Thursday, September 30, 2010

You're invited to a book launch this Saturday, Oct 2

Canadian Authors Association, Niaraga, invites you to a book launch for the Ten Stories High short story anthology.

We will be officially launching our latest edition of Ten Stories High in the Mills Room at the St. Catharines Public Library on 54 Church Street on Saturday, October 2nd from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m.

This gala event will feature readings by this year's winning contestants as well as refreshments. We will also be offering copies of our anthology for sale at that time.

First Prize Winner is a local writer and current Canadian Authors Association branch member, Samantha Craggs with “The Sand Hills.” Samantha Craggs was raised in Norfolk County, Ontario, where her first job was working on a tobacco farm. Eventually she embarked on a career in journalism, working for newspapers, magazines, radio and websites. Her resume includes being a reporter at the St. Catharines Standard and a stint reviewing video games. She now works as a full-time writer and editor. Ten Stories High is her first fiction publishing credit.

Second Prize went to Sandi Plewis who wrote “Smoke Screens.” Primarily a short story/novel writer, Sandi Plewis had one first place win and two third place wins in the Alice Munro Short Story contest. She’s also had short stories accepted into several literary journals and currently writes play reviews. Her poetry has appeared in The Saving Bannister and The Price of Eggs.

Third Prize is shared two writers: Cecilia Kennedy  for “Roses and Rue” and Kim Skublics for “Going To Alaska.”

Cecilia Kennedy grew up in Wainfleet township . In 2004 Jaw Press published her first short story collection called The Robbie Burns Revival and Other Stories. Though set in eastern Ontario many places and landscapes of Wainfleet are embedded in these stories of a young cop with a rural beat. A follow up anthology is due out from Innis Lake Press in 2011. Visit her website at

Kim Skublics graduated from York University with degrees in Sociology and Fine Art and has taken creative writing courses at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College. When not writing short stories and young adult novels, she can be found piste fencing.

This year's Contest Judge was Lynda Simmons.  Lynda's six romance novels have been published by Harlequin/Silhouette, Kensington Books and Sun Media, and have been translated into more than ten languages. Her books have also been shortlisted for several prestigious romance awards including the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice and the Affaire de Coeur Reader’s Choice Award. Lynda's recent mainstream novel, Getting Rid of Rosie (reviewed here), was published in 2009 by Berkley Books (a Penguin imprint) and chosen as a Book Pick by Metro News. Lynda is releasing another book December 2010 called Island Girl set on Toronto Island.

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

Three agents at Anne McDermid & Associates actively seeking new authors

Anne McDermid (centre)
with authors Andrew Pyper & Leah McLaren
Anne McDermid & Associates
83 Willcocks Street
Toronto, ON  M5S 1C9

Anne McDermid founded this agency in Toronto in January 1996. She had previously been a senior partner in the distinguished British agency Curtis Brown for several years.
The McDermid agency represents literary novelists and commercial novelists of high quality, and also writers of non-fiction in the areas of memoir, biography, history, literary travel, narrative science, investigative journalism and true crime.
The agency also represents a certain number of children's and young adult (YA) writers and writers in the fields of science fiction and fantasy.

The McDermid agency's clients include distinguished literary authors such as Michael Crummey, Camilla Gibb, Greg Hollingshead, Andrew Pyper, Nino Ricci, David Adams Richards, Michael Winter and Vincent Lam, who won the Giller Prize in 2006.

The agency also represents writers of narrative non-fiction, such as Charles Montgomery and James MacKinnon, both of whom won the Charles Taylor prize for literary non-fiction in their years of publication. More recently, the agency has been branching out to represent upmarket commercial fiction writers, such as Leah McLaren from the Globe and Mail, Robert Wiersema, and Peter Darbyshire.

If you are interested in submitting your work McDermid & Associates, please e-mail your query to
Your query should include a brief description of yourself and your project, and you are welcome to include the first 5 pages of your manuscript. Please do not send any further material unless invited.

The agency has three agents actively looking for new authors:

Monica Pacheco represents a growing list of writers, focusing on children's, young adult, science fiction and fantasy. Her clients include actress/writer/director Sarah Polley whose children's picture book Monica sold to HarperCollins Canada; Yves, Mynard whose fantasy trilogy she sold to Tor/Macmillan; Deborah Kerbel who was short-listed by the Canadian Library Association for 2010 YA book of the year; and horror writer David Nickle, winner of the Bram Stoker Award.

Monica will be the guest speaker at Brian Henry's "How to Get Published" workshop on Saturday, June 9, in Brampton. Details here.

Chris Bucci represents both fiction and non-fiction, focusing particularly on non-fiction in the areas of popular science and technology and popular culture.

Martha and son Tobias
Martha Magor Webb represents a growing list of writers, focusing on literary fiction, narrative non-fiction (including memoir and true crime) and ideas-driven non-fiction.

Her clients include Pasha Malla (longlisted for the Giller, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, winner of the Danuta Gleed and the Trillium awards), Damian Tarnopolsky (shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the award), Russell Smith, Jessica Grant, (winner of the First Novel and the Winterset Awards) Nicholas Ruddock, and Andrew Westoll.

In 2009, Martha was named to the Quill and Quire’s 12 to Watch: The Faces of Publishing’s Future, which the trade magazine puts out every five years.

Update, May 18, 2011: Martha will be going on pregnancy leave shortly, so it would probably be a good idea to hold off querying her for six months or so.

Brian Henry will lead "Writing for Children and for Young Adults" workshops in London, Ontario, on April 21 (see here) and in Oakville on June 2 (see here). 

