March 2012 Newsletter


Monthly Writing Challenge


Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

On Shelves Now

Membership Info



Welcome to March! We are headed into a great year. This month, we've found out that two OWW members, Alliette de Bodard and Tom Crosshill, are nominees for the 2011 Nebula Award for best short story! Aliette's story "Shipbirth" appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction in February 2011, and Tom's story "Mama, We are Zhenya, Your Son" appeared in Lightspeed Magazine in April 2011. In addition, workshop alum Rae Carson's novel THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS (Greenwillow Books) is a nominee for the 2011 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book! Winners will be announced in mid-May at SFWA's 47th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend in Arlington, Virginia. Until then, we'll cross our fingers! We wish all three of them much luck and success.

In this issue, we are pleased to bring you an article by best-selling author Lynn Viehl, which provides tips on writing multiple-novel series. This was a recent topic on the OWW list group, so I know you'll find this article helpful.

And in OWW business news, we are seeking a freelance Web designer to help us with the current phase of the long-overdue OWW redesign/overhaul. We are doing a search in various venues but wanted to ask in the OWW community because ideally, we'd find someone with the expertise and experience we need, who also understands the workshop and what we are trying to do. If you're interested, contact OWW (ekh (at) and include resume/portfolio information. And please pass this along if you know someone you think would be perfect for the job.

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

Maria Zannini, newsletter editor
news (at)

Monthly Writing Challenge

Selling your soul. Someone has a problem. It could be medical, romantic, or economic. A solution is offered, but the solution involves the protagonist discarding some aspect of who he or she is. Does the protagonist take it or walk away?

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. Post your challenge piece to the workshop with "March Challenge" in the title so all your friends can find it.

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


Writer's Workshop

A writers' workshop on a cruise ship? Apparently it can happen. Arc Manor Publishers, a small primarily backlist publisher with a genre presence, is organizing this for December in the Bahamas. They say "current faculty includes Toni Weisskopf (head of BAEN Books), Eleanor Wood (Head of Spectrum Literary Agency), Mike Resnick, Kevin J.Anderson and Nancy Kress...Normally not the most accessible people." True enough. They are offering a $100 discount for OWW members via this discount code: SFFONLINE. More at (please note: OWW has not evaluated the workshop, organization, or cruise line. Please research any workshop thoroughly before deciding whether to attend).


Our Nebula News comes from Locus: The Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field. It's a great resource with a great Web site, so if you don't know about it yet, check it out. It is a trusted source of book news and reviews, business news, interviews, convention news.

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, Elizabeth Bear, Karin Lowachee and guest editor CC Finlay. 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

GODFIRE, CHAPTER 47 by Elissa Hunt

This is a middle chapter of an epic fantasy novel with some interesting twists, including a nice revisioning of the standard assortment of Tolkienesque second-world sentient species. Rather than elves and dwarves and hobbits, we are given an engaging pair of elf-derived wanderers who manage to step pleasantly far away from the baseline trope. One (Noriban) is a smallish woodland creature, the other (Kay) a web-appendaged water dweller.
In this particular chapter we don't actually get to see Noriban, except inasmuch as he exists in the thoughts of Kay. Noriban has gone missing, and the action and tension of the first half of the chapter derive a great deal from Kay's attempts to find him without involving Marina, Noriban's life-partner. I admit, the scene in which Kay tricks Marina and ties her up to keep her from interfering in his search was my least favorite bit of the chapter. I'm very tired of the trope that requires hysterical female characters to be kept out of trouble for their own good through some sort of paternalistic intervention. Not to mention the moral implications of tying somebody up and leaving them helpless.

Fortunately, the narrative does not appear to be about to let Kay off the hook on that one, as negative results ensue from his decision to restrain Marina.

