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.

‘Child of Sorrow’ audiobook edition released today.

Thomas-Jacob Publishing has released the audiobook edition of book three in Melinda Clayton’s “Tennessee Delta Series” Child of Sorrow. The paperback and e-book editions were released in June; the audio edition is narrated by Brett Leach. The novel is also available in hardcover.

From the Publisher

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.

The cover link above takes you to the Audible listing page. You can also find the audiobook listed on Amazon here. The story will keep you occupied while you’re in quarantine, lockdown, or simply relaxing at home after a busy day.

–Malcolm

New title: ‘Child of Sorrow’ by Melinda Clayton

Thomas-Jacob Publishing has released the third title in Melinda Clayton’s “Tennessee Delta Series,” Child of Sorrow. Currently available as an e-book, the novel will appear in additional formats as soon as printer supply chains return to normal.

Prior books in the series are: Blessed are the Wholly Broken (2013) and A Woman Misunderstood (2016).

From the Publisher

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.

I was a beta reader for this novel and enjoyed the experience and the story.

–Malcolm

All of my books from Thomas-Jacob Publishing are available in hardcover

I like the way they look on my bookshelf: Sarabande, Conjure Woman’s Cat, Eulalie and Washerwoman, Lena, Widely Scattered Ghosts, and Special Investigative Reporter.

En route to becoming hardcovers, each book requires a cover design and that’s a bit tricky because the size and layout of the cover depend on the number of pages in the book. The cover for A Distant Flame certainly won’t fit on a Southern Storm or A Stillness at Appomattox. Unlike the paperback, there’s also the space on the front and back cover flaps to consider as well. The dust jacket proof looks like this:

If you plan to keep a book and read it multiple times, hardbacks usually last a lot longer than paperbacks. Of course, that makes them suitable for libraries. Unfortunately, libraries don’t usually keep the book jackets. Traditionally, the purpose of the book jacket was to protect the book, but we haven’t figured out how to protect the book jackets from library patrons who often use the flaps as bookmarks (and other crimes).

Technically, I know how the dust jacket should be set up. But, practically speaking, forget it. That’s one of the many reasons those of us at Thomas-Jacob Publishing are lucky to have, in Melinda Clayton, a managing editor who bit the bullet–or a handful of bullets–and mastered the nitty-gritty details. Clayton, who is also an outstanding author (Appalachian Justice), does all the interior book formatting for each edition of each book as well as the covers. Thank you, Melinda!

Since she’s just finished up all the work for Special Investigative Reporter, I’m going to let some time go by before I suggest that my next novel might be as large as Southern Storm (see photo above).

Malcolm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bees vs Wasps, Soccer, Tennis, and More Hardcover Releases from Thomas-Jacob

  • When I got stung by 8 wasps several weeks ago, I didn’t expect my wife to try to top my experience. Okay, now she’s in first place with 23 aggressive bumblebee stings. She was mowing high grass and brush and hit a hidden nest. I took her to the ER where the folks at Rome, Georgia’s Redmond Hospital couldn’t have been nicer or more responsive. We were there about an hour while they put her on an IV of Epinephrine, Benadryl, saline, and a steroid of some kind. She has lots of swollen places and the expected amount of itching.
  • Great news about the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team beating the Netherlands. I wish them luck in their lawsuit that seeks to equalize prizes and pay between their teams and the men’s teams. There’s no excuse for paying the women a pittance.
  • Today is grocery store day for me, so I was happy that Serena William’s Wimbledon match was set for 8 a.m. She won. That started my day off on a positive note.
  • Among the most recent hardback releases from Thomas-Jacob are the new editions of Melinda Clayton’s four-book Cedar Hollow Series that begins with Appalachian Justice.  This is a highly popular series.

 

  • Being cheap, I waited until The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton came out in trade paperback to buy a copy. I’ve enjoyed the book primarily because it focuses on the problem of cyber-warfare as a real issue that could totally disable the government, military, and commerce of a nation. A very readable book.
  • My upcoming Special Investigative Reporter, a satirical novel about (guess what) an investigative reporter, is working its way through editing, formatting, cover design, and a book trailer. More about that later. Here’s a snippet:

The meatloaf was surprisingly lousy. It was the kind of meatloaf Aunt Edna fixed Jock when he was an innocent kid on or about the time when she was losing track of things such as who he actually was and what ingredients belonged in the food.

  • Thanks to all of you who have been posting reviews on Audible for the audio editions of Conjure Woman’s Cat, Eulalie and Washerwoman, and Lena.
  • Gosh, you’d think a name-brand dryer would last more than 18 months. Ours stopped working last night. We can air dry (ha ha) stuff, but there’s no heat. If it were older, we’d simply replace it, but we’re not like those people who buy new cars whenever the ashtrays get full. First, the bee attack and the ER, and now the dryer quits. Typical trickster crap from the universe.

Malcolm

Reminding Readers About Your Previous Books on Facebook

When a small-press or self-published author announces a new book on Facebook, s/he has a reason for posting information about it. When early reviews come in, there’s an opportunity for more posts. So, too, later on if the book is a finalist or a winner in a competition. Giveaways and book sales also help get the word out.

But once a book is several novels or poetry collections into the past, it becomes more difficult to think of relevant things to say that don’t sound like SPAM.

My publisher, Thomas-Jacob Publishing, has helped fix that problem by creating Facebook cover pictures that display all of an author’s titles. Sometimes the book covers are arranged with an interesting background; sometimes they appear on shelves. These covers can sit at the top of an author’s profile or page for weeks or months, keeping previous titles in the public eye during times when there’s no legitimate news to post about the older titles. Or, as in Melinda Clayton’s cover photo, you can use a quotation from an earlier book.

