Our newest book is live on Amazon

Our newest book is live on Amazon

My latest book is now “35 Great Recipes You Wish Your Mother Made” has gone live on Amazon.com! This book will soon retail for $3.49, but it is available to friends and family NOW for just 99 cents so we can get reviews.

http://www.amazon.com/Great-Recipes-Wish-Your-Mother-ebook/dp/B00KGDIW6U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400627899&sr=8-1&keywords=35+great+recipes+you+wish+your+mother+made

I was able to team up with Amazon.com best-selling author Ankit Pandey, author of Unravelling Paleo, for this amazing compilation of “family favorites” recipes. It will be a $3.49 book very soon, on sale now to family and friends for 99 cents so we can get reviews. The book has 35 family favorites, plus a few bonus recipes. All of them are great.

(There is a sequel book coming out soon, due to the popularity the first book has received from selected authors, editors and beta readers. Look for “35 MORE Great Recipes You Wish Your Mother Made” soon!)

Part 2 is, we need your help! We need people to download it and review it, the sooner the better; the more the merrier.

After we have about 25 reviews, we start a full court press of publicity. Any help you and your friends can offer will be greatly appreciated! My goal is to push this to #1 status if possible; then I can use that accreditation to help our other books. Please help. Attached is a Word document telling you how to say a few kind words about the new book on Amazon, as well as how to Like us on Facebook, and other places.

Thank you in advance for your assistance!

Audiobooks!

I’ve been working on Audiobooks recently. What a fun exercise. You get to listen to hundreds of male and female voices to narrate your book. That alone is interesting, hearing all these different people read all these different selections…poetry, dramatic speeches, informational messages… but when they switch from reading their prepared samples and start reading YOUR actual words that YOU wrote for YOUR book, it’s a trip!

 

Now, you can’t expect anybody to sound like the voice you had in your head when you wrote your book. In my case, I’d be looking for ME – my stuff is largely humorous stories about our family. But it’s a lot of fun hearing somebody else interpret your words and bring them to life.

We have about 6 Audiobook projects going on right now, and some real talent has decided to work with us. We feel very lucky to have professionals like Chaz Allen, Jason P Hilton, and Jake Marek doing our books.

 

Jake Marek agreed to take our hardest challenge right now, with the project we are working on with him, and I’m sure he will be excellent at it. It has a wide range of voices and dialects, and the material ranges from funny to tearful in a few seconds sometimes. Jake has the right attitude for the project we selected him for: fun. Plus, he actually sounds a lot like ME! So that was a kick. He has such great comedic timing, you’re going to love him!

 

Chaz Allen is a seasoned professional with a voice that makes me want to write stories just for him to read. So I’m doing just that! Look for “Santa Maybe” to come out later this summer. You are going to love his voice as much as I do. He is a fine actor and a rare talent. We were very lucky to get Chaz on board.

 

I believe Jason P Hilton is a newcomer to this business, but you would never know it. Jason’s reading style is bold and his deep voice is still flexible enough to play all roles. He enunciates very well, reads with nice inflection and punches up the comedic lines in the right places. He manages the voices of different characters nicely as they converse, which is very important. My manuscript is mostly a first person speech, with lots of humorous, rambling, run-on sentences with an occasional short dialog thrown in. Jason does these well. In the informative sections, he delivers with a calm intelligent style; acting out the humorous parts, he’s lively and having fun. This guy has a bright future ahead of him in this business!

 

Audiobooks are so much fun. “Theater of the mind” is what they called radio plays, and this is definitely the same. Once the audience settles in, the curtain goes up and show is on! 

I am very fortunate to be working with all three of these gentlemen. I think you are all going to be happy with their work as well.

 

Stay tuned!

 

The Store

We needed something minor for dinner, some rolls or milk or something, so Savvy and I made a quick run to the store to get it. Since it had been raining, it was darker earlier than usually, and the skies looked more like sunset than they normally would have.

It was probably a habit from when she was a baby; referring to everything as “the store.” The grocery store is the store, Target it the store, the mall is the store. I suppose we could start saying we’re going to Target now that my daughter is four years old, but a lot of things are still generically referred to as the store; so she doesn’t get too excited about going to the store because a lot of times going to the store is boring.

And, well, it is.

Going to the store at Christmas is exciting, because we might surreptitiously go by the toy aisle to see what might interest her as a potential present. The same thing holds true when we visit the store around her birthday – although we usually buy so much stuff at Christmas, we have leftover presents to give her on her birthday a few months later.

And of course there was that quick trip to Buy-Mart where I went to get a leotard and ended up buying a bicycle and a 12’ trampoline. (And a leotard. I did remember to get that.)

So not every trip to the store is a dud.

But a lot of them are.

So we run to the store the other evening, get our rolls and milk, and we are headed back to the house. That’s when I noticed the sky looking like sunset. It was pretty. Also, since our daughter can’t usually stay awake in the car, the addition of the lower light levels were dragging her down to slumber land.

From the back seat, a sleepy Savvy asked, “Dad, are we going home?” I guess she thought there would be more to our trip than just rolls and milk.

“Yes,” I answered. “Why?”

“I wanted to go somewhere else,” Savvy said.

“Oh. Where?”

“Disney World.”

I laughed. “Well, we might go to Disney World another day, but it’s dinner time today and we’re not heading to Orlando right now.” In my mind, I mused that even if we did make the short trip from Tampa to Orlando right now, she would be napping long before we ever got there.

She didn’t even hear my whole reply. She was already asleep.

What a nice way to drift off too, with visions of Disney World dancing in her head. I have no doubt that Mickey, Minnie, and a whole bunch of princesses, all had a great time playing with her, in her dreams.

An Angel On Her Shoulder – opening of chapter one, for your consideration

“Call 911! CALL 911!” a man’s voice called out. “There’s been an accident with injuries in the parking lot!”

A half dozen volunteer firemen happened to be in the winery’s tasting room. A moment ago they were customers. Now they raced outside to assist. A quiet morning at a hillside winery had turned into chaos.

“Oh my god, oh my god!” Onlookers heard as they rushed to the windows. Screams came from the parking lot. “Oh my god, look at all the blood!”

“We need an ambulance! Tell them to hurry!” the man’s voice shouted.

“There’s a girl pinned under the van!” another man called out.

“Oh my god, I’ve never seen such a thing,” a woman whispered. “That car hit her and she flew right up in the air!”

The winery patrons moved like a wave to the windows and door. Among them was Michele, in a near panic. She had just said goodbye to her daughter and husband. They had left to go get the little girl something to eat from the car.

“We’ll have a little picnic on the side of our van,” he has said. “It’s nice out. Maybe we’ll open the van doors and watch a DVD.”

Then a moment later, a crash. And then the shouting.

“How many people were hit?” somebody asked.

Michele could not make her way through the crowd. Everyone else seemed to be moving in slow motion… All the customers had bunched up around the two small windows and the doorway, to see what was happening outside. They jammed the hallway to the front door. She could not get past.

She tried to peer out one of the small windows into the parking lot. She strained, on tiptoe, looking over shoulders and between bobbing heads. No one knew who had been hit by the car. She began to get nervous.

“Okay, I’ll go feed Savvy her lunch. You come out when you’re finished. We’ll have a little picnic on the side of our van…”

“I can’t tell how many were hit. A few.”

“My god, that girl is pinned under that van,”

That caught Michele’s attention. The rest of the onlookers had rushed to the door and packed the hallway. Michele tried to push past them, desperately trying to find her family and make sure they were safe. Over the crowd noise, she could hear the summations of those who had seen it happen.

“That girl is going to die,” a hushed voice said in disbelief. “That car just hit her and knocked her right up into the air.”

“The car just plowed right into them! It didn’t even slow down!”

The hallway to the exit was packed. People trying to help were mobbed by people trying to see. All of them tried to get through the door at the same time, so nobody could. Michele was frantic.

“I don’t know how you could survive that.”

“My god, the blood…”

Michele’s heart was pounding. Her head began to buzz. Surely they couldn’t be talking about her daughter. They had just gone to the car – the rental van – to get her some lunch. A picnic. By the side of the van. As Michele pushed her way down the hallway, she caught a glimpse of the scene.

A worker’s truck had somehow wrecked into cars parked in the lot. Her car. The rental van. It was all smashed up.

“We need some towels for them! Get me some towels!”

She could not see her husband or daughter anywhere. Inside, too many people blocked her view. Outside, too many helpers crowded out what could be seen of the victims. She craned her neck to catch a glimpse of anything. There were tire marks showing the path the truck took, right into her rental van. Panic rose up in her throat. She fought her way past the window and through the crowd towards the door.

Where is my baby? Where’s Dan?

The next window gave fewer answers. The volunteers had gathered around the victims. They had rolled one victim over, but there were too many people in the way to see who it was. The others worked to get the girl out from under the van. Her van.

Then Michele saw some of the blood splattered clothing. She saw blood on the dress of the victim pinned under the van. She gasped. It was the same color as her daughter’s dress.

Now she began to panic. She had to get down the hallway. She had to get outside. Onlookers blocked her way. She wedged and pushed them , with tears in her eyes, until she almost reached the door. In desperation, she whispered a prayer and reached for the doorknob.

“Please God, don’t let this be happening to my family.”

Please spare my baby and my husband.

Please…

 
 
Thus begins the opening of the supernatural thriller An Angel On Her Shoulder. Thoughts?

Magic

Just last week, as she came down the stairs from her home office, Michele observed her husband and daughter at breakfast. As always, Dan had taken the chair directly across from their daughter, so Savvy could watch TV. It was a bad habit, but it had started back when they were grasping at straws to get her to eat, and a cartoon served as a useful distraction. Savvy would watch TV and open her mouth at the right time, when somebody sitting next to her held a spoonful of puree up to her mouth; everybody was happy.

That was when she was a baby. Now she practically wouldn’t eat unless a cartoon was on.

But she was only three; plenty of time to work through that. Eating was the priority right now. And this got her to eat.

So he sat across from her, to supervise and instruct as she fed herself. If he didn’t supervise, she would skip out on the vegetables – or try to; if he didn’t instruct, she might not eat at all. After a while, the seating arrangement was pretty much permanent, for all meals. Savvy on the corner, Michele next to her, and Dan across from her. Like all parents of young children, it worked best if the kids were surrounded.

Dan was strict but playful. From her office upstairs, Michele could hear their frequent lunch or dinner battles as she took a late conference call. Mostly, it was Dan’s raised voice as Savvy stubbornly refused to eat the vegetable of the day. Shouts of “Get some green beans! Green beans!” Echoed up the stairs. “Not chicken. Put that down. Put it down! Get the green beans! Green beans!”

Just as often, though, she would catch them playing at the table while she cooked. Simple things that don’t matter and wouldn’t be remembered, but which still warm a wife and mother’s heart. Like now.

From her vantage point by the stairs, Michele had stood, clutching her favorite coffee mug, watching them play at the table, waiting for her. Every birthday, Christmas, anniversary, mother’s day, Dan would order a big ceramic coffee mug with a picture of Michele and Savvy on it. By now she had quite a collection: a photo of them at the zoo, another one from an event by the river, another from when they were picking flowers in the yard. Each photo became its own big coffee mug. It was a ceramic photo album. They were all cute, but the Christmas mug was her favorite. It was an impromptu photo, taken one day when Dan walked in after Michele had just popped a Santa hat onto Savvy’s head. Savvy was only about nine months old at the time. She didn’t have anything but peach fuzz for hair yet, but she had the big eyes and the dimples, so the Santa hat looked especially cute. Michele was holding her, so both of his girls were in the picture. It made a cute mug.

As Michele stood in the dark by the stairs, she held the mug as she watched her husband play with their young daughter. The wars over green beans were certain to happen later, but at the moment the warring vegetable factions were allies. Savvy watched a cartoon while working on her pancakes; Dan worked on his computer.

But Dan noticed that Savvy’s chair was a bit too far away from the table. Food that she dropped would fall onto her dress – it was always a dress these days, even at breakfast; and the frillier, the better. But those princess dresses don’t clean up as easily as a t-shirt and shorts.

Reaching under the table with his foot, Dan hooked the bottom of Savvy’s chair and slowly pulled it closer to the table. The wooden chair legs made a loud noise as they dragged over the tile. Savvy looked around in wonderment. Dan continued to stare at his computer.

“Is that you doing that?” Savvy asked her father.

“Hmm?” he replied, not taking his eyes off the computer screen. Michele watched silently from the steps. She could barely hear them over the TV noise.

Savvy looked down at the legs of the chair. His foot was already gone. “What is doing that?” she asked.

“What’s doing what, honey?” Dan asked with extra curiosity.

“What was making my chair move?” she asked him again.

He smiled and shrugged his shoulders in a cartoonish fashion. “I don’t know!”

She smiled back. “Is it magic?”

“Could be!”

“Daddy!” she exclaimed, pointing a pink plastic fork at him. “It’s you!”

“It’s magic!” he protested as she leapt off her chair to attack his feet.

From then on, whenever the chair would move at meal time, Savvy would ask if it was magic. Dan would always respond, “Could be!” Even better, as her own legs got longer, Savvy could slide down in her seat and push back Dan’s empty chair. The loud noise of the chair’s wooden legs sliding across the tile floor always got everyone’s attention.

Savvy would always offer the same happy explanation: “Look, it’s magic!”

– a sample from the upcoming novel “An Angel On Her Shoulder” based on true events. You’ll hear about it here first, fans!

.

.

To check out my not-so-scary stories, and some other interesting stuff, click on over to my Amazon page http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1425128559&sr=1-1

or find me on Facebook under “Savvy Stories By Dan Alatorre”

%d bloggers like this: