Saturday, 28 January 2012

Kindle eBooks, Panda tickets and a day of writing

The biggest news this week has to be the release of my short story on Kindle eBooks, ‘A front row seat’ which I launched last weekend. It now has a beautiful green title page and has had numerous downloads, along with several reader reviews – for which I am very grateful. I am so glad that people have enjoyed reading the story and have been surprise by the twist. Hey, that’s my pleasure in writing. I dedicated the story to my old nan, as it was her and her friends that originally inspired the three characters. Purely by chance, the story was ready for publication on her birthday on 22nd January, so it seemed fitting. Bless, she’d have chuckled at the very thought.

I know that the ‘secret writer’ anonymity is blown but hey, amongst my creative friends that detail is fine by me! Enjoy! Should you wish to purchase, please visit:

If you have downloaded a copy, could I be cheeky and ask you to drop by the Amazon website and leave a simple line of text. It might make all the difference for other readers who are not sure whether to risk purchasing for fear of wasting their hard earned money.

I attended two writers groups this week, Mad Hatters and Grace Dieu - both groups were
really supportive and responsive towards my publication. Several members said that they too might be tempted to join me on Kindle. Hee hee, we could have quite a little library going on.

At each of the writers’ meetings, I read aloud a couple of poems written over the past few weeks, whilst dog walking – ‘Young bucks’, ‘Great Scott’ and ‘De-ice or not De-ice’, all received positive feedback from the members. I am particularly taken with my ‘Great Scott’ poem, dedicated to Captain RF Scott of the Antarctic – I wrote it on 17th Jan, which was the centenary anniversary of him arriving at the South Pole to find the Norwegians had arrive first. Boy, how do you face such disappointment!

I picked up a couple of short story competition forms at one of the writers’ meetings, so have some ideas rattling around my mind. Though my main focus has to remain on ‘Her’ – I need to polish the synopsis in order to complete the project for an agent.

A new writing member asked if I would do the same again with the next book? The answer is a definite ‘no’. I certainly wouldn’t, this is the first full lengthy novel and I have learnt so much as I’ve plodded through. In several places I have made the task harder for myself by the manner in which I have tackled the job, wasting precious time. My next novel, which I already for an outline for, will be written to a specific time frame in virtually one go, before I return to the beginning to enhance plots and characters. My edits and proofreads will possibly be the same as I have done for ‘Her’ but fingers crossed it won’t take me as long as the debut has.  One huge mistake I made with her was writing in scenes and then attempting to link them together, for some writers it may work but not for me.

As well as creative writing, I have two pretty large assignments to complete for my university study – but I’m sure I’ll find time for those on Sunday morning.

I have booked myself a weekend away with the Romantics Novelists Association Summer conference in July – it is my treat to myself for all the hard work I have put into my creative work this past year. I know a couple of other RNA members who are going so it should be a good weekend. I’ll let you know more details nearer the time.

I have a busy week at the day job, so I know that I will have to be more organized than usual to ensure my writing doesn’t suffer though lack of focus and time. I plan to write all day Saturday, as I have the house to myself – hubby and kids are out and about leaving me in peace. I intend to take full advantage! Regards the day job, I have applied for a couple of job vacancies, as I am ready for a change of location – again, I’ll let you know how I get on, though boy, do applications take time to write out nowadays. 
‘A river of stones’ my list of daily observations (in the right hand panel) is nearing the end of the month. It’s the first year that I have participated, and has provided me with little snippets to use as a warm ups for writing sessions. Please check out for more details – maybe take part next year.

My April Fool 40th List has another item arranged – I have purchased tickets to see the pandas in Edinburgh – woohoo. I need to get a move on with certain tasks to ensure I complete as many as possible.

I continue to plod with Middlemarch – I am more than half way through but am still finding it a drag. For years I’ve waited to read it, only to find that I am struggling and finding it difficult to complete. I might snuggle up this weekend for an hour and indulge.

Remember you can follow me on ‘Twitter’ by searching and following odwyer_author – please pass this blog onto others who may be interested. Enjoy!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Song writing, competition entry and a forthcoming surprise! (Update: Self -published via Kindle eBooks)

Morning folks, sorry my up-date is a little later than usual but I went out for a jog – hey, I know, Spring must be around the corner as I’m only ever a fair weather jogger. Anyway, to business - a fun packed week which has kept me on my toes.

