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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Reporting in after Voice of Lawrence Interview

The March 28 interview experience was really very interesting and rewarding.

The Voice of Lawrence studios are on 8th street just off the main drag. They've only been operating about 11 weeks, but their servers show they are building a nice audience and they have several paid advertisers.

It was good finally to meet Marcia Epstein, the host of "Talk With Me." You can read more about her in the previous posting.

I was nervous. Very nervous. I don't know if it shows in my voice or not. A few years ago, I found it was almost impossible for me to stand in front of any crowd and talk. This is strange for someone who spent his life in journalism and public relations. Put me behind a podium and I just about freeze and my knees shake.

I had done another web radio interview, but that was over the phone. It went well. I really prepared for my interview with Marcia. Had things organized in a three ring binder. I didn't want to just gab off the cuff. I got a little shaky at times, and at one point reading a section from Heart Chants about the early history of Haskell Indian college, I got pretty emotional and almost lost it. I thought I was going to cry. I don't know what came over me.

It was amazing how fast the hour went. Excluding breaks and intro section, I guess the actual interview was about 50 minutes. It flew by. I thought I would have time to talk about more of my works, but that didn't happen. The works I discussed where Crazy About You, Tortured Truths and Heart Chants, published by Curiosity Quills, Then and Now, and Blow Up the Roses, also published by CQ.

I found it cathartic to discuss publicly for the first time the ups and many more downs of writing and trying to get published. I had never really admitted to anyone else just how I felt about my writing efforts and what writing has meant and means for me.

Here's the url if you want to hear the interview. If you want to get past the music and opening ads, you can scoot to the 5:46 mark. If you want to get past the intro, go to the 8:12 mark.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I'll Be Interviewed on The Voice of Lawrence, Web Radio 10 a.m. (CDT) March 28!

Sometimes, a good deed does get rewarded.

More than a year ago I started donated $1 of every sale of Crazy About You to Headquarters Counseling Center in Lawrence because those good folks work the suicide prevent hotline for this part of America. That led me to getting to know Marcia Epstein, its long time director. Some months ago, the board of directors summarily dismissed Marcia and I never saw and understandable reason. So I stopped the donations.

Marcia continued her work as a counselor and began doing a program on the new web-based radio station, The Voice of Lawrence. Her program, Talk With Me, discusses many issues involving our life ventures, adventures and misadventures.

She invited me to come to the studio be interviewed regarding my writing life and what led me to self-publish, be accepted to be published and to renew my fiction writing life, that I am now so enjoying in my retirement. It's a tale of rejection, despair and renewal. I'll be talking about why writing is important to me and some of the lessons I've learned along the way. And I'll discuss what the whole ePublishing business has meant for me and for writers.

The station can be found below. I hope you'll put the time and date on your calendar.
10 a.m. (CDT), Friday, March 28

The Voice of Lawrence

Monday, March 10, 2014

Heart Chants Favorably Compared to Tony HIllerman's Navajo Novels

Heart Chants has been published for a little over two months now and received 11 five-star reviews on Amazon. Here are some of them:

IF YOU LIVE in New Mexico, you've been exposed to Hillerman's novels about Navajo life. Except that they don't really tell you much about Navajo life and beliefs. I found Heart Chants much more satisfying in this regard than the Hillerman novels I've read. And there's an interesting plot, as well! The tie-in to Chinese culture added a bit of a twist and I found myself wanting to follow the characters as they pursued their lives after Heart Chants ended. I'm looking forward to the next Phillip McGuire book. -- NM Reader

GREAT DETAIL in the style of Tony Hillerman.Thanks, Mr. Atwood. I'm looking forward to your next installment of the Phillip McGuire series. -- Steven Malcolm

Very intriguing story with a fascinating story line, and interesting subject matter as well, with the Navajo culture and mysticism factoring in to the plot. Heart wrenching history of the Navajo people revealed in the story. Suspenseful, fast paced, unique. Loved it, highly recommended. -- Jane Austen Fan

IN HEART CHANTSRandy Attwood reintroduces us to Phil McGuire shortly after the events of the first novel in this series - Tortured Truths. Phil is laid up at home after trouble, in the guise of a woman, finds him again.

Two young Navajo students from the local university have disappeared and the local authorities think they've wandered off on their own. With no one believing claims of foul play, Phil lets another Navajo girl stay at his place to keep her safe. Both of the other missing girls were the daughters of tribal singers, a coincidence too significant to ignore. Before long, the efforts of the trickster draw him into the world of Navajo mysticism and traditions as old as the world.

Heart Chants draws upon the Navajo creation tale, bringing the reader into a rich and detailed canon depicted with masterful and immersive storytelling. While no expert, I found the depictions of rites and cultural lore to be deep and engaging. This was an excellent read, and it kept the pages (electronic as they may be) turning. By the time the action reached its peak, I was reading too fast, and had to back up and reread several pages―I wanted to know what was going to happen.

One does not have to read Tortured Truths to be able to follow this story, though I would suggest doing so, as it provides a richer experience. -- Matt Cox

THE CHARACTER development in the book is solid. Both main characters, McGuire and the killer, are very well developed. The guilt that McGuire feels for things that happened in his past, though not always at the forefront, is almost always present, showing a fairly large and visible crack in his otherwise solid facade.

The author delved deeply into Navajo culture when developing the killer, and when developing the plot, using words to paint pictures for the reader that were both ugly and beautiful, sad an joyous. Though told mostly from the killer’s perspective, the Navajo Indians’ reverence for Mother Earth was refreshing, especially in a world filled with SUVs, smart phones, and “selfies.”

The book could have ended with the resolution to the killings, but the author took it a step further, giving McGuire a miracle, and giving the reader a kernel of hope.

Bottom line: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a quick read that kept my interest. I cared about McGuire, and want to know what happens to him. -- Mark1068

THE AMOUNT of research and knowledge of the Navajo poured into this story is incredible. Randy Attwood spared no expense so to speak as he lavishly and with great respect brings forth the mystical Navajo legends and thought. There is also an acceptance as in the first segment of the Phil McGuire series of peoples of varying cultures. In this novel Randy Attwood brilliantly entwines mystery and suspense with a twist of Native American history which is truly the humble beginnings of American history unknown to most.

The written words in HeartChants flow with ease keeping the reader always turning one more page seeking the treasures and secrets each offers. Randy Attwood has an unflawed ability to create characters that capture the reader's attention; one may find themselves both loving and hating even the most despicable misguided personalities. From beginning to end Heart Chants is an exciting novel that is in my opinion arguably one of the best releases of the New Year.

Heart Chants is an impeccably written novel with a truly unique plot that is truly a must read. -- Lisa

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Authors: Had a Story Rejected? You Qualify for Submission to Harren's Anthology "Rejected"

Harren Press, located in town where I was once Managing Editor of its daily newspaper, Olathe, KS, has come up with beautiful idea. Submissions are welcome for an anthology they want to produce with the title Rejected. To submit a story you also have to submit a copy of a rejection notice it has received. How cool is that?

Boy, do I qualify. I've got a file folder of the things. I almost threw them out one time, but I didn't. Who needs the negativity reminders? Now they serve a purpose. Harren was looking for stories under 5,000 words so that helped narrow the field. The perfect one, I hope, popped up.

In the anthology, Harren will black out the publication name and editor's names. Don't know why. It's a letter sent to me and owned by me. I can name names. This one was from Kansas Quarterly, that was published by the English Department at Kansas State University and at the time considered THE literary journal in Kansas. I was a Kansas writer. Boy, did I want to be in its pages.

The rules then were that you weren't supposed to send multiple submissions. I played by the rules. You sent in your manuscript and you waited and waited and maybe six months down the road you'd get a reply. Kansas Quarterly was once voted among the top ten of the non-paying literary magazines in the United States. It ceased publication in 1993.

My rejection is dated July 3, 1984, one day before my 37th birthday. Know what acceptance in his non-paying pages would have meant for me? Validation. Huge validation. Encouragement. Hope. Pride. All those things.

Came close, but no cigar. Lot of positives in the rejection letter, but it still stabbed me in the gut. What the letter shows, too, is the kind of arrogance those sorts of journal editors had at the time. I love this sentence: "We feel this is a publishable story, but it does not require us—by its originality or special qualities—to keep it." Well excuse me. WTF did that mean?

And the last sentence holds out the promise of acceptance, if more submissions are forthcoming. Just sit down and write another of these kinds of stories, as if they were newspaper articles.

I continued to write and I never submitted to them again. They're gone. I'm here and Blue Kansas Sky I hope will find acceptance in Rejected.

If you want to read it now, find it here as a stand alone story, or in this paperback collection of some of my shorter pieces.

If you are interested in Harren Press (my novella The Notebook is included in an anthology they will soon release, Death Awaits), here is their home page where, if you're an author and have rejection letters, you can submit to Rejected.