The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Archive for the category “books”

Why I wrote ‘Conjure Woman’s Cat’

Because the world around me when I was growing up included this kind of warped nonsense:

Florida Memory Photo

Any questions?

–Malcolm

Conjure Woman’s Cat and its sequel Eulalie and Washerwoman are available at multiple online sites as well as at your book store via their Ingram Catalogue.

Free on Kindle: ‘The Sun Singer’

My contemporary fantasy novel The Sun Singer will be free on Kindle May 10th through May 12th.

Description:

Robert Adams is a normal teenager who raises tropical fish, makes money shoveling snow off his neighbors’ sidewalks, gets stuck washing the breakfast dishes, dreads trying to ask girls out on dates and enjoys listening to his grandfather’s tall tales about magic and the western mountains. Yet, Robert is cursed by a raw talent his parents refuse to talk to him about: his dreams show him what others cannot see.

When the family plans a vacation to the Montana high country, Grandfather Elliott tells Robert there’s more to the trip than his parents’ suspect. The mountains hide a hidden world where people the ailing old man no longer remembers need help and dangerous tasks remain unfinished. Thinking that he and his grandfather will visit that world together, Robert promises to help.

On the shore of a mountain lake, Robert steps alone through a doorway into a world at war where magic runs deeper than the glacier-fed rivers. Grandfather Elliott meant to return to this world before his health failed him and now Robert must resurrect a long-suppressed gift to fulfill his promises, uncover old secrets, undo the deeds of his grandfather’s foul betrayer, subdue brutal enemy soldiers in battle, and survive the trip home.

If you’re traveling to Glacier National Park, Montana this summer, take the book with you and experience the same trails and scenery described in the novel.

–Malcolm

Where do you get your ideas – a few examples

As any writer who has ever given a talk will know all too well, there is one question which is invariably asked. Where do you get your inspiration? Or, where do you get your ideas?

via Inspiration – Ann Swinfen

This is a well-thought-out post about some of the sources of writers’ inspiration. It cites examples and authors’ books to as examples.

Sometimes authors know where their ideas come from. Sometimes they really don’t know for sure. You may enjoy the inspiring look at inspiration.

Malcolm

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Winning or placing in a contest brings writers validation, publicity that gives weight to resumes and platforms, some handy prize money, and free copies of anthologies/magazine issues containing the winning entry that can be handed out at book fairs and conventions. We can’t enter them all or we’ll go broke paying the entry fees. My suggestion: if you’re just getting started, don’t try the most prestigious contests first because your competition will include widely known authors. Look for those where you have your best chance in terms of that competition and the contest theme.

Upcoming Deadlines:

  • Bellevue Literary Prize – Poetry and Prose. Three prizes of $1,000 each. Works about health, healing, illness, body, and mind. Online submission system. $20 entry fee. July 1 deadline.
  • Boston Review – Poetry. $1,500 and publication for a poem or group of poems. Up to five poems on no more than ten pages. $20 entry fee. June 1 deadline.
  • Glimmer Train – Short story award for new writers. Prize of $2,500 and publication for winning story between 1,000 and 12,000 words. $18 entry fee. Submit between May 1 and June 30.
  • Lost Horse Press – Idaho Prize for Poetry. $1,000 and publication. Submit manuscript of at least 48 pages. $20 to $30 entry fee depending on whether you submit by mail or online. May 15 deadline.
  • New American Press – New American Fiction Prize. $1,000 and publication. Submit a selection of short stories, flash fiction, novella or novel of at least 100 pages. $25 entry fee. June 15 deadline.
  • Philadelphia Stories – Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction. $2,000 and publication. Winner will receive free travel ans lodging to read at Rosemont College in October. Short  story up to 8,000 words. $15 entry fee. June 15 deadline.

To keep up with contests throughout the year, look at the Poets & Writers database of Writing Contests, Grants & Awards

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of Eulalie and Washerwoman, a story about a conjure woman fighting the Klan set in the Florida Panhandle of the 1950s.

Yes, bookstores can order my paperback novels

I’ve added the Thomas-Jacob Publishing logo to my cover photograph because this wonderful traditional publisher has published some of my Kindle books, audiobooks and paperbacks.

What this means is that you can walk into your local bookstore for my books rather than buying on line. If they’re not already on the shelf, the folks there can order my paperbacks from their Ingram catalogue under the same standard bookstore terms and conditions that brought all the other books into their store. Some stores, including one in the town where I live have bookshelves reserved for local authors. We appreciate that.

This includes Sarabande, Conjure Woman’s Cat, and Eulalie and Washerwoman.

Personally, I prefer ordering books from local stores, especially the locally own, independents because that puts money back into the community through salaries, property taxes and business license feels. Beats sending those dollars off to the major online booksellers. And when you buy locally, you don’t have order more books that you really want to get free shipping.

–Malcolm

 

Dear Reader, you write half of every book

“I like to think of it as a kind of pact between the writer and the reader. The feeling that in each sentence, in each paragraph, the reader gets some beauty from the book in exchange for some darkness that grows in his mind. Or he gets some darkness from the book that obliges him to looks for some beauty in his surroundings. So there is this balance that keeps the reader awake because half of the story is actually happening in his mind. Rebecca Solnit says ‘a book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another,’ I love that feeling as a reader. And I am always trying to create this when I write.” – Samanta Schweblin (“Fever Dream”) in her Full Stop interview.

