Tag Archives: chicklit

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.

The Love Of A Good Book talks to The Chicklitsisters

The Love of a Good Book talks to The Chicklitsisters

Lorraine and Pam are co-authors of the Ellie Campbell novels. They write together despite living in different countries. Pam in UK and Lorraine in US. They find writing together the perfect excuse for endless phone conversations. Together they’ve published four novels, How To Survive Your Sisters, When Good Friends Go Bad, Looking For La La and To Catch a Creeper.

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Hi ladies, it’s lovely to catch up with you both, it’s been nearly a year since our first interview 
And we have a lot to catch up on, I have a different blog and you, a new Novel.

 

Your new book is called ‘To Catch a Creeper’ please could you tell me about it? 

Yes, like Looking For La La, you could call it a chicklit mystery – it’s a funny entertaining rollercoaster ride about a North London wife and mother who once again finds herself involved in solving a murder, while surmounting marital crises, career crises, friendship crises and everyday parental challenges. We intend it as the second book in a series but it totally stands alone if someone hasn’t read the first. This time there’s a burglar terrorizing the neighbourhood and a transvestite as the prime suspect. Of course Cathy’s female friendships are a vital part of the story and her long-suffering husband has his own issues to deal with.

‘To Catch a Creeper’ follows Cathy from ‘Looking for La La’ – has Cathy changed at all? 

Yes, she’s still scatter-brained, a bit naïve and very loyal and dependent on her friends but she has gained in confidence and self-esteem. At the start of the book she’s no longer a depressed ‘desperate housewife’ but very excited about her new job and much more secure in her vastly improved marriage. (Of course we couldn’t let her stay that content for long.) As complicated as things get I’d say she’s better prepared for adversity and using her ingenuity to overcome obstacles rather than falling prey to jealousy, suspicion and alcohol-fuelled fights – although she still enjoys her girls’ nights out which now have increased from twice a month to every Wednesday.

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Can you tell me about some of the new characters we will meet? 

Well, there’s her hip new colleagues at the advertising agency, including ‘Vicious Viv’ and other trendy young executives who seem to have it in for poor old Cathy. She has a new neighbour, an eccentric nervous old lady, Mrs Baker, who involves Cathy in a running battle with her domineering daughter and proves to be full of surprises. And then there’s the nerdy middle-aged members of the Neighbourhood Watch, mostly cardigan-sporting males, who she enlists to help her solve her crime.

There’s going to be more in the ‘Crouch End Confidential mystery’ series, what can we expect to read about in the future? 

I think you’re going to see the new book transition even further into the mystery side as Cathy and Pimple (the cleaning lady) decide they have a talent for solving crimes. There’ll be more developments in her marriage, her family life and with her female friends. And of course the same laughs, chaos and complications.

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Last time we discussed your writing process, (Lorraine & Pam are sisters who write as Ellie Campbell), today I would like to ask if you find it difficult getting a book to its print stage, when you live in different time zones? 

It’s not really an issue now that Pam has stopped jolting us out of slumber with pre-dawn phone calls and I have realized I’d better contact her early in the day because the UK is 7 hours ahead. We have few really urgent ‘have-to-be-answered-this-minute’ decisions. Actually I get a bit insomniac, I’m often on the internet at 4 a.m. and Pam frequently surprises me by responding to an email when I happen to know it’s 1 a.m. in England. It’s only a problem if she doesn’t get to the phone in time and decides to return my call forgetting it’s some ungodly hour over here – which happened when I was jetlagged a couple of days ago – and we inadvertently woke my husband. Since we’d just returned from India and he was exhausted, I felt terrible about it.

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Questions for you both to answer:

if you were told that you could live any day without repercussions for your actions, what would you do and why?

Lorraine: I don’t have any secret criminal – or otherwise naughty – fantasies so I’d probably pick something I’d be far too chicken to do these days unless I was sure I’d come out unscathed – I don’t bounce the way I did when I was 13. I’d love to jump a horse at top speed over huge cross-country obstacles for example or play a fast-paced game of polo without falling off. Or maybe I could summon the nerve for a spot of extreme skiing and basically just fall down a mountain, popping to my feet with panache for the final run in. When you say no repercussions, you’re including bruises and broken bones, right?
Pam: I’d probably spend the morning releasing all the battery hens from their poor life, and the laboratory animals at the same time. Then I’d hijack some cattle lorries heading for slaughter. Find them good homes where they could live a lovely peaceful life. In the afternoon I’d rob a bank so I could use the money to open a horse rescue centre. (Might all take more than a day though.)

If you could choose one book that you think everyone should read, what would it be and why?

Lorraine: The Bible. Our grandmother used to force it on us every Sunday, she was very religious and didn’t approve of us playing on the Sabbath! And from a historical, political, or educational standpoint, it is THE big epic, documenting – and still inspiring – stories of bravery, love, death, murder, religious wars, crusades, invasions, great kindnesses, terrible cruelties. Christians, Jews and Muslims have based their entire cultural identities, social laws and moral codes around its ancient texts. It’s actually mind-blowing to imagine how our world might have developed without this one book. And it’s still influencing our lives today even though everyone seems to find something different in its pages.
Pam: I’m going to go for the Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Anderson. There’s just so many great stories in there, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Ugly Duckling, Tin Soldier, The Nightingale, Snow Queen, etc. Everyone should read them as kids.

What or who in life inspires you?

