Sunday, June 30, 2019

“Morning Coffee” by Dale Margery Rutherford


It was strange to sit up in bed and smell coffee coming from the kitchen. I liked the idea that a cup of hot coffee was ready and waiting for me. For so long now it had been just my kitchen and my kitchen alone and I’d grown accustomed to doing the coffee and everything else on my own.

Steam sifted through a half-closed bathroom door as I passed it, tugging my housecoat over my pink, cotton nightie. I usually wore pyjamas, long ones that covered my legs because I often kicked the blankets off in the night. But they were all in the wash. Everything it seemed was in the wash. That’s how it is when someone moves in with you. Your routine changes and life is never the same.

In the kitchen he was shirtless, his hair still wet from his shower, looking bewildered at an open cupboard. When he heard me, he turned around and a soft smile curved at the corners of his mouth. “Morning. How did you sleep?”

“Good morning,” I mumbled reaching for an empty cup. “Mmm I love the smell of coffee in the morning. Thanks for doing that.”

He leaned down and gave me a peck on the cheek. “I don’t know where you keep everything or I would have made you breakfast too.” 

I squeezed past him in my tiny kitchen to get the milk from the fridge. “I hardly ever eat breakfast anymore, but I can make you something if you like.”

“No thanks. I’ll grab something on my way out. I noticed a ‘Timmies’ just around the corner.”

“Alright love.” I don’t know why I added the ‘love’. I never called anyone ‘love’—ever. But it seemed right that I should call him that.

He left me alone then, went upstairs to finish dressing and I sipped my creamy coffee and browsed through the obituaries in the paper. It was my least favourite thing to read, but essential at my age to know who was still with us and who wasn’t. It simply wouldn’t do to meet someone in town and ask about their husband only to find out he’d passed away a week ago.

So, The Post kept me up to date, and if it didn’t I had Millie Freeman across the road. She knew everything about everybody and she kept no secrets, not even the ones people asked her to keep. Once you learned that about Millie you never told her anything that was a real, true secret. You only told her the stuff people would find out eventually anyway.

He came back to the kitchen pushing an unruly clump of black hair in place over his brow and slipped a suit jacket off the back of his chair. “Now, I have a late appointment today, but if you can wait, we’ll make dinner together when I get home. I’ll pick up everything we need and a bottle of wine, okay?”

“That sounds lovely.” I smiled back at eyes so blue they reminded me of the ocean. Not an ordinary blue, but a greeny-blue, light in some places, darker in others, as if the depth of their colour somehow held the secrets of his soul. He stood there, gazing back at me, his tall frame filling the doorway. He was dressed up today, professional looking in his grey suit and tailored yellow shirt and matching tie. It had been ages since I’d seen him in that suit. Not since….

“Red or white?” he asked with some insistence as if it weren’t the first time he’d posed the question and I realized I’d been lost in thought.

“Oh! Whatever you like. It doesn’t matter to me. What are we having, chicken, fish, beef?”

“Never mind. I’ll just get one of each. We can put one away for another time.” He bent down and grazed my cheek again with the softest of kisses and I pulled him in for a hug.

His arms around me felt wonderful; warm and safe and I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I wanted to ask him to stay home today; to sit with me and talk of old times, to look through the pictures like we’d done last night. But he was fidgety and I sensed, anxious to be on his way. I let him go and called out as he headed for the door, “Have a good day,” hoping it would truly be a good day for him, wishing him success and happiness in whatever it was he was doing today.

“See you later,” he called back, closing the door behind him.

And then I was alone.

Not even a cat to curl up at my feet or a dog to walk. “Perhaps I should get a dog,” I said to the room as I pushed back from the table. “No, too much trouble carrying all those poop bags around, and some days I just don’t feel like taking the kind of walk a dog would need.” I’d had this argument with myself before; several times.

The mail would be in the box by now. Jerry always came before eight. Such a nice man, Jerry. He had a smile for everyone and he never crossed over the flowerbeds, like that substitute who came when Jerry was on holidays. Jerry had one of those Fitbits. He showed it to me once and said he clocked over twenty thousand steps a day on his route. I shouldn’t wonder since he does nearly the whole village every day.

As I pushed open the screen door, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, across the road on Millie’s front porch. Oh dear! I should have waited to get my mail. Now she’d want to talk. She’d invite me in for coffee and I’d never get away. I have things to do. The laundry for one, so I can wear pyjamas tonight and not his ratty old night gown. I did not want to be sitting in Millie Freeman’s kitchen all morning.

But she didn’t ask. She simply waved and called out. “Morning Sarah. Nice having your Joe home, isn’t it?”

My Joe! My Joe! Whatever did she mean? My Joe’s been dead for nearly ten years. The woman had gone bonkers!

