Newsletter no.112 April 2017

Many apologies for this letter being late. At noon on April 1st I finished checking over the text for the April news, and tried to copy it for transfer to email . . . and the screen froze! Solid! Nothing I could do would persuade it to cooperate with my instructions. Eventually I turned the power off . . . and turned it back on again. I hoped this rebooting would work. It didn’t. Apparently what I did caused everything on the computer to be wiped clean. (No, I don’t know why it did, but that’s what’s happened. And no, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke. I only wish it had been.)

There followed some three days of worry until a hero in shining armour arrived to give me the bad news and take away the computer tower to see what, if anything, he could rescue. By that time I had resurrected my trusty old netbook, which lacks the power of a computer but did get me back onto the internet and able, with some lapses of concentration and use of various words to which I do not ordinarily give way, to compose the newsletter once again and send it out.

The good news is that I had backed up the new Bea Abbot story pretty well, and should be able to return to working on that soon. The bad news is that I was not good at backing up anything else . . . so I will have to aspire to the clo0ud in the future.

So what had I been going to tell you? Well, I had been to London Book Fair as usual. It was very crowded, indeed one might say, thronged. There was not a seat or a sandwich to be seen by 11 in the morning, and the layout seemed to be as complicated as ever, over a number of different halls and three – or was it four? – storeys. However, with the aid of some Belgian chocolate, I managed to meet up with my editors at Seven House and learned that they want me to go on writing, please. Good news. Oh, yes, and they said that the next Ellie Quicke, which is called Murder for Nothing, will be published on July 10th. We haven’t got a cover yet. I’m pushing for at least one pink-and-sequined smartphone to appear on the cover, but Severn House may want something completely different. Also, I haven’t had the copy editing through yet and all I can say is, I’m glad about that, as getting my work life back on track of proving something of a challenge.

I don’t think I’ve had a chance to tell you of another really good review for False Fire, which is just about to go on sale overseas. Publishers Weekly talks about ‘Heley’s appealing 11th Abbot Agency mystery,’ and concludes ‘the capable, quick-witted Bea handles the insufferable suspects with Mary Poppins-like aplomb. It’s a pleasure to spend time in her company.’ How about that!

Back to London Book Fair. After leaving the Severn House people I met my agent, and we had a good natter about revamping my website to allow for easier downloading of ebooks onto all the different methods of communication available nowadays. And here I would really like your help. If only three or four of you could find the time and energy, could you please let me know what you think I could lose from my website, which has grown so much over the years. Could we lose the detailed story-lines from the Bea and Ellie books? Or junk the Review site? Should we have a separate section for the audiobooks?

So, what’s happening with the audiobooks? Yes, well; I did meet with my friends from Soundings, and I was told there may well be three more of my Bea and Ellie books coming out with them this year, but so far I am only sure of Murder in Style in, I think, July. I’ve asked them for an up to date list, which they will be sending me soon. In passing, I must tell you that we have agreed the cover for Murder in Style and it is indeed very stylish.

The Methodist Recorder have accepted another story from me for publication at Easter. It’s called ‘Remember Me!’ and it’s about the strange effect grief can have on some people, and how someone who thinks she’s rubbish, can manage to do the right thing, in spite of her lack of confidence. I started this series of stories about the problems of older people some years ago when three newly-retired men met and became friends. Eventually three became two when one moved on, and now I’m writing stories about the remaining two and their wives. If you would like to read this story but can’t get hold of a copy of the Recorder, just let me know after Easter, and I’ll send it to you, free.

And finally, a blessing; may the kindness of friends and the beauty of the spring flowers keep you in mind of the love of God.

Veronica Heley.

www.veronicaheley.com

http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

Newsletter no.111 March 2017

My garden is small and chaotic. Lining the path to the front door I have managed a formal layout but for the rest, plants flourish or not as they please. I do like to have something in bloom all the year round. In February it was the snowdrops. They are the late kind and never seem to drop their heads until everyone else’s blooms are over. Nevertheless, I love them dearly. I have a tiny Victorian glass vase which is too small to use for anything else, but three or four snowdrops in it look good. I seem to remember someone calling them ‘Fair Maids of February’. I like that. My snowdrops are still blooming today on March lst, but crocuses, iris stylosa, winter jasmine, daffodils and polyanthus are opening up every day and soon I will cut some ‘whips’ of forsythia and bring them indoors to flower.

Work continues throughout as I battle one heavy cold after another. I have heard people greet one another with ‘Which virus have you got?’ This must prove something . . . probably that we’re not getting enough sunshine/not eating enough greens/not taking our Vitamin D tablets/don’t get out of the house enough. In the old days we used to say that you should feed a cold but starve a fever. Where, I might ask, does chocolate come into this equation? It certainly improves one’s mood to eat chocolate, but it’s not that good for the vocal chords. Lemon, honey and ginger drinks seem to be one answer and, for the record, I do like honey.

I haven’t yet received the copy editing for Murder for Nothing, so I’m bashing on as fast as I can with the next Bea Abbot and with another short story. It’s hard to relinquish one set of characters and switch to another, and I have to admit that one has been getting more attention from me than the other. Guess which!

The Methodist Recorder wants the next story for their Easter issue, to be delivered early in March. I’ve known from the start what story I wanted to write, but somehow I kept putting it off in favour of getting on with the next Bea Abbot tale. One of the problems was that Bruce’s wife Sally turned out to be the person who sorted out the mystery of the Lucky Draw ticket, while being the least articulate of the four main characters and the one who thought herself least able to help someone deep in grief. But, that’s how it is sometimes, in real life as well as in fiction.

