Meet our fabulous O.W.G. writers.
Angela L. Garratt
Angela L. Garratt is the founder of the O.W.G. She started it on 22nd August 2014. Angela is the author of Innocent Spirits, a paranormal thriller and the former editor of the Walsall Poetry Society. She has written many stories for anthologies she has been invited to write for, the most recent ‘The Man with Bio-degradable Skin’, for Sins of the Future. However, she has also just released her new novella, The Ghost of Henry Schnieber.
Angela, being an advocate of the libraries, has been in the media, including TV, Radio, and the press to help raise the profiles of the libraries. She is the chair of the Oldbury Libraries Friends Group, a signature on the treasury, and she represents Oldbury library at the libraries federation meetings.
Angela is a performance poet and has performed at places like the Black Country Living Museum for the Red by Night festival and the Walsall Arboretum for the Bards, Bands and Ballard’s on the Band Stand.
Angela has studied Zoology since she was in her early teens; she has been a guest speaker, teaching Animal Classification to A-level Students at Pimlico High School, London.
You can find her work and latest news at http://angelagarratt.weebly.com/blog
Nicole J. Simms
Nicole J Simms is one of the founder members of O.W.G and manager of the O.W.G. website. She is a horror, crime and fantasy writer, and has written flash fictions, short stories, poems. She is currently working on her novel and flash fiction collection.
Her stories have been published on websites, in anthologies and magazines, such as Firewords Quarterly – Issue 4. And, her first self-published e-book, The Book of Drabbles, is now available to download.
Nicole is a regular contributor to the Horror Tree website and has a column called ‘Setting Self Doubt on Fire’. Here she writes blog posts to help writers beat their self-doubt.
Some of her favourite authors include Sharon Bolton, R. L. Stine, Stephen King, Kelley Armstrong, Charlaine Harris, Mira Grant, J. K. Rowling and, new to the list, G. X. Todd.
When she’s not writing, she loves to bake, knit and paint.
You can find her work and latest news at http://www.nicole-j-simms.co.uk/
Andrew Lines is a founder member of the O.W.G. He was born in Oldbury, just after the Big Bang (according to the other members). He released a novel in January 2019 titled I’m Perfectly Safe, She Doesn’t Bite. It’s an erotic romance that started out as a coming-of-age comedy. The first chapter is free to read on Amazon. Andrew’s favourite writers include Joe Orton, Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, Sue Townsend and Jerome K. Jerome.
Bally is one of the founder members of the Oldbury Writing Group; she lives in Sandwell.
She has always had a passion for poetry but never thought of actually putting pen to paper. Regular networking with fellow members gave her the motivation and inspiration to write. Her work includes simple poetry that captures the imagination of the listener. Her advice to others is the importance of sharing and learning from each other and that everyone’s contribution is valuable.
Bally actively also supports the Writing Group fundraising events in order to raise money for various local charities.
Bally is also a keen amateur photographer and an event planner.
Jackie Adams became a member of O.W.G. in September 2014. She is a published poet and began writing poems at school. She likes to write poems, short stories, essays, and letters.
Months after Jackie left school, she sent an angry letter to the County Express newspaper after a columnist tried to criticise Elvis; this led to Jackie being chosen for the newspaper’s West Midlander of the week.
A big Elvis fan since the age of five, Jackie wrote an article “Discovering Elvis” for the Elvis Monthly magazine, which is her pride and joy.
Jackie is an animal lover. She loves helping animal rescue charities with fundraising, making dog coats by hand, and knitting blanket squares.
She also likes to sketch, paint (she likes landscape art), and history.
Jackie’s dream would be to have a second home by the sea or maybe a caravan where she can stay with her dogs.
Dave Edwards lives in West Bromwich. He has always been an avid reader of prose and poetry.
His favourite genres include horror, science fiction, murder mysteries, and thrillers.
He also likes to read classic literature (usually twentieth-century classics). His favourite prose writers include M.R. James, Ramsey Campbell, Jonathon Aycliffe, George Orwell, Graeme Greene, and William Golding.
He also likes to read poetry (usually surreal or visionary) and his favourite poets include Dylan Thomas, D.H. Lawrence, Walt-Whitman, and T.S. Eliot.
The creative urge started at an early age, with Dave writing free verse poetry from the age of twelve. He has recently developed an interest in writing flash fiction, with a view to publication.
His stories vary between the surreal and the horrific.
His other interests include keeping fit and listening to classic hard rock and heavy metal music, including Deep Purple Mark II and Black Sabbath.
Chris lives in Dudley and has enjoyed writing since his English days at school.
He is an avid reader and enjoys writing horror, supernatural and sci-fi stories.
However, there is no genre that he won’t have a go at writing a story about.
Chris currently works in IT in a local school and enjoys supporting the groups ICT needs.
His favourite authors include: Clive Cussler, James Herbert and James Patterson. The list is actually endless. He likes photography and plays the guitar (A big Fender Telecaster fan) He also enjoys the Blues music and playing a 3 string homemade cigarbox guitar.
He plans to keep writing and maybe eventually become published.
You can find his website at: https://chrisrjallen.wordpress.com/
Julian hails from Smethwick and has always had a keen interest in mythological history and the unexplained.
He never gave any serious thought to writing until 2009 when he began working on his first novel. Since then, he has written several short stories, which he hopes will soon be published.
Julian loves reading, especially science fiction and fantasy. Unsurprisingly, he prefers to write in the style of Warhammer 40,000 (sometimes referred to as ‘Grim Dark’), but he plans to try his hand at horror.
His favourite authors include Edgar Allen Poe, Erich Von Daniken and Graham McNeill, and his favourite book to date is Space Wolf by William King.
Apart from writing, Julian enjoys adventure travel, bush craft, and has a passion for real ale.
Daniel lives in a small area of Tividale. His desire to meet like-minded writers has led him to the Oldbury Writing Group.
He’s always enjoyed the work of Greg Bear and Eric Nylund, whom he hopes to meet in the future. It was their style of writing that brought back his passion for the literary art.
Daniel’s favourite genres are science fiction and fantasy, with a mixture of both. However, he isn’t afraid to venture into the unknown. As they say, ‘No challenge is too great.’
In his spare time, he enjoys playing Halo and Gears of War, two of the greatest franchises to ever grace the Xbox. He also loves travelling, especially with the group. He plans to go beyond his comfort zone. Forewarning: he is a mad football fan, and makes it his mission to collect replica shirts of his favourite teams.
Heather is a recent addition to the group, joining in August 2017. She lives in Rowley Regis, has a BA in Humanities, is an artist and works for the local government. Her work consists of poetry and scary short stories. She is inspired by contemporary horror writers, Adam Neville and Ambrose Ibsen, and social observers Usamo Dazai and Ralph Ellison. She emphasises creeping atmosphere, creating tension in her work, playing on the fractured nature of modern society and the issues affecting it. In 2017, she held a short performance poetry one-off, ‘To Shadows Cast’ at Oldbury Library and plans to work that series into a publication. She has also performed her poems at local events.
Of her own work, she adds, ‘If it does not move me or make me shudder and my heart step up a gear recalling it, then it was not up to the job.’ Her most prolific writing times are 3 am and on the early morning city workers commute – ‘the hour of the wolf’. This is her favourite time of day, people watching and riding past the city construction sites, listening to Baroque music. ‘This is my creative process; when I am most hungry, my mind is on the prowl and very alive, and my inner child is full of wonder.’
Paul Cobb joined Oldbury Writing Group in January 2019 after learning of its existence from an article in a Writing Magazine. He has now become an active and enthusiastic member.
Birmingham-born, he has lived locally for nearly 40 years. A graphic designer by trade, he is also an exam invigilator, a school governor and the presiding officer at a poll station for elections. He started writing in earnest in 2010, after dabbling with copywriting and proofreading in his graphic design work. His preference lies in children’s and young adult literature, having enjoyed the feedback from bedtime stories with his three children — now all grown up. He looks forward to being able to read stories once again to a new generation, with his grandchildren.
He has written his own ‘3 Moons’ trilogy of novels, which he describes as being a mix of adventure, fantasy, time-slip, with an educational element included. He has tried to recreate an aura of the adventure stories he enjoyed himself as a child. In these books, he has created his own ‘worlds’ in which the action unfolds. A fourth story followed, and he is seeking that elusive publishing contract.
Currently, he is working on a harder-hitting novel aimed at older teenagers.
Since joining the group, he has been encouraged to try his hand at writing poetry, and he has also produced several short stories.
Andrew Hodgson was born in a small mining village in what was the West Riding of Yorkshire, now known as ‘South Yorkshire’. He now divides his time between his homes in Birmingham and Orkney and is a regular attendee of the annual Orkney science festival. He has also enjoyed meeting and getting inspiration from visiting published authors to the Orkney library, such as Louise Welsh and James Oswald.
For many years he was involved in the design of commercial kitchens for hotels and restaurants and supply of industrial catering equipment to multi-national chains and privately owned businesses. He also visited catering equipment manufacturers in the USA, Canada and mainland Europe.
Andrew has recently retired from over twenty years in custodial services at the Birmingham Law Courts.
He has an in-depth knowledge of firearms (pistols, revolvers and rifles) and was for over forty years a member of many target shooting clubs in the Midlands. All his shooting nowadays is landscape and wildlife done through a DSLR camera lens.
Andrew is an avid reader and has a preference for psychological thrillers and crime fiction. Some of his favourite authors include Val McDermid, Louise Welsh, James Oswald, Stuart McBride, Ian Rankin, Lee Child, Linwood Barclay, Harlan Coben, and of course Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy.
Andrew currently lives in Oldbury, although he grew up in the Warwickshire village of Wellesbourne which is situated between Stratford upon Avon, Warwick and Leamington Spa.
One of his main hobbies is reading, and he is particularly partial to reading crime novels, although he does read other genres when tempted. His favourite authors include the likes of James Patterson and Lee Child to name but a few.
He has always had an interest in writing since his school days, but this has grown more and more in recent years. Before now, his writing experience was limited, but he is looking forward to broadening his writing horizons to include short stories and novels amongst trying his hand at other things. He is particularly interested in writing crime fiction, but he is also keen to look into writing children’s fiction as well as dipping his toe into other genres too.
Apart from writing, Andrew has a variety of other interests which include wildlife photography and football.