The one with some really special Christmas gifts

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.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one with 2 audiobook offers, 2 milestones & a trip to Whitby

Five more sleeps until Christmas. Eek! Are you all sorted? We had a quick nip into town first thing, before it got busy, and bought the last of our gifts. I wrapped them as soon as I got back so I think we’re there now.

AUDIOBOOK OFFERS

If you’re an Audible UK subscriber and fancy something Christmassy to listen to while you’re wrapping the gifts or preparing the Christmas dinner, look no further because Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is in their sale for £3 right now. It was a thrill to see the audiobooks storming straight into the Top 100 and almost getting into the Top 50, peaking (so far) at #51.

If you’d like something non-Christmassy to listen to, the third book in my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series, Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove, is also £3 in the sale. It was meant to be on this offer a few weeks back but it didn’t get activated so they’ve added it in now. It also went straight into the Top 100, peaking (so far) at #65 which is so lovely to see.

It was also special to see them side by side in the two top positions in the audio Women’s Fiction chart…

These sales usually last a week but, because of Christmas, they’re on for a fortnight, ending on 3rd January 2022.

Thank you to all the lovely listeners who have bought them during the Audible sale so far. Please do spread the word!

MILESTONES

I’ve had a couple more reviews/ratings milestones on Amazon in the past few days. Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop has hit the 1,000 mark and Coming Home to Seashell Cottage, the fourth and final book in the ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series has hit 1,500.

An enormous thank you to anyone who has helped them get to these amazing milestones. I have to still pinch myself to see my books having so many reviews.

A TRIP TO WHITBY

And, finally, we had a lovely trip up the coast to Whitby yesterday. I was concerned it might be a little busy as there are lots of delightful gift shops, ideal for Christmas gifts, but it was actually fairly deserted. The weather probably didn’t help as it was cold, misty and damp as you can probably tell from the photos.

There’s a fabulous heritage trail with amazing wire sculptures depicting the fishing industry in Whitby. Hubby snapped these couple of pics. I love how you can see iconic images in the background like the lighthouse on the one on the left and St Mary’s Church (near Whitby Abbey) in the one on the right. There were several other sculptures and hopefully we’ll return soon and go round them all.

There’s s a lifeboat station at Whitby and, on the other side of the river, an RNLI shop where the lifeboat station used to be. I couldn’t resist a few purchases, especially when Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café strongly features the RNLI in its storyline.

The quote on the tote bag and the wooden box – the call from Sir William Hillary, founder of the RNLI in 1823 to form a national institution to save lives at sea – appears at the start of the book and is a recurring theme throughout. I love it so much.

There’s a branch of The Works there so we popped in to see if they had any of my books in. Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café appeared to have sold through but the hedgehogs were there. I definitely don’t think they’ll sell through quickly this side of Christmas when readers of this genre are after their festive reads, but hopefully they’ll fly off the shelves in the New Year.

On the Abbey side of the river, there are two lovely discount bookshops on the same street almost opposite each other, one having a range of books, jigsaws and toys – Good Reads Whitby – and the other focusing purely on Whitby with Whitby-based books, merchandise, photographs etc.

Whenever we see an independent bookshop, I like to go inside to see whether there are any of my books or books by Boldwood Buddies. This is because, when there’s a print run from The Works, more books than they need are printed to make the low cost of selling them financially viable. The excess are bought by a third party and distributed round the UK to indie bookshops, garden centres, post offices, local supermarkets etc., and others go abroad, particularly to Canada to an online retailer/bookstore called Indigo.

We paused to look in the window and how delighted was I to see Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café in there! What a treat!

Inside, there were loads of Boldwood Buddies which is always so exciting to see. And two more of my books! There were copies of Making Wishes at Bay View and The Secret to Happiness.

So if you live in or near Whitby and didn’t get a chance to pick up these books while they were in The Works, now’s your chance!

Big Christmassy hugs
Jessica xx

The one where I visited Nunnington Hall

Those who follow me on Instagram will already have seen a few photos but I wanted to share them here. Last Friday, I met up with author Eliza J Scott for a wander around Nunnington Hall in North Yorkshire. It’s not too far from the pretty market town of Helmsley and was a good meet-up location for both of us.

Eliza has visited before but I haven’t. It’s owned by the National Trust and you can find more details about it on their website here. The friendly guide in the entrance hall advised us that it is constructed of three different parts added over 450 years and was actually lived in as recently as the 1970s.

I’ve developed a love for visiting grand properties dressed for Christmas. There’s something extra special about seeing them dressed with wreaths and swags and trees, all gently lit by fairy lights.

Nunnington Hall didn’t disappoint with it’s first impressions. Isn’t it lovely? And that entrance is so inviting.

The grand hall had the most amazing fire blazing in it – perfect for a chilly day – but the lovely guide was standing by it so I don’t have a picture of it. I do have a picture of the lovely Christmas tree, though. Look at all those lovely gifts!

The rooms were dressed in different themes. If I’ve remembered this correctly a week on, it was Victorian, Georgian, 1950s and 1980s although I’m not 100% sure which was the Victorian v Georgian (or was it Edwardian). Don’t think I’ll secure a job there as a tour guide!

The low winter sun was streaming through the windows so it was tricky to get pictures but hopefully you’ll be able to get a feel for the feast set up. The costumes were really interesting as I’d always known that people were shorter back then but I stood next to the dress and the mannequin was much shorter than me and I’m only 5′ 2″!

In one of the bedrooms, there was the most delightful scene. The children from a local primary school had made Christmas trees from paper cones and there were fairy lights weaved between them and moving lights projected onto the ceiling. You really can’t get the feel from my photos but, believe me, it was beautiful.

One of the things I really love seeing when I visit stately homes are writing desks and I can never resist taking a photo of one and wondering if I’d have written books at such a desk if I’d lived in that era.

There was a lovely children’s bedroom. Look at those teddy bears. Awww!

I didn’t take photos of the 1980s living room but it was fun seeing the sorts of childhood toys I remembered like Sindys and the various games popular in that era. The Christmas tree was decked out with tinsel and baubles that reminded me of growing up too and there was a buffet table with some 1980s classic foods. Memories!

I enjoyed the 1950s bedroom and all the lovely gifts.

There were some art and craft exhibitions displayed in some rooms and I was in awe of how creative some people are.

When we’d finished our tour round the house, we retired to the tearooms and had the most delicious warm turkey & stuffing bap. It was served with rocket and homemade coleslaw and, tell you what, I’m still craving it a week later. It was absolutely delicious. And I couldn’t resist a hot chocolate and a piece of Victoria sponge too, although I completely forgot to take photos in my eagerness to eat!

We walked off our lunch in the gardens where there was a different view of the house in the late afternoon sunshine.

There were some activities for children set up and I couldn’t resist taking this photo of an adorable hedgehog illustration on one of them. I was also fascinated to spot one of the groundskeepers cutting down mistletoe from one of the trees. I’ve actually never seen mistletoe growing in the wild myself and the trees were covered in it. I took a photo but it hasn’t come out that well. You can just make out the clumps top right, bottom left and in the middle.

All too soon, it was time to leave but, on the way out, we spotted some more activities and couldn’t resist a go on the welly wanging! With a throw of a pair of wellington boots, I managed to knock over all the skittles which was pretty surprising considering I’ve never done that before. Eliza managed all but one so we both uncovered an unexpected ‘talent’. Who knew?!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where I travelled to Narnia

When I was little, one of my favourite books was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. I read it stacks of times and was completely captivated by the idea of four evacuees entering the land of Narnia through a wardrobe. So magical! I was therefore very excited that this year’s theme for Christmas at Castle Howard was ‘Christmas in Narnia.’

Each year, Castle Howard – a gorgeous stately home between Scarborough and York – is dressed for Christmas and it’s seriously impressive.

Castle Howard in the summer

In 2019, when we had no idea that a global pandemic was about to change the world beyond recognition, I visited with my bestie and fellow author Sharon Booth. The theme was ‘Masquerade’ and you can read about it/see my photos in a blog post I wrote at the time here. On the back of that, I knew Narnia would be pretty special.

Castle Howard last night

We were originally booked to go to ‘Christmas in Narnia’ a few Saturdays back but Storm Arwen hit and Castle Howard made the decision to close for safety. There are so many trees in the grounds that there was too great a risk with the high winds. Worried that we couldn’t go, I panicked and re-booked pretty much the only slots available – an after-school visit last night – but received an email later saying to bear with them as they would be squeezing in some extra slots for those who’d had theirs cancelled so we could probably have done a weekend after all.

The imagination and attention to detail that goes into creating these Christmas themes is quite astonishing. There’s actually a Channel 4 series running at the moment called ‘Christmas at…’ which documents how various stately homes transform for Christmas. It started with the ‘real Downton Abbey’ – Highclere Castle, then Warwick Castle and, spookily enough, Castle Howard was aired last night. My in-laws mentioned this when we collected the dog from theirs … and I promptly forgot. I need to watch it on catch-up.

Visitors need to book and there are 15-minute time slots to keep a steady flow moving through the house. Some whizz through and others pause to take in all the detail and there are no staff moving you on; the flow happens naturally.

Four of the bedrooms were dressed for each of the four siblings, Susan, Lucy, Edmund and Peter. Susan’s room was clamorous, Lucy’s full of toys, Edmund’s as a ‘war camp’ and Peter’s grand and representing courage.

Lady Georgiana’s Bedroom aka Susan’s Room
Lady Georgiana’s Dressing Room aka Lucy’s Room (photo credit Mark Heslington)
Castle Howard Dressing Room aka Edmund’s Room (photo credit Mark Heslington)
Castle Howard Bedroom aka Peter’s Room

I absolutely loved the move down the old passageways with all the snowy-looking flowers, candles and lights.

Antique Passage through Narnia (photo credit Mark Heslington)

Then we reached the wardrobe of fur coats through which Lucy first enters Narnia, and the lamppost where she meets Mr Tumnus. Note the fawn’s red scarf tied around it – lovely detail – and his packages on the ground.

We soon arrived in the Great Hall with the most enormous Christmas tree – 28 feet high – which is frozen in time awaiting Christmas returning to Narnia. Wouldn’t have liked the job of dressing that!

As we passed through the Great Hall, we reached the Garden Hall where the White Witch is on her sleigh and there’s a box of Turkish Delight waiting to tempt Edmund.

(photo credit Mark Heslington)

The Music Room was an imagining of Mr Tumnus’s home where Lucy enjoys tea with the fawn. There was so much to look at here and I loved the detail of the undecorated trees symbolising the forest coming into his home (although they’re not in my photo).

The next room had even more detail. The Crimson Dining Room showed the woodland animals celebrating as they sensed victory for good over evil. There were animals everywhere and toadstools under the table. Absolutely gorgeous.

(photo credit Mark Heslington)

The Museum Room becomes the Professor’s study

When we visited the Masquerade decorations, the Long Gallery was packed full of figures and bridges and a ‘river’ but it was more understated this time with the colours of the Northern Lights now that Aslan is back and triumphant. Before we meet the great lion himself…

(photo credit Mark Heslington)
(photo credit Mark Heslington)
Christmas has returned to Narnia (photo credit Mark Heslington)

In the courtyard near the visitor’s entrance, there was a fire pit. Hubby had a coffee and the munchkin and I had a couple of giant marshmallows to toast. They were absolutely amazing.

I really enjoyed our evening. I’d loved to have lingered in some of the rooms for even longer to catch all the detail and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next year as the two times I’ve attended have been brilliant.

Hope you enjoyed the pics as much as I enjoyed my marshmallow!

Big lion 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

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.

Cover reveal and edits for Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop

Although it has been loitering for a few weeks on Amazon, Apple and Kobo, I’m delighted that today is the official cover reveal for my next release, Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop. Isn’t it a thing of beauty?

This book was formerly out as a Kindle eBook only under the title of Charlee and the Chocolate Shop and is the final book from my backlist to go through a full edit, refresh and re-release. Everything that is published by me from this point onwards will be a brand new never-read-before story.

My husband designed the original cover (using stock images) and I love that the street and lampposts are the same but with a new tree and a fabulous new couple in the foreground.

Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is available for pre-order now – you can do so on Amazon here:

🇬🇧 https://amzn.to/2S7vIQX

🇺🇸 https://amzn.to/3q6Jv6Y

It will be out on Tuesday 3rd August in ten gazillion formats: eBook for Apple, Kindle and Kobo, paperback, hardback, large print, physical audio CD or MP3, audio download and audio streaming. Something for everyone!

So what has changed between the two versions?

The simple answer is pretty much every sentence! But the story hasn’t fundamentally changed. Let me explain…

I found it more challenging revisiting this story than any other book on my backlist which was unexpected because I thought it would be the easiest! 

When I first started writing, my intention was to write light romantic comedies but I found myself drawn more towards deeper emotional stories and characters who’ve faced quite significant adversity so my later books are more emotional than my first few.

My amazing editor, Nia, commented on how much my writing style differed in this book to my others which surprised me as this was the sixth book I’d originally written and I thought I’d fully developed my voice and style by the time I wrote Coming Home to Seashell Cottage which, although now the fourth book in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series, was the third book I wrote.

When I started to work through it, I was shocked! Nia was absolutely right. This was not typical of my writing style. I realised that I’d tried to write aspects of this story in a lighter romcom style simply because it was a Christmas read while having a story that fitted with the more emotional style I’d moved towards and the two didn’t mesh together particularly well. Or rather I hadn’t meshed them well. Where I did have an emotional scene, I hadn’t taken the opportunity to convey the full emotion that the character(s) would have experienced at that point because I was trying to keep the story lighter.

The other thing that had happened was that I’d wanted Charlee and the Chocolate Shop to be a Christmas novella. It had become apparent that there was a big market for Christmas stories and it seemed that readers were quite happy with shorter ones so they could squeeze more in. As is often the case when I write, I couldn’t think small. My premise was to have my heroine Charlee experiencing two very different Christmases so I already had a challenge on my hands of more word count needed to do justice to two Christmases instead of one. And there were quite a few threads I was covering so it became apparent that this wasn’t going to be a novella (17.5k-40k words). I compromised on a shorter novel instead but, to achieve that, I did quite a lot of telling.

There’s a writing rule: show don’t tell. The idea behind this is that you take the reader on more of a journey by showing them how a character is feeling, for example. In very simple terms, instead of telling the reader ‘Amanda was scared’, I’d show the reader that she was scared by describing her reactions e.g. Amanda’s hands shook as she pulled the duvet under her chin, holding her breath as she heard the scratching once more.

