Newsletter no.150, May 15th 2020

Well, here we are. I’ve managed to produce a newsletter exactly one fortnight from the last, and you will remember I promised to attach a short story in future. Now, delving back into my records, I find that the very first stories I wrote for the Methodist Recorder were Ellie Quickes, published in 2009. However, the readership decided against murders so I have been writing about the joys and sorrows of retirement ever since. Fine, thought I! Retirement stories it is. And then I found I had to do a little editing to make them suitable for re-use.. Why did I get myself into this mess? (Don’t answer that!) Anyway, I finally selected ‘Three Men, One Gift,’ which introduced the series, and which continues to this day:

Hopefully. If you’re interested, I self-published a set of these early short stories in a paperback titled ‘Unsung Heroes.’

Meanwhile, I’ve had such fun emails from you all about how to make a bed. Titanic struggles with the duvet! Difficult duvets abandoned for sheets and blankets! And yes, the most practical way seems to be to do the duvet first. But the prize – metaphorically – goes to the reader who said she always got her husband to change the bed for her. Now that’s what I call clever!

Mind you, it would never have worked with my dear husband. He could operate the most intricate of instruments but when asked to undertake a domestic task, he turned fumble-fingered and helpless. Before we married I asked him if he might consider polishing my shoes for me. He was horror-stricken at the thought. ‘Understood,’ said I, ‘but don’t expect me to darn your socks.’ Sigh. We had a happy marriage for almost fifty years, he never read a word I’d written – except by accident – and I still miss him.

We are very fortunate here in that neighbours help one another out with shopping, and we keep checking on one another by telephone. We all come out on Thursday evenings to clap for the NHS, and have chats over the hedges and at a safe distance on the pavements. The good weather has helped keep us cheerful. It’s amazing how many people have suddenly decided to pay some attention to their neglected gardens.

I’m told that some copies of FALSE CONCLUSION are reaching customers by other means apart from libraries. Bravo! Meanwhile I plough on with the next book, which has got itself into a terrible tangle between chapters seven and eight. I think there’s too much information packed into it. So that’s the next job to tackle.

A blessing on all who are able to exercise the art of patience in the face of adversity.

Veronica Heley

Newsletter no.149, May 1st 2020

How are you all coping? I am fortunate in having work to do. Also I have good neighbours who seem determined to make me put on weight, bringing round home-made cake and asking if I want anything from the shops. I am also fortunate in having a small but pretty garden to work in, and I can take a walk along my quiet road admiring other people’s gardens. Often I stop to talk – at a safe distance – with anyone working in their garden, too.

The Easter short story came out on April 10th. It was written before lockdown and the characters don’t observe social distancing. It was hard to write a story about what following Christ cam mean but I think it was important to do so. It’s titled ‘I HAVE A DIFFICULT JOB FOR YOU . . .’ I sent out copies to those on my list, but it you’re not on that and would like to read the story, let me know and I’ll email it to you.

People who were usually busy from morning to night are finding life difficult. Some become depressed. There’s lots of advice about how to keep sane is in the newspapers but one thing I’ve learned is not to listen to a news channel after six pm, or I won’t sleep! I’ve just written a story called ‘STRUCTURE’ which is about the lockdown and its effect on our four older friends, and it’s being published TODAY! Copies will be sent out in the usual way to everyone on the Always Send list. If you’re not on the list . . . see preceding paragraph.

Recently I’ve been wondering if my readers might like the newsletter more often, with lots of gossip and stuff to amuse . . . plus I could attach one of the short stories I’ve written in the past for the Methodist Recorder. What do you think? Do remember that I love to receive emails from you, and I do try to answer every one asap . . . provided I’m not on deadline for the next book, in which case it does take a bit longer.

Now, a knotty question has arisen in my family and circle of friends: what method do you use to change your bed? For us oldies, this is a daunting task to be attempted only when we are feeling strong. My friends and I usually start with the pillow-cases as being the easiest to do. Then we go and have breakfast. Sometime later we take off the under sheet and then have a mid-morning sit-down and coffee. Later in the day, we tackle the worst bit – the duvet. By bed-time the bed is newly made up. ‘No, no!’ says my practical daughter. ‘You must start with the duvet because that’s the hardest bit. Once you’ve done that, the rest is easy.’ So how do you approach this task?

The copies of the new Bea Abbot – FALSE CONCLUSION – were delivered to the libraries before they closed, and will be available as soon as they re-open. E-book and paperback copies should be available via Amazon soon. I hope so, because I enjoyed writing this story about a wealthy but backward schoolgirl being dumped on Bea Abbott and her ward, Bernice. There’s an unexplained death, rumours abound and Evelina’s cousins are taking undue interest in young Beatrice. Then Piers, Bea’s long-divorced ex-husband arrives and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to forgive him.

A blessing on all who entertain and amuse others . . .

Veronica Heley