Newsletter no.172, April 15th, 2021

Bring Ellie home!

This is the considered opinion of my readers. They like Ellie. They like Susan and Rafael and the babes as well, but they really really want Ellie to return. I’m listening to what they say and Ellie will return in the next book. I enjoyed writing about Susan and Rafael and the children while the big house was being remodelled and Ellie and Thomas were away, but I hear and I obey . . . which raises a couple of problems.

In the first place, when plans were drawn up for the Ellie’s big house to be turned into two three-bedroomed semis with room for expansion into the attic floor, I made umpteen sketches of how this was to be done. I tried this and I tried that, and eventually I worked it out who got which rooms and where the corridors finished and the bathrooms fitted in; also where to put in another staircase. Only, I seem to have lost the final plan. It’s no good looking in the waste-paper basket; that was cleared ages ago. There’s no help for it; I’m going to have to sketch it out all over again.

The second problem is how to bring Diana back into the story and under what circumstances. You may remember that, newly widowed, she’d shed her children and gone off with an expense account in a limo. Well, as we all know, her projects are fairy gold; they invariably turn to dust. So she’s going to zing back into Ellie’s life, isn’t she? I grind my teeth at the very thought of it and then shrug; for what is life without a problem or two to solve? Although Diana – sigh! – is a bigger and nastier problem than how to clear a blocked drainpipe.

In the last newsletter I asked if people wanted me to continue sending a short story from the archives at the same time as I advertise the availability of a newly-written one from the Methodist Recorder, and got a resounding Yes! You like the short stories both ancient and modern. Very well. So, if you haven’t seen it already, this Easter’s short story – called ‘Zooming In!’ – is now available for you to read. Send me an email request for it and I’ll let you have a copy.

The next ‘old’ short story from the archives is another about Corin, that tiresome Man from Mars who seems to live only to criticise Christians. It’s called ‘How Dare He!’ and explains pretty well why he’s like he is, poor soul. It is available here.

And no, I haven’t heard back from my editor yet as to whether she likes the Bea Abbot story I sent her last week. I think it’s all right, but – sigh – there are an awful lot of really nasty characters in it.

A blessing on all who take on something extra to help others – no matter how boring or inconvenient it may be for them to do so.

Veronica Heley

Newsletter no.171, April 1st, 2021

It was back to work with a vengeance this week with several deadlines to meet. I managed finally to finish the umpteenth draft of the next Bea Abbot story – called ‘False Face,’ and to send it off. Hurray! All those months of work! All those characters, some diverting, some amusing and some downright annoying! I can’t remember writing about so many tiresome people in one story before. I am happy to say that I have managed to give each one his or her comeuppance. Phew! And now I have to wait to hear what my editor thinks of the story.

Meanwhile, I struggled with a short story for the Easter edition of the Methodist Recorder. I’ve called it ‘Zooming In,’ as three of our four friends make use of that facility to take part in church services and meetings. Here they are in Lent, facing the problem of what they should do in what can be a difficult enough time of the year without the added anxieties of Covid. Will they get their second jab? Should they fast? And what exactly does fasting mean?

Each of them has a journey to make through Lent to Easter Sunday. Each one travels at his or her own pace. It wasn’t an easy story to write, and I don’t mention chocolate Easter eggs anywhere, but . . . well, if you’d like to read it after publication, drop me an email, and I’ll send you a copy, free.

I might not mention chocolate in my Easter story, but naturally it has been much on my mind of late. I had been given not only one chocolate Easter egg but two. One came early in Lent, and the other just this week. I behaved myself beautifully. I did not break small pieces off to test that they were the real thing. I did not open the outer wrappings and sniff the aroma. I did not even open the outer wrappings.

I put them where I could see them, but not within reach and I believe I will manage not to touch them until Easter morning. ((I can see you smile from here. You know, don’t you, that even if I refrain from touching my Easter eggs, I still allow myself the bar which the chocolate fairy drops into my letter box?)

Meanwhile, the short story from the archives which comes with this letter is called ‘Why Shouldn’t I?’ For once, the story is set in an appropriate time of the year as we go through Lent. It does concern a Good Friday walk through the streets . . . ah, how long ago it seems when we were all about to do that! Ah well. If you’d like to read it, then you can access it here.

And this raises the question; are two stories with one newsletter one too many? Should I not attach one from the archives if a new one is about to come out? I’m not sure. Perhaps, if you have a moment to spare, you might let me know what you think?

A Happy Easter to all. Keep safe and keep well.

Veronica Heley