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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.

CJ

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.




Nook 



Almost all formats here 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Different Kind of Look at Some Fantastic Reviews for Popular Novel "Crazy About You"

CRAZY ABOUT YOU is my most downloaded and popular work. It's received 23 Amazon reviews and 18 of them are five-star guys. I thought I'd try to categorize them in areas important to potential future readers:

VERSIMILITUDE

I found this story so captivating that I couldn't stop reading once I started. I happen to work at the state hospital depicted in this story and it is incredible fact or fiction; the detail that was written I could see everything he wrote so I was able to follow it with such ease and enjoyed it very much. A very believable story that seemed so familiar. I have recommended this to everyone that I know. I only found one issue with the story and that was, that it wasn't longer......Thanks, Randy, for such an absolutely amazing read!!!

***

Having spent my formative years in Larned, Kansas, and also having worked briefly at the state mental hospital there, I can tell you that his descriptions of life at the state hospital are totally spot-on! The story line is also good--but I won't spoil it for anyone. Funny, sad, poignant. And suspenseful!


STYLE

What I loved best about this book was, truly, the writer’s style. He has a laid-back, very easy-to-read way with words that bring his characters alive quickly. Sometimes he’s dead serious as when he documents the history of mental institutions; other times, he’s tongue-in-cheek, outright funny and his main character, Brad, is so likable and real that this book could be subtitled “Another Brad Adams Escapade.” It reminds me of the Hardy Boys books I read as a teen, but with an approach far more suited to today’s young readers.

***

I cannot think of an author that I can compare Randy with. He is just unique. Randy has the skill to shake your nerve and give a direction to forethought process like no other. OK . I guess there are going to be more books by him on my shelf.


PLOT SUMMARY

CRAZY ABOUT YOU, set in 1964, is a coming age story that mixes fact with fiction to reveal one brilliant book. Brad, a teenage asylum brat, lives and works on the grounds of Larned State Hospital. His father, the asylum's dentist, is the reason why Brad's family is given housing on the grounds of the hospital growing up alongside the other children of asylum workers. These children are referred to as the asylum brats.

While living on the grounds and working in the hospital cafeteria, Brad befriends a female patient, Suzanne, who he believes he is in love with. As a typical teenage boy with hormones though, he begins to date a fellow student, while still confessing his love for Suzanne and promising to help her battle her demons and save her from her father's molestation.

While dealing with his raging hormones, Brad also has to contend with his sanity, brutal staff workers, and death. In the span of a week Brad has to do a lot of growing up and the events that happen that week forever remain with him and impact his life.

***

The story involves brutal staff, many of whom are more twisted than those they are supposed to care for, a sad young woman who was victimized by her father and than by the system, unfortunate souls who need professional help that is seldom available to them, the local juvenile delinquent, and a couple of teenage girls whose hormones are as out of control as only teenage hormones can be. The author brings them and others together to weave a story that will keep you turning the pages and that you won't soon forget.

***

CRAZY ABOUT YOU defies categorization, but suffice it to say that those looking for pure excitement and good story telling will not be disappointed. Nor will those who thrive on the deeper layers of psychological tension. Although the novel often deals with forces out of the protagonist's control, it also tackles tough moral choices that indelibly shape our lives, all within the context of a fantastical drama that will leave the reader musing for days. But ultimately, this is a story about absolution. If you have not laughed out loud often and shed a few tears by the end, you'd better see a shrink.


READER CAPTURE QUOTIENT

I sat up till 3:30 a.m. reading CRAZY ABOUT YOU. Couldn't put it down. Have a few more pages to complete but I must tell you, I am now a fan of Randy Attwood's writing. Can't wait to begin a second book and read through his entire works. Easy read, humorous, good story line and left me wanting more.

***

I'm so glad this book was recommended to me. I have been reading indie books for years with so much disappointment, but this but was amazing. The pace was great, the plot was awesome, and the characters were so very believable. I loved that Atwood really dug into the mind of Brad, and let me know everything he was thinking. It was everything I imagined the mind of a teenage boy to be at times, and some thoughts so profound it made me feel like he was in my head.


DEEP IMPACT

CRAZY ABOUT YOU is the second book by Randy Attwood I have read, and my admiration for his writing skills grows with each page as I read. This story takes the reader for a trip into the strange space between the sane and insane--a mist-blurred world full of angst, mystery, surprises, plus bizarre and unpredictable behavior . . . with an array of characters that are so well developed your heart reaches out to them. Well, most of them...but there is much more. An evil presence drives the story into even darker places that you expect, at a pace that turns the pages as fast as you can read. This is an engaging and compelling coming-of-age tale that will haunt the reader for days and leave you wishing for more. Yet, it is also satisfying and fully resolved in a way that touches your heart.

Download options:
Nook
Kobo

In Kansas City area, available at Mysteryscape, Prospero's Uptown,  Inklings


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bobby's Beatitudes

Bobby's Beatitudes

Blessed are those who live in hovels, for God will give them palaces in heaven.
God weeps when anyone kills in his name; kill not.
God hates hate; hate not.
God loves love; love more.
You need not trust in God; you need hope that God will trust in you.
You are your own master. The way is within you.
Giving is the way. Taking is not the way.
Follow the way and it will lead you to God. Jesus is the way.
The way is in each of you. You are your own master and savior.
Woe to the Inquisitors, for Jesus will inquire unto them!
Blessed are the rabble, for they shall know God.




