Friday, June 24, 2016

A Turn Up for the Books

Well how about that then?  Longlisted for the prestigious Bath Flash Fiction Award with my 300-worder, Tonight's the Night. I'm over the moon and although my funny little tale set in the 50s didn't make it to the short list - it was at least up there in the most fabulous international company.  And it will be published in the BFFA Anthology at the end of this year. So I'm happy. Deliriously so. Here are the winners - and well deserved indeed: winners

I'm not letting the grass grow though. Another coup with one of my illustrations. It has been accepted to illustrate the Ad Hoc story Lights Out by Sian Brighal. Here is my illustration:

I'm pretty chuffed to say the least. Wouldn't you be? If you want to pop on over to look at the story with the illustration first check out my story Not Mimi, ( on page 20 - I think - if you like it please vote - then drop over onto the winners page and scroll down to mid May for the Lights Out story with my (hopefully) intriguing illustration. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ad Hoc Fiction

Each week Ad Hoc Fiction - run by Bath Flash Fiction Award - posts a prompt word. They throw down the challenge to write a 150 word story that includes the prompt in some way.

For 21 consecutive weeks I have taken the challenge and now have quite the collection. You can read the e-book for free for 7 days - then at midnight UK time on a Tuesday it disappears and the next week's book is posted along with a new prompt.

It's all good stuff and really good for 'those little grey cells'. It is also loads of fun.  If ever you need to know which page my story is on - give me a holler and then you can vote for it if you like it. Find this week's issue here - I am on page 12. The title: Choice.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tingling fingers and overactive brain

The 2016 Collection  -  the Garden of Eden

There has been a flurry of activity in this Borgersen brain of late.  Submissions of writings are going out at a rapid rate of knots on the old adage that 'you've gotta be innitt ta winnitt.'

Successes are beginning to trickle in with a royalties offer from Centum Press. A weekly 150 word submission to Ad Hoc for their e-books is materialising in acceptance and an ever growing pile of 150 word nutshell stories for me to dispose of elsewhere later. You can read the current issue here: Ad Hoc flash fiction weekly e-book

In the past three years ArtAscent has taken my work on 7 occasions. The current issue carries my short story Girl in a Green Dress - on page 80 I think. It is a superb but expensive publication, luxurious in print - but pretty swish online too.

The motivation has come from the wonderful support of the members of Writers Abroad - without that support I probably would have still been living with self doubt.

And now the fingers have been tingling to get the silver clay out. And voila - we have a new collection in fine silver 'The Garden of Eden'.  I'm pretty chuffed that the entire session is 100% successful. With the price of silver clay escalating at a rate of knots (isn't that where I started with this brief blog entry?) - it could be some time before I get my fingers mucky again. Ho hum.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

2016 Resolutions Progress

It has been quite a year so far. I made a New Year's resolution in January (don't we all?) and promised myself I would keep up with submissions, at least one per month.  Here we are in May and I have far exceeded my resolve; submitting a minimum of one piece a week.

And with some success, I might add.  Stiff As Boards was accepted by Centum Press in April - a royalties deal no less. Yippee. The book's possible title is 100 Voices -  it will contain 100 stories from around the world - sounds logical - and I do like books with such international flavour. 2017 is the anticipated launch. Watch this space.

I have now had seventeen 150 word pieces longlisted by Ad Hoc each week.  Those certainly get the speed-writing side of the brain in gear, and are so much fun. here is a wee taster from a couple of weeks ago. It is called Lady in Red:

She wears Valentino red. Her model face shows no emotion. Except her unforgettable violet eyes scanning the room.

The air in the room hangs as she enters. The gabble-talk hum stops. She descends the wide staircase. Her black, elbow length, gloved hand snakes its way down the golden handrail like an elegant caterpillar. Her feet, unseen beneath folds of red silk, make no sound on the marble.

She crosses the hall to Jasper. All heads turn. 

She is at his side.

”Giselle,” he says. “You came.”

“Hush,” she says, arresting his single tear with a fingertip of her glove.

If you ever want to give it a whirl - here is the link - the e-book of long listers is only online for a week, then it is replaced by a fresh one for your reading pleasure.

Of course I have had the support and encouragement of the members of Writers Abroad - if you have never visited the site I invite you to do so.  From time to time I write the site blog and my next turn is May 30th and I am considering writing about my experience as a reader for the Annual Atlantic Writing Competition. I read the submissions for the poetry category and it certainly gave me an insight into the 'other side' of competitions. The responsibilty weighed quite heavily to begin with until I relaxed into it and enjoyed the wide range of work.

In other news, the black flies are out.  And here is a little song to help put you in the picture.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Prepping for National Novel Writing Month

Nano looms. It feels good - not like a black cloud loom, more like anticipation for a journey. Even having nanoed ten times before, I know this will be a new journey. Another pioneering experience. And I should at least do a little ‘packing’.
In preparation I’ve cleared the clutter, moved my desk and given it a bit of a polish. I now have a view of the woods behind the house and I know the view will change daily through November. If I am at a loss, I can always describe this view. Can't I? Of course I can, it's my novel, my nano after all.
What else do I have in readiness for this mental as well as physical trip? Not much. I have my protagonist. And I have an entry form for a beauty contest.  Is that enough to weave a tale? I wonder.

So just to make it feel more real I’ve built a cover.  ‘Woah,’ I hear you cry, ‘is that not putting the cart before the horse?’  Maybe, but at least it feels more real. I know I have to put something between the covers. A story. A tale. It’s motivating. It’s exciting.
Two weeks ago I received a lovely packet in the mail.  It came from Louise Penny’s publishers. It is a lovely black and white sketch map of Three Pines. The setting for Ms Penny’s Gamache novels. I had it beside me when I read her latest novel, The Nature of the Beast. Wowzer. Did it make a difference? Not to the quality of her writing, that is without doubt superb. Always. But it took me closer to that place. The setting. It became even more real.

I once (a very long time ago) did a workshop at The Cheltenham Literature Festival with Barbara Trapido. The workshop was called ‘Writing Your Life’ and one exercise the South African author suggested to the forty or so participants, was to draw a place. Somewhere from childhood. The results were startling. People said that the more they drew, the more they could remember. We then placed our young selves in these places with words. The results were astounding.
And so I am readyish. I know I need a great setting or even two. I am gung ho to sketch out a few maps for my nano novel this year. Somewhere for my characters to live, to go about their business, to fall in and out of love. Somewhere for my protagonist, Eva, to grow and deal with the years we will travel together .
I also need to research the history of beauty contests! Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Five Day Foray in Kumihimo

My Five Day Foray Into Kumihimo

I was tempted. But I, as you know from my earlier posts, was in the throes of completing my summer 2014 collection Scintilla. More on that if you scroll on down..

Once the launch was over and done (with some success I might add) the temptation grew stronger and I was drawn in. Kumihimo. I felt like I was about to climb Everest. Venture into the unknown. Explore the mysteries of this ancient Japanese art of braiding.

My local expert and friend recently posted tutorials on YouTube Making it Easy with Liz and that was where I strapped on the crampons and began to contemplate my climb. She’s good. I felt like Liz was right here alongside me as I spread out most of the necessities for the adventure:

Kumihimo disc
S-lon cord
a weight (substitute)
industrial strength glue
clasps to finish pieces (I live in hope).

And I was up and running.  I followed Liz’s instructions to the letter, smiling at her anecdotes (which brought my intensity down a level or two). And this is the result of the first hour. It uses three colours of S-lon cord and I was surprised at the physical rhythmic benefits. Not very impressive I know, but you have to toddle before you walk!

It was time for a tea break.

Not wanting to scale the North Face too early on in the learning process I dug around in my stash and found satin rattail going back a few years. Not enough to follow Liz’s tutorial but with a little improv, and by adding a length of fine suede leather and some cotton cord I had stored away from my candle making days, I made our dear little whippet, Tilly, a smashing necklace. Seen here. She loves it, can’t you tell?

It was time to call it a day, but I already knew Day Two would hold more joys as I ran my hands through my stash of gem-lined crystal beads, Japanese lustre beads, and porcelain sweeties - pairing them, matching them to clasps and S-lon cords. One step away from drooling!

Day two and nothing else got done around here I as patiently threaded beads. Bronze, and ruby with pewter lined crystals. The colours dazzled and I couldn’t put MY Kumihimo down. As I brought the cords across the disc in the prescribed order, ensuring each bead was tucked into where it should be, my mind wandered to the history of beads, what was their primary purpose? How were they made? The writer/researcher in me made me want to dig further - not this day.

Before lunch I was done. With the exception of attaching the clasp. After lunch it was time to check in with Making it Easy with Liz Attaching a clasp to your Kumihimo.  And voila! My first Kumihimo bracelet is here:

I do have another life, as many of you know - but I was on, what seems commonly called, “a roll”, and days three and four progressed beyond bracelets and into ideas for designing necklaces.  At the end of Day Five I was out of stash, out of clasps, and the pantry was also very bare!  But I felt that I’d reached Base Camp of Kumihimo. I’d explored techniques and improved my skills. Inspiration and design ideas were kicking in, and while I know it’ll be some time before I reach the summit, I’m looking forward to the journey with tingling fingers.

And that's it - five days of total indulgence.  

My thanks to Liz Carter, of Making it Easy with Liz, for sharing her skills with me, for introducing me to precious metal clay and for being my guiding light for over seven years. Also to Sandra Marquis of The Lilieth Boutique in Liverpool for providing an outlet for my work.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Scintilla: the summer 2014 collection

Scintilla Launches in Liverpool

Three years ago, I launched a new collection of wearable art at The Swoon Gallery in Hammonds Plains. It was exciting. It was successful, but now it’s time to reveal a new collection closer to home.

As you know, I work primarily in silver clay, hand forming the pieces and firing them in a kiln, as I once did as a potter, but on a much smaller scale. The result is jewellery in fine silver (.999), each piece unique.

But I’ve been exploring new mediums, this new collection includes work in bronze and also knitted wire.  For that I had to research early Greek and Roman techniques.”

There are 60 pieces of jewellery/wearable art in this summer 2014 collection I've called Scintilla. I like the word, it means, among other things, a spark of a feeling, and that is what started the inspiration for the work more than six months ago.”

I've been represented at The Lilieth Boutique on Main Street, Liverpool, Nova Scotia since 2013, and that is where I’ll be on Saturday 28th June 2014 from 2 - 5 pm launching Scintilla. Everyone is welcome.

For more information, find the event on facebook or visit