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. 

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.