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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.

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.

A Spoonful of Happy Endings: Review and Interview

Spoonful of Happy Endings

From: A Spoonful of Happy Endings:

Review & Interview: ‘Looking for La La’ by Ellie Campbell (2014)

A few weeks ago I was contacted with a review request for Ellie Campbell’s new novel ‘Looking for La La.’ I had already seen several messages on Twitter and within the book blogging world about this book and have to admit I was quite curious! Ellie Campbell is actually a pseudonym for Pam and Lorraine, two sisters who write novels together, and ‘Looking for La La’ is slightly based on Pam’s own experiences of her husband receiving anonymous postcards. I’ve also had the chance to interview Lorraine and Pam about their work, writing in general, and their plans for the future, so make sure you also check out the author interview below!

Housewife Cathy is getting a bit bored with her dull life as a stay-at-home mum. However, her life is suddenly shaken up a bit when her husband Declan starts receiving strange anonymous postcards from someone who calls themselves ‘La La.’ At first, Cathy is thrilled with the excitement and decides to investigate together with her best friend Raz. Soon, though, things get tricky as Cathy discovers she has her own secret admirer to deal with, her friends are hiding all kinds of secrets from one another, and the relationship between Cathy and Declan starts to tense up more and more…

This book was quite a whirlwind, but a pleasant one! While the story starts off with Cathy living the life of an average stay-at-home mum, as soon as a bit of spice is added in the form of these postcards from the unknown La La, everything is turned upside down and all kinds of things start to happen. One of the most wonderful things about the novel was that the authors managed to keep me guessing until the very last pages; I had no idea what was going to happen and I was really surprised by some of the twists and turns in the book. While the story might perhaps here and there be a bit too fast-paced to some readers, I did really enjoy that it was different and fun.

I’m not quite sure whether I really fell in love with the heroine of the novel, Cathy, but she was certainly entertaining and I got caught up in her story. Both the primary and secondary characters in the book were worked out very realistically; all of them were flawed in their own personal ways and especially the bitchy side of Cathy’s friends made me laugh out loud several times. I wouldn’t necessarily say this book is 100% chick lit, but more of an interesting mix of chick lit, a bit of women’s fiction, and a touch of mystery/detective novel. As a whole, ‘Looking for La La’ is a fast-paced and quirky read, filled with lots of entertaining moments and twists and turns you will not see coming!

Rating: 7,5/10

For more information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads 
Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Author Interview with Ellie Campbell 

  

I’m delighted to have Pam and Lorraine, a.k.a. Ellie Campbell, on the blog today for an author interview in which they tell us more about their book ‘Looking for La La’, their plans for the future and their career as authors!

Can you tell us something about your new novel, ‘Looking for La La’?

Looking For La La is the story of a bored frazzled mother-of-two who is initially excited when someone mails a love postcard to her husband.  As she enlists her best friend in a quest to discover the sender, secrets are exposed, suspicions rife, romance kindled and she ends up putting her marriage, her friendships and even her life in jeopardy.  It’s a humorous mystery and at the same time a look at that limbo stage in a woman’s life when her kids have returned to school, her marriage is well past the honeymoon stage and she’s suffering the frustrations of not quite knowing what her new role should be. 

Where did you find the inspiration for ‘Looking for La La’? Is it in any way based on your own personal experiences?

Actually Pam’s husband did receive an almost identical postcard and they never did find out who sent it.  But instead of driving herself crazy the way our heroine Cathy does, Pam laughed it off and decided it would be a great opening scene for our latest book.  Plus she well remembers how bonded she and her girlfriends were in the days when they were all at-home mothers and children ruled their lives.  However, the postcard is the limit of actual events we used. There were no murderers in our neighbourhood.  (Or if there were, we weren’t involved in them.)

Which character in the novel did you most enjoy writing about and why?

Well, Cathy was a lot of fun to write because while she has a lot of good qualities she’s not exactly the perfect wife or mother – she’s scatty, impulsive, sometimes jealous, often childish in good and bad ways and she gets up to some crazy antics.  But her neighbour Zena was also a favourite – a prissy, eccentric clean-freak with terrible dress sense.

What is it like to write as a duo? How did the two of you decide to start writing novels together?  

We began by showing each other our short stories just for interest…which turned into sending stuff we felt needed some critical advice or a little help…which led to us deciding to write a book together – mainly because we both wanted to write about the sister thing and include some of our childhood memories and our mother’s stories.  We could hardly have two similar books using the same material to so we decided to co-write ‘How to Survive Your Sisters’.  It’s fun, challenging but mainly it removes the lonely aspect of being a writer.  We get constant feedback and can be quite put out if one of us writes a bit we think is brilliant and the other doesn’t rush to email us back and compliment it.   Well, maybe I’m not entirely serious there but it is nice to have someone to share the load.

Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans as an author? Are you already working on a next novel?

Well, yes, funny you should ask.  We actually have a lot going on.  The sequel to ‘Looking for La La’ entitled ‘To Catch A Creeper’ is about to be published on March 24th this year.  We also have our fifth novel Million Dollar Question in the final editing stages and we are working on a third in the Crouch End Confidential Mystery series which is based on Cathy, the main character in ‘Looking For La La’ and ‘To Catch A Creeper’.  We’re hoping even more books about her sleuthing skills will follow.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Above all, sit down and write.  Many people think they have a novel in them but never get past the dreaming stage.  There’s much to be said for writing what you know about, what interests you, or what you yourself would love to read rather than what you think will sell.  Don’t waste creative energy discussing your ideas with others and don’t let people discourage you.  Enjoy the amazing changes the internet has brought to book publishing. It’s never been easier to self-publish and find readers.  But keep your standards high.   If you put your ebook up on Amazon, you’re responsible for the final product and at the end of the day people still get annoyed with typos and sloppy writing and don’t hesitate to show it with those killer one star reviews.  Finally, a great cover is your best publicist.  (That’s a lot, isn’t it?  Sounds very bossy.) 

What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?

Lorraine: I really enjoyed ‘The Affair’ by Colette Freedman.  A friend gifted me a copy when I was in Los Angeles recently and I read it all on the plane on the way home.  The story is written from the point of view of three different characters in a love triangle, starting with the wife, then the husband and then the mistress.  I liked the way there weren’t any blanket villains in the scenario, just ordinary people dealing with age-old issues and human weaknesses.

Pam: ‘Yours Truly’ by Kirsty Greenwood.  It was such fun and made me laugh out loud quite a few times.  Well done to her. 

Which book could you not live without?  

Lorraine: OK, I’m going to try really hard not to say Pride and Prejudice although I know it almost by heart and pick The Famous Five by Enid Blyton.  Even though I haven’t seen a copy for years and they are kind of laughable, Blyton’s adventure series were the easily accessible novels that got me into reading at a very young age and made it an essential part of my life.  From there I became a total bookworm and went on to Swallows and Amazons, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe… I get chills just thinking of those childhood friends.

Pam: I have always loved Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.   It had everything – adventure, pirates, buried treasure, a talking parrot, Long John Silver.  It was the perfect novel , inspired me into wanting a life of adventure and I always used to think of it when Lorraine was off sailing around the Caribbean. So jealous. 

And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘Looking for La La’ in just three words, which words would you pick?

Funny,  Quirky.  Unique.

Thanks so much, Pam and Lorraine! 🙂

Ellie Campbell's Random Animal Facts

onmybookshelf – I Heart Chick Lit

To Catch a Creeper

The cat incident in To Catch A Creeper actually happened to a cat that Pam owned named Parker who closely resembled Cathy’s cat, Tic Tac.

Yes, we – Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell (aka Ellie Campbell) – are total animal lovers.  Not that animals have always loved us back…

 Ellie Campbell’s random animal facts

1.      Lorraine drove 18 hours to Kansas City and back to adopt a whoodle (got to love that name) named Remy, a wheaten terrier/poodle cross.  His misdeeds include eating the passenger’s seat of her brand new car, killing rabbits and burying dead voles in the marital bed.  He is also unbearably cute.

 2.     Pam has a tiny border terrier called Milly whose life’s ambition is to battle rottweilers and capture a fox. One of the sisters in “How to Survive Your Sisters” was named after her, yet they look nothing alike.

3.      Pam and Lorraine’s first dog was a wayward mongrel called Tippy who chased motorbikes, fought with male dogs and amorously pursued every bitch in town, hopping on and off buses, unescorted.  When about to move to England, the parents seized the excuse to find him another home at a distant farm.  They dropped him off, despite wails and protests, only to discover him back at the house within hours.  Clearly his knowledge of the bus system extended also to rural routes. 

 4.      Pam and Lorraine also owned rabbits, keeping the two does in a large aviary in the garden, separated from the buck called Dylan, who still somehow managed to procreate, bringing the total from three to nineteen with astonishing speed.  Pam liked to walk them on a leash in the local graveyard and turn them loose for exercise.  They would follow her around, leaping in the air.

