It’s my birthday today but I’m the one giving away the gifts along with my fabulous publisher Boldwood Books. This bank holiday weekend we’re offering a bear-themed bundle consisting of:
A signed copy of the paperback of All You Need Is Love
A gorgeous Ed the Bear Doodlepad (Paperchase)
A trio of bear-themed body washes (Cath Kidston)
This is happening over on Twitter and, to enter, you need to go to Boldwood’s Twitter feed – @BoldwoodBooks – and find the competition announcement. It’s the Pinned Tweet so not tricky to find. Then follow the instructions on there. There’s a link to the full T&Cs but you can also find them here.
I have shared this on my Twitter feed but please ensure it’s the ORIGINAL Boldwood post you’re RT’ing and not mine.
The competition is only running across this May Day Bank Holiday weekend so act fast!
A week today, it’s publication day for All You Need Is Love. Eek! So exciting!
All You Need IsLove is love was originally released as Bear With Me and is the penultimate book from my back catalogue to get a fresh edit and re-release via my amazing publisher, Boldwood Books.
Charlee and the Chocolate Shop is the only novel of mine that is still indie released but will be freshened up and reissued in late July.
To celebrate the release of the revised version of All You Need Is Love, we’re running a competition to give away a little bear-themed bundle consisting of an A5 hardback spiral-bound notebook, a small jotter pad and a coaster all with bear designs from Alex Clark Art’s collection and a trio of bear-themed body washes from Cath Kidston.
If you’d like to have a chance of winning this bear-themed bundle, all you need to do is pre-order All You Need Is Love on eBook (it’s available for Kindle, AppleBooks and Kobo), paperback or audiobook before midnight GMT on publication day (Thursday 11th March 2021) and email proof of purchase to Boldwood.
The exact details of what’s needed are in the competition T&Cs here.
You can pre-order your eBook of All You Need Is Love: For Kindle here For Kobo here For AppleBooks here
If you’ve already read Bear With Me you can find an earlier blog post explaining what has changed on the revised version right here.
Big hugs Jessica xx
When you’ve loved and lost, how do you find the strength to let love in again?
Jemma thinks she’s found the love of her life. Scott is everything she ever dreamed of and she can’t wait to begin the next stage of their life together. But just as she is heading for her happy ever after, a shock revelation shatters Jemma’s life as she knows it. Left to pick up the pieces, Jemma’s friends and family rally round to help her find the courage to move on.
Sam thinks he has his future all worked out. A thriving career, lovely home and an amazing fiancée. But when tragedy strikes, he finds himself alone, far from everyone he cares about. Did he do the right thing by running away and trying to rebuild the tatters of his life alone?
This is the story of Jemma and Sam. Two lost souls, desperately trying to find closure and happiness. When a chance meeting brings them together a friendship is formed, but the guards are up.
Will it finally be their turn for a happy ever after? Or will the secrets from their pasts prevent them from moving on?
Escape to Whitsborough Bay for an emotional, uplifting story of love and friendship from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.
This book was previously published as Bear With Me.
Boldwood Books ran a fab competition a few months back to win an opportunity to name a hedgehog in the second book in my Hedgehog Hollow series – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow. Entry was through subscribing to my newsletter and then a draw from all subscribers (including those who’d signed up pre-competition).
The winner was contacted by Boldwood and I was hoping they’d come up with a fun/clever name. I was not disappointed and could not have been more thrilled with the suggestion:
SNOOP HOGGY HOG
Oh wow! Absolute genius.
Today we announced the winner along with this fabulous illustration my super-talented husband, Mark, created. Check out Snoopy Hoggy Hog wearing his Boldwood bling! Absolutely love it.
Thank you so much Sarah for the inspired name and to Mark for the gorgeous illustration. Sarah is named in the acknowledgements at the back of the book. She’ll receive a signed copy of the paperback of New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow, a bookmark, and will see ‘Snoop Hoggy Hog’ appear in the book itself. We’re also going to print off a colour image of the Snoop Hoggy Hog illustration and will sign that too as a special bonus!
Do you have an idea that could top Snoop Hoggy Hog?