Here’s the batch for the holidays for Malcolm R. Campbell, Smoky Zeidel, Robert Hays, Sharon Heath, and Melinda Clayton:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Natterings: Yard work, Diagon Alley, NPR poetry, and Melinda

A selection of stuff for the blog today because my bad cold makes me too tired to write an exciting post. However, we will be speaking of magic again soon.

  1. Parked in the garage this week.

    The yard is out of control. If you have a yard, you know what this means. My wife and I planned to rein in the unruly grass and encroaching weeds even though we hadn’t yet recovered from our one-week trip with family to Disney World and Universal Studios. But then it rained. Dang, we had to postpone our yard work. Several days ago, somebody didn’t secure the pasture gate and we found our yard full of cattle. Not the first time this has happened. They ate some of the grass before we chased them back into the pasture.

  2. While in the Orlando area, I was lucky to finally meet

    Melinda Clayton of Thomas-Jacob Publishing.

    my publisher whom I’d worked with on line for quite a while but had never met in real life. Great times at a cool restaurant in Sanford. Her husband, my wife, my brother and my brother’s wife were there as well.

  3. Speaking of my publisher, Melinda will be happy to know that I finally ran out of excuses and have added new scenes to Lena, the upcoming third book in my Florida Folk Magic Series. The series begins with Conjure Woman’s Cat.
  4. NPR wants you to fill Twitter with “your haikus, tankas, limericks and the nonsensical, and we’ll feature some of our favorite bite-sized verses online and on the air.” Learn more here.
  5. FROM MY FACEBOOK AUTHOR’S PAGE: Napoleon Hill’s statement that “Whatever The Mind Can Conceive And Believe, The Mind Can Achieve” separates, I think, those who succeed from those

    Original cover. The 1902 book is still in print.

    who don’t–this depends on how one defines “succeed.” Or, as James Allen wrote many hears ago, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” Everything I know about magic can be based upon these and similar statements. Whether one is talking about magic or the processes of daily living, many people limit these statements because they either don’t see that people are more powerful than they know or because both statements force a person to acknowledge his/her responsibility for his/her “lot in life.”

  6. Photo from the trip: Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. There were long lines, of course, but it was fun seeing this re-creation as well as my two granddaughters’ reaction to it. They each bought an interactive wand which, if you used it just right, made things happen in many of the store windows.

Have a good week.

–Malcolm

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive a free book

Thomas-Jacob Publishing is offering free copies of Melinda Clayton’s novel Making Amends to those who sign-up for our newsletter via the InstaFreebie site. This offer is good through the end of this month.

Just enter you name and e-mail address, and then choose the file type you want: MOBI, EPUB, or PDF.

We promise not to send you a deluge of stuff. We hope you’ll like what we do send: announcements of new books, a few poems, and a bit of news.

I enjoyed reading Making Amends. Here’s the publisher description from Amazon:

On a beautiful fall evening, in the middle of a game of hide-and-seek, five-year-old Bobby Clark is kidnapped by his estranged father, a shiftless man with a history of domestic violence and drug abuse. Bobby’s twin brother Ricky watches, terrified, from his hiding place behind the bougainvillea, while mother Tabby, who also struggles with addiction, lies inebriated on the living room floor. Bobby isn’t seen by his loved ones again until a fateful morning twenty-five years later, when video of his arrest dominates the morning news. He has been charged with the murder of his father, but before the trial can begin, he manages to escape. As Tabby and Ricky absorb the news of Bobby’s return and subsequent escape, Tabby is convinced he’ll come home to the quiet Florida street from which he was taken so long ago. But when events begin to spiral out of control, she’s left to wonder: is a child born to be evil, or shaped to be evil? And in the end, when it’s time to make amends, does it really matter?

I hope you enjoy the book and the Thomas-Jacob newsletter. The next issue should be out near the end of this month.

–Malcolm

 

 

 

Kindle 99-cent sale today on four books

On Sale January 20th from Thomas-Jacob Publishing

 

historyof
Few of the eccentric inhabitants of her father’s Main Line, Philadelphia estate have much time for Fleur Robins, an awkward child with a devotion to her ailing grandfather, a penchant for flapping and whirling, and a preoccupation with God and the void. While her mother spends much of her time with her hand curled around a wine glass and her abusive father congratulates himself for rescuing babies from “the devil abortionists,” Fleur mourns the fallen petals of a rose and savors the patterns of light rippling across the pool. When she fails to save a baby bird abandoned in her garden, a series of events unfold that change everything.

appalachianjustice

Billy May Platte is a half Irish, half Cherokee Appalachian woman who learned the hard way that 1940s West Virginia was no place to be different. As Billy May explains, “We was sheltered in them hills. We didn’t know much of nothin’ about life outside of them mountains. I did not know the word lesbian; to us, gay meant havin’ fun and queer meant somethin’ strange.”

 

cwc

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.

 

bloodonroses

 

In 1955, at the height of alarm over the Emmett Till murder in Mississippi and after the Supreme Court ruling against school segregation, Associated Press reporter Rachel Feigen travels from Baltimore to Tennessee to report on a missing person case. Guy Saillot’s last contact with his family was a postcard from the Tennessee Bend Motel, a seedy establishment situated on beautiful Cherokee Lake. But they have no record he was ever a guest.