November 2012 Newsletter

News

Monthly Writing Challenge

Grapevine

Editors' Choices

Interview

Publication Announcements

Reviewer Honor Roll

On Shelves Now

Membership Info

Tips

News

It's November! The holidays are looming already, and some of us are anticipating the crunch of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month! (For more about this inspiring event, see the NaNo web site). 

This month, we welcome back Suzanne McLeod, author of the wildly popular Spellcrackers.com series. Suzanne is going to tell us a little bit about what makes vampires so fascinating year after year.  And in our Publication Announcements, two sales to Asimov's!

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

Traps. A character is someplace he or she would rather not be and there doesn't appear to be a way out. The character could be on a planet far from home, held captive, or in an abusive relationship. How can the character escape or change the situation?

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 your title so others can find it.

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

Grapevine

ODYSSEY WRITING WORKSHOPS CHARITABLE TRUST ANNOUNCES WINTER 2013 ONLINE CLASSES

For seventeen years, Odyssey has pursued its mission to help developing writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror improve their work by holding its annual six-week, in-person workshop in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Three years ago, Odyssey expanded its mission, taking the teaching techniques that are so effective at the workshop and adapting them to create online classes. Director Jeanne Cavelos explains, "Technology allows us to hold live online class meetings, so students can ask questions and participate in the class. Each course is designed to provide intensive focus on a particular aspect of fiction writing, and challenging homework assignments help students to improve their skills. Feedback from the instructor and from classmates allows students to gauge their progress. Each student also has an individual meeting with instructor." Courses provide a supportive yet challenging, energizing atmosphere, with class size limited to fourteen students. While courses are designed for adult writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, interested writers of other genres are welcome to apply.

Last winter, Odyssey had a huge response to the three online courses offered. Writers from all over the world applied. This year, Odyssey is offering three different online courses covering some of the most critical issues for developing writers:

Three-Act Structure in Fantastic Fiction
Course Meets: January 2 - 30, 2013
Instructor: Jeanne Cavelos
Application Deadline: December 7, 2012

When we first offered this course in 2011, we received more interest than in any course taught before or since. So we're offering it again, to provide more writers the chance to learn the exciting possibilities inherent in this plot structure. One of the greatest weaknesses of developing writers is plot. One of the best tools for strengthening plot is the act. Plotting in acts creates a more suspenseful, unpredictable, and emotionally satisfying experience for the reader. This course will start by defining key units of structure--the scene, chapter, and act--and explore why we need acts. We'll discuss the effect of acts, the importance of acts, how acts work in short fiction and novels, and how acts are used in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. How does one identify an act? When are three acts appropriate? Why are three acts so popular and powerful? We'll learn how to plot in three acts. We'll explore what makes a strong three-act plot and what makes a weak three-act plot. We'll look at powerful methods and weak methods of ending an act. We'll explore how to create a causal chain that generates escalations and a strong climax, how subplots work within three-act structure, the connection between structure and character transformation, and the unifying role of theme.

Getting the Big Picture: The Key to Revising Your Novel
Course Meets: January 7 - February 4, 2013
Instructor: Barbara Ashford
Application Deadline: December 11, 2012

Barbara Ashford believes the most important skill a novelist needs is to be able to see the "big picture" of the novel, to understand where that big picture is lacking or weak, and to make the major changes necessary to create a coherent, complete, powerful, and unified novel. Barbara believes this skill made all the difference in her writing, transforming it from promising but unsalable to compelling and published. Writers often approach revisions as an opportunity to polish their manuscripts rather than to take a hard look at the story itself. If your plot meanders and your protagonist's goals are unclear, polishing your prose won't help. This course examines the "big picture" elements at the foundation of every novel: premise, promise, theme, world, character, and plot. Whether you've already completed your first draft, are still working on it, or are struggling with revisions, analyzing and strengthening those elements can lift your novel out of the slush pile and onto an agent's desk. Award-nominated author Barbara Ashford will examine each of these big picture elements and the ways that linking them can create a unified, compelling, powerful story. Through lecture, discussion, and writing exercises, students will analyze their premise, the promise that the novel is making to readers, the themes that arise from the novel, the world they have created, their protagonists' backstory, motivations, and goals, and the plot events they have chosen to lead the reader from the story's promise to its climax.

