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New Cozy Mystery Giveaway, Audiobook 1 Final Hurdle

Dear Readers,

First, a special thank you video to all the readers who have followed me on Bookbub, celebrating a landmark event in the Amanda Cadabra kingdom.

Click to watch Thank You Video

New Giveaway

Yes, next, news of a new cozy mystery Giveaway, celebrating the approach of summer in the northern hemisphere. This has now opened (the competition that is; not summer, not yet) and is ready for you to enter, if you are in the USA. (Yes, I am still looking for a UK one).

What does the winner get?

  • Hammock Chair
  • Beach Stainless Steel Travel Tumbler
  • Beach Themed Gnomes
  • Beach Puzzle
  • Beach Candle
  • Beach Tote Bag
  • Metal Bookmark
  • Reading Journal
  • An Aquarium of Deceit Anthology

The aim of this one is to gather more Holly Bell Facebook followers into our fold. The more, the merrier, so I would very much appreciate your help in passing on the good news by sharing this letter or sharing a post you may see about it on Facebook or another social media platform. Every single like, comment or share helps, as does every good wish for the success of the event.

A Cozy Mystery Beach Giveaway

You can kill two birds with one stone: enter the Giveaway with just an email address and tick a box to follow the authors (including me) who are contributing to the prize. In case you missed out on the last one or were not one of the lucky winners, here is another entirely free spin of the wheel.

Audiobook 1 Approaches the Finishing Tape

The final listen-through of the audiobook of the first in the series, Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth, has been completed. Beta-listener-in-chief Ann has also finished her last (of many, more than mine) check. Matthew, The Sound Engineer in far-flung USA, has worked his magic. The audiobook is in the process of being loaded onto ACX for quality before it becomes available on Amazon. So we are merely weeks, possibly even days, away from the launch.

The Hurdles

What were the most challenging things about editing the audiobook? The Swedish accent, whose journey I have charted for you and one little four-letter word. No, not a curse, but the name of a company. How should it be pronounced?

Which company? If I said the word ‘Billy’, would it by any chance conjure up a vision of a bookcase? If so, then you’ve got it: none other than that Temple to Home Furnishing. Ikea.

The Big Question

And there’s the dilemma right there. How did you pronounce ‘Ikea’ in your mind? Was it with an ‘I’ as in ‘picnic’ or an ‘I’ as in ‘eye’?

Now, because I have Danish friends who know about Swedish things and because the adverts for it here in the UK pronounce it with an ‘I’ as in ‘picnic’, that is how I’d said it, in every instance, on the recording.

Why Is It In The Books Anyway?

If you have yet to enter the World of Amanda Cadabra, you may, and rightly, I might add, be wondering why the aforementioned company is included in a cozy mystery. The answer is because Amanda’s most powerful magical asset (apart from Tempest, her feline familiar, of course) is her patent pocket-wand, a slim rod sheathed in an ordinary-looking … Ikea pencil.

Who Won?

When I was checking the recording for the first time, it occurred to me that not all listeners would be familiar with my pronunciation. I consulted with my dear friends on the North American continent. How would most people there know Ikea? The answer was, by the pronunciation I hadn’t used: ‘Eye-key-ah’. So it was off to re-record.

Well, on the last listen-through, I heard one stray example in the last 30 minutes, and so in a mercifully quiet interval, the phrase was retaken.

There: drama from the recording studio!

Something’s Coming

 Now, you may have read the books and don’t listen to audio, so why is this landmark of interest? Because the launch of the audiobook will herald Something Else. Something that has been five years in coming. At this stage, that is all I can say. If you are a subscriber, there will be a hint or two coming your way in the next newsletter.

Meanwhile, bits and bobs of book 9, the new sequel, have been wending their way into my imagination and onto paper.

But now, off to prepare for the launch of the first-ever audiobook in the Amanda Cadabra series history, and make it a day to remember. Back soon with more news.

Happy May,



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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Free Today and Tomorrow: First in Cozy Mystery Series

Dear Readers

Just popping in to remind you that today and tomorrow Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole is free to download from Amazon today, 20th and tomorrow, 21st April. And here, for you entertainment, is the video that announces it to The World:

Click to play video


And here is the link to download it from your local Amazon : mybook.to/AC1_Kindle

If you’ve already read the book, please take a moment to share this page or the post on Facebook or anywhere else you see it with your friends. You will have my heartfelt appreciation and there may be those in your circle who will thank you for encouraging them on their next (or first!) cozy mystery journey.

