Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss

This is my first review on Goodreads. I’ve enjoyed reading the reviews of others and hope mine is helpful. I just finished reading THE NAME OF THE WIND from DAW Books by Patrick Rothfuss. He is a true poet and brilliant writer. THE NAME OF THE WIND is a very intriguing book about a fascinating character: Kvothe. This fantasy is set in a realistic medieval-type world, not our own, and is quite believable. It chronicles the life of a famous man who has an epic tale to tell. He is in hiding in the beginning of the book, a non-descript innkeeper in a backwater village.

The truth is that he is a very famous/infamous man known far and wide for his exploits. The novel tells of his early years, growing up as the son of the best traveling performers in the land, then after a harsh and lonely time in a brutal city, his eventual admission into The University where he hopes to learn real magic—and much more.

This is not Harry Potter at Hogwarts. This is a truthful look at the life of someone with no money or safety net. Kvothe has to use his wits and hard work to make his way in a world that crushes most people down. This novel is about what determination and skill can accomplish—but it’s about so much more. THE NAME OF THE WIND is a deep look at human nature and how forces shape a person into what they are, and what they’re going to become. It’s a poignant and captivating study of a most remarkable person.

I was very entertained by this lengthy book (662 pages), and savored the moments when I could read it for long periods. Life interrupted me several times, as I had deadlines related to my own novels or stories, so it took longer than it should for me to finish reading. Also, I read the hardcover version, which is quite heavy and not very portable. The paperback is now out and I would advise picking that one up—as many people have making it a New York Times bestseller.

Now I look forward to reading book two: A WISE MAN’S FEAR, coming out soon.

If you’re interested in epic novels that get to the heart of what it means to be a hero, and the cost of that path in life, THE NAME OF THE WIND will give you hours of entertainment, and a depth that most novels rarely achieve.

Paul Genesse

Author of The Golden Cord

Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How To Read Body Language

: how to spot the messages and emotions people are really sending with body language, by Gregory Hartley and Maryann Karinch

I found this book at my work and took it home on a whim. It’s a quick read and is all about how to read body language and read hidden messages in people’s behavior. I learned that there are no absolutes. Everything has to be interpreted through context and culture. However, there are quite a few clues that are universal, and if you pay attention to them, you can learn a lot about what people are “not saying.”

The main source, Gregory Hartley, was an interrogator for the military and has vast experience. I’ve seen him on TV and think he’s the real deal.

If you want some more information on how to better interpret people’s behaviors and learn more about body language, this book is for you. As a writer myself, I picked up some great physical cues to use in my work, to give the characters in my novels and stories more accurate responses to situations. I am definitely better for having read this book, but am more interested in reading one of his previous books, which I believe is called, How To Spot a Liar.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Origin of Dragons


I spoke at Hawthorne Elementary School about four weeks ago and met a young man, Isaac, who asked me if he could interview me about dragons. He is writing a paper about dragons and wanted to ask me some questions. Of course, I said yes. He recently sent me the questions and here are my responses.

1) Do you think of dragons as evil or good?

I personally think of them as neutral. They do what they need to do to survive. Every writer spins it a different way, and every culture spins it a different way. In the Far East (China and Japan), dragons are good. They are the benefactors of the people, but in the West, dragons are considered evil. Historically, dragons are likened to Satan and the worst evil there is. The myths in Europe put the dragons as evil from birth, but I think that is a very ethnocentric view.

2) Why do you think dragons are so popular in today's culture, as opposed to other creatures, such as griffins?

I love griffins, but dragons are so powerful and represent the most famous of all mythical monsters. They fill up the mythical stories like no other monster. We grow up (especiall in the West--this means Western civilizations--Europe and America) hearing stories about dragons at a very young age. Dragons capture our imaginations and stay with many of us because they are so powerful--the apex predator with no equal. We wonder if they could have really existed, though science says they did not. Dinosaurs existed, and people have been finding their bones and fossils for so long that I'm certain that's where many of the myths began.

3) Does the study of dragons have any basis in science?

Not really, but paleontologists study dinosaurs, and we know that dinosaurs are the basis for many of the original dragon myths. Primitive people would find the bones and make up stories about what creature they could have belonged to. The people of ancient Europe and China didn't have the TV news or books to read. They saw evidence of a dragon--bones--and believed in them. Why wouldn't they? It all made perfect sense to them.

4) Where do you think the idea of dragons originated from?

Dinosaur fossils and a clever storyteller sitting around the camp fire in some cave a really long time ago.

5) What got you interested in dragons?

Books, movies, and toys. The Hobbit movie and book had a big influence on me. Also, the castle set I was given at age three. There was a castle, a knight, and a dragon. I loved those toys. I also loved the movie, Dragonslayer. That one had a lot of influence on me.

6) Do you use any source books, and if so what are your main ones?

I don't really use any source books. I do enjoy reading books like, The Draconomicon, The Dragon Slayers Handbook, and all the Dungeons and Dragons books about dragons. Every book is that particular authors take on dragons. There is no one or "true" source. Beowulf slays a dragon and that is a classic story that influences a lot of what we read about today. Also, the story of Saint George and the dragon are quite important in Western culture.

7) What is your favorite type of dragon?

Iron dragons that are huge and breathe fire and kill everything! I'm only partially kidding. I like big scary dragons, not ones that are pink with butterfly wings. I want my dragons to look impressive and to be intelligent. I don't want them to be mindless animals. I want them to be extremely intelligent.

8) Why do you think the dragon category is rarely associated with the werewolf-vampire category?

They are totally separate sub-genres in the fantasy field. Vampires and werewolves have their own devoted following.

9) Why do you think the idea of dragons has persisted for so long, since they were mentioned in Chinese culture thousands of years ago?

We want to believe in them. They represent something that is missing from us. A dragon represents great power and they stimulate our imaginations to soar to amazing heights. When a hero goes out and slays a dragon, metaphorically that hero is slaying the evil that is inside of us. It has been argued that dragons are mother nature, and slaying them is humanity conquering mother nature. Killing dragons is us having mastery over the most powerful force in the world, and that force has been dragons since ancient China and also in the West. I see little chance of dragons ever going away as a source of wonder. In a thousand years I believe people will still be writing books about dragons. My second novel, The Dragon Hunters, Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series comes out in May of 2009 and I did my best to make this a dragon hunting story like no other.

Isaac, I hope those answers helped a little.

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse, Author and Editor

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


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How Do I Become A Skilled Writer?


