Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Genre Game

I’ve been thinking a lot about genres of late. And those thoughts became very concentrated when, this week, I needed to choose a genre for my 2016 NaNo novel. And further crystalized when I found that mine was not in the drop down list, a list of 19 plus that little luxury - which I dared use - ‘other’.

I suspect there are many novels that get themselves whacked into the literary fiction or mainstream genre because they have nowhere else to go. And I also wonder what wonderful books get overlooked because they’ve been categorized in such a way.

But I digress, I really wanted to talk a little about my newly discovered genre, the one I suspect has been looking for me all my writing career, and that is the novella-in-flash - the genre that tripped me up when I entered the Bath Flash Fiction comp. earlier this year.

It is a startling genre. Nothing like a traditional novella which is described as, and I quote, ‘a work of written fictional narrative prose that is longer than a short story, but shorter than a novel’. And startling in a way that each mini chapter is akin to a complete flash story. And you all know how I love writing flash fiction, how I have neither the patience nor staying power for a blockbuster novel, how I love to capture the essence of a story in as few words as possible, and how I am always in haste to ‘git ‘er done.’ Yes, in a flash - pardon the pun.

I have read (as recommended by Bath) a number of flash novellas now. And they have all startled me. I can think of no better word to describe them. They are unique, punchy, disorienting, curious, questioning, and oft times breathtaking in their delivery. The judge (Meg Pokrass) of the Bath Novella-in-Flash comp. describes them as ‘like stars in the sky.’ So yes, startling in its truest sense.

As NaNo approaches, I have completed the first steps of registering my novel as 3 Novellas (draft cover below), with the intention of submitting the results to the Bath Novella-in-Flash comp. - deadline end of December.


Whatever happens, my mouth is now watering with thoughts of where these works will take me. So NaNo - for my 10th time - I’m ready for you.

Read about Meg Pokrass here:

National Novel Writing Month, as always, is here:

Monday, September 26, 2016

Meeting the Fans

What an absolute delight it was this weekend to meet the people who enjoy my work. The annual craft fair at The Seaside Centre in Beach Meadows turned out to be a real tonic. True, I didn't sit down all weekend. True, my cheese sandwich curled at the edges as I didn't get to that until mid afternoon. But it was worth it.

Many people were able to take home a piece of my hand formed silver and bronze from the Scintilla collection. It was good to meet you all.  It was also incredible to be able to share work from the new, and as yet, incomplete collection Garden of Eden.

Then of course there was the fun experimental work with paper bead earrings. Not the best photo, but it gives you an idea.

So, thank you to all involved in organising this, the 23rd Annual Show - from where I stood it went like clockwork. Thank you to all my clients and those who stood back to admire the work that comes from my head and hands. 

And great big thanks to the talented painter Marg Millard who encouraged me to take part at short notice.  I am feeling overflowing with thanks.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

100 Voices

Launch day Friday 23rd September. Details here

The Cover

Thursday, August 18, 2016

100 Voices Publication Date

Well the publication date for 100 Voices, an anthology, has been released by Centum Press. September 23rd is the date and you can pre-order. The anthology is available in paperback or limited edition hard cover.  My personal author's discount is 100V84 if you do decide to order, please take advantage of the discount.
I'll post a copy of the cover image as soon as I can get hold of one. Until then - it is all here:

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bowing to the Acknowledgement

There is something thrilling about seeing your work in print. I think so anyway, and for me it doesn't take much.  But when an international arts and literary mag like ArtAscent accepts images of your work for publication, that, to me, is acknowledgement.

The strangest thing for me though, is to see these loonie sized pieces blown up to fill the pages of an 8" x 11" mag.  It was a bit of a wow when I opened my copy yesterday - and there they were. Warts and all. Fingerprints and all.  Because they are totally hand made, impressions of my fingers are all over the pieces.

pages 72 and 73 of the current issue 

The collection is by no means complete - probably a little over one third - the plan is to have all the pieces ready for the autumn,

 Garden #1. Wearable art in fine (.999) silver from the collection Garden of Eden

I've been 'test driving' the pieces around town to make sure all is well, a kind of quality control so to speak, and of course people have commented. A jeweller has described them as organic. And for me that is a real boost. I never refer to them as jewellery, but wearable art. But organic too I will take.

Temptation. Wearable art in fine (.999) silver from the collection Garden of Eden

And so it is back to the sketch book to bring together all the ideas that are bumbling around and then on to to the workbench. Watch this space.

This issue of ArtAscent is available to order here. ArtAscent V20

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Garden of Eden in ArtAscent

Absolutely thrilled to see a couple of images of my work in the August 2016 issue of the international arts and literary journal, Art Ascent. This isn't the first time this fabulous magazine has carried my images, but it's the first time that the images are of my work.  On pages 72 and 73 you'll see Garden and Temptation, two pieces of wearable art (pendants) in fine silver from my new collection: Garden of Eden. A link to the publication is here.

ArtAScent V20

I will be posting more images of the collection (just follow the link 'wearable art in silver' on the right), which is not complete by a long chalk; with a new delivery of FYI silver I'll be busy over the next couple of months. Once complete, the collection will go to the Lilieth Boutique in Liverpool.

In the meantime, be still my beating heart...

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Other Side of Writing Competitions

Early this year I was asked to be a reader for the Annual Atlantic Writing Competition.  This competition has been running for over 40 years under the auspices of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia   and draws submissions from all of Canada’s Atlantic provinces (Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.)

It is a competition designed to motivate emerging writers in six categories: creative non-fiction; novel, poetry, short story, writing for children, and  young adult novel. Interestingly, established writers can also enter - but only in a category that is new to them.

The submission category I was asked to read was poetry.  There were guidelines for the reader. In addition to reading, you were expected to provide constructive feedback (nothing negative, only motivating comments, suggestions for further reading maybe, and no marketing ideas.) I was indeed honoured. I had won a second place in this category in 2001. I had no idea just what a ride I was in for. Fortunately I had a ‘reader partner’ - more on that later.

I was presented with over 70 manuscripts that constituted collections of up to 5 poems from anonymous poets. My job was, together with my fellow reader, to come up with a shortlist of five. I read the collection early in the mornings. Late at nights. On rainy days. On snowy days. On bright sunlit days. And out loud to hubby and the dogs as we drove down the coast on our many winter outings. I think that last approach was the clincher.

I came to the conclusion that I could only place the five I enjoyed the most on top of my pile. These were poems that had lines that stuck with me, that left me with visuals, that made me smile, that made me cry. That informed and educated me (eg - did you know that it takes a sloth a month to eat a lettuce leaf.) And poems that sang with a pure clear unique voice.

The poems that finished up at the bottom of my pile were those that were soaked in seIf pity, that were all about I, I, I, and me. me, me. I’m sorry emerging poets, it’s all very well to express yourselves in your work, but maybe you should try song writing instead.  I didn’t say that in my critique but suggested to these entrants that they try rewriting in the 2nd person - to involve and include the reader.  Wandering lonely as a cloud can’t alway work in today’s world.

It was time to consult my fellow reader. I had never met him, and still haven’t. We discussed the poems via Skype video.  It didn’t take long to find we had come up with the same shortlist. Pretty amazing, really, considering he is a young guy and I am an ancient gal. We concluded that we’d selected the poems that really spoke to us. That resonated with us.

And we submitted our findings.

When the results of final judging were announced I was pretty chuffed to see that the winning order matched mine. It was a cathartic moment in my writing career in an odd sort of way. It gave me courage of my own convictions - something that I have often doubted.

Being a reader, a critic, a reviewer can, I believe, make better authors and poets of us.