Back after the figurative fireworks and champagne of the next two days, with What Next?

Happy watching,




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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Announcing Free Book Dates plus 2 Competitions

Free Book Dates Announced

Dear Readers

We are now into the final days of the great Cozy Mystery Booksweep where you can win over 30 books in our beloved genre. There is still time to enter but it closes on the 19th April. ‘But what if I don’t win?’ Never fear because …

On Thursday 20th April,  the first in the series, Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth is going to be available for free download from Amazon. It will be free for 48 hours until the 21st April. If you’ve already read it and enjoyed it, and you know of anyone who would relish it just as much, please pass on the good news. You can share this post or share the one on Facebook. I notice them all. Every like, share and comment is precious to me and deeply appreciated.

This event is a rather special occasion. For the first time, Freebooksy and Fussy Librarian are collaborating to create what they call a ‘stacked’ promotion, combining both their cozy mystery subscribers into a total of over 600,000 readers. So we can expect to see more enthusiasts joining us on the Amanda Cadabra journey.

Audiobook Progress

Feedback from the beta-listeners is coming in on the pre-sound-engineer-edit of, coincidentally …. Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth. Wonderfully positive, I’m delighted (and relieved) to say. Just a handful of things to correct so far. Much appreciation goes out to the patient beta-readers.

Thank You

Indeed, thank you to all of you have kindly followed me on Bookbub. Over 340 at the time of writing. Your support counts for more than you know. I shall thank you properly at the end of the Booksweep.

Competition Reminders

You can still, as I’ve mentioned above, participate in the 30+ book prize opportunity. All for the simple addition of an email address and some ticks in some Bookbub follow boxes. (I’m 17th in the list. Just mentioning it.) Here’s the link one more time


In addition, there are still two weeks in which you can throw your hat into the ring for the Baking up Murder Cozy Mystery giveaway. The free cozy baking haul is still to be played for here.

A Cozy Mystery Baking Up Murder Giveaway

I’ll be back on Thursday with a reminder of the free book day. If you’re on Facebook, then look out for the fanfare there! If you are entertained then please give it a like and a share. It will make me happy but, even more importantly, you never know who among your friends may love the Amanda Cadabra mysteries.

When the fireworks from the Free Book party are over, I will have something new to show you. May be two somethings. I’ll say no more at this point.

Until Thursday, dear readers …

Happy Spring (or Autumn) Days!




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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Easter Cozy Mystery Booksweep

Dear Readers,

Happy Easter or Other April Celebration

And to start the party … The Cozy Mystery Booksweep is now open. The what? What are the prizes? How much does it cost to enter? Why have a go? What if I don’t win?

All excellent questions.


A collection of authors, in your chosen genre, in our case, cozy mystery, all contribute by supplying a copy of one of their books each (the precious product of long hours with or without the muse, forging their way through writer’s block, conjuring their stories, labouring over the long hours of editing, to produce their creatively woven tales). The winner of the Sweep gets the lot! As far as I can tell, that’s over 20 books.

 Well, the Cozy Mystery Booksweep is now open!

 Cost of entry? It’s free and will take only about 2 minutes of your valued time. If that.

 Here’s the link:


Give your email, tick a bunch of boxes to follow authors on Bookbub (I’m 17th on the list – my lucky number as of today), and for bonus entries, send a link to a book-loving friend. Done. This is the first time I’ve participated in one of these. The Cozy Mystery Booksweep only comes around occasionally and passes like the wind. I kept an eye out this time to seize the opportunity you and for me. Which of the Amanda Cadabra novels is in the Booksweep? The first, Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth. In fact, if you look closely you can see it in the image there. (I made it to the middle of the top row and am appropriately chuffed.)

 Why have a go?

 Now, if you’re one of the merry band of subscribers and have read my latest note to you, you will already know this, so you can skip ahead to Hot Off The Press.

