The one where it’s publication day for Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow

Almost exactly two years since the first book in the series was published (Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow on 2nd July 2020), we return to the hedgehog rescue centre for the fifth instalment with Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow.

I am so touched by how much love there is for this series. The first four books combined have already sold more than 200,000 copies across all formats. Thank you so much to everyone who has made this possible.

Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow is out today in all formats. Publication days are exciting but also a little nerve-wracking, awaiting the verdict. The early reviews have been very encouraging so I hope it will continue that way.

Boldwood Books through Rachel’s Random Resources have organised a blog tour so thank you to the amazing bloggers/reviewers who are participating. The first two reviews in have been gorgeous 5-star ones which have helped allay some of the nerves.

My publication biscuits from Boldwood Books made by Enchanting Bakes have arrived and look delicious and my husband bought me the most gorgeous publication day plant. I love flowers and plants but I’m not very good with them. This one looks pretty hardy so fingers crossed it will last! My mum and dad also gave me the most adorable publication day card. It’s by a North Yorkshire-based artist called Bree Merryn who specialises in wildlife drawings. You can find her website here and she has some stunning hedgehog prints and cushions. Just search ‘hedgehog’ and you’ll feel very happy!

So how am I spending publication day? I’m in the Beverley chapter of the RNA (Romantic Novelists’ Association) and we meet on the last Tuesday evening of the month so it’s our meeting tonight. As Beverley is an hour away from me, I like to make the most of the trip out so meet my bestie Sharon Booth for lunch and we are always amazed how six-and-a-half hours can whizz by before we need to head to our meeting. I only saw Sharon yesterday when we met up with another amazing author, Eliza J Scott, but we’ll still have loads to talk about.

Thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow on eBook, audio, paperback or has ordered a signed paperback from me. I’ll be anxiously checking my chart position across the day. I was very excited to see it at #7 in the overall AppleBooks chart first thing and #1 in the Fiction and Literature category.

It’s Top 250 (not that that’s a thing!) in the Audible chart already and just outside the Top 500 on Kindle but will hopefully make it into the Top 100 before the end of the day based on pre-orders and first day sales. Keep scampering, little hedgehogs!

Tomorrow, Fiona and Sue over on Heidi Swain & Friends – A Facebook Book Club are kindly hosting a publication day party for me. This is a lovely book group so if you’re a fan of Heidi Swain’s wonderful stories and books like those, do consider joining the group. They’re also hosting a Facebook Live with me on Monday 4th July at 7pm. You can join that event here although it’s possible you may need to be a member of the group first. Not 100% sure on that one.

I’m off to eat my publication day biscuits now. Nom nom nom.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

Samantha has a secret. Returning home from her dream honeymoon to the normality of running her beloved Hedgehog Hollow rescue centre, she’s ready for the next chapter of her life with Josh. Or is she? Samantha is hiding something which could forever change the dreams they shared and bring their happy ever after crashing to the ground.

Lauren has given up on love. Twenty-six years ago the love of her life, Shaun, left her a note and was never seen again. Two painful divorces later she still can’t face opening up to anyone. But little does Lauren know that the closure she’s dreamt of for all these years may be closer than she thinks, and perhaps the only way to let new love in is to forgive and forget.

Samantha and Lauren will need the love and support from the Hedgehog Hollow family more than ever. After all, some dreams are worth chasing…

Top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland welcomes you back to glorious Hedgehog Hollow where love, family and friendship conquer all.

The one where it’s publication day for Spring Tides at The Starfish Café

Happy publication day to me! Spring Tides at The Starfish Café – book 2 in the series – is out today. Yay!

A huge thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered it on eBook or audio formats, or has purchased it today. That’s so kind of you. Happy reading/listening!

I love this story and hope readers and listeners will too. Anyone who read the acknowledgements in the back of book 1 – Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café – will know that part of this story was originally in that book. I submitted it thinking something wasn’t quite right but couldn’t pinpoint what. Thankfully my amazing editor, Nia, could and it was that I had two stories in one book but didn’t have the word count to do justice to either of them. So Snowflakes focuses purely on Hollie and Jake meeting and their tragic backstories, and Spring Tides is about their developing relationship with the storyline removed from Snowflakes and a couple of new characters.

Spring Tides at The Starfish Café embarks on a 15-day / 45 stop blog tour from today. That’s epic! Thank you so much to the amazing bloggers/reviewers who’ve signed up and the amazing Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for organising it. Thanks also to the reviewers who aren’t on the tour but have already or will share their reviews.

One of my Boldwood buddies, the lovely crime author Mary Grand, asked me this week whether I still get nervous about publication day now that I’ve written so many books. The answer is yes! This is my 15th release through Boldwood Books but it’s actually my 28th publication day, having had nine indie release days and four with my original publisher. I’m into more of a rhythm about what to expect but the nerves are always there, bubbling away beneath the surface, typically triggered by my pesky imposter syndrome: What if this is the book readers/listeners hate? What if this is the one where they realise I can’t write?

I’ve been working hard on my imposter syndrome and I don’t feel quite so worried with this release. It helps that there’ve been so many lovely reviews from ARCs (Advance Reader Copies). There have, of course, been some who haven’t enjoyed it – there always are – but it’s overwhelmingly been positively received.

Today I’ll be mostly sharing on social media and responding to the lovely comments that come through. The lovely Fiona Jenkins and Sue Baker are hosting a publication party over on Heidi Swain and Friends – A Facebook Book Club – which is very kind and generous of them. My friends over on The Friendly Book Community have a publication day interview with me and there’s lots more going on. Thank you to everyone who gets involved and makes this day so special.

On Thursday this week, I have a very exciting event planned. I’m going to be joined by members of the RNLI – specifically Scarborough Lifeboat Station – for a Facebook Live. It’s at 6pm on the Book and Tonic Facebook Page and will be available to watch afterwards if anyone can’t join us live. If you can join us live, though, there’ll be an opportunity to ask questions. The crew are so inspirational and I’m so looking forward to chatting with them.

In related news, I was so excited to see Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café reach a whopping review milestone yesterday of 4,000 reviews/ratings over on Amazon. This is my most-reviewed book now, despite it being one of the most recent releases. It hit 4k yesterday, just in time for publication day so what a lovely way to celebrate.

If you haven’t already read Snowflakes, you can grab it for free if you’re in Prime Reading or Kindle Unlimited globally, and it’s only 99p (or equivalent internationally) for the eBook so this is a great opportunity to discover Hollie and Jake’s origin stories before reading Spring Tides. You can read Spring Tides as a standalone book and I do inject some of the backstory so readers aren’t lost but you’ll get a much richer experience if you’ve read the full series.

And, finally, I’m delighted to announce that book 3 – Summer Nights at The Starfish Café – is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Please don’t get annoyed with me but there’s a year to wait for this one. It’s out on 3rd April 2023 and you can pre-order it for Kindle here. The reason for the year is I have the Hedgehog Hollow series to finish first (two books out in June and September) and there’s either going to be a Castle Street standalone book out in January or the start of a new series. Spring Tides doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, though, so hopefully readers/listeners will forgive me for the year and remember that many authors only write one book a year and some even write one every two years.

Big publication day hugs
Jessica xx

Celebrating my first foreign translation

I am thrilled that today is publication day for my very first foreign rights deal. Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café has been acquired by Italian publisher Newton Compton and is released today as an eBook and paperback under the title of Festa sotto la neve.   

Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

I don’t speak any Italian so I asked Google translate to help me out and came up with ‘Party in the snow’ which is a little different to the original. Spotting a couple of promotional posts and copying them into Google translate, I also had ‘Party on the snow’ and ‘Party under the snow’ coming up. Which was it? Probably none of them!

I contacted friend and author Isabella Tartaruga who is Italian and she kindly advised me that ‘festa’ does indeed mean party but it also translates as holiday as in festive season as in Christmas although Natale is the actual word for Christmas. Therefore, in this context, the title translates as ‘A holiday under the snow’ or ‘A snowy holiday’. Aw, isn’t that lovely?

The tagline of La magia del Natale, alla fine, conquista tutti… means ‘the magic of Christmas will eventually conquer all’.

Newton Compton describe it as Il libro perfetto per rifugiarsi sotto le coperte e aspettare Natale which translates as the perfect book to take refuge under the covers and wait for Christmas.

A huge thank you to Newton Compton for taking on this book. I’m keeping everything crossed that it will do well and that they might be inspired to take on some of my other titles. 

Although the title and cover is different, the story will be exactly the same – just translated into Italian. I’m really looking forward to getting my paperback version so I can see what The Chocolate Pot is in Italian. You can order direct from Newton Compton here or find the listing on Amazon here.

If you have friends/family living in Italy, please do pass this on. If anyone sees a paperback out in the wild, I would be so thrilled to see a shelfie.

