The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Archive for the tag “Montana”

Rereading ‘The Horse Whisperer’ by Nicholas Evans

Did you read The Horse Whisperer when in came out in 1995 or see the movie when it was released three years later?

I liked both the book and the movie although their endings are slightly different. I liked them because I love Montana, horses, and the grit people and other animals find within themselves to triumph over what seem to be insurmountable odds. When I first read the book, it was one of the few I wished I’d written. I still felt that way today when I finished rereading it for the first time in twenty-two years.

When I read the book now, I see the characters as they were in the movie. And, I also see the horse being struck by the tractor trailer as it happened in the move. This always happens to me. Perhaps it’s the Rhett Butler syndrome, that is, being unable to read Gone With the Wind without seeing Clark Gable playing Butler.

I was looking for something new to read several days ago, saw this book on the shelf, pulled it off and started reading it. Once again I was hooked. This time, of course, I knew the story like those people who pick up a book and look at the ending to make sure their favorite characters are still alive and kicking when the story ends.

Knowing the story this time didn’t make any difference because I’d forgotten many of the details. Part of rereading (for me) is having a chance to observe how the author achieved what s/he achieved, things I miss the first time through. What a good learning experience, and one that’s helped me through the rereading of numerous books.

When I know more or less where the story’s going, I can see the technique–how the author built the story through description, narration, interior monologue and dialogue for the climax of the story, how the author keeps me reading, how the author makes the story believable.

If you’re a writer, so you do this?




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.



‘Sarabande’ is on sale on Kindle March 3rd

This dark contemporary fantasy about a young woman’s journey away from ghosts and abusers into the wholeness of becoming a survivor will be 99¢ on Kindle tomorrow.

From the Book

SarabandeCover2015As the great horse shot through the night as swift and sure as cedar arrow, his feet barely touched the grassy shoulder of highway number two in the domain of Montana. Thunder rumbled far away, indistinct, yet somehow technology borne in the labyrinth of fog. Gentle sparks of light darted within the world’s white folds, reminding her of minnows at the edge of a lake.

When Sikimí plastered his ears back as they crossed over a small creek, Sarabande instinctively grabbed onto the saddle horn. The highway blazed hot with light. The fog tore away with the screech of a Hawk Owl. Then she heard the horn. She was neck-reining Sikimí farther off on the shoulder and was glancing over her shoulder into the twin suns of a mammoth truck when the earth moved.

Review from Big Al’s Books & Pals

“Sarabande is an amazingly well told tale of redemption that starts off with Sarabande seeking Robert Adams help to settle Dryad’s haunting torment. Her quest starts off well through the dimensional divide and Mr. Campbell’s poetic prose is spellbinding as he paints a picture of Sarabande riding Sikimi through the night sky. Things then go terribly awry in a horrific set of events. Sarabande must draw on all of her inner strength to survive.”

I hope you enjoy the story!


On sale – ‘The Sun Singer’

My contemporary fantasy The Sun Singer is currently on sale on Kindle for 99 cents for several days.

SunSinger4coverRobert 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.

— Malcolm

Sunday’s Sample: Climbing the sacred mountain

From the Publisher

$3.99 at Smahwords in multiple formats including Kindle

$3.99 at Smahwords in multiple formats including Kindle

David Ward grows up on a Montana ranch where he develops an enduring love of mountains and the magic of the high country secrets he learns from his medicine woman grandmother. A vision quest at the summit of a sacred mountain opens his eyes to his future while blinding him to the details.

As a seasonal employee at a mountain hotel, David meets Anne Hill during the summer of Glacier National Park’s worst flood. Out of the ravages of water, they spend an idyllic summer in the beautiful Garden of Heaven.

When Anne is confronted by a stalker on a dark street in her Florida college town, the magic David uses in an attempt to save her changes her and leads them into the dark territory of misunderstandings and the blood of Tate’s Hell Swamp.

From the Book

Chapter Four

Nináistuko’s Call

The month was September: Yellow Leaves Moon according to his grandma; summer’s cold ass according to his grandpa; a season of flowers dying into fruit as the sun transited Virgo toward the celestial equator; and in the urgent foreplay of morning snows and afternoon rains, marmots planned their sleep, squirrels gathered cones and seeds, cedar waxwings looked for berries, grizzly bears migrated down into the river valleys for the fall eating binge, and the mating call of the elk was heard throughout the land.

Nináistuko is the Blackfeet name of Glacier Park's Chief Mountain.

Nináistuko is the Blackfeet name of Glacier Park’s Chief Mountain.

The year was 1963: the parents drove to Key West and back; Jayee bought two Morgan horses and named them Flint and Steel; Katoya made a record number of wheels of hard goat’s milk cheese and taught herself French; Jack Nicklaus won the Masters’ and Sonny Liston knocked out Floyd Patterson; Joan Baez and Bob Dylan sang folk protest ballads, she sweetly, he roughly; John Le Carre wrote The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and Barbara Tuchman received a Pulitzer Prize for The Guns of August; people talked about the Dodgers’ World Series sweep of the Yankees, Dr. Strangelove, Tom Jones, and Credibility Gap; Robert Frost, Clifford Odets and Rogers Hornsby died; John F. Kennedy was murdered and talk began about the facts supporting one conspiracy or another.

