June 2010 Newsletter


Monthly Writing Challenge

Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

Reviewer Honor Roll

Membership Info



By the next time we send out a newsletter, half the year will have gone by. Where would you say you are on your yearlong goals? The nice thing about mid-year state of the writer review is that you still have plenty of time to reach your benchmarks.  Check your to-do list. If you're up to date, and working toward publication, submit something to a few more publishers, editors or agents. Try something new or get a few chapters up on the workshop for critiques.

As always, contact us if you have any questions, publication announcements, or ideas for improving the OWW Newsletter.

Maria Zannini, newsletter editor
newsletter (at) onlinewritingworkshop.com

Monthly Writing Challenge

We've seen a lot of arguments on ye old OWW discussion list, and since June is the month of marriages and marriages come with arguments (it's part of the fun), the challenge for June is to write an argument without getting preachy or didactic. A good argument is critical for conflicts and for information dumps (Council of Elrond, anyone?) and can be great to reveal aspects of character and characterization that previously have been hidden but festering. Up to you if someone or some ones win/lose the argument, but I would recommend you let the reader decide.

Remember: Challenges are supposed to be fun, but don't forget to stretch yourself. If you normally write fantasy, try SF. If you've never tried space opera, here's your chance. It doesn't have to be great. It's all about trying new things. There's no word limit, no time limit, no nothin'. Just have fun and put "Challenge" in the title for easy searching.

Challenges can be suggested by anyone and suggestions should be sent to Maria (newsletter (at) onlinewritingworkshop.com). 

Editors' Choices

The Editors' Choices are chosen from the submissions from the previous month that show the most potential or otherwise earn the admiration of our Resident Editors. Submissions in four categories--science fiction chapters, fantasy chapters, horror, and short stories -- receive a detailed review, meant to be educational for others as well as the author. 

This issue's reviews are written by Resident Editors Jeanne Cavelos, Karen Meisner, John Klima, and Karin Lowachee. The last four months of Editors' Choices and their editorial reviews are archived on the workshop. Go to the "Read, Rate, Review" page and click on "Editors' Choices." 

Congratulations to the current Editors' Choice authors!

Editors' Choices, Fantasy


When writing for young adults, it's vital to create a main character with whom teens can empathize. You probably know that I feel that it's vital to always create empathetic characters, but when it comes to teens, it's essential. You can't have a young adult novel unless your teens care about the people in the book. The characters also have to be in situations in which teens find themselves. The nice thing about our teen/formative years is that many of the same issues come up no matter which era or setting is used.

You can be in space or a fantasy world or at the dawn of time and teens will always feel underappreciated. They'll also feel like they're being left out of something. I know as a younger person there were always things my parents or older siblings were doing that I desparately wanted to do, and often for nothing more than the fact that I was not allowed to do them.

In Kit Davis' THE CODE OF WARRIORS AND DRAGONS, we meet a young teen girl, Keelin, who is illicitly watching her brother go through his manhood ceremony. Her brother is also becoming one of their clan's twenty-four elite warriors at the same time. The initial ceremony is something women are not allowed to see, and women cannot become one of the elite warriors. You won't be surprised to learn that Keelin takes umbrage at the fact that her brother gets to do both.

Keelin is presented as a smart, forthright, independent girl struggling in a male dominated world. She should appeal to all sorts of teenage girls in today's world, and will even cross over to boys who feel picked on or put down. She's a little bit of a trouble-maker, which is also good since this story would progress nowhere if she did what she was told.

There are some structural and grammatical problems here, though. Something that Davis does with regularity is having two characters speak in the same paragraph. I know that I've talked about this before. It's something I've been seeing with regularity, so I have to say that I'm concerned that people think this a good practice. The problem is, your reader should read a single paragraph of dialog as coming from a single character. When you have multiple characters speaking in the same paragraph, you'll confuse the reader. Worse, an editor or agent will (at least this editor will) reject your submission. I won't even entertain this as potentially being ok to do in some situations. It's not a good practice. But I'll be clear:

Don't EVER have more than one character speak in the same paragraph.

In this case, it's too bad it happened, as I found the dialog entertaining, but every time it happened I was initially perplexed, and then I was annoyed. So please, when writing dialog, watch for this. I'm seeing it all over the place and it makes me wonder if somehow it got out into the world where people feel it's an ok thing to do.

Davis also has some weird passive voice happening. There are a lot of instances of VERB to VERB, e.g., were to replace, or seemed to have, or failed to return. Now, yes, some of those examples are perfectly fine. But when the structure is happening over and over again, it starts to jump out at me. Davis also uses structures like "strapped around Tristan a sword" instead of something more straightforward and less clunky sounding like "strapped a sword around Tristan." I'm not sure if Davis is trying for an antiquated writing style, but if she's trying to appeal to today's young adults, this is going to put them off by sounding too much like their homework.

Another small thing is the mis-use of homonyms. If you're not sure what homonyms are, it's words that are pronounced the same (or in some cases here, nearly pronounced the same) but have different meanings. The most famous, if homonyms can be famous, are to, too, and two. In Davis' case, we have "hued" (colored) and "hewed" (carved) or "hallowed" (sacred) and "hollowed" (emptied out) for examples. One I see quite a bit, not in Davis' chapter, is "shudder" (to shake) and "shutter" (hinged cover for a window). I have too many people facing monsters and "shuttering" for my liking. I've even put it in the guidelines for Electric Velocipede I saw it often enough.

The danger with homonyms and homonym-like words is that your spell checker won't catch them, and you might not either as it will "sound" correct in your head, even though the word is wrong. This is why you have other people read your text. And I'm not talking proofreaders during the publishing process, I'm talking writer's group (like this one) or trusted friends/significant others, etc.

In the end, this problems are minor and Davis has created a compelling character facing an age-old concern of young adults (particularly girls) everywhere. Davis has done a great job setting up her world. There are clans and dragons and warriors and a patriarchal society and more. Davis cleverly adds an old tapestry depicting a great female warrior from the past that Keelin found and hung in her room (like a rock star or sports figure).

And that's only in the opening chapter. Davis does a lot of showing plied with enough telling to properly set up the events to come. Davis then introduces some outside trouble (the chapter ends with news of an invasion) that will only compound the problems that Keelin is facing in her personal world. With her father leading the clan, and her brother joining the elite group of warriors, I would expect Keelin to be dealing with some loss in her life and potentially using her tapestry as inspiration to go out and fight. Davis will need to be careful to not lead the reader too much, or project future events too clearly, but I think if Davis is careful, those things can be avoided.

--John Klima, Editor, Electric Velocipede

Editors' Choices, Science Fiction

DELIVERANCE, Chapters 1-3 By Jeanne Haskin

This month's selection has a very spare style, but manages to display a narrative depth befitting, in a way, the almost-clinical nature of one of its protagonists - a biomechanical clone of a dying scientist. The characterization is just as spare, but effective, as minimal words convey the personalities and appearances:

Her appearance is practical and modest [...] Her nails are bare of polish. She reminds him of a birch tree with her spare, slender beauty and her black and white beliefs.

Impactful phrases are also used to great effect - neither overwrought or run-on:

How stupid to think she could kill him.

In the first few lines of the first chapter, we quickly understand that John Dahl is suffering from cancer and wants his wife to help him to die, though she refuses: immediate conflict. In the very next scene, Dahl is speaking to a HAL-like computer that is disconcerting in its seeming understanding of John's plight. We soon learn that it houses Dahl's DNA - a psychological clone in a technological body (with the name of Dahl's stillborn child) - which presents the moral and emotional ground line for the narrative.

The short scenes read almost like vignettes, but rather than be jarring changes of rhythm, they end on such encapsulating and impactful lines that they offer a kind of ongoing completion of the ‘thoughts' of the story, as the chapters progress. For example:

James says, "You're not afraid to die, John. You're afraid that you won't matter."


