July 2011 Newsletter


Monthly Writing Challenge


Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

Reviewer Honor Roll

Membership Info



This month is bittersweet as we say goodbye to Leah Bobet, OWW's support expert and mailing-list moderator for the last three and a half years, and welcome Jon Paradise to the job. Leah is going to concentrate on her writing career as she prepares for the release of her first book, ABOVE.  (Go, Leah!)  (Drat, another great OWW support person lost to publishing success...)

Fortunately, we're in good hands with Jon Paradise. Jon is another longtime member of the workshop and will take over the duties of moderator and liaison to all things OWW. If you haven't already done so, please stop by the listgroup and welcome Jon to the helm. You can contact him at support (at) sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com

Also this month, we welcome back Gary A. Braunbeck as our resident editor for Horror. He's sitting in for Jeanne Cavelos during her summer hiatus.

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

The challenge is about flying. Characters could gain or lose the ability to fly, fly by unusual means, or could even dream or imagine flying. Flying could be a sport, a means of escape, or a method of attack. Characters could even be the only one of their kind who can't fly. Also, as in Erica Jong, flying could be a metaphor for something else.

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).  This month's Challenge was sent in by Elizabeht Porco.


There's a new digital publisher in town offering a whopping 40% on royalties. Entangled Publishing accepts the following sub-genres as long as they have a strong romantic element:

• Paranormal and Urban Fantasy
• Contemporary
• Romantic Thrillers
• Science Fiction
• Fantasy
• Upper "YA" (17-22 yo protags) that will appeal to crossover audiences

For more information, please visit their web site.

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, Elizabeth Bear, and Karin Lowachee. The last four months of Editors' Choices and their editorial reviews are archived on the workshop. Go to the "Read, Rate, Review" page and click on "Editors' Choices." 

Congratulations to the current Editors' Choice authors!

Editors' Choices, Fantasy

ILLUSION by Dy Loveday

In chapters 1-3 of Illusion, Ms. Loveday has an intriguing start on a nontraditional dark fantasy novel. In the first few pages, she does an admirable job of establishing the world and her protagonist, handling a great deal of exposition with a light touch. She shows us her protagonist in action, establishes stakes, and gives us some hints of worldbuilding. This is a post-change world: magic has obviously returned to an industrialized society, and the author does an excellent job of illuminating class issues--a subject too often glossed over in fantasy.

I do have some mechanical concerns, which I'll address in terms of easiest to hardest.

First, while the author has a good sense of strong and vivid verbs, she tends to fall back on cliché too easily. The narrative is sprinkled with turns of phrase such as "her feet were glued to the floor" and "a sense of foreboding washed over her." Such commonplace turns of phrase make a narrative feel two-dimensional and encourage the reader to skim. While expunging them utterly can make a narrative airless and turgid, it's important for a writer to learn to use them only with intention, not out of laziness.

When plotting, we often quote the axiom that you should discard your first two or three ideas and start seriously considering the third or fourth. This can sometimes be applied to word choice as well--which is not to say that a writer should be searching for the most exotic possible words, but that she should strive to say things in a manner that is not bland and forgettable, but powerful, considered, and precise.

Another way the author could increase the immediacy of the narrative for readers is through more vivid evocations of physical sensation. There's a tremendous amount of good sensory detail in this story: the narrative acknowledges and appeals to all the senses. This is a difficult skill to master, and Ms. Lovejoy handles it well.

However, she is still relying on telling where it comes to Maya's emotions. It's far more effective to show those, through the physical reactions one's body has to sorrow or joy or fear. This will give readers more of a sense of inhabiting the story than of watching it on a screen or having told to them.

General, structural criticisms aside, I have a few specific issues I'd like to address. The first is that the opening is somewhat vague about Maya's situation. We know she's concerned and unhappy, but it's page three or four before the why of it really resolves. Also, it's not immediately apparent that she's taking proactive steps to address her problems. A proactive protagonist is easier for readers to bond with, and vagueness only frustrates the reader. Kurt Vonnegut once suggested that readers need to know everything about a story. I'm not sure that's precisely true, but although the natural inclination is to withhold information (as it is to withhold narrative), it's a far more effective tactic to give them a lot of data (within reason). Readers get engaged in a story they understand. One that confuses them rapidly becomes boring.

