Thursday, July 18, 2019

“Silent Concessions” by Michelle Eaket



Fifty-nine hours. That’s how long it will take Edward to get to Saskatoon. A short ride into Toronto, then a transfer at Union Station for the long trans-continental haul. On Monday morning he dresses in his best suit and walks to the train station. He smiles at the strangers he passes, trying to take his mind off Annie, but her presence is with him wherever he goes.

Before Annie passed away in February, she made him promise he’d go to Saskatoon for his cousin John’s seventy-fifth birthday on October fifteenth. Immediately after her diagnosis, Annie began worrying about Edward being on his own. He’d wanted to have children, but Annie never did, so it was always just the two of them.

“Promise me you’ll go and surprise John for his birthday. You can join him for whatever he has planned,” she said.
           
“But I haven’t seen him since we went to Saskatchewan for the family reunion. That was over ten years ago,” he replied.

“Edward, you and John were inseparable when you were young. You know he and Angela will be happy to see you. Besides, it’ll be good for you.”

Annie convinced him it was the right thing to do, the way she convinced him of so many things over the years. That’s why he’s about to get on the train for more than two days, and arrive unannounced back home in Saskatchewan.

The clock above the tracks shows it’s time to board. Once in his seat, he makes himself as comfortable as possible. He briefly thinks he should’ve booked a sleeper car but knows Annie wouldn’t have approved.

He can almost hear her saying, “Edward, you can sleep perfectly well in your seat. Don’t be silly by wasting money on a sleeper car when you don’t need one.”

It’s the familiarity of Annie’s company he misses most. The way they used to read the paper together every morning, passing each other a section once they’d finished. The lengthy discussions that followed, about what Trudeau was up to or Trump’s never-ending antics. The days are quiet now without Annie’s voice filling the home they shared for forty-seven years. 
           
Nights aren’t any better. Most of the time he doesn’t sleep more than three or four hours. Making the bed each morning is an easy job now, given one side’s always still made.
           
After the first few hours of the train ride, he longs to take his shoes off. He can feel his feet swelling and beginning to ache, but again he hears Annie’s voice. This time she’s telling him a gentleman doesn’t remove his shoes in public, so he restrains himself, much like he’s done so many times over the years.           


He and Annie went to Mexico every winter, even though he longed to visit Vancouver in the fall.  They watched Dancing with the Stars, not CSI. He ate the Hungarian salami she chose at the deli, instead of the Genoa salami he prefers. They stayed in Ottawa where Annie was from, rather than moving to the prairies to care for his ailing parents, all those years ago. It was his own parents who’d taught him that’s what marriage is about. Making sacrifices for the other. 

The train pulls into Saskatoon just before four on Wednesday afternoon and Edward takes a taxi to a nearby hotel. Once in the privacy of his room, he’s eases off his shoes. His feet are so sore that walking to the washroom to take a bath is an effort. He never should’ve left his shoes on for more than two days, regardless of what Annie would’ve said.
           
After his bath, he locates the phone book and begins looking for his surname. There are two listings, one of whom is his cousin John. The other is a woman named Celeste. Not wanting to ruin the surprise by letting John and Angela know he’s in town, he dials Celeste’s number, thinking she might be their granddaughter. She answers on the third ring.

“Hello. My name is Edward Lanigan. I believe we may be related. Are you John and Angela Lanigan’s granddaughter?”
           
“Yes, I am,” she replies.
           
“Wonderful! I’m John’s cousin. I’ve come to surprise him for his birthday.”

“Oh!” she says. Then after a pause: “I’m sorry to tell you, but he and Grandma are out of town right now. They flew to Toronto last week to visit family.”

“Ah.” Edward feels as if he’s falling, with nothing to hold on to. He reaches for a jocular tone. “So no party then?”

“We had a party for Grandpa last summer. Really small, “she adds. “Look, I hope you didn’t travel far to be here.”

Edward holds his breath for a moment, realizing he’s come all this way for a party that’s already happened. One he hadn’t been invited to. Now John and Angela have gone to Toronto, an hour from where he lives, and they didn’t contact him to arrange a visit. 

He feels momentarily foolish for the promise he made to Annie. What was he thinking, coming all this way without so much as a phone call? Why did it have to be a surprise visit anyway? He never did ask Annie. He’d just done as she asked; like always.
           
“No, I didn’t travel far at all,” Edward says.

They hang up and Edward sinks into the bed, yawning with exhaustion. He realizes he doesn’t feel Annie’s absence quite as strongly here. There are no reminders of her across the room or down the hall. Soon he falls into a deep sleep and dreams of the ocean.
           
The next morning, he returns to the station and buys a ticket for an earlier departure. After finding his seat, he sets the Genoa salami sandwich he bought at the bakery across the street, on the tray in front of him. He then bends forward and slowly unties his shoes, placing his socked feet on the footrest. A young family is sitting across the aisle. Edward plays a game of peekaboo with the little boy, whose mother asks if he’s also headed to Vancouver.
           
“Indeed,” Edward says. “I’ve always heard it’s lovely there this time of year.”

Michelle Eaket grew up in Saskatchewan and now lives in Toronto with her husband and two children. This story was inspired by her distant relative's cross-Canada train ride in the mid 90’s to surprise her grandparents on their 50th wedding anniversary. She always wondered what led him to make that trip, so this is her imagined version of a similar journey.


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

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Fall Creative Writing Courses: Introductory, Personal Stories, The Next Step, and Intensive,


Welcome to Creative Writing
9 weeks of discovering your creative side
Thursday evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
September 26 – November 28, 2019 (No class Oct 31)
Oakville Central Library, 120 Navy Street, Oakville, Ontario (Map here)
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 your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Writing Personal Stories
9 weeks of sharing and writing
Offered in two locales:
Thursday afternoons, 12:45 – 2:45 p.m.
September 26 – November 28, 2019 (No class Oct 31)
St. Elizabeth's Anglican Church, 5324 Bromley Rd, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
And
Friday afternoons, 1:15 – 3:15 p.m.
September 27 – November 29, 2019 (no class Nov 1)
Glenview Church, Bethlehem Room, 1 Glenview Ave,  Toronto, 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: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Next Step in Creative Writing
10 weeks of growth as a writer
Tuesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:45
September 24 – Dec 11. (no class Oct 8 or Nov 5)
First readings emailed Sept 17
St. Elizabeth's Anglican Church, 5324 Bromley Rd, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
The Next Step in Creative Writing is 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: $184.96 + 13% hst = $209
To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Intensive Creative Writing
12 intense weeks of writing & critiquing
Offered in two locations:
Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
September 18 – December 11 (no class Oct 9)
First reading emailed Sept 11
St. Alban's Church, 537 Main Street, Georgetown, Ontario (in the village of Glen Williams (Map here.)
And
Friday mornings, 10:15 – 12:30
September 20 – December 13 (no class Nov 1)
First reading emailed Sept 13
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 twelve weeks of classes, you’ll be asked to bring in five pieces of your writing for detailed feedback – including three longer pieces. 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: $229.20 + 13% hst = $259
To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

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

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


Monday, July 15, 2019

9 paying markets for your short fiction, nonfiction and poetry (and some novels), lots of horror, also historical, literary, and kinky

The Garden of Blue Roses
by Michael Barsa,
published by Underland

Underland Press seeks submissions for anthology titled Eighteen. Wants mystery, crime, dark fantasy, horror, and other speculative types of fiction. Pays 1 cent/word. 
Deadline: August 1, 2019. Guidelines here.
Underland also publishes novels 75,000 – 100,000 words. Wants science fiction, fantasy, dark fantasy, noir mystery with a touch of other-worldliness, and psychological horror.
Always looking. Guidelines here.

Elly Blue Publishing, publisher of Bikes in Space, the world’s only series of feminist bicycle science fiction anthologies, is putting out a call for its upcoming anthology on the theme of cats:
house cats, ship cats, lions, strays, anthropomorphic talking cats, feline deities, familiars – whatever, so long as your short story features both cats and bicycles or bicycling in a way that is essential to the story.
Stories must also be fundamentally feminist, even if they aren’t explicitly addressing feminism as a topic; and fall somewhere in the science fiction and fantasy spectrum (sorry, no fanfic, but all other fantastical and speculative genres are welcome). Black and white illustrations are also sought. 
Pays a portion of profits after expenses from the Kickstarter project used to fund the book is split between contributors; not less than $30 each.
Deadline: August 1, 2019. Submission guidelines here.

The Malahat Review welcomes writers at all stages of their careers Malahat publishes poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction by new and established writers mostly from Canada, reviews of Canadian books, and the best writing from abroad. Published quarterly. Pays $60 per published page, one-year subscription
Submissions accepted year round. Guidelines here.

Blood Bath, an Edinburgh-based horror zine, seeks submissions for its third issue on the theme of Hauntings. "Haunted houses, poltergeists, haunted objects, personal hauntings; all are welcomed, the only criteria for written submissions being that there must be a ghost (or a character’s belief in a ghost) that is linked to an object, place or person." 
Pays: £20 per 1,000 words for prose, £20 per 15 lines for poetry, and £20 per image for visual art. 
Deadline: August 1, 2019. Guidelines here.

Silent Motorist Media seeks weird horror fiction about haunted or cursed books, manuscripts, or online media for their second anthology, The Nightside Codex. Think Thomas Ligotti, Nathan Ballingrud, Caitlin R. Kiernan, and the fiction published in Vastarien. 
Pays $25. 
Deadline: August 1, 2019. Guidelines here.

Dark Peninsula Press seeks submissions for Negative Space, an anthology that will focus on the survival horror genre of video games, made popular by such legendary franchises as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Amnesia. Does not require knowledge of video games. Submissions should be 3,000 - 8,000 words. Pays $25. 
Deadline: August 1, 2019. Guidelines here.

timeworn literary journal seeks historical fiction for their first issue. Stories must be under 5,000 words and set before 1996. "We're looking for "Historical Fiction from the fringe." Work with a bend toward the surreal, the dream-like, the strange. The offbeat kind of story that settles into your heart long after reading. That said, we also value beauty and warmth and a generally well-written story with soul. Romance, Mystery, Crime and the Gothic are all acceptable. Speculative elements strongly encouraged." 
Pays $25. 
Deadline: August 1, 2019. Guidelines here.

