Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Intensive Creative Writing,” Wednesday afternoons, Sept 15 – Dec 8, Oakville

12 weeks of inspiration, creativity, and growth
Wednesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:45 p.m.
September 15 – December 8
(Note: We begin by email on Sept 15, but the first class is on Sept 22.)
St Cuthbert's Anglican Church
1541 Oakhill Drive, Oakville (Map here.)

This course is for people who are working on their own writing. You’ll be asked to bring in 6 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, I'll also be giving short lectures at the start of each class. I’ll focus on teaching how to critique a piece of writing, and I’ll address other topics on request and according to 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.

Fee:  $170.80 plus 13% hst = $193
Advance registration only. Space strictly limited.
To reserve a spot now, email:

For information about all off Brian's creative writing courses and writing workshops, see here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Surrey International Writers' Conference Writing Contest

The Surrey International Writers' Conference Writing Contest is open to all writers 18 years and older.

Four Categories:
SIWC Storyteller's Award: short stories 3,500 — 5,000 words
SIWC Non-fiction Award: maximum length 1,500 words
SIWC Poetry Award: one poem per submission: 40 lines max.
SIWC Writing For Young People Award: short stories, maximum length 1,500 words

Deadline: All entries must be postmarked by 4 p.m., Friday, September 10, 2010.
Entry fees: $15 per submission.

Storyteller's Award: 1st Place $1,000 and anthology; Honourable Mention(s) $150 each.
Nonfiction Award: 1st Place $1,000 and anthology; Honourable Mention(s) $150 each.
Poetry Award: 1st Place $1,000 and anthology; Honourable Mention(s) $150 each.
All winning entries will be published in the Writing Contest anthology which will be available at the conference Friday evening, immediately following the announcement of the winners.

Complete rules and submission infor here:

Note: For information about all the annual writing contests in Canada, order The Canadian Writers' Contest Calendar, on sale now for $3 off the regular price. Details here.
For information about Brian Henry's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ars Medica, a journal of medicine, the arts and humanities

Ars Medica welcomes submissions of short stories, personal narratives of illness, creative nonfiction, poetry and visual art. Two issues of Ars Medica are printed per year. The deadline for submission to the Spring issue is February 28, and July 30 for the Fall issue. Submission by that date does not ensure review and consideration for the upcoming edition. Each submission is reviewed by our editorial board. We will try to provide a response within 6 months of receipt of submission.

We are often asked about which qualities we look for when we select a piece for publication in Ars Medica. Members of our Editorial Board and our Advisory Board come from diverse healthcare and literary backgrounds, and the short answer is "We know good writing when we see it."

Those of us who do clinical work and encounter narratives of illness everyday have come to identify what feels honest, fleshed out, embodied. We have become demanding readers to the extent that familiar stories of diagnosis and treatment have to bring something new and particular to the telling and to our experience.

All of the usual rules of storytelling (and writing workshops) still apply: Create characters we care about and let them speak through dialogue. Show us their world through almost cinematic detail, don't just tell us it exists. Build dramatic tension within a structure of a beginning, a middle and an end. If you're writing non-fiction, let yourself enter the piece so we know why you were moved to write about it. Keep up the pacing so we want to know what happens. Leave us feeling something, be it confused, uncomfortable, enlightened, curious or wanting more. Work on your voice as a writer. Readers, like patients, want to be in good hands and to remember what was told and how.

Endings don't have to be happy or tidy. As Board Member Rebecca Garden says: “I look for work that defies expectations and conventions, whether formally or in terms of content. We all shoulder the burden of conventional narratives and tropes of illness and medicine. The work we publish should communicate in surprising and arresting ways and break through the dominant narratives of illness (e.g. courageous battles ending in triumph or uplift)."

Some of us also like to become disoriented, "defamiliarized," to turn a conventional description on its head. (The images we publish can do this too. Some of you will remember Jane Martin's cover of a bouquet of roses juxtaposed against her husband's fresh post-op cranial scar. Beautiful and unexpected).

We primarily receive submissions from writers about being a patient (or their family member) or about being a professional (a doctor, nurse or healthcare worker). 
From patients, we sometimes encounter unprocessed details which have specific, charged meaning for the teller but which are unclear to the reader. These pieces in many ways resemble journaling or therapeutic writing. The author is too close to the events or uses personal code and short-hand which leave gaps. As a result, we are not fully invited into the experience. Stories of trauma and loss are often fragmented, because they remain so for the writer and have not yet been crafted through the personal and creative steps which render them coherent and universal.

Writing personal narratives may indeed be healing, but to be literary, there needs to be distance, an "observer's eye" which allows us to see the full picture.

