Saturday, 31 December 2011

Blog anniversary, New Year wishes and writing resolutions (plus updates)

Happy New Year folks! I absolutely love this day. Firstly, it is my wedding anniversary and secondly, I love the thrill of a brand new year ahead, packed with exciting days and achievements, as yet unknown!

Today is the last day for editing ‘Her’ – so, I’ll be hot footing it to my desk as soon as this blog is up-dated. I’ve had a decent week working on my novel, re-igniting the energy for the project. My next steps towards publishing are planned and I’ll share as I complete each one, promise.

I have written numerous poems this week in an attempt to complete a mini project before the end of year – sadly, I have seven remaining, but I’m looking on the bright side I’ve completed 13! In fact, I’ve completed 33 in total – important, to have a positive outlook on everything.

It is 200 years since ‘Sense and Sensibility’ was published in 1811, so I’ve indulged in lots of Jane Austen celebrations this Christmas by watching numerous film adaptations. I was glued to the screen whilst watching the ‘unseen portrait’ programme, I agree with the experts that the portrait has many similarities to family likeness, connections and the historical period. If it isn’t Jane Austen, full marks to whoever created it for keeping us guessing, hee hee.

Tomorrow, 1st Jan will be the one year anniversary of this blog – I confess, I didn’t think I’d keep up the weekly habit. I thought I’d run dry on material and information to share and that it would possibly die a death within a few weeks. I would encourage all writers to start a blog as it has kept me on track and producing work all year. Believe me, when I say, that during moments of laziness (I don’t have many but every now and then) I have thought, so what are you going to share with the bloggers if you sit watching t.v.? It has motivated me to fire up the laptop and within minutes I’m so glad to have had the ‘boot up the ass’ – at the very thought of you guys. Thank you x.   

Talking of you guys – I can now confirm that I have more returning overseas visitors than I do from my home land. An interesting detail, which I’ve been watching for a few weeks – I’m obviously going to have to work harder to boost my UK visitors. Remember that you can catch me on Twitter too, search for odwyer_author.

As you’d expect, I have a list of New Year resolutions/goals purely for writing – I’ve created a little section on the right hand panel so you can track them with me.

  • To find an agent
  • To complete a my second main project
  • To send out three mini projects
  • To enter six short story competitions
  • Increase networking with novelists
  • To embrace every writing opportunity
Tomorrow dawns the beginning of ‘River of stones’ everyday throughout January 2012 - anyone can participate by taking notice of their daily world and then writing about your discovery. For further details please check out

As you’d expect, I haven’t any writers meeting to attend, so have an entirely free two weeks in which to produce something new and exciting to read. I’ve a couple of ideas for short piece musing about the old brain box – I let you know next week how they’ve geminated and grown.

There’s remains little else to say, other than to raise a glass and wish you all the very best of New Years, and I hope 2012 is the most productive one yet. Cheers!

Update 31st Dec 2011 7pm - I am proud to announce that I have managed to draft 7 poems this afternoon inbetween editing 'Her', so my mini poetry project has been completed on the deadline day. Hooray!

Another update 2nd Jan 2012 4:30pm - woohoo, I just wanted to share some great news. Sorry, I really should have said 'Happy New Year', anyway, the news. I have been accepted on the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers' Scheme 2012 - heehee. I was interested in their scheme last year but missed the opportunity as the 250 places were allocated by the time my application was received. So, I have waited like a good girl and.... given that the application window opened at 2nd January 2012 at 00:01 - I was camped next to my computer, I timed it perfectly and my initial email requesting membership was timed at 00:02 - perfect! I have just received confirmation that I have been accepted. I've completed the necessary and it is winging its way to them, as we speak. Oh boy, what a nice start to my year!    

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas wishes, Café Muse and my apprenticeship

Christmas Eve – woohoo. I love today, as it signals to me the end of Christmas prep, because if I haven’t got it by now, we can do without! So, let the Christmas celebration begin. I have just, and I mean just finished icing my Christmas cake – the first one I have made in many a year. But this being my 40th year – I don’t think I’ve mentioned that before, but I thought I’d put the effort in this year.

Anyhow, let’s get back to business. I have been on holiday all week, and am pretty pleased with my effort. I have edited and checked punctuation of ‘Her’ everyday, written three poems and have spent a little time working on my scrap book for the next project - all very exciting.

Monday, I discovered a sleepy little café which serves the best hot chocolate with the most generous amount of marsh mellows ever seen! I was as happy as Larry, scribbling away surrounded by a happy babble of tea cups and locals. I have nick named it ‘Café Muse’ as I loved working there for the hour or so. I visited three times this week and have promised myself that I shall visiting in the New Year.

Wednesday evening, I attended this year’s final Mad Hatters’ writers group – just four members attended to read and receive a critique. I read four shoe poems – which received decent feedback – there were a few suggestions regards on piece but nothing queried on the other three.

You’ll remember that in February I attended a series of poetry workshops in connection with phase two of Polesworth Poetry Trail, in Pooley Heritage Park. My poem ‘Jutt’ was selected for inclusion on the trail and I have been informed that my poem will be in place by the end of March 2012.

Thursday and Friday, both very wet and miserable days saw me tucked up at home with the laptop tapping away through the chapters of ‘Her’. Each time I read my draft I find something that I hadn’t seen before, on a couple of occasion I have been surprised by the content or the language – I literally can’t remember writing some phrases.

The current process reminded me of when I was a child helping my dad with his business. He provided candles to Catholic churches and occasionally, I’d have to help wick and pot boxes of votive lights. Of course the busiest times of the year were Christmas and Easter – so it was all hands to the deck. Sitting editing ‘Her’, brought back the memories of me sitting for hours wicking candles – not a complicated process but a mind numbing, back breaking job  - which resulted in your fingers being cut to pieces – you almost lost you fingers prints! Anyhow, I served my apprenticeship well; it prepared me for editing a novel – thanks dad!

The most visits this week goes to Russia – not that I’m counting, as I love seeing each country visit and read.

Finally, it is nearly a year that I’ve been writing this blog. I began on 1st January 2011 (1.1.11 – got a thing about dates, as you know) my only hope was that it might encourage me to remain focused on my writing – it has more than accomplished that tiny wish. I wondered at the beginning how I would have enough o write about each week, but never has a week gone by when I haven’t had more than enough to discuss. I feel that I now have a live and reliable account of my year as a writer, and would encourage anyone else to start blogging. An added advantage, is knowing that I haven’t been alone in this world of writing, others…., you, are out there in the very same position and understand my rambling thoughts and musings – thank you!

As always you can follow me on Twitter be searching Odwyer_author. Enjoy a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Accepted submission, murder mystery and a Christmas holiday

Morning folks, today is the first day of my Christmas holidays – I have a fortnight to enjoy the Christmas spirit, wine and chocolate. My writing plans are to complete the proof read of ‘Her’ by 31st December – so it’ll be early starts and late finishes but hey.

My week began with a flying start, last Sunday night when I receive confirmation that the short story ‘Caught in the act’ submitted to Be: magazine has been selected for publication in their second issue. It also means that I can tick number 20, to get a short story published, off my April Fool 40th List. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have heard such details immediately, and thank you for the numerous ‘congratulations’ received. I emailed both writers’ groups - as it helps to encourage other members to submit entries. I shall let you know publication dates as soon as I’m informed.

