Sunday, December 16, 2018

“A Piece of Peace” by Keri Wilby



I was thrilled when I was invited to write a review of the town of Port Rowan for Quick Brown Fox. I remember my children were not so thrilled about accompanying me the first time I visited the town, but too bad, I had nothing else to do with them anyway.

Port Rowan is a tiny spot on the map on the beautiful shores of Lake Erie. There are gorgeous beaches nearby including Turkey Point and Long Point and although there is no beachfront in Port Rowan itself, the town bustles as much as it can during the summer and sleeps like a bear during the winter.

As a peaceful, non-confrontational person by nature, I relish the idea of a quieter way of life with less stress. Give me a beautiful beach and lovely countryside and that’s heaven to me. I can’t say the same for my four city-loving children. At the beginning of this trip, it seemed their positivity disappeared as we exited the city limit.

From Burlington, the drive took us just over an hour and a half, with far less traffic headaches than the usual Muskoka turmoil.

Upon reaching Port Rowan, I immediately fell in love with the houses – century homes with lush gardens full of giant hydrangeas and every perennial imaginable. The kids were all too busy on their IPads and 3DS’s to notice.

The main strip in Port Rowan isn’t long; blinking is not recommended or you’ll miss it. I decided to park and venture on foot to get a better look at the shops’ offerings. The kids reluctantly disconnected from their devices and followed.

The town has four women’s clothing shops, one men’s shop, three antique shops, a drugstore, two candy and kid’s type stores, a small grocery store, an ice-cream parlour. It also has two restaurants – one a pizza shop, the other a sandwich shop. Not much to it, but personally, this was my kind of place. The women’s shops featured high quality casual clothes, and the prices were comparable to what you’d find in the city. And with Tillsonburg on one side and Simcoe on the other, it wouldn’t be a big deal to make a trip to stock up on anything that couldn’t be found in Port Rowan.


After window shopping and taking in the sights, my youngest son decided it was lunchtime. We walked down the street towards the water and spotted a restaurant called The Boathouse.

The restaurant offered a gorgeous view of the docks and an opportunity to sit on the patio or inside. We chose to sit outside and were pleasantly delighted with the selection on the menu. The kids ate their mozzarella sticks and asked for more and said the chicken strips were the best they had ever eaten. The bill was very reasonable too. Bonus.

After lunch we took a stroll down to the end of the pier to admire the shoreline. Apparently many painters set up their canvases each summer to recreate the scene. It is stunning.

The scent of fresh waffles made its way down to us at the water’s edge. We followed our noses and landed on the doorstep of Twins, a fantastic ice cream parlour with many, many flavor choices. I had the frozen yogurt with banana and pineapple. It was simply delicious on the homemade waffle cone.

Long Point
Piling back into the van, our stomachs full and the kids much happier than when they started on this journey, we travelled along the lakeshore to see what the other side of Long Point looked like.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a small community of cottages on the waterfront, with their own private beach. Farther along still, we found a small beautiful stone house that I would love to live in. Next door to that home was a big house with its own lighthouse with outbuildings in the back. A sign out front read: Off the Grid. That explained the windmills and solar panels all over the property.

We parked along Lakeshore and walked down a path to stretch our legs. The path led to a secluded beach area with more driftwood than I had ever seen. There were no people on this beach but a black lab ran over to us to greet us with tail wagging. Friendliest dog ever. I would have loved to take her home too.

We played with the dog and walked along the pebbled beach and splashed in the water. The kids found sea glass and special stones and everyone was happy. I felt peace.

We had a great family day visiting Port Rowan. I decided I’d happily pack my bags and buy one of those beautiful old homes when retirement became a reality – though I wasn’t sure the kids would want to join me in permanent residency outside the city. I might have to wait until they didn’t need me around as much. Until then, I’d put Port Rowan at the top of my list of wonderful spots to visit, especially during the summer. I highly recommend it.

Postscript
That first trip to Port Rowan was a few years back now. In the spring of 2017, we bought a little stone house in Port Rowan. It needs work but we’ll tackle that piece by piece. For now, we’ll pack up the kids and three dogs as often as we can and take the quick trip to our happy place. Someday, waking up to the view of the lake every morning will be our reality.

Keri Wilby has four wonderful children and lives in Burlington where she helps manage her husband’s tree care business. She loves writing, painting and gardening. Her education in Creative Advertising in college has helped her promote her family landscape business as well as her husband’s business. Her dream for the present and future is to help her children fulfill their own dreams, to live in Port Rowan and to write a book … someday.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including 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.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Writing With Style workshop, Saturday, Feb 23, in Waterloo


Writing With Style
Saturday, February 23, 2019
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Waterloo Regional Police Station, Community Room
45 Columbia St. E. Waterloo, 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.

Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Saint John. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get published.
See reviews of Brian’s weekly courses, weekend retreats and Saturday workshops here

Fee: $37.17 + hst = $42 paid in advance or $39.82 + hst = $45 if you wait to pay at the door
To reserve a spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See Brian’s complete current schedule here, including 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.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Two agents at Wolfson Literary seek young adult and adult fiction and narrative nonfiction

Bright We Burn by Kiersten White,
represented by Wolfson Literary
Wolfson Literary Agency
P.O. Box 266
New York, NY  10276

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

Wolfson Literary Agency was founded in December 2007 by Michelle Wolfson who has recently been joined by Amy Strapp. Like all new agents, they need authors.

Michelle Wolfson is actively seeking authors of commercial fiction in the following categories: young adult, mainstream, women’s fiction, romance, suspense, and thrillers. She is drawn to well-written material with strong, interesting characters.
Michelle holds a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from New York University. Prior to forming her own agency, Michelle spent four years working at other literary agencies. Before that, she spent several years working outside of publishing, in non-profit and then finance, and she brings the skills she learned there plus a lifetime love of reading to the table as an agent. She Tweets here.

Query Michelle at: query@wolfsonliterary.com
Put Query: Your Title in the subject line and paste the first five pages into the body of your email. No attachments. Full submission guidelines here.


Amy Stapp received her BA from Samford University and MA from Georgia State University before beginning her publishing career at Macmillan, where she was an editor for seven years and had the privilege of working with bestselling authors such as Katie McGarry, Shelley Noble, and Amber Lynn Natusch, among others.
Amy joined Wolfson Literary in November 2018 and is actively building her list. She’s looking for women’s fiction, mystery, suspense, historical fiction, young adult, and select narrative nonfiction.  She is particularly drawn to well-paced prose and smart, multidimensional characters.

Put Query and Your Title in the subject line and paste the first five pages into the body of your email. No attachments. Full submission guidelines here.

Author Hannah Mry McKinnon will be
the guest speaker at How to Build Your Story
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 with guest author Hannah Mary McKinnon, Saturday, Jan 19 in Oakville (see here) and Writing and Revising, Sat, Jan 26 in Caledon at the Bolton Library (see here).

 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 2018 rates! Details here.

But the best way to get your work in shape is probably with a weekly course. There are 5 courses on offer in the new year (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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Intensive Creative Writing course, Wednesday evenings, Jan 23 – April 3, in Burlington


Intensive Creative Writing
Ten weeks towards becoming a better writer

Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
January 23 – April 3, 2019 (no class March 13)
First readings emailed Jan 16
St. Elizabeth's Anglican Church, 5324 Bromley Rd, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)

Note: Intensive Creative Writing is also offered Tuesday afternoons in Burlington and Friday mornings in Toronto (see here). An Introductory course is offered Thursday afternoons in Burlington (see here) and Writing Kid Lit is offered Thursday evenings in Oakville (see here).

Intensive Creative Writing isn't for beginners; it's for people who have been writing for a while or who have done a course or two before and are working on their own projects. Over the ten 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 addressing the needs of the group, and 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.

Fee: $176.11 + 13% hst = $199 (until Dec 18, then an additional $10)
To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Instructor Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada's most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Saint John. But his proudest boast is that he’s has helped many of his students get published. 
Read reviews of Brian's Intensive course here and here and of his various weekly courses, Saturday workshops and weekend retreats here (and scroll down).

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

Monday, December 10, 2018

You’re invited to a book launch for Full of Grace by Elizabeth Crocket


You’re invited to a book launch for
Full of Grace
by Elizabeth Crocket
Sunday, January 6, 2019
1:30 p.m.
A Different Drummer Books
513 Locust Street, Burlington, Ontario (Map here)
Everyone welcome!
Cupcakes and Bookmarks!
Wine and Chocolates Door Prize!

Full of Grace by Elizabeth Crocket
Angela keeps a roof over her head, albeit a leaking one, by writing romance novels. But Angela’s never really believed in the traditional happily ever after ending. So she begins writing the story of Grace, who has recently been diagnosed with cancer shortly after finding out her husband Rick is having an affair. Again. 
As she writes the story to dispel the myth of happily ever after, Angela begins a relationship with Mark, the contractor who comes to fix her leaking roof, and ironically, it looks like she may be on the way to her own happy ending. But Angela’s had a difficult past and has a cynical outlook, while Mark’s life has just gotten messy.

If you can’t make it to the book launch, Full of Grace is available through Amazon, here.

About the author

Elizabeth Crocket has previously published a novel, A Path to the Lake, and her short form Japanese poetry has been translated into several languages and published internationally. Elizabeth is also the author of A Daughter’s Diary, and of two chapbooks: Extra Candles and Not Like Fred and Ginger, which was shortlisted for the prestigious Haiku Foundation Touchstone Distinguished Book Award. Elizabeth’s short fiction and poetry has been widely published online (including on Quick Brown Fox).

Visit Liz at her blog here.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including 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.

Sunday, December 9, 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.