Newsletter no 203, September 2023

Back to work

Did you have a good holiday? I did take a week off work. The problem with that is that I went early and everyone else was going away as I returned home. And, a favourite café is closed for one whole month!

I’m deep in the next story – False Witness – which is causing me some problems. The contract stipulated 5000 words less than usual. I said, airily, ‘Oh, that’s all right. I can do that.’ Only to realise it would mean cutting a big chunk out of the plot to do so. I told myself I was a professional and should be able to do something as simple as cutting out a chapter and joining both ends. In the end, my editor very kindly said I could have the usual length (which is 85,000) so for the time being, I’m keeping to the storyline I’d originally planned and hoping I don’t overrun on the final draft.

Do you have a problem with pockets? Or the absence thereof. I prefer wearing a skirt to trousers but this means there is nowhere to store a handkerchief or tissue, your house key, or a credit card or a comb or . . . you can add to the list, can’t you? Ever since I had my knees done, I’ve taken to using a stout cloth bag that goes cross-wise over my body. It works well, I can carry a certain amount of shopping but is not exactly the height of fashion. Also, it was a gift from someone who likes to advertise the virtues of a camping holiday, which is not precisely me at this age. How do other people manage?

The garden is doing fine, thanks to alternate days of rain and sun. The runner beans and tomatoes have done well, and some fuchsia plants have been a real delight, as have the cosmos. Mama Owlet has been praying for naughty Awol, and prompt on cue, Hope arrived. Let’s hope he can exert a good influence on the sinner. See them all here, with some of the cosmos from the garden.

The next short story from the archives is: Why Bother? When two of our old friends meet a man who makes a mockery of their faith. See it here.

My daughter Frances successfully walked from Leeds to London, to raise awareness of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). She raised over £5000 for the charity, met her MP at Westminster and got some media coverage. She then went on to walk from West to East on the Bannatyne trail, met Cherylee Houston (of Coronation St), got more radio interviews, had one writeup in the Church Times, and another in the Yorkshire Post. Next week it’s the Daily Mirror. What a mission! It’s taken its toll of her and of her husband, who’s been looking after her so well despite braking his arm when she was on the first walk! If you would like to know more, click on the link here.

Advance notice – Joffe Books is bringing out Kindle versions of the first three of the Ellie Quicke mysteries in September:

Book 1: Murder at the Altar — Saturday, 16 September
Book 2: Murder by Suicide — Saturday, 23 September
Book 3: Murder of Innocence — Saturday, 30 September

A blessing on those who take the time to listen when we suffer a meltdown.    

Veronica Heley