Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

September 2013 Newsletter


Monthly Writing Challenge

Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

Reviewer Honor Roll

On Shelves Now

Membership Info





September already? Time flies when you're busy writing, editing, and selling. We've had many wonderful publishing announcements this year to prove it -- with another two-book deal gracing the Publication Announcements this month. It's gratifying to see OWW members so widely represented in the competitive field that is publishing. If you're in need of some inspiration, check out our Member Book Gallery page to see what your fellow members have published.

For example, this month we welcome OWW alumna Jaime Lee Moyer to the newsletter to introduce her debut release, Delia's Shadow (first book of three that will be published by Tor).

Our Editors' Choice reviews are full of good advice this month. If you don't know when eleven becomes three, or how a psychology tool called the Johari Window is relevant to creating engaging characters, you can find out below.

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

I'm not that person anymore. A character has changed. People around the character won't believe it or won't accept it. The character himself/herself might not be comfortable. How can that character either go back or go on?

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 the title so people 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 Elizabeth Porco.


Member Book Gallery

Have you seen our Member Book Gallery page? The collection of books published in the past few years by OWW members is pretty impressive! Check it out and you might recognize something you helped critique, or find a new book to read.

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!

Editor's Choice, Fantasy

THE RHYMER, Chapter 1 by Katy Jones

In THE RHYMER, Katy Jones has given us what appears to be (at this early date) not a modern day retelling of Thomas the Rhymer so much as an extrapolation of what the consequences might be in the present day if it were history and not myth. She builds an urban fantasy world of changeling-children and were-creatures that's not terribly innovative as such things go, but the four-dimensionality of it is deeply refreshing. Too often, contemporary fantasy either ignores history altogether or posits a modern-day change from a scientific/rational world to a magical one, as if those things are exclusionary.

I'm very pleased to see that Ms. Jones appears to be gearing up to tackle the issue of how religion works in a world where God's will can be made manifest through actual signs and portents, and in which that God seems perfectly content to contradict the Pope on occasion.

In addition, Jones is a capable prose stylist. With the exception of a few typos, this chapter flows very well. The style is engaging and shows signs of emerging voice. The characters are well-delineated for the shortness of the time we spend with them. The world has good sensory detail, although it could use a bit more variety of description, and the description of emotions could be a little more visceral and felt rather than told. "Show, don't tell" applies to emotions even more so than narrative action.

I do have a few concerns with this piece. First, and most easily fixed, this is a first-person narrative, but the protagonist's POV wanders a lot. She spends a great deal of time describing what other people would see or notice about her, rather than living in her own skin. This is a level of detachment and self-awareness (as opposed to self-consciousness and self-absorption) that I'm not sure I believe in a teenager. Also, taken too far, it can distract from the readers' emotional investment in the protagonist by alienating them, making her seem posed or pretentious. I think this plays into the sense of emotional remove I describe above, actually.

This is a hard skill for many writers -- myself included -- to learn, because we tend to be very removed, intellectual people who analyze a lot. But sometimes it's best to allow readers to experience what happens with the character, and let them perform their own analysis, if they're so inclined. This also removes the pitfall of readers feeling as if they're being told to feel a particular way about something, which is one of the fastest ways to get them to put the book down and go find something else to do.

There are also some pacing and circularity issues that seem related. I think this starts off too slowly and introspectively for urban fantasy and especially for YA, and it goes over the same ground a few too many times. The beginning is quite good -- it does the difficult trick of establishing questions immediately. But then it takes a good deal of time to introduce our protagonist's best friends and the immediate plot complication, interspersing these things with a fair amount of introspection that doesn't immediately address the questions raised in the first paragraph.

This is an organizational issue as much as anything. A work of fiction is actually structured much like a persuasive essay in that fiction is an argument. Ideally, it should have a through-line. Each action or questions should lead to the next, and should in some way reward readers for their continued attention -- by answering questions, posing delightful puzzles, with clever turns of phrase or exciting plot twists -- or in a hundred other possible ways.

