Category Archives: Guest blogs

Bookaholic Confessions interviews Ellie Campbell

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It gives me great pleasure to welcome the fabulous Ellie Campbell (aka Lorraine and Pam) to Bookaholic Confessions today. Ellie Campbell is a new author to me but I am massively excited about reading Million Dollar Question, which sounds amazing. I had a great time chatting to the two ladies behind Ellie Campbell and learning just how they go about the writing process and where the idea of a pseudonym originated from…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi Pam and Lorraine (aka Ellie Campbell!), a big warm welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! Thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourselves…?

Hi, I’m Lorraine, I’m the elder of the two sisters, and after years of wandering the world, footloose and free, I’ve somehow landed on a 10 acre ranch in beautiful Boulder, Colorado with my husband, horses, cats, dog, and chickens. I’m addicted to books and when not reading, writing or trail riding, I’m volunteer at my favourite horse rescue Zuma’s, working with abused horses or untouched mustangs, (two of whom I’ve ended up bringing home.)  Every day is an adventure and I feel incredibly lucky to be living my dream.

And I’m Pam, the baby of the family, although rumours of me being spoilt are greatly exaggerated. I moved from London to a small town in Surrey with my husband when my three children were small. I love the countryside and growing vegetables in our allotment (community garden). I still work part-time at a local college and at least once a year I am a reluctant participant of marathon fundraising bicycle rides across Europe on the back of my husband’s bone-shaking tandem, cycling to Paris, Gibraltar, Brussels, Barcelona, Montpelier, etc. braving mountain ranges and blazing sun, although to be honest I would just as soon be sitting on a beach or at home watching movies with a bar of chocolate and a bottle of wine.

Can you tell us a bit about your new novel, Million Dollar Question (released 25th April 2015)?

It’s a story of luck and coincidence (and of course money). Of our two heroines, one is a ruined by a scandal that takes her from wealth and privilege to broke and homeless. The other, a divorced mother pining for her ex, suddenly wins a million pounds and has to face the pitfalls that come with that. As the novel progresses, their paths entwine and it turns out they have A LOT in common. It’s possibly the most romantic of our novels and quite a bit of it takes place in London and the Isle of Skye, two of our favourite places.

You’ve written five fabulous novels together now and you must get asked this questions LOADS of times, so I apologise in advance! How does the writing process work between the two of you?

It does vary a bit with each book but usually we will thrash out the storyline and characters with phone calls and emails and then each picks chapters to work on. It’s easier with books like Million Dollar Question, which has two simultaneous stories. We send the pages to each other for editing and reworking and we end up with a master document going back and forth, getting changed along the way. (It has also happened that one of us gets a burst of creativity and has quite a bit of the novel written before the other comes in to strengthen the story and develop the characters further.) We add in humour or suggest twists, we come up with new ideas, clean up sentences, rewrite segments, and generally do anything we think might improve the book. The first draft is inevitably too long and we both cut like crazy, catching typos and mistakes along the way. There’s usually a few rewrites, then one of us does the final run-through before it goes to our proof-reader. We’re pretty well matched in all aspects, writing, ideas, characters, dialogue. And we go over the manuscript so much that our writing really gets blended. We do sound alike anyway and we share a similar sense of humour.  It’s like siblings telling stories of their childhood.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember who did what.

lorraine and pam with alfieDo you always agree on storylines and character traits or do you ever have any disagreements?

Well, it’s not always easy writing together. You have to be flexible. Sometimes you have an unspoken idea of how a scene or character should progress and the way your partner writes it is completely different so you have to rearrange your thinking. That can be a good surprise or a not-so-good one. Sometimes you have a knee-jerk reaction against a new suggestion that veers dramatically from what’s been discussed or what you’ve envisaged. Neither of us will force an idea but we’ll sure as hell argue our point. Luckily, once we’ve had a chance to cool down and reflect, we almost always see the value in each other’s suggestions and realize what we’ve been arguing against is actually quite brilliant. It adds a bit of extra spice to the writing process. And we have a rule that if one of us hates something, it’s out. It’s a collaborative effort.  We both have to like everything and we both have to do what’s best for the book.

Lorraine and Pam on couchHow did the idea come about for you to write novels together under a pseudonym?

We were each separately writing and selling our own short stories with a longer novel in the works. But one day when chatting, we discovered we both wanted to write a story about four sisters and use some of our own (shared) family experiences as inspiration. We were already giving each other feedback on a regular basis, helping out when one of us got stuck. So writing it together seemed logical, saved us fighting over who got to do it. And we felt it would be a fun project, which it was. Then we got a two book contract so we had to write a second one together. And here we are.

Do either of you think you’d ever write a novel alone?

It could happen. We’ve both written independently and we could do again, especially if one of us wanted to move on to a different genre or a very personal project. What the writing partnership gives us is encouragement and confidence and a helping hand when you’ve tied yourself into some corner and can’t see where to go next. It’s almost like having a creative editor looking over your shoulder. We both value each other’s opinions so even if we were writing our own novels, I think we might end up asking for feedback as we went along.

