Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can.
A public speaker, consultant and food writer, Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and The Society of Women's Writers & Journalists. She writes articles and short stories and contributes to many publications.
Her debut novel, Coffee, Tea, the Gypsy & Me is set in North West England, at the time of a famous gypsy horse fair. The book went straight to number three on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun.
Coffee Tea the Chef & Me was runner up the Winchester Writers festival for best TV Drama and takes a light-hearted look at the world of celebrity chefs as they battle it out for fame and fortune.
Coffee, Tea, the Caribbean & Me was runner up at The Write Stuff, LBF, 2015 and is an Amazon best-seller and top recommended read by Thomson Holidays.
Jungle Rock, a romcom novella set in Australia, revolves around a TV game show.
Amazon best-seller, The Best Boomerville Hotel is published by British Independent Publisher, ChocLit under their imprint Ruby Fiction.
Caroline's latest novel, Hattie Goes To Hollywood is the first in a stand-alone new mystery series.
In her spare time, Caroline can be found walking up a mountain or sipping gin and relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.
Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this tour and to Caroline James, One More Chapter and Netgalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
Giveaway to Win a Fred the Westie soft toy and a personalised box of chocolates (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the…
Yeah! Finally, the day has arrived, and my new novel, The Spa Break, is out now as an e-book and available on all platforms. The paperback will follow on 7th July.
I want to thank everyone who pre-ordered The Spa Break and hope that as it lands on your e-readers today, you get a chance to enjoy a visit to Sparadise very soon. Emily, Bridgette, Marjory and Serena can’t wait for you to join them!
Thanks too for all the early reviews from advance reviewers. They have been so kind, and I am beyond thrilled that The Spa Break is proving to be a fun-filled read for so many.
The winner of my recent publication day GIVEAWAY, chosen at random, is… drum roll… JILL DOYLE! Many congratulations to Jill, and your gift will soon be with you very soon. Thank you to everyone who entered on Facebook or sent me an email to be included in the draw.
As the online book tours kicks off I would like to most of all thank you, lovely readers, for supporting me in my writing journey. It is exactly 10 years today since I published my first novel, Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me. In those days, I knew little about publishing and was unable to find a publisher as an unknown author.
I self-published the novel, and to my astonishment, it went to #3 in women’s fiction on Amazon. The rest, as they say, is history. With publishing contracts and several novels later, I am indebted to my publisher, One More Chapter (HarperCollins UK), who approached me to write The Spa Break.
So, happy anniversary to me and happy reading to you all.
“Writing is a business and a business needs to be promoted or it will fail.”
This year brings a busy schedule of talks for me, and I have been invited to talk at many different venues to a varied audience. Not so long ago, I would never have entertained this as part of my job. I was terrified of standing on a stage and public speaking, but, as an author, I knew my writing was my business, and a business needs to be promoted, or it will fail. I still don’t enjoy the nerves ahead of a talk, but knowing it has gone well, I feel a great sense of achievement once over. I hope that my comments below may prove helpful if you find yourself having to give a talk. Good luck!
A good talk should be entertaining. The audience will take for granted that you know your subject or you wouldn’t be there, so ensure that you entertain. Leave them with a smile and the knowledge that they go away with many memorable moments about your talk.
I structure a punchy opening to make the audience sit up and take notice, then lead them down a path that follows the subject matter. The tone is essential; keep them alert with anecdotes related to your talk. Enunciate clearly and express yourself with confidence.
I rarely read from my books. That’s just my choice. In the precious time that I have, I want the audience gripped by my talk, not trying to work out the precis of a novel. I’ve been to many author talks when authors have droned on for pages, and it just doesn’t work for me.
I use props in a talk because they help me and are a prompt if I’ve forgotten what I was going to say.
Stick rigidly to the time allowed and, if asked, will do Q&As at the end. The talk should be so stimulating that hands are flying up. Have a few prepped questions in case they’re not, e.g. ‘Someone asked me on social media how to…’ etc. and create participation or involve the audience by asking them a question, ‘How many of you…?’ etc.
The first big talk I did was to an audience of 300, and with half an hour to spare, I was about to take a comfort break and go over my talk. But the MC suddenly announced my slot and I had to race to the stage and get going. I was so nervous I shook, and it upset my flow so much that I struggled to get through and vowed I’d never do a talk again. But I forced myself to come out of my comfort zone and keep going and now make sure that I am entirely ‘talk ready’ from the moment I arrive at the venue.
