Once You’ve Flashed Your Podiatrist … You Can’t Help but Become a Writer

My dear friend, Diana Belchase, invited me for a guest “appearance” last month on Book Smart TV (the website). Thought I’d share here. Sorry, but sale prices are no longer in effect.

Book Smart TV

51qkmx8l3xl-_ac_us320_ql65_ A five star read now only 99 cents!

Diana Belchase here: Today I’m super excited to welcome guest blogger Chris Campillo to BookSmart! Chris is the kind of person everyone loves — she’s the girl next door, a gal who always has your back, a phenomenal writer with a great sense of humor, and a stand up comic. When this Texas mom isn’t taking care of her kids, her home, and working (with her hubby) to make ends meets, she’s using the honesty of her daily life to imbue humor into her books. Her comedy will have you keeling over howling with laughter.

This is the thing about Chris: She says the things we’re all thinking — the average day-to-day horrors we’ll never talk about. There is something so cathartic about reading her stuff. It’s like therapy between the covers of great fiction. I promise you’ll come out entertained and…

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You Deserve A Break Today

Whether you were the chef extraordinaire, the elf that located all the impossible-to-find gifts, or the host that made sure everyone felt included, you have earned a day of rest. What better way to relax than to enjoy a fun, sexy read that guarantees a happily ever after. To make it even better, I’ve lowered the price today. Enjoy!99-cents-ad-for-facebook-800-x-600

All I Want For Christmas

file0001571619565Do you remember when you were a kid and this was the most exciting time of the year? We didn’t have Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Hell, we didn’t even have the internet. My sister and I lived for the day the toy catalogue would arrive in the mail (think it was Sears or Penny’s). We’d sit side by side and study each page of every toy available to man (at least those living in our mailing district) and pick our favorite. Such an exciting time. A wonderful memory.

Jump forward forty-five years. Even my kids are past the toy age. Their lists consist of fun things like money and iPhones (dream on, girlfriend). I’m not much better. I don’t have an easy-to-shop-for wish list. I don’t NEED anything, thankfully. My wants, however, would require a Christmas miracle.

  1. A family photo. Sounds simple, but this one would involve all parties willingly participating without complaint. All parties would dress appropriately. I’m not even asking for matching clothes. Just take a shower. Don’t dress like you’re clubbing.enchanted-april1
  2. Family movie night. One in which I get to pick the movie and everyone stays in the room. They wouldn’t make fun of every line or twist in the plot. They’d pay attention and end up loving it. We’d all talk afterwards, sharing our favorite parts. We’d have a family hug just because our hearts are so filled with joy.
  3. A personal trainer who is also a physical therapist. They could lead me through a fabulous workout, then treat me afterwards, when I’m barely able to walk.
  4. A spot on the New York Times Best Sellers List.
  5. World peace. Hell, I’d just settle for peace among my friends on Facebook.

A tough list, I’ll give my family that. But one can always dream. ‘Tis the season, right? Leave a comment with your dream gift. I’ll draw from those of you who post before midnight December 1, 2016, and send the winner a $25 Amazon Gift Card. It’s not world peace, but it could buy you some fabulous fruit cake.

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Toy photo by cohdra

Thanksgiving

Thanks for the Memories

file0001510816847I’m thrilled that this year we’re celebrating Thanksgiving with thirty-some friends and family. I’m especially thrilled that my sister is hosting. (Yeah! No mopping or dusting for me.) I’m not thrilled—in fact, I’m terrified—that I volunteered to cook the turkey. Two weeks ago, when we were drinking wine and divvying up the menu, it seemed like a worthy challenge. But now, as I wrestle a 25 lb. turkey that is still frozen (dinner to be served in 31 hours), I’m wondering why the hell I thought this was a doable option. And better yet, I’m wondering why my mom and sister, who both know my culinary talents consist of doing the dishes, allowed me to take on the center piece of the Thanksgiving feast.