One way that Maya can be more proactive is in her encounter with her eventual rescuer. It seems to me that Maya blowing off her rescuer to go upstairs to bed is a weak story choice. It makes her passive, when he's the first hint she's had of answers to a problem that threatens her life. And she comes across as foolish for ignoring his hint that he came through a portal--it's obvious that he's not crazy, because he's describing exactly what happened, and he has to know it somehow. As a result, this feels like the author hesitating. Don't stretch a narrative out: go after it hard and fast. "Burn story."

This issue--and the one with the somewhat generic language--leads to a general lack of tension in what should be a fast-paced, gripping narrative. Another thing that can be done to address this is to remove some of the interjections where Maya, in her internal narrative, responds to a crisis in vague terms. Don't tell us the character is thinking "Oh, shit." Or "Now what?" Show us her fear and confusion, and we will respond viscerally--from empathy.

Moving from the general to the more specific, the action scenes in this are somewhat confusing. While there is good, interesting action, it's often hard to keep track of exactly what's going on and who is doing what to whom.

One reason for that is that the author does not yet have good control of her line of direction--the way the reader's mind's eye moves through the scene as described. I found this particularly confusing in the scene where the black figure is escaping from the mirror. It behooves an author to keep very good track of what is happening to who and in what order, and describe the action (in as much as possible) in that order, with clear antecedents and objects.

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

--Elizabeth Bear

Editors' Choices, Science Fiction

SHADES OF DEATH by Deborah Bailey

The author explains that though this reads like an urban fantasy it is in fact science fiction -- and there are hints of that, allusions to how living green contributes to the state of the world and its proliferation of post-death specters (interesting!). This seems to be a tenuous new world, a darker world, cut through by the protagonist's fast and loose voice and almost madcap first-chapter situation. The first line is fantastic (What had he done in a past life to deserve this?) for grabbing interest, and there are equally good short descriptions and phrases that add easy color to the prose (The flat, wide road receded slightly at the corners of his vision, like wading through a fish-eye lens.)

The problems in this chapter occur when the voice becomes too fast and loose, and the suspense comes across more like the withholding of information, rather than a precise delivery -- the former frustrates readers, and the latter makes them turn the page.

Suspense and presenting effective backstory requires a conscious delivery of information, at the right times and of the right things, in order to give a clear overall picture to readers, while also propelling them to turn the page. Suspense and backstory presentation is not tossing random tidbits to the readers in the hopes that they will be intrigued by fractions of knowledge.

The confusion isn't helped by some convoluted sentences that make it difficult to pin down what exactly the narrative is saying, on a prosaic but necessary basis. If readers can't make out what exactly the author is trying to illustrate, then what you get is a morass of words with no meaning. Don't sacrifice clarity in an attempt to do acrobatics with the prose.

The first instance of some convoluted meaning is in the first paragraph:

A finely honed tipping point where the risk from his boss if late matched that from a stay-out, sun weakened ghost.

And again much later in the chapter:

A dog walker then, who could correctly interpret a cocked eyebrow and frantic, half-hidden gesticulating and know to call the Register before Jeff got tired of Zigger's refusal to abet his desire to turn the subdivision into a giant maelstrom of displeased ghosts.

It doesn't help that in the first instance it is a sentence fragment as well -- these can be fine in and of themselves, but the rhythm of the whole paragraph has to work. The words themselves are just an awkward mouthful, stylisms that can be fixed by perhaps reading the prose out loud (if you stumble out loud, the reader is stumbling quietly) or just cutting down on odd compound words ("stay-out"?) and splitting up the sentences for clarity.

The odd mishmash of information given over the course of the chapter still doesn't create a clear impression of what exactly Zigger does or why he's doing anything with regard to the panicked neighbor -- therefore a lot of his asides or worries, which have no overarching context, fall flat. For example:

Zigger refused to look away from Jeff's gaze. He knew the flavour of that look. And so what? So what if he dyed his hair dark but left a good inch of blonde roots to show? So what if he didn't have tattoos? After the skin grafts, after whatever the hell that process had been, he'd have started pretty much from scratch. And why would he want to etch that chapter of his life on his skin for any stranger strolling down the street to gape at? Bad enough he was stuck with it inside.

This is too early in the narrative for any of this to have substance for the reader. The essential grounding so far is very tenuous, therefore all the references to the world or Zigger's past aren't anchored and none of it is particularly accumulating to create a broader, complete picture -- so the reader has no reason to care or be invested. Of course the reader can't expect to know everything upfront (nobody likes a major infodump in the first chapter, or ever) but this is so in Zigger's head (even though it's third person) that it's like eavesdropping on half a conversation.

There is nothing wrong, stylistically and structurally, in providing three clear, unequivocal sentences establishing exactly who Zigger is, why he's there, and the state of the world. Then providing another two or three a few pages later, seeding the chapter to create a snowball effect of information that the reader can use to walk through the world. Haphazard info drops that don't seem to directly reference anything that the reader recognizes only blur the world even more. Until the writer can instinctively know how much information is needed and when to provide it in the narrative, it might be best to surgically go in and consciously dole out the proper information (all the basics at first) in a premeditated way.

There is also confusion between Zigger wanting the Register to come, then not, then wanting it again; descriptions that say someone's hair is both slicked back and spiky, a reference to it being late in the day when it was clearly early morning...just a closer look at exactly what is being said can clarify the prose.

That all being said, though, the idea and characters are intriguing, the twist at the end is a great hook, and there is a liveliness to the voice that can well carry throughout an entire novel.

--Karin Lowachee

Editors' Choices, Short Story

"On the Mechanism of Transmission of the Asiatic Cholera: A Proof" by Kim J. Zimring

Here is a story about a real historical figure: Dr. John Snow, legendary in the medical field, particularly for his pioneering work in anesthesiology and epidemiology during the reign of Queen Victoria. The fictional circumstances here may vary from historical record, but seem fairly well in keeping with what we know of the situation and concerns of that time, which lends the story a certain solid sense of plausibility. After reading this, I went and looked up the historical facts involved, which are really interesting -- all the more so because I had come to feel personally invested in them, through the fiction of meeting those characters in the story. Discovering cool bits of history is a pretty neat side effect of reading an imaginative work.

But quite apart from any history lessons, I enjoyed reading this story. It pulled me in right away with a framing device that's worth attention on its own merits, as a framing device should be. Our physician has shown up to provide anesthesia to Queen Victoria, who is in labor, but because neither he nor his medicine are well known, nobody will let him through to treat the Queen. This provides plenty of interest and tension, but the point when I'm really hooked is when we step into the story nested within this story. Framing devices are tricky, because they can easily alienate a reader. They distance us one step further from the immediacy of events we're reading about in the nested story; they may crumble the illusion that those things on the page are really happening. If we're aware that a story we're being told is just words that a character is speaking about something that's already happened, that tends to drain interest. And in this case, the nested story promises to be about a doctor having once tested his theory of germ transmission, which seems nearly guaranteed to be a snooze.

But here's how the author writes it:

"Snow stepped back, took a seat. 'Have you ever heard the story,' he said, gesturing the under to take a seat beside him, 'of the night I proved how that killer, cholera, is spread?'"

This is very effectively done! Look at what's happening in these lines. For one thing, the main character deliberately establishes a ritual of good storytelling: here, he's saying, is the sort of dramatic tale one sits down and listens to. And then the words he uses to describe his medical discovery aren't dull scientific terms at all; he's phrasing it like detective fiction, like a murder mystery. He caught a killer! It all makes me eager to read onward.

