December 2012 Newsletter


Monthly Writing Challenge


Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

Reviewer Honor Roll

Membership Info



This month we come to the end of what we hope has been a very successful year for all of you. We certainly ended with a bang when we heard two long-time members of OWW, Ian Tregillis and Greg Byrne, made book deals to close the year--one of them a three-book sale to a major publisher. Meanwhile, one of our Editor's Choices was sold to an anthology before we could even publish our professional review of it!

We hope you enjoy and are encouraged by this month's interview with Ruth Nestvold. There are not many writing workshops that can boast as many amazing writers as we've had in our ranks over the years! This is why we continue to invite them back and share their wisdom and experience.

Congratulations on making 2012 a great one for OWW. Here's to 2013--may all your ambitions be fruitful.

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

Maria Zannini, newsletter editor
news (at)

Monthly Writing Challenge

Write a story that illustrates what freedom means to your character. Is it something small and simple, or something big? Is it something your characters think is worth fighting for?

Remember: Challenges are supposed to be fun, but don't forget to stretch yourself. If you normally write fantasy, try SF. If you've never tried space opera, here's your chance. It doesn't have to be great. It's all about trying new things. There's no word limit, no time limit, no nothin'. Just have fun. Put "Challenge" in your title so that others can find it.

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


Darker Times Fiction is a monthly short story competition for stories of 3,000 words or less in the horror genre or on the subject of "darker times." All submission information can be found on the web site -- . It's open to UK and international writers and ends on the last day of each month.

Editors' Choices

The Editors' Choices are chosen from the submissions from the previous month that show the most potential or otherwise earn the admiration of our Resident Editors. Submissions in four categories--science fiction chapters, fantasy chapters, horror, and short stories -- receive a detailed review, meant to be educational for others as well as the author.

This issue's reviews are written by Resident Editors Jeanne Cavelos, Leah Bobet, Elizabeth Bear, and C.C. Finlay. The last four months of Editors' Choices and their editorial reviews are archived on the workshop. Go to the "Read, Rate, Review" page and click on "Editors' Choices."

Congratulations to the current Editors' Choice authors!

Editors' Choices, Fantasy

DÄMOREN, Ch 15, by Seth Skorkowsky

Seth Skorkowsky's DÄMOREN has the makings of a rollicking urban fantasy adventure in the noir tradition. Currently, its chief weakness is the author's developing control of language and voice--and a lack of saturation in the narrative. However, the plot moves, and if the characterization is somewhat unsubtle, it's strong and consistent and appropriate to an adventure story. The worldbuilding is obviously well-worked out and thoroughly considered, and even though I am coming in in the middle of the mystery and betrayal plot, I can see that the pieces have been placed in advance and are now paying off.

In the interests of illuminating what I mean by voice, language control, and saturation, I'm going to talk a little about point of view. This chapter of DÄMOREN (and possibly the whole book?) is written in extremely tightly limited third person, as is appropriate to a noir adventure novel. (They're usually in limited third or in first person. This gives the author extremely good control over the information readers have to work with--the author can withhold any information that the protagonist does not have conscious access to, which means that suspense is automatically maintained. The drawback is that such tightly limited narratives can become frustrating or confusing for readers, since the protagonist doesn't understand what's going on. An extremely active protagonist is one of the cures for this problem.)

Tightly limited point of view necessitates two things. One is that we find the point of view character interesting enough to tolerate the literary equivalent of being stuck in an elevator with him or her for the duration of a novel. The other is that the author be extremely careful in making sure that readers are grounded in the narrative. This is where that control of language and saturation issue comes in.

Currently, this chapter feels somewhat sketchy and disjointed. While it is replete with action, angst, and tragedy, it's a little hard to connect with the character and feel what he feels. This is in part because he tells us what he feels rather than revealing it through action and sensation, as is demonstrated in the passage where he's being unsettled by Luiza's relationship with Kazuo's sword. (The demon-hunters' weapons are sentient, and form specific emotional bonds with specific people. Both the sword and Luiza, in this case, have been "widowed.") The old adage of "show don't tell" is sometimes useful and sometimes not, but in the context of bringing home emotional impact it is almost always better to let readers feel the emotion through our empathic identification with a character.

We all know what that sense of betrayal and jealous unease feels like, when somebody else's behavior makes us feel insecure in our own decisions and relationships. If Mr. Skorkowsky can describe the physical sensations, the narrative becomes much more real. Description that is precise, specific, and detailed will give readers a sense of living the narrative and increase their investment, and the emotional impact of what should, by rights, be a very fraught story.

Mr. Skorkowsky does have some very clever parallels in here that will, when refined, also serve to enhance that impact. Matt feels a sense of betrayal because of Luiza's choice to deal with her grief by re-bonding with another weapon--but in reality, there is a much bigger betrayal going on, where one member of his demon-fighting order is in fact an agent of the enemy. These things should play off of and reinforce one another in the final draft. The narrative does not have to make the connection patent--it will be more effective if the parallels are just lined up next to each other. Readers respond most strongly to connections they make themselves.

Related to the problem of not demonstrating emotion (A variant version of "show, don't tell" is "demonstrate, don't narrate." Of course we must often narrate, because if we demonstrate everything it takes seventeen pages to cross a room. All things in moderation, including literary advice!) is the problem of not demonstrating environment. Mr. Skorkowsky does a good job of quickly describing a scene of enormous carnage--but despite some details (and occasional mentioned of sense of smell) the massacre does not have quite the impact it should. This is an excellently fast paced narrative, but it needs a little more weight, a few heavier beats to bring the horror of the scene home. Some of that can be accomplished with stronger verbs, removing some linguistic scaffolding that's not doing enough work, and more careful attention to punctuation. Some of it will require a little additional information.

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

--Elizabeth Bear

Editors' Choices, Science Fiction

FIRE IN THE SKY, Chapter 7 by David Edelstein

Fire In The Sky is a polished draft of a YA science fiction novel. A dying Earth sends an interstellar ship full of colonists in cryogenic sleep toward a distant planet. But an unknown disaster strikes in deep space and there are no adults among the only 100 survivors.

This premise could easily degenerate into a LORD OF THE FLIES scenario -- and perhaps it still will! (Though I hope not.) But in this chapter, when the first young people awake and discover their desperate situation, we see far more of their competence and adaptability.

Many passages jump out as examples of good writing, but this is one of the best. The ship's AI, Deucalion, has awoken Quon Cao, the son of spacers, and Marine Amer, the daughter of a scientist, to deal with the damaged ship.

Quon slowed to allow [Marine] to pull even with him in the narrow corridor. His expression was as serious as his tone. "I need your help. I cannot be Pilot if no one believes I am qualified, including you. And we must have leadership. Deucalion can only do as it is told."

"I do believe you're qualified. At least, as qualified as anyone here."

Quon smiled for the second time since they woke from cold-sleep. "We can only hope that is enough." As quickly as before, his expression reverted to seriousness. "When I was aboard the Ratana - our family's ship - we called our parents by their names at meals or during down time, but while they were on-duty, they were 'Pilot' or 'Copilot' or 'Engineer'. I know earthlings do not understand spacer discipline, but we learned that formality encourages respect and attention to detail."

"So, don't call you 'Quon'?"

"In front of others, it would be better if you call me 'Pilot.' My mother calls my father 'Pilot' while he is in command..." Quon's voice trailed off.

"All right, Pilot," Marine said, after a heavy silence.

In just six paragraphs we learn a lot about the characters. They're in over their heads, they know it, and yet they're drawing on their experiences and are going to do their best. Quon isn't thinking about himself when he asks Marine to call him ‘Pilot' - he's thinking about the other survivors and everything he can do to help make sure them. And that's why Marine goes along with it.

It works the other way too, when Marine calls Quon on his behavior for keeping the ship's condition a secret.

"I didn't want to tell everyone everything right away," Quon said, "or show them the extent of the damage."

"That was a bad idea." Marine was still staring at the ship on the screen, but she could feel Quon's eyes on her, and the uncomfortable silence.

