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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

If you like this cartoon, you'll love Vote for Me!

Lee Judge is the wonderful editorial cartoonist at the Kansas City Star. This was in today's (4/26/11) paper.

I had a wonderful meeting yesterday with the designer who's near being a partner. Soon as the agreement is finalized I'll be telling you about him.

And this just in...

Susan Straight, creative writing teacher at the University of California, Riverside, and the author of the novel, "Take One Candle Light a Room" had her contribution to the New York Times op-ed page published today (5/1/11). It's a memory piece about the 1960s gasoline shortage.

In it, her husband comments on the current increase of gasoline prices and compares it to 1979. "Back then we knew why it was bad," her husband says. "Now it's our own people messing with us. They're raising prices just because they can."

Anybody know Susan's email address? Please send her the url to this blog. I'm sure at least her husband would love to read "Vote for Me!"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Strong Drink is Raging, Suffer the Little Children

I meet with the designer again on Monday. Very much hope things will start moving forward, as in I will soon have an ebook available for download. Hard to sell a product when you don't have a product available to buy. Early comment providers to this blog will be eligible for free review copies (hint, hint). Early followers get me to buy them a drink at the Kansas City watering hole, Chez Charlie's, which provided much of the inspiration for Vote for Me!

Fred's partner in crime is the female bartender at his local watering hole. Every novel needs a love interest. This is it:

Zoe was neither ugly nor fat, but at 38 she was feeling old and a little bloated. She was single, had no present boyfriend, but plenty of disastrous affairs littered her past, one of which had resulted in Jeremy, her 14-year-old nerd son for whom she received no child support and who kept himself mesmerized with video games, computer stuff and skate boarding. Zoe realized she was a white, aging, single-mother, female bartender whose foreseeable future she herself could only predict was to become a white, old, single-mother, old female bartender whose son would dump her as soon as he could get to college, which he’d have to somehow pay for himself. If he went at all. At one time, she had had the dream of saving up enough money to buy her own bar, but that had never worked out. Something always took whatever savings she was able to amass, which really was a euphemism for quarters in an empty two-gallon goldfish bowl. So the influx of money that Fred Underwood’s scheme had brought to her was really welcome. Zoe realized he would expect a little poke-pro-quo down the road. But he wasn’t bad looking for a morose, failed-English-teacher, older guy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nationalize the Oil Industry

I had a wonderful meeting yesterday with a Kansas City designer I think is going to help me move this project forward. I'll identify him if we reach agreement.

There's a lot more to Vote for Me! than a political campaign that scams the system to make money by running on a "National the oil industry" platform. We're going to see some hilarious goings on at the local newspaper, look behind the scenes at the city's most snobbish restaurant and watch the local football franchise owner soak the city. And a lot more.

But nationalize-the-oil-industry theme is a wonderful marketing tool for the book. Look at this recent MSNBC entry below about the price of gasoline going up. Listen the blah-blah reasons in the video. None of it really makes any sense, does it.

"The federal government is cautioning motorists to prepare for sticker shock at the pump."


By MSN Money partner on Thu, Apr 14, 2011 12:24 PM"


And yesterday in the KC Star Louis Diuguid's column dealt with people coping with higher gas prices.


Here's what Fred says:

Fred’s delivery work was increasingly being delayed by people who now recognized him as “that candidate” and stopped to talk to him.
“Nationalize the oil industry?”
“Yeah, I don’t trust the bastards, do you?”
“Not really. But the price is back down to $3.50.”
“You see, they’ve won already. If it gets back to $3, you’ll think it’s real cheap and now they can jack it up to $4 anytime they want and not cause a revolution.”
“Jeez, I hadn’t thought about that.”
And sometimes, as in that instance, a $20 donation would be dropped into his hand.

The thinking here is that the higher the price of gas gets the more people will be interested in reading Vote for Me!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

...and without him was not any thing made...

Maybe I should just let one of those print-on-demand folks do everything for me. But I've been frugal all my life. The POD folks will get you your ISBN. But there is a broker who will sell you one for $125 and ten of them for $250. Buy them in the thousands and they start costing pennies.

There is a printer in Tennessee the big POD guys probably use and I got into their system for setting up an account so I could get some pricing before I hit the wall of them wanting an ISBN. That place, too, has very specific file specifications, none of which I understood.

I've been reaching out to a number of people and have some meetings set up. Nice to meet someone face to face. I'll need a great book cover designer. Ditto website design. I think I'm trying to reinvent the wheel and know others have gone before me.

I'm hoping to find someone who is enthusiastic about the book and will do what I need for a piece of the pie. I've already come to what will probably seem stupid to many people. I've agreed to pay my agents a percentage of any profits from the e-publishing venture for Vote for Me! I appreciate their ongoing consultations.

