24 September, 2023.

Dear Readers

Today, as promised, I bring you a video to help any of you who, like me, have wrestled with the notion of showing your face on camera. The fruits of my experience in Unboxing Holly over these past weeks have been condensed into just 5 steps and a mere 2 minutes and 7 seconds.

Click for video #5 step reveal how-to


Even that short video had its share of bloopers. Like when I got as far as stage one of the wrapping only to discover that the Sellotape dispenser, for which I was hopefully reaching, was, in fact, my tape measure. They’re the same colour and approximate shape and live adjacent to one another in my desk drawer. I had … ahem … I mean, naturally, my assistant had mistaken one for the other in her haste to advance the project. Yes. That was it. (Note to self: get assistant one day.) So, a Take Two there.  

Some of the voiceover I had to rerecord, and it wasn’t sufficiently clear. Now, you’d think this would be easy. I sat at my desk and spoke the words into my hone. On listening, I could hear that the quality was very different to in the library, where the video was recorded. I returned thence for retake 2. This time, there was a shushing sound in the background. Ah. Distant traffic. I closed the windows. Take 3. Good enough.

Happy 20's vintage woman with pile or notes and typewriter The Best Bit

Fun as these shoots can be, the highlight of my week has been returning to the new sequel, Book 9, as yet untitled. It now has three thousand words to its lack-of name. Only a little is new material generated in the last few days. The task at the moment is gathering and compiling all of the notes, drafts, jottings and sound recordings that I have made over the past several months, some even made during the writing of the most recent release, Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs.

A Special Notebook?

Do I have one where I make all of my notes for books? More special ones. I have the police notebook – oh yes – just like our own DI Thomas Trelawney, and, of course, the someone else who gets one in due course. (You’ll know who if you’ve read The Nightstairs.) That’s portable, so I can write while I’m away from my desk. As in, outdoors.

Police notebook in the pocket of a trenchcoatI also have my journal and a desk ‘day book’. My journal is refillable, so notes for a new sequel could be in a previous one, and I make sure that I put AC and the number of the book at the top of the page where I’ve inscribed my ideas or even actual finished text.

Sound recordings I make on my phone again when my beloved desk and I are parted. I often get inspiration when I’m driving, so I pull over, park and record. So far, most of the written notes are copied up. 

To Come: Next Sequel Step and An Unveiling

Once compiled, the ideas, excerpts and sketches have to be put in order of how they will appear in the book. More of that next time.

This week, the new enthralling, and possibly addictive, feature of the website amandacadabra.com is being unveiled to my precious subscribers. Next week, I shall be bringing it to you. Meanwhile, I shall be further developing it for your pleasure. If you’d rather not wait, you can sign up here, and get the juicy news up front.


Happy Autumn (or Spring) Equinox weekend,



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.