Friday, December 26, 2014

Back Off Elf!

Hello all! I hope you all had Merrier Christmases than the thought of Santa and his elves doing a conga line to "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!"

Just a quick reminder, half of my profits from copies sold of Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus and Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor this month will go to benefit the efforts of SpokAnimal!

So snag a book and help out animals like BoBo here stay safe and warm! Also, if you're looking for a friendly fuzzy to add to your home, BoBo is available for adoption!

And now on to our regularly scheduled broadcast.

I enjoy holiday festivities as much as the next Christmas cookie and wassail consuming person. However, this week, as I was inundated with countless Christmas tunes, I suddenly began to realize just how creepy some of these songs actually are.

The more I listened to the lyrics, the more weirded out I got. Here are just a few of my festive findings:

Santa Baby

To start off, this song is basically a woman attempting to seduce Santa into giving her a car, a diamond ring, a platinum mine... basically she's the biggest coal-digger ever.

Then there's the fact that this song was originally sung by Eartha Kitt. Now, for those of you who don't know Eartha Kitt, she was one of the original actresses that played Catwoman in the Adam West Batman series. She also played the voice of the villain Yzma in The Emperor's New Groove.

This means that Santa is basically either being seduced by Catwoman:

Or Yzma:

I'm honestly not sure which one is a creepier prospect. I'll let you decide.

Baby It's Cold Outside

This song has more rapey innuendo in it than a Robin Thicke music video!

Originally sung by, what sounds like an incredibly sloshed, Dean Martin, the little ditty comes complete with lines like, "Beautiful, what's your hurry?" and, "Baby don't hold out."

The woman's responds with things like, "The answer is no," and, "Say, what's in this drink," which really take away any possibility that this girl isn't being seriously creeped on.

If the conversation that takes place in this song happened in a bar or restaurant, I hope nearby patrons would be looking this guy up on their phones to see if he is a registered sex offender and trying to get the girl a police escort home.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

"He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake."

Was I the only one who read Orwell's 1984?

Also, "You better not pout, you'd better not cry..."

Just repress your feelings children, bottle them up inside until you explode!

Frosty the Snowman

"Frosty the snowman knew the sun was hot that day, so he said, 'Let's run and we'll have some fun now before I melt away!"

Yay kids! Your magical anthropomorphic snowman just died!

At least in Frozen they figured out  a way to not kill Olaf.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland 

Aside from the creepy snowman propositioning that occurs mid-song ("He'll say 'Are you married' we'll say 'No man, but you can do the job while you're in town..."), the real creep factor in this song is word choice.

"Later on, we'll conspire, as we dream by the fire."

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary the definition of the word "conspire" is either, "To secretly plan with someone to do something that is harmful or illegal," or, "To happen in a way that produces bad or unpleasant results."

Apparently the people in this song have much more nefarious post winter exploration plans than I ever did. It seems they got away with whatever they were planning, though, as there was no sequel song title, "Walking Into Cell Block Six."

So what Christmas songs do you find weird or disturbing?

As always, feel free to come find me (in the non-creepiest way possible) on Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and Goodreads!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Let's Get This Show on the Road

Hello all! I hope your weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of a million elves doing the Truffle Shuffle to 'Jingle Bell Rock!'

Just a quick reminder, this month half of my profits from "Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor" and "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" will be going to help the SpokAnimal!

So buy a book and know you're helping fuzzies like Cinnamon here stay safe this holiday season. By the way, if anyone is looking for a lovable little ball of fluff, Cinnamon is currently up for adoption! So go snag this little eight-month-old guy!

Okay, I'll stop torturing you all with adorable kittens.

So as it turns out, being an author is not nearly as introverted a position as one would think. Good thing I'm only part hermit, because this show is going on the road!

I am excited to announce the first two stops on my winter book tour!

Saturday, December 20th (Yes, tomorrow, super late notice, but if you follow me on Facebook you'd have heard about it!) I will be at Monkeyboy Books, in Spokane, at 6:00 pm for a signing and reading! This is a joint event, as I will be joined by Spokane poet Mark Strutton and his gritty and poignant verses.

