Hello there and I hope August is treating you well. I should be taking advantage of my daughter staying with my parents at the moment and starting on book 15 but Word disappeared off my computer this morning (it had apparently run out of space to sustain it) and that has thrown my whole day out so I’m not in the mood for writing. I’m therefore having a bitty day trying to catch up on a load of admin as well as tidy my tip of an office.
I thought I’d therefore pull a quick blog post together highlighting some of the offers on my books right now…
All of my books are FREE if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber. There are 12 titles out there already and a 13th will be out on 31st August – Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café – so that’s a lot of hours of pure escapism to dive into.
If you’re in Prime Reading, All You Need Is Love is still in the Prime Reading programme and will be until at least the end of September. This is available globally.
And for anyone not in either of those programmes, there are still some bargains to be had:
99p for All You Need is Love ($1.99 in USA)
99p for Making Wishes at Bay View (book 1 in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series) (99c in USA)
99p for Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow and Family Secrets at HedgehogHollow (books 1 and 3 in the Hedgehog Hollow series) ($1.99 and 99c in USA respectively)
£1.39 for Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop
99p for All You Need is Love ($1.99 in USA)
99p for Making Wishes at Bay View (book 1 in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series) ($1.99 in USA)
99p for Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow and Family Secrets at HedgehogHollow (books 1 and 3 in the Hedgehog Hollow series) ($1.99 in USA respectively)
I’m the Author of the Month until the end of August and they’re running a Buy One Get One Free offer on nearly all of my titles with Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow not in the deal but only being 99p anyway. The prices range from 99p to £2.99 per eBook and you can find a summary of the offer in a previous blog post here.
If you’re an Audible subscriber, you can listen to six of my titles for FREE as part of your subscription:
Making Wishes at Bay View
New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms
The Secret to Happiness
Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes
Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café
Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow
There’s a 10% off offer on Audiobooks purchases from or downloaded from The Reading House You need to use the discount code of BOLDWOOD10 which will give you a 10% reduction on mine or any other Boldwood titles during August in celebration of Boldwood’s 2nd birthday.
You can also stream my audiobooks on Spotify and via several other streaming services.
LARGE PRINT READERS
All of my books are available as large print editions through The Reading House using the same code above.
If you would like a signed paperback, please contact me. I send signed/dedicated paperbacks out to UK readers for the book’s retail price plus postage. The RRP of most of my books is £8.99 and postage will be £2 or £3 depending on the size of the book.
Four of my titles retail at £12.99 – Making Wishes at Bay View, New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove and The Secret to Happiness and I can offer these slightly cheaper than that plus postage. I can also offer deals on bundles. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop me a DM on my Facebook Page – Jessica Redland Author – on Twitter or Instagram.
The hubby and I have just returned from a lovely few days away and we never even left our home county of North Yorkshire. It’s such a huge area that, if you live at the edges, you can travel over two hours and still be in the same county! The reason for a few days away was that our daughter is having a summer break staying with my parents and hubby suggested that, instead of dropping her off and driving back home, we could make a mini-break of it. We even arranged for Ella, our sprocker spaniel, to go to hubby’s parents’ for a couple of days so we’d have no restrictions on where we could go.
We were hoping to stay in Richmond which is where I had my teddy bear shop many years ago and hubby searched for a nice hotel or B&B figuring we could have a couple of drinks and a meal in the town on the evening. No chance. Even though we decided on this about six or maybe even eight weeks ago, we’d left it far too late and the only rooms available were extortionate prices like £500 for two nights. Eek! So we ended up at the Premier Inn in nearby Catterick Garrison which is on a retail park close to the army barracks. Yep. Not exactly a romantic location but at least it was a chance to get away and you can always rely on a Premier Inn.
We dropped the munchkin off at lunchtime on Wednesday and headed to the market town of Leyburn. It was heaving and it took a few circuits before we finally found somewhere to park but we had a delicious meal in the beer garden of The Bolton Arms at the top of town, watching the world go by, followed by a wander around the gift shops. It was a shame to see one of my favourite shops had closed down. I wondered if that was as a result of lockdown or from before. I do remember my mum mentioning it to me but can’t for the life of me remember how recently we had that conversation. The concept of time seems very fluid at the moment! A couple of other shops were closed. A notice on one said this was due to a funeral and we didn’t wander down to the other as we could clearly see it was in darkness. Maybe for the same reason? I do like to treat myself to a little something while away and I found this gorgeous Steiff hoglet called Joggi in another gift shop, although hubby bought me a Steiff hedgehog for Christmas who is also called Joggi. I wondered if that meant anything in German but Google translate says not. I have, however, discovered that a hedgehog in German is called an ‘igel’ and a hoglet (baby hedgehog) is a ‘babyigel’. Awww!
We moved onto Masham from there but caught it just as the final market stalls were packing away. I remembered there being several nice gift shops last time we visited and could only see one this time. There were still Covid restrictions on social distancing and a queue to get in so we wandered round intending to return … and forgot!
Checking in at the Premier Inn a little later, we were advised that there was no TV reception in the room thanks to the recent fire at the Bilsdale mast TV transmitter affecting TVs in the Yorkshire Dales, northern parts of North Yorkshire and Teesside. Hubby had intentionally left all tech behind and kicked himself for this as it meant we couldn’t relax in front of the TV but we weren’t in a location with lovely pubs to walk to and we didn’t really fancy driving anywhere after so much driving already that day. So we sat in the hotel room watching old episodes of Gogglebox on his phone. We so know how to party!
On Thursday, we went into Richmond. It wasn’t forecast to rain but it rained while we visited Richmond Castle, although not too heavily or for too long and we were prepared with waterproofs. Please therefore forgive the very dull-looking photos!
As I said earlier, I used to have a teddy bear shop in Richmond on the top corner of Finkle Street. This has been the Lucy Pittaway Gallery for several years now and I absolutely adore Lucy’s artwork. If you haven’t discovered it before, do check out her website here. I already have more of her amazing prints than we have space for but there’s always room for another notebook in the collection! I had to pose outside – just like I’d done when it was my shop – and also take a photo of one of her gorgeous hedgehog prints in the window. Lucy’s prints are the inspiration behind one of the storylines in Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe.
We had a wander round some more of the shops and I loved spotting this sign on the back of a car down a side street and this wall art on the side of a building.
There’s a fabulous circular walk from The Station – the former train station which is converted into a cinema, cafe, arts/gifts centre – via Easby Abbey so we set off on that walk on the afternoon. We hadn’t gone very far when I recognised a group of people heading towards us. My cousin, her husband, younger son and their dog were coming to the end of the circular walk, having completed the loop the other way to us. How spooky is that? They don’t live in Richmond. It’s about 40 mins away for them so what an amazing coincidence and lovely to catch up with them.
We continued on our walk and I put my new FitBit to the test, racking up nearly 22k steps across the day which isn’t too shabby as a starting point. It’s not going to be happy with me today as, back home, I’m lucky if I’ll manage 500! Ssh, don’t tell it! And as it’s on my desk and not my wrist, it won’t even register any of them!
The walk was lovely, through trees, alongside the river and past Easby Abbey which is an English Heritage site with free access. We did the walk once before several years ago when we were camping in the area with hubby’s sisters but I don’t think we must have explored much of the abbey as I definitely didn’t remember it being quite so big.
Back to my 22k steps, I haven’t walked anything resembling that far since pre-lockdown and had actually only left the house on a dozen or so occasions since March 2020 so being out and about for me was a pretty big thing and it completely wiped me out being in the fresh air for a full day. It was so good to be out, though.
Even though we’d have loved a relax in front of the TV that evening, resting our feet after the walk, the mast problem prevented that. We returned to the retail park, grabbed a quick drink in one of the chain pubs there, then I had a relaxing bath before going out to the cinema 2 minutes’ walk from the hotel to see The Last Letter From Your Lover. Hubby hadn’t been too keen as it looked more like my sort of film from the trailer but he enjoyed it and I loved it. I’ve read a few of JoJo Moyes’s books but not that particular one. An added bonus was that we had the cinema – Empire Cinemas – completely to ourselves and could upgrade to recliner chairs which were amazing. I say upgrade but it was only £3.99 each in the first place so £5.99 each seemed a very reasonable price.
On Sunday morning, I met a friend for a hot chocolate in The Station while hubby went for a walk with his camera and then we headed to Fountain’s Abbey. We knew it would be busy but we must have timed it horrendously wrong by arriving around lunchtime. The queue for the cafe stretched across the courtyard in one direction and the queue for tickets to get in stretched the entire width in the other direction. So we left. I know, I know, that’s super impatient but we just couldn’t face standing for maybe an hour queuing after a long walk the day before.
Newby Hall isn’t too far away so we drove there instead and the thankfully wasn’t a queue to get in although it was pretty expensive to get in. It’s a lovely place, the gardens are gorgeous, and there’s loads for kids to do but be warned that the child entry fee is not a lot less than the adult fee (the family of 4 in front of us paid a whopping £62 to get in) and there are additional fees required for the train and boat trips once inside. And you’re going to buy food, drinks, ice creams too. Definitely somewhere you need to spend a full day to get your money’s worth.
I had the most delicious warm scones with jam clotted cream for my lunch although we had to move tables twice, eventually retreating indoors, as the wasps were out and after the jam! Ooh, I hate them so much.
I’d been hoping that The Bear House might have had some new displays – perhaps a project someone might have undertaken during lockdown – but they were the same as when we visited a couple of years ago. Disappointingly, quite a few bears had fallen over at some point, especially in the picnic scene. There’s meant to be a bear on a wooden swing but the wooden plank had slipped out and the bear had tumbled into the others so it looked a little unloved in there, poor bears.
I had to take a picture of Barbara Cartland’s bear. The plaque accompanying him states: “This very special German bear was given to Barbara Cartland, the romance novelist, in 1904 when she was three years old. When Dame Barbara gave him to Gyles Brandreth [whose enormous collection of bears is partly housed in The Bear House] she explained that she had adorned him with the fabulous jewels, and named him The Prince of Love’ because she had discovered that he believed himself to be an Indian Prince”. How fabulous is that?
The traffic was grim all the way home – one of the challenges of heading to the coast (albeit back home for us) among holiday-makers coming for the weekend or the week – and it took us about 2.5 hours to get back from Newby Hall. For context, this is a 60 mile journey! Eek! So we were pretty shattered by the time we got back.
Despite quite a few hitches to our plans, it was lovely to be away, especially when I finished writing A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow the day before I left so it came after a big milestone. My mind definitely needed the rest! It was good for me to be out and about and doing some exercise after pretty much hibernating for the past 18 months. Already looking forward to my next trip.
I’m celebrating a first book birthday for my first Boldwood Books Christmas release, Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes.
Originally an indie release in October 2017 (under the same title), Carly’s Cupcakes is a little older than one but I think of today as the official one-year book birthday because that’s when the new, longer, improved version was released; the version which has been enjoyed by way more readers than had been discovered when I was an indie author.
At just under 60k words, it’s my shortest novel. To put this into context, the average length of a novel is 60-100k and most of mine are at the higher end of that between 90k-105k words.
The reason my novels usually come in at the top end is that I usually have several sub plots running in the story which add additional layers. Some have a second person perspective so the story is seen from two sides, naturally lending itself to more word count.
In Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes, there is intentionally a less intricate plot for several reasons:
It was originally planned as a novella (although I failed abysmally to stick within the 40k word count required for that!)
It was always intended as a lighter Christmas read
It covers a shorter span of time, all the action unfolding across December
It’s a single perspective story
Just because it’s a shorter, lighter read, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t address some deeper issues. Bullying and mental health are covered in this story but, while some of my books have readers reaching for the tissues, I’d say this will tug at the heartstrings but is less likely to bring on the tears than some of my other reads.
It’s the story of the relationship between two sisters, Carly and Bethany, in the run-up to Christmas. It’s the busiest time of year for Carly but Bethany, who works with her in Carly’s Cupcakes, has zero talent when it comes to cake decorating and a big talent for courting disaster. She’s more of a hindrance than a help but, as the story unfolds, we discover the reasons why Carly can’t and won’t dismiss her sister even though each Bethany-shaped problem causes more and more problems for the business.
It’s also a love story. While Bethany is preparing for her Christmassy wedding (also not without disaster), Carly is wondering whether she can be courageous enough to tell her long-term best friend, Liam, how she really feels about him when he comes home on leave from the army.
I loved writing this story and am delighted that (most) readers have loved reading it too. At the time of writing, it has a whopping 2,239 reviews/ratings on Amazon so I’m hoping it will make it to 2,500 as we get into the festive season. They have a 90% positive rating (5 or 4 stars) which is amazing. I’ve posted a selection of the comments from 5-star reviews across this post and am so grateful for the book-love.
I say most readers have loved reading it because you’ll never please all the people all of the time. “One star is more than it deserves” reads a review from last October. Ouch! There are also the two hilarious two-star reviews given because “it’s too early for Christmas”. Tip: So don’t download a Christmas book with the word Christmas in the title in August if you don’t like reading about Christmas in the summer!
