I had a lovely trip out on Friday. I’d arranged to meet my author friend Eliza J Scott but I’d just bought a new (to me) car after being a one-car-family for about seventeen years.
I picked her up on Thursday so this was her first proper run-out and what perfect whether I had for our outing. Music up, sunglasses on, absolutely fabulous. Officially, it wasn’t spring when I visited, but it certainly felt like it.
Eliza and I met in Helmsley and our first stop was for a drink and scone at a cafe Eliza recommended called Mannion & Co. I didn’t even bother to peruse the menu, going straight for the scones. However, after we’d been there a while, brunches and lunches began appearing for other customers and they looked divine. Must go back and sample something different.
Eliza went for a fruit scone with jam and cream and I chose a cheese scone with chutney and herb mascarpone cheese as that sounded a little unusual. It was delicious but those scones were enormous! Eliza’s was like a scone on top of a scone!
The cafe was very close to Helmsley Castle so we decided to go inside. As you can see from the pics, the sky was blue and the sun was bright and we ended up plonking ourselves on a bench and chatting.
It’s always good to catch up with author friends as there’s so much to talk about and the hours tend to whizz by. We had a quick shoot round the castle at the end to grab some pics before heading home.
Helmsley Castle is owned by English Heritage. I’ve only been once before and we’re talking many years ago when I was in my late teens. My best friend from school had a summer job cleaning in a hotel in Rosedale and she was staying in a static caravan on site. I borrowed my mum’s car one day to visit her and we had a little tour around including Helmsley Castle.
Hope you’ve enjoyed my sunny tour round Helmsley Castle. Wishing you a fabulous week.
Book Aid for Ukraine is an online auction which has been set up to raise funds for British-Ukrainian Aid who support “people suffering from the war and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine by aligning UK and Ukrainian efforts [by providing] assistance to vulnerable individuals who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged, including the injured and wounded, orphaned children, the elderly, internal displaced persons, refugees and families who have lost their main earners” (quote from their website found here).
Authors, publishers, agents and various others involved in the publishing industry have donated a variety of lots from signed books and bundles to advice and mentoring packages. There are a whopping 347 lots available to bid on and there’s something to suit all tastes.
You can read more about the auction here which, at the time of writing this, has already raised over £37,000 in bids and donations (as you can pledge on the site without bidding on a lot). In addition to this, publisher Pan Macmillan will match the highest bids so this figure will significantly rise.
Bidding has already started and the auction ends on 20th March at midnight GMT. There’s a countdown running online.
I’ve donated 2 lots.
LOT 1 – Books
The first is a UK-only one of signed paperback copies of each of the 4 books in my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series. I can also dedicate these. This lot can be found directly here. The books in the series are: Making Wishes at Bay View, New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove and Coming Home to Seashell Cottage.
LOT 2 – Zoom Call
I am also offering a Zoom chat for contemporary romance/romcom author or aspiring author: I’m offering a 1-hour Zoom chat to anyone who is writing or is interested in writing a contemporary romance/romantic comedy novel or series. My particular areas of speciality include characterisation, building a setting (particularly a coastal or country one) and writing a series although I’m happy to discuss other aspects of writing.
This lot is available internationally and can be found directly here.
Several author friends have donated lots and I hope the auction helps raise some valuable support. Please do take a look and spread the word to friends and family. Thank you.
We’re celebrating three birthdays in our house today – 11th March 2022 – and another one tomorrow. Today it’s my husband’s birthday, our dog’s, and I have a book birthday today and tomorrow.
A huge happy birthday to my amazing husband, Mark, who is impossible to buy for so has chosen his own gift today. He is such an amazing supporter of my writing and I’m so exceptionally grateful and lucky to have him.
Happy 6th birthday to our sprocker spaniel, Ella, who may now be 42 in human years but still believes she’s a puppy.
And happy 1st book birthday to All You Need Is Love.
Many of my books have two birthdays – like the Queen! That’s because they were originally released by me as an indie writer or through my original publishing deal but, as they barely made any impact pre-Boldwood, I count their re-release through the amazing Boldwood Books as their official birthday.
All You Need Is Love is one of my personal favourites. I absolutely love Jemma and Sam’s emotional story intertwined with the challenges Jemma’s mum is facing and the backdrop of a specialist teddy bear shop on Whitsborough Bay’s Castle Street. A few lovely achievements during its first year include:
40,000 copies sold across all formats
Over 1,600 reviews/ratings on Amazon
Over 300 reviews/ratings on Audible
Kindle UK Top 100 (highest position #81)
Kindle Australia Top 50
Audible UK Top 50
Several #1 Best Seller category tags
I have another book birthday to celebrate tomorrow so I’m including that here too rather than doing a separate blog post. Coming Home to Seashell Cottage is two tomorrow (12th March).
