Tuesday, March 2, 2021

An epic sailing adventure: Ready to Come About by Sue Williams

Ready to Come About by Sue Williams

“Three hundred nautical miles from shore, I’m cold and sick and afraid. I pray for reprieve. I long for solid ground. And I can‘t help but ask myself, What the hell was I thinking?”

When Sue Williams set sail for the North Atlantic, it wasn’t a mid-life crisis. She had no affinity for the sea. And she didn’t have an adventure-seeking bone in her body.

In the wake of a perfect storm of personal events, it suddenly became clear: her sons were adults now; they needed freedom to figure things out for themselves; she had to get out of their way. And it was now or never for her husband, David, to realize his dream to cross an ocean. So she’d go too.

Ready to Come About is the story of a mother’s improbable adventure on the high seas and her profound journey within, through which she grew to believe that there is no gift more precious than the liberty to chart one’s own course, and that risk is a good thing … sometimes, at least.

Note: Sue will be the guest speaker for the Writing Personal Stories class, Tuesday afternoons, April 13  June 22. See here.  

“An entertaining, deceptively profound memoir. I love Sue’s book, a startling, swashbuckling sea adventure, and all the hilarious and terrifying details of that, combined with the very personal story of lost connections and deep love. It is a remarkable story — heroic and inspiring.” ~Miriam Toews, author of Women Talking, All My Puny Sorrows, A Complicated Kindness and other acclaimed novels

“A thrilling adventure, a profound love story, and a testament of self-discovery that will make you cheer. It is not only an empowering memoir, but also a very fine book.” ~Barbara Kyle, author of The Traitor’s Daughter and numerous other novels

“There’s an art to telling an epic tale, and Sue Williams does it with an engaging mix of sensitivity, humour, and aplomb. She spins a tale that intertwines the nuances of family dynamics with the ostensibly straightforward challenges of taking on nature. In each of these domains, she succeeds, making this a compelling and thoroughly enjoyable read. In my experience, most books documenting epic journeys leave me feeling that I am reading about superhuman people who are vastly superior to me, and certainly more capable than I could ever be. In this book, however, Sue demonstrates the potential for heroism, growth, and insight in all of us, and does so in ways that we, the non-super humans, can relate to. Ready to Come About may well be your elusive “pleasant surprise” read for 2019.” ~ Rob Simpson, Goodreads

Ready to Come About is available through Dundurn Press here.

For information about submitting to Dundurn Press, see here.

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding online and in-person 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, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Writing Kid Lit workshop ~ online ~ with guest, Orca Books editor Liz Kemp, Saturday, April 24

Loki's Wolves, a MG novel
by Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr.
Kelly is a New York Times #1 bestselling author
and one of Brian's students 

Writing for Children and for Young Adults

  ~ The world’s hottest market

With Orca Books Editor ~ Liz Kemp

Saturday, April 24, 2021
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Online via Zoom and accessible wherever there’s Internet

If you want to write the next best-selling children’s books or just want to create stories for your own kids, this workshop is for you. Learn how to write stories kids and young adults will love and find out what you need to know to sell your book. Be sure to bring all your questions – we'll have lots of time for interaction.

Special option: Participants are invited to submit the opening couple pages (first 500 words) of your children’s book or young adult novel (or up to 1,000 words if that gets you to the end of your picture book or to the end of your first chapter). Email your pages to me prior to our workshop. We want to do some peer critiquing for everyone, and Liz and I will publicly critique half a dozen submissions so everyone can see what works, what doesn’t and how to improve your story-telling. If you’re not currently working on a children’s story, don’t worry, we’ll get you started on the spot! ~Brian

Guest speaker Liz Kemp is an editor with Orca Book Publishers.  Founded in 1984, Orca is an independently owned Canadian children’s book publisher. With over 1,000 titles in print and more than 80 new titles a year, Orca prides itself on publishing Canadian authors and bringing them to a wider market. 

Orca publishes a wide array of children’s books: board books for babies through to younger young adult novels for kids aged 12+, as well as graphic novels and books for reluctant readers.

Liz is the board, picture, and early chapter book editor at Orca. After completing her undergrad in Biology at the University of Guelph she went on to work in magazine publishing in Toronto and Vancouver before attending the Master of Publishing program at SFU. She’s been with Orca for eight years and works closely with the other editors at the house. She’s proud to have developed a comprehensive list of award-winning books for our littlest readers.

Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor, author, and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers and is the author of a children’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Tribute Publishing Inc). But his proudest boast is that he’s has helped many of his students get published.

“Brian’s the real deal.  He isn't just an inspiring teacher – he's plugged into the publishing world! He got me an agent who sold my first novel, to publishers around the world.  My 13th novel, The Awakening – a YA urban fantasy – hit number 1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. Currently, Random House Canada, Bantam U.S. and Little Brown in Britain have contracted my next seven books.  So it looks like I’ll be writing for a while.”

~ Kelley Armstrong, Aylmer, Ontario

P.S. Kelley and I will be doing an online workshop "How to Write a Bestseller," on Saturday, April 11. Details here

Read reviews of Brian’s classes and workshops here.

