blogs · Uncategorized

Head off to the Spa today!

PUBLICATION DAY!

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.

I wish you a safe and joyful Easter,

With love, Caroline xx

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

blogs · writing tips

My Tips on Public Speaking for Authors

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!

ENTERTAIN

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.

Know your audience

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.

A cruise ship audience waiting for my talk to begin

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 your allocated time

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.

MISTAKES

Always be ready to avoid nerves

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.

PREPARATION

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!

TIPS

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.

Everyone 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

Smile and enjoy your talk!

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. 

Good luck!

With love

Caroline x

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:

The Spa Break

Publishing 15th April

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

blogs · Uncategorized

Spring news and a gorgeous giveaway

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 flowers

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.

BABY NEWS

Willow

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. 

AFTERNOON TEA

Betty’s in Harrogate

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.

GRANGE WALKS

The beach at Grange

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. 

The derelict lido today and an artist’s impression of how it looked in the 1950s

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.

LAKE DISTRICT

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. 

The Lake District

LANCASHIRE

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 Trough of Bowland

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 ladies

THE SPA BREAKcoming 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:

THE SPA BREAK

GIVEAWAY

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.

Please use the links below.

Click this link: Giveaway on Facebook

or

Email Caroline at: caroline@carolinejamesauthor.co.uk

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.

Stay safe,

With love 

Caroline xx

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

blogs · Uncategorized

Walks, Books and a Giveaway.

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. 

The Lale Dstrict
The Lake District in Cumbria

BOOK NEWS

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 SPA BREAK

The Spa Break – Coming Soon

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.

The Spa Break Ladies

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.

CURRENTLY READING

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.

GIVEAWAY

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!

E: caroline@carolinejamesauthor.co.uk

Hattie Goes to Hollywood Giveaway

As we head into a new month, please keep safe, happy and well.

Happy reading,

With love

Caroline xx

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES