Friday, August 26, 2016

No One Panic... But It's Out!!!!

That's right ladies, gentlemen and cats walking across their owners' keyboards! Life is a Roller Derby Run by a Sphinx is out!

Grab your hard copy or your digital copy here!

A huge thank you goes out to cover artist Anthony Carpenter, graphic designer Paul Brand and editors Raquelle Potts and CarolBeth Hawn! Also, a huge hug and hearty high five to my readers, thank you for your patience in waiting for me to get this book out in print!

As always, I would love to hear your feedback through reviews and you can always find me or contact me through Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and instagram (@AtillaTheHawn)!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cookie Monster (Life is a Roller Derby Run by a Sphinx Preview!)

Hello everyone! I hope you have all had more fabulous weeks than the thought of the Democratic National Convention reenacted by William Shatner impersonators. 

Well, we are getting close to the release of Life is a Roller Derby Run by a Sphinx and so this week I wanted to give you a quick taste of what is to come. So for your reading pleasure, ripped directly from the pages of my next book, is Chapter 27: Cookie Monster.

27. Cookie Monster 

Some children are lovely little gifts from heaven. Other kids are more like trials sent to test parents’ perseverance, cunning and ability to get crayon off of a variety of surfaces. 

         I was more of the latter; I pretended to be a dinosaur during church, thought I was a Power Ranger and World Wrestling Federation wrestler all rolled into one (that poor furniture) and built very elaborate spaceships from everyday items and sometimes essential machine parts. 

         Not only was I handful, I was a rather clever one. I had learned to read at an early age and by the time I turned four I already had most of the Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children and The Hardy Boys under my literary belt. Add in the fact that I watched as many episodes of Murder, She Wrote and Matlock as I could find, and I was a regular criminal mastermind in the making. I gobbled up mystery stories faster than the newest Lone Ranger movie bombed and was forgotten.

Out soon!!!
         Of course, with my rambunctious little brain, I began to wonder if I could pull of a caper that not even Nancy Drew or Jessica Fletcher could solve! 
          I plotted, I planned, I drew schematics, I built models of vaults and banks out of Legos.

           Now keep in mind, at four years old you really don’t have to have an exact goal in mind. I wasn’t out to steal the Hope Diamond or ransack a museum for priceless art. I was just plotting crime in general.
           My parents, knowing I lacked the income and resources to pull off a liquor store robbery, much less a fantastical heist, weren’t too concerned about my little ‘flights of fancy’ into the heinous world of crime.
           I knew that my plans could succeed, as a Brain without a Pinky could, if only I had a goal to focus them on.

Then came the day my mother made her wonderfully delicious peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies. These cookies are melt-in-your-mouth good. If we could give these cookies out to every world leader simultaneously, there would be World Peace, because it’s impossible to feel aggressive or angry while eating one. 

She baked an entire batch in the afternoon, and I had been granted one cookie. The rest, she informed me, would have to wait until after dinner. I tried to reason with her, dinner was a full two hours away. My pleas went unanswered. I watched sorrowfully as my mom put every remaining cookie into the giant strawberry shaped cookie jar far back on the kitchen counter and wandered off to do something else. 

I stood in the kitchen staring daggers at that cookie jar, reveling in how unfair the situation was. I could still smell the cookies, and still had the taste of peanut butter and chocolate in my mouth. 

Suddenly, it hit me like a Mac truck hits a sleeping armadillo, this is what I had been scheming for! This was my crime of the century! Well… at least crime of the day… let’s be real here. 

I ran back to my room digging through my catapult designs, ideas for a mind-control laser and blueprints of someone else’s house that I had found while playing outside one day. None of it seemed to help my cookie situation. 

I snuck back towards the kitchen to do some reconnaissance. Crawling, army-style on my belly, I crept down the hallway, listening intently for any adults. No one was about. I stood up and wandered towards the kitchen counter, realizing that I was far shorter than it was and the cookie jar was all the way back on the counter near the wall.nMy thoughts turned to the kitchen chairs, which could be drug over, but I needed to determine where my mom was first, in case the noise would alert her. 

I found my mom in the living room folding clothing. I nonchalantly wandered in, “Hi mom, you don’t have any reason to go to the kitchen anytime soon do you?” 

