Newsletter no.174, May 15th, 2021

The cover is agreed!

I can hardly believe it, but even before I’ve received any queries to the manuscript, the cover for False Face has been agreed. I don’t know whether you guessed correctly which image I’d go for, but in fact I had suggested a Venetian mask; a white face on a black background, with bright ribbons and false jewels or sequins on it. And that’s the one they’ve chosen. Yes, it is rather baleful, so I think it should do the job nicely.


I’ve just received a plaintive email from a reader who said she was still waiting for me to send her a copy of the latest Easter story – ‘Zooming In.’ She’d asked me to send her a copy as and when each new story is published and . . . I hadn’t done so. I’d got so taken up with sending one from the archives with each newsletter, that yes, I’d completely forgotten about those who’d asked me to send the new ones as they came out. I looked up my list and cringed. Sorry! Apologies! My only excuse is that my life is getting more and more complicated. I think what I’d better do in future is to make the next story published in the Methodist Recorder the ONLY one available to you in that newsletter, and not add one from the archives. Memo to self: simplify!

I’ve started the next book

Yes! I’ve started the new book. I want to call it Murder by Estate Agent because it’s largely about a battle between the old and new style of selling property. My editor is not entirely sure that this would be a good title, so at the moment the contract is just titled Ellie No 22. Can you really believe that this is the twenty-second time that I’ve written about Ellie? Much has changed since I started this series, but there is one constant . . . yes, Diana. She was last seen shedding her children and waltzing off into the blue with someone with a large expense account. So where and when will she turn up in this next story? Hmm.

The next short story is ‘Remember me!’

This is one from the archive. Tracking down the winner of draw for an expensive hamper at the Craft Fair, our friends are drawn into a difficult family situation. You can access the story here.

A blessing on all who remember, and who keep in contact with old friends, especially those who may have moved away.

Veronica Heley

Newsletter no.173, May 1st, 2021

Yes, please!

Or in other words, the publishers like the story I’ve just submitted. Hurray!

This is another Bea Abbot story and involves some really nasty characters who all get their comeuppance in one form or another. The manuscript will now be going to a copy editor who will find all sorts of things to query, and pass them back to me. I will then have a tantrum and retire to bed . . . and then I will tell myself that it won’t kill me to deal with the queries, and I’ll set about dealing with them and send the changes back to my editor . . . who will then reset the manuscript and pass it on to the printer, who will then produce a set of proofs . . . which will then be sent to me for final corrections, before finally it is printed! And then distributed.

While all this is going on, we will be having a polite argument about what is to go on the cover. Now this is a minefield, as you can imagine. The publisher knows what buyers – especially in America – expect to see on the cover of a crime novel. The answer, for them, is BLACK! Me, I like colour. Nowadays my name is printed bigger than the title of the book. That, my friends, is considered to be FAME!

Now, the title of this next book is ‘FALSE FACE.’ The suggestions for the cover so far are: a portrait of a faded film star, and a Venetian-style mask. Guess which one I had in mind? Spoiler alert: Piers has been commissioned to paint a Diva who thinks of herself as an orchid. I’ll let you know which idea is put into practice.

Anyway, says she gloomily, it will be months before the finished books are sent to the distributors and some will be sent by sea across the Pond and Down Under . . . when they can then be pre-ordered and, oh dear! Doesn’t it seem to take for ever? I remember the days in which I used to send a manuscript to a publisher and the book would be on sale within six weeks! (All right, those were children’s books so much smaller and I’m writing for grown-ups nowadays.)

Yes, Please!

In the same breath as the editor accepted False Face, she also said she’d like another Ellie, please. So, before I start worrying about the title, a contract was winging its way to me. Delivery: probably ten months. Yes, I know it’s a long time and I might well be able to write it more quickly, but my eyesight is not what it was, and I may need longer to produce the story. I have managed to reproduce a plan of Ellie’s house, thank goodness. I needed to do that before I could start on the story!

Back to basics: the short story accompanying this newsletter is called ‘Corin’s Gift’ and you can access it here.

A blessing on all who are kind enough to listen to the woes of the elderly and isolated who live in our midst.

Veronica Heley