Starry Skies reaches for the skies and achieves a reviews milestone

In the midst of all the excitement of publication day for Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, another of my books has achieved an amazing reviews/ratings milestone.

Well done to Tara, Hercules the giant house rabbit, and the amazing Castle Street café – The Chocolate Pot – for passing 1,500 reviews/ratings on Amazon. Woo hoo!

I absolutely love this story. Reviews slowed down post Christmas but they keep coming in and I’m so thrilled it has reached such an epic number.

This book is best enjoyed after reading Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes which is a slightly shorter novel set purely in December in the business next door to The Chocolate Pot. Starry Skies itself is set across a whole year from Christmas Eve one year until Christmas Day the next so it’s not purely about Christmas.

Thank you to everyone who has reviewed or rated this book, especially as they’re predominantly positive.

My only 1-star review is from someone who couldn’t download it onto her Kindle. This isn’t actually anything to do with the author and is an issue Amazon could easily resolve but it’s one of those things and at least somebody looking at it could dismiss that particular review if they are influenced by looking at negative reviews.

I do have some readers who didn’t gel with the book or the character and that’s always going to be the case as we don’t all like the same thing. However, I’m delighted that 93% of readers who commented loved it.

Here’s the blurb to whet your appetite:

Everyone is getting into the festive spirit on Castle Street – snow is falling, fairy lights are glistening and Christmas shopping is underway.

But for Tara Porter, owner of thriving cafe, The Chocolate Pot, this is the most difficult time of the year. From the outside, Tara is a successful businesswoman and pillar of the community. Behind closed doors, she is lonely. 

With a lifetime of secrets weighing on her shoulders, she has retreated from all friends, family and romance, and shut her real self away from the world. Afterall, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. She’s learnt that the hard way.

But as the weight of her past becomes heavier and an unexpected new neighbour moves onto the street – threatening the future of her cafe – Tara begins to realise that maybe it’s time to finally let people back in and confront her history. It could just change her life forever…

It’s available as an eBook for Apple, Kindle and Kobo, in large print format, paperback, physical audio, audio download and via streaming services. In the next couple of months, it will also be available as a hardback. You can get the eBook on Kindle here.

Here’s some quotes from 5-star reviews:

Thank you again to everyone for helping Starry Skies at the Chocolate Pot Café reach this fabulous milestone. It makes me soooo happy! And thank you to my amazing editor, Nia, and the team at Boldwood Books for making this possible.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Celebrating Publication Day for Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

All You Need Is Love Bank Holiday Bundle

It’s my birthday today but I’m the one giving away the gifts along with my fabulous publisher Boldwood Books. This bank holiday weekend we’re offering a bear-themed bundle consisting of:

  • A signed copy of the paperback of All You Need Is Love
  • A gorgeous Ed the Bear Doodlepad (Paperchase)
  • A trio of bear-themed body washes (Cath Kidston)

This is happening over on Twitter and, to enter, you need to go to Boldwood’s Twitter feed – @BoldwoodBooks – and find the competition announcement. It’s the Pinned Tweet so not tricky to find. Then follow the instructions on there. There’s a link to the full T&Cs but you can also find them here.

I have shared this on my Twitter feed but please ensure it’s the ORIGINAL Boldwood post you’re RT’ing and not mine.

The competition is only running across this May Day Bank Holiday weekend so act fast!

Good luck xx

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Making Wishes at Bay View makes wishes come true

The first book in my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series, Making Wishes at Bay View, has reached a huge ratings/reviews milestone on Amazon today, passing the 1,000 point. Woo hoo!

This is the sixth of my books to pass the 1k milestone, joining Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow, New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow, The Secret to Happiness, Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes and Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café. and I still have to pinch myself that this has happened.

Before I joined Boldwood Books, this particular book had somewhere in the region of 30-40 reviews on it and none of my books had reached the 100 point, never mind 1,000!

I’m so chuffed that they’re mainly positive too. Thank you to all the readers and bloggers who have taken the time to share the book love and to pass on their recommendations to friends and family. It makes such a difference.

I’m now watching the remaining books in the series. They’re all way past the 700 point with which I’m delighted.

It looks as though Coming Home to Seashell Cottage – the final book in the series – will make it to 1,000 first. I love all the books for different reasons but this is my personal favourite as I love the many twists and turns in the story. I’m not sure whether it has the most reviews out of the remaining three because more readers loved it or because not all readers have reviewed the previous books, instead rating book 4 with their thoughts on the whole series. Whatever the case, this is a very happy sight…

Thank you again for helping Making Wishes at Bay View achieve this amazing milestone today.

Have a fabulous week.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

I’ve reached the end of my indie era

When I secured a 3-book publishing deal with So Vain Books in September 2014, I was elated. Six months later, that contract extended to include a prequel novella. So exciting! My star was going to rise and my publishing dreams were going to come true.

Not really.

Two years later, my dreams were in tatters and my star was in a locked box at the bottom of the North Sea. With my publisher about to cease trading imminently, I secured my rights back and was back to square one. It was over and, with less than 2,500 sales across all four titles, it hadn’t quite been the success I’d hoped.

It had taken me one year and twenty-three rejections to get my publishing deal and another nine months to get my first book out there. Although trying to secure another publishing deal seemed the logical route, I couldn’t risk losing what little momentum I had by taking the time to try to do so. Besides, I didn’t have anything new written so I’d have been going out with the same trilogy and novella that So Vain Books had published and I wasn’t sure how well that would be received.

I hadn’t set the publishing world alight with my chart positions or sales volumes but I did have very good reviews. It seemed that hardly anyone discovered my books but those who did loved them. With that encouragement, my husband knocked together temporary covers and I re-issued the four books as an independent (indie) author in the autumn of 2016.

Indie publishing (or self-publishing) is not an easy route. It’s an amazing route to market for so many different circumstances – struggling to find a traditional publishing deal, not wanting a traditional deal, writing something niche, wanting control of decisions to name just a few reasons a writer might choose this route – but it is heaving with other indies. To stand out and achieve success, a lot of time and money needs to go into promotional activities and this can be a massive challenge if you’re not writing full-time and/or don’t have the money to invest. Both applied to me.

We knew the covers looked a bit ‘home-made’ because they’d been a rush-job to get my books back out there so I asked hubby to re-do them hoping fresh covers would have a positive impact. They didn’t.

I toyed with changing the titles but I knew that, like the covers, the problem was visibility. I didn’t have the know-how (or the money or the time) to get my books out there to a wider audience so the reality was that I could change everything about them and it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference.

I had hoped that bringing new books out would gain momentum. I did have a flurry of success with my first two Christmas books in 2017 but the level of sales and the chart positions were still nothing to write home about and they dipped off in the spring.

I paid to go on blog tours which brought me some brilliant exposure and some new fans in the blogging community but didn’t translate into sales. I even won several Chill With A Book awards including book of the month several times, cover of the month and book of the year 2019 for Dreaming About Daran. But it still didn’t translate into sales.

In 2018, completely disillusioned by lack of sales but too swamped down with the day job to invest the time in improving things, I concluded that the indie route was not for me. Several author friends were enjoying great success as indies and it was inspiring to see them doing so well… but it hadn’t hit the mark for me and I was starting to question whether I was kidding myself that I could even write!

I decided to try for a publishing deal again with a new novel I’d written and the potential to open up conversations about taking on my backlist.

A typical fortnight of sales as an indie. Some months would be much worse

Securing a publishing deal with Boldwood Books in spring 2019 is the best thing that could ever have happened to me. I had nine books in my backlist at that point and Boldwood offered me a deal for four brand new books and five from my backlist (although that was really six titles as I’d written a sequel to the original novella and the two would be combined to make one full-length novel released through Boldwood).

This contract turned me into a hybrid author where I had a traditional publishing deal but I also had self-published titles available.

My debut with Boldwood was The Secret to Happiness – the book that secured me the publishing deal. It was released first followed by the re-issue of my original ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series, re-edited and re-titled. Making Wishes at Bay View was the combined Raving About Rhys and Callie’s Christmas Wish. New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms replaced Searching for Steven. Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove was the new title for Getting Over Gary, and Dreaming About Daran became Coming Home to Seashell Cottage.

I later signed contract addendums for the final three books in my backlist which Boldwood have been steadily re-releasing over the past year with new titles (except Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes which kept the same title), new covers and a fresh edit. Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café became Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café and Bear With Me became All You Need Is Love.

None of the edits have fundamentally changed the stories; they’ve just updated aspects such as technology, removed extraneous detail and added in more emotion at times, and have generally resulted in a more polished manuscript and smoother story. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with my amazing editor, Nia Beynon, from whom I have learned so much. Her input has definitely improved my writing.

I am currently working on the edits for the very final book in my backlist to be re-released: the story formerly known as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop. At the weekend, I took the indie version of this book down from sale ready to get the new title, cover and blurb up for pre-order this week (watch this space for the reveal!)

Each time I unpublished one of the other titles in my backlist, I thought nothing of it but when I took Charlee down on Saturday, it felt like quite a poignant moment. As I watched the final of nine titles on my author dashboard (the behind the scenes place where indie authors upload their books, load blurbs and covers and keep a track of sales) turn to ‘unpublished’ it struck me that I wasn’t just unpublishing another title; I was saying goodbye to being an indie author. Even though I struggled to make sales, I was indie for 4.5 years. I’ve had lots of jobs that haven’t lasted that long! It is the end of an era and that feels a little strange.

Although I didn’t have a great start with my first publisher and being an indie was exceptionally tough, I learned so much through those experiences. I learned about the type of author I am, which parts of the publishing process I’m good at (and not so good at), and I’ve appreciated all the amazing things Boldwood have done for me all the more because I know what it means to feel so far away from anything resembling success as an author.

I will be forever grateful that the publishing world has evolved so much over the years that there is an indie route available and that, even those my sales were limited, I still had sales. People who weren’t friends or family members discovered my writing and some of those readers are still with me today although they now sit alongside an amazing group of new readers who’ve discovered my stories thanks to Boldwood.

Indie wasn’t for me but it did help make me the author I am today and I’m glad I experienced it. So, goodbye to being an indie. Will I ever try that route again? Who knows?! I’ve just submitted the first book on another twelve-book contract with Boldwood, releasing four books a year over the next three years. I’m due back the edits on that today, after which I’ll start writing the fourth book in the Hedgehog Hollow series and I would hope that I continue to build a readership and write books that my readers and publisher love. But it’s good to know there’s still the indie route there if I didn’t get a third contract or if I wanted to write something different at some point in the future which didn’t fit in with Boldwood’s genres. Given the choice, traditional publishing is my preferred home but I think it helps when I have such a brilliant publisher and such a great relationship with them. I couldn’t imagine home being anywhere else.

Wishing you a fabulous week and thank you so very much for the part you’ve played in supporting my writing journey so far.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Celebrating four amazing milestones this week

This week, I’m celebrating four amazing milestones for reviews/ratings on Amazon.

The Secret to Happiness which was the book that secured me my publishing deal with Boldwood Books, released in September 2019, has reached 1,000 ratings/reviews. Woo hoo! I’m thrilled with that.

But there’s more…

Both Hedgehog Hollow books out so far – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (book 1) and New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow (book 2) have hit a whopping 1,500 ratings/reviews. Eek!

I posted a couple of weeks ago about book 2 surpassing the number of reviews for book 1 and this has continued with New Arrivals hitting 1,500 before Finding Love, despite only being released in January this year compared to July last year for book 1.

This still surprises me and I have to assume that readers are joining the series at book 2 and feeling settled enough with the story that they aren’t going back to book 1.

For those who are loving their visits to Hedgehog Hollow, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow is out on 4th May but available for pre-order now and I’ve just started to write book 4. This doesn’t have a title yet but will be out in January next year.

But it doesn’t end there…

My final milestone is a whopping 2,000 reviews for Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes which was a re-release in August last year, although the title remained the same as before. Oh my goodness! TWO THOUSAND!!!!!

What’s even more special is that these aren’t just huge milestones; they’re milestones full of love for the stories with more than 90% positive reviews/ratings (4 or 5-star) and the majority of them being 5-star.

I’m so grateful to readers and bloggers/reviewers for sharing their kind words and recommending my stories to others. I look at these volumes of reviews and still can’t believe they’re for the characters and plots that I created. I’m so incredibly humbled and thankful xxx

Have a fabulous week.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

A golden day down under and the bears were out climbing

I had a really busy Easter weekend, finishing editing book 13 and a couple of exciting promotions on my books.

The first promotion was a Kindle Goldbox in Australia. This is a special promotion that Amazon Kindle run on a Sunday. The author needs to have at least six titles with the same publisher and they need to have been at £2.99 or more (or the overseas equivalent) for at least two months. If accepted for a Goldbox, the price will drop to 99p for a 24-hour period and Amazon will heavily promote the deal.

I’d noticed this in the UK charts for the first time last year but didn’t know why. I spotted that all the books in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series were in the Top 50 and I wondered whether it might have been the anniversary of author Douglas Adams’s birthday or death but it wasn’t. I noticed the same happening for other authors over subsequent Sundays and discovered from my publisher about the Goldbox promotion.