How do you go about doing the relevant research for your novels?

We write mostly from our own life experiences and knowledge, we talk to people, and then of course the internet has an amazing amount of information which we make full use of. We read a lot too although I can’t say we spend entire days in library – our books don’t usually demand it. Alas, so far we’ve never followed anyone like a cop or a fireman around for a day, absorbing their life style – I’ve a feeling even if we were writing about someone like that, we’d be too chicken to ask. We’re actually quite shy.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?Pam and Lorraine 3 and 5 bigger 3000

We’d each sold over 70 short stories before we wrote How To Survive Your Sisters. Lorraine had started selling them when working in publishing, in a literary agency then for Woman magazine. Then when she was backpacking in South America, Pam was at home with kids and for fun took a bunch of creative writing classes, then started submitting to magazines. When we wrote that first novel together, we sent it out to an agent, Caroline Hardman, who was just starting to build a client list. (We were her first clients.) We got a two book contract from Arrow Books, Random House, but when the economy started to affect publishing, we decided to go the indie route with our third novel Looking for La La. We were so green.  We had no idea of promotion, reviews, Facebook or Twitter – the Arrow publicist had handled everything. So we realized we had to learn fast if our books weren’t going to sink without a trace. We are still with our agent but we reverted the rights to our first two novels so we could self-publish globally.

Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you both enjoy reading?

 A huge variety. We both love Anne Tyler and Susan Isaacs – Pam always lists Compromising Positions as her favourite novel, whereas Lorraine has loved Jane Austen, Tolkien, Daphne Du Maurier, and C.S. Lewis since she was about 12. We love all the good funny chicklit writers like Helen Fielding, Maeve Binchy, Marian Keyes, Fiona Walker, Jennifer Weiner, Jane Green, Nick Hornby (male version) but other writers such as Amy Tan, Sue Monk Kidd, Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver also come to mind besides mysteries, thrillers, (John Grisham, Michael Connelly) wisecracking detective stories like Raymond Chandler, Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton, some historical (Diana Gabaldan) and Lorraine loves to listen to l-o-o-n-g epic Game of Throne-type fantasy stories when she’s spending hours driving to and from horse rescues. And Pam spends her holiday devouring autobiographies.

And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?

We’re working on a third novel in the Crouch End Confidential series which started with Looking For La La and followed on with To Catch A Creeper. The books could best be described as chicklit mysteries with Cathy, our crazy housewife and wanna-be sleuth, getting herself into all kinds of tangled situations, both domestic and more dangerous as well.   We keep writing about her because she’s so much fun.

A huge thank you to Pam and Lorraine for taking part in this interview. ♥

And thank you, Holly, for the great questions.  It was fun!

see the original on Bookaholic Confessions.

Another 5 star review for Million Dollar Question

From Christy’s Cosy Corners:

Review:

million dollar question“I loved this book! This is my favorite Ellie Campbell book so far. I’ve loved all of their books that I’ve read, but this is the top on my list.

Olivia and Rosie are such great characters! They rise above all the stuff life has dealt them. They’re such strong characters, and I adore them! Actually, all of the characters in this story are great. They are well-developed and very real. The way the story comes together and the characters intertwine is just so good! The relationships that are explored in Million Dollar Question are very real. The relationship between Rosie and her mom is strained, but I love the reconciliation in their story.

The settings in this story are very diverse and great. I want to move to Scotland now. Though I’m told there is a lot of rain :) The way the village in Scotland is described will make you want to pack your bags and go!

This story makes you believe that all things are possible. I highly recommend Million Dollar Question to all of you chick lit lovers! I give it 5 stars! ”

Thank you, Christy.  So glad you liked it.

Another lovely review.

Reposting this lovely review from Have Your Heard My Book Review.  We’re allowed – it’s publication day!

Million Dollar Question by Ellie Campbell

     Rosie is a single mother of two. She does her best to provide for the boys.  It would be so much easier if her ex would just send his child support on time.  Still, Rosie is happier being single.
     Oliva is living the good life. Money, prestige and power guide her movements.  She’s convinced her life can only improve with each day.  
      These women are both hoping for a change.  Neither could imagine the changes life has in store for them.  Worlds apart but still they manage to have their paths entwined.  

     What a wonderful lesson this book teaches all of us.  The message being the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  I laughed a lot while reading this one and I loved it.  Terrific writing with a well plotted story and characters we can all relate to makes this one sensational.  You’ll be questioning yourself the way these two women do.  I felt as if this book was preparing me for changes in my own life. You can’t go wrong with this book. 

     I found no issues with this one.

     I gave this one 4 cheers out of 5  because it really speaks to me.

From:  Have You Heard My Book Review blog.

Interview : Ellie Campbell ~ Million Dollar Que$tion | Jera’s Jamboree

Interview : Ellie Campbell ~ Million Dollar Que$tion

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Ellie Campbell today.
dfw-ec-mdq-cover-large
 
 
 
 
 
Hi Lorraine and Pam,
 
Welcome to JJ!
Please summarise Million Dollar Que$tion in 20 words or less. 


Wealthy woman loses everything just as impoverished single mother wins a million. How does luck and money affect their lives?

What was the idea/inspiration for your novel? 

Wondering how people deal with extreme changes in fortune.

Please tell us about the characters in your book. 

Olivia is a ruthless career-obsessed workaholic who ends up broke and homeless, Rosie Dixon is a sweet naïve mother of two still pining for her ex-husband.

What scene did you most enjoy writing? 

The scene where Rosie wins a million pounds. It was fun imagining what that might feel like when you’re down to your last penny and how hard it would be to believe your luck.

… and what scene was the hardest? 

The charity event where we meet Olivia. Trying to explain her hedge fund career without drowning in boring financial details and to make an over-privileged cynical character sympathetic.

Did you travel to any places?

Pam went to Marbella and we both took a trip to the Isle of Skye. We spent a lot our childhood up there and it was a great excuse to go back.

Do you have a favourite place you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity? 

Lorraine goes out to hang with her horses …

 
 
 
 
and Pam goes to her allotment (community garden) or walks the dog. 
 
Finally ladies, what has been the best part of your writing journey so far? 

Having a reason to talk to each other on the phone every day. Meeting lots of great people – authors, bloggers and book reviewers. They have been awesome. 

Wishing you success ladies.
 
Head over to the Goodreads page to enter for your chance to win a copy.
Closes May 7th 2015.
You’ll find an interesting bio over on their website.
Twitter: @ecampbellbooks
Sign up for Ellie Campbell’s newsletter for free books, offers and exclusive news.

via Interview : Ellie Campbell ~ Million Dollar Que$tion | Jera’s Jamboree.

Giveaway for Mystery Lovers

Yes, it’s one of the six books you can win on Reading Renee’s giveaway.  Read the review here.

To Catch a Creeper by Ellie Campbell #review @ecampbellbooks #giveaway

how to catch a creeper 20810359

Giveaway for Mystery Lovers

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In order if you have not read Looking for LaLa please GRAB it here Cathy is the funny and zany character from LaLa. When she starts working of course there is not love fest there. I mean every office has a psycho, a loser, a slut and a nut job right? I guess only mine then. Follow Cathy in the den of the beast! There are characters from LaLa, like Hugh, Sophie and Rosa. I will say that In the office you will laugh a lot. There are so many humorous quips. I felt I was relating more to Cathy here because at times she was VERY unappreciated. I think any mother who has to work and juggles feels like she is unappreciated. That is how I felt at times myself. I wanted to pinch Declan at times and hug him at others.

Follow Cathy through her zany and somewhat I Love Lucy type scenarios. She tries to find out who is burglarizing homes in her neighborhood. It is a cozy type mystery. People who are fans of Pamela Fagan Hutchins will love this series and these great authors.

I will say Cathy is lovable, enjoyable to read, and the book is light and oh so easy to love.

5 half star blog  book

 

Giveaway for Mystery Lovers

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

TinasBookReviews

Saturday, May 17, 2014

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

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

ELLIE CAMPBELL    ~Author of Looking for Lala~

10 Random and Possibly Uninteresting Facts about Ellie Campbell

May~2014 by Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Girls Love To Read – Author Article: Five Simple Twists of Fate by Ellie Campbell

Thanks to GIRLS LOVE TO READ for publishing my guest post on destiny!

Today we are super pleased to welcome Ellie Campbell to the site! The lovely Lorraine, one half of the duo, has written us a fantastic guest post on the five simple twists of fate!

In To Catch a Creeper, Cathy has some real ups and downs where her path seems to be merrily going in one direction only to be sideswiped and sent off on a completely different track.   It occurred to me we all have some of those events that look like destiny when we realize how they’ve shaped our lives.   Here are a few of mine.

1. Fed up with my boring dead-end job as a clerk in a swimming pool company, I flipped open the evening paper and saw an ad for a literary agent needing a secretary.  I’d always been a total bookworm but it had never occurred to me that such things as literary agents and book publishers existed or to wonder how those pages got into my hand.  I went for the interview the next day and knew this was what I wanted more than anything else in the world.  The agent (now novelist) Carol Smith called me that evening and told me I had the job.  It was the event that changed my life, led to me becoming a writer and so much else.

2. Fast forward about ten years.  I was 4 days into my planned adventure of travelling solo in South America for a year, newly arrived in the small town of Otavalo, Ecuador.  Feeling lonely (already) I visualised asking the universe to meet a kindred spirit.  Next morning I walked into a café for breakfast and a nice-looking Frenchman started to talk to me.  Others joined in the conversation and frustrated by the language barrier, he left.   After a full day’s hike I returned to my hotel to be told my ‘amigo’ was looking for me.  I found the same French guy coming down the stairs.  As luck would have it, it was his birthday and he’d tracked me down to have dinner with him.  He’d been searching the many backpacker and tourist hotels for a ‘Dutch girl’ because he’d thought I’d said I was from Holland instead of England.  Once my trip ended, I lived with him in France for three exciting, wonderful and tempestuous years.  After that I never could see returning to my old life in London and on our break-up I took up my backpack again.

