The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

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Free audiobook: ‘Conjure Woman’s Cat’

I have a few ACX codes for those of you who would like to listen to the audiobook edition of Conjure Woman’s Cat. This edition won a prestigious Red Earphones Award from AudioFile Magazine. That means my narrator Wanda J. Dixon did a wonderful job!

To get your ACX code, which allows you to order the book from Audible for free, e-mail me at grinnellglacier@yahoo.com. Put “Conjure Woman’s Cat” in the header. Just say something like, please send me a code, and tell me if you’re going to use Audible US or Audible UK.

I’ll hit REPLY and send you the code. Then, come back here and click on the graphic to go to the book’s listing on Audible (US).

Or, if you live in the UK, click here for the book’s listing.

You’ll either see a field where you can enter the code or a link that says “Do you have a promotion code?’

I don’t have 100000000000000 codes, but the few I do have are first come, first served.

Book’s Description

Lena, a shamanistic cat, and her conjure woman Eulalie live in a small town near the Apalachicola River in Florida’s lightly populated Liberty County, where longleaf pines own the world. In Eulalie’s time, women of color look after white children in the homes of white families and are respected, even loved, but distrusted and kept separated as a group. A palpable gloss, sweeter than the state’s prized tupelo honey, holds their worlds firmly apart. When that gloss fails, the Klan restores its own brand of order. When some white boys rape and murder a black girl named Mattie near the sawmill, the police have no suspects and don’t intend to find any. Eulalie, who sees conjure as a way of helping the good Lord work His will, intends to set things right by “laying tricks.” But Eulalie has secrets of her own, and it’s hard not to look back on her own life and ponder how the decisions she made while drinking and singing at the local juke were, perhaps, the beginning of Mattie’s ending.

AudioFile Magazine Review Excerpt

Wanda J. Dixon’s warmth and gorgeous singing voice are superb in this story about Conjure Woman Eulalie, which is told through the voice of her cat and spirit companion, Lena. Dixon zestfully portrays Eulalie, who is “older than dirt” and is kept busy casting spells, mixing potions, and advising people–that is, when the “sleeping” sign is removed from her door. Most distinctive is Eulalie’s recurring sigh, which conveys her frustration with Florida in the 1950s, when Jim Crow laws and “Colored Only” signs were routine. Dixon’s Lena is fully believable when she spies around town and reports to Eulalie that rednecks have raped and murdered a young women. They almost escape until Eulalie persuades a witness to come forward. Listeners will marvel at the magical realism in this story and benefit from the helpful glossary of the charming local dialect. S.G.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile

I hope you enjoy the book.

–Malcolm

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

A word from your sponsor

As always, that would be me.

mcfrenchbriverI realized I hadn’t posted one of those “where I am on the Internet posts” for quite a while. So here are all my addresses for more information about books and stuff.

  • My Other Blog: Malcolm’s Round Table
  • Website: Conjure Woman’s Cat
  • Twitter: MalcolmCampbell
  • Facebook Author’s Page: Star Gazer
  • Publisher: Thomas-Jacob LLC
  • Additional Publisher: Vanilla Heart Publishing
  • Amazon Author’s Page: Malcolm R. Campbell
  • Favorite Blog: Myth and Moor (Terri Windling’s Blog)
  • Favorite Myth and Hero’s Journey Site: Joseph Campbell Foundation
  • Favorite Tarot Site: Raven’s Tarot
  • Favorite Fiction Quote: “You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.” – Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus
  • Favorite Nonfiction Quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”
  • Favorite Genres: Magic Realism, Contemporary Fantasy
  • Favorite Vacation Spots: Glacier National Park, Montana and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. (The pphotograph was taken during a paddle trip on the French Broad River on the Biltmore Estate.)
  • Favorite Authors: James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and more recently: Pat Conroy, Mark Helprin, Isabelle Allende, Terry Kay, and Diana Gabaldon.

Enough about me. What are your favorite vacation destinations, quotes, authors and websites?