She must have seen my frown, though how she could from all the way over there I didn’t know, but she came toward me before I could answer and stopped when she was more than halfway up the drive.

“Are you alright, Sarah? You look a little pale.”

“I’m fine Millie. I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I crossed my arms over my chest—a clear sign, I hoped that I didn’t want her to pry or worse yet, come inside. I didn’t want to sit at her place and I most certainly did not want her sitting at mine. I had things to do.

“Well, when I said that… about your Joe being here? You got a funny look on your face.”

“Millie,” I leaned closer toward her wondering if she really had gone off her marbles. “You know that Joe’s been dead for years don’t you?”

She laughed then, that hideous little giggle she always did when she was about to impart some tidbit she wasn’t supposed to. It made me feel inferior, dumb for not knowing what she knew. And it hurt, cut deep into me because just for a moment, it seemed I was some kind of joke or something.

“No darling. I mean Joe, your son. The tall handsome lad. The one who moved in with you because you need taking care of.”

“Oh… That Joe.” I left Millie standing in the drive and closed the door behind me. Joe, my son. So that’s who made the coffee this morning.

Dale Margery Rutherford, aka Margery Reynolds, was born and raised on a peach farm on the shores of Lake Ontario in beautiful Beamsville, Ontario. Dale's ancestral home and the people who make up her past, provide much of the inspiration for her writing. She is the mother of three adult sons and Nana to two awesome and inspiring grandchildren. In 2016 she said goodbye to her book store/tea shop, Novel-Teas in downtown Niagara Falls to pursue her interest in writing, photography and genealogy all of which allow her to travel, which she loves most of all. 
  
See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Cambridge, 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, June 28, 2019

New Canadian literary agent seeks authors

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid,
represented by P.S. Literary

P.S. Literary Agency
2010 Winston Park Drive
2nd Floor
Oakville, Ontario
Canada

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

Stephanie Winter has been promoted to Associate Agent at P.S. Literary, and like all new agents, she needs authors. Stephanie first joined the agency at an intern before becoming the agency’s relations assistant. Stephanie holds a BA in English Lit from the University of Toronto and an MA in English: Issues in Modern Culture from University College London. 
Stephanie is acquiring both fiction and nonfiction. She particularly appreciate strong characters who bend stereotypes, genders and more.
Stephanie
Within fiction, she’s actively seeking diverse and inclusive representation in Upmarket, Commercial, Historical, and Women’s Fiction, and also urban and magical fantasies, cozy mysteries, dramatic comedies, light romances, and genre-bending narratives.
Within nonfiction, she’s interested in Humour, Pop Culture, Pop Psychology, Memoir, cultural or event-base History, select Dessert Cookbooks, LBTQ+ narratives, and essay collections.
Query Stephanie at: query@psliterary.com
Limit your submission to just a query letter until asked for more.

Stephanie joins a team of six other agents all looking for authors. Read more here.

To help get you write your best possible manuscript don’t miss these upcoming workshops:  Finding Your Voice, Saturday, July 13, in London (see here), How to Write a Page-Turner, Saturday, Aug 10, in Mississauga (see here), and Plotting Novels & Writing Short Stories, Saturday, Sept 14, in Toronto (see here).    

But the best way to grow as a writer may be with a weekly course. 
Here’s what’s on offer this summer:
Oakville Woodside Library: Exploring Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, July 2 – Aug 13. See here
Burlington: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday afternoons, July 3 – Aug 21. First readings emailed June 26. See here.
Burlington: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday evenings July 3 – Aug 21. First readings emailed June 26. See here.


And in the fall, there will be a full range of courses:

Burlington: Intensive Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, Sept 24 – Dec 11 (no class Oct 8 or Nov 5). First readings emailed Sept 17.
Georgetown: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday evenings, Sept 18 – Dec 11 (no class Oct 9). First readings emailed Sept 11. 
Burlington: Writing Personal Stories, Thursday afternoons, Sept 26 – November 28 (no class Oct 31). 
Oakville Library, Welcome to Creative Writing,Thursday evenings,  Sept 26 – Nov 28 (no class Oct 31). 
Toronto: Intensive Creative Writing, Friday mornings, Sept 20 – Nov 8. First readings emailed Sept 13. 
Toronto: Writing Personal Stories, Friday afternoons, Sept 27 – Nov 29 (no class Nov 1).

See details of all the fall courses here.

And don't miss …

Writing for Children and for Young Adults with Kids Can Press senior editor Yasemin U├žar and children's author Jennifer Mook-Sang at the Burlington Central Library, Saturday, Oct 5. Details here.

Tree at the Briars
And…
November at the Briars Writing Retreat
Friday, November 1 – Monday, November 4; four days of creativity in a setting that provides the warmth of a country estate steeped in history while providing all the benefits of an extensive, modern lakeside resort. Details here.

