The one where I look back on 2022

It’s Christmas Eve! We’ve been up to Whitby for a wander around this morning. I predicted quiet, hubby predicted packed and I was right although it was getting busier as we left at about 1pm. Perhaps everyone had been braving the food shopping this morning and had ventured out for a wander this afternoon. Look at that gorgeous blue sky! I’d wrapped up warmly in a blanket scarf and my new coat, affectionately nicknamed ‘the duvet’ because it is quilted and just like wearing a duvet. It’s just from Sainsbury’s but it’s probably the warmest, most gorgeous coat I’ve ever owned. Anyway, it was welcome in the shadows but I was a tad on the warm side in the sun.

How adorable is that whale in the bottom photo? It’s made out of recycled plastic bottles and is for depositing your plastic drinks bottles. He looks very happy.

This is my last post of the year and I’m going to have a little look back over some of the extra special moments across 2022. If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll have had some insight into this already with a special Merry Christmas newsletter this morning. If you’re not a subscriber, you can sign up here.

I’m going to do my reflection mainly in photo format.

NEW BOOKS

In 2022, I’ve had four brand new releases out and completed the six-book Hedgehog Hollow series…

THE WORKS

Three of my books have gone into The Works, bringing the total up to eight books going into branches of The Works and online. What an honour! A huge thank you to the staff in all branches of The Works who are always exceptionally friendly and in particular the manager Jamie and the staff at the Scarborough branch who love me going in to sign copies.

It’s always a thrill to see my books when out and about. This year, I’ve spotted them in other branches of The Works, Irton Garden Centre near Scarborough, the Helmsley Bookshop, Beverley Bookshop, Barter Books in Hawes, Good Reads Discount Bookshop in Whitby, Slightly Foxed in Berwick-Upon-Tweed and the Scarborough and York branches of Waterstones (not all shown here).

AWARDS AND MILESTONES

I was thrilled have Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café shortlisted as a finalist in the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel of the Year Christmas/Festive category. I went down to the Awards ceremony in London in March and, although I didn’t win, it was a fabulous event.

In the summer, I celebrated a sales milestone of 750,000 units sold since joining Boldwood Books – a number I never thought I’d have a hope of reaching.

Also in the summer, Boldwood Books celebrated their third birthday and I hit the third anniversary of my debut release – The Secret to Happiness.

There’ve been some amazing milestones with reviews/ratings, all of my books currently having at least 1,500 reviews/ratings on Amazon alone, including the most recent release. Several of my audiobooks have stormed the Top 20 of the Audible chart but my absolute highlight was this month when Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop made it to #4 in the overall Audible chart.

I didn’t think that could be topped but, this week, I discovered that the Hedgehog Hollow series is in Audible’s Top 20 of the best trending series of 2022 and Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow is in the Romantic Comedy Top 20 too. Wow! I was not expecting that and the company those hedgehogs are keeping is phenomenal. I can’t get over those big names we’re alongside!

If you want to check out the full listing, you can find it here.

FOREIGN TRANSLATIONS

Two of my books – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow and New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – have been translated into Swedish through Lavender Lit. The third one – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – has also been acquired by them and will be out in spring 2023. I’m hoping they’ll take the final three too but they hadn’t been written at the time the deal was made.

It’s lovely seeing foreign translations and I adore the covers from Lavender Lit. I love the way they have kept the colours and themes of the English versions but put their own spin on them.

I also had an offer from Serbia to take two Hedgehog Hollow books which was really exciting, but I had to decline it because the offer was actually for book one and six and, although each book is a complete story, the characters are consistent and there are themes that build across the series. I didn’t feel right agreeing to a deal where book six wouldn’t make sense read after book one. Hopefully 2023 will bring other offers.

EVENTS

I trained on a one-month workshop in March through RNA Learning which I loved and for which I had incredible feedback and was invited back again for 2023.

Boldwood held their first face-to-face party in May which was a lovely event and I attended the RNA’s summer conference which I really enjoyed.

