You better not hurt that kitty

When I began writing Conjure Woman’s Cat, I didn’t know how it would end, much less that it would lead to the sequel Eulalie and Washerwoman. When I started writing the sequel, I didn’t know how it would end, much less that it would lead to a third book named Lena which–of course–I had no clue what the ending was.

I did know one thing for sure: Eulalie, the conjure woman, and Lena, her cat, weren’t going to get killed no matter what else happened.

So, each time I told people I had started a new book in the series, I began getting comments like, “You better not hurt that kitty,” “Promise me I don’t need to look at the ending first to make sure nobody (you know who I mean) is dead,” and “If anything happens to that kitty, don’t think you can fix it with a bunch of that rainbow bridge stuff and that will make everything okay.”

It was fun hearing that a lot of people had connected with the main characters and were concerned about their welfare. After all, things were always touch-and-go in these books, what with bad cops and noxious KKK thugs. One person said she really liked the Pollyanna character who appeared in Lena and was happy to see she made it to the end of the book without dying.

Then she added, I want to see a Pollyanna book and she better be alive when I get to the last page. Okay, okay, I’m writing the Pollyanna book right now and she doesn’t get killed.  (I hope you’re happy, Linda, knowing you can read the book without worrying about the main character.)

Previously, while I was writing my contemporary fantasy Sarabande, the sequel to The Sun Singer, people started saying “You better not kill off that black horse.” (I didn’t.) You see the pattern here, right? People don’t trust me, assume I’m hard-hearted and cold enough to kill off magical critters. My mama didn’t raise me that way.

I’m tempted to write a novel where all the main characters die on the first page of the book. That will prove I’m not some wimpy author who’s controlled by his readers and doesn’t have any artistic integrity. Perhaps it will begin, “Everybody is dead.” Then, the next chapter will be called SIX MONTHS EARLIER and we’ll see how it happened.

Naah, I don’t think I’ll do that. But I might. I might drink some bad whisky and go over to the dark side at any moment.

Malcolm

 

 

How about a movie version of ‘Conjure Woman’s Cat’?

TaleFlick holds contests in which site visitors can vote for the novel they think a producer/director ought to consider for a feature film.

One vote per person. Nothing to buy. Just find my book on the list and click on the vote button.

The audio edition of this book was well-received in an AudioFile Magazine review. Maybe movie reviewers will like it to. (Of course, I’m a bit biased.)

There’s supposed to be a chevron at the bottom of the entry to display more info. Since it’s randomly missing, here’s the publisher’s description from Amazon:

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.

Voting is open through Friday, February 14th. Tell your friends. Tell people you don’t know on the streets and juke joints. Scribble thhe URL on the bottom of all the Valentine’s Day cards you’re sending.

Thank you,

Malcolm

Graveyard dirt: be careful how you use it

Now, one should always, always, always be hesitant on working with graveyard dirt. Whether you’re petitioning Grandmaw or the sheriff who passed two years ago, you gotta be on your toes about this work. When you go to buy the dirt you need to feel the place. Cause you ain’t never alone in the graveyard. Never. – Graveyard Dirt in Appalachian Hoodoo

In conjure, graveyard dirt is used for causing enemies to get sick, luck in gambling, protection, and making goofer dust. It’s harder to get graveyard dirt these days because there are fewer and fewer family graveyards. Needless to say, you can’t (or shouldn’t) wander into a city or a private cemetery with a trowel and throw a few scoops of dirt of a bucket. And, during the sad time when you’re attending a burial ceremony, people will look askance if you put a handful of the turned soil into your pocket rather than throwing it on your beloved’s coffin.

You can buy graveyard dirt, but it might be fake. It might be herbs masquerading as dirt or it might be a scoop of dirt out of somebody’s backyard. Even if the stuff you can buy online is real, you don’t know where it came from. What you don’t want, is dirt collected from the grave of a criminal, a crazy person, or dirt that wasn’t paid for by leaving behind whiskey or coins. If you collect the graveyard dirt from the grave of an ancestor you know, the point is: you know them, what they’re like, and how they might help with a charm or spell.

According to Conjure Work (whose product is shown in the photo), “It’s important to note that the grave was not disrespected or in any way desecrated. The gravesite didn’t actually look any different after removing the dirt than it did before. The desecration of a grave is completely unacceptable and would have the opposite effect of the work that is intended by a respectful “barter” with the Spirit of the person.”

  • If somebody died in a bad way, the dirt from their grave can be mixed with sulphur, pins, needles, and nails in a bottle and buried in a place where your enemy walks.
  • If you have a powerful ancestor, dirt from their grave can be mixed with red pepper and salt and sprinkled around your front door to protect the household.
  • If you can get ahold of dirt from the grave of somebody who loved you, mix it with vandal root (powdered) and sprinkle or toss if (without getting caught) on the person you love and ask the spirits to help them see you as a potential lover.

I found countless uses while doing the research for the three novels in my Florida Folk Magic series. I don’t provide specific recipes because I don’t want people using my novels, which are fiction (of course) as a source for spells.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” “Eulalie and Washerwoman,” and “Lena.” You can save on the Kindle editions by buying the three-in-one set shown here.

‘Eulalie and Washerwoman’ and ‘Lena’ now available in hardcover

Thomas-Jacob Publishing has just released the hardcover editions of Eulalie and Washerwoman and Lena. The first book in the Florida Folk Magic Series, Conjure Woman’s Cat, was released in hardcover last month. The books are also available in e-book, paperback, and audiobook editions.  All e-book editions are also available together in one e-book volume.

