July 2010 Newsletter


Monthly Writing Challenge

Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

Reviewer Honor Roll

Membership Info



For the next couple of months, Jeanne Cavelos will be busy running the Odyssey Workshop, but Gary A. Braunbeck will once again take the reins as the Resident Editor for horror. Horror writers, you get no reprieve!

OWW members, get your subs in and you might be lucky enough to score a review from one of our very distinguished and highly acclaimed editors. They don't aim to pick the most professional and polished submission, but rather a submission with strengths and flaws that we can all learn from.  The Editor's Choice reviews are one of the ways OWW can help you become a better writer (whether your submission is selected or not).  And coming August 1st: The Crit Marathon is back! Sharpen your red pencils, because contributing critiques is a major way to improve your own writing.  Details on this year's Marathon are below in the Grapevine.

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

Maria Zannini, newsletter editor
newsletter (at) onlinewritingworkshop.com

Monthly Writing Challenge

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Your character has a goal, is working towards that goal, and there will be obstacles. Mostly, these are expected things, then there is the thing from left field, such as when the primary suspect in a mystery suddenly is dead or the protagonist suddenly learns that the evil villain has given up his evil ways and is seeking inner peace on a mountain top. Now what? Simply: Write it! For that is your challenge for July: The Spanish Inquisition! Let you protagonist have the rug of their assumptions suddenly pulled out from under them as they discover that they couldn't be more wrong, or have them confront an event/action that is so totally unheralded that it shocks the protagonist.

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.

Challenges can be suggested by anyone and suggestions should be sent to Maria (newsletter (at) onlinewritingworkshop.com). 


2010 Crit Marathon

Calling all reviewers! The 2010 OWW Crit Marathon will begin on August 1st. This friendly contest is a great way to get to know more writers on the workshop, help us provide under-reviewed submissions with more feedback, and earn a truckload of points. The goal is simple -- 21 reviews in 21 days. While that's the goal, there is no minimum and every review helps! The top reviewers will also earn prizes and, more importantly, bragging rights! Last year's top contestants reviewed more than 100 submissions apiece. Are you up for the challenge?

To enter, please contact Kendra Highley, our marathon administrator, no later than July 30th at noon US central time. You can contact her at kermit_highley@verizon.net. To enter, you need to be a member in good standing of the workshop--posting is not required. Official rules can be found on the OWW-SFF-Writing discussion group, thread "2010 crit marathon official rules." Stats and updates will be made on the Writing discussion group daily. Thanks and good luck!

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 Gary A. Braunbeck, Karen Meisner, John Klima, and Karin Lowachee. The last four months of Editors' Choices and their editorial reviews are archived on the workshop. Go to the "Read, Rate, Review" page and click on "Editors' Choices." 

Congratulations to the current Editors' Choice authors!

Editors' Choices, Fantasy

ETERNAL by Michaela Warren

I'm not necessarily a big fan of urban/dark fantasy. It's very popular right now, so it stands to reason that people will be writing in that arena. You have to be careful, though, when there are a lot of books centered around similar topics (think of the current explosion of zombie books or the mash-up of public domain works with monsters) since there will come a time when the public's interest change. Be assured of two things when the market has a glut of a particular type of book: publishers are looking for more books like it AND editors are already tired of reading material like it and yours will have to have something different from the norm to get attention.

Michaela Warren does something different with her urban/dark fantasy that involves vampires and wolves (I assume they're werewolves, but they aren't named as such in this chapter). Aside from giving them a common foe which will force them to work together (as opposed to the over-used trope of vampires and werewolves hating each other) Warren also includes time travel. I really like the idea of the characters, at least the main character, moving through time to interact with these immortal creatures. Things will definitely be interesting when Dante, the vampire, next meets Angeline as she won't know him yet (the meeting is in Angeline's past but in Dante's future).

That aside, there are some structural problems with the chapter. Again I encounter two different characters talking in the same paragraph. This is so confusing for the reader. I think this should be put into your agreement when you sign up for OWW: Please do not EVER have two different characters speak within the same paragraph. Now, I saw that Nancy Kress in her Hugo nominated novella "Act One" did this once (ONCE, in a novella) and I tell you in no uncertain terms that I would have made Kress break that paragraph up. I was very disappointed to see it in such a wonderful piece. But, it was once, during a scene of confusion, and well, I knew who was who, but I still didn't like it. Warren does this in every paragraph. Sometimes the characters have dialog back and forth within the same paragraph.

