I typically write westerns both contemporary and historical, with a paranormal twist tossed in sometimes. My latest writing adventure is an action adventure with romantic elements that came about while riding back and forth to a writers retreat. My friend Julie who writes suspense with romantic elements and I were hashing over some books we’d read and I commented on how I was disappointed in a book touted to have a female Indiana Jones. I’d read the book with expectations that the book would be set outside the U.S. only to find a chapter in the beginning and one at the end were set outside the United States. And I hadn’t found the action all that adventuresome.
This is the discussion between Julie and I.
Julie: Why don’t you write one?
Me: I can’t write action adventure and I’ve worked hard at branding myself. I write western or Native American.
Julie: So make the heroine have something to do with Native American studies.
Me: I guess that would work. (here my brain started kicking into overdrive)
Julie: Where would you set this story?
Me: South or Central America.
Me: I could use the heroine’s studies of Native American Indians as her reason for traveling to countries with drug problems.
Me: Because the hero would be with the DEA
And that is how Secrets of a Mayan Moon became a kernel of an idea in my head and is now the first of a three book series about Doctor Isabella Mumphrey a woman with a genius IQ who finished her doctorate in anthropology at the age of twenty-two. She is passionate about her studies because she feels the quarter Hopi blood in her veins is pushing her to discover all she can about the people who inhabited the Americas before it was discovered by Europeans.
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.
She deposited her backpack on the floor at her feet. The horn handle of a twelve inch Guatemalan blade protruded from the side pocket. Tino’s curiosity spiked another notch.
“I have a reservation. Dr. Isabella Mumphrey.”
Tino snapped the paper down and stared even harder at the woman. This was the frumpy, old anthropologist he was to guide? His gaze scanned the length of her one more time while tuning in the conversation.
“Ahh, Dr. Mumphrey, Dr. Martin said you were to get the finest room, no?” The clerk acted like a simpering fool giving the doctor her key and expounding on all the wonders of the hotel.
“Gracias. May I borrow a paper and pencil? I need to make a list for the taxi driver.”
The clerk handed her the items. She stepped to the side of the counter and began writing.
Why would she make a list for a taxi driver? Curious, Tino folded the paper and strolled to a spot beside her. So intent on her list, she didn’t even acknowledge his presence as he leaned, reading the items. Army knife, candle, braided fishing line, hooks, swivels, 24 gauge snare wire…
“You are planning a trip into the jungle, no?”
She started at his voice. Deep green eyes rimmed in gold stared at him from behind wire-rimmed lenses. She blinked, focused on him, and narrowed her eyes.
“Didn’t your mother teach you manners? You don’t look over people’s shoulders to see what they’re doing.” She picked up her list and held it to her damp shirt.
“Mi mamá did teach me manners, no? I am Tino Kosta, your guide to the dig at Ch’ujuña.” He held out his hand waiting for her to shake.
Her gaze traveled from his extended hand up his arm to his face. She squinted her eyes and glared at him.
“You’re not of Mesoamerican descent, so you can’t possibly be my guide. Are you in cahoots with the disgusting little man who stole my property?” She bent toward her backpack, giving him a good view down the front of her blouse.
Si, she didn’t wear a bra. The nipples peaking through her clingy shirt sat atop a palm-sized mound. Now, being a man who liked his hands filled to overflowing when it came to handling a woman—
“¡Carajo!” The pointed end of the large knife that had been tucked in the doctor’s backpack waved inches from his nose. “What is this about?” A woman who ran around without undergarments shouldn’t be offended by a man viewing her body.