By contrast, I very much enjoyed the scene in which Kay is attempting to track Noriban's abductors through a maze of city streets. This demonstrated an excellent grasp on the writer's part of how a character's experience and point of view filter the world. Kay's a more than capable tracker, but faced with cobblestones and side streets he rapidly loses track of his quarry. His frustration and shame when he finds himself at a loss in unfamiliar turf has a great ring of authenticity.

There's good tension and description in these scenes as well. Hunt's prose is remarkably clean. It's not flashy or over elaborate, or particularly subtle--she tells readers what she wants them to understand about a character's motivations, rather than making them work it out for themselves--but a lack of layered subtext is not necessarily a detriment in commercial fantasy. As a result, the story moves quickly, with a direct narrative thread that makes it very readable.

That authority will carry Hunt far, if she can develop it. There's a strength in an author with the presence to say, "Sit down and I will tell you a story," and make the offer seem attractive. Authority--what in a visual artist we would call confidence of line--is vital.

The second scene is a little more problematic. Some of this is because we are moving from an action sequence with a high, immediate stake--a beloved brother-by-choice has gone missing and is in some unknown peril, and the people who love him must find him before his fate (whatever that might be) is sealed. It's the ticking clock in every thriller, and there's a reason for that: "I have somebody you care about" is a tremendously powerful way to drive a plot. We identify with the bereaved character; we fear for the abducted one. As readers and as human beings, we have little choice--and that tension, that fear--keeps us turning pages for the same empathic reasons that we have to email all our friends in a distant city that's just suffered some sort of a disaster, and why when something horrible is happening, we just can't turn off the news. I don't know if it's an innate response--but if it's not, it's a highly acculturated one, and one that the writer can manipulate to extremely strong artistic effect.

Also, Kay's fondness for Noriban makes us like him. I've been known to tell my students that the easiest way to make any character sympathetic is to let him or her love something. It's as widely useful a tactic as the knowledge that the easiest way to get a reader to engage with a character is to let him or her want something, even--as Kurt Vonnegut said--"if it's a glass of water."

Kay's agency and fear and desire and shame, in other words, are very potent forces to make us care what happens to him.

But the final section of this chapter brings us into the point of view of Roland, who has come into the care of his distant relative Mantor, who he was raised to believe is a monster but whom we are now, I gather, supposed to find sympathetic, as Roland does. The problem is that Mantor's actions make it fairly obvious that he's a sociopath. He's an immortal wizard who holds a throne: his response to an attempted coup around the time of Roland's birth was to kill all of his adult relatives, and sterilize all of their spouses and children before conscripting them into holy orders.

...Generally speaking, that's the sort of action that's a deal breaker for me in anybody I'm supposed to find sympathetic. I'm going to have to join the "Mantor is a monster" party. Now, I may be misunderstanding the author's intent here--perhaps we are as readers supposed to understand that Mantor's behavior is... problematic. But I didn't get that sense from the narrative. Roland certainly doesn't react with horror, even though his own mother was one of the victims of this purge, and he himself only escaped it because of her subterfuge. That's deeply problematic for me, I'm afraid--and the more so because it does not seem to be seen as deeply problematic within the context of the story.

--Elizabeth Bear

Editors' Choices, Science Fiction

BETA COMMANDO PART 1 by Aaron John Matthews

A lively character voice and unconventional narrative structure characterize this month's SF Editor's Choice. These components take what can be overdone subject matter and spin it into a fun, well-honed story about a group of MIT students whose virtual reality invention might have gotten away from them.

The story starts off in the protagonist's head -- and while understandably disorienting for a brief moment, it doesn't take away from the sheer interest in what is happening. He is being shot at, but seamlessly muses about the nature of destiny vs. free will. The prose is sharp and the tempo brisk; his personality comes through loud and clear, creating an effective mix of discourse, action, and character.

Anyway, destiny. Let me put it another way. Every effect is the sum of a whole lot of causes. Billions of billions. Infinite, almost. All those things in the future, that look like they're not fixed, are tethered to a nearly infinite amount of things in the past, that are definitely fixed. Unless you want to get all quantum, in which case you can ask Mark. Or you could've, if they hadn't shot him. They shot Mark.

