Newsletter no 82 October 2014

Safely back from teaching at the NAWG Writers’ Festival at Warwick University, I must report an amusing incident. I won the top prize in the raffle, which happened to be a teaching course for writers, run by Writers’ News! Yes, me! With seventy four books out with traditional publishers. Naturally, I asked the organisers to pick another winner – which they did, but there were quite a few people smothering the giggles when my name was announced. And yes, while I was at Warwick I found some good writers to encourage which was just great.

You remember I said I was going to cut down on my workload? And I went through all the things I really have to keep on doing? Yes, to the two series for Severn House, and to the newsletter which subsequently appears as a blog on my website. Yes, to the short stories, of course. Which reminds me, if you didn’t manage to get hold of a copy of the Summer Holiday one, just drop me an email, and I’ll send it to you. Also, I see that the harvest one – Accident & Emergency – was published last Friday, so that’s now available, too.

Back to the workload: I have to continue doing the copy-editing and proof reading, for my books. Thankfully both are now over and done with for the next Bea Abbot story, which will be coming out at the end of November. That one’s called False Impression, and it has a cat on the cover.

So, what’s left? Apart from all the stuff I do for the church and the community. Well, it seems to me that I must take a good hard look at the guest slots which I do on other people’s websites. Some of them I can keep up with, but some I might drop, at least for the time being. Sometimes I am asked for the equivalent of a short story or an essay, in order to get the name of my next book out through someone else’s website. And each one of those, I reckon, takes a couple of days to do. So I’m looking at each one and deciding if I can do them or, with regret, decline.

A word of warning. When I first started to get published in the 70s, I was writing crime stories which went out under my real name, Veronica Heley. So when I started to write historicals for a different publisher, Corgi, my agent suggested I invented a pen name – Victoria Thorne. Now these historicals are being brought out as e-books by Severn House but it is not clear that Veronica and Victoria are one and the same person; because there’s so little space to put the details on the cover, the note about the name has gone on the second page. Apologies if you’ve been getting double vision over this. I think the last in this series – The Siege of Salwarpe – came out in September.

Now, back to my work on the first draft of the next Ellie Quicke. Before I start on a book I work out who the villain is and why. This time I knew all about the people who behaved badly and looked as if they were the murderers, but when I came to write them and they turned into real characters – don’t ask! It’s something that happens in my mind as I go along. I can’t explain it. It just is – it became clear to me that though they were not nice people at all, they hadn’t actually killed the missing girls. Oh. So who did? Ah, well . . . now I see that I’d written the murderer in all along, but hadn’t realised it. At the moment I’m taking a rest from this book while I start on another short story, this time for the New Year for the Methodist Recorder. When I come back to this Ellie, I may have to lay a few more clues.

Thank you for your kind enquiries about the moths which have almost been eradicated from the house. I do spot one or two a day but nothing like the twenty or thirty I was getting before I had the carpets up.

A blessing: may you catch some sun bringing out the rich colours of autumn leaves, and find time to meet up with old friends.

Veronica Heley

A review for Murder in Time from 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.’ 

The Siege of Salwarpe is one of my historicals which Severn House released 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. Over the years I’ve lost every copy of this book, first published by Robert Hale in 1982. I’ve tried 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.

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