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

Newsletter no.102 June 2016

I can’t say I was a happy bunny in May. Back pain! Scream! The good news is that I managed to get hold of a wonderful physio who, with this and that, and the aid of two powerful thumbs, pushed and pulled me back to a semblance of my usual health. Yes, I am going to have to be careful for a bit, but I am Lots Better.

But, also in May, I was in trouble with the mss for the next book, False Fire. First I was well under the word count – fine. Then I was massively over it – not good! So I chipped away here and I slashed there, and finally I was happy that I had a good strong storyline with lots of tension in it . . . and found I was well under the word count again. Problem!

Now there are two things a writer can do when the mss is short; they can pad the scenes out with extra words, or they can throw themselves onto the mercy of their editor and say, Please, miss! Is this all right? In this case, my lovely editor said it was perfectly all right to be under rather than over the word count, and I relaxed. I still had one more read-through, and I did titivate here and there, but (see below for the reason) my daughter managed to email the story off for me, a few days late and still needing a little bit of work.

Now I’m waiting for the hard copies of the next Ellie Quicke, which comes out at the end of June. This one is Murder in Style. You will recollect that the first version of the cover turned out to be a little too racy for my readership, but a modification passed muster, and I’m looking forward to holding the first copy in my hands. (PS – I’ve just got the first books – arrived today, 9th June – on sale June 16th!)

I managed to get away for a few days’ holiday in May before everything went weird. Back to Bruges, of course. I met up with friends, and sat in cafes and generally tried to think about nothing much . . . except how the next storyline for Ellie is going to work out. I had the germ of any idea before I left, but there’s nothing like a holiday in which you are not watching the clock, to let the creative juices flow . . . and I’m not talking about the food in Bruges, which is scrumptious. So yes, I’ve come back with a notebook scattered with odd remarks, and the names of some of the characters who will appear . . . though, as you know, I am very apt to change names half way through the story.

And at some point I have to start thinking about the next short story for the Methodist Recorder. I know they want one towards the end of the summer . . . but I don’t have a delivery date as yet. What I’m afraid of is that they may suddenly ask for one at short notice and that will be difficult, because each of these ‘short’ stories has to be carefully thought through and crafted . . . and then there’s the question of getting word count right . . . see above for problems there

STOP PRESS! Apologies for the late sending of this newsletter. Most unexpectedly I was admitted to hospital, diagnosed as having had a heart attack, and was given an angiogram, angioplasty and a stent. Eleven days later I am home and feeling very tired but still in the land of the living. Normal service will be resumed, but not for some time!

Finally, a blessing: may you find loving kindness wherever you go – even in the unlikeliest of places!

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

Newsletter no.101 May 2016

Do you remember being told ‘Pride goes before a fall?’ I ought to have remembered that when I went to the London Book Fair at Olympia. Meeting a friend, I said, ‘I’ve been in this business for over forty years and I know what I’m doing.’ Yes, I really did say that. Stupid, or what!

Because later that day I met with my friends from Severn House. I handed them the outline for the next story, which I’d called ‘False Favourite’ . . . and they said, ‘You’ll have to change the title!’

What had I done wrong? I’d forgotten that spelling has to be tailored to the American market, so ‘favourite’ becomes ‘favorite’. And ‘favorite’ doesn’t work for the British market. After all these years, I had completely forgotten that rule. Ugh! Anyway, the book is about arson through fireworks, so we’re calling it ‘False Fire’ instead.

What is it with me? That’s twice in a row that I’ve thought up titles only to have them rejected. Ah well. That’ll teach me not to think I know everything . . . because I don’t.

The good news is that Severn House liked the storyline for False Fire. I am working on the second draft for it now, for delivery at the end of May and publication at the end of the year. Meanwhile I’ve corrected the proofs for the next Ellie, Murder in Style. You may remember that the first suggestion for a cover was rather too racy for my readership but we now have another which is still original and striking. The books will be in the shops from the end of June.

But oh, commiserate with me. I woke up one morning with back trouble! Every step caused me to scream a little scream. I couldn’t sit for long, but when I stood up, pain shot down my leg and stayed there. I couldn’t lie on my back, even with a pillow under my knees. Painkillers? What a laugh. The ordinary painkillers didn’t even touch it. Neighbours were wonderful but every time one called I had to negotiate the stairs to get to the front door . . . ditto when the phone rang. Finally, I managed to get hold of someone in the physio practice I used to go to, years ago, and some relief was obtained. Now I can sit for a while at the computer and stand to cook a meal – just. Yes, today is better than yesterday and tomorrow, I hope, will see me well on the way back to a pain-free life . . . which is just as well, considering that I’ve still got a lot of work to do on False Fire.

Meanwhile, no gardening. Or, very light gardening only. Instead of double digging and tearing out brambles, I tell myself to be grateful for the slightly shaggy look in the garden – and if the bluebells proliferate, then that’s what they will have to do.

The Easter short story went out in the Good Friday edition of the Methodist Recorder,

and I’ve been asked for another to appear some time in the summer. These stories follow Corin’s vendetta against our Christian friends . . . something which resonates with many of my readers. If you’ve missed this episode, let me know and I’ll send you a free copy by email. It’s called ‘Why Shouldn’t I?’

Finally, a blessing: may you find time in your busy life to stand still for a while and appreciate the beauty of God’s earth and sky.

Veronica Heley

www.veronicaheley.com

http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

NEW . . . .

FALSE WALL, the 10th Bea Abbot. December 31st 2015, 3 months later in the USA and other overseas territories. Bea Abbot watched in horror as her garden wall came crashing down, exposing human bones in a neighbour’s pets’ cemetery. An invitation to Bea and her financier friend Leon from the Admiral and his lady next door leaves both of them in hospital. It also leaves Bea’s home and her agency rooms uninhabitable, while threatening to destroy Leon’s reputation. Bea is distressed when, at this traumatic moment, Leon deserts her to rescue a business deal. Even with the help of her friends, can the agency survive – and what then will become of Bea’s relationship with Leon? Severn House,

ISBN 978-0-7278-8576-0.

FALSE IMPRESSION, the 9th Bea Abbot. The paperback edition, available from December 31st 2015,                 3 months later for overseas. A series of strange events and seemingly unrelated deaths lead Leon to take refuge with Bea. And nothing is what it seems. Severn House ISBN 978-1-84751-5629.

MURDER BY SUSPICION- the 16th Ellie Quicke. Booklist review: ‘The latest in Heley’s long-running series again draws its appeal from the mix of suspense, gentle humour, an unpredictable plot, and a brave and engaging amateur sleuth.’

Hardback: ISBN 9780 7278 85241   E-book: 9781 78010 6779

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.100 April 2016

Well, here it is. The Hundredth Newsletter. I’m greatly surprised to find that I’ve produced so many of them. When I first realised how many I’d done, I tried to work out how long I’d been doing them for, and my mind went totally blank. Where was my twelve times table when I need it? Gone walkabout. I told myself that it was still there at the back of my head somewhere, and eventually I retrieved it. And the result was . . . eight years and four months! (All right, I know you got there quicker than I did!) Little did I think when I first started this odyssey that, so many years later, I would still be writing to you all about my difficulties and successes with my writing and different publishers . . . about missing banana skins and my milk being stolen!

And, talking of stolen milk, dear Alan – my milkman for so many years – writes that ‘It’s the foxes who do most damage. They knock the milk over and drink it.’ So not human beings, not crows or slugs . . . but foxes! My correspondent who reported the foxes stealing their plums will be amused! So the next time I look out of the window in the night to see a fox slinking up the street, I’ll know what he’s up to.

And yes, you’ve spotted the flaw in this argument. Foxes can’t lift a large pot off the milk bottles, take the top off, drink half and replace in the crate. So perhaps it’s half foxes and half crows? But, it’s definitely the foxes who upended my waste food container – destined for the compost heap – and spread the contents all over my path. Tea bags, potato peelings, onion skins, banana skins . . . No, that’s definitely foxes.

Now for the latest news on the writing front. I am slowly struggling through to the end of the first draft of the next Bea and all seems well there – for the moment, anyway.

I did the copy editing for MURDER IN STYLE (which used to be called Murder at the Magpie, remember?) So far, so good. It’s another Ellie and it’s due out at the end of June, and September in the States. Then my publisher sent me through a suggestion for the cover, which was spiky, original, striking and . . . sexy.

Sexy? Moi? Is Bea sexy? Um, yes, I suppose, in a way. But, is Ellie sexy? Er, no.           Would my readers expect sexy in a book about 60s housewife Ellie, who is never quite sure that she’s got her coat buttoned up correctly and yes, she does own a lipstick but she’s not sure where she’s put it? So this was Oh Dear time. As you probably know, it’s stated in the contract that the publishers have the right to design the cover and it’s quite true that most writers haven’t a clue what works for sales purposes. But in this case . . . yes, it really was Oh, Dear! Anyway, my publisher decided that perhaps ‘sexy’ wasn’t the right image for Ellie after all, and has cleverly come up with something spiky, original, striking, and . . . acceptable. Phew! This cover will go on the website soon, so you can judge for yourselves what a good job he’s made of it.

The Easter short story went out in the Good Friday edition of the Methodist Recorder. It continues Corin’s vendetta against our Christian friends, who were planning a Good Friday walk. His plan to disrupt this causes maximum alarm, especially when Bruce is asked if he will carry the cross through streets he knows well – just as Jesus did. If you’ve missed reading it and would like a free copy, let me know and I’ll send one to you by email. It’s called ‘Why Shouldn’t I?’

Finally, a blessing: may Eastertide bring you renewed hope for yourself and others.

Veronica Heley

www.veronicaheley.com

http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

NEW . . . .

FALSE           WALL, the 10th Bea Abbot. December 31st 2015, 3 months later in the USA and other overseas territories. Bea Abbot watched in horror as her garden wall came crashing down, exposing human bones in a neighbour’s pets’ cemetery. An invitation to Bea and her financier friend Leon from the Admiral and his lady next door leaves both of them in hospital. It also leaves Bea’s home and her agency rooms uninhabitable, while threatening to destroy Leon’s reputation. Bea is distressed when, at this traumatic moment, Leon deserts her to rescue a business deal. Even with the help of her friends, can the agency survive – and what then will become of Bea’s relationship with Leon? Severn House,

ISBN 978-0-7278-8576-0.

FALSE IMPRESSION, the 9th Bea Abbot. The paperback edition, available from December 31st 2015,    3 months later for overseas. A series of strange events and seemingly unrelated deaths lead Leon to take refuge with Bea. And nothing is what it seems. Severn House ISBN 978-1-84751-5629.

MURDER BY SUSPICION- the 16th Ellie Quicke. Booklist review: ‘The latest in Heley’s long-running series again draws its appeal from the mix of suspense, gentle humour, an unpredictable plot, and a brave and engaging amateur sleuth.’

Hardback: ISBN 9780 7278 85241   E-book: 9781 78010 6779

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

UNSUNG HEROES is now available as an e-book. This is a collection of short stories concerning the problems of three retired men and their families, plus some Ellie Quicke short stories. £3.40 UK, and $4.90 USA. http://www.veronicaheley.com/othertitles.php?l1-11

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

Newsletter no.99 March 2016

First, the good news – which is that no more milk has disappeared from my doorstep since my milkman took to hiding the bottles in the flowerbed. But; another would-be thief has emerged from hiding. Picture me delving into the plants to retrieve the milk bottle and carrying it into the kitchen for breakfast . . . and as I place it on the work surface, I touch something slimy. And it gives way. And I scream a little scream. (Well, more of a strangled yelp, if truth be told.) For there is a large SLUG who is well on his way up the bottle with intent to help himself to the nice milk inside. I mean . . . UGH! And . . . revolting! Some mornings there is nothing to be found. At other times – especially if it has rained in the night – I may well find several large black yukkies. I swipe them off into the garden rubbish bag. No, I don’t kill them. Well, I suppose they will die eventually but they can live in a semi-paradise till the bin men come to remove the rubbish. Thus perish all thieves. Or would-be thieves.          

