Friday, 24 February 2023

Hornsea Writer, Penny Grubb, On Writing

Image: Mystic Art Design, Pixabay

Give me a 3-word summary of what you will be doing, writing-wise, in the coming year.

Editing, writing, blogging.

Tell me more:

EDITING: I’m editing for a publisher. I’m a second editor on books that are being prepared for publication later in the year. The big plus is that it pushes me into reading books I wouldn’t otherwise look at. If I were an initial reader, rather than 2nd editor, that big plus could be an equally big minus, as I might get stuck with badly written books that were a chore to wade through.

However, these are books that have already been approved and gone through initial edits from good editors. They might not be titles that I would have picked up off a shelf, but they are, by definition, good reads.

I’m currently editing an epic fantasy, a contemporary relationships story, and a historical romance. Not that I edit 3 at a time, but they overlap or I would miss my deadlines. I would never have chosen these 3 books to take on a trip with me, and yet if I had, I would not have been disappointed. Although I occasionally fall into the wrong fictional world and confuse myself over why a character in a WW2 drama is not using magic powers, I have become totally engaged in all 3 books.

These initial three have set a high bar for books still in the pipeline. I have hedgehog adventures, folk tales, and space adventures yet to come. Can’t wait!

WRITING: I completed a novel at the start of the year. It’s a crime story set in the 1990s. I’m hoping it’s at the final polish stage, but you know how it is, when you get too close to a book, you no longer see the flaws, the ambiguities, the plot holes. Several people are reading the manuscript for me and I’m leaving it well alone for a few months.

Meanwhile, I hope to get started on a new novel. I’m nurturing an idea for a new installment in my Private Investigator series. I’m also dabbling with a “slightly sci-fi” but given that “slightly sci-fi” isn’t a recognised genre, I might have difficulty placing it.

BLOGGING: I blog about life, the universe, and everything as the mood takes me. This is an article about handbags as a cause of marital strife. This one is about my flock of dinosaurs. And this looks into the oddities of writing life.

Tell me about a writing-related event from last year

My children’s book Horse of the Same Colour, written as Melodie Trudeaux, was launched in the autumn. The book is a sequel to Horse of a Different Colour. The launch video features the first chapter from each book.

Learn more about Penny here.

Friday, 10 February 2023

Valentine's Romance Promotion!


For the love of Romance, from 10th until 15th there are stepped price promotions via Amazon UK and Amazon USA on Historicals by Linda Acaster.

Beneath The Shining Mountains is set in the region now known as Wyoming and Montana in the USA; the date the early 1800s. For the Apsaroke people, the place is Apsaroke lands; the time, the good years between the coming of the horse and the arrival of land-hungry settlers. Game was plentiful; the creeks ran clear. A man could prove his worth by his military exploits – and a woman, if she wanted, could ensnare herself her chosen husband. But why would a man with so many lovers want to take a wife?

Native American daily life on the northern Plains has enthralled Linda since childhood —obviously too many Westerns watched on television — and over the years she collected a substantial reference library on what she discovered was both an ever-expanding subject and a fascinating way of life.

A chance meeting with like-minded individuals led to pow-wows in the UK, which is when her research morphed into what is now considered ‘experimental archaeology’. Beneath The Shining Mountains blossomed from this.

“...loved learning about their customs and rich culture...

Hostage of the Heart
is set very much in Britain, on the Welsh Marches, during the autumn of 1066 when the destiny of both Wales and England hung in the balance because of outside forces.

With the northern militia hurrying to York in support of the new king, Rhodri ap Hywel, prince of the Welsh, sweeps out of the forest to reclaim by force stolen lands, taking the Saxon Lady Dena as a battle hostage. But who is the more barbaric, a man who protects his people by the strength of his sword-arm, or Dena’s kinsfolk who swear fealty to a canon of falsehoods and refuse to pay her ransom?

“...a historical that really grips the reader with lots of twists and turns...

The novels are clean Romantic Suspense, and between them have over 90 review ratings. Promotional prices start at 99p / 99c today rising back to full price on Wednesday evening. Grab them while you can, and snuggle down with a Valentine’s read of Romance and Adventure

Global Links:    Beneath The Shining Mountains            Hostage of the Heart

Monday, 30 January 2023

Crime and Punishment

I enjoy writing what I think of as short cosy crime mysteries. 

Murder or mayhem remain implausible, and that implausibility allows them to be entertaining. There is plenty of domestic detail, crimes happen offstage with no grisly details, and the police rarely make an appearance. All this can be wrapped up satisfactorily in short story form.

What I have realised, looking back, is that all my victims somehow deserved their fate. There is the over-zealous council official, the supercilious husband forever putting his wife down, the Indian mother-in-law plotting to poison her half-English daughter-in-law, the high-flying executive who pushes her colleague to suicide, the love rat who destroys his girlfriend’s self-esteem, the money-grabbing antiques dealer, and – crème de la crime – the woman who poisons the dog alongside her intended victim.

Let the punishment fit the crime.

The ever entertaining Crimeucopia anthologies offer something for everyone and are published in ebook and paperback by Murderous Ink Press and available on Amazon, for example


Madeleine McDonald

Sunday, 1 January 2023

2023 - The Year To Kick Back And Relaaax

Hello and welcome to a new day, a new month, a new year: 2023!!

Members of Hornsea Writers trust you enjoyed your Christmas feasting – food, drink, and reading books.

Fiction is what we offer, escape portals into other worlds to make your own, to ease your way through the absurdities of real life. And we have plenty to offer.

Do you believe in unicorns? 

Evidently Penny Grubb does, or at least Melodie Trudeaux, her alter ego who keeps her humorous Young Teen fiction separate from her seriously adult Crime novels. Horse of the Same Colour is the sequel to Horse of a Different Colour, with Megan and Amy finding more trouble with horses… and otherworldly beasts.

Paperback, Ebook, Kindle Unlimited

Linda Acaster moved from Contemporary Fantasy to Contemporary Mystery for The Forever House

After the death of her husband, Caroline Haynes is doing her best to carry on renovating their house. But with her son and his family only available on video calls, she has too much time to think. Does anyone ever know what layers of wallpaper might reveal? Or layers of life?

Paperback, Ebook, Kindle Unlimited

Very hot off the press comes Who Wants To Live Forever? April Taylor’s final novel in the Georgia Pattison Mystery series. 

Georgia may at last have agreed to marry her beloved Sir Edward Broome, but an unknown man calling halt mid-service is just the beginning of Gerogia’s problems in this multi-layered story of intrigue and corruption.

Ebook, Kindle Unlimited    

Other members have not been slothful. Many are writing fiction and non-fiction shorts for a variety of print and digital imprints, with Shellie Horst’s Whitebridge Heroes gaining an Honorable Mention in the prestigious “Writers of the Future” competition.  

Madeleine McDonald’s Enchantment in Morocco has a new cover, and she won an award from Press 53 for a flash fiction tale. Joy Stonehouse is putting the finishing touches to the fourth in her faction series set in 18th century Reighton, Yorkshire. Stuart Aken, author of An Excess of… and an SF trilogy set on Mars, has penned a contemporary Christmas short available to read on his website.

On the non-fiction front, Karen Whitchurch continues to entertain and inform with her monthly newspaper column on living with dogs.


Wednesday, 21 December 2022

The Last Georgia Pattison Mystery and harp seals...

Fledging a book is quite a process. Not just the enjoyable creating the story bit, but the sometimes less than enjoyable editing. Then more editing. And just another edit, until the author is sick and tired of seeing/reading/hearing about the wretched book.

I decided it was time to send my first serial detective, early-music soprano, Georgia Pattison, on her final adventure. Why? Because new writing avenues beckon. 2023 is already planned and there isn’t room for our intrepid heroine. There may come a time when I fancy bringing her out into the cold light of day again.

In Who Wants To Live Forever, Georgia gets what is possibly the biggest shock of her life. It leaves her conflicted enough to put everything good in her life on the line in order to find this particular killer. And she believes that all her past experience in helping DCI Hamilton find killers, has led up to this one case. It is the one she cannot walk away from.

If you would like to read more about why some authors are like harp seals, you can find my blog here:

If you would like to buy the book, you will find it here:

And if you would like to find out more about April Taylor:

You can find me on FacebookTwitter Amazon UK

Friday, 9 December 2022

53 Words, No More, No Less

Winston, the Press 53 mascot

The small indie publishing house Press 53 runs a monthly writing competition, offering a different prompt each month and inviting short stories of exactly 53 words. I often enter the competition, for the fun of devising a new story within the word limit.

This is the first time I have won, with a retelling of the Philemon and Baucis legend. I’m convinced it would have been the husband who jumped in and asked the gods that the couple might die at the same time. Trust a man to go for the grand gesture. Whereas the wife would have asked for something more practical. 

Photo by David Tip on Unsplash

You can read my story here.

Madeleine McDonald enjoys the challenge of writing flash fiction. Her short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio and published in various anthologies. Her novels include the contemporaries Enchantment in Morocco and The Rescued Heart, and the historical A Shackled Inheritance.

Friday, 9 September 2022

The mystery of the missing Mystery – Out now! The paperback of THE FOREVER HOUSE


Global Link to The Forever House in paperback & ebook, and free to read with Kindle Unlimited

The paperback of The Forever House is finally live. It is a psychological suspense novel, 
 “...a gripping mystery full of twists and turns…”

Caroline Haynes and her husband are serial house renovators, never enjoying the fruits of their labours, always selling on their completed properties to start afresh on a new project. The Forever House was built in the early 1920s, and was to be their final project, their true home.

But life happens, and things don’t quite go according to plan. While scraping away wallpaper in a bedroom, Carrie uncovers a poignant message from the past. Yet, the more she thinks about it, the darker the connotations become. Family members believe she’s making something out of nothing. Carrie believes otherwise and determines to discover the truth of it. But who is there to ask, except the house itself? She starts with the Deeds, if she can find them.

...Reading the inked imprints of a manual typewriter was like going back in time: the conveyance between the builder and the first buyer, the landowner and the builder, the faded copperplate handwriting of a previous land conveyance, J. Tunstall, Esq, Farmer. The names of vendors and purchasers were all present, just as they would be on the deeds to this house. So where were the deeds to this house?

As anyone who has bought a property in the UK will know, the Deed of Title is kept electronically by the Land Registry – there is no need of the historic documents marking its journey through time. When we bought our 1950s house, our solicitor asked us, almost as an afterthought, if we wanted the historic conveyances, otherwise they would be destroyed.

Destroyed?! Apart from my intake of breath being heard in the next town, I couldn’t get my hands on them fast enough. And I was right to claim them. The depth of information they hold is fascinating.

When Carrie Haynes is gifted information about The Forever House, more questions are generated than answered – some causing echoes closer to home, and far closer to the present.

The Forever House is now available as an ebook to purchase, is free to read within a Kindle Unlimited subscription, and finally to read in good old, dependable, paperback.

Enjoy your reading - Linda Acaster

Friday, 12 August 2022

Newsprint and Coffee

Photo by Ron Porter on Pixabay

Newsprint and coffee are my way of waking up to the world. When my husband was alive, we took two newspapers. This allowed early mornings to be a companionable time of rustling the pages, refilling the coffee pot, and grunting comments to each other on what we read.

Apart from providing a relaxing start to the day, newspapers are a treasure trove of ideas for writing. I read the paper cover to cover, absorbing not only the headlines but the snippets of information contained in the filler paragraphs.

A robot lawnmower escapes through a hole in the fence, council workers dig up the wrong driveway, a householder is fined for an extravagant display of Christmas lights. The list goes on.

Fact is often stranger than fiction, but facts provide a springboard. Disputes over wills, parking wars, over-zealous officials, there is no shortage of material to inspire stories or scripts.

That’s my excuse anyway when the postman or milkman finds me perusing the paper, still in my dressing gown past nine in the morning. 

 Madeleine McDonald


Madeleine has work in a plethora of fiction anthologies as can be seen from her Amazon page

She also writes historical & contemporary Romantic Suspense. Her ebook Enchantment in Morocco is now available via Kindle Unlimited.

Friday, 8 July 2022

The Value of Community Journalism.


Often overlooked, hyper-local newspapers, journals, zines and radio provide a vital information source to rural communities. With the aim of providing access to local news, these often free publications boost the voice of clubs, grass root projects, art events and community groups.

Image of newspapers and magazines Just Beverley and Hornsea Community News

They’re important to communities because they raise awareness of local issues. Many focus on good news and informative articles. With editors adhering to a code of conduct and avoiding dramatic, misleading headlines, they build trust with their listeners and readers.

Advertising within these pages allows businesses to harness this for their own benefit, too. By aligning themselves with a positive message it supports the production costs.

For authors, it is well worth sending press releases to editors of these local sources. It can reach a readership who, for whatever reason, don’t use social media. Radio stations will often have a book feature interviewing authors or discussing book club novels.

But these outlets are also another way to see publication.

Hornsea Writer Karen Wolfe provides knowledgeable monthly amusement and anecdotes for Hornsea Community News exploring everything relating to dogs. Her articles regularly lift the spirit with a smile. As well as being informative, they are topical and naturally tie in with her Dogsbody novels.

Shellie Horst writes for Just Beverley, giving voice to the fictional antics of two beavers Bev’n’Ley. These short, locally researched pieces are designed encourage reading with children. They fit nicely around her other commitments. 

REMEMBER!  Hyper-local news outlets are not to be confused with advertising booklets. These can often be thrown away without consideration, meaning it's a waste of author’s funds.

Here's a few local to Hornsea outlets for you to consider.

Hornsea Community News

Seaside FM

Just Beverley

Beverley FM

Friday, 10 June 2022

An Undeserved Accolade


Oof! My book is finally live on Amazon Kindle, at

After the rights reverted to me, I tackled the fiddly process of commissioning a new cover, proofreading my original Word document, and formatting the lot in accordance with Amazon’s rules.

Time to relax, and raise a glass to myself.

But – what’s this?

Amazon has ranked my book number 5 in ‘Caribbean and Latin American Poetry’, ahead of Derek Walcott, no less. In fact, I asked for it to be included under ‘Historical Caribbean and Latin American Fiction’ and some poor, underpaid pen pusher in Amazon’s sprawling empire has ticked the wrong box on his list of categories.

According to the marketing gurus, picking the right categories and keywords is vital to self-publishing success. Yet navigating the maze of 4000+ categories is no easy task. I congratulated myself on unearthing strings identifying ‘Women’s Fiction’ by theme, only for Amazon to inform me that those categories applied to print books, not ebooks. Go figure.

A celebratory half-glass then, before I ask Amazon to correct their error, and lose my undeserved number 5 ranking.