My mother’s eyes narrowed, “Why?” 

“No reason,” I said as I darted away, congratulating myself on not making her suspicious at all. 

Back in the kitchen, I planned my route of entry. The chair would be too loud to drag, but if I opened the drawers like stairs, I could probably climb up relatively easily. 

I wandered back down towards my mother, who, still folding clothes, was now surely listening intently for something to explode. Again, as casually as I could, I asked, “Hey mom, you don’t have a reason to be in the kitchen, right?” 

My mom blinked at me a couple of times, “Is there something on fire in the kitchen? Should I be in the kitchen right now?” 

“Nope! Was just wondering!” I said, skipping back down the hallway, again impressed with my own dramatic non-mom-worrying skills.

I checked to make sure the coast was clear, and then I opened the first drawer. I looked around; no one seemed to be rushing down the hall. I slid open the second drawer, nothing. I flung the remaining drawers open with wild abandon and stepped up onto the counter.

There it was, the strawberry cookie jar, in all its red glory.

I lifted the lid and found a veritable dragon’s hoard of amazing luscious little treats inside.

I’ve never been a dainty person. The cookie carnage I unleashed would have made the Cookie Monster seem civilized by comparison. I stuffed, I crammed, I smeared. I had chocolate on my face, cookie crumbs in my hair and peanut butter residue on every piece of clothing I was wearing. The spoils of my crime were sweet, soft and delicious.

I was about halfway through enjoying cookie number seven when I heard it, “Allison, what are you doing on the counter?”

          Turning, my mouth absolutely stuffed with cookie, I blinked at my mother. How had she caught me? I had made sure to fool her into thinking that nothing was wrong in the kitchen! Why was she here!? There was still thirty minutes until dinner!

         She stood, hands on hips, surveying the disastrous scene, “Allison, did you eat cookies out of the cookie jar?”

        I blinked. Interrogation was not something that Nancy Drew, Jessica Fletcher or any of the others had ever prepared me for. Mostly they just caught the criminal, the criminal confessed and then they would get a sad, disappointed look from Angela Lansbury. I knew my mother’s punishment wouldn’t be a sad, sympathetic, yet also disappointed look. So I came up with the best Hail-Mary answer I could think up.

         “No!” bits of cookie spraying from my mouth, “No! It wasn’t me!”

         My mother let out a tiny snort, then collected herself again and said, “Now,” small amount of laughter, followed by a throat clearing, “I’m going to ask you again. Did you eat the cookies?”

          Don’t ask me why, even at the age of four I knew there was no logical escape, and yet, I found myself answering, “Nope! Wasn’t me!”

          My mother instructed me to come down off the counter and stand there for a minute, she would be right back. I obediently, for once, climbed off of the counter and stood, waiting for my punishment as my mom took long strides towards the hallway.

          I realize that she was trying to hide the fact that she was laughing, but I could still hear her. To this day, I will never forget her pained attempts to be a seriously upset parent as she snorted out from behind the wall, “Go,” chuckle, “to your room! Bahahahahahaha!”

         So what crumbs of knowledge can be extracted from the cookie jar of experience?

1. Laughter may delay punishment, but the punishment is still forthcoming.

2. If your child is planning heists at the age of four, you might want to pay closer attention to her behavior.

3. Sometimes the best-laid plans end with cookies and grounding.

If you want news on the upcoming book you can get updates by liking me on Facebook, following me on Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and follow me on instagram (@AtillaTheHawn)! You can also snatch up my previous two books here!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Behold, the Majesty!

Hello all, I hope you have all been having a more fabulous summer than the thought of a lemur reenactment of the Republican National Convention.

Well, I have some exciting news. Thanks to the amazing artistic powers of Anthony Carpenter my soon-to-be released book has a cover!

And here, to whet your literary appetites, is the blurb for the back cover!

Some people refurbish classic cars, others make quaint quilts, and a few still gather together to play Dungeons and Dragons in basements. 

Author Allison Hawn doesn’t have time for these pursuits. Instead, she spends her days dodging every weird, dangerous and surreal happening that the universe can fling in her direction. Follow Allison on her “bizarre magnet” life as she narrowly escapes the clutches of a giant territorial raccoon, barely avoids death by “burrito bomb” and pulls off the chocolate heist of the century. Find a hilarious escape from your reality by stepping into hers. 

