Blue Heaven

Blue Heaven is a week-long peer workshop/retreat for critiquing novels that has been meeting every twelve to eighteen months since 2003. The workshop is named for Himmelblau (Blue Heaven) House, the Victorian bed and breakfast on Kelleys Island where we originally held the retreat. 

When we started the workshop, most of us had never finished -- much less sold -- a novel. But, as you can see from the list below, the Blue Heaven model seemed to work for us.  

The structure has evolved over the years as our careers have grown and changed, but new writers who are interested in copying the original Blue Heaven model can read more about it here.

Books Workshopped At Blue Heaven (by author)


 Cassie Alexander

Moonshifted (St. Martin's Press, 2013)

  • Trilogy foreign rights sold to Germany.



Paolo Bacigalupi

The Windup Girl (Night Shade Books, 2009)

  • Winner - John W. Campbell Winner - Memorial Award 2010
  • Winner - Compton Crook Award 2010
  • Winner - Hugo Award 2010
  • Winner - Locus Award for Best First Novel 2010
  • Winner - Nebula Award 2009
  • Time Magazine – Ten Best Novels of 2009


Ship Breaker (Little Brown, 2010)

  • Booklist - starred review
  • Finalist - National BookAward 2010
  • Winner - Printz Award 2011
  • Finalist - Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy 2011



Christopher Barzak

One For Sorrow (Bantam, 2007)

    • Winner – Crawford Award 2008
    • Finalist – Great Lakes Book Award 2008
    • Finalist – Logo Channel’s NewNowNext Award 2008
    • Translated into Italian and Spanish.
    • Adapted into the film "Jamie Marks Is Dead" (2014). 



Gwenda Bond

The Woken Gods (Strange Chemistry, 2013)


Tobias Buckell

Crystal Rain (Tor, 2006)

Ragamuffin  (Tor, 2007)

  • Finalist – Nebula Award 2007
  • Finalist – Prometheus Award 2008

Sly Mongoose  (Tor, 2008)


Arctic Rising  (Tor, 2012)

Rae Carson

Crown of Embers (The Girl of Fire and Thorns series, Book #2)
Greenwillow (US), 2012
Gollancz (UK/Aus/NZ), 2012

  • Foreign rights sold to Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, and Turkey



Deborah Coates

Wide Open (Tor, 2012)


Deep Down (Tor, 2013)


Brenda Cooper

Reading The Wind (Tor, 2008)


C.C. Finlay

The Prodigal Troll  (Pyr, 2005)

  • Translated into German


“Abandon the Ruins” (Fantasy & Science Fiction, 2006)

  • Excerpted from Prodigal Troll sequel.
  • Translated into Russian for Esli.


The Patriot Witch  (Del Rey, 2009) 

  • Publisher’s Weekly - starred review


A Spell For The Revolution  (Del Rey, 2009)



“The Political Prisoner” (Fantasy & Science Fiction, 2008)

Translated and published as a standalone book in Italy by DelosBooks.

  • Finalist – Nebula Award Best Novella 2008
  • Finalist – Hugo Award Best Novella 2009
  • Finalist – Sturgeon Award 2009



Daryl Gregory

The Devil's Alphabet  (Del Rey, 2009)

  • Publisher’s Weekly – Best Books of 2009
  • Finalist - Philip K. Dick Award 2010



Karin Lowachee

Burndive  (Warner Aspect, 2003)


Cagebird  (Warner Aspect, 2005)

  • Winner – Prix Aurora Award 2006
  • Winner – Gaylactic Spectrum Award 2006



Sandra McDonald

The Stars Down Under  (Tor, 2008)



Holly McDowell

King Solomon's Wives  (Coliloquy, 2012)



Paul Melko

Singularity's Ring  (Tor, 2008)

  • Winner – Compton Crook Award 2009
  • Winner – Locus Best First Novel Award 2009



The Walls of the Universe  (Tor, 2009)

  • Publisher's Weekly - starred review
  • Optioned for film by the producer of Shrek
  • Novella excerpt published in Asimov’s Science Fiction
  • Finalist – Hugo Award Best Novella 2007
  • Finalist – Nebula Award Best Novella 2006
  • Finalist – Theodore Sturgeon Award 2007
  • Winner – Asimov’sReaders Poll Award 2006


The Broken Universe  (Tor, 2012)




Tim Pratt

Briarpatch  (Chizine Publications, 2011)



Sarah Prineas 

The Magic Thief  (HarperCollins, 2008)

Starred reviews -Kirkus, Booklist, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

  • #3 Booksense (Indie Next) pick, spring/summer 2008
  • Publisher's Weekly Flying Start author (spring 2008)
  • New York Public Library 100 Books for Reading and Sharing (2008)
  • National Council of Teachers of English Notable Books in the Language Arts (2009)
  • Booklist Top Ten First Novels for Youth 2008
  • American Booksellers for Children Best Books of the Year (2008) list
  • An E.B. White Read-Aloud Award honor book
  • Cybils Award Finalist (MG fantasy category)
  • Booklist Top-Ten First Audiobooks for Youth (2006-2010)
  • The Beehive Award winner (Children's Literature Association of Utah), 2010 (state award winner for children's fiction)
  • State award lists in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming
  • Finalist - West Australia Young Readers Book Award


 The Magic Thief: Lost  (HarperCollins, 2009)

  • Trilogy foreign rights sales in the following languages/regions:

German, French, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Polish, UK/Australia/New Zealand/India, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Finnish, Greek, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish/Catalan, Czech/Slovak, Bulgarian, Romanian

  • plus audio rights in English, German, Dutch


Winterling  (HarperCollins, 2011)

  • Foreign rights sales to Germany and UK/Aus/NZ
  • English language audio rights



Jenn Reese

Above World (Candlewick, 2012)

  • Finalist – Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy 2013


Above World: Mirage  (Candlewick, 2013)


Benjamin Rosenbaum

Stories excerpted from the unpublished novel Library of Souls, co-authored with David Ackert.

"The King of the Djinn" (Realms of Fantasy, 2008)

  • Selected for Year's Best Fantasy 8

 "Stray" (Fantasy & Science Fiction, 2007)

  • Selected for Year's Best Science Fiction Vol. 25
  • Selected for Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2008 Edition
  • Translated into Czech, Danish, and German



Ian Tregillis

Bitter Seeds  (Tor, 2010)


Catherynne M. Valente

Palimpsest  (Spectra, 2009)

  • Winner – Lambda Literary Award 2009
  • Finalist – Hugo Award Best Novel 2010



Greg van Eekhout

Norse Code  (Spectra, 2009)

  • Finalist - Locus Award for Best First Novel 2009


Kid Vs. Squid  (Bloomsbury, 2010)

  • Indie Next Pick - Summer 2010

The Boy at the End of the World  (Bloomsbury, 2011) 

  • Finalist – Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy 2012

Other writers who have attended Blue Heaven:

Sarah K. Castle, Lisa Deguchi, Roger Eichorn, Kameron Hurley
Catherine M. MorrisonNancy Proctor, M. RickertHeather ShawWilliam Shunn 
James Stevens-Arce, Mary TurzilloAmber van Dyk, Lori Ann White

© C.C. Finlay 2018