Sunday, January 31, 2016

New book: Keeping It Up: A Guy’s Guide to Great Relationship Sex by Cat Skinner

Hello, Brian!
Happy New Year. I hope your 2016 is off to a lovely start.
I wanted to share the exciting news of my upcoming book launch with you! Here's a link to the Kindle version here. There will also be a print version and audio book available.
Also, I've re-branded and re-launched my blog. You can find it here.
Warmly,
Cat Skinner
Keeping It Up: A Guy’s Guide to Great Relationship Sex
Yay, Cat!
Keeping It Up is an insider’s guide to what women really want in the bedroom and how they think and feel about sex. This light and easy book will help set the stage for acting out your wildest fantasies, for having the conversations that are difficult to have, and for a lifetime of amazing sexual encounters with the woman you love.
And the paperback version is now available here.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Alton, 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, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

“The Best – Gym – Ever!” by Lori Edey


You have to understand a few things about me before you can really appreciate this story.  If you picture me as an award -winning basketball player in high school or even one who played a bit in university, but had to quit to focus more on my studies, you’d be wrong.  If you picture me as a grade school baseball player enthusiastically cheering the team to its big win, you’d be wrong.  If you picture me riding a bike or even bowling a spare at a five-pin bowling alley at any time in my life, you’d be wrong. 

You might begin to get the picture if you saw me sobbing in 1967 when everyone was supposed to do those darned Participation exercises to get at least a red badge for participating.  I stayed home the day they gave out the badges. 

You might begin to get the picture if you imagined me hiding behind the piano in the gym when it was time to jump over that horse in grade seven.  If I got caught, I’d simply say, “I’ve had my turn.” 

You’d really begin to get my number when I confess that I was the one who lied about my background to get my first teaching job in lean times, and ended up being assigned to half time Junior Phys Ed.  We did a lot of health and folk dancing that year. 

I am one who carried my body around for many years, resenting that my intermittent, begrudging efforts at that nasty thing called exercise didn’t give me hip bones that stuck out – ever!  

Nor did it give me a waist that went in.  Or a size where my hips and my breasts matched.  In fact, I always believed if the rest of my body matched my bust size, I’d be pretty well perfect.

So understanding these things about me, you can begin to imagine my inner turmoil as I lied about my age to get into the SIM Gym (Seniors In Motion). 

It wasn’t the lying that horrified me, as I’d had much practice in that department about “things exercise” throughout my life.  (For the record, I don’t have to lie anymore.  I’m well in the over fifty-five range now. )

Much has been written about my first time there, my discovery of the meaning of “rows”, “reps” and other gym-jargon, and the shame with which I realize I need to put stickers on the calendar not just for ninety days like most change theories suggest, but to this day.

After seven years, I continue to be motivated by the sight of even the cheapest sticker.  I race to the calendar as soon as I get home, put on my sticker and gloat – even before turning on the coffee pot or showering.  If I’m in town, I rarely miss – dutifully attending two strength-training sessions a week and often two or three aqua fit sessions, too.

Given my shady background, you can guess that my transformation hasn’t come by falling in love with physical activity.  Although I can claim that I am slightly less grossed out than I used to be at the sensation of sweating.

It’s all about the people.  I am the youngest in the class, the least fit, and the special needs child, having to adapt every one of the circuit stations, especially since I tore my meniscus and a few other bits of my knee a couple of years back. 

My classmates cheer me on especially when I’m about to burst into tears and run out of the room. (Yes, I admit, it still happens but not as many times as in the first five years.)  They talk to me about other things, reminding me I have a brain and expertise in other parts of my life.  I am more than the vision of my weakest parts.

But the greatest of all are the trainers!  Not once, but twice, they’ve made surprise sessions that have thrilled and delighted us and made me feel oh, so special.

The first was on my birthday a couple of years ago.  Grudgingly, I went to my Strength Training Class because you know it’s a good thing to do for yourself – working out on your birthday.  So I’m told. 

When I arrived I was greeted with a crown to put on because it was a Princess Party!  One other woman’s birthday was close to mine and each of us was given special wands to begin the relay.   After completing each exercise, the wand was passed to the next in our team until every muscle group was worked and the singing of the wand had been enjoyed to the fullest. 