It isn’t meant to be a book full of twists and turns. It isn’t meant to be a literary masterpiece designed to change world-thinking. It’s meant to be lovely, warm and fuzzy, Christmassy-infused escapism and I will always be proud of this tale of love, family and friendship. A huge thank you to all those amazing readers who have loved it for exactly what it is.
Happy book birthday Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes. You’ve done me proud. The eBook is available for Kindle here and on Apple and Kobo. It’s currently in a buy one get one free deal on Kobo as I’m the Author of the Month there. You can also listen to it on audio download and streaming services, buy a large print or paperback version, or get in touch with me if you’d like a signed paperback.
I recommend then going on to Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe to find out what happens next for Carly when we pick up the story of Tara Porter, the owner of The Chocolate Pot next door to Carly’s Cupcakes. This is a longer, deeper and more emotional read set across a whole year.
Big hugs Jessica xx
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
It’s December on Castle Street; the fairy lights are twinkling, snow has settled and the festive season is in full swing.
For Carly, the owner of Carly’s Cupcakes, it’s the busiest time of year getting everyone’s Christmas treats ready on time. However with her clumsy sister, Bethany, as a co-worker, it’s proving a difficult task. They say you shouldn’t mix work with family. Maybe they have a point…
As Christmas approaches, Carly is also eagerly awaiting the return of her best friend to Whitsborough Bay. Liam has no idea he’s been the object of her affection since their schooldays. After years of pining after him, can Carly pluck up the courage to finally tell him how she really feels by 25th December?
Could a little festive magic make all of Carly’s wishes come true this Christmas…?
At the end of July, Audible launched a new programme for their UK subscribers called Audible Plus. This programme was rolled out in the USA previously and is all about giving subscribers additional free unlimited content so, if you’re an Audible user, do check it out.
The Audible Plus catalogue consists of thousands of carefully selected audiobooks, podcasts and Audible originals which subscribers can listen to as many times as they want for no additional charge.
Audible say: “The new Plus Catalogue offers an exciting opportunity to introduce more audiobooks, podcasts and Audible Originals to members, on top of their credits. New and existing members will be able to discover more titles for the first time at no extra cost, which we believe will increase member listening and allow them to discover new authors or similar genres and themes. The Plus Catalogue provides extra content our members will love, and forms part of our ongoing commitment to present value-added offerings to consumers.”
I’m really excited to have a whopping SIX out of my twelve titles included in this special programme from day 1:
Making Wishes at Bay View (book 1 in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series)
New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms (book 2 in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series)
The Secret to Happiness
Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes
Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café
Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (book 1 in the Hedgehog Hollow series)
I hope that this will introduce new listeners to my worlds of Whitsborough Bay and Hedgehog Hollow who will perhaps go on to use their usual credits to explore my other titles.
Let me know if you’ve discovered any fabulous new listens through this programme.
Are you a Kobo user? If so, there are some amazing deals available for you on my books throughout August as I’m the Author of the Month! Eek! I’m so excited about that.
You can click into the Kobo page here to see all the offers together but I’ve popped some screenshots and summarised them below…
BUY ONE GET ONE FREE
There’s an amazing buy one get one free offer on ELEVEN of my 12 titles. Within this, three titles are currently on offer at 99p:
All You Need is Love
Making Wishes at Bay View
Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow
My latest release, Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop, is £1.99 and the remaining seven titles are £2.99 so, if my maths is correct (always a bit risky!), you can get all eleven of these for £13.94.
START OF A SERIES ON 99p OFFER
The first book in the Hedgehog Hollow series, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow, is NOT part of the BOGOF offer but it has been reduced to 99p.
Here’s a special message telling Kobo readers all about the Hedgehog Hollow series.
YOU CAN GET ALLMY eBOOKS FOR LESS THAN £15
Add in this 99p offer and I believe you can buy all 12 of my books for only £14.93. What a bargain!
If you’ve never read any before, do check out the ‘My Books‘ section on my website to find out more about the connections between the books as some are in a series and some are best read in a certain order to avoid spoilers, although they’re not strictly part of a series.
And if you want to see if you like my writing, why not go for the first book in the Hedgehog Hollow series on its 99p offer as a starting point, although bear in mind that the BOGOF offers will only run for August.
BOOK OF THE MONTH
Kobo are kindly promoting my latest release, out last week so here’s a bit more about that which you can find here. It’s not officially the ‘book of the month’ but it’s on the page with it so that’s good enough for me!
If you’re a Kobo reader, I hope you dive in and enjoy your trips to Whitsborough Bay and Hedgehog Hollow.
It was only a couple of weeks back that I brought you the gorgeous cover reveal for my 31st August release Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café, and I’m delighted to have another reveal today.
The fourth book in the Hedgehog Hollow series – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – has been available for pre-order since book 3 – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – was published at the start of May. It had a holding cover and, although we wouldn’t normally do an official cover reveal until much closer to publication day when we have an author of the day slot which includes releasing the book onto NetGalley (a site specifically for book bloggers and reviewers/influencers to get an early copy for review), the cover was ready and it’s so much prettier than a plain holding cover so we’ve released it today.
What do you think?
A huge thank you to my amazing cover designer, Debbie Clements, our Digital Marketing Manager Claire Fenby for the gorgeous visuals, and Boldwood Books for this beauty.
If you’d like to bob on over to my publisher’s Facebook page (Book and Tonic), you can find a short video of me telling readers what they can expect from the fourth book, spoiler free of course. Find it here.
For anyone eagerly awaiting book 4, I’m afraid this doesn’t mean it will be out any sooner than 6th January 2022. It actually can’t come out sooner because I haven’t finished writing it yet!
I ended Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow on a whopper of a cliff hanger and I love that readers are clamouring for the next instalment. It’s so incredibly flattering that they’re so engaged with the story and the drama that they are desperate to know what happens next. But it does take a little longer to write a book than it does to read it. And by ‘little’, I mean a heck of a lot!
So please do forgive me for taking that time and ensuring that the series does continue with an equally engaging and exciting story rather than rushing out something that’s mediocre.
In the meantime, I have two Whitsborough Bay books out. Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is the final book in my backlist to have a fresh edit/new scenes add in and came out on Tuesday (previously out as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop). Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café is a brand new book and is available for pre-order now.
If you’ve loved Hedgehog Hollow but haven’t taken a trip to Whitsborough Bay yet, why don’t you have a little explore? There aren’t any hedgehogs but you’ll find everything else that you’ll have loved about the Hedgehog Hollow books: love, friendship, family, community, warmth and kindness. And maybe a character or two who you’re going to love to hate because I do love to create those baddies!
If you’d like to know what order to best read the Whitsborough Books in, you can find an explanation of all the connections here.
I hope you like the cover for A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow. It’s my favourite of the four and possibly my favourite of all my books although I do have some absolute stunners so it’s hard to pick.
Here’s a couple of pre-order links for Amazon. It will appear on Apple for pre-order but they don’t permit a pre-order to go up quite as early as Amazon so a little longer to wait there:
It’s publication day today for Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop, the final book in my backlist to be freshly edited and re-released through Boldwood Books (previously available as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop). If you’ve read the original version and are curious about what’s changed, here’s a blog post I wrote about it.
Publication day is always really exciting. This is my 12th book out today but I’ve had way more publication days than that with being published by a different company, then going indie, then getting my Boldwood deal and re-publishing my edited backlist. And, despite 24 publication days, it doesn’t get any less exciting. I know of authors who are 30/50/100 books down the line and say it still doesn’t wear off which is great to hear.
For my very first couple of books, I waited up until midnight to watch the eBook ‘magically’ appear on my Kindle. That was really thrilling! I don’t do that now but I do often struggle to sleep as I keep thinking about it! It’s like the excitement of waiting for Christmas Day to dawn!
When I was first published and when I was an indie author, my books didn’t sell very well so, although I’d keep my eye on the Amazon chart (Amazon being the only place they were available back then), I didn’t expect high positions … and didn’t get them! Reviews would be slow to come in and I wouldn’t get many of them either. And I was working in a demanding day job so I just needed to work as normal and not really think about publication.
Since last year when my writing took off (thanks to the amazing Boldwood Books) and I was able to resign and write full time, publication days have been very different. Initially I’d write but now I find they’re so busy that I never plan to write as I would probably wouldn’t get much done.
Why are they busy? There are publication posts to share on social media, a blog to write and so many gorgeous congratulations messages coming in to respond to. There’s usually a blog tour starting although we’re not having the one for Christmas Wishes… until October to generate a buzz for the book closer to Christmas. There are early reviews to read and I do regularly check chart positions hoping, just hoping, the book might edge close to the Top 100. I’m pretty certain Christmas Wishes… won’t come close, though, as it’s the final backlist book to come out and there are many readers who read it as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop. Pre-orders have been low (probably for that reason and because some readers don’t buy Christmas books out of season) which was expected so they won’t boost it massively up the charts today.
But alongside the publication day excitement there’s nervousness as various questions race through my mind:
Will readers love/hate/feel indifferent towards this book?
Will it climb the charts or bomb?
If it’s the start of a new series, will they engage with that series or not?
If it’s a sequel, will they think the previous book(s) was/were better and perhaps even tell me I should never have written this one?
It makes for a rollercoaster day/week/month while the verdict is coming in!
For this particular book, I don’t have those same nerves I might usually have. It had already gathered nearly 450 reviews on previous release and 83% of those are 5-star and 13% 4-star so I already know readers love this story. It has also had 85 ARC reviews (advanced reader copies) on NetGalley from reviewers/bloggers and they are overwhelmingly positive. Phew!
But I do have a little apprehension about chart position as I said. I’m not expecting it to do brilliantly… but there’s always that little sliver of hope!
Overall, any publication day is an amazing day, even with those nerves/worries. It never ceases to amaze me how many gorgeous messages and congratulatory posts come in from readers and authors and I am so very grateful for every one of them.
Today, I was at the hairdresser’s first thing and was scrolling through my Twitter feed while my colour was developing and, since returning home, I haven’t been off social media.
I’m so grateful to everyone who has sent me lovely messages today, shared any promotional posts, has pre-ordered, bought or borrowed Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop.
For those who are coming to Charlee’s story for the first time, I hope you love it and aren’t craving chocolate too much! For those who’ve already read it but loved it so much that you wanted to come back for the new version, you’re absolute stars and I can’t thank you enough.
And, as always, THANK YOU to my amazing publisher, Boldwood Books and my super talented awesome editor Nia for all her brilliant advice. Ooh, and this amazing box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts (pics below the blurb). Yum yum!
Big chocolatey hugs Jessica xx
Sometimes you just need a little Christmas magic to make your wishes come true…
When master chocolatier, Charlee, takes the leap to move to the picturesque seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, she is determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and set up a chocolate shop.
Luckily, she finds the perfect location for Charlee’s Chocolates on beautiful Castle Street… Now she just has to refurbish it in time for Christmas!
With a useless boyfriend and countless DIY disasters, Charlee doesn’t know if she’ll make it in time. With no ‘traditional’ family to support her, she feels lost in her new surroundings and the secrets of the past are weighing her down.
But the warmth and festive spirit of the Whitsborough Bay community will surprise her, and when plumber, Matt, comes to the rescue, it might be that all of Charlee’s dreams could come true this Christmas, and she could learn what family really means…
I should really have posted this yesterday but I’d hit my fill of storage on WordPress and couldn’t add any more images. I didn’t have the brain power to tackle that yesterday so, this morning, I’ve upgraded and can post my look back although I apologise as this means three posts in one day as there has been so much happening today with Boldwood’s 2nd birthday to celebrate and Yorkshire Day too!
I have no idea where July has gone. Do I say that about every month? It really has zoomed by so here’s what’s been happening:
The only book I’ve read in full is Life’s What You Make It by Sian O’Gorman who’s a fellow Boldwood author. It’s set in a small coastal village near Dublin and is a lovely story of starting over and finding home. I very much recommend it.
The munchkin and I continued with our viewing of Castle and are now halfway through season five. We don’t fit in many episodes at a time but we’re still loving it, and hubby and I watch The Rookie each week, also starring Nathan Fillion (star of Castle). Season three has just finished and ended on a cracking cliffhanger.
I forgot to mention in my June review that I had watched Virgin River as I’d heard so many good things about it and decided to give it a try. I’d therefore not long finished it before season three appeared. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the previous two seasons. What I’d enjoyed previously was that there was a balance of laughter and tears but this season seemed to be more about the tears. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good cry, but the balance didn’t seem to be there and there seemed to be lots of rushed decisions the characters made with massive consequences. I assume there’s a season 4 as it ended on a cliffhanger but I can’t decide whether I’m going to tune in or not. Jury’s still out on that one.
We’ve continued our eduction of the munchkin in films we’ve loved in the past and, after watching Armageddon last month, we decided to keep the disaster movie theme going and planned to watch The Day After Tomorrow. Unfortunately, we had a huge DVD clear-out last year and gave hundreds of them to charity as we didn’t have the space, and we think The Day After Tomorrow must have been one of them. It wasn’t on streaming and we weren’t going to pay to rent something we’d previously owned so we went for the dramatic but not quite as good 2012 instead. I remember watching that at the time and thinking 2012 seemed so far away! The munchkin loved it.
Hubby and I watched a film he’d seen a couple of times before and thought I’d love, partly because it’s really good and partly because Chris Hemsworth is in it! It’s called Heart of the Sea and is about the story that inspired Herman Melville to write MobyDick. He was right. It was really good. Do watch it if you have a chance.
Finally, we’ve just started watching A Discovery of Witches. We’re three episodes in and enjoying it so far. I have a feeling I heard someone say it’s slowish to start but really takes off from about episode 4.
I’ve been busy working on A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow, the fourth book in the Hedgehog Hollow series. I started the month having got to roughy the 50k words point and have finished the month at just shy of 93k words so I’m very close to the end. It will probably be about 110k words and then I’ll remove a few thousand in the editing process. I can’t wait to get to the end and start editing. It’s very lumpy at the moment but I’m confident I can smooth it out and then my editor will work her magic and suggest even more brilliant changes.
I celebrated one year of Hedgehog Hollow at the start of the month, 2nd July 2020 being the day the first book in the series – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – was published.
All You Need is Love went into Prime Reading. I thought this was just in the UK but it’s globally so do look for it if you’re in Prime overseas. It also went into a one-week sale on Audible and entered the Top 100 which is the first time any of my audiobooks have done that so that was a lovely moment.
We did the cover reveal for Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café and it’s always so lovely getting such positive responses to how pretty a cover is. It’s now available on NetGalley for bloggers/reviewers and I’ve had 100% 5-star feedback in so far. That’s only nine reviews but it’s still 100%. I know the bubble will burst at some point but I’ll enjoy it for now!
Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop has also been doing exceptionally well on NetGalley. With 80 reviews so far, there weren’t any 1 or 2 stars and only 1 x 3-star, with by far the most being 5-star reviews. Yay! Then yesterday a 2.5 star and another 3 star came in. Boo! Oh well, you can’t please all of the people all of the time and I’m delighted to have pleased a very large number!
I took part in a ‘Northern Lasses’ Book & Tonic Banter Facebook Live which was great fun. My fellow-panelists were Jane Lovering and Sheila Riley. You can catch up on that here. I also interviewed Jo Bartlett and chatted about how we met and our books on an ‘in conversation’ here.
I was thinking I’d barely left the house in July but a flick through my diary tells me I’m a big fat liar! The month started with a trip to Leeds to see Six The Musical, and a whole weekend away with the munchkin. I loved the show but didn’t particularly enjoy the weekend away although it was nice to spend some time with my daughter, of course.
I met my bestie and fellow author Sharon Booth in Beverley (East Yorkshire) for lunch and an afternoon of chat about all things writing. The hours go by in the click of a finger.
I attended the RNA’s conference, albeit virtually. There were some really great talks, all of which I took something from which is great.
The munchkin made her promise at Rangers down on Scarborough seafront and, while she was doing that, hubby and I grabbed some chips and took the dog for a walk. It was the midst of the heatwave but pleasantly cool on the evening by the coast.
August is shaping up to be a busy month with two publication days, a month of birthday celebrations for Boldwood and a couple of other exciting developments. Watch this space! Wishing you a fabulous August.
It’s 1st August which means it’s Yorkshire Day. Happy Yorkshire Day 2021 to everyone who who was born in Yorkshire, lives here now or has ever lived here, to all those who’ve visited this beautiful part of the country or would love to do so, to those who write about it/read about it/watch it on TV, those who drink Yorkshire Tea and anyone who has any connection to or fondness for Yorkshire.
I love Yorkshire. I was actually born in Teesside but was raised in a market town called Guisborough which borders the North Yorkshire Moors so I very much think of myself as a Yorkshire lass. And I’ve lived in North Yorkshire since 2003 and Scarborough since 2004; the longest time I’ve lived anywhere.
All my books (so far) are set in Yorkshire. North Yorkshire alone is the largest county in England. Add in East, West and South Yorkshire and we’re massive. So it’s no surprise that an area this size has so many inspiring settings from coast to country to city.
I’m delighted to present some of our local scenery and the books that are inspired by it…
I hope you’ve enjoyed a little glimpse into the real Yorkshire inspiration behind Whitsborough Bay and Hedgehog Hollow.
Do you love Yorkshire? Do you live here/have connections here/have fond memories of holidays here? I’d love to hear from you in the comments if you do.
Today I’m delighted to wish my amazing publisher, Boldwood Books, a Happy 2nd Birthday. Woo hoo!
Boldwood officially launched in February 2019, opening up to submissions that day, and I was all ready with my manuscript the moment we passed midnight and was thrilled to get ‘the call’ the following month and join the team as one of the first twenty authors.
