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Ready for the Jungle – Free romcom book

It’s that time of year when TV viewers in the UK can watch a show that comes around every November, titled, “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!” A group of British and American celebrities are sent to a jungle camp for a reality TV show. They face some grisly tasks during their time in camp and ultimately, the public vote for the winner.

I’m not a fan of reality TV but this show always amuses me and a while ago, it inspired me to write a novella:

JUNGLE ROCK

If you’d like to download Jungle Rock it is currently FREE on amazon and you can read it on your e-reader. This offer ends on 21st November.

Download: JUNGLE ROCK

Sample the extract of Jungle Rock below:

“HE’S DOING WHAT?” Hattie said. She had a mouthful of shortbread and a mug of coffee in her hand and stopped in her tracks as she watched Jo stare at her mobile phone.

“Zach’s going into the jungle. He’s a contestant on Jungle Survival.”

“Oh my.” Hattie smiled and wiped a spray of crumbs off her chest.

“He’s at the airport with Bob; they’re about to board a plane.”

“Well I never.” Hattie put her mug on the desk and stared at her friend. “How do you feel about that?”

“Astonished.”

“It might do him good.”

“Or not.”

“Fancy a bracer?”

“Start pouring.”

Cradling mugs of coffee, laced with a good slug of brandy, Jo and Hattie sat in the conservatory and looked out at the garden beyond.

“It doesn’t seem five minutes since he was a little boy running all over this lawn with his brother,” Jo said as she stared across the neatly manicured grass.

“And now he’s running off to Australia.”

In the distance, a group of guests appeared from the meadow, where a clairvoyance course was being run in an old gypsy caravan. Originally horse-drawn, the caravan was Jo’s pride and joy, brightly painted with little wooden steps. It was a perfect setting for an intimate group.

“Another successful event,” Hattie said as she watched the beatific expressions of the participants as they drifted down the garden, confident that the spirits of their dead granny and Rover, the family pet, were beside them, whispering and woofing encouraging words from beyond.

“I wish I could see into Zach’s future,” Jo replied. “I hope he’s not making a terrible mistake.”

“Well, if he is, he’s picked the right place to make it. That show’s watched by millions. Perhaps we should run something similar here?” Hattie closed her eyes and began to plan out a jungle camp, set in the meadow. “The old ‘uns would love it! Prancing about like Bear Grylls, cooking over an open fire, sleeping under the stars. It has ‘winner’ all over it.”

“It has mass suicide all over it,” Jo replied, “hyperthermia and food poisoning.”

“Think of the low overheads. We could bring Wonder Boy in to teach them how to skin a rabbit or two, a bit of camp-fire bonhomie and all that stuff.”

“Hattie, will you please be serious. My son is currently on his way to the other side of the world, where he’ll be exposed to any amount of danger; he’s emotionally vulnerable and I’m worried about him.”

Hattie sat up and opened her eyes.

“Oh, get a grip,” she said. “Can you imagine what he’s getting paid for this stint? How can he possibly go wrong? They’ll have him stripped down to his six-pack before the opening credits have run. He won’t even need to open his mouth and the phone lines will be pulsating as fast as every female viewer’s heart. Your Zach has made his finest career move yet.” Hattie reached for Jo’s empty mug. “Get that grumpy expression off your face and let’s send him good luck wishes for his arrival in Australia.” She stood and glanced at the group in the garden. “Perhaps we can get that lot to send him a mystical sign.”

As Jo watched Hattie walk away, she felt cross. She knew that Hattie was right, but Jo had a niggling feeling that Zach’s trip wasn’t going to run as smoothly or as successfully as everyone expected. A mother had an instinct about her offspring, but in this case, Jo hoped that her instincts would be proved wrong.

 

Happy reading everyone,

With love, Caroline xx

JUNGLE ROCK

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BOOKS BY Caroline James

Books by Caroline James

 

 

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Remembering Keith Floyd, Ten Years On

Happy Birthday ‘Floydy’

Ten Years on and we still remember the late, great, TV Chef, Keith Floyd.

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A decade has passed since Keith Floyd died.

‘Floydy’ as he liked to be known was the celebrated chef who revolutionised TV cookery programmes but as the years go by, his name fades and it seems to me that he is only remembered by those of us who are old enough to have enjoyed his wonderful cookery shows.

Floyd was a great influence on me and inspired my novel, Coffee Tea the Chef and Me.

Chef cover 2017 Kindle copy

Year on year, cookery on television and the internet continues to dominate our screens, creating new stars in the kitchen and legions of adoring fans. But in the early days, Keith Floyd inspired a generation to cook when he took his cookery road show out of the studio and around the world. He delighted us with what was then, a relatively new way of viewing – cooking on location. This set the tone and paved the way for the TV chefs that we know and love today.

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Floyd travelled extensively and by meeting the locals he understood the dedication required to create some of the wonderful dishes that he demonstrated so passionately. He bought world cuisine into our own kitchens and made food fun. He was the Oliver Reed of cooking, invariably with a glass of wine in his hand and a wealth of knowledge and witticism to share with his viewers. Floyd drew recipe inspiration from the places that he visited and delighted in sharing this knowledge with his audience.

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Floyd entertained us with hilarious episodes of cooking in extreme conditions, in far-flung locations. One of my favourite clips is Floyd cooking on an ostrich farm in South Africa where everything goes wrong as the ostriches take over.

In today’s world of political correctness, Floyd may have struggled. His ‘devil may care’ attitude might be offensive today, when he glorified the pleasure of alcohol and tobacco and whatever else took his fancy. Personally, I found it refreshing, whether or not you agree with the virtues of his philosophy.

The last programme made about Floyd was called, Keith on Keith, a documentary for Channel Four and was hosted by the actor, Keith Allen, in 2009. In all the years that I have written about Floyd, I have omitted mentioning this show because I think it degrades the chef in his final days. It portrays Floyd as a damaged drunk, despite attempts to include a positive spin in the last scenes. It is very uncomfortable viewing and poles apart from footage of programmes where Floyd, the charming host, made cooking the new rock and roll when he bounced onto our screens.

Love him or loathe him, Floyd was an enigmatic and charismatic man who was instrumental in educating us in all manner of cooking at a time when we had limited options to discover global cuisine. For many, myself included, Keith Floyd will always be fondly remembered.

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Keith Floyd Died 15th September 2009

In Floyd’s words, ‘Food is life and life is food.’ But he also added, ‘If you don’t like my approach, you are welcome to go to Macdonalds.’

Keith Floyd 15th September 1943 – 15th September 2009

 

Coffee Tea the Chef & Me

Chef cover 2017 Kindle copy

Books by Caroline James

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Boomerville with Blunos in Bangkok?

IMG_1233It is always brilliant to catch up with my good mate Chef Martin Blunos. Martin and I go way back and have worked together for more years than I care to remember. It’s been a roller coaster relationship from food festivals to product development and celebrity endorsements, TV, radio and media and I’ve loved every moment.

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Backstage at the BBC Good Food Show

So, catching up with the man himself on a recent trip to London was a no brainer and as he was due to return to the Far East soon, I got my skates on and headed south. ‘We’ll go to The Ritz,’ he announced. Well, it would be rude not to?

 

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Martin is based in Bangkok, where he as a gorgeous restaurant called, Blunos, (#blunosbkk) on the 14th floor of the Eastin Grand Hotel and he is making fresh waves in TV and broadcasting. It is far removed from his days of fine-dining and has an eclectic modern feel but there is always a nod to his prestigious two Michelin Stars which he attained at his lovely restaurants in Britain. Martin tells me that the arrival of the Michelin Guide is shaking up the Bangkok food scene with innovations and trends but he believes that there is plenty of room for the classic way of eating.

Eating could not get more classic than a meal at The Ritz, in the fabulous St James area of Piccadilly in London. Like stepping back in time, the place probably hasn’t changed since it was created in 1906 and is today considered one of the most prestigious hotels in the world.

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I felt like royalty as we were guided into the restaurant. Our corner table overlooked the room and it was hard not to gawp at other diners to see ‘who is who.’ We enjoyed exquisite amuse-bouche and eight blindingly delicious courses, accompanied by the sommelier’s choice of wines.

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It was thrilling to see Tom Scade, sous chef, stride through the restaurant to greet Martin. In his tall chef’s hat and long white apron, Tom invited us into the kitchens for a tour. Martin and Tom go way back, Tom trained with Martin and they have worked together at several fine establishments.

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It was wonderful to see the connection revived on their home turf, a kitchen – the working environment that has bonded them over the years. The Ritz, when fully staffed has a brigade of 78 chefs and to see the team in action is quite a sight and privilege.

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Stars – whether Michelin for Martin or book ratings for my novels are an honour and we both agree that they give proof to your trade but they can also be the monkey on your back. These days, Martin is happy to go with the changes and moving abroad and setting up a new business has been a big challenge. For me, after our catch up I feel inspired to write a Boomerville book based in Bangkok, now that would be a challenge and one that I think my boomer characters would love.

When is the next flight? See you all in Bangkok!

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THE BEST BOMERVILLE HOTEL – OUT NOW!