My publisher’s free books in the big Smashwords sale

Smashwords “Authors Give Back” sale of discounted or free books runs through April 20. My publisher, Thomas-Jacob, has the following free e-books in the sale.






Stay inside. Read for free. Enjoy the books.



StayHomeWriMo Rallies Writers 

Writers around the globe are gathering—virtually—to raise their spirits and keep creating through an initiative called StayHomeWriMo. Sponsored by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the organizers of the annual November write-a-thon in which authors pen a novel draft in a month, StayHomeWriMo invites writers to find comfort in their creativity and stay inside while the battle with COVID-19 continues.

Source: StayHomeWriMo Rallies Writers | Poets & Writers

What a great idea. One component of a writer’s well being is to write.


Malcolm R. Campbell’s short story collection, Widely Scattered Ghosts, is free on Smashwords during the company’s “give back” sale.

What if each furloughed employee had been given a roll of toilet paper?

Other than panic buying and hoarding, families are probably buying more toilet paper than usual because they’re confined to their homes. It stands to reason that 8-5 workers used toilet paper at the office during the day that they must now buy at the grocery store. Same goes for the kids who normally would have used school-supplied toilet paper for most of the day.

Now, all that toilet paper is sitting in storerooms at offices and cleaning services where nobody can access it. But what if each furloughed employee had been given a roll or two on the way out the door?

Okay, those rolls wouldn’t last long, but when you add them all up, they lead to a lot of toilet paper purchases at stores that normally wouldn’t have happened. One thing leads to another. Once the toilet paper gets sparse on store shelves, people naturally buy more of it even if they aren’t trying to hoard a six-month supply.

Maybe as a show of good faith, offices and schools should allow workers and students to stop by for a free roll or two to ease the strain on all of us.


Malcolm R. Campbell’s short story collection, Widely Scattered Ghosts, is free on Smashwords during the company’s “give back” sale.

Former Many Glacier Hotel Manager, Ian B. Tippet Dies at 88

Ian B. Tippet, former Many Glacier Hotel manager and a 63-year employee of Glacier Park, Inc. (now named Pursuit) died of natural causes March 9 at his home in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 88. In addition to serving as the innovative and popular manager of Many Glacier Hotel, Tippet was also the concessioner’s head of personnel. His funeral home obituary can be found here.

I apologize for the delay in posting this information. I have been waiting for a news story about Tippet’s passing to appear in a Montana newspaper such as the Hungry Horse News, The Daily Interlake, or the Flathead Beacon. Apparently, none of them seems to know that he died. I presume his former employer doesn’t know it either for they probably would have issued a news release and caught the media’s attention.

My frustration comes from the fact that people in Northwestern Montana who knew Mr. Tippet and/or who knew of his work on behalf of Many Glacier Hotel’s long-time music programs for guests, should be told that a major participant and leader in the Glacier National Park community has died. Yet, I have no official status as a spokesperson so cannot officially contact the press.

Ian B. Tippet hired me as a Many Glacier Hotel bellman in 1963 and 1964. His expertise got Many Glacier Hotel open on schedule in spite of the devastating Montana flood of 1964. I was part of a skeleton staff that arrived early that summer and got swept up in the clean-up effort while the hotel was cut off from the rest of the world due to a washed-out road. I last saw him in Glacier Park in 2013, the 50th anniversary of my arrival as a seasonal employee. We talked for quite a while in spite of his busy schedule at Glacier Park Lodge that year.

We didn’t agree on everything, but I believe he was Many Glacier Hotel’s best manager, both old school service and new-ideas innovative; I doubt we will ever see anyone with his vision and competence again at any of the park’s concessioners–perhaps forever.


Finally, some news coverage:






Now folks can write but they aren’t (hmm)

But are you writing? I noted several remarks online where people are saying they are too worried and frantic to sit and write. They’re anchored to 24-hour news, waiting for the latest body count and what’s happening next.

So. . . let me get this straight. . . when things are busy and normal, you don’t have time to write. Then things are abnormal and locking you at home, you can’t make yourself write.  – Hope Clark

Wikipedia Graphic

It’s really an understatement to say that COVD-19 has disrupted a lot of things. We’re all curious about potential lockdowns and potential vaccines. But sitting in front of a 24-hour news channel watching for updates not only seems like a waste of time, but is the kind of behavior that probably creates more hysteria than what the nation is already coping with.

Frankly, I’m a little tired of people asking why we didn’t have 100000000 testing kits (much less a cure) in stock for a disease nobody knew anything about prior to December. I guess people are watching too many medical dramas on TV and are used to health issues that are solved within an hour.

I agree with Hope Clark, assuming that lockdowns aren’t making us broke or sticking us in long lines to buy toilet paper, we can use our self-quarantines and social distancing to get some other stuff done: tidy up the garden, clean out the garage, finish that novel.


Many of Thomas-Jacob Publishing’s Kindle editions are on sale throughout March for 99₵. The sale includes two of my novels, “Conjure Woman’s Cat” and “Special Investigative Reporter.”


Those old continuity blues

Readers and professional critics get a real kick out of bashing films with continuity lapses. There’s a rose in a vase at the beginning of a scene that turns into a carnation at the end of a scene. A man is wearing a red tie when he starts kissing the girl and a blue tie when the kiss ends.

Those are continuity issues. A script supervisor is supposed to maintain documentation about what’s in the scene and what’s said to ensure that in the flurry of camera takes and other changes, ties don’t change color and flowers don’t change their species.

Do those earrings change color in the middle of the kiss?

Likewise in publishing, it was traditionally the job of a line editor to catch continuity lapses. Sue had green eyes in chapter one and blue eyes in chapter eight. Joe lives in a brick house in chapter three and a house with Vinyl siding in chapter fifteen.

Publishers are reducing the sizes of their staffs and may no longer have professional line editors, smaller publishers may rely on copyeditors and proofreaders and hope the author catches his/her continuity issues, and if you’re self-publishing, the buck stops at your desk.

Some authors create a dossier on each character before they begin writing: name, hair color, eye color, physical traits, habits, place of birth, typical expressions used, etc. Every time they refer to a character, they check the file. If you don’t do this–that is, you tend to make it up as you go–you can search your MS on the character’s name to see what you said about him/her earlier in the draft.

However, this becomes harder to do when you’re writing a novel that’s part of a series and have to laboriously search (if you can find them) the final manuscripts for prior books and/or search the Kindle editions for descriptions.

When I write, characters, houses, and other locations show up as needed. I’m not bothered about continuity at that point because the scenes are transient, meaning I don’t intend to use them again. But then, what if I do? I’ve spent the morning going through the Kindle editions of my Florida Folk Magic Series looking for the description of a so-called dogtrot house. At the time, I had no idea I’d write a subsequent novel that needed to have that house in it. Hell, I couldn’t remember what it looked like, so I had to find out what I said before.

I don’t have an answer for this problem. If you stop writing to record a bunch of info about a character/location/house, you can find it later. If you don’t stop, you’ll probably end up with a better scene because you won’t have interrupted it for “record-keeping.” While I’m writing a novel, I keep all kinds of notes on scraps of paper: but these get lost. I guess I need a better filing system.


The Kindle editions of “Special Investigative Reporter” and “Conjure Woman’s Cat” are on sale at Amazon for 99₵ until the end of March.

Special Investigative Reporter: it will make you happier during these blue times

A message from your sponsor (AKA, me)

On sale for 99 cents:

This novel is just what you need to get through these difficult times. Why? It’s about an old-style reporter who’s not afraid to say what he thinks even though a lot of what he thinks isn’t politically correct.

From the publisher: In this satirical and somewhat insane lament about the fall of traditional journalism into an abyss of news without facts, Special Investigative Reporter Jock Stewart specializes in tracking down Junction City’s inept and corrupt movers and shakers for his newspaper The Star-Gazer. Since Stewart is not a team player, he doesn’t trust anyone, especially colleagues and news sources. Stewart, who became a reporter back in the days when real newsmen were supposed to smoke and drink themselves to death while fighting to get the scoop before their competition sobered up, isn’t about to change. Stewart’s girlfriend leaves him, the mayor’s racehorse is stolen, people are having sex in all the wrong places (whatever that means), and townspeople have fallen into the habit of sneaking around and lying to reporters and cops. Sure, everyone lies to the cops, but reporters expect gospel truths or else. Stewart may get himself killed doing what he was taught to do in journalism school, but that’s all in a day’s work.

I like this novel because the main character, Jock Steward, says what I would say if I could get away with it. Let’s just say its a comedy with a bite.


Conjure Woman’s Cat is also on sale on Kindle for 99 cents.