The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

‘Las Historias de Emily’ by Malcolm R. Campbell Now Available in Spanish

Nook Edition

Nook Edition link

I’m happy to announce that the Spanish Edition of “Emily’s Stories” is now available on Apple, Nook, Kobo, and Scribd. The Kindle version will be available soon. Click here for more information and all bookseller links. Selene Silva is the book’s translator.

Emily Walters es una fuerte y curiosa chica de catorce años procedente del norte de Florida. Ella ama los mapas, su vieja bicicleta y el bosque tras su hogar. Sus sueños a veces le dictan el futuro y a veces en sus horas despierta, atrae aves y otros espíritus a su vida. Acompaña a Emily en estos tres relatos cortos llenos de aventuras y misterios.

(Emily Walters is a sharp, inquisitive fourteen-year-old north Florida girl who loves maps, her rusty old bike, and the forest behind her house. Sometimes her dreams tell her the future and sometimes her waking hours bring wise birds and other spirits into her life. In these three short stories, join Emily in her adventures and mysteries.)

Selene Deyanira Silva Lopez is a translator born in Monterrey, Mexico. She started her translator career before graduating from the School of Philosophy and Letters,  at Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (UANL). She worked at the university and later became a freelancer. Focused on different genres of literature, mostly in horror, science fiction, fantasy and drama, in which has already collaborated translating some works written by D.P Prior and Khaled Talib.

The English edition, published by Vanilla Heart in 2013, is available in paperback, e-book and audio book.





A non-politically correct moment

Sometimes when my wife and I are suffering through the abuse of unruly kids on an airplane or a Walmart while clueless or entitled parents act like that’s just damned fine with them, we mourn the loss of products that would handle the situation even if no toothaches were involved:


If you’re offended, you need one of these drops. And look, these kids are brave enough to play outside.


Spanish edition of ‘Emily’s Stories’ coming soon

¡Proximamente! ¡en español!



Las Historias de Emily

por Malcolm. R.Campbell


Emily Walters es una fuerte y curiosa chica de catorce años procedente del norte de Florida. Ella ama los mapas, su vieja bicicleta y el bosque tras su hogar. Sus sueños a veces le dictan el futuro y a veces en sus horas despierta, atrae aves y otros espíritus a su vida. Acompaña a Emily en estos tres relatos cortos llenos de aventuras y misterios.

 Durante sus vacaciones familiares en las montañas del “País del Alto Pintor”, un jilguero le dice que debe apresurarse en pintar los sueños en la realidad para prevenir a que una tarde no se vuelva una tragedia.

En el  “Marcador de Ruta”, ella necesitará de sus habilidades—y la ayuda de un chotacabras para luchar contra los planes de un desarrollador que trama demoler el bosque sagrado detrás de la casa de Emily para ser sustituido con una subdivisión.

En “Magnolia de Sweetbay”, ella descubrirá los secretos del árbol favorito de su abuela, el desmoronamiento de la casa hacia el rio y el por qué algunos fantasmas prefieren visitarla en lugar de espantarla.

ES all three editions in one

REVIEWS (English Editions in Print, Audio, and Ebook)

“Three sweet short stories evoke Florida’s summer heat, small town American values, big business vs real people, and a hint of myth and magic as a wise young teen, drawn to maps and images, follows her wise middle-aged structural engineer father. Old world and new blend pleasingly with leisurely descriptive prose, convincing teen view-point, and a wealth of information hidden in the mist of alluring short fiction.”

 – Sheila Deeth

 “The kid is powerful because she can see & hear the beauty and the magic in Nature. This audiobook has the coldest, scariest ghost voice in the world and also the wonderful open, free and uninhibited voice of ‘Emily’. AND the voices of birds and much more. The widest range of voices I’ve heard from a narrator. And all seemed real, not forced. I believed it – I believed this could happen.”

– M. Stein

4 Ways to Verify Your Story Concept Is Strong Enough

“Many a cool story concept has turned into a wasted story. But that’s not going to be you! Vet your your story ideas with this simple 4-question process.”

Source: 4 Ways to Verify Your Story Concept Is Strong Enough – Helping Writers Become Authors

When I maintained a blog feature called Book Bits, I frequently included “how to” links to K.M. Weiland’s blog because of her practical advice.

Here she talks about “story concept,” mulling over what it is and how you make sure it’s strong enough to turn into a novel. Food for thought that tastes good on this Wednesday morning.



Traveling Through Spanish Moss in Florida

Spanish moss is a native, perennial epiphytic herb. It is not Spanish, nor a moss, but a flowering plant. The slender, wiry, long, branching stems (reaching 8m or more) grow as suspended, bluish-gray streamers and garlands draping among tree branches and sometimes telephone lines and fences. The plant and is not parasitic, as is often thought, but attaches itself to trees for support. – USDA Plant Guide

Several years ago, while visiting my wife’s central Florida relatives, they took us on a driving tour of local points of interest including undisturbed hardwood forests heavy with trees carrying Spanish moss. I realized as I saw those live oaks, how much I miss Spanish moss. While it prefers hardwoods, the huge short needle pine behind the house in Tallahassee where I grew up was adorned with Spanish moss that provided shade in the daytime and a ghostly atmosphere in the moonlight.

