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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Excerpt from Novella: "The Saltness of Time"

I've always liked this part from The Saltness of Time:

"The quiet was remarkable. I had never known quiet could have such intensity. The wind had stopped. No tree limbs creaked. The highway was shut down, so no rumble of distant semi-trucks existed. I started thinking how I had never heard such a silence before when I realized I was feeling vibrations. Sensory deprivation will cause hallucinations. Maybe it was the lack of sound that made me believe the acres of snow had become a vast sounding board stretching over the prairie and bringing to me the vibrations of its past. But there was no doubt to me then, nor is there now, that I heard Indian ponies passing in the night, and I could feel the heart throbs of a terror-struck pioneer family, huddled, praying for God to protect their lives in a dismal soddie. I heard, then, too, the shouts of children in an ancient Pawnee settlement, ignorant of what would follow a Spaniard's search for gold. I heard a shovel scoop out earth to make room for a tiny coffin, and sobs tore at my heart. My body was rocked by the thuds of buffalo bodies, one after another, hitting the prairie as a hunter decimated a herd. And then I actually felt the vibrations as the first plow ripped the sod and make the entire prairie sigh. It sighed the word 'land.' Land, it's a word as magic as the sea, isn't it? There even reached to me the sounds of monster fish from when Kansas was, for thousands of years, a great inland sea, only to dry up, like dreams, and leave beds of salt and shark's teeth for a Kansas boy to wonder at."

And look at that. A sentence ending with a no-no: "at."

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Reader Writes Down Lines That Affected Her From "Crazy About You" Here They Are:

Reader wrote me a really nice email how much she enjoyed Crazy About You she bought at recent author event. Said she keeps a journal to write down sentences from books that affect her and she had written six from mine. So I had to ask which ones. Here they are:

(p.63) "...isn't that why men exist: to try and make women happy for a while and then, having learned we can make them happy, make them miserable as the price?"
(p. 64) "Wasn't that the awful corollary formula? We men believe we need a woman to make us happy. When we get one, we conclude it was the getting, not the having, that brought happiness."
(p.66) "... the most effective lie is the one you want to believe yourself."
(p. 81) "You can't summarize what you are, only what you've done, which is why so many of us feel so empty - what we've done is never even close to what we are."
(p. 107) "Why is it that the most frightening force that can be applied against Man is the violence of his fellow Man?"
(p. 132) "Maybe failure in our lives is simply an inability to recognize when a new starting point has presented itself. We have chances to start over all the time. We just fail to do so."

Crazy About You

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


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.