The one where you can win a chance to name a hedgehog in my next book

This week, Boldwood Books announced a fabulous competition we’re running on social media.

What’s the prize?

  • A chance to name a hedgehog in the second book in my Hedgehog Hollow series
  • The paperback of the second book in the series in which you’ve named the hedgehog
  • A gorgeous Wrendale Designs hedgehog bookmark – ‘Awakening’

Hedgehog Hollow Competition Twitter

How do you win?

  • Follow Book & Tonic on Facebook and/or @BoldwoodBooks on Twitter and share/retweet the competition post. On Twitter, this is the pinned post at the time of writing
  • Sign up to my newsletter by 30th August 2020. You can do this following this link: http://bit.ly/JessicaRedlandNewsletter
  • Anyone already signed up to my newsletter will also be included in the draw
  • A winner will randomly be drawn and announced on 31st August and that person will then be asked to name a hedgehog and will win the goodies

 

Screenshot 2020-08-19 at 10.36.07What if I win?

Boldwood Books will ask you for your chosen hedgehog name. It might be that you want to name him/her after yourself, a friend or family member. It might be that you choose the name of a family pet. Or you might get creative.

There are a few suggestions we won’t be able to accept:

  • Any swear words/racism/sexism or anything along those lines that is inappropriate
  • A hedgehog name that is already used in the first book – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – but there are only six names used: Spike, Spikette, Sonic, Mrs Tiggywinkle, Mr Snuffles and Quilly
  • A name that matches any of the characters in the first or second book as it would be confusing to have a person and a hedgehog with the same name!

I’m editing this book at the moment and have a part of the story saved where I will slot in the name of the chosen hedgehog so I can’t wait to hear what’s picked.

We have a name for the second (and third) book but they’re being kept under wraps for the moment. The cover for book 2 should be revealed next month but the editing process will be ongoing so the book won’t actually be ready for print for some time yet but a copy will be put aside with your name on it (and your hedgehog’s name in it!) as soon as it is.

You can read the full T&Cs here: https://www.boldwoodbooks.com/competition-terms-conditions/

Good luck!

Big hugs

Jessica xx

 

 

The one where it’s a double publication day

Jessica Redland FB CoverI’m very excited today because it’s not just publication day, it’s DOUBLE PUBLICATION DAY!!! Woo hoo!!!!!

The second and third books in my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series are both released today following on from book 1’s January release: Making Wishes at Bay View.

This is NOT a new series but, instead, a refresh/re-edit/re-package of an existing series. As I explained with Making Wishes at Bay View, this could mean:

  • Some superfluous detail has been removed to tighten a scene
  • Some additional detail has been added to extend a scene
  • Tweaks to the flow of a conversation
  • Slight adjustments to the way a character reacts to something
  • A couple of removed scenes
  • A couple of new scenes

But let me look at this in relation to each book.

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, book 2 in the series, replaces Searching for Steven. New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms CoverOut of the four books, this one has been given the biggest refresh. The story is still exactly the same, as are the characters, but this was the very first book I wrote and my writing has developed since then. I wrote it between 2003 and 2013 and it was first published in 2015 but, when I came to read it again, I could tell it was my debut by the way some of my sentences were structured, for example, so those parts have been tweaked.

The main adjustments are:

Updating of technology – It’s amazing how much can change in a short space of time, quickly dating technology in a book. References to internet dating have changed to online dating and talking about Apps. Conversations on email have become conversations via Messenger or WhatsApp and I had to massively re-think a couple of issues caused by my main character, Sarah, using an old mobile phone and why. Curses on you, rapidly-advancing technology, for ruining perfectly good plot points!

Sarah’s relationship with her mum – It’s clear that Sarah has an amazing relationship with her Auntie Kay yet her mum (with whom she also has a brilliant relationship) was barely mentioned near the start but became quite important later on in the story. There are therefore a couple more scenes involving Sarah and her mum which give clarity to that relationship

Andy – I don’t want to say too much about this and give spoilers away but for anyone familiar with the original version, I’ve cut down the detail about when Sarah and Andy first met as it wasn’t moving the story forward. There’s also a plot point regarding an old university friend, Matt, which has been dropped completely as the reason it was in there was already covered by something else and my editor and I agreed that I didn’t need that double-emphasis. Cryptic or what?

There are loads of subtle tweaks and changes throughout the whole book but these are the changes of substance.

Finding Hope at Lighthouse CoverFinding Hope at Lighthouse Cove, book 3, replaces Getting Over Gary. This was my easiest edit of the four books as very little has changed. I can’t pinpoint anything in particular that has been added in or has been removed. The main focus was more insight into how my main character, Elise, feels in certain situations and tightening up a few scenes here and there.