This rule also applies to scenes. I could summarise something: Jane still hadn’t spoken to Steve since their epic fight. As soon as she’d asked him whether there was someone else, he’d turned on her, accusing her of having an affair instead… And so on. This is also telling. If this is a key moment in the book, I really need to show the reader the ‘epic fight’ so that the reader feels what Jane is feeling, hears the dialogue, sees the facial expressions, feels the anger/pain.

There is a school of thought that realistically you can’t show the reader everything because (a) it doesn’t give any credit to the reader for filling things in themselves and (b) the word count could go through the roof. I’m particularly with this on how a character is feeling as sometimes you just need to get it on the page – Ellie was bricking it – and move on. If Ellie is well-developed enough, the reader will know what this looks like for her and be able to fill in those reactions.

With my feedback from Nia, my tell rather than show came more from the latter example of scenes. To move the story forward in less word count, I had summarised. A lot. And I’d missed some key moments as a result which would have added more depth and emotion to the story.

The thing is, the reviews were really positive. In fact, with a 4.8/5 average rating, they were my strongest set of ratings so readers clearly loved this book. I therefore could have made some of the editing tweaks Nia suggested and left the rest alone but I’m very much of the school of thought that if you’re going to do something, you do it well. It’s not in my make-up to take a sub-standard ‘it’ll do’ approach. If I had just done the basic edits, I’d have been left feeling that this book was the weaker one of the collection. As soon as my first negative reviews came in, I’d have put that down to not making the extra effort with this and I’d have kicked myself. I couldn’t bear the thought of reading a review that said something like: It’s okay but not a patch on her other books. I’m sure I’ll get those type of reviews at some point – in fact, I’ve just had a 2-star for All You Need Is Love which says something similar – but I didn’t want to be nodding along and agreeing that it wasn’t as good, knowing I could have done something about it.

As an author moves through their career and builds a bigger backlist, they will often talk about how their writing style has changed and how they don’t love their early work as much as their more recent books and would change loads about it if they could go back. I’ve been in a very unique position where I’ve had the chance to go back and ‘fix’ all my earlier books as part of the backlist edit I’ve been through with Boldwood over the past eighteen months. Even though my earlier books are more of a lighter romcom and my later ones are more emotional – representing a shift in the type of stories I create – I’m immensely proud of how all of them are written as everything I’d learned since the early ones were originally released was used to improve the new versions during my Boldwood edits. I therefore don’t have any I would say are of a lesser standard.

And this is why pretty much every sentence of Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop has changed from what it was in Charlee and the Chocolate Shop. I’ve restructured sentences, I have stronger dialogue, I have more show rather than tell, and I have some extra scenes. But the overall story premise has NOT changed; I’ve just improved how I’ve presented the story.

The major changes are as follows:

  • Charlee’s boyfriend is no longer called Darren. He is now Ricky. There is a main character called Daran (Irish spelling) in Coming Home to Seashell Cottage and it seemed unnecessary to use the name (albeit spelt differently) twice. You’re now crying ‘Ricky!’ like Bianca used to on EastEnders, aren’t you?
  • Several extra scenes between Charlee and Ricky have been added in, particularly when they hit some relationship challenges. I’m particularly pleased with a new one where Ricky gives Charlee a special gift
  • A couple of new chapters relating to Charlee buying and setting up her chocolaterie
  • I’ve included some extra scenes between Charlee and her best friend Jodie
  • There’s now an ending which doesn’t tie absolutely everything together for all characters with a bright red bow. A review for the original version commented on it all being a little bit perfect for everyone and, on reflection, I agreed, so I have a slight tweak to the ending for a couple of the characters
  • There are several other tweaks to smooth out some elements of the story/give more detail but I’d be giving spoilers if I listed them

So where does this leave you if you’ve already read Charlee and the Chocolate Shop? It’s the same as with all of my backlist changes. If you’ve already read the story, then there isn’t any need to read this revised version. There are new scenes and, as a result, it’s a longer book than before (another 14.5k words), but there are no new characters, no additional cameo appearances, and no completely new threads that would mean you miss something by not reading this.

Of course, if you would be interested in reading the story again anyway, you might as well dive into the new version. I took down the old version from sale in December last year and I have had it splashed over social media for well over a year that there was a new version coming out so I know some readers have decided to hold off and wait for the edited version.

There’ll be another Whitsborough Bay book coming out at the end of August – a brand new story – so there’s a double treat in August for readers who love Whitsborough Bay. And then we’re back with the fourth instalment from Hedgehog Hollow in January 2022.

Today is an extra special day for the cover reveal as it’s an anniversary. Two years ago today, Boldwood announced their list of their first twenty authors. It was news I’d been sitting on for months and it was so exciting to have it out in the open. It’s therefore lovely to have the cover reveal of my final backlist book – and the final book in my first contract – on the anniversary of the Boldwood announcement.

