Today I have the pleasure of hosting Cecy Robson on my blog, Cecy is the author of the new series Weird Girls, a series that has become one of my favorite reads of this year.
Hello, everyone! First of all, thank you to Marcela for inviting me to be a guest on The Bookaholic Cat.
My family is originally from poverty-stricken El Salvador. During my parents’ upbringing, food was scarce, and television and radio was a luxury few could afford. Entertainment arrived in the form of stories―usually creepy, often twisted, and frequently terrifying, but strangely entertaining nonetheless. Some of my favorite tales were told to my father by Papa Chon, my great grandfather. According to my dad, few machete-wielding, donkey-riding, tobacco-smoking, El Salvadorian men ever had it so tough. Papa Chon once fought off a mystical entity that targeted bachelors and unfaithful men. He survived, just barely. But poor Papa Chon couldn’t catch an evil spirit break.
Papa Chon had many jobs in his village of Valle Nuevo. One of them involved lowering the pine caskets with rope into the ground following the completion of a funeral. As per tradition, he’d leap into the hole and lift the lid so the loved ones of the deceased could say their final goodbye.
Papa Chon was a handsome and sought-after bachelor. My father said that Maria, a young local woman, fell desperately in love with Papa Chon. Papa Chon snubbed her, and wanted nothing to do with her. Maria died soon after Papa Chon rejected her, leaving her family to believe she’d died of a broken heart. Papa Chon failed to take responsibility for Maria’s passing, and while he hadn’t cared for Maria, he dutifully lowered her pine casket into the ground at her funeral. Following the final prayers, Papa Chon removed the lid to allow Maria’s loved ones to view her one last time.
This time, matters took an unexpected turn. Dead Maria sat up, clasped Papa Chon by his wrist and ankle, and yanked him toward her. Maria’s lids peeled back and her eyes locked on Papa Chon, her garbled voice echoing in the dimness of the confined space. “You never loved me, Chon!” she shrieked. “It’s your fault I’m dead!”
The funeral attendants scattered, leaving Papa Chon to fight Maria himself. Maria’s stone cold fingers tightened around Papa Chon’s limbs. Papa Chon thrashed and twisted his body, inadvertently wrenching Maria and her terrifying glare closer to him. The walls of the hole started to collapse. Chunks of dirt peppered Papa Chon’s body, his frantic efforts threatening to bury him alive.
But Maria refused to release him.
Good thing Papa Chon’s mind-numbing terror basked his body in a waterfall of sweat. Papa Chon managed to slip his wrist from Maria’s grasp and use both hands to break Maria’s hold on his ankle. In my father’s words, “Papa Chon hauled ass out of the cemetery and never went to a funeral again.”
Papa Chon vs Dead Maria was one of the many night-night tales my dad would tell my brother and I right before bed. To this day, I’m still a little twitchy at funerals. And yet I’ve always found myself strangely captivated by these hair-curling and oddly humorous tales. The stories kept me fascinated long after my father stopped kissing me goodnight wearing vampire fangs. So like Papa Chon, and my father, I’ve always told stories to entertain. And no matter how serious, or how frightening, I always managed to work in a laugh.
WEIRD GIRLS is my Urban Fantasy Romance Series about four unique sisters of Latin descent who obtain their powers as a result of a backfired curse. The novels are told through Celia’s perspective, the eldest of the sisters and the family’s protector. Their journey begins when the mystical community becomes aware of, and threatened by their presence. I integrate Latin American folklore and beliefs in my series along with the action, horror, suspense, and twisted humor associated with all those memorable stories from my youth.
Papa Chon never learned to read or write. Neither did my father. Yet they passed their gift of story-telling onto me. For this, and more, I am truly grateful.
Thanks to you Cecy for that great post, as a Latina I also identify with the story telling culture that you describe in your post. Papa Chon and your dad sound amazing, you have been lucky to have them in your life. I also want to thank you for your generous giveaway.
Yes, people you heard right, Cecy is offering to one lucky winner a Weird Girls Swag (Water Bottle, a Dragon Fruit Lip Balm, and Official SEALED WITH A CURSE Magnet) and a signed ARC copy of Sealed With a Curse. To participate you only need to fill up the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open internationally.