My Steamboat

In the freewheeling memoir, My Steamboat, Dori Duckels DeCamillis revels in the uncommon cold of her Rocky Mountain girlhood–complete with fierce, funny parents, wily siblings, improbably-named classmates, and the feisty menagerie who just happened by. Set in the shadows of postcard-perfect Storm Mountain, her book recounts how the people and place irrevocably shaped her, at the very moment her sleepy little hometown was becoming a big-time resort. Part picaresque parable, part insider travelogue, My Steamboat adroitly spins an endearing coming-of-age tale of love, laughter and growing up, candidly reminding us about the abiding power of place and family.

-Mary Kay Culpepper, journalist and longtime editor, Cooking LIght magazine.

Oh yes, I judge books by their covers. Because books, and book covers, are art to me, and I am attracted to good, vivid, striking art. So I was hooked at first sight by Dori DeCamillis’ memoir, “My Steamboat: A Ski Town Childhood.” The luscious, fresh-air inducing bright photo of children playing in the river while the verdant ski slopes wink behind is so inviting…

And then the mud-covered, rough-and-tumble reality of Steamboat residency sets in. From the beginning DeCamillis warns that mountain folk are blunt sometimes, and that her stories, which are so every-day in her mind, may seem surprising or even scandalous to city slickers.

This city slicker wasn’t scandalized, but did laugh uproariously at the girl joining her basketball team to moon highway drivers out the tour bus window, at the mother whose language could make light hearts blush, at the genuine sacrilege of naughty pranks during Mass in the town’s Catholic parish.

This book has the feel of that friend in your life who tells the funniest stories and you could spend hours just listening, laughing, and wanting more. That’s why I couldn’t put it down until the last page had been devoured. Enjoy the mountain scenery, cherish this precious portrait of a once-quaint town that has, like so many resorts, been standardized to commercial perfection, smell the pine-scented breezes, and romp with Dori and the Duckels clan up and down Steamboat’s mountain playground. Coloradans will feel right at home between these covers, and out-of-towners will rejoice in what we all know is our own slice of paradise.

-Rocky Mountain Authors blog at the Tattered Cover, Denver, CO

If you think you know Steamboat, think again. This story of a ranch town cum ski resort, by a native who knew it all back when, will make you rethink not only Steamboat Springs, Colorado, but that “same small town in each of us,” as the songwriter said.

In these pages you will meet a mother with a profanity habit who fling cats into snowbanks and plays sad folk songs on the ukulele; a father who emerges only rarely from his deep silences to laught manically at his own jokes and teach his teenage daughters how to play dirty basketball; townspeople who include lecherous old dudes hanging around the local pool, former race car drivers at the wheel of the scool bus, and history teachers who issue bomb threats.

Dori DeCamillis (nee Duckels) tells of her unique family, peculiar neighbors, and reassuringly American hometown with honesty, grace, and most inportantly humor. A cross between Patrick McManus and Garrison Keillor, DeCamillis gives us a town and cast of characters not soon forgotten.

-Avery Hurt, author of Bullet With Your Name On It

The Freeway

Two young painters sell everything they own, buy a vintage motor home, and hit the road to seek their fortune. This is the story of their adventures. In a voice as unafffected as the paintings that she and her husband create, Dori tells the story of her three year-long journey. Often funny, sometimes heartbreaking, with echoes of Huck Finn, Jack Kerouac, and Lucy and Desi in the long, long trailer, The Freeway takes the reader not simply across America, but to a place somewhere in the center of the heart.

-Joyce Maynard​, Author of Labor Day and To Die For

The Freeway is warm, funny, and wonderfully engaging. In the best tradition of travel writing since Huck Finn, it the journey, not the destination, that counts, and this is one you’ll love going along on.​

-Charles Gaines, Author of Pumping Iron and Stay Hungry

Exhibit A

A catalogue of full-page reproductions of “Exhibit A” a series of panels completed between 2006 and 2011. The pieces are painted with oils on board and copper with handmade ceramic tile.

I moved to Alabama in 1994, amazed by the historical and natural wonders that are largely overlooked by Alabamians. I received the Alabama State Council on the Arts Individual Artists Fellowship for 2006-07 which inspired a series of 12 large paintings in my mixed-media panel format based on some of my favorite Alabama places.

In most cases I worked with a handful of extremely dedicated people who have devoted their lives to saving, managing, and promoting awareness of their place. The series was featured in a solo exhibit of the work titled “Prominence of Place” from April to September of 2011 at the Mobile Museum of Art.

-Not a review, just snuck it in here