Then Sunday, January 11th at 3:00 pm I will be at Hyde Park Books in Boise, Idaho!

So if you're in Boise, come join us for some coffee, conversation and me making an absolute fool out of myself (which is what I tend to do in public).

I will be adding more tour dates here soon, so make sure you check here, Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn) for more updates!

Have a marvelous holiday week everyone! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Old and Rare Doesn't Mean Obsolete


Hello all! I hope your weeks were more splendid than the thought of a thousand reindeer doing a conga line to "Winter Wonderland."

A quick reminder, for the rest of this month half of my proceeds from "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" and "Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor" will be going to benefit SpokAnimal!

So help critters like Grizzley here find homes! By the way, Grizzley is up for adoption! So if anyone would love this little six year old ball of fluff, go get him.

So this week I'm diverging from my normal snarky, yet happy-go-lucky, post but it is for something that I believe is important. 

This past month owner of Spokane independent bookstore, Monkeyboy Books, Marina, announced that she may have to close up shop in the next couple of months.

I find this extremely regretable. Not only is Marina a great supporter of independent authors, but her store offers something unique; A chance to find real literary treasures and turn up wonderful memories in an atmosphere of calm, serene comfort.

Independent bookstores selling rare and old books, like Monkeyboy Books, give us something that no Barnes and Noble can provide; A chance to touch history, find the lost pieces of our own pasts and possibly discover a new adventure bound in a cover that has let others discover that same shared adventure.

We live in a society that has very little value for 'permanent' and 'rare.'

It's like our nation as a whole has a fast food mentality. New phones that will be obsolete in five months, old family recipes that have been reduced, stuffed with preservatives and packaged for four minutes of microwave convenience, even our relationships now can be decided with the swipe of a thumb across a smartphone screen.

What independent bookshops provide us with is a moment to wander through a setting that is both familiar and unexpected and provides us with something tangible, something real, something that will not easily go away.

Let me give you an example. My childhood was not exactly tiptoeing through the tulips (not complaining, just a fact). I faced trouble at school and at home, and one of my few escapes was through the world of books. When I was around four years old I found a book called Robin Hood

I sat for hours reading, and rereading, through the stories of the daring Robin Hood, the bold Little John, the cunning Maid Marion and the conniving Sheriff of Nottingham. The book had few pictures, but I didn't need them as my imagination took me on adventures that would stick with me well into adulthood.

It was while wandering through Monkeyboy Books that I happened to look down at a shelf of old fairy tales and legends, that I found the exact copy of Robin Hood that I had read so much that I literally cracked the spine of it as a child.

It was like running into an old friend and remembering all the wonderful things that you used to do together. Taking that book home and reading it again was a feeling that could not be emulated scrolling through pictures on Instagram or picking up some new cheap gadget from WalMart.

It's not just about supporting local businesses, though that is important too. Being a patron to independent book shops protects your right to have the option to find something unique, treasured and rewarding.

So please, find a local independent bookseller, one that makes you feel welcomed, comfortable, with just a touch of adventure and support them with your business. I promise you won't regret it. 

If you want to find out ways to possibly help save Monkeyboy Books, please visit them on their Facebook page.

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

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Creep

Hello all! I hope everyone had a splendid week full of clear roads, sunshine and warmth.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, I know that these things are basically a distant memory as we all wake up an extra twenty minutes early to scrape our windshields free of permafrost, take our Vitamin D, since we probably won't see the sun for months, and don our wind-proof parkas.

One Photogenic Cat
Just a quick reminder, half of my profits from Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor and Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus through November and December will be going to help the wonderful efforts of SpokAnimal.

So pick up a book for a gift, or for yourself, and know that you're helping animals like Mz. Boo, here to the right, stay safe and warm this winter. Also, Mz. Boo is available for adoption, so save me from becoming a crazy cat lady and adopt her before I'm tempted to!

Well, it is now officially December, which means that the holiday spirit has gone from being the dull roar that has slowly been building since October, to the full-on maniacal laugh of Christmas crazy.
Don't get me wrong, I think Christmas is all fine and dandy. At the point where it starts to invade my every moment for nearly three months, trampling other poor holidays into the dust, it becomes a bit much, though. 

Seriously, every store I walk into looks like it was taken over by Santa's clone army.

There is a house down the street that has so many Christmas lights on it I have actually used it to help give driving instructions to my place.

"Okay, you're going to see a bright glow off to your left. Follow the bright glow for about a mile or so. As you drive by don't look directly at it or you'll blind yourself, then take the next right..."

I honestly have no idea how those people sleep at night since it is probably daytime in their house 24/7 thanks to those lights.

Probably the most disturbing part of this Christmas chaos is the fact that I am currently being stalked.

No, it's not the creepy Santa Claus hanging out in the park with his burlap sack full of... I actually never wanted to know what was in there. I think the cops told him he couldn't hang out there anymore.

I am being persistently followed by "(In Winter It's a) Marshmallow World." 

If you've never heard this glittering little slice of Hell, I have included it here for you:

Sung by the most alcohol soaked member of the Rat Pack, Dean Martin, isn't that just a lovely piece of sugary sweet terribleness? 

This has always been one of my least favorite Christmas songs. With lyrics like "It's a yum-yummy world made for sweethearts," every time I hear it I just want to punt a reindeer. 

Here, just to get that out of your head now, here is my favorite Christmas song:

So as the Christmas music began to roll onto the radio, I was chagrined to find that "Marshmallow World" was the first festive tune that graced the airwaves in my truck. I switched to the heavy metal station so fast that I may have broken a pre-set button.

Figuring I had met my "Marshmallow World" quota for the season, I decided to pull up a Pandora Christmas station. Not only was "Marshmallow World" the first song that popped up, out of the first five songs that played, my Marshmallow Nightmare played three times.

I've stopped using Pandora for a bit. 

I don't own a television, but this past week I went to house-sit for a friend who does. I have not flipped on a television in over a year, but the first thing that popped up onto the screen was a commercial for Target with, you guessed it, a pop version of "Marshmallow World" as its background music. 

So when I went grocery shopping and stepped into the store to hear that I was going to be buying celery to the sounds of Dean Martin slurring out, "It's a whipped cream day..." I may have let out an audible whimper. 

There was no way to explain to the concerned store attendant that I was being stalked by Dean Martin, who has been dead for nearly two decades, and his persistent desire to let me know that, "The world is your snowball just for a song." 

If you need me for the next month or so, I will be in my apartment curled up in a ball rocking back and forth and listening to the Twisted Sister Christmas album on repeat.

What Christmas songs are plaguing you this season?

As always, come find my festive self on Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn), and Goodreads!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Literary Dialogue

Terrier (Unknown Type, Small) Mix Dog for adption in Spokane, Washington - Doots
You Know You Want To Cuddle Him

Hello all! I hope everyone had a more fantastic Thanksgiving than the thought of bunnies playing Monopoly!
Happy Turkey Apocalypse!

Just a quick reminder: If you love small fuzzy, not as tasty, animals, remember that fifty-percent of my profits for November and December from Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor and Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus will be going to support the efforts of SpokAnimal!

So snag a gift for a loved one and also help out adorable fuzzies like Doots here. By the way Doots is also available for adoption, so if you'd like a little bundle of cute, go snag this little guy.

Well, this past week I had a wonderfully unique experience.

I was invited to a little soiree at Monkeyboy Books to hold a signing and book reading!

It was an absolute blast!

As always, it is great to meet new people and be provided with a chance to make people laugh with my own special brand of misfortune and surreal experiences!

One such new person was Spokane poet, Mark Strutton. With hair that came down to his waist, kept under control underneath a sun-faded fedora, Strutton filled the evening with wonderful poems that spoke of the ills of the modern age, memories from years past and philosophical questions.

We took turns reading, though, as a comedy writer, I feel a bit like I was a clown delivering a eulogy to Mark's wonderfully deep poems.

