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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. 

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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

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Meet the Author – Morton S Gray

I’m thrilled to have Morton S Gray on my blog today. Morton’s latest book, The Truth Lies Buried, is now available in paperback and audible as well as all ebook platforms. Morton, like me, loves beautiful Cumbria…

Thank you for inviting me over to your blog, Caroline. When you asked me to Meet the Author, I tried to think of a linking factor between us to spark the blog post and came up with The Lake District! Why? Because your super novel The Best Boomerville Hotel is set there and I have enjoyed many holidays in the area over the years. So, I thought I’d talk about a few snapshots from those visits.

Author Morton Gray

A favourite teenage holiday photograph sees me on the ferry across Lake Windermere. I had just become conscious of what I wore and can still remember the feel of the turquoise flared trousers and green floaty tunic top. I felt amazing.

Fast forward to when my eldest son was small – I used to take him to the Lakes at least once a year. After driving up the motorway, I very often couldn’t face the car for a few days, so we used to explore by bus or ferry and had lots of fun. One year, son insisted on wearing his pirate bandana and carrying his plastic sword all of the time – surprisingly we made lots of friends that year.

Fast forward again and I had my first holiday with my now husband in Bassenthwaite. Hubbie severely overestimated both my level of fitness and the length of walk across the fells I could cope with. I had never climbed that far up a hill in my life and had never seen Windermere laid before me like a map as we were so high up. I think it was when I was exhausted and finding it difficult to put one foot in front of the other on the scree slope on the way down that I began to seriously question whether our relationship had a future! (P.S. we’ve been married sixteen years!)

We’ve had several holidays with youngest son in the Lakes (who if we were celebrities should by rights be called Bassenthwaite, but he gets embarrassed when I say that!), but these days it’s usually hubbie and I on our Lakes holidays whilst youngest son is on some school camp or other.

Our favourite place to stay is Grasmere, as you can walk off in all directions without having to travel in the car. Last year, we stayed at the lovely Daffodil Hotel on the banks of Grasmere Lake. And, no trip to the Lakes is complete without a visit to the wonderful restaurant, The Jumble Room.

Thank you, Caroline, I’ve enjoyed reminiscing about Lakeland holidays, but what I really wanted to tell your readers and that feels almost cheeky now, was about the paperback and audiobook release of my second novel for Choc Lit, The Truth Lies Buried on 12 March 2019. You’ll find details below.

“A brilliant read and I would highly recommend anyone to read either of Morton’s books.”
Amazon Reviewer
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February Newsletter, winter walks with the Westie and more.

February started with snow and ice in my neck of the woods and I’ve enjoyed some lovely wintery walks with Freddie the Westie, my new best friend.

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As the weather got colder I’ve thinking about warmer climes and was pleased to see that readers were too, as my novel, Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me went up the charts to being a #1 best-seller on Amazon again. Huge thanks to everyone who is buying this book and enjoying a slice of sunshine escapism on those cold wintery days.

TRAVELLING

I’m off to the USA this month and can’t wait for my visit. I’ll be wrapping up warm and taking lots of photos and will share my trip with you in the next newsletter.

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DAYS OUT

I had a lovely day out at The Barn at Scorton – an interesting venue if you are in the North West. I was there to interview the owners of this business, located in a pretty picturesque village. I write food related articles for a Lancashire magazine and this place is a real find. Wonderful food, served all day and an eclectic mix of gifts alongside a garden centre with some unusual plants. I can recommend a visit, if you are in the area.

 

Another find on my foodie haunts was on a recent trip to my favourite county of Cumbria in the Lake District. Many of you know that I love to have a tipple of gin occasionally and enjoy sampling flavoured gins.  Gin seems to have exploded onto the beverage scene in the last year or so and I am told that there are now more alcohol distilleries in England than in Scotland. Imagine my delight when I came across a shop that sells over 500 different gins! Chestnut House in Pooley Bridge, Cumbria is brilliant little shop with knowledgeable staff (thank you Darren!) who encourage you to sample their delicious drinks.

 

Warm and fuzzy from several tasters, and with a bottle to take home safely tucked up in the boot of the car, I enjoyed a glorious walk around Lake Ullswater, one of my favourite lakes. Cold, windy and so atmospheric, with snow on the mountains and that divine light that peeks through the clouds on a wintery day and sparkles off the water. As William Wordsworth said about Cumbria, “The loveliest spot that man hath found.”

