Yes, I know, I promised you the apple story, but that was before I realised that today would be on new years day weekend, and I would want to write something to mark this special occasion. So January 9th: apple. Promise. And something extra has happened to add to that tale anyway. You’ll like it.
My New Year Video To You
Just in case you didn’t catch it on Facebook or other social media, here it is:
Looking Both Ways
So, as you probably know, ‘January’ comes from Janus, a Roman deity with two faces, not in the duplicitous sense but simply because it’s a watershed. A time for looking back on the old year and forward to the new. So let’s do that. What developments occurred in the Amanda Cadabra World in 2021?
Highlights of 2021
Book 6, Amanda Cadabra and The Strange Case of Lucy Penlowr was released, and Book 1 was published in large print. A Google Map of Amanda’s world, and 5 Cozy Quizzes were added to the website. I made 5 field trips for research, new photographs and stories for your entertainment. Book 1 gained a brand new cover for both ebook and paperback editions and, Book 2 was given a new cover for the ebook. The first and second drafts of Book 7 and the first 2 editing passes were completed. A+ Content was added to the Amazon page for each book. And to top it all, Book 1 attained to a BookBub Featured Deal with Book 1 free for 4 days, resulting in some 25,000 downloads and a welcome host of new readers. Quite a year!
What can we look forward to in 2022? Without making any promises, I now share with you … my vision:
Editing and launching Book 7. Book 8 and, possibly, even Book 9. More large print editions. An audiobook version of, at least, the first book. More field trips. More quizzes, maybe other games being added to the site. A secret project. Another secret project. Yet another secret project.A new paperback cover for Book 2 and a new cover for both editions of Book 3. New readers joining us on the journey.
At this point I would like to extend thanks to all of you for interest in, and support and enthusiasm for, the Amanda Cadabra series. Special thanks to all of the readers who have written to me and continue to write to me. When I see an email or a message from one of you, it’s like a little light comes on inside me; A little lift and little link.
I write books because I can’t help myself, but I write them with you in mind; I publish them because of you, for you. And out of the thousands who buy, download, read them, there are you few, you happy few, you band who kindle the spark on days when the creative fire might be burning a little bit low. I see your message — it might be only a few words long — and suddenly the flame burns brighter. It always makes me smile and sometimes moves me to tears of joy. (I’ve checked, and that’s normal!)
And there’s more. For all of those who don’t have the time or the words or the means or the inclination to write to me, that’s all right because the few who do remind of you too. I know you’re there. I also know that you’re waiting for the next book. So I’ll go and tend to that, shall I? And make sure the letter to you about Amanda’s and my apple is brushed up for next Sunday.
So there we have it. The year that was and hopes for the year to come. I don’t know how many of the things on my wishlist will appear in the coming 12 months, but I do know that whatever does manifest will be even better. May the same be true for you, dear readers, dear production team, dear friends.
Happy New Year,
PS If you want to start the series now:
Available on Amazon
and Large Print
4 Free Book Days
Starting this very day, until Wednesday, 15th December, Amanda 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:
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.
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 ….
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.
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’.
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.
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,
PS If you want to start the series now:
Available on Amazon
and Large Print