I received an email from a friend of an old friend. He wants to become a writer and sent me a summary of his ideas and a lot of history related to the basis of a high-concept fantasy novel. It sounded really interesting and I sent him this response, which I think contains some good information for any new writer interested in improving their craft.

(My email response)

Your novel sounds interesting, and very complicated, as well as high-concept. I think the big danger here is to try and tell the reader too much too soon in a novel like you're suggesting. The first impulse is to do what you just did, tell a lot of history right up front. The paragraphs you wrote are cool and appropriate for the type of message you wrote, but what you really need to do now is figure out who will be the main character. You need a main character. Who is he? Or she. You have an idea, but the character is the critical part. You'll have to sell the character to make the reader believe in the fairly hard to believe storyline you're suggesting. I'm not saying it's bad, because it's not. But pulling of what you suggested, making the audience suspend their disbelief can be accomplished if the reader believes the main character is a real person. That's the trick.

I know just what you mean about trying to become a skilled writer. It's taken years for me to get published. So far, two novels have been sold and nine short stories. I still have so much to learn. It's not easy. It's harder now than it ever was before. The freedom of being a novice and just plowing ahead is great.

So, you must be a dedicated student of the craft if you want to become a skilled writer. Ideas are cheap and everyone and their dog wants to write a book. 1 in 100,000 novels that are completed and submitted are published. Think about that for a moment. If you're serious about this idea of writing your novel, check out my website,, and go to: Writers Resources. Download the free Writers' Symposium Ezines and read the articles, which are targeted toward beginners.

Get some books on writing. Study them. I suggest many on my site. Get them at the library or buy them.

However, the most important thing to do is . . . write. There is no substitute. Write a lot. It's going to be terrible prose, but you have to start somewhere. Writing is a journey and the more you write, the better you'll probably get. At some point you'll need a writers’ group and/or skilled amateurs to help you critique your work and improve it.

Honestly, I would not recommend going into a writing, but if you are a writer, you will write. Because you must.

Learn all you can. Then get writing. Plan. Figure out a main character and put him or her into a tough situation. Then learn even more. Revise it. Revise it again. Rewrite the whole thing. Scrap it. Write it again. Repeat this process for several years. Yes, years.

If you have the drive, it'll happen. You'll finish the book. Then the hard part begins, selling it. Or you cold self-publish. Not a good way to go if you want to be taken seriously, but if you just want to get it out to friends and family, it'll work.

I hope that helps. Now write something cool and send me the first page.

Paul Genesse, Author and Editor

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


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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Boy Scouts

Pictured are some of the kids I spoke to, and the troop leaders Richard and Sharron Dorrans, plus a friend of the family, Selena.


I spoke to a group of Boy Scouts yesterday at their weekly meeting. We talked about writing books and living the Boy Scout oath and law. I was invited by the Troop Leader, Rich Dorrans and his wife, Sharon—the Cub Scout Leader. They are great people and I am so happy to have met them. The kids were fabulous. I did a little presentation, then we mingled and had cookies—as well as milk from chocolate cows.

I love talking about writing and books, and when I had the chance to speak to the Scouts, I was very excited about it. You see, I always wanted to be a Boy Scout. I wasn’t able to join a troop when I was a kid, but read about their activities and skills in manuals and books. I was born camping and spent a ton of time out in the wild with my dad on camping trips. I would collect Boy Scout equipment and bring it camping. I always thought of myself as a Scout—though in truth—I wasn’t. (Sigh)

Anyway, as I was writing The Golden Cord, and the whole Iron Dragon Series, I always thought of the main character, Drake, as Boy Scout. Sure, he’s not perfect, but he’s a hero and lives the Boy Scout oath and law, which are all about honor and good morals. Drake is a hunter who has to use his skills to survive, but he’s the moral compass of the group. The core of his values are protecting his people and doing the right thing. He’s a guardian, and if the Scouts live their oath. So are they.

Happy Holidays,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

Thursday, December 4, 2008


My writer buddy, Patrick Rothfuss, author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Name of the Wind, is doing an amazing fundraiser for a great charity, Heifer International. They buy animals (usually milk-producing cows--heifers) for poor people in Africa. Then the people can have milk for their family, and sell extra milk for an income. Everyone wins. Many people’s lives will be forever changed for the better. Pat's going to match all funds raised. For every dollar contributed, you get a chance to win massive prizes—signed copies of books by lots of great writers.

Here’s the link to see the prizes and the one below has the info about the charity.

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series
Releasing May 15, 2008

Sprucewood Elementary School

I had a great day today at Sprucewood Elementary School in Sandy, Utah. I spoke to the combined 5th and 6th grade classes, three of each, about 180 kids. They were a great group, a real tribute to their parents and teachers—especially Mrs. Simmons, Mr. Emmit and Ms. Blunt.

I spoke to them about writing for a while and answered questions. Then I spoke to the three classes of 5th graders and taught a mini-writing workshop. We created a very fun short story about Makayla, the tiniest dragon in the entire world, who couldn’t fly or breathe fire. No one liked her, not even her parents. She also had a problem with a tribe of goblins and nearly drowned in a muddy lake full of crocodiles. Then the goblins captured her and Makayla developed some pretty unique powers of her own. Good times.

We worked as a group and I taught them a quick method of planning and writing stories. I was so impressed with the kids’ ideas and the teachers were awesome too.

Then I spoke to three classes of sixth graders. We had so much fun in a very packed room. They came up with a bunch of amazing ideas and we created a story about Jose, a blond-haired, white-skinned orphan living in Mexico with a Latin family who had adopted him. He had a terrible burn scar on his neck from the fire his parents died in when he was a baby.

Jose also had a terrible power: he could see ghosts. In the story, Jose was chased into a traveling Haunted-Freakshow/Mirror House/Glass House/Fun House. Two boys had been lost in the Freakshow in the previous town and were never found. Bullies chased Jose into the house and he ends up using his power to see ghosts to save himself, and the bullies at the end. The ghosts of Jose’s parents help him escape, and Jose saves the bullies after being tormented by all sorts of evil ghosts—such as a werewolf ghost. You get the idea. The kids and I had a really killer story going. I enjoyed meeting them all and signed posters and books before I left. What a great bunch of kids.

Next, I hit the Southtown Mall Barnes and Noble (by the school) and signed ten copies of The Golden Cord per the Community Relations Manager’s direction. There should be signed copies at three local Barnes and Nobles now: Sugarhouse, Murray, and Southtown Mall.