As I ‘tweeted’ last weekend I attended a song writing session on Monday evening. The fabulous Barry Hunt held another of his workshops in Lichfield town centre at The Sparks Cafe Bar. Me and hubby had attended the December workshop and I went alone to last Monday’s, as hubby was working. Well the aim of the evening was to write a song – I’m not one for doubting but even I thought that might be difficult given my lack of experience and the time restraint. But, I kid you not, that’s exactly what we did. Barry split us into two groups, thankfully I was in Barry’s group (huge sigh of relief - as I felt that I brought nothing to the table musically so would be a hindrance to the other group). Task: we had 40 minutes to compile and then perform a song. Our group started to be trying to find some common ground musically – we did deciding upon ‘The Everley Brothers’ as our chosen style. This was the out of the comfort zone moment  - but within two seconds Ian provided a chorus, Barry provided a guitar melody and bingo bango, I scribbled down a list that was to become the first verse, then repeated again to create the second verse. We had a couple of ekes and tweaks but before I knew it we were humming and warbling along to our song. Bang on the button of 40 minutes, it was recognized that the other group were finished too – so, the performances began. Both songs were the bare bones of a song, but both were songs. In fact the other group’s lyrics swam about my head as I drove home – that’s how good theirs was! Please take a look at as I’m sure there’ll be many more workshops in the future. I can hear you – asking why I attended? But the honest truth is, I attended as it was a creative exercise that helps me to tap into my own creative source in a different manner – which in turn  helps my writing. Simple. Plus, it was fun – you can’t have too much of that in life, can you?

I’ve continued with ‘A river of stones’ my list of daily observations (in the right hand panel) noted for each day of January. Please check out for more details. It has been an inspiring activity as every day I’ve found myself seeking out the most perfect thing to note. Some days I’ve had to choose between two beautiful moments, knowing that I can only place one on my daily list. The experience has been like a reverse advent calendar – instead of opening a tiny window to find a chocolate – I’ve searched my daily life for a beautiful moment. It has made me feel quite blessed really that my life, is my life! Sounds mushy, but I have a lot to be thankful for and it is only day 21 of 2012!

Wednesday, at the day job, I handed out to my year 7 class a booklet containing all their murder mystery stories along with a copy of my Christmas story written especially for them. The delight on their little faces was awesome – and provided me with a great deal of satisfaction. Who’d have thought that paper, pen and my imagination could create such
Excitement, but it did. I was quite touched, the next day, to hear their parents had read my story and had given positive feedback. Phew, what a relief! Bless, some have even put it in their memory box!

I entered a short piece into Fish Publishing’s Short Memoir competition on Tuesday evening. It was a piece I’d written years ago and felt that it ought to see the light of day. I sent it to two friends for a quick proofread – both found some typos and errors, which I quickly altered before submitting. It always amazed me that a writer is almost blind to their own mistakes when proofreading their own work. I doesn’t matter how many times I read a piece I never find all the errors. Thank goodness for fellow writers who can perform a read through and highlight the necessary. Competition closing date is 30 January 2012 - further details visit:

I didn’t have any writers groups or meeting last week so had an empty diary after Monday evening – so I used my time wisely, very wisely in fact. So much so, that I don’t wish to ruin the surprise that I have for you all. I know, it’s a bit of a tease but I shall be adding an up-date to this blog in the coming days. So, hurry back to be the first to know how I spent three nights of my week – it’ll be worth it, I promise.  

This week, I have two writing groups to attend: Mad Hatters’ on Wednesday and Grace Dieu Writers’ Circle on Thursday evening. I haven’t a clue what’ll be reading at each – note to self: organize something, anything.

Tuesday night sees the return of The Fizz poetry evening at Polesworth Abbey Refectory from 7:30pm. Guest Poet is Garry Carr – whose poetry gives me goosebumps. Sadly, I won’t be attending but I know everyone will be welcome, there will be an Open mic session for anyone attending. For further details visit:

Remember, you can follow me on ‘Titter’ by searching and following odwyer_author – that way, you’ll be the first to hear my news! Enjoy!

Update: (Drum roll, please) As promised, I can now share with you how I spent all my evenings last week. I prepared and formatted a short story ‘A front row seat’ for self-publication on Amazon via Kindle eBooks. My very first steps into self publication, taken with a short story that won first prize in a writing competition back in 2009. I am delighted with the prospect that this short story has a new lease of life and is available to a larger audience via Kindle eBook download. Should you wish to purchase, please visit:
A title page is being arranged by Amazon, but I have to say the content is unaffected by this factor. Please take a look, leave a review and tell me what you think. I know that the ‘secret writer’ anonymity is blown but hey, amongst my creative friends that detail is fine by me! Enjoy!

 An extract from - A front row seat

The police van had been parked there all night. Likewise, I had been parked in my armchair, not daring to move, for fear of missing the proceedings. From my secluded perch, safely concealed behind lacy net curtains, I’d scrutinized every move made by the Scene of Crimes Officers searching next door. I’d watched them carrying their plastic stack ‘n’ storage boxes, dressed from head to foot in white disposable overalls, armed with costly forensic equipment.
‘He’s copped her one, hasn’t he? As sure as God made little apples,’ says Sandra, helping herself to the bourbon creams – which her portly figure could well do without.
‘Oh, how could he?’ chirps Liz, frantically stirring her coffee with the designated sugar spoon, before replacing it in the china sugar bowl, ignoring the teaspoon resting in her saucer.
‘What do you mean? How could he? His sort would find it quite easy. Mark my words, he’s flipped and done her in,’ says Sandra, repeatedly dunking her biscuit into my best china cup.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

C’est la vie, Kindle eBooks and young bucks fight

Morning folks, it is a very frosty one here in the UK. I have lots to share with you so; I’ll waste no time in jumping straight in.

I had a worthy lesson as a writer on Wednesday evening, when I was informed that my novel’s working title ‘Her’ had just been released by a well known writer. I have to say, although I was disappointed, I was extremely pleased with my reaction and response, which was very much a ‘C’est la vie’ moment. ‘Her’ has been a working title for my novel since day one, but a publisher doesn’t promise to keep a working title. If someone else has written and published a novel using the ‘title’ then they are several steps ahead of me - so let it be. And, that was my genuine feeling on the subject. Now, I recognize and acknowledge that if I rewind a year, I think my reaction may possibly have been very different, but I know that my professionalism as a writer has turned a definite corner in the past 12 months – publishing a business, not a hobby. Anyway, having arrived home and told Hubby, I was intrigued to know one what subject the novel was written. Next morning, while getting ready for the day job, I watched the interview and discovered that the original information was incorrect; the author’s title ending sounds like ‘Her’ but isn’t actually ‘Her’. But, this one incident confirms my growth as a writer and the importance of retaining titles and details while working on a project – a detail that I’m already applying to future work, as previously mentioned on this blog.

Wednesday evening Mad Hatter meeting was a busy one with many a belly laugh, not that we don’t laugh on other occasion - but, boy this one was different. I didn’t take anything to read, I could have taken pomes but I chose not to. I informed the group of my membership into Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers’ Scheme – all good news. I also saw a design copy of my ‘Jutt’ poem – all very exciting as it feel quite real seeing the proposed image, the installation date in currently planned for the end of March.

Thursday evening, Grace Dieu Writers’ Circle saw a very full group of 12 members - all wishing to begin the New Year in the right creative mood. It’s quite amazing the range of genres covered by just one evening of readings. Several members have join Twitter – so there was a scramble for details and names – which all helps us to keep in touch and promote our work between meetings. One member has recently had a short story published on Amazon as a download for Kindle eBooks – ‘Painting the Hay Bales’ is a delightful story by Rebecca Burns and at the price of 77p a very good read for any coffee break. I’d already downloaded and read prior to the meeting, so was able to give her feedback. She then instructed me of how I go about doing exactly the same thing. Watch this space, folks – I will be sharing a short story with you, via Amazon eBooks, very, very soon. I can hear what you’re saying, ‘but that will blow my secret writer status’, but I really don’t mind sharing amongst creative types – it’s the friends and family that don’t appreciate – that the secret is kept from.

‘A river of stones’ has continued nicely, I have updated the list my daily observations (in the right hand panel) so you can follow my experiences in the month of January. Please check out for more details.

I have been seeking assistance in writing my synopsis for ‘Her’ – I feel too aware of how important this document is in aiding my success at finding an agent. I’ve search the documents on line, searched book stores for ‘How to books’ all to no avail, or rather none enhance my knowledge on the subject. So, I have continued to struggle on re-drafting and editing – but if anyone knows of a decent book on the subject, please let me know via Twitter: odwyer_author.
As a writer you have to use every opportunity to spot the moments of inspiration that can be turned into a creative piece, whether it is a painting, prose or poem – you have you keep your eyes peeled and your mind open. For instance, I broke up a pretty aggressive fight at school, me and another female teacher ploughed in and managed to break up the situation. The very next day, whilst walking the pooch, a line for a poem came out of the blue. Now, morally school might see my musings as somewhat unprofessional but hey, I’ve now crafted a poem from that one incident.