First, I need to reveal what has moved me to hop on this particular train, giving away one of the novels and paying for the privilege. Well, primarily because I would like more followers on Bookbub. What’s that, and why is it so special? Bookbub is a subscription-only, new, free and discounted book recommendation service.

It has, among others, 3 million cozy mystery readers. Yes, really. The Bookbub Featured Deal, with which Book 1 was blessed about fourteen months ago, resulted in all of them being contacted about the first in the series. That is some serious word-spreading. It’s terribly exclusive: only about 15% of books submitted for a Deal are accepted. Meanwhile, I can gather followers there so that they can keep up with news of my new releases and offers. (And there will be a new release in due course).

The goal is to get to 1000 followers there, and then you become eligible for extra good stuff. One of the best ways to gather this precious throng? Ask your readers to help out, they said. So, if you would like to give me a hand with this, and you’re not already a member, please consider joining and clicking my nice red follow button. https://www.bookbub.com/authors/holly-bell I would appreciate it tremendously.

And incidentally, you’ll get notified of new, free and discounted books by authors in your selected genres and any you follow. Not to mention becoming a member of the Vogue of book recommendation services. You can feel ever so élite.

The second reason why this is appealing is that a Booksweep brings new authors, like me, to the attention of each person who enters, and this can only be considered to be A Good Thing.  

Hot Off The Press

Yes, the very latest, as in ‘Extra! Extra!’, news on the progress of the audiobook. I have received the cover from Daniel, who has done a splendid job, as always, solving a number of problems involved in turning the tall rectangular book cover into the square version required by the sound version. There shall be an unveiling in due course. In fact, I currently have three goodies in mind for your entertainment and edification when the audiobook is launched.

 It is currently with the beta listeners who are at least one hour into the nine hours and 45 minutes. The retake score was at 3 last night, and this morning is at 4.

What am I doing? Last night I wrote some snippets for the new sequel, and at other times I’m going through the website for updates to make it easier for you to get to the goodies.

Giveaway Reminder

The Cozy Mystery Giveaway is still live if you’d like to cast your hat into the ring. Again it’s free to enter. Here’s the link in case you missed it last time:

A Cozy Mystery Baking Up Murder Giveaway

Just add your name and email address. You’ll see a timer there showing how many days and hours before the competition closes.

That’s everything I have to share with you right up to this minute of writing. Back soon with more news on the free book days.

Happy Easter, dear Reader,




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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Cozy Mystery Giveaway, The Beta-Listeners, and Goodies To Come

Dear Readers,

April is about to bring a shower of goodies. For I have not been idle during these days of radio silence since I last wrote to you.

Yes, getting back to the new sequel is in sight, and more of that anon, but first, you know what it’s like when an opportunity emerges from the either? Well, this week, for me to share with you…

The Giveaway.

This is my first foray into a group venture of, well … any kind. I’ve pitched in with some 20 other cozy mystery authors to buy a comprehensive list of prizes for the lucky winners. If tales of jam roly-poly, marmalade roll and saffron buns in the Amanda Cadabra series, have inspired you, here’s your chance to get into the real cozy vibe with one of these:

  • Metal Cookbook (tablet) Holder Stand
  • Bookish Adjustable Apron
  • The Cozy Cookbook paperback
  • 4 Ceramic bookish coasters
  • Murder Mystery Party Game
  • Two Murder Mystery Dish Towels
  • Heart Shaped Bookshelf Fridge Magnet
  • Reading Journal
  • A Bookworm of a Suspect Anthology

Total value: $150. I say ‘dollars’ because this competition is just for readers in the US, I think for postage reasons. I promise to look for one for readers here with me in the UK. Meanwhile …

How to Enter?

Go to this link

A Cozy Mystery Baking Up Murder Giveaway

and add your name and email address. Simple. You’ll see a timer there showing how many days and hours before the competition closes.

Why Enter?

Well, free stuff is always good. However, if you are not a fan of the kitchen, there is an even greater incentive. When you sign up, you give several other cozy mystery authors the opportunity to introduce their work to you. There’s a high probability that among them, you will find a new book or series that you love and would never have found out about otherwise.

The same goes for me, of course. I will have the chance to hail fans of other authors for whom Amanda Cadabra could be the perfect fit.

