Friday, November 9, 2007


OK, important things first! I’m giving away a fantastic prize to a random commenter so comment now and comment often! Marion Lennox, double RITA winner and all round good egg, has put together a wonderful anthology of romantic short stories and recipes from some of Australia and New Zealand’s most popular authors. I was delighted when she asked me for a recipe – and even more delighted when she didn’t ask me for a short story as short isn’t my forte. But that’s meat for another blog! Anyway, the resulting volume has just hit the stands in Oz and it’s called SIZZLE, SEDUCE AND SIMMER. You can buy it here.

So the prize is a signed copy of SIZZLE, SEDUCE AND SIMMER and a fantastic apron with the cover printed on it – great for when you try the brilliant recipes that will have your mouth watering, I guarantee. Good luck and may the games begin!

And speaking of games, I’d like to thank regular Bandita visitor Keira for the idea that turned into today’s blog. We were talking privately about how strange it is that cricket features so rarely in historical romances, even though most historicals are set in Britain and cricket is such a huge part of the culture there. We then talked about amazing cricketers of the past and I’ve included pictures of some of the legends for your viewing pleasure – Don Bradman, the greatest exponent of the sport ever and an AUSSIE (pauses to wipe away a sentimental tear), Imran Khan who was always a pleasure to watch, in many, many ways, Vivian Richards, same.

Keira and I then moved on to talking about how writing a novel is very like a Test Match. Now, for those of you who find cricket completely bamboozling, don’t worry, we’re not going to delve into silly mid-offs and sticky wickets and 12th men (hmm, wonder what was wrong with the first 11!). But just to explain, a Test Match was originally a five-day event (I’ve got a feeling now that they’re four days – cricket actually isn’t my specialty) where two teams of 11 men play for the honor of their country and the glory of the game.

I asked Keira for her thoughts on why writing a novel is like a Test match and this is her brilliant response:

Those of us writing historicals set in the British Isles can relate to imposing civilized rules upon our unruly characters, not unlike the British public school system of Eton and Harrow, or the most popular English export of all time (barring Nutella) is cricket. Not the chirpy kind, but the kind that required a wooden bat, a hard stitched-leather ball, dollops of patience, and reams of arcane and archaic rules as well as a few civilized rules. It's a gentlemanly game lasting five days with precise start and end times and breaks for lunch and afternoon tea, having decided to forgo the elevenses. A slow and steady tortoise-like perseverance is what wins the game. You start out of the hatch foaming at the mouth, you're going to get out soon. Surviving by cultivating a Zen-like approach is the main strategy. The writing life is much like a cricket test match. It's a long-haul game of survival, of patience, of developing a calm attitude towards rejections/boos, and a dogged adherence to the writing goals of the current project.
I think Keira has hit on something profound here. Writing is like playing a long, long game of cricket. You need strategy. You need fitness (mental and physical although I can’t really comment on the physical!). You need to be tough, again both mentally and physically. You’ve got to play through those hot afternoon hours after lunch which can seem endless. You’ve got to keep your eye on the ball and wait for the opportunity that comes from nowhere to score a six or get that batsman out. Through all that long, long game, you have to stay alert and ready to make the strokes that will win the match. And even though cricket isn’t my specialty, my father was an enormous fan, and I can remember moments where a match has turned on a sixpence and everything changed in the flash of an eye because of something unexpected or brave or brilliant that a single player did. All of these things can be applied to writing.

So here’s my question for you. What is your favorite sport and does it offer you lessons you can take into your writing life? Or life in general! It’s not just writers here. I know many people find sportspeople inspiring because of their perseverance and skill and pursuit of excellence. I look forward to sharing the wonderful recipes in SIZZLE, SEDUCE AND SIMMER with the lucky winner!


Annie West said...


Had to pop in and comment! Cricket and romance - I never thought I'd see the day - but the analogy does work. Good on you.

What amazes me about test matches (and they are still 5 day events) is how often the final result hinges on a nail biting finish. How many times I haven't watched the match (these days I have other things to do with my time!) but end up, particularly if it's summer holidays, watching the last hour or so with bated breath. I love it when the underdog team wins and I particularly love it when a nightwatchman does superbly and saves the day for his team. (Translation for non-cricket bods - if a good batsman gets out late in the day a captain will sometimes put a less capable batsman in his place just to tide the team over for a little while till play resumes the next day. The expectation is that the 'nightwatchman' who's just there to stop the ball and not get any runs, will soon be out. But sometimes they get into the swing of things and build a great score). Rather like writing those scenes you feel you need to have but aren't enthusiastic about, but when you get started you find they're pure gold. (More of those, please!).

As for fave sport - possibly tennis. Love playing, though I'm no good and love watching. Though I have to say the other day I caught the end of an ironman race on an Aussie beach...WOW - sat there goggling at the sight of all those potential heroes racing over the sand.

Thanks for the blog, Anna. I'd never have thought of romance writing in this way.


DownUnderGirl said...

ha ha!!! If I dont get the golden rooster this time something is serioulsy wrong - am at Anna's house looking over her shoulder as she types this blog!!!

Firstly go buy SSS - I'm in it too!!

Secondly cricket. Okay, need to state that I AM NOT a sports fan at all - seriously all sport could fall off the face of the earth and I wouldn't bat an eyelid - but if I was forced at gunpoint then I'd admit to cricket. I'm very disappointed that Anna hasn't included any pics of the worlds greatesr bowler - Dennis Lillee.

And yes sports is a good analogy for writing. It does take persistence and training and an innate belief in yourself. So I will give it that.
But hey, it could still fall into an abyss....
Ducking for the rocks that are being hurled in my general direction.


DownUnderGirl said...

Annie West - you beat me. How quick is your finger???


Helen said...

