NOVELS (Out of Xibalba)


(pronounced shi-bal-ba)


A time travel/romance/alternate history story that pits Michelle Balam, a contemporary 16-year-old girl from Ohio, against the most powerful men of the waning days of the Mayan Empire.

December 21, 2012: According to Mayan legend, the human age is scheduled to end today.

That's all Michelle Balam hears as the Belizean tour guide paddles their canoe out of the solstice sun and into the mysterious, dark river cave system. The Earth trembles. The cave crumbles. Michelle is thrown back in time, away from everything she knows and everyone she loves, into an ancient world of palace politics, bloody warfare, and human sacrifice.

Men Ch'o, second son of the ruler of a small Mayan city-state, has always stood in the shadow of his elder brother, but the unexpected arrival of the goddess Ix Chel in human form will move the fulcrum of power and upset the precarious balance of his life.

Their story starts when the world ends, and it just might change everything.

Average 4.9* ratings on Amazon and 4.2* on Goodreads.

What the reviewers are saying......

Flamingnet reviews 9 out of 10
JMossum - student reviewer

This book was really, really good. When you're reading this book you feel like you are Chel. You feel her pain, her joy, and her longing for her family. The plot is slippery: it twists and turns and you never can really tell what the plot is until you've finished the book. Then everything makes sense. Some of the customs in this book seemed rather barbaric to me, such as the blood sacrifices, but that was a very big part of Mayan belief, so unless you're squeamish it isn't much of a problem. I'd recommend this book to just about anyone over 13 who likes historical fiction.

Goodreads reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Heidi Miller  - co-editor of Many Genres, One Craft, author of Ambassadora

Coley's lush setting and attention to historical detail is rivaled only by the struggles and triumphs of Chel and Men Ch'o. Their romance not only spans the ages, but will change the world forever. A must read for those who love a little romance with their adventure.

Wow! Liz Coley can write a love story, even when it's set hundreds of years ago among the ancient Maya. Michelle (Chel), a teenager from our world, ends up in the land of her ancestors after an earthquake strikes at the exact time the Mayan calendar runs out. 

Adjusting to a new life so far from home in both time and space would be unimaginably heart-breaking if not for Men Ch'o, a scholarly son of a Mayan king, who will one day rule his people--but not without the love and guidance from a beautiful girl from the future who he thinks is a goddess in more ways than one.

Amazon reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Love and the Mayan Underworld
By JJ Miller - Author of the Murder Ballads and Whisky series

When Chels' world ends with the Mayan calendar running out in 2012, she could never know it is about to begin again centuries earlier. Part time travel romance, part alternate history, Out of Xibalba bleeds with authenticity, paying homage to a brutal but beautiful culture which still inspires awe after so many centuries. And the love story pulls your heart out through your chest. 

Coley provides a smart, thought-provoking YA novel which offers just as much for adults.

Amazon reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Just an Amazing Read
By D. Pease "D. Robert Pease" - Author of NOAH ZARC: MAMMOTH TROUBLE
Wow! I've had a good run of books lately, and this one is no exception. It just blew me away. I've been trying to think of the right words to describe how I felt after reading Out of Xibalba and I'm struggling. It was just one of those books that was so rich and so detailed, I was completely immersed in the world. The author did a fantastic job of painting a picture of life in the ancient Mayan culture, but not in an academic way. I could see the colors, taste the food, hear the stamping of feet as they danced. This is not a superficial, boy meets girl story. An amazing read all the way through. My only complaint was it was too short. It screams for a sequel, and if the author is not hard at work on one right now, I will be very disappointed.

Amazon reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars
This One Will Stay With You Long After You Turn The Last Page
By Melody Hubbard - Librarian

What would you do if you woke up and found yourself in a Mayan city-state in 849 A.D.? Alone, in another time and in a completely foreign culture, would you be able to adjust? Fifteen-year-old Michelle finds herself in this dilemma while on vacation with her family in Belize. Well written and meticulously researched, Out of Xibalba is a wonderful read that stays with you long after you turn the last page. Liz Coley's novel gave me a first-hand impression of what life was like in 9th-century Mayan society. Filled with adventure and romance, Coley's novel also made me think about the choices we make, our ability to adapt to new and/or difficult circumstances and the progression of human development and innovation. Highly recommended.

Amazon reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent young adult to adult story, full of adventure and passion
By Gary Wedlund  - Author of The Shaman Within

What a wonderful journey for our young Lady Chel. Liz Coley causes us to quickly appreciate her and her family. The small differences between Chel and her sister seem amplified through the teenaged mind, consistent with how siblings view each other. Liz does this identification without feeling trite or slowing the pace even a smidgeon, and then bang, we're at another place and time entirely. 

This repositioning of story, to an ancient American place and time rarely visited by authors, is as fresh and real as Chel's current world, showing a double dose of vision. I loved the way the main character struggled then adapted, as if she were meant for what befell her. What follows is a magical love affair, history come alive, and a sense of duty that transcends ninety percent of all novels. 

I found the entire read pure pleasure, front to back. I became unable to put it down for two days straight. 
The writing, the characterization, the plot and the resolutions are excellent. This is a story that is fresh and rare. The POV style is different, but brilliantly handled. 
While geared toward teens, I found it very enjoyable. I'm a good half century past, and the wrong sex, to be called the target market, but hey, it moved me. I put my reputation on, and recommend this, to all who enjoy a good read, regardless of the genre you usually indulge.