The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Archive for the tag “short story”

Free writing prompt (actual SPAM not included)

This is your lucky day. A new writing prompt that’s so wonderful, you’ll probably get your short story or book published and make at least $10000000000.


A down-and-out, but inventive young man or young woman decides to make his/her fortune selling SPAM door to door. (The real stuff.)

I have a few ideas for how to do this, most of which would be humorous allusions to on-line SPAM even if the whole shebang is a success; however it could also be a cautionary tale where everything goes wrong and the protagonist is found in a ditch at the end of the story surrounded by empty SPAM cans.

With NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) starting November 1, you’ll have plenty of incentives to get the story done even if you and/or the material end up annoying everyone and getting you kicked off Facebook and Twitter.

I’ll look forward to seeing the results of your work in Glimmer Train or possibly in a novel co-written with James Patterson.

Have fun, or else.



‘Cora’s Crossing’ (‘A Travessia de Cora’) Now On Kindle

coraportcoverIt took it awhile, but the Portuguese edition of “Cora’s Crossing” is finally available on Amazon.

Description: No meio de uma violenta tempestade, dois homens jovens são misteriosamente puxados para uma velha ponte no meio de um pântano na Flórida. Eles descobrem que os mortos estão esperando para falar, suas vidas estão em perigo, e eles devem ajudar uma jovem mulher ferida que eles encontram na lateral da estrada.

Two young men are mysteriously drawn to an old bridge during a rogue thunderstorm, where they discover the dead are waiting to speak and their lives are in jeopardy when they help an injured young woman they find beside the road.

Cora’s Crossing was inspired by the now-abandoned Bellamy Bridge (which the author last saw 50 years ago) over the Chipola River near the town of Marianna in the Florida Panhandle, and the local folk legend that claims the bridge is haunted by a 175-year-old ghost who died tragically on her wedding night when her dress caught fire.


coracoverThe English edition is available here.



Free Kindle Short Story May 5 through May 7

Always free on Kindle Unlimited

Always free on Kindle Unlimited

“Carrying Snakes Into Eden” is a lighthearted story in my Tate’s Hell Series about two high school students who skip church to meet some cheerleaders at the beach, and when they falls through, they end up with a guy with a sack of snakes.

The short story will be free on Kindle May 5-7, 2016

Tate’s Hell is a forbidding swamp on Florida’s Gulf Coast. It has plenty of snakes. When I was growing  up, I spent a lot of time there.

Also in the Tate’s Hell Series, “Visiting Aunt Ruby,” “Snakebit,” “The Land Between the Rivers” (three-story set), and “Dream of Crows.”


I guess this is a twisted fairy tale

You’ve read “Sleeping Beauty.” A faerie is discounted at the big celebration at the castle so this hot princess chick ends up sleeping until a hunk of a prince shows up and kisses her. She wakes up and they get married before they know anything about each other except for the hot/hunk equation.

WakingPlainCoverAs a writer, I’ve always wanted to turn that story upside down. So I did. It’s twisted, but not in an overly cruel way.

Let’s say you’re a prince and that mom and pop, the king and queen of the realm wait for a long time to have kids and when they do the result is you. On your naming day, they forget to invite the boss faerie. She comes anyway and curses you.

You sleep for a century. If a beautiful queen kisses you, you’ll wake up and the two of you will be married.

There’s a fly in the ointment. You’re not a hunk. You’re as dull as dishwater to put it bluntly. Out of kindness, the visiting queens who see you decide it’s better not to wake you up because (frankly) you’re too damn plain.

Sorry folks, I couldn’t resist. You can find the story on Kindle.


‘Carrying Snakes Into Eden’ is FREE on January 11

My Kindle short story “Carrying Snakes Into Eden” will be free for one day on Monday, January 11, 2016.

Always free on Kindle Unlimited

Always free on Kindle Unlimited

Description: “In this tongue-in-cheek 1960s-era short story with a dash of magic, two students skip church, pick up a hobo with a sack of snakes, and realize there may be long-term consequences.”