There will be more news on the upcoming book soon! So sit tight, and while you're sitting, come find me on FacebookTwitter (@AllisonHawn), Instagram (@atillathehawn) and my books can be found here.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Laundry Room Blues

Hello all, I hope you have all had a more fabulous start to your summer than the thought of an elephant dressed as Elton John (he could be called "Elephant John," and this is why I probably need adult supervision).

Well, the summer here went from too hot to run in to too hot to breath in pretty quickly. This is particularly troublesome because my apartment's laundry has no air conditioning.

"Why don't you leave your clothes in there and come back when they're done?" you might find yourself wondering.

Unfortunately, like every other aspect of my life, the laundry room is yet another place where I cannot be a normal person and do normal things, like leave my clothes to wash and dry while I go back to my apartment to be a normal adult. Here is why:

One of the first months that I moved into my apartment, I thought just as you all do, "I can leave my gym clothes in the washing machine, no one will want to mess with dirty gym shorts..." and so I left my clothes, confident that when I returned they would be fresh smelling and ready to pop in the dryer.

Instead, I returned to find the washer I had been using open. My dirty gym shorts were still there, in fact, most of my clothes were still there. What wasn't there was any of my underwear.

Now let me clarify; women, have two different types of underwear. We have our "good" underwear and our "smeh" underwear. Our "good" underwear is flattering, form fitting, cute and relatively new. Our "smeh" underwear is what we wear to the gym, when we're lounging around alone at home or going somewhere we are relatively sure we won't be injured and have a possibly cute EMT see them at any point.

This load of laundry, being primarily full of gym clothes, was not just my "bad" underwear, it was the "three seconds from being thrown out" underwear. Add in the fact that the washing machine had started the cycle when it was interrupted, so everything in there was soaking wet, and you have quite the caper on your hands.

So, someone stole my dirty gym underwear straight out of the washing machine. As I asked others in the area to see if they had witnessed this, I found out that apparently this was an epidemic. There was a panty plunderer in our midst. As such, I did the responsible thing, and called the police, not because I wanted them returned, and I knew they wouldn't investigate, but I wanted them to be aware of the pervert wandering around who may escalate from stealing women's underwear to something worse (like stealing bras, those things are expensive!).

So, after giving the most ridiculous police report of my life. I went back to resolutely guard what remained of my laundry. It was then that things got weird.

Okay, things were weird already, but then it got to the "watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show while sleep deprived" level of weird.

I had been standing by my washing machine, suspiciously eyeing anyone who approached, for about five minutes when this short woman ran up to me and, while speaking rapid Spanish, thrust her baby into my arms before running off to fold laundry.

A quick note for those who don't know me. I don't like babies. I think they are cute from a distance, but even when it's a baby of someone that I know, I have little to zero desire to hold it. She apparently spoke no English, as I repeatedly tried to return her child to her, she would just ramble something in Spanish and return to folding laundry.

 So I stood there, with a child that I not only did not know the name of, I actually had no clue of its gender, wondering when this Hell simulator might end.

Apparently the Hell simulator was on "shop demonstration" mode, because out of nowhere this guy, with clean shaven head, beard that qualified as "ZZ Top length" and a giant swastika tattoo wandered up to me, "Hey... I heard your underwear got stolen... that really sucks..." 

So, a quick recap on the situation. I have had all my underwear stolen, I am stuck holding a baby of unknown name and gender and I am now being consoled about stolen underwear by a Neo-Nazi.

At this point, I figured, "Well, it can't get any worse, right?"

The universe loves to laugh at these thoughts. The Neo-Nazi suddenly changed subjects, "So... are you busy Friday night?"

I was about to attempt a reply when suddenly the baby hiccuped and puked down my arm. Granted, if there is ever a time to puke, it might be witnessing someone being asked out by a Neo-Nazi in a laundromat, but I still didn't appreciate the gesture.

Finally, after fending off my Neo-Nazi Nitwit, managing to give back the baby, and most of the puke, to the mother and gathering up my finally clean laundry, I was able to leave.

Now I go to the laundromat armed with mace. Excuse me, not "mace," I meant "a mace" as in one of those medieval weapons with the chain and the spiky ball on the end. It has the benefit of both occupying my hands so unknown babies cannot be thrown into them and keeping unwanted advances at bay.

So what socks of knowledge can be pulled from the laundry basket of experience?

1. If an officer asks, "What would you like me to do about your stolen underwear?" Responding with, "Well, nothing really, I mean if you see a guy wearing panties on his head, you might assume he's the culprit and talk to him. I just thought you should know about the creeper..." will make the responding officer nearly snort his coffee all over his notebook.

2. Apparently baby puke repulses Nazis, if only we had known this in WWII.

3. Laundry day is a dangerous day.

As always my adventures can be followed on FacebookTwitter (@AllisonHawn), instagram (@AtillatheHawn) and my books can be found here! Keep checking in for more news and details about my upcoming book "Life is a Roller Derby Run by a Sphinx!" 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Relocating My Dignity

Hello everyone! I hope that everyone has had a more splendid month of May than the thought of Prince and David Bowie performing a duet in heaven!

I have to say that my May was just dandy right up until the universe threw an obstacle in my way that I could not go over, under or around. Let me explain: I am a power-through kind of person, much like the Kool-Aid Man powers through a wall.

Life Motto
I just made it through a year of graduate school while working three to four jobs, keeping on top of my training for athletic competitions and maintaining at least some semblance of a social life to boot.

I recently found out that I fractured my foot some months back, but somehow managed to run on that foot 20 miles a week. I even was able to make it through a seminar on proper case note documentation without falling asleep once (though, I did rest my eyes on occasion).

The conundrum with this "can-do-and-do-and-do..." attitude is that eventually even the resilience Hulks among us hit the point where their minds and bodies just say, "NOPE!"

My "nope" moment happened last week. I was 60 hours into an 80 hour work week and had struggled through two days of security work, while wearing body armor out on concrete under the Arizona sun. I hadn't been feeling particularly well all week, but I consoled myself with the thought that if I could just make it through 80 hours I could collapse for an entire day afterwards.

My body had other plans.

I was on hour 10 of a 16 hour shift and had just broken up a fight between two drunk rednecks (rebel flag belt buckles included), when it hit. Suddenly, I felt like every cell of my body had declared war with every other cell in my body. My stomach hated my rib cage, my head loathed my spine and my chest had nothing nice to say about my back.

My boss took one look at me and said, "Go home, now."

I was in no condition to argue. Actually, I was in no condition to "go home."

I crawled behind the wheel of my car and through blinding amounts of pain (no literally, there were times I could not actually see the road), limped home.

Should I have called someone to come and transport me? Absolutely.

Does one think logically when one feels like an alien being is about to jump out of one's stomach? Not so much.

By some miracle I made it home, parked my car and made it inside just in time to effectively empty myself of every bit of food I had ever eaten, and possibly some that I had never eaten but that showed up for the party anyways. Having been stabbed, I can attest to the fact that the amount of pain I was in was worse than being stabbed.

After about thirty of the worst minutes of my life, I managed to crawl out of my work clothes, which left me essentially in Batman boxers and a sports bra, and clambored up onto my couch.

There I lay, curled up in a ball, passing in and out of consciousness and vacillating between, "Is this the end?" and, "I can't die! No one can see the state I just left my bathroom in!"

It was there, lying on my couch shaking like chihuahua on meth, when I heard a faint thudding noise. Someone was knocking on my door. Assuming it was the Angel of Death, and realizing my time had probably come, I somehow made noises that indicated whoever it was could come in.

A mysterious apparition poked it's head through my door, "I, uh, have a work order to change your air filter. You okay?"

Now, at this point, I was so out of it, that I honestly had no idea what was real and what was delusions brought on by what I later found out was a nasty stomach virus, compounded by heat exhaustion and a minor ear infection. I told the ethereal being that I was sick, but he entered anyways.

The apparition moved through my apartment and began doing something to my air vent that in my state I could not comprehend. At this point I was feeling particularly introspective about life so I asked, "Do you think we keep our personalities after death?"

"Uh... what?"

"Do we... keep our personalities after we die?"

