Tag Archives: writing

Don't miss out! The clock is ticking…

Yes, this week only, Monday 21th to Sunday 27th September, we are offering WHEN GOOD FRIENDS GO BAD in the UK only at the bargain price of just 99 pence!   It’s another Kindle Countdown Promotion and the seconds are ticking away.

Amazon Friends EBook

 Need more encouragement? Check out a few of the many 5 star reviews at Amazon.com!

‘Bloody Good. Quirky humor, crazy personalities, zany situations…This book has it all.’

‘A most wonderful book….the best book I’ve read in a while. CONGRATULATIONS Ellie Campbell you knocked it out of the park…’

‘Fun and Quirky. A book full of interesting characters leading very full lives, and lots of great Brit quirkiness. I… loved it.’

‘This is a book you can recommend to all your friends. I love “chick lit” stories and this one had twists and turns, secrets and….  well I don’t want to give away the ending.’

WHEN GOOD FRIENDS GO BAD…

All through school, tomboy Jen, snobby Georgina, hippy Meg and gentle Rowan, were inseparable. Until, that is, the unfortunate consequences of a childish prank tore them apart. As adults an attempted reunion went disastrously wrong. Rowan failed to appear. Meg behaved outrageously and – sharpest cut of all – Jen discovered just how deeply Georgina had betrayed her.  The events of that night changed their lives forever.

So now, a mother herself, in the midst of divorce, the last thing Jen needs is a call from Meg. Or is it? Will Meg’s strange mission to track down the missing Rowan re-open old wounds… is it a chance to heal the rift… or to recover Jen’s never-forgotten, first true love? As their quest unearths secrets and feelings best left buried, Jen, Meg and Georgina will be tested on love, loyalty, and friendship, discover the truth about Rowan – and wake a danger that threatens them all.

TIME IS FLYING BY  One_handSO DON’T DELAY…

And to our UK readers, sorry we can’t include you in this great promotion this time around but don’t be sad…  Crying_Smiley_clip_art_hight

we’re sure to have something else for you very soon!

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

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

NEWSFLASH!!!!!

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

large party

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

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

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

DON’T OWN A KINDLE?

Sad crying smiley face

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

*GOODREADS GIVEAWAYS*

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

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

Dates for your diary:  NOW until 13th August

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

It’s Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

File0008                           RembrandtHome

Rabid Readers Reviews: “Looking for La La” by Ellie Campbell

A great review post from Rabid Readers.  Thank you again!

When Cathy O’Farrell’s husband, Declan, receives a saucy postcard from the mysterious La La, Cathy is thrilled. Not seriously suspecting that her husband is having an affair, Cathy and her friend Raz start an investigation aided in part by the Tuesday Twice Monthly’s, a tight-knit group of local moms. Soon the notes turn sinister and Cathy notices a red estate car following her.  Is this mystery perhaps more than she bargained for?

“Ellie Campbell” is the pseudonym of sisters Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell. Looking for La La is their third novel as a writing team.

I received a copy of this novel from the authors in exchange for my review.

Looking for La La was inspired when Pam Burks’ husband received postcards from a mystery admirer and the story that built is astounding.  I certainly hope that poor Pam did not travel Cathy’s path to find the culprit. Campbell’s writing style is seamless with humor reminiscent of “Shirley Valentine.” Cathy is a very real character, warts and all. She is a stay at home mom who feels undervalued and a prisoner in her role, one who is desperately afraid to leave her jail. Her children are in school and she spends the days chasing after something she’s not quite reaching. Cathy fears Declan’s inevitable discussions of a return to work but sees herself as his employee at home rather than his wife. Cathy’s last job interview before pregnancy and marriage to Declan was with the company for which her future husband worked. The interview went horribly and she ran out followed by her would be employer and future husband not to return to the work force again. She reminds at the start of the novel a lot of a woman I once knew who grew tired of going to school and didn’t want to work so decided to get married. It didn’t work well as a plan for the woman I know and it doesn’t seem to work so well for harmony in Cathy’s home.

There are a lot of catty women in Looking for La La and while I’m not usually a fan of catty women as they always seem to be written as evil without purpose, the women in this story are very real. Not everyone in a group of friends will like each other and they’ll be civil when with the key person in order to jockey for preferred friend position but civil doesn’t mean nice. Raz is being pulled by two worlds. On the one hand she has her professional friend and on the other Cathy. Neither Cathy or the other woman like each other and their byplay is hilarious. The conflicts with each other made these women simply a lot of fun to read. Despite the extensive cast of characters, we get to know the people with whom Cathy associates and others as she gets to know them.