I'm sorry, I'm rambling. Anyway, everyone always says "well, what about free will?" And yeah, of course free will. Will's a great guy, and I'm sure he's got shit to do...

I'm sorry.

A metal cylinder bounces through the door and past me, hissing gas.

The thoughts don't linger long enough on these theories to become tedious. The interruption of the action makes it all lively and immediate, and no sooner are we somewhat grounded that the protagonist switches out of this action and into a more mundane scene of the friends at MIT. The structure spirals back in on itself, with interruptions along the lines of the protagonist saying "wait, I need to back up" but because his voice is so specific and the interruptions flow easily, this doesn't come across as too ‘tricksy' or disorienting. He is simply trying to explain how he got to where he was, in this odd virtual reality world that evidently becomes all too real.

There is great humor throughout, which doesn't take away from the potential gravity of the action. But the observations are pointed and effective to create character:

Locking eyes with me, he pulled out his keychain and cracked the bottle open with his dad's can-opener from Vietnam. George's dad went to Vietnam, and all that came back was a P-38 can opener.

This also serves to set the time period of the frontstory without saying it outright. The dialogue is also seamless and realistic, but not wasted.

I could hear growling in the distance, or maybe up close. It was hard to tell. I checked the rounds left in my shotgun. Thirteen.

"Dude, this game is four years old." said George over my shoulder.

"Yeah. It's a classic." I shrugged.

"No, I mean it's four years old and you still suck at it."

There can be a little more description as James (the protagonist) is in the kitchen talking to Mark -- not to take away from the conversation or the eventual conclusion to try a new technology, but James sort of disappears in that, where we don't know where he is ‘on stage', while being told what Mark is doing (compiling his salmon biscuits). This doesn't have to be heavyhanded but a line or two here and there would make the scene less ‘blank' and just flesh it out more.

Along the same lines, I want the guys -- James' friends, besides Mark -- differentiated a little more. Not all at once, but throughout the scene, so we get a real sense of exactly how many and who they are, even just one or two solid characteristics so they're at least as clear to the reader as they are to James. Especially when the narrative jumps between worlds and timelines, getting grounded in the characters will add that extra dimension of realism. Ultimately, though, James is a solid protagonist through which we see the plot and action unfold, and the tension is delivered perfectly and carried through to the end of the part.

--Karin Lowachee

Editors' Choices, Short Story

"The Drowned Man's Kiss" by Christine Lucas

In a short story, the writer's smallest decisions have a big impact. The shorter the story is, the larger the effect. And at the beginning of a story the effect can be even bigger, pushing readers out of a very good story even before they enter it.

Take, for example, Christine Lucas's fantasy short "The Drowned Man's Kiss." I loved this story and the way a simple sailor is haunted by a bad decision he made in the past. I want to closely examine the opening scene and, in particular, the first three paragraphs.

Last night, I dreamt of the drowned man again.

Mere superstitions, Christian clergymen deem these omens of certain death: waking up to the drowned man's kiss or to the ship's bell's second toll. Perhaps they are just illiterate sailors' superstitions, shared all across the Aegean Sea. They're older than those priests' God, older than the deities that once dwelled in the temples of white marble, reminders of what still lurks beneath the waves. I cannot--will not--shrug them off. The few men I know worthy of respect--retired sea captains, stony-faced, hard-eyed, every wrinkle a reminder of a storm they survived--those men revere such omens and the one who sends them forth.

The breeze carries below deck the scent of spices and the cries of dock workers. The drowned man's kiss lingers on my lips as I climb up; bitter, briny taste--sea, blood and tears, and the knowledge that someone will die today. My fists clench. It won't be me.

I like that first sentence. One word -- again - implies a whole section of story that has come previously so we begin in media res, which is very efficient when you only have 3500 words to work with.