–Malcolm

 

 

 

Hero’s Journey Give-Away April 6-8, 2016

TSSJourneysThe Sun Singer will be free on Kindle April 6 through April 8. The first edition of this novel was a finalist in the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

Featuring the mountains of Montana (and a look-alike universe next door), this contemporary fantasy brings you the story of young Robert Adams who goes on a family vacation and suddenly faces more dangers than he knew existed.

He could blame his avatar grandfather, but he doesn’t–well, not for long. He’s too busy learning how to tell the good guys and bad guys apart, reclaim his psychic gifts, and discover whether a magical staff is strong enough to bend time itself. See why the book has a 4.9-star reader review average while you sit back and enjoy the story.

If you’ve ever visited the Swiftcurrent Valley region of Montana’s Glacier National Park, perhaps you will recognize some of the settings, including the historic Many Glacier Hotel, the Garden Wall, and the Ptarmigan Tunnel.

–Malcolm

 

Writers appreciate their readers

In 2015, I’m happy that so many readers and reviewers discovered my little novella called Conjure Woman’s Cat. Y’all bravely accepted the premise that a cat could narrate a story about a disturbing time in our history.

This book represents a long-held dream of mine to write something about the world I grew up in, a world where nature was wondrous and most of the people were wondrous except for those who thought they were better than others and used violence in a misguided attempt to prove it.

The first three chapters of this novella were nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

My oldest novel The Sun Singer, which is available only on Kindle now, has been free at various times during the year. I appreciate all the downloads. The first edition of this novel was a finalist in Foreword Magazine’s book of the year.

Many of you who have read the book probably already know that the title comes from a famous statue in Allerton Park in Illinois. I dreamt about that statue for years before I figured out I was supposed to write this book.
Finally, 2015 saw a new edition of Sarbande that–like Conjure Woman’s Cat–was published by Thomas-Jacobs. The book is set primarily in Glacier National Park, Montana. While it continues the story of several of the characters from The Sun Singer, it can easily be read as a standalone novel.

Also in 2015, I brought out the Kindle short stories “Dream of Crows,” “Carrying  Snakes Into Eden,” and “Snakebit” along with a new edition of The Land Between the Rivers (three stories) in a series we have called “Tate’s Hell Stories.” Tate’s Hell is a Florida Panhandle preserve on the Gulf Coast.

In progress is a follow-up novella to Conjure Woman’s Cat as well as a third book in the “Mountain Journeys Series.” I’m happy that my publisher claims she is a very slow writer because that makes it easier for me to work on my own books at a snail’s pace.

Thank you for supporting my habit.
–Malcolm

This and that – a word from your sponsor (AKA me)

This is another one of my jumbled word from your sponsor posts.

  • from ABC News

    from ABC News

    I have been preoccupied this week with the 4,000-acre fire in Glacier National Park’s St. Mary Valley. An Elite Team arrived on the scene on Thursday and appears to already be having an impact. Unfortunately, a historic structure burned before they arrived. See my post: Historic Cabin Destroyed by Glacier Park Fire

  • LadyoftheBlueHourcoverMy paranormal/magical realism Kindle short story Lady of the Blue Hour will be free on Amazon between July 26 and July 30. In the story, a student comes home from a band trip to find his parents mysteriously missing while a lady hunts for the dead on his neighborhood street.
  • Speaking of magical realism, we have a blog hop coming up with cool posts by writers and readers who love the genre. The hop runs between July 28 and July 31 and will include a post of mine on my Malcolm’s Round Table blog. Stop by, enjoy KIndle cover 200x300the post, and then trek off to some of the other bloggers taking part.
  • The Kindle edition of my magical realism novella Conjure Woman’s Cat will be on sale on Amazon sometime during the week of August 20th. I’ll post more here when I know the exact date. It will be reduced to 99 cents. The novel features a conjure woman fighting the KKK with magic and a very helpful kitty.
  • As some of you may know, my wife and I moved in January from northeast Georgia to northwest Georgia where we put up a sunflower07252015house on a corner of the farm which has been in my wife’s family for five generations. The vibes are with us, for we put our garden in on the same spot where my wife’s grandmother had a nice garden  some 50+ years ago. So far, we’re getting tasty banana peppers, squash and tomatoes. For the heck of it, we planted a sunflower right in the middle of it and some rose bushes nearby in front of the ancient smokehouse. The roses are sitting where my wife’s grandmother’s roses once sat.

