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Link image for Thank You Video

A Thank You Present For You, and The New Sequel Launch Report

Dear Readers,Old sailing ship stern with Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree as the name

The new book in the series, number 7, Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree, was duly christened, released from its moorings and slid down the slipway into open water last Sunday. It now flies its cozy paranormal mystery flag high, thanks to everyone who has so kindly reviewed, bought or downloaded it so far.

How Did it Go?

It went well, especially considering that the occasion landed on Mother’s Day when most people who might have been online were busy with family. Why release it on that day, then? Because I had promised to bring out the book in March, and the 27th was the last one on the shelf.

Nevertheless, the new book has more sales than any of its predecessors on their launch days. The free offer of Book 6, Amanda Cadabra and The Strange Case of Lucy Penlowr, had some 2,800 downloads which I’d say is respectable. Out of that number, hopefully, a goodly percentage will stay with the series and continue the voyage with us.

And Now, Your Gift

This is for you. My thank you for your support in all its wondrous forms. Your name may be mentioned here, but the point is that if you’re reading this, then you are definitely included. I hope that you like it. It comes from the heart.

 

Link image for Thank You Video

Next Time?

I will be back, possibly with a new collection of photos I have mentally entitled ‘Spring Comes To Sunken Madley’. A new project beckons. One that I have essayed in the past, but this time there is a better possibility of success than ever before. We shall see. I hope to bring you news in due course. In the meantime, if you’d like to keep in touch, you can find my email in the Contact section or find me mainly on Facebook. I’m always joyfully moved to hear from you..

Happy Spring (or Autumn depending),

Holly

 


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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

ereader on left with Book 7 with gold sticker: Free 27, 28th March. Book 7 in ereader and paperback on the right. Champagne glass behind. Text: Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree Today! From Amazon

Launch Day! Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree

Dear Reader,

It’s Here!

You can find the new sequel in the Amanda Cadabra cozy mystery series on Amazon from today. Yes, it’s a sequel (Book 7) but it’s also a standalone, so you can jump in with  Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree. The Kindle edition is at a 20% discount today.

A Double Launch

If you prefer your books touchy feely, as I do, for the first time (drumroll …) simultaneously with the ebook, the paperback edition is launching too today! You can find it here:

Viewbook.at/AC7-paperback

Free

Plus, free today and tomorrow from Amazon, you can download the previous volume, Amanda Cadabra and The Strange Case of Lucy Penlowr. This story is set in Cornwall and is also a standalone.

It would be superb if you could also spread the word and share the coziness.

Movie Time

Now here is the launch video, for your entertainment.

 

Back next time with news of how it went today and a little thank you present for all your support.

Happy reading,

Holly


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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Green veil partially covering open book showing Chapter 1 of Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree

Launch Date and Chapter 1 Revealed – Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree

Dear Reader,

Microphone and text: AnnouncingThe Launch Date is Confirmed

The official release of of Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree, will be on  Sunday, 27th March. With just 3 days to go, here is the penultimate revelation: Chapter 1, laid bare below.

What Does Chapter 1 Mean?

There is something special about having written the first chapter of a novel. It isn’t usually the first part of a new book that I write, you see. The opening scene or paragraphs may come to me early on in the process, but the rest of the chapter could take its time. However, when it is in place, the collection of notes – scenes, dialogue, even a complete chapter here and there ­– suddenly, in my mind, becomes ‘The Book’. There is the feeling of acceleration and the certainty that it will, at some point, go forth into the world of dear readers, fully formed.

As so, it is about to happen. What can you expect on Sunday?

Book 7 in Paperback and ebook, 20% discount voucher for new book, free book 6 and launch videoSunday’s Line-up

The brand new Book 7 Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree, the standalone sequel, will be available on Amazon in both ebook and paperback.

The Kindle edition will be available, for a limited time, at a 20% discount.

Book 6, Amanda Cadabra and The Strange Case of Lucy Penlowr, will be free to download for the day and Monday.

Oh, and of course, there will be a launch display video for your entertainment.

For You

Finally, I would like to thank you for your patience. Almost immediately after Book 6 was published, some of you loyal readers were asking for the next in the series. Now, I am delighted to say that the new book’s release into your hands is just hours away.

Until Sunday, I leave you with this. Just scroll down and you will be transported to the world of Sunken Madley with:

 

 

Scroll: Chapter 1, Amanda's Unusual Talent

 

It was difficult to make out what it was. The fog was being compounded by smoke from a nearby garden bonfire. Amanda ventured closer. Oh … just a sack of old leaves, wasn’t it? Probably from last autumn. Strange though. It wasn’t like Irene to be untidy.

Another few steps, No … She stood stock-still, the mist clinging to her skin. Amanda looked up at the branch above her … then down at the form beneath. The rope attached to it lay there like a pale dead snake. … Surely not … not this. … not here …

***

The day began promisingly. Amanda awoke naturally after a full night’s sleep to the song of the blackbird; there’d been some hazy dream or other. One of the downsides of being a back-sleeper was that she often surfaced to find a cat on her stomach. And not just any cat. Tempest, her familiar, was thick-furred in a collection of storm greys, citrine-eyed and constitutionally disgruntled.

Tempest, sensing his human was stirring, moved up to her chest and pushed his head out from under the quilt. Amanda smiled blearily, rubbing one blue eye, and stroked his head.

‘Good morning, Tempest.’

He stared at her meaningfully.

‘Yes, I know,’ she acknowledged tolerantly, ‘Breakfast. I must get up anyway. I have magic practice.’

Forty minutes later found Amanda, clad in green boiler suit and trainers, mouse-brown hair in a messy plait, kneeling on the floor of her furniture restoration workshop. But not yet engaged in restoration. She was instead screwing spare antique bow handles next to the four edges of an old flat-surfaced door. Observing Amanda, with a mixture of ennui and amusement, was Tempest.

‘There,’ she pronounced optimistically, ‘that should do it. First, a test run.’

Aerevel ynentel,’ she pronounced, and the door rose gently into the air until she halted its progress with ‘sessiblin’ and landed it with ‘sedaasig.’ This was Amanda’s particular gift, inherited through Perran, her grandfather, from the Cadabras. Since his elopement with Senara, née Cardiubarn, of the nefarious neighbouring witch-clan, he had been, ostensibly, estranged from his family. Yet, he had never regretted the union with his beloved Senara.

Of course, as far as the village was concerned, the couple were now, in what the ‘transitioned’ regarded as vulgar parlance: dead. They were, in fact, enjoying a somewhat different plane of existence, from which they made frequent visits either spontaneously or at Amanda’s request.

However, currently she and Tempest were the sole occupants of the workshop. It was here, where Perran had taught all, or at least, most of what he knew to Amanda, to whom he had bequeathed it together with the Vauxhall Astra. The vehicle was in British racing green, and along each side bore the legend in gold script: Cadabra Furniture Restoration and Repairs.

His granddaughter was presently regarding the door on the floor with satisfaction coupled with a degree of hesitation.

‘Good,’ she pronounced. ‘And now ….’

Amanda took a deep breath and stepped onto the door, sat down, and took hold of each of the two handles on the long sides. She focused and issued the command,

Aerevel ynentel.’ Amanda opened her eyes wide at the strange sensation of rising off the floor, inch by inch. Distracted, she lost her concentration, the surface tilted wildly, and she cried out instinctively,

‘Grandpa! Help me!’

Instantly a tall, silver-haired man appeared and, smiling, steadied her with a gesture and landed the door.

‘Oh, thank you,’ said Amanda with relief, putting a hand to her chest. Then, as a shocking thought occurred to her, she added, ‘Grandpa, did you put a spell on me?’ Casting magic on humans was absolutely vetoed. It had got her, and even the village of Sunken Madley, into far too much trouble in the past.

‘No, bian,’ Perran Cadabra assured Amanda, addressing her by his pet name for her, Cornish for ‘baby’, ‘just the board and the air around you.’ Calmed by his soft accent, hailing from the far south-west of the British Isles, and unfailingly kindly manner, she sighed,

‘Ah.’ Now, her tell was clear to see. In the presence of magic, the tiny brown islands in the sea of her blue eyes expanded into continents. Her close-work glasses helped to hide it, but anyone who knew what to look for could observe the singular effect.

‘All right?’ asked Grandpa. ‘Ready to try again? Just an inch or two off the ground this time.’

‘Yes … I don’t have all that long to practice, by the way.’

‘I know,’ replied Grandpa, nodding. ‘You’re meeting the inspector at a quarter past nine to give him the official Sunken Madley tour.’

‘That’s right. Ok, I’m ready. Back on the horse. Or, should I say … door?’

***

The somewhat wayward village of Sunken Madley, to which Detective Inspector Thomas Trelawney of the Devon and Cornwall Police was now assigned, lay 13 miles to the north of the Houses of Parliament, and three miles south of the border of Hertfordshire. Its roots in the rural landscape, from which it had grown over a period of 800 years, were still in evidence to those who cared to look. It was embraced by ancient orchards and the sheltering Madley Wood. The village was a long way in every sense from the Cornish coastal town where Trelawney had been born and bred.

The inspector was a study in unobtrusiveness, in classic, well-cut grey suit and quiet, self-patterned matching tie. His short, light-brown hair was neither styled in a dated manner nor at the edge of current fashion. His features were pleasant, he was well-spoken, accentless, his manner mild and courteous. The sort of man, Amanda had often thought, one did not notice, until one really noticed.

Trelawney looked at his watch. He decided that he had sufficient time to make a diversion to The Corner Shop for a snack pack of almonds. There’d been a toaster crisis at his mother’s – which had been the school-holidays home of his youth after his parents’ divorce – and breakfast had turned into a rather vague affair.

His arrival at the nerve centre of the village coincided with the approach of Dennis Hanley-Page, a septuagenarian whose exuberant progress through life was entirely uninterrupted by the passing of the years.

Dennis was at that moment manifesting his eclectic musical taste. The final few bars of Rock the Casbah by The Clash echoed down the street, followed by the opening of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, as Dennis approached at 70 miles per hour. A red Triumph Spitfire, Dennis’s latest acquisition as proprietor of Vintage Vehicles, raced into view. The village had somehow managed to maintain a legacy speed limit from either the 1930’s or 70’s. Trelawney was simply grateful that he was not there to police the traffic, and entered The Corner Shop, while Dennis parked and secured his car.

Ding! The door heralded the inspector’s entrance.

‘Pen hates therapists,’ Joan the postlady was saying to Mrs Sharma, proprietor, and Sylvia, the hi-vis-vest-clad octogenarian lollipop lady. She was but recently arrived at the establishment from her labours of safely ushering the school children across the road. This duty she performed with the aid of her round stop sign on a long pole, hence her job title.

‘Hello, Inspector,’ they chorused in warm welcome. Joan brought him up to speed.

‘We’re talking about the new renter of the Sharma’s shop at the end of the High Street here. And I was about to say as no one could hate our new therapist. He’s a sweetie.’

‘Oh I know,’ enjoined Sylvia. ‘That would be like hating … Mother Theresa.’

‘Or Stephen Fry,’ returned Joan.

Ding! went the shop door.

‘Or Dolly Parton,’ chimed in Dennis, debonairly sweeping off his tweed cap. ‘Everyone likes Dolly Parton.’

‘We know you do,’ returned Sylvia with a grin, after they had greeted him.

‘Well,’ commented Joan, ‘my Jim says what with my hair and my curves, that I’m a tall, size 16 ringer for Dolly, bless ‘im.’

‘You’ve got a good man there, Joan,’ Sylvia remarked.

‘Oh, I have, I have. You know, when we was courting, and I mighta told you this story before …’

Trelawney was aware of the time and his appointment with his landlady-to-be and his new partner Miss Cadabra. However, he was even more conscious of his new status in the village, with its upgrade from ‘Honorary Village’ to ‘Village’. He had been warned that Sunken Madley was not like his Cornish home town of Parhayle, and they would have their own pace.

This was the last place he’d expected to end up and the last business he’d ever imagined he’d be embroiled in. Detective Inspector Thomas Trelawney had regarded magic as a lot of mumbo jumbo and himself as a modern man, living in a modern world, solving modern, and also admittedly age-old, crimes, with the aid of modern techniques.

And then …

To be continued in Chapter 2

I hope that you enjoyed that. See you on Sunday.

