With just over two weeks before the launch of Book 4, (and at least one free Kindlebook day of Book 1) to go, we begin the revelations. Between now and then, will be a partial cover reveal by our new illustrator, Daniel. Next, a full cover reveal. And of course, the trailer video. I have begun work on that. However, today here is the title of the new book.
The manuscript has been completed and is now with my superb editor, Flora Gatehouse. The VIP advance readers have already begun sending in their feedback, and those notes are being added in. This is all part of the polishing process, to make the finished product as perfect as possible for you.
The new book will have a floor plan of one of the notable establishments of the so very English Sunken Madley. There is also a small improvement to the map of the village, with a better version of that particular house. See if you can spot it. As always, there is a British English – American English Glossary at the back of the book for any terms that may be unfamiliar.
Here is a taste of the story coming your way in Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley:
The Corner Shop is abuzz with news. There are no fewer than three new people in the village, and two of them may be Significant. This is the last thing on Amanda’s mind, though. The frightfully unpleasant witch-clan, the Flamgoynes — who may or may not have been responsible for the despatch of Granny’s equally odious family over a cliff in Cornwall — are coming. Thanks to some unavoidable spell-casting my the village’s beloved asthmatic furniture restorer and covert witch, Amanda Cadabra, Sunken Madley has flagged up a rival centre of magical power. Now she must find some means of defending it. So far, alone. Apart from her grumpy cat, Tempest, that is.
However, another body with a new pressing puzzle is about to add to Amanda’s problems. The presentable but dogged Inspector Trelawney may be on hand. But that won’t change the lack of an alibi. The date for the Flamgoyne’s attack becomes set. The clock is ticking. Will this be the end of the village? Or will we see … The Rise of Sunken Madley?
More news to appear here, on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram and Tumblr, (or keep in touch with email updates) so please feel free to follow me on any of those. It would be a pleasure to have you along on the Amanda Cadabra ride.
Over the coming days and weeks leading up to Book 4 Launch Day, you will see here, a taste of the plot, the title reveal, a partial cover reveal, a full cover reveal, the date of the free day for Book 1, the pre-release video, notification of when the book goes on pre-order and the timing of the launch itself. Members of the Amanda Cadabra Latest News Group get all of this first by personal email, so if you’d like to join them, you’d be most welcome.
Phase 2 of the editing process is now in progress. Phase 4 is when the manuscript is read by my supremely gifted editor, Flora, and my treasured team of VIP advance readers. If you would like to join them inside the velvet rope and receive the book before it is published, in order to give your feedback, there is still time. It is a limited numbers group, but there are some spaces. Phase 5 is the last before the manuscript is loaded onto the Amazon launch pad, ready for lift-off. The countdown has begun!
Meanwhile, during breaks from the intense process of preparing the book, I have been learning Cornish. (Any Cornish speakers or students out there please, give me a wave on social media or by email. I’d love to hear from you.) It seemed only right, considering the series is so involved with that part of the world. The magical spell-language, Wicc’yeth that is used in Amanda’s world is formed from mixing Cornish and Old English, and there are several Cornish characters. In Book 4, I have the honour of including a Cornish poem kindly written for the book by Cornish Bard Mick Payter.
Finally, after much perfecting, here comes the paperback of Amanda Cadabra and The Flawless Plan, the newly released Book 3 in the Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries series, this Thursday, 20th June.
At the same time, to enable newcomers to the English village of Sunken Madley to catch up for a modest fee, on Thursday and Friday Book 1, Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth will be on sale from Amazon as an ebook for only 99c.
Perhaps like me, While you enjoy the convenience of a digital form, nothing beats the touchy-feely experience of holding the paperback in your hands, creating a new friend, perhaps a tiny bit tea stained, capturing a leaf or blade of grass from when you read in the garden or the park, a smudge of wax on the pack from the candle you lit that winters day on the table beside you for its comforting glow.
People also tend to give paperbacks are presents. It’s something you can wrap and ribbon up, sign your love, best wishes and names in, that one day may be handed on to someone equally special.