I recognize this problem because linear organization is one of my big challenges as a writer. I too tend to be discursive and meander around a point, sort of making a series of overlapping circles that eventually get me there. In a novel, you don't always have to get there by the most direct route -- side trips are part of the fun--but each step should be over new ground, so to speak, rather than the trail criss-crossing itself repeatedly.

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

--Elizabeth Bear

Editor's Choice, Science Fiction

NANO GENESIS, Chapters 4 & 5 by Marla Anderson

The author's note for this submission contains a warning right up front -- "this next chapter contains violence and rape." True confession: the warning steered me away on my first pass through the submissions this month! Not because I don't want to read about violence or -- especially -- rape. But because it's so often poorly done, in a way that's exploitative or even intended to be titillating, and frankly that creeps me out. It's also used as a shortcut to character motivation, and that's just lazy writing. Too often rape scenes make me uncomfortable for the wrong reasons, and so I tend to avoid them.

But I was wrong to be worried here. The writer handles the situation very deftly, in a way that is meaningful and avoids the potential pitfalls. In Chapter 4, Cadmon Dyhre is a brilliant but bitter scientist who is infected with the Toad Nanogen, a disfiguring and eventually fatal invented pathogen. He disguises his condition with sim-skin. During an informal business meeting at a club where customers wear masks, he encounters Katie and desires her.

He focused on the perfect smoothness of Katie's silky skin flowing down her neck and chest into the curving shadows below. Unattainable he knew, but he wanted her nonetheless. Well, not her exactly, but the feel of her, the look of her.

Cadmon clearly doesn't see her as a person. But he appears to be handsome and important and Katie misreads him. But when they slip away for a consensual romantic encounter, Cadmon's mask slips--both literally and figuratively. Realizing that he has a communicable disease, Katie tries to run. When he attacks her, it is all about the power for him, and we see that he is completely without empathy. The chapter goes right up until the last moment where he can change his mind, but he doesn't. It's absolutely horrifying, in all the right ways, and stops at exactly the right point.

The chapter reveals Cadmon's true character, advances his plan to start an illegal lab, and shows us the limitations of his inventions so far. The writer lets us feel sympathy for him before revealing his true nature, and then during the attack, keeps our sympathies aligned completely with Katie. While parts of the conversations with Merrick moved kind of slow for me, and while I felt that the chapter could have done more to move the illegal business along, on the whole it was very well done. It made me uncomfortable for all the right reasons.

Chapter 5 switches back to the POV of Daniel Walker, the hero of the novel and Cadmon's nemesis. Walker is planning an interstellar mission. In contrast to the polished writing of Chapter 4, there were some clunky phrases early in the chapter that pulled me out of the story. In particular, this line:

Walker adopted his patient diplomatic voice. The man was, of course, referring to his love interest, Serena, and his childhood guardian, Dr. Charles McCormack.

"Love interest" and "childhood guardian" sound like a writer talking, not like a charismatic leader thinking. (And why does Dr. McCormack rate a last name but not Serena? But perhaps that was covered in earlier chapters.) When Walker is accused of favoritism for hiring his lover and uncle, he responds with "I can attest to their abilities personally." Perhaps the author's intention here is to show us his weakness, but it's hard to imagine how somebody that tone-deaf could rise to such an important position. Yes, I know it happens -- but usually with some context that helps explain such a terrible, self-destructive choice.

The whole press conference felt flat to me, and lacking tension. Which is weird, because there's arguing throughout. But it starts out with Walker being challenged on a big issue -- nepotism -- and then has him challenged on minor issues, like the name of his ship. Finally he's challenged on the big issues again. No matter what the challenge is, he seems to blow it, giving the worst possible answers. Even with Serena whispering good advice in his ear, he still manages to follow it poorly. So there's no arc to the chapter.

My sense here is that this is a failure of structure. A press conference is basically a way to dump a lot of exposition by making people talk about things the writer wants them to know. If it works well, it will also develop the characters and advance the plot. People arguing is one way to create tension, but if it makes the protagonist look bad in an uninteresting way, it will push readers out of the story.

When you're in a tight POV, with a dialogue-heavy expository scene, there are other, better ways to create tension.

