Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror
One of the very first things I was told to do once I'd sold a book, was to establish an "online presence." Marketing is an author's responsibility as much as it is the publisher's, sometimes more so. Advice on how to go about any of this was thin on the ground.
I was told social media was the way to build name recognition, and build an audience for my novels, but not how to go about doing so. Most new writers are told the same thing, although the details will vary slightly. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, even Pinterest will let you connect with a worldwide audience without ever leaving home. But how effective are they?
This month's Spotlight is on OWW alumni Jeremiah Tolbert, who joins us to talk a little bit about the flip side of relying solely on social media sites. It's not as simple as it's made to sound.
Remember to contact us with your good news and sales. We want to let the world know that OWW members really are succeeding in the genre world.
Until next month, keep learning, and keep writing.
As always, contact us if you have any questions, publication announcements, or ideas for improving the OWW Newsletter.
Jaime Lee Moyer, newsletter editor
news (at) onlinewritingworkshop.com
Leah Quire, Evil Overlord of the Challenge Kingdom, has a complicted idea this month: "Invent a religion. Describe, in detail, what the adherents are expected to do, the item or deity they worship and why, and what they expect to get in return. You know, no big deal this month. insert wicked laughter here"
Remember: Challenges are supposed to be fun, but don't forget to stretch yourself and take risks. If you normally write fantasy, try science fiction. If you've never tried writing in first or second person, here's your chance. The story doesn't have to be a masterpiece, this is all about trying new things and gaining new skills, and most of all, having fun. Challenge stories can go up at anytime. Put "Challenge" in the title so people can find it.
Challenges can be suggested by anyone and suggestions should be sent to Jaime (news (at) onlinewritingworkshop.com).
Booksmugglers Publishing is looking for diverse superhero short stories between 1,500 and 17,500 words. Stories will be published in summer of 2016, and payment is 6 cents per word. Full details here.
The Booksmugglers are also launching an open call for what they call The Novella Initiative. Starting in 2017 they are looking to publish four novellas a year alongside their short stories, anthologies, and other works. Full details here.
Apex Publishing has issued an open call for submissions for the upcoming Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling anthology. This collection is edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates, and will be coming in 2016 from Apex Publications. Payment will be at least 6 cents per word. Full details here.
The Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust, widely known for its highly praised, six-week, in-person workshop, is offering three intensive online writing classes this winter as well as Odyssey's first webinar. The online classes being offered are Three-Act Structure in Fantastic Fiction, taught by Odyssey director and bestselling author Jeanne Cavelos; Getting the Big Picture: The Key to Revising Your Novel, taught by award-winning author Barbara Ashford; and Point of View: The Intersection of Character and Plot, taught by award-winning author David B. Coe. Application deadlines are in December. Full details here.
The Editors' Choices are chosen from the submissions from the previous month that show the most potential or otherwise earn the admiration of our Resident Editors. Submissions in four categories -- science fiction chapters, fantasy chapters, horror, and short stories -- receive a detailed review, meant to be educational for others as well as the author.
This issue's reviews are written by Resident Editors Jeanne Cavelos, Leah Bobet, Liz Bourke, and C.C. Finlay. The last four months of Editors' Choices and their editorial reviews are archived on the workshop. Go to the "Read, Rate, Review" page and click on "Editors' Choices."
Congratulations to the current Editors' Choice authors!
Elkon, Chapters 1 & 2 by Paul McKlendin
The opening paragraphs of this set of chapters drew my attention for a certain facility with description and the introduction of a "fire eagle." I might be a sucker for interesting fauna at the opening of fantasy narratives: it's possible.
Unfortunately, on reading through the chapters, I encountered a paragraph that made it rather difficult for me to assess the rest of what's here on its merits. So let me lead off today with a little discussion of why it isn't a good idea to put presumably unintentional sex jokes and suggestive phrases in your fight scenes unless you're writing comedy.
He fell back on his training without having to think about it, slipping easily into the Fighting Cock position: sword out front, left foot turned out, and left hand held loosely behind for balance. He had come prepared for a possible fight with rag-tag poachers, not well-equipped professional soldiers. But he had no choice.
