Monday, November 30, 2015

Writing Your Life & Other True Stories workshop, Saturday, Dec 5, in Burlington

Image from MEMYSELFANDELA
Writing your life and other true stories
Saturday, December 5, 2015
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Burlington Central Library, Centennial Room
2331 New St, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)

Have you ever considered writing your memoirs or family history? This workshop will introduce you to the tricks and conventions of telling true stories and will show you how to use the techniques of the novel to recount actual events. Whether you want to write for your family or for a wider public, don't miss this workshop.

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 Charlottetown. Along with Cecilia-Anca Popescu, Brian is the co-author of Bloody Christmas, a memoir of love and revolution, which is currently under consideration with a literary agent. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get published, including our guest speaker, Ross Pennie….

Ross Pennie is the author of The Unforgiving Tides, a doctor’s memoir of Papua New Guinea (Manor House Publishing). Ross also writes medical mystery novels, published by ECW Press. The first of these, Tainted, came out in 2010 and won Arts Hamilton Literary Award for Fiction.  Ross’s second mystery, Tampered, came out in 2011, and the third Up in Smoke came out October 16. (Ross's mysteries are available for sale here). 

At the workshop, Ross will speak on how to turn ordinary life into dramatic material and will answer questions about how he wrote his memoir and got it published.

Fee: 40.71+ 13% hst = 46 paid 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

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. ~ Brian

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Barrie, Bracebridge, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, 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.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Bell by Gord Dupuis


I wasn’t going to cry. Guys don’t cry. Crying is for babies and the insincere. They both make a show of their distress, their grief, and then look around to see who’s watching. Such was the case at my grandfather’s funeral service.

The funeral was, in the eyes of this newly-graduated cynic, a celebration of insincerity and wishful thinking. The predictable utterances – “He was a good man,”  “He’s in a better place” - the hugs and the sniffles and the Kleenexes, sketched a tableau on the front steps of that church, one that I wasn’t buying. They were all actors, playing the roles of those who either didn’t want to be there or were there to be seen.

I was among the former. I most definitely did not want to be there. I wanted to miss my grandfather in my own way, in private somewhere, maybe sitting in his favourite chair at his place, just me and him, sipping a splash from his Johnny Walker Red. None of this public spectacle bullshit.

Yet, I persevered.

I was carried by duty and the river of mourners into the church, marvelling, vaguely, at the size of the turnout. Settling in the pews among the familiar faces of family and close friends were strangers, quite a few of them in fact, impostors who had crawled out of various obscure corners of Grampa’s life to claim kinship with the man who was my grandfather.

 I am the one who grew up with him. He bought me ice cream in Dixie cups with wooden spoons. He brought home, in his coat pocket one evening, a tiny black spaniel. I spent many Sunday afternoons fishing pickerel with this man, and many a Christmas dinner listening to his tales of the “early days” while we finished yet another massive turkey supper.

How dare these alien faces presume to have any connection to him? And yet, here they were.
And there at the front, hovering just above and behind the coffin, was the priest, welcoming us all to this charade.  What a load of crap he delivered unto us. Platitudes and wishful thinking, the hallmarks, I guess, of any church. Our merciful Father had called him home, where he was now free of the pain he had suffered here.  

If he were, indeed, a loving god, why had he allowed the suffering in the first place? (We had discussed all this business in university, so I knew the questions to ask.) If God had wanted him home with him, why had he waited so long? Why had he not said, “Charlie, let’s skip the pain part, and get your sorry ass on up here”? In fact, why didn’t the Creator keep all of us freshly-baked creations with him up there in his celestial kitchen? Why would this Platonic ideal of kindness send us down to this hellhole at all? 

Sounded more like a sadistic perversion to me. And yet all the idiots in this building were bobbing their heads in agreement. 
Unbelievable. How could so many intelligent adults be so deluded? God is a myth, people, a comforting fairy tale based on contradictions. Grampa, who surely was in the best position now to reveal the truth, must be laughing at us inside that box up there.

But now it was time to give Him thanks for taking Grampa from us, and that we should all look forward to seeing him again when it was our allotted time to suffer and die.

I almost didn’t last. But just before I could leap up in righteous indignation and march out of the church, two curious things occurred. First, I could hear through the double oak doors, the rumbling of a diesel engine. Second, six uniformed firemen took their places beside the coffin, and began the meticulous job of folding and tucking the Canadian flag that they had draped over the coffin. Well, THAT was cool. Grampa had been a fireman for over forty

All of us rose as the six men rolled their comrade down the aisle and past me. Not one of those men, stern and solemn as they were, had a dry eye. That’s when I could feel the first hint of moisture in mine.

