Monday, July 15, 2024

More great places to send your weird (and not so weird) short prose & poetry ~ and most of them pay

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:  https://brian999.substack.com/

 

Craft was established in 2017 as a literary magazine for fiction and expanded in 2020 to also publish creative nonfiction.

Pays $200 US for short stories and for creative nonfiction pieces 1,000–6,000 words; $100 for flash fiction and flash creative nonfiction; and $50–$100 for essays on writing craft and interviews. 

Submissions always open. Guidelines here.

Currently, Craft is also running a First Chapters contest for adult literary fiction. Submit the first chapter or chapters of your novel – maximum 5,000 words. Prizes: $2,000 US for first place; $500 for second, and $300 for third. $20 entry fee.

Contest deadline Aug 4, 2024. Details here.

 

City. River. Tree. Publishes postcard or flash fiction and picta-flash, both online and in a yearly print anthology.

They are looking for fiction of 100-500 words in any genre. You may submit up to three stories. Pays 2 cents US per word ($2 minimum, $5 maximum).

They also want one-page stories written in pictographs; 10 – 50 pictographs per story. Pays 20 cents US per pictograph ($2 minimum, $10 maximum).

Full submission information here.

 

Bourbon Penn seeks highly imaginative stories with a healthy dose of the odd.  Odd characters, odd experiences, odd realities. 

“We’re looking for genre / speculative stories and are quite partial to slipstream, cross-genre, magic realism, absurdist, and the surreal.

“We want character.  For us, stories live and die by their characters.  We’re looking for fully drawn characters who surprise us with their honesty, complexity, and contradictions.

“We want mysterious.  We’re looking for stories that grab the reader, make them ask, “what the hell is going on?” and then deliver on the tease.

“We want ideas and we want action.  We love exploring big, philosophical ideas, but we revel in suspenseful plotting.  If you’re adept at blending these elements, we can’t wait to read your work.

“We want fresh voices and exciting prose.  We want to be surprised.  We want to be inspired.  We want to find stories that we can’t wait to publish, promote, and evangelize.”

Pays 4 cents US per word.  Guidelines here.

 

Monkeybicycle is an online literary journal which is updated almost daily. 

“Founded in 2002 in Seattle, WA, Monkeybicycle has continued to publish the absolute highest quality in a wide range of literary categories. Twice, works we’ve published were selected for inclusion in the Best American Nonrequired Reading anthologies and have a selection in the 2018 Best Small Fictions anthology.”

Monkeybicycle publishes short stories (2,000 words maximum) and one-sentence stories. They are open to all genres, as long as there is a strong story and a great narrative. If you have experimental work you'd like to send, they’ll definitely consider that as well.

One-sentence stories, need to be one sentence long, and MonkeyBicycle publishes a new one on their website every Wednesday.

Submissions always open. Guidelines here.

 

PureSlush wants flash fiction submissions for The Absent Bassoonist, the 4th anthology in their Music series. Stories must be 150 – 1,000 words.

They have a detailed scenario you must adhere to:

The Quonsettville Community Orchestra is set to open the newly-rebuilt LaChute Cultural Center with a sparkling concert.

The concert on Saturday 18th June 2023, will include the first public performance in 68 years of Dudley Donegal O’Day’s magnificent (and very underrated) Triple Bassoon Concerto (transcribed for two bassoons).

But on the night of the concert, First Bassoonist Solomon Schweitzer never arrives.

Why?

We want to know what Solomon is doing instead of showing up to perform.

What do you believe happened to Solomon?

To set the scene for the anthology, click here for the story An Empty Chair.

For some simple facts about Solomon (so we’re all on the same page), click here.

For a map of Quonsettville, where the action in The Absent Bassoonist is set, click here.

 Your The Absent Bassoonist submission must include mention of Solomon Schweitzer, his whereabouts, and his reason/s for not showing up to the concert.

PLEASE NOTE: Solomon is not dead. Nor does he show up to play at the end of the concert. Nor does Bethany Thackeray know where he is, nor was she involved in his non-appearance. Solomon and Bethany are not secret lovers or conspirators, and she is genuine in her claim she does not know why he has not arrived for the performance, nor does she know where he might be.

To submit, click here. Please include the word BASSOON, plus your name and the title of your submission, and the word count. (Please note: word counts do not include titles or your name.)

Deadline:  September 30, 2024. Full guidelines here.

  

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

For information about other places to send your short works, see here (and scroll down).

