Saturday, 20 April 2019

Revisiting earlier books


I find it a salutary experience to reread a book that I wrote and published years ago. Things that I would now write differently leap off the page: a sag in this part of the plot, a clumsy bit of speech here, something that would be better reordered there; things I’ve never worried about unduly because there’s nothing to be done.

Or so I thought...

Then plans were proposed to reissue my first three novels as a trilogy in a single book. I wasn’t given much time to tinker, but I immediately got out the toolkit and raised the bonnet to spruce up all three. It was a satisfying experience though oddly like going back in time.



It’s due out later this year.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Writing fiction: the long and the short of it


Explore the nuts and bolts behind the (hopefully) smooth finished product that is the published novel or short story
  • by delving into the mind of the short story writer, analysed in this book by Hornsea Writer, Linda Acaster:




  • or by lifting the bonnet (or the hood – depending which side of the Atlantic you are) on the full-length commercial novel and seeing how the component pieces fit together in this book co-authored by Hornsea Writer, Penny Grubb:



How to be a Fantastic Writer

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Meet more than writers at this holiday extravaganza


The annual extravaganza that is FantastiCon is scheduled for the full weekend of the 17th and 18th August in Cleethorpes at the space-age leisure centre. The focus is on a weekend packed with family activities around games, virtual reality, NERF wars, drone racing, a Mariokart tournament, an aqua assault course... and some Hornsea Writers too.



The event is used as a launch pad for new publications and previous years have seen the launch of sci-fi trilogies from Stuart Aken, crime drama from Penny Grubb and charity anthologies that have included several group members including Elaine Hemingway, Madeleine McDonald, April Taylor and Penny Grubb who all appeared in Dreaming of Steam; Linda Acaster and Stuart Aken in horror anthology 666; Stuart Aken was also invited to contribute to the fantasy and sci-fi collections, Fusion and Synthesis. Penny Grubb was featured in The Dummies’Guide to Serial Killing that was launched last year.

Several Hornsea Writers are regulars at FantastiCon. If you come along and can find a moment between activities and games, please drop by the bookstore and say hello.


Saturday, 30 March 2019

Last Chance Saloon

Crossroads are funny things. There are all kinds of dire supernatural aspects of them in our literature. It has also become part of our language. 'I've come to a crossroads and need to work out where I'm going.' Or someone telling another person they have come to a crossroads and now is make or break.

I read an article about scammers in the self-publishing world of Amazon and Kindle Unlimited a couple of days ago. Horrified does not adequately express my reaction. Here I have been, straining every last muscle to write as perfect a book as I can, while cheats and scammers are making easy money and I make none.

So, I took myself off for a long walk and decided I had come to a crossroads, too. About my life and, more importantly, about my writing.

Read it here: https://authorapriltaylor.blogspot.com

You can read more about April Taylor here:

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Members Useful Self-Help Books

In the last of the short series on the wealth of information offered by members, here's a round-up of their useful self-help titles.


April Taylor was a chartered information professional in a previous life, and she's put her experiences to good use.


This short guide is intended to help solve the problems encountered by novelists researching on the Net. It includes sections on where to search, how to search, evaluating information found, staying safe and within copyright, using images, and a whole host more.





This is one of those no-nonsense guides which does what it says on the cover. It explains terminology used by tutors, the format and appearance of the finished dissertation, how to manipulate software and the likely problems the software will throw up. There is also advice on how to manage your project and your time. Nineteen 4* and 5* reviews can't be wrong.


 
 
Stuart Aken also brings his personal experience to bear, but in a very different context.


Stuart charts his journey, and recovery, giving hope to other sufferers of CFS/ME. There's plenty of practical advice, and a useful list of hyperlinks in the ebook. It is also available as a paperback. A portion of the profits goes to the charity "Action for ME" which he considers was instrumental in pointing him in the right direction. The reviews from other suffers speak for themselves.


Penny Grubb may have been awarded a Dagger from the Crime Writers' Assocation but, wearing her non-dastardly hat, Dr Penny Grubb is a scientist and university lecturer, hence her book titles.


Where’s the best place for a novel to start? How do you tell? How to lift a scene that seems to drag? The included toolkits lead through it all to give the components needed for every stage of writing a novel. 



Having been a part of academia since the 1980s, Penny has helped a vast number of students new to higher education study. Today, a higher proportion come not from sixth forms or after a gap year, but at an older age having worked in industry and with family commitments in tow.

The book, split into easy to negotiate sections, sets out what's needed, and how to upgrade necessary skills sets. It also contains a detailed study of a once notorious case of skewed thinking and manipulative writing that began with Mr J and his green fur coat.

Software Maintenance: Concepts and Practice

An academic best-seller in use in universities around the world. Published in two editions, it has the dubious distinction of appearing on a list of ‘Most pirated books’, which, sadly, means an updated 3rd edition will not be published.

The 2nd edition contains a detailed case study of the once notorious Therac-25 software bugs that visited death and injury on many people over several years.



 
Linda Acaster brings us back to writing creatively with an in-depth view borne of explaining concepts during several years facilitating a teaching course.

Reading A Writer's Mind: Exploring Short Fiction - First Thought To Finished Story

The book is distinguished from many in its field by reproducing ten of the author's short stories, in various genres, and explaining the rationale behind the choices made during the writing of each. Exercises, in the writing of full pieces of fiction, are included.


I'm sure you'll agree, what an interesting lot we are!

Saturday, 23 February 2019

How a random thought can give birth to a series. And there's music, too!

Many writers will tell you tales of how long their first book was in the making. Let's face it, writing anything between 70-120k words is not undertaken lightly, if occasionally wantonly, depending on the genre into which your magnum opus falls.

My first book began as a 'what-if?' idea during the inaugural concert of the 1978 Three Choirs Festival in Worcester. Sandra Browne was singing the part of The Angel in Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius. I was part of the chorus, this was my first Three Choirs and inclusion was by invitation only.

The Dream is a fairly regular fixture of Three Choirs and, being by local boy made good, Edward Elgar, it is very special. So special as far as Worcester is concerned that The Elgar Memorial Window is situated close to the pillar Elgar used to lean on to hear the final organ voluntary on Sunday mornings - being a Catholic, he didn't worship in the cathedral.

And this brings us to a very sticky point among musicians and music lovers. Should the 'G' of Gerontius be hard or soft. I know from my reading that Elgar himself always used the hard 'G'. Further research confirms that the hard 'G' was favoured by Vaughan Williams and Adrian Boult among other notable musicians. Hard 'G' it is, then.

But I digress. The book that was eventually, after a gestation period of 30 years, published by Legend Press in 2008, is Dearly Ransomed Soul and provides the first outing for Georgia Pattison. I used the what-if? idea, although for the digital version published in 2016, I changed the identity of the killer, just to add a bit of spice for the reader. 

The full version of how my nosy early-music soprano came into being is here: https://authorapriltaylor.blogspot.com

You can find out more about April Taylor here:

Saturday, 16 February 2019

#Writing and #Editing Tips

Members of Hornsea Writers hold a wealth of information on their individual websites. Last week we turned a spotlight on Stuart Aken and his Resources page which, among other goodies, holds a constantly updated Competitions List.

This week we highlight a wealth of blogposts - 32 in all - from Linda Acaster. Thankfully, she's created an Index Page for easy navigation. Within it can be found:
  • 16 posts on Writing Prompts, including discussions on each aspect;
  •   3 posts on Research: Is it always necessary? Using a "bible", and using character sheets for continuity purposes;
  •   8 posts on what to look for during different types of Edits, including Structural, Content, Line edits and the use of beta readers;
  •   5 posts on writers' mis-uses which can seriously annoy a reader - Don't Mess With The Reader - including Openings, Sense of Place, Categories of Characters, Seeding Information, and Plagiarism.

As well as her Historical, Fantasy and Horror novels, Linda Acaster also has Reading A Writer's Mind: Exploring Short Fiction - First Thought To Finished Story  which, as might be guessed, does what it says on its cover. Jump to HERE for the buy links and to read an excerpt.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Creative #Writing #Contests Submissions Feb-Oct 2019

Members of Hornsea Writers hold a wealth of information on their individual websites. 

Multi-genre writer Stuart Aken is prolific in his reach, from sharing his love of photography to his inquisitive nature. He runs a series on Discovering The Write Word, currently at #57, and where else could you find lists of 6,500+ female, male, and non-gender names from around the globe? Check out his Resources page.

His list of on-going competitions for writers encompasses everything from poetry to flash fiction to short stories to novellas and novels. Those free to enter are handily marked in red. The list is currently seven pages in length, so there will be something to catch everyone's eye. Check out the list HERE or follow the link from his Resources page.


Blood Red Dust is the first of his Generation Mars trilogy. Read about it HERE.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Never seeing the sun again?


Most of the new publications that spring up on this blog are works of fiction, but not all. In amongst the science-fiction, the historical drama, the fantasy, the horror and the crime, a few non-fiction works creep in.



The latest is from Hornsea Writer, Penny Grubb, who is an academic currently working at Hull University’s Faculty of Health Sciences. Her textbook, Preparing for Higher Education Study, does what it says on the tin, like all textbooks should.

If it were a book about scuba diving, you would read it to avoid becoming disorientated in deep water and never seeing the sun again. To unpack that metaphor, CLICK HERE for a more detailed blog on the subject.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

An Unexpected Tribute!



Delight can be infrequent in these troubled times, so Stuart Aken was both surprised and, yes, delighted, when he received a notice from his publisher, Fantastic Books Publishing, the other day. Attached was a link to a video produced by a professional in the TV industry. Ramon Marett from Adiq had wanted to try his hand at a book promotion video and decided to use Aken’s ‘Generation Mars’ series for the project.

The author posted it on his website, and you can see the result via this link.

Videos are a popular source of information for many potential readers, so he’s spread this one everywhere he can to get maximum benefit. He says it’s also had the effect of galvanising him into trying something similar for his other books! Watch this space.