Letters From the Maya
Margaret, Thank you for having me here today!
This post is part of a two week blog tour. I will be giving away a $5 egift card to a commenter at each blog stop and will give a bag full of goodies to the person who follows me to the most blogs and a gift to the host who gets the most commenters. You can find the blog tour hosts at my blog: http://www.patyjager.blogspot.com or my website: http://www.patyjager.net
The Maya were a people with as great a civilization as Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and China. They started as villagers, learned to be agriculturists, and eventually became a great civilization. What helped propel them to this greatness was the ability to record their history and decipher the world and heavens around them.
They believed highly in the past and religion. These were depicted in their writings both on stone and on tablets. All great events in the lives of their rulers were recorded on public monuments. Almost like the insatiable voyeurism of today where we flock to read papers about entertainers and high profile people, the Maya seemed just as interested in rulers’ wives and courtiers.
This interest and skilled craftsmen are the reason we now know so much about the Maya people. Since uncovering the temples and shrines of the Maya, we have spent decades deciphering and understanding their symbols so the world can better understand them and learn of a past that they proudly displayed for all to see.
It is this fascination with the Maya hieroglyphs that I gave my heroine, Doctor Isabella Mumphrey in my book Secrets of a Mayan Moon. Her insatiable desire to learn all she can about the people of North, Central, and South America and her near photographic memory makes her a specialist in the Maya symbols and statues. Making her the perfect patsy for two greedy men to prey on.
Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job at the university. In the world of publish or perish, her mentor’s request for her assistance on a dig is just the opportunity she’s been seeking. If she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can—she’ll keep her department. She heads to Guatemala, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.
DEA agent Tino Kosta, is out to avenge the deaths of his family. He’s deep undercover as a jaguar tracker and sometimes jungle guide, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.
There they were. The symbols she’d tried to figure out the other day. They represented the name of a woman. She stared across the compound, unseeing. The woman who was sacrificed. Isabella’s stomach churned. The sacrifice of the virgin made the moon god cry. What about this particular woman left sorrow rather than hope? For the sacrifices were gifts to the gods to bring good weather and crops.
Sadness for this woman wrapped around her heart. Clutching the book to her chest, Isabella returned to her tent and lay down. She needed to sleep. That had to be why this information caused her so much grief. She was tired.
But sleep eluded her. Her mind spun with the drawings, the sadness, and restlessness. Finally, unable to shake the images and unease, Isabella rose, crossed the compound, and entered the dig site. Something compelled her to read the glyphs and look at the carvings in the altar chamber once more.
The workers glanced up as she entered. Virgil eyed her and then the book clutched in her arms.
“What are you doing?” he asked, stepping forward.
“I need to see the carvings on the wall in the other chamber.” Without missing a step, she continued into the chamber. Virgil’s footsteps echoed behind her. Isabella placed the book, open to the pages she had read, on the sacrificial altar. She stepped to her left and studied the drawings on the wall with more interest than on the day before.
The story made more sense after connecting the urn, the glyphs she didn’t know, and then this artwork. It played out in her head as if she stood watching the event.
“What are you finding?” Virgil stood next to her.
Her skin grew cold and her heart raced with fear. He means you harm. He brings evil. A voice in her head warned. The voice and her reactions to Virgil were illogical, but her intelligence knew there were some things that couldn’t be explained. Like her drive to learn all she could about the native people of the Americas.
The urgent voice felt more a friend than Virgil at this moment. She shook her head. “Nothing. I thought I’d found something that connected, made sense of the stone and glyphs. I-I was wrong.”
His eyebrows rose and he stared at her. Doubt shimmered in his eyes. He didn’t believe her. And why should he? She walked in here—the dampness of her clothes registered as her mind divorced itself from the story. She’d walked into the dig wet from rain pouring outside. Rain she hadn’t even noticed until now. She’d been in a trance, induced by her knowledge that the pieces put together would give her answers.
A worker stuck his head into the chamber. “Señor, we leave for dinner.”old chilled her back. Her mind numbed as fear and regret entered her chest.
What did it feel like to be placed upon this stone and know that you would never see another day or embrace love?
Virgil waved him away and took another step toward her. Instinct moved her feet back. His eyes widened then cloaked.
“Are you coming to dinner?” The tone wasn’t an invitation but more an accusation.
“No, I had a late lunch and want to remain here a while longer to see if I didn’t overlook something.” She didn’t really want to stay here alone, but she also didn’t want to be with Virgil. The whole trance-like episode, the voice, and her unease with a family friend left her unsure of anything at the moment. Least of all acting normal.
“If you tell me what you’re looking for, I could help. We are in this together.”
“That’s the crux. I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I’ll know it when I see it.” She offered a weak smile. “I think?”
Virgil studied her a moment longer then pivoted on his heel and left the chamber.
His departure lessened the tension in her shoulders and lightened the air. She walked over to the altar and ran her hands over the polished stone. C
Wife, mother, grandmother, and the one who cleans pens and delivers the hay; award winning author Paty Jager and her husband currently ranch 350 acres when not dashing around visiting their children and grandchildren. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
Her contemporary Western, Perfectly Good Nanny won the 2008 Eppie for Best Contemporary Romance, Spirit of the Mountain, a historical paranormal set among the Nez Perce, garnered 1st place in the paranormal category of the Lories Best Published Book Contest, and Spirit of the Lake, the second book of the spirit trilogy, was a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.