I posted at the weekend that Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow had broken the record (for me) set by New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by reaching the 100 milestone for reviews/ratings in 4.5 days instead of one week.
It has just smashed it again.
Today, on the one-week anniversary of the release of book 3 – the equivalent time when book 2 reached the 100 milestone – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow has hit 300 reviews/ratings on Amazon (310 at the time of writing this).
Just a short blog post to say an enormous thank you to everyone who has left a review or rating including the fabulous bloggers on the ongoing blog tour. The hedgehogs are having a party!
My batch of paperbacks have just arrived too along with my large print edition. All three of the books are available as large print (left pic) and will all ultimately be available as hardback too but only books 2 and 3 are currently available in that format.
Signed copies of any of my individual paperbacks can be ordered directly from me by getting in touch via DM on social media. It’s £12.99 including P&P to the UK per book but I have deals on certain multiple purchases: a full set of 11 books, the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series, the 2 x Christmas releases and will also be adding in a deal for the 3 x Hedgehog Hollow books purchased together.
As well as my paperbacks and large print book, there was another arrival: my latest furry hedgehog to add to my collection. He’s a limited edition Charlie Bear called Diddle Daddle. Isn’t he the most gorgeous? He can’t wait to dive into the Hedgehog Hollow series and read all about his friends!
Finally, it’s been lovely to add my gorgeous Book Crown onto Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow. It has been waiting patiently! If you love this, you can order this and stacks of other variations of charm and colour from Book Crowns on Facebook here. They do hedgehogs! I have one of those for Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow and a gorgeous butterfly on New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow.
I posted some true and false graphics about hedgehogs earlier and promised a dos and don’ts post would follow. I then got completely distracted by the number of reviews on Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow followed by a takeaway and a night in front of the TV and forgot to do the second post. Oops!
So, a bit later than planned, here we go. We can all make a difference around our homes without spending much to help increase the hedgehog population and stop them being vulnerable to extinction…
Hope you find these helpful. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Back in January, I wrote a post entitled ‘One book, one week, one hundred reviews’ celebrating the phenomenal speed at which book 2 in the Hedgehog Hollow series – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – was gathering reviews. You can read it here. I’d never known anything like that before…
As you can probably guess from the title of this blog post, book 3 has smashed it. At lunchtime today, 4.5 days into publication, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow passed the 100 mark on Amazon. In fact, it did it so quickly that it jumped from 90 when I looked earlier to 110 the next time I checked and it’s now at 122!
In January, I was also astonished at how many reviews I got before any 1 or 2-stars crept in. It actually passed a whopping 400.
Of the 122 reviews/ratings showing at the time of writing this post, there are 2 at 2-star so I’m not going to match that record, but there is still a stack of love for the hedgehogs with 92% of those 122 being at 4 or 5-star.
The hedgehogs and I are so very grateful. When I was a struggling indie author making little impact with my writing, I used to see the excitement from readers as a favourite author released their book and devoted fans raced to read it. I’ve even done it myself with one of the books in J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series, buying it on release day and devouring it across the next three days, and with a couple of Jill Mansell’s books. I never ever imagined this happening to anything I’ve ever written yet the speed of reviews coming in and the lovely messages from readers tell me it is. It really is a dream come true.
In the meantime, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (book 1) and New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow (book 2) are both speeding towards the 2,000 reviews/ratings mark. Eek!
And book 4 – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – is up for pre-order on Amazon here. With no cover and no blurb yet, it is already heading for the Top 1,000 which is also astonishing. Double eek!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and thanks again. Hedgehogs dos and don’t will still be coming later but I had to quickly dip in to share this news!
It’s the last day of Hedgehog Awareness Week or #hedgehogweek in the UK today and what a special week it has been!
There’ve been some fabulous videos and competitions over on the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s Facebook Page and readers have been in touch telling me about guest appearances from patrons/experts/rescue volunteers on a variety of TV programmes from their local news to The One Show to Good Morning Britain!
