The one where Daran is the Chill With A Book ‘Book of the Year’

Untitled-3I had some amazing news today. The final book in my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series, Dreaming About Daran, won the Chill With A Book Awards ‘Book of the Year’ for 2019. These Awards recognise the best reads from indie authors and independent publishers.

Each book entered into the Awards is read by several readers who rate it against several questions:

  • Were the characters strong and engaging?
  • Was the book well written?
  • Did the story / plot have you turning the page to find out what happened next?
  • Was the ending satisfying?
  • Would you recommend to someone who reads this kind of story?

If the book meets the criteria, then they could win a Readers’ Award for the month. Those classed as really exceptional may be awarded a Premier Readers’ Award.

In May 2018, Bear With Me won a Readers’ Award and the Book Cover of the Month. In February, Searching for Steven won a Readers’ Award, in March Getting Over Gary won a Readers’ Award and the Book Cover of the Month and then, in May, Dreaming About Daran won a Premier Readers’ Award.

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With 51 books (including Steven and Gary) winning Readers’ Awards across 2019 and 28 (including Daran) winning Premier Awards, I thought there was no chance of Daran getting the Book of the Year but he did. I’m so proud of my boy! What a wonderful way to start 2020!

I absolutely love Dreaming About Daran. It’s my favourite book in the series and I was really pleased with the way it came together and concluded the threads so it’s so thrilling to be selected as the best book that the reader group read last year.

I cracked open the Christmas Maltesers Truffles to celebrate earlier today! I’d like to say I’ve celebrated this evening too but I’ve been taking down the Christmas decorations so that I can focus on editing all weekend.

Thank you so much to Pauline Barclay who runs these amazing Awards, supporting and promoting the best in independent authors and independent publishers and, of course, all the readers who made this possible. Woo hoo!

Dreaming About Daran NEW COVERHere’s the blurb:

Where do you go when it’s your own past you’re running from?

Sometimes, you can run from the past, but you can’t hide. Since the age of sixteen, Clare O’Connell has lived her life by four strict rules:
1. Don’t talk about Ireland
2. Don’t think about Ireland
3. Don’t go to Ireland
4. Don’t let anyone in

And so far, it’s worked well. She’s got a great career, some amazing friends, and she’s really happy. The future’s all that counts, isn’t it?

When her boss insists she travels to Ireland to repair a damaged relationship with a key client. Clare finds herself drawn back to the village of Ballykielty where she comes face to face with the one person she’d hoped never, ever to see again.

With the door to her past now wide open, the first three rules have gone out of the window. Can Clare stick to rule number four?

Making Wishes at Bay View

My fabulous publisher, Boldwood Books, are re-releasing the series in the first quarter of this year, re-edited, with new titles and fresh covers. Making Wishes at Bay View will be out on 14th February, replacing Raving About Rhys (a novella) and Callie’s Christmas Wish (a short novel following on from the novella).

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms is the new title for Searching for Steven and comes out on 20th February along with Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove which is the new title for Getting Over Gary. 

Then, on 17th March, Dreaming About Daran will be revamped and re-issued as Coming Home to Seashell Cottage. I hope to share the covers for books 2-4 very soon so watch this space.

You can read all about the Chill With a Book awards here: http://www.chillwithabook.com

Pauline is always on the look out for new readers so if you’re a prolific reader, you might want to consider being part of the Awards.

Jessica xx

 

The one where I look back at May

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May started with my birthday, quite literally, as my birthday is 1st May. I don’t fuss too much about my birthday. In fact, most years, I can’t actually remember what age I am and have to work it out! I try not to do any day job work on my birthday and my preferred way to spend it is to write but I had lots of bits and bobs to sort out so didn’t get much writing done this year.IMG_6137

I did go out for a lovely meal with my daughter and husband on the evening, though.  I might have had some pudding. Nom nom.

IMG_6162Age has caught up with me and, for the first time ever, I now need glasses. Always one for bright colours (as you can see from the striped t-shirt), I opted for red frames and I love them. They’re only for close-up reading but it makes such a difference, especially when reading something on my phone. I hadn’t realised that my phone was actually blurred until I’ve looked at it through my new glasses and realised how sharp the words should be. I struggle to remember to put them on all the time, though, so I think that might take some adjusting to. Speaking of ageing, I found a white hair in my eyebrow. What’s that all about? Seriously unimpressed!

UntitledMay was another award-winning month with Dreaming About Daran, the final book in my Welcome to Whitsborough Bay trilogy, also receiving a Chill With A Book Readers’ Award. However, Daran just edged it over Searching for Steven and Getting Over Gary by receiving a Chill With A Book PREMIER Readers’ Award. This is given to books which receive “exceptional high evaluations from Chill readers.” It’s my favourite of the trilogy and one of my favourites of all my books so I was really thrilled by this.

60008898_2418952231667471_1873362763401658368_nMy fellow Yorkshire Rose Writer and good friend, Sharon Booth, and I attended the 2nd part of a social media workshop for authors in York run by the lovely Anita Chapman from NeetsMarketing. It was good to catch up with some of the authors from the part 1 in May last year and really great to have another of our Write Romantic friends, Rachael Thomas, join us on the course. Unfortunately I’d booked set train tickets before I knew Rachael was going or I could have stayed behind for a drink and a chat with her.

IMG_6153Sharon and I had another catch-up a couple of weeks later and, as usual, were the last ones in the café we frequent. They’re always really polite and we never stay beyond the official closing time, but we do feel a bit guilty for being there so late so we’re trying a pub next time where this won’t be an issue.