From healthcare professionals, we often see too much detachment. Diagnostic efficiency cuts to the chase, abbreviates or over-simplifies the story and fills it with jargon, acronyms and even cliché.These narratives are journalistic or more like a rushed case presentation . The subjective is edited out and the reader may know what to think, but not what to feel.

Sometimes, we get the sense that a story has been misappropriated, that the author-clinician has not obtained permission to tell it from the client or patient who lived it or else the author has not fully moved the piece from fact to fiction. Our position is that re-telling something shared in confidence in a defined therapeutic context is unethical unless the patient's co-construction is fully acknowledged or else the narrative has moved well beyond the personal and particular.

In contrast, some of the most compelling pieces we receive are written by doctors or nurses who have become patients themselves. Suddenly the world they know so well has to be re-explained and re-examined, as if encountered for the first time. Everything is suddenly new. And terrifying.

Each issue of ARS MEDICA embodies many of these ingredients in its stories and poems of birth, illness, ageing and the death of loved ones. We are introduced to doctors, nurses and other clinicians who either care too little, too much or struggle with finding the right balance with each patient. We meet patients trying to find their way as they navigate illnesses and forge new identities.

Email submissions are preferred, with Microsoft Word attachments only, sent to:
Full submission guidelines here:

For information about Brian Henry's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Amanda Luedeke promoted to full agent at MacGregor Literary

MacGregor Literary
2373 N.W. 185th Avenue
Suite 165
Hillsboro, Oregon

Amanda Luedeke is a 2006 graduate of Taylor University’s Professional Writing program. Since her college graduation, Amanda has made her living as a full-time writer, freelancing for newspapers and marketing agencies as well as operating her own writing business. Amanda came on board with MacGregor Literary a year ago as Chip MacGregor’s assistant and is now a full agent.

Amanda is seeking childrens lit, YA, speculative, and post-college-aged fiction and nonfiction.

Email your query to

Note: Brian Henry has a couple "How to Get Published" workshops coming up: in Waterloo on July 24 (see here) and in Sarnia on August 22 (see here).
For information about Brian Henry's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"On a creative writing class just finished" by Ingrid Haring-Mendes

Dear Brian, and all my fellow Creative Writing class friends,

I was browsing through the Chapter's yesterday, for a novel to send to my brother. He is a doctor in one of England's fine hospitals, but will be spending the next ten days in Austria visiting with our mother and father. Last night my parents flew out to Vienna, and agreed to put two books into their suitcase. I had no problem picking the first novel, I knew it would be "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson.

When my brother was a little boy he wanted to be a mountain climber, he's still an adventurer at heart and so I knew this would be the perfect book. The second novel turned out to be more of a problem; I've already given him some of my favourite stories ever written, like "A Fine Balance" and "Lord of the Rings", while some of the other books I love, like "Eat, Pray, Love" and "The Horse Whisperer", may not quite be his cup of afternoon tea. And so I found myself walking up and down the fiction section looking for a suitable novel.

While I was doing this, the most peculiar thing happened. There on a shelf among all the colourful spines, I saw one that had the words 'by Ingrid Haring-Mendes' on it. I couldn't quite make out the title yet, but I smiled, as I imagined the feeling of looking at my name along side all those hard working, brave writers.

It has been a joy to have spent the last two months of Tuesday evenings discovering the art and work of creative writing with all of you. Thank you. I remember not to long ago leafing through The Living Arts Centre catalogue wondering whether I should take the Black and White Film Photography class. I'm a photographer, but a digital photographer, and I've been toying with the thought of learning black and white film for a while. But then I saw the Creative Writing course, and a tiny little voice in my head said, "pick me, pick me, pick me." And I listened. I'm mighty thankful I did, because I think these Tuesday evenings may have just changed the whole course of my life. I can't ever go back to not writing now.

I love what I've learned about myself from this class: my favourite things to write are first sentences. When I open my eyes in the morning, a first sentence makes itself conscious, or when I'm in the shower, I'll think up something that sounds just the way I'd like it to.

I learned a lot about writing too. Like how important it is to write every day, even when my head is empty of ideas and words. I read in Chris Guillebeau's manifesto, "279 Days to Overnight Success" that you should set yourself a word count to write every day, like 1000 words if you're really ambitious, or maybe 800 if you know you'll never manage the 1000. I picked 500 on each of the five days of the week, with weekends being optional. I've found that following this can be a bit tricky, particularly when I'm trying to describe by showing, not telling a white beach house. There's this mosquito that keeps buzzing around in my head, especially ferocious, on days when inspiration is lacking. His favourite phrase sounds like this "bzzzz I have nothing to write about, bzzzzz there's nothing to write about, bzzzzz I write like crap."