Meanwhile, the first of the reviews for False Fire has come through. This is from Booklist, and among other nice things it says ‘a colourful cast of characters, an intrepid heroine, and a surprising but ultimately heart-warming ending make this an enticing read for genre fans’. So that’s all right, then. It should hit the American and Australian shops in March.

And no, of course I haven’t had my computer serviced. I know I ought to have done so. I do tell myself that this is a job that ought to go to the top of the list, but then I get involved in the next bit of plot for the Bea Abbot story, and all my good resolutions go by the board. I fear that one day something will Go Horribly Wrong! And at that stage I will be forced, willy nilly, to ask for help. But until then, I soldier on.

Finally, a blessing; may winter colds fade away with the coming of the spring flowers,

Veronica Heley

www.veronicaheley.com

http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

NEW! . . . FALSE FIRE starts with thirteen people for a dinner party which ends in multiple deaths – oh, and a teddy bear who becomes a Very Important Person in the lives of two poor little rich girls. Bernice and Alicia may be heiresses but money can’t buy the love that these two ten-year old girls need. This is the 11th Bea Abbot story.  

FALSE WALL is now out both in paperback and in large print. The 10th Abbot Agency book begins as Bea’s ancient garden wall collapses, revealing a skeleton buried in a neighbour’s plot. Before Bea and her long-time friend Leon can investigate, they fall victim to an elaborately-planned trap. With her home, livelihood and the agency under threat, it seems that Bea is the subject of a neighbourhood vendetta. But why? And why is Leon becoming so distant?

‘Excellent characterisation and plotting.’ Library Journal.

MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309. This story is set in a fashion boutique started by twin girls who had been unwise in their choice of husbands. When one of the twins tumbles down the stairs and dies, it sets off a chain reaction of greed and malice in those left behind. Ellie tries to sort out the mess and is drawn into danger herself.

Publisher’s Weekly speaks of ‘Heley’s well-plotted 17th Ellie Quicke mystery’, and goes on to say ‘A mature woman with keen observational skills and psychological insight into dark human deeds, Ellie is a worthy successor to Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple.

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition. Also the trade paperback, and now, the audiobook as well. A local house church is after Ellie’s money but their members hold some very odd beliefs – not to mention their unscrupulous methods of getting the funds needed by their charismatic, if misguided, pastor.

MURDER BY BICYCLE, a paperback from Ostara Publishing. ISBN 9 781909 619418 is the 7th in the series and MURDER OF IDENTITY,             also from Ostara is the 8th in the series. The ISBN for this is 9781909 619425.

The pop-up by Francesca Crespi for Noah’s Ark, has a text written by yours truly. Francesca’s work is stunning. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-1-84507-937-6.

You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/isis-unabridged-podcast-3-veronica-heley-interview.   Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file) https://soundcloud.com/isis/veronica-heley-newsletters-2011-2014   Links to individual newsletters (click on each title) https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/sets/veronica-heley-newsletters

Find details of my E-books at http://www.veronicaheley.com/ebooks.php?l1-11

Newsletter no.110 February 2017

Isn’t it great that the days are getting longer? In the first few weeks of January, the mornings seemed to get darker and more gloomy, but finally we can draw the curtains a little earlier and a trifle later. And yes, I have bought myself some bunches of daffodils to mimic the sun’s light indoors.

I thought that in the New Year I’d have time to get my computer serviced, but as you will have guessed, I’ve plunged into the next story and daren’t let anyone touch it until I have the first draft safely written and backed up.

I’d just delivered the next Ellie Quicke story – MURDER FOR NOTHING – when I last wrote to you, and am pleased to say that my editor liked it very much indeed. I had been very worried about it because, for some weeks after my little health problem, my brain had been acting like the pressed cardboard containers used for packaging eggs – impermeable to reason, unable to produce coherent prose. Was the plot really going to hang together? Why did a certain person – whom I had planned to be one of the ‘baddies’ – turn round and become my favourite character? But all is well, and despite my delivering the book a few days late, this story will still be published at the end of June this year.

Oh, and even before my editor had had time to read Murder for Nothing, she’d offered me another contract! How about that! So yes, that will be another Bea Abbot, to be called FALSE PRIDE. And I’m getting on with it as we speak.

Meanwhile, the audio book of FALSE WALL will be out soon. This was the Bea Abbot story which came out last Christmas. It starts off with some idiot pulling the ivy off a neighbour’s old red-brick wall, causing a cascade of bricks to bringing down the mature tree in Bea’s garden . . . whereupon her fluffy black cat Winston streaks for the house and safety. Now the cover for the audio book showed a smooth ginger cat padding along the garden path towards us. I queried: do people really care if we get the cats mixed up? (A ginger cat called Midge and features in the Ellie Quicke Mysteries, but it’s a black, fluffy cat in the Abbot Agency series). The editor and I both thought it did, so we’re trying to see if we can get a more accurate cover, while retaining the ginger cat picture for another book. Hopefully.  

The Methodist Recorder have asked for a new story for Easter. I think, now that we’ve finally come to an end of Corin’s story, I’ll strike out in a new direction. But if anyone has missed it, let me know, and I’ll send them an email of Corin’s Gift for Christmas, free.

Meanwhile, the hardback of FALSE FIRE duly came out at the end of the year, and is trickling its way into the libraries and shops as we speak. You may remember there was an argument with the publishers about using a good-looking teddy bear on the cover. I think they got it absolutely right in the end. Because of this, I got my own teddy out of storage. All of eighty years old, he now sits opposite me at the dining-room table. He’s a very thoughtful bear. He still has the ‘Merrythought’ button in his left ear, but I really must put a patch on his hind paws, which have worn through to the kapok stuffing!

Anyway, FALSE FIRE starts with thirteen people for a dinner party which ends in multiple deaths – oh, and a teddy bear who becomes a Very Important Person in the lives of two poor little rich girls. Bernice and Alicia may be heiresses but money can’t buy the love that these two ten-year old girls need.  

Finally, a blessing; whatever problems the newspapers talk about, may you look for and find joy wherever you go . . . in a smile of welcome from a friend, or a glimpse of spring in a florist’s window or a garden.

Veronica Heley

www.veronicaheley.com

http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

NEW . . . ‘FALSE WALL’ in paperback and in large print. The 10th Abbot Agency book begins as Bea’s ancient garden wall collapses, revealing a skeleton buried in a neighbour’s plot. Before Bea and her long-time friend Leon can investigate, they fall victim to an elaborately-planned trap. With her home, livelihood and the agency under threat, it seems that Bea is the subject of a neighbourhood vendetta. But why? And why is Leon becoming so distant?

‘Excellent characterisation and plotting.’ Library Journal.

NEW . . .. MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309. This story is set in a fashion boutique started by twin girls who had been unwise in their choice of husbands. When one of the twins tumbles down the stairs and dies, it sets off a chain reaction of greed and malice in those left behind. Ellie tries to sort out the mess and is drawn into danger herself.

Publisher’s Weekly speaks of ‘Heley’s well-plotted 17th Ellie Quicke mystery’, and goes on to say ‘A mature woman with keen observational skills and psychological insight into dark human deeds, Ellie is a worthy successor to Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple.

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition. Also the trade paperback, and now, the audiobook as well. A local house church is after Ellie’s money but their members hold some very odd beliefs – not to mention their unscrupulous methods of getting the funds needed by their charismatic, if misguided, pastor.

MURDER BY BICYCLE, a paperback from Ostara Publishing. ISBN 9 781909 619418 is the 7th in the series and MURDER OF IDENTITY,             also from Ostara is the 8th in the series. The ISBN for this is 9781909 619425.

The new pop-up by Francesca Crespi, for Noah’s Ark, has a text written by yours truly. Francesca’s work is stunning. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-1-84507-937-6.

You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/isis-unabridged-podcast-3-veronica-heley-interview.   Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file) https://soundcloud.com/isis/veronica-heley-newsletters-2011-2014   Links to individual newsletters (click on each title) https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/sets/veronica-heley-newsletters

Find details of my E-books at http://www.veronicaheley.com/ebooks.php?l1-11

Newsletter no.109 January 2017

And a happy New Year to you!

Some good news to start with! I haven’t had my milk stolen since I last wrote to you. My new milkman has been hiding the milk in the winter jasmine by the front door, and so far all is well. Also, Christmas preparations – although rushed and somewhat chaotic – worked out well and a good time was had by one and all. I don’t quite know why we have to pack seeing so many friends into so few days, but I did manage to get to the right place at the right time, and with the correct present. Well, almost. I have three friends who have birthdays so close to Christmas that it’s always a worry when to deliver birthday or Christmas cards and presents and on which date. Added to which we had a postal strike, which aggravated everything! But now we can put all that behind us and look forward to what comes next which, as far as I am concerned, means getting hold of some spring bulbs to brighten up my living room.

My grateful thanks to the readers who freed me from the tyranny of the toolbar by giving me the codes to copy and paste this newsletter into my email. I am so grateful. Do you remember the old ‘Dummies’ books which we all had when we first started out on the computer trail? I wish we had such a quick reference book nowadays but I understand that the number of things a computer can do is so vast that a) I wouldn’t understand them and b) it would need a whole library to get it all down in print. So many thanks for the short cuts.

My next short story – CORIN’S GIFT – came out in the Christmas issue of the Methodist Recorder. If you can’t get a copy but would like to read it, let me know and I’ll email it to you for free. But be warned; this is not your typical cosy Santa Claus tale. The Recorder has already asked me for another story for Easter, but I will be starting a new ‘thread’ for that.

The latest Bea Abbot story – FALSE             FIRE – came out at the end of December, but will be delivered three months later in the USA and Australia. I really like this story, which ends with a change of direction for Bea’s life as she accepts someone new into her life – and no, it’s not another man! (Maybe in the next one . . . hm . . . now, there’s a thought. My editors are always urging me to get my heroines fixed up with a man, but although that did work out all right with Ellie when she came to know Thomas, Bea has not so far found anyone to invite into her life. Maybe in the next story. . .?)

Anyway, FALSE FIRE starts with thirteen people for a dinner party which ends in multiple deaths – oh, and a teddy bear who becomes a Very Important Person in the lives of two poor little rich girls. Bernice and Alicia may be heiresses but money can’t buy the love that these two ten-year old girls need. (Because a teddy bear took such a large part in this story, I was reminded to take my own bear out of store. He’s looking remarkably chipper for someone in his eighties. Do you still have your old bear(s)? I seem to have outgrown all the companions of my childhood, except this one.)

I delivered the next Ellie Quicke story – MURDER FOR NOTHING – just before Christmas, which is later than I’d been contracted for but owing to my health blip, my publishers were very kind and let me have extra time. It was a difficult plot to start with as I thought one particular character was going to be a real baddie, whereas he became not only a force for good but likeable, as well. This is a ‘What if . . .?’ story, starting out with a flat getting wrecked during a party. Murder, money lending and mayhem follow quite naturally, and it takes Ellie and her friends both old and new, to work out what really happened.

Finally, a blessing; as the days begin to lengthen, let us put the good and the bad things that happened in the past year behind us, and go forward in His love.

Veronica Heley

www.veronicaheley.com

http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

NEW . . . ‘FALSE WALL’ in large print. The 10th Abbot Agency book begins as Bea’s ancient garden wall collapses, revealing a skeleton buried in a neighbour’s plot. Before Bea and her long-time friend Leon can investigate, they fall victim to an elaborately-planned trap. With her home, livelihood and the agency under threat, it seems that Bea is the subject of a neighbourhood vendetta. But why? And why is Leon becoming so distant?

‘Excellent characterisation and plotting.’ Library Journal.

NEW . . .. MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. Out in the shops in the UK on June 16th. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309. This story is set in a fashion boutique started by twin girls who had been unwise in their choice of husbands. When one of the twins tumbles down the stairs and dies, it sets off a chain reaction of greed and malice in those left behind. Ellie tries to sort out the mess and is drawn into danger herself.

Publisher’s Weekly speaks of ‘Heley’s well-plotted 17th Ellie Quicke mystery’, and goes on to say ‘A mature woman with keen observational skills and psychological insight into dark human deeds, Ellie is a worthy successor to Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple.

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition. Also the trade paperback, and now, the audiobook as well. A local house church is after Ellie’s money but their members hold some very odd beliefs – not to mention their unscrupulous methods of getting the funds needed by their charismatic, if misguided, pastor.

MURDER BY BICYCLE, a paperback from Ostara Publishing. ISBN 9 781909 619418 is the 7th in the series and MURDER OF IDENTITY,             also from Ostara is the 8th in the series. The ISBN for this is 9781909 619425.

The new pop-up by Francesca Crespi, for Noah’s Ark, has a text written by yours truly. Francesca’s work is stunning. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-1-84507-937-6.

You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/isis-unabridged-podcast-3-veronica-heley-interview.   Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file) https://soundcloud.com/isis/veronica-heley-newsletters-2011-2014   Links to individual newsletters (click on each title) https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/sets/veronica-heley-newsletters

Find details of my E-books at http://www.veronicaheley.com/ebooks.php?l1-11

Newsletter no.108 December 2016

My new milkman – you remember that the old one retired and handed his round on to a cousin of his? – well, my new milkman blames the theft of my milk on the foxes which live in the park opposite my house. I asked him, ‘Do foxes remove the bottle along with the milk?’ I think not! Anyway, he did agree to hide the milk in the plants at the side of the front door in future. Usually he remembers. So far, so good.

Work continues, interrupted by social events. But that’s all right, as I can usually concentrated only for about an hour before I need a break and some contact with other human beings. At this time of year, when everyone’s getting in a tizzy about preparations for Christmas, I think we need those social times more than ever, if only to complain about everything we have to do before The Day.

I have two deadlines to fulfil before Christmas, so if I don’t want to go out to play with someone I can excuse myself by saying that I have to work instead. It is true, of course. But as I get older, I find myself having more patience for friends in trouble and much, much less, for group  events. I don’t know if this is happening to other people, but I seem to have more friends going through difficult times than usual. And I mean, really difficult times. The sort that makes the petty pinpricks of ordinary life seem too trivial to bother with.

So back to work. The  next short story for the Methodist Recorder is called CORIN’S  GIFT, and will be out in the Christmas issue. Spoiler alert: it is not your usual cozy Will-I-Get-What-I-Want-for-Christmas type story. It goes deeper than that. So, if you can’t get a copy but would like to read it, let me know and I’ll email you one for free.

The Ellie Quicke story –  MURDER FOR NOTHING – is going to be delivered a bit later than contracted, but my publishers are being very kind about this. I hope they like the story. I started it in mid-summer and am finishing it mid-winter, but in this case a summer storm can be just as tiresome for my characters as a wintery gale. This story started out with a ‘What if?’  There have been stories in the papers about people renting out their homes, only to have them wrecked by a party that had got out of hand, and I began by thinking about that. ‘What if . . .?’ Murder, money lending and mayhem follow quite naturally, and it takes Ellie and her friends both old and new, to work out what really happened on the night of the infamous party.

Which brings me back to the question: How do you get your ideas? The answer always is, ‘I don’t know.’ Or, ‘I was given a peculiar brain which is always querying what it sees or hears.’  ‘What if. . .?’ I ask myself. And then it’s like following a ball of string through a maze, turning this way and that and finally ending up with a Slap, Bang! In the centre. At least, one hopes that that’s what’s going to happen.

Oh, sorry about having to send this out as an attachment, again. I still can’t find the toolbar which allows me to paste copied text into an email. I hope you don’t mind. I have tried to get this rectified by my wonderful website manager, but it seems the problem is something to do with my broadband reception. Aaaargh! I must get someone in to look at it for me. Later.

The next Bea Abbot  – False Fire – is on track for publication at the end of the year in the UK, and April for the USA and Australia. This starts with thirteen people for dinner and ends in multiple deaths – oh, and an old teddy bear who becomes a Very Important Person. Plus, two poor little rich girls; they may be heiresses but money can’t buy the love that these two ten-year old girls need.