The priest asked us to remain seated for another moment while the men made some last preparations, including donning their heavy winter coats. It had started to snow and snow hard. Somehow fitting for the occasion, and fitting for the city. Timmins always had a lot of snow, and Grampa had shovelled his fair share of it.

When we emerged from the church, a fire truck sat idling in the street below us. Resting in the back of that ladder truck on a raised platform was Grampa’s flag-draped coffin, beginning to blur in the increasingly heavy snowfall, and the increasing moisture in mine.

The truck pulled ahead a few metres to allow the cars with the “Funeral” signs and the headlights to fall into place behind it, which we did. The procession wound its way through the downtown and, despite the cold and snow, people bustling home with their parcels stopped for a moment to watch the truck go by.

It was when we turned onto Spruce Street that I realized where we were going next. Sure enough, looming ahead on the right was the fire hall, its flag at half-mast. And standing at attention in front of the hall, barely visible in the driving snow, were two of Grampa’s comrades in heavy winter uniform. As the truck drew even with those men, they snapped a smart salute, and one of them struck a bell that stood on a pedestal between them. Three times the bell sounded.
That’s when I lost it. Gone was the vow of stoic silence. I snuffled and heaved like a child as I tried to contain my sorrow. But there it was.

This was pre-911, and I hadn’t realized then that firemen – they weren’t called fire fighters or first responders yet - were honoured in this way. I was so proud of him, and grateful to those strangers who had come to pay their respects.

I wasn’t suddenly cured of my cynicism, nor did I see visions of my grandfather, in uniform, disappearing into the snow storm. In fact, those who found occasion to laugh aloud with each other at the reception afterward offended me to no end. But I did learn that I wasn’t the tragic hero in this play. Others loved him too.

Gord Dupuis is an English teacher who had always promised himself he’d write, but had never quite got around to it. Now, in his retirement, he is finally fulfilling that promise.


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

Friday, November 27, 2015

New book: Targeted by Donna Warner & Gloria Ferris

Hi, Brian.
Wanted to share the good news with you that my debut novella, Targeted, co-authored by award winning author, Gloria Ferris has just been released by Black Opal Books  Targeted is set on Roatan Island, Honduras, (hence the cover illustration).

We have attended many of your workshops over the years and have always taken away tips that have proved helpful to us in our writing projects.

Regards,
Donna J. Warner

You can buy Targeted on-line here.

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Poetry & Business pays for poems & essays, Visages wants prose and poetry, Hourglass wants stories, essays and poems for contest, and Room doesn't want men

Poetry and Business seeks submissions for its inaugural issue. Looking for verse that considers the metaphors available for purchase in the world of commerce, from the perspective of consumers, marketers, and workers. Essays about the craft or philosophy of writing poetry about the commercial sphere will also be considered. Pays $20.16 for each accepted poem or essay.
Deadline: December 31, 2015. Guidelines here.  

Visages Magazine invites submissions of flash fiction and nonfiction, short stories (up to 5,000 words) and poetry. Seeks work that admires the less seen aspects of the world we live in. No reading/submission fees.
Deadline: Ongoing. Guidelines here.

Room Magazine seeks submissions for issue 39.3, “Canadian Gothic.” From grim realism to the supernatural, writers are invited to explore manifestations of the gothic genre in Canadian literature and art. Seeking fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and art. Submission fee. Payment: $50-$120 upon publication. Room publishes original work by women, including trans persons, gender-variant and two-spirit women, and women of non-binary sexual orientations. Men are not welcome.
Deadline: January 31, 2016. Guidelines here.

Dear Brian,
I am writing to you on behalf of board members of Hourglass Literary Magazine.
We have just announced a literary competition (Hourglass Literary Contest). We are inviting you to participate. Our “early deadline” ends December 31, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. (US Central time). 
Since our project is of international significance, and due to immense support from our donors, sponsors and partners (local: Banjaluka College, ELTA TV; USA: Literature and Latte, Submittable) – we are providing prize money – $5000 – for winners and finalists in three categories: Best Essay, Best Short Story, Best Poem; Special Jury Award (3 x $500) and Scrivener Award for notable works.
“Early deadline” entry fee per paper: $8 US or for $15 you can submit up to three works.
The only exception is Best Poem category – for $8 US you are allowed to submit up to three poems.
Full guidelines here.
Yours sincerely,
Biljana Rosic
project coordinator and French/BCMS translator   

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. ~ Brian

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Writing With Style workshop, Saturday, March 12, in Oakville

The Oakville Public Library presents …
Writing with Style
Saturday, March 12, 2016
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Oakville Central Library, 120 Navy Street, Oakville, Ontario (All-day parking is around the back of the library and then up the hill a bit on Water Street, across from the Canoe Club. Map here.)

