Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

February 2015 Newsletter


Monthly Writing Challenge


Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

Reviewer Honor Roll

On Shelves Now

Membership Info





So much news this month! Let's get right to it.

OWW Resident Editor and long-term OWW team member Charles Coleman Finlay is taking over as editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, beginning with the March/April issue. He will be only the tenth person to sit in the editor's chair in the sixty-six year history of the magazine. Charlie told us, "I wouldn't be here without OWW." Congratulations, Charlie. We're all very proud of you and we can't wait to see what you do with the magazine.

This month our hard-working behind-the-scenes crew have rolled out more member-requested improvements. Workshop admin Jon Paradise reports that the following features are now live:

More improvements and new features are in the works.

Until next month, keep learning and keep writing!

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

Jaime Lee Moyer, newsletter editor
news (at)

Monthly Writing Challenge

Creativity is challenge dictator Leah Quire's stock and trade. This month she not only wants us to think outside the box, but to think outside our usual lifeform. "Think about what life as a leaf is like. It's short; well, compared to a human's life, but the life of a leaf hanging out on a tree could be a wonderful one that ends in a blaze of glory, and a suicidal surfing trip on a strong breeze. Or not. What would the life of a leaf be like?"

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)


Resident Editor Jeanne Cavelos will be leading the six-week long summer session of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, a program for fantasy, science fiction, and horror writers. The 2015 workshop will be held from June 8th to July 17th at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Odyssey provides a great opportunity for writers to improve their skills and receive feedback from editors and authors. More information can be found in the press release or on the workshop web site. Deadline to apply is April 8th.

Daily Science Fiction pays 8 cents a word for speculative fiction stories from 100 to 1,500 words in length. Flash stories written around a common theme are welcome. Full details here.

The Dark is an online quarterly magazine looking for dark fantasy, science fiction, magic realism and mainstream fiction with elements of the fantastic mixed in. They pay 3 cents a word for stories between 1,000-5,000 words.Full details here.

Eldritch Press is looking for stories up to 20,000 words for their The Lost Worlds dark steampunk anthology.The Lost Worldswill be a anthology in the steampunk horror genre devoted to the post-apocalyptic theme. They pay 8 cents a word. Full details 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

Ghost Girl, Chapter 1 by Beth Lewis Auron

Perhaps the most important quality in a work of fiction -- the one thing that, if you've got it, means that many possible sins may be forgiven -- is voice. Voice is a peculiar narrative alchemy, comprising confidence and competence and a varied bag of other things.

And the first chapter of Ghost Girl has it. That's half the struggle right there: everything after this is a question of refinement, of detail and structure, of making the voice and the work stand out and shine. There's still a ways to go in terms of polishing up this chapter and getting it to stand out from the crowd, but this is already within shouting distance of something I could see on a bookshelf.

Let's outline what we have here, and then I will have a few minor suggestions for improvements. We open with a first-person narrator, and are immediately clued in from the references -- "Miss Wyatt," "Southern," "Reverend Jeffries" -- and the language choices that the setting is the (roughly) contemporary US South. We learn that the narrator, Wyatt, deals with ghosts for a living, and at the moment is doing a job for a client (Paul London) in said client's back yard. During the course of the job, she has a conversation with the ghost of a Confederate soldier -- a helpful ghost -- and discovers that the threat to her client and his family does not come from the ghost, but from elsewhere. Wyatt lays down a few protective measures to help keep the family safe, and has a conversation with the client's wife (Carrie) in which it is revealed that the woman in question has Faerie ancestry, and this is probably why the family is under some threat.

The first point I want to draw attention to is this: at no point is it ever actually stated why Wyatt's client needs her services. It's implied that it is because he consulted a religious professional who suspected a haunting and referred him to Wyatt, but why he had cause to consult such a person and accept the referral is not stated. It really needs to be, because the opening of the chapter as it stands implies an uncomplicated problem-solution set (problem = ghost, solution = Wyatt and whatever she does), and doesn't signal or set up the more complicated narrative that develops after Wyatt speaks with the ghost (problem = not ghost, ghost = helping, solution = ?). There are also some things referred to later on in the chapter, during the conversation with Carrie -- missing pets, hurt children -- that the reader has no context for. And the reader needs context for those things. The building blocks of the narrative need to be put in place in the right order, so that the readers never stop to say Wait, WHAT? unless the author intends them to.

