Hooray! TO CATCH A CREEPER is on sale today as one of Amazon UK’s Kindle Daily deals. All our UK friends, get it while you can…for only 99 pence.
Hooray! TO CATCH A CREEPER is on sale today as one of Amazon UK’s Kindle Daily deals. All our UK friends, get it while you can…for only 99 pence.
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.
Thank you, Mama J Hearts!
Jealousy – A Wasted Emotion? Discuss.
There I was this morning with a pair of slinky little knickers in hand. I’d just found them curled up inside my husband’s jogging bottoms (track suit pants for our American readers), almost as if some sultry mistress had placed them there to be found by my prying eyes. I knew they weren’t mine. I know my knickers (panties) – intimately. As most women do. I know they’re not my daughter’s. Even though she’s coming out of her teens, she still can’t seem to work out how to rotate that switch on the washing machine. Nor find it for that matter.
My son ambled past, yawning and stretching. “Here,” I chucked the knickers at him. “Do these belong to your girlfriend?”
“Maybe,” he looked them over, skimpy, lacy at the top, silky at the front, then left the room and came back moments later.
“Is she there?” I asked, surprised. If so, she’d been very quiet all morning.
“No. But I took a photo of them with my phone. And she said they’re not hers.”
So should I confront my husband? After all they came out of his trouser legs.
Well, if I was a jealous woman I possibly would. Then again, if I’d been a jealous woman a few years back when “the postcard” dropped through the door, professing undying love for my husband, Lorraine and I might not be here, talking about our third Ellie Campbell novel, Looking For La La.
Just as in the novel, the postcard was from a woman, who called herself La La, addressed to my beloved spouse. Maybe fleetingly, a doubtful thought might have crossed my mind, and yes, I could have smacked him over the head with the toaster and demanded to know who she was, why she had written to him….barraged him with questions, accusations, burst into floods of tears.
Sad truth is, I’m used to it. It’s been a constant throughout our courtship, years of living together, and now our married life. As an athletic, good-looking, young (and, even now, not so young) man working in the leisure industry, my hubbie is constantly in the company of shapely young women with abs like the Baywatch babes. Teaching aerobic classes, acting as fitness instructor and personal trainer, he has been surrounded half his working life by semi-clothed health-conscious predatory females. Comes with the territory.
So like Cathy’s husband, Declan, in Looking for La La (who all Cathy’s friends drool over), ‘Him indoors’ has had a lot of attention from admirers over the years, to the point of acute embarrassment. I was once in one of his circuit training classes when the girl star-jumping next to me hissed, “Teacher’s a bit hot, isn’t he?” What could I reply? “Actually that’s my husband” or like I did at the time, mumble, “Not really my type”.
Another time he had a horrifying stalker, who having failed to seduce him, (he managed to push her out of the health club door late one night, locking it quick) ran up three flights of stairs, along a corridor, down another flight, to sneak back in through a fire exit, scaring him rigid. I had to make him a stiff drink when he arrived home.
In fact it’s almost surprising there weren’t a few more La Las over the years, maybe not all sending him postcards but…you get my drift.
It’s hard enough keeping up with a husband who is two, (he says three) years younger than myself, who runs marathons like most people were going for a Sunday stroll. And, unlike me, relishes organising and taking part in various sporting challenges.
This Sunday he’s running his 10th marathon – having already done the biggies, such as Edinburgh, Brighton, London, Paris, Dublin. In a few months’ time he’s cycling from Redhill, Surrey to Paris, France – 175 miles in 24 hours. Shortly after that it’s the Three Peaks – three of the highest mountains in Wales, Scotland and England, all to be climbed again in 24 hours.