For me personally, this week has seen the released of the third instalment of the Hedgehog Hollow series – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – and I’ve been thrilled at the speed of the reviews coming in as readers join their old friends for more love, friendship, family, drama and, of course, hedgehog gorgeousness.
When the first book in the series came out, I pulled together some true or false statements about hedgehogs so I’m sharing these here again now for anyone who might have missed the original post or who’d like a refresher. I also have some dos and don’ts I’ll share later today.
Hope you enjoyed the hedgehog facts and that you perhaps learned something new.
Have a fabulous day and I’ll return later with some dos and don’ts.
In the midst of all the excitement of publication day for Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, another of my books has achieved an amazing reviews/ratings milestone.
Well done to Tara, Hercules the giant house rabbit, and the amazing Castle Street café – The Chocolate Pot – for passing 1,500 reviews/ratings on Amazon. Woo hoo!
I absolutely love this story. Reviews slowed down post Christmas but they keep coming in and I’m so thrilled it has reached such an epic number.
This book is best enjoyed after reading Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes which is a slightly shorter novel set purely in December in the business next door to The Chocolate Pot. Starry Skies itself is set across a whole year from Christmas Eve one year until Christmas Day the next so it’s not purely about Christmas.
Thank you to everyone who has reviewed or rated this book, especially as they’re predominantly positive.
My only 1-star review is from someone who couldn’t download it onto her Kindle. This isn’t actually anything to do with the author and is an issue Amazon could easily resolve but it’s one of those things and at least somebody looking at it could dismiss that particular review if they are influenced by looking at negative reviews.
I do have some readers who didn’t gel with the book or the character and that’s always going to be the case as we don’t all like the same thing. However, I’m delighted that 93% of readers who commented loved it.
Here’s the blurb to whet your appetite:
Everyone is getting into the festive spirit on Castle Street – snow is falling, fairy lights are glistening and Christmas shopping is underway.
But for Tara Porter, owner of thriving cafe, The Chocolate Pot, this is the most difficult time of the year. From the outside, Tara is a successful businesswoman and pillar of the community. Behind closed doors, she is lonely.
With a lifetime of secrets weighing on her shoulders, she has retreated from all friends, family and romance, and shut her real self away from the world. Afterall, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. She’s learnt that the hard way.
But as the weight of her past becomes heavier and an unexpected new neighbour moves onto the street – threatening the future of her cafe – Tara begins to realise that maybe it’s time to finally let people back in and confront her history. It could just change her life forever…
It’s available as an eBook for Apple, Kindle and Kobo, in large print format, paperback, physical audio, audio download and via streaming services. In the next couple of months, it will also be available as a hardback. You can get the eBook on Kindle here.
Here’s some quotes from 5-star reviews:
Thank you again to everyone for helping Starry Skies at the Chocolate Pot Café reach this fabulous milestone. It makes me soooo happy! And thank you to my amazing editor, Nia, and the team at Boldwood Books for making this possible.
Yesterday (4th May) was the publication day for the third book in the Hedgehog Hollow series: Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow. Woo hoo!
When I was a struggling indie author, publication day was a fairly ‘normal’ day. I’d post about it on social media and a few family members and friends would congratulate me, then I’d get on with my day to day work. I might nip go out for lunch with the hubby or maybe even an evening meal to celebrate but it was fairly low key because so few readers had discovered my work. I didn’t excitedly watch the charts because there wasn’t an impressive chart entry moment.
Since joining the amazing Boldwood Books, this has completely changed. Publication days are now an excited frenzy of activity on social media, responding to loads of gorgeous congratulations messages, and the start of a blog tour. I’ve learned not to attempt to write or edit as there’s too much else going on but I did slip in an appointment with the hairdresser yesterday and that was a mistake in terms of time but, my goodness, how nice was it to have my hair cut and professionally coloured for the first time since December 2019!
I debuted it during a Facebook Live with my fabulous editor Nia Beynon last night. If you weren’t able join the Live, you can catch up with it here. Thank you to all those who joined us on the evening and for the lovely comments and questions.
It was the perfect opportunity to also debut my new hedgehog print dress (awww) and show off a couple of my soft friends. Thank you to my friend Nic for the lovely knitted sparkly hedgehog, Erin.
The blog tour has started and the reviews yesterday along with the first review I’ve seen posted today are absolutely gorgeous. I also had two lovely reviews from bloggers not on the tour. Thank you to everyone who has signed up. I’m excited and a little trepidatious (is that a word?!) to hear all the comments.
I wrote a post for Boldwood’s blog about one of the themes of this book – forgiveness – which you can find here and I wrote a post for my own blog about the risks of writing about an unlikable character which you can find here.
Fabulous publication day biscuits arrived from my publisher. I love these. It’s so adorable seeing my book in biscuit format. They’re made by a company called Enchanting Bakes if you want to check them out. Amazingly they are still unopened but I suspect they won’t last beyond the morning!
We unveiled the winner of the ‘Name the Hedgehog’ competition for Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow. A draw was made from those who’d signed up to my newsletter and the winner, Kaye, chose Prickles as the name. As we did with the amazing Snoop Hoggy Hog who appears in New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow, my hubby created a cartoon of Prickles. We saw him as a cheeky Yorkshire chappie in a flat cap, drinking his Yorkshire Tea, standing in the meadow at Hedgehog Hollow. Isn’t he fabulous?
We’ll be running another competition to name a hedgehog for book 4 so watch out for details of that late next month.
Speaking of book 4, we revealed yesterday in the Facebook Live that book 4 will be called A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow. We don’t have the blurb or cover yet but it’s available for pre-order now right here! It can only appear as a pre-order for Kindle this far in advance but it will be available for pre-order on Kobo and Apple nearer the release date. It’s out in January 2022.
Finally, let’s talk about those hedgehogs scampering up the charts! I knew I’d had a large number of pre-orders for this book – way bigger than anything I’ve experienced before – so I was hoping I might end up with a Top 100 on Amazon. The chart is meant to update hourly but that doesn’t seem to happen and yesterday it was super slow at moving. I made it to #77 by the end of the day and the full impact or those pre-orders was finally shown this morning at #38. I can’t quite believe that. Hubby had asked me what I would be happy with. Obviously I’m happy with it all and I had anticipated perhaps Top 100 on the back of pre-orders but had hoped maybe 70s. A dream would be Top 50 but I genuinely didn’t think that would happen … yet those hedgehogs went one better with Top 40! So proud!
This position has put the hedgehogs at #11 in the Hot New Releases chart and #1 in the same chart in several categories.
Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow is sporting #1 Best Seller tags in the UK, Australia, Canada and USA which is such a thrill and it was up to #59 in Australia yesterday. Even more fabulous was that 9 out of my 10 released books had a #1 Best Seller flag at the same time. Wow! Six of them are currently sporting one in the UK.
I’ve just checked the USA chart and am astonished to be a little outside the top 1,000 (#1,259) which is such a thrill knowing how enormous the US market is. And the hedgehogs have cracked the top 1,000 in Canada at #785 just now.
Over on Apple, they made it to #43 in the overall chart yesterday and #9 in the category chart of ‘Fiction and Literature’. They’re on the home page of Kobo too as ‘New and Notable’!
My huge apologies to anyone who is wanting to obtain the paperback version or get it from Audible. Amazon are showing the paperback as ‘currently unavailable’ despite it being a print on demand book and very much available. This is an error on their part and my publishers are working hard to rectify it but they’ve had this with another paperback recently and it did take a week so thank you for your patience. It is showing available for order on Waterstones website here. It doesn’t appear to be on Barnes and Noble yet either but should do soon. It can also be ordered from bookshops, as can any of my paperbacks.