If you do any kind of creative writing, fiction or nonfiction, this workshop is for you. We’ll tackle the nitty-gritty of putting words on paper in a way that will grip the reader’s imagination. You'll learn how to avoid common errors that drain the life from your prose. And you'll discover how to make your writing more vivid, more elegant and more powerful.

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.

Fee: 40.71+ 13% hst = 46 paid in advance
or 43.36 + 13% hst = 
49  at the door
Discount for high school students:
37.17+ 13% hst = 42 paid in advance 
or 39.82 + 13% hst = 45 at the door

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

Read reviews of Brian's weekly classes and Saturday workshops 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, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Canadian literary agent Rick Broadhead seeks nonfiction

Rick Broadhead
Rick Broadhead & Associates
47 St. Clair Avenue West
Suite 501
Toronto, Ontario
M4V 3A5

Rick Broadhead & Associates was established in 2002. It’s one-man agency specializing in nonfiction. The agency’s founder, Rick Broadhead, is an author himself, most recently of Dear Valued Customer: You are a loser. The agency's clients include accomplished journalists, historians, scholars, physicians, television personalities, bloggers, creators of popular Web sites, successful business executives, and experts in their respective fields.

“I am always interested in seeing non-fiction proposals from prospective clients,” says Rick, “especially in the following subject categories: history, politics, business, natural history/environment, national security/intelligence, current affairs, biography, science, pop culture, pop science, relationships, self-help, health, medicine, military history, and humor.

“I am not accepting screenplays, poetry, children’s books, or fiction at the present time.”

Full submission guidelines here.

Martha Webb
Brian Henry will lead How to Get Published workshops on Saturday, Feb 20, in Kitchener, with literary agent Olga Filina of The Rights Factory (see here) and on Saturday, Feb 27, in Brampton with Martha Webb of the McDermid Agency (see here).

Other upcoming workshops include  How to Make Yourself Write Saturday, Nov 28, in Mississauga (see here),  Writing Your Life, Saturday, Dec 5, in Burlington (see  here), and How to Build Your Story, Saturday, Jan 16, in Georgetown (see here), and Saturday, Jan 30 in Toronto (see here).

For more information or to register, 

But the best way to grow as a writer or to get your manuscript ready for publication may be with a weekly class. Starting in the new year, Brian will be offering a full range of courses for both beginning to experienced writers (details of all five classes here) ...
Welcome to Creative Writing, Thursday afternoons, Jan 28 – March 31, (no class March 17), in Burlington. (See details of this class here.)
Writing Personal Stories, Tuesday afternoons, Feb 2 – March 29, (no class March 15) in Burlington (see here.)
The Next Step in Creative Writing, Wednesday evenings, Jan 20 – March 30 (no class March 16), in Burlington (see here)
Intermediate Creative Writing, Thurs evenings, Jan 21 – March 31, (no class March 17), in Georgetown (see here)
Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday afternoons, Jan 20 – March 9  (For details, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca) 
See details of all five classes here.
Read reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.
To register or for more information, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

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

Monday, November 23, 2015

How to Make Yourself Write workshop, Saturday, Nov 28, in Mississauga

How to Make Yourself Write
A creativity workout
Saturday, November 28, 2015
10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Unity Church, Unit 8, 3075 Ridgeway Drive, Mississauga, Ontario (Map here.)

Let's get motivated! This workshop is designed to help you find the time and the inspiration to write. No more staring at a blank screen. Come to this workshop and learn the five keys to beating procrastination. Then give yourself a kick-start and discover how to keep going. This creativity workout will get your words flowing and help you make the breakthrough into the next level of writing.

Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing teacher for more than 25 years. He 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 their first book published.

Fee: 40.71+ 13% hst = 46 paid in advance by mail or Interac
or 43.36 + 13% hst = 
49 if you wait to pay at the door

For goodness sake, don’t procrastinate! Reserve a 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. ~ Brian

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