a holiday season – we won’t go into how nasty it was – only to be screamed at and flipped off by a motorist on the road for driving too slow on the way home. Well, sorry. I wish I could have shown that guy what I’d just seen.

2020 has taken so much from us. All over the world. Two families dear to me lost their daughters this year – both were the same age. It’s enough. Nobody needs the usual spike in road casualties on top of everything else.

So, whether this is your Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, Yulefest, or Midwinter – please, for my own peace and quiet and for the well-deserved benefit of emergency services volunteers and professionals all over the world, take it easy. Be late. Don’t stress.

Be good to each other.