I'm a bit late (!) but I just wanted to wish you a happy, safe & peaceful time over the holidays - however you may be celebrating!
For those who have been enjoying the sneak peeks of "Wrongfully Infused", the upcoming new book in the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries, I've shared another little snippet (a scene with the Old Biddies! 😉) - you can read it on my website HERE - together with the first 2 excerpts, if you missed those.
The book is still on track for release in mid-Jan 2022 - so not long now!
To kill or not to kill the villain... that is the question!
In my last newsletter, I asked whether you thought it would be OK for the villain (murderer) to die at the end of a cozy mystery...or whether that would be too "dark" and distressing for readers who expect a light, fun read.
Wow - so many of you responded! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You'll be interested to know that the opinions were pretty much split down the middle - hee! hee! Half of you felt that it was OK for a nasty villain to die, as long as the death wasn't graphically described, whilst the other half felt that he/she should always live to face justice.
Well, I guess I'll just have to decide on a story-by-story basis (and you'll have to wait and see what happens to the villain in my next book 😉)
New series coming in German!
A quick note for my German-speaking fans: you'll be pleased to hear that another of my series is being translated! The German editions of my English Cottage Garden Mysteries ("Ein Cottage-Garden-Krimi") will be launched early next
year, although you can already pre-order the first 3 titles if you like.
"When Dad met Kitty..."
I've been wanting to share this story with you many times but haven't had the chance until now: a while ago, I received a lovely email from a reader fan whose message brought tears to my eyes. She has kindly given me permission to share her message:
"My beloved 90-year old Dad passed away last June. He loved your books and eagerly downloaded them on his kindle. Dad had macular degeneration, and although he tried audio books, he loved “pure” reading. His kindle allowed him to continue reading. He would adjust the brightness level and expand the size of the font. In June 2016, Dad was enjoying a warm California afternoon on his back
patio. Suddenly, a very skinny but friendly black & white cat hopped up on his lap. My Dad was certainly surprised as the cat had appeared, as he said, out of thin air. Dad pet the cat and realized the poor little guy was nearly starved. Well, that was the start of a beautiful friendship. Kitty, as Dad called his new friend, became his constant companion. Kitty followed Dad like a small dog.
Dad’s health declined during his last year. Fortunately I was able to spend the majority of that year with him in LA. Almost 4 years to the day that Kitty hopped up on Dad’s lap, Dad suffered a massive heart attack. Although the doctors were wonderful, his body just gave out. With the Covid virus causing such havoc in California, my brothers and I were not allowed in the hospital. And, as you can well
imagine, Kitty was missing Dad. Fortunately we were allowed to bring Dad home under hospice care. The ambulance brought Dad home from the hospital. Kitty was distressed and unsure of all the hospital equipment and loud breathing generator. My beloved Dad was not really conscious, but comfortable. My brother and I were finally able to bring Kitty into the living room. The two of us sat by Dad’s hospital bed - my brother holding Kitty on his lap. I gently took my Dad’s hand and
placed it on Kitty’s head. My Dad breathed his last breath at that moment. I believe Dad was waiting to say goodbye to Kitty before he left us.
My Dad was a strong willed man who never complained. He was truly a great role model - I developed my love of reading from him, as well as to try not to let adversity overcome my well-being. His cat Kitty is now part of my family and is just as spoiled as before. It’s such a pleasure to read your books as it is still a connection to my Dad.
I miss my Dad every day. I’ve attached a couple pictures. One is a couple years old of Dad holding Kitty. It’s the way I remember him. The other photo is of Kitty in his new Florida life - still a great and spoiled Kitty.
Thank you for listening to my story about Dad and Kitty. You can see why he loved stories involving cats. And thank you again for bringing him joy.
I was incredibly touched by Sharon's message and feel very honoured to have been a small part of her amazing father's life. It is always humbling for an author to hear about the way our books touch our readers' lives - so a big "thank you" to Sharon and to all of you who take the time to write lovely notes to me. I treasure every one of your messages, even if I'm not always able to
respond personally to every one. ❤️
I know it's been a tough year for many of you too, as many have written to tell me about losing loved ones or suffering sickness and other loss. Although I don't know most of you personally, I do keep you in my thoughts and I'm glad that my books are able to bring a little light on dark days.
I was also extra grateful for Sharon's email because it arrived just when I was feeling very down because I'd received messages from several readers aggressively demanding to know when new titles were coming and attacking me for not producing books faster. I don't know why - perhaps it's the internet age that we live in - but I find that often, especially on social media, people behave in a very entitled
manner? Almost as if they feel that others exist simply to entertain them, and they forget that there is a real person on this side, who may have been affected by the pandemic and other personal issues. I really wish they could understand that bullying and harassing me doesn't help me write faster. ☹️
Anyway, I know it's silly to let such people "get" to me (growing a thicker skin is a skill I really need to develop!) - but it's hard not to be affected sometimes by unpleasant attitudes, especially when you're struggling already. So Sharon's email really helped to remind me that most of my readers are not like that and that I need to focus on all the generous, kind and understanding people who make
up the majority of my readership. 😊
A little giveaway to end the year: win a signed copy!
Fancy a signed copy of your favourite story? I'm offering the chance for 5 lucky readers to win a signed (& "pawtographed" by Muesli!) copy of their favourite title from any of my mysteries. Simply click on the name of the series you'd like your book from - you'll be taken to the series' Amazon page and your email will be entered in the draw.
Winners will be announced in the next newsletter.
Finally... thank you for your support & friendship during a difficult year and looking forward to sharing new adventures with you through my books in the New Year. See you in 2022!
~ Hsin-Yi (and Muesli, who refused to put on her "festive face" for the photo 😝 Sigh... trying to pose with cats is a nightmare!!)
Thanks for reading - talk soon!
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