3. Shortly after leaving France I was working on a boat in a marina in Guatemala, cleaning, sanding and varnishing when my employer, a nice American I’d met on a chicken bus, told me his friend needed a cook for a weekend charter.  Terrified about airing my limited culinary skills and possibly poisoning paying guests I insisted I couldn’t cook.  The whole marina insisted I could.  Remembering my vow to always say yes to opportunity, I was reluctantly persuaded and for the entire weekend, the captain cooked the meals for me and I served them to his wealthy Guatemalan clients.  However, Captain W. and I had such a laugh together that he offered me the permanent position of cook and crew of his 47’ yacht, breaking the bad news to the person he’d hired who arrived the next week and paying her for the inconvenience of finding her job gone.  The joke around the marina was that Captain W. had paid $100 to get rid of a girl who could cook in favor of one who couldn’t.   I fooled them by managing to produce edible meals, pour unlimited amounts of alcohol and handle the dinghy for snorkeling.  It was two years of paradise and partying.  But that decision led to…

4. One year later, on that same boat, four male clients arrived from Colorado for a sailing trip around Honduras.  Three I knew from their boys trip the year before but the fourth was a stranger, a single guy from Boulder.  Not my type at all – shorter than me, he was unusually quiet (suffering from an ear infection), wearing nerdy-looking glasses, missing a tooth (he’d taken out his temporary implant), sporting his sneakers, socks and favourite ragged and hole-y old swimshorts. (OK, I was wearing my favorite ragged and hole-y old sweatshirt, not to mention a bra that had most definitely seen better days, but at least I knew not to wear shoes on a boat.)  Between bouts of seasickness (mostly his) we chatted about our love lives and he turned out to be excellent at kitchen prep because he couldn’t stand how long it took me to produce a meal.  His three pals invited me to Boulder for a river rafting trip, where Gary and I ended up sharing an inflatable kayak and he offered me his spare guest room as a place to stay – just for a week. And, yes, reader, I married him.

5. I was settled in Boulder when sister Pam and I came up with the idea of writing together despite – or maybe thanks to – the ocean separating us. We set out to find an agent for our first Ellie Campbell novel and a young agent, Caroline Hardman, wrote to us and said she wanted to take us on.  She admitted that we would be her first ever clients and we confessed that Ellie Campbell was not one but two people.  Caroline promptly got us a two-book contract with a brand-new editor, Emma Rose, making us the first authors that Emma acquired for Arrow Books and How To Survive Your Sisters her first production.  It was a whole lot of firsts for all of us… most of all the first time Pam and I realised we might actually accomplish our dream of being novelists.

Yes, when it comes to luck and opportunity I’ve definitely had more than my fair share – and certainly more than Cathy although things always seem to work out for her in the end.  There’s a few other events that spring to mind but I think I’ll save them for another day…

via Girls Love To Read – Author Article: Five Simple Twists of Fate by Ellie Campbell.

A Whirlwind Year : Me, Bookshelf and I (guest post & giveaway)

From Me, Bookshelf and I

1st Birthday Celebrations– Day 5

Welcome to another great Guest Post as part of my Blog’s 1st Birthday Celebrations!  I reviewed lots of books during my first year of blogging and I invited the Author’s of those books to write a guest post around the theme of “A Year …”.  Today, Lorraine (one half of Author duo, Ellie Campbell) tells us about the whirlwind that was 2013 …

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A Whirlwind Year by Lorraine Campbell

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellJanuary – My sister Jo is visiting from Ecuador along with her son Ben who lives in China. Lucky for me because they help cook meatballs, sausage and peppers and a roast turkey for our annual New Year party of 150 people at husband Gary’s office. Of course I have to take my visitors to our local cowboy dance hall, the Grizzly Rose, and of course we all have to ride the mechanical bull. Then off to Indianapolis for Auntie Annie’s 90th birthday, driving back to Colorado with Gary’s new car. The next weekend another flight to New Orleans for a wedding. I don’t remember much of it beyond throwing mardi gras beads at innocent bystanders from a balcony on Bourbon Street because in between partying, I fall sick with a killer flu and apparently alcohol, antibiotics and codeine cough medicine don’t mix well. This is a bug that lasts for weeks.

Meanwhile Pam and I have made the bold decision to try our hand at self-publishing with not one but three books, Looking For La La – our latest novel – and our first two, How To Survive Your Sisters and When Good Friends Go Bad, which have never been published in the US. Suddenly emails are flying about, demanding edited copy, blurbs, permissions to use old jacket covers. Needing a cover for Looking For La La we decide to go with Design For Writers. And, boy, will we be glad we did. Pam buys a new paperwhiteKindle and experiments with her first two tweets on Twitter.

