Tuesday, 18 February 2020

New Release Spotlight & Guest Post: Hattie Goes to Hollywood by Caroline James

Hattie Goes to Hollywood by Caroline James

Ellesea, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. As my new novel, Hattie Goes To Hollywood, is launched, I want to share my thoughts on older protagonists having lead character roles.
I often write about older people in my novels and in my new novel, Hattie Goes to Hollywood, the lead character, Hattie, is a private investigator who is in her late 50s.
She is a ‘Baby Boomer.’
Baby boomers are people born during the post WWII baby boom and their current ages are 50-72. I’m a baby boomer and we are supposed to be the wealthiest, most active and physically fit generation in history, all currently reaping the benefits of a good lifestyle that peak levels of income bring. Baby boomers are said to be the luckiest generation having benefitted from free education, a buoyant job market and inherited property windfalls amongst other advantages.
But are they all so lucky?
Alcohol studies state that baby boomers, who grew up with more liberal attitudes to alcohol, are ruining their health with heavy home drinking and with the current financial uncertainties and pension crisis, many boomers fear for their future and find themselves working way beyond their estimated pension age. Western culture suggests that we become invisible to the younger generation as we get older. Middle agers are susceptible and can feel that they are no longer attractive nor have the confidence of their youth. None of this represents the picture that many baby boomers expected to paint in their middle years and beyond.
For me, growing older has never been more fun. I believe that we are able to be the best that we can at every stage of our life and that ageing means being comfortable in your own skin. Coming out of your comfort zone is daunting. Doing it at this time of life is doubly hard but I have found that stepping out of your day to day and testing new waters generates the energy to recharge your creative batteries.
With this in mind, I want to write novels that are uplifting for older and younger readers alike and to show that life can be wonderful as you age. Fictionally, if my characters can dodge the daunting media hype and face the ageing process with enthusiasm, they can embrace it. I hope that the personalities in Hattie Goes To Hollywood, reflect these thoughts. Especially Hattie, as she comes out of her comfort zone and starts a new career as a private investigator. I hope too that my books will encourage readers to embrace life, at whatever age.
Many thanks again Ellesea and happy reading to you and your followers,
Caroline xx

A Cumbrian Village...
Three suicides...
A red-hot summer...

Join super-sleuth Hattie as tempers and temperatures rise in the Cumbrian village of Hollywood. With mischief and shenanigans aplenty, will Hattie discover the truth?

A funny and intriguing mystery – the first in a new series by Caroline James

When recently bereaved Hattie Mulberry inherits her aunt’s dilapidated cottage in the village of Hollywood in Cumbria, she envisages a quiet life. But retired hotelier Hattie is bored and when her neighbour asks her to investigate a suspicious suicide, Hattie’s career takes a new direction and H&H Investigations is born. During the hottest summer for years, Hattie discovers there have been three recent suicides in Hollywood and she determines to find out why. Temperatures rise as she throws herself into village life and, with mischief and shenanigans aplenty, Hattie has her work cut out. But will she establish the truth?
Amazon UK      Amazon US 
Best-selling author of women’s fiction, Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that often features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, which includes talks and lectures on cruise ships world-wide, Caroline is also a consultant and food writer. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association, the Society of Women’s Writer’s & Journalists and the Society of Authors and writes articles and short stories, contributing to many publications. In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Books by Caroline James:

Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me
Coffee Tea the Chef & Me
Coffee Tea the Caribbean & Me
Jungle Rock
The Best Boomerville Hotel
Hattie Goes to Hollywood

Giveaway to Win a cuddly Drake toy! (Open INT)
Be in with a chance to win Drake, Hattie’s faithful pet duck! Tall Drake & Handsome
A gorgeous soft toy who will be your friend for life.
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Book Blog Tour Stop and Author Guest Post: Five Wakes and a Wedding by Karen Ross

Five Wakes And A Wedding by Karen Ross

Hello Ellesea! Thanks for taking part in the Five Wakes and a Wedding blog tour, and here’s my guest post
Write what you know, they tell you. And one thing I know more than I ever wanted to is about what happens when the roof leaks.
At the time, I was living in a basement flat. So I wasn’t getting rained on, but my upstairs neighbours were, which made the leaking roof my problem as well as theirs. The repairs turned out to be hideously expensive and the experience was stressful, to put it mildly.
But when you’re a novelist, nothing is wasted. And in my new book, Five Wakes and a Wedding, I was able to give my protagonist, funeral director Nina Sherwood, the problem of a dodgy roof.
This was a bit unkind, because Nina already has problems. She’s opened her funeral parlour – Happy Endings – in a well-heeled London suburb where the locals seem to hate her from the moment they discover the new shop on the high street will force them to confront death on a daily basis.
Nina’s starting to feel she’s made a terrible mistake. Until finally someone does come into her shop:
I’m on my fourth cup of coffee, which means I need to run to the loo again, but before I can leave my desk, the door opens and a woman comes in.
She’s five foot nothing, dressed head to toe in a bright orange ensemble of blouse, skirt, tights and clumpy boots. Her outfit clashes magnificently with her thick, shoulder-length hair, dyed in that unfortunate yet ubiquitous shade Gloria and I always refer to as menopause red, topped by a purple fedora that adds several inches to her height.
Good morning,’ she says. ‘I’m Sybille Newman. Your neighbour.’
The shop next door to mine is The Primrose Poppadum – ‘Modern Organic Indian Classics, Free from Dairy, MSG, Wheat & Egg’ according to its sign – and Sybille Newman doesn’t fit my image of a restaurateur. Then again, I’m probably not her idea of an undertaker.
Very pleased to meet you,’ I say cautiously.
So you’re the owner, are you?’ Sybille Newman has a cut-glass accent and she sounds cross.
Yes, I’m Nina Sherwood. Today’s my first day and—’
Never mind that. I’ve come about the roof.’
The roof. My husband and I live above the dreadful Indian restaurant.’ Sybille gestures towards The Primrose Poppadum with a flash of her Guantanamo orange fingernails. ‘Make sure you never go there – I’ve seen them arriving with carrier bags full of stuff from Asda. Organic my foot! We’re trying to get them shut down because of the dreadful smells. My husband has a respiratory disorder and they’re making it so much worse. But that’s not the point. The roof is leaking and we need a new one.’ She looks expectantly at me.
I’m sorry to hear that,’ I say. ‘But I don’t understand why your roof is any of my business.’
It’s a single structure that covers both properties.’ Sybille Newman frowns at me as if I’m being deliberately obtuse. ‘Ned and I have lived here for twenty-three years, and even when the betting shop was downstairs, back in the nineties, there was trouble with the roof.’ She leans on my reception desk and adds, ‘We’ve had it replaced twice, but now there’s water leaking into our living room again every time it rains. We’ve got a good jobbing builder who’s been patching it up, but we shouldn’t have to be doing that at our own expense. Not when it’s supposed to be a shared cost. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the purlin’s rotted. And there’s a ticking noise coming from the rafters that keeps us awake every night. Woodworm probably. Or beetles.’ Sybille smiles slyly. She seems almost pleased at the prospect. ‘So I’ll get some roofers round to supply estimates and let you have copies.’
Okay.’ I presume she wants me to pass them on to my managing agent.
And you need to complain to the council about the restaurant smell. Not that they’ll do anything about it.’
There’s something about the way she says this that makes me think Sybille Newman enjoys being a victim, that she’s the sort of woman who is happy only when she’s got something to complain about. I’ve already got a feeling that no matter how hard I try to be a good neighbour, nothing I do will be ever good enough.
Sybille Newman turns out to be an important character as the story progresses. As for that roof . . . it is destined to cause a great deal of grief before it finally gets fixed. (And as for me, I solved own my roofing issues by way of a change of address!)
Five Wakes and a Wedding has been described as romantic comedy noir, mixing light and shade. From the lovely feedback I’ve received so far, it will definitely make you laugh – and it’s made a few readers cry, although I think they’d forgiven me by the time they got to the end. If you decide to take a look, I’d love to know what you think: karen@karenross.online

Undertaker Nina Sherwood is full of good advice. For example, never wear lip gloss when you’re scattering ashes.
Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.

Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop.

When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith.

Because, after all, it’s her funeral…
The perfect antidote to all those books about weddings, this book will make you laugh until you cry, perfect for fans of Zara Stoneley’s BridesmaidsFour Weddings and a Funeral and The Good Place.

Amazon UK           Amazon US 

As a former journalist, broadcaster and advertising copywriter, Karen Ross has followed a fairly traditional path into writing fiction. Five Wakes and a Wedding is her fourth book, and like its predecessors, the novel has two common threads: the setting is London’s Primrose Hill – Karen’s own neighbourhood – and one of the characters is a dog . . . this time he’s called Chopper and he’s almost the same size as a Shetland Pony
Karen has been self-employed for many years, and continues to work as a marketing consultant, in the absence of an offer to manage Tottenham Hotspur. By way of credentials, her other ‘job’ is trading profitably on the world’s first football stockmarket, a platform called Football Index, where you buy and sell players with real money.