Category Archives: Guest blogs

TinasBookReviews: The Saturday Spotlight with Ellie Campbell and Giveaway of Looking for Lala

TinasBookReviews

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Saturday Spotlight with Ellie Campbell and Giveaway of Looking for Lala

Welcome to the Saturday Spotlight, a weekly feature that shines the light on Indie and Debut authors. This week I have the pleasure introducing readers to:

ELLIE CAMPBELL    ~Author of Looking for Lala~

10 Random and Possibly Uninteresting Facts about Ellie Campbell

May~2014 by Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell

Pam is a pescetarian and eats salmon and sweet potatoes almost every night. Mainly because it only takes two minutes to prepare and she can’t be bothered thinking of anything different for herself. She will however happily burn a variety of meals for the rest of her family.

Lorraine is addicted to coffee, tea and wine and gets very grumpy if deprived of one or all. She wouldn’t care if she never saw another piece of salmon in her entire life

The best present Lorraine ever got was when her husband’s friend gave her his Arabian horse Sylvarr. Lorraine’s husband is still cursing the ‘free gift’………..

Pam wants to own a horse again one day but of late has had to settle for the rear end of a tandem.

Lorraine once nailed Pam on the head with a well-aimed rock when they were kids. Lorraine cried so hard from fear of reprisals their parents didn’t even notice Pam staggering around bleeding

Pam once nailed Lorraine on the head with a golf club, practicing her swing at one of Edinburgh’s free courses. She claimed it was an accident

Lorraine is visiting Pam on the way to a wedding in India this Spring. She will only be at Pam’s for one night and half a day.

Pam is hoping in that brief jet-lagged period of time that Lorraine will help write some blog posts

Lorraine hates exercise of all kinds, but did once walk the West Highland way. 100 miles. All uphill.

Pam hates exercise of all kind but she has somehow found herself signed up with a group of long distance challengers to cycle on the back of husband’s tandem from Biarritz to Barcelona. A distance of approximately 600 kilometers. She is dreading it. Especially the Pyrenees mountains in between.

Today Ellie Campbell is giving away a copy of Looking for Lala to one lucky winner, everyone is welcome to enter. International entries can choose an eBook copy, US can choose Ebook or paperback. To enter please fill in the Rafflecopter.

Ellie Campbell says: Thanks for featuring us on your Saturday Spotlight, Tina! Click on the link below to enter the giveaway for LOOKING FOR LA LA.

via TinasBookReviews: The Saturday Spotlight with Ellie Campbell and Giveaway of Looking for Lala.

Girls Love To Read – Author Article: Five Simple Twists of Fate by Ellie Campbell

Thanks to GIRLS LOVE TO READ for publishing my guest post on destiny!

Today we are super pleased to welcome Ellie Campbell to the site! The lovely Lorraine, one half of the duo, has written us a fantastic guest post on the five simple twists of fate!

In To Catch a Creeper, Cathy has some real ups and downs where her path seems to be merrily going in one direction only to be sideswiped and sent off on a completely different track.   It occurred to me we all have some of those events that look like destiny when we realize how they’ve shaped our lives.   Here are a few of mine.

1. Fed up with my boring dead-end job as a clerk in a swimming pool company, I flipped open the evening paper and saw an ad for a literary agent needing a secretary.  I’d always been a total bookworm but it had never occurred to me that such things as literary agents and book publishers existed or to wonder how those pages got into my hand.  I went for the interview the next day and knew this was what I wanted more than anything else in the world.  The agent (now novelist) Carol Smith called me that evening and told me I had the job.  It was the event that changed my life, led to me becoming a writer and so much else.

2. Fast forward about ten years.  I was 4 days into my planned adventure of travelling solo in South America for a year, newly arrived in the small town of Otavalo, Ecuador.  Feeling lonely (already) I visualised asking the universe to meet a kindred spirit.  Next morning I walked into a café for breakfast and a nice-looking Frenchman started to talk to me.  Others joined in the conversation and frustrated by the language barrier, he left.   After a full day’s hike I returned to my hotel to be told my ‘amigo’ was looking for me.  I found the same French guy coming down the stairs.  As luck would have it, it was his birthday and he’d tracked me down to have dinner with him.  He’d been searching the many backpacker and tourist hotels for a ‘Dutch girl’ because he’d thought I’d said I was from Holland instead of England.  Once my trip ended, I lived with him in France for three exciting, wonderful and tempestuous years.  After that I never could see returning to my old life in London and on our break-up I took up my backpack again.

3. Shortly after leaving France I was working on a boat in a marina in Guatemala, cleaning, sanding and varnishing when my employer, a nice American I’d met on a chicken bus, told me his friend needed a cook for a weekend charter.  Terrified about airing my limited culinary skills and possibly poisoning paying guests I insisted I couldn’t cook.  The whole marina insisted I could.  Remembering my vow to always say yes to opportunity, I was reluctantly persuaded and for the entire weekend, the captain cooked the meals for me and I served them to his wealthy Guatemalan clients.  However, Captain W. and I had such a laugh together that he offered me the permanent position of cook and crew of his 47’ yacht, breaking the bad news to the person he’d hired who arrived the next week and paying her for the inconvenience of finding her job gone.  The joke around the marina was that Captain W. had paid $100 to get rid of a girl who could cook in favor of one who couldn’t.   I fooled them by managing to produce edible meals, pour unlimited amounts of alcohol and handle the dinghy for snorkeling.  It was two years of paradise and partying.  But that decision led to…

4. One year later, on that same boat, four male clients arrived from Colorado for a sailing trip around Honduras.  Three I knew from their boys trip the year before but the fourth was a stranger, a single guy from Boulder.  Not my type at all – shorter than me, he was unusually quiet (suffering from an ear infection), wearing nerdy-looking glasses, missing a tooth (he’d taken out his temporary implant), sporting his sneakers, socks and favourite ragged and hole-y old swimshorts. (OK, I was wearing my favorite ragged and hole-y old sweatshirt, not to mention a bra that had most definitely seen better days, but at least I knew not to wear shoes on a boat.)  Between bouts of seasickness (mostly his) we chatted about our love lives and he turned out to be excellent at kitchen prep because he couldn’t stand how long it took me to produce a meal.  His three pals invited me to Boulder for a river rafting trip, where Gary and I ended up sharing an inflatable kayak and he offered me his spare guest room as a place to stay – just for a week. And, yes, reader, I married him.