Monday, I had to write the bio blurb and organise a photograph to accompany the accepted short story ‘Caught in the act’. Boy, it is difficult having to think what I wish to include without it sounding all wordy and boastful. I did make a conscious decision to focus my blurb on my prose work. I could have included or named other projects but I wish to focus the attention on what my aim is, rather than the ‘side line’ projects which may come in useful at a later date.

Tuesday, I dragged my sorry ass to my university tutorial and sat astounded by the other students’ remarks relating to poetry. I was even a little taken back by my lecturer’s attitude – it was very obvious he doesn’t enjoy teaching this module. Which got me thinking, again, regards how I teach poetry at school – I certainly do a much better job than was displayed at uni. Shameful.

Wednesday, as a treat, I read aloud to my year 7 class a short story I’d written especially for them. They were delighted that I’d managed to include all 28 names as the characters in the Christmas murder mystery. I received positive feedback and a wave of astonished gasps that ‘yes, I had written it.’ Though, the school’s staff now think that I have an murderous obsession with pizza cutters – but hey, it’ll pass.

I spent the evening booking exciting trips for 2012, as I had received my new diary. It simply had to be done. So, within three hours I had flights booked for Edinburgh, Dublin, tickets for Swan Lake ballet and of, course, a Jubilee Celebration in June. Hee hee, it means I’ll be seeing the pandas so can tick off number 21 on my April Fool 40th List. 

Thursday, saw my nimble fingers quickly change the character’s names in the above mentioned Christmas murder mystery story to fit my year 8 class. Again, I received rave reviews – see, I can recycle to save the ice caps. Though, I did fess up and tell them I’d written it for the other group as a reward for their superb behaviour – something tells me my year 8 class may well try a little harder next term. In fact, the children’s reaction has been so wonderful that I may well use my shoe poetry in lesson when I return in January with year 9.

Thursday, also saw me attend a community Christmas party, dressed in a Santa suit, – where a bingo session was the main attraction. Oh the reaction and rivalry about winning was immense – a short story began to form.

Friday, saw all the celebration s of a fabulous school term come to an end. I’ve never received so many kisses and hugs from my colleagues - most enjoyable. The evening was spent chilling with hubby and step-daughter recuperating and planning the next fourteen days. Oh, you know what I’m like regards lists and plans – it all has to be meticulous and thought through so that I can then simply follow and do – which usually works for me. Anyhow, my beautiful IPad2 (yes, I am still in love with it) was perfect for organising my writing diary. And, so I am set for the ‘off’ regards completing ‘Her’. I have sought out a couple of agents that I wish to target first, then a second group who I’ll approach should all the others final – and I am expecting a flood of rejections, I’m prepared.

I have continued my reading of ‘Middlemarch’ and have arrived at a point where I am now starting to enjoy the experience. Yes, you read that correctly. It is still a hard slog, double reading of each line to ensure that I understand the passage but I am slowly, very slowly getting there. In earnest of finishing this book, I have written a 12 book
reading list (yep more lists) for 2012. I am going to aim to cover more of the classics within the next twelve months – for my 2011 reading list check out the ‘previously book wormed’ list in the left hand panel. Yep, I have read all of those since January 2011 - I usually get through about 30 books a year – reading, as I do, every day.

Whilst writing this blog the post has arrived, delivering my gold card for Blood Donors – hee, hee I now have a very small but perfectly embossed gold card confirming my achievement – cheers, NHS blood donors!

Back to the blog writing. My plans for the coming week are to focus on ‘Her’ and attend my final Mad Hatters meeting of 2011 on Wednesday. I need to complete a small poetry project in the next two weeks, too – as I have had a fabulous idea for a mini project that I wish to complete whilst dog walking.

I also have to begin getting ready for Christmas. Yes, I know, no decorations, hardly any presents bought but hey, I’ve been busy if you hadn’t noticed. I shall get it all completed in time – I’m sure.

So, on that note, I shall love and leave you, mainly because I now wish to parade about the lounge flashing my newly received gold card to hubby and family! By the way, they haven’ t yet stabbed me with the associated pen – though it is getting near. Remember, you can follow me on Twitter by searching O’Dwyer_author. Enjoy.

Friday, 9 December 2011

1000 hits, Friday morning tears and 50 pints of blood!

Morning folks, good news to start, number 17 on my April Fool 40th List has been ticked off – I have officially donated my 50th pint. Purely to humour my fellow Mad Hatter, Paul Morris, his usual Hancock classic quote ‘a pint, that’s nearly an armful’ which he says every time I donate, and yes, I laugh every time he says it!  Thanks to the National Blood Donors scheme - I have now given 50 arms full! It has only taken me 22 years – bless, the nurse who said I didn’t look old enough to be collecting my 50th award. I received a beautiful, and I do mean beautiful pen in an embossed case. Never have I given so much for a pen, just hope the folks that have received from me have used it well and not wasted a drop. Actually, while we’re talking about blood donors, I’ll share a funny story about my last present, some five years ago.

I’d given my 40th pint and the nurse was fussing over me being ‘so good, I’ll go and get you a little gift’. So, off she pops and returns holding a specially designed coffee coaster of grey slate, on which is embossed the NHS logo amidst the various blood types. I was well chuffed. I went home boasting to hubby that he wasn’t to use my new coaster as I had earn it by giving 40 pints - he at that time was on about his 13th donation. Anyway, for an hour or two, I made a song and dance about having my coffee mug on my special coaster. By which time my bragging was wearing a little thin. Hubby goes out to his blood donor appointment – yep, I know very ‘his and hers’ stuff. Anyway, after an hour he returns and literally skips down the driveway. He enters the house with his usual greetings, all very happy and smiley – goes straight into the kitchen to make two coffees. Of course, on distributing the hot drinks, he places mine on my now prominently placed coffee coaster, before sitting down to drink his. In a flash, he whips from his pocket an identical blood donors coffee coaster of grey slate. He can hardly speak for laughing at my immediate explosion of ‘How have you got that?’ – ‘There was one left in the box, the nurse didn’t want to take it back - seeing as I was the last donation, she asked if I wanted it!’ See what comes of bragging? I digress but hey, sharing is good.

Anyhow, my week has been pretty awesome. I attended university on Monday and whilst waiting for the proceedings to start polished four poems – admittedly, I did look pretty anti-social but hey, the other students were all moaning, so I didn’t miss much.

Tuesday, saw me at home all day with a bad head but, I made the most of the evening by having a good clear out of the junk from my desk and filing cabinet – I felt the urge to get ready for that New Year/new inspiration injection.

Wednesday evening, I attended my Mad Hatters’ group – which opted for an early night at 10:30, which I’ve planned to have as one of my New Year resolutions. As I’m getting up at 5:30am each day there have been times this year when the group have deprived me of my much needed beauty sleep. I received positive feedback on four poems from the shoe collection – I couldn’t for the life of me recall all the footwear titles, which only confirms what I’ve said about reciting my work – I simply can’t remember it.

