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Would you like a Bertie Bear?

Its the first day of August and the summer is flying by. In my neck of the woods we seem to have had an awful lot of rain in-between hot and humid weather. I hope that you are all enjoying the varied days and life is good.

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This post is short and sweet and just to tell you that my lovely author friends over at Apricot Plots have lots of summer giveaways if you hop over to their Facebook page (or Twitter: @ApricotPlots)

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This week it is my turn and I am offering a beautiful Boomerville Bertie Bear*, complete with his very own canvas travelling bag and a signed copy of my novel The Best Boomerville Hotel.

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To enter, simply go to this link: APRICOT PLOTS  and leave your comment.

Good luck and as always – happy reading!

With love 

Caroline 

xx

*Competition closes on 4th August and is open internationally

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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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

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Beach time in Britain

Britain is basking in the hottest summer for years. Heavy weekend traffic winds to the coast and an early start gets ahead of the queues, where a day out at the beach beckons. Gulls squawk as they wait for the picnics to commence, swooping down on scraps of discarded bread from mum’s bacon butties, prepared as dawn rose and sleepy kids were lifted out of their warm beds.

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Wales. The destination for childhood holidays and now a regular pilgrimage as an adult, with family in tow. Colour dots the long beach as stones are pounded on wooden poles into windbreaks braced like soldiers against sudden gusts. Blobs of canvas spring up and with grandparents installed in tepee like structures, children race to the shore, buckets in hand.

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The beach café is buzzing. Staff in fraying aprons speed around the kitchen delivering plate after plate to hungry diners. Sausage, fish, scampi, chicken – fried food piled high, moments away from being drenched in vinegar, salt and sauce smeared in dark pulsating veins over fleshy mounds of fat, tasty chips. An ice cream van appears, a tuneful arrival summoning bathers and beach walkers to crisp cornets, dripping with frozen vanilla and milk chocolate Flakes. Give the dog a cone! A sign on the van announces, Frozzie Doggie for the Coolest Canine!

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The sun is hot as the tide races in. A quad bike hurtles noisily over the estuary, the modern-day lifeguard warning families to head back to the safety of the shore. A woman, large and perspiring begins to shout. A man, silent and sullen leads a dog away from her squabbling and wanders across bumpy pebbles, gaining distance from the bickering he’s heard a thousand times before. She buys an ice cream, the melting mass eaten in silence as she glares out to sea.

A ball thwacks against a bat as a cricket game starts up. Children laugh and scream, egging each other on under the glare of the delicious summer sun. Adults light a barbeque, sausages sizzle and smoke trails through the heat haze as burgers in soft soggy buns are handed out.

Beaches of Britain. No finer place on a sunny day.

Novels by Caroline James
Novels by Caroline James

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From Cumbria to the Caribbean…

Time for an update…

Since publication in March, The Best Boomerville Hotel is booming. Thanks to all the lovely readers who have left such fabulous reviews and enjoyed my latest novel. So many people have asked if I might open such a hotel and I think if I did, it would soon be booked up! I too would fancy a frolic with the Shaman in his tepee or an hour or two with Queenie the clairvoyant in her gypsy caravan as well as enjoying the many classes such as pottery or creative writing etc. with Hattie and all the whacky residents at Boomerville.

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The Best Boomerville Hotel is available on all ereader platforms and is currently on promo on Amazon UK at only 99p. Download here: Boomerville

‘Boomerville Two’ is coming along and I hope to have the first draft finished soon. Jo and Hattie have introduced new courses such as an aqua swimming team and the Boomerville Babes, complete in matching speedos and spandex, get up to all sorts of mischief. There is a new Boomerville Hotel too as Jo sets of for Southern Ireland to set it up. Expect Irish shenanigans a plenty…

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Beautiful Kinsale in Southern Ireland – setting for ‘Boomerville Two’

I’ve had a fabulous time in the Caribbean as my son celebrated his marriage to a wonderful Canadian girl. Jamie and Ashley pulled out all the stops with a three-day wedding event and folk flew in from all over the world to celebrate with them. As they embark on married life together in their Barbadian home we wish them every possible happiness.

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Boomerville Bertie is feeling very jaded after his recent holiday and is currently lying down in a darkened room to recover. He thanks everyone who made his acquaintance during his wonderful trip and hopes to be back on the road very soon.

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I’m focussing on publicity this month and enjoyed a slot on BBC radio recently. I’m heading to Cumbria soon to record an hour-long programme on my life for BBC Radio Cumbria too. It was fun to judge a short story competition this week, which celebrated 700 years of Mayoralty in Congleton, Cheshire – the town where I was born. There were some cracking entries and it’s great to see so many getting involved to promote reading and writing.

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Short story winner Michelle Dickens and runner up Olivia Smedly with Congleton Mayor and authors John Lindley and Nick Jones

As summer approaches and the weather warms up I’m looking forward to getting out and about and hope to catch up with many of you on the way.

Happy reading and warmest wishes

Caroline xx