Do not ever have two different characters speak in the same paragraph.

All right, let's move on. We're told that the book starts in 1442 Germany. This is during the Hundred Years' War (England vs. France) where King Henry VI ruled England, King Charles VII ruled France, and Frederick III was King of Germany but not yet Holy Roman Emperor. Those are some major things going on that should have some impact on the story and its characters. If the book was set in France, the young men (i.e., vampires and wolves) would need some explanation as to why they're not fighting in the war. This is avoided by being in Germany, but I would think that the war between England and France would be a topic of conversation. Not necessarily in this opening scene in the bedroom of Angeline and her lover, but potentially somewhere.

Warren seems to indicate that Angeline will be traveling to pre-set events in history. I don't know whether these will be major events in history, or events important to the story. If they are major historical events, then I Warren needs to incorporate them into the novel in some way. I like this idea, too. Bringing in historical aspects adds some flavor to the book that makes it a little different from other similar books out there.

With that in mind, I feel this book is moving along a little too quick for its own good. Now, I don't read urban/dark fantasy, so perhaps a sex scene in the first chapter is fine, but I think perhaps starting the story a little earlier so that the reader can get more time to meet these characters and understand at least a little of who they are before we're in bed with them would be a good thing.

On top of that, Warren has Angeline turned to a vampire in the opening chapter. This is another thing that I think would be better off happening later in the book. That said, knowing that Dante's next encounter with Angeline will be, in her timeline, before she was turned, does add some excitement to the meeting. Will Dante be able to remember that she's "just" human, or will he be expecting his newly formed vampire lover? Yes, Dante should know that she hasn't been turned, but if he has to wait decades or centuries before he sees Angeline again, who knows how he'll react? I would like more set up before either--sex scene and becoming a vampire--happens.

While I can personally struggle with novels' pacing (that's what happens when you predominantly read short fiction) it can be a bad thing to rush character development, or to skip it entirely. Warren has the characters making major decisions-becoming a vampire, forming an alliance with the wolves-without providing the reader any background as to why they would want to (or not want to) make these decisions. The reader has to know something of the characters to understand their motivations. And if something happens that's out of character, then the set up makes that more poignant.

There are some very good seeds to a strong story here. The historical and time travelling aspects can inject some much-needed spice into a style of book that's currently flooding the market. Warren will need to clean up her dialog and give her characters more background earlier on in the book for her readers to be able to identify with them and want to keep reading.

--John Klima, Editor, Electric Velocipede

Editors' Choices, Science Fiction


Sometimes a writer can get lost in the Cool Things of a science fiction story and give the relationships within the story short shrift -- but not so in this month's selection. Most of the chapter entails a sit-down dinner scene between NASA scientist Bram and the object of his affection, botanist Torula, and the narrative manages to avoid cliché and empty characterization. The dialogue is on the mark, the tension subtle, and the interiors well-placed and emotionally accurate. Torula is depicted as a strong, smart, but not overbearing or smug individual (as sometimes happens when a writer overcompensates to make the female lead "tough"), written as complex from Bram's point-of-view, but not frustratingly so. We can see why Bram would be attracted, but also must work to gain her regard in the way he wishes.

There is a great rhythm to the prose that begins in the first paragraph, almost no-nonsense, reflecting the temporary environment Bram finds himself in. The narrative gets a little muddled with the use of IM conversation -- a suggestion to separate this somehow with indenting, italicizing, small caps or something would make it easier for the reader. Other small things to watch for are tense changes from past to present, when the majority of the writing is in past tense; repetition of words too close together (like "decline" and "declined," or "perplexed" and "perplexing"); and some passive voice, especially in the last part of the chapter that dealt with Torula. Watch those -ing words or phrases like "having lifted" or "was twirling" and make them stronger: "He lifted" or "She twirled."

The most problematic part of the chapter was the second section with Torula, as it illustrated the specter's visit to her bed. The language became Harlequin-like, awkward, and a bit heavy-handed. Though it might've been the author's intention to show the fantasy-like nature of Torula's experience, aiming for something more spooky and subtle would add a better depth to the idea of it all. This is, quite frankly, strange, and that strangeness could be amped up to 11. This would also make the chapter end on a more impactful note, or a note of better thematic completion, a roundedness that's lacking at present.

She awoke with a start and knew right away she'd be late for work. But she also woke up with a clue in her head as to what might be enabling the specter to appear.

"Awoke with a start" is overused, and the last line reads sort of throwaway, when what we want is a strong image or solid realization through imagery, considering all the well-wrought build up in the chapter already. This is a pivotal scene if she comes to some understanding as to why this is happening to her, so that needs to be reflected in the language.

The bulk of the chapter, with Bram and Torula at dinner, is a perfect example of fantastic character interaction in what could otherwise be -- in the hands of a lesser writer -- a boring run of dialogue and exposition. Here instead we get a wonderful illustration of Bram's need of her, his indecision in how to ask her to come with him into space, and a fine balance of her astute observation and total ignorance of the breadth of his reason for being there.

With that quick exchange, he hoped the ice was broken, at least for the evening. They placed their orders and he could already tell she wasn't as uptight as she last had been. She used two fingers to push a floating candle away from her and closer to the center of the table, making its ivory glow dance across the crystal. He moved aside a vase that partly obscured his perfect view of her.

The parts of the interaction that would be boring to show are summarized nicely, while subtle but effective physical gestures work to enhance the dialogue. There are some places where some visual illustration of Bram or Torula would be better than just the unadorned conversation, specifically in the dialogue following her mention of Optimus Prime. The banter back and forth is well-timed, the suspense of if/when Bram will ask her about space unrolled at a good pace -- especially when Torula unintentionally derails him a couple times with her own occupation. Their debate about the nature of life and death encapsulates what must be the central question of the novel without being heavyhanded. Aside from a confusing mention of her eyes (they lighten when her mood goes south, but darken when she's in a good mood?), the scene plays out with such ease that the reader does feel they are witness to a private matter, while being let into Bram's laser-pointed observations and thoughts.

Both characters are likeable and realistic, their relationship as well, and no matter what Cool Things are proposed in a science fiction novel, the characters need to anchor the book and make the reader care about the exterior concerns and questions -- which they do here.

--Karin Lowachee

Editors' Choices, Short Story

"How to Make a Triffid" by Kelly Lagor

I love when fiction plays with familiar genre conventions and deepens them into something distinct and meaningful. "How to Make a Triffid" contains all the elements of a standard tale about a mad scientist obsessively bent on destruction, but that story is presented to us under the auspices of a quiet, thoughtful meditation on scientific discovery and personal loss. It's gracefully done. The narrator's voice never dips into the sentimental, winks at the reader, or goes over the top with its air of menace. The prose is so restrained that we remain sympathetic, even though our narrator, Joe, is working to create a monstrous threat to humanity.

There's a lot of science in this story, which gives it a nice backbone of substance and integrity. But I did find some of the sections on biology a bit dense, in part because I'm unfamiliar with the terminology. In writing, it's always tricky for a specialist to gauge how much of their field is common knowledge and how much needs to be clarified for the non-specialist reader. For example, "Taq plasmid" is introduced early on as an important component of the plot, and two whole scenes hinge on Joe's efforts to get ahold of it. Since I have no idea what Taq plasmid is, I read these scenes in a state of confusion over what all the fuss is about. For all I know, it's a weapon or a poison or plant food, which means that instead of staying engaged in the story, I become distracted by incongruous guesses.

But I don't actually need to know what Taq is! I only need to know a general idea of what these characters are talking about. Drop a hint right off the bat that Taq is some kind of molecular goo used in replicating DNA, and I'll be perfectly content. Even just "molecular goo" would be enough to start with; that gives the reader something to picture, and you can expand on its function later.

