Newsletter no.152, June 15th 2020

I have solved the mystery of the chocolate fairy. By a process of elimination I finally decided it must be someone from a particular family who live nearby. Lovely people. Kind and helpful. I knocked on their door and asked Daughter no. 2, ‘Are you, by any chance, the chocolate fairy?’ She replied that she wasn’t, but she’d ask Daughter no.1. She did so, and came back giggling to say that it was their mother who’d been the chocolate fairy. So the mystery is solved, and next time I see their mother, I’ll be able to thank her for her kind thought.

I hear you ask why did they want to give me a present? Well, I have been passing my copy of The Times on to them every day for some years, but I didn’t expect anything in return. Why did they suddenly decide to give me some chocolate? Well, why not? Why did they stop? Well, why not? Anyway, the mystery is solved.

Now, what short story shall I include this time? The next one in the series about the three retired friends was called INSURANCE and yes, I think that’s all right. There are many such problems that can arise as you get older, so this story is still relevant. If you’d like to read it, just follow the link.

A hopeful sign for the future arrived in an email from a reader in Tasmania, who says that many of their libraries there are now re-opening on a Click and Collect basis. What happens is this; you reserve a book. You return those you have read into a box at the entrance and the librarian hands you your ordered books, already clicked out to you. And, there is hand sanitizer on the table. If only we could do that here!

I am getting on fairly well with the third draft of the next book. I’ve picked up a discrepancy here, and taken out some redundant material. As I put in extra words to explain this and that I watch the word count creeping up and up . . . and I hold my breath. My agreed word count means the publisher can sell the book at such and such a price. Any word count just under that is fine. Anything over and the increase in price makes the book uneconomical. I think I’ve got it right. But it will be a close run thing.

I received emails from two of my readers saying that they had put reviews of my last book on various media sites. That was really good of them, as such reviews do make a difference to sales. Every now and then I look at what I could do to increase sales and come to the conclusion that I really don’t have the time to do it . . . nor, to be truthful, do I have the media know-how. I was reassured the other day to hear my clever, practical daughter, who is in her early fifties, bemoaning the fact that she was being asked to download apps and make up new passwords and enter this and that. She said if she’d been younger it would have been easier. As for me, in my late eighties . . .? Er, no. So I’ll go on writing my stories and sending them to my publisher and hope for the best.

What am I reading now? I’ve moved on from Raymond Chandler to Erle Stanley Gardner (A.A.Fair). Do you remember his character Perry Mason? Most enjoyable.

A blessing on all who look out for other people.

Veronica Heley