Shifting The Images of Women In Film To My Favor

Original Post Date June 12, 2013 at 02:26 PM

The author campaigns for Alisa Valdes and opines on her Summer Book Challenge. Details on tonight’s book reading provided.

I was stoked over the weekend to find out Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, author of two of my favorite chic lit books, is campaigning to bring Dirty Girls Social Club to the big screen! What?

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Well, yeah. But in my 20s, I devoured Alisa’s books. The parallels to my life experiences were uncanny. My involvement with a Latina-based sorority, metering the conflict between family and social preferences, the struggles with finding a professional identity in a cubbie hole driven society, yeah, Ms. Valdes knocked all the drama out the park. Seeing Ms. Valdes’ work on the big screen, integrating American values in a fun, feminine style, would be a welcome upgrade to the depiction of women in film. And it’s good karma too! I’ve started following Ms. Valdes on Twitter @MizAlisa and I encourage you to do the same. She launched a Kickstarter campaign and put out a hilarious parody of a Hollywood pitch on her website.

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I gotta update you on my Summer Book Challenge. Reading the works of Ian Fleming have been an eye opener. I am approaching these works as comparative to what we’ve experienced in film. I’m on Moonraker now, and it’s taken me three weeks to get through the first sixty-five pages! Not because it’s complex, but it’s sllllllllllooooowwwwwwwwww…

As a practiced social scientist, I find that Mr. Fleming’s work would be difficult for anyone who identifies as a woman, or as Black, to enjoy without being insulted. I keep in the forefront when the works were produced, the point of view of the author, and the frame of mind he was in at the time of producing his works.

I take away from this experience thus far as, well, this is what passed as a fast paced action series. It’s a bit of an uphill pedal right now, but nowhere near the incline of last year’s Summer Book Challenge, Ayn Rand‘s Atlas Shrugged.

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Would you like to meet Johanna Saucedo? I’m reading from my first fiction novel, I Blew Up Juarez, tonight at Irene’s. Here’s her invite straight from the Inbox:




**VON SIMEON reading from her upcoming book: I Blew Up Juarez
Come to ST BART’S …….. To read your favorite POETRY, tell a STORY , sing a SONG or PLAY your INSTRUMENT……We have a DRUM and PIANO………ORIGINAL POETRY and SONGS featuring our favorite published POETS…, Come and be a part of something special. See you there.!


TIME: 7:00pm-9:00pm.


3747 – 34th STREET SOUTH



for more info:(727) 452-2369



for more info: call Irene 727-452-2369


Summer Means Bikinis and Book Clubs

Original Post Date May 08, 2013 at 05:24 PM

The author has a project plan for conquering the 2013 Summer season.

Last week, I took my art too seriously. This week, I worked on recalibrating back to a placid state. I had good company in the form of my business partner, in town from Orlando (or “up north” as I find the locals saying), and we made the most of Cinco de Mayo/my birthday. Our new friends at Red Mesa Cantina and The Avenue reminded us both we should spend more time celebrating, not scrutinizing, our achievements. And celebrate we did.

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Why are mothers so good at picking out birthday cards? I provided you a picture of mine. Nothing like a to-do list to keep the calibration in check! That’s basically my objective list for the 36th solar cycle. I posted it above my workstation, so in those challenging moments when my characters are hesitant or my storytelling peters off, I’ll move my eyes to my objectives. Like Marie’s great impression of Tim Gunn, I’m gonna make it work.

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When you have company on the beach, it’s a great time to proselytize, and Gina and I are great at selling each other on concepts and ideas we can carry forward in our enterprises as we soak up sun. I had to get something off my chest to her, which I’ll summarize here but with the preface that I’m not trying to stoke dramatics. That’s what Facebook is for. Merely mentioning a facet of participating in the creative community: haters.

I thought, as I have progressed in age, persons in my demographic bracket and the next tier above would have some sort of, I don’t know, decorum, when it comes to interacting artistically. I don’t want to say there needs to be a professionalism about it, because ‘professionalism’ denotes stuffy shirts, time sheets, and quotas. It would be nice, fellow artists, if we could stand out from the at-large society by automatically projecting positivity instead of negativity towards each other when we’re engaging as a community? It’s hard enough to work the energy and mind towards sharing something so intimate and definitive, one shouldn’t have to add to the struggle by defending against daggers and shards of animosity. Especially when all I’ve done is promote and laud your artistry! I didn’t like experiencing that when I wore suits and my hair pinned back. I definitely don’t want to repeat it in my bohemian artist mode. So can I just make a blanket request here…save the hatred for global terrorists? If everybody loves everybody, it makes for richer art and productive creative sessions. Thank you, the management.

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This summer, I invite you to join me in exploring all the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, starting with Casino Royale. These average about 200 pages; you can get it done in one beach or pool outing.

And I did re-read The Great Gatsby with the DiCaprio movie coming out soon. The 1974 Redford/Farrow film is available on Netflix. Check ’em out!

To Read Or Not To Read?

Original Post Date May 15, 2013 at 10:22 PM

The author weighs in on the opinion of reading fiction to qualify to write fiction.

“To be a good fiction writer you have to read fiction.”

Is this true? I’ll offer substance for both arguments.

Don’t Read In Order To Write

Many writers’ blogs warn of the death of the book, but I’m not that apocalyptic. Imagination in and of itself is not dead. Video game and movie plots interpreted from novels have evoked so much curiosity that people are investing in the original medium. For example, this past Monday I took myself on an Artist’s Date to watch Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read this work in 7th grade, and then again in 10th grade, and revisited it a week ago. When I watched Baz’s version, I truly enjoyed the story. But one thing didn’t change since 7th grade: I still can’t stand Daisy Buchanan! During Baz’s interview on The Colbert Report, he mentioned there were more sales of the book leading up to his movie’s release than there were sold collectively when the author was alive.

I’m reading Ian Fleming’s 007 series as my summer book challenge. As Fleming wrote Bond, he considered how the character would appear on screen as well as along his pages. Was he reading a whole bunch of mystery novels and collaborating with other authors in the same genre? Not at all. Fleming was writing in one medium, but considering another medium as he typed his words. This was the beginning of the 1950s, y’all. How could this not be applicable in the Twenty Teens?

Read In Order To Write

From an artistic standpoint, this makes sense. During the development phase of I Blew Up Juarez, I read a myriad of works, fiction and non-fiction, as research and to supplement my story presentation. Of course, avoiding abject plagiarism or mimicking. I am my own artist, and my story is delivered with my creative essence. However, there were specific works that I wanted to experience to support the messages I want to convey in my novel.

From a marketing standpoint, this also makes sense. If you’re writing in a certain genre, you’re gonna want to attract the readership of similarly focused authors. So if I want to promote a book that features a strong female protagonist challenged by supernatural beings, I would look up works in a similar vein and read them to get an idea of how those authors present that type of story.

I contend you don’t have to be a book reader to love a good story, and thanks to the imagination and creativity of the digitally-inclined, a good story can be enjoyed in a multimedia format. Such is my business model. I look forward to releasing I Blew Up Juarez as an e-book and a physical paperback. I absolutely see this work in movie format. My editor thinks it could be a video game. My question is: where are we on action figures? Are they still a thing…?