Things That Make You Go “Hmmm”

Like everyone else in the world, hubby and I are wanting to buy a home in Austin. It’s time to downsize, and I love the idea of breaking out of our rut and starting new projects. The last time we bought a home, I don’t even think HGTV existed. Now I know how to tear down walls and build a fireplace. This makeover beast is ready to roar.

But after our first weekend of hunting, we learned that long gone are the days of looking at a house, thinking about it, going back for another tour, then coming in with a lower offer. Now you get one look (usually fifteen minutes, because there are four other buyers with their realtors waiting on the driveway). You get in, decide if you can live your life in this building (most half the size of what we’re accustomed to), smell for anything close to black mold (not really sure what it smells like), scope the neighbors to see if they have a saw mill or shooting range in the backyard, then submit your ridiculous offer, which is still probably too low. 

So needless to say, when touring, I keep my focus sharp. Recently, one house held great appeal. It was tiny, but it faced a park. Charming! But being the wise shoppers we are, my husband suggested we make sure it was in fact a park and not a chemical plant run off zone. There was a sign next to a quaint little bridge over a creek so I figured it would identify the property. As we approached, I envisioned myself starting each morning with a walk through nature’s glory, becoming one with Mother Earth and all her beauty. But then we saw this:

As I jumped on my husband’s back, my mind started twirling. This wasn’t a neighbor’s handwritten note, warning others that she saw something scary while walking her dog. This wasn’t a sturdy, but temporary sign the park management put out to warn of recent sightings. This. Was. Metal. Posted in the ground. With concrete. The existence of venomous snakes had been going on for some time, and they didn’t expect the situation to change.

So as the clock was ticking on our offer window, I weighed the situation. The house was small, yes, but in great condition. The neighborhood looked to be well preserved. But when I walked out to commune with Mother Nature, would there be a rattler on my sidewalk? Did I really want to pay 30% more than market value so that I could go out to my garage and find a copperhead resting under my car. Hmmmmmmmm. 



And the Family is Crazy

This has been an EXUBERANT summer. That’s my positive way of saying it’s been loud at Casa Campillo. My girl is home on break, my son and I are off, my husband is now retired, and we’ve redefined together time. Did I mention it was loud? I do love having a full nest, but you know what they say about too much of a good thing. No one holds their tongue in this house, and when we’re together 24/7, it can be . . . energetic. But I’ve learned a few tricks I thought I’d share:

  • When the world’s about to blow, get in some water. Even the most 18cantankerous person turns into a fun kid when they’re playing in the pool/lake/ocean. (BTW, the crazy/scary waves of the Pacific Ocean are especially effective). I’m seriously considering moving to a house boat.
  • Same holds true for Game of Thrones. This epic fantasy has enough drama, violence, romance and majesty to enthrall/quiet the masses. (Mature folks only. It is HBO). There’s even the after-show, when we debate whether it’s sexual chemistry or respect flashing between John Snow and Daenerys.jon-daenerys
  • Accept your kid’s inherent skills when assigning chores. I know, I know, I’m the mom and they should do what I say, but eventually you gotta face the facts – my daughter did not catch my yard work gene. A twenty-minute, weed-whacking job turns into a two-hour ordeal with multiple breaks for dramatic moaning and curses. Now give that gal toilet duty, and she puts Mr. Clean to shame.
  • When renting a car for a road trip, get a car two times larger than you think you need. At 5 foot 8 inches, I’m the shortest in the family. When I got us a full-size car, thinking I’d splurge, I soon found out my mistake. After two hours of driving through the beautiful, Scream Cartoon Paintingserene mountains east of Seattle, we had argued so volatilely that that I think Lucifer would’ve begged to get out. Trust me, get a bus.

Sorry I’m sharing these tips so late in the summer. It took me this long to figure some of them out. Please share any tips you have. It takes a village, you know. (Just not all in the same house.)

It’s Here!

