Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

October 2014 Newsletter


Monthly Writing Challenge


Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

Reviewer Honor Roll

On Shelves Now

Membership Info





We want to take this opportunity to brag about some of our former members and resident editors. They continue to garner awards and award nominations, and prove that OWW's members and Resident Editors are among the best writers in the field of Science Fiction and Fantasy. This year's Nebula and Hugo awards are a good example (and one that we missed calling attention to before now!).  The Nebula Award ceremony was held in May and the Hugo Awards were presented at LonCon 2014 in August. OWW was well represented at both this year:

Congratulations to all! We at OWW are very proud of all of you.  

In September we changed how we handle passwords to increase the security of our system. If you click our "forgot my password" link now, instead of receiving your password via e-mail, you will be sent a link to change your password. Now that we're done with that one, we're moving on to some more user improvements that will be a little more exciting, so stay tuned.

And to all our readers and members: keep writing, submitting, and letting us know of your successes!  If you need a little inspiration or a quick writing break, try this month's challenge, which looks really fun. And as always, contact us if you have any questions or ideas for improving the OWW Newsletter.

Jaime Lee Moyer, newsletter editor
news (at)

Monthly Writing Challenge

Challenge dictator Leah Quire has a new story idea for us this month:

"A mysterious pair of orange flip-flops appears in your life. You don't remember who they belong to, where they came from, or how long they've been stuffed in your hoodie pockets. The only thing you're certain of is that orange flip-flops make you nervous."

Remember: Challenges are supposed to be fun, but don't forget to stretch yourself and take risks. If you normally write fantasy, try science fiction. If you've never tried writing in first or second person, here's your chance. The story doesn't have to be a masterpiece, this is all about trying new things and gaining new skills, and most of all, having fun. Challenge stories can go up at anytime.  Put "Challenge" in the title so people can find it.

Challenges can be suggested by anyone and suggestions should be sent to Jaime (news (at)


Uncanny is seeking passionate SF/F fiction between 750-7500 words, as well as poetry, from writers of every conceivable background. They want intricate, experimental stories and poems with gorgeous prose, verve, and imagination that elicit strong emotions and challenge beliefs. Payment is 8 cents a word. Full guidelines here.

Accessing the Future is an SF anthology that seeks to explore the potential of technology to augment and challenge the physical environment and the human form. They pay 6 cents a word and welcome stories between 2,500-7500 words. Full guidelines here.

Urban Fantasy Magazine is a professional fantasy magazine publishing urban fantasy stories of up to 4,000 words. They pay 6 cents a word, and one story a month is solicited from pro writers with books in print. They also publish articles and reviews. Full guidelines here.

Temporally Out of Order is a new anthology being Kickstarted by workshop alum Joshua Palamatier and author Patricia Bray. It will contain approximately 14 stories with an average length of 6,000 words, and payment will be 5 cents a word. The submissions window will open and full guidelines will be posted when the anthology is FULLY FUNDED, which should within a few days of October 1st. The project is at 80 percent of goal, with 15 days to go. You can track funding progress and find more information here.

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, Liz Bourke, 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!

Editor's Choice, Fantasy

Golden - Prologue and Chap 1 (Updated) by Lea Zane

As a student of the classics, what drew my attention to Lea Zane's prologue and chapter here was the use of Latin. We open in Spring, 655 Aetas Hominum -- the Age of Men -- and quickly find ourselves meeting an Imperator. It quickly becomes clear that these aren't our very own Romans somehow transplanted to a different way of reckoning years, but some other Latin-using people -- but at that point, I had an interest in finishing the chapter.

Before we get into critique, let's summarise what's going on here. The first section is told in the third person, and involves Imperator Cassinus, his children, and an old friend of his called Oriel fleeing from -- apparently -- a mob that is about to break down the doors of their residence and do them to death. They travel through the streets to a river where a boat awaits them. Oriel holds off the mob, and the reader learns he is not human, before he leaps to the boat with the Imperator.

