Uncategorized

Keep safe, New Audible book, Competition

With the news getting more and more disheartening each day, I am sending this post hoping that you are all safe and healthy and steering clear of this terrible Coronavirus. My bookings for talks and guest speaking at events over the next few months are cancelled and these difficult times will affect us all.

If we do have to spend more time at home, it might be an opportunity to catch up on reading. I’ve just read a fabulous book by Jenny Éclair called Moving. It’s the first book I’ve read by this very clever comedienne and author and I will certainly read more. I love audiobooks and Liz Nugent’s Skin Deep had me gripped. What a great book to listen to, perfectly narrated, chilling at times with a lead character that you loathe but can’t help but follow.

AUDIBLE BOOK

I’m thrilled to tell you that my new novel Hattie Goes to Hollywood is now out as an Audiobook and you can download it here:

HATTIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD

hgth audible 2 smaller

Hattie Goes To Hollywood

The narrator is Gill Mills. Gill is a former BBC broadcaster and journalist who now divides her time between family, narration and fiction writing. It was great fun working with Gill on the project and listening to my characters come to life is a strange but very rewarding experience. I hope that you enjoy this audible version, reviews have been brilliant and many listeners and readers are telling me that it is my best book to date.

Reveiw tessa talks books

COMPETITION

As a thank you, I have a competition this month to win a gorgeous cuddly ‘Drake’. Drake is Hattie’s pet duck in the book and follows her everywhere, even helping her to sleuth when needed. If you would like to win Drake please head over to my Facebook page:

CAROLINE JAMES AUTHOR

WIN A DRAKE HGTH

If you’re not on Facebook – simply drop me a line (caroline@carolinejamesauthor.co.uk) telling me why you’d like Drake to come and live with you. The winner will be drawn at random on 22nd March (Mother’s Day in the UK) and announced in next month’s newsletter. Good luck!

RECIPES

I’m thinking of creating store cupboard recipes if we have to stay at home during the Coronavirus outbreak and if you have any that you’d like to share, please send them to me and I’ll publish the best here.

pexels-photo-691114

Do take great care of yourselves, your friends, family and those who are alone.

With warmest wishes and love

Caroline xx

New Books in a banner

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

Uncategorized

July news, sea shanties, recipes and summer reading bargains

Its summer time in the UK with annual sporting events entertaining us, such as the Wimbledon tennis tournament and the tremendous result of England winning the cricket World Cup. In-between my working days, I have been enjoying sunny trips away.

I went south to Falmouth, in Cornwall, for a Sea Shantie Festival. This was a first for me and we spent three perfect days listening to a variety of shantie groups from as far away as Brittany, Holland, Spain, Canada and Ireland. They performed their unique take on sea songs and shanties at different venues in the coastal town from quaint pubs to main stages.

Falmouth has a long history as a safe port of call for deep water sailing ships and tired Capehorners and Clippermen crews, who may have been at sea for months, would stop here and entertain themselves at the many alehouses, with tales and yarns. Their shantie songs are kept alive to this day and locals say if you listen carefully as you walk along the 17th century streets, you can still hear them singing.

The picture below shows the shantie group, Fisherman’s Friends, who inspired the movie of the same name. They were brilliant.

The beaches in Falmouth are stunning, I enjoyed several sunny walks along this one below, at Gyllyngvase, there’s a gorgeous cafe there too!

falmouth_header_02

Another trip was to beautiful Norfolk. It’s lavender season in this eastern county and fields of the stunning crop give a purple haze and heady scent as you wander through the countryside.

Castle_Farm_Lavender_099_3718

Norfolk beaches are also lovely, this one is at Hunstanton where relics of fossilised trees can be seen at low tide.

Poppies are in abundance too and the Norfolk coast between Sheringham, Cromer and Overstrand is known as Poppyland, a name first given to the area by the writer, Clement Scott, in the 1880s. I love poppies and am told that the common poppy has been voted the county flower for Norfolk.

