Sunday, September 29, 2019

Shana Tova ~ Happy New Year 5780

Shana Tova ~ Happy New Year to all my friends and family, Jewish and otherwise.

A Rosh Hashanah primer for those interested... 
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, falls on the first of Tishrei. On the Jewish calendar, the month starts with the first sliver of the moon showing, hence the crescent moon in the painting above.
We blow the shofar – a ram's horn – on Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur as a wake-up call: Time to get your act together, sweetie.
Also, we eat apples dipped in honey as a symbol of a sweet year to come  or some people do; just looking at all that honey makes my teeth ache. In any case, there are a lot of apples in Rosh Hashanah symbolism.
And the year – 5780 – that's the traditional year count since creation. 
What's the shofar sound like? Check out this YouTube....

Monday, September 23, 2019

Storied agency Greenburger Associates has 9 agents accepting queries

What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine,
represented by Greenburger Associates

Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
55 Fifth Avenue 
New York, NY 10003 
212 206 5600

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. Also, if you’re not yet on my newsletter, send me an email, including your locale  ~Brian 

Greenburger Associates has been around for more than 80 years. It brought Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Franz Kafka, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry to American audiences. It continues to represent heavyweight authors, particularly best-selling heavyweights, such as Dan Brown. 
Altogether the agency has eleven agents and all but two of the most senior agents are open to queries. Here are your six best bets:

Abigail Frank, Associate Agent
Abigail is passionate about stories for young people, especially those that are hilarious, poetic, quietly heartbreaking, and/or swoon-worthy, and she cares about voice, above all. She gravitates towards picture books that feel entirely original, chapter books with big personalities, and novels about unforgettable teens falling in love. 
Like everyone else, she is committed to advocating for the work of marginalized authors and artists, and she’s actively looking for stories that allow young readers to recognize themselves in the books they love. She is also looking for select adult fiction and nonfiction.
{Among other things}, Abigail is especially seeking:
Big concept and/or offbeat picture books, preferably (but not exclusively) by author/illustrators
Voice-driven chapter books!
Middle grade that is hilarious (think Better Nate Than Ever series), poetic (think The Girl Who Drank the Moon or Other Words for Home), or profound (think Tuck Everlasting)
Swoon-worthy YA rom-coms!!
YA in verse (think The Poet X)
Stories with a drop of magic or set in the not-so-distant future
Stories that grapple with ideas of masculinity
Sex Education or Booksmart in novel form
For adults, she’s particularily looking for: cultural criticism, an analytical look at healthcare or higher education/campus life (fiction or nonfiction), and contemporary commercial fiction about people in their 20’s (think Red, White & Royal Blue)
Query Abigail at
In the subject line put “QUERY – project title.” Attach your full manuscript or proposal. If you are a visual artist, please also include a link to your portfolio.

Sami Isman, Associate Agent.
Sami is seeking adult novels in the literary mystery, psychological thriller/suspense, and upmarket women’s fiction genres. She is keenly interested in novels with strong female protagonists and ones involving contemporary relationships, such as family sagas, friendships, and ensemble casts. She also loves stories with ethereal moods—a touch of magical realism and subtle otherworldly traits. She is not looking to represent fantasy, sci-fi, or strictly romance novels.
Having grown up around the world, Sami welcomes diverse/international perspectives and new voices, as well as books in translation, especially from Latin American authors. She looks forward to developing long-lasting relationships with her authors and working closely with them to develop their writing careers.
Sami joined Greenburger Associates in the summer of 2015. She was raised in Argentina, Brazil, and Singapore before attending Brown University and the Columbia Publishing Course. Sami has been working under the agency’s president, Heide Lange, assisting on all matters regarding her authors, including Dan Brown and Brad Thor, as well as liaising with foreign publishers on her behalf. She will continue in that role and, under Heide's tutelage, further refine her editorial and negotiation skills as she builds her own list of clients.
Query Sami at
In the subject line put “QUERY – project title.” Paste the first few chapters of your manuscript into the body of the email.

Sarah Phair, Agent
Sarah represents a range of fiction and nonfiction authors writing for the adult market. 
In fiction she focuses on books by women, for women, ranging from commercial, to upmarket and literary. If you would read it in your book club or take it on vacation, it might be a good fit for Sarah’s list. She particularly loves: family sagas, female friendship, complex psychological suspense, campus novels, anti-heroines, and a good love story. 
In nonfiction her areas of interest include feminist issues, millennial topics, pop culture, and anything about food. She is especially interested in projects analyzing the future of media consumption, how and what we eat, agriculture, and housing. 
Sarah joined Greenburger Associates in 2019. Originally from Mississippi, she moved to New York in 2010 to pursue a career in publishing. She worked at Trident Media Group for six years, acting as audio agent and foreign rights agent before building her own list. Sarah also has a M.A. in British and American Literature.
Query Sarah at
In the subject line put “QUERY – project title.” Paste the first 10 pages of your manuscript into the body of the email.

Ed Maxwell, Agent
Edjoined Greenburger Associates in 2011 to work with Faith Hamlin; in 2015 he started building a roster of authors and artists with whom he is very grateful to work; and in summer 2019 he became a full-time agent.
A close reader of nonfiction, Ed is interested in how histories ripple across contemporary politics and present life. He is also inspired by how visual storytellers, whether artists or documentary photographers, can captivate the imaginations of child and adult readers alike, breaking down any fourth walls that might need toppling. Ed reads literary fiction as well, for adults and children, especially as a generation of writers rises to build an incorporative American canon for this new century.
Query Ed at
No submission guidelines specified, so I’d assume he’d like the opening ten pages of your manuscript pasted into the body of the email.

Wendi Gu, Agent
Wendi represents fiction and nonfiction children’s books across the spectrum, from board books all the way up to young adult. She enjoys lyricism at the line level, sophisticated rhythm, as well as whimsical, absurdist humor. She does not shy away from heavy, darker subjects related to mental health, trauma, and displacement, with a special focus on family stories, and nonfiction books that unearth unexpected corners of history and science. 
For middle grade and young adult novels, she enjoys voice-driven stories with thoughtful, contemplative, often-flawed characters. She is looking for authors who value intersectionality.
Wendi also works with illustrators, especially with author/illustrators, with beautiful color palettes and texture who also have a sense of page turn and nuanced character expression.  
Wendi’s clients range from New York Times bestsellers, Pushcart Prize recipients, to various reader’s choice and humor award winners. She grew up in the Chicago suburbs and spent many of her summers with her grandparents in China. With academics as parents, she has always had a nerdy interest in the humanities. She is a graduate of Northwestern University.
Query Wendi at
Include QUERY in the subject line and paste a 10-age sample into the body of the the email. Illustrators and author/illustrators should attach full sketch dummies and portfolios as a PDF or FTP.

Stephanie Delma, Agent
Stephanie represents a spectrum of authors who write for the adult market, with a focus on fiction: literary/upmarket, psychologically propulsive suspense, near-historical fiction, and genre-bending, literary narratives that contain elements of surrealism, magic, or sci-fi (her favorite non-client books in this space include Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado). 
Stephanie also represents a limited selection of narrative nonfiction projects by authors with established platforms and unique perspectives.
In nonfiction, she is looking for longform reportage that reads like fiction, true crime, and expert accounts of dark and far-flung corners of the world.
In both fiction and nonfiction, Stephanie favors #ownvoices, diverse perspectives, and feminist narratives.
Stephanie has been with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates since early 2012. After working closely with agency president Heide Lange for several years, handling foreign rights for Dan Brown, Brad Thor, and other bestselling authors while simultaneously building her own list, Stephanie transitioned to full-time agenting in January 2018. A graduate of Johns Hopkins’ Writing Seminars program, Stephanie considers herself a “hands-on” agent and is eager to work with debut authors who are serious about their craft.
Follow Stephanie on Twitter @imaginarysmd
Query Stephanie at
Please put “Query: [your book’s title] by [your name]” in the subject line. Include the first few chapters in the body of your email.

See Greenburger Associates' full submission guidelines here

Literary agent Stephanie Winter
If you’re interested in getting published, now or sometime in the future, don’t miss our upcoming How to Get Published  workshop with literary agent Stephanie Winter of P.S. Literary on Saturday, Nov 23, in Niagara on the Lake with (see here).

Also, don’t miss Writing for Children and for Young Adults with Kids Can Press senior editor Yasemin Uçar and children's author Jennifer Mook-Sang at the Burlington Central Library, Saturday, Oct 5 (see here), “You can write great dialogue,” Sunday, Oct 20, in Sudbury (see here) and How to Write a Bestseller with New York Times #1 bestselling author Kelley Armstrong, Saturday, Oct 26, in Waterloo (see here).

