Tag Archives: Design For Writers

Calling all cozy mystery fans. Warning, Cathy's on the loose!

Meddling with murder full cover

Publishing globally on April 9th, 2016 by Across the Pond Press.

Yes, the secret’s out.  Cathy’s back and this time our madcap housewife, mother and wanna-be sleuth is MEDDLING WITH MURDER in our third cosy Crouch End Confidential mystery series that started with LOOKING FOR LA LA and TO CATCH A CREEPER.  And how do you like our stunning new cover from the very talented Design for Writers?

In this hilarious stand-alone novel, Cathy’s up to her usual crazy antics, juggling best friends in trouble, delinquent teens, illicit murder weapons, stolen bicycles and  drug-dealing yobbos, while masquerading as an extremely inept maths tutor and scheming to derail husband Declan’s plans to move the family to rural Norfolk.  Yes, it may help if you’re familiar with the first two books but even new readers will enjoy this one!

And you have the chance to read it first for free!

We made this offer to our newsletter subscribers and now we feel it’s only fair to extend it to a few of you.  If you’re a discerning reader (or blogger) who is interested in joining our Review and Launch Team, drop us a line at chicklitsisters@gmail.com.  We’ll send those selected the ecopy of Meddling with Murder in either mobi (kindle), pdf or epub format, in exchange for an honest review on Goodreads or Amazon around publication date.   And anyone who contacts us will be entered  into a prize draw to win one of our six paperback novels!

Meanwhile stay tuned for news of our blog tour and pre-order date on Amazon.  It’s only the beginning of the pre-launch fun!  And don’t forget to check out our other co-hosted writers blog at Take Five Authors.

Finally, for news of special offers, giveaways and other fun stuff, sign up for our newsletter and/or  just follow us at the sites below.

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ellie-campbell

http://www.amazon.com/Ellie-Campbell/e/B0034OURJ8

And, whew, aren’t you all relieved to see the end of another winter?  We just can’t wait for April 9th to arrive! Pam will be flying to the States to join Lorraine in a celebratory bottle or two of bubbly. Bottle_drunk

That’s all, folks. As the horses and the rest of us kick up our heels, we wish you all a happy Spring!

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Here it is – cover reveal for Million Dollar Question

What’s this – a chicklit cover without a chick?  Or a pair of high heels?  Or a beautiful landscape?  Yes, we went a completely different direction on this one with our paparazzi snapping pictures over the fence which is funny because Million Dollar Question is possibly one of our most romantic novels to date.  But we just loved the whole look that Design For Writers came up with. Think those clouds are fluffy enough that it won’t be mistaken for a thriller and the book definitely has its gritty urban elements.  (It also features the Isle of Skye which is as romantic as settings get.)  What do you think?  We’d love to hear your opinions.

Ta ra ta ra – drum roll please.

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Yes, it is a book about luck, coincidence, money and scandals… which is where that paparazzi fellow comes in.  (He looks a bit like the Cadbury’s Milk Tray man – or maybe that’s my chocolate obsession again.) We’re excited because we love this story of two very different women – one who loses everything and one who wins a million.   If you want to be the first to know when it hits Amazon.com, sign up for our newsletter.  Hint:  It’s gonna be soon.

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.

Rabid Readers: Chat with “Looking for La La’s” Ellie Campbell.

Yes, we’re in the UK Top 100 novels for under 2.99 and with perfect timing we have this fun interview with Rabid Reader’s Tammy Dewhirst.  Thank you, Tammy.

Looking for La La author Ellie Campbell – also known as sister team Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell kindly consented to “sit down” for an interview. When coming up with the questions I struggled with what I wanted to know having read the novel with what the reader who hasn’t yet experienced the fun that is Cathy O’Farrell would want to know before diving into the fray. The end result is a little of both.  Stay tuned to the end of the interview for information about how you can win your own copy of Looking for La La by Ellie Cambell.

To read my review of Looking for La La click here.

Question 1: I see that you live halfway across the world from each other. How did you come to the decision to write together? My dad and I live quite a distance from each other and that enables us to get along better on a personal and working level. Do you find this to be the case as well? 

Pam: In many ways yes.  We are less than two years difference in age and we get on extremely well as sisters and friends.  However, professionally we’ve found that working apart actually suits us.  I have been over to Colorado to visit Lorraine, hoping to work on a few things, and we found we did very little.  As soon as I got home we were on email, skype and internet immediately swapping ideas and stories.  It seems to work for us better at a distance.

Lorraine:  Not to mention that if we disagree on anything we put the phone down (I didn’t say slam it, did I?) and cool off.  All sisters argue and it’s easier to be touchy and sensitive if you’re face to face.  As for writing together, we were both writing short stories and found we enjoyed sending our work to each other for comment, criticism, suggestions for improvement… a writer’s group of two, if you like.  It grew out of that.

Question 2: Your writing style is very cohesive. Is one of you the idea person and the other the writer?

No, we’re both into it all, hashing over the story, sitting down to write a section.  Sometimes we can’t wait to tell the other the new idea we had in the night, talking possibilities over and elaborating like a pair of old gossips. As for the ‘writer’s voice’, I think we sound alike even when we talk, it’s quite jarring hearing a story or a joke come out of your sister’s mouth that is exactly what you might have said.  There are times when one of us is doing more writing – usually if we’re in a major rewrite – and the other is editing frantically and there are times when one of us feels more creative and carries the load for a day or two.  But we both go over each scene, paragraph, line, cutting and reworking if necessary. At the end of the day it’s hard to remember who wrote what and who came up with what plot point.

