Saturday 25 April 2015

Writers on writing – part 1

Hornsea Writer Linda Acaster with novelists Stephen King, Agatha Christie and Barbara Taylor Bradford share their thoughts on writing.

Meanwhile, Hornsea Writer Penny Grubb finds the birthplaceof Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Spring Cleaning: Three Authors' Websites

Yes, it’s that time of year. The wall might be peeling behind the desk, but which writer wants to dig out their writing space to add a lick of paint? The act of removing all those research tomes, notebooks of jotted ideas, bits of half-discarded envelopes carrying insightful quips and snatches of pithy dialogue... Who would get to the actual prepping with so much to rediscover? Far easier to give the old author website a revamp.

Three members of Hornsea Writers have done just that. And here are their excuses... sorry, reasons:

Noted word-wrangler, Stuart Aken, decided to swap Blogger for Wordpress as he wanted more control over his site.

‘Blogger is a great free platform, but is subject to Google's sometimes arbitrary decisions and doesn't give the writer the availability of a website. Wordpress, especially if you use the hosted option, gives the writer complete control, allows for multiple pages like a website, and is a crowd-sourced platform free from the commercial considerations of any one company.’

It isn’t though, an afternoon’s job. It is taking him a while to get the site the way he wants it, but he considers it a work in progress. Check the new look:

April Taylor, known for her Alternative Tudor Mysteries, decided to go the whole hog and move from a blogging site to a website with an internal blog.

‘There comes a time in each writer’s life when they look at their site and realise it just won’t do. I really didn’t want the hassle of building another, so took a couple of weeks to research the various programmes out there, growing more despondent by the minute. However, it was a task I could no longer put off, so when I had girded my loins with a couple of gins, I plumped for Weebly. 

‘The process is easy and very flexible. In fact, once I plunged into the icy waters of creation, it only took me a morning to build the new site. The secret is to plan – on paper – what you want each page of the site to look like and what kind of information each needs to convey. After that, building the new site is a doddle.’

The site is open for viewing and you can tell her what you think via the contact page:

In contrast, Linda Acaster plumped for the easier option and scrubbed up her Blogger site.

‘I’m a slow writer and not a daily blogger so wanted a site with a free-standing landing page. The Blogger framework can be fairly flexible if you don’t mind twiddling with a bit of html. Of course, what I know about html can be written in large script on the back of a postage stamp, but that’s why YouTube was invented. Someone, somewhere, has done it all before and will happily walk you through it.

‘I’m treating the current incarnation as a halfway house. When I finally stop messing with its width I’ll go about designing a new header image. Besides, as a displacement activity to writing the current novel it is infinitely better than scrubbing the kitchen floor with a toothbrush.’

Cast a wry eye over her design technique at

Saturday 11 April 2015

Real settings merging into fictional

Hornsea Writer, Penny Grubb, charts some facts about York, the setting for her police procedural series.

"A pub for every day of the year ... what's not to like?"

Det. Supt. Martyn Webber's murder investigation collides head on with private investigator Annie Raymond who thought she was tracking an errant spouse. And in the aftermath of a flash flood, something nasty washes up.

Buried Deep is available as an an ebook or paperback.

Read a review here.

Saturday 4 April 2015

It's Not Always Writing...

Yes, we do crawl from our separate garrets occasionally - meetings, conferences, litfests, research, supermarket - and sometimes to support a fellow writer at a Library Event Near You! 

Recently a few of our members did just that, swelling the ranks of a reading group, library users, and interested citizens to hear Stephanie Butland chat and answer questions about her debut novel Letters To My Husband. Or... Surrounded By Water. Or... The Secrets We Keep. Or... Omringd Door Water. You guessed it, the title is dependant on the country and sometimes even the retailer, something Stephanie admitted confused even her at the outset, but became a great topic for discussion.

Linda, Madeleine & Karen with a laughing Stephanie
Stephanie was as enthusiastic as her audience and a great evening was had by all. Both the library staff and Stephanie asked for photographs, and we, of course, obliged. Except we're all trying to look nonchalent and failing, after laughing in the scrum to show the different covers of her book.

The event in Hornsea Library was a joint venture sponsored by Wordquake, Read Regional, and East Riding of Yorkshire Libraries. Let there be more!