Interview With Bestselling Author Dan Alatorre

The fine folks over at Writers Interview were kind enough to talk to me about one of my books.

That's me!
That’s me!

http://www.writersinterviews.com/2015/04/savvy-stories-fatherhood.html

Click the link for the full article.

Here’s a sample.

Today we are interviewing Dan Alatorre, author of “Savvy Stories: Funny Things I Learned From My Daughter.Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a Best-Selling author and humorist; my brother points out that a humorist is a writer who’s not funny enough to call themselves a comedian. Gotta love family. I turned my sights on fatherhood in “Savvy Stories,” and the results were hilarious. I was just a normal guy until I became a first-time dad at the age of 47 – when most of my friends were becoming grandparents or sending their kids off to college! Some will argue that I was never a normal guy, but nobody will argue that the addition of a bouncing baby girl changed my life. My comedic debut book “Savvy Stories” tells humorous tales about a loving dad who sees the magic in children, and isn’t a bumbling stooge about changing diapers like some TV sitcom. I followed up the success of “Savvy Stories” with the even better sequel “The TERRIBLE Two’s,” and my inspirational book “The Long Cutie,” which deals with life affirming stories about people with a rare heart condition.

I also write short stories about parenting and family humor that appeal to everyone. My unique and hilarious short stories include “The Short Years,” “Night of The Colonoscopy,” and “A Quick Trip To BuyMart.”

My success has been widespread and varied. I became a bestselling author (it was a slow sales week at Amazon) and I have achieved President’s Circle with two different Fortune 500 companies (can you believe that?). But I have always been a writer.

I wrote cartoons as a kid, created a newspaper at my grade school, was co-editor of my high school newspaper… I had a desire to tell unique stories in an amusing way. I’m glad my smart aleck sense of humor has found a productive outlet. I’m sure my sarcastic mouth could have just as easily gotten me killed and buried in a shallow grave.

Currently in the works are “FOURthcoming,” the conclusion to the Savvy Stories series, “Chase Me Until I Catch You,” a nonfiction romance short story, and “The Adventures Of Pinchy Pinchy Crab And Ramon D’Escargot,” a children’s novel, and others.

I live in the Tampa area with their dog and cat, and an occasional armadillo (“but we’re working on evicting the @#$% armadillo!”)

Describe your book in a few sentences.
“Savvy Stories” is a heartwarming comedy about a 47 year old man who discovers that he is about to become a father for the first time, and after getting over the shock of having a baby in the house, learns to see life through the eyes of a child. He comes to appreciate and enjoy the many hilarious things that all kids say and do, and creates a lifelong daddy-daughter bond that every parent can appreciate, and that every dad of a daughter should strive for. After all, men were little boys once; we know that territory. Having a little girl is uncharted water. We feel sure we’ll screw her up.

Who do you think would appreciate your book?
I’m surprised anybody does. Oops, did I say that out loud? I meant to say everybody does! This is a book that men and women both enjoy. The parents in the story are real, not idealized; they do real things like shop at Publix and Target, and they do a lot of stuff that we can all look back on and laugh about. Like when the kid discovers a Sharpie marker and writes all over the cabinets. Most of us have kids or were kids once, so we know there is a lot to laugh about. Women have said they appreciated the viewpoint about babies from a dad, and men have said the book was like I was writing about them. Pretty much everybody agrees it’s funny, even people who haven’t had kids. And more than a few have given it as a baby shower gift. When’s this interview coming out? It makes a great Mother’s Day gift, too! And Father’s Day!

Was there an epiphany that revealed you had to write a book about your fatherhood experience? Or did you gradually come around to the idea of writing your book?
There were two.

…to continue reading the interview, please click the link

http://www.writersinterviews.com/2015/04/savvy-stories-fatherhood.html

22 Writing Tips From Pixar

I totally lifted this from the internet, but it has been recopied and reposted so many times I won’t attribute it except to Pixar.

How many of these rules do YOU follow?

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

Okay, that’s fair. I think I do.

 

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.

Hmm. Guilty of breaking that one. But it’s so much fun!

 

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

But… I HATE rewriting!

Actually, I agree with this one a million percent. I tell new writers that they shouldn’t worry too much about the first few chapters because we writers are a wordy bunch and tend to need a chapter or two to get up and running, and because by the time you get to the end of your story, what you thought was needed to get rolling has changed. You don’t need all that back story in ch 1, and your readers may not need it at all.