Big Italian hugs

Jessica xx

An amazing holiday in the stunning Lake District

We’ve been back from our holiday for exactly a week now and it already seems like a distant memory. Although the suitcases on the landing waiting to go back into the attic and the pile of walking trousers/thick socks/breathable T-shirts I’d bought for the trip and don’t have a home for in my wardrobes do keep reminding me it wasn’t that long ago.

The Lake District is one of my favourite places in the UK. I remember family caravanning holidays as a child, paddling in the lakes in flip flops or wellies, and visiting the gorgeous towns and villages around the national park. As an adult, I’ve visited many times.

I often dreamed of living there and, in my late 20s, I actually had an interview to be a trainer at an outdoor activity centre on the shores of Lake Windermere. I was gutted when I didn’t get the job. I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason and there were other plans in place for me. If I’d got the job there, I’d probably never have become an author.

My husband and I have visited many times with our daughter and we also went on our own for a weekend to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in 2015 so we have many fond memories. Usually, we stick to the towns but this time we were determined to get walking. After 18 months of hibernating thanks to a certain pandemic, even the low fells were perhaps a bit ambitious but there was nothing to stop us walking round the lakes and what a treat that turned out to be.

Our holiday cottage was a gorgeous building in a small hamlet on the southern tip of Thirlmere which is a reservoir serving Manchester. We couldn’t see the water from the cottage because of the woods but it was very close by. The views out of the lounge window were stunning.

DAY 1 – GRASMERE & RYDAL WATER

The weather was stunning for our first full day so we had a wander round the pretty village of Grasmere then set off towards the lake. It’s quite a walk from the village to get to the edge of the lake but it’s absolutely worth it. At every turn, there was a new photo to take.

I’m proud to say that all of these are mine taken on my phone and the only one my talented photographer husband took is the bottom one in this batch.

We continued from the northern part of Grasmere towards Rydal Water where we’d heard there were some caves in hills which we’d never visited before. It was a bit people-y around the cave but I was keen to have a go crossing the stepping stones, praying I wouldn’t be the one person who went splat in the water. (Thanks to hubby for the batch of pics below):

It was worth making the crossing as the cave was fabulous although I was too embarrassed on my own to do what I normally would – a deep ‘mwah ha ha ha ha!’

Outside the view was gorgeous and there were loads of amazing stacks of stones. We were pretty hot at this point so didn’t stop to create our own.

We’d covered a lot of miles in the heat by this point and stupidly weren’t prepared as we hadn’t packed any lunch or brought enough water with us. Thankfully, the pathway at the northern tip of Rydal Water opened out onto the road immediately opposite The Badger Bar so that was us sorted for lunch and drinks. It didn’t take much (any) persuading to get the bus back to Grasmere instead of walking!

From there we drove onto Ambleside for something a little more leisurely – a game of crazy golf. Hubby sat on a bench with Ella (the dog) while the munchkin and I played a round. She would claim she won, but she cheats!!!

DAY 2 – FERRY TRIP TO BOWNESS-ON-WINDERMERE

We decided to take a catch the big steam ferry from Ambleside to Windermere on the Sunday which, with hindsight, was a bit of a mistake because Bowness on a bank holiday weekend was crazy busy. I’ve seen it busy many times but this was something else. It was so calm before we boarded the ferry, and the boat itself was fairly empty but we disembarked in Bowness and there was a sea of people everywhere and a wall of noise. Eek!

It was a grey day but still really warm (although a bit chilly on the ferry itself). We had lunch followed by a wander round a lovely market and the town, but we were keen to get back on the ferry and return to some peace and quiet (and an ice cream) in Ambleside.

DAY 3 – BUTTERMERE

Bank Holiday Monday was another grey day but there was no rain forecast so we decided to drive up to Buttermere. We’d heard it was a lovely walk around it. At 4.5 miles, that seemed do-able. And we were prepared with a packed lunch this time!

The sat nav directed us on the terrifying route via Honister Pass or, as the munchkin kept calling it, Hoisin Pass. OMG! If you’ve not done it, it takes you high – very high – past a slate mine with sheer drops and extremely narrow roads. My knuckles were white as I clung onto the door handle! (I will point out that hubby was driving!)

The photo opportunities were very different from our previous lake walk and I even turned on the black and white filter (get me using the tech!) to catch some moody shots!

The walk was lovely and I certainly brightened up a dull day in my red fleece!

We had a lovely treat on the route back up the other side with a few cows lying down by the side of the footpath, taking it all in. Aren’t they gorgeous? And there was an amazing waterfall too which hubby scrambled up to it while the munchkin and I had a little rest. The single cow and waterfall pic are courtesy of hubby.