"Don't try to hide things," she said, still not looking at him. "They'll find out anyway, and it will just make it look like you're crypto. They won't trust us if they think we're engining them."

After another long pause, Quon's head inclined in her peripheral vision. "You're right."

I'm cheering so hard for these characters to succeed. I can tell that they're going to make mistakes, maybe even fatal mistakes, but I'm invested in them because I can see that they're smart and capable and trying hard to make good choices.

While the characters are the strength of the story for me, there are also other things here to like. The world-building is good, with both the ship and the planet feeling well fleshed-out. There's some invented slang, enough to give the dialogue the flavor of a future that is intelligible to us but also different. The scenes are structured and paced well, leading up to hooks that make us want to keep reading.

If I have a major concern, it is with the similarity of the voices. This chapter contains a section from Marine's POV, then one from Quon's. Both sections are often distant from the characters, as much outside their heads as inside. And both have very similar voices -- take paragraphs out of context, and it would be very hard to know whose perspective you were seeing things from.

If the POVs were stronger, if the internal voices were recognizably different from each other, if the characters noticed different kinds of details (people vs. environment, for example) and worried about different things, then I think the story would be a lot stronger, and we would be drawn into it even more deeply.

But, at least in this chapter, that is not a make-or-break criticism. This is well written and engaging. It was fun to read and I wish the author much luck with it.

--C.C. Finlay

Editors' Choices, Short Story

"Enlightenment" by Sarah Byrne

Sarah Byrne's "Enlightenment" is an excellent example of how to successfully write a complete and well-rounded flash fiction story -- by making sure the content and idea fit the format. Flash fiction can work best when it's built to fully and completely communicate one moment, one emotion, one narrative idea, and "Enlightenment" successfully gets in and does that. More importantly, it gets out before the spark of wonder that that idea creates gets mired in a swamp of exposition. It's a good structural decision, when you want to say a thing that is smaller and more compact, to make the story you house it smaller and more compact so that they fit together. Readers -- being humans! -- are pattern-matching creatures, and we like it when the form of a thing, however subtly, ties into its theme and content -- and prose.

The prose in "Enlightenment" is one of the best and still most challenging features of the piece, and structurally, what I'd really like to focus on this month. It's simultaneously concise and evocative, saying a lot in very little space, and yet still painting very vivid, involving imagery. It grabs readers from the first, but it's got a downside: it's precisely that use of language that creates a sharp contrast between the narrated sections of the piece and the medical-report sections -- one that makes them not always look differently strong, but makes the more factual medical sections feel somewhat lacking. There is a huge tonal difference -- and what feels like a huge skill and engagement difference -- between sentences like:

Leila is above such things, such subterfuge. She spurns the biscuit, the milk, openly. And
today, she dips her fingers into the scalding tea, unflinching, draws out the slice of lemon. Ten calories, held up before her exacting gaze; she will live or die without it. She will never turn aside.

and sentences like:

Dr Turner presented the idea of the implant to Miss Leila Anney, 27 y.o., inpatient, persistent treatment-resistant anorexia nervosa, explained experimental nature of procedure, risks. Miss Anney tentatively receptive, consent not yet obtained but Dr Turner optimistic.

This difference is mostly about playing keep-away.

In preserving the reveal about Leila's surgery and implants for the final scene, and in the attempt to maximize the emotional impact of that revelation, the medical documents commit one of the more pervasive sins of fiction-writing: being coy with information. There's reference to the "experimental nature of the procedure" and "the risks", but the actual facts are kept away. There's even repeated references to the secrecy of the procedure, and the tenuous disclosure situation, as if the story is trying to reach out and justify why it's not giving readers the information it's saying exists. But acknowledging a hole in a story is not the same as filling it, and has the potential to merely frustrate readers more: saying to them, "Here's what you want. You can't have it."

There's no reason an actual medical document would avoid naming aspects of the procedure, or the procedure itself; there's no reason that if something was actually medically a secret, that the people trying to keep the secret would write down that they have a secret. The fact that they do in "Enlightenment" creates the sense of a stacked deck, a rigged game, and reminds readers, fatally, that they are reading fiction. That what happens here is just not true.

