I’m thrilled to officially share the gorgeous cover for my forthcoming new release, Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café. Isn’t it stunning?
Here’s all the essential details:
PRE-ORDER: Available for eBook pre-order RIGHT NOW! (links just above my signature)
RELEASE DATE: Out on 31st August 2021
OTHER FORMATS: Available on all other formats from 31st August – paperback, signed paperback (available direct from me), hardback, large print, physical audio, audio download and via streaming services
AUDIO NARRATION: Lucy Brownhill and Gareth Bennett-Ryan (the team who narrate All You Need Is Love)
SETTING: Just outside Whitsborough Bay on a cliff top above Starfish Point, a colony to over 200 common and grey seals
WHAT TO EXPECT: An emotional story (grab those tissues) full of hope
This is my 13th book and sees the start of a brand new 12-book publishing contract with the wonderful Boldwood Books. Over the past couple of years, Boldwood have published four brand new titles from me and eight books from my backlist which have been freshly edited and have new scenes, chapters, titles and covers.
The very last of these is Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop (previously Charlee and the Chocolate Shop) out on 3rd August and also available for pre-order right now.
The new contract will be made up entirely of BRAND NEW titles which is really exciting. The Hedgehog Hollow series will continue with book four – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – out in January 2022 and another one or two Hedgehog Hollow books after that before the series concludes.
There’s plenty more to come from Whitsborough Bay too and from The Starfish Café itself. We have a sequel to Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café currently scheduled for April 2022 and possibly a third book in that series.
Here’s the blurb:
Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.
Two broken hearts.
Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…
An unexpected meeting.
Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…
The chance to love again.
Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible…
‘Heartbreakingly moving and yet beautifully uplifting, I cried for all the right reasons!’ Jo Bartlett
‘Achingly poignant, yet full of hope – You will fall in love with this beautiful Christmas story’ Sandy Barker
Although it has been loitering for a few weeks on Amazon, Apple and Kobo, I’m delighted that today is the official cover reveal for my next release, Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop. Isn’t it a thing of beauty?
This book was formerly out as a Kindle eBook only under the title of Charlee and the Chocolate Shop and is the final book from my backlist to go through a full edit, refresh and re-release. Everything that is published by me from this point onwards will be a brand new never-read-before story.
My husband designed the original cover (using stock images) and I love that the street and lampposts are the same but with a new tree and a fabulous new couple in the foreground.
Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is available for pre-order now – you can do so on Amazon here:
It will be out on Tuesday 3rd August in ten gazillion formats: eBook for Apple, Kindle and Kobo, paperback, hardback, large print, physical audio CD or MP3, audio download and audio streaming. Something for everyone!
So what has changed between the two versions?
The simple answer is pretty much every sentence! But the story hasn’t fundamentally changed. Let me explain…
I found it more challenging revisiting this story than any other book on my backlist which was unexpected because I thought it would be the easiest!
When I first started writing, my intention was to write light romantic comedies but I found myself drawn more towards deeper emotional stories and characters who’ve faced quite significant adversity so my later books are more emotional than my first few.
My amazing editor, Nia, commented on how much my writing style differed in this book to my others which surprised me as this was the sixth book I’d originally written and I thought I’d fully developed my voice and style by the time I wrote Coming Home to Seashell Cottage which, although now the fourth book in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series, was the third book I wrote.
When I started to work through it, I was shocked! Nia was absolutely right. This was not typical of my writing style. I realised that I’d tried to write aspects of this story in a lighter romcom style simply because it was a Christmas read while having a story that fitted with the more emotional style I’d moved towards and the two didn’t mesh together particularly well. Or rather I hadn’t meshed them well. Where I did have an emotional scene, I hadn’t taken the opportunity to convey the full emotion that the character(s) would have experienced at that point because I was trying to keep the story lighter.
