A Sackful of Shorts is an anthology of 13 diverse short stories from Hornsea Writers, a group of published authors from the East Riding of Yorkshire in England. They're a mixed bunch (I'm one of them) with many different books, stories, plays and articles to their names. Here's a little more information about the collection, the individual stories, and the writers themselves:
Karen Wolfe; Squirrels - This story won the 2008 BBC Radio 4 Square Dog short story competition, and the Aesthetica Magazine literary prize in 2009.
Karen, writing since early childhood, is never without a headful of Book. Her first love is dogs, and she has, rather appropriately, won the BBC 4 'Square Dog' competition twice in succession, contributing to the American Wolfsongs anthology, and also winning the Aesthetica Magazine literary prize in 2008 and the Village Writers short story competition 2010 with Sparrowban. Her novel, Seers, was published in December 2008, with its sequel, Seers' Moon following in November 2009. She's currently writing Dogwatch, the second in a series of crime-novels (with dogs!) Contact Karen. Interview with Karen.
Avril Field-Taylor; The Gloves Are Off - This story was a prizewinner in 2008 in the Wellington competition.
Avril has been writing most of her adult life, whilst working as a librarian. Giving up work and moving to the east coast, she's found success in writing competitions as well as two published novels. In 2009, she won the Emerging Talent prize for Abbey Hill Literary. Her first book, Dearly Ransomed Soul features her 20th century detective, Georgia Pattison, professional singer and sleuth and Murder at Oakwood Grange is a tribute to Sherlock Holmes. Avril is now writing a series of crime fantasy novels set in an alternate Tudor history at Hampton Court Palace and hopes to see them in print soon. Avril's blog. Interview with Avril.
Stuart Aken; The Best Possible Time - This story won first prize in Writers' Forum Magazine Short Story competition and was published in the July/August issue of the magazine in 2007.
The story was adapted from the original opening chapter of Stuart Aken's novel, Breaking Faith, before changes to the book as it now appears both in ebook form with Smashwords and as a print edition; see his website for details. He runs this blog, tweets regularly on Twitter, and can be found amongst friends on Facebook, where you're welcome to join him.
Many of his short stories have been coontest prize-winners and 3 such have been published in UK national writers' magazine, Writers' Forum. He's also had a play broadcast on UK national radio; BBC Radio 4.
Linda Acaster; Shared With The Light - Linda's published work includes over seventy short stories in genres as diverse as women's, horror, crime, fantasy, mainstream and SF, published in UK, USA and Europe. Her paperback novels include three historicals and contemporary time-slip thriller, Torc of Moonlight, the first of a trilogy set in British university cities. She's also written travel features and opinion pieces for the UK press, and an abundance of articles on the techniques of writing fiction.
Two of her historical novels are available as ebooks, Hostage of the Heart and Beneath The Shining Mountains. Torc of Moonlight : Special Edition includes research features and an interview with the author.
Annie Wilkinson; Sidestepping King David - Annie was born into a northern mining family, which provided material for a quartet of novels, A Sovereign for a Song, Winning a Wife, No Price too High, and For King and Country. The novels are set in north east England, starting at the beginning of the twentieth century and ending after the Armistice. All the novels are published by Simon and Schuster and are available from Amazon UK , Fantastic Fiction and Love Reading. A Sovereign for a Song won the Romantic Novelist Association's New Writers' Award in 2004.
Deborah Sutcliffe; Annals Of The Space Clinic (Extracts) - Deborah doesn't 'write' as such, but enjoys wordsmithing when the necessity arises, such as writing indignant letters to the papers, Council, Queen etc. In the case of the 'Annals' she wanted to explore our language and its wonderful spelling. A retired midwife, she believes her past probably explains the direction it took.
Madeleine McDonald; Sisters - This story was first broadcast on BBC Radio Newcastle in 1998
Madeleine left school with a shorthand-typing certificate and the intention of working her way round the world. Life had other plans and she got no further than where Alsace borders Switzerland and Germany. Living in France and cycling over the border to work in Switzerland, she coped with overlapping Germanic dialects. Later she worked as a freelance conference translator for international organisations, which took her to diplomatic capitals all over Europe.
She didn't start writing until her thirties, when she married an Englishman and moved to East Yorkshire. She's a regular newspaper columnist and has had short stories and humorous pieces broadcast on BBC radio, as well as poems published in anthologies. Her romance novel, Enchantment In Morocco, is available from Red Rose Publishing and Fictionwise. Madeleine's blog. Interview with Madeleine.
Penny Grubb - A Fine Kettle Of Fish - This story was shortlisted in an animal-themed competition in 2001 and first appeared in a UK anthology sponsored by the RSPCA in the same year.
Penny is a novelist, writing crime fiction including a series set in the UK featuring PI Annie Raymond. A writer all her life, she penned her first story at age 4 and won her first writing competition at age 9. In 2004 under the name Ellen Grubb she won the Crime Writers' Association's Debut Dagger for her novel, The Doll Makers. In 2010, her novel Like False Money was nominated for the CWA John Creasey Dagger. Her third novel, the Jawbone Gang, is published in May 2011. As well as being a writer, scientist and academic, Penny devotes much of her time protecting writers' rights. Since 2007 she's been Chair of the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society which collects money due to writers for secondary use of their work, paying out millions of pounds to many thousands of writers every year. Penny's writing has been published in various contexts – novels, non-fiction books, textbooks, academic papers, articles and radio broadcasts. The story in this anthology is one of her rare excursions into short fiction. Contact Penny. Interview with Penny.
Wayne Scott Ross; A Day In The Bowl - This story is part of Wayne's most recent novella and was a prize winner in the prestigious 'New Writers' awards; 'The Black Alice Tales' being a humorous description of life on a Scottish deer estate, based in part on personal experience.
Wayne is a multi genre writer, covering both fact and fiction. L. Ron Hubbards Writers of the Future judges commended him on his novella entry, The Seeds of Legend, and he's had success in the Sci-fi or Fantasy section of the Plane Tree competition. He's currently looking for a publisher for the sci-fi short story anthology, Nastassia in the Rain. Recent novel projects include a contemporary thriller set on a small Scottish island, being a mix of lesbian love, drugs, murder and the shipping forecast.
A graduate engineer, engineering lecturer and consultant, with many years of senior industrial management experience behind him, he had published 'Continuous Improvements, a Step by Step Guide' by Management Books 2000. It has been extremely well received and is standard reading in a number of major British companies. A recently completed film screenplay, Time and Time Again was favourably received by agents, and garnered good reviews. He's also written articles for diverse publications.
Currently he's developing a range of city travel guides for children, each a stand alone adventure story set in the likes of York, Lincoln, Oxford and so on.
Rick Sumner; The Funeral - This story is from an audio tape, Kilby Welfare – Stories from a pit village, read by Paul Copley and Tony Capstick.
Rick, born in Manchester in the early thirties, worked for 11 years in coal mines in Lancashire and Yorkshire. He also made several trips as a deck hand on deep sea trawlers before eventually spending 17 years heading a community advice and support team in Manchester's inner city. Rick moved to Hornsea when he retired. He's had quite a number of short stories published in literary journals but his favourite achievement was the production of the audio tape, Kilby Welfare, Stories from a Pit Village. Copies of the tape can be obtained through Rick at his email address but it's possible the stories may soon be available on a CD.
Pippa Ireland; Men! They're All The Same - This prizewinning story was first published in Bonmarché magazine, winter 2005
Pippa, published poet and award-winning equestrian, made a big splash in the writing world when she organised La Scala Studios' first short story competition in 2010 as a feasibility study for her University course. The competition attracted almost £2000 in sponsorship, a record entry, and culminated in a prestigious prize presentation, following which two of the winning stories were accepted for publication in a national magazine. For her efforts, Pippa won an award for academic excellence and was offered the opportunity to organise the competition on an annual basis for La Scala Studios. Pippa is currently writing a novel, and has previously had poetry and short fiction published.
Mary P Stanley; Construction Over Water - This story was awarded third place in The New Writer Prose and Poetry competition, 2009
Mary is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Hull, where she was awarded the Philip Larkin Prize for mixed-genre work in 2008. Her first published literary work, Construction Over Water; An Elegy For Wanda, appeared in The New Writer Collection, July/August 2010. She's previously worked in theatres across Canada as a member of Canadian Actors Equity Association and combines an interest in writing with a love for live theatre.
Len E. Wilx; James Sorts Things Out - Len E. Wilx was born in Yorkshire in 1973. Married to a real life 'James', she currently works full time developing packaging for class A drugs. She has two small children and enjoys food (especially chocolate!), racquet ball and holidays.
So, you can see we're a very mixed bunch. Professionalism, however, links us, along with our love of language and story-telling. We offer one another open, honest and constructive criticism and provide support, advice and practical help where needed. Our weekly gatherings are lively affairs, good-humoured in spite of the frank nature of our discussions. I've gained a huge amount of knowledge and experience by being a member of this group and was delighted to act as editor of this collection of excellent stories. I hope you'll be tempted to read the offering and follow that up by visiting the links to the authors.