I’m celebrating an extremely special book birthday today. It’s two years since the first book in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Finding Love at a Hedgehog Hollow – was published (2nd July 2020).
What started as an idea for a standalone story has grown into a six-book series:
Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (2nd July 2020)
New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow (7th January 2021)
Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow (4th May 2021)
A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow (6th January 2022)
Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow (28th June 2022)
Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow (6th September 2022)
It’s been an amazing two years. I had no idea that there’d be so much love for the hedgehogs and that this series would grow into something that so many readers and listeners have taken to their hearts.
I’ve been christened ‘hedgehog lady’, ‘mother of hedgehogs’ and ‘queen of cliffhangers’ thanks to a little cliffhanger at the end of book 2 and a whopping great one at the end of book 3. I often get sent photos of hedgehog-themed items in shops or in readers’ homes which I love and I’ve been honoured and touched by messages from readers who’ve taken hedgehogs to their local rescue centre when they would never have known they were in danger if they hadn’t read my books.
I’ve befriended the amazing team at my local hedgehog rescue centre – Wolds Hedgehog Rescue Centre – which is the ‘real’ Hedgehog Hollow set in the Yorkshire Wolds. I’ve pumped the team for information, have welcomed Ann and Angela on a Facebook Live and have even fed a hoglet this year which was such a privilege.
The first of books in the series have been stocked by The Works. It’s such a thrill to see them on the shelves and to sign copies in my local branch in Scarborough. I’ve also seen them in garden centres locally.
The first three books have also been translated into Swedish. The first one was out at the end of May this year and book 2 is out in October. I love how the covers are different to the UK ones but have kept the colour and theme. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for book 3, which I suspect will be out early next year. There were only three books out at the time the foreign rights deal was made so I’m hoping they’ll be well received and they’ll take on the remaining three.
My own collection of hedgehog-related items is huge. I have ornaments, a door stop, soft toys, cushions, stationery, dresses, T-shirts, Christmas decorations and even a chair upholstered by Ann at Wolds Hedgehog Rescue. I’ve definitely run out of room now! Here’s just a small selection….
There’ve been some incredible chart achievements:
All five books released so far have made it into the Kindle Top 100 with all but New Arrivals achieving Top 40 positions
Chasing Dreams made it to #23 on publication day – my 2nd highest charting of all my books
Finding Love has been Top 20 in Kindle Australia
Finding Love was #1 in the Apple Free chart in the UK and Ireland and, while that was on promotion, New Arrivals hit the #2 slot in the overall Apple chart and Family Secrets hit #5
Chasing Dreams soared up to #26 in the overall Audible UK chart this week
The first four books combined, as at the end of April this year, have sold over 200,000 copies across all formats
At at the time of writing, the first five books combined have over 15,000 ratings on Amazon, over 14,000 of which are 4 or 5-star rated. They’ve also gathered well over 3,000 ratings on Audible, most of which are positive
It’s most apt that the title of the current release is Chasing Dreams as the Hedgehog Hollow series has made so many of my writing dreams come true. Will Christmas Miracles bring the miracle of a TV series? Hee hee hee! That would be the stuff beyond dreams!
Thank you to everyone who has bought/borrowed/downloaded/streamed any of the Hedgehog Hollow books. I’m so very grateful.
It’s an exciting time for the hedgehogs at the moment as there are various great promotional deals for them. Let’s start with Kobo…
If you’re a Kobo listener and haven’t tried any of the Hedgehog Hollow series, Kobo are running a special ‘Spring into a New Series’ deal in the UK and ‘Fall into a New Series in Australia and New Zealand. As the first in the Hedgehog Hollow series, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is included at a discounted price. In the UK, this is 99p.
This offer ends on 23rd May.
The next deal is from Apple Books in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada.
The eBook of the fourth novel in the series, A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow, is part of Apple’s ‘Romance Tropes’ promotion running until 28th May. This sees a price drop in all these territories. In the UK, this is 99p.