It was an excellent literary dialogue though, he would read a couple of poems, then I would chime in with a story, and back and forth we went. It was a fantastic experience.

Thank you to all who came and said hello, and a special thank you to Monkeyboy Books owner Marina for hosting such a rad event!

As always, come find me on Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and Goodreads!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Keep it Classy

Australian Shepherd Mix Dog for adption in Spokane, Washington - Jagger
Hello all, I hope everyone is doing more splendidly than a rehash of Judy Garland's performance of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' performed by drunk squirrels.

Don't forget to order your signed copies of "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" and "Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor" by December 1st so that they can reach you and your loved ones by Christmas! Want to find out more? Click Here!

Also, half of my proceeds from either of my books sold during the month of November and December will go to help the efforts of SpokAnimal!

So buy a book and know that you're helping adorable animals like Jagger here get second leash on life (pun so very much intended). Oh, and by the way Jagger is up for adoption. So someone should go grab up this sweetheart before I have a weak moment and kidnap him myself.

One other very quick, and completely last-minute, announcement. I will be doing a book signing and reading at Monkeyboy Books this Saturday (November 22) at 5:30 pm! So if you're in the area come say hello!
Warning: Might Eat Your Soul
In other news, Spokane has officially solidified itself as the 'classiest' city in Washington.

How did we win such a prestigious, champagne soaked, title?

Well, not to brag, but we have not one tattoo and tanning salon business combo, but we have three. That's right, who in this day and age has time to wait for their tattoo to fully heal before they fake-tan themselves into oompa-loompa oblivion?

We also sport the only garbage eating goat statue, which resides directly in the center of one of our most scenic parks. The goat, designed to suck up your garbage when you feed detritus to it, also has the magical ability to sound like Satan may be opening a portal to Hell right there at your fingertips.

Still not enough proof of Spokane's classiness for you?
Police say murder suspect Brandon Mellon accidentally shot himself.
Credit: Huffington Post

Well how about our most recent appearance in the Huffington Post.

That's right, little old Spokane made it into Huff-Po... by being the town with the suspected murderer who managed to shoot himself in the leg trying to attack a police car that had just pulled up behind him.

And yes, that's a tattoo that reads, "Spokane" across his forehead.

See, Spokane even has self-arresting criminals, who are also proud of their hometown!

But truly, the biggest sign of our unflappable sense of 'fancy' comes from the conversations you can hear on the street.

Just the other day I was wandering down the street, in my high heels, full evening gown and mink stole (don't laugh too hard at that mental image, you might hurt yourself), and happened to hear this tid-bit of conversation:

"My mom and I just got in a fist fight at the Safeway... Why!? She took my Gatorade! She knows you don't mess with another person's Gatorade!"

That's right folks, classy people have their priorities straight: Blood may be thicker than water, but blood doesn't taste nearly as good as Gatorade.

Well, at least I can say I live in a town that provides me with plenty of writing material?

Do you think your town rivals Spokane in its 'fancy-ness?" Bring it, I will take you down like you just stole my Gatorade!

As always, have a fabulous week. If you need to find me check out my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and visit me on Goodreads!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Caustic Comments

Hello! I hope everyone has had an absolutely splendidly fantastic week, tantamount only to the thought of "Hunger Games: The Musical."

Just a couple of quick reminders: Part of the proceeds from all copies of "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" and "Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor" will go to benefit the efforts of SpokAnimal!

So if you want to feel good about a book purchase, know that you're helping feed puppies and kittens, and providing spay and neuter services for the pets of low-income families.

Also, if you are wanting signed copies of either book, for yourself or a friend, you can find out how here.

All right, onwards!

I am a bit of a gym-rat. I am there almost every single day. I own more pairs of workout pants and shorts than I do normal pants and shorts. I can tell you what my top kettlebell swing weight is (Russian or American, kilograms and pounds).

What constantly shocks me is the comments that I get from guys, as a female, while working out seem only to get more stupid by the week.

I feel like a lot of the comments that I, and other gym going girls, get, are things that seem like they should obviously not be said. However, since I have gotten all of these at one point or another (most of them even this week), apparently they need to be said yet again.

So guys listen up, because these are the things guys (and really anyone) need to stop saying to girls at the gym:

1. "How much weight have you lost? Because you look better now."

It doesn't matter if she's lost two pounds or two hundred pounds, this is not a comment a girl wants to hear. 

Okay, I'm going to play Devil's Advocate and assume you meant that as a compliment. However, what you basically said is, "You weren't attractive before when you had a little extra weight on you, but now that you're thinner..."

Believe it or not, most women don't go to the gym so random guys can track their weight loss or fitness levels. I know this is a novel concept, some of us do it so we can become healthier for ourselves. 

And yes, we will tell you where you can go and what stationary bike you can ride on to get there.

2. "Are you sure you want to lift that much? You might get bulky..."

*Points to the point made above.*

I hate to break it to you, but women are not working out at the gym to fit into some random guy's fantasy of what a fit woman should look like. We're doing it so we can be healthy.

Also, some of us just don't have enough craps to give about possibly being "bulky."

3. "You're not doing that right, let me help you..."

 Why thank you kind professional personal trainer taking time out of your busy day to... Wait, you're not a professional personal trainer?

Oh, and you actually have no idea that due to my being female I have to modify certain lifts because they don't make certain weight equipment conducive to a female figure?

You think my grip on the 45 lbs dumbbell is odd for a bicep curl? How about the fact that if I hold it at the normal angle I will end up with giant bruises on my boobs thanks to the giant plates the manufacturers unnecessarily put on them?

You think my feet are at the wrong angle for a squat? Well after blowing out my knee a few years ago I was instructed by doctors to use a modified stance so I wouldn't re-injure it.

So, in the ten seconds you've seen me lift you just assumed everything I was doing was wrong, instead of assuming I perhaps understand my own body better than you might? 

Did we, as women, ask for your unsolicited advice? No? Then don't give it, and stop touching us!

4. "You know this is the free weight area, right? The weight machines are over there..."

Really!? Wow, that's what all those big lumps of metal and moving parts are!? Heck, I just wandered over here on accident while looking for a giant pink yoga ball to sit and bounce on.

Seriously, guys, women lift. Some of us lift more than you. Get over yourselves.

5. "You shouldn't do <Insert Name of Lift>, it's not good for your lady parts."

Yes, I have had this said about multiple types of lifts, and by multiple males.

I was unaware that random guys at the gym had any reason to be concerned about my reproductive organs. If only they cared this much when we need help paying for birth control.

Also, side note: Lifting does not hurt our 'lady parts,' that's like saying that doing cardio is going to hurt a guy's sperm count.

6. "You lift a lot for a girl."

Nope! That sentence was three words too long.

I don't "lift a lot for a girl." I just "lift a lot." Period.

7. "You come here often?" (Or really any pick-up line)

I'm lifting heavy things, sweat is pouring down my face like Niagra Falls and I have headphones in.

What part of this visual screams, "Hit on me!?" because really all it makes us want to do is hit on you... with a barbell. 

So what can you say to women at the gym? Okay, picture what you would say to your friend who is a guy at the gym. Now, weed out all the comments about hot girls, and try those. In other words, treat us like people instead of your new gym goal.

I would love to hear any other fun comments people get at the gym! 

As always I can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@Allison Hawn) and Goodreads!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Books for Pets

Hello everyone! I hope everyone's weeks were as fantastic as the thought of a million kittens mewing to Cake's "Short Skirt, Long Jacket."

Speaking of kittens, every year during November and December I like to choose a charity that will receive half of my proceeds from my books sold during those months. This year, that charity is SpokAnimal.

SpokAnimal is more than just an animal shelter. Their focus is not only on rescuing animals, but on providing low-cost spay and neuter services to help prevent overpopulation. Furthermore, they host veterinary clinics for low-income families and for the pets and service animals of the homeless.

Every copy of "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" and "Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor" sold (e-book or tree-book) will help SpokAnimal keep up their excellent work both finding homes for cats and dogs and providing services that keep pets healthy!

On another quick note: I have received quite a few questions about how someone might obtain signed and dedicated copies of my books.

If you are wanting to pick up a signed copy of either of my books for yourself or as a gift for someone else please send me a private message on my Facebook author page. Let me know how many books you would like, which titles you would like and who you would like them dedicated to (make sure you spell their name correctly as I will be spelling their names exactly as you tell me). I will respond with where a check can be sent, and will ship the books out as soon as I can after I receive the check.

Books are $13.00 apiece, unless you want to order both "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" and "Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor" then it will be $22.00 for the two together. Shipping and handling is $2.50 for the first book, and $1.00 for each additional book (I can only ship in the U.S. at the moment).

If you are wanting books for Christmas gifts, please make sure you place your order and send payment before December 1 as that is when I will be sending out the Christmas shipment to make sure it reaches everyone on time! If you have any questions please either post them in the comments below or on my Facebook author page.

Of course, half of my proceeds from any signed copies sold during November and December will also help raise money for SpokAnimal!

Well, that's all for this week! Don't forget to look me up on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!

Friday, October 31, 2014

How Pringles Almost Became the End of the World


I hope everyone enjoys celebrating the best holiday of the year! Still need a costume idea? How about dressing up like this dashing fellow to the right?

In some positive book news, "Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor" did make it to the top of Goodreads' "Chick Lit for the Misfit Girl" list!

So a couple weeks back I was sick.

How sick was I? I had a fever that made me delusional enough to think I was talking to both Agatha Christie and Hugh Jackman over tea (the tea was non-existent as well, mind you).

I spent an entire week in bed unable to move because every time I tried to stand for more than about thirty seconds I had a chance of blacking out and waking up an hour later hugging my coffee table. (I don't know what my coffee table thinks our relationship status is now. I'm just not bringing it up and hoping that it doesn't bring it up either.)

I couldn't eat, could barely drink and spent most of my time sounding like a pug with sleep apnea. 

After three days of a water and two-whole-Saltine-crackers diet, I finally had my first craving for food and it was more powerful than the Death Star's tractor beam. I wanted... No, I NEEDED sour cream and onion flavored Pringles.

 Now keep in mind, this is really a strange craving. I rarely eat potato chips and never buy them for my own consumption. But that day I would have mugged a granny for a can of preservative laden potato crisps.

I couldn't drive. Heck, I could barely walk.

Of course, I had friends who probably would have happily dropped my food craving by, but they were all at work. I was finally hungry for something, and that, in my fevered and exhausted brain, needed to be solved now.

My rather addled mind somehow remembered that there was a convenience store on the first floor of my apartment complex. You know the type of place, they sell random items at a two-hundred percent markup? 

This was day five of my illness, and I had managed to shower twice, change my shirt three times and I had given up entirely on the concept of pants. I did not even have enough energy to try to beat my hair into submission long enough to get it into a ponytail. 

Yet I decided that I was going to get to that convenience store come Hell or high body temperature. Like Hercules tackling his twelve labors I began the task of putting on enough clothing that I wouldn't get arrested for indecent exposure.

First, I put on a shirt that lacked a giant red Gatorade stain from the times I had fallen asleep while trying to drink in the previous days. This took ten minutes as the many holes of the shirt continued to confound me more than German Existentialism confuses a duck.

Then came the pants. I got one leg in all right, but then found I had absolutely no energy left to put my other leg in. I sat there on the edge of my bed staring down at the half on pants, willing myself to just move in the correct order of motions to complete the task at hand.

It was only the thought of sour cream and onion Pringles that made the task doable. After another ten minutes, I had pants on.

I fought my way into a jacket and grabbed my keys and a five dollar bill. Giving up on socks entirely I opted for the commando approach to my skater shoes.

Finally, wearing legally enough clothing, I made it out the door of my apartment.