It's a non-trivial structural problem, and the solution, while simple, might not be easy: to make the document-format sections of the piece still evocative, just differently evocative, and make sure every scene is completely advancing the plot - that no information is being deliberately kept from readers. But those two things do tie in together: When the author is not so concerned about not revealing too much information, the prose will not by nature be so cautious, so held-back. It will be able to be generous and detail-rich again, like something that really is trying to tell readers something, not keep it away.

So: Consider what the story needs. Is that medical point of view even necessary? Can the story be told in the more lyrical voice? If so, how can the medical point of view be altered so that it's pulling fully half the weight of the story? And how, most importantly, can it be reinforced at every turn that "Enlightenment" is about telling the story, and not about surprising the reader with a clever reveal?

They're big questions for a short piece, but there's already a lot of impact -- and potential impact -- on the page, ready to be brought to the fore. Best of luck with it!

--Leah Bobet
Author of ABOVE

Editors' Choices, Horror

"My Name is Leejun" by John Schoffstall

This story puts a fresh spin on the motif of a person who has the power to absorb the minds of others and kill them in the process. In this case, the person is a boy, Bobby, and the power to absorb includes animals such as cockroaches, birds, and dogs. This leads to a very confused boy with some odd behaviors. Bobby's unique character, the first-person point of view, and some clever plot twists combine to make this a memorable story. The revelation that the mother has killed the birds rather than Bobby is surprising and believable. The mother's request that Bobby absorb her near the end is another good and believable twist.

I do feel the story could be strengthened in several ways, though.

At times the characters don't seem believable. It feels as if they are being manipulated by the author to push the story in a particular direction. While the characters (and everything in the story) are always being manipulated by the author, the reader needs to have the illusion that characters are acting according to their own motivation, without interference by the author. A few of these problems occur with Bobby himself. Once I understand the premise, I have a hard time believing Bobby wouldn't have absorbed his parents when he was younger. He seems to have little understanding of his power even at his current age, so at a younger age, I would imagine he wouldn't understand the consequences and would simply absorb them in his desire to learn how to communicate. His father, in particular, is a threatening presence, so it's hard to understand why Bobby wouldn't have absorbed him.

I also felt some physical inconsistency with Bobby. At one point he is holding onto his mother's leg, which makes me picture him very small and young. On the next page, he throws his "arms around the trooper" to absorb him, and that description makes it sound like he's grabbing him around the chest, not the legs, so Bobby seems to have grown much larger. Later, Bobby runs from the police and seems to get away very quickly for someone small.

The characters Bobby has absorbed also feel manipulated at times. They are all very helpful to Bobby, and I don't understand why they would want to help Bobby, who is their murderer. I would be willing to believe Howie would help, since he was a drug addict and was absorbed some time ago. But Jake, the trooper who is absorbed during the story, immediately starts offering Bobby helpful advice, and I don't believe he would. This seems to happen for the convenience of the story. I would think that Jake would want Bobby to be caught so he won't kill anyone else, and Jake might also have hope that if the authorities study Bobby, they might find a way for Jake to communicate with the outside world. Instead, Jake warns Bobby about incriminating himself and offers other helpful advice. Yet when Bobby's father is slapping Bobby, and Bobby mistakes this for a murder attempt, Jake, Howie, his mother, and all the others inside him are silent and don't correct him.

On the last page, I have the hardest time accepting the actions of the characters. Bobby is given drugs, and his mother doesn't even bother to tell him not to take them. I don't believe that. Bobby has previously said he always obeys his mother, so it seems as if the author is keeping her silent here so Bobby will take the drugs and the story can end as the author wants. If Bobby is going to make the decision to reject his mother because of his new, fractured self, then the story needs to show that. I don't believe the last line at all, in which Bobby thinks that "everyone agrees I've got a great future ahead of me." I think only Howie believes this. The others would either be upset at Bobby's descent into crime and drug use or furious at being killed by Bobby.

So I think these character motivations need to be re-thought and strengthened, so they are more believable and consistent.

My other main comment is on the plot. Bobby's ability to destroy any of the presences inside him is established in the middle of the story and then dropped. That power is a gun on the mantle that must be fired before the story ends. I think some of the previous points about character provide a great opportunity to increase conflict within Bobby, to bring that conflict to a climax, and to have Bobby make a difficult decision to kill one or more of the minds inside him so he can follow a particular course. I understand that the original idea of the story was to show a boy losing himself to the masses, but the masses are going to be so divided and diverse that Bobby would become inactive and uninteresting if he's just a mass; there would be too many different impulses for him to act on any of them. He has to make choices, decide which voices to listen to and which voices to silence. That is what will cause him to have a "great future" or a not-so-great one, and that's where the biggest drama is. This moment, at the end of the story, is the moment when Bobby must start making these types of decisions. At least, that's my suggestion on how to resolve the character inconsistencies at the end.

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

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


Ruth Nestvold is a longtime member of OWW. Her short stories have appeared in numerous markets, including Asimov's, F&SF, Baen's Universe, Strange Horizons, Realms of Fantasy, and Gardner Dozois's THE YEAR'S BEST SCIENCE FICTION. Her fiction has been nominated for the Nebula, Tiptree, and Sturgeon Awards.

I'm delighted to have Ruth return for an interview. Please welcome Ruth

You've had so much success with your short stories and with highly respected magazines to boot. Was it a good foundation for your writing career or did you learn more about the craft from full length novels?

Writing short fiction isn't for everyone, but I learned a lot from writing short stories. With short fiction, you can practice a lot of the basics of the writing craft, and it doesn't take you months or years to finish. It's much easier to experiment. When a short story is broken, you've usually spent a lot less time learning how to recognize that than if you're writing a novel. And just because stories are so short, they require a lot more discipline. Everything has to fit, has to contribute to the effect you're trying to achieve. Novels are more sprawling; they allow for tangents that wouldn't necessarily have to be there. Of course, ideally, every subplot, every detail, every character, every mood is an integral part of a novel and would leave a gaping hole if it were missing. But how often is that true? With short fiction, on the other hand, there's no space to run amuck. Writing short stories teaches you what's essential, and for me at least, it definitely was a good foundation for my writing career.

How do you decide which idea will become a short story and which should be expanded to novel length?

It might sound twee, but the stories tell me. Like most writers, I collect ideas. I write them down on scraps of paper or index cards or in my spiral bound notebook. At that point, I don't know whether the idea will go short or long. But when I take it out and start examining it seriously, then I usually recognize pretty quickly whether it's a one trick pony, or whether I have to give it more time and space. For example, one of the ideas I carried with me for a long time was "a gal who travels from one utopia to the next and learns that utopia isn't what it's cut out to be." I think when I jotted that idea down initially, I suspected it was a novel. But when I took it out again, I realized the idea could get old pretty fast, and then all of a sudden it became a short story told in emails. ("Sailing to Utopia" was published in Flytrap in 2006.)

Why did you decide to self-publish? What surprised you about that career move?

My novel YSEULT was published in translation in German, Dutch and Italian, but American and British editors and agents told me repeatedly that there was no interest in those markets for Arthurian fiction anymore. I finally came to the conclusion that if I wanted to see YSEULT published in the original English, I would have to do it myself. So when I got the English rights back for YSEULT, I did.

I didn't have many illusions about self-publishing, so I think the only thing that surprised me was how well the novel did in the first months. But that was January and February of this year, traditionally good months after lots of people get new Kindles under the Christmas tree. Luckily, I've been selling fairly consistently since, with another peak in August/September. So I guess the main surprise has been the consistent sales. It's not enough to live off of yet, but on average it's more than I've ever earned in traditional publishing, with the exception of 2009, when YSEULT (FLAMME UND HARFE) came out in German. But it does take a lot of work -- formatting, hiring copy editors and cover artists, getting the word out about my books -- all time I now no longer have for writing.

You're an American living in Germany. Did your location have any influence on going indie?

Not really. The nice thing about electronic publishing is that it's electronic, but back when traditional publishing was the only option, I usually sent my manuscripts whenever I was in the States. Nowadays, most agents at least accept queries via e-mail, though, so that didn't really play a role.

