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:

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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: