Friday, April 30, 2021

Green Ghost, Blue Ocean – No Fixed Address by Jennifer M. Smith, reviewed by Connie Taylor

Pottersfield Press (2020), 304 pages, paperback, $21.95. Order your copy from your favourite book store or directly from the distributor, Nimbus publishing, here. Visit Jennifer M. Smith's website here.

It was the book cover that sparked my attention. A tanned woman standing on the bow of her sailboat as it slices through a tropical sea under a cerulean sky.

I want to be there, I thought. I want that.

Maybe it was the impending third-wave lockdown that was making me long for travel on the open sea. Given that my outings were going to be limited to grocery store shopping and pharmacy runs, living vicariously through a husband-and-wife-sailing-team as they circumnavigated the globe was too good to pass up.

When I looked past the cover photo and realized I’d met the author in a Brian Henry writing class, I knew the book was a must have.

Green Ghost, Blue Ocean proved to be so much more than a welcome escape. From the lush tropical terrain of Marquesas to the corruption in Madagascar, Jennifer’s vivid descriptions (along with the maps provided) pull the reader in so that you feel you’re living the experience with her.

You get to enjoy the thrill of finding land after travelling many days with no land in sight. You experience the wonderment of discovering new cultures and the beauty of dolphins swimming through sparkling tri-coloured waters. You see the humour in both triumphs and disasters along the way.

Jennifer M. Smith

This is no romanticized travel memoir. You see the hard lessons that accompany equipment failures and gale force winds and what it takes for two people to solve problems without any access to help. You experience the magnitude of preparation, not only in provisioning for the journey, but in provisioning for the life that allowed the journey in the first place. 

It’s all there. All of it.

Even more than the stories and the challenges faced, it’s the author’s personal insights that make Green Ghost, Blue Ocean outstanding. Sprinkled throughout the book, these simple yet profound gems add an exceptional level of depth to the memoir. In one poignant moment, the author noted:

“In Madagascar, no one is ever just passing through. Every person tips the balance and leaves the place changed. Maybe the same can be said of everywhere you go.”

For all of these reasons, Green Ghost, Blue Ocean makes a great read. I especially related to the isolation faced by Jennifer and Nik as they made their journey. In a COVID world, we are isolated in unprecedented ways. Most of us are also living in close quarters with our families and partners, which can present new challenges. Seeing two people navigate tough situations at sea brought me a new sense of comfort – no matter what else is happening during this Pandemic, I’m not facing gale-force winds anytime soon.

I highly recommend this book. It’s about two people who dare to dream and take action to make their dream come true. Through their many adventures they overcome challenges and, in the process, design a life filled with independence, freedom and meaning.

My only regret is that I didn’t read it sooner.

***

Connie Taylor is an Operations Manager by day, a writer and reader by night. Her writing aspirations began in grade school with her heroine, Pantoulia, who leapt over football fields of fire. She’s contributed to the Journal of Integrated Studies and the Fifty Word Stories website. She enjoys writing both fiction and nonfiction stories. 

Note: Jennifer M Smith will again be a guest speaker during the spring session of Brian Henry’s Writing Personal Stories Class. See upcoming weekly writing classes here

See Brian’s complete current schedule hereincluding online and in-person 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, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

"It’s All In A Name" by Sandy Martin

It’s All In A Name

Saskatoon’s a funny name
For a girl to call her cat,
And a dog with curls and matted fur
Who answers to Medicine Hat!

There’s a cow that’s milked to the tune of a crow
Who sings when you shout Montreal!
And a rooster called Max,
(His twin's Halifax),
Who yodels at nothing at all.

There’s a bat named Vancouver, a rabbit called Hope
And a horse they call Antigonish.
And I’ve heard there’s a bird who speaks barely a word,
Though he’s been known to whisper ‘I wish…’.

A goat up in Kent sleeps by the church
With a goose who’s known as Nain.
 And a donkey in Digby
Who's not where he should be
And brays at the whistle of trains.

There’s a moose called Whitehorse, (though not horse, of course)
And a beaver called Bumble Bee Bight
And a tiny brown finch, who, given a pinch,
Believes he's the hawk in the sky.    

Oh, how I wish I could name each and all!
The herons, the frogs and the toads.
The caribou, bears, the foxes and wolves,
The snakes when they're crossing the road.
I'd give them all names that made them feel proud
Like Carcross and Rustico Bay,
Like Bracken and Red Deer and Pointe a Pinette
And even the ones I can't say!               

*** 

Sandy Martin lives in BC on a small island in the Salish Sea between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. She shares her life with her husband, an everchanging number of dogs and two donkeys. She has worked in creative nonfiction, short stories and, her first love, poetry. Sandy is currently working on her first novel.

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding online and in-person 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, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

“Cherry Blossoms Are the Only Ones” by Emily R. Zarevich

 

The cherry blossoms are the only ones

allowed to litter. 

Bless them, they are royalty.

They are allowed this bittersweet privilege.

I walk across carpets of vivid

blushing pink and silky milk-white and relish

speed walking, relish being OUTSIDE 

and sorry to be caught

trampling those petals dyed like

children’s Easter eggs. I understand

why wealthy people want to bathe

in these.

These jewel-like diva tear leaves

from lady peacock trees

refusing to be brown and plain

refusing to be TRASHED

by the brutish tyrant matrons

the April and May rain

showers.

Declining to bow to the sturdy maples and

fall over and rot in a dirt ditch, as a

final tribute to a life well-lived as resplendent

flowers.

And YET, cherry blossoms remain beauty queens.

Blooming strong, rarely crowned foolishly.

***

Emily R. Zarevich is an English teacher and writer from Burlington, Ontario, Canada. She has been published previously in Understorey Magazine, Living Education Journal, Wild Roof Journal, Dreamers Creative Writing, and Prepare for Canada. She will soon be published in Women in Higher Education and Shrapnel Magazine.  

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding online and in-person 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, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Congratulations to Victoria, Emily, Dana, and Elaine!

If you’ve had a story (or a book!) published, if you’ve won or placed in a writing contest, if you’ve gotten yourself an agent, or if you have any other news, send me an email so I can share your success. And be sure to let know if you're looking for a writers' group or beta readers; a notice in Quick Brown Fox, will help you find them. 

Email me at  brianhenry@sympatico.ca

 


Hi, Brian.

I hope this email finds you well. I’d like to share some good news: I have my first contract with Orca Book Publishers for a manuscript that will debut in Fall 2022. It’s called Super Power? The Wearable Tech Revolution.

I’ve participated in many of your courses, and I was part of your Burlington writer’s workshop, where you and group members helped me develop earlier versions of this manuscript. Thanks for your support!

Best regards,

Elaine Kachala

https://www.elainekachala.com/

For information on submitting to Orca Books, see here.

For information about upcoming writing classes in Burlington and online, see here.

 

Hi, Brian.

I have some good news to share. After taking several of your workshops over the years, I now have a book out in the world! The Beekeepers: How Humans Changed the World of Bumble Bees, is a nonfiction book for middle grade children published by Scholastic Focus. It is now available through Indigo, Amazon, and independent bookstores. I'm so excited!

Thank you for all your updates and newsletters. I always enjoy hearing from Quick Brown Fox.

Best wishes,

Dana L. Church

danachurchwriter.com

@DanaLChurch

The Beekeepers is available from Chapters here or buy it from your local book store – see here.

 

Hi, Brian.

My story "The Rock Wall" has just been published in Dreamers Creative Writing! I'm a little annoyed that it's listed under Nonfiction, but I think it's because I said this piece was autobiographical when I submitted it. Oh well.

Check it out here.

Emily Z. 

For information on submitting to Dreamers magazine and on other great places to send your short pieces, see here.

 

Hi, Brian.

I hope this email finds you well.

A fond hello to the regular Friday morning class.

Just writing to pass along some good news--my story "Of Fish and Fowl" was published in Entropy magazine.

Thanks for your all your great suggestions and encouragement!

Cheers,

Victoria Hamilton

Read Victoria’s story hereFor information on submitting to Entropy, see here. And for information about upcoming writing classes, see here.

 

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding online and in-person 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, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

What are the best presents ~ especially for yourself? Books! And this year, be sure to buy from book stores

Ben McNally Books, Toronto
April 24 is Independent Book Store Day. Here's a few of the book stores in Ontario, and if you're under lockdown, they do deliver or provide curbside pickup:



A Different Drummer Books, Burlington

BOLTON: Forsters Book Garden

BRACEBRIDGE: The Owl Books

BRIGHTON: Lighthouse Books




ELORA: Magic Pebble


GODERICH: Fincher's

Want some ideas on what books to buy? Check out this post, and for more books and 70+ other gifts for writers, check out this post.  

