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Friday, July 31, 2015

Two Works Nominated for Local Literary Honor

Happy to report that I'm among 25 authors nominated for a respected local literary honor here in Kansas City, the Thorpe Menn award sponsored by the American Association of University Women-Kansas City. Two works published by Curiosity Quills--the political comedy SPILL, and Heart Chants, no. 2 in the Phillip McGuire mystery/thriller series--were both accepted as nominees.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hey, It's Okay to Admire What You've Written

Well, sometimes you reread something you've written and say, "Damn, that's good:" From One More Victim

Her face at that moment is still the sweetest vision I have ever seen. It was full of yearning, yet already satisfied. Her complexion mirrored the innocence of her heart, untouched yet by the cruelty of the world and the far greater cruelty of our expectations for ourselves in that world. She opened her eyes and leaned her forehead to rest against my lips. I whispered her name as though it were magic. We were in another world.




Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Assemblage of Nice Comments about 5 Novels

Some nice raves about several of my works:

Crazy About You

If the folks over at the New York Times Review Of Books are looking for fresh novels by other than established writers or well-connected new ones, they should dust off their keyboards and surf over to Smashwords or Amazon's Kindle Book Store, where they'll find an astonishing new novel by Randy






Then and Now: The Harmony of the Instantaneous All

 ...was hooked from 1st chapter...engrossed in it throughout and read it straight through







SPILL

Filled with intriguing characters, and an amusing subplot involving skateboarding gamers, “Spill” is a comic tour de farce that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys political satire, generally humorous story-lines, and great writing.

Blow Up the Roses

At the end of the first paragraph I had to decide whether I was brave enough to continue. I wasn't sure I wanted to know what happened next. I did read the whole story and enjoyed Mr. Attwood's characters; a veritable crazy quilt of unlikely neighbors who maintained a strange sort of formality despite the ugly reasons for their interactions.




Rabbletown: Life in these United Christian States of Holy America

I did not expect to be profoundly moved. I did not expect the overwhelming desire to make this book required reading.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Three Minutes of Fame on NPR's KCUR

Well, my three minutes of local NPR radio fame have come and gone here in Kansas City on KCUR. If you missed it, here's what it sounded like.

I think later it may lead the list of authors at this main link.

And at this URL you can find some additional material that was recorded, but not aired. I'm rather partial to "Sipping Gin." 

If you're curious about the story from which I read, "One More Victim," it can be found as a stand alone ebook.

Or as the first story in a paperback collection of shorter works by the same name. Memo to self: Don't let your picture be taken ever again

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thanks to a Hutchinson Photographer I Have a New Image for Cover of "One More Victim"

I think one of my favorite things about the internet is Facebook. Yes, I spend too much time on it. I got on because it seemed an avenue to promote books. It became a lot more. It became a place to meet really neat and nice and interesting people, so many of them with different talents.

One of those persons is a photographer from Hutchinson, Kansas, where I started my adult career as reporter and later an editor at The Hutchinson News.

I don't remember how I first met Kristen Garlow Piper on FB, but meet her I did and enjoyed her photos of the remodeling of a Hutch downtown building into apartments. Appreciated, too, her many other photos. She seems to specialize in weather shots. I got her permission to use one of her rural photos for the cover of the short story Innocent Passage.

The other day she posted an image that just blew me away. I have fun taking a photo to see how it might work as a book cover. Here's the original image.



Here's the fun cover I did for a non-existent book.



Then I thought: hey, I do have a story that would be perfect for this cover. So I changed the cover for One More Victim to use this cover.


Curious why the story One More Victim works for this image? You're just going to have to get that ebook.

Photo details: Kristen used a standard night shot/tripod with cable release - ISO 100 - Shutter open 30 sec - 1/100 shutter speed. She said storms had been building all evening with the lightning starting around 10 p.m. She shot it with a Nikon D7000 and a Nikon 24-70 lens.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Seven Shorter Works Each 99 Cents

I've got seven shorter fiction titles available on Amazon and priced each at 99 cents. They fall into two categories: literary and science fiction.

LITERARY

The Saltness of Time
26 pages

Reviewer: "We have a modern day slice of Chaucer here, with four traveling friends marooned in a small hotel because of a blinding blizzard in the plains of Kansas.  In the main room by a comforting fire, they meet an elderly gentleman who offers to tell them a story from his youth, when he, too, was becalmed in the home of an elderly woman, also due to a raging snow storm. From his geriatric host, he learns the story and secrets of her life. The whole thing is like a matryoska doll … a story within a tale within a narrative."

Excerpt: "Emotional truths? Emotional truths are the deepest levels of reality inside of us. They're not rational. That doesn't mean they are irrational, it just means they don't comply to rational thinking. For example, you can't argue yourself in love or out of love. Feelings just are or they are not, whether you should have them or not. And people who were important to you who die, but you dream about them for the rest of your life. These people aren't dead to you at all; they are part of your emotional truth. I wonder what kind of dreams Gabrielle had."

Hospital Days
13 pages (Ten stories)

Reviewer: "This is a different type of read. It takes the reader into the life behind the scenes of a hospital. It is not like a TV show with heroics and handsome doctors getting all the attention. This is the grittier side of life with a true feel to the happenings as the reader is shown the life of a candy striper at first would like to be a doctor, but after what he sees in the real raw world a change of occupation might be in order."

