Burns Baby, Burns

robbieThe last few days have been a bit discombobulating.

Our annual booze-up Burns Night celebration was shifted at the last minute, from Friday to Sunday night, to allow two guests, who were poorly-bad, to recover. We suddenly had another two days to ‘prepare’ but of course, we were still running round like loonies at the last minute!

Anyway, a fun time was had by all, much whisky was consumed (even by me and I don’t like it) and some people didn’t go to bed until 4.20am… so yesterday was something of a write-off.

By the time we’d all got up, had breakfast, walked the dog and our 4 guests had headed home, we were feeling a bit weary… so we went to sleep for three hours, got up at 6pm (the dog was very confused) and today I’m all jet-lagged and unsure what day it is. (Monday?).

Prima/Mills & Boon Competition

Prima magazine is running a writing competition in conjunction with Mills & Boon.

You’ve got until 31st March 2017 to email a romance story outline (500 – 1000 words) and the first chapter (3000 – 5000 words) and the winner will receive £500 and have 6 months to work with a M&B editor, to finish the 50,000 word novel.

I’m probably not supposed to say this, but even if becoming a M&B author is not your main aim in life (the 2015 competition winner, Rachel Dove, writes all kinds of things, including horror!), it would be a real feather in your cap and really good experience, if you won and you’d be virtually guaranteed a finished novel at the end of it.

Read all about it here.

Another competition – I’m judging the Nottingham Writers’ Club’s National Short Story competition this year and I’m really looking forward to reading the entries (especially as the theme is ‘food and/or drink’ – some of my favourite subjects!)

You can submit your precious stories from tomorrow, 1st Feb 2017 but please note, (from the website) ‘this isn’t a competition for professionals, please don’t enter if you’ve earned £300 or more from short story writing up to and including 2016’.

Books I’ve Read This Month

As it’s the last day of January – and as one of my new year’s resolutions was to read more – I am now going to indulge myself and tell you what I read this month:

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
This is a young adult novel, which won the overall Costa Book of the Year prize in 2015 (impressive!) and which was recommended to me by a writer friend. I did like it – it’s original and although set in Victorian times it has a very positive ‘girl power’ message but I couldn’t get away from the feeling that I was reading a book for children. Good but not fantastic, would be my verdict.

The Girls – and still on the subject of ‘girls’ (have you noticed how many books have ‘girl’ in the title these days?) I read this Sunday Times best-seller by Emma Cline. It’s based on the Californian Manson murders of 1969 so, as you might expect, it’s not exactly laugh-a-minute. But it is very well-written and I did keep turning the page to find out what was going to happen to the heroine. I enjoyed it but again, it’s not one that I can rave about.

And finally, I read 2 of Della Parker’s Reading Group novellas – January and February – and enjoyed them (in fact, I’ve just ordered March).

I’m sure Della won’t mind me saying they’re a light, fun read (let’s face it, ‘light and fun’ isn’t an easy combination to achieve!) and just right for a bedtime read.

Any recommendations for my February reading, folks?

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2 Responses to Burns Baby, Burns

  1. Wendy Clarke says:

    Still groaning from the bad pun in your title, Helen! As it happens the book I’ve just read is called, ‘Girl in the Red Coat’.

  2. Patsy says:

    I’m planning to enter the Mills and Boon competition. If nothing else it’s a good incentive to get tidy up the opening of my current WIP and sort out the synopsis.

    Totally agree that light and fun stories are harder to write than it might appear when reading them.

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