Apologies for being a couple of days late with this newsletter, but as I warned you, I’ve been having visitors on and off for a while, which – although delightful in itself – is bound to cut down the amount of time I can spend at the computer. But now the house is quiet again, and I can get back to work.
I spent most of the last month picking up one job and working on that for a while, and then having to leave it to get on with something else. A short story, some blogs, and editing the next Ellie all came to the top of the To Do pile in turn.
The short story came first. I had to get down to work on another one for a Christmas issue of the Methodist Recorder. Delivery date: mid November. Title: to be decided. They like to have them in early so as to find appropriate pictures to illustrate the story. This one is partly about the preparations for Christmas – but homes in on the problems our old friend Kerry is having with a new intake of students. It’s not just their bad behaviour in the house that gets to him, but also their dismissive attitude to Christianity and their bad language. I believe it’s scheduled for the week before Christmas. I had a Harvest short story in the Methodist Recorder a few weeks ago, titled A Change of Address. Only one of our old friends moves, you’ll be glad to hear, and that turns out well. If you missed reading it and would like a copy, just drop me an email and I’ll send it to you.
Now that the draft of the next Ellie book – Murder in Time – is on the computer I have to go over and over it, tying up loose ends, making sure that the time line is correct, and generally giving the text a good polish. I have to watch the word count, too. Usually my first draft is about a thousand words short, but I know very well that as I go over the text, I will want to expand on this thought here, or explain that motive there. If I’m not careful, by the end of the second edit, I’m a thousand words over the target, and then I have to start looking for bits to cut out, and for unnecessary words or phrases that have crept in.
Bad habits creep in as I write the first draft. Once I overused the word ‘really’. In another story, I over-indulged in that useful phrase ‘of course’. Sometimes these bits of careless writing even get as far as the copy-editing before they have to be excised, allowing no quarter. The manuscript is all the better for this pruning, though cutting down to size can be painful. I am going to have a few days off work on this, and then do one final read through before I send it off. As of today, I’m just under the specified word count, so if I add any more material, I will probably have to cut elsewhere. I’m really too close to the story at the moment, to be able to judge whether or not I’ve got the balance right.
You may remember that an early historical romance of mine titled The Siege of Salwarpe, is being brought out by Chivers under the title: A Heart Besieged. I’m looking at the cover now . . . and it’s full of rather heavy-handed clues to the fact that this is a Romance. Not only does the girl have long, blondish hair but she’s holding a rose, and there’s a branch of candles beside her. I don’t think readers will misinterpret these hints. I just hope they won’t mind all the fighting that goes on as well in this story. I’m not sure of the publication date, but it’s some time in November. Hardcover: 978147 1353994. There will be a soft cover edition next April.
I appeared as a guest blogger on Susan Sleeman’s website for Christian Mystery & Suspense authors. This was a new one for me, and I was delighted to be asked. If you’d like to have a look, you can find it on The Suspense Zone.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to reserve your copy of FALSE DIAMOND, the next Bea Abbot story, which will be published at the end of this month. And yes, I know it takes another three months to get to America, Australia, etc. Just be patient. It’s on its way! This story sees Bea drawn back into the questionable doings of the members of the multi-billionaire Holland family, including an engagement with a fake diamond ring, an alleged suicide attempt, an abusive man who tries to put the frighteners on Bea, and the ambiguous behaviour of the black sheep of the family, who turns out to be the joker in the pack. ISBN 978 0 7278 8298 1
MURDER IN MIND, the 13th Ellie Quicke, should also be out in paperback at the end of November 2013. 978 1 84751 435 6
Till next time . . .
MURDER FOR MERCY. Ellie is asked to investigate whether some deaths in the community are exactly what they seem, while her pregnant, difficult daughter Diana is struggling to cope at work, and her husband is still in a wheelchair. What’s more, sabotage at the big house nearby is being blamed on young Mikey, who is certainly up to something. Can Ellie track down whoever it is who is killing for mercy, keep Mikey out of the clutches of Social Services, and steer her difficult daughter Diana into calmer waters? ISBN 9780 7278 8281 3 Reviews; Publisher’s Weekly, ‘ . . . this rewarding cosy.’ And Kirkus, ‘Heley’s 13th finds Ellie beleaguered but resolute as ever . . .’
UNSUNG HEROES is now available as an e-book. This is a collection of short stories originally published in the Methodist Recorder, 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
CRY FOR KIT, and SCREAM FOR SARAH. First published l970s, have been joined by FEAR FOR FRANCES in large print versions from Chivers. Warning; some sex and violence in the first two! The third is a Victorian romp-cum-whodunit. They are also available to download as e-books.
FALSE ALARM, the 7th Abbot Agency story, is now available in hardback and also as an e-book. Bea is asked to find the person who laid a booby trap for the powerful tycoon, Sir Lucas Ossett, in his own block of flats. ISBN 9780 7278 8237 0 for the hardback and ISBN 978 1 78010 289 4 for the ebook.
Review for this: Kirkus: ‘The Abbot Agency’s seventh outing will be just the thing for readers who like their cosies with a bit of bite.’ And from Library Journal:
‘Think of the series’ seventh outing as a big old-fashioned country-house case, Agatha Christie-like, but dressed-up smart and chic for today.’
MURDER BY MISTAKE is now available in large print. ISBN 978 0 7278 9935 4.
FALSE REPORT is available as a paperback and also as an ebook . ISBN 978 1 843751 408 0. Ebook: 978 1 78010 201 6.
Find details of all the other E-books at http://www.veronicaheley.com/ebooks.php