Holiday Reading – Caroline James

Author Caroline James Image visits us today to share three of her favourite books for your holiday reading list.

Here’s Caroline:

CJ holiday reads

The Tea Planters Wife by  Dinah Jefferies
A delightful read set in an exotic location that easily transports the reader to life in Ceylon in the 1920s. I loved this book, not only for its rich history but the gripping tale too. 
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
A 1950s period piece – think Mad Men and settle down. A brilliant portrait of American surburbia set in Connecticut with layers and layers. I devoured this book enjoying the story of conformity and society’s expectations.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carolos Ruiz Zafron
A page-turning mystery that I couldn’t put down. I wanted to savour each page. It’s got everything from an intricate plot to star-crossed lovers, mayhem, and mystery.
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Universal link to: So You Think You’re  A Celebrity…Chef?
 “There’s something very British about this book and you engage with the characters and root for them from the opening chapter, think – ‘AbFab meets MasterChef in a Soap!'”
To find out more about Caroline James:

Twitter:  @CarolineJames12

Hooked? – 1

Here are three books and their opening lines.

Do you want to read more after you read the first lines? The authors hope so. What do you think? Are you interested enough to turn the page?

1. Dead Wood by Chris Longmuir

Last night, when the dark was at its blackest, something had nipped at her fingers. She’d wriggled them and it had moved away, slithering into the unknown, no doubt waiting for another opportunity.  (Dead Wood – Chris Longmuir)



 2. Wall Walker by Janice E. Eberhardt

Viola Rasmussen gazed transfixed into her electron microscope, counting softly to herself, “…fifty-six, fifty-seven, fifty-eight. Hmm.”

She looked over at the geneticist working nearby. “Hey Jackson, how old was this person before he died?”

Jackson checked the background screen on his computer, “Um, looks like he was fifty-eight. Are you onto anything with that?”

Viola looked back into her microscope to verify the sample gene bearing fifty-eight concentric circles. “Holy moly!” she whispered to herself. “Not particularly,” she lied. “It’s just nice to know a little bit more about the body one’s slicing and dicing in the name of science, you know?” she continued in a slightly distracted but conversational tone as she rapidly copied the research data onto her com device.



3. Coffee, Tea, the Gypsy and Me by Caroline James

Jo’s romance with the gypsy began with his first kiss. She never forgot it...

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UK – Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me… eBook: Caroline James: Kindle Store

USA – Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me… – Kindle edition by Caroline James. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @


Coffee, Tea, the Gypsy and Me

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Just for fun, Caroline James, my guest today, will add a bit of light humour to your day.

Caroline lives in the UK. Her novels have an element of restaurant and food preparation woven into the storyline.

Here is an excerpt from Coffee, Tea, the Gyspy and Me.

Jo hurried to reception and collided with Hattie who came out of the kitchen with a plate of canapés.

  “Look out!  Shite I nearly lost them!” Hattie cursed.

  “You’ve got pastry on your mouth,” Jo snapped.  She was reeling from the degrees of warmth and hostility she’d just encountered.

  “She’s a sour cow eh?” Hattie nodded at the beautiful silver fox fur coat piled on the office chair.

  “Don’t you think you should hang that up?”  Jo began but stared with horror at the coat.  Two of the canapés were face down on the silk lining. Oily pesto oozed over the fabric creating a dark stain. “Hell! Jinny will kill us if she sees that.  For God’s sake, Hattie, do something!”

  “Well I’m not licking it off.  It’s nothing that can’t be fixed with warm soapy water.” Hattie disappeared to the kitchen as Jo stared with dismay at the expensive coat.

  “How’s it going, babe?” A man’s voice whispered.

  Jo spun round and in an effort to hide the damage, plonked herself on the coat.  Pete Parks placed his hands on the counter and leaned over.  Jo felt trapped.  She also felt a warm oily mess penetrate the back of her dress.

  “Oh, hello there…”  Jo said nervously.  “Did you want something?”  God he’s got incredibly blue eyes!

  “You know what I want babe.”

  Jo felt like a rabbit trapped in the headlights. Cornered with no where to go. The door to reception flew open and caught Pete on the forehead. He reeled back from the blow.  Oblivious, Hattie hurried through with a dishcloth in her hand.

  “What in God’s name are you sitting there for?  You’ll look like you’ve shit yourself!” Hattie tugged the coat from under Jo.

  “Oh hello, Pete, can we help you?” Hattie saw Pete steady himself. Dazed, he held his hand to his brow.

  “Have you tumbled?” Hattie asked “Not used to the champagne eh?”

  “Hattie!” Jo hissed, “Mr Parks was looking for the lavatory.”

  Hattie rolled her eyes heavenward.  She threw the dishcloth at Jo then guided Pete away.