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

--C.C. Finlay

Editor's Choice, Short Story

"The Veteran", Roberta Ecks

Joycean space opera is something I don't think I've seen as a reader, and even though Roberta Ecks's "The Veteran" still has a draft or two to go before it's ready for prime time, it's a curious, absorbing piece.

There are several reasons why. For one, "The Veteran" takes place in a lived-in, page-spilling world: little details like the "sto pervyy kilometr" stencil and the windup razor and the informality of employment references in Stephan Grey's world. They speak to multiple cultures and subcultures, multiple tech levels, multiple expectations coexisting bumpily in the same spaces: a universe where one planet does not equal one way of doing things, which is one of the biggest pitfalls of space opera.

For two, "The Veteran" has as its topic something less frequently done in slightly military space futures: it's a character piece. And it's one that builds a slow, solid emotional attachment between its readers and its subject, and has some quiet things to say about the experience of coming back from a cold war, besides -- Grey's trauma being "bad math and boredom" is a thoughtful, revealing comment. There's a strength in the subtlety of how that attachment forms; I could not pinpoint a paragraph or phrase that is the place where I start to feel something for Stephan Grey -- or for our nameless journalist narrator. That attachment accretes invisibly, over micro-moments.

That's the real pull of "The Veteran": this story made me feel something. And the rest of what I have to suggest this month will be about how to take that quality and frame it so that it can shine.

The third strength of "The Veteran" is the audible, humming rhythm of the language. Sentence by sentence, it's beautifully made -- but paragraph by paragraph, the unvarying length and beat structure of the sentences adds into a blur. Throughout my first read, I alternated between a read and a skim as the prose lost my attention and then grabbed it back -- and that's a problem that's top of the list to address.

The author's notes indicate that there's been a revision done to clean up the prose somewhat, but I'd encourage doing another one or two. The mood of the prose in "The Veteran" is one of its strengths, but as we've seen in previous months, overdoing an element of story -- even when it's one of your strong suits -- can be just as much of an issue as underdoing one. To paraphrase some very good advice from author and OWW grad Rae Carson, if everything in your narrative voice goes up to eleven, eleven isn't really eleven anymore, it's three. It's the contrasts, on the sentence level, that make those gems of phrases stand out; that keep a paragraph readable and easily absorbed while being rhythmic, entangling, and unique. A trick to try: Read this piece aloud, and see where your voice stumbles, or tangles, or when the music goes off a cliff. That's where the readerly attention will have faltered.

I'd suggest some careful, surgical -- and thought-intensive! -- focus on each and every sentence in "The Veteran" to see where the sentence structure can be made more accessible overall, so that when it goes up to eleven, it shines. While preserving that mad rhythm, and the atmosphere it creates. I don't expect this will be easy: finicky and tinkering is more plausible, in honesty. But it's a story that deserves that kind of (probably hair-pulling) work.

The second thing I'd suggest, once the dust has cleared on the sentence level, is to examine the pacing, especially in the first third. It's a story that is focused on this character almost exclusively, and the early pages give the feel of a lot of extra-- and extraneous -- information being given. For example, we're introduced to Smitty's World, and Grey' s lack of initial opportunities there, twice: once early on, in the nameless journalist's opening paragraphs, only to be pulled away into Grey's life aboard ship; and then a second time, through Grey's own eyes, when he stays there. The recursion makes the pacing drag; it also mixes up time. I'm left unsure about the precise chronology of events.

If this is a universe you've worked in multiple times, the urge to provide the worldbuilding crib notes can surface a little too strongly. I'd suggest thinking of "The Veteran" as a stand-alone only, and trimming any worldbuilding notes that don't contribute to this story, right here and right now. As it stands, they're joining with the need to adjust to the prose style to create a drag effect; the early pages feel longer than they are.

There is, as I said, still a lot of work left to do on "The Veteran." But it made me feel something, and from the shape of the prose and structure, it made me feel the thing the author wanted me to feel. That's most of the battle already. Good luck with the rest!

