A Super Story, Just For YOU!

We put up a lot of Christmas trees and Christmas decorations, so the whole house gets rearranged for a while. Then, after the trees come down and the boxes get stored, and the furniture goes back, and the cleaners get a chance to harvest any stray needles, we commence to putting the littler objects back where they went.

As best as we can remember, anyway. Obviously it’s not super critical where a particular vase was placed.

So things have slowly been finding their way back to their homes. Walk into the pantry and spy a framed print? Hang it on a wall somewhere!

In the midst of this process, we put out a picture frame that has about 12 grainy pictures from a scuba diving trip Michele and I took. The picture are of poor quality because we used a disposable camera that we bought about ten minutes before the trip. Even though the water was perfectly clear most of the week while we were diving, the cheap camera took pictures that were mostly out of focus in the relatively low light under the water.

My daughter had never paid attention these before. Now that she’s tall enough to look at them on top of the buffet, she realized it was not just a decoration.

“Who are these people?”

I smiled. “That’s Mommy and Daddy. We are underwater, scuba diving. Like on your Octonauts cartoon. See our diving masks?”

She nodded, impressed. She should be. There are some cool pictures in that group. We sat down at the kitchen table to look over the images. Although the ocean waters were warm, Michele and I donned wetsuits and dived to 100’, swam with sharks and sea turtles, hitched a ride of the back of a dolphin (okay, that last one was a paid attraction at a sea park, but still). Savvy, a dolphin lover of first order, was duly impressed.

I placed the pictures back onto the buffet. “One day when you’re a little bigger, you’ll get to go do that, too. Won’t that be fun?”

Savvy nodded. “Did you have to wear special stuff?” – a reference to our respirators, tanks and wetsuits.

“Sure. Do you want to see them?”

She enthusiastically nodded. “Yes!”

So I went over to the hallway. We sold the tanks a few years ago, finding it was easier to just rent them whenever we dived, and the masks and other equipment was… somewhere. But our wetsuits hang right in the downstairs closet. I moved a few coats, and pulled them out.

Since we don’t live in California, our wetsuits are not solid black. Mine is blue on the arms, with a blue V over the chest and a few diagonal stripes on the calves. Mommy’s is pink and black with stripes.

I pulled the first one out and held it up. They look big when they aren’t on a person, even bigger when you’re only 43” tall.

Savvy’s eyes grew wide in amazement. Without much of a point of reference, wetsuits are not what they looked like to her. She does not watch cartoons with wetsuited people in them. Even having just looked at the grainy old diving pictures, that is not what she saw.

And after studying them for a few minutes our daughter reached a much more likely conclusion. Like in The Incredibles, a cartoon we’ve watched at least a hundred times…

Those are super suits.

And her parents are secretly…


One day when you’re a little bigger, you’ll get to go do that, too. Won’t that be fun?


I think I gained a whole new level of respect from our daughter.

Can you keep a secret? I can.




If you enjoyed this short story, check out my author site where there are plenty more in my Savvy Stories book series!



5 Ways To Find Time To Write

I don’t have time to write!

And I'm having a bad hair day!
And I’m having a bad hair day!

Sure you do, Binkie. A book a year may have worked for a booze-addled Hemingway, but times have changed. There’s the interwebs! Plus, you’re no Hemingway. And alcoholism turned out to be a bad thing.

(Who knew?)
(Who knew?)

But we all have the same 24 hours each day. That’s plenty of time to write your Great American Novel if you follow these tips.

1. Wake up an hour earlier.

What! Blasphemy. When do I sleep off that hangover? Hey, do you wanna write a book or not? One hour a day is 30 hours a month. That’s a lot of writing time. DON’T look at email or anything else during that hour. It’s Christmas morning. Go open the present that is your book.

2. Work through lunch.

Kim Cardashian's butt? AGAIN??
Kim Cardashian’s butt? AGAIN??

Do your planned social media from your phone, using delayed posts for most of it. (See? Planned.) Check Facebook, your blog, etc. – quickly. That maintains your presence; supplement that with your amazingly insightful posts at lunch each day, or maybe even write at lunch. There are very few social media crises that need your immediate attention 24/7. Hit it, then forget it. No more Facebook until lunch tomorrow. It’ll be okay. Nobody’s going to miss you. Besides, you’re not addicted to social media; you can quit any time you want, right? And, no, I don’t tell my followers that’s what I’m doing. They don’t seem to notice. Then Twitter from your phone spontaneously.

3. DVR everything

A 60 minute TV show becomes 42 minutes if you jump over commercials. (Why are you watching TV anyway? You should be writing!)

4. Don’t go to movies

Most suck anyway. Between the drive, parking, waiting through previews – which I like – leaving and coming home, it’s four hours, not two. For a few months while you’re working on your GAN, skip movies.

5. Write while driving

What? Let me explain. When those ideas come popping into your head like rabid squirrels during your commute, use your phone to send yourself an email. Talk-to-text is great for that. Pull over if you need to, no big deal. It’s two minutes, and like your “experimental” phase in college, it’s only weird the first few times. You saved the hero? We might need that gem. Email it to yourself.

It was the butler the whole time!
It was the butler the whole time!

Okay, now you have 40+ hours a month plus whatever you had before. With that, you could keep your day job and write Lord Of The Rings. And have it not suck. Yeah, I said it.

I’m not saying write to the exclusion of everything else in your life – like eating. Or seeing those other people in your house who want to talk occasionally. You can still play a round of golf – although my buddy who golfs can’t find time to write. I write, and can’t find time to golf. (I don’t like golf, that’s why.)

What I am saying is, you can have a thorough social media presence and still find time to write your book.

What are your time saving tips?


The Most EXCITING Post ON Postage That You Will Ever See

You’re an author! You made one of those book thingies, and it is actually selling. Woo hoo! woman-armfull-books-bigst

Now you’ll occasionally have to mail a copy of your book to somebody. Like, say, for Grandma’s birthday. After all, she wanted to buy your book, it’s just that money is tight. She can’t afford books and her luxury condo on Biscayne Bay.

Maybe a fan wants an autographed copy!

Maybe everybody you know is getting this book for Christmas and birthdays and weddings, like it or not!

So you must now consider postage. Stay with me. Books tend to be heavy. Shipping heavy things tends to be expensive. Oprah still hasn’t called, and that first royalty check will only buy you half a pizza. You have to watch expenses until the world discovers your greatness in the written word and beats your door down with handfuls of cash to throw at you in exchange for black marks you caused to be on paper.

Consider the all-exciting prospect of postage. Yeah, the boys and girls in blue at the USPS, better known as the post office.

Their customer service skills aside, these people are known for two things. Shooting the hell out of their offices and delivering stuff to every single house in America every day. That’s pretty impressive. How often have you wanted to shoot up your office? These guys have actually done it. Walk the walk, baby. Respect.

Anyway, when I went to mail a few copies of my book out (yes, they were gifts. Geez.) the very helpful (and possibly gun-toting) service clerk at the post office advised me that they have a rate called media mail.

I could not have cared less, as I’m guessing you have similar feelings. Wait.

My first envelope containing several books would have cost $10.55 to ship by way of the cheapest regular postal rate; instead, using media mail, it cost $3.55. I saved $7.00. That’s a pint of Warsteiner at Dunderbak’s. waitress%20with%20steins My second envelope had just one book, and it was still $3.69 at the cheapest rate. Using media mail, it went down to $2.69 – another buck! Now I can tip the waitress! Or get lunch off the dollar menu at Wendy’s. Life is good, if not completely healthy.

Take that, Uncle Sam!

There are some rules, like you can’t put personal notes in there, and it actually has to be books or other media, but if you can save $7.00, you should! And a lot of stuff falls into that category for an author. Not your baby hamsters, per se; but as a mail-order business where was that really going anyway?

You be a wordsmith.

Remember: Medial Mail for all book mailings. Now, whose turn is it to buy a round?

Should You Participate In A Book Fair? Three Points To Consider

Should You Participate In A Book Fair? Three Points To Consider


Book fairs are allegedly great for networking, meeting readers, and yes, making money. Here are some things to consider before reserving a booth.

  1. Do I actually want to talk to people?

Nope. Writers generally tend to be an introverted bunch. Look at them sideways and they scamper away like a flock of rabid squirrels. The point of a book fair is to interact with people. Like, face to face. With you looking at them and them looking at you while you make talky-talk. If the person is a reader, they’ll probably ask you about your process or your book. If a writer, they’ll be chatting you up while another writer spikes your drink with laxatives. Because if you’re in the bathroom, more sales for them.

KIDDING. That’s way too interactive for writers. They’ll think about it, though, the passive aggressive little buggers.

Ideally, you’ll be chatting and smiling all day. Even if it’s slow, there’s always one annoying guy hanging around asking inane questions. Talk with him until someone else comes along. Then blow off the other writer and speak to the person who might buy something.

  1. Is it worth the money?

Maybe. The costs might eat up the profits. If you make $2 per paperback before shipping, you might spend $20 in gas and $35 on a booth, so you’d need to sell 50 books just to cover expenses. But I’m pretty sure that at most book fairs you’d do that, plus you’ll gain some fans, hopefully, and sell more books to them later as they recall the day they first laid eyes on their new favorite author. Then you wake up and the guy from the next table is still flapping his gums.

Also, have your laptop open and ready for shoppers to log in and snap up the eBook version.

(I hosted a virtual book signing once, for an eBook. The fans stayed home, I stayed home. Everybody was happy.)

  1. Am I okay to stand up all day?

What? Stand up all day? Yeah, princess. This is where the rubber meets the road. You’ll sell more if you do. Your body language will be more welcoming. You can drink away the sore feet later. The other authors will be sitting, not selling. Think about it.

Did I mention smile? That means be approachable and friendly. And more. Be prepared for sweaty people who have yet to discover deodorant. Or mouthwash. Assume nobody has washed their hands, ever. And remember, smile! Think about how they’ll be gone soon. And that the bar is right over there.

So is a book fair right for me?

After reading all this, you can still ask that? Then, no, it isn’t. Which is why you should go. You’ll be the only one there selling books and all the other authors will be jealous with envy. Just, you know, watch your drink around them.


Did I Ever Tell You How Much I HATE Peyton Manning?

So we had a fun Super Bowl: Michele and Savvy went shopping and missed half the game, and I made some homemade salsa and watched the game at home by myself. I didn’t mind; no chance of having to play Candy Land in the middle of the game. Plus, the Broncos got blown out, and I hate Peyton Manning, their quarter back. I have hated him ever since he humiliated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the year after we won the Super Bowl. The Buccaneers were having a great season, winning a lot of games, and all the local fans were anticipating going to the Super bowl again, in back to back years, and winning a 2nd Lombardi trophy. We were beating the socks off of Peyton Manning and his team, which at the time was Indianapolis Colts. There was less than 5 minutes left on the 4th quarter, and the Bucs were up by 2 touchdowns. But do you know what? Peyton Manning and the Colts came back to win the game, scoring 3 touchdowns in 3 minutes, as time ran out. It was a humiliating loss, and the Buccaneers team seemed to be the emperor with no clothes from that moment on. No return trip to the Super Bowl – and no winning seasons again for us for a long time.

All because of that ultra talented jerk Peyton Manning. His coach, Tony Dungy, later said in an interview that Manning had played so badly in that game, that they were considering benching him just to see if a different quarterback could spark the flailing Colts.

In the end, they didn’t need to. Manning found the open receivers, sliced and diced the Buccaneers defense, and won the game in an ending worthy of a Hollywood movie. He didn’t get lucky, and it wasn’t a fluke. It was the result of hard work, talent and attitude. Manning was able to muster enough from himself and his team to beat our team, and do it in a spectacular way on a Monday night with the whole nation watching.

And I hated him for it.

So when he was now getting his butt kicked in the Super Bowl, I was enjoying it immensely. I was happily shocked when the ball sailed over his head on the first play of the game, causing a safety and 2 points for his opponent, the Seattle Seahawks. I loved seeing Manning get intercepted and having the ball get run back for a Seahawks’ touchdown. I was thrilled that it was almost the start of the 4th quarter before his team scored their first points, and the announcers exclaiming that the game was all but over.

I’m that petty. I can admit it.

Read the rest here in my book “Night of the Colonoscopy: A Horror Story”


A HILARIOUS story from bestselling author and humorist Dan Alatorre, about a subject nobody wants to even think about!

“Colonoscopy? You turn 50 and all of a sudden they want to stick a TV camera up your butt? Terrific.”

Dan deals with it ALL, laying out each step of the process in his typical, hilarious way, but with a goal of educating us in the process (in the end, it’s not so bad. Get it? In the end?) about a necessary and life saving procedure.

Night Of The Colonoscopy is a funny story about a guy starting to get a little older and trying to be realistic about it; wanting to have fun in life while still setting a good example for his 3-year old daughter – while keeping a humorous outlook at life.

The hospital gown that won’t close in the back? The nurse who didn’t tell him everything he might need to know about laxatives? And just how big is that camera, anyway???

Follow along and laugh as we head down another road of family interaction and life lessons as we learn about the Night Of The Colonoscopy!

Buy this book and learn about this important and life saving procedure while chuckling to yourself the whole time.

Why you should do reviews

We’re putting out a sales management book in a few months, to help new authors learn how to market their eBoook. Occasionally we’ll throw you a bone and post a segment here to help you out for free. We’re nice that way. Here comes your bone.

why to do reviews

That image may have been a little bigger than I wanted, but the point is, there’s my name again out on the interwebs, explaining that I’m a bestselling author, and giving the name of the relevant book.

If you put out something in every genre, then every time you do a review you can find a way to plug your books. Well, not every time; that computer software book wouldn’t have had a tie-in. But you get the idea. Or you can find ways to tie your book in, or just always say you’re an author at the end of any internet verbiage.

Here, we tied in to children’s books. That’s an obvious tie-in for an author who has also written illustrated children’s books. Parents with kids read these, might buy this book and might find my book as a result. I also could have gone after the parents and said, hey I’m an author of funny family stories, too, and here’s that book – it’s called Savvy Stories. But that was a little less obvious of a tie-in unless I put the subtitle with it: “Savvy Stories; funny things I learned from my daughter.” (so put the subtitle with it!)

YES, there is a very small chance that anything important will happen as a result of me putting my name and book title on a review – but I’m doing the review anyway, so why not stick my name and book in there? It helps this author – potential customers might look at his book now and say, “Hey, a bestselling children’s author liked that book, that must mean it’s okay” – and it helps me (the other author is now a new networking friend, a potential customer, a potential cross market partner, etc.)

Mainly, though, if I do a review here and there, it’s just one more way to get my name found. People might find my review useful. I’ll ask this author to tweet about this review. Who knows where it could go? Probably not very far, if anywhere, but farther than it would have gone if I hadn’t put my name and book title on it. It falls in the “Might Help/Can’t Hurt” category. No downside.

Now, how many reviews do you do? Not many, probably. How many comments do you make on other people’s blogs? Well, if you comment, also put that you’re an author and be sure to name your book in a non-obtrusive way. Be witty and appropriate to the blogger’s clientele – because you’re advertising a little each time. The additional exposure would be measured in the tiniest of fractions. Over a year, maybe they add up to 1%. But if you do enough 1% things, that adds up to 5% or 10%, and maybe at 10% you see a benefit. You don’t get a harvest without planting lots of seeds and tending the fields, Little Red Hen. You’d love a 10% raise at your regular work job, wouldn’t you? Okay, then.

Wanna know why you don’t do it? Because somebody might see it – and I might be embarrassed!

Well, just think about that comment for a while. First they have to see it. That means the marketing worked. Now all you have to do is tweak the message.

You’re a wordsmith. You can do that.