Published Podcast Submissions

If you listen to the Writership Podcast, you'll know that each episode we critique five pages of fiction from a writer who is, or soon hopes to be, traditionally or independently published.

Most of our submissions come from authors whose works are in progress, and we're delighted when those authors go on to publish their stories. It's heartwarming to see writers in our community grow in skill and courage. Occasionally we're honored to receive an already-published story, and it's exciting to see these works out in the world.

Below you'll find links to these published books, organized by genre, then alphabetically. We encourage you to use this page to find your next book, both for the sheer joy of reading and for the lessons we learn by seeing our fellow authors develop from submission to publication.

(If you're an author who's been featured on the Writership Podcast and have recently published the work you submitted, let us know. We'd love to add you to this list!)

Click on a genre to jump to that section:

Published books featured on the Writership Podcast.

Cyberpunk and Steampunk

Grigory's Gadget by E. A. Hennessy from Episode 2

Zoya and her friends decide to leave their freezing home to start a new life. But when pirates attack their passenger ship, the friends are shanghaied and forced to be part of their crew. What’s more, the pirates have a particular interest in Zoya’s family heirloom: a small gadget of compacted wires and gears. Unsure what power the gadget holds, Zoya knows she must protect it with her life.


The Feedback Loop by Harmon Cooper from episode 24

Trapped in a VRMMORPG with a limitless inventory list, Quantum lives his days on repeat, fighting the same killer NPCs and hashing out the same gritty story lines again and again. Then he receives his first message from a real person in two years, which sparks an epic adventure across multiple online fantasy worlds.



Sex and the Underground City by Laura Roberts from episode 11

Francesca "Frankie" Parker is Montreal’s go-to tour guide for all things seductive in the Underground City. Business is pleasure for the charming, sophisticated, and tantalizing femme fatale. “Sexy Tourism for Canada’s Fetish Capital” is what her card promises, and mon ami, she delivers.



Beauty's Daughter by Eustacia Tan from Episode 59

Queen Beauty and King Charming lived happily ever after. At least, until the birth of their daughter. Despite their invitations, none of the fairies show up to give the princess a name-blessing, something Beauty is determined her daughter should receive. But after many years of waiting, the fairies are finally coming, and the princess will do anything to get her name-blessing. Anything.


Nightblade by Garrett Robinson from episode 16

An Amazon #1 Fantasy Bestseller. Loren dreams of escaping her cruel parents and becoming a great thief: Nightblade, a warrior of darkness and a champion of the light. Soon she crosses paths with the smuggler family of Yerrin, invoking their wrath by stealing their most precious treasure. Yerrin’s reach is long, and they will not stop until they silence Loren forever.


Prophecy's Queen by Timothy Bond from episode 8

In this prequel to the epic fantasy series The Triadine Saga, we follow the Elven Princess Rozlynn as she struggles with her role in The Prophecy and what she must do to keep the world from falling into darkness. This is a story of love and conflict, personal growth, and freedom to choose your own destiny.


The Bite of Rust by Simon Cantan from episode 46

At the top of a high mountain, on the edge of a vast desert, the Fortress of Rust waits. The home of the greatest assassins in the world, no one knows their secret. Every fourth year they take in a hundred four-year-old girls and turn out one master assassin. Lila Ariette’s mother just died, and no one in her kingdom has a place for a little orphan girl. Bundled onto a cart and sent to join the assassins, Lila is going to find out the secret of the fortress.


"The Quirky Old Couple" by Alysia Seymour from Episode 45

Sign up to Seymour's newsletter and get her most popular short story, "The Quirky Old Couple" for free, along with her Wonder Scribes weekly inspirational emails and fun gifts.


Literary Fiction

Ripples Through Time by Lincoln Cole from episode 37

Calvin Greenwood is a family man in his eighties. He is alone for the first time in over sixty years: his wife, Emily, just passed away and he isn't taking her loss well. He doesn't remember how to be alone, and he isn't sure if he can forgive himself for the mistakes he made while she was alive. Love, loss, and forgiveness weave through this human tale of friendship and hope.


