Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Congratulations to our fellow writers for being short-listed for a major award, and for getting your short stories and flash fiction published!

Congratulations, Kira!
Hi Brian,
Half-Truths and Brazen Lies is a 2017 Silver Birch nominee (for best nonfiction book of the year for kids in grades 3–6)!
All the best,
Kira
Kira Vermond
Note: Kira will be one of our guest speakers in the Writing Kid Lit course this spring. See here.

Hi, Brian.
Fiction on the Web reprinted my flash piece “To Do List.” So for anyone who’s interested but couldn’t find it on the Brilliant Flash Fiction Springtime Contest site (where it was the last, alphabetically by author, of the short-list!) it’s right here.
The editor, Charlie Fish, does a nice job of presenting people’s work. The site welcomes comments if you’re moved to make one - and as always, if you know anyone you think would enjoy this, please feel free to share.
X O,
Mary
Yay, Mary. I enjoyed re-reading this piece even more than when I first heard you read it in the Wednesday afternoon class. ~ Brian

"Sailing through a line squall"
Hello, Brian.
I have two new stories on CommuterLit.
Dave Moores
Two stories – great!
Read Dave’s stories: “Cash is Kinghere and “Line Squall” here.
Find links to all ten stories Dave’s published on CommuterLit here.

Hi Brian,
Just dropping you a line to let you know that I have a science fiction flash piece, “Marital Stasis,” in Whortleberry Press' new anthology, Fifty Flashes.
Thanks!
Diane Dubas
Well done, Diane!
Fifty Flashes is available now from Lulu.com 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, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Saint John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Monday, January 30, 2017

This spring: Introductory to Advanced Creative Writing classes, plus Writing Personal Stories and Writing Kid Lit