Next I went to the hospital and visited one of my favorite patients. She’d been readmitted to the ICU and I had to see her. She’s hanging in there, but I’m quite worried. I liked seeing her and she liked seeing me. I had my black suit on with a cool tie. Everyone was impressed with my outfit—and I have to admit—I do like dressing up once in a while. My patient is such a cool lady. I end up connecting with some of my patients in a big way. Writing is great, but I’m never going to quit being a nurse. I love it too much.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series
Releasing May 15, 2009

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Secret Empire--Book Three


It's been a good week for me. I got to hang out with one of my oldest and best friends, Jordan Stephens, who was in town for the holiday. Work was also great at the hospital. I got to do a whole bunch of random acts of kindness, and help a lot of people. Then of course, Thanksgiving was quite tasty. Tam and I made some excellent food, and had a quiet, low-stress week. I'm really thankful for my health and all the good things in my life.

I'm extremely thankful that I figured out how to start the first chapter of The Secret Empire, Book Three of the Iron Dragon Series. I'm redoing the first part of the book entirely after writing it several years ago. The original manuscript was 143,000 words. I'm hoping to cut it down by at least 40,000 words. I've already cut 20,000, and that's just from the opening, which is changing completely. I'm probably going to rewrite the entire book, but I know there are chapters later on that work pretty well.

The news this week I wrote a new chapter one, which is just under 2,000 words. Remember, I've already written a manuscript for the whole book, but I'll be redoing practically the whole thing. The overall story won't change that much, but I'm going to execute it much differently.

I've been thinking about how to attack this book and was working on a rewrite plan for the past couple of weeks. I've read the old manuscript and cut big sections in the beginning that really didn't need to be there. More will go as I rework the book. I'm just waiting to cut certain sections later when I'm working on those particular parts. As I go on this writer journey I realize that one of biggest problems with my earlier writing was that I was writing out long journeys where nothing really happened to advance the plot. There was character development, but little else. Now I try hard to keep the book moving quickly while avoiding some of the "locomotive" writing of my past.

It was such a struggle to write the new first line. Mostly because I didn't have a good vision of the actual chapter. It took me a while to decide what was actually going to happen in the opening scenes, though I had a plan--it was just too vague for me with too many possibilities. I think I've got a good opening scene now, but I'm certain it'll change a over time. My goal is to get a draft of this book done in the next three months or so. Then I'm going to finish Medusa's Daughter, an almost completed manuscript I had to shelve while working the Iron Dragon books.

What I really need at this point is to get rolling on book three--and sell the entire series to a big publisher. Hopefully, DAW Books will pick me up and put the books out in paperback. Book two, The Dragon Hunters comes out in hardcover, in May of 2009 from Five Star Books. I'm really looking forward to that now. I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me along the way and I think the readers of The Golden Cord are really going to enjoy book two.

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series
(the first two chapters of book two are available on my website)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hawthorne Elementary School

I had a great time yesterday visiting Hawthorne Elementary School in Salt Lake City. I spoke to an assembly of kids and then taught a mini-writing workshop to a class of 5th graders. They were so smart and their teacher, Mrs. Anzelmo, was excellent. They are lucky to have her. It was also very cool to hang out with a co-worker of mine's son, Lucas. He's a really good kid and so smart. The kids in Mrs. Anzelmo's class had to test in. They are the top 1% and I was extremely impressed with their creativity and intelligence. We brainstormed and created the beginnings of a short story about a girl named Delila. The kids' suggestions about where to take the story were so great.

I really enjoy meeting kids and speaking to them. Mrs. Anzelmo had already read the first three chapters of The Golden Cord to the kids in her class before I came and it was cool to chat with them.

Paul Genesse

Author of The Dragon Hunters
Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series
Releasing May of 2009

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Beacon of Hope Once Again

I won't soon forget last night. Barack Obama winning the presidency was amazing. We need change in America after eight years of bungling. George Bush was not a great president, and if you think otherwise, you need to reexamine the situation today. I'm sorry, but please be realistic and get informed on the issues. McCain would have been better than Bush, but he would have kept many of the same bad policies going. We need something different now.

We need brilliant people in the White House, not C students like Bush. Sorry, but we do. Barack was number one in his law school class at Harvard University. That is amazing. He has a degree in international affairs. This guy was a professor. He is so smart and when difficult situations arise, he will understand what's going on. I know the power of good critical thinking skills. Making the right decisions saves lives. I see it at the hospital where I work. Dumb people often make dumb decisions, and people die.

Smart people save lives. Barack will save lives.

We all have a new beginning now. There is hope that America will become the beacon of hope it once was. I shed a tear last night when I saw it all happening.

John McCain made a great concession speech last night. I used to really like him. I wish he would have beat Bush back in 2000. He should have been the nominee then. I hope now, he can go back to the stands that he took in 2000. He was great then, and I hope he helps fix the country now. We need him to help in the Senate.

Now, we need to move forward. The country is in bad shape. We need to do whatever we can to help.


Paul Genesse

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Dragon Hunters Handbook


Very cool book. Beautiful packaging and awesome art. It could have been a silly kids book, but it turned out to be a great little book with an excellent story. I enjoyed it very much, especially the journal entry style and little letters inside the book kept in little packages. I paid $16 for it at a brick and mortar store (B&N). I love books about dragon hunters, since I just wrote one, and had to see what this one was all about.

If you love dragons I think you'll love it.

Paul Genesse, Author of The Dragon Hunters, Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lady Tammia and Paulinus of Rome


Tammy and I had a fun time at a friends Halloween party last night. You can find the photos I took on my Moblie Me account. It's a very cool place to view the photos.

This link is on Facebook:

Paul Genesse, Author and Editor

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Children of Hurin


This is one of those amazing things that you didn't see coming. A book by an author who has been dead a very long time. True, Christopher Tolkien is not dead (he put this whole thing together and finished undone sections and chapters), but his father wrote the genesis of this book, and he is dead. J.R.R. Tolkien is my favorite author and he's part of the reason I became a fantasy writer. I loved this book and enjoyed going back to Middle-earth again. It is such a tragic tale and you can read other reviews to know what the story line is about, but suffice it to say that bad things happen. The art in the book is amazing as well and I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever loved Lord of the Rings. You don't need to read The Silmarillion to understand this novel.
The Children of Hurin is a tale I shall never forget.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

The Gypsy Morph


This is a great book and a worthy sequel to The Elves of Cintra. The novel is very exciting, fast-paced and full of interesting, well-developed characters. I listened to it as an audio book and loved it. The whole thing was very satisfying and the writing was stellar. My own writing career has been shaped by Brooks and The Elfstones of Shannara is still one of my all time favorite books. I have no doubt that Terry Brooks is a master of epic fantasy.