The other thing that had happened was that I’d wanted Charlee and the Chocolate Shop to be a Christmas novella. It had become apparent that there was a big market for Christmas stories and it seemed that readers were quite happy with shorter ones so they could squeeze more in. As is often the case when I write, I couldn’t think small. My premise was to have my heroine Charlee experiencing two very different Christmases so I already had a challenge on my hands of more word count needed to do justice to two Christmases instead of one. And there were quite a few threads I was covering so it became apparent that this wasn’t going to be a novella (17.5k-40k words). I compromised on a shorter novel instead but, to achieve that, I did quite a lot of telling.
There’s a writing rule: show don’t tell. The idea behind this is that you take the reader on more of a journey by showing them how a character is feeling, for example. In very simple terms, instead of telling the reader ‘Amanda was scared’, I’d show the reader that she was scared by describing her reactions e.g. Amanda’s hands shook as she pulled the duvet under her chin, holding her breath as she heard the scratching once more.
This rule also applies to scenes. I could summarise something: Jane still hadn’t spoken to Steve since their epic fight. As soon as she’d asked him whether there was someone else, he’d turned on her, accusing her of having an affair instead… And so on. This is also telling. If this is a key moment in the book, I really need to show the reader the ‘epic fight’ so that the reader feels what Jane is feeling, hears the dialogue, sees the facial expressions, feels the anger/pain.
There is a school of thought that realistically you can’t show the reader everything because (a) it doesn’t give any credit to the reader for filling things in themselves and (b) the word count could go through the roof. I’m particularly with this on how a character is feeling as sometimes you just need to get it on the page – Ellie was bricking it – and move on. If Ellie is well-developed enough, the reader will know what this looks like for her and be able to fill in those reactions.
With my feedback from Nia, my tell rather than show came more from the latter example of scenes. To move the story forward in less word count, I had summarised. A lot. And I’d missed some key moments as a result which would have added more depth and emotion to the story.
The thing is, the reviews were really positive. In fact, with a 4.8/5 average rating, they were my strongest set of ratings so readers clearly loved this book. I therefore could have made some of the editing tweaks Nia suggested and left the rest alone but I’m very much of the school of thought that if you’re going to do something, you do it well. It’s not in my make-up to take a sub-standard ‘it’ll do’ approach. If I had just done the basic edits, I’d have been left feeling that this book was the weaker one of the collection. As soon as my first negative reviews came in, I’d have put that down to not making the extra effort with this and I’d have kicked myself. I couldn’t bear the thought of reading a review that said something like: It’s okay but not a patch on her other books. I’m sure I’ll get those type of reviews at some point – in fact, I’ve just had a 2-star for All You Need Is Love which says something similar – but I didn’t want to be nodding along and agreeing that it wasn’t as good, knowing I could have done something about it.
As an author moves through their career and builds a bigger backlist, they will often talk about how their writing style has changed and how they don’t love their early work as much as their more recent books and would change loads about it if they could go back. I’ve been in a very unique position where I’ve had the chance to go back and ‘fix’ all my earlier books as part of the backlist edit I’ve been through with Boldwood over the past eighteen months. Even though my earlier books are more of a lighter romcom and my later ones are more emotional – representing a shift in the type of stories I create – I’m immensely proud of how all of them are written as everything I’d learned since the early ones were originally released was used to improve the new versions during my Boldwood edits. I therefore don’t have any I would say are of a lesser standard.
And this is why pretty much every sentence of Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop has changed from what it was in Charlee and the Chocolate Shop. I’ve restructured sentences, I have stronger dialogue, I have more show rather than tell, and I have some extra scenes. But the overall story premise has NOT changed; I’ve just improved how I’ve presented the story.
The major changes are as follows:
Charlee’s boyfriend is no longer called Darren. He is now Ricky. There is a main character called Daran (Irish spelling) in Coming Home to Seashell Cottage and it seemed unnecessary to use the name (albeit spelt differently) twice. You’re now crying ‘Ricky!’ like Bianca used to on EastEnders, aren’t you?
