Looking for something to read?
Looking for more how-to on writing?
Then please try books by Fiction University's Faculty.
Books by Founder, Janice Hardy
Understanding Show, Don't Tell (And Really Getting It)
Award-winning author Janice Hardy takes you deep into one of the most frustrating aspects of writing--showing, and not telling. She'll help you understand what show, don't tell means, teach you how to spot told prose in your writing, and reveal why common advice on how to fix it doesn't always work.
With in-depth analysis, Understanding Show, Don't Tell (And Really Getting It) looks at what affects told prose and when telling is the right thing to do. It also explores aspects of writing that aren’t technically telling, but are connected to told prose and can make prose feel told, such as infodumps, description, and backstory.
Her easy-to-understand examples will show you clear before and after text and demonstrate how telling words change the prose. You'll learn how to find the right balance between description, narrative, and internalization for the strongest impact. These examples will also demonstrate why showing the wrong details can sound just as dull as telling.
This book will help you:
- Understand when to tell and when to show
- Spot common red flag words often found in told prose
- Learn why one single rule doesn't apply to all books
- Determine how much telling is acceptable in your writing
- Fix stale or flat prose holding your writing back
Understanding Show, Don't Tell (And Really Getting It) is more than just advice on what to do and what not to do—it’s a down and dirty examination and analysis of how show, don’t tell works, so you can adapt the “rules” to whatever style or genre you’re writing. By the end of this book, you’ll have a solid understanding of show, don’t tell and the ability to use it without fear or frustration.
Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure
Janice Hardy takes you step-by-step through plotting and writing a novel with her book Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure. She'll show you how to find and develop ideas, brainstorm stories from that first spark of inspiration to a complete story, develop the right characters, setting, plot, as well as teach you how to identify where your novel fits in the market, and if your idea has what it takes to be a series.
With clear and easy-to-understand examples, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure offers ten self-guided workshops with more than 100 different exercises to help you craft a solid novel. Each workshop builds upon the other to flesh out your idea as much or as little as you need to start writing (useful for both plotters and pantsers). You'll find multiple options that allow you to find the right process that works for you.
Learn how to:
- Create compelling characters readers will love
- Choose the right point of view for your story
- Determine the conflicts that will drive your plot (and keep readers hooked!)
- Find the best writing process for your writing style
- Create a solid plot from the spark of your idea
- Craft your one-sentence pitch
- Create your summary hook blurb (which makes writing query letters and cover copy easier)
- Develop a solid working synopsis
For those who like a hands-on approach with easy-to-use worksheets, a companion guide, Planning Your Novel Workbook is also available in paperback.
Planning Your Novel Workbook
Janice Hardy guided writers through the often challenging process of planning a novel with her book, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure. At reader request, she created this workbook as a companion guide. Its larger workbook format is perfect for writers who enjoy brainstorming on paper and developing their novels in an organized and guided format.
- No more searching for ideas jotted down on bits of paper
- No more losing notes just when you need them most
- Keep all your thoughts in one, easy-to-use workbook
Plus Bonus Questions! The Planning Your Novel Workbook offers writers additional exercise questions not found in Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure.
Work through the exercises of ten workshops that build upon each other to flesh out your idea as much or as little as you need to start writing. Find exercises on:
- Creating Characters
- Choosing Point of View
- Determining the Conflict
- Finding Your Process
- Developing Your Plot
Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft
Janice Hardy takes you step-by-step through the novel revision process. She’ll show you how to analyze your draft, spot any problems or weak areas, and how to fix those problems.
With clear and easy-to-understand examples, Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft offers eleven self-guided workshops that target some of the toughest aspects of writing. It will help you:
- Develop a strong and effective revision plan
- Analyze your manuscript to find its strengths and weaknesses
- Spot common red flag words for problem areas (such as told prose)
- Determine the best way to revise a scene, plot, character, or novel
- Fix problems holding your novel back
- Develop weak characters into strong ones
- Strengthen plots and subplots
- Flesh out your world or setting
- Control your novel’s pacing to keep readers hooked
- BONUS Workshop: How to salvage half-finished manuscripts
The Shifter (Book One of The Healing Wars)
A dangerous secret. A deadly skill.
