Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Meet My Main Character – Blog Hop

We’ve been tagged by Louise Charles, author of historical novel, The Duke’s Shadow to take part in this blog hop about main characters and our latest work in progress.  Louise is a member of Writers Abroad.

Meet My Main Character

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

The entire story is fictional.  We have two main characters.  Olivia Wheeler is a high-flying star in the world of Wall Street hedge funds, engaged to a wealthy society bachelor.

Rosie Dixon is a good-hearted, somewhat naïve London primary school teacher and divorced mother, struggling to support her two boys and still mourning the loss of her marriage.

2) When and where is the story set?

The story is set in the present day.   It goes from Manhattan to London with stops in Spain and also the Scottish island of Skye.

3) What should we know about him/her?

Olivia, despite all her money and cynicism is insecure, stressed and a workaholic who has lost her way in the search for superficial success.  Easygoing Rosie just wants everyone to be happy, including her cold critical mother, but is secretly hoping that one day she’ll win back her philandering husband.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Both girls find their lives overturned by a lightening bolt of luck.  In Olivia’s case she loses everything – job, money and reputation – and Rosie gets an unexpected windfall.  Both of them have to learn to deal with very changed financial circumstances and the myriad problems that come with them.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

Essentially they’re both after security.  World-weary Olivia thinks it comes with money, naive innocent Rosie yearns for the traditional happy family life with husband and kids.   But on a deeper level, as Olivia struggles to survive in an unfeeling world and Rosie tries to sort out real friends and true love from greed, envy and self-interest, their goal is to take charge of their own lives, overcome unexpected obstacles and find out what is really important to them- while destiny may just be lending a helping hand.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The working title is Million Dollar Question.  As it’s closer to publication we’ll have more about it on our blog .

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

Sometime in 2014 if we decide to self-publish.  If we go the traditional route, it would probably be 2015.

If you’re enjoying the ‘Meet My Main Character’ blog hop, we have another for you in about a week from now.  The author we’ve tagged to follow us  is the talented Celia Kennedy author of Charlotte’s Restrained (2012) and Venus Rising (2013). Look for Kathleen’s Undressed, a companion novel to Charlotte’s Restrained, to be published in 2014.

Currently she lives in Washington State with the loves of her life.

You’ll find Celia on

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


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.

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).


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 and Looking For La La is just 99 cents/99 pence until Sunday.

Ellie Campbell's Random Animal Facts

onmybookshelf – I Heart Chick Lit

To Catch a Creeper

The cat incident in To Catch A Creeper actually happened to a cat that Pam owned named Parker who closely resembled Cathy’s cat, Tic Tac.

Yes, we – Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell (aka Ellie Campbell) – are total animal lovers.  Not that animals have always loved us back…

 Ellie Campbell’s random animal facts

1.      Lorraine drove 18 hours to Kansas City and back to adopt a whoodle (got to love that name) named Remy, a wheaten terrier/poodle cross.  His misdeeds include eating the passenger’s seat of her brand new car, killing rabbits and burying dead voles in the marital bed.  He is also unbearably cute.

 2.     Pam has a tiny border terrier called Milly whose life’s ambition is to battle rottweilers and capture a fox. One of the sisters in “How to Survive Your Sisters” was named after her, yet they look nothing alike.

3.      Pam and Lorraine’s first dog was a wayward mongrel called Tippy who chased motorbikes, fought with male dogs and amorously pursued every bitch in town, hopping on and off buses, unescorted.  When about to move to England, the parents seized the excuse to find him another home at a distant farm.  They dropped him off, despite wails and protests, only to discover him back at the house within hours.  Clearly his knowledge of the bus system extended also to rural routes. 

 4.      Pam and Lorraine also owned rabbits, keeping the two does in a large aviary in the garden, separated from the buck called Dylan, who still somehow managed to procreate, bringing the total from three to nineteen with astonishing speed.  Pam liked to walk them on a leash in the local graveyard and turn them loose for exercise.  They would follow her around, leaping in the air.

