‘The Things We Write’ is now available in a paperback edition

You should assume I’m biased when I say this is a beautiful book. What an honor to be part of it. Now it’s out in paperback, supplementing the PDF and e-book editions.

From the Publisher

Seven Thomas-Jacob Publishing, LLC authors bring you 15 of their short stories, excerpts, and poems. Sometimes offbeat, always captivating, the selections include historical fiction, magical realism, crime, psychological suspense, literary fiction, coming of age, and poetry for both children and adults. The works are grouped by author name, not genre, ensuring a surprise each time you turn the page.

Poet Scott Zeidel contributed the cover art. You can also see his artwork on the cover of his collection of poems, Welcome, and in his wife Smoky Zeidel’s book Who’s Munching on my Milkweed.

Malcolm

Sunday’s Goulash

  • Yard Mowing: One thing is certain. When we mow the yard on Saturday, we’re going to be stiff and sore on Sunday. Much of what we’re mowing is old fields rather than a yard. That means when we sit on our riding mowers for a couple of hours, we’re subjecting ourselves to a bone-jarring ride. The picture shows the fields on one side of the house, stretching eastward past the original smokehouse.
  • Call the Midwife:  We’ve been watching this 1950s/60s PBS drama since it first aired in 2012. The writing and acting are compelling, and it’s interesting seeing how medicine and midwives existed somewhat differently than they did during the same time period in the States. At the outset, the program was based on former midwife Jennifer Worth’s memoir of working in East London.
  • Ukraine. I posted a few words about this brutal genocide on my Depot Cafe blog because it’s difficult watching the daily tragedy without feeling angry, sad, and helpless. If I were a poet, I might turn to literature as one way of trying to understand the pointless death and destruction. There’s precedent for Putin’s madness. Stalin orchestrated the terror-famine in 1932 and 1933 that killed millions of Ukrainians. Most of the world views this famine as intentional genocide–just as we view what’s happening now.
  • Thomas-Jacob Publishing Anthology. I hope those of you who would like to read this free book in a PDF, MOBI, or EPUB file have been able to download it from the publisher’s site here. Since the stories, poems, and excerpts are arranged alphabetically by author, my short story “The Smokey Hollow Blues” leads off the collection. Smokey Hollow was a real neighborhood in Tallahassee, Florida, a place I knew about when I was growing up. The city wanted to destroy it via so-called urban renewal, and they did.
  • Cats! Our cats sleep in the bedroom at night. When we turn off the TV late in the evening, they hover around the bedroom door waiting to be let in. Katy sleeps on the bed. Robbie curls up in a box with a towel. They’re kicked out in the morning as soon as one or both of them starts committing infractions. As you can see, I’ve used clip art here rather than any real pictures of the crimes. We’re too sleepy to take pictures at 4:30 a.m.

Malcolm

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

Supporting Wounded Warrior Project

“Veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound while serving in the military on or after September 11, 2001. You are our focus. You are our mission.

Here, you’re not a member – you’re an alumnus, a valued part of a community that’s been where you’ve been, and understands what you need. Everything we offer is free because there’s no dollar value to finding recovery and no limit to what you can achieve.” – Wounded Warrior

According to Wounded Warrior, there are “more than 52,000 servicemen and women physically injured in recent military conflicts. 500,000 living with invisible wounds, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. 320,000 experiencing debilitating brain trauma.”

While I’m a pacifist, I always support our troops and their right to respect and medical care during and after their active duty. They are among the last people who should be allowed to fall through the cracks of what should be our unconditional medical, emotional, and finanial support. 

So I am pleased that my colleague Robert Hays at Thomas-Jacob Publishing is calling attention to those needs by donating the proceeds from his novel An Inchwork Takes Wing to their cause:

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–Malcolm

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.

New Title: ‘An Inchworm Takes Wing’

Thomas-Jacob Publishing has released a new novel by Robert Hays, An Inchworm Takes Wing in Kindle and paperback editions. A hardcover edition will follow in the near future.

Description: 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?

I’m looking forward to reading this!

Malcolm

New novel released today, ‘Fate’s Arrows’

Click here for Amazon editions.

Thomas-Jacob Publishing and Malcolm R. Campbell announce the 9/3/20 release of Fate’s Arrows in paperback and e-book. The hardcover edition will be available soon, The novel is the fourth in the Florida Folk Magic Series.

The novel is also available at Barnes and Noble (web site),  Apple, and Kobo, and will be available soon to bookstores via their Ingram Catalog.

Fate’s Arrows Description

In 1954, the small Florida Panhandle town of Torreya had more Klansmen per acre than fire ants. Sparrow, a bag lady; Pollyanna, an auditor; and Jack, the owner of Slade’s Diner, step on fire ants and Klansmen whenever they can while an unknown archer fires fate-changing arrows at the Klan’s leadership. They are not who they appear to be, and while they take risks, they must be discrete lest they end up in the Klan’s gunsights.