Happy reading,

Holly


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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree book in the light of a projector

New Book Trailer – Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree

Dear Readers,

Here Goes The Fifth Veil

As I wrote to you last time, the process of bringing out a new novel is a dance, The Dance of the Seven Veils. With the news that the new book is in the offing, the title reveal, the partial and then the full cover reveals, the first four have wafted to the floor. And now, for the fifth, the trailer:

 

Click to go to trailer video for Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree by Holly Bell

On Location With The Trailer

I hope that you enjoyed the film. Some of it was shot especially for such an event, including the footage at the beginning, which was recorded in the picturesque village of Aldenham in Hertfordshire. On the Inspiration page, you can see some photographs from there. The video was shot from opposite the church, which dates from the 13th century and looks over the spacious village green. The final village scene was captured in another Hertfordshire village: Letchworth Common. For the rest of the trailer, I have several talented photographers to thank, who are credited at the end of the video.

If you are curious about my process for creating these trailers, you can read about it here: making movies

The Sixth Veil

Next time, a little peep inside the book: Chapter 1 of Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree, right here. And now I must be off, to prepare for The Seventh Veil, the launch video.

Happy Spring,

Holly

 


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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Cover reveal. Book on table covered by a gold cloth, except for the top right hand corner. Misty wood in the background

Cover Reveal – Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree

Dear Readers,

The Curtains Part

The cover of Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree is revealed!

Cover of Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree, new sequel. Amanda leaning aound a tree in the mist looking down at the roots and a top. Tempest the cat is by her feet looking with irritation in the same direction. Full cover reveal. The book stands on a table with misty trees in the background

 Who Dunnit?

All credit must go to our esteemed and talented illustrator and visual developer, Daniel Becerril Ureña. Daniel has travelled the world, enhancing his skills as an artist, bringing to the Amanda Cadabra series a blend of drama and cosiness that is a perfect fit. All of the books have had the full Ureña treatment except for Book 3. Hence, a new cover for Amanda Cadabra and The Flawless Plan is a treat anticipated for this year.

How does a new cover come into being? you may ask. If you’d like to discover the process, I described it in exciting detail when the last sequel, Amanda Cadabra and The Strange Case of Lucy Penlowr, was in the making: Cover Magic

I would love to know your reactions to the look of the new book. Please let me know, in the comments, on Facebook or, my favourite, by email.

 

The Seven Veils

I like to think of the emergence of each new story as a dance. Not just any dance: the Dance of the Seven Veils during which they are dropped one by one. The first falls when the announcement comes that a new book is in the making. The second is cast off with the title reveal, which was two weeks ago. In the last Letter to Readers, veil number three was let fall with the partial cover reveal. Today, the fourth veil is relinquished as the cover is displayed for your enjoyment. Next week, the fifth veil is lifted for the trailer. After that, the penultimate covering is drawn off as the first chapter is laid out here. Finally, the last veil flutters to the ground: the launch.

Next

The fifth veil. Heypressto, the publisher of the Amanda Cadabra series, under the aegis of Chartreuse, will be bringing you the trailer video for Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree.

Happy Mid-March,

Holly

 


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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Partial Cover Reveal – New Cozy Mystery Sequel – 3 Treats for Launch Day

Dear Readers,

A Veil is Dropped

This week it’s time for the partial cover reveal of Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree.

Gift-wrapped book on wooden table with cup of coffee on the left with a white hat and daffodils in the bottom left hand corner. Leaf shaped cutout in the gift wrap showing Amanda's face looking towards the ground with surprise

 What to Expect: Three Bonuses

Over the coming days, not necessarily just on Sunday, there will be a string of reveals: the full cover, the trailer and the first chapter, leading up to launch day.

There will be three special events for this release. First, we are working on releasing the paperback on the same day as the ebook.

New Sequel with partial cover reveal as ebook and paperback

Second, one of the books in the series will be free on the day of the launch.

Third, there will be a 20% discount for a limited period on the new book.

 

Spring Comes To Sunken Madley

Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree begins almost the day of the release, at this time of year. At the end of the previous book, Amanda Cadabra and The Strange Case of Lucy Penlowr, the village, Amanda and Trelawney, enjoyed the Spring Equinox Ball. Join them as they move through the end of the month and April towards the May Day Ball. Here is a visual reminder of our village at this time of year to be going on with.

Happy Spring!

 Holly

 


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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Trunk on cottage doorstep. Lid open with light shining out illuminating text: New Sequel Title Reveal in white on black

Title Reveal – New Cozy Mystery Sequel

Dear Readers,

The Unveiling

Here it is at last. The day has come. This is where it begins: the run-up to the launch. And the title of Book 7 in the Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mystery Series is …

Title Reveal of the New Amanda Cadabra Sequel. Gold and white text on green enclosed in rope border: Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree

What next?