No, you don’t get half the royalties, so don’t ask.

But, dear reader, as writers, we give you a playing field for your imagination. We provide half a story, so to speak, and you fill in the blanks with whatever frightens you, arouses you, amuses you, or leads you to God.

Storytellers and readers have always shared the responsibility for the final work even though some writers don’t admit it and some readers chafe when asked to do too much.

When we’re feeling good–confident, perhaps–we don’t sell it out. We give you room to work, to explore, to discover what we can never tell you. When we were young and didn’t yet feel secure in our words, we tended to take more than our half of the bed. Later on, we stop hogging all the covers and write all the better for it.

Of course, if you’re feeling lazy, then you can go to the beach reading shelf and find something easy. That’s okay. We read books off that shelf, too. We do hope that, from time to time, you’ll grab your share of the imaginary world and show us what you can do with it.

Malcolm

Free Books: March 29 – four Kindle titles

The following books will be free on Kindle on Wednesday, March 29:

  • Waking Plain (short story) – An enchanted prince waits for the kiss of a beautiful princess to bring him out of a century of sleep. The problem: he ain’t no sleeping beauty.
  • At Sea (novel) in this sea story set during the Vietnam War, David Ward learns that people back home are often more troublesome than the enemy. Inspired by my service aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger.
  • The Sun Singer (novel) Young Robert Adams goes to the mountains on a family vacation and then, via a mysterious cabin, enters an alternate universe where people are at war with their dangerous king. He’ll have to use his psychic abilities to survive.
  • Dream of Crows (short story) A man goes on a business trip to Florida and gets involved with a witch who wants him to risk his life to make love to her. When he returns home, he can’t quite remember what happened. Don’t read this one if you’re superstitious.

I hope you enjoy the books.

–Malcolm

Review: ‘The Mermaid’s Sister’ by Carrie Anne Noble

The Mermaid's SisterThe Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When a novel already has 2,842 reader reviews on Amazon, one has to ask whether adding his or her own two cents has any purpose. Nonetheless, here are several thoughts: This book is a gently told young adult fairy tale about a girl name Clara whose sister Maren is becoming a mermaid. The book’s compelling, if somewhat predictable adventure, is finding a way in a world of travel via horses and wagons of getting Maren to the sea before Maren dies outside of what is fast becoming her natural environment.

In this Amazon breakthrough Y/A novel of 2014 and Realm Award Winner for Best Speculative Fiction of the Year of 2016, “The Mermaid’s Sister” generally lives up to the promises such awards give to prospective readers. The novel’s inventive world is carefully and realistically built and presented in language that’s often quite charming and well focused.

If the book has a flaw, it is perhaps the need for a bit of streamlining during the opening chapters where some readers will see a little too much backstory about where the primary characters came from and what motivates them in the here and now. Even those stories are believable within the context and style of the novel; however, they delay the necessary rush to take Maren to the ocean. Readers who push through this somewhat of a slow start will be rewarded by adventures on the journey to the ocean and a satisfying conclusion .

As a debut novel, the book is well worth reading for its own sake and for the clues it provides for the novelist’s future stories.

View all my reviews

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of magical realism, folktales, contemporary fantasy, and paranormal stories and novels.

Two Free Books Wednesday and Thursday

Mountain Song and its sequel At Sea will be free on Kindle March 8th and 9th, 2017.

Mountain SongDavid Ward lives in the Montana mountains where his life was impacted by his medicine woman grandmother and his utilitarian grandfather. Anne Hill suffered through childhood abuse and ultimately moved in with her aunt on the edge of a Florida swamp. Their summer romance at a mountain resort hotel surprises both of them. But can they make it last after the initial passion wears off and they return to their college studies far apart from each other especially after an attack on a college street changes Anne forever? The novel is set in Glacier National Park Montana and in the Florida Panhandle

At SeaEven though he wanted to dodge the draft in Canada or Sweden, David Ward joined the navy during the Vietnam War. He ended up on an aircraft carrier. Unlike the pilots, he couldn’t say he went in harm’s way unless he counted the baggage he carried with him. As it turned out, those back home were more dangerous than enemy fire. The novel is inspired by my service aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger in the South China Sea during the Vietnam War.

–Malcolm

 

 

Announcing ‘Mountain Song,’ a novel about first love and flawed childhood

Mountain Song is now available on Kindle. This companion novel to At Sea tells the story of two college students, one of whom lives “next door” to Montana’s shining mountains and one of who lives “next door” to Florida’s Tate’s Hell Swamp. They meet during a flood that sweeps away almost everything that matters.

mountainsongAmazon Description: David Ward lives in the Montana mountains where his life was impacted by his medicine woman grandmother and his utilitarian grandfather. Anne Hill suffered through childhood abuse and ultimately moved in with her aunt on the edge of a Florida swamp. Their summer romance at a mountain resort hotel surprises both of them. But can they make it last after the initial passion wears off and they return to their college studies far apart from each other especially after an attack on a college street changes Anne forever?

Campbell, who grew up in north Florida, worked as a seasonal employee at a Glacier National Park while in college. His mountain climbing and hiking experiences would influence his fiction years later when he wrote The Sun Singer and Sarabande. Now, Mountain Song combines his love of the Florida Panhandle, where he set Conjure Woman’s Cat and Eulalie and Washerwoman, with his love for the Rocky Mountains into a story of prospective loss haunted by the conflicting realities of disparate worlds.

Malcolm

 

 

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