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Maria de Lourdes

Victoria

I am a bilingual writer born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico, currently residing in the state of Washington. I write novels, short stories and children’s books. I wrote my first novel, Los Hijos Del Mar (The children of the sea) because I wanted my sons to know their ancestry and to be proud of their heritage. The story, set during the late nineteenth century in México and in Spain, is based on the lives of my ancestors, the Victorias, who made a name for themselves in México’s pharmaceutical industry, and the Muguiras, Spanish immigrants who found success cultivating and trading coffee seeds. The novel weaves both families’ sagas into a shared destiny and their intertwined tales becomes, finally, the love story of my parents. Click here to read a chapter of Los Hijos del Mar.

My second novel, Más allá de la Justicia (Beyond Justice) is a farewell to my former profession as a litigator. Through the first-person narrative of my three characters, I bring my reader into the harsh world of our criminal justice system, the complex lives of the accused, and the people who work, relentlessly, in the pursuit of justice. While the novel is not a memoir, my work as a public defender influenced my writing, and the process became therapy, allowing me to understand how the experience had shaped me. Click here to preview Mas Alla De La Justicia

A number of literary journals have published my short stories. The theme that seems to permeate my prose in that genre is the struggle that Latinos face in the United States. My characters are often working women trying to survive in a country that is not their own. The inspiration for the stories often comes from the people I try to help in my current work as a mediator.

I particularly enjoy writing for children. I find the process uplifting, and a good source of balance, especially when the substance of my adult work is often dark, and daunting. The more I explore and learn about this genre, the more it calls to me, especially when I am around my grandchildren, who are my best, and most devoted audience.

The stain on the carpet

Diego and his brother Santi

Diego and his brother Santi

By Diego Rodriguez - (12 years old)

The Phillips family lived in the United States. The members of the family were the father, John Phillips , the mother, Jennifer Phillips, young Matthew, his brother Peter and his sister Kristin. They lived in a very small town outside of San Francisco in a very nice home.

One day, the father learned that he had been transferred to Canada. The news saddened him for he did not want to move. He also did not want his children to find out, so he decided to tell only his wife Jennifer. As luck would have it, Matthew overheard his parent's conversation when he went to get a glass of milk. Upset, he ran to tell his his brother and sister.

The next day, the parents packed all the family belongings. The children wondered what was going on, but their parents told them they would explain everything to them in the car. On the way to the airport, John finally explained that he had been transferred to Canada but that they had nothing to worry about, because the company he worked for had promised him a beautiful, big house where they would surely be happy. As he finished his sentence, suddenly something crashed into the window of the car. Luckily it was only a small stone, but still the incident left them rattled.

They arrived at the airport and boarded the plane to Canada. Later they arrived at the house and, what a nice house it was! It had three large bedrooms, a spacious dining room, and a breakfast nook in the kitchen. There was also a large indoor, heated pool, and a beautiful garden. As they toured the house something drew their attention. It was the only flaw and it was a huge stain on the floor, on the carpet in the living room.

“No wonder my boss said the house would need to be cleaned,” said John.

The mother went to the neighbor's house and, after introducing herself, asked to borrow a little detergent because they still had not bought any supplies.

When the neighbor learned why she needed the soap, she immediately told Jennifer that it was rumored the previous family had been involved in a murder, and that the big stain on the carpet was probably blood. Jennifer became very concerned, and after realting the information to John, they decided it was best to call the police and not to wash the stain. They called the police numerous times but all in vain; the officers listened politely but they never came to the house to investigate.

Each member of the family made their own stories to explain the stain on the carpet. John believed that a group of gangsters had killed all the members of the family; Jennifer thought that only the mother had been killed; Matthew and Peter were sure that  someone had killed the family’s dog, and Kristin thought that the daughter of the family had committed suicide because nobody understood her.

The days went by and they continued to hear strange noises at night, but they told themselves that it was just the neighbors who always went to bed very late.

After a few days they could no longer stand it; they thought something was very wrong and they were tired of living with fear. Every time they walked by the living room, they had to step over the stain. The children had nightmares and could not sleep.

They went to the police station to file their complaint. They stood in a long line and when they finally talked to the police officer they told him everything that happened. They explained that there was a stain on the floor of his house and that it was rumored that there had been a murder, or so the neighbors had told them. The police said they would investigate. John asked him to go to the house so he could see the stain for himself.

The officer finally agreed to come by the house, but he said it with a tone of sarcasm. The family went back home. They sat in the living room near the spot, looked very intently and then everyone went about their business. Matthew and Peter talked all night but neither believed the police would come because of the sarcastic tone in the officer’s voice.

The next morning, Peter had breakfast very early and asked his mom when the police would came. Jennifer said she did not know and commented that the police had not been very responsive to the situation.

After a few days , the police finally sent a message saying that they would go to the house to see what happened with that mysterious stain in the Phillips’s house. When they arrived, they went straight to where the stain was, carrying a lot of equipment, like they do in the movies. They took samples and pictures of everything to run some tests, and informed the family that they would have to wait for the results of their investigation.

A day later the officer called John to tell him that they finally had an aswer to the mystery, but that he could not relate the information over the phone.

Early the next day the family went to the station. They were very nervous and had not slept thinking about the murder. They walked into a small room where the policeman told them they had the results of their investigation. The results showed that a married couple had lived in that house before them, with their two children, and that on a dark, winter afternoon, they had a big fight. During the fight the wife had through a big bowl of spaghetti ‘alla bolognese’ right at the husband's head. The great red spot on the carpet was…yes, spaghetti sauce!

About the author:

Diego was born on May 4, 2002 in the harbor. He is a Taurus. He is in sixth grade. Diego is a soccer player since age three. He enjoys music but prefers a good meal! He admires athletes such as Leonel Messi (soccer player), Usain Bolt (sprinter) and Rafael Nadal (tennis player). He adores his grandmother and he loves to travel. 

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The other Maria Victoria

It often happens that when we migrate to another country, our name gets changed. In my case, my name shrunk simply because the Anglosaxon tongue would cramp whenever it tried to pronounce Lourdes. Of course, that was before Madonna baptized her own daughter with the name, and Lourdes became a fashionable girls’ name. I share all this to explain how it was that I ended up with a name a did not deserve, the name of the famous Mexican actress and singer, Maria Victoria.

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My novels are not for free

Give away your stories for free, suggests the book marketing "expert.”

He insists that if I follow his advice, readers will immediately download my novels on their reading tablets and that once they read me, they will be so enamored with my pen that they will buy everything else I publish from here on out.  His logic reminds me a little of the slogan for Lay’s Potato Chips, where “you can’t eat just one.”

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No gifts from the Wise Men

No gifts from the Wise Men
(A chapter from the novel Los Hijos del Mar)

The Wise Men came and went without leaving me any gifts. Under the dry, Christmas tree that our great-aunts, Josefa and Toña, decorated with paper chains and strings of stale popcorn, we find only the presents for my sisters, Noris and Pili, but nothing for me. The gifts that should have been mine, which the aunties swear they saw at midnight when they got up to pee, are missing. My aunts look everywhere – under the sofa and the bed, in the guest room and even inside the trunk where they keep stuff they never use – and still they find nothing. They are just not good at finding anything, gifts or husbands, which is why they never got married.

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A year ends and another year begins

In my country it is customary to burn "El viejo” (The Old Year) in a celebration called “la quemada del viejo” (the burning of the old man). In this tradition the “old year” is represented by a giant puppet made with old clothes, cardboard or paper which is stuffed with straw or sawdust, sometimes with fireworks and then burned in public at the twelfth hour on December 31st. The dolls are usually replicas of political figures or themes that represent the evil the community wants to be rid of, and consumed by the flames, along with “El Viejo”.

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A Christmast gift

Don’t give up, hija!

It was the fourth time I tried to take my father’s blood pressure and I still could not hear the beating of his heart, which grew weaker as the days went by. My father was dying. Every inch of his body ached. The last thing I wanted to do was to hurt him. And though he tried valiantly to disguise it, I knew that each time I squeezed the bulb of that apparatus and the cuff inflated, he felt pain.

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A post-Halloween story

I realize that Halloween is over, but this post is in anticipation of Thanksgiving.

The Friday after Halloween we went to a café with our family for breakfast. My grandson, Manny, was thoroughly enjoying his pancakes (as if he didn’t get enough candy the night before) and our baby, Oliver, was trying his brand new teeth on a pear. We had a very friendly waitress who kept coming around with the pot of coffee even though our cups were full.  I could tell she wanted some smiles from our beautiful boys. When we were getting ready to leave she shared this story:

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A Day of the Dead little Angel

In a beautiful town in California resides a large community of people from Oaxaca, which is why the Day of the Dead is much celebrated.

Last year, I was fortunate to be in that town during that holiday. Someone told me about the events that the Culture and Art Center organized in collaboration with the Oaxacan community. I quickly got their schedule, and I registered to participate in one of their art workshops with my grandson, Lucas. The description of the class specified that the participants would be making Catrinas. I could already see Lucas, the artist, creating a beautiful skeleton with a feathered hat.

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Autumn Walks

Yesterday I took a break from writing and I went out for a hike with my friend and my dog. The fall around here is SO beautiful, that it is almost a sin not to be outside. I love the smell of pinecones and hearths burning somewhere near by; the trees bursting with bright shades of yellows, reds, oranges and greens; the mountain peaks capped with snow and the air as crisp as a Fuji apple.

 

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