Speaking of Germany, has life in a foreign country crept into your writing?

Absolutely. Cultural difference and misunderstanding is a theme I find myself returning to again and again in my fiction. I doubt whether it would have been so important to me if I hadn't ended up living an international life. The theme of language and how much more multifaceted it is than most people imagine who don't have that challenge, that's another topic I doubt would even have occurred to me if I weren't living between continents, so to speak. I also like to create multiple cultures in my work. In short fiction, there's little space for that, but even there I've often tried to create different cultural backgrounds for my characters. That might just be another aspect of my first point, but it's not a theme, after all, it's a way of tackling character and conflict. Which probably just shows once again that everything is connected with everything else.

Is there any writing advice you've happily ignored?

"Write what you know." If everybody only wrote what they knew, no one would read books. I like to say, "Write what you know -- or make it up and research it."

Tell us a little about your writing process. Do you like to have several projects going on at once or do you prefer to focus on one story at a time? Do you write every day?

I do write almost every day. I recently was in the States visiting family after I hadn't seen them for over two years. So I deliberately gave myself permission not to feel pressured to write. I did some brainstorming and took some notes on a new novel I'm starting and did a little research, but that's all. But since normally I write very regularly, I didn't feel bad. People who aren't writers have vacations too, and they don't feel guilty. I figure I deserve to feel that way about my writing too, since otherwise I'm pretty good about it.

As to my writing process, I usually have several projects in various stages of completion going on at the same time. I don't jump around between them randomly, but I have a couple on back burners while I work on whatever I've given top priority. That way, I don't suffer from postpartum writing syndrome anymore. I can't remember the last time finishing a novel made me melancholy. It's more like: those characters will be back -- or they will if that novel is worth the effort of making it salable.

What can we expect to see from you next?

I recently sold a new short story to Abyss & Apex--another story in my Rolynka, Alaska series--but I don't know yet when it will be out. Besides that, I finished a complete overhaul of a time travel novel, CHAMELEON IN A MIRROR, revolving around the first professional woman writer in English literature, Aphra Behn. (Another project of mine that agents and editors liked but said wouldn't sell, btw.) It needs to go through some new critique partners and an editor, though, before it can be published.

I've also started a prequel to my Arthurian novels, YSEULT and SHADOW OF STONE. This one is a radical retelling of the story of Igraine/Ygerna and Uthur/Uthyr/Uthr. It might be too radical for a lot of fans of Arthurian fiction, but I never believed the story of Igraine, who turned around and married the man who murdered her husband, just like that.

Of all the stories you've written, do you have a favorite?

Oh dear, very hard question. I hope a multiple answer is allowed. I'm very pleased with my novella "Looking Through Lace" and how well it has done -- it took me months just to develop the languages I used in that story, and I'm thrilled that despite its length, it sold the first time out. And got nominated for a couple of major awards to boot.

I'm also very fond of YSEULT. To be perfectly honest, I actually like Drystan better than my title character, and during the writing, I identified much more with him. But since college, I've loved the tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde, which in the Anglo-Saxon tradition has been eclipsed by the story of Lancelot and Guinevere, an invention of French medieval authors who were retelling the "Matter of Britain." I had a lot of fun trying to dredge up older narrative traditions in my retelling.

Finally, I really like my literary-time-travel-badly-ending-romance CHAMELEON IN A MIRROR. I think that's largely because, like my heroine, I think Aphra Behn is one of the most amazing, talented, determined, and largely unrecognized women who ever lived. And, like my heroine, I would like to rehabilitate Aphra. Maybe once I get the novel out, I can contribute a little to Behn's reputation, just as my heroine dreams of doing.

