September 2012 Newsletter


Monthly Writing Challenge

Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

Reviewer Honor Roll

On Shelves Now

Membership Info



With the change of seasons looming, many of us are changing our routines (back to school, anyone?). We hope that your routine continues to include lots of writing and submitting to publishers and editors.

Be sure to let us know when that routine pays off!  We love to share your successes in our newsletter and in our Hall of Fame. Not only do our members' many sales, publications, and awards over the years show the talent on the loose at OWW, but they inspire newer members to keep on with their writing, posting, editing, and submitting (and excruciating waiting).

Next month we will bid adieu to our long-time Resident Editor for Science Fiction--author, award-winner, and OWW alum Karin Lowachee. Karin has been a steadfast reviewer on OWW, imparting great observations and writerly wisdom for many years, and we are sorry to see her go, but other obligations have called her away. Thank you, Karin, for sharing so much of your expertise and experience!  We look forward to your last Editors' Choice review for us in the October newsletter, and we wish you luck with your future writing and other endeavors.

Our new Resident Editor for Science Fiction, beginning in November, is a familiar name...also an author, also an OWW alum, and a writing-workshop instructor and SF/F award jury member as well: C. C. Finlay.  We are more than pleased to have Charlie back to give us the benefit of his lively, instructive, supportive critiques.

This must be the Columbus, Ohio issue because this month in the author spotlight, we welcome Rae Carson as she releases the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns: her newest book, The Crown of Embers.  What do Rae and C. C. Finlay have in common besides residing in Columbus? Read the interview to find out.

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

Madness. A character, due to literal mental illness or some stranger process, cannot perceive the same reality as everyone else. How does he/she survive? Are other people the mad ones?

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.  Put "Challenge" in the title so others 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.

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, Leah Bobet, 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


Paciotti's THE TROUBLE WITH BEING HERA is a light, fast-paced, comedic fantasy retelling of aspects of Greek myth in the mode of a "chick lit" novel. The tone is breezy and whimsical, and there are some lovely character moments--Hera's ongoing problems with Leto, for example, and her issues with getting the Mount Olympus staff to accommodate her vegetarian diet. The central conflict is promising: Hera has agreed to marry Zeus as a political stratagem, even though she is pregnant with someone else's child, and her previous husband is missing.

However, for all its potential, the narrative is missing the sort of drive and authority that would make it really engaging. The writing and voice are certainly competent and easy to read, but the protagonist is not seen to be in any real danger or taking any real risks. Nor does she seem to have any real goals. This contributes to a sense that Hera lacks agency, which in turn contributes to a lack of stakes that leads to a lack of reader investment; the story is pleasant enough, but there are insufficient questions being raised to get the reader to really commit to the narrative.

It's a little facile to talk of "stakes" in modern fiction, as if the Hollywood three-act structure were the only way to write a story. Of course, this isn't the case--but it is important to find some way to hook readers into the narrative and keep them interested. This can be through addictive prose, a compelling character, mysteries and complexities, or the simple power of a character who very badly needs to do something and finds his or her path blocked by a series of complications. Of these options, the latter is by far the easiest to learn and deploy, which is why it's the route most often advised for journeyman and apprentice writers.

Basically, the problem I am seeing with this chapter as currently written is that Hera is just drifting through her day. I don't see her make any decisions; she gets pushed around by her friends (this seems a most un-Hera-like trait, based on my own reading of Greek myth--she gets pushed around by a servant, for example!) and I don't understand what drove her to agree to this marriage she seems to have no investment in. Her strongest emotions seem to be dislike for some of her rivals, and a mild, drifty irritation that she's stuck in Olympus. There is not enough tension here.

The easiest way to address this is to institute some sort of a threat, to make her motives stronger, and to give her some forward direction. This will have the added benefit of making Hera a more engaging protagonist. While I have never believed that protagonists need to be likable, it is essential that they be interesting. It's a benefit here that the story is being told in Hera's first-person narrative, which gives her a chance to be snarky and charming, and predisposes readers to see things her way. However, it also means that the story lives and dies by how interesting she is--so readers need to believe she's somebody worth spending two or four or six hours of their lives with.

I was also distracted by the number of characters introduced, and how quickly. They are coming so rapid-fire that each one receives very little in the way of characterization, and several of them have similar names. This means that readers will have a hard time keeping them straight, and a harder time bonding with any of them. Another problem specific to the fairytale/myth retelling is that readers will bring their own ideas about many of the characters, so the writer will have to work harder to get them to accept her own version.  I expect Hera to be assertive and dominant, Zeus to be a philandering cad, and Morpheus to be gothy and overwrought. Authors who want to work on different characterizations of such familiar people need to introduce them strongly, and be aware of the paradigm they're subverting. Otherwise, it just comes across as well-known characters acting out of character.

Overall, I'd suggest introducing fewer characters up front (the rest can come in as the plot demands their presence) and making sure to go more in-depth when developing them. It would be nice to show more of their personalities, rather than having Hera just explain that so-and-so is like this, or is that other so-and-so's brother. Things we are shown and internalize as readers have more meaning to us; we invest and immerse in them in ways we do not with that which is merely described.

Also, what we have currently in this chapter, while an amusing series of events, is just that--a series of events. I urge the author to think about what narrative work each scene is doing. What changes for the characters in each scene? What develops? What conflicts are revealed, and what questions are raised or answered? In other words, what carries our interest forward?  This is how we build a plot and narrative tension. And that narrative tension, that sense of things happening and stakes rising, is what this chapter needs to support its generally engaging writing style and pleasantly different world-building. This chapter has a great deal of potential--I can see it being very engaging to fans of Charlaine Harris, for example--and I look forward to seeing how this novel develops.

--Elizabeth Bear

Editors' Choices, Science Fiction

TIME AND THELMA TIPPLER: A NOVEL, Ch. 2 by Kevin James Miller

Thelma Tippler (great name) is an agent for the American government, in the not too distant future where people genetically modify themselves with "three eyes" and technology is seamlessly integrated into society. There have been wars and Thelma is a veteran. She's somehow been blackmailed into working for the American agency and by the time we see her in Chapter 2, she's put down an android smuggler at the Canadian-American border. Cooling her heels there, she meets a dark stranger in the hotel bar. She thinks he will just be a sexual conquest, but he turns out to be some sort of time traveler. This chapter reads much more smoothly than Chapter 1.

Immediately, there is a great voice to the narrative, and the characters all stand out, Thelma especially. She is no-nonsense but not infallible, and we want to know more about her background. The chapter is peppered with well-timed paragraph-length backstories, all cleanly delivered, reinforcing that this book is full of colorful characters (an albino ex-boyfriend? Yes).  Added to this are some unique descriptions:

She sat on the edge of the bed and took her boots off. In Paris, the fat Frenchman who had picked her up in the cafe (unless she had picked him up) had said nobody could wear boots like an American woman, and nobody could take boots off like an American woman. It was good-pickup-line bullshit, but he turned out to be charming and funny, and his fat belly during sex had felt like bathing in popcorn butter.

The main awkwardness in the chapter is in replacing the F word with "fuschia." In SF/F, the only usage of a replacement profanity that seems to have worked is "frak," and it's been done. Why not use the real word? Also, along similar nitpicky lines, for smoothness, watch how you break up the lines:

Great-grandpa continued to narrate the book, in his combination of American Sign Language and the off-key verbalization of a deaf man who occasionally had something he wanted to, with his mouth, say to the world.

It would read better if "with his mouth" did not split up "wanted to" and "say."

When Thelma enters the bar and there is a description of a young man, then the magician's act, why isn't she immediately looking for her sexual target? With all the build up at the elevator, and her intentions, you'd think at least searching for his location in the room would be a priority. But he drops out of her consciousness and consideration until he approaches her. This just reads inconsistent. Once they actually meet, though, their conversation is interesting--evasive and pointed at the same time. They have spark, and if the main narrative line of the book is her pursuit of Rajiv through time and space, then this initial introduction to their dynamic works especially well.

The idea of the Chancel (a religious agenda) and the Circus (a "hedonistic" one, for want of a better term) creates a great interplay of ideas. It doesn't have to be subtle, but at the same time, it seems a bit too much having representatives of both literally dressed like an evangelist in a white suit and a clown. There's a fine line to walk with stories of this nature, which serve as societal commentary as well as a rollicking good story with a panoply of characters -- you don't want to get into eye-rolling territory, and painting the image of those opposing forces in such a broad way detracts from the narrative and the world as a whole.

Something else that reads a bit over the top: the overt interjections of Thelma's editorializing into the narrative:

In the impossible world that lay beyond the ceiling, the point of view settled on a stage and a young, dark man, playing a guitar, flamboyantly dressed, like a gypsy. (The man, not the guitar, Thelma thought stupidly.) The magic (it's not magic, Thelma mentally corrected herself.)

If this were first person it would be smoother, but readers allow for a certain narrative voice and don't assume that it's directly the protagonist "writing" it or "saying" it. Interjecting her thoughts into the actual narrative is unnecessary and raises all kinds of questions like, Is she somehow seeing these words manifested in her world? Is she actually directly narrating her own story in these exact words? The meta-structure is one step into flamboyant that an already flamboyant sort of story and characters don't need. There is clever, and then there is too much. For the most part, this book falls squarely in the clever category, but more important than that, it is an interesting world with an interesting protagonist, both of which possess the potential to breathe for an entire novel -- whilst providing a tale as colorful as those from Arabian Nights (a reference in the book).

--Karin Lowachee

Editors' Choices, Short Story

"Thread" by A. Merc Rustad

A Merc. Rustad's "Thread" does a lot of work in a very short space, and on the whole, does it well: there's a whole universe, political dynamic, and personal dynamic built -- and used! -- in not even 3,000 words. It's also inverting some science-fictional tropes in a neat way: Having light be oppressive and the darkness healing is the kind of thing that can make readers sit up and pay attention: because it hasn't gone down the usual paths on that symbol, it might be the kind of story that doesn't go down usual paths, period.

And indeed it's not a story about the usual paths. It's a sharp, tense little character piece that knows what it wants to achieve and goes to do it without wasted space or digression. And it's a story that's willing to let there be consequences for the characters' actions, which just adds to the feeling that everything and everyone it tells us about is whole, and real, and important.

There are, however, two areas where I feel like "Thread" could use some further thought and examination, and the first is the question of Mara's parenthetical comments.

I'm a big fan of non-standard narrative and non-standard voices, but there's a good rule of thumb for using them which I think applies to "Thread": What is that particular feature adding to the story? A great diagnostic for whether a feature's pulling its weight is to run it through the same filter we use for the speculative element of a story: Would it still be a perfectly working story if I took this out? When the speculative element of a story can come out and it doesn't make a difference, it's not a speculative story; when a narrative feature can come out -- for example, taking everything in the brackets and putting them in regular narration -- and it wouldn't make a difference, that feature isn't adding enough value to the story itself.

I'm not sure that the parentheticals in "Thread" are adding enough, especially to balance out the places where they occasionally detract. Their presence in lines like "Randy bolted for the door. (Seven grabbed him, of course.)" takes a tense scene, full of suspense and adrenaline, and makes it feel suddenly offhand, distanced, not as important. They remind readers we're reading a story, and take us out of the moment we were caught up in.

That doesn't mean the only solution is to take Mara's thoughts out of the brackets and integrate them into the narrative; that's one solution. If there is a strong structural reason why the author wants those parts of the story to stand out, a good goal for the next draft may be to bring that reason forward more and clarify what those thoughts have in common, so that the reader can pick up on that reason -- then the structure won't look unnecessary.

The second area I'd suggest targeting for revisions is a question of thematics and characterization.

While "Thread" really succeeds at showing a complex character dynamic, it doesn't always have strong characterization. Randy, Bailey, Tess, Dom, Kory, and Mara don't differentiate strongly as individual, separate people, to the point where it takes most of the (admittedly, short) story to tell them apart. While they each have their one hobby, named early on, to provide a splash of character, there's a distinct lack of faces, of difference in voices; and of difference in what each character wants in the situation. By and large, the human characters are a bunch of people, whose bodies we don't really see, pointed in the same motivational direction.

In a story that's so much about individuals versus a collective--an oppressive enemy that has no names, no faces, no individual thoughts, and which will take away your face and name and personality to boot--that's a large potential problem. The nine-part alien versus the multi-part human unit is a great parallel structure to set up, but in order for the conflict between them to feel real, those groups have to interact differently; the reader has to see the difference between them.

Think about how the conflict would read if, where the nine-clusters have no physicality or bodies, the humans are intensely physical; where the nine-clusters have a group mind and no individual opinions, the humans are all opinions; where the intellectual point that underpins the conflict in the story isn't just told to the reader, but demonstrated. Readers tend to get more out of what they find themselves in a story, rather than what they're told about; giving them a chance to find the themes and ideas that underpin "Thread" reflected in the setting, the characterization -- the details! -- will just reinforce those ideas, and make the story itself feel more cohesive and tight.

