Tag Archives: fiction

Special launch price – Love, Lies and Other Deceptions!!!

New Release!

Yes, it’s just out – our short story collection, Love, Lies and Other Deceptions. Available now on Amazon at the very special launch price of $.99  or equivalent in your area. Each story was written either by Pam Burks or by Lorraine Campbell (writing as Chris Grant) but we intentionally left it to you to guess which sister wrote which!  For those of you who like the feel of a real book, the paperback will be available soon. Watch this space. Price is going up soon so don’t delay!

Love can be quite a trip.  Whether it’s that first magnetic encounter with a fascinating stranger, the desperate wait for a call that never comes, or even the lies and deceptions of an illicit affair, there’s nothing like the power of attraction to have us acting like crazy fools. Many of these twenty funny, twisty or thoughtful short tales by bestselling novelist Ellie Campbell, (aka sisters Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell), were first published internationally in top women’s magazines like That’s Life, Bella, Take A Break, Woman, Woman’s Own and Chat. So grab a glass of wine, fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a bumpy ride along the rocky road to romance.   It may be turbulent but it’s still a whole lot of fun!

And twenty get all twenty for free!

If you’d like to be part of our review team for this very special launch, email us at chicklitsisters@gmail.com and we’ll gift the first twenty to respond either a mobi or epub copy.  Limited time only.

Happy Easter everybody!


Pam enjoying herself on her friend’s farm.  Don’t you just love springtime!

Pam and Lorraine (Ellie Campbell)

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!

daffodils

 

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

AND ALL THE BEST FOR 2016

Now that the festivities are over, (even if I’ve yet to take down my Christmas decorations), Pam and I wanted to wish you all the most amazing year ever from Ellie Campbell.

We’ve also been looking over the events of 2015 and realizing what an action-packed crazy year that was for both of us!  I think the collage below gives just a hint.

 

We published our fifth Ellie Campbell novel MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION in April, thrilled by its positive reviews.  There were some exciting moments in March as WHEN GOOD FRIENDS GO BAD reached #1 in Amazon Australia and then in May became a #1 best-seller in Humor and Dark Comedy in the UK charts. In June, TO CATCH A CREEPER soared into the Amazon UK Top 100 and LOOKING FOR LA LA was in the Amazon Canada Top 20. MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION got its turn in the UK Top 100 in July and reached #112 in Amazon US.

There was fun and laughs working on our new Cathy O’Farrell novel, MEDDLING WITH MURDER, the third in the Crouch End Confidential mystery series which began with LOOKING FOR LA LA. We also got invited to be part of a brand new five author blog. Expect to hear more very soon…

In our other lives, I (Lorraine) attended a wedding in Costa Rica in February while Pam headed to Innsbruck, Austria, proving the biggest hazard on the ski slopes.

In Spring, while I assisted Zuma’s Rescue Ranch in saving 23 horses headed for slaughter auction, nursed my husband Gary through two ankle surgeries and acquired a new kitten and six baby chicks, Pam was traveling through Vietnam and Cambodia, encountering our nomadic sister, Jo, along the way. Next stop, Paris, for Pam, venturing out solo by Euro-star and bus to meet her husband who was leading a group of cyclists from Redhill, Surrey on their annual charity bike ride.

In June as we hosted a wedding at our ranch, Pam took part on a 3-day 160-mile bicycle challenge from Redhill to the fairy-tale medieval town of Bruges, Belgium. July started for me with an amazing Alaskan cruise, followed by a horse-hauling trip to Oregon and a family visit to Indianapolis, only days apart.  Meanwhile Pam cycled 700 miles to Avignon and up the infamous Tour de France mountain, Mont Ventoux for another charity challenge.

August found me supporting horse whisperer Anna Twinney at a ROTH Holistic Horsemanship clinic while Pam joined a group of fundraisers walking the length of Hadrian’s Wall. Pam arrived a few days in and just managed to struggle through the last twenty miles before collapsing with cramp.  Still she refused a kindly policeman’s offer of a ride to the finish line.Then, just for a change, she and her husband took a holiday in Belgium –  yes, you guessed it – cycling again but this time just for fun. She swore she’d never ride another bike again!

In October Pam travelled to Barcelona to watch her fitness-crazed husband compete in an Ironman contest – full marathon, ocean swim and 90 km bike ride. November for me involved muchas margaritas in Mexico, and the usual 25 people arriving for Thanksgiving dinner back in Colorado.

In December while Pam was catching lots ofGift exchange little Santas at a Santa run I tried my luck at craps in Las Vegas. For us the holidays featured a white and bitterly cold Christmas, more turkey, and our usual zany white elephant gift exchange game. If anyone wants one of these fine discarded presents, they’re up for grabs.  The flying pig might be a particular favorite.

Sadly 2015 also saw the passing of my 27-year-old Egyptian Arab, Sylvarr, who was my true wonder horse and the best of all steeds.

