17 September, 2023.

Dear Reader,

If I were to ask you if you could name any of the four queens of cozy mystery, I could pretty much guarantee that you’d come up with one. And who that one would be? What makes a cozy mystery a queen? It’s all to do with the Golden Age of detective fiction, as you will now see:

Click link to go go 4 Queens of Cozy

How did you get on? Did you guess the most important one? As it happens, all four have influenced my writing, some more than others, and it’s likely that I’ll be returning to talk about them in more detail.

Q&A & AI

Meanwhile, Kim, my esteemed editor, recently offered me the opportunity to talk to her readers about my eventful experience creating my first audiobook for you. I’ll let you know when that goes live.

Now, I have been playing with . A what? A bot is a computer program that carries out automated, repetitive, pre-defined tasks. Bots typically attempt to imitate human behaviour. I say, ‘attempt’. In this bot’s case, you give it a description, and, like us, it draws on its experience of things it has absorbed to create a new image. The bot I am using draws on pretty much the same image banks as the ones I use.

Is It Evil?

It all depends on how you use it. A knife can prepare food, cause harm or save a life. I have a close friend whose job is teaching an AI bot anatomy so that one day it will be able to perform or assist with operations, perhaps in a remote location or disaster area when a human doctor is unable to be present, for example. With regard to art, designers and artists are already using this tool to rough out ideas, create backgrounds and brainstorm. For people like me, who want to bring you some interesting and pleasing images to go with my letters to you or for trailers or other videos, it is ideal. That’s because it saves us hours, yes, hours, trawling through public domain and stock images. Time we can spend writing new books for you, for instance!


I’ve been engaging with one AI bot (committed to preserving the intellectual property of artists) to bring you some visual evocations of the characters and settings of the novels. This has been proving great fun, as the bot has yet to learn some simple concepts, like humans have two hands, not three or four, and exactly five fingers, not eight.

I wanted to use my new little friend to send Kim, for her Q and A with me, an image of someone recording an audiobook with equipment similar to mine, reading aloud from a paperback. Simple, yes? Simple? No. 

Blonde witch in classroom pointing to a book. Speech bubble: This is a bookPlaying Patience

Unwittingly, I had embarked on a hilarious romp through the possibility of interpretation offered by my instructions. A ‘happy woman recording a voiceover’ brought forth images from the 1940s. ‘Smiling woman reading’ ushered in several iterations of ladies with closed eyes. ‘Slightly smiling’ got them open a little. The bot rendered ‘book’ as ‘script’. I offered ‘paperback book’ and was soon to wish I’d never mentioned ‘paper’. It responded with sheet music, a clipboard with A4 sheets on the back, sheaves of documents, even one held by a convenient third hand. 

Finally, it surprised me by producing an image of a lady with sufficiently open eyes, using current equipment correctly aligned (nothing floating in mid-air), reading from a book stand, facing away from the viewer that we can surmise it holds the novel. It’s not perfect, but I think you’ll enjoy it when you see it. Meanwhile, it’s all part of the learning curve to bring you some tantalising visuals of what Amanda and company might look like.

World Domination?

Having played with an image-generating AI bot for two or three weeks, I’m inclined to agree with various experts writing in the New Scientist. The chances of Artificial Intelligence taking over the world are precisely zero.

As I mentioned, I’ve been working on using the bot in order to conjure images of the Amanda Cadabra characters. I’m making progress and shall regale you with the shenanigans of those adventures in due course.


Speaking of Cornish, the beginners language course I’m support teaching has a new start date of Thursday, 5th October. There’s still time, if you’d like a taste of the Cadabra’s native tongue. Details here.

Ruby in tiny treasure chestNext Time

The matter of a decision regarding the new sequel. One of which I think you will be in favour.

Meanwhile, I have gleefully just come across something for which I have been searching for the last two years. Something to bring you an extra morsel of entertainment. I’m trying it out, so far with astonishing results, and intend to present it to you next time. Honestly, I can hardly wait!

Happy last week of astronomical summer,



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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About the Author

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Cat adorer and chocolate lover. Holly Bell's life changed in a day. A best-selling author friend telephoned and convinced her, that after years of penning non-fiction, she could write cozy paranormal mysteries. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Holly lives in the UK and is a photographer and video maker when not writing. Her favourite cat is called Bobby. He is black. Like her favourite hat. Purely coincidental.