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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Browse My Bookstore

My fiction touches many genres and I've struggled with coming up with a single "brand" for them. Reviewer stepped right up and wrote this:

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.

Hope you'll visit my Amazon Author Page!

(Thanks to Roy Inman for this photograph)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Give a Gift for the Reader on Your List

If you've read one (or more) of my books that you liked, then there's a good chance you know a friend or family member who would also like it. Holiday gift item? Easy to send via Amazon as a gift. Here are the ten paperbacks I have out there through Amazon. Click that "Give as a Gift" button.

One More Victim (collection of short literary works)

Very Quirky Tales (Sci-fi type)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Rabbletown Closing in on Crazy About You as My Best Selling Novel; New Review Arrived

One more month to go in 2015 but with 11 months finished, Rabbletown: Life in These United Christian States of Holy America is but five sales away from overtaking Crazy About You.

I'm a member on Goodreads, a reader-oriented site that was so popular that Amazon bought it out.

I received an email yesterday that someone named Lee had left a comment about Rabbletown so I clicked on that link and there was nice, long and thoughtful review. I copied it, fortunately, because when I went back to the link today there was nothing there. So I'm a bit mystified. But here is the comment:

"Even the Wicked Witch wouldn't like Kansas anymore."

Rabbletown is a short novel set in what was once Topeka Kansas, seventy some years in the future. Nuclear War has wiped out much of the world. A fundamentalist Protestant Christian theology has taken over what is left of the US."

"The story is full of passionate energy, and is written with the fury an avenging angel."

Rabbletown sets out explaining this new society, starting with the hierarchy of the new leadership class. A kind of hereditary priest class, (or rather Pastor class) is in charge. It is Americana, with Church secretaries who take care of the 'holy stress' of the Pastors, Inquisitors who handle public security, and of course a huge underclass, that is broken, dysfunctional and forced to breed incessantly. Security is handled with torture, stonings and burnings. It is nominally the story of one poor family from the slums, the Crowleys, with Bob, his wife and 13 children, one of whom, Bobby, is holy in a way that doesn't fit into existing Church doctrine. Bob, an abusive drunk, is a master mason, helping to build the great cathedral that is to be the center for the New Christianity."

"As I read the novel I tried to place it as a 'type' of book. Of course I thought of it as a satire of Kansas today, often called Brownbackistan, after the fundamentalist governor who has striped government of the ability to provide basic services, (such as education) and has created a living hell for poor women who find themselves with unwanted pregnancies. I read the book as if it were in the style of WS Burroughs' “Naked Lunch”, or even Vonnegut's “Cat's Cradle” or “Mother Night”. As I continued to read, I saw it in a different light, written with an English like early medieval Latin, a language fallen from the standards of literature of Classical Rome. I imagined the writer as an isolated Frankish Monk, who has access to only a few books, such as Gregory of Tours describing early Merovingian Gaul, trying to tell the story of a society that had fallen very far from where it had once been. But then, toward the end, I saw “Rabbletown” as a new Apocrypha, a book of a new Bible for the coming Dark Age. Perhaps it is all of those. It seems like it was written fast and covers a lot of ground, not wasting time on scene or description beyond the political and social situation. It appears to have been written on the fly, and not edited, with long sentences that lose focus, but that is clearly a stylistic choice, (Attwood is a veteran journalist), to give an added sense of desolation to the story."

"Most of all I see it as a battle cry from Attwood, a lifelong Kansan who is clearly furious with the changes that have overtaken his state. I know a bit about it, because I lived in Lawrence Kansas myself for five years in the late sixties, early seventies as a student and a laboror. So I get most of the satire. He has the heirs of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Jerry Johnston (a Kansas Megachurch preacher) as the leaders of this new Jerusalem. The Catholics are forced into monasteries and nunneries, where they weren't suppose to breed, (but do anyway). The Jews are no longer around, as one would imagine in Germany if the war had ended differently. The descendants of recent Kansas political leaders, such as Brownback and Fritzel (who you wouldn't know if you never lived in Kansas) are also skewered. And of course Fred Phelps, the dead leader of that hideous Topeka Church that preaches, 'God Hates Fags” is memorialized as a saint."

"It packs a punch. It is unlike most recent novels, and that makes it interesting and a good read."

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Reduced Prices and One Free on Three Novels Published by Curiosity Quills

My publisher Curiosity Quills is using Black Friday through Cyber Monday to offer discounts on their books. They're offering Tortured Truths, the first in my Phillip McGuire mystery/suspense series for FREE. Two other works, Blow Up the Roses and SPILL, are discounted to 99 cents.

Time to get 'em if you want 'em!

