Newsletter no.92 August 2015

The weather has not been very helpful recently, has it? We hadn’t had enough rain for weeks – and then it overdid it. Gutters overflowed, water-butts, ditto. And still some plants decided they’d had enough and died. And the pots in the greenhouse had to be watered come rain or shine. So every morning and some evenings as well, I had to go out and find the watering-can (medium size) and water the plants I’m growing in pots, some inside the greenhouse and some out in the garden. And yes, it’s my fault for trying to keep the pots going in the summertime. Every year I vow to cut down on the number of plants in pots, and every year I think . . . well, just this little one here . . . and I really like . . . and then there’s the tomatoes which I grow in the greenhouse to avoid the blight . . . and before I know where I am, it’s back to hauling water out of the water butts.

And yes, thank you; the tomatoes are doing well, all except for one plant on which only one tomato has set and that is a very strange-looking fruit indeed. And no, I can’t remember which make it was as I’ve lost all the labels the plants came with. I was always taught that you allowed four heads of flowers to set and then cut off the top of the plant to encourage the fruit to ripen. But I like green tomatoes as well, so I’m leaving the plants to shoot up and up, tying them onto wires as they go.

I use my garden as a diversion and exercise when I’m writing. I get stuck . . . and then go and do a bit of dead-heading or weeding or whatever, and I find that the knot in my brain has loosened and I know what to write next. A long hot bath has the same effect, or playing patience . . . but enough of that.

How is the writing going? Well, all right, I suppose. At this stage, when I’m working my way steadily through the first draft of a new story, I am always conscious that at any moment a character can turn round and reveal a new side of himself or herself. This makes him or her much more interesting as a person, but means I have to go back and check that this new trait was always there when they appeared ‘on screen’ so to speak. And, surprisingly, I’ve usually written this new trait in, without realising it.

My main problem in this book is that so far Ellie’s daughter, the dreadful Diana, has not yet appeared in person, although she is raging away at the end of the phone. Of course she’s wanting Ellie to do this and that, and of course Ellie is going to try to accommodate her, but there does come a time . . . or does there? . . . when Ellie has to say ‘no’ and mean it. And that clever, difficult lad Mikey has taken to riding his bike on the pavements and being told off by all and sundry, and of course, not taking a blind bit of notice. Ah well.

What else? Well, the short story WHY BOTHER! will be published in the Methodist Recorder on August 7th. This introduces a new character who makes fun of Bruce and Leo for their family values and for being Christians, despite the fact that they rescue him from a tricky situation. If you’d like a copy, but can’t get hold of the Recorder, just drop me an email after the publication date, and I’ll send you one free. And please, if you like this new theme, could you drop me a line to say just that? I’d appreciate it.

I’ve had the first of the professional reviews in for Murder by Suspicion, the Ellie Quicke which was published here in the UK in June, but which will not be available in the States till lst October. This is from Kirkus: ‘Heley offers another solid outing for Ellie, who isn’t slowed down a bit by the passage of time.’ Isn’t that nice?

MURDER BY SUSPICION fresh from the publishers! This is the story in which the charismatic leader of a cult is after Ellie’s money. Pastor Ambrose works through Claire the Tearful, whom Ellie took on to look after her elderly and very frail housekeeper, Rose – and that did not work out well. Also Ellie’s policewoman friend is raising the question of a missing schoolgirl with whom Claire has had an argument. For details of the ISBNs, see below.

There were two more stories published in different editions this last month. FALSE ALARM came out in paperback and FALSE IMPRESSION in large print.

And finally, a blessing: may our eyes not only see the beauty of summer days, but also the troubled faces of those around us. May our time and our patience stretch to hear what they have to say.

Veronica Heley

NEW . . . .
MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke.
Hardback: ISBN 9780 7278 85241 E-book: 9781 78010 6779

FALSE ALARM, the 7th Bea Abbot. Paperback: ISBN 978 1 84751 466 0.

FALSE IMPRESSION, the 9th Bea Abbot. Large print: ISBN 978 0 7278 7164 7

The audiobook of THE WILFUL HEIRESS from Soundings. In CD.

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.

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