Newsletter no.95 November 2015

It’s November already? I can’t believe it. Where did this last year go? My year went in work and play and meeting up with friends – numerous cups of coffee – piles of books read – emails received and answered and deleted . . . oh, and a book delivered here and some ebooks coming out there . . . and no, I can’t keep track of them, either!

The short stories for the Methodist Recorder started with a new theme which I’m enjoying but finding quite difficult to write, but I tell myself it’s better to have a fight with a story and come up with something that will be worthwhile than to coast along on last year’s ideas. And yes, I have been working on another short story about my two retired friends and their difficult acquaintance who doesn’t believe in family values or in being a Christian. It’s for the Christmas season, but I don’t have a date for it yet. I’ll give you the details in the next newsletter.

At the end of November I have to deliver another Ellie Quicke, which will be Murder at the Magpie. When writing this story I got a bit confused with i-phones and new-phones and smart-phones, none of which I have the slightest idea how to operate, but hopefully my editor will sort me out. And here’s where I say a big ‘thank-you’ to the delightful men and women who have edited my manuscripts in over forty years of getting published. Yes, sometimes we argue about this and that. Sometimes I invent a word, or over-use a word and they have, patiently and calmly, to explain to me that This Will Not Do. They’re always right, of course. (Not that I want to admit it at the time, but with hindsight . . .)

Recently I was asked to give a talk to the Friends of the Ansdell Library. It was billed as ‘Tea, Scones and Veronica Heley’. So you can see how far down the pecking order I came. However, it was a most delightful occasion and I believe we all enjoyed ourselves. I wish more libraries were able to have a Friends Of group because it’s fun for readers and good for the libraries, too. This particular group meet once a month with tea, a scone (plus not only jam and cream but also butter!) and to have a discussion about the book they’ve been reading. On this occasion, they had me as a speaker as well. Oh, and the tea and scones were excellent.

I don’t do many speaking dates nowadays because I’m getting on in years and don’t leap on and off trains and buses as nimbly as I used to. But in addition to the Ansdell trip, I have also been down to Plymouth to stay with friends and spend some time with the writing group there. One of the problems faced by beginner writers – and also by some who are well along the road to being publishable – is the lack of a good editor. In recent years publishers have cut their editing staff and many have gone freelance . . . but how to find one who will understand exactly what it is you wanted to say, and help you to say it? Some writing organisations may be able to point you in the direction of a suitable editor, but many don’t have a list of such people . . . and yet writers need editors and vice versa. So my question for the month is: how to connect the one with the other? Perhaps, if you know a good editor who is looking for work, you could advise them to give writing organisations their contact details?

Now, back to work. Murder at the Magpie is fun to write, but I like to make sure there’s as little as possible work for my editor to do when I turn the manuscript in – and that means going over and over the story to cut out the bits I don’t need and explain the bits that I do. And get it down to the right word count.

Finally, a blessing: may the brilliant blue skies of autumn, showing off the red and gold leaves falling from the trees, lift your hearts in thanks to the Creator.

Veronica Heley

NEW . . . .
MURDER BY SUSPICION- the 16th Ellie Quicke. The charismatic leader of a cult is after Ellie’s money, and Claire the Tearful is a disaster as Ellie’s new housekeeper while another young girl it reported as having gone missing. Booklist review: ‘The latest in Heley’s long-running series again draws its appeal from the mix of suspense, gentle humour, an unpredictable plot, and a brave and engaging amateur sleuth.’

Hardback: ISBN 9780 7278 85241   E-book: 9781 78010 6779

The audiobook of THE TARRANT ROSE, from Soundings, ISBN 9781407951836

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
And . . . the paperback is coming soon.

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