Friday, August 2, 2013

Give it away now

Paradise Squandered, Third Edition
I apologize for the corniness of the title of this post. Please forgive me. I couldn't help myself.

I'm giving away a SIGNED paperback copy of the Third Edition of Paradise Squandered. You know, the controversial, groundbreaking novel that recently ignited a media firestorm:
"Sexual frustration, marijuana smoking, underage drinking, house parties, driving way too fast… This book honestly captures what it's like to be an angry 18 year old searching for what is real and important in life through trial and error."
"Stefansson has written a literary masterpiece, this generation's Catcher in the Rye. He has a unique ability to capture the feelings of angst that many young people experience while transitioning to adulthood."
"Paradise squandered is unlike anything I have EVER read before. I really believed that the vast majority of people, will in fact be able To relate to this novel."
"Yeah, I read it..."
Enter to win, and you might discover just how terrible my signature is.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Paradise Squandered by Alex Stefansson

Paradise Squandered

by Alex Stefansson

Giveaway ends August 31, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, July 29, 2013

Paradise Squandered, Third Edition

Paradise Squandered: a novel by Alex Stefansson

What do you all think of my new cover?

The third edition of Paradise Squandered has a brand new cover that I'm really proud to have attached to my book. It was designed by a very talented graphic designer and writer named Sarah Richards. She lives in Chicago. And she posts on her blog more frequently than I do.

The actual content of the book hasn't really changed that much. A few parts have been made more clear. And some purple prose has been cut out. Minor grammar and punctuation errors have been fixed, and I finally figured out hot to fix a few awkward bits that I kept re-writing over and over again when I was working on finishing the book originally.

I'm really proud of the new edition. I finally feel like my book is complete.

The new edition of Paradise Squandered is now available in both eBook and paperback formats! You can find it pretty much anywhere online. It's a pretty big deal. There's more information on the recently updated Paradise Squandered page of this blog.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

White Lady vs Jesus

A White Lady is a type of female ghost reportedly seen in rural areas and associated with some local legends of tragedy. White Lady legends are found around the world. Common to many of them is the theme of losing or being betrayed by a husband or fiancé. They are often associated with an individual family line or said to be a harbinger of death similar to a banshee.

In the second chapter of Paradise Squandered, the main character and his best friend encounter a mysterious lady in white while they are smoking a joint rolled from a Bible page and waxing philosophical on a moonlit beach in Kauai. Or maybe they're just talking nonsense--I suppose it's up to interpretation.

Also, for the record, the idea of rolling a joint with paper from a Bible is not something I came up with. I first heard about this when I was in high school and was working at Subway. I had a coworker named Farazz who was a sub-par sandwich artist and very rarely sober at work. His personal hygiene was also well below average, but I suppose that is irrelevant. Farazz did not last long as a sandwich artist, but he did impart his special brand of wisdom unto me before he was fired.

Is it a sin to roll a joint with Bible pages? Probably. This very topic has actually been discussed at Yahoo! Answers. See for yourself.

Anyway, here's an excerpt from the part of Paradise Squandered I'm talking about:
“Death?” I hear David saying, or asking, quietly. 
A wave of panic, or paranoia, hits me, and I turn to look at David.

“Wha—what do you mean?” I whisper. I don't want whoever this woman is to hear me. I don't know why, but something about her terrifies me. My mind reels as David sits there silently, his eyes focused on the creepy woman in white. Summoning courage, I turn back to face her again. 
My eyes are glued to the woman as she passes in front of us. All is silent save for the sounds of the gently churning waves. Even the rustling of foliage in the wind seems to have ceased. All is calm. At least everything around me is calm. My mind is anything but calm. I turn once more towards David, giving him an inquisitive stare, hoping he'll say something to alleviate my terror. 
“Sermon's over,” he finally says, grinning his usual contented grin. He buries what's left of the joint in the sand in front of him. 
I sigh. “What did you say about death?” 
“Huh? Oh. I dunno. I was just thinking about something.” 
“About death?” 
“Sort of,” he chuckles. “The lady in white is supposed to be a death omen,” he says very matter-of-factly. 
I swallow hard. My mind races, all sorts of absurd images flashing before it. 
“Who thinks that?” I ask, feeling ridiculous for feeling so uncomfortable. 
“I dunno. Lots of people, I think. Well, I think lots of people used to think that at least. I remember hearing about it in English class once. The lady in white is supposedly culturally significant to a lot of cultures, I guess.” 
I look back towards the shore, scanning the area where I think the woman should be, but she's not there. A shiver runs down my spine. I look behind me. I look all around, but everything is dark. I turn my confused attention back to David. 
“Who do you think she's coming for?” he asks, nodding towards the condos. 
I look back at the shore to find the woman crossing through the well-defined line of coconut and banana trees, dense foliage, and clusters of flowers that separate the condo's version of a tropical paradise from an actual one. She climbs atop the Mokihana seawall and just stands there, facing the resort, somehow brightly illuminated by the distant outdoor lighting. Her eerie white gown blows gently in the breeze. 
“Hey, man, what are you getting all weird for?” he asks me. 
“What do you mean?” 
“You look like you just saw a ghost.” 
I pause for a moment, thinking about how much to admit. “I sort of feel like I just saw a ghost.” 
David just grins back at me. 
“She's so creepy. Where the hell did she come from?” I ask. 
“I don't know. Somewhere over there,” he says, gesturing with his head towards the other end of the beach. 
I look out at the other end of the beach, but all I see is darkness. 
“Why don't you ask her?” 
Another wave of panic hits me upon hearing these words, and I turn to look in her direction. The direction I think I should look. She's walking towards us again, once more gliding silently over the wet sand. I turn to look at David. He just grins back at me, making me feel even more uncomfortable, making me feel childish, irrational and fearful. 
“Good evening,” David says to the ghost.
On a trip to Kauai when I was 18 years old, I learned of local folklore regarding a White Lady from Ambrose Curry. My friend and I rented surfboards from him. We also asked him questions about things to do on the island, and somehow this topic came up.

I was pretty intrigued by this idea, but, alas, I was unable to find a White Lady myself. This was not due to lack of effort on my part, though; I spent a lot of time wandering around at night on this trip.

I did, however, meet a hitchhiker that looked strikingly like Jesus. That was a small victory of sorts. is a website devoted to, well, things that are weird in Hawaii. I spent a little time there conducting research for the lady in white part in my book. Conducting research is probably overstating wheat I actually did. Really, I just read creepy stories. This one in particular stood out: Pele in the Tunnel of Trees.
As he entered the tree tunnel, he noticed an old lady dressed in white hitchhiking in the middle of the night. He thought it odd, but just kept driving and stepped on the accelerator to get out of the tunnel as fast as possible. He did not recall the events that took place after this; all he remembers is his car had skidded to the side of the road and stalled. When he looked in his rear view mirror the old lady dressed in white was sitting in his back seat. Read the full story

Monday, June 10, 2013

Master Heg Robinson - Telekinesis Demonstration

As this video clearly illustrates, Heg Robinson is a tele-kenetic master.

I am genuinely interested in understanding what is happening in this video. If anyone reading this has any insight into this, please post a comment.

I came across this video while attempting to do research for a writing project I've been working on. I blogged about this the other day: When a Ghost Becomes a Vampire. This video was not the slightest bit helpful in that regard, but I'm not disappointed I happened upon it.

I've always been quite curious about the roots of peoples' actions that the majority of society immediately perceive as crazy. In fact, some of the more bizarre things I've witnessed have inspired me to write. But I feel like I have often been too quick to judge and make fun of these things. I'm trying hard not to act this way anymore. I'm trying to be more constructive and less cynical.

As a writer, I've found myself constantly questioning the value of the words and images I choose to share. I've come to appreciate the courage (or ignorance, or vanity) it takes to put one's own "art" out there for anyone to judge.

I have also, more recently, started to realize and appreciate the difficulty involved in writing a fair review of other people's work. Paradise Squandered, my debut novel, has been out for a while now and has received a fair number or reviews, most of them overwhelmingly positive. But there have been critical reviews of my book as well. The most thoughtful critical review of my book thus far was written by Paul Cosca: REVIEW: Paradise Squandered.

When I began reading this review for the first time, I started to cringe. I worried that Paul's characterization of my protagonist as a "hipster" that he hated and couldn't sympathize with meant that he hated my book as well. As I continued reading, I was relieved to realize that this wasn't the case, and that he actually really liked my book. 

I was impressed by Paul's ability to separate his negative feelings toward my protagonist from his assessment of other aspects of my book.

I recently began writing reviews of other peoples' work. I feel like it is only fair for me to reciprocate in this way. But taking the time to formulate a coherent, honest review is a lot tougher than I expected it to be. So, to everyone who has taken the time to review my work, thank you.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Prancercise: The Art of Physical and Spiritual Excellence

For a long time, I felt like something was missing from my life. Growing up, I did everything society told me to do with my life. I graduated from college, got married, started a family, but I still felt like something was missing from my life.

That is, until I discovered Prancersise.

Since my first prance around the block, I've felt like a new man. Colors are more vivid. Food tastes better. My wife is proud of my new, leaner, more horse-like physique. My son respects me (you should see how he looks at me now). My cat no longer bites me.

Joanna Rohrback invented Prancercise, "a springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse's gait and ideally induced by elation," way back in 1989, but for some reason it didn't catch on. Clearly, Rohrback was ahead of her time.

As Rohrback explains on her website, “This form of movement, along with dietary and spiritual principles can create the most satisfying, holistic and successful fitness program one could hope to experience. I encourage anyone who is ready for a huge change in their lives, from the way they see the world, to the way they see themselves to explore the principles inherent in this program, especially as outlined in my book: Prancercise®: The Art of Physical and Spiritual Excellence.”


This book changed my life, and it could change yours too. Possibly for the better. But don't take my word for it, take a look at some of these incredible reviews:
I was dealing with severe depression and anxiety...and the occasional bout with cameltoe. Prancercise has helped me escape my own personal swamps of sadness.
This book finally let me experience my inner-horse. I was like a child again, prancing through the woods. At one point, I was convinced I had 4 legs. A smile radiated from my face. I punched the sky, knowing that I was free. Call me Prancer, for I walk my path with joy.
In the last year, I've gone from a couch-potato who wore a shirt in the pool to a lean and mean UFC fighter, and recently became the first person to hold championship titles in all eight weight classes simultaneously. Joanna said, "It's better to be punching into space than in your face," and I'm sure my opponents would agree, as my Prancercise Box technique is unstoppable. It was tough getting my now-chiseled frame down to 125 lbs to win the flyweight belt, but that's where the rest of the Prancercise program did its magic. All it took was a strict regimen of "galloping" for 90 minutes per day, plus a balanced diet of hay and water, and the pounds just melted off. And my cardio went through the roof!
Look, I know how it sounds, and I know you're probably thinking that either I am sitting here being facetious or that I am a total nutcase. But I promise you that I am sincere, and that I am at least sane enough to be an independently living adult with a full time job. So, I mean, that's something. I implore you to pick up this book and give Prancercise a chance. It has changed my life. I went from lazy, lethargic, barely having enough energy to squeeze into my size 6T Pinkie Pie pajamas (they need to start making these for adults). Now I am full of energy, life, joie de vivre. I am a new me. A new pony. I do not skulk around, I PRANCE. I prance PROUDLY and with gusto.
At first I was skeptical, but after convincing several of my co-workers to try prancercise, I am a believer. I lead a daily prancercise at work and people come out of their office, prancercise for a while and the go back to work. Afterward we high-five, enjoy an orange mocha frappuccino, and head back to work knowing we let our inner-horse out to pasture.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

When a ghost becomes a vampire

Lately I've been looking for ideas for a short story I’m working on. The story involves a ghost, or some sort of entity, and it will be based at least in part on something I myself experienced 10 or 12 years ago.

So I've been searching for stories related to the paranormal, but I keep ending up distracted by "news" stories.

Last night I stumbled upon an article about a guy in Tasmania who set up a camera in his kitchen hoping to record paranormal activity, but instead he ended up documenting his girlfriend of 11 years having sex with his 16 year old son.

Ghost Hunting Dad Sets Up Video Camera, Films His Girlfriend Having Sex With His Underage Son

What I really want to find is an interesting narrative. I'm most interested in different ways these types of stories are told. I'm interested in style, not content. If you have any short story suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them.

Earlier today I found a link to the first 2 chapters of a book written by a 9th grade girl on Reddit: In 9th grade I wanted to be a writer. Here's an excerpt for those of you too busy or lazy to click the link:
I finished my chores silently, and hurried up to my room. Good, I finished at a nice time. 9:33. Perfectly dark, which leaves my tiny room even darker, more isolated. Just the way I like it. 
I slipped into my black pajamas and bounced onto my bed for the night. Finally. I was so tired, I guess Prince Edmund was the blame for that. Ha. 
I quickly fell into a deep sleep, while tears rolled down my face. Again. Read more.
Check out the cover art:

When a Ghost Becomes a Vampire

The first 2 chapters left me with more questions than answers. What does happen when a ghost becomes a vampire? I really feel like I need to know the answer to this question now.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Steve Holt!

Steve Holt (aka Justin Wade) is so excited about the upcoming season of Arrested Development that he is throwing a party at his LA apartment this Sunday. Annyong will be there. I just read an article about it. See for yourself:

Throwing EPIC 'Arrested Development' Party

I'm pretty excited about Season 4 also, but my plans for this Sunday are far less ambitious (I'll be spending some quality time with my couch). I'm also kinda nervous, though. The first 3 Seasons set the bar pretty high. What if Season 4 sucks? I guess I'll have to take my chances (and maybe have a few beers).

Mitch Hurwitz Explains His Arrested Development Rules: Watch New Episodes in Order, and Not All at Once

So, I guess the original concept for Season 4 was that the episodes were meant to be able to be watched in any order. Sort of like a choose your own adventure book. Except good. And with far less reading required. (Really, who reads in this day and age?)

But I guess Mr. Hurwitz changed his mind after production ended.
Our brains like to make stories out of things and that requires order. I pretty quickly realized everything here is about the order of telling the stories, that there will be shows where you find out a little bit of information and then later shows where you revisit the scene and you find out more information — and that’s not fun in reverse. Read more
He also suggests that binge watching isn't the way to go.
Don’t feel obligated to watch it all at once. It’s a comedy! It’s not like Lord of the Rings. Comedy takes a lot out of you.
Which is the complete opposite of what Gob, I mean Will Arnett, said in a Rolling Stone interview.
I think you just gotta hit play and don't stop until you run out of battery on your viewing device.
I'll probably be following Gob's advice here. (When has that ever turned out well?)

Check out the official Arrested Development Season 4 trailer:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Paradise Squandered featured at The Creative Forum

Paradise Squandered is the featured book today at The Creative Forum! Included in the feature is a never-before-seen excerpt from the novel. Here's an excerpt from the excerpt:
I shift into neutral, kill the engine and start coasting through the last few blocks of eerily-silent residential streets, running stop signs, not wanting to disturb anyone or alert anyone to my presence. The wharf is in sight, barely lit by the waning moon and my approaching headlights. It's all downhill from here. I switch off the headlights and stop the car behind an overflowing dumpster. The air coming through the heater-vents is already growing cold again, I notice as I set the emergency brake; I was just starting to warm up, too. I can see my breath every time I exhale. The windows begin to fog up again. I pull the key out of the ignition, open the door and step out into the cold night air. Read more.
While you're there, I highly recommend reading The Beach Man series. The concept for this series is great: a series of 400 word stories. The 4th installment was just posted on Monday, so it won't take long to get caught up.

Now available at most online eBook retailers

Monday, May 20, 2013

Modern Renaissance

Worth 1000 recently ran a Photoshop content in which entrants were asked a simple question:
If the renaissance took place in modern times, and the models were famous pop culture celebrities, what would the artwork have looked like?
The results are impressive (and hilarious in many cases). Here's my personal favorite:

Honey Boo Boo's mama
Check out the rest of the 63 contest entries here: Worth 1000: Modern Renaissance.

Friday, May 17, 2013

REVIEW: Paradise Squandered

Writer and critic Paul Cosca recently posted a review of Paradise Squandered on his website.
It would be an unfair generalization to say that the word “hipster” came to mind often while reading the book. I suppose it would be more apt to say that I truly detest those who like to think they are more intellectual than they really are by shooting down other’s ideas with big, borrowed words. I detest those that talk about art and philosophy in vague terms while not actually contributing anything artistic or philosophical. I detest those who seem to float around without even making the slightest effort in finding some kind of direction, and those who play the “tortured artist” card without either having gone through anything tortuous or producing anything original and artistic. This is Andrew in a nutshell. I hate him. It doesn't mean walking through his head wasn't an interesting experience, but I still have no more sympathy for these kinds of people now than when I began the book.
Despite Paul's apparent hatred of hipsters and my protagonist, he still gave Paradise Squandered an A- rating.

Check out the full review on Paul Cosca's website.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

3 FREE eBook copies of Paradise Squandered up for grabs

Hey everyone!

I'm really pleased with how well my first ever Goodreads giveaway went. 463 people entered in 72 hours, and now a man in Manitoba is anxiously awaiting the arrival of a signed copy of Paradise Squandered.

I've decided to run another giveaway, but this time I'm giving away 3 eBook copies of my book through a website that is (for some reason) called Rafflecopter. It's easy to enter. Just do what the widget below tells you to do. :)

The contest starts at midnight tonight. It ends in a week.

Thanks, everyone, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 10, 2013

The illusion of skill

I came across this video on Boing Boing earlier this afternoon.


This video got me thinking about an article I read a while back: Eight New Things We've Learned About Music. The article asks an interesting question:

"Why should a collection of sounds cause the brain to reward itself?"

There isn't a definite answer to this question, but, as the article explains, the most likely answer was proposed almost 60 years ago by a guy named Leonard B. Meyer:

"Music sets up patterns that causes us to predict what will come next and when we’re right, we get a reward. Some have suggested this has its roots in primitive times when guessing wrong about animal sounds was a matter of life or death. What was needed was a quick emotional response to save our skin, rather than taking a time to think things through."

It blows my mind that human beings just can't help but have an emotional reaction to things that can be so stupid. It's embarrassing to be wired this way. I mean, really, does anyone really want to admit to liking most things that are popular in pop culture?

I don't want to. But the truth is, I constantly subject myself to music and movies and activities that I tell people I don't like--things that I truly believe have no redeeming value. I've laughed at commercials for products I hate. I've dropped money into loud machines with bright flashing lights knowing full well that it wasn't a smart idea.

I consume things I hate. All the time. I can't help myself.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thank you, readers!

Another great review on Goodreads! Thank you, all. :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Goodreads giveaway

Hey everyone! I'm very excited to announce my first ever book giveaway on Goodreads. Yay!

Enter to win an autographed paperback copy of my debut novel Paradise Squandered. The contest starts tomorrow (May 1) and runs through May 4.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Paradise Squandered by Alex Stefansson

Paradise Squandered

by Alex Stefansson

Giveaway ends May 04, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Friday, April 26, 2013

Yeah, I Reddit

Anyone use Reddit?

I've been hearing about Reddit for a while now (especially from this one guy named Aaron), but these days I'm pretty reluctant to subscribe to any new forms of social media. It just feels like too much of a commitment (time is money).

Today I finally gave in and became a Reddit user. So far, I'm pretty impressed. It's like a peer reviewed forum for smart people that actually has content relevant to, well, pretty much anything you can think of.

If you'd like to find me on Reddit, my user name is alexstefansson. (How's that for creativity?)

If you were a Reddit user and also happened to stalk me, you would no doubt already know that for this weekend only, my epic train-wreck of a coming-of-age novel, Paradise Squandered, is free all weekend as an eBook on Smashwords.

Yeah, that's right. Coupon code VQ82Z will let you download my book for free through 4/28/13 in any eBook format from Smashwords.

And then 4/29/13 is my birthday, so (because once you begin reading Paradise Squandered, you won't be able to put it down) you can repay my generosity then. :)

And also, train-wreck in the aforementioned instance is a positive description. If you've already read the novel, you probably understand.

It's like that line in the movie, Burn After Reading:

For some, coming-of-age isn't all that enlightening.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Running in circles

Running is way more healthy for you than walking. And walking is way more healthy for you than running.

That is what scientist Paul T. Williams of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently discovered. He used the same data set to publish two opposing findings.

This is great news for me, because running hurts my knees.

This article on explains these findings somewhat better than I just did: "Run, Don't Walk." "Don't Run, Walk."

I think it's all pretty irrelevant, though. Exercise is good for you. You should do whatever exercise you enjoy most. I like riding my bike. I feel like a child typing that sentence, but it's true. It's my favorite type of exercise. I actually really enjoy it.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

William Shakespeare: Hoarder, Money-Lender, Tax Dodger

“By combining both illegal and legal activities, minus a few fines for illegal hoarding and tax evasion, Shakespeare was able to retire in 1613 as the largest property owner in his home town, Stratford-upon-Avon…”

Jonathan Gunson posted an amusing and informative article about William Shakespeare on his Bestseller Labs website today: William Shakespeare: Hoarder, Money-Lender, Tax Dodger.

Apparently, Shakespeare was not only a brilliant poet and playwright, but also a ruthless business man and terrible neighbor.

The Huffington Post has a good article on the subject of authors' day jobs: Strange Day Jobs of Authors Before They Were Famous.

Jack London was an 'oyster pirate,' stealing oysters from the beds of large farmers and selling them at the Oakland markets. He also did a little gold prospecting, and may or may not have spent time as a hobo.

Kurt Vonnegut managed a Saab dealership in Cape Cod after publishing his first novel, Player Piano.

Steven King was a janitor in a high school before his work was published.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Site update

Just a quick update. The Paradise Squandered page is now up and running. You will find the link on the upper navigation menu. It has (you guessed it) information about my novel, Paradise Squandered, and links to related information, including sites where it can be purchased in both eBook and paperback versions.

Friday, March 22, 2013

10 Disturbing Products for Kids

While digging through a writing forum earlier this morning, I stumbled upon a website called The Macaw and a post entitled 10 Disturbing Products for Kids. Trust me, the list lives up to its title.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Explosions vs Tyvek

I couldn't sleep last night. Rain usually helps me sleep, but the sound of raindrops on my roof kept getting interrupted by periodic bursts of noise that sounded somewhat like short claps of thunder; it rattled my bedroom windows and kept me on edge most of the night.

On Twitter, people in #Tacoma were posting about something going on at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. War games, or something. The base is ten miles from my house, but my house was shaking from the explosions anyway.

Anyway, at one point last night I started thinking about this crappy apartment I lived in in Bellingham that was missing most of its siding while it was getting remodeled (for about two and a half years), and when it got windy, the Tyvek stapled to the exterior walls would flap and flutter and be incredibly loud and obnoxious—and it inspired some pretty weird dreams.

The apartment that Andrew Banks moves into in my novel, Paradise Squandered, was also inspired by that apartment. There is a part in my book that is based on that very (very obnoxious) feature. This is the part in the book I'm referring to:

My notebook is tucked firmly under my arm as I drag my comforter behind me through my bedroom door and trudge down the dark hallway toward the living room. As I stretch out on the all-too-familiar, microfiber couch—a hand-me-down from David's parents—my mind flashes back to weeks of restless nights spent sprawled out with my feet propped up on one armrest, my head pressed against the other. I remember waking up from rare moments of sleep drenched in sweat, gasping for breath after so many guilt-induced nightmares and then feeling even worse, more remorseful, upon realizing what I had done to the couch. It used to be so much more sanitary than it is now. It definitely smelled better before. David kept telling me not to worry about it. He said his mom had been looking for an excuse to upgrade the furniture in the rec room anyway.

I'm lying on my side with my comforter haphazardly spread over most of my body. Summer has been cool so far—even for this part of the country, way up north near the Canadian border—and this old apartment is poorly insulated and drafty; it doesn't smell all that great, either. I'm looking down at my open notebook on the cushion beside me, staring down at my to-do list, my mouth agape:

1.Unpack boxes
2.Find a glass studio
3.Learn how to cook
4.Get a job
5.Apply to WWU

As I ponder how I've failed to cross anything off—not even the first item on the list—I sketch an airplane crashing into a mountain in the margin and exhale sharply, feeling ridiculous for feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of even trying to accomplish anything. Then I flip through pages until I find what I started writing earlier:

The wall outside my bedroom window has no siding. I've been lying in bed for well over an hour trying to fall asleep, but the sound of Tyvek rustling in the breeze outside my window is driving me insane. I was already in a terrible mood after I got back from Scarlet's place. I'm pretty sure I hate her friends. All of them. I'm not even sure why I went over there in the first place. To finally meet Steven, I guess. David keeps telling me I should talk to him, that we have a lot in common. Apparently, Steven is “an artist of sorts,” whatever that means. David also said that he would be there, at the party, or gathering, or asshole convention or whatever took place earlier, but he wasn't.

I close my pen in my notebook and toss it on the floor, disgusted by the frivolity of my writing, and at the fact that I expend so much time and energy documenting the trifling ways in which I choose to occupy my time, like it will somehow be worthwhile in the future to read and reflect on exactly how I wasted my past.

I sigh and roll onto my back and stare up at the ceiling, at the abstract patterns of light and shadows cast by unknown sources somewhere on the other side of the living room windows, and try to convince myself to do something worthwhile in the morning.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Now on Goodreads

Paradise Squandered is now on Goodreads! Are you? If you are, I'd love to connect with you there!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I was catching up with an old friend earlier today, and somehow the conversation turned to earthships, and it reminded me of all these other conversations I had in college, and how I really wanted to get involved with green construction and sustainable design. It also reminded me of just how cool it could be to live in a custom-built, Japanese polystyrene dome.

With the impending success of my novel, Paradise Squandered, I'm pretty sure that one day soon I will be be able to afford to move my family into a technologically advanced Styrofoam hut. I can't wait!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Paradise Squandered: Official Press Release

Contact: Alex Stefansson
(425) 218-9269

Sex, drugs and existential angst
Paradise Squandered, the ambitious debut novel of writer Alex Stefansson, is a raw, powerful portrait of a disaffected generation in an empty, consumer-culture world.

Tacoma, WA – Alex Stefansson grew up angry and cynical in the suburbs of Seattle. Now he taps that experience in his insightful and compelling debut novel about a cynical teenager's naive artistic aspirations, and his pining love for a girl he is too afraid to actually talk to.

Paradise Squandered is a story of what it is like to aimlessly trudge along that strange and uncharted course that is life after high school. Andrew Banks returns home from a long-promised graduation trip to Hawaii and re-enters a bland, suburban landscape of privilege and indifference.

Talented but uninspired, Andrew knows he wants to pursue his art, but he has no idea how. He resigns himself to going through the motions of his own life, until the night he overhears the disturbing truth of his father's death. He instantly decides he has to leave his childhood home forever, and a darkly hilarious odyssey ensues.

Andrew moves to a new city with his best friend, David, who is going to college in the fall and has big plans for his future. Andrew's plans are far less academic. He meets Steven, a highly ambitious artist with questionable motives, and a mysterious and alluring young woman who keeps him coming back to the same coffee shop, day after day. Andrew eventually discovers that some things are actually worth pursuing.

Reviewer Jon Perkins says:
"Stefansson has written a literary masterpiece, this generation's Catcher in the Rye. He has a unique ability to capture the feelings of angst that many young people experience while transitioning to adulthood. The imagery is superb, the characters are real."

Paradise Squandered will appeal to fans of classic American literature as well as readers of modern American novelists such as Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk and Christopher Moore.

About the author

Alex Stefansson's writing is often influenced by sleep deprivation and too much caffeine. He grew up in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Tacoma.

Paradise Squandered: A Novel

By Alex Stefansson

On Sale Now * 146 pages (print version) * $9.99 paperback * $4.99 ebook

For more information about Paradise Squandered, or to arrange a book signing or interview, contact Alex Stefansson at (425) 218-9269.

Paradise Squandered is now available on,, and


Monday, January 14, 2013


I love butter.

Perhaps this is part of the reason I currently weigh twenty-five pounds more than I did when I was eighteen. Maybe. I don't know.

It's not like I've gotten fat, though. I've just dramatically increased in mass. And, well, yeah, I guess some of that additional mass has come in the form of fat.

When I was eighteen, I used to exercise all the time—and this exercise had nothing to do with my health, either. My diet was fairly horrible. But it didn't matter, I still had almost no body fat. For some reason I can't explain, I just always felt compelled to spend my free time snowboarding, or mountain biking, or climbing up stuff, just to see if I could. I took up hang gliding the summer after I graduated from high school. I learned how to surf.

I used to go snowboarding three or four times a week in the winter. I had a season pass to Steven's Pass. I would ride down anything. I dreamed of going pro, of getting sponsored and getting free gear.

I was so sure of myself, of my abilities. I didn't waste time questioning my decisions, or worry that maybe I was wasting my time and energy on frivolous activities. Riding a snowboard off a cliff seemed to have some intrinsic value. And what I was doing at the time always seemed to be the most important thing in the entire world, and nothing could stop me. I was driven. I was focused. I was invincible.

I recently started biking again, and yes, it's mainly for the exercise. I used to go jogging for exercise, but these days my knees hurt pretty bad after running very far on pavement. Every time I go on a long ride, I find myself thinking back to my earlier years, when my joints didn't ever ache, and I never wondered about how many calories I was burning. I find myself pondering just how much my world view has changed over the past decade. I find myself grinning at just how misguided and naive I used to be. And then my thoughts inevitably snap back to just how much my ass hurts—I hate bike seats.

This year, I want to make it up to Steven's Pass one time. This year, I will forego the terrain park, though. Instead, I think I'll concentrate on butter. Mmmm. Butter.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A couple things

Happy New Year everybody!

I've been thinking about a lot of things today. And yeah, I know, everyone's a little more thoughtful and introspective than they usually are on New Years Day. That's not what I'm getting at, though--I woke up this morning without a hangover (weird) and was able to quickly get past all those pesky, optimistic thoughts of self-improvement. :)

I have no resolutions this year.

That isn't to say I have no goals for this year--quite the opposite is true. I think 2013 is going to be the greatest year of my life. Really.

I woke up this morning with a strange feeling of calmness. It was off putting, and for a few minutes I just stayed very still in my bed and stared up at the ceiling thinking about why that might be. Then I tried thinking about all those irrelevant, nagging issues that so frequently seem to find their way into the forefront of my consciousness. I even started thinking about philosophical issues, all those inane epistemological issues I devoted so much time and energy to studying in college--the ones that still drive me crazy no matter how hard I try to convince myself that they are pointless to think about--and I still wasn't even the slightest bit angry.

I even tried thinking about the ongoing philosophical debate over the distinction between stuff and things--this issue always makes me angry; it's so stupid, and yet so complicated.

After that failed to raise my blood pressure, I was pretty sure I had died in my sleep. I checked my pulse, then went into the bathroom to see if I still had a reflection.

So anyway, I guess 2013 is off to a good start.