So please do let your friends are are both current and potential cozy readers know about the 99c offer for 48 hours of Book 1 and add the paperback of Book 3 to your collection. Here’s a video you might like to share:
The next projects are the box-set, audio books and of course … Book 4!
Today, here is the much-anticipated release of the video of the church and choir of Monken Hadley.
When I began formulating the very first book in the series, Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth, before I had a title in mind or a location, I knew that I wanted an English village that I, as a city girl, born and bred, could understand. That is, a place with a richly diverse cultural mix of inhabitants which reflects the big cities of the UK and London in particular. So a hamlet on the outskirts of the metropolis would be ideal. It needed to be historic, green and pleasant. I studied the map and found a possible candidate. As soon as I drove into it, I knew that I had found my village. As the books are not about the actual place or any of the people who live or work there – and I knew no one there at that time – and the book is fiction, I didn’t want to use the real name: Monken Hadley. However, I wanted something that it inspired and, as the series is light-hearted, something comical. Hence, Sunken Madley.
And so it came into being. Over the months, I visited and met the kindly folk of the village and was overwhelmed by their support, interest and generous co-operation in my literary, photographic and videographic endeavours. When one or two referred to me as ‘our author’ I was deeply moved. The people whom I have met have made me feel like an honorary villager, and I hope that the series does their beautiful location every credit and brings as much pleasure to you, dear reader, as it does to me in the creation of it.
The video was filmed in the beautiful medieval church of St Mary the Virgin, Monken Hadley. It includes clips of the musical director Stephen Tatlow, without whom I would not have been able to bring this to your screens, rehearsing and conducting the choir singing for The Nine Lessons at Christmas last year. The song is in Latin, Gaudete, a carol of rejoicing. The image shows a page from the Piae Cantiones, a Swedish-Finnish sacred song collection from the sixteenth century.
If you think it’s entirely out of date, consider that it made it into the UK charts in the 1970s and was performed on Top of the Pops. Yes, really. In Latin, and to an enthusiastic audience. Which just goes to show that some things never go out of fashion indefinitely. Rather like the cosy mystery, which saw its birth and heyday in the 1930s and is now enjoying a welcome resurgence and immense popularity.
Should you ever get the chance, do visit the church of St Mary the Virgin in Monken Hadley. Its doors are always open, and the people of the village are friendly and welcoming. Sometimes there is a free music concert on Sunday afternoons when you can enjoy the sight as well as the sound of the gracious building. A few paces along the lane that runs past the church, and you will come to Monken Hadley Common, a wide grassy space, fringed and dotted with trees and with an actual village pond on the green. Come at the right time, and you’ll see the flag irises nodding on its margin. Regardless of the season, I have found it a delightful place to visit and photograph. Many of the images are here or in the book trailers.
Thank you to everyone who shared the message of the launch and the Book 1 free day. Only 5 days since its release, and Book 3 has three 5-star reviews on Goodreads. Already readers have said they’re now eager for Book 4.
Tomorrow, I shall be posting an exclusive video in a blog about the setting of the Amanda Cadabra series. Book 3 is set between October and January, and with Sunken Madley and the real Sunken Madley fans in mind, in particular, the footage for the vidoe was filmed at Christmas. It was made by kind permission of the church and choir of the village of Monken Hadley. You’ll be able to see it here and on Facebook at Holly bell.
The Spot the Difference Competition is up and running. Entry is free, and you don’t have to buy either book. The maps for Book 2 and 3 are right here. All you have to do is find 10 differences between them and send in your list. Their are various ways to zoom in depending on your browser. Here are some suggestions: on your keyboard press Ctrl and the plus key or choose ‘View’ from the menu at the top of your screen and select ‘Zoom in’, or select Page Zoom.
A final thank you to everyone who has shown interest in the Amanda Cadabra series, watching the videos, reading the posts, liking, sharing, downloading and or buying any of the books, writing reviews, joining the updates or VIP readers groups, posting messages on my Facebook page, on Goodreads, and Bookbub.
The winner will receive a free signed (by me, Holly Bell) copy of a first edition paperback of Amanda Cadabra and The Flawless Plan. The closing date is 19th June 2019, exactly one month after the launch of the book. You don’t need to have read any of the novels to join in. If you know of anyone who would find it fun, then please share this post on Facebook or any other social media.