So, even if cooking and baking, like Amanda and me, is not your preferred endeavour, I would very much appreciate your support as I take my first hesitant steps in the world of joint ventures.

The Last Hurdle

This is on the track to the audiobook of book 1, Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth. For the past ten days, just 20 lines have stood between me and completing the pre-edit before it goes to the beta listeners. I hope to add them to the recording in the wee, small-ish hours of the morning when a hush lies over the neighbourhood.

The What?

The beta listeners are a small, kind, generous cadre who are prepared to sit through several hours of recording before the pops and clicks are edited out by the sound engineer. Why? To check things like all of the story is there, that all of the words are clear, that there is sufficient difference between adjacent voices and that they are consistent, and that no reading mistakes have been left in.

The invitation to become one of this highly valued circle of testers has gone out to my core VIP Readers who beta-read the books. However, if audiobooks are your particular favourite and you would like to join them for the audiobook checking, please drop me a line at [email protected], on the Holly Bell Facebook Page, or through the chat or contact form on here.

Once I’ve got that back and added any corrections, it goes to the sound engineer, and then … (oh, joy, oh rapture!) I get back to the new sequel, Book 9.

The Saga of The 20 Lines? Now that is a story for another day.

More April Goodies

Next Sunday, I will have news of a Booksweep, about to open, where entrants can win one of the Amanda Cadabra books among dozens of other cozy mysteries. And, in case you are not among the winners, there will be 1-3 free download days of A Certain Book, whose title shall be revealed in due course.

I’ll be back by next Sunday to tell you all about the Booksweep, with details of prizes, dates, links and why I’m sailing into these previously uncharted waters. Oh yes, and to give you more information nearer the time about the free book days.

Meanwhile … may April shower you with literary pleasures.



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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Open book on desk by candleight with cameo milestone. Text: Burning The Midnight Oil, Audiobook Progress, and thanks t you for a new milestone

AudioBook Progress by Night, and 500 Readers to Thank

Dear Readers,

Cutting To The Chase

‘What of the audiobook of Book 1 and the next sequel,’ I hear you ask. ‘Do get to the point.’ Indeed. During the last month of radio silence, I assure you I have not been idle. Before I amaze you with just how far the recording of Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth has progressed, I shall supply you with some helpful context.


The Rhythm of Reading


The context is pre-editing. Yes, I do have a splendid sound engineer in the US; however, before the recording wings its way to his inbox, I need to edit out the reading mistakes. For example:


‘” Once upon a type” ‘… ah … let me read that again …’ “Once upon a dime” ‘… once more:’ “Once upon a time …”’


You get the idea. So I just have to delete the wrong versions and splice the two good ends together (digitally). Simple, yes? Actually, it is rather more complicated.


When we read aloud, and you may have done this with stories to children, we allow strategic pauses. This is most noticeable between paragraphs, scene breaks or chapters. But also for effect. Here’s an example:


 The Dramatic Pause


‘“On her sixteenth birthday, the princess shall prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die!” uttered the sorceress.’


Here we would naturally pause before reading:


 ‘A horrified hush fell upon the court.’


Make that pause too long, and the impact dissipates; too short, and the drama of the moment is lost.


So when splicing the two ends together on either side of the deleted section, there is some fine-tuning to be done. This involves listening and adjusting, listening and adjusting. And it takes time. So, as far as pre-editing is concerned, I am now up to chapter 8 out of 47 chapters. 


Percent symbol formed by clouds in blue skyRevealing the Numbers


That said, chapter 1 is left until the end, when, hopefully, I shall be significantly improved in my reading through sheer practice, and one other chapter, which I shall confide shortly. So that is 6 out of 47, which is (unearths ancient calculator) 12.76%.


However, the most important thing is to get the reading in the can, as it were. And now, hopefully, to impress you … 75%!


What I Didn’t Plan For


The rogue chapter, so to speak, is (looks for book) Chapter 13: Dr Bergstrom’s Invention and The Power of Petite. Spoiler alert for those of you yet to read this. This is where Amanda receives her wand from a Swedish magical scientist. It introduces that new character and includes some actual Swedish. Here’s the catch. When I wrote it, I had no idea that one day I would have to read it. Aloud. For an audiobook.


“It’s Got To Be …”


I’m not sure about ‘perfect’, but good enough so that Swedish speakers or readers who have contact with Swedish or Swedes find it credible and do not raise their hands in horror at the desecration of their language. I have listened to some instructive YouTubes on performing the Swedish accent, but this isn’t the same as personal tuition.


Fortunately, I have a Danish friend who is sufficiently well acquainted with the Swedish accent to be able to coach me. From this week, he will have time to go through the chapter to prepare for my reading. I hope that all of you with a Swedish connection who listen to the book will be happy with the result.


Before The Dawn


In the title of this Letter To Readers, you will have noticed the word ‘Night’. Yes, indeed, I have been burning the midnight oil in the worthy cause of bringing The Sound of Amanda Cadabra to my esteemed listeners-to-be. To be more precise, between 4 am and 6 am when possible.


This is when there is, usually, silence, which is, as we know, golden. And you don’t appreciate just how golden until it is a scarce commodity. It does take a certain amount of enthusiasm to leave a warm bed and rise to the English pre-dawn winter temperatures, hydrate, set up and … perform. Nevertheless, my desire to bring you the finished product and the promising progress inspires me.


However, as I am editing, I hear the occasional need for a retake of a word which may not be clear. Just a few, to be glued into place. Also, my kind Danish Swedish coach has agreed to listen to the completed recording to ensure everything is in order before it is dispatched across The Pond.




I do have a time-frame in mind but not set in stone. I hope to complete the recording in the next two weeks. Then it’s over to the editing desk. My aspiration is (aspiration, please note) to complete that by the end of February. Once it is with the excellent sound engineer, it is a question of how long it will be  before it is ready to submit to ACX, who mediate audiobooks for Amazon. (I am getting excited just writing about that stage!) and how much time they will need to process it. I gather that they take about 2 weeks. There is one more component: the cover art. That will be in the purview of our talented illustrator Daniel, who will adapt the book cover. I intend to send the request to him this week.

In summary, I am hoping for publication this season. I shall keep you posted. I tend to do interim alerts on my Holly Bell Author page on Facebook.


500 Followers500 Thank Yous


Which brings me neatly to my abundant cause for appreciation. During the flurry of the launch of Book 8, Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs, and the, er, excitement of my computer upgrade, a significant landmark was reached. The number of followers on the Holly Bell Author Facebook page reached and passed 500.


This was an intensely emotional moment. I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to every one of you, whether reader, reader-to-be or supporter, who has joined my page. Please know that you are not a number to me; you are a valued person, most likely with many other calls on your schedule, many interests, and books to read, and your time spent with me on my page is treasured. So, thank dear Readers. I have made a special post there to say this, and just in case you have yet to see it, my thanks are expressed here, to make doubly sure that you know that your contribution to the Amanda Cadabra journey is noted and appreciated.




Yes, indeed, it is still in progress. Every now and again, I get a trickle of inspiration, an idea, a seed. It is forming, gestating. Working title? So far: Book 9. And it’s set mainly in Cornwall. It has at least one murder. I know where that takes place. Whodunit? I have a fair idea about that too. I have also envisaged a grand scene with involves considerable suspense. But I must not get too carried away. I have an audiobook to finish first!


That’s all for the moment. I shall be back with more audio progress and the fruits of a field trip I intend to make as soon as I have a radiantly sunny, ice-free day. Meanwhile …


Happy Reading,




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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

25% discount 11-14 December Book 1 Paperback

Breaking the Sound Barrier and A Christmas Discount Today

Dear Readers,

Aiming High

As I confided a few weeks ago, I was reembarking on a project to bring the books to you in an extra dimension. It began three years ago, when I wheeled out the old horn and wax cylinder in response to a request from readers: sound. In other words, audiobooks.

That was the Vision, which expanded with each additional sequel. So what happened?

Here’s a bit of audiobook background so that you’re in the know. To have an audiobook published through Amazon, whereon the series dwells in ebook and paperback formats, you must go through a company called ACX. Think: receptionist to doctor, PA to boss, or priest to deity. The quality standards are as high as you can get.

