Friday 22 December 2023

Wishing Our Readers Festive Cheer!

Image by Speedy McVroom via Pixabay

Members of Hornsea Writers raise a glass to you, our Readers, who make all our efforts worthwhile.

We wish you personal happiness, the contentment of a good book and, most importantly, the best of health as we move into the New Year.

Life is for living – so enjoy!

 Merry Christmas


Friday 1 December 2023

Hornsea Writers At The Massive Autumn Book Launch Event: Madeleine McDonald

Hornsea writer, Madeleine McDonald, a prolific short story writer was shortlisted in Fantastic Books Publishing’s flash fiction competition and her story appears in their latest anthology, Kaleidoscope, that was launched at the Massive Autumn Book Launch Event (MABLE).

Friday 24 November 2023

Hornsea Writers At The Massive Autumn Book Launch Event: Penny Grubb


Hornsea writer, Penny Grubb, launched her new novel, Death By Column Inches,  at Fantastic Books Publishing’s Massive Autumn Book Launch Event (MABLE).

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed a pseudonym. Penny says, “This book was first conceived before any of my private investigator series had seen the light of day. It’s very different and I was advised not to use the same name.”

The story of the book and its long journey from initial idea to launch is outlined in its launch video.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Hornsea Writers At The Massive Autumn Book Launch Event: Stuart Aken


Hornsea writer, Stuart Aken, was featured more than once at Fantastic Books Publishing’s Massive Autumn Book Launch Event (MABLE).

He appeared in an Eco-Thrillers Spotlight where 4 of his books were highlighted — An Excess Of… and his Generation Mars trilogy. In the spotlight video he can be seen chatting to fellow author, Linda Nicklin, whose novel, Storm Girl, set in Yorkshire & Lincolnshire, is also featured.

Later in the event, Stuart’s fantasy trilogy, A Seared Sky, was featured, along with fantasy series End Of Empire by Alex Janaway and The Filey Chronicles by Janet Blackwell.

Don't be too quick to think that the participants were all seasoned recording artists who sailed through without a glitch. The video editor occasionally slipped in some entertaining outtake sections.

Friday 22 September 2023

"Crime and Punishment in Tudor England". How I made the jump from fiction to non-fiction

 At last, some three weeks later than scheduled, my first non-fiction commission is in the world and available for purchase.


I have always enjoyed history, but this was the history we never learned in school. In fact, it turns out the history we were taught in school was eons away from the stark reality of life for ordinary—and extraordinary—people who lived in the Tudor era.

I learned things that surprised me, sickened me, but also things that made me laugh. The experience of researching and writing such a book proved a steep learning curve. One I wanted to keep climbing. So, it will come as no surprise that I have signed contracts for two more books for Pen and Sword, the first of which is proving just as fascinating to research as the Tudor one.

 For more details on the adventures of getting a book published, you can read my blog here:


Crime and Punishment in Tudor England: From Alchemists to Zealots 

You can find it here: and here: 

You can read more about April Taylor here:

 Twitter  Amazon UK  Amazon USA Facebook

Friday 15 September 2023

Hornsea Writer. Karen Wolfe, On Writing

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



Creating new from old

Tell me more…

I have two novels on the go, both needing reconstruction and some re-writing.

The first, ‘Dogdays’, is the final book in the Georgie Crane, dog-whisperer trilogy. I would classify the series as ‘Comi-crime’ with a few hard edges and a multitude of dogs.  

The second work-in-progress is ‘Blackrigg’ a Gothic comic fantasy, with fairies (!)  set amidst the dark, satanic mills. This one has broken out of its novella cage and growed like Topsy when I wasn’t looking, hence the fine-tuning…possibly a spanner might come in handy!

Tell me about a writing-related event from last year:

2022 marked the 10th anniversary of our local paper, the Hornsea Community News. Since issue 1, I have written a monthly column about dogs, their behaviour, training and ancestry, covering every aspect from the hilarious to the heart-rending,

That’s 120 articles, just waiting to be assimilated into a book (provisionally titled: ‘This is your pack-leader speaking.’) Reader feedback tells me there’s a ready market for dogology, so I’m hoping the seeds of last year’s anniversary will yield a decent literary harvest.

