Truth be told—I love drama. Not of course in my personal life (prefer to keep that drama free) but the art of drama. Call it the inner Greek playwright within me, but there’s something about watching shit fall spectacularly and flamboyantly apart that rather excites me. Since I’m the picture of the model citizen, it is only natural—at least in my way of thinking—that I be curious about the dark underhanded side of human beings.
Now I haven’t quite the audacity to touch upon the matters the Ancient Greeks were so fearless to tackle, however I do see within my writing a taste for the naughty and opulent. A little over a month ago I finally managed to publish my book Valdivia: A Family Dynasty to which I poured my little heart out in my post “The Story Behind The Story: A Writer’s Tale of Passion.” Aside from my personal journey to this project, what I’ve learned and what I continue to learn through my self-publication is to have the freedom to express myself. I think when a writer makes the decision to put pen-to-paper or fingers-to-keyboard there are so many thoughts that go inside that person’s head. But I think the most important thing is to write about what you enjoy the most. Unless you’re an isolated alien (and even then you may still have some decent prospects) most likely, if packaged correctly, others will enjoy it as well.
The second and most important lesson is to keep growing and challenging yourself as an artist, creative thinker, and storyteller. For me it’s finding the best way of showcasing my flair for the dramatic, which is part of my style, but also to keep evolving. Stagnation is the death knell for creativity, so if I can keep pushing myself to grow then I know I’ve accomplished something fundamental as an artist.
So with that said, like all good storytellers turn publishers turn self-pimps—I’ve decided to showcase a small snippet of my literary baby for your reading pleasure. If you are, after reading interested in learning more about this book and the series, feel free to stop by on my website http://www.thevaldiviasagas.com/index.html
For those of you who continue to support me, Thank you.
Sneak Peak At Valdivia: A Family Dynasty
Aurora was busily walking around, making sure that all the guests’ glasses were filled. She was excited and extremely nervous at her participation in her first official formal dinner. El Presidente was busily chatting away with the senior ambassador and the American oil tycoon, while La Doña was deeply engaged in conversation with Señor Montenegro and his wife Josephina. La Cardinal and his sister Valentina were discussing theological matters with the governor, and Bartolomé was entertaining and keeping the other guests occupied. The atmosphere was festive, and things appeared to be going extremely well, although Esperanza and her brother had yet to arrive. It had been arranged that she arrive a few minutes late, in order to make her grand entrance at her first official dinner; however, Aurora couldn’t help but nervously wonder if all was well.
She need not have worried as within a few moments, Esperanza, escorted on the arm of her dashing brother, arrived. Everyone turned their attention to them, and her little Condesa seemed to beam radiantly. El Presidente especially seemed to take particular notice of her—and in what was a rarity for him—smiled a genuinely proud paternal smile. La Doña looked over the moon.
El Presidente looked quite handsome himself with his thin, dark-brown hair brushed back, a neatly trimmed mustache and perfectly cut three-piece suit. He walked up to Esperanza and with great flourish took her hand elegantly, and brought it softly to his lips.
“Buenos noches, Condesa Esperanza. What a pleasure it is to have you with us this evening.”
Esperanza couldn’t help but let out an adorable giggle, and it just made Aurora’s heart soar. Taking a quick glance at the other staff members, it was obvious that they felt the same.
“Buenos noches…Papa,” she said shyly, and his smile broadened.
“Allow me to introduce you to our guests this evening,” he said, and with a sharp and quick glance to his son—signaling him to relinquish his sister, he took Esperanza in his arm, and proceeded to introduce her to everyone in the room. Aurora tried not to stare, and like Don Carlo—who was watching her like a hawk—had instructed, she tended to the other guests in the room. Now that Esperanza was here and seemed to be coming into her own, Aurora felt far more relaxed. Perhaps this would not be so difficult after all, and except for an overwhelming fatigue, which she was trying desperately to suppress, she felt pretty good.
“Champagne, Mademoiselle?” Junior asked with a wicked grin on his face.
“But of course, Monsieur,” Aurora replied in eloquent French.
“And what sort of drink are we being served tonight?” he playfully inquired.
“I believe it is Dom Perignon vintage—1921; a splendid year, even though a hard frost killed most of the crop.”
“Well, I see someone has been doing their homework,” he added, with a massive twinkle in his eye.
