The one where I appreciate all the hedgehog love

The final book in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow – was released on 6th September and I’ve been stunned at the speed it has gathered reviews on Amazon because a book set partly at Christmas, with the word ‘Christmas’ in the title and a cover featuring a hedgehog in a Santa hat is something I know that many readers won’t buy/read this far from Christmas.

When book 2, New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow, was released in January 2021, I recorded on a blog post my astonishment at it receiving 100 reviews in a week, 400 reviews by day 19 and 1,000 within 2 months. Book 3, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, eclipsed this. At a fortnight it had 300 reviews but it reached a whopping 1,000 on it’s 3-week anniversary. They just kept coming – 700 reviews in the space of one week! I wondered whether any of the other books in the series would top this or had that been the pinnacle?

Christmas Miracles hit 400 reviews on day 12 so it was looking surprisingly good to steal the crown from book 3 but, by day 20, it was at 600 and there was no way another 400 would come in within the space of one day to match the 1,000 at three weeks. And they didn’t. It was another 50, though, which is still phenomenal and something I still can’t believe I’m writing when it used to take months to gather a handful of reviews pre-Boldwood.

So the award for getting to 1,000 reviews in the most unbelievably quick time remains with Family Secrets but I suspect Christmas Miracles is going to get there sooner than New Arrivals did, perhaps in 5 or 6 weeks rather than 2 months.

The quality of reviews has been phenomenal too. As at the three-week anniversary yesterday, a whopping 88% of my reviews were at 5-star and only 3% were 3-star or below. I’m so grateful to everyone who has shown so much love for the hedgehogs. Of course, now that I’ve said that, I’ll get a stack of negative reviews to redress the balance!!!

I’ve had gorgeous messages on my reader Facebook group – Redland’s Readers – and lots of DMs with lovely feedback for this book and the series as a whole which have been so touching.

I had such an enjoyable chat with my editor, Nia Beynon, on Monday in a Facebook Live. We talked all about the series and I did a reading from Christmas Miracles. If you missed it, you can catch up on it here. I couldn’t resist wearing my autumnal hedgehog dress from Popsy Clothing. I also had a hedgehog necklace on and hedgehog earrings (and socks!) but you probably can’t see them on the video. Got to be done!

Please keep that hedgehog love coming. The hedgehogs and I are so very grateful for all your kind words and recommendations. Quick reminder that Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (book 1) and Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow (book 5) are on a 99p eBook offer in the UK and one or both are on an equivalent discount in other territories so please spread the word. Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is also FREE in Prime Reading globally and the audio version is FREE to Audible subscribers as part of the Audible Plus programme. And, finally, ALL my books are FREE on Kindle Unlimited or to borrow via most libraries.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

The one with the offers, the event, and the auction

Good morning and welcome to a new week and a new season. It’s autumn! Yay! Autumn is my favourite month. I love the cooler weather, the changing colours, the mix of glorious sunshine and cool crisp days, and the approach of Christmas.

I have lots of news so I thought I’d pull it all together in one blog post so I’d better crack on with it…

THE OFFERS

There are some amazing price reductions on two of the eBooks in the Hedgehog Hollow series right now and some of these are available internationally but, as with any offer, there’s a limited time so do take advantage asap to avoid missing out.

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – book 1 in the series – is on the following offers for Kindle:

  • UK – 99p
  • Australia – $1.89
  • USA – $1.99

This book is also in Global Prime Reading so anyone participating in the Prime programme can access it for FREE. It just went in last week and will remain in Prime Reading for at least 12 weeks so we’re pretty much talking the rest of the year.

Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow – book 5 in the series – is on the following offers for Kindle:

  • UK – 99p
  • Australia – $1.89
  • Canada – $0.99

If you are on Kobo, Apple Books or any other eReader, please do check as I believe the Chasing Dreams offers will apply and the Finding Love ones may well too.

THE EVENT

Tonight (Monday 26th September), I have a Facebook Live with my fabulous editor Nia Beynon. To celebrate the release of Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow – the final book in the series – we’ll be talking all about the whole series and I’ll be reading from Christmas Miracles.

