The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

What a deal – three free Kindle books

The Kindle editions of three of my novels are free on selected days:

  • The Sun Singer (December 9, 10, and 11) – Contemporary fantasy about a young men who has been hiding his psychic gift. When he finds himself in an alternative universe of warring factions, he must resurrect that gift in order to survive.
  • Willing Spirits (December 12) – Paranormal short story about a high school student who procrastinates on her book report project and looks to an unusual source to keep her from flunking her English course.
  • Waking Plain (December 13) – Fairy tale about a prince who is cast into a deep sleep that can only be broken by a kiss, the problem being he’s so plain no prospective marriage partner wants to wake him up.

These books are always free for Amazon customers with Kindle Unlimited accounts.

2016freedecember

 

Amazon’s New Pre-Order Policies Give Authors More Flexibility

“Amazon recently made some changes to their pre-order process that give authors more flexibility. Back in 2014, in what was considered a great leap forward foward self-published authors, Amazon provided the ability to offer books for pre-order.”

Source: Amazon’s New Pre-Order Policies Give Authors More Flexibility – Indies Unlimited

Now, author R. J. Crayton tells us that changes in the system will make the service even easier to use. I like having the ability to due pre-orders as my publication dates draw near.

–Malcolm

 

Paramour Rights, the past you seldom hear about

In 1952, African American Ruby McCollum of Live Oak, Florida was tried and convicted of murdering a local white doctor whom she claimed had been forcing her to have sex with him for years. The Florida Supreme Court overturned the conviction due to a technicality, but McCollum was judged insane before a new trial could be convened and was placed in a state mental institution. Those who covered the trial think it was prejudicial in multiple ways, including the fact that McCollum was allowed to say little or nothing in her own defense.

I mention this because during this case, we heard the term “paramour rights,” the notion–stemming from the days of slavery–that white men could have non-consensual sex with any Black woman they wanted with little if any consequences.

Danielle L. McGuire writes in her  2004 “The Journal of American History” article, “It Was like All of Us Had Been Raped: Sexual Violence, Community Mobilization, and the African American Freedom Struggle,” Despite a growing body of literature that focuses on the roles of black and white women and the operation of gender in the movement, sexualized violence-both as a tool of oppression and as a political spur for the movement-has yet to find its place in the story of the African American freedom struggle. Rape, like lynching and murder, served as a tool of psychological and physical intimidation that expressed white male domination and buttressed white supremacy.”

My novel Conjure Woman’s Cat mentions the rape of a black woman by white males. In my fictional account, the police don’t even bother to investigate because this was, sad to say, par for the course. Black women in those days were portrayed, even in official court transcripts, as sexual Jezebels, “Nigger wenches,” and as women who liked being assaulted by white men.

A “classmate” of mine (I put the word in quotes because we didn’t know each other) was one of four men who raped an African American woman at gun and knife point. His sister was in my high school class. We knew each other, but moved in different circles, so we never discussed the crime or the impact it had upon her or the family. In the high school yearbook, X was a senior and–as such–appears wearing a black bow tie, a white jacket, and a white shirt. He was active in school activities. He didn’t look like a man who would spend the rest of his life on the sexual offender lists.

He and his sister are still alive, so I won’t mention their names or the name of the victim who has passed away. I never saw an interview with the victim or any account of long-term psychological damage after the verdict was announced. She showed great courage during the trial as she described the event and never flinched under defense attempts to paint the seven sexual encounters of the evening as what she wanted.

The first surprising fact in 1959 was that X and the three other thugs who committed the crime were arrested. The second surprising fact was that they were held in jail while awaiting trial. They had confessed, but claimed the sex was consensual, and made light of the whole thing like it was boys having fun. The biggest surprise of all is that they were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. How unusual this way for that day and time.

It was a victory, a wedge driven into the status quo, a precedent showing times might be changing, even though the rapists were out on parole within six or seven years. In Conjure Woman’s Cat, the men aren’t convicted because–in the “real life” of 1954 when the novel is set–they seldom were found guilty of anything. In those days, that was life as usual.

–Malcolm

Which mobster am I? Give me a break.