Paul Genesse
Author of the Iron Dragon Series

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Dragon Hunters--Cover

Here it is. The cover of The Dragon Hunters, Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series.

It's a painting by world-famous artist Ciruleo Cabral, who painted the first book's cover.

I love the image and this is the first time I've posted it online.

Paul Genesse

Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

Fan Art


Here is a leather tooled image of the cover of The Golden Cord. A man named, Allen Stratton is a master leather tooler. He shapes and paints leather, usually belts and such. He made me a check book cover, which you see above. It took him three weeks to do this and the picture doesn't do it justice. It's really beautiful. I'm humbled and very grateful for such an incredible gift.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord

I'm back

I haven’t blogged in a while because of a big deadline looming over my head. October 27, 2008 was the due date for The Dragon Hunters, Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series. I turned in the book and a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I feel like I can get back to normal—and start blogging again.

The book is coming out six months earlier than expected, which was a surprise to everyone. The book will be out in May of 2009, not November 2009.

To be clear: Book Two will be out in May of 2009.

I spent August, September, and October writing and editing. I had a manuscript done, but much of it was old, written years ago. I had to go through and redo a lot. I had a ton of help. My buddies Pat and Brad really helped me a lot. I couldn’t have done it without them. Also, my editor, John, helped a lot.

The book still needs a copy edit, which means I’ll be reading through it one more time after the copy editor and proofreader are done, but most of the work is finished. I read the whole book out loud to my wife and spent so much time working on it. I didn’t work every free hour on the book, but it was a lot of time. I was worried at first that I wouldn’t have enough time. In the end, I had plenty. I’m really proud of the book and think the fans will enjoy it a lot.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Brisingr Release Party

Party with dragons at the new Eragon book release party!

The Barnes and Noble people asked me to come and sign my own books, display some of my dragon art (20+pieces), and do a presentation/discussion about dragons.

The new Eragon book, Brisingr is coming out September 20, and on Friday, September 19 there is a huge party at the Sugarhouse Barnes and Noble from 9 PM to midnight.

A bunch of my fantasy art, from my gallery, will be on display. There will be a huge party with two magicians, a fencing demonstration, a quest in the store, and lots of other things.

I'm told 200-300 people will be there.

If you missed the signing last week please come by and say hi. My suggestion is: Go out to dinner with someone cool, then swing by on your way home--or come for the whole party.

If anyone wants to have dinner with me, let me know. The people at Noodles and Company next door to the Barnes and Noble asked me to bring some people by and they would hold a "tasting" for us. Free food sounds good to me.

I think the dinner at Noodles would be in the 7:30-8:30 PM time frame. If you missed the dinner or the signing last week it would be fun to see you. Get in touch if you're interested.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Imaginary Friends

Here's the cover of the book my newest story is in.

Imaginary Friends

Book Description: We’ve all had them. We’ve all needed them. In this fun fantasy anthology, readers are given thirteen variations on what kinds of friends come in handy indeed in times of need. From a toy Canadian Mountie who suddenly comes to life, to a boy and his dragon, to a young woman held captive in a tower and the mysterious being who is her only companion, these highly imaginative tales entertainingly explore the nature of what constitutes a “real” friendship.

(Five Star Review by's #1 Reviewer)
The theme of this fine anthology is just what the title advertises, IMAGINARY FRIENDS, but with a fantasy or Twilight Zone twist that widens the scope of the collection. The compilation of all new tales is superb as each entry is well written with some being excellent. Personal favorites include "A Good Day for Dragons" by Rick Hautala that kept me thinking of Pete's Dragon, "Best Friends Forever" by Tim Waggoner stars Biff the stuffed animal, "Images of Death" by Jim C. Hines as the title character is a best friend who reminds the little girl of a Muppet, and the moving tale of sibling love "Greg and Eli" by Paul Genesse. The remaining tales are all fun reminding readers of their own IMAGINARY FRIENDS.

Harriet Klausner

I thought it was cool that my story was mentioned in the review. My story, Greg and Eli, which came out September 1, 2008, is obviously in the Imaginary Friends anthology from DAW books. It’s one of those personal stories and I tapped my experiences growing up for it. I moved to a small town in the middle of 4th grade and it was rough moving there. This story is fiction, but a lot of the feelings and emotions and some of the experiences are real. Email me after you read it and I’ll let you know what really happened.

Quite a few of the people who have read this story cry at the end, which is exactly what I was going for. I had a short deadline for it, so I had to go for what I really knew, and that was being the outsider. I never had an imaginary friend (that I remember having), but my mom said I did have a few very transient ones when I was extremely young.

I always wanted an imaginary friend, or a brother, and since I didn’t have either, I guess this story is what I’d always hoped for—someone who would watch out for me and be there when I needed it.

Paul Genesse, Author and Editor

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


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Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Dimension Next Door

The Dimension Next Door

I while ago I mentioned here, that my story, God Pays, in The Dimension Next Door, anthology, was based on a real experience. Here’s the quick story of that.

My buddy, Glenn Lee, went to the Yucatan in Mexico and visited the Mayan ruins there. He met a guide, we’ll call her Maria, who told him about an experience she had as a little girl at the ruins. Maria was seven when she was playing at the ruins, with her mother, watching her closely. Maria’s mother said, you can play, but don’t go away from where I can see you. Maria went out into a courtyard and was playing—in full view of her mother. A short time later her mother started calling to her in a very worried voice. Maria saw a darkening of the air around her mother, as if she were looking at her mom through a dark cloud.

Maria called to her mom, but her mom couldn’t hear her. Maria started running to her and her mother swept her up in her arms and started crying. Maria said, what’s wrong? I was just right there, couldn’t you see me?

Her mother said, you’ve been gone for three days, we’ve all been searching for you the whole time!

Maria has no explanation for the missing time. Did she slip into another dimension? Did time flow slowly for her, while three days passed for her mother and everyone else?

This is a second hand account, but after hearing the story, I had the idea for God Pays. You’ll have to read the story to see how this tale filtered into the story I wrote.
I hope you enjoy God Pays, my story that pays homage to The Twilight Zone.