And, Bea’s last published story – ‘False Wall’ – came out on October 30th in large print. See below for the storyline. A paperback will be coming out in a year’s time.

Finally, a blessing; as the days grow darker, let us look forward to celebrating the real reason for Christmas; the coming of the Christ child and His love for the world.
Veronica Heley
www.veronicaheley.com
http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

NEW . . . ‘FALSE WALL’  in large print. The 10th Abbot Agency book begins as Bea’s ancient garden wall collapses, revealing a skeleton buried in a neighbour’s plot. Before Bea and her long-time friend Leon can investigate, they fall victim to an elaborately-planned trap. With her home, livelihood and the agency under threat, it seems that Bea is the subject of a neighbourhood vendetta. But why? And why is Leon becoming so distant?
‘Excellent characterisation and plotting.’ Library Journal.

NEW . . ..  MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. Out in the shops in the UK on June 16th. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309. This story is set in a fashion boutique started by twin girls who had been unwise in their choice of husbands. When one of the twins tumbles down the stairs and dies, it sets off a chain reaction of greed and malice in those left behind. Ellie tries to sort out the mess and is drawn into danger herself.
Publisher’s Weekly speaks of ‘Heley’s well-plotted 17th Ellie Quicke mystery’, and goes on to say ‘A mature woman with keen observational skills and psychological insight into dark human deeds, Ellie is a worthy successor to Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple.
MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition. Also the trade paperback, and now, the audiobook as well.  A local house church is after Ellie’s money but their members hold some very odd beliefs – not to mention their unscrupulous methods of getting the funds needed by their charismatic, if misguided, pastor.

MURDER BY BICYCLE, a paperback from Ostara Publishing. ISBN 9 781909 619418 is the 7th in the series and MURDER OF IDENTITY,  also from Ostara is the 8th in the series. The ISBN for this is 9781909 619425.

The new pop-up by Francesca Crespi, for Noah’s Ark, has a text written by yours truly. Francesca’s work is stunning. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-1-84507-937-6.

You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/isis-unabridged-podcast-3-veronica-heley-interview.   Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file) https://soundcloud.com/isis/veronica-heley-newsletters-2011-2014   Links to individual newsletters (click on each title) https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/sets/veronica-heley-newsletters

Find details of my E-books at http://www.veronicaheley.com/ebooks.php?l1-11

Newsletter no.107 November 2016

Do you know the term ‘brain freeze’? I heard it for the first time recently and think it fits my memory lapses perfectly. You know what I mean? You set out to do something and for some reason you forget what it was you meant to do, or you start on a sentence and suddenly find there was a hole in your thinking and . . . whoops! That’s a brain freeze. I rather like the phrase, and intend to use it in future.

When I was trying to send out the newsletter last month, I couldn’t find the toolbar which allowed me to print and paste from a document. After lots of aggravation, I sent the newsletter out as an attachment and hoped everyone could cope with that. Later in the day, I had another go at the computer, and Lo and Behold! Back came the toolbar! Hurray. Mind you, I have absolutely no idea how I managed it. And another thing, for some reason I now have my emails in a larger font than usual. How did that happen, I ask myself? And answer there is none.

But, back to writing. My publishers tell me that the next Bea Abbot – False Fire – is on track for publication at the end of the year but I haven’t got the date fixed as yet. This is the one which starts with thirteen people for dinner and ends in multiple mayhem – oh, and an old teddy bear who becomes a Very Important Person.

Meanwhile I have been chugging along with the next Ellie – Murder for Nothing – which will, incredibly, be her eighteenth story! I can hardly believe it. The plot twists and turns nicely and one of my most unfavourite characters gets her come-uppance, although she is never going to suffer as much as I think she should. However, my moneylender, who I thought at first was a villain, does indeed turn out to be something of a hero.

My first draft was a little short on the word count. I shall leave it aside for a week or so, then start on a second draft. On the second draft, I allow myself licence to fill in more explanation of what’s going on which means I end up with something over the word count. Only on the third draft do I get the manuscript down to size and by that time I shall be wondering what Bea Abbot has been up to recently, and will be ready to start on another story for her.

I’ve just been told that Bea’s last published story – ‘False Wall’ – was due to come out on October 30th in large print. See below for the storyline. A paperback will be coming out in a year’s time.

Also new out in paperback are some older Ellies. Murder by Bicycle and Murder of Identity. These have been given new life by Ostara Publishing.

The last short story for the Methodist Recorder – ‘How Dare He!’ – seems to have gone down a treat. If you’ve missed it, and would like to read it, then let me know, and I’ll send it to you free by email. I have been asked for another story in this series, which I must deliver by the end of November. I think that will bring this particular story line to an end.

Finally, a blessing; as the days grow darker, let us look forward to celebrating the reason for Christmas; the coming of the Christ child and His love for the world.

Veronica Heley

www.veronicaheley.com

http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

PS – I’m going to scream! My milk was stolen this morning! Again! I am so CROSS!

NEW . . . ‘FALSE WALL’ in large print. The 10th Abbot Agency book begins as Bea’s ancient garden wall collapses, revealing a skeleton buried in a neighbour’s plot. Before Bea and her long-time friend Leon can investigate, they fall victim to an elaborately-planned trap. With her home, livelihood and the agency under threat, it seems that Bea is the subject of a neighbourhood vendetta. But why? And why is Leon becoming so distant?

Excellent characterisation and plotting.’ Library Journal.

