The vicissitudes of blogging

Publishers and publicists often ask authors who their readers are. The one thing you’re not supposed to do is pick a famous author’s book and say, “People who liked Fire Ants in the Birdbath will love my book.” That’s usually considered arrogant.

If a writer is a blogger, s/he is often asked about the blog’s demographics. If it has a niche, then how many people stop by every day? If it’s more general, what subjects get the most readers and comments?

My answer to the first question usually includes Floridians and/or those who like fantasy, magical realism, and paranormal short stories and novels. My answer to the second is “I get the most hits on stuff I’m not writing about now.”

Currently, most of my visitors are looking at blogs that focus on conjure. I wrote a lot of these when my novel Conjure Woman’s Cat first came out. I wrote these because authors are advised to blog about themes and subject matter from their novels rather than promoting the novels over and over again.

People are searching and reading about graveyard dirt. Makes me wonder if there’s a graveyard dirt scandal going on and folks are looking it up.

When I was writing the conjure posts, they didn’t get as many hits as silly posts, satirical posts, occasional rants, or posts about things going on in my life. Now that I’m writing posts about other subjects–some about my life, some about writing and publishing–those are getting very few hits compared with the massive number of hits on the conjure posts.

Go figure.

This means when it comes to blogging, I have no idea who my readers are except for people who know me in “real life” or on Facebook.  I suppose I should have called this post “Clueless in Georgia.” I wonder if that title would have attracted people from Georgia. Since I’m clueless, I have no idea.


Occasionally, I write something that isn’t fantasy. Examples are the comical satire “Special Investigative Reporter” and the realistic Vietnam war novel “At Sea.”


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 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.