Sunday, December 30, 2007

From Dune to Medusa, to Fellowships


I managed 2,000K this week. I only wrote for one night, for a few hours--last night. I haven't gone to bed yet. I did redo one chapter and got it all spiffed up, then wrote a new chapter, which turned out to be so wicked. I love it. Medusa is so bad and so twisted. I think the readers will love how this chapter ends. It's nasty and twisted.

So, with my wife Tam's help, I sent out 37 advanced reader copies of The Golden Cord to reviewers this week. There are more to go out, but it was a great start. Also, I haven't sent to that many newspapers yet. I also changed my book release party to May 10, not May 3, as the release date for The Golden Cord is now April 16. It used to be earlier. Anyway, Five Star says to wait 3 weeks before scheduling any book events, so that's what I'm doing.

I also managed to read the last 300 and something pages of the Sandworms of Dune book. It's the final book of the Dune series and it ended well. My review is on I don't like Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson's writing style overly much, but they did well with these two books compared to their previous efforts.

I'm also reading Fellowship Fantastic, the anthology that I have the lead story in. I bought 20 copies from the publisher and I'm so excited to read the stories in it. You can get an autographed one on my website. A great review came in from the net. Check it out at

I have only one shift this week, tonight, then I'm off for a few days. I'll be doing the next Writers' Symposium Ezine and writing more of Medusa's Daughter. I'm up to 46,000+ words and things are good. I just need to write more!!

Take good care, happy new year and I hope you're well.

Paul Genesse, Author


Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series
(Five Star Books, April 2008)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Q & A with author and poet JoSelle Vanderhooft

Hello There,

I’ve been getting to know JoSelle Vanderhooft, an exceptional poet and writer. I reviewed her novel—very briefly in a recent post. She wrote, The Tale of the Miller’s Daughter , which I loved. The publisher might be out of copies, so contact JoSelle personally at

JoSelle and I just interviewed each other about writing in a series of back and forth emails where we alternated asking questions. The whole thing came out great. Below you’ll find out lots some of our thoughts about writing the creative process.

Q from Paul: Could you ever stop writing, or is it a need that has to be fed?

Joselle’s Answer: Honestly, I don't think it is something I could avoid doing while remaining healthy. A few years ago, due to a number of factors (including a severe bout of depression) I stopped writing for about two years. And they were, categorically speaking, the worst years of my life so far. I think “need” is the correct term to define it. In a number of ways, story is integral to healthy human living, whether you're the recipient of story (reading it or listening, say) or the teller. It's one of the earliest things we, as a species, figured out, right after fire, the wheel and hunting, and with good reason: it sustains us, refines us and makes us human. I could no more stop writing than I could stop being human.

Q from JoSelle: Your bio on Popcorn Press said you decided to write at age 4 or so. Tell me a bit about how you came to that decision at such a very young age.

Paul’s Answer: Before I could speak I was arranging my toys and creating stories about what was happening to them. I would play out the story, imitating who knows what, but creating stories none-the-less. Even before I could speak, I made it clear that I loved books and stories. My mom reports that I told her in my four year old voice--very matter of factly--that I was going to be a writer. She of course recoiled in horror and started giving me career suggestions. In the end, I became a nurse--probably to work off a karmic debt--but also to do something that involved helping people. I love meeting people and it so happens that writing and nursing have allowed me to meet some amazing people. I'll never quit being a nurse and I'll always write in some form or another.
JoSelle: Haha now I want to know what the games were! I did that with my toys, too.

Q from Paul: When you're writing poetry or fiction, do the words just flow most of the time, or do you have to pry them out of your head with a crowbar?

