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Liebster Award

Phil: Thanks to Realm of the Goddess for awarding us the Liebster Award. It’s always nice to be recognised, although Candice is a bit disappointed that there is no Hollywood ceremony to attend as she has bought a new frock. I haven’t bought a new frock but I did get my hair cut which is nearly the same thing. (Candice – Phil I’m sure you’d look lovely in a frock!)

Anyway, as part of the deal, we have to answer some random questions, so over hot drinks and warm laptops, we had a go.

Why did you start blogging?

Candice – Phil told me we had to. To be honest I wasn’t very into blogs when we started but he wouldn’t shut up about it.

Phil – I started blogging back in the late 90’s when it was just starting to take off and have run a couple of blogs for my hobbies, so one for Nolanparker seemed the natural thing to do. The discipline of having to produce words regularly is useful for anyone who aspires to write and we need something to stop us just sitting around and eating cake.

If you could come back as anyone else, who would it be and why?

Candice – Hmmm, not sure. I don’t think I’ve ever really wanted to be anyone else.

Phil – I’d quite like to be King I suppose. Would I get to behead people who annoy me?

Candice – Like who?

Phil – BMW drivers mainly. And people who play music out of their phone on the bus.

Who did you most want to be like as a child?

Candice – No one specific. I had pop star posters on my bedroom wall but I never wanted to be any of them. Snog them possibly. What I wanted to be was an actor or writer, some sort of performer but definitely me.

Phil – Peter from Enid Blyton‘s Secret Seven stories. I remember him being quite clever and being good at disguises. With hindsight, there was a lot of Sherlock Holmes in him, another character I’ve always admired.

Who is your favourite character from a book?

Candice – I read a lot of books and so my favorite character tends to be someone from whatever I’m reading at the moment. Perhaps that makes me a bit fickle!

Phil – Edward The Blue Engine from the Thomas the Tank engine stories.

What do you like to write about?

Candice – Strong female characters. The genre doesn’t matter so much but the lead will have a lot of me, or at least a lot of who I might like to be, in her. It’s escapism really – putting yourself in different situations and seeing what happens.

Phil – I’m really not fussy. Since we started writing fiction seriously I’ve had a go at genres that I’d never considered such as chick-lit and horror. This means going and reading some examples and that’s been good fun. I tend to start with a story and have no idea where it’s going to end up anyway.

What country would you most like to visit?

Candice – Thailand or China. I want to go somewhere I haven’t been before to experience something different.  I always like to come back from a holiday feeling like I’ve learned something not just sat reading a book. Of course there are places where I feel I’ve only scratched the surface like America or Mexico so those would be good too. Wherever it is, there needs to be some nice beaches to so the tan can be topped up.

Phil – I’ve always fancied America by train. Coast to coast and back again, perhaps with a loop through Canada. Trouble is, I hate flying so I want to cross the wet bits on a boat. Mind you, I’ve always wanted to see Moscow, although I suspect a lot of the old Communist stuff has gone so North Korea perhaps? I don’t need a beach though.

What kind of music do you enjoy the most?

Candice – Indie stuff. Foo fighters (Dave Grohl – Yum), Ed Sheeran, Bastille. Maybe a bit of R’n’B/dance on a night out too.

Phil – Anything but R’n’B/dance please. I’m listening to a lot of Bellowhead at the moment with Thea Gilmore and Golgol Bordello in the mix. And some Wombles, because I look like Wellington.

Do you like the feeling of holding a book in your hands or do you prefer e-readers?

Candice – No contest, a proper book.

Phil – Me too. I can see the point of e-readers I suppose but nothing beats the feel of a book, especially an old one.

During which part of the day are you most productive?

Candice – The afternoon. I tend to get a slow start in the morning because I can’t focus.

Phil – I need something to focus on. If I have to get something done then I’m fine. Otherwise I can faff around and achieve nothing, If I’m excited about a project I’ll disappear into it and time doesn’t matter.

If you could have any superpower, which would it be?