 

VALENTINE’S DAY

Be sure to follow APRICOT PLOTS this month. This author group, that I a member of,  is running an event for readers in the build up to Valentine’s Day and there will be some great give-aways and interaction. I am hosting on 7th February and want to know all about your worst date ever. There’s a box of chocolates for the one that amuses me the most.

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COMPETITION DRUM ROLL…

The winner of last month’s competition is Linda Gawthrop who correctly named the chef in my novel Jungle Rock .

Many congratulations Linda – a Bertie Bear is heading your way.

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Linda Gawthrop wins a Bertie Bear!

FEBRUARY COMPETITION

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Win a signed copy plus chocolates!

This month’s competition is for a signed copy of my latest book plus chocolates to enjoy while you are reading. Simply name the county in England where my novel The Best Boomerville Hotel is set. Can you name the county? (Hint – my favourite county). Please email your answer to me: caroline@carolinejamesauthor.co.uk The winner will be announced in my March newsletter.

NOSTALGIA

I took a step back in time a few days ago, when I visited the Westminster Tearooms in Southport. This delightful venue is a 1930s time warp and an absolute delight.

 

I was lost in time for a couple of hours as I listened to gentle background music, reflective of the era and ate a delicious afternoon tea.

The ladies on the next table were celebrating a birthday with glasses of Babycham.

$_35Were Babycham glasses really so small? Babycham was launched in the United Kingdom in 1953 and in later years when I was growing up, I remember it being a celebratory drink with the ladies in my family.

As the clock on the mantlepiece chimed the quarter hour in the Westminster Tearooms, I felt that I’d stepped into a bygone period. It was delightful.

I do love afternoon tea, especially one as special as this with cucumber sandwiches and scones. What’s your favourite afternoon tea?

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

If you’ve got a good book to recommend do get in touch and I’ll share your thoughts here. I’m reading Magnolia House by Angela Barton at the moment. It’s her new novel and I’m loving it.

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New novel by Angela Barton

 

Have a brilliant February, lovely readers and followers.

Stay warm wherever you are and keep well and happy.

With love

Caroline xx

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

Books by Caroline James

 

 

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Beautiful Cumbria – My Writing Muse

I often write about Cumbria after falling in love with the county many years ago. For me, the Lake District is a creative’s dream.

Cumbria – the inspiration for The Best Boomerville Hotel

My novels often feature a fictional hotel and the latest, The Best Boomerville Hotel is no exception as guests’ flock to the area and book in, to experience the beauty and splendour of the landscape.

For several years, I ran a pub, then a hotel, in the Eden Valley and was captivated by the warmth of the locals who were so supportive to a newcomer. Walking along the shadowy ridges of the fells in my spare time restored my spirits after a hard day at work and spurred my creative juices, for even then I knew that I wanted to write stories based in this special place.

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More recently I was touched by the floods that devastated parts of the country. In particular, the town of Appleby which had once been my home and the floods feature in The Best Boomerville Hotel.

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I write feel-good novels to uplift and inspire and with the magic of the mountains and sparkling waters of the lakes, I owe a great deal to my muse.

Beautiful Cumbria, thank you.

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Novels by Caroline James

The Best Boomerville Hotel is available in paperback from all good bookshops and online as an ebook and audible download.

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The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James @CarolineJames12 BlogTour BookReview

As the paperback blog tour comes to an end, here is another cracking review for

The Best Boomerville Hotel.

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for a lovely Boomerville Bertie Bear

Enter here: Boomerville Bertie

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Huge thanks to everyone who contributed.

Happy reading and blogging,

with love

Caroline xx

via The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James @CarolineJames12 #BlogTour #BookReview @RubyFiction @rararesources

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Paperback Publication Day – The Best Boomerville Hotel

The Best Boomerville Hotel is now available on all platforms – ebooks, audible and paperback! You can find it in all good bookshops or online and there is a sample of the book in audible too, click here: AUDIBLE

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To celebrate the online book tour this week, there is a competition to win a beautiful Bertie Bear in his very own travelling bag.

Click here to enter: WIN A BERTIE BEAR

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Huge thanks to everyone who has read The Best Boomerville Hotel, reviewed and contacted me.

Happy reading,

With love

Caroline xx

Caroline and Bertie the Boomerville Bear

Books by Caroline James

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The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James #Review @CarolineJames12

As The Best Boomerville Hotel’s reviews on Amazon rise, it is lovely to read this latest one, where the reviewer describes the book as the ‘BEST book I’ve read in a long time…’

Thanks to reviewers and readers everywhere who take the trouble to post their thoughts and comments, it means a great deal.

Caroline xx

via The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James #Review @CarolineJames12

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Extract from The Best Boomerville Hotel…

Happy Bank Holiday Weekend! Here’s an extract from my new book:

The Best Boomerville Hotel 

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The next morning there was an excited buzz in the Rose Room, where residents gathered for breakfast. Bright sunshine burst through the French windows, latticing light across tables as staff moved around, topping up cups and taking orders. Guests munched on muesli and whispered over plates of crispy bacon and lightly poached eggs.

  Lucinda reached for a jar of gooseberry marmalade. A smug smile crept across her lips as she spread the thick sweet substance over her toast. She broke a piece and popped it into her mouth.

  At last, she had her own class!

  Today, she would endeavour to bring creativity into the lives of a group of guests who would be inspired by her talent. She thought back to the day that she read the advert for Boomerville in her local paper. She’d been blinded by the vision that this was her path, the route to her future and a journey that she had to make. Lucinda had no money and scraped a living by teaching and selling the occasional painting. She lived in a shared house with a handful of other eccentric creatives on the outskirts of London and led a bohemian life, but as the years progressed she knew that she needed some form of security as she got older. Boomerville had come like a bolt out of the blue, a sign that she must follow and, acting on instinct, Lucinda filled in the booking form, reserved a seat on a train and began to pack.

  Now, as she sat in the dining room, she thought about her finances. Her money was running out. She urgently needed a job or a wealthy lover.

  Lucinda smiled to herself as she finished her breakfast and tossed her napkin to one side. She’d been working on her options since her arrival a couple of weeks ago and had high hopes for both. Today would accelerate her mission. A pop-up art class had been announced for that afternoon and Lucinda was to be the tutor.

  As she made her way out of the room, she glanced at the other diners and knew that those lucky enough to have booked a place were wondering what the subject matter would be and whether Lucinda was a suitable instructor.

  Finally, she was going to be put to the test.

Extract from: THE BEST BOOMERVILLE HOTEL

 

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MORE BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

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Coming Soon – Boomerille Two! Excerpt

If you enjoyed The Best Boomerville Hotel enjoy a slice of the follow-up. Here’s an excerpt when Hattie is re-acquainted with Harry…

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Sergeant Harry Knowles liked to think of himself as a chameleon when it came to policing his patch. A man who blended in with his surroundings. This had its good points and served him well as a shadowy observer of situations, swooping in when least expected to utter the phrase he liked the most, ‘You’re nicked!’ Not that he had much opportunity to use the words, for very little happened when Harry was on duty and this he put down to good law enforcement by himself and fellow officers.

  Some would say that Westmarland was a sleepy place, where not much happened, other than chasing visitors for speeding fines or litter-dropping on the pristine streets of the tourist towns and villages of the county. Others, like Harry, who’d recently been promoted, found a crime around every corner and made it their duty to report and investigate each lost kitten and the many stolen bikes.

  But that morning, the station at Marland was a quiet as a tomb.

  Harry paced around the reception area and straightened posters on a notice board then wandered over to the main desk to tidy scattered pens and miscellaneous memos. He glanced over to the corner of the room where Constable Derek Jones sat with his feet perched on a stool, sipping from a large mug of tea. The local paper was spread out before him and he studied the crossword. The constable was in shirt-sleeves, the buttons of his uniform shirt straining over a paunch. Podgy fingers reached for a biscuit from a half-consumed pack and he dunked absentmindedly as he contemplated clues.

  ‘Pinging call as they search for food around Bassenthwaite,’ the constable called out. ‘Eight letters, third letter, Z.’

  ‘Buzzards,’ Harry replied and stared out of the window.

  It had been a glorious day and now in late afternoon, the streets of Marland were filled with holiday-makers who’d descended for the Easter break. Families bustled about before the shops closed, stocking up on burgers for their Sunday barbeques and local fudge as a take-home treat. Harry sighed as he watched the world go by. He was bored and longed for some action, something to set the streets alight and prove his worth in his new position. Anything to liven up his day.

  Suddenly, the front door was flung open and a woman bustled into the station. Hot and harassed, she swept up to the front desk and drummed her fingers on the counter. ‘Anyone home?’ Hattie called out.

  Derek whipped his feet off the stool and ambled to his feet, ‘What can we do for you, Madam?’ he said as he straightened his tie and wiped crumbs from his mouth.

  ‘You can make me a brew and shove those biscuits over here,’ Hattie said. ‘Is Harry the Helmet at home?’

  ‘Hello Hattie,’ Harry called out, wishing that Hattie wouldn’t be so familiar. ‘What can we do for you on this lovely sunny day.’

  ‘I want to have a word,’ she glanced at Derek. ‘Haven’t you got something to do? Crime won’t crack itself, Constable.’

  ‘Step into my office,’ Harry said, ‘two teas, when you’ve a moment, Derek.’ He guided Hattie along a dingy corridor and into a small room, where he pulled out a chair and sat Hattie down beside a rickety table. Pulling a chair up for himself, Harry rubbed his hands together, perhaps Hattie had something interesting for him to get his teeth into?

  ‘So, you’re back.’ Harry said.

  ‘State the bleedin’ obvious,’ Hattie replied, ‘hardly needs a copper to suss that out.’

 Harry looked at Hattie. She was still attractive and vivacious with lovely ginger curls. Her ample chest bounced as she babbled.

  Derek appeared with tea and biscuits, laid out on a china plate. As the door closed behind him, Hattie began.

  ‘My house has been trashed and I want you to find the good-for-nothings who did it.’

  Harry whipped out a notebook and licked the end of a pencil. ‘I thought you’d rented it out?’

  ‘I did.’

  ‘It’s a civil matter then.’ He closed his notebook.

  ‘Aye, it probably is and my own fault for not putting it with an agent but what I am concerned about is a puppy.’

  ‘A puppy?’ Harry asked.

  ‘Half-starved and as good as dead when me and Alf found it in my old shed.’

  ‘Animal cruelty, a job for the RSPCA.’

  ‘No, Harry, it’s a job for you.’ Hattie was adamant. ‘The vet says the puppy will live if properly looked after. He’s got it on a drip and anti-biotics and is hopeful it will recover. We found it just in time but I want whoever is responsible for murdering an animal and trashing my house, to be prosecuted. Criminal damage, animal cruelty, whatever you can throw at them. I’ll give you what details I have of the tenants.’

  ‘They’ll all be false,’ Harry said, doubtful that the tenants would ever be traced. ‘Very well, but before you start, tell me what you are up to now, where are you going to live?’

  ‘I’m going back to Boomerville,’ Hattie said. ‘Jo seems to think the place can’t run without me and I’ll find a bed there while my place is being put back together.’

  ‘Boomerville busy, is it?’ Harry sat back and stretched his legs.

  ‘Booming I hear, you should pay us a call sometime, come and teach the old ’uns a bit of road safety or how to stay safe at home,’ Hattie grinned, ‘I can set up a course.’

  ‘I’d like that.’ Harry returned the smile, he’d jump at the chance of a few hours at Boomerville, anything to break the monotony here. There was always a pot of tea and a warm welcome, if Hattie was in the mood. ‘Jo keeping well?’ he asked.

  ‘She’s grand and will be glad to have me back.’ Hattie stood. ‘I’ll be on my way. I need to find a new home for the puppy but I’ve no doubt Jo will have room for another, she’s daft when it comes to dogs.’

  ‘She’ll have it running about the place in no time,’ Harry replied as he followed Hattie through the station where Derek, now occupied, was busy cracking crime. ‘Don’t forget to have a word about me running a course there.’

  ‘Aye, I will. You know where to find me,’ Hattie nodded to both. ‘I’ll be back at Boomerville.’

BOOMERVILLE TWO – COMING SOON!

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Have you read:

THE BEST BOOMERVILLE HOTEL 

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BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

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HAPPY READING XX