Tag Archives: cake

Timetable for launch

Phil: We have a plan. After a lunch that was so serious we swapped cake for sponge pudding and custard (a move the BREXIT negotiators would be wise to copy), a plan has been formulated for the launch of our next novel Kate vs  The Navy.

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Gareth Fothrington-Thomas has made a huge mistake. He’s given Dave Thomas a job without consulting Kate. And Dave and Kate have history – embarrassing, complicated history.

But the Ministry of Defence have just asked KoD Associates to oversee the closing of an almost-forgotten naval base. It’s the company’s biggest contract yet, and a good performance could mean Kate can finally buy Gareth out.

However, nothing is ever straightforward. Tracey views work as a chance to have fun. Kelvin’s virtual life is far more exciting than his real one. And Captain Norris and his crew not only want to stay employed, they’re also keeping a secret. A rather large grey secret.

When Kate misses a key meeting she feels the whole process slipping out of her hands. Even an unexpected upturn in her personal life can’t compensate for the worry that things are about to go horribly wrong …

Join the team who first appeared in Kate vs the Dirtboffins as they become reluctant and unwelcome guests on a tiny island, battle local wildlife and tackle the Royal Navy in another madcap adventure.

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So, dear reader, you will now be champing at the bit to crack open our latest work. Well, here is the timetable:

8th November – Chapter 1 on-line

15th November – Chapter 2 on-line

22nd November – Chapter 3 on-line and book available to buy from Amazon

29th November – Book reaches the top of all sales charts and we are the toast of the literary world. (I might have made this one up, it’s not actually on the plan)

Along the way we’ll be showing you the new cover and talking to bloggers to sort out some reviews. In the meantime, you lot start saving your pennies and clearing your calendars, you have reading to do!

 

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Let’s talk about cake…

Phil: Regular readers will have noticed that team NolanParker enjoy many meetings powered by slices of cake. Since it is National Cake Week, I think we really need to look into this further.

Anyone who looks at me will know that I’m not averse to a slice of cake. However, I didn’t get serious about this until I met the Nolan.

Up to this point, cake munching was a strictly amateur task. Once we teamed up though, and especially once we started this blog, cake eating became more serious. Every cake had to be photographed to appear on these pages.

This has spread to my blog.

Now, when I go to events, I have to include a photo of any cake consumed in reviews. Due to public demand.

This has been going on long enough that I’m now known for my views on cake. It’s got so serious that people now ask me about cake rather than the models I’m supposed to be writing about. I was even waiting for a meeting at a preserved railway a few months ago and a group of hi-vis jacket wearing people spotted me and asked, “Are you here to try the cake?”

Freinds have commented that my Facebook feed only seems to show cake and beer pictures, sometimes both at the same time. This is partly because I’m not a 12-year-old girl who spends entire evenings taking a hundred photos of myself and my friends. Nor am I the middle-aged bloke in the pub last week who spent about 15 minutes casually leaning on a wall posing for his mate to take a photo. There’s probably a story in there as to why he thought that was a good idea but I wasn’t going to ask.

Cheese on the left, chalk on the right.No, the cake is simply more interesting and more photogenic than me. Some people take pictures of cats, I take snaps of cake. I don’t even eat that much of it, but what I do, I generously share via social media. I’m sure this is what Tim Berners-Lee hoped for when he invented the web.

We’re not the only cake-powered writer either. If there is a constant among those we have met, it’s tea (not coffee) and cake. No-one bangs on about posh water and salad in the same way no-one ever has said, “Oh good, cabbage for tea.”.

To be fair, the other constant is running, but I’ve decided that I’ll leave that to Candice.

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How many chapters is enough?

Phil: We’re making excellent progress with Book 2 – but the 80,000 word target is still bugging us as we aren’t there yet.

“If something doesn’t move the story forward, leave it out.” is the traditional advice to writers, but we’re wondering if we have been too efficient. There’s been a lot of planning in the book, lessons learned from last time, and it’s pretty fat-free. I can’t see anyone lopping a thousand words out this time!

So, we are looking hard and thinking about areas that need fleshing out. An obvious problem is that while we know what certain people and places look like, it would be really helpful if we told the reader. Several scenes have now been enlivened by a bit of description, adding many hundred of words in the process.

Last Friday we sat down in an excellent farm shop cafe with the laptops intending to do some writing. And eat some cake, but mostly to do some writing.

What we actually did was to go through the book as it stands and write a timeline. Candice skimmed each chapter and I typed the synopsis into a spreadsheet. We created an overview of the story which included a surprise.

49 chapters.

That’s the not the end though. Some of those included far too many scenes. Later in the day I broke them up and we now have 56.