And because Amazon tend to price-match, the price has also dropped on this eBook on Kindle UK. I suspect it will run at this price for at least as long as the Apple promotion runs but I wouldn’t delay, just in case…
And for those who love listening, A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow is in the Audible UK ‘2 for 1 Sale’ starting today and running until Sunday 22nd May…
As with all their week-long promotions, a helpful countdown shows on Audible showing how long there is left to take advantage of this. It’s lovely to see Jo Bartlett’s A Spring Surprise for the Cornish Midwife featuring in the same promotion so there’s a great pairing you might like to go for. Jo’s series is fabulous and I’m actually reading this one myself at the moment – also the fourth in the series – and loving it.
I’ve had some amazing chart positions on Audible recently, with several Top 100 placings for my audiobooks on offer but also for my newest release Spring Tides at The Starfish Café which has been extra special as that wasn’t on a promotion. I’ll therefore be eagerly checking the charts later this afternoon to see how high those hedgehogs scamper, which isn’t ideal as I’m on a deadline for writing the sixth Hedgehog Hollow book this weekend so really need to be head down.
Please do spread the word if you know of anyone who might be interested in any of these deals and thank you so much if you take advantage of any of them yourself.
Don’t forget that Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is FREE via Audible Plus, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow (book 3) has just gone into The Works, and all my Hedgehog Hollow books (and all my Whitsborough Bay books too) are FREE if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.
And although it has nothing to do with hedgehogs, I just have to pause to say a huge congratulations to Ukraine for winning the Eurovision Song Contest last night and for Sam Ryder for being phenomenal in representing the UK and coming second. What an absolute star he was last night.
A couple of days ago on 2nd February, I was delighted to see the fourth book in the Hedgehog Hollow series – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – pass the 1,000 reviews/ratings milestone on Amazon. This was on the four-week anniversary of release, less than a month after publication (it came out on 6th January).
It hasn’t gathered reviews quite as quickly as book 3 – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – which hit this milestone on its three-week anniversary but four weeks is still amazing! Go hedgehogs!
The other three books all hit special milestones this year and, added together, they have exceeded 10,000. I know I’ve said it before but this is so astonishing because I spent five years dreaming of just one of my books reaching 100 reviews and it shows how much has changed since Boldwood Books took a chance on me.
The hedgehogs and I are so very grateful to Boldwood, to my amazing editor Nia who works her magic during the editing process, and to everyone who has left a rating or review. THANK YOU!
The 10,000 is just on Amazon. I’ve had a quick look on Audible where the series so far has gathered well over 2,000 reviews and Apple Books where there are 667. Lots of love around for those hedgehogs.
On the fortnight anniversary since the release of A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow,the blog tour has finished. Actually, it officially finished yesterday but one of the posts hadn’t appeared so I wanted to give until the end of today to see if it did. Sometimes a time difference can mean delays or a reviewer might be caught up with work or life and be a little late, although sometimes the review doesn’t appear at all.
I used to panic about ‘no-shows’ on a blog tour thinking it was a sign that the reviewer hated my book and couldn’t find the words to convey how much… but I gave myself a stern talking to, realising it very likely was nothing to do with the book at all.
The amazing bloggers/reviewers who are involved in the tours do this because they love books and want to share that love. They do this alongside day jobs/ family commitments/ caring responsibilities/ illness/ and a big pile of other responsibilities. And sometimes they just don’t get the opportunity to read the book. Or they read it but don’t get the opportunity to write a review. Stuff just gets in the way. And I completely understand that and would hate to think that anyone might ever feel stressed about missing their date. Reading should be a delight.
We had 41 stops scheduled across 14 days and, although there were 3 no-shows, there were 6 lovely posts from bloggers not on the tour so we’ll include them and call it 44 stops. There were also several reviews on Instagram outside of the tour too for which I’m very grateful.
I usually do some sleuthing to try to track down the star ratings for those who haven’t given one with their reviews but I’m really against it with a writing deadline so I haven’t done that this time. The stats are:
26 x 5-star
2 x 4.5-star
1 x 4.25 star (it was an 8.5/10)
4 x 4-star
11 x no ratings given (so I’m going to call them all 5-star ha ha ha!)
My favourite star-rating (which I’ve counted in the 5-star stats) has to be 5 billion. Thank you to Ceri’s Book Blog for that!
There was a lot of love out there for A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow and for the series in general – as you can see from a random selection of the quotes I’ve included in this post – which warmed my heart so much across the cold January days!