Bodies and Heartbeats: Crafting Character from the Inside Out
Course Meets: January 23 - February 20, 2013
Instructor: Elaine Isaak
Application Deadline: December 27, 2012

"If you will try being fictional for a while, you will find that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats."
--Richard Bach

In her critiques as a guest lecturer at the Odyssey Writing Workshop and as a critiquer for the Odyssey Critique Service, Elaine Isaak has become legendary for identifying weaknesses in character and suggesting brilliant yet simple ways to strengthen characters. This course will help you to develop a clearer sense of what makes a powerful character and will teach you the techniques you need to develop strong characters. The first duty of the fiction writer is to make the reader care about people that don't exist. In this course, we'll talk about how to create the core of a sympathetic character and bring that character to life through words so that the reader invests in the dreams and challenges of your imagined people. Students will study and discuss examples, perform exercises to practice creating sympathetic and believable characters, and write short-shorts that put these new skills into practice. Students will also provide critiques of their classmates' work.

Odyssey's Online Classes pack valuable content into each session, allow for significant interaction with the instructor, and provide assignments that challenge students. The classes provide the tools students need to improve their writing, along with feedback on their work that reveals whether they are successfully using those tools. Cavelos says, "If you're ready to hear about the weaknesses in your writing and ready to work to overcome them, you'd be welcome to apply to our online classes."  More information about Odyssey's online classes can be found at www.sff.net/odyssey/online.html or by emailing jcavelos@sff.net.

If you've visited the Odyssey site recently, you may need to click Refresh on your browser to see the new content.

PLEASE NOTE: Those application deadlines are coming up soon! If you would like to apply for more than one course, you must apply separately for each one.

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 C.C. 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

HE LIBRARY AT MT. SAMMICH, Chapter 1 by Scott Hawkins

The opening chapter of Mr. Hawkins' novel is extremely well-written and characterized at a professional level, but suffers from a number of organizational and structural issues. The initial scene, where we meet Carolyn walking along a darkened road soaked in blood, is extremely successful. It establishes character and a sympathetic protagonist, raises a number of intriguing questions, and begins a line of tension that, under ideal circumstances, would propel readers through the remainder of the novel.

Unfortunately, in the immediate aftermath of this scene, we commence a series of flashbacks that serve mostly to introduce characters and provide backstory. Retrograde time in a narrative is usually a mistake--especially so early in a story, when readers' interest is still fragile. As happens in this case, going back in time to establish backstory serves to disrupt forward momentum--and also to answer questions that readers haven't yet had time to care about. If those answers came after the readers had time to wonder, to engage with the narrative, they would be perceived as a reward. When they come before the questions are raised, however, memorizing them feels like a chore, and readers' focus begins to suffer.

The readers then begin to skim looking for the next bit of forward motion. Characters and plot points introduced in flashback will thus often blur together and be forgotten. For example, in this chapter, I was having a hard time keeping Michael and David straight. Some of this is because they both have common, Biblical names--but more of it is the confused way in which they are introduced.

It's often said that every reader of a story has a backpack, and every unanswered question or unanchored bit of information that a writer expects the reader to carry is the equivalent of putting a stone in the backpack. There is a manner in which writing fiction is like teaching--because the human brain uses stories to organize information, and information to structure stories, writers need to raise and answer questions in order to sustain reader focus and interest--while leaving a few mysteries unanswered in order to keep readers turning pages. The careful balance of those mysteries and solutions is what creates narrative drive.

