Fall Extravaganza, more info

Here’s the latest info on the Fall Extravaganza. To enter to win copies of my books, sign in with Facebook at the bottom (or your email address), and follow the Facebook page for Kea’s Flight, my @earthtoerika Twitter account, or my Abby and Norma blog.

(I’m not yet quite sure if which page you follow affects which book you’ll be entered to win. I’ll look into that.)

Welcome to the 

Fall Book Extravaganza Giveaway!


We are excited to announce that this is our first year hosting the Fall Book Extravaganza Giveaway and we had 25 awesome authors and book bloggers sponsor over 55 prizes, including a Kindle Fire! Below you will find a Rafflecopter where you can enter to win one of these FABULOUS PRIZES! 

Plus, 55+ other great prizes!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find more information about the great 
authors & bloggers who made this giveaway possible at: 

Overcompensating Aspie: now I take everything figuratively.

A beautifully framed proverb was displayed on a bookshelf in the room where we had the autism meet last night.

“When the flame is on, the glass doors are to be left open.”

It took me about five minutes to realize this was right next to a fireplace, and it wasn’t a metaphor.

Fall Extravaganza!

Here’s a little post to tell you about my participation in the Beyond Words Fall Extravaganza Giveaway! Between October 21st and November 9th, you can enter to win any of several free copies of my books, as well as other cool prizes.

Prizes I’m contributing:

2 signed print copies of the science fiction novel Kea’s Flight (the special exclusive edition that you can only get directly from me, containing a lexicon of the made-up language described in the book)

2 signed print copies of the story collection If the World Ended, Would I Notice?

2 digital copies of Kea’s Flight in mobi, epub or pdf form

2 digital copies of If the World Ended, Would I Notice? in mobi, epub or pdf form

Recently added:

2 signed print copies of the Abby and Norma comic collection, “Everything Happens for a Reason (but nothing happens for a GOOD reason)”

Go on over and check it out!

Sirius Marley Black, our new pet

I have been waiting for this so long.

Yesterday we adopted a new bird!

Machine of Death sequel finally out!

The story anthology “This is How You Die” is out today!!! My story “Furnace” is in it, and so are lots of other great stories and illustrations.
My story is illustrated by Trudy Cooper of the webcomic Oglaf!

It’s already at like #143 on the Amazon bestsellers… let’s get it even higher!

And if you like my story, remember I also have a collection of my own short stories: If the World Ended, Would I Notice?

Review for Deltan Skies

Today I’m being a host for an online book tour for Deltan Skies, by Noah Murphy.

This is a very unique and complex science-fantasy novel in which humans, dragons, trolls, goblins, elves, and several other mythical species live in a high-tech world dominated by various warring corporations and mobs. A detective and his assistant struggle to face growing conflict with a parrot-like avian species that has built an enormous crime syndicate in the city of New Delta.

Murphy shows a remarkable grasp of the workings of politics and economics. I was also impressed by the amount of thought that went into this complex world of mythical creatures and their different psychologies and cultures. The book does have various editing and formatting errors, and sometimes the sections of expository narrative can seem out of place, but I still say this author has great potential.

Here’s my interview with him:

1. I’ve volunteered at a parrot rescue, and I also kept a very difficult rescued parrot for many years. I can see a lot of genuine parrot characteristics in your avian characters: affectionate but vengeful and misunderstood. How has your own experience with birds influenced your writing?

Before I begin it’s important to note that Deltan Skies grew out of a novella called a Clear and Feathered Danger I released 2 years ago, but decided to rewrite because I felt the story could’ve been done better.

Now, the entire idea for parrot gangsters can from my experiences volunteering at a parrot rescue myself. Despite the avians in the book are based on macaws, it was actually cockatoos that inspired me initially. The cockatoos at the rescue would escape their cages, steal your feed, stalk you around, and hold you hostage until you preened them. So I though what if they were a criminal empire meant to make you miserable? To get a plot out of the criminal parrots, I added them into the wider fantasy world of Terrall, a fantasy world that I had been toying around with for several years.