Campbell infuses a sub-plot of mystery in a beloved teacher is struck down in a hit and run accident. There are little mentions in the story-line of her until her ultimate demise and the tie-in, when it comes, is inspired. I did not in any way see the ending coming.

Campbell’s writing style reflects Cathy character perfectly. In flashbacks we see “Old Cathy.” This is a woman who finds grocery lists in shopping carts and purchases items on them to “expand her diet.” She may think she’s changed into a more composed and matronly sort of woman but as we follow her on madcap adventures, Cathy proves to be the free spirit and somewhat airy person she was when she and Declan met. Scattered, neurotic, and loveable. Those of us who are working moms may roll our eyes at Cathy’s insistence on not working and feeling of betrayal when her fellow moms go back to work but there is an undercurrent that shows that not even Cathy believes her own arguments as to why she couldn’t work. As Cathy develops as a character so does our understanding that she doesn’t always quite mean what she says.

I didn’t want to like Cathy when I first met the character. Over the course of the novel which was really she gets the postcard, embarks on the investigation and her daily life, I grew to find her enchanting. She was warm and funny. One of her friends tells her that another friend said that she looks like a mature Eva Mendes and Cathy is flattered for a while but then wonders how mature the person thought she looked. The subsequent conversation with the friend was side splittingly funny. Cathy could have used a headslap a time or two but who couldn’t? Looking for La La is a wonderfully funny chick-lit read.

Readers will want to take note of the wonderful cover which truly conveys the story within. The plotline and smooth flow are perfect for reading by the pool or on the beach. If you like British humor and quirky characters, you will love Looking for La La.

via “Looking for La La” by Ellie Campbell.

WiLoveBooks – 10 Things I've Learned From Being A Writer

Today the authors behind Ellie Campbell are here to tell us what inspired Looking for La La and share what they’ve learned from being a writer. 

Ten Things I’ve Learned from Being a Writer

It happened…well, let’s just say it was a few years back.  My sister, Pam, co-author of our Ellie Campbell novels, was having a peaceful breakfast with her family when a postcard decorated with scarlet lipstick dropped through the letterbox.  Surprisingly, the sender, La La, was proclaiming impassioned love for Pam’s husband.  Below you can read how it appears in our novel, Looking For La La.  (What, us waste a great piece of material like that?  Never!  Particularly when this La La was clearly up to no good.)

“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.’”

We never found out who sent the card, Pam’s husband claiming innocence of the whole affair.  (More accurately that there was no affair.)  Knowing her hubbie – and his friends’ questionable sense of humour – she wisely chose to believe him.  It could have been end of story if we hadn’t used it to inspire our third Ellie Campbell novel.  In it bored housewife, Cathy Rogers, goes slightly crazy searching for the identity of La La and discovering everyone around her is concealing secrets… including an alluring romantic admirer and a deadly opponent.

I guess we’ve learned that in life sometimes your gifts come in disguise. Which made me think of other important things I’ve learned from my journey down the author path.  Here are just 10.

1. Writing is cheaper than therapy.  And a lot more productive.

2. You will see countless pairs of reading glasses scattered around your house until the moment you actually need them.

3. Never forward an email chain to your publisher, agent, or person of influence, without checking for rude or personal comments further down the page.

4. Don’t send out anything in writing, be it angry email or lyrical piece of prose, until you’ve had a night to sober up and read it again in the cold harsh light of day.

5. Procrastination is an underappreciated art.  Also known as ‘the creative pause.’

6. Google is specifically designed to suck all the productivity out of a working day.

7. Everything you take in, from childhood on, will leak out someday onto the printed page.

8. Don’t share your friends’ intimate confidences with the world.  Unless you have an endless supply of friends.

9. The instant you’re faced with a computer screen and a deadline, you’ll be filled with an urgent desire to fold laundry and polish that ancient silver teapot you inherited and will never use.

10. Always disguise your sources.  Unless it’s La La and then it’s open season.

via WiLoveBooks.

WiLoveBooks – Author Interview: Ellie Campbell

Thank you to our 10,000 new readers who downloaded Looking For La La this weekend. And thank you to Wilovebooks for this fun interview.

It is two-for-one interview day! I am pleased to welcome to the blog Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell, the sisters behind the writing team of “Ellie Campbell.” They are the authors of How To Survive Your Sisters, When Good Friends Go Bad, and Looking for La La. Be sure to stop back on Thursday for more from this duo as they fill us in on the story that inspired Looking for La La  and share ten things they’ve learned from being a writer.

Q&A with Pam and Lorraine:

Describe your ideal writing space. How does it compare to reality?