Anna & Keira I loved the post and cricket is my favourite sport I have been watching the first test between Sri Lanka and Australia yesterday and today and I totally agree with yours and Keira's comments about the writing and cricket.
I actually grew up on cricket my father played first grade cricket against people like Richie Benaud and one of Australia's fastest bowlers Jeff Thompson played in the same team as him before he moved to Queensland and got picked to play for Australia Steve and Mark Waugh also played in later years of course for the same club.
Cricket is a sport that I feel teaches you patience and sportsmanship and although I never played I spent a lot of my childhood having luch and afternoon tea with some great cricketers that were true gentelman.
I actually saw the book Sizzle Seduce and Simmer in Big W today and it looks very good I think I will drop a few hints for Crissy.
Loved the post cricket is very dear to my heart thanks to my Father and I love the game Thanks Anna.
Have Fun

Joan said...


Rushing out for the 12 hour day job but I loved the analogy of steady course, turning on a sixpence (or dime over here).

As to a favorite game? Here in the US college basketball or major league baseball. A legendary example of turning on a dime? University of Kentucky vs. Duke. 45 sec on the clock. Christian Lattiner turns and throws the 1 point game winning basket leaving stunned UK Wildcats weeping in their towels. (Yes, I'm a UK fan sob)

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

There is an inverse relationship between cricket and writing. When the cricket is good the writing slows and sometimes grinds to a halt. So do a lot of other matters involving computer and us. Which leads to the other question. Why do we keep the TV in the office between the computers?


Annie Doyle said...

Ha, great analogy. Cricket and romance. Well the sport I used to play quite a lot was golf. The MAIN secret to playing golf is keeping your head down. Well it is pretty obvious when writing romance that if you don't keep that head down and continue to write--no matter how good the story or characters, it well never get written by the author.
Patience and skill. I've never met an impatient skilled golfer. They have taken the time to learn by doing, and doing, and doing until the ball can be struck with enough finesse that it goes where the player intends. Sometimes this means they go off to play/practice on their own. Other times they seek advice from someone else who is experienced. As a romance writer, we need to go off on our own and master our craft but still cannot become accomplished without our crit partners and published peers.
Oh I could go on all day. But I will stop now. Great topic. Thanks Anna - and Keira too.
Regards Annie

Nathalie said...

I am not a sportive person... but I admire figure-skaters. They are very precise in their art, gracious and are not afraid of taking risks (I mean falling head first on the ice is always dangerous!)

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I am really not a sports person either, but I have to say from what I have learned here in the lair that persistance is the name of the game for writers. You have to be made of some stern stuff to get through all of the levels to becoming published. I have learned so much about what authors have to go through just to get that first book out there. It always makes me wonder what readers are missing in the manuscripts that were "tests" for all our authors. Are there wonderful stories out there in a drawer that we would love to read?

Anonymous said...

This better not be one of those completely unfair contests where the Banditas can't win, cause I want that cookbook!!

Except, well, I'm not into sports at all. I tried to do some in high school but found I liked working out by myself better than practicing with a team and having games. Funny Joan should mention Duke and UK, because I was actually attending Duke at the time and though I heard about it later, I had no interest in watching the game. Is that pitiful or what?

Nathalie definitely has something with figure skating. I have a traditional argument with my brother in law about whether synchronized swimming is a sport. They have included it in the Olympics, which bugs him to no end, because he thinks things you judge on artistic merit aren't sports, no matter how physically grueling they are. I disagree with his definition of sport. If that was true, half the Olympic events would be cancelled.

But I digress..

My version of sports is setting goals (like the triathlon) and meeting them. I don't need to compete with others, I got my own self to worry about. I have no idea how this translates into writing or life, but there you go!

thanks for the slice of life from the land of cricket, Anna! And Keira, how exactly do you know so much about it, anyway?

Anonymous said...

By the way, my maple bar yesterday was awesome. ;-)

doglady said...

I have many fond memories of the cricket matches we played on the conker field in Kelsale. (For those of you who do not know, a conker is a horse chestnut and conkers is a very serious sport in the UK. In fact my brother STILL has his championship, never been beaten conker from almost 30 years ago!)It has been a while, but I think I can still manage a wicked googlie! I'll let Anna C explain. I can definitely see how writing is like a cricket match. It has to do with paying attention to the details in the slow bits because you never know when the characters are going to throw you a googlie or the plot is going to become a sticky wicket!Perseverance and a firm believe in success at the end - that's cricket and I hope that is how my writing will turn out!! My favorite sport? Horse racing, actually - the sport of kings. I love the beauty of it, the power and grace. Kind of like romance,eh? What I love most is that you never know when the underdog is going to take the day. I love the courage and determination of the horses. Who can't feel something about the little horse that could - Seabiscuit or the tragic but magnificent Barbaro.

Donna MacMeans said...

Annie - I haven't a clue what you said about cricket - sorry, the game eludes me - but I certainly can relate to writing a so-so scene and watch it turn into something wonderful. In your honor, I'll now refer to this as the Nightwatchman effect. That sounds so much more dramatic than writing surprises *g*

Donna MacMeans said...

I'm afraid I'm not into sports. Indeed, I'm home here preparing to go to my local RWA chapter meeting instead of preparing to freeze in the stands with my dh at the Ohio State University football game. I'm sending my son in my place *g*.

I like baseball. I played on softball leagues in my youth. But if no one is scoring, or if one thing has scored so many runs they've rendered to fantasy the chance of the other team winning - well - it's boring. SO that's like ...conflict - yeah conflict. If the story loses that tension caused by conflict, internal or external, the story falls flat and is boring.

I like football for the surprises - for the "turning on a sixpence". A turnover can change the whole course of the game. If the other team lets down their guard, or assumes the game is won - that's when the competition breaks through and makes an amazing run for the goal lines. That's like...perseverence in writing. You gotta keep at it, even when it's tough or when you've convinced yourself you can't suceed. Keep yourself in the game and you'll be the one dashing for the goal.

ruth said...

