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.