Sunday potpourri on Saturday

  • My contemporary fantasy The Sun Singer will be free on Kindle from March 27 through March 31. This is a hero’s journey novel set in Glacier National Park.
  • I’m happy to say that after having hormone shots every six months to supplement the radiation treatments I had for prostate cancer several years ago, I’m now done with the shots. The last one was Wednesday. They’re worse than tetanus shots when you get them and provide you with a few days of weird after-effects.
  • When I wrote yesterday’s post about sex scenes, I didn’t have space to mention that some authors have plenty of sex in their novels without writing the scenes. They include a lot of innuendoes but never include the actual encounters. One author I’m thinking of here is Stuart Woods whose output includes his series of Stone Barrington novels. Stone jumps into bed with almost every woman he meets, but we never see it happen. The books are basically crime thrillers.
  • While our drip coffee makers last about 12-18 months, our microwave has lasted at least ten years. Now it’s shutting itself off whenever we cook something on high for 10-15 minutes. So, we ordered a new Hamilton Beach and have it ready to go as soon as our trusty Sharp bites the dust. The appliances my parents bought during, or just after, WWII lasted longer than my parents.  I wish today’s products were just as durable.
  • While working on a short story set in Tallahassee, Florida’s former Smokey Hollow neighborhood, I was surprised to hear from people who said they were born and raised in Tallahassee and had never heard of it. Then it occurred to me that the neighborhood was destroyed by “urban renewal” in the 1960s, possibly before the people commenting online were born. If you live in Tallahassee and want to learn more, I found More Than Just a Place to be a handy reference.
  • I like the idea of authors getting together to support Ukraine, offering their signed work for an online auction that will run from March 19 through April 12. Unfortunately, I heard about it too late to get involved  But what a great idea. I hope the auction raises a lot of money to combat the madness coming out of Russia.


On Location: Tallahassee’s John G. Riley Center & Museum

The John Gilmore Riley Center & Museum for African American History & Culture, Inc. is a historical and cultural gem that sits at the bottom of a hill in downtown Tallahassee, at the corner of Meridian and Jefferson Streets. The Riley House was constructed circa 1890 on the fringe of a community called Smokey Hollow. Its owner was a former enslaved man, John Gilmore Riley, rose to prominence as an educator and civic leader. – Museum Website

This beautifully restored Queen Anne house with its wrap-around porches serves as the perfect headquarters for this museum of African American History and Culture. One night say that the home once anchored the east-side community of Smokey Hollow which was lost due to so-called urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s.

Currently on exhibit, Legacy and Learning, an “intergenerational exhibit exploring the history and cultural traditions of everyday life.” Artifacts and art show how everyday appliances and other objects hve changed over time. The museum also features Heritage Education, tours, and history trails. Among the tours is the Smokey Hollow Commemorative Site and its “spirit home” models of the shotgun style houses that made up most of the community.

You might also enjoy the jogging and biking and trails at nearby Cascade Park.

If you live in and/or are visiting Tallahassee, all of this belongs on your things to do list. I was initially surprised when an individual in a Facebook group focusing on Tallahassee said he was born and raised there and had never heard of Smokey Hollow. I realized that the once-vibrant African-American neighborhood has been gone for about sixty years. Those of us who lived there sixty years ago knew about the community as well as the debates in government and the press about getting rid of it. But younger people very easily could be unaware of it. The park and the museum fix that problem.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of short stories and novels, many of which are set in the Florida Panhandle where he grew up.