Do you ever wonder (and, if you don’t, why not?) if some people on Facebook have too much time on their hands. Some days, my news feed there is overrun by people posting new stuff every five minutes. Some of these people have full time jobs with (a) nothing to do, (b) no supervision, or (c) a mandate from management to annoy others.

Those tidal waves of posts are often slogans, ads for products, political jousting, and everything but words that actually engage the readers.

Among the worthless posts are the tons of purported quizzes (which, in reality, supply personal information to advertisers) with questions like:

  • Which Star Wars character are you?
  • Which famous writer would you like to be?
  • If you ran a bordello, which of your friends would work there?
  • And, the one I just noticed yesterday: “Which Mafioso am I?”

mobsterGive me a break.

Why would I want to pretend to have anything in common with a killer, pimp, extornist, or thug?

Now, if the software was actually hooked up to the Akashic records (that cosmic database that knows more about each of us than the FBI, NSA, Facebook, and Google) and could tell me that I was the reincarnation of Machine Gun Kelley or Ma Barker, that might be information I could use. Especially if I learned enough secrets to write a tell-all novel.

I suspect the “Which Mobster Am I?” quiz is hooked up to a random number generator that spits out a picture and some murder stats about one of several mobsters and then proclaims, “Malcolm, you are Al Capone.” Great, now I feel like a real scumbag.

Once you post this on your Facebook profile, all your friends chime in with smiley faces and/or confessions of which mobsters they were.

And we claim to be adults–apparently, with time to kill.

Malcolm

 

Memory Lane: Lovett’s Grocery

Florida Memory photo

Florida Memory photo

When I mentioned a Winn & Lovett grocery store in my 1950s-era novel Eulalie and Washerwoman, I was walking down memory lane to the name displayed on many grocery stories in the Florida Panhandle when I was in grade school. The stores, which were also branded as Lovett’s, could be found in many southern towns.

The current name, Winn-Dixie, came about when Winn & Lovett acquired Dixie Home Stores out of Greenville, South Carolina, in 1955. The company dominated the Southern grocery scene until Publix and Walmart appeared and began stealing away its customers.

I like shopping at Publix and detest shopping at Walmart, but along with A&P, I still miss the Winn-Dixie chain as it was in its heyday.

–Malcolm

 

 

How to Boost a Post on Facebook

“In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to boost individual posts to get them in front of more people.”

Source: How to Boost a Post on Facebook – Indies Unlimited

facebookUnfortunately, whether you’re using a Facebook profile or a page, a relatively small number of your friends (or those who’ve LIKED the page) see your posts. However, when you make important announcements like newly released book or other product, you can “boost” the status update to a targeted audience for a relatively low fee.

I’ve been doing this for a long time, so it’s nice seeing this tutorial by Melinda Clayton that shows those who haven’t yet discovered the feature just how to set it up.

–Malcolm

I’ve stopped counting the dust bunnies

With the arrival of out-of-town company imminent, one finds out just how messed up the house has gotten since the last time everything was dusted, vacuumed, polished, scrubbed and mopped.

mopbucketWhen we were first married, my wife and I cleaned the house every Saturday because we were brought up right. On the plus side of this effort, we felt virtuous. We also felt safe, knowing that if the phone rang and somebody announced they were dropping by in a few minutes, we didn’t have to worry about the house looking like we lost our brooms and sponges during World War II.

As time goes by, one forgets bits and pieces of being brought up right. House cleaning turns into an every other Saturday kind of thing. If there are other things to do, maybe the guest bathroom gets skipped one week and the mirrors and windows aren’t Windexed the following week.

Those of you who have pets know all the ways they contribute to the general deteriorating of the homestead and how–no matter how many times they are asked–the refuse to clean up after themselves. We find so much cat hair strewn around the house from our three kitties, that we wonder why they aren’t bald. And we also wonder how pieces of cat litter can get tracked to the far ends of the house.

Today, the cats have been freaked out and in the way. This always happens when brooms and mops come out, when the base boards get scrubbed, when they can see me on the porch cleaning the outsides of the windows in the front door. This means they’re underfoot and when their tales get stepped on, all hell breaks loose.

catsblackSo far, nobody’s been injured today. When the wastebasket got knocked over spilling junk onto the bathroom floor I just finished mopping, no cats were harmed because they beamed out of the room at the speed of light. After all the racket, they kept their distance for a while and that suited me just fine.

