January 2012 Newsletter


Monthly Writing Challenge

Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

On Shelves Now

Membership Info



Happy 2012! We hope this is your year to shine. We're already starting out on the right foot--we recently learned that OWW alumnus Rae Carson has been nominated for a William C. Morris YA Debut Award for her novel Girl of Fire and Thorns. What a way to start the year!

This month, another award-winning alum, Sandra McDonald, is highlighted below with an illuminating article about the erotica market. There's money in erotica and Sandra offers some tips on breaking into this profitable market.

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

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

Monthly Writing Challenge

Write a story in the "Wild West" in a literal or figurative sense. The law is weak, corrupt or non-existent where the characters are. How do they enforce justice?

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.

Challenges can be suggested by anyone and suggestions should be sent to Maria (news (at) onlinewritingworkshop.com). This month's challenge was sent in by Elizabeth Porco.

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, Elizabeth Bear, 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


This is, in general, a high-level submission that accomplishes a great deal in a short space. The prose is clean, direct, and unassuming, the exposition well-integrated, and the narrative gives a sense of confidence that reassures readers that they are in good hands and that the author knows where she's going. I do, however, have some specific technical critiques, mostly having to do with making the experience of reading more immersive.

When our primary motivator to engage with Felicity, the protagonist, is the peril she is in, it is necessary for readers to have a sense of foreboding about that peril. We must be worried on Felicity's behalf for the narrative to build tension. We must care, and for that we must feel that she cares, and is frightened or at least concerned.

The first scene in this submission in the strongest, with a good sense of place and character. Felicity is quickly sketched, but immediately identifiable as a harried medical professional, and it's evident that the author has a good familiarity with the hospital environment, its politics and protocols. One thing I would urge some attention to--and trimming of--is the amount of scaffolding (or supportive, excess verbiage) devoted to establishing and re-establishing Felicity's point of view. Excess use of phrases such as "she saw," "she felt," and "she heard" can have a distancing effect and is also a crutch that allows the writer to get away with less effective verbs.

A sentence is only as strong and direct as its primary verb; vivid writing depends on potent verbs. Overall, this submission is lacking in atmosphere. Muscular verbs are one way to address that lack.

An example of this is the sentence "She heard voices approaching from the path behind her." Readers will know that it's Felicity hearing this, and it's not exactly the voices that are approaching. Rather, it's the people whose voices these are--and later on we discover that they are the voices of some fraternity brothers. Description should be concrete, specific, and detailed whenever possible, and engage all the senses--and this too will help to build atmosphere.  What does the redcap smell like, for example? What does his breath feel like when he is choking Felicity? Sensory detail is vital to bringing readers into the protagonist's world.

This author also has a tendency to repeat descriptors, and use very generic ones. We are told twice in three paragraphs that Arthur's hair is "blonde" (the word for a man's hair color in this case would be "blond," incidentally) but that's really a very generic description of him. He's blond; he has jewel-toned eyes. He has a sympathetic smile. None of this does anything to establish him as a character--but what does stand out as an excellent piece of description is the feather behind his ear and the ink-stained sleeves.

There's some effective characterization in this second scene--Arthur's absentmindedness is nicely played, for example--but the dialogue starts to feel a little rote, and a little rushed, as if this were an obligatory scene of Felicity-denying-the-supernatural that the author felt she had to write. The characterization winds up feeling a little thin because of this. I'm not sure what Felicity wants in this scene, or what she's accomplishing... or what she's afraid of. And all of those things should be informing her behavior. Arthur's motivations should be informing his behavior too.

Also, I'd expect a supernatural investigator to be able to spot a redcap from the description. They're a pretty well-known otherworld beastie, after all. He might still pull out the book to get a confirmation (supernatural mug shots?) but I think less of Arthur's competence for him not knowing that off the bat.

Another thing to look out for is unintentional repetition--not just of words, but of information. If an author tells us that a creature's nails "are like little pins" then we needn't be told also that they are "very sharp." Once one has shown something, in other words, it's no longer necessary to tell it--and narrating something that has also been demonstrated also distances the reader.