5.      The two sisters were always horse obsessed, galloping down the street on their imaginary steeds, slaving and mucking out stalls in the local stables to cadge free rides. After leaving school they pooled their meager wages to buy a hot-blooded Anglo Arab named Eagle Star, often borrowing a scruffy old mule so they could ride together.  Lorraine and Star once had the unnerving experience of a hot air balloon descending straight at them, with the occupant screaming to get out of his way.  It added a whole new dimension to “hazards of the trail”.

6.      Pam and Lorraine used to win money at local fairs betting on their friend’s donkey, Bilbo Baggins, until the bookmakers wised up to his talents.  It was still an uncertain race because although extremely fast Bilbo had trouble turning corners and his jockey frequently fell off.

7.      Beside the horse, Eagle Star, Pam has owned or lived with cats, dogs, goats, fish, hamsters, rabbits, budgies, Java finches, chickens, lizards, snakes and rats.  Her least favorite was the python that thanks to father/son collusion was purchased with her very reluctant consent.  As soon as the men of the family went away on a camping trip, the python escaped.  Pam spent the rest of the weekend being afraid… very afraid.

8.      Lorraine has owned hamsters, horses, rabbits, cats, dogs, budgies, cockatiels, chickens, Indian runner ducks.  Her least favorite were the Indian runner ducks who lived up to their name by running in a panic whenever she approached. 

9.      Pam once frightened a house guest when he awoke to see an escaped hamster gnawing through a hole in the ceiling.

 

10.    Lorraine once went to throw a stick into the fireplace and realized it was a huge bull snake that had come in unnoticed when she fetched the wood.


12.    Pam was the first rider to mount Lorraine’s young feisty mare Luna in her early days of training.   They achieved half a dozen steps before Luna threw a monumental bucking fit and ejected Pam into the dirt. Pam was not impressed by Lorraine’s training.

 

13.    Lorraine was once on an elephant ride in Rajasthan when she persuaded the mahout to let her swap places.  No sooner was she perched behind its ears, when the elephant whirled and charged a man walking close by.  She realized then it had no brakes and she didn’t know the command for stop.

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14.  Pam once galloped around the Great Pyramid in Egypt on a runaway horse. She enjoyed it immensely.

 

14.    Lorraine once opened her barn door with cat food in hand, calling ‘kitty, kitty’ only to see a very large face emerge from the hay, followed by the rest of a magnificent bobcat who casually hopped out of an open stall door.  Her barn cats were all in hiding hoping to avoid becoming that morning’s meal.

15. Pam once had her shoes chewed on by rats when staying in a crummy hotel in Burma.

Rat_noir

16.    Lorraine and Pam both have the dubious distinction of having being charged and tossed in the air by cows. Pam in Delhi, Lorraine in Scotland. Neither knows why.

17.    Since moving to Colorado Lorraine has encountered raccoons, coyotes, skunks, rattlesnakes, bullsnakes, black widow spiders, bobcat, bear, elk, moose and mountain lions.  The mountain lions were outside her bedroom window.  For a while she stopped wandering outside to admire the night sky.

18.  Raccoons used to frequently break into Lorraine’s laundry room every night looking for a free meal.  A nervous friend living temporarily in Lorraine’s basement once called the sheriff when she heard sinister dragging sounds.  Turned out raccoons were having trouble attempting to haul a 50 lb tub of kibble out through the dog door.

19.     Pam had a fabulous cat called Parker who lived to the age of twenty-one. He was top “dog” amongst the other two dogs she had at the time and would condescendingly pat them on the head if they deigned to walk past.  He was originally a stray and not pretty but as he’d been at the rescue centre the longest, he was next in line for euthanasia and she felt compelled to take him home. If you stroked him in the wrong way, he would turn and scratch you hard, showing no mercy.

20.    Lorraine’s husband is not a cat lover and for a while banned felines, claiming to be allergic, but somehow they now own five, three in the barn, two in the house.  The house cats like to bring live mice indoors and let them escape.  Remy, the whoodle, then goes crazy tearing apart furniture to find them.  Lorraine swears the cats are sniggering. 

Thank you for stopping by!!!

 via To Catch a Creeper by Ellie Campbell / Book Review + Guest Post | onmybookshelf – I Heart Chick Lit.

JeanzBookReadNReview: PROMOTIONAL POST – LOOKING FOR LA LA & TO CATCH A CREEPER BY ELLIE CAMPBELL

INTERVIEW WITH ELLIE CAMPBELL

AKA

PAM BURKS & LORRAINE CAMPBELL

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?

