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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

What am I doing? (Find Out Here)

Happy Friday Readers!

It’s been a long week, but things have picked back up again after  a tiny rough spot. Over the week, I’ve been going nuts with the survey that I created which can be found here.

Some of you might be wondering just what the heck I am up to.

Well, I’m trying to create an after felony life coaching program. I know that I was crazy lost after my conviction. I felt that I was boxed up, stamped with a defunct label, and tucked into a forgotten corner of society.

Familiar sensation? I know, right? Super suck-tacular.

In my situation, I didn’t find out about relief or figure out how to get my life back on track until a considerable amount of time had passed and I was on the verge of giving up and letting go of what little progress I had made. The only thing that helped stop me from doing that was my son. Now, not all of us have that sort of situation, where we have a little one that needs our love and protection, but even without that sort of inspiration to keep going, we on our own as individuals are worth the immense amount of stress and struggle that we will have to endure to get on our feet and feel worthy again.

What I want to do is make sure that we don’t HAVE to feel alone or hopeless anymore. While the program would have some limitations, as relief is so varied between states and our situations are even more varied, I still feel that with guidance that many of us could push through our obstacles and make our lives a little bit more live-able. If we can adjust our mindsets toward growth, resilience, and determination – we can overcome just about anything that we face.

I’m also trying to address how society perceives us. If we focus on our positive aspects instead of our negative aspects, we can improve how society sees us and improve our chances for a better life. But we have to interact with society in positive ways to help that happen. For instance, I recently moved to a smaller town that is still close to where I was convicted. As I’ve socialized over that time with the residents of this area, I try to ensure that there are more positive interactions than negative. Once a few people got to know me better, I dropped the social bomb of having a record. Every single one of them were surprised, but none of them stopped interacting with me because I had created a positive association by being helpful and kind. The good character that I’ve built up over the years is helping improve how these people view some of the felons around here.

So far, I’ve written a basic guide book for those that prefer to do things on their own (like myself) (available here), and I’ve begun developing the one on one after felony coaching program that will help those that need more guidance. I can’t promise that it will be a fix all for everyone, but I can promise that my intentions are to help as many as I can and to inspire others to do the same.

That’s all for now guys, thanks for stopping by and I hope you rock your day and smash your goals!

Aza

Calling All Felons!

Hey guys! I know… I’m actually posting more than I ever really have, but work has slowed down this week, so I have extra time on my hands for now.

I’ve been working on a questionnaire to help better identify the issues we all face. Since we have a lot of possible scenarios, I want to explore how it affects each of us differently.

The answers are mostly in your own words, to allow for however much you want to share concerning each question.

Check out the link here: https://goo.gl/forms/6GlSPwe6HjJqdMqH3

Don’t forget to check out some of the older posts where tips and hints can be found, as well as some personal stories!

Random Vent Post

Hey Readers!

Dropping in to talk about some of the crappier aspects of marketing today.

The family and I were heading back home after a stop at the local grocery store, and the radio was on an oldies station. (I adore the oldies myself, my first music experiences at home were based on the vinyl records that I found stashed under the t.v. cabinet.)

A song came on, and I was enjoying it, getting into the tune and the lyrics.. and all of a sudden, a phrase came in that had been stolen for marketing purposes. Specifically, the word ‘JitterBug”.

Suddenly, all I could envision in my mind (instead of a fancy dance scene with a rocking band) was an old phone commercial.

UGH.

Anyone else remember that commercial? The clunky phone with larger buttons for ease of use for various generations.

I probably just have an issue with marketing in general (…okay, I won’t lie,.. I have huge issues with marketing in general), but still, my enjoyment of a song was disrupted by images of commercialization.

Anyone else experience this and want to share? Find the comment section and let us know!

That’s all for today folks, end of rant.

Aza

Why I use a Pen name

Happy Friday Readers!

I am so thankful for the end of the week, it’s been a bit frustrating the past few days in some aspects. I even sort of raged out the other day, after hitting multiple brick walls in my attempts to work out a press release for the book, BUT I managed to find something on Fiverr that should help me push through the obstacles I’m currently facing. I was able to redirect my frustrations into a fuel to keep pushing forward and find my goal more effectively. (Instead of giving into the impulse to chuck my laptop at the nearest wall and watching it shatter…which would have ended all of the goals… it was a hard temptation to work  through for a moment, I’ll tell ya that.)

Anyway, enough about my She Hulk tendencies…we’re here today to talk about why I’m using a pen name for pretty much everything I share.

So, while I am proud of my work and love to share my experiences with you, I’m still terrified of putting myself out there. I have struggled with insecurity my entire life (and I’m just one of the many out there), and while I wanted to start something meaningful that positively influenced other people, I couldn’t get over that obstacle for a long time. I mean, I’ve wanted to do this since I first became really frustrated with the conviction in 09 (long before I found out everything I know now). Of course, I wouldn’t have been quite as helpful or knowledgeable as I am now, but I would have been sharing more of my early struggles and frustrations and connecting with more people in the same boat.

Some of you are probably shouting, but it’s the internet! You can be anonymous! Yes, I realize that, but I sort of backed away from it initially. I’ve always prided myself on honesty, and by using a fake name, I felt I would be going against a part of me that mattered to me and was one of my own keys to re-entering society. Eventually, my need to do something with the information I had found overcame my need to maintain a sense of a more idealized honesty. I discovered that many people in the same boat as me had absolutely no idea that they had options in their lives that would make it possible to live more fully, regardless of their past.

I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing other than improve my own conditions in life. I had to make myself reach out and put a part of me out there if there was the slightest chance of helping someone else that was struggling. I chose the name Aza Enigma because I think it flows pretty well, and it combines a sort of magical element with a puzzling element. Literally, enigma means puzzle. No, it isn’t a challenge to find me out. I really didn’t try that hard to keep my real self a secret, and some of the groups I’m in on social media are aware of my real identity. I just needed a sort of social blanket that allowed me to hide while in plain sight. Regardless, it has allowed me to be confident enough to put my goals into action. It’s certainly better than not doing anything at all. So, to all my fellow insecure people out there, there is always a way to overcome the obstacles we face, we just have to find what works for us.

Stay strong, stay positive, and rise above!

Aza

 

 

 

Finding Freedom (Full Release)

Hey Readers!

It’s been a long two weeks since I uploaded my work into Smashwords, but the book is finally fully released!

If you haven’t pre-ordered it already, please use this coupon code to get your copy from any retailer for only one dollar! (CF98Q ) (Smashwords Link)

It contains helpful tips and hints that I found useful over my own years of struggle, as well as a state by state breakdown of what we can do to get our records off of our backs. I’m not saying getting through it is easy, but I know from experience that it’s worth it.

Also, if you love the cover art, please go here to see more of the artists work. She’s a wonderful photographer and digital artist, as well as a close friend of mine. (See, positive networking helps out everyone involved!)

Anywho, thank you so much for stopping by, I hope you’ve found something helpful here, and if you’d like to connect, find my Facebook page The Friendly Felon .

Stay strong fellow felons, we got this!

Why I work Part time

Hey Reader! I’m back again.

Recently, my employer asked me why I’ve stayed with the job I have, even after graduating college.

I pondered this a bit, and my response was based on this: Flexibility.

While the income is pretty good, it doesn’t really quite cut it for my lifestyle, and I’m always asking for more hours as long as he needs the work done. However, I value the flexibility to work on my own projects and spend time with my family more than I value the extra income I could be making if I moved to a full time position with another company.

I’ve had a lot of full time jobs over the years, but I hated that I was always exhausted and grumpy from being at work literally all day. Typically with people that hated their jobs too, and reinforced how crappy our days were every single day. (It doesn’t help you to like your job when your co-workers hate theirs even more than you) I found that I needed to change jobs more often, simply to keep myself from slipping into that hateful mindset of ‘this is all I have, I have to do it’. But changing jobs is more difficult for felons. I got tired of going through so many interviews just to find a new position.

Then I found my current job. It’s part time and I can change my schedule to fit my needs for the most part. There are some days that I can’t change, but it’s flexible enough to let me work around it. In any other job, I ‘d have a rigid schedule that would work me to the bone and would not allow me to do anything toward my own goals.

With the part time job I have now, (almost a year now), I have been able to write over 80 thousand words for the books that I’ve been working on. I have been able to build freelance jobs online that I’m passionate about. And I have more time with my family which lets me be a better parent instead of a tired, cranky, inattentive one that is falling asleep in her spot on the couch and too worried about some deadline that could get her fired.

That’s all for today, I hope you enjoyed it. More to come soon, as I’m still working on two books that I hope will be released by the end of the year.

If you’re a struggling felon, check out my first book: Finding Freedom here:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/735122

 

Staying in a Positive Mindset

Hey Reader! In light of recent conversations, I thought it would be a good idea to bring up how important it is to maintain a positive mindset.