Looking for La LaFebruary – Still suffering from flu, pneumonia, whatever. Anna Twinney of Reach Out To Horses – with whom I did an intensive horsemanship course last year persuades me that in between preparing three books for publication, I have plenty of time to complete her trainers’ course this year. This means I need 20 case studies done by exam time in November. My first is an off-the-track thoroughbred who had a bad experience with ahorse trailer and has to be persuaded that loading again will not kill him. One down, nineteen to go. Meanwhile Pam’s flying with her family to visit Jo in Quito, popping into Peru on the way there and the Galapagos on the way back (wondering if she can fit this into writing expenses – don’t be surprised if our next novel’s not set there). In our Ellie Campbell mode we’re struggling with the technicalities of putting Sisters and Friendson Kindle, writing strap lines for La La, taking part in a Valentine’s Day week of fun questions with best-selling author, Michele Gorman and 11 other fabulous women fiction writers. Oh, and a skunk seems to have taken residence under the cabin. But we do have a great new cover for Looking For La La.

 A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellA Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellMarch – Off to Indianapolis for Passover with Gary’s family. I also start working case studies at two horse rescues, Zuma’s and Shiloh Acres, both over an hour from home. La La is available in paperback for the first time ever and Friends and Sisters are published in US. Our agent tells us we need more reviews and web presence to be eligible for Amazon promotions. We do? Duh! We are so green at this game. We create a new website – Chicklitsisters.com, get an Ellie Campbell Gmail account, and start feverishly contacting bloggers and reviewers.

April – Leave for Connecticut for my first ROTH trainer’s clinic – foal gentling, working with rescued nurse foals who have been motherless almost since birth, teaching them to trust people, to accept a halter, grooming, to be led, wear a blanket, go through an obstacle course. When I get back my friend and I add two mostly untouched Arabs to the rota of horses in training, hampered by the fact we are suddenly knee-deep in snow. On the La La front, we now have 36 reviewers and bloggers who want to feature us and more in the pipeline. We have to write guest posts. Help! Pam slinks off to Budapest but thanks to Skype and email, she can’t escape and has to help. Our German publishers make us a bookclub offer for the German translation of Friends, or rather Freundschaftsspiel. Luckily we don’t have to do anything apart from agree and sign. Yippee.

 A Whirlwind Year - Ellie Campbell

May – Unseasonable amount of snow – will it ever stop? Pam stumbles across information about KDL free promotions in an author chat group. She decides to tie one in with Mother’s Day with about two days’ notice. I have another flu virus but that doesn’t stop the frenzy of spreading the word. La La gets into the top 12 of Amazon free books with over 10,000 downloads in a weekend. Oh and Gary has knee surgery. The snow continues slowing our horse training progress. I should have bought those studded snow tires after all.

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellJune – Spring arrives – or is it summer? Volunteering to assist at a 3-day ROTH clinic in Littleton, watching participants work horses in the round pen and obstacle course. Oh and I decide to bring a shy, terrified young horse, Avery, home from the horse rescue to gain his trust – just for two weeks, I promise Gary. Pam’s away for a long weekend, supporting a group of charity fundraisers cycling from Redhill to Paris, just thankful she’s not been bamboozled into cycling herself. Her husband decides he’d like to do the 175 miles in 24 hours, so Pam’s cooking breakfast for groups of 30 at a time at 5.30 am. Meanwhile thanks to our reviews and friendly bloggers, La La gets selected for an Amazon UK promotion and starts moving up the paid charts reaching #3 in humour. Hooray. It is now officially a best-seller!

July – Off to Lake Powell for our annual houseboating trip and then back to Connecticut again, this time for a colt starting clinic, training two and three year olds to accept a saddle and rider for the first time. Pam’s unfortunately not been able to get away with avoiding the next cycling charity challenge – 500k to Copenhagen in 4 days – on the back of a tandem.

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie Campbell

Meanwhile back in London my nephew Anthony has a premier of his movie Mistaken and we do another KDP promotion of Looking for La La, jumping up the rankings from 121,000 to #1 in US free charts in five days and #38 in paid.

August – Pam arranges a holiday to visit our old haunts in Skye with my two sisters, nephews and nieces. 90% holiday but also research for our 5th novel (still to be published).

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellI go to Wyoming for a mustang gentling clinic and see my first moose on the way there. We visit the wild mustang herds and work to gentle mustangs and some feisty untouched Paso Finos. A day after I get back, Pam’s daughter visits with two friends. And Pam wonders why I don’t get any work done!

Also my elderly Arabian has his third eye ulcer of the year and we are in the middle of yet another book promotion. Plus we’ve got attached to the young colt, Avery so it is obvious he’s never leaving. Somewhere in there we are also working on our new novel.

