Tag Archives: women’s fiction

99c/99p promo and great summer giveaways!

NEWSFLASH!!!!!

To welcome in a fun-filled summer, we’ve some July offers for you. Two of our novels have been globally reduced – 99cents/99pence or equivalent from 8th to 14th July, so don’t forget to  pack your kindle along with your beachwear!

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*GOOD READS GIVEAWAYS*

And for those who love the chance for a free paperback, we are holding four (4!) giveaways on Goodreads!

reading thing

To Catch a Creeper  (Click on link)

When Good Friends Go Bad

Looking for La La

How to Survive Your Sisters

Dates for your diary: NOW until 1 September

 Meanwhile Lorraine will be working on trust, handling and starting under saddle the horse she brought home from a rescue (only for a few weeks, honest, Gary!) Spicy Mocha came from an Indian reservation, never touched apart from branding, and was rescued with her foal and five others from a slaughter auction. She was wild, fearful and ready to fight people when she arrived at Zuma’s horse rescue.   We had to teach her that we were OK really, that she didn’t need to defend herself, and now we’re moving along her lessons, hoping to get her on the trail this summer. She looks pretty relaxed here enjoying our lush grass.

Mocha eating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Pam will be testing herPam lifting lucy's bike endurance by joining a unique but gruelling 600K charity cycle ride from Biarritz to Barcelona (via the Pyrenees!).

 

 

Then, when she comes back she has a week to recover before flying to Nice and cycling (again!!) to Rome – on the tandem.  She must love her husband very much to endure such torture.

photo of pam on bike

And if you want to hear how she got along, discover if her marriage survives the ordeal, or just want to hear of any future offers, then sign up to our newsletter here

And for a moment of nostalgia…

How we present ourselves to the world…

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What we really think of each other…

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Those were the days!  Not that we’re any less silly now.

Have a fabulous summer!

 

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.

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! 🙂

Frothy Reads Review: Looking For La La by Ellie Campbell

Frothy Reads review for Looking For La La  – now only 99c. 

Ellie Campbell is actually a team of two sisters who kindly offered me a review copy, which I had to decline…. because I’d already bought it! It’s akin to recently reviewed Goodness, Grace and Me in general theme- batty housewife investigates possibly cheating husband and uncovers all sorts of neighbourhood shenanigans. Luckily I read a palate cleanser inbetween to avoid confusion.

Kooks for your Kindle?– There’s almost an overabundance of characters here, it’s quite a busy book. Everyone is well characterised though, and everyone’s a possibility in the hunt for La La: Many varied mum friends, some old friends, some random acquaintances. Declan is Cathy’s stressed husband who is mostly on board with Cathy’s scatty nature, but has his impatient moments and he’s oblivious to the manipulations of his assistant at work. Raz is an old mate who enjoys a child-free, career-minded life while temporarily inhabiting Cathy’s loft conversion, while Rupert is her boyfriend who seems to have a creepy fixation on Cathy.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor- Cathy begins the tale as a rudderless housewife, struggling with domestic chaos even though her kids are at school and she has a weekly cleaning lady. Although her husband Declan first fell for her nuttiness, he’s running out of patience now and is pressuring her to rejoin the paid masses. Despite Cathy’s loopiness, she has her feet on the ground some of the time, has a refreshing outlook on life and can put away an impressive amount of alcohol. She’s kind and good to her friends, bordering on too soft especially where creepy Rupert is concerned. Now that I think of it, she reminds me of an older, domesticated Bridget Jones- I’ll have to read her latest to check.

Evaluation of your eBook?- For such a frothy book it has a cast of thousands, and more red herrings than sea world. If you can guess whodunnit before the end, bravo, I was certainly still guessing. I did like Cathy, even though her insane decision making made me shout at her occasionally. There’s a lovable collection of extras, almost all of whom are suspects at some point, and made for a warm, chaotic, dramatic and funny read.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

via Frothy Reads.

Rabid Readers Reviews – Book Blogging Fun for the Person Who Loves to Read

HUGE thanks to Rabid Readers Reviews for making Looking For La La one of their favorite Rabid Readers Reads of 2013. To find out who else made the list, click the link below…

Rabid Readers Reviews

Book Blogging Fun for the Person Who Loves to Read

Best Rabid Readers Reads of 2013!

The best of the year is one of my favorite posts to do but its also one of the most difficult. How do I narrow down the many outstanding novels that I read this year to the best? What follows are some of my favorite reads this year in no particular order and if any fall into your genre, you should pick them up. These are novels that deserve to be read.

Looking for La La by Ellie Campbell: A UK based story of a woman whose husband receives postcards and goes on a quest to discover if he’s cheating. The story was funny, strange and everything that is right with chick lit.

Click here to read my review.

via Rabid Readers Reviews – Book Blogging Fun for the Person Who Loves to Read.

Lots of Winners – in time for Mother's Day

We’re delighted to announce that Nurmawati Djuhawan from Indonesia won our Rafflecopter Giveaway!  She won a free paperback copy of Looking For La La.. Congratulations Nurmawati!   But you can all be winners!  To celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, Amazon is giving away free kindle copies this weekend of Looking For La La to end on Sunday May 12th, at 11.59 PST.    Order now an help us get to #1 in the Kindle Free Top 100!    If you’re suspecting that you may not be the most ‘together’ mother in the world, if your house is a little messy and your kids won’t eat their vegetables, reading Cathy Roger’s trials is bound to cheer you up.

Want to win a Kindle copy of all three of our novels?  You have 12 days left to enter Reading Renee’s giveaway of How To Survive Your Sisters, When Good Friends Go Bad and Looking For La La.  And, yes, there are some less-than-perfect mothers in those books too…