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Monday, June 24, 2013

Promoting Shorter Works All Under $3.00

I have nine fiction works available for under $3: five at 99 cents and four at $2.99. Here's a promo for them.

I'm all over the genre map. Let's start with those $2.99 titles:

 In One More Victim, the Holocaust is a critical element, so it gets classified as World Literature>Jewish. When I offered this 22,000-word novella as a free download (which I won't do anymore) it reached #1 ranking in free downloads. As a paid download, it's broken through the top 100 several times. Some people say that means I can claim it as a "best seller." I have no idea what that means. I just hope more people will read this story that one reviewer called " amazing, heart-breaking, beautiful story."

The Saltness of Time is a 10,000-word literary work. Kansas Prairie, in its review of the novella said: "Travelers stranded in an old hotel by a snowstorm on the Kansas prairie hear a tale from a stranger about a night spent years before in a similar storm. Attwood tells a story within a story, both a compelling portrait of life on the prairie many years ago, and a mystery that keeps the reader guessing until the last page. Attwood skillfully paints Kansas landscapes and the lives shaped by those broad, windswept plains. The twists and turns in this tale are intriguing!"

The Strange Case of James Kirkland Pilley is easy to describe. If you are an H.P. Lovecraft, fan you will recognize the take off on the title of his great work The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. One reviewer said this 10,000 word story "...out-Lovecrafted Lovecraft... The essentials are all there: a narrator speaking directly to the reader and warning of horror and calamity, with an opening sentence announcing the main character's probable doom: Edward Hawthorne had no premonition of the first disturbing and later horrifying consequences that would result from his joining the Friends of Pilley Park Garden Society."

Then there is A Match Made in Heaven, a science fiction novella. The Mormons have left Earth to populate the Planet Moroni where they discover their destiny in the stars and amongst themselves. One reviewer, who has become fond of my works wrote: "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, 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."

Okay, now to those 99 cent reads. Some good stuff in these stories of less than 5,000 words. I hope.

Blue Kansas Sky Brad, who lives on the grounds on an insane asylum, where his father is its dentist, catches a ride on a bus for the patients who are allowed to go to town on Saturdays. Brad goes to play snooker, which has become a passion in his life. That game, and one of those patients, will teach him the most important lessons any of us can learn.

Innocent Passage A tale of innocence lost, as two adventurous boys discover tragic hidden secrets and their own true nature.

By Pain Possessed This is a science fiction story I wrote while taking a class at KU from that great classical science fiction writer, James Gunn. He actually provided me with the ending. One reviewer's comment: "There is an undercurrent of facing up to your fears and becoming a stronger person for it, but also a warning about becoming that which you hate and therefore losing sight of yourself."

Downswing "An absolutely gorgeous story, voluptuous descriptions that just beg for someone to paint the scenes in oils. Who thought that a short story about golf could be so intense, so vivid and so engaging."

The Richard Dary Weight Loss Institute The best diet program is the one you can't remember.

If you don't have an ereader, these works are available in two paperbacks, with shipping they cost about $15. One More Victim, contains that story as well as The Saltness of Time, Blue Kansas Sky, Innocent Passage, and Downswing. The paperback Very Quirky Tales contains The Strange Case of James Kirkland Pilley, A Match Made in Heaven, By Pain Possessed and three other stories that are not available separately as ebooks (Tell Us Everything, It was Me (I), and The Notebook.)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Presentation, Book Signing, and Everything Else

I had great fun doing a presentation "This Brave New ePublishing World" a couple of weeks at for the Community of Reason group that meets at the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus on Sunday afternoons. Very nice turnout. I go over how and why I got into ePublishing, what I've learned since doing so in the spring of 2011, and what still baffles me. It also gives me a chance to talk about each of my works and offer them for sale afterwards.

I'd be happy, and am searching for, other venues within a four-hour driving distance of Kansas City that would be interested in such a presentation. My bookshelf on Amazon is now 16 works deep. 