When you write you have to be determined and consistent in order to write something that you are completely happy with and know it is your best work. The same goes with a sport that you excel in, you have to practice, be consistent, and become an expert in that field. It requires precision, concentration and hard work. Golf is a sport that is demanding and exact, the same as producing a work of art such as a novel.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hrdwrkdmom - LOL. I've got some killer stories that will never see the light of day because even though the plots are good, the craft in the writing is not. I was still learning.

A friend want a raffle prize (if you can call it that) of a critique from me of her manuscript. I read the first scene last night. I think she has a neat story but struggles so much in the telling that I can't see what she's trying to say. That's the sort of thing I had to learn about writing. How to use my words to make the reader see and feel what I'm trying to relate. I call it invisible writing which is really the embodiment of craft. I think that's what missing in those stories stuffed away in bureau drawers.

pearl said...

Achieving a certain goal, such as succeeding in writing that great book or becoming an athlete,is hard work and definitely needs a positive attitude, lots of grit and strength of character as well as talent and ability. Not everyone is suited to be an athlete and there are major hurdles to jump. Writing requires more patience and creativity. Success in any arena means having faith in your abilities and dealing with risk and disappointment.

Laura J. said...

Well for me I have to say my favorite gymnastics. My daughter is almost to competitive level and it has been so much fun to watch her learn the new skills. I also enjoy watching soccer (they do have some fine looking men out there on the field). Love the fast pace of the game. During the last winter Olympics, I became fascinated with curling.

diane said...

I do participate in a few sports but I am far from being an athlete. I enjoy being a spectator and seeing the grace and beauty and the play of the muscles in the human. It is fascinating to realize how much work it requires to become an expert at whatever field you endeavor.

ChristyJan said...

I don't participate in sports and I'm not fond of watching them either. When I go to basketball games I find myself watching the crowd instead of the game. My husband golfs and I actually do like to ride along in the cart and watch him hit the "wittle" ball.

Keira Soleore said...

Thanks everyone. Isn't Anna marvelous with words? She can turn every little tidbit around and make it sound and look good.

Annie, thanks for that nightwatchman analagy. How many times have we been in the shower, driving, or trying to sleep, and suddenly a bright idea pops up?

Annie and Joan, here's a "turning on a dime" story. I remember one cricket game we saw on DVD that was a one-day game, and Pakistan was playing I forget whom. In the last ball of the last over, their batsman hit a six (a homerun in baseball-speak) and won the match.

Amy, Lillee, yes. And Viv Richards-mon. :) But I loved how you said that even writing takes "persistence and training and an innate belief in yourself." Most especially that last thing.

Helen, a deep curtsy to you. You're the Bandit Queen of Cricket with that pedigree of yours. Having lunch with all those greats! Wow!

Dianna and Pam, I completely agree with you on "you have to be made of some stern stuff" in order to become and stay a published writer. As I've reading these Bandita blogs, that is one mesages that's been hammered into me: Don't ever give up.

Eric, ah, yes. The actual watching of the sport will always be inversely proportional to the number of pages you write. :) Thanks for the morning laugh.

Kirsten, my husband is a cricket fan, that's how I know something about cricket. For a few years, I played fantasy football (winning our Superbowl one year) and so football is another sport I know much more about. Other than that, I'm a big zero.

Keira Soleore said...

Congrats Annie for nabbing the GR. Squawk to you.

ChristyJan, you're a great supporter of the sportsman (your husband), just as no writer would survive without support from her family and friends (and visits to the spa).

Diane, appreciating the grace and beauty of the words is one of the pleasures of reading and writing, isn't it? Without that, it would be a chore, a complete drudgery. Loving it makes the difficult phases of the writing life so worthwhile.

Annie West said...

Donna and Keira, so glad you liked the nightwatchman analogy. Grinning here, knowing you connected with the idea. Isn't it marvellous when that turnaround happens with your writing? I've just embarked on some revisions and I'm so hoping I get the same effect - a brilliant result from an unexpected place (I'm so NOT looking forward to these revisions...).

Keira, loved your 'turning on a dime story'. It can happen in most things and it's such a thrill when it does.

Thanks everyone for the sporting/writing insights!


Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Annie, great to see you here! Mind you, I think I'd rather you were in the corner writing another great sheikh book for me to read! It's funny, I had the same thought about the subject when Keira suggested it and then I thought, "You know, she's got something there." Actually, having just handed in a book, I know about nail-biting finishes even after a long period of hard work.

Amy, I wanted to include Dennis Lillee but couldn't find any decent photos. But now I see that I was looking for DENIS Lillee. I told you cricket wasn't my forte! Thanks for commenting - mind you, you had to seeing you were here and I was holding your glass of champagne as hostage until you won the rooster. Then Annie beat you anyway!

p226 said...

To many, any given sport can be metaphorical for nearly any struggle. Entire books have been written by famous athletes and coaches applying fundamental principles of success in a sport to fundamental principles of success in life.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard in my professional life, "It's 4th and goal at the 2, 8 seconds left on the clock." Or sometimes it's "bottom of the 9th, up by one, two on, two outs." Sports metaphors are everywhere in our culture and literature. With reason. It is easy for people who have played a sport to relate to the pressure, joy of triumph, and misery of defeat in the Big Game, the Big Match, the Big Event.

Even the solitude of the long distance runner is a mighty struggle with oneself. Very easy to relate and empathize.

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, what lovely memories! For people not in the know, Helen mentioned some MAJOR stars there. It's like someone talking about playing tennis with Andre Agassi! Hey, if I play six degrees of separation...

Actually, my dad was a huge sports fan and I've got really strong memories of him hogging the TV all summer to watch these endless Test Matches. Of course, being a teenager, I griped and I whinged and I whined. But I remember now and it gives me a huge smile. He was so happy!

Joan, those are the moments in sport that just take your breath away, aren't they? Even if our team doesn't win. That last unexpected twist that leaves the audience screaming with excitement. Hmm, that's got something to do with writing too, hasn't it?

Anna Campbell said...

Eric, I am a feng shui expert and I say TV near work area is bad energy! Actually, I'm not but I don't think I need to be in this case ;-) Thanks for commenting!