DAY 4 – LAKESIDE, HAWKSHEAD & BROCKHOLE

It was publication day for me for Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café but we had no WiFi at the cottage so I drove out to a lay-by near Grasmere first thing to pick up 4G and do some sharing of social media posts! After that, we all headed down to Lakeside at the southern tip of Lake Windermere and hubby and munchkin took Ella for a walk while I met my fellow Write Romantic and fabulously talented crime writer Helen Phifer. Helen lives in Cumbria so it was such a great opportunity to catch up with her. We were so busy chatting, we completely forgot to take a photo. Oops!

The family and I then headed up to Hawkshead which is one of my favourite villages and had a wander round and a delicious publication day lunch outside a pub called The King’s Arms.

Although we’ve visited HillTop before, I thought it would be fitting to visit Beatrix Potter’s former home on the day one of my books was released but they were taking bookings only which had never even crossed our mind so that was a no-go.

We caught the car ferry from Hawkshead and headed to Brockhole on the shores of Windermere instead. The munchkin had a freezing cold paddle with Ella (as you might be able to tell from her facial expression on the first pic) and a go-cart ride so she was a happy bunny.

DAY 5 – THIRLMERE

Our plans to do the walk around Derwentwater were a bit scuppered today when munchkin woke up complaining of stomach ache and feeling sick. We stayed at the cottage for the morning hoping it might wear off but she was sick and definitely couldn’t go out and about.

I read and hubby went off for a walk with the dog but I was going a bit stir crazy after lunch so, with munchkin being at an age she can be left alone, we left her sleeping and walked to Thirlmere.

The reservoir was very low after a lengthy dry season and we came close to a stuck-in-the-mud disaster, fooled by the crusty surface! (Top 3 pics are hubby’s).


DAY 6 – KESWICK & DERWENTWATER

It had obviously just been a 24-hour bug as the munchkin woke up feeling much better and, although we decided it would be pushing it to walk the full perimeter of Derwentwater as planned, we reckoned she could manage partway.

We’ve always loved the walk past the theatre and down to the lake shore but have never done the walk round the lake and we can’t believe what we’ve been missing out on because it is stunning. It helped that we had the same gorgeous weather from the start of the week. Just like our walk round Grasmere, there was a photo opportunity with every few paces.

We were so sad to have to say goodbye to our cottage and head back home. We all agreed that, even with the munchkin being ill one day, it was the best UK holiday we’d ever had. I think that was for a combination of reasons – the gorgeous weather, the stunning scenery, properly switching off from work (no WiFi certainly helped) and a break for the first time in nearly two years. Perfect.

I can’t wait to start writing my new series set in the Lake District which does, of course, mean lots more trips there are needed. No hardship whatsoever!

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at the pictures. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been to any of these places or you have recommendations for others. Our holiday cottage was gorgeous but it had a few shall we say ‘interesting’ decorative touches. I leave you with the fish vase, the squirrel bin (which weighed a ton), the frankly terrifying ‘Catbells’ artwork (Catbells being a famous fell overlooking Derwentwater which features in the top photos on the above section), the scary rabbit dish thing and the disproportionate squirrel acorn situation.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Publication Day for Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café and belated Happy Birthday to The Secret to Happiness

Ooh, I’m so late with these! I’ve returned from a wonderful week in the Lake District (post and pics to follow soon) and I meant to write and schedule three posts before I went away – one to celebrate publication day, one to reflect on August, and one to celebrate a book birthday – but time escaped me and none of them got written.

With no WiFi at our holiday cottage, I had to leave it so I’ve combined two of them and decided not to do the reflections posts anymore. Instead, I’ll post more regularly but shorter posts. Me? Short posts? Well, I’ll try!

Firstly, publication day. My 13th novel, Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café, came out on Tuesday 31st August and gathered a category bestseller flag on day one which was lovely. Less than a week after release, it has 69 reviews (at the time of writing this), 85% of which are 5-star which is amazing.

It’s on a super-lengthy amazing blog tour and the feedback so far has been so touching with a mix of regular reviewers and newbies reading my work for the first time. Thank you to everyone taking part.

I may have caused a tissue shortage in the country (and possibly other countries – Belgium has been cited!) as this book is a weepie. It is NOT a light Christmassy rom-com and it doesn’t claim anywhere to be one as you’ll be able to tell from reading the blurb (see below).

I never intentionally set out to write a story that will make readers cry but this was the story that these characters needed to tell and, while there will always be a few critics who call it ‘depressing’, I am blessed with so many amazing readers who completely get the story, who love the light that appears among the tragedy, and who feel the hopeful and uplifting message.