The story about the cholera could probably do with a bit less talk and more action, but for the most part it works very well for me. There is a moment, after Elise has effectively risen from the grave and confronted her uncle, when I'd suggest some thought must be given to why she can't simply call on family, friends, or neighbors to support her claim to sanity, and help her regain her home. It seems too simplistic that the conflict is immediately drawn up as her word against one uncle's. (Note an inconsistency in the text: he is sometimes referred to as a cousin.) I'm willing to believe the situation could indeed boil down to that, but the way they arrive there feels rushed and leaves me unconvinced.

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

--Karen Meisner, Editor, Strange Horizons

Editors' Choices, Horror

"The Truth, as Told by a Bottle of Liquid Morphine" by Nicole Cushing

First it must be said that this is, overall, an exceptionally powerful and well-written story that will affect even those readers who haven't had the experience of watching a loved one waste away from this hideous disease. The almost-but-not-quite-detached tone of the narrator makes the events unfolding all the more poignant, and often makes the characterization of the people so clear you almost want to turn away or retreat to your own dark room in the back of a trailer.

There are problems, though. Most of them are extremely minor problems, but taken as a group they pose a threat to the story's tone and threaten to break the mesmerizing spell you have so painstakingly created.

I want to start with the good (and often great) stuff: I am envious of the title. Were I to see it listed in ToC of an anthology, I would turn right to it regardless of who else appeared alongside of it. And the opening line doesn't need to be touched. It is as strong an opening line as I've ever read, and beautifully encompasses nearly everything an opening line should do; it introduces the narrator, the other characters, the setting, situation, and conflict. Come to think of it, scratch that "nearly" -- it encompasses everything a great opening line should encompass. I can't imagine anyone reading that line and not being wrenched directly into the story.

However, a few paragraphs later, you have the narrator refer to the other "humans." This kind of hammers the point a little too hard; we know who's narrating before the story even begins, and that is reinforced by the opening line. Suggest you consider replacing this with "patients" or "people."

I admire the way you use description of completely unrelated events to allude to other events; specifically, the way you use the phrase "... day in, day out ..." to serve as a metaphor for Jacob's labored breathing.

"After seeing enough of those games, I realized I was like the 'closer' in a ball game. Not to be called on unless absolutely necessary, after the starters couldn't go on any further." A superb simile used to maximum effectiveness; a lot of writers might have belabored this simile for another line or two, giving us too much of a good thing; you knew exactly when to cut it -- in fact, that's one of the story's best elements: you know when to get out of a moment, and when to linger. Your instincts are right on the money, with one exception that I'll get to in a little bit.

Question: is there a particular reason you chose to use "hydrocodone" instead of Percocet? Some readers might not be familiar with the generic name of the drug. It works, I was just curious.

I very much like the way the bottle's characterization begins to peel back the onion layers, as good characterization should. When it tries to push a little more shine through its glass when it realizes that it alone is the medicine of last resort, and therefore superior to all the medications around it, that moment of pride gives the bottle's self-definition of purpose and lot more weight.

However, a few lines later, you have the bottle say, "I wasn't lazy ..." This line would be more effective if you emphasized "wasn't" rather than "lazy." You employed "lazy" early on in the story and it was effective; to emphasize it here makes the bottle seem almost whiny.

"After a day or two, the woman couldn't bear it. She'd spend hours off in her room while Jacob J. Ambers alternated between states of sleep, raspy breathing, and joint-jiggling bouts of terminal restlessness. She turned on the television to keep him company, then paced away to her room. But neither The Price Is Right nor any of the indistinguishable talk shows that followed or preceded it seemed to offer the man much in the way of solace. Nothing did. I suppose that's why she walked away. It can be hard to just sit there and see it, unable to do much. I suppose she and I had that in common. She could take her eyes away from it, though. At least for short respites. Not me. I kept the vigil going. I had no other choice." This paragraph encompasses everything that makes the story work so well; the direct, almost detached, just-the-facts-ma'am observations transforming into brief philosophical asides and finally fusing together the two to create a simple, direct poetry of death that is both compelling and very disturbing. You not only do not need to change this paragraph, but I suggest all your fellow workshoppers take a couple of minutes to deconstruct and study the elements to see for themselves why it works. Most paragraphs -- in or out of context, it doesn't matter, IMHO -- cannot stand up to careful deconstruction. This one does.