The long paragraphs about biology are technically interesting, but I think they could be more deeply integrated into the rest of the story. The sections where Joe talks about his personal life are quietly lovely and engaging; they draw me in to care about this character. So when the story goes off in another direction and gets into a dry discourse about science, I find myself wondering: what does any of this have to do with Joe? Why does it matter? How will these facts apply to Joe's need to create "something that lasts"? Think about how you can keep bringing the technical stuff home, so we can find meaning in it.

In several places, you're already doing that well:

"Therefore, communication isn't difficult if it's broken down into a simple binary process. Ones and zeroes. These plants don't need subtlety or nuance. Just yes or no. Act or don't act. At times I envy this dispassion."

It's a neat conclusion about what the chemistry means in simple, practical terms for building triffids, and how that resonates in the narrator's own life. I also love the paragraph where Joe's discussion of biomechanical systems concludes with their use in determining when his father died, finally moving beyond the science into his own memories. It's an excellent section, flowing naturally from an discussion of biological phenomena into an extremely personal application of those phenomena, and their limits. It reads as if the narrator were using science to comprehend and manage a painful reality, and also to distance himself somewhat from overwhelming emotions. The scientific lecture ties in to the larger story, and we understand that Joe finds refuge in intellectualizing the situation, even though he's clearly making emotional decisions. It's beautifully done. More of this, please.

In a story that's mostly internal musings, any momentum or tension has to come through the narrator, in his clashes with Andrew and in his relentless drive to build the triffids. If his plan works, it will be bad news for humanity, so there's a certain understated threat built into the whole scenario. But the stakes are also high for Joe in a very personal way, and the story could be doing more to show how and why he needs to do this. I want to see him throwing himself against some kind of wall, whether it's a scientific setback or resistance from Andrew.

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

--Karen Meisner, Editor, Strange Horizons

Editors' Choices, Horror

"Hole Ridden" by Sarah Ahiers

While it stands as a solid piece of short-story telling as it, the problem with "Hole Ridden" is that -- even at just barely 2600 words -- it's still too long. Sarah tends to find moments upon which to linger in order to provide her central character, Janice, time to consider/judge/dismiss things so that the concept of this ever-opening maw of Earth will be accepted by the reader. For the most part it works, but there are a couple of instances where Janice's hesitation in the face of a singularly terrifying truth see, either, a) put there in order to draw out the suspense a little more, or, b) make Janice seem naïve (and borderline stupid).

A secondary problem lies in Sarah's narrative voice. For easily 80-90% of this story that voice is in complete control, which is one of the main reasons that the tale zooms along, barely stopping to catch its breath. The pacing is excellent, but because the story remains about 300-600 words too long, it could be even better.

Okay, specifics: The story opens with this exchange between Janice and Arthur:

"Are you sure that thing will be able to move a rock that size?" Janice gestured with doubt (already established with the gesture, so repeating it here is redundant) to Arthur's tractor.

Then, in the middle of sentence which was until now solely from Janice's POV, you wrote:

Arthur wrapped a chain around the boulder and paused to look at his machine. He glanced at Janice, nodded and returned to the chain.

Which means that the next line of dialogue below if from Arthur, yet his actions remains attached to those of the last speaker, Janice.

"Yep, it'll hold it all right." Arthur rubbed dusty hands against his overalls and straightened his back. "Now you sure you want me to move it? God doesn't put something like this here for no reason."

Action always remains with the speaker; always. Everything after "Arthur's tractor" in the opening exchange needs to be separate from Janice's opening line an initial gesture.

Shortly after this, as Arthur readies to removes the rock, you have a lovely observation from Janice that goes like this:

Janice nodded and retreated a few feet. Poor man had probably never even had champagne, though he seemed confident in his ability to remove rocks.

It's a sweet moment for a couple of reasons; this is the first - and I believe only - time in the story Janice spares a sympathetic thought for anyone but herself, and she's so jaded she doesn't even realize how outrageously condescending it is.

That leads me to the next problem. You skirt far too close to the line of caricature with Arthur and Janice; she being the hard-bitten, cynical, judgmental, impatient, take-no-prisoners type who would have been played by Jane Fonda; Arthur, the almost too-laid-back neighbor and jack of all traits with so much homey wisdom and advice he's just waiting to share. You don't cross this line, but it comes close. But there's an easy fix - and you're not going to like it.

