My First Book, The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant

I am now a published author. This first book is a novel for young adults. It has been in the making for several years and was filed until I could sit down and work on it without distractions.

With a feeling of “don’t do tomorrow what you can do today” I decided I needed to complete the project. I was ready to grow and learn  from the experience so I self-published the book to make it available now.

The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant is a project I began in the early 90’s. It has a personal history with me. It started in one “lifetime” and it grew in another. Though I had decided I would return to it at a time when I could focus on it completely, that little voice kept telling me, “It is time you brought out that manuscript”. So I finally did.

After having it filed for eight years I was ready to read it once again, armed with my red pen. Amazingly, I didn’t mark it up as much as I thought I would. The story still read true to my heart. I asked two readers to mark it up for me as well. And I read it a few more times. In the interim, I felt I would create some illustrations for the book so while I edited, I tinkered with possible scenes to illustrate.

It suddenly hit me that as a portrait artist I should paint portraits of my main characters. That was easier said than done. It was one thing to develop a character and create her with words but how would I take those words and create a two-dimensional representation? I thought about the pieces I create for my Surrealist Series and realized it was another art challenge I was ready to take on so after the edits were done, I prepped my canvases and started with what I thought was the most difficult character, the Jaguar Knight.

One by one, the characters poured out of my brush one after the other. I loved it! I painted continously until I dropped, rested, ate and kept going. The other challenge was to paint without a model. I had only a photo of two models I wanted to consider for the main characters. I later found a third to inspire a secondary character. As you know, I normally paint my portraits and figures from life so the challenge was to use everything I had learned to “see” the charecters in my head and create them on canvas from that vision.

As with the story, I did my research to inspire the costumes for each character. As a wardrobe designer I created original attire based on my knowledge, understanding and new research. As the characters materialized onto the canvas I delighted myself (yes I did have fun through out the whole project) and fueled my enthusiasm to keep going. I didn’t want to stop until they were all complete. I then created a scene inspired on the preface of the book and my illustrative work was complete.

With eight 24×18 inch canvases, representing my seven principal characters, drying in my studio and a finished manuscript in hand, I began the self-publishing journey.

The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant, a Romeo and Juliet-styled tragedy inspired on the Mexican legend of the volcanoes Popocatepetl and Iztaccihautl, creates a troupe of characters in an Aztec setting to go beyond the legend. I hope you enjoy it.



  1. Lilibeth, just by reading this self-preview you have already tempted my curiosity. I envisage and wish you a great success with your book. Congratulations! Keep up the good work.
    Gloria C. Martinez

    • Thank you Gloria. I look forward to reading your poetry as well.

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