Sunday, July 14, 2024

“Horse People” by Leslie Steeves

Prancer

I’ve always been puzzled by the intense, unwavering love horse people have for an animal that is far removed from the usual warm and fuzzy, purring pet. While most people prefer an in-house pet that offers snuggles, horse people prefer an “in-barn” pet that often needs coaxing or a strong lead line.

The thought of getting close to a 1,000-pound animal, which I believe could cause great injury with one simple flick of its tail, frightens me, but horse people somehow ignore such dangers.

I witnessed this affection for horses at a young age as my two older sisters were passionate horse people. One sister married a farmer and in no time a vacant field was filled with horses, a shed was converted to a barn and – no surprise – five new horse people were born.

Observing my nieces in their horse world opened my eyes to how much joy a horse can give someone.

During one farm visit, I had the opportunity to watch my sisters ride their horses around their riding ring. Smiling, giggling, going forward, backwards, clockwise, counterclockwise – they rode with absolute delight!

Despite this, I was still not convinced that I wanted to be a part of the horse world, nor did I think it best to expose my daughter to it.

But that reality changed once her Auntie gave my daughter a pony book and a toy pony for her second birthday.

Suddenly her interest shifted from the science-based learning toys and books I was offering to doe-eyed, pastel-coloured ponies.

I recall one bedtime when after sitting quietly through my reading of a book on shapes, my daughter reached under her pillow and passed me the pony book. I couldn’t refuse her sweet, pleading eyes. So, I read, and as I read, she snuggled close. With each page she touched the pony and made the click-click sound. 

I knew at that moment that I needed to embrace the horse world in our home.

In no time, horse-related toys and books became a priority and were piled high on my daughter’s bed. I heard neighing sounds daily as she rode her imaginary horse around our house in the usual one leg forward skip with her hands holding invisible reins. Daily horse play at her toy stable became our together moments.

Her enthusiasm thrilled me, but made me nervous of where it would lead.

The thoroughbred

My fear was well-founded. Before long my sister propelled us along the next step in our horse adventure by offering us a free horse from a rescue group – a thoroughbred, no less. Before I could oppose such a move, arrangements were made and in less than two weeks my daughter was standing in our driveway holding the reins of a large ex-race horse. 

There was no mistaking her excitement, and in a flash of responsibility, she pledged to care for both horses.

Yes, both horses – the one we’d just acquired and the next one we now needed to acquire.

As horse people know, horses are herd animals and you can never have just one. My nervousness instantly doubled.

Once the word got out in the local horse world that we were looking for a rescue companion horse, we were offered a Standardbred from Newfoundland. And (accepting my doom) we took on this second horse.

As the two horses stood in our field, I wondered, had I now become a horse person? I was experiencing the true definition of the words “daily chores” and I could wing my way through simple horse talk, but feeling comfortable and desiring to be around them was not in my heart.

But Prancer, our new Standardbred, gave me another glimpse into horsey love. Prancer came with an assortment of horse care items – brushes, a halter, a horse blanket – all in pink! All items had hearts and “I love you Prancer” messages written on them. Someone, most likely a child, had clearly loved this horse.

This made me question – why, if the horse was loved so much, did it now need to be rescued? Apparenlty, love for a horse is shallow and easily expires as life changes.

I remained snug in this harsh opinion until I received a Facebook message from a woman in Newfoundland asking if I knew where a Standardbred horse named Prancer was.

Assuming this was just a simple inquiry related to her rescue, I replied that Prancer was currently eating grass in our front field.

I was stunned as this confirmation was met with an explosion of emotion – heart, tears, happy face emojis’ dotted returning messages.

The young girl who had bought and decorated Prancer’s pink accessories had grown up and was searching for her. She explained that Prancer had been sold to someone who, unable to care for the horse, had contacted the rescue organization.


As I listened to this woman’s story, the intensity of her feelings took me aback. Relief and love were having an emotional battle in her mind as her love for this horse resurfaced.

At some point she presented the idea to me that I was so lucky to have such a beautiful horse. Noting that she’d never mentioned Prancer’s size or stubbornness (both huge), I started to realize that she saw an animal that would come to greet her, follow her lead and nuzzle her as she rubbed under their chin.

Being kicked or bitten by Prancer was not on her mind.

After our correspondence, I went into the field with two carrots and walked along the fence line. Both horses came stampeding over. Rather than throw the carrots on the ground, I raised my arms and held them out.

