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!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Research, ideas and Mad Hatter chat

Morning bloggers - having just arrived home from buying my step-son an acoustic guitar, much to his delight, I'm now ready to settle down to a writing day.

I am still hankering after the previous project, but there remains one more week of hibernation before I drag it from its nest to read with fresh eyes. So, to keep my mind occupied I have managed to generate many ideas that could feasibly be used for my new project 'To honour and obey'. I have managed to name some of the cast, though their physical descriptions are unknown, but their lifestyles have been created. It probably sounds daft but I have chosen all four wedding bouquets around which each wedding will be formed. Now, having had two weddings myself, **surprise** for friends who didn't know, but having organsied two very different weddings I believe you tell a lot from the size, shape and artistic flare of the bouquet, which represents the entire ethos of the wedding. A simple posy of white freesia is very different to a bouquet of gold sprayed lillies, enhanced with diamond encrusted trinkets. Attached to each bouquet, I've managed to find four different location which replicates the style of each wedding. So, the long and the short of it, I'm back to being a wedding planner crafting four weddings from the crazy array of options available. I've had a good chuckle at the many stories that I know regards the strops and arguments caused by a family wedding - all of which are food for thought regards the plot and role of minor characters. I am still trying to create a phrase similar to the term 'bridezilla' but so far, nothing has evolved but it will, give me time.

I attended my Mad Hatters' writing group on Wednesday night - a small group of four but we filled three and a half hours with critque and creative chat. Alex read an extract from his autobiography 'Boy at war', Janis read a delightful piece about her oboe - which she's played since childhood and Mal brought along a collection of five poems inspired by the recent archaeology dig at Polesworth Abbey. I didn't read anything, I'm in creative limbo - I can't touch the previous project but haven't any material to share regards the new project. So I offered feedback on their work and enjoyed the creative chat along with a decent merlot.

This week I hope to attend the Fizz 9 poetry evening on Tuesday, 20th Septmeber at Polesworth Abbey refectory where Anthony Owen will be reading from his current collection - though, I may not attend as it is step-son's 15th birthday. Fingers crossed, he'll decide to attend his boxing session which will free me to go to my poetry meet. For further details about Fizz 9 or the Polesworth Abbey dig, please check out

My plans for today include a library session in the search of a wedding planners book that I saw several weeks ago - though no doubt it'll be on loan, as a local bride paws through it. I'll be having a cutting and glueing session to add brochure pictures into the scrap book - which helps me visually when describing passages for my readers. I intend to make a list of agents who would be interested in my completed project - as my intention is to post the first few manuscripts on Saturday, 1st October 2011.

So all in all, that's my lot at the mo. I hope everyone is happy and healthy - have a good week and enjoy!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Routines, Grace Dieu Writers' Circle and Jane Eyre

Afternoon folks, sorry for being late but family duties took longer than expected - so, now that I've purchased a new violin for step-daughter, groomed the poodle puppy and got the washing machine on, I can finally attend to my blog.

I've had a weird week - I returned to school on Monday, all bright eyed and bushy tailed. I have changed roles so my work load has altered slightly but so far it is all good. I have managed to come home at a reasonable hour and complete a little research each day in relation to the new project.  I've listened to others bragging about painting their lounge, nipping for a week in the sun and entertaining bored children - while I silently walked about, chuffed to bits that I'd finished editing a novel - but as always, I didn't say a word, retaining my secret.

I have been tempted to get 'Her' from hibernation to have a sneaky read but I know that the longer I leave it the easier it will be spotting the errors and correcting the copy, so have resisted, but it is there niggling away at the back of my mind. I suppose, I'm just eager to get it polished 100% for the eyes of an agent.

I attended my Grace Dieu Writers' Circle (GDWC) last Thursday, and we had a lengthy chat about what my next steps should be. I am going to opt for multiple submissions sent to numerous agents and publishing houses. I do feel a little rude doing that but if I did it individually it could take years for a result. I will mention that detail in my cover letter - but I have to think about me and the novel, rather than polite ettiquette of the publishing world. Sorry mum, but this is one place where manners might not count!

The GDWC have just launched a brand new website so please, please, please take a look at especially note the annual competition for short story and poetry.

Last night, I took myself for an evening of self indulgance with Jane Eyre. I simply had to see it the film on release night, and was not disappointed. The adaptation is very near to the original book - a few scenes have been cut but nothing that distracts from the beauty of the story. As always, Judi Dench (I love all her work) played a blinder as Mrs Fairfax and, I'll tread carefully here so as not to ruin your enjoyment, but Mr Rocherster is less menacing, and more brooding and desireable. I'd certainly return to view it again whilst its showing at the cinema, which say it all.

