Monday, April 29, 2019

3 agents at Laura Dale Literary seek picture books, MG and YA books and adult fiction and nonfiction

Whatever After, Sugar and Spice,
by Sarah Mlynowski,
represented by Laua Dail Agency
Laura Dail Literary Agency
121 West 27th Street
Suite 1201
New York, NY 10001

Note: Don't ever miss a post on Quick Brown Fox. Fill in the “Follow Brian by Email” box in the right-hand column under my bio, and get each post delivered to your Inbox. ~Brian

The Laura Dail Literary Agency has been around since 1996. It’s a small (4 agents), full-service literary agency, representing fiction and nonfiction, commercial and literary, for both adults and children. The agency represents diverse authors, including bestselling authors of children’s fiction, award-winning journalists, historians, chefs, and humorists. 

Samantha Fabien is the newest member of the team, and like all new agents, she needs authors. Samantha graduated from Seton Hall University in 2015. After completing the Columbia Publishing Course, Samantha found her passion for foreign rights and editorial through her internships and part-time work at three literary agencies: Ayesha Pande Literary, Writers House, and Chalberg & Sussman.
She joined the LDLA team in May 2018 as their International Rights Manager, and began her role as a literary agent in April 2019. Samantha's truest passion – apart from reading and writing – is sharing inclusive, lasting, and impactful stories with the world.
Specifically, Samantha is looking for Commercial and high-concept adult fiction; Non-western historical fiction (specifically on the lookout for stories set in 1600s-1800s or 1920s-1970s); Psychological thrillers; and Fresh, unique rom-coms.
In Middle Grade and Young Adult, she’s seeking contemporary fiction (especially re-imaginings of classic tales); Grounded YA fantasy with rich characters and world building
In general {like everyone else} she wants all things diverse and #ownvoices.
Find her on Twitter here.
Query Samantha at: queries@ldlainc.com

Along with your book title, include the name of the agent you’re querying in the subject field; e.g.: Query: TITLE for Samantha Fabien. Paste the first 5–10 pages of your manuscript into the body of your email. No attachments. Full submission guidelines here.

Two other agents at Laura Dail are also seeking authors.

Elana Roth Parker is looking for Commercial and high-concept middle-grade and young adult fiction (all genres, but maybe avoid Christmas, talking animal books, or anything nightmare-inducing; narrative nonfiction for children and teens; and picture books, but from author/illustrators only.
“For fiction, both MG and YA,” says Elana, “my tastes run more commercial than literary, so I'm mainly looking for high-concept or commercial-leaning novels. That means good plots and good twists. I like to say my tastes lie at the intersection of timeless and fresh. For examples, look at The Selection, which draws on fairytales but updates them in new ways, or Brightly Burning, which is Jane Eyre in space. Both pull from tradition but spin them in surprising ways.
“I’m not picky about genre (sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, contemporary, historical, all good) so long as there's a strong plot (make me keep turning pages, please) told by a strong voice. I want books that I can come back to over and over again. I read to escape, not to get punched in the face, so take me far away with an irresistible voice, but don't make me suffer along the way.”
For fiction, these are Elana’s keywords: imagination, escapism, other-worldiness, nerdy inspiration, high emotional stakes, diverse, plot-driven, heartfelt.
“For nonfiction: I'm looking for all age levels. For picture books and middle-grade, I'd love to see topics kids would find fascinating explained in creative ways and formats, especially for the younger ages. For MG and YA, I'd also love to see narrative non-fiction, i.e. great, real-life voices with a rich story to tell kids.”
Like everyone else, Elana is looking for diversity. “If you have a story that fits my broader tastes above and has brown kids, non-straight kids, or differently-abled kids, PLEASE send them to me.” 
Query Elana at: queries@ldlainc.com
Along with your book title, include the name of the agent you’re querying in the subject field; e.g.: Query: TITLE for Agent’s Name. Paste the first 5–10 pages of your manuscript into the body of your email. No attachments. If you are an author/illustrator, provide a link to your online portfolio. Full submission guidelines here.

Carrie Pestritto is looking for fresh, diverse voices in fiction and nonfiction for adults and children. She has a fairly full list at the moment (especially in young adult) so she’s being very selective in taking on new authors. 
In adult fiction, she represents commercial fiction with a literary twist; fresh chick-lit; romance; upmarket women's fiction; near-historical fiction (from about the Gilded Age on); mystery/thrillers for a female audience, as well as cozies.
In nonfiction, she represents narrative non-fiction; biography/memoir.
In kid lit, she represents high-concept young adult fantasy, especially diverse fantasy; diverse young adult and upper middle grade; middle grade with a quirky voice; and biographical, educational, or cultural picture books.
Query Carrie at: queries@ldlainc.com
Along with your book title, include the name of the agent you’re querying in the subject field; e.g.: Query: TITLE for Agent’s Name. Paste the first 5–10 pages of your manuscript into the body of your email. No attachments. If you are an author/illustrator, provide a link to your online portfolio. Full submission guidelines here.

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
If you’re interested in kid lit, don’t miss Writing for Children and for Young Adults. Offered on May 5 and May 11, this workshop will feature Erin O'Connor, senior editor at Scholastic Books as a guest speaker.

On Saturday, May 5, in Toronto, the workshop will also feature young adult author Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (see  here), and on Saturday, May 11, in Brampton the workshop will also feature young adult author Tanaz Bhathena (see here).


If you’re interested in getting published, soon or somewhere down the road, don’t miss the How to Get Published workshop, Saturday, June 8, in Waterloo with literary agent Meg Wheeler (see here). 
For updated listings of How to Get Published workshops see here (and scroll down). 

And don’t miss these other great workshops coming soon:  Plotting Novels and Writing Short Stories, Saturday, May 25, in Niagara on the Lake (see here), How to Write Great Characters, Saturday, June 22, in Oakville, (see here), and Finding Your Voice, Saturday, July 13, in London (see here).    

But the best way to grow as a writer may be with a weekly course. Here’s what’s coming this summer:
Oakville Woodside Library: Exploring Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, July 2 – Aug 13. See here.
Burlington: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday afternoons, July 3 – Aug 21; first  readings emailed June 26. See here.
Burlington: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday evenings July 3 – Aug 21; first readings emailed June 26. See here.

In the fall, join us at the ... 
November at the Briars Writing Retreat
Friday, November 1 – Monday, November 4; four days of creativity in a setting that provides the warmth of a country estate steeped in history while providing all the benefits of an extensive, modern lakeside resort. Detailhere.

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

See Brian’s complete current 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, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, 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.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

“The voice” by Ann Gray


It was the first time I heard the voice.  Clear as a bell: “Buy the roses.

I was at the corner store buying a pack of smokes. A middle-aged guy was behind me. “Did you say something?” I asked. 

The guy shook his head and moved back a step. No one else looked like they were close enough to be the speaker. 

I didn’t want to buy flowers. Hell, I hadn’t had a girlfriend in years, but I remembered my father had always bought yellow roses for my mom. I was visiting tomorrow, and it would be her first Easter since dad had died. It'd be nice to bring flowers.

And when I walked out of the store with the roses, I saw a twenty dollar bill on the ground. I picked it up and smiled. 

Mom’s face when she saw the roses was like a sunrise coming over the hills. “I was feeling really down yesterday, thinking about your dad and everything. How did you know?”

I felt a bit of shiver on my skin, but I didn’t explain to her, just gave her a kiss on the forehead.

I forgot about the ghostly prompting until weeks later, I was walking down the street and the voice came again. “Call your brother.”

This time I ignored the voice. My brother and I weren’t speaking, his fault, he had disappeared around the time of the funeral leaving Mom and I to deal with all the arrangements. 

I couldn’t forget how hurt Mom had been and how we had to keep explaining to all the snide vultures at the funeral: “No Jim couldn’t be here,” or “Jim sends his love, of course” or my favourite, “So sorry, Jim is not here, but we’ll tell him you asked for him.”

It took all of my control not to say, “Jim is a selfish bastard that couldn’t bother to drag himself away from his drugs to come to his own father’s funeral. I hope he goes to Hell.”

Call your brother. Call your brother. Call your brother.” It got louder and louder, like rain on a tin roof, drumming into my head all night. Finally I decided if I wasn’t going to get any rest, damned if Jim should be sleeping. 

“Hello?” His voice sounded groggy. Good, I woke him up.

I don’t even remember what I said, just rambling, trivial things, and when he got over the shock he started to talk back. He said he was cleaning up his act. He had a job and was going to AA.  Maybe it was even true. All I know is that the next morning, I felt better than I had in months, and when I went to catch the bus to work, there was a ten dollar bill on the sidewalk.

The voice was there almost every day after that. Smile at the old lady in the corner. ... Get Joe a cup of coffee. ... Give the homeless guy two bucks.” It was automatic now to follow the voice, and although there were no more bills floating down from the sky, there were other things. Like Joe at work now gave me the better shift assignments, and my friend Bob saw me giving money to the beggar and bought me a beer, and I tell you, Bob never gets anyone a drink!

I never told anyone about the voice. It was my secret. But every time I did what I was told, it felt good. It was like walking around with a little ball of sunshine in my chest. I loved the voice and the way it made me feel special and powerful, like I was on the side of the angels,  imagine me, John Black with big white wings.  

Until one day it wasn’t. I was walking down an alley on the way to work. Kill the cat. 

That couldn’t be right. I couldn't have heard the voice correctly.

The cat was a mangy looking stray, probably had fleas.  It looked up at me trying to decide if I had a scrap of food.

Kill the cat. Kill the cat. Kill the cat.

I drew back my foot and then screamed as loud as I could, “Run!”

The cat jumped and ran like the devil was on it’s tail. Brick dust puffed out from where I had kicked the wall, missing the cat by inches.   

That little ball of sunshine in my chest was cold now. I felt like I was going to throw up. The void in my head where the voice lived ached with disappointment and betrayal. Why would my voice want me to kill the cat? The question kept going around and around in my head. Maybe the cat had rabies or something. Maybe it was going to bite some kid and then the kid would die, and it would be my fault. Was it some kind of test?  What did it mean?

But the voice was quiet for a while until I went down to the subway station.

My eyes kept going to a middle aged woman, looking at her phone, standing very close to the yellow line beside the subway tracks.

“Push her.” It wasn’t too loud this time, just a light whisper like a Spring breeze in my ear. 

Push her.” It sounded a little louder, and my feet were moving closer to her. It was as if I had no will of my own, as if my small act of defiance with the cat had drained all my strength.  I was a puppet and the voice held the strings.


I moved close enough to touch her. I tried to say something, but no sound came from my mouth. The woman’s face blurred  and shifted until she looked like my mom, but her face was all scratched and bleeding like a cat had attacked her.  She turned to me and said, “Push me.”

I reached out, but then there was a smell like roses, and I remembered the first time the voice had come to me. I knew what I had to do. I grabbed her coat and jumped sideways.

Then the transit cops were there, helping the lady up from the ground away where I had flung her away from the tracks.

And as they grabbed me and put me in the cuffs, I could hear the voice laughing in my head.
***
It’s been six months of talking to shrinks. They say there wasn’t any voice, just  chemicals in my brain. And when I tell them it was real, they pat me on the back and talk about  psychotic this or schizo that. I don’t argue anymore. People like me, we used to be special; they used to write stories and poems about us. I remember in Sunday School the story about a voice that told the old man to take his child up the mountain and  kill him, and then the voice that told him to let the child go. 

So I pretend to take my blue pills every morning, and I wait and listen for the voice because  angel or demon, this time when it comes I’ll be ready.

Ann Gray is a retired microbiologist, who is now looking at the bigger issues of life.  She is an enthusiastic birder and occasionally writes short pieces for local nature publications.  Ann is currently writing a historical fiction based on events during the cholera epidemic of 1832 in Kingston, Ontario.