When I wrote A Clear and Feathered Danger, I found myself paralleling the misunderstood nature of parrots to a point. The avians were bad guys who wanted to blow up and destroy New Delta because they had been mistreated by society. When I turned the novella into Delta Skies, I emphasized their mistreatment to make them more sympathetic, and have other groups take the role of the big bad villains.

2. What education do you have in economics and politics? Your portrayal of this dysfunctional city seems very true to life in many places. 

I have a BA in Philosophy and Religion. Originally I was going to go to philosophy grad school, but decided that it wasn’t for me so I left and went into accounting for a few years, working while taking courses at a community college. Had the requisite course work to take the CPA exam, but again, it wasn’t for me. Therefore, while I have no formal education in politics, studying accounting gave me a very good understanding of business and economics.

When I set out to create the city of New Delta and other societies in my world, I speculated how they might end up functioning based on a set of parameters, in many ways like a science-fiction author would. By doing this, Terrall becomes a living world as complex as our own.

For example, let’s take New Delta’s legislature, the City Senate. Because New Delta is an ultra-dense city with two hundred million citizens packed into sixteen hundred mile-high towers, elections based on location didn’t make sense. Trying to make districts like they are in the real world, based on population would be a nightmare in a three-dimensional space, especially with gerrymandering. To simplify things in New Delta, senators would be elected in a glorified popularity contest, only needing a minimum number of votes to get elected. This creates its own set of unique problems and circumstances, which also get addressed in the same manner.

3. How do you choose the characters’ names? Do any of them have meanings to you?

Names don’t have meanings to me since I use a variety of different naming patterns. Humans have a Hispanic name with a random last name. This came from Alfonso Deegan, the first human character I named. While I made Alfonso’s name up, I decided to have it fit into a larger pattern of human naming. For some fantasy races including elves and orcs, meanwhile, I use online name generators to make it simpler. For others, I make them up using a general idea. Ogres and trolls, for example, have short one-or-two syllable first names with a descriptive surname, like Trogg the Genius or Borga the Rocket.

4. As a language lover, I was interested by the wide variety of dialects and speech patterns you used for the different species. People who grew up speaking different languages bring different distortions to English when they learn it, based on the grammar of their own languages. Have you thought a lot about the structure of the native languages spoken by the non-human characters?

Have I come with up entire fantasy languages like Klingon or Elvish in Lord of the Rings? No. You’ll never “hear” Goblin Energongnan or Teolian Elvish. I’m incredibly poor at foreign languages. However, language reflects culture and identity, and I sought to emphasize that. Goblin dialect reflects their learned, but aloof nature. They can say very profound things, but their syntax is just different enough to justify dismissing them. It’s not even human languages I do this with. The clicking of the dolphin-like Mer translates into childlike speech. While Mer don’t have the minds of children, they can often act like children in terms of how they approach the world and it’s reflected in their speech.

Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of Deltan Skies so I could do this review. I don’t say anything untrue in my reviews, but I am Minnesota Nice, so I can’t guarantee my statements are unbiased.

Jewelry site revamped!

In case anyone cares about my weird obsessions: I’ve totally recreated my jewelry website!

I feel that the appearance now fits my medieval sense of aesthetics– my jewelry would sell better at a Renaissance fair than any of the places I’ve tried to sell it, and up until now, the website design didn’t quite reflect that.

Also, I have to say mercantec.com is a *wonderful* shopping cart generator to work with. I had no trouble at all getting it set up and integrated with Amazon Payments, and it’s so very user friendly– little things like saving details I’ve entered on one item so that I don’t have to re-enter them for every item, you’d be amazed at how helpful that is.

Short Story Collection is Out!

My birthday is coming up– on June 1, I’ll be 32 (100,000 in binary)! Here’s what I’m doing to celebrate… a little early, but hey, it’s my birthday, I can do what I want.

My short story collection, If the World Ended, Would I Notice?, is published and available for purchase.

Ever since my story “Furnace” was accepted to the second Machine of Death collection, I’ve been thinking about publishing more short stories. They say the short story is dying out, but that doesn’t make sense, does it? Our attention spans are shortening with every generation. We have less and less time to work reading into our schedules. If anything, modern people should be gobbling up short stories like crazy, and the success of the first Machine of Death collection certainly suggests they are, or at least can be induced to.

