Thursday, October 19, 2017

You're invited to a book launch for Born To Me

Hello, Brian.

I just wanted to send a quick email to invite you to the launch of a project that is super important and special to my heart. Myself along with 18 other women tell our stories about how we were "born to be us". Life lessons, journies, events and struggles that formed the very women we are. We would love your support, any way you can!

1. Attend our launch and signing Nov 1st! Ticket Proceeds to an extremely worthy cause Feed Families with the The Feed It Forward Non Profit with Jagger S Gordon. 
Purchase tickets here.

2. Purchase our book online so that we can become a best seller! 
Click here to pre-order the book! 

3. Share! Share! Share! Anyway you can! Follow my posts on facebook and instagram and share! 

Thank you so much,

Love,
Laura DeGasperis

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, October 18, 2017

"Treat” by Paula Aicklen



We suffered 362 days a year without sugar. But tonight…

The light was slowly fading and suppertime was fast approaching. Four pillowcases were out at the ready, one for each of us, empty now but holding the promise of a long-awaited bounty.

Itchy fabric around my neck was a small price to pay for the orgy of sugar that was to come and my clown costume was beautiful with its tulle collar dancing up and down with each excited step I took. No matter it was a third Hallowe’en appearance for this costume, I still felt so special.

We four sisters assembled hurriedly at the kitchen table, our mother uncharacteristically chatty and lighthearted. Who could believe it? She enjoyed the break in our usual suppertime routine as much as we did. 

Soup and grilled cheese were gulped and swallowed, dishes cleared. Our final touches were applied – the blackened cork to mark the two front teeth of my Hobo sisters Kate, Linda and Marilyn.

The countdown had begun – matches lit, pumpkin lid lifted, Jack-O-Lantern alight and flickering in the cool autumn evening.

Our pillowcases were assigned, our buddy system hastily reviewed and we were off – out into the neighbourhood of small, working-class houses, with all manner of costumed characters joining in on the fun.

Our excitement sparking, we rushed door to door, shrieking, “Trick or Treat!”

Kate had my hand, perhaps not happily so. She yank on my arm, hastening us to the Hallowe’en Mecca of Tourangeau Road: Mrs. Whiton’s house.

It was brightly lit, a happy, friendly looking abode, and the aroma of melted brown sugar and butter wafting through the air was beyond description. But the line of ghosts and ghouls awaiting the prized treats was disappointingly long. Were we too late?

One by one, kids politely took their turns. Maddening! Waiting on the stairs, all we could do was hope and pray that by the time we made it to the door there would be some left.

And then there she was, a smiling Mrs. Whiton, greeting us warmly and proffering each of us a bright red, beautiful, handmade taffy apple! Not one that had to be shared four ways but one for each of us!

Mmmm…warm, childhood bliss.

Paula Aicklen is a budding writer who engages in many creative ventures and has always had a love for the written word. Paula works in Oakville as a design consultant and floral designer and hopes to mesh her writing with these pursuits.

 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.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

3 great workshops soon: Writing a Bestseller with Kelley Armstrong; Secrets of Writing a Page-turner, and Writing With Style

New York Times #1 bestselling author
Kelley Armstrong
The Oakville Public Library presents…
How to Write a Bestseller
 With book editor Brian Henry
  & New York Times #1 bestselling author 
    Kelley Armstrong 
Saturday, October 21, 2017
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Oakville Central Library, 120 Navy Street, Oakville, Ontario (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.
Guest speaker 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 Time’s 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 30 books, most recently Missing, a fantasy novel for teens;  and Rituals, a gothic novel 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 paid in advance by mail or Interac
or 46.90 + 13% hst = 53 if you wait to pay at the door
To reserve a spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

The Caledon Public Library presents...
Secrets of Writing a Page-turner
~ Techniques for making any story more compelling ~
Saturday, Oct 28, 2017
10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Albion-Bolton Branch, Caledon Public Library, 150 Queen Street South, Bolton, Ontario (Map here.)
Ever stayed up all night reading a book? In this workshop, you’ll learn you how to build that kind of tension.  And we'll help you put into practice the techniques professionals use – on every page and in every kind of story – to create drama and tension.
Fee:  43.36 + 13% hst =49 + $6 for pizza lunch = $55 paid in advance by mail or in person 
or 46.90 + 13% hst = 53 + $6 for pizza lunch = $59 if you wait to pay at the door
To pay in advance, make your cheque out to the Caledon Public Library and mail it to:
Attention:  Laura Nolloth, Caledon Public Library, Albion Bolton Branch, 150 Queen Street South, Bolton, ON, L7E 1E3
Or you can pay in advance in person at any Caledon Library branch. (Branch locations here.)
To reserve a spot now, email: programs@caledon.library.on.ca

The Barrie Writers' Club presents...
Writing with Style
Saturday, November 4, 2017
10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Grace United Church, 350 Grove Street East, Barrie, Ontario (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.
Fee: 43.36 + 13% hst = 49 paid in advance by mail or Interac
or 46.90 + 13% hst = 53 if you wait to pay at the door
To reserve a spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca


Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing teacher 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, Ontario, to Saint John, New Brunswick. He has helped many of his students get published, including guest speaker Kelley Armstrong.

See Brian’s complete current schedule hereincluding 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, October 16, 2017

“Grade One Begins or the Inauspicious Start of my Educational Career,” by Anne Burlakoff


I'm not very sentimental, and not one for keepsakes, mementoes and pictures. But there's a crescent-shaped scar on the first knuckle of my right hand that never fails to remind me of some events that occurred when I was a child growing up in a hamlet called Strabane.

My family lived on a country road with a few neighbours but no one nearby of my age. As number four of seven children, I was the stereotypical neglected middle child. My father was at work in Hamilton every day. All of the big kids (my older brother and two sisters) went to school while the little kids (my younger brother and two sisters) were at home taking up my mother's time and energy. As a result, I was left to my own devices much of the time. 

I tried to help my mother by pulling weeds out of her vegetable garden but to my eyes all the plants looked the same, and she was not pleased. I brought her a bouquet of wildflowers from the field but it turned out we both had hay fever. I went to catch pollywogs in the creek but fell in, appearing at the back door in clothes so muddy I had to be hosed off before I was allowed to enter the house. Feeling unwanted and unloved, I tried to run away from home, but couldn't get past the end of our driveway because I wasn't allowed to cross the road by myself.

Too young to go to school and too old to play with the babies, always either underfoot or ignored: by the age of five I was in need of a big change in my life. I needed something important and useful to do. I needed to go to school.

Strabane Public School was about fifteen minutes' walk from our house down Brock Road. Built around 1930, it was originally a one-room red brick schoolhouse. At some point two new classrooms had been added, no doubt to accommodate some of the 1950s population explosion known as the baby boom. Grades one to eight were divided among the three rooms, each room with one teacher for two or three grades. There was neither the space nor the money to offer kindergarten. As a result, my siblings and I began school in grade one.

I turned six in June and finally, after a very long summer, the big day came. My mother braided my hair in pigtails and dressed me in leotards, a starched white blouse and a plaid skirt.

 I had a reputation as a puker in situations of stress or excitement, so my sister Beth, under strict orders to make sure I arrived clean, fulfilled her obligation by marching me down the road at arm's length so I couldn't throw up on her new shoes.

When the bell rang we formed two lines at the door, girls on the right and boys on the left. Grade ones were at the front, with grade twos behind us and so on. The sevens and eights had their own entrance on the other side of the school. 

My sister Susan shared a classroom and a teacher with me but she was in grade three, sitting on the far left of the room and pretending not to know me. We were instructed to sit in alphabetical order, so I was second from the back. 

Unbeknownst to everyone, including me, my eyesight was quite poor, so everything written on the chalkboard or at the front of the room looked fuzzy. We were given thick red pencils which my little fingers found quite difficult to hold. The boy behind me used his to poke me in the back repeatedly. I soon learned that yelling out in class was a bad idea.

For the first month or two, the grade ones were only expected to attend school until lunchtime, so at noon my first school day was over. During the summer I had received strict instruction on how to walk properly on a country road with no sidewalks: always face the traffic, walk on the shoulder when vehicles approach, look directly at the driver. I was now allowed to cross the road by myself and had practiced with my siblings, but this was the first time I was to walk home alone.

I got halfway there before I ran into a problem. The Ormerods' flock of geese, usually to be found swimming about in their pond, had meandered onto the road and were spread across the bridge, blocking my path. These were big Greylag geese, well known to be aggressive. The gander, at least as tall as me, sensed my fear and immediately turned in my direction. I backed up a few steps and he took a run at me, flapping his wings and hissing loudly. I turned and ran, stopping a short distance up the road.


I waited and waited, hoping in vain that the geese might forget about me and waddle off home, or that a car might come along and force them to scatter. No such luck.

Eventually I walked back to school. When I appeared in the doorway, my teacher immediately summoned one of my older sisters to take me home. Naturally, by the time we got back to the bridge the geese were gone.

Several days later I was again headed for home, skipping along and singing to myself. As I passed the Walkers' house I saw their little black dog lurking behind the lilac bushes on the front lawn. I had been warned a dozen times that dogs will chase you if you run, but I couldn't help myself. He shot out, caught up with me and clamped his jaws around my calf. 

I fell on the gravel shoulder of the road and scraped both my knees. Thrusting out my arms in an attempt to break my fall, my right hand met the curved bottom of a broken Coca-Cola bottle which sliced upward into the knuckle of my first finger. The dog, having completed his mission, skulked back behind the bushes to await his next victim. I got up and limped home, bloodied and bruised.

This second incident was too much for my mother. She decreed that henceforth I should stay at school all day so I could be accompanied by at least one of my siblings on the walk home. Since I was the only child in grade one in the afternoons, the teacher moved me up to the front and I happily read books the rest of the day while listening to the lessons taught to the other grades.

There is still a very faint scar on my left calf from the dog bite, visible if I look hard enough. I rarely notice the one on my knuckle anymore. I still have six brothers and sisters, now spread around the world. The geese and the dog are long gone, but the lilacs and the pond remain. Strabane School still stands, but was sold by the school board and became someone's house at least twenty years ago. All of this reminds me that I, too, am different yet still the same, at heart the little girl in pigtails skipping up the road with one eye out for danger but still stopping to listen to the frogs.

Anne Burlakoff is not of Green Gables but fantasized that she was for a number of her childhood years. She currently lives in Dundas, Ontario, and is working her way through Brian Henry’s classes one by one.”

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. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

“Dreaming on Water” by Cyndy Johnston


I sit quietly and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. A gentle breeze caresses my forehead as I breathe deeply and absorb the smell of salt and cedar. I rock back and forth, to and fro, as the water moves in front of me, behind me, around me. The waves lap the side of the boat. The tide is changing.

I've waited all summer for this weekend, the second weekend in August, our Girls Getaway. We've been making this trip to Galliano Island, one of the gulf islands off the coast of Vancouver, for the past three years. The planning starts a month in advance, swapping recipes and deciding who’s going to cook what and for which meal.  Then we arrange who’s bringing the tents, the stove, the fuel and of course the wine.

We scramble out of work on Friday and make a mad dash to catch the four o’clock ferry. Generally, we're on the dock packing the kayaks by five-thirty and we leave at six. We take the same route every year. From Montague Harbour we paddle north along the west coast up to the government dock, then cross the Trincomali Channel and land at Princess Cove about an hour and a half later.

Today is unusually calm. I'm paddling with the tide, which requires little effort. I'm completely vacant of thought but notice everything around me as if it's moving in slow motion. The occasional gull sings out as it flies overhead. My friends are ahead, laughing and chatting. I drift behind, not out of choice, but because Mother Nature has mesmerized me. The shoreline is rugged and more beautiful than I remember it to be. Rocks and trees towering overhead that must stand at least 60 feet. How long have they been there? What have they witnessed?

No one is out here except for us. No motorboats or yachts, just water, swirling, dancing water. I feel small in this vastness, bouncing and swaying with the waves. 

The rhythm of the stroke calms me as the paddle dips easily into the water on one side, then rises up as small droplets of water spill onto my spray skirt and run down the side of the boat back to where they came from. It’s hypnotic.

I pass an outcropping of a sandstone cliff that looks like a wave ready to break. Its surface is like marble and the underside full of labyrinths. Shaped by the wind and water, it looks like the inside of a honeycomb. 

For a moment there’s an eerie silence, the air and water are still. Suddenly, I‘m aware of turbulence beneath the boat. I look around and see nothing. I continue to take in the beauty. Then something hits the bottom of the kayak.

The boat lurches forward. Holy crap! I call out to my friends but they’re too far away to hear me. 

What’s happening? Did I hit a rock? Did I run into a whale?

No, can’t be, I’m too close to shore.

In front of me to the right, is a swirl of bubbles forming a circle that’s growing larger. I hear a squeal as it erupts out of the water to greet me with the two largest eyes I’ve ever seen and an oversized moustache of wiry whiskers. Then it flips and dives under the surface. There are two of them. They chase each other around the boat, frolicking and diving, surfacing and squealing. Then they’re gone.

The sun is still bright in the western sky but the shadows are growing longer. I place my paddle in the water with determination and move in two-step time to catch up to my friends who have just missed the most joyous moment.

Cyndy Johnston is an outdoor enthusiast who is always looking for new adventures. She spent twelve years working and living on the West Coast of Canada where she enjoyed exploring nature's backyard. Cyndy works as a nurse educator in Mississauga, Ontario. Although she has been journalling for years, she is enjoying learning how to write more creatively through Brian’s Exploring Creative Writing class.

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.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Paying markets for solarpunk, maritime stories by teens, and for short stories, essays, and poetry

Sonofawitch anthology
from Word Weaver Press
Note: Don't ever miss a post on Quick Brown Fox. Fill in the "Follow Brian by Email" 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

Word Weaver Press seeks submissions for  Glass & Gardens: Solarpunk Summers Anthology. "For this anthology, I want to see solarpunk summers. Show me futuristic stories that take place in summer, whether that involves a summer night in a rooftop garden, or characters adapting to extreme heat and weather, or an annual migration to cooler lands. Keep it planet-based (Earth or other), and optimistic. Solarpunk worlds aren’t necessarily utopias, but they definitely aren’t dystopias." 
Payment determined by Kickstarter success; $10 minimum. 
Deadline November 15, 2017. Submision guidelines here.
Upcoming: Baba Yaga anthology. Length: 7,500 – 20,000 words. Pays $50 Open for submissions January 1 – March 1 2018

Hey, Brian.
I'm writing on behalf of Vallum: Contemporary Poetry, a Montreal-based literary magazine. We're looking to get the word out about our latest call for submissions:
 Call for Issue 15.1 - "Forgetting"
 Our minds are like labyrinths, we remember, we forget. Sometimes, the past is the hardest thing we have to confront. Forgetting and letting go of what haunts us is often an impossible task, but something we must go through in order to find any kind of resolution. In other forms, forgetting can be a curse, like struggling with Alzheimer’s or misplacing one’s possessions. How does "Forgetting" figure in your lives and in your poems?
The editors at Vallum are committed to enriching and continuing the tradition of poetry in the present day. We welcome submissions that deepen our understanding of what poetry is and can be. We encourage Indigenous writers, writers of colour, gender non-conforming writers, differently abled writers, LGBTQ writers, writers with mental or physical illnesses, and writers who are otherwise affected by structural inequality to submit their work for consideration.
Send us your best poems! More information here.
Deadline: November 15, 2017
Mail submissions to:
Vallum Magazine 
5038 Sherbrooke West 
PO BOX 23077 CP Vendome
Montreal, QC H4A 1T0 
Cason Sharpe
Vallum Society for Education in Arts and Letters

Owl Hollow Press seeks submissions for Band of Misfits: Adventures on the High Seas AnthologyWants submissions from teens, aged 3–19.  Submit short stories up to 7,500 words on theme of "gangs of pirates, steampunk sailors, mischievous mermaids, hostile Kraken, submerged vortexes, or any other maritime adventures you’d care to explore – whether contemporary, historical, science fiction, fantasy, or horror." Pays $30. 
Deadline: November 30, 2017. Submission guidelines here.


Ninth Letter is published semi-annually at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “We are interested in prose and poetry that experiment with form, narrative, and nontraditional subject matter, as well as more traditional literary work.”
Seeks submissions on theme of community for online edition. Submit up to three poems or one piece of short prose (fiction or nonfiction) of up to 3,500 words; also include a cover letter that briefly explains how you see your work connecting to the theme. Pays $25 per poem or $75 for a story or essay. Deadline November 5, 2017
Also seeks short fiction for print edition. Pays $25 per printed page. Deadline November 30, 2017
And seeks poetry and essays for print edition. Pays $25 per printed page. Deadline February 28, 2018
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, Saint John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Exploring Creative Writing course, Feb 2 – March 23, in Toronto

Exploring Creative Writing
9 weeks discovering your creative side
Friday afternoons, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
February 2 – March 23, 2018
Glenview Church , Bethlehem Room, 1 Glenview Ave, Toronto, Ontario (Map here)
Note: This course is also offered in Oakville. See here.

This is your chance to take up writing in a warm, supportive environment. We’ll explore writing short stories and writing true stories, writing in first person and in third person, writing technique and getting creative, getting down your very best writing and just for fun writing.
The class has the same format as "Welcome to Creative Writing," but we look at different aspects of writing. With either course, you 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.

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. 
Read reviews of Brian's introductory creative writing course here, and see other reviews here.(And scroll down.)

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

See Brian’s complete current schedule hereincluding 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.