Paul Genesse, Author and Editor

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


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Local Author Night

Local Author Night

I had a great time at Local Author Night at the Sugarhouse Barnes and Noble on Friday. It was supposed to be from 7-9 PM, but I didn’t leave until 10PM because so many people kept coming by. Yep, it was a good problem to have. The whole night was extremely fun. I met lots of new people and some old friends came by, which is always very special. My buddy, Jode, a nurse I used to work with visited me. He actually read an old version of The Golden Cord many years ago and has been so supportive over the years. I’m excited for him to read the new version.

I’m going to be signing again at the same Barnes and Noble on Friday September 19 from 9 PM to midnight, at the new Eragon book release party. Brisingr is the name of the book. The Barnes and Noble people are going to exhibit some of my fantasy art collection at the event and it’s going to be huge, 200-300 people. The party is quite extravagant and there will be lots of activities for the Eragon fans (a quest in the store, a quiz to see what Eragon group you belong to, a talk about dragons—given by me, magicians wandering around the store, a fencing exhibition, and so much more.

The book two update is this: my editor has the first half of the book. My two writer friends have given me their critiques of 80% of the book, which I’ve implemented. I’m just waiting for them to give me their critiques of the last 20%, so I can fix the issues and get the second half of the book to my editor. It’s all going well.

Paul Genesse, Author and Editor

Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

(Five Star Books, April 2008)


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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September Update Letter

Below is the email update I sent out in September. It has lots of info about what's going on with me this month.


I hope you’re doing great. Please drop me a line and we’ll catch up. I’ve had an awesome summer and my blog has most of the details. I would love to exchange personal email, just send me a quick note, or a big one, and I’ll email you back. Email me at [pgenesse(at)msn(dot) c o m]

The fast update is that the book has been out for five months and it’s doing great. The Golden Cord is the fastest-selling fantasy novel my publisher has ever had I’m their bestselling fantasy author, so life is good. Book two comes out November of 2009 and I’ll definitely do another book tour.

In other writing news, I’ve just had some short stories come out. My story, Greg and Eli, in the Imaginary Friends anthology (DAW Books Sept. ‘08) has gotten some good reviews. Also, my twilight zone type story, God Pays, in The Dimension Next Door anthology (DAW Books, July ’08) is one of my favorites. The third pirate witch story came out, Captain Maeve, in the newest Blue Kingdoms book. My website has all the info on the stories and links.

If you live in the Salt Lake City area we should hang out. I’ll be signing books at Local Author night at the Sugarhouse Barnes and Noble on Friday, September 12 from 7-9 PM. Let me know if you’re free for dinner beforehand and we’ll get together.

Also, a bunch of my fantasy art collection will be on display at the same Barnes and Noble on September 19 (and for a few days before and after) at the new Eragon book release party. The book is called Brisingr. The Barnes and Noble people asked me to come and sign books that night as well, on Friday, September 19 from 9PM to midnight. Free posters and bookmarks for everyone at both signings!

And don’t forget Mountain Con, which is taking place September 19, 20, and 21 at the Davis County convention center. I’ll be there on some writing panels and will be enjoying the con. I’d love to see you there. It’s a fun convention and the organizers are amazing.

Best wishes and please keep in touch.

Paul Genesse, Author and Editor
Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Reunion Party

Jeanine Smith, Sally Brush, Paul Genesse

Here I am at the Utah Artificial Heart reunion dinner last weekend. Since I’m a cardiac nurse, I take care of patients with artificial hearts and mechanical heart devices, LVADs (left ventricular assistive devices). The people who run the program at the hospital I work at have a big dinner for the patients, families and staff once a year.

This year I was recognized and given an award, as were two other nurses (Jeanine and Sally, pictured above), for contributions and care for mechanical heart device patients. It was fun going to the dinner with my wife, and seeing a bunch of patients I’ve taken care of who now have heart transplants. I also saw some family members of patients who have passed away. It was really good seeing everyone and was an inspiring night.

We had several speakers (patients, doctors, and nurses), but the last one was a nurse who was in a medical helicopter crash and survived, while the other two people died. He spoke about his injuries and his recovery. He can finally walk again, but it’s been a huge struggle. Stein and his wife Michelle spoke about the ordeal and their main point was: focus on the things you can do.

I remember the night when the helicopter crashed. Stein was on the chopper and his wife was working in the ICU on my floor. When we found out what happened it was a huge blow to everyone’s morale. We all just felt sick. But Stein lived and two or three weeks after the crash he left the hospital with Michelle. They spent their last full day in the hospital in adjoining beds. She was giving birth and he was in a bed holding her hand in the delivery room. They took their new son home with them and the real struggle began.

Listening to them speak was great.

Paul Genesse RN BSN
Point of Care Manager
Cardiovascular 3 at Intermountain Medical Center
Salt Lake City, Utah

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Gen Con 2008

Marc Tassin and Paul Genesse at a book signing.

Marc is such a cool guy. He and I are in an anthology together and Marc wrote my favorite story in the book, Freedom's Toll (about two lovers imprisoned together--and oh, they're gerbils). The story is in the Furry Fantastic anthology, which has my meerkat mafia story, The Mob.

So, I heard Marc read Freedom's Toll at Gen Con and he has the most amazing voice. I found out he has a degree in Voice Performance and Opera. I've asked him to read the prologue of The Golden Cord so people can download the audio file from my website. I could read it, but Marc's voice is awesome. He also has the lead story in Pirates of the Blue Kingdoms, which is really good. I'm looking forward to reading Marc's Shadowrun story coming out next year.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

Gen Con 08


Kelly Swails and Paul Genesse at their book signing at Gen Con 2008.

Gen Con 08

Kelly Swails and Paul Genesse at their book signing at Gen Con 2008.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

World Con--Day 2, and The Dragon Hunters--Due September 2


I'm posting this the next morning, but here's what I wrote last night:

Today was an eye-opening day. I found out from my editor after interrogating him for a while (grin) that Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series was due on September 2, 2008. That's in 24 days. He had to call his office and have someone look at some dates on a spreadsheet and report to him some info. Once he had that info he knew the date, September 2. This date is when the editor, John, will read through the manuscript and make his comments, and get it back to me a few weeks later. Then I will have to go through it again and create the final draft that is going to the publisher for copyediting on October 28, 2008.

I'm a little stunned, as I was thinking the date would be more like January, but I can do it. Also, they're letting me choose the release date for book three, which will be in 2010, between August and September--I believe. I have to think about it.

Anyway, I know I can do this, but I'm feeling a little daunted. So, I'm going to stop writing this blog and start working on the book. Right now. Then I'll work on it every day from here on out. Diving into the work is going to be so cool. I'm going to just go after it and immerse myself in the process. Three weeks of rewriting is going to be great.

