Newsletter no.178, July 15th, 2021

The copy editing is done and dusted . . .

And soon it will be on its way to the printer . . . who will then run off a copy, which will be returned to me for proof-reading. And that’s when I find one or two things I’ve missed. Yes, it always happens. There are run-ons which have suddenly appeared in what had once been a clean page and, one of my failings – the same word has been repeated within a paragraph. You would think that I should have picked the duplicates up earlier, and I agree but, sigh, it does seem to happen every time. As for the run-ons, I can’t explain why they occur. They are not in the copy-editing stage but when it comes to proofs. . . yes, there they are, bold as brass. I tell myself, Onwards and Upwards, and am heartened to hear that the book – False Face by name – will be published in September.

The next short story . . .

for the Methodist Recorder is coming on a treat. It’s a difficult subject about personal responsibility in Covid times and I’m still working on it as we speak. I’ll let you know when it’s due to be published.

The story that comes with this letter is ‘Can You Forgive?’ Can you forgive a wrong done to you? Perhaps it depends on how much you are hurt by it? An elderly friend of mine who was a man of strong faith was ambushed in a park and beaten up. It took him months to recover and he found it very hard to forgive. In my story, Bruce is in the same position. You can read how he dealt with it here.

A star is born . . .

Everyone seems to love Parsley, my white pottery lamb, so you can see what he got up to in a different part of my garden here. He seems to enjoy the mixture of colours. It’s a bit hard to see but at the top in the background there is an old yellow rose. I have no idea what it’s called, but it was here when we moved into this house over fifty years ago, together with one other old-fashioned pink rose. There wasn’t much else in the garden then, except for self-seeded trees, a mound of bricks and a bicycle which lacked a saddle. Nowadays I try to have something in colour all the year round and mostly, that works.

And finally, I’m back to work on the next Ellie . . .

Of which, more news later.

A blessing on those who take the time to listen to those in distress.

Veronica Heley

Newsletter no.177, July 1st, 2021

Yes, the copy editing finally arrived.

And yes, of course, it has to be tackled straight away. I had to put on one side a most interesting development in the next Ellie which I’ve been drafting, in order to concentrate on ‘delete this’ and ‘you spell jeopardise with a “z” and not with an “s”, and you should know that by now!’ Also, ‘you haven’t made it clear who is related to who in this next bit.’ All of which is quite true, and I ought to know better. Checking the copy editor’s comments and marking them up on my own file is work that has to be carefully done. I can usually only manage to clear one chapter at a time before I have to have a break . . . and come back later for another crack at it.

Meanwhile, the next Ellie awaits. I had envisaged a minor character as being an eternal student, a Ra-ra character, if you know what I mean. It turns out he’s much more interesting than that, suffering from conflicting loyalties. It would have been so much easier to write if he’d been two-dimensional, but I must admit I like him better now. I hope to get back to him pretty soon.

Introducing ‘Parsley’

Parsley is a white pottery lamb, who is excellent company in my small garden. In my teens we had a Pekinese who also liked to see what I was doing in the garden, but nowadays I have Parsley instead. He has an innocent look about him which makes it all the odder that he seems able to move from one part of the garden to another at will. I’ve had some requests for more of my garden photos. Please excuse if he intrudes. You can access the latest one here. The white rose that he’s posting in front of, is called ‘Jack’ according to someone I know who has an app of her phone which tells you what you’re looking at. And yes, I have to replenish the bird feeder above Parsley nearly every day. And yes, the sparrows tear up everything on the ground below . . .

The short story which comes with this . . .

. . . is not exactly timely, being about gifts at Christmas. I hasten to add that it’s set some Christmases ago before the pandemic, but it does highlight the problem for people living alone of how to spend that great Festival. It’s a little shorter than usual but does make the point of ‘What is a gift?’ at Christmas time. You can access it here.

The Methodist Recorder have asked for another story about Covid for summer reading, and I am thinking of doing it about how the world seems to be down-grading the ten commandments. Nothing bad you do is a sin if you can find a way to excuse it. Some matters may be subject to the law and if you’re caught, you might well have to toe the line, but many other things are no longer considered a sin. This is a difficult subject. How to make a story which is readable and yet also true to today’s thinking . . .?

A blessing on those who bake and give away a cake, a crumble or a flan to brighten up someone else’s day.

Veronica Heley