Last Saturday, I went to Emporia, KS and joined 56 other authors at the Town Crier, an wonderful Indie bookstore in downtown Emporia. A nice number of buyers and lookers came in and although I only made three sales, I'm happy I went because I think other on line sales resulted. Also, the fellow sitting beside me was Dave Burns from Ottawa, who started the Ottawa Writer's Guild and teaches creative writing. His website is here. Thank you Cheryl Unruh for the picture. He sold more books than did I (probably just because he's cuter than I am). However, on the way out of town I stopped at Mike's Tavern for a libation and the bartender asked about me. I explained who I was and why I was there. She started shouting about a local author being in the bar and her friend, Jennifer bought two books. Bottom line: new readers and enough profit to pay for the gasoline and slab of ribs from Williamsburg, still the best around. Whenever I break even, I'm happy.

I'm 30,000 words into a novel that is set in the future that has a couple of elements that are really working for me. It's called Stop Time because the stoppage of time is one of the elements. That's been done many times (I think John D. MacDonald's The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything was one of the first I read.), but one of the characters who is unaffected by this time stoppage is a student artist, a realist painter. Can you image what it would mean for a realist painter to be able to paint during a time stoppage when the model doesn't move and the natural light values of the sun don't change? It's also important to present the mechanism for the time stoppage and I use a spell from a Wiccan healer and a really cool trick for why the student painter isn't affected.

America has been destroyed by the barbarians from within, but the Kansas City Plaza Enclave has saved itself behind walls that protect its civilization, and, for all they know, perhaps the only spot of civilization left in the country. Beyond the walls is Scumtown. No need for prisons in the Plaza Enclave. Misbehave and just get booted into Scumtown.

The internet is so incredibly helpful. I've networked now with Wiccans to help me on those details. And I've also hooked into a couple of people very familiar with the APC (armored personnel carrier) that plays a role in the story. The APC has been combat locked so how do you open it with no power tools or welding torches at your disposal?

And wait until I tell you about the steam locomotive train expeditions into Western Kansas!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Author Returns to Larned for All-School Reunion and Setting for "Crazy About You"

Thursday, June 6, I left KC for Larned, KS to attend the three-day, first, all-school reunion. This means all classes were invited back. Larned now is a town of 4,000 people. This reunion returned it back to the population it had when I lived there: 5,000 people.

Glad I reserved my motel rooms eight months ago!

My father was the dentist at the mental hospital just west of Larned and we had housing on the grounds. One of my first jobs was working in its cafeteria. I got to know a lot of "crazy" people.

That background became the basis for Crazy About You, which I took to the reunion to sell and, wow, what fun it was. Capitalist bottom line: I sold enough books to pay for the trip. Emotional bottom line: I had so many people come to my signing to tell me they had already read the book and loved it. It doesn't get better than that.

Best buzz: my book signings were at a bar and grill recently opened by a fellow classmate (Max Galliart) who bought a building downtown (built in 1883) to live upstairs and run the business downstairs. Their 20-something bartender started to read the copy I gave Max and his wife, Donna, as a thank you. I'd never watched anybody read any of my books. It was obvious she was getting into it. The last day, when I had packed up, she gave me the price of the book and said she wanted her own, signed by me. Thank you, Reese!

I took pictures of all the houses I lived in while in Larned: three in town and two on the grounds of the mental hospital. They all looked so small! Then I realized that the psychological spaces in our memories are so much larger than the physical reality where they were created. What is happening in our psyche is always huge. The physical dimensions really don't matter. That the physical spaces, when we return to them, seem puny, make no less large the psychological events that made us as the person we are today.

Before taking pictures at Larned State Hospital, I stopped a security vehicle to tell them what I was doing. The grounds now house a prison and sexual predators unit, so security is tight. They said I needed permission from the Supt. Went to his office and his secretary told me he was out of town. She knew who I was and the book I had written and called the acting Supt. He said she needed to call Topeka. The wonderful woman did and quickly got me permission to take the photos. (I think I'll do a separate post of photos that relate to Crazy About You.)

I think one of the great things about having grown up in a small town is that when you return, not a lot has changed, so you can quickly connect the streets and buildings with your memories.

It was not easy to put this reunion together. There were a lot of naysayers. But the organizers prevailed. To see the joy of so many classmates and friends re-encountering and hugging was worth the price of admission, which was all of $35 and included a banquet.

I am so proud to call Larned my high school. I am so grateful for the experiences that allowed me to write Crazy About You.

Thank you, Dan Knupp, for this photo!