Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Susan Thomas has a new YA novel coming out

Hi, Brian.

I’ve gained so much from participating in your writing groups and workshops over the years and have leaned it’s truly impossible to write in a vacuum. The support of a critique group is essential, and working alongside peers in a guided environment provides the perfect opportunity to improve one’s skills. I thank you once again for your support.

Willow, written for young adults, is the story of a kidnapped teen who struggles to regain memories of her past life and find her way home. It is now available at

Many thanks,


See my upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here. ~Brian

Navigation tips: Always check out the Labels underneath a post; they’ll lead you to various distinct collections of postings. See more new books by your fellow authors here {and scroll down}, and see where people are getting short pieces published, winning contests, finding agents and so forth here {and scroll down}.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

“No Regrets” by Serena Camacho

Note: You can now get new postings from Quick Brown Fox delivered to your Inbox as I publish them. Subscribe to the new Quick Brown Fox page on Substack here: ~Brian

When I’m on my deathbed, I want to have no regrets. That’s my new goal in life. Strange how a person can be motivated by the thought of their very last moment here on earth. It may only be a moment – but it’s the ultimate moment.

I went to church for the first time recently to support a friend who has been going through a difficult time. During the sermon, the pastor talked about death being a portal to heaven. I am not a religious person and I have no way of knowing (at least not yet) if there really is such a thing as heaven. But if it does exist, being granted admission isn’t the point of living a good life – at least not in my books.

In my final moments, if I’m fortunate to have the chance to reflect back on my life, I don’t want to be kicking myself, thinking of all the things I should have or could have done. My deepest wish is to feel satisfied I did the best that I could, that I loved as well as I could, that I took the risks I needed to take in order to feed my soul. 

I didn’t just arrive at this goal by chance. On April 7, 2016, I had a life-changing experience that put everything into perspective. I was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer. I was told I could expect to live for two years – up to five at best.

The diagnosis knocked the wind right out of me. I remember walking around feeling like a zombie hoarding this terrible secret. I’d look around at strangers in the grocery store and think, They don’t have this burden. They’re so carefree, just going about their day with their whole lives ahead of them.

The news was fresh and raw and the statistics from my oncologist were rolling around in my head – only 15% of patients with a diagnosis like mine live beyond this two-to-five years I’d been given.

The most heartbreaking part was the thought of my kids having to live without a mother and the profound sadness they would bear. My youngest was only seven; the others, nine and twelve. My only solace was that it was me, not one of them, who was sick. It’s funny how that thought popped into my head and I glommed onto it – it was the only thing that comforted me.

I did all the usual treatments – chemo, surgery and radiation therapy. I had wonderful support and did everything I could for my mental, physical and spiritual health. Miraculously, I managed to defy all the odds recited to me on that day in 2016. In September, my scans all came back negative – I was in the clear. My body had fought and won. I had won. My doctors were in awe of my unexpected recovery and ability to heal myself, and marveled at how well I was doing, like I was some specimen out of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium.

I went back to work once I was well enough and life returned to normal. I continued to get regular CT scans to ensure that the disease hadn’t returned. And it hadn’t. It was almost as if nothing had ever happened.

Then, in October 2022, a CT scan showed “dense tissue” on one of my breasts. My oncologist insisted that I follow up with a mammogram, the results of which required further testing. In December, a biopsy revealed that it was breast cancer.

Here we go again.

My new oncologist told me this one wasn’t related to the previous cancer – I was just one of the lucky ones. And this time I really was lucky. We had caught it early, thanks to my first cancer and the schedule of CT scans I was following. And this time the prognosis was good. The disease was aggressive, but treatable.

Again, I did all the usual treatments, with a couple extra thrown in to combat my body’s natural hormones, which this type of cancer seemed to feed off.

Again, my body responded well to the treatments. I had what my oncologist called a “total pathological response.” I fought and won – again. I felt, and still feel, like the luckiest girl in the world. I’d been given another chance and I don’t plan to squander it. This has been my prevailing thought for the past year.

My second encounter with cancer cracked open a doorway to a part of myself that had previously become impenetrable. A feeling welled up in me, with every fragment of my soul trying to tell me it’s critical I wake up.

I can’t shake the feeling that if I don’t listen, the message could be delivered in the form of another illness.

I need to make changes. I’m ready to live a bigger life – to be true to myself, to live in alignment with my values and aspirations, to speak up when there is something that needs to be said, in short – to live with purpose.

I’ve begun to remember how I loved to dance and to write, both things I’d stopped doing. As I begin to let my yearnings resurface, though, I’m aware of a habitual impulse to stifle them. My desires need to be lured out now – they need to be seduced after so many years of being kept hidden. But I’m finally nurturing my longing to create.

This is why I’m here, writing these words, telling my story. It is a risk I need to take. I’m finding my way back to myself, and in so doing, I’m starting to live a life that I can look back on when it’s time to face death. It could happen tomorrow, in five years or in thirty-five years – but I’ll be ready. Whenever it happens, I’ll be able to look back, having lived a life full of richness, love and adventure – with no regrets. That is my goal.


Serena Camacho is a Montessori teacher, a former dancer, and an emerging writer. Having just woken up from a long, mid-life slumber, she is excited to be honing her craft and getting back in touch with her creative side. Serena can sometimes be found leaping through the forest near her home in Hamilton, Ontario, where she lives with her three teenagers and their elderly dog.

Quick Brown Fox welcome essays and other pieces about writing and creating or about reading, favourite books, libraries, and other literary themes. Read more such pieces here (but you'll need to scroll down past this one).   

See my upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

$20,000 poetry prize, plus 5 paying markets for your poetry and short prose

You can now get new postings on Quick Brown Fox delivered straight to your Inbox as I publish them. Subscribe to the new Quick Brown Fox page on Substack here:

You can also get an email about twice a month about what’s coming up in terms of writing classes, workshops, and retreats, plus providing links to the other material on the Quick Brown Fox blog. For that, add your name and email in the Sign-Up box in the righthand column. ~Brian

Montreal International Poetry Prize, run by the Department of English at McGill University, is open for entries from anywhere but must be in English. Maximum 40 lines.

Aprroximately 60 poems will be chosen for inclusion in the Montreal Prize anthology. Authors of all poems selected will receive a copy of the anthology.

Top poem wins $20,000.

Entry fee: $20 during early entry period; $25 before final deadline; $17 for every additional entry.

Early deadline: May 1, 2024; final deadline: May 15, 2024. Full guidelines here. 

Navigation tips: Always check out the Labels underneath a post; they’ll lead you to various distinct collections of postings. Check out other journals and contests to send your short prose and poetry. Go here {and scroll down}.   

Off  Topic Publishing publishes books, holds a contest each month, and sends poetry, chocolate and tea to subscribers.

Currently, they have no guidelines posted for books, so presumably aren’t actively looking.

They post a new contest on the first day of each month. Then entries are due by the tenth of the month. In January, the contest was for short fiction (maximum 1,500 words). In subsequent months, they’ll have contests for poetry and creative nonfiction. Then they’ll cycle back to short fiction.

Full guidelines here.

Poetry Box: Each month, Off Topic sends a physical poetry card with tea and chocolate to subscribers. Submit 1–3 poems in any style, no more than 15 lines (including blank lines).

Pays $30 Canadian

Deadline: 25th of each month. Poems received after the 25th will be considered for the next month. Full guidelines here. 

The Ex-Puritan is an online literary quarterly published out of Toronto. It used to be The Puritan, a print journal published out of Ottawa. It’s looking for short fiction, essays, book reviews, interviews, experimental/hybrid work, and poetry.  

Pays: $200 per essay; $150 per work of fiction; $100 per interview; $100 per review; $50 per poem or $100 for multiple poems; $50+ for experimental work and an increasing scale depending on the nature of the piece.

Deadline: March 25 for inclusion in the spring issue; after that, you’ll be considered for the summer issue. Full guidelines here.

ITERANT is a gorgeous quarterly poetry journal. 

Pays $50 US per poet – they generally publish more than one of the poet’s poems at a time. Submit up to eight poems.

Full submission guidelines here. No deadline.


Palette Poetry is an online poetry journal that publishes established poets, but especially welcomes emerging poets. Send no more than 5 poems and no more than 10 pages.

Pays $50 US per poem up to $150.

Always open to submissions. Guidelines here.


