Why I LOVE Microcosm Publishing!

Hey Readers!

I wanted to talk about the print publishing company I chose (and who thankfully accepted my pitch!) and why I have come to adore them.

First off, the name caught my attention – many authors might not go for something that has the word ‘micro’ in it – as it gives the impression of smallness. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth with these guys.

The definition of microcosm is basically a community that encapsulates huge ideas in a small way. This relates to how small a book might seem in your hand, but the ideas that are contained within that little book are SO much larger.

And I gotta say – I love that. It’s a great reference to the whole idea of publishing books and sharing the ideas and information that we hold dear to our personal interests.

Second, have you seen the stuff they carry? If not – you seriously need to check them out. Not only do they carry my first ever finished book (Guide to Life After a Felony), but they offer a TON of awesome books. Just check out this screenshot of their homepage:

00 a Microcosm screen snip

And this is just a teeny tiny sample!

In addition to this, as I generally self-publish online through the typical indie routes, I had to ask – would they let me keep my stuff out there? To my genuine surprise – they were willing to work with me and let me continue to have my own version out there – and from what I had read in some of the writer forums – this doesn’t seem to happen often – but I’m extremely grateful for it either way. (Feel free to share if your experience with a publisher was different, I’d love to hear it!)

My final reason to adore this company is that in all honesty – this was the ONLY publisher I applied (pitched?) my manuscript to – and somehow I impressed them enough to earn a chance to publish with them. I personally think their site just spoke to me once I found them in my research phase, and not a single other company seemed to hold similar values or perspectives. As a felon, I’m basically part of the sub-cultures that aren’t often appreciated or given a chance to speak – and Microcosm provides a beautiful avenue on which to share your ideas with those that are on a similar wave-length. Of course, they might not be for everyone – perspectives are widely varied so I get it if you’re not diggin’ it.

(Additional note: No, I wasn’t paid for this in any way by them – I honestly just want to give them this shout-out because they’ve been so amazing to work with! Everything I am posting here is my own authentic opinion and I probably should say that my views shouldn’t be taken as a direct reflection of their views – just to be on the safe side ya know?)

So, can you see why I think these guys are so wonderful yet? If not, go ahead and take a look for yourself – I’m pretty sure you’ll be just as impressed as I was. Microcosm Publishing might be just what you need in your life!

That’s all I got for today guys, hope you like it and find something nifty and useful from it!

Love and peace,
Aza

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I’m on Patreon! Support and Share!

Hey guys!

So, things have been incredibly insane the last couple weeks for me.

I had finally found 2 jobs I loved (on top of the freelancing I offer) and I was excited to finally be exactly where I wanted financially. They were part-time gigs but decently paying jobs that I really liked. They didn’t require me to be around people constantly – which was great – I’m awkward as can be in person. It really was perfect.

Until my new-ish car decided to show exactly how much of a Jynx (apparently it wanted to live up to the name I gave it) it was. And the lemon law only covers 500 miles in my area – where I had already driven over 10,000 miles (I was a busy, busy bee – I’m losing my mind now honestly because I don’t have enough Gigs to keep me occupied)

Anyway, both of my payroll jobs were based on driving my vehicle. Thanks to Jynx breaking down so badly I couldn’t afford to fix it, I’m now not only out of a job – but out of all options for work locally.

While I have been building my freelancing business – I was not prepared to become a full-time freelancer so suddenly.

In light of this, I was directed to check out Patreon by a few of the fellow authors I’ve talked with. So, I decided to take a chance to really push my freelancing and my goals to reach out to struggling felons in my area.

(Sidenote: this is part of the flexibility that I talk about with work and mindset – I’m freaking out and really anxious – but I’m applying that energy to do things that might help me in the long run with what I’ve really wanted to do with my time and contributions – even if it wasn’t my original plan to be here already)

So, I checked Patreon out and I love the platform. It helps me define clear goals that you guys can help me reach – and I only ask for $5 a month on it. Of course, if you want to donate more – you are free to do so. I hate asking for help, but if I’m going to be successful in helping those who need it – I can’t do it alone.

Find my Patreon page HERE and if you can’t support – please share it – you’ll still be an awesome part of my goals!

Thank you for checking me out, don’t miss out on my other great posts where I share information for felons who want to learn how to overcome their past.

Misinformation Round 1

Misinformation Round 2

Helpful Hints for Convicts

Making Progress and Portfolios

Hey guys!

Per usual, I’ve been a busy bee – writing assignments are stacking up nicely, and I’ve finally gotten around to making the one thing that every professional needs.

