Sunday, March 31, 2024

Evolving schedule of writing classes, workshops, and retreats


Writing Workshops

Online: “How to Get Published” with guest Gordon Warnock of Fuse Literary agency, Sunday, July 21. Details here

Online: “Writing for Children and for Young Adults” workshop with guest Karen Li, Publisher at Groundwood Books, Sunday, Sept 22. Details here.


September Writing Retreat 
Stretch out your summer in Algonquin Park at Arowhon Pines Resort, Tuesday, Sept 3 –Friday, Sept 6Details here.

Fall Colours Writing Retreat 
At the Briars Resort on Lake Simcoe, Friday Oct 18 – Monday, Oct 21Details here. (Yes, we still have space in this retreat!)


Fall Classes  

“Writing Kid Lit ~ The Next Level
Online: Monday evenings, 7 – 9 p.m., Sept 30 – Dec 2, {or to Dec 9 if the course fills up}. Details here.

“Writing Personal Stories & Other Nonfiction” 
Online: Tuesday afternoons, October 8 – December 3 {or to Dec 10 if the class fills up. No class Oct 22.} Details here.

“Writing Personal Stories 101” 
In-person: Thursday evenings, November 7 – December 12 {or to Dec 19 if the class fills up.} Details here.

“(Not so) Extreme Creative Writing”
In-person: Thursday afternoons, Sept 19 – Dec 12, 2024 (Or to Dec 19 if the class fills up. No class Oct 3 or Oct 17) First readings emailed Sept 12. Details here


To reserve a spot or for more details about any course, workshop or retreat, email

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Check out Blue Runaways ~ a debut collection of short stories

Hi, Brian.

It has been a few years since I took a workshop with you, but I continue to follow you through your newsletter. Your support for writers is admirable!

I'm writing to tell you about my new book Blue Runaways published by BC-based publisher Stonehewer Books. Your clients might be interested to know Stonehewer Books is seeking submissions.

Blue Runaways is available at bookstores now.

All the best,


Note: for information on submitting to Stonehewer Books, see here.

Blue Runaways by Jann Everard

From award-winning writer Jann Everard, a debut short story collection about love and loss.

Some of the women in Blue Runaways are grieving. Some are looking for a second chance. All are at a turning point. From Iceland to Bali, from the comfortable houses of Canada’s cities to its wild and expansive backcountry, the characters in this collection face the most human of fears: that dear ones die, love is a risk, and no promise is certain.

As diverse in situation as it is controlled in theme, this collection serves as a multifaceted exploration of loss, love, and what it takes to move on. With a keen eye for landscape and an uncanny knack for inhabiting hearts and minds, Everard ventures into her character’s darkest days. By confronting the sorrow of being alive, Blue Runaways reveals the joy of knowing we are not alone.


Praise for Blue Runaways

“... Prose that’s vivid, precise, and quite beautiful... stories that are at their beating heart mysterious and profoundly satisfying.”
— Rachel Cantor (Half-Life of a Stolen Sister; Good on Paper)

“... a thought-provoking and bittersweet collection.”
— Kathy Page (Paradise and Elsewhere; Dear Evelyn)

“Everard has a painter’s eye for landscapes — both foreign and familiar
— and a storyteller’s skill in communicating how the natural world
shapes our humanity. Read [these stories] slowly, and savour them.”
— Carleigh Baker (Bad Endings, Last Woman)

Jann Everard was winner of The Malahat Review’s 2018 Open Season Award for Fiction. Her fiction has been published in leading Canadian journals including The Fiddlehead, Prairie Fire, Grain, Room, The New Quarterly, Humber Literary Review, EVENT, The Dalhousie Review, The Antigonish Review, and Coming Attractions 15. A long-time resident of Toronto, she now lives on Vancouver Island.

Blue Runaways is available from Chapters / Indigo here.

See our upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and four-day writing retreats here

See other new books by your fellow authors here (and scroll down).

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

You're invited to an art exhibit

Hi, Brian.

I value your newsletters, and I’m glad more and more people are appreciating you. I wanted to let you know I have two pieces in the upcoming Toronto Heliconian Club's April visual arts show, A Portrait by Any Other Name.

Both my pieces are based on my memoir of my high school teaching years that we were working on in the Friday morning class (and that I confess I’m still editing). The show's free of charge, and open to the public on Saturday, April 6, 2-5 pm, and Wednesday, April 10, 4-7:30 pm, at 35 Hazelton Avenue, Toronto, Ontario (Map here).

I hope to seen lots of people there.

Best as ever,

Ellen Michelson

Note: Our upcoming courses “Welcome to Creative Writing” (see here) and “Writing Personal Stories” (see here) still have spaces. 


A Portrait by Any Other Name

Heliconian visual artists were invited to contribute visual portraits of any subject in any media, to confirm the genre’s relevance in an age of selfies and AI.  All club members were invited to contribute pen portraits, or character sketches, to the exhibit as well. The work on display may originate from encounters between the artist and herself, her subject or her imagination. 

