I try not to do promo-type stuff very often, either for friends or myself, but I want to talk very briefly about my amazing online writer group.
Good critique groups make all the difference in a long writing journey. I remember all too well the confusion and mild horror of sifting through one bad beta-read after the next, swapping my poor-quality book for someone else’s poor-quality book. Neither of us doing much for each other.
Eventually, I was lucky enough to swap with Essa Hansen, whose brilliant but (at the time) unfinished space opera wowed me, and whose critiques propelled me to a whole new level of writing. Together, along with another online friend of mine, we set up a private Facebook group–Writer Alliance– for swapping work.
The group took a life of its own. We gradually added ‘good people’ to our numbers as we found them in the wild (name order is surname-alphabetical): Alia, Ravey, Darby, Jennifer, Shelly, Kali, CJ, Cassie, Joanne, Sera, Anita, Jannette, Greg.
And we have kept working hard. Building, critiquing, swapping, sharing news and tips, building each other up. Writer Alliance has become very special to me, and I’m pleased to share some of their successes.
**NB: Writers are listed below in alphabetical order of surname.
Shelly is an artist, author, and mother. Her sculptures, painting, sketches, and digital drawings blend technical realism with fantasy imaginings, and now her debut novel, UNDER THE LESSON MOON, has been acquired by Mythos Ink. Her novel is an erudite and elusive fantasy about Akrist, a firstborn boy slated for sacrifice by his tribe to appease their goddess and her dragons.
Cassie Greutman is a small town Ohio girl who has always loved stories in any form. You can usually find her typing away at her computer or playing out in the barn with her ponies. These days, she also publishes fast-paced, complex YA urban fantasies with super relatable and deeply human characters. Her newest book will arrive in less than a month on Feb 19th, and we are all excited to see what it contains.
In addition to being a lead sound designer for Skywalker Studios in California, Essa is also a falconer, swordswoman, horse rider, martial artist, and now a debut science fiction author. Her first book, NOPHEK GLOSS, has been acquired by Orbit Books and will be released later this year. The story is a character-driven space opera about a young man who is forced to grow up far too fast, and his ship with a soul that can create its own bubble universes.
Writing from the depths of Iowa, Darby is a world traveller and Queen fanatic who spins iconic characters and storylines, melding current social issues with immersive scif-fi narratives. The first of his sprawling series, EVER THE HERO, traces the path of Kit, a young mixed-race technician living in a dystopian world where superheros are privatised and protection is only for those who can afford it.
Alia is a multi-talented nonbinary writer and artist, producing short stories, novellas, full novel series, oil paintings, and sketches. Their books are full of art, and the stories follow characters for their “cozy” post-apocalyptic world–two terms you don’t normally find in close quarters to each other. Currently, Alia is slated to release SIX titles this year, in addition to an already-impressive backlog!