You see I have this idea that I need to be brimming with inspiration in order to write. That the words need to flow out of me, flood the paper, and unite with a big bang to create a masterpiece that will be studied by scholars of literature hundreds of years from now. One day however, I heard Elizabeth Gilbert speak, in a talk she gave for TED in 2009 on nurturing creativity, about how she approached writing after her mega blockbuster memoir "Eat, Pray, Love." She made a vow long ago that she will write, no matter what. She will meet her end of the bargain, whether inspiration chooses to join her there or not.

I also realized how important it is to read every day. There are pieces of writing that are so exquisite, I often feel they must have been transcribed from some heavenly place that became accessible to those hard working people who took the time to write and write and write, even when they wanted to scream and scream and scream. Why pass up these masterworks?

Through the course of our Tuesdays evenings, I've discovered reading for more than just the pleasure of entertainment. I read to see how a writer writes. For example, I'm working on a story that is meant to be read like a memoir, but it's really fiction. So I took "Memoirs of a Geisha" down from my shelf, and reread it for a second time, because Arthur Golden has so kindly worked to perfect that genre. And on the days when I lament the fact that I wrote better in the fourth grade than I do now, I think about how Arthur who threw out his entire 800 page draft and began again because he couldn't find the right voice.

Perhaps the most important teaching of all though, came from you Brian, in the form of your subtle yet very clear encouragement to submit our work for publishing. When you first suggested this it took me by surprise, but you made it appear so simple, that one day I found myself submitting a piece of my work for the first time, and then I submitted a second piece. Of course I'm still waiting to be published, it would be rather miraculous if it were to happen after just 28 days of writing, but I like the new habit.

And so before I get carried away with my ramblings - I clearly remember one of our first lessons here, that if you're sharing in class please keep the word count to the 800 mark - I have one last thing to tell you all dear class mates and Brian. If in many, many, many years - because writing like all art takes much practice - you find yourself in Chapters or Indigo, walking back and forth between the rows of books, and spy on the shelf a spine with the words 'by Ingrid Haring-Mendes' on it, take a minute and give yourself a pat on the back. It is because of all of you and your encouragement that the book found its way onto that shelf.

Sincerely and with a big hug to all,

For information about Brian's creative writing courses and writing workshops, see here.

"The View from Castle Rock" by Alice Munro, reviewed by Amy Postma

Alice Munro begins her 2006 collection of short stories, The View from Castle Rock, as an explanatory account of her earliest known and recorded ancestors. Initially, a reader familiar with Munro’s work might wonder if this extremely factual account will maintain the introspective pondering that Munro typically leaves readers wrestling with. However, as the stories progress through long ago historical accounts to the author’s analysis of her immediate ancestors, and finally, herself, you realize that this may be Munro’s most intriguing collection to date.

In the earlier stories she plays with the history she has available to her and constructs characters out of the names, following the journey of her ancestors from Ireland to North America. Classic Munro emerges in this creation of fiction from scattered yet traceable bits of real life. The stories continue to grow more truthful and personal to a point at which the reader finally can declare that, yes, the first person protagonist in this story is, in fact, Munro herself, and not an inspired fictional version of her.

For devoted readers of Munro’s work, these stories serve as illuminating echoes to many stories already read. Casual mentions of a protagonist’s grandmother turning her true love away in another collection is expanded upon as an examined memory in “The Ticket”. Other odd characters such as a group of aunts and uncles who live together reclusively in the country we learn are her father’s actual aunts and uncles in “The Wilds of Morris Township”. Instead of a fictionalized glimpse of their oddity, we see their situation unfold as Munro takes us down her family tree. There are countless other casual and central characters, themes, and settings that echo so much of Munro’s work, making this read a deeper look into the process of her writing.

The View from Castle Rock reaches far wider than the purpose of exploring a family history. It opens up Munro’s literary world and paints it with truth, effectively making her life’s work an enticing collection that seems to stem from this culmination.
Amy Postma lives in Burlington, Otario, and is a recent university graduate and aspiring writer. Her work has been published in Ascent Aspirations Magazine as well as The Antigonish Review’s online spotlight on student writing, The Poet Grow Op.

For information about Brian Henry's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to Build Your Story, Saturday, September 11, Guelph

Plotting novels and writing short stories
~ an editor & an author explain it all ~
Saturday, September 11
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Harcourt United Church, 87 Dean Ave, Guelph (Map here.)
We'll be in the wonderfully comfortable Friendship Room.  But this is a small space, so book early to guarantee a seat.