One other minor bit of narrative repetition to be aware of lies in giving a particular character a characteristic bit of business to identify him or her. In this case, Felicity twirls her hair around her finger in two scenes in a row. It's good to establish these sorts of behaviors--habits of body language--but it is very easy for them to become a tic and an annoyance. Think of the (in)famous the braid-tugging to indicate feminine anger in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.

As the chapter progresses, the scene-setting and immersiveness of the world become very thin, and it starts to read a little like a script--lines of dialogue without much to support them. For this to work, the dialogue has to be exceptional, and the writer must have the gift or skill of revealing through it everything the reader needs to know. Gene Wolfe can do this; not everyone else can.

This author has the potential for very good observation and revelation of character--for example, when Delphine answers Arthur's rebuke by "pushing a few random keys" on her keyboard. That tells me a great deal about her and about their relationship. It's important not to succumb to the temptation to hurry through the narrative to get to the good parts. William Goldman teaches us obliquely via The Princess Bride that every single scene needs to be a good part; if it isn't, cut it, and find a way to get the necessary work done that is.

This is a good start to a novel, and deserves every possible chance to engage readers and keep their interest.

--Elizabeth Bear

Editors' Choices, Science Fiction

RETURN TO IMMORTALITY, Chapter 34, by Zed Paul

Over a year ago an early chapter of this novel was chosen as Editor's Choice, and it's good to see that many of the skills displayed in that previous chapter are still prevalent here: great pacing, smooth dialogue, interesting descriptions, and just enough setting to infuse the world with realism. The characters are well defined and the stakes are high. The brief synopsis at the beginning is an effective pitch -- clear and with a great tone -- and would just need to be tailored/expanded for a partial book submission.

The problematic parts are easy enough fixes. There are borderline clichés, for example: "A dark, chilling cloud suddenly descended over him."  And:  "..a hush fell over the room."

A good rule of thumb is if you're read or heard some sort of phrase/description before, try to think of a new and fresh way of saying it. Keeping in the voice or point-of-view of the character (in this case, Roy, who is colorful) can help with that. Think of how he would describe something and infuse that personality into even off-hand or passing descriptions.

That being said about Roy's point-of-view, though, there were parts where the POV seemed more omniscient, as it slipped into more of Bram's thoughts:

It was like having him stick a knife into his chest and twist it, yet he had smiled and squeezed her hand as though grateful when she had said it. He had been prepared for it. The moment Torula had asked to be saved in a willdisc, he had known he would have to stay, call out to her, and look into her eyes...as she died.

Because this is such an impactful scene, and it's understandable not wanting to do it from Bram's viewpoint because the emotion might be too much, you need to decide to be firmly in Roy's head -- unless the rest of the novel reads more distant/omniscient. Through this, there can also be more gritty details of what Torula is going through as she dies, in order to amp up the emotionality even more, and really send home the idea of how horrible this is. This makes Bram's stress even greater and more felt by the reader. Don't scrimp on telling details because Roy's had it in his head how it affected his dog in the test run.

Also regarding the test run ... they did one (and only one?) on the same day Torula was supposed to be "transitioned"? Or was this just the final one in a long line of test runs with the test dummy (great description with that, too)? It doesn't seem to make sense if it was the only run. This might just be because I haven't read the bulk of the novel but thought it was worth mentioning just in case.

The exact process of how she transitions and when she's able to "manifest" for the doctors to see also read a little sketchy, but this might also be because it's the end of the book. If it was expanded upon in previous chapters then it might not be a problem.

There were subtle, accurate human observations that worked well; for a book that deals with such huge issues (death and immortality, playing God, etc), it adds to the narrative to pay attention to places where the prose can be elevated, for example:

It helped that the machinery had been intended for space travel. As far as everyone there was concerned, the glass chamber was a space capsule, and Torula, the test pilot. It seemed to give the staff a rational way to deal with what was about to happen.