Stockton Libraries invited me to speak at Norton Library and it was wonderful to have such a big audience. I had been looking forward to speaking at the Richmond Walking & Book Festival too – my very first festival – but my slot clashed with our Queen’s funeral so had to be cancelled. Fingers crossed for next year.

I’ve had lots of get togethers with my bestie, talented author Sharon Booth who I’m thrilled to say has secured a publishing deal with Storm Publishing with a new series out through them starting next year, and with author Eliza J Scott.

Sharon and I both met up with Lizzie Lamb when she was on holiday in the area, I met four of the amazing five admins of The Friendly Book Community on Facebook when they came to Whitsborough Bay (aka Scarborough) for a weekend, and Sharon and I had a few days in York with our writing friend Jackie Ladbury. I do love spending time with book people as there’s never a shortage of things to talk about!

I spoke at a meeting of the Scarborough Soroptimists and spent some time with my friends at Wolds Hedgehog rescue – the real Hedgehog Hollow – with an amazing chance to feed a hoglet. I also went on a needlefelting workshop to make a robin in honour of the Hedgehog Hollow series (if you know, you know).

AND PERSONALLY…

I celebrated turning fifty in May. I don’t feel anywhere near my age, although my creaking knees do!

As a family, we’ve had a few holidays, making up for the pandemic years. We spent Easter in the Lake District which was partly a research trip as I’m, setting a new series in the Lakes next year. We had a week in Hawes in Northumberland in August, deferred from February half term when the hubby and I both came down with Covid. And we had a week in Lanzarote over the October half term break which was our first trip abroad since the start of the pandemic. It was lovely to be away again.

It’s been a busy old year but a lovely one too.

If you’re thinking it all sounds very rosy, there have been some tough moments too. I’ve had Covid twice – although thankfully not too seriously – and the downside of the first time was missing a gig and a holiday. My mum was poorly earlier this year which was a worrying time. I’ve struggled with some deadlines and suffered with conjunctivitis on a couple of occasions, making deadlines even harder. There’ve been other challenges too but I’d rather end the year focusing on all the positives and hope you can too for your 2022 as, even in the darkest years, there’ll always be chinks of light.

Wishing you and yours an amazing Christmas. I hope the final week of the year brings you happiness, hope and positivity. Thank you to all the readers/ listeners/ authors/ bloggers/ friends and family members who have championed my work this year and the amazing Team Boldwood. Your support means the world to me and gives me the motivation to keep doing what I’m doing, especially in those dark moments where I think I lack the talent/am incapable of writing another book.

Big festive hugs to you all
Jessica xx 

The one where the hedgehogs start and end in Prime Reading and I talk about reading a series in full and in order

I recently announced that the first book in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – had gone into global Prime Reading meaning that Prime members can access it for free and find out how it all begins.

I’m excited to announce that the final book in the series – Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow – has also gone into Prime Reading this week so we now have the start and end of the six-book series in there.

You know that weird feeling you get when you see a police officer and you instantly feel guilty, even when you’ve done nothing wrong, or when the boss asks to see you and you instantly feel like you’re going to be in trouble? This is how I feel when I ask readers to read a full series.

It feels ridiculously uncomfortable and I don’t fully know why. Perhaps it’s because I feel bad asking them to buy six books, but it’s not like I’m asking them to shell out for six up-front. Try one and, if you like it, go for the others. Perhaps it’s because I’ve had a few readers telling me they don’t like series and wish I’d write standalone stories and I feel guilty that, each time I try to do that, I think too big and it typically ends up being a series or at least with a connected book.