Also, there’s still room in these classes starting this week:
Oakville: Welcome to Creative Writing, Thursday evenings, Sept 26 – Nov 28 (no class Oct 31). Details here
Toronto: Writing Personal Stories, Friday afternoons, Sept 27 – Nov 29 (no class Nov 1). Details here.
Burlington: Writing Personal Stories, Thursday afternoons, Sept 26 – November 28 (no class Oct 31).  Details here.
See details of all the fall courses here.

Then in the winter, a full range of weekly courses will be on offer:
Oakville: Writing Personal Stories, Thursday evenings – dates to be announced
Burlington: Exploring Creative Writing, Thursday afternoons – dates to be announced
Burlington: Next Step in Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons – dates to be announced
Burlington: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday evenings – dates to be announced
Toronto: Intensive Creative Writing, Friday mornings – dates to be announced
For details or to reserve a spot, email:

November at the Briars Writing Retreat
Friday, November 1 – Monday, November 4. Four days of creativity in a setting with the warmth of a country estate steeped in history while providing all the benefits of an extensive, modern lakeside resort. Details here.

Algonquin Writing Retreat, Friday, June 5 - Monday, June 8, 2020. Four days of luxury and writing in one of most beautiful spots in Ontario. This is the area that inspired the Group of Seven; come and let it inspire you, too. 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 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. 

Friday, September 20, 2019

“Masochistic Jockeys” by Elizabeth Chestney-Hanson

At the intersection of the Internet and words, the English language is suffering, our thoughts and feelings reduced to a hip shorthand of abbreviated texts, emojis and memes.
To my astonishment, my 80-year-old mother picked up texting with the same curious abandon that a toddler picks up a pre-enjoyed piece of gum from the pavement and pops it in her mouth. Worlds collided when she started her love affair with technology. Suddenly, there was nothing standing between her and her children. Not time, not distance, and certainly not decorum.
A texting bout with Mum is emotionally exhausting. The weather, her utility bill, the traffic – no topic is too trivial, and delivery comes with an onslaught of exclamation marks: “I went to the bank today!! The roads were insane!!! My car died!! I took it to the mechanic, spent $2,000 dollars!!!!”
Then she’ll slip in as a casual afterthought. “How are you?”  If I’m too slow (or too stunned) to reply, she’ll move on to my brother or sister and whip them into a hyperbolic frenzy. Sometimes, she’ll reach out with a random headline or two in her signature staccato format: “Snowing in Hawaii!! Trump’s America is 22 TRILLION IN DEBT!!” The hysteria is perennial; she missed her calling as news ticker writer. 
I sealed my fate when I began to work for a technology company. Even though I work in communications, for Mum, I might as well be 24x7 tech support for anyone in the world who’s having any kind of problem with any kind of system or device (but mostly her). “HELP!!!” she’ll text, “I lost all my emails!!!”  Then she’ll call and ask: “Did you get my text?”
Helping someone with a text when you’re not physically there is like trying to swallow your own head whole.
Mum: Do you know how to get confetti?
Me: Huh?
Mum: Jonnie said to click and then swipe and I would get confetti!!!
Me: Ok.
Mum: I’m trying to wish Martha Happy Birthday!!! How do I get confetti to show up?!! I tried it dozens of times!!!
Me: Did you click and swipe where you text?
(By this time, I’ve stopped what I’m doing and am trying to figure out how to get the effect on my phone, while she’s texting me).
Mum: I tried that!! It’s not working!! Stupid phone!!
Me: I’m working, Mum.
This kind of exchange might go on for about 20 minutes, until I pick up the phone in a fit of frustration and call her.
Mum is constantly at war with her phone. Once she texted me the entire recipe for squash soup, right in the middle of a conversation, pictures and all. “Where did that come from?!!!” she demanded, followed by a denigrating “Stupid phone.”
Spell check is Enemy Number 1. She hates it but won’t turn it off, which makes for a lot of “momisms” sent via text. Her best, by far, is “downbusting.” I’m not even sure this was a typo. It’s her take on “downloading” only with more chutzpah.
Hyperbole is the name of her game. After she accused my brother of being a hacker (he’s a developer), she asked him to “downbust a file” for her. My colleagues love the term and use it liberally. “We better downbust on outta here,” they say, “or we’re going to miss lunch.”
I can’t really fault Mum for trying, at least she is keeping up with the times – and the most current way to communicate. It’s just that the person who used to say (with a self-possessed grandeur), “It’s “stuuupid, Elizabeth, not stoopid” is now sending me images of Pikachu with “Haters Gonna Hate” written across the bottom. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know what a hater is.
Technology has pushed us past the eloquence of bygone communications. A friend of mine recently showed me a letter that her great grandmother wrote to her great grandfather, her boyfriend at the time and a prisoner of war in a German internment camp. 
The letter is so refined and moving, each line laden with careful hope for a future together. The penmanship, pristine and well-practiced. Every long and graceful loop that glides to form its well-spaced words is an exercise in metered restraint. What would compare to it today, I wonder.
A simple text. Or worse, sexting. A picture of her in some white, flimsy lingerie (like the picture that baseball player’s wife tweeted after he won the World Series: “Can’t wait till your [sic] home hon”), her pert breasts curving up to where soft flesh meets fine silk, the gleam of sunlight through the window catching this moment, just so. A private conversation posted publicly for all to see. So pre-coital and immediate, it is almost embarrassing. Instant gratification is in full bloom while anticipation withers on the vine.
When I claim that the English language is languishing, I can’t take the grammatical highroad. I text. I send memes. I contribute to the matrix of typos.
My first job was at a startup in north Toronto. I worked for the Comparelli brothers at Mind the Store as a technical writer. Its kitschy claim to fame was that their salesman, Pat Gowan, was the singer Gowan’s brother. I couldn’t talk to him without, “You’re a Strange Animal” playing on an eternal loop in my head. The company ran out of funding and stopped paying its employees, so we spent most of our days applying to online postings of jobs.
One day, I was unabashedly formatting my resume on company time. I listed out my hobbies (back when it was okay to do so) and included “music (disc jockey)” because I DJ’d at a campus radio station, as well as a nightclub. I thought it might make me appear well-rounded. Once I finished formatting my resume, I spell-checked it. Wanting to head home, I hurriedly accepted all recommended edits before firing off a bunch to potential employers. It was on my hour-long ride home on the subway that I found my typo. Spell-check didn’t like “music (disc” and substituted “masochistic” in its place. In my haste, I had accepted this change and now one of my hobbies was listed as: masochistic jockey.

