Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Next Step in Creative Writing weekly course, April 4 – June 20, Georgetown

The Georgetown Wordsmiths present...
The Next Step in Creative Writing
12 weeks of creative growth
Thursday evenings, 6:45– 9:00 p.m.
April 4 – June 20, 2013
St. Alban's Church, 537 Main Street, Georgetown, Ontario
In the village of Glen Williams – Map here.

Note: You can also take this class Wednesday afternoons in Mississauga. Details 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.

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: $181.42 + 13% hst = $205.  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:

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses 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, January 29, 2013

Love Letters: Where your fellow writers are getting published

I hope all is well with you. I am pleased to tell you that the Globe ran my article today under the Travel - Tripping section. 
I hasten to add that the title was not my idea! I had a discreet "Tryst with a Buffalo" but it was changed to their rather cruder, "You gotta pee in the Serengeti, you gotta get past me." 
Also, my "fifteen feet" was changed to "six metres." I dont think in the metric system when I am being chased by a buffalo!
You can read Prabha’s piece here.
The Globe and Mail invites submissions for its Tripping column. This is a chance for readers to share their adventures – those times when, far from what’s familiar, you must improvise in the midst of a wild travel moment. They are the stories you can’t wait to tell when you get home.To share your 500-word travel adventure, email it to:

Hi, Brian.
Happy New Year and all that! That was a lovely review of Shades of Teale (here). I appreciate Francine's efforts very much!
By the way, I mention Shades of Teale in an upcoming interview I did for the Oprah Winfrey Network'S "Life Story Project!" My episode will be airing February 13 at 9:00 pm on OWN. (They also put a shot of me hugging the interviewer in the show promo. You can watch the promo here.

Hi, Brian.
Connie Cook also had a story
published on CommuterLit
this month. Read her story,
"Fish Girl" here.
Happy New Year!
I received a note from CommuterLit that they’re publishing my story "BEEP!" This is the second story of mine that they’ve posted.
Susan McCrae
Read Susan’s story here.
For information on submitting to CommuterLit, see here.

Hi, Brian.
I wanted to update you on recent happenings. Last year, I was a finalist in the Romance Writers’ of America’s  Golden Heart contest, and this year I was first runner up in the Unpublished Daphne du Maurier Contest.
I also won the 2012 Valley Forge RWA’s Sheila Contest, the Denver RWA’s Unsinkable Molly Contest, I found out I also won the Molly! Plus I just found out I won the Gold Ticket round in the Toronto RWA’s Catherine Contest. The category winners were judged by Kristin Nelson, and I was the final winner. I now have my manuscript read by – get this – Kelley Armstrong. She's to critique my first 3 chapters.
It's been a great year, and the best part is I have a New York agent requesting my story. Keeping fingers crossed!
Take good care, Brian. And thanks again for the encouragement along the way!

Hi, Brian.
I hope all is well with you. I notified you before that my contest entry "The Visit" was selected by Marco Polo magazine as part of their 100x500 contest. A couple of entries, including mine, were published before the contest closed. 
You were kind enough to include a link on your site, thanks.
I was quite surprised to find out that only 24 stories were accepted, so I feel quite honoured.
Nancy Boyce
Read Nancy’s story here.
For information about Marco Polo magazine, see here.

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses 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.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Branch magazine seeks prose & poetry; YAP seeks prose and visual arts from 14 – 24-year-olds in Kingston area

Branch Magazine (Manitoba & Quebec) is open to submissions in English or French from Canadian writers. Theme: Mythology. Accepts open-form poetry and prose. Length: 100 – 1,500 words. Submit three pieces max. Deadline: March 1, 2013.

Hello, Brian.
I am the project manager for a Kingston and surrounding area community project YAP (Youth Anthology Project) to publish an anthology of written and artistic work from writers and artists aged 14-24.

