Category Archives: For Fun

Campbells and Locusts

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Though two weeks have passed since the last post, it sure feels a lot longer. Getting clobbered at work with long work days will do that. Last weekend was mostly a blur since I spent two of the three days trying to physically and mentally recover from working a week in the gut of Washington D.C. The hours to prep and put on a multi-hour electronic medical record system demo for a large DC hospital was quite the rodeo, and it went well with good participation and feedback. So after all that, I needed a couple of days to recoup. By last Sunday I was back at the keyboard and banged out a good six hours of writing.

This weekend I’m starting things off getting the truck worked on. Rocks in windshields, bad. Funky noises from the engine, bad. Time sitting in waiting areas with my laptop, pure freakin writing gold.

Next weekend is the annual Campbell family reunion in the deep south. Many from our clan will descend on poor, unsuspecting Picayune, MS and gather. And like locusts we will devour much in the way of southern vittles. There will be few dishes, pots, or pans with anything left in them after the big reunion lunch. We’ll also be celebrating my parents’ 50th anniversary complete with tartans and kilts. It’s going to be a blast.

So with that, I’ll vanish for another couple of weeks. Facebook locked down my book account citing a potentially compromised/hacked site which I highly doubt. So in between other things and as time permits  (you can tell I’m really stressed about this) I’m working on getting that resolved. Personally I’m more interested in rushing to get to next weekend to see the fam. :)

 

image by sxc.hu

Guest Post and Special Offer: Joel D Canfield

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Hi Everyone, Cheryl here. Below is a guest post from my friend and fellow author, Joel D Canfield. I’m honored to be part of his blog tour for his latest novel’s release. Enjoy!

A Still, Small Voice (Is Better Than a Big Loud One)

Being the shy, sensitive type, I try to avoid shocks. Don’t like loud bangs. Bright lights are painful. Quick movements trigger my duck-and-dodge reflex. Gore and other explicit stuff in my entertainment turns me off.

As a result, the pool of introspective noir I can enjoy is limited. Elvis Cole and Harry Bosch are near the edge of my realm. Kinsey Millhone hasn’t scared me yet. Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe are fine. Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin make the grade.

They say you should write the book you want to read.

I’ve done that at least five times now, written introspective noir that’s safe for the most delicate constitutions. My latest, A Still, Small Voice is my 15th book, but only my 5th mystery. It’s the second featuring Phil Brennan, who, yes, is named after Mr. Marlowe, the hero in all the books written by the greatest mystery writer ever, Raymond Chandler.

Phil Brennan is a loner. Was, I guess. He’s getting to know the folks in his neighborhood. Some of them are great.

Some are real stinkers.

Our man Brennan, of course, judges everything by his childhood and his failures, which means sometimes he misreads people and situations.

Just like the rest of us.

Truth be told, my books barely qualify as mysteries. There’s always something unknown and someone trying to uncover it, but that’s never the core of the story. These stories are about morally rigid people jammed into morally ambiguous situations, forced to make the best bad choice.

Readers tell me the books help them confront their own personal moral dilemmas. That’s good, because that’s why I write them: to remind myself what I believe. [Cheryl butting in… Quick fact. Joel’s first Phil Brennan book, I didn’t have a lot of time to read it at first when it came out. But once I got about half way into the story, I emailed Joel with some early feedback: “HOLYCRAPTHISISLIKECRACK!” and then devoured the rest of the book in short order.]

No, you won’t find any overt preaching about right and wrong. You’re a grown up. You already know.

What you will find is the vicarious experience of a good guy struggling through bad times and coming out okay in the end, even if he is a little ragged and rumpled by the process.

At the moment, anyone who signs up for my newsletter gets A Still, Small Voice free. Download it instantly. [!!!!!!!]

You’ll also get my 4 previous novels. All 5 of them. Free. You probably want to do that before I freak out and change my mind. [I’ve read all 5. You want to get them!]

Who are your favorite mystery writers? I love finding new authors to stalk. It’s how I discovered that there’s actually a mystery sub-sub-sub-genre for Wisconsin coffee shop cozies. And they’re good. (Though I live in southern Arizona now, Wisconsin is my home state, and no, we didn’t leave because of the weather. I miss the snow and I hate the heat. [See why I like Joel so much? I left the deep south for Maine to gain the snow and skedaddle out of the heat. Kindred spirits we are!] Watch for how that affects my next book.)