Annie, what a brilliant response! You're so right about that golf thing. Keeping your eye on what's important (the ball) too! I wonder if this analogy would work for any sport. Even sports that finish in a sprint like 100m freestyle races still require so much hard work first. And I think that's absolutely true about writing.

Anna Campbell said...

Nathalie, figure skating made me think of all that grace and beauty built on a foundation of bruises and hard work and persistence and tears. It HURTS to fall down! ;-) That certainly works for writing! Thank you for popping in to say hello!

Dianna, thanks for your comment. I often think that myself about the stuff under the bed although sometimes when authors pass away, they bring out the stuff they had in their cupboard and it's never quite up to their best. Or not in the cases I can think of. But the other thing is that having one more Georgette Heyer or whatever to add to the collection was just so great and there's still that 'something' that made her a great author. A lot of authors I know also recycle those story using now what they needed to know then, if you know what I mean! And very successfully too. I suspect a really good story screams for its place in the light and eventually will see it.

Jennifer Y. said...


I love baseball, football, and NASCAR (although some might argue that it is not a sport). All of them can teach you to be alert and to not give up...something that can be very useful in life. They can also teach you patience and is not always about you. As for NASCAR racing, it is not always important where you start the race, but where you finish...don't give up, don't get too confident, and don't lose site of the goal so you can make it to the end. You aren't always going to be the best out there, but at least you can say you tried. Plus, you need pay attention to those around you and avoid any obstacles in your way...but never give up. Perserverance, patience, and awareness. These are wonderul life lessons, in my opinion.

Did that answer the question or did I ramble again? LOL

Chris said...

Anna, not ever in a million, billion years would I have thought to compare writing to any sort of sport, but you're sooooooooo right. Writing *is* an endurance sport.

As for faves, does poker count? Poker's my favorite 'sport' to watch, for the sake of the game. Now for the eye candy? Give me swimming and diving every single time!

Jennifer Y. said...

Oh, and another thing that I have learned from NASCAR...don't let others ruin your day! This happens a lot in racing when other cars wreck the drivers.

Anna Campbell said...

Kirsten, the weird thing is I used to be so ANTI sport! You know, I was the intellectual, artistic type and sportspeople were just thugs. An attitude that didn't go over well in my sports mad family. Actually, looking back, perhaps that's why I acted like that, you know how contrary teenagers like to be. And then I had an epiphany. Well, that's not completely true as I started enjoying things like tennis and I'd always loved the Olympics and top class swimming and tennis. I think it was team sports I thought were 'below' my lofty interest (remember I was a silly teenager). I was writing a book set in 18th century Hungary and my hero was a general. I needed an example of beneficent leadership from someone with a collegiate approach (my guy really was something special). I looked all over and came up with a model when I started to think about John Eales who led Australia to the Rugby Union World Cup around 2000. Then the more I found out, the more I admired the dedication and hard work and perseverance and team spirit and good sportsmanship that these boys showed. And the level of skill was right up there with the artistic things I enjoyed like ballet. So I'm a convert!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Pam, tell me about Barbaro. Hmm, perhaps I wasn't so anti-sport after all. I was an absolutely horse mad kid and the beauty and power of those magnificent animals still makes me catch my breath. I've only been to the races a couple of times - what I mainly remember is how if you stand near the track, the power of those horses running past you is absolutely visceral. So atmospheric compared to watching it on TV. Loved your ideas about cricket and writing. Exactimundo, my friend!

jo robertson said...

Anna, what a brilliant analogy. Uh, sort of like baseball? Having reared four sons and one husband, I confess to having an aversion to most sports. Overload, I suppose.

My single exception is basketball, probably because it's fast and fascinating. I got hooked in college and I remember my alma mater's team those four years being comprised of young men who committed daring acts with the ball, throwing wildly to a team member who, unfortunately, wasn't there. After a game or two, however, they got their rhythm and those wild balls became an integral part of a fascinating display of studied wildness and deliberate strategy.

I think some of our most brilliant writers have that sense of wild, go-for-it intuition. They're risk-takers who bank on the reading public falling in love with their latest risky venture.

Anna Campbell said...

Donna, one of the things I've always loved about cricket is the terminology. Don't you think 'nightwatchman' is just so evocative? It's that arcane vocab that appeals to me. Googlies (which sound rude) and yorkers (which sound like a chocolate bar) and silly mid-off (which just sounds, uh...silly!). And third leg (hmm, not touching that one!). I also love the grace of someone really good playing it - I was trying to convey that with the pictures I chose. It's like any sport but a superbly fit man doing what he does best - oh, Mamma!

And Donna, for a gal who doesn't like sport, you did a great job of picking up this ball and running with it! They were great analogies, especially the conflict one. I too find sport boring if one team is just so obviously superior that the other one hasn't got a chance. You need a strong villain or a strong antagonist/conflict to keep the tension in that story!

Anna Campbell said...

Ruth, thanks for commenting. Another golf fan! Will you hit me with a nine iron if I tell you I don't understand golf at all. I remmber watching Tin Cup years ago and not knowing at the end if he won or lost! Well, I knew he lost from what people eventually said but it wasn't immediately clear unless you knew the rules of golf! You're so right about golf having a lot to teach writers!

Donna, your comment (so true!) made me think of the figure skating thing. That grace with apparent ease whereas there's years of hard work behind every single movement. That's what good writing is like!

Keziah Hill said...

I'm not a sporty girl but I like tennis. Don't think I write like Roger Federer though. But the cricket analogy made me think of Lord Peter Wimsey. I know you're a fan Anna because we've talked of him before (and I was browsing your web page yesterday) but in one of DLS's books there is a description of LPW playing cricket in his glory days at Oxford. It was so exciting because the teller was describing it to someone who had no idea he was a famous sportsman (could've been Harriet listening). It was one of those cricket and writing moments that sizzle.

Anna Campbell said...

