Friday, November 22, 2013


Hello! I hope your week has been going better than the thought of a rendition of the musical "Chicago" performed by specially trained pygmy bunnies.

One excited reader, Dan, sent this picture of his copy brand new copy of "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus:"

Thanks for reading and sharing, Dan!

Thanksgiving is next week, which means I must finally admit, as I have been in denial since late October, that the holidays are upon us.


As much as I would love to hold onto my Grinchy attitude until at least next Thursday, the fact that we threw our holiday party for our participants yesterday kind of put the kibosh on that. 

So, in the spirit of every holiday between Thanksgiving and New Years, I donned my ugly sweater and set off to work to decorate and be merry, while not allowing myself to be killed by a giant fake Christmas tree.

What you can't tell in the picture is that this sweater sparkles. My ADHD kicked in super hard that day and I caught myself being distracted by my own sweater multiple times.

We planned for 60 people to show up, we got somewhere between 80 and 100. Somehow we managed to feed everyone and have enough crafts for all of the kids to participate. 

My coworkers made one small error yesterday. I warned them, "I am not good with kids. No, really, anyone under the age of about twelve and I do not get along well."

All of my coworkers laughed it off. How could I not be good with kids, after all I often work with adults who act like children? 

Their disbelief in my lack of child handling abilities translated into me being placed in charge of a crafting station where kids could come and make a simple ornament. After about ten minutes I was completely covered in glitter and looked like I had just thrown a rave with crafting supplies. 

One little boy walked up to me and I smiled and asked, "Would you like to make an ornament?"

I swear, that was all I said, "Would you like to make an ornament?"

He completely melted down and started sobbing at the top of his little lungs (by the way I think kids have more lung capacity than an elephant, just saying, I'm not sure he ever took a breath). 

The mother was looking at me like she expected me to do something. Having no clue what to do I just said, "So... that's a no on making an ornament then?"

My coworkers decided I was probably better at helping keep the food line moving smoothly instead. Overall, though, it was a success, even despite one little kid pulling the fire alarm. I'm glad that we were able to provide some holiday fun for our ladies and their families. 

Speaking of which, in the spirit of the holidays I have decided to donate half of what I make from "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" during the months of November and December to help support the work of the YWCA. 

The YWCA helps women, men and their families who are victims of domestic violence, families facing homelessness, those facing discrimination and a variety of other disenfranchised populations rebuild their lives. I'm choosing to donate to this organization because I believe in their mission to help a person not only survive adversity, but continue on to thrive. If you want to see the impact this organization is having check this video out. So if you buy a book, know that you are also supporting an excellent cause!

Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderfully restful week and enjoy a heavy dose of turkey on Thanksgiving! 

I can always be found on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads

Friday, November 15, 2013

To Infinity and Beyond

Hello all you lovely folks! I hope your week was more fabulously bizarre than the thought of William Shatner tangoing with Cher.

I'm not going to lie, I spent an hour of my day at work traveling around the offices using only a rolling chair for transportation. My boss has never been so proud that she hired me, I'm sure. 

I want to give a quick shout out to the lovely group of ladies who hosted "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" and I at their book club this past Tuesday. It was wonderful chatting with everyone! Thank you all for reading!

This week I had the opportunity to interview science fiction author George Sirois who wrote this tome:

George Sirois' "Excelsior" has everything young, and older, science fiction fans could ask for. It has an underdog hero, evil alien villains, interplanetary space travel and enough room for a readers' imaginations to run rampant. "Excelsior" tells the story of an unlikely hero, Matthew, who finds himself thrown into a role much bigger than he could ever have dreamed. Readers who enjoyed books like Gary Paulsen's "The Transall Saga"or Christopher Paolini's "Eragon" will find "Excelsior" worth their time.

So, without too much more meandering, an interview with George Sirois.

1. Where did you find inspiration for writing "Excelsior?"

I started developing this character in 1992, after seeing the 1981 John Boorman movie Excalibur. I'd been working on a group of characters since 1985 and wanted to add someone new. He was to be a mythic figure, a god made into human form, with a sword. I took elements of Jesus Christ, King Arthur and my childhood hero, Optimus Prime. I always loved the word "Excelsior" - it's on the New York state flag, it's featured in Star Trek III, IV and VI, Stan Lee uses it to end his Marvel Comics bulletins - and it seemed to be the right name for someone like him.

2. Did you base your main character, Matthew, off of anyone specific, is he conglomeration of multiple people or was he entirely imagined?

Matthew was a combination of myself and my cousin, Matthew Peter Henkel. He passed away in 2005, and he was always a hero to me, having dealt with cancer and then going on to be an Eagle Scout, a volunteer firefighter and an EMT. I wanted to honor Matt by naming my main character after him, and I used elements from my own childhood for earlier moments, when the character Matthew was unsure of himself and his abilities. 

3. What music did you listen to while writing these adventures?

 Mainly film scores. I've been a fan of them all my life and I put together a special playlist of songs from Thirteen Days and Dark City by Trevor Jones, Hoffa by David Newman, Clear and Present Danger by James Horner, Transformers by Steve Jablonsky and King Arthur by Hans Zimmer. 

