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Launch Date Announced – The New Amanda Cadabra – Book 8

Dear Readers,

I promised you I’d tell you as soon as I knew myself. So here it is: just 7 days from now:

Launch date: Sunday, 13th November

What is the Surprise?

99c for Book 7 Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree for the weekend of the launchI hear you ask. Quite right. To help any readers who would like to catch up with the series so far, Book 7, the previous one, Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree, will be 99c for the whole of the launch weekend. So if you know anyone who’d like a taste of mystery and magic for very little outlay, please pass on the news.

Six Impossible Things Before Launch?

You may be wondering why this exciting announcement is coming so close to the launch day. The reason is that a total of six essential ingredients had to be in place first. I’m sure you can guess the first two: the manuscript for the Kindle/e-book edition and the cover for that. Relatively simple? Well, the former involved our venerated editor Kim and the VIP beta readers. Once they had busied away, and I had incorporated their admirable recommendations into the script, then it was ready to go? Almost. I’ll come back to that, if I may.

For the Kindle cover, Daniel had to work his magic, and I had to supply spend many hours finding costume, furniture and architectural image references to help him realise our vision. So ebook cover and script done?

They could have been, but I wanted to give you more on the day than just the ebook.


For me, nothing beats the reading experience of actual pages that I can turn with my fingers. So, once the ebook manuscript was completed, off it had to be shipped to Daria, our formatter. Daniel went to work on the paperback cover, which means adding the spine and back. Neither of these is a quick job. They require several proofs from the professionals and detailed feedback from me each time. Furthermore, in the course of her formatting, it was possible that Daria would turn up one or two tweaks that needed to be applied to the ebook, and so it proved.

The Other Two

As I was planning to do a special price for Book 7, I wanted it to look as beautiful as possible. Because of time constraints, we had yet to be able to implement a couple of final tweaks, so Daniel fine-tuned the cover of the ebook and then the paperback editions. As soon as he’d finished, it was time to fix The Date.  Six impossible thing in the bag. I didn’t want to wait a day more than necessary, and a Sunday launch is something of a tradition for the series, so … 13th it is. And if you’re curious, here are all the ways in which that number is auspicious!

If you’re well ahead of the game and looking for presents for the Winter Solstice and associated music, lights and pretty trees, then the paperback of the new sequel might fit the bill for a friend who loves a cozy mystery. Having said that, I’ll have another suggestion for you nearer the time.

The Lineup?

On Tuesday, there will be the launch of the trailer for Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs, on Thursday, the Chapter 1 read-aloud video by me, leading up to the book release on Sunday, with a short video for your entertainment, and the 99c offer for Book 7 for the entire weekend.

Thank you for sharing the excitement with me. And if you’d like to help, please share this article or any of the pre-launch posts on the Holly Bell Facebook page. I hope you know how much I appreciate your support in all its wondrous forms.

See you on Tuesday.

Happy Sunday,



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 Nightstairs by Holly Bell in monastery covered by gold cloth except for top right hand corner

Full Cover Reveal – The New Amanda Cadabra – Book 8

Dear Readers,

The moment has come, ladies and gentlemen, to drop the veil, to part the curtains, to open the box and reveal in all its, what I hope you will think is, glory. Here is the full cover of the new Amanda Cadabra cozy paranormal mystery sequel! (Ta-daa)


Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs by Holly Bell in monastery surrounded by candle-like glow


The Artist

Now, I can introduce you, if you don’t already know about, the artist Daniel, and give you a little peep behind the scenes at how he is able to create such visual wonders. First, Daniel is Daniel Becerril Ureña, Bachelor of (Digital) Arts (BA) and Animation, about to complete a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Oriental Painting. Daniel’s quest for knowledge, perfection and artistic development has spanned the globe, taking him from his home in Mexico across to Europe and over to Seoul in South Korea. Here are a couple of clips of Daniel at work.

If you’d like to see more (for interest or, indeed, to watch and learn), you can find Daniel’s work here:

Cover Story

This cover, in a sense, began earlier this year when I saw … First, allow me, please, to provide some context. This is how we work. I send Daniel a detailed synopsis of the story. (Once I know what it is!) Then after a little percolation, Daniel sends me 6-8 sketches. And the better he gets, the harder it is to choose just one. They are dazzlingly beautiful, and I feel profoundly moved looking at them. Somehow he brings the characters to life on the page, and, I think you’ll agree, Daniel has Tempest down to T!

For the last book, Amanda Cadabra and The Hanging Tree, there was one sketch that I immediately wanted for this new sequel. In fact, it inspired a scene at the climax of the book. That was a first. A sort of creative reverse-engineering event.

So, when it came to the cover of this book, I mentioned this to Daniel, who adapted that particular image for this tale and included that in the 6 sketches. And much as I still love it, there was another that I thought you would like even more. All I can say is, see if you can guess what the scene was when you read the new book. Oo, and please let me know, in the comments, on Facebook or email me (my favourite).

Feedback so far on this cover:

‘I like it!’ ‘Loved it!’ ‘Love it.’ ‘It looks fantastic! Daniel has done a great job.’

I hope that you enjoy seeing it just as much.

What Next?

Coming up: on Sunday the launch date will be announced. After that: the trailer. This will be a video about 1 minute long to further whet your appetite. I am also planning to read aloud and record the first chapter. As I say, that’s the plan. We shall see. But thrilling times are afoot.

After that, there’ll be the launch day video and Letter to Readers to prepare. I promise to announce the date as soon as I know what it is. All I can say at this point is ‘soon.’