Or simply a great name for a hedgehog that you’d love to see appear in Book 3 in the series?
Then act fast by signing up to my newsletter as THE CLOSING DATE IS MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!!!
The winner will be drawn from all newsletter subscribers and contacted by Boldwood Books requesting a name. We won’t be able to include anything too rude, offensive or that has already been used in one of my books but I’m sure you can come up with something fabulous and I look forward to hearing the winning suggestion(s).
To see full T&Cs of this competition and all the others Boldwood are currently running, please click here.
Book 1 in the series, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow, is available worldwide as an eBook for Kindle, Kobo and Apple, as an audiobook, via streaming services, as a paperback or large print edition and via the uLibrary App in UK libraries. It’s currently being stocked in branches of The Works and online. You can find it for Kindle here.
And you can pre-order New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow on Kindle here. It will be available in all formats listed above from publication day although I don’t yet know whether The Works will stock it.
If you’ve already subscribed, you will automatically go into the draw again.
The prize won’t be distributed until Book 3 is released in May 2021 but Boldwood Books will contact the winner when the draw is made, requesting the name. If it’s a name that I’ve already used in either of the first two books, we will need to ask you to suggest an alternative.
The winner of the Book 2 competition generously gave us a few suggestions and asked us to pick our favourite. There was an absolute stand-out winner from that which we can’t wait to share with you. We’ll be announcing the winning entry for that previous competition ahead of the publication day of New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow.
To find out more:
For the full T&Cs, please click here. You’ll also find details of other Boldwood Books competitions via that link.
One year ago today, The Secret to Happiness was published. Happy book-birthday to me! It’s an exceptionally special book-birthday because this was the first of my books released by my amazing publishers, Boldwood Books. It was the book that secured me my publishing deal.
Originally titled Wish I Could Tell You Goodbye, it tells the story of three women – Alison, Danniella and Karen – who are struggling to let go of something/someone from their past. They all meet at a beach-based bootcamp run by Karen and it explores whether the power of friendship can give the women the strength to move on and find the happiness they deserve.
It’s an emotional but uplifting story which I love and I was sure that, after several years as an indie writer, it would secure me a publishing deal. It didn’t at first. When Boldwood opened for submissions, it had been rejected by five different publishers. Five rejections is not a lot in the grand scheme of things but I took each one to heart and was crushed by them. Because I’d already released nine books, originally with a publisher and then via an independent route – all with great feedback – I started to seriously doubt myself. I wondered if I’d tried to be too clever writing about three women instead of just having one protagonist (like in all my books except Bear With Me which has two). I wondered whether I’d lost my writing mojo.
But this is a positive post and I want to focus on the amazing things that have happened since what became The Secret to Happiness found its home at Boldwood. I have pasted my rejection feedback at the end if anyone is curious. For authors, this may give the encouragement to keep going as, what one editor passes on, another may feel passionate about.
Thankfully, Boldwood thought differently to the other five publishers and offered me a 9-book deal for this book plus another three new ones, and five novels from my back catalogue! Wow!
And I couldn’t be happier. I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. I believe I was always destined to join Boldwood so I’m grateful for those rejections because they meant I could find my true home.
What has The Secret to Happiness done for me?
Over 9k paperbacks in branches of The Works around the UK
Sold nearly 500 audio copies*
Sold nearly 15k eBooks*
#122 in the UK Kindle Chart
#9 on the Canada Kindle Chart
#20 on the Australia Kindle Chart
#35 on the overall AppleBooks Chart and #10 on the Romance Chart
Secured 123 ratings/reviews on Amazon UK, 92% of which are 4 or 5-star
Secured 43 ratings on AppleBooks UK, all of which are 4 or 5-star
* Up until end June 2020
This book took a struggling indie writer and turned her into an international bestselling author! Eek! Still can’t quite believe that!
I cannot thank my amazing editor, Nia Beynon, enough for believing in this book and helping shape and polish it ready for publication. And thank you to the team at Boldwood Books and the fabulously talented authors there who’ve supported and promoted my work.
If you haven’t yet read it, now’s your chance as it has been selected for Kindle UK’s September Monthly Deal and is 99p for the whole of the month. Kobo and AppleBooks also have it for 99p.