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

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Happy Tu BiShvat ~ The New Year for trees

There are four new years on the Jewish calendar. Today is Tu BiShvat, the New Year for trees, and the traditional day for planting trees in Israel. {Still a bit cool for tree-planting here in Canada.}

For a piece written in honour of Rosh Hashanah (the big Jewish New Year) that explains all about Judaism in 1,300 words, see here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

I have time in my schedule to critique short pieces of your writing

I’d love to help you with your query letter, opening chapter(s), short story, essay or picture book manuscript ~Brian

Rates for query letters and picture book manuscripts: $75 per hour, plus hst

Assume it will take me about an hour to read your work and to write in suggestions and edits or to rewrite your query, as needed, and then {included in that time} I’ll email you your edited work and we’ll chat on the phone about it.

For short works to about 10,000 words or 40 standard pages: $50, plus $5 per page. 

For example, an evaluation of the first 10,000 words of your manuscript costs: $50 + $5 x 40 = $250 + 13% hst = $282.50, plus add 20 cents per page (in this case $8) to partly cover the cost of printing your manuscript and mailing it back to you.

As with a consult for a very short piece, I’ll write edits and suggestions all over your manuscript and we’ll chat on the phone about it. Then I’ll mail the hard copy of your edited work to you.

About 10,000 words s the limit of what I can take on until the summer when I’ll be leading fewer courses.

If you do have a longer work you’d like me to evaluate, a novel for example, email me and arrange a spot on my schedule for the summer

For longer works, over 52 pages, the rate is: $210 + $2.00 per page. For example, a 200-page manuscript costs: 200 x $2 + $210 = $610 + 13% hst = $689.30. Plus 20 cents per page for printing and postage.

To arrange an evaluation or to reserve a place on my schedule, email


See my upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.

Friday, January 19, 2024

"Canada's stand on the travesty at the Hague" by Brian Henry

On January 10, Prime Minister Trudeau met with 30 Jewish community leaders at Beth Tzedec Congregation in Toronto. He assured them, “Our commitment to you – and to Israel, as a Jewish and democratic state – is unwavering" (here). That sounds nice. But what is he actually going to do?

Hamas continues to hold more than 100 Israelis hostage; Israel is fighting a war for its continued existence while much of the world condemns it for doing so; and Hamas’s slaughter of 1,200 Jews has emboldened antisemites here in Canada and around the world….  

Please read the rest here {and please click on the Heart button to like my piece so they’ll keep inviting me back}.


See more of my essays here {and scroll down}.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

The Tobias Agency is looking for new authors

Dreadful by Caitlin Rozakis
represented by Tobias Agency

The Tobias Agency

276 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10001

Note: You can now get new postings on Quick Brown Fox delivered straight to your Inbox as I publish them. Subscribe to the new Quick Brown Fox page on Substack here:

You can also get an email about twice a month about what’s coming up in terms of writing classes, workshops, and retreats, plus providing links to the other material on the Quick Brown Fox blog. For that, add your name and email in the Sign-Up box in the righthand column. ~Brian 

The Tobias Agency was founded by agent Lane Heymont in 2016. It is a full-service literary agency head-quartered in New York with satellite locations in Los Angeles, Boston, and Dallas/Fort Worth. It is primarily a literary agency, but also has one agent, Eric C. Jones, who’s looking for scripts. Currently, Tobias has eight agents altogether. Here are the ones looking for manuscripts:

Jacqui Lipton joined The Tobias Agency in 2022 after helming her own literary agency, Raven Quill Literary, for a number of years previously. She holds an M.F.A. in Fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and regularly teaches classes on writing and on legal aspects of publishing around the country.

Jacqui represents authors of fiction and nonfiction from middle grade through to adult, as well as selected projects for younger readers (picture books, chapter books etc.)

Jacqui is currently focusing on developing her adult fiction and nonfiction lists and particularly enjoys mystery/crime, romance, how-to books, and compelling contemporary novels. She is not currently seeking high fantasy, and considers science-fiction selectively.

Jacqui will open for submissions on January 20, 2024. Submit through her Query Manager here.

Note: Jacqui will be the guest speaker for our online “How to Get Published” workshop on Sunday, Feb 25. Details here.

Natascha Morris joined The Tobias Agency in 2020 after previously working at BookEnds Literary. Natascha thinks that all books should be well written and entertaining and that all children should see themselves and their lives in books. 

Some of her books include ALA award winning Queen of Physics by Teresa Robeson, Grandpa Grumps by Katrina Moore, JLG selected We Wait for the Sun and Oona illustrated by Raissa Figueroa, and The Library of Lost Things and A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey.

Natasha is primarily looking for picture books, middle grade graphic novels, and young adult novels most genres, including graphic novels. She’s also open to submissions from illustrators.