103_5046

We visited the Queen’s private home at Sandringham House, a country house in the parish of Sandringham. The Queen’s father George VI and grandfather George V both died here. It is a beautiful building standing in a 20,000 acre estate in the Norfolk coast area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is listed as a Grade II building along with the gorgeous landscaped gardens, park and woodlands.

Sandringham_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1062504

The house is open to the public in the summer months but closes in October to enable staff to get ready for the Queen, who stays there from December to February. You can wander through the private rooms and have a fascinating guided tour in what feels like a much-loved home. I never tire of Sandringham and always enjoy a visit there.

The lovely folk at Amazon have discounted my novel: Coffee, Tea the Caribbean & Me, throughout July and August and if you fancy jetting off the Caribbean with a feel-good read that has been an Amazon best-seller for some time, grab a copy now at the heavily discounted price of 99p in the UK and Europe and $1.24 in the USA. Happy reading!

150618_EM_Freebies2

My recipe this month is a favourite with my family. Coconut and Raspberry Slice is an easy tray-bake that is great for picnics.

Raspberry-Coconut-Slice

If you scroll down on the link, you’ll also find a recipe for Toffee Vodka. This was shared by a friend recently and I have to say it is addictive! You make it in your dishwasher! Check the link to see how: Toffee Vodka.

IMG_5603

Lovely Amazon is also promoting my debut novel in their Prime Reading during the summer and you can grab a copy there for free. Coffee Tea The Gypsy & Me is a popular read and gets wonderful reviews. It was E-book of the Week in a national UK newspaper and reached #3 in Women’s Fiction on Amazon when it was released.

img_1947
Coffee Tea The Gypsy & Me

I was invited to chat to presenter, John Gillymore, on his popular BBC Radio show, which was broadcast from the fascinating Harris Museum in Preston, Lancashire. The Harris Museum is also a public library and art gallery and what better place to sit and chat about books and creativity.

IMG_5604

The founder of the museum, Edmond Harris left a legacy to create this historic building and it officially opened in 1893. The Harris is an important regional museum and holds fascinating collections of fine and decorative art, costume and textiles, history and photography, many of which are of international significance.

I6A9099

The RNA (Romantic Novelist’s Association) conference was held recently and I enjoyed spending time catching up with writer friends and listening to some excellent seminars. The RNA is a great organisation to be a part of and the conference is a brilliantly well organised affair, offering a great deal to its members.

Audio books are entertaining me more and more. I find I listen when I’m driving, cooking or ironing and I’m currently enjoying The Other Wife by Michael Robotham. It’s a cracking thriller. I’ve just downloaded a new audio book by the brilliant Deborah Moggah, author of many of my favourite novels, including the Best Marigold Hotel. Her latest, The Carer, looks like it has ‘best-seller’ all over it and I can’t wait to listen to it.

51MfUiZy12L

Have a wonderful July lovely newsletter friends. I hope that you all enjoy some of your favourite things this month.

Warmest wishes and happy reading,

with love from

Caroline

xx

Book into The Best Boomerville Hotel this summer!

CAROLINE JAMES (PROMO SHOOT 26.06.2018)
THE BEST BOOMERVILLE HOTEL

unspecified

Uncategorized

From Recipes to Romance

It was always my dream to write a book but one that I never imagined would come true.

Educated at an all girl’s grammar, I hated school. The teachers terrified me and it was a very unhappy time. The only classes I enjoyed were English and cookery. My working life took a different direction from the one my parents planned and instead of going into the family business I started work in a hotel, where life in the hospitality industry fascinated me. I loved the environment, being around food and creativity was inspiring; it was a revolving door with new faces each day. Another dream was formed – to own my own hotel.

Fast forward many years.

