Monday, September 7, 2015

Announcing Distant Cousin: Santa Muerte!

We are thrilled to announce the publication of the next story in the Distant Cousin chronicles:

Distant Cousin: Santa Muerte a budget price both in electronic and paper versions! Here's the publisher's info:

I highly recommend that any intellectually curious reader begin with the first book in the series. You will not be able to put it down. I also recommend a perusal of the Ana Darcy Blog to see the complete three-dimensional story that Al has created. Note that the story has been contracted to a movie agent, a fate it most certainly deserves. As All-American entertaining fiction, the Distant Cousin Series is hot stuff! Reading all the Distant Cousin books is like playing a movie in your head. This is the way we want life to be. This is the way we want Americans to respond to aliens if they ever arrive on Earth. Life should always be like this. Floyd M. Orr, POD Book Reviews & More. 

All families experience stress, but the Méndez family of Mesilla, New Mexico is a special case. Ana Méndez is the first alien to have reached Earth from another planet. She and her New Mexican husband and their eerily gifted young adult twins live peaceful secret lives in their home on the Rio Grande River--except for their increasing identity problems. What could be better stress relief than a family vacation to their husband's ancestral home in Chihuahua, Mexico, with good company, new sights, fancy food, and adventure? But after the local "Saint of Death" enters the scene, the delightful vacation suddenly takes a dangerous turn....