Kill Screen by Benjamin Reeves from episode 90

After video game designer Jack Valentine finds his best friend’s body floating in a bathtub, he immediately begins an investigation to uncover the real reason behind his friend’s sudden suicide. As Jack digs deeper into his friend’s personal effects, he makes a startling discovery that upends everything he knows about human intellect, and forces him to confront his own personal demons. However, in order to uncover the truth, Jack will have to put his career, his love life, and his sanity on the line.


Middle Grade

The Escape by Mikael Barstow from episode 18

She’s not fast. She isn’t strong. She definitely can’t fly. She has no powers whatsoever. So why does the Director think five-year-old PJ is the perfect weapon for his Pervasive Justice program? Oy, Dilea, and Rainbow Sherbit want to rescue PJ from the Director and his training school. Their biggest problem: they’re stuffed animals. But if they don’t get her out of there before “The Test”, PJ will cease to be a sweet, little girl. She’ll become something else entirely.


The Missing Yesterdays by Terry Marchion from episode 60

On the colony planet New Earth, Christopher loves spending time with a quirky, absent-minded scientist, his uncle Tremain.  In a freak lab accident, the entire colony's history is erased.  Now they have no choice but to travel back in time to restore the missing yesterdays before they too fade away.


"The Think Tank" by Donovan Scherer from episode 5

"The Think Tank" is a short story that takes place in between Fear & Sunshine and ZomBeans. You can get the story (along with a bunch of other stuff) for free by signing up for Scherer's newsletter.



Fire on the Flight Deck by Darren Sapp from episode 23

An American supercarrier flight deck is considered by many to be one of the most dangerous places on earth. Brian Donley survived boot camp and completed aircraft firefighter school to serve as a yellow shirt on the flight deck of the USS William Halsey. Would his training, will, and courage equip him for the most challenging day of his life?



High Flyer by Trudi Jaye from episode 12

Star trapeze act Missy and sexy motorbike daredevil Zeph head to L.A., where they join an innovative show that's going to catapult them both to stardom. But they soon realise they're now part of a circus where no one ever escapes and everyone is expendable...


Raven's Peak by Lincoln Cole from episode 54

A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven's Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she's ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.


The Messengers by Anthony Greer from episode 26

Robert Baselton has grown accustomed to seeing the dead as they wander between worlds. However, when the spirits of a girl and an old woman become a regular presence in his everyday life, Robert has a suspicion that there’s a link between them and the utterances of murder that the Messenger of Death whispers in his ear. Every time the Messenger appears, another presence is soon to follow.



Peaks of Passion: Pleasure Point Series Book One by Jennifer Evans from Episode 40

Chiseled 18-year-old surfing sensation Jax thinks of nothing but the Pacific Ocean. Rosalyn is happy to be home after so many years away. The 30-year-old free spirit takes surfing lessons from the hunky Jax, and she can’t wait to teach him a thing or two after hours. There’s just one problem: Jax’s mom is her best friend. Will the groundswell of their forbidden love destroy their lives?


Science Fiction

Ghosts of Koa by Colby R. Rice from episode 30

For over one hundred years the Civic Order and the Alchemic Order have held a shaky truce, peppered by violence and mistrust. But when Koa, a Civilian-born insurgency, bombs an Alchemist summit, the truce is shattered. Now, Koa is rising. War is coming. And all sixteen-year-old Zeika Anon can do is keep moving as she watches the lords of alchemy slowly overtake her home.


It's A Nightmare by Nicole Quinn from episode 21

Mina, a rogue dreamer in the Night Mare's land, is found in the Off-grid of Winkin City. It's a world where females are 3/5 human, kept as cattle, and licensed as domestic pets. Mina discovers that in order to survive here, she must change everything.


Kastori Revelations by Stephen Allen from episode 66

Crystil is one of the empire's best soldiers. Cyrus and Celeste are siblings from a royal family. Together, they are the sole survivors of humanity. The three barely manage to escape their home but made it to a mysterious new world. Will Crystil, Cyrus, and Celeste establish a new civilization on their new world? Will the great dragon send humanity into extinction? Or will the three survivors destroy each other first?


