Sunday, 16 October 2016

Ghoulies, Ghosties, and Things Called Conventions

October is the month of darker days and longer nights and ...Conventions... though for Linda Acaster it started late in apple-ripening September.
A participant from at Hull HorrorFest 

First up was a trip to Scarborough for FantasyCon, an annual event from the British Fantasy Society, and a more organised extravaganza for readers and writers of Speculative Fiction is difficult to imagine. Read about her observations HERE.

Bridlington ComicCon was an eye-opener, too, a surreal world filled with fictional characters made life through cosplayers, and actors from the silver screen alternating between normal life and their alter egos. And comics. And graphic novels. Yes, there’s a difference.

And so, [cue eerie music and bolts of lightning] in the march to Halloween came Hull HorrorFest. Was it Zombies Gone Mad or Dracula Meets the Salem Witches? Was the occasional novel-writer to be seen cowering behind a pile of books? Read about HERE.

Drifting towards us on a distinctly rank perfume is the actual celebration that is known to us as Halloween. Will Linda Acaster survive it? Or has she something suitably macabre hidden in a locked box? Ah, is this a key? Shall we...?

Perhaps not until the 31st.

Saturday, 8 October 2016


The “I recommend” section of Chichester University’s Thresholds website allows contributors to recommend a short story, or collection of stories, by a favourite author. My choice, For Six Cups of Coffee and Other Stories, was inspired by memories of exploring the Swiss city of Basel, on foot, and in print. For a foreigner, Swiss authors have an easy, readable style, I suspect because they have to write in two steps, thinking in one language (their native dialect) but writing their thoughts down in another (Schriftditsch or written German).

With author Rainer Brambach for company, I peeked into life beyond the picture-postcard mediaeval centre of Basel. As in any big city, the dispossessed and homeless are there, hiding in plain sight and surviving on meagre handouts. Brambach depicts life on the margins with understanding but without sentimentality. 

Saturday, 1 October 2016

A Fantastic Family Day Out – Keep the Date

Towards the end of November the Guildhall in Hull will host FantastiCon 2016. As well as Daleks, Darth Vader and legions of other-worldly creatures you will be able to meet and chat to several of the Hornsea Writers, who some might deem strangest of the lot.

Book launches have already been signalled. There will also be live music and a plethora of incredible techno marvels as well as interactive gaming, virtual reality and a children’s chill out area. More details to come – watch this space.

In the meantime, keep Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November free in your diary. 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Hornsea Writers circumnavigate the globe

The name and work of Hornsea Writers spreads far and wide. An anthology featuring Stuart Aken as an invited contributor is currently at number 2 in a list of recommended reads in St Kilda Library, one of the biggest and most popular in Melbourne, Australia.

The science-fiction anthology, Synthesis, was read and enjoyed by Robert Llewellyn – Red Dwarf’s Kryten – who wrote a foreword to the collection whilst filming on the latest series, set to air this autumn.

The anthology spans the range from hard science-fiction to the edge of fantasy. As well as our own Stuart Aken, it includes gems from master of the surreal, Boris Glickman, and virtuoso of the space adventure, Drew Wagar.

You can get your own copy of Synthesis HERE

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Book Trailer Anyone? #2

There's nothing like getting stuck in to discover how difficult a simple job can prove to be.

Following on from her first post on Book Trailers HERE, Linda Acaster decided to have a go. The result... Ah, it seems she hasn’t yet reached a result. Find out why HERE. You may just save yourself some time and effort.

However, co-member April Taylor is made of sterner stuff. Read the blurb to her new Mystery Dearly Ransomed Soul about a jobbing Early Music singer "in concert and in death" in Worcester's Three Choirs Festival, and note which elements she used in the book trailer HERE.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Book Trailer Anyone?

Amid gearing up for forthcoming book launches, guest-posts, blog spotlights, signings, and panel appearances – shouldn’t writing be in there somewhere? – members have been discussing the merits of Book Trailers.

Some of us have been lucky enough to be provided with one as part of our publisher’s package. Some of us haven’t. To whet your appetite, there's a link to Stuart Aken's The Methuselah Strain HERE.

Across on her blog, Linda Acaster has started a short series HERE on what to consider prior to storyboarding your own, ably supported by that 'man of the moment' from one of the BBC's historical dramas. You know who; he of the smouldering looks, dark chest hair, and far too much open flesh for the period. Enjoy. [The post!]

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Exclusive Elite: Dangerous artwork? I have a premonition

Here’s a trick to net yourself some exclusive artwork. The FantastiCon2016 Kickstarter already gives exclusive digital wallpaper for its minimum pledge but if you follow this dodge, you will also net some Elite: Dangerous exclusive high-quality artwork (you’ll have to throw £1 into the Back-This-Project pot if you haven’t already pledged). Simply go to the comments section on THIS LINK  and add a comment that contains the phrase “I have a premonition”.

That automatically adds you to the recipients of Sci-Fi legend Drew Wagar’s Reclamation artwork, exclusive to those who add exactly that phrase to the comments section. You’ll see several comments on there already that simply say, “I have a premonition”. More detail on the artwork and its origins HERE.

Why is this relevant to the Hornsea Writers? Because if you go a step further and buy a ticket, we would be delighted to meet you at the convention. Several of us along with Royd Tolkien (JRR’s great grandson) will be there celebrating the written word. And if books are not your bag, there will a plethora of attractions on show – Daleks, Darth Vader, interactive gaming, Nerf Wars, shows, live music, free soft drinks and biscuits and all manner of wonderful things.

Saturday and Sunday 19th and 20th November 2016 at the Guildhall in Hull.
Looking forward to seeing you there.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Taking the Summer Off? Er...

August is the month for lazy days in the garden, hitting the toppling TBRead pile, and generally recharging the creative batteries, right?

The question gained a hollow laugh from members. Yes, they agreed, they should be soaking up their share of Vitamin D to boost reserves ready for an autumn of daylight hours chained to their laptops. Yet a gulf yawns between theory and practice.

‘My schedule used to work like clockwork,’ says Linda Acaster. ‘I’d start a major project in early autumn, run it through winter and bring it to fruition late spring. This left the summer months for research trips, decorating, and letting my mind swim in my ideas tank.’ What intervened? ‘Life,’ she says, ‘and this year the fact that I altered the balance in my work-in-progress, the final novel of the Torc of Moonlight trilogy, and it had to return to the drawing board. Now I’m running to catch up instead of skipping merrily along.’

April Taylor isn’t so much running behind as marching in front. Book 1 of her Georgia Pattison Cosy Mysteries, Dearly Ransomed Soul, was launched last month in time for the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester, where the novel is set. ‘I’m up to my eyes in marketing & promotion on the one hand while on the other Books 2 and 3 are in the process of being prepped for release. I do, though, insist on an early morning walk to get the blood flowing and synapses sparking.’

Exercise is also high on Stuart Aken’s daily schedule, and he makes time to walk in the Forest of Dean that reaches almost to his garden. ‘Nature feeds the senses, and the sounds of streams and birdsong beneath the leaf canopy is a complete change to the mental vistas of the Martian landscape that is the setting of the sci-fi novel I’m working on, earmarked for publication later in the year.’ It’s also a change from his recent epic fantasy trilogy A Seared Sky.

There’s no sign of a free August on Penny Grubb’s horizon, either. She’s still juggling a day job with her work on the PI Annie Raymond Mystery series. No 7, Tiger Blood, was launched recently and she’s well into No 8. ‘I’ve tried scheduling in a free August to enjoy the unrestricted company of family and friends, but in reality the extra time gets taken up doing all the things I’d been shelving. The actual routine of going to the day job seems to help my writing muscles relax.’

For Karen Wolfe, summer and her work-in-progress are inextricably linked: Dogdays being the final book in the Georgie Crane Dog-Whisperer trilogy. Add in the monthly canine piece for the local newspaper, and every day is part of the ongoing process of fresh air, exercise and thinking-time. Those dog-walks bring unexpected insights, small dramas, often moments of comedy gold. Not ‘taking the summer off’, more 'harvesting the crop'.

After publication of her latest historical, A Shackled Inheritance, set against a backdrop of colonial slavery and the abolitionist movement in Regency England, Madeleine McDonald made the decision to eschew the bigger projects in favour of completing shorter pieces, particularly for anthologies. ‘It’s more relaxing,’ she says. ‘I don’t get sidetracked into intensive research, and goals are attainable over a much shorter period. Without the pressure of a long-term deadline, I can enjoy the summer.’

Ah, now there’s an idea...

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Discounted Ebooks & Freebies: Final Weekend

It's the final discount & freebie weekend for ebooks at Smashwords. Get 'em while you can! Prices reset automatically at midnight PST.

Linda Acaster and Stuart Aken lead members in offering various titles at discounts ranging from 50% off to Free. There's no better time to dip into new genres. You may find yourself hooked.

Link to Stuart Aken's offered titles HERE

Link to Linda Acaster's offered titles HERE

Don't forget to use the Discount Code on the purchase page.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

The all new Dearly Ransomed Soul

When I was in my writing "salad days", I discovered an Arts Council scheme for new writers. My first Georgia Pattison Mystery was then about half done, so I quickly finished it and sent it to YouWriteOn and the book was duly published by Legend Press in 2008.

But coming back to it a few years later, I found so much wrong with the book that I felt compelled, not to just give it a severe edit, but also to provide a new killer for those who had bought the paper version. It is now also set in the cathedral city of Worcester, England.

That proved to be more difficult than actually writing a new book from scratch, especially as, in the intervening years, I had learned so much about my craft. However, eventually, I sorted it all out and I can now reveal the all new Dearly Ransomed Soul is now live on Amazon and Smashwords.

For readers who are new to Georgia, I can also recommend Whistles After Dark, an introductory novella - 23,000 words and £0.99/$1.42.

If you like music with your crime, you will love Dearly Ransomed Soul. You can find out more about the book itself on my blog

 Dearly Ransomed Soul, the first in the Georgia Pattison mystery series.

April Taylor writes historical and contemporary crime fiction. You can find her via the links below.