The one where most of my books are 99p on Kindle UK TODAY ONLY

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!

Big gold 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

The one with all the amazing deals on my festive reads

It’s two weeks today until Christmas Day! Eek! I am unbelievably disorganised this year. I had an unusually busy diary in November and an editing deadline and it has completely knocked everything out for me. The trees are up but there are still boxes everywhere still which need clearing today. I’ve had a couple of fairly unsuccessful shopping trips so still have some gifts to buy. My daughter’s birthday is 6 days before Christmas so we need double the ideas for gifts from us, both sets of grandparents, my brothers and my husband’s sisters. I met up with my side of the family last weekend and was organised enough to take their Christmas cards with me but I haven’t written any others. I think it’s going to need to be a busy Christmassy catching-up weekend for me.

Speaking of Christmas, there are some fabulous deals on my four festive books right now. Three of these books are in a series although each works as a standalone book:

  1. Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop (formerly Charlee and the Chocolate Shop)
  2. Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes
  3. Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café (formerly Christmas at the Chocolate Pot Café)

These are part of a series called ‘Christmas on Castle Street’ but it’s really only a series connected by the fact that they’re all set at Christmas in businesses on Castle Street. However, this is the order they’re written in and the businesses and characters get mentioned in subsequent books so there are some small spoilers if you read books 2 and 3 out of order but nothing much if you read book 1 out of order.

My latest release – Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café – is the start of a brand new series but is a complete story with no cliffhangers. It mentions Christmas and it has chapters set on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but this is more of a seasonal book than a Christmas one and has a very different feel to the other two.

In the UK, these books are on various deals which should keep them all at 99p throughout December. They are this price on Kindle and Apple Books and three of them are 99p on Kobo but Starry Skies is £2.99 on Kobo at the time of writing this.

In the USA, there are offers on three of the four reads on Kindle. At the time of writing this, Starry Skies was $3.99 but prices do sometimes change as Amazon price matches. Apple Books currently has different deals. Starry Skies and Christmas Wishes are both $0.99, with the Starfish Café and Carly’s Cupcakes at $1.99.

In Canada, there are some fabulous Kindle offers on all four books. The current Apple Books offers are the same as shown below for three of them. The only exception is that Starfish Café is currently $1.99 on Apple.

And finally to Australia, there are also great deals to be had. All four of these books are currently $1.99 on Apple Books Australia.

So loads of amazing deals to be had in all these territories although do bear in mind that prices can change, particularly on Amazon as they frequently price-match other sites.

Happy festive reading!

If you’ve already read these but have friends/family members/colleagues/neighbours who you think will enjoy them, please do spread the word!

Right, best get into Christmas mode and try to get organised!

Big festive hugs
Jessica xx

Children in Read for Children in Need

Children in Need is the BBC’s Corporate Charity whose “mission is to help ensure every child in the UK is safe, happy, secure and has the opportunities they need to reach their potential”. Every year in November, there’s an appeal show – 19th November this year – but there are various other activities which happen in the run-up such as the Countryfile Ramble.

For the past 7 years, the Children in Read campaign has run to raise valuable funds for this charity through an auction of lots provided by authors, illustrators and publishers.

You can find the full auction here.

At the time of writing this post, there are a whopping 740 lots available covering a huge variety of genres, and therefore catering to all tastes. £14,365 has already been raised but, with 18 days still to go, that will hopefully significantly increase.

There are books donated, limited editions, signed copies and a whole host more. Here’s a screen shot of the different filters you can search on…

I have donated lot 594 – a signed and dedicated set of the three ‘Christmas on Castle Street’ paperbacks – which you can access directly here. The series consists of:

  • Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop
  • Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes
  • Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café

My lot currently has 7 bids on it and is at £25 which is fabulous … but, as each book retails at £8.99, that’s less than these could be bought for if purchased separately outside the auction! Hopefully it will rise a little higher for the charity.

Over on Twitter you can find the appeal on @ChildrenInRead Please do bob on over and share the links all over the socials to help boost the bids on all these amazing lots. Could be fabulous for a spot of special Christmas shopping!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Thank you to everyone involved in the blog tour for Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop

The blog tour for Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop drew to a close yesterday, With 48 stops scheduled over 16 days, it was another epic one.