Then He Came Back Final CompressedTHEN HE CAME BACK (Love From Austin Book 2) is live today. I can’t wait for you to read the story of Sue and Trey as they reunite after seventeen years. It doesn’t start off pretty:

“Let’s get one thing straight. If it were up to me, you wouldn’t be here. The only reason you are is because Wes asked for this. I know my son. He goes after what he wants, whether it’s good for him or not. I’m here to make sure you don’t screw things up.”

            He stared at her, speechless, probably shocked that the Suz he’d known could talk to him with such an attitude. Good. She’d regained her power.

            “Here you go.” The waiter arrived with their drinks, and she moved back to let him set them on the table. After he left, she pushed hers aside and leaned back in.

            “You’re going to meet him, answer his questions, and then leave town. That’s all you get, understand? And you will not mention what happened ten years ago. That would only complicate things.” She sat back in her chair, then took a sip of her Scotch without wincing. Well played, sister.

I’m Free!

Free today facebook.jpg

Today and tomorrow (4/25/17 and 4/26/17), THEN HE SHOWED UP is available for FREE! Now is the perfect time to discover the characters in this first book from my series, Love From Austin. Here’s a taste from when Kate Livingston meets Jack Graham:

She had to look up to see his face. His thick, brown hair was tousled. Sunglasses blocked his eyes, but she was drawn to his easy smile—confident and friendly. Whiskers, along with a faded polo and worn khaki shorts, proved he could relax on a Saturday. But he didn’t look shabby. More like he’d just flown in from Martha’s Vineyard.

Interesting. Her faded get-up spoke of the YMCA community pool. Maybe it was the pink bird.

This two-day special is to celebrate the release of THEN HE CAME BACK (Love From Austin Book 2) THIS THURSDAY (4/27/17). Then He Came Back Final Compressed

Where Was I?

file0001903436088 (1)I don’t think it’s dementia, I don’t think it’s ADD, and I don’t think I’m alone. It’s just life. We’re busy with a looooonnnng list of to-do’s (if not on paper, then banging around in our heads). Add in human nature (avoidance) and social media, and you’ve got the perfect setting for an hour of disjointed distractions.

Here’s a sample of such an hour in my life. As you can see, it always starts with the best of intentions.

  1. Coffee and Facebook. Need to wake up and see who needs prayers and whose kids are most successful. Then I’ll write.
  2. Realize I could use my time more effectively if I started a load of laundry.DSCN7331
  3. Find I’m low on Spray and Wash, look through the cabinets to find the refill jug and discover some lavender sachets I forgot I had. I need to put them in my closet.
  4. See my overstuffed closet and acknowledge I can’t fit into most of the clothes anymore, so decide to donate to charity. Pull out half the clothes, stacking them on my bed. Remember I’m not alone.
  5. Go through everyone else’s closets, creating piles of clothes throughout the house. Accept it’s a bigger load than I thought. Decide to see which charity is doing curbside pickup in the next week.
  6. Get back on the laptop, stopping to recharge coffee, and start the search for charities.
  7. Spend twenty minutes watching videos from various charitable organizations,
    going from one clip to another. Choose to ignore that Heifer International probably doesn’t want my 1980’s clothes and keep watching because they do such meaningful work.Cow
  8. Keep clicking from clip to clip. End up on Angelina Jolie. Then Brad and Angelina. Then the latest Hollywood breakups. Then the greatest Hollywood couples of all time.

My stomach growls, reminding me I need to eat. I get up, breaking my Google fog and look around. It’s been more than an hour, my house is covered with piles of dirty clothes and clothes to be donated, I haven’t started writing, and I suddenly feel a need to nap. On the upside, it looks like Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward had a strong marriage.paul-newman-and-joanne-woodward-young

Photo Credits: Signs by wedhatted; Laundry by pippalou; Cow by anusharaji; Paul and Joanne from

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.


Toy photo by cohdra