Tuesday, September 27, 2016

“Alice Makes a Pudding” by Alexa Farley

Her plan was to take the broken pieces to the garage before Jack got home from work. The last thing she wanted was for him to walk into the kitchen and see pieces of the damn chair all over the floor. She just needed a minute. A minute to catch her breath, to pick herself up so to speak, to stop her heart from thumping so damn loud.
A broken chair. Now this was a new low. Literally. She sprawled out on the kitchen floor, her legs sticking out in front of her, one slipper part way on and one all the way off. She hated seeing her feet, all purplish and scaly. Her toenails were never clipped well enough, seeing as she could hardly reach them without passing out from her stomach pushing into her chest so hard. She hated the reminder her toenails gave her that she needed to lose weight. She hated the reminder so she kept her slippers on most all the time.
Alice saw there was a cut above her knee. Her house dress had slid up to her thigh and there was another deep gash that was staining her dress red. Her dimply pasty white flesh was now streaked red. Like strawberries and cream.
When she went to pull her dress down below her knee, she noticed her hand was shaking.
This was all Jack’s fault.
Alice had been avoiding that damn chair for the better part of a year now. As soon as it started creaking when she sat down she’d switched it with another from the set of four they’d received from her parents as a wedding present. Jack must have moved it back for one reason or another.
“Damn it, Jack,” Alice muttered, and tried to push herself up a little straighter. Pieces of the chair were strewn around the kitchen floor, splinters reaching as far as the dining room. She’d have to get the broom out and try and get the bits she could see under the oven from where she sat.
I’ve hit rock bottom, she thought, and laughed without pleasure. The last fight she and Jack had had about her weight he’d yelled at her, arms flailing. He’d looked desperate, frantic. She almost felt sorrier for him than she did for herself. 
“When’s it gonna stop?” he’d yelled. “When’s it gonna end? 400 pounds? 500?” 
When was it going to stop? She didn’t know if her battered pride could handle another chair exploding beneath her. She thought about the pills he’d brought back from Mexico last time he and his brother had gone down to Tijuana. Jack had said he was worried about her health, which was partly true, but she knew by the way he glanced at other – thinner – women that there was more to it.
“They were cheaper if you bought the bundle, so...” Jack had said by way of explanation when he handed her the box of pill bottles. She hadn’t touched them yet; she was so mad when he’d brought them home. It was spite, really, that she wasn’t taking the damn diet pills. She would’ve loved to have lost some weight, but to hell with him if he thought he could push drugs at her. Now she was thinking about it. How fast could they work if you doubled the dose? Or tripled? Hell, she might as well take a whole bottle, see how he liked that.
She rubbed the back of her head and felt a lump. Must’ve hit the floor pretty hard. Alice took a deep breath and started to turn herself over onto all fours. She felt like a giant walrus, and her knee hurt like hell when she put weight on it, but it was the only way Alice was going to get up. She used the kitchen table to pull herself to her feet and took a minute to catch her breath, then glanced at the clock – about an hour ‘til Jack got home. Alice limped over to the closet and picked up the broom.
With each sweep of the broom her bitterness grew. Why’d he move the chair anyway? They only ever used two of the four chairs. The other two were blocked in by their square table which was pushed right up to the wall to make some room in their too-small kitchen. It’s like he was setting her up.
“What, Jack? Trying to teach me a lesson?” Alice panted, as she reached the broom under the table to sweep up more of the splinters way back in the corner. By the time she was done she was sweating and she pulled at the front of her dress, making a fan and a vent for her heaving, damp breasts. She brought the bits of wood and the larger pieces all out to the garage in a heavy-duty black garbage bag and left it leaning there against the wall, the sharper pieces puncturing the bag, sticking out like accusing fingers. 
Alice stood in the kitchen doorway, trying to catch her breath. She stared at the table with its three remaining chairs.
And then, as if a fresh breeze came through and blew the darkness off of her face and out of her heart, she smiled and clapped her hands together in front her – “Let’s make us a chocolate pudding!”
Opening cupboard doors, grabbing ingredients, measuring, pouring, mixing, Alice hummed as she cooked. She was always happier when she was cooking; it gave her a chance to get things straight in her head. It didn’t take long to whip up a dessert she’d made for her husband at least a hundred times. She stuck a finger deep into the chocolate and put it in her mouth, her eyelids fell closed as she let the joy of the pudding wash over her.
It was the simplicity of pudding that won her over. It practically made itself.
Wiping her finger on the front of her dress Alice reached up to the shelf holding the nice bowls. She took down two: green for him, yellow for her. (She liked the yellow bowl better, and besides, the green one had a chip in it). She poured half the pudding into the yellow bowl, and then, before pouring the rest of the pudding into the second bowl Alice turned and left the kitchen; house slippers scritching down the hall as she headed to her bedroom.  
Reaching for the box under the bed meant getting down on all fours again, but it couldn’t be avoided. The pain in her knee barely registered, though, as she grunted, pulling the box out from its hiding spot. Alice ripped open the package, with its incomprehensible Spanish writing and took out one large bottle. The writing on the bottles was also in Spanish, but she saw that there were 200 pills inside. Enough.
Once back at the kitchen counter, she began the tedious task of opening a capsule, pouring the powder in the bowl, and tossing the empty capsule in the compost bucket on the counter.
Open, pour, toss. Open, pour, toss. She glanced at the clock – twenty minutes ‘til Jack returned. Open, pour, toss. Open, pour, toss.
Finally, the bottle was empty and there was a small white mountain of powder on top of the rich brown lake of the chocolate pudding. She stirred the powder in; at first, a beautiful twister of white in the chocolate, and then, getting darker and darker, somehow it just blended right in.
Just a bowl of delicious chocolate pudding, Jack’s favourite.
She poured the pudding into the green bowl and put both bowls in the fridge to chill and firm up. It was just as she was putting a fresh bag in the compost bin that she heard Jack’s pick-up in the driveway and smiled. He was home.  She’d have to ask him to help her pull the table away from the wall so she could get another chair, and then they could have their dinner.