I hope you enjoy Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop. Thank you for all your support.

Big hugs and lots of chocolate
Jessica xx 

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

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

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

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

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

Escape to Castle Street for the perfect uplifting, festive read from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.

Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop was originally released as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop. Now re-released with a new title and new cover, this version has been freshly edited and features several new chapters.

The one where 2020 has been quite extraordinary – and surprisingly full of highs

So, it’s finally arrived. The end of 2020. The year many people have wanted to “do one” for a long time.

It’s probably not a bold statement to say that it’s the strangest year that most of us will ever have experienced and, pretty please, can it be the last time we do?

But while this may be a completely bonkers surreal year that many will want to push to the back of their minds filed under ‘grim’, 2020 has been an amazing year for me professionally, seeing so many dreams come true. So, while there are many reasons why I want to send 2020 to the naughty step, I want to high-five it too.

This is a rundown, quarter by quarter, of what 2020 has looked like for me personally and professionally, presented in order of occurrence. When I originally wrote it, it was nearly a novel in itself so I have massively cut it down to highs and lows. Even so, it’s still long as so much has happened professionally this year. I honestly don’t know if anyone other than my mum or hubby will read it all but thank you if you do! xx

JANUARY to MARCH 2020

Happy New Year and the start of a new decade. How exciting! I eagerly anticipated the year ahead with a whopping seven Boldwood releases made up of six of my back catalogue and one new novel, and I hoped this would be the year I could leave my day job as an HR Tutor and write full-time.

Little did we know that reports of a flu-like illness in China were going to change our lives beyond all recognition.

HIGHS

  • Release of the entire re-edited ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series:
    • Making Wishes at Bay View (14th Jan)
    • New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms (20th Feb)
    • Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (20th Feb)
    • Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (12th Mar)
  • Seaside Blooms broke into the UK Kindle Top 1,000 on 19th March and kept climbing
  • Making Wishes at Bay View was selected as Apple’s free book of the week (9th – 15th March) propelling it to the top of the free Apple Books chart
  • A massive knock-on effect on the rest of the series with a #3 for New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, #13 for Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove and #24 for Coming Home to Seashell Cottage. They all made it into the Top 5 on the Romance category occupying positions #2, #3 and #5 at one point
  • Celebrating hubby’s 50th birthday with a meal with his parents just before going into a national lockdown
  • Normality for almost three months, regularly meeting up with Sharon Booth (great friend and super talented author) and attending the RNA’s Beverley Chapter meeting

LOWS

  • Saying goodbye in January to our beloved cat, Felix. After nearly 14 years with us, I was – and still am – heartbroken to have lost him
  • The munchkin, age 13, experienced a scary bullying incident on the bus home from school, so serious we needed to involve the police who classified it as an assault
  • Lockdown. I don’t think I need to expand on that! Although munchkin’s grumbles at being made to do the Joe Wicks PE session every weekday morning provided us with great amusement!

APRIL to JUNE 2020

This quarter started with a second month of panic-buying where household staples like toilet roll, pasta, cans of soup and flour were like gold dust. Hand sanitiser, paracetamol and disinfectant were also in short supply.

Zoom – something I personally had never even heard of until this year – became a life-saver for keeping in touch, as did social media (although you had to be careful not to be sucked down the rabbit hole of scary statistics and conspiracy theories!)

I’m going to swap it around for this month and start with the lows because they directly led to the highs in this quarter.  I will just remind you that these are presented in order of occurrence rather than severity.

LOWS

  • An unprecedented increase in work volumes as students took advantage of lockdown to race through their assignments. Enrolments of new students soared through the roof and, whilst financially amazing, the stress levels in trying to keep up were extraordinary. All without support or thanks from our manager

  • I couldn’t face celebrating my birthday and chose to largely ignore it 
  • My older brother turned 50 and couldn’t have the celebrations planned with his friends or family – a common story for so many this year
  • Cancellation of two theatre trips – a day trip to Leeds to see Sister Act and a weekend away to see Six
  • Family holiday to Portugal over May half-term cancelled
  • The unexpected and sudden loss of our brother-in-law, aged only 50. RIP, Richard, with love xx

HIGHS

  • Resigning from the day job and becoming a full-time writer from 8th June. It had always been my dream to be able to earn enough to be able to write full-time and it had finally happened. The increased income would give me a buffer while my writing royalties (hopefully) increased from my new releases
  • Apple asked if they could repeat the UK promotion in the USA. Making Wishes at Bay View made it to #16 in the free chart and the series sold well on the back of this
  • Amazon selected New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms for a Prime deal. It was already inside the Top 100 by then but it peaked at #14 on 17th May thanks to being in Prime
  • People were turning to books for escapism, comfort and boredom relief. Uplifting stories of love and friendship – exactly what I write – fit the bill perfectly and this was reflected in my sales
  • Receiving messages from readers who’d binge read my Boldwood releases and the rest of my indie back catalogue and wanted to thank me for giving them such an uplift and welcome escape. Wow! I certainly hadn’t been expecting that
  • During the summer, Making Wishes at Bay View made it to #144, Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove to #145 and Coming Home to Seashell Cottage to #165. I’d never experienced chart positions like this. I’d barely hoped to dream of them and kept waiting for someone to pinch me and tell me it was a dream
  • How proud the munchkin made us. She moaned about Joe Wicks but not about studying and, with only a few nudges to ask her teachers for more work when she’d run out, she showed amazing maturity, never once moaning about being in lockdown and missing her friends

