Preview… Desert Voices – A novel of ancient Nasca


There is no evidence of any writing system in South America before 1532. After the Spaniards arrived, history recorded the brief and dramatic reign of the conquered Inca, but little is known of the many other cultures that had risen and endured for centuries before the Inca Empire. What we do know has been pieced together by archaeologists and anthropologists who decipher history from the pottery, textiles and constructions left behind.

Patya’s story unfolds in the sixth century AD on the southern coast of what is now known as Peru. The creative and resourceful Nasca culture has been flourishing for almost a thousand years, populating the narrow valleys carved by rivers that cross the desert on their way from the Andes mountains to the Pacific Ocean. In recent years, a series of droughts and weather anomalies have taken a heavy toll on the Nasca people. Fields lie barren, wells have gone dry, and raiders from the highlands have been foraging into Nasca territory, hunting their game and raiding their livestock.

 Nasca pottery is known for its rich colors and imaginative designs. Above is the art from a ceramic vase depicting a tangle of flying anthropomorphic supernatural beings  wearing headdresses and nose ornaments, carrying severed heads, knives, slings for weapons, and sprouting cactus-like snakes. The  rich mythological world of the Nasca was very much part of their living landscape, and ceremonial offerings an integral part of their community.


PHOENIX – another pin on the wall

The unrelenting sound of construction has not ceased since the day Marisol first asked me about curses and enchantments. I hadn’t really paid much attention to all the building in the neighborhood, since I kept my radio tuned to an upbeat oldies station that masked the other noises. But that day, I turned off the radio to be able to hear her better. For some reason, I never turned it back on. The rhythms of construction have replaced the music that used to fill my office. From all sides come the buzz and clank, the banter of workers—but I digress. I am not here to recount the problems in the neighborhood, but to tell you something of Marisol’s story before my office is taken apart around me.

It was almost exactly a year ago when Marisol’s dark and downcast face suddenly moved out of the shadowed corners of my world right into its center. Her name had always made me think of girasol—Spanish for sunflower, from girar “to turn” and sol for “sun.” Marisol was anything but sunny back then.

… and for the rest of the story? 

pushpin map

mosey on down to Amarillo Bay

(picture borrowed from

OUT OF THE HATBOX -a coming of age story

Rolling Hills Estates retirement community, July 1971

When Maggie noticed the coatrack inviting her to dance, she finally decided she’d been alone in the house too long. She had not slept well since Harold died. Nine months in a home empty of his presence had begun to play tricks with her senses. The cement of habits and routines, built over fifty years together, had started to crumble. Like stubborn blades of grass that reclaim abandoned highways, another self tugged from the shadows in the corners, from behind each frame.

For the rest of the story, visit Amarillo Bay… and boxes


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