Do you remember the scene in City Slickers when Billy Crystal helped Jack Palance birth a calf by pulling it out of its suffering mother by the tail? When the calf finally popped out, Crystal fell backward and, holding the wet, slimy calf said "Look what I did" I made a cow!"
I know how he felt.
After decades of gathering stories, years of asking "Can I actually do this?", months and months of polishing, organizing, writing, editing, rewriting, reediting and working with author representatives, the book has finally been "pulled out." I have finally "made my cow!"
Name: A Million Smiles
Father: Peter Hartjens, Certifiable Smilemaker
Mom: Outskirts Press
DOB: January 28, 2015
Gender: Paperback and Kindle versions
Length: 198 pages
Weight: Light reading, but heavy on wit and wisdom
Where: Amazon, direct from the author, or at select book stores (locally at Chesapeake Trading Company in St. Michaels and The News Center in Easton)
One of the stories in the book tells how my mother used to exasperate my dad and me by sitting down at the table and saying, before either of us had a chance to taste, much less say something, "This is pretty good if I do say so myself".
I guess it's my turn.
All authors have doubts about their work, but as I read and reread the manuscript and then the finished book, I have come to conclude that it is pretty good, if I do say so myself.
Here is a quick summary of what you will be in for:
If laughter is the best medicine, then smiles are the pills of healing we administer. A Million Smiles contains 101 pills - each in a capsule of a smilemaking story.
Listen in as a child learns to use chopsticks, a dog checks his pee-mails, and shames his master. Come along to experience the ups and downs of aging, how grandchildren train grandparents and spouses share laughter and healing magic. Look over our shoulder as a father lays verbal land mines for his son, smiles melt chocolate, and a real life wizard makes fear disappear.
There are 101 stories in this book. They are all pills of healing, a source of smiles and a lot of chuckles. Like this one...
The Proudest Day of My Life... was the day my son first beat me at chess (he was about five!). My father watched. When we finished, I turned to my dad, saw him grinning, and asked why he was smiling? "I remember the day you first beat me... You were much older."
The journey is narrated by Peter Hartjens, a masterful story teller, healer, and Smilemaker (if I do say so myself), a man whose life goal is to cause in this world a million smiles and half a million tears of happiness. Can it be done? Read along and help make it happen.
Folks, this is not a book the New York Times is going beat down my door for the privilege to review. No, this is my first book. I do not have what they call in the jargon, a platform. Yes, there will be a Facebook page. Yes, there will be a website. Yes, there will be book signings and a big whoop-de-doo launch when it warms up a bit and this damn winter is finally over.
But in fact, the marketing of this book will be done by those who read and enjoy it. I need you, the reader, to spread the word, pass along your thoughts, and think of people who might just need a few smiles along the way.
So buy lots of copies of A Million Smiles for your friends and relatives, pass this email along to those you think might be interested, talk it up, and help me make those million smiles (and a little money, too.) And if you do, in fact, enjoy the book, please feel free to leave a review on Amazon.
I thank you in advance.