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellSeptember – Off to Las Vegas and Los Angeles with Lucy and two friends. They head for Moab when we get home and suddenly Boulder is flooding, creeks turning to raging torrents, people killed, others losing their homes or having them filled with four feet of water or – worse – sewage. Our power dies just as I get the call for an emergency evacuation at two a.m. Don’t want to leave the horses, cats, dog, etc. so decide to stay. Our house is unscathed but the rental properties Gary manages aren’t so lucky. Meanwhile at Zuma’s horse rescue, four foals and two highly defensive ‘wild’ mares are saved from a kill auction and given to us to gentle.

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellOctober – A week of ROTH trainer’s exams with colts to start, problem horses to train and a final demo day of the methods. Not to mention the panic of finishing and writing up the case studies of horses I’ve been working with all year. I have three fellow students staying with me, two from Sweden, one from Nigeria. Meanwhile we are also doing final edits of the follow-up toLooking For La La and trying to decide a title both for the book and the mystery series.

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie CampbellNovember – Off to Mexico to the small village of Yelapa by Puerto Vallarta for a week. Two people get stung by scorpions while we are there – but none of our friends, luckily. On the book front we commission a cover for our new novel – again from Design For Writers – and decide to call it To Catch A Creeper. Oh, and we have 26 people for Thanksgiving Dinner. And more blurbs and promotional copy to write.

December – Ah, the joys of Christmas. Our first year as indie authors almost at an end with us, leaving us so much wiser and familiar with the ways of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Good Reads, etc. etc. We have now made friends with so many fellow authors and bloggers and reviewers, it’s hard to keep up. But what an awesome bunch. I am now a certified ROTH trainer and still volunteering at horse rescues. ‘Ellie Campbell’ is preparing once again for the launch of a new novel. I have 25 people sitting round the fireplace singing carols at Christmas, horses and dog out frolicking in the snow. And of course food to cook for the business/friends annual New Year party. Meatballs anyone?

A Whirlwind Year - Ellie Campbell

About Lorraine

Ellie Campbell - Lorraine and PamLorraine is one half of Author duo, Ellie Campbell – a pseudonym for her and Sister, Pam who collaborate across the mighty Atlantic from their respective homes in Surrey, England and Colorado, USA, finding writing together a great excuse for endless phone conversations.

Together they have written four novels How To Survive Your SistersWhen Good Friends Go BadLooking For La La and To Catch a Creeper. They love any chance to connect with their readers.

Ellie Campbell is represented by the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency. For further information and to get in contact with them please visit their website: www.chicklitsisters.com.

via Guest Post & Giveaway: A Whirlwind Year : Me, Bookshelf and I.

Guest Post: 12 Not So Brilliant Careers : Me, Bookshelf and I

Me My BookShelf and I

To celebrate the release of  To Catch A Creeper today, I’m delighted to feature this Guest Post from Pam & Lorraine (a.k.a Ellie Campbell).

12 NOT SO BRILLIANT CAREERS

In To Catch a Creeper, stay-at-home mother, Cathy O’Farrell, returns to the workforce with very traumatic results.  Commiserating, we thought we’d share some of our bad, boring or just plain ugly work experiences.

1. Immediately after high school, to earn vacation money, Lorraine did a short stint in a hospital laundry. It resembled a Victorian workhouse with giant clacking machines, gushing steam, 6 a.m punch-in start and severe penalties for lateness.  The clock hand never moved, chatting was forbidden, the only dubious ‘diversion’ being a brief half hour when the foreman would play old-time crooner, Max Bygrave songs, like ‘Tulips From Amsterdam’ on an old turntable.  Chilean refugees handled the limb-threatening task of feeding sheets into the pressing machine: Lorraine’s part was folding and stacking them on a trolley, with a disastrous pile-up of crumpled sheets when she had to push the full trolley away and couldn’t catch up. She lasted 3 weeks, losing the last week’s wages on her bike ride home. Best thing about that job – the tea and toast breaks.

2. Pam started her career convinced she wanted to work with horses.  She found a job as a live-in groom and was miserable beyond belief.  Totally against her contract, instead of spending her time galloping across fields and fine-tuning her dressage skills, her employers treated her as a badly-paid nanny and had her slaving six full days a week. Her pay was virtually peanuts.  She spent her tiny bit of free time plotting ways of escape and finally bolted when they left the stable door open.

3. Lorraine’s first real job was as a clerk in a scaffolding company in their motor vehicle division.  She was 18 and her boss was 21 and wore the same cheap suit with the same greasy stain every day of the week. They handled insurance claims – the few memorable being a crane driver knocking down several telephone poles in a row (not quite bright enough to stop after the first), a deer jumping onto someone’s windshield and a driver capsizing his truck off the Isle of Skye ferry.  It was amazingly dull and started her coffee addiction (previously she’d hated the stuff) but she was so relieved to be free from school and homework, she endured it for almost a year.

4. Pam spent three weeks as a temp in an office where she was given nothing to do.  She was so bored she spent every day reading a dictionary until she left.

5. Lorraine once resigned her job as charter cook in a dramatic fashion by diving overboard from a yacht anchored off Isla Mujeres after an argument with her drunken skipper.

