Newsletter no.163, December 1st

Well, December finally arrived, as it was bound to do. The confusion around Christmas didn’t help us to plan ahead, did it? But things do seem a bit clearer now. I had to deliver the next story, titled Corona Christmas, to the Methodist Recorder by the end of November but had been worrying what sort of regimen we should be under for the actual feast day itself. At long last the guidelines did become clearer, and I have made some adjustments to the text accordingly. Hopefully, no more changes will be needed. The story comes out in the combined Christmas and New Year edition and I’ll let you know more about that later.

One thing is quite clear to me, and that how very fortunate I am in having so many chocolate friends. Once I was home from the hospital after my knee operation – yes, it’s coming along a treat, thank you – I found some of my friends had taken Action with a capital A and had dropped another bar of chocolate through my door. One, two, three. . . and still they came!

Brilliant! I thought. I rubbed my hands in glee and reached for the treat at the top of the pile . . . until, rather like the fairy who hadn’t been invited to the princess’s christening, the voice of Common-Sense broke in. She wagged her finger at me. Yes, really! She reminded me in the voice of reason, that Too Much Chocolate would be Bad for Me! ‘You may have no more than three pieces of chocolate at a time, right?!’ Reluctantly, I agreed, but we bargained that I could probably manage a treat or two several times a day . . .

Meanwhile, I have been trying to do some work on various story projects I have in hand. I do get tired and retire to my bed every now and then, but I am happy to say that some at least of my usual writing ability seems to be returning. A general anaesthetic does seem to have knocked me out for a while, but I have been able to return to the next Bea Abbot book and do a bit of editing here and there.

My editor has come up with a projected cover for the next Ellie – Murder-in-Law – scheduled for next year, and we are currently working on that. It’s always difficult to find a cover which reflects what the action is about without falling into the trap of splashing blood all over the place. This time we are aiming for a combination of the children’s toys and their father’s golf clubs. Quite tricky.

The story that comes with this newsletter is called ‘The Art of Saying “No!”’ It’s not a Christmas story, but it’s next in line chronologically, so I hope you enjoy it. You can access it here . . .

A blessing on all those who do good for others without counting the cost to themselves.

Veronica Heley