Vote is a comedy. The divide between the political parties has become so bitter we could all use a bit of laughter. I think Vote for Me! would bring howls from both Keith Lieberman and Rush Limbaugh. It might be the one thing they could agree upon. I think it has the chance of real internet-led blockbuster popularity. Fred Underwood is a great character:

"Waiting for the officer to run his license tag and wondering if he would also be fined for the red transparent tape that he had used to repair a broken tail light cover, Fred looked into his rear-view mirror to see his own broken and aging face. He needed new glasses. The scratched lenses of the mangled pair sitting on his thin nose gave him the look of a disgruntled teacher who had been fired long before retirement age, which pretty much summed Fred up. His hair had more salt than pepper, and pepper was losing that seasoning battle daily. The lines at the side of his mouth were deep and long, giving him a permanent scowl. Fred lowered his window as the officer waddled forward, and claimed to the cop, “I was only going five miles over the limit.”

"'I got you at six,” the policeman, who looked like the Pillsbury Doughboy but without the smiles, replied, took the license and proof of insurance Fred had ready to hand over, and began to write the ticket."

Fred finally had to end his over-extended college life as an English major and entered the world of teaching. Boy, did that not work out. And the reader will learn all about those grand failures including a book burning at a Christian private school and a doozy of a disaster at a ghetto public school.

So if I've got any designers reading this blog who are interested, give me a shout.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In the Beginning...

"Fred Underwood was driving his 15-year-old, once-white, now rust-speckled, Nissan pickup six miles over the speed limit on his way to deliver the head of a dog to the state’s vet school for rabies testing when several things happened to him.

"He saw a sign announcing—as though proud of the fact—that gasoline at the upcoming station was selling for $4.15 a gallon. He looked into the rear view mirror when he heard a siren and confirmed that, indeed, a police car was chasing him. He uttered, “Shit,” but then felt his body swept with euphoria: He realized he had just been struck by an idea that would make him rich...."

Thus starts Vote for Me!.

(Hey, there's a question for you grammarians. When the title of a book ends with a punctuation sign and it ends a sentence as the one above, does one use a period after that punctuation mark or not?)

Responding to a comment, the dual goal of this blog is both to seek help in getting Vote available in print-on-demand and e-book formats, as well as audio files. The other objective is to promote the book, so, yes, excerpts will appear.

Vote for Me! also offers another format option: a game.

Fred Underwood's partner in crime is his bartender Zoe. They live in a rock rib solid red district that hasn't fielded a Democrat candidate for area's state house seat in 30 years. Fred's scheme is to run on a campaign to nationalize the oil industry (gasoline prices have made people a mite testy). Zoe will also file on the Democrat ticket, which means a contested primary will be held. Fred figures the oil industry, ever watchful, will hear of his campaign and donate money to Zoe and they will divide the loot. Zoe has a 14-year-old skateboarder who is also a genius gamer and computer whiz. When Fred asks Jeremy to make him one of those web site things, Jeremy has a burst of creative genius explode in his head and when Fred tells says he wants to "Destroy Big Oil" it prompts visions of skateboarders equipped with laser weapons blowing gas stations, tanker trucks and oil rigs into clouds of glorious fire. That game is wildly successful worldwide.

Okay, here's the deal. I need that game created. I know nothing about gaming. All help appreciated.

Friday, April 8, 2011

And it came to pass

Well, I've decided to start a saga by the name of "Getting Attwood Published."

It's a saga that's been going on for more decades than I care to admit, but let's start with the latest chapters, which began in the winter of 2007.

I got canned summer 2005. My whole department of University Relations at The University of Kansas Medical Center got whacked. I was the director. Unemployment compensation is really helpful. Getting all the unused sick time and vacation leave was a nice chunk. Dip into 401 K if needed at a 10 percent off-the-top tax penalty because I wasn't 59 1/2. We went to Italy for a month. That was nice.

Did a little of this and a little of that. Freelance writing. Stories published as cover stories in the Sunday Star magazine ($200, whoo! whoo!). My completed novels were not getting any agents interested, let alone publishers. Major self doubt and plenty of time to explore same. I thought my stuff was pretty good. But maybe I was self-delusional. And that equals despair. Out of that despair was born Vote for Me!

Could I make a reader laugh? Easiest judge of success.

Vote flowed out of my fingers in three months time. Sure made me laugh. As Fred Underwood, a contract small package delivery man, hatched his scheme to game the political system to make money, all the plot elements came together and a host of fun characters inhabited my brain and then the paper.

Late that summer two ladies down the street decided to sell their house and move to single-floor living. I knew them through an acquaintance. I knew they were literary agents for non-fiction. I reintroduced myself and mentioned that I understood they specialized in non-fiction. Yes, but they were considering taking on fiction. So I mentioned that I had a manuscript and saw that wince in their eyes, but they would read it.

Joanie Shoemaker and Jo-Lynne Worley,, loved it and wanted to represent me and provided editorial suggestions, which I heeded. They are still trying to sell it for me and we have hopes, but at their suggestion I'm doing the e-publishing route. I have time now. In 2008 I got hired at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art here in Kansas City as the media relations officer. (Dear Dad in the next plane of existence: You were wrong. That art history degree did come in handy.) I had a great three years there with many wonderful and interesting people, but decided to retire at the end of 2010. Well, semi-retire. I still do part time work for them and have other irons in other fires. But I do have more time now to explore e-publishing, about which I know nothing.

Joanie and Jo-lynn said do a blog, do facebook. Ask questions. Ask for help. Well, this is the start. Chime in anytime.