A desert village is under attack, and SuSaan can only
watch. One of the flat nosed attackers knocks her aside
as he torches another wickiup. It explodes into flame,
and SuSaan bolts awake. Was it just a dream?
The Kwaaymii shaman knows. For SuSaan's
mother died a year ago, and living in that shadow has
worn on SuSaan. She has been given a vision. She has
In council, the Kwaaymii interpret the vision. Their
desert cousins, the Haawii, will soon be attacked and
they need to send a warning message---the Flat-Nosed
SuSaan stands to volunteer. It's her vision; it's her
responsibility---she has to save the Haawii. But her
father disagrees. SuSaan is young, inexperienced, and
he's already lost his wife, SuSaan's mother, to the
Flat-Nosed. Yet the vision burns hot within SuSaan,
and she hears its call to help the Haawii. She refuses her
father's counsel---and in doing so, she invites
consequences she could not foresee.
Swift Foot, an experienced runner, accompanies
SuSaan. They traverse a dangerous path, for the threat
of the Flat-Nosed is about them---waiting to waylay any
unsuspecting travellers. Carelessly, Swift Foot charges
headlong into an ambush.
The Flat-Nosed pursue SuSaan to the edge of the
Haawii village. There, she seeks council, but discovers
she has lost the implements that offer the proof of her
message. Alone, she faces the Haawii council. Alone
she is their only hope, for the Flat-Nosed are coming.
With cautious words, SuSaan convinces the Haawii to
Yet this is only half the task. Swift Foot has been
captured and imprisoned.
With aid, SuSaan crosses the desert to the
Flat-Nosed camp, and soon discovers two prisoners. To
her surprise, there, bound to Swift Foot, sits her father.
His presence brings back all that has weighed on SuSaan
over the past year: life in the footsteps of her dead
mother, frustration with her own people, and the need to
carve her own path in life.
Yes, SuSaan has been chosen for a reason. For
there, in the Flat-Nosed camp, SuSaan faces her
enemies. One makes its stronghold in the desert; the
other makes its stronghold within SuSaan's very heart.
It is these enemies that she grapples with as she struggles
to save Swift Foot and her father. A struggle that she
may well lose, for the shadow of the Flat-Nosed---and
the shadow that hangs over her very soul---is a black and
All my life, I've been enthralled with the peoples who lived in
North America before Europeans came. I always sought to learn
about the kind of life the lived before their
very history was interrupted by the insurgents from across the
Atlantic. To my dismay, I discovered early on how few books actually
discuss Native American life in pre-Columbus times---especially in
terms of fiction, my favorite genre. This lack served to motivate me as
I nurtured my dream to become an author.
In writing Desert Wind,
I blended my interest in Native American culture with my direct
experiences with the Kwaaymii people (now known as the Laguna Band
of Mission Indians) and my travels through the desert and mountains
which they called home.
My understanding of the Kwaaymii people formed out of my
friendship with Steven T. Lucas, a Kwaaymii himself. Over the years, he taught me
many things about his people, their beliefs, and their culture. It was
even my honor to attend the Karuk ceremony for his grandfather, Tom
Lucas, the last full-blooded Kwaaymii. In many ways, it was Tom
Lucas' efforts to preserve his culture which allowed me the opportunity
to learn about the Kwaaymii heritage from his grandson, as well as
through interviews he gave later in life.
Steven T. Lucas was also kind enough to serve as technical consultant
for Desert Wind, checking for both cultural and historical accuracy.
As a Southern California native, I have lived in the San Diego area for
the past twenty years. I completed both my graduate work in Computer
Science at the University of California, San Diego, as well as my
undergraduate studies there in Computer Science and Literature. During
the past year, I've been fortunate enough to apply both disciplines,
dividing my time between working as a Systems Engineer and writing