• amanda@amandamcetas.com

Updates for March 2021

As Spring is arriving in Tucson it is time to give an update on the progress of my series, A Country for Castoffs. I had originally planned to publish the second book, A Home in the Wilderness in November of 2020, however with all of the new demands that teaching in an online and hybrid environment brought, it quickly became clear that I would not be able to meet that deadline.


This school year has been a challenging one for teachers and students as we all adapt to new methods in delivering education and supporting students’ academic and mental health needs. And there have been other challenges too with threats from Covid-19, fires in Tucson and Portland, power outages, snow-ins, droughts, and storm damage.


This year has brought blessings too with the birth of my third grandchild on New Year’s Day. All three of my children and a son-in-law have not only remained employed and have also advanced their careers in spite of so many businesses closuring this year. My family has remained safe and healthy throughout the pandemic and we have been able to continue to see each other in person or online as appropriate.


It has finally rained in the valley and snowed in the mountains and the change in the desert has been remarkable. Spring has arrived! The Mexican border has reopened allowing my family to return to the shore. As I sit here watching the waves of the Sea of Cortez crashing against the beach, I am amazed at how the sea remains both constant and ever changing, a metaphor for life this year. Throughout the tumultuous challenges, life has resumed its dependable rhythm.


The new projected release date for A Home in the Wilderness is sometime in August 2021. The book is currently in the hands of my editors and I am hoping to have it revised and in the hands of my beta readers in May. Book three, At the Mercy of the Sea, coming along and I hope to release future books quicker going forward. In the meantime, I would like to share a brief summary of A Home in the Wilderness.



Etienne Gayneau settled New Harlem in 1663 with his family to build a new life in an untamed world. This is the story of one boy’s struggle to survive and protect those he loves.


Etienne Gayneau doesn’t understand why the native peoples and colonists can’t get along in this land of abundant resources and opportunity. As war erupts between his Old World religious community and his New World friends, Etienne must find a way to end the violence, while protecting those he loves on both sides of the dispute.


Etienne must learn to survive in this dangerous, exotic new world. He will learn new skills from his Native American friends and establish new friendships a with old enemies. But just as everything seems to be going so well, conflict threatens to destroy it all! Will Etienne find a way to save his friends and fulfill his own destiny?


I have so enjoyed delving into the history of 17th century New Netherlands in researching this story. It is a period that is often not explored much in history classes. I have learned how to make both dugouts and birchbark canoes, as well has when to use them and how to keep them watertight. I have toured a wetu and a nosh wetu, the summer and winter homes of the various Native American tribes of the Eastern woodlands. I have examined historic maps and myths, studied primary source journals and scholarly journals to discover a world full of controversy and levels of grey.


So often we think of history in simplistic terms, good vs evil, right vs wrong, or power vs weakness. However, the truth in history, just as in modern life, is never so clear cut. There are always multiple perspectives, and this is what has drawn me to study history. It has been a fascinating journey and I look forward to sharing A Home in the Wilderness with you, my loyal readers.

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