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Posts tagged ‘Mountain Song’

Thanks for the downloads

Recently, I did free Kindle promotions for my novels Mountain Song and At Sea. Once these run their course, it’s nice to check my Kindle dashboard and see that people downloaded multiple copies.

Thank you.

Even when copies are free or reduced in price, an author is also asking you for your time. And you have a lot to choose from when mainstream author/big publisher books are in the mix of choices. There’s so much talk about mainstream authors, it’s hard not to be tempted, Goodness knows, I read a lot of those books like everyone else!

I found out today that my dark short story “Shock Treatmen” is a semifinalist in Tulip Tree Publishing’s Stories That Need to Be Told contest. That’s unexpected good news.

Malcolm

 

Sunday’s this, that, and another thing

The hormone therapy that precedes that forty days of radiation treatments for my little cancer problem is expensive (thank goodness for medicare) and as I look at the side effects of each medication they give me, it’s like spinning the wheel of fortune and/or fate trying to guess which annoying effect will affect me. When the nurse asked me Friday, if I was depressed about the cancer, I said, “No, just aggravated.”

Some books, such as those by James Patterson, I read to get away from it all, including nurses who ask if I’m depressed. Others–usually fantasy or magical realism–I read because they really are my cup of tea. One way or another, they not only hold my interest but are inspiring. The latest was Gwendolyn Womack’s The Fortune Teller. I’ve had it around for a while, so I finally decided to re-read it and found it just as interesting the second time through.

About the time I’d recovered from my 6-8 wasp stings and my wife had recovered from her 23 bumblebee stings, the rains came. So, the yard was already out of control and now it’s been too wet to mow for the last week. At least the thunderstorms created a break from the heatwave; I noticed on the weather channel that the temperatures in Maryland where my daughter and her family live were higher than ours here in Georgia.

Coming Soon

My publisher Thomas-Jacob uploaded the trailer to my upcoming novel Special Investigative Reporter to YouTube today. So, that tells you the release date is fast approaching. You can see the trailer here. Since I recently re-acquired my rights to the book from its original publisher (under another title some years ago), this seemed like a good time to come out with a brand new edition with cool cover art. Completely different from the magical realism of my Florida Folk Magic Series, this novel is a mystery/thriller/satire.

I liked the AudioFile review of Holly Palance’s narration of the audiobook edition of Lena. Strange to see, the audio edition has more reviews on Audible than the paperback/e-book have on Amazon. The ratings are pretty good, too.

I’m sure many of those running for President in 2020 read this blog, so I’ll send them a group message here: daily e-mails that say “Malcolm, we really need you to chip in before midnight to support our campaign” are really starting to tick me off. Each e-mail reduces the likelihood you’ll get my vote. You’ve been warned.

My novel Mountain Song will be free on Kindle from July 22 through July 26. Set in Montana and Florida, the novel is somewhat based on my experiences in Glacier National Park. The sequel, At Sea, is also available on Kindle and is somewhat based on Vietnam War experiences aboard an aircraft carrier stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’re aware of my family’s Scots ancestry. My brother and his wife are planning a trip to Scotland in August and invited us along. We thought about that for a long time, but finally said we didn’t think we’d be able to handle the scheduling. I hate missing the trip, but I’m glad the force was with us when we said: “we better not do it.” Had we said yes, the cancer radiation treatments that begin August 1 would have made it impossible to go. Quite likely, some expensive plane tickets would have been cancelled. Ifrinn fhuilteach as we say in Gàidhlig (Scots Gaelic).

Malcolm

 

 

 

‘Mountain Song’ Excerpt – and this one happens to be true

The Great Northern Empire Builder carried them east of the mountains across the hi-line plains where space invites and old memories die hard between the dry and the cold.

His destination: Chicago, Illinois, for the upcoming term at the University of Chicago. Anne’s destination: Carrabelle, Florida, for the upcoming term at Florida State University in nearby Tallahassee. Anne changed trains in Chicago, taking the Seminole to Albany, Georgia, where her aunt met her in the Willys for the slow drive down to the coast and the fading double-wide with the flamingo-colored screen porch. After dropping Anne off at the IC Station, David took their cab down to 95th Street for dinner at Mickelberry’s before going back to the campus.

