Rios de la Luz is a queer Xicana/Chapina sci-fi loving writer. She is the author of the short story collection,The Pulse between Dimensions and the Desert(Ladybox Books 2015). Her work has appeared inVol. 1 Brooklyn, The Fem Lit Magazine, Entropy, Luna Luna Magazine, Corporeal Clamor,andSt. Sucia.She lives in El Paso with the love of her life and the magical beast known as Sleaze.

Itzá by Rios de la Luz

In her debut novella, Rios de la Luz examines the lives of a small family of water witches living near the US-Mexico border. Exploring issues of race and trauma along with beauty and magic,Itzáis a powerful reclamation of body and identity.


Her words flow like the tears from the eyes of water witches she writes about. This book is soul stirring and tragic with a story that sings like a corrido. Itzá is a heart-breaking tale of young women using all of their inner magic to survive. This is your very first chance to read the ebook! Do not miss this opportunity. – V.Castro



  • "Itzáis full of magic, death, water, memories, beauty, and pain. This is a narrative about womanhood that's packed with blood and multiculturalism. This bilingual scream of resistencia is exactly what frontera fiction should be, and Rios de la Luz is a word bruja of the highest order."

    – Gabino Iglesias, author of Zero Saints and Coyote Songs
  • "I love this book with my whole body. FINALLY a book, body and voice rising up from the edges of culture to say I am not dead, you cannot kill me, we are coming to take our stories back. Rios de la Luz is among the most important emerging writers of our time, or any time, because she is inventing a new language without limits that explodes all walls and borders meant to keep us small and quiet. Weaving fabula with domestic trauma and sexual becoming, Itzá restories a girl's life and identity up and through the violence of a culture that cannot contain her. Like a new species facing off with death heads. Like myth rupturing the lies we are told about who we are. Like an Xicana gender fluid voice and body ready to rearrange your reality, gloriously and without apology."

    – idia Yuknavitch, author of The Small Backs of Children and The Book of Joan




Great-grandma, also known as Abuelita, died in her sleep. Her bed was in the middle of the forest. Yellow leaves sprinkled her bed. A giant maple leaf covered her face. Her long white hair spread above her head and reached the edges of the bed. Mushrooms bloomed out of the mattress. Mist permeated between the trunks of the forest trees as the branches looked down on Abuelita. We don't know how her bed got out there. We told the neighbors it was her dream to wander in the forest as a ghost. As a ghost, she can blend with the fog and follow rivers slithering into creeks. She can pick up after litter bugs and flick the backs of their heads. She can hiss into the ears of deer to ask them where the best berries are. She can follow hunters with their rifles, to see if ghosts have more power than guns.

We told the neighbors Abuelita loved climbing trees. When I think of her now, I see her up high on a tree branch eating mangoes or sardines. She loved messy foods and smelly foods. She loved crunching the bones of the tiny fish and then cackling about being a water witch. She loved wiping the nectar of fruit from her neck with the back of her hand. She taught me to devour plates of food with moans and laughter and sloppiness.

It took four days to drive to her. Mami drove along the coast and told us to take in the ocean. She told us to breathe in the mist and the salt of our own bodies. On our way to Abuelita's bed, the yellowing trees looked like enormous marigolds scattered along the rolling hills. We had marigolds in our laps, and candles lined the trunk of the car. Our faces painted into skulls, we sat still, held in our tears. We wanted Abuelita to witness us in our next bodies. Our decomposing future bodies. The ones sleeping in the earth. We wore white as we hiked through the forest. We wore white because of her hair. I whispered into the mist. I wanted to know if I was a water witch. Did Abuelita pass her bruja intuition down to me? Silence struck the forest. A strip of light pointed to a fragmented yellow leaf on the wet ground. I ran toward the leaf and held it to my chest. As I looked up, a heavy droplet of water fell onto the center of my forehead. I gasped and let the water trickle down my crooked nose.