But the second paragraph, despite strong images, powerful emotion, and telling details, isn't nearly as effective. Why? Because we go from the narrator's introduction of an event to others' reactions. We're barely inside the narrator's POV before we jump out of it again. This jumps out to me because the third paragraph goes back inside the narrator's POV and gives us more details about the dream. These dream details are buried in the middle of the paragraph, along with the important fact that this is an omen of death.

So with very minimal rewriting of these sentences, let me change the order as one example of a way to make this more seductive to readers.

Last night, I dreamt of the drowned man again.

The drowned man's kiss lingers on my lips; bitter, briny taste--sea, blood and tears.

Someone will die today.

Mere superstition, Christian clergymen deem these omens of certain death: waking up to the drowned man's kiss or to the ship's bell's second toll. Perhaps they are just illiterate sailors' superstitions, shared all across the Aegean Sea. They're older than those priests' God, older than the deities that once dwelled in the temples of white marble, reminders of what still lurks beneath the waves. I cannot--will not--shrug them off. The few men I know worthy of respect--retired sea captains, stony-faced, hard-eyed, every wrinkle a reminder of a storm they survived--those men revere such omens and the one who sends them forth.

The breeze carries below deck the scent of spices and the cries of dock workers. I climb up. Someone will die today. My fists clench. It won't be me.

The progression of the original paragraphs flows like this: dream >> reaction to meaning of dream >> description of dream >> meaning of dream >> decision/action. In three paragraphs we go from interior to exterior to interior to exterior.

In the rearranged paragraphs the progression flows smoothly from interior to exterior: dream >> description of dream >> meaning of dream >> reaction to meaning >> decision/action. You don't always have to be linear, but think about how the details flow, how one paragraph or sentence leads to the next. And always pay attention to the fact that important details usually have more power at the beginning or end of a paragraph than in the middle, and more if they're isolated on a separate line.

Small decisions set up reverberations that last the entire story. "The Drowned Man's Kiss" has six scenes. In the first, the narrator describes the dream after the fact. In the second, he steals a cursed dagger. In the third, the omen of his dream comes true: a man dies. In the fourth scene, the dream returns. The fifth and longest scene describes a mutiny, the horror of the drowned host (as perceived by the narrator), and the narrator's murder of the captain, thus fulfilling the omen again. In the final scene, the narrator accepts his fate as the wind-blown man, cursed and cut off from other men.

The title and the first line of the story point us toward the drowned man's kiss. Twice the kiss happens in the story, and twice someone dies. At the end, the narrator waits for a third dream so he can kill himself with the cursed knife. Every scene in this story, especially the mutiny scene, is immediate and visceral and full of telling details.

Which is why I wonder that we don't ever see the drowned man or the kiss.

For the rest of this review, visit the Editor's Choice area of the OWW site!

--C.C. Finlay, novelist and short story writer,

Also read our bonus Editors' Choice review in this category--for Oliver Buckram's "Ice Palace"--in the Editors' Choice area.

Editors' Choices, Horror

Soul Traders, Ch. 1 by Erica Elliot

Originality and passion are perhaps the two hardest qualities of good fiction to teach to writers. If a writer has these two qualities at the start and is willing to learn, then with time and persistence she can become a strong writer.

This opening chapter clearly shows me both originality and passion. The piece is strongest when it is describing the fantastic. It provides fresh, striking, fascinating images, as of the soul traders. I've never seen, or imagined, creatures quite like them. The chapter also reveals an original concept, that these creatures steal souls and auction off both bodies and souls. That's quite intriguing. The detail with which the soul traders are described conveys a great deal of passion. So I see a lot of potential here.

I also see some of the common weaknesses of developing writers. I'll focus on the one that I feel is most important.

A novel (or a story) generally focuses on a protagonist struggling to achieve a goal. The goal may change over the course of the piece, but the protagonist is still struggling to achieve something. A protagonist who is actively trying to achieve something and faces significant opposition is one who gains our sympathy. A protagonist who has no goal, or who doesn't actively try to achieve the goal, or who achieves the goal too easily, is generally one we don't like very much. The biggest weakness I see in this chapter is that the protagonist, Maribel, doesn't try hard enough to achieve her goal.

