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And Now, We Do It…MY WAY

sherlock

 

Hands steepled, staring intently towards the wall, I too, assumed the form of our beloved high functioning sociopath as I mulled over what went wrong.

Wrong, wrong, did it go wrong? Is it wrong? What’s wrong? Could it be not wrong? Nothing wrong? What’s wrong? Is it wrong? Did it go wrong? Wrong!

You get it. It’s ART. Like an Escher tessellation, stare at it too long and you’ll see something different entirely. And when it’s completed art, you definitely cannot revisit it. It’s out there. It’s DONE. To analyze after the fact is bad juu juu.

But what if it’s wrong?

Here’s what I decided to do…

Book’s been out officially since 4 April, that makes 80 days as of this post date. Technically, I’m coming premature on my decision, but, (this the part where I release the steeple to point the definitive index finger) fuck it, it’s my book.

What had happened was, ([CHORUS]: And then, riiight!) I went through a publisher to release I Blew Up Juarez. In the T minus 1 hour of wrapping up production, right at the all-systems-go point, she decides not to associate with this work. Demonstrating complete lack of professionalism, she wanted her company logo emblazoned across the cover artwork, and I said no, so she got butthurt and pulled out. Infuriating, considering I compromised artistic license, time, and patience to meet the publisher’s needs.

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This sentence represents fifteen omitted chapters!

Since it’s release, my astute readers are pointing out the wide, gaping hole in the lemniscate-like track that is this fast paced story, a true sin in the literary world: you do NOT introduce a character without validating his/her purpose. This is Composition 1000, and I’m looking terrible! The fifteen chapters omitted during production were initially agreed to be more for Book 3 than this book, that’s why they were out, but she should’ve caught the dangling character.

WRONG!

Technically it’s the publisher’s fault but since now I am the publisher, well, I’m making an executive decision.

…I shall publish an epilogue to I Blew Up Juarez for release this holiday season. With my impeccable discipline and (hopefully) people leaving me the fuck alone while I work, the fifteen chapters that were omitted in the story will be provided in full splendor, and, with deft styling, will bridge Book 2 to Book 3 handsomely.

*SIGH* Now that feels right.

 

And here’s the gift that keeps on giving: all of you who have purchased a copy of I Blew Up Juarez  from me since its release to today (Eastern Standard Time, don’t get cheeky) will get [WT]The Epilogue FOR FREE! Why? Because you fuckin’ rock.

And now we DANCE!

 

 

 

 

 

The Best of Von Simeon

My blog buddies, I’m offline-ing the first two weeks of June to address projects requiring strict concentration. Hanging out with you is so fun, yet it distracts me from getting work done…shocker…

But shed not a tear darlin’, I’m gonna schedule a compilation during my usual Sunday-Wednesday cycle to tide you over. Now enjoy this 2013 gallery of me in swimsuits. See you June 15th!

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Turning Rage Into Resolve

His hand slowed its feverish massage as his laughter grew.

“What the hell are we listening to?”

I stop my humming and open my eyes, lifting my Galaxy to my face.

Chris LeDoux.”

He shakes his head and keeps moving the mouse ball, putting the finishing touches on the design I made. A complete overhaul of my book cover. It’s beautiful.

“What’s so funny?” I ask.

“It’s just that when I left here, you were listening to Otep.”

I smile. “It’s my thing. Country music is where I go when I need to bring the rage down.”

He’s right. A few hours prior, I had sat at his workstation. I had Marie’s artwork framing the screen. I had a blank Photoshop layer precut to the background artwork in the center. And I had the roars of Otep, Killswitch Engage, Rammstein carrying about me, helping me bring my rage to resolve.

And from resolve begat beauty.

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Mandatory Therapy Session.

I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s a living fact. My online persona constantly engages in controlled folly, and much of that folly comes from my actual persona managing the ebb and flow of the disorder. I found over the last few years transforming from shadow artist to true artist, having PTSD is a gift. A strange one, in that it can be a crippling situation if not managed, but when it’s harnessed, it can become a powerful source of creativity, sometimes bucking you crazy, but at the end of the ride, you’re left with a masterpiece.

If my actual persona was not the skilled master of the ol’ Put The Stick Down, the design flaw I had to deal with yesterday would’ve sent me into a vortex of fury. I chose to convert my dark thoughts into a working plan. You know what, if you don’t like it, change it, I said to myself. I knew what I wanted to create, but I didn’t have the equipment. Made some contacts; finally, the guy who did my photo shoot not only had the full suite but he didn’t need to use it for the day.

