It’s that Christmasy time of year again.

A year ago on this day, I had been home from hospital for ten days and I was regally installed in a Laz-E-Boy recliner in my living room, where I would remain for at least the next complete month before I dared to venture beyond my primary comfort zone… Fundamantally, I didn't know next to nuthin' of what was going on, as I've sometimes heard people say in a flux of double and triple negatives. And the truth is my memories of that period are absolutely zero. Not minimal; way less than that. I have no memory at all of the first few months of my recovery period. I know I had lots of visitors, because I've been told; I know, too, that I read nothing at all for three months, because I've been told that, too. And I know for a fact that I wrote nothing worthwhile for much longer than any of that.

But it has been a year and most of the trauma and tribulations are safely behind me. I've got my strength back and my mental acuity (Thank God!) and the few remaining vestiges of  post-surgical aches and pains are vanishing rapidly. Best of all, though, I'm writing again, flat out and working to a self-imposed deasdline, and that feels good. All being well, I'll be submitting the new manuscript to my editors at Penguin Canada at the start of the last week in January, then leaving it there to be eviscerated while I nip off to enjoy the month of February  in Southern California that I didn't get to have last year. By the time I get back, the editors in Toronto should be ready to move on to the next stage of development, and the objective is to have the new book–the third novel in the "Guardians" series, on the bookshelves in time for Christmas 2014. a year late, but what the Hell . . . so am I.

Strangely enough, for the first tiime ever at this stage of a book's development, I still don't have a title for the novel. I've had several, and I've been using them as working titles, but I've had to abandon all of them, one by one, as untenable or inadequate, or redundant or already used. So I'm still digging, looking for a name. I know the right one's out there, waiting to be found, and at one point I thought I had it nailed, but no, I was wrong again. Ah well, keep looking and in the meantime dwell upon other things…

And so this fleeting entry is to wish everyone in here, members and visitors, no matter where you live or what your religious background might be, all the goodwill, good cheer, enjoyment and enlightened pleasure that the human race in the Northern Hemisphere has needed, historically and racially, at this coldest, darkest time of the northern year, the Winter Solstice . . . Jeez, do we need it, up here in Canada! The shortest day of the year just passed, but we're waking up in darkness in the morning and it's dark again at four o'clock, before we even leave work, let alone get home from work  So if you are fortunate enough to dwell in sunnier climes than ours, and to enjoy warmer weather and longer hours of winter daylight  than we do, then good luck to you. Accept the goodwill and goodwishes extended at this time by those who feel like offering it, and be grateful for the spirit of fellowship that passes it along. Sure, it's a cultural thing, but it's a feel-good thing, too, and to me that's the most important aspect of the entire Christmas phenomenon… Merry Christmas.