Pearl, thank you for those words of wisdom. You are so right! Although as I get older, I think excellence in any field requires patience and dedication. I learnt so much all those years I was unpublished - not least that if I wanted something badly enough, I had to get through disappointment and failure.

LauraJ, thanks so much for popping by and commenting. I love the Olympics - I think because everyone is SOOO good. There's just something fascinating about excellence at that level. I watch sports in the Olympics that I wouldn't dream of watching usually. And as you say, some of them, like curling are absolutely fascinating! Especially for an Aussie - winter sports aren't huge over here because most of the country doesn't get much of a winter, or at least like lots of you guys in the Northern Hemisphere. Although we have a few world champion skiers. And who can forget that moment at the winter Olympics a few years ago where a very low-rated Aussie skater kept his head (and his feet) while everyone else came tumbling down and ended up sprinting through to win the gold! That's the sort of time when sport really is art!

jo robertson said...

Annie, how great that you love golf! My husband, too, is quite a lover and player of the game.

What I have learned about golf that applies to writing is that, even though you play (ostensibly) against someone else, you're really competing with yourself. Can you lower your handicap from a 6 to a 3, for example, or can you correct a hook or slice?

We writers sometimes behave as though we're competing against other writers, but I think we Banditas realize that a writer truly only competes against her/himself. Can we make this story better than the last? These characters more memorable?

If each book doesn't become progressively "better" than the previous one, then we're losing the game!

Anna Campbell said...

Diane, I think that's what gets me - how much work people put into what they really want! And as you say, all those glistening muscles aren't too bad to watch either ;-)

Hey, Keira!!! Thank you for suggesting this. The responses from people have been amazing, haven't they? I think this would make a great how to book! I too was wondering how you'd become a cricket maven and now I know it. Does your husband have a British connection somewhere? Actually it's interesting how cricket is the sport in the British Commonwealth (well, apart from Canada - what happened, guys?) and baseball took off so strongly in the US.

Anna Campbell said...

Christyjan, thanks for commenting. I've got to say your 'wittle' ball comment gave me a giggle! That's another thing that's important in both sports and writing - never lose your sense of humor. You'll need it!

Annie, haven't these answers been amazing? Thanks for popping by again!

Anna Campbell said...

Heya, P226! Did you see you had another guy for company this morning? ;-) Do you know none of those things you said made an ounce of sense to me? Actually maybe I should do a blog on two countries divided by a common language! But you're right about people using sport as a metaphor for real (well, nonsporting life - I suspect playing sport feels as much like real life as anything else does). I had friends who were musicians and they said the most useful 'how to' book they ever read was 'The Inner Game of Tennis'. Because it was about the process that produces the art and there really isn't that much difference between playing the piano like Horowitz and playing tennis like Pete Sampras.

Anna Campbell said...

Jennifer, thanks for your comment. You absolutely didn't ramble! You're so right with everything you said. As I read your post, I thought the other thing sport should teach you (although sadly, this isn't always the case from some of the behavior I occasionally see) to be gracious when you lose. You can't win all the time - that's a great lesson for anyone.

Hey, Chris, thanks for coming by and commenting. I agree with you on the eye candy thing (now I'm over my stupid snobbishness about sport, believe me, there's LOTS to enjoy!). I love them long and lean (you'll notice that in the pictures) and as you say, swimmers have that in spades. I like a runner's body too. I think you mentioning poker is a great analogy for writing. You know how in poker you have to pay attention to the smallest detail, no matter how insignificant it seems, because that's the detail that makes the difference!

Anna Campbell said...

Jennifer, that's so right! I must say motor sports is an area I haven't approached yet!

Hey, Jo, for a woman who hates sport, you definitely picked up this ball and threw it into a goal (oh, no, this is going to be like the malapropism post. We're all going to start talking to each other in sports metaphors!). You're right about the risk takers. Actually cricket is like that - I remember my father having absolute contempt for people who used to just get on the wicket and pat at the ball. They weren't making any runs but they weren't getting out either. But it was as boring as watching paint dry. The game gets exciting when people take the risks, go for that extra run before they get out, slam that unlikely ball out over the boundary fence and make six runs. They might get out for a duck (zero runs - isn't that the best term?) or they might make a century. That's the really high-stakes interesting stuff. And you're right - in writing, the high stakes, risky stuff is what makes you sit up all night reading that book until you get to the end sorry it's over!

Anna Campbell said...

Keziah, thanks so much for coming to the Banditas! Actually I remember the passage you're talking about - it gives me goosebumps even thinking about it. And you wouldn't have to be a cricket fan to get the magic. That's why I think DLS is such an amazing writer. Yes, they're ostensibly cozy mysteries. But there's just so much more going on. There's a bit in Gaudy Night where Peter is listening to Bach. I don't care if you think classical music is absolute trash. You read that passage and you KNOW why he's so spellbound and you're spellbound too. Love it when a writer does that for me.

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Jo, I so want to read one of your books! You cut right to the truth with everything you say (well, maybe not with the malapropisms...). I actually think the competing against yourself thing is why I find things like long-distance running and swimming and tennis fascinating. Because in those individual competitor sports, it really is the mental game that leads to victory. That's what this Inner Game of Tennis thing made clear to me when I read it. And that inner game is what a musician plays every time they pick up their instrument. Or a writer does every time they write a story. GREAT STUFF, BANDITA!

Malvina said...

Let's talk about soccer. Lots of incredibly gorgeous men running around, hair flying in the wind, keenly concentrating on their ball skills. Almost ballet-like as they tackle and kick...

So, first comes the running around tackling (courting), kicking the ball (passes), and, ta-da! the goal, when the ball sails into the netted goal past the fierce goalkeeper. (Er.. better not continue the analogy here... use your imaginations {blush}..)... Brilliant, beautiful, *fast* game. I'm getting all a-twitter and a-flutter just thinking about it. Say no more.

Anne Whitfield - author said...

Of all the sports cricket is the one sport I know. My father played for his local village in Wakefield, Yorkshire, my husband has played since he was a child and now our two boys (and my husband still) play for Bowral United Cricket Club - the home of Don Bradman.
And guess who is the scorer for my husband and son's team? LOL
So imagine if you will, me in large hat, every Saturday during summer, scoring for the 11 men in our team. Usually I am the only women at the ground, so with both teams, there are 22 men (all in white) milling around me wanting to know their scores, batting line up and how many overs do they have left to bowl.
The are worse ways to spend a Saturday! LOL
Now, there's fodder for romance right there.
Oh and I've read about cricket games in some historical fiction, usually by UK saga authors. Audrey Howard has her hero play it in one of her books. Sorry, can't rememeber which book.

There is a contemporary novel, Rising To The Occasion, by Linda Taylor that is set in England and the theme/plot is around cricket. I enjoyed it.
I have every intention of including cricket in one of my books. LOL

jenna said...

When you are adept at sports the sense of achievement is similar to attaining the highest rung of the ladder. The euophoria I would think probably equals that of writing a successful novel. No matter what the accomplishment the individual must work for years to reach that pinnacle.

the Carter's said...

hey anna,

love the analogy.. cricket/romance.. fab game.. most loved player.. richard hadlee... (mmm can you guess i'm a kiwi... ) of course lance cairns is a very close second..... but from the aussie side you couldn't ignore shane warne for an alpha hero....

and delving into cricket yeah have to agree.. i love it when the 'tail wags'... and the hopeless batters.. raise their average from 0 to and they manage not to get out for a 'golden duck...'a normal duck... or any other type of duck....:) their few moments of success are so very inspiring...... but when they're bowling you just expect them to succeed... and glare at them for a wide, a no ball... or a lose delivery that's not aimed straight for the middle wicket...:)

ahh sports just love them... but cricket mmmm as much as i love it.. doesn't get the blood pumping the same way as those 15 super solid, muscle bound kiwi's do when they stamp their feet, slap their thighs, and throw down the challenge of the Haka.... oooooh that starts me thinking... alpha, beta, focus, strategy.... challenge.... and surrender...

can't wait to get the sss book....


the Carter's said...

hey anna,

love the analogy.. cricket/romance.. fab game.. most loved player.. richard hadlee... (mmm can you guess i'm a kiwi... ) of course lance cairns is a very close second..... but from the aussie side you couldn't ignore shane warne for an alpha hero....

and delving into cricket yeah have to agree.. i love it when the 'tail wags'... and the hopeless batters.. raise their average from 0 to and they manage not to get out for a 'golden duck...'a normal duck... or any other type of duck....:) their few moments of success are so very inspiring...... but when they're bowling you just expect them to succeed... and glare at them for a wide, a no ball... or a lose delivery that's not aimed straight for the middle wicket...:)

ahh sports just love them... but cricket mmmm as much as i love it.. doesn't get the blood pumping the same way as those 15 super solid, muscle bound kiwi's do when they stamp their feet, slap their thighs, and throw down the challenge of the Haka.... oooooh that starts me thinking... alpha, beta, focus, strategy.... challenge.... and surrender...

can't wait to get the sss book....


Lily said...

I am really not into sports... but I admire all athletes and I don't think there is one sport less deserving than all others.

An athlete must be dedicated to his art, thrive for perfection, persevere through all hardships if he wants to make it in such a competite world!

PS: Made me think of a med student :)

Donna MacMeans said...

Hmm...The Inner Game of Tennis...have to check that one out.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh my! What a great post! I absolutely LOVE sports. Football is my game - the American kind, not Soccer. Growing up, it was funny that my brothers, sister and I were all sports oriented while our parents could have cared less. :> College basketball's my second fav sport to watch, but I still love football best. However since my DH and older son are baseball-mad, I've learned to love it too. The terms for Cricket are so fun. Now I'm going to have to go read about it so I know what they mean. Ha! Had to learn about rugby too because my DH used to play that and I had no idea about it. Can't let THAT happen! Grins.
I think the analogy to writing is so apt though, Anna. You never know when a chance meeting with another writer, a guy on a plane or an editor will turn into a story, a plot or a sale. You also have to have strategy, and a willingness to learn from defeat and be gracious in success. Sportsmanship, I say! What, what? Snork. I think the best example of "good sportsmanship" in writing is right here in the Lair. (I could be biased though.)
Joan, all I have to say is "He shoots...SCORES! Duke WINS the National Championship..." Heehee. I'm a Dukie. :> Kirsten! You lived in Durham at the same time I did! A Karmic Bandita Twin thing. (But I WAS watching the game...)
Eric, loved your dog icon! :> I keep a TV nearby for background noise, but can't have it in view or I get sucked in no matter what the show.
Jo, I loved your wild ball analogy. I think its like what Donna was saying about the early writing stages - you struggle and struggle and throw the ball and sometimes there's no one there to catch it. Then you get your rythym and POW! Magic happens. :>
Fun post, Anna!

Joan said...

Oh, Jeanne...say it ain't so!

A fluke, I tell ya. A pure fluke!

Authorness said...

Hi, Anna!

Cricket is definitely not my game, but I love horse riding--it's all about balance and working with a partner. Neigh!

Cassondra said...

Okay, Jeanne and I are NOT evil twins. Other than her being stacked and blonde and my being NOT stacked and NOT blonde, everything else has pointed to the scary "twins separated at birth" thing. (Oh, there's the fact that she's a foot taller than me, but never mind THAT small factoid).

But here we part. Sports. Hmmmm. I LOVE tennis, but I'm not any good, cuz nobody who really plays tennis well wants to play with someone who doesn't, so it's impossible to get better unless you're a little kid. Beyond that, it's shooting and martial arts. Martial arts can be a sport I guess, but that's not how I approach it. My way is much nastier. :0/ Shooting is a sport of course, but not in the way that most people think--It involves skill, precision, discipline, grueling hours of practice, hand-eye coordination CERTAINLY, but not jumping about catching balls and such.