JULY to SEPTEMBER 2020

Restrictions had lifted in the UK but I pretty much remained a hermit. It’s not so much that I was afraid to go out but more that there seemed no point taking the risk. Being substantially overweight I am in a higher risk category and, with so many holiday-makers flocking to the coast, I felt my local town and beach were no-go areas. I managed a few local walks with the dog, hubby and munchkin – and even did an evening walk along the main seafront before the holidays hit – but that was about it. And my bottom has just expanded and expanded as a result!

HIGHS

  • The first book in a series set in a hedgehog rescue centre – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – was released on 2ndJuly. I was a little bit nervous about it as it was a new setting for me but the hedgehogs captured the hearts of readers
  • An impressive number of pre-orders meant an astonishing UK Kindle chart position of #291 on publication day, peaking at #86 in mid-August. My second Top 100 book. Yay! It made it to #40 in Canada and #11 in Australia
  • The Secret to Happiness appeared in branches of The Works. I chatted to the staff and took photos but I never thought to ask if they’d like me to sign copies. Muppet. Missed opportunity!
  • Boldwood celebrated one year since their first release. What an amazing first year of trading they’d had. We were invited to a summer moment on Zoom to celebrate which was pretty special
  • Release of the re-edited Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes (13th Aug). Initially it was free and reached #8 in the free UK Kindle chart, #43 in Australia, #20 in Canada and #15 in the USA
  • Release of the re-edited Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café. An impressive number of pre-orders saw an amazing release day chart position of #204
  • Met my parents outdoors on a couple of occasions
  • Sharon and I also managed one meeting but not for as long as usual. It was brilliant to be able to meet in person but the time went far too quickly
  • The munchkin returned to school and started three years of study towards her GCSEs. One of the bus bullies apologised (I think lockdown gave her plenty of thinking time), a truce has been reached and there’ve thankfully been no further incidents
  • Hubby and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary with a mid-week visit to Thorp Perrow Arboretum. It was a gorgeous day and there were very few people around so it was the perfect place to go. And, being only a short drive away from my parents, we stopped off at theirs for a socially distanced cuppa before coming home
  • The Works stocked another book – Making Wishes at Bay View – and this time I signed them. Proud author moment!
  • I was astonished and thrilled to be offered another contract with Boldwood for a whopping 12 brand new books. I nearly fell off my chair! The first book in that contract will be a brand new Christmas story in September 2021. Before that, there’ll be four more books released in January, March, May and August to see out the original contract: books 2 and 3 in the Hedgehog Hollow series (January/May) and the remaining two in my back catalogue (March/August)

LOWS

  • After only a week back at school, unable to see properly with her mask on, the munchkin tripped over a raised drain cover, went splat, landed awkwardly and broke her arm. Cue scary dash up to school and a trip to A&E to get a pot put on
  • She later fell down the stairs at school, also struggling to see properly in her mask, and made a right mess of both of her shins, scraping the skin off and badly bruising them both. The good news was she didn’t break her arm again!
  • The increased attention on me and my books massively exacerbated my imposter syndrome and I struggled to feel worthy of the amazing things happening to me. Writing a week-long series of posts about what this meant and how it manifested itself did me the world of good and I have been able to continue to make great inroads in quietening my ‘you’re not good enough’ demons since then, although I don’t think they’ll ever completely disappear and I’ve still had the occasional moment

OCTOBER to DECEMBER 2020

Now with the country in tiers, each tier dictating a specific set of rules, it seemed there was no end in sight. Another lockdown. Then came a ray of hope: a vaccination had been approved and would be rolled out imminently. Hurrah!

As Christmas approached, with a new strain of the virus spreading at an alarming rate, Christmas plans changed for many.

HIGHS

  • All ten books sported an orange Amazon #1 Best Seller tag at the same time. TEN! Wow! What a special moment that was! (13th Oct)
  • A socially distanced Hallowe’en BBQ at my parents’ house. A BBQ in late October in this country was certainly a first but a big brolly kept the rain off and the patio heater worked its magic!
  • The Works wanted another of my books and squeezed in an order of Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow. I managed to see it in my local branch – and sign the copies as well as another batch of Making Wishes at Bay View – before going into the second lockdown
  • Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes – no longer available for free – became my third book to get inside the Top 100, reaching #93 on 1st November. It only stayed inside the Top 100 for two days but that doesn’t matter. It still made it which, considering how many thousands of free copies it shifted, I wasn’t expecting
  • Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café broke the Top 100 too, peaking at #24 in the UK, #11 in Canada and an astonishing #3 in Australia. Woo hoo! With the exception of one day, it stuck around in the Top 100 right until Christmas Eve. I was a bit gutted it didn’t stay in the Top 100 for Christmas but over a month in the Top 100 wasn’t too shabby!
  • Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes achieved 1,000 reviews/ratings (16th Nov). At the start of the year, none of my books had more than 100 reviews. Today, it has hit 1,600. Still can’t quite believe it!
  • The Secret to Happiness went on a USA BookBub deal – the only of my books to have done this – and it got to #32 in the USA in mid-November. That market is enormous and I certainly never expected that!
  • Guest speaker slots on a Facebook Live with Kim The Bookworm and with Exeter Libraries
  • Part of a Boldwood Christmas books panel on My VLF (My Virtual Literature Festival) which was great fun
  • Interviewed by a reader, Liz Clifton, about confidence and motivation
  • Guest on Julie Morris’s blog – A Little Bookish Problem – twice
  • The Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series continued to perform well and, in mid-December, all of them passed 500 reviews/ratings on Amazon

LOWS

  • Cancellation of my graduation ceremony after achieving my Masters in Creative Writing through Open University in late 2019
  • Cancellation of our October half-term holiday to Lancaster (to give us access to Blackpool and the Lake District) as Lancaster was in tier 3 so we (in tier 2 at the time) couldn’t travel there
  • Not able to see my side of the family over Christmas or my husband’s sisters
  • The tragic news that my second cousin died just before Christmas. Aged only 42, my heart is broken for his mum (my cousin) and her family and for another lovely man taken far too soon. RIP, Gary, with love xx


AND TO CLOSE…

Whether you’ve read the Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities or not, you probably know the beginning: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” And that pretty much sums up my 2020.

For the best of times, I have achieved my dream of writing full-time, I am fortunate enough to work with the most incredible publisher with a wonderful team who support and respect all their authors as well as making us all feel equally important. Through Boldwood, I’ve had four books inside the Kindle UK Top 100 and Apple Top 100 this year, a Top 3 in Australia and Top 40 in the USA. All of my books have sported bestseller tags at the same time. Every book Boldwood has released has passed 500 reviews/ratings with one exceeding 1,600 and another marching towards 1,000. Quite honestly, it has been phenomenal.

But for the worst of times, I’ve lost my brother in law, a second cousin, and our gorgeous cat, and my daughter was assaulted. The disappointment of birthdays, holidays, theatre trips, weekends away and a graduation ceremony all cancelled pales into insignificance when faced with such loss and sadness.

I haven’t seen my brothers or their families since last Christmas although we did a regular family Zoom across the first lockdown. Hubby and I have never had much of a social life – we’re home bunnies and only have a few friends in the area – but we do miss being able to meet up with the small number of people we know and, as writing tends to be a lonely business, I’ve really missed my fortnightly meet-ups with Sharon.

I send my love and best wishes to my family affected by loss, and to anyone else for whom this year has been particularly tough whether that be through illness, bereavement, employment (or lack of it), finances, loneliness or any of the many other challenges that may have been faced.

My eternal gratitude goes to Boldwood Books and, in particular my editor, Nia, for making my dreams come true and being such a joy to work with. And thanks to my fellow Boldwood authors for all the support you’ve given and any reviews/promotions of my work.

Thank you to all the book bloggers/reviewers who’ve been so kind this year and to Rachel Gilbey for organising my blog tours.

I can’t thank enough all the amazing readers who’ve bought, borrowed, downloaded, and/or streamed any or all of my books. Thank you for choosing to take a journey to Whitsborough Bay and/or Hedgehog Hollow and for all the lovely messages on social media. You give me the encouragement to keep making stuff up!

To Sharon and my fellow-Write Romantic family, you’re my writing rocks and I couldn’t imagine how I’d have navigated my way through the troubled world of publishing without you all. It’s been lovely having such good virtual friends supporting each other in this difficult year. And to the Beverley chapter, I’ve loved our catch-ups.

Thank you to new writing friends I’ve made this year – Sam Tonge, Vicky Walters, Kim Nash and many others who’ve supported or promoted my work and whose books I’ve enjoyed reading. I hope we can meet in person next year.

And finally, to my biggest fan – my mum – my amazing husband and our wonderful daughter, thank you for all your excitement and encouragement. It really does keep me going. I know my dad is also super proud so thank you daddy bear too.

For anyone out there with a dream, chase it. Because dreams really do come true and I’m living, breathing proof of that.

When I finish writing a book, I love typing ‘The End’. Despite all the amazing things that have happened for me this year, I am relieved to stamp ‘The End’ on 2020 and look ahead to exciting writing achievements and some sort of normality in 2021.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where I visit the ‘real’ Castle Street at Christmas

A theme that comes through in reviews of my Whitsborough Bay books, particularly my Christmas ones, is how much readers would love to visit Castle Street and I sometimes get asked if it’s real.