These are some of the first stories I ever wrote. No plot really. Flash fiction slice of life things. I recently learned there is a Japanese literary term for these things: kishōtenketsu

Innocent Passage
9 pages

Reviewer: "When two young men (boys) try their luck at digging through old houses looking for ghosts they find a lot more including the loss of innocence and maybe a little guilt they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. I wish the story was longer but the writing and the idea was really interesting."


Excerpt: Haunted house hunting we called it. The legal term was breaking and entering. The county sheriff had warned us that he knew we were responsible for the summer rash, but couldn’t prove it. If he caught us, he’d “throw your asses in jail,” as he so quaintly put it. We hunted anyway.

8 pages

Reviewer: This is the latest short story from Randy Attwood and will bring me up to date again with his works. I like to stay abreast of Randy's writings, because he has such a terrific and interesting style, each book unique, but containing a familiar voice. Now, I had to wonder exactly how he would make golf interesting, especially in just eight pages, but I shouldn't have worried. Listen to this description of placing a ball on a tee:

And eighteen times this easy gesture, this stooping over with the tee between the fingers, the ball hidden, protected in the perspiring palm, the insertion into ground the wooden link to earth the ball would soon be contacting - all this, for me, had given the gesture a quality of sacredness.

Isn't that gorgeous? The story is full of beautiful prose like that. Who thought that a short story about golf could be so intense, so vivid and so engaging - I literally walked out to the mailbox with my Kindle in my hand, reading. You don't want to miss this latest from Randy Attwood - go get it, and his other works while you're at it. You really won't regret it.

SCIENCE FICTION

A Match Made in Heaven (Mormonism explored in a sci-fi sort of way)
33 pages

Reviewer: "I have never met a Randy Attwood book that I haven't loved; he has a real talent for bringing his characters to life and creating an environment that is realistic and detailed without going overboard. This is the first science-fiction story he has published, so I was quite interested to see how he did in this story environment. And it was... brilliant!

"This is a short story, maybe it could be considered a novella - it took me about an hour to read it through. I am not sure where, exactly, Randy came up with some of the ideas he used in this story (I'll have to ask), but I found the ideas presented evocative and thought-provoking. There are questions of consciousness, how to truly access God (in whatever form that power takes for you), the humane treatment of others, etc. Like all of his books, I highly recommend this terrific story."

By Pain Possessed
15 pages

Reviewer: "I enjoyed this dark little story very much. Nowadays, we don't see much traditional science fiction as used to be the case, and Attwood takes to the genre like a natural with a beautifully drawn portrayal of aliens. Aliens are hard to write - it's not easy to make them really alien. Attwood has done a great job; his aliens are believable and consistent without being in the least human, and he avoids the trap of trying to put in too much background. A very successful venture into traditional SF by a seasoned and professional writer."


The Richard Dary Weight Loss Institute
11 pages

Reviewer: "This book freaked me the hell out. There, I said it. I can't tell you much about it without giving you spoilers, but the ideas that Randy expressed in this book scared the living daylights out of me. The sort of things that were done to the narrator of this story, Peggy, were inhuman. All in her attempts to fit in with modern societal standards of being thin. This made me think a little bit of the book I read earlier today, Saga of a Middle-Aged Vampire. What is it about modern society? Why are all the women expected to be anorexic-thin? It infuriates me. Healthy is one thing, but the modern goal is outright emaciation, and often extremely unhealthy methods are employed in the search for this. It actually frightens me that little girls are starving themselves to try to look like supermodels, who are (in my opinion), mostly freaks of nature."

PAPERBACK OPTIONS

The literary works, except Hospital Days, are available in One More Victim.
The science fiction works are available in Very Quirky Tales.

DON'T HAVE A KINDLE?

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

"The Fat Cat" Ready for Beta Readers

Done with what I think is the final re-edit of The Fat Cat and I like it rather a lot. But then, just about every writer likes what he has just finished. Time for those so-called Beta readers: persons who would read the work not looking to edit or proof but to give general feedback on the thing, point out any holes or glaring errors.

I started this as a noir mystery, but with its ending I'm not sure what it is. The novel's other problem is its length. It's only 37,000 words, which is way too short for a traditional novel. But I sure like the protagonist, Ellie McCrary. She's been working the last five years as the bartender/manager of a gentlemen's club because she ran away from the city where she worked as a television reporter. She ran way because two things happened. Finding out about those two things is the plot line for The Fat Cat.

The name of the club where she works is called The Fat Cat. Seems obvious the image of a dancer should be on the cover and I've got a Kickstarter project to go live soon to accomplish creating that image. Should be a lot of fun. Let you know later when it's ready to view (and ready for donors!)

But for now, before I hire an editor/proofreader, I need general reader feeback. Be nice to have both male and female reactions. I've written from female points of view before and I think I do it pretty well, but it's best to have a female give feedback.

If you're interested in being a Beta reader, just email me if you have my email address or put in the comments section below a way I can contact you. I'd be sending you a .doc file.