Alexa Farley writes poetry and short stories in the Georgian Bay area of southern Ontario. Her inspiration is drawn as much from the beauty that surrounds her as it is from her own ridiculous fallibility.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Monday, September 26, 2016

New Literary Agency ~ Brower Literary & Management ~ has two agents looking for commercial, upmarket & literary fiction for both adults & YA

Kimberly Brower
Brower Literary & Management
110 Wall Street, 2-047
New York, NY 10005

Note: Don't ever miss a post on Quick Brown Fox. Fill in your email in the box to the right under my bio and get each post delivered to your Inbox. Also, if you’re not yet on my newsletter, send me an email, including your locale, to: brianhenry@sympatico.ca ~ Brian

Kimberley Brower has left the Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency to start her own agency, taking fellow agent Jess Dallow with her. They've been joined by new agent Aimee Ashcraft. Jess and Aimee are actively looking for authors. Whether you are a debut author or a veteran, they want to hear from you.

Jess Dallow – Associate Agent: Having grown up with the same name as her favorite Sweet Valley High twin, Jess has always had a love for books, especially those that feature well developed, strong female characters. She is fascinated with complex characters and a world that she can fall in love with, stories that make her want to sob and laugh within minutes of each other, and a book that she can’t put down no matter what time it is or what rerun of SVU is on.

Jess has a BFA in Writing for Film and Television from the University of the Arts and worked in entertainment for eight years before returning to her home state of New York where she worked at a literary agency for two years before joining Brower Literary & Management. Connect on Twitter at: @JLDallow

Jess is interested in both YA and adult commercial fiction with a focus in romance, family stories, thrillers, mystery, and women’s fiction. She loves strong, complex female characters, worlds that she can fall in love with, stories that make her want to sob and laugh within minutes of each other, and a book that she can’t put down no matter what time it is. She is not looking to currently represent picture or chapter books.

Query Jess at: jess@browerliterary.com
Put: “QUERY: [Manuscript/Project Title]” in the subject line and include a full synopsis, and your first chapter (double-spaced) pasted into the email. No attachments.

Aimee Ashcraft – Associate Agent: Aimee is a brand new agent, and like all new agents, she needs authors.

