I’m always pleased with myself when I have learned to do something new in my old age . . . don’t you find it satisfying to master the art of screwing a thingy into a whatsit, or solving a different type of crossword? Or even producing a satisfactory baked potato in the microwave, which is something I am only just learning how to do, courtesy of the delightful boys at our local greengrocery, who assure me that their way with this variety of potato will work. As indeed it does! Whyever didn’t I ask them to help me with the problem ages ago?
Congratulate me on another achievement; I have joined a small women’s choir. My first venture into choir land was at the age of seventeen, singing second soprano in the chorus of the Messiah in Birmingham Town Hall, and for many years after that I sang wherever and whenever the opportunity arose. In later years this and that has prevented me from doing so. Singing in church was not a happy matter, either, as I found my voice was not what it had been.
Solution! I am now officially an alto, and enjoying it. I took part in my first concert just before Christmas, for which I had to wear a white top and black skirt. Panic! Did I have a black skirt? I knew that somewhere . . . in the depths of the wardrobe . . . but oh! Weren’t those the traces of moths? I brushed and the marks went away. I washed with care. No holes to be seen! I ironed with even more care and lo and behold, a decent enough skirt. And yes, thank you, I enjoyed the concert very much. It’s fun singing down, down, below…
My short story, Christmas is coming, duly went out in the Methodist Recorder on December 20. This is the one in which Kerry is in trouble. He stands firm by his principles and, with the assistance of his friends, he wins through. The usual arrangement applies; if you can’t get hold of a copy and would like to read the story, let me know and I’ll send it to you by e-mail.
You may remember I was telling you that an early historical romance of mine originally entitled The Siege of Salwarpe, was being brought out by Chivers in November under the title: A Heart Besieged. The company has ceased to trade and I now have no copy of this story. Does anyone have one to spare? I hate not having it as it was a particular favourite of mine. But there it is; over the thirty odd years in which I have been getting published, I have lost one or two titles. Sometimes they re-surface. Sometimes not. Please keep a lookout for me, won’t you?
Now for some more good news. The manuscript of the next Ellie book – Murder in Time – has been approved by my editor, and it’s all systems go. Copy editing in February, publication in May 2014. I like this story; it’s got some fun bits in it which I hope you, too, will enjoy when it comes out.
I have made a good start on the next Bea Abbot, despite all the extra work that doing Christmas entails. (There were calls from no less than four churches for carol singers one week! I only managed one date.) I have managed the switch from being Ellie into being Bea Abbot reasonably well, but I am alarmed to discover that Leon is being sought not only by members of his family, but also by the police. However, all will be revealed in due course . . . I hope.
Meanwhile, FALSE DIAMOND duly came out in November. It won’t be out in America till March, but the reviews are beginning to come in. Booklist has said, ‘An action-packed variation on the British cozy, this latest from Heley is full of unexpected twists and gentle humour.’ Not bad, eh? This story sees Bea drawn back into the questionable doings of the members of the multi-billionaire Holland family, which include 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.
Oh yes, and if you think you’d like an interesting variation on the Sleeping Beauty story, set in the Middle Ages, then have a look out for a book called While Beauty Slept, by Elizabeth Blackwell, to be published in February. I was happy to oblige with a good review for it.
My very best wishes to you for 2014. May your days be full of interest and all your aches and pains manageable. Till next time . . .
MURDER MY NEIGHBOUR. Large print, hardback. Pub Nov 2013. ISBN 9780727896551.
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?11-11
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?l1-11