Monday, October 31, 2022

How to Get Published workshop with literary agent Olga Filina, Saturday, Nov 19, in Mississauga

Heartbreak Homes by Jo Treggiari
represented by 5 Otter

How to Get Published

An editor & a literary agent tell all

Saturday, November 19
10 am. – 3:45 /4:30 p.m.
St Stephen’s on the Hill United Church, 998 Indian Rd, Mississauga, Ontario (Map here)

If you've ever dreamed of becoming a published author, this workshop is for you. We’ll focus on the process of submitting to an agent or publisher, and show you exactly how to write a query letter that will get a “yes!” Bring all your questions! Come and get ready to be published!

As this is an in-person workshop, numbers will be strictly limited  so lots of personal attention.

Special Option: Participants are invited to bring a draft of a query letter you might use to interest an agent or publisher in your book. You don’t need to bring anything, but if you do, three copies could be helpful. Olga and I will publicly critique several of these queries (perhaps half a dozen) so that everyone can see what works and what doesn’t.

And be sure to bring your elevator pitch! Following the end of the formal workshop at about 3:45, Brian Henry will be staying to help interested attendees, rewrite their query letters, while literary agent Olga Filina will be listening to your pitches. Agents come to these events wanting to hear what you’ve got and hoping to find authors they want to represent.

Guest speaker Olga Filina is a Literary Agent and Partner with 5 Otter Literary.

Olga brings over twenty years of book industry experience to her work as an agent. From bookseller and buyer at national and independent bookstore chains, to director of literary festivals, library board member, publishing consultant, independent editor, book reviewer, and founding member of the Professional Association of Canadian Literary Agents, Olga has the specialized knowledge to find the best direction for her clients’ work.

Olga is currently looking for literary and book club fiction, historical fiction, crime, mystery, and suspense novels. She also wants prescriptive nonfiction projects, and memoir with exceptional writing, focusing on underrepresented voices.

In Kid Lit, she is looking for middle grade fiction with memorable characters, contemporary YA, and nonfiction across all categories.

Note: 5 Otter Literary took on a participant from a previous workshop and recently landed him a two-book deal with Tundra (Penguin-Random House's imprint for kid lit). See here.

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

See reviews of Brian's classes and workshops here.

Fee: $43.36 + 13% hst = $49 paid in advance by mail or Interac

Or$46.02 + 13% hst = $52 if you wait to pay at the workshop {put please do reserve your spot in advance regardless}

To reserve a spot now, email:

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


Sunday, October 30, 2022

Pan Macmillan Australia seeks new authors: both fiction and nonfiction, kid lit and adult lit

The Wilderwomen
by Ruth Emmie Lang
published by Pan Macmillam

Pan Macmillan Australia accepts unagented submissions directly from authors. They publish both fiction and nonfiction for adults and also junior fiction (aka chapter books) middle grade and young adult fiction. 

Your submission will be read within three months and you will be contacted if successful. If you do not hear from them, they’re not interested.

They do not publish poetry, plays or textbooks but are happy to receive any genre of manuscript. They are particularly interested in the following:

Fiction: Contemporary drama, sagas, psychological suspense, crime and thrillers, historical, and literary.

The editors suggest authors review the kind of books Pan MacMillan publishes to see if you might be a good fit – and also to find books to compare your own manuscript to.

See recent fiction releases here.

Nonfiction: Narrative non-fiction, contemporary issues, memoir, history, true crime, lifestyle and health, mind body spirit. See recent releases here.

Children’s books and young adult fiction: Junior and middle grade fiction, young adult and young adult/crossover fiction. See recent releases of children’s fiction here, and of young adult fiction here.

See full guidelines here.

Literary agent Olga Filina

While Pan Macmillan accepts submissions from unagented authors, most big publishers do not. If you’re interested in meeting an agent and in getting published, don’t miss our in-person How to Get Published workshop, Saturday, November 19, in Mississauga, with literary agent Olga Filina of 5 Otter Literary. As this is an in-person workshop, attendance will be strictly limited – so lots of personal attention. Details here.

Beyond that, Brian’s schedule continues to take shape:

Weekly classes:

Online: Exploring Creative Writing, Monday afternoons,  1 – 3 p.m,, Jan 23 – March 20. Details here.

Online: Writing Little Kid Lit, Tuesday afternoons,  1 – 3 p.m., Jan 24 – March 21. Details here.

In-person: Exploring Creative Writing, Thursday evenings, 7 – 9 p.m, Jan 26 – March 30. {no class, March 23}. Details here.

Online: Writing Personal Stories, Wednesday evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m, Jan 25 – March 15 {Or to March 22 if the course fills up}. Details here.

Writing Retreats: 

Join us for fine dining at Sherwood Inn

March in Muskoka Writing Retreat at Sherwood Inn, Friday, March 24 – Monday, March 27, 2023. Details here.


Navigation tips: Always check out the Labels underneath a post; they’ll lead you to various distinct collections of postings. For book publishers in general, see here {and scroll down}. For more children’s and young adult publishers, see here {and scroll down}.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

New book: Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight by G.M. Baker

Hi, Brian.

I have published Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight. You may remember from class that I struggled mightily with the opening for this one. You probably got to read half a dozen versions of it along the way! Anyway, I think I finally came up with an opening that works. I hope you will agree.

Here's the blurb:

“The Devil always begins by giving thee work that is just,” Horrocks said. “Then he tells thee, thou dost just work, therefore thou art just. And then he tells thee, thou art just, and therefore any work thou dost is just.”

When Isabel kills the Elf Knight and takes his horse, sword, and horn, she believes that she has done just work. She has broken his enchantment and has rid the twelve kingdoms of a great evil. Horrocks' advice to lay down the Elf Knight's tools falls on deaf ears.

But something old is waking in Isabel, something that longs for the gallop and the chase, for bright sun and the rush of wind against the cheek, for glimmering steel and bright blood and the dying of light in the eyes of the slain.

Without the Elf Knight's sword at her side, Isabel feels lost and terrified, but after almost murdering the man she is supposed to marry, she realizes that either she must put the Elf Knight's tools aside or exile herself forever. But already it may be too late, for Isabel is losing herself and within her the Elf Maiden grows in strength and fury.



Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight is available from Amazon here.

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

“Tears and a Penny” by Jo Anne Wilson

Where do tears come from? I don’t mean biologically. I mean something more metaphysical. Their triggers are countless and varied –sadness, love, great beauty, laughter. They are mysterious.

Some tears come slowly and quietly, gathering somewhere just out of sight and, then, that hidden space cannot hold them anymore; they slip out. For a moment, they glisten on your eyelashes and, in a blink, they’re gone. A frisson of emotion.

Other tears come complete with loud claps of pain like thunder in a summer storm. The drops are torrential running down your face and dropping off your chin. These tears are the nasty ones – reddening your eyes, choking you, squeezing your lungs until each breath is a desperate gulp down an aching throat.

And then there are the tears that spring from your eyes in joy, incapable of being contained. They follow great gales of merriment and arrive just as the laughter becomes silent but rocks your body with waves of glee. You cross your legs and hold your stomach and are completely overcome by the moment.

Some tears are shared. Some are lonely. Some you regret. Others make you surrender. 

I can remember times when I thought that I would never stop crying and I'd die a desiccated wreck. Yet, no matter how painful the tears, they are followed by calm, a tired calm when every gram of emotion has been drained from your body, or a peaceful, refreshed calm like that quiet breezy air that often follows a spring shower.

They are powerful, precious droplets, our tears.

But who would have thought that the loss of a penny could make me sob for hours. A tiny, copper penny of no monetary value at all. But oh, the cost of losing it.

It was a 1968 Canadian penny and it was imbedded in the mortar on one corner of the stone fireplace Dad had built in our cottage on Skeleton Lake. We loved the cottage, but we all knew it would be even better with a fireplace.

We three kids and Mom had been in town for some reason – laundry or groceries. While we were gone, Dad had a load of Muskoka stone delivered and had cut a hole in the living room floor. He had made a commitment. No matter the chastising words from my mother, it was happening. We were getting a fireplace. A beautiful, handcrafted fireplace made from stones chiseled by my father and fitted together like an intricate jigsaw puzzle. We were also getting lessons in how delicate rock could be when you try to sculpt it and lessons in swearing when Dad inadvertently ruined a stone.

The Fireplace Jo Anne's dad built

But more than that we got a source of warmth and comfort for 44 years. And so many memories: being wakened by the smell of crackling birch logs, the indescribably divine feeling of sitting in front of the fire naked under a towel after a swim in the evening lake, seeing our dog curl up as close as she could get without singeing her tail.

Then it was gone, that fireplace. We sold the cottage and the new owners tore out all the work Dad had so lovingly done. Gone too was Dad, and my brother and my brother‐in‐law and the dog and, recently, Mom.

Gone too was that penny. How I wish I had taken it before we left. Taken my father’s chisel and delivered the first blow of destruction, freed the penny to be put in a place of honour rather than in a dumpster of debris.

At the memory, the tears come again.

Jo Anne Wilson is a retired marketing executive and college professor who now devotes her time to family, friends, volunteering, travel and writing. Recently she decided to take the writing bug she’s had since her childhood and see what might happen when she devotes time and energy to it.

One of her fondest writing memories is of finishing a grade eight exam early and using the remaining time to write a story. The school principal “caught” her, was impressed with the story and read it to the entire school.

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

Sunday, October 23, 2022

“The Prom and I” by Rochelle Doan Craig


In 1955 my two roommates and I managed a miracle. All three of us, me, Mary, Sue made the Junior Women's Basketball team in our first year at Western, and one winter day were on a team bus heading for a basketball game against Waterloo Lutheran, a small college in Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario. K/W was a twin city but not twinned neatly like Fort Francis & Port Arthur – now joined and renamed Thunder Bay. It was more like two octopi mating in a mutually entangling Chinese Puzzle game like we used to play as kids, but with no easy demarcation lines and arms (or roads) twisting all over.

We had started our intimidating victory songs and chants far too soon and were worn out before piercing even a corner of Kitchener. Not having allowed extra time for straining the solid parts of Waterloo from the gel of Kitchener, it was a challenge trying to find the college. 

Finally! We had been expecting a smaller but quainter version of the Western Campus – maybe because Waterloo was not yet a degree-granting institution and had to have its diplomas issued from Western.

Smaller – yes. Quainter – very much so. The whole campus was composed of houses. Not “Houses” as in faculties such as the house/school of Music, but as in: a red-brick bungalow that was the girls' dormitory with a couple of co-ed classrooms included; a yellow-brick house with a cafeteria and a gymnasium added on, etc. 

We later learned that some classes were even held in the college President's and the Dean's own homes and that the Theology Department and its classrooms were in a real Lutheran Church. Their whole enrolment was below 300 students, so every student knew each other well – one of its best features.

We were winning 10–2 in the third quarter when I heard the coach unexpectedly bellow, “Shelley! Get out there, NOW!”

Quickly closing up my Solitaire game cards, I leapt onto the court. I did no good nor any harm either.

Flushed with success, due to our team's 12–2 win, I was trooping off the court heading for the shower in the Dean's bathroom, when I heard my name called. My sneakers squealed to a rubber-peeling stop.           

Then a mellifluous voice intoned, “Well, after all these years, who'd have thought I'd run into you here!”

I was still light-headed from that first and only win of the season, but my corneas had defogged just enough to make out the dazzling smile of that golden-haired, blue-eyed, Aryan, Teutonic, God of Handsomeness – and my high school friend, Donna's, onetime date – JJ!

After renewing acquaintances, we seemed to run out of things to chat about. Still, too soon, I was dismayed to hear Sue calling to me from the doorway, “Shelley! Hurry up or you'll miss the bus.”

I was thunderstruck when JJ suddenly blurted out, “Do you have a date for our old High School's Spring Prom yet?”

Not daring to miss my ride home, yet not having time to admit to him the many self-conscious excuses as to why I didn't have a date already, I just replied, “No, why?”

“I haven't asked anyone yet,” JJ admitted, “So, do you want to go with me or not?”

Shyly, hardly believing that the offer could possibly be real and not just an early April Fool's Day joke, I said, “Okay,” and dashed off to change.   

I was swirly-brained that the fabulous, dreamy JJ had just invited me to our Prom. Boy, just wait till Donna hears about this! I thought to myself. 

Even though Donna's date with JJ had ended before cresting the Hill of his favourite song, “I Found My Thrill on Blueberrry Hill,” I could dream that my date with him would at least surmount the foothills.

Soon, the evening of our big Prom arrived. I had used what was left of my savings from working in the tobacco fields to buy a gorgeous, strapless evening dress I’d been admiring for so long in a local shop window.

At the Prom itself, on the arm of reasonably well-dressed, handsome, JJ, I made my grand entrance, rolling in like a parade float. My dress might have been a surprise cake that I had just popped up out of.  It resembled a multi-layered wedding cake made of frothy white net tulle. The wavy edges of each layer of tulle were trimmed with gold-encrusted, penitentiary-strength, barbed-wire.

Couples we encountered suffered snagged suit jackets and shredded nylons.   

The dress was so well-structured with whalebone stays, that when my torso turned, the gown didn't. Since I couldn't make any sharp turns, no matter what the tune's rhythm was, we were limited to dancing circular, waltz box steps. If we were about to bump into another couple, we had to keep plowing onward like the Titanic, unable to quickly change course. By the end of my fairy tale evening, my chest and underarms were blistered from chafing against those rigid whalebone stays. But stay up they did!