Monday, July 14, 2014

When You Get Sleepy You Do Odd Things

Why? I don't know why. Maybe because I'm feeling sleepy. But I became curious about the use of the word "sleep" in my various works of fiction and came up with these:

From "It Was Me (I)"
Sleep came; the damn nightmare did, too.


From "The 41st Sermon"
Before dawn, Father Talley turned on the table light to look at Molly. Her face was innocent in sleep. She lay on her back. Slowly, he pulled the sheet off her body.


From "Crazy About You"
We men drown in the smell of single woman. They don’t seem to realize we want to get past the smell of their perfume and know the real smell of themselves. (Okay, "sleep" comes later in this paragraph.)


From "Blow Up the Roses"
When he went back to sleep that night, the old nightmare came to Frank Califano, the nightmare the therapist couldn't figure out, the one he hadn't had in several years, the one in which he was standing in a rose garden, only it was blowing up all around him.


From "By Pain Possessed"
He was sure he wasn't dreaming because his worst nightmares were of being strapped in a chair and tortured with ice picks poking into his body. Those nightmares brought him screaming from his sleep, his body soaked in sweat. He wasn't sweating, so he wasn't dreaming.


From "Rabbletown"
“Go to sleep you God-damned shits or I’ll beat your heads in!” That quieted them, but he saw the hatred in Lila’s eyes. The way she looked at him reminded him of the eyes of the feral cats that roamed the work site. A mason would sometimes lob a stone down at them from those many stories above and occasionally squash one. It made the survivor cats look up from time to time with hatred in their eyes at those who let such things fall upon them.

From "Heart Chants"
We didn't get that second scotch and later I found out what it was like to go to sleep with the smell of her hair making its way into my heart.


From "One More Victim"
Sleep, I later learned, can be a reaction to trauma. I never told Dad the tornado was my first memory because it seemed wrong that I could remember the storm that killed Mother, but I had no memory of her.


From "The Saltness of Time"
It turned out that Stephie and I shared a bed that night, as did Ted and Kristin. I don't know about Ted and Kristin, but Stephie and I didn't make love. Yes we did. I held her in my arms as she went to sleep and, against my body, felt the slowing rhythm of her heart, and counted, individually, each. precious. beat.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

“Meet My Character” Blog Tour Stop

I selected a character from "Heart Chants" because this half-white, half-Navajo character really fascinated me. Heart Chants is second in my Phillip McGuire mystery/suspense series. The first book "Tortured Truths" placed burnt-out journalist into Lawrence owning and running a bar where adventures come his way. For the second book I knew that two girls were missing from the Haskell Indian University in Lawrence. That meant researching the school where I learned the most represented nation was the Navajo. That meant researching the Navajo. Wow, what I encountered. A great people, a great history, a fascinating creation story.

1. What is the name of your character? Is s/he fictional or historical?

We never know his "legal" name. He is the son of a Navajo medicine man and a white missionary. But the man he thought was his Navajo father tells him his real name is "Ko-Yo-Teh"

2. When and where is the story set?

Koyoteh lives on the Ramah Navajo reservation near Grants, NM. Life will take him to Lawrence, KS and Haskell University

3. What should we know about him?

He is a witch. The art of witchcraft was given to the Navajo along with other gifts from the Holy People when the Dinè (the Navajo name for themselves) were created. Who he thought was his father was a witch and his father was a witch and his father was a witch.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

Koyoteh is attempting to complete the mission his Navajo father revealed to him: create the largest sand painting that has ever been created, reopen the gates to the Holy People and receive new gifts so the Navajo can finally rid themselves of the White Man. But this will require awful acts to obtain the materials necessary to create that sand painting.

5. What is the personal goal of the character?

To open the gates to the Holy People and trick them into giving him new gifts.

6. Is there a working title for this novel and can we read more about it?

The title is "Heart Chants" and it has been published by the small press Curiosity Quills.

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

It's available right now: http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Chants-Phillip-McGuire-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00HMQAJQK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1388610892&sr=1-1&keywords=heart+chants

I'd like to add that if you are interested in the Navajo people, this is the book for you. I believe it contains the best, most complete retelling of their amazing creation story. It has been favorably compared to Tony Hillerman's works and some reviewers have found it better.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Milestone of Sorts for CRAZY ABOUT YOU

I don't know if this is really a milestone, but it feels like one for me. I published Crazy About You in 2011 and it just passed its 600th download either as a digital or print-on-demand sale. I once offered it free and had 352 downloads. I failed to keep an accurate count of how many paperback copies I've sold myself. I've ordered 111 copies and have ten on hand. Have given away some copies but imagine I've sold about 80.

"Crazy About You" is my most reviewed work with 23 Amazon reviews, 18 of them five star. On Goodreads, it has 18 ratings with a 4.5 star average and 11 text reviews.

A publisher is now considering picking up this book and others that I have self-published.


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Favorite Lines from Several Works

Crazy About You

Dad had worked on his teeth and found him to be perfectly normal. “Now that he’s killed his family.” 











"Christianity used the Jewish god, a god who is everything and by being everything ended up being a big fat nothing...." 










I believe what I did was right, but why does it sit still so heavily upon my soul? 











“We’ve got to fornicate again tonight, Bob.”

“So soon?” 












I wanted to go to her, to touch her, touch her in that manner any of us will want to touch a person we are with who is near death. But that natural instinct, I have to tell you, was wiped away by a palpable fear, a fear that if I went near her at that moment, the blast from her open soul would sear my own. 







"And when did you fall in love with me?"

"I woke up with it the morning after I met you."