Newsletter No 198, April 2023

I don’t ‘do’ April Fool’s day. Do any of you? I quite enjoy trying to work out which item of the news in the papers might be a ‘con,’ and I suppose some people enjoy tricking others but it can get out of hand and cause people to be really upset. Instead, I celebrate the start of the fortnight before Easter because our wonderful local baker starts making his Hot Cross buns at that point . . . and not a day earlier! What joy it is to have local independent shops serving good quality food. What’s more, everyone working for them seems delighted to see you when you enter, and gives you a smile. And you smile back. Remember: smiling keeps you healthy. (I don’t know where I read that but it’s something to do with the muscles doing this or that . . .)

So, where was I? Well, the garden is beginning to show signs of waking up. The grape hyacinths in the border in front are beginning to look their best – quite a river of blue, and the winter-flowering clematis is a great mound of white petals. I must confess, though, that I haven’t sown any seeds as yet. I really must get down to it.

Work continues. I want to write about the problems of old age for the next short story which is going to be in the Easter issue of the Methodist Recorder. Living longer can throw problems your way. I want my stories to be upbeat because there is also a great deal to celebrate in our later years, but to ignore the downside of old age is also not good. I think I managed a reasonable balance.

I also managed to finish off the next story about the tiny little black cat Max for the next choir concert. Max gets stranded u a tree . . . oh dear! I’ll let you read the story soon.

I’ve been writing and re-writing the first three chapters of the next Bea Abbot but finally – hopefully – it’s now taking shape, the characters are beginning to tell me who they are and what they look like, and my heroine bought a new pair of boots and strode into another delicate situation as to the manor born. Yes, that’s a pun as the next story is mostly set in a country estate.

More good news: Joffe books advised me that the e-books of the Abbot Agency series are doing well. A FALSE WALL came out on March 25th and A FALSE FIRE is expected on April 4th. A FALSE PRIDE comes next, on 16th April and A FALSE ACCOUNT on 1st May. Look out for the black cat on the covers.

PARSLEY and POSY have gone off on a trip round the world, but another family have moved in to take their place. The Owlets are an indoors lot, admiring the vase of Japonica which is just coming into flower. There’s Mama Owl and her quadruplets, numbers One to Four. They don’t have any other names at present. Maybe they don’t need them. What do you think? You can access their picture here.

The story from the archives this time is about Ellie Quicke visiting a writing group, and you can find it here. It’s called DEATH IN PRINT. Enjoy!

A blessing on those who can absorb bad news and still manage to help others.

Veronica Heley