Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Canada Day!



Our spaceman to seranade you this July 1.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

JKG Award wants to give you $2,000 for a story; 87 Bedford and Freefall pay for stories and Five on the Fifth wants contest entries


John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award writing contest ~ $2,000 prize.

For this year, the tenth anniversary of John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award, the organizers asked me to be a judge. Unfotunately, I had to decline, as I know a few of my students will enter the contest and I can’t judge stories I’ll recognize. I do highly recommend this contest, though. It’s grown over the years, but it’s still a small town contest with relatively few entries and a big prize. Here’s the press release…. ~Brian

“The Friends of Dutton-Dunwich are happy to announce their 2016 Writing Contest which is open to any Canadian author. The winners are announced and celebrated at a gala ceremony to honour Dunwich’s son, John Kenneth Galbraith, noted economist, statesman and author. It’s a grand evening of readings, music, good friends and refreshments, and the public is welcome!”
First place: $2,000. Word count limited to 3,000 to 3,500 words. Entry fee: $10.
Deadline: August 15, 2016. Full submission guidelines here.

87 Bedford  is a young literary short story magazine and online curator of creative content. 
Seeking submissions of short fiction, micro/flash fiction, serial fiction, poetry, spoken-word, art 
& photography, and other amalgams of creative media. Prefers stories to have a literary bent but
“that shouldn’t exclude compelling genre-y tales of passion, mystery or the speculative.” No 
submission fees. Pays $10 per short story, $5 for everything else. 
Deadline: ongoing. Full submission guidelines here.
Right now, 87 Bedford invites submissions for their inaugural Short Story Contest. Submit 
short stories 2000-8000 words that are set in a “foreign location.” This setting cannot be within 
the continent where you currently live, and must be integral to the story. First place: $150+; 2nd 
place $50+. $3 will be added to both prizes for every initial entry beyond 20. Entry fee: $10. 
Deadline: August 28, 2016. Full submission guidelines here.
 
Freefall (Alberta) is accepting open submissions for the next issue. Poetry, short story & novel excerpts, nonfiction, writing related or general audience topics, creative nonfiction, plays, and postcard stories. Pays $10 page for fiction and $25 per poem.
Deadline: August 31, 2016.

Five on the Fifth presents its 1st annual Short Fiction Contest! This contest is intended as a way to honor writers for their craft in short fiction. We love a good short story here at Five on the Fifth and want to be able to showcase (and reward) excellent short stories in a big way! There will be 5 winners: 
            1st prize - $150 + publication in the November issue
            2nd prize -$100 + publication in the November issue
            3rd prize - $75 + publication in the November issue
            4th prize - $50 + publication in the November issue
            5th prize - $25 + publication in the November issue
 There is a $6.50 USD submission fee. You may submit multiple times, but the $6.50 USD submission fee is per submission and must be paid for each submission you make. All submission fees go toward the overhead costs of Five on the Fifth and the costs of this contest. 
There are no theme restraints, and genre fiction will be read with open arms. However, your submission should reach a minimum of 1,000 words and not exceed 4,000 words. 
Deadline for submissions is August 31 2016. Full submission guidelines here.


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, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Intermediate Creative Writing class, Wednesday evenings, Sept 14 – Nov 30, in Burlington

Intermediate Creative Writing
10 weeks of creative growth
Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
Course begins by email Sept 14
Classes run Sept 21 – Nov 30 (though we'll extend the course by a week if it fills up).
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)

This course isn't for beginners; it's for people who have been writing for a while or who have done a class or two before and are working on their own projects. Over the length of the course, you’ll be asked to bring in five 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.

Besides critiquing pieces, the instructor will give short lectures at the start of class, addressing the needs of the group, and 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. This is a supportive group and a rewarding class.

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 reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here

Fee: $184.96 plus hst = 209.  
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 full 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, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.


Monday, June 27, 2016

New literary agent Madison Smartt Bell joins Ayesha Pande Literary, seeks authors

Madison Smartt Bell,
Portrait d'un Ecrivain by Guidel Présumé
Ayesha Pande Literary
128 West 132 Street
New York, NY  10027 

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

Ayesha Pande Literary describes itself as “a New York based boutique literary agency with a small and eclectic roster of clients” and prides itself as “especially passionate about discovering and nurturing talented new voices”

Madison Smartt Bell is the newest member of the team and like all new agents, he needs authors. : For most of my thirty years – so far – as a writer who teaches, I have invested a good deal of time in trying to help beginning writers place their manuscripts,” says Madison. “In a few anomalous cases where I could not find an agent for a deserving manuscript I have placed it with an editor myself — then turned the deal over to a full-service agent. More recently it occurred to me that I might accomplish more if instead of operating as agent pro tem and pro bono I simply turned pro."