“Indeed, Señor Valdivia. You will find that the staff here aims to serve our hosts to the highest standards.”
Now he laughed outright.
Ricardo, Arsenio’s valet hurriedly made his way toward him.
“Is there anything that I may be able to assist you with, Señor?” he said, with exaggerated politeness.
Aurora struggled not to give him a massive eye roll.
“No, but you can go and check on the other guests and see if they need anything,” Junior replied curtly, making no attempt to hide his annoyance.
“Very good, Señor,” he replied, and bowed elegantly.
Turning his attention back toward Aurora, Junior’s eyes sparkled with mischief.
“So, Señorita, how are the hors d’oeuvres tonight? Do you suppose they would be to my liking?”
“Oh, absolutely sir,” she said with mock sincerity. “I personally would recommend the croquettes, as I think they will go perfectly with the champagne.”
“And have you tried them yourself, Señorita, so that you were able to come to this conclusion?”
Looking quickly around, Aurora leaned in toward him and whispered, “Hell, yeah. Doña Emanuela let me pop a bunch of those suckers in my mouth this afternoon. They’re fantastic. Best training I’ve had all day.”
Junior burst out laughing. “Well, I’m glad you take your job seriously. Speaking of which,” and he threw a glance toward his sister, “I think your lady is in need of your services.”
Aurora turned around, and instantly saw what he meant. For tonight, Esperanza had been told that she would be permitted to have a small sip of champagne; however—being left to her own devices, and with no one apparently watching, she was now throwing back champagne with gusto, which was being supplied to her by one of the newer footmen, who obviously did not know any better. La Doña had now also noticed, and glared at her daughter sternly. Esperanza—seemingly terrified, was about to open her mouth, when suddenly her sandal heel broke and she twisted her foot, splattering champagne all over. Everyone stopped. Esperanza looked as if she was about to die. Aurora rushed toward her.
“Oh my, Esperanza, what have you done?”
“I’m sorry,” she said, and was fighting back her tears.
“WHAT DID YOU CALL HER?” Aurora heard a voice bellow behind her.
She froze in her tracks.
“ANSWER ME GIRL—I ASKED YOU A QUESTION!”
Dios, her worst fears had been realized. In her haste to assist her beloved, she forgot the one thing that from the very beginning she was explicitly told not to do—forget her place, especially in the presence of El Presidente.
“TURN AROUND, AND ANSWER ME. I AM SPEAKING TO YOU!”
Trembling, Aurora slowly turned around and faced his direction. She saw that Esperanza was utterly terrified as well, but nothing could match the terror that she was feeling right now. She could not—dared not—look him directly in the eyes. All of a sudden the room was hot, and spinning around her. Fear and fatigue made her want to collapse right then and there.
Had she had the courage to look around her, she would have seen equally horrified expressions on all the servants’ faces, and most of the guests. Paloma fought desperately to hold back her tears.
“Now, I will ask you again. What did you call her?” he said, speaking though his teeth.
“Esperanza,” she replied, in a voice barely above a whisper.
“Right. Imagine a servant—a goddamned servant—speaking so informally in my own palace! Do you not know your place, girl?”
Tears welled up in Aurora’s eyes.
“ANSWER ME! DO YOU NOT KNOW YOUR PLACE?”
“Yes…yes…Señor Presidente…” she said, not holding back the tears.
“Well apparently you have yet to learn that. You—!”
“Don’t talk to my Aurora that way!” Esperanza’s tiny voice challenged back.
Oh my God! No Esperanza, please no!
“Don’t talk to my Aurora that way! She’s mine, and she can call me her Esperanza anytime she wants!”
Please let me die now.
“Ha. So now my own daughter speaks that way to me. Apparently all that time with the servants has made you insolent.”
“I am not!”
“SILENCIO!” Arsenio bellowed.
Esperanza cowered in fear. He turned his attention back to Aurora.
“It appears that you have not done your duties well enough, and are far too beneath your station to serve at the dinner tonight. Remove yourself at once, and remain in your own quarters. I don’t want to see or hear from you again this evening!”
Paloma’s lips trembled, tears falling freely, as her daughter ran crying and humiliated from the dining hall. Bartolomé, somber, stared at Arsenio with complete hatred.