Our names are Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell, sisters writing together as Ellie Campbell.  We were both born in Inverness, Scotland, although the family moved to Edinburgh and then when we were teens to the south of England.  These days Pam lives in Surrey, just outside London and Lorraine lives in Longmont, just outside Boulder, Colorado.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

On one level, yes, it was always there in that we both loved reading, writing, creating fantasy worlds.  But it never felt like a real option.  Growing up, Pam wanted to be a farmer or work with horses and Lorraine wanted to be an explorer, or a sailor or a cowboy.  Something adventurous.  Of course we both ended up doing clerical and secretarial work on leaving school.  We loved books but ‘authors’ were people who studied great literature and we just weren’t that academic.

When did you first consider yourself as a “writer”?

Probably, for each of us, when we’d had several short stories published and magazine editors were contacting us, asking for more work.  We were writing separately in those days.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?

We’d been writing shorter things for years before we even attempted a novel.  How To Survive Your Sisters was the first book that we started to work on together from scratch.  We had an agent by then and once our agent sent it to Random House, things seemed to happen quickly.  But we both have at least one unpublished manuscript on our shelves so we definitely paid our dues.

How does the writing process work with two authors?

Well there are compromises of course but it’s actually great to have the support and encouragement of another person and we fire each other’s imaginations. We brainstorm by phone, email and Skype, throwing out ideas and then, when we’ve hashed out a basic story, we each pick a character or chapter, start writing scenes and send them to each other.  We both add our input to every page and chapter so that by the end we can’t really separate who wrote what.

Do you ever disagree on the direction of a character or the plot?

Yes, sometimes – rarely – we get quite snappy with each other, especially if someone has spent ages on writing something and the other decides it should all go a different way.  Luckily it doesn’t happen very often and it does help that we live thousands of miles apart.  Usually we just need time to cool off and think about what’s best for the book.  That’s really our main objective – since we’re both working towards a common goal, we make it about the work rather than about our egos.

If there’s a disagreement, say about plot, title, cover, etc how do you solve it?

We keep brainstorming until we come to a solution we both like, especially with something as important as titles.  As far as plot, if one has an idea that the other really detests, then it’s out.  It’d be pointless to try to force the case.  Having said that though, partnership involves compromise.  If we really can’t agree then one of us may have to concede in order to move the whole thing forward.  Usually we’re not that stubborn.

Do you market the book any differently with it having two authors?

Not really, apart from the photos on our author pages and social media accounts are of two people.   Really it’s the books that are talking. Hopefully it’s far more interesting than Lorraine and I could ever be.

Do you write alone as a sole author of a book too? If so which do you enjoy most?

We have written alone in the past, both novels and short stories.  I think with short stories, it’s preferable to do it alone, especially if there’s a tight word count.  But even when we work solo, we tend to give each other pieces of advice, and hopefully we both listen.

Do you get together in the same room to do the writing or is it all done via computers?

Living the other side of the world from each other, it’s hard to be in the same room. Our time zones are about 8 hours’ difference, so that complicates even Skype calls. On the rare occasions, when we visit each other on holidays, we always imagine we might get some writing done, but it’s never worked out. When we meet up in person, it’s just too easy to go off and have fun instead.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website: http://chicklitsisters.com

Facebook: Ellie Campbell Books

Twitter:  @ecampbellbooks

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1710882.Ellie_Campbell

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ecampbellbooks

via JeanzBookReadNReview: PROMOTIONAL POST – LOOKING FOR LA LA & TO CATCH A CREEPER BY ELLIE CAMPBELL.

To Catch A Creeper…the official singing and dancing launch party…

Hooray, it’s finally here.  Publication day for our brand new novel!!!    To Catch A Creeper: A Crouch End Confidential Mystery.  Bring out the balloons and the dancing girls.

(Or rather since we can’t afford dancing girls, click here to see EllieAy Caramba Campbell celebrate in style.   Margaritas anyone?)

And if your favorite words are ‘free’ and ‘almost free’  don’t miss the two very special offers further down this page…

“TO CATCH A CREEPER: A CROUCH END CONFIDENTIAL MYSTERY”

Yes, our favorite dysfunctional wife and mother, Cathy O’Farrell, is on the loose again… this time taking on the advertising world and also seeking to discover the identity of a notorious burglar, known to the press as the Crouch End Creeper.

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Of course being Cathy things never go quite as planned but you can bet there’ll be plenty of laughs, surprises and twists and turns along the rocky way…

(Those burglars can be tricky… even murderous at times.  Always popping up where least expected…  ) And talking of unexpected, as hinted above…

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ALMOST FREE…in UK and USA

LOOKING FOR LA LA 

All this week – 24th to 30th March – we’re reducing the price globally of our #3 humor bestseller Looking for La La in kindle edition to  the bargain price of .99 (cents or pence.) And don’t forget, you can get kindle apps for your smartphone, computer, i-pad or nook.  And if that wasn’t bargain enough…

WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN THAT…?

A GIFT FOR OUR US READERS

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FREE FOR JUST A FEW DAYS.   We’re offering How To Survive Your Sisters for free download Wed 26 March to Sunday 30th March on Amazon.com.  (Sorry, doesn’t apply to Amazon UK but soon, very soon…)

And, man, do we know all about the joys and pains of sisterhood…

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Thanks for celebrating launch day with us,

Lorraine and Pam

La La at #3 in Amazon.com Humor…

More than a few of our reviews have suggested ‘Looking For La La‘ is quite the wild ride…

‘..total Mayhem from beginning to end…’

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But never more than this week! Thanks to our 99 cent promotion  ‘Looking For La La’ has jumped into the top 10 in all three categories, including #3 in Amazon.com women’s fiction humor.  And up to #138 in overall Kindle US charts.

That means we’ve almost made it into Top 100… with another 5 days to go…

 ‘Thrilling, Gripping and Unique 

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And puts our little indie chicklit mystery in with some mighty big fishes…

Laughs galore but also a murderous undertone…’

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Enough to put a grin on all our faces.

 ‘amazingly funny, brilliant and entertaining..’

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While  ‘full of mystery, gossip and secrets..’ –

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and ‘Filled with great characters…’

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everyone agrees that LOOKING FOR LA LA is

Literally a laugh out loud kind of book! ‘  G85A1832

So thanks from Pam and Lorraine to all our friends, reviewers and bloggers, everyone who bought, downloaded, gifted, shared… SP_A0251 IMG_1099

And we’re not done yet.  If you’re in the US you can still buy Looking For La La for a mere 99 cents until February 24th..

So if you haven’t already…

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‘Go on an amazingly funny, brilliant and entertaining ride with Cathy and her crazy cast of friends and neighbors!’

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.

Frothy Reads Review: Looking For La La by Ellie Campbell

Frothy Reads review for Looking For La La  – now only 99c. 

Ellie Campbell is actually a team of two sisters who kindly offered me a review copy, which I had to decline…. because I’d already bought it! It’s akin to recently reviewed Goodness, Grace and Me in general theme- batty housewife investigates possibly cheating husband and uncovers all sorts of neighbourhood shenanigans. Luckily I read a palate cleanser inbetween to avoid confusion.

Kooks for your Kindle?– There’s almost an overabundance of characters here, it’s quite a busy book. Everyone is well characterised though, and everyone’s a possibility in the hunt for La La: Many varied mum friends, some old friends, some random acquaintances. Declan is Cathy’s stressed husband who is mostly on board with Cathy’s scatty nature, but has his impatient moments and he’s oblivious to the manipulations of his assistant at work. Raz is an old mate who enjoys a child-free, career-minded life while temporarily inhabiting Cathy’s loft conversion, while Rupert is her boyfriend who seems to have a creepy fixation on Cathy.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor- Cathy begins the tale as a rudderless housewife, struggling with domestic chaos even though her kids are at school and she has a weekly cleaning lady. Although her husband Declan first fell for her nuttiness, he’s running out of patience now and is pressuring her to rejoin the paid masses. Despite Cathy’s loopiness, she has her feet on the ground some of the time, has a refreshing outlook on life and can put away an impressive amount of alcohol. She’s kind and good to her friends, bordering on too soft especially where creepy Rupert is concerned. Now that I think of it, she reminds me of an older, domesticated Bridget Jones- I’ll have to read her latest to check.

Evaluation of your eBook?- For such a frothy book it has a cast of thousands, and more red herrings than sea world. If you can guess whodunnit before the end, bravo, I was certainly still guessing. I did like Cathy, even though her insane decision making made me shout at her occasionally. There’s a lovable collection of extras, almost all of whom are suspects at some point, and made for a warm, chaotic, dramatic and funny read.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

via Frothy Reads.

Indie Book Of The Day Award – When Good Friends Go Bad by Ellie Campbell

Hey, we won a badge and a certificate!

When Good Friends Goes Bad becomes The Indie Book of the Day for 20th of January

Royal Certificates

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via When Good Friends Go Bad by Ellie Campbell | Indie Book of the Day.