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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."