Friday, July 20, 2018

Nine paying markets for your short pieces and poetry, plus a contest

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The Penmen Review accepts original poetry, essays, book and script excerpts, and short stories. (Poetry – no more than 3 poems per submission cycle, each submitted as a separate document. All other Review submissions – up to 2,500 words).
Penman also accepts Writing Resources pieces – tips, advice and first-person articles (300-1,500 words) from industry professionals.
Deadline: ongoing. Submissions here.

Outlook Springs is a literary journal "from another dimension." Seeks fiction, poetry, and nonfiction tinged with the strange. Pays $25 for fiction, $10 for poetry. 
Deadline: August 15, 2018. Submission guidelines here.

 Zsenon Publishing
 Seeks speculative fiction 350–500 words for an anthology. Pays 6 cents/word.  
Deadline: August 15, 2018. Guidelines here.

Psychopomp Magazine seeks short stories up to 5,000 words. Looks to redefine traditional story-telling. Pays 2 cents a word up to $100 (and starting at a minimum of $5). 
Deadline: August 15, 2018. Guidelines here.

Splickety Publishing Group pays 2 cents/word for flash fiction  300–1,000 words (but preferably under 700 words), plus nano-stories under 100 words, in three magazines:
Havok magazine publishes flash science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, cyberpunk, paranormal, supernatural, horror, techno-thriller, superhero, and more. Currently “going back to the basics of classic Halloween horror stories. Monsters, witches, creepy crawlies, things that go bump in the night, and all things terrifying are what we’re seeking in this issue. Make our skin crawl with undead delight.” Deadline July 27, 2018. Guidelines here.
Spark magazine publishes romance flash fiction including  romance, romantic suspense, historical romance, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, inspirational romance, women’s fiction, and more. Currently looking for stories featuring broken bones, mishaps, and long night shifts. “As long as there is a happily ever after, we want to see them." Deadline: August 24, 2018. Guidelines here.
Splickety magazine publishes flash fiction in the young adult genre including (but not limited to) action/adventure, suspense, mystery, thriller, contemporary, speculative, and historical fiction. Currently seeking stories on the theme of “Christmas Abroad, including travel mishaps, holiday cheer, cultural traditions. “It’s any place but home for the holidays. Give us young adult stories that embrace the holiday spirit in faraway lands. What does Christmas look like in high summer when the family goes to visit their grandfather in Australia? Can an army brat find the Christmas spirit on her third overseas base in three years? What happens when an exchange student in Ecuador finds romance under the mistletoe? We want to see compelling characters, evocative settings, and a hearty dose of Christmas magic.” Deadline September 21, 2018.  Guidelines here.

Alien Dimensions seeks speculative short stories, “Set it in space, in the far future, and include some friendly non-humanoid aliens helping to solve a pseudo-scientific problem.” Pays US$10 for 3,500+ words. 
Deadline: August 24, 2018. Guidelines here.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is continually publishing new anthologies and pays for true stories and poems. 
Guidelines for all themes here.

Currently they’re looking for:
Messages from Heaven and Other Miracles
When our loved ones leave this world, our connection with them does not end. Death takes away their physical presence, but not their spirit, and we often sense them after they have gone. Sometimes we see or hear from them after they've passed, giving us signs and messages from beyond. We want to hear your story if you have experienced the other side or received a sign or signal from a loved one who has passed.
Deadline August 15, 2018
Stories about Miracles 
Miracles do happen each and every day. Everyone has experienced events in their lives that cause wonder and astonishment and give them hope for a better future. Why did these things happen? Is there an explanation? Or did these things seem to happen for no reason at all?
We are looking for true stories of no more than 1,200 words for this multi-faith book that will awe you with examples of amazing events and unexplained happenings. Share your inspirational stories with us to remind us that each day holds hope and to never give up. A miracle can happen at any time.
Deadline August 15, 2018
The moment a grandchild is born, grandparents are born too. Just seeing your baby hold his or her baby is an unbelievable experience. Everyone has a great story about the unconditional love between grandparents and their grandchildren. We are looking for true heartwarming, insightful and humorous stories celebrating grandparents and grandchildren; written by grandmothers and grandfathers about being grandparents and written by grandchildren about their grandmothers and grandfathers. Stories about or by step-grandparents and honorary grandparents are welcomed too." Pays $200. 
Deadline: August 31, 2018.
Mom Knows Best: Deadline Sept 30, 2018 for release in March 2019 in time for Mother's Day. 
Life Lessons from the Cat: Deadline Oct 31, 2018
Life Lessons from the Dog: Deadline Nov 30, 2018
Running for Good: Deadline Dec 15, 2018
The Golden Years or Second Wind: Deadline Dec 30, 2018 
Detailed guidelines for all themes here.

