Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow is in Audible UK’s 2 for 1 Credit Sale

Last month, the second audiobook in the Hedgehog Hollow series, New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow, was on offer in Audible UK’s 2 for 1 credit sale and it went extremely well with a great Top 100 position for the hedgehogs. Those lovely people over at Audible UK were so pleased that they’ve included the third book, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, in this week’s sale.

The landing page to see all the books in the deal is here and it’s so lovely to appear on the very first page although it is appearing under literature and fiction rather than romance where it usually appears:

Offers last a week and I got a bit bogged down with a deadline over the weekend and kind of forgot about this until the end of the day yesterday so I may have missed the highest chart position but I was thrilled to see the hedgehogs well inside the Top 100 at #74. It was also lovely to see so many number 1 category positions and what an honour to be just ahead of the phenomenally-selling Where the Crawdads Sing if for only a brief moment.

Thank you to anyone who has downloaded this. I hope you enjoy the third visit to Hedgehog Hollow. The hedgehogs are keen to welcome you back. Be warned: there is a whopper of a cliff hanger at the end of it. Please don’t get mad with me like some readers/listeners have and, instead, be excited that there is more to come on 6th January with A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow. It isn’t available for pre-order on Audible yet as it’s too early in the production – we’re at the proofreading stage of the manuscript – but it will be available on publication day.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

The hedgehogs pass a 6,000 milestone but I’m feeling the fear for book 4

Less than a week ago, I reported that the third book in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – had passed a whopping 1,500 reviews/ratings milestone over on Amazon. It’s gone a bit beyond that now:

Book 3

A little while before that I’d reported that book 1 – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – had passed 2,000. It has also exceeded that since:

Book 1

The hedgehogs have been waiting for book 2 – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – to meet another milestone so they could have a big party and celebrate milestones for all three.

And yesterday book 2 reached it, passing the 2,500 mark. Woo hoo! Go hedgehogs go!

Book 2

New Arrivals only came out in January so that milestone has been reached in a little over five months but Family Secrets was only published six weeks ago today and is already storming towards the 2,000 mark.

I’d been surprised when New Arrivals gathered more reviews than Finding Love as I’d have thought that readers would have read the series in order and, as there’s an inevitability that some readers won’t love it, the numbers of reviews would dip with each book. However, with the rate that Family Secrets is gathering reviews, I don’t think it will be long before it has the most.

I do read all my reviews and I know that several readers say they loved book 2 or book 3 and will go back to read the one(s) they missed so that could account for some disparity. Or perhaps a reader who reads two or three back to back only leaves a review for the latest? I guess I’ll never get to the bottom of it.

What’s interesting is that for my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series, book 1 – Making Wishes at Bay View – has the most reviews/ratings but book 4 – Coming Home to Seashell Cottage – isn’t far behind … but that both supports and contradicts my theory above!

There was a time with the Hedgehog Hollow series when it seemed that the love for the hedgehogs got stronger with each book. While Family Secrets is still storming ahead with a whopping 83% 5-star ratings/reviews, the other two are pretty much equal. Both of them have an accidental 1-star rating where the review talks about how much the reader has loved it, one for HH1 even saying ‘one of my favourite books of late’ but the reader has managed to click on the 1-star instead of the 5-star rating which is a shame.

There are some cutting reviews for all three books, especially the 1-star for HH1 entitled ‘total waste of time’ but I do find it easier to cope with those these days. It certainly helps looking at all the hedgehog love. I remind myself it’s just one person’s opinion and you can’t please all the people all of the time. And I also remind myself that negative comments say more about the reviewer and perhaps what’s going on in their life at that time than they do about me.

With so many gorgeous reviews/ratings and so much excitement about the fourth book in the series – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – my biggest concern right now is not a handful of negative comments. It’s whether book 4 can measure up to the high bar set by the previous books, particularly Family Secrets. I’m meant to be writing it at the moment and I’ll admit to procrastinating massively on getting going because of THE FEAR! What if it isn’t good enough? What if there’s this huge build-up to the cliffhanger reveal and all the excitement about the release (and a long wait) and readers are disappointed?