...Elkon repeated the charged words of power in his mind. He slashed a sweeping semi-circle with his longer sword. The soldier on his right jerked back and Elkon's blade tip whizzed past the nose guard on the soldier's helmet. A split moment later it bit through the tip of Sarge's half-raised weapon with a clink.
Sarge's eyes went wide watching his sword point fall to his feet.
Elkon hefted his master's wonderful weapon with a flush of new-found confidence.
"Fighting Cock," ahem. Now, I might have a mind that lives in the gutter, but I'm not the only one. Naming your fantasy martial arts stance Fighting Cock instead of something more innocuous -- like horse stance, front stance, basic ready position, low guard, high guard -- is going to guarantee that a certain portion of your audience is going to henceforth snigger over every use of the word "sword" or "weapon," because you've just put certain ineluctable associations directly in front of them. This is fine if that's what you're aiming for. There's a certain attraction to low comedy, after all. But in a piece of writing that has shown all the hallmarks of aiming for a higher register, it's a jarring distraction at best. At worst, it's going to make a sentence like "Elkon hefted his master's wonderful weapon with a flush of new-found confidence" sound like it has nothing to do with swords and everything to do with cocks. "Wonderful weapon," indeed.
I shouldn't be laughing at the incongruity unless that's the effect you're aiming for. And based on the rest of the evidence, you're not aiming to make me crack up.
Unintentional (and easily avoidable) sex jokes aside, I have a couple of other recommendations for improving these two chapters.
The section that opens Chapter Two is a pair of talking heads explaining politics to each other and to the reader. These two characters either need to be more interesting in their own right, productive of some tension that makes it to the page -- do they have a history? Do they dislike each other? Does one of them need something from the other? Can they trust each other? Do they want something in this scene, and if so, what? -- or the information presented here, if necessary, needs to be given to the reader in some other fashion. Exposition alone doesn't provide tension. Why should the reader care? That's the question that needs to be answered, first and foremost -- and these two characters here aren't really giving us much reason to sit up straight and pay attention. Consider how else this information could be conveyed: perhaps by remaining in Elkon's point of view in the time that is skipped over between Chapter One and Chapter Two, and letting him reflect on his place in the world while Things Happen To Him?
Or perhaps carefully consider why he's wandering around out in the world on his complete lonesome in the first place, because letting important pieces of a treaty out without even a servant to keep an eye on them is generally considered a bit negligent in international diplomatic circles. Unless your man Athos is out to sabotage the treaty? That'd make an interesting twist.
It might also be worth considering the kinds of characters you're showing us so far. There are a lot of fantasy novels with a cast almost entirely made of blokes. The one woman you show us in Chapter Two is explicitly framed as not like other (royal) women, and takes the protagonist in something of a dislike. This is potentially setting up some narrative developments that could turn out in very familiar ways -- familiar, and not in particularly good or interesting ways. Naturally, one cannot say much about the grand arc of the narrative from the first two chapters, but one can identify the preliminary signs of narrative patterns that might alienate 50% of your readership.
For the rest of this review, visit the Editors' Choice area of the OWW site!
"Sleeps With Monsters" columnist at Tor.com
Book reviewer for Tor.com, Strange Horizons, and Ideomancer
Deception, Chapter 1 by Heidi Wainer
In the note to this submission, the author writes:
I'm back after my first round of agent rejections :(
One of the agents took the time to write -- "Though you have a strong premise, the opening pages didn't pull me in"
So I am looking for suggestions as to how to make chapter one more addicting.
Does this rewrite help???????
This book does have a really interesting premise, based on what I read in the first chapter. In the aftermath of the collision between parallel worlds, Zira has to decide whether to help Mala, her mirror-image doppelganger from an alternate universe, or rescue her baby son from an evil corporate conspiracy.
The world has history and temporal depth. Mala is a complex character who's already undergone some major changes and improvements. But Zira has reasons not to trust her, and will have to go through some changes herself if she's going to make a difference. The world and the rule of the corporations provides layers of potential problems. The kidnapped baby gives the beginning a ticking clock, so the story has narrative urgency. All of this is very promising, and past the opening pages the writing is strong.
That said, the opening pages still have problems. Problems that, if I saw this in slush, would probably get a quick “didn't grab” rejection from me. They're problems that I see in a lot of manuscripts, so let's take a close look at them.
Let's break this down and look at the first sentence, the first paragraph, and the first page.
