Finding Freedom (Pre-Release)

Hey Readers! I’ve got my first book on pre-release at Smashwords!

I’m excited and nervous, and all sorts of amped up about this!

The book, Finding Freedom, is a sort of guide book for felons on how to find their path to freedom again. It’s based largely on my own experiences and on a lot of research that I’ve done over the last decade or so while trying to forge my own path back to society.

I’ve also included basic outlines of laws from state to state in the United States, which will be most helpful to those who have stayed out of trouble for at least three to five years and have only a few convictions on their records.

And guess what! You guys get a private coupon code to use so you can pre-order the book for only $1.00 (USD) !

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Just find the book at your favorite ebook retailer, and when you’re in the checkout, enter the code above to get your copy for just one buck. It expires with the pre-order period, so act fast to get it at this great price!

I’ll be back soon with more updates!

Love and peace,

Aza

Spiritual Experience Search

Hey Readers! I’ve been busy adding to my books, and there’s no update on the ticket situation yet, so I’ve been slacking on my posts again. I’m sorry, but I’m back now, and a ticket update is coming up very, very soon. I go in to talk to the court later this week, so keep your eyes peeled for that, because it will be either one of my best days, or one of my worst. We will just have to wait and see.

Now, as for today, I wanted to get you guys involved in my now current project (I just finished the roughest of drafts about my family’s World War I letters – more on that once I’m closer to publishing it), a book on spirituality and perspectives. I’m currently working on including a section that features experiences with spiritual, religious, and supernatural forms. This includes (but is not limited to): demons, angels, deities (gods), ghosts, orbs, shadow people, reincarnation recalls, successful spells (from ANY magic inclined system), and just about anything that you can think of that is associated with ANY religion or things that have really changed your spiritual perspective.

What do you get out of it? (I’m pretty sure you’re thinking that, if not, well, that’s awesome too) Well, there are actually going to be a couple options here, and you can pick both. Isn’t that pretty cool?

You can get a tiny bit of personal fame by allowing your given name (real one or an appropriate for a published book screen name – cuz I’m cool but professional like that) to be attached to your story either directly next to your story, or just in the references and sources area. It’s totally up to you, I get wanting anonymity too – just let me know what you’re going for and I’ll make it happen. Also, I will ensure that you get a free copy of the book once it is published! I will need a working email to be able to do this easily though, so see my email address as listed here in a bit and drop a note so I know where to send it when it’s ready.

In addition (who would have guessed it???) I will now share one of my own experiences here.

I was around five years old when this happened, and it’s probably the fourth scariest experience I’ve had in that house.

Strangely enough, it was early in the morning, with sunlight streaming through the upper windows into a shared bedroom that was on the second floor. The set of windows did not have any sort of roof or anything anywhere near them yet, that would come at a later time. And that’s important for reasons you’ll see in a moment.

My parents were already downstairs preparing breakfast and cleaning up whatever mess in the kitchen sink that had been left for the morning. I was alone upstairs, playing with toys and generally minding my own business. I always loved that early morning light in that room, it’s just so comforting in it’s own way. New day dawning and all  that. Now, for whatever reason, I look toward the wall that is opposite of those windows. Upon the wall there is the dark shadow of a man, wearing a tall hat. Not quite Abe Lincoln or anything, but noticeable enough.

Of course, I am suddenly confused, but don’t really feel any malice or meanness about it. I’m mostly just curious and wondering why it’s there. I look out the window, and while there is a tree outside near the road, it’s not in a position to cast a shadow that exact. (It certainly never appeared again, at least not for me) I look back toward the wall, even more confused than ever, and begin to look a bit more closely.

It is still there, and as I start the closer examination, I abruptly notice that where a human’s eyes would be, there are glowing red areas. Now, I finally feel scared, and that it might have an intent to harm me. So guess what… I did the most silly thing ever. I hid under my parents blanket for what seemed like forever, until my Pops had to come and rescue me.

