Friday, October 17, 2014

Sick and Twisted

Hello all! I hope your weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of a tornado made of marshmallow fluff.

So this past week, thanks to basically working in a giant petri dish, I ended up with a lovely combination of illnesses.

I will spare you all the grisly details, let's just say that I have a much more accurate count of how many tiles are on my bathroom floor than I did a few days ago.

Me For Four Days
 It was, while suffering with an over 100 degree fever, that I tried the first time to brainstorm a list of topics for a blog post.

What resulted was the most ADHD and delusional group of non-sequitur ideas I think I have ever produced.

Here are some of the blog post ideas I actually wrote down:

"Write about feminism and stuff."

"How does cheese exist? - Answer: Because it's amazing!"

"Write about why the 'Fantastic Four' isn't that fantastic."

"Do gerbils dream?"

"If I can't do the Can-Can, does it become the Can't-Can't?"

"Why bedsheets that get all twisty are evil."

"Cheese" (Nothing else, I just wrote the word "cheese" off on the side of my notebook.)

"Why Pringles are superior chips for single people."

Needless to say, I think it's a good thing I didn't write "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" and "Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor" while suffering from a fever of 100 plus degrees.

So, here's your writing tip of the week: If you are really, really, delusion and sick, writing is a bad idea (unless you write surrealist literature, then go right on ahead!).

What have been some of your best/worst ideas thought up while sick moments?

As always I can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and Goodreads.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sucked In

Hello all, I hope you all had weeks that were more fantastic than the thought of Conan the Barbarian singing "Let It Go!"

So this week I have two excitingly rad things for you all.

First, "Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor" was given a five star rating and review by Gary Stout of Readers' Favorite!

"I highly recommend Life is a Pirate Ship to anyone who can read. Seriously, whether you need an emotional lift, have nothing better to do, have something better to do but want to put it off, or you're just wondering if you're the only person in the world that seems to be a magnet for the bizarre, then you have to read this book."

For the full review go here

The second is that my good friend, Charissa Dufour, has released her first book, "Sucked In!"

For anyone who loves fantasy, vampires, humor and not taking things too seriously, you should grab a copy of this book! Of course, don't take just my word for it. Take it from Charissa herself who I snagged for a quick interview!

1. What inspired you to write this story? 

My husband and I were sitting on our back porch, making fun of Twilight, and one of us said “what would happen if Stephenie Meyer was suddenly turned into a vampire only to learn that vampires don’t sparkle.” A half hour later we had the bare bones of the plot. Many years later I had a finished book.

2. What sets your vampire story apart from other vampire stories? 

I think the main thing that sets my vampires apart from others is that they don’t take themselves very seriously. In many books, vampires are high drama, life-or-death sort of creatures, and while my characters find themselves in life-or-death situations, they generally laugh at their foes and smack them with car parts. This will be even more prevalent in Sucked Away, the second installment in the series.

Another key contrast between my story and others vampire stories, is that it’s not all about sex with these guys. They even talk about it. In fact, in Sucked In, there is not a single sex scene. This is a big change from most urban fantasy novels out there today. In our generation, sex sells. The saying is cliché because it’s true. I wanted to see if I could break that trend. But enough time has been spent on my soapbox.

3. How much of your character’s personalities are modeled after living people, and how much of them was fiction? 

I wish I could say something like “fifty-fifty” but that would be a lie. Pretty much any character worth mentioning is based after someone in real life. There are a few exception, but I leave that to the reader to figure out which ones are real and which are total figments of my imagination.

Even Ashley is a mix of me and our lovely Allison Hawn (hence the last name being shared).

Perhaps one of my favorite characters who is based off a real life person is Jordan. Jordan was my best friend in high school and supported my writing since the very beginning. I remember in high school, he would ignore the teacher so that he could read the latest chapter of whatever novel I was reading at the time. *shshsh, don’t tell my teachers* There was no question that he would appear in my book. Though the character Jordan doesn’t look anything like the real-life Jordan, there are some very key character traits taken directly from the amazing man I’ve had the honor of knowing.

4. You write a fiction-based blog. Can you tell readers a bit about that?  

So the wonderful Allison Hawn pushed and pushed me to start a blog. She can be a bit naggy. I tried a tradition look-into-my-life-and-opinions blog and hated every minute of it. I didn’t find my blog posts interesting, so why would anyone else? Much sooner than I’d like to admit, I gave up.

Insert more nagging.

Finally I took a plot line that had been simmering in the back of my mind ever since I took it out of an old draft of a book and turned it into a series of journal entries. Sometimes it is tough to write these journal entries in a way that bridges normal, descriptive fiction and how people actually write in journals—all feelings and emotions and whatnot—but I think it is working. Sometimes I struggle with holding myself back. I want to just spill all the plot out at once, because it is such a great story. Someday, I may turn it back into a book. We’ll see how things go.

5. If you had to pair your book to a song, what song would you choose? 

I know it’s lame to say “I don’t know,” but I really don’t. I even broke down and asked readers what they thought. Didn’t get many responses. So how about a song that I associate with myself, which sorta works since this book is a lot of me!

"Dirty Minds" by Here Comes the Mummies:

6. If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?  

Anytime I asked for advice, everyone just said “write what you know,” which I think is a bunch of baloney. Obviously, being a human who lives in the real world, I don’t know any actually vampires or werewolves or medieval knights or kidnapped women being sold into marriage with foreign princes (that’s my blog!).

So here’s my advice: write what you want to read! A book I hope to have out this summer started because I didn’t like how another author finished their plot. Through many rewrites and much hair pulling, I ended up with a creative, original plot. This coming book is now one of my favorite, best written pieces of fiction. It didn’t start with a very noble beginning, but beginnings seldom are. 

7. How does it feel to have your first book out and available? 

Unlike most authors, I didn’t have a build up to it, I didn’t do the week of “it’s almost here” or “coming soon.” I went to poke around the Amazon self-publishing options and the next thing I knew I was hitting the “publish” button. It was kind of a shock for me and everyone else, and therefore I think I’m still in shock.

It just hasn’t set in that people are actually out their paying to read my words, fabulous as they are!

8. If you had to choose between fighting a rabid wolverine using only a block of cheese or being stuck in a room listening to nothing but the sound of iced tea being stirred for thirty-six hours straight; which would you choose and why? 

While fighting a wolverine with a block of cheese would make a better story after the fact, I think I’d choose the iced tea. The clinking of ice isn’t that annoying. It is survivable, even if it would give me a headache. Fighting a wolverine could be dangerous. What if it chewed off my fingers and I couldn’t write anymore—no thanks!

Don't forget to pick up your copy of "Sucked In" today! 

As always, if you need to track me down, I can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@Allison Hawn) and Goodreads!  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tattoos, Charity and... Oh My...

Hello! I hope all your weeks have been more marvelous than the thought of "Whistle While I Work It" performed by pugs dressed as the Avengers.

Can you guess what song may have come on my Pandora playlist while writing this post? (And yes, I did the dance.)

You know what also makes me dance? Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor is almost a month old and so far the reviews have been awesome!

If you haven't snagged a copy don't fret can head on over to Amazon to get one.

So anyone who has met me pretty quickly discovers two things about me:

1. I like supporting various non-profits via volunteer work and fundraising.

2. I have a slight addiction to tattoos (and by "slight" I mean I'm up to ten pieces thus far).

Seriously, if you have tats, look up this group!
 Where these two things intersect is The Modified Dolls.

The Modified Dolls is a international organization of tattooed and modified women out to break down the negative stereotypes around body art by volunteering and supporting charities and our communities.

To that end another Spokane Doll, Melissa, and I hopped in a car and went down to the Tri-Cities for the Three Rivers Tattoo Convention to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of America.

It was absolutely rad. We met some awesome people, watched some people get some excellent artwork done and raised over $250 for the charity.

Of course, my presence there, as the magnet for all things weird in the universe, meant that we got all the bizarre crazy people too!

There was the guy who wandered up to our booth, stared at us, didn't say a word, then just ambled away. We were graced with his silent creepy presence about six or so times.

This is What Nerds do at Tattoo Conventions
Then there was the girl in the parking lot who asked my caffeine delivering savior, Caleb, and I our opinions of Oregon strip clubs, bars and casinos (keep in mind, the convention was in Washington).

The one who takes the cake, however, I met, well kinda met, out in the parking lot when I stepped outside for a quick breather.

Drunk at 11:00 am on a Sunday, this train wreck on heels staggered up to me, said, "Hi," and koala bear attached herself to me.

