The Last Unicorn


The very last printed copy of I Blew Up Juarez sold Friday night! 

“Were You Expecting Faeries and Unicorns? My Bad.”

We write. We have periods. So what?
We write. We have periods. So what?

How is it still fascinating to people that women can write fiction? Action, suspense, thriller, crime, dark comedy, etc. are not exclusive to cockbearers. In fact, the capacity to tell stories or write prose has nothing to do with genitals! And yet here we are, 2014, still discriminating against writers because of their sex. I know it’s inherent, it’s conditioned, it’s assumed decorum, to marvel over a woman’s achievements in a predominantly male field, but just because it’s your habit doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it.

In recent correspondence, an emailed compliment included the phrase  “…for a woman…”, which caused me immediate stomach pain. I fake-appreciated the adoration from an older man, who, as he paid for my book said, “So you’re the authoress!” in a tone really meant to express, “So you’re my hot Latina nanny!” Ay yay yay…

Then there’s the guy who’s gotten all his socialization cues from porn. Somehow the relay of my business card to the gent turns into a, “So what’s up?” followed by a wink and an overt head nod towards his car. I use this card for promotion, not prostitution. I’m glad the new prints only have the website and my business email address…can’t imagine how many “U up” texts I’d receive had I left my number on there.

And women…SISTERS…you are really bad at helping promote your own! Women can be criminals without having some gruesome, sex-related trauma catapult their character forward. Sheesh, the amount of victimhood women look for in their anti-heroes. Aren’t you sick of the “Good Girl Gone Wrong” arc? I sure am! You were looking for someone to cry herself to sleep every night after a day’s work? Sorry, try the next aisle, you’ll find that bullshit between Melissa Bank and E.L. James.

Yeah, I look fantastic in nothing but knee-high boots. You’re right, I do have a pretty mouth. But don’t let the tits and ass distract you, I also write great fiction.



Von Simeon, International Woman of Action!

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.

Holding a proof of my debut novel. Quite a moment.
Holding a proof of my debut novel. Quite a moment.

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.

Kava helps to work down my nerves.
Kava helps to work down my nerves.

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.

Gotta love living in walking distance to a public library.
Gotta love living in walking distance to a public library.

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?

The Story of Creation, According to Von

A mother of five nervous children gathers her brood in a small cave. They’re hiding in the woods, biding time until the hunt for the family passes them by. To soothe her babies, she closes in towards them and says, “I’m going to tell you the story of how life began eight billion years ago.”

Stop right there! Eight?? Von, you’re wrong. Life began FOUR billion years ago.

Are you sure?

What is science fiction writing except a creative way to ask the question, “What if?” In my story, life did begin eight billion years ago, ushered in by a cataclysmic event known locally as Brahman’s Clap, known to us as The Big Bang Theory.

( Dr. Tyson experiencing the Big Bang on the Ship of Imagination
( Dr. Tyson experiencing the Big Bang on the Ship of Imagination


In my story, life exists on Earth, and it began four billion years ago. However, we were slow to develop. Other universes, other worlds, developed faster.


There are sci-fi absolute-ists, sci-fi relative-ists, as well as sci-fi theorists, sci-fi philosophers, even sci-fi dictators. These genre writers, the company I keep, employ the skill of thinking scientifically – exploring, experimenting, observing, notating – to create worlds.

My science fiction writing is a fun experience, but I also challenge you to think, to draw conclusions, and develop a plausible result on your own. I want to encourage discovery and exploration with my work. I don’t want to be “like…” or “as…” my science fiction predecessors; I want to move forward, bring the story of creation into the 21st century using discoveries of the last few decades: quantum mechanics, anti-matter, nanotechnology, metaphysics, dark energy and others.

( Did you know Dr. Sagan loved to smoke marijuana? Wish I could've sparked one with you, Professor!
( Did you know Dr. Sagan loved to smoke marijuana? Wish I could’ve sparked one with you, Professor!

The Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey reboot has really encouraged me to enhance the content of my yet-published works. Just finished watching this past Sunday’s episode covering the topic of natural selection. The question of  artificial selection is introduced in my upcoming release, and carries over into the next book. While the protagonist is disillusioned with humanity, several supporting characters remain in awe of it. This is something I champion: in order to enhance the human experience through the 21st century and beyond, we must maintain a state of awe.

If you’re feeling cynical, as I tend to do, merely revisit the original Cosmos episodes with Dr. Carl Sagan (on last I checked) or the 2008 Discovery Channel mini-series, “When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions.” I have it in my Netflix queue.

Tonight, look up to the stars, and while you’re looking up there, wave to the scientists on board the International Space Station. Yeah, we did that. Isn’t it awesome?

UPDATE 03.18.14@14:15CST:
I just LOVE when a posited theory becomes evidenced right when I’m about to release a book referencing it!! Thanks Universe. 😀 Read the news here

Beginning Of The End

The original notebook where it all began, 2011. Notice the two titles? Under I Blew Up Juarez is Book 3’s working title.

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:

Your Best Friend Lives In Your Head

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!