Now for the latest development in the next Ellie Quicke. I called it MURDER AT THE MAGPIE, the text was accepted, and I got through the copy-editing without too much trouble. The ‘Magpie’ in question was the name of the fashion boutique around which the story revolves. The book was scheduled to come out at the end of June 2016, and although I hadn’t seen the proposed cover, all seemed to be going smoothly . . . until I had an email saying that the publishers were having second thoughts about the title. What? (Or should it be What!) This title had been accepted and approved way back last spring! But no; the Powers that Be had now decided that the Magpie in question wouldn’t mean anything to the reader. They suggested another couple of titles – you can picture me seething with fury – can’t you? I was not at all willing to believe that they had a good point. Anyway, I came up with MURDER IN STYLE, which was accepted. So, expunge Murder at the Magpie from your memories, please, and substitute MURDER IN STYLE. And no, there’s no need for me to alter anything in the text.                   

The 10th Bea Abbot, titled FALSE WALL has been doing well in the reviews, and a good number of review bloggers have put something out about it. Hurray! In case you’ve missed it, I’d better repeat the information about getting a digital review copy. If you are a librarian or a review blogger, you can email Charlotte at Severn House and she will send one to you. The latest review through was from Booklist, who say, ‘An intriguing plot, a tough-minded heroine, and a satisfying ending make this an entertaining read.’

I’ve been asked for another short story for Easter but had difficulty in getting to it. The problem is that Easter is early this year. I take about three months to get the first draft of a book onto the computer, after which I set it aside for a while . . . and it’s then that I usually write the next short story. This year the editor wanted the story by the beginning of March. I was nowhere near ready to set Bea aside to work on something else and I had difficulty flipping from one storyline to another.

I have a writer friend who was commissioned to write a psychological thriller at the same time as she had to produce another police procedural. She solved this by writing one on her main computer, and the other on her laptop. One in the morning and the other in the afternoon. So, if I moved from my desk in the study to a table downstairs . . . would that work? To be continued . . .

I have just realised that the next newsletter will be my one hundredth! And no, I don’t expect a card from the Queen, but perhaps I should mark the occasion in some way?

Any ideas? Ought I to include a picture of me, if I can work out how to do it. Is there anything special you’d like me to write about? Or should I continue as usual?

Finally, a blessing: may the flowers that bloom in the spring lift your heart in thanksgiving.

Veronica Heley

www.veronicaheley.com
http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

  1. I’ve just noticed that a neighbour’s milk is left in his porch with the doormat upended and hiding it from view!

NEW . . . .

FALSE           WALL, the 10th Bea Abbot. December 31st 2015, 3 months later in the USA and other overseas territories. Bea Abbot watched in horror as her garden wall came crashing down, exposing human bones in a neighbour’s pets’ cemetery. An invitation to Bea and her financier friend Leon from the Admiral and his lady next door leaves both of them in hospital. It also leaves Bea’s home and her agency rooms uninhabitable, while threatening to destroy Leon’s reputation. Bea is distressed when, at this traumatic moment, Leon deserts her to rescue a business deal. Even with the help of her friends, can the agency survive – and what then will become of Bea’s relationship with Leon? Severn House,ISBN 978-0-7278-8576-0.

FALSE IMPRESSION, the 9th Bea Abbot. The paperback edition, available from December 31st 2015, 3 months later for overseas. A series of strange events and seemingly unrelated deaths lead Leon to take refuge with Bea. And nothing is what it seems. Severn House ISBN 978-1-84751-5629.

MURDER BY SUSPICION- the 16th Ellie Quicke. Booklist review: ‘The latest in Heley’s long-running series again draws its appeal from the mix of suspense, gentle humour, an unpredictable plot, and a brave and engaging amateur sleuth.’

Hardback: ISBN 9780 7278 85241   E-book: 9781 78010 6779

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

UNSUNG HEROES is now available as an e-book. This is a collection of short stories concerning the problems of three retired men and their families, plus some Ellie Quicke short stories. £3.40 UK, and $4.90 USA. http://www.veronicaheley.com/othertitles.php?l1-11

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

Newsletter no.98 February 2016

My report of milk being stolen off my doorstep has inspired comments from all around the world. In Australia apparently milk is no longer available in bottles, but only in cartons. I didn’t know that. Another reader advised me to set up a camera to capture the thief in action . . . which is exactly what a third reader did after he noticed the pears on his tree were disappearing every night. And who did you think his camera caught? A fox! They had never realised a fox could jump so high, but now they have it on camera! Interesting . . . but foxes don’t drink milk, do they?