Thankfully, that was the last of that particular thing. I’m not sure how I would react if it ever appeared again.

Alright, so the email we are using for this is azarathiasalternatives@zoho.com. Don’t be shy, I can’t wait to get to see and share your story! Til next time Readers, Goodnight! 🙂

Recent Creative Explorations

While I’ve been trying to focus on the writing for the books I’ve been working on, my hands have been itching to do something else for a while. I know it’s not my normal posts, but maybe it’ll inspire you to find your creative side. Studies have shown that being creative helps reduce stress, and if you’re a struggling felon like me – you’re probably pretty stressed out too (no rest for the wicked, even once we’re done with being wicked…)

Anyway, I have always indulged in the creative arts in one way or another, sketching with smudgy charcoal is my favorite (reminds me of those super creepy illustrations in the well known scary story series), but I have experimented with paints of all kinds, clay, jewelry, creative writing… and pretty much anything that is DIY.  Here, I’ll be sharing the photos of my recent work with watercolor and charcoal – if I can figure it out (yeah, still a noob to this blog stuff, apologies! lol)

Hey! I did it!  (pats self on back) As for my personal process with these, I’m mostly just playing around with the paints, experimenting with how they can blend together and then just doodling whatever random thing pops into my head (usually while I’m playing with the colors). I stick to simple stuff because I’ll drown myself in details trying to get more specific things perfect and lose the element of fun. I’ve been there too, and since I use this as a stress reliever, I’d rather not get fussy with it. If you for some reason love one of these, they are available on my Etsy page:  Aza’s Alternatives (Please let me know if this works correctly or not, so I can try to fix it if needed.) That wraps it up for now, and I have an errand, so take care til next time guys!

-Aza

Improving Your Resume (Felon Tips)

Hey Readers!

I’ve been working on a new Gig lately, and while I can’t get into a lot of detail – I can say I’ve been learning a lot about the hiring process from the hiring manager’s perspective. It’s also reminded me of some of the resume struggles I had to overcome to up my game with interviews as a felon and that nasty, aggravating little note on my background.

So, in true fashion as the Friendly Felon, I want to share some of those tips that I’ve been learning (and some I’ve practiced myself) to help my fellow felons build their resumes and their careers just a little bit more easily (even if it takes more work).

  1. Keep track of your jobs
  2. Note supervisors and managers names
  3. Customize your resume for different employers
  4. Focus on your experiences and accomplishments
  5. Get great references through positive networking

First up, you absolutely have to keep a track record of all your work. Include side gigs that might be under the table (they count as experience if you’ve done them well – and keep track of the contact information for those people after asking if you can keep them as a reference).

Be sure to take note of your supervisor’s and your manager’s names – and try to leave a good impression with them even if the job ended on bad terms. With a bad background already in tow, you need to focus on making great impressions with every interaction with people. Especially the people in higher positions (in work or life in general) – they can be great keys to improved networking and better opportunities.

While it’s a hell of a lot easier to create one resume (a pain in the ass as it is, right – so many details!!!) and then print thirty or so copies…. it’s actually way better to customize resumes to each company – or at least each industry or type of work. For instance, when I apply to payroll jobs like waitressing, bartending, or automotive work – I showcase the experiences I have in only those industries. I also change my personal statement (or personal mission – something stating or explaining my goals with the career I’m applying for at that time). For example, when I applied to test for a psychology aid at a local facility, I stated that I was interested in furthering my knowledge and professional experience in the psychology field (this was when I though clinical psych might be my thing, but I decided to refocus on coaching and helping felons). But when I applied to the automotive stores for basic technician positions, I focused on the fact that I’m also interested in furthering my automotive knowledge and safely servicing vehicles for valued customers. So, while it might be necessary to adapt because of our bad records (as seen above – there really is a method to my madness, I promise) – it’s actually going to reward you in the long run.

Also, focus on your actual experiences and accomplishments. Don’t list out your skills on your resume as a super boring, general list of things you are capable of. Describe any sort of improvement you made using your skills and experiences. For instance, at my first auto technician job – I managed to increase sales (when the ‘only-men-can-work-on-cars-crowd’ might have been pissy with me – I really do know my maintenance). So basically, when I apply to auto-based jobs – I make sure to note how I improved sales at my other auto-based jobs (and every other auto-based accomplishment I’ve made at each job). It makes me a proven good candidate for that job and they’re more likely to overlook my felony.

Finally, just to reinforce the idea because it really is important –  personal referrals and networking are the best bet to get great jobs – and I’m so sickeningly serious (mostly because I hate networking with a passion, I am a hermit damnit and I like it that way) it’s ridiculous. Network, network, network. Make sure you’re leaving good impressions with people. Not only does this benefit every felon out there by leaving a better taste in society’s mouth when we interact with it (for the love of everything good, don’t live up to the negative expectations – no matter how much they test you [I’ve literally seen felon humiliating employment posts on some job websites – it took every fiber of my sometimes still shaky moral structure to not lash out at them with an angry response, simply because it would be exactly what they would expect of me]), it benefits you directly by creating pathways into the life you really want. Be the change you want to see in your life – it’s the only way to create those positive pathways. Even if you have to fake it a bit until you make it.

Keep up the great work guys!

Peace and love
-Aza

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Freelance Writing Quirky Topics

Hey Readers!

Since I’ve been so busy recently with my freelance writing, I thought it might be fun to share a (continually growing) list of the various topics that I’ve been hired for. Things might get a little bit weird… but that’s okay.

Quirks are cool around here.

Aza’s Writing List

-Coca-cola fact list

-Digital Agencies

-Automotive History

-Mythical Erotica 1 (Elf and Werewolf -per request)

-Working Mom Life

-Earthday

-Uganda History and Current Struggles

-Serving 101 (Waitress Guide)

-“How-To’s” on pretty much every sex toy out there

-“How-To’s” on basic kinky behavior

-“How-To’s” on advanced kinky behavior

-Housewife Life

-Winston Churchill’s Life and Career

-Finding Success as a Working Mom

-Hiring Better Employees

-Product Descriptions

 

And this will be updated as I continue to add new topics and skills! Won’t it be fun to see where this goes?

Thanks for stopping by! Check out my book if you don’t mind – just search the Guide to Life After a Felony at your favorite eBook retailer, or get it in print through the link at the top of the page!

Love and Peace,

Aza

The Writer’s Life – I’d Rather Be Writing

Hey Readers! It’s been a while since I’ve posted (again). Yeah, I’m basically online all the time, but it’s been a busy time of year for me.

As I sit here on my bed-top ‘office’, with my laptop comfortably perched across my thighs, I realize that I’ve been writing basically non-stop since 8am this morning… chain-smoking hand-rolled cigarettes, and chugging Rockstar energy drinks (even though I’m still using my Thrive supplement – I just really love the taste of the ‘crack in a can’ — I’m only a little addicted I swear…).

So far, there’s been about 800 words for an adult dating site, 1,000 words for a green business highlighting the upcoming Earth Day (grab your seedlings now or get involved any way you can – April 22nd gets here fast and every tree and helping hand contributes!), and I still have another 800 for an international article that needs to be completed today. Hopefully before lunch, because there’s always errands that need to be run in the afternoon and I’ll fall asleep on my computer if I try to push the work to a late night thing. For me, blank screens are only [somewhat] inspiring through the early hours of the day – at night (particularly after supper) they become inspiration for me to grab my pillow…. (See, learn your body’s schedule and work with it).

Of course, this can also change as the day continues. As a freelancer using online platforms (that are available worldwide 24/7), I tend to get writing gigs on a sort of random basis which can change my schedule up without advance notice (thankfully I’m good at adapting – see this post for more on that). Occasionally I can find a Gig that lasts a couple weeks, and then I’ve filled whatever quota for goodness knows how long and I’m left wondering when the heck I’m gonna see another payment. Sometimes it’s also the reverse and I end up with more work than expected – which is pretty awesome because then I can rest easier knowing bills are paid – even if I might be a bit frazzled to complete it all and keep everything straight. (Nothing like sending the wrong file link to a client – especially when I am balancing ‘adult sex toy’ content and ‘work at home mom’ content… imagine that fubar’d situation…)

The freelance writer’s income is one that isn’t for the faint of heart – I can tell you that now. Some months you can make 300 in 3 weeks, other months you might be lucky to pull an hour’s worth of income – especially with all the demand for cheaper writers…( Strangely enough, I actually see requests for articles of over 3,000 words with a budget of only $5… it’s a real thing guys).

For budding writers – you can go ahead and start out with those really low priced gigs because it helps you build your resume of work – but remember to adjust your prices as you improve your skills! Don’t let your clients walk all over you! Build up, and move up as you go along.

Well, that’s all for now guys! Catch ya later!

Love and Peace
Aza

Finding Direction is Difficult

Hey Readers!

Things are starting to slow down again finally, and settle back into a pace that I can manage (at least without losing my mind). I’m glad to be back to writing and only dealing with filling vending machines instead of hordes of people every day. Thanks to this sudden change in direction, it brought to mind just how difficult it is for us – anyone really (felony label or not)- to find a direction in life.

You know, we all start out as kids thinking that we’ll be a fireman,… a teacher,… an equestrian trainer, … a doctor…so on and so forth. As things progress, we begin to find that we might have multiple interests, or maybe very few interests (that might happen to barred now). Now, as I recall, the great American Dream dictated that we settled on something out of high school, right? Went straight to college. Rolled the dice on the perfect partner and perfect lifestyle – voila. Something like that anyway.

Eh.

Looking back, that whole thing is nonsense. Now, while felons in particular have huge disruptions in finding employment overall, people in general don’t really seem to fit into one category, one set of simple rules, or anything even close to that box that everyone talks about…. ever. We are diverse in everything we do, everything we like, and everything we have experienced. This makes things complicated sometimes. We aren’t going to be able to stay on a single direction for forever. Change is the stuff of life, and even though the changes that felons in particular are experiencing are rough indeed (regardless of the offending conviction),  – it doesn’t have to be an end to ‘having a direction in life’.

I think that it’s okay for life to be diverse and challenging – even if it gives me headaches (dropping back to part-time work and depending on freelancing/self-marketing hurts a bit more than I remember). I know I just have to remember that if I want everything to come from the work I do, I need to put everything into it. Then again, that is far easier to say than to do.

I can’t say much for you guys, but I know I have a ton of interests. This makes post-felony life a bit easier for me honestly, because it means I adapt really well.
For instance, I love crafting and creating in just about every way possible. You’d get lost if you tried to find your way through all of the drawers and totes of my craft stuff, let alone attempted the navigation of the file drawer under my desk.
Add in my love of DIY automotive repair (comes in handy for those times where I really don’t want to interact with people), a knack for writing, and a talent with witchy things, well – I tend to have my bases covered one way or another. I’m telling you, the whole ‘Where there is a will – there is a way’ thing if fully felt and really lived – has proven to be extremely useful. Thank you to my lovely Momma for that (she’s doing fine, in case you were wondering).

I suppose the lesson here is that while you might think life is supposed to be a straight line, things are going to get crooked in one way or another at some point. There are a multitude of experiences that will turn your life into a giant rollercoaster that feels vaguely akin to a personal hell. While this might be unavoidable, or might last longer than you would expect – things can get better.

Allow yourself to try new things, you never know what interests you might unveil!

One personal example of this is when I first found my love of automotive work. I found rat rod magazines in my house as a kid and fell in love with the designs and articles. I began learning the terminology and basic theory of how cars worked and how to work on them. While my dad was older and of a generation that didn’t believe much in women working on cars (he never let me help him), I still found ways to intern as a teen at small shops until I learned enough to move forward and become hire-able. About 15 years later, I thought I was tired of the auto industry (it’ll never be done – fellow techs know that pain, lol) and went into psychology and back to another childhood love of writing.