As for Audible, it only appeared yesterday afternoon but it appeared as a pre-order with delivery in a weeks’ time. My publisher is also working with them to rectify this and we are hopeful it will properly be available today or tomorrow. Fingers crossed. Thank you so much for your patience if you’re waiting for either of these formats.
I’ll end by saying a huge THANK YOU to all the amazing readers who pre-ordered Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, making these amazing chart positions possible. THANK YOU to all those who bought or borrowed on publication day. I’m so grateful to everyone who has shared or commented on social media or sent me a private message wishing me a happy publication day and/or telling me how much they’ve loved reading it. It is such a thrill that readers have devoured the book in a day with some even saying they couldn’t sleep until they’d finished it. Wow! That just blows me away!
If you haven’t delved into the Hedgehog Hollow series already, I do strongly recommend starting at the beginning as, although the story in each book is complete, there are themes that carry across the series and threads that further develop. It’s a richer reading experience for starting at the beginning and the great news is that, if you read eBooks, the first two – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow and New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – are both still on offer. But grab them fast as the prices will go up soon. Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is also in Prime Reading but won’t be for much longer and ALL my books (this series and the Whitsborough Bay stories) are in Kindle Unlimited.
Hope you all have a fabulous week. The hedgehogs and I send you our love and gratitude.
It’s publication day today for book 3 in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – and I face the day with the usual blend of excitement, anticipation and also nerves! I’m sure all authors have the same questions whirring round their mind the day a book is released:
Where will it chart?
When will the first reviews come in?
Will readers like it?
When writing a series, there’s the added worry: Will readers like it as much as the last one?
The bar has been set high for the series with the first two books being extremely well received. At the time of writing Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow has just over 1,700 reviews/ratings on Amazon with 94% at 4 and 5 star and New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow has nearly 1,850 with 93% at 4 and 5 star. That’s a lot of pressure on Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow and, while readers love the main character Samantha Wishaw, they do not love her cousin, Chloe Turner.
And this book is partly Chloe’s story…
The first book – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – was told purely from Samantha’s perspective. She’s one of the kindest women ever but she’s had a rough time and there are some family members who don’t treat her well but in whom she still tries to see the best. Readers get to know Samantha, discover how she comes to be the owner of Hedgehog Hollow, and follow her as she gets the hedgehog rescue centre up and running.
Book 2 – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – continues Samantha’s story with Hedgehog Hollow now open for business. Part of the book is told from her perspective but part of it is from boyfriend Josh’s perspective as we find out all about him and the challenging relationships he has with family members but for very different reasons to the challenges Samantha has.
This dual-perspective approach will continue across the series. Book 3 – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – adds Chloe’s perspective to Samantha’s. Chloe is Samantha’s cousin and she’s one of the family members who causes Samantha major problems. Readers don’t warm to her and it isn’t surprising as, right at the start of book 1, she marries Samantha’s ex-boyfriend. Eek! That’s going to hurt. I won’t give any spoilers about what else she does for those who might not yet have read the first book, but it’s not good and the overall feeling is that she’s spoilt and selfish and Samantha would be better off without Chloe in her life.
It therefore may seem like a risk for me to have written a novel where I’m focusing on an unlikeable character but it’s not actually the first time I’ve done this. In the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series, the second, third and fourth books (New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove and Coming Home to Seashell Cottage) include a character called Clare O’Connell who comes across initially as spiky, cold and sarcastic. Coming Home to Seashell Cottage is Clare’s story and readers discover why she’s the way she is and there are so many reviews where the reader comments that they didn’t initially like Clare but, by the end of the book, she’s their favourite.
Could the same be said of Chloe?
What I’m hoping for here is that readers will finish Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow understanding Chloe better even if they still don’t like her. I’m sure there will be readers who find that they like her and even a few who can feel themselves starting to fall a little in love with her but I think the latter may be in the minority because of everything that’s gone on before.