Reception by readers

Distant Cousin: Santa Muerte SAMPLE

“Unit 212.”
“212. Go ahead.”
Ken Stackhouse, senior sociology major at The University of Texas at El Paso, did his best to follow the terse exchange of information between Sergeant Molina and his dispatcher, but it was confusing. Police communications were not chatty.
 “You follow that, kid?” Molina asked.
“Maybe. They’re asking you to back up another unit somewhere, right?”
“Right: a fight at a sports bar just off North Mesa, about a mile from here.”
“Did one of those codes mean lights but no siren?”
“Right. And that means what?”
“I guess it means it’s over. They’re finishing up.”
“Yeah. Coupla injuries, not serious. EMTs are there.”
“I missed that part.”
“We’ll check around, make sure the area’s clear and then go inside.”
“Will they be expecting you?”
“Yeah. Did you hear someone say ‘240?’”
“Uh, I think so….”
“That’s unit 240 onsite, Amos and Russell, saying they’d heard we were backing them up.”
In four evenings patrolling with Sergeant Molina, Stackhouse had yet to see any real action, but that was fine with him. His major emphasis was community relations, not law enforcement. He didn’t need to learn the arcane professional lingo the officers used. Their relations with the public were more to the point.
The sergeant turned the cruiser onto a four-lane street where, several blocks ahead, the flashing lights of an ambulance and a police cruiser signaled their destination. Molina drove past slowly, checking both sides of the avenue, turned left, and repeated the process all the way around the block. Except for the emergency vehicles everything looked quiet. He pulled in alongside the other cruiser, notified the dispatcher, and unfastened his seatbelt.
“I’m going inside,” he said. “I suggest you stand by out here until I get back.”
“OK. Sure.”
He’d been riding awhile so he got out and stretched. Sporty’s Bar and Grill was in the middle of a block of mid-level businesses. Some were open (Subway, Walgreens), others closed. Perhaps fifty vehicles were parked nearby. A girl was leaning against a cement planter full of ornamental bushes to the left of the bar.  He walked over.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi,” she replied.
“Whatcha doing?”
“Waiting for my brother.”
From her glance at him she clearly knew he wasn’t a police officer. He was in street clothes.
“I’m a college student,” he explained. “I’m riding with the police as an observer.”
She nodded but didn’t bother to answer his question. She was cute: petite, long light brown hair in a ponytail, tight jeans and a frilly green blouse with a splash of colorful Mexican embroidery down the front.
“Did you see any of what went on here earlier?” he said, tilting his head towards the sports bar.
“Uh-huh,” she nodded.
The doors of the bar opened. Two EMTs emerged pushing a gurney. The head of the man on the gurney was wrapped in a white bandage. Next came two walking wounded with white bandages on their hands that made them look like cartoon characters. A police officer brought up the rear. The officer watched them all load into the ambulance, which rolled away under flashing lights. Sergeant Molina and a third officer emerged and the three conferred briefly. Amos and Russell got in their cruiser and followed the ambulance.
“This young woman said she saw what happened,” he said to Molina.
The sergeant walked to her.
“Were you inside or outside, miss?” he asked.
“Inside,” she said. “They started arguing about soccer teams,” she said, “my date and his friend, and three other guys. They got angry, started pushing each other, and a fight broke out. I came out here and called my brother to come get me,” she said. “My date was an idiot. They were all idiots.”
 “Have you got some ID?” the sergeant asked.
She nodded.  She pulled a driver’s license out of her pocket and handed it to him. He studied it briefly.
“Happy birthday, Ms. Méndez,” he said. “Have you had anything to drink?”
“A licuado. Strawberry.”
“Nothing alcoholic? To celebrate your birthday?”
“No, sir. My date celebrated for both of us. The dummy.”
“Can you add any details to what you’ve told us?”
“I saw the third guy drive off in a yellow sports car. It might have been a Corvette; I don’t know much about sports cars. He had tattoos all around his neck. I heard him called ‘Feo.’”
“’Feo.’ So, was he ugly?”
“No. He wasn’t bad looking at all.”
“Irony. Figures. What sort of tattoos?”
“They were vertical lines or bars, kind of, and I guess it was a scorpion, below his right ear.”
Molina was jotting notes in a small notebook.
“Did you happen to notice the license number?”
“No, sir. I’m sorry. I didn’t. He was in a hurry.”
Molina studied the driver’s license again. He made another note.
“OK, Ms. Méndez. Here’s your ID and my cop card. If you think of anything else, please call us. We might get back in touch, all right?”
“Yes, sir. Of course.”
“When do you expect your brother? Soon?”
She looked at her watch.
“Ten minutes. I hope.”
“OK. We’re going to check inside again. If you’re still here when we come out, we can drop you somewhere or call you a cab if you need.”
“I’ll be fine. Thanks.”
Stackhouse followed Molina into the bar.
“Kid had manners,” Molina said.
“Yeah, but she was pissed,” Stackhouse added.
There were still customers in the bar, but not in the vicinity of the pool tables, where there were a tipped over table and chairs, spilled drinks, broken glasses, and two halves of a pool cue. A bus boy was pushing the wreckage into a pile with a broom.
The manager was behind the bar on the telephone, apparently with the bar owner. He hung up.
“Still don’t want to press charges?” Molina asked.
“Not worth the insurance hassle,” he said. “Something like this happens every month or so. Goddam soccer. It’s the worst.”
“Every month?” Stackhouse asked.
“More or less. Depends on what sport’s in playoffs. This bust-up was different, though. I told the other officers but they thought I was joking.”
“Joking about what?” asked Molina.
“The fight.”
“What about the fight?”
“It’s like this: soccer fanatics plus alcohol. A fight starts. We break it up. Sometimes we call you good folks. That’s the pattern. What isn’t the pattern is that a girl ends the fight.”
Molina perked up.
“What girl?”
“Young woman with the blond kid. One of the Hispanics coldcocked him and she tore into those guys big time.”
“Describe her,” Molina asked, his voice level.
“Little thing. Nice looking. Ponytail, jeans, green top. She blitzed the three of them in about fifteen seconds.”
Molina glanced at Stackhouse.
“Yeah? How?”
“I wish I knew. I was behind the bar. Soon as I saw them start pushing each other and cussing and the one guy throw a punch, I headed over to break it up. By the time I got there two of the guys had broken fingers on each hand and the third was limping out the door fast as he could. The blond kid was out cold.”
“The girl did that? Are you sure?”
“Well, yeah. I mean I didn’t see it blow for blow, but…hey, have you ever seen a cat go crazy, like on YouTube? I mean, they can go nuts sometimes, right? One tears into you and in five seconds you need twenty band aids. That was what she was like. Too fast to follow…but then you see the results. Know what I mean?”
“You believe that?” Stackhouse asked Molina as they left the bar. The girl was gone. Molina shrugged.
“I dunno. Maybe. The EMTs said each guy had broken fingers. The third perp would have limped away for only one reason: pain you know where. A drunk man wouldn’t have fought like that—too quick, too efficient. He would want to dominate his opponents, put them on the floor, lord it over them. Besides, did you notice that girl? Her blouse was pulled partway out of her jeans. Messy. Girls on dates want ‘em just right.”
“Man! Have you ever seen anything like that before?”