--Leah Bobet
Author of ABOVE

Editor's Choice, Horror

MENDED by Nicole Minsk, Prologue and Chapters 1-4

If you read horror for many years, you see the same premises and tropes being used again and again. I enjoyed seeing something different in MENDED. The opening section of this novel establishes its unusual premise: a strange sewing machine that not only mends clothes beautifully regardless of the skill of the sewer, but also mends the person to whom the clothing belongs. A torn old wedding dress patched with the handkerchief of the groom mends a marriage on the rocks. A knitted baby cap that needs to be sewn at one end allows the baby to be born without miscarriage. While the magical object that seems to be helpful but turns out to be destructive is familiar in horror, making that object a sewing machine puts a new spin on it. I also very much appreciate the author choosing a protagonist who is driven to mend people. Cass is a psychiatrist. The connection between the premise and the protagonist helps to provide unity and focus to the novel, which seems to be about people who are broken and whether they can be mended.

While I enjoy the premise, it poses several challenges: how to develop it in a believable way, how to prevent it from becoming predictable, and how to escalate. Since I've only read the opening, I don't know how the author handles these later in the novel, but I'll discuss them briefly here in the hope that this might be helpful. I'm not yet feeling that the premise is being developed in a believable way. Cass, as a child, rips her dress and then rips her mother's wedding dress, just when she happens to discover the sewing machine. It feels contrived, as if the author is manipulating the character and the situation. I think the situation would feel a bit less contrived if she didn't rip her own dress, so there's just one rip. Also, I think this would feel more believable if Cass had gone into the attic and tried on her mother's wedding dress many times. She knows what's in the attic; she knows the sewing machine is there but has never given it a second thought. This time, the dress rips, and she realizes she might use the sewing machine to fix it. I think this would allow the supernatural to come into a more everyday situation that's typical of the character, rather than having everything about this day be a first, something that the character has never done before--which gives us more the feeling that the author is pushing the character into the situation.

Each time Cass uses the sewing machine, the needle pricks her finger and exacts its drop of blood. This seems a quite standard and predictable element of this unusual premise, making it less believable for me. I wish that didn't happen, and instead Cass just became tired afterward, as she does. That seems more mysterious. Or she might become anemic without any prick to the finger, which would be even stranger.

I again feel the characters are being manipulated by the author when Cass's patient asks Cass to sew something on the machine (and the patient then provides the baby cap). I just don't believe the patient would ask for a demonstration. The characters need to have stronger motivation to sew at this point. One possibility would be to have the patient interested in buying the machine--perhaps she's an antique collector, or restores and sells antiques--and Cass is eager to sell it, so she offers to demonstrate that the machine is still in working order to try to convince the patient to buy it. Or perhaps she's put an ad on Craig's List to sell it, and someone stops by as her patient is leaving, and she demonstrates the machine for the potential buyer, with the patient offering the cap and standing by to watch. This last one seems most believable to me.

By the time the baby cap is sewn, I feel I understand the premise and I know that the patient will now be able to carry a baby to term, when she couldn't before. This is the point where I fear the premise may become predictable. All through Chapter 4, I'm just waiting for this next patient, Roland, to provide some object or piece of clothing that requires sewing. When he gives Cass his jacket, I'm thinking it will need sewing and she'll fix him when she fixes the jacket. Perhaps I'm wrong in my guesses, but as a reader, I'm feeling like the book has become predictable. I'm also feeling mentally ahead of Cass, since she doesn't yet understand the premise, and that makes me feel distant from her. I would rather go through the story with her than stand at a distance and wait for her to figure things out. I hope that Chapter 5 reveals a twist that takes the premise in a new direction, so my predictions are wrong and I see that something new and threatening is happening.

This ties to my third point above, about escalation. Now that the opening chapters have established the good that the magical object can do, the novel needs to show how the magical object is changing, or how Cass's use of it is changing, or how the effect of it on Cass is changing, or the unintended consequences of Cass's use of the magic, so we have some sense of things getting worse. Perhaps Cass's parents, whose divorce she prevented with her sewing of the wedding gown, are deeply unhappy, and one is driven to suicide. Perhaps the baby is ill, deformed, or evil. Perhaps the machine drains more energy from Cass with each use, or more energy as she tries more ambitious "mendings" with it. Perhaps mending the clothes stops working and she has to sew flesh.

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

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


Long-time OWW member Jaime Lee Moyer has hit the ground running. She's a poet, editor, and novelist, and her debut novel, Delia's Shadow, is out this month from Tor. If you don't know Jaime Lee Moyer, you will. She's an author to watch. Please welcome Jaime to the Author Spotlight.

Tell us a little about Delia's Shadow. How did this story come about?

People always think I'm kidding when I say this, but the whole book grew out of a dream.

In this dream, a young woman was standing next to a steam locomotive looking back over her shoulder. I could see the mist swirling around the train and a satchel sitting near her feet. She knew someone was following her, but she didn't know who they were.
I couldn't get this dream out of my head and kept thinking about it. I realized that this young woman was being followed by a ghost. That started a whole series of questions in my head: why she was following Delia, what she wanted Delia to do, etc.

Pretty soon the whole novel dropped into my head, complete with all the characters. It took me about nine months to write the book.

Tell us your call story. How did you find out your book was sold?

I found out on Valentine's Day! My agent and I had been waiting for a formal offer for a while. My editor wanted the book, but everything had to wind its way through channels.

I was working the closing shift that night, so I was home when my agent called. That was one of the best phone calls of my life and one of the most unique Valentine's presents of all time. I managed not to scream in my agent's ear, but it was close. The loud celebrating came once I got off the phone.

What has been your best experience as a published author?

It's still too early for me to say I've had my best experience as a published author. The book's not out yet! But as of now -- cover flats which were more beautiful than I'd imagined, advance review copies and seeing my name on the front, and how welcoming and generous the SF&F community has been.

What has been your worst experience as a published author?

So far I haven't had a "worst experience." Being a professional writer has been my dream since I was ten or eleven years old. Now it's come true. How could anything be "worst" about that? I'm sure there will be bad reviews in my future, one-star ratings and all the things every author goes through. All of that is part of the game. Not everyone is going to love Delia's Shadow, understand what I was trying to do, or think the book has any worth. The same thing is true of every book ever written.

Is there anything you would have done differently in order to get published earlier or more easily?

I wasn't ready to be published earlier. I had so much to learn, so many skills to master, and a metric ton of bad habits to unlearn. Like a lot of beginners I thought I knew it all, that I was a natural and totally ready to take the writing world by storm from the start. Now? I look at those early stories I thought were so, so good and cringe. Writing is a craft and learning any craft takes time and lots of work.

As for getting published more easily? There are no shortcuts or magic formulas. I wrote the best story I could and my agent found an editor who loved it. That's about as easy as it gets.

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

For several years I had a hard time reading published novels at all. I was very active in the workshop then, and each time I picked up a book my mind insisted on seeing nothing but the flaws. That was the only time in my life where I stopped reading more books than I finished. I'm not the only writer I know who went thought a phase like that. Eventually it went away.

I am my own worst critic. Most of the time I know if something is working or not, but I've also learned to finish a draft before tearing something apart. I make little tweaks or adjustments in the middle of drafting, or write notes to myself to fix something, but major editing waits until I'm done.

Finish the draft is the mantra of the professional writer. You can fix things later.

Do you still use critique partners?

I still have beta readers, yes. I'm not perfect and there are things that I don't see, often big things, that my beta readers will spot in a hot minute. It's harder now to keep up critique relationships, but I find a way. Most of my friends are published as well and all of us have deadlines. Working full time on top of writing limits my time even more. I do my best.

What's next for you on the publishing horizon?

There are two more books in the series after Delia's Shadow. Each book is a stand-alone in the same world with the same characters. All of them are ghost stories woven around magic and mystery, murder, friendship, and love.

A Barricade In Hell, set in 1917, will be out in 2014, and the book I'm working on now, Against A Brightening Sky, set in 1919, will be out in 2015. I don't have firm publication dates for those books yet, but they are on the way.

Not sure what I'm writing for my option book, but I have scads of ideas and even some finished novels to pitch. I just have to pick one.