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.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

November at the Briars Writing Retreat



November at the Briars Writing Retreat
Friday, November 1 – Monday, November 4, 2019
The Briars Resort & Spa on Lake Simcoe
55 Hedge Road, Jackson’s Point, Ontario, Canada (Map here)
Note: We also have a late spring retreat, May 31 – June 3, 2019, in Algonquin Park at Arowhon Pines resort. Details here.

Give yourself a four days of writing time  a long weekend of instruction, inspiration and creativity. Award yourself with time away from distractions, with no dishes to do, delicious food at every meal, and with the leisure you need to sit with your feet up and write.

The retreat will feature both instruction and guided writing exercises, plus one-on-one critiquing and coaching from Brian.  You’ll also have lots of time to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with your creativity. All writing levels welcome. Whether you’re just beginning or have a novel in progress, please join us. 

The setting: Originally a Regency-style Manor House built by Captain William Bourchier in 1840, the estate was purchased in 1870 by Dr. Frank Sibbald, who added two wings to the manor house, a coach house, a brick stable and of course a peacock house, because where else are you going to keep your peacocks?

The Briars also has a storied literary history. Humorist Stephen Leacock was a great friend of the Sibbalds, visited often, and is buried just down the road from the resort at the pretty St. George’s churchyard, as is author Mazo de la Roche. De la Roche’s Jalna series were worldwide bestsellers, making her one of Canada’s bestselling authors ever. Indeed, her books are available to this day from Dundurn Press.

Today, the Briars still offers the warmth of a country estate steeped in history while providing all the benefits of an extensive, modern lakeside resort.

Rates include accommodation. Each room has a king, queen or two twin beds, and an en-suite four-piece bathroom. There is also a hospitality room, where we can congregate and that includes a wet bar and refrigerator (so do bring your own soft drinks,  wine or beer if you like).

All meals – Friday dinner, Saturday and Sunday breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday breakfast and lunch – are provided, as are coffee & snack breaks on Saturday and Sunday. Alcoholic beverages are extra, as are Spa treatments – but you might want to check those out (see here).


All activities included. When you’re not writing, or for spouses who accompany you, there is plenty to do. The resort has an indoor pool, whirlpool and sauna, a well-equipped exercise room, and a games room with pool, shuffleboard, ping pong, and foosball. The beautiful Lake Simcoe setting offers idyllic opportunities for biking and hiking, with the resort featuring its own nature trails and with other trails three kilometers down the road at Sibbald Point Provincial Park. And of course there are plenty of nooks around the resort that are ideal for reading, resting and unwinding.

Check-in on Friday is 4 p.m. Our first writing get-together will be at 5 p.m. On Monday, we'll have our last writing get-together at 10 a.m., ending at 11 a.m. Check out is at 12 noon. (though we may push the Monday schedule an hour later if the resort isn't full and they can accommodate a 1 p.m. check out) But once you’ve had lunch, don’t feel you have to rush off! You can stay for the rest of the day, enjoying the amenities of the resort. Participants are welcome to bring a non-participating significant other. 

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. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get their first book published and launch their careers as authors.

Fee, including both the writing retreat and accommodation, meals, coffee & snack service, and all resort amenities: $345.13 per night plus 13% hst {same as last year}
or $1035.40 for all three nights, plus 13% hst
Not included: Tips (probably easiest just to leave about $30 for the wait staff when you check out), alcoholic drinks (or any drinks bought at Drinkwaters Lounge), spa services, or other extras.

Bring a (non-participating) significant other along for the weekend to share your room for an additional $119.47 plus hst per night (includes accommodation, meals and all resort amenities, but not the writing part of the retreat).

Book early – space is limited! Full receipts issued.

For more information or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Note: Bookings for accommodations for this retreat must be done through Brian (unlike our retreats in Algonquin, where you book your accommodations through the resort).

Who can attend the retreat?
Everyone interested in developing their writing skills is welcome to attend, whether you're aspiring writer or an accomplished author or simply enjoy writing as a hobby. There is no requirement for you to have been previously published or even to have an intention to publish.

I'm a poet / playwright / other writer. Is this retreat for me?
The retreat is open to anyone who enjoys writing. Instruction will focus on narrative writing; i.e., stories, whether fiction or memoir. But if you’re an essayist or poet or whatever, you’re entirely welcome.
Should I bring my work in progress?
Yes, if you have an on-going writing project, bring it with you! If you’re not currently working on anything, don’t worry, we’ll get you writing.

Should I bring my laptop?
Yes, if you prefer to work on your laptop. If you prefer to work on paper bring that. Or bring both.


Can you cater to specific dietary requirements?
Yes. But you need to let me know at least a week ahead of time, so I can let the staff know about your needs.

I want to stay longer or arrive early. Is that possible?
If you want to arrive early or stay longer, that’s fine. You’ll book the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night with Brian, and arrange any additional nights with the resort; just make sure they know you’re with Brian Henry’s writing group.

Is there cell phone reception and WIFI?
Yes.

How about alcohol?
The resort serves alcohol with meals and has a licensed lounge called Drinkwaters. Guests are also welcome to bring their own wine, beer or whatever for consumption in our hospitality room. (Though do note that Hemingway’s advice to write drunk, mostly produces drivel.)

Can I use the spa at the resort or play a round of golf?
Yes, you can certainly book a spa treatment, but that’s extra. The golf course may be closed for the season, but if not, you can certainly play, though, again, that would be extra. And you’d book these directly with the resort {not through Brian}.

Can I bring my spouse (or partner or friend)?
If you want to share your room with a partner, they’re very welcome. Just let them know you’ll be spending most of your time writing, (though you will have some free time every day).

For more information or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca 

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.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A review of Laurie Flynn’s latest YA novel: The Last Girl Lied To – from Kirkus Reviews


In The Last Girl Lied To, readers only see Trixie through the eyes of others, especially Fiona. There seems to be little to admire in the girl who went missing after a party and who apparently killed herself: Trixie betrayed one best friend after another and was unkind to her devoted father. But if Fiona is right, she also faked her suicide and just walked away from the mess she created.
Fiona’s present-tense narration is interspersed with frequent recollections of Trixie that gradually reveal what led up to her possible death. Fiona, almost incapable of making decisions for herself, drifts from one controlling friend to another, never quite realizing a relationship with Beau, her emotionally troubled soul mate. Her infatuation with Trixie motivates her to search for evidence that she isn’t dead, while Jasper, another domineering figure, insinuates himself into her life.
Much of the treachery among this group of older high school students takes place at alcohol-drenched parties as the cast of white teens fall in and out of love, behave badly, suffer emotional whiplash, and then, eventually, move neatly on. 
Laurie
A page-turner of love and passion that features a slew of unadmirable characters. (Fiction for ages  14-18)

Note: along with Erin O’Connor, senior editor at Scholastic Books, Laurie will be my guest speaker at one of the two  Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshops I'm leading: Sunday, May 5, in Toronto and Saturday, May 12, in Brampton. Details here. ~Brian

Also: You’re invited to Laurie’s launch party for Last Girl Lied To on April 28 in London, Ontario (details here). But if you miss that and don’t pick up a copy at her workshop with me, you can buy a The Last Girl Lied To online from Amazon.ca here, from Chapters here, and in bookstores everywhere.

See my full 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.

Note: Quick Brown Fox welcomes your book reviews – or any kind of review of anything, of anywhere or of anybody. If you want to review your favourite coffee shops or libraries, babysitters or lovers (no real names please), go for it. See examples of book reviews here (and scroll down); other reviews here (and scroll down).

QBF also welcomes essays about a favourite book or about your experience of reading or writing, and other essays, too. Read a few essays on the blog to get a taste of what other writers have done (see here and scroll down).
Include a short bio at the end of your piece and attach a photo of yourself if you have one that’s okay.