This is another personal favourite of mine. It’s the fourth (and final) book in the first series I penned – ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ – and it’s the book where I found my voice and the type of book I really wanted to write. Full of twists and turns and packing an emotional punch, it was a game-changer for me and I’ll always be immensely proud of it. Across two years, it has also had some lovely achievements:
43,000 copies sold across all formats
Over 1,800 reviews/ratings on Amazon
Nearly 325 reviews/ratings on Audible
Kindle UK Top 200 (highest position #165)
Kindle Australia Top 100
Audible UK Top 50
Apple UK Top 25 (and #5 in the Romance category)
Several #1 Best Seller category tags
Coming Home to Seashell Cottage is currently on a 2 for 1 Audible Credit Deal which ENDS TOMORROW at 11.59pm (Saturday 12th March) so it’s the final chance to get this on a deal.
I’m so thrilled to see it in the overall Audible Top 50 as I write this! THANK YOU xxx
So a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my man, my dog and two of the books in my life!
It’s funny looking at the sales figures for the two because All You Need is Love got off to a bit of a slow start and it looked like it was going to be my least-sold book but that has changed and it is only just behind Coming Home to Seashell Cottage in sales figures but in half the time. Which then makes me feel sorry for Coming Home to Seashell Cottage. I wonder if it’s because All You Need is Love can be read as a standalone book so new readers are more likely to pick that up than a four-book series. Hmm.
I can tie yourself into knots wondering why some books sell better than others so it’s best not to think about it too much and just focus on how incredibly grateful I am that they sell at all!
If you’re celebrating a birthday today, tomorrow or any time this month, I wish you all the best. Thank you as always to everyone who has bought/borrowed/downloaded these two books (or any others) in any format, and/or has spread the word. It’s so much appreciated.
I was thrilled to be announced as a finalist for the RNA’s (Romantic Novelists’ Association’s) Romantic Novel of the Year Awards. Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café was one of five finalists in the Christmas/Festive category.
On Monday night, it was the Awards ceremony down in London. I decided to make a trip of it and stay over an extra night on the Sunday to catch up with a friend from university who lives there so it was lovely to see him and it meant I didn’t need to worry about delayed trains and cancellations on the Monday.
Monday was a packed day. I had breakfast with author Rowan Coleman who I’d travelled down with, went for a walk down to the river, had lunch with my editor, then got ready for the ceremony. The weather was a bit grey on my walk but I took a couple of pics of my shortlisted book with nearby sights Tower Bridge and The Tower of London. It’s not easy to hold a book and hold a phone!
All the finalists – five in each of the categories – gathered for a photo shoot before the ceremony. There were only three of us there from my category so the photo shows (L-R) me, Sheila Norton (Winter at Cliff’s End Cottage) and Jenny Bayliss (The Winter of Second Chances).
They were both really lovely and we posed for another unofficial photo together…
I was feeling quite nervous at this point. I didn’t think I had any chance of winning but the last time I attended an Awards ceremony was about 20 years ago when I was up for a business award so this isn’t an every day thing at all.
The reason I didn’t think I would win was nothing to do with me thinking the book wasn’t good enough or anything like that. It was purely down to it being an extremely emotional story which might not have been quite what the readers wanted for that category.
When the photos were done, I joined my publishers, Boldwood Books, down in the bar.
After a quick catch up and photo op, we made our way into the function room for the ceremony.
It was beautifully laid out and we were fortunate enough to be on one of the front tables. The Boldwood team, authors and guests had two tables as there were three of us up for awards – Portia MacIntosh with Life’s a Beach in the Jane Wenham-Jones Romantic Comedy category and Shari Low with One Summer Sunrise in the Contemporary category.
Because I hadn’t expected to win, I hadn’t prepared a speech or even thought about what I was going to say. When the first Award was presented and the winner gave a short speech, I had a sudden panic. What if I did win? What would I say? For one very brief moment, I thought it could be possible and I should have been more prepared.
But I didn’t need to worry about a speech because I didn’t win. Congratulations to Sheila Norton who won in my category.
My category was the first of the ones in which Boldwood was represented so I was hoping one of the other Boldwood authors would bring home the win. One of our authors, Anne-Marie Brear was also up for an award as an indie (entered pre-Boldwood) in the Romantic Saga category with A Distant Horizon so we were rooting for her too but it wasn’t our night. None of us won our categories.