This workshop will show you how writers plot a novel. You’ll also get the best tips on writing short stories, where to get them published and how to win contests. Best yet, you’ll see how to apply the story-building techniques you’ve learned to your own writing.

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

Guest speaker Lynda Simmons’ most recent novel, Getting Rid of Rosie (from Berkley Books, a Penguin USA imprint), came out in August. Rosie is an outrageously entertaining novel of life, love, death - and the afterlife. (More here.) Lynda’s next novel with Berkley will come out in 2010. Before going mainstream, Lynda served her apprenticeship as an author by writing six romance novels, published by Harlequin, Silhouette and Kensington.

When she’s not writing, Lynda teaches creative writing at Sheridan College in Oakville and at Ryerson University in Toronto. Lynda specializes in comic novels and her presentations are known for their humour. At the workshop, she'll share her insights into plotting novels and creating a character arc.  Visit Lynda’s website here: 

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 a spot now, email

For information about all of Brian's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Registration now open for notorious 3-day novel writing contest

Are you ready to try the world’s most notorious literary marathon? Registration is open for the 33rd Annual International 3-Day Novel Contest. Since its beginnings as a barroom challenge in 1977, thousands of writers have put their storytelling stamina to the test with this infamous creative pressure-cooker.

This year’s contest will take place Labour Day weekend, Sept. 4 - 6, 2010.

The first prize winner will be offered a publishing contract by 3-Day Books. Once the contract is signed, the winning novel will be edited, published and released by the next year’s contest. 3-Day Books are distributed by Arsenal Pulp Press. 2nd Prize: $500.  3rd Prize: $100

The Rules (most of them):

Registration deadline: Paid registration must be in the mail by the Friday before the contest (Sept. 3, 2010). The entry fee is $50. If you want to make a party of it, group discounts are available.  See registration page here.

Preparation:You are allowed, though not required, to develop ideas and an outline prior to the contest. You do not have to submit your outline, and you can change and adapt your novel as you see fit.

Location: Novels may be written using any method, and in any location, anywhere in the world. Yes, the honour system still exists!
Writing: The actual writing must begin no earlier than 12:01 a.m., on the Saturday of the Labour Day weekend, and must stop by 11:59 on the following Monday. Novels may not be edited outside the contest time frame.

Form: The contest exists to help you write the novel you want, so you may write in any genre, on any subject you wish. There are no limits to the novel’s length, but entries average 100 typed pages, double-spaced. Thereabouts. Length is a factor in judging, but it is only one of many.

Collaboration: You may collaborate with up to one other author on a novel. Fees are per novel, not per writer, so if you are collaborating, you only need to submit one form.
Submitting:You are not required to submit your manuscript for judging, but we suggest you do. It completes the experience—and it’s the only way to get your certificate. Print up and mail your completed novel to us as soon as possible after the weekend is over. If you handwrote your novel, you have a few days to type it up…otherwise just send it in right away. Novels must be postmarked on or before Friday, Sept. 10, 2010 to qualify.

Witness statement: Include a statement, signed by a witness, confirming the novel’s completion over the Labour Day long weekend with your novel. There are no rules or templates for this statement, just make sure it affirms that you followed the rules.

Complete rules here:
Note: For information about all the annual writing contests in Canada, order The Canadian Writers' Contest Calendar, on sale now for $3 off the regular price. Details here.
For information about Brian Henry's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Daytripping Magazine & RV Times ~ two travel mags that welcome submissions from beginners

Tomorrow, June 21, marks the first day of summer, so I thought it would be a good time to post a couple places you can send your travel articles.  These two are non-paying markets.  You can find a few more travel markets here.
- Brian
P.S. Happy Father's Day!

Daytripping Magazine
2684 Lakeshore Rd, Bright's Grove, Ontario

To put it in the most boring possible way, Daytripping is a travel guide. To be a bit more specific, it’s a free, bi-monthly paper that promotes a great number of the most unique towns, events, and shops in Southern Ontario. Daytripping doesn’t have a reporter. Our writes are our readers. Most of them are from southern Ontario, but a few are from as far away as British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

Daytripping itself is fun...both as a job and as something to do on your day off.  Most people don’t have time for all the extended holidays they would like to take, but there is so much to do in your own backyard that daytrips can become the best getaways of all. Many of our readers keep a copy of Daytripping in their car. It’s a fact that 72% of the tourism in southwestern Ontario comes from within Ontario. It is people travelling from Brantford to Port Dover for the day, or Londoners getting out of the city and driving off to Tillsonburg or Grand Bend. They’re looking for a new road to go down, a new shop to explore and an easy, affordable adventure.