Publication Announcements

Greg Byrne announced: "I'm very proud (and still slightly in a state of bewildered, delighted disbelief) to announce that I've just signed a contract to publish NINE PLANETS, a quirky re-imagining of the Christmas story, with Dragonwell Publishing. After an awful long time of trying, rewriting, believing, doubting, almost-getting-there-but-not-quite, it's finally happened! Not sure yet of the publication date, but that is far less important than my enormous thanks to a lot of people for many years of crits, encouragement and advice, all of whom have been instrumental in making me believe I could actually do this writing thing: Rhonda Garcia, Dave Fortier, Kyri Freeman, Sue Curnow, Gene Spears, Ranke Lidyek, Charlie Finlay, Mike Keyton, Leo Korogodski, Lindsay Kitson, Christine Lucas, Elizabeth Shack, Stelios, Elizabeth Bear, John Hoddy, Jesse Bangs, Marlene Dotterer, Walter Williams, as well as the esteemed members of The Round Table and the PA (and anyone I inadvertently forgot). Although these writers are no longer with the OWW, I owe them a big thanks as well: Brad Beaulieu, Gareth Davies, Jeff Stanley and Ays Marin."

Elizabeth Hull wrote to say: "I am delighted to announce that my short story entitled 'The Seventh Child' is going to be published in an anthology by Creatures of the Celtic Mists next April. This story was run through the 'shop and I am deeply grateful for all those who commented on it."

Ilan Lerman wrote: "I've not been as active on the Workshop this year as much as others, but the workshop has helped my writing improve immensely over the last four years. I wanted to let you guys know I sold my story 'Love as Deep as Bones' to Black Static. It's one of the very few I haven't workshopped here, but thought it worth reporting nonetheless."

Dy Loveday told us: "My first novel ILLUSION was released by Liquid Silver Books at the end of October, 2012. The novel was workshopped on OWW. Many thanks to Beth Cato, Selina Fenech, Jeanne Haskin, AJ Winter and Lydia Kurnia. You guys rock!"

Sandra McDonald wrote us and said: "I'm delighted to announce my latest fiction publication, a short story in the great magazine Lightspeed. There's also an author spotlight with me -- very nice. If you're a Star Wars fan, a sci-fi geek, a former Hollywood assistant like me, a current or former resident of my hometown Revere, or just like some tongue-in-cheek but also poignant reading, maybe you'll check out ‘Searching for Slave Leia.' It's one of my favorite stories and I hope you enjoy it."

John Schoffstall says: "My short story 'I Am Leejun' has been sold to the BAD SEEDS: EVIL PROGENY anthology, to be published by Prime Books around mid-2013. Thanks to Alexander Nader, Arlene Ang, Sarah Byrne, Ian Tregillis, and Cecily Walters for their critiques on OWW. You made this a better story." Editor's note: this is an EC this month with a review by Jeanne Cavelos.

Ian Tregillis announced: "Though I didn't workshop this project on the OWW, the sale wouldn't have happened without the workshop. As I've said many times, the OWW changed my life! Anyway, I'm very happy to announce that I've sold three new books to Orbit US & UK. The Clakkers Trilogy takes place in a fantasy alternate 1920, and stars a motley collection of alchemists, spies, soldiers, and clockwork slaves." Wow, triple congratulations, Ian!

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.

November 2012 Honor Roll Nominees

Reviewer: Rob Smythe
Submission: Last Summer in Avernus - Chapter 2 by Kelly Grant
Submitted by: Kelly Grant

Reviewer: Rob Smythe
Submission: Lawman by L. K. Pinaire
Submitted by: L. K. Pinaire

Reviewer: K. E. Cooper
Submission: Fire in the Sky, Chapter 7 (C4C) by David Edelstein
Submitted by: Olga Efremova

Reviewer: Rob Smythe
Submission: Fire in the Sky, Chapters 11-12 (C4C) by David Edelstein
Submitted by: David Edelstein

Reviewer: Caroline Norrington
Submission: ELEANOR AND THE GHOST OF NOTHING -- Chapter 5 by Cecily Walters
Submitted by: Cecily Walters

Reviewer: Laurence Pittenger
Submission: Harvest of Truth (a Celtic horror story) Revised 11/21/12 by L. K. Pinaire
Submitted by: L. K. Pinaire

Reviewer: Phoebe Hunter
Submission: Pleurotis Gnosticus by Leslie Starr O'Hara
Submitted by: Leslie Starr O'Hara

Membership Info

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

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

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

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

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


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)