Newsletter no 213, July 2024

Another milestone has just been passed . . .    

I have just had my ninety-first birthday and am now officially in my ninety-second years. Last month I signed a contract for my ninetieth book, and this October I will have been getting published traditionally for fifty years.

Yes, I’m boasting. A bit. Well, quite a lot, really. It’s quite something to look back on. When I first started, I hardly thought I’d be still writing in my nineties, and I must admit that I am slowly down somewhat.

My editors over the years will tell you that every once in a while I will start screaming and gnashing my teeth because I HAVE TOO MUCH PLOT! I have heard of other writers turning to AI for suggestions when they’ve got stuck in a tricky situation, but praise be! I don’t have that problem. Well, I haven’t had it yet. Maybe it will arrive in the next book and I will then have to tell myself that Pride Goes Before a Fall.

All of which means that I was faced with having to cut this and that out of the storyline in FALSE GOLD. If I hadn’t, I would have had to take another ten thousand words or so, in order to sort the plot out, and I’m up to my limit already. So out goes she. Perhaps I can use that idea in the next book. Or the one after. If I’m still writing by then.

So yes, I’m on track for this book, and telling myself that if Jo March in LITTLE WOMEN could sacrifice redundant words, then so can I.

 . . . and talking of nice things happening . . .

Joffe books are now bringing out more of the Bea Abbot books, five at a time in a slip-case! They did nicely with the first five stories and want to carry on. The cover looks delightful but as usual I have a query about it . . . which they will be kind enough to sort out/tell me not to be silly/and usually to compromise in graceful fashion. They don’t seem to mind my making suggestions which is really nice of them.        

So as I’ve temporarily run out of short stories, I attach a few pages of FALSE ALARM which is going to go into the next lot of Bea Abbot’s in a slipcase. Oh, and they’re planning to start again with the Ellie Quicke stories soon.  

As for the Owlets, they’re on holiday . . . vanished into the undergrowth. Alas! Actually I think my camera needs new batteries. I must look into that when I have a minute.

A blessing on all who can look on the bright side even when the rain pours down and the winds blow chill, and the news is depressing. A good laugh is good for the digestion and one’s mental health, isn’t it?

Veronica Heley