The second section (one presumes the section break indicates the end of the prologue and the beginning of the first chapter?) is told in the first person. It's here that the text begins to develop voice and personality -- character, in the form of the girl who is recounting part of her childhood in retrospect. We learn that she is -- at this point in time -- the four-year-old daughter of an emperor, and expected to inherit in a society where this is not usual. There is father-daughter bonding and explanations of how people manipulate others. Her nursemaid tells her a story about werewolves. She decides to explore the palace grounds by night, and is seen by an officer who doesn't say anything. The section concludes with her return to bed.

I'm not a fan of prologues in general. Here my general aversion is increased by how little work the first section is doing, in terms of character, worldbuilding, and the creation of narrative tension; and how different it is in style and tone to the section that follows. The second section is much better, technically speaking, than the first: it succeeds in evoking a strong and consistent voice, its line of direction is much stronger, and it is in some respects better at creating a consistent picture of its world than the first section. My advice would therefore be to consider whether the prologue is at all necessary, or whether the information it contains could be conveyed later in the narrative through some other means.

If the writer decides that the prologue is completely necessary, here are some suggestions for improvement:

In terms of characterisation, the second section has a definite leg up. The retrospective first person viewpoint works well, and the protagonist's personality comes across as much more well-defined. A retrospective account lends more distance to the narrative: the narrator can get away with a more knowing tone, and with breaking the fourth wall to address their (presumed) audience. It's possible to use this to add more flavour to the text, to give asides from a later perspective that flesh out the world, to foreshadow or to suggest an action would become more significant later. The second section does rather well, although the prose could use tightening at points, and I'd suggest a little more attention to sensory cues here as well.

Good luck.

--Liz Bourke
"Sleeps With Monsters" columnist at
Book reviewer for, Strange Horizons, and Ideomancer

Editor's Choice, Science Fiction


This is a middle chapter in the middle book of a military SF adventure series.

It's an exposition chapter. And that means that it's exactly the kind of chapter that can make -- or break -- the series. Don't believe me?

As readers, we almost always love adventure series for the characters. If it's not that, then we crave the action. So when we come to a chapter that loses our interest-- especially a chapter that's more than twice as long as other chapters -- we are tempted to put the book down and forget about the whole thing.

It's not enough to have great action. There also needs to be great tension. Uncertainty.

It's not enough to have great characters. There have to be great character moments.

Chapter 11 of IN DEATH'S SHADOW has a lot going for it. The Blade Force, a special operations unit, has just been through a training exercise so brutal they lost some of their team members, including their team leader. And Blazer, who saved the rest of the group and hauled their asses out of the fire, has come back and -- maybe with a new sense of mortality -- made an official marriage proposal to Marda. This sets up a nice conflict between Blazer's external goals for the team and his internal or personal goals. So, even though the whole context of the chapter is a meeting in a conference room, there are interesting tensions to work with.

Plus, this chapter is well written at the sentence level, with clarity and a straightforward narrative progression suited to exposition. It does some things very well too, like having Gavit talk about the best sniper he knows before that very same person shows up as the team's new sniper.

But exposition -- like the introduction of new team members or the selection of a new team leader -- still needs to develop character and advance the plot. And it should take care to keep us intensely immersed in the narrative.

So I want to point out some tools that can make this kind of chapter stronger. The first one is Externalization. Take information and find some way to dramatize it efficiently. Show, don't tell. Let's look at the first paragraph.

Blazer couldn't help but smile as he sat at the conference table. Even the news that Chertsin and Saldray made it through the initial round of Special Operations training couldn't spoil his mood. He looked across the table at Marda and smiled. She caught his look and blushed, turning to Chris to continue their conversation. The last few cycles had been an adventure for the young couple. When they weren't studying and catching up on classes they found themselves in the embrace of one another, making up for lost time.

The first four sentences are fine. They set up the scene, the characters, and have Blazer and Marda smile at each other, reinforcing their relationship. But the last two sentences don't work as well. They're emotionless, removed, and don't give us any character moment to remember.

I recommend finding a way to externalize it. Below, I provide an example of one way to do it -- not the only way, or even necessarily the best way. But it presents that same information but in a way that keeps us immersed in the character but with more tension and development.
Blazer couldn't help but smile as he sat at the conference table.  Even the news that Chertsin and Saldray made it through the initial round of Special Operations training couldn't spoil his mood.  He looked across the table at Marda and smiled.  She caught his look and blushed, turning to Chris to continue their conversation. 

Blazer stood up to get some coffee.

"Here, I poured one for you already," Marda said, and pushed a cup across the table, barely interrupting her conversation with Chris. "I know you like it to cool down before you drink it."

"How did you know?" He looked at her and she rolled her eyes. Were his tastes that obvious to her?

Chris laughed. "We all know how you like your coffee. It sits in front of you for ten minutes every day before you take a sip." Then his face turned more serious. "You're studying hard, pushing yourself too much. I've barely seen you around the past few cycles."

That's because he'd spent every free minute with Marda. She wasn't meeting his eyes right now. "Thanks," he said, and sat back down.

"So drink up fast," Chris said. "We need you sharp today."

A quick exchange like this can show how Marda is already getting familiar with Blazer, which develops her character. And Chris misinterpreting the reason for Blazer's absence creates a useful tension -- Blazer knows he's not working as hard as others think he is. Chris's last comment brings the conversation back to the meeting and suggests that it's going to be important -- a clue to the reader to pay attention.

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

--C.C. Finlay
Guest Editor, Fantasy & Science Fiction
Author of the Traitor to the Crown series

Editor's Choice, Short Story

"Caisson" by Karl Bunker

I was struck by "Caisson" this month because of its success at achieving a very specific effect: telling a story that is primarily exposition and explanation -- and still making it a compelling read that gives real emotional and narrative satisfaction.  The key to making "Caisson" work for me is its keen eye for description, and the way that skill lights up both the characterization and the sense of place.  We discuss concrete description a great deal on the workshop, but what makes description work, aside from being specific?  How do we integrate description well into a story?  That's what I'm hoping to discuss this month.

"Caisson" has good descriptions -- specific to the time and place and dialect of Polish, evocative, and smooth enough to not distract from the story itself -- but they're also tied in carefully to the story's themes.  There's a repeated use of juxtaposition in the descriptions in "Caisson"; a small, fat little arm seen against a giant forefinger, or the intimacy of sleeping pallets cut by remaining strangers:

"For its part, the infant seemed quite happy with his new friend, laughing and flailing a fat little arm as he tried to catch the finger tickling his face. After a few attempts he succeeded, his hand clamping down on a great log of a forefinger it could only half encircle."
"We were all strangers to one another, and it was clearly the tradition that we continue to treat each other as strangers, even as we unrolled our sleeping pallets side-by-side, so close they almost touched."
That element of juxtaposition does a few jobs here: It emphasizes everything it describes, making Mischke feel inhumanly larger-than-life: He is "a strange-looking figure even in a country of strangers" and "the various mismatched pieces of him held together with pegs and nails" -- mismatching creating another sense of juxtaposition.

Even more interesting is how those descriptions work with each other.  The juxtaposition element ties each description together, reinforcing the sense of unity and narrative cohesion within the whole story.  Dudek's alienation in New York, Mischke being called Mickey half the time by the foreman, the world inside the caisson's contrasts with the world above -- all these juxtapositions echo off each other, creating a strong, driving central mechanism for the story.  But they also help readers empathize with -- and believe in -- Dudek's disorientation in New York, and by doing that they sell the believability of the whole story.

Dudek's New York is, just like the descriptions used for it, never what he expects: full of references he hasn't seen (the Trinity Church) and social rituals he has to consciously do, like provide an American-style handshake.  We're constantly reminded that Dudek is not in familiar territory.  The juxtaposition embedded in the descriptions and sentences ties into the greater dissonance between Dudek's expectations and New York's realities, and helps create a shared sense of disorientation for readers -- one that makes the plot logic of Dudek taking Mischke's dangerous job when they've just met perfectly understandable.  They're familiar to each other; of course he will take the job.

The other side of this coin, though, is consistency.  It's easy for a unifying element like juxtaposition to fall into a bunch of random parts, but Mischke and Dudek are written with desires and drives that are set up early and pay off consistently.  Mischke's desire to hatch the fossil egg is entirely in character, after his fascination and delight in the baby in the first scene.  His description of death and the dead child he held in his arms, death as "eating out the insides of life," beautifully echoes the image of the fire working through the wood of the caisson and reinforces the idea that time, death, and physics work differently down there.  Images repeat in "Caisson"; they mean something when they do.  Everything that's set up is paid off, later on.  Nothing is described just for the sake of being described -- every description does two jobs, at least, and that makes its descriptions the vital narrative element they are.

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

--Leah Bobet, Author of ABOVE

Editor's Choice, Horror

"The Man with the Bird in His Beard," Part 1 by Sara Sabol

Atmosphere is a key component of most horror.  An atmosphere of foreboding, strangeness, and uncertainty can increase readers' suspense and fear.  This is what happens in "The Man with the Bird in His Beard," as Peter, the protagonist, enters a weird, suspicious sleep clinic in the third scene of this excerpt.  As the author skillfully evokes the atmosphere, the readers' concern and interest grow stronger and stronger. This concern is increased because Peter is sleep deprived, due to many nights of bad dreams, and is not fully absorbing what he's seeing and hearing.  We fear for him.  His struggle to stay awake adds conflict to this scene, which is dominated by description and exposition (background information), as the doctor explains to Peter what the clinic does.  A scene in which a character enters a building, is sent to a second building, meets his doctor, is questioned about his problem, has the procedures explained to him, and is tested could easily be a boring scene.  Peter's struggle and the fact that the exposition is interesting help some, but it is the atmosphere, evoked in the subtext through a combination of well-chosen details, that draws us most powerfully into the scene.  That is the strongest aspect of this excerpt.

The first, second, and fourth scenes in this excerpt seem more problematic.  Each scene should show a change of significance for the main character of that scene, and I don't see such changes happening in these other scenes.  I do see such a change in the third scene, since Peter's goal is to get help from the sleep clinic, and after some struggle he succeeds in finding the doctor and beginning the test.  So he goes from not having help to having help.  In the first scene, he wakes up from a bad dream, as he has many times, and hopes the sleep doctor can help him.  He already has the appointment, so nothing has changed for him in this scene; it simply reveals the status quo.  While it's necessary to establish where things stand, it's also necessary to move the story ahead with each scene.  That isn't happening yet.  The second scene establishes Peter's work situation, but nothing of significance seems to change for him.  He learns that he has to move to Atlanta, where the company is headquartered, but it seems he already expected this and doesn't really care, so it doesn't seem important.  In the fourth scene, Peter wakes up with a bad dream, as usual.

So I think one of the best ways to strengthen this section is to restructure it so every scene shows a change of significance.  Since I don't know the entire plot of the story, it's hard to suggest specific solutions, but here are a couple of ideas.  One suggestion is to start the story with scene 3, as Peter enters the sleep clinic.  Since the doctor reviews Peter's problem with him, the story could establish there that he suffers from horrible dreams.  I like this idea because it throws us into the middle of things and allows us to figure out what's happening, which can be intellectually engaging.

 Another suggestion, which I find a bit less appealing, is to add changes of significance to the other scenes.  In scene 1, Peter could awake from his nightmare and finally be upset enough to seek out help.  Maybe he screamed so loudly the neighbor called the police, or in his flailing he broke some object precious to him.  In any case, something happened to make him more upset than he's been on all the other nights, so he now searches the Internet for sleep clinics and makes an appointment.  This would be a change of significance, from trying to ignore the problem to admitting he needs help with the problem.  In scene 2, you could have Peter discover he's made a major mistake at work that will get him fired if it's uncovered.  Or Mace, his co-worker, could show him evidence of his mistake and threaten to show the boss if Peter doesn't do something for him.  Either version would create a change from Peter being secure at his job to Peter's job being in danger.  Such a plotline would have to continue later in the story. 

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

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


Paul Weimer is a Hugo-nominated podcaster ("The Skiffy and Fanty Show," 2014), SF Signal Irregular, genre reviewer/columnist, and writer. When he"photo" isn't doing all of that, he loves photography and playing and talking about role-playing games. You can find him on Twitter as @princejvstin, and commenting on genre blogs far and wide.

Every writer has an "origin story" of first getting published, or writing that first story. What is your origin story as a reviewer and interviewer? How did you decide this was something you wanted to do, and how long have you been reviewing?

