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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Saltness of Time is Now Live

The Saltness of Time, an 11,000-word novella, is now live on Smashwords. I wrote parts of it when I was in my 20s; I returned to it in my 40s after I had finished the novel, Crazy About You. I wrote that in the first person point of view using a technique of the narrator looking back to tell his story. I thought that technique gave me the needed distance element The Saltness of Time had lacked. I had been trying to tell the story in the simple present tense and was unhappy with the result. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness had always been a favorite of mine. I liked how Marlow told his story on the ship outside the Thames as he and other passengers waited for the tide to change. So I created my Marlow (simply by aging one of the characters) and then indentured my audience. Those captive listeners, it turned out, became much more active in the tale than were Marlow’s. One of them gave to me the best ending sentence that I have ever written.

The Saltness of Time, by the way, is a phrase that comes from Shakespeare ("Some smack of age in you, some relish of the saltness of time," Henry IV, part II). I was thinking more of the salt beds of the dried up inland sea below the rich soil of Kansas prairie. And, of course, the salt beds, too, that are within each of us.

The cover design for this novella presented several challenges, but Erin Billingsley, whose family also hails from my high school town of Larned, and she from nearby LaCrosse (where my grandfather once practiced as a physician), suggested a Kansas snow scene, and I quickly concurred. Her choice of an understated typestyle works well. She describes herself as a "Jane of all trades" and examples of her work can be found at:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Emma Sullivan may read Rabbletown

Emma Sullivan is the Kansas student who has gone from about 40 twitter followers to more than 10,000 because Gov. Brownback's staff monitoring social media saw the disrespectful text she sent while in his august presence and notified her school. I sent her an email with free download code to Rabbletown: Life in These United Christian States of Holy America and got this response!

"Thank you for the code, I downloaded the book. I look forward to the chance to read it. Thank you for the email and your support!"

I so hope she finds time to read it! What's interesting is that in this future dystopia, in which the religious right wing rules the country, people use computers that are closely monitored for improper thinking and actions. They communicate and confess to their PPC, Personal Pastor Counselor programs. And here we have the staff of the Governor checking on how He is referred to in social media. And ACTING on that information.

In Rabbletown, instead of a FBI or a KBI, we have the Inquisitors. Very effective group. Oh, and in this Topeka of 2084 there is a plaza named in honor of Fred Phelps, where stoning Fridays are held. Bring the family. Great fun! Feel righteous.

If you haven't kept up, it's now Brownback who has apologized for his staff to Emma.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Brownbackistan Incident May Help Rabbletown

A marketing opportunity came along for Rabbletown, thanks to Gov. Sam Brownback's staff, some of whom evidently constantly monitor what is said about him on social networks. A Kansas high school student, Emma Sullivan, was with a group visiting him and she texted a tweet that wasn't nice. Brownback's staff caught it, complained to her principal and she got called on the carpet. Story and update are here:

Brownback, who killed the Kansas Arts Commission and has eyes on the U.S. Presidency, has already had people calling Kansas Brownbackistan. And this little incident didn't help. If you search Brownbackistan on Twitter or Brownback Sucks, you'll see the storm this has caused.

So I've been promoting Rabbletown to as many of these folks as I can. After all, it's set in Topeka, Ks. And. although the Pastor Governor is named Brownback, there is a Pastor Senator from Wichita who is. I hope now I can get a Brownback staff member to buy the book! I'm such an opportunist. Maybe I should run for office!

Rabbletown: Life in These United Christian States of Holy America can be found here:

Kindle folks:

Nook readers:

Other formats:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cool review of Rabbletown

Discovered Jim's Blog after he put up a cool review of Rabbletown. I intend to spend some time delving into "The Herscher Project" as it seems our strange minds run down some of the same alleys.

Tim Miller, who is Chair of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas, sent me a nice note after reading Rabbletown; "I thought it was one of those Satires that is a bit too close to reality to be entirely comfortable." He thought it was appropriate that he got the book just before Halloween, "'s real enough to be scary."

Monday, November 14, 2011

More Good Comments on Blow Up the Roses

I've put Blow Up the Roses on a Harper website that uses internet reader reactions to decide which books they will consider for print publication. If you go to their site, you'll be able to read the book for free and leave comments and rank and that sort of thing:

Here are some of the comments so far:

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.

This writing is very assured, very competent, very chilling. That first chapter is the most disturbing I've read for a while. I think you have your genre totally pegged. Rivetting stuff.

This is so it so far. Will let you know when I have read more.

I think this book will do very well.
The first chapter was deliciously short, left me wanting more, more, more, needing to know the details of the man's wickedness.
The second was completely different but very well written. The first half gave me all I needed to know about Mrs Keene, and then kind of sagged a bit in the middle before picking up again as Mr Brown is threatened with eviction! A great way to end the chapter to keep the interest going.

This writing is very assured, very competent, very chilling. That first chapter is the most disturbing I've read for a while. I think you have your genre totally pegged. Rivetting stuff

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blow up the Roses most requested

That first Blog Hop, now ended, was great fun. Of the 10 works offered, seven were requested. The most requested was Blow Up the Roses, the one about a serial killer, and here is a review one requester has posted on Smashwords:

"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."

Monday, November 7, 2011

My First Blog Hop

Blog hop ends midnight tonight. I'll be asleep before that happens. Will honor straggler requests when I wake up tomorrow. Hope your autumn tree colors are as pretty as what we have in KC just now. Goes great with barbecue!

What I'm offering to visitors who come here is to send them a free download code to any one of my works, which are now on Smashwords. Just email me ( the work of your choice and where I should send the download code. All reviews appreciated. My works don't fit easily into genres, but they come from my heart, which never fit into any genre either.

Here are the works available and my bio: