Building Projects

Building Projects

Everything’s built up. That’s what we noticed most as we left the palafito (cottage-on-stilts) where we’d lodged in Castro and headed for the village of Rilán. The landscape of the Chiloé Islands features many examples of architectural creativity, but today the road was lined with building projects. For starters, we could have arrived at the…

Home Sweet Palafito

Home Sweet Palafito

One of the most iconic scenes in southern Chile’s Chiloé Islands must surely be the alley of palafitos, picturesque houses built on weatherworn posts, that rises from a tidal flat to the right of the highway as you drive into the provincial capital of Castro. After lunch on the first afternoon of our anniversary trip…

Back to Chiloé

Back to Chiloé

Have you read Destiny at Dolphin Bay yet? Though sales mean a lot, I’d love even more to connect with readers who love my books and story “universe” as much as I do. So today I’m launching us on a virtual trip to Chile’s southern islands. Like the character Melissa Travis from Desert Island Diaries,…

The Treasures of Travel

The Treasures of Travel

My husband and I were hiking along a colorful waterfront street in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, spotting the differences and similarities to Punta Arenas, Chile. That last small city in South America, overlooking the Strait of Magellan, is one of our remaining bucket list trips, but we imagined it couldn’t be more unlike this tropical town…

Life, Love, and Where I Wrote

Life, Love, and Where I Wrote

Sometime in the past decade, the Sahne Nuss tin pictured above came home with me in a green-and-white shopping bag from our Jumbo supermarket in Santiago. Everybody, myself included, loves classic Sahne Nuss milk-chocolate-and-almond bars, but mostly I fell in love with the image on the lid. It perfectly pictures our life in the Chiloé…

Uncovering the Cover

Uncovering the Cover

As you scroll down a few paragraphs, you’ll see the cover for Destiny at Dolphin Bay revealed. This first book of mine, written during our last year in Chile’s Chiloé Islands, has had almost as many trial tapas as opening chapters. But today we’re unveiling the final cover. The design you find here combines many…

Desperate for… Love

Desperate for… Love

During a recent exercise in finding writing topics, I was challenged to type “Desperate for…” into my Google browser. You want to know what I discovered? People are desperate for attention, approval, and affluence (usually they call that last one “money” or “a loan.”) Women are desperate for a miracle, a man, a baby, or…

The Fear of Change

The Fear of Change

Reading through Dr. Bernardo Quintana’s mythology treatise, Chiloé Mitológico, I’m struck once again by the background motivation of fear in so many of the rites and rituals, tall tales and strictly-timed tasks. Fear of the spirits and the sickness they cause. Terror of darkness and death and the dead, as manifested in the story of…

The Great Shapeshifter

The Great Shapeshifter

The name of the Chiloé Islands’ legendary ghost ship, the Caleuche, literally means “shapeshifter.” It derives from the Huilliche words, caleutún, meaning “to change condition,” and che, “people.” Possibly chosen because of the ship’s many transformations, the name could also refer to the changes in its crew from dead to alive, from torment to bliss,…

Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

In my daughter’s recent graduation photos, I see her pose with friends and classmates from around the world—a vast and fascinating variety of colors and cultures, ethnicities and languages. As a holder of triple citizenship, she barely notices but instead integrates the differences into her multiverse. Amazingly, she’s never seemed to suffer from an identity…