The 440 miles from the Rocky Mountain Front to the North Dakota border were Jayee’s realm, the whole of earth, a corridor of tracks, power lines and the pale parallel pavement of U.S. Highway 2 through the once unfettered domain of bison and sovereign nations until T-shaped railroad towns and cattle and wheat and oil and gas proved up the stolen land into the modern day, until the monuments to the new progress, grain elevators and water towers, rose up to touch the sky.

The towns, so many names—Browning, Havre, Glasgow, Wolf Point, Culbertson, Williston, Minot, Fargo, Wilmar, Minneapolis—carried lives past the wide windows of the Great Dome Coach #1326 where they were wrapped in a five-point Hudson’s Bay blanket and suspended animation, interrupted only by hurried snacks in the Ranch Car Crossley Lake with the B-Bar-N brand above the entrance and dinners in the diner where the “Mountains and Flowers” pattern on the china reminded them with each bite what they were leaving behind; and then, Chicago, Hog Butcher for the World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler; Stormy, husky, brawling City of the Big Shoulders; “They tell me you are wicked and I believe them,” but the poet’s words were inconsequential to them as they arrived at Union Station at 2 p.m.

The sunlight exploded from the center of their world outward when the Checker Marathon taxi careened up the ramp out of the depths of the station onto Clinton Street, turned east on Jackson, and raced toward the lake. They sat close in the cavernous back seat. They did not talk. Anne held David’s hand and looked past him into the glare where buildings flew. Her shoulder was pressed against his; her left hip and left leg were pressed against his right hip and right leg. But she would not let him have her eyes, not yet. The place was foreign, the town, the taxi, the moment. David didn’t know how to behave. Everything was already said and done.

South down Michigan Avenue past the green of the park, he saw the station before she did. Almost liquid in the afternoon light, the clock tower flowed westward away from the green and black Illinois Central logo toward 12th Street. The cab turned into the U-shaped drive. He ran his outstretched fingers up the back of her neck into her hair. She leaned against the flat of his hand. Before she looked up, the driver was already out of the car hauling suitcases toward an elderly Redcap with yesterday’s beard.

“We have until four forty-five,” he told her.

“I can’t draw this out,” she whispered. She pressed her hands against the front of his shirt and smiled. “Yes, you still have my ring on a silver chain around your neck. I like it there.”

“If it weren’t so small, I’d wear it on my little finger.”

Finally, he found himself within the focus of her eyes for mere instants; that was all she had.

He retrieved the silver bracelet he’d purchased for her on a day trip to Lethbridge, and she allowed him to wrap it around her right ankle. Then she slid across the seat, and exhaust fumes from a passing shuttle bus filled the cab when she opened the door and got out. She stuck her head back inside and kissed him.

“I’ll be stone cold dead before anyone removes this bracelet,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”

“Thank you.”

“I have an answer to the question you asked me while we were eating hamburgers in the Ranch Car.” He saw a sparkle in her eyes and smiled.

“Speak.”

“My answer is a no-holds-barred, unconditional, leap-of-faith ‘yes,’” she said.

“Hot damn,” shouted the cab driver.

“Okay,” she said, “it’s also a big hot damn of a ‘yes.’”

“Kiss her, stupid,” their driver suggested.

Copyright © 2010, 2013, 2017 by Malcolm R. Campbell

A few books for your to-be-read list!

FREE: ‘Mountain Song’ by Malcolm R. Campbell

This Kindle e-book, regularly priced at $7.99, will be free on Amazon November 15-17, 2018.

As I hear it, summer romances are usually bittersweet. Mine was. They begin with a surprise, evolve into passion, turn sad and desperate at summer’s end, and then in spite of promises and best intentions, they often fade away. Perhaps the two lovers in Mountain Song will beat the odds.

Description

David Ward lives in the Montana mountains where his life was impacted by his medicine woman grandmother and his utilitarian grandfather. Anne Hill suffered through childhood abuse and ultimately moved in with her aunt on the edge of a Florida swamp. Their summer romance at a mountain resort hotel surprises both of them. But can they make it last after the initial passion wears off and they return to their college studies far apart from each other especially after an attack on a college street changes Anne forever?

The settings in this book are real. The mountains are those of Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana. The swamp is the notorious Tate’s Hell Swamp along the gulf coast in the Florida Panhandle.