Bookstand and hoodoo supplies not included!

Enjoy the stories.

Malcolm

New ‘Conjure Woman’s Cat’ Hardcover Edition

Thomas-Jacob Publishing has released a hardcover edition of Conjure Woman’s Cat by Malcolm R. Campbell. Also available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook, the story set in the Florida Panhandle in 1954 follows the efforts of a conjure woman to find justice after her granddaughter is assaulted in a small town. The novel’s sequels, Eulalie and Washerwoman and Lena will also be released in hardcover in the coming months.

Copies are already available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com and can be obtained by your nearest indie bookstore via their Ingram catalogue.

“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.” from Big Al’s Books and Pals

“Listeners will marvel at the magical realism in this story and benefit from the helpful glossary of the charming local dialect.” S.G.B. © AudioFile 2016

“For me to truly love a book, it needs the following: great plot with something to get fired up about, intelligent, engaging storytelling, well-defined characters, at least one of whom makes me wish I could conjure them into my life and my living room, and a deeply satisfying conclusion. Campbell’s work delivers beautifully on all of the above.

“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.” – WordNerd on Amazon

“This was a delightful read, mostly because of the unique narrator … Eulalie’s cat Lena. I was taken into the heart of a world so foreign to my own, and ended up grateful for the glimpse. Poetic justice for inexcusable cruelties abounds but only because of Eulalie’s faith and intervention.

“More than simply characters in a fictional piece, I soon believed in their culture and social conventions. Most of us don’t believe in hoodoo and conjuring, but there was a time when those beliefs were much stronger. The novella took me back to that period. This book is magic.” L. Record on Amazon

Enjoy the book!

–Malcolm

Thomas-Jacob is a traditional publisher in Florida.

 

 

 

Conjure Herbs: Master of the Woods

Wikipedia photo

Master of the Woods (Asperula ordorata) is a strongly scented, 12-20-inch long herbaceous perennial typically referred to as woodruff, sweet woodruff, and wild baby’s breath that is often used as a ground cover. Its four-petal white blooms appear between April and May. It has been used in perfumes, teas, and potpourris.

According to Sunlight Gardens, the semi-evergreen is easy to grow in shady, moderately moist areas, is resistant to deer and is “great with Bellwort, Gingers, Lenten Rose, and acid-loving shrubs.”

Medical Uses

According to Web MD, “sweet woodruff contains ingredients that can help decrease swelling (inflammation) and kill germs.” Other uses include circulation problems, restlessness, nerve pain, urinary disorders, and blood purification. Botanical.com notes that the plant has been used as a medicine since the middle ages; “The fresh leaves, bruised and applied to cuts and wounds, were said to have a healing effect, and formerly a strong decoction of the fresh herb was used as a cordial and stomachic. It is also said to be useful for removing biliary obstructions of the liver.” (Medical information is presented here more or less for historical or traditional background without warranty of any kind.)

Conjure Uses

You can buy herbal packets online at curio suppliers such as Lucky Mojo.

According to catherine yronwode’s Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic–the primary source I used when writing my conjure novels–Master of the Woods is a “commanding and ruling herb.” This implies that uses, in or out of mojo bags, will include strength, protection, control over enemies, personal energy, and even getting a job.

Mama Starr uses master of the woods, Jezebel root, calamus, loveage, and lavender boiled and steeped in water and placed in a spray bottle while ironing clothes along with a prayer and a petition that your target (a spouse, for example) will behave (whatever that might mean to you). You can also gain the upper hand over an opponent by sprinkling master of the woods in an area where that person will walk.

Auntyflo says that “the herb has very strong power in commanding, most people carry it along for to get protection from various harms, additionally, it helps the owner get out of any trouble they may encounter in their day to day activities. When combined with gravel root, it helps the job seeker get that job they have always desired. On the other hand, sprinkling the herb over the masters allows you commanding powers over them when they cross it.”

Like many herbs, master of the woods can be used alone or in combination oils, water, minerals, and other herbs to provide a root doctor or hoodoo practioner with mastery over situations as well as opposing forces, including enemies and situations.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat” and other novels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The audiobook edition of ‘Lena’ is now available

 

Holly Palance has done a wonderful job narrating this final novel in the Florida Folk Magic series. For those of you who like listening to a story, Holly will draw you into this one and you just might find yourself listening to the book in one sitting.

Description

When Police Chief Alton Gravely and Officer Carothers escalate the feud between “Torreya’s finest” and conjure woman Eulalie Jenkins by running her off the road into a North Florida swamp, the borrowed pickup truck is salvaged, but Eulalie is missing and presumed dead. Her cat, Lena, survives. Lena could provide an accurate account of the crime, but the county sheriff is unlikely to interview a pet. Lena doesn’t think Eulalie is dead, but the conjure woman’s family and friends don’t believe her.

Eulalie’s daughter, Adelaide, wants to stir things up, and the church deacon wants everyone to stay out of sight. There’s talk of an eyewitness, but either Adelaide made that up to worry the police or the witness is too scared to come forward.

When the feared black robes of the Klan attack the first-responder who believes the wreck might have been staged, Lena is the only one who can help him try to fight them off. After that, all hope seems lost, because if Eulalie is alive and finds her way back to Torreya, there are plenty of people waiting to kill her and make sure she stays dead.

Click on the cover to buy the book on Amazon. Click here to buy it directly from Audible.

–Malcolm