In the first scene, she sees a strange, frightening creature in her bedroom. She does a couple of good things here: she tries to speak and then wakes her husband. I wish she tried much harder to speak, and that when she finally succeeds it's a result of her struggles. Right now, her voice seems to come back on its own, independent of her struggles. Once her husband goes back to sleep, though, she falls into inaction. She could leave the room, call the police, wake her husband again, pick up a lamp and bash the creature, attempt to drag her husband from the room--there are a lot of possibilities. Instead, she closes her eyes and hopes the creature will disappear, as if she's a child. This is not a character that I feel sympathy for or want to follow through a novel. It's a character that I'm hoping will get killed by the creature. (I'm not a very nice person, especially when I'm reading horror.) When she finally does open her eyes, she faints, which kind of seals my dislike for her.

Turning this around is very easy. She can try to wake her husband again and fail. She can try to call the police and the phone can be dead. She can try to bash the creature with the lamp and the creature can use some cool power to get the lamp away from her. It can use its power to make her unconscious at the end, so she doesn't have to faint. She can be fighting to the last second. Then readers will be rooting for her and want her to succeed.

I realize that the character is struggling internally with her fear, but internal struggles need to be manifested externally, in action. Having a character think about how hard it is to do something, or agonize over something, isn't enough to bring the character or the struggle to life.

In the second scene, her passivity is even stronger. She is a victim rather than a protagonist. She's unable to move or speak for a long time. When they tie her up, she doesn't even try to struggle. Then they march her away, so she's apparently able to walk. So it's unclear why she couldn't move or speak earlier. As a reader, I don't really believe that she couldn't. The soul traders put her into a room with torture implements. Instead of grabbing some weapons and trying to escape, or grabbing some weapons and hiding them so she can attack when they return, she looks at the pictures on the wall. I don't believe this is what the character would do, and if this is what she would do, then I can't root for her. She doesn't seem to want to live.

I suspect that the author knows the character is not in danger, so she doesn't need to grab weapons or attempt to escape. But the character doesn't know this. The character, based on what she's experienced, should be afraid for her life--and you tell us she is. But she doesn't act at all like someone afraid for her life. Again, the fix is easy. Have her grab some weapons, try to escape, and get caught. I understand she is afraid, but the characters we like are the ones who will struggle against their own fear as well as external obstacles as they try to achieve a goal. If she gives in to her fear and is passive, that tends not to create dynamic, exciting situations for us.

For the rest of this review, visit the Editor's Choice area of the OWW site!

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


This month we bring you an article by best-selling author Lynn Viehl. Lynn has published forty-seven novels in eight different genres since 2000, including the bestselling StarDoc science fiction series from Roc (writing as S.L. Viehl) and many novels of romantic suspense (writing as Gena Hale and Jessica Hall). Here is what she has to share about writing more than one genre series at a time!

Viehl photoJuggling Universes: Tips on Writing Multiple Novel Series

After spending the last fourteen years writing ten novel series in eight genres, I've picked up a few tricks on how to juggle universes. Developing ruthless self-discipline has helped, but so has learning from the mistakes I've made along the way.

Multi-series work is not really suited to the timid. If for any reason you're hesitant about handling one universe, diving into writing two or three at once is only going to multiply those negative feelings. This is pressure-cooker storytelling that doesn't allow a lot of time or room for self-doubt.

That said, there is no law that requires you write in one universe at a time. If you have no problem shifting from one story to another, writing more than one series may allow you to produce a wider variety of work and create more opportunities for publication.

Some work habits that can help:

Acquire Clarity: it's to your advantage to be clear on everything you're writing, so don't skimp on the prep work. Map out your series concepts, create a comprehensive outline for the book in the series you'll be writing, and make the decisions on styling, voice and other story considerations before you begin the work.