Hawkins is very successful at first in creating tension. We have a mysterious woman, barefoot in a dress, walking blood-soaked along the side of a road and yet refusing assistance and obviously very much in command of herself. This would be a good time to push the story forward in a coherent and linear fashion, rather than lapsing into expositive backstory.

There's an additional series of problems with the backstory. One of them is that the characters in it are introduced without much emphasis to delineate each one. They show up in the narrative as if we readers already know them--and though Carolyn (and the author) do in fact already know them, we the readers need a but of a fanfare and introduction if we are to remember them and differentiate them. Five red pip cards in a hand are hard to remember--but if I have a six of clubs, the ace of spades, the queen of hearts, the king of diamonds, and a joker--turned over one at a time--my odds of remembering what they were and more importantly how they were different goes up.

A far more serious problem is that the backstory is so unrelentingly unpleasant and Carolyn is so unrelentingly victimized. We have engaged with her as readers precisely because she is active and enigmatic; we will have a hard time caring about somebody who is completely passive and whose motivations we do not understand. Past-Carolyn does not want anything, and that makes her a frictionless surface as far as readers are concerned. Remember that, functionally speaking, readers are trapped in a elevator with our protagonists for between two and ten hours. They'll enjoy it more if we make those protagonists memorable, active, and interesting. Why is Carolyn enduring all this suffering? We have to know to care; otherwise it will be read as misery porn and fail to enthrall most of us.

In addition, I think most of this exposition is unnecessary. The author needs to know it--it informs all the rest of the story--but readers do not. I recommend Roger Zelazny's Nine Princes in Amber as an example of some techniques by which characters with an extensive and toxic history can have their backstory revealed to readers without clunkiness. While his protagonist is an amnesiac, I'm not recommending that Hawkins make Carolyn an amnesiac--just pointing out that there are ways to get a lot of information in without breaking the line of action.

My one other immediate concern is the title, which I think is too whimsical by far for a novel of this bleakness.

In short, I think this novel requires a restructuring to be at its best. Hawkins' skill with prose--his easy, engaging, readable style--means that I am confident such an architecture project is within his abilities as a writer.

The front story is engaging, and I would recommend the author stay with that. Once we have the readers hooked, we should do our best never to let their attention wander!

--Elizabeth Bear
Author of THE SEA THY MISTRESS

Editors' Choices, Science Fiction

HANDS ON THE TRIGGERS, Chapter 24, by kit davis

Hands On The Triggers is a near-future science-fictional thriller about orbital-based weapons of mass destruction and the human connections that make technology vulnerable. Main character Marton Royce is a director on the space-based Global Anti-Terrorism Agency (GATA).

Marton's vulnerability is his younger brother David. Jack is Marton's friend and David's bodyguard. In the 23 chapters before this one, there are stupid escapes, dangerous rescues, and stupider and dangerouser rescues, leading to an explosion that leaves both brothers injured right as we seem to be approaching the climax of the book.

Structurally, this is good plotting, where internal conflicts are strongly connected to external action. Marton's and David's emotional damage leads directly to their physical peril and to their confrontation with the terrorist leader. I expect that their triumph over the physical danger will require them to admit and overcome their emotional problems first. Jack is situated as an intermediary between them and should be a key to bridging the gap between them. So that's all good stuff.

The writing here is also very clean and technically good. It's invisible in the sense that Asimov described as his highest aspiration--it never draws attention to itself, or to the writer, but stays focused on telling the story. Action is easy to follow. Paragraphs are sharp and focused. In places, the dialogue even plays counterpoint to the characters' thoughts in interesting ways that advance the plot, as in the beginning of this chapter where Jack's toughness on David is balanced against his internal thoughts about the young man.

Given all these positives--from the high concept, to the internal/external balance of conflict, to the thriller-y prose--my problem was figuring out why Chapter 24 felt like such a letdown to me, the kind of letdown that can derail a good book.