Gemini Magazine invites you to enter their 10th annual Flash Fiction Contest for the chance to win $1,000 and publication. The entry fee is $5.
Deadline August 31.
general submissions remain open year round.

Freefall Magazine Canadians only, except for the annual contests. Seeks prose: Maximum length 4,000 words. Fiction: short story & novel excerpts, nonfiction should be writing related or general audience topics, creative nonfiction, plays, postcard stories. And poetry: Submit 2–5 poems, any style. Length of any individual poem cannot exceed 6 pages. Pays $10 per page in the magazine to a maximum of $100 plus and one copy of issue that your piece is published in for prose. Pays $25 per poem plus one copy of issue that your poem is published in.
Deadlines: August 31 for January issue, December 31 for annual prose and poetry competition, published in May, April 30 for September issue. Guidelines here

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Cambridge, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Saint John, NB, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Secrets of Writing a Page-turner, Saturday, Dec 8, in Guelph

Secrets of Writing a Page-turner
Techniques for making any story more compelling
Saturday, December 8, 2018
10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Harcourt United Church, 87 Dean Avenue, Guelph, Ontario (Map here

Ever stayed up all night reading a book? In this workshop, you’ll learn you how to build that kind of tension.  And we'll help you put into practice the techniques professionals use – on every page and in every kind of story – to create drama and tension.

Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University, and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Charlottetown. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get their first book published and launch their careers as authors. 
See reviews of Brian's classes and workshops here.

Fee: 43.36 + 13% hst = 49 paid in advance by mail or Interac
or 46.90 + 13% hst = 53 if you wait to pay at the door
To reserve a spot now, email:

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

“The Hermit of Carmel” by Gregory Phipps

“Damn it, Rob! I mean Paul. You might have mentioned this before we drove six hours to come up here.”
Robert Das, who'd written his bestseller under the pseudonym Paul Thebét, was having second thoughts about this public book reading. His agent, Murray Levitt, was losing his patience. Levitt continued his rant. “What the hell am I supposed to do now? Seriously. I could have gone golfing today. And it’s sunny back in LA. I’m here to support you instead. And now…” He shook his head. “I should have brought my damn reflux pills.”
 “I value my privacy. You know that.”
“And that’s why you created the pseudonym. I get it. Nobody here knows who you really are. You’re Paul Thebét. Relax. By the way, are you supposed to be French-Canadian or like, French-French?”
Robert ignored his sarcastic question. “Just cancel it. Let’s leave. Nobody paid to come. I suspect it’s all locals anyway. We drew, what, a hundred people? I’m sure some folks will buy a book while they’re here. The owner will be happy regardless. Tell her I have food poisoning or something. You’re a good liar.”
Levitt winced. “No. We’re not. You made a commitment to do some readings. These aren’t easy to get, you know. You’re here in Carmel-by-the-Sea. You love this place! And locals are going nuts for this. You should see the Twitter chatter.”
“I don’t do social media.”
“No shit. That’s another thing. You’re expected to be active on social media to promote the book…. and build your personal brand. Work with me Robert, please. You love to write. Social media is just another form of writing. It doesn’t take a lot to write 140 fucking characters!”
“I’m a storyteller. You can’t tell a story in 140 characters.”
“Bullshit! Hemingway once wrote a short story in six words. Six words! Hemingway was a businessman … and quite content to sell books, or anything, to make a buck. Listen to me, Rob. I am a businessman. I represent writers who tell stories and understand that publishing is a business. Consumer buys book. Retailer makes money. Distributor makes money. Printer makes money. Publisher makes money. Writer gets paid. Agent gets paid. It’s simple. Think of it as one of those circle-of-life things. Like the forest and all its adorable creatures.”
“You mean the ones that kill each other?” asked Robert.
“No, the ones that live symbiotically. Like the birds who knock pine cones off trees so the squirrels can eat the seeds.”
“Birds don’t do that at all. The owls in those woods out there,” he said, motioning with his head, “kill and eat squirrels and even other birds. You mean that circle of life?”
“Great. You’re a wildlife naturalist now. Be a writer for one hour … please.  Look, I know you hate public speaking. But do this one reading and we’ll reconsider the others. Better yet, jump on that revolutionary new social media thing and you might never have to leave the comfort of your home again.” Levitt opened the stockroom door and pointed to the throng that had gathered on this rainy Saturday afternoon. “Look. There’s a bunch of successful business people, artists and even a few celebs. It’s crazy out there! ” Levitt tried to walk his comment back. “I mean… in a good way.”
“I should have returned to law,” Robert sighed.
Levitt attempted to redeem himself. “People hate lawyers. Lawyers only take. You give.”
“But writers can’t hide anymore.”
“Truth,” conceded Levitt. “But don’t do the delicate genius thing.”
“I am neither.”
Levitt motioned to the room. “He probably doesn’t do social media either, but Clint-fucking-Eastwood is out there. I’m sure it’s him. Geez, he got old. He used to be the frickin’ mayor here. He’s a living legend in Carmel. If all those people tweet about this, thousands of followers — readers — will hear about the book. This is business Robert. Please, as your agent, I’m begging you to do this. You’re a local hero.”
“I live in Los Angeles, Murray.”
“Whatever. You know what I meant.”
Levitt grabbed Robert by the shoulders and manhandled him out of the stockroom — like a football coach might a losing quarterback onto the field for the final quarter. They had been sequestered in the cramped and stale-smelling room for the last twenty minutes. He spoke into Robert’s ear, so he could be heard over the background noise, as they entered the bookstore proper.
“You crafted a great story, Robert. Write yourself a convincing one now. You’re an entertaining and confident speaker who loves his adoring fans and is equally loved by them. Play that character for just an hour.”
Robert looked grim. The bookstore owner saw them exit the stockroom, her cue to read an introduction for Thebét. The sound of restrained applause replaced the muffled sounds of a hundred private conversations. His heart raced as he shuffled onto the bookstore floor.