Technically, I made it out the door and made immediate friends, face first, with the wall across from my apartment door.

That wall and I stayed close buddies as I basically leaned on the wall and walked/slid my way towards my next obstacle; the stairs.

I stood at the edge of the great precipice, looking down the one flight of stairs that on that day seemed about as easy as a trek down the side of Mt. Everest on roller skates. It's really good that the railings in my building were apparently made for gymnastics routines, as I half walked, half lowered myself down one stair at a time.

The convenience store was out the door and around the corner. By the time I entered the small shop, I already felt like I had just fought off the minotaur using nothing more than a box of Cracker Jacks and a Monopoly board.

 Squinting around the small shop I saw a spot that seemed to be the 'salty snacky things' section, and launched myself in a staggering trajectory towards it.

I stood there, swaying like the palm trees in a Jimmy Buffet song, blinking at the chips shelf. There were canisters of Pringles lined up; original, barbeque, cheddar-cheese... No sour cream and onion.

There was a gap on the shelf in between a couple of the flavors, the tag below identifying that this was the spot where once the Holy Grail had rested.

I had faced the struggle of getting clothed and making the journey with the kind of bravery and determination of an Olympic athlete, and now here I was bereft of my gold medal.

My fever had again climbed to a triple-digit number and all four of my remaining brain cells could not comprehend the unfairness of the situation. My eyes began to tear up.

That is when the poor store owner found me, the most pathetic version of Cousin It he had probably ever seen, about to lose my composure and what was left of my mind over a missing can of chips.

"Can I help you find something?"

I looked up at him, the sweat from the fever matting hair to my face, my face pale and gaunt and my bottom lip trembling. I lacked the energy, or in fact the working brain matter, to ask for what I was looking for, I simply pointed.

The store owner looked at me for a second and asking, "You sick?"

I nodded, still pointing.

"Ah," then he looked down at the shelf, "Oh, are you looking for some sour cream and onion Pringles? I might be out. How about one of these other flavors?"

My bottom lip quivers got bigger and he quickly finished with, "You know what, never mind. I might have some in back!"

He dashed off, obviously worried that I was going to die in his shop and he would have to explain to my friends and relatives that it was all because he had failed to produce chips fast enough.

I heard the sounds of boxes being ripped open, things being shifted and even a few thuds. After a few minutes, a dust and sweat covered store owner came out panting, "I found one!"

 I mustered a muttered, "Thank you," as I paid for the last can of Pringles.

The store owner just looked down at me, as I stood there, swaying and holding the chips close to my myself like Linus and his security blanket, "Well... umm... don't die?"

Nodding, I slowly turned, resetting my next trajectory in the general direction of the door.

I hugged the can of Pringles close to my chest the entire return journey, apparently afraid that in my feeble state some hooligan might come and steal them in the ten yards back to my apartment.

I gave up attempting to walk up the stairs, instead half crawling, clutching the can in one hand and using the other to help propel myself upwards.

I don't entirely remember how I made it down the hall back to my apartment. I'm sure walking was involved at some level, but judging by the bruises I found later, it was a safe bet that the wall had to help me at certain points via solid reinforcement.

By the time I got my apartment door open I was way past feeling woozy. I felt like someone had drugged me with chloroform prior to hitting me on the noggin with a sledgehammer. 

I walked out of my shoes, my jacket dropping to the floor behind me in a little trail of victory to my bedroom.

Still fully clothed, I plopped face-first into bed, my arm still holding my precious Pringles out beside me. My epic journey was complete, I had succeeded in my quest.

Lying there on my bed, my tiny feet dangling over the edge of the mattress, I fell asleep.

I woke up some seven hours later, the unopened can of Pringles still clutched in my hand. I slowly turned my head, popped the top of the can, and proceeded to kind of half shovel some of the chips into my mouth.

Indignity never tasted so good.

So what lessons can be wiped from the brow of experience?

1. If you're so sick that pants become too difficult of a puzzle for you, it's probably not a good idea to attempt to leave your home.

