Saturday, November 17, 2018

Writing Kid Lit, Picture Books to Young Adult, Thursday evenings, Jan 24 – March 28, in Oakville

The Unmasked Truth, a YA novel by
Kelley Armstrong, a New York Times #1
bestselling author and one of Brian's students

The Oakville Public Library presents…
Writing Kid Lit
 ~ Picture Books to Young Adult
Thursday evenings, 6:30 – 8:30
January 24 – March 28 (No class March 14)
Oakville Central Library, Auditorium, 120 Navy Street, Oakville, Ontario (Map here)
See details of all five courses offered this winter, Introductory to Intensive, 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 and 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 Returnsand A Different Kind of Beauty which won and were nominated for many children’s choice awards. Her 2015 YA novel Best Friends Through Eternity tells the story of an adopted Chinese teen for whom an ill-fated shortcut along a rail track leads to the discovery of some uncomfortable truths. 
In 2017, Sylvia launched 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, (read more about Half-Truths here);  Why We Live Where We Live (more here);   Growing Up: Inside and Out, (nominated for on Ontario Library Association 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).
Kira lives in Guelph, Ontario. 

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 a review of Brian's Writing Kid Lit course here. Read more reviews of Brian's weekly classes, Saturday workshops, and weekend retreats here (and scroll down).

Course fee:  $176.11 plus 13% hst = $199
To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

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.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Immortal Water by Brian Van Norman, reviewed by Pat Girard


Guernica Editions, 2018, 360 pages. Available in Trade Paperback, ePub or Kindle from Guernica here. For information about submitting to Guernica, see here.

Immortal Water is a striking portrayal of the very human fear of aging. The novel depicts two men from two time periods: the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon in the 16th Century and a retired teacher named Ross Porter, in the 21st, both in the midst of mid-life crisis. 

In parallel plots the two men become obsessed with a search for the mythical Fountain of Youth. These protagonists sparkle into fullness as they struggle to remain vital while age steals their powers away.

Exiled by Diego Colon (Viceroy of the Spanish Indies) Juan Ponce attempts to recover his youth and regain his powers politically. He follows a mystic native woman, Mayaimi, who tells him she will lead him to a magical water in the land of her birth La Florida. As he voyages toward his destination Juan Ponce keeps a journal, writing about his past, wondering how he has failed.

Author Brian Van Norman at his book
launch in Waterloo
Ross Porter visits Florida in retirement with his wife, Emily. Ross feels too young to have retired. His wife is dying from an incurable cancer. Ross reflects on his past, fearful of his future alone. When Emily dies he mistakes her last words as a sign. He decides, against all logic, to find the fabled Fountain of Youth disrupting friendships and family with his obsession. 

He, too, is led by a woman: a young, free spirited Angela Sayer who wants to become an eco-tourism guide through Florida’s wild, untamed places.

Immortal Water is poetic, intelligent and timely. Its theme reflects the fears of so many middle-aged individuals in our current society where youth is venerated. With an elegant, convincing style Van Norman leads his readers on a magical journey.

Visit the author’s website here.

See Brian Henry’s 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, November 14, 2018

Sign up early to save: Algonquin Park Writing Retreat at Arowhon Pines Resort, May 31 – June 3



Algonquin Park Writing Retreat
Friday, May 31 – Monday, June 3, 2019
Arowhon Pines Resort, Arowhon Pines Rd, Little Joe Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada
Note: Sign up now and save. Come January 1, 2019, the rates at Arowhon go up. Sign up now and get the 2018 rates.

Give yourself a long weekend of writing time – a weekend of instruction, inspiration and creativity. Award yourself with time away from distractions, with no dishes to do and wonderful food at every  meal, as you sit with your feet up and write in the most beautiful wilderness setting in Ontario. This is where the Group of Seven got its inspiration (Tom Thompson is buried just a couple of lakes over); it’s a wonderful place for you to find your inspiration, too.
The retreat will feature both instruction and guided writing exercises, plus one-on-one critiquing and coaching from Brian.  You’ll also have lots of time to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with your creativity. 
All writing levels welcome. Whether you are just beginning or have a novel in progress, please join us. 
The setting: Arowhon Pines is a peaceful, quiet resort nestled in the woods on Little Joe Lake inside Algonquin Park. There are no motorboats on the lake, except for the resort’s own pontoon boat which takes guests on occasional wildlife tours.
The resort is without TV and is far from the roar of traffic. The cry of a loon is the loudest noise you’re likely to hear all day.
Rates include charming accommodation (cabins have a mix of queen beds for one person or couples or twin beds for two people rooming together; rooms also have private bathrooms and each cabin has a lounge with fireplace to share with your fellow writers). 
Three all-you-can-eat gourmet meals per day are provided, featuring an abundance of fresh food prepared by master chefs and an inspired kitchen staff. (Bring your own wine or beer!)
All activities included. When you’re not writing, or for spouses who accompany you, there is plenty to do: canoe or kayak a series of lakes or hike trails to see wildlife (moose, loons, beaver, turtles, fox, deer), swim in the lake, sail, stand up paddleboard, play tennis, relax. For indoor activities there is a games room with table tennis, shuffleboard, books, board games. Your stay also includes access to all Algonquin Park programs and activities including a car pass for you to fully enjoy the park.

Check-in isn’t until 3 p.m., but guests can arrive in the morning to fully take advantage of the facilities (though the meals included in your package don’t begin until after check-in time, so lunch on Friday is extra if you arrive early). Each guest can borrow a day pass for Algonquin Park. The formal retreat will begin late Friday afternoon. On Monday, we'll have our last formal get-together at 11 a.m., ending at 12 noon. Check out time is at 1 p.m.  Most guests have lunch while the bellhops load the car. But once you’ve had lunch, don’t feel you have to rush off!
Participants are welcome to bring spouses, partners or friends, as there will be plenty to do while you’re writing – canoeing, kayaking or sailing, swimming if warm enough, tennis, reading and just plain resting and unwinding, enjoying the wilderness.

Read about a stay at Arowhon Pines 
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.
Read reviews of previous writing retreats at Arowhon Pines here (and scroll down). 
To see more reviews of Brian’s weekly courses and Saturday workshops, see 
here

Seminar fee:
For the full 4-day, 3-night retreat: $185.84 plus hst = $210
If you arrange in advance to stay for one day less, the fee is:  $132.74 plus hst = $150
Book early – space is limited! Full receipts issued.
For more information or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Accommodation fee (including accommodation and food, plus use of all the resort’s facilities) if you sign up before January 1, 2019: 
$ 243 per person per night double-occupancy ($486 per couple)
OR
$ 304 per night single-occupancy.
Plus 15% service charge (in lieu of tipping), then plus 13% hst.

After January 1, 2019:
$ 255 per person per night double occupancy ($510 per couple)
OR
$ 319 per night single occupancy
Plus 15% service charge (in lieu of tipping), then plus 13% hst.

Book early – space is limited! Full receipts issued.

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

Who can attend the retreat?
Everyone interested in developing their writing skills is welcome to attend, whether you're aspiring writer or an accomplished author or simply enjoy writing as a hobby. There is no requirement for you to have been previously published or even to have an intention to publish.

I'm a poet / playwright / other writer. Is this retreat for me?
The retreat is open to anyone who enjoys writing. Instruction will focus on narrative writing; i.e., stories, whether fiction or memoir. But if you’re an essayist or poet or whatever, you’re entirely welcome.

Should I bring my work in progress?
Yes, if you have an on-going writing project, bring it with you! If you’re not currently working on anything, don’t worry, we’ll get you writing.

Should I bring my laptop?
Yes, if you prefer to work on your laptop. If you prefer to work on paper bring that.

Can you cater to specific dietary requirements?
Yes, just let the staff at Arowhon Pines know beforehand about your needs.

I want to stay longer or arrive early. Is it possible to do that?
If you want to arrive early and stay longer, that is fine. Just arrange it with the resort. There is plenty to see and do in the park, and Arowhon Pines is a lovely place to base from.  Arowhon will keep the same rate throughout your stay.

Is there cell phone reception and WIFI?
Arowhon Pines is an island of luxury, but in the midst of wilderness, so no cell phone reception and no WIFI, though there are landlines and there’s access to the resort’s Internet connection. (Contact the resort for details.) But be sure to have your writing projects on your laptop when you come, not stored in the Cloud.

How about alcohol?
Arowhon doesn’t serve alcohol, but guests are welcome to bring their own wine, beer or whatever to have with meals or back at your cabin or wherever. (Though do note that Hemingway’s advice to write drunk, mostly produces drivel.)

Can I bring my spouse (or partner or friend)?
Certainly. Just let them know you’ll be spending most of your time writing, (though you will have some free time every day), and make sure they enjoy superb food, beautiful wilderness, and relaxing on the deck or the dock or out on a canoe as they glide past a moose munching on water lilies….

For more information or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca 
To book your accommodation at Arowhon Pines, phone toll free: 1-866-633-5661
Or you can book on-line here~ But be sure to also phone and tell them you're with the writing retreat!

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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Two senior literary agents at JABberwocky seek new authors – sf/fantasy, mystery/thrillers, literary fiction, adult, YA and middle grade


JABberwocky Literary Agency
49 West 45th Street
12th Floor North
New York, NY  10036

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, and if you’re not yet on my newsletter list, send me an email, including your locale to: brianhenry@sympatico.ca ~Brian


Joshua Bilmes is the president of JABberwocky, which he founded in 1994. He has been an agent for more than 30 years, having made his professional debut at the Scott Meredith Agency in 1986. Joshua is open to query letters.

Joshua wants to see fiction in sf/fantasy and mystery/thrillers, and will reject submissions in other categories.  He shies away from the more literary part of the sf/fantasy spectrum. If your project looks intriguing, but not in line with his personal tastes, he may share it with another agent in the office.

In nonfiction, he’s looking more broadly.
See his blog for more information.
Query Joshua at: queryjoshua@awfulagent.com
Send only a query letter; no manuscript pages until he asks, though a 1–3-page synopsis may be pasted in below the query but isn’t mandatory. No attachments.

Eddie Schneider is the Vice President of JABberwocky.
Eddie is looking for literary fiction,  particularly plot-driven fiction with a strong emotional core that goes beyond and outside middle-class concerns  endemic to literary fiction; for example A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki and Round House by Louise Erdrich.
He also wants science fiction, especially if it’s set in the near future and includes social or cultural commentary, and fantasy that’s set outside the northern European milieu in which the genre originated.
Eddie is also seeking Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction. His favourite YA novels “end to be both character- and concept-driven while embracing the intensity of emotion that characterizes the best YA fiction.” In Middle Grade, Eddie wants both contemporary realistic fiction and sci-fi and fantasy.
In nonfiction, Eddie is interested in science, history, and narrative nonfiction, particularly memoirs that take on issues that extend beyond the author’s own life, travel narratives that are socially engaged and possess an individual stamp, and in “nonfiction novels.”
Eddie is also looking for Graphic Novels and Comic. He’s only interested in author/artists or established author-artist teams. In graphic novels, he’s looking for both fiction and nonfiction, realistic or speculative and for adults, young adults or middle grade. For comics, he’s especially looking for submissions that are both humorous and incisive.
For more details of what Eddie is looking for, see here. Follow him on Twitter here.
Query Eddie at: queryeddie@awfulagent.com
Paste the first five pages of your manuscript into your email. A 1–3-page synopsis may be pasted in below this but isn’t mandatory. No attachments.

Children's author Kira Vermond will be one of the guest
speakers at the weekly Writing Kid Lit course
If you’re interested in getting published, soon or somewhere down the road, don’t miss the upcoming How to Get Published workshop Saturday, Nov 17, in Mississauga with literary agent Stephanie Sinclair (see here). 
For updated listing of How to Get Published workshops see here (and scroll down).

If you’re interested in writing for children or for young adults, Brian will lead a Writing Kid Lit weekly course on Thursday evenings, Jan 24 – March 28, at the Oakville Central Library (see here). 
For updated listings of Writing for Children & for Young adult workshops and for weekly Kid lit classes, see here (and scroll down). 

Also coming soon: How to Build Your Story: Plotting novels & Writing short stories, Saturday, Nov 24 in Alliston (see here) and Saturday, Jan 19 in Oakville (see here) and Secrets of Writing a Page-Turner, Saturday, Dec 1 in London (see here), and Saturday, Dec 8, in Guelph (see here).
 
Arowhon Pines Resort
 A weekend writing retreat:
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. Sign up soon to get the 2017 rates! Details here.

Winter courses (Details of all 5 classes here):
Exploring Creative Writing, Thursday afternoons, Jan 24 – April 5 (no class March 14), in Burlington. Details here.
Writing Kid Lit, Thursday evenings, Jan 24 – March 28 (no class March 14), in Oakville. Details here.
Intensive Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, Jan 22 – April 2 (no class March 12); first readings emailed Jan 15, in Burlington. Details here.
Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday evenings Jan 23 – April 3 (no class March 13); first readings emailed Jan 16, in Burlington. Details here.
Intensive Creative Writing, Friday mornings Jan 25 – April 5 / 12 (10 or 11 weeks, no class March 13); first readings emailed Jan 16, in Toronto. Details here.
            Details of all 5 classes here.

Read reviews of Brian’s courses, retreats, and workshops here.

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.

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.