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Making Pizzelles with Mom

Posted by on May 13, 2016 | 4 comments

If you’re interested in the recipe, it is as follows. The yield is anywhere from 4-5 dozen, depending upon the size of the pizzelles used. Ingredients: 6 eggs, beaten 1 1/2 cups (288g) granulated sugar 1 cup (220g) margarine, cooled (must be cooled) 2 tablespoons (30ml) vanilla extract (or anise) 3 1/2 cups (348g) all-purpose flour, sifted 4 teaspoons (15g) baking powder Directions: Gradually beat sugar into eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add margarine and vanilla; beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Gradually add to sugar mixture, mixing well after each addition. Drop by spoonful onto center of hot pizzelle iron. (If pizzelle iron is not nonstick, it will require a light brush of oil.) Bake for 22 seconds or until mixture no longer steams. Remove pizzelle with a fork onto a wire rack or wax paper to cool. Pop stores the cooled pizzelles in a shoe box lined with paper towels. His son, Tony, sends Pop plenty of new sneakers so there are always pizzelle boxes! Here’s a link to buy the pizzelle iron Mary...

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Coffee chat with Bette Lee Crosby

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 | 0 comments

I had the pleasure of “coffee and a chat with Bette Lee Crosby” the other day. We talked books, dogs, and of course, food. I’d like to share the post with you. Bette and I met through our mutual friend and fellow author, Christine Nolfi. Funny how the world works because Christine and I met at our local writers’ group and became friends before she moved out of the area. We connected again a few years after she moved when my husband and I visited South Carolina. It was probably one of the coldest and rainiest weeks on record but Christine showed us a place where they made the best peach cobbler!  It was worth the trip. Here’s the link to my conversation with Bette and as always I welcome questions: http://betteleecrosby.com/uncategorized/mary-campisi-cocktail-conversations/ On another note, this is a very exciting week. A Family Affair: The Wish releases on Thursday. Bree Kinkaid is finally going to get her happily-ever-after with Adam Brandon (from Paradise Found, That Second Chance series), but it’s not going to be quick or easy. You won’t want to miss the fireworks as one of Magdalena’s favorites meets Mr. West Coast. Should I mention he’s handsome, intelligent, wealthy, and an all-around good guy? (Oh, but he has a broken heart…forgot about that.) Guess that makes him a wounded hero in need of a second chance, and we all know Magdalena’s just the place for second chances. And I know many of you have no time or patience for the “bad girl” of Magdalena, Natalie Servetti. She’s done her share of wrong and worse than wrong, including almost breaking up Nate and Christine Desantro. But those of you who read A Family Affair: The Secret know she’s trying to right her past misdeeds, and now she’s met a man who might just give her a chance at happily-ever-after. Will her past destroy that chance or will love indeed conquer all? BONUS MATERIAL: Included with this e-book is an excerpt from Not Your Everyday Housewife, That Second Chance series, Book 5. It is also a prequel to A Family Affair: The Gift If you want to make sure you get your copy asap, there is still time to preorder: I hope you enjoy “coffee and a chat with Bette Lee Crosby” and I’ll see you in Magdalena....

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I’m a Packrat

Posted by on Apr 8, 2016 | 1 comment

I’m a packrat, no question on that one. Old notebooks, birthday cards, letters, all contain a past that stirs my brain to remember. This past January, the day after I released my latest book, I began cleaning out my office. Imagine stacks of notebooks, letters, cards, and photos scattered about. Some may call it a mess, but I call it my “safe haven”. There are also row after row of books lining shelves—I’m a writer, and of course, a reader. As I worked my way through the first bookshelf, I came across a beautiful gold floral journal my middle daughter bought me for Christmas one year. I remember requesting such a journal because I wanted to write my thoughts, goals, and dreams in it. I opened the book and fell back to my life in 2009 when I was struggling to find my readers and hadn’t yet learned to trust my gut when writing. It was a difficult and painful time; one I don’t ever want to repeat! 4/1/2009 Yesterday’s heartbreaking rejection made me realize it’s time to get this out—put the negative thoughts and the bad karma on paper so my mind is clear and maybe, just maybe I’ll push past this slump and find the joy of writing again. If I couldn’t write, didn’t care about writing, didn’t need to write, it would be so much simpler.  And that’s the problem. Would I feel this emergency if I were 25? 35? There was a time when I wrote for the love of the story, but the pain of rejection has smothered me. The “noise” of distractions makes me second guess myself and I am miserable. Today, I will push on and finish my synopsis—then I will work on a new story—then a game plan. There is no won’t or can’t—only I will. I will publish—I will write my best book ever. I will do this! That was seven years ago. I never gave up or stopped believing I would find people who wanted to read my books. It would take a few more years and tens of thousands of words, but I found them! A Family Affair has had millions of downloads. Thank you, to all of my readers for choosing to spend time with my work. I am forever grateful. And note, sometimes being a packrat is a good thing! Best,...

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What do you mean, there’s no mall? Finding wealth in small town life.

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 | 0 comments

What do you mean, there’s no mall? Finding wealth in small town life.

As a reader, I’m always curious about what drove the writer to pen a certain book. A story in a newspaper? A real life experience that spun imagination and possibility in ten different directions to create a tale? An emotion? It could be any or all of these things. Or none of them. I write quite a bit about small town life, and there’s a reason for that. It’s where I grew up, learned about people and relationships, and it’s often home base for my stories. I grew up in a small town in northwestern Pennsylvania and the title of this blog, What do you mean, there’s no mall? Finding wealth in small town life, is dead on. There were four of us kids, my two older brothers, me, and my younger sister—all of us born within 5 ½ years. There were no McDonalds in our town, no malls, no fancy movie theaters. I used to walk over a mile to school every day, (yes, I really did!) Time was filled with snippets of everyday life; weeding the flower beds and vegetable garden by hand and getting snail guts under my nails, holding the flashlight while my brothers caught night crawlers, helping my mother bake bread or hang sheets on the line so they could “catch the fresh air”. Huddling with my sister in bed on Easter Sunday before Mass and gorging on a milk chocolate baby doll, planting a maple tree—my maple tree—with my father in our back yard, listening to my grandmother speak in broken English as she told stories of being a young girl in Italy and coming to America. Getting ready to go out on Saturday night and fighting over one shower and one hairdryer between the four of us… Today, my brothers and sister and I live hundreds of miles away from that little town in Pennsylvania, but it is still part of us, it will always be part of us, because that’s where we learned the true meaning of family and friendship, and the importance of honoring your word. And so, when I decided to write about small-town life and its people with their traditions and values, I thought about my world as a child and as an adult and what was important then, and now. Family, community, hope, second chances. I also thought about “real wealth” and what that means. Is it a balanced stock portfolio and a seven-figure income? Or is it more elusive …intangible…something that cannot be measured or identified or even…understood? Is real wealth that, which reaches out to us, touches our hearts, our souls, filling us yet leaving us longing for more? Is it a fall morning, crisp and clear, with the tip of frost covering green, … a smile, full and honest… a tradition handed down… a string of memories planted with a maple tree… I hope you join me as I continue the journey to small-town life with my books....

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What is the suggested reading order for your series?

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 | 4 comments

Note: The iPhone backgrounds do not contain the series reading order. They are just a bonus supplement. Finally! A reading order that blends the Truth in Lies and That Second Chance series.  I’ve talked to many readers who don’t understand how the series fit together. It only seemed appropriate that I explain: I was so excited about sending characters from That Second Chance series to Magdalena in Truth in Lies, that I didn’t think about the order in which they should appear or how it might confuse readers and make them skip the experience altogether. But a few conversations with my engineer-brained husband made me realize that a suggested reading order was necessary.  So, I commissioned a graphic that shows how the two series mesh. This is the first of two. I’ve made it available in a high-quality, print PDF and wallpapers that will fit both your desktop and mobile devices. They’re my gift to those of who tell me on a daily basis how much you truly love Magdalena (and maybe want to live there.) It took some time and quite a bit of thought, but I’m pleased with the outcome and hope you will be too. Happy Reading, and I’ll see you in Magdalena! Mary  ...

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Charles’s Final Letter to Miriam

Posted by on Jan 27, 2016 | 18 comments

Click play to view Charles’s letter to Miriam. It’s best viewed in “full screen” mode. Did you enjoy Don’s narration as Charles Blacksworth? Then we think you’d enjoy the audiobooks he’s recorded for Mary…   Buy the Betrayed Trilogy Audiobook:         Buy A Family Affair:...

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The truth is what we say it is. Or is it?

Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 | 0 comments

I write fiction, also known in our household as making up stories. I put thoughts in a character’s head and let him or her spit out words that might or might not be true. Readers could latch onto the first part of “The truth is what we say it is. Or is it?” title and believe a passage is true. But is it? How is a reader to know the difference? And why on earth would a writer cast such doubt? It’s all about perception and interpretation, just like real life. We all process things differently, depending on our past experiences, our hopes, our tolerance levels. A woman who has dreamed of a life with a husband and children, maybe a dog or two, might refuse to accept her husband’s infidelity…and when she’s thinking about the hotel receipt she doesn’t recognize, she can’t process the truth, at least not yet…so she believes what he tells her because she can’t not believe it…not yet. This happens in several of my books, but especially in Pulling Home, Book One of That Second Chance series, and the prequel to A Family Affair: The Promise. There’s what characters believe and let readers believe, and then there’s the truth. I won’t write more because you just might want to find out the real truth yourself. Happy Reading!...

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Charles’s Final Letter to Harry

Posted by on Jan 19, 2016 | 13 comments

Charles’s Final Letter to Harry

Press play to hear the letter to Harry. You can scroll down to read along, if you like. It will not stop the...

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Writing on the Fly

Posted by on Jan 15, 2016 | 0 comments

Writing on the Fly

My husband and I flew to California this past summer for my niece’s wedding. The first part of the trip took us from Ohio to Denver, and I told my husband I was not getting off the plane until I had one or two blog posts written and maybe even a character sketch for the next A Family Affair book. (This would have been A Family Affair: The Secret.) The Notebook All I needed was my 19 cent spiral notebook, a pen, and a plane that didn’t encounter too much turbulence. I had no idea what I wanted to write about until I started writing. What emerged were a few tidbits about my writing process. I plot out the basics of a story in my head, turn it around for days, maybe even weeks. When I think I’ve got it figured out, I grab a spiral notebook and start writing character sketches, then plot, and subplot. I have over a dozen half-filled notebooks containing stories. There’s the story I’ve planned to write and the one I actually write. They’re never the same. Readers might be surprised to hear this, but it’s true. Often, I have no idea how a particular situation is going to work out, until I’m in the story, traveling down that path…Then, I know. I like to write with quiet surrounding me, but that’s more a wish than reality, especially with a dog in the house who insists on barking a play-by-play of what’s happening outside; squirrels in tree, joggers running by, the UPS man shifting gears… When I’m creating plots, character sketches, blog posts, Gloria’s notebook entries, Charles’s letters, or other indirect story content, I handwrite them in a spiral notebook. The creativity flows, but I always struggle to read my penmanship. I encountered this same issue when we were on the plane and ran into turbulence. I closed my eyes and continued writing. I would like to say the almost illegible penmanship had to do with a bumpy plane ride, but it didn’t look much different than what I create at my kitchen table… Still, I was able to decipher it and while my eighty-seven-year-old mother would say good penmanship is essential, I will settle for good...

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Charles’s Final Letter to Lily

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 | 10 comments

Press play to hear the letter to Lily. You can scroll down to read along, if you like. It will not stop the...

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