Tortured Truths 

Blow Up the Roses

SPILL: Take That, Big Oil

Monday, November 23, 2015

Exploring New Ways to Promote My Fiction

I've been exploring more ways to promote my fiction using visuals and thought I'd share some here:

 One More Victim
 Kristen Garlow Piper is a wonderful photographer in Hutchinson, KS and has made an extraordinary collection of photos featuring the same location in various sunset and storm situation. The beginning of the novella One More Victim begins with a thunderstorm so I couldn't resist using this recent photo of thunderstorms.
 Rabbletown has been getting some sales in Canada and Great Britain lately. Hope it continues to find readers in areas outside the United States. More US readers would be nice, too. The GOP nomination process makes this dystopia seem closer and closer. I set it in the year 2084. Perhaps too far into the future.
Foodies got their pairings and I created a series of photos showing mine. Good idea to have a few stiff drinks while reading the dark suspense novel Blow Up the Roses.
No reader yet has foretold the ending to this thriller novella The Notebook. Fellow Larnedite Jared Wingate took this photo of his wife and did the manipulation for the image.

Here's another "pairing" using Then and Now. It's set in the spring of 1970 and is a fiction retelling of that turbulent era at The University of Kansas in Lawrence, Ks.
 Lot about Taoism going on in Then and Now.

First in the Phillip McGuire mystery/suspense series. Tortured Truths originally had a working title of Heal My Heart So I May Cry. I still rather like that title. Publisher didn't. Thought it sounded like a romance title.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Readers Like This You Gotta Love!

Reader wrote me a really nice email how much she enjoyed Crazy About You She keeps a journal to write down sentences from books that affect her and she had written six from mine. So I had to ask which ones. Here they are:

(p.63) "...isn't that why men exist: to try and make women happy for a while and then, having learned we can make them happy, make them miserable as the price?"
(p. 64) "Wasn't that the awful corollary formula? We men believe we need a woman to make us happy. When we get one, we conclude it was the getting, not the having, that brought happiness."
(p.66) "... the most effective lie is the one you want to believe yourself."
(p. 81) "You can't summarize what you are, only what you've done, which is why so many of us feel so empty - what we've done is never even close to what we are."
(p. 107) "Why is it that the most frightening force that can be applied against Man is the violence of his fellow Man?"
(p. 132) "Maybe failure in our lives is simply an inability to recognize when a new starting point has presented itself. We have chances to start over all the time. We just fail to do so."

Friday, October 30, 2015

Got to Love It When a Reviewer Really Gets it! SPILL: Take That Big Oil!

Great five-star review for SPILL just in from Valerie on Amazon:

A fun and funny social commentary October 28, 2015

In this clever, hysterical novel, by Randy Attwood, absolutely nothing is sacred. Sometimes political spoof, often a parody on big business, Atwood even takes a swipe at the health/insurance industry. ALWAYS a satire on life, Attwood takes us on a riotous journey that begins with one man, Fred Underwood's, dream for riches. This means running for political office. His scheme gets him far more than he bargained for but it is not the center point of this plot.

His running platform is "we don't trust big oil." This becomes a near mantra, not only to Fred's political career...I love the debate scene... but to a whole new, young generation by sending them the message in the form of a video game--a language they understand--which may sound sad, but I believe they are a stewing pot just waiting to boil. All it will take is the right person sending the volatile message. And that's how our political system was created, isn't it? It's not set in stone. It is a wondrous creation, a huge social experiment.

But this book clearly shows us how deeply broken this system really is and how close to an oligarchy we truly are. One of my favorite quotes in this book is: "If Jefferson were to hear that football teams worth multi-millions of dollars charge ticket prices high enough that a working family can’t attend a game and couldn’t build their own stadiums without the people’s help, he’d puke."

Can we, little men and women, still win? Will we take back our own governmental reins and save ourselves and the world we are so recklessly destroying in the name of, "Big Business?" I think so, if we just take a giant step away from our own tiny comfort zone and make our collective voices heard and scream..."Take that, Big Oil!"

Click here to go to SPILL

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Highlighting My Titles Available in Paperback

Most of my marketing is ebook based. I thought I should do a message about the ten paperbacks available—eight novels and two collections or shorter works. All can be ordered through Amazon.

Four of the works are published by Curiosity Quills, a small press based in Washington D.C. area.

The first of my works CQ published was Blow Up the Roses, which the publisher called "Disturbingly Brilliant." It's a very dark suspense work, a piece of fiction I almost stopped writing when I realized what Mr. Brown was doing in the basement of his duplex. Many reviewers have said they wanted to stop reading, but couldn't.

The next two works CQ published were Tortured Truths and Heart Chants. These are in the Phillip McGuire mystery/suspense series: Burnt-out foreign correspondent quits journalism after being released by the Hezbollah who tortured him to gain information used in blowing up those Marines in Beirut. Remember that? He goes back to the KU town of Lawrence to own and run a bar. Adventures come his way. The second book in the series starts with missing female Haskell Navajo students and the novel contains, I believe, the best, most complete retelling of the amazing Navajo creation story. Heart Chants has been favorably compared to Tony Hillerman's work, and several readers like it more. High compliment.