An enormous THANK YOU to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to all the amazing reviewers/bloggers who took part, generously giving their time to read the story, compose their review, and share it on the socials.

I’m delighted to report that this was another really positive tour. Yay!

There were a couple of no-postings and I hope those reviewers are doing okay as I noticed they haven’t posted anything for a little while. Sending hugs if they’re poorly or having a difficult time just now. There was also a promotion post only post which meant 45 reviews were shared. 

Not everyone gives a rating on their posts, but I do manage to track some down when the review is also shared on Amazon around the same time. The 35 ratings shared (or sleuthed by me) were all positive with 22 x 5-star, 3 x 4.5-star, and 10 x 4-star. It’s such a thrill when every single rating is a positive one.

It was a delight to read reviews from those who’ve read several or even all of my books, noting how much they loved being back on Castle Street and among friends. For those who were new to my work, there were several comments about checking out past and/or future books which is fabulous.

There were a couple of reviewers who had read this book in its original incarnation of Charlee and the Chocolate Shop and I was delighted to read that they loved the revised (and expanded) version even more.

Some reviews were so lovely that they made me quite tearful. It’s such an honour to have such prolific readers say so many wonderful things about my writing and my abilities as an author. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I do firmly believe that recommendations are the best way for an author to succeed so I appreciate every single one of these kind reviews. You are all superstars.

Wishing you all the best.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is going on a blog tour

Although Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop (previously independently released as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop) was published by Boldwood Books on 3rd August, we decided that the height of summer probably wasn’t the ideal timing for a blog tour of a Christmas book so we held back.

With the arrival of the colder weather, the darker nights creeping in, and the shops stocking their Christmas goodies, the blog tour starts today (12th October 2021) and runs until 27th October.

Across sixteen days, there’ll be a whopping 48 stops (3 a day). Looking at the schedule, it’s lovely to see so many regulars – really flattering as it means they love my books enough to keep coming back for more – but also a delight to see some newbies. Hopefully they’ll love Charlee’s story and become converts!

A huge thank you to Boldwood Books for enabling the tour, to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for organising it, and the wonderful 48 bloggers/reviewers taking part.

And, on the subject of Rachel, congratulations to her for being a finalist in the Media Star of the Year category in the RNA (Romantic Novelists’ Association) 2021 Industry Awards. You can read the RNA’s announcement here.

Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is book 1 in the Christmas at Castle Street series. Books 2 and 3 – Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes and Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café were released last year.

All three books are complete standalone stories but books 2 and 3 are closely connected as the two businesses are next-door to each other and the two business owners, Carly and Tara, are good friends. They follow on chronologically and there are therefore a couple of spoilers for Carly’s story if reading Starry Skies first although plenty of readers have read them the other way round and still loved them.

Although Christmas Wishes is the first book in the series, it can be read before or after the others. The heroine – Charlee Chambers – and her shop do appear in the other two but there aren’t any spoilers for her story.

Big chocolatey hugs
Jessica xx

Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop

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.

Thank you to everyone who joined the blog tour for Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café

It has been the biggest blog tour one of my books has ever been on, the biggest blog tour my amazing publishers Boldwood have hosted, and I believe it may be the biggest our fabulous tour organiser, Rachel Gilbey, has arranged.

It wasn’t that we set out to organise an epic-sized tour for the release of Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café – simply that an unprecedented number of reviewers stepped forward wanting to take part. How flattering is that?

The stats:

  • 18 days
  • 54 scheduled stops
  • 52 posts (it’s possible that an Insta one from yesterday may come in late but I didn’t want to delay my thank you)
  • 50 reviews and 1 promotion post
  • 3 additional bloggers not on the tour sharing their reviews

When a tour schedule is released, it’s always exciting to spot reviewers with whom I’m familiar, ranging from those who’ve loved and championed my books from the start to those who’ve discovered my writing more recently and have clearly loved it enough to come back for more. And it’s always a little nerve-wracking seeing new names. Will they like my work or discover it’s not really for them? There were several new names on this tour.

I was also a little nervous about this book. I absolutely love this story but it’s by far the most emotional one I’ve written. I had to remortgage the house to pay for all the tissues I needed when writing it so I was fairly sure many reviewers would shed some tears. And they did. Some readers love books which make them cry but others don’t and I do understand that. I’m not going to say anything more about this for now as I feel a separate future blog post on the subject coming up.

So, back to the blog tour. Of the 41 reviewers who gave a star rating with their review (or who posted it on Amazon or NetGalley with one which some sleuthing revealed), 33 gave it 5 stars, 2 gave it 4.5 and 7 gave it 4-stars. Wow! This made me and my mum (who loves to read all my reviews) very, very happy.

Some of the reviews said such wonderful things not only about this book but about my ability as a writer that I was close to tears reading them. I’ve also found some new readers who loved the story so much, they want to check out my backlist, which is amazing.

Alongside this, I’ve received direct messages from readers and been tagged into posts on social media with such lovely comments about Hollie and Jake’s emotional story and am delighted it has touched so many readers.

THANK YOU to everyone who has taken part in the blog tour, reviewed the book outside the tour, sent me a message, posted about it on social media and/or recommended the story to friends and family. I am so appreciative of all the love and support.

THANK YOU to the amazing Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and sharing all the reviews on Twitter.

THANK YOU to Boldwood Books for making all of this possible, especially my editor Nia Beynon without whose editorial insights and encouragement, the story wouldn’t be what it is today and it wouldn’t have had such phenomenal comments.

I’ll be returning in October on a blog tour for Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop. Although it was published at the start of August, it’s very much a Christmas read (Starfish Café being more of a seasonal read than specifically Christmas) so we thought it made more sense to have the tour nearer to Christmas.

In the meantime, thank you once more. I’ve read, loved and appreciated every word.

Finally, if you haven’t read Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café yet but like the sound of this story, I’ve put Amazon links in this post and pasted the blurb below. Hope you take a trip to The Starfish Café… but make sure you have the tissues hand.! Probably best remove the mascara too!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

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…

Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a magical winter at the seaside, where love blossoms and lifelong friendships are made.

Happy Book Birthday to Starry Skies

I’m celebrating another book birthday today with Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café hitting its first birthday since the re-release through Boldwood Books.

Originally independently published in 2018 as Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café, I do tend to think of my Boldwood birthdays as the official birthdays as so few readers discovered my work before I joined them.

I love this story and, with over 1700 reviews/ratings on Amazon – 94% positive – and more than 35,000 copies sold in a year, it seems readers do too. Thank you to everyone who has bought/borrowed/listened and left a review/recommended this story. I appreciate that so much.

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café is best read after Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes as the two books feature friends Carly and Tara with businesses next door to each other and follow on chronologically.

Officially, Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is the 1st book in the Christmas on Castle Street Series as it’s set chronologically before the other two but it isn’t as closely connected as they are.

Happy book birthday Starry Skies xxx

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Here’s the blurb…

Cosy up with a mug of hot chocolate for some festive sparkle from bestseller Jessica Redland.

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…

Publication day for Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop

It’s publication day today for Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop, the final book in my backlist to be freshly edited and re-released through Boldwood Books (previously available as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop). If you’ve read the original version and are curious about what’s changed, here’s a blog post I wrote about it.

Publication day is always really exciting. This is my 12th book out today but I’ve had way more publication days than that with being published by a different company, then going indie, then getting my Boldwood deal and re-publishing my edited backlist. And, despite 24 publication days, it doesn’t get any less exciting. I know of authors who are 30/50/100 books down the line and say it still doesn’t wear off which is great to hear.

For my very first couple of books, I waited up until midnight to watch the eBook ‘magically’ appear on my Kindle. That was really thrilling! I don’t do that now but I do often struggle to sleep as I keep thinking about it! It’s like the excitement of waiting for Christmas Day to dawn!

When I was first published and when I was an indie author, my books didn’t sell very well so, although I’d keep my eye on the Amazon chart (Amazon being the only place they were available back then), I didn’t expect high positions … and didn’t get them! Reviews would be slow to come in and I wouldn’t get many of them either. And I was working in a demanding day job so I just needed to work as normal and not really think about publication.

Since last year when my writing took off (thanks to the amazing Boldwood Books) and I was able to resign and write full time, publication days have been very different. Initially I’d write but now I find they’re so busy that I never plan to write as I would probably wouldn’t get much done.

Why are they busy? There are publication posts to share on social media, a blog to write and so many gorgeous congratulations messages coming in to respond to. There’s usually a blog tour starting although we’re not having the one for Christmas Wishes… until October to generate a buzz for the book closer to Christmas. There are early reviews to read and I do regularly check chart positions hoping, just hoping, the book might edge close to the Top 100. I’m pretty certain Christmas Wishes… won’t come close, though, as it’s the final backlist book to come out and there are many readers who read it as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop. Pre-orders have been low (probably for that reason and because some readers don’t buy Christmas books out of season) which was expected so they won’t boost it massively up the charts today.

But alongside the publication day excitement there’s nervousness as various questions race through my mind:

  • Will readers love/hate/feel indifferent towards this book?
  • Will it climb the charts or bomb?
  • If it’s the start of a new series, will they engage with that series or not?
  • If it’s a sequel, will they think the previous book(s) was/were better and perhaps even tell me I should never have written this one?

It makes for a rollercoaster day/week/month while the verdict is coming in!

For this particular book, I don’t have those same nerves I might usually have. It had already gathered nearly 450 reviews on previous release and 83% of those are 5-star and 13% 4-star so I already know readers love this story. It has also had 85 ARC reviews (advanced reader copies) on NetGalley from reviewers/bloggers and they are overwhelmingly positive. Phew!

But I do have a little apprehension about chart position as I said. I’m not expecting it to do brilliantly… but there’s always that little sliver of hope!

Overall, any publication day is an amazing day, even with those nerves/worries. It never ceases to amaze me how many gorgeous messages and congratulatory posts come in from readers and authors and I am so very grateful for every one of them.

Today, I was at the hairdresser’s first thing and was scrolling through my Twitter feed while my colour was developing and, since returning home, I haven’t been off social media.

I’m so grateful to everyone who has sent me lovely messages today, shared any promotional posts, has pre-ordered, bought or borrowed Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop.

For those who are coming to Charlee’s story for the first time, I hope you love it and aren’t craving chocolate too much! For those who’ve already read it but loved it so much that you wanted to come back for the new version, you’re absolute stars and I can’t thank you enough.

And, as always, THANK YOU to my amazing publisher, Boldwood Books and my super talented awesome editor Nia for all her brilliant advice. Ooh, and this amazing box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts (pics below the blurb). Yum yum!

Big chocolatey hugs
Jessica xx

Sometimes you just need a little Christmas magic to make your wishes come true…

When master chocolatier, Charlee, takes the leap to move to the picturesque seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, she is determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and set up a chocolate shop.

Luckily, she finds the perfect location for Charlee’s Chocolates on beautiful Castle Street… Now she just has to refurbish it in time for Christmas!

With a useless boyfriend and countless DIY disasters, Charlee doesn’t know if she’ll make it in time. With no ‘traditional’ family to support her, she feels lost in her new surroundings and the secrets of the past are weighing her down.

But the warmth and festive spirit of the Whitsborough Bay community will surprise her, and when plumber, Matt, comes to the rescue, it might be that all of Charlee’s dreams could come true this Christmas, and she could learn what family really means…

Reflections on July

I should really have posted this yesterday but I’d hit my fill of storage on WordPress and couldn’t add any more images. I didn’t have the brain power to tackle that yesterday so, this morning, I’ve upgraded and can post my look back although I apologise as this means three posts in one day as there has been so much happening today with Boldwood’s 2nd birthday to celebrate and Yorkshire Day too!

I have no idea where July has gone. Do I say that about every month? It really has zoomed by so here’s what’s been happening:

Another slow month of reading for me – not because the books I’ve chosen are slow but because I’m a slow reader and still struggling for time.

The only book I’ve read in full is Life’s What You Make It by Sian O’Gorman who’s a fellow Boldwood author. It’s set in a small coastal village near Dublin and is a lovely story of starting over and finding home. I very much recommend it.

The munchkin and I continued with our viewing of Castle and are now halfway through season five. We don’t fit in many episodes at a time but we’re still loving it, and hubby and I watch The Rookie each week, also starring Nathan Fillion (star of Castle). Season three has just finished and ended on a cracking cliffhanger.

I forgot to mention in my June review that I had watched Virgin River as I’d heard so many good things about it and decided to give it a try. I’d therefore not long finished it before season three appeared. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the previous two seasons. What I’d enjoyed previously was that there was a balance of laughter and tears but this season seemed to be more about the tears. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good cry, but the balance didn’t seem to be there and there seemed to be lots of rushed decisions the characters made with massive consequences. I assume there’s a season 4 as it ended on a cliffhanger but I can’t decide whether I’m going to tune in or not. Jury’s still out on that one.

We’ve continued our eduction of the munchkin in films we’ve loved in the past and, after watching Armageddon last month, we decided to keep the disaster movie theme going and planned to watch The Day After Tomorrow. Unfortunately, we had a huge DVD clear-out last year and gave hundreds of them to charity as we didn’t have the space, and we think The Day After Tomorrow must have been one of them. It wasn’t on streaming and we weren’t going to pay to rent something we’d previously owned so we went for the dramatic but not quite as good 2012 instead. I remember watching that at the time and thinking 2012 seemed so far away! The munchkin loved it.

Hubby and I watched a film he’d seen a couple of times before and thought I’d love, partly because it’s really good and partly because Chris Hemsworth is in it! It’s called Heart of the Sea and is about the story that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick. He was right. It was really good. Do watch it if you have a chance.

Finally, we’ve just started watching A Discovery of Witches. We’re three episodes in and enjoying it so far. I have a feeling I heard someone say it’s slowish to start but really takes off from about episode 4.

I’ve been busy working on A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow, the fourth book in the Hedgehog Hollow series. I started the month having got to roughy the 50k words point and have finished the month at just shy of 93k words so I’m very close to the end. It will probably be about 110k words and then I’ll remove a few thousand in the editing process. I can’t wait to get to the end and start editing. It’s very lumpy at the moment but I’m confident I can smooth it out and then my editor will work her magic and suggest even more brilliant changes.

I celebrated one year of Hedgehog Hollow at the start of the month, 2nd July 2020 being the day the first book in the series – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – was published.

All You Need is Love went into Prime Reading. I thought this was just in the UK but it’s globally so do look for it if you’re in Prime overseas. It also went into a one-week sale on Audible and entered the Top 100 which is the first time any of my audiobooks have done that so that was a lovely moment.

We did the cover reveal for Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café and it’s always so lovely getting such positive responses to how pretty a cover is. It’s now available on NetGalley for bloggers/reviewers and I’ve had 100% 5-star feedback in so far. That’s only nine reviews but it’s still 100%. I know the bubble will burst at some point but I’ll enjoy it for now!

Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop has also been doing exceptionally well on NetGalley. With 80 reviews so far, there weren’t any 1 or 2 stars and only 1 x 3-star, with by far the most being 5-star reviews. Yay! Then yesterday a 2.5 star and another 3 star came in. Boo! Oh well, you can’t please all of the people all of the time and I’m delighted to have pleased a very large number!

I took part in a ‘Northern Lasses’ Book & Tonic Banter Facebook Live which was great fun. My fellow-panelists were Jane Lovering and Sheila Riley. You can catch up on that here. I also interviewed Jo Bartlett and chatted about how we met and our books on an ‘in conversation’ here.

I was thinking I’d barely left the house in July but a flick through my diary tells me I’m a big fat liar! The month started with a trip to Leeds to see Six The Musical, and a whole weekend away with the munchkin. I loved the show but didn’t particularly enjoy the weekend away although it was nice to spend some time with my daughter, of course.

I met my bestie and fellow author Sharon Booth in Beverley (East Yorkshire) for lunch and an afternoon of chat about all things writing. The hours go by in the click of a finger.

I attended the RNA’s conference, albeit virtually. There were some really great talks, all of which I took something from which is great.

The munchkin made her promise at Rangers down on Scarborough seafront and, while she was doing that, hubby and I grabbed some chips and took the dog for a walk. It was the midst of the heatwave but pleasantly cool on the evening by the coast.

August is shaping up to be a busy month with two publication days, a month of birthday celebrations for Boldwood and a couple of other exciting developments. Watch this space! Wishing you a fabulous August.

Big hugs
Jessica xx