Thursday evening was the Grace Dieu Christmas Quiz and supper - a small gathering, but enjoyable all the same. I surprised myself with how many correct answers I dragged from the back of my dusty memory - there was no way Ian Dury and the blockheads were being forgotten, that was certain. As for my guessing the famous person with just the dates 1917 to 1963 – I thought that was easy, apparently not according to my fellow team mates – but hey, I gained five points for the correct answer. Answer at the bottom of blog, just in case you wish to play along.

Friday morning saw an encounter on the daily dog walk that had me in tears. Just one of those small, seemingly insignificant moments in life when the harshness of reality hits home and without a word, a simple gesture tells you everything. It left me reeling in pity for this person that society should treat him so badly, that he expected everyone to treat him that way – I hadn’t and his reaction caused my tears. So much so, I thought about him all morning at work and spent my lunch hour scribbling words to release what I’d felt in a heart beat – the result being a tiny poem.

Whilst I mention poetry, I have to say, the last five weeks have proved to be the most productive flow of poetry in my life. Since 27th October, I have drafted and polished 26 poems, including today’s. Amazing what you can achieve whilst dog walking twice a day!

I’ve snatched a few hours of ‘Her’ here and there this week and am planning for my Christmas break which begins on 16th December – yay!
Anyhow, I shall continue to plod, plod, plod until the 16th – then it will be full steam ahead until 31st (which just happens to be our wedding anniversary, arrrr).

My plans for this weekend revolve about ‘Her’ and a three thousand word essay for university regards the behaviour of pupils – something tells me I could write ten thousand on the later.

I have finished reading Sarah Water’s ‘The Little Stranger’; oh it got scary at the end, made me go all goose bumpy. My full attention is back to Eliot’s 'Middlemarch' which I must, must, must finish as it is number 7 on the April Fool 40th list.

And finally, this little blog has received 1000 hits world wide – that might not sound much to some, but given that this is my small contribution to the internet, I am very proud. The actual 1000th hit was in America – so kisses and thanks whoever you are. I do appreciate all your visits – where ever you are based and hope you can follow me on Twitter by searching for odwyer_author. Enjoy!

Answer to quiz question - JFK 1917-1963

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Song writing, poetry and pandas

Morning folks – I am very excited having just watched two pandas from Sichuan Province be loaded into crates for their long journey to Edinburgh, which will equate to another event ticked off my April Fool list. Yay! I can’t wait. Sorry, forgive me, back to business, but still - yay!

I didn’t have any appointments with writers groups so have had a completely free week – which has been wonderful.

Monday, I attended Barry Hunt’s songwriting workshop in Lichfield. Firstly, I loved the location – may well be using that myself in a future. Song writing – not something I’ve ever thought of doing, I went purely as a new aspect to creative thought and flow. It proved exactly what the doctor ordered. I was the only writer present, everyone else apart from hubby (yep, dragged him along too) were songwriters or currently performing in bands. Eight pupils in total, which meant a cosy group which gelled in the given time. Barry and the others shared their knowledge, expertise and funny stories whilst we completed lyric exercises, melody discussions and the benefits of collaboration. Today, as promised on Monday, I shall be dedicating an hour to songwriting – who knows what I’ll produce. I’d give my back teeth for a Christmas number that roles out every year – now, we’re hitting fantasy land for sure. For future events by Barry contact,  

Wednesday, for the first time in my life, I went on strike. As I forfeited a day’s pay I spent the entire day at home writing. I polished three poems for the shoe project – which pleased me greatly. I shall be seeking opportunities for these over the coming weeks.

Thursday morning saw the start of a similar poetry project which I intend to send along side the ‘Poetry from the shoe rack’ submission. As warm exercises whilst on dog walks these have proven to be a worthy representation of my time, so I may continue this little exercise indefinitely.

Thursday, also saw the countdown begin regarding ‘Her’ – I am desperate to complete for 31st December so every day my writing time will be allotted to this project.
Friday - two interesting events happened at school. Firstly, during my English lesson I promised to write the pupils a Christmas murder where the chosen weapon was to be a pizza cutter! And, secondly, but I feel more importantly, a child was brought to me by a member of the support team to read her poetry. The member of staff knew that I had interests outside of school and thought I was the best person to encourage the child – what an honour! Anyway, I was impressed with her work for one so young, and we discussed seeking a poetry competition in which she might be able to enter her work. I shall let you know how she gets on. It was lovely being able to assist and encourage – probably one of the nicest elements of my job. I was secretly chuffed with the member of staff - who knows me so well.

I have joined the ‘River of stones 2012’ which takes place throughout January where writers and poets note ‘a thing of beauty’ witnessed each day of the month. By seeking and noting such detail, ideas and inspirations flow which can be turned into creative pieces. I thought it would be a great way to kick start the New Year. For further details, please visit

Wednesday night I shall be at the Mad Hatters writing group in Atherstone, I will be reading a couple of the poems from the Shoe rack to see what the audience thinks. Though, Thursday is the biggy night for me, not only because I have Grace Dieu Writers’ Circle to attend, where I’ll be partaking in the annual fish ‘n’ chip Christmas supper but…. (drum roll needed here) I will have donated my 50th pint of blood before hand – another event to mark off my April Fool list. For my efforts I will be presented with a pen, never have I given so much for a pen. For those that I see in ‘real life’ I apologise now for mentioning it every time I use the said pen, please don’t stab me with it!

Today’s plan - a day at the desk with ‘Her’ swimming before my eyes, aided by a vat of tea.

Remember you can follow me daily on Twitter by searching for odwyer_author – I can’t promise buckets of humour but I can promise that you’ll have a daily up-date regards my creative musings. Please pass the blog details or Twitter details to other interested parties. Enjoy!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

A weekend wish list, song writing and writing treasures

Morning folks – I have a free weekend to myself, as Hubby is away on a training course. So, I am up early making the very most of every single moment. It feels like a luxury having the house to myself, with a free routine to do as I wish. As you’ve probably realised by now, I’m a list person – so my first task was a ‘wish list’ to accomplish this weekend - my main task will be editing chapters of ‘Her’, in between which I’ll do smaller tasks - complete a shoe poem, a sketch for the shoe poetry project and a  couple of printing jobs needed for short story competitions.

At Wednesday night’s Mad Hatters writers’ meeting, I read four of the shoe poems – all received positive feedback, some with a little giggle. I was pleased at their reception considering they’ve been created upon dog walking duties. Amazing what you can achieve with 30 minutes twice a day. One member asked if I’d found the poetry helped regards my novel writing? I have to admit it has. I’ve seen the poetry in the same manner as a ‘warm up’ exercise at the gym. As I’m currently editing my novel, my creative outlet has been limited in the form of short stories, so the daily poetry has helped. I have just six more shoe poem to write – so we’ll see what happens after wards, I may even begin another poetry project.

I failed to attend the Grace Dieu writers’ circle on Thursday evening due to a cold - which I don’t seem able to shake off. I sent my apologies before hand but it didn’t seem quite right being at home missing their creative delights. I may not be able to make the next Grace Dieu session due to having an appointment at blood donors – which I couldn’t possibly miss as it will be my 50th donation – yes, you read that right folks 50 pints! Which will be number 17 ticked off my April Fool list (see right hand panel).