NEW . . .. MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. Out in the shops in the UK on June 16th. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309. This story is set in a fashion boutique started by twin girls who had been unwise in their choice of husbands. When one of the twins tumbles down the stairs and dies, it sets off a chain reaction of greed and malice in those left behind. Ellie tries to sort out the mess and is drawn into danger herself.

Publisher’s Weekly speaks of ‘Heley’s well-plotted 17th Ellie Quicke mystery’, and goes on to say ‘A mature woman with keen observational skills and psychological insight into dark human deeds, Ellie is a worthy successor to Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple.

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition. Also the trade paperback, and now, the audiobook as well. A local house church is after Ellie’s money but their members hold some very odd beliefs – not to mention their unscrupulous methods of getting the funds needed by their charismatic, if misguided, pastor.

MURDER BY BICYCLE, a paperback from Ostara Publishing. ISBN 9 781909 619418 is the 7th in the series and MURDER OF IDENTITY, also from Ostara is the 8th in the series. The ISBN for this is 9781909 619425.

The new pop-up by Francesca Crespi, for Noah’s Ark, has a text written by yours truly. Francesca’s work is stunning. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-1-84507-937-6.

You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/isis-unabridged-podcast-3-veronica-heley-interview. Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file) https://soundcloud.com/isis/veronica-heley-newsletters-2011-2014 Links to individual newsletters (click on each title) https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/sets/veronica-heley-newsletters

Find details of my E-books at http://www.veronicaheley.com/ebooks.php?l1-11

Newsletter no.106 October 2016

September has been a busy month as organisations and clubs restarted after the summer break. The choir has reconvened, with some new people and everyone trying to get their singing muscles back again while wondering which of their favourite carols we might be doing for our scheduled Christmas concert. I’m all for Berlioz’ ‘Shepherds’ Farewell’, myself, but ‘Silent Night’ is always a firm favourite. It’s really far too early to think of Christmas for me . . . there’s always so much going on in the autumn term.

One the things that’s been ‘going on’ is the copy-editing and then the proof-reading of the next Bea Abbot, which is called ‘False Fire’. I think it’s my favourite Bea Abbot so far, but it does involve referencing back to the complicated Holland dynasty, with its late marriages and young children, who is connected to who, and who has the money, etc. I start with a birthday party for one of the Holland children – who is ten – and her friend from boarding school and their complicated family structure. Thirteen people at the dinner table, and who’s for the chop? And is that murder? Er . . . possibly not?

My publishers and I agreed from the beginning that this book would have a teddy bear on the cover, because it’s the unifying love object which links the children to one another. Even the grown-ups take comfort from cuddling the bear occasionally. Severn House came up with a really good cover, showing fire creeping down a staircase, and an abandoned teddy bear at the front. NB: this is not a story to read to very young children!

I must say here that I am really grateful to Severn House for sending me the copy-edits and the proofs in a slightly larger font size. My sight is not what it was, particularly at the end of the day, and this has helped me enormously.

I wasn’t able to flag up in the last newsletter that there was another short story on its way, as The Methodist Recorder scheduled it after the newsletter had gone out. But, one was published on September 23rd. If anyone has missed seeing it and would like to read it, just let me know and I’ll send them an email copy by return. (Or possibly the next day. Whichever.)

This story is called ‘How Dare He!’ and gives the background for Corin’s attacks on our Christian friends, which takes a nasty turn. I am almost – but not quite – sorry for him, but can’t excuse the methods he uses to express his hurt.

The new Ellie – Murder for Nothing – is coming along nicely after a slow start. But, what a cast of liars! I worked out some time ago exactly how the murder was committed, who dunnit and who cleared up afterwards, but what happened is going to have a lasting effect on the lives of all the people involved. Perhaps that’s something we forget when we read of a murder in the papers?

I am enjoying writing about one particular character who starts off as Villain No.1 and ends up almost as the hero. As in real life, some people in this story seem to me to be evenly balanced and could go to the Bad, or to the Good. I’m not sure how permanent Rafael’s change of heart can be, but hope to know by the time I get to the end. And yes, I do know what happens on the last page.

Finally, a blessing; as the leaves drift to the ground in the autumn, let us remember to support one another in the dark days of winter, as well as in the brightness of summer.

Veronica Heley

www.veronicaheley.com

http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

NEW . . . . MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. Out in the shops in the UK on June 16th. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309. This story is set in a fashion boutique started by twin girls who had been unwise in their choice of husbands. When one of the twins tumbles down the stairs and dies, it sets off a chain reaction of greed and malice in those left behind. Ellie tries to sort out the mess and is drawn into danger herself.

Publisher’s Weekly speaks of ‘Heley’s well-plotted 17th Ellie Quicke mystery’, and goes on to say ‘A mature woman with keen observational skills and psychological insight into dark human deeds, Ellie is a worthy successor to Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple.

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition. Also the trade paperback, and now, the audiobook as well. A local house church is after Ellie’s money but their members hold some very odd beliefs – not to mention their unscrupulous methods of getting the funds needed by their charismatic, if misguided, pastor.

The new pop-up by Francesca Crespi, for Noah’s Ark, has a text written by yours truly. Francesca’s work is stunning. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-1-84507-937-6.

You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/isis-unabridged-podcast-3-veronica-heley-interview. Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file) https://soundcloud.com/isis/veronica-heley-newsletters-2011-2014 Links to individual newsletters (click on each title) https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/sets/veronica-heley-newsletters

Find details of my E-books at http://www.veronicaheley.com/ebooks.php?l1-11

Newsletter no.105 September 2016

Our milkman has retired! After all these years of serving the community and working through the night, he hit a bad patch with his health and handed over his customers to a cousin of his. I am sorry to lose Alan, but very relieved to have the milk round continue. When I think how much even a two pint container weighs if I have to tote it back from the shops, I am very thankful for home delivery service.