The last of CQ published works is the political comedy, SPILL. (Yep, my fiction is a smorgasbord of genres.) Comedies don't seem to be terribly popular, but those who have gotten into SPILL haven't forgotten it. It's laugh-out-loud funny. Plot is pretty simple. Fired atheist English teacher scams the political system by running on a campaign to nationalize the oil industry and other unpopular stands such as banning hand guns. But he gets the money, the girl and a killer cool skateboard multi-play computer game. For the newspaper folks among my friends, SPILL offers a lot of newsroom shenanigans:

The paper upon which Reginald and Rhonda worked was large enough that different sections were edited by different editors, most of whom hated each other. There was no one person who read all the sections before they went to press. Thus, the right hand was ignorant of the left hand until the paper was printed. This became painfully obvious the next morning when the paper got plopped on driveways, porches and sidewalks.

The rest of the paperbacks are self-published, but two of them are my most popular works.

Write about what you know, they say. I grew up on the grounds of an insane asylum because my father was the dentist at Larned (KS) State Hospital and we were provided housing on the grounds. Thus resulted Crazy About You. Brad Adams will have a week that grows him up far faster than that high school boy could have ever wanted. Its a coming-of-age, murder mystery, terror suspense work. Has an ending that twigs the tear ducts for many readers.

Second most popular work has a title that pretty much sums it up: Rabbletown: Life in These United Christian States of Holy America. Are you one of those that gets a bit queasy with politicians who appeal to the religious right? This dystopia sent in Topeka in 2084 shows what kind of society might result if they gained complete political control. One reviewer, at that time a top 500 Amazon reviewer called it the BEST book she had EVER read.

The 41st Sermon features an Episcopal priest at mid-life and mid-faith crisis. If you know who Walker Percy is, you'll be interested in the note that great Southern writer set me about part of the manuscript I sent to him.

Then and Now: The Harmony of the Instantaneous All is set in Lawrence, KS and the University of Kansas during that turbulent spring of 1970. Student shot and killed. Student Union bombed and burned. National Guard comes to town to enforce curfew. It's a fictional recounting with many of the facts changed, but the mood of time recreated, I hope.

The two paperback collections of shorter works are One More Victim and Very Quirky Tales.

One More Victim takes its title from its first story. This novella took me 30 years to finish. The Holocaust is a critical element in the plot and so gets categorized as Jewish literature and has several times cracked the top paid 100 in Amazon ratings. The four other short stories I also consider to literary ones.

The six stories in Very Quirky Tales have a sci-fi, fantasy, horror aspect to them. Tell Us Everything is my homage to Philip K. Dick. It Was Me (I) is Rod Serling-esque The Strange Case of James Kirkland Pilley is my homage to HP Lovecraft and one reviewer said it "Out-Lovecrafted Lovecraft."

All the short stories are also available as stand alones in ebook format.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

"Heart Chants" Sometimes a Reader Communicates and the Writer Gets Goosebumps

Received a wonderful email comment about "Heart Chants," one of those messages that makes this writer's flesh get goosebumps:

Dear Randy,

I purchased a copy of your book, Heart Chants.  I have just recently finished reading it and I enjoyed every word.

As a KU alum, I smiled at the references to downtown Lawrence, the Bierstube, Jayhawk placemats and the sandbar in the Kaw River.  My husband and I remarked  that while we were aware of Haskell, we don't remember seeing any Indians around Lawrence.  Did we really not see any or did we see them and look through them--as they were not then on our radar screens?  It is both sad and embarrassing to admit that we probably looked right through them.

Before I started the book I spent some time reading about the Navajo creation story.  It is an overwhelming amount of information.  The way you presented it--the creation as told to Ko-yo-teh by his father, and the description of the sand painting--made it easier to understand and appreciate.  I enjoyed the way the two stories were interwoven.

 " He would be there always for any true Dine to find anytime they had the eyes to see and a heart to understand".  Very powerful stuff.

I read one of the reviews of the book that said you not only went up against Tony Hillerman, but you surpassed him.  I would have to agree.

Monday, September 7, 2015

When Sleep Enters the Scene....