6. Pam’s shortest employment was working in a pet shop in San Francisco. She lasted only a number of hours. Not only was she forced to clean out the snake vivariums, with the snakes slithering inside, crawling around her wrist, but she was tested on her bravery by the Manager placing a tarantula in her hand. When she nervously laughed, the tarantula lifted its front foot up as if to strike.  That didn’t bother her so much as the fact that she got completely lost when sent out on an errand and was gone for hours.  She was so embarrassed she never went back.

7. Lorraine also had a couple of one-day ‘careers’: once when bullied and coerced into replacing her elder sister Sheena as waitress in the local Greek restaurant – she spent all evening standing idly because they recognized ineptitude and wouldn’t trust her even to serve drinks.  She also spent a tediously long night washing dishes in a trendy London bar where she desperately fancied the manager until she decided she’d have more chance of getting off with him sitting on a bar stool than hidden behind a stack of dirty plates.

8. Pam once worked in Newcastle, Australia for a finance company.  Her boss was an alcoholic who was having an affair with his secretary and one day his wife came in and went rooting through his drawers. She’d found a hotel stub with the mistress’s name on it.  Pam did not know where to look or what to say.  She sat with mouth agape and feigned complete innocence.

9. Lorraine once worked for divorce attorneys in Los Angeles, where her boss regularly arrived at dawn and disappeared mid-morning, leaving Lorraine to fend off irate clients who furiously insisted he was trying to evade them.  Turned out the ‘Glendale Man Of The Year’ was not only a compulsive liar, but also had embezzled millions of dollars, pocketing the settlements he’d sneakily negotiated while telling his clients their spouses were stalling on a court date. When discovered, disbarred and given a prison senntence he informed the police he couldn’t go to jail because his father was dying.  He then disappeared for several weeks during which – judging from calls received – he apparently told friends his wife and children had died in a car accident and went skiing in Aspen, picking up women and claiming he was a brain surgeon.

10. Pam once had a leaflet flight with a completely insane colleague. The colleague struck first. Pam retaliated.  There was a glass window to their shared office and lots of people looked in.  They thought it was funny.  Pam did not.

11. Lorraine worked in an orphanage in Guatemala for a few months, living in a converted chicken shack, and caring for incontinent toddlers who were fed beans and diapered with old t-shirts – a most unhappy combination.

12. Pam was bitten on the arm by the same insane colleague (10 above) who attacked her with leaflets.  The bite resulted in a bruise the size of an orange.  Her boss noticed it the next day.  Her colleague was fired.

via Guest Post: 12 Not So Brilliant Careers : Me, Bookshelf and I.

The Love Of A Good Book talks to The Chicklitsisters

The Love of a Good Book talks to The Chicklitsisters

Lorraine and Pam are co-authors of the Ellie Campbell novels. They write together despite living in different countries. Pam in UK and Lorraine in US. They find writing together the perfect excuse for endless phone conversations. Together they’ve published four novels, How To Survive Your Sisters, When Good Friends Go Bad, Looking For La La and To Catch a Creeper.

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Hi ladies, it’s lovely to catch up with you both, it’s been nearly a year since our first interview 
And we have a lot to catch up on, I have a different blog and you, a new Novel.

 

Your new book is called ‘To Catch a Creeper’ please could you tell me about it? 

Yes, like Looking For La La, you could call it a chicklit mystery – it’s a funny entertaining rollercoaster ride about a North London wife and mother who once again finds herself involved in solving a murder, while surmounting marital crises, career crises, friendship crises and everyday parental challenges. We intend it as the second book in a series but it totally stands alone if someone hasn’t read the first. This time there’s a burglar terrorizing the neighbourhood and a transvestite as the prime suspect. Of course Cathy’s female friendships are a vital part of the story and her long-suffering husband has his own issues to deal with.

‘To Catch a Creeper’ follows Cathy from ‘Looking for La La’ – has Cathy changed at all? 

Yes, she’s still scatter-brained, a bit naïve and very loyal and dependent on her friends but she has gained in confidence and self-esteem. At the start of the book she’s no longer a depressed ‘desperate housewife’ but very excited about her new job and much more secure in her vastly improved marriage. (Of course we couldn’t let her stay that content for long.) As complicated as things get I’d say she’s better prepared for adversity and using her ingenuity to overcome obstacles rather than falling prey to jealousy, suspicion and alcohol-fuelled fights – although she still enjoys her girls’ nights out which now have increased from twice a month to every Wednesday.

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Can you tell me about some of the new characters we will meet? 

Well, there’s her hip new colleagues at the advertising agency, including ‘Vicious Viv’ and other trendy young executives who seem to have it in for poor old Cathy. She has a new neighbour, an eccentric nervous old lady, Mrs Baker, who involves Cathy in a running battle with her domineering daughter and proves to be full of surprises. And then there’s the nerdy middle-aged members of the Neighbourhood Watch, mostly cardigan-sporting males, who she enlists to help her solve her crime.

There’s going to be more in the ‘Crouch End Confidential mystery’ series, what can we expect to read about in the future? 