Work does continue, after a fashion. I’m slower than I used to be, but gradually I can feel my mental muscles returning to some sort of shape, and there are now a growing number of chapters of the new book sitting in my computer.

There are various ways in which a hero or heroine may work to catch a criminal. In a police procedural, different pieces of the puzzle are tackled by a number of people – which is a reflection of how it would be in real life. In the sort of book I write, the hero or heroine meets with and talks to a number of different people until finally some sort of solution becomes clear. In both cases, the genre is that of the hunt, and the protagonist is the hunter. There are many variations on this theme. I try to keep up with all the different ways a crime novel can be written and confess that the older I get, the more I go for the stories in which I can identify with the hero or heroine. It’s a real treat to spend time with some of my favourite authors, especially if they have the gift of description.

Normally when I start to write a book, I have already worked out who dunnit, how, and where, and why. In this particular book, I have the where and the how all worked out, but there was a fuzzy sort of haze about who and why. So instead of having my heroine starting off with a group of people, one of whom is the murderer, I have her following a trail, sorting out the lies and misleading tactics of the characters as she meets them.

The characters Ellie meet may or may not be telling the truth about what they know, and certainly isn’t telling her the whole truth, but they do give her a lead to the next character, and so on . . . all leading, I think, I hope, to the murderer. I’m meeting some interesting characters along the way. One of them is throwing up interesting questions about compromise and how strictly you need to stick to the truth in dicey circumstances. I’m enjoying writing about him, especially since he’s sets his sights on chunky Susan, who is one of my favourite characters.

I don’t usually work this way but, so long as my Internal Editor keeps assuring me that what I’ve written is passable, I hope to produce something readable in due course.

Meanwhile I had to fulfil a promise to write another short story for the Methodist Recorder. I couldn’t do one for midsummer as my brain wasn’t working properly then, but I thought I could manage one for the harvest season. I had a story in mind which shed a light on why our heroes’ difficult friend Corin became so warped in mind, and why he keeps attacking Bruce and Leo for believing in God. It wasn’t an easy story to write, and I had a major problem with the first section, but eventually I thought it was good enough to submit. I’ll let you know when it’s scheduled for publication.

Stop Press: I’ve just received a good review from Publishers Weekly, for ‘Murder in Style’ which came out in the UK at the end of June and will be out in America soon. The review talks of ‘Heley’s well-plotted 17th Ellie Quicke mystery’, and goes on to say ‘A mature woman with keen observational skills and psychological insight into dark human deeds, Ellie is a worthy successor to Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple.

All I can say to that is . . . WOW!

Finally, a blessing; if you lose one friend, may you find it easy to make another.

Veronica Heley

www.veronicaheley.com

http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

NEW . . . . MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. Out in the shops in the UK on June 16th. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309. This story is set in a fashion boutique started by twin girls who had been unwise in their choice of husbands. When one of the twins tumbles down the stairs and dies, it sets off a chain reaction of greed and malice in those left behind. Ellie tries to sort out the mess and is drawn into danger herself.

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition. Also the trade paperback, and now, the audiobook as well. A local house church is after Ellie’s money but their members hold some very odd beliefs – not to mention their unscrupulous methods of getting the funds needed by their charismatic, if misguided, pastor.

The new pop-up by Francesca Crespi, for Noah’s Ark, has a text written by yours truly. Francesca’s work is stunning. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-1-84507-937-6.

You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/isis-unabridged-podcast-3-veronica-heley-interview.   Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file) https://soundcloud.com/isis/veronica-heley-newsletters-2011-2014   Links to individual newsletters (click on each title) https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/sets/veronica-heley-newsletters

Find details of my E-books at http://www.veronicaheley.com/ebooks.php?l1-11

Newsletter no.104 August 2016

Life is slowly returning to normal, hampered by the side effects from the drugs I’m taking and by . . . toothache! Yes, as if I needed any more trauma, I now have toothache!

But, onwards and upwards. We will survive. With help from my neighbours and my family, I have the garden more or less back under control, but I have one problem I can’t yet solve. We have been experiencing some high winds ever since I got out of hospital, and this is enabling a pretty little violet-flowered weed to flourish in my lawns. I don’t know it’s name. (I really must look it up, because the flower is quite charming, but a plant in the wrong place is a WEED.) I have a bottle of Weed and Feed for use on the lawns but had omitted to apply it earlier in the year and it’s water based so I can’t use it in high winds as it would blow the spray onto and kill the plants in the flower beds, as well as the weeds in the lawn. I’ve just seen some clover, too! Give a weed an inch, and they multiply overnight. Oh, for the winds to drop so that I can get at the pests and send them painlessly into a world in which they will be welcome.

Getting back to work has been hard. I do a bit here and a bit there. Some days it comes easier than others. But I have to wonder if there is an editor lurking somewhere in the brain of every writer? I have one, definitely. Some days I’m writing away and thinking, Yes, this is good! And when I’ve finished, I sit back with a smile . . . and then the editor at the back of my head says,

‘That’s rubbish, you know!’

‘No, no!’ I scream. ‘It’s fine!’

            ‘Fine it may be, but you don’t need it in this story. Get rid of it!’

