January – what is the point?


Candice: I have to say I don’t like January.  In the UK it just seems to be a really long month that is dark ALL THE TIME ! It’s a bit of a bummer as two important people in my household have their Birthday’s in January so I do my best to get as excited as I can about that but when it wake up every day to another pitch black morning, I’m struggling.

Talking about waking up in the dark I am slightly obsessed with looking at what time the sunrise is on bbc website.  Its still only 8am at the end of the month!  What this also means is that I struggle to get motivated to do things at either end of the day. Once its dark I want to curl up in a ball and eat chocolate.

I don’t see the point of the other things people do in January:

  • Dry January – don’t really drink that much, not because of the hangovers but because it really upsets my stomach. I’d rather down the odd margarita and enjoy it than drown myself in booze.
  • Joining a gym – argh, get out of my way.  In the last few weeks going to the gym has been a nightmare.  It’s a sea of people in pristine gym gear trying to work out how to use the equipment. I’m a regular goer so this annoys me as they are all hogging the machines I want to go on.
  • Complaining about over spending – don’t spend thousands on your other half and your children and this won’t happen.  Big presents don’t show love, spending quality time together does.
  • Setting resolutions – anyone who does this only ends up in a bad mood as they fail miserably to achieve them.  Set yourself little targets across the year and then you’ll better when you get there.

Phil and I have started the year well though.  We haven’t set a resolution but we have set a deadline. We love a good deadline.  There is editing and new chapter writing going on in the back ground, and we are both enjoying it a fresh.  Looking out for more new stuff soon.

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And on to 2017

pantocardPhil: Last week I looked back at 2016, now it’s time to anticipate 2017.

Candice’s Christmas card sums it all up really. Not the bit about thigh slapping, that’s a reference to my front of house panto work over the festive period, no, 2017 is all about writing book 2.

We’ve no choice, the last page of Kate vs the Dirtboffins tells the eager reader that Kate vs the Navy will be out this summer. People have actually asked me about it.

Summer seems a long way off, but once you factor in lead times for proof reading, cover design, messing around etc. it’s really not.

Good job someone has been busy with a fresh and fabulous chapter for me to read arriving on 3rd January. Only another 20,000 words to go then.

And hopefully a bit more publicity for the Dirtboffins to. We’re working on it. Busy year ahead!


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That was 2016 that was…

Phil: Today is the one post of the year when I can legitimately look backward. The news telly people have been doing it for a couple of weeks to save themselves the bother of going in to work so it’s fashionable.

Anyway, for team Nolanparker, 2016 has been a very important year. For a start, we published The Book in paperback:


If you haven’t bought a copy, please do so from the links on the left of this page. It’s not just me who thinks this is a good idea, the reviews for the electronic version are really good. We’ve plenty of other people who have read it and say the same. Even my mum likes it although she doesn’t think much of Tracey…

With the book out, we’ve been on the road doing our thang in front of real audiences. First there was Stratford Literary festival:

Strat Lit Fest 2016 - 1

A “proper” festival appearance means we are “proper” writers. Even JK Rowling wouldn’t have enjoyed better cake in the festival green room. Perhaps her audience might have been bigger, but those who came, enjoyed us a lot.

After this, we gigged in London, where the Queen lives:


Thanks to Steve and Kim for sorting this out for us. I think our brand of storytelling mixed with pantomime shouting at pictures of Michael Gove went down very well with the metropolitan audience. And Candice got to wear a shiny top and nice shoes.

Best of all though, we have readers. A few promotional events in the year mean we know over 100 people have a copy of the story in their hands or on their Kindles. Getting our words out there is what it is all about. And every time someone tells us they liked them, we are full of smiles.

So, what about 2017? I’ll talk about that next week.

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Happy New Year!

Candice: I’ve been totally useless this week, having promised to write a blog post for three days and not got round to it.  So I have finally found 3 minutes today so get in front of a PC to do the writing.

Its been a great Christmas break with a lot of meeting up with people and playing with their children.  E has made lots of new friends, and given me so many ideas for Birthday presents for her I don’t know where to start. Three years ago I was relaxing, having just finished work for my maternity leave, and was preparing for a night out at a local hotel with a five course meal and then a disco, thinking I’d at least 3 weeks before some one joined us. Little did I know that just a few days later I’d be lying in hospital with an extra member of the family.

For those of you who have birthday’s close to Christmas it is always hard on both sides, you are thinking I’ve got all these things all together, and those of us buying are racking our brains trying to come up with something new. I try and fill the gaps from Christmas or get stuff she will want later in the year (not that we don’t buy things for her across the year anyway!).

This year Father Christmas bought her a dolls house as her main present.  She loves it and has spent every day playing with it.  I asked him for one for her and I thought it would be great for her imagination.  And its really worked.  Through the wall in the morning I can hear her talking to the residents and making little stories up.  I get told off if I move any of the furniture or people around! We even have to include them in the story reading at night.

I loved playing dressing up and creating stories as I grew up and I really want her to learn this as she grows.  It has stood me in good stead,  not just for writing but also at work. I like to think I get more out of life because if my creative brain.

So enjoy your new year celebrations (or to those of you who have already celebrated welcome to 2017) and make sure that you take time to be creative at home, at work and with your children in the new year.  Its more important that staying that extra hour at work, as that won’t be something that you can put in your obituary.


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Merry Christmas to all our readers


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by | December 24, 2016 · 8:03 am

Bringing Christmas to life

Candice: For my daughter’s first christmas, just before she turned one, Phil bought her a book.  It is a personalised story of the big Christmas rescue where she saves Father Christmas and Rudolph from drowning at sea (not as depressing as it sounds!)

At the time she didn’t really appreciate it, and the same could be said last year.  However, this year while I was sorting out the Christmas stuff I found the book and showed it to her. And suddenly she loves it! We have to read it every night at bedtime and she carries it around the house. 

The story tells of a little girl being woken by a noise on Christmas Eve, and finding Rudolph in her kitchen trying to ring 999 but he can’t dial with his hooves.  She makes the call and he reports that Santa has crashed in the sea.  RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) volunteers jump in to action and rush to save him.

She gets an hug from Santa and an extra treat the next morning from ‘You know who’ to say thank you for her help.

You can personalise the book with your child’s name, sex and skin colour.  She loves to point at the picture and say that’s her and it’s her slippers under the bed, her with Rudolph and so on.

It’s lovely to see her developing so much, understanding what things mean and even being able to read her name – every E we see is E for Erin. But also to finally start to understand what Christmas is about.  We aren’t at the point of waking up in the middle of the night to open presents but I’m planning some fun on Christmas Eve: reindeer food on the patio, mince pies by the back door and a note from Santa at the end of the bed, just like the one in the book.

To buy the book go to the RNLI shop  and help to support an important cause too.


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7 reasons a novel is the best Christmas present you can give

wrapped-bookThe festive season is upon us and all through the town, people are scurrying around trying to work out what to give to their nearest and dearest.

Well, worry no more. The answer is simple – give them a novel. Here are seven reasons why:

  1. There is nothing easier to wrap.
  2. Your reader gets hours of pleasure from the gift. No chance of it being broken by lunch time!
  3. Introduce them to a new author they love, and they will be forever grateful.
  4. You get to borrow it back to read yourself, so make sure you buy something you like.
  5. If they donate it to a charity shop it’s natural, not a judgement on your choice.
  6. Books are easy to post and won’t get smashed by trips in airmail.
  7. You get a polite dig in, by handing over something by a terrible celebrity author and saying, “I thought you’d like this.” With a smile.

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