The reason today – 1st August – is the official birthday is that this is the date the first release went out into the world. Nina Manning’s The Daughter in Law – a psychological thriller – was a huge success, as were the other August releases: romcom Honeymoon for One by Portia MacIntosh and contemporary women’s fiction Villa of Sun and Secrets by Jennifer Bohnet.
My Boldwood debut, The Secret to Happiness, was the first September release and it was so exciting seeing a new release out pretty much every week as the portfolio grew.
During their two years, Boldwood have delivered exactly what they promised: publishing reimagined. They have taken the ‘digital first’ concept and said ‘but that doesn’t need to mean digital only’ and, right from the start, all titles were released in several formats: eBook on all platforms, paperback, physical audio and audio download. But they haven’t stopped there. All titles are available in large print formats too and all titles released since March this year have come out in hardback (and older titles will, over time, retrospectively be available in that format). Streaming services have also been added meaning that, whatever a person’s reading or listening preferences, Boldwood have it covered.
They established a programme with The Works and I was thrilled to have three books – The Secret to Happiness, Making Wishes at Bay View and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – go into The Works stores and online in 2020. This programme has also seen additional stock distributed around the UK, Ireland, USA and Canada meaning that books could appear in garden centres, post offices, small and large supermarkets in those countries. I’ve personally spotted one of mine in two local garden centres and a friend sent me a photo of one in her local post office which was such a thrill.
Another amazing deal saw many books go into supermarkets in Australia. The distributor specified crime and thrillers only so mine weren’t included but I was still able to enjoy the moment vicariously seeing shelfies from down under featuring books by my Boldwood buddies.
Across the two years, Boldwood have been nominated and shortlisted for various industry prizes, winning the regional heat of the Publisher of the Year in the British Book Awards 2021 and winning the Best Newcomer award at the Independent Publishing Awards 2020.
Team Boldwood have also:
Sold 4 million books (across all formats)
Had 45 Top 10 Bestsellers
Signed more than 60 authors
Published over 160 titles
Received more than 100,000 5-star reviews on Amazon
Expanded to a team of 8
Acquired over 15,000 social media followers
That’s a lot of amazing achievements in only two years! Very much looking forward to where the next two years take us. I’m already aware of some exciting new opportunities which will be revealed in due course, and I’m sure there’ll be many more.
For me personally, two years brings an amazing milestone. On Tuesday (3rd August), the final book in my first twelve-book publishing contract is released. Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is also the final book in my backlist, all of which Boldwood acquired, and was previously out as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop. Then, later this month, Snowflakes at The Starfish Café is published (31st August) which sees the start of a brand new twelve-book deal and a new series. I can’t believe I’m already on my second contract! When it came to resigning with Boldwood, I didn’t even need to think about it. A resounding YES!
A month before Boldwood’s first birthday, I added Hedgehog Hollow to my settings and have been overwhelmed with the love for the hedgehogs. There are now three books out there with a fourth on pre-order and more to come from the hedgehogs in 2022.
A huge CONGRATULATIONS to the whole team at Boldwood Books for creating such a warm, friendly, innovative company and for being so supportive. My particular gratitude goes to Amanda Ridout, our Founder and CEO, for her passion, enthusiasm and tremendous vision and to my editor (and Publishing / Sales & Marketing Director), Nia Beynon, who is an absolute dream to work with. Nia has been my editor from the start and therefore knows, understands, and loves the worlds of Whitsborough Bay and Hedgehog Hollow as much as I do. She is my sounding board and a shoulder to cry on and I have learned so much from her exceptional editing skills about how to turn a good story into a great one.
A thank you to Megan Townsend, Publishing Executive, who works behind the scenes preparing the books for publication and Claire Fenby, Digital Marketing Manager, who only joined the team fairly recently but has already made such a tremendous impact on our social media channels with her digital innovations.
I’m so grateful to the team of authors at Boldwood for being such a supportive, friendly group. Very excited to hopefully meet them all in person at some point. Congratulations to you all for writing such amazing books. I’m a very slow reader but I think I’ve maybe read about twenty Boldwood releases so far and they’ve all been exceptional. My mum, bless her, has read (and loved) nearly all of them!
Finally an enormous THANK YOU to all the readers and bloggers/reviewers who buy the books in whatever format, leave reviews, spread recommendations, send messages, and share the love. We wouldn’t be here without your support. Huge hugs to every single one of you.
Happy 2nd Birthday Boldwood. Here’s to an exciting third year…