It is not a relief to hold your debut novel in print format. In fact, it is the opposite. Your back tenses up. Your face sours. Your lower sphincter tightens.
What the hell have I just done??
But then, your face loosens, slacking your cheeks enough to produce a smile.
There. The Dedication Page. The old boy telling me, “Good on ya! Finally! Well done, homie!” I always figured he called me that.
It looks good.
I flip through the pages. Bold, pronounced chapter numbers. Easy to read text. Good grouping, good flow. It looks. Good.
I scoff at my Author Page. The photo you guys picked made it in the book; thanks for taking that pressure off my mind.
I palm the back cover, at the gorgeous rendition of the protagonist, then flip to the front cover, and admire Marie Chapin’s beautiful disaster. The bold blue words revealing an inconvenient truth.
That’s when my hands start to tremble.
Three years. Three productive, revealing, empowering years, and the result is this novel. Not just another sci-fi story; it’s a Game Changer. Already receiving delighted buzz regarding its release, even fun expressions of impatience, both on the ground and in the ether. Friends from Canada down to South America, friends from the United Kingdom all through Eurasia. Friends in Oceania, the Middle East, Southeast Asia. A support network built solely from the launch of this WordPress blog. For your support and love via zeros and ones, I thank you.
Give me until April 4th to set up shop and then, the OFFICIAL release of I Blew Up Juarez. We are planning a Meet The Author event locally, and I’m working out the kinks to sponsor a virtual book reading hopefully around the same time.
I am going to keep a stash of printed books in The Treehouse too, so if you live in the United States and want a SIGNED copy of I Blew Up Juarez, please notify me via @VonSimeon, my LinkedIn page, or here in the Comments area, so I know how many to put aside once the shipment gets in.
Ahhhh….but there’s more.
Last week, I signed an agreement to be a contributing writer with Thirteen Press out of London. The short story you helped me edit will be featured in Night Walkers. I’m cleaning up another psycho-terror story to submit around summer, at the soonest. So yeah. Both sides of the pond, you can find Von!
Ahhhh…but there’s more!
My writing partner and I have committed to another project. We’re combining individually-developed Wonder Woman fan fiction into one saga. We had our first collaboration this morning at T and Me and it was awesome! While she immerses in studying all things Wonder Woman, I’m studying historical women warriors, starting with Queen Boudica and then, going back to my studies of the Dahomey warrior women. This shit’s about to get real.
Finally, I’ve submitted prose to a local literary journal with high probability of acceptance, and then, because I’m a zealot, I submitted a poem to a Goodreads poetry contest. Cross fingers I at least final; I haven’t written much poetry since I started developing Juarez.
So…what have you been up to?
I finished watching Breaking Bad on Netflix just a few moments ago. I applauded the screen after Vince Gilligan’s name appeared in the final credits. Bravo.
It made me sink into my couch and pop this notebook open, to purge what I’ve been experiencing. An end. A proud moment. A reckoning, delivered, successfully.
Last Thursday morning at approximately 5am, shortly after completing a NINE hour, non-stop, final read of I Blew Up Juarez, I submitted the final proof to my publisher, Trace Taylor Publishing. Little indie operation out of Gulfport, Florida, a place that became, in the last five months, the epicenter of my existence as a writer.
Since Thursday morning I’ve been suffering through small bursts of panic and anxiety, doing my damnedest not to succumb to uncertainty, not let doubt take over. But at this point, I’m at a loss. I don’t know what’s happening. Literally, don’t know what’s happening to my art. I’ve never been here before. I’ve had a lifetime of experiences, but I haven’t been here before.
Trust is key. I have to trust Trace Taylor Publishing is going to fulfill the contract I signed February 20, 2013. I have to trust my final adjustments are applied, my cover artwork transitions to print, my intentions are conveyed. I have to trust that all the effort I put forward to tell the story of Johnny Saucedo was not in vain.
Between panic attacks I busied myself, getting out of the Treehouse, spending time in public, under the lovely Florida winter sun, talking to fellow artists and releasing, really releasing, the feelings I have about this process. The start was exciting, the creative process, a wild surf of my passions, but the end? The end? Here we are. The end.
Before sitting down to dinner and series finale, I took my copy of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest poolside, doubly to get out of my head for a few hours and to finish the Millenium trilogy so I can watch the movies! Came across this, talking about Mikael Blomkvist, the heroic celebrity journalist: As always when a job was finished and at the printer, and nothing could be changed, he felt empty. I had to laugh. Steig Larsson, are you talking to me right now??
I read Vince Gilligan’s GQ interview a few months back regarding the end of his excellent series. What Bryan Cranston and he put together was a man’s tale of self-recognition and in the delivery of the tale, Vince Gilligan felt all that needed to be said was said. He is proud of the story. It ended correctly.
I feel the same way of this work too. I Blew Up Juarez is Book Two out of four I wrote regarding the protagonist’s life journey. But even in the last few months, as the work went from my creative space to a tangible Adobe file, I saw opportunities for the story to splinter off. The characters Johnny encounters shine well enough on their own. Just as Saul Goodman will be experiencing a resurrection via a Breaking Bad spinoff, there is a high chance I’ll be creating flash novellas highlighting characters from the Juarez story. Even though the story of I Blew Up Juarez ends, there’s way more to experience! Kind of like a dirty bomb; the shrapnel can land anywhere, the bits of shard and metal and stone within could morph into its own thing upon release. I sit here thinking of the future, and it seems plausible that The End is merely marking a Beginning. And a beginning to an end, and ending a beginning.
So there is no end. There just is, the first story.
Send all your positive energy towards my publisher and the press she uses. The **MOMENT** I get updated on the status of the novel, I will certainly blog it up!
Let RiRi convey my emotions with song:
Over on Facebook I’m promoting my upcoming novel, I Blew Up Juarez. Every Tuesday until the book release, I’m gonna feature a character teaser. Last week, everyone met Set, and this week, the brilliant Jah.
His curiosity encourages Jah to make new discoveries, foregoing the consequences, such as warping a simple creature into a destructive demigod. Oops!
Over on Facebook I’m promoting my upcoming novel, I Blew Up Juarez. Every Tuesday until the book release, I’m gonna feature a character teaser. Last week, everyone met Iwan Maclaggan, and this week, the ambitious Set. Humankind is NOT ready.
My inspirations include Storm of the X-Men, 70s era Nightshade (Captain America’s nemesis) and Hapshetsut, the benevolent pharaoh who happened to be a woman.
Over on Facebook I’m promoting my upcoming novel, I Blew Up Juarez. Every Tuesday until the book release, I’m gonna feature a character teaser. Last week, everyone met Mimi Deshpande, and this week, Iwan Maclaggan.
Well. Will ya look at that.
After the obligatory panic attack, I converted to the power of positive thinking: you achieved exactly what you intended to do! After three years of production, I’m 24 days away from releasing my first novel.
Four years ago, I made the decision to do this. I budgeted, I organized, I executed the plan. Et viola! $1.00 left. I. AM. GOOD. AT. THIS.
This is the very first time in my long life I’ve let my bank account dwindle to nothing. This is the first time in my long life I let all my money go towards making MY dream come true.
I admit, however… I do miss steak.
NEVER GO TO BED HUNGRY PASTA
Contrary to popular belief, you can eat well under $5.00. The trick is to invest in the spice foundations and kitchen fundamentals while the grass grows high. Once the grass becomes short and dry, well, you’ve got a go-to dish that’s filling and keeps your energy up.
Wheat pasta – you can get 14 ounces @ $1.00
4 Tbsp. butter/margarine – a 5-pack costs less than $1.00 at most major grocers
Grated parmesan cheese – you can get 8 ounces @ $1.00
1 Tbsp. minced garlic – you can get an 8 oz. jar of ready-minced garlic for $1.00
crushed red pepper
salt to taste (although the fat and cheese will likely be salty enough)
Prepare pasta per box instructions. As it cooks, start another pan. Drop the 4 Tbsp. butter or margarine and melt it down. Add minced garlic and a shake of parmesan cheese, allow both to toast in the butter/margarine. Then add Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper. Move the pan off the heat, but keep the burner on; the pan is coming back shortly.
By the time you’ve prepared the base of the sauce, the pasta should be ready to rinse. Drain the water but SAVE about a 1/2 cup. Add the saved portion of the starchy water and noodles into the pan and bring the pan back to its burner. Toss all the ingredients together, until the pasta is evenly coated. Cut the heat, let the pasta rest 4 minutes, then serve.
This recipe is for two servings, adjust accordingly. This is a good base recipe; as your expendable income grows, you can diversify. Add fresh spices, use olive oil, throw in meats, veggies, you get the idea.
Over on Facebook I’m promoting my upcoming novel, I Blew Up Juarez. Every Tuesday until the book release, I’m gonna feature a character teaser. Last week, everyone met Phoebe Maclaggan, and this week, Mimi Deshpande, a tiny woman with a big attitude!
In this video, Mimi’s attempt to join a sorority is floundered when Johnny needs intel on her brother, Rockaway. WATCH [start at 10:22]:
Over on Facebook I’m promoting my upcoming novel, I Blew Up Juarez. Every Tuesday until the book release, I’m gonna feature a character teaser. Last week, everyone met Capt. C.E. Grant, and this week, Phoebe Maclaggan, professional homeopath and amateur mystic.
Phoebe’s that friend you have who’s always right, always speaking in hyperbole, always trying to prove you wrong. But she’s clutch when needed, and for that, we tolerate her.
Over on Facebook I’m promoting my upcoming novel, I Blew Up Juarez. Every Tuesday until the book release, I’m gonna feature a character teaser. Last week, everyone met Johnny Saucedo, and this week, Capt. C.E. Grant of the Army Criminal Investigation Command.
He’s the one I mentioned as my favorite kid. I gotta say, his is a world I enjoyed hanging out in. Painfully familiar, thankfully separated from, and praise Sonmi I’m not dating his type anymore! Psycho, with a capital O.
Grant’s a very dapper, debonair guy, and I used a lot of visuals to keep his image fresh. Imagine a segment of my wall covered in magazine cutouts and screenshots from the Internet. Pitfalls of the job. Swoon!