The first sentence: "Zira cringed as she watched the enormous ocean waves brought in by last night's storm, each crest reflecting a thin sliver of light from the newly risen sun before tumbling into a pool of simmering froth."
This sentence is trying to do too much. It lacks focus and ends on the weakest image. Is it introducing the character? The location? The time of day? The mood of the novel? Motifs that reflect the theme? It starts out with “Zira,” a character we know nothing about, and it ends with “froth,” an image that means what? We still don't know any more about Zira or the world. And the verb “cringed” is wasted because it's followed by so much beautiful description we forget that Zira cringed.
Remember that all that a first sentence needs to do is make you read the second sentence. It can introduce a character, raise a question, create a mood. But the sharper the focus of the first sentence the more likely it is to make you keep reading. Look at these examples:
The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
- William Gibson, NEUROMANCER
The villagers of Little Hangleton still called it “the Riddle House,” even though it had been many years since the Riddle family had lived there.
- J.K. Rowling, HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.
- Suzanne Collins, THE HUNGER GAMES
It felt good to sit behind the wheel again, even the wheel of a battered Dodge Sprinter.
- Harry Connolly, CHILD OF FIRE
You didn't see their faces from where you hid behind the maintenance grate.
- Karin Lowachee, WARCHILD
I never sleep if I can help it.
- Elizabeth Bear, HAMMERED
Four of those are first novels, and three of them are by writers who workshopped on OWW. I could have chosen examples with longer, more complex sentences. But the main point is that all a first sentence needs is a clear focus and enough in it to make you read the second sentence.
I'm going to discuss later why I think the writer should scrap the opening page and find a better way to start. But let's say she wants to keep this specific opening. How can it be made stronger?
Zira cringed as she watched the enormous waves.
This is a sentence that invites continued reading. Who is Zira? Is she in danger from the waves? Why do they make her cringe? At the very least, we'll look at the second sentence to see if any of these questions are answered. Which brings me to the next focus…the first paragraph in full.
For the rest of this review, visit the Editors' Choice area of the OWW site!
Edtior, Fantasy & Science Fiction
"Blush" by Myrtle Alton
I was drawn to "Blush" this month by its very emotionally affecting spin on a standard science fiction conceit: The dystopia that blows up something socially current -- like makeup -- to a society-wide, oppressive level of detail. It's an idea that's well-explored both in science fiction and young adult fiction, but "Blush" comes at it with a sincere level of heart -- something that's not well quantified! So this month, I'd like to dig into what it means to have a story with heart, and how we can build it into our work.
So, why does that feeling in the closing paragraphs work?
"Blush" starts with a lot in its corner: A strong cadence to its prose and a solid sense of rhythm that, despite an occasional (and easily fixable!) over-reliance on dialogue tags, will pull in readers who have an ear for prose that could work as oral storytelling. The prose sets up a solid foundation for readers to stand on, and really shines in the descriptions of the unmasked faces: a "plumdark prune" or "packing material." The way natural faces are described with metaphors that evoke objects rather than living things solidly underscores Jene's alienation from his own body, and makes that disconnect feel effective, rather than manufactured. In short: The core conflict in Jene -- and the story -- feels real and emotionally relevant immediately, making it much easier for Jene's choices to feel emotionally relevant too.
"Blush" also escapes the usual trope sets by handling character gender in a way that's subtle and smart. It's a story about appearance anxiety, affection, and being loved for who you are that's almost exclusively assigning those worries to men -- worries that stereotypically belong to women. Having Jene as the "dowdy brother" instead of an ugly-duckling sister quietly short-circuits all kinds of reader assumptions about How This Story Goes, and works very effectively to keep readers' attention focused on the themes, rather than letting it drift into the archetype of The Insecure Lady or The Emotionally Empty Marriage. On the other side of this equation, it's a choice that means depicting Jene and Brendan as more well-rounded queer parents than we still sometimes see in fiction -- and showing Jene as a parent who is desperately trying to figure out how to love his son best.
The quality of a story's characterization is one of those elements that really contributes to a sense of heart. Verisimilitude -- the feeling that something isn't taken from life, but has the details and quirks and feeling of being emotionally real -- is one of the strongest tools in the writer's toolbox, and verisimilitude in our characterization makes sure that the emotions we put on the page feel honest, sincere, and involving rather than calculated to produce an effect or prove an argument.
Struggling through those emotions with Jene -- and then reaching a conclusion -- makes that conclusion pack a punch. There's very little substitute for emotional honesty in a piece of fiction, and when we reach it, it can often be enough to carry a story past any other, smaller craft issues.
That said, I think there are a few things "Blush" can do to make a tighter, more effective, stronger story.
The first is the question of the story's pacing. "Blush" is, in this draft, more than a little longer than its own plot, and some of that is perhaps being a little too gradual with growth that could be epitomized with a quick scene break and a demonstration of what's changed with Jene. The focus here is on what's changed: There are several scenes in a row which functionally boil down to, structurally, "Jene is interested in being unmasked but other people tell him no," or to explaining, again, Jene's dilemma after it's already been demonstrated to readers. I'd advise looking at the structural purpose of each scene and paring back any repetition, so the story moves solidly forward on every page.
I'd also suggest looking at the thematics of "Blush". Between the casual references to nursing robots, autowombs, and what's already explicitly on the page -- "Saja wasn't much of a listener, but I'd had to tell someone, and it wasn't the kind of story you could share with colleagues or casual acquaintances." -- there's a quite powerful thought in here about perfection, connection, and how those two things can exist, or have trouble existing, together. Part of crafting a story with heart is having something to say with it; something that story's grappling with or believes in. This is a theme that could develop without too much trouble -- it's already permeating the piece -- and add an extra layer, an extra dimension to "Blush."
The final aspect I'd suggest go under the microscope is the very brief framing paragraphs at the beginning and end: I'm not entirely sure they're doing all the work they could. The tone of the first paragraph doesn't quite match the rest of the story: it's a neo-noir, world-weary voice that never quite shows up again, and gives readers a very different sense of what this story will be while using terminology that's not yet meaningful.
By the time we reach the end -- and the very effective last lines -- the opening paragraph's long forgotten, and the argument before the judge leads on naturally enough from the last scene that there's not entirely a reason for the framing device to be there.
I'm not sure that removing it is the solution -- that last paragraph is very effective -- but I'd suggest it as an element to look at and tinker with, either by creating a stronger unity in the framing device and making it pull its weight or incorporating the information in the framing paragraphs into the story proper.
Best of luck!
Author of Above (2012) and An Inheritance of Ashes (October 2015)
"Giving Up the Ghost" by Laurie Richards
"Giving Up the Ghost" is a fun, offbeat story with some interesting characters in a small-town America setting. I get a little bit of a Mark Twain vibe as I read the story. The townspeople face a difficult dilemma when Floyd kills himself after losing the election for mayor only to return as a ghost to run the town. Their clever solution provides an enjoyable and satisfying ending to the story.
While the story has a number of strengths, I think it could be improved in several areas. Voice is an important ingredient in every story, but it becomes critically important in stories told in the first person, because it is so much more prominent. In this story, the voice at times seems to come from someone living in a rural, small town of the past. That works well with the story. But at other times, the voice seems more sophisticated, urban, and contemporary. And at yet other times, the voice feels British. While these judgments are somewhat subjective, I'll try to give a sense of what I perceive as a shifting, inconsistent voice. Here are a few excerpts where I'm feeling the small-town voice:
My missus whipped up a bean and beet casserole and took it over in the afternoon.
Ruby moved in kind of semi-permanent with Mabel and Hector . . .
Worse yet, Floyd appeared each time Hector was of a mind to give a warning instead of a ticket.
Here are some excerpts where the voice feels more sophisticated, urban, or contemporary (or even hard-boiled):
You could total up the votes Floyd got in all eight tries and not reach a three-digit figure.
The lid stayed closed to hide the 45-caliber hole in Floyd's head.
He planned on retiring next year, but he'd been our sheriff for decades. Even in a small town, you don't make it that long without knowing what to do when a gun goes off in the night.
Before resorting to physical destruction of an explosive nature, however, Jimbo called a town meeting.
The British feel comes intermittently, mainly in the dialogue. It also arises with the name Bertie, which doesn't seem to fit in small-town America. Here are a couple excerpts that have a British flavor for me:
"So long, fellows. The missus wants me home by ten," I said.
"You setting your hours according to the missus now?" Bertie said.
"I've a mind to grant her wish tonight."
So the small-town voice seems to fade in and out. Areas that seem particularly problematic are when the story is trying to describe something vividly (such as the flaps of skin or the hole in Floyd's head), when the story is trying to be funny ("Before resorting to physical destruction..."). At other times, more contemporary or sophisticated word choices just seem to slip in. I'm not sure why the mild British flavor comes in; I thought for a while that Bertie was a British transplant, but then other characters also sound British to me at times.
There are a number of techniques that can be used to help strengthen the small-town voice. You can find memoirs and autobiographies written by people from similar locations. You can find videos online of people from similar locations (this site actually provides samples; just click on the area of the map you want to study and links to videos will appear: http://aschmann.net/AmEng/#LargeMap). You can interview and record people from similar locations. And you can use reference books that record the diction, grammar, syntax, colloquialisms, and idioms of people from different regions in America. Here are a few good ones: American Regional Dialects: A Word Geography by Craig M. Carver, Dictionary of American Regional English by Frederic G. Cassidy, How We Talk: American Regional English Today by Allan Metcalf, and Dictionary of American Regional English by Joan Houston Hall. There's also a cool web site that allows you to click on a question about what term people use to refer to something (such as pop, soda, or coke) and get a map that shows exactly where they use each term: http://www.tekstlab.uio.no/cambridge_survey/maps.
For the rest of this review, visit the Editors' Choice area of the OWW site!
--Jeanne Cavelos, editor, author, director of Odyssey
OWW alumnus Jeremiah Tolbert is a fantasy and science fiction writer who lives in Lawrence, Kansas with his wife and son. His fiction has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Interzone, and Asimov's, as well as numerous anthologies, and his author web site (with links to his work) can be found here.
In 2009, he founded Clockpunk Studios to specialize in building web sites for his fellow authors and their publishers.
Jeremy agreed to talk a little bit about why
A Facebook Page Isn't Enough
With the enormous growth of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, you'd be forgiven for thinking that a writer can get by without a personal web site. Almost everyone has a Facebook account; what do you need an author web site for?
First, a disclaimer. I am not unbiased on the issue. I founded Clockpunk Studios six years ago to help authors and publishers develop stronger online presences. A cornerstone of my approach is an author web site backed by WordPress, and I work today with dozens of authors such as Ann Leckie and Michael Connelly. I believe there are still strong reasons for maintaining an author web site over relying on just social media.
To understand why networks like Facebook alone don't cut it, you have to understand how Facebook's algorithm works. In the early days of the service, any pages you liked would show up in your stream. Today, Facebook cultivates your feed with a powerful algorithm aimed at showing you only what will interest you. Additionally, Facebook will limit the reach of author pages to a small fraction of their total followers unless you engage in boosting posts for a fee per post. These costs can really add up. You can have hundreds or thousands of followers on Facebook, but there's no guarantee that they will see your posts without you spending some serious money.
Bluntly, you don't own your space on Facebook – you rent it and the landlord can change the rules at any time. Twitter, while not curated, has such a limited length for messages that it's hard to convey complex information about your work without having a web site to which your tweets can link.
With an author web site, you own your space. There is usually no third party filtering your content and interactions with your readers and fans. People who subscribe via your mailing list or RSS will see your content and updates. And the rules of how things are presented aren't going to change unless you want them to change.
Just about nothing beats your own personal web site for improving your visibility in search engines. Even if you're a new, aspiring author, it's never too soon to develop a presence. Agents and publishers have both been known to search for results for potential authors to see how they're already working to establish themselves online.
We believe you need a web site, but we don't believe you need to spend a fortune to get started with your own web site. Free or low-cost services such as Blogger or WordPress will get you started, and when your career begins to grow, professionals like me are out there ready to help you transition to more powerful, customized web sites. A tangential suggestion -- also spend $15-$20 a year for a custom domain name that matches your name as best you can. The sooner you buy your domain name, the better chance you won't end up with something like author-your-name.biz.
Social media and author web sites are just some of the tools in your marketing toolbox for building your audience. I recommend the mixed approach, and a wariness against relying too much on a service you don't fully control. You don't have to be everywhere, but a web site that you own and control, even a simple one, should play a part in your plans.