This is a structural issue, and it's the biggest issue that needs to be addressed in this chapter.

The pacing around the encounter with the ghost could stand to be made more effective -- either less emphasis on the ritual, or a bit more chattiness in explaining what the elements of the ritual are for, and why they're important, will make for a smoother reading experience. Likewise, for Wyatt's conversation with Carrie, a little more work to prepare the reader for the Faerie aspect will go a long way -- to bring the explicitly supernatural aspects of the worldbuilding a little more to the fore before making them part of conversation will help the reader to follow what's going on more easily. Is this a world where the supernatural is part of everyday life? The implication early on is not, but making the role of the supernatural in daily life explicit one way or another will help to clarify matters for the reader.

Carrie also seems very willing -- perhaps a little too willing -- to take Wyatt's word for matters. After the initial distrust, her resistance to what Wyatt is saying disappears. More work could be done here, in terms of both Carrie and Wyatt's characterisation, and in terms of making clear what an ordinary person can expect in the world as it is presented here. (Most people in a contemporary context do not respond well to the idea of supernatural threats. If the response here is different, that tells us something about the people and the world.)

Some minor issues of capitalization, formatting, word duplication, and so on need to be cleared up. Some commas would be better as full stops or colons. Also, the writer needs to be careful to double-check apostrophes, as there are one or two instances here where the apostrophe is incorrectly used.

There are also some instances where the writer might reconsider whether her choice of words conveys exactly what she means to get across.

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

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

Editor's Choice, Science Fiction

TIME'S DOOR, Chapter 3 (C4C) by Allison J Miller

This novel appealed to me right away because it is YA SF that's not (completely) dystopian. I think that the dystopian genre has peaked for a while and there's room in YA now for other kinds of stories. The success with younger audiences of movies like "Guardians of the Galaxy" and the Star Trek reboot, and the anticipation for the new Star Wars movie, also makes me think that there is room for fun space adventure.

And that's what we have here. The story takes place simultaneously on Earth and a colony planet called Galea. Ky Torrinth is a 19-year-old space pilot who can transport people between the two planets through an unstable wormhole called the Rift. But he's suffering from a side effect of wormhole travel that causes him to phase in and out of the linear timestream. All of that is very high concept and very cool.

Meanwhile on Galea, 17-year-old Rae Falkon has discovered that the colony is free of conflict only because the Mercies, "Galea's trusted peacekeepers," are stealing people's memories. But Rae suffers from lung damage that makes the atmosphere of Galea poisonous to her, which makes it hard for her to act on the knowledge. The Galean plotline feels more like a dystopia to me but there's still lots of room for the two plotlines to interact in interesting ways.

Chapter 3 is a Ky chapter, and it's all about his relationships with others and the practical problems they face at work. So my first advice is to remember to let it be fun when the story moves in that direction. For example, in this passage:

Ky kept the Transient's searchlights dim, relying on radar to guide him through the bay's thick fog. As the ship slowed, he keyed the engines down to their lowest setting and opened a pair of air-sails on each wing, holding his breath until he felt the hard jolt that meant they'd caught the current.

This was the closest he could get to what it must've been like for the old pilots in their airplanes, harnessing the power of wind instead of the cheat of anti-gravity.

Why is anti-gravity a "cheat" here? Did the Wright Brothers consider airplanes a cheat compared to the wind rushing past them when they rode their bicycles? No, they still liked their bicycles, but they thought flying was awesome. So I think the story makes a good move here by comparing Ky's world to something readers know, or can imagine. But then I think it should push further in and make Ky's world and the anti-gravity unique and memorable and amazing.

When he goes into Port Salient, the story does something similar, describing how it used to be covered with forests, but now "it's simply known as Salient." Let it be vivid and visual and fun. I think there are opportunities to do the same thing with the hangar, both outside and in. You don't want to slow the story down, but I think you do want to take anything that is unique or original to this world, and make it distinct and specific and memorable so that readers will never forget it.

I think the other thing I would encourage here is to make the individual relationships distinct and memorable. This chapter is a series of encounters: Ky and Nora, Ky and Jonas, Ky and Faire. While they discuss different things with Ky, and they have different personalities and issues, there's overlap, particularly in the emotional range. Nora tells him he looks awful, Faire tells him he looks tired. The tone of the conversations with Nora and Jonas feel similar to me -- stressed and worried and full of backstory.

So the differences are here, but, just like with the world-building, it will be better if they're pushed further or intensified. I think this chapter would be stronger if the Nora conversation, in particular, was much tighter, even if it makes the chapter shorter, and also if there was a sharper contrast between it and the Jonas conversation. One is tense and all about business, the other is warm and affectionate and all about personal issues. Make each relationship that Ky has feel very emotionally specific. The stronger the contrast is, the more distinct the characters will feel, and the more we'll feel like we're seeing different aspects of Ky's life. It will give the chapter a sense of momentum, even if it remains mostly exposition.

So my advice to the author is to keep doing what you're doing, but do it more. The future can be amazing, even fun, with intense friendships, and that only makes Ky's problems matter more, not less.

Best wishes.

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

Editor's Choice, Short Story

"Light Below, No Light Above" by Hayley Lavik

"Light Below, No Light Above" caught my eye this month for its subtle unconventionality, evocative title, and highly sensory prose -- and how it produced reader interest by contrasting what's expected from its setting and characters with where it actually goes instead. So, this month, I'd like to talk about the art of the unexpected: how we can complicate and get away from tropes in ways that interest and engage our readers, and how to tell if we've fallen into shortcuts or expected tropes in ways that don't assist our work.

In previous reviews, I've talked about how readers don't just read what we've put on the page, but read it in the context of everything they expect a genre story to be. "Light Below, No Light Above" does a strong job of understanding those expectations and being different enough to be interesting while familiar enough, in other aspects, to keep readers unconfused. It's a fantasy piece with magic and stars, but it's a fantasy piece whose society and narrative tropes feel more science-fictional in tone, and where almost every character with dialogue is a woman of colour -- which immediately grabs more attention from me than the much more common European medieval fantasy populated by white male characters, a story written so often that it's hard to stand out or say new things in that conversation.

What's more, the economy in "Light Below, No Light Above" feels very carefully designed -- not usual for fantasy -- and the stars are an alien, magical species that feels just as thought through. The species-building for the stars is great: They have specific sounds for specific emotions, social habits, group and individual needs, biologies, the hints of a stable and predictable life cycle, and an appearance that's near enough to the trope of stars to understand that's truly what they are, but keeps dodging the stereotypical ("blunt, slippery limbs" instead of anything crystalline or sharp). It's this care that makes them feel real and part-understood, part of Cara's everyday life, instead of abstract, inscrutable -- and shorthanded or thinly built.

This care continues into the sentence level and a very rich prose style -- a stable feature to provide for fantasy readers, but one which contrasts interestingly with the more science-fictional feel of the worldbuilding. At an even more base level, it's rife with similes that are made more beautiful for the unexpectedness of their comparators ("crying like broken stemware").

However, when you peel off the surface, certain elements of "Light Below, No Light Above" don't stand up to the same scrutiny as Cara's relationships and her world.

Some small aspects of the worldbuilding remain slightly vague -- notably, the difference between the sun over the ocean, the sun in Portess, and the sun as it was in Cara's grandmother's time. While there's a non-specific sense that the richer citizens have blocked the sunlight from the poorer with their skyscrapers, this isn't a difference that's really felt or spotlighted in the piece, and as the last scene, with Cara at sea, hangs strongly on it, I'd suggest it's worth building the emphasis early in order to make the difference meaningful at the end.

On another medium-to-minor note, the pacing of "Light Below, No Light Above" is also an area I'd recommend for attention. After the first scene, which is written tightly, the pace of the story slows as it dips into flashbacks to explain the world and relationships -- which sets up the richness of the ending, but unfortunately creates the sense that the plot itself is not moving forward and potentially strands readers. I think some of this can be mitigated by trimming down pieces of information that are provided twice -- for example, the demonstration on the page of how stars are born in the sea, and then Cara's mother explaining to her the same process -- but I'm not sure this will solve completely without thoughtful structural work to rearrange, intercut, or otherwise rework the flashbacks into the present-day story so that the plot keeps moving forward throughout.

But more importantly, the two major traumatic events -- Cara spearing the constellation, leaving it incomplete and in mourning, and her mother's death while she's away -- would both be strengthened by tying them together in a cohesive fashion. I felt like the reason for Cara to go ahead with killing the star was overshadowed or sublimated -- yes, Rakin asked her to, but she seems to not have problems dealing with Rakin -- and the thematic significance of the star's death and a hole in the constellation doesn't have anything to resonate with until Cara's mother's death, done offscreen and late enough that the moment's slipped away.

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 Great Scarecrow Massacre" by Robert Haynes

While a detail can seem a very small thing, stories are made up of details, and the stronger the details are, the more significant, and the more they work together, the stronger the story is. This story includes some vivid sensory details that help me to feel like I'm with the characters, such as "mag wheels kicking up gravel," "the scarecrow's head exploded in a shower of straw," "He sprawled on the ground, still holding his beer tilted for a drink, and it spilled all over the front of his shirt." The details give me a strong sense of the time and place of this story, the characters, and the situation -- boys out doing damage to scarecrows. I'm quite engaged in the story from the time the narrator mentions "The Great Scarecrow Massacre" up through the destruction of the third scarecrow and the appearance of the huge mass of crows.

While the story has many strong details, it also has details that don't seem significant, meaning they aren't focused on the most important elements of the story. That makes the story unfocused, and the reader has a hard time knowing what's important and thus feeling the impact of what's important. For me, the most important elements are two revelations -- that Johnny's anger stems from his inability to join the army and that the crows are protecting the scarecrows (I think) -- plus Dave's realization that he should try to save the big scarecrow. To convey these elements, the author needs to show Johnny's anger building (which is shown very effectively), the destruction of the scarecrows, the effects of that destruction, and Dave's change. The story seems to lack focus because it has so many details that don't help to show these elements. Some of them revolve around Dave's mother, Johnny's brother, Trout's sister, all the locations that aren't cornfields, the biscuits, the kiss, the fact that getting back to the car doesn't take as long as Dave thought, and the final scene explaining what happened to all the characters. These are details that might be significant in a longer, more complex work that is trying to achieve more things; for example, Stephen King's novella "The Body" has many details like this. But in a short story, you need to limit what you're trying to achieve, to have a very strong focus and maintain that focus by making really hard decisions about what to include and what to exclude.

Since these details take up so much space in the story, there's not enough space left to provide intense, vivid detail on important events. Dave's realization is the most underdeveloped of the important elements. He's a passive observer for most of the story, just going along with Johnny, not particularly reacting to what Johnny is doing, and then has an instinct, for no particular reason I can see, to save the big scarecrow. It seems like the author is making him save the scarecrow. I don't really care about Dave yet or believe in him as a character, particularly not at the climax. I'd like to better understand Dave's motivations, his internal conflict, and how and why he changes. I'm not asking for the story to explain those things, but to provide details that allow me to form judgments and conclusions that are key to the story.For that to happen, I think Dave needs to be trying to achieve something in the story, not just going along with Johnny.As we see him trying to achieve something, struggling against obstacles, failing, and trying again, we will see him being driven toward a realization and change of some kind, which could help support his decision to save the big scarecrow.For example, Dave might have heard that Johnny failed his medical exam for the army before the story begins.He would understand why Johnny is angry; he could be struggling through much of the story to convince Johnny that there are other ways for Johnny to escape his current life.I don't think either of them would mention the exam aloud; Dave wouldn't want to humiliate Johnny in front of the others.But Dave might say he heard about some job openings in the next state, or whatever.He should see that the damage and violence Johnny is causing is most likely going to end up with Johnny getting fined or arrested and his chances of a better life dwindling.If he cares (and he doesn't really seem to now), and he's trying, then he'll have more at stake and we'll be more involved.I think it would be helpful if Dave also felt trapped in the town, though not to the same degree as Johnny.He can be trying to convince himself as well that there's hope for escape, and he can care more about convincing Johnny, because something is at stake for Dave, too.That would allow him to have a stronger reaction to Johnny's attempt to escape by destroying the scarecrows.He could initially think it's ridiculous and try to offer Johnny more rational options.Then he could realize that destroying the scarecrows is not endangering the corn; it is endangering them and making it less likely they'll survive to escape to a better life.They need the scarecrows to protect them from the wrath of the crows.Then trying to convince Johnny to take another course becomes more important than just a friend offering advice; it becomes a friend trying to save a friend.And Dave saving the big scarecrow becomes an attempt to save Johnny and all of them from the crows, not an attempt to save the scarecrow.For me, that would bring all the important elements I listed above together, provide the story with a stronger focus, and give it greater power.

Other underdeveloped elements are the encounters with the scarecrows and birds, which should be increasing in tension and intensity. You can think of this also as an issue of pacing.The most important moments in a story should be slowed down and shown in detail, so the moment gets drawn out, suspense increases, and the moment carries a heightened intensity.For me, most of the story seems described at a similar level.Dave's interaction with his mother and the biscuits, and Bobby spilling beer on his shirt, are described in as much detail as Dave hearing the scream of the scarecrow and the scream of the crows.Those screams, and their impact on Dave, should be getting much more attention.Those moments need to be slowed down to make us feel trapped in this experience with these horrific sounds.I am dying to hear that scream that sounds like a scarecrow; I think you could spend another sentence or two providing vivid sensory details to make us feel how this scream sounds like a scarecrow.In horror, the control of pacing is especially important, and you can find many great examples of horror writers speeding up (or skipping over) unimportant moments and slowing down important moments.

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

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


Harry Connolly's debut novel, Child of Fire, was named to Publishers "photo"Weekly's Best 100 Novels of 2009. His current epic fantasy trilogy, The Great Way, examines a common trope in the genre: the fallen empire of centuries past.OWW's own Charlie Finlay says: "Highly recommended, if you want a stay-up-all-night, forget-to-eat, must-have-the-next-book-NOW reading experience." Here Harry challenges us to think differently about talent.

Talent Is Evil

I am about to badmouth talent.

As a concept, I think it is useless to writers at the best of times, and poisonous at others. Let me explain.

All of us have, at one point or another, experienced a frisson while reading a bit of text and thought, What a talented writer. A mentor of mine once described writerly talent as a kind of precision: when a great writer evokes an emotion, they go for the specific and unusual. That's fine and helpful, but the word talent still connotes innate ability, something intrinsic to the author. I think that's harmful.

We've all seen a movie where the hero's dog gets killed, and I'm sure most of us were affected by it, maybe powerfully affected. However, I suspect few of us wiped a tear from our cheek and admired the writer's talent. That's not what a "talented" writer does, because it's something we've seen before. It's cheap, unoriginal, and manipulative. It's blunt force trauma.

"cover"Great writing is surprising. It's precise. It captures a feeling we have all had but have never experienced in text. It enthralls us without making us feel crudely manipulated. It shows us something new. But as a concept, "talent" is a sort of black box. The writer writes. The written words come to us. We read and admire them. Then we call the writer talented.

And it's not just writers. For a long time, we thought some people were "born teachers" and some were not. If a teacher could stand in front of a class and capture the students' attention, then draw them into the lesson plan, we called them talented. But recent years have seen a change in the way people think about teaching (or I should say that a change in people's thinking has finally penetrated the wider world). Researchers have identified techniques that help teachers manage classrooms.

An example: During a news report on advances in teacher training, a teacher/administrator working with her fellows began to use one of the techniques she'd been taught on the other teachers. When she asked them to take out their books, she would mime the activity. When she asked them to slide the books into their desks, she mimed that, too. "cover"Afterward, one of the teachers commented on how well the technique had worked. Everyone in the room had done what she'd asked as she'd asked them to do it, which was apparently uncommon for a bunch of skeptical teachers attending yet another meeting about how they were supposed to do their jobs. The administrator immediately admitted that she'd meant it ironically. She thought miming was a ridiculous idea and had been going through the motions in front of the room in order to mock it. No one was more surprised that it was effective.

Listening to this news story, I was struck by how much we still don't understand about the way our brains work, and how simple skills and behaviors that haven't been rigorously studied (and writing novels will never be as closely examined as teaching children) get stamped with the label "talent."

So what does that mean for us as writers?

When we come across the work of an excellent writer and attribute that excellence -- at least in part -- to talent, we're saying that some inborn trait or unknowable process made this text possible. And the truth is, we don't really know that.
It might be true. There might be some genetic or biological characteristic that makes one person's neurology especially capable of doing the deeply odd task of representing language through linearly-arranged black squiggles.