This week, I was introduced to a new magazine called ‘Be: magazine’, a quarterly publication produced in Worcester, which is the official magazine of the Worcester Literary Festival. The editorial team are seeking submissions for short stories, poetry, and features.  For further details, take a look at their submission guidelines at

Just like last week I have continued pondering many aspects of my writing world – one being the restriction on sharing future ideas. I’m all for sharing experience and advice but I have come to the decision that from this point I won’t be sharing my musings until they are complete. It sounds harsh, but I don’t know of any other writer that details their ideas prior to completing - many refuse to even talk about a current project. I have to start seeing my musings and ideas as ‘treasures’ upon which my future depends – so from now, my lips are sealed.

Monday, 28th November, I’m attending a song writing session in Lichfield, organised by Barry Hunt. I met Barry whilst attending the Polesworth Poetry Trail workshops back in February. Barry was successful in creating a song for the poetry trail, which is situated within the Pooley Heritage Park. I am hoping to gain a creative outlet that will help my novel writing, much in the same way as Barry attended the poetry to gain creative ideas for song writing. Finger crossed, all goes well and I’ll be able to share my experience next week. Should you be interested in attending the session, please contact Barry Hunt on
My current reading book is ‘The little stranger’ by Sarah Waters – the book is not what I’d expected - some strange goings on have occurred and I’m hooked. I can’t keep my nose out of this book – which could prove to be my down fall on my free weekend. I continue to plod with Middlemarch.... oh, it’s such hard work. And, I must say a belated ‘Happy birthday’ to George Eliot for 22nd November.

I have ordered P. D. James’ new release ‘Death at Pemberley’ – I’m a sucker for anything related to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In fact, I thought the postman would have delivered it today, along with ten Mr Men book ordered for my little cousin – sadly, nothing has arrived.

Tomorrow Radio Four has a midday programme dedicated to Ian Rankin – so, I’ll be tuning into drawl over his Scottish tones. Phew, I’ve gone all of a quiver. So, on that note I shall love and leave you.

Remember you can also follow me on Twitter by searching for Odwyer_author, please feel free to message me any questions - I promise to answer all.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Juggling, struggling and realisation

Morning folk, it’s an early blog from me as I’m heading off to the Birmingham German markets - in search of Christmas presents for the extended family.

My week has been a bit of a juggle between day job and writing – I could really do with another half term holiday to focus my energy.

Monday night, I managed to proofread two chapters of ‘Her’, which seems to be a slow process.  

Tuesday night – I missed the Goblin poetry night in Ashby, due to a University evening where we discussed Faraday’s reputation – which I have to confess, I found fascinating. So many great lives have gone before us, leaving behind their knowledge. Though, the urge to write a short story fictionalizing my fellow pupils is growing with each session – I shall jot down a few notes into my ideas book and find some time to plan.

Wednesday – was a wipe out. I was so tired, I fell asleep in the chair and remained there until bedtime – annoying but I must have needed.  

Thursday evening, I polished a poem about a tennis shoe, which had been floating about my head whilst on dog walks. I now have 11 poems so, whilst on a shopping trip I took a trip into the children’s section of Waterstone’s to take a look at the poetry section. I made a list of the publishers, on which I’ll do my homework using the Writers’ and Artists’ Year book before deciding what I’ll do once the final eight poems are crafted.

Friday night, the family sat watching the Disney version of Christmas Carole, which got thinking of my Christmas pasts, Christmas present, Christmas future. By the end of the film, I had an autobiographical piece mapped out in my mind, which I hope to begin drafting this weekend.

All in all, a fairly quiet week at home for me, with lots of thoughts and new ideas forming for the future.

Having juggled the week as I have - fighting for my writing time, I’ve come to a decision that from this point on my ‘time’ has to be valued in relation to my novel. At a writers’ workshop, Jo Bell had explained that we can all run about being ‘creative types’ helping, supporting and doing for others, while our own projects patiently wait for our return. I acknowledge that networking is very important but it has to be the right networking for my project, not others. Such thoughts have also coincided with the realisation that I don’t want to be a jack-of-all-trades; simply one thing ‘an author’ and so all my creative efforts will be put into that one goal. My new mantra is ‘if the time spent doesn’t assist my project and goal, then I can’t afford the time’. Sounds pretty ruthless but if I want what I want; I need to do what I need to do – to make it happen for me. See, I told you I’d been navel gazing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m prepared to do a lot, outside of writing, in order to obtain my goal; creative branding, media workshops, elocution lessons, even 1:1 training on presentational speaking – some skills I’ve already addressed. In this media driven world, where the whole package is the desired option, I really feel I need to focus my attention on me and mine.

After some rather deep thinking, I shall love and leave you. Remember, you can follow me on Twitter Odwyer_author for further creative musings. Enjoy!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Outted by Twitter, writers galore and a song writing session

Morning folks, I’m back with a weekly round up of my musings. I have to say it has been an interesting week – in numerous ways.

Tuesday – was definitely a strange day. I discovered at lunchtime that a close family friend was now ‘following’ me on Twitter – a life long friend, who may I add, knows nothing of my writing and musings. Several months ago, he’d signed up to follow the surname, but had ‘unfollowed’ within the hour having read the mini bio and quite obviously thought ‘nope that isn’t her’ – hee hee it was! But Tuesday, he knew it was me having cleverly linked my Twitter status ‘supping Starbuck’s at uni’ and my Facebook status ‘A day at uni’ – clever bugger. This might seem frightfully normal to some but, and here’s my point, he is now the only individual apart from my mother and one girlfriend that stand outside of my writing circles. He, and possibly his wife, are literally the first people to know my secret! My face must have been a picture when I saw the email confirmation ‘Jakes???? is following you on Twitter’, a gasp escaped me, followed by a giggle but in some ways I’m delighted, it’s beginning to feel right that others should know what the hell I’ve been doing for near on 16 years!!!!! So, Ian and Emma – welcome, to my secret.

Wednesday saw the Mad Hatters writing meeting in Atherstone – to which I might add, we were all late – every last one of us – which gave me an idea for a story! There was a lot to talk about, ideas and new ventures flying about the place. I hadn’t taken an extract from my novel but a poem instead Mr Fox – which a member had requested, having missed it the time before. But, as so often happens when writers and poets meet, the big and little hand soon surprised us by calling bed time.

Thursday evening was the highlight of my writing week – an evening of short stories at Coalville organised by my other writing group, Grace Dieu Writers Circle – where The Runaway Writers of Burton, Charnwood Writers of Loughborough and Ashby Writers Club of Ashby-De-La-Zouch (I love that name) came together to share our work. There was lots of talk of planning a ‘write off’ between the four groups – which fingers crossed, Tony will set about organising. Each writing group had previously voted three members’ to represent their group – thankfully a piece of my work had been chosen by the Grace Dieu members. I felt quite honoured, especially as I only joined them in the spring, to represent the groups' talent by reading ‘Caught in the act’.

Yesterday, I booked myself onto a song writing workshop happening Monday, 28th November, from 7:30pm, in Lichfield. The two hour session is being organised and run by Barry Hunt - contact for further details.  I thought, why not? If I can attend poetry nights purely for pleasure and inspiration, I can attend a song writing session – who knows what creative powers might be released to aid my novel writing. Plus, I can at least sing/play instruments, which is a bonus compared to my struggles with poetry. Though Barry, if you’re reading this ‘no, I’m not singing’.

This morning, having washed the poodle, as cream carpets and garden mud don’t mix well – I composed a poem about a flip flop, as part of my mini poetry project. So far, I have poems for ballet slipper, a knitted bootee, doggy bootee, swimming sock, wellington boot, stiletto heel, plimsoll, and now, a flimsy flip flop. I’ve compiled a list of footwear, twenty in total, so will continue with the project until I’ve exhausted the list. After which, I’ll begin another little idea that has sprung from no where.... more said another time. 

This week I’ve devoured a book ‘Toast’ by Nigel Slater, a British chef – a beautifully written autobiography in which he links every memory to food. It’s been a gastronomic delight to dip into his world, so skilfully written to connect reader and writer, that I’ve shouted aloud a couple of times in recognition of particular sensations and smells.

I am, still plodding along with Middlemarch by Eliot, it’s going to be a long haul to reach the back cover but I am determined to do it by 31st March 2012 – see April Fool list.

The plan for today, is to tether myself to my writing desk in order to proofread another few chapters of ‘Her’ – hunting for typos and punctuation errors. As always, you can follow me on Twitter by searching for Odwyer_author  - providing daily musings from my creative world.

Next Tuesday, 15th November see the launch of a new poetry evening in Ashby-De-La-Zouch (I love it) at The Giggling Goblin coffee bar, Mill Lane from 8:30pm onwards - promising to be a night of music, song, recitals and readings. The event is planned for the third Tuesday of each month and everyone is welcome. 

And finally, a huge shout out to followers in Latvia – thank you for your support and I hope my blog inspires in some small way.

Follow up - 13.11.11: I've just realised that I'm at university on Tuesday evening so won't be able to attend the Ashby poetry night - I am sure it'll be a fabulous night. I instead, I'll be discussing the reputation of Stalin - if the discussion is anything like art history - I'm walking out (honestily, I am). Or another plan would be to stay listening but begin planning for a short story about our previous art history class! 

Saturday afternoon, I created a 'football boot' poem in honour of the 'friendly' match between England and Spain (Grrrrr, I hate friendlies) and I polished an Armstice Day poem drafted on 11.11.11. Not to mention the two chapters of 'Her' that I proofread - phewwwww.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Middlemarch, Shoe rack and a letter to Granddad

Morning folks – you join me on a damp and dismal Saturday morning – it  seems to have rained for 24 hour. I'm up bright an early as I have a full day ahead.

I’ve had a strange week. Monday saw a return to the day job after a week’s holiday - only to find the kids hyper and the staff counting down to the next holiday. By the time I arrive home, I felt completely drained so spent the entire evening, literally until bedtime, reading ‘Middlemarch’. Wow, this book is not an easy read - I’m having to read every sentence twice to ensure that I fully understan the meaning – talk about over descriptive and wordy.  But I am determined to plod on till its completed – especially, as it is number 7 on my April Fool list.  

Wednesday - I attended a music theory exam, surrounded by young children doing a higher grade paper than my grade 2. Now, that was a moment of humility in my busy week. I sat the exam purely for fun – yet, remember all to well the terror witnessed in the children’s faces as we waited to be seated. Thank fully, those days are long gone. I know I’ve passed but will have to wait till nearer to Christmas for the exact grade.

Thursday evening saw me attend The Fizz 10, three Cork Poets in the Tithe Barn of Polesworth – a very enjoyable night spent amongst worthy poets. For more details and a review by Gary Longden, please visit

Friday saw me on the hunt for cheap printer ink cartridges – wow, even the on-line price isn’t as cheap as I’d like. Given that I use the majority for printing, I always purchase. I might have to take on a mortgage if I'm to print out ten sets of part-manuscripts for agents come December.

I mentioned last week that I had a new project under way, which was to be completed on dog walking missions. Well, in one week I’ve written several more poems: doggy bootee, swimming sock, plimsoll, with the beginnings of wellington boot sloshing about in my head. Not bad for early morning musings amongst the falling autmun leaves.

Yesterday, I returned to a personal project that I started a while back. I began writing a series of letters connected to my family tree. Given that yesterday was five years to the day since I saw my granddad for the last time, I wrote him a letter. Such a smashing man, I used my final words to him as the opening of the letter, ‘Bye, and no more dancing in the bathroom, Grandad.’

My aim for today is to proof read a whole section of ‘Her’. All week I’ve been planning for today, preparing myself for the long haul, armed with a gallon of hot tea and biscuits. Which given the weather outside is truly the best option. Though, I’ll have to nip out with the pup for our weekend trek and a shoe thought.

Mentioning the pup, I have a poem forming regards him ‘The poodle in the puddle’ which sprung out of no where on yesterday morning’s walk. In fact, I may list a dog as one of life’s essentials for any writer – dog walking duties seem to increase the creative muse.

The ‘Book of the week’ on Radio 4 was ‘Why be happy when you can be normal’ by Jeanette Winterson – an extremely funny lady born out of a difficult childhood. Please treat yourself to a listen – there are only a few days of shelf life remaining for the podcast.
Writers’ News magazine flopped onto the doorstep this morning; so far I’ve read three articles all crammed with excellent ideas and advice for the inspired novelist. There are several articles focusing on novel writing, along side the usual favourites: my writing day, Q&A and of course, the competitions.

The coming week is pretty basic. I’ve got the Mad Hatters Writers’ Group on Wednesday night, but the highlight of the week is going to be the Grace Dieu Short story evening on Thursday. I shall be reading my story ‘Caught in the act’ at the allotted time of 7:20 pm – or so, the evening’s programme tells me. So fingers crossed, that it’s an enjoyable night in celebration of National Short story week. We have guests attending from Ashby, Charnwood and Burton writing groups - so it should be a jolly evening.

That’s about it from me this week – so, I’ll love you and leave you to ensure that I can settle at my desk for the long day ahead. Enjoy!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Poets' Corner, Degas and 'Anonymous'

Morning folks, there is a definite Autumnal nip in the air here in England. I have a stinking cold which I’ve battled all week, but hey, I’ll live. The week has been filled with lots of creative ideas and many have come to fruition.

I started the week by visiting Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey – which thrilled me to think of the great and the good side by side – some interesting neighbours; Charles Dickens lying next to Thomas Hardy (minus the heart, of course). This trip/event was included on my 40th April Fool list so I was pleased to tick that as completed. Whilst in London, I attended the Degas exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art – a wonderful display of the ballerina work – though the additional movement material wasn’t truly necessary – Degas pictures were enough for one exhibition.