To reserve a spot in any upcoming weekly course, weekend retreat, or Saturday workshop, email Brian at: brianhenry@sympatico.ca
Read reviews of Brian’s courses, retreats, and workshops here.

 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, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, 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.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Starting soon! Introductory & Intensive creative writing classes


Exploring Creative Writing
Tuesday afternoons, 1 – 3 p.m.
July 2 – Aug 13, 2019
Woodside Library, 1274 Rebecca St, Oakville, Ontario (Map here.)
This is your chance to take up writing in a warm, supportive environment. We’ll explore writing short stories and writing true stories, writing in first person and in third person, writing technique and getting creative, getting down your very best writing and just for fun writing.
You’ll get a shot of inspiration every week and an assignment to keep you going till the next class. Best of all, this class will provide a zero-pressure, totally safe setting, where your words will grow and flower.
Fee:  $167.26 plus 13% hst = 189

To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Intensive Creative Writing
Offered at two times:

Wednesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:45
 July 3 – August 21, 2019
1st readings emailed June 26. Details to come.
St. Elizabeth's Anglican Church
5324 Bromley Rd, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
And
Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
 July 3 – August 21, 2019
1st readings emailed June 26.
St. Elizabeth's Anglican Church, 5324 Bromley Rd, Burlington, Ontario (Map 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 eight weeks of classes, you’ll be asked to bring in three 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
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. 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 various courses and workshops here (and scroll down).

See Brian’s complete current schedule hereincluding writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Cambridge, 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.

Monday, June 24, 2019

“You Should Give Back That Money You Stole from Your Wife” by Alan McKenzie


I was incensed that my brother was accusing me of being a thief. I could only assume that my wife, Sadie, had told him that $3,000 was missing off her bank account. He guessed that as I had been spending money and had very little in the way of income that I had stolen it from her.

I know it had been a couple of years since I borrowed the money from Sadie, so on receipt of that rude note from my brother I immediately told Sadie that the reason I had not bothered her was that I was expecting a large sum of money from the sale of some valuable books. Priceless volumes I was selling on Kijiji.

That was why I was so mad at my brother’s note implying, falsely, that I was a thief.

It was a horrendous misrepresentation of the fact that those funds were a loan to me. And a loan cannot be a theft, can it?

I was seriously thinking of suing my brother for libel. Or was it slander?

Anyway, the point was he needed to be taught a serious lesson. You cannot go around calling someone a thief. If one borrowed money from another person, then clearly that was a loan. To my mind that was clearly what I was doing. And do not forget I was borrowing from my wife. Husbands and wives do this all the time.

And let’s not forget these precious books I am selling on Kijiji would make anyone’s jaw drop. For instance one book is a History of Iceland and is a first edition dated 1810. You would have to hunt forever to find a book like that. It only has damp stains on the bottom half of the volume. Must be worth thousands of dollars.

So you see, once these books sell I will be able to repay that loan I borrowed from her bank account. I took Sadie to one side and explained these details to her so that she could see quite clearly that a loan is not the same as stealing! I must admit I was a little perturbed when she looked me in the eye and snorted, and then walked away.

Do you understand what I am saying here? My brother has fed her mind with his slander. Or is it libel? He is going to pay for this. I will make sure of that!

In the meanwhile, though, my beautiful books took longer to sell than I expected. Two years later they were still on Kijiji. It seems as though Kijiji buyers are not cultured enough to want to buy good books. I ask you, is that my fault? Of course not! Do these uncultured people make me a thief? What utter rot! It was a simple loan. Any reasonable person can see that!

Right?
***
Alan McKenzie is retired but  has privately published two non-fiction books on the history of the Scottish Mackenzie Clan Society. As the writer and Editor of the Canadian Mackenzie Society he produced four magazine (20 pages) for over 30 years. Alan has plans to write a fictional crime novel based on his four years' experience as an inspector with his bank's Inspections Department which dealt with a number of frauds and thefts during that time. 

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Cambridge, 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, June 21, 2019

Intensive Creative Writing courses ~ starting soon!


Intensive Creative Writing
Offered at two times:
Wednesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:45
 July 3 – August 21, 2019
1st readings emailed June 26. Details to come.
St. Elizabeth's Anglican Church
5324 Bromley Rd, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
And
Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
 July 3 – August 21, 2019
1st readings emailed June 26.
St. Elizabeth's Anglican Church, 5324 Bromley Rd, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
Note: For information about the introductory creative writing class offered this summer, 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 eight weeks of classes, you’ll be asked to bring in three 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
To reserve your spot, emailbrianhenry@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 a review of Brian's various courses and workshops, here (and scroll down).

See Brian’s complete current schedule hereincluding writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Cambridge, 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.