Newsletter no.136 April 2019

So here comes April 1st, and I am not writing to you on a Fool’s errand but because I like to keep in touch with you. I love receiving your emails and try to reply to each one within a couple of days of receiving them. Cards, too. Not many people send postcards nowadays and you can’t blame them, because the cost of postage is so high. However, I do like to keep the latest ones around for a while before they go for re-cycling at church. Re-using the cards means we can sell them for a really low price and this helps offset the cost of the stamp. Last year Margaret at our church made one thousand Christmas cards and sold the lot!

The next short story is called ‘Chocolate Soup’ and is due to go out in the Easter edition. In this episode, Sally finds herself lumbered with a difficult task by a man in a wheelchair. Her subsequent adventures leave her limp and bruised, but she completes her mission in a way which I think will please most people. If you can’t get hold of a copy and would like to read the story, then let me know and I will email you one, free, AFTER Easter.

MURDER FOR GOOD, the 20th Ellie Quicke, was accepted by Severn House as soon as I sent it in and now I await, with some trepidation, all the queries from the copy editor who will want me to clarify this and correct that. He/she will point out typos here and there. He/she will red pencil my occasional misuses of grammar . . . misuses which are intentional on my part because people don’t always speak grammatically. And so on. Depending on whether or not I get a sympathetically inclined editor, it will take me anything from four days to two weeks to make the corrections. Also, being of a certain age, I use words and sayings which I’ve heard from childhood which are appropriate to the person concerned. Some younger editors don’t know these and think I’m writing nonsense but older people still use these phrases in speech, so I hope to go on using them myself.

Severn House and I have already agreed the blurb, and are talking about what might go on the cover. Now, I don’t get too excited about this, because the author has no rights in this matter; only the publisher can decide what they will use. But now and then they ask my opinion, and of course I’m full of ideas. This time it’s definitely a Domestic Drama so I’m going for something in the cookery line. I’ll let you know what happens next.

Meanwhile Harlequin Book Club has released the first of the Bea Abbot titles they’ve taken. This one is FALSE ALARM. Will this new readership like it? I do hope so, because there’s another title scheduled to come out with them later this year. More news: there’s now a large print version available in hardback of MURDER FOR NOTHING.

I’ve started to write the next Bea Abbot, which is called FALSE CONCLUSION. I’m enjoying this one. Young Bernice, Bea’s ward, is growing up ‘sassy’ and stubborn, but showing signs of having a heart . . . somewhere . . . but not on view!

May the longer days bring sunshine and hope to you, wherever you are.

Veronica Heley

Newsletter no 86 February 2015

I must confess that during the month of January I have not been nice to know. I had one of those heavy colds that went on and on and . . .You get the picture? If you don’t want to hear more about this, please skip to the next paragraph. The big problem with this sort of cold is that you don’t run a temperature consistently and you don’t have the fluey aches and pains, so you don’t get much sympathy, either. I got through so many boxes of tissues that I switched to loo rolls, the softest I could find, and kept a small tin of soothing lip salve in my pocket to use every time I blew my nose.


Now that’s another thing . . . why aren’t there pockets in skirts any longer? In trousers, yes. But not in skirts or dresses. I suppose because skirts hang better without pockets bulging with paper tissues, keys, sweets and something that you forgot to take up or downstairs and is still in your pocket when you finish for the day?


Grumble over. Now I am all sweetness and light. Well, almost. I have sighted a couple of moths this month, but managed to act as exterminator before they could do any damage. I hope.


January is an important month in the life of a writer. If your books end up in the libraries, this is when the Government gives you nearly 7p per loan for each of your books. Scoff not! To me – who write for a library readership who want a good story with believable characters in which right always triumphs – it gives a boost to my income.


It is true, of course, that in recent years the library system has been much battered by the economic situation, and my total this year is down on last year’s. (Boohoo!) But there is light on the horizon because writers are now encouraged to register our audio books for payment next February. This is very good news, as all my Bea Abbot and Ellie Quicke books have been or are currently being transferred to this medium. Also some of the historicals and – if I’m not mistaken – my very early crime books as well. So this time next year I shall probably be heading up my newsletter with a ‘Rejoice with me!’ banner.

Meanwhile, the Methodist Recorder brought out the short story UNFINISHED BUSINESS early in January. If you haven’t already read this, just drop me an email and I’ll send you a copy free. This story has my three heroes looking back over the past and taking action as a result.

What next? FALSE IMPRESSION, the latest Bea Abbot story, came out at the end of November, and got a very nice review from Publishers Weekly. The reviewer termed it ‘Heley’s satisfying ninth Abbot Agency mystery’. For the storyline, see the end of this letter.

The next Ellie Quicke has been accepted for publication in May or June – but I don’t have to do the copy-editing till March, which means I can get on with roughing out another Bea Abbot story. I did think Bea was going to end up marrying Leon at the end of this one, but as things turn out, he rather lets her down after they attend a neighbourhood party which goes disastrously wrong. Well, we’ll see. I’ve plenty of time to change my mind. Or Bea may decide she can’t be doing without him . . . it will be interesting to see what happens.

A blessing: May you find a bunch of daffodils to bring some sunshine into your life – and give one to your friends, too.

Veronica Heley

Just published: FALSE IMPRESSION, 9th in the Abbot Agency series. Bea has taken in the helpless Dilys, who accidentally infects the agency’s systems with a virus, while Bea’s on-and-off friend Leon also seeks sanctuary with her. Both Leon and Dilys’s boy-friend Orlando had been lured to the car park of a swimming pool where a murderer had been at work – leaving them entangled in a web from which they find it hard to extricate themselves. Everything that happens can be interpreted in different ways and it’s some time before Bea realises exactly who was murdered and why. Before she does so, she and everyone else in the house and at the agency find themselves under siege. Severn House. ISBN 978 0 7278 8445 9.

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.

In January the Ellie Quicke story, MURDER IN TIME, came out as a paperback on ISBN 978 18475 15186, and there’ll be a large print version in February, also from Severn House, at   ISBN 978 072 789 7770.

One of my earliest historicals – MY LORD, THE HERMIT – has just come out on audiobook at CD/9781407951638.

SUE FOR MERCY, my very first published book, is now out as an e-book, as are CRY FOR KIT, and THE SIEGE OF SALWARPE – a romance set in the middle ages.

You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:   Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file)   Links to individual newsletters (click on each title)

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.

Find details of all the other E-books at