It takes a lot of input to prepare the subject matter and compile the props that I need. I then practise several times over a few days, using a timer, until I am confident that I can deliver, without note reading, a good piece in the specified time. I record the talk, listen to it, and look for ways to improve my delivery and pace.
Compile a kit that has everything you might need and arrive early on the day. Large venues such as a cruise ship will have everything and you may only need your talk presentation on a USB stick. For smaller venues such as community centres or village halls with limited equipment, I have a mobile box on wheels that contains all my tools for a talk: a table cover, books, stands, pens suitable for signing (quick drying ink), flyers, cards, promotional boards/pop up banners as required, money box with plenty of change, fully charged card machine, promotional tools. I take everything that might be needed, including for power point talks a projector, stand, cables and health and safety coverings, laptop and screen and a copy of my public liability insurance. Don’t forget your invoice too!
Prepare well and leave nothing to chance. Practice your talk and time it. Keep within your allocated time. Research the audience demographic and alter your talk to match – each person listening to you is a potential new reader.
Eat sensibly during the day and make sure that you are bright, alert, and at your best. Wear a favourite outfit, feel good and forget about your appearance so you can focus on your talk and audience. Think positively, and get some good vibes going on!
DEALING WITH DIFFICULTIES
Occasionally, someone will butt in and give their opinion or ask a question when it’s not appropriate. This can throw you off if you allow it to continue. It is also annoying for the audience who have come to listen to you. Swiftly and with a smile, suggest that you come back to the question after the talk or at Q&As and get straight back to your subject matter before they can butt in again.
ENGAGE AND ENJOY
Get out there and market yourself. Engaging with the public is terrific. No matter how panicky you are, tell yourself that you can do this. I dislike public speaking and am always nervous, but it is a considerable boost when people queue to speak to you; you get complimentary emails and book sales increase in the days following the talk.
Caroline’s new novel The Spa Break will be publishing as an ebook on 15th April and as a paperback on 7th July. You can preorder at the promo price by clicking the link below:
Hello lovely subscribers, thank you for opening this post. Please read on for my spring news and the chance of a chocolate treat and cuddly Westie giveaway.
Spring is truly glorious in the UK at the moment. The weather is warm, and there has been plenty of sunshine. It is such a pleasure so early in the year. I’ve been getting ready for the release of my new novel, The Spa Break, which publishes on April 15th as an ebook. The paperback will be published on July 7th. Between writing and publicity, I have occasionally escaped with one or two trips.
A long-awaited trip was, at last, to meet my precious granddaughter, Willow. After a difficult pregnancy and a very traumatic birth followed by life-saving surgery and many weeks in ICU, Willow was finally able to come home to her mum and dad. Meeting this precious child has been monumental for me, and I have to proudly say that she is quite simply adorable. Both parents and daughter are progressing well and love being at home together.
My ever-thoughtful other half treated me to a weekend in Harrogate and afternoon tea at Betty’s tearooms. Betty’s is a popular and quite famous institution that began over 100 years ago when a young Swiss baker and confectioner, named Fritz Butzer, dreamed of opening his own business and left his home to travel to England. He had no money, no job, couldn’t speak English and certainly had no idea of the extraordinary legacy he was about to create. To dine at Betty’s is to step back in time and experience superb food in elegant surroundings with exemplary service. Afternoon tea can be booked in the Imperial Room, where piano music is played, and uniformed staff attentively cater to your every whim. We started with a glass of bubbles and had a delicious tea with dainty sandwiches, scones with jam and cream and divine little cakes. A treat indeed.
We’ve enjoyed some bracing walks locally in these early months of the year. On a windy day, this is the beach at the head of the bay near Grange in Lancashire. Fred, our Westie, adores this walk and will run forever along the sand.
Grange-over-sands (as it is known)was an isolated fishing village until the Victorian era when the railway arrived. Then it became a popular seaside resort. With spring water available and bracing sea air, one of the first sanatoriums in Britain was set up near Grange for those suffering from tuberculosis or breathing difficulties. In the 1930s, a lido, initially filled with salt water, was located overlooking the bay, but it closed in 1993. Today, there is a campaign to restore and re-open this fabulous art deco structure. As a ‘Friend of Grange Lido’ I will be one of the first to dive into the pool when it re-opens.