Brian will also lead
"How to Get Published" workshops on Saturday, May 12, in Newmarket with Meghan Macdonald of Transatlantic Literary Agency (see here), Saturday, June 9, in Brampton with Monica Pacheco of The Anne McDermid literary agency (see here), and Saturday, June 16, in Hamilton with Carly Watters of P.S. Literary Agency (see here).

See Brian's full schedule here. including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Kitchener, Woodstock, London, Orangeville, Kingston, Gravenhurst, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nonfiction pieces wanted for anthologies about animals and about India

Seeking submissions for a non-fiction anthology about animals: having a significant relationship or encounter with an animal (domestic or wild). Length: 4 – 14 pages, standard manuscript format. Selected texts will receive an honorarium. Mail your work to: Pam Chamberlain
Box 27026
2050 – 11300 Tuscany Blvd.
Calgary, AB  T3L 2V0
Or email:
Deadline: October 31, 2010.

Dear fellow writers,
I'm seeking contributions from women to a travel anthology of creative non-fiction, “Emails From India: Women Write Home.”

I'm interested in pieces in the form of letters or emails to friends (personal, authentic voices without the emoticons), with a kind of essay/story/creative non-fiction feel. However, if you’d prefer to write in a more conventional form, I’d be interested in seeing that as well.

I imagine a great variety of pieces: some short vignettes (around 500 words), some long (around 3,500 words); maybe even two or three short ones by the same writer; some that focus on only one place, issue, event, image, or cultural practice or relationship; others that describe several, more lightly. All pieces, though, would keep the female foreigner experience in India somewhat salient.

This would be a book that I would have liked to have read before I traveled in India, and I’m eager to read now that I’ve been there. It’s not meant to be another travel guide; however, but be "literary," a good read, and interesting to anyone who's ever been interested in India in any way. More like very good travel writing, without the where-to-stay and how-to-get there info. (That’s what the internet is for!)

I’m looking for a strong sense of immediacy: Imagine that you’re in India and writing to your extensive email list. The audience is somewhat general and varied (your best friend, your distant relative, that guy you met before you left who’s thinking of going to India someday). There’s no need to describe who you are; they already know.

I imagine being able to leaf through the book, reading this and that, and not feeling bogged down by chapters or linear progression. This is part of the reason I want to keep the sense of "email” – something that one has an easy and in-the-moment relationship with. However, unlike real emails, the quality of the writing is paramount. Also, I'm thinking of juxtaposing these pieces with historical letters written by British women during the time of the British Raj.

Aside from publishing journalism, academic articles (I teach College English), and poetry and prose in journals and anthologies, I’ve edited and published a successful anthology of creative non-fiction with Anvil Press (2007), Body Breakdowns: Tales of Illness and Recovery. It's received a lot of very good press and still garners glowing reviews.

It’s the Editor’s Choice in the current issue of Reader’s Digest magazine (September), and there’s a 26-page spread of excerpts from it. If you want an idea of the kind of writing I'm looking for, this anthology will give you that, though without the email slant.

I haven't secured a publisher yet, but am currently in process of seeing who's interested. I don't have too many doubts that a publisher will want to take this on. However, I likely won’t secure one until I’ve been through the selection process and have a manuscript. This means that the publication of the anthology is not guaranteed. Payment will probably be minimal: for example, my Body Breakdowns contributors – many of them successfully established Canadian writers – received $50 and two free copies of the book.

Please submit your work as an email attachment to by November 1. Include your name and email address on the submission, and your name in the attachment title. I'll be in touch about the status of your piece early in 2011.

I look forward to reading your work. Thanks for your interest.

Janis Harper

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

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert, reviewed by Judy Samuel

I started reading Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert, the acclaimed author of Eat, Pray, Love, as my new husband and I were flying to Hawaii for our honeymoon. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear I didn’t finish the book until after returning to Toronto.

I hadn’t planned on reading the book at all, because I thought it was going to be a belaboured work on whether to commit or not to commit. I’m glad my friend ventured to say it’s better than Eat, Pray, Love, which I also enjoyed.

While reading Committed, I felt like I was having scintillating, late night conversations with a kindred spirit – but one much more knowledgeable and mature than I am. For the three days that I took to read this book, I kept spouting the book’s contents to anyone who would listen.

The book recounts how the author and her new life partner met in Bali. They were both divorced and saw no need to marry again until the U.S. government suddenly mandates marriage for them – he is no longer allowed to visit her in the U.S. if they don’t marry. Finding no other way to live together in the States, they decide to get married.

They go to Southeast Asia so they can wait together for their papers to be processed without breaking the bank. There, the author busies herself with learning as much as possible before her second marriage, because the first marriage she blissfully walked into hadn’t worked out for her. The author investigates the informal beginnings of marriage, its evolution, and its impact on society and on couples themselves. She does this by seeking truth among the people she meets during her travels and through relevant events and theories she uncovers in her research.

The author’s first book, Eat, Pray, Love, follows the her quest for happiness and inner peace after her divorce. Committed is something of a sequel. It cleverly keeps you hooked while covering a multitude of related social topics such as inter-racial marriage, male-female roles, nuclear families, gay marriage … and the list continues!

Judy and Eric
Hope you enjoy the book. I found it a refreshing read. People have been asking my husband Eric and I, newly married a month ago, whether things have changed for us since our marriage. People are curious because we’d been living together for five years.

His answer is that nothing has really changed, except that it makes a difference for our parents and grandparents. They know that they are now forever bound by our formal commitment to each other. I say that I’m really happy we celebrated our union.

However, the funniest thing to us is that we are definitely looked upon as a different animal in society. It was very clear that the customs and immigration officials saw us differently when we were travelling to and from our honeymoon. Before getting married, when we declared ourselves as a family living at the same domicile, we generated some confusion, more questions and different directions from different people. Answering, “Yes, we are married,” moved us along much faster and seemed to make the customs officials happier.