Move Arthur's story about "stopping a hole with a hole" into this scene, along with the few other pertinent bits of information that are exchanged out by the pickett fence Arthur is repairing. This confrontation scene simply doesn't work; it seems forced, it reads forced, and seems to serve no other purpose than provide someplace for Arthur's "a bigger hole to stop a hole" theory. There is no sense of culture clash, no reason for Janice to so vehemently accuse Arthur (even she knows that she didn't hear the tractor start up), so there is no point to this nasty little confrontation they have here.

Cut it. Take what necessary information you need from the scene and scatter throughout the opening sequence.
Last point; your final line:

"If it came down to that, she knew exactly where to put the final one."

This is almost exactly the same thing you did in the story's opening line, only here, instead of voicing doubt while making a gesture of doubt, you have Janice look at her gun, make the connection ... and then tell us what that connection is, just in case someone doesn't get it.

Please cut the final line and use "...Maybe the only way to atop a hole was with another hole." As the final one. It'll be less obvious and much more chilling as a result.

In case I forgot to mention it, the entire central conceit of the story is exceptionally clever and compelling, and when the earth starts falling into itself as Janice makes good her escape, I was on the edge of my seat.

What you have here is an excellent story. I think it can be made even better with some judicious pruning and re-arranging of smaller moments within scenes.

--Gary A. Braunbeck


Some of you know Alicia Rasley from the popular Edittorent where she welcomes comments and questions from writers of all skill levels.

Alicia Rasley is an award-winning novelist and an internationally known writing workshop leader. She edits for a small fiction press and teaches composition in a state college and fiction writing in the MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. Her writing book, The Power of Point of View, was released by Writer's Digest Books, and her new novel, The Richest Girls in Town, will be out in February from Bell Bridge Books. She blogs about writing and editing at Edittorent, and her many writing articles are available for free on her web site. You can never know too many good editors, so it's my pleasure to introduce Alicia Rasley.

author photoHow long have you been writing and editing?

I've been writing since I was 9 or so. Always. I've been editing for about 20 years, mostly non-fiction. Fiction the last three years.

You run a very educational blog on editing. What prompted this blog?

Theresa Stevens and I work together--she's my managing editor--and we have always spent hours and hours talking about the sorts of writing issues--plotting and grammar--that we encounter in our own stories and those we edit. So one day, we decided to start a blog, just to write all these conversations down. We've had a lot of fun, and have some readers too. She recently printed off every post, and it took two reams of paper. We actually do love writing about writing!

Is there anything in particular that is a recurring problem with new writers?

book coverWell, there are many. :) On Edittorrent, we have a running series on "Marks of the Amateur," in fact. I'd say the most common issue is scene structure. I think scenes, done right, really make the book and characters memorable. But too many new writers aren't structuring their scenes in the most dramatic fashion--maybe they bury the scene climax in the middle of the scene, or have all dialogue and no setting or narration, or fail to advance the story through action and conflict in this scene.

Fortunately, writers can learn--especially by reading and analyzing scenes in books they love--to design their scenes for more drama and plot propulsion.

OWW is a SF, fantasy and horror site. Are there any differences in editing a genre book as opposed to a literary one?

In the genres, we have to have a better sense of the target reader and that reader's expectation. The editor is, first and foremost, a stand-in for the reader, so we have to anticipate more what will confuse or repel or intrigue the target reader.

When you read slush for a publisher, what makes for an instant rejection and how can a writer identify that problem?

I think most editors can tell from page one if it's worth reading page two. So a boring or badly proofed or confusing page one might lead to an instant rejection. Now an intriguing story--as outlined in the synopsis--might keep me reading past a bad page one, but it's hard, as we all know, to write an intriguing synopsis!

Best way to identify any problems is to ask someone new to the story (but not to this type of book) to read the opening and the synopsis and respond in the moment of reading, so you know when she got confused, when she got bored, when she laughed.

For the synopsis, I'd just suggest that the writer think about the STORY and not the PLOT. What is this book about? More than the events--it's about the characters and their journeys and this world and how they change. A synopsis that's "this happened and then this other thing happened" isn't going to intrigue.

You've written many articles, novels, and books on craft. Does it require different writing chops to write nonfiction as opposed to fiction? Is it something you'd recommend to fiction writers?

Well, I have decided that the perfect medium for me is the blog. Really. There's something about the length of a blog entry and the informality and instant feedback that really connects with me. I've started a private blog just for my fiction because I think I have more fun writing in short blasts like that.

As for non-fiction vs. fiction--I'm a writer, not a novelist. That is, I wrote before I wrote novels, and if some law was passed barring me from every writing another novel, I'd find something else to write. I've written poems, plays, speeches for a politician, advertising copy, textbooks, real estate descriptions, computer manuals--just about everything. You need something written, I can probably do an adequate job at it.

But a lot of writers are really novelists or poets or screenwriters or whatever genre they're in, and that's great too, that they can focus and fully commit to the one form. I suspect they'd have a more difficult time writing non-fiction because that's not what they want to write. I wouldn't recommend it as a substitute for writing fiction. But there are many more paying gigs in non-fiction, so most writers who want to make a living at writing have to find non-fiction opportunities.

What's the diff? Well, most non-fiction is purpose-driven and aimed at a specific audience. The purpose is to analyze a literary text for students, or to instruct photographers to use this camera, or to help cancer patients understand their treatment options. A non-fiction writer isn't often following her own muse. So she has to enjoy putting words and sentences together, to some purpose that isn't necessarily her own purpose.

Anyone interested in writing non-fiction, well, blogging's a good way to start exploring what interests you. But don't blog about yourself or your novel. Blog about something that's outside of you. (If you're going to write a memoir, well, most of them seem to be fictionalized anyway, so writing a novel is probably good training for that. :)

Is it hard to turn off your internal editor when you read and write?

No, not really. I don't think of it that way. The editor is part of the writer, for me at least. I edit as I write, and I then rewrite--I never stop writing and editing what I'm working on. My problem is more about focusing on a single project for long enough to get it written.

I'm a Write or Die addict. There you put down how many words you want to write in how many minutes, and if you stop typing, bad things start happening. (Do NOT choose the "kamikaze option." Trust me on this.) I think of a scene I want to write, and try to get it done in 200 word/10 minute increments.

What advice can you give writers on pitching to an editor?

Easier said than done, but don't be nervous. Do your best as you write the pitch to highlight the good things about your story and where it fits into the spectrum of your genre and sub-genre. If you do that, the editor will ask to see the story if it sounds right for her line.

How does a writer know he's ready to submit his or her manuscript? When is it polished?

This will differ given the writer's experience level. If you've submitted before, you probably have a pretty good sense of whether this manuscript is ready, given the feedback from your other submissions.

But if you've never submitted before, contests come in handy. You don't have to win to get outside feedback from contest judges which helps you know if this is ready for prime-time. Also, this might be a good time to start a new critiquing group. Don't get rid of the old one, but find a couple of new readers who can give you an idea of how this manuscript stacks up at this point. (The old critiquers might not be able to give you that unsparing an assessment.)

And if you do submit, pay attention to what the editor writes back. Now the editor isn't being paid to counsel you, but often she'll write a couple suggestions for improvement if you ask (and promise you won't bother her anymore :). Most of us have been lambasted by submitters who don't take criticism constructively, and so we often won't offer real feedback unless we're assured you won't argue with it.

What's next on your horizon?

My family saga The Richest Girls in Town will be released by Bell Bridge (Belle Books) in February. I'm still doing workshops--I have one in Calgary this weekend--and I'm also teaching in the Stonecoast MFA (graduate writing) popular fiction program at the University of Southern Maine.

I hope to write more writing books in the future, and maybe start a writing community on the Web. But right now, I need to file final grades for my students and get ready for summer semester. I'm hoping to get some alone time this summer to choose to pursue one of the eight fiction projects I've started lately!

Thanks, Alicia!  For more of Alicia's advice on writing, check out her book The Power of Point of View.

Publication Announcements

Liz Coley told us: "I'm so excited to report a third sale for 2010, my short story 'Origins' to The Last Man Anthology. Thanks to Tobias Buckell for the original workshop advice years ago and anyone who has touched it since."

