Newsletter No 62 February 2013

How are you coping with the cold and the dark of these winter days? I must admit that I hate to get out of bed when the street lights are on – and it’s probably still raining or snowing or both. I have a system to beat the blues, and that is to buy a bunch of early daffodils, so that I can watch the sunshine unfold indoors, even if it refuses to shine in the sky.

So, did I make any New Year’s resolutions? Did I promise myself that I would buy and make some marmalade as soon as the Seville oranges were in? Did I tell myself not to take on ANY extra work? I suppose you know the answer to both those questions. The oranges have been bought – and put in the freezer to await my attention at some point. Yes, I know it may be nearly a year before I get round to doing anything about them. And as for the extra work? No, I fell into agreeing to do some more within the first week of the New Year. Oh well.

Just as a matter of interest, do you have the font called Helvetica on your computer? Size l3, moreover? I was asked to submit two pieces of 250 words each for a local church magazine to be delivered in this format, only to discover that I have neither. Weird! So I sent the stuff in the usual Times New Roman size 12, and await a no doubt aggrieved response.

Meanwhile, my editor’s been asking me what I’d like on the cover of the next Ellie, which is titled MURDER WITH MERCY. And yes, in this book there is someone going around doing mercy killings, though with the very best of intentions. My editor suggested a phial of pills. Mm. I thought that might have been done once or twice before so came up with the idea of a dripping tap. Dripping blood, of course. No, she says. ‘Too much like a horror book!’ So the cover will feature an empty wheelchair . . . and yes, that does come into the book. I hope to have a picture of this put up on my website soon but remember, the book will not be published till the end of May – and will only be  available three months after that in the USA, Canada and Australia.

The new Bea Abbot is coming along a treat, although there are some awkward plot points I still have to solve. One of the problem areas here – and it’s entirely my own fault that this has occurred – is that I am continuing certain characters and situations from previous books in which Bea is in discussions about merging her agency with another organisation. If I said someone’s child had wellington boots with pink flowers on them previously, then where are they now? And yes, it does happen to be important. Oh well, no doubt I’ll come up with the answer in due course.

I promised to let you know if you wanted me to bring back a character from an early story but so far not enough of you have replied to give me much of a choice. Ideas, please?

Many of you asked for a copy of the short story OPERATION CHRISTMAS to be emailed to you. That’s fine. I’m always delighted to do that for you. So if you’d still like to see it, just let me know. And yes, the Methodist Recorder has asked for another story for Easter, so I really must get started on that soon.

So, wishing you a cheerful start to Spring, 2013, I’m signing off…….

Veronica Heley