You can find it for Kindle here or on Audible here.
If you prefer paperbacks, The Works sold out really quickly online but you may still be able to find a copy in your local branch. Alternatively paperbacks can be ordered via Amazon. Or you could win a copy!
Yes, to celebrate The Secret to Happiness’s 1st book-birthday, I’m giving away THREE signed copies. There’ll be one book given away in a competition on Facebook, one on Instagram and one on Twitter. I’ll share details from my various social media accounts but they’ll appear first on Boldwood’s social media. You can find them as:
Book & Tonic on Facebook and Instagram
@BoldwoodBooks on Twitter
So watch out for news of how to win!
In the meantime, have an amazing week/weekend and thank you once more to everyone who has discovered The Secret to Happiness or is about to discover it!
And, as promised, here’s the rejections…
“Concept intriguing and writing engaging [but] not suitable for our list.”
“Created a great ensemble cast .. setting well delineated … [but the] concept wasn’t quite ‘hooky’ enough to stand out in a very crowded market.”
“While the premise is fun and engaging and original, we just feel the bootcamp idea is not quite right for us at this time. I do think it’s very well written, however, so please don’t let this stop you – you just need a cracking idea and you’ll be on your way.”
“I absolutely loved diving into the world you’ve conjured here … [but] as the story went on I struggled to empathise with the characters as much as I wanted to. Rather than being invested in their journeys I felt they lacked the necessary depth and layers, I wanted to see more of their emotions and feelings on the page. In such a competitive book market we have to ensure we feel passionate about the book and characters and sadly I just couldn’t find myself getting lost in Alison or Karen’s story as I couldn’t connect with them. In terms of next step I recommend looking at how you can weave more depth into the characters, offering readers different layers to uncover from them all.”
“Your writing is great, and there is huge warmth and emotion in your narrative. All of the women’s stories are hugely poignant, but because there were three of them, it felt at times like there wasn’t quite enough space for each story, including the tragic events before the book begins, to be fully explored. The women’s fiction market is so tricky at the moment, and what we tend to be looking for at the moment are in-depth emotional stories with a tight scope, or high-concept stories that can be pitched in a single line. I’m afraid that Wish I Could Tell You Goodbye didn’t quite hit the mark for me.”
Anyone already signed up to my newsletter will also be included in the draw
A winner will randomly be drawn and announced on 31st August and that person will then be asked to name a hedgehog and will win the goodies
What if I win?
Boldwood Books will ask you for your chosen hedgehog name. It might be that you want to name him/her after yourself, a friend or family member. It might be that you choose the name of a family pet. Or you might get creative.
There are a few suggestions we won’t be able to accept:
Any swear words/racism/sexism or anything along those lines that is inappropriate
A hedgehog name that is already used in the first book – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – but there are only six names used: Spike, Spikette, Sonic, Mrs Tiggywinkle, Mr Snuffles and Quilly
A name that matches any of the characters in the first or second book as it would be confusing to have a person and a hedgehog with the same name!
I’m editing this book at the moment and have a part of the story saved where I will slot in the name of the chosen hedgehog so I can’t wait to hear what’s picked.
We have a name for the second (and third) book but they’re being kept under wraps for the moment. The cover for book 2 should be revealed next month but the editing process will be ongoing so the book won’t actually be ready for print for some time yet but a copy will be put aside with your name on it (and your hedgehog’s name in it!) as soon as it is.
Has it really been that long since I posted? Oops! To be fair, I’ve been on holiday and, even though I was only away for a week, I feel like I’ve only just got back into the swing of things because life had been so hectic just before holiday and immediately afterwards with one major activity taking a lot of my time: the launch of the first Write Romantics anthology!
I can now officially say I am a published writer with both an e-Book AND a paperback to my name. But when I first said that to my husband on the launch of ‘Winter Tales’ on 8th November, he frowned and said, “But you’re already a published writer.” And he was absolutely right. Because, in 2010, an anthology was launched that also featured a short story I’d written.