Enormous congratulations to all the winners and all the finalists. You can read the RNA’s article containing all the category winners here.
I have a certificate and a beautiful brochure to commemorate a special evening and would like to say thank you to everyone who congratulated me on being a finalist, wished me luck and said kind words about this book. I really appreciate all the gorgeous comments.
It was lovely to be able to spend time with my publisher, some of the other Boldwood authors, and to catch up with some other authors and it was certainly an honour to be a finalist.
Thank you so much to everyone in the RNA for organising and hosting a wonderful evening.
The following morning, the sky was bright blue so I couldn’t resist another walk down by the river to get some nicer photos so here’s a little selection of my pics from Tuesday morning in a very sunny London.
Second post of the day from me, but I’ll keep this one short too.
I’m delighted to bring you the stunning cover reveal for the next book in the Hedgehog Hollow series. Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow is the fifth book and will be out on 28th June.
I’ve loved all my Hedgehog Hollow covers and my favourite so far has been A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow which I didn’t think could be topped… until this landed in my inbox. Those colours! Those hot air balloons! Those hedgehogs! This is now my new favourite and depicts a key scene near the end of the story.
Here’s the blurb:
Samantha has a secret. Returning home from her dream honeymoon to the normality of running her beloved Hedgehog Hollow rescue centre, she’s ready for the next chapter of her life with Josh. Or is she? Samantha is hiding something which could forever change the dreams they shared and bring their happy ever after crashing to the ground.
Lauren has given up on love. Twenty-seven years ago the love of her life, Shaun, left her a note and was never seen again. Two painful divorces later she still can’t face opening up to anyone. But little does Lauren know that the closure she’s dreamt of for all these years may be closer than she thinks, and perhaps the only way to let new love in is to forgive and forget.
Samantha and Lauren will need the love and support from the Hedgehog Hollow family more than ever. After all, some dreams are worth chasing…
Top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland welcomes you back to glorious Hedgehog Hollow where love, family and friendship conquer all.
Don’t they look so pretty together?
In other news, I have a confirmed release date for book 6 which will be the final book in the series. It’s out on 6th September this year. I can’t confirm the title yet as we’re deciding between two and it depends which fits best on the cover.
Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow is available for pre-order on Kindle here and will be up for pre-order on other eBook formats and Audible nearer the publication date. As with all my books (and all others published through Boldwood Books), it will be available in a multitude of formats from publication day – eBook, paperback, hardback, large print, physical audio and audio download with audio streaming on publication day too or soon afterwards.
Hello there and a very warm welcome to March. Isn’t it lovely to feel the promise of spring with the crocuses open, the daffodils pushing through and those blue skies? Except today. Very grey and damp in Scarborough but I need to get my head down into edits of Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow so perhaps that’s a good thing.
Just dropping by with news that the fourth (and final) book in my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series has been picked up by Audible UK as part of their 2 for 1 credit sale today. This is a one-week offer ending on Saturday 12th March just before midnight.
On Audible’s 2 for 1 landing page – which you can find here – there’s a helpful countdown for when the offer ends.
The first two books in the series – Making Wishes at Bay View and New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms are free to Audible subscribers via Audible Plus so, if you haven’t read this series, it’s a great opportunity to grab those two for free, get book 4 on this offer, and use your normal credits for book 3 – Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove, which has previously been on offer.
It’s my personal favourite of the four books although I very much recommend reading the series in order to get the build around main character Clare who is initially a bit spiky and aloof. This book shows us why and, as you can see from the Audible quote above, there are lots of twists and turns in it.
Please do share this offer with anyone you know who’s an Audible UK listener. And if you’re not on Audible but enjoy listening, don’t forget all my books are available in audio format via Spotify and other streaming services.
The blurb’s below my signature.
Big hugs Jessica xx
For Clare O’Connell, home is where the heart aches…
Since the age of sixteen, Clare O’Connell has lived her life by four strict rules:
1. Don’t talk about Ireland
2. Don’t think about Ireland
3. Don’t go to Ireland
4. Don’t let anyone in
And so far, it’s worked well. She’s got a great career, amazing friends, and she’s really happy. The future is all that counts, isn’t it?
However Clare is about to realise that you can run from the past, but you can’t always hide from it…
When her boss insists she travels to Ireland for work, Clare finds herself drawn back to the village of Ballykielty – the home of her family, and the home of her secrets. The one place where vowed never to return to again…
With the door to her past now wide open, the first three rules have gone out of the window. Will Clare stick to rule number four?
Can she be brave and face up to her family and the demons of her past?
An emotional novel of family, friendship and dealing with your past from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland