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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. 

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

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Travels, Writing Tips, Promo.

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.

Lancashire Trough of Bowland

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.

Happy reading,

With love,

Caroline xx

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

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Moving on…

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. 

Cathy – my sister and best friend

Books & offers

FREE

All of my books are free to read on Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime and you can find them by using the link below:

Caroline James Author

You will also find three feel-good books for summer reading on a limited time offer for only 99p/99c on Amazon, and can find them here:

Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me

Coffee Tea the Caribbean and Me

Coffee Tea the Chef and Me

And don’t forget that The Best Boomerville Hotel if a funny, feel-good read and the follow up, Boomerville at Ballymegille continues to get great reviews too. If you fancy more of a mystery to kick back and relax with, why not download Hattie Goes To Hollywood.

RECIPE

Summer fruits are absolutely sublime at the moment so why not cool off with a delicious ice-cream which is so easy to make and light on calories too.

Caroline’s Easy Summer Ice-cream

Ingredients: 2 bananas frozen, 400g frozen raspberries, 500g Greek 0% Yogurt, Sweetener to taste

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.

With love and happy reading

Caroline xx

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Boomerville and Boom Radio UK

Hello Everyone

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.

Snowdrops in the garden

RADIO

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

Boom Radio UK

GIVEAWAY

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.

Coming soon – win a gorgeous ‘Drake’

PROMO

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.

Download your copy: Boomerville at Ballymegille

Wishing you all a wonderful week,

With love

Caroline xx

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

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Happy New Year 2021

As we say good bye to 2020 I wish you all a very happy New Year and hope and pray that 2021 will bring an end to the current pandemic and that whatever our ‘new normal’ is, will bring health and happiness to you all in the year ahead.

Giveaway

As a thank you to my wonderful readers there’s a chance to win…

Fancy an online treat from Amazon? I’m giving away a £25.00 Amazon voucher this month and you can stock up with books or whatever takes your fancy. To be in with a chance to win simply head over to my Facebook page and tell me why you’d like to win the voucher, OR you can email me here: caroline@carolinejamesauthor.co.uk

To enter click here: Win an Amazon Voucher

Good luck!

Reading

For my friends in America Boomerville at Ballymegille is currently only 99c (ends 4th January) so if you fancy a feel-good relaxing read in the days ahead download a copy here:

Boomerville at Ballymegille

Also on Promo:

If you would like to read the Coffee Tea series, the books are also on promo for the next few days:

Click here to download: Coffee Tea Series 

Recipe

One of my favourite cake recipes is A Taste of the Caribbean Cake

This delicious cake is full of lemon, coconut and ginger and melts in your mouth. Easy to make too.

If you fancy a taste of tropical sunshine download the recipe here:

A Taste of the Caribbean Cake

Wishing each and every one of you a very safe passage through these difficult days and all good wishes for a happy and healthy 2021.

With love

Caroline

xx

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

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November News and Promo Books

Another week in lockdown here in England.

VIRTUAL HUGS

I live in an area that has been in ‘Tier Three’ for some time, with the highest rates of Covid19 and it feels as though we have been isolating for a long time now, in addition to the current nationwide Lockdown. I am fortunate that I work and write from home but I so miss the contact with others face to face, to meet up for a coffee, a chat and a hug. For those of you, like me, unable to see relatives, especially anyone who is ill or going through a difficult time, I’m sending out a big virtual hug to you all.

BOOK PROMO

We’re giving you an early Christmas offer, my ‘Coffee Tea’ series is currently reduced to only 99p/99c per book. These books have received very generous, wonderful reviews by kind readers and are described as feel-good fiction with lots of twists. So treat yourself – grab a coffee and something delicious to munch and snuggle down for a duvet day of reading.

Download Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me (and ‘Chef’ and ‘Caribbean’)

ONLINE COURSES

Have you been trying any online courses during this difficult time? I am a WI member and discovered that the very clever ladies who organise speakers have put scores of classes and talks online. I had three blissful hours listening to the life story of artist Freda Khalo as we learned how to paint a watercolour in her style. I’m not very good, but I really enjoyed giving it a go.

CHRISTMAS BAKING

Christmas is approaching, have you started to prepare? I haven’t done a thing. Its difficult to plan as family members who have to isolate through illness will not be joining, even if we are out of Lockdown over Christmas. But I will make a Christmas cake this weekend and if it turns out well, will post the recipe in the next newsletter. I’ll make a pudding too.

Have you got a favourite Christmas cake recipe? Do share it, send me an email: caroline@carolinejamesauthor.co.uk – I love to try your recipes and will credit and add to my website if they turn out well.

BOOMERVILLE AT BALLYMEGILLE AUDIO BOOK

The audio version of my latest book Boomerville at Ballymegille is now in production and it has been great fun working with narrator Gill Mills again. She is a wonderful actress/narrator and seems to completely ‘get’ my characters. It is fascinating to hear ‘Hattie’ being bought to life again and all the old friends from Boomerville. As the author, I almost feel as though I am listening to someone else’s book!

I hope that the sun is shining in whatever part of the world you are reading this.

Please stay safe, keep well and look after each other.

Happy reading,

With love

Caroline xx

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

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Book into Boomerville this Weekend

Happy Saturday! 

I hope your autumn day is sunny and despite Lockdown restrictions, that you are enjoying a happy and relaxing weekend.

BOOMERVILLE AT BALLYMEGILLE

Just a short post here to say that my new novel Boomerville at Ballymegille is only 99p/$1.20 this weekend. So, if you want to download a copy to your e-reader, grab the bargain while you can. The story has received some fabulous reviews, I am so grateful to readers for sharing, and seems to be a feel-good book all round – just what we need right now.

All my novels are FREE to read on KindleUnlimited too.

CAROLINE JAMES BOOKS

My November newsletter will be with you soon and there is a lovely competition coming up just in time for Christmas.

Take care and stay safe during this difficult journey.

With love

Caroline xx 

BOOMERVILLE AT BALLYMEGILLE

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Win a Teddy and a Tea Time Treat Recipe

Happy weekend everyone!

This is a short newsletter to let you know that my new book, Boomerville at Ballymegille is publishing on Tuesday 6th October and to celebrate, I have a lovely giveaway

WIN A ‘TEDDY’

Win a ‘Teddy’

Teddy is the puppy who we meet in the book. Teddy has had a poor start in life and needs a good home. Would you like your very own ‘Teddy’ ? I have a gorgeous gift wrapped Teddy, just waiting for one lucky reader. Simply head over to my Facebook page to enter and tell me why you’d like to win a Teddy. If you don’t use Facebook, send me an email on caroline@carolinejamesauthor.co.uk

Good Luck!

Get your copy of Boomerville at Ballymegille here: Boomerville at Ballymegille

Boomerville at Ballymegille – Publishing Tuesday!

Don’t forget that The Best Boomerville Hotel is only 99p (UK) at the moment and you can pre-order Boomerville at Ballymegille too so it lands on your e-reader on Tuesday paperback available too).

The Best Boomerville Hotel

Link: The Best Boomerville Hotel Link: Boomerville at Ballymegille

RECIPE – CAROLINE’S TEA TIME SCONES

Caroline’s Scones – A Tea Time Treat

If the weather is wet and gloomy this weekend, why not snuggle down with one of my favourite recipes. Scones are so delicious and so easy to make but feel like a real treat. Made in minutes, you can indulge yourself. I asked my Facebook friends which they preferred, fruit or cheese and the majority who replied said cheese!

What’s your favourite?

For the recipe, click here:  Caroline’s Scones

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and stay safe.

With love

Caroline

 Xx

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

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MEET THE AUTHOR – CAROL THOMAS

Today, I am joined by Carol Thomas – a successful author of women’s fiction/romance, who also writes for children. Her new book Being a A Friend at Christmas is now available and is absolutely delightful. A book that I will be putting in all the Christmas presents for the little ones in our family this year.

The book is beautifully illustrated, by Carol, and I am delighted to chat to this very talented author about her writing life.

Make sure you grab a copy of Being A Friend At Christmas for all the youngsters you know…

What inspired a successful writer of romance to create a children’s book?

I didn’t set out to write a children’s book, but my first, Finding a Friend, came to me almost fully formed. It was one of those moments, as a writer, you know you should note down. I had been reading my son a bedtime story, looked at a picture of him and our dog on his wall, and just started saying it. It then took just over a year to complete and publish the book, with the illustrations being done by the very talented Drew Bristow, an illustrator living in Brighton.

Being a Friend at Christmas, is the second in the Little Pup series, though each can be read as a standalone story. In this story, Little Pup is looking forward to his first Christmas in his new home, but he remembers the dogs he left behind in the shelter. He has a plan, but he needs Father Christmas’ help to make his wish come true. I can’t resist happy endings, maybe it’s the romance writer in me, but I knew I wanted to write this book soon after the first came out. It became a labour of love during lockdown, especially as I illustrated it too.

The illustrations are delightful – have you had any formal training?

That’s very kind of you. No, though for some time I doodled and kept sketchbooks, partly because I like drawing and find it relaxing, but also because it was encouraged as part of my teacher training. I must admit that having the illustrations in Finding a Friend as a guide helped and lockdown gave me the time I needed to practice and create the pictures.

Author Carol Thomas

What age group is the book marketed to?

It is written for under 7s. As a teacher, I wanted to write books that could be shared and enjoyed again and again. The text is purposefully rhythmic and rhyming to engage early readers, while little ones can join in and anticipate words and phrases. The illustrations are colourful and each story can inspire a conversation about the puppy’s thoughts and feelings.

The story and verse are charming, did it take long to put together?

For Being a Friend, I was writing to an idea and wanted to ensure I followed the same rhythm and rhyme scheme as Finding a Friend, and so it did take a little longer to complete. For a long time, I had most of it written but couldn’t make a couple of verses fit. I stepped away for a couple of months and returned to it afresh. I am thrilled with it now.

Going forward: Children v Adult writing – what do you prefer?

I enjoy both. Ruby Fiction, an imprint of Choc Lit, publishes my romance books, and so I have to prioritise time for them, but I also love creating children’s books, that I self publish. The process is different for each but ultimately rewarding.

Did you find the self-publishing process difficult?

I’d say challenging rather than difficult. There are still things to do with the process I’d like to be better at and to know more about but I am proud of what I’ve achieved. Being traditionally published too, I think it’s good to have the insight into both routes to publishing.

What can we expect from you next?

I am marketing Being a Friend at Christmas. I have a novel currently with my publisher, Choc Lit (fingers crossed they like it) and I am writing a Christmas novel that I hope will come out in 2021. I am crazily busy as I have also recently taken on a new teaching role working in year six, and, of course, must ensure I have quality time with my family and dog too – especially as they keep me sane!

About Being a Friend at Christmas (Little Pup book #2):

Little Pup’s looking forward to Christmas

and he knows just how lucky he’s been

because some dogs are still in shelters,

a warm home and best friend yet a dream.

Hoping a small gift of kindness,

will help them feel loved, not alone,

Little Pup has a wish that might come true,

when Father Christmas visits his home!

“A lovingly illustrated, and beautifully written, Christmas story you’ll want to share again and again!”

View the book trailer: https://youtu.be/q8Yhj7AfwPE

Purchase link: http://getbook.at/BAFAmazon

Finding a Friend (Little Pup book #1).

When Little Pup finds himself at the shelter,

he doesn’t know quite what to do.

Big dogs all around, feeling lost and alone,

Little Pup needs a friend… but who?

“A delightfully written and wonderfully illustrated picture book, with a heartwarming ‘tail’ of friendship.”

View the book trailer: https://youtu.be/66ypEpoNTd8

Purchase link: http://getbook.at/FAFAmazon

About Carol:

Carol Thomas writes for both adults and children: Her contemporary romance novels, have relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads; while her children’s books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters young children can relate to.

Its been an absolute pleasure to chat to Carol and don’t forget that you can purchase Being a Friend At Christmas now, I think it is a perfect book for children and not just at Christmas.

Happy reading everyone xx

Books by Caroline James

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Competition Winner, Promo and Recipe

Huge congratulations to Tracey McCann who won this month’s competition. Bertie Bear and his travelling bag, plus a signed copy of The Best Boomerville Hotel are on their way to Tracey.

Look out for the next newsletter, where there is a chance to win ‘Teddy’ the gorgeous puppy from Boomerville at Ballymegille which is publishing on 6th October.

Don’t forget that The Best Boomerville Hotel is currently on promo in the UK and can be downloaded for only 99p

and you can pre-order Boomerville at Ballymegille here:

Boomerville at Ballymegille

Pre-publication reviews from bloggers are wonderful for Boomerville at Ballymegille and I am over the moon and so grateful to book reviewer Jena Henry for her 5* review, which you can read here:

This is a special story that combines love and hope, with problems and sadness, and encourages the marvelous characters to join together to make life better...”

On my recent travels to Scotland I tried lots of delicious food, especially seafood on the west coast, but this tart is simply the best I have ever tasted and I am thrilled to share the recipe with you. Ecclefechan Butter Tart is very easy to make and absolutely gorgeous – treat yourselves!

Ecclefechan Butter Tart

Download the recipe here: Ecclefechan Butter Tart

I hope that September is a good month for you all and please remember to stay safe, be kind and look after yourselves.

With love

Caroline

xx

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

(Free on KindleUnlimited)