My breath stopped as their teeth crunched right through the two-inch diameter carrots. I stood still as they finished their snack. They instinctively moved closer for more. I didn’t dare look up at them.

Eventually, realizing I had no more carrots to give, the thoroughbred turned and walked away but Prancer hesitated. Her nose was inches from my shoulder. I raised my hand and touched under her chin. She stretched her neck and I rubbed the tender cavity. I looked up and we made eye contact. She liked me touching her!

Am I now a horse person? I certainly qualify, having recently help carry 160 square bales of hay to the hay mow! But more importantly I can relate to those pleasurable moments horse people have.

Will I continue to have intimate encounters with our horses? Probably. But just to be safe, I’ll stay near the fence.

***

Leslie Steeves has enjoyed her regular writing moments since retiring from teaching. Her adventures in the New Brunswick countryside are often a catalyst for her writings. She lives with her husband, dog and two “friendly” rescue horses. 

Read more short pieces by your fellow writers here (and scroll down).

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

 

 

Saturday, July 13, 2024

You're invited to an in-person “(Not so) Extreme Creative Writing” class

“(Not so) Extreme Creative Writing”

 ~ For more experienced writers 

In-person: Thursday afternoons, 12:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Sept 19 – Dec 12, 2024 (Or to Dec 29 if the class fills up. No class Oct 3 or Oct 17)
First readings emailed Sept 12.
Burlington Anglican Lutheran Church, 3455 Lakeshore Rd, Burlington, Ontario (Map 
here)

Extreme Creative Writing isn't like an extreme sport – it doesn't demand something crazy – but it is meant for writers who have been writing for a while or who have done a course or two before and are working on their own projects. 

You’ll be asked to bring in a few pieces of your writing for detailed feedback, including a couple longish pieces. All your pieces may be from the same work, such as a novel in progress, or they may be stand-alone pieces, such as essays, picture book manuscripts, or short stories. You bring whatever you want to work on. 

Besides critiquing pieces, we’ll have discussions on topics of interest to the class. In addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that the greatest benefits come from seeing how your classmates approach and critique a piece of writing and how they write and re-write. This is a challenging course, but extremely rewarding.

Fee: $292.04 + hst = $330

To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

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 and other pieces about 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.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Great piece in The Star about Marianne's novel, We Were the Bullfighters

Postcard or Toronto and Hemingway's passport photos from Toronto Public Library

Janet Somerville has a great piece in The Toronto Star about Marianne Miller’s novel, We Were the Bullfighters….

“Ernest Hemingway’s time in Toronto working for the Toronto Star sparks a first-time novel” by Janet Somerville

Author Marianne Miller was intrigued by Hemingway’s first assignment as a staff reporter: covering the escape of five inmates from Kingston Penitentiary. 

It was September 1923, and Ernest Hemingway and his wife had arrived in Toronto from Paris, awaiting the birth of their first child. Although Ernest had been happily working as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Daily Star in Europe since late 1921, he had been hired as a staff reporter under the grudging direction of Harry Hindmarsh, the paper’s bullying editor. 

On his first day of work, Hindmarsh sent Hemingway on a night train to Kingston to cover the story of five convicts who escaped from the penitentiary, including the already notorious bank robber Norman “Red” Ryan.

Author Marianne Miller came across that information while researching what was meant to be a non-fiction book about the famous author’s time in Toronto. …

Read the rest of Janet's article here.

We Were the Bullfighters is available from Chapters/Indigo here.

Janet Somerville is the author of Yours, for Probably Always: Martha Gellhorn’s Letters of Love & War 1930-1949. You can read more about Janet’s book or buy it at Indigo here.

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

For more about new books from your fellow authors, see here {and scroll down}.

 

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Join us in person for a “Writing Personal Stories” course

Writing Personal Stories 101” 

In-person: Thursday evenings, 7 – 9 p.m.
November 7 – December 12 (Or to Dec 19 if the class is full)
Burlington Anglican Lutheran Church
3455 Lakeshore Rd, Burlington, Ontario (Map here)

Note: You can take a similar class online. See 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.

We’ll also have a published author as a guest speaker for this course.

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, taught creative writing at Ryerson University (now Toronto Metropolitan University) and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Saint John.  But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get published.  

Read reviews and other pieces about or inspired by Brian's writing courses, workshops, and retreats here (and scroll down).

Fee: $194.69 plus 13% hst = $220

To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

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