Nya is an orphan struggling for survival in a city crippled by war. She is also a Taker—with her touch, she can heal injuries, pulling pain from another person into her own body. But unlike her sister, Tali, and the other Takers who become Healers, Nya's skill is flawed: she can't push that pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal used to store it. All she can do is shift it into another person, a dangerous skill that she must keep hidden. If discovered, she could be used as a human weapon.
But one day Nya pushes her luck too far and exposes her secret to a pain merchant eager to use her shifting ability for his own sinister purposes. She refuses—until Tali and other League Healers start disappearing mysteriously. Now Nya must decide: How far will she go to get Tali back alive?
Blue Fire (Book Two of The Healing Wars)
Part fugitive, part hero, fifteen-year-old Nya is barely staying ahead of the Duke of Baseer’s trackers. Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, she risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke from using them in his fiendish experiments. But resolve isn’t enough to protect any of them, and Nya soon realizes that the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Unfortunately, the Duke’s best tracker has other ideas.
Nya finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. More is at stake than just the people of Geveg, and the closer she gets to uncovering the Duke’s plan, the more she discovers how critical she is to his victory. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer—if she doesn’t destroy it first.
Darkfall (Book Three of The Healing Wars)
War has come.
Nya’s the one who brought it. And the people love her for it.
With Baseer in shambles and Geveg now an impenetrable military stronghold, Nya and the Underground have fled to a safer location—without Tali. Nya is guilt-ridden over leaving her sister behind and vows to find her, but with the rebellion in full swing and refugees flooding the Three Territories, she fears she never will.
The Duke, desperate to reclaim the throne as his own, has rallied his powerful army. And they are on the move, destroying anyone who gets in the way.
To save her sister, her family, and her people, Nya needs to stay ahead of the Duke’s army and find a way to build one of her own. Past hurts must be healed, past wrongs must be righted, and Nya must decide: Is she merely a pawn in the rebellion, a symbol of hope—or is she ready to be a hero?
Eight Against Reality The short story Man's Best Enemy
Books by Jami Gold
Unintended Guardian: A Mythos Legacy Short Story (The Mythos Legacy)
Cursed to darkness, he makes a wish for freedom. She shows up instead…
A shapeshifting gryphon cursed to eternal darkness…
Sunlight shouldn't be deadly to Griff Cyrus. Determined to break his curse, he follows an oracle's bizarre instructions to have a magical package shipped to his apartment. Since when do brown trucks deliver mystical cures?
A lonely woman craving the spice of life…
Kala Kaneko's social life couldn’t be more bland. When a strange parcel arrives at her door by mistake, she seizes the excuse to introduce herself to the intended recipient, her mysterious neighbor.
Fate has a twisted sense of humor…
Griff expects the package to free him from the curse, but opening the box unleashes a mythical creature bent on Kala's death. Yet if Griff follows his instincts to protect her, he could sacrifice his last chance at freedom.
Treasured Claim: A Mythos Legacy Novel (The Mythos Legacy Book 1)
Desperate for treasure, a dragon resorts to thievery, but a knight steals her heart…
A shapeshifting dragon on the verge of starvation…
For Elaina Drake, sparkling jewels aren’t a frivolous matter. Without more treasure for her hoard, she’ll starve. On the run from her murderous father, she’s desperate enough to steal—er, acquire.
A modern-day knight seeking redemption…
Disgusted by his father’s immorality, Alexander Wyatt, Chicago’s biggest corporate titan, is determined to be a man of honor. Yet the theft of a necklace, stolen by an exotic beauty at his latest fundraiser, threatens to destroy all his charitable work.
A predator made prey…
Passion ignites between thief and philanthropist, sparking a game of temptation where jewelry is the prize. But when Elaina’s exposure jeopardizes Alex’s life, she must choose: run again to evade her father—or risk both their lives for love.
Pure Sacrifice: A Mythos Legacy Novel (The Mythos Legacy Book 2)
To save his race, he must keep the chosen virgin pure. But she has other plans…
A shapeshifting unicorn desperate to save his race…
The last guardian of his kind, Markos Ambrostead must keep the chosen Virgin hidden and untainted. But when an attacker breaches his protective magic, he's forced to reveal himself to defend her life.