2. If you want excellent customer service, make your hair look like you spend much of your time sticking forks into light sockets and start to cry over very small issues like a missing chip flavor. Boy howdy will you get some awesome help then!

3. Sometimes we don't make the greatest decisions when we're sick. It's unfortunate that another side effect of being ill is that we can't judge when we are making those terrible decisions.

If you want to see the kinds of things I do when I'm not sick, come find me on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bigotry Is Hard To Sweep Under a Rug

Hello everyone, I hope your weeks have been more spectacular than the thought of a troupe of Zumba dancing hippos!

Well, I realize I'm kind of the last one to the GamerGate examination wagon, that's what you get when you're incomprehensibly sick for over a week.

For those of you who don't know, GamerGate started out as an outcry over breaches in gaming (as in video games) journalism integrity. What it quickly descended into was a group of very loud misogynistic trolls screaming that women should stop complaining about how women in video games are portrayed.

How bad are these trolls who enjoy attacking women?

Well, two female game developers, Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu, left their homes because they were being threatened with violence and rape (including posts on Twitter that included their home addresses).

On top of that, noted gaming social examiner Anita Sarkeesian had to cancel her speaking engagement at Utah State University because angry male gamers threatened a massive school massacre if she spoke.

The Apparently Villainous Anita Sarkeesian
 In response, there have been quite a few supporters of GamerGate who have basically said, "Well, it's a loud minority that are being the issue! It's not all of us!"

So, today, I'm not here to talk about the original intentions that GamerGate may or may not have had. I'm not even going to address the trolls, because I think that their gritty little minds have received quite enough attention already.

No, instead I wish to address anyone who finds themselves clinging to a movement, like GamerGate, and saying, "But it's not all of us!"

In fact, I want to address the people involved in any religion, activist group, political party or social movement who find them using the phrase, "But it's not all of us!" GamerGate is just a recent example so it is the one I will use.

I am going to give you all the benefit of the doubt; your intentions were to improve the quality and integrity of journalism surrounding video games. You honestly want a fair shake in the gaming industry that you love. That is valid.

However, where any claim ceases to be valid is when the extremely offensive "vocal minority" almost completely drowns out the claimed "quiet majority."

Really, if you want to protect the integrity of your movement, claim or idea, then you have to have enough people in your movement willing to stand up against those that don't demonstrate your interests.

Thanks XKCD For Showing What Not To Do Here
 If all you do is whine, "They are misrepresenting us," but you don't offer any form of condemnation of their actual actions or a voice for redefining the image of your movement, then how are people supposed to hear your original point?

I hate to break it to you, but if your movement becomes rampant with people doing terrible things, but you don't speak against them, you just kind of ignore them, then you might as well agree with them.

Imagine I walked up to you on the street and said, "I'm a member of Movement X! We're all about peace and harmony!" then ten seconds later Mr. T walks up to you and screams, "I pity the fool who doesn't join Movement X!" and punches you in the face.

Now instead of me saying, "Oh, he's not related Movement X, we don't have anything to do with him!" I instead say, "Oh, yeah, he's part of our movement too, we needed the extra support. I mean, he has some wacky ideas that don't support our original image, but whatcha gonna do?"

Is your image of Movement X that you should join right away because it will lead you to a happy utopia full of rainbows and unicorns, or would you prefer to just go get some ice for your face?

Back to our example of GamerGate: The same thing happens when you have members claiming to be a part of your movement threatening acts of violence so severe that women are scared out of their homes or cancel lectures. If your response is not to say, "They aren't part of GamerGate" and instead saying, "But that's not what GamerGate originally stood for! That's not all of us!" you are missing the point.

Remember, the phrase, "It's not all of us!" means by admission that it is "some of you." And if you don't stand against their behavior, then that "some of you" will be what everyone sees. 

So, to all those crying that the intentions of GamerGate are being misconstrued, might I add this one little piece of advice: Either distance yourself from them and become louder than those spewing vile threats and vitriol around or realize that your movement has been overrun with vile trolls and abandon ship.

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!