Comment: “Stories from Tates Hell” is a series of tales set in an around the notorious swamp on Florida’s Gulf coast.

Also: You may also like the other stories in the series: “The Land Between the Rivers,” “Snakebit,” and “Dream of Crows.”

I hope the story puts a smile on your face.


Mr. Déjà vu Upsets the Apple Cart

Mr. Déjà vu Upsets the Apple Cart


Malcolm R. Campbell

Copyright (c) 2015

You’re about to read a story by Malcolm R. Campbell called Mr. Déjà vu Upsets the Apple Cart.

applecart2When you surfed out to this post, you were struck by the fact it seemed familiar even though you were certain you had never read anything like Mr. Déjà vu Upsets the Apple Cart before. There are so many hyperlinks and annoying popups these days, it’s possible your eye saw the word “apple” or “cart” and you have forgotten it.

The story begins in a tourist town in apple country on a fine November morning when the air is as crisp as a Granny Smith and the windows of the shops reflect back the sunlight with the resolution of a perfect apple.

Tourist towns are much the same. Some cling to the sheer walls of mountains where the scent of fir trees brings memories of Christmas year around while others lie alongside oceans like contented cats within an ever-present aroma of overly ripe fish.

Yet, they’re the same because the souvenirs are made in faraway lands outside the reach of fir trees and fish and there are always overpriced hamburgers for sale in cute shoppes and the eyes of the people are vacant from seeing too many familiar antiques behind the dull windows.

You remember the best apple pie your grandmother ever made, hot and perfect from the oven when you read, “Evelyn with the old fashioned name stood behind her small apple cart watching a tall, oddly familiar man with grey hair approaching on the busy street.”

applecart1Evelyn with the old fashioned name stood behind her small apple cart watching a tall, oddly familiar man with grey hair approaching on the busy street. He looked like an apple grower, for his delight in the world around him—the child looking in the bright window of the gift shop and the cat stretching behind the post—told her clearly the world itself was the apple of his eye.

She lived in a world of apples, the wonderful Granny Smiths her father and Uncle Walter grew just up the road that led past the hotel where the grey haired man was talking to Laura Whittle and her visiting Aunt Martha.

When Evelyn met Aunt Martha last week, Laura said, “Here is my young friend Evelyn who grows apples.”

Evelyn stood tall when she was introduced as an apple grower. Truly, she knew apples like family from the first April blooms to the fetching of bees for pollination to tree thinning to make room for light to the crisp fall days of picking the year’s labor of love.

“Pleased to see you again,” said Aunt Martha. “May I call you Eve?”


“I called you ‘Eve’ years ago because ‘Evelyn’ is a mouthful and ‘Eve’ is a perfect name for an apple picker, Aunt Martha said. “You’ll tempt many a young man one day with your sweet apples and sweeter smile.”

“Our apples are more tart than sweet,” said Evelyn, dully, for she did not want to be an evil Eve with apples tempting men.

As you read, you cannot help but think Aunt Martha must be a disagreeable old woman who smells like bad fish and bad apples.

Finally, as the grey haired man stood there appraising an apple with bright eyes that clearly took pleasure in everything magical, Evelyn found herself spoiling the fine morning from the core out to the skin thinking about Aunt Martha calling her “Eve”–again, yes, again, if the old lady spoke the truth about before.

“Will you sell me enough apples for a perfect pie?” the man asked as he held the apple higher into the light.

“Yes,” said Evelyn.

“Young Evelyn, I’m tall and blessed with old eyes,” he said, and Evelyn—who was pleased to be called Evelyn”—was wondering why her first customer of the day would say such a thing. “However, I can still read your name tag well enough to know you are ‘Evelyn’ and not ‘Eve’ as your aunt or some prankster has written there. You’re not Eve, are you?”

“No, of course not,” snapped Evelyn. “Why would you believe such a thing?”

“Aunt Martha—a disagreeable old woman who smells like fish—just told me Eve’s sweet smile will tempt me to eat an apple,” he said, punctuating the nasty information with a loud crunch. “Tart and magical! But how rude of me to read your name tag and not introduce myself. I am Increase Déjà vu.”

“I’m happy to meet you Mr. Déjà vu,” said Evelyn.

“You said that before,” said Mr. Déjà vu.

“We’ve met?”

“Ah, you’ve forgotten, he said. “No matter, I have grown so much older than Christmas, I hardly recognize myself in the mirror.”

Evelyn stared at Mr. Déjà vu as closely as she could without being rude. “I don’t think I can remember,” she said, feeling more than a little discombobulated.

applecart3“We met when you were five,” he said. “I was your first customer on your first day as Evelyn the apprentice apple seller. Blind as a bat that day, I was stumbling through town trying to find my glasses when I ran into your apple cart.”

“Tipping it over,” she added. “Yes yes, that was you! You were very nice about it. You bought every bruised apple. Then you told me…”

“Do you remember?”

“I got mad because somebody called me Eve while we were picking up the spilt apples.”

“What did I say?”

“Oh my, I have just now thought of it again. You said that Eve never picked an apple. A grape or a fig, maybe, though nobody could say for sure.”

“It’s still true.”

“I shall not tell that to fishy old ladies.”

“Our secret, then. Now, I am off to make another pie without upsetting your apple cart again or again.”

After tearing off her name tag, Eve stood tall next to her apple cart, watching him walk through the finest November morning she could remember, and you are fairly sure you know the reason why.

EScover2014Malcolm R. Campbell is also the author of the three-story collection called Emily’s Stories, available in paperback, e-book and audio book.

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.”



Saturday’s Sample: ‘Moonlight and Ghosts’

Moonlight and Ghosts is a paranormal short story from Vanilla Heart Publishing available for 99 cents on Kindle and Smashwords. A former mental health worker is drawn back to an abandoned institution where he learns that the ghosts there want him to help a young woman whose life is in danger.

Story Sample

Also available on Nook.

Also available on Nook.

The light of the harvest moon was brilliant all over the Florida Panhandle. It released the shadows from Tallahassee’s hills, found the sandy roads and sawtooth palmetto sheltering blackwater rivers flowing through pine forests and swamps toward the gulf and, farther westward along the barrier islands, that far-reaching light favored the foam on the waves following the incoming tide. Neither lack of diligence nor resolve caused that September 1985 moon to remain blind to the grounds of the old hospital between the rust-stained walls and the barbed wire fence, for the trash trees and wild azalea were unrestrained, swings and slides stood dour and suffocated in the thicket-choked playground, humus and the detritus of long-neglect filled the cracked therapy wading pool, and fallen gutters, shingles and broken window panes covered the deeply buried dead that had been left behind.

“Can you see anything?” asked Alice as they slipped through a ragged gap in the fence.

“Your blonde hair,” he said.

She hooked her fingers through the belt loops of his jeans and stayed close.

“If you can see it, the police can see it,” she whispered. “Your intuition brought us here, but I’ll be the one picked up for trespassing. Is the building haunted like they say?”

“Yes, but not like they say.”

“What do they say?”

“The ghost hunters have Hollywooded up their stories about the Sunshine Hospital and Developmental Center,” he said. “Careful—these briars aren’t friendly.”

“Can ghosts and cops smell blood?”


“We’re in the heart of darkness. Once we’re lost for all eternity, the thorns in my arms won’t matter. We’re en route somewhere specific, right?”

“My feet know the way.”

He led her out of the tangle of thorns and, freed of camouflage, the pale walls of the five story building rose up into the moonlight just short of the stars. The driveway leading to the former emergency room entrance must have been hit by bombs. Beer cans, broken glass, and unidentifiable trash were strewn up and down the cracked sidewalks and beneath the portecochère. A ripped sign over the chained doors said ‘EMERG’.

“This might be a good time to run like hell,” said Alice.

Enjoy this north Florida story!


Post Navigation