Next came a big box held high over each of our heads.  As we chose a plastic bag full of goodies from the box we read out the body part that was to be worked with our turn.  Mine was triceps, so I led the group through my favourite triceps exercise and was thereby allowed to keep my baggie full of candy necklace, fun bubbles, a ring pop and a chocolate golden coin.  

We had intervals between which we were to squat while putting together a jigsaw puzzle of an ugly frog – reminding us of the many kisses required to find our handsome prince.

After much laughter and a pretty good workout, we moved out of the gym studio to find a table bedecked with a princess tablecloth, matching napkins and plates.  Beautiful homemade treats were nibbled as we chatted and sipped coffee.   One of the trainers had even made star-shaped sugar cookies mounted on wands ready-wrapped to take home.

I know those trainers enough to understand that they had great fun planning and preparing the Surprise Princess Party for us, but words could not express the gratitude so many of us felt at their efforts, but we tried:

“I can’t remember when I’ve laughed so hard!” 

“I’ve never been to such an amazing birthday party!”

“I can’t believe the work they did to get all this ready for us!”

And you’ll never guess what happened the last Thursday before my wedding!  They planned another special day - wedding-themed – complete with special bouquets for me and another woman who was to be mother-of-the-groom two weeks later.  We’re gob smacked.  It truly is the best gym ever!


Lori Edey loves to embrace the role of Princess whenever she can.  Being humbled by real life, three felines, and her struggles at the gym, the opportunities are few and far between. 


See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Alton, 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, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Friday, January 29, 2016

How to Write Great Characters workshop, Saturday, May 14, in Toronto

How to Write Great Characters   
Saturday, May 14, 2016
10:15 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Glenview Presbyterian Church, Bethlehem Room, 1 Glenview Ave, Toronto (At Yonge St and Glengrove Ave W, 3 blocks from the Lawrence Ave subway stop. Map here)

Whatever you're writing ~ fiction or nonfiction ~ readers will care about your story only if they care about your people. In this workshop, you'll learn techniques for creating fictional characters and depicting real people. You’ll learn how to breathe life into the page so that your characters start telling you how the story should go.

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 their first book published and launch their careers as authors.

What past participants say:

Hi, Brian.
I just wanted to thank you for the “Writing Great Characters” workshop on Saturday.  I have been stalled in my writing, and I realized at the workshop it was because I didn't have a clear picture of my character's personality and motives.  Your exercises and handouts have inspired me and I'm happy to say I spent the rest of the weekend writing.  Writer's block conquered (for now, ha)!
Looking forward to all the upcoming workshops.
Marina Unger

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

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Alton, 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, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Two new books: Zest Your Life by Linda Babulic and The Healing Frequency by Julio Consiglio

Hi, Brian.
Happy Zesty New Year.
I did it. I’ve published Zest Your Life: A Taste of Inner Wisdom with Motivational Press. It’s available from Amazon here.
SuccZESTfully yours,
Linda Babulic
One of the Top 25 People in the Capital 2015 Ottawa Life Magazine
ZEST Expert, Speaker & Author of the International Bestseller: ZEST Your Life - A Taste of Inner Wisdom, from Morivational Press

Hi, Brian.
Seasons greetings! I'm happy to announce that my spiritual nonfiction book The Healing Frequency: Transform your Life through the Wisdom, Power and Clarity of Inner Stillness was released on January 5 through Limitless Publishing.
Best,
Jiulio Consiglio
To read  more about The Healing Frequency or to order a copy, see here.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Alton, 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, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Toronto Star free contest, $8,000 in prizes; Free humorous poetry contest; Love poems wanted; NB writers invited: and Spadina Review wants your writing

Toronto Star free Short Story Contest
$8,000 in prizes. No entry fee. Maximum 2,500 words
Three prizes will be awarded:
First Prize: $5,000, plus the tuition fee for The Humber School for Writers 2016 Correspondence Program in Creative Writing. Approximate retail value: $3,000.
Second Prize: $2,000.
Third Prize: $1,000.
Deadline: 5:00 p.m., Monday, February 29, 2016. Full contest rules here.

