“Molly Campbell's writing will pull you out of a rough day and put a smile on your face. Mommyhood is hard work, but Molly reminds me to laugh, take a deep breath, and find the humor in everyday life.”
Elizabeth Spann Craig, Delicious and Suspicious (as Riley Adams) http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com 

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CALLOOH CALLAY!

A frabjous day indeed, when a book comes out! The official day is October 22, but my third novel is shipping already. The first few editions had a typesetting error, which has been corrected, but if you preordered a copy, your book may have some missing letter “d’s” in the opening sentences of each chapter. That will not affect your understanding. This has been corrected, and if your book has the glitch, I apologize.

This story is of misfits, bullying, grief, dogs, and friendship. Wounds that heal, and wrongs that get righted. I loved writing it. I loved the characters, and I was sad to see it end.

I am so hopeful that many of you will buy it, read it, and take the few minutes to post a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Reviews sell books, and I would love to sell a lot of these!

The next few weeks will be challenging as we sell our house and move into a beautiful apartment in Downtown Dayton. I will keep you posted on that front. I expect to be exhausted.

My next book will be my magnum opus. I am working on it, hoping to finish it before 2021. It is about family, sisters, mothers and daughters, and the devastation wrought when secrets are kept. I have high hopes for this one.

Wish me luck on my move! I will post some pictures of the finished apartment when we get there. In the meantime, posts may be spotty. But you will have The World Came to Us to keep you company!

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SMALLS

All of my life, I have loved tiny things. I wished I could find a fairy house in the trunk of a tree. I wanted to go inside a mouse hole to see all the little furniture that was in there. Beatrix Potter and the rabbits in their little blue coats. All of it.

As I grew up, I collected smalls. Every place in my house has them: little animals, vases that will fit just one little clover bloom. Tea sets for children. I have so many of these, and I love them all.

We are moving very soon, to a lovely, modern apartment way up high. It has huge windows, lots of light, and an open floor plan. I ordered all new furniture. There will be just one bookcase, in the living room, for books and the few accessories I will choose to put in the shelves. But tiny things will be lost in it.

This means that most of my tinies will have to be left behind, sold in the estate sale after we move. I will take just a few of them to set on my bureau, the one in the walk-in closet. The new, stylish chests I bought for the bedroom won’t readily accommodate little things. So this means I have to choose wisely. Can you believe it? I am losing sleep over this! I have taken to wandering around my house, speaking softly to my little things, apologizing to the ones I have to leave behind.

My mind changes every day. I worry about this all the time. No, I don’t want to get one of those typesetter boxes with all of the little openings. That is just not my style, and I think those went out of vogue in the eighties. Nope, I will just have to choose.

Neither of my children particularly likes small things, and so giving them to my girls isn’t an option. I suppose I can take a few more than I need, and rotate them on my bureau top. I will do that. But still, many of my favorites will have to be left.

It is a good problem to have. There are so many big terrible things in the world. So I straighten my shoulders, take a few more laps around my big, old house, and say my goodbyes.

 

 

 

 

 

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NEW YORK DIARY, or IF YOU CAN BREAK IT THERE, YOU CAN BREAK IT ANYWHERE

The Big Apple. I went there. So many things to share.

The best thing about New York is its maneuverability. Cars are unnecessary. Not like in Los Angeles, where a person has to get on some sort of highway (they call them by the numbers, like “take the 405,” which is completely confusing, because they aren’t in any sort of order to begin with) and fight gridlock for hours in order to go somewhere. In NYC, the streets are numbered (well, most of them, anyway), and they make sense. For instance, if you are going to 34th Street, and the street you come to is 35th, you know you are walking in the wrong direction.

I walked to the Main Library. You know, the one with the lions. Unfortunately, the lions were enclosed by huge wooden boxes, but I knew they were in there. I walked back home. 40 blocks. No sweat.

I walked to meet my friend for dinner. Just followed the numbered streets. Actually, Google maps provides walking directions, so that helped immensely. We ate delicious New York food, and then I walked back to my apartment. Easy peasy.

I saw New York dogs, who all looked slightly neurotic to me, New York brownstones, one of which I stayed in. The one above is a prime example. However, it was not the one I stayed in. The one I was in was a bit more low budget, but you get my drift. Brownstones are the bomb. The New York deli: some are dumps, but if you hit it right, the matzo ball soup is so good it is beyond describing.

There was the 911 museum, which made me very emotional. No one visiting there made a sound. It was eerie–but a beautiful remembrance to the victims and the responders. The Chelsea Market was so much fun; I wished I hadn’t had a cheese sandwich in the apartment before I went there, because the food in all the little restaurants looked delish. Fishs Eddy. My favorite store. I got New York tea towels. One can’t have enough New York tea towels. Even if you don’t like tea that much.

Then, it happened. I like a neat abode, even when it is owned by an anonymous Airbnb host. So I made my bed every day. On Monday, five days before I was due to leave town, I stubbed my toes resoundingly on the leg of the bed, which was obscured by the bedskirt. I heard an actual CRACK as it happened.

I looked down, and sure enough, the swelling had commenced. The pain searing through my foot, up my calf, and turning my stomach confirmed that I had most certainly broken a toe.

I had a writers’ luncheon to attend. Fiona Davis, Wendy Walker, Elyssa Friedland, and other famous authors were going to be there. Damn it, I had to go. So I limped into a cab and went. However, I had forgotten that this was the very day that Greta Thunberg was addressing the UN and shaming Donald Trump. After an hour in the cab, it was evident that I wouldn’t make the luncheon. So I got out and walked the rest of the way. To put it mildly, it was pure agony.

I went straight from the luncheon to an emergency clinic, spent four hours in the waiting room and five actual minutes with a doctor, who determined that I had broken not one, but two toes. The word “acute” was the only one he used that I understood.

I had to leave NYC early, because standing and walking had become nearly impossible, even in the stylish ten pound boot that the doctor’s office provided. The saga of getting through security at the airport is for another blog post. But I am home again in Dayton, where icing and propping are the order of the day.

But, damn it,  I got my bite out of the Big Apple.

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THE BIG APPLE

My bag is packed.

A writer’s retreat, New York City. Two weeks. One person, one apartment, one computer, two pairs of walking shoes, and six completed chapters. What do I hope to accomplish?

I need to focus on what I am writing. Here at home, we are selling our house, packing up, and planning to move in late October. It is so hard to think about writing when getting ready for open houses and prioritizing tchochkes looms so large.

So, starting next Sunday, I arrive in the Apple, get myself situated, and begin to concentrate on my magnum opus. This one is a serious undertaking, with the expectations of my publisher for “something to rival Anna Quindlen” on the line. I will keep a New York diary, and post some of my experiences here, so you can “go along” to the big city with me.

Wish me luck. I’ll eat a slice of NY pizza for you!

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BOOK NEWS

This is the back cover of my newest novel, THE WORLD CAME TO US. I am so excited, because it is now available for preorder on Kindle. The physical book releases October 22! This was two years in the making, and I am thrilled that it is coming out so soon. If you are a Kindle reader, please place you order now. That is so helpful in boosting the book’s profile on Amazon. And of course, after you read it, I would so appreciate an Amazon review.

I am working on novel four. I leave for New York on September 15, to spend two weeks writing and living alone in Chelsea. I am so involved here in Dayton with trying to sell my house, clearing out attic, cupboards, and closets, that I can’t focus on writing. This trip will be a Godsend.

Wish me luck with the new book, and please read this one. If I could, I would hug every single one of you!

Thank you!

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INSIDE CONFESSIONS

You know how on House Hunters, the couples go out into the yard or onto the balconies of the properties they are looking at and say things like, “I can see myself having coffee out here in the morning,” or “This is just perfect for entertaining?”

I have one of those spaces at my house. You can see a shot of it, above. Every single year, my wonderful and inventive landscaper, Matthew, comes over and “does” the deck. It is absolutely gorgeous. He fills it with blooms, ferns, multiple levels of green, and all I have to do is water it.

As the summer goes on, it explodes into color.

I have never, in my recollection of living here for 26 years, had coffee out there in the morning. To be perfectly honest, I almost never go out there at all, except to water all the pots. There is even a fountain in the garden, burbling along, where robins, darling little song sparrows, and even boisterous grackles land to bathe. I don’t go out to see that, either, because I am an indoor person. And when we have people over? We eat in the kitchen or dining room, where there are no disease carrying insects.

How many of those couples looking for homes on tv actually drink coffee outside, either? Most of them are young, and they probably have jobs, children, meetings, and Starbucks to attend to. Coffee outdoors? Nope, not in a million years. And maybe they grill out. I will give them that–perhaps they sit out there just long enough to eat a hot dog and some coleslaw. But I bet they spray themselves with insect repellent and light citronella candles. Way too much trouble for a measly chargrilled sausage on a bun, as far as I am concerned.

The apartment we are moving to has a deck. Five floors above Dayton, with a view of the city. So. Matthew will come to the new place, laden with pots of geraniums, maybe a big fern, and a bunch of petunias. The new deck will be just as beautiful, albeit smaller, than the one I have now.

I won’t go out there, either.

But I will enjoy looking at it from my comfy chair in the living room, AC on, and not a housefly in sight.

I will just picture myself having coffee out there. And speaking of entertaining, this is what restaurants are for. Amen.

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DESIGN 101

As a devotee of HGTV, I have come to appreciate and respect all of those designers like Joanna Gaines and her colleagues who sweep into a house and design it in a half hour. I realize that they take more than a half hour in actuality, but let’s face it–they have a hell of a lot of shows to put out there for the ravenous fans of home tv shows, and so I know these designers have to move it right along, folks. Decisions have to be made and made fast. No looking back.

So. We are moving into an apartment in around October. I am taking almost nothing that is in my house right now, because I want to turn over a new leaf. I want the new place to be clean, contemporary, and eclectic. Also, I am a decisive individual, and I want to get all of the stuff for the new place LINED UP. I want to have a Joanna Gaines experience: let’s take the floor plan and the measurements, go into ONE furniture store that has beautiful things, and get everything all at once. Like in an afternoon.

I know I can do this. All it will take is a willing interior designer who can work fast. So. I enter the store, and Linda comes toward me, not knowing the hurricane that is about to hit her. I sit her down.

ME: “Before we look at anything here, I want you to look at these photos I took of my house, so you can get an idea of where I am coming from.”

LINDA (not yet knowing what is about to happen): “Ok.”

I deal out the photos of my house fast enough that Linda’s smile begins to fade just a bit as she tries to focus on one photo at a time, as they flash past her. I deck up the photos and turn them over. The next thing I show her is the floor plan of the new apartment.

ME: “I am keeping my coffee table, one antique chair, lamps, and our bed. The rest is up to you. I want to pick out all the things this afternoon, if possible, because I need to carry a picture in my mind of how things will be in the new place, or I get anxious.’

Linda’s smile is a bit more tentative, but she squares her shoulders and stands up. I can tell that she is giving herself a mental pep talk. She takes off at a trot.

LINDA: “Ok. Let’s start off with the sofa, and we can go from there. The sofa is the anchor.”

I follow her to the back of the store, where she shows me a couple of contemporary sofas. On the way, we pass the chest pictured above.

ME: “I love this chest. I want two of them for the bedroom.”

Linda looks slightly bewildered. But we keep on walking.

LINDA: “We are talking about the living room right now, but ok, I will make a mental note of that chest, when the time comes to talk about the bedroom.”

After about twenty minutes, in which I have chosen the sofa, two chairs, a bookcase, a dining room table and chairs, Linda gets me. She points to something, I yay or nay it, and we move on. Linda seems to gain in both enthusiasm and energy as we continue.

At the end of an hour, the process is done, except for the “office,” which will be chosen by my husband on another abbreviated visit in which he lays out the guidelines:

HIM: “I only want to sit in five chairs. Five is my limit.’

LINDA (Who by now has probably told her boss about this gold mine couple who want to buy a truckload of furniture in the shortest amount of time possible): “No problem. What about Stickley? You look like a Stickley sort of person.”

HIM: “Yes. Stickley it is.” He sits in one chair. “This chair is fine.” He points to a desk five feet away. “And I will take that desk to go with it. Does it have a matching file cabinet?”

Linda nods a bit frantically.

HIM: “We’re done, right?”

We were. Linda not only kept up, but I think she made Joanna Gaines look like an amateur. She did have one moment of weakness, though. She questioned the choice of a chair my husband picked out.

LINDA: “I really think you should reconsider this particular chair. The rest of the apartment will look so terrific; I am afraid that your friends will come over, take one look at that chair, and ask you if your interior designer was out sick the day you chose this.”

We chose a different chair.

Joanna Gaines needs to up her game. I’m just saying…

 

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IS THE SUN SETTING ON US?

Heavy hearts in Dayton today. Our government seems to be failing us. It is hard to be hopeful at this moment. We must vote.

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ONE DOOR CLOSES; ANOTHER OPENS

Twenty six years in a beautiful, old house with large rooms, high ceilings, gorgeous historical touches such as a butler’s pantry, wide center hall, upstairs screened porch, two fireplaces, and memories of children growing up, holidays, and all of that sentimental detritus that surrounds a long life.

Here’s another list. Yearly yard maintenance. Upkeep on a beautiful deck garden. Painters.  Roofers. Kitchen redos: two of them, twenty years apart. Chimney repointing. New appliances. Carpet cleaners. Plumbers. The dollars spent on keeping this home gorgeous: thousands and thousands.

One day two weeks ago, we got so very tired of the weight of this home on our shoulders as curators. We had an argument in the garage about how many trees my husband wanted to remove from the yard: it is getting overgrown. I suggested calling in professionals for the job. He who never shouts , shouted “Do you know how much that costs?” It hit us all of a sudden: we need to sell this house before it kills us.

Within twenty-four hours, we had signed a lease on an apartment in the building pictured above. Centerfield Flats are going up now, and we got the choicest unit, which is a three-bedroom, 1700 square foot apartment on the fifth floor–upper left in the photo. https://www.apartments.com/centerfield-flats-dayton-oh/zrblgpx

A new adventure. All new furniture. A view of downtown. Not that we are baseball fans, but yes, we can watch the games from our wraparound balcony. Everything brand-new, just like building a house without the headaches.

Right now, we are in a frenzy getting the house ready to show (are you sitting down?) one week from tomorrow. It is total chaos right now, with painters, stagers, estate sale folks, and a myriad of other people who are shoving furniture around, buffing floors, and doing things to the place that we should have done years ago (they said wallpaper is making a comeback, but not the stuff in MY front hall). We feel that we are living in the production of a house transformation show on HGTV, without the glamour.

Keep your fingers crossed that the house sells in five minutes, and that we survive moving. I will tell you one thing, however. Shopping for furniture online and in stores has always been a fond fantasy for me. Now it is coming true.

See you in Costco. And at Pottery Barn.  Ikea. Restoration Hardware. Amazon home furnishings. Overstock.com. The Sundance Catalog. eBay. Come with me; we can sit on all the sofas at Arhaus and pretend we are sitting in my living room. It will be EPIC.

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