First installment – The Curse of the Jade Amulet: Chapter One

The young girl’s eyes were squeezed shut and her slight figure trembled as she knelt on the ledge overhanging the Sacred Cenote, the stone well of sacrifice whose opaque waters had filled her dreams since the High Priest had spoken to her father. A heartbeat away the ledge ended in a sheer sixty-foot drop to the dim green surface of the water.

She opened her eyes just enough to see the priest towering over her. His headdress of sweeping bright-blue quetzal feathers stood out against the pale brilliance of the full moon. Chanting, he extended his right arm heavenward. She squinted at the semicircle of figures in the darkness around her. Where was her mother?

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Book Launch! The Curse of the Jade Amulet

Those of you who know me know I’m a writer. Last Saturday was a momentous day for me! I finally took the plunge and published my novel, The Curse of the Jade Amulet, on Smashwords. I can’t recommend Smashwords enough to those of you who are considering self-publishing. The step-by-step instructions are so easy to follow (especially the Style Guide), that even a cyber-moron like me was able to proceed from start to finish with a minimum of frustration. Using an automated process called the “Meatgrinder,” Smashwords formats your manuscript so that it will be readable on many different e-reading devices (Barnes and Noble Nook, the Kindle, the Sony e-reader, PDF, etc.). I also published it on Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing), which wasn’t nearly as user-friendly as Smashwords. Which should be an indication of just HOW user-friendly Smashwords is, since Amazon’s notoriously easy to deal with!

Now, gentle readers, before you all rush out to buy my book ; ), let me tell you that as of right now, it’s only available at and Amazon. In other words, you won’t find it at Barnes and Noble, Borders or any of the other on-line retail sites. That’s because it takes Smashwords a week or two to distribute it to the different retailers. But you can certainly buy it directly on Smashwords, or on Amazon, of course, if you are so inclined–I’d be very appreciative!

Enough shop talk. My other purpose in this post is to launch the section of Magic and the Muse called “My Writing.” Following in the footsteps of Charles Dickens, I’ll be serializing my books and other writings there, a chapter at a time. I’ll begin with The Curse of the Jade Amulet. Here’s the blurb, so you know a bit about what you’re getting into. In case you arrive late to the game, previous installments can always be seen on the “My Writing” page of this blog. Enjoy, and it goes without saying, I’d love to hear your feedback, positive or negative!

 The Curse of the Jade Amulet

When 20-year-old Mayan history buff Nic Porter gets the opportunity to live and study with a host family at Chichen Itza, Mexico, he never imagines he’ll find himself drawn into a drama involving a mysterious jade amulet that’s been in the family for centuries, a long-ago human sacrifice and an age-old curse that threatens the life of beautiful Itzel, his host’s daughter and Nic’s new love. The amulet’s powerful magic transports Nic to the time of the ancient Mayas, where he soon discovers the jade intends to use him to fulfill its own sinister purpose. Can Nic stand by and see an innocent girl sacrificed if that’s what it takes to save Itzel?