We're looking for submissions of Poetry, Short Pieces of Writing (Stories, Flash Fiction, Interviews, Memoirs, Articles, etc.), Photography, Graphic Design, and Visual Art (copies or scans, not the originals) from creative individuals in Kingston, Ontario and the surrounding area, aged 14 to 24. 

All individuals accepted for publication will be asked to pay a fee of $15, which will contribute towards the costs of publishing the book, and will in return receive their author's copy at a discounted price. The retail price of the book in local stores will be $20.

The submission deadline is February 28th, 2013. The book launch will be at Novel Idea bookstore.

Thank you so much for your time!
Hannah Ellsworth  

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses 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.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

“The Beach” a short story by Dean Manton

Betsy walks across the sand towards lookout station number three as quickly as her pounding head allows.

Shit, late again, she thinks, weaving her way through an obstacle course of lounge chairs, already scattered about for the day’s early arrivals. The sweet smell of sunscreen assaults her senses as she sidesteps a mound of beach umbrellas yet to be deployed.

A mom kneeling on a red plaid blanket slathers a little boy with white goo, the kid looks unimpressed. To her right, two more little angels sit blubbering as they wait the prescribed 15 minutes for the lotion to absorb into their delicate white skin. For most of these families a day at the beach is a once a year perk of working for a big corporation and a painful sunburn is a perennial souvenir.

Just make it through the day, Bets, she thinks as she approaches her station. An over-sized armchair is perched on top of a three meter metallic pole that’s as thick as a tree trunk.  It curves out at the bottom like a bar stool in a diner and riveted to a concrete base with bolts as big as her fist. The sour taste of what passes for gin in the New Coast coats her tongue and she yearns for coffee, water, hell anything wet and non-alcoholic.

A metal platform, two meters square with a handrail on either side rests on the concrete below the chair. Betsy steps one sandaled foot tentatively onto the gleaming surface and grabs the rail on her right.

The platform lurches up towards the chair with a loud whine, leaving Betsy’s stomach back on the ground. Arch your back, she thinks absentmindedly. Straighten your left leg and point your toe. Remember girls, a lifeguard always looks her best!

 The boarding routine is second nature to her by now. This is not her first season working in the Beach Dome and her training resonates in her thoughts, despite her nagging hangover. An orange plastic flotation device swings from the opposite rail as she comes to a sudden stop at the foot of the chair. Betsy turns, facing the water and slowly surveys her section. 

Fifty meters of shoreline on either side of her chair, beyond that more chairs and more sections. One and two on her left and sections four to ten on her right, a kilometer of beach and ten lifeguards to keep it safe. Only a few swimmers are in the water. It’s early yet. A line of floating white buoys marks the end of shallow bathing area and two hundred meters of crystal clear water beyond.

A perfect blue sky is projected onto the ceiling of the dome twenty meters above her. Two fluffy white clouds float by on a continuous loop, one big, one small. They’re old friends. Tiny waves lap rhythmically on the sandy shore. Ocean sounds play in the background of a canned music soundtrack that she knows by heart. Ancient surfing tunes from a bygone era.

“If everybody had an ocean, across the USA….,” Creepy how shit comes true, she thinks. They had no idea what was coming.

She tilts her head back and removes a pair dark, over-sized sunglasses. Eyes closed, her tanned face drinks in the soothing heat from the artificial sun. She had never actually seen the sun, artificial or otherwise, before she landed the job here two summers ago. A low ceiling of drab, grey, clouds, delivering constant drizzle having obscured the real sun from view for generations. 

One day of artificial sunlight every year is a pleasure reserved for wealthy or well-connected families. Twenty-four hours in a luxury hotel and a family day- pass to the beach dome is something she could only dream of as a child. Landing a job at the beach was like winning the sweeps, though today she doesn’t feel especially lucky to be here.

The echo of electronic dance music tethers her consciousness to the night before, her shift at the club lasting until the wee hours. It was quiet, only one customer all night but he just refused to leave! An older guy with dark, grey-flecked hair and weathered skin, different than the usual corporate assholes that frequented the place. This guy was well-dressed but made of a courser material. Something about him said, I’ve been on the road for a while, travelling, searching perhaps. He kept buying gin shots, rounds of two,

 “I don’t like to drink alone,” he said.

She had a feeling that alone was often the case however. She kept up with him shot for shot, waiting for the inevitable pick up line. It never came. He just sat there, dark mahogany eyes staring into her soul, asking the occasional question. 

Not the ones she usually got from tourists, husbands painting the town red, wives back at the hotel bedded down with the kiddies. Questions directed at her chest, always beginning with so. So… what’s your name sweetie? So… who do you have to screw to get a drink around here? 

Flashing her pearly whites, her well-rehearsed answers never missed a beat. No, these questions were more personal but at the same time careful not to cross the line, a friendly interrogation. Good cop and bad cop combined.

The screech of a nonexistent seagull drives an ice pick of pain into her skull. I hate that damn gull, she thinks as she takes her chair. It’s going to be a long day.

She presses her hand, palm down, on the touch-screen that’s attached to her left arm rest.

“Elizabeth Munroe,” she says in a monotone voice.

The console emits a musical chime and replies, “Elizabeth Monroe, section three, lifeguard,” in a pleasant female voice, “Time, oh eight hundred plus ten minutes, we currently have fifty nine days without a fatality. Have a nice day!”  

The words fifty-nine are in a different voice. Male, digital sounding, missing the whole point of the message, the updated number is automatically inserted at the beginning at each day provided a family didn’t return to the capitol minus one, the day before.

“Yeah whatever,” she says.

A slow trickle of tourists all searching for the perfect spot on the beach begins to fan out across the sand. A line of palm trees separates the beach from the Midway. Concession stands running along the rear wall of the dome offer food, drinks, beach toys, even t-shirts with a picture of your favourite life guard on the front, all to be had at sky-high prices. 

An arcade overflowing with privileged teens plays top forty at ear splitting decibels. Pubescent boys wearing tank tops and identical haircuts flex and preen before girls in microscopic sun dresses. The churning mass of hormones spills onto the boardwalk in front, the remainder spends their parent’s hard-earned wages on virtual entertainment inside.

Her touch screen chimes again and then flickers. The face of a girl appears. Smiling, tanned, early twenties, same sunglasses.

“Hey Bets,” she says, “late again, huh? What time did you work till last night?” she asks, not waiting for a reply. “You we’re still serving that guy when I left. Creep?”

Betsy finally gets a word in edgewise, “No, he was alright,” she says. “Good tipper.”

Charlie, also a lifeguard by day, bartender by night is the closest thing she has to a best friend on the coast.

“My table left pretty early,” she says. “Three rounds of shots, a round grab-ass, and then straight home to mommy!”

Charlie drags a knowing smile out of Betsy. Dealing diplomatically with drunk, horny patrons is part of the job description at the club. It’s a little hard to get used to at first but not a bad deal when you consider the tips.

A voice crackles over the PA system accompanied by a loud fanfare.

“Welcome to The Beach Dome, ladies and gentlemen, brought to you by Phoenix Corporation and The New Coast Visitors Board.”

Another cheesy fanfare and then the same voice,

“It’s time to introduce our lifeguards!”
Dean Manton is a freelance writer and real estate broker from Guelph Ontario. A contributor to the Guelph Review community newspaper, his bi-weekly column is called Real Estate with Dean. As a retired chef, he spends a good portion of his time creating decadent meals for his wife and two daughters. His interests in sustainable food include urban chicken ranching and gardening. Dean explores all things real estate in his blog,

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses 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.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How to Write Great Characters, Saturday, April 27, Mississauga

How to find and create great characters
Saturday, April 27, 2013
10 a.m. –  4 p.m.
Cawthra Park United Church, 1465 Leda Avenue, Mississauga, Ontario Parking off Garnet Ave.  Map here.