One reason is that it feels like it backs away from the conflicts at the wrong place in the story. At 3,500-5,000 words per chapter, we're about 80-100K words into the novel, maybe more. At this point, the story should have higher stakes, higher tension, and be building to a climax. Instead, David and his friends are on a ranch, where David is doing rehab from the explosion and farm chores to "build character." The only threats in the chapter to any of the characters are that they will have to spend more time on the farm, that geese and other farm animals may attack them, and that Jack will make them do more chores.

After 5,000 words, which is longer than either of the chapters around it, the narrative builds to this climax:

[David] looked at the face of the antique watch on his wrist, then did a double take.

"Oh, no. We're late. We better get a move on or Jack will have us moving sand piles from one place to another."

That's a weak hook to end a chapter, especially this far into the book. David should be worried about bigger issues. And so should the reader.

By this point, given the experiences that he's had, David should also be growing emotionally. If he wants to moon over Sydnee, that's fine. But he should also show awareness of the larger issues and his own role in bigger events. There's not enough of that here.

More importantly, this chapter doesn't touch directly on either of the major internal or external conflicts. Terrorists and weapons of mass destruction? Compared to chickens, David doesn't even think about them. His brother? There's one sentence, where David wonders if his brother has abandoned him again--but he has no emotional reaction to this thought and it has no effect on his immediate decisions.

Thrillers need urgency. Without the sense of the ticking clock, they have no thrills. There's no urgency in this chapter, only the promise that we might spend another month on the ranch.

Now if David were aware that that Hyatt was waiting for him to screw up, and if he had a compelling reason to contact his brother immediately, and if he had to weigh the risk of reaching out to his brother against being caught screwing up, that could be compelling and urgent. But that's not here.

When I was done reading the chapter, I felt as if it could be cut from the novel without losing anything. Jack's conversation with Hyatt and David's feelings for Sydnee can both be inserted in action elsewhere. Neither one has enough payoff to be worth 5000 words of story this far into the book.

In Chapter 24, if the major plot doesn't advance, if the characters don't grow emotionally, then you should think about cutting the chapter, no matter how well it is written. Like the workouts and chores that David has to do, it will be painful, but the book will end up better for it.

--C.C. Finlay
www.ccfinlay.com

Editors' Choices, Short Story

"The First Question is the Easy One" by Tim W. Burke

Tim W. Burke's "The First Question is the Easy One" accomplishes a tricky -- and valuable -- thing: it takes an idea that is often treated in a fairly standard way to a place that is interesting, heartfelt, sincere, and unique. It's the difference between a cliché and the kind of story people remember, and it's what makes this piece genuine -- as well as what the story could tighten up to increase its impact -- that I'd like to take apart and talk about this month.

There are a lot of pieces of craft that contribute to making this story work as a genuine narrative, many of them discussed in previous months. Burke is quite skilled at giving us what's essentially backstory -- Paul's life story -- in a way that doesn't feel like being fed blocks of exposition. That's partially done by breaking it up into a back-and-forth structure --the conversation with the helpbot -- to keep things moving enough so that readers don't feel like narrative motion isn't happening anymore; generous use of all five senses in the memory-details (for example, the smell of Elmer's Glue), and a judicious choice of what the memories are about.

What's more, no information is withheld or concealed from the reader: Paul is given to us whole. We know as much about him as he knows about him, and that works to make his situation, and his choices, real choices with stakes.

That leads into where the story can improve itself, streamline, and make sure there's nothing between its impact and the reader's eyeballs and brain.

The first barrier that presents itself shows up early on, and might sound trivial, but it matters: "The First Question is the Easy One" opens with a great many one- or two-sentence paragraphs.

There are a number of places where short paragraphs are very much the tool an author needs (see above, where I just used it to set a point apart so readers will assign it more importance and weight!) but they can also backfire. To paraphrase author (and OWW alum) Rae Carson, "If you go up to 11 all the time, it's not 11 anymore; it's 5." Or, in other words, giving readers a signal that a piece of information is really important by setting it apart in its own paragraph is a great tool, but if you use it too much, or for information that isn't important, their brains will stop flagging that as important at all and class it as melodramatic ("It told me it was important, but it wasn't!").

