Visit The Phyl Campbell Website

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Date: March 25&26, 2017
Time: 1:00PM – 4:00 PM EDT

Event Description:
Local author Phyl Campbell will hold a two-day intensive creative writing and publishing workshop Saturday, March 25, from 1-4 PM and Sunday, March 26, from 1-4 PM at RusticCup Coffee Shop in East Prospect, PA.

Campbell has been offering monthly creative writing and publishing workshops for young people at Rustic Cup. This is the first time she is offering a workshop for adults in the area. The workshop is geared to anyone who wants to write and does not know where to start or those that have some writing experience but either haven't written anything for a while or are not sure what to do next.

Each session in the workshop will cover a separate aspect of the writing process from how to develop ideas, plot structure, character development, to writing dialogue and preventing "blank page" syndrome.  Some sessions will be geared to self-publishing – cover art, formatting, editing, legalese. Each session will be $20, or attend multiple sessions for a discounted price.

Campbell is a seven-time published author who has already helped students age 6-76 publish their own books on Amazon. Her titles include I'm Not Writing a Book Today, #25 Reasons Why Charlie Should Never Read Jane's Books to Jane, and A Muse Meant. Campbell is a member of Pennwriters and the Athens Writers Association. She also teaches literary arts classes and leads literary art events at Creative York

Registration is required and seating is limited. To register or ask questions, email Phyl at or fill out the form at

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Man at the Door

I saw him out of the corner of my eye as I set my purchases on the counter.
He was standing by the door, and when he notices me noticing, he smiles at me.
He was a good-looking guy. Nice build. Nice smile.
And I could feel him checking me out as I was checking out my groceries.
I'm sure he was a nice guy.
I'm sure his mama raised him right.
But my gut told me something was wrong.

So I chatted with the clerk. 
And I bagged my items -- really slowly.
But he was still standing there.
He wasn’t waiting for anyone else. Only for me.
I should have been flattered.
He was a nice-looking boy.
The kind that holds doors open for women
Not the kind that kicks cats when women aren’t looking.
But looks can be deceiving
I didn’t know him
And my gut told me something was wrong.

A million and one thoughts went through the head
Of the girl I had been taught to be, the feminist I knew I was,
And the person who was just minding her own business at the grocery store.
The me that was all of these and none of these and more
Kept waiting for the guy to move.

In a perfect world, I would know
All he wanted was a thank you and a smile
Some acknowledgement that one human being recognized another
And was grateful.
But in the world that I know
A smile is sometimes mistaken for an invitation
A smile can twist quickly into a sneer -- a show of power and contempt
Contempt for me, contempt for humanity
Contempt for my right to be

So I found my voice and I nearly yelled, “What are you doing?”
And waited for his answer.
I wanted everyone in the store to hear, to witness.
“I’m just holding the door for you,” he said.
His eyebrows raised in innocence. Smile fixed on his face.
Another day this could have been the start of a beautiful fairy tale.
But it was also one flipped switch from my death in a horror film.

“I do not need a man to hold the door for me,” I said.
“You need to move. You need to leave me alone,” I said to this stranger to me.
Did he call me a bitch under his breath?
Someone did.
It was not only a thousand voices inside my head
Telling me to get in the kitchen and make that nice man a sandwich.
Give him my number. Marry him.

I didn’t ask him to hold the door.
We didn’t meet by chance
Didn’t approach the door at the same time
He stood there. Like a stalker
And I don’t know him
Don’t want to
And here’s the thing

If I was rude, I missed the guy of a lifetime. That’s on me.

But if his motives were pure, someone else will notice
Because maybe nice guys finish last, but they do finish.

However, if my gut was right
And he was looking for payback
Or to follow me out to my car
To take away my agency
Or worse
Then this was a fairy tale
And I am my own hero
Slaying dragons with my hands full of groceries

And winning.

Written for performance at Gusa by Victoria March 9, 2017
2nd Thursday Nights Open Mic 7-9PM
Gusa by Victoria
252 W Philadelphia
York PA 17401

The Man at the Door was written in response to a man misappropriating a woman's text rant, turning it into a meme, and calling her a feminazi. I could have ignored the online mansplaining, but when a group of women didn't, and attacked the woman and her agency, I needed to re-frame the conversation. 

Visit Author Mother Dreamer Phyl Campbell on Facebook, this blog, or her website.

AMUSing Thoughts for International Women's Day

Wednesday, March 8 is International Women's Day, so it's the perfect time for me to remind everyone of some wonderful books to empower feminists everywhere. Sure, I wrote them. But sometimes empowerment starts with encouraging others to support and empower YOU. This is one of those posts.

First, I'm Not Writing a Book Today empowers everyone to write. An illustrated free verse poem features image after image of children dreaming, doing, and creating. I wrote I'm Not Writing a Book Today in response to the parents of my young authors who apologized to me that their writers weren't chained to their desks all summer. But I chose illustrations to reach an even younger audience. I was reading at three years old and writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. So why not other young people? And when I read I'm Not Writing a Book Today, whether to toddlers or retirees, my audience GETS it. I'm Not Writing a Book Today has become a mantra for so many people doing so many things. And if you haven't experienced it for yourself, your parents, or your kids, you really need to.

Martha's Chickens and the Pirates was the first children's book I was able to publish -- even if it wasn't one of the first ones I'd written or even finished. It is a story I wrote to honor my pioneering grandmother -- the sweet bad ass woman who endeavored to keep the peace even if she had to talk dirty to do it sometimes. In addition to the obvious ways Martha dominates the decisions made by characters in the book, I worked with the illustrator especially to make sure that genders were represented equally. And on International Woman's Day, maybe that's not equal. But as a mother with a son, I needed to see both. I needed people who talked about animals that didn't and I needed people to try new things and to be brave even though being brave means different things to different people. So if you are feeling brave, need to feel brave, or need a change in your life, pick up a copy of Martha's Chickens and the Pirates.

For the adult crowd, #25 Reasons Why Charlie Should Never Read Jane's Books to Jane is a hard anti-comedy to beat. In the traditional understanding that women are from Venus and men are from Mars, each vignette highlights ways that two people who love each other very much can still lack basic communication skills or mutual understanding. The idea behind the story and the hashtag was to have a response to the popular fanfic FSOG. A lot of people argued that FSOG liberated women by exposing sexual fantasies. Others felt the lurid sex imprisoned women. I objected to the novel because it took an angst-filled teen drama series that I liked (Twilight), took away the mythological beings that made it so great, and replaced fairly extensive character development with S&M. It wasn't original, but some marketer picked it up because sex sells. How many of the same people boycotting Beauty and the Beast helped rocket FSOG into a bestselling book and movie? Not the book's fault, or the author's. Still, I wanted to provide an alternative. I think male and female feminists want more out of their relationships. #25 Reasons gives readers more.

Finally, of the books I want to talk about today, last but by no means least, is A Muse MeantSamm is the girl-next-door heroine we all want in our lives. Her dreams, her magic, and even her insecurities drive the plot of this coming-of-age story for middle grade readers. The best part is all the things she doesn't realize she's doing. Girls are so often taught to feel insecure -- in the things they are told and the things adults assume they know. So for Samm to be continuously empowered instead -- this was as challenging to write (and re-write) as it was for Samm to experience. Did I get it right?

So in summary, go check out the following on Amazon:
I'm Not Writing a Book Today
Martha's Chickens and the Pirates
#25 Reasons Why Charlie Should Never Read Jane's Books to Jane
A Muse Meant

Phyl Campbell is Author, Mother, Dreamer. Check out her website