Pam: Not that different in actual fact. My reality is an attic, with a window looking out onto fields and trees and the beautiful Surrey countryside. It is quiet and peaceful. I have a convector heater, which keeps the temperature just right. I have lots of windows. It is as I would like it, although ideally I would have a toilet on the same floor. And Lorraine would be sitting behind me, rather than asleep the other side of the world, to answer questions and prompt me when I get stuck. Also she could bring me up cups of tea and cake whenever I desired. And clean the house from top to bottom while my fingers flew across the keyboard.

Lorraine: Hah, fat chance on the sister as slave idea. My dream is a log cabin on the Californian coast, Big Sur, maybe, nestled in the pines but with a view of the cliffs and crashing surf (you did say fantasy, didn’t you?) It would be a beautiful organized space where I could look out the window and see my horses. Everything would be filed, no item marring the immaculate surface of clutter-free desk. The reality is that my office is so messy I can’t stand to go in there so I sit in the family room working at this little restaurant-style booth. It’s got so bad that last night I woke up at 2 a.m. and started tidying. I went to bed again at 4.30 a.m. This year though I’m going to wrestle it under control.

What is the first story you remember writing and what was it about?

Pam: It was about the second world war. My history teacher (a supply teacher by the way) had engaged us in such a way that by the end of his lesson, I couldn’t wait to put pen to paper and do the homework he had requested. It was to be about hiding and dark space. I went home and wrote and wrote. Totally immersed in my tale of the German soldiers walking around, while I was under some trap door. My poor mother injured at my side. I remember writing about their heavy jackboots clomping around.

The next history lesson, the supply teacher was still there and he stood up and read my story aloud. Everyone was silent. I was kind of appalled, amazed, and just really surprised as I began blushing and looking for a place to my hide myself “This story,” he said solemnly, as he came to an end, “Was written by someone in this class” and he read my name out. The class all started clapping, I blushed again and again. But it was at that moment, that I thought, I know what I want to do when I “grow up”.

Lorraine: I can’t compete with that. (I don’t think I did much homework.) Although when I was about five my teacher read aloud a story I wrote about being an elephant in the zoo and I thought she was mocking me, I wanted to hide under the desk. I was pushed into writing my first short story when working for Carol Smith, now a bestselling author but then a very successful literary agent. She always prodded me to write but I was too intimidated and shy about it. It wasn’t until a new secretary was hired and immediately started churning out stories like a fiend that my competitive streak kicked in – or rather the knowledge that cowardice was holding me back. I can’t remember the plot but I sold it to Woman magazine.

sisters kids

Name a memorable book from your childhood. Why is it memorable?

Pam: I loved the Enid Blyton novels, especially the Famous Five adventures, always capturing bands of smugglers or robbers, or chowing down on luscious picnics and lashings of ginger beer. They’re what really got me reading. Then I started to like non-fiction while still very young. I’d ask Mum if the story was true when we picked out library books. If she said no, I wouldn’t borrow it.

Lorraine: My favorite books were probably ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ and also ‘The Hobbit.’ Fantasy worlds, magic – I could escape into them for hours. In my mind I was there, skilfully sword-fighting, using my bravery and cunning against the evil villains. Oh, and there were horse books too. I particularly loved The Punchbowl Farm series and Romney Marsh series by Monica Edwards, I still have most of them. I wanted to live there at Punchbowl Farm and be friends with all those children.

If you could ask any writer (living or dead) a question, who would it be and what would you ask?

Lorraine: I’d ask Bill Bryson – ‘Notes From A Small Planet,’ ‘A Walk In The Woods’, – if he’d take me on his next trip. The man has such wit and observational skills. I think his books are hilarious. I think he’d be the perfect travel companion, especially if you were some place remote and far from civilisation where you could really use a sense of humour and an appreciation of the bizarre.

Pam: I’d ask Frances Mayes who wrote ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’ if she could recommend any cool 16th century rental villas in her village. Preferably with a private lake and a pool. Then I’d hunker in with the family, eating amazing Italian food, taking leisurely bike rides, and drinking gallons of Chianti – now that would be bliss.

If you could pick any of the worlds or characters you have created, which would you want to visit or spend a day with?

Pam: Cathy, the heroine in ‘Looking For La La’. I’d actually like to go down the pub with her, or out for a meal and just chat about life and men, and the woes of women. I’ve a feeling we’d have a lot in common. Particularly discussing postcards.

Lorraine: I’d probably say Cathy too although Hazel in ‘How To Survive Your Sisters’ would be a laugh and we could try and one-up each other with our backpacking stories. Actually I’d like to spend an evening with the Tuesday Twice Monthlies, Cathy’s ‘Mothers Restaurant Research Group’, singing karaoke at Tropicos. Especially if yummy Rupert were there. But since I’m not a mother, I’d have to be included as an honorary guest.