When Julia and Eldon, a married couple from Harlem, New York, run afoul of the Klan because of Eldon’s pro-union stance at the sawmill, they find themselves down at the ancient hanging tree where two policemen, hiding their identity beneath white robes and hoods, are the ones holding the noose.

Meanwhile, Sparrow seems to have disappeared. When the ne’er-do-well Shelton brothers beat up the Klavern’s exalted cyclops because they think he harmed Sparrow, they, too, find themselves the focus of a KKK manhunt.

Bolstered by support from a black cat and an older-than-dirt conjure woman, Pollyanna persists in her fight against the Klan, determined to restore law and order to a town overwhelmed by corruption.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Special Investigative Reporter’ is 99₵ today

The Kindle edition of Special Investigative Reporter, my recently released satire is on sale today on Amazon for 99₵.

Description:

In this satirical and somewhat insane lament about the fall of traditional journalism into an abyss of news without facts, Special Investigative Reporter Jock Stewart specializes in tracking down Junction City’s inept and corrupt movers and shakers for his newspaper The Star-Gazer.

Since Stewart is not a team player, he doesn’t trust anyone, especially colleagues and news sources. Stewart, who became a reporter back in the days when real newsmen were supposed to smoke and drink themselves to death while fighting to get the scoop before their competition sobered up, isn’t about to change.

Stewart’s girlfriend leaves him, the mayor’s racehorse is stolen, people are having sex in all the wrong places (whatever that means), and townspeople have fallen into the habit of sneaking around and lying to reporters and cops. Sure, everyone lies to the cops, but reporters expect gospel truths or else. Stewart may get himself killed doing what he was taught to do in journalism school, but that’s all in a day’s work.

Pithy Quotes from the Novel

“I like a man with a cocked weapon in his trousers.” – Monique Starnes

“Democracy demands that we celebrate the election process at one ball after another. Just think, in some countries, the winners aren’t allowed to have any balls.” – Monique Starnes

“Now Jock, that’s just flat right as rain. But tell the people, especially those in my district, I’m here to serve. No sacrifice is too small that it can’t be ignored. You tell them.” – Councilman Billy Purvis

“Lucinda came in this morning dressed to the nines even though it was only 8:30.” – Coral Snake Smith

“If you can’t bail out with a box of money and perks leaving the little guys to fend for themselves (poor bastards), what’s the point of being a corporate CEO?” – Marcus Cash

“You know, Eddie, it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird, but the law doesn’t prohibit me from clipping its wings.” – Marta Smith

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. – Jock’s opinion.

–Malcolm

Excerpt: ‘LOCAL AUTHOR APOLOGIZES FOR MAKING VIXEN IN NOVEL TOO MUCH LIKE NEIGHBORHOOD VIXEN’

Here’s a brief excerpt from Special Investigative Reporter:

“When he got to the office, the clerk at the information desk told him Marcus wanted him to cover the Cane Molasses press conference over at the Main Street Book Emporium. He (Jock) would know that already if he bothered to answer his phone. Cash had, apparently, left for the day when a police officer located the pickup truck at his house. (The receptionist said she didn’t know whose house she was talking about.)

“After the press conference, he went home and slapped together a news story while waiting for a goat cheese and anchovy pizza to arrive:

 

LOCAL AUTHOR APOLOGIZES FOR MAKING VIXEN IN NOVEL TOO MUCH LIKE NEIGHBORHOOD VIXEN

Cane Molasses apologized at a hastily called press conference here this afternoon to “any and all women” who believe they are or might be the Judy Miracle character in his prize-winning 2008 novel Miracle on 35th Street.

Molasses called the press conference and book signing at the Main Street Book Emporium after an unidentified woman accosted him at his home this morning and accused him of basing the Miracle character on secrets she told him when they stopped for drinks on the way home from an AA meeting.

“I’m involved with dozens of women a year for research purposes,” said Molasses, “and all of them are well compensated. Miracle is a composite character based on Carl Jung’s reformed hooker archetype which is extensively described in his collected works.”

Molasses told the crowd of some 500 adoring fans and one heckler that Miracle is a beautiful fictional character who sees the light just in time to be buried in a high-brow cemetery on 35th Street. While many of his fans purportedly model their lives on Miracle’s story, it was not his intent to suggest Miracle is either every woman or any specific woman.

According to Police Sergeant Wayne Bismarck, nobody was seen leaving the Kroger Store on Edwards Street wearing a sack over their head “any time in recent memory.”

-30-

 

As he finished the story, the pizzeria called and apologized for not sending out the pizza he wanted. Apparently, everyone who tried to make such a thing got sick. He thanked them for their trouble, canceled the order, and ate two diet TV dinners with a glass or two (he lost count after two) of Cabernet.

It was the kind of wine a restaurant like the Purple Platter bought in 55-gallon drums, then used for filling bottles with an “estate bottled” Purple Platter label.

Copyright © 2019 by Malcolm R. Campbell