He's in too much pain to think, and only desires death. Yet he can't make James a killer.

That would give him the power of choice and alter his algorithms.

It would make James unpredictable.

This segues into Chapter Two, which is from James' point-of-view. While Dahl is dying in Chapter One, we witness what seems to be a birth of consciousness in the clone.

Though a more spare style works to a large extent with this idea, enhancing the basic elements of storytelling - setting being one of them - wouldn't kill the style. A few more well-placed environmental details would flesh out the overall story without being intrusive. In this chapter we also witness how James works through (or works around) the fact of lying, even if it seems to go against his program's imperatives. Getting a peek inside the clone's mind works well, but be careful not to get so comfortable in the psychological line of the narrative that other opportunities for interesting ideas might possibly fall by the wayside. For example:

His hard drives click and hum as James multi-tasks. Windows open on different monitors to produce what he reads and listens to. He logs in with multiple user codes to download what he wants.

Since we don't know how far in the future this occures, but we assume it's enough to make cloning a consciousness possible, this description of the computer's processes reads a little too outdated. In such a future, wouldn't there be another way to interface or manifest the computer processes? If we knew the general year, this might not seem so contradictory.

Also, watch that James' thought processes don't get too esoteric:

...What is stored in the heart is real, the intangible made manifest like a whisper of thought on film, except, in this case, it's captured in code.

If he does have a soul, then it would be the sum of that code.

It has no basis in logic and was never born of this world.

It simply is and always was.

This idea seems to contradict. Would the soul in this context really be the ‘sum' of the code? Shouldn't it be more than the sum of the code, especially if it is ‘never born of this world'? Something else that doesn't make sense: when Sarah, the wife, understands what James is...it's not explained what she thought this computer system was in the first place, as it sat in her husband's room. Some expansion of that for clarity in just a few lines would be good. The end of Chapter Two also isn't clear...did Dahl die? Be careful the language doesn't overshoot itself and become too opaque.

Chapter Three introduces a new character and an expansion of the plot - the pacing works. Definitely by now the reader is hooked on the situation and the characters and what could possibly happen to them all. But like the end of Chapter Two, we're not exactly sure what is being discussed in specifics: Better yet, he says, we'll destroy what we wish. Everything up to this point, with the introduction of a covert agent, has been suspenseful - but that line sounds too coy and weakens the ending of a great new chapter.

Overall these first brief chapters employ beautiful turns of phrases and a fascinating set-up. James, while still being a ‘character' that we might've seen before, manages to manifest in his own unique situation and the reader is intrigued to discover how he will fit into the machinations of those around him.

--Karin Lowachee

Editors' Choices, Short Story

"Siren Song" by Aliette de Bodard

Emilie, the main character of "Siren Song", is a second-generation immigrant to France; her mother arrived during a mass exodus from her homeland. That homeland was not in fact land at all, but ocean, and her people were mermen. Emilie, who is half-mermaid, has been raised on glorious fantastic tales of their history, and how they were driven out by an evil Dark King, although it seems that what actually forced their exodus was a human-created pollution disaster.

Beyond the prose, which is clear and poetic and flows very well, there are a couple of things going on in this story that make it rather special. First, the portrayal of the merfolk as an uncomfortably assimilated people among the French, and second, the way it explores the use of fantasy in both expressing and hiding reality.

Racism toward fantasy species in speculative fiction can often come across as heavy-handed metaphor, but I think it's handled well here. It could be made even more interesting if there were more specific details about how the merfolk have trouble blending in; and to what extent they want to, individually and culturally. Merfolk must have their own set of concerns as immigrants -- they have a different biology, for example, and a unique historical relationship to humans -- and I would like to see more about that. I wonder: how do the merfolk think of themselves? As refugees, as outsiders, as adopted French? To what extent do they want to become French, or to maintain a separate culture within the human one, or both? The answers may vary from person to person, but it would be interesting to see more of them explored. I particularly want to see issues that are specific to merfolk: how do they even feel about breathing air and walking on land? They have lost so much of who they were. And the people with whom they now mingle were at least somewhat responsible for that loss. The more we see these ideas explored or suggested through details, the more these imagined people will transcend allegory and take on their own reality.

