Newsletter no. 188, June 2022

No sooner were the daffodils out in my garden than I was making room for the annuals to be put in their place. The first rose to bloom was greeted with the cry ‘That’s early!’ Suddenly the garden is awash with roses, and I’m putting the geraniums – which I’ve over-wintered in pots inside – out onto the patio and wondering where I put the packets of seeds I bought last year and have forgotten about till now.

Apologies to all non-gardeners for going on about it, but it does take up a lot of my time as one season gives way to the next, and there’s not much happening on the publishing front. Well, I did do the copy edit for MURDER FOR PTOFIT and it wasn’t too bad, as such things go. There was the usual battle with my copy editor who likes to put commas in where I don’t, and to take them out where I’d put them in. And of course there’s the usual misunderstanding about semi-colons. I thought I’d mastered the new rules but she disagrees. Ah, well. But there was nothing really to complain about from my side or from hers. So all is well in that sector . . . until it’s time to correct the proofs.

Before the copy edits arrived, I’d been cracking on with the next Bea Abbot which is tentatively titled FALSE NAME. I had put that aside to deal with the copy edit and then found the new story hard to pick up again. This has happened to me before and I know what I have to do. I have to go right back to the beginning of the new story, checking every little fact here and suggestion there, editing as I go along, until I reach the point at which I’d had to stop before . . . and can then move on.

When I start a on a new book I have a tendency to set off like a sprinter only to find myself slowing down about chapter three with a horrible feeling that something is wrong. Then I sigh. Or scream. Or do both. The problem is that I have put in TOO MUCH PLOT! Now you may say that there can’t be too much plot, but oh yes! There can. I don’t know if you’ve ever grown tomatoes but gardeners know that if you don’t pinch out the side-shoots, you won’t get the best results. And so it is with stories. No side shoots allowed. No lingering on back stories that don’t advance the plot. No sudden brainwaves which go nowhere. The remedy? Press ‘delete’ and go back to where you left the main story on diversion going nowhere.

The next short story is: Corona Christmas

This is set in lockdown with the reminder that Christmas is not about ‘Me, me, me!’ but about ‘Him, him, him!’ I’m sorry that it’s a trifle unseasonal, but the message is the same at whatever time of the year you happen to be. You can access it here.

Parsley & Posy

I like geraniums. I like to pop any broken pieces into the nearest pot and see what happens, with the result that in the pot featured, there are several varieties. I apologise for the grass growing up between the stones of the patio. I will get round to dealing with it sometime . . . In the meantime, you can see our two friends here.

A blessing on all those who make time to pray for friends in trouble.

Veronica Heley