Yes, Sir! Soccer and Sunrises

Just a quickie from me before the football starts!

Yes, it’s England v. Scotland tonight (Euro 2020) and although we are not normally a soccer-watching household (I mean, why don’t they just do away with the first half and make it much more interesting?), we thought it might be fun (?) to cheer on our respective nations.

Did you know that the Scottish team’s unofficial anthem is ‘Yes, Sir, I Can Boogie?’ (for reasons that are too convoluted to go into here). I’m sure you did.

Be warned: if you watch that video you will be singing the jolly tune all day and all night, as I have been doing. And if you don’t remember the 1977 song from Baccara (one-in-black-one-in-white), where have you BEEN?!

Oh, OK. You weren’t born. Fair enough.

News on the novel submission.

It’s gone – the pitch and the actual manuscript – to some editors-who-might-be-interested-in-a-WW2-saga.

But I’ve been warned not to expect any response for at least six weeks! There’s a lot of waiting in this hoping-to-get-published game, isn’t there? (Sorry, I have a bad case of hyphen-itis tonight. There I go again).

Anyway, as and when I hear anything, I will report back.

Write About a Sunrise

Now, if you fancy a little writing challenge, the folk at the Scottish Book Trust (yes, Scotland is my theme), have launched another of their 50-word-story competitions, which is free to enter and open to non-Scottish folk too and closes on 29th June 2021.

They want you to write a story featuring a sunrise and here are the terms and conditions.

Good luck if you have a go. And even if you don’t want to enter the competition, the photo could work as a prompt or story starter, couldn’t it?

Read, read, read!

I am reading lots at the moment. Probably because I’m not writing!

Today I finished reading a novel that I’d been looking forward to for months.

And the ending was really disappointing. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I wanted for the characters. But I won’t tell you what it was, because I’ll spoil it for you.

By the way, if you entered my giveaway for the Nicci French book, I announced my winner (Lynda M) in the last post – and I even put a photo of the lucky wheel of chance on there. Look closely and, if you entered, you’ll see your name.

I’m always telling (advising/suggesting to) my classes that they should read a lot.

Stephen King says if you want to be a writer you should do two things above all else: ‘Read a lot and write a lot’ but I wasn’t always sure exactly why it helped, until I saw a quote from Hilary Mantel (who, let’s face it, knows a bit about writing), on the Mslexia newsletter that popped into my inbox a couple of days ago:

This is what she says about reading: ‘If you are a great reader then you can become a great writer. If you read many novels, and many different kinds of novel, the principles of novel writing will be encoded deep inside you…. If you are a reader, then you know subconsciously how to tell a story.’

Ah, yes, that makes sense.

Hilary Mantel is judging the Mslexia novel competition, by the way, which you might want to consider if you have an unpublished novel and £25 to spare and this is what she has to say about novel-writing.

So, never feel guilty about spending time reading. Read lots, read everything and anything.

What’s the last great book you read? Tell me and perhaps I’ll read it too.

This entry was posted in Books, Competitions, Kate Nash Agency, Novels and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Yes, Sir! Soccer and Sunrises

  1. pennywrite says:

    Thank you for the blog (and the lovely picture!). And where would we all be without our favourite books this past year? I have too many titles I’d love to mention, but my current favourite is a non-fiction about Cornwall: ‘Dark, Salt, Clear,’ by Lamorna Ash. The writing is wonderful. It’s almost as good as being out on the fishing boats!

    • Penny, I’ve had a look at ‘Dark, Salt, Clear’ – I must admit, I hadn’t heard of it but it looks very good! (I love the cover, too). We’ll be reading a non-fiction book in my book club soon, so I might suggest this one as a possible read! thanks for the tip.

  2. Eirin Thompson says:

    Fingers crossed for you as you await responses from editors on your book, Helen. Hope you have good news soon. The stand-out book I’ve read recently is Shuggie Bain, which I felt deserved all the plaudits it received – yes, a novel, with all the style and craft that implies, but more than a novel. I am old enough to remember Baccara.

    • I know I should read Shuggie Bain – I’ve heard so many good things about it – but I don’t want to be depressed! My OH read it (I bought it for him for Christmas, at his request, as he grew up in Glasgow, although fortunately not in the same conditions as Shuggie) and he said it’s a bit bleak. I just can’t take anything like that at the moment…!

      • philippabowe says:

        Football and writing news & advice in one post – love it (I’m a big footie fan)! I feel for you and the wait until you hear about the novel, the whole writer thing is definitely not for wimps! Tho’ having to read a lot is one of my favourite bits of advice as a writer. I recently discovered Dorothy B. Hughes, a noir writer in the 1940s, and read her In a Lonely Place and The Expendable Man, both really good. Her being a rare woman in that particular canon adds to the enjoyment. Currently loving Virginia Woolf’s The Years which I thought I’d already read long ago but turns out I hadn’t, so an unexpected treat!

      • Thanks for your comment, Philippa. How’s lockdown for you in sunny France? Hope you’re all getting ‘jabbed up’, as the saying goes and that life might be opening up ‘un peu’? I am not really a footie fan, I must admit. I am one of those annoying people who only watches when it’s a big match and even then, to be honest, I’m only interested if/when we are winning. Not sure how I’m going to cope with England v Germany tomorrow night. I might just have to have it on in the background, while I do something else! Those books all sounds intriguing. I will look them up!

      • philippabowe says:

        Hi Helen, I’ve had my first jab, waiting for the second, and yes, we’re more or less back to life-as-we-knew it – been to restaurants, bars and even a music festival!
        I support France so last night was not a good result! Let me know what you think of the Dorothy B Hughes books if you do get hold of them. Hope you enjoy the match tonight! 😀

      • I DID enjoy the match, Philippa, as you might have guessed. I rather cleverly avoided watching the first half, in which nothing happened (as far as I’m concerned, if there are no goals, that means nothing happened!) and then tuned in for the second half which was full of action and a great result. But now we’ve got to go through it all again on Saturday. Aagh. Don’t think my nerves can take it. Glad to hear you are half-fully-jabbed!

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