Fiction Fest: A sneak peek at Marcia Mickelson’s ‘The Huaca’

Huaca 2x3Sweetwater Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, author Marcia Mickelson teaches third grade by day, but by night, she morphs into a multi-published writer whose newest book, “The Huaca,” hits book stores on May 14.

The book is inspired by Incan mythology and is the story of Ellie Cummings who wants to find out about her mom’s murder. Ellie turns to Gabe, the high school weirdo, who claims he can communicate with her deceased mother. Gabe possesses an ancient Incan artifact, called a huaca, that might hold the key to discovering the truth, which Ellie finds might be better kept a secret.

Although the book won’t be released until next week, you can pre-order it on, and

Mickelson’s previously published novels include “Pickup Games,” “Reasonable Doubt“ and “Star Shining Brightly.”


“Friends stick together. That’s what I’m trying to say. I just don’t know if you get that.”

Her devotion to Bradley seemed to override any loyalty that near lifelong friends would have. With her last statement, she walked away. How had it come to this point when seven-year-old Sarah and Ellie had been inseparable? Peas from two different pods, but always together.

As I watched her walk away, her perfectly straight black hair splayed down her back, moving only when she wanted it to, I felt like I did that day she’d left me behind in the three foot section of the pool””all alone, out of my element, and unsure what to do without her presence.

Sarah always had a confidence I lacked. It’s what compelled her to jump off the high dive when she was six, swimming a perfect breastroke to the shallow end where I predictably was. I would stay in the three feet, pinching my nose as I tentatively slid my face into the water. Sometimes, I would follow Sarah to the deep end, one hand gripping the edge, the whole way into the ten feet and the whole way back. It’s how I lived: holding onto the side as I watched Sarah dominate the center. Her confidence and complete control of the elements around her fascinated me. They are what induced me to follow her, hoping in the process that I would gain a semblance of that confidence, that control.

When we were nine, I finally laid my fears aside enough to let Sarah walk with me to the edge of the diving board. She jumped in first and waited for me below, swimming to me as I flailed my arms after surfacing from the jump. She grabbed my arm and helped me swim to the side. As I clutched the edge, I felt both the shock of hitting the water and the exhilaration that I’d accomplished a Sarah-like feat.

It was through my friendship with Sarah that I’d gained enough confidence in subsequent years to ride the train into the city without parents, to get my ears pierced, to kiss Joey Peters behind the gym when I was twelve. But all of those successes and accomplishments seemed inconsequential now as she walked away from me to find her next high dive while I remained behind in the shallow end.