There were plenty of people in the parking lot from both my convention and the two others that were going on that day, but no, she decided that I was the best person to latch onto.

I stood there, quasi-stunned, as this woman, definitely half a foot taller than I, let all of her sloshed weight hang on me like the most rum-soaked Christmas ornament ever.

I sighed and started to see if I could talk my way out of this, "Can I get my arm back? No? How about my torso? Can I get that back? No? Okay..."

I slowly began to pry her off of me. I got her legs back on the ground, and was working on getting her arms unwrapped from my body when she suddenly said, "We should go to a strip club!"

It was at this point that her friends found us, one of whom asked, "Hey! Who is your new friend!?"

I glared at him and he said, "Oh..." and coaxed her back to her own conference.

What lessons can we learn from our disorderly friend?

1. There are usually several social steps between, "I've just met you," and, "Hey, let's go to a strip club!" that shouldn't be ignored.

2. It's not the people at the tattoo convention you have to worry about... it's those bankers at the banking convention that should make you concerned.

As always, you can follow my adventures on Facebook, Twitter (@Allison Hawn) and Goodreads!

Oh! One last thing! My brothers, Jonathan and Donovan turned 21 yesterday!!! ...And now I feel old. Happy Birthday you two! Just remember, I knew you when you were younger, I remember what you did and I have proof!

And this is pretty much how I'll always remember you: 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weapons for Everyone!

 Hello all! I hope you have all had a better week than a thought of Game of Thrones: The Opera!

"Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor" has been out for nearly a month now, and so far the feedback I've been getting from readers has been awesome!

In her review reader Charissa said, "Even better than her first book. A group of real life stories that will keep you giggling all day long!"

Your very own copy of "Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor" is only one Amazon click away!

Well, for those of you who don't know, I transitioned jobs about three months ago. I am now the Security Coordinator for the largest homeless shelter and drop-in center in Spokane.

What does that mean? Basically, I'm the floor case manager. I keep everyone calm and and spend a majority of my time doing emotional triage.

For instance, this past week I got in the face of gang banger, who was at least a foot taller than me, and told him if he didn't behave I would make sure he didn't get cake for a week, and then reminded him where he could get a voucher for a new ID.

He sat quietly for the rest of the day before he went to go get his new state ID.

One aspect of my job that I have to check in or confiscate any and all weapons that I see. So far the items piled up in my office have been fascinating, and often at the end of the day I find myself pondering the life choices that I made to end up sitting with half of a skateboard under my desk.

How strange are the items I end up with? Here, check it out for yourself, and believe me this is not even close to an extensive or complete list:

Sword - I originally thought the sword was a fake plastic one until I picked up and realized, nope, that's a real sword. The super delusional person who it belonged informed me that it could magically keep away, "Communists and prosthetic chicken leg salesmen."

Hat Rack - Because why not bludgeon in style?

Knife Carved Out of a Salad Tong - "Hey, why do you have a salad to-- Is that a knife!?"

The Leaf From a Table - Somewhere there is a person whose table will forever only be able to seat four people, never six.

Glitter and Rainbow Paint Covered Metal Rod - At least this person wanted to bring some joy to the world with his deadly weapon.

Chainsaw - "I don't care that it's out of gas! You can't bring it in here!"

Crossbow - Again, not a toy, but an actual bolt shooting crossbow. No, I have no clue how this person obtained a crossbow. What I do know is it got to sit in my office for a good long time.

The Duck Mace - As in a metal rod that someone had tied a string to and on the other end of that string was a rubber duck. I wasn't going to let someone go medieval with a duck mace.

The Handle to a Lawn Mower - We have no idea where the rest of the lawn mower is, and to be honest we don't want to know.

A Can of "Fresh-Laundry" Scented Febreeze - It was used to both mace people and bludgeon them, but left them smelling fresh and clean!

All in all, the job is going fairly well, chainsaw aside. Does anyone else have any fun work confiscations they'd like to share?

Remember you can always find me on FacebookTwitter (@AllisonHawn) and  Goodreads!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here

Ahoy mateys! Today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

This be one of me favorite holidays! When else can ye threaten to keel-haul someone!?

Don't be forgetting, if ye need something extra to hoist yer sails, then swoop in and grab yerself a copy of "Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor!" Don't be a land lubber, get yers smartly!

No need to mutiny to raid some of this treasure, just set yer heading fer Amazon!

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day go get yerself some grog and make merry with these pirate facts (after yer done dancin' the hornpipe, a'course)!

1. Pirates didn't often bury their treasure.

Most pirates, immediately upon landing after a raid, would split up the bounty between the members of the crew. Also, keep in mind that a lot of the goods pilfered were things like coffee, fruit or other foodstuffs that would not have stored well. Pirates smelled bad enough on their own, they didn't need rotting food to help with the stench. Sorry land-lubbers, no maps leading to buried treasure!

2. Pirates were not a long-lived sort.

The average career lifespan for a pirate was about two years. The whole lack of hospitals to treat things like gunshot wounds or scurvy had a tendency to make piracy a very short-sighted career choice.

3. Piracy is older than one might think.

There is documentation of seafaring pirates all the way back to ancient Greece. In fact a group of pirates once captured Julius Caesar and held him for ransom (not realizing who he was). After he was released he had every one of the pirates captured and executed. I wonder if they still said "Arrr!" in ancient Greece?

Anne Bonny ~ Seafaring Badass Woman
4. There were women pirates, who were feared just as much, if not more than their male counterparts.

Anne Bonny and Mary Read were two of the most notorious pirates of their day and were rumored to have fought harder and with more ferocity than any of their male counterparts. Lady Ching Shih ran a Chinese pirate fleet that numbered in the hundreds of ships.

5. Naughty pirates rarely were forced to walk the plank.

If you were caught disobeying one of the many rules on board the pirate ship you were most often just thrown overboard, left on a deserted island or keel hauled (drug across the bottom of a barnacle encrusted ship).

6. Pirates piercing their ears was not just a fashion statement.

It was the widespread belief that piercing one's ears with precious metals improved one's eyesight. Bet you didn't see that one coming.

7. Most pirate crews offered worker's compensation for injuries.

Any limbs, fingers or eyes lost in a raid would gain you extra portions on the plunder on most ships. Not only did you get compensated, but you were often assured that you would not lose your job, despite your injury.

Thar ye have it! Don't forget to lay anchor and come ashore to survey me Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and Goodreads!

Friday, September 12, 2014

What a Release...

Hello all! I hope your weeks were more fantastic than the thought of rainbow dyed badgers learning to dance the Running Man!

Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor has been out for nearly a week!!! And so far I'm hearing some pretty rad things about it from readers! Of course, you don't have to take my word for it, you can take a see for yourself!

I have a quick round of thank you's to go through.

First off, thank you to Sweatshoppe Publications and editor Craig Hart for not putting both Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor and Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus in the dreaded slush pile, but picking both for publication!

There is a hearty raised pint of ale thank you also to artist Anthony Carpenter and cover designer Paul Brand for their excellent job on the cover!

Thank you to Charissa Dufour, Shayna Shute and CarolBeth Hawn who all helped with the initial editing before the book went to my publisher!

Also to all of my friends and family who have offered their support of my writing, thank you! And finally, a huge thank you to my readers, without your interest neither of my books would exist.

To be my absolute cheesiest: 

So the number one thing I have been asked is, "Are you excited about your book being out!?"

What people don't realize is the that when they ask that question they are touching on the very tip of a complex iceberg of emotions.

The short answer is, "Of course I'm excited that over a year's worth of work has resulted in my publisher not laughing me out of his office and actually putting my words into print!"

The much less short answer is this:

Yes, I'm excited... and anxiety ridden, happy to have the book out, terrified of what release week looks like, bouncing off the walls with energy, worried I didn't do enough preparation/publicity/take enough Prozac, trying to stay motivated enough to continue publicizing, desperately trying to keep myself from sitting and clicking the "refresh" button to see if my Amazon rankings have changed...

Release day for an author is exuberant joy, extreme trepidation and every major emotion in between rolled into one. I have been a public speaker, sung jazz, performed stand-up comedy; but by far the most terrifying thing I have faced is both of my books' release days.

So, yes, every author is excited for their book to come out, but there is a reason we often look like we tried to style our hair with a blender and have yet to discover that our shirt is backwards and inside out on release day.

It is totally worth it though, particularly when I hear such wonderful things from readers! So, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my books! It means the world to me, and I will thank as many of you as I can in person when I eventually get my hair untangled from my blender.

As always, come find me on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!

Sunday, September 7, 2014