Funny that a couple who might have had a fly by night wedding the day before have a chance of getting more respect than a legally un-married couple who might have been through thick and thin together for decades.
Judy Samuel is recently married and lives with her husband, Eric Lau, in Toronto. Reading has been her passion since as far back as she can remember. She also loves languages, travelling and fashion. She comes from a brand management and business background.

For information about Brian Henry's writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.
Quick Brown Fox welcomes your book reviews.  Guidelines here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dundurn Press

"Body Blows" by Marc Strange,
an award-winning mystery novel
published by Dundurn Press

Dundurn Press is an independent Canadian publisher headquartered in Toronto.  Dundurn publishes fine fiction such as Exile by Ann Ireland, Nine Bells for a Man by Peter Unwin, and Necessary Lies by Eva Stachniak.

It publishes outstanding crime fiction, such as Find Me Again by Sylvia Maultash Warsh, and creative non-fiction such as Mean Streets by Peter McSherry; popular non-fiction, such as Tokyo, My Everest by Gabrielle Bauer.

Dundurn also published teen fiction such as Eyes of a Stalker by Valeri Sherrard, teen nonfiction such as Out of Darkness, The Jeff Healey Story by Cindy Watson, and junior fiction, such as White Jade Tiger by Julie Lawson and Death by Exposure and Tiger Town by Eric Walters.

Visit Dundurn’s website at:

Please submit:
• A one-page (250-word) synopsis of the contents of your book. For non-fiction, please include a table of contents.
• A resume or CV that includes an outline of your past publishing experience
• A marketing plan for your book
• At least three sample chapters of your book. Please DO NOT send complete manuscripts unless personally requested by a member of Dundurn’s editorial staff.
• A word count for the complete manuscript.
• We DO NOT accept email submissions.
• We DO NOT publish children's books for readers under seven years of age. This includes picture books.
• We do our best to keep up with submissions, but your patience is appreciated in the case of delays. Please DO NOT telephone Dundurn to inquire about the status of your submission. All inquiries should be emailed to

Submit by mail to:
Acquisitions Editor
The Dundurn Group
3 Church Street, Suite 500
Toronto, ON  M5E 1M2

We will do our best to respond to non-fiction submissions within three months. Fiction submissions will be reviewed twice annually, in the spring and in the fall.  Multiple submissions are accepted.

Full submission guidelines here:

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

"The Almost Perfect Ski Day," a memoir by Catherine Mattice

We were finishing dinner, sitting around the table discussing dad’s plan to take me skiing the next afternoon. But it was a school day, and I was only in grade 6. Mom was less than pleased. In fact, she was worried. We laughed off her fear. It was nothing new. She was always worried.

“What if she breaks her leg?” she blurted out immediately with a dramatic tone, edging on hysteria.

“Don’t worry. She’ll be fine,” Dad reassured with authority.

I watched the tennis match of my parents discussing the potential ski day with my fate hanging in the balance. Holding my breath and crossing my fingers, I was rooting for the ski day. While I had quickly fallen in love with the sport I had just learned that winter, the added attraction was time off school. A thrilling combination for any 11 year old, even if it was only a half day. But Mom’s prediction did set off the worry metre in the back of my head.

Dad won the match. Elation replaced worry. I could barely contain my excitement. When I left class to meet Dad for the cover up ‘dentist’ appointment the next afternoon, I was flying.

It was the perfect ski day – sunny with a cerulean sky and fresh powder snow draped across the land and dripping from the trees. We made the hour long journey from Montreal to our favourite ski hill, Mont Avila, in the Laurentians.

I look back and remember vivid snapshots of that day. I was wearing my red ski suit with a blue ski hat (no ski helmets in those days) and my long sandy blond hair tucked beneath in braids.

From the moment I snapped on my first pair of skis, I discovered a profound joy that I have carried with me over the years. Joy found in one thing, but also everything. The freedom and unharnessed bliss of gliding down the mountain. A mind cleared of worry and stress while breathing in the clear, crisp winter air. The sound of the snow crunching and squeaking beneath my skis. The incredible rush of flying down the mountain toward the expanse of the world below. And then the chance to do it all again.

I’m sure Dad glimpsed a similar joy, but as a parent perhaps it was also the shared experience of spending time with a child. He wasn’t the greatest skier. But he was fearless. Even at my young age, I knew I could never be so fearless.

At one point, I remember thinking he would be more likely to break a limb as he flew down the mountain to tumble into a whirling mass of skis, legs and arms.

“Dad, are you okay?” I yelled out panicked, not knowing what I would do if he was hurt.

Covered in a layer of snow, he quickly got up laughing with delight. “I’m fine,” he called out across the mountain, his deep voice chuckling. “C’mon, I’ll race you the rest of the way down.”

The day seemed to linger in a lazy, happy way, much like the dreamy quality of a summer day, but it was really only just a few short hours.

Near the end of the day, Dad looked me with his crooked smile and asked: “What do you think? One more run?”

“Sure,” I grinned as I pushed off for the chairlift.

It started off much like all the other runs, but the shadows were longer and deeper, hiding the dipping sun. The snow had lost the fluffy, fun texture and had transformed into a tougher track with an edge of ice. I was getting tired, so I took my time. Dad raced ahead, eager for the thrill. I was on an easy flat when my edge caught on the snow. I turned like a ballet dancer without the grace, trying desperately to regain my balance. My heart raced as I struggled for control. Then I heard a thunderous crack and pain exploded up my leg.

“My leg, my leg. It’s broken!” I screamed from the depth of my lungs as I lay sprawled on the snow with my feet and skis at a 180 degree angle.