5. I was settled in Boulder when sister Pam and I came up with the idea of writing together despite – or maybe thanks to – the ocean separating us. We set out to find an agent for our first Ellie Campbell novel and a young agent, Caroline Hardman, wrote to us and said she wanted to take us on.  She admitted that we would be her first ever clients and we confessed that Ellie Campbell was not one but two people.  Caroline promptly got us a two-book contract with a brand-new editor, Emma Rose, making us the first authors that Emma acquired for Arrow Books and How To Survive Your Sisters her first production.  It was a whole lot of firsts for all of us… most of all the first time Pam and I realised we might actually accomplish our dream of being novelists.

Yes, when it comes to luck and opportunity I’ve definitely had more than my fair share – and certainly more than Cathy although things always seem to work out for her in the end.  There’s a few other events that spring to mind but I think I’ll save them for another day…

via Girls Love To Read – Author Article: Five Simple Twists of Fate by Ellie Campbell.

A Whirlwind Year : Me, Bookshelf and I (guest post & giveaway)

From Me, Bookshelf and I

1st Birthday Celebrations– Day 5

Welcome to another great Guest Post as part of my Blog’s 1st Birthday Celebrations!  I reviewed lots of books during my first year of blogging and I invited the Author’s of those books to write a guest post around the theme of “A Year …”.  Today, Lorraine (one half of Author duo, Ellie Campbell) tells us about the whirlwind that was 2013 …

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A Whirlwind Year by Lorraine Campbell

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellJanuary – My sister Jo is visiting from Ecuador along with her son Ben who lives in China. Lucky for me because they help cook meatballs, sausage and peppers and a roast turkey for our annual New Year party of 150 people at husband Gary’s office. Of course I have to take my visitors to our local cowboy dance hall, the Grizzly Rose, and of course we all have to ride the mechanical bull. Then off to Indianapolis for Auntie Annie’s 90th birthday, driving back to Colorado with Gary’s new car. The next weekend another flight to New Orleans for a wedding. I don’t remember much of it beyond throwing mardi gras beads at innocent bystanders from a balcony on Bourbon Street because in between partying, I fall sick with a killer flu and apparently alcohol, antibiotics and codeine cough medicine don’t mix well. This is a bug that lasts for weeks.

Meanwhile Pam and I have made the bold decision to try our hand at self-publishing with not one but three books, Looking For La La – our latest novel – and our first two, How To Survive Your Sisters and When Good Friends Go Bad, which have never been published in the US. Suddenly emails are flying about, demanding edited copy, blurbs, permissions to use old jacket covers. Needing a cover for Looking For La La we decide to go with Design For Writers. And, boy, will we be glad we did. Pam buys a new paperwhiteKindle and experiments with her first two tweets on Twitter.

Looking for La LaFebruary – Still suffering from flu, pneumonia, whatever. Anna Twinney of Reach Out To Horses – with whom I did an intensive horsemanship course last year persuades me that in between preparing three books for publication, I have plenty of time to complete her trainers’ course this year. This means I need 20 case studies done by exam time in November. My first is an off-the-track thoroughbred who had a bad experience with ahorse trailer and has to be persuaded that loading again will not kill him. One down, nineteen to go. Meanwhile Pam’s flying with her family to visit Jo in Quito, popping into Peru on the way there and the Galapagos on the way back (wondering if she can fit this into writing expenses – don’t be surprised if our next novel’s not set there). In our Ellie Campbell mode we’re struggling with the technicalities of putting Sisters and Friendson Kindle, writing strap lines for La La, taking part in a Valentine’s Day week of fun questions with best-selling author, Michele Gorman and 11 other fabulous women fiction writers. Oh, and a skunk seems to have taken residence under the cabin. But we do have a great new cover for Looking For La La.

 A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellA Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellMarch – Off to Indianapolis for Passover with Gary’s family. I also start working case studies at two horse rescues, Zuma’s and Shiloh Acres, both over an hour from home. La La is available in paperback for the first time ever and Friends and Sisters are published in US. Our agent tells us we need more reviews and web presence to be eligible for Amazon promotions. We do? Duh! We are so green at this game. We create a new website – Chicklitsisters.com, get an Ellie Campbell Gmail account, and start feverishly contacting bloggers and reviewers.

April – Leave for Connecticut for my first ROTH trainer’s clinic – foal gentling, working with rescued nurse foals who have been motherless almost since birth, teaching them to trust people, to accept a halter, grooming, to be led, wear a blanket, go through an obstacle course. When I get back my friend and I add two mostly untouched Arabs to the rota of horses in training, hampered by the fact we are suddenly knee-deep in snow. On the La La front, we now have 36 reviewers and bloggers who want to feature us and more in the pipeline. We have to write guest posts. Help! Pam slinks off to Budapest but thanks to Skype and email, she can’t escape and has to help. Our German publishers make us a bookclub offer for the German translation of Friends, or rather Freundschaftsspiel. Luckily we don’t have to do anything apart from agree and sign. Yippee.

 A Whirlwind Year - Ellie Campbell

May – Unseasonable amount of snow – will it ever stop? Pam stumbles across information about KDL free promotions in an author chat group. She decides to tie one in with Mother’s Day with about two days’ notice. I have another flu virus but that doesn’t stop the frenzy of spreading the word. La La gets into the top 12 of Amazon free books with over 10,000 downloads in a weekend. Oh and Gary has knee surgery. The snow continues slowing our horse training progress. I should have bought those studded snow tires after all.

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellJune – Spring arrives – or is it summer? Volunteering to assist at a 3-day ROTH clinic in Littleton, watching participants work horses in the round pen and obstacle course. Oh and I decide to bring a shy, terrified young horse, Avery, home from the horse rescue to gain his trust – just for two weeks, I promise Gary. Pam’s away for a long weekend, supporting a group of charity fundraisers cycling from Redhill to Paris, just thankful she’s not been bamboozled into cycling herself. Her husband decides he’d like to do the 175 miles in 24 hours, so Pam’s cooking breakfast for groups of 30 at a time at 5.30 am. Meanwhile thanks to our reviews and friendly bloggers, La La gets selected for an Amazon UK promotion and starts moving up the paid charts reaching #3 in humour. Hooray. It is now officially a best-seller!

July – Off to Lake Powell for our annual houseboating trip and then back to Connecticut again, this time for a colt starting clinic, training two and three year olds to accept a saddle and rider for the first time. Pam’s unfortunately not been able to get away with avoiding the next cycling charity challenge – 500k to Copenhagen in 4 days – on the back of a tandem.

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie Campbell

Meanwhile back in London my nephew Anthony has a premier of his movie Mistaken and we do another KDP promotion of Looking for La La, jumping up the rankings from 121,000 to #1 in US free charts in five days and #38 in paid.

August – Pam arranges a holiday to visit our old haunts in Skye with my two sisters, nephews and nieces. 90% holiday but also research for our 5th novel (still to be published).

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellI go to Wyoming for a mustang gentling clinic and see my first moose on the way there. We visit the wild mustang herds and work to gentle mustangs and some feisty untouched Paso Finos. A day after I get back, Pam’s daughter visits with two friends. And Pam wonders why I don’t get any work done!

Also my elderly Arabian has his third eye ulcer of the year and we are in the middle of yet another book promotion. Plus we’ve got attached to the young colt, Avery so it is obvious he’s never leaving. Somewhere in there we are also working on our new novel.

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellSeptember – Off to Las Vegas and Los Angeles with Lucy and two friends. They head for Moab when we get home and suddenly Boulder is flooding, creeks turning to raging torrents, people killed, others losing their homes or having them filled with four feet of water or – worse – sewage. Our power dies just as I get the call for an emergency evacuation at two a.m. Don’t want to leave the horses, cats, dog, etc. so decide to stay. Our house is unscathed but the rental properties Gary manages aren’t so lucky. Meanwhile at Zuma’s horse rescue, four foals and two highly defensive ‘wild’ mares are saved from a kill auction and given to us to gentle.

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellOctober – A week of ROTH trainer’s exams with colts to start, problem horses to train and a final demo day of the methods. Not to mention the panic of finishing and writing up the case studies of horses I’ve been working with all year. I have three fellow students staying with me, two from Sweden, one from Nigeria. Meanwhile we are also doing final edits of the follow-up toLooking For La La and trying to decide a title both for the book and the mystery series.

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellNovember – Off to Mexico to the small village of Yelapa by Puerto Vallarta for a week. Two people get stung by scorpions while we are there – but none of our friends, luckily. On the book front we commission a cover for our new novel – again from Design For Writers – and decide to call it To Catch A Creeper. Oh, and we have 26 people for Thanksgiving Dinner. And more blurbs and promotional copy to write.

December – Ah, the joys of Christmas. Our first year as indie authors almost at an end with us, leaving us so much wiser and familiar with the ways of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Good Reads, etc. etc. We have now made friends with so many fellow authors and bloggers and reviewers, it’s hard to keep up. But what an awesome bunch. I am now a certified ROTH trainer and still volunteering at horse rescues. ‘Ellie Campbell’ is preparing once again for the launch of a new novel. I have 25 people sitting round the fireplace singing carols at Christmas, horses and dog out frolicking in the snow. And of course food to cook for the business/friends annual New Year party. Meatballs anyone?

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie Campbell

About Lorraine

Ellie Campbell - Lorraine and PamLorraine is one half of Author duo, Ellie Campbell – a pseudonym for her and Sister, Pam who collaborate across the mighty Atlantic from their respective homes in Surrey, England and Colorado, USA, finding writing together a great excuse for endless phone conversations.

Together they have written four novels How To Survive Your SistersWhen Good Friends Go BadLooking For La La and To Catch a Creeper. They love any chance to connect with their readers.

Ellie Campbell is represented by the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency. For further information and to get in contact with them please visit their website: www.chicklitsisters.com.

via Guest Post & Giveaway: A Whirlwind Year : Me, Bookshelf and I.

Guest Post: 12 Not So Brilliant Careers : Me, Bookshelf and I

Me My BookShelf and I

To celebrate the release of  To Catch A Creeper today, I’m delighted to feature this Guest Post from Pam & Lorraine (a.k.a Ellie Campbell).

12 NOT SO BRILLIANT CAREERS

In To Catch a Creeper, stay-at-home mother, Cathy O’Farrell, returns to the workforce with very traumatic results.  Commiserating, we thought we’d share some of our bad, boring or just plain ugly work experiences.

