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Natalie C Page

Author of YA, MG and Children's fiction

Month

September 2015

Let the journey begin..

So, this week Chris Nuttall and I signed our publishing contract and returned it to the publisher. To know that this process is finally happening is the most incredible feeling, however I suspect it won’t compare to actually being able to hold the book once it is complete. We already had a Facebook page and Instagram page set up but have really started to share it now with our friends and family. If you would like to find out more about our story When Zak Met Jen, please do head to Facebook / Instagram / Twitter to keep up with everything (details are below).

We will be posting news about the process across all three platforms so do keep an eye out! There will also be details on how and when to pre-order the book. In the meantime, here is our sneek peak at some of the images from the book – enjoy because we don’t think we are going to be able to share any more before it’s published!

Instagram = zak_and_jen

Facebook = https://www.facebook.com/magicalZakandJen

Twitter = @Zak_and_Jen

LINE 29  30 LINE 39  40 LINE 41  44

Who fancies a funny poem?

I often write poems inspired by my daughter and life as a parent, and in honour of all the lovely people I have met recently through a picture book party on Twitter, I wanted to share just one of them  – obviously all copyright belongs to me … etc etc (It’s sad to think I need to worry about other writers stealing my work!). Thank you to all the lovely people that I have met and who have provided encouragement – you are all ace! (especially @VivWrites !)

It’s not time for bed yet!

Evie was yawning,

“It’s bed time” mum said,

Evie looked cross,

It’s not time for bed yet!

“Time for your bath then?

I’ll make it with bubbles.”

But running the bath,

Was the least of mum’s troubles.

With every suggestion,

Evie wailed more,

Kicking and screaming,

As she rolled on the floor.

Evie kept yawning,

“Your’e tired” mum said,

The girl shook her head,

“It’s not time for bed yet!”

The tears started coming,

The knee joints went weak,

Mum knew,  no doubt,

The outlook was bleak.

She offered a story,

A hot drink, a hug,

But nothing would stop her,

As she rolled on the rug.

Bath time was stressful,

The room was a mess,

It’s hard to stay patient,

When they fight getting dressed.

The meltdown continued,

Oh when will it end?

And then mum remembered,

Her soft bedtime friend.

A pink dress, black eyes,

The toy was so big!

She was finally sleepy,

With her pink Peppa Pig.

Mum sighed with relief,

And cuddled her tight,

Who would have thought,

She’d be this bad at night?

She stared at her face,

All peaceful and still,

“I love you” she said,

“Despite your strong will”

Mum slipped down the stairs

And was delighted to find,

Dad had made dinner,

And a large glass of wine.

The Watchers by Neil Spring

Dark and twisted, with just enough horror to keep you awake at night.

For those that haven’t read my previous blog posts, I will be totally transparent and say that I have known Neil for several years now. That, however, does not automatically mean that he gets a glowing book review from me.

Like a lot of things, there are always mixed emotions when you are given the opportunity to read or view a friend’s work. If it’s great, then you are fine (although your friend might doubt your sincerity) but if it’s terrible, how do you tell them without offending them?

In this case, I was extremely relieved. The Watchers is excellent, and well worth your hard earned cash to buy a copy, but allow me to explain why.

Firstly, let me say that I also had the pleasure of reading Neil’s first offering, The Ghost Hunters. It was a chilling tale of spectres, tortured souls and ragged emotions, mixed with just enough factual content to get you wondering whether things really could go ‘bump’ in the night. I gave the book 4 out of 5 because whilst I liked the characters and overall plot, I felt the narrative was a little wooly in places. I strongly felt that we hadn’t seen the best of this writer. I was right.

Whilst Neil’s distinctive style remains, the writing is tighter with a much greater sense of pace. Short snappy chapters leave us with tantalising cliff hangers and also offer additional points of view. All this adds texture and colour to the book.

I don’t want to go into too much plot detail, as to do so would undermine the book. However, I can provide a summary. The Watchers is set at the height of the Cold War and based on true events pertaining to supposed sightings of UFOS in a place known as The Broad Haven Triangle. We follow the journey of Robert Wilding, a troubled man, who is forced to return to his homeland in search of answers. Whilst initially we follow Robert on a crusade to reveal the truth about the strange ‘happenings’ and UFO sightings in the Havens, we soon discover there is much more afoot than simple lights in the sky.

Neil’s plot twists and turns, leading the reader in one direction and then cleverly shifting, revealing a truth you could not have forseen.

Just a heads up, this book is not for the faint hearted, as it makes several references to the Occult that kept me awake on a couple of occasions.

If you want a book that is going to grip you with a sense of mystery, and just the right amount of horror then you won’t be disappointed with The Watchers. Once again, Neil has expertly blended just enough fact with fiction to make you wonder whether what you are reading could be possible.

Whilst streets ahead of The Ghost Hunters, I am still going to push Neil as I feel he has more to give. I give The Watchers 4.5/5.

As for what did really happen in The Havens? You will have to buy the book to find out….

Finding the time..