Best wishes for a great weekend!

–Malcolm

Dark and magical story ‘Snakebit’ released by Thomas-Jacob Publishing

Thomas-Jacob Publishing released my new Kindle short story “Snakebit” today, adding to my series of stories about Florida’s Tate’s Hell Swamp.

SnakebitCOVERThis dark, magical story focuses on two students in the 1960s who return to their respective colleges after a summer romance. Assaulted on a dark street at Thanksgiving, Anne resolves to find and rebuild herself anew with calling on David for help or even allowing a visit.

Finally, when he visits her in Florida in June, the finds her much changed. She is newly confidant and wishes to define her place in the world. David’s not so sure there’s room in her life for him unless he gives up everything else that he cares about. He considers leaving her until the swamp’s dark magic intervenes.

You may also like the Tate’s Hell stories “Carrying Snakes Into Eden” and the three-folktale collection The Land Between the Rivers.”

–Malcolm

FBcoverFOURbooks

Spring Book Sale: ‘Conjure Woman’s Cat’

Spring, Supermoon, Solar Eclipse

To celebrate, Conjure Woman’s Cat is on sale on Kindle today and tomorrow.

KIndle cover 200x300Eulalie claims she’s older than dirt. Her cat Lena reasons that since there’s always been dirt, there’s always been Eulalie.

While they might prefer sitting on the back porch and drinking moonshine out of a Mason jar, the cat and the woman have things to do. In the story, set in the Jim Crow Florida Panhandle of the 1950s, the police aren’t inclined to investigate a crime against a black girl named Mattie because the police and the KKK are pretty much the same.

Even the church is willing to let things be.

Can Eulalie and Lena take on the Klan in the piney woods and bring justice after what happened to Mattie behind the sawmill? If so, though Eulalie will have to sort out the mistakes of her past before she can conjure solutions for the here and now.

Early Praise for Conjure Woman’s Cat

  • “I dearly loved Eulalie and Willie, I could easily have been friends with them both. The more I read the name Eulalie the more I adored it. It has a beautiful rhythm and made me smile every time I read it. Eulalie was a wise woman and deserved the respect she was given. Kudos to Malcolm R. Campbell for a story well told.” –  BigAl’s Books & Pals

 

  • “The book is narrated by Lena, cat and spirit companion to Eulalie, Conjure Woman and human being extraordinaire. Eulalie (don’t you just love that name?) has an innate goodness that can’t be denied, but she’s no saint. She’s devout and dedicated to doing God’s work, and has a willingness to confront what others refuse to acknowledge. Her determination to set straight the injustices in her world, combined with her resilience and wisdom, made this reader fall in love with her.” – Word Nerd Amazon Reader Review

 

  • “When any book is narrated by an animal, readers have to suspend their disbelief from the get-go. I didn’t find that difficult with this book. I was quickly drawn in by Lena’s unique voice, and by the mysterious goings-on around her and Eulalie. I loved the way Campbell made magic part of the fabric of the place…Readers of magic realism will appreciate Conjure Woman’s Cat. Highly recommended.” –  Lynne Cantwell, hearth/myth – Rursday Reads
Eulalie's World

Eulalie’s World

Hello from Rome, Georgia

I moved to Rome, Georgia in 1978 and taught journalism at Berry College for three years. On the plus side, I met the person I was later to marry. Also on the plus side, the college campus is a beautiful 30,000 acres and that made for a very nice teaching environment. On the minus side, the college administration and the faculty were in a battle about salaries and collective bargaining.

