Saturday, July 27, 2013


Well good afternoon ladies and gentlemen (unless you live on the other side of the planet, then I'm terribly sorry for waking you up)!!!

First off, the contest to win a signed copy of Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus and get your own writing a spot in my next book is still going on!

All you have to do to enter is complete the sentence, "Going through airport security is like..." in either the comments below or on my Facebook page! I've gotten some awesome entries so far, but would love to see what ya'll can come up with.

Well this has been another lovely week of crazy following me wherever I go. 

It all started out on Monday when I had to call the government tech support for a program I have to use for my state reporting at work. 

What I was expecting was some bored sounding tech support person who was going to ask me a dozen times if the reason the program wasn't working was because I had forgotten to turn my computer on. 

Instead what I got was a very gruff female voice that said, "Ya, what'd'ya want!"

If I had to guess, the woman on the other end of the line was raised in New Jersey, had been smoking since birth and probably belonged to a bowling league called something like "The Skull Crushers." Pretty much, if I had to guess at what she looked like in person, this is what I would imagine: 

I explained the issue the program was giving me and I heard some keys tapping on the other end of the phone line followed suddenly by, "Alright toots, so the program is completely FUBAR-ed (if you don't know what that means, go ask a Marine) on our end. Give us the afternoon and I'm sure Jerry can fix it. Hey Jerry, put down that ping-pong paddle, we got a program on the fritz! Alright sweetheart, give us a few hours and we'll get it back up and running." 

And with that she hung up the phone. Apparently her threats to Jerry worked as a few hours later I was able to file my state reports.  I have never before been called "toots" by tech support, that was definitely a new one.

This wasn't the strangest event of my week, though. I was out and about in downtown Spokane when I was approached by one of the scariest transvestites I have ever seen.

Now when I say "scary" I don't mean wielding a pickaxe and chasing after a man on a motorcycle type of scary transvestite like Dr. Frank N Furter. 

No, I mean her wig was on practically sideways, she was wearing olive green shiny tights that were testing the very laws of physics as they tried to contain everything and it looked like she had applied make-up by trowel, trial and error in the dark that morning.

I could smell waves upon waves of rum as she approached me. She teetered on her heels as she glanced down at me and said, "Daaaarling."

From experience, let me tell you, when a drag queen starts out with, "Daaaaaarling," it's never good.

She nearly fell over with her first word, but righted herself and managed to slur out, "Girl, your hair just does not look right. That is the worst dye job I have ever seen! Get that fixed!"

Then she teetered off down the street.

I wasn't really sure how to break this to her, but my hair isn't dyed. In fact, I haven't dyed my hair since college.  Apparently though, I need to go get that fixed.

Add in the lady who told me that in a past life she was a dark elf fighting hobbits and the small child who attempted to color on the walls in my office, and it was an interesting week to be sure.

Did anyone else have bizarre happenings this week? As always I would love to hear about them!

Remember you can follow my exploits on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Conundrum is an Awesome Word

Hello all! Well, we survived another week without alien invasion or Godzilla attack. I think we should all count that as a success.

Just a quick reminder. I do have a contest going on that will not only garner a winner a signed copy of "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus," but the winner will also have their own writing talents showcased in my next book.

All you have to do to enter is complete the statement, "Going through airport security is like..." in either the comments below or on any of the Facebook posts about it. I've already gotten some awesome entries, but keep them coming people!

So I stumbled upon this little gem of a book recently:

Author John Hartnett captures a wonderful slice of family life in his book "The Barber's Conundrum." Vacillating between commentary on parenting, lampooning magazines and televised news and providing snarky tips for restaurant owners, this collection of essays and anecdotes will leave you smiling. Hartnett's writing is easy to relate to and great for either short reading spurts or a longer time spent curled up in a cozy chair.

What is even better is that I was able to snag an interview with author John Hartnett!

What motivated you to start writing? 
Do you mean besides having an excuse not to fold laundry? I've always had a love of writing, books, movies and art and even before putting pen to paper, I was always "writing" jokes and playing with words in my head to use in everyday conversation.  I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a comedy writer and that was the impetus to start.

Regardless of how many books I sell or how many people read my work, mentally and emotionally, I need a creative outlet in order to feel fulfilled.  It's a big reason why I started my humor blog, The Monkey Bellhop.  I try to post new material there at least three or four days a week.   Also, writing makes it easier to justify not working out.  I run hot and cold with exercise.  Right now, my body is telling me it has hypothermia.

 If you could rewrite any book or movie as a musical, which one would it be and why?

Great question.  I think I would take a crack at turning "The Catcher in the Rye" into a musical because the day it opened, I would go to the cemetery where J.D. Salinger is buried so I could find out once and for all whether people really can turn over in their graves.

What was your favorite part about writing "The Barber's Conundrum?"

Finishing it!  I did everything myself including copy editing, layout, cover design, etc.  It wasn't because I thought I was the most qualified person for the job, I'm just notoriously cheap.  In retrospect, I don't recommend being your own editor or cover designer, unless you have real skills there, and hope I don't have to do it again.

I did feel a great sense of accomplishment in putting it all together but the best part overall has been the initial reaction to the stories which were very positive and encouraging.  The reviews on Amazon have helped me to have faith that there is an audience for my book.

I made a decision very early in the writing process not to use any profanity or to write about anything overly offensive since there's already a lot of that material out there.  I'm not a prude or anything, it was just a choice I made about my work.  I think that as a result,  the appeal has broadened a bit to a much wider demographic than I had initially envisioned.  I have had parents tell me that their kids got a kick out of the school stories like The School Project: An American Tragedy, Making Homework History and The Only Child Rearing Book You'll Ever Need.

Your book is in the running for the Amazon Best Indie Book Awards, how excited are you for that?

I'm very excited. As an independent self-published author among a virtual sea of independent self published authors, I'm honored and more than slightly amazed to be recognized at all.   I try to do as much outreach as I can to promote my book, as all independents have to, but there are days where you feel the odds of anyone "finding" your book are greater than discovering a message in a bottle in the middle of the Atlantic that contains all 5 winning Powerball numbers.  I tell people that marketing a self published book is akin to a salmon run made all the more difficult because the salmon representing your book is also deceased. 

If you had to choose between eating nothing but custard pie for the rest of your life or being stuck in a room with  a very annoyed gorilla for a day, which would you choose?

I would probably go with the gorilla as long as he is not a term life insurance salesman.  Or a trained custard pie chef.  You didn't clarify, so unless that's the case, I'll go with the gorilla.  One thing I don't need is one of those O Henry like twists to mark the end of my days on Earth.  I want something fast and easy.  My goal is to just find myself in Heaven and the first words that come out of my mouth are, "What hit me?"

Thank you John! For those interested in picking yourself up a copy of "The Barber's Conundrum" you can do so via Earlybird Press, Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.

"Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" is getting some awesome reviews!

Amazon reader FromtheAshes says: "Allison's talent at seeing the random and hilarious side of every situation provides the reader with sore sides and a refreshed mind. This book is perfect for those moments when you're looking for a short, but light-hearted, read. The stories are entertaining and the lessons at the end of each are sure to amuse and make you nod your head in agreement. I look forward to reading more from Allison!"

Thank you again to all the readers who write reviews, as a first time author they make a huge impact!

As always, feel free to follow my daily adventures on FacebookGoodreads and Twitter!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Write Yourself Into Infamy!!!

Good evening! I hope everyone had a superb weekend and at least somewhat survived Monday.

Considering this morning I ended up applying foundation to my armpits before I realized that the bottle I was holding was not, in fact, deodorant, we can guess how my Monday went. At least my armpits were pretty today, right?

So I'm afraid this past weekend went blog-post-less because all of my brain cells, in unison, decided to go on a vacation to Tahiti. I really wish they would have taken the rest of my body with them, jerks.

Well first thing's first, Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus has been added to the Barnes and Noble catalog! Isn't that spiffy!?

Now to the more important bit, how would you not only like to win a signed copy of Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus, but showcase your own creative writing talents in my next book?

If that sounds supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (and yes, as a person with dyslexia that is a HARD word to spell), then read on!

This sometimes happens:

I was writing this past week when I ran into a moment where I started one of my similes, and got stuck for a second. It wasn't a long second, but it was long enough for this thought to pop in my head like a gremlin cooked in a microwave, "You know what, maybe someone else would like to give these a shot?"

So here's the contest, we are going to play a game of Complete the Simile. The person who comes up with the funniest and most creative end to, "Going through airport security is like..." will receive a free signed copy of Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus and their excellent simile, with credit given of course, will go into my next book! 

I promise the book I am offering for this contest is not the one with the teeth marks from my moment of velociraptor-like excitement.

If you would like to enter, either leave your entry in the comments below or on this Facebook page in reply to any of the posts that mention this contest! Share this contest with your friends, it won't be any fun if only a few people participate!

Come on people, show me what you've got!

Remember, you can always follow my off-kilter exploits on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

You get a gun and I get a... lipstick tube? Golly, thanks.

Well hello all you internet sojourners who have happened upon this page.  I hope everyone had a super, non-personally-flammable and alien free Independence Day! (Though, if you have any pictures of alien encounters, feel free to send them my way.)

In Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus news, I am contemplating recording an audiobook version of the book! I already asked people on my Facebook page for their opinion, and they seemed really interested!

So, therefore, I will posit the same question here, would anyone be interested in an audiobook version of this book?

Feel free to leave me your opinions/comments here or on my Facebook page, either way I'd love to hear what ya'll think!

Now on to the heart of today's discussion: The portrayal of women in fantasy, action and sci-fi.

This is actually something that has made me want to smack my head into a brick wall for quite some time now, but it was brought to the forefront of my prefrontal cortex when a good friend of mine linked me to this amazing video:

I am a huge geek, in fact as I am writing this post I am listening to John Williams' soundtracks in a room that is completely decorated in superheroes. I read comic books, I watch sci-fi, fantasy and action movies and I will be the first to correct you if you mess up on a random Star Wars fact.

So don't get me wrong, this is not the opinion of some ill-informed noob.

 Now before everyone gets their knickers in a twist, I will admit that there are some well dressed, well armed women in these genres.  Take, for example, the Invisible Woman or Harley Quinn.

And that is the key word "some," as in "only a select few."

Susan Storm Richards, Dr. Harleen Quinzel M.D. and only a hand basket full of others are sadly the rare exceptions to the rule.

For the most part women in fantasy, sci-fi and action genres tend to look like this:

Do we get the idea yet?

I have several very practical and logical problems with this.

The first thing I have to say to this is; for all of their apparent powers, talents and strengths, heroines haven't quite figured out the "pants" concept yet. Seriously, you don't see many superheroes or warriors running around in their underwear! Well... except for maybe Superman...

But even then he did have pants, he just never figured out the order of operations for normal human clothing.

Who in their right mind would want to go fight against the forces of darkness in their underwear? I mean, who thinks, "There is an army of orcs headed this way, better lose my pants, take off my shirt and pick up a battle axe!?"

Granted, the ancient Celts (my ancestors) did engage the enemy in battle naked, but that was more for a shock and awe value. And I have to say, not many people want to see a bunch of hairy, ale guzzling, white men running at them nude. It's just not a fun mental image.

Unless this is some mystical underwear that can protect you against swords, bullets, fists and giant robots, at least consider wearing more clothes than a Hooters' waitress?

Then there is the fighting in heels bit. I have had men actually try to explain to me how this is both feasible and logical. Having been in martial arts for a good portion of my life let me tell you, there is nothing logical about this:

All I can think when I watch this video is, "And now Cameron Diaz has, at the very least a sprained ankle and now has who knows how many blisters on her feet."

When I was involved with Taekwondo a few years back, one of my fellow students was a guy who not only claimed that walking in heels was (and I'm using his words), "Easy-peesey-lemon-squeezy," but that he could do a double spinning back kick in them.

I took his bet. We found him some 4-inch pumps that magically fit his man feet. He scoffed and claimed that it was easier to navigate in heels than he had thought, as his legs wobbled a bit as he tried to walk. Then, he lifted one leg for a kick and suddenly found himself lying on the floor looking up at the bright lights of the ceiling.

I don't care how coordinated you are, you cannot fight in heels!

Then, there are the ridiculous, nearly physically impossible, poses that these fighting females end up standing in.  To show how ridiculous this is blogger Jim C. Hines actually endeavored to recreate the poses he saw on the covers of comic books, sci-fi and fantasy novels and movie covers. Here are some of his results:

 There really are a million more points about women's portrayal in these genres that I could make. Unfortunately, my caffeine-powered focus is beginning to wear thin. 

Before I leave you all however, there is one more point I believe that should be brought up. Why are all the women portrayed skinny-minis? 
Now, don't get me wrong, I know some thin very powerful women with an amazing amount of lean muscle. But let me tell you, if you look like you live off of a diet of half a stick of celery with water for dipping sauce, you are not going to be taking on gangs of thugs, super villains or armies of goblins with any measure of success.

Would it be so bad to have a super heroine (aside from She-Hulk) who was built with a little more to her than spandex and blond hair? Would it be crushing to the plot to have a warrior woman who looked like she weighed more than the battle axe she's brandishing?

Well I will get off my soap box now. As I said at the beginning of this post, I would love to hear your opinions on the audiobook option. I would also love to know what other silly things you've seen in movies, books, video-games and pop culture art regarding the ways women are portrayed!

As always, feel free to follow my misadventures on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads!