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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.


  1. This review recently arrived. Thought I'd add it here:
    By David Mccracken on February 28, 2016
    Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

    "When I finished Randy Attwood’s Tortured Truths (Phillip McGuire Mysteries #1), I wanted to share my enthusiasm, but a tight phase of a project intervened. Ready to write this comment, I realized I had become vague on the details that had gotten me so enthused. Good thing! Rereading became a master class in fiction writing.

    "The story gets off to a crackling, if painful, start and the developments keep coming,... sometimes a violent story, but only when it has to be. It’s more a loving story: about food, drink, women, work, journalistic integrity, justice, and redemption.
    ... His conversations ring true ... The restoration and expansion of the bar he buys are stimulating to someone who enjoys planning big projects and has always wanted to get around to more carpentry. I’m wondering where McGuire’s chronic tendencies toward involvement in justice and redemption will take him next.
    I’m glad to see there’s another book in the series, Heart Chants. I’m looking forward to taking it up.

    "Randy Attwood is good and getting better. Watch him!"