That just frankly rings true. Also the lovely allusion to Atlas, and other such details are almost too sparse. The writing wouldn't lose anything by placing more of those in there at key moments to create impact in the story. The pace is so brisk and the suspense well-wrought that sentences here and there wouldn't jeopardize the overall narrative.

This novel is an interesting concept, with interesting characters and moral choices. Don't be afraid to really "meat it up" and take time to explore every emotional aspect, and reflect that in vibrant language.

--Karin Lowachee

Editors' Choices, Short Story

"Zeitgeist" by Gio Clairval

In late nineteenth-century Paris, a maid steals her employer's jewels in the hopes of getting her consumptive husband to a healthier climate. When she gets caught, she discovers that a circle of aristocratic women have been killing off poor people with tuberculosis and eating their bodies, believing that this will make them immortal. And she -- or her husband -- may be on their menu next.

There's a lovely first-person voice in this story, which has a genuine French ring to it and suggests the nineteenth century without sounding forced or stilted. The narrative rolls along gracefully with plenty of period details to keep us grounded in the setting. I have some concerns about the pacing, in terms of both action and emotion; there are areas that feel flattened out where the story seems to call for more valleys and peaks. Part of this results from some murkiness in Severine's motives; they're mentioned in the text, but are not coming across strongly enough for me to feel a keen need for her to get those jewels. Her relationship with her husband Guillaume is an important aspect of the plot -- everything that both of them do follows from their feelings about each other. So what are those feelings, exactly? Her relationship with Guillaume hardly seems to justify the lengths she's going to in order to save his life. The longest conversation they have together ends with him accusing her of prostituting herself. We can see from her reaction that prostitution is not the sort of act that's in her nature, so I have to wonder: what kind of man jumps to this conclusion about his wife? It makes both him and their relationship look shoddy to me, and therefore I lose some emotional investment in the outcome of her thievery. It's fine if they have a not-great relationship, but then I want to see more of what else is making the stakes high for her. Is she afraid she'll lose her job and end up in the poorhouse with a child on the way? Does she see this as her opportunity to get out of a life of servitude? What is driving her? If the reader feels that her goals are truly urgent, we'll care more about what happens as she tries to steal the jewels.

Then there's a long section in the middle, between her return home after stealing the jewels and the scene when she finally retrieves them, where not a lot happens. The story works in some clues that will pay off later, but it works them in between slow-paced descriptions of not terribly interesting events. I would suggest this needs some restructuring. My first impulse is to suggest it could be trimmed and shortened, but I think I'm having that reaction only because the middle section as it currently stands is deflating the story's energy. It could actually be made even longer, and still build up more energy. For instance, instead of having a few loosely-knit scenes, what if we were to see Severine flitting from one activity and setting to the next, full of nervous energy? That would be one way to let the structure of the story reflect more of her frame of mind, because I would say the most vital key to this midsection is to bring in more tension around the jewels. Between her original theft and the recovery of the bag, more than a day goes by when she hardly seems to think about them. If she's stolen from her employer and left the loot just outside the house, I would imagine her mind would be constantly spinning around what was happening to that loot: is someone discovering it? Will she be caught? Without that fear and anticipation preying on her mind, a lot of the tension leaks out of the story, to the point where as a reader I almost lose track of what's happened and the fact that she needs to go get them. Restructuring the middle section into a series of short, quick scenes is one way you could ramp up the stakes, heighten the tension, give our protagonist more to do, and take us on a more dynamic emotional ride.

At the center of this story is a mystery, which builds through clues and suggestions until the truth is finally revealed. The big revelation, when it comes, feels anticlimactic to me. It doesn't need to; the premise is interesting and delightfully gruesome. But it's such an odd and unlikely conspiracy that when it's introduced it feels somehow incomplete, and then the narrative skates past it so quickly that I'm not really sure I've understood what I've just seen. What's needed here is more detail that will sharpen their plan into focus. Why do they believe as they do? Through what logic -- poetic or scientific or mystical -- have they arrived at the conclusion that's spurred them into murder and cannibalism? The only explanation we get is a quote from a book by Marcel Batilliat: "Smothering serous phlegm like semi-fluid opals encasing minuscule coral twigs." Severine immediately dismisses this as nonsense, and so do I; a surreal line of description without context doesn't convince me of anything. But what it does very nicely is to establish that these characters are living in an era when the notion that phlegm might be a source of mystical power does have some connection to other ideas in the zeitgeist. I think you're on the right track here and I would like to see more of that, more worldbuilding to fill in our picture of a time and place in which this cannibalistic ritual could be more plausible, and therefore more horrifying.

Because the idea of becoming immortal by eating consumptives may be utter barking madness, but I still want to understand more of the method in that madness. For all I know, their methods might actually work within this story -- after all, these women have been eating disease-causing bacteria and they seem healthy enough. Either way, the fact that they believe it works is not what interests me; what I want to know is why? What about this theory makes sense to them, within a medical framework they understand? Creatively weird medical theories are fascinating, and there have been so many of them over the millennia! Ancient Greeks and Romans, for example, had some theories about humors of the body affecting temperament, which I've always loved because the humoralist way of looking at biology is both wacky and internally consistent. The theory is resonant and memorable because there are ways in which it rings absolutely true to me. Doesn't matter (for non-medical purposes) if I believe it's real or not; what matters is that I can apply it to life and find appealing, meaningful ways that it speaks to reality.

I am not usually eager to read more about mucus per se, but in "Zeitgeist" I would absolutely love to hear some earnest pseudoscience about it. The fact that this story can bring me to the point of saying so is definitely proof that it's doing something right. I enjoyed reading this; good luck with it.

--Karen Meisner, Editor, Strange Horizons

Editors' Choices, Horror

DEAD GIRLS CLUB, Ch. 5, "A Walk in the (Dog) Park" by Crash Froelich

This chapter provides a great opportunity to explore what a novel chapter should accomplish. Here, a group of fighters, called PWAT, confronts two ghuls. The chapter does a good job of showing us an interesting world in action. This is a world of ghuls, shapeshifters, cool technology, and lurking mysteries. Even though I haven't read the earlier chapters (and I apologize for any incorrect assumptions that leads me to make), I'm drawn into the world and want to learn more about it. An outsider character, Les, is brought into this secret community, which allows other characters to explain things to Les, and at the same time to explain them to the reader. This use of an outsider is a common and effective technique in fantasy and science fiction. It allows the reader to simultaneously learn about the world and bond with the character. The chapter also builds the characters and shows us their evolving relationships. All of this is what the chapter should be doing, and it works quite well. In addition, the chapter does a nice job of describing what the viewpoint character is observing on different screens, which is a tough thing to accomplish.

I do feel a key quality is missing from this chapter, though. As far as I can tell, it isn't moving the story ahead in a significant way. The characters have a confrontation with the guhls and defeat them. But I sense there are plenty more guhls out there, and this is just one of many confrontations and hasn't really changed anything. That means the chapter hasn't moved the story ahead. Something of significance needs to change between the beginning of a scene and the end of a scene, and between the beginning of a chapter and the end of a chapter. I sense that Les has gained a couple clues that Amalie is more than he thinks, and Sae is injured, but I don't think Les has had any realization about Amalie, and I think Sae will recover pretty easily, so this confrontation doesn't seem to change anything of significance.

If you're not sure what a change of significance means, I write about it here: http://www.odysseyworkshop.org/tips11.html

This lack of a change of significance is a problem many developing writers have in early novel chapters. They are getting to know the people and the situation, and the plot hasn't really kicked in yet. But the plot should kick in from Scene 1.

One way to approach this change of significance is to think about what is at stake. The guhls seem to be staking out a house, and the PWAT team is watching both the guhls and the house. The guhls want something in the house. What is it? Perhaps this was established in a previous chapter. But whatever it is, it doesn't seem important to the PWAT team. I don't sense that any of them want it or worry about losing it. They seem to be joking around with each other and focused mainly on the guhls, not the item. Will the world end if the guhls get the item? Will the PWAT team be able to kill the guhls if they get the item? The item seems not to matter to the good guys, which means it doesn't matter to me. I think, perhaps, they discover the location of the item during the fight, but this isn't clear to me, and no one seems to care. Thus, all that happens in the scene is that they trick two guhls into entering the house and then kill them. There is no major change or consequence from this minor skirmish. Apparently they fought guhls in an earlier chapter, so this action seems to be repetitive rather than evolving.

