Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"Post-literacy" by R.D. Taylor

After placing my order with the girl at the counter of McDonald's I asked, "Could I get a Sun as well?"
"A what?" she replied.
"A Sun newspaper, do you have any?"
She left her post and went to the girl pouring the coffees behind her and said, "I don't know what this man is asking, I've already placed his order in the system."
The other girl came over. "Can I help you, sir?"
"Yes, I asked if there were any Suns available."
She looked under the counter "Nope. They're all gone or haven't arrived yet." She turned to the other girl and explained, “He was asking for a Sun newspaper."
"A what?"
"Paper with news, like MSM but on paper. We give them out for free. They haven't arrived yet, just give him his receipt."
I took my receipt and waited for my order but had to wonder, Am I being left behind? An endangered species?  Should I be looking at screens or just proceed in ignorance of what's going on in the world?
Either way I decided on eating my Egg McMuffin before it got cold, which was more pressing than issues of post-literacy. For now the medium is not the message; my stomach rules.  
R.D. (Dave) Taylor lives in Mississauga and after retirement has had the opportunity to participate in a number of local writing groups including Brian’s writing and memoir classes. He has been lucky enough to get a few poems, stories and essays published in a few local magazines, literary journals and magazines.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here including 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.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Seven paying markets for your short fiction, poetry and personal essays

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Blue Mesa Review accepts previously unpublished work in Fiction (up to 6,000 words), Nonfiction (up to 6,000 words), Poetry (up to 3 poems), and Visual Art. Pays $25. 
Deadline: February 28, 2019. Guidelines here.

Ninth Letter is published semi-annually at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. They are looking for prose and poetry that experiment with form, narrative, and nontraditional subject matter, as well as more traditional literary work. Currently they’re
seeking short fiction and essays {max 8,000 words} and poetry {submit 3–6 poems, 10 pages max}. Pays $25 per printed page to a maximum of $150. 
Deadline: February 28, 2019. Guidelines here.

Apparition Lit is a quarterly journal of speculative fiction and poetry. Each quarter they seek submissions that meet a chosen theme, and each month, they hold a flash fiction contest and publish the winner online. Pays 1 cent per word, minimum of $10 dollars U.S. 
Reading periods and themes:
February 15–28; theme: Ambition
May 15–31; theme: Retribution
Aug 15–31; theme: Euphoria
Nov 15–30; theme TBA
Flash fiction submissions must be sent in the first 15 days of the month and must meet, refer to, or challenge the test for the month. For February, your flash fiction must pass or discuss the Mako Mori Test, which requires that there must be 1) at least one female character, 2) who gets her own narrative arc, 3) that isn’t about supporting a man’s story
Guidelines here.

Chicken Soup for the Soul seeks for true stories or poems of 1,200 words or less, about all aspects of running and walking and stories about running, walking and steps to raise awareness of and funds for a cause. Stories can be funny and quirky, or they can be serious and heartwarming
They’re also looking for true personal stories about how an angel has touched your life – stories of true wonder and awe from people who have directly encountered or received help from angels. Amazing stories that will make people say “wow” or give readers chills. Have you experienced something otherworldly or celestial? Or had a personal experience with an angel or divine being? How did your angel manifest himself or herself to you? How did your angel protect or guide you? Do you have a guardian angel?" 
Pays $200.
Deadline: February 28, 2019.
Complete Chicken Soup guidelines, including calls for many more upcoming anthologies here.

Darkhouse Books seeks poetry and prose on the theme of love for a new anthology: What We Talk About When We Talk About ItSome reprints accepted. Pays 50% of royalties. 

Deadline: February 28, 2019. Guidelines here.

c/o St. Jerome’s University
290 Westmount Road N
Waterloo, ON 
N2L 3G3
Seeks poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Open to Canadian writers only. Pays $250 for a short story or nonfiction entry, and $40 per poem or postscript story. 
Reading periods: Sept 1–Feb 28 and March 1–Aug 31. Snail mail submissions only. Full guidelines here.

Pottersfield Press will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2019 and has published over 200 books by some of Canada’s finest writers. In an effort to further enhance its creative nonfiction publishing program Pottersfield created an annual Pottersfield Prize for Creative Nonfiction.
Pottersfield is again looking for submissions from writers who can provide a manuscript of 30,000 to 150,000 words in any of the following categories: history, memoir, autobiography, biography, literary journalism, political or social commentary, travel writing or virtually any existing or new category that uses the nonfiction medium to tell a story or put forward an idea.
The First Prize winner will receive a contract for the publication of the winning book along with a $1,500 advance on 10% royalty for all sales. The Second Prize winner will also see the publication of the book and a $1,000 advance on 10% royalties. Entry fee is $25 (includes HST)
Deadline: March 31, 2019 but early submissions are encouraged. Download guidelines here.

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

Sunday, January 27, 2019

“Symphony” by Nada J Bibi

I used my only vacations days and paid an overpriced airplane ticket to Lebanon, not to spend my time sightseeing or embarking on adventures with my family or even falling in love with a handsome stranger. Instead, to find myself stranded in an ancient souk with none other than all the wonderful uncontrollable symptoms that Pepto-Bismol cures.

In these situations you should never ever ever question the universe and ask, “How could this possibly get worse?” because once you do, the universe will happily open Pandora’s Box and show you the answer. The only available washroom in the entire souk was at a fish store. The aroma of fresh seafood and slippery salt-watered floors were the cherry on top.

 I shouldn’t have sassed the universe.

To rewind a bit, I had woken that morning in Beirut after my flight with a defeated immune system, thanks to a bully of a cold. My father decided to be the hero by ignoring my plea to skip the two-hour journey to the ancient city of Sidon and just let me rest. He refused my defeat and conquered the pharmacy aisle.

The pharmacist urged him that I must take two doses of a strong antibiotic. What she had failed to mention were the side effects: nausea, light-headedness, and best of all vomit and diarrhea. Imagine what I had in store by taking double the dosage and distancing myself from an available washroom. Oh, how good intentions can sometimes lead to bad outcomes.

We made our way to the historic Sidon. The first stop was the old souk, an outdoor market made of a mud, clay and stone, the stores and stalls hugging and folding into each other within the narrow corridors.

The farther we walked into the souk, the worse I became. My face shifted into an odd shade of yellow and white. My parents concern was evident as they exchanged not so subtle glances. They softened their tone and plastered smiles on their faces as they tried to distract me. When my nausea had began and the light-headedness immediately followed, my father decided he’d better find me something incredible.

This was where the scarf joined the story. A red, blue and purple wrap was his answer to my misery. He presented it to me with a wide, hopeful smile, as a child might when showing a parent a picture they’d drawn to distract them from a disaster waiting in the kitchen.

Ruining his moment, the first rumble announced itself. My eyes widened as I clutched my stomach. “We need to find a washroom. Now!” I said. Panic was just one more cramp away.

One by one we asked the vendors if they had a toilet in their store or stall. The answer remained no. It turned into a ripple effect. By the time we shuffled to a different section, the whole souk, the whole village, knew of a tourist family with a blonde daughter who was ill and in dire need of a washroom.

The second rumble fiercely declared itself, this time indicating that the volcano was about to erupt from both ends. Tears of fear raced down my pale yellow cheeks and beads of sweat formed along my forehead.

With seconds remaining between a public display and a private one, a vendor pointed to the fish market. I rushed inside past a blurry sea of faces into the washroom. The tiny toilet felt as ancient as the city, carrying a seafood and sewage stench that only encouraged my nausea. 

The broken seat was wobbly from certain sides, and the door barely closed. The sink and paper towels were outside, so my mother passed them and then glued her hand to the handle.

The flies that refused to leave were my audience. Every time I thought the volcano had stopped, my nose would inhale the sharp cocktail sewage seafood stench and begin all over again.

I’ll let you imagine the rest.

Once the symphony ended, I opened the door and found my family, the entire village, and the scarf waiting for me in shared concern. Everyone had heard every note of my symphony. I attempted to reassure them all that I was okay. Yet my performance failed. They cleared the way for me, keeping at arm’s distance but still using the tips of their fingers to tap me on the shoulder in support. I was sent back to the hotel with an anxious cab driver who mentioned several hundred times that I should not have a symphony in his car.

He drove faster once he heard the third rumble. 

So, when people ask me where I came across my beautiful scarf and how much it cost, my answer is that the scarf was waiting for me in an ancient souk and the memories attached to it are priceless.