Aimee has loved books since the days of sneakily reading under her desk in elementary school. Thankfully, reading is no longer a punishable offense, and she is busy seeking out stories that feature all-encompassing worlds and compelling female characters. She loves books that are told from an original point of view and are more addictive than a good Netflix binge. Aimee received her BA from Transylvania University and her MA from NYU. She is now based in New York City. Connect on Twitter at: @AimeeAshcraft

Aimee is looking for upmarket and literary fiction, specifically historical fiction, women’s fiction, and YA (all genres). She loves books that pull her in, immersing her in a world she can’t escape until the final sentence. She is looking for original voices and compelling, complex female characters.

Query Aimee at: aimee@browerliterary.com
Put: “QUERY: [Manuscript/Project Title]” in the subject line and include a full synopsis, and your first chapter (double-spaced) pasted into the email. No attachments.

Full submission guidelines here.

Kira Vermond will be one of the guest
speakers for the Writing Kid Lit course
Brian Henry will lead How to Get Published workshops on Saturday, Oct 15, in Burlington with literary agent Cassandra Rodgers of The Rights Factory (see here), on Saturday, Oct 22, in London with Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy agency (see here), and on Saturday,  October 29, in Caledon, at the Bolton Public Library, with Martha Web of the McDermid Agency (see here). 
Note: If you're looking at this posting after October, 2016, check out current How to Get Published workshops here (and scroll down).

Then on Saturday, November 19, Brian will lead a Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshop in Mississauga with Anne Shone, senior editor, Scholastic Books as his guest speaker (see here). 
Note: If you're looking at this posting after Nov 19, 2016, check out current Writing for Children & for Young Adult workshops and weekly Writing Kid Lit courses here (and scroll down).

To register or for details, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

But the best way of getting your manuscript ready for publication, may be with a weekly writing course. This fall, three classes still have space: 
“Welcome to Creative Writing,” Thursday afternoons Sept 29 - Dec 8, in Oakville (see here).
“Writing Kid Lit ~ Picture Books to YA (new), Tuesday afternoons, Sept 27 - Nov 22 (no class Oct 11), in Burlington (see here).
“Intensive Creative Writing,” Tuesday mornings, Oct 18 – Dec 6, in Burlington. Details here.

See details of all three of these classes here.

To reserve a spot or for more details, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Brian Henry also has a number of other workshops coming up soon:  How to Write Great Dialogue, Saturday, Oct 1, in Kitchener (see here) Writing and Revising, Saturday, Nov 5, in Midland (see here), and How to Write Great Characters, Saturday, Nov 12, in Barrie (see here).

To register of for more information for any of the above, emailbrianhenry@sympatico.ca

Read reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.

See Brian’s complete current schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Navigation tip: For many more literary agents seeking authors, click on the Literary Agents button at the top of the page, just below the banner. To see only Canadian agents, click on the button in the right-hand column under More Content. To see only agents representing kid’s lit, click on the Children’s/YA agents button in the list of Labels below.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

New book: Belief by Mayank Bhatt

Good Morning, Brian.
I'm delighted to inform you that my novel Belief has been published by Mawanzi House is now available across Canada – online and in bookshops.
In addition to the publisher's website (here) and Amazon Canada (here), Belief is now also available at Indigo-Chapters across Canada (and 23 outlets in the Greater Toronto Area) and other book shops such as McNally Robinson.
Thank you.
Mayank Bhatt

Belief –
Mayank
An upright and modest Muslim family in Mississauga, Ontario, discovers plans to bomb public places in Toronto on their son Rafiq’s computer. 
Belief tells the story of the family’s escape from Bombay to Canada following the communal violence of 1993; their small success, epitomized by their proud ownership of a house; and Rafiq’s attraction to fundamentalist Islamic ideas. Rafiq, it appears, has rejected the planned act of terrorism, organized by an evil charismatic genius, but how can he explain the plan being found on his computer?
Told simply, impartially, and with understanding and empathy, Belief describes the trauma of a family unable to understand their child as they anxiously await his fate.

For information about submitting to Mawenzi House, see here.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mawenzi House publishes multicultural fiction, poetry, essays, and memoir

Mawenzi House is dedicated to bringing to the reading public fresh new writing from Canada and across the world that reflects the diversity of our rapidly globalizing world, particularly in Canada and the United States. 

Mawnezi House focuses on works that can loosely be termed "multicultural" and particularly those that pertain to Asia and Africa. They publish six to eight titles of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction (literary criticism, history) per year. 

"Among our achievements: we have played a role in the formulation of the Indo-Caribbean identity through the publication of several ground-breaking titles; we have kept in print books by major Caribbean writers Sam Selvon, Ismith Khan, and John Stewart; we have published provocative and  perceptive social and literary critical works by Arnold Itwaru, Arun Prabha Mukherjee, Chelva Kanaganayakam, and others; the introduction of the important Zimbabwean writer Yvonne Vera; the first historical and critical study of Chinese Canadian writing in English; the first anthologies of South Asian Canadian literature, South Asian Canadian women's poetry, Chinese Canadian stories, and South Asian Canadian and American women's fiction." 

Query Mawenzi House at: info@mawenzihouse.com

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Writing and Revising workshop, Saturday, Feb 25, in Burlington

The Burlington Public Library presents…
Writing and Revising
Saturday, February 25, 2017
10: a.m. – 4 p.m.
Burlington Public Library, Centennial Hall, 2331 New Street, 
Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)

If you want to refine your story-telling skills and cut the time you will need to spend editing, this workshop is for you. You'll learn how to step back from a manuscript in order to find – and fix – flaws in your plot, structure, characterization and style. You'll learn how to rethink, rework and rewrite so that your manuscript will live up to your vision.

Special Option: Participants are invited to bring the first 500 – 1,000 words of one of their pieces of writing. You don’t need to bring anything, but if you do, three copies could be helpful.

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 Sarnia to Saint John. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get published. 

You can read reviews of Brian's courses and workshops here

Fee: 43.36 + 13% hst = 49 paid in advance by mail or Interac
or 46.90 + 13% hst = 53 if you wait to pay at the door

To reserve a spot now, email: 
brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See Brian’s full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Three agents at Donaghy Literary (a Canadian agency) seek commercial fiction for adults, new adults,YA, and MG

Donaghy Literary Group
6 – 14845 Yonge Street
Suite 123
Aurora, Ontario
Canada

Note: Don't ever miss a post on Quick Brown Fox. Fill in your email in the box to the right under my bio and get each post delivered to your Inbox. Also, if you’re not yet on my newsletter, send me an email, including your locale, to: brianhenry@sympatico.ca ~ Brian

The Donaghy Literary Group is based in Canada, with a team of three agents to choose from: Stacey Donaghy, Valerie Noble, and Sue Miller.  Representing NY Times, USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors, they’re focused on commercial fiction – for adults, new adult, young adults and middle grade – and are always interested in new and upcoming talented writers. 
  
Stacey Donaghy began her career with an agency in New York and in 2013 opened the doors to Donaghy Literary Group in Canada.

Asked what manuscripts she’d like to get right now, Stacey said, “I would love to see more diverse stories that are highly commercial.  LGBTQ stories that focus on the characters and story development and less on the 'issues' related to coming out or being out.  
It would be exciting to receive a LGBTQ in adult or YA that is story driven, such as a romance or thriller in Adult and in YA a Mean Girls, Duff, even a thriller that highlights diversity but where the story leads the way.”

More generally, Stacey is seeking Adult, New Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade fiction. Specifically, she’s looking for:
Romantic Suspense 
LGBTQ Stories, standalone or series
Diverse books
Contemporary romance (she loves smart and edgy characters)
Romance with varying heat levels
New Adult
Thrillers
Middle Grade, she’s looking for quirky not cute.  
Young Adult – lower, mid and upper YA (No sci-fi/fantasy or historic)

You can keep up to date with Stacey’s wish list here.

Query Stacey at: query@donaghyliterary.com
In the subject line, write “Query,” followed by story title, genre, and “Stacey Donaghy”
Paste a one or two page synopsis below your query and the first ten pages of your manuscript below that. No attachments.

Note: Stacey will be the guest speaker at a the How to Get Published workshop Saturday, Oct 22, in London. See here.

Valerie Noble is based in the U.S.  She loves science fiction and fantasy (think Kristin Cashore and Suzanne Collins), but she reads everything; for her, it’s more about the writing and less about the genre.

Valerie is seeking Young Adult and New Adult in the following areas:
Science fiction
Fantasy
Historical fantasy
Historical fiction
Valerie is generally not interested in romance or paranormal.