So, I've drawn some good higher-level craft reminders from this sharp, engaging story, about balancing the elements of story: Not only does each one have to pull its weight and contribute, but once all the elements of a story are down, it's important to look at how they interact and affect each other.

Best of luck with "Thread," and thanks for the read!

--Leah Bobet
Author of ABOVE

Editors' Choices, Horror

"Cemetery Water" by Frances Snowder

A mosaic story is one of the most difficult types of story to write. The mosaic structure shows us little pieces of the story, usually out of order, and requires that readers put them together. A story with a more conventional structure builds suspense by showing us events in chronological order and making us wonder and worry about what will happen next. But in a mosaic story, the author sacrifices that usual source of suspense and instead seeks to build suspense by forcing the reader to try to figure out how the pieces fit together. Seeing how the pieces relate to each other, and finally seeing the big picture made up of the small pieces of mosaic, create the power of the story, if it is successful.

"Cemetery Water" does a good job of using this mosaic structure, holding out interest as it jumps forward and backward in time, and ultimately revealing something striking and disturbing. To summarize the events in chronological order, the story is about a woman, Perry, and her friend, Belinda, who go to Woodlawn Cemetery on a hot day to visit the graves of some famous people. When they run out of water, Perry finds a small pump and pumps water from the ground for them to drink. Perry tells her the water may be contaminated with "seepage," making Belinda upset, and Belinda runs into traffic and is killed. Five years later, Belinda's ghost calls Perry back to the cemetery, and Perry becomes irrevocably lost there.

The mosaic structure works well with this subject matter, since the story focuses on Perry's inability to escape from what has happened, and the structure, which loops back over and over events, helps to illustrate Perry's entrapment. The story also holds our interest with fresh, unusual characters, vivid description (e.g., she "drift to such a distance down the main road that she is no more than a shimmering reflection from a hidden mirror"), and believable relationships (e.g., "When I awoke from my dinner reveries, I teased and flattered her to hide my inattention").

Maximizing the power of this story depends on having the various details in the mosaic accrete into something greater, something deeply meaningful and moving. I don't think that's quite happening yet, so I finished the story without understanding why Perry is trapped, rather than struck by the fact that she is trapped. A key to the story is the image of the cemetery angel with the vine encircling her neck, entrapping her, which appears twice in the story, once at the very end. Perry says that "the angel represents the spiritual and eternal life." This implies that Perry's spirit is trapped, which is good, but I still don't understand why. The angel seems to relate to the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," which is also mentioned in the story. The mariner kills the albatross (as Perry is somewhat responsible for Belinda's death), must carry the albatross across his shoulders (as the vine entraps the angel/Perry's spirit), and is damned to wander the earth and relive his horrible act (as Perry seems trapped in reliving the past). I enjoy the comparison, yet again, I don't understand why.

Perry's "sin"--mentioning seepage--doesn't seem strong enough to cause this reaction or to warrant such a punishment. When I read the scene, I thought that they were joking around about the seepage and the water being "corrupt." I didn't believe Belinda was really upset about it or that she'd run into traffic over it. Belinda had never before exhibited any squeamishness about anything or any concern over foods or drinks being kosher. So this all seems to come out of the blue. Belinda seems a free spirit willing to do almost anything, so her reaction here seems out of character. One potential solution would be to change her character to make the reaction more believable--though if she is squeamish, I don't think she'd drink the water in the first place. Another solution would be to change the incident. For me, the character reactions, the death, guilt, and punishment would all seem more appropriate if Perry gets angry at Belinda running out of water, because she follows Belinda and expects Belinda to have the water. The story sets up Perry as a follower who is unable to rely on herself, so tying the climax to this character trait would make the story more unified. Angry at Belinda, Perry decides this once to take the lead, to pump the water and have them drink it. Belinda has an allergic reaction to the water and dies. This could push Perry back into her role as follower, which would leave her trapped and at a loss without Belinda, wandering endlessly through the cemetery, which is exactly what you want at the end.

As is, Perry's action of "goading" Belinda about the contaminated water doesn't tie to her main character traits, so it seems a one-time impulse inserted by the author, rather than something arising from the character.

Tying Belinda's death to Perry's attempt to break out of her role as follower would help the pieces of the mosaic to fit together better and reveal a clearer truth. The details of Belinda's character could also work together better. Belinda keeps asserting that Perry doesn't love her, yet I never feel Belinda needs or wants Perry's love. Thus when Belinda gets upset at Perry's cruelty over the contaminated water, I don't really believe she would be upset. I don't feel she has a need for acceptance and kindness from Perry. If this is important to Belinda's character, that needs to be shown more strongly throughout the story.

Other details could also work together better, particularly the references to Herman Melville, Lethe, Sylvia Plath, water, and Don Quixote.

This is a compelling story with a haunting atmosphere. If the characters can be sharpened and the details adjusted so that the pieces of the mosaic fit together to reveal a clearer picture, this will be a powerful and memorable story.

I hope this is helpful.

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


This month we welcome Rae Carson, long time OWW member and someone who's worked through the ranks to publish a blockbuster debut book with The Girl of Fire and Thorns.  Rae was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start author for Fall 2011. Her first novel was a finalist for the Morris, Cybils, and Andre Norton Awards, and was named to ALA's list of Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults. The sequel, Crown of Embers, will be released this month.  Rae lives in Ohio with her husband, novelist C.C. Finlay, and two stepsons, as well as two very naughty kitties.

Please welcome Rae Carson.

Tell us about The Crown of Embers.

photoThe Crown of Embers is political high fantasy in the vein of Game of Thrones. Except instead of being a badass warrior, the protagonist is more like Ugly Betty.

Did you always want to be a writer? Did you have a plan for reaching your goal?

Yep. I always knew I wanted to write. I don't remember wanting anything else. Except once I told my parents I wanted to grow up to be a burden on society. That may have been the turning point in their decision to support my writing aspirations. My plan for reaching my goal was simple: Write a bunch. Take criticism. Write better. Submit stuff. Roll with the rejections. Lather, rinse, repeat until the rejections turned to acceptances.

You're married to an OWW veteran we all know and love around here: C.C. Finlay. What's it like to have two writers in the family? Do you share your book ideas?

Being married to Charlie is awesome. We've developed a habit of going on long walks to bounce ideas off of each other. We have a kind of symbiosis with our writing strengths and weaknesses, and our work is so much stronger for being partners. He's my first reader on everything and my biggest cheerleader. I hope I'm half as helpful to him as he is to me.

Was Elisa and her world always meant to be part of a series? What has been the hardest thing about writing a series?

I didn't plan a series when I wrote the first book, but I intentionally left a few plot points open-ended in the desperate hope that someone would want more than just one book.

The hardest thing about writing a series has been getting over my own self-doubt. What if the first book was a fluke? What if I can't write a whole novel on deadline? What if my second book reveals me to be a FRAUD?! But my apprenticeship served me well, and I should have trusted all those years of butt-in-chair time. And I'm happy to say that while the third book in the series was the hardest of them all to write, from a confidence perspective, it was the easiest. I knew I could do it, and I knew I could trust my team (husband, agent, editor) to be good judges of raw work and help me achieve my vision for it.

coverWhat is your quirkiest writing habit?

Solitude fuels my muse, and I protect it like a mother bear protecting her cubs. I've been known to go to extremes. Like holing up for two weeks in a hotel room in Mexico to knock out a draft.

What one thing would you say has done the most to propel your career?

Word of mouth. I owe a huge debt of thanks to friends, bloggers, booksellers, and librarians who have relentlessly supported my work.

What do you wish someone had told you when you first started writing professionally?

I wish someone had told me that it's okay to struggle with the transition into pro writing. It was very hard for me to go from writing only for myself to writing on deadline for a group of professionals who were then going to polish, package, and market the book. It's the best job ever, but it is a job, and there are really tough days that make you wonder if you'll ever put a decent word to paper again. But you can, and you do, and it's okay that it was hard.

Great information to pass along! What's next on the writing horizon?

I just finished Book 3 in the trilogy, called The Bitter Kingdom. It was such a wonderful moment, typing "The End" for a series I've been working on for years. I'll be diving into edits this month.

And I just sold another fantasy trilogy to Greenwillow/HarperCollins, tentatively scheduled for release in fall of 2014, about the adventures of a 16-year-old '49er whose magical ability to scry gold could solve all her money troubles--so long as she escapes the ruthless uncle who wants to enslave her, and so long as she survives the perilous rush west.

Thanks, Rae, and good luck.  More about the current and upcoming trilogies can be found at

Publication Announcements

B. Morris Allen announced, "'Drive Like Lightning ... Crash Like Thunder' is being published as a three-part serial at Ray Gun Revival. Many thanks to OWW critiquers Kim Allison, Jay Reynolds, Oliver Buckram, Zed Paul, Fran Wilde, R.A. Watanabe, Tracy Canfield, and anyone else I missed."

Rebecca Birch says, "I just wanted to report that my workshopped short story 'The Memory of Huckleberries' will be featured in the September issue of Penumbra."

Longtime member Rhonda S. Garcia tells us: "I'm am proud to announce that my novel Lex Talionis will be published by Dragonwell Publishing. I will get back to the list with a specific publication date, and of course, if anyone's interested, I'll be happy to talk about the process as we go. But most of all, I want to say thank you. This list, the OWW, and the wonderful people I've met have helped me grow, hone my skills and prodded me in the butt when I thought I could not go on. There are so many to thank, but Elizabeth Hull, Susan Curnow, Kat Allen, Elizabeth Bear, Stelios, David Fortier, Steve Chapman, Greg Byrne, Anna Kashina, Christine Lucas, Elizabeth Shack, Walter, Jennifer Dawson, Jan Whitaker, Gio, and friends who have moved on such as Pam McNew, Stella Evans, Charlie, Clover Autrey, John Borneman, Larry-- not to mention the entire Vicious Circle and Round Table crit groups--have all given me advice and helped me on my way. Blessings on all of you--and anyone I forgot--for putting up with me and helping me along the way."  Congratulations, Rhonda!

Tom Greene tells us, "My story 'Zero Bar' is in the August 6 issue of Strange Horizons."

Maria Zannini has sold her fourth novel, this time to Samhain Publishing. Mistress of the Stone is a historical/paranormal, a pirate story with ghouls, ghosts, and werewolves. "I forgot to mention it when I signed the contract so I'll mention it now. It released this week!"

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.

August 2012 Honor Roll Nominees

Reviewer: Clarity A Bast
Submission: Labyrinth - Part One - Chapter 1 by Jodi Ralston
Submitted by: Jodi Ralston

Reviewer: Steve Brady
Submission: The Last Voyage from Earth - C4C by Zvi Zaks
Submitted by: Zvi Zaks

Reviewer: Laurence Pittenger
Submission: A Contest of Gods Part 1 (revised again) by Karen Kobylarz
Submitted by: Karen Kobylarz

Reviewer: James Thomson
Submission: Labyrinth - Part One - Chapter 2 by Jodi Ralston
Submitted by: Jodi Ralston

Reviewer: Michael Christo
Submission: MIDWAY, Chapter 1 by Steven Howell
Submitted by: Steven Howell

Reviewer: Anne Hromalik
Submission: The Baker of Benviue Chapter 1 by Kim Allison
Submitted by: Jon Paradise

Reviewer: Jay Reynolds
Submission: The Homing Pigeon by Michael A. Hutley
Submitted by: Andy Colns

On Shelves Now

Crown of Embers by Rae Carson  (Greenwillow Books, September, 2012)

coverShe does not know what awaits her at the enemy's gate.

Elisa is a hero. She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country's ruler should be secure. But it isn't.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from both foreign realms and within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears once and for all, Elisa must follow the trail of long-forgotten--and forbidden--clues from the deep, undiscovered catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her goes a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man who--despite everything--she is falling in love with.

If she's lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.


The Shifting Price of Prey by Suzanne McLeod (Gollancz, August 2012) 

Sometimes a bit of magical help might cost more than you bargained for...

London is hosting the Carnival Fantastique, and Genny's job has never been busier or more fulfilling. Only not everyone is so happy. The fae are in trouble again and Genny learns the mysterious Emperor may have the solution they need - if Genny can find him.

Genny needs help. She turns to the vampire, Malik al-Khan, only to find he's wrestling with his own demons. Genny's own problems are about to multiply too, when an old flame arrives with a tragic situation, just as the police request her urgent assistance with a magical kidnap. Is it all unconnected, or can the Emperor help her solve more than the fae's troubles?

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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)