A tenacious woman who refuses to be ignored…
Celia Hawkins wishes the world would get a clue and stop treating her like she's invisible. Only one man notices her, or is that her imagination? After narrowly escaping an attempted rape, she demands answers from her mysterious rescuer—starting with why he's been following her.
Rules were made to be broken…
Markos can't risk being tempted by the Virgin, yet emboldened by his attention, Celia's determined to become his friend. Maybe more. Maybe much more. Now he must hold onto his crumbling willpower to maintain her purity—or his tribe will become extinct.
Ironclad Devotion: A Mythos Legacy Novel (The Mythos Legacy Book 3)
Safeguarding her freedom, a faerie princess locks down her heart, but a blacksmith forges the key...
A faerie princess evading her fate...
Earth is no place for a faerie, but Kira can't go home without dooming her people. Desperate to avoid the pull of her homeland, she fosters an abandoned girl, the child's joy a source of much-needed energy.
A blacksmith with something to prove...
When Zachary Chase discovers he has a daughter, he's determined to be part of his child's life and not repeat his mother's neglect. But to open the little girl's heart, he must earn her foster mother's trust.
One night is never enough...
Despite their rivalry, Kira and Zac's desires tempt them into one no-consequences night. Yet the more passion flares between them, the more Kira risks destroying the life she's carved out on Earth--and endangering those she cares about in both worlds.
Books by Marcy Kennedy
A frozen goldfish in a plastic bag.
And a woman afraid she’s losing her grip on reality.
“A Purple Elephant” is a 2,900-word suspense short story about grief and betrayal.
In “The Replacements,” a prodigal returns home to find that her parents have started a new family, one with no room for her. This disturbing 3,600-word suspense short story is about the lengths to which we’ll go to feel like we’re wanted, and how we don’t always see things the way they really are.
How to Write Dialogue
Strong Female Characters
How to Write Faster
Mastering Showing and Telling in Your Fiction
Grammar for Fiction Writers
Books by Jana Oliver
The Demon Trapper's Daughter Series
Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta's local Trappers' Guild needs all the help they can get—even from a girl. When she's not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley's out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils—Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life's about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.
But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley's routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers' Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart—and her life?
Time Rovers Series
London, September 1888. An aged Queen Victoria rules. The threat of anarchy hovers in the air. A new kind of evil lurks in the back alleys of Whitechapel. Enter Jacynda Lassiter, a Time Rover on a mission—find an overdue ‘tourist’ and return him to 2057 before he changes history.
Victorian London is a dangerous place for the unwary. Mysterious shape-shifters haunt the streets, making friend and foe indistinguishable. When a fellow Time Rover is murdered, Jacynda’s mission becomes personal. Can she trust the two gentlemen who come to her aid, or do they harbor their own dark secrets?
In a few days, Jack the Ripper will add to his bloody legacy. But old Jack isn’t the only threat in Whitechapel. Unless Jacynda can outwit a madman, her Victorian sojourn will rewrite history—and end at the point of a blade.
Books by Jana Oliver, as Chandler Steele
Because of the Russian mobster, Morgan Blake lost both her husband, and her career at the FBI. Now working with Veritas, she’s eager to take Buryshkin down. So eager, she's willing to do anything to make that happen, even sacrificing a certain ex-con, if needed.
As a load of tainted cocaine hits New Orleans' streets, the body count quickly rises. To prevent more deaths, and a potential drug war, Morgan and Alex must learn that revenge comes at too high a price, and that love always has its own agenda.
Brannon Hardegree, a Veritas operative and former Army Ranger, finds his undercover assignment increasingly dangerous. After being forced to participate in an armed robbery—or have his deep cover blown—Brannon is ordered to take a portion of the loot on a swamp tour, one headed deep into the Georgia wilderness. There he hopes to “join up” with Quinton Ellers, the leader of a violent anti-government militia who has vowed to “water the tree of liberty” to kick-start the coming revolution. Brannon’s job is to stop Ellers before he has a chance to use his cache of military-grade explosives.