If the World Ended, Would I Notice? is a collage of extremely varied short fiction, collected from various temporal and psychological parts of my life as an author. It’s a grab bag that should appeal to the same sort of audience that loves Machine of Death: some stories are fluffy and silly, some dark and violent, some sexy, some just plain over-the-top weird and creative.

There are 14 stories in total, including one novella of 94 pages. Some are fantasy, some are science fiction, some can’t figure out what they are. All have elements of otherworldliness, born of my alien mind.

The cover art is an adaptation of the phase-one painting of my “Earth to Erika” triptych: the painting in which I portray myself disconnected from Earth, having not yet begun to make contact with it. Several of these stories had their roots in my earlier, lonelier life, before John, before the whole author-artist-and-speaker gig. This doesn’t mean they’re all depressing, but it does mean their view of the world is perhaps more alien than anything else I’ve published.

If books had movie-style ratings, this one wouldn’t be G. There’s a fair quantity of swearing, violence and sexual themes, but I wouldn’t say they dominate the book. I’d say the overriding theme of the book is curiosity, and the exploration of the strange. It’s not for children, but it may be for adults who have retained some of the drives of childhood.

Read the beginning of one of the stories



Kindle Nook

Paperback PDF

What am I doing this month? Back-to-back art fairs!

Two weekends from now, I am going to have the most crazy and creative weekend ever! SpringCon and the Linden Hills Festival are happening the same weekend. I will have Abby and Norma comics at the former on May 18th, and jewelry at the latter on May 19th. Here are some pictures to prove I’m not making all this stuff up!

This is the suitcase that my jewelry table and all accessories fold up to fit in (shown with a baby pterodactyl for size comparison). It also fits in my bike trailer, which I plan to use as a mode of transport (the baby pterodactyl is still too young to be used as transport).

This is my jewelry table, set up in my kitchen. The kitchen is for demonstration purposes only; it will not be in my kitchen during the festival. The Linden Hills Festival will take place in Linden Hills Park at 3100 W 43rd St, Minneapolis, MN, because that is a larger and more convenient venue than my kitchen. More details at http://www.lindenhills.org/whatwedo/festival.php

This is the postcard I was sent by the organizers of SpringCon, the comic fair where I will have a table for stuff related to my nerdy webcomic “Abby and Norma.” As you can see, the card emphasizes promoting the event, so I am doing so. It takes place on the State Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 18th and 19th. (I will only be there on the 18th, but I will be sharing a table with Aaron Poliwoda, who also does cool comics about autism, and he will be there both days, so check him out too!) Admission is $12.00, which will get you in all day both days. More info at http://midwestcomicbook.com/?page_id=2

These are some of the items I will have at my table at SpringCon. They include the Abby and Norma comic collection “Everything Happens for a Reason (but Nothing Happens for a Good Reason),” and shirts proclaiming that vowels are odd, and that humans, hermit crabs and caddisfly larvae are three deviant species of clothes-wearers on a planetwide nudist colony.

So yeah! Be there if you can!


Erika Hammerschmidt: Author, Artist, Speaker

My first name is Erika. Not Erica. Not Ericka. My last name is Hammerschmidt, which has thirteen letters, including five consonants in a row. People still find it easier to spell than my first name.

My email is humanalien at gmail dot com.
(That’s “Human Alien,” not “Humana Lien” or “Hum Anal Ien.”)

In college I majored in German and Spanish. I also accidentally minored in art, just by taking so many art classes for the fun of it. I grow my own vegetables. I am obsessed with pet birds. I make jewelry that looks like a Renaissance Fair gone wild.

I’m an author, artist and speaker living in Minnesota. I work in a pharmacy as well as giving speeches on autism and writing books. I am married to a space alien named John Ricker, who, like me, is on the autism spectrum.

Some books I have published:
Born on the Wrong Planet
Kea’s Flight
If the World Ended, Would I Notice?

Below you will find my latest news. Add me to your bookmarks! I’m always up to something.

Also, check our calendar for upcoming events!