At 2:37AM my time I sent the completed design files, the proofed manuscript, and reference files to the publisher, then I passed out. Today, whatever latent malevolent feeling I have about the ordeal is going to get exorcised out productively. I’m thinking, jog around the park with Bobby, go read my book on the pier, and listen to something that goes like this:

 

Feelin’ Like A Struck Match

 

Me staring at the screen with my good eye.

Me staring at the screen with my good eye. The other one burned out.

The back of my eyeballs hurt.

This is the un-fun part of authorship. The point right before publication, raking through each chapter one mo’ gen, making sure there’s no escaping extra spaces, or errant commas, or misspelled names. Yes, I’ve managed to misspell my own characters’ names in several places.

These are the tasks put upon me by my editing team. This dynamic duo (and thankfully, came as a two-fer) are cleaning through I Blew Up Juarez with katana-like precision. But like respectful editors, they let me have last glance and last say.

So yesterday I spent the better part of twelve hours adding literary putty to fill in cracks in the plot, confirmed changes by chapter, and committed to the spelling of Maclaggan as Maclaggan, not McLaggan, not MaClaggan, no, these fuckers are called Maclaggan!! And to prepare you for your reading engagement, it’s pronounced mack-lag-gun. You British Empire folk can throw in your customary lilt where it’s right for you, I ain’t stoppin’ ya.

I’ve hit Send on the processed file, and now it’s in the hands of The Dynamic Duo. I need to rest my eyeballs, so I’m spending the rest of the day putting together the world’s best stew for tomorrow’s get-together at the demigoddess’s house. I’ll be reading a chapter from the book, not any that are already posted. If you’re attending, awesome, if not, indulge in some escapism, courtesy of yo gurl.

Happy Thursday! It’s Thursday, right??

Bill The Self-Publishing, Self-Congratulating Non Dom

He approached me, draped in black leather duster, black button-down top, black slacks, reeking of false confidence. His eyes, attempting to look seductive, could not hide the cloud of despair swirling inside his pupils. My host intercepted him, and asked who he was. The man introduced himself as Bill. Bill’s from Baltimore, Bill found out about the event on the community’s boards. Bill wants to watch the scene.

My guy gave me a look, and I responded with a ‘no worries’ look back. Bill’s weird vibrations penetrated me, annoying me, and if I’m annoyed then he’s causing discomfort to the others in my group. I volunteered to get him away from them, so I invited him to walk with me to the bar. My guy pulled me aside and expressed his concern. I thanked him, and reminded him I have my knife.

Bill leads the way, and I immediately break him down. Left knee incapacitated, permanent limp. Shoulders lack motion, so upper spine or major shoulder injury. He puffed out his chest after removing his duster and tossing it over his left arm. Right handed.

He offers to buy my drink. Sure. I tell the bartender, “I’ll have a Jack and Coke.”

“How much is a Jack and Coke?” He called out to her. She started to make the drink. “How much is a Jack and Coke??”

Along with being a creeper and cliche dresser, he’s a cheapskate. She says $6.00, I hand him $3. Don’t want him to have to bust open his piggy bank.

My goal at this point is to let my friends comfortably hang out during the next scene and keep Bill and his bullshit away. So we sit, sip, and I, always one to field open-ended questions, started with, “Tell me your life story in 29 seconds.”

A pink-and-black corseted pixie passes by, intending to chat him up, and overheard my question. “Yes! Your life story in 29 seconds.”

He gives me a face conveying inconvenience, but I hold my interest, and he finally volunteers, “Soldier. Writer. Relocated here for work. Dom.”

Dom? As in Dominant? As in, a dominator? No, son. No, you’re not. I do my best to freeze my facial expression to placid.

My 29 second story went like this: Wasn’t born here, wasn’t raised here, finished high school here, went to college, worked in military, state, local, and federal positions, retired two years ago, writing full time, publishing my first fiction novel in February, love living in Florida.

“And what do you identify as here?” He asks, as if he can’t figure it out.

The choices are simple. Either you’re a submissive or you’re a dominant. “I’m a dominant. But tonight I’m here with my friends. Getting back into the fold after many years.”

“It’s because you were married.”

?

“You were married.”

“Years ago.”

“Lots of people get out because they get married.”

Well, now we know why you’re here. I see one of the girls searching the room outside where we are. Yes, it’s been quite some time away from them. She gives a look of relief as she approaches me. I already sense he sent her for me, to check on me. Love that man. She sweetly pats my shoulder like a concerned parent. “He just wanted me to check on you, make sure you’re okay.”