Heading into the Lake District in Cumbria on a chilly Sunday, we found the hills laced with snow and lake Ullswater inky dark and deserted, with no leisure boats or steamers. Ullswater is 9 miles long and the second largest lake in the area. It is my favourite lake. When I owned a hotel in Cumbria, I spent many happy hours walking with my collie dog around this beautiful stretch of water.
My next novel, The Spa Break, is set in what is now my home county of Lancashire, in an area called the Trough of Bowland. It is classed as an area of outstanding natural beauty where there are hills covered in heather and magnificent views as far as the eye can see. With grassy banks to roam over, sheep graze idly, and a river meanders alongside a remote twisting road.
The spa in the The Spa Break is named Sparadise. It is a luxurious retreat set in mature gardens by a lake, where four mature friends, Bridgette, Emily, Marjory and Serena, spend a weekend celebrating Bridgette’s big birthday. comments are favourable, and advance reviewers describe the book as uplifting and funny, the story that encourages us all to come out of our comfort zone, no matter what age.
THE SPA BREAK – coming soon…
You can grab a bargain and pre-order The Spa Break at a reduced pre-publication promo price by clicking on the link below:
Receive a gorgeous box of luxury chocolates and a cute cuddly ‘Fred the Westie’ – a dog in The Spa Break. To be in with a chance to win this lovely gift, simply go to my Facebook page and say why you’d like to win. If you don’t use Facebook, you can email me too.
The winner will be announced on publication day, April 15th 2022 and entries are invited from wherever you live.
Covid still rages globally and I find reading the perfect anecdote to the frustration and bewilderment of current world events, especially the horrors unfolding in Ukraine. I hope that reading brings you much pleasure too. I send my thoughts and prayers to everyone suffering at this difficult time.
As the clocks go forward in the UK and the nights get lighter I wish everyone celebrating Mother’s Day on 27th March a very happy day.Until next time, wherever you are and whatever your day-to-day brings you, I wish you good health, happiness and peaceful and fruitful life.
January is drawing to a close and here in Lancashire in the north west of England it has been an unusually mild month. Living close to the Lake District in Cumbria I’ve enjoyed the short drive to park then wander, for some happy dog walks with Fred, our Westie. My favourite lake is Ullswater, and you can see from these photos how beautiful it is. On a misty January day, the lake and mountains have an ethereal quality of their own. All the seasons are glorious and it’s no wonder the area is famed for producing so many poets and writers.
I am delighted to say that my new novel, The Spa Break is publishing in a few weeks and you can pre-order it today at the promo price of only 99p (the promo price may differ in each country). The ebook will automatically land on your e-reader on publication day. The paperback will follow a few weeks after the ebook.
The publisher is One More Chapter (HarperCollins UK) and I was thrilled to be contacted last year by Charlotte Ledger, the Publishing Director, who had an idea for a novel and asked me if I would expand her thoughts and write the book. The Spa Break finds four friends on a relaxing weekend away to celebrate a big birthday. But as the days unfold, the spa soon has these spicy sexagenarians realising that there are unexpected benefits to age and experience, and that over the hill certainly doesn’t mean out of the game. I loved bringing new characters to life and I hope that this feel-good, funny novel will be one that you enjoy.
Emily, Bridgette, Marjory and Serena are entertaining characters and I hope that I will be writing more about their escapades in future books. If this newsletter lands in the hands of any book reviewers, please get in touch for an ARC copy.
I’m enjoying reading novels by Marius Gabriel and am currently reading The Parisians. He has a wonderful ability to mix fiction with history during WWII, when Paris was occupied. Using real characters in his novels, especially from the world of fashion, such as Coco Chanel and Christian Dior, he brings the stories to life. Clever writing and highly recommended.
This month I have a signed copy of Hattie Goes to Hollywood to giveaway. To enter please go to my Facebook page or you can email me using the address below. Just comment why you would like to receive the book and you will automatically be entered into the draw. Good luck!
Welcome to new subscribers. Thanks for signing up; it’s so good to have you with us. I haven’t written here for a little while, so this is a catch-up post. Here in lovely Lancashire in the North West of England, autumn is quite stunning. On the edge of the picturesque Trough of Bowland and only a short drive to the Lake District, the autumnal countryside is beautiful at this time of year, especially when the sun is shining.
More recently, there has been heavy rain, and threats of flooding in the area and the little town where I live was hit by the deluge.
