Newsletter no.102 June 2016

I can’t say I was a happy bunny in May. Back pain! Scream! The good news is that I managed to get hold of a wonderful physio who, with this and that, and the aid of two powerful thumbs, pushed and pulled me back to a semblance of my usual health. Yes, I am going to have to be careful for a bit, but I am Lots Better.

But, also in May, I was in trouble with the mss for the next book, False Fire. First I was well under the word count – fine. Then I was massively over it – not good! So I chipped away here and I slashed there, and finally I was happy that I had a good strong storyline with lots of tension in it . . . and found I was well under the word count again. Problem!

Now there are two things a writer can do when the mss is short; they can pad the scenes out with extra words, or they can throw themselves onto the mercy of their editor and say, Please, miss! Is this all right? In this case, my lovely editor said it was perfectly all right to be under rather than over the word count, and I relaxed. I still had one more read-through, and I did titivate here and there, but (see below for the reason) my daughter managed to email the story off for me, a few days late and still needing a little bit of work.

Now I’m waiting for the hard copies of the next Ellie Quicke, which comes out at the end of June. This one is Murder in Style. You will recollect that the first version of the cover turned out to be a little too racy for my readership, but a modification passed muster, and I’m looking forward to holding the first copy in my hands. (PS – I’ve just got the first books – arrived today, 9th June – on sale June 16th!)

I managed to get away for a few days’ holiday in May before everything went weird. Back to Bruges, of course. I met up with friends, and sat in cafes and generally tried to think about nothing much . . . except how the next storyline for Ellie is going to work out. I had the germ of any idea before I left, but there’s nothing like a holiday in which you are not watching the clock, to let the creative juices flow . . . and I’m not talking about the food in Bruges, which is scrumptious. So yes, I’ve come back with a notebook scattered with odd remarks, and the names of some of the characters who will appear . . . though, as you know, I am very apt to change names half way through the story.

And at some point I have to start thinking about the next short story for the Methodist Recorder. I know they want one towards the end of the summer . . . but I don’t have a delivery date as yet. What I’m afraid of is that they may suddenly ask for one at short notice and that will be difficult, because each of these ‘short’ stories has to be carefully thought through and crafted . . . and then there’s the question of getting word count right . . . see above for problems there

STOP PRESS! Apologies for the late sending of this newsletter. Most unexpectedly I was admitted to hospital, diagnosed as having had a heart attack, and was given an angiogram, angioplasty and a stent. Eleven days later I am home and feeling very tired but still in the land of the living. Normal service will be resumed, but not for some time!

Finally, a blessing: may you find loving kindness wherever you go – even in the unlikeliest of places!

Veronica Heley

NEW . . . .

MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. Out in the shops in the UK on June 16th. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309.

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition.

Also MURDER BY SUSPICION, the trade paperback.

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)

Find details of my E-books at