We have some questions lined up and would love to answer questions from readers who join us. The Live will start at 6pm GMT over on the Book and Tonic Facebook page. You can set yourself a notification here.

I really hope you can join us to celebrate the final release. If you’re unable to join us live, the link above will also take you to the video afterwards. If you can’t join in but you have a question you’d love me to answer in the Live, please DM me on my Jessica Redland Romance Author Facebook page before 5pm today and we’ll squeeze it in.

THE AUCTION

I’m delighted to be taking part in the Children in Read Auction again this year which raises money for the BBC’s Children in Need appeal 2022. You can find the full auction here where there are currently a whopping 517 lots of reading/writing-related prizes to suit all ages and tastes. New lots are being added all the time and the amount bid so far is already approaching £10,000.

I’ve submitted two lots. My first is lot 444 which is all about ‘first in a series’ and is available to UK bidders only. It can be found here. This is a really special lot because the successful bidder will win signed copies of the first book in each of my four series (listed below) and the opportunity to name a character in my fifth series which starts in the summer 2023.

The first in series books are:

  • Making Wishes at Bay View – book 1 in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series
  • Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop – book 1 in the Christmas on Castle Street series
  • Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café – book 1 in The Starfish Café series
  • Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – book 1 in the Hedgehog Hollow series

The retail value of these books combined is just shy of £43 and it currently has 12 bids on it which have reached £39. As I say, the books will be signed but can be dedicated on request.

What I think will really appeal about this lot is the opportunity to name a character in my brand new series set in the Lake District, the first book of which will be out next summer. This will be an important character but not one of the main two characters as I’ve already named them. It can be a male or female character and a reader could see their name in the book, the name of a loved one or perhaps a name they’ve created. My only stipulations are that it needs to be pronounceable and sensible – no Character McCharacters, no swear words and no innuendos. I also can’t accept a character name I’ve already used for obvious reasons.

My second lot is lot 445 which can be found here. There are currently no bids on it – eek! – but hopefully that will change soon. This is a one-hour Zoom conversation with me and this is offered internationally.

My suggestion is that this may suit either an aspiring writer looking for some advice and guidance on an aspect of writing. As I write contemporary women’s fiction, that’s where my expertise lies but I tutor workshops on writing a series and about creating locations and this is transferrable across all genres.

Alternatively a reader might be interested in talking about the books and asking me questions full of spoilers which would be discouraged in an open forum.

That’s all my news for now. Wishing you a fabulous week.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where it’s audio publication day for Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow

It’s publication day! Yay! This time it’s still the hedgehogs returning for their sixth instalment but with the audio version.

There isn’t normally a delay between publication formats – releasing a book simultaneously globally in all formats is one of the many amazing things my publisher Boldwood Books do so well. However we needed to have a delay this time around. The fabulous voice actor Emma Swan who has narrated the part of Samantha throughout the series wasn’t available to record the audiobook in time for the 6th September release date due to other commitments. I was given a choice of using a different voice actor or delaying and it was a no-brainer for me. Emma is fantastic and it would be very wrong to change the voice of Samantha on the final book, disorientating listeners and likely getting negative feedback so I held off.

I’m not sure why Audible had a further two-day delay this week to bring out the audio version today instead of Tuesday as planned but the great news is it’s out there now and you can find it on Audible here. I’m delighted to see that it’s already in the Top 500 first thing this morning and should rise higher later today.

Thank you so much to everyone who has been patiently (or perhaps not so patiently!) waiting for the final instalment. I really hope you enjoy listening to Samantha’s final story alongside Fizz’s whose chapters are narrated by Lesley Harcourt.

The Audible Narration add-on for Kindle purchases is also available from today.

Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow

It’s the countdown to Christmas at Hedgehog Hollow Wildlife Rescue Centre, and everyone is gearing up for a festive season to remember…

It should be the most wonderful time of the year for Samantha and Josh as they prepare for the arrival of their first baby. But life at Hedgehog Hollow rarely goes to plan and the pair are faced with adversaries, old and new, and unexpected challenges to overcome.

