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

Me My BookShelf and I

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

12 NOT SO BRILLIANT CAREERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's ticking faster than we knew…

Oops!  It’s at .99 now but… Just found out that the Kindle Countdown promotion means that When Good Friends Go Bad will rise to $1.99 on Sunday instead of staying at .99 all week.  And there’s no stopping that clock once it’s in motion…  By the 15th, it’ll be back up to $3.99 and we can’t do a darn thing about it.   We goofed up, folks.  Apologies, apologies!

Sorry about the confusion but there’s no time to hesitate or procrastinate… if you’re thinking of buying this fun chicklit read about former schoolfriends, long lost first love, and tangled romance, grab it NOW!

Amazon Friends EBook

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

Posted by Ara C.T. MyBookandMyCoffee

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

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

BFF OR FRENEMY?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She dates your brother and breaks his heart.

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

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

****

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

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

Miki's Hope: Book Review/Giveaway-When Good Friends Go Bad

Miki’s Hope Book Review/Giveaway-When Good Friends Go Bad-Ellie Campbell (US, CAN, UK)-Ends 8/15

REVIEW: FRIDAY, AUGUST 2, 2013

I really enjoyed reading this book about 4 friends who for various reasons don’t really keep in touch. They were trouble makers in school–but always had each others backs. When Rowen decides to contact all the others for a reunion-but then does not show up herself-the others are worried BUT other problems have to be worked through first. They intermittently try to track Rowen down–but road blocks keep getting in their way. They do ultimately find her-and trouble! I do not want to give away the ending–so I am going to stop right here–If you decide to read this book (I would suggest the book although it does come in e-book format) you will not be disappointed! AND for 3 Days you can get this book from

Amazon Friends EBook

via Book Review/Giveaway-When Good Friends Go Bad-Ellie Campbell (US, CAN, UK)-Ends 8/15 | Miki’s Hope.

National Friendship Day… yes, we're at it again.

We had so much fun last weekend with the kindle kindle #1 Bestsellerpromotion of Looking For La La (41,500 downloads and reaching #1 in the Kindle Top Free 100) that, hey, we’re going to do it again.

NEWSFLASH!!!!!

It’s National Friendship Day in America this Sunday, August 4th and we all know there’s nothing more valuable in life than our friends.

large party

To honor them and to celebrate the long-awaited launch of How To Survive Your Sisters and When Good Friends Go Bad on the US market – complete with stunning new covers by Design For Writers  –  we’re holding a three day FREE download weekend of When Good Friends Go Bad for US readers – again through Amazon.com.

Of course we know YOUR friends would never go bad but that won’t stop you enjoying the novel Chick Lit Reviews and News called ‘outstanding… unique… a fabulous read.’  (To learn more, click here.) When former friends reunite,Pudding bowl there’s  intrigue and mystery, laughter and betrayal, the agony of discovering a long-lost true love when it’s plainly too late, the knowledge that your old friends know you best of all… and the inescapable truth that inside the most staid or sophisticated of grownups lurks the wild or awkward schoolgirl of their youth.

Dates for your diary: 2nd, 3rd and 4th August only on Amazon.com 

DON’T OWN A KINDLE?

Sad crying smiley face

Don’t let that put you off – Amazon provide free Kindle apps for your smartphones, iPads or computers.

*GOODREADS GIVEAWAYS*

And don’t forget, for those who’d like a FREE paperback version of Looking For La La, How To Survive Your Sisters and When Good Friends Go Bad, we are holding three GoodReads Giveaways– 2 copies of each. Sign up now for a chance to win copies of all three novels…

     dfw-ec-htsys-cover-small     dfw-ec-wgfgb-cover-small (1)

Dates for your diary:  NOW until 13th August

So be kind to your friends.  Give them a hug, spread the word, and don’t forget to start downloading.  After all… 

It’s Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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WiLoveBooks: Review: Looking for La La by Ellie Campbell

Fantastic!  A nice 5 star review from WiloveBooks.  Wilovebooks, we love you too!