Query Valerie at: query@donaghyliterary.com
In the subject line, write “Query,” followed by story title, genre, and “Valerie Noble”
Paste a one or two page synopsis below your query and the first ten pages of your manuscript below that. No attachments. 

Sue Miller is an associate agent. She graduated with a degree in English Literature from York University in Toronto, as well as a certificate in publishing, from Ryerson University. Sue previously worked in children's publishing with Scholastic Canada.

Prior to joining DLG, Sue interned for Bree Ogden during her time at the D4EO
 agency. Sue dabbles in writing and has edited short stories for other writers. An admitted social media junkie, Sue is always interested in the latest platforms for networking and relationship building within the industry. This led her to complete her Digital Marketing Management certificate from the University of Toronto.
Sue is seeking new and exciting voices as she builds her client list, and she’s romance, young adult, new adult and adult contemporary novels. Asked what manuscripts she’d like to get right now, Sue said, “I would love to see high concept, young adult, urban fiction that deals with social justice issues that does not preach, but tells a universal human story.”
More generally, Sue is looking for:
YA – any sub genre (think Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Cynthia Hand, Stephanie Perkins, Colleen Hoover) 
Urban Fantasy (think Sandy Williams, Patricia Briggs, Karen Marie Moning)
Low Fantasy/ Low level Science Fiction/ Dystopian (think Laini Taylor, Samantha Shannon, Pierce Brown, Andy Weir)
Contemporary Romance (think Jamie McGuire, K.A. Tucker, Colleen Hoover, Jojo Moyes)

And her wish list includes:
 YA or Contemporary romance - fun and smart (not silly) and/or heart breaking, with angst, romantic, sometimes dark
YA contemporary, authentic voices representing urban life (think Treasure E. Blue), multicultural (example: Canadian/Afro-Latino etc.), social change (think Heidi Durrow, R.J. Palacio)

Query Sue at: query@donaghyliterary.com  
In the subject line, write “Query,” followed by story title, and genre. Paste a one or two page synopsis below your query and the first ten pages of your double-spaced manuscript below that. No attachments.

Full guidelines for the Donaghy agency here.

Anne Shone, senior editor
Scholastic Books
Brian Henry will lead How to Get Published workshops on Saturday, Oct 15, in Burlington with literary agent Cassandra Rodgers of The Rights Factory (see here), on Saturday, Oct 22, in London with Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy agency (see here), and on Saturday,  October 29, in Caledon, at the Bolton Public Library, with Martha Web of the McDermid Agency (see here). 

Note: If you're looking at this posting after October, 2016, check out current How to Get Published workshops here (and scroll down).

Then on Saturday, November 19, Brian will lead a Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshop in Mississauga with Anne Shone, senior editor, Scholastic Books as his guest speaker (see here). 
Note: If you're looking at this posting after Nov 19, 2016, check out current Writing for Children & for Young Adult workshops and weekly Writing Kid Lit courses here (and scroll down).

To register or for details, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

But the best way of getting your manuscript ready for publication, may be with a weekly writing course. This fall, three classes still have space: 
Literary Agent Cassandra Rodgers
“Welcome to Creative Writing,” Thursday afternoons Sept 29 - Dec 8, in Oakville (see here).
“Writing Kid Lit ~ Picture Books to YA (new),Tuesday afternoons, Sept 27 - Nov 22 (no class Oct 11), in Burlington (see here).
 “Intensive Creative Writing,” Tuesday mornings, Oct 18 – Dec 6, in Burlington. Details here.
See details of all three of these classes here.

To reserve a spot or for more details, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Brian Henry also has a number of other workshops coming up soon:  Writing with Style, Saturday, Sept 24, in Toronto (see here), How to Write Great Dialogue, Saturday, Oct 1, in Kitchener (see here) Writing and Revising, Saturday, Nov 5, in Midland (see here) and How to Write Great Characters, Saturday, Nov 12, in Barrie (see here).

To register of for more information for any of the above, emailbrianhenry@sympatico.ca

Read reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.

See Brian’s complete current schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Navigation tip: For many more literary agents seeking authors, click on the Literary Agents button at the top of the page, just below the banner. To see only Canadian agents, click on the button in the right-hand column under More Content. To see only agents representing kid’s lit, click on the Children’s/YA agents button in the list of Labels below.