I’ve been hitting the keyboard hard these last few months and will soon have exciting news of my next book. I am in love with all the new characters and can’t wait for you to meet them. As much as I love writing, it is a job and takes discipline to sit down and slowly but surely work through the process of putting a manuscript together. The new novel has been different for me because I was given a theme and asked to write a story around it. With this in mind, here are a couple of tips that I’ve employed during the process.
Write for yourself, rewrite for others.
So often, writers are told to write for themselves, get the story down, feel the story and let the words flow onto the page. One of the most essential points in the process is listening to an editor and acknowledging their constructive points. So you have your first draft. You think it is brilliant, then your revisions come back with a hell of a lot of suggestions. Don’t cringe away with hurt feelings; take on board the advice from the capable and experienced editing brain that you entrusted your book baby to. They know the market and the reader you are writing for. Learn, write and learn some more.
Make your readers feel something.
If you don’t care about your characters, your readers will feel precisely the same way and soon turn to another book. You have to step into the shoes of the individuals you write about and walk through their lives with them, feeling their highs and lows and understanding what makes them tick. Sometimes I find myself crying when one of my characters is having a tough time, and that’s an emotion I embrace because readers may feel the same too.
Like many, the travel bug has been itching, and last month I was able to scratch it when we caught a last-minute flight and headed to the tiny island of Paxos in the Ionian Sea. Paxos is one of a cluster of islands that dates back to prehistoric times, and the Romans ruled the island from the 2nd century BC. By the end of the 14th century, the Venetians had taken over, and there is still evidence of incredible Venetian architecture throughout the Ionian islands.
With no airport, access to the island is by boat only, and on the day we travelled, the sea was choppy and not for the faint-hearted. October was stormy with heavy wind and rain at times, but it was genuinely glorious when the sun came out. Our home for the duration was a villa set in an olive grove. The house had been the former home of the British Governor of the island during the 19th century when Paxos was a British Protectorate. A perfect place to relax and take stock of the previous year, even when there was no electricity due to the weather and the candles came out.
I love audiobooks, and this month, in my free time, I have been listening to several novels by Diane Chamberlain. My favourite was Big Lies in a Small Town, which slips between 2018 and 1940 and is a great read.
I adored Eva Glynn’s The Olive Grove. It is beautifully written and based in Croatia and made me want to jump on a plane and head off to discover the places so skillfully described. Don’t miss it – it’s a great read.
My book club recommended Mike Gayle’s, All the Lonely People, and given the difficulties of isolating during the pandemic, this book really hit the spot. Another gorgeous read.
If you fancy a fun, cosy mystery to snuggle down with on the dark nights, my novel Hattie Goes to Hollywoodis on promo for you at only 99p/99c. Hattie is one of my favourite characters. Larger than life and full of fun, she gets into a great deal of trouble but somehow digs her way out with a smile on her face and plenty of laughs along the way. I hope you enjoy the story. It’s also available on audio and read by the lovely Gill Mills, also a fan of Hattie.
Christmas is around the corner, and I will write again before then. Do get in touch. I love to hear from you and don’t be shy. I love to chat about all things books and travels and whatever else is on your mind. You can find me on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and I am always delighted to follow back.
I haven’t written my blog for some time and apologise to anyone who has missed a monthly update on my books and writing, or new recipe or two. The last twelve months have been the most difficult time of my life, with my beloved sister, Cathy, having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, to her death on 6th May.
Too soon and so badly missed, she was not just my sister and best friend but also my writing inspiration. As a late starter, from the very first word I ever wrote, she was with me. Encouraging me to glue my behind to a chair and get my fingers tapping out ideas on a keyboard. We plotted each novel together, shared the first draft, the highs and lows of publishing and drank champagne on news of a book’s success. She was my critique and my greatest fan, the one who urged me to write on and take my work seriously. As I sit here, I wonder how on earth I shall pick up the pieces and write again.
But I will. Because that is what Cathy would want me to do.
So, as I begin a new chapter in my life without my darling sister, the page turns and a new book is born. I am up and running again and the words are flowing and I am sure that my beautiful girl is waving her magic writing wand and willing me on.
To all of you who have lost someone close in these difficult and trying times, I send you my sincere love and raise a glass to their memory.
Books & offers
All of my books are free to read on Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime and you can find them by using the link below:
Method: Whiz all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Freeze.
TIP: If you have bananas that are going black, don’t throw them away. Simply freeze and use in this recipe (or a banana bread recipe). Bananas that have been frozen taste sweeter which means you won’t need to add as much sweetener. You can use any frozen fruit such as strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. Best of all, this ice-cream is ready to eat as soon as you’ve made it!
For the kids: use lollipop trays and freeze
I hope that the sun is shining wherever you are in the world and that life is treating you well. May you stay safe in the pandemic affected areas. Have a great summer.
I am delighted to host the lovely best-selling author Lizzie Chantree to my blog today, as she celebrates the publication of her fabulous new novel ‘Shh…It’s Our Secret’
Shh… It’s Our Secret, by Lizzie Chantree
Thank you for inviting me onto your blog today Caroline. I’m so excited to be sharing news of my latest book with your readers.
Shh… It’s Our Secret, is about a young woman called Violet, who is learning to accept who she is and trust herself throughout the book. She has low self-esteem, which isn’t helped by a domineering boyfriend, but throughout the story she finds her voice and decides to take a chance and share a secret she’s hidden for too long. The secret could change the lives of the café regulars where she works, and transform the town she lives in.
The story follows her journey of self-discovery and she has to pluck up the courage to leave a man who doesn’t appreciate her, rebuild her confidence and be true to herself. Can someone who shies from the limelight, step out of the shadows and show the world how incredible she really is?
Violet has a secret that could change the lives of everyone she knows and loves, especially the regulars at the run-down café bar where she works. After losing her parents at a young age, they are the closest thing she has to a family and she feels responsible for them.
Kai is a jaded music producer who has just moved outside of town. Seeking solitude from the stress of his job, he’s looking for seclusion. The only problem is he can’t seem to escape the band members and songwriters who keep showing up at his house.
When Kai wanders into the bar and Violet’s life, he accidently discovers her closely guarded secret. Can Kai help her rediscover her self-confidence or should some secrets remain undiscovered?
International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.
I hope that you are all getting through the current restrictions and keeping safe and well. The days seem a little sunnier here with spring flowers beginning to peep through in the garden.
A new radio station launched last week in the UK called Boom Radio UK a really fun station aimed at ‘Boomers’ – a slightly more mature audience. With great music and interviews, I am thrilled to be invited to chat with host David Lloyd on Tuesday 23rd February. Tune in at around 11am to 11.40am to listen to our conversation on penning novels, my ‘Boomerville’ retreats and writing feel-good fiction. The link is here: Boom Radio UK
The winner of our giveaway this month is Linda Herold. Many congratulations to Linda who will receive a signed copy of The Best Boomerville Hotel plus a lovely box of chocolates.
Keep a look out for our March giveaway, when a very special little soft toy duck will be looking for a new home. ‘Drake’ from Hattie Goes to Hollywood will be up for grabs with a signed copy of the book.
This week’s promo is Boomerville at Ballymegille currently on Amazon on a promo at only 99p/c – this offer ends this week. If you fancy a feel-good read during the days of Lockdown book into Hotel Boomerville and join in with the fun and shenanigans at the new retreat in Southern Ireland.
Spring is on the way; evenings are getting lighter and there are warmer days to look forward to. In the UK we are still in a very strict Lockdown and for many this is tough, with a knock-on effect that complicates so many aspects of our lives. But the Covid19 vaccine is rolling out and there is light at the end of the tunnel. I wish all of you a safe and healthy journey through these difficult days and have included some treats below.
Firstly, welcome to all the lovely new subscribers this month. It is great to have you onboard and I hope you enjoy these newsletters.
A very big congratulations to new subscriber Tina Downs who has won a signed copy of Boomerville at Ballymegille and it is winging its way to you now. I hope that you enjoy reading all about Hattie and the gang at the new Boomerville in Ireland and sharing some of their shenanigans!
This is the first in a series and shot to #3 in Women’s Fiction when first published. Set in lovely Cumbria it was E-book of the week in The Sun Newspaper and their review included: “A strong plot with likable characters make it a great feel-good 5 star read.”
I’ve been making marmalade this weekend while Seville oranges are in season and am trying a new recipe that will use truffles. The marmalade is to be eaten with savoury dishes so I am intrigued to see the results. Seville oranges make the most wonderful marmalade and although it takes time to prepare them, the results are worth it.
It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without chocolate – why not bake a gorgeous chocolate cake and indulge. Here’s my recipe for a rich and delicious cake. The recipe uses a lot of eggs but gives a lovely light sponge that keeps well.