Ahoy, Critterfolk!
New entry Dec 07

Critter Notices

Critters is 23!

Yes, 23 years ago Critters was born. Wow! Thanks so much to all of you, who've made it such a resounding success!

Critters no longer accepting European Union members :(

It's with a heavy heart that I have to announce Critters can no longer accept people in the European Union as members. This is a result of the "GDPR" privacy laws going into effect. I'm a big fan of privacy, and applaud the general idea behind the GDPR, but the way it's implemented forces me to close the door to EU writers. [read more why...]

Books from Critters!

Check out Books by Critters for books by your fellow Critterfolk, as well as my list of recommended books for writers.

The Sigil Trilogy

If you're looking for an amazing, WOW! science fiction story, check out THE SIGIL TRILOGY. This is — literally — one of the best science fiction novels I've ever read.

Space Travel for SF Writers

Hot off the presses from ReAnimus Press! Space Travel - A Science Fiction Writer's Guide— An indispensible tool for all SF writers that explains the science you need to help you make your fiction plausible. (Also via Amazon)

P&E Has a New Caretaker!

I'm very happy to announce that P&E has been handed off to a new caretaker! Check out the site for news and such. Hurrah!


I'm being interviewed live on public radio for Critters 20th birthday. For those who want to listen, it's on the 10am (Mountain time) show on Thursday, 11/19/16, on Colorado Public Radio - has streaming on the site or it's 90.1 FM in the Denver area. [Interview is done, you can listen on the site]

Free Web Sites

Free web sites for authors (and others) are available at

ReAnimus Acquires Advent!

ReAnimus Press is pleased to announce the acquisition of the legendary Advent Publishers! Advent is now a subsidiary of ReAnimus Press, and we will continue to publish Advent's titles under the Advent name. Advent was founded in 1956 by Earl Kemp and others, and has published the likes of James Blish, Hal Clement, Robert Heinlein, Damon Knight, E.E. "Doc" Smith, and many others. Advent's high quality titles have won and been finalists for several Hugo Awards, such as The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy and Heinlein's Children. Watch this space for ebook and print editions of all of Advent's current titles!

Network speeding up

I'm switching the connection over to a new, shiny 10X faster network because of all the load. There might be bits of downtime as your boxes learn new addresses and things. Should be brief. Let me know of any prolonged outages you see.

Preditors & Editors Changeover

With the very sad passing of Dave Kuzminski, who ran P&E, I've taken over the P&E duties. Lots of what I hope are improvements; check it out at

Critters Server is Dying has been Replaced

See important details here in my blog. Let me know if you find anything that isn't working right. (Manuscripts are now available for this week, FYI.)

Book Recommendation

THE SIGIL TRILOGY: The universe is dying from within... "Great stuff... Really enjoyed it." — SFWA Grandmaster Michael Moorcock

Announcing ReAnimus Press

If you need help making ebooks from manuscripts or print copies—or finding great stuff to read—look no further! An ebook publisher started by your very own Critter Captain. (And with a 12% Affiliate program.) [More]








Charters & FAQs for the Workshop Forums

Hi, all, I'm working on the new workshops, complete with discussion forums. Try out the new forums and let me know what you think:

Click here for the list of forums

It will automatically create a forum login for you using your same workshop username/password. So your initial username will be something like "crit12345" with your same workshop password. You can change either username or password in the profile settings in the forums to any other username or password you want (BUT please note it won't change your workshop login/password, just your discussion forum login/password; they're two separate systems).

For the existing Critters forums on, I have created some minions to carry the posts back and forth between the two, so members can read or post on either site.

There's a forum for each workshop (e.g. one for SF/F/H writing, one for Lit writing, etc.), and a general forum. These are on the same site as the other forums I've posted about here before, like the "Wishes for the Future" and new project announcement forums, so you can pop into those as well and post without having to register separately. All one happy family, relating to creating new things and improving the world.

Anyway, check out the forums and let me know what you think!

This document is in the middle of revision, so some anachonristic stuff is still in here.

[The following is intended to be both a web page and also posted frequently to the forums in a prominent way, e.g., under a subject of "Welcome -- README for Guests and Members -- Forum Charter/FAQ."] The SF/F/H writing workshop also continues to have the use of its two original newsgroups on the site (see below).

What are the two most important things you should know about posting to the workshop forums?

*** The workshop forums are a No Flame Zone! ***

*** The Volcano Bar and Grill forum is an Anything Goes Zone! ***

Please follow the following guidelines when posting messages to the forums, whether you're an active member of a workshop, former member, inactive member, or simply a guest.

The non-volcano forums are intended for serious, writing/creating/critiquing/workshop related topics. The Volcano forum is for everything else.

Guests, etc. are most welcome to post in any forum. However, anyone who posts to the workshop forums are perceived as an Ambassador Of The Workshop (by virtue of them being official workshop forums and lacking the "bar-and-grill" designation). Never assume that other forum readers know whether you're a member or not -- they may be a guest and may be reading your message as the first message in the forum they've ever read. Thus everyone is asked to act with decorum at all times in non-volcano forums.

This policy is strictly enforced (see Rule #2 below).

However, in the Volcano forum, expect anything. Most Critters are very nice, friendly people. Most of the time. But this is the Volcano Bar & Grill. The Volcano might blow at any moment, spewing walls of hot ash at you from flamewars in nearby threads. Ol' Boon in the poker game at the corner table has been known to start cussin' & hollerin' and even shootin' at people who don't keep their cards on the table. Of course, you can just slip in for a cold one (beer is a common topic) and sit quietly in the corner. But, in Internet parlance, flame wars may well happen. Participate in the flaming or not, but You've Been Warned. It's a bar & grill. With a volcano in it.