What exactly is a masochistic jockey, I mused as the subway clackety-clacked its way downtown. I imagined a jockey in full dress, crouching inches off the saddle, eyes rolled back in ecstasy, committing self-flagellation with a riding crop as opposed to urging on his horse. Winning the race was no longer the point. Clearly, it was the journey that mattered.
I didn’t get any interviews. Not even one, out of curiosity.
     Technology is making us lazy. Soon, we won’t even have to think; computers will do it all for us. Predictive text has been around for decades and Google is using AI to suggest pre-canned replies to emails. (I can hear my mother arguing with her inbox, insisting “That’s not what I want to say!” but refusing resolutely to deactivate the feature. It’s fodder for another text-plaint to her kids, after all).

     The dumbening is coming (it might already be here) George Saunders predicted it back in 2007 with social media sites serving as platforms for the braindead megaphone. There’s no need to mention the usual suspects – human or tech – they’re so obvious today. Technology affirms that language is a social construct; the medium has become the message. In that (cyber)space where words and technology intersect, a well-known NRA slogan comes to mind: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The same can be said for the English language: Technology doesn’t kill syntax, people kill syntax. But (like guns), technology doesn’t help.
Sry g2g Cya. BFN.

Elizabeth Chestney-Hanson is a recovering careerist who’s recently returned to her passion for writing. Humour in the human experience interests her, possibly because she laughs too loud and at the wrong times. She lives in Elmira, Ontario, with her husband, daughter, their two dogs, and a cat {no horses; no riding crops}. She is an unapologetic over-user of the semicolon.

“Masochistic Jockeys” was previously published on The Penman Review. See here.
For information about submitting to The Penman Review and 21 other markets for your short essays, poetry, and fiction, see here.

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, September 19, 2019

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:

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.)
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:

Next Step in Creative Writing
10 weeks of growth as a writer
Note: Now waiting list only for the fall course, but this will be offered again on Tuesday afternoons in Burlington starting in December. Email me now to reserve your spot at

Tuesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:45
September 24 – Dec 10. (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:

Intensive Creative Writing
12 intense weeks of writing & critiquing

Note: Now waiting list only for the fall Intensive courses, but they'll be offered again on Wednesday evenings in Burlington and Friday mornings in Toronto starting in December. Email me now to reserve your spot at

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.)
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:

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.