For Fun


It is safe to say that writing activities have taken a significant blow with the introduction of Rowdy into everyday life. I knew it was coming, but didn’t know it would have such a strong impact. We’re still working out our schedules, so while he is being lazy this morning (he played ALL day yesterday), I get to tackle the keyboard for a little while, but only a little while. His nap will recharge him then I will be at his mercy until he winds down again a bit later.

Now, that is not to say that this boy makes me miserable. He doesn’t. He mostly doesn’t. When he is snoring and dreaming and kicking me at night, it’s rather miserable but somehow cute at the same time. When he is a total bed hog and steals my pillow, it’s annoying for sure. But his face and those big frickin brown eyes earn him a lot of slack.

He has quadrupled in size in the two months that I’ve had him and still has a ways to go before he is full grown. In the interim he is all legs and lanky and clumsy as hell. He makes me laugh A LOT.


Oh, remember the bed hog thing? He likes my work chair now too, especially when I give in and let him have it while I’m standing and working. I know I am sometimes the one being trained here. I’m okay with that too. And I don’t make training him always easy for him to learn. His name for one. He kinda knows it now, but I make things more difficult by giving him a plethora of nicknames. Here are a few:  No. NO! STOP! Give me the book! Wait. Hang on. Rowdy McRowdypants (that just came out one day). Legs. Dude. Hot mess. Good boy. Bad boy. Weirdo. Leaf eater. Chair thief. The Hound. Bed hog. Stop being an ass. No, biting! Here’s your toy. No, not me. The toy. OW! Bastard. STOP BITING.

You get the idea.

Most of the puppy teeth have fallen out and have been replaced with his blunter permanent teeth. Thank you, puppy tooth fairy for that gift. Holy crap the needle teeth were destroying me daily for a while … even when I was wearing Bitter Apple chew deterrent on my hands, arms, shoes, shirt, etc. It helped, but it didn’t completely stop the shark attacks. Thankfully he is moving beyond the Must Chew on My Human phase.

Lately when I get tagged with his teeth, it’s when we’re playing and he goes after a toy to grab it before I can throw it, and he misses the toy and gets me instead. Oof. Those hurt, but he doesn’t get in trouble for them since it wasn’t intentional. The blunter teeth hurt but don’t tend to produce a blood-letting session like the needles did.

Junior (another nickname) is still napping so I must end this and flip over to working on the third Echoes novel to wrap that guy up. Aiming for the end of Sept to finish the first draft!!

For Fun


I made the move last Sunday to the new spot for my bare bones belongings to dwell, and it took about five days for me to get mostly organized/somewhat puppy-proofed. I had to rearrange furniture a bit after realizing my first layout was flawed. The giganto crate for Rowdy needed a place to go and I had to add a desk to the mix when it was clear Rowdy is not quite ready to just nap and chill and quietly play with his toys all day while I work. Instead, he’s into EVERYTHING and only naps to recharge for the next round of making me nuts. So he is contained with me in the bedroom so I can work and keep an eye on him.

Most of my conference calls are spent with me on mute. When I have to come off mute, I’m usually apologizing right away for the squeak toy noise in the background. Rowdy has plenty of quiet toys, but noooooo, he can’t play with those when I have a call. But if I can hear a sqeaker being squeaked to death, I at least know he’s not chewing on something else like electrical cables or the bed frame. (For anyone concerned about him swallowing a squeaker, he is not a toy eviscerator like some dogs. And he does not get squeak toys or stuffed toys without supervision. I am well aware of the dangers of those types of toys and monitor him accordingly).

He loves eviscerating boxes though. I mistakenly thought that would be a quiet “toy” for him to destroy but he finds a way to make it as noisy as possible including growling or barking at the box while he tears it to pieces. Again, it’s not furniture or electrified, so have at it, dude.

This pack. I’m dying to get back into this pack again. Travel has been significantly hampered with all things COVID, and I’m itching to go wandering. This time last year was my sabbatical, and I desperately miss being a turtle, carrying my belongings on my back, and finding new places to get lost. I had plans to go back up to Montreal this summer. Not happening. So local wandering is what is happening. I just have to sort out doing it with a pup in tow. His leash walking skills range from about a C+ to B-, so I can’t go on long walks with him yet. We’re working on it though and practicing vehicle travel with short drives while he is crated. He isn’t ready for riding in a seat with a harness. That will be a while.

My weekends have me back to writing which feels great. I’ve been in too much of a state of flux to really sit down and write on the weekends, so I’m thrilled to have that routine back … in between Rowdy wrangling sessions when he is awake and wreaking havoc.

That it is now mid-July is a bit terrifying. Less than three months to the release of Echoes of Darkness–that’s exciting! The terrifying part is I’d planned to have the third Echoes book done by the end of the summer. I gotta tighten up which means wrapping up this post and getting back to that first draft. I finished one chapter this morning already and want to get another two done by Sunday night. Time to get back to the writing work! 🙂

For Fun

Book Addiction

I do believe I have developed a legitimate book addiction. I have always been able to walk into a Target, poke around looking at stuff, and walk out without purchasing a thing; however, lately I cannot walk past a bookstore without going in. Nor can I resist buying a book before leaving that bookstore.

Today I wandered around a few small towns in Mass. I’m a nomad and live wherever; wandering is my thing.

I have some bookstores in Boston on my list to check out, but that will happen another day. Today I was scoping out bookstores in Acton, Sudbury, and Concord. I will do book signing events in this area in the Fall with the release of Echoes of War, so I was poking around the bookstores to scope out prospects.

I went into three different stores and returned to my friends’ house with four books. That is on top of the four other print books I already have in my “To Be Read” queue. We won’t even talk about the number of books on my eReader in the electronic “To Be Read” queue. It’s a little embarrassing at this point–and I probably shouldn’t mention the eBook I just added to my Kindle wish list. Oh well.

Two of the stores I went to today carried current books, the third was an antiquarian shop that I still visited because, well, it is still a bookstore and my wee addiction brought me there.

When I was roaming Portland, Maine a few weeks back I went into a bookstore there called PRINT: A Bookstore. I absolutely adored this shop, and the people there were very friendly. I happened to be staying at a great little AirBNB just up the street from it, so I stopped in there a few times and only managed to buy two books–just two!

The image above is of one of the books I grabbed when in Portland that is a collection of SciFi and Fantasy short stories. I tend to avoid short stories because I always feel like I get sucked in, the story ends too quickly, and I end up feeling ripped off and annoyed. None of the stories in this collection have done that to me. I’m a bit over halfway through the book, and each story thus far has been extremely well written and ends with a resolution that leaves me satisfied, not irritated. One story had me laughing out loud in public earlier this week when I was reading while loitering in a lobby. This collection gets more bonus points just by having N. K. Jemisin’s name on it. Icing on the cake! After devouring her Broken Earth Trilogy, I’m inclined to buy anything with her name on it.


Here’s my confession: I’ve always been a bit intimidated to try to write a short story. My early attempts at it many years ago resulted in stories that absolutely suuuuuuuuucked. They ended up in the trash too.

My shortest novel thus far is 90K words. I’m a bit long-winded. Could I really compress what I have to say into something closer to 10K or even 20K words? I have had my doubts for years now. After reading the ones in this collection, I have the proof that not only can short stories be fun and fulfilling reads, but maybe I could pull it off. I have a SciFi trilogy to finish first, but I have tucked this little nugget into the back of my mind for now. Who knows what could happen next? It’s those little nuggets that turn into a five-book fantasy series or a SciFi trilogy!



Image from Amazon

For Fun

Domain Name


As promised, a little background on the new domain name. Firstly, kudos to my friend Jen that helped me pull together some domain names which ultimately turned into the new site. I did not give her an easy task.

The Burnt Mountain site was great for the time that I needed it, but honestly, it was a short-sighted creation. The only reason it ended up being called Burnt Mountain Books was because I was well into the second book by the time I started goofing around with a website, hence the plural. Had no idea at the time it would turn into a five-book series. I also didn’t know where things would go from there. The Monster Within released in 2013. It’s now 2018. Five fantasy books later and the first sci fi book will release in 2019, I think we can agree that it’s been a busy run!

What’s in a domain name?

I am more than a writer. I have a lot of creative outlets. Some of those outlets, I do well (painting with acrylics), some of them I utterly suck (wood working) but I still enjoy doing them. This is the real reason for the new website being something other than Cheryl Campbell Writer or Author or whatever. I wanted it to go broader than only my writing. I don’t have a link on the site up yet for the other creative stuff I do, but that will come in time. I’m still living on the road, so I don’t have access to the photos of various paintings and other projects I’ve done over the years.

So that was Jen’s task. I have lots of stuff I do and other things coming, so what the heck do I call the new website that I know I need but no clue what to name it. Jen and I were having dinner chatting this over. She threw things out to me, and I looked up the names to see if they were available. By the time we were done, I had four domain names written on a recycled napkin (recycled in that it was from recycled material, not fished out of the rubbish bin and used as a note pad).

I sat on that list for a bit to “feel” my way around them and see which one resonated the best. You already know the one I picked. The soup part is a double meaning. With the mix of creative outlets, sounds like a soup to me. Plus, as a Campbell, I have carried the nickname of Soup around for a while.

Jen’s reward for helping me pick the names was a huge thank you, and I did give her the pen back that I borrowed to take notes on the napkin. She’s been one of my early readers turned test reader from the beginning, so I’d already named a character after her in the first sci fi book. Bonus points, that character survives book one. Extra bonus points, that character reappears in the second sci fi book. Extra extra bonus points, that character survives the second book too!!!  Read my work and you’ll understand why this is a major accomplishment for one of my characters. 😉

Quickie Publishing Update

The name of the sci fi book has changed per recommendation of the publisher. Forgotten Echoes is now Echoes of War. Me likey! 🙂 So you’ll see that name referenced now on the website. I finished the first draft of the second Echoes book last week. That one is sitting off to the side, unnamed, for a while to mellow while I play with some other things I’m doing as part of that creative soup.


image from

For Fun







I will admit that Zugspitze sounds more like something that happens during or after a sneeze, but it’s the name of the tallest peak of the German Alps. Thankfully they had trains and gondolas that would take you up to the top. Some seriously hard core hikers were climbing the thing, and I admired them for their perseverance and insane toughness as I watched from the cable car hauling me and the other lazy tourists upward. The lake you see in the image above is of Lake Eibsee, a glacial lake known for its clear waters. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but the water was almost turquoise. So spectacular.

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Germany and England and made it back into Boston last night after a 20 hr travel day. I caught a second (probably more like a fourth) wind and was up till 11 last night then woke up at 5 this morning. My body clock is still a bit backwards. I was back in bed at 830 this morning for an hour or so before feeling remotely human again. So I’m hoping I can flip back to my usual wake/sleep cycle now. Fingers crossed.

One of the really nice things about all the work travel and hotel stays is the accumulation of hotel points. I used those points for my hotels in Munich and London, so those stays were free. When I left Garmisch, I went back up to Munich since I was flying out the next morning for Heathrow. I stayed at the Hilton (for free!) that is on site at the airport. I will say that is one of the fanciest hotels I’ve ever been in.

It’s made of a lot of glass. Tons of natural light coming in everywhere. The elevators and elevator shafts are also see through. The rooms (which thankfully aren’t all made of glass) were seriously decked out. The flushing operation thing for the toilet was a built-into-the-wall touch screen that was motion activated. So as you approached said throne, the panel lit up. I was so fascinated by this thing that I, of course, started playing with it. In the process I walked into the shower wall because it was made of glass and I didn’t see it as I shifted to move to the side of the toilet to frig with the touchscreen. I immediately started cracking up after I realized what I had bounced off of in my attempt to play with the toilet. This room also had touch screen lights that I could work the entire room from the bed. Handy. It also had speakers in the ceiling in the bathroom that would sync with your phone when you plugged it in via USB next to the bed. Seriously cool stuff though I didn’t use it. I was already going to bed by the time I figured that one out.

I made the flight to London and got to the hotel just outside of the city on Thursday. I ended up in another fancy hotel complete with a Lamborghini (sadly, not mine) parked out front along with lots of other high end cars. I was not aware that I was staying in another swank Hilton (for free!) until I got there. My room had a freakin chandelier in the middle of the ceiling. I could control the lights with a wide-range dimmer switch that I will admit to playing with turning the lights waaaay down then waaaay up while giggling like a school girl. To say I’m easily amused is an understatement! The bathroom didn’t have touchscreen toilet flushing but it did have an in-wall mounted TV in the bathtub with a waterproof remote and speakers in the ceiling. I opted for a shower that night and managed to not walk into the glass walls that time.

When it came time to switch hotels again and head over to Guildford, England to watch some soccer and hang out with friends and family, I was back into a hotel that was more my level. A Holiday Inn. No Lamborghinis parked outside that baby.

The romp in Europe was a screaming success and loads of fun. I have the final week of my vacation now to goof off some more and take it easy in the States. I’ll head back up to Maine midweek and see what kind of stuff I can get into there for camping. I can promise you my tent is minus a toilet (much less a touchscreen toilet), fancy cars, and chandeliers.

Image above by me, view from Zugspitze. 2018.