As I write this, I live in hourly expectation of the arrival of the edited manuscript from Kim. This is, in a way, a breathing space, in that I am away from the text, to write to you and to create some accompanying images for your pleasure. Off now to conjure the aforementioned visual delights. Back soon.

Happy November,



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 – The New Amanda Cadabra – Book 8

Dear Readers,

Feeling Peeky?

Time to peep inside the wrapping. Here is a glimpse at the cover of the new Amanda Cadabra sequel, which, as you now know, is entitled Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs. If you missed the last Letter, where the identity of the aforementioned flights of steps was expounded, you can catch it here.

I would like to mention the brains, talent and drawing implements behind this image: our cover illustrator Daniel Becerril Ureña hailing from Mexico and completing his Master’s degree in South Korea. All I can say is, wait till you see the whole thing!


Meanwhile, behind the scenes, we have had a little Drama. So, my projects for the day were to write, find, edit and create images for the Letter to Readers for the Title Review. This process takes hours because only the best words and pictures for you will do. A great deal of tea is involved, you may be sure. I also needed to dispatch virtual heralds to the remaining VIP beta readers who may not have seen the memo. An enthusiastic response was received and the parchment scrolls delivered wherein was writ the Tale of Amanda Cadabra and Ye Olde Nightsteiren.

Drama at Castle Amandacadabra.comHeroism and a Happy Ending

Now, in the midst of this, I discovered the presence of adversaries at the castle walls (a page on the website was redirecting to another site). I alerted the captain of the guard (tech support for the server), who at once mustered his forces. Meanwhile, a noble burgess (esteemed reader), Mistress Pat Sciarini, in the neighbouring town (Facebook page) espied an infiltrator and sent word (all pages redirecting). At once, I informed the captain, and within the hour, all enemy forces were routed and eliminated. The castle defences were reinforced, and pennants flown joyfully from the walls once more.

What a heroic tale! What it highlights is how valuable it is when you, dear readers, if you spot a scurrilous incursion, let me know. If any other pages here go somewhere that doesn’t look right, please send up a flare, light the beacon, or dispatch the homing pigeon. That way, I can instigate dispatches to have all restored forthwith.

By the way, if you are one of my precious subscribers, be assured that your details are held in the allied stronghold of Fort Mailchimp, whose walls are unbreachable.

By the end of the day, the Letter to Readers for the title reveal bloomed here, the VIPs had the manuscript, and peace reigned once more in Castle AmandaCadabra.com.

Coming Up

The previous day there was also a Drama, but that led, and will lead to, treasure, which I intend to excavate any day now.

Meanwhile, I hope you’ve enjoyed your first peek at the cover of Amanda Cadabra and the Nightstairs. Next, (you guessed it) the full cover reveal. (Dramatic orchestral music).

Back soon.

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

Title reveal of the new Amanda Cadabra cozy mystery sequel

Title Reveal – The New Amanda Cadabra – Book 8

Dear Readers,

It’s Official

The launch engine officially starts up here. Without further ado, I am delighted to present to you …

Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs

The What?

‘What are these nightstairs of which you speak?’ I hear you utter. They are a feature unique, as far as I can tell, to medieval monasteries. The dorter, the dormitory, of the ‘choir monks’ – as opposed to the lay monks, who did not receive holy orders – was on an upper floor adjacent to the church.

Now, there were services or ‘hours’ held at various times around the clock, including during the watches of the night. The stairs allowed the monks or, presumably, nuns to come down the stairs from their sleeping quarters directly into the church and return by the same means.

This most likely gives you a Clue as to the theme of the sequel, and the structure in Amanda Cadabra’s village of Sunken Madley that takes centre stage.

Who is Doing What With the Sequel?

A thorough going-over of the manuscript is now being conducted by the editor, Kim. Not only that, the manuscript has gone out to the VIP Readers, who have been weeding out the typos and omissions that have made it under the wire.

Feet-up time for the author? Not yet. The first step was to prepare this post for you, dear readers, with the image to announce the title of the new book. Next, I prepare images for the partial cover reveal and accompanying Letter.

Hand as though drawing the cover of Amanda Cadabra and The NightstairsAnd The Visuals?

Meanwhile, our illustrator Daniel Becerril Ureña has performed the last tweaks to the ebook cover. When he sent me the initial six sketches to choose from, they each took my breath away. It was a tough choice, but after some gazing, staring, and comparing the covers of the other books, one emerged as the winner. A sneak peek is coming your way next. Now he is working his magic on the paperback cover.

So much for the static images. The most challenging, complicated, and in many ways, fun step is the creation of the trailer. I’ve made a start on that too.

In wings, our admirable formatter awaits. This lady transforms the manuscript for the ebook into a guise suitable for the paperback. Ideally, I would like to launch both the ebook and paperback on the same day. We shall see.

A chance encounterA Chance Encounter

Yesterday, I quit the comfort of the scriptorium in my ivory tower for an adventure. During the aforementioned, I enjoyed a chance meeting. As a result of this, I hope to have some delightful new photos to share with you of Sinner’s-Rue-type pub that may be as much as 500 years old. When I add them, I shall share with you the strange and somewhat exciting tale of how I came to find this gem, and, hopefully, a juicy story or two about its history. For now …

Happy anticipating of the joys of autumn (or spring),


PS Thanks to https://create3dmodel.com/en/catalogue/church-frame/ for kind permission to use their web image of the frame around the title.

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

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print