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 "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 "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.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Excerpt from Novella: "The Saltness of Time"

I've always liked this part from The Saltness of Time:

"The quiet was remarkable. I had never known quiet could have such intensity. The wind had stopped. No tree limbs creaked. The highway was shut down, so no rumble of distant semi-trucks existed. I started thinking how I had never heard such a silence before when I realized I was feeling vibrations. Sensory deprivation will cause hallucinations. Maybe it was the lack of sound that made me believe the acres of snow had become a vast sounding board stretching over the prairie and bringing to me the vibrations of its past. But there was no doubt to me then, nor is there now, that I heard Indian ponies passing in the night, and I could feel the heart throbs of a terror-struck pioneer family, huddled, praying for God to protect their lives in a dismal soddie. I heard, then, too, the shouts of children in an ancient Pawnee settlement, ignorant of what would follow a Spaniard's search for gold. I heard a shovel scoop out earth to make room for a tiny coffin, and sobs tore at my heart. My body was rocked by the thuds of buffalo bodies, one after another, hitting the prairie as a hunter decimated a herd. And then I actually felt the vibrations as the first plow ripped the sod and make the entire prairie sigh. It sighed the word 'land.' Land, it's a word as magic as the sea, isn't it? There even reached to me the sounds of monster fish from when Kansas was, for thousands of years, a great inland sea, only to dry up, like dreams, and leave beds of salt and shark's teeth for a Kansas boy to wonder at."

And look at that. A sentence ending with a no-no: "at."

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Reader Writes Down Lines That Affected Her From "Crazy About You" Here They Are:

Reader wrote me a really nice email how much she enjoyed Crazy About You she bought at recent author event. Said she keeps a journal to write down sentences from books that affect her and she had written six from mine. So I had to ask which ones. Here they are:

(p.63) "...isn't that why men exist: to try and make women happy for a while and then, having learned we can make them happy, make them miserable as the price?"
(p. 64) "Wasn't that the awful corollary formula? We men believe we need a woman to make us happy. When we get one, we conclude it was the getting, not the having, that brought happiness."
(p.66) "... the most effective lie is the one you want to believe yourself."
(p. 81) "You can't summarize what you are, only what you've done, which is why so many of us feel so empty - what we've done is never even close to what we are."
(p. 107) "Why is it that the most frightening force that can be applied against Man is the violence of his fellow Man?"
(p. 132) "Maybe failure in our lives is simply an inability to recognize when a new starting point has presented itself. We have chances to start over all the time. We just fail to do so."

Crazy About You

Friday, July 31, 2015

Two Works Nominated for Local Literary Honor

Happy to report that I'm among 25 authors nominated for a respected local literary honor here in Kansas City, the Thorpe Menn award sponsored by the American Association of University Women-Kansas City. Two works published by Curiosity Quills--the political comedy SPILL, and Heart Chants, no. 2 in the Phillip McGuire mystery/thriller series--were both accepted as nominees.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hey, It's Okay to Admire What You've Written

Well, sometimes you reread something you've written and say, "Damn, that's good:" From One More Victim

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.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Assemblage of Nice Comments about 5 Novels

Some nice raves about several of my works:

Crazy About You

If the folks over at the New York Times Review Of Books are looking for fresh novels by other than established writers or well-connected new ones, they should dust off their keyboards and surf over to Smashwords or Amazon's Kindle Book Store, where they'll find an astonishing new novel by Randy

Then and Now: The Harmony of the Instantaneous All

 ...was hooked from 1st chapter...engrossed in it throughout and read it straight through


Filled with intriguing characters, and an amusing subplot involving skateboarding gamers, “Spill” is a comic tour de farce that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys political satire, generally humorous story-lines, and great writing.

Blow Up the Roses

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.

Rabbletown: Life in these United Christian States of Holy America

I did not expect to be profoundly moved. I did not expect the overwhelming desire to make this book required reading.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Three Minutes of Fame on NPR's KCUR

Well, my three minutes of local NPR radio fame have come and gone here in Kansas City on KCUR. If you missed it, here's what it sounded like.

I think later it may lead the list of authors at this main link.

And at this URL you can find some additional material that was recorded, but not aired. I'm rather partial to "Sipping Gin." 

If you're curious about the story from which I read, "One More Victim," it can be found as a stand alone ebook.

Or as the first story in a paperback collection of shorter works by the same name. Memo to self: Don't let your picture be taken ever again

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thanks to a Hutchinson Photographer I Have a New Image for Cover of "One More Victim"

I think one of my favorite things about the internet is Facebook. Yes, I spend too much time on it. I got on because it seemed an avenue to promote books. It became a lot more. It became a place to meet really neat and nice and interesting people, so many of them with different talents.

One of those persons is a photographer from Hutchinson, Kansas, where I started my adult career as reporter and later an editor at The Hutchinson News.

I don't remember how I first met Kristen Garlow Piper on FB, but meet her I did and enjoyed her photos of the remodeling of a Hutch downtown building into apartments. Appreciated, too, her many other photos. She seems to specialize in weather shots. I got her permission to use one of her rural photos for the cover of the short story Innocent Passage.

The other day she posted an image that just blew me away. I have fun taking a photo to see how it might work as a book cover. Here's the original image.

Here's the fun cover I did for a non-existent book.

Then I thought: hey, I do have a story that would be perfect for this cover. So I changed the cover for One More Victim to use this cover.

Curious why the story One More Victim works for this image? You're just going to have to get that ebook.

Photo details: Kristen used a standard night shot/tripod with cable release - ISO 100 - Shutter open 30 sec - 1/100 shutter speed. She said storms had been building all evening with the lightning starting around 10 p.m. She shot it with a Nikon D7000 and a Nikon 24-70 lens.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Seven Shorter Works Each 99 Cents

I've got seven shorter fiction titles available on Amazon and priced each at 99 cents. They fall into two categories: literary and science fiction.


The Saltness of Time
26 pages

Reviewer: "We have a modern day slice of Chaucer here, with four traveling friends marooned in a small hotel because of a blinding blizzard in the plains of Kansas.  In the main room by a comforting fire, they meet an elderly gentleman who offers to tell them a story from his youth, when he, too, was becalmed in the home of an elderly woman, also due to a raging snow storm. From his geriatric host, he learns the story and secrets of her life. The whole thing is like a matryoska doll … a story within a tale within a narrative."

Excerpt: "Emotional truths? Emotional truths are the deepest levels of reality inside of us. They're not rational. That doesn't mean they are irrational, it just means they don't comply to rational thinking. For example, you can't argue yourself in love or out of love. Feelings just are or they are not, whether you should have them or not. And people who were important to you who die, but you dream about them for the rest of your life. These people aren't dead to you at all; they are part of your emotional truth. I wonder what kind of dreams Gabrielle had."

Hospital Days
13 pages (Ten stories)

Reviewer: "This is a different type of read. It takes the reader into the life behind the scenes of a hospital. It is not like a TV show with heroics and handsome doctors getting all the attention. This is the grittier side of life with a true feel to the happenings as the reader is shown the life of a candy striper at first would like to be a doctor, but after what he sees in the real raw world a change of occupation might be in order."

These are some of the first stories I ever wrote. No plot really. Flash fiction slice of life things. I recently learned there is a Japanese literary term for these things: kishōtenketsu

Innocent Passage
9 pages

Reviewer: "When two young men (boys) try their luck at digging through old houses looking for ghosts they find a lot more including the loss of innocence and maybe a little guilt they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. I wish the story was longer but the writing and the idea was really interesting."

Excerpt: Haunted house hunting we called it. The legal term was breaking and entering. The county sheriff had warned us that he knew we were responsible for the summer rash, but couldn’t prove it. If he caught us, he’d “throw your asses in jail,” as he so quaintly put it. We hunted anyway.

8 pages

Reviewer: This is the latest short story from Randy Attwood and will bring me up to date again with his works. I like to stay abreast of Randy's writings, because he has such a terrific and interesting style, each book unique, but containing a familiar voice. Now, I had to wonder exactly how he would make golf interesting, especially in just eight pages, but I shouldn't have worried. Listen to this description of placing a ball on a tee:

And eighteen times this easy gesture, this stooping over with the tee between the fingers, the ball hidden, protected in the perspiring palm, the insertion into ground the wooden link to earth the ball would soon be contacting - all this, for me, had given the gesture a quality of sacredness.

Isn't that gorgeous? The story is full of beautiful prose like that. Who thought that a short story about golf could be so intense, so vivid and so engaging - I literally walked out to the mailbox with my Kindle in my hand, reading. You don't want to miss this latest from Randy Attwood - go get it, and his other works while you're at it. You really won't regret it.


A Match Made in Heaven (Mormonism explored in a sci-fi sort of way)
33 pages

Reviewer: "I have never met a Randy Attwood book that I haven't loved; he has a real talent for bringing his characters to life and creating an environment that is realistic and detailed without going overboard. This is the first science-fiction story he has published, so I was quite interested to see how he did in this story environment. And it was... brilliant!

"This is a short story, maybe it could be considered a novella - it took me about an hour to read it through. I am not sure where, exactly, Randy came up with some of the ideas he used in this story (I'll have to ask), but I found the ideas presented evocative and thought-provoking. There are questions of consciousness, how to truly access God (in whatever form that power takes for you), the humane treatment of others, etc. Like all of his books, I highly recommend this terrific story."

By Pain Possessed
15 pages

Reviewer: "I enjoyed this dark little story very much. Nowadays, we don't see much traditional science fiction as used to be the case, and Attwood takes to the genre like a natural with a beautifully drawn portrayal of aliens. Aliens are hard to write - it's not easy to make them really alien. Attwood has done a great job; his aliens are believable and consistent without being in the least human, and he avoids the trap of trying to put in too much background. A very successful venture into traditional SF by a seasoned and professional writer."

The Richard Dary Weight Loss Institute
11 pages

Reviewer: "This book freaked me the hell out. There, I said it. I can't tell you much about it without giving you spoilers, but the ideas that Randy expressed in this book scared the living daylights out of me. The sort of things that were done to the narrator of this story, Peggy, were inhuman. All in her attempts to fit in with modern societal standards of being thin. This made me think a little bit of the book I read earlier today, Saga of a Middle-Aged Vampire. What is it about modern society? Why are all the women expected to be anorexic-thin? It infuriates me. Healthy is one thing, but the modern goal is outright emaciation, and often extremely unhealthy methods are employed in the search for this. It actually frightens me that little girls are starving themselves to try to look like supermodels, who are (in my opinion), mostly freaks of nature."


The literary works, except Hospital Days, are available in One More Victim.
The science fiction works are available in Very Quirky Tales.


Free apps are available for PCs and Apple devices.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

"The Fat Cat" Ready for Beta Readers

Done with what I think is the final re-edit of The Fat Cat and I like it rather a lot. But then, just about every writer likes what he has just finished. Time for those so-called Beta readers: persons who would read the work not looking to edit or proof but to give general feedback on the thing, point out any holes or glaring errors.

I started this as a noir mystery, but with its ending I'm not sure what it is. The novel's other problem is its length. It's only 37,000 words, which is way too short for a traditional novel. But I sure like the protagonist, Ellie McCrary. She's been working the last five years as the bartender/manager of a gentlemen's club because she ran away from the city where she worked as a television reporter. She ran way because two things happened. Finding out about those two things is the plot line for The Fat Cat.

The name of the club where she works is called The Fat Cat. Seems obvious the image of a dancer should be on the cover and I've got a Kickstarter project to go live soon to accomplish creating that image. Should be a lot of fun. Let you know later when it's ready to view (and ready for donors!)

But for now, before I hire an editor/proofreader, I need general reader feeback. Be nice to have both male and female reactions. I've written from female points of view before and I think I do it pretty well, but it's best to have a female give feedback.

If you're interested in being a Beta reader, just email me if you have my email address or put in the comments section below a way I can contact you. I'd be sending you a .doc file.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Major Stage Fright for Not a Poet

OK, I'm a'm freaked out here. My local Kansas City NPR station, KCUR, announced a couple of months ago that it was inviting local authors to submit short writings that could be recorded and played on their station. Under three minutes. So I submitted a poem "Sipping Gin." And I am NOT a poet. Am I?

Got an email back asking me to submit the poem as a recording. I borrowed a high tech tape recorder from friend John Tygart and started trying to record said poem. I am so bad at this stuff. Finally, after I don't know how many tries and hating hearing my voice, got something to send. Today, I'm informed they'd like me to come in next week to record the poem I have another poem as well! I do, bless my soul. "In February the Crows Come," a poem that ends the novella One More Victim. A poem that took me thirty years to find the last stanza that ends the story that took that long to write.

Stay tuned, folks. I fully expect that when I go to the studio for the recording I will collapse in a garble of gasping incoherence and they will sort of shake their heads and show me the door.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Happy to Have Former Rejected "Blue Kansas Sky" Included in Anthology Titled "Rejected"

Pleased to have a short story of mine, Blue Kansas Sky, included in an anthology whose premise you've got to love. Rejected includes stories that have been rejected. You had to submit your proof of rejection along with your story. I was hoping they would also print the rejection. My story "Blue Kansas Sky" is number five in this collection. It was rejected by the defunct Kansas Quarterly. It would have meant so much to me in my youth to have had that story accepted. Wasn't to be. Hope you'll check out me and my other former rejectees. If you use the Look Inside function, you can read the first four stories and part of Blue Kansas Sky. If you just want to buy Blue Kansas Sky, you can find it by itself, here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Works Available for Apple Users

Finding my works for reading on Apple devices is not straightforward. What is available is downloadable via iTunes. You should know, if you don't, that you can download a free app that will let you read kindle books on your Apple device. But here are the works that can be had via iTunes:

Crazy About You
My most downloaded work. Novel is set on the grounds of an insane asylum and creates one week in the life of a high school boy that will grow him up faster than he could have ever wanted.

Rabbletown: Life in These United Christian States of Holy America
This dystopia is my second most downloaded work. The title pretty much sums it up. The religious right have won the day and the Pastor President and pastor governors rule with a Bible in each fist and the computer in your hovel.

The Notebook
Novella has received a lot of positive reviews. No reader yet has been able to foretell the ending of this horror/suspense work.

Innocent Passage
Short story.

The Strange Case of James Kirkland Pilley
If you like H.P. Lovecraft, this is my homage to him. One reviewer said I "Out-Lovecrafted Lovecraft."

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Reflecting on the Further Decline of The KC Star

I'm not sure why opening my Sunday Kansas City Star today and learning that it would be the last time I would read The Kansas City Star Magazine filled me with...dread.