SpanishMossFrankly, trees without Spanish moss just don’t look right, not to those of us who knew people who wove it, used it to stuff homemade pillows, or played in it (as we did) and got covered with chiggers (as we did).

Even though the USDA map shows Spanish moss as native throughout Georgia, I don’t see it here in the northwest. You can find it in Savannah and on Jekyll Island, but the climate’s wrong for it here.

If you grew up in Florida, you probably know that the true origin of Spanish moss is the Mist Faerie folk. When the mean old North Wind visited the state in the old days, South Wind and her Little Winds needed a place to hide.  The Mist Faeries brought sea clouds into the forests, making a good hiding place for the southern winds. When the clouds were called home to Mother Ocean, the Spanish moss remained just in case it was needed during a future cold spell and another visit from North Wind.

As I can attest, the voice of the wind in Florida is sweet when it sings on its journeys through southern hardwood forests. It’s part of the charm of the state and it always makes a fine lullaby.


Malcolm R. Campbell’s Florida stories include “Moonlight and Ghosts,” “Emily’s Stories,” “The Land Between the Rivers,” “Visiting Aunt Ruby,” and “Conjure Woman’s Cat.” Learn more on his website.

If you head over to his publisher’s website and subscribe to the new Thomas-Jacob newsletter, you’ll be entered in a random drawing for a Kindle Fire Tablet. The drawing is in August.

Too many calamities to keep up with: Nice, France and other sorrows

This Wikipedia photo shows the celebrated Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France on a good day. Today is not that day.


Today, we mourn more dead and injured. Today, amid reports that police allowed the driver of the truck to park on “The Prom” for nine hours before the attack because he said he was delivering ice cream, we talk about how and why it happened.

When new details are not available, news sites play and replay the video footage of the crime scene while experts and others endlessly debate the issues surrounding these attacks: national policy, ISIS, terrorism, religion, race, and future security measures. Most of this coverage brings little comfort or wisdom. It doesn’t bring back the dead or ensure there won’t be more dead somewhere else tomorrow or next week with more headlines like this:


Today we hear the reactions of national leaders and other famous people. Such words are expected and perhaps in some cases they show the true feelings of the individuals rather than a speech writer’s well-crafted sound bite. We hear these words with the same more-of-the-same reactions we’re starting to have as we view the daily carnage and the daily onslaught of politicized opinions.

Last year, I maintained a WordPress blog called “Calamities of the Heart” because I felt a need to say something about the insane events that flow like rivers of fire through the news. I couldn’t keep up. Like many others, I had no words because all the words of shock about angry people killing co-workers, school shootings, racially motivated violence, and terrorism attacks had already been used up. One might say that 9/11 used up every word we had. If I were a national leader forced by duty and/or compassion to comment on the carnage created by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, I’m afraid I would remain mute because the used-up words from previous atrocities have become so cliche that they almost discount the horror and grief of the dead and injured on the scene.

I’m not the first one to ask if the news is desensitizing us to the news. If so, then that may be the greatest calamity. Our struggle here is perhaps not in finding new words or perfect answers, but in realizing that we’re all part of these events whether we live close up to them or far away. The human condition today is often an ugly mess that requires compassionate empathy from all of us even though we don’t really know what to say. We need to stop playing Pokemon Go and look at it, feel it, hear it and take it in before our remaining humanity deserts us. We owe that do both the dead and ourselves.





“To Find Our Larger Self”: An Interview with Juan Felipe Herrera |

Herrera - Wikipedia Photo

Herrera – Wikipedia Photo

“Poems are moments in-between the grinding gears of all the machines, hammers, and techno-clicks that have set off our lives into something close to madness. We all long for essence, for clarity, for harmony, for peace, for an enlightened way of life—yet we seem to have collectively agreed to let a mechanical delirium be our guide. What I am saying: find seventeen seconds of your day to reflect, to provide an offering—to write five words. ”

Source: “To Find Our Larger Self”: An Interview with Juan Felipe Herrera | From the Catbird Seat: Poetry & Literature at the Library of Congress

Herrera speaks about “the occasional poem,” a poem about the now of our lives today and what we’re experiencing and how we can share all of this with each other.

At least, that’s how I see it. I would prefer reading more occasional poems on, say, Facebook (for example) and fewer rants. I want to know how you experience good news and bad news on any given day, not a canned presentation from some group with an agenda that you linked into your status update.

Food for thought, this interview.


My publisher, Thomas-Jacob, is starting a newsletter to keep readers informed about new books and upcoming events. Plus, one lucky person who signs up for the newsletter will receive a Kindle Fire Tablet in the August 17h random drawing. Click on this graphic to sign up:



Two Free Books for Three Days

Two of my Kindle short stories are free on Amazon this week. Willing Spirits is free from July 12th through July 14th. Dream of Crows is free July 13th through July 15th.

willingspiritskindlecoverWilling Spirits

When a high school student named Prudence waits until the last minute to write a book report, she finds help from an unlikely source: the dead author. What could possibly go wrong?

This story is set in St. Louis and features the channeled spirit from years ago named Patience Worth. To learn more about Pearl Curran who channeled Patience with a Ouija board during the spiritualism fad , click here.

Dream of Crows

dreamofcrowscoverAfter going on a business trip to north Florida, you have strange dreams about something lurid and/or dangerous that happened in a cemetery next to Tate’s Hell Swamp. You try to remember and when you do, that’s all she wrote.

If you’re suggestible, don’t real this story. If you live in or near Tate’s Hell Swamp on Florida’s Gulf Coast, don’t read this story. If you’re planning going on a business trip to Carrabelle, avoid bars where a dark woman is waiting to approach you and invite you out to her house at the edge of a cemetery.

Coming Soon

EmilySpanishCoverI’m happy to announce that the Spanish edition of my three-story set called Emily’s Stories will be available soon. (The English edition is available in paperback, audiobook and e-book.)

Emily Walters is a sharp, inquisitive fourteen-year-old north Florida girl who loves maps, her rusty old bike, and the forest behind her house. Sometimes her dreams tell her the future and sometimes her waking hours bring wise birds and other spirits into her life. In these three short stories, join Emily in her adventures and mysteries.

When her family vacations in the mountains in “High Country Painter,” a wise Pine Siskin tells her she must quickly learn how to paint dreams into reality to prevent an afternoon hike from becoming a tragedy.

In “Map Maker,” she’ll need her skills—and the help of a Chuck-will’s-widow—to a fight a developer’s plans for from bulldozing the sacred forest behind her house and replacing it with a subdivision.

In “Sweetbay Magnolia,” she’ll learn the secrets of her grandmother’s favorite tree, the crumbling almost-forever house down on the river, and why some ghosts would rather visit than haunt.



How other languages can reveal the secrets to happiness

“The limits of our language are said to define the boundaries of our world. This is because in our everyday lives, we can only really register and make sense of what we can name. We are restricted by the words we know, which shape what we can and cannot experience.”

Source: How other languages can reveal the secrets to happiness

conversationWhen we study other languages, it doesn’t take long to find words that have no direct translation into our own. Just as exasperating is discovering that something we can express in our own language with a single word has no correlation in the language we’re studying.

As writers, we try to get around being chained by the language in which we write by (sometimes) making up words (though not going as far out as James Joyce), using metaphors, experimenting with experimental prose, using widely known words in other languages, and polishing short passages so that we can get around the limits of our available word choices.

I like this article, which focuses on happiness, because it articulates a problem writers often see but that is, in a way, hidden from anyone who speaks a single language and has never studied any others: our perception is limited but we don’t realize that it’s limited.


Is it wrong to feel guilty when we spend time reading?

“A new survey from the Pew Research Center reveals that the percentage of Americans who read books has dropped in the past year, but millennials definitely aren’t the ones to blame. The study found that overall, 72% of American adults have read a book in the past year, while the percentage for millennials, ages 18 to 29, was higher: 80%.” – Fewer Americans are reading books, but don’t blame the millennials

A lot of people tell me they don’t have time to read, what with jobs, families and chores. While the news story about the Pew study mentioned in the opening quotation doesn’t report all the statistics we usually see, typically a huge percentage of adults stop reading regularly after they get out of high school and college.

Click on the graphic to see the survey on the Pew web site.

Click on the graphic to see the survey on the Pew web site.

As a writer, I think I should read more than I do. Typically, I read for fifteen to twenty minutes at the end of the day while I’m propped up in bed waiting to get sleepy enough to turn off the light. Where was it that we all got brainwashed that reading was either a waste of time or that it could only be done after we finished doing everything else?

Oddly enough, friends who think nothing of watching several hours of television every night without guilt, suddenly feel guilty if they did in a chair and read. After several surgeries earlier this year, I had to read because sitting at my desk working on my own books hurt my back if I did it more than 30 or 40 minutes at a time. So I got in the habit of propping my feet up on my desk, tilting the chair back and reading: IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY.

pewsurvey2I felt guilty about it, especially since my short-term incapacitation meant that my wife was having to do a lot of the household chores that I normally did. If I snuck around and did chores the doctor told me not to do, my wife got angry. So, I not only had a good excuse, I had a family mandate to take it easy.

Other than feeling guilty, I felt empowered; taking time to enjoy books. It was almost a gift. I caught up with some of the stuff I’d been wanting to read, tried out some authors I’d never read before, and had fun. I still felt guilty for doing it. I think the guilt started when I was growing up:  as kids, we were expected to read if reading was part of our homework. Otherwise, we were expected to pitch in with the real work. Perhaps the brainwashing began there.

As a writer, I should be immune to that sort of brainwashing, but whoever orchestrated it did their job well. Not that I plan to get sick again to have another excuse.

Yet, building in more reading time everyday will make me a better person. Yeah, that sounds good.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” “Sarabande,” and numerous Kindle short stories.

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