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Custom Google Map of Amanda Cadabra cozy paranormal mystery series locations

On Tour – Amanda’s World Google Map

Dear Readers,

As promised last time, here is the launch of something new for Amanda’s world, that I think you may enjoy playing with as much I did in the making of it.

The Idea

Custom Google Maps for books? I was intrigued by the recommendation in a newsletter from my favourite promoters, Books Go Social. It was probably a lonContainer of map pins on a map of Europe with an orange pin in Londong and complicated procedure, I considered, but was too intrigued to let it drop entirely. Then, during the watches of the night, the impulse came. It was Time.

Following the excellent instructions by Jennifer S Alderson, I crafted away, adding pins, first to the obvious places, like Amanda’s village of Sunken Madley, ‘lay 13 miles to the north of the Houses of Parliament, and three miles south of the border of Hertfordshire., and Parhayle, home to Detective Inspector Thomas Trelawney. Then, in a flurry of excitement, I set about adding others.

In the Real World?

But wait, how do you put fictional towns and villages on a real life Google Map? Well, if they’re based on real life places then you can. It so happens that Sunken Madley is inspired by Monken Hadley, and Parhayle by the fishing port of Looe in Cornwall. Chief Inspector Michael Hogarth lives in Mornan Bay, in a similar location to  Talland on the coast near Looe. However, Romping-in-the-Heye and Upper Muttring are simply in the vicinity of Sunken Madley rather than being pinpointable hamlets, so they had to take a backseat for this particular outing.

Left panel from Amanda's World custom GooglemPa showing 'Parhayle' text and image of Looe, Cornwall

Nevertheless, for the most part, other locations from Amanda’s world do, in fact, exist in ours.

What You Get

So having added the pins, the fun really began. You’ll see that as a result of joyful finding, editing and linking, each pin has a note about it. Most also have one or two photographs, and nearly all have an excerpt from the relevant book in the series as well as a note about its relevance to the Amanda Cadabra series. There’s even a very small hint from one pin, of the next book to come!

There is just one place that has not been pinpointed because I thought it would be too much of a potential spoiler. I won’t say which book this refers to, but I think if you’ve read it, you’ll know.

How To Play

So here it is, with 4o pins, unveiled for your entertainment. I do hope that you enjoy playing with it as much as I had creating it. You can set it to satellite view, daytime, nighttime, street view. Visit the locations, select streetview to walk around in the shoes of the characters.  Click on the pin, and a little window will come up for you to see the photo and read the excerpt. If there’s more than one photo, you should see an arrow or a number to click on, so you can view the next image.

If, by chance, you detect a place that’s missing and you deem worthy of its rightful dot, I’d be thrilled if you told me. Any suggestions for pins, images, or anything else would be enthusiastically received. It is still a work in progress and I hope to add more pins, photos and even video over time.

Ready to explore? You can either open a new full-page Google map by clicking: Full Size, use the map below or the one in the site map section here

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Book 7, Free-to-read Book 6, and What Next?

So, I hear you ask, this is all very well, but where is the next book in the series? I have been deep in research, typing up notes and conjuring to new scenes.

Free to read from Netgalley: Amanda Cadabra and The Strange Case of Lucy Penlowr by Holly BellIf you, or your cozy mystery fan friends have yet to read book 6 in the series, Amanda Cadabra and The Strange Case of Lucy Penlowr, this month by signing up to Netgalley, you can download it free of charge in return for a review. Although this is mainly a site for publishers, librarians, booksellers and bloggers, you can join as a consumer reviewer, as many enthusiastic readers do. From time to time books for the Amanda Cadabra series have appeared on Netgalley. Often authors and publishers post new work before publication there so it can be a treasure trove of to-be-discovered literary gems.

I have also, as is my wont whenever possible, gone in search of more picturesque villages to delight your eyes and inspire my imagination of dear Sunken Madley. I hope to bring you a taste of that next time.

Happy travels,

Holly

PS If you want to start the series now:
Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

 

stack of books in series, standard paperback and ereader blurred. In foreground large print version. Text: New Large Print in white

Big News – Large Print Comes to The Cozy Series

Dear Readers,

After a year of considering, researching, planning, collaborating and doing, I am delighted to bring you the first in the Amanda Cadabra series in large print. Reactions are likely to range from ‘At last!’ and ‘Great!’ to ‘Er … why?’

All Ages

Recent research has revealed the appeal of large print to be much wider than you might expect. It tempts reluctant readers,Red frames glasses on a wooden post in countryside merging into woman wearing glasses in a library especially school-age and college students. It suits those who wear glasses who, with a slight hike in font size, can read without them, as well as making reading more comfortable for those for whom lenses are a must.

According to allaboutvision.com, ‘About 75% of adults [in the USA] use some sort of vision correction’ whether glasses, contact lenses or both. Children of all ages may need glasses for varying lengths of time. Believe it or not, some people even elect to wear fake glasses as a fashion accessory or because they feel more intelligent in them. I did read it’s supposed to make you look 3 to 5 years younger too!

But I digress. Large print is where it’s at, and as the majority of my lovely readers do find glasses helpful, I have been planning to provide a more visually pleasurable experience.

Size Matters or What’s the Point?

First, something about the journey and how we arrived at the new edition. There is no definitive sheet with a how-to andposter using the words New York to show different fonts what-to for creating your own large print book. Different writers use different strategies. So I began with the basics: font (lettering style) and letter size. Of course, different letter styles are different sizes, as you can see from this poster, but let’s look at the standard fonts you see in books, newspapers and on the internet.

A standard edition book usually has a font 12 – 14 points. A point is a 72th of an inch so in real terms, just for comparison, here is a chart using the famous Times New Roman font.

From 10pt to 22pt Times New Roman

Large print is defined by the American Council for the Blind as 18 – 20 pt; the RNIB here in the UK has it at 16 – 18, with very large print as 20. Generally, the consensus among authors is anything over 16pt.

How to Choose?

In the interests of keeping the size of the book manageable, I decided to follow the lead set by Vellum. This is the top of the range app used for formatting. Punch in large print and you get: 16 point font and a what’s called the trim size of the book: 6.14 × 9.21 inches. The standard sized Amanda Cadabra paperback is 5.25 x 8. So the new large print edition is just over an inch taller, and less than an inch wider. It’s also only very slightly thicker. There are also plenty of standard print size books that are this size, so you probably already have a shelf where it will fit nicely.

In case you’re curious, the point system stems from the days of printing using blocks of metal. The point was the smallest unit of measurement that was — sort of — agreed upon. It was used to measure the size of the actual block on which the letter sat. The best explanation I have come across is here: https://www.quora.com/How-is-font-size-measured.

If you are an author and would like to know the full specs used for the large print edition of Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth, you can find them in a special post written just for you (and the interested reader too, of course).

The Journey

Road running through English countrysideAt first, I thought I could DIY it. Then I discovered that there’s more to large print than just bumping up the size of the font. I took the path as far as frustration allowed until I knew it was time to turn it over to a professional. The search began. It led me, happily, to the virtual door of Graphic Production Artist, Daria Lacy (on Upwork), over on the west coast of the USA. Although living 5000 miles apart, we hit it off instantly.

Daria reformatted the standard paperback to make it look more professional, then created the large print version. She patiently tutored me through any cleaning up I needed to do, and in the procedure for creating and using her new versions as templates for Book 2, Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets. Although involving a bit of a learning curve it was transforming into a joyful experience for me, and having Daria there as a safety net means I can confidently go on to create large print versions of the rest of the series bit by bit.

The Art of Large Print

Finally, there was the cover. Daniel, our wonderful illustrator, was already creating a new one for Book 1, but this was the first larger size cover he’d made. It took a few goes with fine-tuning and proof copies for checking, but at last, the spine lettering was dead centre and the title likewise. The large print version passed Amazon KDP paperback publishing quality control, and now, as I write this, I have the very first printed copy on my desk, all bright and shiny and ready for you, my esteemed readers.

Decisions, Decisions

So, you may be wondering, when are the next 5 books going to be available in large print? There was a choice of two paths:Back view of woman with a red door and a blue door in the background - which to choose? either to wait while the covers for Books 2 and 3 were being redesigned Daniel or to bring out large print versions with the existing covers. Soon Daniel will be going to work on the cover for the next book in the series, Amanda Cadabra 7. So the new Book 2 cover will have to wait for at least a month. And that would be just for Book 2.

In the end, it was some words from our editor Kim that crystalised things for me. It seemed logical that if readers who prefer large print enjoyed Book 1, they wouldn’t mind that much what the cover of the next large print book in the series would look like. Nevertheless, we still want to bring you the best and brightest jackets we can, so new coats for Books 2 and 3 are in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, here, for your entertainment, is the new version of the Book 1 trailer featuring the new covers and the new large print:

Grey gat on left and Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth on ereader, paperback and large print paperback on the right

So … When?

Yes, let’s cut to the chase. I’m now formatting between writing Book 7 and launching the first book in large print, so I can’t give you a date but will keep you in the loop here and on Facebook. The main thing is that as many readers as possible will have the opportunity to try the series on the for size with Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth.

Next time, I’ll be launching something new for Amanda’s world, that you might enjoy playing with. It was immense fun to create. I think you’ll like it.

Happy Midsummer!
Holly


PS If you want to start the series now:
Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Large Print Settings for Amanda Cadabra

Dear Fellow Authors and Interested Readers,

Having decided to created large print editions of the Amanda Cadabra series, I began my research. No once source yielded a complete how-to. In my hunt for an entire formula, I realised that I would have to create my own.

The Numbers

Everything that I eventually needed is included here below. I arrived at these through reading information kindly shared by various authors, and through consultation with my invaluable Graphic Production Artist Daria Lacy, who is an absolute gem. You can find Daria on Upwork if you need professional advice.

Following Vellum, (the top end app for formatting books) the trim size is 9.14 x 6.21 inches
Font: Adobe Garamond Pro 16pt

Leading (space between lines) 19.2pt

Margins

Top: 0.6 inches

This allows space for the running header (image) So if you don’t have one then this margin can be smaller

Bottom: 0.6 inches  Leaving space for page numbers

Right (outside) : 0.4 inches
Left (inside): 0.7 inches

Gutter: 0.1667 inch (the space allowed for binding the pages together)

All words are in large print including Opening Quotation, Table of Contents, map, glossary.

Just Be Aware

If you are publishing through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, then for 9.14 x 6.21 inches they only do black print on a white background for expanded distribution, rather than a cream one. (Expanded distribution means making the book available for retailers and libraries to buy. ) My standard print books are black print on cream paper for ease of reading. However, for the extra space over 9 x 6, I chose the 9.14 x 6.21 option for large print to reduce the number of pages.

How Much Extra?

Standard print 8 x 5.25 inches: Number of pages:292
Large print 9.14 x 6.21 inches: Number of pages:355

Extra 63 pages. 21.5% increase.

As you can see it’s not that much of an increase if you opt for a slightly larger trim size.

Do feel free to contact me if you’d like any extra information that I might be able to give you.

Wishing you all the best with your large print project,

Holly


PS If you want to start the series now:
Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

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