Sure, we’re in some tight spots because of our pasts, and we’re all facing different and very difficult situations, but we are – in fact – surviving, if not thriving.

One of the biggest parts of realizing that ‘thriving’ feeling, or that sense of ‘Hey, things aren’t actually half bad!’, is your mindset. You can be living in your car on food stamps or the food pantry and still living on those noodles that you ‘cook’ in a cleaned out peanut butter jar and some hot water from the tea area of the closest gas station. Guess what, you still have some sort of shelter and some sort of food. It isn’t optimal, but it’s available.

Now, I know that sounds sort of rough, but I grew up in a home where my mother was disabled with a neurological disease from the time she was 18, and she always reminded herself (and me) that things could always be worse. While she was learning to deal with her cane, she reminded herself that she could be using a walker. Once she progressed to the walker, she reminded herself that she could be in a wheelchair. Now, her situation is one of those that only really gets worse over time (she’s still going strong, in case you’re wondering – she’ll be 68 this fall and is still in her own home). In our cases, at least in the felony sense of them, things can only really get better. You know what I mean?

Over time, more options will become available to us when it comes to jobs and housing, especially when we finally recognize that we don’t want to keep adding charges to our records. You simply have to learn to be patient and resourceful, and using a positive mindset is the best way to do that.

This is especially important during the ever stressful time of probation and parole periods. It’s rough when you basically lose control over your life and have to change so much about yourself. It’s a natural response to something that is basically unnatural for us, but we have to remember that the very fact that we are dealing with this situation is a giant clue shouting that we need to change our lifestyle in order to get anywhere in our life. The people that we have as our probation and parole officers are often there to help us, even if  they might be on a power trip of some sort (I’ve met some, but it seems that the majority really are nice people intent on guiding us to some sort of successful life). And it’s important to remember that they have bad days too. We’re all human. Try to be understanding of the protocols they and you need to follow, those guidelines are typically there for a good reason, you simply need to focus on using this time to improve yourself and learn about the resources they can provide you with to get you back on track.

That’s all for now guys, I’m so glad to have you and I hope it’s been helpful so far. Til next time, and take care to stay positive and rise above!

-Aza

Raging Against the Ticket (Final Update)

Hey Reader! Glad to see you back again! I have my final update about the ticket that I was given this April. Imagine that, it took a whole two months to straighten out! Goodness. Oh, well, that’s just how it goes when you play by their rules.

Alright, so, I got dressed up again (nice blouse and khaki pants this time, a suit would have been over the top for this discussion I’m thinking), and made my way up the courthouse stairs. I find a seat, and wait my turn to talk to the state’s attorney assistant.

After waiting a few minutes past my time, (it seemed a bit busy that day, and as she likely had multiple individuals to talk to with varying cases, I didn’t much mind), I was finally called in.

We review the ticket information, both the state statute (I brought a copy of that statute myself), as well as my recollection of the events. I had brought photos of the area that the officer had been parked at, and we looked it over and I had to point out where she was parked in relation to the hill. I explained that I did indeed drop my speed to a safe one, and had moved partially into the adjacent lane to make for an easier recovery should another vehicle have appeared at the crest of the hill at the worst time possible.

After this, and a few quiet moments where she looked through her large legal book, assuredly containing every possible detail about the law, she told me she would dismiss this ticket. The best part, is that she complemented me for being prepared and for being honest.

I tell you what Readers… I danced my way down those stairs and to my car. So, should you ever encounter a ticket situation where you are confident (honestly confident) that you did not actually break the law, simply be prepared and be calm. Know your limitations though too. Even though I knew personally that I had not broken a law, I was still scared silly that I would be forced to pay a huge fee and be embarrassed by a new ticket on my record (and since I am currently driving for my living, that’s a super mega bad deal). The reason why, is that I know how unreasonable the court system CAN be. It isn’t always. and this was a small victory for me, especially considering that I do have a felony record.

So, rejoice fellow drivers, you CAN win your traffic ticket, and avoid the embarrassment and wallet-emptying that tickets can cause. At least when you’re well prepared and are open and honest about the circumstances (and have a chance to speak to the state’s attorney people).

Also, please check out my second most recent post, which asks for your paranormal and supernatural stories (along with a free book in reward!). I even share one of my own experiences to get the ball rolling on the creepy and wonderful things that dig into our spirituality and change our perspectives.

That’s all for now guys, I’ll be jumping back into work on my books, and will post more soon. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you here again! -Aza