I was thrilled with the grade I received for my 4thassignment on the final year of my MA in Creative Writing. This involved 2k words of fiction, a submission letter to an agent or publisher and a synopsis of the fiction we’re producing for our final assignment. I hoped for a high mark as I didn’t think there was too much I could get wrong in a submission letter although writing a synopsis for a novel I’ve not written any words for yet was a bit of a challenge! I worked hard on the assignment and was rewarded with a high distinction of 94% which is my best mark yet. My previous assignment grade was a little disappointing, scoring just below the distinction barrier and I was beginning to think that I’d have no chance of securing a distinction at the end but the latest grade has made me a little more hopeful that it may be within my grasp.

IMG_6193I’ve done very little in the way of writing this month. I’ve done some final editing on my next book and have penned a couple of chapters on the one after but nothing significant. That’s mainly because I needed to get on top of the day job before I went away for holiday over half-term. We went to a resort called Albufeira onThe Algarve. 

It was our first time in Portugal and we loved it. It was a very relaxing holiday although the temperatures got a little hot for my liking halfway through (when they hit 37 degrees). I don’t tan very well, tending to get a heat-rash halfway through a week away, no matter how high a sun DSC00320cream factor I use so I’ve returned sporting a slightly darker shade of ‘pale and pasty’.

Our self-catering apartment complex was lovely (see picture above). We were the room just above the pool bar at the end of the photo which was ideally situated to be close to the pool but not right next to it.

DSC00310My favourite day out was a jet boat trip along the coast, visiting various caves and then an hour dolphin-searching. Sadly we didn’t see dolphins but it was still a fabulous trip and the marina was gorgeous with colourful apartments overlooking it.

I took my laptop with me but didn’t do any writing, even on my last day when I needed to stay indoors because my heat-rash was so itchy. I was tempted to spend the day writing but decided to DSC00294use the downtime to read instead. Although this boat could have given inspiration for a thriller. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black boat before. Talk about looking like an evil villain’s boat! Mwah ha ha ha!

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June promises to be another very busy month. I have another MA assignment due, significant progress needed on my current WIP, a family wedding, a gig, the munchkin in a show at the YMCA, and a trip to York with my mum and sisters-in-law on my side of the family. And June will start with some very exciting news which I can’t wait to share so watch this space.

Have a great June.

Jessica xx

The one where I blush as another award comes my way!

What’s this? Three blog posts in the space of a week? Goodness, me, that’s unknown!

I promise this is only a short one. I’m delighted to say that the final part of my Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series, Dreaming About Daran, has just won a Chill With A Book Readers’ Award too! And not just that, but he’s won a PREMIER award which is for “exceptional high evaluations from Chill readers”. Wow! Just wow!

See here for the announcement on Chill’s website.

My boys have done me so proud. I know you shouldn’t have favourites so, shhh, but Daran is my favourite of the series. Congratulations Daran and thank you to Pauline and all the Chill Readers. I’m ever so grateful.

Jessica xx

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If you’d like to know more, here’s the blurbs for all the books in the trilogy and the buying links:

Searching for Steven (winner of Chill With A Book Readers’ Award)

What if you already know your future… but not the path to take you there?

Searching for Steven NEW COVERWhen Sarah Peterson accepts her Auntie Kay’s unexpected offer to take over her florist’s shop, she’s prepared for a change of job, home and lifestyle. What she isn’t prepared for is the discovery of a scarily accurate clairvoyant reading that’s been missing for twelve years. All her predictions have come true, except one: she’s about to meet the man of her dreams. Oh, and his name is Steven.

Suddenly Stevens are everywhere. Could it be the window cleaner, the rep, the manager of the coffee shop, or any of the men she’s met online? On top of that, she finds herself quite attracted to a handsome web designer, but his name isn’t even Steven…

During this unusual search, will Sarah find her destiny?

You can download Searching for Steven here.

Getting Over Gary (winner of Chill With A Book Readers’ Award and Cover of the Month Award)

How do you move on when life keeps throwing surprises at you?

Getting Over Gary NEW COVERElise married her childhood sweetheart, Gary, straight out of college, and they’ve been happy together for over twelve years. Elise is now desperate to start a family, but Gary doesn’t seem to share her enthusiasm anymore. Arriving home early from a party, she discovers why: Gary’s been keeping a secret from her. A very big secret.

While her own marriage appears to be falling apart, being a supportive bridesmaid for her best friend, Sarah, isn’t easy. Especially not when Clare, her nemesis from day one, is one of the other bridesmaids. If she’s going to get through it, she needs to put her own feelings aside, find herself again, and get over Gary, fast.

Could recently-divorced Daniel be the tonic Elise needs, or is he full of secrets and lies too? Is his hostile, but strangely attractive brother, Michael, the genuine article instead? And why do the good guys like Stevie turn her down?

But then Elise discovers she has a secret of her own and getting over Gary suddenly becomes the least of her worries…

You can download Getting Over Gary here.

Dreaming About Daran (winner of Chill With A Book PREMIER Readers’ Award)

Where do you go when it’s your own past you’re running from?

Dreaming About Daran NEW COVERSometimes, you can run from the past, but you can’t hide. Since the age of sixteen, Clare O’Connell has lived her life by four strict rules:

  1. Don’t talk about Ireland
  2. Don’t think about Ireland
  3. Don’t go to Ireland
  4. Don’t let anyone in

And so far, it’s worked well. She’s got a great career, some amazing friends, and she’s really happy. The future’s all that counts, isn’t it?

When her boss insists she travels to Ireland to repair a damaged relationship with a key client. Clare finds herself drawn back to the village of Ballykielty where she comes face to face with the one person she’d hoped never, ever to see again.

With the door to her past now wide open, the first three rules have gone out of the window. Can Clare stick to rule number four?

You can download Dreaming About Daran here.