Sunday, September 25, 2011

MGOC Contributor: Nancy Kress


EXCERPT from "Building Science Fiction and Fantasy Worlds" by Nancy Kress in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction

You want to write a novel of speculative fiction. You have a situation you’re excited about and characters you find interesting, and you can’t wait to get started. Nonetheless – wait.

First take the time to plan your world. Doing so will save you – and I speak from rueful experience here – weeks of rewrite and a lot of Tylenol. Your book will be easier to write, more consistent, and more interesting if you have a firm grasp of where it’s happening. Plus, working out the details of your setting may suggest plot turns. Such a deal!

The first question is: Are you writing science fiction or fantasy?


Nancy Kress is the author of twenty-one books: thirteen novels of science fiction or fantasy, one YA novel, two thrillers, three story collections, and two books on writing. Among her novels are Probability Space , Probability Moon , Probability Sun , Crossfire , Nothing Human , and Crucible . Kress’s short fiction has won three Nebulas: in 1985 for "Out of All Them Bright Stars;" in 1991 for the novella version of Beggars In Spain , which also won a Hugo; and in 1998 for "The Flowers of Aulit Prison." Her work has been translated into fourteen languages. She teaches regularly at Clarion and was a guest lecturer at Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program in June 2005. Visit her online at

Friday, September 23, 2011

MGOC Contributor News: Dana Marton's Agents Under Fire Series

Many Genres, One Craft contributor Dana Marton's latest releases are part of the Agents Under Fire Series:

Avenging Agent
An undercover agent on a deadly mission, the last thing Jake needs is a troublesome beauty distracting him from his investigation. But something about Allison makes it impossible for him to leave her to her fate, surrounded by danger in a war-torn country.

They couldn't be more different, but soon they must rely on each other to stay alive, uncovering a diabolical plot that shakes even Jake's battle-hardened heart. Attraction grows between them as they form a tight team against their enemies. But to act on that attraction, first they have to stay alive.

Guardian Agent
When Gabe Cannon's commando team is tasked with bringing down a rogue solider, he doesn't expect to come face-to-face with the target's sister at the showdown instead of the man himself.

Jasmine is trying to lead the team away from her injured brother. Recognizing one of the hunters as her teenage crush is definitely a shock to her system. To save her family, she must convince Gabe that her brother was framed. But can she stop from falling in love with him all over again?

A fast-paced, heart-pounding romantic suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

posted by heidi

Thursday, September 22, 2011

MGOC Contributor: Elaine Ervin

Elaine Ervin

EXCERPT from "A Serious Look at the Funny Bone" by Elaine Ervin in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction

Steve Martin once said that "The day you start analyzing humor is the day you cease to be funny." You could say, then, that I sat down to write this with a healthy dose of trepidation. I've been fortunate enough to see multiple romantic comedy manuscripts published, so the last thing I want to do is cease to be funny, even for a few moments.

I do, however, firmly believe that certain elements of humor can be analyzed and taught, and I will show you what I mean via the conventions of contemporary women's fiction.

One word of caution, though. Once you've made it your mission to discover the "science" behind humor, to pull back the curtain on the mysterious wizard at the controls, well, the magic component of comedy disappears. It becomes work. This is at the heart of Steve Martin's observation.


After growing up in the middle Tennessee countryside, Elaine Ervin obtained a B.A. at the University of Tennessee, then, in 1998, headed to Southern California to teach and watch Dodger and Raider games.

Shortly after the new Millennium, Cupid lured her to Central Pennsylvania and in 2006, completed her M.A. in Writing at Seton Hill University where she fine-tuned her writing with a focus on women’s fiction and romantic comedy.

Currently, she writes as both Alayne Adams and Jacki King, and writing credits include: In Perfect Harmony and The Not So Simple Life (w/a Alayne Adams) and the anthology Jacki's Jewels (w/a Jacki King). She still lives in Pennsylvania, writes full-time, teaches at the college/university level, and still watches Dodger and Raider games. Learn more at and

MGOC Contributor News: Shelley Adina's Lady of Devices

Many Genres, One Craft contributor Shelley Adina's latest release is Lady of Devices.

London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world. At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices . . . When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his . . . if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals . . .

posted by heidi

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

MGOC Contributor: Natalie Duvall

photo by A Yancy Overby and Associates

EXCERPT from "Talking about Dialogue" by Natalie Duvall in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction

I’ve long known that good dialogue can sell a manuscript. It is the hook that catches a reader and then keeps them reading. Dialogue is what makes a character real. It’s what makes him believable. Good dialogue can overcome bad prose.

Unfortunately for you, the writer, readers are experts on dialogue. An author from Chicago who writes a book about a woman from New Orleans better be careful. Because there are many people from New Orleans. And there are many more who have been to New Orleans. The world has thousands of experts on the vocal stylings of people from the Big Easy, and they expect you to be one, too.


Natalie Duvall lives in a big old house in a little town in Central Pennsylvania. She enjoys walking as much as possible. Unless it's cold out. She is married to Matt Duvall and has cats (three of them -- Albert, Chun Lee and Eliot). During the day she's an 11th grade English teacher. At night, she writes Regency-set historical romances. In what free time is left, she trains in Krav Maga and is a lackadaisical triathlete. Visit her online at

MGOC Contributor News: Kaye Dacus' Ransome's Quest

Many Genres, One Craft contributor Kaye Dacus' latest release is the end to the Ransome Trilogy. Ransome's Quest follows a tale of love and danger on the Caribbean Sea in the early 1800s.

Commodore William Ransome is searching for his sister, Charlotte, who has been captured by Salvador, the infamous "Robin Hood of the West Indies." When word comes that his wife, Julia, has been kidnapped by the evil pirate, Shaw, Commodore Ransome and his crew frantically search the horizon for the two women he loves. After Charlotte is found, she emerges with revelations about Salvador's true identity and his willingness to help search for Julia. It's news that sends shockwaves through the family.

Will Commodore Ransome trust Salvador to help rescue his beloved wife? And what other secrets have been buried like long lost treasure in these waters? Romance, intrigue, and swashbuckling leaps of faith create a wonderfully heroic close to this beloved series.

posted by heidi

Monday, September 19, 2011

MGOC Contributor: Dana Marton

Dana Marton

EXCERPT from "Creating My Niche in Romantic Suspense" by Dana Marton in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction

For the first twelve plus years of my writing career, I wrote five complete novels and numerous partials, then dutifully sent each to multiple agents and publishers. None of those stories were ever published. In the six years that followed, I wrote twenty-five romantic suspense novels that are now published or currently scheduled for publication with Harlequin Intrigue.

You might notice that the second period was somewhat more productive than the first.

So what changed?

For one, continuous writing improved my writing skills. I didn’t send in that first completed book and waited until it sold. I kept writing and submitting through twelve years of rejections. I also found writers’ organizations and learned from their workshops and from other writers. I even went back to college to study writing in a more systematic way. But one of the most important things that finally brought success was that I learned to focus.


Award-winning author Dana Marton has had a passion for reading and writing stories since childhood. She has penned several novels in the SDDU (Secret Designation Defense Unit) series that feature tough as nails heroes, breathtaking suspense and heart pounding romance. Her books are published in seven languages in eleven countries around the world. Ms. Marton has a graduate degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. When not writing or reading, she loves to browse antique shops and enjoys working in her sizable flower garden. Visit her at