8 November, 2022.

Dear Readers,

It is with excitement, exhilaration and exuberance that I bring you a visual taste of the new

Amanda Cadabra sequel

. Every trailer is a journey, and I would like to share the essence of this one with you before I hand round the popcorn, part the red velvet curtains, and strike up the Might Wurlitzer (movie theatre organ). Or you can skip ahead and press play. It’s all good. Here it is, just in case:

The How

I wrote in the spring with the launch of the previous sequel about the process of creating a trailer video, but for the benefit of new readers, I’ll briefly recap. It takes upwards of 20 hours to create a 1-minute video. And fair enough, that probably does include a small percentage applied to the making of tea, which is essential both for the creative juices and sustaining the video-maker through those long hours, script-writing, clip, still and audio selection, editing them, composing them, adding the captions, splicing together the soundtrack, adjust visual and audio to synchronise, testing and adjusting.

‘Why Does it Take You So Long?’

I hear you ask, and rightly so. One of the main reasons is budgetry. When the Amanda Cadabra series is munificently minting it, I shall have the leeway to have an account with the biggest and best stock photo, video and audio libraries. Within minutes I will have downloaded all I require. And one day, I shall. However, if I’d had that straight off the bat, how I would have missed out. And here is how …

Small Budget Pays Dividends of An Unexpected Kind

When you start out as a fiction writer, nothing prepares you for the richness of the emotional journey. From where do these riches come? From you, dear readers. Not just the moving encouragement and appreciation that sends me over the moon. But how many times, just at a point where I have been flagging ever-so-slightly in the end process of producing a book, has a comment, message or email from one of you, some of whom I am privileged to call friends, arrived and lifted me lightly over the hump. But there’s more.

In order to create the best possible film experience for you, I try to compose the video from as many clips, rather than just stills, as possible. And from where do these come? Well, some come from free stock libraries, bless them, but what I want may not be there, and so I go to that great public forum for entertainment and enlightenment: YouTube. I say ‘public’ because anyone can watch them. However, each video is intellectual property, which means it belongs to someone, whether a private amateur or seasoned professional. So if you want to download and use a video, you need permission. Not just because it’s the law and the honourable thing but because this is where the true gold is to be found.

Saying Please

Let’s take a real example from this trailer. My favourite footage of the English countryside is aerial, taken by a camera on a drone. Filming this way is expensive, is hedged with legalities and requires a high level of skill, adjusting to weather conditions, especially wind speed, knowing how fast to travel, when to pan, or bank. The footage then needs to be edited. So when I find my desirable clips, I need to contact the copyright holder, and this is usually an individual. I can do this in the YouTube comments, but they may not see my message. Consequently, I hunt for email and dispatch my request for permission to use a few seconds of their work, and explain who I am and what it would be for.

At this point, please allow me to stress, the photographer is under no obligation to open my email, read it or reply. All you can do is write and … wait. Well, as you have seen, or will see, there are three video clips here taken by drone and one handheld. Out of four, how many would respond?

The Results

The answer is: within hours, all four got back to me, freely offering permission for me to use their creations for the new trailer, even wishing me well with the project, and taking an interest in seeing the finished product. Their generosity warmed my heart. Four delightful exchanges that I would have missed if I’d simply been able to enter the vault of a stock video account and press the download button. So although they are listed in the trailer credits, I would like to pay tribute to Andy of Drone UK, Yorkshire Drone Tours, David of DavideoVisits and Your Time To Relax. Each of them has a channel on YouTube, so if you enjoyed the few seconds of their work, please hop on over, sample the delights of their collections, and if they give you pleasure, press ‘like’ or ‘subscribe’. Little things mean a lot.

Music, Maestro?

Ah, yes, the soundtrack. The theme tune for our heroine’s village of Sunken Madley is by that talented Australian and outstandingly generous composer Aaron Kenny. His work is of such splendour that every piece he writes makes the world a more beautiful place. Aaron has provided a wide range of short pieces and has placed them in the public domain for anyone to use. His English Country Garden is the sound of Sunken Madley. 

I have included other pieces by Aaron in the soundtracks for my trailers and other videos, but for something fresh for the dramatic parts of the video, I looked further afield and found the right fit with a piece by Jason Shaw of audionautix.com. Jason allows anyone to use his music, requesting only that they credit his site, which is a very small ask for creations that require such musical gifts and digital expertise.

Saying Thank You

Most of the images I use come with a license of some description, so you don’t have to attribute them, but it feels good to give the photographer a little time in the spotlight. In the process of doing so, you discover new gems they have taken and new websites that offer free or modestly priced photos and videos. These amateurs and professionals come from all over the world and have access to sights that it would be expensive to visit but to in-the-moment photo opportunities that no money can buy. Every one is a sweetshop!

As for the final result, it is not just to give you a taste of the book but a way of providing a little treat which is a thank you, both to you readers who have been with me from earlier on the journey and those who have just joined our merry band. So I very much hope that you enjoy it. If you see it on YouTube or one of the other social sites you like, please do share it with any friends who might enjoy it too. Spread the love, because everything I create for you is made with it.

Next Stop?

In the workshop: the video with a voiceover of me reading Chapter One of Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs with, what I hope you will find to be, pleasing visual accompaniment. And after that? (Dramatic music, please) Launch Day!

Back soon, dear readers.

Happy November,




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.