In general, it's a good idea to make sure you're varying your sentence structure somewhat. If it's a weaker point, or something you're new to thinking about, read your work out loud: it'll help you find where the natural rhythm of the sentences fits.

There's also one notable place where "The First Question is the Easy One" bogs down in its own narrative, not moving itself forward but talking in circles: during the climax, when Iggy repeats, over and over, for Paul to take the suicide pill. It's not exactly a sin to repeat things, but it's important to make sure that those repetitions take the plot forward, or anchor the reader in time while another character's thinking through the thing that takes the plot forward. Here, the plot isn't moving forward: the pattern is an order to bite the capsule, and then Paul thinking a digression, over and over; which changes slowly into an order to bite the capsule, and Paul describing or rationalizing; until he finally takes action and attacks Iggy.

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

--Leah Bobet
Author of ABOVE

Editors' Choices, Horror

DOLLS FROM HELL, Chapter 1, by Sara Sabol

This chapter from a YA horror novel does many things successfully. It establishes a believable teenage protagonist with a strong first-person voice. It takes that protagonist out of her comfort zone and puts her in a difficult situation, creating tension. It introduces some creepy dolls with vivid, powerful description and suggests that they pose a threat to the protagonist. So the chapter has many strengths.

The most important area that I think could be improved is the originality of the chapter. When I bring up originality, writers sometimes get upset and offended, even writers who are used to having their work critiqued and have no problem hearing that their characters are flat, their plot is weak, or the point of view shifts. But originality is just another element of fiction writing, and the more a writer can think of it that way, and work on improving it the same way they would work on improving other elements, the stronger it will be.

When I talk about making something more original, I don't mean throwing in things that are strange or odd for the sake of making the story more distinctive. It means that I'd like to urge the author to think more about what she has to say that no other writer has to say, and particularly what she has to say using this particular trope that no other writer has said with this trope. Scary dolls have been used many times in horror. That doesn't mean you can't write an original story with them. Old tropes are constantly being revived and re-imagined for a new generation. So there is plenty of room in the world for more scary-doll stories. But an author needs to put her stamp on the story, to make it HER scary-doll story, unlike anyone else's scary-doll story.

The chapter does have some original elements. The set-up with Lainie moving into her grandparents' house, into the room of her dead aunt, is interesting and disturbing. The particular dolls are distinctive and different from other dolls I've read about. But I'm not feeling any large-scale element that makes this book stand out from other scary-doll books, something that would make me grab a friend and say, "You MUST read this book!" Many dedicated writers produce work with this weakness. They have some decent writing skills, but their work doesn't stand out. I feel like I know what's coming, and whether I'm right or wrong, that feeling lessens my need to keep reading.

So how does one strengthen originality and make a novel stand out? Originality can come from any element of a story. You can create originality with character. Perhaps Lainie is the angriest teen protagonist we've ever read. Sometimes in this chapter she does get angry, and those are the sections that most excite me. But then the anger passes and she seems a fairly familiar protagonist. Magic by William Goldman is an evil doll story with a really memorable, insane protagonist (played by Anthony Hopkins in the movie version). Perhaps one of the dolls is unlike any doll we've ever seen. Chucky in Child's Play was such a doll, which is what launched that franchise of movies. You can provide originality with setting. For example, Alien took the haunted house/monster story and moved it to outer space, creating something fresh. Plot is often a source of originality. Perhaps we start out thinking that Lainie is the protagonist, but she turns out to be bad and the doll is the protagonist. Style can make a work stand out. Perhaps you use an unusual voice, or you write your book in present tense rather than past tense (like The Hunger Games). Pushing the envelope of genre, or combining genres or tropes can also make a work original. The Shining combined the haunted house story and the psychic child story.