That often depends on the piece, and whether or not it is poetry or prose. Let's start with poems first. Last year, I wrote five collections (yes, really!) and most of the time the words flowed pretty well. This year, maybe because I've had other things to do, they haven't so well. I've also been writing a fairly challenging collection about father/daughter relationships, and perhaps the subject matter (and the fact I'm not really working in the pre-established plots of fairytales as I was last year) has made the wordflow a bit... well, stickier. Like molasses sometimes! When you emailed, I was working on a poem called "The Vampire's Daughter," a daughter's recollections of her father, who was the world's last great vampire stage and screen actor. It's written in iambic pentameter, as a dialogue between a reporter and the daughter, and I'm going to strangle it soon if it doesn't start being easier to write :). Fiction's a bit different. It tends to just go slower for me because the rules are a little different than they are in poetry, and getting the cadence of the language correct while doing everything I need to do with plot and character can be quite challenging. Ok, now one for you!And I'm gonna be boring and turn your question back to you.

Q from JoSelle: How does writing work for you? When does it come easy and when does it come hard? And when doesn't it come at all - if you'll forgive me paraphrasing Meat Loaf's "Anything for Love." :D

Paul’s Answer: Ah, Meatloaf. "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that . . . ." I think that's a line from the Meatloaf song you mentioned.

Well, I would do ANYTHING to let the words flow fast. Sometimes they come like a raging river, but most of the time they're very slow to appear on the page. When I wrote my first novel, and series, words came so fast. I wrote 550,000 words in less than three years. It turned out to be three fat novels, that turned into five shorter novels. Now, they're known as The Iron Dragon Series, book one being: The Golden Cord, coming out in April of 2008.

In those heady days, when I didn't realize so many things about writing, I could bang out 35 pages in one night. I would just go and go until I couldn't see straight anymore. I tended to write a lot of crap that needed to be rewritten and edited heavily, but at least it was down on paper. You can't edit nothing. I miss those days. I was more pure then and less encumbered with worry about the writing itself.

Now, I'm much more methodical and plodding--or should I say--plotting. I outline. I stew over it. I make sure I have a good hook and a chapter ending disaster that makes people keep reading. Things come hard now, most of the time. I think if I had less going on in other aspects I of my life I would write faster, but I have too many distractions. Finding a balance is huge for me. Tonight I did okay. I got going and let it flow. I wrote one chapter for my current novel (Chapter 19), Medusa's Daughter and revised another (Chapter 18) but then it was 7:00 AM and I was getting tired from being up all night. I even started chapter 20, but had to quit as my brain was mushy and I couldn’t keep going.

I think writing comes hard for me when I have too much going on. It comes easy when I can forget about the stress outside my writing room and focus on what's inside my little brain trying to get out.

Okay, next question for you:

Q from Paul: What inspires you? Personal experiences? Books? Poems? Art? What gets your juices flowing to write poems, stories, books?

Answer from JoSelle: A little bit of all of those, actually! I'm very inspired by the classics, particularly drama - I did get one of my degrees in theatre studies, after all, and I'd even planned on being a literary manager at a theatre. Ahh, but that feels like several lifetimes ago! Shakespeare is a perennial source of inspiration, as is John Webster, John Ford, Ben Johnson - basically anyone with "John" in his or her name. ;) But actually, I find that almost anything can be an inspiration. A dream, the cover of a book, something funny my cat did, an interesting conversation with a friend, the smell of my favorite perfume. I try to be as open to the world as I can be, and to as many experiences as I can have. And now for you,Q from JoSelle: You've discussed how Golden Cord came about a little in the last question, but I'm very curious how the book went from a project to publication. When did you get the idea for the novel/series and how did it progress?

A from Paul: This is good question. And a long answer, though I’ll be brief here. My website has a section titled: Writers’ Resources and an essay on how I got published. That describes how it all went down. Check it out for the long answer. The short answer is this: I dreamed the dream of getting published. I lived it. I wanted it. I learned what it would take. I went to conventions. I went to writing seminars. I spoke with writers who sold professionally and with writing teachers. I wrote a lot of words, over half a million. Then poof! I became an overnight success SIX YEARS later. In the end, I had developed the skill to get published and gained the contacts required to get published. Then it happened. Now I’ve sold nine short stories, six to DAW Books and three to smaller presses and one novel so far.

The other part of the question is about how I got the idea for the novel and how did it progress. That happened when I was flying over the Grand Canyon. I was looking at the massive mesas below me and I was thinking about how entire groups of animals—deer and mountain lions—are so isolated and cut off from everything—according to a documentary I saw. I also remembered an article in National Geographic from back in the 90’s about these massive plateaus in Venzuela, called Tepuis. If you’ve seen Angel Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world, you’ve seen the Tepuis.

So, the Grand Canyon’s geography and Venzuela’s Tepuis gave me the idea for the world. That’s when I thought of Ae’leron—a world of massive plateaus surrounded by an ocean of mist and cloud—inspired by plane rides when I could look out and see the clouds going to the horizon, but there was no evidence of the ground below. In Ae’leron, no one knows what’s below the mist and winged creatures prey upon the folk who try to survive on the plateaus. Death comes from above and yes, there are dragons—not that many. You really have worry about the griffins. Flights of griffins are like prides of lions, but they come from above and kill without warning. The story and plot of the books came as I started to create a story that could take place in the world. The one line description of the novel and even the series is this:

To stop the dragon king, a young hunter must leave behind the woman he loves, give up all of hope of survival, as he is forced to guide his most hated enemies to the lair of the beast that threatens to enslave their world.

The Golden Cord, Book One of the Iron Dragon Series comes out in April of 2008. Please email me to pre-order a signed copy.

Okay, thanks for reading. JoSelle and I thank you for your time and we hope you found our little Q & A interesting. Stay tuned and good luck writing.

Paul Genesse

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Letter 2007

Dear Friends & Family,

Tammy and I wish you the very best. We hope you have a great holiday season and a wonderful new year. We’ve had a busy 12 months filled with lots of new things. Tammy is temping
more as a dental hygienist, serving as the librarian/archivist for the Murray Concert Band, and volunteering at the hospital where I work helping people find their way. She is doing great and wants to wish you all well. Please email her at tgenesse(fourtwo)(at) to get in touch and see what she’s up to when she’s not organizing or working on crossword puzzles.

My year has been pretty eventful. I’m still working full-time as a nurse in a cardiac unit—though my unit moved from the 100 year old hospital where we were, to the brand new Intermountain Medical Center, which is 20 minutes closer to my house. Life is good and I love the new place, but most of all, I love the people I work with.

The big news is that my first novel, The Golden Cord, Book One of the Iron Dragon
Series is coming out in hardcover in April 2008. I’ve finally broken into publishing and
I’ve sold nine short stories in the past year and a half, in addition to the novel. I’m really, really looking forward to going on a book tour in early to mid May of 2008. The tour is going to be an opportunity to come and visit all of you! I can’t wait! I’ll also be speaking at schools, so if you have any contacts in middle or high schools let me know.

Also, you’re all invited to a big book release party at our house on May 3, 2008. It will be the grand opening of our basement, which is being finished right now. The basement will be an art gallery featuring all the cool fantasy art I’ve collected over the years.

That’s the brief update for 2007. Visit for more details and links to my blog, or join me on Facebook. Tammy and I wish you all the very best and hope to see you all soon!

Happy Holidays!

Paul & Tammy Genesse

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Red Hot Poker


I managed to get a little writing done today. I finished chapter 19, and reworked chapter 18 of Medusa’s Daughter. It’s going slow, though I’m hoping to have a good writing day tomorrow.

One thing that helped me move forward was some fan email I got from Sweden. The person had read chapter one of Medusa’s Daughter on my website and really liked it. That gave me a kick in the pants to keep writing, thank you, Sanna.

Overall, I’ve been weak, lately, and haven’t had the focus to stay with the writing for long periods of time. It used to be easier to sit and write for several hours straight, but that was before DirecTV, TiVo, Google, and all the other distractions—like blogging, or Facebook.

I need to find the mental fortitude to just ignore all that other crap and write. I’m up to page 162 in the novel, but I wish I was much further along. I need to start setting writing goals on my days off from the hospital. I used to just plow ahead, but now I’m being more careful, so I don’t have to rewrite whole sections of the book later.

What I’m learning is that my outline was pretty good for the initial stages, but as I’m getting into the middle part it’s not as detailed as it should be. There are a lot of things that need to be changed, and I’m changing them, but then I have to sit and stew and figure out the best way to move forward. I could just write filler chapters, but I want to write chapters that really kick ass. They have to have a great hook and a big disaster at the end. Until I have those things, I just don’t want to write the damn chapter. So I don’t. I watch a movie or find some other thing to distract myself.

Also, characters keep doing things that I didn’t expect and that can be problematic. See my post titled “Off the Reservation.”

Anyway, despite my bitching it’s going okay. The process is becoming a little painful and I just have to fight through it.

I must learn to allow things to unfold and move ahead. I’m also worried about the book being long enough. I need to hit at least 80,000 words and with the outline I have now, I’m doubting I’ll hit that (I'm at 42,000 words now). I can always add stuff later, but I’d rather not have to rewrite lots of stuff to accomplish that. I guess I’ll see what happens.

There’s some insight to my twisted little brain. Writing can be fun, when it’s not a red hot poker being shoved into your ear. Wait! Maybe I need the poker to be applied to my backside to get me writing faster?

Good thing I just remembered that artists have to suffer for their art. I feel tons better. [grin and a wink]

Paul Genesse

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Tale of the Miller's Daughter


I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading The Tale of the Miller’s Daughter, a short novel by JoSelle Vanderhooft. It’s an excellent piece of fiction that retells the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin; but gives it a new spin sure to please. The work (65 pages total) is written as an epic poem and builds momentum like an avalanche.

I love the use of language, which is so clever and beautiful. JoSelle Vanderhooft’s roots as an acclaimed poetess are obvious and she creates very evocative turns of phrase that you won’t forget anytime soon. I was most impressed with the tension of the piece, that kept building and building and got me inside the mind of the main character so expertly that I really understood her. I can also see why Vanderhooft has been nominated for awards.

I first read JoSelle’s work in a collection of her poems titled: The Minotaur’s Last Letter to His Mother. The first line of that is: I eat their sons to hurt you.

Great, eh? I love that poem. The language is so powerful and hooked me right from the start. Her work has a strength on the surface and the themes buried within add a whole new level of complexity. The main theme of the Miller’s Daughter not having a real identity, or a name for that matter, is a driving force of the work. Check out the first two opening lines:

I was never named and never asked a thing.
I am only a girl, and for me that must ever be enough.

You feel for the main character, the miller’s daughter, right away and she is fascinating.
Vanderhooft had me from the start and I’m so happy to have discovered her work. It’s great when you find a writer that you really love.

I recently found out that the publisher is out of the book right now,, but you can get an autographed copy for $12 (which includes shipping) by emailing the author: JoSelle Vanderhooft

Have a great day and be glad that you have a name.

Paul Genesse

Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series
Five Star Books (April 2008)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Off the Reservation

Sometimes a character you're writing about goes off the reservation. I don’t mean to be politically incorrect here with that turn of phrase. That’s just the phrase that works best. Last week (and this week) the main male character in Medusa’s Daughter, decided he should do something crazy.

The twenty-five page single spaced outline wasn’t good enough for Nikander. I thought I had it all figured out, but then he decided he was going to kill the main villain in chapter 16. Now, don’t get me wrong. Medusa deserves it in a bad way. But, it really wasn’t in the outline until much later—think chapter 26!

The good news is that Nikander knew the story needed to go in this direction and he went for it. The problem for me is that I feel a little lost now. I have three new chapters to deal with. They’re good chapters (I’m so humble, yes), but it made me pause and have to really think for a while. Which is good and I believe the novel needed to go in this direction. Still, it gave me the deer in the headlights look for a while.

My point here is that despite my anal, structured, over planning nature, I can be flexible—and so should you. I’m still advocating doing some extensive planning, via the Snowflake method. Go to:

for a complete description of the Snowflake Method and to sign up for Randy Ingermanson’s ezine, which is quite valuable—and free.

Have fun writing and when your main character decides to do something you didn’t expect, think about it for a while, very carefully, and then decide if it’s a good idea for the story. Sometimes, it’s going to be a great idea. Then you have to trust your character and let them take you like 10,000 words off the reservation.

Happy Holidays!

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series
Five Star Books (April 2008)