But this morning at 5 am, while I lay in bed, worrying over the fowl beast, I had an epiphany. I thought back to the Thanksgivings of my past and realized I don’t remember the turkeys. I do remember the fellowship.

The years my mom’s family gathered were the definition of bounty. Four sisters and my file000541128033
grandmother, all great southern cooks, would bring homemade dishes, somehow preserved, from Tennessee to Illinois. Those holidays were spent around the table, morning and night. When we weren’t eating, we were playing cards. Tripoley.

When my dad’s family gathered, it was always at my grandmother’s. She often stored extra dishes on her back porch, yet we never got sick. There was only one TV, and that was in the living room where the adults gathered (and smoked). The kids would hang on her front porch. No iPads. Not even checkers. We’d use our imagination, granted it was tough. Playing house consisted of “cooking,” with our dishes being ashtrays and our food being berries (probably poisonous) picked off the bushes. Strange, but these memories warm my heart.

I’ll never forget Thanksgiving 1985. My dad was in the hospital losing his battle with cancer. We all got the call to come immediately, “it was happening.” Miraculously, it didn’t. Not then. But each of us, his mom and siblings included, had a chance to spend time with him and say our goodbyes. And for whatever weird reason, we put on a play. Yes, a Pilgrims and Indians play, with costumes, right in the middle of the oncology ward of Decatur Memorial Hospital. We took poetic license and my very pregnant aunt wore an “A” on her chest. In the midst of sorrow, we laughed.

emxuwn6eSo my turkey may suck. I’m not even sure it will fit in the Reynold’s baking bag everyone swears by. But it’ll be okay. We’ll break bread with friends and family and there will be love. And for that, I am thankful.





Wooden Turkey Photo by taliesin

Cards Photo by chelle

Turkey Photo by Seemann

A Chair Is Just A Chair

Unless It’s An Addiction

When I cook, it's not this pretty.

When I cook, it’s never this pretty.

My extended family gathers most Sunday evenings for delicious food, much vino and many laughs. At this time, the whole gang totals twelve. When we host the celebration, we add table leaves and even a card table to make room for the celebration. Fortunately, I have enough real chairs (no folding) for everyone, as we spend the whole evening at the table.

I share this to lessen your judgement of my condition. See, I’m a junk collector. Specifically, I’m addicted to collecting old, wooden chairs off the side of the road. Now I don’t go for just any old chair. Nothing upholstered. Nothing laminated. I like the older seats, ones with character. Though some consider them trash, these wooden souls still hold value.

Unfortunately, when you shop at Boutique Le Curb, character can include some 1409207276ych27challenges. Like missing seats, missing legs, and okay, sometimes missing backs. But the craftsmanship on what remains is beautiful. Truly.

I currently have twenty-four wooden chairs. I only paid for eight. And that was at the Salvation Army. I haven’t shopped there for a long time, because, come on, after you get free stuff off the side of the road, $6 a chair seems pretty steep.

Thirteen are inside my home, used in various rooms. They’ve been refinished, the seats recovered, some painted and aged.  Three are stored in the garage, pulled out for events. Eight are stacked in the back of the garage awaiting their transformation. They’ve been waiting a few years.

So why am I sharing this today? Today is neighborhood bulk trash day, the wonderful holiday for us collectors that comes once a year. Treasures and junk decorate every other home on the street. As I was driving my son to school this morning, I saw the first pile. FOUR dining room chairs! (Okay, really three and a fourth comprised of broken pieces). But they were straight out of the seventies – Spanish style gone wild. If I had a room with red velvet wall paper and a bronze sword and shield, they would be perfect.

Thankfully, my son is aware of my struggle. As we approached the collection, my pulse racing, he blocked his window and yelled, “Look away, Mom! Look away!” And I did. But after I dropped him off, I drove by three more times. I never stopped. I’m waiting until night, when I can sneak them into the garage under cover of darkness. Help me.

