Friday, September 30, 2022

Online Writing Personal Stories course, Monday afternoons, Oct 24 – Dec 5

Writing Personal Stories 

 ~ Eight weeks of writing and sharing

Online: Monday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:30,
Oct 24 – Dec 5, 2022 {Or to Dec 12 if the course fills up.)
Offered on Zoom and accessible from anywhere there's internet 

Note: See all writing classes offered this fall 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.

Our guest speaker will be Jennifer M. Smith, author of  Green Ghost, Blue Ocean. This story of Jennifer’s 40,000-mile nautical adventure won the 2019 Pottersfield Prize for nonfiction and was published by Pottersfield Press in 2020.  Jennifer has also been published numerous times on Quick Brown Fox, and since the publication of her book she’s become a contributing writer for Canadian Yachting magazine

For more on Green Ghost, Blue Ocean visit the distributor, Nimbus Publishing, hereand visit Jennifer’s website   here.

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’s has helped many of his students get published.  

Read reviews of Brian's various courses and workshops here (and scroll down).

Fee: $176.11 plus 13% hst = $199

To reserve your spot, email:

 See all of Brian’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

“The Totem Twelve & The Quick Brown Fox,” Kimberley M. Grimes


DISCLAIMER:  The names of the Totem Twelve are true. The awards and accolades are fiction – for now. But give us time and you never know how far we’ll go, now that the magic has begun.

The loud ring of the alarm startled Kim Grimes, but she didn’t bother getting up until a couple of hours later, all ready for a PJ Day.  Nothing on the agenda, no appointments, just her dogs, the couch, hot tea, warm blankets, and of course her books.  She moseyed downstairs, the dogs following closely – too closely in Buddy’s case. He passed her and almost sent her flying. Bailey at least was well-mannered and remained at an acceptable pace behind. 

Kettle on, dogs out, time to stretch.… Ahh, this was the life.

What to have for breakfast? 

Hmm. It’s the weekend and I’m an adult.

Let her eat cake! The decadent, deep dark and delicious chocolate cake she’d had delivered from The Briars. Yummy! 

Dogs in, dogs fed, time to read a book.  

What shall it be today, the latest by defense lawyer, Steve Skurka, a New York Times #1 Best Seller? Or the environmental thriller by Tim Dixon recently awarded the PEN/Bellwether prize for socially engaged fiction?  

So many compelling authors to choose from.  It must be unprecedented that 12 writers from one group had all found such success – all thanks to the guidance and tutelage of their teacher and mentor, Brian Henry, and the organizational skills of Sharon Deutsh keeping the group together.  

It had begun five years ago at the writing retreat hosted by the Quick Brown Fox (aka Brian Henry) at the historic Briar’s Resort in Jackson’s Point.  Since then, they’d called themselves the Totem Twelve and the comradery, support and connection that had begun that magical first weekend continued as they’d met every six weeks through the years.

Norm Rosolen had five books in his numbered series and showed no signs of slowing down – indeed, he was working on his screenplay adaptation for #1. 

Kimberly Schols had won the coveted Griffin Poetry Prize for her moving book of poetry and stunning artwork.  

The yearly reunions at The Briar’s were organized by Gaye Gould whose memoir had surpassed Mary Karr’s sales in her first year!

Dana Webster had snagged 1st prize in the CBC’s nonfiction contest for a story called “My Mother’s Letters” and was now working on an anthology of fairy tales with an exciting spin. 

Stairs to Room 217 where
The Briar's ghost lives

The Edgar award for best mystery novel of 2026 had gone to Tanya Tazbaz and everyone was now anxiously awaiting her second book.

Denise Rasmussen’s unconventional memoir style had been added to writing curricula everywhere, and she was traveling the world, doing her one-woman comedy show based on her first book.  

Stephanie Grella was a full-time wordsmith, teaching at retreats as Brian’s assistant and working on her award-winning novels in her spare time. 

Sharon not only kept the Zoom meetings on point, but she’d had great success with her comedic novel about the trials and tribulations of nursing. Sharon was also in talks with Kimberly’s publisher to submit her book of poetry and art. 

Tina Hardwell’s original idea – talk with tina© – had morphed into a popular syndicated daytime talk show; she was a captivating, well loved and popular host.

As for Kim, she’d been promoting her book Secrets of Boria. It had been a whirlwind of excitement but also exhausting – she deserved this PJ Saturday.  Heck, she’d only gotten home from her book tour … Hmm when did she get home? It was all a blur. 

Ready for her third cup of coffee and considering a second slice of cake, Kim happened to check her phone. Hmm, five messages from Tina! 

Hey, Kim. I’m waiting.

Kim – Tim’s already here for his Climate Change talk

We were supposed to have coffee before the show – REMEMBER?

Kimberley Grimes, Where R U?

Kim, WTF?

But … but that wasn’t until Tuesday. Today was Saturday. 

Kim checked the date stamp. No, today was Tuesday, and she was due for an interview on talk with tina.  TODAY!  An hour ago.  

Jet lag – that would be her excuse. Much less embarrassing than confessing she woke up and thought it was Saturday. If she sped into town, she’d still be able to make the show – Tina usually taped several episodes back-to-back. And if Kim got caught speeding, hopefully Steve could take time off from writing bestsellers and defending high-profile criminal cases to help get her ticket dismissed.


Note: This piece was written at the September 2022 Briars Writing Retreat from the” fortune cookie” prompt: You wake up thinking it's Saturday; it's actually Tuesday.

For details of upcoming writers’ retreats, see here (and scroll down).

Kimberley M. Grimes’ lifelong love for words, stories and books, began with memorizing nursery rhymes and fairy tales.  In grade school, she eagerly awaited the weekly Kitchener Book Mobile and Scholastic Book Fairs.   She is thankful that her family encourages her book and journal collecting.  Kim lives in Kitchener, Ontario with her supportive husband, Bruce and dogs Buddy and Bailey and has a lovely library of her own.

Kim would like to thank the Totem Twelve and Brian Henry for a magical retreat that helped motivate and inspire her to follow her lifelong dream to write and share her own stories.

See all of Brian Henry’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Short prose and poetry wanted for contests and anthologies

Note: You can hang out and chat with quick brown foxes and vixens on my Facebook page (here). Just send a friend request to Brian Henry.

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


BelangerBooks seeks short fiction for two anthologies: The Detective and the Clergyman, The adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown and Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of H.P. Lovecraft.

The Detective and the Clergyman: “In 1910, the first story of Father Brown, the East Anglican Roman Catholic priest and detective was published. Sometimes called the counter to Sherlock Holmes and the world’s second greatest detective, the plain mild-mannered Brown used intuition with his logic to solve cases. This anthology will feature stories where the two great detectives, the cold and calculating Holmes and the kind and meek Brown, team up to solve mysteries.” 

Stories for The Detective and the Clergyman should run 5,000–10,000 words (okay to go over the word limit) and should feature the traditional Holmes of the canon and G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown. No stories based on TV/ film versions of the detectives.

Pays $50 or $100.

Deadline: October 15, 2022. Full guidelines here.

Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of H.P. Lovecraft: “Imagine Holmes investigating the disappearance of a college student in the mysterious town of Innsmouth, matching wits with a man who can reanimate the dead, or using his deductive skills to help fight creatures from beyond the realm of time and space. 

These are just some of the stories which could be included in the new anthology Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of H.P. Lovecraft. The anthology will feature traditional Sherlock Holmes stories blended with one or more of Lovecraft’s tales.

Stories should run 5,000–10,000 words (okay to go over the word limit) and should have the traditional Holmes and Watson working with the traditional characters, creatures, and/or gods of H.P. Lovecraft. Remember, there was a logic to the writing of Lovecraft, a rationale behind the otherworldly beings even if humans couldn’t conceive it, that should blend well with the deductive skills of Sherlock Holmes.

Pays $50 or $100.

Deadline: November 15, 2022. Full guidelines here.


Chicken Soup for the Soul has an ongoing need for story poems and true stories under 1,200 words. Chicken Soup stories are written in the first person and often close with a punch, creating emotion, rather than simply talking about it. 

Chicken Soup for the Soul stories have heart, but also something extra — an element that makes us all feel more hopeful, more connected, more thankful, more passionate and better about life in general. A good story causes tears, laughter, goose bumps or any combination of these. 

Read their general guidelines here.

Pays $200.

As usual, Chicken Soup is calling for submissions for numerous anthologies. Here are a few:

Funny Stories:Share your funny stories about something that happened to you in your life – in your relationship with a partner or spouse, a parent or child, a family member or friend, at work or at home – that made you and the people around you laugh out loud. Did you mean for it to be funny? Did the other person mean to make you laugh? Did a situation just get out of control? Did a misunderstanding turn into a comedy of errors?

“We can’t wait to hear your true stories. We want them to be silly, outrageous and hilarious, and they absolutely must brighten our day and make us laugh! Good clean fun—and sometimes a tiny bit risqué too.

Deadline: October 15, 2022. Full guidelines here.