Whatever you're writing – fiction or nonfiction – readers will care about your story only if they care about your people. In this workshop, you'll learn techniques for creating fictional characters and depicting real people. You’ll learn how to breathe life into the page so that your characters start telling you how the story should go.

Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. But his proudest boast is that he's helped many of his students get published, including guest speaker Jean Rae Baxter…

Jean Rae Baxter has written six books. She's published two short story collections: A Twist of Malice and Scattered Light (Seraphim Press), three young adult historical novels, The Way Lies North, Broken Trail, and Freedom Bound (Ronsdale Press), and a literary murder mystery, Looking for Cardenio (Seraphim). Jean's books and short stories have won her many awards and critical recognition.

Fee: $38.94 + 13% hst = $44 paid in advance
or $42.48 + 13% hst =
$48 if you wait to pay at the door
To reserve your spot, email:

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses 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.

Friday, January 25, 2013

New agent at Canadian literary agency Transatlantic; TLA now has 5 literary agents looking for authors

Transatlantic Agency 
72 Glengowan Road
Toronto, ON M4N 1G4

Update, Feb 8, 2013: The Transatlantic Literary Agency has shortened their name to the Transatlantic Agency and has launched a new website here. Their email protocol also changes, to: 

Transatlantic Literary Agency has five literary agents who are looking for clients:

Fiona Kenshole is the newest member of the team, having just joined Transatlantic this month.  Fiona will represent children's authors from picture book to YA. She also represents illustrators. 

Fiona brings a lifetime of passion and experience of children’s and YA books: she was still just a teen when she started working in a children’s bookshop. After graduating with a Masters in English Literature from Cambridge University, she went on to spend 20 years as a senior publisher holding key positions in the UK, as Publishing Director at Oxford University Press Children’s Books, Deputy Managing Director of Hodder Children’s Books and Editorial Director at HarperCollins. Her authors have won or been nominated for every major British children’s literary award. Several have become million-copy bestsellers. Fiona was nominated for “Editor of the Year” at the British Book Awards.

Fiona has lectured widely on children’s books including at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and taught publishing to Masters degree students at Oxford Brookes University. She is herself a published author. She has organized children’s events for the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival. In 2004 she became Vice President of Development Acquisition at Laika Inc. She moved to the USA and spent several years creating a development slate of new projects for the animation studio. Fiona has worked with major directors and screenwriters, acquiring and adapting children’s books and original scripts into movies, including the Academy nominated “Coraline” and “Paranorman.” 

Query Fiona at: 

Include the first three chapters of your book and a full synopsis plus a short biography, pasted into the body of the email No attachments.
“I am happy to consider illustrators, but if you have artwork to show, please contact me in advance before sending it. I personally read everything that is sent and consider it carefully, so my current response time is 6 weeks. If you haven’t heard within that time, feel free to email me a reminder.

Meghan Macdonald has been with the Transatlantic Agency since 2009 and has been a part-time literary agent and publishing consultant since 2010, representing adult fiction and nonfiction projects, and exploring innovative digital publishing opportunities for the agency’s clients. 

Previously, she was Executive Assistant to David Grossman at the David Grossman Literary Agency in the UK. Her background in healthcare services (pharmacy) and academia (Classical Greece and Rome) has helped inform her tastes, especially with regard to non-fiction projects.

Her particular interests are in literary fiction, mystery novels, historical fiction (that has been impeccably researched but is still a fictional narrative), and persuasive and/or polemic non-fiction. She is also interested in scholarly non-fiction, particularly historical treatments, that are intelligent and accessible without being simplistic (examples are: Augustus by John Buchan, Apocalypse by Neil Faulkner, The Sea Kingdoms by Alistair Moffat, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea by Thomas Cahill, and Persian Fire by Tom Holland).

Meghan’s clients include Journey Prize finalists Kevin Hardcastle and Christine Fischer Guy, bestselling author Zander Sherman, Master Cicerone Mirella Amato, and Edmonton Journal books columnist Michael Hingston. 

Query Meghan at:
 Include your name and the title of the manuscript in the subject line (example: Query: John Smith - My Manuscript). Please send a 1-page cover letter in the body of the email and as an attachment, and attach a 1-page synopsis and the first 30-pages of the manuscript double-spaced, or thereabouts where a natural break occurs. Make sure all your attachments are free of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. I want to see a polished excerpt or manuscript, not your first draft."

Note: Meghan will be the guest speaker at How to Get Published, Saturday, May 4, 2013, in Barrie. See here

Samantha Haywood specialises in international publishing and has over 15 years’ experience selling primarily Canadian authors at home and abroad for volume publication and film/tv representation.  Samantha represents literary fiction, upmarket commercial fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels.

She’s particularly interested in literary thrillers and upmarket mystery, historical fiction, smart contemporary fiction, upmarket woman’s fiction (but not romance), and cross-over novels (but no young adult novels unless they have adult trade potential as well.

In non-fiction, Samantha prefers narrative non-fiction, especially on culturally relevant topics; such as investigative journalism, politics, women’s issues, memoirs (must be truly original or by well-known people), environmental issues, historical narratives handled in fresh ways, sexuality, and true crime with societal implications. She’s looking for a strong narrative drive and a distinctive voice at all times.

Graphic novels may be either fiction or non-fiction. Samantha prefers full-length graphic novels but will consider story collections. She also welcomes memoir, biography, travel narrative, and other non-fiction graphica.
Attach a writing sample (20 pages maximum), along with a publishing history and a synopsis.

Patricia Ocampo with author Kenneth Oppal and his wife
Philippa Sheppard

Patricia Ocampo represents children's authors. In her first position in publishing, Patricia Ocampo divided her time between the children’s editorial departments at HarperCollins US and HarperCollins Canada, working out of the Toronto office. Since 2008, she has worked in sales, both at HarperCollins and Hachette Book Group.

Patricia is interested in children’s books only (early readers, middle-grade, young adult). Picture books will only be considered by referral from another TLA client or if you have been previously published. Absolutely no poetry or verse.

Please email complete manuscripts in PDF to:
Submissions with only a summary or sample chapters will be immediately deleted. This applies to all submissions, not just picture books. The body of your email should include a short synopsis, your current place of residence, and an indication if it is a multiple or exclusive submission. Due to the volume of submissions received, further enquiries will be sent only for submissions being actively considered. If you have not received a reply within twelve weeks, you can assume there is no further interest.

Marie Campbell has worked in children’s publishing in London, UK, and in Toronto for more than 20 years. As an agent, she specializes in children’s writers, with a particular interest in middle-grade fiction. She is not actively acquiring new clients at this time but is open to concise query letters via email. No non-fiction or poetry collections.

Query Marie at:
 Highlight past publishing credits and/or referral from published authors/TLA clients. Do not submit further writing samples, either by post or email, until contacted. Due to the volume of submissions received, unsolicited manuscripts will not be returned. Replies will be sent only for submissions being actively considered.

Brian Henry will be leading "Writing for Children and for Young Adults" workshops in Hamilton on February 9 (details here) and in Guelph on April 13 (details here).

Also, Brian will lead "How to Get Published” workshops on March 16 in Peterborough (details here), Sun, March 17, in Kingston (see here), and Sat, May 4, in Barrie (see here). To register, email:

But probably the best single step you can take toward creating a manuscript that’s ready for publication is to join one of the “Next Step” or “Intensive” creative writing courses. Spaces are still available in the Next Step course this winter in on Thursday afternoons in Mississauga (details here) and Thursday evenings in Georgetown (details here). Email to inquire about Next Step and Intensive courses this spring in Mississauga, Georgetown and Burlington:

Relative beginners should look into Brian’s “Welcome to Creative Writing” course on Monday mornings in Georgetown (details here) or the “Writing Memoirs” course on Tuesday afternoons, starting January 29 in Burlington (details here).

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses 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.