Sunday, February 17, 2019

Introductory Creative Writing course this spring, offered Thursday afternoons in Burlington & Friday afternoons in Toronto


Welcome to Creative Writing
Nine weeks of discovering your creative side
Offered in two locations:
Thursday afternoons,12:45 – 2:45
April 18 – June 20 (No class May 30)
St. Elizabeth's Anglican Church, 5324 Bromley Rd, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
And
Friday afternoons, 1:15 – 3:15
April 26 – June 28 (No class May 31)
Glenview Church, Bethlehem Room, 1 Glenview Ave, Toronto, Ontario (Map here.)

This is your chance to take up writing in a warm, supportive environment. This course will open the door to writing short stories and writing dialogue, writing in first person and writing in third person, writing just for fun and writing all kinds of things. 
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.

Fee:  $176.11 plus 13% hst = $199
To reserve your spot, 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. But his proudest boast is that he’s has helped many of his students get published. 
Read reviews of Brian's weekly courses, weekend retreats, and Saturday workshops here (and scroll down).

See Brian’s complete current schedule here including Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

A cup of tea while wearing pink shoes by Ann Gray



Mary dropped Blanche at the Community Centre for the afternoon yoga class.  “You’ll see, Mom,” she said enthusiastically. “After you sell the farm and come live with us, you can come to yoga here whenever you want.”

Blanche amended that statement in her head: “Mom, after you sell the farm and give us the money, we’ll install you in the basement of our house, and you can come to yoga after you’ve finished babysitting the kids and  made dinner for us.”

She loved her family. She just didn’t want to be a full-time babysitter and housekeeper.  But what were her options? She couldn’t stay on the farm alone anymore. She had sold the livestock two years ago. She couldn’t find the energy to do the needed repairs on the house, and the barn roof had collapsed after the ice storm. There had been times last winter when she had not seen another soul for days. Times when she had considered just putting on her boots and walking until the snow swallowed her.

She had watched her husband slowly die of cancer and next her brothers and then most of her friends had passed on. She wasn’t sure that a long life was a blessing anymore. Sometimes she thought she had died, too, and was just a ghost, watching life go by. 

Blanche walked down the corridor of the community centre. She opened a door, the lights were off and people were lying on mats on the floor. Blanche shivered. It looked like a line of corpses.  

Perhaps seeing Blanche hesitating, the yoga teacher said, “You must  lie down to take this class. We’ll be practicing breathing for the first twenty minutes.”

“Good Lord, I am eighty years old!  I should know how to breathe by now”, Blanche snapped.   She slammed the door shut and turned to find the exit.  Maybe Mary was still in the parking lot.

A woman with her long grey hair in a pony tail ran past her.  She had pink shoes on her feet.  Really, Blanche had never seen anything that silly in her life. Sensible people wore white shoes in the summer and black shoes for the rest of the year. No one she knew wore pink shoes.

The lady called out to Blanche in a Mexican accent, “Come on, Chica. You’re not too late.”
 
For what? Blanche wondered and followed her into a gym, curious despite herself.


Spanish music was playing with an insistent rhythm and people were moving to the beat.  Blanche stood in a corner at the back, and watched the lady in the pink shoes start dancing, laughing and sending out instructions to the class in a combination of Spanish and English. 

I’m too old for this, Blanche thought.   It’s ridiculous of me to even be here.  But the steps were simple,and she found her body swaying despite herself. 

After the first song, she realized, no one’s stopping me. She could get out on the floor with the rest of the dancers. One boy was no older than her grandson, but so what, she bet she could out-dance him.  

She remembered when she was younger – they would bring in hay until the sunset, then wash up and pile into the back of a pick-up truck to go to the Saturday night dances.

She had met her husband Roy at a dance like that. And at the county fair, they had joined in the square dance competition and won a prize. If Roy was here, we’d show them a thing or two, she thought. 

Slowly she stepped out to the floor. She moved to the right and she moved to the left.

The instructor called out, “Just keep moving!  If you don’t like what we’re doing, you can make your own steps.”

“Damn right,” Blanche said out loud. “I can make my own steps! Maybe I’m not dead yet.”
***
The next morning, Blanche put her cup of tea down on the table. “Mary, I’m going to sell the farm.”

“And live with us?”

“No.”

Mary frowned, “But where will you live?”

“I’ll get a small apartment nearby.”

“And babysit for us?” 

“One day a week,” Blanche replied. She looked down at her feet to admire her new, bright pink running shoes. “I need to have time to go dancing.”
 ***
Ann Gray is a retired microbiologist, who is now looking at the bigger issues of life.  She is an enthusiastic birder and occasionally writes short pieces for local nature publications.  Ann is currently writing a historical fiction based on events during the cholera epidemic of 1832 in Kingston, Ontario.

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Soon: Writing with Style, Writing a Bestseller with #1 bestselling author Kelley Armstrong, and Writing Dialogue

Writing With Style
Offered in two locales:
Saturday, February 23, 2019
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Waterloo Regional Police Station, Community Room, 45 Columbia St. E. Waterloo, Ontario (Map here)
Fee: $37.17 + hst = $42 paid in advance or $39.82 + hst = $45  at the door
And
Saturday, March 16, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Unity Church, Unit 8, 3075 Ridgeway Dr, Mississauga (Map here.)
Fee: $43.36 + 13% hst = $49  in advance or $46.90 + 13% hst = $53  at the door
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.
Fee: $37.17 + hst = $42 paid in advance or $39.82 + hst = $45  at the door

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

How to Write a Bestseller
Portents by guest speaker Kelley Armstrong
 With book editor Brian Henry
  & New York Times #1 bestselling author 
   Kelley Armstrong 
Saturday, March 2, 2019
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
London Public Library Byron Branch, 1295 Commissioners Rd W, London, OOntario (Map here)
This workshop will give you the inside scoop on what gives a novel best-selling potential. You’ll learn how to get readers emotionally involved in your story, how to raise tension, control your pacing and keep your readers turning the pages. But you won't just hear about some of the best secrets of the trade; you'll learn how to apply them to give your own writing a sharp new edge.
Kelley Armstrong lives in Aylmer, south of London, Ontario, with her husband and three children. She used to program computers and attend Brian Henry workshops. Now she writes international bestsellers. Kelley has hit the New York Times bestseller list with both her supernatural thrillers for adults and her urban fantasy for teens. 
Kelley's principal publishers are Random House in Canada, St. Martins and HarperCollins in the U.S. and Doubleday and Little Brown in Britain. To date, she's published more than 32 books, most recently Portents, gothic tales for adults, Aftermath, a mystery-thriller for young adults, and coming in February, Watcher in the Woods, a thriller for adults.  
Bitten, a TV series based on Kelley’s first 13 novels, has been broadcasting since January 2014.
Fee: $43.36 + 13% hst = $49  in advance or $46.90 + 13% hst = $53  at the door
To reserve a spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

How to Write Great Dialogue
Saturday, March 30, 2018
10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Centennial Room, Burlington Central Library, 2331 New Street, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
Accessible to beginners and meaty enough for experienced writers, this workshop will show you how to use dialogue to make your stories more dynamic and dramatic.Whether you’re writing fiction or memoir, you need to be able to write great dialogue that both sounds natural and packs dramatic punch, and you need to know how to mix your dialogue and narrative so that your characters come alive. Come to this workshop and learn both the basics and the best tricks of the trade.
Fee: $43.36 + 13% hst = $49  in advance or $46.90 + 13% hst = $53  at the door
To reserve a spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca


Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University, and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to St. John. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get published, including guest speaker Kelley Armstrong.
Read reviews of Brian’s workshops, retreats and classes here (and scroll down).

See Brian’s full schedule hereincluding writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Saint John, NB, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

“Memories” by Lynda Sturgeoff




Dot knew she was in trouble when the doorbell rang – she was still in her underwear. Joanne couldn’t be here yet. But of course, she was.

It was moving day. The date had been fixed for months, so where were all the packed boxes? Why was there still so much stuff everywhere?

“Decluttering, smuttering!” Dot muttered. It’s not clutter, it’s my life. If I let go of my stuff, my memories will go too.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m coming,” she called as the bell rang again and she reached to open the door.

Her daughter Joanne stood there, immaculate as always in her ironed jeans, tailored white shirt, Hermes scarf.

Joanne came in, gave her an air kiss but actually seemed to be looking over Dot’s shoulder. Dot thought she heard her groan.

“Mom, I thought you said you were all organized and ready to go? It doesn’t look like you’ve given anything away.”

“Well I’m almost ready. I just got held up with one or two little things.”

Joanne grimaced down at her white shirt and scarf. She went to her mother’s bedroom and came back in a borrowed flowered blouse.

Meanwhile Dot looked at the mess in the living room, seeing it through the eyes of her daughter. She felt somewhat abashed.

They got down to work, and slowly the discard pile grew. Both Dot and Joanne knew there wasn’t space for much furniture in the small apartment in the senior’s building. That was the easy part. Keep the bed, the bedside table, and one small dresser. The small kitchen table, a couple of living room chairs and not much else.

It was the rest of the stuff that was hard to deal with. Dot and Doug had travelled a lot through their long life together and had bought knickknacks and artwork from all over the world. 

Now that Doug was gone, Dot was having a hard time choosing what to keep. She kept tearing up whenever Joanne put one of those memories on the discard pile.

Joanne’s face began to soften as she watched her mother. “Okay, let’s do this differently. Let’s start by choosing what matters most, what you’ll keep.”

“Oh, that’s easy – Dad’s letters,” Dot replied.

“Letters? What letters?”

“Well, from when your dad was away all that time.”

“What are you talking about? He was never away,” she said uneasily. “Oh!” she said and sat down hard on the nearest chair.

Dot looked up and seeing Joanne’s face, she leaned back on her heels. “Did you forget? Dad was away in India for ages when you were little, before your brothers were born. When he came back you didn’t remember him. You were afraid of him. It took ages until you were able to go to him. I think that’s why you never got along. And maybe why you’re so strong. Come here and look at this.”

Dot pulled out stacks of letters, some addressed to Joanne, some to Dot, all in her father’s hand. It seemed he had written at least once a day every day. They sat there reading and re-reading, pouring over those old memories, seeking new meaning.

Joanne had no idea her dad had written all these letters – and to her, not just her mom. The rest of the sorting was forgotten.

Joanne knew she was in trouble when the doorbell rang. Her brothers were there to start the moving, and there was still so much stuff everywhere.

Lynda Sturgeoff is a retired Ph.D. chemist, has finally found the light. After years of reading, writing, and editing technical reports she is now taking her writing into the creative arena. This is aided and abetted by Brian Henry's writing class. She is currently working on a piece of creative nonfiction, thus combining the two solitudes.

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The 2019 Canadian Writers Contest Calendar ~ Just what every writer needs


Whether you're a beginner or an advanced writer, if you’re looking for places to send your work, you should put contests on your list. 

The Canadian Writers’ Contest Calendar is a book that gives a full listing of annual writing contests in Canada arranged by deadline date. It lists contests for short stories, poetry, children’s writing, novels, and nonfiction – contests for just about everyone. 


The Calendar costs just $22 at one of Brian Henry's workshops or classes or $25 by mail within Canada (all taxes & shipping included). 


To order, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca


See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Monday, February 11, 2019

At P.S. Literary: Carly Watters promoted to Senior VP and Kurestin Armada promoted to Literary Agent; 4 agents seeking everything from picture books to adult fiction and nonfiction

The Navigator's Touch by Julia Ember
represented by P.S. Literary
P.S. Literary Agency
2010 Winston Park Drive
2nd Floor
Oakville, Ontario, L6H 5R7 
Canada
http://www.psliterary.com/

Note: Don't ever miss a post on Quick Brown Fox. Fill in your email in the Follow Brian by Email box to the right under my bio, and get each post delivered to your Inbox. ~ Brian

Congratulations to Carly Watters who was recently promoted to Senior VP and Senior Literary Agent and who is also the agency’s Director of Literary Branding, and also to Kurestin Armada who was promoted from Associate Agent to full agent. Carly and Kurestin are both looking for authors, as are company President and Principal Agent Curtis Russell and Literary Agent Maria Vicente:

Carly Watters did her MA in Publishing Studies at City University London in the UK where she worked in the publishing industry at the Darley Anderson Literary, TV and Film Agency, and Bloomsbury PLC before returning to Canada in 2010 to join the P.S Literary Agency.
Carly is acquiring both fiction and nonfiction. In fiction, she’s seeking Women’s Fiction, Upmarket Adult, Commercial Adult, Domestic Suspense, Literary Mystery & Thrillers, Historical, Contemporary Romance, and Smart Book Club Fiction.
In nonfiction, she’s looking for Pop science, Business, Psychology, Cookbooks, Unique Memoirs, Lifestyle (health, wellness, relationships, parenting), Narrative and Platform-Based Nonfiction (must have demonstrable expertise and a quantifiable market).
Query Carly at: query@psliterary.com
Limit your submission to just a query letter until asked for more.

Kurestin Armada began her publishing career as an intern with Workman Publishing and spent time as an assistant at the Lotts Agency before joining P.S. Literary. She holds a B.A. in English from Kenyon College and a publishing certificate from Columbia University. Kurestin is based in New York City, where she spends most of her time in the city’s thriving bookstores.
Kurestin is actively acquiring Kurestin is actively acquiring Upmarket and Commercial Fiction, Magic Realism, Science Fiction, select Historical Fiction LGBTQ (any genre), Romance, illustrated Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Graphic Novels.

In nonfiction, Kurestin is looking for Design, Cooking, Pop Psychology, Narrative, Photography, Nature, and Science.  
Query Kurestin at: query@psliterary.com
Limit your submission to just a query letter until asked for more.


Curtis Russell began his publishing career as the proprietor of a micro press before crossing over to the other side of the desk and founding P.S. Literary in 2005.
Curtis is currently acquiring both fiction and nonfiction. In terms of fiction, he is seeking Literary, Commercial, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Romance, Picture Books, Middle Grade and Young Adults.
In nonfiction, he is looking for Business, History, Politics, Current Affairs, Memoir, Health, Wellness, Sports, Humour, Pop Culture, Pop Science and Pop Psychology.
Query Curtis at: query@psliterary.com
Limit your submission to just a query letter until asked for more.

Maria Vicente began her publishing career an intern with Bree Ogden at D4EO Literary Agency and then interned at P.S. Literary before joining the agency as an associate agent. Maria has a B.A. in English Lit from Carleton and a Bachelor of Education from Western. 
Maria specializes in children’s fiction and nonfiction for all ages. She has affinity for literary prose, diverse characters, original storytelling formats, and anything geeky.  is actively looking for Literary and Commercial fiction, New Adult, high-concept Young Adult, Middle Grade, high-concept Picture Books, and nonfiction in the Pop Culture, Pop Psychology, Design and Lifestyle categories.
Maria is looking for Picture Books, Chapter Books and Middle Grade and Young Adult novels.
In nonfiction, she is looking for books for both children and adults. She looks for nonfiction that offer a new perspective on an entertaining topic. She’s particularly interested in Pop Culture, Science, Design, and Lifestyle.
Maria is also interested in a variety of illustrated projects, including Picture Books, Graphic Novels, and nonfiction Gift Books.
Check out more details of Maria’s interests at her website here.
Query Maria at: query@psliterary.com
Limit your submission to just a query letter until asked for more. If you’re an illustrator or author/illustrator, please provide a link to your portfolio.

New York Times #1 bestselling author
Kelley Armstrong
If you’re interested in getting published, soon or somewhere down the road, don’t miss the upcoming How to Get Published workshop Saturday, June 8, in Waterloo with literary agent Meg Wheeler (see here). 
For updated listing of How to Get Published workshops see here (and scroll down).

If you’re interested in kid lit, be sure to attend the  Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshop with guest speakers Erin O’Connor, senior editor, Scholastic Books, and young adult author Tanaz Bhathena, Saturday, May 11, in Brampton (see here).

And don’t miss these other great workshops coming soon: Writing with Style, Saturday, Feb 23, in Waterloo (see hereand Saturday, March 16, in Mississauga (see here), and How to Write a Bestseller, with New York Times #1 bestselling author Kelley Armstrong, Saturday, March 2 (see here), and You Can Write Great Dialogue, Saturday, March 30, in Burlington (see here).

But the best way to grow as a writer is probably with a weekly course. In the spring, a full range of classes will be offered: 
Burlington: Welcome to Creative Writing, Thursday afternoons, April 18 – June 20 (No class May 30). Details here.
Toronto: Welcome to Creative Writing, Friday afternoons, April 26 – June 28 (No class May 31). Details here.
Oakville Central Library: Writing Personal Stories, Thursday evenings, April 18 – June 27 (No class  May 30). Details here.
Burlington: Intensive Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:45; April 16 – June 25 (No class June 4). Details here.
Georgetown: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00; April 17 – June 19. Details here.
Toronto: Intensive Creative Writing, Friday mornings, 10:15 – 12:30sh, April 26 – June 28. (No class May 31). Details here.
     See details of all 6 courses here.

And later in the spring, come enjoy the most sublime writing experience of all…
Algonquin Writing Retreat, Friday, May 31 – Monday, June 3, 2019: four days in the luxurious isolation of Arowhon Pines Resort to get down to some real creative growth. Details here.

To reserve a spot in any upcoming weekly course, weekend retreat, or Saturday workshop, email Brian atbrianhenry@sympatico.ca
Read reviews of Brian’s courses, retreats, and workshops here.

See Brian’s complete current schedule hereincluding Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Navigation tips: Always check out the Labels underneath a post; they’ll lead you to various distinct collections of postings. If you're searching for more interviews with literary agents or a literary agent who represents a particular type of book, check out this post.