Regards the April Fool list - I also struck off the 'eating a fresh oyster' task - I purchased a dozen from a local supermarket and made a dish of white wine sauce and parmesan cheese - they were gorgeous! 
Wednesday saw me spending the morning editing a short story that I wrote a year or two ago called ‘Every move you make...’ which mentions Poets’ Corner and which I now plan to send to the Ashby Short story competition closing date 30th November. Having seen Poets’ Corner, I now realised that you couldn’t take pictures and so had to change my short story as the original plot had included a photograph but now, da darr, contains a sketch book.

Wednesday evening, I attended Mad Hatters’ Writers’ Group, where I read the two poems I’d written last Saturday morning, ballet slipper and Mr Fox. Both were received well, and I explained that since writing them I’ve had ideas about a poem for a knitted bootie and a stiletto heel – so a mini collection seems to be appearing. As I got ready for bed that evening, the title ‘Poetry from the shoe rack’ came to mind.

Thursday morning, saw me woke with ‘knitted bootie’ complete in my head, I simply wrote it down. After breakfast, I spent an hour working on a poem for ‘stiletto heel’ - low and behold that was completed too. I shall continue my little line of shoe poetry as I walk the dog and who knows in a month or so may have something to call a new project.

Thursday evening, I attended
Grace Dieu Writing Circle
at Coalville, we are busy arranging a short story evening for 10th November in celebration of National Short Story week (w/c 31st Oct). Four local writing groups are attending; Grace Dieu, Ashby writers, Runaway Writers from Burton and Charnwood writers from Loughborough. I shall be reading a short story called ‘Caught in the act’ which I spoke about in last week’s blog.

I read my two poems to the group and received excellent feedback - the group also suggested I create a small collection based about footwear.  Several members expressed surprise that I'd created a poem as I usually focus on prose; short stories or my novel ‘Her’. This started quite a discussion regards us all stepping outside of our comfort zones to see what we could or could not, produce. 

Friday, saw me attend the first showing of the film ‘Anonymous’, I know, busy week hey? The film hinges on the myth that Shakespeare didn’t write the plays/poems but that others did. I wasn’t convinced myself and still truly believe that William Shakespeare did exist and wrote them. I was pleased to see they didn’t use the Christopher Marlowe argument but one I’d never heard of, and without giving the plot away here, it gave centre stage to Ben Jonson – which given his local links pleased me. I’d recommend it for a night out, if only to get the brain ticking regards the central debate.

In between all that I have managed to do some work on ‘Her’, I have set myself a new deadline of 31st December, given that the proof readers found some errors. I will begin to reread it, searching with a fine tooth comb for any full stop out of place. I promise this book will be finished, it has too, I’ve spent too much time and energy for it not to venture out into the big wide world. 

I return back to school on Monday, which is probably when my cold will disappear. I have a music theory exam on Wednesday evening. Thursday evening, I shall be at The Fizz 10 seeing The Irish Poets in the Tithe Barn of Polesworth from 7:30pm onwards – I know everyone would be welcome to join us. See Mal Dewhirst’s blog ‘Pollyworda’ for further details (left hand panel of this blog).

My plans for today are a hike with the pup, a reading session to finish the 'Twilight' book and a music theory session - all before I settle at my desk to edit 'Her'.

So, all in all a productive and creative week, which could become a little more creative this afternoon as I have dug out my pastels to see if I can produce a picture of a ballet slipper to compliment my poem – I’ll let you know how it goes.

And finally, a big hello to all the overseas visitors to this blog - every week I am delighted to see the worldwide interest. Check out the 'Visitors from afar' section for a full list. Remember you can also follow me on Twitter by searching for Odwyer_author, I am planning to re-start my daily Tweets. Enjoy!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Susan Price, Arty types and a poem or two

Morning folks, it's quite amazing how quickly the weeks are passing. I’ve had an excellent week, creativity wise – note, I didn’t infer writing week!

I started the week feeling quite fed up and feeling under the weather with a nasty cold – which caused me to sink and stay on the sofa on Monday night – I didn’t even move for dinner. I went without, just wanting a duvet and a hot lemon drink.

Tuesday, I had to drag my sorry ass to University tutorial in Coventry to discuss the lovies of art. The group wasn’t as forth coming as I’d hoped but hopefully over the coming weeks they’ll voice their opinions more. Me? Well, I did my best to convey what I felt and was quite taken with a couple of the paintings used as examples; Tilla Durieux and David’s The death of Socrates. It’ll be interesting to see how my knowledge fairs in the up coming assignment due 4th November which is dedicated to Cezanne.

Following my tutorial, I was starving having not had enough time for dinner at home, so I took myself off to McDonald’s. I sat in the darkened car park and ravished my chicken meal. The moonlight blessed the scene and out of the darkness trotted a fox. I sat in awe as he surveyed the car park – which I had to say was busy with people – but no one else saw him. I watched as he snook his way passed my car, heading towards the bins in broad lamp light of the car park without another person even flinching at his nerve. The captured image came back to me the next morning whilst walking the pup – and from it came a poem, Mr. Fox.

Wednesday, saw me take a group of 20 year 7 pupils to Nuneaton Library to visit author Susan Price. Susan was very generous with her time and explanation regards writing her children’s books. I sat listening intently, knowing full well that the group at my feet would be shocked knowing my secret life outside of school. Susan was very clear in her message to other writers ‘take a chance - sending it off, many never do’ – which seemed quite ironic given my current situation. Susan went on to scare the children with a reading of her story about Mr. Fox – which seemed quite a coincidence given Tuesday night’s nocturnal treat.

Wednesday evening, saw me once again feeling poorly wrapped on the sofa with a duvet, apart from a half hour slot in which I walked the pup. I am grateful that I did, because a poetry moment occurred again. From no where came the first two lines about a ballet slipper – to which I have consciously added two more each pup walk. Mr. Fox and ballet slipper were both scribbled and pondered over during the week and this morning, prior to writing this blog update, I have written both poems as final drafts. I shall be taking both to my two writing groups, Wednesday and Thursday, of next week. So, as you can see a very creative week for me – I don’t think that has ever happened to me before where poetry is concerned. Though, the swiftness of each creation matched the process that occurred whilst drafting ‘Jutt’ in early March.

I also watched a couple of programmes about the painter John Myatt, ‘Fame in a frame’ and ‘Mastering the art’ and watched how he produced some beautiful paintings – again another hobby of mine. It seems so strange that the happiest part of my life is the creative side, but that I’m also having great success with the ‘mortgage paying’ role. I can honestly say that I’ve certainly lived a dual existence balancing the creative form with the secure career. Which means, I’ll ever know whether I’d have been published by now had I put all my energy into the creative flow? Some fifteen years have been spent juggling - wow, that’s a whole load of energy!

I’m officially on school holiday for a week and so, the week ahead is planned – in detail. My main task is to heighten the polish on ‘Her’ – two proofreaders have highlighted that another run through is necessary. On Tuesday, I intend to visit Poet’s corner in Westminster Abbey along with the Degas exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art. Some tasks are pretty basic car MOT, vet visits and steam cleaning carpets but my general focus is writing.

Wow, I didn’t think I had much to write about this week and look what has flowed. Enjoy!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Ian Rankin, 'Caught in the act' and Madame Muse take a walk in the park

Morning folk - hoping everyone is happy and healthy. Apologies for a late blog but normal transmission can now resume. I have collected my manuscript section which a friend had been proof reading for me - she has been an angel and found several typo and punctuation errors which I've over looked on numerous occasions. So, my job for tomorrow afternoon is to correct and edit. But, it does suggest that I should go through the rest of the manuscript with a fine tooth comb, again.

Wednesday night, saw me attend an evening, or rather a date as I kept telling the folks at work, with Ian Rankin. What a great guy, so down to earth - the kind I'd happily go for a pint and a curry with given half the chance. I have to say, I've attended a few evening like this, and there are times you come away thinking 'boy, what an ego' because the author has talked non-stop about their flash house, flash car, flash lifestyle -
 not Ian Rankin. It was a pleasure to attend, I could have listened to him chat for much, much longer.

Thursday night saw the annual Grace Dieu Short Story competition where each member brings along a 1000 word piece of fiction. All entries are anonymous and are read aloud to the group, then the selection process begins. The aim is to find the three top stories, by means of a voting process, which will be read aloud at the annual night in November, when a neighbouring writers group visits to showcase their best short stories. I was eager to join in, so spent two hours this week editing a 1500 word story 'Caught in the act' down to the word limit of 1000. I managed it, just. On the evening there were seven entries which were read aloud by a committee member, and then, as we had spare time we decided to read them to ourselves, prior to voting. I didn't realise just how difficult it would be not letting on which story I had written. I noticed other members skip though certain ones but lingered over others, which gave the game away. Anyway the end result was.... 'Caught in the act' was voted as one of the best three - so, I shall be reading it aloud on Thursday, 10th November. The funny thing about this story is that it evolved from an exercise conducted by the Mad Hatter's writers' group a year or so ago - it goes to show work can have an extended life if you edit and recycle.

Today, I was suppose to take the pup for his weekly walk to Pooley Heritage Park but due to an over sight regards change for the ticket barrier I had to change my plan. Instead, I took the pup to the Abbey Green park which I used to visit as a child, and I walked the circumference for the first time ever. Wow, how the memories came flooding back. Times of fishing for tiddlers with a yellow net and jam jar, cut knees and bumped heads on the long forgotten slide and see-saw and even the red sand pathways which are now buried beneath a inch of weeds and soil. Amongst all this, a short story came to mind, which brought a lump to my throat and which I now need to write. Which goes to show, that 'Madame Muse' is never far away.

And finally, I have received an invite to attend Birmingham Art Museum next Saturday to participate in an Open University event encouraging the study of art. Apparently, there will be a guided tour, advice and support on how to appreciate paintings and a dedicated study session enabling us to practise the skills. Fingers crossed, Madame Muse will also attend and I'll get a short story come to mind as an added bonus.

All in all not a bad week, considering the juggling of work and writing, thankfully I made it to Saturday, like I always do.  Enjoy x

Friday, 7 October 2011

Adventures, Twilight and an empty weekend ahead

Evening folks - I had a spare moment so thought I'd write my blog nice and early. I've had a quiet week on the writing front, but jam packed with fun on the school adventure trip. We visited Condover Hall in Shropshire and had the time of our lives doing archery, fencing, abseiling and climbing - as a result, I now covered in bruises!!!! Go figure. Anyway, I had a fab time during our three day stay and made sure that I attempted every task - which has given me much food for thought regards a short story.

I arrived home to a passionate pup who had obviously missed me like crazy - why oh why, do people not act more like dogs when it comes to a joyous welcome? Bless him, he hadn't had a decent walk nor a cuddle munch in three days - sadly tonight, I repaid his loyalty with a new haircut - much to his disgust.

I have a busy, busy week ahead. Tuesday night has me attending a course tutorial in Coventry for my English degree. Wednesday night, I shall be in Birmingham listening to Ian Rankin give a talk as part of the Birmingham Literary Festival. Thursday night - I shall be at the Grace Dieu Writers' Circle and Friday, I'll be in Burton-on-Trent at Gary Carr's Spoken Worlds event and Saturday.... well, I'll be sparked out, dead to the world, I think.

In between all these lovely events I promise to add a little more to the new project - I'm still fixated by forenames and status - Tabbitha  remains favourite for my rich bitch, though the others keep changing. It's a good job no one can read my thoughts as I stroll the corridors at work or do the pupil register, if I pinch another name from school I'm sure they might charge royalties if it's ever published.

But, before my busy week I have a fabulously empty weekend ahead of me. The plan stan is to work all day tomorrow on the new project and deliver two copies of the old project to two fabulous ladies who have offered to read (a job I should have done last week but didn't due to lack of addresses). Anyway, tomorrow should be bliss. I'll take the pup for his weekly trek before heading back home to work my little socks off. Sunday, should be dedicated to school work but with a spot of yoga and piano, along with the week's ironing - I'm sure it'll all pass in the blink of an eye.

Confession time - I have started to read Meyer's Twilight series. I know, I know, I'm some years behind everyone else, but I am enjoying myself immenselyy. I know it is written for teenage girlies, with their school day crushes but I wanted to read it for myself to see if I could pin point what it has that ticked all the boxes, and I have to say I quite like it. I have purposely avoided the films, as year 8s had told me the books 'are much better, Miss' and I quite agree. So, just like Rowling's Harry Potter, I'll be snuggling up for the next few nights to finish this first book and recommending them to the youngsters to encourage them to read.  

So, I'll love you and leave you on this Friday evening, with hubby shouting at Wayne Rooney for his temper, and say goodnight, enjoy!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Change of plans, disappointment and a half year birthday

1st October – officially my half birthday, so today I shall celebrate being 40 ½ years young. Which means I need to get a wiggle on regards my April Fool List – though believe me when I tell you just how long I’ve spent trying to whistle and still can’t do it!

This week has been a toughy. I’ve had lots going on with the day job which is good but time consuming, and a couple of disappointments regarding my writing world.

Firstly, today, I’d planned to post out my manuscript to numerous agents - but have received two very generous offers to read the first three chapters to ensure that they are truly perfect. Now, I would be daft not to take up the offer – so ‘Her’ will not be leaving via Royal Mail – well, not this week anyway.

Secondly, and in some ways more disappointing than not hitting my 1st October deadline, I wasn’t able to attend the Pooley Heritage Park yesterday. I had requested a leave of absence enabling me attend and read my poem ‘Jutt’ as part of the celebratory unveiling of the sculpture ‘Burnt Orange’. I know that my poem was read at the ceremony by Mal Dewhirst, who I am sure did me proud - while I remained at school, with one eye on the clock watching the hands move nearer to eleven o’clock. I intend to visit the site this weekend to view the sculpture and the first five poems of the Poetry trail phase two.

One thing that I have leant is that school isn’t interested in my writing and work so should anything *good* occur, I now know not to include them in the publicity. But hey ho, it’s how the cookie crumbles.

I have an exciting few days ahead, as I’m going on a three day adventure holiday with the year 7 pupils to Condover Hall in Shropshire. I’m expecting to be covered in mud, swing from high heights and climb large object all in the name of fun and team bonding. I shall be taking a small exercise book with me to note down my diary while I’m away and finger crossed, next week I’ll return without broken bits to fill you in on the action.

Thursday night, I shall be attending my husband’s medal ceremony in Royal Leamington Spa in recognition of twenty years in the fire brigade. He’s not best please about attending, being a modest bloke, but we’ve forced him into it as his loyalty should be recognized by the high and mighty.

So, with a bright look towards today – my plans have changed. I’m going to print of the three chapters so that my very kind friends can have a read and a red pen scribble. I plan to walk the pup at Pooley Heritage site so I can view the new installations. I shall indulge myself in planning an outline regards ‘To Honour….’ And fingers crossed, if the promised weather is as great as they predict, we’ll be having some family fun in the garden.

So, I’m going to love and leave you for now, have a fantastic week – enjoy!

Additional follow on: I've just returned from walking the pup in Pooley Heritage Park. I walked up the mound to view the sculpture - an impressive size and colour. Not so sure that other people will realise it is a leaves piled skywards to represent the layers of foliage later carbonised to create coal. But, for me the nicest part of my walk was finding and reading the five poety installations - I now really can't wait to see how mine is designed and where it'll be placed.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Fizz 9, day dreaming and agent hunting

Morning folks – I’ll apologies now for the extended blog but it’s all good stuff so, I’m sure you’ll enjoy.
I last wrote on the cusp of a writing day where I’d planned to nab a 'wedding planner' book from the library but as expected it wasn’t available. After a quick re-jig  I switched research topics – so it wasn’t a completely wasted session. I did compile a list of potential agents ready for next weekend – it's such a difficult task, making a selection based on just a snippet of information. I don’t want to waste their time but on the other hand, given their experience I want to be part of their cohort. I have opted for agents that regularly handle my genre so am hoping that they see something a little different in my subject when comparing to their other signed authors. Anyhow, the list is complete for now, I plan to post out next Saturday, 1st October.

But the big news for today is that I shall be working on ‘Her’ for this final week. The draft has been in hibernation for three weeks and today is the day! I shall be reading it with fresh eyes in the hope of detecting grammatical errors, description contradictions or blinding plot errors. If the truth be told , I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Tuesday night saw the return of Fizz 9, at Polesworth Abbey refectory where Antony Owen read from his collection ‘The Dreaded Boy’.  The evening began with Mal Dewhirst reading his poem ‘The mound’ and ‘Elegy’ inspired by the recent Polesworth Abbey archaeological dig. Barry Paterson followed with ‘Three Welsh Theophanies’ and ‘The Golden Weed’ conveying the experience of diving in a small cove, Sicily Isles. Andy Biddulph read his poem ‘Brothel Raid’ about the Kosova war which portrays the horrors of war combined with personal agendas, followed by ‘Atrocity of war’. Ian Ward recited his poem inspired by a poetry workshops called ‘First lines’, ‘There’s always an echo’ – no matter the beginning, no matter the end – which he followed by the haunting beauty of ‘Crystal cove’. Terri Jolland’s natty little poem about weather ‘Untimely’ covered all the options - much like the weather people giving a weekend forecast. Gary Carr closed the opening section with ‘Rattle Void’ painting a beautiful image of a boy, with stick in hand, alongside railings. He continued with ‘Love letter’ a carefully crafted account, month by month, of pregnancy and love.
      After a short interval, Mal Dewhirst read a War poem by Augustus Stramm (1874-1915) a German poet, who conveys the suffering endured by the Germans. Antony Owen took centre stage, he was unapologetic for his poetry theme of war – and so he should be given his insight and knowledge. Antony read form his current collection ‘A Dreaded Boy’ which provides a stark contrasts to other war poems regards their view point and focus. Each poem is written through the eyes of the forgotten, the neglected – the invisible lives who exist during war. Antony read ‘Diamonds’, ‘The Scarring Son’, ‘To The East’. ‘The Quiet night of war’, ‘Medusa’, ‘Sangin’, ‘Beyond Rwanda’, ‘The scent of a son’, ‘War envelopes’ which contains the breath taking line ‘war makes poems of men’. Antony’s final reading was ‘Conversations at a soldier’s grave’ in honour of Jeff Doherty. ‘A dreaded boy’ is published by Pighog Press, ISBN 978-1-906309-17-6 is a collection to behold and treasure - the emotion strikes the heart but it cannot, and should not, be ignored. Please visit for further details. Antony's readings were performed against a musical back drop created and provided by Jimi Dewhirst of Hydranoidmusia.
     After a second interval, Andy Biddulp read his requested ‘Stan the man’ poem which I’d never heard before, but which, delighted all. Ian Ward continued the night's theme of war and destruction with ‘9/11’ and ‘What the country did to us on holiday’. Terri Jolland, continued the holiday theme with ‘Seaside’ before switching to illness with ‘Patchwork cluttered quilt’. Gary Carr touched on aged reflection with ‘Responsibility’, ‘Reincarnation’ and poignant images in ‘Painting of a rose’. Barry Paterson closed the evening with his poem ‘October on Hersal Common’ depicting nature in all her glory.
     As you can see a wide variety of talent crammed into one evening – all talented poets, of which some have published collections available for purchase:-

Antony Owen - ‘A dreaded boy’ ISBN 978-1-906309-17-6
Antony Owen – ‘My Father’s Eyes Were Blue’ ISBN 978-1-906038-36-6
Barry Paterson - ‘Nature Mystic’ ISBN 978-1-906038-29-8
Ian Ward – ‘Light and Darkness’ ISBN 978-0-85781-150-9

The next Fizz10 is scheduled for 7:30pm Thursday, 3rd November at the Tithe Barn, Polesworth – featuring the Cork Poets: Afric McGlinchey, Colm Scully and Jennifer Matthews, with an open mic session before and after the main attraction. Please checkout for further details.

Another date for my diary is Gary Carr’s ‘Spoken Worlds’ night booked for Friday, 14th October at The Old Cottage Tavern, Byrkley Street, Burton-on-Trent DE14 2EG – which I promise, I shall be attending.

The reminder of my week has been consumed by school work, alongside a healthy dollop of daydreaming regards the conflict and drama to besiege four couples in ‘To honour and Obey’ - this is probably my favourite part of writing. I love the ideas germinating in my mind before the writing begins, then the euphoric rush when my fingers just can’t stop. Though, I’m currently holding back a little until ‘Her’ has been posted to agents.

I did managed to read an entire book this week - in one sitting!!! 'The Magic finger' by Roal Dalh - not a book I'd come across before but all the same a delight to drift back into my childhood for an hour. I've recently purchased a collection of his books and thought it time I began ploughing through each with the eager delight of an eight year old. It may become intergrated into my weekly routine - as the overall effect was amazing - happy, content, with a beaming smile - I defy any adult not to be content in the world of Dahl.
For other books I've read this year, check out the 'Previous bookworming' section on the right hand side of this blog.
The week ahead is pretty empty at the minute. I have Mad Hatters’ Writers’ group on Wednesday evening and that is it. I have requested a leave of absence from work to attend the Pooley Heritage Park ceremony on Friday, 30th September – but so far, no reply from 'The Boss'. So, apart from keeping my fingers crossed for Friday, I’m looking forward to a creative week at home. Enjoy!