Briefly Noted: Before His Time: The Untold Story of Harry T. Moore, America’s First Civil Rights Martyr

Those researching civil rights leaders in Florida will find this book a handy resource. The third edition, released by the Florida Historical Society Press in 2017 is the one available on Amazon. Typical of historical society and university press books, the retail price is higher than what you might expect from a major publisher, however, Amazon has used copies available at a great saving.

From the Publisher

On Christmas night, 1951, a bomb exploded in Mims, Florida, under the home of civil rights activist and educator Harry T. Moore.

Harry and his wife Harriette both died from injuries sustained in the blast, making them the first martyrs of the contemporary civil rights movement. They were killed twelve years before Medgar Evers, fourteen years before Malcolm X, and seventeen years before Martin Luther King, Jr.

The sound of the bomb could be heard three miles away in the neighboring town of Titusville, but what resonates today is the memory of the important civil rights work accomplished by Moore.

This new edition of Ben Green s comprehensive biography of Harry T. Moore includes updated material about the investigations into the bombing, and additional photographs commemorating Moore s legacy.

If you follow civil rights issues, you know that there have been several investigations of the crime, the final one yielding the names of probable perpetrators. Two would die of natural causes and one by suicide before the initial FBI investigation was complete. I doubt we will ever find true closure on this crime. The book fills in a lot of details about what made Moore a marked man and what happened in the aftermath of the bombing.

I wish the publisher’s description included, at least, a few generalities about the focus of Moore’s work since he was active so long ago and hasn’t loomed large in mainstream civil rights histories. I found this book very helpful in my research for the novel in progress and recommend it to scholars and others interested in Florida and the Klan.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell’s Florida Folk Magic Series of four novels set in the Florida Panhandle in the 1950s focuses on battles against the KKK in a small town. Conjure Woman’s Cat is the first novel in the series Fate’s Arrows is the fourth book in the series.

Watch this space

I just saw the cover artwork for something new, something that’s been in the works at Thomas-Jacob Publishing, and it looks great.

But I can’t tell you what it is.

I can tell you that you’re going to like it (or else). I can also tell you that I’ve been having fun working on my part of this “something new.” We had a nasty thunderstorm this afternoon, but I kept working.

Feel free to stop watching this space if you have to use the restroom, walk the dog, or get some shuteye. We understand because we’re understanding people. We’re not going to be watching this space 24/7 either because we’re busy working on the something new.

Around the clock.

Malcolm

Thumbing my nose at authority for 50+ years

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies. – Groucho Marx

My problems with authority began in grade school and continue to this day. You see some evidence of that in the occasional fake news stories printed in this blog under the pseudonym Jock Stewart. I used to write these on earlier blogs and collected some of them in a book published by Lulu ten years ago. (It’s still there.)

A previous publisher saw these satircal news stories on my earlier blos and kept collecting them into novella-length collections. They’re no longer there because that publisher is no longer there.

The people who know me well (wife, neighbors, family, publisher) believe the “real me” is Jock Stewart rather than the angelic persona you see on this blog. The people who think I’m Jock Stewart believe that my thriller/satire novel Special Investigative Reporter is a memoir.

Maybe yes, maybe no.

In general, I agree with Groucho though, of course, I don’t get any traction out of that because he’s no longer there. Pratically speaking, I think politicians should have expiration dates so that they can do less damage to the country.

My superiors in the Navy knew I had this impression about them, meaning that my relationship with the brass was about like that of Alan Alda’s relationship with the brass in M*A*S*H. You’ll see some of this attitude in my Vietnam War novel At Sea.

In general, my authority problems have served me well in writing novels and short stories about people with authority problems. So that’s good, right?

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell writes satire because, well, society needs a quasi-sane voice in this chaotic old world of ours who’s not afraid to to call a crook a crook. He stands ready to swear on a stack of phone books that “Special Investigative Reporter” is fiction. Well, mostly.

A cool selection of fiction

From my colleagues at Thomas-Jacob Publishing

Child of Sorrow by Melinda Clayton

When fourteen-year-old foster child Johnathan Thomas Woods is suspected of murder, an old letter and a tacky billboard advertisement lead him to the office of attorney Brian Stone. Recognizing the sense of hopelessness lurking under John’s angry façade, Stone is soon convinced of his innocence. When John offers up his lawn-mowing money as payment, Stone realizes this is a case he can’t refuse.

In the face of overwhelming evidence assembled by the prosecution, Stone and his team find themselves in a race against time to save an angry boy who’s experienced more than his fair share of betrayal, a boy who more often than not doesn’t seem interested in saving himself.

An Inchworm Takes Wing by Robert Hays

In the tranquil solitude of a darkened Room 12 in the ICU on the sixth floor of Memorial Hospital’s Wing C, a mortal existence is drawing to an end. His head and torso swathed in bandages, his arms and legs awkwardly positioned in hard casts and layers of heavy gauze, he’s surrounded by loved ones yet unable to communicate, isolated within his own thoughts and memories.

