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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rabbletown Has Sold Well After Midterm Election; Dystopia Just Around Corner?

I started writing Rabbletown: Life in These United Christian States of Holy America long before 1984. I had watched the Religious Right enter politics and worried that one day they might gain real political control. I wondered what that would be like. The novel got started and stalled. I returned to work on it over the years and one day realized I needed to let Bobby, the Bible quoting son of a brick layer, perform his miracles. The book has been doing well since the midterm elections. I think because others, too, are starting to see the real danger in front of us as more radical, right-wing religious Christian zealots get elected. I worry that I set this dystopia too far in the future. It feels like it's just around the corner.

Here is a teacher in the Church of the Evangels giving a history lesson:

"Great strides had been made by Christians in winning elections to the U.S. Congress and state legislatures after the devil Muslims attacked our country in 2001. Our country came to its senses, and recognized that the Islamo-fascist-communist-socialists wanted nothing more than the eradication of Christianity. Good Christians woke up and gained vast, political majorities. There were a few hold-out areas that still elected liberals who claimed to be Christian, but of course you couldn't be both..."

Tim Miller, chair, Religious Students at The University of Kansas, said about Rabbletown: " of those satires that is a bit to close to reality to be entirely comfortable."

Another reviewer: "Not since 1984 have we had such a chilling warning of what the future could be."

And a top 500 Amazon reviewer called Rabbletown the best book she has EVER read. Here is a trailer with her audio.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The 41st Sermon Discounted to $1.99 until November 12. Reviewer: "Content a Bit Taboo"

The 41st Sermon will be discounted 61 percent from $4.99 to $1.99 until November 12 on Amazon as a Kindle download. It's an erotic, emotional, and -- get this -- theological ride!

Father Talley, a married Episcopal priest, is in mid-life and mid-faith crisis when he goes on his annual self retreat to fish, drink, and write the outlines of his sermons for the upcoming year. Only this time he gets caught up in the phony kidnap plot of a lovely blonde parishioner.

One reviewer had this to say about The 41st Sermon:

Wow. Rarely do I find a book that twists as much as this one. The plot and presentation was excellent, the characters were well developed, and the content a bit taboo. I would recommend this book to any open-minded individual.

If you are a fan of Walker Percy, the great southern writer who burst upon the scene with "The Moviegoer," in 1961, you'll be interested in the Percy connection to The 41st Sermon. Details here

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."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"One More Victim" Took Thirty Years to Write; It was Worth the Wait. Hope You'll Agree.

In the early 1970s I looked out the window of the back door of our small house in Hutchinson, Kansas, where I was working at the newspaper, to see crows ripping into our black plastic trash bag to peck out its contents. The scene started in me a poem and an idea for a story.

The poem got started:

"In February the crows come,
"To pick though my garbage,
"Make holes in the black plastic sack
"And scatter its entrails over the snow.

The story did too:

"The most important summer of my life began with a house-shaking thunder-boomer that woke me up on a Thursday night in 1958 near the end of my fifth-grade school year."

The story stalled. So did the poem.

Years later the story picked up again and I finished the section from 1958. Years later, I finished the section from 1968. Thirty years later, I finally finished the section set in 1992; found the last verse of the poem that started the whole thing and would now end the novella. It's a boy-finds-girl; boy-loses-girl story. And then again. And then one final time.

One More Victim is a literary novella in which the Holocaust is a critical element, so gets sub-categorized as "world literature, Jewish." When offered free (and I'm not going to do that anymore) went twice to #1 free Amazon ranking As a paid ranking, it twice hit #92. I think that gave me the right to call it a best seller, but that is term much abused these days. It has a strong romance element, too. And it can be considered a coming-of-age, young adult work, as well. My writing touches many genres.

Here's what some reviewers had to say:

Anthea Carson

I could not put this book down. It was absolutely mesmerizing. First of all, I have a thing for books about loves that start in childhood, so it had me hooked right there. But also, this writer is just amazing. The way the language flows makes you want to keep reading. There is something very erotic in the story too, even though it was not cheap eroticism. I like that, when a book is sexy without overdoing it

Nicola Lawson

This short story packs so much into a short length it's hard to believe. It's very well written. I wish there was more of it, not because the story doesn't satisfy because it definitely does. I guess I'll just have to get some more of the authors work.


I'm an older gentleman living out in the boonies, so sometimes I forget that the world has seemingly sped up, even as I've slowed down. Having said that, this book felt like a dust storm packed in a tornado and wrapped in a hurricane. And I say that in the most flattering way. Attwood (this is my first experience with this author, and I'm pleased to say a surprisingly delightful one) manages to include so much back story in such a short space that I couldn't help but feel a bit rushed...and yet it didn't feel rushed. It was just the right back story and it was well constructed. The story itself was such a delight to discover. It left me breathless.

An excerpt:

Her face at that moment is still the sweetest vision I have ever seen. It was full of yearning, yet already satisfied. Her complexion mirrored the innocence of her heart, untouched yet by the cruelty of the world and the far greater cruelty of the expectations we have for ourselves in that world.


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