The inverse is certainly true. My own wife is dyslexic, dysgraphic, and dys-whatever-else-you-got. She's an intelligent woman, but you'd never guess that from the spelling and punctuation of her e-mails (when she forces herself to write one).
So yeah, maybe it's true that innate talent is a real thing. The important lesson is that you can't identify it from the text a writer creates.

"cover"When we marvel at a particularly beautiful creative choice, we might assume it comes from talent, but it could just as easily have come from a round of edits, or endless revisions, or a the advantages that come from a childhood environment rich with language. In fact, that bit of prose might be completely unoriginal, having been plucked from (er, I meant "an homage to") some older work that the reader doesn't recognize.

We can't really know.

That's why I say: Forget talent. Forget other people's. Forget your own. Put no value on it. Do not envy it when you think you see it. For me, the best thing a writer can do is to behave as though careful study, diligent (and open-minded) practice, and excellent reading habits are all that's required. Because truthfully, those are the things we can all control, and it's entirely likely that the talent you admire so much is not actually "talent" at all. It may just be an extraordinary amount of hard work.

Harry lives in Seattle with his beloved wife, beloved son, and beloved library system. You can find out more at

Publication Announcements

B. Morris Allen wants us all to know: "My graphic novel Shadow came out this month from Red Bug Books. It was critiqued as a short story on OWW, but a workshop member recommended illustrations." Great news, Morris!

Marla Anderson reports: "I received notice that my story 'Heart Trouble,' which I workshopped on OWW and sold to Mad Scientist Journal,is now up online on their website.They added some graphics which are pretty fun. Here's the link if you're curious:" Excellent news, Marla!

David Busboom says, "I just wanted to report a success story: my horror short story 'A Note on the Body of Prior Lewis' was recently accepted for publication in a future issue of NameL3ss Digest! This story was written as part of an OWW writing challenge, and was subsequently critiqued and revised via the workshop system, so I owe everyone here my deepest thanks." Congratulations, David.

L.S. Johnson sents this happy announcement: "I wanted to say that my story 'Vacui Magia' was bought by Strange Horizons and will be online, well, any time now really. Many, many thanks to Robert M. Graves, Daniel Connaughton, Byron Lee, Marsha Sisolak, and Steve Brady for their helpful feedback." Great news, L.S.!

Jodi Meadows wants us all to know her new novel, The Orphan Queen, hits the shelves on March 10th, but that's not all! Harper Collins is releasing a series of e-novellas set in the same world. The Hidden Prince comes out June 1, 2015,The Glowing Night arrives September 1, 2015, The Burning Hand rounds out 2015 on December 1st, and The Black Knife will be released March 1, 2016. Great news, Jodi!

Workshop alum Fran Wilde has lots of exciting news to share: "I sold a novelette to Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Tor, part of my Jeweled Valley series, called 'The Jewel and Her Lapidary.' A reprint of 'The Topaz Marquise' appearappears in Apex for subscribers in February. And I sold a very short Orpheus and Eurydice story to Uncanny, which will be out in the next issue. Also 'How to Walk in Historic Graveyards in the Digital Age' will be out in the next Asimov's." Major congrats, Fran!

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.

January 2015 Honor Roll Nominees

Reviewer: Heidi Kneale
Submission: Westwind by Rosemary Althoff
Submitted by: Rosemary Althoff

Reviewer: James Sadler
Submission: Dragon's Hope, Chapter 2 by Donna Collins
Submitted by: Donna Collins

Reviewer: B. Morris Allen
Submission: THE LIVING THRONE - chaps 5 and 6 by Caroline Norrington
Submitted by: Caroline Norrington

Reviewer: Gregor Hartmann
Submission: Garden of Tears by J. Fryer
Submitted by: J. Fryer

Reviewer: Devan Barlow
Submission: Chapter 1 - The Child by Brian Nucci
Submitted by: Brian Nucci

Reviewer: Devan Barlow
Submission: The Living Throne - chaps 7 and 8 by Caroline Norrington
Submitted by: Caroline Norrington

On Shelves Now

coverKaren Memory by Elizabeth Bear (Tor, February 2015)

Set in the late 19th century -- when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable's high-quality bordello. Through Karen's eyes we get to know the other girls in the house -- a resourceful group -- and the poor and the powerful of the town.

Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging for sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone's mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap -- a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.



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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)


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

Workshopper Nigel Read on dealing with never-ending sentences, balance, and pace

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)