Friday, December 19, 2014

Fabula Press wants short stories for contest, Cactus Heart wants fantastic stories, new journal wants prose and poetry, and Prism International wants poetry & stories for ontests

Note: The address book for my newsletter has decided to stop working, so don't expect a newsletter in your In Box anytime soon. Click on the "Workshop & Course Schedule" button above to see what's happening. And add you email in the "Follow Brian by Email" button off to the right under my bio to be sure you don't miss anything.
Happy holidays!   Brian

Dear Brian,
I am writing to let you know about the  Fabula Press Nivalis Short Story Contest 2015.
Word Limit: 2,500 – 6,000 words
Theme: Nivalis, meaning “winter.”
Three Prizes: First prize:  US$150, publication and 2 copies of the anthology; Second PrizeUS$100, publication and 2 copies of the anthology; Third PrizeUS$100, and publication 
All published authors get a copy of the anthology.
Entry fee: US$10
Submission period: 01 Dec 2014 – 28 Feb 2015
Judges include Clare Wallace (literary agent with Darley Anderson), Joanna Ezekiel (Author), Brett Alan Sanders (Author), Anisha Bhaduri (Award winning Journalist and Author).
Many thanks, and you are doing great work with the listing!
Kind regards,
Anirban Ray Choudhury

Cactus Heart seeks new and original work for a themed issue. Wanted: fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, and reimagined fairy tales. Categories: fiction poetry, nonfiction. 
Deadline: January 10, 2015. Guidelines here

A new quarterly online literary magazine based in the Yukon, One Throne, is accepting poetry, fiction, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction. Deadline: Rolling. Guidelines here


Hi, Brian.
Prism International invites submissions to their short fiction contest and to their poetry contest. 
Short fiction contest: Prizes: $2,000, $300 and $200. Entry fee: $35 for Canadians, $40 for Americans and $45 international. Includes a one-year subscription. Max. word count: 6,000.
Poetry Contest: Prizes: $1,000 grand prize, $300 runner-up, $200 2nd runner-up

Entry fee: $35 Canadian entries; $40 US entries; $45 Int’l entries (up to three poems may be submitted with each entry, each entry includes a one-year subscription or extension)
Additional entry: $5 each poem. 

Deadline for both contests: January 23, 2015. Guidelines here.

Prism also accepts regular submissions. See here.

Clara Kumagai,
Executive Editor, Promotions.

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including one-day writing workshops and weekly writing classes in Barrie, Brampton, Bolton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Stouffville, Sudbury, Toronto, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

“Workshops and classes and writers ~ oh, my!” a review of Brian Henry’s writing workshops and courses by Hannah McKinnon