Jaime Lee Moyer lives in San Antonio with writer Marshall Payne, two cats, three guitars and a growing collection of books and music. Her first novel, Delia's Shadow, will be published by Tor Books on September 17, 2013. Two other books in the series, A Barricade In Hell and Against A Brightening Sky, will be published in 2014 and 2015. Her novels are represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.

Jaime has sold short fiction to Lone Star Stories, Daily Science Fiction, and to the Triangulations: End of the Rainbow and Triangulations: Last Contact anthologies. She was poetry editor for Ideomancer Speculative Fiction for five years and edited the 2010 Rhysling Award Anthology for the Science Fiction Poetry Association. A poet in her own right, she's sold more than her share of poetry.

She writes a lot. She reads as much as she can.

Publication Announcements

Bo Balder's story "The Knitted Man" appears this month in the Evil Girfriend Media anthology Witches, Stitches, and Bitches.

Oliver Buckram wrote: "'Half a Conversation, Overheard While Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug' has been published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF)."

Sarah Byrne has two recent sales: "'Every Step You Take' sold to Kzine (September 2013) and 'A Winter Evening' is in the Black Apples anthology from Belladonna Publishing, (September 2013)."

Anna Kashina announced a two-book sale: "The deal for worldwide rights was negotiated by Angry Robot Senior Editor Lee Harris and Kashina's agent, Michael Harriot of Folio Literary Management, and includes a two-book series, The Majat Code. Book I, Blades of the Old Empire, will be published in March 2014, and the as-yet-untitled sequel will follow in July 2014."

Rebecca Schwarz says: Interzone 247 has published 'Futile the Winds.' It's in the current issue."

Cory Skerry tells us, "'Sinking Among Lilies' has been selected as a reprint to The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2013 (Prime Books).

Jody Sollazzo's story "Outlier" appears in In Heaven, Everything is Fine: Fiction Inspired by David Lynch from Eraserhead Press.

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.

August 2013 Honor Roll Nominees

Reviewer: Sean Schauer
Submission: Deceptocracy - Prolog / Ch1 - 2013/07/30 by Gregory Callen
Submitted by: Gregory Callen

Reviewer: Dragon Paradise
Submission: Druid story, first chapter by Frances Snowder
Submitted by: Frances Snowder

Reviewer: Jodi Ralston
Submission: "The Steam Powered Frog" (novelette) Part 1 of 2 by Marion Engelke
Submitted by: Marion Engelke

Reviewer: Rob Smythe
Submission: SMASH AND GRAB - Chapter 4 and 5 by Charlie Kirkby
Submitted by: Charlie Kirkby

Reviewer: Jane Forni
Submission: Beyond Seven Mountains, Part I: Prisoner by Marion Engelke
Submitted by: Jodi Ralston

Reviewer: Greg Careaga
Submission: I Like to Watch the Gazanias Close at Night by Joshua Michaels
Submitted by: Joshua Michaels

Reviewer: Mark Owens
Submission: FLIP by Wendy Fisher
Submitted by: Dragon Paradise

Reviewer: Dragon Paradise
Submission: Two Swords by Clark Buffington
Submitted by: Clark Buffington

Reviewer: Mr. Wallstone
Submission: The Burning Tree by Bri Boozell
Submitted by: Bri Boozell

On Shelves Now

THE BITTER KINGDOM by Rae Carson (Greenwillow Books, August 2013)

The epic conclusion to Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she's never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.

THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD by WBJ Williams (Dragonwell Publishing, August 2013)

To save her brother's life Gwenaella risks her own in a magical forest to seek a unicorn's healing magic. But the remedy comes with an exorbitant price. She must commit to a perilous journey through Europe, the Middle East, and India, to the high mountains of Tibet, to seek the hidden Garden at the Roof of the World and pluck a fruit that would restore the father of all unicorns to health. Joined by a few trusted followers called by the unicorns' magic, she will face many dangers on her epic journey. To succeed, Gwenaella must find a balance between faith, friendship, and love and discover the true meaning of sacrifice.

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

Ruth Nestvold, workshop member and published short-story author, on POV (point of view) in fiction

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
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