Now, I offer help online to felons that need encouragement and direction in their lives, as well as continually write (blogs, books, and random freelance things). These are the things I love, and I hope that my focus and drive will inspire other felons to find a path that leads them to their own new flavor of freedom.

So, keep flexible, stay open-minded, find something that interests you and see if you can make it work for you. If you can’t find it in you to find a direction without some additional direction, hit me up on Fiverr and look up my Gigs for help. Maybe you want your cards read, or maybe you want personal coaching on how to overcome your felony – I offer both of those as well as a few other fun things, so click that link and check it out (you’re helping out a fellow felon with every purchase!)

That’s all for today guys! Gotta run to the next job!
Love and Peace – Aza

Survey Opportunity!

Hello Readers! It’s been a while thanks to some extra insanity going on in the home life – nothing like a sudden job change immediately after replacing your vehicle. I have however been keeping busy with my networking platforms and I’ve found someone that would really love to share their survey with you!

The creator of this survey is a fellow friendly felon supporter, and has experienced part of the world of incarceration through their family members. This experience inspired them to take on the world of incarceration and the many influences that impact incarceration rates. They’re going to be graduating with their psychology degree soon (congrats!) and would love a chance to talk with you through their latest survey!

https://goo.gl/forms/aENdrSWo4kuSIodz2

Click the link and help a fellow friend!

That’s all for now – love and peace! – Aza

Misinformation is Abundant

Hey Readers! I’ve been scrolling through the Twitter feeds and Facebook groups, and I have been shocked by the amount of misinformation about felons that has been spread.

There’s a few things in particular that I’d like to clear up now.

Voting: In many states, so long as you’ve completed your sentence fully (lock up and supervision included), you can register to vote again and have your voice heard.

Firearms: In many cases, non-violent felons can regain access to firearms – again, once completely finished with your sentence.

Felon Friendly Jobs – Lists have been floating around the internet for years, ever since we figured out we could share information. The thing is – not all felons will be hired by ‘felon friendly employers’. This is very much based on the nature of your felony and the nature of the work you’re going for. For instance, with my record, all retail store employers see is a thief when they look at my background. However, I can easily work in the automotive industry, in factories, and many other career paths if I choose to.

Thinking All States Have the Same Laws – Seriously, just throw that idea out the window now. My research has shown me just how insane the differences are, and guess what – you’ll need to find out what applies to you and your state if you want to succeed with your background. (I can’t stress this word enough – RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH)

Alright, that covers the main pains I’ve seen recently. Here’s a list of previous posts that are also full of resources:

Misinformation about Felons

Timelines and Tips

Felons and Certifications

Guide to Life After a Felony (ebook)

Friendly Felon’s Guide to Life  (print book)

That’s all for now guys, til next time – Stay Strong, Rise Above, and NEVER let anyone tell you who you are and who you CAN BE. We are MORE THAN OUR PASTS and we will overcome all our obstacles!

Love and Peace – Aza

Bit Distracted – Sorry!

Hey Readers! It’s been a super crazy few days around here. Not only is the weather behaving like a toddler on a tantrum (nice temps/horrible ice/ repeat) – but my beloved vehicle took it’s last trip this last week.
Well… not quite, it has one more place to get to. At 400,000 miles (yes, you read that right) … there is only one place it can go. (Cue dramatic horns) – The Junkyard

It makes me sad.

What makes me more upset, is that I had to do the most adult thing I think I’ve ever done.

The dreaded auto loan.

While I plan to pay a huge chunk down with the tax refunds, I’m still cringing every time I look at my account now.

However, I will say that having something newer is sort of nice, even if it’s sort of soul-crushing in another way. Especially as a felon, I never know for sure that my income is going to be solid. Even with a good work record and what feels like a hundred other positives to outweigh the negative, many employers will take the easy route and fire the felon at the slightest sign of trouble.