Whatever the reason, I shouldn’t feel that way. I should be proud to say that I write in series and not feel embarrassed to state the truth: that some series should be read in full and in order. You’ll notice a specifically used the words ‘some series’ because this is not necessarily true of every series. There are some that you can dip in and out of or join in on later books but the Hedgehog Hollow series is not that type of series and here’s why:

  1. There is one consistent narrator – Samantha Wishaw – throughout all six books. It is her story and, running alongside that, we meet her family, friends and members of the local community, some of whom also have stories to be explored alongside Samantha’s, resulting in a guest narrator from book 2 onwards
  2. Samantha grows and develops across the six books and so do some of the characters. Joining the series partway through misses out on their journey and it’s the journey that makes them three-dimensional flawed characters, just like you and me. It’s why we’re rooting for the heroine and hissing at the villain(s)
  3. There are some recurring storylines and themes handled across the series such as the difficult relationship Samantha has with a couple of family members, mental health and forgiveness. Joining the series late misses out on these
  4. I come full circle on a couple of things. I can’t say much more as I’ll give away spoilers but there are some things that happen at the start and end which are poignant but would be missed by anyone who hasn’t followed the full series
  5. There are a lot of characters introduced across the series. They cast grows gradually with each book but, if anyone starts at book 6 when they’re all there, they’ll be lost. There are way too many characters to meet at once
  6. I didn’t design this as six standalone books. I wrote a series set in a hedgehog rescue centre and the full story is roughly 600,000 words long and being told across six books

I do provide a ‘story so far’ section at the start of book 2 onwards, alongside a cast of characters, but these were written to act as a reminder for readers who want a quick refresh on what happened in the previous book before they settle down with the next instalment. They weren’t designed to cover everything that happened in the previous book(s) to negate the point of reading the previous books.

Before Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow came out, it was available for early reviews to bloggers and influencers and pretty much everyone who had read the other books give it a 4 or 5 star rating (mainly 5). All the negative reviews were from those who’d picked up book 6 as their starting point and they didn’t follow what was going on, thought there were too many characters, didn’t understand the connections between characters, believed there were too many issues covered (despite many of those mentioned being ones from previous books which were coming to a conclusion). Basically, they hated it and that was so upsetting.

I felt like I’d scream if I saw one more review open with the immortal words “I didn’t realise this was book six in a series…” What doesn’t make sense to me is why those reviewers continued to read it and leave a negative review. If it was me, my reaction would have been: Oops, better not continue as I’m probably not going to follow this. But maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, the whole point of this is to explain why this particular series really needs reading as a series. Readers will get so much more enjoyment by doing this, seeing Samantha grow and develop and the world of Hedgehog Hollow change so, if you’re new to the series, absolutely do grab yourself book 1 from Prime Reading and maybe book 6 too but do read the four in the middle for a richer, fulfilling story. After all, they’ll both be in Prime right up until the end of the year and probably a little past that so there’s plenty of time to fit them all in:

  1. Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow
  2. New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow
  3. Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow
  4. A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow
  5. Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow
  6. Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow

And for those not in Prime Reading, all six are free via Kindle Unlimited, can be borrowed from your library in a range of formats, and book 1 is available on Audible Plus for free if you’re an Audible subscriber.

What are your thoughts on series, as a reader, author or both? Are you very particular about series being read in order or perhaps you don’t mind flitting in and out? Maybe you never start a series until you know the last book has been written or published and then you binge it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

In other news, just a quick heads-up to say that the first book in another series – Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café – is currently part of Audible UK’s 2 for 1 credit deal but it ends at 11.50pm on Saturday (8th October) so do grab it quick.

Happy reading!

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

The one with TWO more books going into The Works

I’m delighted to announce that another two of my books have gone into branches of The Works. Woo hoo!

My seventh title to go in is Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop which is the first book in the Christmas on Castle Street series but can be read as a standalone as it’s connected to the other two by virtue of being a business in Castle Street at Christmas. My eighth title is Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café, which is the first book in my Starfish Café series.

I’ve been watching for them appearing online so I could share a link with my news but they still don’t appear to be on the website. However, my daughter went into our Scarborough branch earlier today and reported back that they were in stock there so, as I needed to go into town anyway to drop off my accounts, I’ve just been to sign them.

They only arrived with Tuesday’s stock but half of them have already sold through. The Scarborough branch gets ten copies of each and there were five of Christmas Wishes left and only four Snowflakes. I suspect the remaining ones will sell through pretty quickly as they often do because the staff are so great at promoting me as a local author to anyone browsing the books, bless them.

An enormous thank you to Boldwood Books for securing this for me and to The Works on for being so amazing to have taken so many of my books over the past two years.

The shelves were a little bare as they’re waiting for loads more winter book deliveries so I’m feeling very honoured to be among the first on the shelves. If you do spot either or both of them in your local branch of The Works, please do let me know on social media and I would love to see a shelfie (photo of them on the shelves) as it’s so exciting to see them out and about. And if you’re Scarborough-based and manage to grab yourself a signed copy, do let me know too.

Oh, and Mum, I took my special pen you gave me to sign them. Thank you xx

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where all my books have at least 1,500 reviews

My latest release – Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow – which was released just over seven weeks ago (28th June) has just hit 1,500 reviews/ratings on Amazon.

Not only is this a milestone for the fifth book in the series but it’s also a milestone for all my books because every single one of the UK releases now has at least 1,500 reviews/ratings on Amazon. I find this quite astonishing because it seems only yesterday when I had only one title approaching 100 and was longing for the others to pass 40! Thank you Boldwood Books for finding me readers and for everyone who has read any of my books and shared the book love. I’m so very grateful.

I’ve done a little number crunching and here are a few discoveries on AMAZON. These are just the UK editions:

Most reviewed/rated book: Snowflakes Over The Starfish Cafe with 5,794. This was helped by being in Prime Reading at the start of the year

Most reviewed/rated book in the Hedgehog Hollow series: I still find it a little weird that it isn’t the first one. The most reviewed is book 2, New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow, with 4,840. Incidentally, book 3, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, is the next most reviewed at 4,598. Book 1, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow, has 3,766

Least reviewed/rated book: Aside from Chasing Dreams which has just hit the 1,500 mark, it’s book 3 in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series – Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove – with 1,565. If we’re going to be really pedantic, the series box set actually has the least reviews but, as it the amalgamation of four titles, I’m not classing it separately

Average rating: Every single book has either a 4.6 or 4.7 average. That’s a lot of love out there for Whitsborough Bay (including The Starfish Café) and Hedgehog Hollow

Overall number: I’m so close to an astonishing 50k milestone. I have 49,658 reviews/ratings overall. Eek!

OVER ON AUDIBLE…

Most reviewed/rated audiobook: The Secret to Happiness is the most reviewed/rated with a whopping 3,903. The next closest is Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow with 1,887. Both these titles are free to subscribers as part of the Audible Plus programme which has led to more listeners trying them so it’s not a surprise they’re the most reviewed although it’s interesting how far ahead The Secret to Happiness is

Least reviewed/rated audiobook: This is Spring Tides at The Starfish Café with 274. Chasing Dreams is ahead of this with 313


My books are on Kobo, Apple and various other sites too but most sales come from Amazon and Audible so I have only explored those for now.

THANK YOU to everyone who has left a review or rating for anything of mine they’ve read or listened to. It’s a lovely way to say a thank you to the author for a book you’ve loved, and on Amazon that activity kicks in their algorithms so massively helps with visibility.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where Spring Tides hits a milestone and my publisher wins big

Yesterday (Wednesday 27th April), two special things happened that I wanted to share with you that made me feel very proud.

The first thing was a personal success. Spring Tides at The Starfish Café hit a whopping milestone of 1,000 reviews/ratings on Amazon after just three weeks. Actually, it was the three weeks and one day anniversary to be specific.

Thank you so much to everyone who has left a review or rating, making this milestone possible. Thank you to all those who’ve done this on Apple, Kobo, Audible and anywhere else as I appreciate all reviews, wherever they’re left. I only tend to shout about the Amazon ones because they’re the larger source.