I have this 2-star review for Family Secrets: I couldn’t be bothered to finish this. The first two books in this series were fine, but the author is now trying to stretch the theme too far – rather boring. Ouch! 96% of readers disagree so I’m not unduly concerned about these comments but what I fear is these sorts of comments for book 4 onwards. I completely disagree with them. I am not stretching a theme too far. There is a setting and there are stories to tell and I have lots of great stories in mind … but what if the unexpected twists and turns of Family Secrets was the peak and it’s downhill from there? Argh!

One of my favourite films is A Cinderella Story. From 2004 and starring Hilary Duff, it’s a modern-day reimagining of the Cinderella story as you can probably guess from the title and it’s fabulous. The main character is called Sam and her dad used to run a sports-themed diner. When he died, Sam’s ‘wicked stepmother’ took it over and refurbished. She redecorated it pink and made the staff wear roller boots. Near the climax in the film, a door slams and something falls off the wall revealing the baseball-themed quote Sam’s dad had up there: Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”. I love that!

This quote is in my mind as I approach writing book 4 and I’m pushing aside that 2-star review. It’s partly the reason why I have decided to do a really intensive blitz of the book next week as I’ve been spending too much time thinking and worrying and not getting the words down on the paper. I do have a great story to tell. It’s different from book 3’s story but all the stories are different otherwise I would accept the ‘rather boring’ accusation. I also have an amazing editor who will help knock it into shape so we’re bringing out a great book that doesn’t disappoint the hedgehog fans.

Tell you what, if writing a book was as simple as having an idea and getting it down on the page, my job would be so easy. It’s the thinking and worrying that causes the problems. But I absolutely love what I do and, although I could do without THE FEAR, I would choose it with the fear rather than not do it at all. Which brings us to another quote: Feel the fear and do it anyway!

I have the rest of the week to get organised and do the research I need to do to enable me to get my head down for next Monday and write. No way am I expecting to write a full book in a week but I’m certainly going to give it a good go!

Hope you have a fabulous week and thank you for all the amazing love and support for this series. I really appreciate all the lovely reviews, the comments on social media, the recommendations, and the direct messages I’ve had from so many lovely readers. They’re such a boost.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

Venturing into real Hedgehog Hollow countryside

One of the things readers love about my Whitsborough Bay series is that, while the setting is fictional, it is inspired by real places. The biggest inspiration comes from Scarborough but there are elements of Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay and a couple of other local coastal towns and villages. Readers who are familiar with the area like to guess which pubs, cafes and landmarks they think I’m referring to.

When I started writing the Hedgehog Hollow series, my intention was to to do the same thing: to create villages in the books that were inspired by specific villages on the Yorkshire Wolds. But Covid hit and we couldn’t go out and about so I couldn’t do that and I didn’t know the area well enough myself. I only live a few miles away from the northern tip of The Wolds and I have travelled through the area oodles of times but I’ve never veered from the main roads to thoroughly explore the villages. I do, however, have a really good understanding of the beauty of the countryside.

What’s been interesting is that, although I haven’t used specific villages as inspiration, some readers who live in the area think they recognise certain villages on The Wolds. I love that because it means that I have properly captured the essence of Wolds villages in my writing.

Yesterday afternoon, hubby and I planned to go exploring for the afternoon but our plans were slightly thwarted. He had a last-minute opportunity to go for his 2nd Covid jab so we set off much later than intended, but then our daughter called us from her after school photography club to say the teacher had an appointment so it was finishing half an hour earlier so we had to cut our trip short at the other end.

We managed a stop in the middle of the countryside although the photos really don’t do justice to the stunning rolling hills and fields surrounding us – the real Hedgehog Hollow countryside.

