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.