It’s always difficult to try and find the time to write blog posts at the moment, life seems to be so full and we appear to be rushing headfirst towards Christmas faster that I can say the words ‘stocking filler’. The weather isn’t helping either, for those fellow Brits it is my theory we don’t actually have seasons any more, merely months where we *might* have marginally less rain. Trying to focus on the silver lining though, autumn / winter means I can revert back to my big comfy knits, fur lined boots and general cosiness with a good book or two – this is actually my idea of heaven.

So, what have I been doing with my time (aside from working)? Well firstly I have been reading The Watchers by Neil Spring. I was fortunate enough to have been given an advanced proof copy of this book and I am pleased to say that it is even better than his first offering, The Ghost Hunters. Incidentally, if you read and enjoyed the Ghost Hunters it is now being turned into a film starring Rafe Spall as Harry Price for ITV. However, back to The Watchers, once my daughter finally allows me to finish the book I will write a full review, however this story concentrates on some strange happenings which take place in an area nicknamed ‘The Broad Haven Triangle’. The story is inspired by real events in British history, and Neil is extremely adept at creating a plot which makes you forget you are reading fiction. I keep finding myself so immersed in the story that I am wondering whether any of the theories could, in fact, be true. I haven’t reached the end yet, so there is bound to be a twist or two but I cannot wait to see how the story unfolds.

On another note, big thank you to Michelle Hauck and Sharon Chriscoe for running a fabulous picture book twitter event yesterday. The submission window is now closed, but the Twitter party will continue over the next week so make sure you check out #PBParty for all the action. Those entries chosen will then progress to the agent round which begins on the 23rd September. Good luck to all those that have entered, PB’s can often be a forgotten category so its good that these guys have stepped up to provide authors with such a fabulous opportunity to get their work seen by industry professionals.

No further news on my writing for the moment, although I have been privileged enough to be CP for a very talented writer. I look forward to seeing her manuscript on the bookshelves in future!

Right, I am off to indulge in a hot chocolate :0) – laters folks!

When one door closes…

Well I have been rather quiet on here over the last few days but with good reason. Firstly, I have been doing masses of house admin (as you would expect post holiday), but secondly I have been working to sort out something, and that something is…… A publishing contract!! That’s right people, Zak and Jen will be hitting the shelves in the next year in hardback, paperback and e-book and I could not be more thrilled!!

Chris and I will keep everyone updated as we progress through the awesome production and marketing journey but for now, at least I can say I have the contract in my hands!

Thank you to everyone who has given me words of encouragement recently (you know who you are). I hope you will all look forward to seeing the book with Chris’ incredible pictures in glorious real life next year.

Yay!

Life Post PitchWars

I’m not going to lie, I thought for a while about what to include in this post. Eventually I decided that the only real option was to be completely honest, in the hope that others will realise they are not alone and that it is totally ok to feel down sometimes.

As writers we all know that waiting and rejection are part of the game. I haven’t met a writer yet who hasn’t experienced both these things. However it’s the rejection part I wanted to deal with here, and while I completely understand and appreciate that to be in the business you have to have a thick skin (something akin to Rhino hide by the sounds of things) it is not to say that you should supress your feelings.

When I realised I hadn’t made the pitch wars mentee list I had such mixed emotions. I was so happy for the awesome people who had made it (many of whom are now twitter buddies) but at the same time I did feel a little crushed. Doubt started to creep in, that awful demon in my head started to shout that little bit louder, telling me that my lack of success was simply down to ‘not being good enough’. I’ll admit, I listened to that demon for a couple of hours and felt totally rubbish.

Then, I remembered something. A few years ago I was going through a really tough time and thankfully my family rallied around me. I will never forget something my dad said back then, ‘know your own worth’. Sounds so simple. However, in reality it can be so hard to achieve. That advice got me through and encouraged me to start  believing in myself back then and it was the turning point for that whole situation. The same was true of Pitchwars decision day, I politely told that demon in my head to shut up and listened to all the positive things people were saying, particularly the mentors and my fabulous husband. Writing IS subjective and not getting picked is no reflection on your work, for those who didn’t get picked, like me, you ARE good, you and I are obviously destined to take a different path. I firmly believe there will be a reason for the way things pan out, even if it’s not obvious yet. Interestingly, I got a rather exciting email on decision day about another project I am working on, something that I might be able to share in the coming weeks. Who knows, maybe this is my path?

I know I have probably not said anything new or groundbreaking in the above but I wanted to reassure people that it is ok to feel disappointed,  it is ok to doubt yourself from time to time. Just don’t let it consume you or blind you to all the positivity this community can provide. I feel very lucky to have connected with such a supportive group of people who are always around to cheer you on.

For those continuing in the Pitch Wars journey, I salute you all and wish you all the luck in the world (and will be cheering you on from the sidelines!), for those of us following our own journey, I am here to support, cheer and encourage as we find our own way. Trite as it may sound, we will all get there. Even if ‘there’ ends up being somewhere a little different than we first planned.

Xx

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