Nada J. Bibi seems to be a magnet for awkward moments and situations, but nothing that humor, witty exit strategies, a thick skin and sarcasm can't solve. She grew up in three countries, and loves adventures and immersing into different cultures. When she's not on adventures, her pajamas summon her as she watches Frasier & Friends.  She attended the New York Writers Pitch Fiction Conference two years in a row and frequently reads at Open Mic events. 

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.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Carolyn Forde joins Transatlantic, seeks literary & commercial fiction; Fiona Kenshole seeks picture books, middle grade and YA, plus 5 more agents at Transatlantic looking for authors

Her Secret Son by Hannah Mary McKinnon
represented by Carolyn Forde
Transatlantic Agency
2 Bloor Street East
Suite 3500
Toronto, Ontario, Canada 

Note: Don't ever miss a post on Quick Brown Fox. Fill in your email in the Follow Brian by Email box to the right under my bio, and get each post delivered to your Inbox, and if you’re not yet on my newsletter list, send me an email, including your locale to: ~Brian

Transatlantic Agency is a full-service literary agency, with 16 agents located across North America, with U.S. agents in New York, Boston, and Portland, Oregon, and Canadian agents in Toronto, Vancouver and Nova Scotia. Transatlantic has recently gained and lost an agent. And Fiona Kenshole is temporarily open to queries.
Transatlantic partner and senior agent Marie Campbell is retiring but will remain on as an advisor to the agency. A former editor, in-house rights manager, and instructor at Ryerson University's Publishing Program, she has worked in publishing for over 30 years. She’ll be missed. 
Meanwhile, Carolyn Forde has moved over to Transatlantic as senior agent. She was previously literary agent and director of international rights at Westwood Creative Artists for 14 years, and brings many of her clients with her, including Hannah Mary McKinnon, who many Quick Brown Fox readers will know as a fellow participant in Brian’s writing classes and, more recently, as a guest speaker at workshops.
Carolyn has a B.A. Hons in English Literature and History from Trent University (year abroad at Liverpool Hope University), earned a Postgraduate Certificate in Publishing Sciences from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, and completed the Simon Fraser University Publishing Intensive course in Vancouver. She has lived and worked in Japan, Mexico and the Czech Republic and is a dual citizen of Canada and the UK.
Carolyn’s submission guidelines have not yet been posted on the Transatlantic website, but previously, she’s said: “I am looking for books that I can’t put down. In fiction I’m either so absorbed with the world and the story or so affected by the language and characters that I’ll stay up past my bedtime. I like books that feel like treats, not work. I know I’m onto something when I want to press a book into the hands of my friends saying, ‘You must read this,’ because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will love it.”
Carolyn has expressed a love for literary fiction and fiction with a commercial bent, psychological thrillers, women’s fiction, literary horror, crime, and whimsical almost-fantasy books. “I’d love to find some indigenous authors too, as I don’t think we hear their voices enough,” she’s said. She has not been looking for military or CIA inspired fiction, climate thrillers, high fantasy, cozy mysteries, romance, erotica, poetry or humour.
In nonfiction, Carolyn’s said, “I like an unusual tale in memoir, a book that I can learn from, also something from an expert in a field on a current issue, and narrative nonfiction that expands the reader’s world. I’m not looking for memoirs about illness (not because they aren’t valid but because I don’t like to read them). The writing and the story are both paramount.”
Carolyn has particularly been interested in books with an international appeal.
Again, no posted guidelines yet, but previously Carolyn has wanted a sample of your work of at least ten pages pasted into your email. No attachments.

Other agents at Transatlantic who are looking for new authors include:

Fiona Kenshole is actively looking for children’s picture books, YA, and middle grade, and she is open to queries until the middle of February 2019.
Fiona spent 20 years as a senior publisher, holding key positions in the UK, as Publishing Director at Oxford University Press Children’s Books, Deputy Managing Director of Hodder Children’s Books and Editorial Director at HarperCollins. Her authors have won or been nominated for every major British children’s literary award. Several have become million copy bestsellers.
Fiona has lectured widely on children’s books including at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and taught publishing to Masters degree students at Oxford Brookes University. She is herself a published author. She has organized children’s events for the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival. In 2004 she became Vice President of Development Acquisition at Laika Inc. She moved to the USA and spent several years creating a development slate of new projects for the animation studio. Fiona has worked with major directors and screenwriters, acquiring and adapting children’s books and original scripts into movies, including the Academy nominated “Coraline” and “Paranorman.”
 Her current wish list is for quirky contemporary, humor, unreliable narrators, immigrant stories, stories by diverse writers, sister stories, real children in magical worlds, thrillers, mysteries and ghost stories. Fiona has a soft spot for a great detective story. Her dream is a submission so compelling she’d rather read it than engage with real life! She is not taking on rhyming picture books, poetry, screenplays or faith-based stories.
To submit, please use the following link: QueryMe.Online/QueryFiona and follow the helpful instructions given. If you have attended a conference, please indicate which one in the subject line of your query. No attachments. See Fiona’s full guidelines here.

Brenna English-Loeb represents children’s and adult authors. Brenna English-Loeb comes to Transatlantic after working for several years at Janklow & Nesbit Associates and Writers House, where she had the pleasure of working with New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors across multiple genres. At Transatlantic she’s excited to grow her list of speculative and suspenseful fiction in both YA and adult, as well as adult nonfiction, in collaboration with senior agents.
Raised on an eclectic blend of Jane Austen, Terry Pratchett and Ursula K Le Guin, Brenna has always gravitated to unique stories with a strong point of view. She is specifically looking for works of YA and adult science fiction, fantasy, and suspense, as well as some adult literary fiction. She loves space operas, myth and fairy tale retellings, survival stories, epistolary novels, and heists. She also has a soft spot for stories that blend multiple genres and for works by and about underrepresented groups and identities.
Aspects of a work that are sure to catch her eye include: evocative atmospheres, character-driven plots, a sense of adventure, and narratives that reveal a deep knowledge of a particular subject. She also loves old tropes made new again, unreliable narrators, and power imbalances.
For nonfiction, Brenna is looking for serious, groundbreaking sociological work that holds our culture up to the magnifying glass. She also loves accounts of historical events and people that deserve to be better known, as well as unusual and influential object histories.
Please include a short synopsis and the first ten pages of your manuscript. See Brenna’s full guidelines here.

Stephanie Sinclair represents adult authors. She joined Transatlantic in 2012. She has been an Associate Agent for five years, while also working as Samantha Haywood’s Executive Assistant, a role she left last Spring. Within her own list, Sinclair represents writers of award-winning fiction and nonfiction including Journey Prize winner Sharon Bala’s THE BOAT PEOPLE and the Indigenous writers Harold Johnson and Billy Ray Belcourt.
Stephanie is a graduate of the publishing program at Ryerson University, creative writing program at the Humber School for Writers and the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. For many years, authors, journalists and theatre writers have benefited from Stephanie’s uniquely attuned and effective advice in her work as an award-nominated freelance editor. 
Stephanie is growing her own author list and simultaneously manages international rights for Samantha Haywood's client list as well as for Page Two Books, a separate company owned and operated by Transatlantic agents Jesse Finkelstein and Trena White.
In fiction, Stephanie represents literary fiction and upmarket women’s and will consider literary thriller and suspense and YA crossover. 
In nonfiction, Stephanie represents narrative nonfiction, memoir, investigative journalism and true crime.
Query Stephanie at:
Attach a 20-page writing sample in Word or PDF format. See Stephanie’s full guidelines here.

Marilyn Biderman represents adult authors. Before joining Transatlantic, Marilyn worked at her own literary agency and consultancy practice for seven years, where she helped launch the careers of d├ębut and prize-winning authors. She had previously worked at McClelland & Stewart for twelve years, most recently as Vice President, Director, Rights and Contracts. At M&S, she handled the international rights for many renowned authors, including Leonard Cohen, Alistair MacLeod, and Madeleine Thien.
Marilyn is seeking literary fiction; sweet-spot fiction, that is, accessible but literary in intent (often found at book clubs); literary crime fiction; and women’s commercial and historical fiction.
“I love memoir with an utterly unique story and brilliant writing; narrative nonfiction on compelling and newsworthy topics that anticipate trends; expert nonfiction of wide appeal from authors with established social media platforms; and biographies of fascinating lives.
“I don’t handle children’s books, except for young adult novels with cross-over appeal (very selectively, and only by referral); or poetry, screenplays, science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy for adult readers.”
See Marilyn’s full guidelines here.

Jesse Finkelstein represents adult authors. In conjunction with Trena White, Jesse is one of the principals of Page Two, a nonfiction publishing company, and represents adult non-fiction to the book trade as an associate agent with Transatlantic Agency.
Finkelstein and White met on the management team at D&M Publishers Inc., whose day-to-day operations Finkelstein ran as chief operating officer. She also led the company’s digital and international sales strategies, licensing content in multiple formats and in global markets, and developing one of Canada’s first enhanced ebook apps. Prior to working at D&M, Finkelstein was associate publisher at Raincoast Books, where she managed the publishing department and oversaw acquisitions. She is a graduate of the Simon Fraser University Master of Publishing program.
Jesse specializes in upmarket, accessible nonfiction that challenges current conceptions, whether through a “big ideas” book or narrative. She is drawn to entrepreneurs and people who are innovators in their fields and writing about current affairs, business, culture, politics, technology, religion, and the environment. She is most interested in authors who have an existing platform.
Attach a maximum 20-page writing sample/excerpt (as a Word document), along with a publishing history and synopsis. Please note if other agents are also considering the project. See Jesse’s full guidelines here.

Trena White represents adult authors. In conjunction with Jesse Finkelstein, Trena is one of the principals of Page Two. As the publisher of Douglas & McIntyre and Greystone Books, Trena was responsible for running a publishing program of sixty new books a year. Before joining D&M, she spent several years in Toronto as a nonfiction editor at McClelland & Stewart. Trena is a graduate of the Simon Fraser University Master of Publishing program and is now adjunct faculty of SFU publishing
Trena specializes in upmarket, accessible nonfiction that challenges current conceptions, whether through a “big ideas” book or narrative. She is drawn to entrepreneurs and people who are innovators in their fields and writing about current affairs, business, culture, politics, technology, religion, and the environment. She is most interested in authors who have an existing platform.
Authors are encouraged to email a cover letter with an maximum 20-page writing sample/excerpt embedded in the body of the email, along with a publishing history and synopsis. No attachments. Please note if other agents are also considering the project. See Trena’s full guidelines here.

Author Tanaz Bhathena
If you’re interested in getting published, then start upping your game and attend some of the great workshops coming soon: Writing and RevisingSat, Jan 26, in Caledon at the Bolton Library (see here),  Writing with Style, Saturday, Feb 23, in Waterloo (see here) and Saturday, March 16, in Mississauga (see here), and How to Write a Bestseller, with New York Times #1 bestselling author Kelley Armstrong, Saturday, March 2 (see here).

And don’t miss the Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshop, with Erin O’Connor, senior editor, Scholastic Books, and young adult author Tanaz Bhathena, Saturday, May 11, in Brampton. Details here.

But the best way to grow as a writer is probably with a weekly course. In the spring, a full range of classes will be offered:
Burlington: Welcome to Creative Writing, Thursday afternoons, April 18 – June 20 (No class May 30). Details here.
Toronto: Welcome to Creative Writing, Friday afternoons, April 26 – June 28 (No class May 31). Details here.
Oakville Central Library: Writing Personal Stories, Thursday evenings, April 18 – June 27 (No class  May 30). Details here.
Burlington: Intensive Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:45; April 16 – June 25 (No class June 4). Details here.
Burlington: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:45; April 17 – June 19. Details here.
Georgetown: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00; April 17 – June 19. Details here.
Toronto: Intensive Creative Writing, Friday mornings, 10:15 – 12:30 / 12: 45, April 26 – June 28. (No class May 31). Details here.

     See details of all 7 courses here.

A bit later in the spring, look forward to a wonderful weekend writing retreat:
Algonquin Writing Retreat, Friday, May 31 – Monday, June 3, 2019: four days in the luxurious isolation of Arowhon Pines Resort to get down to some real creative growth. Details here.

To reserve a spot in any upcoming weekly course, weekend retreat, or Saturday workshop, email Brian at:
Read reviews of Brian’s courses, retreats, and workshops here.

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.

Navigation tips: Always check out the Labels underneath a post; they’ll lead you to various distinct collections of postings. If you're searching for more interviews with literary agents or a literary agent who represents a particular type of book, check out this post.