Dad couldn’t hear me. He was already at the bottom of the hill. But an older man skied over to my side and gently tried to calm my hysteria. Placing his mitts under my head and dispensing a mint candy to distract me, we waited for the ski patrol to arrive.

All of sudden Dad arrived, breathless and terrified. With superhuman strength infused to a parent with a sick or injured child, he had run up the mountain weighed down by heavy ski boots plunging deep holes into the snow as he forged a path uphill.

While the pain throbbed mercilessly and the shock had started to consume my body in uncontrollable shivering, dad was with me. Everything would be okay.

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. I do remember we both laughed nervously, acknowledging mom’s fateful prophecy. But as I look back as a parent to rewind the video of the actual ski day into a series of slow motion snapshots, I realize the significance of Dad’s sprint up that hill. If I close my eyes, I can feel the adrenaline rush of terror he must have felt while racing with his heart lodged in his throat to my rescue. I’ve felt the same panic whenever I’ve worried for any one of my three children.

We lost Dad to cancer over a year ago. As it is so often when you lose someone you love dearly, I find myself searching through the memory book of my mind for time spent with him. Despite the accident, moments of magic peaked through the day like the sun pushing through the snow laden trees. I can still see his young smile full of mischief.(At the time, he was about a decade younger than I am today.) I can hear his deep baritone voice so clearly - the laughing, the teasing and then the worry. But mostly, I feel an overwhelming sense of happiness over a day shared with a father who loved me.

Catherine Mattice has over twenty years of experience as a communications specialist and writer within the tourism industry. She began her career as a writer consultant, working for a variety of tourism and health care trade publications, including Meetings & Incentive Travel Magazine.

During a ten-year period, she held various marketing and public relations positions within Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. After leaving the hotel company, she contributed to Fairmont’s spa division as a writer consultant.

Catherine is currently working on transforming her lifelong love affair with reading and writing into a career as a novelist. She lives in Mississauga with her husband, three children and a wacky canine.

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

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Two new agents at Dystel & Goderich interested in children's lit and adult lit, fiction & nonfiction

Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
One Union Square West
Suite 904
New York, NY 10003 
John Rudolph joins Dystel & Goderich after twelve years as an acquiring children’s book editor. He began his career at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers as an Editorial Assistant, then moved to the G. P. Putnam’s Sons imprint of the Penguin Young Readers Group, where he eventually served as Executive Editor on a wide range of young adult, middle-grade, nonfiction and picture book titles. He graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a double major in Classics and Music.

Now that he’s on the other side of the desk, John can’t wait to discover fresh new voices and highly original stories in all genres. He is interested in all areas of middle-grade and young adult fiction, and he would love to find the next great picture book author/illustrator. And he is excited to expand into literary and commercial adult men’s fiction, humor, pop-culture, politics, and the arts, especially music.

Email John at:

Stephanie DeVita first joined Dystel & Goderich as an intern during her third year at New York University, and she continued interning with DGLM through her senior year. Upon graduating from NYU with a degree in English and American Literature, she was given the opportunity to join the team full-time and begin building her career in publishing.

Stephanie was raised and continues to reside in New Rochelle, New York, and she is interested in all subjects, including memoir, young adult, romance, and practical and narrative nonfiction.

Email Stephanie at:

Submission requirements:
Contrary to popular belief, we like our unsolicited queries to be concise, well-written and well-proofed, and as devoid of gimmicks as possible. Tell us who you are (past writing credits or celebrity status is helpful to know about but not mandatory), what your project is (a summary paragraph is good), and whether you have submitted this project to the entire publishing community already.

Enclose a cover letter, outline or brief synopsis of the work (with word count if possible), a sample chapter, and a stamped, self-addressed envelope for our response. Please type all of your correspondence and double space everything other than the cover letter. E-mail queries are fine, but keep them brief and make sure your cover letter is in the body of the e-mail. We won't open attachments if they come with a blank e-mail. Please be sure to query only one agent at this agency.

More on Dystel & Goderich here.

Note: Brian Henry has "How to Get Published" workshops coming up in London on November 6 with guest Tina Tsallas of Great Titles Literary Agency (details here) and in Mississauga on December 4 with guest Martha Magor Webb of the Anne McDermid literary agency (details here).

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

Monday, September 20, 2010

The CBC Literary Awards

Greetings writers!

It’s that time of the year again. Time to compose or polish off those works destined for this year’s CBC Literary Awards competition. The Awards Team is anxiously awaiting your original and unpublished works (short story, poetry, and creative non-fiction) by November 1, 2010.

Submit online (here)!

The CBC Literary Awards is Canada’s only literary competition celebrating original, unpublished works in both official languages. There is a first prize of $6,000 and a second prize of $4,000 in all 3 categories courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts. In addition, the winning texts are published in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine and on our website, and the authors and their winning entries will get exposure on the CBC.

Visit our new website ( and get inspired! There you find regularly updated writing tips from the pros, as well as interviews with former winners and jurors. You can also read last year’s winning entries and find resources in your province that can help you with your writing. We hope to make our website a wonderful resource and place to connect with other participants. So be sure to bookmark the page and check back often.

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

- The Awards Team

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

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"My Sister’s Keeper" by Jodi Picoult, reviewed by Elaine Cougler

The title of My Sister’s Keeper intrigued me. Everyone who has a sibling knows that in some way, whether we want to be or not, we are all our siblings’ watchdogs. I took the book home on a Friday and had it finished by Sunday.