Writers from Brian's classes gathered to read from their work at one of the regular showcases at CJ's Cafe in Oakville
Crazy to think I attended my first workshop with Brian in October 2013 and my  first weekly class in January 2014, and since then I’ve had seven short stories published, rewritten my novel, finished my first children’s chapter book, and bagged an agent! Brian’s been my angel in disguise.
             It all began on October 5, 2013. And my apologies to Elmore Leonard for beginning with the weather, but when I looked out of the window, I saw rain. Dark skies. More rain. Swirling, ominous black clouds. And did I mention the rain? A miserable Saturday that offered the perfect excuse to stay inside and sit next to the fire with a cup of tea and a good book.
Except that I’d signed up for a How to Get Published workshop in Georgetown, of all places, a good thirty minute drive north. I’d seen the workshop on the Internet, on a blog written by someone called Brian Henry.
Should I go? Actually I debated whether I could be bothered. Told myself it wouldn’t be helpful. Nobody seemed to like my writing (waah-waah). A one-day workshop couldn’t change that. So what if an agent was the guest speaker? It only meant giving another one the opportunity to reject me (*pout*).
Then I figured I’d met my husband on the Internet years ago, and that had worked out. Plus I’d paid for the workshop in advance, so what the hell. I drove off, fully expecting to be home by lunchtime. I wasn’t. In fact I didn’t get home until late afternoon because I enjoyed myself so much. I even hung around after to chat with Brian. Turned out he knew a lot of stuff. Really good stuff. And I was hooked.
In January I took Brian’s weekly Next Step in Creative Writing class in Mississauga. For ten weeks, twelve of us bravely battled our way through the incessant snow storms and polar vortexes. Every Thursday we reviewed two of each other’s pieces of writing. We offered friendly yet constructive feedback on what we saw as the good, the bad and the ugly – then listened intently to Brian’s elegantly spoken comments.
Critiquing my colleagues’ pieces was just as valuable as obtaining input on my own submissions. And to tell the truth, when I brought in my children’s chapter book, I wanted to crawl under the table and not listen to the critiques. But the feedback from the group was good: I should continue, I had something there, the kids would love it.
Brenda Ross from the Mississauga class hanging out with
author Joseph Boyden (on the left) and Bryan Dearsley,
who's just given her an award for winning
the Muskoka Chautauqua short story contest
          I started to think that maybe, just maybe, I had an iota of talent. I dusted off the draft of my debut commercial fiction novel and started looking at it from a different, freshly acquired angle.
With surprising confidence, I plunged into the Intensive Creative Writing class in Burlington, and signed up for both the spring and autumn classes. Each week we looked at different subjects – plot versus story, first person compared to third, and even that elusive creature called omniscient.
Brian upped the ante this time when it came to submitting pieces. As well as studying writing techniques, we all brought three long and three short pieces each over the twelve week course. That’s a ton of scribbles, about 13,000 words per person, in fact.
The class didn’t disappoint. The commitment, level of writing and enthusiasm present in the room each week were astounding. So too were the stories being born – full of love and passion, mystery and murder. There we sat – a group of people with the same passion. No egos, no power struggles, and too many laughs to be able count.
Brian and every single person in the classes gently shaped me into a better writer. Once again, obtaining feedback felt thrilling. I relished the praise, a comforting balm to the bruised amateur writer’s soul.
However, the team didn’t pull any punches (for the love of god, Hannah, don’t use clich├ęs). They firmly told me what was wrong with my pieces (not clear enough, not emotional enough, not steamy enough, more – give us more). And I’m glad. Because lip service is a writer’s nemesis. Along with procrastination, self-doubt and YouTube, of course.
As well as the weekly classes, I attended half a dozen of Brian’s Saturday workshops, from writing for children to building stories, from discovering page-turner secrets to understanding how to find an agent. Each one renewed my passion for the craft, provided me with different perspectives, ideas and even more invaluable feedback. Brian is a master at putting his finger on things you couldn’t quite formulate. He imparts grains of wisdom that flower into fully grown chapters.
You could say that rather a lot has changed since that first workshop in Georgetown. Seven of the eight short stories I’ve written in the last year were published online (damn it, almost a perfect score). Three of the stories actually started as exercises at Brian’s Saturday workshops, and one of them features in a book. A real, proper, printed book.
Late summer, a literary agent at an agency that Brian connected me with deemed my scribbles worthy of representation.
“What?” I muttered with furrowed brow when my wonderful agent said she wanted to represent me. “Really?” (Don’t say this when it happens to you; it sounds really bad.)
Now we’re busy working on the edits of my commercial fiction novel and my children’s chapter book before submitting them to publishers. I’m still in a state of disbelief. Goodness knows what I’ll do if (when!) I get a book deal.
And, yes, I’ve signed up for another Intensive course this winter (snow and polar vortexes be damned). So if you’ve read this far and you’re still wondering whether you should sign up for one of Brian’s weekly classes or a Saturday workshop, let me tell you this: stop wondering. Sign up now and go.
Even if it’s absolutely, positively miserable outside.

Hannah McKinnon, a 40-something British & Swiss national, and more recently a Canadian import, has been telling stories for years – but only recently started writing them down. She runs an electrical contracting business with her husband, dabbles in the art of voice-overs, and writes whenever she can. Hannah’s three boys give her plenty of material for children’s books.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Barrie, Brampton, Bolton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Stouffville, Sudbury, Toronto, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Diana Stager looking for women's erotica for Evernight and YA fiction for Evernight Teen

Note: The address book for my newsletter has decided to stop working, so don't expect a newsletter in your In Box anytime soon. Click on the "Workshop & Course Schedule" button above to see what's happening (or click here). And add your email in the "Follow Brian by Email" button off to the right under my bio to be sure you don't miss any postings on Quick Brown Fox.
Happy holiday!  – Brian

Diana Stager (who some readers will know as a classmate from the Next Step course in Georgetown) has recently signed on as an Acquiring Editor with Evernight Publishing and Evernight Teen and is accepting queries for erotic romance, urban fantasy, and young adult fiction. Diana is also a writer herself and in 2013 published a YA romantic suspense novel, X5.

At the moment, Evernight is only accepting erotic romance with a heat level of 2 or higher. While Evernight will accept all sub-genres of erotic romance, gay, menage, sci-fi, shifters, and motorcycle club romance are all hot right now.

Urban fantasy submissions do not need to have graphic sex scenes and, obviously, YA novels don’t either.

Full submission guidelines for Evernight erotic romance and Evernight fantasy here.
Full submission guidelines for Evernight Teen here.

If you are interested in publishing with Evernight, you may send a query, a synopsis, and the first chapter to Diana at dianastager.editor@gmail.com

See details of the weekly writing classes, from beginners to advanced, starting in the new year here.

See Brian Henry’s full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Barrie, Brampton, Bolton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Stouffville, Sudbury, Toronto, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A review of Brian Henry’s Intensive Creative Writing course by Adrienne Zoe

The Wednesday afternoon Intensive class gets into the holiday spirit

I grew up in Borneo, and really, Ontario is way too cold for me. But every time I contemplate leaving, I think of all the blessings here that I will miss, and Brian’s Intensive Creative Writing course is one of them. 

I first met Brian when I took his one-day memoir writing workshop.  At the time I was writing my childhood stories.  It was my first writing course, and far from being dry and academic, both Brian and his guest speaker made the day fun and entertaining and packed with useful information. I was hooked, and I continued to take more Saturday workshops with Brian.

My goal was to write so that my stories would come alive with my characters jumping off the page and have appeal to a wider audience.  My friends and family who reviewed my work were well-intentioned but they didn’t have the skills to give me the kind of feedback I needed.   I discussed my needs with Brian and decided on taking his Intensive Creative Writing course. 

For over a year now, I have been commuting an hour-plus to keep taking this course in Burlington.  At the beginning of each class, Brian addresses questions and concerns of the participants and opens the floor for sharing news.  Students in this group are active in competitions, publishing articles in magazines and newspapers, pursuing agents, and getting books published, and I get many pointers on how to pursue being a writer.

Whenever I have a question I can't find the answer for, I really appreciate having Brian there to address it and discuss in class.  I have asked him questions such as, “What makes a good first chapter?” and “What makes a good opening paragraph?”  He prepares for the topic, often using our writing as examples so his teaching has direct impact.

The rest of class time is used for feedback.  This crowd of passionate writers gives great feedback – imaginative, insightful and constructive.  This has been key to improving my writing and moving it along. I have also learned to critique other people’s work.  And along the way, an unexpected thing happened.   By the time I had taken the course twice, I had gained confidence as a writer – confidence I would not have gained so fast, or at all, had I continued writing on my own. 

Many students take the course over and over again while working on their novels or short pieces, even those who are already published authors.  I have come to understand why they keep returning, me included.  This group is set apart from other writers’ groups because it has Brian, a writing instructor and live editor, providing invaluable support and guidance.  

Taking this course, is the best thing I’ve done for my writing – for the instruction, the support and the friends I’ve made.

Adrienne Zoe is a stay-at-home mom and is writing her childhood memoir of growing up in Borneo.  Much to her delight, the biggest fan of her stories is her youngest son, eleven years old.   She is also a gifted photographer and looks forward to one day combining photography and her writing.

Note: Brian Henry has an “Intensive Creative Writing” class starting in the new year on Wednesday afternoons in Burlington (see here). And he’s leading a similar course, "The Next Step in Creative Writing" in three locations: on Wednesday evenings in Burlington (see here),  Thursday afternoons in Mississauga (here) and Thursday evenings in Georgetown (here). 

Read reviews of the Next Sept course here, and Brian’s beginner’s class, “Welcome to Creative Writing,” here.

See details of all six classes, from beginner to writing personal stories, to advanced, starting in the new year here.

See Brian’s full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Barrie, Brampton, Bolton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Stouffville, Sudbury, Toronto, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Kimberly Brower joins Rebecca Friedman Literary agency, seeks new authors of commercial and literary fiction, especially women’s fiction & romance, plus new adult and young adult

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor,
represented by the Rebecca Friedman Agency
Note: The address book for my newsletter has decided to stop working, so don't expect a newsletter in your In Box anytime soon. Click on the "Workshop & Course Schedule" button above to see what's happening (or click here). And add your email in the "Follow Brian by Email" button off to the right under my bio to be sure you don't miss any postings on Quick Brown Fox.
Happy holidays!  – Brian

Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency
Greater Los Angeles area
California

Rebecca Friedman (formerly of Sterling Lord Literistic and Sanford Greenburger) started this agency just last year. As a new agency, Friedman Literary is actively building up its client list.  

Kimberly Brower is the newest member of the team. Reading has always been her passion, even while pursuing her business degree at California State University, Northridge and law degree at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. By joining the Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency in 2014, she has been able to merge her legal background with her love of books.

Although she loves all things romance, she is also searching for books that are different and will surprise her, with empathetic characters and compelling stories. Kimberly is interested in both commercial and literary fiction, with an emphasis in women’s fiction, contemporary romance, mysteries/thrillers, new adult and young adult, as well as certain areas of non-fiction, including business, diet and fitness.

Query Kimberly at: Kimberly@rfliterary.com
Paste the first chapter (maximum 15 double-space pages) into the email. No attachments.

Rachel Marks is also looking for authors. Rachel describes herself as “animal lover, Disney obsessed, a very avid reader, child at heart, nerd and all round happy person.” As the owner of Mark My Words, she has worked as a publicist for authors for the past three years. 

Rachel represents young adult, fantasy, science fiction, new adult and romance. 

Query Rachel at: Rachel@rfliterary.com
Paste the first chapter (maximum 15 double-space pages) into the email. No attachments.

Rebecca Friedman, the founder of the agency is interested in commercial and literary fiction with a focus on literary novels of suspense, women’s fiction, contemporary romance, and young adult, as well as journalistic nonfiction and memoir. “Most of all," she says, "we are looking for great stories told in strong voices.”

Query Rebecca at: Abby@rfliterary.com
Rebecca’s direct email is: rebecca@rfliterary.com
Paste the first chapter (maximum 15 double-space pages) into the email. No attachments.

Brian Henry will lead a "How to Get Published" workshop in Niagara on the Lake on Saturday, March 7, with literary agent Olga Filina of The Rights Factory (see here). 

Anne Shone
Also, Brian will lead a “Writing for Children & for Young Adults” workshop with Anne Shone, Senior Editor at Scholastic Canada, on Saturday, May 2, in Oakville (see here). 

Note: For more information or to register for any workshop or course, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Other upcoming workshops, include: Secrets of Writing a Page-turner,” Saturday, Jan 17, in Toronto (see here), "How to Write Great Dialogue," Saturday, Jan 24, in Georgetown (here), and “Revising and Editing,” Saturday, Jan 31 in Oakville (here).

Weekly courses: Whether you're looking for an introduction to creative writing or you're getting your manuscript ready to submit to an agent, your best bet is a weekly course. Starting in the new year, Brian will be offering classes for beginners through advanced writers. See details for all six courses here.

For details of “Welcome to Creative Writing” on Tuesday afternoons in Burlington see here, for “Writing Your Life & Other Personal Stories” on Tuesday mornings in Oakville see here, for “The Next Step in Creative Writing” on Wednesday evenings in Burlington see here, on Thursday afternoons in Mississauga see here, and on Thursday evenings in Georgetown see here, and for “Intensive Creative Writing” on Wednesday afternoons in Burlington here.

For details of any course or workshop or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See Brian’s full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Barrie, Brampton, Bolton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Stouffville, Sudbury, Toronto, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

“Rest in peace, my beloved PC,” a true story by Lori Edey

Note: The address book for my newsletter has decided to stop working, so don't expect a newsletter in your In Box anytime soon. Click on the "Workshop & Course Schedule" button above to see what's happening (or click here). And add you email in the "Follow Brian by Email" button off to the right under my bio to be sure you don't miss any postings on Quick Brown Fox.
Happy holidays!  – Brian


“It’s just like Christmas morning!” declared the geeky guy in the Apple Store as he began to unpack the MacBook Air I’d just purchased.

My lip was quivering and tears began to roll down my cheeks.  “No it isn’t,” I spat at him.  “It’s good Friday. Crucifixion day!” 

I was quite resistant to move from my old PC to the Almighty Mac, despite the sense it made to do so.  No more anti-virus software, no more guilt about forgetting to backup files (Macs do it automatically onto a cloud), and no more fuss trying to trade files with my daughter Cathy (she fell into the arms of Mac long ago). Plus of course, Macs have the reputation of being better for creative pursuits, and I’m always intending to engage in more creative pursuits.

Luckily for the geeky sales guy and me, we weren’t alone.  Dear calm Cathy, who could clearly understand both the Christmas morning and Good Friday perspectives on this purchase, became the instant bridge.  She grabbed the attention of the horrified salesperson, trying to give me enough privacy to gather my polite self enough to rejoin consumer heaven.  

With a bit of uncertainty, the sales geek turned his full attention to Cathy, his back to me, and proceeded to rave about the wonderful features of the MacBook Air, woefully unaware that Cathy has already owned one for a couple of years.

My tears subsided, but my decorum had some distance to travel.  Cathy turned to me, asking the young man to pause for a moment.  “Do you want to wait on a bench in the mall?”

Grateful, I left her my credit card and jumped at the chance.  “Call me when I have to sign,” I chirped and abruptly left the store. 

I’ve always struggled with computers.  When I was a teacher, my classroom was the recipient of the first computer in the school.  The father of one of my students died quite suddenly.  Instead of a tombstone, the student’s mother decided to use the money to buy computers for her two children’s classrooms.  Mine was one of them.  

If that’s not pressure to learn how to use it, I don’t know what is.  The children did better than I did learning how to use it – foreshadowing the future.

Years later when I had my own PC, I took several courses, trying to learn how to use it, but dropped out of most of them in frustration. Finally, a good friend decided he would teach me for a bottle of single malt scotch.

“I know how you learn!”  Bob declared.  “I’m sure I can teach you!”

My education began by him moving the gigantic machine into my dining room. 
“For the first week, just talk to it at least once a day.  If you can do it more than once a day, it will speed up the learning process,” he explained.  “Don’t touch it.  Just talk to it.”

And so I did.  Within a month, he had me emailing friends near and far.    He did know how I learn!  Nothing could motivate me more than this magical means of keeping in touch with my friends and family. My learning grew from there.  He earned his bottle of scotch.

Now, I my computer is an object with great personal significance to me.  It connects me with friends and family on a regular basis.  It holds memories through my many photographs of people and places – photographs not only filed by event and chronology, but also arranged so that they appear randomly as a screen saver.  Every day I take a few moments to gaze at these photos and my heart fills with gratitude at the rich and abundant life I’ve been privileged to lead.

But my relationship with the MacBook Air was hard won.

The funniest part of all?  My first degree is in math and computer science!

Lori Edey has worn a variety of hats:  cook, teacher, minister, counsellor/therapist among them.  The last several years, she’s been playing “dress up” with that of writer, trying not to take herself or her writing too seriously.  A convert to cats, she lives a “pussy-whipped” existence with her partner and beloved felines in Dundas.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Barrie, Brampton, Bolton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Stouffville, Sudbury, Toronto, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.