 

Current Promotions – Malcolm R. Campbell

  • The Kindle edition of Lena, the third novel in the Florida Folk Magic trilogy, is the prize in an Amazon sweepstakes that runs through August 22. Four copies are available. The winners will be selected at random when the sweepstakes ends and sent to those with the winning entries by Amazon. There’s no purchase necessary. Entrants will be asked to follow my Amazon author’s page which is something I know you want to do anyway. Click on the book cover to go to the sweepstakes page.
  • The Kindle edition of Mountain Song, a Montana novel with a few scenes in the Florida Panhandle, is Free on Amazon between August 16 and August 20. David, who grows up on a Montana sheep ranch and wants to spend his life climbing mountains, meets Anne Hill from Florida who is a child of the state’s swamps and blackwater rivers. They meet as seasonal hotel employees at Glacier National Park. A summer romance begins. But will it last?
  • The Kindle edition of At Sea, a Vietnam War novel and the sequel to Mountain Song, is free on Amazon between August 18 and August 21. David is assigned to an aircraft carrier serving on Yankee Station off the coast of Vietnam. This book was inspired by my time aboard the carrier USS Ranger (CVA-61).

Good luck and enjoy the books.

Malcolm

Magical Realism – an example

Readers of my novels Conjure Woman’s Cat and Eulalie and Washerwoman know those stories are magical realism. This afternoon, I’ve been looking for examples of magical realism to post here to dispel the misguided notion that magical realism is a subset of fantasy (as Amazon, among others categorize it). I couldn’t find what I wanted, partly because showing you enough to illustrate my point here that the magic in magical realism is just as real as the realism, would have forced me to show you passages long enough to be considered copyright infringement.

So, even though I guess it’s shameless promotion, I’ll show you a passage from my Kindle novel Mountain Song. The passage first appeared in print in a complex novel called Garden of Heaven self-published in 2010. My previous publisher suggested I make it easier for readers to attempt by splitting it into three novels. I was never happy with the resulting books published in 2013.

The problem was basically that the publisher wanted me to edit and re-configure the books as fantasy. I said they weren’t fantasy, they were magical realism. The publisher’s response to that was dismissive, that I was full of myself and thought my work was good enough to be considered “literary fiction” because that’s what magic realism was: a fru-fru synonym for fantasy.  We had many heated arguments about this, all of which I lost since I was under contract. I had to complete the trilogy. When it didn’t sell, the publisher and I agreed to pull it from the market.

The following excerpt is part of the main character’s vision quest on a mountain at the edge of the plains. While he’s standing on the mountain top, an eagle (Píta) picks him up and throws him down onto the plains where a black horse (Sikimí) appears with ideas of his own.

Excerpt

Píta dropped him like a frail aspen leaf upon a flat rock in the center of the prairie. A shroud of rain obscured the mountains and moved east. He stood, confused, favoring his left foot. When he saw Eagle suspended midway between the unnatural yellow sky and the unnatural yellow earth, he heard a faint call, high-pitched and strung tight across the chasm between clouds and prairie, then suddenly brilliant, enveloping and histaminic. What he heard in this wide lonely place was the clear, unmistakable voice of his grandmother, raised to the heavens in laughter on that long-ago day when Jayee shouted “holy shit” at a cow in the road in the great mountain’s shadow.

If he could walk west, if he could walk west to the highway, following the laugh his grandmother laughed when the world intruded, (laughter is sanity’s last defense, she told him so often) the laugh he heard now like a true beacon due west and ten years back, the laugh for which she was rightfully proud, her great opus written for flute crying, coyote yapping, bulls rutting, if he could follow this laugh west, then to the highway, then south to the crossroads store and the phone on the far side of the storm, great cauldron of probabilities and worlds, then he would survive this, all of this, this, this. He took stock of himself and laughed. The burnished steel puddle at his feet flung back a tiny caricature of a man, half drawn, beneath the immenseness of all else. He was cold. He smelled bad, too, reminiscent of dog shit and goat piss. If this was shock, then he would make the most of it. In the stinging spray of the first rain drops, he leapt forward, laughing, onto his left foot, and it felt good, damn good.