Nináistuko was formed 100 million years ago when forces of incomprehensible power and magnitude slammed two slabs of the world together, thrusting the older Proterozoic rock fifty miles eastward up and over the younger cretaceous rock. Many said the great rocks that formed the backbone of the world were piled one upon the other and sculpted into shining mountains by Nápi, the Old Man who created the world from a ball of mud fetched up from the depths of the dark primordial waters by Muskrat.

David would stand upon the narrow limestone and dolomite summit ridge of Nápi’s handiwork (or of a geologic thrust fault) on a cold September afternoon in 1963, because Katoya told him the mountain was in his path. He expected Nináistuko to purr beneath his feet like a large cat.

The Seeker is also available on Amazon and B&N.


‘Emily’s Stories’ now available in a print edition

Okay, here’s a word from your sponsor. . .

Emily’s Stories

by Malcolm R. Campbell


 Emily’s Stories by Malcolm R. Campbell is now available in Print, All Ebook Formats and as an AUDIOBOOK on Audible, iTunes, and on Amazon!

Emily's Stories 3D
Emily’s Stories is three short stories that will delight and entertain readers (and listeners) of all ages, with the tales of the young girl, Emily Walters, as she explores her world and that of the world around her… both mundane and temporal.

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 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 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.



 ES multiple edition



On Amazon



AllRomance Ebooks

Smashwords for All Ereaders

Payloadz Instant Download

EMILY’S STORIES Sneak Peek Video

These stories are suitable for kids and adults older than 14.


“Book Bits” will return after the Thanksgiving Holidays.

Setting the Tone of a Book

from the archives. . .

houseofskyWhen I read the first two lines of Ivan Doig’s This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind, I knew immediately I was starting a stark, unemotional journey into the past.

“Soon after daybreak on my sixth birthday, my mother’s breathing wheezed more raggedly than ever, then quieted. And then stopped.”

Here we have just the facts, simply and dramatically stated without evaluation. As Doig looks back on his 1940s childhood in White Sulphur Springs, Montana, he follows those initial lines with: The remembering begins out of that new silence.

For me, the silence felt palpable, for I had picked up the book late at night, and the book rather defined my moment and I could easily imagine a house in which my mother’s breathing defined every moment until it ceased.

A paragraph later, as Doig looks back across the years and thinks of “my father’s tellings” about “these oldest shadows,” he speaks of a summer on the mountain slopes where “the single sound is hidden water.”

Silenced breathing to the sound of water. The symbolism of these simple lines is carried throughout This House of Sky just as surely as the author’s unwavering attention to unsentimental detail. It would be simplistic to call Doig’s style “understatement,” because his words follow the spare and beautiful land where his parents herded sheep, and that land is not without its utilitarian power.

I’m not here to review This House of Sky, only to note how strongly it begins, for such a beginning is a talent writers often find it hard to learn. It takes confidence. This is not to say that all novels must begin with a defining moment. But they must, I think, begin by quickly establishing the tone of the story rather than backing into it some pages down the road after the small talk has been cleared out of the way.

The synopsis for This House of Sky on Doig’s website includes this comment: “The prose of this memoir is as resonant of the landscape of the American West as it is of those moments in memory which determine our lives.” I felt this before I finished the first page.

I have often thought that writing classes should spend more time with the first pages of novels and memoirs to drive home the importance of a story’s tone and of not wasting any time communicating to the reader just what that is.


A new fantasy, a book sale, a free e-book and more

  • sailorcoverI’m happy to announce the release of my Vietnam-era contemporary fantasy called The Sailor by Vanilla Heart Publishing. The novel tells the story of a young pacifist from Montana who enlists in the navy rather than running away to the safe havens of Sweden or Canada. Once he’s on board an aircraft carrier in the Western Pacific, he finds that some of the worst news of his tour of duty comes from the mail rather than the enemy or the sea.

The novel is available as a trade paperback, on Kindle and other e-book formats. It will soon be available for Nook.

You can read an excerpt from The Sailor here.

  • SeekerMeanwhile, my recently released contemporary fantasy set in the Montana mountains and the Florida swamps, The Seeker, is now on sale for Kindle fans at only $2.99. The sale won’t last forever, so if you’re looking for a summer read about love, magic and fate, check it out today.

You can read more about The Seeker and The Sailor on the Garden of Heaven page on my web site.

  • SOFcoverI mentioned recently that my publisher is bringing popular titles out as audio books which can be found on Audible and iTunes. I’m told that the narrator for my Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire satire actually founds like Jock. Stay tuned. You can listen to this book soon.
  • My three-story set, Emily’s Stories, is already available in both audio and Kindle. These stories are suitable for families who like to listen to books in the car on vacation trips. Two of these stories are set in the Florida Panhandle and one is set in Glacier National Park.
  • spooky99My two-story spooky stories set gives you a great deal with two North Florida ghost stories for only $.99. “Moonlight and Ghosts” is set in an abandoned mental hospital and “Cora’s Crossing” is set at Florida’s supposedly haunted Bellamy Bridge. If you live in North Florida or South Georgia, you can take a tour of the bridge just north of Marianna.
  • If you’re thinking about reading Stephen King’s Joyland, I posted a brief review of the novel on my Magic Moments blog here.

Happy reading,


Celebrate Glacier (2)For a short time, you can get a free copy of my e-book Celebrate Glacier to help celebrate the 100th birthday of the Glacier Park Lodge.

For information about my other books, stop by my Amazon page.

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