Thursday 24 December 2015

Festive Greetings from Hornsea Writers

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house...  

...glasses are chinking as members of Hornsea Writers offer wishes of health and happiness to all our readers for the Festive Season and the coming New Year.


[with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) for hijacking his poem]

Saturday 19 December 2015

An author asks for help on where to send the money

Writers as a group are not amongst the better paid so it might seem odd to find a group of authors whose profits are routinely shared with others. But such groups exist and in the one I'm writing about a new author is asking for help in deciding which charity should benefit from her début novel. Firstly, a bit of background:

A recent comprehensive survey by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society showed not only below-minimum-wage returns, but that writers’ earnings were going down. Contrast this with the creative industries as a whole, one of the few sectors whose overall contribution to the economy remained steady and even went up through 2008 and the on-going recession.

Now focus on an old publishing model and a fairly new publishing house. The original publishing model was a profit share between writer and publisher. That didn't last the transition of publishing to multinational conglomerate status whilst writing remained a cottage industry. The writer became, very decidedly, the poor relation.

However, some small publishers are veering back towards the original model. Fantastic Books Publishing with whom several Hornsea Writers are involved doesn't just work to a profit-share model, they also take 10% from their book sale profits and give it to charity. The authors choose the charity to benefit from sales of their book.

The charity model has been discussed on their own blogs by various of Fantastic Books’ established authors:

Why I have chosen Mind by John Scotcher
Charity begins at home by Drew Wagar
The Great North Run by Stuart Aken

Fantastic Books’ newest author, Melodie Trudeaux, has yet to decide which charity will benefit from her book sales, but she says, ‘Horse of a Different Colour is a children’s adventure tale. It might be appropriate if it earned money for a horsey charity, but there are so many good causes that I can’t make up my mind.’

If you want to help Melodie decide, please visit her blog HERE and leave your suggestions.

John Scotcher is author of The Boy in Winter’s Grasp
Drew Wagar is author of Elite: Reclamation  and Shadeward: Emanation
Stuart Aken is author of M.E. and Me. and the Seared Sky trilogy

Thursday 10 December 2015

Cottingham Book Fair with a difference

On Saturday afternoon 12th December, Cottingham East Yorkshire will host a Christmas Fair with a difference. A group of creative artists have banded together to negotiate big discounts on top quality books and merchandise with the aim of providing a collection of unusual and unique Christmas gifts. The Fair is organised by Hornsea Writers Penny Grubb and Pippa Ireland.

In addition to books, visitors will have the opportunity to obtain professional photo portraits and buy a host of items including virtual reality headsets, science-fiction and fantasy memorabilia (fans of Brian Blessed, Star Trek, Dr Who and Lord of the Rings take note). Refreshments will be on offer.

As well as the group’s own books – many of which have been internationally recognized with prestigious awards – on special sale will be the recently released Dr Who autobiography My Dalek has a Puncture.

Hull is a strong theme at the Fair and includes three crime writers who set their stories in the city; Penny Grubb, author of the award-winning Annie Raymond mysteries; Nick Quantrill, author of the much-praised Joe Geraghty series and Alfie Robins author of many novels including the best-selling Hull-based Reprisal.

From further afield but still from Yorkshire comes journalist and performance poet, James Nash, who when not travelling, writes in an old laundry that used to be home to a Buddhist. James has many stories to tell and we aim to persuade him to tell some of them at the Fair.

The Fair boasts another celebrated performance poet, writer and painter, Cliff Forshaw. Cliff’s writing has taken him around the world and won many prestigious awards.

Also represented at the Fair will be contemporary romance from Rhoda Baxter; memoir from Bob Jackman; historical fiction from Suzanne Marshall; and award-winning family sagas from Annie Wilkinson.

About the Book Fair
Date and time: Saturday 12 December, 2 pm to 5 pm
Location: Cottingham, East Yorkshire. Methodist Church Hall, 166 Hallgate, HU16 4BD

About the authors and artists

About the sponsors
Fantastic Books Publishing is providing special discounts for Fair.
Susan Alison Art is donating designer Christmas cards to be given to shoppers who buy Fantastic books.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Launching - Scent of the Böggel-Mann

For the grey days of winter, when the wind whistles and the house creaks, Linda Acaster launches a new supernatural short.

Elaine haunts auctions held in crumbling country mansions, dreaming of a find that will make her and Gary rich. A plain wooden shipping trunk has no key to its iron-banded locks but is far heavier than it should be. What might it contain? Bricks laughs a suave competitor. A body retorts Elaine. 

Both are wrong. Both are right. Beware the Böggel-Mann. 

Check Linda's other titles via her website or via the links at the top of this page.

Sunday 29 November 2015

More #Writing & #BookMarketing Tips

While this blog is a portal for Hornsea Writers, as well as ploughing on with their works-in-progress, individual members continue to do their thing on their own websites.

How to handle Twitter image sizing?
Stuart Aken has available No 15 of his grammar and word choice tips Cut the Fat: Make Your Writing Lean - this time highlighting how empty phrases and repeats can be overlooked.

Linda Acaster has uploaded the second in her series E-Book Marketing Doldrums? Her attention turns to Twitter - how to come to grips with scheduling, using images, and choosing hashtags.

Sunday 22 November 2015

#eBook Marketing Doldrums?

Lone indie author or within a publishing house's stable, authors have to promote their own titles and market their own brand-names. Pick up a pen and it comes with the territory. 

It is also easy to take one's eye from the bouncing ball. Let's be honest, life happens. 

After an unexpected lay-off, Linda Acaster is ready to upload a Supernatural Suspense... into a bit of a vacuum. Join her on her website as she considers the dilemma, and plans her way to a resolution.

Friday 6 November 2015

Short of Success?

Stuart Aken, who recently had a short story competition entry shortlisted and published in the winners’ anthology, writes about the benefits of entering writing contests. Short fiction is popular with readers, but almost impossible to have published. The contest route can be a way of gaining recognition and publication. You’ll find his post on the subject if you click this link.
The relevance of the picture of the Humber Bridge will become clear when you read to the end of the post and click on the final link there!

Saturday 31 October 2015

A Far from Conventional Convention.

Stuart Aken was invited by his publisher, Fantastic BooksPublishing, to attend FantastiCon 2015 to sign copies of the hardback edition of his science fiction novella, The Methuselah Strain. The event took place over the weekend of 24/25th October in a hotel on the banks of the River Humber. As Stuart spent a good deal of his youth in the village where the hotel is located, it was something of a treat for him to return. He gives a full account of the event on his blog, highlighting the benefits of attendance for a writer. You can find that piece by clicking here.

Thursday 22 October 2015

The unexpected mountain and does it matter?

Most publishers (in my experience anyway) ask for some input from the author on the book cover although they retain the right to a final say. I'm happy with that. Marketing and covers are more their area than mine. The exception for me has been the US market. I get no say at all. I don't even get to see the covers until I receive my author copies of the book. Is that a problem? Not for me. Every cover has been spot on. Here are the previous ones:

Ok, it's not a problem for me, but should it be?

Those moors look like the wrong end of Yorkshire, and that castle is certainly the wrong bit of Scotland and the white cliffs of ... ahem ... Withernsea... but you know what, in each case the scene and the mood are just perfect. These people are actually reading my books! They must be or they'd never get the covers so completely spot on. And now number 4 has arrived. Here it is:

Again we see the rolling hills of the famously flat East Yorkshire coast, but just look at that water, the hanging mist, the boat, and the wonderful colours on the lamp. It's the essence of the book in a single image. Do I care that I get no say in these covers? Not a jot.

Saturday 17 October 2015

A Fantastic Showcase for Hornsea Writers

Next week FantastiCon 2015 lands in Hull, lights flashing, space ships circling, aliens and androids descending. Get a feel for the event by watching the TV advert HERE

It’s an international event, and Hornsea Writers will be there.

FantastiCon is a huge Sci-Fi / Fantasy extravaganza featuring actors and writers from Dr Who, Star Wars and Elite: Dangerous. As well as an array of virtual reality experiences, full-sized Daleks, live gaming and an indie cinema, attendees will see five books launched.

