The one with a special offer for Yeokens collectors

If you’re a fan of Yeo Valley’s products, you may already be a collector of Yeokens. There’s a special code on every Yeo Valley pack and those who register for the programme can enter the codes online and build up their Yeokens balance which can then be exchanged for discounts, goodies, days out or charitable donations. You can read more about Yeokens on Yeo Valley’s website here.

In an industry first, the brilliantly innovative Boldwood Books have partnered with Yeo Valley to offer discounted audiobooks in exchange for Yeokens.

There are six Boldwood titles currently on offer in a range of genres from Heather Atkinson, Rosie Clarke, Shari Low, Helen McGinn, Louise Douglas and me! I’m thrilled that Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is one of them.

As you can see from the promo visual, 75 Yeokens gives 75% off a selected Boldwood audiobook which is a fabulous discount.

So, if you’re a Yeokens collector and have some spare Yeokens, here’s a great way to ‘spend’ them.

Happy listening!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where I have lots of lovely things to celebrate in this troubled world

In a world where so much continues to be confusing and frightening, I’ve been making the most of the happier things that have happened across the past week: adding the finishing touches to the Christmas decorations, a phenomenal semi-final on Strictly, a glowing report from my daughter’s virtual parents’ evening and a lovely day out to a stately home with an author friend.

The past week has brought much to celebrate in my writing too…

REVIEWS MILESTONES

Today, I hit a fabulous milestone for two of my books. Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café passed 1,500 reviews/ratings on Amazon and Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes hit 2,500.

I’m absolutely delighted! It shouldn’t be long before I’m celebrating Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop hitting 1,000 and Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café reaching a whopping 3,000. The former will probably get there by the weekend and the latter will hopefully make it by the end of the year.

Isn’t it funny how all four of my seasonal books will hit an exact milestone at around the same time?

DOUBLE TOP 100 SUCCESS

I was absolutely delighted to see Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café and Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop in the Kindle Top 100 in the UK at exactly the same time. They danced around each other a bit at the bottom of the chart with Christmas Wishes passing Starfish Café on one occasion.

Although Christmas Wishes didn’t stick around in the Top 100 for long, it was wonderful to see Charlee’s story there. Starfish Café has done me so proud, hanging around in the Top 100 fairly solidly since mid-November and peaking as high as #56.

There was also some success for Christmas Wishes on the Apple Books chart with a Top 10 position in the Fiction & Literature Chart and Top 100 in the overall chart too.

#BOLDBOOKCLUB

Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café was selected by Boldwood’s reading community as their choice for the very first #BoldBookClub which started with a readalong this week. There’s a book club question posed each day and various competitions and giveaways running so do pop over to Instagram – look for @BookandTonic – to join in.

I’ve been delighted with the buzz and the amazing answers to the book club questions so far. Tonight, there was an Instagram Live where 3 amazing bloggers – Fiona, Meena and Jav – joined me to ask questions and I did a quick reading. You can find the Live here. A huge thank you to Fiona, Meena and Jav for the great questions, to Claire for keeping me right with the technicalities (newbie here!) and to all those who stopped by.

FAVOURITE READS OF 2021

It’s the time of year when book bloggers/reviewers start sharing their favourite reads of the year.

Joanne from Portobello Book Blogs delighted me with the news that All You Need is Love was one of her top reads of the first quarter of the year! Wow! It’s one of my favourite books that I’ve written so this was a particular honour for me. You can find the blog post here. Thank you so very much, Joanne.

Then yesterday I received the amazing news that Claire at Book Lovers Anonymous (find her on Facebook here) had announced her top 5 books of 2021 out of 300 she’s read and A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow was at #5. It isn’t out until 6th January but Claire, as a blogger, had an advanced copy so it fell into her 2021 reading.

Claire wrote, “fantastic addition to a phenomenal series. I love Samantha and I hope the series never ends”. Awww!

The good news didn’t end there as Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café also featured in her top 5. At number 1!!!!! Eek!!!! I am so thrilled.

Claire wrote, “Another fantastic book by the super talented Jessica Redland [pauses to blush and pinch self]… Honestly, never has a book made me feel so much emotion, and it will be a book I will love forever”. Seriously, I was welling up reading that!

Claire sent me a badge to put on my website so hopefully I’ll remember how to do that and get it added soon but here it is in the meantime. Isn’t it pretty?