This doesn’t happen often, but it is something that comes up and hits me every now and again. I’ve just had to get rid of a whole chapter in the next Ellie because the theme I’d introduced was holding up the main story-line. All right, I know in my head that it’s right to get rid of the offending passage, but oh, how it hurts. In a couple of days, I shall acknowledge that my internal editor was right. What is the next Ellie about? All I can say about it at the moment is that those of you who doubted Ellie’s good friend Lesley had made the right choice for a husband are probably going to say, I Told You So!  

I haven’t yet received the copy-editing for the next Bea Abbot story, which is just as well, considering how few hours I have been able to sit at the computer recently, but I’m told it’s on track for publication at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Murder in Style has been read by some of my readers already, and they have been kind enough to email me to say they enjoyed it. Hurray! Let’s hope the reviewers like it, too. For the storyline, see below.

Finally, a blessing: may you find good neighbours wherever you go.

Veronica Heley

www.veronicaheley.com

http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

NEW . . . . MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. Out in the shops in the UK on June 16th. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309. This story is set in a fashion boutique started by twin girls who had been unwise in their choice of husbands. When one of the twins tumbles down the stairs and dies, it sets off a chain reaction of greed and malice in those left behind. Ellie tries to sort out the mess and is drawn into danger herself.

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition. Also the trade paperback, and now, the audiobook as well. A local house church is after Ellie’s money but their members hold some very odd beliefs – not to mention their unscrupulous methods of getting the funds needed by their charismatic, if misguided, pastor.

The new pop-up by Francesca Crespi, for Noah’s Ark, has a text written by yours truly. Francesca’s work is stunning. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-1-84507-937-6.

You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/isis-unabridged-podcast-3-veronica-heley-interview.   Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file) https://soundcloud.com/isis/veronica-heley-newsletters-2011-2014   Links to individual newsletters (click on each title) https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/sets/veronica-heley-newsletters

Find details of my E-books at http://www.veronicaheley.com/ebooks.php?l1-11

Newsletter no.103 July 2016

Many thanks for all the good wishes and cards I have received following my stint in hospital. Yes, I’m back home and gradually doing more every day. Slowly. I get tired and go to lie on my bed and very often fall asleep for a bit. But yes, I am recovering my wits and some of my energy. They tell me it will take time.

Several people suggested that I use my experience of having had a heart attack by putting it into my next book. I thought about this for quite a while. You may think that characters are created by the author and should therefore act as the author decides, but it is not so. As I have frequently bewailed in this newsletter, my characters decide their names, their jobs and their looks without any reference to me. I am merely the writing machine which gives them life. Think of the dreadful Diana, for instance. She’s the bane of her mother’s life with her over-ambitious, greedy ways. I thought I had invented her, but no; my readers tell me she’s alive and horribly active, all over the world.

            So, should I arrange for Ellie Quicke to mirror my experience and suffer a heart attack in the next book? She says not. Not because it couldn’t happen to her – which it could – but because she wouldn’t want to make a fuss about it if it did. So there you are. And I will probably recover much more quickly from the trauma if I don’t write about it.

Meanwhile, Murder in Style has hit the shops here in the UK and, as we speak, is sailing across the oceans to be sold in America and Tasmania and wherever, in a couple of months time. This is the story set in a fashion boutique started by twin girls who had been unwise in their choice of husbands. When one of the twins tumbles down the stairs and dies, it sets off a chain reaction of greed and malice in those left behind. Ellie tries to sort out the mess and is drawn into danger herself.

Meanwhile again, I was due to deliver the next Bea Abbot story at the very time I was hospitalised. With only a tiny bit of checking left to be done, my daughter bravely accessed my computer and sent the manuscript off to Severn House – who, thankfully, loved the story and accepted it straight away. I dealt with a few queries on my return home and, all being well, the book should be out at the end of the year as planned.

I have tried to start the next book but, although I know what happens in the storyline, I can’t summon up enough energy to get stuck into it. My editor at Severn House has sent me lots of lovely messages, saying she’s not going to keep me to the scheduled delivery dates, and to have a good rest before I get back to work. And so I struggle on, writing half a page at a time and revising . . . because I think most of what I’ve written so far is Not Good Enough. Sigh . . . but soon, I hope, I’ll be back on form.

So here’s a true story to raise a smile . . .

                                                                 Life’s Like That.

Walking home, I passed a father about to put two small boys into his car. One of the boys spat at the other. The victim didn’t seem to know how to respond, and the  father ignored the bad behaviour.
So, I said, ‘No spitting, boys!’
Heads swivelled. The father echoed my words, ‘No spitting, boys!’
I went on down the hill.
The boy who’d been spitting enquired, ‘Is that the Queen?’
‘Yes,’ said his father. ‘Get in the car.’
‘She hasn’t a crown. Nor a proper dress.’
‘GET IN THE CAR!’
I giggled all the way home.

Finally, a blessing: may you find something to make you smile on the cloudiest of days.

Veronica Heley

www.veronicaheley.com

http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

NEW . . . .

MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. Out in the shops in the UK on June 16th. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309.

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition.

Also MURDER BY SUSPICION, the trade paperback.

The new pop-up by Francesca Crespi, for Noah’s Ark, has a text written by yours truly. Francesca’s work is stunning. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-1-84507-937-6.

You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/isis-unabridged-podcast-3-veronica-heley-interview.   Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file) https://soundcloud.com/isis/veronica-heley-newsletters-2011-2014   Links to individual newsletters (click on each title) https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/sets/veronica-heley-newsletters

Find details of my E-books at http://www.veronicaheley.com/ebooks.php?l1-11