“Only in the movies.”

Monday, February 16, 2015

Uh-oh! Presidential Advisor regrets not disclosing UFO files!

Presidential advisor John Podesta has said his biggest regret in 2014 was not disclosing the the truth about the existence of UFOs.

Ana Darcy says "Whew! That was a close one!"

The government knows that Ana is the first alien to have landed on Earth. So do many others, especially her readers. The government could probably locate her if they really tried. Readers will have to be content with knowing the general area where she lives. (Several have expressed a desire to have lunch with her. That is not impossible, but neither is it likely.)

For now, Ana remains happily ensconced with her family. Mr. Podesta, it seems, is about to be sucked into another big round of politics, which is bound to be far weirder than an extraterrestrial woman.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Early returns: what are readers saying about Two Worlds Daughter?

Excerpts from readers at Amazon:

1. This is an excellent continuation of the Distant Cousin Series. We've watched Ana come to Earth, cause some trouble, get into some trouble, settle down, get married, get into more trouble, have two wonderful kids, etc., etc. I've really enjoyed watching the characters grow and become part of my family. Al Past can really spin a yarn.

2. Unbelievable! Just when I think the series has come to an end, wow!! another book that I can't put down but don't want the story to end! I just love the progression and growth of all the people involved in this book.

3.Well worth the wait, this sixth book of the Distant Cousin series is great reading for a rainy Saturday afternoon, a snow day or just any day you want to escape into a cleverly created, thoughtful new world. Combining current headline news, cutting-edge science, tantalizing possibilities of future space travel and emerging technologies, along with the refreshing inside look at a warm Hispanic-Thoman family in New Mexico, the reader must ask, "Why aren't there more current books that give us such satisfying reading experiences?"

4. For those of us who like South Eastern New Mexico and West Texas, Mr. Past depicted community life there admirably. I'm sure tourism has increased because of these books.

5. I think this may be my new favorite of the series! I have read the Distant Cousin series from the beginning and have loved each one; I really feel that the Mendez family is my family too! I have watched Ana and her family deal with trials and tribulations and heartbreak, and come out stronger. I love watching the unconditional love, support and encouragement Ana and her husband give their children and I have enjoyed watching the twins grow up into amazing independent people. In this sixth book of the series, Clio manages to overcome some serious trouble with the help of her ex-Seal bodyguard. The science background is very interesting and seems to be meticulously researched (as usual),

6.The main character, who is from another planet, and her children have a spiritual nature that makes you want to hold them close, the way a child hugs her doll. The action is swift and intense. I was on the edge of my (dining) chair the whole time until the last gulp that left me immensely satisfied!

7. And now from a friend and fellow writer, first this:

I'm really enjoying DC 6. In fact, one of the highest compliments I can pay to an author is the admission that I nearly missed my subway stop on the way to church yesterday morning! Of course I like all the characters and situations, etc. but the main thing is just that you know how to spin a story. That's really the bottom line for me.

And then, later, this:

Well, I'm pretty far along. Just finished the scene where Clio visits the old dying rich guy. I don't mind telling you my eyes misted up a little. Maybe even better test of a book than almost missing your stop is getting teary-eyed on the subway!  Anyway, I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I'll be sorry when I finish it. I do like the way you have all these different situations going on, and yet I know somehow they're all going to dovetail in the end.

Anna's Hummingbird (honest!)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Distant Cousin a movie? It could happen! (PART 2)

Announcing the purchase of the movie and television rights to the Distant Cousin stories by an agent in Hollywood!

The many readers who said they saw a movie playing in their heads while they were reading may some day get the chance to compare visions. Those who are not readers may come to see the fun they have been missing!

It's wonderful that an agent in the entertainment industry believes the Distant Cousin books would make a terrific movie. He also says the set contains enough material to supply a whole television series. As an extra plus, his wife loves the chronicles of Ana Darcy's family too!

There is no movie deal yet, to be sure. All the daunting caveats that were mentioned in Part 1 remain. Many, many steps must be completed before anyone goes to the theater.

BUT: note that the same advantages mentioned in Part 1 also apply! We readers have a screen between our ears, perhaps the best screen there is--it enables us to enjoy our personal movie or movies any time we wish.

Best of all, for Kindle readers and readers using other e-devices, you can be reading Distant Cousin in one minute for less than the cost of movie theater popcorn. In fact, the six volume Distant Cousin set, a whole television season at least, can be enjoyed for about the cost of one movie ticket, a drink, and popcorn!

For more information contact Jack Silver, Silver Management, 310-889-7939 or

Sunday, July 27, 2014

What do a ten year old and a journalist have in common?

Both are fans of Distant Cousin, and Ana Darcy!

The column above explains how Ana's stories prompted the reporter and her daughter to vacation in West Texas, where they had a wonderful time seeing the McDonald Observatory, other places Ana has been, and some she has not been (yet). Quite a few readers have commented on how West Texas and southern New Mexico come alive in her books. Ms. Jackson goes on to say she's no sci-fi devotee, but that the Distant Cousin stories are "more a mirror in the face of humanity than a loving gaze at the stars," something noted by other readers as well. She also points out "there are government shenanigans. And there's treachery. And there's romance."

The ten year old, an avid reader and happy Kindler, found himself on vacation with quiet time to read before bed. As far as we know he is the youngest reader yet to enjoy Ana's adventures. The oldest fan is ninety-five. That's quite a range!

Monday, June 2, 2014

News got you down? Not feeling that great? Need a pick-me-up?

1. “Things have been extremely difficult around here…. The adventures of the Mendez family provided a wonderful distraction. And the ending filled me with hope, for some inexplicable reason. I love the warmth and togetherness of the family.”

Here are a baker's dozen comments from readers and reviewers of one or another of the six Distant Cousin books to date: the stories of the human extraterrestrial Ana Darcy and her family. Not only have many people have found them refreshing and uplifting, more than a few have come to think of the characters as members of their own families!

2. “Toward the end of this novel I found myself thinking I was reading about my good friends and not some characters in a novel. I'm hoping there is a 5th in the series, I'd like to know that my friends are OK. This is a fun and exciting series to read.”

 3. “We've watched Ana come to Earth, cause some trouble, get into some trouble, settle down, get married, get into more trouble, have two wonderful kids, etc., etc. I've really enjoyed watching the characters grow and become part of my family.”

4. “It's always a pleasure to read a book where the character is so fleshed out that I feel I would know him/her if I met them on the street. Not only would I know them, I'd have invited them to lunch so we could chat!” 

5. “The books flow so easily you feel like you are a part of the family. You want to be a part of the family. However I am so sad that I have read the last one. My mom loved them and has read them all 3 times already.  I will be taking them on my vacation with me so I can read them all again.”

6. “I stayed up and read the last half of DC4, really enjoyed it. I love her kids! and that cat. I want that cat but no way I could sneak it in past my neighbors LOL.... My sister wanted me to let you know that she has read DC1-DC4 in less than a week. She really enjoyed them and said if you weren't already writing DC5 she'd hunt you down....  We both were getting a kick out of Darcy and Matt.”

7. “I love Darcy. I can’t wait to see what happens next. It is indeed a page turner, a cute and funny book with lots of laugh-out-loud parts.” 

8. “Awesome!!! I am 3/4 through this book and am literally dragging my heels about finishing it. I ration myself. The story and characters are just so captivating.”

9. “I have truly enjoyed Ana's adventures. It leaves me wishing I could meet her. I love how you bring seemingly unrelated things together so neatly.”

10. “I like stories that focus on the characters, and not around a central plot. It makes the characters seem more real and it's easy to become emotionally invested in their well-being. How can you not like a story when you are actually worried about the characters?”

11. “I would recommend the book to any of you who like science fiction with some romance and adventure thrown in. No little green men/women will be involved, but there will be characters about whom you will care a great deal.”

12. ”A couple of huge successes that are excellent movies are E.T. and Close Encounters. These have a strength of character and plot that pushes your intellect forward while engaging your heartstrings at the same time. Distant Cousin does it, too.”

13. "I loved the storyline for Distant Cousin. I fell in love with Ana Darcy."

All at Amazon, inexpensively!
Excerpts, photos, & maps in right column, 2/3 down the page