(Name inspired, by the way, by Jimmy Buffet's, "I don't know where I'm a gonna go when the volcano blows.")

Bearing the above generalities in mind, here are the specifics:

Rule #1: The non-Volcano forums are a No Flame Zone!

Why? Because people judge -- have, in fact, in the past, on multiple occasions, judged! -- the Critters/ workshops based on the behavior of people in the forum (which is separate from the workshop), to the verifiable detriment of the workshop.

Yes, flames are sometimes hard to avoid even when discussing the most rarefied of topics, and exist in most forums. Yes, flames in the critters forums were even less frequent than in most groups on the net (Critters are really very nice people). Bad behavior in most forums, however, does not harm other entities, e.g., the workshop which is Critters primary purpose. (The forums are quite secondary. In fact, for those wondering where the workshopping is going on, that's all done elsewhere. See the home page for details.)

Besides, there's no reason why we can't all Just Get Along, right? The forums merely takes this a step further (see Rule #2).

This is not to say that you can't discuss tough craft-related issues. Simply do so without rancor, name-calling (or implied namecalling, as often results from sarcasm), deliberately attempting to get someone else to start a flame war ("baiting"), etc. You know when you're doing it. Don't. Take it to the Volcano. If you don't, it'll be moved there for you.

Be polite and courteous to your fellow humans at all times in non-Volcano forums. These are a writers workshops, and writers should be able to make their points clearly, without being nasty, right? Make it so. If you can't, take it to the Volcano.

If you have a bone to pick with someone, take it to email or to the Volcano (and DO NOT post back to the other forums).

If someone does make a mistake and nobody has yet invoked Rule #2, assume the worst: That they're having a really bad day, or that there are extenuating circumstances you're not aware of (happens frequently). If you're a critter member and come across such an inappropriate posting in non-Volcano forums, invoke Rule #2 yourself.

Again, the forums are a No Flame Zone. Keep it civil, and strictly related to craft/critiquing/workshopping issues. Otherwise, take it to the Volcano.

To enforce, this we have Rule #2:

Rule #2: Every member is expected to enforce Rule #1.

As an enforcement mechanism, all members of Critters workshop (each and every one of you) are empowered -- and EXPECTED -- to enforce the No Flame Zone rule in non-Volcano forums. This is accomplished by reporting the post as inappropriate. For most forums use the "Report this Post" button, a "!" inside a triangle pointing down near the upper right of the post. Most such reported posts will simply get relocated to the Volcano rather than deleted. (Spam posts by bots would get deleted, of course.) For newsgroups, visit the Relocation web page,

To deter abuse, note that two relocation requests (a "motion" and a "second") are generally required before an actual relocation is performed.

Note that while this mechanism is meant to (and surely will) be used, part of its design is as a deterrent. I should also comment that it was a carefully chosen alternative amongst many unwelcome choices. For those who decry the need for this hard line, a description of the alternatives considered is available here.

So, What are the forums for?

Although we exchange manuscripts and critiques outside the forums (only!), we have no means of chatting about... whatever. (Members have made it clear they want no idle chatter by email -- 100 "me too" emails is a trying and tiring experience.) So the forums carry that chatter:

The (non-Volcano) workshop forums are strictly to be used for Flame Free material like:

  • Discussions of how to critique, critiquing etiquette, etc.
  • Discussions of writing-related questions that you'd prefer to ask of people you know and are comfortable with
  • Public service announcements of the kind I send in the weekly update
  • Woohoos (e.g., "I sold my story...")
  • Inspirational/informational quotes
  • Questions (such as "how do I get Word to properly format my ms. for submission?")
  • Getting to know other authors (including pros who might visit as guests); such contacts are often valuable; treat any such guests are if you were at a formal tea with the Pope
  • Market information
  • Research questions
  • Discussions of craft, techniques, etc.

This need not be strictly followed, just remember to move the discussions if they get heated.

The Volcano forum is pretty much anything goes:

  • Followup discussions of the stories & critiques (after they've finished their week -- please do NOT taint reviewers' minds by discussing a story that is currently under review; wait until I send out the batch of reviews)
  • Social chit-chat
  • General silliness
  • Getting to know other authors (including pros who might visit as guests); such contacts are often valuable; treat any such guests however you damn well please
  • Whatever, with the exception that I would frown heavily on personal attacks against critiquers over the quality of their critiques (gripe to me by email, as I'm the arbitrator in matters relating to critiques).

Manuscripts should not be posted in any forum. Critiques are handled via the web site / email only.

The SF/F/H writing workshop also continues to have the use of its two original newsgroups on the site: sff.workshop.critters and sff.workshop.critters-volcano-bar-and-grill. (Information on how to reach them is here.) Note that on there are also other newsgroups where pro authors may hang out, so they're worth checking out.

While we're at it, here's Rule #3...

Within the workshop forums, which can at times get high-volume, please keep the Subject lines of your posts accurate and start new topics if you veer away from the main topic of the current thread. (In the Volcano, do whatever suits your fancy.)

Adult Material

The Romance and Adult workshop forums require an age consent and are for workshop members only. If you are a workshop member, get the forum password here. Any questions? Please ask the Critter Captain.


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Happy minion   Happy minion — last donation was 2 days ago. About $3500 to go. A big Thank You! to Mariam Melikadze, Russell Gartz, Krinda Allen, and lots of other Critterfolk for their contributions!

Critters is entirely funded by donations from Critterfolk like you, so yours is most appreciated. Click here to make the minions happy. Every dollar helps. Thanks for your support!



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