Madison is the author of twelve novels, including Washington Square Ensemble, Waiting for the End of the World, and All Souls Rising (a National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner finalist, and The Color of Night. He has also published three short story collections, two biographies, and a memoir of travel in Haiti: Soul in the Bottle. With Wyn Cooper, he has released two albums.

Madison was born and raised in Tennessee and has lived in New York, Paris and London. A graduate of Princeton and of the Hollins Callege graduate creative writing program, he has taught in many other writing programs, including Goucher college, the Iowa Writes’ Workshop, and the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars.

Madison is interested in literary fiction, noir, criminal procedurals, works from the Caribbean basin and other diasporas, and anything genuinely original and fresh.

Query Madison at via the agencies query page here: http://pandeliterary.com/queries/

Brian Henry’s summer classes are starting soon:
“Welcome to Creative Writing,” Tuesday afternoons, July 5 – Aug 23, in Burlington (see here)
“Intensive Creative Writing,” begins by email June 29, classes run Wednesday afternoons, July 6 – Aug 24, in Burlington (see here)
“Intensive Creative Writing,” begins by email June 29, classes run Wednesday evenings, July 6 – Aug 24, in Burlington (see here) 
See details of all three classes here
To reserve a spot, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Other upcoming workshops include “Writing a Page-turner,” July 9, in Burlington (see here), “How to Build Your Story,” Saturday, July 16, in Midland (see here), and “Writing and Revising,” Saturday, July 23 in Kitchener (see here).

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).

In the fall, Brian will offer a wide range of classes:
“Writing Kid Lit ~ Picture Books to YA,” Tuesday afternoons, Sept 27 - Nov 22 (no class Oct 11), in Burlington.
 “Intensive Creative Writing,” Wednesday afternoons, Intensive Sept 14 - Dec 14 (no class Oct 12) , in Burlington.
 “Intermediate Creative Writing,” Wednesday evenings, Sept 21 to Nov 30 (no class Oct 12), in Burlington
 “Welcome to Creative Writing,” Thursday afternoons, Sept 29 - Dec 8, in Oakville.
Intermediate Creative Writing,” evenings, Sept 29 - Dec 8, in Georgetown (see here).
To reserve a spot or for more details, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca

On Saturday, October 15, Brian will lead a “How to Get Published” workshop in Burlington with literary agent Cassandra Rodgers of The Rights Factory as his guest speaker, and then on Saturday, November 19, he will lead a “Writing for Children and for Young Adults” workshop in Mississauga with Anne Shone, Senior Editor, Scholastics Canada as his guest speaker.

To register of for more information for any of the above, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Read reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.

See Brian’s full 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.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

"Shame" by Mary Cudney


Shame. I felt it weighing me down, making my life a nightmare. As I tried to cope with the stress of my job and my inner demons, my husband, Ron, was feeling some pain in his side. He figured it was his blood pressure medication. He was diagnosed, finally, with colon cancer that had spread to his liver. “So, sorry, nothing we can do,” they said. Quality of life was all that mattered now.

Why hadn’t I noticed how tired he was, how pale? He was a stoic and kept much to himself. I think those attributes may have killed him.

Occasionally, I found myself closing the door to our bedroom, slipping to the hard wooden floor and weeping silently, so he wouldn’t hear me. Talk about living in the now. I learned how to do that pretty quickly.

I sank lower than Ron, my mood black, but I fought taking anti-depressants because of the stigma attached to them. I prided myself on my intelligence and was ashamed that I was mentally unbalanced, that I couldn’t cope on my own. I cried copiously in the doctor’s office, but I was not about to be like all those others, who were not strong enough to get through the stressful situation they were in without help. Medical help.

No, not me. I’m not that depressed. I can pull myself out of this hole. Not like my mother and three sisters. No, not me. I didn’t need drugs. My brain was just fine, thank you.

Finally, though, I gave in. I said, yes, maybe I do need them for a little while. Just to get over this mountain in my way. How silly I was for not taking them as soon as my husband was diagnosed. It took my doctor six months of gentle persuasion before I agreed. How much easier those six months could have been.