  “Well the lav is on the left, you’ll not find it in here.”

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 To buy Caroline’s books, go to the amazon links below:          

The Turning Points Series – Caroline James

Most novels have a scene that is a turning point in the story. Something changes.  It could be an outer turning point where something happens to change the way the story evolves or an inner turning point where the person’s inner resolve or attitude changes. Maybe this change affects a character so that after this point, nothing will ever be the same for him or her. Some turning points are dramatic; some are more subtle.

Caroline James will share a turning point in her debut novel, Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me which shot to #3 on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun newspaper. The annual gypsy horse fair in Appleby, Cumbria, and a lifelong admiration for romanies were the inspiration behind the book.


Caroline James head shot low res

Caroline James was born in Cheshire and wanted to be a writer from an early age. She trained, however, in the catering trade and worked and travelled both at home and abroad. 




As the River Bevan thundered by below, Jo watched the deep muddy water and wondered what the hell she was going to do with her life. The phone rang and the shrill bell startled her. Jo spun round to turn off the television and knocked a Cabbage Patch Doll from the table where it fell to the floor.

She kicked the ugly toy to one side and grabbed the receiver, fearful that Thomas would wake.  The doll was a gift to Thomas from Greg, and Jo felt like stamping on its face.


“Is that you, Jo?” A man said.  “Robert Mann here, how are you?”

“Oh, you know, busy,” Jo lied.  What did Robert from Mann & Co Estate Agents want?  The last call had been to invite her to lunch, to celebrate the sale of the pub she’d owned with Greg.

“We’ve a property in the area that might be of interest to you,” he said.  Jo held the heavy black melamine phone to her ear and wiped her eyes. She tried to concentrate as Robert continued.

“It’s about six miles north of Butterly, in a lovely village with the River Bevan at the back and fells to the front. I have to say it’s a bit neglected. Been a guest house in its time and the chap had plans to turn it into a nursing home, but it seems all these new regulations and safety laws are putting him off.”

Robert droned on and Jo wondered what he was banging on about?

“What’s it called?” she asked.

“Well, it’s quite a large place and the owner seems to think he could get a good price if a hotel chain bought it.  Thinks it’s perfect for a country house hotel – that sort of thing, it doesn’t need planning permission.”

“What’s it called?”  Jo repeated as the image of a familiar building began to take shape.

“Of course he knows bugger all about catering.  Bit of a shark if you ask me, wants to make a quick buck.”

“What’s the name of the place?” Jo chewed the skin round her thumb nail.

“I think it’ll hemorrhage his money if he doesn’t move it on soon.  It’s a biggish place and needs a lot of work.”
Robert! What the hell is it called?” Jo shouted, no longer able to contain herself.

“Kirkton House, in the village of Kirkton Sowerby.”

Jo dropped the phone.  It bounced off her knee to the floor and she stared at it in disbelief then scrambled to pick it up.  Her heart hammered and she felt excited for the first time in ages!  She took a deep breath.

“Jo, are you there?”

“I’ll have it,” Jo heard herself say.

“What Jo? I can’t hear you, what did you say?”

“I said ‘I’LL HAVE IT!

“What! You don’t even know the price.  Are you mad?” Robert shouted back.

“I know the place and I know you’ll do the best possible deal.”  Jo smiled, her tears forgotten.  “Arrange a viewing and we’ll finalise everything as soon as possible.”

She slammed the phone down and jumped up then punched the air and spun around, tripping over the Cabbage Patch Doll.  Unable to stop herself she stumbled and fell to the floor.  Eye to eye with the creature, it stared soullessly at her.  Jo leapt to her feet and with a determined kick sent the vile object spinning across the room.

“Stuff you, Greg!” she shouted as she watched the doll hit the window, momentarily splayed out under a hail of icy bullets before it dropped to the floor.  Thomas woke up and began to cry and Jo reached into the cot.  She tucked the quilt around his body, cradled him in her arms and rocked him.

  “I’ll show your daddy how to run a business,” she whispered as she kissed the baby’s soft downy head. “Only this time it will be all on my own!”


CTTGM_CarolineJames_cover JPEGCaroline’s second novel, So, You Think You’re A Celebrity… Chef? has been described as wickedly funny: ‘Ab Fab meets Master Chef in a Soap…’  Caroline has owned and run many catering related businesses and cookery is a passion alongside her writing, combining the two with her love of the hospitality industry and romantic fiction. She is currently writing a TV script and accompanying book about the life of a well-known chef and has recently ghost-written a publication to be published at Easter 2014. Her third novel, Coffee, Tea, The Chef & Me will be published in 2015

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Twitter: @CarolineJames12
Facebook: Caroline James Author


Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me 

So, You Think You’re A Celebrity…Chef? 

USA Links:

Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me 

So, You Think You’re A Celebrity…Chef? 

Lady in Red

Continuing the Valentine’s Day countdown is British author Caroline James.

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What loves means… this experience certainly reminded me!

Many years ago I ran a country house hotel, where Valentine’s night was a main date in the calendar and preparations were made with great care to set the mood. I’d been divorced for almost a year and was still reeling, men were simply not in my periphery and I immersed myself in work. On the great day a small package, addressed to me, arrived in the post. Inside, a card signed with a kiss and a music tape by Chris de Burgh, fell out of the wrapping. When I played the tape, I realised it was set for a particular song – Lady in Red. The staff seemed amused, I had an admirer! But I was perplexed as I had no idea who it might be.  The day progressed with still no clues to the mystery mail and eventually I went to get changed for the evening. Staring at the line of dresses in my wardrobe, I chose a red one – well, it was Valentine’s Day after all.

I braced myself for the evening ahead and hurried to begin work. As I walked into the bar, a song began to play and I heard Chris de Burgh sing, ‘Lady in Red, is dancing with me…’I was totally flummoxed and looked anxiously around the candlelit room, where couples were sipping champagne. A gorgeous looking man sat at the bar and smiled. He raised his glass then walked towards me and I recognised him as a guest from a couple of weeks before.

“Care to dance?” he asked and led me away from the bar to the moonlit conservatory overlooking the garden. As I danced with the handsome stranger the pain of my divorce evaporated and the rest, as they say, is history… well possibly another book!

Happy Valentine’s Day lovely people, hope yours is a special as mine was all those years ago. xx


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Caroline is the author of bestselling romantic comedies, Coffee, Tea, the Gypsy & Me and So, You Think You’re A Celebrity…Chef?  Today, she lives in Cheshire and spends her time writing, climbing mountains, and running a hospitality business. More details can be found on her website  

Red rose on the vinous silk

Christmas Interview – Caroline James

The countdown to Christmas continues. Since it is traditionally a time for sharing, I thought I’d start by sharing our ideas, beliefs, and experiences about the holiday season and Christmas. Over the next few weeks, I will be hosting friends who have agreed to let us into their lives by answering a few interview questions.0

Bravely volunteering her answers today is our guest, Caroline James. Is she really that wild?????

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1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

Very much so – I love Christmas and like all the traditions that go with it.

2. Have you ever spent Christmas alone?

No, I haven’t, thankfully.

3. Have you ever had a non-traditional Christmas dinner? What did you have?

Not on the day –  I am a total traditionalist and the turkey and all the trimmings are something I look forward to all year.

4. What are your thoughts on gift giving?

I think it’s all too much these days. This year I have really been firm with family and friends and set a low budget – if at all. Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive; it is after all, supposed to be a religious occasion.

5. What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

I love it when it snows and will be the first out to make a snowman or go for a lovely long walk. One year we walked up to a local castle and had a snowball fight around the turrets. Everyone else out walking joined in and it was a great deal of fun to play – men turned into little boys and women let their hair down.

6. Do you have stockings either at Christmas, or on St. Nicholas Day?

Yes – every year, filled with very small gifts. It takes me back to being a child and the crunch of the stocking on the end of my bed when I woke in the dark – such excitement!

7. What was the best gift you ever received at Christmas?

My son and his first Christmas.

8. What was the worst gift you ever received at Christmas?

A fire-extinguisher from my husband… sorry – ex-husband!

9. What do you do with gifts you hate?

Give them to charity

10. What was the best homemade gift you ever received?

Chocolates from my god-daughter, oh and a lovely wool cape that my sister made for me

11. Have you ever given a homemade gift? Tell about it.

Yes, I always give gifts that I’ve made. A friend tells me it wouldn’t be Christmas without one of my cakes and I like to give Christmas marmalade made with oranges, cranberries and whisky. I make small cakes and fudge and chocolate truffles – all things that package beautifully with festive ribbons and bows.  I’d like to give the sloe gin that I make in the autumn but I’ve usually drunk it all by Christmas… too delicious!

chocolate flapjacks

12. What would you change about Christmas?

I wish it wasn’t so commercial – Christmas shopping in November just seems wrong.

13. What would you keep the same if you could?

That loved ones are safe and well.

14. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

Anything Christmassy – whether carols in a church or Noddy Holder screaming… “It’s Christmas….!”

15. What do you like best about Christmas?

There’s an air of expectancy – I can’t explain why but it’s there and it’s lovely.

16. Any additional thoughts about Christmas?

Christmas is the culmination of the year to me, an ending before a beginning. A time to reflect, before the new year starts.



Twitter:     @CarolineJames12 




Caroline’s novels:

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 Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me


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So, You Think You’re A Celebrity… Chef?