"One's Place" by Edwin Downward from Episode 38

Her sister got all the breaks. It was her turn, whatever the cost. "One's Place" is a teaser into Downward's science fiction Worlds Together Universe in 2,750 words. The first novel in that universe is Synergy of Hopes.


The Humanarium by Chris Tick from Episode 51

Thousands of years after the world was defeated by aliens, humanity has been thrown back into the dark ages and we live as pets to the alien. Trapped inside a terrarium, one man refuses to believe the world is only as big as the four walls that surround him and by a twist of fate he discovers a way beyond the glass. But is he ready to face the titanic world and huge creatures that lie outside?


Sojourners by Aaron Hubble from episode 31

Chaos and war have engulfed Aereas thrusting Calier and his friends in a desperate flight across the Aerean wilderness. Tired, starving, and injured, the small group of survivors attempt to reach safety that they believe lies on the other side of a dangerous forest. The choice is simple: take their chances against the invaders or against the beasts that inhabit the forest.


Underneath - A Merfolk Tale by M.N. Arzu from Episode 55

When an injured merman is found washed up on a beach in Maine, his arrival at the ER leaves his new doctors at a loss of how to treat him. One reporter is hot on the trail of what she believes is an elaborate hoax—or the story of a lifetime. A story that has her tracking elusive clues into an ever-growing house of secrets surrounding one of the richest families in New York City.



Space Opera

The Cordova Vector: Brace Cordova Book One by C. Steven Manley from Episode 69

Former UDC pilot Brace Cordova gets released from military prison with two things in mind; a strong desire to go back to Earth and the certainty that no good deed goes unpunished. But his plans unravel when a notorious crime boss comes looking for revenge for something Brace didn’t do. At least not on purpose, anyway.


Superhero and Supernatural

Awakened by C. Steven Manley from episode 49

Israel and Erin wake up together in a modern day dungeon with no memory of how they got there and come face to face with monsters that neither ever dreamed existed. Rescued by agents of the mysterious Sentry Group, the duo soon find their lives turned upside down. Armed with powers they never imagined could be real, they must choose whether to stand against the horrors soon to be unleashed upon the world or step back and let humanity fend for itself.


Ted Saves the World by Bryan Cohen from episode 10

Ted Finley was your typical, wise-cracking teenager, until an otherworldly force gave him abilities beyond his wildest dreams. Sixteen-year-old Erica LaPlante was six-feet-under when a blast of blue light brought her body back to life. When their school comes under attack, Ted and Erica must use everything at their disposal to save their friends, the town and... well, the world.



Gone by Stacy Claflin from episode 25

The complete Gone Trilogy is a USA Today bestselling title. Macy Mercer only wants a little independence. Eager to prove herself grown up, she goes to a dark, secluded park. She’s supposed to meet the boy of her dreams who she met online. But the cute fifteen year old was a fantasy, his pictures fake. She finds herself face to face with Chester Woodran, a man capable of murder.


Guest of Honor by Mark S. R. Peterson from episode 39

The Engels are a farming family who live not far from 18-year old Megan Dust's old place. When Megan explores their home, she discovers a picture of a teenage girl. A girl who resembles that of a recent murder victim from Minneapolis. Is there more to this backwoods family than meets the eye?



Escape to Ash island (Generation Havoc Book 1) by J. H. Lucas from Episode 48

When Cash and his friends set out in search of a mythical island in Calitopia, they know their chances are slim. What they don’t know is someone is following them. Some*thing*. The Red Enforcer – half man, half machine, no mercy. As the relentless cyborg closes in, Cash is required to pit friendship against fate. But how can you choose between saving your friends or saving the future?


Me and My Bacon by Ceanmohrlass from episode 78

Being a teenager is tough enough. Constantly moving from place to place, and feeling like an alien, takes its toll after a while. Starting over in a foreign environment forces Mera to find a way to fit in once again. Reinventing herself has become a routine lately. Can Mera make her new life work without losing who she really is?


The Nutcracker King by Eustacia Tan from Episode 28

It has been eight years since the Nutcracker has defeated the Mouse King, and he is still a cursed doll. The Nutcracker’s one desire is to break the curse, and he grows more and more desperate as time runs out. One day, he uncovers a dark secret about his kingdom and decides to use the knowledge to reverse the curse and claim his destiny.

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Discovering the Necessary Elements of Your Story's Genre

Discovering the necessary elements of your story's genre by Leslie Watts at

After my post on Why I love Story Grid, one writer asked about applying the Story Grid to science fiction or fantasy stories. My answer was too long to include in a comment, and I figured others might have this question, so I’ve shared my thoughts here.

The commenter said that the Story Grid is a bit frustrating because Shawn Coyne says you need to include the conventions and obligatory scenes for your genre, but he doesn’t provide them for all the genres he identifies in his book, especially not fantasy and science fiction. She wondered if I have any advice for her. I do!

Two caveats before I answer: First, no single tool will work for every writer. So, while I recommend that you experiment with the Story Grid as a resource, I can’t say that this will work for you. If it doesn’t feel right, keep looking and experimenting. I’m a huge fan of the Story Grid for lots of reasons, but my favorite is that the spreadsheet and global story foolscap help me filter out personal preferences and mental noise when reviewing a story. Other writers might need something different.

Second, this is my understanding of the Story Grid, not an official explanation from the creator. Shawn might disagree with my answer. It’s a complex system, and he mentioned in a recent episode of the podcast that the book is Story Grid 101. Shawn has ninja levels of SG that I haven’t learned—yet.

I've separated my response into two parts. I address science fiction and fantasy and where they fit within the Story Grid separately from my thoughts about finding the obligatory scenes and conventions not included in book.

What do we mean by genre?

Some of the confusion around genre comes from how we sometimes use the same word to describe different things. What Shawn calls content genre could be confused with sales categories.

Sales categories relate to how you label your book for sale. You pick categories and keywords so that your reader can find your book through their favorite retailer. Think about it like where you would want to shelve your book at the book store.

The Content genre is the type of story you have and is akin to a recipe or a checklist. Content genres have obligatory scenes and conventions that work to evoke core emotions related to the core values at stake in the story. These core emotions and values relate to human needs as represented in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Humans have basic survival needs that affect life and death, and action and war genres explore circumstances when life is at stake. People also need love, connection, and to feel respected, and genres where these values are at stake include romance, society, and performance.

The content genre is your promise to the reader that your story will contain certain elements. Most stories have an external content genre (related to changes in the protagonist’s world) and internal content genre (related to changes within the protagonist).

There is some overlap: a cozy mystery is a content genre and sales category, but not every sales category correlates with a specific content genre. A book might be shelved in the fantasy or science fiction section of a store, but the content genre could be a thriller or an action or love story. This might seem like splitting hairs, but it’s an important distinction.

Sales categories seem infinite; content genres are limited. From Shawn’s studies and experience, he has identified nine external content genres (action, horror, crime, thriller, love, war, society, western, performance) and three internal content genres (worldview, status, and morality). Each genre includes subgenres. For example crime stories include cozy mysteries, police procedurals, and noir. Worldview stories include maturation and disillusionment plots.

Where do science fiction and fantasy fit? Readers of science fiction and fantasy have certain expectations, but they are related to the reality genre and setting; these stories do not promise a core emotion or value at stake in the story.

I don’t wander too far from the original question, so I will refer you to this post on the site that explains five different aspects of genre, which Shawn shows in an infographic that looks like a five-leaf clover. In addition to content and reality, Shawn’s genre clover includes time, style, and structure. These are outside the scope of this discussion, but if you’re curious, I recommend checking out the resources on the Story Grid site. (You can download a copy of Shawn’s genre clover infographic here.)

Science fiction and fantasy stories are included within the reality genre “leaf.” Of course, fiction stories aren’t real, but some fiction stories could (or could have) happened, and some are more speculative. For example, the Horatio Hornblower stories by C.S. Forester were based on Royal Navy officers and historical events, and they fall within “realism.” As far as we know, there are no Hobbits in our world, so J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories from Middle Earth are “fantasy.” The same is true for Orson Scott Card’s science fiction stories.

Another aspect of fantasy or science fiction stories related to reader expectation is the setting. That is, science fiction tends to happen in a future time and include technology that doesn’t currently exist in our world and has an impact on life. Fantasy stories often occur in a time of more primitive technology, though the boundaries of this category are expanding to include urban fantasy, which can be set in contemporary time. Regardless, the content genre for these stories could be an action-adventure, thriller, crime story, love story, etc.

But isn’t that true of westerns as well? Westerns often take place in a particular setting, but what sets these stories apart are the core values (e.g., individual vs. society or wilderness and civilization) and core event (the big showdown between the hero and villain). If these are not present, the reader will go away disappointed. These stories can be set in the second half of the nineteenth century in western North America, but you could also set a western story in a science fiction universe, for example, the television series Firefly.

So, a science fiction or fantasy story would include the obligatory scenes and conventions for the external and internal content genres of the story that happens in a particular setting that is not the real world. Robert McKee calls these supra-genres that arise from “settings, performance styles, and filmmaking techniques.” In other words, what Shawn calls style and reality genres in his five-leaf clover system.

Obligatory scenes and conventions for different genres

The writer who commented on my earlier post found it frustrating that Shawn says writers should include the obligatory scenes and conventions for stories but doesn’t list them for all genres.

In the book Story Grid: What Good Editors Know and on the site, Shawn shows us how he did the Story Grid analysis for Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris; this is a serial killer thriller (external content genre) and worldview disillusionment (internal content genre) plot. In his latest book, The Story Grid Edition of Pride and Prejudice, he performs the analysis on the quintessential romance, a courtship love story (external content genre) and morality (internal content genre) plot. On the site, you can find the global story foolscap with obligatory scenes and conventions for other stories: a redemption-performance plot (e.g., The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield), redemption-supernatural horror plot (A Christmas Carol), and an action-adventure/man against nature plot (The Martian).

The variety that’s possible when you consider the nine external content genres and three internal content genres with all their subgenres is a bit overwhelming. It would be hard for any one person to create the list for each. The good news is you can put together the list for your content combination from a close read (or watch) of exemplars of stories from your genres.

If you don’t have a list already, I recommend looking articles on the site (including the comments) and in the book. The commenter asked about a Savior or Rebellion plot. These are two external content subgenres within the Action genre: Epic/Man Against State stories. I’ll show you where I would start to collect the obligatory conventions and scenes for these subgenres.

Shawn listed the core value (life and death), the core emotion (excitement), and the most important scene (the hero at the mercy of the villain) for action stories generally. From this, you can conclude that you need a hero and a villain, and since there’s no villain without a victim, that’s an obligatory convention as well.

Within man against state stories, “a hero must confront societal institutions or tyrants.” The villain therefore is an institution or its representative or a tyrant.

Shawn’s example of a Rebellion plot is Star Wars, in which Darth Vader is a visible tyrant. The Savior plot example is The Dark Knight, in which the villain, the Joker, ants to destroy society.

I suggest watching those films then looking for other films, shows, and books that are similar. Watching movies is a faster way to digest stories, but don’t neglect important stories within the genre that haven’t been made into films. Use the Story Grid to analyze the scenes and follow the value changes to get a feel for how they work. Discuss the stories with other writers in your genre. Consider these questions:

  • What do the stories have in common?
  • How are they different? (This should help you rule out some elements.)
  • In which scenes does the core value move drastically?

I recommend this for writers whether they use the Story Grid to plan and revise their stories or not. To write within a genre, you need to be familiar with the reader’s expectations. That doesn’t mean you should delay writing your story until you’ve read a hundred books in the genre (that would be resistance), but reserving time to study and understand these stories is important. Starting with a list of obligatory scenes and conventions is helpful, but the depth of knowledge you gain from studying your genre can't help but give you a better understanding of how to craft your stories.

I hope this gives you some insight into the Story Grid and how it can help you plan and revise your stories. I’ve been preparing a list of obligatory scenes and conventions for adventure stories in a nautical setting, and I’ll share that with you when I’ve completed it. If you get stuck with a particular genre, leave a comment here and we can help each other uncover the necessary elements in the stories.

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Cast Your Net with Writership: 25 Exercises to Inspire Your Fiction by Leslie Watts

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