5.      The two sisters were always horse obsessed, galloping down the street on their imaginary steeds, slaving and mucking out stalls in the local stables to cadge free rides. After leaving school they pooled their meager wages to buy a hot-blooded Anglo Arab named Eagle Star, often borrowing a scruffy old mule so they could ride together.  Lorraine and Star once had the unnerving experience of a hot air balloon descending straight at them, with the occupant screaming to get out of his way.  It added a whole new dimension to “hazards of the trail”.

6.      Pam and Lorraine used to win money at local fairs betting on their friend’s donkey, Bilbo Baggins, until the bookmakers wised up to his talents.  It was still an uncertain race because although extremely fast Bilbo had trouble turning corners and his jockey frequently fell off.

7.      Beside the horse, Eagle Star, Pam has owned or lived with cats, dogs, goats, fish, hamsters, rabbits, budgies, Java finches, chickens, lizards, snakes and rats.  Her least favorite was the python that thanks to father/son collusion was purchased with her very reluctant consent.  As soon as the men of the family went away on a camping trip, the python escaped.  Pam spent the rest of the weekend being afraid… very afraid.

8.      Lorraine has owned hamsters, horses, rabbits, cats, dogs, budgies, cockatiels, chickens, Indian runner ducks.  Her least favorite were the Indian runner ducks who lived up to their name by running in a panic whenever she approached. 

9.      Pam once frightened a house guest when he awoke to see an escaped hamster gnawing through a hole in the ceiling.


10.    Lorraine once went to throw a stick into the fireplace and realized it was a huge bull snake that had come in unnoticed when she fetched the wood.

12.    Pam was the first rider to mount Lorraine’s young feisty mare Luna in her early days of training.   They achieved half a dozen steps before Luna threw a monumental bucking fit and ejected Pam into the dirt. Pam was not impressed by Lorraine’s training.


13.    Lorraine was once on an elephant ride in Rajasthan when she persuaded the mahout to let her swap places.  No sooner was she perched behind its ears, when the elephant whirled and charged a man walking close by.  She realized then it had no brakes and she didn’t know the command for stop.



14.  Pam once galloped around the Great Pyramid in Egypt on a runaway horse. She enjoyed it immensely.


14.    Lorraine once opened her barn door with cat food in hand, calling ‘kitty, kitty’ only to see a very large face emerge from the hay, followed by the rest of a magnificent bobcat who casually hopped out of an open stall door.  Her barn cats were all in hiding hoping to avoid becoming that morning’s meal.

15. Pam once had her shoes chewed on by rats when staying in a crummy hotel in Burma.


16.    Lorraine and Pam both have the dubious distinction of having being charged and tossed in the air by cows. Pam in Delhi, Lorraine in Scotland. Neither knows why.

17.    Since moving to Colorado Lorraine has encountered raccoons, coyotes, skunks, rattlesnakes, bullsnakes, black widow spiders, bobcat, bear, elk, moose and mountain lions.  The mountain lions were outside her bedroom window.  For a while she stopped wandering outside to admire the night sky.

18.  Raccoons used to frequently break into Lorraine’s laundry room every night looking for a free meal.  A nervous friend living temporarily in Lorraine’s basement once called the sheriff when she heard sinister dragging sounds.  Turned out raccoons were having trouble attempting to haul a 50 lb tub of kibble out through the dog door.

19.     Pam had a fabulous cat called Parker who lived to the age of twenty-one. He was top “dog” amongst the other two dogs she had at the time and would condescendingly pat them on the head if they deigned to walk past.  He was originally a stray and not pretty but as he’d been at the rescue centre the longest, he was next in line for euthanasia and she felt compelled to take him home. If you stroked him in the wrong way, he would turn and scratch you hard, showing no mercy.

20.    Lorraine’s husband is not a cat lover and for a while banned felines, claiming to be allergic, but somehow they now own five, three in the barn, two in the house.  The house cats like to bring live mice indoors and let them escape.  Remy, the whoodle, then goes crazy tearing apart furniture to find them.  Lorraine swears the cats are sniggering. 

Thank you for stopping by!!!

 via To Catch a Creeper by Ellie Campbell / Book Review + Guest Post | onmybookshelf – I Heart Chick Lit.

La La at #3 in Humor…

More than a few of our reviews have suggested ‘Looking For La La‘ is quite the wild ride…

‘ Mayhem from beginning to end…’


But never more than this week! Thanks to our 99 cent promotion  ‘Looking For La La’ has jumped into the top 10 in all three categories, including #3 in women’s fiction humor.  And up to #138 in overall Kindle US charts.

That means we’ve almost made it into Top 100… with another 5 days to go…

 ‘Thrilling, Gripping and Unique 


And puts our little indie chicklit mystery in with some mighty big fishes…

Laughs galore but also a murderous undertone…’


Enough to put a grin on all our faces.

 ‘amazingly funny, brilliant and entertaining..’


While  ‘full of mystery, gossip and secrets..’ –


and ‘Filled with great characters…’


everyone agrees that LOOKING FOR LA LA is

Literally a laugh out loud kind of book! ‘  G85A1832

So thanks from Pam and Lorraine to all our friends, reviewers and bloggers, everyone who bought, downloaded, gifted, shared… SP_A0251 IMG_1099

And we’re not done yet.  If you’re in the US you can still buy Looking For La La for a mere 99 cents until February 24th..

So if you haven’t already…

cabin 2008 114_2

‘Go on an amazingly funny, brilliant and entertaining ride with Cathy and her crazy cast of friends and neighbors!’

I Should Be So Lucky – Lucky! Lucky! Lucky!

cabin 2008 114_2I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY!!

Help! I’m being stalked by someone who wants to take me on exotic foreign holidays, shower me with precious jewels and give me shedloads of money, either £20,000 every month till I die, or a great big lump sum payment.

Why you, I hear you ask? Are you brilliantly bright, hilariously funny, a sexual athlete with an incredible libido or just amazingly attractive. Unfortunately none of these. I’m just a run of the mill kind of wife and mother, few wrinkles, bit of a podge round the tummy, arms that could do with a firm up, legs that could do with a wax…

And no I don’t need the help in deciding whether £20,000 per month for life’s better than a lump sum, taking into account interest rates, inflation, property prices, etc.

No my problem’s coping with the disappointment when I realise it’s yet another scam and really I’ll always remain as poor as a wee church mouse.

“You get nothing for nothing in this world,” my husband lifted his head up from the paper, when I brandished my latest Prize Draw Award letter.

“Not true,” I replied swiftly. “Carol over the road won an emerald.”

OK the emerald was the size of a pinhead and you needed a microscope to see it, but if she’d won 200 of them, she could maybe have fashioned them into a ring of sorts, couldn’t she?

I’ve spent a fortune on phonecalls that last forever as they relay lists of items you haven’t won and where in the end you find your ‘three palm trees fabulous prize’ is an overseas holiday for which you receive free accommodation but have to pay double for flights and food (read the small print and you realise you have to eat at least twice a day in the hotels).

Or there’s the ‘£800 cash’ prize, which is a leaflet full of two-for-one offers on theme parks you’ve never heard of, restaurants you wouldn’t dare dine in and dull hotels situated in the back of beyond where no-one else wants to stay.

Last week I received a text message entitled WINNER.


As the clock ticked towards the deadline, my brain fought an inner battle. One part warning me if I did nothing I might be missing out big time, but the other part telling me not to be a daft mare and cook supper for my family instead. I cooked supper.

Only yesterday my phone rang.

“Hi there.” (Bright cheery automated voice.) “As a past customer you have an unclaimed award. This was drawn in Spring 2013. Yes. You have won one of ten pcs, wide-screen tv’s, holiday for up to six people in sunny Tenerife. Your Prior Claim Code is 10. But better be quick,” the Alan Sugar sound-alike continued. “In order to share our award pool, call this hot line number.”

Then the cheery voice cut off and a normal boring voice said with lightning speed. “Calls costs £1.50 per minute and will last no more than five minutes.”

OK I admit it, I jotted down the number and had my finger on the dial before I reminded myself that this was me about to ring that number. Me about to win that magnificent prize. Me who never wins anything. Tell a lie, I once won a jiffy lemon at a school summer fete, but that’s it. Doubt my luck’s gonna start changing now.