Most of the house is cleaned up now. Seems like a good time for a glass of Scotch, but seriously, it’s not good to start having one’s first drink of the day at 1:30 p. m. Once you justify that, it’s easy to justify having it at noon and then breakfast. The only good thing about that, is getting too drunk to clean up the house.

But then, the cats will start complaining about me and the joint will be a mess when the company show up.

Maybe it would be easier to hire a maid service or live in a fancy hotel suite.

–Malcolm

ewkindlecoverWhen I’m not cleaning the house, I’m writing magical books like “Eulalie and Washerwoman” and “Conjure Woman’s Cat.”

Poets & Writers Information Clearing House

I enjoy reading this magazine. I also enjoy its online presence from writers’ news to the database of grants and competitions. However, the page filled with links to Poets & Writers articles is a must, especially for new writers. This solid information is so much better than the quasi-SPAM webinars and pitches that appear in our e-mail in-baskets and litter our Facebook newsfeeds.

Here are the topics: Literary Journals and Magazines; Publishing Your Book; Literary Agents; Creative Writing Contests and Competitions; Vanity Publishers; Copyright Information for Writers; Book Promotion & Publicity; Writers Conferences, Colonies, and Workshops; MFA Programs, Literary Organizations; Self-Publishing.

And here’s the link:

Click on the graphic.

Click on the graphic.

It’s like a goldmine. Maybe better.

Here’s hoping all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are enjoying a day off, or possible a day fighting a locusts’ plague of shoppers out at the Black Friday sales.

–Malcolm

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Bone tired and doing nothing

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 – 3:2

In 1962, a folk group I liked at the time, The Limeliters, released “To Everything There is A Season,” their version of the song popularly known as “Turn Turn Turn,” written by Pete Seeger and made popular by The Byrds’ 1965 version. I’ve always liked the song and the approach many singers and groups have taken with it.

byrdsThe song comes out of an ancient idea in many traditions, the cycles of nature, of birth and re-birth, of transformation, of the soul’s progress and the seed’s progress. All these stories overlap. I don’t think I quite understood all this when I first played that Limeliters song on my record player.

I’m an Autumn and Winter person, so I definitely don’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). But, after too many trips to doctors and hospitals this year, after releasing a new book and wondering what they next one will be, after the Georgia drought, and after all the rancor of a highly polarized Presidential election, I’m more than ready for a rest. As we say in the South, I’m bone tired.

It’s not a good tired or a bad tired, though it has elements of both. I’m too tired to write new stuff, hence the absence of dozens of scintillating posts. I’m not actively working on the next novel. I’m reading a lot, always good, but otherwise doing nothing–except for household chores.

I’m always energized by the holidays and cold weather, but that doesn’t mean I’m the life of the party. More like a seed gathering in handfuls of possibilities for Spring. Being quiet deep in the earth is essential to the life of a seed and the tree or grass or flower it will become. I think the same thing, figuratively speaking, is essential for humankind.

So, while there are days I get impatient and wish the next novel were underway, I’m not worried or sad about this time of waiting because, without it, our ultimate growth would be stunted.

How about you? Do you find Winter a great time for being quiet and simply enjoying what you have while prospective dreams and goals simmer on the back burner?

–Malcolm

 

If you want to succeed at self-publishing, don’t be discouraged

“I strongly recommend resisting the urge to publish your first work as quickly as possible. Rather, proof it, reread it, get comments, proof it again, and devise a pre- and post-publishing marketing plan…Don’t be discouraged by rejection or settle for good-enough. In marketing-speak, make it the highest quality product you humanly can, and — with some doggedness and hard work on your part — the product will then sell itself.”

Source: Want to Succeed at Self-Publishing? Don’t Be Discouraged: Tips from an Indie Author

Ben Batchelder has certainly been there and done that even though writing wasn’t his first career.

I like his message partly because I hear a lot of indie authors talking about speeding things into print, getting as much stuff out there as possible, and–often–skipping the quality control side of the work.

What’s the rush, I often wonder.

–Malcolm

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