Part of the feeling was personal. I had been proud to have three freelance pieces used as cover stories for The Star Magazine. One of them, on Linda Hall Library, reintroduced that little appreciated Kansas City gem to readers. It took me six months of work and I received a princely sum of $200 for it. But one value for me was that I felt my name had joined the list of so many writers who contributed to the magazine and represented some of the best in reporting and writing talent the Star has had to offer since 1970. Too many of them have and are drifting away and being cast away.

Part of the deep sadness was the demise of the magazine after a life of only 45 years was one more sign that my local newspaper is becoming, well, not MY local newspaper anymore. I like sports. I listen to sports radio every day. The Royals success last year was like a drink of cool water for this fan who had been wondering in the desert for so many years. But sports is sports and the front page of the paper is the front page. Rarely should the two meet. Certainly not take up three-quarters of that valuable press real estate for a story on Yordano Ventura, love though I did the story and how well it was written by Vahe Gregorian. I read every word. But I would have read every word had it been in its proper section—the sports section or, imagine this, placed in The Star Magazine.

The state of the Arts and Entertainment section is in deep question. Folks, art writer Alice Thorson provided really good and knowledgeable pieces about the art scene in our city. More downsizing, I understand, means more stories by outside freelancers. That will cost the Star less, but will it give readers more? I was particularly offended there was no note from The Star's publisher, Mi-Ai Parrish, nor its editor, Mike Fannin, on why the magazine was being killed off, nor what their vision is for the future of The Star. It could well be there is only one vision: survive.

Last Sunday, my paper lacked the color comics section. I realized this greatly bothered me and then I was disturbed even more by how greatly I missed it. It made me question: why DO I take the Star?

The answer I came up with is the one that is at rock bottom: I want a reliable source about local news: government, police, courts, business, politics—the working necessary guts of our society.

Good newspapers do this while providing an environment where the best writing and photography can thrive.

Ready for that dread part?

I am not the reader the Star wants. It wants young eyes that poke at that phone/tablet thing, not these old ones that read print while sipping morning coffee.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Maybe You'll Want to Become a Bobbite, too

I started writing Rabbletown: Life in These United Christian States of Holy America before 1984. I had a notion that when 1984 rolled around, there would be a lot of attention given to George Orwell's famous novel by that name and that I might get some attention for mine. I'd call it "2084." Nice idea, but the novel didn't get written. I had envisioned a long, complex novel that would create the characters that showed how the religious right gained political power over the United States and what they did with it.

Never been good at long, complex stories. So I cut to the chase and went right to the year 2084.

Then I created a manageable set of characters and let them live their lives in an environment where pastor governors and the Pastor President rule with a Bible in each fist and the computer in your hovel. But I wrote myself into a corner with Bobby. It took me a while to realize I had to let Bobby perform his miracles.

Best explanation of what Bobby is all about comes from an early review by one of Amazon's top 500 reviews:

I expected a few things when I started reading this book. I expected to be amused by a satirical take on the Fundamentalists that are doing their utmost to take over this country - sadly, it is difficult to make amusing, because the idea of Fundamentalists taking over this country and turning it into an Evangelical theocracy is absolutely terrifying. I expected to be outraged by the excesses of Fundamentalist leaders who grow rich, while the common people live in poverty. What I did not expect was to be profoundly moved. I did not expect goose bumps or a profound feeling of "rightness" to come over me while reading.

12-year-old Bobby Crowley is special. He has an amazing memory for Bible verses, and a strangely wise way of saying just the right thing at just the right time. And he has been carefully watching the formation of a significant alignment of stars in the sky, including a new star that just appeared three months ago, which are forming a cross. On a Friday like any other Friday - one that would see the stoning to death of a 6 people - Bobby takes his place among the great religious leaders of the world when he steps forward and speaks the words "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" and in the process saves the life of a beatific young woman: he gains a following and begins performing miracles, and providing proverbs of hope, peace and love.

Caught in his wake are a number of people; they go into Rabbletown, the slums of Topeka, where Bobby spreads the way of peace, love, acceptance and kindness, rather than the hate and manipulations used by those in power. And in a world where the leaders all emulate the practices and beliefs of the disgusting Fred Phelps, those sorts of teachings are threatening. Bobby and all who believe in him and his miracles are declared anathema and the Inquisition is sent after them.