“With courage, nothing is impossible” (Sir William Hillary, RNLI Founder) is a theme throughout. Hollie and Jake have had tragic pasts, but the beauty of this story is how they find their way forward … with the help of the most gorgeous dog who readers have fallen in love with.

Hot on the heels of publication day, I’m celebrating a book birthday.

Friday 3rd September was TWO YEARS since The Secret to Happiness was published by Boldwood Books. And what an amazing two years that has been! (Blurb below too)

This was a book I submitted when I knew I was failing to make an impact as an indie author. I did have some regular readers but I only sold a handful of eBooks a week and there was no way I’d was ever even going to come close to being able to write full-time; my absolute dream.

A few rejections of the manuscript floored me and I had to as myself some tough questions about whether I really was good enough to make it as an author. I could have easily given up at that point but writing is part of who I am and I couldn’t let go.

Around that time, I saw an advert for a newly-formed company called Boldwood Books and thought, “maybe one last try”. Thankfully they loved it and took me on. Boldwood found me my readers and my readers have loved Whitsborough Bay and Hedgehog Hollow and have made my dreams come true. I’m so incredibly grateful to you all.

It’s particularly appropriate that I’ve ended up posting about these two events together because, almost exactly a year from publication of my first Boldwood release, Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café is not only my 13th release but also the start of a brand new 12-book publishing deal with Boldwood Books.

The books in my first contract were a mix of new books (The Secret to Happiness and the three books so far in Hedgehog Hollow series) and re-edited versions of my backlist. Starting with Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café, everything I release from now on will be brand new, never been released before, which is really exciting for me and my readers.

Thank you to everyone who has bought/downloaded/borrowed either of these stories – and any of my others – and shared lovely feedback about them. I cannot thank Boldwood Books enough for taking me on and my amazing editor Nia Beynon for her continued enthusiasm, belief and expertise which help shape each of these stories into the final versions the readers/listeners fall in love with.

Wishing you an amazing start to September.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café is available as an eBook on all platforms, a paperback, a large print, a hardback, as a physical audio, for audio download and audio streaming. Please contact me if you’d like a signed copy of the paperback.

Here’s the blurb:

Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible…

The Secret to Happiness is available as an eBook on all platforms, a paperback, a large print, as a physical audio, for audio download and audio streaming. Please contact me if you’d like a signed copy of the paperback.

Here’s the blurb:

Everyone deserves a chance at happiness…

Danniella is running from her past, so when she arrives at the beautiful seaside resort of Whitsborough Bay, the last thing on her mind is making friends. After all, they might find out her secrets…

Alison is fun, caring and doesn’t take herself too seriously. But beneath the front, she is a lost soul, stuck in a terrible relationship, with body confidence issues and no family to support her. All she really needs is a friend.

Karen’s romance has taken a back seat to her fitness business. But she doesn’t want to give up on love quite yet. If only those mysterious texts would stop coming through …

When the women meet at their local bootcamp, a deep friendship blossoms. And soon they realise that the secret to happiness is where they least expected to find it…

Publication day for Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big chocolatey hugs
Jessica xx

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

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

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

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

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

I’m in conversation with Jo Bartlett tonight

Today is the publication day for the second book in the fabulous Cornish Midwives series by Jo Bartlett: A Summer Wedding for the Cornish Midwife. Huge congratulations, Jo.

The first book in the series – The Cornish Midwife – is Jo’s first release with Boldwood Books and is performing exceptionally well, still sitting high in the Kindle Top 100 two and a half months on from release, having racked up a Top 10 position. So exciting!

Book 2 looks set to follow. At the time of writing, it’s already #8 in the Apple UK Romance category chart and just outside the Top 300 overall Kindle chart but will rise as the day goes on as it’s usually later in the day when a book gets its highest publication day position on Kindle.

The series – which is planned at seven books – tells the story of the midwives based at the community midwifery unit in the fictional Cornish village of Port Agnes and the books are lovely, warm stories about love, friendship, family and community in a stunning setting. I’ve put blurbs and links below my signature.

I’ve read both and absolutely loved them. This is a quote from me about the first:

‘I love second chance stories. I love returning home stories. So a book combining both is an absolute winner for me. The Cornish Midwife is simply gorgeous. Stunning setting, wonderful characters, and oozing with warmth. A triumph from Jo Bartlett and a cracking start to what promises to be a fabulous series’

I don’t normally celebrate publication days of other authors on my blog (as I’d never get any writing done if I did!) but there’s a special reason for this one. It’s because Jo and I have a joint event planned today…

I’m very excited to be ‘in conversation’ with Jo tonight on a Facebook Live. The session will be hosted on Book and Tonic’s Facebook page which you can find here and will start at 6pm GMT this evening (Thursday 1st July) and last up to an hour.