You may be wondering what content and features makes a good author web site. There are a lot of resources out there, but we have some great posts on the Clockpunk blog that can help you get started putting together a great presence online. We wish you the best of luck!
Elizabeth Bear wants us all to know: "Karen Memory is a Library Journal Best Book for 2015! Karen Memory is ALSO nominated for an Romantic Times Reviewer's Award for Fantasy Adventure Novel!"
Tony Peak: "Just wanted to let you know that my Ace/Roc novel Inherit the Stars was released on November 3rd, and that Barnes & Noble selected it for one of their Bookseller's Picks for November 2015!"
Allan Dyen-Shapiro has great news again this month: "Hi, all. I just made my first short-story sale to a venue that will pay professional rates (eighth story sold overall). My story, 'The Bimani Hilton,' grew from the one-letter change in the title from a real place. The anthology, Clash of the Titles will drop at MidAmericon II. I'm really excited about this. Thanks for being the sort of people with whom I'm happy to share such news."
Clint Spivey's story "Girls' Gun" appears in the November 2015 issue of SQ Mag: International Speculative Fiction eZine.
William R.D. Wood's story "Dew of Heaven, Like Ashes" will appear in the Horror volume of the Gothic Fantasy Short Stories series. Pub date is forthcoming.
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 2015 Honor Roll Nominees
Reviewer: Corey King
Submission: Defiance by Johann Thorsson
Submitted by: Johann Thorsson
Reviewer: Jessica Gruner
Submission: Arcadia Jane & the Infinity Crisis (Chapter 1) c4c by DeAnna Ross<BR>
Submitted by: DeAnna Ross
Reviewer: Colin Moerdyke
Submission: Defiance by Johann Thorsson
Submitted by: Johann Thorsson
Reviewer: JJ Roth
Submission: The Forge of Habren and Arima by Dwayne Winslow
Submitted by: Christine Lucas
The Burning Hand (Orphan Queen, Book 3) by Jodi Meadows (Epic Reads Impulse, December 2015)
Tobiah Pierce is no longer simply a prince. He wanted to be more and do more after he watched his tutor's brutal murder and uncovered a plot that threatens the safety of Skyvale.
With the help of his cousin, James, and the guidance of a girl who knows her way around the city's rooftops, Tobiah is gaining confidence in his new role.
He can no longer be just a witness to the evils occurring in his city, but is he willing to risk his reputation—and maybe even his life—to make things right?
Inherit the Stars by Tony Peak (Roc, November 2015)
Wanderlust runs in Kivita Vondir's blood. She dreamed of salvaging like her father when she was young, and now it's her addiction, getting her through pit stops filled with cheap alcohol and cheaper companionship and distracting her from her broken heart.
Her latest contract to hunt down a fabled gemstone is exactly the kind of adventure she craves. But this job is more than meets the eye. For one thing, her duplicitous employer has hired rebel Sar Redryll -- Kivita's former lover -- to stop her at any cost. For another, Kivita's recovery of the relic unleashes in her powerful new abilities. Abilities that everyone in the Cetturo Arm -- human, alien, and in-between -- desperately wishes to control…
As she avoids a massive galactic manhunt, Kivita teams up with two unlikely allies: Sar and his enigmatic new partner. Only, as the gem's mysteries are revealed and danger draws near, Kivita begins to wonder if her ex has truly changed, or if he's just waiting for the right moment to betray her once again...
The Rising (The Alchemy Wars) by Ian Tregillis (Orbit, December 2015)
The second book in the Alchemy Wars trilogy -- an epic tale of liberation and war.
Jax, a rogue Clakker, has wreaked havoc upon the Clockmakers' Guild by destroying the Grand Forge. Reborn in the flames, he must begin his life as a free Clakker, but liberation proves its own burden.
Berenice, formerly the legendary spymaster of New France, mastermind behind her nation's attempts to undermine the Dutch Hegemony, has been banished from her homeland and captured by the Clockmakers' Guild's draconian secret police force.
Meanwhile, Captain Hugo Longchamp is faced with rallying the beleaguered and untested defenders of Marseilles-in-the-West for the inevitable onslaught from the Brasswork Throne and its army of mechanical soldiers.
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This month's featured article from our Tips and Advice section:
Workshop member Carlos J. Cortes on pacing and the three functional types of scenes
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.