My plan for today, is following a decent dog walk, I’ll settle at the desk and continue to bash at ‘Her’ synopsis. I have plans for this evening, given that it’s my mother birthday tomorrow, but I shall return to the grind stone tomorrow.

A big hello to Germany - who has clocked up the most visits in one week – but I do hope you’re each enjoying following my creative journey towards publication. Wow, how things have changed since I first began writing, I never dreamt that I would wish to share my work - let alone have my sights on publication.

Have a great week, check out Rebecca’s story on Kindle and we’ll see what surprises I have for you next week. Enjoy!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Positively Productive Writer, a river of stones and dual existence

Good morning, I’m hoping that everyone had a delightful New Year and the recovery from any hangover, is long forgotten.

As mentioned, in my tiny updates, I have had a good start to my creative new year with the completion of a poetry project and acceptance upon the Romantic Novelists Associations’ New Writers Scheme. My debut novel ‘Her’ is as complete as it can be, for my liking, so I am crafting the synopsis to accompany the manuscript.

I have begun my ‘A river of Stones’ exercises which runs for the month of January. I have to say, I’ve usually spotted what my item is going to be quite early in my day. I do class myself as someone that notices the tiniest detail in life’s tapestry, so I’m not finding it as liberating as other may do. But even so, I am using the each day’s ‘find’ as my warm up exercise for my daily writing session. I shall update my stones list each week – see right hand panel.   

Tuesday saw a return to my day job, which steals time like a thief in the night. I am currently part way through teacher training, which is demanding enough, but to be attempting to continue my writing is no mean feat. I am living a dual existence, teacher:writer. But, I am also reaping the benefits of all my hard work, my writing is stronger than ever and my teaching is graded as outstanding – so, long may it continue – well, until 20th July 2012, anyhow. After which, I will have qualified and achieved plan B – which will provide a steady income while I continue to write working towards plan A.

I used my own work in two English classes this week, year 7 and year 10 were given my poems to analyse – of which they did a grand job. It was interesting how their suggestions regards imagery and structure were certainly not conscious ideas that I had whilst crafting the poems and yet, provided  me with a fresh insight into my work.

Tuesday night saw me seeking out numerous short story competitions to enter in order to meet my new resolution ‘six’. I am a little spoilt for choice, as my Writers’ Magazine and Mslexia were packed with exciting opportunities. I also had a tip off earlier in the week regards to a competition in ‘Good Housekeeping’ magazine January issue, outlining their novel competition.

I have consumed a writing book this week, Simon Whaley’s ‘The Positively Productive Writer (ISBN: 978-1-84694-851-0) which is a personal account of how he writes and more importantly, prepares himself mentally for writing. I was pleased to find that we share numerous routines, which I’ve previously thought of as ‘mine’ and almost unnecessary for others to know about only to discover that he has similar routines. I have always kept a running note of word counts, I can tell you on any one day what I worked on, I can even tell you the date on which certain ideas have sprung and germinated – to me it is a detail of recognition supporting the significance of my work. To others it may be a neurotic system of recording, but I have enjoyed reading his book and recognising my own habits. I’d recommend any writer or poet give the book a once over, the smallest gem may be the one that helps you on your way towards success. As Simon follows me on Twitter I have been lucky enough to channel my feedback to the author, much to his delight.

My diary for the coming week: a university tutorial in Coventry on Tuesday evening, Mad Hatter’s group on Wednesday night and Grace Dieu Writers’ Circle on Thursday evening. Knowing that I have three nights booked, I will juggle my writing time to accommodate meeting and travelling times. I don’t usually write in the mornings prior to work but I may have to this week, otherwise I’ll run the risk of producing nothing on those three days. This is without adding my teaching preparation into the time equation – see, I can’t afford to waste a minute. I get up at half five and go to bed at elevenish – in between, I dash about completing the numerous ‘to-do’ lists which culminate in making my current lifestyle. One day – life may be different.

A quick shout out to Germany, who have notched up the most visits this week, closely followed by Russia. You’ll find me on Twitter by searching Odwyer_author - remember you can ask me questions via my Twitter account.

The plan for today is ‘Her’ synopsis – I’m a woman with a mission. Enjoy!