At first I was annoyed that every new chapter was told by someone different. Then I realized that differing points of view is very much the point of the book. At the centre of the story is a sixteen-year-old cancer victim, Kate. The whole world seems to revolve around her as she goes from crisis to crisis, each one more devastating than the last. The lives of her family members, of necessity, are mixed up with Kate’s, but none more so than Anna’s.

Anna was actually engineered and born to be an exact match for Kate, in order to save her life. Talk about a purpose! But Anna is not consulted about the endless painful procedures she endures to save her sister. Eventually she consults a lawyer and refuses to donate a kidney to Kate.

The amazing thing about this story is that Picoult first tells Anna’s story, gaining the reader’s sympathy for this precocious thirteen-year-old, seemingly alone in her point of view. As the court case unfolds, however, Anna’s firefighter father reveals his cautious support of her. Anna’s druggie, totally messed up brother takes shape as a surprising ally. Her lawyer’s need for his dog’s company everywhere makes the reader wonder what his real story might be. Anna’s mother, Sara, seems totally focused on Kate, the child for whom she bore Anna, but even this changes.

This story starts when the cancer has almost won so that the reader expects a sad ending. What I did not expect was how much I would be drawn into the fray. Picoult patiently paints the lives of each of her characters with such skill that I lost my initial total support for Anna and came to taste the deep dilemma each family member felt until I was quite able to accept the surprise ending. Upon finishing the book I immediately went to my computer, found that Picoult has many other titles and that My Sister’s Keeper is a movie. I definitely want to see the movie and read more Picoult.
Elaine Cougler lives in southern Ontario and is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario.  She has taught French, English and Computer Studies in various secondary schools and now spends her time travelling, reading, writing and researching history, much of it for her historical fiction novel series in progress.  She recalls sitting one summer in her screened-in porch reading yet another fine author and feeling tears trickle down her cheeks, wishing that she, too, could write so well.  Now she has the time to pursue that quest.  Elaine feels lucky to have a supportive husband and two grown children who share her interest in writing and unreservedly cheer her on. 

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

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yom Kippur begins at sundown today and goes till sundown on Saturday

On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the shofar is blown to call the people to return to God.
Except not this Yom Kippur, because this year it happens to fall on Shabbat.  But that's okay, because we did hear the shofar on Rosh HaShannah last week.

Transition magazine seeks fiction, nonfiction and poetry about mental health

Transition is an annual publication of the Canadian Mental Health Association (Saskatchewan Division) published out of Regina.  Transition publishes two kinds of works: those directly about mental health issues; and those about the individual's personal experience of those same issues. Both kinds of works celebrate lives in transit – lives of change, growth, and transformation.

Transition solicits original, unpublished articles, as well as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, book reviews, and visual art (black and white) that represent current mental health issues in our province and reflect on their impact on individuals.

"We especially encourage new and emerging writers to submit their work."

Maximum manuscript lengths: articles 15 pages; all other prose 10 pages; poetry 10 poems or 10 pages, whichever is less; visual art  10 pieces.

Payment is $25 per printed page ($12.50/half page); $20 per published visual art work; and $100 for cover art.

Electronic submissions are preferred. Submit manuscripts in Word or WordPerfect format (12-point Times New Roman, double-spaced, 2.5 cm margins) as e-mail attachment to:
See full guidelines and Transition archives here.

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

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Marissa Walsh joins Fine Print Literary Management, seeks pop culture, humor, narrative non-fiction, memoir, and children’s books

FinePrint Literary Management
240 West 35th Street
Suite 500
New York, NY 10001

Back in March, I reported that new agent Marissa Walsh had had started her own literary agency, Shelf Life (see here.) Now she's joined Fine Print, an established agency that's getting larger, with four new agents (details on all of them below).

Marissa began her publishing career at Nan A. Talese/Doubleday and the Ellen Levine Literary Agency. She was an editor at Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books for seven years.

Marissa is the author of the comic memoir Girl with Glasses: My Optic History (Simon Spotlight Entertainment) and the YA novel A Field Guide to High School (Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books); coauthor of the Boston Globe Bestseller Tipsy in Madras: A Complete Guide to ‘80s Preppy Drinking (Perigee/Penguin); and editor of the YA anthologies Not Like I’m Jealous or Anything: The Jealousy Book (Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books) and Does This Book Make Me Look Fat? (Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). She teaches Children’s Writing at Gotham Writers’ Workshop.

Marissa specializes in pop culture, humor, narrative non-fiction, memoir, and children’s books (picture books/middle grade/YA).

In picture books, Marissa is looking for young, funny, character-driven books with very little text (700 words or less). No rhyming. Please include your manuscript in the body of your query email.

In Middle Grade and Young Adult books, Marissa does not want paranormal/fantasy/science-fiction. She’s looking for funny and poignant contemporary stories featuring real kids. Please include the first chapter in the body of your query email.

Marissa accepts queries only by at

Your query letter should be short no more than one page.

First paragraph: Introduce your project in one sentence: “I’m writing to you about my picture book, TITLE.” If there is a reason you have chosen Marissa for your project (and hopefully there is!), include that here.

Second paragraph: In 50 words or less (two-to-three sentences), tell her about the book. But not too much. Think 30-second elevator pitch: “It’s a cross between "Stuff White People Like" and "The Last Lecture.”

Third paragraph: Your bio. Be as specific as possible. You might not think it’s interesting, but she does. Why are you the only person in the world who can write this book?

Closing paragraph: (one-to-two lines) You look forward to hearing, etc.