Today I got the new pass of the cover illustration from Daniel. It’s a final tweak away from being The One. So next stop is the partial cover reveal.

The manuscript is back from Kim, our diligent and intuitive editor, and from our superb team of VIP Readers who have read and checked the book for any amendments. My sincere thanks go out to each of you who have kindly given your time and attention to helping polish the new book to a gleaming shine.

Now it’s time to make those adjustments so that it will be as near perfect fit as possible for both you valued existing cozy readers and new ones yet to join us.

News to come: the surprise I have in mind for Launch Day.

Back soon.

Happy End of Winter (or Summer, depending)

Holly


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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

New Sequel Launch Engine Firing Up

Dear Readers,

The New Sequel?

I hear you ask. Quite rightly too.

Please excuse the brief hibernation. I hope you enjoyed Valentine’s Day, which I also like to call Friends’ Day. Meanwhile, my love for you, my readers, and Amanda Cadabra is undiminished. But actions speak louder than words, so what have I been doing about bringing you the new sequel?

Words and Art

At the end of last month, I finished the manuscript, and it went out to Kim, our esteemed editor. Next, the front and back matter was edited: the British-American English glossary was updated, and a new plan and a new map were created. This version of the manuscript was sent to the VIP Reader Group (beta readers). That same weekend, a summary of the story went to Daniel Becerril Ureña, our talented cover illustrator.

At this point, I always fondly imagine that I can put my feet up, draw breath, and relax. The train is in the shed. The coal needs to be delivered. The engine needs to checked and tested. In other words, it is at this very moment that I realise how much I need to do to prepare for the launch.

Clapperboard leaning against a treePretty as Pictures

There is a series of Letters to Readers to come. And they all need spectacular images. So, I have been creating: the title reveal, the partial cover reveal, and the cover reveal. Next, the trailer video needs to be conjured.

All of these projects require many hours of research to find the perfect video clips and images. Images have to be edited into slides. Some of the clips have been shot by Chartreuse or me. They have to be carefully chosen. The video project has to be compiled, sequenced, timed, edited, and transitions and titles added. What remains to be done? The opening, closing, credits and music.

The All-important … Cover

The initial sketches arrived from Daniel: seven possible covers. I made a shortlist of three, and he did more work on them to help me decide. As soon as I saw that next wave, the choice of The One was clear. Since then, Daniel has created further layers, and with each of those, I am able to see what tweaks are needed. This morning I sent back what could be the last list. We are now close to the final version.

The cover illustration, once completed, can then be slotted into the video, and, naturally, the cover reveals.

Greasing the Wheels

Meanwhile, there are technical blips to be sorted out that require hours of consultation, but it’s a pleasure to work with dedicated, professional people. The website has to be bright and shiny for any who like to visit and browse the trailers, other videos, first chapters, maps, quizzes, glossaries, Wicc’Yeth dictionary, free prequel or past Letters to Readers.

It’s tremendously absorbing and creative fun. It does, however, take time and patience (especially technical malarkey!). Nevertheless, all of these projects are rewarding in various ways.

The Latest

The manuscript came back from Kim the day before yesterday. I savour going through her notes. Most of the treasured VIP readers have sent back their notes for me. It is a great joy to touch base with all of you, by the way, and I will be creating a special thank you.

Launch then?

We are now around three weeks from launch, give or take a week or two at the most. I like to allow plenty of room for manoeuvre at this stage so that the process remains enjoyable for everyone involved.

The closer we get to pulling all of the threads together, the more specific I can be. And I like to add a little surprise, which I’m working on. However, the train is out of the shed and stands at the platform. The coal wagon is piled high. The engine is firing up.

In the Waiting Room

Here is something new to be going on with. The paperback for Book 2 now has its new cover, and here it is. You can only see this here unless you acquire the actual book. (Personally, I prefer actual tangible volumes that I can hold and mark and love and put on my shelf. I have some that I think of as my oldest friends.)

Can you see what Daniel has so cleverly created? The scene on the front shows a devastated old pub. The back cover rewinds time to when it was pristine. I was charmed when I saw this for the first time.

