8 December, 2023.

Dear Readers,

Yes, Big News this week, but first, here are Reader Tips and Author Insights, especially into the creation of an international character in a story. The Penultimate Episode Part 3 of Spelling It Out:

Click for video: Accent Jewel: J - Part 3 of Spelling It Out - Your International Character


This Week’s Puzzle

I hope you’ll find this as adorable I do. You can probably identify this character very quickly but can you identify the scene? Check in Character Biographies to see if you’re right.

Click to go to jigsaw puzzle 11 for 10th December 2023


My time for last week’s was 8 minutes and 20 seconds. How did you do?

The Call and The Decision

Now, we get to the heart of this Letter to you. This week the manuscript reached a new landmark: 20,000 words.

And I made a Decision.

Yes, I have been hearing the Call of The Sequel, and it can no longer be denied. So, much as I’ve been enjoying your enjoyment of the weekly letter here, instead of posting a new blog every week and a new video, after next week, for now, I’m going to be doing more writing and dialling back on the blogging. There’ll still be our Letters to Readers, just less often. In other words, less blog; more new book.

Instead of new footage, I will be re-creating the already finished videos as ‘shorts’ and ‘reels’, making catching up much quicker and more convenient for you. And they will be appearing not just on Facebook but also on other social networking sites like Instagram. So if you see them, please say hello and or give them a thumbs up, and follow me there so we can stay in touch that way. 

Where Do You Like to Be?

I’ll still be posting updates on The Holly Bell Author Page and in the freshly created The Bell Tower Readers Group on Facebook, along with puzzles, and polls of your valued opinions.

Now, I know that not all of you are on Facebook and I want to ensure that you are catered for while I’m beavering away on the new book. So here is a poll for you to let me know where you are and how I can best keep you posted with weekly news especially of offers.

If you’re not on any of the social platforms then that’s fine. Just please be sure to join the newsletter. I send it out about once a month, or more often if I have Big News, but that’s where I like to share something a bit extra as it’s a more private space. Consequently, if you like having the inside track, click this link here.

A Heartfelt Thank You

This week saw the momentous rise of The Bell Tower, the new Readers Group. I was overcome with emotion when I saw how many of you had joined in just the first day. To mark the 50th member, I have created a new puzzle just for you as a Thank You for your support, which you’ll find on The Bell Tower page. Thank you, also for taking part in the first polls. I’m going to be putting up an important one, which will have a role in shaping the future of the series so please add your ticks to the mix.

A beautiful old bell tower with a lard brass bell in the middle. Sun shining through windows on all side. Click to go to the new Facebook group for readersCome To The Bell Tower

If you’ve yet to join, please check your Facebook Notifications (interestingly the icon for them is a bell!) for my invitation to you. If it’s missing, this is because Facebook doesn’t make it easy for me to invite everyone. However, if you head over to the page https://facebook.com/groups/thebelltower and click ‘join’; then the gates will be flung wide, and you can be sure of a warm welcome.

Why Facebook? Because that’s where most of you, my readers and my readers-to-be, are so that’s where you’ll find me. And it’s where I have received and continue to receive so much encouragement on the Amanda Cadabra journey. I am moved every time I read a comment from you, see a ‘like’ or a ‘love’ for a post, see a new reader following or liking the page and now The Bell Tower.

The Meaning Behind the Numbers

What does 20,000 words mean in the grand scheme of the finished book? Usually, the books have around 90,00 words so this is just over 20%. Of course, much of it is rough, and some parts are in note form, but it’s growing …

Cozy Mystery Giveaway Reminder

Free Entry, discover new mystery authors (and help Holly).


Cozy Mystery Giveaway - Garden Witch. Click to find out how to enter

 Coming Up

The final video in the series Spelling It Out, a new puzzle, and I hope to have a new sequel update. Plus the reveal of which book is going to be on special offer in the Nights Before Christmas for last minute presents for others or indeed yourself. In other words, more goodies even before the 25th December.

Happy pre-Yuletide,



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.