I’ll be asking Jo questions about her writing journey and the series itself but it will be more of a conversation than an interview so I’ll be sharing some snippets too.

I’m really looking forward to this as, not only are Jo and I publishing buddies, we’re friends in real life. As to how we know each other, all will be revealed during our conversation so I hope you can join us.

We’ll be inviting questions from the ‘audience’ during the Facebook Live and anyone who asks a question then will be put into a draw to win a copy of the paperback of A Summer Wedding for the Cornish Midwife.

If you can’t attend live, then you will be able to catch up on the recording on Book and Tonic’s Facebook page, although wouldn’t be able to ask questions/go into the draw.

We’ll be reuniting on Monday 6th September where the roles will be reversed and Jo will be question-master, helping me celebrate the publication of Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café. The book itself is out on 31st August but we’re waiting until after the distraction of the school holidays to host the Live.

Really hope you can join us tonight. Happy publication day to Jo!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

THE CORNISH MIDWIFE

A fresh start…

Midwife Ella Mehenick left the small Cornish town of Port Agnes for London and never looked back. But when her seemingly perfect life crashes down around her, there’s only one place she can heal her battered heart – the place she once called home.  

A new arrival…

Ella is quickly welcomed into the small community midwife team and loves her new job caring for mums and their precious babies – it’s what she does best! But being back also means facing ex-flame Dan Ferguson…the first man to break her heart. 

A second chance at love?

Dan is still as gorgeous as ever, but he’s never forgiven Ella for leaving. And now she’s back it’s clear that there is unfinished business between them. As Ella settles into her new/old life, she can’t stop the memories of how she once loved Dan so completely – and maybe never stopped.

Maybe coming home to Cornwall is Ella’s chance to love again…

Meet The Cornish Midwives of Port Agnes- where community, friendship and love are always delivered.

An uplifting and escapist read, perfect for fans of Christie Barlow, Jessica Redland and Holly Martin!

This book was previously published as Return to Port Agnes.

You can buy it here on Kindle UK but it’s also available as an eBook for Apple and Kobo, as a physical audio, for download, to stream on Spotify and as paperback, hardback and large print formats. It’s also available for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

A SUMMER WEDDING FOR THE CORNISH MIDWIFE

It’s wedding day in Port Agnes!

The venue is booked, the dress is picked, and Senior Midwife Anna Jones only has to say ‘I Do!’ to the man she loves! Theirs might have been a whirlwind romance, but Brae Penrose is everything Anna dreamed her husband would be and she can’t wait to start a new life with him…and if they are lucky, maybe even a family of their own. 

But as the big day approaches disaster strikes, and their perfect day looks destined not to happen at all. Anna’s certain it’s a sign to slow things down.

The other midwives won’t hear of Anna and Brae postponing their big day, but can they and the community of Port Agnes pull together to make sure the Penrose summer wedding goes off without a hitch?

Meet The Cornish Midwives of Port Agnes- where community, friendship and love are always delivered.

An uplifting and escapist read, perfect for fans of Christie Barlow, Jessica Redland and Holly Martin!

This book was previously published as Christmas with the Cornish Midwives.

You can buy it here on Kindle UK but it’s also available as an eBook for Apple and Kobo, as a physical audio, for download, to stream on Spotify and as paperback, hardback and large print formats. It’s also available for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

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

It’s publication day and I’m wondering if readers will like my unlikeable character

It’s publication day today for book 3 in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – and I face the day with the usual blend of excitement, anticipation and also nerves! I’m sure all authors have the same questions whirring round their mind the day a book is released:

  • Where will it chart?
  • When will the first reviews come in?
  • Will readers like it?

When writing a series, there’s the added worry: Will readers like it as much as the last one? 

The bar has been set high for the series with the first two books being extremely well received. At the time of writing Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow has just over 1,700 reviews/ratings on Amazon with 94% at 4 and 5 star and New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow has nearly 1,850 with 93% at 4 and 5 star. That’s a lot of pressure on Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow and, while readers love the main character Samantha Wishaw, they do not love her cousin, Chloe Turner.

And this book is partly Chloe’s story…

The first book – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – was told purely from Samantha’s perspective. She’s one of the kindest women ever but she’s had a rough time and there are some family members who don’t treat her well but in whom she still tries to see the best. Readers get to know Samantha, discover how she comes to be the owner of Hedgehog Hollow, and follow her as she gets the hedgehog rescue centre up and running.

Book 2 – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – continues Samantha’s story with Hedgehog Hollow now open for business. Part of the book is told from her perspective but part of it is from boyfriend Josh’s perspective as we find out all about him and the challenging relationships he has with family members but for very different reasons to the challenges Samantha has.

This dual-perspective approach will continue across the series. Book 3 – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – adds Chloe’s perspective to Samantha’s. Chloe is Samantha’s cousin and she’s one of the family members who causes Samantha major problems. Readers don’t warm to her and it isn’t surprising as, right at the start of book 1, she marries Samantha’s ex-boyfriend. Eek! That’s going to hurt. I won’t give any spoilers about what else she does for those who might not yet have read the first book, but it’s not good and the overall feeling is that she’s spoilt and selfish and Samantha would be better off without Chloe in her life. 

It therefore may seem like a risk for me to have written a novel where I’m focusing on an unlikeable character but it’s not actually the first time I’ve done this. In the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series, the second, third and fourth books (New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove and Coming Home to Seashell Cottage) include a character called Clare O’Connell who comes across initially as spiky, cold and sarcastic. Coming Home to Seashell Cottage is Clare’s story and readers discover why she’s the way she is and there are so many reviews where the reader comments that they didn’t initially like Clare but, by the end of the book, she’s their favourite.

Could the same be said of Chloe?

What I’m hoping for here is that readers will finish Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow understanding Chloe better even if they still don’t like her. I’m sure there will be readers who find that they like her and even a few who can feel themselves starting to fall a little in love with her but I think the latter may be in the minority because of everything that’s gone on before.

What worries me is having some readers who didn’t like Chloe from the previous books (completely understandable) who still don’t like Chloe in this book and, instead of looking at the whole story, they will rate/review the book based on whether or not they’re in Chloe’s fan club.

Whether a reader likes a character or not can massively affect their review for a book. I’ve seen it so often for other authors – Great story but I didn’t like [name of character] – and they give it a 1 or 2-star rating because that character wouldn’t have been on their list of drinking buddies. Yet they’ve acknowledged the story was great. This seems very unfair but I can see the point if that character is the only main character or there’s a book where there are several characters and none of them are likeable. I read a book recently with five or six main characters and none of them were likeable and I have to admit I struggled with the book. I wasn’t rooting for any of them but I kept going believing they were going on a journey and, by the end, I would be cheering for them. It didn’t happen. And here’s why…

There’s a brilliant ‘how to’ book called Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. (There are also variations like Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies (also Snyder) and Save the Cat! Writes a Novel (Jessica Brody)). The original book is about screenwriting but the lessons can be equally applied to writing a novel. Snyder states, “liking the person we go on a journey with is the single most important element in drawing us into the story” and this is where he gets the title from. He writes about how a movie could have a real badass detective or gangster as the lead character who is potentially not very likeable … BUT there is a scene early on where he saves a cat and this makes the viewer warm to him because we see his nice-guy side and find ourselves rooting for him. This makes me think of the John Wick series of films starring Keanu Reeves. John Wick is an assassin and kills lots of people in those films but we see how much he loved his wife and his dog and that makes us warm to him and root for him.

So can the reader root for Chloe?

Chloe is selfish and self-centred but she has plenty of ‘Save the Cat!’ moments. While she does offload baby Samuel onto Samantha the second she turns up at Hedgehog Hollow, there are many moments where we see how caring and protective she is towards him. She says and does things that upset people but she recognises this and struggles as she reflects on her own behaviour.  And, of course, Samantha keeps giving her chances and we find out why this is the case, again seeing the ‘Save the Cat!’ moments through Samantha’s reflections.

This book is also Samantha’s story and readers love her so it’s understandable they don’t want to see anyone hurt her or take advantage of her. I love it that readers may feel defensive towards her and outraged by Chloe’s initial behaviour. But Chloe’s treatment of her enables Samantha to develop further herself and it also has another positive outcome (but I won’t say what that is to avoid spoilers).

Even if readers still don’t like Chloe, I hope they’ll still enjoy the book because of their love for Samantha, Josh and, of course, the hedgehogs. Afterall, it is ultimately their story and Chloe is just the ‘featured guest’ this book if you like. 

Overall I hope that, whether readers finish the book disliking Chloe or waving a banner declaring #TeamChloe, they will understand her, appreciate the journey she goes on, and love Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow as much as the previous two. Fingers crossed!

If you’ve pre-ordered or purchase the book (in any format) at any point today or in the future, a huge thank you to you. Happy reading!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

All I felt was love…

Yesterday was the publication day for All You Need Is Love and, I have to say, all I felt was love all day. How amazing are the reading and writing community?

It was my busiest publication day yet with so many lovely comments on social media to read and respond to and lots of activities going on so Ive just got a quick round up, a few links and some photos…

There were biscuits…

My fabulous publisher, Boldwood Books, always send a wonderful publication day gift and this time it was biscuits with book covers and congratulations messages on them. They didn’t last long! I was under strict instructions from my daughter to save her one of the book cover ones and I had a text from her on the bus to school this morning saying she’d been in such a rush, she forgot to pick it up to take it to school. She has been warned I might have the munchies later!

There was cake…

It was hubby’s birthday yesterday so we had birthday cake too. Mmmm. I completely forgot to take a photo of that, though.

There were books…

My paperbacks arrived. I always look forward to the books coming as it’s such an amazing moment to see them, stroke them and, yes, sniff them. But I’d particularly been excited about the arrival of All You Needs Is Love because of those gorgeous sunset colours and it didn’t disappoint at all. So vibrant! My daughter has announced it’s her favourite cover and it might just be mine too as those colours are simply stunning.

The gorgeous wooden campervan (Thor the campervan in the story) has been well admired. I bought him from my favourite shop in Scarborough: White Beach Designs. The lovely owner, Andie, has a Facebook page if anyone is interested in one (they come in different colours). I do highly recommend the shop for gorgeous handmade jewellery, wooden gifts, pebble art and so much more. You can find the Facebook page here.

There was a party…

Last month I was invited to join a lovely Facebook group called ‘Heidi Swain and Friends’ which is run by Sue and Fiona as a readers’ group/book club for fans of Heidi Swain’s gorgeous books and authors who may also appeal to Heidi’s readers. Heidi very kindly supported Sue and Fiona’s suggestion to host a publication day party for me and they ran a day full of fun questions and quizzes relating to All You Need Is Love. It was fabulous seeing all the interaction from readers and joining in myself. A huge thank you to Heidi, Sue and Fiona. If you’d like to join the group, you can do so here.

I also have a readers’ group of my own on Facebook for discussion about anything related to my books and settings. Thank you to everyone who was so supportive on there and for all the kind messages coming through from those who have already read this book or plan to. If you haven’t already joined Redland’s Readers, you can do so here.

There was a blog tour

My blog tour kicked off yesterday with three lovely reviews. There’ll be 36 stops over 12 days and, as usual, I’ll share a round-up at the end. An enormous thank you to all those who have signed up and those who share their posts. It makes such a difference to get these early reviews and spread the word. Thank you also to those who have read this book under its previous incarnation as Bear With Me for sharing the love for this story.

The All You Need Is Love Blog Tour

There were blog posts

I guested on the Boldwood Books blog talking about my own teddy bear shop which inspired part of the story. You can find that post here.

I also guested on the RNA’s blog (Romantic Novelists’ Association) talking about my inspiration for the story and a bit more about my writing. Thank you to Catherine Lawless and the RNA for hosting me. You can find that post here.

There was music

I pulled together a Spotify playlist of songs which link to/inspire All You Need Is Love. You can find that here. They’re roughly presented in the order of relevance to the story so, if you’ve read the book, you can probably guess which part they may relate to. As you’d expect, not all the lyrics are a perfect match but the general vibe is there. Thank you to my editor, Nia, for pulling this together for me. I hope you enjoy listening to it.

There was a video

I created a publication day video about what to expect and explained the difference between plush bears, collectible bears and artist bears (with gorgeous bears to help me) which you can find here.

And the day finished with a Facebook Live

My amazing editor Nia Beynon hosted an ‘in conversation’ on Facebook for an hour and we had some fabulous questions. I also did a reading from All You Need Is Love. Thank you to everyone who joined us live or who has listened to it since. You can catch up with the video here.

Facebook Live Advert – the competition only ran on the evening but you can still watch the video on catch-up

So, as you can see, an extremely busy but lovely day. Thank you to everyone who made it so special and particularly my amazing husband and daughter, Mark and Ashleigh, without whose support I wouldn’t be doing what I do today.

If you’re interested in reading to All You Need Is Love, it’s available as an eBook for Apple, Kindle and Kobo, and in print format as a paperback, hardback and large print. For those who like to listen, it’s available as an audio download or physical copy and will appear on streaming services soon.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

All You Need Is Love

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 think 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.