Several extra scenes between Charlee and Ricky have been added in, particularly when they hit some relationship challenges. I’m particularly pleased with a new one where Ricky gives Charlee a special gift
A couple of new chapters relating to Charlee buying and setting up her chocolaterie
I’ve included some extra scenes between Charlee and her best friend Jodie
There’s now an ending which doesn’t tie absolutely everything together for all characters with a bright red bow. A review for the original version commented on it all being a little bit perfect for everyone and, on reflection, I agreed, so I have a slight tweak to the ending for a couple of the characters
There are several other tweaks to smooth out some elements of the story/give more detail but I’d be giving spoilers if I listed them
So where does this leave you if you’ve already read Charlee and the Chocolate Shop? It’s the same as with all of my backlist changes. If you’ve already read the story, then there isn’t any need to read this revised version. There are new scenes and, as a result, it’s a longer book than before (another 14.5k words), but there are no new characters, no additional cameo appearances, and no completely new threads that would mean you miss something by not reading this.
Of course, if you would be interested in reading the story again anyway, you might as well dive into the new version. I took down the old version from sale in December last year and I have had it splashed over social media for well over a year that there was a new version coming out so I know some readers have decided to hold off and wait for the edited version.
There’ll be another Whitsborough Bay book coming out at the end of August – a brand new story – so there’s a double treat in August for readers who love Whitsborough Bay. And then we’re back with the fourth instalment from Hedgehog Hollow in January 2022.
Today is an extra special day for the cover reveal as it’s an anniversary. Two years ago today, Boldwood announced their list of their first twenty authors. It was news I’d been sitting on for months and it was so exciting to have it out in the open. It’s therefore lovely to have the cover reveal of my final backlist book – and the final book in my first contract – on the anniversary of the Boldwood announcement.
I hope you enjoy Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop. Thank you for all your support.
Big hugs and lots of chocolate 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…
Escape to Castle Street for the perfect uplifting, festive read from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.
Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop was originally released as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop. Now re-released with a new title and new cover, this version has been freshly edited and features several new chapters.
Ooh, I do love a cover reveal and I’m delighted to bring you the absolutely gorgeous cover for book 3 in the Hedgehog Hollow series: Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow.
We’re out the back of Hedgehog Hollow looking across the meadow and gardens towards the farmhouse and Thomas’s bench. Misty-Blue the cat is there and so are several gorgeous hedgehogs.
I absolutely love this cover. We wanted each one in this series to be a different colour and to move away from the blue that is on many of the Whitsborough Bay books. The green is so fresh and the three books look stunning side by side. Can’t wait to get my mitts on the paperback.
This story is out on 4th May but is available for pre-order now. It will be available on ebook for Apple, Kindle and Kobo, audio download, physical audio, paperback, hardback, large print and via streaming services so something to suit everyone.
Here’s the blurb:
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…
I’m delighted to announce that Bear With Me is now available for pre-order under the brand new title of All You Need Is Love. Woo hoo! It will be out on 11th March 2021.
This is the penultimate book from my back catalogue to have ‘the Boldwood treatment’. As part of my first publishing deal, Boldwood acquired my entire back catalogue. A whopping six books were re-edited and re-released during 2020:
The Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series (available as a box set or individually):
Making Wishes at Bay View (previously released as novella Raving About Rhys and short novel Callie’s Christmas Wish)
New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms (previously released as Searching for Steven)
Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (previously released as Getting Over Gary)
Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (previously released as Dreaming About Daran)
Christmas on Castle Street:
Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes (previously released with the same title but the POV got changed from 3rd to 1st person and several new chapters were added)
Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café (previously released as Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café, several new chapters being added on re-release)
Re-releasing a book with a fresh edit, fresh cover and (usually) fresh title is commonplace when an author changes publisher and agrees for the publisher to acquire their back catalogue, as in my case.
Prior to being published by Boldwood, my books were relatively unknown as I’d struggled to make an impact on the charts as an indie author. I therefore knew that there wouldn’t be many readers who had already discovered my books and could mistakenly duplicate their purchase on re-release; something I appreciate can be frustrating.