We explored a village called Wold Newton with a pretty church and a village green with a pond. Check out that blue sky! I had flip flops on so some careful navigation was needed round the pond as there was goose poo everywhere!

How fabulous is this bus shelter? It was full of books, DVDs and games. I wondered if it had started during the pandemic to keep people entertained or whether it has been a community scheme running much longer than that.

I checked the shelves but couldn’t see any Jessica Redland’s loitering! I loved this book with what we call a Steven lighthouse on it. When New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms was first issued, it was called Searching for Steven and, as the book features a red and white striped lighthouse, we have since referred to striped ones as Steven lighthouses.

We also walked around a smaller village called Thwing but I forgot to take any photos.

Our next stop was driving through Butterwick, Weaverthorpe and Helperthorpe intending to park at the furthest and explore, but that’s when we got the call to go to school early so no more photo opps. My husband’s dad was born and brought up in Helperthorpe so I definitely wanted a good look around.

I will share more photos when we return and I continue on my mission to find some villages that are how I would imagine Huggleswick, Umplesthorpe, Fimberley, Little Tilbury and Great Tilbury.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

Hedgehogs on the move

Last week I attended a webinar run through the Hedgehog Friendly Campuses at The University of Sheffield and Nottingham Trent University in conjunction with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

There were two presentations from students studying at Nottingham Trent and both were fascinating but I wanted to share a few points I picked up from the first one delivered by Lauren Moore.

Lauren’s studies were focusing on hedgehogs on roads, exploring the challenges they face and potential solutions to this. This involved monitoring movement of hedgehogs and also looking at where hedgehogs regrettably lost their lives on the roads.

I thought I’d share a few points that stood out to me about movement of hedgehogs. I was already aware that they covered a lot of ground in a night and that males covered more ground than females, but picked up a few more snippets from this session:

  • More male hedgehogs are killed on our roads because they travel further looking for food but also looking for mates in mating season (April/May)
  • In autumn, more female hedgehogs tend to be killed on roads than males because they are having to forage further to look for food and warm nesting materials after having their litter of autumn juveniles
  • July is sadly a high time of year for roadkill as juveniles leave their mums and fend for themselves, frequently crossing roads
  • As you’d probably expect, there are more deaths on quieter/regional roads because there are far more hedgehogs living in those more rural areas
  • 10pm-1am are the times when most hedgehog movement takes place
  • There’s a big problem with isolation caused by all the ongoing building of new houses. This places more and more roads across the green areas where hedgehogs roam reducing their geography. They get isolated within these areas resulting in a reduction in the genetic diversity in that area which is not good

This all seems very doom and gloom and the reduction in habitat is one of the primary causes of reduction in hedgehog numbers.

What can we do to help?

The big thing the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) advocate is getting involved in their amazing Hedgehog Street initiative. You can find information about this on their website here.

There’s loads of great information on the website but one thing they’re eager to get the public involved in is the building of the Hedgehog Map. Whether you see a hedgehog in your garden or your neighbourhood or whether you find one that has been killed, they would like to hear from you.

Building up a map of where there are active hedgehogs and where the main danger spots are can massively help in initiatives around their survival.

You can also become a member of BHPS for a small annual sum (or lifetime membership) and there’s a form on their website found here.

If you’re based in the UK, maybe this bank holiday weekend you could check to see whether hedgehogs can pass between your house and your neighbours’ or perhaps even create a feeding station in your garden. I’ve got a quick reminder of what to feed them below. And remember they need fresh water but not milk as they’re lactose intolerant and it can make them very ill and even kill them.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

FREE Romance of the Week in MORE territories

I blogged yesterday to say that Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow was the FREE Book of the Week on AppleBooks in the UK. It’s currently #1 in the overall FREE chart and the Romance category chart.

I have exciting news! It is also the FREE Book of the Week on AppleBooks in IRELAND where it is also currently #1 in both free charts. Woo hoo!

FREE Book of the Week in UK and Ireland

And there’s more!!!!