He does not believe himself to be an extraordinary man, simply an ordinary one, a man who’s made choices, both good and bad. A man who was sometimes selfish, sometimes misguided, sometimes kind and wise. A man who fought in a war in which he lost a part of his soul, who then became a teacher and worked hard to repair the damage.

When faced with the end, how does one reconcile the pieces of an ordinary life? Does a man have the right to wish for wings to carry him to a summit he believes he doesn’t deserve to reach?

Chasing Eve by Sharon Heath

Everyone expected big things from Ariel Thompkins. Wasn’t she the girl who’d roped her friends into one madcap adventure after another, who’d met the challenge of losing both parents before turning eighteen, who’d gone on to graduate summa cum laude from UCLA? So how did this livewire end up delivering the day’s mail for the U.S. Postal Service, hunkering down each night with her half-blind cat in front of the TV, ruminating over the width of her thighs? It looked as though it would take a miracle to get her out of her rut. Who knew that miracle would come in the form of an acutely candid best friend and a motley crew of strangers—a homeless drunk once aptly nicknamed “Nosy,” a lonely old woman seeing catastrophe around every corner, a shy teenager fleeing sexual abuse, a handsome young transplant from the Midwest with a passion for acting and for Ariel herself? Not to mention the fossil remains of a flat-faced crone who just might have been the ancestress of everyone alive today? Chasing Eve takes us on a funny, sad, hair-raising adventure into the underbelly of the City of Angels, where society’s invisible people make a difference to themselves and to others, and where love sometimes actually saves the day.

Who’s Munching by Milkweed? by Smoky Zeidel

When Ms. Gardener discovers something has been munching on her milkweed plants, she embarks on a fun and educational monarch butterfly journey that enchants both children and adults. 

With Photographs. Zeidel is a Master Gardener.

A rare interview with Malcolm R. Campbell

We found the reclusive Mr. Campbell at a mostly forgotten Bandit’s Biker Bar that fell on hard times when Hell’s Angels switched over to IHOP. Wearing his traditional Levi’s and a navy blue polo shirt, Campbell was halfway through a bottle of Talisker Distiller’s Edition Scotch when we arrived. He consented to talk to us as long was didn’t ask why he left the gigolo business for the low-paying career of a writer.

Newspaper: Do you come here often?

Campbell: It’s my second home.

Newspaper: You’ve done wonders with the place.

Campbell: My designer loves the concept of belligerent neglect.

Newspaper: Now that we’ve gotten the ambiance of our setting out of the way, do you have any secrets you want to tell us?

Campbell: I’m not the same guy who raced cars in the U.K or the guy who wrote The Hero With a Thousand Faces.

Newspaper: We didn’t think you were. Got anything else, something that will make a scandalous headline?

Campbell: I was an Eagle Scout.

Newspaper: Good Lord, are you serious? You’re such a badass, nobody would suspect you once worked on merit badges and gone on camping trips.

Campbell: You’re the first person I’ve told other than my mother.

Newspaper: So, now that you’ve finished Fate’s Arrows, what are you working on now?

Campbell: A tell-all about how to use time travel for fun and profit.

Newspaper: Aren’t you afraid most people will think it’s another contemporary fantasy being released under the fiction that it’s really nonfiction?

Campbell: Most of the world’s nonfiction never happened. Most novels are true. So in this case, readers who think the book is really fiction are ahead of the game.

Newspaper: What game?

Campbell: The game we’re playing right now where you ask me questions, I tell you lies, and you print them in the feature section of your newspaper as God’s honest truth. 

Newspaper: So, when it comes down to it, this interview is a farce.

Campbell: Pretty much. But it serves a need. The readers think they know more about me than they did before even though they suspect they’re being played for suckers.

Newspaper: One is born every minute.

Campbell: More than that, I think.

Newspaper: Are you this messed up in “real life”?

Campbell: If there were such a thing as “real life,” I would hope so. But there isn’t, so I’m not. Readers who suspect “real life” isn’t real are drawn to my books because they want to know why everything is always in a mess, so the best I can do is offer them a way to escape the illusion of the daily news.

–Stargazer News Service

 

 

Need Help Christmas Shopping

If you have put off your Christmas shopping until the last minute, here are a few ideas from your host (AKA, me) for your quality friends. Books, of course, because books are what I do.

Special Investigative Reporter

This book can be classified as a sarcastic, satirical humorous mystery. It’s a great book for people who like to laugh and who also happen to distrust authority–as my main character Jock Stewart does.  And as I do. Jock is probably my favorite protagonist because he reminds me of me, the kind of guy who’s likely to say anything to anybody, especially people who are really full of themselves.

Fate’s Arrows

This is my most recent novel, the fourth in my Florida Folk Magic Series which began with Conjure Woman’s Cat. I’m partial to the series because it’s set where I grew up, with places and people I knew.

Continue reading “Need Help Christmas Shopping”

Glacier Park Montana Books

Geology Along the Going-to-the-Sun-Road

I worked as an editorial assistant on the first edition (1983) of this book that uses photographs and a fold-out map to show ripple marks and fossil evidence of ancient times in the rock formations along Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road. I’m happy to see that the book’s new edition (2018) by Teagan Tomlin maintains the best features of the original while adding new photographs and updates.

From the Publisher

With this newly updated colorful and lively guide, Glacier National Park visitors can take a self-guided tour of the fascinating geological events that created the park’s majestic scenery.  Complete with an easy-to-read map that offers a three-dimensional perspective on the area’s geology.  Geology Along Going-to-the-Sun Road gives lay readers and geologists alike a unique opportunity to get behind-the-scenery at 21 stops along this famous highway. 

The Park’s red bus tours mention the large scale geology of the park from its cirque lakes to its glacier-carved arêtes. But they don’t usually mention the smaller evidence of the past within the rock itself. This is a wonderful guide for those traveling Sun Road in their cars or on their bicycles. Or, on foot.

The book includes information about the park’s rock formations, the Lewis thrust fault, and the actions of weathering and glaciation over time.

Malcolm

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell author to return after 16-year gap

Sixteen years after readers were introduced to the magical world of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke is to publish her second novel.

Source: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell author to return after 16-year gap | Books | The Guardian

Her first novel seemingly came out of nowhere, sold four million copies, and then she was silent except for a short piece linked to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

I can absolve 2020 for some of its crimes because of the upcoming publication of Piranesi.

Publisher’s Description

Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house-a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.

Personally, I classify this book for lovers if magic and fantasy as a book not to be missed.

–Malcolm

Too much sex in novels is boring

When we were growing up, we occasionally heard about sex books that were banned everywhere. “Banned everywhere” meant those books were must-read novels. We were usually disappointed because they focused on a bunch of people having various kinds of scandalous sex for hundreds of words. Yawn

In some of these books, having sex was the plot. In some books, there was a plot–let’s say it was about the good guys vs. the bad guys–that was constantly interrupted by people stopping to have sex. Of course, when you’re in middle school or high school, you don’t care about the plot.

Since most of us didn’t have a lot of experience (sex-wise) in those days, people in the books were constantly doing stuff many of us couldn’t figure out. Needless to say, we couldn’t ask our English teachers or parents what those characters were doing. It would be like reading a book that mentions the Cardi B song WAP (go look it up if you haven’t heard about it) and then going to mom and saying, “Exactly what is WAP?”

There are a few popular novelists writing decent books that keep bogging things down with sex. These books have actual plots. Whenever the plot is about to take an important move forward, the protagonist gets an attack of lust and the action stops while s/he has a night to remember with somebody s/he just met five minutes earlier.

I want to write to the authors that do this and suggest they put the sex in the footnotes. I’m sure it’s there to sell books. But it really messes up the storyline. Maybe I’m just getting old and find no joy anymore reading about gratuitous sex in the back seat of a Buick or even in a $1000-per-night hotel room.

In high school, such things were WOW. Today, they’re as boring as watching a fly standing on the ceiling.  Occasionally, I find an author who knows how to write about sex and, well, it’s like a miracle. But those books are few and far between.

When I was a kid, I found it amusing whenever a book was banned to hear that a long line of educators, philosophers, priests, etc., had read the book and wanted to protect the rest of us from reading the book. The same thing is happening today with WAP. Important people keep “accidentally” hearing the song or seeing the video and telling the rest of us how appalled they were.

I’ve never figured out how somebody accidentally reads a scandalous book or sees a scandalous music video. Perhaps I should take comfort in the fact that those people are trying to shield me from the bad stuff.

Malcolm

 

 

Time machines really don’t cost that much

In 1960, one of my favorite movies was “The Time Machine” based on H. G. Wells’ novel. Perhaps it was the slight crush I had on Yvette Mimieux (unrequited love) or perhaps it was my attunement with old legends about time travel, but the film remains a favorite even though it’s very dated by now.

Now we’re learning more and more about how astronomers’ observations are verifying Einstein’s theories of space/time. My focus on time is more mystic and speculative than science, but I have always thought that one day we would figure out how to do it without breaking Star Trek’s Temporal Prime Directive that prohibits interfering with cultures in a time frame earlier than our own.

For now, though, I’m content to use my imagination as a time machine when I write as well as when I read. My work in progress is set in 1955. Whether it’s the writing or the ongoing research of the period, I feel like I’m bouncing back and forth between 2020 and the 1950s. I feel the same way when I read whether it’s Southern Gothic, which I like a lot, or mainstream historical novels.

I believe in past lives, though I do think they’re occurring simultaneously with our current lives and “future” lives. Aside from that, books do have a powerful ability to transport us to other times and places. How easy it is to fall under the spell of a book or film set in another time and (while reading/viewing) take everything we see and hear as a reality we want to experience.

Do you feel this way when you read? Do you suddenly “see” a period in our nation’s past (or some other nation’s past) as more real than you did before you began the novel? I usually do. It’s almost like magic.

Malcolm