Food photo by MaxStraeten. Chair photo by Dogerton Skillhause

A Writer’s Journey

My Weekend Head Trip


Last weekend I attended
Micheal Hauge’s Advanced Story Mastery Seminar. It was an intense, two-day program studying plot structure that he’s broken into six stages, looking at both the external and internal journey of the hero. Great information. I definitely recommend it for anyone with even the slightest interest in writing a novel or screenplay.

While taking copious notes and soaking in the lesson, the strangest thing happened. I took my own journey. It too consisted of six stages, or in my case, emotional check points.

 

1. Confidence

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I’m going to learn so much and take my writing to the next level.

2. Hope

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Yes! This makes sense. My story’s on track.

3. Angst

cat yawning

Oh, hell. My story is so eff’d up. I’m going to have to rewrite the whole thing. (Writer’s worst nightmare, second only to having your work ridiculed.)

4. Depression

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Why did I ever think I could write? I should have taken up candle making.

5. Acceptance

meerkats

Dear God, help me to accept that even if I’m not meant to be a writer, I can still put this information to use.

6. Peace

asiatic_lion

I am a writer. I may never follow the perfect structure, but I will write. And I will publish because I want my story out there. This is a personal goal, and I will achieve it.

 

Turned out to be an amazing weekend. I learned a lot about story structure. I came up with some specific ideas which will vastly improve my book. But my head trip may have helped me the most. Greatest lesson learned? Avoid Angst and Depression. If you see them approaching, lock your doors and hit the gas. Even if you only spend a few moments at these pit stops, it’s wasted time and horrible on your engine. Seven days later, I’m still receiving post cards from these dreaded cities, but I’m working hard to ignore them and stay in Peace – Best Destination EVER.

I Could Do That!

(How Crafting Ruined Christmas)

Scream Cartoon PaintingAs Julie Andrews would sing, “Let’s start at the very beginning.” About a year ago, I discovered HGTV’s Fixer Upper. I was inspired by the decorations Jo Jo created with junk she’d found on the side of the road. So like any good woman who needed to clean the house, I decided to put that energy into making fabulous art out of trash. In my case, it involved hot-gluing funky letters on a termite-destroyed fence post. Because everyone knows it makes sense to hang such a carrier inside your home.

I liked it. My husband said he liked it. And just recently, my nephew and his new bride shared they liked it . . . without even being prompted. So of course, I’m going to make them one for Christmas.

Fortunately, I was smart enough to keep several of the termite-infested posts (leaning against my new cedar fence), so I just needed the letters. I stopped at the closest craft store for a quick excursion to the letter aisle. My estimated ten minutes became three hours. I had forgotten the intoxicating wonder of this magical land.

Cabinet knobs shaped like owls, yards of burlap with French script, shelves and mirrors in distressed, robin-egg blue paint. They even had a leather-engraving kit that tempted me until I remembered I hadn’t worn a belt since 2007. My heart raced with the need to create, and I had the perfect opportunity: Christmas gifts!!!!

Paint BrushNow that I’ve started and my kitchen and clothes are covered in craft paint and hot glue (btw, it should be called freakin’-hot glue), I’m remembering I’m more of a performing arts kind of gal. Not so much the visual arts. Case in point, Halloween 2002. In fairness, my kids wouldn’t commit to a costume until the night before. My daughter chose Aerial the Mermaid. I ingeniously stapled silk scarves to the calves of her aqua-green Lycra leggings. Son wanted to be a bat. I put him in his sister’s old dance tights and leotard and stapled Hefty trash bags to the arms. To be honest, I’m not sure which was worse: placing two plastic bags inches from a three-year-old’s head or putting my son in a velour leotard.

But I’m not going to worry, because everyone knows that a gift made with love (no matter what the quality) will always be more appreciated than a certificate to a luxurious spa.Smiling Sock Snowman

 

 

 

 

 

Ornaments by ladyheart. Scream-cartoon-painting by Prawny.

Paint brush by dhester. Sock snowman by ladyheart.