 

So what does this mean for the reader?

As with Making Wishes at Bay View, it’s completely up to you whether you read these new versions. If you’ve read and loved the series and would love to immerse yourself in the lives of Sarah, Elise and Clare and play ‘spot the difference’, be my guest. The characters and stories are the same, though.

If you’re partway through the series, your understanding won’t be affected at all by switching to the new versions.

And if you’re new, why not start at the beginning and hopefully fall in love with the setting and all the characters?

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove are out on eBook on all platforms now, on paperback, and on audio format from your library if they subscribe to the uLibrary system.

They will be released as audio versions on 17th March when book 4, Coming Home to Seashell Cottage will also be released on that day in all formats.

Thank you so much to the brilliant Boldwood Books for my gorgeous covers and all the editing guidance and support in bringing these two books to re-publication.

Jessica xx

Jessica 4 Covers

Want to know more?

Here’s the buying links and I’ve pasted the blurbs to the whole series below them:

Making Wishes at Bay View

Kindle

Kobo

Audible

Paperback

Also on Apple

 

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms

Kindle

Kobo

Paperback

Also on Apple

 

Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove

Kindle

Kobo

Paperback

Also on Apple

 

Coming Home to Seashell Cottage

Kindle

Kobo

Also on Apple

 

Making Wishes at Bay View (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Book 1)

Never give up on a wish for a happy ever after…

Callie Derbyshire has it all: her dream job as a carer at Bay View, finally she has found the love of her life. Everything is perfect.

Well, almost.

Ex-partners are insistent on stirring up trouble, and Callie’s favourite resident, Ruby, hasn’t been her usual self.

But after discovering the truth about Ruby’s lost love, Callie is determined to give Ruby’s romantic story the happy ending it deserves. After all, it’s never too late to let love in again. Or is it?

 

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Book 2)

Sometimes love can bloom where you least expect it…

For Sarah Peterson, it’s time for change. Coming out of a dead end relationship and having had enough of city life, she just needs to escape and have a fresh start – a new job, a new home and a new lifestyle.

So when her Auntie Kay unexpectedly offers her the opportunity to take over her flower shop, Seaside Blooms, the timing could not be more perfect. She could escape to the beautiful seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, start a new chapter in her life – and learn how to run a business!

But, as she packs up her life in London, she isn’t prepared for the discovery of a clairvoyant reading that’s been missing for twelve years. All of the predictions have come true, except one: she’s about to meet the man of her dreams. Oh, and his name is Steven…

As she prepares for the biggest move of her life, Sarah can’t help but wonder if Seaside Blooms could a new beginning for love too?

A warm, uplifting novel of love, friendship and destiny from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms is a new, revised and updated edition of a novel previously published as Searching For Steven.

 

Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Book 3)

When it feels like everything is against you, sometimes you just need a little bit of hope…

Married to her childhood sweetheart for over twelve years, Elise feels like starting a family is the next natural step. However her husband, Gary, has other ideas…

Suddenly single, Elise is completely heartbroken and struggling to start over on her own. But when she’s enlisted to be bridesmaid to her best friend, Sarah, she has to put on a brave face, put her own feelings aside and find a way to get over Gary. Fast.

So when she meets handsome, recently-divorced, Daniel, she thinks he could be just what she needs. But why can’t she shake the feeling that he must be too good to be true?

Will she ever be able to take that leap and trust again?

An uplifting read of love, loss and finding yourself from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.

This book was previously published as Getting Over Gary

What readers are saying about Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove:

‘This book is a thoroughly entertaining rollercoaster ride full of emotion. One moment I would be laughing, the next reading through eyes blurred with tears, this story really has it all!’

‘For anyone who has or is facing difficulties in life, reading this may give you a strength you never knew you had and that little thing called hope. A truly captivating, highly enjoyable read’

‘Jessica Redland clearly has a knack for writing and is able to successfully hook readers into her story’ Elle’s Book Blog

 

Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Book 4)

For Clare O’Connell, home is where the heart aches…

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, amazing friends, and she’s really happy. The future is all that counts, isn’t it?

However Clare is about to realise that you can run from the past, but you can’t always hide from it…

When her boss insists she travels to Ireland for work, Clare finds herself drawn back to the village of Ballykielty – the home of her family, and the home of her secrets. The one place where vowed never to return to again…

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

Can she be brave and face up to her family and the demons of her past? 

An emotional novel of family, friendship and dealing with your past from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.

 

 

The one where I talk about my lovely London trip

AF1695B8-77D8-4040-AD5B-B9C735098D0A

At the end of last week, I had a very busy and very exciting few days in London. There were so many highlights but I nearly didn’t make it, thanks to our delightful train network.

Hubby dropped me off at Scarborough Train Station on Wednesday morning to catch the train to York where I’d connect to London. I was confronted with this…

IMG_7294

Whilst the new trains are lovely and the staff are delightful and often full of good humour, the actual service run by Transpennine Express is shocking. So many of the journeys I have made lately have been cancelled or running late. Apparently there was no conductor for the service so it was simply cancelled and no alternative provided other than the next train an hour later; far too late to make my connecting train to London.

I’m very lucky in that hubby works from home and I knew he wasn’t working on a deadline so I called him on the car hands-free and he had to turn around and come back to collect me. Our dog was in the car so we had to arrange to drop her off with his parents rather than dragging her to York and back (an hour each way). Just as well we did this because, whilst my London train was thankfully running on time, it took hubby nearly three hours to get home again. There’d been an accident on the main York to Scarborough road and both lanes were shut so there was a massive diversion in place. I actually made it to London fifteen minutes after he got home which is ridiculous.

EJ49BRGWwAAdGAo
Me with my editor, Nia. No idea why I’m leaning like that!

I had a lovely afternoon in London, meeting my editor, Nia, and the CEO and Founder of Boldwood Books, Amanda. I’ve spoken to Nia on the phone several times and have had a Skype conversation with Amanda and Nia but nothing beats meeting them face to face. What a lovely lunch we had, talking about the first few months of The Secret to Happiness being out there, and marketing plans for 2020 and beyond. Every day, I am so very grateful that I submitted to Boldwood and my manuscript was chosen for representation because they really are an absolute joy to work with.

My hotel had a room with a view, ha ha ha! I posted this image showing Fenchurch Street station on Facebook and one of the Write Romantics, Deirdre, really made me laugh by asking “what’s that on the roof – ectoplasm?” Certainly looks like it!

IMG_7300

On Thursday morning, I had a very quick swim, jacuzzi and steam room before wandering over to The Tower of London and Tower Bridge, five minutes’ walk from the hotel.

I’ve been to London many times over the years and this is the second time I’ve been to this area but I don’t think the sights of London will ever bore me. I love all the history amongst the modern. It was a bit chilly by the river, mind.

Usually I find London several degrees warmer than the north but not last week. Brr.

After my walk, I took the tube to Kings Cross to collect my very good friend and fellow Write Romantic, Sharon Booth. I was early but Sharon’s train was running late so that gave me a great excuse to wander around the shops at Kings Cross and the ones at St Pancras over the road. How gorgeous is this Lancome Christmas tree? When you get up close, each light is shining through a bottle of perfume. That’s a heck of a lot of bottles of perfume!

IMG_7329

As well as meeting Boldwood, a massive highlight for me was having seven out of ten of the Write Romantics in the same place at the same time. I think we’ve managed six before so maybe one day all ten of us will get together. (From left-right on the 2nd picture below, it’s Jackie Ladbury, Jo Bartlett, Helen Phifer and Sharon Booth). Helen J Rolfe is in later pictures and I’m afraid I didn’t manage to get a picture with Deirdre Palmer as we weren’t sat together.

IMG_7337

We joined RNA members for a talk with bestselling author, Sophie Kinsella, who has just released another book in her shopaholic series after several years’ break. It was interesting to hear how she became a writer and more about her stories. Sorry about the poor pic but we were on the back row!

I love the Confessions of a Shopaholic film and am looking forward to Can You Keep a Secret? released soon. I’ve read several of Sophie’s books including that one.

After the talk finished, all but one of the Write Romantics gathered in my room for Prosecco and I grabbed a quick drink with them before changing and heading to a drinks reception with Boldwood.

This was an opportunity to see Amanda and Nia again but also a third team member, Megan, who is the Publishing Executive. Several of the Boldwood authors were gathered and it was so wonderful to meet them in person.

(L-R is Beth Moran, Amanda Ridout (BW), Lucy Coleman, Emma Murray, Diane Saxon, Jessica redland, Nia Beynon BW) and Fay Keenan). Megan (BW) was taking the pic.

EJ97YXIWwAELn5W

Next was the RNA’s Winter Party and Industry Awards. I’ve never been to one of the RNA’s London parties so this was a first. I had been looking forward to catching up with a few people I knew on social media but had never actually met but it was busier than I expected and, despite doing a few rounds of the room after the awards ceremony, I couldn’t see them! It doesn’t help that I’m vertically-challenged so trying to spot people in a roomful of people isn’t easy at the best of times but, when the lighting is dim and the room packed, I don’t think I stood much chance.

IMG_7344The highlight of the party for me was seeing two wonderful bloggers – Anne Williams and Rachel Gilbey – being nominated for the Best Blogger Award. Rachel reviewed my very first book and has read everything I’ve written since. I’ve been on several blog tours arranged via her Rachel’s Random Resources role. Anne has been a wonderful supporter of my work too more recently and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her a few times before. Anne won and I was pleased to be able to congratulate both of them and get a photo of them together.

One of the Write Romantics was heading off home soon but the remaining six of us decamped to Pizza Express and had a lovely evening, catching up on all things writing and non-writing. Helen J Rolfe is the one on the right on the 1st image above. And I had to show my pizza because, whilst you may not be able to see, it had potatoes on it. Yes, that’s right, potatoes on a pizza! And it was delicious.

It was pouring when we left but that didn’t stop us getting a couple of photos outside The Four Seasons Hotel.

Isn’t that a lamppost gorgeous? It’s like something out of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I kept expecting Mr Tumnus to appear at any moment!

A huge thank you to everyone who organised the Sophie Kinsella talk and the Winter Party as I know how much time and effort goes into coordinating events like this. Thank you so much to Boldwood for organising the pre-event drinks and to all the Boldwood authors. I’m sorry I didn’t get to chat individually to everyone during our short time together and then for not being able to find you to say goodbye.

My journey home was a bit fraught. I only had six minutes to make my connection in York and we were about 25 minutes late. However, so was my connecting train so I did manage to catch it. One time when I’m grateful for the poor service!

IMG_7295Have an amazing week.

Jessica xx

 

Some useful links:

The Romantic Novelists’ Association

Boldwood Books

Anne Williams’s ‘Being Anne’ Blog  

Rachel Gilbey’s ‘Rachel’s Random Reads’ Blog

 

The Write Romantics’ Amazon Pages (including those not in London):

Jo Bartlett

Sharon Booth

Jackie Ladbury

Deirdre Palmer (also writes as Zara Thorne)

Lynne Pardoe

Helen Phifer

Jessica Redland

Helen J Rolfe

Rachael Thomas

Alys West

 

 

When will it ever be enough? A little poem for you

Followers of this blog will have noticed that I haven’t posted for a very long time. That’s not because I haven’t been blogging, but because I launched a new website a couple of years ago and I blog over there, albeit not nearly as often as I should. My website appears to be poorly, though, and while I’m waiting for it to be fixed at IT Hospital, I thought I’d take to my WordPress site because there’s something I want to say.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m part of a writing collective called The Write Romantics and we celebrated five years together in April. When we formed, a publishing deal was a very distant hope. For some of us, simply fiRaving About Rhys NEW COVERnishing our first book was the more immediate goal and we hadn’t thought much beyond that. Five years later with about 80 books released between us as a combination of indie releases and traditional publishing deals. We share our writing experiences – highs and lows – with each other and one of the things we’ve noticed recently is that we keep shifting the goalposts for ourselves. For example, that book we wanted to write became a book we wanted to have published by a small publisher which became a book that we wanted published by a big publisher. And cracking the top 100k in the Amazon charts became cracking the top 50k, then the top 10k, then … well, I think you get the picture. It can be so easy to keep chasing after the new goals that you forget how far you’ve come.

Yesterday morning, I was thinking about this as I loaded the washing machine (typical Saturday morning exciting task) and a poem started to form with these shifting goalposts in mind and I thought I’d share it…

Never Enough by Jessica Redland

Searching for Steven NEW COVERAll I want is one idea
How difficult could that be?
A plot that has some mileage
That would be enough for me

All I want is to write a book
What an achievement that would be
300 pages, a brand new world
That would be enough for me

All I want is for someone to read it
A friend or family
If they said it was good; that I could write
That would be enough for me

Getting Over Gary NEW COVERAll I want is an eBook publisher
How amazing would that be?
To believe in my story and share my work
That would be enough for me

All I want is to make some sales
Just one, or two, or three
A handful of readers to download to Kindle
That would be enough for me

All I want is some good reviews
How flattering would it be
For strangers to say they love my work?
That would be enough for me

Dreaming About Daran NEW COVERAll I want is to climb the charts
It would make me so happy
To see my ‘baby’ go up and up
That would be enough for me

All I want is a bestseller tag
In some obscure category
That orange flag would scream success
That would be enough for me

All I want is to break the top hundred
I know there’s no guarantee
But then I’d know I’ve got some talent
That would be enough for me

IMG_1212All I want is to be top ten
Can anyone hear my plea?
Side by side with my favourite authors
That would be enough for me

All I want is a number one
I’d barely contain my glee
That coveted slot and all those sales
That would be enough for me

