Newsletter no 81 September 2014

Apologies if I’ve given you a fright by sending this out a couple of days early, but I’m off this afternoon to Warwick University to teach at their Writers’ Festival, and will be away on the lst, when I usually send the newsletter out.

You remember I said I was going to cut down on my workload? And you probably shook your head and smiled to yourself, thinking I didn’t really mean it. Well, I did mean it, but as to actually doing it . . . First I looked at what I really must keep on doing. Well, that’s obviously the two books a year for Severn House; one Ellie and one Bea. So far I’ve been able to keep producing a new story for each every six months.

How do I do it? I read the papers, I listen to people, I wonder ‘What if . . .’ and I pray a bit. Somehow or other, the stories pop into my head. After which the real work of getting them down onto paper begins. Sometimes I think up a character from scratch. That takes a lot of thought; no one person is absolutely good or bad, are they? Suppose they have this flaw, which negates all the good they try to do? Or a talent, which they misuse? Do they have any particular mannerisms? What sort of clothes do they wear/car do they drive? It takes time and thought to create a believable character. Then there’s the hard graft of getting the story onto the computer, and editing it. The Bea and Ellie stories must continue, but is there anything else I could drop? Well, not the newsletter, obviously.

Another thing I can’t drop, and that’s copy-editing. I’ve just done it for the next Bea Abbot – False Impression. Now I know that my editor is trained to do this work, and that new rules for such things as semi-colons come out every year. But I, who left school so long ago, don’t know these new rules. It seems that every time I put in a comma, Rachel takes it out. And every time she puts in a comma, I wonder why!

Copy-editing over and done with, I returned to the first draft of the next Ellie Quicke . . . where I met up with dilemma. Can a man who is something of a despot, be the best person to be in charge of a number of recovering addicts? He is convinced he is on the side of right. (Actually, he thinks he’s a prophet and expects everyone else to take him seriously.) He is doing some good in the community . . . or is he? Doesn’t it come down to the old adage, that you shouldn’t do wrong, in order that right may come of it? Oh, and Ellie discovers an unusual use for a fly spray.

Which brings me neatly onto the subject of the moths. Yes, thank you. The new carpets look a treat and they have definitely cut down the number of moths infesting my house, although they have not eliminated them entirely. I suppose that will take time. Meanwhile I am assured I am not the only household in the area to be affected.

There’s something else I can’t drop. The short story I wrote for the Methodist Recorder – Summer Holiday – was duly published on the 15th August. I haven’t been asked for a summer story before, and it was a pleasure to think up what might happen to my three favourite men at this time of the year. The usual process applies : if you can’t get hold of a copy, let me know and I’ll send you an e-mail copy in a few days’ time.

The Siege of Salwarpe is the historical which Severn House are releasing sometime in September as an ebook 978144301379. It’s a romance set in the Middle Ages in which a hero uses guile rather than the usual battle tactics to free Ursula’s besieged castle from a marauding baron, all the while knowing that she is due to marry his patron.

Here follows a plea for help; over the years I have managed to lose every single copy of this book, which was first published by Robert Hale in 1982. I have tried all the usual channels but no one has a copy for sale . . . unless you know better? If you have a copy and are willing to part with it, I would be delighted to pay any reasonable sum for it.

Also out this month as an ebook, is Scream for Sarah, an early crime novel of mine which has had a chequered career through hard back and large print and ebook with AudioGo . . . and is now being brought out by Endeavour as an ebook for £2.99.

I am ‘guesting’ on various friends’ websites about now. One you might like to look at is Ellie Whyte’s Soul Inspiration site, which is running a competition for a digital copy of my latest book until Sept 3rd. Another is at and a third is at Lyn Cote’s Strong Women site , when I ask if it sometimes wrong to withhold the truth. . . See what you think. I’m also on As if you didn’t get enough of me!

A blessing: may you find time to sit in the sunshine, or to rest indoors while it rains, appreciating the time out, for autumn days will soon be upon us.

Veronica Heley

PS. Another review for Murder in Time. Library Journal concludes, ‘the author’s latest is equally amusing with an intriguing plot and well-drawn, appealing characters; her protagonist is charming and loyal to a fault.’

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)

Severn House e-books released recently
Bea Abbot: FALSE STEP:
Historical: LONGSWORD:
Ellie Quicke: MURDER IN TIME:

Digital review copies of Murder in Time are available from Severn House through NetGalley for librarians, booksellers and established reviewers and bloggers, but NOT to the general public who post reviews on Amazon or Goodreads – unless they are Amazon Vine reviewers or GoodReads librarians. Apply direct to Charlotte Loftus at Severn House

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