GUELPH: BookShelf

HALIBURTON: Master's Bookstore


Indigo/Chapters has branches all over the place. 

KINCARDINE: Fincher's

KINGSTON: Novel Idea

Bookshelf, Guelph


MISSISSAUGA: The Book Wardrobe (curbside pickup only)

NEW LISKEARD: Chat Noir


ORANGEVILLE: BookLore

ORILLIA: Manticore Books


PARRY SOUND:Parry Sound Books

PETEROROUGH: Hunter Street Books



Novel Idea, Kingston

ST. CATHARINES: Someday Books



UXBRIDGE: Blue Heron Books


WINDSOR: Biblioasis

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding online and in-person 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, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Three Poems by Maryann Breukelman

 


Companions

I let the snowdrops
guide me
through the night,
so capably
dissolving darkness


  

Celebration

daffodils smile
in sun and rain
and shout
so loudly,

so gleefully,
so boldly

they capture
all my attention

they
know
how necessary
they are

 


Momentum After The Rain Storm

a snail glides
quickly
over a blade of grass
all things arrive
in good time—

in goodness
in timeliness

 

***

Maryann Breukelman lives and writes in the Niagara Region in Ontario, Canada. She is a poet and novelist. You can read more of her poetry and follow her at visible poet on Instagram here and read about her novel, The Secret Bookstore here. She is currently at work on a new novel, a work of literary fiction with elements of magic realism.

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding online and in-person 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, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

"The Piano Player" and "A Gathering," two poems by Sandy Martin

The Piano Player

Walking in from the barn, I see him,
his fingers moving over the keys. He touches
sound, places it in my hands. I carry
it from room to room, filling cracks.
Later, I bake apples from the tree
he overpruned last year. They are large
and sweet. He goes outside
to adjust sawblades and carry heavy things.
A note follows him. I swallow it whole.

 

A Gathering

Another noon and still she gathers yarrow. Already
the shed is filled, stems and leaves hanging from timbers
weighted down with her need. I watch from the window.
She peels the bark of the strawberry tree, thin sheets
prayers in her arms. She will bury her grief
in the belly of those red trees, their coppice shoots birthing
over, and over again. She bribes the ravens with burnished nuts,
wishing them white and gone back to Avalon.

I know she will place yarrow leaves over his eyes,
will smudge the dried sprigs around his room, breathe
the last of his own breath. I watch her gathering
what is left of winter, what is left of what she knows.

 ***

Sandy Martin lives in BC on a small island in the Salish Sea between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. She shares her life with her husband, an everchanging number of dogs and two donkeys. She has worked in creative nonfiction, short stories and, her first love, poetry. Sandy is currently working on her first novel.

 See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding online and in-person 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, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Four agents at The Friedrich Agency all looking for new authors



The Friedrich Agency

19 West 21st Street
#201
New York, NY 10010

http://www.friedrichagency.com/

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. If you’re not yet on my newsletter list, send me an email, including your locale to:  brianhenry@sympatico.ca ~Brian

Molly Friedrich founded The Friedrich Agency in 2006, following nearly three decades at The Aaron Priest Literary Agency. She was joined by her daughter, Lucy Carson, in 2008. The agency has now grown to four agents, all of whom are looking for new authors.

Here’s what The Friedrich Agency says about itself: “The agency has retained its intimacy and dedication to attentive, hands-on representation. Our vision and strategy are built for the long term, nurturing and brokering not only print publishing rights, but every dimension of a writing career: translation rights, film & television, audio, serial, and merchandising. The Friedrich Agency is a proud home for a select and beloved list of novelists and authors of non-fiction, both critically and commercially celebrated.

*

Hannah Brattesani was recently promoted to full agent. She’s the newest member of the team. After handling international rights for Emma Sweeney agency and Folio Literary Management, she joined the Friedrich Agency at the end of 2019. She represents literary  fiction and highly readable nonfiction.

“I’m always intrigued by literary fiction that has a playful disregard for the rules of a novel, like SPEEDBOAT by Renata Adler,” she says, “and I admire authors with a dark bent (Iain Reid) and an offbeat sense of humor (Jen Beagin).