BerryCollegeAs the adviser to the student newspaper, I came in the line of fire because even though the rules of the college prohibited the adviser from censoring the publication, I was somehow expected to keep the paper from publishing news stories about the dismissals of non-tenured staff, the demotions of departmental chairpersons, and the actions filed with the National Labor Relations Board that were part of the fallout of the battle.

I agreed with the censorship rules and would not have censored the paper even if I had had the power to do so.

The college president at the time was removed because he couldn’t keep a lid on the protests. He stayed in his office until midnight on his last day. Just before midnight, his last action was dismissing me effective at the end of the term even though he had been a family friend since the 1950s when my father served as a consultant to the college.

I did not set foot on the Berry College campus after that for about 30 years. Even now, it’s an eerie place for me even though most of the current faculty, staff and students do not know about the trials and tribulations there in the 1970s and early 1980s and have greatly improved the physical plant, course offerings and programs since then.

Moving Back

Apple tree and smokehouse.

Apple tree and smokehouse.

When my wife and I moved to a new house on her long-time family farm a week ago, we didn’t actually end up in Rome’s city limits. But we’re close, close enough that we’ll be going to a grocery store and pharmacy not too far from the college and will drive past the main gate often as we head into Rome itself.

The movers did a great job hauling everything we owned from a small town on I-85 north in the northeast part of Georgia to northwest Georgia. The fact that we moved on the coldest days of the Winter wasn’t their fault! We’re grateful to the help we had from my brother and his wife who drove up from Florida to help us finish packing and get us started unpacking here in the new place.

We like the house. It sits on the site of the farm’s original homestead. My wife is the fifth generation of her family to live on this property. From a subdivision to a farm. Big change. The leased portions of the farm have a neighbor’s cattle on them. In addition to our house, the un-leased portions include a smokehouse, a well, a garage with a working tractor, my wife’s late father’s house which needs work, and enough space for a horse and/or a goat and or a garden. There is much to do. We still have to sell our old house on the other side of the state. Naturally, we hoped that would happen before we moved.

Writing

There hasn’t been much time for writing lately. I’m hopeful The Sun Singer will finally be released and that my novella about a Florida conjure woman will find a publisher. Another novella is in the works. After that, maybe I’ll be writing a story about moving to a farm and finding snakes in the smokehouse. Hard to say.

We like our new house. We wish we didn’t have such a long list of things still to be done here and back in Jefferson, Georgia where we have an old house to clean up and sell. We think we’ll save money here. Our property taxes in Jefferson were high: we paid more for our .9 acre lot than my wife’s father paid on the entire 85-acre farm. Government! Go figure.

So far, it feels odd to be driving past Berry College even though much has changed along U.S. 27 between the college and Rome. Rome itself has also changed since my wife and I used to live here. More traffic, for one thing, but not out on the road that runs past the farm. And, most of the people who had us in their gun-sights when we lived in Floyd County, Georgia in the 1970s are (may they rest in peace) dead.

Their ghosts are still in Rome and around the college, but not here on the farm. For now, it’s easier for me–and, my wife, too, perhaps–to focus on the small community where we live and to pretend that the college itself doesn’t exist. I think we’ll stay much too busy to worry about the past.

So, we are in our new house and ready (more or less) for 2015.

–Malcolm

 

 

 

2014 – One writer’s year

In many ways, 2014 has been a mixture of chaos and limbo–and that’s just a writer’s life, not the uncertainty of national and international politics. Since I’ve tried to keep most political issues off this site, I started a new blog called Calamities of the Heart (using my Trick Falls alias) for things I find it hard to keep silent about. I alternate such posts with other posts which can, at best, be called either irreverent humor or twisted satire:

calamitiesheaderI’ve also re-done my Facebook author’s page. Like other authors, it remains to be seen whether having such a page is worthwhile because Facebook has been slowly changing its rules about what (if anything) posted on such pages is allowed to display on the timelines of people who LIKE the page. The rules will become more stringent in 2015 when Facebook expects us to pay to “boost” our posts if they’re to be seen by anyone who doesn’t come to the page and look:

stargazer12142014

  • A new (new for me) publisher and I have failed so far to reach a meeting of the minds about my novel The Sun Singer. I expected the book’s release in January 2014 and then when it was released in August, there were formatting problems. At present, the novel is out of print.
  • 99 cents on Kindle, Smashwords and other sites.