There were some reviewers for whom this was the first visit to Hedgehog Hollow and others who’d read the whole series and had been eagerly awaiting the resolution of that massive cliffhanger from Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow and it was interesting to read the perspectives from both.
An enormous THANK YOU to all the bloggers/reviewers who participated. I always try to comment on all blog and Instagram posts but sometimes I’ll miss an Insta if it’s in addition to the blog post and I haven’t been tagged in so I do apologise if I have missed any. And a huge THANK YOU as always to the fabulous Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising it all on behalf of my amazing publisher, Boldwood Books.
I’m writing the 5th book in the series at the moment and it’s a relief to see there’s certainly appetite for more from the cast of human and spiky characters at Hedgehog Hollow. Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow will be out on 28th June and is available for pre-order on Kindle now (other formats will be up for pre-order later).
And not forgetting the amazing members of my own reader’s group, Redland’s Readers who’ve shared such kind feedback about this latest instalment. You’re very welcome to join us on Facebook. It’s not a book review group as there are fabulous groups who already do this so well already. It’s simply a warm and friendly space to talk spoiler-free about my books and settings and share pictures of hedgehogs, the seaside, beach huts and bears – all lovely things relating to my books – and to get a few insights into the world of publishing.
I love watching the chart positions of my books. I’m probably a little more obsessed about it than I should be but there are a few reasons for this:
It’s such a thrill to see my books doing so well after all the years of struggling and I find I need to look just to reassure myself that I’m not just dreaming
My mum keeps a watch (thank you, Mum) so I need to be on the ball too!
There are certain moments that really make me smile which I’d miss if I didn’t keep an eye out
What do I mean by the moments that make me smile? It’s those snapshots in time where my book appears in the chart next to:
An author friend
One of #TeamBoldwood (my publishing buddies) who are, of course, also friends but most are only virtual friends as Boldwood have mainly existed during a pandemic world so we’ve never met
An exceptionally famous author / an author I’m in awe of
A non-fiction author who is an expert in a subject connected to my books
An author who has a connection to my past
This first instance I can remember of this happening was before I joined Boldwood. In the year I released Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop (called Charlee and the Chocolate Shop at the time) and Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes (title unchanged), I put them in relevant category charts where they toppled experts from the #1 spot. Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop appeared in a chart about cooking ingredients (chocolate), knocking Jamie Oliver into the #2 position and Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes was in cake-making and did the same to Mary Berry. I probably do have the screenshots somewhere but no idea where I’ve filed them!
Of course, Jamie Oliver and Mary Berry will have sold absolutely monster quantities of their books as hardbacks but this brief snapshot of time where I was next to these experts in the charts was a special (and amusing) moment.
There were many occasions after that where I was chart buddies with my writing family, The Write Romantics, including when the Top 10 in the Christmas category chart was dominated by our Christmas releases. Aww.
Yesterday, I checked the UK Kindle Top 100 first thing and was greeted by this lovely sight:
As you can see, A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow is at #58 in this screenshot but positions #54 to #57 are all held by Boldwood authors! Jo Bartlett, Alex Stone and Alison Sherlock are all publishing buddies and Jo is also the co-founder of the Write Romantics with me so what a special moment this was. Not quite sure who invited Kazuo Ishiguro to the party but he was welcome to join us as long as he’d brought cake with him!
The past few days have also brought some special moments over on Audible but before I share those, I have to share a special moment of a different kind because the hedgehogs surpassed themselves in the Audible Top 100 yesterday…
I casually checked the Audible chart first thing, wondering if they were even still in the Top 100 as they’d been at the lower end over the past couple of days so I was astonished to see that they’d made a huge leap into the Top 40. Only just – at #40 itself – but that’s still Top 40 so I’m claiming that status! Book 4 had also finally hit the #1 position in the Romance chart which was thrilling.
But back to the special chart neighbours moments… The first was on Thursday when, as I said before, the Audible position of A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow was a little lower. When I was at university, many moons ago, I studied Banking & Finance with the intention of becoming a bank manager. Except I hated the finance part of it which was a bit of a problem. Thankfully, among the dreaded accountancy, economics and quantitative analysis modules, there were interesting subjects I did understand like HR, marketing, management, strategy and banking law.