Question 3: I recently heard an interview where a script writer working in a team said that teams enable a writer to keep the best material because the best material is always that of which you’re unsure. Is there a scene in “Looking for La La” you might have cut without having the assurance of the other person?

We actually cut some of our favorite scenes… for length, or because one of us thought the book could survive without it, and because our final rule is if one of us seriously questions or hates something, it’s out.  But yes, we might get cold feet over the day’s work and need the other one to tell us it’s good. As far as specific scenes in Looking For La La, I remember us debating whether having Cathy steal Alec’s glass (for fingerprints) in the office party scene was too outrageous and deciding that given her character (and inebriation) it wasn’t beyond belief.

Question 4: I notice that you’ve quoted Douglas Adams on your Facebook page. I have a number of DNA fans that follow my website. We must know, are you hoopy froods?

Lorraine: Sadly, we can’t claim to be that together.  I rarely know where anything is, let alone remember to bring a towel on my travels or carry it on Towel Day.  But living in England when Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy came out, first as the BBC radio show and then the book, it was a cultural phenomenon as huge as Monty Python, everyone talking about hoopy froods and quoting the funniest bits.  So of course we were part of that and I do remember laughing through the book, though it’s been a while.

Question 5: The story in “Looking for La La” was based on Pam’s personal experience. Did Pam take the Cathy route to solving the mystery? Is Pam the real Cathy?

Pam: Not quite that insane!  And I didn’t try to solve the mystery.   I decided the postcard was a bad joke or stupid prank but it made a great idea for a novel. However, like Cathy, I had an amazing group of close friends when the children were small and I remember when the children went back to school, us all struggling with decisions of what direction our lives should take – go back to the old job, start a new career, have another child? I was lucky in that I was offered an interesting job which I loved by a very good friend of mine.

Question 6: There is a feeling at several points of the story that what Cathy says is written to ring in an ironic sense to the reader, is this the case? In location 328 of the Kindle copy she comments “And this is supposed to be a liberated society” but she is the one who keeps herself as a “prisoner” at home (in her mind).

Yes, the irony is intended.  And, yes, it is Cathy’s fears that keep her prisoner when she obviously misses her former working life and would be a lot happier with more independence, money, stimulation and everything a job could bring.  She’s very much in self-denial, full of self-doubt, sticking her head in the sand when she has to face something she is terrified of – in this case change.  But then her self-esteem is at an all-time low, she’s lost confidence in her ability to function outside the world of motherhood and her stubbornness comes into play.  Because expectations are being made of her and she feels she’s being pushed to action, she’s digging in her heels.  But although Cathy’s extreme, a lot of people are scared by that next big move – be it marriage, kids, a career change…

Question 7: Raz and Cathy do the spit shake which could be considered odd for women of their age until you get to know them. Is that something you, as sisters, do in your life?

Well, probably, we did as kids. Can’t remember the last time but I’m sure our hands were pretty dirty and knees scabby.   But it’s part of the fun of Raz and Cathy’s relationship that they allow each other to be silly and playful, almost like an escape from their stressful adult lives.

Question 7: Your story-lines were pretty well resolved even down to ones that may have seemed minor – the hang up caller. Did you plot the course before writing “Looking for La La” or was it a case of keeping track as you went along.

It’s very organic.  We have certain things plotted and certain things seem to write themselves.  Then we might put “clues” in earlier, to tease the reader.

Question 7: Cathy is written in the spirit of the great British comedy characters. If “Looking for La La” were to be made into a movie, who do you see playing her? I must admit, I pictured the great Welsh actress, Ruth Jones, in the role.

Well, Cathy, of course, would suggest Eva Mendes, and she’d probably hang about the set, making a nuisance of herself. She’d love to be that glamorous and sophisticated. But our choice? Ruth Jones would be great. Are you listening, Ruth??

Question 8: Your cover perfectly conveys the novel. Who created the cover?

Andrew Brown from Design for Writers.  Recommended to us by Kirsty Greenwood, who is a fabulous chick lit author, who runs the site Novelicious.  We felt so lucky to have found someone like him as a designer.  He made the process so easy, that we feel indebted to him, and he came up with the idea of Cathy staring over the fence.

Question 9: I recently compiled a list of 42 novels for Towel Day. If you could list 2 novels you think everyone should read, what novels (or non-fiction works) would they be?

If had to narrow it down to two books, I would perhaps say “Gone With The Wind’ and “Lord Of The Rings”.  They’re both such epic masterpieces.

Question 10: What is coming next for Ellie Campbell?

We just published our two other novels How To Survive Your Sisters and When Good Friends Go bad in the States for the first time.  We haven’t really started to promote them yet so they are very much hidden amongst the millions of other great reads.  Watch this space though.  We also have a fourth novel which is currently with our agent and which hopefully will come out next year.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

They were fun.  Thank you, Tammy, for asking them.

Ellie Campbell is running a fabulous contest on their Facebook Page to win a copy of Looking for La La. Click here for details.

Looking for La La has been selected for the top 100 novels under  £2.99 and has been listed at amazon.co.uk for  £0.99! Perfect time for my UK fans to try this fabulous work.

via Chat with “Looking for La La’s” Ellie Campbell..