Visitors are encouraged to think about portraiture’s potential for reflecting essence and ideas. In the words of the artist, Eileen Powers:

"At its most universal, a portrait is the essence of the subject, but that subject is not limited to people; a portrait can be any reflection of an essence or idea."

Join us for the Reception on Saturday, April 6, 2 – 5 pm.

A second public opening is on Wednesday April 10, 4 – 7:30 pm.

View the exhibit through April by appointment: email to arrange a time.

The show runs from April 4 to May 1, 2024. Admission is free.

See our upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and four-day writing retreats here.

To see where else your fellow writers are having success, see here (and scroll down).

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

New Canadian publisher Stonehewer Books is looking for debut fiction writers and experienced nonfiction authors

Stonehewer Books

Victoria, BC, and Toronto, Ont.

You can now get new postings on Quick Brown Fox delivered straight to your Inbox as they go up. 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

Stonehewer Books is a brand new small Canadian press, aiming to publish three or four books a year of nonfiction by established authors and fiction by emerging writers. It published its first two nonfiction titles on February 13, 2024 (Conversations with a Dead Man by Mark Abley) and on March 5 (The Death of Tony, by Antanas Sileika), and its first work of fiction on March 12 (Blue Runaways, a short story collection by Jann Everard).

Publisher George Galt says, “My ambition is not to lose a lot of money. No one makes a lot of money in small-press land. Everybody knows that. But you know, do a good thing, publish some good books – to me that’s a satisfying adventure” (here).  

Stonehewer’s fiction line is specifically dedicated to books by new authors; that is authors who have not previously published a work of fiction or who are looking to place their second manuscript, either a novel or short story collection. In fiction, Stonehewer is primarily focused on novels but will also look at short story collections. (No children’s books or young adult fiction.) You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.

They’re interested in: “any manuscript with a legitimate claim to literary excellence. If your manuscript has distinct characters, good ideas, and a clear voice – and hopefully some semblance of a real plot – we are happy to consider it.”

Submit your fiction to:

Attach the full manuscript as a Word document. Full guidelines for the Emerging Writers Fiction line here.


Note: If you’re interested in getting published, come to our in-person “How to Get Published” workshop in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. Learn how it all works and get some help with your query letter. Details here.


In nonfiction, Stonehewer is looking for “elegant and imaginative works in the areas of memoir, history, biography, literary travelogues, and belles lettres. They favour Canadian authors (or presumably permanent residents) who have been previously published in magazines, literary journals, and books.

Query Stonehewer regarding your nonfiction at:

Include a full description of your book, a list of your previous publications, and the first 40 pages of your manuscript in the body of your email. No attachments. Full nonfiction guidelines here.

Note: See our upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and four-day writing retreats here.

For information about other publishers that are looking for manuscripts, see here (and scroll down).

Monday, March 25, 2024

“Egg Bread for Easter” by Norma Gardner

“No, you have to hide the egg!” my twenty-two-year-old daughter demanded.

I was covered with flour, had been up since dawn and my hands were starting to go numb. I didn’t need my twenty-two-year old acting like a two-year-old unless she was planning to help me with the bread scattered throughout my sticky kitchen.

“But you already know it’s in the bread,” I pleaded. “And Nana didn’t hide the egg when I was a kid.”

“I don’t care. This is the way you did it when we were kids and this is how Nana did it for us. It’s our tradition. You can’t mess with it.”

“Ok, sorry. Next year, I will hide the egg, that you already know is in there.”

“Thank you,” she huffed, as if I should have known better.

Perhaps I should have. When I was a kid through to when my mother passed, I took for granted that bread with a whole egg baked inside would appear at Easter. Unfortunately, I only took an interest in my mother’s old recipes after she passed and there wasn’t much to go on. That the recipes were written in scribbled Italian was the least of my problems. I called on her best friend, who often baked with my mom, to help me out. 

Hoping I didn’t sound like an amateur, I asked, “Why is there no flour listed in the ingredients? I know there’s flour in there – it’s bread! But how much flour?” 

“Oh, you’ll know,” she said.

I told her I would not know, so she sighed and gave me a starting point. “Start with eighteen cups of flour and work your way up. The dough will be sticky but be sure not to add too much flour.” 

This was helpful but terrifying. How sticky? And eighteen cups for starters – I knew my mother made several loaves but how many loaves were we talking about? I had more questions but I was used to tackling ambitious baking projects – I could do this. And perhaps my mother’s friend was right and I’d just know.

The first time I made Easter Bread I planned to keep track of how much flour I used. I vowed not to hand down recipes with “you’ll know” as an ingredient. I started with eighteen cups and stopped counting at thirty-two. I guess there’d be a “you’ll know” in my recipes, too.

Trying to channel my mother’s baking expertise while ignoring her voice in my ear and her hovering over my shoulder, only added to my anxiety. While wishing she was with me, I knew she’d criticize and correct my technique, I’d get defensive and we’d end up in a shouting match. It’s no mystery I never mastered her recipes while she was alive.

She used to start this bread in the late evening while she waited for my father to get home from work at 1:00 a.m. She juiced about a dozen oranges by hand, scalded the milk, added butter and sugar and then let the mixture cool to lukewarm before adding the juice, beaten eggs, softened yeast and pure anise extract.

Only after she mixed all the wet ingredients with care did she start to add flour. But it was about that time of night that I’d go to bed, knowing that I would awaken to the pungent smell of anise mixed with the sweet and yeasty aroma of freshly baked bread.

The next morning, she’d complain that even though she’d gone to bed as soon as my father got home, with the dough kneaded, covered with an old flannel blanket and readied for its five to six hour rise, she hadn’t slept.

She’d gotten up multiple times to check the dough, worried that it would rise so much that it overflowed even her biggest bowl. Sometimes her fears were justified and I’d find her in the kitchen, telling me she’d been up since before sunrise to ready the dough for its next rise.

With a decisive hand, she punched down the massive dough ball and then worked through the dough, slicing one piece off at a time, rolling it into a long thick rope, folding it in half and then braiding the two strands to make a long loaf.

She always placed an uncooked egg, still in its shell, in the small hollow at the top of the braid. This was the step that fuelled the egg controversy.

When my brother and I were growing up, the egg remained in plain sight with the dough rising up a bit to nest it in place. Once grandchildren arrived, my mother thought it would be fun and mysterious to hide the egg by putting a thin layer of dough over it, making it disappear under the pillowy bread.  

Hidden egg or not, there were always twenty or more loaves that rose again for another 90 minutes and occupied space on every available surface. The old oven fit three loaves at a time, so even after the baking began, the finish line was still far off.

Once out of the oven, the crowning glory was a boiled milk and sugar glaze that gave the loaves their trademark shine and sticky exterior. We’d barely wait for the loaves to cool before pulling pieces off with our hands to savor the the unique texture of the bread at the juncture of the twists where the dough was stringy and candy-like.

In the midst of the production, someone was always dispatched to deliver a still warm, wrapped loaf to a relative, friend or neighbour.

My mother passed twenty-six years ago, and I started making this bread shortly after, inviting family over to enjoy it hot out of the oven and sending bread home with them. 

I hid the egg as she had done for my children, until the year I decided to go back to the old tradition of an uncovered egg. After being reprimanded by my daughter, I reverted back to the way my children remembered, asking silent forgiveness for going against tradition.

As much as I felt pulled toward the custom of my childhood, my children only knew the hidden egg version. My mother had intended to create an aura of mystery with that hidden egg. And my kids loved it.

As if she knew I needed validation, my little cousin called me one day and asked how the egg got into the bread, to which I answered, “There’s an egg in there?”

Her mother told me later that her daughter’s eyes grew to twice their size. Yes, the mystery still worked. Who am I to mess with that?


Norma Gardner retired from the corporate world a few years ago and enjoys spending time with family and friends, travelling, and expressing herself through her writing and sourdough recipes. Growing up in Northern Ontario, her family’s antics and her Italian upbringing supply the inspiration for her personal essays. She currently lives in Waterdown, Ontario.

See our upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and four-day writing retreats here.

To read other essays, reviews, poems, and short stories by your fellow writers, see here (and scroll down).

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Three independent American publishers looking for your manuscripts

Places I've Taken My Body,
by Molly McCully Brown
published by Persea Books

Persea Books

90 Broad Street
Suite 2100
New York, NY 10004

Persea publishes literary fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir, essays, biography, literary criticism, books on contemporary issues (multicultural, feminist, LGBTQI+), and Young Adult novels. They also publish poetry and literary and multicultural anthologies that are assigned in secondary and university classrooms. 

Most of all, they are looking for a fresh voice, a clear point of view, and well-written work that will endure. They are pleased to publish debut books. and to continue publishing the authors we take on.

They do not publish genre fiction (romance, fantasy, science fiction, thrillers), self-help, textbooks, or children's books.

Full submission guidelines here.


Note: If you’re interested in getting published, don’t miss our upcoming in-person “How to Get Published” workshop in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Details here.


Andrews McMeel Publishing 

1130 Walnut Street
Kansas City, MO 64106

Andrews McMeel is a leading publisher of poetry, inspiration, humor, and children’s books, plus licensed, popular calendars. They publish as many as 150 books and 200 calendars annually, and they accept unagented submissions.

Full submission guidelines and online submissions form here.



Sanger, California

Familius is a mission-driven company. They believe that happy families are key to a better society and the foundation of a happy life. They recognize that every family looks different and believe in helping all families find greater joy, whatever their situation. 

To that end, they publish books that reflect at least one of their 10 Habits of Happy Families:

Love together
Learn together
Read together
Give together
Play together
Talk together
Laugh together
Eat together
Heal together
and Work together

They publish children’s picture books and board books, parenting, relationships, self-help, family fun, education, cooking, and health and wellness for both adults and young adults. Basically, if your book can help Familius’s mission of helping families be happy, they want to talk to you.

Full submission guidelines here.


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

See more book publishers that don’t require an agent here (and scroll down).