With each step, he pulled strength out of the soil. He began to run, and in spite of his heavy climbing boots, he felt light and fine. This was effortless; he was in his prime. He danced around the edge of a dry gully; he was smiling and thinking he had it in him to run past the telephone at the crossroads store, past Babb and St. Mary, of course, that would be easy, and then over the continental divide at Marias Pass, after which it would be downhill all the way home to Alder Street and the buff-colored house with the white picket fence.

And then it was the horse.

Sikimí burst out of the rain. He was a terror, a daemon, that one, pulling storms. David’s strength rushed back into the stony earth like water from a flushed toilet. Those eyes—deep sweet rage—rose and fell, rose and fell, in ecstasy, in pain, synchronized with breath and muscled strides. There was no cover. He flung off his shirt, focused his tumbling thoughts with the pure tones of vowels, climbed naked bedrock between forks of a creek, felt a clean tension in his hands and forearms, felt Earth’s heat climb his legs, forced breath and a strident growl from his burning throat, and exploded into silver fire in the shape of a man.

The horse came on, without pause.

“Aiá, Kyáiopokà, Stookatsis.” Eagle streamed out of the pale overcast east of the rain and dropped the lariat vine into David’s waiting hands.

He made a large loop, wrapped the loose end around a knob of rock like a climber’s belay, and let gravity take his weight down into the pain of his left ankle. This was good. This was his new anchor. Sikimí was twenty yards away when the storm swept around from the north and swallowed the prairie whole. All sounds were rain, and grey.

Then, screams, hooves pawing scree, Sikimí’s head shooting up out of boiling shadows, striking into the pain of his broken ankle like a snake and sliding away into the depths, except for the eyes which hung for great moments like molten saucers of gold on a black table. David dropped to his knees, the vine in front of him puny and limp on the stone. Before he could think, or spit rain and curses, those eyes rose up like the birth of fire and Sikimí’s breath seared his face.

When all was lost, he jumped forward with the Stookatsis noose in his hands, fell into the center of an ocean of rain, and grabbed Sikimí’s neck. The mane blew into his mouth. He gagged on seaweed. Salt scraped his eyes blind. His hands pulled a raw cry from the horse’s throat. For just moments, the vine around the rock restrained the thrashing beast and David was able to swing up onto his back. Then hell hit with no mercy.

Sikimí spun, twisted, tore the air, shook the prairie with his rage, slid through rocks and mud into the creek, transforming the rising torrent into high foam. David coiled the flapping loose end of the vine around his right hand and arm and clawed the mane with his left. His thighs and calves ached against the horse’s flanks. In the rain and the dark, those eyes spawned lighting, followed by belched thunder across the rank grass. Those teeth were into his legs again and again, until he jammed his heavy climbing boots against the side of the horse’s head. He was breaking Sikimí’s jaw, shattering the huge mandible into elemental powder, screaming forbidden words with each kick, again and again, until he saw what he had done, and slumped down against the hot neck and whispered, “There boy, there boy, you goddamn son of a bitch.”

Thwarted, Sikimí ran. He ran and the rain cut into David’s face like old knives. He ran and the contour lines rose and fell in a grey blur beneath his feet. He ran and David felt an uncommon exhilaration. Irreverent of the land, he ran west into the deeper storm where rain and cloud coalesced into a palpable sea. The dulled colors of a spilt rainbow, elongated like taffy pulled to the breaking point, swirled past on a cold tide. Shimmering schools of light darted and feinted in great unisons between the shadows of hill and dale.

When Black Horse ran, he ran with long, graceful strides and the passion of lovers. When Black Horse ran with long, graceful strides and the passion of lovers, his movements created a dance choreographed to the music of drums deep in the earth. David heard the music between his legs as uncommon heat and released his grip on Sikimí’s neck. He heard shrill notes and dissonant chords burn upward along his spine like fire on a short fuse and he released the noose and saw it float away into the blue grass. Now then, he was pain personified. Now then, in the overwhelming face of it all, he, David Ward, was dancer and dance; now then, he was a woman straining in tears and blood to give birth, he was a dark haired child straining in sunshine to pull his playground swing above the tree tops; now then, he was a man in his prime breathing hard beneath weights; now then, he was Eagle traversing the hyacinthine blue where air and sight are pure; now then, he was Black Horse leaping the western horizon; now then, when he could see and he could feel, there appeared in his path dreams, first as curtains of light, then with depth and breadth and movement where Sikimí tore them apart in dance.