I got my beautiful hotel. A country house in the Lake District. In fact, I got many things including a wonderful time in the hospitality industry working with some of the best chefs in the business. Food was my life. But there was still that nagging dream to publish a book but the unanswered question was – could I write? A story had been in my head for years, based around an hotel. One day, I had an epiphany. Write and keep writing until I had a manuscript. I stole hours from a manic schedule and wrote Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me It a year. But my elation soon evaporated as it became impossible to find a publisher and the rejection slips piled high. In desperation I learnt how to self-publish and astonishingly the book went to number three in women’s fiction on Amazon. Five books on, my new book, The Best Boomerville Hotel is published my lovely Ruby Fiction and I am writing the next.

I never thought that my recipe writing years would turn to writing romance and that my dream would come true. But they did.

Happy writing xx

 

Books by Caroline James

 

phonto

 

Uncategorized

A Recipe For Disaster, Interview with Author & TV Producer, Stephen Phelps

A Recipe for Disaster

20615698_1530038370395338_5202781570643232699_o

“Cooking up a Big Italian Idea!”

 

“A cookbook & travelogue companion to Cookucina, a TV series .”

www.cookucina.com 

The blurb also tells me that this book and accompanying cookery series is an, “Entertaining journey of an Englishman struggling with the ups and downs of living in rural Italy.”

I was hesitant to read something with a title that suggests a gloomy outcome but having spent time in the area of Italy so lovingly described, I was curious and decided to plough on. I am so pleased that I did.

Recipe for Disaster Cover

 

Stephen Phelps gave up a successful career in television, to make a TV cookery series in Tuscany, a region of Italy that he had come to love. His partner, Tam, can’t cook but inspired by neighbour Lia, a great cook, he is persuaded to embark on a six-part series. The book that followed and the series, A Recipe For Disaster outlines their many encounters with the real Italy – a world away from the picture-book ideal of summer holidays in Tuscany. I was keen to throw some questions to Stephen and learn about his experience…

Recipe for Disaster - SP best pic
Stephen Phelps

Stephen, welcome to my blog. I adored your book but the title of your book seems an ominous premonition of things to come, did you chose the title before or after filming and writing and why?

I chose the title after making the series and just before completing the book. It was originally to be called MY BIG ITALIAN IDEA, and I think you can still find traces of that in the text. It starts for instance with the notion that our neighbour Lia was trying to sell us on a “Big Idea.”

Trailer for Cookucina – https://youtu.be/rh_wHv1o1Lg

Other than the 30-degree heat in August what was the most difficult thing you experienced during filming?

That’s easy, the lack of a fully-trained and properly equipped support crew. As exemplified by the problems we faced when we came to record the sound during filming in the tight  confines of the kitchen. Here’s a clip from the book about that particular problem:

Now here’s something else you can’t get in a small country town in Italy at a moment’s notice – a boom. Professional sound recordists use a specially designed telescopic arm that allows them to get their microphone into the best possible position without getting in the shot. Sometimes they can be twelve or fifteen feet away and still get a microphone close enough to pick up a whisper. And somehow, by magic, they seem to know just exactly how close they can get without their fluffy grey windsock peeking into shot. … We didn’t have a windsock (of course), nor did we have a “specially designed telescopic arm”. So we had to improvise. Fifteen minutes later we were ready. The arc lights were switched on and I swung my “boom” into position. The microphone was now attached to the end of a broom handle with a red and white striped towel wrapped around it to act as a windsock. This was the Dunkirk spirit in action.

 What is Tam’s favourite recipe and why?

Her favourite recipe from the series is the Simple Onion Soup, because a) it’s the one she could really cook on her own, and b) it’s Simple!  But there’s one dish that I cook occasionally that she absolutely loves – chicken breasts wrapped in pancetta, drizzled with balsamic vinegar (the real, expensive, stuff) and honey, then baked in the oven for 20 minutes. Always guarantees me a compliment about my cooking.

20431718_1530038383728670_251541236026198104_n

I tried the Simple Onion Soup recipe and it is absolutely delicious! But moving on, would you recommend self-financing to other would-be film-makers?

Not unless they can’t avoid it. The pros are many. You are your own boss, and you can decide exactly what you want to do. If you get money from a broadcaster they will Inevitably be very prescriptive about how they want the series made. There’s more good news in that you hang on to all the rights to the show. But the bad news is that you have to find the way to get it out into the marketplace and then you have to do all the marketing yourself. Having said that, there are mechanisms like Quiver Digital now available for getting self-financed programme out there. Make no mistake though, filming the series is the easy bit!

Was it difficult to stick to budget and why?

In truth we had no actual budget. We just started, paying for things as and when they came up. Then, as it became apparent that we were actually going to get the material for a proper series, we began to encounter real outside costs like the editing of the series. And that’s when we had to be very sure that we were going to get something saleable at the end of it – otherwise it would have been money down the drain.

Have you any advice to would-be, self-financing film-makers?

Don’t do it! Unless and until you cannot find a proper outlet for the kind of work you really want to do. And be very sure that you have a clear marketing strategy in place before you start on this road.

What was the best bit about making a cookery series other than tasting the delicious recipes?

Travelling around and meeting the local farmers, the people who make the cheese and salami and so on.

What is the reaction of your friends and neighbours in Le Marche by this project?

Very positive. So far. After the recent earthquakes the region needs a boost to its tourism prospects and I think they see this as very helpful in that respect. Most of the neighbours don’t speak any English though – so I could be saying anything about them. But they trust me, thank goodness!

Will you make more episodes and if so, what would the content be?

Yes, but only if this series really takes off and delivers some financial return. We shot this first series in high summer, and we always had a vague plan to do a series for each of the four seasons. The seasons here are markedly different, and so is the food that gets eaten. Chestnuts are really plentiful and delicious right now for instance.

Do you think online viewing with content by independents is here to stay and a good way to market a series? Please explain your thoughts.

I would like to think so. But whether it will be in the form of “conventional” series like COOKUCINA or through much shorter clips of the sort that populate YouTube is another question. We did think for a while of producing a series of Cookucina shorts for YouTube – but maybe that is for another day. The real issue is where does the money come from. Traditional TV costs a great deal of money to make (often upwards of $50,000 an hour). It’s by no means clear what future, online, financial model will generate the funds to support those kind of production values. It’s what we have tried to do with Cookucina, but so far we are well out of pocket. The good news, though, is that it can stay on sale for ever, and with the right promotion maybe its time will come!

20525604_1530038380395337_2421610395628033621_n

Your writing is very eloquent and makes great reading. (Thank you for that, Caroline!) Did you do an MA in creative writing to assist in script writing or have you found it has helped in other areas?

Recipe for Disaster Cover

I thought I was going to make a living as a TV dramatist, but in fact I have written a lot of radio drama for the BBC, but no TV. I have three full-length screenplays waiting to be discovered, and I do have to say that the scriptwriting training taught me a lot about how to structure when I sat down to write my first book.

What’s next for Stephen Phelps?

No idea! I am a great one for just picking up the next thing that comes along and running with it. Having said that, I have just started on a  rather difficult novel (my first). I’d like to think I have a good novel in me – but then don’t we all?

Thanks for joining me on my blog and good luck with your venture.

Download: A Recipe For Disaster

You can contact Stephen on the links below:

Stephen Phelps – Social Media Links 

Twitter                   @StephenP_Writer

Faceboook           https://www.facebook.com/stanley.tinker

Instagram              stephenp_writer

Medium                https://medium.com/@stephenphelps

Web                         www.cookucina.com

Trailer for Cookucina – https://youtu.be/rh_wHv1o1Lg

Purchase links:

iBooks                     http://bit.ly/iRecDis

Kindle                     http://bit.ly/KdleRecipe

Paperback             http://bit.ly/RecDis

Goodreads            http://bit.ly/GoodRec

Smashwords        http://bit.ly/SmaRec

Recipe For Disaster Full Banner