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

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

Interview

The Thing About Vampires
by Suzanne McLeod

author photoAs I write about vampires, I frequently get asked why they are so enduring since--even though the publishing world and readers often say they've had their fill of the bloodsuckers--vamps are still one of the most popular supernaturals. My answer is that vamps are great at reinventing themselves and coming back from the dead! *g*

The majority of ancient vampire-type myths depict vamps as demons, or humans changed by magic/disease/death, who live in the dark, and prey on our lifeforce usually via our blood (which has always been both a metaphorical and physical symbol of life). So vamps speak to us on very basic levels about fears that are atavistic: fear of the dark, fear of the Other, fear of disease and of death. But let's be honest, while the blood-craving vamp crawling out of the grave has long been a staple of horror, any monster that stops to count a handful of seeds or runs from garlic, should be pretty easily despatched by even a mediocre hero with a bit of planning.

So it's really no surprise, as we humans got a bit more savvy, that a "creature" who embodies our fears would also up their brain-cell quota. It's hard to feel that we've fought a long, dangerous battle and not only survived, but successfully won, if all we're fighting is mindless* monsters. So the vampire became the intelligent fiend who wears a human face, until his/her mask is removed and true evil is revealed. (Which works for horror, and also as an easy metaphor for whatever ills of the world we choose to write about.)

Then there's the vamp's next evolutionary leap into his more straightforward persona, the romantic hero. He's a handy replacement for the erstwhile Alpha Male/Dangerous Bad-Boy character, who is now old fashioned, non PC, and often a jerk! And who wants a jerk as a hero? But turn them into a (sometimes angst-ridden) vampire, and their iffy personality traits can be, if not forgiven, at least understandable in someone who hails from a bygone era. Not to mention they can be used as the basis for some juicy, romantic conflict.

The vamp as romantic hero has other attractive attributes. He's ever-young and near-enough immortal and, thanks to him hanging around for a couple of centuries or more, he's got plenty of experience, knows how to work his assets (the monetary kind, of course *wink*), and is truly versatile. So he can play the millionaire, the sheik, the special-ops guy, the mysterious (and sometimes sparkly) Other in a first love/coming of age story, or really, whatever hero type/character we can imagine.

But it's not only male vamps who have made the leap from villain to hero; females have too. From the terrifying Greek lamiae and Lilith, though the blood-thirsty Countess Bathory and Aaliyah (Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned), to some of today's kickass urban fantasy heroines: Sabina Kane (Jaye Wells), Mira (Jocelynn Drake), Milagro de Los Santos (Marta Acosta), Raylene Pendle (Cherie Priest) and *inserts obligatory self-promo* my own Genny Taylor (who admittedly is only half vampire, but hey :-D).

So whatever type of bloodsucker we like, be it the slavering, mindless, revenant; the urbane sophisticate; the bad-boy lover; the high-school heartthrob; or the kick-ass heroine, the vamps have got something for everyone, which is why they will never truly die.

*My problem with zombies; they have a liking for brains but they never use them!

coverBio:
Suzanne McLeod is the author of the Spellcrackers.com urban fantasy series about magic, mayhem and murder -- liberally spiced with hot guys, kick-ass chicks and super-cool supes! The Shifting Price of Prey, #4, is her latest book. Suzanne was a cocktail waitress, dance-group roadie, and retail manager before becoming a writer. She was born in London (her favourite city and home to Spellcrackers.com) and is now lucky enough to live with her husband on the sunny (sometimes) South Coast of England, about a mile away from the sea.

Suzanne's website: http://www.spellcrackers.com
Suzanne on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Suzanne_McLeod
Suzanne on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/suzanne.mcleod

Publication Announcements

Oliver Buckram announced: "I've had two short stories published recently. First, 'The Running of the Robots' in Flash Fiction Online (thanks to Andrew Alford, Gregory Clifford, Ada Hoffman, Daniel McMinn, Jay Reynolds, and Steve Byrne for their reviews). Second, 'Signal Jamming' in Shimmer (thanks to Aliette de Bodard for her review). Special thanks to Jay Reynolds and B. Morris Allen for reviewing both pieces."

Tim Burke tells us, "My story 'Flim-Flamming The Haints' is appearing in this month's Space and Time magazine. 'The Metal and Its Mold' was bought by Pseudopod. 'The Flint Indenture' was bought by Stupefying Stories. Thanks to Mark Ward, B. Morris Allen, and everyone who helped make these stories work."

Ben Crowell announced: "I have sold 'A Hole in the Ether' to Asimov's Science Fiction. With thanks to Laurence Pittenger."

Elizabeth Hull wrote us to say: "I am delighted to announce that my fantasy book, Darkspire Reaches, will be published by the Holland House Imprint in the spring. This book was workshopped on OWW and the following people have all made contributions, big or small, to helping this happen. So in no particular order, these wonderful people are: Rhonda S. Garcia, Ilona Gordon, Treize Aramistedian, Linda Dicmanis, Susan Elizabeth Curnow, dena landon, Elissa Hunt, Kendra Highley, RL Boschee, Jeanne Haskin, Ursula Warnecke, Lindsay B, Lisa Smeaton, Crash Froelich, Carlos J. Cortes, Boz Flamagin, Simon Rhodes, Owen Kerr, Chris Anderson, Dawn Chapman, May Iversen, Shawna Kennedy, Richard Fuller, Levi Nunnink, Ann Winter, Jeanette Cottrell, Raven Matthews, PJ Thompson, Dorothy Winsor, Jennifer Dawson, Tim Greaton."

Vylar Kaftan says: "I have two reprint sales: 'Lion Dance' will be on Escape Pod at Halloween, and 'The Suicide Witch' will be on Pseudopod in the spring."

Graham Keeler writes, "I am pleased to tell you that I have just had my first full-length science fiction novel published by Netherworld Books. The book is titled Stowaway to the Stars. It was published this month and is now available in both paperback and kindle form on Amazon, among other outlets. Further details about me and the book are available on my website, www.grahamkeeler.co.uk and on www.stowawaytothestars.co.uk. I am particularly grateful to OWW, not just for critiques from members to help improve my writing, but also for the suggestion in your recent newsletter about this new publisher."  So glad we could help, Graham!

Sandra McDonald announced: "My short story 'The Black Feminist's Guide to Science Fiction Film Editing' is in the December edition of Asimov's Science Fiction, on sale now."

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.

October 2012 Honor Roll Nominees

Reviewer: Laurence Pittenger
Submission: Dinner with the captain by Oliver Buckram
Submitted by: Oliver Buckram

Reviewer: Mark Reeder
Submission: Harmony, Chaos, and the Reign Thereof by Kyle W George
Submitted by: Kyle W George

Reviewer: Elissa Hunt
Submission: The Bastard and The Bard Chapter 04 (Revised) by Katrina Oppermann
Submitted by: Katrina Oppermann

On Shelves Now

The Shifting Price of Prey - Spellcrackers.com #4 by Suzanne MacLeod (Gollancz, September 2012)

coverSometimes 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. Genny believed she'd cracked the fae's infertility curse . . . but the fae are still barren. It's a devastating plight to which the mysterious Emperor may have the solution - if Genny can find him.

She needs help.

She turns to the vampire Malik al-Khan, only to find he's wrestling with his own demons and, when the police request Genny's assistance with a magical kidnap, her own problems multiply too. Is it all unconnected, or can the Emperor help her solve more than the fae's infertility? Soon Genny is hard on his trail, so it seems she'll have a chance to ask . . . but will the answer cost more than she's willing to pay?

Membership Info

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

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

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

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

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

Tips

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

Until next month--just write!

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