I love this image at the end:

"She was watching Father's still shape, her whole body taut with a terrible intensity; in that moment she looked like a princess from the depths, wild and terrible and elemental, with the fury of the sea in her grey gaze--and then the moment was gone, and she was only a frail old woman in a hospital room, waiting for death's visit."

For an instant, Emilie views her mother as a glorious, fantastical creature, and then sees her diminished by her assimilation into the human world. This tension is a classic element of many mermaid/selkie stories, and yet it feels fresh and distinctive here because it's framed in the larger social context of their immigration. Well done.

The use of fantasy to cope with reality is a topic very dear to me: I'm fascinated by it. So for me, the most exciting aspect of this story is the idea of the Dark King and how that legend gets used to apply a dashing romantic gloss to a fairly mundane situation -- though of course, we are dealing in merfolk here, so a certain amount of fantasy is built into the situation. I wonder: with an ecological disaster of these proportions, surely the facts would be common knowledge, so what is Emilie's relationship to that knowledge? It doesn't seem like something that could have been kept from her. Does she believe the story of the Dark King to be literally true, or does she recognize it, at some level, as myth or metaphor?

I would like to see more of how this fantasy has shaped Emilie, how it has given her a sense of self and history that is useful in dealing with the reality around her. Does it make her feel special, believing that she is exiled royalty from a noble kingdom? How does this play out in her day to day life?

Some confusion over facts make the ending less than fully satisfying because I'm just not sure what's happening: what IS the sword? If it's actually a scientific instrument of some kind, why is it shaped like a sword, which seems overly convenient? Even if it is a long object equipped with some kind of holster she can interpret as a scabbard, it seems unlikely that it would happen to have a sharp edge, which is the fundamental feature of a sword. So when she finally discovers the mythical sword, I would expect a bit more dissonance between her expectations of the object and the reality.

What is she really discovering, though? Is the sword a weapon, or an instrument that plays music or releases pheromones to attract the merfolk, or something else entirely? And how does this connect to the papers on a "pheromone drive"? In general, it's difficult to reconcile the object with the rest of the story, which makes it feel as though the story needed a sword for plot purposes and hasn't quite managed yet to make sense of why one is there. I get the impression that the author has worked this out in her head, but it hasn't fully translated yet to the reader.

All in all, this is a really beautiful scientific fairy tale. The details still feel a little unformed, but I think most everything this story needs is already in there and just needs to be brought into focus. Good luck with it!

--Karen Meisner, Editor, Strange Horizons

Editors' Choices, Horror

"Empty Suits" by Don Christensen

In "Empty Suits," John Glover finds a foreign wife, Greta Ilanova, over the Internet. She moves in, seemingly content to stay in a tiny room with a bare mattress and have sex with John once a week. When he wants sex more often, she asks to move in her grotesque, wheelchair-bound father. John agrees, no longer caring now that he can have sex as often as he wants. He becomes exhausted and bedridden, and Greta reveals that her father is not her father but an incubator for an alien, similar to Greta. Two others in wheelchairs also give birth to aliens, as John takes his place in a wheelchair and prepares for what is to come.

The plot begins quickly, with John's problem established in the first paragraph. He quickly takes action to solve his problem, and more problems result, which is good. The plot offers some nice escalation as John's condition becomes worse and worse, and Greta's behavior becomes more and more disturbing. The strongest moment in the story occurs when John sees the three men in wheelchairs. We realize this is John's fate, and he has become what he has loathed.

I think the story could be improved in several ways, including some areas of plot, description, and style.