Back in 2009 when I entered the English Heritage competition to feature in an anthology of short stories set at or inspired by local landmark Whitby Abbey, I had no expectations of winning. Short stories aren’t really my thing, either as a reader or a writer and, but I felt drawn to the competition. I live just down the coast from Whitby and it’s a place I’ve visited since childhood and have always loved. I have fond memories of visiting there with my parents, my grandparents, as a Brownie, Guide and Ranger, and more recently with my own family. The other pull was that one of the judging panel was G P Taylor whose kind words about my work during his creative writing course had made me believe I could write. The entries were anonymous so this certainly wouldn’t have any bearing on my winning or not but it felt like there were two strong draws that I couldn’t ignore.
An idea formed but I absolutely left it until the 11th hour to get it right, submitting it at 2 minutes before the deadline. I knew it wasn’t perfect but I also knew that having a three-year-old, a full-time job and a long commute to work meant I’d had no time to make it any better. The winner was announced and, unsurprisingly, it wasn’t me. An email several months later had me shaking with excitement, though. Fifty other entries had been selected to feature in an anthology that would be sold in aid of Whitby Abbey and my story was one of them! I vividly remember the day I heard. I was at a team meeting in Croydon and we’d taken a break during which I’d checked my emails. I had to share my news with the team the moment we reconvened. I’m not sure anyone quite got it but I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face because, for me, this was the first step: an official confirmation that I could write because I’d been selected as one of the best.
It took an eternity for the book to be pulled together and it was late 2010 before it was launched. It was available on Amazon but, as Whitby Abbey is just up the coast, I had this vision of us making a day trip of it. I felt a bit silly suggesting this to my husband as I felt like I was making a big deal out of something really minor. I kept hoping that he’d suggest it himself. Isn’t that what the hero would do in a romance novel? He’d suggest a day out but drive to the Abbey instead and have a bottle of champagne and a cake discretely tucked away in a backpack to be whipped out at the appropriate moment. I won’t go into what did happen but it wasn’t that and the whole experience felt pretty flat and unreal. I had the book in my hands but I didn’t feel like a published writer at all.
Roll forward four years and, on 8th November this year, we launched the e-Book of the Write Romantics charity anthology: Winter Tales – Stories to Warm Your Heart. We had an online Facebook party which seemed to go well. We even had guests who weren’t anthology contributors attending! I still didn’t feel like a published writer, though. I reasoned it was because I didn’t have a physical book to hold this time and I’d had to download the anthology onto my Kindle as a test so it wasn’t like I’d had the chance to download it as a buyer and have it suddenly appear on my Kindle.
This Saturday the CreateSpace proof copy of our paperback arrived. I’d been out for the day with the munchkin as Santa had arrived in the harbour for a parade to his grotto (don’t ask) so I didn’t get the Amazon package until late in the afternoon. Hubby nonchalantly drifted down the stairs while I removed my coat and said, “This arrived for you.” Eek! The proof! I actually felt quite nervous about opening it, especially as hubby was also dying to see it so was hovering.
How did I feel on actually opening it and taking it out its packaging? A bit numb really. Yes, it was exciting to see it, but not quite as exciting as I’d expected. Maybe it’s because it was a “proof” copy so not quite the “real thing”. Maybe it was because it’s an anthology so my name isn’t specifically on the front. Or maybe it simply hasn’t sunk in. You see, I can say I’m now a twice-published writer but I’m not a twice-published writer who can write full-time or even part-time. I’m a twice-published writer who still needs to work because neither of these projects are about earning money; they’re about charity and rightly so. I’m a twice-published writer who’ll go back to work in a frozen foods factory tomorrow, not knowing if I’m about to lose my job as a result of some imminent restructuring in the HR function. I’m a twice-published writer who is hoping that the saying “third time lucky” does apply to me and that my third opportunity for publication – the release of my debut next year – will lead me a step closer to the dream of writing full-time. Fingers crossed.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m exceptionally excited. I just don’t feel different. But perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps there is no different feeling. Hmmm.
While I ponder on that one, I’d love it if you could bob on over to Amazon to order Winter Tales. It’s available as an e-Book here and paperback here. All proceeds are split equally between Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Teenage Cancer Trust and the book would make a fabulous stocking filler. Go on, you know you want to …