(Copyright (c) 2010 by Malcolm R. Campbell)

If this were fantasy, it wouldn’t be happening in the very real world of Montana. If this were figurative, I would say, “it was as if the eagle dropped him on the plains” and “it was as though the black horse leapt out of the rain.” I don’t say such things because the scene is just as real as the mountain trails I use in the novel.

Malcolm

My new magical realism novel, “Lena,” will be release August 1 by Thomas-Jacob Publishing, a company that knows the difference between fantasy and magical realism.

 

 

‘Mountain Song’ book giveaway

My Kindle novel Mountain Song will be free on Amazon April 5-April 7, 2018.

Description: David Ward lives in the Montana mountains where his life was impacted by his medicine woman grandmother and his utilitarian grandfather. Anne Hill suffered through childhood abuse and ultimately moved in with her aunt on the edge of a Florida swamp. Their summer romance at a mountain resort hotel surprises both of them. But can they make it last after the initial passion wears off and they return to their college studies far apart from each other especially after an attack on a college street changes Anne forever?

This story begins and ends in the high country of Montana where David and Anne meet as college students working as seasonal employees at a resort hotel. In today’s terms, they would probably call themselves soul mates. Yet  summer romances are usually fragile, almost as though they’re a part of the places where they occur.

Add to that, an attack on a dark street corner while Anne is walking from a movie theater back to her dorm. She won’t let David help her because she believes that to become whole again, she must recover on her own. Both of them make mistakes at an emotional time when there’s no room for making mistakes,

I know this story well because–other than changing names, locations, and moments, it’s true.

Malcolm

News: Free book and a new title

For your consideration when you’re looking for something to read:

  • Mountain Song is free on Kindle December 2 and 3: David Ward lives in the Montana mountains where his life was impacted by his medicine woman grandmother and his utilitarian grandfather. Anne Hill suffered through childhood abuse and ultimately moved in with her aunt on the edge of a Florida swamp. Their summer romance at a mountain resort hotel surprises both of them. But can they make it last after the initial passion wears off and they return to their college studies far apart from each other especially after an attack on a college street changes Anne forever?
  • Quotation: “After a while, the characters I’m writing begin to feel real to me. That’s when I know I’m heading in the right direction.” – Alice Hoffman
  • A Shallow River of Mercy, a new title from Robert Hays, released December 1 by Thomas-Jacob PublishingErnst Kohl has spent nearly half his life in prison after being convicted of murder as a young man. Upon his release, with nowhere else to go, Kohl returns to his old family home on the outskirts of a small Michigan town, hoping for redemption, or at least understanding. He finds a dog, a girlfriend, and a job in quick succession, and it seems as if he might finally be able to leave the past behind and make a quiet life for himself. But some of the residents, including the town’s corrupt deputy sheriff, are less than thrilled to see him, and will stop at nothing to rid the town of its infamous resident. As events hurtle to an inevitable conclusion, Kohl is left to decide: At what point might a man break, and at what cost to himself? 
  • Thanksgiving: I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving or–if needed–survived the relatives. We enjoyed a nice visit with my brother and his wife who drove up from Florida, shared wine and food and a thousand-piece puzzle, and provided a lot of great conversation. The lights and wreath went up (not by themselves) on the front door today while inside we’re wrapping gifts to hand over to the post office, hopefully for delivery.

Malcolm

Summer Sale – Two Free Books

To celebrate the arrival of summer, my companion novels Mountain Song and At Sea are free on Kindle June 22 through June 26.

Mountain Song

David Ward lives in the Montana mountains where his life was impacted by his medicine woman grandmother and his utilitarian grandfather. Anne Hill suffered through childhood abuse and ultimately moved in with her aunt on the edge of a Florida swamp. Their summer romance at a mountain resort hotel surprises both of them. But can they make it last after the initial passion wears off and they return to their college studies far apart from each other especially after an attack on a college street changes Anne forever?

At Sea

Even though he wanted to dodge the draft in Canada or Sweden, David Ward joined the navy during the Vietnam War. He ended up on an aircraft carrier. Unlike the pilots, he couldn’t say he went in harm’s way unless he counted the baggage he carried with him. As it turned out, those back home were more dangerous than enemy fire.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is also the author of Conjure Woman’s Cat and Eulalie and Washerwoman.