What worries me is having some readers who didn’t like Chloe from the previous books (completely understandable) who still don’t like Chloe in this book and, instead of looking at the whole story, they will rate/review the book based on whether or not they’re in Chloe’s fan club.
Whether a reader likes a character or not can massively affect their review for a book. I’ve seen it so often for other authors – Great story but I didn’t like [name of character] – and they give it a 1 or 2-star rating because that character wouldn’t have been on their list of drinking buddies. Yet they’ve acknowledged the story was great. This seems very unfair but I can see the point if that character is the only main character or there’s a book where there are several characters and none of them are likeable. I read a book recently with five or six main characters and none of them were likeable and I have to admit I struggled with the book. I wasn’t rooting for any of them but I kept going believing they were going on a journey and, by the end, I would be cheering for them. It didn’t happen. And here’s why…
There’s a brilliant ‘how to’ book called Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. (There are also variations like Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies (also Snyder) and Save the Cat! Writes a Novel (Jessica Brody)). The original book is about screenwriting but the lessons can be equally applied to writing a novel. Snyder states, “liking the person we go on a journey with is the single most important element in drawing us into the story” and this is where he gets the title from. He writes about how a movie could have a real badass detective or gangster as the lead character who is potentially not very likeable … BUT there is a scene early on where he saves a cat and this makes the viewer warm to him because we see his nice-guy side and find ourselves rooting for him. This makes me think of the John Wick series of films starring Keanu Reeves. John Wick is an assassin and kills lots of people in those films but we see how much he loved his wife and his dog and that makes us warm to him and root for him.
So can the reader root for Chloe?
Chloe is selfish and self-centred but she has plenty of ‘Save the Cat!’ moments. While she does offload baby Samuel onto Samantha the second she turns up at Hedgehog Hollow, there are many moments where we see how caring and protective she is towards him. She says and does things that upset people but she recognises this and struggles as she reflects on her own behaviour. And, of course, Samantha keeps giving her chances and we find out why this is the case, again seeing the ‘Save the Cat!’ moments through Samantha’s reflections.
This book is also Samantha’s story and readers love her so it’s understandable they don’t want to see anyone hurt her or take advantage of her. I love it that readers may feel defensive towards her and outraged by Chloe’s initial behaviour. But Chloe’s treatment of her enables Samantha to develop further herself and it also has another positive outcome (but I won’t say what that is to avoid spoilers).
Even if readers still don’t like Chloe, I hope they’ll still enjoy the book because of their love for Samantha, Josh and, of course, the hedgehogs. Afterall, it is ultimately their story and Chloe is just the ‘featured guest’ this book if you like.
Overall I hope that, whether readers finish the book disliking Chloe or waving a banner declaring #TeamChloe, they will understand her, appreciate the journey she goes on, and love Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow as much as the previous two. Fingers crossed!
If you’ve pre-ordered or purchase the book (in any format) at any point today or in the future, a huge thank you to you. Happy reading!
Starting today it is Hedgehog Awareness Week in the UK – Sunday 2nd May until Saturday 8th May.
Various activities and promotional events are happening and you can join in/stay informed by following the hashtag #hedgehogweek on social media.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society are running giveaways, posting top tips and sharing expert videos on their Facebook page which you can find here. The People’s Trust for Endangered Species also have loads of great information on their Facebook page here.
I’ll be sharing my hedgehog facts and tips again later in the week.
Timing wasn’t deliberate but couldn’t have been more perfect for the release of the third instalment of the Hedgehog Hollow series. Book 3 – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – will be out tomorrow on all these formats:
eBook on Apple, Kindle and Kobo
Here’s the blurb to whet your appetite:
Every family has its secrets, and at Hedgehog Hollow there is no exception…
It was always Samantha’s dream to run her beautiful rescue centre, Hedgehog Hollow, full-time. But just as her wish comes true, she becomes a victim of her own kindness when she finds herself with a house full of guests – all with their own problems and secrets – looking to her for support.