Lorraine: Smiles, friendly people, nature. I’m lucky enough to live on ten acres with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains to the west and incredible sunrises over the haystack-shaped hill to our east. It’s impossible not to jump out of bed when I see the sky awash with red and orange and know the horses are at the fence waiting for me.
Pam: My friends. They’re just awesome. In so many ways.

Please would you share who your 5 dream dinner party guests would be?

Lorraine: I’d step back to classic Hollywood in its most glamorous era hoping to pick up some backlot gossip. For starters I’d choose Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Robert Mitchum with Barbara Stanwyck or Mae West for witty one-liners – and just to liven things up the Marx Brothers could fight over the final chair. But if any of them cancelled, Errol Flynn has always been one of my all-time original heartthrobs.
Pam: I’m always a bit nervous about dinner parties, especially if it is me holding one. So I’d choose a few comedians to liven things up. Probably no 1 is Russell Brand, because even though he can be very naughty, he is incredible to listen to and can tie people up in knots. Graham Norton because he is just so quick-witted and makes me laugh with all his silly looks. Then I’d bring in Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders and watch them spar off each other. Finally I’d get Jerry Seinfeld because he’s super talented and it’s nice to get an American take on things.

At your dinner party, there’s a cocktail in honour of ‘ To Catch a Creeper’ what are the ingredients?

Lorraine: Tricky…in honor of Cathy’s scatty nature and dubious culinary skills, it would probably be something haphazard and impromptu – vodka and blackcurrent Ribena, supplemented with the kids’ juice boxes when the Ribena runs out.
Pam: I could also see her doing something totally self-indulgent and decadent – Mars Bars in a blender with Baileys Irish Cream. Yumm.

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A big thank you to Lorraine and Pam for dropping by to chat!

To celebrate the launch of ‘To Catch A Creeper’ 
Looking for la La is just 99p from the 24/03-30/03/2014
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

In the US only, you will be able to get ‘How to Survive Your Sisters’ FREE from the 26/03-30/03/2014
Amazon.com

via The Love of a Good Book talks to The Chicklitsisters.

Writer's Corner: Survival Skills For Writing Partners

Writer’s Corner

Survival Skills for Writing Partners by Ellie Campbell

Hi, we’re Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell, the ‘chicklit sisters’ who write under the name of Ellie Campbell.  538a9-elliecampbell1This always brings up questions, mostly about how we manage to avoid killing or alienating each other.  People understand creativity is an intensely personal thing – as one variation of a famous quote has it: ‘Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed’.  Given the intense emotions and vulnerability the process inspires, involving another person could be considered nearly as touchy as sharing a boyfriend – let’s just say you’d better have some strategies in place.   And frankly we are not the angelic siblings portrayed in “Little Women”: the four of us Campbell girls were infamous for flare-ups, squabbles, fist fights, marathon sulks – all the fun family dynamics we explored in our first novel ‘How To Survive Your Sisters’. But with our fourth novel, ‘To Catch A Creeper: A Crouch End Confidential Mystery’, ready to be launched on March 24th, we’ve decided to unlock ten of our deepest darkest partnership secrets.

What can you do to assist you and your writing partner in developing a common ‘authorial voice’?

Arrange to grow up in the same family, telling and retelling the same old stories, preferably with a Scottish accent that it will take years to tame into semi-intelligibility.  And make sure the younger one slavishly follows the elder, imitating her every gesture and move.

What do you do if you start to suspect you’re actually the better writer?

Keep it to yourself.  Remember all those times you’ve been stuck and unable to produce a coherent intelligible sentence and realize your partner is probably suffering from the same illusion.

What if there is a point on which you really can’t agree?

Maintain that this is an equal partnership and a democracy.  Ask her if she’d rather be right or be happy.  And argue that 18 months age difference carries a lifetime of seniority.

What do you do if you hate the pages your partner has just spent the whole day writing?

Say nothing.  She might hate it herself the next day when the glow wears off.

What if you had just had a disagreement with your partner about something else, do you take it to work with you?

Hell yeah. Add in a character that has all her bad characteristics.  And then give her boils, warts,  and whatever other awful retribution fits the scene.

What do you do if your partner is reading aloud a really bad joke which she thinks is hilarious, so much so that she can’t get it out for laughter

Agree that it is terrific.  Try your best to laugh alongside. Delete it slyly months down the line.

What if your partner takes credit for writing a scene or chapter that you have written?

Silently seethe.  Then later take the credit for something she has written.

What do you do if the story is taking a direction you don’t like?

Subtlety is required here.  Send her a day pass to a Spa that has to be used next day and take over.              

What do you do if your partner accuses you of slacking off? 

Insist you’ve spent the last few days on brainstorming, research and character background.  If all else fails, tell her your computer has malfunctioned and the internet is down.

What do you do if your partner is doing all the writing and you aren’t?

Accept that is the way that writing works.  Don’t fret too much unless she’s finished the book and insists on publishing it as her own sole work. Then that is worrying.

And finally, a freebie:

What do you do if you have a row so violent that you feel ready to storm over there and wring each others’ necks?

Feel grateful you live thousands of miles and an ocean apart.  Pour a large vodka, bitch to your husband and cut off all communication.  Hopefully you can laugh about it tomorrow.

Posted by Jencey Gortney 

via Writer’s Corner: Survival Skills for Writing Partners by Ellie Campbell.

Ellie Campbell says:  Thank you Jencey.  And remember that How To Survive Your Sisters is FREE this week on Amazon.com and Looking For La La is just 99 cents/99 pence until Sunday.

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.

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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

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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.