Fine Print has also has three other new agents:
Suzie Townsend
Suzie Townsend is actively looking for fiction and non-fiction: specifically Middle Grade and YA novels (all subgenres, but particularly literary projects), adult romance (historical and paranormal), and fantasy (urban fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, epic fantasy). More here.
Laura Wood specializes in serious nonfiction, especially in the areas of science and nature, along with substantial titles in business, history, religion, and other areas by academics, experienced professionals, and journalists. More here.
Ward Calhoun is looking for nonfiction titles in the areas of sports, humor, and pop culture. More here.
Note: Brian Henry has "How to Get Published" workshops coming up in London on November 6 with guest Tina Tsallas of Great Titles Literary Agency (details here) and in Mississauga on December 4 with guest Martha Magor Webb of the Anne McDermid literary agency (details here).

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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You’re invited to a book launch for Canadian Voices, Volume 2

Monday, Sept 20
6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Supermarket Art Bar, 268 Augusta Avenue, Toronto (Map here.)

Canadian Voices will include prose by Dahn Batchelor, Sharon Bernas, Mayank Bhatt, Frances Frommer, John R. Hewson, Steven Jacklin, Donna Kirk, Mary Ellen Koroscil, Maria Pia Marchelletta, Corinne Cast McCorkle, Yoko Morgenstern, Brandon Pitts, Waheed Rabbani, Mel Sarnese, Phyllis Diller Stewart, Urve Tamberg, Joyce Wayne and others.  Canadian Voices will also include poetry by Elizabeth Barnes, Jasmine D’Costa, and others.

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

"Trunk debunked," a short story by Tammy Rutledge

The veterinarian was long overdue. She should have arrived earlier this afternoon, but the silhouettes of the thorny acacia trees against the glowing red sky, signalled twilight and the closing of another day. Where was she?

The staff could feel the tension as each hour passed with no news. Tembo was not responding like they had hoped and the warden was becoming more agitated. Finally, a dust cloud came rolling in and the Land Cruiser screeched to a halt alongside the warden’s jeep.

“Hurry, hurry…she’s over here.” A nervous caretaker pointed the veterinarian to a penned area of the Ndutu game reserve.

Hearing the commotion outside, Bahari was finally able to stop pacing. He rushed out of his office with his AK47 rifle slung over his shoulder and caught up to the veterinarian. Even in the half-light of dusk, she could see that his dark green uniform looked perfectly pressed and clean, just as it was each time they had met. This always surprised her, as she knew that he took a very hands-on approach to his work. The dry, dusty environment alone should have been enough to sully his appearance, but he took great pride in his role, just as his own father had when he held a similar post in the Ngorongoro region many years earlier.

His grimace and furrowed brow laid bare his frustration. “This elephant may be dying” he said, his tone accusatory. “Your late arrival could mean that we lose her and her unborn calf.”

Tembo had been spotted late yesterday while the rangers were patrolling the southern edge of the Serengeti plains, near Ndutu. They had been following up on reports of poachers in the area.

Fortunately, Tembo did not look injured, but she didn’t look well either. It could be something as simple as dehydration. But while a diagnosis might be simple, the impact on her health was unknown at this point. Her pregnancy complicated matters. Tembo had never carried a calf beyond seven months - not even remotely close to the typical twenty-two month gestation period. But here she was more than eighteen months along, based on their estimations.

Dafina had been the resident veterinarian for the Serengeti National Park for the past three years. Her intern work, while completing her degree at the Medical University of South Africa, allowed her the opportunity to work with a variety of wildlife, but she had a special place in her heart for the pachyderms. She had treated Tembo twice before and each time she noted how gentle Tembo was.

Still trying to catch her breath, she said “Bahari, I do apologize, but my jeep blew a tire along the crater ridge this morning after tending to a lioness. Otherwise, I would have been here much sooner.”

“Well, let’s hope it’s not too late” he countered, a little more gruffly than he had intended.

She pulled a couple of items from her medical bag, then set the bag and her journal on the bench beside the Baobob tree. The caretaker opened the latch and motioned for her to go through, with Bahari following closely behind.

She noticed that there was a full trough of water near the sheltered area of the pen. “Has she taken a drink since you brought her here?”

“Not yet. We’ve been watching her closely. She goes to the trough, but then turns away and wanders back to the shade of the Baobobs,” Bahari replied. He too had a special place in his heart for the elephants. These thick-skinned creatures had no natural predators, but despite the added firepower the game reserve staff now carried, the ivory poachers were a threat indeed.

Earlier, as she had waited for the clinic to send out a replacement vehicle, Dafina had read through her notes over and over. If in fact Tembo was dehydrated, they could start providing her with fluids intravenously. But why wasn’t she getting enough fluids? Both Lake Masek and Lake Ndutu were a little higher than normal for this time of year. A small scribbled comment in her notes had given her an idea and she was anxious to try it.

As she was stroking Tembo’s side, she looked up into her eyes. They were clear - no sign of infection - yet they seemed sorrowful, or maybe, just plain tired. “Poor girl. We’ll figure out what’s wrong” Dafina said in a reassuring tone.

She asked Bahari to hold a couple of figs that she had taken from her bag, then began working her way around the elephant, mentally checking off things she would do as part of her preliminary evaluation – look at Tembo’s feet and note any cracking, listen to her heart, and check her breathing. After the general check-up was done, she would collect a few samples, including a blood sample from behind the ear.

“What are these for?” Bahari asked, wondering if she was planning on eating them, but knowing that they weren’t quite ripe yet.

“They’re treats for Tembo. But don’t give them to her yet. Let me just check her over first.”

Tembo’s long proboscis started nuzzling Bahari’s shirt. Bahari had placed both figs in his right hand, but he quickly moved that hand behind his back. Tembo could smell them.

All of a sudden, Dafina felt a small tremor travel across Tembo’s skin. Oh no! It was happening. The symptoms she had scribbled in her notes from that previous visit to see Tembo weren’t just an anomaly. She yanked her head around to see that Tembo’s trunk was within inches of Bahari’s face. “Don’t look in the trunk,” she whispered.

Bahari’s eyes widened. Tembo shuddered once again. Bahari was trying to back up, but it was too late. With one final breath in….ACHOOOOO!

“Ahhhhh!” Bahari dropped the figs, pulled a hankerchief from his pocket, and began wiping his face and shirt.

“Ummm, I think Tembo is allergic to figs,” Dafina blurted out. “I usually carry a couple in my bag if I’m tending to an elephant, as they seem to like them. But, when I tried to give one to her last time, she sneezed a couple of times. I had made a small note in my journal, but didn’t think too much about it again, until today.”

Dafina was glad that she had followed her hunch. Unfortunately the evidence she hoped to find was right there along with elephant mucous all over Bahari’s face and shirt. Several softened thistle heads had lodged inside Tembo’s trunk and the blockage could have made drinking difficult or at the very least, uncomfortable. They would find out soon enough.

The fact that Bahari had been smeared so thoroughly meant that if Tembo had some dehydration, it was surely very mild. That was a lot of elephant snot!

Bahari finally gave up on his shirt and as he and Dafina discussed the next steps, a ranger, who had been watching everything from beyond the gate, yelled out, “Kuangalia! Look!”

Tembo had meandered over to the trough and had already begun to drink from it. Dafina and the warden looked at each other and smiled.

As they approached, Tembo lifted her trunk from the trough, turned her head, and proceeded to spray water all over the front of the warden. Dafina began laughing uncontrollably and through her continued snickers, she managed to say, "I must confess, this has made my day! If there was ever any doubt, we now know that you are not just an African Elephant, you’re a friggin’ elephant!”

Yes, this was a good sign. Bahari said in a hushed tone "Assante sana" followed by a happy sigh. "I know she will need to be monitored, but this is a much better way to end the day than I might have expected."

Tammy Rutledge remembers being wakened in the wee hours of the morning by her parents with news that the car was packed and they were all heading off on their next travel adventure. Family vacations were magical, whether they were car trips, camping, or a rented cottage on a lake. She continues to see travel in this same light – a chance to unearth and discover a whole new world. She records her travels – and especially her adventures in Africa – through photography (the photos illustrating this piece are her work) and through writing.  In her free time, you can find Tammy hiking, training for triathlons, and planning the next adventure with her husband from their home base in Mississauga.

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Extreme Creative Writing," Wednesday afternoons, Jan 26 – Apr 13

12 weeks of inspiration, creativity, and growth
Wednesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:45 p.m.
First set of readings distributed by email Jan 19.
The classes run Jan 26 to Apr 13
at St Cuthbert's Anglican Church
1541 Oakhill Drive, Oakville (Map here.)

This course is for people who are working on their own writing. The format is similar to the "Intensive" and "Intermediate" courses: 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, addressing the needs of the group.
In addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that the greatest benefits come from seeing how your classmates approach and critique a piece of writing and how they write and re-write.

This is a challenging course, but extremely rewarding.

Fee: $170.80 plus 13% hst = $193
Advance registration only. My courses tend to fill up, so enroll early to avoid disappointment.

To reserve a spot now, email:
For information about all off my creative writing courses and writing workshops, see here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

New short story contest sponsored by St. Martin's Press

St. Martin's Press has announced a new short-story writing contest, to be judged by Jeffrey Archer. The winner will be offered a publishing contract, with the story of 5,000 words or less issued as an ebook.  Detials and eEnter here.

Note: St. Martin's doesn't accept un-agented submissions. 
Their home page is here.

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

Friday, September 10, 2010

Denise Little joins Ethan Ellenberg Agency, seeks genre fiction, etc.

Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency
548 Broadway, #5E
New York, NY 10012

Denise Little has been in the book business as long as I can remember, though until now she's been on the publishing side – as an executive editor at Tekno Books and before that at Kensington, where she had her own imprint: Denise Little Presents.  She's also been a buyer for the Barnes & Noble chain of bookstores.  Now she's joined the Ethan Ellenberg agency, and like any new agent, she needs authors. She will represent romance, paranormal, mystery, thriller, science-fiction/fantasy, non-fiction (not specified), Christian books, and horror

Query Denise by email only at
Denise’s submission page is here:

Ethan Ellenberg is also actively looking for authors to represent, including new writers.  Ethan is interested in all kinds of commercial fiction, including thrillers, mysteries, children's, romance, women's fiction, ethnic, science fiction, fantasy and general fiction. He also wants literary fiction as long as it has a strong narrative.

In nonfiction, Ethan is looking for current affairs, history, health, science, psychology, cookbooks, new age, spirituality, pop-culture, adventure, true crime, biography and memoir. He's open to reviewing other genres and topics, as long as the material is for a trade or general audience and not scholarly.

The agency does accept unsolicited manuscripts and seriously considers all submissions, including first time writers.

For fiction, your submission should include a synopsis, the first 50 pages (approximately) of your manuscript, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE).
For nonfiction, please include a book proposal (outline of the material, sample chapters, author bio, etc.) and a SASE.
For picture books, please include the complete manuscript, color copies of sample illustrations (if applicable) and a SASE.

For full submission guidelines to Ethan, see here:
Note: Brian Henry has a "How to Get Published" workshops coming up in London on November 6 with guest Tina Tsallas of Great Titles Literary Agency (details here) and in Mississauga on December 4 with guest Martha Magor Webb of the Anne McDermid literary agency (details here).

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

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The James McIntyre Poetry Contest for adults and kids (judged by Brian)

The James McIntyre Poetry Contest is open to all ages: JK and SK, all school grades, and Adult. 