We make it very clear in the blurbs that the books are re-releases (and specifically name the previous title) and I shout about it all over social media but there’ll always be readers who miss this. Unfortunately, I have a few negative reviews on Amazon criticising this which is disappointing when the blurb has made it clear but I try to look on the bright side: the reader loves my work so much that they instantly purchased it without reading the blurb. Okay, so that doesn’t quite take the sting out of a 1-star review but I’m trying!
Now that Boldwood have worked wonders with my books this year, taking them to a much greater readership, there is more of a risk that Kindle readers will duplicate purchases of the final two re-issued books (a revised version of Charlee and the Chocolate Shop will be out in August 2021) so I’m steeling myself ready for the negative comments and hoping they’re not too nasty/personal. Again, the blurb does make it clear and I will continue to shout about it on social media.
For readers on Apple Books or Kobo duplicate purchases are not a risk as Bear With Me was never available on those platforms.
All You Need Is Love will be available as a paperback, large print, physical audio, audio download and via streaming services. It will also be available in hardback format which is an exciting new format added to the Boldwood portfolio. This will be the first of my books available in this format but, in time, all the others will be. Bear With Me was only ever available as an eBook.
So what has changed on the re-issue of Bear With Me as All You Need Is Love?
The changes – as with the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series – are minimal. Anyone who has already read Bear With Me does not need to read All You Need Is Love unless it’s a book they absolutely love and would choose to read twice anyway. There are no new characters or scenarios introduced that have an impact on any of my other books.
My edits are mainly around tightening up a few sentences, adding a little more ‘colour’ into some of the emotional scenes and removing a little bit of extraneous detail.
Two characters have name changes although their personalities and roles in the stories don’t change:
Jemma’s younger brother, Sean, is now called Logan. There are two main male characters called Sam and Scott. Throw in a Sean and we have three one-syllable male names beginning with ‘S’. Potentially confusing. I couldn’t change Sam or Scott due to specific plot points connected to their names but I could change Sean’s name. So I did!
One of Sam’s nieces, Connie, is now called Isla. She’s a minor character but is mentioned several times. Connie is also the name of a main character in my Hedgehog Hollow series and, despite me keeping a spreadsheet of character names to avoid duplication, I didn’t actually look at it! Lesson learned. It therefore made sense to change Connie’s name here
This book is written in dual perspective – Jemma and Sam – and each chapter is clearly signposted with the name of the person telling that part of the story. Towards the end of the book, quite a lot happens for both of them on the same day. I covered this in a few chapters but it had potential to be a little bit confusing with the timeline so I have broken it down into several shorter chapters to help the reader keep a better track.
There are several other tweaks along these lines but the characters and the story don’t fundamentally change. I have slight adjustments here and there but to say what they are would give away some huge spoilers.
There will be an official cover reveal in January but, as it is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Apple and Kobo, you’ll be able to see it so here’s a sneak preview. You can pre-order on Amazon here and the blurb is below.
Isn’t it beautiful? I’m so pleased with it and I hope that readers will love reading Jemma and Sam’s story for the first time or rediscovering the refreshed version.
When you’ve loved and lost, how do you find the strength to let love in again?
Jemma thinks she’s found the love of her life. Scott is everything she ever dreamed of and she can’t wait to begin the next stage of their life together. But just as she is heading for her happy ever after, a shock revelation shatters Jemma’s life as she knows it. Left to pick up the pieces, Jemma’s friends and family rally round to help her find the courage to move on.
Sam think he has his future all worked out. A thriving career, lovely home and an amazing fiancée. But when tragedy strikes, he finds himself alone, far from everyone he cares about. Did he do the right thing by running away and trying to rebuild the tatters of his life alone?
This is the story of Jemma and Sam. Two lost souls, desperately trying to find closure and happiness. When a chance meeting brings them together a friendship is formed, but the guards are up.
Will it finally be their turn for a happy ever after? Or will the secrets from their pasts prevent them from moving on?
Escape to Whitsborough Bay for an emotional, uplifting story of love and friendship from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.
This book was previously published as Bear With Me.