My plans for today include a trip to the library to have a nose in the weddings section, then this afternoon, I'm hoping for some quiet time to jot down a few ideas for the four couples that I have rolling about in my mind. I'm still seeking names for my new cast of characters but I know what personality types I'm drafting.

Apologies for an absence on Twitter, but I lost my Ipad2 charger and so it ruined everything when the battery went flat - but hey, I've found it and am now fully charged - so expect daily updates from odwyer_author.

I have just one event this week which is The Mad Hatters' Writers' Group on Wednesday evening, but know that in the next few weeks I'll be going to Fizz 9 on 20th September where poet Anthony Owen will read from his work 'The dreaded boy' - for further details see

I hope everyone is happy and healthy, and enjoys the week ahead. x

Saturday, 3 September 2011

A new start, Emily Bronte and Jane Eyre

Morning, morning, morning. It feels very strange having to think about what I'm going to blog - but with 'Her' currently hibernating, I've spent the last two days chilling and having some 'me' time outside of writing. To be honest, I have felt a little bit lost, even though my time has been well spent. I recognise this to be part of my nature, I think I focus on something to the point of it consuming my every thought and then when it is finished, I'm left with an empty void.

Anyway, moving on to the new project. I have purchased the scrap book that becomes my Bible. I have started to look for faces to become specific characters, you might remember that I cut pictures of strangers from newspapers/catelogues for each part. I need to look about for new names too, I always find myself coming up with the same ones. So, I'm watching the rolling credits after progammes, I even read the birthdays column of the newspaper yeaterday in search of new names. I have completed a teeny bit of research on-line regards the popularity and costing of wedding planners in UK, but nothing more.

My plan for today is to begin researching three wedding venues for my new characters, one location I already know. I'm hoping to find three other locations that I can visit and describe accordingly, even though I'll be changing the names at a later date. I shall revisit a note nook in which I've outlined a few ideas - one quite shocking but hey, it would be a good twist. I remember when I was organising our wedding, the trouble and strife that other people cause is untrue, so one of the couples will be doing as we did - nipping to Gretna Green.
I've just finished rereading a biography of Emily Bronte - such an amazing character, somewhat overshadowed by her sister Charlotte. I was intrigued to read how shy and retiring she was amongst people only to be so wild and open with nature and animals. Yet again, I was amazed at the numerous links between her life events and scenes in 'Wuthering Heights' - makes me want to read it, again.

Coincidentally, I have my ticket booked to view 'Jane Eyre' at the cinema next Friday. I'm taking myself, to ensure nobody disturbs my self indulgance and enjoyment. Its a sad truth but I did learn as a small child that others always ruin what I wish to enjoy, so as an adult, I do tend to go it alone. But hey, is that not part of the writer's make up?

I have a huge heap of school stuff that needs organising in preparation for Monday - I can't remember why I brought some of it home! It has been sitting in bags for six weeks and now I'm a little baffled, was it for teaching or simply filing? Though yesterday, I did purhcase a reading book for my school lunchtimes 'One Day' by David Nicholls - its had some good reviews, so I'll see for myself come Monday.

Thursday, I have a writers' meeting at the Grace Dieu Writers' Circle - I missed the last one due to the deadline work. 

Can I say a big 'Thank you' if you visited the blog last week - it did help knowing that others were as eager as I was, to see me complete 'Her'. I promise, this next novel will not be taking as long. Enjoy!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Oh my....

... the novel is now 'offically' written :-))).

Yesterday was a long day, I worked for just over ten hours, with small breaks in between, but I did it. I now have a completed novel - apart from the corrections I'll make upon reading it with fresh eyes.

Today, I plan to clean the house, like a crazy woman and start to day dream about the new project. I have started to note a few details already, I know that it's going to be about a 'wedding planner' and my current title 'To honour and obey' reflects the chick lit genre, other than that ..... blank canvas.

I return to school on Monday, so my daily rouitnes will change but as I mentioned in a recent post the new project will not take so long, I've learnt my lessons from 'Her'.

I promised you that I would post the opening few paragraph of 'Her', simply as a taste, so enjoy.

Chapter One - January

Cinderella had one, Snow white had one, even Princess Diana. And me? Well, there lies the crux of the matter; I never had a stepmother. Which goes someway to explaining why you find me leaning against a closed kitchen door; having excused myself from the family dining table, before my temper explodes.
     My pulse is racing; neck and forehead are clammy, gluing the underneath of my dark hair to the base of my nape.
     I stare about my kitchen, an array of dirty pots and pans clutter every surface, signifying hours of drudgery producing a Christmas feast. A re-enactment of our Christmas day celebration of three days ago, of which every detail is identical, except this time the children are present. A Christmas déjà vu; required to combat an ex-wife’s annual spite.