HOWARD PEACOCK is a native of Beaumont and a veteran freelancer whose articles appear in a score of national and regional magazines. His book The Big Thicket of Texas--America's Ecological Wonder was honored with the coveted Editor's Choice Award by Booklist magazine and chosen for the "Texas Books for Every Library" listings by the State Library of Texas. He has contributed to five other books and authored a filmscript on the late Texas artist Buck Schiwetz, which won national honors. Occasionally, he conducts seminars and workshops on freelance writing at various universities. He and his wife Kitty live in a modified dogtrot farmhouse under a beech tree in Woodville, Texas, with Jade, Pine Cone, and Mr. Ian Patrick Megan, their cats--unless the latter, a gray and black furry creature weighing seventeen pounds, is actually a raccoon.