Once I started taking them, it was like I had stepped on a balance scale with me on one side and the depression on the other. Now, no more ups and downs, no crying every day.

There was peace in my life for the first time in over forty years. It wasn’t just the last six months that could have been better; my whole life could have been different – different choices, different paths. If only I had known that I was suffering from depression and that there was something that could have been done about it.

There are a lot of people out there, not talking about depression, just dealing with it the best that they can. I was the worst example. If I admitted to being depressed, I thought people would think less of me. I worried more about what people would say, than my own health. So what if they thought I was weak! Their loss, not mine.

Once I started on the anti-depressants, my life was one hundred times better, even with Ron slowly dying. I could help him by being happier around him. Every morning he would say “It’s a wonderful day,” and I could honestly answer back “Yes, it is,” thinking to myself, Because you’re still here, I can be somewhat happy. Because I take a little white pill, I can cope. 

Now that he’s gone, the drugs help me to cope with the grief.

Search your heart right now, and be honest about it. Has how you see me changed, now that you know I am fighting depression every day of my life? That I am taking medication to ensure I don’t have a breakdown. Do I appear weak to you or deranged or maybe normal, as normal as anyone can be?

I hope that in my lifetime the stigma of mental illness/ mental health changes. I used to suffer from depression. The neurons in my brain did not function normally. They didn’t snap like lighting across the right pathways; the little white pills, the drugs, made that happen.

And perhaps it will happen. There are far worse mental health issues than mine – bipolar, schizophrenia, psychosis – and they’re often made worse by drug and alcohol abuse issues. But still people who suffer from these conditions are beginning to talk about it, including athletes and celebrities.

Mental illness happens. It doesn’t mean God or the universe is punishing us. It’s just nature misfiring. And nature usually holds a cure for its misfires. We just have to expend the energy and the dollars to find it – for every mental illness.

A new campaign said: Speak out. So I am.

Mary Cudney has found that retirement has opened up a whole new world. When she’s not walking her Mary has been telling stories since she could talk. Recently, she’s been taking writing courses and exchanging ideas with fellow authors. “It’s been an awesome experience,” says Mary.

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, 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.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

“Bathing Suit Season,” by Barb Bentham


Oh, joy! It was bathing suit season again. Natalie's favourite time of the year. She’d known it was coming – why hadn't she done anything about it sooner? Somehow it hadn't mattered all that much in the dead of winter.

Ah, she sighed, as visions of eclairs, donuts, hot-fudge sundaes and, the ultimate culprit, greasy fries, wove their insidious, aromatic ways across her senses. Natalie was the consummate yes-man ... yes to second helpings, yes to decadent thick and gooey icing, yes to mostly anything forbidden and sugary.

She'd pretended not to notice it at first, as her jeans started to get a little tighter and her favourite blouses began to shrink in strange places. Finally, there was no mistaking it – the muffin top was rearing its ugly head once again. Winter had a way of minimizing such indiscretions, with heavy coats and sweaters masking a lack of culinary self-control. Eventually though, her big-girl clothes had found their way out of the back of the closet.

“See you next year,” she mumbled to the smaller sizes being shoved in behind.

“What is the matter with me?” she fairly shrieked at her full length bedroom mirror. The mirror, of course, said nothing. Or everything. You don't love yourself, it stated flatly, and dismissed her like so much flabby fluff.

The countdown to cottage opening weekend raced ahead. Natalie was frantic – her sleek girlfriends, with toned abs and perfectly manicured fingernails, would be strutting along the beach once again, to her chubby, chastised chagrin. Why didn't they have this problem? Why was she the only sugar addict in her circle of friends? She imagined her large self tottering along in abject humiliation beside them.

Three weeks remained to lose at least ten pounds. In the last month, she had started and restarted her diet three times, with a cornucopia of sugary delights peppered lavishly between each halfhearted attempt. So far she had lost a grand total of 2.78 pounds.

Natalie sat down, wept a little, and opened up a Mr. Big, conveniently tucked behind a bed pillow. Unconscious nibbling quickly gave way to enthusiastic chomping, and reduced Mr. Big to Mr. Wrapper in no time.

She decided to go online and look at her favourite dating site. Zeroing in on active guys, she quickly located a man who had said he loved to hike. They had been in regular contact over the past while, and for some reason his assurances that the hike he proposed would be safe, placated her nervousness.

She looked forward to meeting him the next afternoon.

Jake, as it turned out, was a retired lawyer. He had lots of time to hike daily, and the financial wherewithal to travel for a good part of the year. But he was looking for someone with no pets. Not only did Natalie have her old and faithful dog, but two healthy and hairy felines as well. That didn’t sit well with Jake.

“We can just be hiking buddies, if you like,” she suggested. “When you find the woman of your dreams, I can fade into the background. In the meantime, would you be interested in hiking on a regular basis?”

“Sounds good,” he said, and so it began.

Natalie started to journal her food consumption each day, with an attempt to keep her indiscretions to a minimum. Due to her athleticism over the years, the hikes were not as onerous as she had feared. She was offered new and exciting vistas previously unknown to her, and all within easy driving distance from home. With the warmer weather and the rough terrain over which they traveled each time they were out, Natalie noticed that she was drinking a lot more water.

It turned out Jake, too, had waged a war on excess weight. Through careful consideration of what he was consuming and a conscious effort to avoid former well-loved foods, he had divested himself of over fifty pounds in the last couple of years. Certainly a great role model for Natalie.

And so it was, that with one day to go before cottage opening, Natalie was down a grand total of eleven pounds! She went to the grocery store and put eleven blocks of butter into the top of her grocery cart. Just to look at it ... and gloat.

The muffin top was now fighting for survival, barely clinging to her new and happily modified hips. The skinny jeans found their way out of the back of the closet and caressed all her curves nicely once again. And she had made a wonderful new friend in Jake.

What a great way to get to know someone, she thought. Not that it hadn't crossed her mind, but there was no pressure to hop into bed. He was a deep and complicated guy, with his own set of frailties to conquer, and with the sex part safely shelved, they had been able to learn wonderful and interesting things about one another. It was all good, as the saying went.

On her way home from their latest hike, Natalie slowed the car as she approached the Tim Horton's. The gooey goodness fairly seeped out the door and into her senses. Then she sped up – not this time, evil goodness! Instead, she pulled into a nearby mall, and found her way to the swimwear department in the Bay. Bathing suit season, at last!
     
Barb Bentham is a semi-retired elementary school teacher, who volunteers in a number of capacities within the Hamilton area. She is a doting grandmother to three wonderful, little girls.


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, 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.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Three great creative writing workshops coming soon

Secrets of Writing a Page-turner
Great techniques for whatever you’re writing
Saturday, July 9, 2016
10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Burlington Central Library, Centennial Room, 2331 New Street, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
Ever stayed up all night reading a book? In this workshop, you’ll learn you how to build that kind of tension.  And we'll help you put into practice the techniques professionals use – on every page and in every kind of story – to create drama and tension.
Fee: 40.71 + 13% hst = 46  in advance or 43.36 + 13% hst = 49 if you wait to pay at the door
To reserve a spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

How to Build Your Story
Plotting novels & Writing short stories
Saturday, July 16, 2016
12:30 – 3:45 p.m.
Midland Public Library, 320 King Street, Midland, Ontario (In cottage country 
 Map here)
This workshop will show you how writers plot a novel and will give you the best tips on writing short stories. We’ll also look at where to get your stories published and how to win contests. Best yet, you’ll see how to apply the story-building techniques you’ve learned to your own writing
Fee: 34.51 + hst = 39 in advance or 37.17 + hst = 42 if you wait to pay at the door
To reserve a spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Writing and Revising
From InkyGirl.com
Saturday, July 23, 2016
1:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Forest Heights Public Library, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener, Ontario (Map 
here)
If you want to refine your story-telling skills and cut the time you will need to spend editing, this workshop is for you. You'll learn how to step back from a manuscript in order to find – and fix – flaws in your plot, structure, characterization and style. You'll learn how to rethink, rework and rewrite so that your manuscript will live up to your vision.
Special Option: Participants are invited to bring the first 500 – 1,000 words of one of their
pieces of writing. You don’t need to bring anything, but if you do, three copies could be helpful.
Fee: 35.51+ 13% hst = 39 paid in advance 37.17 + 13% hst = 43 if you wait to pay at the door
To reserve a spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Workshop leader 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 Saint John. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get published. 
You can read reviews of Brian's courses and workshops here

See Brian’s full 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.