The next Letter to you, hopefully, next weekend, will be announcing the title of the new sequel. The whistle is about to blow.

Happy February,

Holly


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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

Book covered by gold cloth and question mark on photo of white birds is blue sky above green fields. Text: 4 Free Book sDays, Cover Reveal and Quizzes

Free Book Days, Quizzes and A Cover Reveal

Dear Readers,

4 Free Book Days

Starting this very day, until Wednesday, 15th DecemberAmanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth is free to download from Amazon. Even as we speak, an email is going out from Bookbub to 2,800,000 cozy mystery subscribers and, of course, to our own subscribers to broadcast these glad tidings. Here is a little 30-second video for your entertainment with (a shortened version of) some brand new winter-themed music from the overwhelmingly talented, videographer’s angel, Australian composer Aaron Kenny:

 

A flock of white birds against a blue sky with green fields below. Text: Free 4. Link image to video about 4 free days 12 - 15 Dec 2021 for Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth

 

Where’s the Smoke?

Yes, I did say I’d report from the thick of the historical battlefield, and I shall, next week, but I just have so much to tell you that it needs to keep for another seven days. You see, in preparation for today’s huge event, for which I have been hoping and planning for three years, I have prepared some new goodies. In case you aren’t yet in the know, what is this Bookbub of which I speak?

The Big Deal

In their own words, ‘BookBub is a free service that helps you discover books you’ll love through unbeatable deals, handpicked recommendations, and updates from your favorite authors.’ They have a subscription list of millions. It can take, yes, years for your book to be accepted to be included in one email on one day. They take only 10-15% of submissions (which come from both independent authors and traditional publishers), and the standards, to put it mildly, are high. And, as I say, after three years of attempts, one midnight, I saw the acceptance email and was stunned with joy.

Thank you

I would like to pay tribute, at this point, to all of the readers who posted a review of Amanda Cadabra and the Hidey-Hole Truth, helping it to achieve the milestone of 100 Amazon reviews. I have no doubt that this was a significant factor that prompted Bookbub’s decision to accept it for a highly-prized Bookbub Featured Deal. 

Thanks to Daniel Becerril Ureña for his professional and creative cover, to Kim, our editor, Daria Lacy for her flawless formatting and to Laurence o’Bryan and Tanja Slijepčević  of Books Go Social whose advice, experience and services have helped guide my marketing journey . I would also like to express sincere appreciation again to Kim, to best-selling author and friend Tim Brown, to Paula, Katherine, David, Katherine (yes, I’m lucky enough to know two fine ladies by that name) and all of the dear friends and readers who have always expressed such encouraging and heart-warming faith in me, the books and the prospect of increasing success.

So, the good news arrived. But that was only last month. Not much time to prepare. However ….

Cover Reveal

In honour of this auspicious occasion, our skilled, deft and inspired illustrator Daniel, whom I cannot thank sufficiently, has pulled out all the stops, crammed this extra project into his already busy schedule and, for Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets, produced this thrilling cover. Feedback so far has been: ‘I love it!’ ‘Makes you want to read the story’, and ‘fab’. I hope that you like it too.

Quizzes

To provide more fun for you and the new visitors arriving from today, I have added a new feature to the website. So far, each quiz is just ten multiple-choice questions-long. They have been tested by David, a friend and particularly kind beta reader whose fascinating correspondence never fails to give me a lift. Here are the first three, in case you’d like to have a play now. If you want to re-do any of the quizzes, just refresh your page, and you’ll get back to the start. Any feedback would be greatly welcomed: ‘too easy,’ ‘too hard’, or ‘Goldilocks level’.

Link image to three quizzez

And There’s More …

Yes, if you check the Inspiration section, you’ll find more photographs garnered from my field trips in search of the cozy village. Additional ones are coming soon. And finally, at the time of writing this to you, I have taken advantage of a new feature on Amazon that allows me to tell you more about the series. It’s called A+ Content, and mine now includes a pretty chart about the main characters with customised avatars for each one by graphic artist Soodabeh Damavandi, plus a seasonal and historical background to each of the books. Do have a look, and again, it would be wonderful to hear what you think about it.

It has been a pleasure to share my good news with you. If you would like to be a part of the celebration, please consider sharing the video above or this letter to readers with even just one friend. Thank you.

Next Time

Absolutely. Battle, smoke, books past and future. The works. Also, a report on the next four days. Until then,

Wishing you a happy winter week,

Holly


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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

A 700th Anniversary Flower Fest and Book 7 News

Dear Readers,

Hay Rides

With the air clearing and restrictions lifting, it has been time to make hay while the suHerfordshire field with windmill in the backgroundn shines. After the dull summer days, the skies above the county of Hertfordshire have turned, sporadically, to blue and gold. Whenever the weather was apt for photoshoots of charming English villages redolent of Amanda Cadabra’s beloved Sunken Madley, with camera batteries charged and memory cards with plenty of space, I ventured forth.

It has been quite a journey and one that I shall share with you. However, this week I wanted to tell you of my most recent outing to a once-in-a-lifetime experience in a medieval church. It sits upon a hilltop of what was, long ago, the ancient county of Saxon Middlesex, once home to the Amanda’s village before it was subsumed by Hertfordshire.

A Discovery

This was founded well over a thousand years ago, before that most famous date in English history: 1066 marking the Norman Conquest. On the plus side, the Normans brought with them some novel notions on cooking, castles and cathedrals. They were also into building churches. Lots and lots of churches. Many of our existing ecclesiastical buildings owe their founding to this medieval period. Including … wait for it … the fictional St Ursula-without-Barnet of Sunken Madley fame (based on St Mary the Virgin, Monken Hadley), and, my latest discovery, St John the Baptist, parish church of Pinner.

A One-Off

It was quite by accident that I found that St John’s was about to celebrate the 700th year since its founding that very weekend. It was to be marked with a resplendent Flower Festival, the like of which had never been seen by that historic structure. Next time I will tell you more of the strange and wonderful chain of events that led me there.

The church and it’s long history reminded me so much of our dear (even if imaginary) St Ursula of Sunken Madley that it was even that I simply had to attend.

I was moved by the warmth of the welcome from the busy flower arrangers there, and amazed by the sheer beauty and creativity of the designs expressing thanks for nature, the arts and other aspects of life. Some of the ladies were from St John, others from neighbouring parishes; flower clubs and a local florist were taking part. They kindly allowed me to take photographs both during preparations and on the day. These images, Chartreuse has compiled into a video to commemorate this extraordinary and dazzling. Here it is for your delight:

Free Book

Meanwhile, Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth have been elected to be this month’s Giveaway by the Feathered Quill website. This is the home of the Feathered Quill Book Awards (Amanda Cadabra and The Strange Case of Lucy Penlowr had been submitted for the Adult Fiction Award for Mystery. I’ll hear more next year.) So if you know of someone who enjoys a free cozy mystery, then here is the link for a spin of the wheel for just the addition of your email address. (This is deleted at the end of the offer.)

The Interview

Earlier this month, I received news from journalist Katherine Russell that she had included an interview with me in an article about the experience of women in the publishing industry. I have to say that as an indie author, it has been a happy ride for me. However, Katherine certainly had some interesting questions, and, if you’d like to read the article, you can also hear from the four other authors who responded so thoughtfully.

Book 7’s Progress

This is all very well, I hear you say, but what about the next sequel in the Amanda Cadabra series? I have not been idle on that front, I promise you, and can supply supporting photographic evidence for your inspection, as you shall see.

Book 7 is probably the most intricate plot to date and came to me in odd excerpts, in no particular chronological order, and usually in the hours normally associated with rest. This meant a succession of scribbled notes, dialogue and narrative passages in my journal that had to be typed up. Until I found that reading my notes written bleary-eyed was more of a challenge than actually getting up and beavering away at the computer. After all seemed ready, each and every Word document had to be compiled into a single file. That file had to be printed out. All to the tune of … 50,000 words on almost 250 pages of A4 paper.

The Magic Semi-Circle

Manuscript for Amanda Cadabra Book 7Next came the task of applying myself with marker pen, scissors and paperclips, to arrange the pages, passages, and conversations. I set them out on the floor in a semi-circle around me, into something approaching the order in which they appear in the book. This is a process that takes many hours. And this is what it looks like:

Coming

I have now completed the next stage but news of that next time. More to come: photos and a strange and wonderful journey on the trail of Amanda’s favourite fruit and more Sunken Madley inspiration. Until then, dear readers,

Happy September,

Holly


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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