How stepping outside my comfort zone changed me:We all have a tendency to get in a rut. We start to say no to new things, and that can only lead to a narrower and narrower life. When we try new things, we end up feeling energized and pleased with ourselves. There is tremendous power in saying “yes” to new things, new places, and new experiences. It makes you feel more dynamic, younger, and more of a participant in the world. You’re not distancing yourself from change any more. Get ready to step outside your comfort zone! Tell us your own stories about stepping outside your comfort zone and how that changed your life.”

Deadline: December 15, 2022. Full guidelines here. 

The power of positive thinking:We know that using the power of positive thinking helps you to achieve your goals and lead a happy, purposeful, and productive life. Almost anything is possible if you think you can. You can dream big, overcome challenges, create the best life possible for yourself, and turn adversity into opportunity. How did you “think positive” and how did it change your life? Tell us your success story about using the power of positive thinking!”

Deadline December 15, 2022. Full guidelines here. 

Angels: “Angels and miracles are all around us if we keep our eyes open. We are looking for true personal stories, and poems that tell a story, 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. We’re looking for amazing stories that will make people say “wow” or give our 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? Were you the only person who saw your angel? How did your angel protect or guide you?

Deadline: December 31, 2022. Full guidelines here.

Miracles:All of us have experienced events in our lives that are completely unexplainable: the strange premonition that made you take a different route home causing you to miss an accident; the eerie feeling that you should call home… now, saving someone’s life; the mysterious communication from a loved one who has passed on. Divine timing, miraculous coincidences, answered prayers, premonitions that come true. Good things do happen to good people. Please share your unbelievable and amazing stories about the unexplainable events that have occurred to you. Share the awe, the faith, and the wonder with our readers. Writers of all religions or no religion are always welcome for Chicken Soup stories.

Deadline: December 31, 2022.Full guidelines here.

The 2023 CBC Short Story Prize is now open for submissions. The winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point, a cultural hub on Toronto Island, and have their work published on CBC Books.

Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their work published on CBC Books. {And anyone who makes the short list is also welcome to have their piece published on Quick Brown Fox, after its made its debut on CBC}.

You can submit original, unpublished fiction that is up to 2,500 words. There is no minimum word requirement.

The entry fee is $25, which covers the costs of administering the prize.

Submissions are read by a panel of established writers and editors from across the country. The shortlist and winner will be decided by a jury comprised of three prominent Canadian writers.

Montreal writer Chanel M. Sutherland won the 2022 CBC Short Story Prize for her story Beneath the Softness of Snow

The CBC Literary Prizes have been recognizing Canadian writers since 1979. Past winners include Michael Ondaatje, Carol Shields, Michael Winter and Frances Itani.

The 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January and the 2023 CBC Poetry Prize will open in April. 

Have questions? Check out our frequently asked questions or email:

Deadline: October 31, 2022. Full guidelines here.


Engen Books is looking for submissions for a new anthology: Fairy Tales from the Rock, to be available in Winter 2023.

Over the last six years, the From the Rock series has become one of the preeminent anthology series’ in Atlantic Canada. Since 2018, each entry in the series has become a Canadian bestseller based on pre-orders alone!

They’re looking for fairy tales inspired by Newfoundland and Labradour culture and new takes on popular fairy tales from the world over. Authors must be Canadian. Maximum 7,00 words. Pays 1 cent / word.

Deadline October 31, 2022, 11:59 Newfoundland time.  Full guidelines here.

Engen Books is also looking for submissions of Bisexual Thrillers. Deadline: February 27, 2023. Full guidelines here (and scroll down).


Quick Brown Fox welcomes your book reviews and your short stories, poems, and essays about reading, writing, favourite books, and libraries. Read a few essays on the blog to get a taste of what other writers have done (see here and scroll down).

Quick Brown Fox also welcomes reviews of any kind and of anything, anywhere or 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).

Submit to:

Include a short bio at the end of your piece and attach a photo of yourself if you have one that’s okay.

 See Brian Henry’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Last call for in-person “Enjoying Creative Writing” course (though you still have a couple weeks for the online version)

Enjoying Creative Writing

  ~ Develop your creative side

In-person: Thursday evenings, 7 – 9 p.m
Sept 29 – Nov 24 2022 {Or to Dec 8 if the course  fills up. No class Oct 13}
St. Elizabeth’s Anglican Church, 5324 Bromley Road, Burlington, Ontario {Map here

 Online: Tuesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:30, Oct 11 – Dec 6, 2022 {Or to Dec 13 if the course fills up.} 

See details of all weekly writing courses offered this fall here.

This is your chance to take up writing in a warm, supportive environment. This course will open the door to trying different genres and learning different skills, 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:

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’s has helped many of his students get published.  

Read reviews of Brian's various courses and workshops here (and scroll down).

See all of Brian’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.