The First Line seeks short stories that begin with the first line provided by the journal. (See site.) Pays $25-50 for fiction, $5-10 for poetry, $25 for nonfiction. 
Deadlines: August 1, 2019 for fall issue; November 1, 2019 for winter issue. Guidelines and first lines here.

Hello, Brian.
The micro press I work for {Pen and Kink Publishing} is open to submissions for a hockey romance anthology. Can you please include it on Quick Brown Fox.
The submission page can be found here.
Here are the details:

Power Play is all about the action and competition of hockey combined with the drama and emotion of romance.

I’m looking for consensual power exchange romance stories that revolve around the rink. Stories like the superstar who sobers up one day to find himself stuck coaching a peewee team and falling for the dominating mother of one of his players. The trainer with creative uses for sports bandages who is looking for her perfect match. The coaches of two rival teams who discover the spark of their competition continues even outside the arena. The goalie who loves being tied to her net and finds her no-strings arrangement with the opposing team’s forward growing into something more... I want all these and more.
You needn’t be a hockey expert to write for this anthology but do keep in mind that women play hockey too, ice is cold and skate blades are sharp.
Open to stories at every heat level, and any sort of pairing (or more-ing) that you can imagine. Stories must have a real conflict and tension with a happy ever after or happy for now ending.
All hockey teams and players must be fictional – please don’t use any real teams or players in your stories.
The details:
• Minimum word count 2,500. No maximum.
• Reprints accepted but not preferred. When submitting a reprint include information about its original publication in your submission email.
• Open to all gender pairings and multiple partners
• Simultaneous submissions = No
• Multiple submissions = Okay
• Some sort of consensual kink is required. Preferably one involving a power differential.
Pays $20 USD and a paperback copy of the anthology in exchange for the non-exclusive right to include the story in both the print and electronic versions of the anthology.
Open submission period: Until October 1, 2019
Expected publication date: April 2020
To submit: Please submit a .doc or .rtf in something approximating standard manuscript format to corividae@gmail.com
Subject line: [Power Play] STORY TITLE
About the Anthologist:
Cori Vidae is an editor, anthologist and the founder of Pen and Kink Publishing. She works as an Assistant Editor at World Weaver Press and also occasionally finds time to write things.
You can find her on Twitter at @CoriVidae or on her website at http://www.CoriVidae.com
Thank you!
All the best,
Elesha
Quick Brown Fox always welcomes your book reviews – or any kind of review. If you want to review your favourite coffee shops or libraries, babysitters or lovers (no real names please), go for it. You can read an essay about how to write a book review here and see guidelines about submitting reviews of any kind to Quick Brown Fox here
QBF also welcomes essays about a favourite book or about your experience of reading or writing. Read a few essays on the blog to get a taste of what other writers have done (see here and scroll down), write your own, and submit it to me at brianhenry@sympatico.ca

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

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Writing Kid Lit workshop with Kids Can Press senior editor Yasemin Uçar and children’s author Jennifer Mook-Sang


Writing for Children and for Young Adults
  ~ The world’s hottest market
With Kids Can Press senior editor Yasemin Uçar 
and children’s author Jennifer Mook-Sang

Saturday, October 5, 2019
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Centennial Hall, Burlington Central Library, 2331 New Street, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)

If you want to write the next best-selling children’s books or just want to create stories for your own kids, this workshop is for you. Learn how to write stories kids and young adults will love and find out what you need to know to sell your book. We'll be quite a small group, so be sure to bring all your questions – we'll have lots of time for interaction.
Special option: You may, but don't have to, bring 3 copies of the opening couple pages (first 500 words) of your children’s book or young adult novel (or up to 750 words if that gets you to the end of your picture book or to the end of your first chapter.) If you’re not currently working on a children’s story, don’t worry, we’ll get you started on the spot!
Note: Following the formal end of the workshop at about 3:45, Yasemin will stay around to chat with you one-on-one and Brian will stay till 4:45 to help with your opening pages.

Guest speaker Yasemin Uçar is a Senior Editor at Kids Can Press. Yasemin has been a children’s book editor for over two decades. She worked at Scholastic Canada before moving to London, UK, in 2001, where she worked as a Senior Editor at Piccadilly Press. In 2006, she moved back to Toronto and worked as a freelance editor for a number of years before joining Kids Can Press in 2012.
Yasemin has worked with many popular and award-winning authors and illustrators, including internationally bestselling author Louise Rennison, Ashley Spires, Chieri Uegaki and Caroline Adderson.

Guest speaker 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 Canada.
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. 
Since then, Jennifer has also published a 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; it was short-listed for the Rainforest of Reading Award; and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre put it on its best books of the year list.
Jennifer has discovered another facet of being a children's author: she's traveled across Canada speaking to hordes of kids about her writing journey; encouraging them to read, write, and revise. Who knew that Brian's nudging to read aloud to the class would come in so handy someday?
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. And of course they’re both available in book stores everywhere.

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

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

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