*Plot: The turns in the plot could be more clearly defined to create more excitement and more of a sense of progression and character continuity. There seems to be no reason that John can only have sex with Greta once a week. That seems to be his choice, in which case he doesn't need to beg her to have sex more often or to let her "father" move in to get more sex. He doesn't seem the kind to beg, based on the beginning of the story, and he could simply threaten to throw her out. So this major turn in the story, when he begs her for more sex and agrees to let the father move in, seems poorly motivated and out of character. I think you need to better develop this section. Show us that she lays down the rule of sex only once a week from the start, and that he agrees, thinking this is fine at first. Then you need to show him becoming more needy. He would make his first attempt at more frequent sex by simply walking into her bedroom on a different night, she would refuse him, and he'd try to force himself, something creepy would happen, and he'd tell her to leave. But in the middle of her leaving, he'd repent and ask her to stay. Or she'd go for the night and he'd be desperate to have her back the next day. The next night he might make dinner for her. But still she would refuse. Then he might beg and agree to let the father move in. That's the end of Act 1 of the story.

Act 2 involves his deterioration and abdication of authority. It could use a stronger end and turn before the climax. It also lacks a strong causal chain, which plots should have--a sense that one event causes the next. Right now, Act 2 simply ends when Greta decides to reveal the truth to him. This part of the story would be stronger if John made a last ditch effort to escape or regain his authority, and this led to his discovery of the truth. For example, perhaps he hears multiple voices in the house and is angry she has more people over. He decides he must throw out everyone except Greta, and he gets himself up and gets out to the living room, where he discovers the three men in wheelchairs. Greta is furious at his actions and returns him to his room, and says if he can't wait, then fine. The "probing" occurs. That would be the end of Act 2. Greta is now in total control and he's powerless.

Act 3 involves the climax. The next day, she takes him out and explains everything, and the alien creatures are born.

This outline takes the events in your story and rearranges them a bit, and adds a few things, to make the turning points in the story stronger.

*Description: The story has some evocative and disturbing description, particularly during the Act 2 section. I think the story would be stronger with more description in Acts 1 and 2 and less description in Act 3. After their first sexual encounter, Greta is not described much at all. I'd like to see more of her movements, postures, expressions, and actions. In Act 3, I'd actually like you to suggest more and show less, which you do quite well in Act 2. Showing me Greta's true alien form and the larvae actually lessens the fear and revulsion I feel. I don't want to know they're aliens. I don't want to know that she's been adjusting her DNA or hear about the grishaldoc. All of that lessens the mystery you've created and gives it a fairly familiar explanation. I'd rather not know what Greta is. If John's head is immobilized, then perhaps she's out of sight and all he can see is a shadow, or he can't see anything but he can hear some sounds of movement. And perhaps he can't see much of what's crawling out of the mouths of the other men, all he can see is their bodies deflating and sliding to the floor. That's a nice creepy image, and it would be stronger if left to stand on its own, rather than fighting with the other images. Horror is, in large part, a genre that gets its power from raising questions and not answering them, leaving the reader to be haunted by them long after the story is over. Let those questions of who/what Greta is and who/what the baby creatures are simply stand, unanswered.

The last line doesn't work for me, because I don't know what she means by it. If she means she's going to be having sex with a new guy once a week, that didn't come across. I don't think that's important at this point. We already know she's a serial impregnator. A last line that focuses more on the men and their fate would be better.

*Style: The story has a number of run-on sentences, which throw me out of the story. There are also some typos/missing words that are jarring and some awkward sentences. Reading your work aloud may help you spot these things. That is an invaluable final step in any revision process, which I strongly recommend.

I hope this is helpful.