Fizz’s job at the heart of the rescue centre is a dream come true but her personal life is more like a nightmare. With her love life a disaster and her past about to dramatically catch up with her, she needs the love and support of her Hedgehog Hollow family more than ever.

As the snow falls over Hedgehog Hollow, will Samantha and Fizz find the Christmas miracle they need to overcome their heartache and find happiness?

Top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland welcomes you back to Hedgehog Hollow this Christmas for the final time in this series for a heartfelt story of love, family, friendship—and hedgehogs of course!

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

The one where I thank everyone involved in the blog tour for Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow

I took a pause from social media after the tragic news on 8th September of the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II. It was a day I’ve been dreading and I knew I’d be upset but I wasn’t quite prepared for how upset I actually was. There seem to be many who have felt the same – an outpouring of grief for someone we didn’t know/had never met, yet who somehow felt like a member of the family and will be missed so very much.

With a brand new book published on 6th September, just two days before the Queen’s passing, I’d normally have been all over social media for the next couple of weeks, promoting it and sharing the reviews from my blog tour. On the evening we found out the sad news and on the day that followed, it didn’t feel right doing this. Then the weekend arrived and it still didn’t feel appropriate. There was the procession of the Queen’s coffin on Wednesday – heart breaking to watch – and it felt to me like the only appropriate time to start sharing promotional posts was after the funeral. And even now it doesn’t seem quite right but more of that in a bit.

I stopped looking at social media too. I found the pictures, poems, photos and memories shared became too overwhelming. They were beautiful and poignant but I felt exhausted from crying. Over on Twitter, I couldn’t bear to see so many negative, hateful comments and cruel hashtags trending. It was easier to stay away.

The only posts I made on the socials were to announce the cancellation of my appearance at the Richmond Walking and Book Festival yesterday as it clashed with the funeral, and to remind readers that there were tickets still available for a talk through Stockton Libraries. I’ll share some photos from that in a post soon.

It’s the day after the Queen’s funeral and I am back on social media, even though it feels strange to be here. But this is my job and I need to return to ‘normal’ even though there’s still great sadness.

I feel bad that so many lovely bloggers have kindly shared their reviews on Twitter during the blog tour for Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow and I haven’t re-tweeted them. I have, however, thanked them on their blog posts… or at least I hope I’ve thanked everyone – no offence meant if I’ve inadvertently missed anyone.

I also feel bad that I haven’t shared news of any other author’s publication days, cover reveals or big successes over the past twelve days. I will be catching up this week. Congratulations to those who have had exciting news recently.

So back to the blog tour, a huge thank you as always to the amazing Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising it. Another whopping 12-day tour with 36 stops, I’ve been thrilled by so many gorgeous reviews. There were three non-posts this time. I know that one of those was a reviewer taking some time out, like me, but I don’t know about the others. They may appear late – some time away while processing the news or perhaps there’s been illness or a family emergency for the bloggers to deal with – or they may not appear at all. To those bloggers, I wish you all the best and am forever grateful that you take the time to read, review and promote my books.

For those who did post their reviews during the tour (which finished on Saturday), thank you so much. There was so much love for this finale and for the series as a whole. There was sadness that the series has come to an end but also excitement to see what I’d write next. No pressure, then! I’ve included a random selection of tour quotes in this blog post.

Have a great week and I have a date for your diary. I was going to be doing a Facebook Live last Friday (16th) talking about the whole of the Hedgehog Hollow series but we decided to delay it and it’ll now be on Monday 26th September at 6pm over on Book and Tonic’s Facebook page. Hope you can join us.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

The one where it’s publication day for Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow

The hedgehogs are back for one final outing of the series. Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow is out today on paperback, hardback, large print and eBook formats. The audio will follow on 20th September.

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about a publication day wobble I was having. I’d have had one anyway with it being the final book in a much beloved series which many readers don’t want to end, but a particularly cruel 1-star review on NetGalley (an early reviews site) floored me with its personal attack. I have been so overwhelmed with the outpouring of support I’ve received from readers and authors with comments on the blog itself, my Facebook page and direct messages. It has been humbling and uplifting reading all those messages and I’m so grateful.

I had a lovely message of support from Karen Louise Hollis, book reviewer and author, with a great analogy which she’s given me permission to share. A lot of this reviewer’s comments came from her joining a six-book series at book six. She complained about there being too many characters and too much tragedy happening to them. The thing is, the issues explored were across six main characters in six books and 600,000 words. They weren’t all in one book. Karen says, “Of course if someone comes in at the end, they won’t get the most out of it. It’s like turning up to a party late, finding out your mates have already gone home and you don’t know anyone. You can stay and try to make an effort, chat and get to know someone, or – like your reviewer – turn around, flounce off and moan it was the worst party ever…” Isn’t that just perfect? Thank you Karen. You can find the first book in Karen’s 1980s-based series, Welcome to Whitlock Close here.

Today is a new day and the hedgehogs and I are going to enjoy every minute of it despite the trolls.

A blog tour starts today, organised by the fabulous Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources who celebrated five years of her business this last week. Happy business birthday, Rachel.

Thank you to everyone who has signed up to participate in this tour. Really excited to read all your comments.

How am I spending today? I’ve just been working through all the wonderful messages from readers in response to my blog post yesterday and will be responding to the publication day messages now. I have an Instagram Live with Fiona Jenkins at 1pm over on her Instagram page. It will be between 30-60 mins of chat and we’d love to have questions from anyone who can join us. You can find Fiona’s page here.

Tonight I’m off out for a meal with the hubby and daughter to celebrate publication day. I often have a Facebook Live on the evening with Boldwood Books so don’t get a chance to do this but we’re doing a lunchtime live next week instead – 12noon on Friday 16th September – as we’d like to give readers a chance to read some (or all) of Christmas Miracles first. That will be over on the Book and Tonic Facebook page found here.

Thank you to everyone who has shown the hedgehog love. Much appreciated.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

The one where I have a massive wobble about tomorrow’s publication day

It’s publication day for Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow tomorrow. When asked how I feel about publication day, I often say I’m nervo-cited – a mixture of nerves and excitement – but this time I’m far more nervous than excited and kind of thinking I’d like to hibernate for the day.

This is my seventeenth book but, as nine of my titles are re-issues, it’s actually my twenty-sixth publication day so you’d think I’d be used to it by now and not be fazed at all. Not the case. If anything, I think it gets harder and this one is the ‘worst’ yet.

I always knew that publication of this particular book would be a toughie because it’s the last book in a six-book series and there are so many readers out there who absolutely don’t want the series to end. Seeing comments on social media about being sad that the series is ending and how reading the last book will be bittersweet is exceptionally flattering, but it brings with it guilt and pressure.

I feel guilty that I’ve ended the series. I stand by it being the right thing to do, but I feel like the mean adult who has taken the toys away from the lovely children!

And I feel the pressure of wrapping up a six-book series in a way that satisfies, thrills and delights. Having said that, I’ve felt that pressure all along with each new book declared by many as ‘better than the last’. Part of my reason for ending the series at six was to end on a high note and not stay too long at that party, but there’s always been the fear that the next book would be the one that stayed too long. Would readers think book six was that one?

Early copies of the book go onto a site called NetGalley which is meant to be for genuine book bloggers/ reviewers/ influencers with a big platform of followers who get a free copy of the book in return for an honest review which will hopefully entice their following to make a purchase. Unfortunately this system massively gets abused and there are readers on there who grab free books without a second thought as to whether the book/ author/ genre is actually right for them. But that’s a separate story.

When used properly, NetGalley reviews give the author and publisher a sense of how well the book is going to be received on actual publication day and it should also give them some great early reviews to use in promotion.