Mark Moran,
Submissions to Carrie Ann Timm, Managing Editor:
Daytripper home page here:

RV Times
Sheila Jones Publishing Ltd.
945 Alston Street, Victoria, BC, V9A 3S5

RV Times welcomes articles that have a maximum length of 1,500 words and which describe a recent trip or experience. As your fellow RVers may make use of information in your article when planning their own trips, we ask that you ensure that the information you provide on facilities, costs, and distances is as accurate as possible. We reserve the right to edit all submissions.

Submissions, including photographs, can be made electronically or by mail.
Full submision guidelines here

For information about my writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Two poems by Liz Crockett

The day
my father died
the river flowed
the earth shook
the winds blew
and there I stood

But, then
I got through it at the time
feeling the toughness
of weathered hide
but then
the waterfall intensified
the clouds opened
and left the storm
in me

Elizabeth Crocket writes short fiction, poetry and haiku. She has been published in Ascent Aspirations, RKVRY online journal, Roadrunner online journal, First Thought Poetry, The Mastadon Dentist, Word Riot, and Everyday Poems. Her first published piece was "The Pocket Watch" in Quick Brown Fox!

For information about Brian Henry’s upcoming writing workshops and classes see here.

"How to Build Your Story," Sunday, Aug 15, Owen Sound

Writing novels and short stories
Sunday, August 15
10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Chartwell Select
1389 16th Avenue East, Owen Sound (Map here.)

In this workshop, you’ll learn how writers plot a novel. You’ll also get the best tips on writing short stories, where to get them published and how to win contests. Best yet, you’ll see how to apply the story-building techniques you’ve learned to your own writing.

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

Fee: $46.90 + hst = $53 in advance ~ includes the chef’s lunch at Chartwell Select!
Or $53.10 + hst = $60 at the door ~ if there are any seats left. Much better to register early – this is a small venue!
To register now, email:

For information about all of Brian’s writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The McIntyre Agency

Devin McIntyre has opened a new literary agency: The McIntyre Agncy.  He was previously an agent at Mary Evans Inc., which he joined in 2002.  At Mary Evans Inc, he represented children's lit and graphic novels, thrillers & suspense, and commercial , ethnic, literary, and women's fiction.  In non-fiction he represented biography, history, journalism, memoirs, narrative non-fiction, pop cuulture, science, and sports.  Presumably he's still interested in the same sort of material

Query him at:
He has a website ( but as of yet there's nothing on it but his email. 

Note: Brian Henry has a couple "How to Get Published" workshops coming up: in Waterloo on July 24 (see here) and in Sarnia on August 22 (see here).
For information about all of Brian's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Barrie Writers' Club

In 1986 Heather Kirk, a published author of young adult fiction and a writing teacher, had just moved to Barrie, and as she put it, “…was getting lonely.” She put out an ad to “see if there were any other writers in the area.”

The first meeting was on January 28, 1986, and three people came out. By the third meeting on February 17, she had a list of about 30 who were interested in becoming members.

During the intervening years the group has gone through many changes and of late has grown into a highly motivated and dynamic force. Some of our members are published authors who are more than willing to share their varied experiences with those just starting out. The club provides a forum for writers where they can meet other writers and tap into available resources, Feedback is provided for works in progress to those willing to share.

We meet twice monthly, generally on the second and fourth Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. Currently our meeting place is the Barrie Public Library at 60 Worsley Street, in the Georgian International Room.

New members are always welcome. The best way to become involved is to attend a meeting. More information can be obtained by contacting Marilyn Lamb at 705-728-2738
or e-mailing

We host periodic workshops with Brian Henry for members and non-members alike and have been doing so since the mid-1990’s. The workshops provide a terrific learning experience for everyone interested in the craft of writing.

Brian's next workshop with the group will be "How to make yourself write ~ a creativity workout for writers" on Saturday, May 3, 2014. Details here.

Photo: The Barrie Writers' Club, May 10th, 2010 with guest speaker Richard Todd (centre back corner), author of Raincloud, a novel. Click on photo for enlargement.

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

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Metazen on-line literary journal

Metazen is an on-line literary journal published out of Halifax by Francesca “Frank” Hinton. It publishes a new story 5 days a week, a literary cartoon on Saturdays and (usually) a best of metazen on Sundays. It also publishes art and poetry (submit only 2 poems at a time).  Your fiction should be short (1,000-5,000 words max), and your flash fiction (even shorter) should be odd.

Frank likes absurdism and writing that makes her laugh.  But she especially likes meta-fiction – fiction that is conscious of the fiction process itself. Give her good meta-fiction and, “I will drool,” says she.  Don't send non-fiction.  "Metazen does not believe in non-fiction, both in a literary sense and an existential sense."