Paul Genesse, Author of The Golden Cord

Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

and The Dragon Hunters, Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series

Thursday, August 7, 2008

World Con 2008, Day 1


Denver, Colorado


Life is good. I really believe that if you work hard and manifest good things, you can reach your dreams. I've managed to reach mine after years of hard work and diligence.

Wow, things are going great here. I found out today that my publisher wants to give me a contract for book three. My editor told me when I arrived. They just signed me for book two a couple of weeks ago, so this is a great step. The book is selling really well and is about to go into its fourth printing. I'm the fastest selling fantasy author they've ever had and I am their best selling author.

Then I went to a panel presented by the folks at DAW Books. They mentioned three of the anthologies I have stories in and discussed upcoming releases. I love DAW Books. They are awesome.

After the panel, my editor made the introduction, then I pitched The Golden Cord to one of the major editors at DAW, a woman I've met before a couple of times--Sheila. My hope is that they will pick up the paperback rights and The Golden Cord could go nationwide in every bookstore in America. That would be fantastic. I'm going to send Sheila a copy of the book when I get home.

Then I went to dinner with friends, one of whom is an agent. She really wants to talk about signing me on as her client now. Sweet.

The pressure is off now. I don't have to worry about the rest of the con. However, I did hear from my editor that he wants me to get him book two very soon. No deadline yet, but soon. So, I have to kick ass and get it done quick. Then he wants book three as soon as I can get that to him. Right after I finish rewriting book two I'll dive right into book three--rewriting it. The old manuscript will need lots of work.

When I get home I'm going to hit the book hard and get lots done. I'm 60% done with the rewrite and need to redo the last half, then get it off to my alpha readers, then my editor.

World Con has been wonderful. Seeing friends has been great and everything is falling into place. The promotion won't stop, but I really need to get to the writing now.

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse, Author of The Golden Cord

Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

World Con 2008



I'm off to World Con in Denver! Over 3,000 fans, writers, editors, agents, and publishers of science fiction and fantasy will be gathering. I'm doing some signings--times to be determined when I get there--and I'll be meeting with a couple of my editors. I'll also be rooming with my buddy, Brad Beaulieu, a great writer.

I'll be at the Magnolia Hotel August 7, leaving August 10. Anyone in the Denver area who wants to hang out please get in touch and we'll do lunch or something. My cell is 801-651-668seven. Hope to see you there.

Paul Genesse, Author of The Golden Cord

www. paulgenesse. com

Monday, August 4, 2008

Part Three of The Dragon Hunters


It was a good week. I finished rewriting part two of The Dragon Hunters. That means I'm on to part three, (of three, though I'm thinking of splitting the second half into two parts. Not that it matters, it's just a way of showing when a major part of the story is done.)

I'm done with about 55% of the novel, or about 60,000 words. Getting part two done was big. I'm really happy how this book is turning out. The rewrite plan is really working out so well.

The adventure is so fun and scary. I love the new characters also. So much is happening in this book. The plot is really thickening and the big world is opened to the characters. They have no chance of turning back now, and it become obvious that what happened in book one has major repercussions in the wider world. I think it's cool how little things can really change the world.

Now I've got to work one more shift at the hospital, then I'm off for 21 days--though I'm going to World Con and Gen Con during that time period. I'm hoping that's enough time to finish the rewrite, or I should say, the first draft of the rewrite. Some of the chapters are totally new, so they'll need work.

The book will soon go to my alpha readers and I'll get them to critique the work. Then it'll get a lot better.

In other news, the cover artist, Ciruelo Cabral told me last night that he was touching up the cover painting and then would send along a high quality image to me and the publisher. I can't wait.

Also, I saw a review last night of an anthology I have a story in. The reviewer had an advanced copy and she mentioned my story, Greg and Eli, which she liked. Check out the review and keep writing your stories!


Paul Genesse, Author of The Golden Cord

Book One of the Iron Dragon Series



Imaginary Friends

John Marco & Martin H. Greenberg (editors)

Daw, Sep 2008, $7.99

ISBN: 9780756405113

The theme of this fine anthology is just what the title advertises, IMAGINARY FRIENDS, but with a fantasy or Twilight Zone twist that widens the scope of the collection. The compilation of all new tales is superb as each entry is well written with some being excellent. Personal favorites include “A Good Day for Dragons” by Rick Hautala that kept me thinking of Pete’s Dragon, “Best Friends Forever” by Tim Waggoner stars Biff the stuffed animal, “Images of Death” by Jim C. Hines as the title character is a best friend who reminds the little girl of a Muppet, and the moving tale of sibling love “Greg and Eli” by Paul Genesse. The remaining tales are all fun reminding readers of their own IMAGINARY FRIENDS.

Harriet Klausner


Cool review, eh? I really put a lot into that story. Well, I best get some sleep.

Have a great week.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Writers' Symposium Ezine #4, The Gen Con 2008 Preview Issue



The Writers' Symposium Ezine

“Helping Writers Write”

Issue #4, August 2008

The Gen Con 2008 Preview Issue

View the beautiful full color version with dozens of color pictures or download the PDF with all the good stuff at

To subscribe, or unsubscribe please email:

Visit the Writers’ Symposium Blog at




From the Editor: Paul Genesse

Featured Content: Preview of the Gen Con 2008 Panels

Featured Author Bio: Patrick Rothfuss

What the Reviewers are saying about Patrick’s novel

Author Alley Signing Schedule

New Novels from Writers’ Symposium Members

New Releases From the Writers’ Symposium

List of Current Writers’ Symposium Members & Contact Info

Final Thought


From the Editor


Editor’s Note

Members of the Writers’ Symposium will be gathering once again in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 14-17 for Gen Con, a convention attended by over 20,000 fans of fantasy and science fiction.

Gen Con has been known as the Best Four Days In Gaming, and now it’s being called The Best Four Days In Writing.

The Writers’ Symposium and a few others are offering over 70 seminars, panels, workshops, and advance level classes for the aspiring, beginner, independent and professional author. The programming parallels, if not rivals, other literary conventions and is a place where writers can come together, hone their skills, and meet other likeminded individuals.

This year there are two tracks of panels, one focusing more on game writing and the other focusing on fiction writing. This issue gives an overview of the seminars offered, published works by Symposium members and spotlights one of the brightest writers in the Symposium: New York Times Bestselling author,

Patrick Rothfuss, winner of the Quill Award for best novel: The Name of the Wind.