I think you’re going to see the new book transition even further into the mystery side as Cathy and Pimple (the cleaning lady) decide they have a talent for solving crimes. There’ll be more developments in her marriage, her family life and with her female friends. And of course the same laughs, chaos and complications.

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Last time we discussed your writing process, (Lorraine & Pam are sisters who write as Ellie Campbell), today I would like to ask if you find it difficult getting a book to its print stage, when you live in different time zones? 

It’s not really an issue now that Pam has stopped jolting us out of slumber with pre-dawn phone calls and I have realized I’d better contact her early in the day because the UK is 7 hours ahead. We have few really urgent ‘have-to-be-answered-this-minute’ decisions. Actually I get a bit insomniac, I’m often on the internet at 4 a.m. and Pam frequently surprises me by responding to an email when I happen to know it’s 1 a.m. in England. It’s only a problem if she doesn’t get to the phone in time and decides to return my call forgetting it’s some ungodly hour over here – which happened when I was jetlagged a couple of days ago – and we inadvertently woke my husband. Since we’d just returned from India and he was exhausted, I felt terrible about it.

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Questions for you both to answer:

if you were told that you could live any day without repercussions for your actions, what would you do and why?

Lorraine: I don’t have any secret criminal – or otherwise naughty – fantasies so I’d probably pick something I’d be far too chicken to do these days unless I was sure I’d come out unscathed – I don’t bounce the way I did when I was 13. I’d love to jump a horse at top speed over huge cross-country obstacles for example or play a fast-paced game of polo without falling off. Or maybe I could summon the nerve for a spot of extreme skiing and basically just fall down a mountain, popping to my feet with panache for the final run in. When you say no repercussions, you’re including bruises and broken bones, right?
Pam: I’d probably spend the morning releasing all the battery hens from their poor life, and the laboratory animals at the same time. Then I’d hijack some cattle lorries heading for slaughter. Find them good homes where they could live a lovely peaceful life. In the afternoon I’d rob a bank so I could use the money to open a horse rescue centre. (Might all take more than a day though.)

If you could choose one book that you think everyone should read, what would it be and why?

Lorraine: The Bible. Our grandmother used to force it on us every Sunday, she was very religious and didn’t approve of us playing on the Sabbath! And from a historical, political, or educational standpoint, it is THE big epic, documenting – and still inspiring – stories of bravery, love, death, murder, religious wars, crusades, invasions, great kindnesses, terrible cruelties. Christians, Jews and Muslims have based their entire cultural identities, social laws and moral codes around its ancient texts. It’s actually mind-blowing to imagine how our world might have developed without this one book. And it’s still influencing our lives today even though everyone seems to find something different in its pages.
Pam: I’m going to go for the Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Anderson. There’s just so many great stories in there, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Ugly Duckling, Tin Soldier, The Nightingale, Snow Queen, etc. Everyone should read them as kids.

What or who in life inspires you?

Lorraine: Smiles, friendly people, nature. I’m lucky enough to live on ten acres with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains to the west and incredible sunrises over the haystack-shaped hill to our east. It’s impossible not to jump out of bed when I see the sky awash with red and orange and know the horses are at the fence waiting for me.
Pam: My friends. They’re just awesome. In so many ways.

Please would you share who your 5 dream dinner party guests would be?

Lorraine: I’d step back to classic Hollywood in its most glamorous era hoping to pick up some backlot gossip. For starters I’d choose Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Robert Mitchum with Barbara Stanwyck or Mae West for witty one-liners – and just to liven things up the Marx Brothers could fight over the final chair. But if any of them cancelled, Errol Flynn has always been one of my all-time original heartthrobs.
Pam: I’m always a bit nervous about dinner parties, especially if it is me holding one. So I’d choose a few comedians to liven things up. Probably no 1 is Russell Brand, because even though he can be very naughty, he is incredible to listen to and can tie people up in knots. Graham Norton because he is just so quick-witted and makes me laugh with all his silly looks. Then I’d bring in Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders and watch them spar off each other. Finally I’d get Jerry Seinfeld because he’s super talented and it’s nice to get an American take on things.

At your dinner party, there’s a cocktail in honour of ‘ To Catch a Creeper’ what are the ingredients?

Lorraine: Tricky…in honor of Cathy’s scatty nature and dubious culinary skills, it would probably be something haphazard and impromptu – vodka and blackcurrent Ribena, supplemented with the kids’ juice boxes when the Ribena runs out.
Pam: I could also see her doing something totally self-indulgent and decadent – Mars Bars in a blender with Baileys Irish Cream. Yumm.

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A big thank you to Lorraine and Pam for dropping by to chat!

To celebrate the launch of ‘To Catch A Creeper’ 
Looking for la La is just 99p from the 24/03-30/03/2014
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

In the US only, you will be able to get ‘How to Survive Your Sisters’ FREE from the 26/03-30/03/2014
Amazon.com

via The Love of a Good Book talks to The Chicklitsisters.