You might say their lives are at stake, but we are assured they aren't in danger, so it doesn't feel as if anything is at stake. If nothing is at stake, then it's hard for something of significance to change. If a scene or chapter can be removed, and the plot will not be affected, that means you have a chapter in which nothing of significance has changed for the characters.

Another way to think about a change of significance is to think about the goal of the protagonists. If they achieve their goal, or fail, something of significance may change. I'm not sure what their goal is. Is it to kill the guhls, retrieve the item, or gain intelligence about the guhls? Since the protagonists seem to have no plan until Sae comes up with something, it's not clear what their goal is. The actions and dialogue suggest to me that the goal is to kill the guhls, which doesn't seem very significant, since there are a lot more around. If the goal was to retrieve the item because it would give them a great advantage in the war, and they succeeded (or failed), that would cause a change of significance. If their goal was to gain intelligence, and they learned that the guhls are unstoppable, that would be a change of significance. Or if Sae was their big hope and she was killed, that would be a change of significance.

So while the chapter is doing quite a good job of introducing world, conflict, and characters, it does not seem to be moving the story ahead in a strong way. I know it's asking a lot of a chapter, but that's what a chapter should do. If you can add that final element, you will have your readers hooked.

I hope this is helpful.

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


This month, Sandra McDonald discusses tapping the erotica market.

"Don't Tell Mom" by Sandra McDonald

Every day I receive e-mail calls for fiction -- dozens of markets a month open to flash, short or long fiction, editors hungry for great stories with engaging protagonists and just the right dash of drama, humor, whimsy or sex. Lots of sex. Straight sex, gay sex, lesbian sex, kinky sex, science fiction with sex, urban fantasy with sex, horror stories with sex -- well, you get the idea.

(Dear Mom: stop reading now. Thanks!)

Some of these markets pay well. Some, maybe $50 for a 1500 word story. Some are print markets, many are print and e-book, and a lot are e-print only. Many of the publishers are established and reputable, and others more fly-by-night. (I'm tempted to make a pun about quickies, but Mom's still reading. I know she is.) The readership is primarily women. The goal, at least for some editors, is to empower female sexuality in all of its wonderful aspects and varieties.

Or, you know, ladywanking. That comes up a lot, too.

(Mom, click away now! Cousin Alice has just updated her Facebook with a cute puppy video and you need to watch it right this minute.)

Back when I was in the military, one of the senior female officers in my command confided that she was very much enjoying Anne Roquelare's Sleeping Beauty series. Roquelare is better known as Anne Rice. In between penning vampire bestsellers, she wrote these fantasy erotica books and got them into print. I found them in a bookstore in Washington D.C.'s Union Station and read the first one cover-to-cover on a train back to Norfolk. I kept hiding the book when other passengers walked by, because oh my goodness! An adult woman reading an adult erotica book. The shame of it all.

In those days, many of us found it hard to find what we were looking for in bookstores. Or we were embarrassed to be seen buying it. Today, with a few clicks, I can have books sent to my mailbox or immediately downloaded to my e-reader. No hunting through shelves, no watchful cashiers. Click, click, and done.

(Maybe Mom doesn't play as much solitaire as I think she does. Perhaps Farmville is just a cover. Women of all ages and types have been enjoying erotica for centuries.)

Erotica markets need you. They need your stories about spaceships, about time-travel, about castles and kingdoms, about ghosts and haunted houses. Romance is key. Sex is sometimes explicit, sometimes not so much. My latest publications include a transgender WWII story and a lesbian urban fantasy tale, both of them perfectly suitable to read on a train ride through Virginia.

