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Friday, July 1, 2016

July 4th Bargain: The Fat Cat Goes to 99 Cents July 1 through 5

Yep, I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy. Born on the 4th of July. My birthday gift to you is dropping the price of The Fat Cat to 99 cents starting July 1 through July 5. It's a quick and, I hope, intense read. I call it a noir mystery, but after you reach the end you may decide otherwise. You tell me. This fitting my stuff into genre categories always grates.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

"The Fat Cat" Now Live on Amazon

I think I know why I don't make date notations on a manuscript when I'm working on a fiction project. Be too depressing to see how long it takes me to complete stuff. I think The Fat Cat started around 2010 or so when the idea of a dead dancer found in the dumpster of a strip club came to me. And I wanted to write it from the perspective of a strong female protagonist. I named her Ellie McCrary and made her bartender/manager of a gentleman's club. This first sentence came to me that introduced Ellie:

I hadn’t seen that good-lookin' motherfucker for almost a year when he walked into The Fat Cat with his partner to ask me about the dead dancer found that morning in our dumpster.

So the point of view would be first person from Ellie's eyes. And heart. So I started wondering about Ellie. How did she become a manager of a strip club? One thing led to another. It's a short book, barely 40,000 words. I wanted to do a noir mystery, but if you read it and get to the end, you tell me what it is.

But I like Ellie. I like the world I created for her. I feel empathy for her pain and I admire how she works her way out of it. I think there are a lot of interesting discoveries and characters awaiting a reader of The Fat Cat. Hope you might be one of them.

A huge thank you to Kansas City graphic designer Kirk Buster (pictured here) for coming up with the book cover: a typographic visual approach I never would have dreamed up. But that's why we should use professional designers.

Monday, May 23, 2016

To Celebrate Walker Percy's Birthday Price of "The 41st Sermon" Dropped to 99 Cents

May 28 is the 100th year anniversary of the birth of one of my favorite Southern writers, Walker Percy. I've had a lot of ups and downs in my writing life and in 1992 Percy delivered an extraordinary high point. I had sent him the first chapters of The 41st Sermon hoping he would be willing to read the whole manuscript. I received a note back from him that what I sent read well and I could send the rest. Do so. Waited. Waited. Then a few months later read his obit in the paper. In honor of his 100th birthday I've lowered the price of The 41st Sermon to 99 cents. Episcopal priest is in mid-life and mid-faith crisis.

Read the whole story and the note in previous post here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Glad To See Ted Cruz Out Of The Picture, But The Self-Sanctimonious Jerk Was Useful To Me

Ted Cruz scared me more than Donald Trump, so I'm glad to see Cruz is out of the POTUS picture. However, Rabbletown: Life in These United Christian States of Holy America is all about the danger if the religious right really gained political control of America. So a little photoshop work by my friend and KC photographer Dave Kaup gave me a new cover to use to promote Rabbletown.

It was fairly successful. At one point Rabbletown reached No. 35 in its subcategory and overall the highest ranked book I've ever had.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

My Homage to John D MacDonald's Travis McGee

From time to time I get on a re-read kick and the last week it took me back to John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series (The one with a different color in each title, such as The Empty Copper Sea). Reread five in about that many days. We had a wonderful spell of weather here in KC and I could sit outside and read and sip--along with Travis--Boodles gin on ice.

That series was good. I had enough distance (and poor memory) to forget the details of many of the plots, but what I enjoy most is not the story, it's being with Travis again. Through Travis, MacDonald creates a reality for the reader easy to enter. Creating reality with words is my goal in fiction writing.

I wanted to create my own Travis type of character. His name is Phillip McGuire. Instead of a beach bum who lives on a houseboat in Florida and makes money doing various kinds of salvage work (and most of that salvage for Travis was healing people), my guy is a
burnt-out foreign correspondent who gives up journalism to return to his college town to buy and run a bar.

I have two books about McGuire published by Curiosity Quills: Tortured Truths and Heart Chants. If you are a Travis McGee fan, I hope you'll check them out and let me know what you think.

True story here: I was driving in the car and listening to the radio news when an AP report told me that:  "Travis McGee, the creator of the John D. MacDonald series, died today." I kid you not. My God, how both the creator and the created would have loved that.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Like to get "creeped out?" Blow Up The Roses recommended

An interesting, but not uncommon, review came in for Blow Up the Roses the other day. This reader is not the first to acknowledge not wanting to continue the story, but being so captured they couldn't quit.

Here's that most recent comment:

"I had put off reading Blow Up The Roses. I wasn't sure I wanted to read it.  When I started, I wasn't sure I wanted to continue.  But like all of your books, I couldn't put it down.  The story grabbed me, even as I didn't want to know what happened next. We all know there is evil in the world, but this kind of reality is almost too evil for words.  Any parent feels fear at the stories of children being lured into a car.  We can't even begin to contemplate that something like this could happen to our children.

"You think you know your neighbors.  What a frightening prospect!  I guess everyone has skeletons in their closets but this was a truly scary story.  And, of course, I really enjoyed it."

Here are some other similar reactions:

"After reading the first two paragraphs of this book I wanted to stop because I knew it would be disturbing. I continued reading because I've looked at my neighbors' homes and thought about the possibility that they're hiding terrible secrets in their basements and attics and no one will ever know. Apparently, Randy Attwood has also. Thought about it, I mean. I hope."

Here's another:

"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. I would remind the reader that the most frightening parts of a story are those we fill in with our own imaginations."

We'll end with this high praise:

"Read the first four chapters. Very creepy. Kind of reminded me of Tom Harris from the Hannibal Lector series. I like how you build suspense with Mr. Brown and whatever he's got cooked up in his duplex. The way you use Mr. and Mrs. adds a coldness to the writing that prevents the reader from getting comfortable. I think this is a great book."

So if you like a dark read and to get "creeped out," here ya go:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Notebook: No Reader Yet Has Foretold the Ending

I think it's one of my more arresting ebook covers. A couple of times it has popped into the top 100 in its Amazon category but I hate to divulge which one because that gives too much away too early. No reader yet has foretold the ending.
Reviewer for The Notebook wrote:
"Two people connect over their losses, brought together by an unbelievable confession and a mysterious notebook hidden in an attic. Impossible to describe this story without spoiling it, but it is very powerful. The ending has a twist you'll never see coming."