But no, I can’t guarantee the next time, I won’t be tempted. As they say in AA, one day at a time…

10 Female Friendship Movies for National Friendship Day

Our Top Ten:

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café

As Ninny says in this movie “I found out what the secret of life is:  friends.  Best friends.”  Of course not all of us snatch our pregnant best friend from an abusive husband, take care of her and her baby, protect from said husband, aid in his murder and serve him up as barbeque to the investigating sheriff.  But we would if we had to.


Yes, your best friend can be petty, silly, jealous, ludicrous and outrageously badly behaved and you’ll still forgive her.  Especially if it’s clear it’s just an expression of how much she cares for you.  Or just incredibly funny. Drunken moments, swearing, total humiliation notwithstanding, there’s a great rapport between Annie and Lillian – you can just tell they have a great time together for all the crazy wedding malarkey.

The Joy Luck Club

These immigrant Chinese mothers remind me of my mum telling tall tales about her daughters’ great accomplishments while secretly chiding us for lacking all the graces and achievements of our cousins. No wonder there’s rivalry and resentment among the daughters of the mah-jongg players.  Still, like the novel, this movie shines with epic tearjerking stories of mother-daughter struggles, poverty and hardships in World War II China, and some tricky modern relationships in the present day. Luckily, although she had her share of problems, our Mum never drowned her baby in a bathtub or had to abandon any of us by the roadside…although I’m sure she was tempted.

Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion

Showing the deep bonded friendship you longed for in high school (and ever since.) Wouldn’t you love someone like Romy or Michelle with you at your high school reunion, making utter fools of yourselves, lying your asses off and basically having a much better time than all the cool successful people?!  Living proof that all a girl needs is one great friend to back up her most outrageous claims…or crimes.  Oh yes, and the girls know how to deliver a putdown.  “I hope your babies look like monkeys.”  Wish I’d said that.

Thelma & Louise

Well, who wouldn’t want to be Thelma or Louise – run off on a road trip with your best girlfriend, meet hunky Brad Pitt for some great sex, blast through the desert in your convertible with the top down, the wind in your hair and the radio on high, robbing convenience stores and shooting off guns along the way?   If this was a male road trip movie, they’d be getting drunk and getting laid without learning a darn thing from the experience.  Instead, realizing it’s unlikely they’ll ever have such a good time again (after all one is married and the other is wanted for murder) they drive off a cliff.  Friends to the bitter end.

The Witches of Eastwick

Like many tangled friendships, Cher, Michele Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon are best friends until devilish Jack Nicolson comes into their life, seduces them each in turn and stirs up envy and rivalry.  Unlike anyone we’ve dated, however, he gives them magic powers – big mistake!  And once they’ve disposed of him they get to live in his mansion and can fly around on their broomsticks and presumably conjure up dinner without calling for take-out.

Charlie’s Angels.

Sure, on the surface this movie is about three gorgeous karate-punching ass-kicking babes working for the mysterious Charlie, investigating crime and beating up bad guys.  Not so different from you and me then. But what’s really appealing is the camaderie and fun – these are gals that really like their job and the women they work with – no bitchy office politics here, they’re too busy wisecracking and dressing up in really cool disguises.

 A League Of Their Own

Who says women aren’t team players?  True, there’s some bitchiness and cattiness as Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell etc take over from the guys as baseball players when the men are at war and prove they’re just as tough and talented as any male team.  But it’s the chemistry between them that makes this movie sparkle, some great one-liners and, at the end of the day, it shows real female solidarity.  There’s no crying in baseball after all.

Steel Magnolias

Multi-generational women support each other through good times and tragedy in a small Southern town.  These are funny argumentative women who are as likely to pull an all-nighter at your hospital bed as dance at your wedding… which is the way we like our friends.  OK, the movie’s actually a wee bit sappy but it has a great cast and they’re always up for a bit of gossip.  “Well, as somebody always said: if you can’t say anything nice about anybody, come sit by me!” 


I didn’t WANT to but I had to include it.  The two girls meet as kids.  (Can’t help feeling would have been much easier if Facebook had existed back then instead of all those letters.) There is a love triangle: Bette Midler has the talent and personality, Barbara Hershey has looks, money and class.  Guess who the guy falls for? Barbara Hershey, of course, but somehow Bette ends up marrying him.  Once the husbands are out of the picture and the women – long estranged – admit their lifelong jealousy, the friendship resumes… until Barbara dies of a fatal disease and Bette has to raise her daughter – which might not be as drastic as barbecuing an abusive husband but still qualifies as serious payback.

For more insight on female friendships, good and bad, don’t forget to download When Good Friends Go Bad, free on this weekend through 4th August.


They're funny, they're gorgeous and yes… they're free!


To mark our official launch of When Good Friends Go Bad and How to Survive Your Sisters in the USA, we are doing a series of promotions. The fabulous new covers have all been created by Andrew Brown, Design for Writers and we think he has done a brilliant job.

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


Want to win a free paperback version of these novels?  We are holding three Good Reads Giveaways– 2 copies of each book: When Good Friends Go Bad, How To Survive Your Sisters and Looking For La La.  Sign up now and try your luck.

Dates for your diary:  NOW until 13th August – on Good Reads. 


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It’s Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

With a little help from my friends… MISTAKEN: the movie.

MISTAKEN: an indie thriller.  (Or how a Nandos chicken dinner saved the entire film production.)

Sadly I (Lorraine) have missed my and only chance to become a movie star, being in the USA when our nephew Anthony was casting his friends and family members in a full-length thriller he wrote, directed, starred in and produced himself. As the July 20th premiere at the Cineworld in Wandsworth, London approaches, I decided to interview him.

What made you decide to make a movie?Anthony head

I missed acting, and wanted to be in a film.Figured it was quicker to make one than do years of casting for a lead role.

Did you ever think you’d achieve what you have – did you have doubts?

Never beyond my wildest dreams… actually if you told me we’d get a cinema box office showing, and a DVD release is on the cards, I would have laughed.

How old were you when you started and how old were you when you finished?


What was your budget? 

I’ll tell you once I’ve sold it.

How did you get the equipment?  Actors?  Locations?

I bought the equipment wanting to start making wedding videos. I turned to friends for actors. Some I asked, some asked me. Some I nagged. A lot. Some I bribed with chicken dinners.

How was it directing amateurs as actors?

GunfireVery different to how it’s normally done. There are very few long scenes in the film and a lot of switching angles during the scenes. It was a case of pointing the camera at them and making them say the line over and over until they said it the way I wanted. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the same direction with my performance. Some people really grew as actors and some had some surprising natural ability. Using friends definitely gives better out takes for sure. Like Jamie’s line ‘you’re bleeding from your femoral artery’ which came out as ‘you’re bleeding from your feminal orgy.’  Priceless.  And Mat’s Italian accent always sounded French – unless he was shouting and then it sounded German.

What did you think/ foresee would be your biggest challenges?

Biggest challenge by far was keeping people interested long enough to keep mistaken - suitsturning up for more scenes. One of my friends was super keen to play a hit man and halfway through decided he didn’t want to do it any more.  I had to bribe him with a Nando’s chicken dinner. Another friend was cast in a major role but twice failed to show up when we were scheduled to shoot.  When we finally managed to get him back on set a second time, we killed him off instantly.  He kept saying, ‘this isn’t in the script.’… hah, hah. Thankfully I had a few friends who were really keen from start to finish.  It was hard enough getting 10+ people to take a day off work to come and film all on the same day Plus we needed good weather on the day…. in England! 

How did you come up with the idea for the script?

I dreamed I was being chased by loads of different hitmen. I’d escape one and round the corner there’d be another one waiting for me. I woke up sweating and thought if I could translate that to a movie and make it half as entertaining as the dream I’d be winning.

What were your roles in the film?

Writer, Director, Producer, Actor, Editor, and Special Effects.

Did you have any experience in writing, directing, producing, editing?

None to begin with – I’d won a competition or two making football videos, and filmed a few weddings. That’s it.  I learned filmmaking with constant months/years on Google and tutorials on YouTube. A few books too. 3/4 of the ‘Mistaken’ process was about learning, making mistakes and correcting them.

What help did you receive?

mistaken - filmingA lot. Apart from various friends playing cameramen, and the huge amount of extras. We had some amazing locations such as Nonsuch Mansion (designed by King Henry VIII) in Surrey. They were supporting local projects and let us use the Mansion for our film. We had help from local police, councils, my old work offices, a farmer with a barn in Devon, mine and friends’ families, and all sorts. People were really keen to help out, which was immense. I’ve got a long list of people to thank.

What was the biggest drawback of using friends and family?

I think you are taking people out of their comfort zone when not using experienced actors, which they don’t always like. However, it’s character building, and I would say everyone is a better person for it. I don’t think anyone looks back thinking “shit I regret that”. Although Mat was initially drafted in as an extra for one scene only and decided to grow a funny-looking beard for the day’s shoot.  Because he turned out to be really good and was keen, he became one of the main characters.  He had to live with that stupid beard for three years.

What were your biggest surprises?

How much is involved in making a film. I thought I’d get it done over one summer and it would be amazing. Three years later…   In fact because it took so long we had an issue with the main detective character, (Jamie), putting on weight.  He starts thin, gets chubby midway through and then slims back down at the end because I stuck him on a diet.  I think we just about get away with it.

What were some of your funniest moments?

Mistaken - screamJamie couldn’t say I love you convincingly to his on screen wife (who was his girlfriend at the time) – that was funny.  Someone called the police on us when we were filming an over-motorway shot because they thought the camera was a bazooka.   The one real actor we hired found it hilarious that the make-up artist wasn’t on set and we had to drive to her house to get make-up put on first while her mum made us all tea.  Another of my friends had a really bad upset stomach on the day of his scene.  He was in a lot of pain while filming a big shoot-out… he started begging me to kill him so he could go home.

And then there were the ten hitmen that we talked a start-up extras company into supplying.  When we got to the location there were these massive scary-looking blokes waiting for us. We were all debating who was going to fight them… and at first none of us even wanted to go over and say hello. I said to mat ‘OK, you’re fighting that huge bald bloke, ha ha.’  Of course they were all great people to have in the film and really helpful.

Also I lured another friend Pedrum in to film in the middle of December.  He came wearing his best suit and the script had him down to be thrown into a rubbish bin or trash dumpster.  At the last minute I opted to chuck him in the freezing swimming pool. It was a bit mean but funny.

How about stunts – any challenges there?

I had to drive a car at my sister in one of the scenes while operating the camera at the same time. I also had to make a 6 foot jump off a roof onto the top of a van. Mat had to get dangerously close to a cliff edge in one scene and we nearly dropped the camera off the cliff.  And Jamie managed to stab himself with a knife in the chin during a fight scene.  It was at his heaviest stage so his brother kept asking ‘which chin did he stab?’

Did you ever lose heart?

Yes, once – for 6 months. Then I carried on and didn’t look back.  In the middle of it too I did a round the world trip which I’d had planned for ages.  I did a rough cut of the film before I went, which I was really pleased with. I didn’t show it to anyone. When I came back I hated it and decided to work on it for a further year. The ‘creative break’ did wonders for the film.

How did you manage the special effects?  Blowing up buildings? 

I filmed the building and added all the effects in afterwards. I had to do a lot of research into how I’d make this happen. I found some great packages online, and spent literally months on tutorials.

What was most difficult for you  in the whole process?

DSC_1401Biggest sacrifice was time – in the end I had to take some time off working to get it finished. I had to learn an awful lot and there were probably about 30 different versions of the movie before I was happy with it. I was broke, skint, totally penniless. I went out in the same pair of cheap Primark boots so many times that it became an ongoing joke amongst friends as to how battered they’d get before I’d finally stop wearing them. I’m now finding them hard to throw away – they make me laugh every time I look at them. I lost a girlfriend over the film too… it took up every minute I had.  I wouldn’t change any of it though.

What do you think will happen now?

I think we’ll easily get a DVD release. The trick is convincing the world to watch it. I hope more people will attempt what I have. Maybe ‘Mistaken’ might inspire someone out there to try it themselves.

What do you want to do next – what are your wildest hopes and dreams?

Well, first is the Mistaken premiere on 20th July at the Cineworld in Wandsworth.  I’m working on content for a couple of YouTube channels I want to launch. Then I have amazing ideas for more films and also some crazy website ideas. I’m always going to be learning more and making (hopefully) better and better things. I’ve just learnt the hard way to do one thing at a time.

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