Fee: $43.36 + 13% hst = $49 paid in advance by mail or Interac

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

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

See Brian’s complete current schedule hereincluding online and in-person 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, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

 

 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Markets for your short fiction, poetry, and essays ~ most of them pay, one pays especially well

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

Also, you can hang out and chat with quick brown foxes and vixens on my Facebook page (here). Just send a friend request to Brian Henry

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

 

Footsteps in the Dark,
Gothic Fantasy stories 
from Flame Tree

Flame Tree publishing seeks crime stories for anthology. "It's time to turn to the darker side: the cold cases, the grim murders, the desperate villains, and the race against time to solve the crime. We're seeking up to 20 new stories to join our powerful collection of Chilling Crime Short Stories, new and classic tales reaching back into ancient, medieval, Elizabethan and Victorian fiction. From Oedipus Rex and Medea to Thomas More's story of the Princes in the Tower, Scheherazade's 'The Three Apples' and the chilling crime fiction of Dickens, Poe, Henry James, Baroness Orczy and Wilkie Collins." 

Pays 8 cents/6 pence per word for original stories, 6 cents/4 pence for reprints. 

Deadline: March 14, 2021. Guidelines here.



Hungry Zine is a community-focussed zine centring radical food stories, art and culture. Hungry seeks submissions for their first issue, on the theme of “Home Cooking” issue. Accepts poetry, flash fiction and nonfiction {maximum 1,000 words}, and visual art and photography. Pays $50.

Deadline March 15, 2021. Guidelines here.

 

The Sun magazine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. publishes personal essays, fiction, and poetry. Personal stories that touch on political and cultural issues are welcome. The Sun encourages submissions from writers of color. “Surprise us; we often don’t know what we’ll like until we read it.” Maximum word count about 7,000 words; no minimum.  

Pays $300 - $2,000  for personal essays and short fiction; $100 - $250 for poetry.

Always open to submissions. Guidelines here.

 

CommuterLit is looking for short stories, memoir, novel excerpts and poetry (one poem or a series of poems), in any genre, with a word count of 500 to 4,000.

Deadline: Ongoing – they always need stories. Full submissions guidelines here.


Our Canada magazine wants your stories, whether they’re about your grandma’s famous apple pie or the oopsie-daisy adventure you and your friend took on one fateful winter afternoon. 

“We want to hear about your Hometown and all its quirks and about that Favourite Vacation at home or abroad. Do you have a rickety old car story for our Wheels section? Or are you a Collector of unusual things now cluttering your shelves? Maybe you or someone you know is particularly Crafty or has a talent to be Showcased?

“We love to get stories about The Way it Was and Funny tales of mishaps and misadventures. Finally, because Canada is such a fantastic mosaic, we want to hear from different Cultural viewpoints and about those exciting and/or difficult journeys of Coming to Canada."

Always accepting submissions. Guidelines here.


Women in Higher Education magazine seeks to provide women on campus with practical ideas and insights to be more effective in their careers and lives. Subscribers are especially interested in advice from successful women on campus, communication techniques, leadership, career strategies, ethical values, using intuition, research on gender differences, mentors and role models, problems facing women chairs, and ending sexual harassment.

WIHE is not an academic journal, but rather a monthly print magazine that aims for accessible, engaging articles.  Aim for a “good read.” Try to be upbeat and positive, unless the topic requires a more serious tone. Think about what readers can learn from your article. Give practical ideas and recommendations. Provide concrete examples. Always try to imagine yourself as the reader and ask, “What would I want to know?” about your topic.

Departments
Word counts are estimates, but WIHE  doesn’t publish articles over 1,500 words.

·         In Her Own Words: 800-1,100 words — research results, personal essays and subjective insights on relevant topics

·         Moveable type: 800-1,100 words — synopsis of a useful book

·         Interview: 800-1,100 words — profile a woman leader in higher education

·         Features: 800-1,500 words — new programs, speeches, major research of interest

Pays $150 per solicited guest contribution. Currently, WiHE is not paying for unsolicited guest submissions. 

Always open for submissions. Guidelines here.


See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding online and in-person 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, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Mid-Pandemic schedule for writing workshops, retreats, and classes keeps growing

2021

March

Online: How to Get Published, with Alice Speilburg of the Speilburg Literary Agency, Saturday, Saturday, March 6. See here.

Daylight Saving Time Begins March 14 ~ the days are getting longer :-)

First day of Spring! March 20

April workshops

Kelley Armstrong

Online: How to Write a Bestseller, with New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong, Saturday, April 3.  Details here.

Online: How to Build Your Novel, with author Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, Sunday, April 11. Details here.

Online: Writing for Children and for Young Adults with  with Orca editor Liz Kemp, Saturday, April 24. Details here

April ~ Weekly classes

Online: Welcome to Creative Writing, an introductory, low pressure course to get the creative juices flowing, Thursday evenings, April 15 – June 24 {no class May 27}. Details here.

Online: Writing Personal Stories, nine weeks of creativity and fellowship. Two sessions offered: Tuesday afternoons, April 13 – June 22 {no class June 1} and Thursday afternoons, April 15 – June 24 {no class May 27}. Details here.  

Online: Writing Kid Lit & Young Adult Novels: Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade books, and Young Adult novels, with enormously talented and experienced authors as guest speakers for two of the classes, Wednesday evenings, April 21 – June 16. Details here.

May

Online: How to Get Published, with liteary agent Meg Wheeler of Westwood Creative Artists, Saturday, May 8. Details posted soon, but to reserve your spot now, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca 

Online: Beginning Right – How to open your novel, Saturday, May 15. Details here.

Algonquin Park: Writing Retreat at Arowhon Pines Resort, an island of luxury in the
     middle of a wilderness. Friday, May 28 – Monday, May 31. Details here.

To reserve a spot or for more details about any course, workshop or retreat, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca


 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt: A Memoir by Anonymous, reviewed by Jennifer Reichow

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt: A Memoir, Anonymous2020, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. Available from Chapters here or through your local independent bookstore here.

I first heard of this anonymously written book in my writers’ group. We discussed how it might be possible to publish a book anonymously in the 21st century. We leaned towards it being the work of an established author trying to write in a different genre.

It couldn’t be a first-time author. In our social media driven culture, agents and publishers actively seek first-time authors with established platforms with a significant following. It’s difficult to evolve a potential book buying audience by producing fresh and regular content while trying to research, write, edit, rewrite, edit some more, query agents and work a day job. 

In previous centuries, authors such as Jane Austen and Mary Shelley published anonymously, though perhaps not by choice. Society discouraged women of certain class from working. If the public knew a woman wrote the book, they disregarded it. Some believed Shelley’s husband authored her seminal novel Frankenstein. More recently politicos who write tell-all books publish anonymously so they can keep their day jobs.

In Becoming Duchess Goldblatt, Anonymous relates how her life turns upside down when her husband abruptly leaves her, taking most of their friends with him in the divorce fallout. Loneliness propels her to connect with others, but she’s fearful of making new friends, dreading the pain of being dumped. Thus Anonymous turns to social media and created @duchessgoldblat.

Derived from the name of a friend’s dog and her mother’s maiden name, Duchess Goldblatt exists only on Twitter. The Duchess, (addressed as Your Grace or more simply, YG by her followers) lives in a made-up town and has a make-believe daughter. Her Twitter bio shows she is the author of several imaginary books such as Feasting on the Carcasses of My Enemies: A Love Story. She uses the gently smiling, neck ruffled face of Frans Hals’s ‘Portrait of an Elderly Lady’ painted circa 1633 as her avatar and book cover. 

The Duchess tweets regularly, attempting to bring a bit of lightness into the sometimes depressing world of social media. She replies to her followers, which endears her to them even more. A fan of Lyle Lovett, she mentions him often, and he takes notice of her amusing tweets. He invites the real-life author to concerts and encourages her to write a book. Interspersed among the details of her fictional Twitter personality, the author reveals her personal history, the hard life that led her to create, live and take comfort through the fictional Duchess Goldblatt.

I knew nothing of the actual @duchessgoldblat when I first read this novel. I believed it to be a fiendishly clever work of fiction; it seemed breathtakingly prescient to set up a Twitter account in order to write a book eight years later. Actually, writing a book wasn’t in Anonymous’s mind in 2012. Her creation of a Twitter persona was a genuine effort to find friendship. 

Log into Twitter and you’ll find that the Duchess is fictionally alive and well and tweeting witticisms such as The only way to be reliably sure that the hero gets the girl at the end of the story is to be both the hero and the girl yourself. Her followers, numbered in the tens of thousands even before the book, are now a few hundred south of 50k. And yes, Lyle Lovett is a follower along with several Pulitzer winners, a White House advisor, and the Presidency of the Italian Republic.

It didn’t hurt Anonymous being published in the year of COVID, guaranteeing that her publisher couldn’t demand any in-person book tours or talk shows even if she’d been so inclined. Her marketing amounted to a virtual book tour where she chatted via Zoom and Crowdcast behind her Duchess avatar. Lyle Lovett even made a supportive appearance.

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is fun. The author’s real life is often poignant but led to a fictional Twitter personality that helped Anonymous make a lot of new friends and meet her celebrity crush. You’ll log into Twitter and become a follower, I know you will. You’ll be glad you did. 

***

Note: Quick Brown Fox welcomes your book reviews – or any kind of review of anything, of anywhere or of anybody. If you want to review your favourite coffee shops or libraries, babysitters or lovers (no real names please), go for it. See examples of book reviews here (and scroll down); other reviews here (and scroll down). Read about how to write a book review here.

QBF also welcomes essays about a favourite book or about your experience of reading or writing. To get a taste of what other writers have done, see here and scroll down).

Submit to: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Include a short bio at the end of your piece and attach a photo of yourself if you have one that’s okay. 

Jennifer Reichow knew as a child she was going to university and be a writer. As so often happens, life interrupted her plan. But now that she’s just retired from a fulfilling nursing career, she’s realizing her dream of becoming a writer. It feels like coming home.

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding online and in-person 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, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.