Just heard back from John Aegard about my STEW audition--- I guess I fooled them well enough that I get to play in their sandbox. I am so stoked!
STEW is a crit group that includes Sabrina Chase, Victoria Garcia, John Aegard, and Mike Canfield, and Nisi Shawl. All of them are more accomplished than I, at least in the fiction department, so it is a great chance for me to learn a whole bunch of stuff about writing sf/f and also socialize with some like minds.
Last Sunday was my first go around with them. It was brutal, intense, brutal, informative, brutal and very valuable. And fun! The story they critted was "Night of Shadows" which was a good choice on my part, because it has been almost there for quite a while. I really liked how Victoria described my fantasy stuff--- "Castle Noir"--- everyone was pretty cool, though I must say I was on best behavior and so gave them little reason not to be :)
Sabrina had a long excerpt from a book, some very rousing space opera with a splash of soap, John brought an intriguing trial balloon chapter of a pretty ambitious fantasy, and Mike had the first chapter of a dark, smart, urban something or other that was compelling but hard to classify.
So it was a three-fer--- professional help (with my fiction, the other kind will have to wait a little longer!), fun stuff to read, and new friends. Score!