Submit stories in the body of the email.  Include a short, third person bio, and email to:
Submission guidelines here.

Photo: Frank Hinton

For information about Brian Henry's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gemini magazine seeks submissions, holds contest

About submitting to Gemini...

If I am wild about a submission and simply can't stop thinking about it and talking about it, I know it's right for Gemini, then I rush to accept it before someone else grabs it. Just gotta have it! Aside from those subjective but very strong feelings, we don't have any checklists or guidelines. I can't tell people what to write or how to write, but I know when a piece moves me.

Things that help in a submission:
- Passion
- Clean copy with no typos. Advice to writers: Write with your heart first and foremost, but be sure to edit severely and proofread meticulously before sending submissions out. Typos, misspellings and sloppy copy distract my attention from an otherwise good story.

Best regards,
David Bright
P.S. Nice blog!

Email submissions to:
Full submission guidelines:
No payment; glory only. But Gemini is also running a contest, with prizes…

Gemini Magazine Flash Fiction Contest. No restrictions on content, style or genre. New and established writers welcome. Award for first place: $1000; second place: $100. Winners and four runners-up will be published in October issue of Gemini Magazine.

Deadline: August 31.
Entry fee: $4 ($3 for each additional entry).
Details here:

Note: For information about all the annual writing contests in Canada, order The Canadian Writers' Contest Calendar. Details here.
For information about Brian Henry's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New agent Chelsea Gilmore seeks commercial fiction, YA and pop culture

Chelsea Gilmore began her publishing career at Oxford University Press, in the higher education group. Before joining Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc. she was Associate Editor at Avalon Books, a small, family-owned publishing house specializing in genre fiction for the library market.

She is seeking: women’s fiction, literary fiction, young adult, mysteries/thrillers, and pop culture. Send your query snail mail to her attention at:

Maria Carvainis Agency
1270 Avenue of the Americas
Suite 2320
New York, NY 10020

The agency's web page was last updated in 2004, but you can check it out here.

Note: Brian Henry has a couple "How to Get Published" workshops coming up: in Waterloo on July 24 and in Sarnia on August 22.
For information about all of Brian's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"How to Make Yourself Write," St. Catharines, Wednesday, September 1

7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
St. Catharines Public Library
54 Church Street, St. Catharines
No set fee for this seminar, but donations welcome

Do you find it difficult to keep yourself motivated? To find time to write? Do you ever find yourself just staring at a blank screen? Come to this workshop and give yourself a kick-start, and then learn how to keep going. This creativity workout will get your words flowing and help you make the breakthrough into the next level of writing.

Please reserve your spot in advance by emailing:
Photo: St. Catharines Library in winter.

For information about all of Brian's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dream Quest poetry and short story contest

Poems must be 30 lines or fewer, on any subject, single or double line spacing. Entry fee: $5 per poem. Prizes: first prize $250; second $125; third $50 - all contest winners will be published online in the Dare to Dream pages.

Short stories must be a maximum of 5 pages maximum length, either neatly handwritten or typed, single or double line spacing, on any subject or theme. Works may be simulataneously submitted to other contests or have been previously published as long as you own the online publication rights.
Entry fee: $10 per entry. Prizes: first prize $500; second $250; third $100.  All contest winners will be published online in the Dare to Dream pages.
Deadline: July 31, 2010


Cartoon: Check out Doug Savage's site here:

Note: For information about all the annual writing contests in Canada, order The Canadian Writers' Contest Calendar. Details here.
For information about Brian Henry's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Burlington Writers' Circle

Updarte, Aug 23, 2010:  The Burlington Writers are no longer accepting new members.  If you're looking for a writers' group (or looking to start a group), email me with a paragraph I can post in the newsletter, with the details of what you want.
- Brian

Attention all aspiring, emerging and established writers! It's time for us to band together to share our writing in a positive and constructively critical manner. The Burlington Writers' Circle embraces a spirit of encouragement and aims to improve the productivity and abilities of its writers.

This group is intended for adults with a passion for writing in any genre. We meet regularly every Monday evening from 7 to 9 p.m.  By meeting and sharing regularly our writers hone their craft and are motivated to meet their goals.

Visit our blog here.
For further information or to join us please send an email to

I look forward to you joining us.
- Sandra Coppola

For information about Brian Henry's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

"The Canal of Destiny," a short story by Karen Gansel

The door to the compartment opened in the darkness and, in the dim light, I was able to make out a brown hand holding a duffle bag. I'd been sprawled across two seats, getting a bit of sleep.  I hastily pushed myself upright, and my voice squeaked as I said, “Is this your seat? I thought it was vacant.”