Candice – Time travel. I’d like to visit myself when younger tell myself school is not as bad as I think it is. Finding out next week’s lottery numbers would be nice too!

Phil – Invisibility.

Candice – Who said that?

How did you feel when you were nominated for this award?

Candice – It’s really nice to be acknowledged. You can write all this stuff and wonder if there is anyone else reading it. Getting a “Like” or even an award makes it seem worthwhile.

Phil – Like most bloggers, you wonder if anyone reads your stuff and more importantly, whether anyone likes it. Getting an award is nice recognition that we’re doing something right. Thanks very much.

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Notes on the Liebster Award: The origins of this award seem lot in the mists of time. The general consensus is that it originated in Germany, Liebster meaning favorite or
dearest, to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers (or less than 3000 according to some rules). Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to 5 more blogs. Or maybe 11.

Basically, it’s a positive pyramid scheme where bloggers pass on the award to other bloggers in the hope of a bit of coverage. One day, every blog will have a Liebster award. In the meantime, we’ll take it because it IS really nice that someone has read our stuff and enjoyed it. Sometimes, a warm glow is worth more than awards, even if you can’t wear a posh dress to it.

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Wordpoo

Phil: It seems that WordPress.com’s automated SPAM checker decided a short while ago that our witterings failed some test in its little silicon mind. The result was that this blog found itself suspended. Sorry about that. We hadn’t gone away.

A quick e-mail dispatched to the helpdesk and they soon realised their mistake. No one stands between Nolan, Parker and our readers !

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How a book is born

Phil: This diagram is going to be on every single writing blog but I don’t care. It’s still funny and backs up a lot of what we have been saying recently.

How a book is born

You can find the original here: http://www.weldonowen.com/blog/how-book-born-because-you-kids-love-infographics

and a hat tip to Maggie Madly Writing for alerting me to it.

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Nailing our banter to the page

Phil: Earlier today, Candice and I were sitting outside a cafe talking book stuff. As we performed experiments to see just how much tea there was in the posh teapots and munched down on our cakes (me, cherry shortbread, her croissant with a filling that looked like custard), the discussion turned to the synopsis. While we have one, and it’s hit a number of literary agents doormats, it is quite frankly, dull.

This is no good, we need exciting. A synopsis which brings our fun-filled book alive on the page. The problem was that I had read all the instructions I could find on writing this, followed them to the letter, and produced a document that sucked the life out of our prose. I knew it had to be redone and redone much better. I could even see in my mind’s eye how this could be done. Sadly the vision was a bit misty.

Not to worry, as we chatted, things became clearer. Bashing the idea between us, the biggest benefit of joint authorship, clarity arrived. My notebook pages are part filled with a rough plan. As I sat there, I could see myself banging away at the keyboard to write a first draft. Eventually we shut up and headed off our separate ways.

Back at home. faced with a blank screen, things looked very different. How was it that a couple of hour earlier, I knew what I wanted to do and now my fingers were frozen ? I had promised to get stuck in with the synopsis and when I said this was sure that all I needed to do was turn on my creative tap to let the good words flow. But when the tap was opened, the water of ideas was frozen. Working together and powered by tea and cake, the banter flows. One of the jobs on our “to do” list is find a way to turn this back and forth of ideas into something that can be shared. For the minute though, I was on my own.

This was bad news. Initially, I did what everyone faced with a similar crisis does at work – procrastinated a while on the internet reading some blogs and checking my e-mail. Naturally this didn’t help. Worse, being self-employed, I was only wasting my time and when I do that no money is raised. At least when you do this at work there is the satisfaction of getting one over on your employer !

To clear my mind, perhaps you are expecting me to say I say cross-legged on a cushion and chanted. Nope. Sitting like Buda and saying “Ommmmmmmm” isn’t my bag man.

Instead, after a bit of staring into space, I came up with the idea to write this blog post. It’s not much but any typing is better than no typing. I think I’ve now got my clarity back. In a few minutes I’ll find out.

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