Dr Who actor, Simon Fisher-Becker, is releasing the first volume, My Dalek has a Puncture, of his 3-part autobiography with an exclusive version of his one-man show. Keeping him company will be Hornsea Writer Stuart Aken who will be launching the hardback edition of his novelette, The Methuselah Strain.

The other launch books, two fantasy tales and one Sci-Fi are The Boy in Winter’s Grasp, Till They Dropped and Shadeward: Emanation.

The works of Hornsea Writers Penny Grubb and Linda Acaster will be featured at the Fantastic Bookstore within the convention.

CLICK HERE for details of FantastiCon.

Saturday 26 September 2015

Hull Book Fair

The Hull Book Fair was held on a Saturday in mid-September. An initially rainy day cleared up in time for hordes of readers to pour into Hull’s central library to feast their eyes on the best of local writing.

The Fair was opened by Mike Ulyett and Library Services Director, Michelle Alford

Hornsea Writers’ stall was sponsored by Fantastic BooksPublishing

The picture shows (L to R) authors Madeleine McDonald, Ann Wilkinson, Sylvia Broady and Penny Grubb standing behind their collection of 28 different titles – books from Hornsea Writers themselves plus recent publications from local publisher Fantastic Books. The stall featured crime, fantasy, paranormal, saga, autobiography, historical and writing guides. 

Friday 18 September 2015

A Shameless Demand for Your Hard-Earned Cash!

I'll be uncharacteristically brief. I took part in the Great North Run last Sunday. That's a run of 13.1 miles for those who don't know. I'm 67 and undertook the run to raise funds for the charity that helped me defeat the pernicious condition commonly known as ME/CFS, from which I suffered for 10 years. Now recovered, which in itself is an unusual event, I wanted to give something back to the community that supported me. So, please visit my blog here to discover how you can gain a free eBook as a reward for your generosity. A look at another post, here, will give those of you who are interested full details of the run itself (it's a long post). But, if I've caught you at your most busy and generous, you can bypass it all by simply going to my JustGiving site here and donating a couple of quid, dollars, euros, or any other currency you happen to have on your person.

Thank you for you attention and your generosity.

Friday 11 September 2015

Three books at a time

Hornsea Writer Penny Grubb recently found herself reading three books at once and wondering how this came about. The books were a crime novel, an autobiography and a romance. 

In the normal course of events Penny would put these genres in order of preference as first the crime, second the biography and lastly the romance. In the case of this triple read, the order upended itself and became romance, crime, then autobiography. 

The reasons were varied, touching on a doctor demanding a cigarette on a hospital ward, a peer of the realm being not quite as irritating as he might have been and a rather clever mirroring of a favourite classic. Follow this link for more detail of Penny’s take on Sayers, Tennant and Bard.

Friday 4 September 2015


Madeleine McDonald was one of only five writers shortlisted in the summer 2015 Writers’ Village short story competition. The competition is run twice a year and attracts hundreds of entries from across the world. This summer’s crop produced three winners, with a further five shortlisted and ten highly commended.

One reason the Writers’ Village competition attracts so many entries is that the sole judge, author John Yeoman, takes the time and trouble to provide a short critique of each and every entry.

The Writers’ Village website offers writing courses as well as an entertaining blog. 

Saturday 29 August 2015

Horses for Courses: Residential writers' courses - April Taylor's view.

I have been back from the Swanwick Writers School in Derbyshire for almost two weeks now. In those two weeks, I have mused on the advantages and disadvantages for any writer attending one of these courses, using my experience of the Writers Holiday in Wales two years ago and the Writers School in Swanwick.

There will be those writers who do not feel they need to spend the £500 (ish) for a week of being looked after and not having to concentrate on anything but writing. Good luck to those. My feelings are that, even the seasoned published successful writer can come away with something new from a writing week experience.

Writers' Holiday, Fishguard

Swanwick Writers School, Derbyshire

If you would like to read more about my thoughts, go to my blog here:

You can find more information about April Taylor here: