Friday, August 26, 2016

New course offering: Intensive Creative Writing class, Tuesday mornings, Oct 18 – Dec 6, in Burlington

Intensive Creative Writing
8 weeks of creative growth
New course offering ~ just added
Tuesday mornings, 10 a.m. – 12 noon
Course begins by email Oct 11
Classes run Oct 18 – Dec 6 (though we'll extend the course by a week if it fills up).
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)

The Intensive course isn't for beginners; it's for people who have been writing for a while or who have done a course or two before and are working on their own projects. Over the eight weeks of classes, you’ll be asked to bring in four pieces of your writing for detailed feedback. All your pieces may be from the same work, such as a novel in progress, or they may be stand alone pieces. You bring whatever you want to work on.  
In addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that the greatest benefits come from seeing how your classmates approach and critique a piece of writing and how they write and re-write.

Instructor Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Charlottetown. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get published. 

Read a review of the Intensive course here. Read more reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here

To see details of all six weekly classes offered this fall, see here.

Fee: $167.26 plus hst = 189.  
To reserve your spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Note: Don't ever miss a post on Quick Brown Fox. Fill in your email in the box to the right under my bio, and get each post delivered to your Inbox. Also, if you’re not yet on my newsletter, send me an email, including your locale, to: brianhenry@sympatico.ca ~ Brian

See Brian’s current complete schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Vaughan, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New book: The Road Ahead by Willie Handler

Hi, Brian.

I am hosting a book launch for my first novel, The Road Ahead, and I wanted to invite you and all the readers of Quick Brown Fox:

Wednesday, September 21st
6 – 8 p.m.
Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario (Map here)

The Road Ahead is the humorous story of an incompetent and inappropriate politician who stumbles from one political scandal to another. Rick Tompkins, a suburban Toronto insurance broker, never considered a career in politics until a good friend, who happens to be the leader of the Conservative party, asks him to run for office.
He accepts the offer, with the understanding that he probably won’t win, but can use the opportunity to gain some visibility for himself and his business. Jerry Switzer, a veteran party worker, is sent in to guide Rick through a campaign in a riding that hasn't elected a Conservative in years.
Rick fumbles his way through the election campaign and manages a surprise win but at the expense of saddling his party with an impossible commitment. Worse, Rick is anything but politically correct. He offends everyone in his path. Still, Rick has one saving asset: a political party machine that is able to spin scandals to its advantage.

I will be there to read and to sign books. You can RSVP at: williehandler@gmail.com

Warm regards,
Willie Handler


See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Vaughan, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How to Write a Bestseller workshop, with New York Times #1 bestselling author Kelley Armstrong

How to Write a Bestseller
With book editor Brian Henry
 & New York Times #1 bestselling author 
  Kelley Armstrong 
Saturday, February 18, 2017
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Harcourt United Church, 87 Dean Ave, Guelph, Ontario (Map here.)

This workshop will give you the inside scoop on what gives a novel best-selling potential. You’ll learn how to get readers emotionally involved in your story, how to raise tension, control your pacing and keep your readers turning the pages. But you won't just hear about some of the best secrets of the trade; you'll learn how to apply them to give your own writing a sharp new edge.

Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing teacher for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia, Ontario, to Saint John, New Brunswick. He has helped many of his students get published, including guest speaker Kelley Armstrong...

Kelley Armstrong lives in Aylmer, south of London, Ontario, with her husband and three children. She used to program computers and attend Brian Henry workshops. Now she writes international bestsellers. Kelley has hit the New York Time’s bestseller list with both her supernatural thrillers for adults and her urban fantasy for teens.

Kelley's principal publishers are Random House in Canada, St. Martins and HarperCollins in the U.S. and Doubleday and Little Brown in Britain. To date, she's published more than28 books, most recently Betrayals, a gothic novel for adults; Forest of Ruins, a fantasy novel for teens; and coming in February, just before our workshop, A Darkness Absolute, a thriller for adults.

Bitten, A TV series based on Kelley’s first 13 novels, has been broadcasting since January 2014.

Fee: 43.36 + 13% hst = 49 paid in advance by mail or Interac
or 46.90 + 13% hst = 53 if you wait to pay at the door

To reserve a spot now, email: 
brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Don't ever miss a post on Quick Brown Fox. Fill in your email in the box to the right under my bio, and get each post delivered to your Inbox. Also, if you’re not yet on my newsletter, send me an email, including your locale, to:
 brianhenry@sympatico.ca ~ Brian

See Brian’s current complete schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Vaughan, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Clarion Books, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint for children's books accepts unsolicited, unagented submisions

Note: Don't ever miss a post on Quick Brown Fox. Fill in your email in the box to the right under my bio, and get each post delivered to your Inbox. Also, if you’re not yet on my newsletter, send me an email, including your locale, to: brianhenry@sympatico.ca ~ Brian

Clarion Books is a children’s books imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the world’s oldest publisher. 

If you can get an agent, it’s usually a good idea and there are many agents representing authors of children’s books, especially middle grade and young adult. You can find many agents actively looking for authors here. But if you can’t get an agent, it’s good to know that Clarion accepts unsolicited, unagented submissions.

Each manuscript does receive careful consideration but they respond only if they’re interested in publishing the work or would like to request a revision. The time frame for a response is up to twelve weeks.

Your manuscript should be typed and sent by snail mail. They do not accept email submissions. Please do not send a self-addressed return envelope or postcard, as materials will not be returned. Manuscripts will be recycled if  Clarion determines they are not a match for their publishing program.

For picture books and novels, please send the entire manuscript. For nonfiction, submit a synopsis and sample chapters.

Submissions to Clarion Books should be sent to the following address:
Clarion Books / Submissions
3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10016

Full submission guidelines here.

Anne Shone, senior editor,
Scholastic Books
This fall, Brian Henry is offering a weekly course on Writing Kid Lit ~ Picture Books to YA, Tuesday afternoons, Sept 27 - Nov 22 (no class Oct 11), in Burlington (see here).

Brian regularly offers full-day workshops on Writing for Children and for Young Adults. The next one is Saturday, November 19, in Mississauga with Anne Shone, senior editor, Scholastic Books as his guest speaker (see here). 
Note: If you’re looking at this posting after Nov 19, 2016, check out current Writing for Children & for Young Adults workshops here (and scroll down).

Brian will lead How to Get Published workshops on Saturday, Oct 15, in Burlington with literary agent Cassandra Rodgers of The Rights Factory (see here), on Saturday, Oct 22, in London with Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy agency (see here), and on Saturday, October 29, in Caledon, at the Bolton Public Library, with Martha Web of the McDermid Agency (see here). 
Note: If you’re looking at this posting after Oct 15, 2016, see current How to Get Published workshops here (and scroll down).

To register or for details, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

But the best way to get your manuscript ready for publication may be with a weekly course. This fall, Brian will offer a wide range of classes: 
Literary agent Martha Webb
“Welcome to Creative Writing,” Thursday afternoons Sept 29 - Dec 8, in Oakville (see here).
 “Intermediate Creative Writing,” Wednesday evenings, Sept 21 to Nov 30 (no class Oct 12), in Burlington (see here)
Intermediate Creative Writing,” Thursday evenings, Sept 29 - Dec 8, in Georgetown (see here).
“Intensive Creative Writing,” Wednesday afternoons, Intensive Sept 14 - Dec 14 (no class Oct 12) , in Burlington.
See details of all five classes offered this fall here.

To reserve a spot or for more details, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Read reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.

See Brian’s complete current schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Literary agent Laura Zats at Red Sofa Literary seeks Middle Grade and YA, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Romance & Erotica

Red Sofa Literary
PO Box 40482
#2; St. Paul, MN 55104
Note: Don't ever miss a post on Quick Brown Fox. Fill in your email in the box to the right under my bio, and get each post delivered to your Inbox. Also, if you’re not yet on my newsletter, send me an email, including your locale, to: brianhenry@sympatico.ca ~ Brian

Red Sofa has seven literary agents on staff and six of them are accepting new authors. Laura Zats has been with the agency since 2013, starting as an intern but getting hired on as an associate editor that same year. She’s now been promoted to literary agent.

Laura graduated from Grinnell College with degrees in English and anthropology. While completing her studies, she took advantage of her love of Young Adult (YA) literature and wrote a thesis on identity formation in YA. 

She’s been working as an editor since 2011 and has held positions at companies in both the US and the UK. In her free time, Laura likes to craft, swing dance, bake, and binge on Netflix marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who.

Laura is looking for the following:

Young Adult — Fiction, especially contemporary. I love funny and gritty, especially when the two go together. Interested in geekery, retellings, innovative storytelling, and authentic voices. Please no paranormal romance, contemporary romance, dystopia, Chosen One plotlines, or didacticism.

Middle Grade — Fiction, especially contemporary. Prefers smart, literary writing disguised as adventures. Looking for books that are heavy with STEM and will appeal to girls and boys.

Science Fiction/Fantasy — Must pass either the Mako Mori or Bechdel tests. Love non-traditional settings, fast-paced storytelling, anthropological elements, and smart humor. Please no high fantasy.

Romance/Erotica — Especially contemporary. Must be feminist, have verbal consent throughout, and feature an independent, smart heroine. Please no vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, or mermaids.
Wish list for every genre and category: feminism, diversity (in all forms), unconventional storytelling techniques, and voice-driven narratives.

Query Laura at: Email: laura@redsofaliterary.com
Query only. Laura will request a partial or full manuscript if she’s interested. Full submission guidelines – including what each agent at Red Sofa is looking for – here.

Literary agent Cassandra Rodgers
Brian Henry will lead How to Get Published workshops on Saturday, Oct 15, in Burlington with literary agent Cassandra Rodgers of The Rights Factory (see here), on Saturday, Oct 22, in London with Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy agency (details here), and on Saturday,  October 29, in Caledon, at the Bolton Public Library, with Martha Web of the McDermid Agency (see here). 

Then on Saturday, November 19, Brian will lead a Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshop in Mississauga with Anne Shone, senior editor, Scholastics Canada as his guest speaker (see here).

To register or for details, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

But the best way of getting your manuscript ready for publication, may be with a weekly writing course. This fall, Brian will offer a wide range of classes:

“Welcome to Creative Writing,” Thursday afternoons Sept 29 - Dec 8, in Oakville (see here).
“Writing Kid Lit ~ Picture Books to YA (new),Tuesday Tuesday afternoons, Sept 27 - Nov 22 (no class Oct 11), in Burlington (see here).
“Intermediate Creative Writing,” Wednesday evenings, Sept 21 to Nov 30 (no class Oct 12), in Burlington (see here)
Intermediate Creative Writing,” Thursday evenings, Sept 29 - Dec 8, in Georgetown (see here).
“Intensive Creative Writing,” Wednesday afternoons, Intensive Sept 14 - Dec 14 (no class Oct 12) , in Burlington.
See details of all five classes offered this fall here.

To reserve a spot or for more details, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Brian Henry also has a number of other workshops coming up soon:  Secrets of Writing a Page-turner (tips for all story writers), Saturday, Sept 10, in Guelph (see here),  Writing with Style, Saturday, Sept 24, in Toronto (see here), and How to Write Great Dialogue, Saturday, Oct 1, in Kitchener (see here).

Finally, for those who love great food and a beautiful setting with their writing, Brian Henry will lead a Fall Colours Writing Retreat at Arowhon Pines Resort in Algonquin Park, Friday, Sept 16 – Sunday, Sept 18 (see here).

To register of for more information for any of the above, emailbrianhenry@sympatico.ca

Read reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.

See Brian’s complete current schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

“Homeless” by Janice L. Johnston


I must tell you that my nine lives finally ran out. I’m dead. I would like to report from circumstances beyond my control, but that would be a lie.
Before we go any further in this story, I better introduce myself. You can call me Blackie, for that is the name I gave myself. You won’t find any identifying license tag attached to my scruff to confirm my name; you’ll just have to take my word for it. You see, I never belonged to anyone. No welcoming family with arms wide open to claim me.
My birthplace was under a bridge down by the river that ran parallel to town. I was one of four in the litter that had the disadvantage of being born to a feline of mixed lineage. Unlike my brothers and sisters, my fur was entirely black. My destiny predetermined by the colour of my fur.
My mother went on to have another litter which she abandoned shortly after their births. Being the older sibling and scrappy beyond my years, I took on the responsibility for the new arrivals. Scrounging for food to sustain five hungry mouths was no easy feat, especially given my want of nourishment.
For shelter, we had scraps of discarded cardboard. Not much, but it kept the rain from dampening our matted fur. Huddled together we generated enough heat to withstand even the harshest weather. But I knew this could only be a temporary arrangement – I’d have to find safe havens for my siblings.
Casing the neighbourhoods of the town, I quickly learned which ones to avoid due to aggressive dogs that would bark or charge their owner’s fences when they spotted me. Other than the dogs, I could move undetected, my black fur making me almost invisible, especially on nights when the moon was obscured by charcoal skies.
Before too long, I began to find homes that seemed suitable. Then late at night I would take a kitten and leave it on the doorstep, with firm instructions to stay put for the family I’d selected to be my sibling’s forever home. I’d remain hidden in the shadows until I saw the kitten accepted into the family.
I placed my siblings one by one, jealous of the fact that I would not know the comfort of family, but satisfied that my siblings had a chance of security.
As a black cat, I’d quickly learned humans shunned me. All humans I came upon went out of their way to avoid me. Parents told small children not to let me cross their paths. I was bad luck, they said. I didn’t even know what bad luck was. I could go on and on about the injustice of being a black cat.
In my short lifetime, I had plenty of scrapes that left my poor body feeling tattered and abused. I found it impossible to keep my fur untangled from burrs and twigs. I was the favourite prey of the local dogs. I can’t begin to tell you how many of them chased me just out of spite. I found shelter in rickety abandoned sheds or under front porches to lick my wounds and heal as best I could without medical care.
Sometimes, though, if I meowed on back porches then stole away to wait, some kind soul might leave me some tuna or another morsel to tempt me inside. I couldn’t take the chance of them knowing the colour of my fur, so I hid until the house lights went out and it was safe to gobble the treats left for me. 
The night of my death was pitch black, befitting my colour. Earlier in the day, I’d gotten tangled in some rope and debris left in a back alleyway. I was exhausted and distracted at the time and did not have my wits about me to avoid the danger. Now my right front paw was swollen and it hurt to walk on it. Staggering across the darkened streets, I felt like an old tom rather than the young cat I was. I stumbled. The road, still wet from an earlier downpour, was slippery.
The sudden appearance of a black sports car swerving from side to side, apparently driven by some drunk, was upon me too quickly to avoid. I didn’t stand a chance. My body went flying, and the driver roared off into the night, leaving me in my final resting place under the thorny bushes at 38 Dundas Street.
I lay there unobserved for three days as the homeowners enjoyed the summer heat at their cottage. It seemed fitting upon their return that their family dog found my torn body, as during my lifetime I’d run from my fair share of such beasts. The husband, busy unpacking, the van was alerted to my resting place by the frantic barking of the dog.
“Frankie, down boy,” the man said walking towards the bushes. “Oh, my God, what do we have here?”
Drawn to the commotion, nosy neighbours gasped with startled breath upon seeing a rusty hammer beside my body. Instantly, they were all chattering and speculating about my death. Was it an accident? Was foul play involved? Was some sick pervert roaming the streets killing innocent cats? Not at all.
The hammer had bounced off a truck bed some days before I’d been hit by the car and has nothing to do with my death. And really, I wasn’t killed by any single person. It took the whole circumstances of my life to kill me off, one life at a time. Such is a soul’s fate when the world conspires against him.

Janice L. Johnston started writing a daily journal as a teenager and by now has filled too many volumes to count. Her passion for journaling and reading came from her mother and grandmother. Recently taking up creative writing again, she hopes to fulfill a dream to be published. Self-employed as a document specialist, she lives in Ancaster, Ontario.

See Brian Henry’s current schedule here, including writing workshops, retreats and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.