Welcome to Creative Writing
8 weeks of discovering your creative side
Monday evenings, 7 – 9 p.m.
 April 17 – June 19
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario (map here.)
This is your chance to take up writing in a warm, supportive environment. This course will open the door to all kinds of creative writing. We’ll visit short story writing and children’s writing, writing in first person and in third person, and writing just for fun. You’ll get a shot of inspiration every week and an assignment to keep you going till the next class. Best of all, this class will provide a zero-pressure, totally safe setting, where your words will grow and flower.
Note: For a pair of reviews of Brian’s introductory creative writing classes, see here, and see other reviews here.
Fee:  $159.29 plus 13% hst = 180
Number of attendees strictly limited.
To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Writing Personal Stories
8 weeks of sharing and writing
Thursday afternoons, 12:45 – 2:45 p.m.
April 27 – June 15, 2017
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario (map here.)
If you've ever considered writing your personal stories, this course is for you. We’ll look at memoirs, travel writing, personal essays, family history ~ personal stories of all kinds. Plus, of course, we’ll work on creativity and writing technique and have fun doing it. Whether you want to write a book or just get your thoughts down on paper, this weekly course will get you going. 
We'll reveal the tricks and conventions of telling true stories, and we’ll show you how to use the techniques of the novel to recount actual events. Weekly writing exercises and friendly feedback from the instructor will help you move forward on this writing adventure. Whether you want to write for your family and friends or for a wider public, don't miss this course.
Read reviews of the Writing Personal Stories course here, and see other reviews here.
Fee:  $159.29 plus 13% hst = 180
Number of attendees strictly limited.
To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Writing Kid Lit ~ Picture Books to YA
Monday afternoons, 12:45 – 2:45 p.m. Mississauga
April 10 – June 19 (9 weeks – no class May 22 or June 5)
Unity Church, Unit 8, 3075 Ridgeway Drive, Mississauga, Ontario (Map here.)
From picture books to young adult novels, this weekly course is accessible for beginners and meaty enough for advanced writers. Through lectures, in-class assignments, homework, and feedback on your writing, we’ll give you ins and outs of writing for younger readers and set you on course toward writing your own books. 
We’ll have two published children’s authors as guest speakers:
Sylvia McNicoll is the author of over thirty books, many of which have garnered awards. Her YA novel Crush.candy.corpse was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis YA Crime Novel of the Year Award, the Red Maple Award, the Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award, and the Snow Willow Award, as well as being selected as one of the Ontario Library Association's Best Bets and Resource Links' Year's Best for 2012. 
Most acclaimed, though, are her three middle grade books about fostering guide dogs: Bringing
 Up Beauty, Beauty Returns, and A Different Kind of Beauty which won and were nominated for many children’s choice awards.
In 2017, Sylvia launches her new middle grade series The Great Mistake Mysteries beginning with The Best Mistake Mystery in January and The Artsy Mistake Mystery in September and finishing with The Snake Mystery in January 2018.
Kira Vermond is an award-winning writer with over 1,500 articles to her name. She has been a frequent contributor to the Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, CBC and Today's Parent.
Kira is the author of four nonfiction books for young readers: Half-Truths and Brazen Lies, (just nominated for a 2017 Ontario Library Association (OLA) Silver Birch Award – read more about Half-Truths here); Why We Live Where We Live (more here);Growing Up: Inside and Out, (nominated for on OLA Forest of Reading Award), and The Secret Life of Money: A Kid's Guide to Cash (which was my son’s and daughter’s favourite book  the year it came out, although my kids are four years apart).
Read reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.  
Course fee:  $176.11 plus 13% hst = 199
To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Intermediate Creative Writing
Ten weeks towards mastering your craft
Offered in two locales:
Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
Begins by email April 5;  
classes run April 12 – June 14
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
And
Thursday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
Begins by email April 6;  
classes run April 13 – June 15
St. Alban's Church, 537 Main Street, Georgetown, Ontario (in the village of Glen Williams – 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.
Read reviews of Brian’s intermediate courses here, and see other reviews here.
Number of attendees strictly limited.
Fee: $184.96 plus hst = 209.  
To reserve your spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Intensive Creative Writing
Ten weeks toward mastering your craft
Tuesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Course begins by email April 4;  classes run April 11 – June 13
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
The Intensive course isn't for beginners; it's for people who have been writing for a while or who have done a course or two before and are working on their own projects. This is a more intimate class wit a few less participants than either the Intermediate of Extreme courses. 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.  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.
Read a review of the Intensive course here. See other reviews here. 
Fee: $184.96 plus hst = 209.  
To reserve your spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Extreme Creative Writing
12 special weeks with a group of special writers
Wednesday afternoons, 12:15 – 2:45 p.m.
Begins by email March 29;  classes run April 5 – June 21
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
The Extreme course is for experienced writers; people who have been working on their craft for a while, who have some experience in the art of giving truly helpful critiques, and who are working on their own projects. During course, you’ll be asked to bring in four pieces of your writing for detailed feedback. All your pieces may be from the same work, such as a novel in progress, or they may be stand alone pieces. You bring whatever you want to work on.  In addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that the greatest benefits come from seeing how your classmates approach and critique a piece of writing and how they write and re-write.
Fee:  $193.81 plus 13% hst = 219 
To reserve your spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

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. Brian is the author of a children’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Tribute Publishing). But his proudest boast is that he’s has helped many of his students get published. 
Read reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here

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

Sunday, January 29, 2017

“People Watching” by James Bryan Simpson


Manhattan offers a lot of activities, especially if you work part-time. My favourite is people watching. I used to people watch at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and in Times Square. A lot of tourists crowd these locations and they’re easy to identify, but I prefer watching native New Yorkers. New Yorkers are more interesting.
     My favourite people-watching targets are not those people waiting impatiently at the ferry terminal or rushing through Times Square. I like observing the people living in the upper floors of towering residences. Especially in the building across the street from my apartment.
     A friend of mine told me about a shop that sells quality optical instruments, like nautical brass spyglasses and the modern equivalent, the floor standing telescope. It’s the perfect tool for people watching.
     Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time observing my neighbours. For the most part, they’re rather boring people. Just when they appear inspired to do something interesting, they’ll draw the curtains across their windows and I’ll have to guess what it is that they’re up to.
     But for one couple across the street, I don’t have to guess. In the past three months that I’ve been people watching them, they’ve never drawn their curtains. Because they live in a corner suite on the thirty-fifth floor, they must assume that no one can see them or what they’re doing. They assume wrong.
     I don’t know who they are. Let me call them Bill and Mary. Two business professionals living busy lives. I’ll bet they’re married, but I’ll also bet they’re not happy. Bill may have an office job somewhere. He travels a lot; suitcase going away, suitcase coming home. Mary works from their condo. Most days I see her sitting at the kitchen table with her laptop.
     When they’re home together, they look and behave like everyone else. In the kitchen, preparing dinner; in the dining room, eating dinner; in the living room, watching TV; in the bedroom, sleeping. Except on Saturday nights. Every Saturday they get dressed up and go out. When they return, they go into their bedroom and make love. Boring, unhappily married love.
     Bill and Mary are young, attractive and healthy. Most mornings they go jogging together. After jogging, Mary has her shower first. After, she sits on the bed and dries her hair while Bill is in the shower. Then Bill gets dressed and leaves. Mary wraps herself in a towel and wanders around their condo, alone, drinking coffee and talking on her cellphone, before getting dressed and opening her laptop.
     Last month, Mary’s routine changed. On Monday mornings, shortly after Bill leaves, a gentleman visits Mary. I’ll call him Derek. Mary takes him into the bedroom and closes the bedroom door. Derek pushes her against the door and kisses her passionately while she tries to loosen his tie and undo the buttons on his shirt. He backs up a step, her towel falls to the floor, he gets undressed and the two of them embrace and fall on the bed. Saturday night sex may be boring, but Monday morning sex is very, very not boring. After, they have a shower. Together. I can’t see inside the shower, so I don’t know what they’re doing, but they seem to spend a lot of time in there.
     I’ve always thought Derek was aware of Bill, but that Bill wasn’t aware of Derek. I was wrong!
     Last Monday, Derek appeared about twenty minutes after Bill had left the condo. Mary led him to the bedroom and closed the door. Things progressed as before, and Mary and Derek were soon on the bed enjoying an extended lovemaking session. I don’t know how much noise they were making, but neither heard Bill when he re-entered the condo.
     Bill parked his suitcase by the door and opened the hall closet. He lifted a small black case off the top shelf and put it on the kitchen table. He unlocked the case and removed a handgun, then removed a silencer from the case and screwed it onto the end of the gun’s barrel. He looked down the hall toward the bedroom and tilted his head a little. He was listening. He sat at the kitchen table. He didn’t move.
     I swung the telescope so I could see Mary and Derek again. Shortly, they got off the bed and headed into the shower. I looked for Bill. He was walking down the hall toward the bedroom. He put his ear to the door and, satisfied with what he heard, slowly opened the door. He stepped into the bedroom and pointed the handgun into the shower. He raised the gun to eye level and fired.
     I looked toward the shower. No one came out. Bill lowered the gun and walked back into the kitchen. What just happened? Did I really want to know? Slowly, I stood up and moved toward the wall. Flat against it, I slithered to the window and closed the curtain. When I sat down again, I was shaking.
     If you’re looking for a floor-standing telescope, there’s a good one for sale on eBay. Like new, only used for three months.  Really, the ferry terminal makes for better people watching.
***
James Bryan Simpson, recently retired from former employment as a pharmacist, a pharmaceutical industry medical scientist and a medical writer, now enjoys the freedom of writing fiction. At times, plots and characters materialize or dilemmas resolve during long walks with his two dogs on the rural property he shares with his wife, Jan. In addition to writing, he also enjoys managing his woodlot, gardening, and spending time with his four granddaughters.

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

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Happy lunar new year!



Happy new year! 
May the year of the rooster bring you great luck.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Three paying markets for short pieces, a wide-open fiction zine, a queer book publisher, and a free contest for crime fiction

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 Cincinnati Review seeks prose and poetry. Pays $25 per page for prose; $30 per page for poetry. 
Deadline: March 15, 2017. Guidelines here.

Contrary Magazine wants commentary, fiction and poetry. Pays $20 per author per issue, regardless of number of works or nature of submissions. 
Deadline: March 1 for spring issue, June 1 for summer issue, Sept 1 for fall issue, Dec 1 for winter issue. Guidelines here.

Supposed Crimes Publishers seeks stories that feature lesbian or bisexual heroines across a variety of genres, including thriller, paranormal, mystery, military, western, fantasy, and science fiction. Sexual content is not a requirement, but a compelling emotional connection between women should be a primary focus. Pays royalties.
Acquitted Books – This is our “beyond Supposed Crimes” imprint, currently soliciting novels featuring gay male protagonists. Genre fiction and romances. We will also consider menage. Non-binary and trans characters are always welcome.  Pays royalties.
Guidelines for Supposed Crimes and Acquitted Books here.
Fairy Tales – A speculative Anthology: "We are looking for stories that feature lesbian or bisexual heroines across a variety of genres, including thriller, paranormal, mystery, military, western, fantasy, and science fiction. Sexual content is not a requirement, but a compelling emotional connection between women should be a primary focus." 2,500 – 15,000 words.
Pays $30 per story. Deadline: March 15, 2017. Guidelines here.

Hello, Brian.
 The Mesdames of Mayhem are 16 established crime fiction authors and editors who together support each other’s work and aim to promote Canadian crime fiction. We have released two anthologies of our stories to give readers a chance to get to know us and our writing: Thirteen (2013) and 13 O’clock (2015), both with Carrick Publishing.
Several of the stories have been short-listed for the Arthur Ellis Best Short Story Award and the Derringer. This year we are releasing our third anthology, 13 Claws.  Each of the stories is centred on an animal.  The animal may be real or fantastical and must be pivotal to the plot.
To encourage new writers, we are holding a free contest inviting anyone who has not yet published a crime fiction story to submit it to our editors. The winner or winner(s) will have their story published in 13 Claws, receive a free copy of the book and share in the royalties with the other contributors.
The deadline for submission is March 15, 2016.  Rules for submission may be found on our website at www.mesdamesofmayhem.com
 Many thanks,
M. H. Callway
Founder, Mesdames of Mayhem

Fiction on the Web is a labour of love,” says editor/publisher Charlie Fish. “Every single story on here is hand-picked and carefully edited by me. I don’t have a staff, and I don’t make any money. I do this because I want to give authors a chance to get their work out there, and I love sharing great stories with the world.”
FICTION on the WEB is accepting short story submissions in the following genres:
·                 funny stories - for when you need a laugh
·                 creepy stories - to make your hair stand on end
·                 fantastic stories - orcs, swords, magic and fantasy
·                 futuristic stories - many worlds of science fiction
·                 criminal stories - crooks and detectives
·                 real life stories - everyday life and relationships
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, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Intermediate Creative Writing, offered in Burlington and Georgetown, April to June

Intermediate Creative Writing
Ten weeks toward mastering your craft
Offered in two locales:
Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
Begins by email April 5
Classes run April 12 – June 14, 2017
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
And
Thursday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
Begins by email April 6
Classes run April 13 – June 15, 2017
St. Alban's Church, 537 Main Street, Georgetown, Ontario (in the village of Glen Williams (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.
Read reviews of Brian’s intermediate courses here, and see other reviews here.

Fee: $184.96 plus hst = 209.  
Number of attendees strictly limited.
To reserve your spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See details of all 7 classes offered this spring 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's helped many of his students get published.
Read reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.

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