Dear Brian,
Love is strange, love is beautiful, love is dangerous...
I'm one of the editors of a new literary website called Don't Talk to Me About Love. I'm sending this letter to you personally in the hopes that you will peruse our site and spread the word to fellow writers and friends about our debut contest, offering $1,000.00 each in fiction, non-fiction and poetry for pieces about love. (Note that the contest deadline is Valentine’s Day!)
Best Regards,
SamHiyate
P.S. If you enjoy the site, please subscribe to the website. (It's free.) You can also like us on Facebook or tweet about us. Happy New Year!
Note: Winning entries also receive a critique from The Rights Factory and both winners and honorable mentions will be published on Don’t Talk to Me About Love. Entry fee is $20. Full contest details here.
Don’t Talk to Me About Love also accepts regular submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and artwork and pays $50, but there is a $3 admin fee for submissions. Full details here.

Hello, Brian.
Might you list the Spadina Literary Review, our online mag which has been publishing since 2011?
Here are our details:
The Spadina Literary Review is published three times yearly, online only. We are interested in short fiction and short non-fiction (500 – 3,500 words), as well as reviews of nonfiction books. We are interested in Toronto-based civic issues. We run one or two poems each issue. No payment at this time. We’re always open for material. Submit by email to: spadlit@gmail.com
Thanks for taking the time, and thanks for any help you can give.
Ian Allaby
Editor-publisher

Writers' Federation of New Brunswick annual Writing Competition
Details: The competition awards $2,600 in cash prizes. It is open to all New Brunswick residents and members of the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick.
The prize purse includes the David Adams Richards Prize, awarded for a collection of short stories, a novella, or a substantial part of a longer novel.
The Writing Competition recognizes outstanding work in other genres through the Douglas Kyle Memorial Prize for short fiction, the Alfred G. Bailey Prize for poetry manuscripts, the Dawn Watson Memorial Prize for a single poem, and the Fog Lit Books for Young People Prize.
The Federation also offers prizes in creative non-fiction categories. Writers of ages 13 to 18 can enter their poems or stories into the Sheree Fitch Prize category for teen writers.
Entry fee is $35.
Entries must be postmarked by February 29, 2016.  Contest guidelines and entry details here.

Entries are invited for the 15th annual free Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest 
This contest welcomes published and unpublished work. Your poem may have up to 250 lines.
Deadline: April 1.
$2,250 in prizes, including a top prize of $1,000. There is no submission fee.
Submissions here.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Alton, 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, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Next Step in Creative Writing course, Wednesday evenings, April 13 – June 15, in Burlington

The Next Step in Creative Writing
10 weeks of creative growth
Wednesday evenings, April 13 – June 15
Appleby United Church,  4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario. (Map here.)

The Next Step in Creative Writing will challenge you to take a step up in your writing. Over the ten weeks of classes, 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. In addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that your greatest growth as a writer comes from critiquing other people’s work and form 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.

Check out two reviews of the Next Step course hereAnd see more reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.

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 Saint John. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get their first book published and launch their careers as authors. 

Fee: 176.11 + 13% hst = 199.  
To reserve your spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See details of all six classes starting this spring here.

See Brian’s full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Alton, 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, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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

Monday, January 25, 2016

Former Penguin senior editor Barbara Berson joins Helen Heller Literary Agency seeks literary and YA fiction and narrative nonfiction; two other agents at HH also seek new authors

The Helen Heller Agency
253 Eglinton Ave W. Suite 202 
Toronto, ON  M4R 1B1
http://www.helenhelleragency.com/

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

The Helen Heller Agency describes itself as a full service boutique literary agency specializing in internationally successful front-list adult and young adult fiction and non-fiction, with clients at the top of the New York Times and London Sunday Times lists. As a boutique agency, we are proud to be able to maintain strong relationships and work closely with our authors at all stages of the publishing process. You can follow the agency on Twitter @TheHHAgency

Barbara Berson has been an editor for the past 30 years, first in her native New York, then in Toronto, where she was most recently a senior editor with Penguin Canada, one of Canada’s premier general publishers. Barbara has worked with both established and emerging authors of literary fiction, nonfiction, and young adult books. Her authors have been the recipients of numerous prizes, including the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award.

“I’m looking for literary and YA fiction, as well as narrative non-fiction,” says Barbara. “What I mean by literary fiction is a great story, excellently told. My taste has always been somewhat eclectic, but defined consistently by strong writing, authentic characters, thematic ambition, and a deep engagement, even inventiveness in story form and in story itself.  The brilliant writer Zsuszi Gartner said something that stayed with me, to the effect that how one tells the story becomes the story itself.

“I’m keen as well on YA fiction – dark, funny, energetic, compelling, and narrative non-fiction too.”

Query Barbara at: info@helenhelleragency.com
Put it to Barbara’s attention and include a short sample of your work. No attachments.

Note: Barbara will be one of three panelists at the From the Horse's Mouth ~ Strategies for Getting Published on Saturday, June 18, with Barbara Berson of Helen Heller Agency, Michael Mirolla, publisher Guernica Editions and Bhavna Chauhan, editor, Penguin Random House Canada, at Ryerson University in Toronto. (Details here.)

The two other agents at the agency are also accepting new authors: agency founder Helen Heller and her daughter Sarah Heller, who specializes in establishing new authors…

Helen Heller has spent her career in publishing and specializes in thrillers and major front-list fiction. She likes a big story well told and handles a number of internationally bestselling and multiple-award-winning authors. 

One of Helen’s bestselling authors is Kelly Armstrong, who many Quick Brown Fox readers will know from Kelly's appearances as a guest speaker at Brian Henry’s workshops. Helen is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives.

Include a short sample of your work. No attachments.


Sarah Heller has developed an internationally and New York Times bestselling list. She specializes in establishing new authors with a focus on front list commercial YA and adult fiction, with a particular interest in high concept historical fiction. Sarah received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University, and is a graduate of the Advertising program of the Ontario College of Art and Design.

Query Sarah at: info@helenhelleragency.com
Include a short sample of your work. No attachments.

Full submission guidelines here.

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), and From the Horse's Mouth ~ Strategies for Getting Published on Saturday, June 18, with Barbara Berson of Helen Heller Agency, Michael Mirolla, publisher Guernica Editions and Bhavna Chauhan, editor, Penguin Random House Canada, at Ryerson University in Toronto (see here).

Also, Brian will lead Writing for Children & for Young Adults workshops on Saturday, March 5, in Burlington, with literary agent Monica Pacheco and author Jennifer Mook-Sang (see here), on Saturday, Apr 2, in Barrie, with literary agent Rachel Letofsky (see here), on Saturday, April 30, in Guelph, with Yasemin Uçar, senior editor, Kids Can Press and authors Jennifer Mook-Sang and Kira Vermond (see here), and Sunday, May 29, in Ottawa with acclaimed author Alan Cumyn (see here).

Other upcoming workshops include How to Build Your Story, Saturday, Jan 30, in Toronto (see here), Writing With Style, Saturday, March 12, in Oakville (see here), and Writing Your Life, Saturday, March 16, in Caledon (see here).

For more information or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

But the best way to grow as a writer or to get your manuscript ready for publication may be with a weekly class. Two classes starting this winter still have space:
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.)

In the spring, Brian will again be offering a full range of courses from beginners to more experienced. See details of all six classes starting this spring here.
“Exploring Creative Writing,” Tuesday afternoons, April 19 – June 21, in Burlington (see here)
“Writing Personal Stories,” Wednesday mornings, April 27 – June 15, in Mississauga
“Next Step in Creative Writing,” Wednesday evenings, April 13  June, in Burlington (see here)
“Next Step in Creative Writing,” Thursday afternoons, April 21  June 23, in Oakville (see here)
“Intermediate Creative Writing,” Thursday evenings, April 14  June 23, in Georgetown (see here)
“Intensive Creative Writing,” Wednesday afternoons, March 30  June 15, in Burlington

For information about spring courses, or to reserve a spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Read reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.
To register or for more information for any class or workshop, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See Brian’s full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Alton, 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, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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