This book does two things: it exposes the horror of a theocratic, fascist Evangelical Fundamentalist power structure, and it provides hope for redemption for anyone who chooses to live a truly good life, and follow the basic teachings that so many modern-day dogmatics seem to forget are the only two rules laid down by Christ - you know, the one Christians are supposed to emulate? 1) love each other and treat others like you would like them to treat you; 2) love the Higher Power of Creation, in whatever form you choose to comprehend It. This book - reading this book - will cause a profound shift in perception and I believe, honestly, that the world would be a better place if everyone followed the example set by Bobby. We all need to become Bobbites. Read this book and see if you don't find these truths to be as profound as I did.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The 41st Sermon Discounted Until Jan. 22

Starting today and for a week The 41st Sermon will be discounted on Amazon from $4.99 to $0.99 and then in increments go back to original price. So if you think you have an interested in reading this literary work about a Episcopal priest at mid-life and mid-faith crisis, now's the time. Father Talley goes on his annual solo vacation where he also outlines the sermons for his coming year. This time he encounters a beautiful, blonde parishioner who snares him into her phony kidnap plot. If you know Walker Percy, the great Southern writer who burst upon the scene with "The Moviegoer," my novel has a connection to him. You can read about that here.

Here's the Amazon URL for The 41st Sermon

One reviewer:
Wow. Rarely do I find a book that twists as much as this one. I would have rated this 5 stars had it not started off so slowly during the character set up. Personally, I enjoyed it, the plot twists 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.

An excerpt:
"The Greeks were honest," Father Talley told her. "They had a god for everything. A god of love and of war and even drunkenness. And isn't there something godlike in drunkenness, a power to be celebrated? And the power of sex? They accepted and celebrated all these elemental powers in a human being instead of trying to deny them the way Christianity has. Christianity used the Jewish god, a god who is everything, and by being everything ended up being a big, fat nothing. I should be sacrificing a lamb to Aphrodite for sending you to me. Instead, I'm supposed to feel guilt. I don't feel any guilt at all. I feel alive."

Monday, January 12, 2015

Are You a Kindle Unlimited Subscriber?

Kindle offers for $9.99 free access to hundreds of thousands of books. Thought I would list the works I have enrolled in that program:

Novel: Then and Now: The Harmony of the Instantaneous All Set in Lawrence, KS and The University of Kansas during that turbulent spring of 1970

Novel: The 41st Sermon Episcopal priest at mid-life and mid-faith crisis gets involved with beautiful blonde parishioner and her phony kidnap plot

Sci-fi short story By Pain Possessed Can the weakest human save us all?

Short story about a solo round of golf: Downswing

Sci fi novella: A Match Made in Heaven The Mormons leave Earth to populate the Planet Moroni and discover their destiny among the stars and themselves

Literary novella: One More Victim Because the Holocaust is a critical element in this three-part story, it has broken through the top 100 in world literature>Jewish

Collection of shorts: Hospital Days 14-year-old boy learns some life lessons working as a candy striper in a small town hospital

Short story. The Richard Dary Weight Loss Institute The best weight loss program is the one you can't remember

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Three-Day Discount 99 Cents for 3 Novels: Blow Up the Roses, Tortured Truths, SPILL

Starting today for three days my publisher CuriosityQuills  will be offering a 99-cent sale on many of its authors' works. Three of mine are included.

"Disturbingly brilliant..."
"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, Attwood has also. Thought about it, I mean. I hope."
"Horrifyingly compelling read! You know from the get-go that Mr. Brown, the quiet and fastidious tenant, is doing off-kilter things in his basement...corpses are piling up alarmingly on this quiet suburban Kansas City cul-de-sac of duplexes. You naturally want to blame all the monstrous acts on Mr. Brown, but some of them are just not exactly his style. You'll turn the pages to discover the horrible secrets of each of the main, male protagonists in the story: Mr. Keene, who walked out on his long suffering wife, Betty, turns out to have a pretty disgusting habit; Mr. Griswald, the Amway dealer and general woo-woo crystal guy, feels he needs to do all the females on the block; and Mr. Califano, who develops a promising relationship with Betty after her husband deserts her. Oh no, not him too! After you read this book you will start eyeing your neighbors with suspicion. It seems like every page turns up yet another creepo. I enjoyed the sudden twist at the end. Randy Attwood, you are one sick little puppy!"

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"Atmospheric and philosophical, Tortured Truths is a skillfully written journey into a wounded mind searching for peace. A thoughtful commentary on power and corruption, and an asset to any library."
"Attwood has crafted an intoxicating tale of circumstance and choice. A harrowing abduction by Hezbollah militants leaves Phil McGuire disillusioned with his journalism career, he searches for comfort in the place he once felt safe.Back home, he molds his  dream of owning a bar into a tangible reality. His bare hands work old damaged wood as they knead the sorrow out of his soul. Fate is a whimsical mistress, and he soon finds himself under the spell of his reporters' instincts when bodies turn up and the CIA starts sniffing around a quiet little town in Kansas."
"I really, really enjoyed this book. I usually stick to genre fiction, but sometimes a good mystery thriller hits the spot. The characters are great and the emotions run high through this fast and twisted story."

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"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. 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."
"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....this should be made into a screenplay, it would be a hilarious movie."

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