I glance across the table at shifty-eyed Bill. He doesn’t like that my guy has eyes on him. Really Bill? You really think I was gonna glom onto you because of your awesome ability to not intimidate me? Your natural ability to exude complete wussiness? Boy I’ll have you bent over this table under a flogger in 2.3 seconds! I pat the girl’s worried hand to convey confidence. “Don’t worry, darling. I’m fine. Tell him I’ll be right there.”

Bill is sipping his Coke in quick bursts. “So, what genre do you write in?” I don’t care, but he did throw out ‘writer’ in his 7 second life story. Asking out of sheer curiosity, but I can already predict his answer.

“Science fiction, creative non-fiction. I’m a self-publisher.”

“Great. Your books are on Amazon?”

“You’re publishing your own work?”

“I’m going through an independent publisher. Local.”

He actually rolls his eyes. Bill smugly offers, “I do it all. I self-publish. I’m an editor. Everything I publish is pristine work.”

Riiiiight.

“I believe in an extra set of eyes to ensure a marketable piece of work.”

“I can do that for you. It’s my specialty. I can do it all. I’m a one man house. I already have clients.”

This is sounding way too familiar, so I cut him off with, “I’m my own marketer. If I have a successful campaign, then I’ll be taking on clients.”

The point being, so what if your book’s on Amazon? If no one’s buying it, it’s not a marketable work. It’s just a work. I don’t want to get into it, after all, I have a $3.00 pint of Jack and Coke and my friends who want me at their scene. Bill the self-congratulating non-dom can go distract himself elsewhere.

I get up, walk over to the special room, assist where needed, then fall in on the display. My successful conveyance of lack of impression keeps Bill away from us. I did a good job, then.

Not until way afterwards, did he come up to shake my hand, and asked how to contact me. I pointed at my guy. “Through him.” Bill looked at him, back at me, and limped off.

Everyone Stinks And That’s Okay

Original Post Date March 13, 2013 at 12:12 AM

The path to a concise published work is angled in many places. Collaboration and cooperation with a professional works the kinks out. We explore the advantages of editing.

2013-03-11 19.40.28Yesterday was my first meeting with Trace Taylor Publishing since I turned in my manuscript for editing. I had the expected nerves.  After all, this was my first attempt at non-academic, non-technical writing and I really had minimal certainty that I did a proper job of it.

I pulled out my notebook and pen and prepared to take notes. I was ready to receive her input and learn from her critique.  She seemed thrown by my enthusiasm.

Trace mentioned her experiences working with authors who were defensive or straight up distraught after having their works edited. Tissues had to sop up tears on occasions.  I couldn’t understand why.  Like I told Trace, what am I paying you for?  Gold stars?  Smiley faces? We had a good laugh about it.

Eventually we deviated towards a general conversation about expectations from both ends.  I thought I’d note the top takeaways from our talk here:

Axiom 1:  Everyone needs editing

Borrowing from a popular children’s book describing the natural processes of the human body, everybody poops. It has a distinct smell.  There are people we know that will insist their poop doesn’t smell.  But we all know the truth.

It is the editor’s job to present a work for publication that resonates with the intended audience.  An author may use graduate level vocabulary in a book intended for preschoolers. Another author may spend a hundred pages describing how the light hits a coffee mug in the middle of a table in a book intended for fans of fast paced action fiction. We authors can’t tell when we stink. A good editor does that gracefully.  A good editor reminds you, yes, even your poop smells.

Axiom 2:  Critiques are not criticisms

Before you click on the comment balloon, I’m talking contextually here.  A critique is an evaluation of a literary work. It is meant to be objective with the intent of adding value to the development of the work.

Criticism, which I use here contextually to describe abject judgment and faultfinding, is subjective in nature and is intended to degrade or insult the merits of the literary artist.

A good editor is going to support your dreams by ensuring your work can stand alongside other literary works in Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.  They are not out to get you.  They get you; they’re just offering insight that will enhance the readers’ experience.  Which brings me to Axiom 3.

Axiom 3:  Your publisher knows your audience.  Better than you do.

We have an idea of who’s going to read this work as we’re clickclickclacking away, creating the most sublime work known to man.  A good publisher is well informed as to what readers look forward to experiencing.  While you have a clue, your publisher has several clues. So if they suggest something, don’t take it as an affront to your epic opus.  They’re on to something.  Get over yourself, and cooperate.  It’s only going to benefit you.

 

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