Thank you to everyone who has played any part in all these wonderful things. I appreciate it so very much. It’s still hard to believe that this time three years ago, I was at my lowest ever point with my writing and seriously questioning whether to call it a day. Writing is who I am so I knew I could never really let go but it was so hard back then. So to anyone for whom life is tough just now, who’s facing challenges, who’s feeling low, hang on in there as I’m living proof that time can change everything. Stay strong, stay safe, and stay believing in yourself.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Children in Read for Children in Need Part 2

At the start of this month, I posted about the Children in Read auction – an amazing auction of books and book-related items in aid of BBC’s Children in Need. You can read the post here.

At the time, I explained that I’d donated my Christmas on Castle Street trilogy as a lot. It had 7 bids and had already raised £25. I’m thrilled to report that, with still 8 days to go until bidding closes, an 8th bid has raised it to a whopping £45. Eek! Delighted with that.

It’s lot 594 and you can find the listing here.

I have since donated a second lot, this time to win a single signed paperback book – my latest release of Snowflakes Over the Starfish Café.

This is lot 740 and I’m thrilled to say that it already has a £20 bid on it. Woo hoo! You can find it directly here.

There are 745 lots available and they keep getting added. So far, a whopping £16,122 has been raised. You can find the full auction here. All the money goes directly to Children in Need.

If you’re on Twitter, you can follow author videos and latest lots added @ChildrenInRead I recorded a video for Twitter after my last blog post which you can watch here.

A huge congratulations to Paddy Heron and the amazing team bringing all these lots to you and working tirelessly to raise as many book-related funds as they can for this brilliant cause.

Happy bidding!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The hedgehogs are back in The Works

I was delighted to get the news a couple of months ago that a fourth title of mine – Starry Skies Over the Chocolate Pot Café – was going into The Works so I absolutely wasn’t expecting to have another title in there but I have exciting news…

I have another book available on The Works right now – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow.

I was planning to share this news as soon as the book appeared online but it hasn’t appeared on the website yet. However, my great friend and fellow author Jo Bartlett, spotted a copy in her local branch of The Works today in Broadstairs, Kent so it’s out there in some stores and will hopefully appear online really soon.

A Jessica sandwich of book my books with fellow Boldwood authors Lisa Hobman and Rosie Clarke in Broadstairs, Kent

New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow is the second book in the Hedgehog Hollow series. The first book – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – went in during the summer so it’s fabulous having book two following its lead.

New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow can be read as a standalone book and I know plenty of readers who’ve loved it and followed the story well without reading the first book, especially as I provide a handy ‘story so far’ at the beginning. But I personally think that readers will enjoy a much richer reading experience and get to know the characters so much better by starting with Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow and reading the series in order.

As I’m with a small (but rapidly growing) independent publisher, you won’t find my books in supermarkets or book shops so it’s a real thrill to see them on the shelves of The Works. I nipped into Scarborough’s branch on Thursday and the hedgehogs weren’t there and I was in the Beverley branch today and they weren’t there either so I’ll try Scarborough again next week and hopefully be able sign copies again.

If you spot either book in your local branch, please do share a photo with me on Facebook or Twitter. I love seeing them in the wild (no pun intended for the hedgehogs!)

Starry Skies Over the Chocolate Pot Café appears to have completely sold out online but there should still be copies in store. I think they’re also selling through quickly in store. There are none left in the Scarborough branch, there was one left in Beverley today and any other selfies I’ve seen only seem to have 1 or 2 copies on the photo which is exciting (I put the one copy below in front of someone else’s books for the photo opp!)

Go hedgehogs go!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

One copy of Starry Skies left in Beverley The Works (East Yorkshire)

Celebrating my first foreign translation

I am thrilled that today is publication day for my very first foreign rights deal. Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café has been acquired by Italian publisher Newton Compton and is released today as an eBook and paperback under the title of Festa sotto la neve.   

Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

I don’t speak any Italian so I asked Google translate to help me out and came up with ‘Party in the snow’ which is a little different to the original. Spotting a couple of promotional posts and copying them into Google translate, I also had ‘Party on the snow’ and ‘Party under the snow’ coming up. Which was it? Probably none of them!

I contacted friend and author Isabella Tartaruga who is Italian and she kindly advised me that ‘festa’ does indeed mean party but it also translates as holiday as in festive season as in Christmas although Natale is the actual word for Christmas. Therefore, in this context, the title translates as ‘A holiday under the snow’ or ‘A snowy holiday’. Aw, isn’t that lovely?

The tagline of La magia del Natale, alla fine, conquista tutti… means ‘the magic of Christmas will eventually conquer all’.

Newton Compton describe it as Il libro perfetto per rifugiarsi sotto le coperte e aspettare Natale which translates as the perfect book to take refuge under the covers and wait for Christmas.

A huge thank you to Newton Compton for taking on this book. I’m keeping everything crossed that it will do well and that they might be inspired to take on some of my other titles. 

