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TinasBookReviews: The Saturday Spotlight with Ellie Campbell and Giveaway of Looking for Lala

TinasBookReviews

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Saturday Spotlight with Ellie Campbell and Giveaway of Looking for Lala

Welcome to the Saturday Spotlight, a weekly feature that shines the light on Indie and Debut authors. This week I have the pleasure introducing readers to:

ELLIE CAMPBELL    ~Author of Looking for Lala~

10 Random and Possibly Uninteresting Facts about Ellie Campbell

May~2014 by Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell

Pam is a pescetarian and eats salmon and sweet potatoes almost every night. Mainly because it only takes two minutes to prepare and she can’t be bothered thinking of anything different for herself. She will however happily burn a variety of meals for the rest of her family.

Lorraine is addicted to coffee, tea and wine and gets very grumpy if deprived of one or all. She wouldn’t care if she never saw another piece of salmon in her entire life

The best present Lorraine ever got was when her husband’s friend gave her his Arabian horse Sylvarr. Lorraine’s husband is still cursing the ‘free gift’………..

Pam wants to own a horse again one day but of late has had to settle for the rear end of a tandem.

Lorraine once nailed Pam on the head with a well-aimed rock when they were kids. Lorraine cried so hard from fear of reprisals their parents didn’t even notice Pam staggering around bleeding

Pam once nailed Lorraine on the head with a golf club, practicing her swing at one of Edinburgh’s free courses. She claimed it was an accident

Lorraine is visiting Pam on the way to a wedding in India this Spring. She will only be at Pam’s for one night and half a day.

Pam is hoping in that brief jet-lagged period of time that Lorraine will help write some blog posts

Lorraine hates exercise of all kinds, but did once walk the West Highland way. 100 miles. All uphill.

Pam hates exercise of all kind but she has somehow found herself signed up with a group of long distance challengers to cycle on the back of husband’s tandem from Biarritz to Barcelona. A distance of approximately 600 kilometers. She is dreading it. Especially the Pyrenees mountains in between.

Today Ellie Campbell is giving away a copy of Looking for Lala to one lucky winner, everyone is welcome to enter. International entries can choose an eBook copy, US can choose Ebook or paperback. To enter please fill in the Rafflecopter.

Ellie Campbell says: Thanks for featuring us on your Saturday Spotlight, Tina! Click on the link below to enter the giveaway for LOOKING FOR LA LA.

via TinasBookReviews: The Saturday Spotlight with Ellie Campbell and Giveaway of Looking for Lala.

Socrates Book Reviews – Guest Post: Desert Island Delights

 

If you were stranded on an island what 10 things would you most want with you?

1) Kindle, filled with books and solar powered so that it wouldn’t run out of charge as I guess they’ll be no plug sockets on this island. Note to Self: Preload Kindle before you go on any cruises or plane journeys where there’s a likelihood of crashing into the sea.

2) Laptop, again solar powered, then I could write away to my heart’s content. I would so love internet access to go with it so I could do my own research and Skype people, let them know I’m safe, ask for pick-up etc, but I guess that wouldn’t be possible if I was in a hugely remote place.

3) Water I guess – especially if there was none in the island. Pretty important. Should have been first really. Or maybe I’d become a real survival expert and learn how to extract salt from seawater or set up some kind of water-gathering device. Another Note to Self: Preload to Kindle, lots of “how to do things when stranded books”.

4) Food. I’m assuming the island has some natural foods that I can eat, berries, fruit and fish, etc. but just in case it didn’t, then I guess I would have to have a huge hamper of food enough to last until I am picked up. (And tin-openers with it and chocolate, lots of chocolate).

5) Shoes. I know what it’s like on the beach when the sand gets excruciatingly hot. Hopping from shady spot to shady spot. I assume this is a hot island. But even if it wasn’t, and it was all cold and craggy, I’d still need a good pair of shoes, stop my feet getting torn to shreds. Just a nice pair of trainers, don’t need to worry about make or anything.

6) Clothes – I wouldn’t want to be rescued naked, although if there was a choice I suppose I’d forego my modesty. But I hate being too cold and too hot and clothes would be hugely important. I mean I may get all clever with the vegetation and vines and make myself a banana leaf sarong or waistcoat or something, but it would be much nicer just to have some clothes washed up on the shore with me.

7) Sunblock. If I was there for months, I’d probably get very brown, but risk skin cancer? No way.

8) Moisturizer. There may be natural oily plants, like aloe vera plants or coconuts that I could crack open and rub into my face, but it would be so much easier to have a big old tub of moisturiser to hand. When I’m rescued I don’t want to meet the press looking like a wrinkled old prune as I model my banana leaf sarong and show them my home-made water collection contraption…

9) Animal. Little furry thing that I could befriend, like a squirrel or wallaby, or heck, even a rat (as long as there was only just one). I would be their friend. Tame them and they would follow me everywhere, and I would whistle and they’d come running to me and put their little paw up when they wanted more nibbles. I would talk to them and teach them commands like sit, beg, down. They would lie in my arms at night and I’d tell them stories or read to them from my memoirs. Because you might as well write them if you’re on an island, leave something behind for your family to remember you by.

10) Cigarette Lighter/ Fire starter. So I’ve been fed and watered, am comfortable clothes-wise, wandering around my island in my shoes and bikini under my banana leaf sarong, followed faithfully by my highly-trained squirrel/rat creature, been writing and reading with no disturbance (bliss), and my skin is well moisturised (for the press and future movie-makers watching on TV), then my No 10 would have to be a cigarette lighter. I love real fires and I’d need one for warmth, scaring off ferocious animals (if I can’t tame them), cooking, attracting passing ships/planes, gazing into and dreaming of lost loves, etc. Of course I’d have learned how to rub two sticks together my preloaded “desert island survival” e-book, but honestly, every night…? What a faff.

Do you know, writing this, I am actually wanting to go to this island, it is seeming more like bliss every moment.

Excerpted from Socrates Book Reviews – thank you, Yvonne, for featuring us today.  

Giveaway, Amazon UK 99 pence promo and More…

Lot of excitement these past few days.  Cowgirl lorraineBy some miracle – maybe the 10,000 downloads on our KDL free promo wekend – we got into Amazon UK’s 100 books for under 2.99 for June with Looking For La La priced at 99 pence all this month.  Suddenly Pam was calling me every hour – we were #8 on the list, wait… we were #6, then #5, then #4.  Ahead of some big names too.  And our Amazon rating had changed too – from being somewhere in the stratosphere… ranked 30,000 or 300,000… 3,000,000… or whatever it was, we’d jumped into the Top 500, a never before achieved feat for us.  And with a self-published novel.  Doesn’t sound impressive until you realize how many books must be in that list.  Then we were at 312, then in the Top 200, then suddenly we were in the Top 150 at #146.  Will we break into the Top 100 before the promo ends?  It remains to be seen.  The initial rush has slowed down, we’ve slid back to #180 but there is still the rest of the month ahead.  And our Amazon US ratings have improved too.  Oh, if only some of those people who bought La La or downloaded it for free would review!  People always think they need to write an essay or a book report – remembered horrors from school – but even a few words that meet Amazon’s minimum work fine.

We’ve had loads of support too from people who had reviewed or featured us on their blogs and sent out tweets twitter birdand Facebook messages on our behalf.  Thank you, everybody – you know who you are and we love you for it.  And it’s not over yet.  Although Pam has gone to Paris to fry bacon as support for this year’s YMCA cycle challenge and is no longer sending me 15 emails a day.  (I’m sure she has gone into total withdrawal.  I know I have;)

Also wanted to spread the news about our new GIVEAWAY on Facebook, offering both an ebook and a paperback copy of Looking For La La.  It’s so far gone undiscovered – only 10 entries as opposed to 800 on our last Goodreads giveaway.  So anyone who enters has a great chance of winning.  All you have to do is like our Facebook page and sign up.  Of course if you’re a UK kindle owner, you can spend the 99 pence and not wait for the drawing but what fun is that..!

Thinking about reviews and school book reports reminds me… I was always anamber avid reader, finished all the required books for English within a few days of getting the list, devouring four J T Edson westerns in a day (he wrote dozens and the cool handsome heroes rode great horses), sped my way through all of Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers plus the bodice rippers of the time (anyone remember Forever Amber?) and anything else I could get my hands on.  But book reports… hated ’em, loathed doing them with a passion.  The bane of my existence.  (Well, actually all homework came under that category.)  Used to copy from my friend during tutorial.  And what did I end up doing in my publishing career?  Book reports, book reports and more book reports.  For the literary agency I worked in, for Woman magazine reading novels for serialization, for Penguin books as a reader, for the Book of the Month club, also as a reader.   And now when I review a book, I still struggle over what to say… even though, as I said, I’m well aware it doesn’t have to be a work of art or even very clever.  But then again I can never think of what to say on birthday or sympathy cards either.  A problem I share with Cathy O’Farrell in Looking For La La.

Anyway that’s it for now.  Beautiful day in sunny Colorado.  Had what I hope was our last major snowfall about 3 weeks ago and now we are plunged into summer.  And I hope to join our local swimming lake and plunge into that.

Lorraine

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.

Loincloths, spankings and 'Sexy Rexys' – 10 classic movies (and actors)to make our Mother swoon.

In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day (May 12th in the States) Pam and I have compiled a countdown of the old classic movies and stars that won my mother’s heart. And yes, there does seem to be a common thread.

10. Samson and Delilah.

Victor_Mature_-_publicity

Mum had a thing for Victor Mature. He ran around in Biblical epics like ‘the Robe” and ‘Demetrius and the Gladiators’ displaying his shaved bare chest, emanating square-jawed virility. He was what Mum called a ‘sexy rexy’. She wasn’t particularly religious so I don’t think it was the content that thrilled her so much as those muscular thighs.

9. Tarzan.

Tarzan_the_Ape_Man_1932_posterWe had to watch every Tarzan movie that ever came out and it wasn’t just for the elephants and chimpanzees. Nothing thrilled Mum more than a man in a loincloth (see Victor Mature). Especially if he was pounding his chest, yodelling and flying through the air on a dangling vine or diving into a jungle pool and emerging half-naked and dripping wet. Her favorite Tarzan was Johnny Weismuller who was an Olympic gold medallist. She liked the other Tarzans too although we were all somewhat dubious about the one who ran around in slippers. In the jungle? Really?

8. Spartacus.

Another stud in a loincloth (see Tarzan and Victor Mature) although any movie Spartacus_-_1960_-_poster (1)with Kirk Douglas was a fave. He was a bit too intense for us as children but he was the definition of manliness and Mum liked his passion and the dimple on his chin which I convinced Pam was caused by falling on a nail. She liked his son Michael Douglas too until she saw him in Fatal Attraction having sex on the kitchen sink with Glenn Close. We could never persuade her that it wasn’t real and they were merely acting. But then again who knows… After all Mum was right about David Bowie (and all the other stick-thin pop singers) being on drugs in the 70s when we as innocent teenagers hotly denied the possibility.

7. Robin Hood.  Or Captain Blood.

Robin_hood_movieposterErrol Flynn was a real Hollywood bad boy, handsome, dashing, with a womanizing reputation and a flashing blade that dared anyone to suggest his tights were in the tiniest way unmasculine. He laughed with head flung back, hands on hips, his grin was pure devilment and when he swept a woman into his arms…. Well, no wonder Mum swooned. We did too.

6. Top Hat.

astaire_rogers - CopyWe could never miss a Fred Astaire musical, not matter how often it was repeated on TV. Didn’t matter if he looked like a turtle and lacked some of the physical attributes of the loincloth brigade. My mum and grandmother always had the same eternally entertaining conversation as Fred tripped lightly around the ballroom with Ginger in his arms. Nana: “I just don’t understand why he didn’t marry Ginger Rogers.” Mum: “Because she couldn’t stand the man, Mother.” Two minute pause, then… Nana: “It’s such a shame those two never married.” Mum: “Mother, I just told you, she hated him.” And so on until closing credits.

5. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.

Seven_brides_seven_brothersHoward Keel was big and brash with a fine head of hair, a swagger in his step, and a beautiful deep voice. Mum loved him in buckskins singing “Bless Your Beautiful Hide” and slapping his thigh and she loved him as Fred/Petruchio in Kiss Me Kate, waggling his funny pointed beard and spanking Kathryn Grayson. There was nothing like a good spanking to titillate the older generation. I seem to remember Maureen O’Sullivan was always being bent over John Wayne’s knee in all those old Westerns and given a sound thrashing to show her who was boss.

4. Going My Way.

220px-BingCrosbyTheBellsofSaintMarysTrailerScreenshot1945Yeah, Bing Crosby could always make her cry but put him in a dogcollar standing over a dying priest singing ‘Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra’… You’d need boxes of Kleenex. Maybe a bucket.

3. Singing In The Rain.

Singing_in_the_rain_posterWell, of course. Terrific story, fantastic singing, dancing and comedy and it starred two of mum’s favorites, Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. Gene Kelly could do no wrong, especially dancing in a downpour with his good looks, natural athleticism and unstudied grace. But Donald O’Connor almost elbowed him out of mum’s heart clowning about in the song, ‘Make ‘Em Laugh.’

2. The King and I.

Lawrence_BrynnerNo offence to Rex Harrison who played the role in the dramatic film version, Anna and the King of Siam, but there’s no way he could compete with Yul Brynner. Bald head, exotic accent, open-legged arrogant stance, Yul played the fiercely unpredictable king with colourful costumes and yet another bare chest – what’s not to love! Yes, there’s some great musical numbers. – ‘ Whistle A Happy Tune could be Mum’s theme song – but Yul as the King of Siam, prowling around his palace, barking out orders followed by ‘etcetera, etcetera, etcetera’ to a bemused but feisty schoolteacher, was the showstopper. Not to mention the story of star-crossed lovers was guaranteed to get the tear ducts flowing.

1. Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.

Poitier_croppedBig stars in this one – Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn but most of all…trumpet blast, please… Sidney Poitier. He was Mum’s all-time hero, partly because he was tall, handsome and soft-spoken, partly because he’d done the unthinkable in his era, become a black leading man and box office star, the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor. And this was such a great movie. Even if Sidney spends all of it wearing a boring old suit.

DON’T MISS OUT. 

To celebrate Mother’s Day USA we’re holding a two day giveaway weekend  for our new novel, Looking for La La.  Free Kindle Downloads on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th at Amazon.Com and Amazon.co.uk.

'Thrilling, Gripping and Unique' 23 Review Street reviews Looking For La La

“If I had to sum up Looking for La La in three words they would be:- Thrilling, Gripping and Unique.”   Sophie Kate.

A wonderful review by Sophie Kate, 23 Review Street.  Thank you, Sophie Kate.  Read it for yourself at www.23reviewstreet.blogspot.co.uk   And don’t forget to enter our giveaway to win a free copy.23reviewstreet

23 Review Street –

thousands of choices, hundreds of decisions. One review you can trust..and love.

About Looking for La La –

This amazing novel is written by Ellie Campbell, a pseudonym of two sisters that are Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell. This novel is so perfectly written, it has humour, drama and depth to the story.

Looking for La La’s tag line is So many secrets…so little time. This fits this book so well, from the mystery postcard to possibly being stalked. The story is set in Cathy’s point of view, she is a mother of two children and is married to Declan.

As a stay at home mother, her days are filled with tidying and cleaning up after her family, that is until the day a postcard arrived. It is signed Love from La La, who is this La La? and what is she doing sending her husband a postcard? Confused by the postcard, and not knowing if her husband is having a affair or if it is some kind of joke? It’s not long before more things come to light and the whole situation gets even bigger with every passing problem.

Cathy’s husband, Declan has no idea who La La is and what she is doing sending him a postcard but does he really? Cathy’s best friend Raz is always there to help her and is more than ready to investigate the odd things that keep happening. With every problem falling into the next one, but with the growing questions there are even more answers.

If I had to sum up Looking for La La in three words they would be:- Thrilling, Gripping and Unique. This book is great for anyone who loves a book that keeps you holding on till the end. I would definitely recommended this book to everyone, it has humour, drama and most important a great story line. The story was very believable, with lots of twists along the way.

My favourite character of the book was Cathy as the story is in her point of view, you get to see the events unfold through Cathy’s eyes. You also get to see have her family and friends are portrayed through her eyes, this makes the book even more intriguing.

My favourite quote in the book was:- Put Nemo down at once! she yells suddenly, then her voice changes. I’m sorry, my two-year-old’s cuddling the goldfish. What were you saying?

Thank you to Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell who together make Ellie Campbell for giving me a copy of their book.

via Review of Looking For La La by Ellie Campbell.

Once Upon A Time — An eclectic book blog with a particular love for fantasy, paranormal and chick lit

Hannah at the wonderful blog Once Upon A Time was nice enough to feature us as guest authors on her blog so I am reposting our feature piece here. If you want to read the whole thing, go to

Once Upon A Time — An eclectic book blog with a particular love for fantasy, paranormal and chick lit.

[Guest] Looking For La La

Tuesday 2nd April, 2013 by Hannah

Right before I decided to stop accepting guest content, I had a lovely application for a fun feature from the Campbell sisters which I was more than happy to accept as my final piece of guest content for a while. Looking For La-La sounds like such a fun and slightly whacky chick lit with a mystery and a hunk of humour. Here is Lorraine to tell you a little about the inspiration for Looking For La-La.

Malicious Joke or Unexpected Inspiration?

From Lorraine Campbell (one half of the sister writing team, Ellie Campbell)

We’ll always deny it.  No one wants to lose their friends or stop the gossip flow but all writers are thieves.  Call us literary kleptomaniacs – we can’t walk into a room without wondering what we can steal.  Perhaps our latest hero should have that violin case carelessly slung in the corner and his aunt possess the Lalique vase and that interesting mannerism of repeating everything twice?   With luck, the victims will never know they’ve been robbed and the critics will rave about keen observational skills.  But sometimes it’s not so subtle.

In my twenties, as a novice short story writer, I used every ill-fated romance, every moment of angst with little attempt to disguise the guilty. Naturally I altered events so that I  (uh, my totally fictional main character) won the day with my (I mean, her) foolish unworthy lover begging to come back or discovering he’s been replaced by someone much much better – IN EVERY WAY, ASSHOLE.  (What can I say – it was cheaper than therapy!)

But occasionally life hands you an unintended gift that’s too good NOT to use.  Like the postcards which arrived at the door of my sister and writer-partner, Pam Burks, proclaiming love for Pam’s husband and implying they were having an affair. (OK, perhaps only a writer would see that as a blessing).  Fast-forward a few years and here’s the opening to Looking For La La, our latest Ellie Campbell novel.

“Not a sound is heard as it lands silently on the mat. No drums rolls, crashing thunder, shafts of light. The walls don’t start crumbling, the ground doesn’t vibrate with terrifying tremors and a yawning fissure fails to zigzag across the kitchen floor and separate my husband from his breakfast marmalade.

In short, I’ve no clue as to the impact it’ll have on our lives. Mayhem. Marital breakdown. Murder. It should at least have been written in blood or come in the beak of a dark-winged raven.

It is a postcard. “Love from London” blazoned above a giant pair of pouting lips kissing a cherry-red heart.

At first sight it appears to be one of those “Please Come to Our Rave” flyers which get thrust through my door periodically. Now the chances of me, a world-weary, put-upon mother-of-two, going to a rave are slim to none, but heck it’s nice to be invited.

I turn it over.

Dearest, sweetest Declan’ – it begins. My eyes widen as I take in the blue spidery handwriting and race to the signature. ‘Love from La La.’”

So, OK, yes, we’re busted. This time we did borrow directly from real life.  But as  neither Pam nor I know the identity of the mysterious La La, we don’t feel all that guilty.  Besides it’s a safe bet that her motives in sending the cards were probably not to promote marital bliss.  Luckily Pam knows her husband too well to ever believe they were anything but a bad or malicious joke.  But we had a lot of fun imagining how events might have transpired if our heroine Cathy was just a little more crazed, if someone were truly lusting after Declan, and if there were a person who wished Cathy ill – perhaps even a murderer – lurking in the neighborhood.  Beyond that opening, however, you can rest assured everything came from the bottomless depths of our unbounded imaginations.  Except the Lalique vase.  And the hero’s violin case.

Looking For La La by Ellie Campbell is available from Amazon for Kindle or Print.

In a recent survey 65% of mothers admitted feeling undervalued, over-criticised and constantly tired.

Cathy is no exception. Her dull, uneventful days as a stay at home, mother of two, are radically transformed however with the arrival of a heavily lipsticked postcard addressed to husband, Declan. Who is the mysterious La La? Could Declan really be having an affair? And is Cathy actually being stalked?

Whatever – it will definitely prove riveting gossip for the Tuesday Twice Monthlies, Cathy’s ‘Mothers Restaurant Research’ group where scandal flows as recklessly as the wine. But what starts as a light-hearted investigation with best friend Raz, soon turns into something much more sinister.

With a possible murderer on the scene, a sexy admirer igniting long-forgotten sparks, and all her friends hiding secrets, it’s not only Cathy’s marriage that’s in jeopardy. Add in the scheming antics of Declan’s new assistant, the stress of organising the school Save The Toilet’s dance and the stage is set for a dangerous showdown and some very unsettling, possibly deadly, revelations.’

via Once Upon A Time — An eclectic book blog with a particular love for fantasy, paranormal and chick lit.

Again, you can see the whole thing on Hannah’s blog.  Where, I have to say, it looks a lot better than on this one.  And don’t forget to enter our Book Giveaway through the link on the top right side of this page.