Newsletter no.184, 1st February 2022

I’m fighting brain fog! I had my second knee replacement on January 6th, and this went well but . . . oh dear! . . . I had to have a general anaesthetic which means my usual sharp responses are rather like an elastic band which has sagged and ceased to be of any use.

I did have a chat on the phone with my editor and I confirmed that I will be able to deliver MURDER BY ESTATE AGENT on time in February. I had built an extra month into the contract so that the aforementioned brain fog wouldn’t upset the schedule. I need just one more read through to pick up this little bit here and alter that bit there and the book will be ready to deliver. So far, so good.

We moved on to talk about the cover, and discussed we might show an estate agent’s board outside an elderly London terraced house, and that was fine as I’d described such a one at the end of MURDER FOR GOOD. But then my editor asked me to send her a blurb for this new book and oh dear! My mind went into freefall, the elastic sagged . . . or whatever you like to call it.

Writing a blurb is a really difficult thing to do. You have about 70 to 80 words to sell the premise of the book without giving too much away. Usually you end with a question, such as . . . ‘Will our intrepid heroine fall victim to this dastardly villain’s plots?’ Which means you must have described the dastardly villain and his/her plots in the preceding matter. It’s no good saying, ‘This is the umpteenth outing for Bea/Ellie, and you can trust this book to deliver the goods as usual.’ Unfortunately, no. So I’ve got some work to do there.

The short story from the archives which accompanies this letter will be ‘I HAVE A DIFFICULT JOB FOR YOU.’ And that job is indeed difficult and, when accepted, puts our old friends in danger of losing their standing in the community. It was the Easter story in the Methodist Recorder a couple of years ago and still relevant. You can access it here.

Parsley’s companion

I had lots of suggestions as to the name we should give Parsley’s new friend, including, Bambi, Puso, Bernard, Ramkin, Sprout, Blessing, Lilley, Poe, and Forsythia.   But the one which seems to fit best is . . . (drum roll!) . . . Posy. With many thanks to Branda Williams for that suggestion.           Parsley and Posy seem to fit together. They have both approved the new name and can be seen enjoying the winter-flowering iris which I think is now called unguicularis and not, as previously, iris stylosa. See them here.

A blessing on all those who take ‘treats’ of food to those who can’t get to the shops easily at the moment. Chocolate, yum, yum. Peppermints, mhm. Bananas, chicken dishes, biscuits . . . you name it!

Veronica Heley