In our management module, we studied the work of an American management guru called Stephen Covey. First published in 1989, it was a huge bestseller. Sitting in lectures discussing Covey’s principles, I could never have imagined there’d be a day where I’d be an author sitting beside that man in the charts. I literally couldn’t have imagined it because the audiobook wasn’t invented then – although the precursor of listening to books on cassettes and CDs had been – and being an author wasn’t even close to being on my radar then. I’d already sussed that being a bank manager wasn’t for me either but writing was an idea that emerged about a decade later.
After graduating, I followed a career in HR, specialising in recruitment, training, coaching and mentoring, and Covey’s work frequently popped up.
Then this morning, I had another blast from the past moment with another management guru. I was sponsored to go to university by TSB which basically meant I received a book grant each year (and text books were expensive so it was very much needed!), did a year out with them in my third year, and undertook holiday work in a local branch. I knew I wanted to work in HR or marketing at this point and managed to secure a placement in their Head Office in Birmingham for my year out.
One of my roles was organising and managing the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) which was a room full of books, cassettes, CDs and videos relating to leadership and management. I loved working in there. It was like being in charge of my own little library. There were workstations where staff would work their way through interactive videos – huge laserdiscs (the size of a vinyl album) where they could watch a scenario, make a decision on how they’d handle it, and watch that good or bad decision play out.
Anyway, one of the resources was Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People and who should I be next to in the Audible UK chart this morning but Mr Carnegie himself? In the LRC, it was such a popular book that it had a waiting list and I frequently had to chase staff to return it. Again, who’d have thought that when I was working in my own little library that books I’d written would one day appear in libraries? Or that I’d be one step ahead in the charts of the book that was the most popular when I ran that little library?
So there you go. A few moments that have really made me smile. I hope there are many things that make you smile across the weekend. Have a good one!
The Hedgehog Hollow books are the gift that keeps on giving. They bring escapism, pleasure and knowledge to thousands of readers and listeners. For me, they are an absolute joy to write.
Those hedgehogs kept scampering up the charts on publication day yesterday for A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow acquiring a #1 Best Seller flag, reaching #39 on the overall Kindle UK chart, #88 on Audible and #11 on AppleBooks.
And they have brought me two unexpected new friends and a special new role…
I set up a Facebook community about a year ago called Redland’s Readers for those who love my books and would like to find out more about the worlds and characters I’ve created. A lovely reader called Angela joined after discovering my Hedgehog Hollow books and told me she was a real life hedgehog rescuer for a rescue centre in the Yorkshire Wolds – the real life Hedgehog Hollow country!
I immediately followed Wolds Hedgehog Rescue on Facebook and enjoyed seeing posts of the hedgehogs and hoglets being treated by the team. I’d had an open invitation to visit all year but with Covid restrictions, holidays and book deadlines, only managed to get my act together to visit in mid-November.
What a fabulous day I had! Ann runs the rescue centre’s base from ‘The Hoghouse’ in her back garden in a village called Hutton, not too far from Driffield in East Yorkshire (Reddfield in my books!) She works closely and supportively with another rescue centre – Walkington Rescue Centre – in the area although they are two independent set-ups.
A team of volunteers are essential for the amazing work they do. Wolds Hedgehog Rescue has foster carers who rehabilitate hedgehogs whose needs are no longer urgent enough to hog a crate (excuse the pun!) in the Hog House e.g. hedgehogs who need to gain weight ahead of hibernation.
Angela’s role is very specific as a hoglet nanny although she’s a foster carer outside hoglets season. She runs a nursery from her home in Hull during hoglets season (spring and autumn), feeding the hoglets around the clock, toileting them and cleaning up after them because hoglets (and many adult hogs too) tend to be a smidge (or a lot!) on the messy side!
The help doesn’t end with Angela and the foster carers. There are volunteers with a variety of other roles – fundraising, helping in/cleaning out the Hog House, making crafts to sell for funds and so on.
Ann’s husband – ‘Man Who Can’ – makes hedgehog houses and can turn his hand at anything practical. Angela’s husband – Mr Hedgehog – turns wood, creating beautiful products for sale. Nobody is asked to do anything they wouldn’t feel comfortable doing and any skills are very much welcomed.
So, back to my visit, I asked Ann and Angela lots of questions (just stopped short of an interrogation!) about how they both became involved with rescuing, what sorts of cases they dealt with, highs and lows, the practicalities of running a rescue centre. It was such a valuable opportunity to gather more information for my future books. I do loads of research and I have an auntie who runs a small-scale operation but it was great to see firsthand how a bigger set-up runs.
In theory I helped Ann with the daily activities. In reality, I probably got in the way as I took photos and wrote copious notes, but I was made to feel so very welcome.
When Angela arrived, I looked under a microscope at the poo samples from a new admission to work out the treatments required, after which came my absolute highlight: an opportunity to hold a hedgehog. Found on Remembrance Day and appropriately named by the person bringing him in as Poppy, he had a slight name change to Mr Poppy after he was sexed.
Ann has a beautiful long garden with a log pile, trees, leaves and lots of hedgehog houses and feeding stations: a hedgehog paradise.
I had such a wonderful day with a spot of lunch and a chance to meet another rescuer (and interrogate her too!) I’ll be back again soon and will also visit the nursery during hoglets season.
Yesterday, to celebrate launch day, I was absolutely thrilled when Ann and Angela agreed to be my guests on a Facebook Live. What an inspiring, engaging and passionate duo they were, full of fascinating insights.
We had a special guest appearance from Cactus, currently in Angela’s care, and she talked us through the equipment needed in the nursery. If you would like to be captivated, entertained and learn so much along the way, please do check out the video on my publisher’s Facebook page here.
I mentioned at the start that I now have a special role. I came off the Facebook Live feeling inspired and eager to help out. The reality is that I can’t be a hedgehog rescuer or foster carer. While it’s not something I’d completely rule out at some point down the line, my home, career and personal circumstances just now mean this isn’t an option for me. I don’t have the time or the facilities. I’m also local but not handy local.
I thought about what Ann said about different volunteers coming with different skills and I realised I had a set of skills that I could contribute remotely. As an author, I regularly engage with my readers and listeners on social media and prepare visuals to support the messages/news I have to share so I put a proposal to Ann and Angela.
I’m delighted to say that I’ve been welcomed into Team Wolds Hedgehog Rescue and am now an Admin on their Facebook page where my first task today was to activate the reviews facility and encourage service users to leave feedback. Within five minutes of doing this, the first review came in. I’m so thrilled!
Ann, Angela and I need to get together to talk about how I can bring the best benefit them in my new role. We also need to decide on a job title for me. If anyone has any inspired ideas, do shout up! I’m looking forward to seeing them already, especially as cake might be involved!
As well as the team of volunteers I mentioned earlier, rescue centres also need the support of the general public to provide funds and equipment. Wolds Hedgehog Rescue have a PayPal donation facility but most valuable and helpful for them is having items purchased from their wish list which includes food, cleaning materials, and equipment. This is set up on Amazon and Ann regularly updates it with the priority items and quantities needed. If you don’t wish to shop on Amazon or would like to shop around for different deals, you can always use the wish list for inspiration; it’s not essential you make your purchase there. There are items on it to suit all budgets and all donations are gratefully received. The links are: PayPal Wish list
And, of course, you can support by attending open days or events. A date for your diary is Sunday 1st May for an open day at the Hutton Hoghouse where there’ll be tours, talks, stalls, tombola, raffle and a whole pile more to entertain and enlighten the family. More details will be advertised nearer the time. I won’t be there as I have a landmark birthday that day but I’ll do whatever I can to promo and support the event before.
Finally, as well as leaving the Hoghouse in November with lots of pictures, information and some new friends, I left with a chair which was a little unexpected! Ann’s an upholsterer and she created this gorgeous chair which I knew would be perfect in the corner of my office so I had to make a swift purchase. It only just fit in the back of my car as I’d forgotten there was already a dog crate in there!
In theory, it’s a reading nook. In reality, it’s home for my ever-growing hedgehog cushions and soft toy collection!
What’s even more special about this chair is that it’s stuffed with the fleece from the two sheep, Rosie and Rita, who live in Ann’s neighbour’s garden who you can just see in the background of this photo (one is central and the other is to the left just behind the cluster of leaves on the branch). How delightful is that?
I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at the photos and I really hope you’ve watched the video. Believe me, I could have chatted to Ann and Angela all night as they were absolutely brilliant! A huge thank you to them both from me, the team at Boldwood Books and all the listeners who absolutely loved it.
The great news is the dynamic duo have already agreed to come back for another Live in hoglets season and I can hardly contain my excitement at the idea of a live hoglet feeding session.
Whether you’re local or not, if you can help out with any donations, that would be amazing.
It’s publication day today for A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow. Woo hoo! I’m so excited (and also a teeny bit nervous) as those hedgehogs make their way out into the world for the fourth time.
The blog tour kicks off today so an enormous thank you to the fabulous Rachel Gilbey for organising this and to all the amazing bloggers/reviewers who have volunteered to take part and share their views.
Some participants have read some or all of the books and, for others, this will be their first trip to the rescue centre. Early reviews coming in suggest that the book can be read as a standalone which is true. I carefully craft all of my books so that a complete story is being told within that book.
However, nearly all of them say they wish they’d read the others first to get the full feel of all the family dynamics. I’m not geeky enough to number-crunch on it but my first impressions are that this fourth instalment has attracted a huge number of 5-star reviews but a large proportion of the 3 or 4-star ones are from readers who’ve not read the previous books and therefore haven’t had the richer reading experience of following the threads that travel through the series. It’ll be interesting to see if this trend is reflected in the bog tour reviews. Having said that, a 4-star is still amazing. The hedgehogs and I will take that!
You can get hold of A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow here:
A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – the four book in my Hedgehog Hollow series – will be out in the world tomorrow (6th January). Eek!
Those who read Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow when it was published at the start of May last year are probably shouting ‘and not a moment too soon!’ because I did leave things on a whopper of a cliff hanger.
Book 4 will pick up where book 3 left off. Actually, it takes us back a few days earlier to ease us into Christmas at Hedgehog Hollow before that cliff hanger throws everything into disarray.
If you’re familiar with my books, you’ll know that they’re always heartwarming, uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community but they also tackle some pretty tough subjects. A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow is no exception but rest assured the subject is researched and the story unfolds with my usual sensitivity. I write about life and sometimes bad things happen. I’m not going to shy away from that.
But alongside the new challenges facing my characters, there’s the loveliness of Samantha and Josh’s forthcoming wedding. The book is NOT all about the wedding – I don’t think I could personally write 100,000 words about a wedding – but the wedding does feature throughout as the drama that unfolds at Hedgehog Hollow has an impact on the wedding plans.
Yesterday, I sent hubby up into the attic to retrieve the memory box from our wedding (17 years ago this coming September) and my wedding dress/veil to do a photo shoot. We were broke after the wedding and I couldn’t afford to get my dress cleaned. I knew it had some footprints on the train but I hadn’t realised it was in more of a state than that. Oops! So I couldn’t use the front of the dress for any pics but we were able to use the detailing on the back and my tiara and veil were thankfully still in great condition.
So I thought I’d share some of the pics from our photo shoot with you…
What do you think of my little felt hedgehogs? Samantha and Josh Hedgehog were made by the wonderful Emma Stokes from @chillipepperbyemma You can find her on Instagram here or her Etsy shop here. I’ve got a couple of wonderful garlands from her and various other items related to my books, all beautifully made. I highly recommend her.
The hedgehogs are standing on something very special. This is part of a Cherished Teddies bridal set which I bought as a cake topper for my own wedding day. However, it was a little heavier than I’d imagined and I was worried it might tumble off the cake and smash so it stood beside it instead. Here it is with the teddies on it. How cute is the little bridesmaid? I’ve also taken a pic of the Forever Friends bride and groom which sat on our top table. These came from Bear’s Pad, my own teddy bear shop which I’d opened shortly before I met my husband.
One of my cousins gave us another bride and groom bear as a wedding gift and a friend bought me a bride so they had to feature in the photo shoot too!
My husband, Mark, has given me the go ahead to share some of our wedding photos on here. It was the most amazing day. After a dark day of pretty much non-stop torrential rain, the sun came out and the sky was blue (thank you, Grandma, looking down on us).
My Uncle Stan was our wedding photographer but it was the days before digital so please forgive the quality of the images as they’re scanned into hubby’s iPad using an App but, as the originals are glossy, they’ve scanned in a bit like a photo of a photo.
It’s hard to believe this was so long ago. In many ways it seems like yesterday, although I’m sure many of us feel like that about the passing of time. Since then, we’re both looking older, wider and with greyer hair (less of it in Mark’s case). Several of our guests are sadly no longer with us and the amazing venue where we held our wedding – The George in Piercebridge, Co Durham – went into liquidation pre-Covid. But we still have loads of extremely happy memories.
Will Samantha and Josh get their perfect wedding day like Mark and me? You’ll just have to read A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow to find out. You can get it on Kindle here and I’ve pasted the blurb below although there are spoilers in it if you haven’t read the previous books.
Big hedge-hugs Jessica xx
The brand new instalment in Jessica Redland’s bestselling Hedgehog Hollow series!
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 know I’ve just posted about New Year but I was just scrolling through my photos and realised that I took several for a blog post, then forgot to write a post, so let’s dip back to Christmas for a moment when the lights were twinkling on the tree (ok, they still are), the gifts were looking gorgeous in their wrapping, and the dog was stealing things she shouldn’t have. Oh wait, Ella does that EVERY day, not just at Christmas…
There wasn’t anything the hubby or I particularly wanted this year so we agreed to treat ourselves to a picture we’d fallen in love with on holiday in the summer and get a few bits and bobs. The hope was to get the picture framed and up on the wall for Christmas but, well, you know how it is!
I find it pretty much impossible to think of anything for him beyond the supply of socks he needs every year after putting holes in them throughout the preceding 12 months, a dark chocolate orange, and his annual Landscape Photographer of the Year book but he usually comes up trumps with a few special gifts for me and this year was no exception.
I love the ‘On Air’ sign so watch out for that in my next Facebook Live on publication day of A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow (6th January). The ‘I’m a Best Selling Author’ colouring book made me laugh. It’s full of positive affirmations about my brilliance ha ha ha! The book has unusual words in it and the fluffy socks are bears. Perfect.
The hedgehogs in the next pic are mittens and they’re so gorgeous and soft. I wore them when we had our wander down to the harbour and they kept me so warm and snug. The munchkin bought me the hedgehog stress ball which I’m sure will be very useful when pondering tricky plot points.
The necklace (shown larger below) is adorable. It’s a hedgehog but its tummy is made from Whitby jet which combines my two worlds of Hedgehog Hollow and Whitsborough Bay in one necklace (as Whitsborough Bay is based on a mix of Scarborough, Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay). What a gorgeous idea!
The lovely hedgehog notepad above was from my friend Liz (who also sent me some delicious mint chocolates) and there’s a Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow key ring from one of the fabulous admins, Marie, at The Friendly Book Community Facebook group (who also sent me a large bar of Galaxy – nom nom). I’ll post a bigger pic of that (the key ring, not the Galaxy!) further down as it’s fabulous. It was very unexpected and extremely kind.
Hubby also bought me the latest Westlife CD (I’m a bit old school and enjoy CDs for my favourites) and a lovely starfish necklace and heart one… although I admit I picked those myself when we visited York Christmas Markets.
The face masks were sent in a care package with some tea and coffee from Fiona, one of the lovely admins in Heidi Swain and Friends – A Facebook Book Club – which was very kind of her and the lovely friendship heart hanger is from my good friend, Write Romantic and Boldwood Buddy Jo Bartlett.
My bestie, Sharon Booth, and I always exchange Christmas gifts and she is so much better than me at buying them. This lovely selection were so fabulous that I have to up my game next year as mine for her weren’t anywhere near as good.
I’ve added a larger picture of the wooden shop below. Isn’t it gorgeous? In All You Need is Love, part of the story is centred around a specialist teddy bear shop on Castle Street called Bear With Me. Main character Jemma and her mum make artist bears under the brand name of Ju-Sea Bears for her mum and Ju-Sea Jem bears for the smaller ones Jemma makes. The shop was inspired by my own teddy bear shop called Bear’s Pad and Ju-Sea Bears was the brand I used for the handful of bears I made.