I announced that Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow was the FREE Romance of the Week in Australia, Canada and USA. More news… it’s also on that promotion in NEW ZEALAND too!

So loads of AppleBooks territories around the world where you can grab the start of the Hedgehog Hollow series for absolutely nothing.

Romance of the Week in Australia, Canada, New Zealand & USA

I’m really excited to see the hedgehogs have just entered the Top 20 in the USA’s and Canada’s free charts this morning.

And perhaps treat yourself to books 2 and 3 – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow and Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – while you’re at it!

The hedgehogs and I wish you happy (free) reading!

If you’re not an Apple user but you have friends/family who are, please do spread the word!

This offer will continue across the weekend but I believe it will be back up to normal price on Monday (depending on timezone).

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

One book, one week, three hundred reviews

I posted at the weekend that Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow had broken the record (for me) set by New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by reaching the 100 milestone for reviews/ratings in 4.5 days instead of one week.

It has just smashed it again.

Today, on the one-week anniversary of the release of book 3 – the equivalent time when book 2 reached the 100 milestone – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow has hit 300 reviews/ratings on Amazon (310 at the time of writing this).

Stunned!

Just a short blog post to say an enormous thank you to everyone who has left a review or rating including the fabulous bloggers on the ongoing blog tour. The hedgehogs are having a party!

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay 

My batch of paperbacks have just arrived too along with my large print edition. All three of the books are available as large print (left pic) and will all ultimately be available as hardback too but only books 2 and 3 are currently available in that format.

Signed copies of any of my individual paperbacks can be ordered directly from me by getting in touch via DM on social media. It’s £12.99 including P&P to the UK per book but I have deals on certain multiple purchases: a full set of 11 books, the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series, the 2 x Christmas releases and will also be adding in a deal for the 3 x Hedgehog Hollow books purchased together.

As well as my paperbacks and large print book, there was another arrival: my latest furry hedgehog to add to my collection. He’s a limited edition Charlie Bear called Diddle Daddle. Isn’t he the most gorgeous? He can’t wait to dive into the Hedgehog Hollow series and read all about his friends!

Finally, it’s been lovely to add my gorgeous Book Crown onto Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow. It has been waiting patiently! If you love this, you can order this and stacks of other variations of charm and colour from Book Crowns on Facebook here. They do hedgehogs! I have one of those for Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow and a gorgeous butterfly on New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

Some hedgehog-tastic dos and don’ts as Hedgehog Week ends

I posted some true and false graphics about hedgehogs earlier and promised a dos and don’ts post would follow. I then got completely distracted by the number of reviews on Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow followed by a takeaway and a night in front of the TV and forgot to do the second post. Oops!

So, a bit later than planned, here we go. We can all make a difference around our homes without spending much to help increase the hedgehog population and stop them being vulnerable to extinction…

Hope you find these helpful. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

Third book, 4.5 days, 120 plus reviews

Back in January, I wrote a post entitled ‘One book, one week, one hundred reviews’ celebrating the phenomenal speed at which book 2 in the Hedgehog Hollow series – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – was gathering reviews. You can read it here. I’d never known anything like that before…

Until now!

As you can probably guess from the title of this blog post, book 3 has smashed it. At lunchtime today, 4.5 days into publication, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow passed the 100 mark on Amazon. In fact, it did it so quickly that it jumped from 90 when I looked earlier to 110 the next time I checked and it’s now at 122!

In January, I was also astonished at how many reviews I got before any 1 or 2-stars crept in. It actually passed a whopping 400.

Of the 122 reviews/ratings showing at the time of writing this post, there are 2 at 2-star so I’m not going to match that record, but there is still a stack of love for the hedgehogs with 92% of those 122 being at 4 or 5-star.

The hedgehogs and I are so very grateful. When I was a struggling indie author making little impact with my writing, I used to see the excitement from readers as a favourite author released their book and devoted fans raced to read it. I’ve even done it myself with one of the books in J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series, buying it on release day and devouring it across the next three days, and with a couple of Jill Mansell’s books. I never ever imagined this happening to anything I’ve ever written yet the speed of reviews coming in and the lovely messages from readers tell me it is. It really is a dream come true.

In the meantime, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (book 1) and New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow (book 2) are both speeding towards the 2,000 reviews/ratings mark. Eek!

And book 4 – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – is up for pre-order on Amazon here. With no cover and no blurb yet, it is already heading for the Top 1,000 which is also astonishing. Double eek!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and thanks again. Hedgehogs dos and don’t will still be coming later but I had to quickly dip in to share this news!

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

Some hedgehog-tastic facts as Hedgehog Awareness Week ends

It’s the last day of Hedgehog Awareness Week or #hedgehogweek in the UK today and what a special week it has been!

There’ve been some fabulous videos and competitions over on the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s Facebook Page and readers have been in touch telling me about guest appearances from patrons/experts/rescue volunteers on a variety of TV programmes from their local news to The One Show to Good Morning Britain!

For me personally, this week has seen the released of the third instalment of the Hedgehog Hollow series – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – and I’ve been thrilled at the speed of the reviews coming in as readers join their old friends for more love, friendship, family, drama and, of course, hedgehog gorgeousness.

When the first book in the series came out, I pulled together some true or false statements about hedgehogs so I’m sharing these here again now for anyone who might have missed the original post or who’d like a refresher. I also have some dos and don’ts I’ll share later today.

Hope you enjoyed the hedgehog facts and that you perhaps learned something new.

Have a fabulous day and I’ll return later with some dos and don’ts.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

Celebrating Publication Day for Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow

Yesterday (4th May) was the publication day for the third book in the Hedgehog Hollow series: Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow. Woo hoo!

When I was a struggling indie author, publication day was a fairly ‘normal’ day. I’d post about it on social media and a few family members and friends would congratulate me, then I’d get on with my day to day work. I might nip go out for lunch with the hubby or maybe even an evening meal to celebrate but it was fairly low key because so few readers had discovered my work. I didn’t excitedly watch the charts because there wasn’t an impressive chart entry moment.

Since joining the amazing Boldwood Books, this has completely changed. Publication days are now an excited frenzy of activity on social media, responding to loads of gorgeous congratulations messages, and the start of a blog tour. I’ve learned not to attempt to write or edit as there’s too much else going on but I did slip in an appointment with the hairdresser yesterday and that was a mistake in terms of time but, my goodness, how nice was it to have my hair cut and professionally coloured for the first time since December 2019!

I debuted it during a Facebook Live with my fabulous editor Nia Beynon last night. If you weren’t able join the Live, you can catch up with it here. Thank you to all those who joined us on the evening and for the lovely comments and questions.

It was the perfect opportunity to also debut my new hedgehog print dress (awww) and show off a couple of my soft friends. Thank you to my friend Nic for the lovely knitted sparkly hedgehog, Erin.

The blog tour has started and the reviews yesterday along with the first review I’ve seen posted today are absolutely gorgeous. I also had two lovely reviews from bloggers not on the tour. Thank you to everyone who has signed up. I’m excited and a little trepidatious (is that a word?!) to hear all the comments.

I wrote a post for Boldwood’s blog about one of the themes of this book – forgiveness – which you can find here and I wrote a post for my own blog about the risks of writing about an unlikable character which you can find here.

Fabulous publication day biscuits arrived from my publisher. I love these. It’s so adorable seeing my book in biscuit format. They’re made by a company called Enchanting Bakes if you want to check them out. Amazingly they are still unopened but I suspect they won’t last beyond the morning!

We unveiled the winner of the ‘Name the Hedgehog’ competition for Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow. A draw was made from those who’d signed up to my newsletter and the winner, Kaye, chose Prickles as the name. As we did with the amazing Snoop Hoggy Hog who appears in New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow, my hubby created a cartoon of Prickles. We saw him as a cheeky Yorkshire chappie in a flat cap, drinking his Yorkshire Tea, standing in the meadow at Hedgehog Hollow. Isn’t he fabulous?

We’ll be running another competition to name a hedgehog for book 4 so watch out for details of that late next month.

Speaking of book 4, we revealed yesterday in the Facebook Live that book 4 will be called A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow. We don’t have the blurb or cover yet but it’s available for pre-order now right here! It can only appear as a pre-order for Kindle this far in advance but it will be available for pre-order on Kobo and Apple nearer the release date. It’s out in January 2022.

Finally, let’s talk about those hedgehogs scampering up the charts! I knew I’d had a large number of pre-orders for this book – way bigger than anything I’ve experienced before – so I was hoping I might end up with a Top 100 on Amazon. The chart is meant to update hourly but that doesn’t seem to happen and yesterday it was super slow at moving. I made it to #77 by the end of the day and the full impact or those pre-orders was finally shown this morning at #38. I can’t quite believe that. Hubby had asked me what I would be happy with. Obviously I’m happy with it all and I had anticipated perhaps Top 100 on the back of pre-orders but had hoped maybe 70s. A dream would be Top 50 but I genuinely didn’t think that would happen … yet those hedgehogs went one better with Top 40! So proud!

This position has put the hedgehogs at #11 in the Hot New Releases chart and #1 in the same chart in several categories.

Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow is sporting #1 Best Seller tags in the UK, Australia, Canada and USA which is such a thrill and it was up to #59 in Australia yesterday. Even more fabulous was that 9 out of my 10 released books had a #1 Best Seller flag at the same time. Wow! Six of them are currently sporting one in the UK.

I’ve just checked the USA chart and am astonished to be a little outside the top 1,000 (#1,259) which is such a thrill knowing how enormous the US market is. And the hedgehogs have cracked the top 1,000 in Canada at #785 just now.

Over on Apple, they made it to #43 in the overall chart yesterday and #9 in the category chart of ‘Fiction and Literature’. They’re on the home page of Kobo too as ‘New and Notable’!

My huge apologies to anyone who is wanting to obtain the paperback version or get it from Audible. Amazon are showing the paperback as ‘currently unavailable’ despite it being a print on demand book and very much available. This is an error on their part and my publishers are working hard to rectify it but they’ve had this with another paperback recently and it did take a week so thank you for your patience. It is showing available for order on Waterstones website here. It doesn’t appear to be on Barnes and Noble yet either but should do soon. It can also be ordered from bookshops, as can any of my paperbacks.

As for Audible, it only appeared yesterday afternoon but it appeared as a pre-order with delivery in a weeks’ time. My publisher is also working with them to rectify this and we are hopeful it will properly be available today or tomorrow. Fingers crossed. Thank you so much for your patience if you’re waiting for either of these formats.

I’ll end by saying a huge THANK YOU to all the amazing readers who pre-ordered Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, making these amazing chart positions possible. THANK YOU to all those who bought or borrowed on publication day. I’m so grateful to everyone who has shared or commented on social media or sent me a private message wishing me a happy publication day and/or telling me how much they’ve loved reading it. It is such a thrill that readers have devoured the book in a day with some even saying they couldn’t sleep until they’d finished it. Wow! That just blows me away!

If you haven’t delved into the Hedgehog Hollow series already, I do strongly recommend starting at the beginning as, although the story in each book is complete, there are themes that carry across the series and threads that further develop. It’s a richer reading experience for starting at the beginning and the great news is that, if you read eBooks, the first two – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow and New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – are both still on offer. But grab them fast as the prices will go up soon. Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is also in Prime Reading but won’t be for much longer and ALL my books (this series and the Whitsborough Bay stories) are in Kindle Unlimited.

Hope you all have a fabulous week. The hedgehogs and I send you our love and gratitude.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx