Thursday, May 31, 2012

Carly Watters of P.S. Literary Agency seeks fiction, non-fiction, & children's books


"Women Up On Blocks" by Mary Akers,
one of Carly Watters clients

P.S. Literary Agency
20033 – 520 Kerr Street
Oakville, Ontario
L6K 3C7 CANADA
http://www.psliterary.com/

The P.S. Literary Agency is a newcomer to the agenting world, having been established by Curtis Russell in 2005.  It's located in Oakville (a suburb of Toronto) and represents commercial fiction and non-fiction. It is also seeking literary fiction and crossover Young Adult fiction.

"P.S. seeks to work with clients who are professional and committed to their goals. It is our desire to work with clients for the duration of their careers. In addition to contract negotiations, editorial and marketing guidance, our commitment extends to post-publication in pursuing foreign, audio, digital, TV/film and serial rights. Our team attends major national and international industry conferences and travels periodically to New York City to network with top editors."

Carly Watters – Associate Agent
Carly represents a diverse list of fiction, non-fiction and children's authors including Mary Akers, Ian T Healy, Jay Onrait, and Colin Mochrie. Never without a book on hand, she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents, including literary and commercial fiction, upmarket nonfiction, YA and picture books.

Carly 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. She attends Book Expo America in New York, London Book Fair, and the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.

Note: Carly will be the guest speaker at the How to Get Published workshop Saturday, June 16, 2012, in Hamilton. Details here.

Curtis Russell – President & Principal Agent
Curtis began his publishing career nearly a decade ago as proprietor of a micro press. In 2005 he crossed to the other side of the desk and founded the P.S. Literary Agency. He has a wide-ranging and diverse client list, and is interested in discovering writers with unique ideas, no matter what the category.

Curtis is currently acquiring both fiction and nonfiction. In terms of fiction, he is seeking Literary, Commercial mainstream, Women's fiction, Chick lit, Romance, Young Adult/Middle Grade and Mysteries & Thrillers. In terms of nonfiction, he is looking for Business, History, Politics, Current Affairs, Gambling and Health & Fitness. He does not represent poetry or screenplays.

Submissions:
Query by mail or email: query@psliterary.com 
No attachments unless specifically requested.  Limit your query to one page and include...
Paragraph One – Introduction: Include the title and category of your work (i.e. fiction or nonfiction and topic), an estimated word count and a brief, general introduction. 
Paragraph Two – Mini-synopsis: A concise summary or overview of your work. 
Paragraph Three – Writer’s bio: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background (awards and affiliations, etc.). 
Full submission requirements here. 

Brian Henry will lead a "Writing for Children and for Young Adults" workshop in Oakville, this Saturday, June 2, 2012 (see here).

Brian will also lead "How to Get Published" workshops on Saturday, June 9, in Brampton with Monica Pacheco of The Anne McDermid literary agency (see here), and on Saturday, June 16, in Hamilton with Carly Watters of P.S. Literary Agency (see here).

See Brian's full schedule here, including creative writing courses and writing workshops in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Orillia, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario, and beyond.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cape Town by Brenda Hammond


Hi Brian,
Last time we met at your memoir-writing workshop in Kingston, you asked me to let you know when my new YA novel, Cape Town, was due to hit the shelves. Well, tomorrow's the day!
Best wishes,
Brenda Hammond
In 1989, South Africa is on the brink of dramatic change. Oblivious and unaffected, Renee Pretorius, daughter of strict Afrikaans parents, leaves her beloved Karoo farm in order to pursue her dream to study ballet at the University of Cape Town. 

Plunged into the turmoil of life in a city gripped by the struggle for freedom, Renee begins to understand the horrific impact of the apartheid system, and the racial prejudices she never questioned while growing up. 

When Renee falls in love with a student activist, she's forced to make the most heart-wrenching choice of her life.

"A fascinating novel.” - Helen Norrie, The Winnipeg Free Press

Publisher: Great Plains Publications, publisher of teen fiction, novels and short story collections, and non-fiction. More hereCape Town is available on-line here.

See Brian's full schedule here, including creative writing courses and writing workshops in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario, and beyond.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Magazines and contests seek fiction, poetry, essays, creative non-fiction, and fake news; deadlines June 15, June 19 and July 1


Room magazine (Vancouver) is currently accepting submissions for its 2012 Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Non-Fiction Contest. Prizes: $2250 (total), plus publication. Open to women writers. Deadline: June 15, 2012. Entry fee: $30 (includes subscription).

Online, quarterly publication The Puritan (Toronto) is seeking fiction, poetry, interviews, and reviews for Issue 18: Summer 2012. Deadline: June 15, 2012.

Highbrau Magazine (online, Canada) is looking for submissions on the theme of 'Love and Struggle' for the upcoming 6th issue. Welcomes argument, essay, poetry, fiction, art, and fake news. Length: 750-3000 words. Deadline: June 19, 2012.

Matrix Magazine (Concordia University, Montreal) is searching for poetry and short fiction submissions to the 2012 Litpop Awards. Prize: trip to POP Montreal Festival plus publication. Entry fee $25. Full contest rules here. Deadline: July 1, 2012.
For information about all the annual writing contests in Canada, order the Canadian Writers' Contest Calendar, just $23.50 including all taxes and shipping. For details, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See Brian Henry's  schedule here, including creative writing courses and writing workshops in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario, and beyond.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Freedom Bound by Jean Rae Baxter, reviewed by Shauna Freemantle, Age 14


Ronsdale Press, 256 pp; $11.95
From the National Post 

Freedom Bound by Jean Rae Baxter was an incredible conclusion to the author’s bestselling trilogy which captivated my imagination. From the first line in the story, you become intrigued by young Charlotte Shcyler’s story.

At 18 years old, Charlotte is sailing from Canada to join her new husband, Nick in Charleston where the American Revolution rages on. From the moment Charlotte steps off the putrid, filth-ridden ship, she is met with challenges. From rescuing Nick from an alligator infested swamp to setting two slaves she has befriended free, Charlotte is an impeccably strong character.

This novel’s 256 pages are filled to the brim with not only historical details that touch on slavery, battles, and more, but are also full of creative flair from the author. Described with great accuracy and detail is a troubled time in an even more troubled place, every citizen divided by race, gender, age and most importantly, whether you were Loyalist or Patriot. Baxter’s stellar novel gets 5 out of 5 stars from me!

Jean Rae Baxter will the guest speaker at the “You can write great characters” workshop on Saturday, June 23, in Guelph. Details here.

See Brian's full schedule here, including creative writing courses and writing workshops in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario, and beyond. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Now or Never Publishing


Now or Never Publishing
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Now or Never is a small literary publisher with attitude, located in Vancouver and accepting submissions from Canadian authors wherever they may be. Here’s what they have to say for themselves:

Okay, so we’re ready to start looking at book submissions again. But we expect to fall behind almost immediately, so before you send anything, please make sure you’ve looked at (and maybe even read!) our other books.

As this is the future we’ve all been eagerly anticipating, we now only accept 
email submissions. And so, with that in mind, send us whatever the hell you want. We will probably take forever to respond, and we do apologize for that. However, if you’re still interested, please send us the complete manuscript; it’s tough to consider sample chapters or poems when you’re just not that bright. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks for letting us see your work.

Again, though, no snail mail. We really can’t stress that enough. Our office is tiny, messy, and poorly managed at the best of times. Oh yeah, and we’re apparently a “literary publisher interested in contemporary Canadian fiction and poetry,” whatever the heck that means. It probably means that, at present, we only consider work by Canadian authors. So there.

Email submissions to Chris Needham, Publisher: chris@nonpublishing.com
Full submission guidelines here.

Brian Henry will lead "How to Get Published" workshops on Saturday, June 9, in Brampton with Monica Pacheco of The Anne McDermid literary agency (see here), and on Saturday, June 16, in Hamilton with Carly Watters of P.S. Literary Agency (see here).

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chestnut Publishing seeks books for reluctant readers


Chestnut Publishing
4005 Bayview Ave.
Suite 610
Toronto, ON  M2M 3Z9

Chestnut Publishing offers a wide variety of books, especially for reluctant and struggling readers. Chestnut publishes books under a variety of imprints, including High Interest Publishing, which offers novels that are specifically written, edited and designed for reluctant readers from ages 8 to 18. For some students these are the first books they will ever read from cover to cover.

Submissions:
“If there is an area of study that you feel is not well served by the materials currently available and where the Chestnut Publishing Group can fill the void, let us know what it is and we will respond. Even more important, if you have a publishing idea or proposal, share it with us.

"If you have a publishing idea and are interested in becoming an author, contact out Vice President Editorial, Jim Black. He by can be reached by email at jimwblack@gmail.com 

"If you have produced a hard-copy prospectus or sample draft materials, they can be sent to Jim by regular mail. Jim will respond with dispatch and enthusiasm. We hope to hear from you."

Full submission guideline here.

 Brian Henry will lead a "Writing for Children and for Young Adults" workshop in Oakville on June 2 (see here).

Brian will also lead "How to Get Published" workshops on Saturday, June 9, in Brampton with Monica Pacheco of The Anne McDermid literary agency (see here), and on Saturday, June 16, in Hamilton with Carly Watters of P.S. Literary Agency (see here).

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Next Step in Creative Writing course, Georgetown, Ontario, Sept 20 – Dec 6


The Next Step in Creative Writing
12 weeks of creative growth
Thursday evenings, 6:45– 9:00 p.m.
Sept 20 – Dec 6, 2012
St. Alban's Church, 537 Main Street, Georgetown, Ontario 
(in the village of Glen Williams – Map here.)

This course will challenge you to take a step up in your writing.  The format will be similar to the  "Intensive" courses, but with less reading between classes each week, leaving you with more writing time.  


Over the twelve weeks of classes, you’ll be asked to bring in five pieces of your writing for detailed feedback. All your pieces may be from the same work, such as a novel in progress, or they may be stand alone pieces. You bring whatever you want to work on. 

Besides critiquing pieces, the instructor will give short lectures at the start of each class, addressing the needs of the group.
 

In addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that 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 challenging course, but extremely rewarding.
 

Instructor
 
Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing teacher for more than 25 years. He teaches at Ryerson University and has led writing workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Charlottetown. But his proudest boast is that he's helped many of his students get published.

Fee: $160.80 13% hst = $193.  Payment in advance by mail or e-transfer.
Note: These courses fill up, so enroll early to avoid disappointment.


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

See Brian's full schedule here, including creative writing courses and writing workshops in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario, and beyond.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Arborealis Prize for Poetry


The Ontario Poetry Society is accepting entries from Canadian poets for The Arborealis Prize for Poetry 2012. First prize: $250. Selected poems to be published in an anthology. Entries should be in the people poet's tradition. 

Deadline: July 31, 2012

Entry fee: $15 for 3 poems. All prize-winning entries plus up to 60 additional runners-up will published in Arorealis, our perfect-bound anthology of contemporary Canadian poetry. All poets whose work is selected for the book will receive one free copy of the anthology. 

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A new racism in our kids' schools


On May 5, an American, Tim Wise, was a keynote speaker at the Toronto District School Board’s  (TDSB’s) Futures Conference on Equity and Inclusive Education.

Wise is a card-carrying member of the American far left who doesn’t believe Israel has any right to exist. Moreover, he frequently writes for the far left magazine Counterpunch. 

This magazine also publishes articles by the Holocaust denier Israel Shamir, by Gilad Atzmon who suggests that “maybe Hitler was right,” and by James Petras who believes that the “Zionist power configuration” controls America.

Strange company for a man who calls himself an anti-racist. But in truth, Wise’s mission is to emphasize racial divisions, not bridge them, and on May 5, he lectured Canadian teachers about the evils of “white privilege.”

In his essays, Wise explains white privilege thus: “The concept is rooted in the common-sense observation that there can be no down without an up.” Or if blacks are underprivileged, whites must be “overprivileged.”

To illustrate, Wise gives a laundry list of supposed white privileges, including “not having to worry about triggering negative stereotypes, rarely having to feel out of place, not having to worry about racial profiling, etc.”

Note that these privileges are defined negatively. Obviously, stereotyping is wrong. But how does not being stereotyped amount to a privilege? Or if blacks are deprived of dignity, are we to understand that whites must have too much of it, as if there’s just so much human dignity to go around?

Of course some people do come from a privileged background. I’d say that President Obama’s kids have a leg up on most people – and good for them! Life’s too short to worry about other people’s luck.

But the notion of white privilege is disconnected from any actual privilege. The claim is that ordinary, fair-minded and hardworking Canadians have more than they deserve – but only if they’re white.

A poor white kid with a single mom on welfare may not have breakfast, but theoretically he has a whole knapsack of privileges: male privilege, hetero privilege, ablest privilege – you name it.

Theorists of privilege fall into such absurdities because they discard individuals and see only groups; thus if some whites have been racists, all whites – you, me and our grand kids – are accountable for it.

So, for example, in “Of National Lies and Racial America,” Wise writes: “For most white folks, indignation just doesn’t wear well.”

Why? Because whites are morally compromised by the “genocide of indigenous persons, and the enslavement of Africans.” Obviously, no whites living today committed these crimes but other white people did and so, by the raced-based logic of privilege, whites today bear the responsibility.

Unfortunately, inviting Wise isn’t a one off for the Toronto District School Board. Much worse, the Board incorporates the notion of privilege into the curriculum with learning resources such as the “GLSEN Jump Start Guide: Examining Power, Privilege and Oppression.”

The literature on white privilege notes that students resist the concept. Sociologists Dan Pence and Arthur Fields write: “White students often react to in-class discussions about white privilege with a continuum of behaviors ranging from outright hostility to a ‘wall of silence.’"

Pence and Fields never consider that the students may correctly perceive themselves to be under racist attack.

The GLSEN guide recommended by the Toronto Board instructs teachers to solicit confessions from students about “the times that they have been oppressive or have used their privilege over someone else.”

Doubtless, our kids find it hard to come up with suitable sins. To help them, the guide gives an example: planning “a trip together without recognizing that one member of the group cannot afford to participate.”

That may not sound like oppression to me and you, but it’s all grist for teaching our kids that they’re part of a system of oppression that has produced every crime from slavery to genocide. The GLSEN guide observes that students may feel guilty. What a surprise!

Things may get worse. Professors at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and the departments of education at York and Ryerson universities are busily lecturing student teachers on the ideology of white privilege.

This hit the news back in 2010 when the media noticed that OISE had granted a student a master’s degree for a thesis denouncing Jews as privileged and racist and Holocaust education as a Zionist plot. (Read the Toronto Star's report on the scandal here, Werner Cohn's essay here, and his follow-ups here.)

It should come as no surprise that theorists who divides people into oppressed and oppressor groups, into good races and bad should put Jews in the bad column, particularly as the further to the left one goes, the more common it is to find people examining race through the lens of oppression and privilege.

As a parent of two kids in a Toronto public school, I'm glad to say that Toronto School Board truly does support equality for all our students, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation – and usually gets things right (though certainly not always). But because it does  support equality, the Board must expel the notion of white privilege.


P.S. If Tim Wise has ever given two minutes thought to Canada, it’s not evident from his writings, but no one should doubt his talents as a speaker. At the TDSB’s Futures Conference, he reportedly compared being a person of colour to a disability, castigated Canadians for pervasive racism, and received a standing ovation. 

You can read a report on his talk here. Also, it was Richard K over at Eye on a Crazy Planet who broke the story about Tim Wise speaking at the TDSB's Future's Conference. Be sure to read his original piece here.

A slightly shorter version of this piece was originally published in the Jewish Tribune and on Harry's Place in Britain. To read more of my opinion pieces, visit my other blog here.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato, reviewed by Charlene Jones


St. Martin's Press, 2011; 380 pages $16.99

If you’re not a picky reader you’ll find The Daughter of Siena a page-turner. But, alas, for readers like me, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and when it comes to reading fiction, it’s also a distracting thing.

Although the story of The Daughter of Siena rings with  intrigue, with a love readers recognize as destined to unfold in spite of horrible happenings to our heroine, a few details distract.
  
New born babies for instance. The author of The Daughter of Siena, Marina Fiorato has her Medici royalty, the otherwise very interesting and historically correct Violante de Medici pouring motherʼs milk into the mouths of her newborn twin boys. Distraction!

Newborn babies do not suckle on nipples ready to spill mommaʼs milk. That takes three days, as colostrums, a thin white substance filled to overflowing with immune-building stuff drips out first. Yes, drips. Often new parents have to express the colostrums into a spoon and then drip it from a syringe into the tiny babyʼs open mouth. Bliss for baby!

Never mind. Letʼs enter the world of Siena in the early sixteenth century and keep turning pages. Until that is Fiorato does it again. This time it’s horses. My family raised horses. Iʼve been around horses most of my life. They do not ever respond well to being eye-balled, even if you blind their wide vision. The reason is the great mare who heads each herd uses direct eye contact to signal punishment to any member. The punishment requires the horse must leave the herd for a short time. Banished! Exiled!

Only when the mare lowers her eyes in response to the gentle, direct eye contact of the offender, is he or she allowed back. Horses are deeply social animals. To be left outside their herd for even a short time is big punishment.

If you stare into the eyes of a horse, therefore, he or she will try to back up, will skit and skirt around because direct eye contact signals they have done something wrong and something bad is going to happen.

Thatʼs the trouble with a little knowledge, bits of trivia about the world. It can get in the way when reading an otherwise satisfying book, such as The Daughter of Siena. One is pushed from the entertainment, one rises from it, distracted, rather like a fly on fresh meringue. Now, is it possible to have a fly, which weighs a certain amount, on top of meringue?

I donʼt know the answer to that and canʼt be expected to, just as I must not expect writers to have all details of every bit of life at the drip of an ink pen. However, writers must have details of all their characters in place throughout the book. Fiorato on page 42 states unequivocally: “In fact the horseman didnʼt remember a time when he had ever been afraid.” 

A few pages later when we know the handsome horseman as Riccardo Bruni, Fiorato writes with flourish: “Riccardo, his knees giving way with fear, allowed himself to be dragged away” (p.115). She continues: “Ricardo threw up again and again into the ashes, and as he emptied his stomach on to the razed ground he vowed never to be afraid again” (p116).

Call me picky, but I like consistency in my characters. If you tell me on p 42 someone has never been afraid, Iʼll buy in. Iʼm gullible. I want to believe. I want that character to never have felt fear. Then, if you tell me on page 115 and 116 heʼs throwing up with fear, I lose confidence. It makes the rest of the story feel less authentic.

I did finish the book. I finished it in part to be able to write this review. I pushed past the description of starlings that fly up in the sky over and over and over again. I read past the use of the word “gainsay” as in quarrel or disagree with, three times through about twenty pages.

I pushed past because the book has one quality of really good writing: a great story. The accurate history of Violante de Medici, her unrequited love, her determination to create a more stable city out of Siena, and especially the intrigue involving a yearly horse race, makes for a good page turning experience. The historicity of Siena in the early 1500ʼs reads in a compelling, fascinating manner.

I understand not all editors know everything and therefore some details of horse sense, and babies at the breast escape notice. My question is how editors and writer alike might miss the inconsistency of the character Riccardo Bruni, and the repetition of starlings. But then, perhaps I am too easily distracted by a little knowledge and too ready to gainsay.

Charlene Jones has two books of poetry to her credit, as well as several individual poems published in many North American magazines, and is at work on her first novel. In addition, Charlene writes for the Musselman’s Lake Residents Association website (here), is the Musselman Lake Correspondent for the Stouffville Free Press. You can read some of Charlene’s poetry here and here, her review of R.D. Cain’s Cherry Beach Express here, and a short essay here.

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.