It’s not an easy thing to face – as many of you know, but I’ve also learned that it’s important to prepare and to trust that you can roll with the punches that life often throws.

Believe in your goals, find the path to reach them, and never give up. Just because something causes anxiety, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it. We are more than our past, and we can all rise above it.

That’s all for now – Love and Peace
Aza

Sometimes we just have to wait….

Hey Readers!

There’s been a lot going on in the life of your dear Friendly Felon, and I just wanted to touch base and let you all know I am indeed still with the living.

Between the day job and the writing, it’s gotten hectic. The payroll job keeps trying to worm it’s way into holding itself as a main priority in life – when it really isn’t. Yes, it’s paying bills, but it’s not where I want my life to grow. Either way, right now, it’s sort of overwhelming everything else.

I’m also deep into the editing and beta reading phase of the up and coming ‘Letters of Love and War” (that title will change – it’s already been taken, sadly). Currently, I’m waiting for beta reader input, and waiting for the appointment with a possible photographer for the cover. (I’d love to use photos of the letters that are the basis of the book) But, these things take time, and it’s time that I’m not in control of. (Gotta remember to let go sometimes)

So, this is my reminder, that sometimes things have to wait.

We can still work toward our goals, we can still take baby steps in the right directions, and we can still get things done, even while we wait.

Just don’t get too caught up in the tasks you find while you’re waiting, or you might miss the perfect opportunity.

Love and Peace – Aza

Torn to Zero – Aza’s Poetry

Hey Readers!

A few months ago, I was going through all of my gathered belongings. I’ll do this about once a year or so, or whenever I end up moving. It’s always proven interesting to look back at the things I’ve done, thought about, written down, and everything else. I like to compare those pieces of the past with where I am now (of course, now being relative to whatever time I’m going through those bits and pieces).

I’ve collected just about every notebook, journal, notepad, and planner from my life and as I was flipping through the pages of my past selves – I stumbled on this section of a notebook that I had titled Poetry. Now, looking over it, it doesn’t always seem like poetry, but it feels poetic in my mind – probably only because I relate so much to my own past (of course).

It reminded me of just how torn up my mental status was, and it feels like I painted a far more bleak picture of my youth than I can even conjure from my own memories. Of course, I do try to not think about how low some of those times were, but I suppose it’s good to occasionally remember just how vivid things feel when you’re in those times. It’s the absolute worst time ever as you’re experiencing it at that time, but as time passes, it somehow isn’t able to hit you quite as hard (or maybe that’s my thickened skin talking – who knows – it’s all subjective anyway).

I thought about it a while, toyed with the idea, and finally decided to share this poetry as a glimpse into how deep I’ve dove down the rabbit-hole of depression. And to remind myself of how far I’ve come from that time in my life.

I’ve overcome so many things, and I love looking back and being able to say – that isn’t my mindset now. I’ve grown, learned, experienced, and lived to the fullest of my capabilities each and every day. I hope this collection reminds you that you’ve come as far as you have too, and that it inspires you to keep moving forward – each and every day.

With no further babbling- I present : Torn to Zero – A Collection of Poetry by Aza Enigma

Torn to ZeroTorn to Zero Cover

Interesting Reads – List of the Week

Hey Readers! I’ve been browsing the catalog again!

There’s a lot of nifty books in this list, check them out below:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/503385?ref=AzaEnigma (Strong Brains, Sharp Minds)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/23934?ref=AzaEnigma (Digital Media Skills)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/398936?ref=AzaEnigma (Job Guide for Nurses)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/578517?ref=AzaEnigma (Doctor Who Stuff)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/252936?ref=AzaEnigma (Learning on the Go)

And that’s my collection of interesting reads this week!

If you dig this list, why not check out my previous posts for more links (here and here)

That’s all for now folks

Love and Peace – Aza