When we released the first book in the series, Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café, we were a little nervous about it. It was the most emotional story I’d ever written, it was set in winter and included Christmas but wasn’t a Christmas book, and it was a new location, albeit within Whitsborough Bay. What if readers didn’t like it? What if they didn’t take to the new setting? What if they thought it was too sad? What if they wanted all the Christmas feels and didn’t like that a warm and fuzzy Christmas glow wasn’t what the book was all about and it centred on characters who struggled at that time of year? As it turns out, we needn’t have worried at all. It’s my most reviewed book to date (4,363 reviews/ratings on Amazon alone at the time of writing this) and possibly my fastest-selling so far!

You’d think that, with that success, I wouldn’t have been nervous about the release of the sequel, Spring Tides at The Starfish Café, but I was. Readers/listeners had actually loved how emotional Snowflakes was but the heartstrings are pulled when Hollie and Jake’s tragic pasts are revealed. In Spring Tides we already know about their pasts and they’re moving forward into the next stage of their lives so this story isn’t as emotional. Would readers reject it for that reason? Thankfully no as the reviews show.

Is this book the quickest to get to the 1,000 milestone? Not quite but almost. That record is held for me by the third book in the Hedgehog Hollow series, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow. Released in early May 2021, HH3 hit 1,000 on the three-week anniversary exactly so Spring Tides is just one day behind! Book 4 in that series, A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow, reached 1,000 on its four-week anniversary so Spring Tides ‘beat’ that one although I am inclined to think that reviews came in at a slightly slower rate as some readers were still on the Christmas reads at that point and/or waiting until they’d settled into the return to school/work routine after the New Year before reading it.

I’m so proud of those hedgehogs as they keep gathering fans and hedge-hugs with well over 12.5k reviews/ratings between them on Amazon now, each well past the milestone listed below:

The second win yesterday was actually a double win for my amazing publisher, Boldwood Books. They only opened for submissions in February 2019 with their first four titles released in August that year so haven’t even hit their third publication anniversary yet but have already taken the publishing world by storm. Some seriously impressive stats include 77 authors, over 200 titles published, 6 million books sold, 60 top 10 bestsellers, 2 USA Today bestsellers and over 250,000 Amazon 5-star reviews. That’s absolutely amazing! They’ve won several awards during this short time and have been shortlisted for others.

Yesterday at the IPG (Independent Publishers Guild) Independent Publishing Awards 2022, they scooped the win for Trade Publisher of the Year and for Independent Publisher of the Year. Woo hoo! Absolutely amazing and I’m so proud to be part of such an impressive, innovative and friendly team. Photo credit: Boldwood Books, shamelessly nicked from Twitter!

So yesterday was a very happy day for celebrations. And in other happy news this week, I’ve had the title confirmed for the sixth Hedgehog Hollow book and have seen the cover. I love both and can’t wait to share them with you … but that’s for another day.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where I thank everyone for the amazing Spring Tides Blog Tour

Spring Tides at The Starfish Café – the second book in The Starfish Café series – was released on 5th April and has been on a blog tour. Officially the tour ended on Tuesday but there were a couple of bloggers unable to post on time so I wanted to watch out for those before I posted my thank you. And I was away on holiday and it’s so much easier being on my bigger screen at home.

I was a little apprehensive about how the blog tour of Spring Tides might go as the first book in the series – Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café – had been so well-received. Many of the positive comments were about how emotional the book was, really drawing readers in.

The second book isn’t anywhere near as emotional because readers already know Hollie’s and Jake’s sad stories and this is about them moving forward. Thankfully, the verdict was really positive.

I’ve included some quotes from across the tour. I loved reading every single review so if I you were a blogger on the tour and I haven’t included a quote from you, please be assured it wasn’t that I didn’t like what you had to say. These are all randomly selected from the ones I’ve been given (and I don’t have visuals from all the posts).

Thank you to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour on behalf of my fabulous publisher Boldwood Books and to all the amazing bloggers/reviewers who took part and shared their lovely comments about the story and my writing. It’s appreciated so much.

Thank you also to several fabulous bloggers/reviewers who kindly posted reviews during the first fortnight outside of the official blog tour and to all the readers who have posted reviews and ratings. At the time of writing this post, there are over 800 of these on Amazon which is so amazing.