For former Marine Sergeant Caitlyn Landry, just back from Afghanistan, the swamp offers a brief respite from her debilitating flashbacks. When Cait’s former commander, now the owner of the tour operation, is injured in a mysterious car crash, she reluctantly agrees to lead the tour. Still, she knows that her time is running out, that soon she’ll stop fighting the darkness and end the pain.
What begins as a peaceful canoe ride into the swamp quickly becomes a nightmare. When the loot is stolen and the other campers taken hostage, Brannon and Cait are the only ones who can stop Ellers’s murderous plans. To defeat their ruthless enemy, they will need every bit of their courage. To fail is unthinkable, even if it means destroying their one chance for a future together.
FBI Agent Susan Driscoll’s recent unsanctioned efforts against a domestic terrorist have landed her in trouble with her boss, so maintaining a low profile is vital if she wishes to keep her job. Still, when a family friend is gravely wounded, Susan has no choice but to investigate the crime, no matter the consequences. What she didn’t expect was a handsome, methodical—and maddeningly stubborn—Chicago PI in her way.
Though Sam knows she has the most to lose in this off-the-books investigation, Susan’s high energy and intelligence intrigue him. When this unlikely duo pair up, opposites attract as they search for a key piece of missing evidence. But some very powerful people know they’re getting close to solving the case. The kind of people who will do anything to ensure their crimes remain hidden.
Knife Edge (June 2017)
Former Navy SEAL Neil MacFayden has few weaknesses, which is why he's called Iceman. He knows how to handle just about anyone, except Miri Parkin. Mouthy, irreverent, always getting under his skin, Miri refuses to let him hide behind that icy wall he’s so carefully constructed.
When Neil hears she’s going undercover into a teen rehabilitation camp, a detention center where four other kids have gone missing, he knows he has no choice. He’ll be damned if anyone else watches Miri’s back, even if that puts his life, and his heart, at risk.
KNIFE EDGE is their story, one that will take them into unexpected danger, and unexpected love.
Books by Angela Quarles
Must Love Breeches: A Time Travel Romance (Must Love Series Book 1)
HOW FAR WOULD YOU TRAVEL FOR LOVE?
A mysterious artifact zaps Isabelle Rochon to pre-Victorian England, and suddenly her love of historical authenticity collides with the reality that she's a modern-day girl. But when a thief steals her card case, she determines to retrieve the time-traveling artifact. Now she must hunt down the case, navigate the pitfalls of stiff society London, conceal her time-traveling origins, and resist her growing attraction to Lord Montagu, a viscount so hot, he curls her shower-loving toes.
Lord Montagu is resolved to avenge his sister and has no time for dalliances, despite the appeal of the strange but lovely Colonial. However, when his scheme for revenge requires a respectable match, he convinces Isabelle to masquerade as his fiancée. But he did not bargain for Ms. Rochon being his intellectual match or the irresistible attraction.
Isabelle thought all she wanted was to return home, but as passion flares between them, she must decide when her true home, and her heart, lies.
Set in 1834 London, this time travel historical romance features a small cast of historical characters, including Ada Byron, Lord Byron's daughter, and Charles Babbage, inventor of the Difference Engine. It explores the often overlooked scientific developments of pre-Victorian London.
With a heroine caught between the Regency and Victorian eras, find out why USAToday calls this time travel romance "a delicious twist on historical drama and romance."
Must Love Chainmail: A Time Travel Romance
Trapped in the wrong time, she needs a knight in shining armor, but this damsel in distress might be the real savior.
A damsel in distress...
With a day planner attached to her hip, the last thing Katy Tolson wants is a romance that threatens her well-ordered life. She's set to marry the safe--but bland--guy, but something's not quite...right. A careless wish thrusts her through time into medieval Wales and into the arms of...
A knight in somewhat shining armor...
Sir Robert Beucol, half-Norman and half-Welsh, lives with the shame of his father's treason and vows to reclaim his family's holdings and thereby his honor. To prove himself to his king, he must be more Norman than a full-blooded Norman. What better way to show loyalty than to fight his mother's people? He has no desire to be sidetracked by the mysterious wench with pink toenails, peculiar habits, and passion smoldering behind her cool, collected exterior.
A rebellion that challenges both...
