Dear Big Sky Brewing Company

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moosedroolA year ago, I walked into the Interlaken Lounge at Many Glacier Hotel and bought an ice cold mug of Moose Drool. With a name like that, I figured what could possibly go wrong.

It was darned good.

When people asked me what I was drinking, naturally I said “Moose Drool.”

Since most visitors to Glacier Park look for moose but never find them, folks wondered how I got close enough to get the drool into a mug.

“If you ring a bear bell by the light of the moon, a moose will appear,” I said. “Hand it some grass (not pot) to start the drooling process.”

Those who took a sip immediately left the bar and headed out into Swiftcurrent Valley to find their own moose. I left the hotel the next morning before any incident reports were filed with the park rangers.

The Problem

You brew Moose Drool in Montana but don’t distribute it in faraway Georgia. I see by your business plan, you’re concentrating on your neck of the woods and that makes sense. Meanwhile, I’m stuck sitting here drinking Schlitz. (Not really.)

brewingcompanySo, here’s an opportunity for the Big Sky Brewing Company to set up a wonderful promotion. Get a tractor trailer, put your logo all over it, and send it down into Georgia with some guy called Bandit serving as your escort.

Film the whole thing and put it on YouTube. It will go viral. Big Sky will haul in big bucks.

While it may not get me a continuous supply of beer here in northeast Georgia, I’m hoping for a couple of free bottles. Then, next time I’m in the Interlaken Lounge at Many Glacier Hotel, I’ll buy a round of Moose Drool for everyone.

Malcolm

LascauxAnthologyMalcolm R. Campbell is the author of contemporary fantasy novels and paranormal short stories including “Dream of Crows” which appears in the Lascaux Prize 2014 anthology.

 

 

Do you like all those best-books-of-the-year lists?

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Every year almost every newspaper, website and blog that covers books, publishes a best-of-the-year list. I’ve never been sure why. NPR2014bestPerhaps you know. Do these lists. . .

  • Help people who don’t read know what their bookish friends might want for Christmas?
  • Give book editors an easy way to fill-up space on the book pages with (basically) a list of books and cover pictures that seem to be recycled from the years’ bestseller lists?
  • Show readers why certain books made the lists while other well-reviewed books did not so that book buyers have a means of making intelligent choices?
  • Give reviewers, critics and editors a chance to look intelligent by passing judgement over the work of a lot of authors and publishers in a rather simplistic format?
  • NYT2014bestActually help avid remembers catch up with books they might not have noticed throughout the year?
  • Simply make book publishers happy so that they’ll buy some more advertising?

My eyes glaze over when I see lists that are very similar to the best-of lists I’ve been seeing all year. What I’d rather hear about are books that never made any lists during the year and–at least in the book editor’s or critic’s view–have been unfairly overlooked.

Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

As a small press author, I see these lists as biased in favor of the major publishers who already have the clout to keep their books in the public eye. Very few small presses (other than the most prestigious houses) will have any of their books appear on these lists. Frankly, those books are on nobody’s radar no matter how good they are.

The deck is stacked against small presses because review sites usually ignore their work because nobody’s ever heard of it. That is, without BIG PUBLISHING CLOUT, reviewers pass over chances to review small press books.

By year’s end, the best-books list makers only know about books from major publishers–or the rare dark horse books that catches the public interest in spite of the odds–and so the lists end up being more publicity for the books that don’t need more publicity.

But even if all books that deserved (by one yardstick or another) to be considered for these lists actually were considered, I can’t help but feel the lists are comparing apples and oranges with a bias toward what was popular and well known as opposed to what was good. With so many subjects, genres, styles, types of plots and areas of focus, comparing books like this seems about as silly as making a list of the world’s best foods or best animals or best mountains or best clouds.

The public likes lists, wants to know who or what is best, as though everything and everyone can be defined by a set of sports-type statistics. So we’ll probably always have these lists even though I’m hard pressed to find anything good about them.

Seriously, if you like the lists, I hope you’ll leave a comment saying why you do.

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You May Also Like: Nasty old New York Times, what’s what’s wrong with you? about an author who goes on a public rant when her book is left off the list.

Malcolm New Jock front CVR full size

My comedy about a hard-as-nails newspaper reporter who doesn’t respect authority, Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire, is on sale for 99 cents throughout the holidays.

Briefly Noted: ‘Montana’s Charlie Russell’

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It’s difficult to read about Montana without coming across Charlie Russell sooner or later. He’s the state’s most celebrated and most widely known artist. This book offers a view of Russell’s work in the collection of the Montana Historical Society in Helena. Nothing is better than seeing the paintings up close. If you can’t do that, this book is a fine introduction.

CharlieRussellFrom the Publisher: Montana’s Charlie Russell brings to life the Montana Historical Society’s world-class collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, bronzes, and illustrated letters by the Treasure State’s famed “Cowboy Artist.” Using advanced digital technology, each of the 230 pieces in the Society’s permanent collection has been meticulously photographed to bring to life, in vivid color, Russell’s artistic mastery. Carefully researched scholarship illuminates the stories behind each artwork. The result is a catalog of Russell’s art as you’ve never seen it before.

From the Montana Historical Society Press Release

MHS RELEASING NEW CHARLIE RUSSELL BOOK MORE THAN 60 YEARS IN THE MAKING

“In 1952 the Montana Historical Society acquired the Malcolm Mackay family collection of the artwork of Charles M. Russell that became the heart of its unmatched assemblage of the famed Montana cowboy artist’s masterpieces, paintings, illustrated letters, sketches and sculpture.

“Since then, it has been the dream of many to reproduce the entire MHS Russell art collection in a high-quality book that would celebrate the artist’s vision of Montana and the breadth of his amazing career — that took him from cowboying in the Judith Gap to one of the best loved artists of the West…

“…K. Ross Toole, MHS director in 1952, said while raising funds to acquire the Mackay collection: ‘If Montana has contributed one thing to the heritage of the whole West, it is Charles M. Russell’s paintings …. It was Montana that inspired him; it was Montana that he painted.'”

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With this book on your coffee table, you can turn off the TV for the Winter.

Malcolm

Seeker for promo 1Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “The Seeker,” a book about mountains, first loves and betrayal set partly in Montana’s Glacier National Park.

Authors, Would You Like to be Interviewed?

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Malcolm R. Campbell:

A great opportunity for indie authors.

Originally posted on Bertram's Blog:

If you are an author, I am inviting you to let me promote your latest book.

I do author interviews and character interviews, and post excerpts on my blogs, and I don’t charge a penny! Of course, since you get what you pay for, I can’t guarantee you will sell books because of your efforts and mine, but they will be promoted via Facebook and Twitter. If I haven’t scared you off, click here to find the directions for my Author Questionnaire. Click here to find the directions for my Character Questionnaire. And click here to Let me post your excerpt!

computerHere are some tips for doing the most compelling interviews:

For my Author Questionnaire, I begin with the question, “What is your book about?” It’s the hook, the reason why we are all at the blog — to know about your book. So, please, don’t start your…

View original 463 more words

Free listing for your book at Indies Unlimited

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There are a lot of sites “out there” that are worth a look if you’re a writer needing advice or looking for a free listing for your book. My indiesfriend good friend, author and publisher Melinda Clayton, writes articles for Indies Unlimited, so I’ve been tuning in on that site a lot lately.

There’s good stuff there such as Melinda’s overview of AuthorsDen. Among other things, check out the blog and knowledgeBase. You can also list your books on the site on Thrifty Thursday and Print Book Paradise. These listings work well when you want to publicize reduced prices.

Here’s there’s blurb about the service

On every Thursday at 5 a.m. Pacific time, Indies Unlimited presents a feature called “Thrifty Thursday.” It’s simple: authors can list their free or 99¢ e-books and readers can find a large selection of free and cheap reads in one convenient place. For those of you looking for Freebie Friday, it has now been incorporated into Thrifty Thursday. Click here for the most recent Thrifty Thursday. If you have a print book priced under $15, you can participate in Print Book Paradise (also known as Mr. Pish’s Print Book Party) each Sunday at 9 a.m. Pacific time.