Build Your Bibles: every series you work on comes with hundreds of story-related details: names, dates, settings, back story, research and inspirational materials. As you work, collect these and keep them in one spot for easy reference (I create a notebook for each novel, and an encyclopedia for each series.)

Network Your Resources: Take advantage of any common ground between your series and network the resources you need to write them. If you're investing in something for one series novel, see if there is anything you can use for another series book. On a single trip to New Orleans I managed a writer's conference to promote one novel, researched the setting for a second, and developed a series concept for a third.

Set Aggressive but Realistic Goals: A 100K manuscript is typically 400 pages in length. If you write three pages per day, you can have a first draft finished in five months. Six pages a day split between two series = two first drafts finished. Nine pages a day split between three series = three drafts (very important: selling multiple series means you'll be expected to continue to produce at this rate, so don't stretch yourself too thin).

Time-Share Yourself: Work out a schedule that's comfortable for your writing needs. If you're able to smoothly shift between stories, divide up your daily writing time so that you do some work on every series you're juggling. If you prefer to focus on one story per session, split up your week into series days.

To find out if you'll enjoy multi-series writing, try it first by writing two short stories in different universes. Juggling universes is challenging, but there's nothing better for adding new dimensions to your work.

coverAuthor Bio: Since 2000, Lynn Viehl has published forty-seven novels in eight genres, and created the first globally-accessible virtual library of free e-books written by a single author. On the internet she hosts Paperback Writer, a popular publishing industry blog, which she updates daily. Lynn's Darkyn series novels debuted on the USA Today bestseller list, and went on to make her a New York Times top twenty bestselling author. Her latest book is Nightborn, unless she has published another book by the time you read this article!

Visit Lynn Viehl at her blog Paperback Writer.

Publication Announcements

Aliette de Bodard told us, "'Shipbirth' (Asimov's Science Fiction, February 2011) was nominated for a Nebula Award." Yahoo, Aliette!

Liz Coley, a longtime OWW member, announced her first novel sale! "'Pretty Girl-13' was sold to Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins (2013) with foreign editions in Sweden, Brazil, France, and the UK."

Tom Crosshill wrote us with exciting news: "Just a quick note to say that my OWW-workshopped story 'Mama, We are Zhenya, Your Son' (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2011) has been nominated for the Nebula Award. Thanks to April Grey, Swapna Kishore and Tracy Canfield for reviewing!" Good luck, Tom.

David J. Fortier tells us, "Bards and Sages Publication bought my short 'Blalan's Game,' which will appear in Bards and Sages Quarterly in April. Thanks to everybody who critiqued this story and all the others. With your help, I think I've started to get the hang of this writing thing."

Michelle Goldsmith writes: "I just wanted to let you know that my Dickensian horror short story 'The Hound of Henry Hortinger' sold to the anthology PANDEMONIUM: STORIES OF THE SMOKE, which will be published in April by Jurassic London. This is my first workshopped short story and I'm very grateful for the help I received. I'd like to thank everyone who critiqued it, including the OWW members Aidan Walsh, Allan Dyen-Shapiro, and Kevin Miller and Resident Editor Jeanne Cavelos." Michelle's story was last month's horror Editor's Choice. Nice to know we can still pick 'em!

A.A. Leil announced: "I received my first acceptance letter to a non-paying market, for my memoir short, 'Voices from the Corral,' from Mobius Magazine. Also I received my first acceptance to a paying market: the semi-pro anthology STUPEFYING STORIES, for my zombie comedy 'Two Zombies Walk into a Bar.' Both were critiqued at OWW. Big thanks to you! Even if you didn't critique this story, but some of my other stories, I still owe you thanks for helping to make me a better writer."

Our very own Resident Editor Karin Lowachee tells us that her short story "Nomad" is in the ARMORED anthology, edited by John Joseph Adams (late March, Baen 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.

February 2012 Honor Roll Nominees

Reviewer: Racquel Reck
Submission: Devil's Seed by Steve Byrne
Submitted by: Steve Byrne

Reviewer: Steve Byrne
Submission: When Earth Died, ch.2 Revised by Martha Manning
Submitted by: Martha Manning

Reviewer: Jane Forni
Submission: Chasing the Light Ch1&2 by Michael Snoswell
Submitted by: Michael Snoswell

Reviewer: Allan Dyen-Shapiro
Submission: One Degree (v2) by Daniel McMinn
Submitted by: Daniel McMinn

Reviewer: Jane Forni
Submission: Peacebird by B. Morris Allen
Submitted by: B. Morris Allen

Reviewer: Daniel McMinn
sion: Peacebird by B. Morris Allen
Submitted by: B. Morris Allen

Reviewer: Christopher Johnstone
Submission: Peacebird by B. Morris Allen
Submitted by: B. Morris Allen

Reviewer: F. Wilde
Submission: Peacebird by B. Morris Allen
Submitted by: B. Morris Allen

Reviewer: cinna crowley
Submission: Peacebird by B. Morris Allen
Submitted by: B. Morris Allen

Reviewer: Thomas Norwood
Submission: The Otherworld War (Chapter 1) by David Marshall
Submitted by: David Marshall

Reviewer: Brent Smith
Submission: Si Diego at Si Gabriela (Diego and Gabriela) by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
Submitted by: Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

Reviewer: Helix Hale
Submission: Zombie Envy by rebecca schwarz
Submitted by: rebecca schwarz

Reviewer: Brent Smith
Submission: Zombie Envy by rebecca schwarz
Submitted by: rebecca schwarz

Reviewer: Natalie Jones
Submission: KYRSYRI (prologue) by Ilana Richter
Submitted by: Ilana Richter

Reviewer: Roy Sigerson
Submission: Zombie Envy by rebecca schwarz
Submitted by: rebecca schwarz

Reviewer: Jane Forni
Submission: Pharoahs Gate: The First Dwarven Hero by Josh Atkinson
Submitted by: Josh Atkinson

Reviewer: Daniel Barrett
Submission: "What now, Callisthenes?" by Christine Lucas
Submitted by: Christine Lucas

On Shelves Now

THE KINGDOMS OF DUST, Book 3 of The Necromancer Chronicles, Amanda Downum (Orbit, March 2012)

With her master dead and her oaths foresworn, necromancer and spy Isyllt Iskaldur finds herself in exile. Hounded by assassins, she seeks asylum in Assar, the empire she so recently worked to undermine.

Warlords threaten the empire's fragile peace, and the empress is beset by enemies within the court. Even worse, darkness stirs in the deep desert. Ancient spirits long held captive are waking -- spirits that can destroy Assar faster than any army.

Accompanied by an outcast jinn, Isyllt must travel into the heart of the desert to lay the darkness there to rest once more. But her sympathies are torn between the captive spirits and the order of mages sworn to bind them. And whichever choice she makes could raze the empire to dust.

WIDE OPEN by Deborah Coates (Tor, March 2012)

coverHallie Michaels has had a near-death experience in Afghanistan and since then she's been able to see ghosts. She's still adjusting to this new reality when she's called home to South Dakota to her sister, Dell's, funeral. Her friends and the sheriff tell her that Dell committed suicide, but Hallie can't believe that. It doesn't make any sense. Trailed by her sister's ghost, she starts asking questions-of her sister's friends, of the people Dell worked with, of a young deputy sheriff who keeps turning up where he's most not wanted.

Hallie soon discovers there's a lot more going on than just her sister's death. Things someone will do anything to protect. Hallie's threatened. Her father's barn is burned. Another young woman disappears. New ghosts follow her. Now, she's going to need all the help she can muster in order to stop a villain with ancient powerful magic at his fingertips.

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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) and we'll do the rest.

Until next month--just write!

The Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
support (at)