Query Natasha through her Query Manager here

Lane Heymont began his publishing career in 2012 at The Seymour Agency and in 2016 formed The Tobias Literary Agency. With his eclectic taste and particular passion for horror, Lane is the top literary agent in the genre.

Lane represents a broad range of commercial fiction and serious nonfiction. He is actively looking for underrepresented voice across al genres. In fiction, this includes horror and thrillers.

In nonfiction, he is interested in history, politics, current events, philosophy, investigative journalism, memoir, cultural studies, pop culture, and any of the sciences.

In your submission, you must include all trigger warnings (i.e., blood, violence, sexual content, racism, slurs, abuse, etc. Failure to do do will result in automatic rejection.

Query Lane through his Query Manager here.

Eric Jones only represents screenwriters. He’s particularly interested in science fiction, fantasy, musicals, and period pieces. However, he is open to just about anything. His main goal is to find a script that will inspire, ignite, and energize the audience.

To submit a script, see the Tobias Literary Management Submission Policy and Release Form here.

Ann Rose started her career at Prospect Agency before moving to Tobias Literary, but she’s still new to the agenting world and like all new agents, she needs authors. Ann is most interested in swoony romances, light sci-fi or fantasy (emphasis on the light side), commercial fiction, and contemporaries. 

She is currently closed to submissions but at the end of 2023 was expecting to open again “in the new year.” For an update, check out her Query Manager page here.

Torch by Lynn Miller-Lachmann
represented by Jacqui Lipton
of The Tobias Agency 

If you’re interested in meeting an agent and in getting published, check out our upcoming How to Get Published workshops. Details here.

If you're interested in writing for young people, join us for a one-day Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshop with a children’s book editor or literary agent as the guest speaker or for a weekly Kid Lit class. See here {and scroll down}.

Don't miss out on our writing retreats. See details here {and scroll down – because there's usually more than one).

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


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 a literary agent who represents a particular type of book, check out this post. 



Wednesday, January 17, 2024

You're invited to an online Kid Lit workshop, Saturday, Feb 3, with children's books editor Sarah Howden of Orca Books

Writing for Children
    and for Young Adults
      ~ The world’s hottest market

With Sarah Howden 
        ~ Editor at Orca Books

Saturday, February 3, 2024
 1:15 – 5:00 p.m.
Online via Zoom and accessible wherever there’s Internet

If you want to write the next best-selling children’s books or just want to create stories for your own kids, this workshop is for you. Learn how to write stories kids and young adults will love and find out what you need to know to sell your book. This is your chance to speak with someone within a publishing company in a small group setting and to pull back the curtain and see how it all works. Be sure to bring your questions – we'll have lots of time for interaction.

Special option: Participants are invited to submit the opening couple pages (first 500 words) of your children’s book or young adult novel (or up to 800 words if that gets you to the end of your picture book or to the end of your first chapter). Email your pages to me prior to our workshop. Sarah and I will publicly critique about half a dozen submissions so everyone can see what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve your story-telling. If you’re not currently working on a children’s story, don’t worry, we’ll get you started! ~Brian

Guest speaker Sarah Howden is an editor with Orca Books, an independently owned Canadian children’s book publisher. She started out at HarperCollins Publishers just over fifteen years ago, as an editorial assistant, moved on to become the managing editor at Owlkids, then worked as a freelance editor before coming to Orca in 2022.

With over 1,000 titles in print and more than 80 new titles a year, Orca prides itself on publishing Canadian authors (almost exclusively) and bringing them to a wider market.

Sarah’s focus is picture books, early chapter books and middle grade fiction. She especially likes slightly offbeat points of view, humour with heart, and writing that has a strong narrative voice. She’s looking for manuscripts that feel fresh, original, and authentic – and if your work reflects your often-unheard perspective, all the better.

Sarah is also an author of children’s books, including Cone Dog and Cone Cat, The Tunnel (all from OwlKids), and Five-Minute Stories for Fearless Girls (HarperCollins), plus several I Can Read Books (Harper Kids). She lives in Toronto with her family and their two goofball cats.

Read more about Orca Books here.

Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor, author, and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers and is the author of a children’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Tribute Publishing Inc). But his proudest boast is that he’s has helped many of his students get published.

Read reviews of Brian’s classes and workshops here.

Fee: $45.13 + 13% hst = $51 paid in advance by mail or Interac

To reserve a spot now, email:

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