My Thoughts:A fun read with some serious parts. When Cathy’s husband gets a postcard that is signed with love from La La Cathy is excited at the prospect of figuring out the mystery. The story definitely kept me guessing. Everyone is keeping secrets and when I thought I had things figured out, I realized I didn’t. I was definitely surprised by how things turned out. Cathy is funny. As a stay at home mom, I could relate to many of her issues. She tends to jump to conclusions and makes up stories at the drop of a hat. Her mouth gets her into a bit of trouble. She also has an interesting group of friends that she likes to varying degrees. This was just an entertaining read that I didn’t want to put down.

My Rating:  *****

Steam Factor: !

Notes: Some strong language.

via WiLoveBooks: Review: Looking for La La by Ellie Campbell.

I heart books! | For lovers of chick-lit, adult and romance books.

A lovely interview with I Heart Books.  Thank you, Kirsty!

cropped-i-heart-books2

Sisters, doing it for themselves!

POSTED ON APRIL 24, 2013

Who is Ellie Campbell?

L&PGrand Canyon2Actually ‘Ellie’ is two people – sisters and co-authors Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell.  We love all kinds of novels but particularly women’s fiction with a great story, recognizable characters and the ability to make us laugh one minute and perhaps cry the next.  We still share the same sense of humor that got us into so much trouble as kids and so it has been fun writing books that allow us to enjoy the comic aspects of everyday life while still exploring some serious issues and indulging in our taste for romance, drama, and intrigue.

Your book is called ‘Looking for La La’ please could you tell me about it?

We got the inspiration from a postcard that was sent to our house several years ago.  It was from someone called La La, covered with lipstick kisses and proclaiming passionate love to my husband.  So of course my sister Lorraine and I borrowed the event for the first chapter of Looking For La La: a novel about a bored, unappreciated housewife and mother of two, Cathy, whose predictable world is turned upside-down by the arrival of a love postcard addressed to husband, Declan.  We had her investigating the mystery, full of joy at this unexpected excitement.  But her sleuthing just gets her deeper into all kinds of trouble, threatening her marriage, bringing surprising attention from a sexy artist, stirring up conflict with friends and fellow-mothers with secrets of their own and even – it turns out – inciting the wrath of a murderous opponent.   It’s a wild ride with a lot of humour and we had great fun writing it.

‘Looking for La La’ is based around a thirty something mother of two, please could you tell me about her?

Cathy is definitely on the ‘slummy-mummy’ end of the scale, disorganized, chaotic, the kind of person who runs around the house tidying up before the cleaning lady comes and then has to hide or leave the house because she feels so guilty about hiring help.  (Nothing like me, obviously!) Her second child has just started school and she has no idea how to go about returning to work, being nervous of new technology and victim of a terrible interview phobia. So she’s putting off the evil day as long as she can, the source of regular arguments with her husband.  Meanwhile she has a great bunch of friends: Raz, who lives in their attic: the Tuesday Twice Monthlies, fellow mothers who share riotous alcohol-fuelled evenings out.  She’s fiercely loyal and she genuinely loves Declan even if they bicker, especially as suspicions grow about his young new assistant. It has to be said Cathy is prone to misreading situations – not nearly the great sleuth she fondly imagines herself to be – and this combined with her impulsive, reactive personality gets her into a lot of hot water, often with comic results.

They say the journey to being published is one of the hardest an author can take, please can you describe the journey that you went on?

how to survive_2_4I began by going to creative writing classes as a form of escapism – I had three young children, all under the age of 4, and I needed to get away occasionally. I loved turning up to these classes, listening to all those fabulous writers, not really thinking I would ever particularly be one.  With encouragement though I began writing short stories, thrilled when I had my first one published in a UK weekly magazine.  From there on, I continued writing short stories, and small articles, mostly done in the short space of time while the children were at school or nursery.  When Lorraine settled in Colorado, we started writing a novel together.  It was a red-letter day when Caroline Hardman, our agent, agreed to take us on and even more exciting when Arrow Books wanted to publish How to Survive your Sisters and gave us a two-book contract.  There were a lot of firsts – it was our first novel, we were Caroline’s first clients and it was the first fiction acquisition by the editor at Arrow.  As everyone says finding an agent is incredibly challenging – we were lucky.

Are any of the characters in ‘Looking for La La’ anything like you?

Cathy, the narrator, is like me in some ways, in that I love going out with my female friends and just having a blast with them.  I don’t go out drinking as much as Cathy does though, (I wish!), and my children are a lot older.  I can however remember the days of not knowing what I wanted to do once the kids didn’t need me around so much and being terrified of the thought of returning to work. Saying all that, luckily I found my career path early on.