--Jeanne Cavelos, editor, author, director of Odyssey


Heather Massey is a blogger who travels the sea of stars searching for science fiction romance adventures aboard The Galaxy Express. Additionally, she pens a science fiction romance column for LoveLetter, Germany's premier romance magazine.  I discovered Heather Massey quite by accident and started following her blog for news on science fiction and science fantasy romance books from authors spanning the decades. Heather's style is conversational and welcoming, showcasing reviews, interviews, and opinion pieces on the state of this rising subgenre.  

blog banner

Please welcome Heather Massey. I think you'll find she has smart things to say about the future of science-fiction romance.

You host The Galaxy Express, a blog dedicated to science fiction romance, but you don't draw the line at SF. Tell us how The Galaxy Express came about. Why did you start this blog?

I've been a fan of science fiction romance since childhood, even though I didn't know its name at the time. Following my daughter's birth in 2006, I became a stay-at-home mom and discovered new SFR books and sites like Alien Romance and the Intergalactic Bar & Grille. Imagine my delight, because I really hadn't been able to share this interest with many people. That's when I saw an opportunity to not only blog about SFR, but also help facilitate an online community dedicated to raising its visibility. After all these years, I still can't get enough of it. I cover anything that blends SF and romance in books, film, television, and even videogames.

Explain the difference between romantic science fiction and science fiction romance.

In romantic SF, the focus is on the speculative elements and external plot. Take away the romance and the plot still works. In SFR, the romance is central. Remove it, and the story falls apart. However, there are also stories that achieve a 50-50 blend of SF and romance. Take either one out, and the story disintegrates. Some stories walk a fine line between the two.

What do you think has popularized this science fiction romance?

Several factors contributed to popularizing the genre:

SF authors such as Anne McCaffrey, Lois McMaster Bujold, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and Catherine Asaro were routinely including romances in their work, which translated to more character-driven stories for SF as a whole. These books caught the attention of romance readers, who spread more buzz.

Then along came authors like Linnea Sinclair, Susan Grant, Jess Granger, Ann Aguirre, and many others who were not only invested in crafting SFR with more sophisticated speculative elements, but also promoting it.

It also helps that both SF and romance have evolved into various subgenres, and readers have been showing strong interest in hybrid stories.

What about SFR covers? Do you think the racier covers impact sales?

SFR covers are in search of a clear identity. The mixed bag of SF and romance cover styles has prevented publishers from establishing a common motif. Racy covers might increase sales, but what I think is both effective *and* true to the subgenre are covers that incorporate both SF and romantic elements. For example, a couple against a starry background or with a spaceship. It's a work in progress.

How do you respond to people who say that science fiction romance is a niche market?

I tell them that it *is* a niche market, but a growing one with much potential. One issue is visibility--SFR just hasn't been very visible. Readers can't buy books they don't know about. Yet two of the hottest sellers in the digital market are SF and romance-and hybrids thereof (e.g., erotic SFR). So readers are interested.

There's also been a stigma attached to romance in SF, and I think it's about time we put that nonsense to rest. Heh, can you tell I take an unapologetic stance when it comes to my love of SFR?

Therefore, one of my goals as a blogger has been to start as many conversations about it as I can. Given time, more books, and enough conversations, SFR is poised for a breakout.

Can you give us some examples of SFR from some major players?

This list is a range of classic and new, hard and soft speculative elements, and heat level:

Lois McMaster Bujold -- CORDELIA'S HONOR
Catherine Asaro -- SUNRISE ALLEY; ALPHA
Ann Aguirre -- GRIMSPACE
Sherrilyn Kenyon -- BORN OF NIGHT

Where do you think SFR should be shelved? Under Romance or under Science Fiction?

This issue has long plagued SFR authors and publishers. Both would be ideal. If authors seek the largest market share, then they should consider going with romance publishers. However, reality dictates that books will be shelved in either section depending on the publisher/bookseller.

It's a different case with ebooks, however. Metadata will enable publishers to label SFR using a variety of tags. Such a strategy increases the chances that readers will find the blends of SF and romance they desire. The ever-expanding digital market ought to make writing SFR a more attractive option because publishers and booksellers won't have physical space limitations.