Aliette de Bodard says: "My Aztec steampunk weird alt-hist 'Age of Miracles, Age of Wonders' has sold to Interzone (with mechanical creepy man, imprisoned god, blood magic, and a mining town in the Old West). And I would also seem to have sold my Aztecs-in-space SF story 'Shipbirth,' part of the Xuya continuity, to Asimov's (do you detect a trend in story themes? :=) ). Many thanks to everyone who took a look at it on OWW: Allison Starkweather, Cécile Cristofari, Terra LeMay, L.K. Pinaire, Christine Lucas, and Ilan Lerman. And an extra dose of thanks to Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, who read it in record time and helped me fix a very important plot point."

Vylar Kaftan announced: "Just signed a contract for 'Witness' to appear later this year in Redstone Science Fiction, a relatively new online market."

Anna Kashina says: "I am very happy to announce the release of my fantasy novel IVAN-AND-MARYA by Drollerie Press. This novel was workshopped about five years ago, and I am hugely grateful to everyone who helped me shape it into its present form. Please check it out at the publisher's web site."

Suzanne Lazear told us, "I was an OWW member for about a year and a half. I had to let my membership lapse in January when I lost my job. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I just sold my YA Steampunk Dark Fairytale "Innocent Darkness" (and the sequel) to Flux and it'll be coming out in 2012. There's an article about the sale here. The first half of ID was workshopped on OWW and I'm grateful for everything I learned there."

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz announced: "Interzone has accepted 'Alternate Girl's Expatriate Life' for publication. I don't think I'll ever be blasé about acceptances. Such news always makes me happy. All right, I confess. I screamed and did the happy dance. Alternate Girl was born out of my reflections on expatriate life and what it means to be 'the other' and I'm pleased that it has found a good home. I also received an e-mail request for permission to translate 'Teaching a Pink Elephant to Ski' into Persian. It was a lovely e-mail and made me feel very happy indeed. The Pink Elephant story was born in one of those rare moments of mad humor...well...mad humor and elephants tramping around inside my head insisting that I should write their story. Try sleeping with demanding elephants and you will understand how I had no choice but to write the story."

Michael Staton mentioned, 'E-book publisher Wings e-Press has accepted my novel EMPEROR'S MISTRESS for publication. Contract has been signed with publication date set for August 1. It's the first book of a trilogy. THIEF'S COIN, book 2, is being workshopped on the OWW."

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.

June 2010 Honor Roll Nominees

Reviewer: Alec Hutson
Submission: The Apocalypse Apaches
Submitted by: Michael Goodwin

Reviewer: Kim Purdue
Submission: The Outworlders: Prologue
Submitted by: Michael Goodwin

Reviewer: Cynthia Wright
Submission: The Outworlders: Prologue
Submitted by: Michael Goodwin

Reviewer: Larry Knupp
Submission: The Apocalypse Apaches
Submitted by: Michael Goodwin

Reviewer: Alex Binkley
Submission: Moonbird Express Synopsis
Submitted by: L. K. Pinaire

Reviewer: Erica Lovell
Submission: "Relapse"
Submitted by: Hilary Goldstein

Reviewer: Lindsay B
Submission: Wynnstalkicinkeur The Imp Chapter 12
Submitted by: Jeanne Marcella

Reviewer: Erica Lovell
Submission: C4C- BROKEN: Chap. 1 -- Complete overhaul
Submitted by: Jodi Henry

Reviewer: Rochelle Uhlenkott
Submission: Dead Girls Can't Tell Part1
Submitted by: Anita Stewart

Reviewer: Michael Torreggiani
Submission: Dead Girls Can't Tell Part1 by Anita Stewart
Submitted by: Anita Stewart

Reviewer: vashti v
Submission: Girl of the Crayon Dreams Pt 1 by Alan S. Morti
Submitted by: Alan S. Morti

Reviewer: Gio Clairval (MV)
Submission: Attrition, Chapters 5 and 6 by Dev Agarwal
Submitted by: Dev Agarwal

Reviewer: Mike Farrell
Submission: A Toymaker's Dream by Margaret Fisk
Submitted by: Margaret Fisk


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Until next month--just write!

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