Writers put so much time and energy into their characters and I have been told in the past that a writer carries their characters around with them.

So my question is if you could go out for a day with any one of your characters: who would it be, what would you do and why did you pick this particular character?

In Looking for La La, it would have to be Cathy.  I would like to go the Spa she visits with her friend, Gabby, but unlike Gabby, (who went to sleep instead) would listen to her problems and talk some sense into her and tell her not to be so hard on herself and not to feel she has to be all things to all people all the time.

You write as a sister team, how did this come about?

When Good Friends Go BadLorraine started being published first, well she would, she’s older, ha.  But no really she worked for a literary agency, for the novelist Carol Smith.  Carol encouraged her to write.  When I began writing, I would never show anything to Lorraine, for fear she’d think it rubbish.  Obviously, though, once my work was in magazines I felt a lot more secure about sharing it.   After a while Lorraine and I began to email each other our stories, especially if we’d reached a sticking point and could use a bit of input.  When we both wanted to write a novel about our experience of being sisters, and particularly about our amazing mother, we decided to write it together. It was difficult at first, working out the logistics, but once we had the plot down on paper, we each picked a chapter or scene or character and just ran with it.  To be honest with all the rewrites and different versions we send back and forth, it’s hard even for us to tell who wrote what exactly.  It all streams into one.

What can we expect next, any future books in the pipeline?

Yes, we have just finished our fourth novel, Million Dollar Question, which is currently with our agent, Caroline Hardman at Hardman Swainson.  It follows the stories of two very different women, one in the States who loses her fantastic career, her wealth and her super-eligible fiancé, and the other, an impoverished divorced parent in the UK, who wins a million pounds, both events occurring on the same day.  They are connected in more ways than they know and eventually the two stories converge as each has to deal with the change of identity, issues of self-worth and all the challenges that come with such an extreme turn of fortunes

If there was one saying that could sum up your life, what would it be?

Don't worry, be happy !“Don’t worry, be happy.”  Having said that, although I’m basically a happy person, I have wasted so much time worrying about things that don’t happen.

If ‘Looking for La La’ was to be made into a film, who would you like to star in it?

I would say Eva Mendes (Cathy has a thing about her) but she’s far too feminine and pouty and it would be hard to see her as slobby, chaotic Cathy.  Perhaps Drew Barrymore or Renee Zellwegger – she was so amazing in Bridget Jones. Definitely Damien Lewis for Declan, Raz could be Charlize Theron, Belinda would be Melissa McCarthy, Henrietta would be played by Emily Watson with her pixie cut hairstyle and Rupert – Cathy’s love interest – would have absolutely to be Colin Farrell.  Or Johnny Depp.  I don’t know if they’re what we pictured exactly but if they were on the set, nothing on earth could keep Lorraine and I away.

Please could you tell us a bit about your writing process?

Well, it might sound as if writing in partnership is easy but really it has its pros and cons.  One good thing about Lorraine and me is that we are in some ways very alike in our thinking, sense of humour, even in our voices and use of words and expressions.  To the point that in our dating days it was impossible for both of us to shine.  If one was on form, telling stories, grabbing the attention, the other would automatically fall back and fade into the background rather than compete.  We don’t look at all identical – Lorraine is taller, I’m darker in hair and skin – but people often used to ask if we were twins.  So writing in the same voice isn’t as hard for us as it might be for other people.  Basically we work out a storyline – which evolves as we progress.  We decide who wants to write each character viewpoint, send the chapters over, the other rewrites as they feel fit, sends it back, the other edits and makes more changes, and back and forth like that several times.  By the time we’re finished, it’s very hard to remember who exactly wrote what.  Kind of like our childhood memories – we each claim that such-and-such an event happened to us – who poured the bowl of ice-cream over their head in a fit of childish excitement, who got into a stand-off with the neighbourhood bully.   The stories blend – and at the end of the day, well, it’s sort of annoying, someone else claiming ‘your’ past but it’s sort of wonderful too.   I guess it’s a sister thing.

I would like to thank Pam and Lorraine for taking the time to talk to I Heart Books!

via I heart books! | For lovers of chick-lit, adult and romance books..