How will the winner be picked? By the traditional method: all of the names will go into a hat, and Aunt Amelia will pick one by the light of a full moon.
Tomorrow, Sunday 19th May will see the launch of the new book (so you still have time to get it at the pre-order price), and Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truthwill be free on Amazon Kindle for 24 hours. The next news will be the release of the paperback of Book 3 and the surprise video, especially for fans of Sunken Madley and the real village that inspired it.
With the book trailer for Amanda Cadabra and The Flawless Plan now out and about here on the site and on social media, it is now time for the new venture to be revealed, a video: Chapter One of the new book read by me. It’s about 12 minutes long.
If you prefer to read the text or read it along with the audio, you’ll find it here, below this blog. Please let me know what you think of the YouTube, by leaving even one word on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, the comments below, or email. Is this something you would like for all of the books?
Tomorrow: the competition. This will involve something old and something new, the village of Sunken Madley and the forthcoming paperback.
Amanda found her lying on the floor of the crypt. Her head was up against a medieval stone coffin where it must have struck. One arm was hidden beneath the long raised form of the sarcophagus.
She hurried down the stone steps, her soft soles silent as the grave.
‘Please, no, not another body, oh please no,’ she murmured, gazing in dismay at the sight of her friend’s black cassock-clad body.
Amanda knelt beside the fallen rector of Sunken Madley church. There was no blood in the dark brown bobbed hair. Perhaps there was still life. Amanda laid a hand on her shoulder.
The body convulsed. The head turned. The alarmed face of the shepherd of St Ursula-without-Barnet looked up with alarm.
‘Good heavens, Amanda! You gave me the shock of my life. You really mustn’t creep up on people like that.’
‘Oh Rector, I am sorry, I just saw you lying there, and I thought …’
‘Of course, dear, after that dreadful affair at … aha!’
The Reverend Jane Waygood withdrew her arm from beneath the sarcophagus and knelt up, looking at Amanda’s feet.
‘Yes. Trainers. I see why you apparently stealthed up. Well, you’re just the person I wanted to see, and even more so at this moment. I believe your arms are slightly longer, not to mention slimmer, than mine or, at least, those craftsperson’s fingers of yours may be more agile.’
‘You were trying to get something out from under there?’ asked Amanda, leaning down.
‘It’s the keys to the church hall. They slipped out of my fingers and slid away into inaccessibility, and I wanted to have them ready to take you down there. I’m hoping that you’ll be involved in my plot,’ said Jane, in mysterious but hopeful accents.
Amanda was mindful that 5th November, Guy Fawkes Night, was soon to be upon them, celebrating the attempt, or possibly failure, of a group of 15th-century activists to put paid to the Houses of Parliament by the use of then state-of-the-art explosives.
‘If you’re planning to blow it up, don’t you think we should visit it under cover of night?’ suggested Jane’s parishioner helpfully.
‘Oh, if only we could,’ sighed the rector wistfully. ‘Claim on the insurance and rebuild the wretched thing from scratch. Unfortunately, my calling prevents me from engaging in such deception even if it wasn’t a listed building. Meanwhile, do you think you could be a dear and get those keys out from under there?’
Amanda looked at the floor with concern.
‘It’s as clean as a whistle in here,’ Jane assured her. ‘You don’t need to worry about dust setting off your asthma. Mrs Scripps cleans down here regularly. You could eat your dinner off those flagstones. Not that anyone else comes down here but there’s always hope of a rare visitor.’
‘Then of course,’ Amanda replied cheerfully and lowered herself onto her stomach. She reached between the coffin’s carved bears’ feet.
‘Here,’ said Jane holding her phone with the torch app on shining a light into the narrow space.
‘I see them! Thank you, Rector.’ Amanda slid her arm in the direction of the glint. ‘Yes … oh, there’s something else … it’s small … I can reach both … ah! … got them!’
Amanda pulled out her arm and stood up. She opened her hand, passed the keys to the rector and frowned down at the remaining ite m sitting on her palm. ‘Whatever do you suppose …?’
‘Bless my soul. It looks like a tiny little gold … cup or something. It’s quite thick, and look at all of these close-set wavy marks. Do you think it’s something to do with the sea? A fitting on an instrument that maybe was used on one of the old ships? An ornamental screw cover on a … sextant or something?’
‘Well, whatever it is, it’s the property of the church,’ said Amanda holding it out.
‘No,’ Jane replied thoughtfully. ‘No … you keep it. I have a feeling …. I think it’s an apport.’
‘An apport. Hmmm. Ask your Aunt Amelia. She’ll tell you about them.’
‘Oh. Ok. Well, thank you, Rector.’
‘And now to business. You got word through the grapevine, yes?’
‘Sylvia said you wanted to see me about something.’
‘Well, thank you for popping in, dear. Got your car with you?’ asked Jane, leading the way up out of the artificially lit crypt into the daylight in a corner of the west end of the church.
‘Yes, as it happens.’
‘Good. Go and fetch a dust mask.’
‘I’m taking you down into the bowels!’
With the mask secured, they took the path between the mellow stones of the higgledy-piggledy graveyard to the hall at the boundary of the church property. The rector used one of the newly retrieved ornate keys to open the side door.
‘I had no idea that this door existed,’ commented Amanda.
‘I know, we always herd people through the front. But here we are now. Come inside so I can push the door to, and get to this.’ There, at right angles to it, was another one, also locked. The rector opened it, switched on a light and led the way down some wooden stairs into the space below.
With difficult progress and in insufficient light, they passed between old rolls of carpet and backdrops, cardboard and wooden installations, trunks, suitcases, boxes, crates, a basket of stage swords, a golf bag of spears, and a large vase of Japanese parasols, as well as all manner of paraphernalia that it was hard to identify.
It was unexpectedly high-ceilinged for a cellar, and roomier than the hall because there was no stage or anterooms as there were above. Eventually, they came to an area that was even more challenging to traverse. A group of upright posts of wood were set at intervals, piled around with crates and cases that barred the way.
‘Right,’ Jane began briskly, ‘look up there. See those joists?’
‘They’re rotten. Not too bad for most of it, but along this section here, they’re as weak as water. That’s why the hall has been closed for as long as it has. It’s all a bit unsolid, but here it was dangerous.’
‘I see,’ said Amanda.
‘Well, I’ve been wanting to repair and reopen this hall for years, but, of course, the church roof had to come first, and now it has … and, well, I didn’t want to ask the kind benefactors to put their hands in their pockets again, especially so soon, without some effort on my own part and contributions from the community, towards restoring this lovely old hall. Except … no one was interested.’
‘I suppose the church with its medieval pedigree and the famous St Ursula stained glass window —’
‘— and the bell tower, yes,’ concurred Jane. ‘That was comparatively easy to attract donations to. Well, I said, “If you want this church to still be here for your enjoyment in 100 years, or even 50, you have to be willing to support it,” and so they were. But this hall. You see, it’s only late 1800s or even later and that’s no great shakes, is it?’
‘Not really,’ agreed Amanda.
‘So, what would make people realise the worth of the hall?’
‘Yes, but what’s the most exciting thing people can do on a floor?’ asked the rector blithely.
‘Erm.’ Amanda was unprepared for the question, and her mind boggled.
‘Dance!’ uttered Jane enthusiastically.
‘But no one could dance on a dangerous floor. So … I had it repaired! See, these wooden posts are supporting that group of floorboards above? Taking over from where the joists are rotten.’
Amanda squinted into the gloom. ‘I think I need a better light. Let me go up to the car and get a torch.’
‘No, no, you stay there,’ Jane insisted. ‘I’ll get one.’
The rector hurriedly picked her way across the stored goods and up the stairs. Amanda stood alone in the dusty silence, her breath contained and amplified by her mask. She felt a little dizzy, her vision fuzzed. Suddenly it was as if something shot down through the ceiling of floorboards above and would have hit her if she had not dodged back, tripping over a wooden case and stack of props. She got to her feet. But there was nothing there. Nothing above or below that had not been there before.
But now there was the faint sound of music. Maybe someone had a car radio on loudly nearby. And yet … there was singing too …. It was a waltz … an old song … Grandpa used to sing it … yes, to Granny … ‘Roses are shining in Picardy … in the hush of the silver dew’, and there was thumping above — no, not thumping exactly — feet … walking — no, they must be dancing … waltzing across the boards above her head, and people singing their hearts out. It wasn’t frightening … there was something wonderful and free and heartbreaking about it all at once. She wanted to be up there with them ….
‘Here we are, dear!’ came the rector’s voice, and, at once, it stopped. The music, the singing, the waltzing feet. As if it had never been.
Thank you for reading. You may enjoy watching the trailer
With only three days to go until the launch of Book 3 Amanda Cadabra and The Flawless Plan, here is the long-awaited book trailer. It is also viewable on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and my author pages at Amazon, so if you are a fan of one of those and think your friends might enjoy it, please do share. It’s only about a minute long.
The book is now up on Amazon for pre-order at the special discount price of $2.99 until Sunday when it will be $4.99. Remember that Book 1, Amanda Cadabra and the Hidey-Hole Truth will be free on Sunday, so please take full advantage of the affordable opportunity to get on board the series if the Amanda Cadabra adventure is one you have yet to enjoy.
Tomorrow will see the release of a new venture for Heypressto, who publishes the books, and me. It is a YouTube video, which is an audio recording of me reading chapter 1 of the new book! It has some visuals too, in case you like to watch and listen. The text of the chapter will be here on the website also for those who prefer to read, or read and be read to simultaneously.
Saturday will see the launch of the competition, but more about that tomorrow.
This is the moment: the full cover reveal of Amanda Cadabra and the Flawless Plan, Book 3 in the Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries series. The Kindle version is now about to become available for pre-order at the special pre-order price of $2.99 until Sunday 19th May when it will be released at full price.
On Thursday, you will be able to read the first chapter of the new book here. This is to give you a taste of the action, intrigue and puzzles to come the way of Amanda Cadabra and her grumpy feline familiar, Tempest (a great favourite of many readers!)
Some of you have kindly said how much you are looking forward to returning to the English village of Sunken Madley. Especially for those of you who feel a special attachment to the place, and by extension to the real Sunken Madley, there is an extra treat in store. More about that later.
On Friday, look out for the book trailer here and on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram and Pinterest. Please do let me know what you think of it. Your feedback is highly valued.
If you’re new to the series, Book 1, Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth will be free on Sunday, the same as Book 3 launch day. If you know of someone who would delight in the mysteries and eccentricities of Amanda’s world, please do let them know so they can take advantage of the free download on that day. I would love as many people as possible to have the chance to try our dear Sunken Madley on for size and see how it fits them.
Thanks go out for the cover art of Amanda Cadabra and The Flawless Plan to creative Erik Patricio Lúa, who is now working on the back cover of the paperback version of the book. News of that to follow!
Finally, thank you to everyone reading this for sharing the excitement of this week with me.
The launch of Book 3 in the Amanda Cadabra series of cozy paranormal mysteries, Amanda Cadabra and The Flawless Plan will be at the weekend of 19th May, and here is a partial cover reveal.
The action mostly takes place around the church precinct, so a new expanded, detailed map of that will be included at the front of the book, as well as another new map, and an updated version of The Village of Sunken Madley and Lost Madley.
The full cover reveal will take place in 2 or 3 days time. Subscribers will get a personal message and view first. If you would like to join them then just click on here on: Come on in, or drop me a line. Hearing from a reader is always the highlight of my day.
The next post will announce when the book will be available for pre-order at a discounted early bird price.
I hope you are looking forward to being back in (or entering for the first time) Amanda Cadabra’s world in the English village of Sunken Madley.
The trailer is finished, so do look out for it here in the next few days. Speaking of trailers, in preparation for the one for Book 4, Chartreuse at Heypressto has been gathering new inspiration from some of the picturesque villages in Hertfordshire, near where Sunken Madley is set. You can find the new photographs here on the Real Sunken Madley page.
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