Sharon has been building up a collection of these wooden businesses for a new series she’s working on for release next year and I’ve been admiring the photos on her Insta account but nothing quite beats seeing one up close. They’re amazing. I may need to start a Castle Street collection!
A huge thank you to everyone for these gorgeous gifts. I feel you all know me so well as these are simply perfect.
Tomorrow I will place my first entry in my ‘Happy Jar’ from Sharon. Absolutely love that idea and, as I’m celebrating a very big birthday in 4 months’ time, I hope that I have a lot to celebrate in 2022.
Hello and welcome to Boxing Day. How was Christmas Day? If you were celebrating, I hope you had a fabulous time.
I’m really excited today as seven of my books are on a very special offer on Kindle UK. It’s known as a ‘gold box’ and is only available on a Sunday for eBooks. To be eligible for a gold box offer, an author must have at least six books with the same publisher and they need to have been retailing at £2.99 for at least two months before the 99p gold box deal is secured so that readers are genuinely getting a good offer.
You can usually spot which author has a gold box deal because, late on Sunday afternoon and into Monday morning, those books are usually doing very well near the top of the Kindle charts. This is because they’re featured in the Kindle newsletter and on the daily deals pages and heavily marketed by Amazon themselves.
Yesterday, there was a special Christmas day gold box on the Cadfael series of books by Ellis Peters. At one point yesterday evening, I spotted a whopping 19 of the 21 books in the Top 50. Wow! That’s serious chart domination! They’re still riding high this morning as I’m writing this although they’re back up to the £3.99 price now so they’ll drop position later. There’s always a lag in the sales figures having an impact on the chart.
Unusually, today’s gold box is a joint Boldwood Books one with Jennifer Bohnet who has four of her titles in the deal alongside my seven and it looks like another Boldwood author, Rosie Clarke, has a daily deal with Stormy Days on Mulberry Lane.
My gold box books are:
Making Wishes at Bay View (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 1)
Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 3)
Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 4)
Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café
Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (Hedgehog Hollow book 1)
New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow (Hedgehog Hollow book 2)
Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow (Hedgehog Hollow book 3)
We’re not really sure why book 2 in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book – New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms – wasn’t selected alongside the rest of the books in the series but it’s less than £6 for the full four-book series, even paying full price for that title, which is still a great deal.
With book 4 in the Hedgehog Hollow series – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – out on 6th January, this is the perfect time to catch up with the three books in the series so far but only pay the price at which one book usually retails. Even though each book in this series is a complete story, it’s a far richer reading experience starting from the beginning and watching the characters develop across the series.
All my Christmas/seasonal books are on a 99p offer at the moment too, although not part of the gold box deal. These will probably stay at 99p until at least the end of December but the gold box is ONE DAY ONLY. There is a slight possibility that Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café may stay at 99p a little longer as Amazon had been price-matching that to an Apple Books offer but I wouldn’t take that chance:
Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café
Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop
Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes
So you can pick up a whopping TEN of my books on Kindle UK for only 99p each today – £9.90 total.
For another £7.77, you could add in the three books that aren’t on offer just now – New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, All You Need is Love and The Secret to Happiness meaning you’d have the entire Whitsborough Bay collection and Hedgehog Hollow series released so far – 13 books – for £17.67, averaging £1.35 each. SUPER BARGAIN!
You can get to my Amazon UK author page here where you’ll be able to find all my books.
I’ve seen so many of these gold box deals secure astonishing chart positions, albeit for a brief window of time, and I’m trying not to get too excited about the idea of seven books in the Top 50 together or even Top 20 success. My absolute dream would be a book in the Top 10 in the UK. I’ve managed that in Canada and Australia but #14 is the highest I’ve had in the UK Kindle charts with Seaside Blooms when it was on a Prime Deal last year. None of the other books in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series have been in the Top 100 so it would be amazing if they got there.
I’d be ever so grateful if you could share the news if you’re UK-based or have friends/family in the UK who might like to take advantage of this offer. Wishing Rosie Clarke all the best with her daily deal and Jennifer Bohnet every success with her four gold box books. Go Boldwood!