What is one thing you like to do when you are not reading or writing?

Pam: Digging around in my allotment, making paths, planting seeds, collecting manure and making it look good. I share it with my friend, Sheila, and we are always escaping whenever the sun comes out. Men have their sheds but I have my allotment.

Lorraine: I am volunteering at a couple of horse rescues helping to train these often-abused horses and getting them to trust humans after a painful past. I love it but I also enjoy riding my own three horses. There is nothing better than heading out into the Rocky Mountains on a beautiful Colorado day. You never know what you’ll encounter – elk, deer, coyotes, bear, mountain lions… well, actually I’d rather not meet the lions but they are out there. I actually saw two from the bedroom window of my cabin – not a sight you easily forget.

What are you currently working on?

Pam: We’ve just finished our fourth novel, Million Dollar Question, which is about two women, one in England, one in America, whose lives are overturned on the same fateful day, one winning a million pounds, the other losing everything. It’s about how each copes with their respective success and failure. And the things that link them together. It’s currently with our agent, Caroline Hardman at Hardman Swainson.

Lorraine: Also, since we’ve only just published Looking For La La , we’re putting a lot of energy on promoting what we think is one of our most fun books yet. We even created our own website and blog – chicklitsisters.com – because we didn’t care for the one we had before. As for a fifth Ellie Campbell novel – it’s really only a fledgling, far too young to expose. But perhaps there’ll be a sequel to La La one day. Cathy is such a great character and we love the combination of humour and mystery. We try to include both in all our books.

via WiLoveBooks.

SHAZ'S BOOK BLOG – AUTHOR INTERVIEW: ELLIE CAMPBELL

Excerpted from SHAZ’S BOOK BLOG.  Thank you Shaz.

Author Interview: Ellie Campbell

Today I’m delighted to be able to welcome Ellie Campbell to talk about her latest book Looking for La La.
Can you tell us a little bit about your new book Looking for La La?
Looking for La La follows the story of Cathy, a bored, unappreciated housewife and mother of two. Her world of school runs, ferrying children here and there, and the occasional nights out with friends is radically transformed by the arrival of a love postcard to her husband. What follows next takes Cathy on a wild ride of suspicion, temptations, marital breakdown and some very dangerous territory.
Where did the inspiration come from for the story?
Pam: Well, the postcard bit was true. It did arrive, addressed to my husband, covered in lipstick kisses. Unlike Cathy, however, I didn’t launch into some wild crazy sleuthing trying to find out the sender. I did tease my husband about his unknown admirer but he ran a health club packed with women and it could have been anyone. It was too good to waste though. I roped in my sister Lorraine to write a funny light-hearted mystery novel using the postcard as inspiration. Some might think that a strange reaction but I think most writers will sympathise. What’s a little infidelity next to a great idea, hah ha? No, seriously, we’d been married for years by then and knowing my husband as I do, I had no doubt it was nonsense.

Which came first, the characters or the plot?

Lorraine: The characters definitely. Cathy pretty much wrote herself and Declan was the perfect foil to go from romantic first meeting to showing the power struggle in marriage and how couples start taking each other for granted. Then there was Cathy’s diverse group of friends, mostly mothers with their own kid-related problems. And Declan and Cathy’s two admirers, providing temptations and creating even greater rifts. With several strong personalities and the unique way they reacted to events, they all conspired to push the plot in directions we didn’t originally plan. It was a very organic way of writing and amazing the way it all came together.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Lorraine: Pam and I loved reading Enid Blyton books, all the Famous Five adventures. We played imagination games together, where we were pirates or lived in the jungle like Tarzan. And we used to adlib plays into a little cassette recorder. I actually became a total bookworm. I’d go over to friends’ houses and read their books instead of playing with them – no wonder I wasn’t the most popular girl in school. I think we even started a a novel or two as kids. But becoming a writer – no, that was beyond our wildest dreams. I’d write 10-page letters to friends but if I hadn’t started working for Carol Smith, (who was then a literary agent, and has since become a bestselling author), and if she hadn’t encouraged me to write my first short story, I think it might never have happened. For me anyway.
 
Have you ever had writer’s block? And how did you overcome it?
Pam: Yes, but the good thing about working with a writing partner is that with luck they can move the story along when you’re completely stuck. It’s rare that we’re both blocked at the same time. Or just reading what the other has written can suddenly consolidate your half-formed thoughts about the way things should go – not always convenient if they don’t gel with what has been put on the page but we’re always open to hearing fresh ideas and changes. Since I live in England and Lorraine lives in the States, we email each other the latest document at the end of each day and sometimes it’s like waking up to a brand-new novel.
If you weren’t a writer, what career path would you have chosen to follow?
Lorraine: At the moment I’m studying to be a horse trainer and there is a part of me that wishes I’d done so a lot earlier in my life, perhaps worked on an Australian cattle ranch. But I get to play with horses now as well as writing so it’s the best of both worlds. And I’ve had so many life experiences I’d never want to have missed. Including working briefly in the movie industry in Los Angeles – I’d also have liked to make movies or even act if I hadn’t been so shy.

If you could have any of your books made into a film, which one would you choose and why? Who would you cast in the leading roles?

Pam: I think they’d all be filmic but I’d probably choose When Good Friends Go Bad because there are so many secrets and twists and a really dramatic finale. Jennifer Aniston would play Jen. Georgina would be Helena Bonham-Carter or Kate Winslett. Meg would be Kristine Wiig from Bridesmaids, Starkey would be Johnny Depp, Ollie would be Ryan Goslin and we can’t cast Rowan because she needs to stay a surprise.
If you could write another style of genre, what would it be and why?
Lorraine: We both like mystery novels which is why there is nearly always a mystery or a twist in ours. I think it would be fun to write a series like Janet Evanovich does with her Stephanie Bond bounty-hunter. Yes, Stephanie is out there trying to find someone and there is action and drama but it’s really all about the characters, their interrelationships and the humor. Looking For La La was definitely a lighter read than our other two novels, we made it funnier whereas the others were more realistic with funny moments, but we loved getting that sleuthing element in there. We’d also like to write something around horses, our other great passion.

Do you have much spare time to read books? If so, what was the last book you read or what are you currently reading?

Pam: Last book I read was Yours Truly, Kirsty Greenwood. Loved it. Great fun. No wonder it got to No. 1 in Kindle bestsellers. At moment I am too busy writing blog posts and working on the sequel to La La.Lorraine: We really don’t have much spare time except the few pages I read at night before my eyes close. I did manage to devour half of Love The One You’re With by Emily Giffin while travelling to Indiana for the weekend. But don’t tell Pam – she’d have me sitting on the plane editing or updating our blog.
Can you describe Looking for La La in 20 words or less? 
A love postcard brings mystery and turmoil into a mother’s dull routine, jeopardizing her marriage, friendships, and even her life.

 

10 Things That Bring A Smile To Our Faces

reposted from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.  Click to see full article and giveaway.

Pam:

1.      Other people smiling

Or better still, other people laughing by themselves, for no apparent reason. Probably thinking back to something funny.  It happened to me this morning when I was out dog walking. Some girl was heading down the path as I was heading up.  Just ten yards from me she suddenly stifled a giggle. I checked my clothes, face etc. when I arrived home.  I don’t think it was me she was giggling at, but even if it was, it made smile. So that’s OK in my book.

2.      Chocolate

Especially when I’ve been scouring the house for some.  I know it’s bad for me, makes me overweight, terrible for skin, etc. etc.  But when you get that craving…  I’ve taken cupboards apart, searched through drawers and texted people late at night begging them to bring some over if I’ve been unable to get out.

3.      Those TV Programmes where they Reunite Loved Ones

I’m a sucker for them.  All that reuniting of friends, long lost sisters and brothers, mothers, fathers.  Those programmes partly inspired our second novel, When Good Friends Go Bad, about three women searching for their missing school friend.  After I smile though, I usually end up blubbing my eyes out. I don’t care that they’re made to wrench at heart strings, my heart strings are still well and truly wrenched.

4.      My Dog Milly

She does stupid things all the time that make me smile.  I walk in and see her wagging her tail in greeting and it makes me smile.  How can it not? She rushes to fetch her “tugger” and nudges it at me so I can play tug of war, and it makes me smile.    I mention my friend’s name (who often accompanies me on dog walks) and immediately she races for the window, leaps onto the sofa and peers out the window to see if she can spot her car. Whenever I’m down or worried about stupid irrational things, I only have to look at her and I smile.

5.      My Family

How could I not include them?  Especially when they’ve been away.  With five of us and the dog in the house, it’s sometimes crowded and usually messy.  And I often crave solitude (to write – not to clean I might add).  This year I didn’t join them on their marathon annual bike ride in freezing weather around France in April (wonder why?). Instead I went with friends to visit Hungary.  It was a fantastic experience but I did miss them. And I did smile when they returned.