Your poem may be on any subject: Cheese poems and dairy odes; the Town of Ingersoll today; the history of Ingersoll; famous people of Ingersoll, or poems that have nothing to do with any of these suggested topics. In 2010, an award will be given for the best poem about the Ingersoll Pipe Band in honour of their 100th Anniversary.

Categories of poetry for the contest: Rhyming verse, Free verse, Limerick, Haiku, Acrostic, Longer Poems, Other

James McIntyre was Ingersoll's most prominent poet.  Unfortunately, McIntyre possessed a genius for writing truly awful verse. The way to win this contest, though, is to write some excellent poetry. There are many different categories of verse and different age groups, too, so this is a contest with a lot of winners, and it’s open to everyone.

Contest judges: Brian Henry for the school age division, and Stephanie Gunter for the adult division.

Entries due by: October 15

Rules here:
About James McIntyre and more on the contest here. 
And for your amusement, Arc Poetry Magazine has an article by Zachariah Wells about James McIntyre and how very bad poems work here.

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

Monday, September 6, 2010

We’re reading out loud at CJ’s Café, Monday, September 13

We start at 6:30 p.m. and go until about 9:00
CJ's Café is in Bronte, 2416 Lakeshore Road West, Oakville.  Map here.
(On the south side of Lakeshore, just east of Bronte Rd, next to Lick’s ice cream)

We’ll 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 :

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

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Aurora Writers' Group invites you to a book launch

Hello, friends.

The Aurora Writers Group is proud to announce publication of our third anthology, Aurora Storyalis III.  A book launch event is planned for Sunday Sept. 12, 2-4 at the Aurora Cultural Center, 22 Church St, Aurora.

AWG members will have their books for sale, as well as Storyalis being available to purchase. Hope to see you there.

Malcolm Watts
President, Aurora Writers Group

RSVP to HAL at:

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

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Penguin Young Readers Group is open to children's books submissions

Note: Brian Henry regularly leads “Writing for Children & for Young Adults,” workshops with editors from children’s publishing houses, noted children’s authors and literary agents specializing in children’s books and YA novels as guest speakers. See details of upcoming Saturday workshops and weekly Kid Lit classes here (and scroll down). 

Update Aug 2016: This posting about Penguin Young Readers Group is out of date. Check out current submission information from Penguin's Dial Books imprint, which is still open to unagented authors, here.

And see listing for many, many more publishers of children's lit here (and scroll down). 

Penguin has nine imprints accepting submissions of children’s books: Dial Books for Young Readers, Dutton Children’s Books, Grosset & Dunlop, Price Stern Sloan, Philomel, Puffin, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and Razorbill.

Bonnie Bader, Editor-In-Chief, of Grosset & Dunlap and of Price Stern Sloan! is particularly open to new authors.  Ms. Bader often prefers to work with unagented authors and reads everything that comes to her – agented or otherwise. She adds that she has found several writers from her “slush pile.”

Grosset & Dunlap (website here)
Price Stern Sloan! (PSS!) (website here)
• Publishes all book formats except for picture books
• Submit a summary and the first chapter or two for longer works
Dial Books for Young Readers & Dutton Children’s Books.  Publisher: Lauri Hornik

• Submit entire picture book manuscripts
• A maximum of 10 pages for longer works (novels, easy-to-reads) from the opening chapter(s) of the manuscript
• Submission guidelines for Dial and Dutton here

Dutton Children’s Books:
• Query letters only (must include SASE)
• A query letter should be typed and, ideally, fit on one page. Please include a brief synopsis of your manuscript and your publishing credits, if any.

• Submit entire picture book manuscripts
• A maximum of 10 pages for longer works (novels, easy-to-reads) from the opening chapter(s) of the manuscript
• When submitting a portion of a longer work, please provide an accompanying cover letter that briefly describes your manuscript's plot, genre, the intended age group, and your publishing credits, if any.

• A maximum of 30 pages for longer works (middle grade and YA manuscripts)
• All novel submissions must include an SASE. Picture books are not accepted.

G. P. Putnam's Sons
• Submit entire picture book manuscripts
• A maximum of 10 pages for longer works (novels, easy-to-reads) from the opening chapter(s) of the manuscript
• When submitting a portion of a longer work, please provide an accompanying cover letter that briefly describes your manuscript's plot, genre, the intended age group, and your publishing credits, if any.

• Submit a maximum of 30 pages for longer works (middle grade and YA manuscripts)
• When submitting a portion of a longer work, please provide an accompanying cover letter that briefly describes your manuscript's plot, genre (middle grade or YA novel), the intended age group, and your publishing credits, if any.
• All novel submissions must include an SASE. Picture books are not accepted.

For all Penguin imprints:
Submit by mail. Never send submissions by e-mail or fax. Never send cassettes, CDs, marketing plans, or original artwork.

• Please refrain from calling, faxing, or e-mailing to inquire after the status of an unsolicited submission, as we will be unable to assist you. If you have not received a reply from us after four months, you can safely assume that we are not interested in publishing your work. You will not hear from us regarding the status of your submission unless we are interested in publishing it, in which case you can expect a reply from us within approximately four months. We regret that we cannot respond personally to each submission, but rest assured that we do make every effort to consider each and every one we receive.

Mail submissions for all Penguin imprints to
345 Hudson Street
New York, New York 10014-3657

Penguin Young Readers Group submission guidelines here.

Update June 29, 2011: Nico Medina has joined the Grosset & Dunlap/PSS! team as senior managing editor. He returns to Penguin Children's after working at Egmont USA. Bonnie Bader has taken the role of editor-in-chief for Warne and Early Readers, and Gillian Levinson has been promoted to assistant editor at Razorbill.

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 here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.