"I’m drawn to narrative nonfiction that invites me into a community, culture, or lifestyle that I would never otherwise experience or reframes familiar subjects in humorous or surprising ways. I enjoy popular science but digest it in much the same way as I ate vegetables as a child: mixed into something I find more palatable – I need a strong story and voice to carry me through but appreciate every nutritious morsel I get along the way.”

Hannah tweets here; her handle is @hbrattessan

Query Hannah at: hbrattesani@friedrichagency.com

Include the word QUERY and title of your project in the subject line. No attachments. Full submission guidelines here.

*

Heather Carr was at Trident Media Group for two and half years before joining The Friedrich Agency in March 2018. She’s seeking literary and commercial fiction and nonfiction.

“I’m drawn to voice-driven nonfiction that teaches me something new while never losing personal warmth and/or zaniness,” says Heather. “There’s a specific kind of alchemy that happens for me when a nonfiction writer marries their command of a subject with personal vulnerability. I’m also interested in long-form journalism of any type, but especially as it relates to gender and sexuality.

“In fiction, I love literary novels about dysfunctional families and friendships, high-concept commercial fiction, and anything with a singular voice.”

Query Heather at:  hcarr@friedrichagency.com

Include the word QUERY and title of your project in the subject line. No attachments. Full submission guidelines here.

Lucy Carson is a self-professed pop culture junkie who majored in Film. She handles the agency’s Film & TV rights as well as her list of literary clients. She seeks high-concept fiction and nonfiction.

“I’m always hungry for high-concept fiction told in a sophisticated style,” says Lucy, “and it all comes down to tension and emotional involvement.

“On the nonfiction side, I’m drawn to hybrids that might not fall into a strict category but do combine strong voice with important research (such as the work of our own Lesley Blume and Florence Williams).

“If you’re on Twitter, you’ll often see me tweet about whatever I’m reading for pleasure. I do this not only to spread the word about great books, but also to send a kind of wish into the universe for my own submission desires.”

Query Lucy at: lcarson@friedrichagency.com

Include the word QUERY and title of your project in the subject line. No attachments. Full submission guidelines here.

Molly Friedrich as a long list of accomplished authors, but like great agents everywhere, she can’t resist the call of really promising new author.

“My greatest four -a.m. fear as an agent is that I might have turned away Ulysses,” says Molly, “but I’d never have missed A Passage to India. Forty years ago, I’d have leapt to sell anything that wasn’t nailed down; over the years I’ve become more selective. Once starving, I’m now rarely hungry. That said, I’m still looking for the debut novel that is irresistible, for the nonfiction proposal which alters the way I see the world. I’m a fairly catholic, straight-ahead reader; I don’t flourish without well-rounded, declarative sentences!

Query Molly at: mfriedrich@friedrichagency.com

Include the word QUERY and title of your project in the subject line. No attachments. Full submission guidelines here.

*

Literary agent Meg Wheeler

If you’re interested in meeting an agent and in getting published, don’t miss our online How to get Published workshop Saturday, May 8, with literary agent Meg Wheeler of Westwood Creative Artists (see here).

If you’re especially interested in writing for children, don’t miss Writing Kid Lit and Young Adult Fiction course, offered online Wednesday evenings, April 21 – June 16 (see here). 

We’re also offering Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshops online, on Saturday, April 24 with Orca Books editor Liz Kemp (see here) and on Sunday, July 11, with literary agent Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary (details to come, but you can reserve your spot now by emailing brianhenry@sympatico.ca).

Beyond that, Brian Henry’s schedule continues to take shape...

Online: Beginning Right – How to open your novel, Saturday, May 15. Details here.

Online: Finding Your Voice, Sunday, May 30. Details here.

Writing retreat:

Algonquin Park: Writing Retreat at Arowhon Pines Resort, an island of luxury in the middle of a wilderness. Friday, June 11 – Monday, June 14.  Details here.

Summer classes ~ in person:

In-person: Exploring Creative Writing, Wednesday afternoons, July 7 – Aug 25, in Burlington. Details here.

In-person: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday afternoons, July 7 – Aug 25, in Burlington. Details here.  

Information about online summer courses to come.

For more details or to register for any workshop, retreat or weekly class, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See Brian’s complete current schedule here,  including online and in-person 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, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, 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 interviews with literary agents or a literary agent who represents a particular type of book, check out this post.