Lorraine:

6.      My husband, Gary.

He chats to everyone, just like my mother used to, sometimes it’s great and sometimes embarrassing.  I sat behind him on a plane recently because we couldn’t get seated together and had to laugh as I heard him engage the women on either side in non-stop conversation, telling them jokes, finding out their life history.  Of course then he asked if they’d read this new brilliant novel, Looking For La La, and raved about it while I cringed.  (Need I add, he hasn’t read it yet.) I was dreading him pointing back at me and saying ‘there’s the author”.

7.  My beautiful horses: Sylvarr, Sugar and Luna.

I made a 20’ wide exercise track around my pasture and I love to watch them galloping around it, bucking and playing, three white Arabians with flowing manes, tails up and waving like flags.  There is no prettier sight in the world.

8.  My dog Remy.

He’s a woodle – part wheaten terrier, part poodle, even the name is comical. He’s  like a rasta muppet.  I love the way he runs full speed to his bed and collapses instantly into sleep, upside down, paws in the air, legs wide apart.  If you give him something good – a tennis ball or a nice juicy bone – he’ll rush upstairs and bury it in our bed. I once noticed a dead vole (something like a mole or rat) that Remy had dug up lying on top of the duvet next to a blissfully unaware Gary. Threw it out.  Next night Gary slid his hand under the pillows and encountered another, also dead. Two days later his feet touched something cold and furry.  Yep, another corpse.   Our boy was so proud of his hunting skills.

9.  My cat Cotton.

She’s part Manx, tail-less, was supposed to be a barn cat but when she got spayed I had to keep her indoors and she won Gary’s heart – and he’s not even a cat lover.  Funnily enough she’ll sleep in the dog bed in the same inelegant upside down, legs splayed position as the dog.   She loves to attack our feet when we’re in bed, pounding on anything that moves under the covers.  And when I let Sylvarr graze dragging a long lead rope, she’ll attack that too – this tiny cat using all her might to hold back an oblivious 1,000 lb horse.

10.  My Friends

Last but not least…my friends always make me smile and I include my family – sisters, nieces and nephews – among the laugh-makers.  I am lucky that we all share the same sense of fun and aren’t afraid to be silly, whether it’s dressing up for Halloween or a murder mystery dinner, dancing on top of the houseboat at Lake Powell dressed in evening gowns and feather boas (or sarongs and home-made masks), throwing down chips at a Las Vegas craps table, or holding an impromptu party for twenty of our nearest and dearest with about 30 minutes notice.  There is nothing like seeing a friend walk in with a bottle of wine to put a smile on my face.   Or even if they show up without one.

via Looking for La La by Ellie Campbell – Tens List & Giveaway.

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

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

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

23 Review Street –

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

About Looking for La La –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Review of Looking For La La by Ellie Campbell.

Wall-to-Wall Books: Looking for La La – Ellie Campbell (Review & E-book Giveaway!)

We got a lovely review from Wall-to-Wall Books.  You can read it here or check out their website for this and more awesome reviews. 

Wall-to-Wall Books.

Looking for La La – Ellie Campbell (Review)

4 Stars

ABOUT THE BOOK –

Looking for La La follows the story of Cathy, a bored, unappreciated housewife and mother of two.  Her world of school runs, ferrying children here and there, and the occasional nights out with friends is radically transformed by the arrival of a love postcard to her husband.  What follows next takes Cathy on a wild ride of suspicion, temptations, marital breakdown and some very dangerous territory.

MY REVIEW –

This book was fun British Chick-Lit at its best. I keep saying that I do not like British books, but keep finding books that make me a liar! This story is total Mayhem (a state of rowdy disorder) from beginning to end, and totally fun! This book has a great little mystery to it, and to be honest – I was very much surprised at the end.

Great character development. I didn’t even really like the main character but I wanted to keep reading just to find out what more trouble she and her friends could possibly get themselves into. Lets just say that almost no one ends up with the same person they started out with in the beginning.

A few fun quotes –

“Mummy, who’s the card from?’ He shares Declan’s coloring, the gingery hair, blue eyes and pale but cheeky face.  ‘La La, darling. Apparently a tellytubby’s sending love letters to Daddy.”

“Alec? Not Baldwin?’ she jokes. ‘Meg Ryan’s long-suffering husband?

No drip. Meg Ryan married Denis Quaid until she ran off with Russell Crowe before he ditched her for Nicole Kidman, when Tom Ditched her. This is way before Nicole married rock star Keith, I might add. Alec Baldwin’s wife is, or rather was, Kim Basinger. They’re divorced now. Fought over Ireland.’

‘Cathlic/Protestant dilemma?’

“No, their daughter, Ireland.”

“Men,’ Gabby sighs. ‘Spend all their time trying to turn you into their mothers, wanting clothes ironed, meals cooked, but then they despise you because you remind them of their mothers.”

Thank you author – Lorraine Campbell for sending me an ebook copy of this to read and review! It was great fun.

via Wall-to-Wall Books: Looking for La La – Ellie Campbell (Review & E-book Giveaway!).

Interviewed By A Chick-Lit Goddess!

Isabella Louise Anderson interviewed Ellie Campbell.Isabella Louise Anderson

Some fun questions.  Thanks, Isabella. You can read the original at:

www.chicklitgoddess.com

INTERVIEW 

What made you two want to write a book together?

Pam:  Lorraine and I have always been close, being the youngest of four sisters, sharing a passion for horses, and seeing a lot of each other when we both lived in London.  I started selling short stories when Lorraine was traveling and when she settled in Boulder, Colorado, I’d often email her my latest piece of fiction.  Since she was writing too, it was natural for us to talk about the things we were working on or, when we were stuck, to ask for input.  Turned out we were both planning to write a novel about the ‘sister thing’, wanting to use some of our experiences growing up, especially our eccentric and very funny mother (sadly deceased) and all the joys and pains of being a family of four girls, eternally bickering and making up.  It seemed natural somehow to write it together – that way we didn’t look like one was copying the other! “How to Survive Your Sisters” was our first published novel and we were thrilled to be able to share the publishing journey together.

Coffee or tea?

Pam:  Tea. Always.  If I drink coffee I have to eat biscuits. I always feel tea is better for me, more refreshing.  Although I’ll go out for a latte and it’s a bit of a treat.

Lorraine:   Depends.  At breakfast – especially if we go out for it – definitely coffee.  American restaurants can’t make tea.  They give you tepid microwaved water and a teabag – ugh!  If we have a pot of coffee brewing at home I’ll work my way through that and then switch to tea.   I blame my mother for my caffeine addiction.  She used to wake us up with a cup of milky tea laden with sugar.  Funny thing is I hated coffee until I started my first menial office job and then it became the bright spot in a long boring day.

Walk us through what the writing/editing/publishing process was like:

Lorraine:  Well, we squabbled our way through the first novel… no, not really, it was surprisingly easy.  We’d agree the basic story, plan out chapters and then each write a scene and send it to the other one – who would then make alterations and edits as they saw fit and send it back.  And so on.  In a way we were constantly editing and then when it was finished we had a really long book and had to go back and make drastic cuts.  When we started sending it to agents, we were lucky enough that a new agent, Caroline Hardman, liked it and agreed to take us on.  She confessed we’d be her first ever clients – she’s got hugely successful since – and we confessed Ellie Campbell didn’t really exist. Arrow Books offered us a two-book contract, we got the same in Germany, Italy and Serbia.  It was all hugely exciting, especially since Pam and I got to do the publicity stuff – radio interviews and book signings – together.  Being somewhat cowardly, it was nice to have the moral support.

Who or what inspires you to write?

Pam:  In the case of our new book, Looking for La La, it was a heavily lipsticked postcard that arrived through my door, proclaiming – surprisingly enough – passionate love for my husband.  It was exactly as happens to Cathy in the opening chapter. However, unlike Cathy, instead of running frenziedly around town, looking for suspects and alienating all her nearest and dearest (including a murderous and unexpected opponent) I wrote it off as a bad joke.  It did however spark the idea of writing a funny book about marriage and motherhood several years down the line after the honeymoon has worn off.   And I did get a little extra satisfaction from imagining La La reading it.

Lorraine:  I might add that Pam and I are natural storytellers, get us started and we can go on and on…and on and on… We must inherit it from our mother who had a wealth of funny anecdotes and a warped sense of humor.  She’d be telling a story about my father falling down a flight of stairs and getting knocked out cold and she’d be incoherent and crying because she was laughing so hard.

If you could be on one reality TV show, what would it be?

Pam:  Britain’s Got Talent. It’s a show that anyone of any age or any talent can enter. Last year it was won by a dancing dog.  There’s all sorts that enter, group dancers, single dancers, singers, strippers, the lot!  I’d bring my dog along – a border terrier. She probably wouldn’t do anything, but I could let her have her moment of fame.

Lorraine:  Dancing With The Stars.  I’d get super-skinny and incredibly fit, I could indulge in my Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers fantasies, and all the friends who used to laugh at my moves in our disco-dancing days would watch it and marvel.

Tell us one thing that most people don’t know:

Pam:  That just like, Jen in When Good Friends Go Bad, I entered a stock car race with absolutely no prior experience, and in less than two laps I had crashed into a post and written off the car.

Lorraine:  That I have studied different forms of energy healing and even practiced professionally a tiny bit.  My first ever client, a sweet lady in pink twinset and pearls, showed up accompanied by her tall, dark husband who was wearing a flowered dress, lipstick, make-up, and heels.   Halfway through our session my client jumped up, ran to the bathroom and vomited profusely, before returning and meekly climbing back on to the massage table.  It was an interesting experience, I think, for all concerned and I decided shortly afterwards that I’d better stick to writing.

How long did it take to write the first draft of “Looking for La La”?

Pam:  Probably about 6 months from start to finish.  It was one of those inspired books that almost seemed to write itself.  After that though there were plenty of rewrites and alterations.   We made changes to the storyline, beefed up the murder mystery, took out huge chunks to make it move faster.

What was the easiest part about writing the book, and what was the hardest?

Pam:  We really enjoyed writing from Cathy’s viewpoint and following a single character. In so many ways, it was simpler than our other two novels in which we were writing in the third person, balancing four characters, all with their own individual stories.  Plus Cathy’s world was so familiar and fun.

Lorraine:  The hardest part was cutting.  We took out at least two of our much-loved characters and a whole subplot that we realized was fun but not essential to the story. It made the book better in the end, but sometimes it’s painful to let go, even though we’ve learned that usually, as far as novel writing is concerned, less is more.

How did you celebrate the publication of “Looking for “La La”?

Pam:  I booked a Spa. In the novel Cathy is treated to a Spa day by her friends.  It sounded wonderful, so I thought once the book was out that I would go myself with a good friend of mine.  We’re going in the next couple of weeks.

Lorraine:  I bought myself a Kindle Fire.  Between writing, the horse training course I’m taking, volunteering at horse sanctuaries to practice techniques, and taking care of my own animals, the only chance I have to read is in bed.  And then my husband wants the light out right away.  So now with my Kindle I can actually read books again without it bothering him.

What are you reading right now?

Pam:  I hardly have time to read anything, but I’ve just smuggled a book out of my friend’s house, which is “Up the Junction” written by Nell Dunn.  It is quite an old book and it was made into a film, but the dialogue is great and you can dip in and dip out of it.

Lorraine:  I just finished ‘Love The One You’re With’ by Emily Giffin, managed to read most of it on a plane to Indianapolis and home.  I plan to start ‘Yours Truly’ by Kirsty Greenwood.  Just as soon as I can find my new Kindle.  Which is probably buried under the papers on my desk.

If you had to do it all again, would you, and what advice would you give to yourself knowing what you do now?

Lorraine:  Yes, I would do it all again.  I think we had a fantastic childhood, some amazing experiences, incredible luck.  I loved working in publishing.  I loved backpacking. I loved living in LA for two years and also in France.  I loved sailing.  In many ways my life seems to fall into distinct segments that feel like a dream now. Advice – well, I felt very shy and deeply insecure in my late teens and twenties.  I would tell myself to be bolder and not worry about what people thought of me.  It took traveling alone to break me out of my shell.  But even the bad stuff contributed to the person I am today.  And my life is pretty good.

Pam:  I have loved the journey so far, especially my writing career.  It was amazing travelling around the world when I was younger, seeing all these amazing countries – living out in Australia and America.  But I am deeply happy now settled in England with my wonderful family.  I have few regrets as everything that happens turns you into the person you are, good and bad.  I wish I’d spent more time with my parents, as they both died too young and I wished I’d started my writing career earlier I guess.  Advice  to myself would probably be not to have worried so much about things that never happen.  Celebrate the positive, disregard the negative! Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

Do either of you have an upcoming project, whether it be together or separate?

Pam:  We have just finished our fourth novel together, Million Dollar  Question:a story of two women, strangers to each other, whose lives are overturned by an outrageous stroke of fortune  – good and bad – on the same day. At the moment it is with our agent, Caroline Hardman at Hardman and Swainson.  As for the book after that, well, it remains to be seen.  There may be a sequel to Looking For La La one day – Cathy is the kind of character you hate to leave behind.

**Additional comments by Ellie Campbell:  Lorraine and Pam: Yes, we’d like to thank you, Isabella, for inviting us to be interviewed on Chicklit Goddess.  It’s been fun answering your questions and maybe we can come back and do a guest post some day. Also just to say to all your lovely readers out there, to please contact us.  We love hearing from everyone out there and we do answer all our messages.

ChickLit Goddess also did a book feature on Looking For La La with excerpt.      Read it here. BOOK FEATURE: LOOKING FOR LA LA.