I used to watch baseball with my dad when I was a kid. I tried going to the high school football games when the children of my friends were on the teams, but I always cheered when they ran the wrong way (they switch at half time....who knew?)

Nevertheless, I knew NOTHING about cricket before this post (did I even spell it right?) and now I find it incredibly fascinating and I have to learn more.

And what's even more fascinating is the incredible correlation Kiera and Anna have made. It's perfect really--Patience and perseverance above all--and those two are what I lack most.

Anna, what an amazing blog. Perhaps you are the deepest of the banditas, and you've been hiding all that angsty depth beneath your puns! (PUNS! I said PUNS, not buns.);0)

Oh WAIT! I was on my college equestrian team when I was an undergrad. Hey, that counts as a sport, doesn't it? If so, that's my favorite for certain. Anything involving horses and riding skill-- it's certain I'll enjoy.

H Maree Davis said...

Ah, cricket. I think I miss it! And I'm usually one of those people saying 'waddaya mean there's only cricket on TV for the next 5 days?'.

I met Steve Monaghetti (marathon runner) once. there's a man with a commitment to his goals. On his day off from training, if you were out walking around the lake in Ballarat you'd see him go running past. At first it'd be 'ooh there goes Mona's', 'oooh, there he goes again', 'I can't believe he's passing me for a third time - it's only 6 k's'. then someone told the newcomers the goss. 'that's his day off from training? aaagghh.'

I will write every day - even on my day off from training!

H! :)

Anna Campbell said...

Malvina, you make me blush! Sport as foreplay! Who woulda thunk it? ;-) Thanks for dropping by. Always lovely to see you, my friend.

Anne, thanks for coming to visit the Banditas. Interesting to hear about books featuring a cricketing hero. I must check them out.

Oh, Jenna, I think you're so right about reaching that pinnacle and the hard work involved.

Hi Julie-Anne! Lovely to see you here! Hope beautiful WA is as beautiful as ever. Oh, the Rugby Union boys. Sigh! Did you see my post about the World Cup team earlier in the blog? You'd really appreciate it. They used to train just up the road from where I live and I often used to see Matt Bourke on his bike. And my aged mother had a huge crush on John Eales and used to go all girlish at the merest mention of his name. Lovely memory!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Okay, my darling Evil Twin Cassondra, we may not LOOK alike, but the only sport I particpated in are Tae Kwon Do, Ninjitsu and....wait for it...riding. Hmmm, sound familiar? Snork. Okay, so I played softball too, but I stink at it and found it boring. Oh, and flag football which I'm good at but only did to snag the guys...which is a WHOLE different sport. Grins. I can shoot, but not at the level you're talking about.
So the sports thing, even evil twins have to have SOME differences. Snork!
As to perseverence and patience, it's BS to say you don't have 'em, my dear Evil Twin, since you're HERE in the Lair with all of us and still WRITING...(you better be writing, as I simply MUST read the end of the Ritual!)
Joanie, alas, tis true. Then again, Duke's right up there with so MANY ACC/NCAA flags in Cameron Indoor Stadium...Long Live the Cameron Crazies!

Anna Campbell said...

Lily, had a little snork when I read about these heroic medical students! Um, you wouldn't be one, would you? Snork again! Actually I think the truth is the pursuit of excellence is in many ways the same, no matter what field you're in, football field, daisy field, Mrs. Fields... YUM!

Donna, it's years since I read it so it may be hopelessly old hat. But it used Zen philosophy about living in the moment rather than living in the coming moment over which you have no control. This was in my pre-sports appreciation days so that it had such a big effect on me says something. And it really does work with music - play the note you're playing instead of stewing over the possibility of making a mistake five notes further on.

Joan said...

Oh, oh, oh yeah!

Well, there are plenty of those pretty banners in Rupp Arena too! :-0

Several of you have mentioned horse racing and living in Louisville, KY...yes, home to THE Kentucky Derby...offers me lots of opportunites to go to the track. Went last week, as a matter of fact. Won a total of $76 but hesitate to equate it exactly to the craft of writing.

Not when my horse would break out of the gate at number one...lead ALL THE WAY AROUND until that one...last....turn. Then bang....they got tired and let the other horses surge to the finish line. (Bet on one Irish bred horse...the darn thing must have stopped for a pint LOL)

But bowling....nah, can't find it.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Jeanne! What a great response. Actually you with your love for odd language will adore some of the cricket terminology. Batsmen stand in their crease. You've got to take the shine off the ball. That's a wide. And of course the infamous bowling the maiden over (when a bowler throws six balls and no runs are made). You can imagine the jokes that go around about that!

Hey, Vanessa, thank you so much for coming to the Banditas today (yes, I know the secret identity of that famous superhero authorness!). Actually one of my best friends has a daughter who is seriously into dressage. It's amazing to watch her on her horse - like they read each other's minds. I think learning to work that closely with anything else, person or animal, is a wonderful skill. So when we're writing, we need to learn to work with our imagination or our muse or our characters. See? It all ties up!

Hey, Cassondra, you and authorness have horses in common! Brill! Actually sadly I think, broad as my puns can be, there's more room to hide my philosopher soul under my buns. Sigh. Actually that's one of the things I admire about sportsmen their amazing fitness and physical dexterity. It's something I love about dance too. Dance of any type. That incredible smoothness of coordination. Yes, I am a klutz! I think you always admire most what you can't do yourself. And Keira was the brilliant one who came up with this idea. To go to a football idea, she just threw me the ball and I ran with it (does that fit American football? It sure fits Rugby!).

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Yep, Joanie, have to admit, Rupp's got a pretty fair few of those gorgeous flags. Had to LOL about the Irish horse stopping for a pint. And bowling? Nope, don't get it either. (That would be the indoor lane bowling, not the Cricket version.)

Anna Campbell said...