I don’t think this is a problem. Personally, I like short chapters. When reading I can think I’ll just finish another one before putting the bookmark back in. If it’s half-a-dozen pages then I might be tempted to do just one more. If it’s 30 then forget it. Short chapters add pace to the story.

Anyway, the upshot is that our overview revealed not too many plot holes. The book is nearly ready for its first test readers…

 

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Writing progress – BOOM!

Library CakePhil: There I am, sitting in a deck chair besides Solihull’s latest tourist attraction – a beach – perusing a magazine about fixing rusty cars, when I’m tapped on the shoulder.

“Don’t you want any cake then?”

Shockingly, I’d been so excited about the mock seaside, I’d not spotted that Candice had lined up pots of tea and a choice of cake in the cafe behind me.

Not to worry, once we’d polished off the refreshments (sparkly cake – excellent!) and I’d established that she’d not brough me any souvenirs back from the previous days trip to Cadbury World (Boo), we got on to discussing the book.

Writers – here’s a handy hint. If you’ve lost your mojo, give some copies of your book away. Once people start talking about it, you’ll be back at the keyboard toot sweet.

It’s certainly working for us. My friend is giddy with excitement about the book now she’s passing copies around her friends and we can see loads of people have downloaded copies. OK, we’re not making money but then we never expected to become as rich as Rowling. We just want people to read and enjoy the story.

And the reviews say they are. It’s a wonderful feeling.

All of which got us sat around a library table with laptops out. At first we discussed how the overall story arc should go in the second book. We’ve worked this out already but this time there was detail. There has to be when the words are to hit the page.

Not only this, we filled in some blanks for the books to follow this as well. It was very exciting to be back discussing plots and ideas.

After this, there was writing. Maybe the sugar rush from the cake was powering us, but after an hour or so, we swapped computers and read the 1000 or so words we’d each written. New words but ones that fitted like jigsaw pieces into the story we are telling.

So, giving away a few copies of our book isn’t such a daft idea after all.

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Are we famous yet?

_RPB8357Candice: We came,we saw, we presented.  Yes, last week we set the world alight by talking about our book writing process at the Stratford literary festival. The build up was unnerving, the day was stressful, the cake was plentiful, and the audience was receptive.

It actually went really well, though I was nearly sick before hand. Once I got to the green room and Phil talked at everyone I was nicely distracted.  We didn’t have time to think about what was going to happen as we had our photos taken and then were taken down stairs to the room.

Sitting down at the front was un-nerving, having been to a few events an been in the crowd, suddenly we were the focus.  That is the point when it really hit me we were there to talk about our book.

The crowds flocked in to sit down… all four of them.  I think it made me more relaxed that we didn’t have that many people but Phil said it made him feel more nervous.  He’s used to performing to big crowds!_DSC3953

The talk went really well, we had a few bumps in the road but that just shows we need a little more practice.  But it was great to prove that we can talk for 30 mins about the book in an engaging way. One of our audience said she thought she could see us as a radio show (which backs up what a few people have said).

So, yes the audience was small, we aren’t going to millionaires off that soon, but we did make some good contacts with a book group and WI so hopefully there will be more listeners (and readers) to come.

A great experience and thank you to the Literary Festival for giving us a slot.

Now to sort out the new book cover, that is a whole new area of conversation!

Photos courtesy of Rupert Barnes.

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Don’t know which way is up

upsidedowncakeCandice: The last few weeks have been a bit all over the place in the Nolan household.  The other half has been away a lot for work so I have been leaning on the grandparents to look after the little person so I can go to the gym.

I’ve also started to train for my annual big running event, and then failed miserably to do more than 1 big run.

There has been lots of end of year stuff happening at work, nothing that you can really get your teeth in to but things that have to be done.

And to cap it all we have workmen in building a bathroom, something I have been really looking forward to but now its here I’m not enjoying it so much.

So, I’ve gone from having a nice weekly routine to not being sure where I am and when.  And when you have two people to get ready each morning, that makes things twice as hard.

I’ve turned up at work without my work mobile, forgotten my lunch, got to the gym without a towel or the right clothes.  And trying to work from home is out of the window as I keep getting requests for tea or questions about pipes.

So focusing on marketing the book had been in fits and starts to say the least. Phil has also been busy so there are snatched emails or meetings to talk book.  We even met on Saturday to get some head shots done, and I ended up chasing Erin round the Pump Rooms while he and the other half talked cars.  No book planning there.

So I am hoping February will bring a more settled routine, a groovy new bathroom and a marketing plan.

Can I just add we now have a 4 star Independent review on Amazon – so get buying people!

 

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An urgent appeal…

Please buy our book so we can have cake!

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by | December 21, 2015 · 8:51 am