We hope to see you at Gen Con Indy! Go to more information or use the link below to look at the Gen Con Symposium page.

Paul Genesse, Editor and Author of The Golden Cord


Featured Content: Preview of the Gen Con 2008 Writing Panels


The Write Approach: So you want to write. What's the best way to go about it? How to you snag the time each day? What about deadlines, family, friends, free time, discipline, and the tools you'll need? Our panelists explore these topics and more to help you figure out the right approach to writing for you.

Readers Room: We'll discuss the books: fiction, non-fiction, and ones on the craft of writing, that every author should read.

Food in Fiction: Don't starve your main character. Don't force your villain to drink the wrong vintage of wine with his macaroni and cheese. Little details like food help make your fiction real and add depth to your characters. In fantasy and science fiction, it can also reveal important information about climate and culture.

Make 'em Bleed: And make them suffer and die, too. There is an art to portraying death and suffering that can add realism and emotion. Learn how to write about your character's imminent demise without crossing the line in the realms of morbid, gross, boring, and too much info.

Penning Power Struggles: Political intrigue plays a role in many science fiction/fantasy tales. Our panelists suggest how to incorporate politics, how to foreshadow political events and conflicts, and how to make political intrigue as dynamic as any fight scene.

Urban Fantasy: This fast-growing subgenre has made stars out of folks like Jim Butcher with his Dresden Files. Is urban fantasy just a trend, or is it here to stay? Our panelists discuss the elements of urban fantasy and the markets for your city-fiction.

Characters Welcome: Creating dimensional, dynamic characters can be the difference between a manuscript that sells and one that gathers dust under the bed. So how do you create a vivid, living, breathing character? There are probably as many ways to build characters as there are writers. Join our panelists as they share their methods, with concrete examples, for penning amazing, interesting characters.

Writer's Groups and Critiquing Techniques: The development of any writer depends on two things. One is that he writes. The second is that he gets accurate and valuable feedback on what he has written. New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole outlines the techniques and methods for forming groups and constructively analyzing and critiquing stories that allows for a lot of development in a very short time.

Fast Track Development for Writers: New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole offers up a grab-bag of tricks of the trade and insider information that can step you through the early, awkward phases of writing, and set you well on the path to being published.

Edit Yourself: Learn to look at your work critically. Examine everything from plot to language, and learn how to tackle rewrites and take and give criticism.

Mapping Your Fiction: So you're building a world for your fantasy novel? Great! Do you need to set that world to paper? How much detail should you provide? Can a map inspire your fiction? Learn the pros and cons of cartography as it applies to writing.

Magical Realism, Threat or Menace: There are great stories being written under the heading of Magical Realism. Is it a subgenre of fantasy? Or is it something else entirely? Is it just a way for academics to study a few select authors while still keeping the rest of the fantasy genre outside their ivory tower? And if you want to pen your next novel in this subgenre, what is the best approach?

Ars Loca, Humor in Fantasy: Being funny is serious business. When should you inject humor into your manuscript? And how can you do it effectively? Our panelists teach you how to tickle readers' funny bones.

Painting with Words: Do you read or write for the love of language? Is your favorite author one who can transport you into the setting? Learn how observation and imagination can put life in your writing and make your readers see, smell, and feel what your characters do.

Pagan Topics in Writing: Our panelists examine history to help you craft strong, believable characters from a pagan point of view. This year we'll concentrate on witchcraft and warlocks.

Ghosts and the Afterlife: Ghost stories are on the rise. The latest crop of paranormal writing is thick with clairvoyance, necromancy, and ghosts. Let's take a look at what's out there, what's been done-to-death, and how to include fresh spirits in your fiction.

The Japanese Invasion: Hungry ghosts, hidden demons, and interactive nightmares come to us in books and movies from Japan. We'll look at the history of the Japanese story vs. the American tale, including a discussion of Campbell, Kurosai, and how the genre can influence your writing.

Writers' Symposium-Read and Critique: Have your prose critiqued by professionals.  Presenters will have three to five minutes to read their material. They will receive verbal critiques based on the "critique sandwich" method. Attendance is limited to those being critiqued, pre-registration is required. 

Friday August 15

Setting the Scene: Where you place your story can be as important as the story itself. What elements should you put in and leave out? Our panelists show you how to sprinkle in details to enhance your story and characters . . . and teach you how not to overdo it. We'll include tidbits about how to pick a setting and research tools.

Points on Plotting: Coming up with a solid, interesting plot can be one of the most difficult aspects of writing. We'll discuss just what makes a good plot and offer advice on how you can avoid plot-jams and plot-holes that can ruin your fiction.

Combat, Small-Scale Fights to Massive Battles: Much of fantasy fiction is filled with fights, from one-on-one duels to well equipped armies slaying thousands in years-long wars. Learn different approaches for writing combat scenes, how to make your struggles feel real, and when it's time to end the bloodshed so your readers don't get bored.

Fight Another Day: Learn how to write edge-of-your-seat action scenes without a character throwing a single punch. We'll cover chase scenes, escapes, word choice, settings, and much more.

Write What You Don't Know: Some say it's best to "write what you know." We thumb our nose at that notion! Otherwise, how could you ever write fiction set in medieval times or on one of Saturn's moons? We'll teach you how to do just enough research to set your fiction pretty much anywhere. And we'll cover what elements to include, what to leave out, and how to explore writing in genres outside your proverbial comfort zone.

Non-standard Ways to Build Your Craft: You can become a better writer without signing up for a college course or reading a stack of "how-to" books. Our panelists discuss what they do to improve their writing and show you how to hone your skills along some nontraditional routes.

Avoid Clichés Like the Plague: They are a dime a dozen! Ever worry whether your plot has been overused and that your characters are trite? Plots and character types tend to become overused because they work, and clichés become clichés because they convey something a lot of people want to say. So how do you make your writing stand out? To use a cliché, the devil is in the details! Out with young orphans who become great wizards, evil sorcerers who try to destroy the world, androgynous elves with longbows! We'll show you some tricks for keeping your writing rich and innovative.

The Art of Terror and Fear: Let's discover those things that go bump-in-the-night. Learn how to send shivers down the spines of your readers. You don't have to write in the horror genre to deliver a good scare.

