18 February, 2024.

Dear Readers,

The Greatest Asset

‘And where have you been?’ you may rightly ask. I am about to tell all. Well, not quite all. But here goes.

There is something I have been working on throughout the autumn and winter months which is now revealed together with a little present for you. During the last year, I have learned a number of things about the business of being an author, chief among them being what an author’s greatest asset is. Well, apart from the books, that is. And yes, of course, you my treasured readers. But apart from those. Can you guess what it might be?

Well, it’s the author’s website. So, over three months, amandacadabra.com has been given a new, prettier, shinier, easier-to-use refurbishment, of which I hope you will approve. The new look, naturally, includes …

A Gift

And the present, which has become public today for your enjoyment … is here:

Click to go to Cozy Mystery Wordsearch Puzzle

a Cozy Mystery Word Search Puzzle.

I hope you find it fun. Please let me know if it’s too easy, too hard or has hit the Goldilocks spot for you.

The next thing I have been at, is arranging a new giveaway, and I’ll be announcing the date as soon as it becomes live.

Magical book on table with text: Thank you. 1000Batting A Thousand

And now for my big news. This week, Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth, the first in the series, clocked up its one-thousandth rating on Amazon. It actually has 1001. So thank you to every one of you who has contributed over the time since it was published to stacking up that highly desirable number. Whether you clicked a star rating or left a review, it has all contributed, and my appreciation is heartfelt.

More Shops

Row of Dickensian bookshopsSpeaking of Amazon, my guess is that most of you get your ebooks from there. However, I know that some readers prefer to purchase elsewhere, and so from this month, all but the first book will begin to become available through other retailers. To help me know which ones are your go-to venues for ebook acquisition, I’ve set up a little survey on The Bell Tower Readers Group on Facebook. It consists of just that one question and a list from which to choose and even add to.

If you’re not yet an esteemed member of this select circle, knock three times on the door with the grill and the sliding panel, and say the password: Tempest. In other words, just click the link, click the blue ‘join’ request button and I shall, with delight, fling wide the door for you. You’ll find other surveys and Bell Tower-exclusive puzzles there too. So do come on in. The water’s warm and welcoming.

The new sequel is still in progress, and I shall bring you more news as it unfolds. But meanwhile, here is a little …

Origin Story of the Amanda Cadabra Series

Back in the days when I was writing only non-fiction, I met Tim. He was to become a dear friend and mentor. You see, Tim is TJ Brown, best-selling author of The Unhappy Medium. It was Tim who convinced me that I could write fiction. And this is part of how it happened. First, he planted the seed by debunking any mystique I’d believed existed about crafting a novel. That’s a story for another time. But, crucially, given my experience of writing, and editing non-fiction and fiction, he asked me to top edit his second novel, Tom Fool.

It was a roller-coaster of glee. We worked over the phone, fixing the typos, the punctuation, continuity, smoothing the flow, and ironing out the creases until the last breathless moment when Tim hit the ‘submit’ button. Hours later, it hit the virtual shelves.

Golden watering can watering a seed in the sunshineBut what was it about this joyous white-water ride that led to Amanda? At the end of it, Tim gave me a tremendous compliment. He said I was the best top editor he’d come across and, ‘If you can do that, then you can write a novel of your own.’ (Listen up, beta-readers!) This watered the seed Tim had planted earlier. It would be months before it would begin to sprout, but this experience began to tip the balance towards life as a novelist.

‘Why are you telling us this now?’ I hear you ask. It’s because I now have the privilege of editing his new sequel, eagerly, almost frantically, awaited by his thousands of ardent fans. Yes, thousands. Book 1 has over 3000 ratings on Amazon.

I thought book 2, Tom Fool, was even better than book 1, and so far, just a few chapters in, it is bidding fair to be even better than those.

But there’s more. As I am editing the new novel, Tim is working on a project for the entire Amanda Cadabra series, of which I think you’ll approve. More of that in the fullness of time.

So, that’s my news. Please do write and tell me yours. You know how much of a lift it gives me to hear from you. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the new puzzle and the other games, videos and photos on the Amanda Cadabra website. It is all a labour of love. For you.

Happy St Valentine’s Day Month,



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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
Large Print
and Audiobook

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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.