Lorraine and Sylvarr

 

Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  Wonder what 2016 will bring?

Happy New Year to all!

 

Million Dollar Question – 5 star review

Great 5 star review. Thank you so much

From A Drip Of Truth:

Honestly this isn’t my sort of book in the least… have no clue why I agreed to read it… and went in expecting to be drudging through pages of boredom… obviously that wasn’t what happened… instead I was up reading till I couldn’t keep my eyes open and picked back up the moment I woke up again… and it’s a rather realistic look into someone whose life has undergone a huge change… this is sadly a look at how people tend to react when you’re in the midst of a scandal… or when you win a lot of money and people either try and take advantage of you or hate you for being better off… Olivia and Rosie are both people that could easily be someone you know… they’re not stereotypes… but genuine people trying to come to terms with what life has thrown their way… just as I could see myself reacting the same way they do even as I want to smack them upside their head for their stupidity… but the best part was just how Campbell managed to tie in every little piece that was mentioned… everything building up to a surprisingly plausible end… nothing was mentioned just for the heck of it… there isn’t anything random and tossed in just to help with the wrap up… it was a perfectly laid out story of two people whose lives were intertwining in ways they could’ve never seen coming…

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The amazing horse rescue… and other distractions in an author's life

Hooray, it’s February and Amazon Australia has decided AGAIN to promote How To Survive Your Sisters, Looking For La La and To Catch A Creeper.   Also Amazon UK is also doing a 99 pence sale with Sisters.  Pam and I are busy with Twitter and Facebook, trying to spread the word. And I’ve been nominated to update the blog.

So once again the day is sliding away from me.   Admittedly I sometimes have a little trouble with time management.  There may be two of us writing, but at least one of us can always find a million distractions.

1503825_10100778876911739_8510128431740271215_nSeriously intended to write beaucoup pages this weekend until I had an emergency call telling me to bring my horse trailer because 23 horses had to be rescued from feed lot before they were shipped to a kill auction.

1964793_10100778877490579_6866542196854390963_nOf course same estimated 2 hour rescue operation turned out to occupy 3 days, including repairing fences in temporary field, and moving horses yet again two days later. Great sense of personal satisfaction but not a lot of time left for writing. And yes, now that they’re safely installed at Zumas Rescue Ranch they will need training…and homes.268531_10100778877460639_5325315518308154703_n

My own lovely horses are galloping around, just outside the window, playing in the snow. Is there any sight more beautiful than that? What, you expect me to be staring at a computer screen? It’s all I can do not to run out there and join them. Besides it’s imperative I watch and see no one gets kicked.IMG_3466

Long, long phone conversation – all work-related of course – with writing partner, Pam, who has finished for the day, thanks to 7 hour time difference, and is probably sitting with feet up and a glass of wine. Well, actually she claims she’s working like a dog till midnight, answering our chicklit sisters email, and contacting promo sites for our future book launch. But then sometimes I’m incredibly productive too.  I remember there was that time back in…

I need to check my email, Facebook and Twitter and then Google something amazingly trivial.  By the time I load up tweetdeck, pick up a package from the post office, (hopefully the saddle I bought on ebay) and drive to the ranch store for horse feed, I’ll be lucky to get any words on pages, except perhaps for this long overdue post.

IMG_3461Remy, the wonder dog, wants to go for walk. And I did make that resolution about keeping fit. 10,000 steps, I think it was.   Probably got another 9,400 to go. Besides I do have those errands to run.

Cat keeps walking all over the computer keyboard, demanding to be petted. Which reminds me her litter box needs cleaning.IMG_3381

The kitchen is a mess. And while I am tidying it, I might as well have a snack/lunch/coffee/tea.

The laundry basket is overflowing.   I’ll be able to concentrate much better without that nudging persistently at the back of my mind.

The feed tubs and water tanks absolutely HAVE to be filled before it freezes tonight. Likewise the chicken’s water.   And there’s manure to scoop. Might as well start feeding all the animals now.

Husband arrives home early, wanting to know what’s for dinner. (Good question.) And why I’m eternally tapping on the computer, filling up Buffer, and ignoring him. Must be time for a glass of wine. And maybe an early night, yawn, yawn. After all I did get up at 5.30 so I could cram it all in.   Just let me quickly check this one thing on Google.

Oops, it’s midnight. And I didn’t even ride my horse or get a useable paragraph out of the day. But seriously intend to write beaucoup pages tomorrow…

Given my ability to procrastinate, it’s frankly amazing that we actually have a new novel, Million Dollar Question, coming out this year – and you’ll hear more about that soon, I promise.

But all that said, the good news is that three of our books are once again rapidly rising up the Australian Amazon charts…  Will they do as well as last time?  We have our fingers crossed…  Ah, well back to Twitter.

Cheers,

Lorraine Signature

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! 🙂

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