Saturday 23 September 2017

The deadline: sword of Damocles or writer's salvation?

I'm a self-confessed last-minuter. Homework, exam revision, holiday packing, you name it. And my displacement activities are beyond ingenious.

Therefore, I work best under pressure: give me a deadline, and I'm on it. So writing a regular newspaper column has been an education. Over the last three years, I have contributed thirty-six dog articles, plus a short story, to our local community newspaper. 

Having blagged my way into Issue 1, I've been lucky enough, thanks to an accommodating editor, to have carte-blanche over length, content and accompanying photographs. Writing about your lifelong passion, though, can be self-indulgent. Thus I began with a burning desire to pour it all out, relevant or not, spread the word and Inform my readership. Those early articles were too long, too detailed, often wandering off-topic. I was precious about trivia, but quickly learned to temper my enthusiasm, fine-tune and cut to the bone. It's surprising how spreading your material thinner, enables you to re-shape and re-use it, shake it up, change the perspective and think outside the box, so that each piece, although shorter, is fresher and sharper, hopefully hitting the right spot with readers. (And this being a small town, I get plenty of feedback!)

A monthly column, you're thinking? Doesn't sound too arduous. Except that the combination of pantser and perfectionist produces its own kind of stress: that looming deadline focusses the mind. Although my overall theme is that of Dogs, every piece is a new challenge, a fresh voice, which must, nevertheless, harmonise with the whole composition. I have written on many topics from the serious to the scatalogical, thoroughly enjoying the process of construction.

I'm not paid for my efforts, but the skills and experience I've gained have been invaluable. I couldn't have achieved them without, you guessed it, those Deadlines. And I haven't missed one yet!

Saturday 16 September 2017

Yes, it's time for the C word! And a cover reveal.

The first draft of 2017's Georgia Pattison Christmas adventure is done. And, better still, the cover is also done.

This year Georgia is asked to sing for the Carol Concert of a small church in the heart of the Malvern Hills. Elgar Country.

Elgar knew every inch of the Malverns and on his sturdy bicycle, Mr Phoebus, was regularly seen riding the highways and byways. He got his inspiration from the countryside and once told a friend that if they were ever walking the hills and heard someone whistling the theme from his 'Cello Concerto that they should not worry, it would only be him.

Georgia's latest adventure features stolen artefacts and an international smuggling ring. Oh, and murder! As usual, it is up to our intrepid and somewhat stroppy heroine to sort through the mess and help DCI Hamilton to the correct solution.

I have more edits to do, of course, but The Bleak Midwinter will be available from all Amazon outlets just before Christmas.

You can read more about April Taylor here:

Saturday 9 September 2017

#Interview + Thoughts On Using #InstaFreebie

Linda Acaster is interviewed on the Fantasy & Magic website focusing on her Torc of Moonlight trilogy: Why Fantasy? Who were her influencers? and lots of other pertinent questions.

On her own website she also ruminates on access to InstaFreebie's new Group Giveaway for subscribing authors. Full novels, or samples? It may depend...

Friday 1 September 2017

Book Launches at #FantastiCon

It's that time of year again. 2nd-3rd September Fantasticon will be at the Hull Guildhall. Three members of Hornsea Writers will be launching their paperbacks, so if you want signed copies, download your tickets now.

Stuart Aken's War Over Dust is the second in his 'Generation Mars' series.

Two communities, one a democratic technical Utopia, the other an elitist commercial ghetto, compete to rule the future of mankind on Mars, long cut off from Earth. Which will prevail when violence overcomes diplomacy?

Can two people come together to re-assert the founding philosophy, or might there be a third way?


Penny Grubb's Syrup Trap City is the 6th in her Crime Mystery series set in and around Hull and focusing on private investigator Annie Raymond.

Annie is undercover on a routine job in the hospitality industry - except no job is ever routine.  The restaurant is being fleeced, certainly, but is that a cover for something far more sinister?

When she's betrayed, is it by someone far closer to home?

Linda Acaster's Pilgrims Of The Pool is the final in her 'Torc of Moonlight' trilogy of contemporary time-spanning Fantasies centring on the re-emergence of a Celtic water goddess.

Has Nick Blaketon calculated the lunar cycle correctly, or is that for another to determine?

Book 1 is set in Hull and links into a Celtic past. Book 2 is set in York where the pattern of Roman Eboracum lies beneath every street and house. Book 3 is set in Durham and concerns Mediaeval politics and pilgrimages while contemporary worries focus on hydraulic fracturing.

Join us in Hull at FantastiCon There are a number of authors attending and book launches on every side. Or try out the virtual reality. Or have a laugh over the retro board games. Or man a spacecraft. Or listen to the speakers and the musicians. As the organisers say, it's a doing Con, and there's plenty to do.