 

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

 yeah, when you start writing for Pixar, do that. Until then… well, it’s true. You need tension and an outline. Writing it down helps.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

Simplify is a key, and it’s very hard to do. Harder to do well. REWRITE!

 

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

 

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

Gee, I do that and never even knew it was a thing.

Your ending will tell you what to leave out of your middle. Sounds oddly like diet advice. Moving on!

 

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

Yes, this gets all caps: THERE IS NO PERFECT STORY! PUBLISH IT AND GET ON TO THE NEXT (BETTER) ONE.

Of course my writer friends say, Yes, Dan, but at least go back and fix the typos. Okay, fine.

 

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

I think I will try this. I’m rarely stuck, but when I am, getting onto the treadmill frees my mind. As in, there are lots of things I’d rather sit down and write as opposed to run a mile. It’s amazingly effective  for writer’s block. I’ve written several chapters on mornings where I overdid it on pizza the night before.

 

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

Hmm. No idea what that means. We may have to think about this one.

 

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

GET IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND ONTO PAPER/INTO THE COMPUTER! That’s one of my prior blog posts.

 

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

 

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

I say, let them fight! TOO many authors don’t do this – and it makes for BORING sections in otherwise brilliant stories

 

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

 

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

I don’t think every one of these needs my commentary

 

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

 

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

Throw it in a folder and later you’ll see your brilliance or your idiocy – and then you can fairly determine whether it’s worth doing something with

 

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

That may be the stuff you remove during editing, that fussing.

 

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

Aww…

 

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

THAT sounds like a good blog post. What about dissecting a movie you like? And emulating it?

 

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

 

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

You can argue with some of these pointers, but in the end they are more right than they are wrong. Most likely, the ones you don’t think you need – are the ones you need most.

Who Is YOUR One Fan?

I know I have one...
I know I have one…

Who is your one fan?

Do you think Stephen King focuses on millions of readers when writing his bestsellers?

In his book On Writing, King tells us he writes for one reader only — his wife. When he writes, he doesn’t wonder whether his millions of fans will enjoy his new book. He wonders, “What will Tabitha think about this section?”

Thank you, Copyblogger, for that information.

So? Who is your one fan?

HappyChild_largeI have a few, because I write different kinds of books.

The first is a high school friend that I had in mind when I wrote Savvy Stories. She thought my stories were funny and encouraged me way more than she should have. Blame her for the rest of this writing obsession thing.

Of course, the fact that my wife liked the stories, and cried or laughed in the right spots – that helped a lot. Her friends, too, who read them first as my Gineau pigs. (I made them all cry with THIS one, which is when I knew I had something.)

But mainly it was that one friend from high school.

Ooh, THAT's a good idea.... she'll LOVE that...
Ooh, THAT’s a good idea…. she’ll LOVE that…

The later books were written with a fellow author in mind, who may or may not realize their influence. Hard to say. Again, a few much appreciated others rounded out the field, but it was always that one person that was really the audience – for better or worse.

The newest book is written with a different person in mind, but I guarantee she doesn’t know she’s the intended reader. She represents an audience, though, so she’s the one this time around. And the prior muse will definitely play a role, but it’s a different story. It requires a different touch.

And all this time, I knew all that but I never said anything. I wonder if I should have? I had one person in mind each time but I never thought that was a good thing.

Now I know otherwise, thanks to Stephen King via a random Twitter tweet in my feed that happened to catch my eye.

How cool is that?

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Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Send it as a comment to any post or hit the Contact Me button and, you know, contact me. I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends, too.)

FOLLOW ME! I’m this helpful and funny all the time. Probably. Don’t miss another valuable bauble that falls from my fingertips. You read this far; you may actually need this stuff. SUBSCRIBE/FOLLOW TODAY (click the follow “Follow” button, above) and if you send me your email through the Contact Me button I’ll send you a free copy of my amazingly cute book “The Short Years” plus we’ll probably become friends and start hanging out and stuff.

If you benefit from this blog, share it with your friends!

Your humble host.
Your humble host.

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi” – yeah, we know. We’re trying to convince him to change that title – check out his other works here http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1425128559&sr=1-1 and check back often for interesting stuff.

INDIE AUTHORS DOING VIDEOS? Like with … people?

INDIE AUTHORS
Would you be interested in doing a video interview to help promote your book? Or is being seen too scary?

I’m not talking infomercial, I’m talking Tonight Show style, where we talk about a few things and have fun and discus your book at the end. I think it would be fun.

I’d give you my questions in advance and also ask for areas you wanted me to bring up, but maybe 10-15 minutes in running time via Google On Air.

Have a look at this VERY LONG sample I did a while back for LQTS and it will give you an idea of how it works. (Ours would be 10-15 minutes, tops.) It’s simple, but could be a lot of fun, giving readers that additional insight into the author’s mind and creative process.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ttdhmB2vr0

Thoughts?

Email me if you’re interested or even if you’d like to help  me do a few tests. Then we’ll roll it out AND CONQUOR THE WORLD! Bwahahahahahaha!!!

dalatorr@verizon.net just put something about “video” in the subject line

A Selected Passage From The Upcoming Romantic Comedy “Poggibonsi”

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Tuscany is one of the few places on earth where the brochures don’t look as nice as the actual scenery. Barbados is another. The Crane mansion overlooking the beach in Barbados is fabled to be a piece of heaven that fell to earth.

 

Tuscany is the other piece.

 

The weather turned windy and cool for our first night, which only added to the ambiance of the majestic villa we had rented. After all, why have a fireplace of you can’t have a glass of wine and snuggle up in front of it.

 

Well, one reason might be that the smoke blows back into the house when you go to start the fire if it’s windy out. Alberto didn’t tell us that.

 

After he met us at the train station (he even stood there holding a little sign with our name on it) he graciously offered to drive us to his villa in the hills of Tuscany. It was just a few miles outside of Florence, where he maintained his banking offices.

 

I didn’t know Italian customs, but it seemed to me a nice opening gesture, and a terrific way to meet and chat before we had to sit down and do business. Sam and Mattie had done well. Together, they looked at who I’d be meeting with, asked about good places to stay – owned by locals of course – and lo and behold; Albert the banker owned a rental villa.

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And what a villa it was. It was even prettier than the pictures Sam sent me. It sat high on a hillside, and every way you looked was a picture perfect photo. To the east was an ancient walled city with five towers rising up from the plaster facades of the buildings. Bell towers, they played their tunes with reverence every hour until dark. To the north and south were other hills with other villas, each nicer than the next, the olive trees and rows of grapes made each one its own little paradise. And though they looked relatively close, they were all miles and miles away from each other.

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I have never fallen in love with a place as fast as I did the watercolor-painted vistas of Tuscany. A piece of my heart was instantly drawn to it. I felt a connection, like sailors say about the sea, something unmeasurable and unique, but very much like home. To stand atop on one hill and gaze out over the valley to the next one, breathing in the clean, crisp air, was simply mesmerizing. I could have done it all day and been completely happy doing nothing else. It was refreshing in my soul.

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My favorite part was the place on the estate that they had not yet restored. Out the side gate was a small, makeshift parking area by the dirt road that divided the villa from a large barn-looking structure. The old building was made of stone and stucco, and had been boarded up for a long time, but it stood there, alone on the Tuscan hillside, watching over the vineyards below, quietly and slowly decaying. It was easily five hundred years old – everything in Tuscany is five hundred years old. Hell, they consider a house as “new” until it’s three hundred years old.

 

But this was not new, not by a long shot. I walked up to it the first afternoon, just before dark, as the breeze picked up and put a chill in the air. The grass around it was tall, almost knee high in places, and one of the boarded windows banged open and shut with every cold gust of wind. It appeared almost haunted in that light, but it was a friendly old porch dog, and steady as a trail horse.

 

Neglected, abused and abandoned, it still stood, solid and still, calm against the wind, proof of what it had been and what it could be again. It was two stories tall, with tiny windows and massive doorways, like some kind of prop for a movie. The roof was sparse and the wooden doors and window covers had been patched and replaced so many times that none of them matched, and what was there was faded and rotting. Through a hole in a shutter I could see the large rustic rafters stretching across the roof, creating the ceiling of its grand dining hall or its welcoming ballroom. It might house farm equipment for the groundskeeper now, or maybe even become a hay barn, but with some love it could become a beautiful palace once again.

 

Looking at the two buildings side by side, as the winds kicked up dust from the dirt road that separated them, it was a study in contrasts. Old versus new, abandoned versus inhabited, unloved versus loved. Our villa had a manicured lawn and a long row of Italian cypress trees lining its driveway, but once upon a time it had looked like its dilapidated brother next door. And restoring a house such as this is a major act of love, make no mistake. It takes time and effort and it’s a lot of trouble. I remodeled our house once and it damn near killed me; I can’t imagine what efforts the folks who redid this had to go through. But maybe they had a better contractor than I did.

 

I loved just looking at the old building and dreaming of what it had been, and what it could be again one day. Who knows, maybe we would come back and stay in it some time.

 

Every time we walked out the side gate to go somewhere in our car, the five hundred year old structure greeted me, and every evening when we returned, it was there to welcome us home. It didn’t need lights or satellite TV or beds. It was just there, being itself, waiting for the day it would once again be properly loved.

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It didn’t know I loved it already.

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A Thanksgiving Story To Brighten Your Day

Every year at Thanksgiving, when we were kids, my whole family would assemble for a long day of playing football in the back yard, followed by a fantastic, huge Thanksgiving feast. All of the neighborhood kids will remember the great football games, because it was an annual occasion where, regardless of age, brothers and sisters and cousins and neighbors would play. As we got older, it was even more fun, because it might put a college kid against a grade schooler. Rain, snow, mud; it didn’t matter. The dirtier, the better. Around dusk, the game was disbanded, and the players had to get cleaned up for the grand feast.

Thanksgiving dinner at my house as a kid was great. My grandma and grandpa would drive up from Cincinnati in their car. They were appropriately old, having lived through the Great Depression and all that, but certain things they did made them stand out – like how my grandma always called her car “the machine,” making her seem even older than she was. (When I was really little, I always thought that when she referred to her car as “the machine,” she was talking about a washing machine, and I couldn’t figure out why she was taking a washing machine back and forth from Cincinnati all the time.)

Sometimes we would get uncles and aunts from Cincinnati, too, and our cousins; and as we got older, brothers and sisters would come home from college with girlfriends or boyfriends. Eventually, the married sibling with kids would try to “split” Thanksgiving between our house and the home of their in-laws. Sometimes, our parish priest came to Thanksgiving dinner, a rare treat. He was a big guy, and played football with us, too, with no mercy. He would level you, no questions asked. I suppose he could always ask for forgiveness at work the next day.

We had a big, flat back yard, and playing football in it allowed us all to work up a big appetite for a huge dinner. After cleaning up, we would go into the dining room for dinner. On regular days, we would eat in the kitchen, at the kitchen table; but on special occasions like Thanksgiving, the dining room was required. It had a long table that mom would make even longer with some extra slats that extended it. But of course, that wasn’t enough to seat all the people who would come, so we would place a card table at one end, with some extra chairs. All the nice plates were used – one of the few times during the year that they were ever used – along with the nice glasses, the crystal butter dish (and a plastic margarine tub), fancy pitchers for water and milk… maybe even a few candle sticks! And the aroma of turkey and stuffing filled the air.

So, the kids are squeeze into their chairs, which are placed close to each other, to fit as many people at the table as possible. Side dishes are coming out: cranberry sauce, corn, gravy. The adults are finding their places. Some small talk is being bantered about. My grandma, getting ready to take her seat next to my grandpa, begins to tell us about the pumpkin pies she’d just made from scratch.

Now, you have to understand; grandma and grandpa were a bit of contrasting personalities. Depression Era folks, they worked hard and scraped and saved their whole lives, just like most of our grandparents. Nothing was ever wasted. My grandma was boisterous and outgoing; my grandpa was pretty reserved and quiet. He was really tall; she was short and round. He was nice, polite, and quiet; she was loud – but probably because she was becoming a little hard of hearing about that time, and hadn’t figured it out yet. She didn’t seem loud to herself.

Everybody understands that pumpkins are orange colored, and when you see a baked pumpkin pie, it’s kind of a brownish-orange color. Well, grandma had made some pies from scratch, and she wasn’t happy with how they turned out. As everybody is taking their seats for dinner, and mom is putting the finishing touches on the turkey, grandma is explaining about these pies she’d made. My little brother Rick and I are across the table from her, anxiously awaiting dinner, and dad is seated at the head of the table.

We are truly ready to feast.

Grandma says that the pies had turned out wrong, and she couldn’t figure out why – so she didn’t bring them. Well now, being Thanksgiving and all, that seemed odd, to leave pumpkin pies at home; so I turned my attention to her instead of the noise coming from the kitchen where the turkey was.

Grandma continued. She left the pies at her house because instead of being a nice, deep brownish-orange color, they had turned out….

Green.

Green??? I was dumbfounded. How the heck does an orange pumpkin turn into a green pie?

It just seemed amazing to me; the epitome of bad cooking. I had never been a fan of grandma’s cooking – being German, she liked to cook things until she was sure there was no flavor left; her house always smelled like steamed cabbage and canning pickles. In summer, the open windows never quite dispensed those sour aromas out of her house, so it was hard to breathe in there if you were a kid. You wouldn’t go into the basement unless you were with somebody who knew CPR.

Grandma was strict and stern and had very little patience for unruly children, and she let it be known on a regular basis. There were seven of us kids just in my family alone, and I was almost the youngest of the bunch, add in a few sets of cousins, most of whom were older, and you can see why whatever patience she had for little children had worn out long ago.

So the thought of her cranking out some green pumpkin pies as though a Martian had made them, was too much for us, the aforementioned unruly kids.

My younger brother Rick and I thought that the whole scenario was pretty funny – green pumpkin pies? We began to chuckle.

Dad, of course, was angry at the lack of respect we were showing our grandmother, and quickly told us to pipe down.

Of course, when you’re a kid, trying not to laugh just makes it even harder to not laugh. Rick and I were holding our breath, silently snickering over the thought of Martian pumpkin pies, when grandma dumped a little more gas on the fire:

When she sampled the green pies, they tasted funny, too. Bad. Well, we hadn’t considered that. We figured that the color was wrong but that they tasted okay – such was not the case.

Holding back a disrespectful chuckle is one thing; holding back a bona fide laugh is another. You can only expect so much self control from a kid. Now I was ready to burst. I could feel my ears turning red from holding back my laughter, and Rick was barely holding on next to me. The key to not laughing when you’re in a situation like that is to turn your thoughts away from the source of the laughter and distract yourself. This dinner was too special to get in trouble. I took a careful deep breath and thought about Mom, in the kitchen with the turkey…

Then the next bomb went off.

Grandma’s pumpkin pies were green and they tasted funny, BUT SHE MADE GRANDPA EAT THEM ANYWAY! (Depression Era folks do things like this).

Well, I hadn’t considered that. I thought she sampled the pies, found them to not taste right, and had tossed them out. It didn’t occur to me that she would sit down with her Martian-green, awful tasting pies and actually try to force somebody to consume them. Rick and I are hardly containing our laughter, audibly laughing while doing our best not to. I’m ready to explode. Rick’s shoulders are bouncing up and down so hard, he is hitting me with his elbows. This snorting and chuckling was drawing more attention to grandma’s story.

Dad is getting visibly angry at us. He’s telling us to behave.

We are dying. Rick was turning purple, holding his breath trying not to laugh.

Then came the topper:

“Those must have been the worst pies I ever made,” grandma said.

To which grandpa replied, “Oh, I wouldn’t say that!”

I exploded. I burst into EXPLOSIONS! Explosions of laughter.

Of course, my kind grandpa was trying to say that the pies weren’t very bad. But to Rick and I – and everyone else at the table by now – it sounded like he had said that she’d made lots of things that were worse than green pumpkin pies that tasted bad!

Poor grandpa! No wonder he was so thin!

I think we said these things out loud, too, amongst our laughter, which caused the whole table to erupt. Rick and I were practically crying, we were laughing so hard, and there was no containing our laughter now. Dad was trying to put a lid on grandma’s embarrassment. “Do you want to eat in the basement?” he demanded.

We stopped only long enough to look at each other. “Okay!” we shouted in between laughs, and stood up with our empty plates. We knew we weren’t going to be able to stop laughing, and eating turkey in the basement was better than getting sent to our rooms without dinner, so we took the deal.

On our way to the basement, we figured that since we had paid the price of admission, we could really let loose, so as soon as we were around the corner from the dining room, we just burst. We howled with laughter, repeating grandma’s funniest lines and grandpa’s topper, each revision funnier than the last. We were practically making ourselves hysterical – the kind of laughing that just kind of feeds on itself, and gets funnier and funnier. We just could NOT stop laughing.

Between gasps of air, Rick considered the consequences of not getting turkey on Thanksgiving, a day designated for eating it.

“Are we going to get any turkey at all?” he asked.

“Who cares?” I laughed. “As long as we don’t have to eat any green pie!”

Explosions. We were beside ourselves. My stomach hurt from laughing so much.

As we trudged down to the basement (I guess Mom quickly got us some food on the way down; I don’t remember), we were just laughing like crazy. Whatever words one of us managed to squeak out between guffaws were just indecipherable gasps anyway, made the other one laugh even harder. Boys of a certain age can do this for hours. Remanded to the basement, we were not constrained by politeness any longer, and we could really let loose with our laughter. We fell down on the spare couches and spun wild variations to each other of grandma’s pie encounter: she had thwarted a Martian takeover of planet Earth by poisoning the invaders with green pies. She was supposed to receive the medal of honor for saving the planet, but the pies were so bad that the president couldn’t go through with it.

We laughed loudly and uncontrollably to ourselves – or so we thought. But as is the case in many old houses up north, the heating ducts run upstairs from the furnace in the basement, and those old ducts can transmit sound pretty good. So all of our noise – sincere, hearty laughter, jokes, and disrespectful commentary – was broadcast straight back into the dining room above us through the heating ducts, for all to hear. And since we weren’t in front of anybody anymore, we didn’t feel the need to be reserved, so we were laughing even louder. And upstairs in the dining room, they were hearing every bit of it.

Eventually, the adults caved in and brought us back up, because they could hear us almost as good from downstairs as they could if we were at the table. We might as well be in the dining room, where we would at least try not to laugh. Besides, two little kids can laugh about something for an hour if left unattended. So they brought us back up from the gallows.

Trying to bail grandma out one last time, Dad said we should apologize to grandma.

The room fell silent as everyone stared at us. I took a deep breath, in hopes of thinking of something that would sound sincere and respectful, but Rick cut me off.

“I’m sorry your pies were green,” He said.

EXPLOSION!

The whole table burst out laughing this time!

BANISHED AGAIN TO THE BASEMENT

We didn’t care. It was one of our best Thanksgivings, ever.

Eventually – about 25 years later – dad came to laugh about it, too.

.

.This story is part of The Long Cutie available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Long-Cutie-Dan-Alatorre-ebook/dp/B00ICAU0KU/ref=la_B00EUX7HEU_1_1_title_1_kin/191-4061816-6372653?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428418870&sr=1-1

I posted it for my little brother Rick, who’s not feeling great right now.

The Sting Of A Few Bad Reviews

I think a lot of writers don’t publish their work because they fear failure, embarrassment, bad reviews…

For them, the timid, being afraid is the right choice.

The only way you can guarantee not getting a bad review is to never publish. So you have to ask yourself: can I accept the fact that there will be bad review?

I'm a talentless fraud!
I’m a talentless fraud!

Yes.

Can I live with the fact that my marketing may get my ad viewed by someone who it is not intended for, and that person may read the ad and be so convinced that the book is good that they buy it – and don’t like it? The reviews may have led them to think it was Grisham-worthy, or as good as Stephen King.

Then it wasn’t.

And then they said so in a bad review.

Ouch.

But that’s some good marketing! As for any bad things a person might say personally, don’t you tell your kids that a person who says bad things about others really has problems of their own that they try to hide by bringing down others?

And wait; 7 out of 35 reviews were bad. The rest were 3 stars or better. Most were 5 stars.

That would me be MORE, wouldn't it?
That would be MORE, wouldn’t it?

Why go on thinking about the small percent that didn’t like the book? MOST READERS LIKED IT!

Celebrate the hundreds of people who bought your book and will buy the next one. (When you have millions of happy readers, you won’t need my input anymore.)

Celebrate the good reviews.

See what can be learned from the bad reviews, if anything, and commit to thank them for being honest. Then work hard to improve.

Celebrate the money.

You did it, Binkie!
You did it, Binkie!

And get to work on the next book. Make some notes about how painful this experience was so you can (A) use it for a character that something bad happens to and (B) to laugh about down the road when you look at it and it isn’t an overwhelming thing to see anymore. That day does come. Turn on the news and you’ll see real people with real suffering; this is nothing. And it will pass. A day will come, sooner than you realize, that the big bad review doesn’t hurt anymore.

In the meantime, celebrate the joy you brought to people who liked the story and don’t let the ugly words of one person overtake the words and actions of hundreds – theirs are better because they were in with love not hate, joy not pettiness. Long after he is gone, that book will still be there. And long before that, his words won’t mean shit to anyone.

But the joy you brought to so many will lie in their hearts forever. You did that. Don’t ever let one asshole take that away from you, because it takes it away from them, too – it was their gift to you, and he doesn’t have the right or the power to take it away, so stop letting him have that power and give it back to those it belongs to.

And celebrate.

Then get your ass back to writing.