The biggest push for SFR seems to come from Hollywood. Avatar, Star Wars, and Star Trek--mainstream audiences eat it up. Can we also acquire mainstream readers to respond as positively to SFR novels? Or does shelving constrain us too much to a specific demographic?

I think the 2.5 billion plus profit of a film like Avatar is too large to ignore. And franchises like Star Trek and Star Wars have proven their staying power. I think publishers would do well to try and capture those fans--and that kind of profit.

That said, film and books are two different mediums. Moviegoers are not always avid readers, and vice versa. The main challenges I see are visibility and marketing. To tell mainstream readers a book is science fiction romance is one thing. To tell them it has elements of Avatar/Star Wars/Star Trek is a strong hook and makes a much clearer connection.

In what ways have SFR authors marketed the genre?

It's very much a grassroots effort. Authors blog and tweet to inform readers about their work. The group author blog Alien Romances is one of the core SFR blogs. Prior to The Galaxy Express, several authors promoted SFR using the Science Fiction Romance Newsletter. Authors also attend conventions and conduct workshops both online and off.  Marketing science fiction romance is a true community effort among authors and readers, and we're always seeking new recruits!

What's next for The Galaxy Express?

Recently, I joined forces with the SFR Brigade, a consortium for writers to help promote the work of individual authors and also raise visibility for SFR. This is a great place to network with other authors in the subgenre.

Also, I'm developing a few big events for my blog. The first is a feature devoted to erotic science fiction romance, date TBA. In July, I'll host the second annual Parallel Universe, an online SFR conference that will run concurrently with the Romance Writers of America national conference.

And naturally, I'll continue to blog about science fiction romance and all of its amazing facets!

Publication Announcements

Bo Balder says: "My short story 'Satyricon' ( Je-weet-wel Sater in Dutch) has been published by Mynx/Meulenhoff.

Brad Beaulieu announced "My story 'In the Eyes of the Empress's Cat' will be printed in the STALKING THE WILD HARE anthology, which will be released just in time for GenCon this year.

Gio Clairval says: "I sold 'The Hand,' a workshopped story, to Weird Tales. I wouldn't have made it without the help of Marc Sellers, Kelly Lagor, Gregory Clifford, Charlie Hoopla, Zvi Zaks, J. Westlake, Elissa Hunt, Zed Paul, and Andrew Alford. Special thanks to Erin Stocks, Ilan Lerman and Giovanni Giusti, who reviewed the story twice!"

Tom Crosshill dropped us a note saying: "I've sold my piece 'Sandra Plays for the Cast-iron Man' to Jake Freivald at Flash Fiction Online. This is my second sale to FFO this year, and I couldn't be more delighted. It was workshopped as 'The Light Outside.' Thanks to Aaron C. Brown, Jim Poulos and Rhiannon R.-S. for helpful input!  Also, 'Thinking Woman's Crop of Fools' will be appearing in the 7th issue of Sybil's Garage. I workshopped this one as 'Thinking Man's Ghoul' a while back. Thanks to Chris Montgomery and Tim Burke for their input."

Vylar Kaftan is signing contracts all over the place. "My story 'The Orange-Tree Sacrifice' will be in WAY OF THE WIZARD, an anthology from Prime Books edited by John Joseph Adams.  Also, another podcast. This time for 'I'm Alive, I Love You, I'll See You in Reno,' which is forthcoming in the debut issue of Lightspeed Magazine, also edited by John Joseph Adams. It'll be at Escape Pod when Lightspeed launches. And just signed the contracts for 'Hero-Mother' at GigaNotoSaurus and 'Prashkina's Fire' at Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Hooray!"

Deborah Kalin mentioned on her blog that PodCastle will be publishing "The Wages of Salt" in an upcoming issue.

Christine Lucas tells us: "My short story 'And the Psychopomp Followed the Lyre' which was workshopped here, will be published in the June 2010 issue of Expanded Horizons. Many thanks to everyone who critted."

Katya Oliva-Llego announced, "I just made my first fiction sale. The piece was a story I workshopped: 'Betamax for Starters.' I would like to thank the online workshop, especially the members who had reviewed my story: Krista Hutley, Carl Chrystan, and Nancy Chenier. The sale is to Expanded Horizons."

Joshua Palmatier says: "Bwahahahaha! I just got word that my short story 'Tears of Blood,' set in Amenkor but not during the time of Varis or the Throne trilogy, has been ACCEPTED into the BEAUTY HAS HER WAY anthology from Dark Quest Books!"

Reviewer Honor Roll

The Reviewer Honor Roll is a great way to pay back a reviewer for a really useful review.  When you nominate a reviewer, we list the reviewer's name, the submission/author reviewed, and your explanation of what made the review so useful.  The nomination appears in the Honor Roll area of OWW the month after you submit it, and is listed  for a month. You can nominate reviewers of your own submissions or reviewers of other submissions, if you have learned from reading the review.  Think of it as a structured, public "thank you" that gives credit where credit is due and helps direct other OWWers to useful reviewers and useful review skills.

Visit the Reviewer Honor Roll page for a complete list of nominees and explanatory nominations.

May 2010 Honor Roll Nominees

Reviewer: Gregory Clifford
Submission: Knights of Baphomet - Prologue, Chapters 1
Submitted by: Tony Peak

Reviewer: K. C. Mitchells
Submitted by: L. K. Pinaire

Reviewer: Erin Stocks
Submission: How to Make a Triffid
Submitted by: Kelly Lagor

Reviewer: Melisa Erwin
Submission: Wynnstalkicinkeur The Imp Chapter 7
Submitted by: Jeanne Marcella-Ayer

Reviewer: Melisa Erwin
Submission: Wynnstalkicinkeur The Imp Chapter 6
Submitted by: Jeanne Marcella-Ayer

Reviewer: Jeanne Cavelos
Submission: Food For Thought
Submitted by: Tony Peak

Reviewer: Bo Balder
Submission: Food For Thought
Submitted by: Tony Peak

Reviewer: Graeme Robertson
Submission: My Love by the Lake which Is a Sea
Submitted by: Gio Clairval

Reviewer: Gio Clairval
Submission: The Alphabet According to Oz, A-G and S-Z
Submitted by: Charlie Hoopla

Reviewer: Scott Kennedy
Submission: WITH GIO CLAIRVAL - A Rose for the Nomad
Submitted by: Erin Stocks

Reviewer: Erica Lovell
Submission: "A Familiar Grace"
Submitted by: ZA Zygmunt

Reviewer: Miquela Faure
Submission: Racing Death ch 1-3
Submitted by: Bonnie Freeman

Reviewer: Kim Purdue
Submission: Chapter Thirteen - The Greensward Isle by Melisa Erwin
Submitted by: Melisa Erwin

Membership Info

Fees: $49/year, $30/6 months, or $6/month. First trial month free. (more)

How to pay: PayPal, Kagi, check in US dollars, money order in US dollars, barter (more)

Scholarship fund: We accept scholarship fund donations and award full or partial scholarships to active members in need. (more)

Gift memberships: You can give a gift membership for another member; just send us a payment by whatever method you like, noting who the membership is for and specifying whether the gift is anonymous or not. We will acknowledge receipt to you and the member.

Bonus payments: The workshop costs only 94 cents per week, but we know that many members feel that it's worth much more to them. 25% of any bonus payments we receive will go to our support staff; the rest will be tucked away to lengthen the shoestring that is our budget and keep us running! (more)


Got a helpful tip for your fellow members? A trick or hint for submitting or reviewing, for what to put in your author's comments, for getting good reviews, or for formatting or titling your submission? Share it with us and we'll publish it in the next newsletter. Just send it to support (at) sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com and we'll do the rest.

Until next month--just write!

The Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
support (at) sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com