Learn more:

Please visit my Amazon author page.

Covers for the first two Granny Beamish comic fantasies

Covers for the first two Georgie Crane novels, plus number three, coming in 2024

Learn more about Karen Wolfe here.

Friday 1 September 2023




“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” 

 Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own



It's a well known quote, however room in one’s head is also vital, regardless of your gender.


Life is ensuring that many writers are struggling to find time to write. This won’t be news to our regular readers, and it’s not special to our part of the English east coast. The ongoing impacts of COVID combined with pressures of the cost of living, caring, (grand)children, all the usual house work, and the neverending mental load of personal health issues, don’t help the process of writing.


Spring day view from a meeting at Hornsea Writers. It includes a flag pole with Union Jack, a bowling green and flowers.

That’s not to say Hornsea Writers haven’t been busy. Joy is working away at her next installment of her Reighton Chronicles, Madeline’s stories continue to flow, Stuart has launched his next novel. Avril has signed with Pen and Sword. Linda released Forever House, and Karen, Penny and Shellie have their own projects that will see the light of day much sooner after this summer’s development. 

 Each week Hornsea Writers meets to critique work written during the week. It's more than a support group. The intention is to improve, practice and develop. Whether or not an individual author has something to share, it's worth the time to go. Authors write in different markets, so there’s always something to learn. Post COVID lockdown saw the regular writing group move from Wednesday evenings to Monday afternoons.


However, this wasn’t enough. Secretly conspiring between themselves to ensure that their own ambitions and projects continued, Hornsea Writers carved out time for themselves by meeting a second time every week.

It wasn't just a simple matter of turning up. Each writer had to identify what it was that was getting in the way and make sure that that did not come with them on ‘Trial Run Thursday’. With sunny views, a pen, notepad, and a bottle of water to keep them company, and maybe someone brought tea. The combined focus and support prevented individual writers wandering down research rabbit holes, and stay on plot.

Picture of a flask, pencil case and notebook. Background is of a bowling green in late spring.

On Thursdays in summer Hornsea Writers now hold an in-person writing sprint. Spirited away from phones, emails, distracting loved ones, demands of housework, and anything else that disrupts committing words to page. The trial was a success. The first meeting saw short stories, blog posts and articles drafted out. Several months later those drafts are working their way through slush piles. 

As it has developed, the time is used to plan and see the directions of our writing careers.It's an imporant part of finding words, finding direction and keeping focus.

Isn't it amazing what you can do when you're allowed (or, importantly allow yourself) the space to focus.


Shellie Horst is the author of several science fiction and fantasy short stories and also reviews for SFFWorld & The British Science FIction Association. Her story, My Little Mecha was longlisted for the BSFA Award as has her cover art for Distaff. You can follow her on your prefered social media, or on her website:

Friday 25 August 2023

Hornsea Writer, Joy Gelsthorpe, On Writing

The Book Nook

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


Tell me more

Bonfires and Brandy has been beta read/copy-edited by a local historian as well as two other
authors, so the manuscript is now with the publisher and should be out in mid-summer. It is
my fourth novel in the series about the Jordan farming family in Reighton in the early 1700s.
This latest book is no sanitised version of life; it shows a village left in a moral vacuum.
Without a resident vicar, young men are hell-bent on sport, gambling and mischief. Women,
children and animals face the brunt, but there is hope for the future. A boy’s personal tragedy
alters his life and, alongside cruelty, there is the redeeming feature of a boy learning to be a
shepherd. Boys will be boys and they can change, but can the men do the same?

Apart from Wray’s Stationers in Filey, few bookshops will stock local authors, so I’ve done
my usual tour of shops-cum-post offices in the area. This has led to a couple of successful
outlets. Since Hornsea Museum and the gift shop at Hornsea Mere sell my books, other
museums and tourist sites will be my next venture. I live in hope.

Just recently, a bookshop opened in Bridlington Old Town (The Book Nook, 44, High Street)
It not only stocks my books but also advertises them in the window display. Yey!

I'll be attending Hornsea's Town House Fair on Newbegin on Saturday, 26th August to sign and sell copies of the new book.

Craft Fairs are another option. I’ll be at The Driffield Steam Fair this year to sell and sign
books – the weekend of 12th to 13th August.

Tell me about a writing-related event from last year

Last year I attended the first Filey Literature Festival since Covid. Other local authors also
displayed and signed their books at The Evron Centre. Luckily, I’d bought a card reader so I
could offer a deal on the books so far in the series. Sales were good and I was glad I’d bought
bags that were just the right size for three books. Now I need to buck up my ideas on signing,
and remember to ask how people spell their names…

Learn more about Joy here.

Friday 28 July 2023

Blink and You Missed It


I have always enjoyed the challenge of telling a complete story within the discipline of a tight world count. It's up to readers to join the dots and complete what is left unsaid. This week Vine Leaves Press published my story below in their long-running 50-word micro-fiction series.


The Old Dog 

His uncle left everything to charity and he inherited the cantankerous dog. It was old, with a weeping eye. He paid the vet’s bills and gave it food but no love. They lived in mute, reproachful companionship until the dog died and the man mourned a life of failed relationships.

Not only are the stories short, they are also short-lived. One a day online. Then it vanishes, replaced by the next offering. A smorgasbord of light-hearted, sombre, wise or witty stories. Yet come the end of the year, they will re-appear in anthology form. 

In the meantime, fans of bite-sized fiction can sign up for their daily dose at

Madeleine McDonald







Friday 14 July 2023

Half-Price Ebooks!


Not all authors sell their ebooks direct via the many e-retail outlets available as it can be a lot of work keeping tabs on individual outlets. 

Linda Acaster uses the distributor Smashwords/Draft2Digital to gain access to Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Scribd. It works well, as Smashwords offers ePub format as well as mobi format for a Kindle.

And Smashwords runs a twice-annual Sale 😃 

Until the end of July, Linda's titles via Smashwords are available half price - yes, 50% discount added at checkout. What could be easier? Do have a look.

Thinking about writing your own fiction? Linda's Writer's Guide does what it says on its cover - no waffle, ten full stories explained: 

Reading A Writer's Mind: Exploring Short Fiction - First Thought to Finished Story


For readers who enjoy a quick shiver as the daylight fades, there's a choice of three Chillers:


Want to lose yourself in longer reads? The time-spanning Torc of Moonlight trilogy of a modern-day water goddess, takes you on a journey through Celtic Hull, Roman York, and Medieval Durham. History is mere inches beneath our feet. And it never truly dies.


Available as a single trilogy or individual ebooks.

Enjoy your reading!

Friday 30 June 2023

Hornsea Writer, Stuart Aken, On Writing

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

Creating new fiction.

Tell me more

Currently, the envisaged novel is forming within my skull, as the idea forms into something that may become publishable. As a pantster, I never plot. My created characters are people I come to know and love, mostly. Once those relationships have matured, I set the players in a location relevant to the story and allow them to determine the route they will take to arrive at my predetermined destination. I know what themes I want to explore. I carry in my grey matter the fragile scaffolding on which the story will be built. But all my writing, regardless of what else the story says, is about relationships. And the way I deal with those is by wearing my characters’ skins, moving in their shoes, encountering their doubts, fears, and hopes, and attempting their ambitions.

The new novel is partly inspired by Yann Martel’s extraordinary work, ‘Self’. For now, I’ll say no more on that.  

Tell me about a writing-related event from last year

Resting from the all-consuming demands of imagined scenarios, I spent last year writing for Medium. Eighteen stories in total, on a variety of topics from dogs through taxes and beaches, to walks in foreign climes encouraged me to share my thoughts. Most of these are accompanied by photographs I’ve taken (I was once a full time professional photographer, and now continue the art in a semi-professional way.) You’ll find one piece that illustrates my two creative loves here. There will be more short articles this year. You’ll find them here.

Writing the odd factual piece is useful for an author of fiction, as it increases the writer’s knowledge of the real world, which can then inform whatever stories are subsequently written. Not all fiction is reliant on research, but by far the vast majority is. We spend a great deal of time discovering facts to lend validity and truth to the products of our imagination. Last year, I spent a good deal of time resting my creative drive and encouraging the restorative effects of enjoyment of life. I also read a lot of factual books, including some basic research for the next novel. That task will continue this year, even as I begin to write the new book. It’s an ongoing process for most of us. Without deep research from the author, many works of fiction would fail to convince the average reader of their veracity.

Learn more about Stuart here.

Friday 9 June 2023

How a lifetime interest in the Tudors led to a fantasy series

When I was 14, I read Margaret Campbell Barnes’ “Murder Most Foul” about Anne Boleyn. I became so fascinated about her, I then read anything our village library had about her - not much - and ravaged the school library, too. 

When I was in my early 20s, my parents went to Warwick Castle, where Holbein’s pencil drawing of Anne was on display. My father was not given to flights of fancy, but said ‘That looks like our April’. When I got married and had an ‘Anne Boleyn beaded head-dress', then saw the photos, the pencil sketch did look a bit like me. 

So it was no surprise that years later, I decided to write a historical fantasy crime novel, set in a world where Anne was not executed but carried her 1534 pregnancy to term.  I then decided to go the whole hog and put a bit of magic in it, and Luke Ballard, elemancer, was born. It wasn’t until I visited Hampton Court Palace - on my wish list for over 30 years - that Luke found his home in the Outer Green apothecary shop.

The amount of intrigue flying around the court in the last days of Henry VIII’s life was the perfect setting for what would become the first book in the series. Needless to say, Anne Boleyn plays an important part in the plot. 

Thus, “Dangers of Destiny” was born.

You can  find out more about it here on my blog:  

Dangers of Destiny is free to read on Kindle Unlimited, or £3.99 from Amazon.
You can find it here:

You can read more about April Taylor here:

 Twitter  Amazon UK  Amazon USA YouTube

Friday 26 May 2023

Hornsea Writer, Linda Acaster, On Writing

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

Pivoting my focus.

Tell me more:

For years I’ve been a writer of novels which needed a great amount of research and planning. While they’ve brought me much satisfaction, they are definitely a long haul job.

By chance I came upon novellas, dipping my toe into the Chiller genre with Scent of the Böggel-Mann and The Paintings, and found the length better suits the demands of my current lifestyle. I’ve a couple of Historical novellas to finish, and I’m looking for a subject and genre I’d enjoy carrying into a series.

I’m also concentrating more time on content-writing for Medium, a digital platform which hosts a multitude of niche publications. The aim is to launch a couple of my own. Through years of research and novel-writing, I’ve a wealth of information to share.

Tell me about a writing-related event from last year

I created my first decent ebook cover for the Psychological Mystery The Forever House, launched during early summer, but overlooked the “bleeds” necessary for a paperback edition – LOL! After an initial horrified shriek, I turned to YouTube to immerse myself in a crash course on photo-manipulation, and realised I enjoyed the challenge. The attention to detail is very reminiscent of that needed when writing fiction.

Learn more about Linda here.

Friday 28 April 2023

Hornsea Writer, Madeleine McDonald, On Writing

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

Anything and everything.

Tell me more:

In 2022 my aim was to submit something somewhere once a week to competitions or anthologies that either paid a cash prize or rewarded authors indirectly by publishing under an ISBN number. Alas, online magazines that fill their pages by asking authors to work for no pay are mushrooming, and are to be avoided like the plague.

I am grateful to those generous writers who donate their time and effort to spread the word among fellow scribes by posting lists of worthwhile opportunities on the Internet.

In terms of success, in 2022, I had three short stories, and two non-fiction pieces published. 2023 has started well, with the publication of one poem and two cosy crime shorts.

A new departure for me was selecting and introducing stories for The Best of Cafe Lit 11. All the authors published on the CafeLit website are good writers, and selecting only a few took careful thought.

Tell me about a writing-related event from last year

The success I relished the most was to win Press 53's monthly competition to tell a story in 53 words exactly, after submitting to them for years. Their contest is great fun and I shall carry on trying.

Learn more about Madeleine here.