What was the question again? Oh, yes. Your favorite mystery author everyone should know about. Fire away.

House of Insanity

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Meet the wee addition, Cobie. She and the hound are getting along well, and the insanity level in my house has risen exponentially. On my flight home Thursday, I was asleep before takeoff. I woke shortly before we landed, and the lady next to me said “You must have been really tired. You fell asleep and didn’t move!” I apologized for any twitching, drooling, or snoring that may have accompanied my coma. She said I didn’t do any of those things, but she may have just been being polite and glad to get the heck off the plane and away from her corpse-like seat neighbor. My opinion, it was a great flight, even if I don’t remember any of it.

After the flight I headed north toward home and stopped by to pick up the kitten on the way. Cuz if you’re going to do something crazy, might as well do it right after you wake from a stupor.

She traveled well, and the hound gladly received his newest sibling. By yesterday afternoon the pair started to play together. By this morning, she made him her pillow. She also likes to clear a wide path when settling down for a nap, such as knock everything off the window sill and stretch out. Or take the pens and other things on my desk and toss them on the floor because they’re better on the floor than on my desk, where I actually need them. And my legs are trees because she sure likes climbing those and launching from the floor, to me, to the desk. I did not know I could serve as a spring board for such olympic-worthy agility events. Cobie has shown me otherwise.

So this morning, and likely for many to come, I stop typing to retrieve my pen skittering across the floor or to pick up other things Cobie has chucked from their resting place before darting across the room with Brae in tow.

What? Adopt a kitten? Sure! That’s a brilliant idea! :)

No More Animals!

After losing one of my dogs and the gecko last summer, I caved in the fall and acquired Finn the barn cat. Finn stayed through the winter in Maine indoors (smart cat) and opted to spend much of his time outside this early summer (smart cat) before eventually mozying along this summer to find other adventures. He might turn up once it gets colder (if he does we’ll really know how smart he is). Who knows? In the meantime I declared No More Animals! One horse. One dog. A cat somewhere hunting in the woods. That’s it. I’m done.

I made that resolution and stuck by it. For a whole month.

A kitten that was in need of a home is no longer in need of a home. She is coming to reside at Chez Campbell next weekend. The dog has no idea what’s coming. HaHaHaHaHaHaHa! Who am I kidding? I have no idea what is coming either. I hear she’s a sweetie with a tough streak despite her tiny physique. I, and the dog, will find out soon enough what she’s made of.

In the interim, I’m off to New Orleans for the weekend to see friends, family, and attend my cousin’s wedding. Yay x 3!

I’ve been on a crazy push to get the editing done of the 5th book. Still in progress, and I won’t be editing this weekend. So with the weekend coming up, have a great one. I know I will. See you on the flip side and post kitten adoption.

I asked if kitten adoption came with a head examination for the new owner. Apparently that costs extra.

Olympic-sized Distraction

In the last two weeks I have worked, traveled, wrote, and watched more Olympic games than I probably should have. This round of Olympics seemed to be a bit melodramatic and uninteresting. I enjoyed watching some of the sports, but I just couldn’t get into any (other than soccer) and really stick with them from start to finish.

My favorite thing about the Olympics is getting to watch so many different sports we typically don’t get on TV. Unless you’re an uber-competitive Badminton player going to tournaments or crushing your family members at play during the backyard BBQ, you’re just not going to see that sport played on TV outside of the Olympics (unless there’s a special Badminton channel I don’t know about).

Other than soccer, the next sport I watched the most was judo. I watched several other sports but none for very long, meaning anything from a few seconds to less than an hour. Back in my undergrad days I took judo classes and loved it. So I enjoyed the first few days of the Olympics and watching the later stages of men’s and women’s judo.

Ultimately I’m glad the Olympics are winding down, because as a sports fan they pull me away from other things I should be doing, like sleeping. I did still get some decent writing time in. As of yesterday morning, I finished the first draft of When Heroes Fall. As of this morning, I’ve completed 5% of the editing process. I have a long way to go with editing, but I’ll just keep chipping away at it. And without the Olympics to distract me, I will be able to get more done.

I’m totally doing the final word count guessing contest. That will happen later since editing will change the word count as things are added and removed. I’m still shooting for a late November/early December release. More to come.