On Sunday, eight of my titles went on a Goldbox promotion in Australia and I can’t thank the readers in Australia enough for responding so positively to the deal and delivering these amazing results:

  • #10 for The Secret to Happiness
  • 3 x other titles in the Top 50 (New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove and New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow)
  • 3 x more Top 100 titles (Making Wishes at Bay View, Coming Home to Seashell Cottage and Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café)
  • #1 Best seller Tags on all the books

And what was even more amazing was all seven of these titles were in the Kindle Top 100 at the same time!

The only title that didn’t make it into the Top 100 was Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes which wasn’t really a surprise considering it’s a long way from Christmas (even Australia’s Christmas in July celebrations). It still did me proud with a #149 position. (For some reason, I don’t seem to have a screenshot of it but I do have one of the Movers & Shakers chart showing the jump up the chart).

It was tricky keeping watch of the promo due to the time difference so I confess I got very little sleep on Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Then around mid-afternoon GMT on Sunday, it was the turn of the bears. All You Need Is Love (set partially in a specialist teddy bear shop, hence the reference to the bears) was on a BookBub promotion in the UK, Canada and Australia. This is where an email goes out to thousands of subscribers alerting them to books on offer. The bears climbed up the chart to #45 in Australia, #81 in Canada and #127 in the UK. Well done those bears!

I got very little sleep on Sunday night/Monday morning keeping my eye on that promotion too! Soooo sleepy now.

The Goldbox offer has ended but there is still a discount on All You Need Is Love so not too late to bag a 99p (or overseas equivalent) bargain. The first two Hedgehog Hollow books are also discounted just now.

A huge thanks to my amazing publisher, Boldwood Books, for making this possible and achieving yet another dream that wasn’t even a dream with 7 Top 100 books in Australia at the same time. That feels pretty special.

Hope you have an amazing second week of the Easter holidays.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Amazing Kindle Deals in Australia TODAY ONLY

Happy Easter everyone!

Down in Australia, the Easter bunny is delivering a fabulous basket of treats for Kindle readers because a whopping eight of my ebooks … yes, EIGHT of them … are on a very special offer for ONE DAY ONLY.

The four titles in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Series, one of my Hedgehog Hollow books, and three more of my Whitsborough Bay books are all reduced to the ridiculously low price of $0.99 for SUNDAY 4th APRIL ONLY:

  • Making Wishes at Bay View (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 1)
  • New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 2)
  • Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 3)
  • Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 4)
  • The Secret to Happiness
  • Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes
  • Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café
  • New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow (Hedgehog Hollow book 2)

And All You Need Is Love and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (book 1 in the Hedgehog Hollow series) are both only $1.89 on offer at the moment too.

So you can get all ten of my Boldwood Books releases for only $11.70!!!

You can find my Amazon Australia books here.

The only book not on offer is Charlee and the Chocolate Shop because that’s due an edit and re-release from Boldwood Books in July so I’d encourage waiting until then to read the fresh version.

Happy Easter and happy reading! Please tell your friends and family and I wish you a fabulous Easter weekend.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Reflections on March

I wrote a really long post reflecting on February. This one will be a much shorter one as I’ve been hibernating in my writing and editing cave, but here’s an overview of the month just ended.

I haven’t read much this month. In fact, I’ve only finished one book but it was a fabulous one. It was Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett – an uplifting story of family, community and falling in love, but with some depth … and not just the depths into which the mysterious mermaid plunges. You can find my Goodreads review here.

I haven’t watched much either and no films at all.

I’d been quite excited about the BBC drama Bloodlands last month but reported that husband hadn’t been particularly impressed with the second episode after a promising first one. It went downhill for the next one too but we decided to watch all four hoping it would all come together in an impressive series of twists. I’m sure some viewers will have loved it but the bit we found most interesting was how, in one of the final scenes, there was snow in the hills and then there wasn’t. Twitter was all over this and it seemed the Twitterrati were more impressed by this than the show too. Oh dear.

Line of Duty returned to our screens a couple of weeks ago and the first episode was a disappointing confusion of acronyms and oddness but last week’s episode was really good so we’ve forgiven that and hope it’s a return to top form.

The munchkin and I have made it to the end of season 2 of Castle. I hadn’t realised I’d watched quite so many episodes previously and I’ve definitely seen all of season 1 and 2 before although couldn’t always remember the storyline. The munchkin is hooked.

I’ve written a LOT of words this month and was able to type ‘the end’ on book 13 a couple of days ago which is always a fabulous moment. I took a day off and then went straight into my editing cave where I’ve been for the past couple of days. Just one more day needed to get to the end of the edit then it’s off to my editor for her verdict.

I’ve had such a battle with this story but I’ll do a separate blog post at a later date as to why. I really love the story now but it’s much longer than it should be and I’m struggling to find anywhere to cull it so I’m going to have to leave that to my editor’s expertise.

There have been a few celebrations in March:

  • The munchkin returned to school, albeit only for 3 weeks before breaking up for Easter. It was great for her to get back among friends
  • Husband’s birthday and dog’s 5th birthday
  • Publication of All You Need Is Love. This is my 10th book to be released by Boldwood Books and is the penultimate one from my back catalogue, previously known as Bear With Me. The blog tour went really well
  • All You Need Is Love has reached the Top 300 in the Kindle UK chart with the highest position so far being #258. With it having been previously released, I wasn’t expecting to get quite so high so I’m thrilled with that. It’s on offer at the moment if you haven’t already read it so do grab a bargain!
  • Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow went on a BookBub promotion in the USA and reached #71
  • A book birthday for the final book in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series: Coming Home to Seashell Cottage
  • A lovely surprise today with 7 titles showing #1 Best Seller tags in Kindle UK and Kindle Australia, as well as 4 in Canada and the USA. It’s always a special moment to see several books displaying them

I haven’t been anywhere! I think I’ve only left the house once this month to go on a walk with the husband and dog but I’ve been so snowed under writing, I haven’t had a chance to go anywhere else so nothing exciting to report and no photos to share this month.

So that’s my March round-up and, as you can see, it’s mainly been head-down writing, writing, writing. I’m going to have a busy April with a few exciting promotions coming up, the submission of book 13 and the edits on that back from my editor, and the edits due on Charlee and the Chocolate Shop which is my final backlist book to get the Boldwood treatment.

Hope you’ve had a lovely March and wishing you all the best for a fabulous April.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Thank you to all the reviewers who showed the love for All You Need is Love

Yesterday saw the final stop on my 12-day 36-stop blog tour for my latest release All You Need Is Love and I’m delighted that it was another really successful tour.

Blog tours are such a great way to celebrate the launch of a book. They create a buzz as well as gathering valuable early reviews and, several tours down the line, I still get excited when a new review appears and I can read the verdict (with fingers crossed that it’s a positive one).

I’m delighted to say that the verdict for All You Need Is Love was overwhelmingly positive. Yay! Not all reviewers put a rating on their posts but as a rating is necessary for an Amazon or NetGalley review, I was able to do a little detective work and suss some out. There were only 2 out of the 36 I couldn’t track down. For the remaining 34, there were:

  • 26 x 5-star
  • 1 x 4.5 star
  • 6 x 4-star
  • 1 x 3-star

I think I’d definitely call that a success!

A huge thank you to my amazing publisher Boldwood Books for enabling the tours, particularly Nia and Ellie, and to the fabulous Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources who does such an incredible job of organising and managing the tours.

All You Need Is Love was previously available under the title Bear With Me and had been on a blog tour organised through Rachel when I was an indie author. Therefore, a few bloggers/reviewers who have always been hugely supportive of my writing didn’t participate as this was not a new book to them. It was great to see several familiar faces who’ve discovered my writing since joining Boldwood and a few who were new to my stories.

And thank you too to all of those who’ve spread the word on social media. It’s really appreciated.

This is a story about two people who have loved and lost in very different circumstances and it’s also about a life-changing illness diagnosis. It is emotional and the blurb doesn’t hide that. But, as with all of my stories, it is uplifting and full of hope. Only one reviewer found it too emotional but, thankfully, all the others loved it.

Here’s a handful of my favourite quotes. I could have easily included something from every review as there were so many lovely, kind comments. The bears and I were certainly feeling the love:

“I couldn’t get enough of this beautiful story.  Jessica Redland managed to create a story which accurately reflects the title.  After reading, I genuinely believe that love could be all you need” (Book Escapes With Babs W67)

“This is a powerfully emotive story that tackles some series deep issues, and as much as i love a light hearted seaside read this is so much more because of the nature of it… This was a wonderful read that really packs a punch” (AfternoonBookery)

“What Jessica Redland has achieved with this book is extremely clever, she has taken some really heavy and devastating themes but treated them with such care and respect that this is still a feel good novel that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. I don’t think that contemporary women’s romance writers (aka “Chick Lit”) get anywhere near enough credit for being able to pull off books like this” (Louise’s Reading Corner)

“Oh my! What a beautiful emotional love story. I love Jessica Redland stories but this one totally blew me away” (Wendy Reads Books)

“All You Need is Love is a heartbreaking tale of loss and love, of letting go and starting again, and I was totally here for every minute of this enchanting story, even if it did make me cry buckets” (Cara’s Book Boudoir)

“There are plenty of twists and turns… Some moments and experiences will make you tear up, but bear with the book as there is a happy ending… Hope you pick up this book and get a wonderful escape from reality into this gripping story, full of love and hope” (Reading Tonic)

“My Kindle wasn’t glued to my hand but it might as well have been because it went everywhere with me.  I couldn’t bear to miss a single second of this adorable story…. ‘All You Need Is Love’ is superbly written but then to be fair all of Jessica’s books are superbly written… I love the way in which Jessica grabs your attention and draws you into the story. She makes the characters seem so realistic that they seem just as real as you and I and I begin to think of them as friends. Jessica tackles some difficult subjects but she does it in a knid and compassionate way. I kept wanting to leap inside the pages of the book to give various characters a hug. In fact I felt as though I was part of the story and that’s thanks to Jessica’s very vivid and realistic storytelling” (Ginger Book Geek)

“This was such a beautiful, moving story that really captivated me to the very end. The storyline was wonderfully unique, and certainly took us on an emotional rollercoaster as we learn more about the characters and the struggles they have had to face… I have always found Jessica Redland’s writing style completely immersive, and she certainly never fails to make me feel as though I am living the events alongside the characters. A truly engrossing read that I couldn’t recommend highly enough!” (Victoria Wilks Writes)

“I have read and reviewed several books by Jessica Redland but this is my favourite one yet. Not only does it have Jessica Redland’s classic warmth and depth, it has bears… It is one for my forever shelf, and when I get a physical copy, it will be well thumbed with rereads. This emotional romance deals with grief and heartbreak surrounded by bears and is a joy to read. It provided a wonderful relief from lockdown’s loneliness, is highly visual with plenty going on to keep you turning the page. It would make a great film. So, grab your favourite bear to cuddle, a cup of tea and escape to the coast. Just keep your tissues handy” (From Under The Duvet)

“Every feeling the characters go through, was so gripping, honest and real… so many emotional, beautiful moments, that made me forget the hardest bits and I found myself smiling with tears rolling down my face… And the bears added an extra layer of adorability!… I found it an inspirational book about how to dare to look at the future again” (Tizzy’s Book Review)

And I had a couple of gorgeous reviews from reviewers not on the tour so thank you to you too:

“As much as I have really enjoyed reading Jessica’s previous novels, this has to be my favourite by far… I loved how the story develops, there are lots of turns that I never saw coming, I just didn’t want the story to end. I couldn’t and wouldn’t put this book down… This is a story that is relatable and will stay with me for a long time. It is sad and I did cry quite a bit, it made me feel really emotional finishing it which I have never had with a book before. It makes me want to hug my loved ones tighter as you never know what is around the corner” (Echoes in an Empty Room)

“There is something contagiously cosy, welcoming and heartwarming about Redland’s writing. It’s the sort that makes you want to slip into fluffy socks and sip creamy hot chocolate. The sort to entice you into wrapping yourself up in a thick blanket and holding it tight around yourself, feeling comforted in the same way the words comfort the reader. It’s exactly the sort of storytelling I admire and am so very fond of. It washes away the stresses of the day and allows the reader to escape to an entirely different place, a place where the characters feel like friends and the places feel like home” (Becca’s Books)

I’m so delighted with the response and touched by the reaction. This is one of my favourite stories of all the ones I’ve written so it feels extra special knowing it has found a way into readers’ hearts too.

All You Need Is Love entered the Top 500 on the UK Kindle Chart a couple of days ago which was a thrill too. Because a lot of readers had already bought and read this as Bear With Me, I wasn’t sure it would make it inside the Top 1,000 so to get to #417 was quite unexpected. It will be interesting to see if those bears can climb a bit higher!

Thank you again to everyone who has shown the love for All You Need Is Love. I’m so very grateful.

If you’d like to discover this story for yourself, it is available as an eBook for Apple, Kindle and Kobo, paperback, hard back, large print, audio download, physical audio, audio via uLibrary if your library subscribes to that service, and should 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.