There are always negative reviews in there – we can’t all like the same thing – but I’ve had more negative reviews than usual for Christmas Miracles. It has been so frustrating as they’re nearly all from readers who claim not to have realised this was the last book in the series and this is the first one of the series (and often the first one of mine) they’ve read. Personally, I think the parts of the blurb I’ve popped in capitals here would be a bit of a clue that it’s the last in the series: Jessica Redland WELCOMES YOU BACK to Hedgehog Hollow this Christmas FOR THE FINAL TIME IN THIS SERIES for a heartfelt story of love, family, friendship… but that’s obviously not clue enough.

Several of these negative reviews comment on there being a lot of characters and how confusing it was to keep track of everyone and their back stories. Of course it is! You need to have read the whole series to gradually meet everyone and get to know their stories. This cast wasn’t there from the first chapter of book 1. They have steadily grown.

In the main, I’ve been able to ignore these reviews because this is not a standalone book and I certainly wouldn’t recommend anyone diving in at this point because it won’t make sense. It isn’t meant to. But over the weekend, I read a review (also from someone who hadn’t read any of the other books) that floored me…

It began with these words: “In the acknowledgements, the author says she is a “pantser” when it comes to writing, and girl…. I can tell.” Ouch! Clearly written by someone who has no idea what pantser means or an understanding that it’s not an inferior approach to writing. I got the full meaning of her comment here – that I’d just slapped down any old rubbish and had no idea what I was doing.

She writes, “I have never really understood when people write super mean book reviews but I honestly wish I hadn’t wasted my time on this book” and then guess what happens? She goes on to be that person who writes a “super mean book review” with a horrendous 1-star 550-word rant including one of the meanest comments ever: “Color me shocked when I realized this author has published 17 books and this is the 6th in this series… I am in complete shock that even one book like this got published, let alone 6.” This is really personal now. I get that she didn’t like the story and I completely understand why she’d be confused when she hadn’t read the others, but to suggest I can’t write and should never have had 17 books published! There’s no need for that.

Her closing words are: ““Miracles” is a bold word to use in your title when you made fictional characters just to give them horribly traumatic life experiences. I see no miracles in this fictional world, only pain, like the pain I feel when I realize I spent 5 hours of my life on this. Do not recommend.”

Wow! She certainly didn’t hold back on how much she hated the book. And me!

One of the key objections in the main body of the rant – which I haven’t shared because of spoilers – is the subject matter. I write about life and life can throw some tough blows. Across this series, there have been a number of difficult issues explored and they are alluded to in the final book along with the issues handled in that instalment, but this reader lists them all as though they all happened in one book. So I do know that part of the reason she hated it so much was that she hadn’t read the rest of the series and I keep telling myself that, but I just struggle to understand why someone can be so nasty … especially when they’ve declared that they can’t understand why people do this either!

Life’s too short to read a book that you’re not enjoying. You don’t need to invest ‘5 hours of my life’ on a book you hate, that you’re not following, whose subject matter you aren’t enjoying. Shut down the Kindle and accept it wasn’t for you. You haven’t paid for it. Nobody has forced you to read it. Walk away.

I know I should take that advice and walk away from this review and, in other circumstances, I’d probably lick my wounds and do that, but I’m struggling this time because I’m a bit stressed and rundown at the minute. I tend to get problems with my eyes when that happens and the worst-case scenario is that I get conjunctivitis which I have right now. It’s a virus and, although stress doesn’t cause a virus, the body is more likely to pick one up when a person’s rundown so this is my body telling me I need to take care of me a bit more – something I’m not very good at. In the great scheme of things, conjunctivitis is nothing compared to what many people are facing so I can’t really complain, but I think it has made me more sensitive to the Negative Normans and more worried about publication day tomorrow as a result.

I don’t shy away from tough storylines and, while there are loads of readers who love that about my books, there will always be something that somebody doesn’t like. Many of my regular advance readers have given superb reviews and commented that, although the storyline was tough, I’ve tackled it with my usual sensitivity. But a couple of my regular readers who have loved the series so far have said they haven’t liked this book as much as the others, with some even giving negative ratings because one of the topics I’ve covered is an uncomfortable one. Yes, it is, but it is not uncommon so I have included it. I also don’t give any specific detail. Having a couple of big fans of the series drop a couple of marks for that reason is adding to the nervousness around tomorrow.

As I can’t get away with hibernating – far too much work to do – I’ll smile and face tomorrow but my stomach will be churning all day, far more than usual.

A huge thank you to the wonderful Boldwood authors who have been so supportive and encouraging during my wobble. You are superstars.

To anyone who is going to be reading Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow this week (or listening to it from 20th September – slight delay on the audio version), I hope you love the story as much as I do. I’m very proud of this end to the series and, despite the negative comments from some, I wouldn’t change a word of it. It’s the story that Fizz and Samantha needed to tell and I’m honoured to be that conduit for telling it. I already know that a couple of readers have resonated with some of the subjects explored and have found it immensely cathartic.

Wish me luck for tomorrow! Brave face on!

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

The one with all the Top 100 audiobooks

My audiobooks have been having a party over on Audible UK today and I’ve been celebrating something very unexpected – chart domination!

Ok, not complete chart domination – somewhat dramatic choice of word there – but it has been very exciting.

It all started with an email first thing from my fabulous editor – who is also our Publishing and Sales & Marketing Director at Boldwood Books – congratulating me on having two titles in the Audible UK Top 100! I had a look and was stunned to see The Secret to Happiness at #37 and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow at #73! Eek!

They’re not on a promotion so I wondered why they’d suddenly stormed the chart. And then it struck me. These two titles are from a selection of six of my audiobooks which are part of the Audible Plus programme and today signalled the start of the second year of the title selection. Some titles may have come out, others been added in, and some will have stayed the same.

In my case, all six of my audiobooks which went in last year have been kept in the programme as Audible have been really impressed with their performance and the impact they’ve had on my other audiobook sales. There’s a mix of start of the series and standalone titles:

  • Making Wishes at Bay View – book 1 in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series
  • New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms – book 2 in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series
  • The Secret to Happiness – standalone book set in Whitsborough Bay (although connected to All You Need is Love so best read after AYNIL)
  • Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes – book 2 in the Christmas on Castle Street series
  • Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café – book 3 in the Christmas on Castle Street series (Note: these story follows on from Carly’s Cupcakes but book 1 Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is more of a standalone and doesn’t need to be read first – they’re a series as they’re all set on Castle Street at Christmas)
  • Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – book 1 in the Hedgehog Hollow series

Subscribers to Audible can listen to the selection on Audible Plus for FREE and this is a great way of trying new authors and even new genres. It has absolutely paid off as I’ve had messages from listeners saying they’d never have tried a particular title of mine but gave it a go as it was free, were hooked, and had listened to the whole series or even my entire back catalogue as a result. How lovely is that?

I’m assuming that there was a big email campaign about the fresh catalogue this morning which is what prompted the leap in the chart for those two audiobooks which, incidentally, are my two bestselling titles across all formats.

I was so chuffed with this unexpected charting but then hubby appeared in my office asking me if I’d looked at the Romance category chart because those two titles were #3 and #5 respectively. Double eek!

After I’d done some excited squealing, I decided to look at the rest of the Romance chart to see whether any of the other titles were there and I couldn’t quite believe what I discovered!

So that was nine of my sixteen titles in the Top 100 in the Romance chart – only three of which are in the Audible Plus programme – and ALL of the Hedgehog Hollow audiobooks in the Top 50. Woo hoo!

I’ve been out today for lunch and a wonderful catch-up with my bestie, author Sharon Booth, and there’s no WiFi or phone signal at the pub we go to so I had hubby keeping a watch on the chart all day but nothing moved. When I got home early this evening, I did a quick check and there had been some movement at last. Some titles had dropped but New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow (book 2 in the series) had climbed a little higher from #39 to #31 and Spring Tides at The Starfish Café had charted in the Romance chart too!