1. Immediately after high school, to earn vacation money, Lorraine did a short stint in a hospital laundry. It resembled a Victorian workhouse with giant clacking machines, gushing steam, 6 a.m punch-in start and severe penalties for lateness.  The clock hand never moved, chatting was forbidden, the only dubious ‘diversion’ being a brief half hour when the foreman would play old-time crooner, Max Bygrave songs, like ‘Tulips From Amsterdam’ on an old turntable.  Chilean refugees handled the limb-threatening task of feeding sheets into the pressing machine: Lorraine’s part was folding and stacking them on a trolley, with a disastrous pile-up of crumpled sheets when she had to push the full trolley away and couldn’t catch up. She lasted 3 weeks, losing the last week’s wages on her bike ride home. Best thing about that job – the tea and toast breaks.

2. Pam started her career convinced she wanted to work with horses.  She found a job as a live-in groom and was miserable beyond belief.  Totally against her contract, instead of spending her time galloping across fields and fine-tuning her dressage skills, her employers treated her as a badly-paid nanny and had her slaving six full days a week. Her pay was virtually peanuts.  She spent her tiny bit of free time plotting ways of escape and finally bolted when they left the stable door open.

3. Lorraine’s first real job was as a clerk in a scaffolding company in their motor vehicle division.  She was 18 and her boss was 21 and wore the same cheap suit with the same greasy stain every day of the week. They handled insurance claims – the few memorable being a crane driver knocking down several telephone poles in a row (not quite bright enough to stop after the first), a deer jumping onto someone’s windshield and a driver capsizing his truck off the Isle of Skye ferry.  It was amazingly dull and started her coffee addiction (previously she’d hated the stuff) but she was so relieved to be free from school and homework, she endured it for almost a year.

4. Pam spent three weeks as a temp in an office where she was given nothing to do.  She was so bored she spent every day reading a dictionary until she left.

5. Lorraine once resigned her job as charter cook in a dramatic fashion by diving overboard from a yacht anchored off Isla Mujeres after an argument with her drunken skipper.

6. Pam’s shortest employment was working in a pet shop in San Francisco. She lasted only a number of hours. Not only was she forced to clean out the snake vivariums, with the snakes slithering inside, crawling around her wrist, but she was tested on her bravery by the Manager placing a tarantula in her hand. When she nervously laughed, the tarantula lifted its front foot up as if to strike.  That didn’t bother her so much as the fact that she got completely lost when sent out on an errand and was gone for hours.  She was so embarrassed she never went back.

7. Lorraine also had a couple of one-day ‘careers’: once when bullied and coerced into replacing her elder sister Sheena as waitress in the local Greek restaurant – she spent all evening standing idly because they recognized ineptitude and wouldn’t trust her even to serve drinks.  She also spent a tediously long night washing dishes in a trendy London bar where she desperately fancied the manager until she decided she’d have more chance of getting off with him sitting on a bar stool than hidden behind a stack of dirty plates.

8. Pam once worked in Newcastle, Australia for a finance company.  Her boss was an alcoholic who was having an affair with his secretary and one day his wife came in and went rooting through his drawers. She’d found a hotel stub with the mistress’s name on it.  Pam did not know where to look or what to say.  She sat with mouth agape and feigned complete innocence.

9. Lorraine once worked for divorce attorneys in Los Angeles, where her boss regularly arrived at dawn and disappeared mid-morning, leaving Lorraine to fend off irate clients who furiously insisted he was trying to evade them.  Turned out the ‘Glendale Man Of The Year’ was not only a compulsive liar, but also had embezzled millions of dollars, pocketing the settlements he’d sneakily negotiated while telling his clients their spouses were stalling on a court date. When discovered, disbarred and given a prison senntence he informed the police he couldn’t go to jail because his father was dying.  He then disappeared for several weeks during which – judging from calls received – he apparently told friends his wife and children had died in a car accident and went skiing in Aspen, picking up women and claiming he was a brain surgeon.

10. Pam once had a leaflet flight with a completely insane colleague. The colleague struck first. Pam retaliated.  There was a glass window to their shared office and lots of people looked in.  They thought it was funny.  Pam did not.

11. Lorraine worked in an orphanage in Guatemala for a few months, living in a converted chicken shack, and caring for incontinent toddlers who were fed beans and diapered with old t-shirts – a most unhappy combination.

12. Pam was bitten on the arm by the same insane colleague (10 above) who attacked her with leaflets.  The bite resulted in a bruise the size of an orange.  Her boss noticed it the next day.  Her colleague was fired.

via Guest Post: 12 Not So Brilliant Careers : Me, Bookshelf and I.

Pam Burks: My Heart Belongs to ………. | The Love Of A Good Book

Pam Burks: My Heart Belongs to ………. THE ISLE OF SKYE

Every holiday throughout my childhood, my family would squeeze into our wreck of a car and drive the 250 odd miles to our grandma’s home on the Isle of Skye – birthplace of my dad and his parents and their parents and so on.

Growing up in Edinburgh was brilliant, no question. I’d gangs of friends, played out all day, dodging cars and strange-looking men. I’d climb church roofs with killer drops, clamber to the top of great high oak trees, coming home only when it grew dark. So why did I long for Skye so much?

I’d have sleepless nights beforehand. Ached to get there.

The journey was horrendous, all five passengers taking turns with the sick bag. The roads were windy, bumpy, some of them mere dirt tracks, but as soon as we reached the Kyle of Lochalsh car ferry, I knew I was almost home.

I’d leave the car and breathe deeply, as we made the crossing, absorbing the sweet scent of the peat-burning fires emanating from chimneys of the whitewashed houses dotting the landscape.

