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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.

Lucky 13

I don't know about you, but I am thrilled that the world did not end as predicted. In fact, I am still celebrating, quietly, of course, for well-educated people are not supposed to be superstitious. Well, now you know it, the nuns did their best to enlighten me, but here I am.

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On December 21st, I thought that the Mayan's prophecy was happening, and that were all embarking in our next adventure. I was in California with my grandchildren, for the holidays, when suddenly, in the middle of the night, around 2:00 am, a wild hailstorm unleashed, with thunder and lightening, similar to those that often assault my beloved port of Veracruz. Giant sized hail, larger than the lemons that grow in that part of California, bombarded the roof, shaking the whole house with each and every pelt. Between Hail Marys and Heavenly Fathers, I lashed at myself for not keeping my 2012 resolutions. What a lack of discipline, I thought, burying my shameful head under the covers. And it was such a small list of resolutions. Still I blew it!

In case you care to read it, here is the link to the blog I wrote about it.

For 2012 I was supposed to:

1. Seek God with renewed effort 2. Spend more time with my loved ones 3. Appreciate and share the abundance I enjoy 4. Become a better writer by writing

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Let us be out with it: I failed miserably at my first resolution. If I remember correctly (and lately I don't remember anything) I went to Mass only during the first two months. The rest of the year, I found countless excuses not to go; the closet needed to be organized, emails needed to be replied to, there was shopping to do, bills to pay, classes to teach, chapters to edit, and anything else that came along. Especially that: everything else that came along. Today I am pretty sure that the problem was my erroenous belief that I would find God in His own home. From the sermon of Father Pietramonico on December 24th, (yes- I did go to mass on Christmas Eve), I learned that God does not necessarily hang out at church either. The priest assured us, with an Al Capone accent, that God is in every one of us and as such, we should seek Him in our kin. So there you have it. My first resolution for 2013 is to seek God everywhere; seek Him in you, and in every person on the street. Polite request: do not hide him from me.

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I am happy to say that I thoroughly complied with my second resolution. I spent as much time as I could with my loved ones. Here are some of the special times we shared together: my son's graduation from Georgetown (the one in the Navy) the visit of my family from Veracruz, the unforgettable trip to New York with my sisters, the petite family reunion during Thanksgiving, and the trip to Veracruz to see my elderly parents and to present my second novel. But without a doubt, the best, most memorable occasion, was the birth of my first granddaughter Josie, princess among brothers and boy cousins.

So much to be grateful for!

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I am convinced that my third resolution will find its way to my annual list, year after year, until the second coming. The thing of it is I am so blessed and yet I complain ad nauseum. Please accept my deep apologies, especially those of all of you who constantly put up with me. You see, to be able to appreciate abundance one must (1) realize how much we have in excess and (2) resolve to live with less. I know I am over the "acquisition phase". Material things weigh heavily on me. Today, the only load I want to carry is the weight of my little grandchildren. Everything else is a burden I no longer desire. This is why in 2012 I sold my house, my furniture, my old bike, my novels (ok, I tried to sell my novels), my clothes. even my favorite jarocha dress from Tlacotalpan! What I didn't sell, I gave away. Yesterday, my good friend sent a picture of my ex-chair in her living room. It looks really nice in her home . My sister is happy with my seashell earrings. Even my mother-in-law got lucky; I gave her the canvas she had always admired. At Christmas I gave each of my wonderful, adult sons a box full of their childhood memorabilia. I kept only their growing-up pictures and the love letters they used to write to me for Valentines, and Mother's Day until that fatal day when their hormones kicked in, and they became a pair of hairy, smelly, annoying adolescents. Now they have their own families. Now they are deep in their "acquisition phase". So yes, I gave it all away and to the new, much smaller (but charming) house, I am taking only the essentials: 15 boxes in total, 10 with my Spanish book collection; one with all my working tools - my computer and its electronic paraphernalia. A second polite request: the day of my "transition", kindly throw that box inside my coffin.

maria old website

And for my last resolution, well, I don't know if my writing got any better, but I am pleased with all that I learned (and shared) in trying. I decided, first and foremost, to get up to date with technology. My son helped me get my new website up and running, and a wonderful girl helped me start this blog. I got Facebook and Twitter accounts and uploaded two e-books to Amazon. My favorite editor, my older sister, helped me publish several short stories in literary magazines. My niece collaborated with me on a children's book, which will be published soon. I got a literary agent and a PR and Marketing guru, Patricia, who I happily recommend. With her help, we organized readings of my second novel in Veracruz, San Francisco, the University of Washington, Seattle Library and other places. At the end, my novel received two honorary mentions at the International Latino Book Awards. I am satisfied, and I am also grateful for the opportunity to share all I know through literary workshops. I was part of the faculty at Centrum, and Hedgebrook. Best of all, I continue to enjoy my phenomenal group of writing students, teaching them a variety of subjects, and watching them perfect their craft. But the best part this adventure was, without a doubt, the unforgettable trip to The Big Apple. You can read about it here.

Maybe out of habit, or maybe because I like to torture myself, I can't let go of January, the month of my birth, without setting new goals and resolutions. So this is what I have in mind for 2013.

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Melpomene and Polyhymnia, Palace of the Fine Arts, Mexico. Photo by Alberto Real

Workshops, writers' retreats, virtual exchanges, publishing information, grant opportunities, tips and book recommendations,. the list goes on, and on. The master plan, with all the details, will be published in my next newsletter. If you wish to receive it click here. As a sneak preview, know that 2013 has officially been declared The Year of the Muse. Our theme? The Muse in Me.

As far as the New Year resolutions, they look like this:

1. Seek God (and The Muse) in the streets, and in every one of you 2. Enjoy life with my loved ones 3. Get even smaller, so small, that all that is left of me are my words 4. Write more and publish (no excuse) the third novel

I am grateful to each and every one of you for all the love, the emails, calls, comments on my blog, Facebook and twitter, Invitations to readings, workshops and advice. Your company inspires the Muse in Me!

I wish you all a New Year full of health, love, and success in every single endeavor and your life.

May the Muse be With You,

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© 2013 Maria de Lourdes Victoria. All Rights Reserved.