The Hummingbird's Daughter II
Good morning. It's Saturday. As promised, I have begun The Hummingbird's Daughter II. Of course, it's not called that. So far, my editor and I are sticking with The Queen of America. This title comes from a couple of inspirations. She was actually called The Queen of the Yaquis. Though the Yaquis, of course, had no queens. That's a romantic conquest fantasy--like the Cherokee Princess we hear about in the U.S. all the time. As in, "I have a grandma who was a Cherokee princee." Also, Teresita's greatest powers surged here in strange ways, and her followers did indeed go to war in Mexico chanting, "Viva Santa Teresita!" It was a kind of pre- revolution, and for a time, she was the warrior queen, albeit reluctantly. And, the most fun part of the story, is that Teresita entered a beauty competition in New York City--and she won! For a brief moment, she was crowned Queen of New York. So there you have it.

I began the novel this morning. After lots of hemming and hawing and worry and doubt, I just cracked a new notebook and started writing. (Yeah, perts of the books are hand-written, but when the crunch comes, I revert to the speedier word processor.) The first section of the book is called "The Devil-Monkey Desert." Let me tell you where that title comes from.

When my child, the mad Chayo, Queen of All She Surveys, was two, she was convinced a "devil-monkey" lived in her closet and came out when I turned off the light. It was a devil-monkey bigger than the whole house! I kept trying to reason with her that if it was bigger than the house, it coudn't fit inside the house. But, you know, you can't reason with magic. Now, a fan of Hummingbird's Daughter sent me an email about her family's ranching history near Tubac, AZ. (Where the new novel begins.) I didn't know this--I am learning hundreds of amazing small details about teresita as I go--but she had a pet coatimundi there. They look like a cross between a raccoon and a lemur. Apparently, she found a wounded coati in the desert and nursed it back to health. But of course she did. She was Teresita! Anyway, this happy creature followed her aoround. Nowadays, the real old-timers in the area, when they see a coati, say "Teresita must be around." Isn't that great. She's still this close. You can almost touch her.

Needless to say, Don Tomas, her father, is less than thrilled to be in the AZ desert having lost all his great wealth, and he is not disposed to appreciate the coati--the "devil-monkey." That's the scenario at the start of the book.

Here is the first line of the novel: "The Saint of Cabora could no longer speak to the dead."

All right. We have begun. I said I'd keep you apprised of the work, so here's the first installment. Consider it a novelist's journal of the writing. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

Let's have some coffee--L

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