I’ve been blown away by how well this book has done. Pre-orders in the first week put me into the Top 3 on the Bookstat E-Book chart shared by The Bookseller. This chart is made up of sales of eBooks, print books and audio titles online. Most charts record physical book sales only so it’s wonderful that this chart exists and an honour to be so high. The last two Hedgehog Hollow books made it into this chart but I think they were both #6 or #7. Having said that, the sales volumes were very similar – possibly higher – so where a title appears in this chart is very much around what else is out at the time.

Two and a half weeks since release, the eBook is still in the Kindle Top 100 and the Audible Top 100 which is such a thrill. These amazing reviews and recommendations will have helped it stay there.

Book three – Summer Nights at The Starfish Café – will be out on 3rd April 2023 and is available for pre-order on Kindle here now. It will be available in other formats nearer the time.

Thank you again for all the book love for Spring Tides at The Starfish Café. It’s made for a very happy month.

Big grateful hugs
Jessica xx

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

The one where I went to the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Awards

I was thrilled to be announced as a finalist for the RNA’s (Romantic Novelists’ Association’s) Romantic Novel of the Year Awards. Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café was one of five finalists in the Christmas/Festive category.

On Monday night, it was the Awards ceremony down in London. I decided to make a trip of it and stay over an extra night on the Sunday to catch up with a friend from university who lives there so it was lovely to see him and it meant I didn’t need to worry about delayed trains and cancellations on the Monday.

Monday was a packed day. I had breakfast with author Rowan Coleman who I’d travelled down with, went for a walk down to the river, had lunch with my editor, then got ready for the ceremony. The weather was a bit grey on my walk but I took a couple of pics of my shortlisted book with nearby sights Tower Bridge and The Tower of London. It’s not easy to hold a book and hold a phone!

All the finalists – five in each of the categories – gathered for a photo shoot before the ceremony. There were only three of us there from my category so the photo shows (L-R) me, Sheila Norton (Winter at Cliff’s End Cottage) and Jenny Bayliss (The Winter of Second Chances).

They were both really lovely and we posed for another unofficial photo together…

I was feeling quite nervous at this point. I didn’t think I had any chance of winning but the last time I attended an Awards ceremony was about 20 years ago when I was up for a business award so this isn’t an every day thing at all.

The reason I didn’t think I would win was nothing to do with me thinking the book wasn’t good enough or anything like that. It was purely down to it being an extremely emotional story which might not have been quite what the readers wanted for that category.

When the photos were done, I joined my publishers, Boldwood Books, down in the bar.

Some of the Boldwood Team and authors

After a quick catch up and photo op, we made our way into the function room for the ceremony.

It was beautifully laid out and we were fortunate enough to be on one of the front tables. The Boldwood team, authors and guests had two tables as there were three of us up for awards – Portia MacIntosh with Life’s a Beach in the Jane Wenham-Jones Romantic Comedy category and Shari Low with One Summer Sunrise in the Contemporary category.

Because I hadn’t expected to win, I hadn’t prepared a speech or even thought about what I was going to say. When the first Award was presented and the winner gave a short speech, I had a sudden panic. What if I did win? What would I say? For one very brief moment, I thought it could be possible and I should have been more prepared.

But I didn’t need to worry about a speech because I didn’t win. Congratulations to Sheila Norton who won in my category.

My category was the first of the ones in which Boldwood was represented so I was hoping one of the other Boldwood authors would bring home the win. One of our authors, Anne-Marie Brear was also up for an award as an indie (entered pre-Boldwood) in the Romantic Saga category with A Distant Horizon so we were rooting for her too but it wasn’t our night. None of us won our categories.

Enormous congratulations to all the winners and all the finalists. You can read the RNA’s article containing all the category winners here.

I have a certificate and a beautiful brochure to commemorate a special evening and would like to say thank you to everyone who congratulated me on being a finalist, wished me luck and said kind words about this book. I really appreciate all the gorgeous comments.

It was lovely to be able to spend time with my publisher, some of the other Boldwood authors, and to catch up with some other authors and it was certainly an honour to be a finalist.

Thank you so much to everyone in the RNA for organising and hosting a wonderful evening.

The following morning, the sky was bright blue so I couldn’t resist another walk down by the river to get some nicer photos so here’s a little selection of my pics from Tuesday morning in a very sunny London.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café goes into Global Prime Reading

Exciting news!

Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café went into Global Prime Reading this morning. This means it can be accessed for FREE by anyone in Prime Reading in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, USA and possibly a few other territories.

Titles stay in Prime for at least twelve weeks so you have plenty of time to get hold of it.

If you’re thinking it’s purely a Christmas book so you won’t be interested, that’s not the case. It’s set over the winter season – November to February – with backstory chapters covering other times of the year. Yes, Christmas does feature but it’s a seasonal rather than a pure Christmas story so perfect for reading all year round.

If you’re not a Prime reader, you can still pick this title (and all my others) up for FREE in Kindle Unlimited and, if you’re not a subscriber to that either, it’s only 99p on eBook on all platforms so a bargain whichever way you look at it.

And don’t forget that, as per my blog post yesterday, it’s also only £3 as part of the Audible UK sale until the end of Sunday (27th February) along with Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow.

Here’s the blurb to whet your appetite. Please do spread the word if you have friends/family who might enjoy any of these offers.

With 3,350 ratings on Amazon, currently 93% positive, I’m very excited to see what impact the Prime promotion has on chart position and ratings.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

‘Heartbreakingly moving and yet beautifully uplifting, I cried for all the right reasons!’ Jo Bartlett

‘I fell in love with this story from page one.’ Helen J Rolfe

‘Achingly poignant, yet full of hope – You will fall in love with this beautiful Christmas story’ Sandy Barker


‘A tender love story, full of sweet touches and beautiful characters.’ Beth Moran

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…

Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a magical winter at the seaside, where love blossoms and lifelong friendships are made.

The one with two audiobooks in the Audible UK £3 sale and a double book birthday

Hi there and happy Sunday to you! Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend.

I’m on the penultimate day of writing my 5th Hedgehog Hollow book – Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow – ahead of submission to my editor so am only briefly emerging from the story to bring you the exciting news of two audiobooks in the Audible UK £3 sale this week.

The first title included is book 3 in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – is included. Book 1 – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – is free with AudioPlus anyway and book 2 – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – has previously been in the £3 sale.

The second title is Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café, currently a finalist in the RNA’s Christmas/Festive Romantic Novel of the Year.

Even though I’m frantically writing to meet my deadline, I know I’ll find it impossible to resist checking the Audible chart. All the other audiobooks I’ve had in the £3 offer have made it into the Top 100 which is very exciting.

Don’t forget the offer only lasts one week. There’s a helpful countdown on Audible’s sale page…

If you’re an eBook reader instead, Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café is still on a 99p offer on all eBook formats.

I’m also celebrating a double book birthday today.

Books 2 and 3 in the ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series – New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove – were re-issued through Boldwood Books two years ago today on 20th February 2020.

The re-launch of this series in quick succession across a 2-month period heralded a big change for my writing and, after years of struggling, I finally started to sell more than a handful of books each week. A few months later, I was able to realise my dream of writing full time.

Birthday book New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms is still on a Kindle Monthly Deal for 99p in the UK and an equivalent price in Australia.

Coinciding with its birthday celebration, I’m thrilled to have had the news this week that New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms has passed an amazing sales milestone of 50,000 units so far with Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove only 7,000 units behind so hopefully that will reach the 50k mark very soon too.

Thank you, as ever, to anyone who has bought/borrowed/downloaded any of my books and, to the Audible UK subscribers, I hope you enjoy these two audiobooks on offer. If you’ve already listened to them, do please spread the word to any friends/family members who might be interested.

Happy listening!

Big hugs
Jessica xx