Even before the end of the prom, the First Aid room was swamped with cuts and abrasion casualties. But JJ and I waltzed on in ignorance and oblivion. What a thrill.


Rochelle Doan Craig is an unrecognized (and rightly so) artist, failed writer with a garage full of her own books, much maligned, burned-out teacher, wife and caregiver,  travel-wisher, pet-liker and tough love (before the term was invented) mother of six (three of each kind), and grandmother of sixteen. 

Rochelle is also the author of The Twelve Years of Christmas, a memoir available from Amazon here.

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


Friday, October 21, 2022

Contests and Markets for short fiction, memoir, and poetry

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


The Malahat Review has four annual contests and it accepts regular submissions year-round. They want poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction, mostly by Canadian writers, and reviews of Canadian books of the best writing from abroad.

Submissions always open. Guidelines here.

The contests:

Open Season Awards has three categories: poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The winner in each category receives a $2,000 prize and publication in the spring 2023 issue. Entry fee $35 (for Canadian entries).

Deadline: November 1, 2022. Guidelines here.

Long Poem Prize / Novella Prize – these contests are offered every other year, with Long Poem entries accepted in odd-numbered years; Novella entries accepted in even years.

Deadline early February, 2023. Guidelines for Long Poem Prize will be posted in November here. Guidelines for 2024 Novella Prize will be posted in about a year here.

Far Horizons Award for Poetry / Short Fiction: As a complement to the Novella and Long Poem prizes, the Far Horizons Awards are short-form contests, with the Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction given during odd years and the Far Horizons Award for Poetry in even. Only open to writers who have yet to publish in book form for the genre in question. Winning entries appear in the Autumn issue.

Next deadline for Short Fiction Award early May, 2023; guidelines will be posted in mid-February here. Next deadline for Far Horizons Poetry Award early May 2023; guidelines will be posted in mid-February here.

Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize: To nurture The Malahat Review’s newest genre, the Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize was established in 2007. The winning entry appears in the Winter issue.

Next deadline: Early August 5, 2023. Guidelines will be posted in mid-May 2023 here.

Tadpole Press 100-Word Writing Contest

A prize of $1,000 will be given twice annually for a 100-word work of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir, or a mix of everything. 100 words maximum. $10 US entry.

Deadline: November 30, 2022. Guidelines here.


LitMag is calling for entries for two contests: 

The Anton Chekhov Award for flash fiction. Prize: $1,250 US and publication. The winner will also have their work reviewed by agents from the Bent Agency, Brandt & Hochman, Folio Literary Management, InkWell Management, Sobel Weber Associates, and Triangle House Literary. Entries must be 500 to 1,500 words. $16 entry fee. All entries are considered for publication.

Deadline November 30, 2023. Full guidelines here.

The Virginia Woolf Award for short fiction. First Prize: $2,500 US plus publication plus agency review by Nat Sobel of Sobel Weber Associates, Lisa Bankoff of Bankoff Collaborative, Erin Harris and Sonali Chanchani of Folio Literary Management, Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency, David Forrer of Inkwell Management, Monika Woods of Triangle House, and Emily Forland of Brandt & Hochman. Entry fee $20

Deadline: December 31, 2022. Full guidelines here.

LitMag is also open for submissions of short fiction (up to 15,000 words for print; under 4,000 words for online), poetry (up to 5 poems at a time), and nonfiction (up to 15,000 words for print; under 4,000 words for online) for both their print magazine and for publication online. They charge $4 for submissions.

Their reading periods run Sept 1 – Nov 30 and Feb 1 – May 31. Full guidelines here.


Fish Publishing is calling for submissions to its annual Short Story Contest. Prize €3,000 (approximately $4,040 Canadian). The top ten stories will be published in the annual Fish Publishing anthology. Maximum 5,000 words. The winner will also be invited to attend a five-day short story workshop and read at the West Cork Literary Festival in July 2023. 

Entry fee by mail €22 (approximately $29 Canadian) or €20 (approximately $27 Canadian) using the online submission system. Second and third prize: €300 (about $400 Canadian).

Deadline: November 30, 2022. Full guidelines here.

Fish Publishing also has a Short Memoir Prize – deadline January 31, 2023, guidelines here;  a Flash Fiction Prize – deadline February 28, 2023, guidelines here, and a Poetry Prize – deadline March 31, 2023, guidelines here.


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