The Sound Barrier – An Audio Mystery

ACX wants you to succeed in your recordings and pull out all the stops to help you get it right. (Here’s a link if you’d like to explore the idea for yourself: ACX.) I recorded a sample from Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth in the early days and sent it in. It snagged on the vital ‘noise floor’. In short, there was a hiss and gurgle running like a backing track. The question was, what was causing it?

I went to the company that made my microphone, and they kindly replaced it for me. No change. Hiss, gurgle. They gave me a refund, and I upgraded. Same issue. The company, Rode, could not have been more helpful. There were things they suggested to try.

Testing, Testing – On The Trail

I acquired an isolation shield, which is a sponge semi-amphitheatre wall, about a foot high that on a stand that sits behind the mic. The issue persisted. Rode replaced the mic. No change. I recorded when the neighbours were out, with all appliances switched off. No change. Rode suggested I try recording in the car on a quiet street to test if the problem was environmental. This was a step forward. It made no difference but nevertheless, environmental issues could be ruled out.

That brings us to 2022 and the time of Book 7, Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree. As launch neared, I pondered having another crack at solving the mystery of the snake-and-water backing singers. I did an emotional test run. I imagined working on the audio project. Joy factor: 2 out of 10. I imagined writing the next book. Joy factor: 10 out of 10. I wrote Book 8.

Narrowing It Down

During the penning of the aforementioned oeuvre, I did, however, give some thought to the mystery. It seemed that there could be only one culprit: the computer on which I was recording. Actually, I have two machines and was getting the issue on both. Therefore the test would be to hire a different, and upgraded, computer for a week and do some test recordings.

Meanwhile, Book 8 progressed, Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs. Some four weeks ago, launch day arrived.

And then …

A day or two later, it became clear that my iMac was in urgent need of a long-awaited upgrade. A certain vital app would no longer run, and the desktop was heating up enough to double as a hot plate that would have turned out a respectably cooked egg and bacon. I spoke to Apple, who put me in touch with an approved repairer not far away. I paused only to create the post-launch thank you post and video, booked an appointment and heaved my mighty desktop thence.

With 5-star service, the computer was soon upgraded with a shiny new hard drive. I can no longer imagine making breakfast on it, as it is currently, and joyfully, running cool to warm. And so … I could now do the all-important audio test. With the upgraded hardware and audio app …. Would there be an improvement?

The Test

Before dawn, when all was silent, I rose and stealthily prepared my mic, computer, and environment and, as a test, read the first chapter of Book 7 (which I have yet to mould into the fit-to-be-heard video for you, but it’s in the pipeline.)

Breathless with anticipation, I played it back. It was the cleanest sound I’d produced in three years! There was just a soft intermittant hiss. I edited out the reading mistakes from the first three minutes and sent off the sample to a skilled sound engineer, whom I shall call Mike, in the US. I waited …


In the watches of the following night, on account of the time difference, I heard back from Mike. He had done a thorough job on the sample, removing any breaths, mouth noise, background noise, and adjusted the pacing a little to produce a perfect recording. Mike attached a spreadsheet showing it would pass ACX standards. He was also reassuring about my setup, saying that the intermittent hiss was just the USB mic effect and he could take care of it. It was too late to call friends with the news, and I had to content myself with a little dance and celebratory cocoa.

So Far?

And so … I have now begun recording Book 1. Progress so far? About 10% of the way through. It’s a slow business. For every hour of recording there can be up to three hours of editing. I need plenty of breaks, and timing is of the essence: when the neighbours are out or asleep, and when there is no street noise. If possible, I would like to finish by the end of next month. We shall see. One day I shall dwell in a five (at least) detached establishment of my own Grand Designing somewhere in the north of London. Meanwhile, I have charming neighbours with whom to share borders. They make only normal sounds emanating from everyday life, but even those need to be absent for a sufficiently clean recording.

The audioboook project has moved from beached to into the stream. How fast flowing, we shall see. I shall be posting my progress on the Holly Bell Facebook page and landmarks here.

25% off Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth by Holly Bell Sunday to Wednesday 11-14th December 2022A Christmas Present

Meanwhile …

For those of you in search of a last-minute present for a loved one with a fondness for a cozy mystery, the paperback edition Book 1 in the cozy mystery series, Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth, is discounted by 25% from today until Wednesday. (Most of the rest of the price goes towards the printing cost.) This is my Winter Festival gift to you. Hope it helps out. There is another project in the wings relating to the first in the series about which I shall bring you more news in the new year.

Book 9, having delivered itself of the first chapter and a good part of the plot, has gone for reviving nap. This is fortunate as it allows me to concentrate on the audio recording.

Thank you for sharing the audiobook journey with me. With luck and a following wind, we are now possibly weeks away from the fulfilment of the sound and the first manifestation of the Vision.

Back soon with Yuletide wishes and Sound news,

Until then …

Happy reading.



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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Box of chocolates with card saying Thank you to ... Title: This One's For You

Thank you Video – This One’s For You

Dear Readers,

All About You

Now for my chance to thank all of you. If you are reading this, then this video is for you. Some are mentioned by name, others are implied, everyone is included in one way or another. I hope that you like it:

Click to see Thank You video

Usually, I give everyone virtual flowers, but this time it’s … well, you’ll see (or have seen). If you didn’t get the ones you like, just let me know for future reference. And if you didn’t get as many as others, then you can safely assume that yours are the more luxurious.

What Next?

Well, Book 9 has already begun. While I wait for it to percolate, I am turning my attention to the long and winding road of the audiobook project. My computer is undergoing an upgrade, and that may solve the recording issues I have had in the past. A kind reader has also offered to help me. If I am successful, then I shall relate the entire saga to you (although not in Old Icelandic).

I also have a couple of little field trips to make to bring you some photos I believe you will enjoy. There is a story attached to that too. With Yuletide approaching, I am, accordingly, thinking about a treat for that occasion. So plenty on the go. Meanwhile …

Happy viewing,



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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Launch Day Video for Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs

Dear Readers,

Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs is, at this moment, officially live on Amazon as book ebook and paperback.
I thought it only fair, to show you the Launch Day video, in case you’re not on Facebook. I hope you enjoy it.

Click to watch video for launch of Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs by Holly Bell

Back next Sunday with something that is all about you.

Happy viewing and reading,



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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

First Chapter of the New Sequel – Holly Reads ‘A Grand Opening.’

Dear Readers,

It is time to revive the tradition of first-chapter readings with that of Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs. The last one was way back in the autumn of good ol’ 2019 for Book 4, Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley. (If you need the transcript, please see below the video once you’ve clicked on the image below to get to it.) And here it is …

Click on image to play Chapter 1 of Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs by Holly Bell

Why’s That?

And thus you rightly enquire. Well, it’s partly been due to technical issues, and I like to produce the very best sound quality I can for you. However, I found a compromise this time which I hope you will find satisfactory. The second reason is to do with time and energy Vintage grammaphone player. Need on vinylresources at this stage of the launch process. Producing 10 minutes of narrative with visuals takes about 12 hours. What?

How Come?

I doubt that the most seasoned voice actor could read aloud for 10 minutes without needing retakes, and that is a status to which I am yet an aspirant with the rest of the journey still to make. Then there are the sound tests. When the script has been read (by me), next comes the editing, cutting, splicing, and even re-recording. The words fixed, then the music fore and aft needs to be blended in.


So much for the soundtrack. Now we come to the visuals. Images need to be sourced and edited. Next, they need to be lined up and matched with the words of the chapter. Finally, the credits have to be added.

Now, in many cases, the images will be in the public domain, which means they do not require attribution. In other words, I don’t have to credit them at all. However, I know from personal experience how much expense, time and effort goes into producing a beautiful image. These photographers generously share the fruits of their efforts and artistic skill. I feel the least I can do is say thank you. It feels good to say thank you, doesn’t it?

Treat for Launch Day: 99c or 85p or …?

To celebrate the launch, the previous sequel, Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree will be priced at just 99c (85p or 1.32 CAD or 1.50 AUD and so on) for the weekend. So that is my little gift to you. And if you know anyone who’d like a taste of the series for a modest outlay please do pass on the news.


So this is the last stop before Launch Day, on Sunday 13th November, that grand station where the train is festooned with autumn flowers and the necessary vegetables. (With ideas for the next book already in the pipeline, it is but a temporary halt.) Time to prepare the video and a pretty Facebook post about the 99 offer  for the Day. Back soon …

Happy Pumpkin (or Pineapple) Time,



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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