We’d arrive at my grandma’s house, late at night. The beds would have been warmed with the stone hot water bottles, a fire would burn in the range. I’d crash out the minute my head hit the pillow and next morning, I’d squint open my eyes and know I was in heaven.

To me, the freedom here seemed even greater. There was only one family living nearby, but they had five kids, so with my three sisters, I’d eight ready-made playmates alongside all the chickens, cats, dogs, sheep and cows.

We’d fish for crabs, go on boat trips to empty the lobster creels and spend hours messing around in the rockpools. We’d wade through peat bogs, stand perilous close to crumbly clifftops and take dips in the cold North sea. Once I had to swim like crazy as a huge fin appeared ten feet from where I was bathing. Turned out to be a harmless basking shark.

I’d follow heather tracks for miles, knock on any door and the householders would usher me inside, clucking away about how they’d known my dad since he was a “wee bairn”.

Last year, I returned with some of my family. Part holiday, part research. I was afraid I’d be disappointed. Our childhood friends had moved away. Some had died. Our family croft and the house I knew as my second home had long since sold. There was now even a bridge to the mainland. Where was the romantic ideal of “over the sea to Skye”?

Wasn’t a great start. I found out that I booked in one of the busiest holiday periods on the island as the Highland Games had just finished. I expected hordes of people, crowded shops and tourist sights, with the capital Portree changed beyond recognition. I was worried we’d be bored.

How surprised I was.

We visited Dunvegan castle, drank in fabulous pubs, danced at ceilidhs (where I was flung around the dancefloor by kilted members of a Chicago Piper band).

We sailed the bay to see white-tailed sea eagles soaring high above us and seals playing in the water.

We walked around the magnificent Cuillin mountains and picnicked beside the Fairy Pools.

Yes there was a bridge, but the ferry still ran. Yes it was busy, but there weren’t the hordes of tourists I expected. Maybe because each passing place on the narrow roads, is its own beauty spot. The scenery was outstanding.

I travelled back as I’d arrived, via the ferry, but no sooner had the boat left shore than I was aching again to return, knowing that I was leaving my home.

My heart belongs there.

Oh wow, I’m still amazed by that shark. Thank you so much for sharing Pam

via Pam Burks: My Heart Belongs to ………. | The Love Of A Good Book.

ORDER YOUR COPY OF ‘TO CATCH A CREEPER ON MARCH 24TH.

My Book and My Coffee: Guest Post (+ FREE eBook): BFF or Frenemy by Lorraine Campbell and Pam Burks

Posted by Ara C.T. MyBookandMyCoffee

Happy Weekend, lovelies! 🙂 Today, I am very happy to introduce Lorraine Campbell and Pam Burks, author of When Good Friends Go Bad (which is actually free this weekend in honor of National Friendship Day). They have prepared a friend-themed guest post that I’m sure you will find interesting.

You’ll definitely enjoy this one… I DID! 🙂

BFF OR FRENEMY?

Girlfriends are loyal, caring and support you through the hard times. You share secrets, heartbreaks, weep on each other’s shoulders. But what if it all goes wrong? What happens when you suspect she no longer has your best interests at heart?  In other words…When Good Friends Go Bad?

Here are a few signs that it’s time to let her go.

She’s been texting your boyfriend – and NOT to arrange your surprise birthday party.

She forwards your gossipy, bitchy, wildly indiscrete email to her entire contact list.

She chooses the fanciest restaurants, orders the most expensive wine and sticks you with the bill.

She shoplifts while you’re with her and gets you both arrested.

She crashes your car while drunk then blithely admits she has no insurance.

She uses you as her alibi then reveals to the world that the two of you were lying.

She posts a horrendous photo of you cross-eyed drunk – and uses it as her screensaver.

She offers to babysit for your vital meeting and cancels just as you’re leaving the house.

She makes a pass at your dad… in front of your mum.

She dates your brother and breaks his heart.

You can never get through on her cellphone – the bitch has blocked you.

She’s unfriended you from Facebook – do you need more clues?

****

via My Book and My Coffee: Guest Post (+ FREE eBook): BFF or Frenemy by Lorraine Campbell and Pam Burks.

Thanks to Ara for featuring us on her great website…  You can click the link to read it all and enter the giveaway.

BookBitchBlog – 10 Fun and Random Facts…

BOOKBITCH BLOG 

BookBitchART

BREAKING NEWS FROM THE BOOKBITCH… 

click on link above (title) to read whole guest post, feature and book excerpt.

10 Fun & Random Facts About Author Ellie Campbell (aka Pam Burks and sister Lorraine Campbell)  

1) We are both mad about horses, IMG_1018although Lorraine has three and Pam has none, which is not fair (according to Pam). Lorraine doesn’t mind one bit.

2) Pam grows most of her own vegetables in her allotment. It is in a fab location right next to a lake and a park. She loves nothing more than escaping housework and family, calling up her friend who she shares it with and sitting with her at their picnic table putting the world to rights.

3) Lorraine once worked as a charter cook on a boat in Belize, sailing around the Caribbean. Not a bad job considering she is a hopeless cook.

4) Pam hates cheese and olives. Lorraine loves both.

5) Lorraine is pretending to write, but really she is going on an intensive training course to be a horse trainer.

6) Pam is pretending to write and scolding Lorraine for sneaking off, but really she is sunbathing in the garden and reading other people’s novels.

7) Lorraine once trained to be a healer – in Canada. She’s also done courses in Silva, Psych-K, massage, EFL, and had to bow 3,000 times to get certified as a Dahnhak yoga teacher.

8) Pam once took a ride on cabin 2008 114_2Lorraine’s new young apparently docile horse and got bucked off in spectacular fashion within about three seconds.

9) Both Pam and Lorraine got tossed by cows. Pam in some small village in India and Lorraine on the Isle of Skye, the highlands of Scotland.

10) Both Pam and Lorraine loathe talking about themselves. But they seem to do an awful lot of it these days.

via BookBitchBlog.

Socrates Book Reviews – Guest Post: Desert Island Delights

 

If you were stranded on an island what 10 things would you most want with you?

1) Kindle, filled with books and solar powered so that it wouldn’t run out of charge as I guess they’ll be no plug sockets on this island. Note to Self: Preload Kindle before you go on any cruises or plane journeys where there’s a likelihood of crashing into the sea.

2) Laptop, again solar powered, then I could write away to my heart’s content. I would so love internet access to go with it so I could do my own research and Skype people, let them know I’m safe, ask for pick-up etc, but I guess that wouldn’t be possible if I was in a hugely remote place.

3) Water I guess – especially if there was none in the island. Pretty important. Should have been first really. Or maybe I’d become a real survival expert and learn how to extract salt from seawater or set up some kind of water-gathering device. Another Note to Self: Preload to Kindle, lots of “how to do things when stranded books”.

4) Food. I’m assuming the island has some natural foods that I can eat, berries, fruit and fish, etc. but just in case it didn’t, then I guess I would have to have a huge hamper of food enough to last until I am picked up. (And tin-openers with it and chocolate, lots of chocolate).

5) Shoes. I know what it’s like on the beach when the sand gets excruciatingly hot. Hopping from shady spot to shady spot. I assume this is a hot island. But even if it wasn’t, and it was all cold and craggy, I’d still need a good pair of shoes, stop my feet getting torn to shreds. Just a nice pair of trainers, don’t need to worry about make or anything.

6) Clothes – I wouldn’t want to be rescued naked, although if there was a choice I suppose I’d forego my modesty. But I hate being too cold and too hot and clothes would be hugely important. I mean I may get all clever with the vegetation and vines and make myself a banana leaf sarong or waistcoat or something, but it would be much nicer just to have some clothes washed up on the shore with me.

7) Sunblock. If I was there for months, I’d probably get very brown, but risk skin cancer? No way.

8) Moisturizer. There may be natural oily plants, like aloe vera plants or coconuts that I could crack open and rub into my face, but it would be so much easier to have a big old tub of moisturiser to hand. When I’m rescued I don’t want to meet the press looking like a wrinkled old prune as I model my banana leaf sarong and show them my home-made water collection contraption…

9) Animal. Little furry thing that I could befriend, like a squirrel or wallaby, or heck, even a rat (as long as there was only just one). I would be their friend. Tame them and they would follow me everywhere, and I would whistle and they’d come running to me and put their little paw up when they wanted more nibbles. I would talk to them and teach them commands like sit, beg, down. They would lie in my arms at night and I’d tell them stories or read to them from my memoirs. Because you might as well write them if you’re on an island, leave something behind for your family to remember you by.

10) Cigarette Lighter/ Fire starter. So I’ve been fed and watered, am comfortable clothes-wise, wandering around my island in my shoes and bikini under my banana leaf sarong, followed faithfully by my highly-trained squirrel/rat creature, been writing and reading with no disturbance (bliss), and my skin is well moisturised (for the press and future movie-makers watching on TV), then my No 10 would have to be a cigarette lighter. I love real fires and I’d need one for warmth, scaring off ferocious animals (if I can’t tame them), cooking, attracting passing ships/planes, gazing into and dreaming of lost loves, etc. Of course I’d have learned how to rub two sticks together my preloaded “desert island survival” e-book, but honestly, every night…? What a faff.

Do you know, writing this, I am actually wanting to go to this island, it is seeming more like bliss every moment.

Excerpted from Socrates Book Reviews – thank you, Yvonne, for featuring us today.  

With a little help from my friends… MISTAKEN: the movie.

MISTAKEN: an indie thriller.  (Or how a Nandos chicken dinner saved the entire film production.)

Sadly I (Lorraine) have missed my and only chance to become a movie star, being in the USA when our nephew Anthony was casting his friends and family members in a full-length thriller he wrote, directed, starred in and produced himself. As the July 20th premiere at the Cineworld in Wandsworth, London approaches, I decided to interview him.


What made you decide to make a movie?Anthony head

I missed acting, and wanted to be in a film.Figured it was quicker to make one than do years of casting for a lead role.

Did you ever think you’d achieve what you have – did you have doubts?

Never beyond my wildest dreams… actually if you told me we’d get a cinema box office showing, and a DVD release is on the cards, I would have laughed.

How old were you when you started and how old were you when you finished?

23-27

What was your budget? 

I’ll tell you once I’ve sold it.

How did you get the equipment?  Actors?  Locations?

I bought the equipment wanting to start making wedding videos. I turned to friends for actors. Some I asked, some asked me. Some I nagged. A lot. Some I bribed with chicken dinners.

How was it directing amateurs as actors?

GunfireVery different to how it’s normally done. There are very few long scenes in the film and a lot of switching angles during the scenes. It was a case of pointing the camera at them and making them say the line over and over until they said it the way I wanted. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the same direction with my performance. Some people really grew as actors and some had some surprising natural ability. Using friends definitely gives better out takes for sure. Like Jamie’s line ‘you’re bleeding from your femoral artery’ which came out as ‘you’re bleeding from your feminal orgy.’  Priceless.  And Mat’s Italian accent always sounded French – unless he was shouting and then it sounded German.

What did you think/ foresee would be your biggest challenges?