I started experimenting with book reviews around 2004. I had casually reviewed things before then, going back to 2001. In 2004, I had moved my blog, and started to pump out content. I chugged along, honing my craft. Wait, you never heard of me back then, did you? Well, no, you probably didn't. Few people did. Two things changed that: Twitter and SF Signal.

Twitter changed that as I began connecting with people online. When I started linking to and commenting on blogs, people put together a picture of me and got to know me. SF Signal briefly had a social media thing where anyone could post reviews and things. I started putting up reviews, which got me noticed by both SF Signal and The Functional Nerds. Within a few months of each other in 2011, they asked me to start reviewing for them, and readers, publishers, and authors started to pay attention to me as a reviewer and as a person.

As part of SF Signal, I quickly started to do interviews with authors in e-mail format. I also started to become a frequent "irregular" on the SF Signal podcast, putting a voice to my words for the first time. That led to guest appearances on SFF Audio, The Functional Nerds, and Skiffy and Fanty. The latter, a few months and a few guest appearances in, made me a co-host in 2012.

Online review venues and book blogs are a relatively recent introduction to the world of publishing. The earliest reference I could find online was 2006. What impact, both positive and negative, has online reviewing brought to the world of books? Is the added exposure a good thing for writers? Or is it a mixed blessing?

Book reviewing on blogs has been around for a long time, but it has only been in the last few years that book blogs have become important enough to publishers and writers that they've paid attention to them. Reviews in newspapers, in fanzines, in Locus, are nothing new. What blogs (and sites like Library Thing and Goodreads) have brought to reviews are two things -- quantity of exposure, and velocity of exposure.

You can't swing a tree branch these days without hitting a book-review blog of some sort. It's gotten to the point where blogs and reviewers can and do specialize in particular subgenres. It's easier than ever to find reviews of all but the most niche of books. And at the very least, you can usually  find something on the book in Goodreads, or on Amazon.

Velocity of exposure, though, is the real kinetic energy in the power of reviews. A review in Locus that lands, at best, in the month of publication, or a review in a newspaper a few weeks after publication is one thing. A sheaf of reviews and guest posts  in the weeks leading up to publication, on publication day, and immediately thereafter is a way to generate buzz and interest in books in the social-media audience. Generating that energy has become a big thing in some circles, since it acts as a force multiplier. 

Part of the evidence of the usefulness of this is the relative lack of buzz in series books and books by women. Most of the books I get review copies for are by men, and first novels and first in series. Series books, and books by women in general, get promoted less, they get fewer review copies sent out, they get reviewed less often. Their arrival comes with far less fanfare and publicity, sometimes to the point that their publication comes as a surprise even to the well connected. I really think publishers are missing huge opportunities here.

From my perspective as a writer, book bloggers, online interviewers, and reviewers have had a huge impact on books being discovered. What changes have you seen in the industry as a result?

The major change is the rise of authors as engagers with their fans and reviewers in social media and in other venues. There are authors who want to just write the book, send it into the publisher, and go onto the next book.  There are some authors who still try to do this, mostly more established authors who grew into the industry in a different era.

Now, though, I see authors engaging in social media, going to cons, doing guest posts, and being part of the genre community even before their book is published. They put themselves out there as individuals before word one comes out on the page. This can be wearying and time consuming, but I am more likely to pick up a book if I have some sort of tangential connection to the author, or I'm aware of them and what they do outside of writing, than a random book sent to me by a publicist or a hitherto unknown author's book on a bookstore shelf. (Here, if I might diverge a moment, is a place where Amazon simply can't compete. Book searching is easy on Amazon. Browsing, not so much.)  Getting to know someone a bit as a person, even virtually, makes it more likely I will read that person's book if it's within my reading tastes or even if it's just outside of it.

This of course can backfire, if I read a book and do not find favor with it. I discussed this problem in more detail in a guest post at Kate Elliott's blog.

Is there one specific thing that makes you fall in love with a book, or is it the whole package?

My tastes in books and what I want from books has changed, grown, and evolved since I started reading, but some core desires remain constant and true. Since the days I picked up Zelazny, Tolkien, Renault, and Vance, my first and most abiding desire is a well-drawn, deep world. A world that I can imagine extending far beyond the boundaries of the page, a world that has, to use the Larry Niven term, a "Playground of the Mind." A world I can get lost in.

Give me *that*, and you halfway have me as a reader. It used to be that you had me all the way, but I've learned to appreciate characters more, and even be disappointed by books that had a lovely world, but not a soul in it that I cared a fig for. What good is a world if there is no one in the world I want to meet or strive against? Or what good is a world if the plotting is unbelievable? I have not yet, however, met a book where the characters or the plot managed to triumph over lacking or non-existent worldbuilding, so I still need, to some extent, that "sensawunda" when presented with the Argonath, or the World of Tiers, or the city of Tsarepheth, or a myriad others.

Name your favorite book from childhood, or the book that had the most influence on you as a reader.

Roger Zelazny's Nine Princes in Amber. It was pretty early in my genre reading that my older brother handed it to me. It starts off with the protagonist, with no memory, awakening in a hospital bed. I was hooked immediately by the mystery, and by the time the real supernatural elements kick in and Random and Corwin are driving across shadow worlds, I was hooked, hard.  I devoured it and the rest of the (then five-book) series, and was delighted when the Merlin series came out, and devoured those too. And much more from Zelazny. The worldbuilding and the playground hooked me in and has never let me go. The Amber series inspired my favorite roleplaying game as well. 

Multiverse fantasy is not terribly common or even in fashion these days,  but it always draws my interest when authors play in those sandboxes. It's the ultimate in worldbuilding, along with grand space opera--since the author has *many* worlds to get me lost within.  I've discovered authors ranging from Charles Stross to Michael Moorcock to Barbara Hambly by pursuing this interest first inculcated in me as a reader by Corwin's story.

For more from Paul Weimer, visit his blog.

Publication Announcements

L.S. Johnson's story "Littoral Drift" will appear in Lackington's Issue 4, out in October 2014. Many congrats, L.S.!

Tim Majors writes to tell us: "I have publishing news! Interzone have accepted one of my SF stories for publication. I put 'Finding Waltzer-Three' through the workshop in June, and it was much improved by OWW members' reviews -- so thank you!" Congrats, Tim! That's what we're here for.

James Sadler's story "Mustard World," critiqued on OWW, will appear in the July 2015 issue of Abyss and Apex. Yay, James!

Wade Albert White has a joyful announcement! "I've signed with the Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency, working with Arielle Datz. Magick 7.0 (working title) was workshopped on OWW in 2013. Thanks to the following reviewers who provided such useful and insightful critiques: Aimee Blume, Ken Byars, Sarah Byrne, Laura Capasso, Senner Dan, Kit Davis, Sandy Fetchko, Jane Forni, Robert M. Graves, Mary Hallberg, Jeanne Haskin, Rita de Heer, Kathryn Jankowski, Michael Keyton, Katrina Oppermann, Dragon Paradise, L. K. Pinaire, Phillip Spencer, Sue Wachtman, and Kim J. Zimring.There's absolutely no question that a huge part of my reaching this milestone was a direct result of the help and encouragement of my fellow OWWers over the years."

D. L. Young wants us all to know: "Hi! I have a couple announcements on short fiction publications, all of which passed through this workshop. My story 'The Reader,' a Writers of the Future finalist story, is part of the Tides of Possibility Science Fiction anthology. My story 'Dumpside' has been published in Kzine, a UK-based Kindle publication. Thanks to all who helped me get the kinks out of these stories!"  Awesome, D.L.!

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.

[September 2014] Honor Roll Nominees

Reviewer: Kaia Vintr
Submission: Flutter by Shawn Scarber
Submitted by: Shawn Scarber

Reviewer: Emmy Neal
Submission: Abernethy Ch. 5 by Frances Snowder
Submitted by: Frances Snowder

On Shelves Now

The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato (Harper Voyager, September 2014)cover

Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened. Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers -- the Queen's spies and assassins -- and her cabinmate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy may reach the crown itself.



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This month's featured article from our Tips and Advice section:

Member Kelly Schaub's advice on creating believable characters 

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)