4. The planet on which most of your plot unfolds is called Denab IV, what happened to Denab's I, II and III?

Denab I, II and III still exist. They're the three closest planets to the sun of that star system. When Excelsior first created the system, he chose the fourth planet to be the "jewel" of all the planets of Denab, the only one that could sustain life.

5. If you could play Mario Kart with one other character from "Excelsior," which one would you want to play against and why?

I would play against Nick, the bully that pursues Matthew's friend Thomas. He's someone worth playing just so he can be humiliated. I enjoyed writing the villainous Krunations, especially General Hodera, Danaak and Nocterar. But I hated Nick for the kind of guy he was.

6. This book is billed as being for young readers. Have you found that has actually been your main audience thus far, or have you had an equal or greater amount of adult readers as well?

There's been a good mix. I never wanted to say "you've never seen anything like this before," because I already know that you have. At least the men and women of my generation have seen this kind of story before. It's my take on Campbell's "Hero's Journey," but younger readers aren't as familiar with that template and when I recently spoke to a grade school classroom, I could sense a great deal of enthusiasm from the kids. 

7. What was the most difficult part about writing "Excelsior?"

Accepting the fact that every chapter is not perfect after its initial writing. 

8. What other works do you think fed into your writing style the most?

 Great question. I grew up reading a lot of movie tie-in adaptations, and I've always felt that my style was very cinematic. I see my stories as movies that I don't have the budget to put on the big screen. 

9. If you had to choose between fending off an angry mongoose with nothing but a broken waffle iron or read all of the "Twilight" series in English, Swahili and Portuguese to the sounds of iced tea being stirred, which would you choose?

Bring it on, Mongoose!!!

If you are interested in "Excelsior" you can find it here, Amazon and for the Nook or if you are interested in finding out more about George Sirois you can follow this link.

As always, if you want to follow my day to day escapades you can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

We Have a Winner!

Well, hello everyone! I hope everyone had a week that was more fantastic than the thought of rapping weasels.

I will dispense with the pleasantries because I know why you're really tuning in today, you want to find out who won a free signed copy of this lovely book:

This winner of this week's contest for her Facebook participation is Casey B!

If you are not Casey, don't worry, there will be more contests in the future.

Speaking of "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus," here's what reader Diane Snyder had to say about it:

"There are a few things one should know before reading this book. Don't read it at the library. They will kick you out for laughing too loud. Don't read it while people in your home are trying to sleep. Same reason!

I found this to be a wonderful book. It is several short stories that end with the life lessons Allison has learned from her experiences. It is obvious that she has chosen to see the humor in her life and we certainly benefit from it. The short stories make it a perfect book to take anywhere you want a momentary escape, although you do have to be immune to the stares you will get from laughing. Here's hoping she will have many more unusual experiences that we can read about in her next book!"

Well, as this has been a crazy week, full of a plethora of writing material, I will be keeping this week's post brief. Congratulations to Casey B!

Don't forget you can always follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads, where contests sporadically pop up!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Dark Knight Has a Meltdown

Hello! I hope everyone had a better Halloween than the thought of thousands of bats squeaking along to the tune of "The Monster Mash!"

A couple weeks ago I mentioned I would holding another contest, and I finally got off my tuckus and set that up! You now have a chance to win a signed copy of Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus!

 If you are interested in entering, it is easier than cutting through butter with a lightsaber. My Facebook author page has around 250 likes. If I can get that number up to at least 300 likes before next Saturday (November 9) I will be selecting a person at random from those likes to receive a signed copy of my book!

Head on over to my author page, like and share it and make sure you're in the running to win!

Well my favorite holiday was this past week. Halloween, sadly, nearly always falls during the work week, which makes celebrating it a little interesting.

My Halloween day started when I went to the gym and was met with a clown at the front desk. I am not a huge fan of clowns, and can you blame me?

I just can't trust anyone who wears that much make-up and smiles all the time, which is probably why I would never trust Kim Kardashian. Also, can someone please explain to me why clowns pockets are so big? Is that where they are keeping the children they steal?

Anyways, 5:30 in the morning is far too early to be faced with clowns. Just saying.

At work, however, the daycare that is situated below our offices brought their munchkins up to do a little office Trick or Treating.

The kids were adorable. I got to watch as Spiderman got his mask on a little sideways and walked into a wall, Thor wiped his nose on his mighty hammer and a "demon-fairy" (her description, not mine) bit a very confused Ninja Turtle.

Probably the best one that I saw, however, was this little boy dressed as Batman. He was walking along and stepped on his own cape, which came off. He totally lost it, "My *sob* cape came *sniffle* off!"

Yep, that is exactly what Batman does, "Alfred! *sniffle* My glove *sob* has a *sniffle* hole in it!"

It was only after the daycare teacher reattached the cape and the little ladybug behind him in line gave him half of a package of Smarties, was the Dark Knight ready to combat the forces of evil again.

Did anyone else get to witness any adorable munchkins on Halloween?

Don't forget to enter the contest on my Facebook page!

You can also follow me on Twitter and Goodreads!