Biggest challenge by far was keeping people interested long enough to keep mistaken - suitsturning up for more scenes. One of my friends was super keen to play a hit man and halfway through decided he didn’t want to do it any more.  I had to bribe him with a Nando’s chicken dinner. Another friend was cast in a major role but twice failed to show up when we were scheduled to shoot.  When we finally managed to get him back on set a second time, we killed him off instantly.  He kept saying, ‘this isn’t in the script.’… hah, hah. Thankfully I had a few friends who were really keen from start to finish.  It was hard enough getting 10+ people to take a day off work to come and film all on the same day Plus we needed good weather on the day…. in England! 

How did you come up with the idea for the script?

I dreamed I was being chased by loads of different hitmen. I’d escape one and round the corner there’d be another one waiting for me. I woke up sweating and thought if I could translate that to a movie and make it half as entertaining as the dream I’d be winning.

What were your roles in the film?

Writer, Director, Producer, Actor, Editor, and Special Effects.

Did you have any experience in writing, directing, producing, editing?

None to begin with – I’d won a competition or two making football videos, and filmed a few weddings. That’s it.  I learned filmmaking with constant months/years on Google and tutorials on YouTube. A few books too. 3/4 of the ‘Mistaken’ process was about learning, making mistakes and correcting them.

What help did you receive?

mistaken - filmingA lot. Apart from various friends playing cameramen, and the huge amount of extras. We had some amazing locations such as Nonsuch Mansion (designed by King Henry VIII) in Surrey. They were supporting local projects and let us use the Mansion for our film. We had help from local police, councils, my old work offices, a farmer with a barn in Devon, mine and friends’ families, and all sorts. People were really keen to help out, which was immense. I’ve got a long list of people to thank.

What was the biggest drawback of using friends and family?

I think you are taking people out of their comfort zone when not using experienced actors, which they don’t always like. However, it’s character building, and I would say everyone is a better person for it. I don’t think anyone looks back thinking “shit I regret that”. Although Mat was initially drafted in as an extra for one scene only and decided to grow a funny-looking beard for the day’s shoot.  Because he turned out to be really good and was keen, he became one of the main characters.  He had to live with that stupid beard for three years.

What were your biggest surprises?

How much is involved in making a film. I thought I’d get it done over one summer and it would be amazing. Three years later…   In fact because it took so long we had an issue with the main detective character, (Jamie), putting on weight.  He starts thin, gets chubby midway through and then slims back down at the end because I stuck him on a diet.  I think we just about get away with it.

What were some of your funniest moments?

Mistaken - screamJamie couldn’t say I love you convincingly to his on screen wife (who was his girlfriend at the time) – that was funny.  Someone called the police on us when we were filming an over-motorway shot because they thought the camera was a bazooka.   The one real actor we hired found it hilarious that the make-up artist wasn’t on set and we had to drive to her house to get make-up put on first while her mum made us all tea.  Another of my friends had a really bad upset stomach on the day of his scene.  He was in a lot of pain while filming a big shoot-out… he started begging me to kill him so he could go home.

And then there were the ten hitmen that we talked a start-up extras company into supplying.  When we got to the location there were these massive scary-looking blokes waiting for us. We were all debating who was going to fight them… and at first none of us even wanted to go over and say hello. I said to mat ‘OK, you’re fighting that huge bald bloke, ha ha.’  Of course they were all great people to have in the film and really helpful.

Also I lured another friend Pedrum in to film in the middle of December.  He came wearing his best suit and the script had him down to be thrown into a rubbish bin or trash dumpster.  At the last minute I opted to chuck him in the freezing swimming pool. It was a bit mean but funny.

How about stunts – any challenges there?

I had to drive a car at my sister in one of the scenes while operating the camera at the same time. I also had to make a 6 foot jump off a roof onto the top of a van. Mat had to get dangerously close to a cliff edge in one scene and we nearly dropped the camera off the cliff.  And Jamie managed to stab himself with a knife in the chin during a fight scene.  It was at his heaviest stage so his brother kept asking ‘which chin did he stab?’

Did you ever lose heart?

Yes, once – for 6 months. Then I carried on and didn’t look back.  In the middle of it too I did a round the world trip which I’d had planned for ages.  I did a rough cut of the film before I went, which I was really pleased with. I didn’t show it to anyone. When I came back I hated it and decided to work on it for a further year. The ‘creative break’ did wonders for the film.

How did you manage the special effects?  Blowing up buildings? 

I filmed the building and added all the effects in afterwards. I had to do a lot of research into how I’d make this happen. I found some great packages online, and spent literally months on tutorials.

What was most difficult for you  in the whole process?

DSC_1401Biggest sacrifice was time – in the end I had to take some time off working to get it finished. I had to learn an awful lot and there were probably about 30 different versions of the movie before I was happy with it. I was broke, skint, totally penniless. I went out in the same pair of cheap Primark boots so many times that it became an ongoing joke amongst friends as to how battered they’d get before I’d finally stop wearing them. I’m now finding them hard to throw away – they make me laugh every time I look at them. I lost a girlfriend over the film too… it took up every minute I had.  I wouldn’t change any of it though.

What do you think will happen now?

I think we’ll easily get a DVD release. The trick is convincing the world to watch it. I hope more people will attempt what I have. Maybe ‘Mistaken’ might inspire someone out there to try it themselves.

What do you want to do next – what are your wildest hopes and dreams?

Well, first is the Mistaken premiere on 20th July at the Cineworld in Wandsworth.  I’m working on content for a couple of YouTube channels I want to launch. Then I have amazing ideas for more films and also some crazy website ideas. I’m always going to be learning more and making (hopefully) better and better things. I’ve just learnt the hard way to do one thing at a time.