Castle Street is not real. Sorry. But it is definitely inspired by real places and I see it as a blend of three, which I’ll come to in a moment.

Whitsborough Bay is a fictional North Yorkshire seaside town but it’s predominantly inspired by my hometown of Scarborough. It has the same geographical set-up as Scarborough: North Bay and South Bay separated by a headland with a castle on it, and the town up the cliff from South Bay. The large image below is a view of South Bay and the castle on the cliff from an area called South Cliff.

In my books, I’ve even called these areas North Bay and South Bay. I originally called them North Beach and South Beach to be different but decided ‘beach’ didn’t make sense when the town was called Whitsborough BAY so I stuck with bays.

There are many much-loved locations and landmarks in Scarborough that appear in my Whitsborough Bay stories but with different names:

  • The Sea Life Centre in North Bay becomes the Sea Rescue Sanctuary (bottom left above)
  • Peasholm Park, also in North Bay, is Hearnshaw Park in my books
  • The colourful beach huts in Whitsborough Bay’s North Bay (top right above) are a direct match to those in Scarborough but the shops and cafés nearby take on different identities
  • In Scarborough’s South Bay, there’s a lighthouse and harbour and I have the same in Whitsborough Bay but the lighthouse is red and white striped in my books instead of white (bottom right above), and the approach to it is different

The main difference geographically between Scarborough and Whitsborough Bay is that Whitsborough Bay has a river which runs through the Old Town and along the South Bay side of the castle. It is crossed by a swing bridge. This is very much inspired by Whitby up the coast from Scarborough; a place I’ve adored since childhood.

Back to Castle Street, it is fictional but, as I said before, it is inspired by a blend of three places:

  • Bar Street in Scarborough (which is a narrow street housing independent shops and cafés)
  • The cobbled streets of Whitby’s south side
  • The cobbled streets of Robin Hood’s Bay (which is between Scarborough and Whitby but closer to Whitby)

I imagine Castle Street to be wider than any of these streets (more the width of Huntriss Row if anyone is familiar with Scarborough) and with old-fashioned grey cobbles, more like these ones in this photo of Whitby at the bottom of the famous 199 steps up to St Mary’s Church and Whitby Abbey.

I love Bar Street at Christmas. It has waves of simple white lights running down the street from one end to the other and I describe these in my Christmas books but have them connecting between the buildings instead.

Last week, hubby, munchkin and I took our sprocker spaniel, Ella, for a wander round the lights just as the shops were closing (so we could capture the lights in the shops but visit when there weren’t many folk about).

The large picture below is looking down Bar Street with our backs to the town. The shops are Steampuss Cat Lounge (which I visited with the munchkin a few months back) and a bridal shop which is partial inspiration for The Wedding Emporium which I mention in a few books. In Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes, Bethany gets her wedding dress and the bridesmaid dresses for her Christmas wedding from there.

I’d been eager to get a photo of the giant illuminated teddy bear on the main precinct when I spotted him in town last month but the lights didn’t show very well during the day. So much better at night. I love him!

On Boxing Day evening, we took Ella down to the harbour where many of the boats were lit up, as was the viewing wheel along the seafront. Very pretty. But very cold!

I think I might need to make more of the harbour in future books as it really is beautiful with all the lights on the masts and sails. My pretty poor phone photography doesn’t even come close to doing it justice. On the top row, the lit-up building on the top left pic which is bigger on top right (at the far left of the pic) is The Grand Hotel. Owned by Britannia Group it has changed a lot over the years but it was once one of the largest and most impressive hotels in Europe. You can see it in daylight in the top set of images, bottom middle.

In my stories, The Grand is The Ramparts Hotel (Alison works there in The Secret to Happiness and Callie has a meal there near the end of Making Wishes at Bay View) and I position it as Whitsborough’s only 5-star hotel and very luxurious.

In the top middle photo, you can just about make out Scarborough’s Lighthouse. If you look above the boat lit by red lights, there’s a bright light. Move along to the boat behind it and there’s another light and just to the right of that is a triangle shape of light. That’s the lighthouse. Hubby took a better pic of it, though, looking back over the Old Town. What looks to be a strip of lights above the Old Town in his photo is the castle walls illuminated.

Hope you enjoyed your trip to Whitsborough Bay’s Castle Street and harbour at Christmas. If you’d like to read about it, Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes and Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café are both still only 99p but act quickly as Starry Skies will probably have a price increase in the not too distant future. They’re best read in that order as Starry Skies is set after Carly’s Cupcakes and the two businesses are next door and run by friends Carly and Tara so we find out what happens to Carly after her story finishes when Tara picks up the reins.

You can find all my books for Kindle here although they’re also available as eBooks for Kobo and Apple and a gazillion other formats depending on your reading or listening preferences.

Big hugs
Jessica xx