Mount Snowdon – Hubbie’s idea of A Good Time
Then it’s the North Downs Trek, the South Downs Trek, South Downs Way – 100 miles in a day off-road mountain bike challenge. Last year of his own free will (durr), he jumped out of an aeroplane, walked on burning coals, took part in a cycling road race, a gruelling walk through the boggy Yorkshire moors, bungee jumped off a bridge with a dodgy rope in South America. You get the picture. All for charity, of course, but still…
He’s on a high protein, no alcohol diet right now (for the marathon), while I’m on an eat as much as I can and drink till I drop phase. Well it is still winter, so I need a few layers around my middle. Can I keep up? Could I in any way be described as toned or in shape? No is the brutal answer. I walk the dog, play a bit of badminton, tend my allotment, do the odd bit of gardening, and am practically forced every year to join him on the tandem – he must still love me then? – to cycle long distance challenges…to Paris, Gibraltar, Montpellier, and this year 300 miles (in 3 days) to Copenhagen. I guess I must love him too.
Because frankly I’m basically lazy. If I could get away with it, I’d lie under my duvet every morning, tapping away on my computer writing the next “Ellie Campbell” novel. Exercising only my fingers and thoughts.
More importantly, should I be worried about the stray knickers at present lying neatly folded on his neatly folded jogging bottoms? No, I’m sure there must be a perfectly innocent explanation. Maybe he wanted to try them out himself before he bought a similar pair for me?
And what did I do when the postcards came through the door? Well, do writers ever waste anything? Being a trusting soul, (and an author) instead of leaping up to attack him, I leapt out of my chair, raced up the stairs to the attic, jumped onto my computer and furiously began typing the first few chapters of what was to become Looking for La La, roping in my sister and co-writer, Lorraine. We enjoyed ourselves hugely as we took what was likely a mean little prank and turned it into a funny mystery novel about a scatty housewife who stirs up a whole lot of trouble by turning sleuth.
They say jealousy is a wasted emotion. Lorraine and I believe it’s far more than that – it’s a wasted novel.
And the underwear? Turned out to belong to my daughter after all.
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…
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.
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.
We 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?
Another stud in a loincloth (see Tarzan and Victor Mature) although any movie 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.
Errol 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.
We 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.
Howard 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.
3. Singing In The Rain.
Well, 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.
No 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.
Big 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.
A big thank you to Reading Renee for a fabulous review of How To Survive Your Sisters. She likes it so much she’s even doing her own giveaway of all three of our books!!! Click the button below to visit her website and sign up.
How To Survive Your Sisters is special to us because the mother in it, Peggy, was based on our own wonderfully wacky eccentric mother – Pam and I wanting to preserve the memories of her originality and humour. Look out for our post dedicated to her on Mother’s Day, May 12th.
First let me say “refreshing” that is how I will describe this book. I was loving the witty take on weddings. Of course the entire family is supposed to be bowing at Natalie’s feet. She wants the perfect wedding and I will compare her to a bridezilla. Another sister Milly just wants to be out of maternity clothing, and Hazel (love the name) wants everyone to take her serious. Avril could be my fave sister!
The premise is Natalie and Jeremy’s wedding. It is ideal and the fact that this is the reason why they are thrown together. I sometimes think that if I was to spend a week with my sisters we would be in an odd circumstance. Funny how families are family, but they grow apart. After about six years of being engaged, they set a date! So the sisters unite, not easily or truly wanting to reunite. They all come back to Little Hooking. There is a reveal from a sister who gets there with a guest. Her plus 1 blows everyone out of the water. (I hate holding secrets, but I ain’t a plot spoiler.
Milly is the only married one. Her and Ivor (strange name to me) have four kids. They seem to be happy and have a good relationship. While Avril is older and single living in London. So there is a certain event that gets the girls together. There are a few demons, shall I say, that interfere. There are many (I almost think too many) turbulent waves coming to the MacLeod shores.
The conversations between the sisters and Hazel urging her to go to the wedding. Then urging her to get fitted are hilarious. I hope they were meant to be funny, because I laughed!
I totally ate this one up. I know lot’s will say it is a great vacation or beach read. There is a lot of humor, which I liked. There is also an equal amount of family squabbles. A great book for anyone with a sister! Heck you don’t even have to have a sister to get the humor!
“If I had to sum up Looking for La La in three words they would be:- Thrilling, Gripping and Unique.” Sophie Kate.
thousands of choices, hundreds of decisions. One review you can trust..and love.
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.
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
[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.
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.
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.’
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.