To learn more, click here.

I’ve used the Indies Unlimited listings several times and have been pleased with the results.

Malcolm

JockWho Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of contemporary fantasy novels, paranormal short stories and satire. “Jock Who” is free if you have Kindle Unlimited. That’s how I would read it!

 

 

Briefly noted: ‘Walk Myself Home’

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“tear down every poster every newsstand every high-tension wire every bill board every high-rise  every highway sign leading out of town  every aeroplane in the sky  every high and mighty penthouse hotel every bar and grill  tear up every alley where you were hurt  every research paper that described you and got it wrong  every house that trapped you  every letter  every spite  every thought that thought you less  every x and y with too much breath in your face  or too much blade at your throat  every shout  every temper  every gust of grit around your feet  every car parked outside your door  every doorway  every bank every bonnet  every promise  every classroom   every boy with a semi-automatic under his right arm  rushing in  yelling freeze  just before you do” – Excerpt from the book.

As I was blogging about the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre on my Calamities of the Heart blog, I thought of this 2010 anthology that serves in part as a voice for women who have been victims of violence and/or who live in areas where they must live in fear of it daily.

walkyourselfhomeIn the aftermath of Ferguson, some said that a white person cannot possibly understand the daily challenges and fears of African Americans. Likewise, it might be said that men cannot possibly understand that it’s like to live with the challenges and fears of women of all races.

When read carefully, Walk Myself Home edited by Andrea Routley may help men and women understand what’s on the other side of the gender gap.

From the Publisher: “There is an epidemic of violence against women in Canada and the world. For many women physical and sexual assault, or the threat of such violence, is a daily reality. Walk Myself Home is an anthology of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and oral interviews on the subject of violence against women including contributions by Kate Braid, Yasuko Thahn and Susan Musgrave.

“Walk Myself Home began as a small idea: to create a chapbook and sell it at the next LoudSpeaker Festival. The response was overwhelming. This small idea found a chorus of voices, and its sound was too big for a chapbook.”

From Amy Reiswig’s Review in Focus Online: “Be prepared. Many of these short works explicitly discuss or represent assault—at the hands of fathers, teachers, strangers, friends, neighbours. Routley also includes pieces addressing subtler forms of violence: derisive jokes, job discrimination and cultural assumptions around beauty, submission and gender roles. As she writes in the introduction, ‘In order to end violence against women in our society, we must be able to recognize it,’ and this means recognizing not just actions but attitudes.”

Ultimately, the book promotes hope, hope that–as Heidi Greco says her review–will lead to a time when “every woman can say with confidence – no matter the time of night or day – not to worry, that I’ll Walk Myself Home.”

Perhaps some day the book will be available in Kindle/Nook for those who cannot afford the paperback.

–Malcolm

FSU v Oregon in the playoffs

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I’ve been going to FSU games since I was a kid. First, as a high school student selling peanuts and Cokes at the stadium and then as an FSU student. So, I’m happy to see the Seminoles are in the playoffs after winning 29 straight games through two consecutive seasons and winning their third ACC Championship in a row.

FSUplayoff

More of a baseball person, I seldom watch football unless there’s an FSU game on TV. And, as (apparently) an out-date-viewer, I dislike the idea of having a formal college playoff system. But, if we have to have playoffs, it’s good to be there.

As for Oregon, they had a heck of a year. Nice to see in the playoffs. My father taught at the University of Oregon for several years and I still have snowy wintertime memories of Eugene. Plus, one of my brothers lives in Oregon and the other one used to live there.

FSU doesn’t have the dominant team they had last year, so heaven only knows how the Oregon game will end up. We’re probably going in as the underdog in spite of our record. (Too many close calls this year.)

Nonetheless, my prediction is FSU 65, Oregon 56. You heard it here first and probably won’t hear it anywhere else.

Malcolm