The train continued to rumble past empty fields. I could just make out dark green blobs in rows that must be olive trees. He broke the strained silence.

“It’s a short trip for me, but I’ve worked a twelve- hour shift in the hospital so I need to rest. But come. There is room for both of us on these wide seats.”

I longed to lie down once more, but my mother’s voice nagged at me. If you’re going to travel on your own in Europe, watch out for strange men.

“I’m going to Venice to stay with my older brother who owns a restaurant. He’ll be meeting the train in the morning.” I glanced sideways at him in the darkness to see if he was buying my story.

“Okay. Suit yourself, but you’ll be sleeping on the floor in the corridor. There are no seats left.”

He placed his duffle bag onto the overhead rack and sprawled across the two seats to my right. I stayed sitting rigidly upright. My long blond hair was matted from the sweat of several days of living in youth hostels. The legs of my sweatpants were pushed up against the backs of my knees.

“Look, I need some rest, too. I’ll just lie here against the arm rest and you keep to your own side.”

He chuckled to himself as he turned his face toward the door. “Whatever you say, sweet one. I don’t intend you any harm.”

I could soon hear him breathing deeply, right there next to me. The slight smell of male sweat mixed with an expensive aftershave made my body restless. I had a strong urge to run my fingers down the inside of his muscular leg.

My left hip had a dull ache and my cheek was pressed against the arm of the seat when I opened my eyes to see faint sunlight. Pulling myself up to look out the window, I could taste the staleness of my mouth. The man lying next to me was about thirty with a long slender body, deeply tanned olive skin and inky black hair.

He stretched and sat up and glanced over my entire form lingering on my bare legs. “So, you didn’t leave after all.”

I blushed and crossed my legs. “I must look a mess. It’s hard to look glamorous when you are travelling in this heat.”

His eyes continued to explore every curve of my body. We sat together on the double seat for a few moments leaning against each other. The heat from his body made me drowsy.

Part of me wanted to resist, but the scent of him was overwhelming. He rubbed his hand from the top of my thigh to my knee and back causing my toes to curl.

“I wish that we had met earlier in the trip.” I flicked my eyelashes at him. “Now, you will be gone and I won’t get to know you.”

He pulled me very close, his eyes smouldering with passion. Then he sighed and dropped his hands. “It’s not to be. We’ll soon be at the station. But I’d like to see you again while we’re both in Venice. How about meeting me for coffee or lunch?”

“That would be great,” I stammered. “But, I don’t even know your name.”

“Mine is Adolphe Pomodoro. And you?”

I hesitated studying his face closely. “Josephine Randall. You can call me Josie like my friends do.”

“Well, Josie, I’m in Venice for a weekend break. I’m a doctor and this is one of my few weekends off in the past month.”

She held her breath. Wouldn’t her friends Ann Marie and Kathryn be impressed that she had a sort of date with a doctor? “Like I told you, I’ll be staying with my big brother here.”

I was just starting to relax when the train jerked to a stop. He reached for his bag, and scribbled an address on a slip of paper handing it to me. “I’ve got to go now, but please do meet with me tomorrow. That’s a quiet little place off the Grand Canal.”

I pulled on the straps of my backpack and skipped down the train steps to the platform, giving him a little wave as I headed towards a tall husky blond man. Just as I reached him, I changed direction and took the well-marked path toward the youth hostel. Oh, god, I hope this one has a shower and real soap. I need to look great tomorrow.

I stood gazing down the expanse of the busy canal in the bright sunshine. The water taxis were picking up noisy tourists at every stop. Occasionally, I would see the long sleek black gondolas drift past, piloted by a local dressed in black suit with short pants and stockings and wearing a round red pillbox hat. My palms were sweaty from clenching and unclenching them as I paced. He had said to meet him at eleven and it was already eleven-thirty. How long should I wait? Was there any use in waiting any longer for a stranger I hardly knew?

As I made my way back to the hostel, loud yelling startled me. Was that a shot from the plaza below? I could feel a knot of panic tightening in the pit of my stomach. A tanned and slender man in white cotton pants was sprinting towards me. It looked like Adolphe. A bearded man was charging behind him and raised the gun once more. This shot sounded closer and made me jump.

As the running man approached, I recognized him and called, “Adolphe. What’s happening?”

He grabbed my arm and pulled my body so that my back was tightly against his chest. “You don’t want to injure an innocent bystander do you?” He snarled at the man rapidly approaching us.

My body was in shock. I began to whimper like a small animal.

He hushed me. “He’s Italian police and won’t shoot you.”

“You said that you were a doctor.”

“I’ll explain later.” He moved us back towards the canal.

I could feel his hot breath on the back of my neck. I was excited and horrified at the same time. “What do you plan to do with me?”

“He has mistaken me for a well known jewel thief. You’re going to help me escape.” We stood at the edge of the canal with a dozen gondolas moored below us.

“I’m not ready to fight off the police for you. I’m not sure that I even want to get to know you any better.” I struggled to break free, but he held me tighter.

Suddenly, we were falling and the blue grey water of the canal was coming up to meet me. With a loud thump, we landed not in the water but in a gondola and Adolphe grabbed the oar and punted us into the middle of the canal. He easily manoeuvred us between crowds of other gondolas heading up the Grand Canal. The policeman stopped at the edge with gun raised. Unable to get a clear shot, he swore and ran down the path following us.

Regaining some confidence, I pulled myself from the floor of the boat, onto the red-carpeted seat and turned to face him. “How could you do this to me? I could be considered a criminal or something. I thought you liked me.”

“My father was a professional gondolier. I have lived in these boats since I was five. I’m not a doctor, but neither am I a jewel thief. I must have carried some bad guy across the canal last night.”

I studied him carefully, but the blue eyes hid any expression. “I don’t believe you.” I turned to face the front of the boat.

The boat stopped and he joined me on the seat and put his arms around my shoulders. “My sweet thing, Josie, I wish that I could really get to know you. It’s too dangerous, my life, for you. I’ll have to let you go.”

I felt the boat bump against the wharf and another gondolier reached out his hand to help me to shore. Adolphe, threw a kiss into the air in my direction, grabbed the oar and was soon far down the canal. Cold sweat washed over me and my chest was so tight that I could hardly breath, as I struggled across the bridge. Maybe it was a case of mistaken identity. But probably not. Still he was the most exciting man I’d ever met. And I’d probably never see him again.

After a long career in the health and social services fields, in 2004 Karen Gansel decided to explore the creative arts through writing. She has improved her skills through two creative writing courses and membership in three different writers groups. Currently she is the Coordinator for the Fiction Writers Group for the Canadian Authors Association, Niagara Branch. She has previously published in The Globe and Mail and a few community newspapers. 

On April 7, Karen gave a reading of "The Canal of Destiny" at CJ's Cafe.  Our next reading night will be June 17. Details here.

For infromation about Brian Henry's writing workshops and creative writing courses see here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bree Ogden joins Martin Literary, seeks graphic novels, YA, and children's lit

Martin Literary Management LLC
321 High School Road NE, Suite D-3, #316
Bainbridge Island, WA  

Fresh out of completing a master's degree in journalism with an emphasis in graphic design, photojournalism, and expository writing, Bree Ogden joined Martin Literary Management as Sharlene Martin's executive assistant.  She's now been promoted to agent.  Bree represents only graphic novels, children's literature and young adult novels.

Query her at:
Do not send attachments.
Read Bree's complete bio and three interviews with her here. 

Sharlene Martin, the principal agent at MLM, represents only nonfiction.  She's particularly interested in Biography/autobiography; business/entrepreneurial; child guidance/parenting; current affairs; health/medicine; history; how-to; humor/satire; memoirs; popular culture; psychology; inspirational; self-help/personal improvement; true crime/investigative; women’s issues/studies. Tip: “Have a strong platform for nonfiction.”

The agency actively pursues film and TV options and is seeking nonfiction that is highly commercial and that can be adapted to film.

Terms: Agent receives 15% commission on domestic sales; 25% commission on foreign sales. {Note: most agents take 20% on overseas sales, but as the U.S. is usually the most important market, this might not matter much.} Offers written contract, binding for 1 year; 1 month notice must be given to terminate contract.
Query Sharlene Martin at

Complete submission guidelines here:

Note: Brian Henry has a couple "How to Get Published" workshops coming up: in Waterloo on July 24 and in Sarnia on August 22.
For information about all of Brian's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We’re reading out loud at CJ’s Café

Thursday, June 17
6:30 p.m.
CJ's Café in Bronte, 2416 Lakeshore Rd. W, Oakville (On the south side of Lakeshore, just east of Bronte Rd, next to Lick’s ice cream)

Participants in the Intensive Creative Writing course will be reading aloud from their work. Come and be blown away! We have a line-up of the most amazing emerging writers west of Toronto, and they’ll be reading some of the best work you’ll hear this year. Don’t miss it!

Meanwhile, be sure to check out all the other great stuff going on at CJ’s, home of the best lattes in North America.  See here.

For information about Brian Henry's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.