When her self-absorbed cousin, Chloe, unexpectedly turns up at the farm – swiftly handing over her baby to Samantha to care for – trouble is definitely brewing. Especially as Chloe won’t tell anyone why she’s left her husband, James…
As Samantha juggles new hedgehog arrivals, family dramas and her own health challenges, it soon becomes clear that she needs to start putting herself first for once. Little does she know that life-changing secrets from the past are about to unravel and turn their lives upside down…
Return to glorious Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a heartwarming, emotional but uplifting story of family, friendship and moving on from the past.
Praise for the Hedgehog Hollow series:
‘I loved my trip to Hedgehog Hollow. An emotional read, full of twists and turns’ Heidi Swain
‘A wonderful, warm series full of family, friends and romance.’ Katie Ginger
I was really excited earlier today as it climbed the Kindle charts to its highest position so far of #354 which is amazing when it’s still only on pre-order. It’s had the greatest number of pre-orders of all my books so far and I am trying not to get too excited about where that should see it charting tomorrow but I am expecting the hedgehogs to do me super proud. Watch this space!
Which put me at #68 in the Hot New Releases Chart (when it isn’t even released yet!) and #74 in the Movers & Shakers Chart. Eek!
Thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered or who downloads it in whatever format from publication day and thank you to all the amazing supporters of hedgehogs all over the country from the heroes who run rescue centres to those who feed the hogs in their gardens. You’re all amazing!
Please do check out all the activities going on this week.
I cancelled my birthday last year. We were only a few weeks into lockdown when I was asked the ‘what would you like for your birthday?’ question and I had a mini-meltdown. Even though I’ve never really made a huge thing out of my birthday in previous years, I didn’t like the idea that I couldn’t even if I wanted to so I told hubby and the munchkin not to bother with gifts and we’d do a birthday later in the year. Then I found a couple of Lucy Pittaway prints which I ordered for the office so I did get a gift after all even if there was no celebration 😉
This year, we’re not in lockdown but restrictions are only just easing so it we still couldn’t plan much. I did, however, lift the ‘no presents’ thing and was spoilt with some lovely gifts.
There was a bit of a hedgehog theme with the most adorable plush Steiff hedgehog from the hubby, a sewing project for a hedgehog and hoglet and a cute pen holder with a hedgehog reading a book in it.
Loving my new lighthouse and looking forward to featuring it on some photos with my books soon.
A huge thank you to my amazing friend Sharon for the gorgeous flowers, candle, bear and chocolates and to my lovely friend Jo for the hedgehog and bear scarves.
Sharon also sent me the most amazing card. It’s a card containing cake. I never knew such a thing existed and, being the huge fan of cake that I am, it made me very happy. I can’t wait to dive in and would have had a piece today but my in-laws dropped round surprise afternoon tea so we ditched our plans for a takeaway and had that instead and I am now full of cake. It was sooooo yummy. But there’s always tomorrow. Nom nom. And I have a birthday cake too!
Thank you to everyone who has sent me lovely messages on social media. Very much appreciated.
Back to editing tomorrow but it’s been nice to have a rare day off today.
It’s my birthday today but I’m the one giving away the gifts along with my fabulous publisher Boldwood Books. This bank holiday weekend we’re offering a bear-themed bundle consisting of:
A signed copy of the paperback of All You Need Is Love
A gorgeous Ed the Bear Doodlepad (Paperchase)
A trio of bear-themed body washes (Cath Kidston)
This is happening over on Twitter and, to enter, you need to go to Boldwood’s Twitter feed – @BoldwoodBooks – and find the competition announcement. It’s the Pinned Tweet so not tricky to find. Then follow the instructions on there. There’s a link to the full T&Cs but you can also find them here.
I have shared this on my Twitter feed but please ensure it’s the ORIGINAL Boldwood post you’re RT’ing and not mine.
The competition is only running across this May Day Bank Holiday weekend so act fast!