A portfolio

That neat little collection of the work you’ve done in whatever industry you tend to prefer. As I lean toward the writing side of things, even with all my other skills – I used a journalism based portfolio website to create my own collection.

You can check it out here: Aza’s Portfolio

Then, feel free to make your own to begin building up your own collection of results to prove to potential employers how awesome you are at your work. It’s a huge help for anyone, but we felons need all the positive evidence we can muster up to gain employers trust after our convictions.

Pointers

  • Focus on your skills
  • Don’t be too serious
  • Get familiar with converting files from one type to another
  • Do plenty of research for samples, examples, and how-to’s to help you get on track

Don’t forget to check out these other awesome posts I’ve made:

Misinformation

Work From Home

Improve Your Resume

Thanks for stopping by, and stay strong!

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’ (Yeah, I work from my bed – don’t look at me like that), with my laptop comfortably perched across my thighs, I realize that I’ve been writing basically non-stop since 8am this morning… chugging Rockstar energy drinks (even though I’m still using my Thrive supplement – I just really love the taste of ‘crack in a can’ as I fondly call it in the stores– I’m only a little addicted I swear…). Anyway, it’s past lunch already and I’m rockin’ it out.

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 I run out of Rockstar because there are 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 crazy situation… I shudder thinking about it personally)

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 or even in one day, 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 – and that needs to STOP if you want the cold hard truth).

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 – and I can whack parts that aren’t cooperating with my wrench -which I can’t do with non-cooperating 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, truly lived out in mind and action – 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 is 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 (ha, I’m sometimes funny), hit me up on Fiverr and look up my Gigs for help. Maybe you want personal coaching on how to overcome your felony – I offer that 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

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

A Day in My Life…

Hey Again Readers!

I’ve been thinking that it might be time to share a bit more about myself. I have a hard time with that, but I’m working on it. This post is proof, and you can’t tell me otherwise. LOL

Anyway, I thought I’d start by sharing a day in my life.

Often, I’m up between 4:15 and 6 am every day. Sleeping in has become a thing I dream about, rather than do – mostly because my son trained me well when he was an infant – but also because the local farmers wait for no one when it comes to their breakfast…
No matter what time I drag my legs over the edge of my bed, I make sure to take my Thrive capsule with a chug of water. After trudging to the bathroom, phone in hand of course, I scroll and get the daily, boring hygienic stuff out of the way.

Once cleaned up and ready for public interaction, I make my way to the kitchen. Now, instead of coffee (which literally hates my guts), I make my morning Thrive shake. I use only half the full dose for this – as it both serves my need of helping me gain weight rather than lose it AND it saves me money (I don’t get my supplement for free yet – because I don’t like pushing products – even when they work for me).

Once I mix the half cup of ‘awesome’ powder into my cup of milk, I sit down at my desk and check over all of my projects. These projects range from the events at my work that I manage, my freelance sites (Fiverr and People Per Hour), my publishing sites (Smashwords, Amazon, and Microcosm), social media (Friendly Felon Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and Reddit), and check on my marketing ideas for that week. If I’m feeling really froggy, I might do a post on here, or even add to one of the books in progress.

I spend between 15 minutes to 2 hours on this ‘first things first’ process. I call it ‘first things first’ because these things are dedicated to the work I really care about. I don’t mind my current payroll job, but it isn’t my true passion. I also have the most energy and focus in the morning (most of the time anyway) and I like to take advantage of that early burst of ‘Get It’ energy.

Then, depending on the day, I’m either off to work, or off to finish some sort errand for the house. Currently, I tend bar, serve food, and manage the front of house staff and assist with rental event details in a local bar and grill. It’s not a bad fit for me really, as bartenders often act as amatuer psychologists – my bachelor’s degree actually comes in handy for some of my regulars and has opened some wonderful interactions with customers. This helps both of us, as they find helpful advice and new information, and I’m reaching out and opening up to people about my past and changing perspectives about felons in person.

After work or errands, I like to hang out with my family. We homeschool our son, often using Time4Learning during the months that I’m earning enough, or Kahn Academy for the times that it’s just out of reach. He loves both programs, especially in combination because they each offer different aspects of education. He’s only ten and he’s already learning coding and basic animation, as well as his fundamental subjects. When he’s finished for the day, sometimes we’ll play games, or just relax and watch some comic related movies. We’re big comic geeks in my house – Harley Quinn, Thor, and the Turtles are all huge hits around here.

We love to cook together, and we like experimenting with food combinations. Last Thanksgiving, we made a Cordon Blue Stuffed Turkey Breast meal, so we could combine the things that we each wanted from the meal. My son’s favorite meal to help with is fried chicken. I think it’s only because he can get really messy with it – between the eggs, milk, and seasoned dry batter  – it’s a dream come true for him.

We have a good time, and make the best of what we have.

After the work, play, and relaxation, it’s time for bed. Often, I have the most ideas for blog posts, plot points in stories, and business schemes while I’m in that nearly asleep phase. I have yet to actually get around to writing more of those down (part of why I don’t post as often as I’d really like to), even though I have pens, pencils, and paper tucked away in just about every corner of the house. I think it’s mostly because I don’t want to risk waking myself up all the way again by reaching out and actually writing them down – because I like to keep my early schedule going and I know it can be rough to lose sleep the older I get.

Well, that’s a day in my life, and I hope you enjoy the peek into my world as it is right now. Who knows what the next ‘Day in My Life’ will bring! Keep Moving Forward, you’ll find your goals!

Love and Peace – Aza

Ban the Box … What Does it DO?

Hey Readers!

I’ve seen a lot of community posts about how many states have adopted a ‘ban the box’ policy for job applications.

This effort is to help felons and all the convicts, in general, find a job just a bit more easily.

What it really does, is delay the background question.

Instead of that immediate scoff by human resources personnel and the quick placement of your app into the famous ‘File 13’, your application will now be considered as a normal application up until the interview.

It doesn’t give you a ‘get a job scot-free’ card. You won’t just put in your new application and be accepted immediately – even if you have an awesome work record.

Most of the states still have the ability to talk about your record once they have you in the interview. So, you will still need to come clean about it at some point in the hiring process…, but at least the employer has already been tempted to hire you due to your work ethic as displayed on your resume AND application.

Oh yeah, I also advise making a resume, most places allow you to upload your resume on their online application, and EVERY bit of proof that you’re a good worker will help you in this process. If you need help working out a resume, begin searching for resume templates online and play around with them until you find one that suits your style and your desired career – there are tons of free resources for you to use – take advantage of them and get a leg up in your work search! There’s no excuse to not do this – especially since you’re reading this online – make a new tab now and start searching for what you need.

Also, try to include letters of recommendation from previous employers, co-workers, probation officers, officers in general – just about anyone who will write out a reference letter for you – keep them together and bring them with you as well. If you don’t have these, start asking for them – every single one will help you move forward.

Every bit of proof that you can get your hands on, grab it. Take these adjustments to the laws and make the best of them. There might not be much wiggle room, but we CAN keep moving forward.

So, get your resumes ready, grease up those elbows, and get to work!

We got this guys!

Love and Peace – Aza

No Rest for the Wicked

Good Afternoon Readers!

It has recently come to my attention that I’m basically working all of the time. When I talk about my life to my co-workers and other peers, they’re often left wondering how the hell I do all these different things and how I’ve picked myself up time and time again.

The simple fact is… I’m just constantly putting in effort in some area of my life. Even on my ‘days off’, I often find myself ‘working’ in some way.

Just last week, I cleaned an entire house of soot damage and repainted the ceiling in two rooms on a ‘day off’ from my payroll job.

Today (also a ‘day off’), I wrote out another round of postcards for the mailer marketing I’ve been running for ‘The Friendly Felon’s Guide to Life‘, am writing this post currently, and have also been adding content to not just one book in progress, but two completely different books in progress. (Spirituality and Perspectives (non-fiction exploration), and Letters of Love and War (fictionalized memoir) simply because those are my two favorite works in progress today) I’ve also read three Tarot spreads for clients online in the last 24 hours.

Point is…. there really aren’t any days off. Not when you’ve got something in mind to work toward.

Now, this doesn’t apply to just us felons…. My mom friends and work friends are also crazy busy between balancing their children, work lives (sometimes multiple jobs), and also building toward their goals – whatever they may be, some are in nursing school along with a full time job and the millions of sporting events that 4 children in middle school bring while others are working two jobs and attending college courses while living out of their vehicle to save on expenses.

The grind is real, for all of us.

Now, this isn’t to say, ignore everything else in your life while you run your nose into the metaphorical grindstone…
Just that you can’t stop going after your dreams. Even when things seem slow or pointless or even overwhelming simply because you’re so busy. (For instance, after a year and not even 50 followers, many people would have given up on their blog as a way to reach others… but here I am, still chugging along – slowly… but surely. Even if I had to take a couple breaks here and there to keep other things in life on track as well.)

So, when you’re feeling tired of the grind, remind yourself that the rewards are worth the lack of ‘rest’. And even if we aren’t all ‘wicked’, we all have those dreams that are worth chasing, and worth the lack of relaxation. We can relax once we’ve crossed our finish lines.

Love and Peace – Aza