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Monday, May 23, 2016

To Celebrate Walker Percy's Birthday Price of "The 41st Sermon" Dropped to 99 Cents

May 28 is the 100th year anniversary of the birth of one of my favorite Southern writers, Walker Percy. I've had a lot of ups and downs in my writing life and in 1992 Percy delivered an extraordinary high point. I had sent him the first chapters of The 41st Sermon hoping he would be willing to read the whole manuscript. I received a note back from him that what I sent read well and I could send the rest. Do so. Waited. Waited. Then a few months later read his obit in the paper. In honor of his 100th birthday I've lowered the price of The 41st Sermon to 99 cents. Episcopal priest is in mid-life and mid-faith crisis.

Read the whole story and the note in previous post here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Glad To See Ted Cruz Out Of The Picture, But The Self-Sanctimonious Jerk Was Useful To Me

Ted Cruz scared me more than Donald Trump, so I'm glad to see Cruz is out of the POTUS picture. However, Rabbletown: Life in These United Christian States of Holy America is all about the danger if the religious right really gained political control of America. So a little photoshop work by my friend and KC photographer Dave Kaup gave me a new cover to use to promote Rabbletown.

It was fairly successful. At one point Rabbletown reached No. 35 in its subcategory and overall the highest ranked book I've ever had.

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.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Like to get "creeped out?" Blow Up The Roses recommended

An interesting, but not uncommon, review came in for Blow Up the Roses the other day. This reader is not the first to acknowledge not wanting to continue the story, but being so captured they couldn't quit.

Here's that most recent comment:

"I had put off reading Blow Up The Roses. I wasn't sure I wanted to read it.  When I started, I wasn't sure I wanted to continue.  But like all of your books, I couldn't put it down.  The story grabbed me, even as I didn't want to know what happened next. We all know there is evil in the world, but this kind of reality is almost too evil for words.  Any parent feels fear at the stories of children being lured into a car.  We can't even begin to contemplate that something like this could happen to our children.

"You think you know your neighbors.  What a frightening prospect!  I guess everyone has skeletons in their closets but this was a truly scary story.  And, of course, I really enjoyed it."

Here are some other similar reactions:

"After reading the first two paragraphs of this book I wanted to stop because I knew it would be disturbing. I continued reading because I've looked at my neighbors' homes and thought about the possibility that they're hiding terrible secrets in their basements and attics and no one will ever know. Apparently, Randy Attwood has also. Thought about it, I mean. I hope."

Here's another:

"At the end of the first paragraph I had to decide whether I was brave enough to continue. I wasn't sure I wanted to know what happened next. I did read the whole story and enjoyed Mr. Attwood's characters; a veritable crazy quilt of unlikely neighbors who maintained a strange sort of formality despite the ugly reasons for their interactions. I would remind the reader that the most frightening parts of a story are those we fill in with our own imaginations."

We'll end with this high praise:

"Read the first four chapters. Very creepy. Kind of reminded me of Tom Harris from the Hannibal Lector series. I like how you build suspense with Mr. Brown and whatever he's got cooked up in his duplex. The way you use Mr. and Mrs. adds a coldness to the writing that prevents the reader from getting comfortable. I think this is a great book."

So if you like a dark read and to get "creeped out," here ya go:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Notebook: No Reader Yet Has Foretold the Ending

I think it's one of my more arresting ebook covers. A couple of times it has popped into the top 100 in its Amazon category but I hate to divulge which one because that gives too much away too early. No reader yet has foretold the ending.
Reviewer for The Notebook wrote:
"Two people connect over their losses, brought together by an unbelievable confession and a mysterious notebook hidden in an attic. Impossible to describe this story without spoiling it, but it is very powerful. The ending has a twist you'll never see coming."

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Two Author Signing Events Upcoming

I have two author signing activities in the near future. The first is a multi-author event sponsored by the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library. That will be Saturday, Feb. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the West Wyandotte Library, 1737 N 82nd Ave in KCK. Details here. They have also arranged for authors to read briefly from their works and I'll be reading from the intro of Crazy About You. Public reading and speaking has become a real challenge for me. I get extremely nervous in front of a group, but I've managed to pull it off in the past. My time slot to read is 10:10 a.m., shortly after the event opens.

My fiction is a smorgasbord of various genres from literary to comedy to mystery to thriller to science fiction. It's been difficult for me to find my brand but recently a reviewer wrote the following which I much appreciated:

Each book by Attwood has shared one common thread--his gift for creating a cast of diverse and interesting characters, and then weaving their lives together in a plausible, realistic series of events toward the most unpredictable and so often amazing outcomes.

The second event will be setting up my book display at Behind the Vintage Door March 4,5 for First Friday weekend activities at 1222 West 12th, KCMO, in what is known in these parts as the West Bottoms. I had a great time there last month and the foot traffic was excellent. I meet a lot of great people and sold books to diverse readers. The area is sprinkled with antique shops and flea markets and First Friday brings out the crowds and is a destination stop for gal-pal outings. There are plenty of food trucks for snacks and lunch. I'll be there by 10 a.m. both that Friday and Saturday.

I always like to publicly thank KC photographer Roy Inman for the black and white photo he took of me in my writing space. I've gotten a lot of use from it as you've seen above.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February 14 and Love is in the Air

How's this for a quick way to send a gift to your valentine? Go to Amazon and you'll see how easy it is to send an ebook. All you need is your valentine's email address. Among the buying options near the bottom you'll see a bar that reads "Give as a Gift." All under $5.

Here are those among my offerings that depend on a love story in their plots.

First the novels:
Heart Chants: Former foreign newspaper correspondent Phil McGuire has love drop into his lap in the most unexpected of ways. But will he be able keep her when her country, China, beckons her home?

From Heart Chants
Those special moments with a woman: the first kiss, the first caress, the first penetration. Each an individual cherished sweetness.

Crazy About You: Brad is a junior in high school when hormones get mixed with compassion and empathy overcomes reason. 

Where were the definitions and axioms and corollaries that would order the geometry of my feelings into some sort of a figure I could look at and understand and accept? Where was the E=MC squared of my life? Freud tried to come close with his id, ego, and superego. But he never came up with a formula. I think he made it too difficult. I think it all has to do with sex, fear, and love. Love of sex and fear of sex. Love of love and fear of love. Fear of fear and love of fear. Love of success and fear of success. Fear of failure and love of failure. Sex as a sign of success. Sex as a sign of love. Sex as a way of overcoming fear. Heck, Einstein had had it easy.

Then and Now: The Harmony of the Instantaneous All: Stan Nelson is trapped in the 1960s and the girl he lost then during the tumultuous spring of 1970 on the campus of The University of Kansas.

From Then and Now
"And when did you fall in love with me?" she leaned back in my arms after the kiss and asked.
"I woke up with it the morning after I met you."


One More Victim: The whole story revolves around a childhood love lost and then recovered.

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 our expectations for ourselves in that world. She opened her eyes and leaned her forehead to rest against my lips. I whispered her name as though it were magic. We were in another world.