I am happy to say that no more milk has disappeared from my garden but we remain the Crime Capital of this part of London. The next thing to disappear was the cast-iron name plate for our road, which was affixed to the wall of our garden when the house was built one hundred years ago. It’s a heritage thing. Gradually the old nameplates are being given a facelift and returned to their original places and very nice they look, too. Time and rust had worked their wicked way with the staples holding my plate in place and one morning I found it face down on the pavement. I tried to lift it. Yes, stupid; I know! It was far too heavy for me. Later that day I went out with a friend to collect it for purposes of rehabilitation and . . . yes, you’ve guessed it . . . it had gone! Has it been melted down for scrap, or does it adorn the kitchen wall of another house in our road? A souvenir of the old days? It can’t be the same person who takes our milk, can it?

FALSE WALL, the 10th Bea Abbot, which was officially published on the last day of 2015, has been doing well in the reviews. I understand some librarians and review bloggers have already asked Charlotte for a copy. That pleases us mightily, but she asks me to make sure you realise it will be a digital and not a hard copy. The cost of sending a hard copy from the UK is prohibitive. So here’s reminding you about that. If you’d still like a digital copy for review, just email her and she will send one to you.  

I had quite a few requests for email copies of the Christmas story I wrote for the Methodist Recorder. ‘You Owe Me!’ is about the shoplifter and his family who, when prevented from going about their usual ‘business’, demand presents and money for Christmas. If you’d still like to read this, just drop me an email and I’ll send you a copy free.

I am grinding my way slowly through the first draft of the next Bea Abbot. It starts with a bang – a fireworks bang! – and continues through a maze of misrepresentation, misunderstandings and a cast of nasties. No murders as yet but there’s man (or woman) slaughter all over the place. And two poor little rich girls whom I really do feel sorry for. As the old Nannies used to say, ‘It will all end in tears before nightfall.’ I’m enjoying it, in a weird sort of way.

Meanwhile, there’s a paperback of FALSE IMPRESSION newly out. Hurray! This is the one in which Bea finds herself and her friends targeted by . . . who knows who? See below for details.

Finally, a blessing: may the first flowers of spring bring renewed hope for our own growth this year.

Veronica Heley
www.veronicaheley.com
http://blog.veronicaheley.com/

NEW . . . .

FALSE WALL, the 10th Bea Abbot. December 31st 2015, 3 months later in the USA and other overseas territories. Bea Abbot watched in horror as her garden wall came crashing down, exposing human bones in a neighbour’s pets’ cemetery. An invitation to Bea and her financier friend Leon from the Admiral and his lady next door leaves both of them in hospital. It also leaves Bea’s home and her agency rooms uninhabitable, while threatening to destroy Leon’s reputation. Bea is distressed when, at this traumatic moment, Leon deserts her to rescue a business deal. Even with the help of her friends, can the agency survive – and what then will become of Bea’s relationship with Leon? Severn House, ISBN 978-0-7278-8576-0.

FALSE IMPRESSION, the 9th Bea Abbot. The paperback edition, available from December 31st 2015, 3 months later for overseas. A series of strange events and seemingly unrelated deaths lead Leon to take refuge with Bea. And nothing is what it seems. Severn House ISBN 978-1-84751-5629.

MURDER BY SUSPICION- the 16th Ellie Quicke. Booklist review: ‘The latest in Heley’s long-running series again draws its appeal from the mix of suspense, gentle humour, an unpredictable plot, and a brave and engaging amateur sleuth.’ Hardback: ISBN 9780 7278 85241   E-book: 9781 78010 6779 And now: paperback ISBN

The audiobook of THE TARRANT ROSE, from Soundings, ISBN 9781407951836

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

UNSUNG HEROES is now available as an e-book. This is a collection of short stories concerning the problems of three retired men and their families, plus some Ellie Quicke short stories. £3.40 UK, and $4.90 USA. http://www.veronicaheley.com/othertitles.php?l1-11

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