For more information on Mistaken and future films ‘Like’ us – www.facebook.com/takehomeproductions and follow @takehomefilms on twitter.

Mama J Hearts: Guest Post: Ellie Campbell

Thank you, Mama J Hearts!

Jealousy – A Wasted Emotion?  Discuss.

There I was this morning with a pair of slinky little knickers in hand. I’d just found them curled up inside my husband’s jogging bottoms (track suit pants for our American readers), almost as if some sultry mistress had placed them there to be found by my prying eyes. I knew they weren’t mine. I know my knickers (panties) – intimately. As most women do. I know they’re not my daughter’s. Even though she’s coming out of her teens, she still can’t seem to work out how to rotate that switch on the washing machine. Nor find it for that matter.

My son ambled past, yawning and stretching. “Here,” I chucked the knickers at him. “Do these belong to your girlfriend?”

“Maybe,” he looked them over, skimpy, lacy at the top, silky at the front, then left the room and came back moments later.

“Nah.”

“Is she there?” I asked, surprised. If so, she’d been very quiet all morning.

“No. But I took a photo of them with my phone. And she said they’re not hers.”

So should I confront my husband? After all they came out of his trouser legs.

Well, if I was a jealous woman I possibly would. Then again, if I’d been a jealous woman a few years back when “the postcard” dropped through the door, professing undying love for my husband, Lorraine and I might not be here, talking about our third Ellie Campbell novel, Looking For La La.

Just as in the novel, the postcard was from a woman, who called herself La La, addressed to my beloved spouse. Maybe fleetingly, a doubtful thought might have crossed my mind, and yes, I could have smacked him over the head with the toaster and demanded to know who she was, why she had written to him….barraged him with questions, accusations, burst into floods of tears.

Sad truth is, I’m used to it. It’s been a constant throughout our courtship, years of living together, and now our married life. As an athletic, good-looking, young (and, even now, not so young) man working in the leisure industry, my hubbie is constantly in the company of shapely young women with abs like the Baywatch babes. Teaching aerobic classes, acting as fitness instructor and personal trainer, he has been surrounded half his working life by semi-clothed health-conscious predatory females. Comes with the territory.

So like Cathy’s husband, Declan, in Looking for La La (who all Cathy’s friends drool over), ‘Him indoors’ has had a lot of attention from admirers over the years, to the point of acute embarrassment. I was once in one of his circuit training classes when the girl star-jumping next to me hissed, “Teacher’s a bit hot, isn’t he?” What could I reply? “Actually that’s my husband” or like I did at the time, mumble, “Not really my type”.

Another time he had a horrifying stalker, who having failed to seduce him, (he managed to push her out of the health club door late one night, locking it quick) ran up three flights of stairs, along a corridor, down another flight, to sneak back in through a fire exit, scaring him rigid. I had to make him a stiff drink when he arrived home.

In fact it’s almost surprising there weren’t a few more La Las over the years, maybe not all sending him postcards but…you get my drift.

It’s hard enough keeping up with a husband who is two, (he says three) years younger than myself, who runs marathons like most people were going for a Sunday stroll. And, unlike me, relishes organising and taking part in various sporting challenges.

This Sunday he’s running his 10th marathon – having already done the biggies, such as Edinburgh, Brighton, London, Paris, Dublin. In a few months’ time he’s cycling from Redhill, Surrey to Paris, France – 175 miles in 24 hours. Shortly after that it’s the Three Peaks – three of the highest mountains in Wales, Scotland and England, all to be climbed again in 24 hours.

Mount Snowdon

Mount Snowdon – Hubbie’s idea of A Good Time

Then it’s the North Downs Trek, the South Downs Trek, South Downs Way – 100 miles in a day off-road mountain bike challenge. Last year of his own free will (durr), he jumped out of an aeroplane, walked on burning coals, took part in a cycling road race, a gruelling walk through the boggy Yorkshire moors, bungee jumped off a bridge with a dodgy rope in South America. You get the picture. All for charity, of course, but still…

He’s on a high protein, no alcohol Paris 2009diet right now (for the marathon), while I’m on an eat as much as I can and drink till I drop phase. Well it is still winter, so I need a few layers around my middle. Can I keep up? Could I in any way be described as toned or in shape? No is the brutal answer. I walk the dog, play a bit of badminton, tend my allotment, do the odd bit of gardening, and am practically forced every year to join him on the tandem – he must still love me then? – to cycle long distance challenges…to Paris, Gibraltar, Montpellier, and this year 300 miles (in 3 days) to Copenhagen. I guess I must love him too.

Because frankly I’m basically lazy. If I could get away with it, I’d lie under my duvet every morning, tapping away on my computer writing the next “Ellie Campbell” novel. Exercising only my fingers and thoughts.

More importantly, should I be worried about the stray knickers at present lying neatly folded on his neatly folded jogging bottoms? No, I’m sure there must be a perfectly innocent explanation. Maybe he wanted to try them out himself before he bought a similar pair for me?

And what did I do when the postcards came through the door? Well, do writers ever waste anything? Being a trusting soul, (and an author) instead of leaping up to attack him, I leapt out of my chair, raced up the stairs to the attic, jumped onto my computer and furiously began typing the first few chapters of what was to become Looking for La La, roping in my sister and co-writer, Lorraine. We enjoyed ourselves hugely as we took what was likely a mean little prank and turned it into a funny mystery novel about a scatty housewife who stirs up a whole lot of trouble by turning sleuth.

They say jealousy is a wasted emotion. Lorraine and I believe it’s far more than that – it’s a wasted novel.

And the underwear? Turned out to belong to my daughter after all.

via Mama J Hearts: Guest Post: Ellie Campbell.