"There came a time when Jacob J. Ambers stopped speaking, entirely, and I perked up ..." The comma after "speaking" interrupts the subtle power of the line; remove it, and see if it doesn't have a bit more emotional punch to it. I would also suggest considering splitting this one sentence into two. The narrator's voice has spoken in such direct simple sentences often enough that it would be appropriate.

Okay, there are a lot of times when something as the passing, throwaway use of a word can cripple a sentence. This happens only twice in the story, but they are so jarring as to almost destroy the tone and agency of the tale. The first occurs here: "... But the woman shook her head and wailed. 'The death rattle,' she shrieked, 'the death rattle.'" While this reaction is undoubtedly a natural one -- I've witnessed such behavior personally -- but because it's being filtered through the narrator's sensibilities, it reads as too melodramatic. The narrator has understated all its observations thus far; it would fit the tone of the story much better were this reaction to be toned down, whispered.

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

--Gary A. Braunbeck


OWW welcomes another alumnus to the interview chair!

Peter Cooper is an engineer, a fact he blames for his coffee habit and occasional lapse into geek-speak. He lives in Adelaide with his wife and three young sons and, when not bouncing on the trampoline, can usually be found hiding beneath a laptop. His YA fantasy The Ghost of Ping-Ling has been accepted by Omnibus Books (a Scholastic imprint) for publication in February, 2012. His work has also appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Antipodean SF and Fablecroft's recent AFTER THE RAIN anthology.

photoWelcome, Peter! Give us the back cover blurb for The Ghost Of Ping-Ling.

I feel ashamed to admit it, but it hasn't even been written yet! To give a quick, non-edited version, it's about an orphan named Dillen who has spent most of his life in the care of a small village temple, and has had to endure a great deal of prejudice and hardship on account of being foreign born. One day a messenger comes to the village and tells Dillen that the Emperor has chosen him to perform an important task, one for which he will be richly rewarded. Dillen, understandably, thinks that all his dreams have come true, until he actually attempts to perform the task, at which point he begins to suspect things are not quite as they seem.

You're a man writing YA. Did that pose any obstacles you didn't expect?

photoEr... I'd have to say no. Actually, when I wrote The Ghost of Ping-Ling I wasn't thinking about it as YA or Children's or anything. I wrote it as something I'd like to read myself. Interestingly, my publisher is marketing it as Upper-Primary, which I think is about ages 8 to 12, so it's not really even YA in the true sense (although that line is very blurry these days).

How would you describe your voice?

It's really hard to describe your own voice, just as it's really hard to explain what "voice" is. I like to think of it as "light", easy to read with humor frequently bubbling below the surface. I guess others are the best judge of whether that's an accurate assessment or not.

What's the one thing you did as a writer that you felt played a pivotal role in helping you achieve publication?

Well, even if this wasn't an interview with OWW I'd say definitely joining OWW. Prior to that I'd had friends read the manuscript, and although their comments were valuable there's a huge advantage in having fellow writers critique your work, and also fellow writers who don't know you personally and so don't have a friendship to cloud their perspective. My learning curve from the time I joined OWW to the time I sent off the manuscript was incredibly steep, and I'm absolutely certain the book would never have been accepted for publication as it was before it was workshopped. Could I sneakily add a second thing? The other thing I did was write my bottom off. I worked out that between 2001 and 2009 I'd written something like 800,000 words. I can say with absolute certainly the first 720,000 of those were utter rubbish, but they were an essential lead up to the 80,000 words that ended up getting accepted for publication.

How did you know you were ready to start submitting?

I got thoroughly and utterly sick of the book. I'd been writing it for nine years all up (although the first versions bear absolutely no resemblance to the later ones). I'd done seven drafts, examined every single word at least ten times, run it through OWW twice, had a bunch of friends look at it and give critiques, and even had an expensive professional manuscript assessment done. I just knew I'd done everything I humanly could to give the book the best chance in the world. It was time to send it out and get on with new projects.

Tell us your call story. How did you find out The Ghost Of Ping-Ling had been accepted?

I sent it to a publisher in October 2009. This was the first time I'd sent it out and I just assumed it wouldn't get anywhere. I was kind of sending it to get experience with the whole submission process more than anything else, so once it had gone I started work on a completely different book rather than book 2 in the series. The publisher (Omnibus Books, a Scholastic imprint) said on their website that they were snowed under with submissions and I shouldn't expect to hear anything for about 16 weeks, so I just tried to forget it and get on with other things. Then when 3 months had passed I started to get a bit antsy and check my email obsessively, and also started having trouble sleeping. I found I'd lie there wondering if anyone had even looked at the manuscript, and trying to second guess why it was taking so long. Then one Wednesday morning in early January my mobile phone rang while I was at work. I picked it up and looked at the incoming number and I recognized that it was Omnibus (call me a geek, but I'd somehow managed to memorize the last 3 digits of their number). The thing is, for some strange reason which I still can't understand, I couldn't even answer it. All I could do was watch it ring in my hand until it switched over to message bank. Then I looked up the number on the Internet and confirmed it really was Omnibus. So I went into one of our quiet meeting rooms and, with my hands shaking badly, I dialed the number to get the voice message. All I heard was an overly cheerful recorded voice telling me I didn't have sufficient credit on the phone to make the call. So I rushed out to my computer and looked up the web page for the service provider and went to put some more money on my phone, only to find their website was down so I couldn't do it.

Thankfully, on the third attempt, by which time I was practically a nervous wreck, I managed to complete the transaction and get the message. It was the publisher from Omnibus saying she wanted to talk to me about the book and could I ring her. So I did, and we had a great conversation for about half an hour, during which she asked me lots of questions about the book and myself and so on, and ended by saying how much she loved the book but how she had a few changes she wanted to make before it went through to the next stage of the process. I did those changes, resubmitted, and by April I had a 3 book deal. I think even more than a year later it's all still sinking in.

Teresa Frohock is one of your crit partners (and one of our recent interviewees). How important is a critique partner in your work? Do you have blind spots that your CPs catch?

The advantage of a crit partner is that they're usually in for the long haul. They'll look at more than a single chapter of your work so they'll pick up overall themes and have a good understanding of pace and so on. So they're absolutely invaluable. One of my big blind spots is logic errors. I get so wrapped up in the story that I don't necessarily stop and think about practicalities. Another blind spot is horses. I know absolutely nothing about horses, or at least I didn't until my more equine-inclined crit-partners pointed out things I'd gotten wrong. When you're writing a fantasy novel, or any novel, you really need to get those kind of details absolutely spot on or you risk losing the trust of your reader. That's where relying on another pair of eyes is so vital.

In The Ghost of Ping-Ling, what came first, the character or the plot?

Ghost of Ping-Ling actually started out, believe it or not, as a satirical send up of The Lord of the Rings. I got home late one night in 2001 from seeing The Fellowship of the Ring (for about the fifth time) and I didn't feel like sleeping, so I fired up my PC and started writing a kind of send-up story. It was the first time I'd written anything in about fifteen years. Over the next year or so the satirical story changed to become more of a serious fantasy (although it was still light-hearted), and characters and plots came and went. For about seven more years it continued to evolve as I plodded away at it, sometimes having months without touching it followed by months of frenetic activity. Somehow, in all the effort, I couldn't find what I wanted the story to be. There was something missing that seemed to just hang there on the edge of vision and I couldn't work out what it was. Then on June 23, 2008 (yes, I remember the date exactly), I sat down in my lounge-room with my laptop and a glass of red wine and I started to think about the story for the thousandth time and it just came to me.

Why not base the world of the book on Asian mythology, rather than European mythology, and why not have the lead character someone who comes from another culture but has lived in that world most of his life, a kind of outsider in his own home? From that night I wrote in almost every spare minute I could get, and by the end of that year I had a draft ready for friends to look at. By the end of the next year it was ready to send off to a publisher.

Do you have any tips for fellow OWW members on polishing a query?

I feel a bit guilty about this question because my book was accepted without a query. My publisher's submission requirements are pretty simple, just send a manuscript. They didn't even want a synopsis. I think they just pick them out of the pile and read until they don't feel like reading any more. The few attempts I made at writing a query letter were truly woeful, so I don't feel qualified to give any pointers about how to do it -- except perhaps how not to write one.

What's next on the publication horizon?

The Ghost of Ping-Ling is due out in February 2012, with two more books to come (hopefully) within a reasonably short time after that. I also have a story coming out in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine in August this year. It's a comic piece about a zombie who has aspirations of becoming an architect, so it's a little different to The Ghost of Ping-Ling.


To learn more about Peter Cooper and his books, visit his blog.

Publication Announcements

Tracy Canfield wrote us: "I sold my short story 'But It Won't Set You Free' to Analog. (This will be my third story in Analog.) I also sold my short story 'Greetings from Earth' to AE -- The Canadian Science Fiction Review. This'll be my first appearance there. Thanks to all who provided critiques on 'Free' (Greetings was written before I joined OWW.)"

Peter Cooper says: "I have a story coming out in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine in August 2011. It's called 'Zombie Dreams,' about a zombie who dreams of becoming an architect. It's coming out in #52 which is due Aug/Sept."

Marc Davies tells us: "After much searching, I have placed my debut novel HIVE with Champagne Books for release in print, eBook, and audio around October 2012. I say much searching because it did get shopped around all the big houses, but alas there were no takers. Still, Champagne seems like a good home and they have great covers. Thanks to everyone that helped me workshop it on OWW. It went through no less than two complete re-writes, with help from Becca Andre, Michael Goodwin, Lindsay B, Ann Winter, Camille Picott, David Kernot and Ian Welke (to name a few). Thanks guys, you helped me cut my teeth."

April Grey announced: "It's official. CHASING THE TRICKSTER will be published by Eternal Press this fall. Yippee! Thanks to everyone who helped me workshop this novel at OWW."

Jannette Hughes-Johnson is on a roll. She tells us: "My scifi short story 'Fries With That?' has been accepted by Aphelion magazine, and will be published sometime this month! My flash piece ‘Bless You' comes out in June with 6Tales. And Bewildering Stories has accepted my short story ‘Strings.'"

Karen Kobylarz's story "To Serve a God" is in the latest issue of Mindflights.

Leonid Korogodski's 2010 self-published SF novella Pink Noise: A Posthuman Tale (Silverberry Press) has won the 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards in three categories: Science Fiction, Book Cover Design (Fiction), and Book Interior Design (Fiction). For more, see www.pinknoise.net/books.

Ilan Lerman writes: "Been a while since I had something to report, but this is big news. I sold my short story 'Unpicking the Stitches' to ChiZine for publication in their July 2011 issue. It was workshopped on OWW at the start of the year and is my first full professional sale. Huge thanks to everyone who looked at the first draft on the workshop."

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 2011 Honor Roll Nominees

Reviewer: Ada Hoffmann
Submission: Dead Girls Don't Tell 5th revision by Anita Stewart
Submitted by: Anita Stewart

Reviewer: Heather Cale
Submission: Truly by Tandrea Kelley
Submitted by: Tandrea Kelley

Reviewer: David Kernot
Submission: Half-Faerie: Chapter 17. Bitterness by Heidi Garrett
Submitted by: Heidi Garrett

Reviewer: Tracy Canfield
Submission: Urban Fantasy Chapts 1-3-and-a-half by Sharon Roest
Submitted by: Sharon Roest

Reviewer: David Kernot
Submission: The Rogue King by Suzanne Thomas
Submitted by: Suzanne Thomas

On Shelves Now

MISERERE: AN AUTUMN TALE by Teresa Frohock (Night Shade Books, June 2011)

coverExiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina's soul, but Catarina doesn't want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen's hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven's frontline of defense between Earth and Hell. When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina's wrath isn't so easy to escape!

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

Until next month--just write!

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