"Uh... I guess so?"

"Oh good, 'cause I'd hate to be one of those perky-happy people all of a sudden."

The apparition continued about its mysterious business as I continued, "Why does pain exist?"

"Uh... gee... I dunno. You really must be sick, huh?"

I did not understand why the apparition was so useless at providing me with answers, he was not of this world, so he should have some insights into the matters of the mortal world!

I continued to assail him with all my, two-inch, deep questions before the apparition suddenly said, "I'm all done!" With a quick, "You feel better, ma'am!" it vanished.

Okay, it went out my door, but in my fuzzy brain, whatever it was went poof like a magician.

I then, thankfully, passed out. I woke up two hours later, still in massive amounts of pain, but also a little bit clearer headed. I got up to splash a little water on my face, which is when I remembered my apparition.

I've had sickness hallucinations in the past, and I quickly chalked it up to the amazing amount of pain and probable fever I was currently suffering. That was when I saw it: Sitting on my kitchen counter was a maintenance service slip and an accidentally left behind tool.

It then struck me that my apparition had actually been my apartment building's maintenance man. I had bombarded the poor guy who just came to swap out my air filter with a whole range of feverish babble and may at one point have told him that he was a "failure as an other-worldly being."

The only positive of being in as much pain as I was at that moment, was it completely overrode my sense of shame as I staggered back to my place on the couch.

So what lessons can be burned through the fever of experience:

1. Sometimes your body has just had enough. It is wise to learn the warning signs and rest before your body just says, "To heck with it!" and lets every available ailment overrun you at once like a Barbarian horde through a fence made of toothpicks.

2. There is never an apology so awkward as, "I'm sorry that while I was sick I thought you were a hallucination. I don't normally ask people to solve all the problems in the universe while I am curled up in Batman boxers."

3. One does not need to leave one's home to horribly embarrass oneself. Apparently shame has a door-to-door service now!

I am glad to say that I am among the land of the living and able to consume solid food again, and as such I have a quick announcement. My third book, "Life is a Roller Derby Run by a Sphinx" will (if the winds blow correctly) be released later this summer!!!

For news on this release, and to check out my other books, check back here, come join me on Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn), Instagram (AtillatheHawn) and Amazon!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In Defense of Us "Useless" Millennials

Hello everyone! I hope weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of a thousand toucans flying in unison to, "Purple Rain" (R.I.P. Prince, you will be missed).

Well, I officially finished my first year of graduate school!!! Which means I simultaneously feel like this:

And this:

After working four jobs all semester to support myself on top of going to school full time, I am exhausted. I actually got so tired at one point that I turned on the radio and realized I could not remember if I liked the song that was playing or not.

With everything going on in life I only had a moment to be irked by a video that I've seen floating around Facebook and other social media sites in the past week. Perhaps you've seen it, it's called "Gotta Love Millennials."

Well, now that I am not furiously trying to write papers while living on cheap gas station coffee, I have a moment to respond to this. Disclaimer: I do realize that the church that created this video has a "this is all fun and games" description below it. However, literally EVERY person I've seen repost this has said something to the effect of, "Isn't this so true?"

I am the dreaded 27 year old Millennial to which this song is referring. 

I have a college degree, which I worked hard to pay for (in fact I had four jobs, one of which was full time, my senior year while taking 19 credits). I worked three to four jobs over the next four years to pay off the remainder of my college debt. I am currently working four jobs to keep myself in graduate school. On top of this I'm a competitive athlete, author of two published books, not to mention my multiple journal articles and short stories that are also published, and am an active member in my community. I have my own car and my own place. 

But more than that; I have talked people off of literal bridges, held the hands of homeless men and women as they died and fought for human rights and justice issues.

Now, I know that I am speaking of my own experiences, but those are what I know. What I also know is that there are a lot of people my age who are doing more amazing things than I could even imagine doing. I am not the exception to the rule, there are a ton of people my age making, or at least attempting to make, a difference. 

Are there idiots in my generation? Of course there are, but there were idiots in every previous generation too. If there weren't we wouldn't be facing crushing national debt, serious environmental issues and a myriad of social maladies that were brought on before us Millennials even had the ability to say the words "social maladies." 

Hating on my generation does nothing to improve the status quo. You want to fix what is wrong in the world? Then stop belittling us and help us do it, damn it! 

Millennials aren't the problem, we are the future, and we are trying to make that future better. You can either stand there and laugh at us, or you can help us make that happen. Your choice.

As always my adventures can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and Instagram (@AtillaTheHawn) and my books can be found here!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

An Unusual Sport

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter/Beginning of Spring!

For those of you just tuning into the constant perplexity that is my life, aside from being an author, I am also a competitive athlete. Of course, when I say that people tend to size me and my five-foot-two-inch frame, and start guessing at what sports I could possibly be involved with.

So far people have guessed softball, weight-lifting for Hobbit-esque people and most confusing of all curling. Actually, I am a Highland Games competitor.

Okay, so basically I wear a kilt and throw heavy things, including giant logs (also known as a caber), in a variety of events.

Heavy Weight for Distance
No really, I wear a kilt and everything.

The Highland Games are a unique type of competition, not just because of their extremely Scottish heritage, but because, like the decathlon, when you sign up to compete, you don't just compete in one event, you get signed up for all of them.

This means that normally you're on the field participating in a variety of events starting at 9 in the morning and constantly competing until 6 pm. However, that isn't the only thing that makes Highland Game competitions stand out.

In fact, here are the things you could only understand as a Highland Games thrower:

1.  At every competition there will be at least one old Scottish clan leader (usually from a clan whose name starts with Mac) that must give a completely incoherent speech at the beginning of the games that everyone will respectfully listen to. At least six audience members will start clapping on accident because the old man has paused to remember what he was rambling about and people think he's finished talking.

2. First thing in the morning the lightweight category competitors have to weigh in, this means none of us have eaten breakfast and several of us have probably been dieting or fasting for weeks. Invariably before we can weigh in, one of the heavyweights will show up with four breakfast burritos that he or she (usually he) will eat in front of us. He will make it through at least two of his burritos before he notices all the death stares, and, through a mouthful of delicious, forbidden, tortilla and egg, ask, "What!?"

Sheaf Toss
 3. The event you are the worst at will always be the one that the largest crowd of people has gathered to watch.

4. There is no real way to prevent "caber bite" (when that giant telephone pole leaves little splinters in your shoulder). If you wear a sleeveless shirt you will end up with splinters. If you wear a shirt with sleeves you run the risk of the caber getting stuck on your shirt AND splinters.

5. There is always a flask of whiskey floating around, it wouldn't be Scottish sport without it.

6. You hope and pray that caber is not your first event of the day, because once you have put tacky (a sticky substance used for helping grip the caber) on your hands, you will be sticking to everything for the rest of the day. Also, do not try to give high fives with tacky on your hand, trying to free yourself from the other person is painful.

7. You had better like bagpipes, because invariably you will end up throwing right next to the tent where the bagpipers warm up and practice. Also, those pipers will, without fail, have to run through "Scotland the Brave," at least six times before the next group goes in to practice the exact same song six times too.

8. While we are technically competing against each other, no one really has a "take the others down" mentality. We mostly just compete against ourselves, trying to set new personal records and reach new goals. Even the competitors that walk onto the field and blow everyone else out of the water that you really want to hate are way too nice to actually hate.

Greatest Competitors (and Judges) Ever!
 9. If you want to see people in kilts swear a lot, come watch them try to throw hammer when the ground is too hard for the throwers to dig in and stabilize.

10. Sometimes you accidentally create new events. For instance, at these last games one of our competitors accidentally tossed her sheaf (a heavy bag meant to go up and over a pole) straight out to the side about thirty to forty feet. We dubbed this "Sheaf for Distance." Throughout the day we also had "Weight for Distance/Bowling" and "Weight Towards Beer Tent" that occurred.

If you ever have the chance to attend the Highland Games, do so, they are a lot of fun. And, if you have even the slightest inclination that you'd like to try competing in them, DO IT! We get walk-on competitors every year, and you will never find more helpful competitors to give you tips and pointers than at these events. And if you think you can't do it, think again:

This is Sarah, she is 70 years old and here she is throwing weight for height. So no excuses! So grab a kilt, and give it a try!

As always my adventures can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and my books can be found here!