Interested? Start here: the Authors Resources page of the Erotica Writers & Readers Association. They have an Admin list that will notify you of open markets and a monthly newsletter about what's new and cool and interesting. Write and write and submit your stories, and who knows? You could be the next Anne Roquelare.

(Mom, I know you're still reading. Let's do lunch at the Olive Garden and have a great chat. Have you ever read Sleeping Beauty?)

Bio: Sandra McDonald is the author of six books, including the award-winning collection Diana Comet and Other Impossible Stories. Her short fiction for adults and teens has appeared in more than fifty magazines and anthologies, and many stories were originally workshopped on the Online Writing Workshop. She currently teaches the proper use of serial commas to college students in Florida. Visit her at www.sandramcdonald.com.

Publication Announcements

Bo Balder's Dutch YA novel Daughter of the Djinn was published by Books of Fantasy in the Netherlands.

Aliette de Bodard's novel Master of the House of Darts (Obsidian and Blood, Book 3) is out now.

April Grey's novel Chasing the Trickster is out now from Eternal Press.

Tom Jolly wrote us to say: "I just had a story published by Daily Science Fiction called 'The Last Necromancer' earlier this month. Just wanted to claim bragging rights. The Writing Workshop has been a big help."

Vylar Kaftan announced, "'The Sighted Watchmaker' is live at Lightspeed. I'm delighted to be back in the magazine--it's one of my favorites."

Mark Lawrence says: "Prince of Thorns (Ace) is now in print (a finalist in Goodreads.com's Best Fantasy of 2011 poll)."

Elizabeth Shack's story "A Talent for Death" appears in the Autumn 2011 edition of Shelter of Daylight.

Seth Skorkowsky took second place this fall in the Fencon Short Story Contest with his story "The Dark Goddess Rises."

Richard Smith's story "The Puddle" is in the latest edition of Dark Tales.

Ian Welke's story "Last of the Irish Rover" appears in the December issue of Big Pulp.

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.

December 2011 Honor Roll Nominees

Reviewer: Oliver Buckram
Submission: "C4C The Trouble With Fire" by Brian L Case
Submitted by: Brian L Case

Reviewer: Jennifer Wray
Submission: How to Practice 27th Century Medicine in Medieval Spain and Not Get Caught by Justin Tyme
Submitted by: Justin Tyme

Reviewer: Kim Allison
Submitted by: John Beety

Reviewer: Kim Allison
Submission: Sketch Artist, part 2/2 by Martha Rush
Submitted by: Martha Rush

Reviewer: Jon Paradise
Submission: A Contest of Gods Part 1 by Karen Kobylarz
Submitted by: Karen Kobylarz

Reviewer: Kim Purdue
Submission: A Taste of Earth (Part 2/2) by Justin Tyme
Submitted by: Justin Tyme

Reviewer: Robyn Hamilton
Submission: A Taste of Earth (Part 2/2) by Justin Tyme
Submitted by: Justin Tyme

Reviewer: B. Morris Allen
Submission: End of the World Through Dirty Windows by Marc Knight
Submitted by: Marc Knight

Reviewer: Gene Spears
Submission: Marc Holiday and the Sand Reckoner: Chapter 13 - An Unexpected Visitor by Mark Reeder
Submitted by: Mark Reeder

On Shelves Now

Mystery of the Tempest, by Sam Cameron (Bold Strokes Books, November 2011)

Twin brothers Denny and Steven Anderson love helping people and fighting crime alongside their sheriff dad on sun-drenched Fisher Key, Florida. Steven likes chasing girls. Denny longs to lose his virginity, but doesn't dare tell anyone he's gay. Steven has a secret of his own. He lied to everyone, including his own brother, about being accepted into SEAL training for the U.S. Navy.

On the day they graduate high school, the twins meet the handsome new guy in town, a military veteran with a chiseled body and mysterious past. Meanwhile Brian Vandermark, a gay transfer student from Boston, finds himself falling for closeted Denny but hampered by his shyness. When an antique yacht explodes in Fisher Key harbor, all three boys are caught up in a summer of betrayal, romance, and danger. It's the Mystery of the Tempest--and it just might kill them all.

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