All I want is a paperback
Something I can hold and see
To say “I wrote this”, oh my word
That would be enough for me

Searching for Steven (New Cover Design 3)All I want is to write full time
A lady that lunches? So me!
Full days in my office, creating away
That would be enough for me

All I want is an audio deal
Listening while sipping my tea
Those accents, those sounds, my world brought to life
That would be enough for me

All I want is my books on the shelves
Of a supermarket: big four. Or three
The sales, the success would remove all the stress
That would be enough for me

_MG_4712All I want is a top five publisher
The validation? My pants I would pee!
I’d finally know that I really can write
That would be enough for me

All I want is to make foreign sales
Australia? France? Germany?
Translations galore, the world at my door
That would be enough for me

All I want is the film to be made
The big screen for everyone to see
Amazing reviews, the compliments ooze
That would be enough for me

Charlee and the Chocolate Shop CoverAll I want is an Oscar win
I’d really be top of the tree
Best screenplay? Oh my, I think I would cry
That would be enough for me

All I want is some book two success
And the same for book number three
Doing even better than first out the grid
That would be enough for me

 

All I wanted was one idea
To write a book, just for me
But the goalposts kept changing, my life rearranging
And it’s never enough for me

11163942_10153485965149073_2015482777000081150_nIt’s easy to feel so overwhelmed
When sales aren’t what I’d hoped
And reviews are mean and personal
And very unprovoked
When all the writers that I know
Seem to do so great
And the day job takes priority
So my writing has to wait

 

So it’s back to the start to recapture that feeling
When first I typed “the end”
When someone said, “I loved it!”
Even though they were a friend
Christmas at Carlys Cupcakes CoverWhen I sat at my keyboard and laughed and cried
As my characters found their voices
When the publishing world was unexplored
But filled with exciting choices

The task once seemed impossible:
To write a full-length story
A big fat tick against that goal
I should bask in the glory
That I achieved what many don’t
And repeated it six-fold
I am a writer BECAUSE I WRITE;
Not for how many I’ve sold
I hope you enjoyed it. Granted, I’m no incredible poet (my novels are much better, I promise!) but I thought I’d share this as a reminder for anyone who keeps shifting their own goalposts to remember all the great things you’ve achieved so far – simply writing that first draft being one of them – and enjoy every moment of it instead of constantly reaching for the next goal.

I’m actually in a really good place with my writing at the minute. I’m coming to the end of the first draft of a new full-length novel and I have another shorter one nearly finished. Ideas are forming for a Christmas one and I have other works in progress. I had some successful meetings with editors at the recent RNA conference who are all interested in my latest WIP. Even if it doesn’t lead to anything, it’s been a huge confidence boost.

So, what do you think? Does the poem resonate? Would love to hear your thoughts.

All the best

Jessica xx

If you’re interested in finding out more about my books (or making a sneaky purchase), you can find me on Amazon here.

Trolls aren’t always nasty

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘troll’? Do you revert to your childhood and recall the Three Billy Goats Gruff (Goat’s???) and the troll who lurked under the bridge, waiting to munch on the poor creatures? Or do you think more modern-day and those despicable individuals who hide behind their computers bullying, tormenting, and generally making the lives of others difficult?

When I think of trolls, I don’t think of either of those things. Instead, I think of a very special piece of jewellery: my Trollbeads bracelet.

_MG_3745-Edit

It all started at my launch party for Searching for Steven last June. Some of the guests very generously (and most unexpectedly) brought me cards and gifts. Friends of mine, Carrie and Andrew, gave me a leather Trollbeads strap with a lovely little silver charm consisting of a pile of three books. Very appropriate for a writer. I loved it. The only problem was, my little book charm was a little bit lonely on its own. But Christmas was just around the corner.

When I was looking at the Trollbeads to decide which I might like as a Christmas gift, it struck me that I had the opportunity to build a really special bracelet that related purely to my writing journey.

Andrew’s family own a jewellery shop, but it’s closing down. His parents are retiring and Andrew, Carrie and their children are emigrating to Canada so there are some amazing bargains to be had in Sizer Jewellers. I admit that I might have added a little more than my Christmas beads as I only have until the end of this month to bag a discount, with my most recent addition being the silver bracelet and lock that hubby bought me for Valentine’s Day as I was concerned the weight of all the charms might be a problem for the leather strap.

I have beads that summarise my writing: a teddy bear (I started writing Steven when I owned a teddy bear shop and I’d write in the shop on quiet days, plus I have an ‘Easter Egg’ of a teddy bear appearing in every book as a nod to this), the little pile of books, a glass bead with hearts round it (the purple/pink one above) to symbolise me writing romance, and a shell with a heart on it (next to the purple/pink bead) to represent that my setting is by the sea on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast.

_MG_3735-EditI have a bead (or two) to represent each book. In Steven, Sarah runs a florist shop. The orangey-red glass bead on the left has flowers around it and it’s also the colours of the writing on the cover of the novel. Although you probably can’t quite see it in the photo, there’s a silver charm to the left of it made up of flowers.

My second full-length novel (out on 3rd March) is Getting Over Gary. The colour focus for the cover is green so I have a green glass bead. The main character, Elise, has a lime green Beatle (which is why I went for green on the cover) and I have a lovely Beatle charm too.

_MG_3748-EditI didn’t want to forget about my novella, Raving About Rhys. I confess I couldn’t think of an item that symbolised Rhys like flowers symbolised Steven and a Beatle symbolised Gary but I could still go with the colour scheme. Rhys has purples on the front so I went for a purple glass bead.

My final full-length novel of the trilogy isn’t finished yet and it isn’t out until late summer, but Sizer’s won’t be open then so I’ve sort of pre-empted it. The green glass bead that represents Gary also has links with book 3 (working title: Discovering David). David is Clare’s story and Clare is Irish. The green bead appears to have little shamrocks on it. Perfect. But I would still like something else to represent David. I have something in mind, but the stock at Sizer’s is understandably running low so I’m going to need to look elsewhere for that.

_MG_3746-EditIn a really naughty pre-emptive strike, I have also made a purchase that represents my fourth full-length novel: Bear With Me. It’s a polar bear cuddling a baby polar bear and is perfect for the story I have in mind.

I absolutely love my bracelet and have to thank Carrie, Andrew and family for such a thoughtful generous gift that’s kick-started a lovely memento of my writing career. If you’d like to bag yourself a bargain, you can find Sizer’s website at http://www.sizerjewellers.co.uk but don’t leave it long. Closing date is 29th February.

To any writers out there, do you have a collection that you add to each time you write/launch a book? I’d love to hear about it.

Jessica xx

Putting the Whitby in Whitsborough Bay

Yesterday was a great day for me for two reasons. One was that it was Pancake Day and I just love pancakes. The sight and smell of them takes me back to childhood when my older brother and I used to wolf down pancakes quicker than mum could cook them in an effort to be the one to eat the most. I have butter and sugar on them. Yes, I know there probably couldn’t be much more of an unhealthy topping than that, but if you’re going to pig out, you might as well do it in style! Oink!

IMG_0814The other reason yesterday was a great day was a far more important one. After work, I travelled half an hour up the stunning North Yorkshire Coast to Whitby Library where I attended the final of four talks that I booked through North Yorkshire Libraries last year after the launch of my debut novel, Searching for Steven.

Whilst I don’t get nervous about speaking in front of an audience thanks to years of being a Trainer, there’s always a sense of trepidation as to how many people might actually turn up. And what if nobody does? I was delighted to have an audience of eleven last night, plus library staff.

There’d been a couple of writers in the audience for my very first talk at Scarborough Library last June, but there were several members of the local writing group who attended last night and it was a real treat to have a mix of readers and writers. One of the writers was incredibly supportive. On arrival, she immediately told me that she’d bought a ticket as she loves to hear writers speak, then she’d spotted my book on display so immediately borrowed it, read it, and loved it. Awww. How very kind of her.

IMG_1557I have a standard presentation that I deliver, giving a little bit of background about me (day job, family etc.), why I write under a pseudonym, what got me into writing, where the idea for Steven came from, how I developed the story, the road to publication, and launch day. However, I tweak it every time and am always open to questions. The group had lots of questions ranging from whether I was local, whether I used any software to write on (e.g. Scrivener) and, “What’s the difference between romantic comedy and chick-lit?”

My generous audience then bought six copies of Steven and four copies of Raving About Rhys. This isn’t available to buy as a paperback, but I had a number of copies printed as an exclusive for events such as this.

Whitby was a library I was particularly pleased to speak at because Whitby’s a very special place. I was brought up in a market town about forty minutes inland and north of Whitby and often visited there in my childhood. I have wonderful memories of being there with my late grandparents, of trips into the town as a Guide and Ranger (there’s a Girlguiding House in the nearby village of Egton), and more recently visits with my own family.

P1050480My very first published writing was inspired by Whitby: a short story appearing in the English Heritage anthology Whitby Abbey Pure Inspiration featuring short stories set at or inspired by Whitby Abbey and sold in aid of the Abbey itself.

And, finally, Whitby part of the inspiration for my Whitsborough Bay series of books. Whitsborough Bay is a fictional North Yorkshire seaside town, but it’s pretty much my hometown of Scarborough with a bit of Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay mixed in there (see where I got the name?)

The lovely writer who’d read Steven said she actually pictured Sarah’s shop, Flowers & Gifts, as being a particular florists in Whitby, with other settings in and around the town. I loved the idea that there was enough detail for her to picture the setting but not so much that she couldn’t create her own sense of place.

IMG_1213.JPGA huge thanks need to go to Chrys, Heather, Sharon and all the other staff at North Yorkshire Libraries who’ve organised such professional, welcoming events for me. I felt particularly honoured last night that there was a banner outside announcing the event. Made me feel quite famous and important! Hee hee! Thanks also to Sainsbury’s who provided a couple of raffle prizes and some chocolates which was very kind of them, and The Whitby Gazette who sent a photographer round and who are going to cover the event in the paper. Exciting!

I don’t have any more talks booked in just yet at the libraries, but I’m sure I’ll do more as the year progresses. My next talk is at the Scarborough Writer’s Circle next month which I’m really looking forward to.

Jessica xx

The almost-there novella

1962469_963486923690608_3244973248462974315_o

Happy New Year! I hope you had a fabulous Christmas and New Year. Mine was pretty quiet, but that’s how I wanted it. It’s been a long six months or so, adjusting to a new demanding day job and finishing my second full-length novel. I was also working on a novella for Christmas release, but that plan didn’t quite come off.

CoversBefore Searching for Steven was launched in June, I released a novella called Raving About RhysSet in the same fictional seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, it’s set before Steven although the books can be read in either order

Rhys tells the story of Callie Derbyshire – a minor character from Steven -and how she meets the man she marries at the beginning of Steven (Rhys). It works well as a stand alone story and, although it finishes at a perfect point, I started to think about a follow-up with another novella. This would continue to explore the relationship between Callie and Rhys, but it would also focus on Ruby, a fascinating resident at the care home where Callie works. She was a character I loved developing and she’s someone who readers have clearly warmed to as she’s mentioned a lot during reviews.

The plan was to launch the novella by the middle of November but, as I’d barely put fingers to keyboard by then, that wasn’t going to happen! I put myself under quite a lot of pressure in mid-late November to try and work on it ready for an early November release, but I got an unexpected opportunity to take on some additional work through a very part-time job I have and, financially, it was too good an opportunity to turn down. A week or so of intensive preparation for this on evenings meant that I couldn’t work on the novella and, ultimately, I made the decision that I needed to put my plan on the back burner as I simply wasn’t going to have the time to write it. I didn’t want to rush to write it and end up putting out something that was sub-standard. Better to wait and get it right.

10687284_963487000357267_114805807970703995_oThe plan is still to release another novella following on from Raving About Rhys … just not yet. I need to decide whether I release it at some point between my second and third full-length novels (Getting Over Gary is out on 3rd March but available for pre-order now and the as-yet-untitled book 3 is out in late summer) or whether I make it a Christmas 2016 novella. I need to make this decision sooner rather than later because, of course, a Christmas release means the novella needs to be set at Christmas which will mean different timescales and different events to a none-Christmas release. Hmm.

At the moment, though, my priority is book 3. I’d written a lot of it, but I’d originally written it from three points of view. Then I’d started re-writing it from two POVs. Getting Over Gary was originally written from two POVs and, after a good chat with my publisher and a couple of trusted beta readers, I changed it to one POV just like Steven. Book 3 needs to follow suit so I need to do some significant work on it. It shouldn’t take too long, though, as the bones of the story are there; I just need to add some meat to some of them and remove others.

Screenshot 2015-12-16 18.08.14One of the main reasons I want to release the novella is as an experiment in indie publishing. I have a publishing deal for the trilogy with So Vain Books and I released Rhys through the same publisher as it made sense to do so. At some point this year, I’ll need to make a decision as to what I do next. Do I:

  • Stick with my existing publisher (if they still want me, that is!)
  • Look for a different publisher
  • Look for an agent
  • Go indie?

_MG_6908There are pros and cons with each option and I’m sure I’ll explore these in a future blog post. Releasing a novella myself will give me the chance to experience an indie release, it will show versatility on my writing CV, and it will give the hubby an opportunity to experience the process too. He’s a self-employed typesetter and he laid out the pages for Winter Tales: Stories to Warm Your Heart, the anthology of feel-good stories released by The Write Romantics last winter (and still available this year if you click on the title). He’d like to add indie publishing support to his services and this would give him a great opportunity to demonstrate success at this.

But, for now, it’s back to book 3…

Jessica xx

 

It’s time to start Getting Over Gary

I’m very excited to announce that my second full-length novel, Getting Over Gary, is now available for pre-order on Kindle! (Just click the title to take you straight through to Amazon).

Set in the fictional North Yorkshire seaside town of Whitsborough Bay (a fictional version of Scarborough), this is a sequel to Searching for Steven. Steven was Sarah’s story and introduced her two best friends, Elise and Clare. Gary picks up where Steven left off but is Elise’s story (and book 3 which is out in summer 2016 is Clare’s story).

I’m thrilled to be able to reveal Gary’s cover and would like to thank all the lovely readers who’ve already pre-ordered him. He’ll be on your Kindles on 3rd March 2016.

Screenshot 2015-12-16 18.08.14

Here’s the blurb:

It was supposed to be the perfect fairy-tale. Elise 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…

Have you missed me?

Oh my. Is it really two months since I last posted on my blog? That’s quite shocking. It’s been a crazy busy couple of months. Let’s face it, though, it’s been a crazy busy year … several years … decade. I guess that’s how it is when you have a full time job and try to write as well.

Writing-wise, I feel like I’ve hardly put fingers to keyboard recently although I’ve had a few key moments:
1. I attended another library talk. This one was at Filey Library down the coast from my home in Scarborough. There were 12 attendees plus library staff which was a great turn-out and I sold several copies of ‘Searching for Steven‘ which was a huge bonus

Xmas image

2. I met a lovely new writing friend called Helen Reynolds. Helen is writing a historical series which sounds very exciting. She’s also a social media expert and gave me some great tips and advice

3. I finished my final edits on book 2 of the Whitsborough Bay series – ‘Getting Over Gary’. This was a big thing for me. I’d had very few edits to make for Steven but there were several for Gary including a massive re-think about the way I’d written it. I’d originally told the story from two points of view but it’s now from only one. I fought against changing it at first but am now glad that I have because I think the book is better for it

4. I’ve agreed a revised launch date with my publishers for ‘Getting Over Gary’. Instead of June 2016, it’s going to be launched on 3rd March 2016 with the final book in the trilogy coming out in late summer the same year instead of June 2017 like originally planned. Very exciting. We’re working on the final edits for the cover right now so I’m looking forward to doing a reveal soon

I’ll make this a short one and hopefully find some time for a bit more blogging soon. Thanks for bearing with me xx

Two words. Eight letters. Huge meaning

Thank you. Two little words. Eight letters. But they can make such an incredible difference.

As a child, I was always taught to say please and thank you. I’ve always appreciated the politeness and good manners of using these words, but as I’ve moved through my career, I’ve found that the phrase “thank you” carries another meaning. It’s not just politeness. Instead, it’s a phrase that can make an employee feel valued, motivated, and a crucial part of the team. And the absence of it can have the opposite effect.

1459660_10153764816734073_906436907602077622_nSadly, I’ve worked for far too many managers and in far too many companies where the simple thank you is a phrase rarely uttered and employees – myself included – have been left feeling undervalued, demotivated, and totally worthless. After unexpectedly being made redundant from the day job in June, I was fortunate enough to walk into another role as a recruitment consultant for a local company called Castle. Although I struggled at first because the work was quite different to anything I’ve done before, I’ve now fully settled in and have to say that it’s the most refreshing place I’ve ever worked. Why? Because support, appreciation, and recognition are part of the culture at Castle. So far, I’ve been out for two delicious meals at our quarterly team meetings, I’ve been on a hilarious team-building afternoon followed by another meal to celebrate the team smashing their targets for the first half of the year (and I wasn’t even an employee during that time!), I’ve met my first set of targets and will be rewarded with lunch out and a day’s holiday, and I was voted as employee of the month for September. The result? A very happy, motivated employee who wants to work even harder to thank the company for how they treat me!

Converting this to writing, I’ve picked up another few reviews in the past week bringing my total number of reviews for my debut novel, Searching for Steven up to 54, 45 of which are 5-star and the rest 4-star. I can’t quite believe I have such great reviews. At the end of one of the recent ones, Anon writes: “Many thanks Jessica Redland, I look forward to reading more of your books in the future.” An earlier review from Mrs Rosalyn Leach states: “Some books arrive at just the right time in your life. Searching for Steven did for me. I really enjoyed the journey and the final twist to the story. Thank you Jessica.” Thank you. Those two special words. How amazing that these lovely readers are actually thanking me for writing my novel when it’s me who owes them my thanks for buying Steven, taking the time to review it, and absolutely making my day. The actual words “thank you” appear in other reviews but, even where they don’t, the very act of writing a review is effectively thanking me and it has the exact same affect that my employer has had on me: a happy, motivated author who wants to write more books, with fabulous characters and exciting plots to thank the readers for supporting me.

Two words. Eight letters. But oh so valuable.