“Sarabande” by Malcolm R. Campbell

After her sister, Dryad haunts her from beyond the grave for three long and torturous years, Sarabande undertakes a dangerous journey into the past to either raise her cruel sister from the dead, ending the torment or to take her place in the safe darkness of the earth.

Sarabande leaves the mountains of Montana for the cornfields of Illinois on a black horse to seek help from Robert Adams, the once powerful Sun Singer, in spite of Gem’s prophecy of shame. One man tries to kill her alongside a deserted prairie road, one tries to save her with ancient wisdom, and Robert tries to send her away.

Even if she persuades Robert to bring the remnants of his magic to Dryad’s shallow grave, the desperate man who follows them desires the Rowan staff for ill intent… and the malicious sister who awaits their arrival desires much more than a mere return to life. While this fantasy adventure is a sequel to “The Sun Singer,” it can be read as a stand-alone novel. The e-book is available on Kindle with publication of the paperback edition expected August 31.

Excerpt

Gem pulled her hands away and stood up so quickly she knocked over her spinning wheel. She didn’t appear to notice. She walked to the window and leaned out as though making sure no one else would hear her words.

“I was shamed by the king.” Gem pulled up her left sleeve to reveal the letters SJ in a bold pink scar that contrasted with her walnut-colored skin.

“Your strike brand!”

“I bore Justine’s mark as well as his child. Both were conceived in pain in a dark cell covered with urine and rat droppings.” Sarabande went to her, but Gem rolled down the sleeve, covering the ugly mark that signified Sovereign Justine. “No, my friend, I cannot abide your seeing it close at hand. My daughter, though, this doting mother will speak of her at great length if allowed to do so.”

“Cinnabar has shown me her brand,” said Sarabande.

“Discretion is a lesson I was never able to teach her. But listen: on your journey to Osprey’s house, you won’t walk through the domains of kings.”

Sarabande gasped and sat down, suddenly lightheaded when she understood why Gem showed her the scar.

“If there are no kings, what dangers have you seen?”

Gem put her hands on Sarabande’s shoulders and kneaded out the growing knots. Her touch always felt like a touch of power, and she wondered if she shared Osprey’s way with healing magic.

“I have seen a dark creek beneath a bridge on a foggy night. I have heard screams and howls outside my comprehension. I don’t understand it,” said Gem, holding their eye contact as though she understood more than she would say. “Sarabande, you know without my lecturing at great length about the ways of the world. A woman on a lonely road can be a target. Travel with a sharp knife.”

The impromptu massage felt good. The unclear warning did not. Vague predictions were worse than silence. They stirred up what did not need to be stirred up.

“Yes, I know that, Gem. I will carry a knife and take care to have it handy.”

“With due care, you can avoid your fate, but destiny is the way you’ve already written your life’s story.”

“I wanted to walk the sixteen hundred and fifty miles to Osprey’s house long before it occurred to me I would ever do so. If there is to be shame in it, then I will live or die with whatever I find on that lonely road.”

 ***

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of three fantasy novels with primary scenes set in Glacier National Park, Montana. His passion for the Montana high country began when he worked as a bellman for one of the park’s hotels during the summer while in college. He hiked many of the trails, climbed some of the mountains, rode horses into the high country and became thoroughly addicted to the “shining mountains.”

In addition to “Sarabande,” “The Sun Singer,” and “Garden of Heaven: an Odyssey,” he is the author of a non-fiction e-book about the park’s Swiftcurrent Valley, “Bears: Where They Fought.” He lives in Jackson County, Georgia, with his wife Lesa and four feisty cats.

Malcolm’s books are published by Vanilla Heart Publishing and are listed there on his author’s page. He’s been posting about the experience of writing this novel on his Sarabande’s Journey blog.

Click here for an interview with: Malcolm R. Campbell

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Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire by Malcolm R. Campbell — Excerpt #2

Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire
by Malcolm R. Campbell
Vanilla Heart Publishing
ISBN-10: 1935407147
ISBN-13: 978-1935407140

Mainstream humor with a dash of mystery… A throwback to Hollywood’s film noir reporters, Jock Stewart is out of touch with the looming world of digital journalism.

While Stewart goes out of his way to mock those in authority by pretending to kowtow to them, he admits he does his best work by “being an asshole.” A mix of Don Rickles and Don Quixote, Stewart is the man for the job when the skirts are up and the chips are down.

Hard-boiled reporter Jock Stewart wakes up on the morning after the Star-Gazer office party with a hangover and an old flame in his bed and  he cuddles up with the mayor’s wife in the back seat of a 1953 Desoto. Between these defining moments, he investigates the theft of the mayor’s race horse Sea of Fire and the murder of his publisher’s girl friend, Bambi Hill.

Stewart discovers the truth for his news stories via an interview style based on lies, pretense and audacious behavior.

EXCERPT:

          Coral Snake Smith was sitting in his favorite booth at the Purple Platter when Jock got there at 11:45 AM. Smith, who suffered disfiguring burns as a child, ended up with a ruddy, red and yellow complexion that made him unfit for any career other than crime or psychiatry. He dabbled in psychiatry until the review board questioned why 98.6 percent of his male and female patients were diagnosed with an Electra complex. Subsequently, he practiced crime without conviction.

          Now he described himself as a storyteller, an information handler, and an unidentified source. Those who trusted him believed his word was well worth the price of a meal, hash browns scattered and smothered and a Denver omelet. Others hypothesized that he was a stool pigeon.

          Jock sat down on the far side of the duplex table and ordered two usuals when the waitress stopped by after a long vacation on the far side of the near-empty dining room.

          “Dawn will turn on her hustle when the church people get here,” said Smith.

          “True,” said Jock.

          “You could have washed that coffee off your face and put on a clean shirt,” said Smith, “unless you were sent packing out of your own house.”

          “Why do you say that?”

          Smith picked at an itchy place on his face where the hairs in his beard grew in on themselves along the edge of a yellow band. “Red and yellow kill a fellow,” the guys at the paper always said.

          Dawn set down two breakfasts that looked like they were cooked yesterday. Smith poured stripes of ketchup across the top of his omelet, and then offered Jock the squeeze bottle. Jock declined.

          “I say that because sources close to the action have confirmed that fifty-two percent of those attending the Star-Gazer office party last night danced with those they didn’t bring.”

More of Jock Stewart:
First Chapter Online
35% Free at Smashwords

BIO:

After working as a college journalism instructor, corporate communications director, technical writer and grant writer for many years, Malcolm R. Campbell published The Sun Singer in 2004 and Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire in 2009. 

Campbell’s articles have appeared in Nostalgia Magazine, Nonprofit World, The Rosicrucian Digest, Quill & Scroll, Training and Development Journal and the former Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday magazine. 

He is a contributing writer for Living Jackson Magazine.

Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire by Malcolm R. Campbell — Excerpt #1

Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire
by Malcolm R. Campbell
Vanilla Heart Publishing
ISBN-10: 1935407147
ISBN-13: 978-1935407140

Mainstream humor with a dash of mystery… A throwback to Hollywood’s film noir reporters, Jock Stewart is out of touch with the looming world of digital journalism.

While Stewart goes out of his way to mock those in authority by pretending to kowtow to them, he admits he does his best work by “being an asshole.” A mix of Don Rickles and Don Quixote, Stewart is the man for the job when the skirts are up and the chips are down.

Hard-boiled reporter Jock Stewart wakes up on the morning after the Star-Gazer office party with a hangover and an old flame in his bed and  he cuddles up with the mayor’s wife in the back seat of a 1953 Desoto. Between these defining moments, he investigates the theft of the mayor’s race horse Sea of Fire and the murder of his publisher’s girl friend, Bambi Hill.

Stewart discovers the truth for his news stories via an interview style based on lies, pretense and audacious behavior.

EXCERPT:

            County Road 3724 closely followed the lay of the land like the arm of a lover or a python crushing its next meal.

            While his ancient Kaiser Jeep CJ-5 followed the road well enough through the scrub forests and pastureland, it lacked the feline grace of the midnight blue Porsche that sped by on a blind curve with the top down and a woman’s hair free of restraint.

            Ten minutes later, he reached a place with a black mail box marked “G. Starnes” perched on top of a leaning 4×4 post next to a mixed pea gravel and mud farm road. About 100 feet off the right of way, Grayson had built a small white-washed ranch style house with no landscaping or other embellishments flanked by three-horse gabled barn. Two of the house’s front windows were covered by sheets of cardboard and the barn’s Dutch paddock doors had been left open to the elements. Two things in the resulting pastoral were as out of place as bullshit on a Minton Bone plate, the lady and the car. Both were parked next to the paddock at a rakish angle.

            He pulled up close enough to the Porsche to see the world reflected in more than one of its mirrors, but Lucinda didn’t flinch.

More of Jock Stewart:
First Chapter Online
35% Free at Smashwords

BIO:

After working as a college journalism instructor, corporate communications director, technical writer and grant writer for many years, Malcolm R. Campbell published The Sun Singer in 2004 and Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire in 2009. 

Campbell’s articles have appeared in Nostalgia Magazine, Nonprofit World, The Rosicrucian Digest, Quill & Scroll, Training and Development Journal and the former Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday magazine. 

He is a contributing writer for Living Jackson Magazine.

Celebrating Five Years of The Sun Singer

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The Sun Singer by Malcolm R. Campbell was published on June 24, 2004, and to celebrate this anniversary, we have all sorts of fun stuff for you. Just click on a cover, and see what you find! (The Sudoku puzzles use the letters from The Sun Singer.)

See also:
The Writer’s Journey
Pat Bertram and Malcolm R. Campbell Discuss the Writer’s Journey