The Welsh uprising fits perfectly into Robert’s plans. Katy’s on the other hand? That’s a no. As they embark on a perilous journey through the heart of Wales, each passionate encounter pulls them closer together, but farther from their goals. When everything they value is at stake, can they save each other and their love?
Must Love Kilts: A Time Travel Romance
The Jacobite Rebellion--not the best time to get drunk, hook up with a guy, and lose your sister.
A drunken bet...
When computer game designer Traci Campbell gets too close and personal with a bottle of Glenfiddich while vacationing in Scotland, she whisks her kilt-obsessed sister back to 1689 to prove hot guys in kilts are a myth. Hello, hundred bucks! But all bets are off when she meets Iain, the charming playboy in a to-die-for kilt.
Wrong place, wrong time, wrong name...
Iain MacCowan regularly falls in love at the drop of his kilt. The mysterious red-haired lass with the odd accent is no different. But when his new love is discovered to be a Campbell, the most distrusted name in the Highlands, his dalliance endangers his clan's rebellion against King William.
It’s all hijinks in the Highlands until your sister disappears...
Traci thinks men are only good for one thing--thank you, Iain!--but when she awakens once again in Ye Olde Scotland and her sister is gone, she must depend on the last person she wants to spend more time with. He wants to win a heart, she wants to keep hers, but can these two realize they're meant for each other before the Jacobite rebellion pulls them apart?
Steam Me Up, Rawley: A Steampunk Romance (The Mint Julep & Monocle Chronicles Book 1)
Jack the Ripper might be in town. But is marriage more terrifying?
In an alternate Deep South in 1890, society reporter Adele de la Pointe wants to make her own way in the world, despite her family’s pressure to become a society wife. Hoping to ruin herself as a matrimonial prospect, she seizes the opportunity to cover the recent Jack the Ripper-style murders for the newspaper, but her father's dashing new intern suggests a more terrifying headline—marriage.
Dr. Phillip Rawley’s most daring exploit has been arriving at his new home in America in a hot air balloon. A tolerable sacrifice, if it means he can secure the hand of his new employer’s daughter in a marriage of convenience. But Adele works, she's spirited, and she has an armored pet monkey running her errands. Not only does she not match his notions of a proper lady, she stirs up feelings he’d rather keep in tight control.
With Adele hunting down a headline and Dr. Rawley trying to protect and pursue her, a serial killer is spreading panic throughout Mobile, Alabama. Can Adele and Rawley find the murderer, face their fears, and discover true love?
Beer and Groping in Las Vegas
Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?
Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.
Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It's granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they're surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.
Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.
Books by Bonnie Randall
Divinity and The Python
The Python is the hottest nightclub in freezing Edmonton: all skin, no substance, and definitely no spirituality. Bartender Shaynie Gavin knows better—all things have a soul, and on an evening she’s come to call Hellnight, The Python left a dark stain on hers. Now Shaynie’s moving into another place that’s more than what it seems—Divinity, the old morgue she’s refurbished into a Tarot lounge. With all her passion focused on launching the venture, Shaynie is rattled when Divinity appears to orchestrate a connection between her and superstitious hockey star Cameron Weste.
Shaynie’s reaction is nothing compared to The Python’s. Vandalism, violence, an omniscient stalker— the parallels to her lost, bloody Hellnight in the club are unmistakable. But equally undeniable is the protection emanating from her old morgue.
All things have a soul, and Divinity’s seems aligned with Shaynie’s own—but whose is twinned with the Python? As Shaynie starts hunting her stalker, it’s clear only one soul will survive.
When therapist Lucas Stephen’s sister returns from a legendary Los Angeles hotel, she’s a shell of the artist she once was. Nearly catatonic, deteriorating rapidly, Michelle alarms Lucas by painting the same old-style straight razor over and over.
Heartbroken and frightened, Lucas resolves to find out what happened to her. With his beautiful—and psychic—colleague Della, Lucas travels to L.A., booking a room in the hotel Michelle stayed at.
They barely cross the threshold when Della senses evil. She sees bodies falling out of the sky. Broken dreams. Imprisoned nightmares. She begs Lucas to leave, but the hotel makes both time and truth shift, and when Lucas looks into the mirror in his sister’s room, he sees the straight razor—and is drawn to the bright, scarlet stain of fresh blood…