    99 cents on Kindle, Smashwords and other sites.

    The e-book edition of my comedy/satire Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire is on sale at Amazon, OmniLit, Smashwords and other sites for 99 cents until January 10th. If you’ve already read and enjoyed the book, I would appreciate your vote for it in this year’s Predators and Editors poll.

  • I’ve enjoyed working on several novellas set in the Florida Panhandle where I grew up. My focus has been on conjure, also called Hoodoo. So far, I don’t have a publisher for these, but in many ways that doesn’t matter. Exploring the swamps and piney woods of my youth has been a wonderful experience.
  • The limbo of the year has come partly from the disruption of downsizing our possessions so that we’ll fit into a smaller, more efficient house. In January, we will be moving to a
    Farm Road where we'll be in January

    Farm road where we’ll be in January

    new house in Northwest Georgia on a corner of the farm where my wife grew up. The old smokehouse in the “Calamities of the Heart” header is on that farm just a few feet away from where we built the house on the site of the property’s original (but long gone) homestead.

  • I’m sad to say that my wife’s father, who looked forward to our living “just down the road,” died in November. He was 92. My wife and I are grateful to the wonderful folks at Hospice for their help once he came home from the hospital for those last days. Since he was for many years both a farmer and a housing contractor, we’re happy that he was up and about during the building of the new house, often asking questions of the builder’s on-site supervisor about changes in construction methods that have come about since he retired.
  • EScover2014I’m pleased with the new cover for my young adult collection of three short stories called Emily’s Stories. One of the stories is set in Glacier National Park; the other two are set in Tallahassee, Florida. The book is available in audio, e-book and paperback. If you have already read and enjoyed Emily’s Stories, I would appreciate your vote for it in this year’s Predators and Editor’s poll.
  • longmanDue to changes at Literary Aficionado where I posted many of my Book Reviews as well as the time-consuming nature of building a new house while cleaning out and trying to sell the old one, I’ve done fewer reviews this year. Of the books that I reviewed, my favorite was Amy Greene’s Long Man. My review is here on my Malcolm’s Round Table blog. The novel made many of this year’s “best books” lists. Greene is also the author of Bloodroot, which came out in 2011. Both of these novels are set in Appalachia. Appalachia is also the setting of Melinda Clayton’s “Cedar Hollow Series,” so at year’s end, I’m back in this wondrous area with another great story while a Booker Prize winner goes on hold.
  • shadowdaysI have been reading Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize novel The Luminaries. Due to its length, I’ve set it aside several times to read shorter books. It has an inventive plot and very capable writing, but it isn’t quite my cup of tea. I do plan to finish it even though I think it’s too long at 830+ pages. (Normally, I like long novels, but the story here could have been told with more economy.) Currently, it’s on hold while I read Melinda Clayton’s fourth novel in her series,” Shadow Days. It has been keeping up late at night because I’d rather read than sleep.
  • Free over new year's

    Free over new year’s

    The Land Between the Rivers, my collection of three folktales set in North Florida at the dawn of time will be free on Kindle for five days from December 30th through January 3rd. Follow the exploits of Bear, Panther and Snake Bird in the swamp that would one day be named Tate’s Hell. Tate’s Hell is such a wonderful and diverse state forest that I also featured it in my novel The Seeker.

  • My dark short story “Dream of Crows” appears in the Lascaux Prize 2014 anthology. The book was released on Kindle in early December.

I’m sure other stuff has happened this year, but this update has gone on long enough.

–Malcolm

 

 

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