Robert appeared uncomfortable standing before the group of locals. The throng filled every square foot of floor space in the modest bookstore. The number of people likely exceeded the allowable limit defined by local fire regulations. If the storeowner cared, it didn’t show. She looked ecstatic. Thebét was a local celebrity and known to be reclusive, making the event a bit of a coup. The proprietor of the store, a tiny woman of about sixty, waited patiently like everyone else for him to begin.
Robert fumed silently. He swayed nervously before the crowd, dressed in grey jeans and a black cashmere sweater – head adorned by a duckbill cap he’d neglected to remove. It represented the very last barrier behind which he could hide. Shifting his weight between feet, he looked as if he might’ve had to pee. He had no reason to be anxious, really. The crowd had come to see and hear him, the writer they so admired. Breathing deeply, he tried to calm his nerves enough to get started. The crowd looked increasingly impatient as he stood fidgeting with a copy of the book, fashioning dog ears on its cover. If they had had any idea how personal the book was, they might have empathized more. They didn’t.
The guests also couldn’t be privy to the frantic deliberation in Robert’s head. How much should I reveal? The Hermit deserves his privacy. While he wished to respect that, Robert felt the book needed to be written. He felt pride in the work, sure, but more importantly, Robert hoped it would speak to readers, particularly those with exposure to grief and depression — their own, or that suffered by friends or family.
Robert lifted his cap, ran his hand through his hair, and looked back at the crowd to gauge their level of restlessness — another stall tactic. Scanning the room, he spied a striking woman standing near the back of the store. She looked at Robert without blinking and gave him a warm and knowing smile, crow’s feet framing her kind eyes. The innocuous gesture was the catalyst he needed. Robert’s chest rose as he gathered a breath. He began.
“Thank you all for coming here today. The weather didn’t cooperate, and I’m not doing much better.” His voice crackled, but he gained confidence once he saw a few smiles. “I am grateful that you took the time to join us here. I presume you’ve bought and read my book already. If you did,” he added, “then by my rough calculation, I’ve broken even on the cost of gas to travel up here today.” Subdued laughter at a volume appropriate to a library, or its retail equal, filled the bookstore. “This is the first time I’ve read The Hermit of Carmel aloud, and I’m a little apprehensive. I’ve dreamed of doing this though, right here in Carmel, for a while. Thank you for making it a reality. I’m humbled and honored.”
Robert dipped his head – a deferential bow to the crowd. From the corner of his eye, he noticed Levitt grin, color returning to his face. He paused, took a sip of water, and glanced at his wrist without consciously noting the time. More than anything, he was checking to ensure his watch was still there. He had lost it once and wouldn’t allow it to happen a second time.
Levitt waved his hand and mouthed the words, “Take off your hat.”
Robert removed his cap and continued: “For those who don’t already know, this is a true story. Narrative nonfiction, publishers call it. Some folks living in the area might know parts of the story. You might have even caught a glimpse of the Hermit. I’m quite sure that none of you truly knew him, though. I’m uncertain that anyone really did. He was a complicated man who meant well but had been hobbled by sadness and a profound sense of loss.
“You know,” he continued, “I try not to be judgmental. People process grief in sometimes unproductive ways. The Hermit’s loss triggered a deep depression, which drove him into the woods. In the quiet of the forest, he battled his private demons, the physical elements, and a few locals. It’s hard to say what saved him – his inner strength, or the game of golf. Perhaps a little of both.”
Holding the copy of his book slightly aloft, as a preacher might a Bible, Robert spoke with equal reverence. “This is his story.” He paused, unintentionally adding to the dramatic effect. “I’m not sure what you folks want from this afternoon. Was there a section or chapter you’d like me to read, or would you rather hear small excerpts from a few different chapters?” He looked around the room, hoping for a response.
After a moment of uncomfortable quiet, a speaker, unseen by the author, broke the silence. “Just read, please,” she said, in a restrained and respectful way. All heads nodded in agreement. And he did, from the start, in his best narrative voice. The room became quiet again and Robert perceived that the crowd collectively leaned in – just a bit.

Gregory Phipps was a venture capitalist but has now turned his attention to writing full time. This piece is an excerpt from his debut novel, The Hermit of Carmel. His second novel, Oak, was originally written as a screenplay and was awarded semi-finalist status at the Landlocked Film Festival. Gregory now lives in London, Ontario, with his wife Lyndsey and their dog Pippi: a sheepadoodle (yes, there's such a thing).

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Cambridge, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Saint John, NB, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fall Creative Writing Courses, Introductory to Intensive, plus Writing Personal Stories and Writing Kid Lit

Welcome to Creative Writing
Ten weeks of discovering your creative side
Thursday afternoons, 12:45 – 2:45
September 27 – November 29, 2018
Woodside Branch of the Oakville Public Library, 1274 Rebecca St, Oakville, Ontario
 This is your chance to take up writing in a warm, supportive environment. This course will open the door to writing short stories and writing dialogue, writing in first person and writing in third person, writing just for fun and writing all kinds of things. 
You’ll get a shot of inspiration every week and an assignment to keep you going till the next class. Best of all, this class will provide a zero-pressure, totally safe setting, where your words will grow and flower.
Fee:  $176.11 plus 13% hst = $199
To reserve a spot now, email:

Writing Personal Stories
8 weeks of sharing and writing
Thursday evenings, 7 – 9 p.m.
October 4 – November 29, 2018
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
If you've ever considered writing your personal stories, this course is for you. We’ll look at memoirs, travel writing, personal essays, family history ~ personal stories of all kinds. Plus, of course, we’ll work on creativity and writing technique and have fun doing it. 
Whether you want to write a book or just get your thoughts down on paper, this weekly course will get you going. We'll reveal the tricks and conventions of telling true stories, and we’ll show you how to use the techniques of the novel to recount actual events. Weekly writing exercises and friendly feedback from the instructor will help you move forward on this writing adventure. Whether you want to write for your family and friends or for a wider public, don't miss this course.
Fee:  $167.26 plus 13% hst = $189      
To reserve your spot, email:

Author Jennifer Mook-Sang, signing bookmarks
Writing Kid Lit
 ~ Picture Books to Young Adult
Friday afternoons, October 5 – November 30, 2018
1:15 – 3:15 p.m.
Glenview Church, Bethlehem Room, 1 Glenview Ave, Toronto, Ontario (Map here.)
From picture books to young adult novels, this weekly course is accessible for beginners and meaty enough for advanced writers. Through lectures, in-class assignments, homework, and feedback on your writing, we’ll give you ins and outs of writing for younger readers and set you on course toward writing your own books.
We’ll have two published children’s authors as guest speakers:
Jennifer Mook-Sang grew up in Guyana and moved to Canada when she was fourteen. While reading bedtime stories to her two sons, she fell in love with picture books and decided to write one of her own. In one of Brian Henry's classes she found the beginnings of a story. That story grew into the humorous middle-grade novel Speechless, published by Scholastic in 2015. 
Speechless won the Surrey Schools Book of the Year Award, was shortlisted for many others, and was recommended by the Ontario Library Association, the Canadian Childrens’ Book Centre, the CBC, and the TD Summer Reading Club. 
Then in October 2017, Jennifer published her first picture book Captain Monty Takes the Plunge with Kids Can Press. Captain Monty is the boldest, stinkiest pirate to sail the six or seven seas; in fact, he’s never had a bath. Naturally, the Junior Library Guild immediately selected him for its fall list of recommended books. Captain Monty has also been nominated for the Rainforest of Reading Award and Jennifer will be travelling to St. Lucia for that Festival in March.
Jennifer lives in Burlington, Ontario. You can find out more about her here. 
Speechless is available online here. And Captain Monty Takes the Plunge is available here.
Author Kira Vermond
Kira Vermond is an award-winning writer with over 1,500 articles to her name. She has been a frequent contributor to the Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, CBC and Today's Parent.
Kira is the author of four nonfiction books for young readers: Half-Truths and Brazen Lies, (read more about Half-Truths here); Why We Live Where We Live (more here);   Growing Up: Inside and Out, (nominated for on Ontario Library Association Forest of Reading Award) and The Secret Life of Money: A Kid's Guide to Cash (which was my son’s and daughter’s favourite book  the year it came out, although my kids are four years apart).
Kira lives in Guelph, Ontario. 
Course fee:  $176.11 plus 13% hst = 199
To reserve your spot, email:

Intensive Creative Writing
Ten weeks towards becoming a better writer
Offered in three locations:
Tuesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:45 p.m.
September 25 – November 27
first reading emailed Sept 18
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
September 26 – December 5 (no class Oct 31)
first reading emailed Sept 19
St. Alban's Church, 537 Main Street, Georgetown, Ontario (in the village of Glen Williams – Map here.)
Friday mornings, 10:15 – 12:30, September 28 – November 30
first reading emailed Sept 21
Glenview Church, Bethlehem Room
1 Glenview Ave, Toronto, Ontario (Map here.)
Intensive Creative Writing isn't for beginners; it's for people who have been writing for a while or who have done a course or two before and are working on their own projects. Over the ten weeks of classes, you’ll be asked to bring in five pieces of your writing for detailed feedback. All your pieces may be from the same work, such as a novel in progress, or they may be stand alone pieces. You bring whatever you want to work on. 
Besides critiquing pieces, the instructor will give short lectures addressing the needs of the group, and in addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that the greatest benefits come from seeing how your classmates approach and critique a piece of writing and how they write and re-write. This is a challenging course, but extremely rewarding.
Fee: $176.11 + 13% hst = $199
To reserve your spot, email:

Instructor Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada's most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Saint John. Brian is the author of a children’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Tribute Publishing). But his proudest boast is that he’s has helped many of his students get published. 
Read a review of Brian's various courses and workshops here (and scroll down).

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