Heather, what a great story about inspiration from a sportsman! That's what I need to hear! Write like he runs! Thanks for coming by the Banditas. I've had such fun with this post. And I've learnt a lot and I've been given a lot to think about. Not a bad reward in exchange for a fabulous cookbook and apron, methinks! And I'm sure you do miss cricket! When I lived in England, it was strange what I missed. Jacarandas in the spring and kookaburras in the morning. Just the recording of a kookaburra was enough to make me start to howl like a lost bloodhound!

It's odd how we Banditas have these odd things in common, isn't it? Caren, who sadly is off having a marvellous romantic weekend and not commenting on my blog, the rotter, is someone who I share the oddest bits with.

Hey, Joan, fab news on actually winning on the ponies! Clearly drinks are on you in San Francisco ;-)

Cassondra said...


YOU LIVE IN FREAKIN' LUAVULL (to all you who have not been near Louisville, all the Louisville natives INSIST on pronouncing it in a way that has nothing to do with its European roots. Much as I have spelled it, above. :0/

Oh, but back to the point.


I don't give a flip about basketball. It is, without a doubt, the most boring sport on the entire face of the earth. GOLF is way more exciting. But I know this fact. If you're from Luavull, you're supposed to be a Cardinals fan.

Anonymous said...

Okay, ya'll got me with the talk of horse racing. I read and re-read every single Black Stallion book when I was a kid and can still remember the descriptions of all the races. I haven't seen any live races, but the few I've seen on TV were pretty awesome.

And Keira...hon, you could never be a zero. At anything.

Great to see all the new faces around today!! Hope ya'll come back soon!


DownUnderGirl said...

Hey Anna - made it safely home. Thanks for the bed and the non-stop gab fest. Oh adn the champers...and the lime and cracked pepper chips....

Shane Warne? Puh-lease! The man may be gods gift to bowling but he's a slimy little unfaithful weasel off the cricket green. Shudder!
But I'll have to concede you something Julia-Anne as an apology for the appalling under arm bowling incident that rocked our two countries in the seventies. That was a very low act indeed.

I grew up watching the famous DK but there was also Jeff Thompson and our fabulous wicket keeper Rod Marsh and the Chappell brothers. My mother tells me of a famous headline in and Australian newspaper when DK was at his peak that said "Denis Lillee bowls the maidens over".
Very clever. I've never fogotten that.

And back in the 70's was when the Windies were at their peak. Joel Garner and Viv Richards etc etc. Man they were good and they knew it.

Okay, okay, so maybe I am a cricket fan. The new 20/20 series they're running at the moment is very fast and thrilling to watch I have to admit.


Alison Stuart said...

As someone who once had to explain cricket to an is a simple explanation;-)

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game! Simple!

Alison Stuart (who spent her teenage years consuming Cricket magazines under the desk at school when everyone else seemed to be reading Rolling Stone!)

Anna Campbell said...

My favorite headline involves Dennis Lillee when he was playing an English team featuring a bowler called Willee and a wicketkeeper called Dillee (you can see where this is going, can't you?). "Lillee bowled Willee, caught Dillee."

Hey, AA, great to catch up with you. Thanks for coming. And speaking of feng shui, as we were earlier, AA presented me with a lovely lucky bamboo plant in a gold and black pot. It's currently spraying its luck all over my office (I hope!).

Alison, I adored your description of cricket. Worthy of G&S to the point that I started to hum I am the Model of a Modern Major General halfway through. Thanks for coming by to comment! Lovely to see you here!!!

Annie West said...


This isn't really Annie West. The real Annie West, after a day out and about is sitting down to her revisions, NOT reading blogs...!

So as her alter ego, I'll just say on her behalf that she too remembers the Peter Wimsey cricket match as a wonderful, vivid description. One of the phrases used there (and still used today) which loves is when the batsman is described as 'opening his shoulders' - they really do! It's amazing to watch - that quick decision and sudden no-holds-barred swing at the ball that sends it flying into the stands. Great to watch!

You mentioned cricketing terms. My other favorite, simply because I love the reaction it gets from people who don't know the game, is the news that a someone 'bowled a maiden over'!


Helen said...

I have just got home from work and had to stop by again the posts are wonderful with all the different sports.
Downundergirl I love the cricket in the 70's those west Indians were great my son is named Joel and when he was about 12 my Father introduced him to Jeff Thompson and Jeff said different colouring to the Joel I know nearly as tall though.
Anna I remember the day of Lillee Dilly and Willy were playing.
Have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

You know, if you were Annie West, but obviously you're not, I'd say thank you for dropping in again and sharing the bowled maidens!

Helen, my spelling was appalling. Yes, I remember that day too. Wasn't it a classic? The '70s really were a golden age for cricket, weren't they? I can remember the West Indian team just setting the game on fire and the Australian team was absolutely magnificent then too. Even the Poms weren't too bad ;-) It made the series so exciting when you really didn't know who would win.

Christine Wells said...

Oh my goodness, I'm comment #74! Sorry to be so late but I've been without internet access all weekend.

I think my favourite sport for men is Rugby Union. So exciting when they get it right! But I must admit, cricket has a special place in my heart, reminds me of long, lazy summer days, falling asleep to the sound of Ian Chappell and Tony Gregg.

Great post, Foanna and Keira!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Christine! We missed you this weekend. Thanks for popping in - even if you're late, it's always a pleasure to have you here!

Anna Campbell said...

Thank you so much, everyone, for such a fantastic day! It was great fun reading everyone's thoughts on this topic. You're all in my first 11 (another cricket team - means you make the best team in the school!).

Don't forget to come back tomorrow when I pick a winner of the fabulous SIZZLE, SEDUCE AND SIMMER and its accompanying apron. Wish I could give you all a copy! ;-)

Keira Soleore said...

Foanna, thanks for holding down the fort while I was off paying homage to a certain outlet mall that I "discovered" just yesterday several years after everyone in the state had obviously noticed (we had to wait 15 minutes to nab an illegal parking spot). All these visitors and comments on the blog--it's fabulous!

I do think that team sports do bring out the best in the players, especially kids. Just NOT the PARENTS. Sigh! If the parents would just back off, the kids would learn all that they need to learn.