Although the title and cover is different, the story will be exactly the same – just translated into Italian. I’m really looking forward to getting my paperback version so I can see what The Chocolate Pot is in Italian. You can order direct from Newton Compton here or find the listing on Amazon here.

If you have friends/family living in Italy, please do pass this on. If anyone sees a paperback out in the wild, I would be so thrilled to see a shelfie.

Big Italian hugs

Jessica xx

Celebrating a super sales milestone

Last week, I had a Zoom meeting with my publisher where they shared the most amazing news about a milestone that my book sales have achieved. I wanted to write a blog post about it, but I was chasing a deadline and could only manage a quick share on the socials. Thank you so much for all the amazing and supportive comments I received. I appreciated them so much.

The milestone was a whopping 500k – or half a million (sounds more somehow!) – sales of my books through Boldwood Books. This is across all formats and all titles released through Boldwood from my first one – The Secret to Happiness – which was released in September 2019 right up to the end of September 2021, therefore covering a two-year period and thirteen titles, although two of those had only just been released in August so haven’t had a chance to gather many sales yet.

If you’ve followed my blog or my journey for a while, you’ll understand how much this milestone means to me and what a big deal it is after such a shaky start as an author.

When I secured a 3-book publishing deal with my debut novel back in 2014 – following 23 rejections – I thought I’d made it. You would, wouldn’t you? I actually had two offers come through round about the same time so had a very happy decision on my hands. My first full-length novel through my chosen publisher was released in June 2015 but we released a novella just before it which acted as a great introduction to the series. The remaining books came out in March 2016 and August 2016 respectively. My publishers were lovely and enthusiastic but they were a new entrant to the market and had overestimated their ability to make an impact. Having achieved fewer than 1,500 sales across the four titles in the space of 18 months, the publisher ceased trading and my rights were returned in autumn 2017. It was a crushing blow.

My husband hurriedly designed some new covers and, in November 2016, we released all 4 Kindle books as an independent author under the imprint ‘Little Bear Books’, Little Bear being my nickname. They tanked. That first November, I sold no eBooks. In December, I sold 7. In January, I sold 6. I’m sure you can imagine how soul-destroying that was!

I’d been working on another new novel which was called Bear With Me (since re-edited and rereleased through Boldwood as All You Need Is Love) and I thought that a new book on the market would make a huge difference. It made little impact.

A couple of Christmas releases in October finally gathered some momentum but, on the whole, I massively struggled as an indie author. I had days where I sold no books at all and, as the number of books I’d written steadily rose, that was increasingly disheartening. The frustrating thing was that those who read my books seemed to love them, but readers weren’t finding them. I did several free promotions in the hope that reading one book would generate sales of other books. It didn’t seem to. I knew I needed to spend time and money investing in advertising but where do you find time when you’re already working 7 days a week with the day job and where do you find money when writing isn’t making you any? It’s a Catch-22 situation where you need to invest to earn but you need to earn to be able to invest.

I decided to go on another round of submissions in late 2018 but, after being burnt first time around, was very selective about where I submitted. I received another 8 rejections, although some were from the same publisher for different books after giving me positive feedback and an open invitation to keep submitting. Each rejection made me crumble a little more and seriously question whether I was kidding myself that I had any talent. But writing is who I am. I couldn’t imagine not creating stories so I kept going even though it was looking like writing full-time was a dream I’d never achieve and that making it financially viable alongside a demanding full-time day job wasn’t looking good either.

And then Boldwood Books started up and I submitted on their very first day. I’d decided that this was my final attempt and, if it was a no too, I’d remain an indie author and keep hoping … or finally admit defeat. Thank goodness they said yes!

I’ve just done some number crunching. During my indie years – November 2016 to August 2019 – I sold 4,789 eBooks and gave away a frightening 3,558 eBooks for free, meaning ‘sales’ totalled 8,347 in just shy of 3 years. Add in my original publisher’s sales and we’re talking 9,814 copies shifted (only 6,256 of which generated any income) across 9 books in the space of 4 years and 2 months. Eek! This figure doesn’t include pages read on Kindle Unlimited as there isn’t an easy way for me to work out the equivalent of that in books sold.

So to have half a million sales in two years – an increase of about 5000% – makes for on extremely excitable, astonished and happy author. As a very rough calculation (if I’ve done my maths correctly), that’s an average 6 books a day (including the free ones) pre-Boldwood and 657 a day post-Boldwood. A tad different!