So, although it wasn’t at exactly the same time, 10% of the Romance chart has been given to my audiobooks today. I can’t quite believe it! There are over 200,000 audiobooks on Audible so it blows my mind to see my titles in top charts.

A huge thank you to my amazing main narrators Lucy Brownhill and Emma Swan who have taken the leads on all my audiobooks between them, and to an amazing cast of talented narrators who’ve brought life to the second perspectives in the stories: Gareth Bennett-Ryan, James Dryden, Polly Edsell, Kitty Kelly, and Gloria Sanders.

And thank you to you the listeners for making today’s chart ‘domination’ possible. I’m so very grateful. Happy listening.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where I thank everyone involved in the blog tour for Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow

Tomorrow (Tuesday 12th July) will be a fortnight since book 5 in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow – was released and it has just completed a thirteen-day thirty-nine stops blog tour.

I’d like to say an enormous thank you to:

  • All the bloggers/reviewers who took part in the tour
  • A couple of extra reviewers who weren’t on the tour but who posted during this fortnight
  • Anyone who has shared/retweeted any blog tour posts on social media
  • Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising and hosting the tour
  • My publishers, Boldwood Books, for being generally fabulous

Even though Chasing Dreams is my sixteenth book, I do still get a little apprehensive ahead of blog tours, wondering how it will be received. I think there’s an additional pressure that comes with writing a series – especially one that has been loved as much as Hedgehog Hollow – as there’s the ever-present fear that the latest release will be the one that readers/listeners don’t like. As I read each review, I dread seeing the words ‘not as good as the one before’ and heave a sigh of relief when, for most, that’s not the case.

Fortunately the fifth instalment in the series has been very much loved and I was particularly thrilled that the first twelve reviews were all five-star. I don’t know what the thirteenth was but the next two were also 5-star so it could have been the first fifteen! Woo hoo!

There were two negative reviews (3-star) for this tour but they mainly gave positive comments. I’m very grateful that all the others were 4 or 5-star (mainly 5). I’ve just looked on NetGalley where there are currently 112 advanced reviews recorded and there is only one other 3-star on there (so far) which is from someone who hasn’t read any of the other books and was a bit lost. I therefore can’t help dismissing that one because joining a 6-book series at book 5 doesn’t make sense to me. There are no 2-star or 1-stars on NetGalley… yet! I can therefore conclude overall that the love for the hedgehogs is still there at book 5 because 3 negative reviews out of 112 reviews is pretty good going (2.6%).

I’ve put a random section of quotes in this post. There isn’t one from every reviewer who took part as I don’t have the complete set yet but wanted to get my thank you message out there first thing so I can crack on with writing book 18.

I really do appreciate the time it takes to read a book and gather thoughts into a comprehensive review and what I really appreciate on this particular tour is that none of the reviewers gave any spoilers away about Lauren’s story. I’m very grateful for that integrity and for allowing subsequent readers to discover it for themselves.

Thank you again to everyone who took part. The next blog tour will be in early September for the very final book – Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow – and I know many of those on this tour have already signed up for it. Hope you love the final instalment just as much.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

The one with two special moments for the hedgehogs

It’s just over a week since Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow was released and two astonishing things have happened.

The first is that, in the week up to Saturday 2nd July, despite only being out for five days, the eBook has hit the #4 slot in the Bookstat eBook chart shared by The Bookseller based on UK pre-orders and eBook sales during those first five days. I’m absolutely delighted with this.

A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow in January and Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow in May last year both made it into this chart at #6 and Spring Tides at The Starfish Café was #3 on release in April this year.

What was extra lovely is that fellow Boldwood buddy and good friend Jo Bartlett’s latest release – A Leap of Faith for the Cornish Midwife – was also in the Top 10.

I’m so delighted that there is a chart specialising in eBooks as most of the others are all about print formats and therefore authors with smaller independent presses who lead with digital formats usually aren’t represented.

The second amazing thing was this morning when I was completely flabbergasted to see the audio version of Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow at #7 in the Audible chart. Wowsers! It had got up to #23 the day after release and had stuck around in the Top 50 ever since but had looked to be slowly dropping, being at #48 last night. To see it at #7 all morning and still in the Top 10 this evening (#9 at the time of writing this) is something I never ever expected.

It also topped the Romance chart. Woo hoo!

I’m so very grateful to all the readers who’ve made both of these things possible and, for the audio version, thank you to my amazing narrators Emma Swan and Gloria Sanders for this particular book.

What will the hedgehogs do next? I’m excited to find out!

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

The one where it’s 2 years since Hedgehog Hollow first appeared

I’m celebrating an extremely special book birthday today. It’s two years since the first book in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Finding Love at a Hedgehog Hollow – was published (2nd July 2020).

What started as an idea for a standalone story has grown into a six-book series:

  • Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (2nd July 2020)
  • New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow (7th January 2021)
  • Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow (4th May 2021)
  • A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow (6th January 2022)
  • Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow (28th June 2022)
  • Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow (6th September 2022)

It’s been an amazing two years. I had no idea that there’d be so much love for the hedgehogs and that this series would grow into something that so many readers and listeners have taken to their hearts.

I’ve been christened ‘hedgehog lady’, ‘mother of hedgehogs’ and ‘queen of cliffhangers’ thanks to a little cliffhanger at the end of book 2 and a whopping great one at the end of book 3. I often get sent photos of hedgehog-themed items in shops or in readers’ homes which I love and I’ve been honoured and touched by messages from readers who’ve taken hedgehogs to their local rescue centre when they would never have known they were in danger if they hadn’t read my books.

I’ve befriended the amazing team at my local hedgehog rescue centre – Wolds Hedgehog Rescue Centre – which is the ‘real’ Hedgehog Hollow set in the Yorkshire Wolds. I’ve pumped the team for information, have welcomed Ann and Angela on a Facebook Live and have even fed a hoglet this year which was such a privilege.

The first of books in the series have been stocked by The Works. It’s such a thrill to see them on the shelves and to sign copies in my local branch in Scarborough. I’ve also seen them in garden centres locally.

The first three books have also been translated into Swedish. The first one was out at the end of May this year and book 2 is out in October. I love how the covers are different to the UK ones but have kept the colour and theme. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for book 3, which I suspect will be out early next year. There were only three books out at the time the foreign rights deal was made so I’m hoping they’ll be well received and they’ll take on the remaining three.

My own collection of hedgehog-related items is huge. I have ornaments, a door stop, soft toys, cushions, stationery, dresses, T-shirts, Christmas decorations and even a chair upholstered by Ann at Wolds Hedgehog Rescue. I’ve definitely run out of room now! Here’s just a small selection….

There’ve been some incredible chart achievements:

  • All five books released so far have made it into the Kindle Top 100 with all but New Arrivals achieving Top 40 positions
  • Chasing Dreams made it to #23 on publication day – my 2nd highest charting of all my books
  • Finding Love has been Top 20 in Kindle Australia
  • Finding Love was #1 in the Apple Free chart in the UK and Ireland and, while that was on promotion, New Arrivals hit the #2 slot in the overall Apple chart and Family Secrets hit #5
  • Chasing Dreams soared up to #26 in the overall Audible UK chart this week
  • The first four books combined, as at the end of April this year, have sold over 200,000 copies across all formats
  • At at the time of writing, the first five books combined have over 15,000 ratings on Amazon, over 14,000 of which are 4 or 5-star rated. They’ve also gathered well over 3,000 ratings on Audible, most of which are positive

It’s most apt that the title of the current release is Chasing Dreams as the Hedgehog Hollow series has made so many of my writing dreams come true. Will Christmas Miracles bring the miracle of a TV series? Hee hee hee! That would be the stuff beyond dreams!

Thank you to everyone who has bought/borrowed/downloaded/streamed any of the Hedgehog Hollow books. I’m so very grateful.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx