Saturday, 3 December 2016

Have You Got Your Copy Yet?

When readers react like this, the book must really be good:

From Glen Donaldson on Goodreads:
Enjoyed? I positively feasted on this book!
Move over Isaac Asimov.
Stand aside Arthur C. Clarke.
Tip your hat Frank Herbert.
There’s a new voice and a quite robust imagination lighting up the sci-fi literary cosmos; and one that speaks with a mythically crisp British accent. (read the whole review here)

Cary Grossman rated it 5 Stars. It was amazing.
In Blood Red Dust, Stuart Aken skilfully creates a sobering view of Earth's last days, as reported by the first colonists of Mars. His Orwellian description of an environmentally uninhabitable Earth sounds chillingly prophetic… (read the entire review here)

These comments are from reviews of Stuart Aken’s new novel, Blood Red Dust, which was launched at Fantasticon 2016 on 19th November. The publisher’s stock ran out over that weekend, but more books are now available. 

You can get a copy direct from Fantastic Books Publishing, here. Or, from your local Amazon store, here. It’s also available through most retail booksellers.

What’s it about?

As people struggle to survive in an increasingly hostile climate on Earth, plans are afoot for the preservation of the human race. Mars, already occupied by commercial mining interests, is the only viable option. The Chosen are sent to colonise the new world and germinate the seeds of their new Utopia. But dark forces not only want to halt the plan, they want to see the end of all human life, everywhere. If mankind survives the divinely inspired crusade of death from dogma-driven martyrs, will The Chosen’s new Utopia be the real route to salvation?

As Stuart Aken would say, ‘Enjoy the read’.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Of Daleks, Holograms & Hobbyists - That was FantastiCon

Stuart Aken & Penny Grubb at the bookstore
FantastiCon, held annually in Hull, markets itself as A doing Con not a buying Con but the goodie bags were in evidence early on as attendees hit the resident bookstore during the 19-20 November event. They took another boost when the readings started, in the first batch with authors John Scotcher, Kate Russell and Drew Wagar. The Horror anthology 666, to which members Stuart Aken and Linda Acaster contributed, sold every single paperback on offer.

FantastiCon started three years ago as a multi-book launch event by Fantastic Books Publishing which had won the licence to publish some of the original novels to the SF computer game Elite: Dangerous. The launch was such a success that the event has become a fixture  of the SF/Fantasy/Horror Con calendar.

There were SteamPunk traders, and plenty of Cosplayers of both the Marvel Comic and the Star Wars types, but there was also a very realistic Tardis and an even more realistic 'Doctor' impersonator - the accent and mannerisms were spot on - plus a phalanx of full-size Daleks, one of which forced its way through the main room tables to demand a beer from the somewhat bemused bar staff, complete with rising pitch threats to Ex-ter-min-ate when service seemed a tad reluctant.

Of course, a convention aimed at an international SF gaming community would be bare without banks of computers, and banks there were, some set-ups a little more encompassing than others.

All in all, a great weekend, even for the authors. For more photos check out

Friday, 18 November 2016

Countdown to #FantastiCon2016

19-20th November at The Guildhall, Hull

Bags packed, route marked, excitement rising! Yes, FantastiCon2016 is upon us – or at least upon some of us here at Hornsea Writers.

FantastiCon, held annually in East Yorkshire, is taking over part of the vast range of buildings known as the Guildhall in Kingston-upon-Hull. And by the looks of it, Tardis-like, the space will be needed.

Want to mingle incognito among Cosplayers while playing Assassin with your smartphone? Prefer to try out a Virtual Reality headset? Drive a Dalek? Reminisce over a table-top role-playing game or book a seat at the bank of computers to enter the Elite: Dangerous universe? Sign up for the NERF War?

Er... actually I’d like to relax with nibbles and listen to an author. We’re pleased to hear it because, among a host of others, three members of Hornsea Writers will be there to entertain with talks, readings and Q&A.

Stuart Aken is on the panel ‘Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction’ – and launching his new SciFi Martian series, Blood Red Dust. Linda Acaster will be part of the ‘Creating A World in Words’ panel chatting about the differences and similarities of writing Contemporary Fantasy set against a Yorkshire background and a Historical Drama set among the native peoples of northern Wyoming, USA. Penny Grubb will be discussing aspects of writing Crime with both police and PI settings. 

There’ll also be music, and biscuits, the infamous raffle mountain, and on Sunday afternoon a dedicated mini Litfest complete with, yes, more book trailers. For £10 a day what more could anyone want? Sleep, perhaps, but that can wait until Monday.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Book Trailer Anyone? #3 - Result!

What have these images got in common?

They are two of a group Linda Acaster used to put together a trailer for Horror Short, Scent of a Böggel-Mann.  

Not that she did it alone. In the third and final post in her short series on creating a book trailer, she explains how she sought expert advice - and received it - at a price to suit the most miserly pocket. 

Want to cut to the chase? Watch the video on YouTube HERE.

Friday, 4 November 2016

An Alternative Life on Mars?

Some readers shy away from science fiction, yet have read and enjoyed ‘1984’, ‘Brave New World’ and other science fiction classics. This genre is devoted to more than just ‘space opera’. In the case of Stuart Aken’s most recent novel, published by FantasticBooks Publishing, the story of the struggle against the evils of extremism are set on Mars.
This near neighbour of Earth is the most likely destination for colonisation beyond of our own world. And it may well happen sooner rather than later. As Earth becomes a more challenging environment for humanity, drought, flooding, increased wildfires, powerful typhoons and hurricanes, and lethal battles for essential resources will inevitably cause conflict here. Mars may well become the only viable alternative for human life if we fail to stop our current descent into chaos on our home planet.
Meticulously researched, and peopled by a cast of characters easy to empathise with, Blood Red Dust examines the possible life for pioneers on the Red Planet whilst telling a tense and thoughtful story full of action and replete with examples of human relationships.
It’s available now in both digital and paperback versions. Although the official launch is due to take place at Fantasticon 2016 in Hull on 19thNovember, you can obtain the book now by clicking this link. 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

666 Anthology Launch - Be There AND Be Scared!

Way back at the turn of the year we were contacted by Fantastic Books Publishing with a view to submitting professional contributions to a competition anthology for Horror Fantabbles of exactly 666 words. Yeah, we thought... why not?

After much soul-searching and horror-filled days at the keyboard [neither are intended as puns] submissions were emailed, the silver spoons were returned to their velvet-lined boxes, and the garlic went in a curry.

The work of two members were picked: Stuart Aken with Ouija Board and Linda Acaster with Number Thirteen. Not, you understand, that members of Hornsea Writers promote clichéd titles.

Their stories join those of fellow professionals Regina Puckett, Nathan Robinson, Michael Brookes and John Scotcher, along with three prize-winning entries, two highly commended, and a host of other submissions in the anthology 666 to be launched during All Hallows Eve.

Ebook from Fantastic Books Publishing and paperback from Amazon.

Catch the launch event on Facebook Monday 31 October. Howling begins at 19:06 GMT [6 hours and 66 minutes after noon. Evidently]. Neither costumes nor cushions to hide behind are compulsory.

Be there AND be scared!

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