I have so many people to thank, without whom this wouldn’t have been possible:

  • My readers and listeners – whether you’ve supported me since the start or I’ve been recent discovery for you, I can’t thank you enough for falling in love with Whitsborough Bay and Hedgehog Hollow

    All the amazing bloggers and reviewers who have spread the word through your blogs and/or the socials, and recommended my books to your friends and followers. This is one of the most amazing things you can do for an author you love as recommendations make such a massive difference

    The amazing Facebook writing communities such as the wonderful The Friendly Book Community, Heidi Swain and Friends – A Facebook Book Club, and Jenny Colgan and More Great Books for your unwavering support and recommendations

    The wonderfully lovely members of my own Facebook group, Redland’s Readers, who make me smile every day with their hedgehog pictures and gorgeous feedback

    Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources who organises my blog tours for Boldwood but who also arranged several for me as an indie author. Thank you for such fabulous tours and for being a champion of my stories from the very start. I’m so grateful
  • My original writing family, The Write Romantics, for being there through the highs and lows of this bumpy journey, particularly Sharon Booth and Jo Bartlett who have helped raise me up or helped me unravel troublesome plot points. You are all absolute stars
  • My more recently adopted family, Boldwood Books. Not only have I achieved so many writing dreams since joining Boldwood, but I’ve joined the most fabulous group of people. Thank you to Amanda and Nia for believing in me and taking me on in the first place, to Claire and Megan behind the scenes, to those involved in all other aspects of the book’s journey – cover design, copy editing, proofreading – and all the wonderful authors who are so friendly and supportive
  • A second mention to my phenomenal editor, Nia Beynon, whose brilliant advice and editorial guidance is what shapes my words into the final version the readers and listeners experience and I could never have achieved this without her. Nia, I can’t thank you enough for being such a dream to work with
  • My amazing audiobook narrators – Lucy Brownhill, Emma Swan, James Dryden and Gareth Bennett-Ryan – for bringing the books to life and the team at ISIS Audio and Ulverscroft for the distribution
  • My mum, daughter and husband for being so amazingly supportive

I’m the first Boldwood author to have reached this milestone, although that’s mainly because I’m also the author with the most books released so far due to Boldwood taking on my entire backlist. My next target is to have an individual title join the 100k club. The first one to get there will be Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow, the first book in the Hedgehog Hollow series although, with sales so far just below 77k, it’s still got a little way to go. Several of my Boldwood buddies have already achieved this, some with more than one book, which is absolutely phenomenal!

Thank you again, everyone. Here’s to the next half a million!

Big enormous happy hugs
Jessica xx

PS Apologies for the missing bullet points. I swear I’ve added them in but WordPress is refusing to play ball!

Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow is in Audible UK’s 2 for 1 Credit Sale

Last month, the second audiobook in the Hedgehog Hollow series, New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow, was on offer in Audible UK’s 2 for 1 credit sale and it went extremely well with a great Top 100 position for the hedgehogs. Those lovely people over at Audible UK were so pleased that they’ve included the third book, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, in this week’s sale.

The landing page to see all the books in the deal is here and it’s so lovely to appear on the very first page although it is appearing under literature and fiction rather than romance where it usually appears:

Offers last a week and I got a bit bogged down with a deadline over the weekend and kind of forgot about this until the end of the day yesterday so I may have missed the highest chart position but I was thrilled to see the hedgehogs well inside the Top 100 at #74. It was also lovely to see so many number 1 category positions and what an honour to be just ahead of the phenomenally-selling Where the Crawdads Sing if for only a brief moment.

Thank you to anyone who has downloaded this. I hope you enjoy the third visit to Hedgehog Hollow. The hedgehogs are keen to welcome you back. Be warned: there is a whopper of a cliff hanger at the end of it. Please don’t get mad with me like some readers/listeners have and, instead, be excited that there is more to come on 6th January with A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow. It isn’t available for pre-order on Audible yet as it’s too early in the production – we’re at the proofreading stage of the manuscript – but it will be available on publication day.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café goes into The Works

I’m very excited to bring the fabulous news that The Works have taken on another of my titles.

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café is now available online right here and should be appearing in branches of The Works very soon. A huge thank you to my amazing publisher Boldwood Books for making this happen.

This is the fourth of my titles to appear in The Works after The Secret to Happiness and Making Wishes at Bay View went in during summer 2000 and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow snuck in as a late addition just before we went into a second lockdown in the autumn.

All three of these sold out online fairly quickly last year but there may be the odd copy still to be found in stores, particularly if they’ve been positioned on the higher shelves (which means books don’t sell as quickly).

I’m in town tomorrow for an eye test so will be checking out the Scarborough branch of The Works but it usually appears in-store a short while after appearing online so I’m probably a bit early to catch it, especially when today is the first day Starry Skies has been available online.

All paperbacks in The Works are £2 or 3 for £5. Such a huge bargain and what a great excuse to treat yourself to three books… or six… or maybe nine! You could start your Christmas shopping with these great stocking-fillers.

The blurb:

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…

With over 1,700 reviews/ratings, 78% of which are 5-star and 16% of which are 4-star, this has been very warmly received by readers. Hot chocolate, Christmas and a giant house rabbit called Hercules … what more could you want?

If you do spot any of my books in a branch of The Works (or a garden centre, post office, local shop), please do post a shelfie on social media and tag me in. As my books don’t get stocked in the major bookshops or supermarkets, it’s a thrill to see them out and about.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The blurb for A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow is OUT NOW!

Exciting news! We’ve just confirmed the blurb for book 4 in the Hedgehog Hollow series – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – and it has gone up on Amazon with the pre-order link. Woo hoo!

Here it is although you may not want to read this if you haven’t read the rest of the series yet because it contains a HUGE SPOILER.

If you’ve read book 3 – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – you’ll know this from the cliff hanger so read on to find out what to expect from book 4…

It’s time for the wedding we’ve all been waiting for…

Life at Hedgehog Hollow is never dull, although Samantha hopes that the new year ahead will be a little less chaotic as she prepares to marry the love of her life, Josh. But disaster strikes when she checks the rescue centre’s bank account after the festive season and discovers it has been emptied. Who would do such a thing, and why? With the future of Hedgehog Hollow now in jeopardy, planning a wedding has lost its shine.

Phoebe is desperate to escape the shadow of her family, infamously known for their attacks on Samantha’s beloved rescue centre. Could the kindness of the Hedgehog Hollow team be the chance she needs for a fresh start, or will her family’s secrets continue to drag her back?

Top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland welcomes you back to glorious Hedgehog Hollow; full of love, family, friendship – and hedgehogs of course!

I’ve had my first round of edits back and am currently working through them at the moment. I’m really excited about this story and can’t wait to bring you the fourth instalment from Hedgehog Hollow on 6th January next year and to crack on with books five and six.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

What’s next for Hedgehog Hollow?

While I was on holiday last week, the Hedgehog Hollow series hit a major milestone. Book 1 in the series – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – passed the 2,500 reviews/ratings milestone on Amazon.

The other two books had already passed this with the second book – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – passing the 3,000 mark earlier this month!

Book 3 – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – has only been out for just over four months so I remain completely astonished at the phenomenal number of reviews/ratings it has gathered in such a short space of time.

I keep having to pinch myself that what started off as an exercise on my MA in Creative Writing grew into such a beloved series. Thank you to everyone who has taken Hedgehog Hollow into their hearts and shared the love.

I’ve just had the edits back on book 4 – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – and I’m thrilled that my editor, Nia, loved the story and there aren’t that many changes to be made. I need to add in a few scenes and develop a couple of the secondary characters a little further but it shouldn’t be a hefty task to do that.

Did you see the cover reveal? It’s my favourite of all the Hedgehog Hollow books and possibly my favourite of all my books, although I’ve got so many gorgeous ones that it is a tough competition between them.

Book 4 is out on 6th January 2022 and available for pre-order now on Amazon here. It will go up for pre-order on Kobo and Apple too but it can’t go up this early on those sites. And if you’re an audio listener, it will be out on audio from publication day as well as in paperback, hardback, and large print.

Amazon shows that each book is number 1/2/3/4 out of 4 but don’t let that fool you. It’s not possible to set it up to show that a series will be longer than the books already out or up for pre-order. There’s still more to come from Hedgehog Hollow after book 4…

I’m planning two more books in the series. Book 5 (unnamed so far) is provisionally planned for summer 2022 and book 6 will be my Christmas release the same year. Yes, we’re having Christmas at Hedgehog Hollow which I know will please lots of readers!

Then that’s it. Or at least for now anyway. It feels like six brings me to a natural end with the stories I want to tell and the amazing journey Samantha goes on. I’d never want to drag a series on just for the sake of it.

Having said that, I still intend to write a prequel book telling Thomas and Gwendoline’s story but that’s a future project and definitely won’t be out in 2022. I’m also planning a spin-off story which will be strongly connected to Hedgehog Hollow and will still feature the rescue centre and many of the characters readers love but it will not be based at Hedgehog Hollow or narrated by Samantha. That’s all I’m saying on that one! It will probably be out in 2023.

Thank you once more for all the amazing reviews. If you’ve read and loved the series, please do tell your friends and family. Recommendations are invaluable in keeping your favourite authors writing.

Big hugs
Jessica xx