As I write these words, golden tears of happiness roll down my cheeks. First, the fabulous event at Shades and Shadows, this March 19, and now I just received confirmation that I have been selected as a panelist for the LA Times Festival of Books!

Fiction: A Touch of Modern Horror
Sunday, April 10, 2016 at 1:30:00 PM in Seeley G. Mudd 124

“It’s a great honor,” I say aloud, despite being alone at my home office. As a writer, I often talk to the walls or to the pots in the kitchen. “I am incredibly happy,” I continue, while I clean some dripping snot off my nose with my sleeve, “and I humbly thank the goddess, as well as the people at Rare Bird Books, especially Julia, my dearest child, for pulling the invisible strings of fate and make sure my efforts were rewarded.”

The walls remain silent. “Why, some Mexican rural trash like me,” I laugh, “at USC, of all places, signing books and answering questions from the public!”

Was it because of my fabulous writing? The graphic descriptions of the witches’ Sabbath? The multiple beheadings? The magic of Venice in the 1950s? The Beatniks? Josie’s indecent behavior at the Gas House Cafe in chapter 16? Chi lo sa!

Venice_1953
The Venice canals in 1953 

 

I can’t bare it anymore. Too much happiness!  It’s like hearing the first chords of the Downton Abbey theme. I leave my office and run through the long hall of our fabulous top-floor apartment in Santa Monica, not even a mile south of Montana. My vaporous silk robe with a mink collar that Terry brought me from Paris so I could pretend to be Barbara Cartland elevates as if it were the wings of an angel. I open the doors to the balcony, step out, and yell to the horrid children playing at Virginia Avenue Park: “I’ll be at USC!”

The children don’t reply. They continue their games, incognizant of my happiness, running, jumping, and screaming, just like they normally do, just as if somebody were chasing them with an ax, or had cut them open and were rolling out their intestines, as it happened to Saint Erasmus. For once, I don’t wish on them a similar fate. I am as happy as they are. We’re one, in unity.

“I’ll be a panelist at the LA Times Festival of Books,” I laugh.

 

The first person I call is my dealer. We share so much!

Then I send a text message to my beautiful husband Terry. What’s your credit card’s CVV code?

“I’ll be sharing the panel with Paul Tremblay and Brian Evenson,” I explain, after Terry calls, alarmed, two minutes later, “two very successful writers of horror, both with a long list of books published and many awards received. I cannot compare! Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle is a fabulous work of art, full of intrigue and gratuitous violence, but it’s only my second novel. Therefore, I need a new wardrobe, and Ted Baker has a sale!”

Then I undress and spend an hour watching myself in the mirror, pinching my fat and wondering whether or not to get botox.

Every birthday (twenty-nine to date) I have the opportunity to ask for a wish. I’ve been tempted to ask for world peace or an end to child hunger, but it’s only one wish a year, so I always ask for fame and fortune. Now I finally see fame and fortune coming along. March 19, I will be at Shades and Shadows, hosted by Lauren Candia and Xach Fromson, and sharing the panel with the hyper-talented Ben Loory, Steph Cha, Jim Ruland, Amelia Gray, and Charlie Jane Anders. A few weeks later, on April 10, at The LA Times Festival of Books!

I do know that this is a reward from heaven, thanking me for all my efforts and for being a marvelous and fantastic human being, and that this is not yet an Oscar, still, I want to thank all of my readers, the whole six of them, my publisher, Rare Bird Books (Tyson, Julia, Alice, and Winona), my editors Elaine Partnow and Rob Feldman, and to the organizers of the most fabulous writing workshops in all of Southern California: Lisa Marguerite Mora, Nicole Criona, and Paul Shirley. To them I say: please wear something nice when you come to see me, and thank you for helping me!

 

Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle

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