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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Marketing My Kansas-based Fiction

I lived a year in Italy. I lived 18 months in Japan. Yet almost all my fiction is set in Kansas, the state where I was born and lived so many of my years. Some of these mention Kansas; many don't. I tried to write pieces set in Italy and in Japan. Didn't work. Too forced; too faked.

Thought it time to market Kansas-based stories. Even if you're not from the Land of Oz, you might find these 12 works interesting.

At age 14, I went to work as a male candy striper at St. Joseph's Memorial Hospital in Larned, Ks. I learned many things. The ten stories in Hospital Days resulted.

Living on the grounds of the insane asylum at Larned State Hospital because my father was the mental institute's dentist gave me many unusual experiences. Blue Kansas Sky was a first attempt to create a story based on that background.

Innocent Passage opens with the line: "The skies were cloudy all day," which should immediately connect with any Kansan who knows the state song. Don't know anymore how many non-Kansans are familiar with Home on the Range. The short story continues the description of the Kansas land and the surprises it can contain.

The Saltness of Time depends upon Kansas winter weather to set its scene. And what a scene unfolds as the stories within stories get told.

Crazy About You was a novel that resulted from trying to recreate the environment and characters at Larned State Hospital. It's young adult; it's a mystery; it's suspense. It's my best seller.

One More Victim doesn't mention Kansas by name, but a tornado, or rather the memory of one, gets things started. Took me 30 years to finish this novella.

The Notebook, likewise, doesn't mention Kansas, but the university town sure could be Lawrence.

Speaking of Lawrence, my two Phillip McGuire suspense novels (Tortured Truths and Heart Chants) are both mostly set in Lawrence because that burnt out foreign correspondent returns to his university town to own and run a bar where adventures come his way.

I went to the University of Kansas during those turbulent 1960s and was there that spring of 1970 when the night curfew was enforced by the National Guard. Student union burned. Students were shot and killed. Then and Now: The Harmony of the Instantaneous All is my fictional recreation of those times.

My dystopia, Rabbletown:Life in These United Christian States of Holy America is largely set in Topeka. Don't miss Stoning Fridays in Fred Phelps Plaza.

Blow Up the Roses, a very dark suspense novel, was inspired by horrific events that occurred when I was managing editor of The Olathe (KS) Daily News.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Update on Reaction to Political Comedy "SPILL"

I wrote SPILL in a state of major creative doubt. My fiction wasn't having any traction with agents or publishers. I thought the stuff was pretty good, but I could be self-delusional. I had always been reluctant to share my fiction with friends because if they said they liked it, could I believe them? If they didn't like it, could they tell me? Seemed unfair to put a friend in that position.

So, I pursued an idea for a comedy, a form I had never tried. A bar friend was working as a small package contract delivery person and he came into the bar and related how that day he had delivered the head of a dog to the vet school for rabies testing. That image stuck in my head and so I started with that scene. Dang thing wrote itself in three months. Nothing had taken such a short time. I thought if I wrote something that made people laugh, then you couldn't deny the writing was successful.

SPILL was released Sept. 11 by the small press Curiosity Quills. Here is a comment that came from a former co-worker, a wonderful writer and excellent editor:

"Hi Randy - "I just finished reading SPILL in one sitting - once I started, I couldn't put it down. The more I read, the funnier it was, until I was laughing so hard my husband could hear me from the other end of the house."

And here is the first review placed on Amazon: "Randy Attwood's done it again with SPILL -- a knife-edge ride on a political snowball thundering downhill at high speed. It's the story of a decent-enough guy scraping his living together who finally reaches the breaking point over the ever-escalating price of fuel. His pockets are so regularly plundered by Big Oil, that in a flash of clarity, he devises a way to get back at them and make some money along the way. His allies are the unlikeliest "think tank" you could imagine. Sarcasm drips from these pages in wide, viscous streams. Like all of Mr. Attwood's other political writing, you're laughing out loud at the moment you begin to understand he's making a point here. Spill is a must-read for anyone who has had it with the lobby-spin that is running out lives and the self-righteous pols who reap its rewards. If we're not laughing, we're crying, so we might as well laugh. And think." -- Richard Sutton

Curiosity Quills helped me do a giveaway of a copy of SPILL through Goodreads. Go there if you want to enter.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

SPILL: Take That Big Oil Now Published

Curiosity Quills released my political comedy, SPILL, today.

Here's what John Marshall, veteran Kansas newspaper guy, had to say about it:

"Think all politicians are creeps, the rules are locked in against you and the world is forever in the grip of big politics and Bigger Oil? Think again. Attwood has. SPILL is a what-if adventure, starting with a  couple of insurgent citizens who con the establishment and get rich along the way. In Attwood's world, all the old clich├ęs are real and the system is rigged from the start - until it's un-rigged by good guys bad to the bone - the funny bone. From page one to the end, SPILL enlightens, amuses and instructs us that, one day, someone just might game the system - and get away with it. Attwood, brilliantly, shows us how."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nice Peek at "Blow Up the Roses"

Nice to have horror/suspense novel "Blow Up the Roses" featured on Sneak Peak

Gives the potential reader a really good look at what it publisher Curiosity Quills called "brilliantly disturbing."