Approaches to Game Writing: What's the best way to present game material? In the style of old-school D&D where rules and color text are mixed together? Should you write all the color text "in character," presenting the rules in a separate section? Our panelists offer suggestions on manuscript presentation. Topics discussed include how to capture the feel of a setting, how to write rules that are entertaining and easy to understand, and how to you keep your rules from reading like an algebra equation.

Creating Non-Linear Narratives in Game Writing: It's a lot easier to write an adventure that goes from Point A to Point B to Point C, but it isn't necessarily more interesting or enjoyable. Our panelists will show you how to approach "non-linear" adventures and how to avoid confusing and overly-complicated manuscripts.

Coloring in the Lines for Game Writing: Game designers must make sure that what they write is fun to read and that their writing reflects the realities of the game. Don't mention gear unless it's in the equipment list. Don't write about magic that the system doesn't support. Don't describe places that aren't shown on the map. Our panelists will teach you how to color inside the lines to make your material better suited for the players and the companies for whom you want to write.

Writing for Online Games: Computer games demand a certain style of writing different from fiction or pencil and paper RPGs.  Our panelists discuss the differences, the freelance markets, and offer suggestions to improve your online material.

Giving Purpose to your Game Writing: There should be a reason behind what you write. Don't give your elves a love of woodworking if there are no rules or equipment to support their craft. Don't put a mountain range on the map simply to hold back the dark hordes. In short, create wonderful, exciting, and interesting creatures while giving them a reason for being in the game.

How to Break into Game Writing: If you want to write, edit, and design games in the hobby market, where do you begin? How can you get paid for your ideas and work? Our panelists offer tips on how to get the attention of game companies and land freelance contracts.

Different Systems, Different Stories: There are a lot of choices when it comes to picking a rule system for your tabletop roleplaying game. Some game systems are designed to be the classic dungeon crawl. Some are more suited for a swashbuckling adventure; others for humorous games or psychological horror. Unfortunately, a lot of people stick to their favorite game system even if it's not appropriate for the style of game they want to write, and more often than not, frustration and misery occur. Join our panelists as they discuss the various game systems available for the freelance writer.

The Writing Career: What does it take to have a career as a writer? New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole walks you through the variety of skills sets you need to develop to successfully pursue a career as a writer. He provides insight into the pitfalls and exciting new developments in publishing and technology.

Characterization: People read for characters; and careers are made through creating memorable characters. New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole provides some sure-fire characterization techniques that will allow you to master the arcane art of character creation and growth.

Plotting: The plot is the spine of every story. Without it readers are lost. With an intriguing plot, full of twists and turns, readers will be enthralled. New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole shows you how to plot a novel and turn it into a page-turning book that readers won't want to put down.

Worldbuilding, Reality in Your Fantasy: Your setting has to make a certain amount of sense for your novel to be believable. So how do you make your fantasy “real” and how to you stop from making it so real it ceases to be fantasy?

Worldbuilding, Make it Your Own: Avoid creating a stereotypical, generic, fantasy world. We’ll show you how to make the planet your very own . . . and make it interesting.

Worldbuilding, The Impact of Magic: Magic should make more sense than science to hook your readers and enhance your fantasy world. We’ll talk about things that will enchant your writing.

Worldbuilding, Realistic Treatments of Sex and Racism: Smut or sexlessness, where is the middle ground? And how much is too much sexism? Unless we’re writing about a utopia, the societies in your fantasy worlds are going to have sexism. And if you include it, are you, as an author, guilty of perpetuating sexism in the real world?

Big on the Small Press: Small-press publishers offer new authors great opportunities. Smaller presses are enjoying a renaissance right now and are becoming stronger than ever. Come find out the advantages of working with a smaller press. Our panel includes a publisher, editor, and authors who have sold books to some of the smaller houses. They’ll discuss how to submit and who is buying what.

Brainstorming to Defeat Writer’s Block: There’s an old saying that “ideas are a dime a dozen.” But sometimes you don’t have the 10 cents you need to get a plot. Learn how to brainstorm ideas for fiction writing so your fingers fly across the keyboard and so you don’t keep staring at a blank screen.

Goal, Motivation, and Conflict: There is no one formula that will help you write a bestselling or award-winning novel. But key ingredients for plots and characters, no matter the genre, are goal, motivation, and conflict. Join our panelists as they discuss how they incorporate these elements into their writing to make their fiction exciting and real.

Writing by Tarot: Tarot is said to be a window to the soul and the journey of The Fool. But have you ever thought that using Tarot cards or an oracle could aid your writing? You can use this method to help you get past a touch of writer’s block, to resolve problem points in your plot, to flesh out your characters, even to plot an entire book. Bring your Tarot or your oracle to the seminar to share, or just listen in as our panelists give ideas and tips for drawing on the unconscious while writing.

Slutty vs. Sultry and Everything in Between, A Look at the Female Character: Want to put a real woman in your fiction? As a main character? A villain’s henchman? We’ll teach you how to avoid clichéd female characters and how to create vibrant women worthy of your readers’ time.

Hey, I’ve Got a Day Job: You write on the weekends, during your lunch hour, or in the evenings. Maybe you even take a few days of vacation to jump start a book. How do you set aside the time? How can you make deadlines while sticking with your 9 to 5? Our panelists, novelists all, have regular “day jobs.” They’ll share their tips and inspire you to not give up.

Making the Leap (From Talented Amateur to Publishing Professional): What does a writer who's on the verge of writing professional level prose need to do to make that final leap? When do you know you’ve crossed the line to become a professional writer? When do you know you’ve crossed the line to become a professional writer? When should you think about quitting the day job?

21 Days to a novel: New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole presents a series of exercises guaranteed to set you up for success in your first novel. Topics covered include character creation, voice development, dialogue, world creation and plotting. Following these exercises will provide you with the material that ensures that you story won't shrivel and die five or ten chapters in.

Books are dead: Just as video killed the radio star, so technology is turning books into hunks of dead wood. New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole explains the new and exciting ways in which the rise of e-book readers and the connectivity of the Web are turning publishing on its head. It's a brave new future, and your success will depend upon your ability to navigate it, and master it.

Writers’ Symposium—Read and Critique: Have your prose critiqued by professionals. Presenters will have three to five minutes to read their material. They will receive verbal critiques based on the “critique sandwich” method. Attendance is limited to those being critiqued, pre-registration is required.

Sunday August 17

Short Fiction Markets: Maybe you don’t want to write a novel. Maybe you’ve a burning idea for a short piece of fiction that you’d like to see in print. Or maybe you want to try your hand at a new genre, and a short story is the way to test your wings. Our panelists discuss the differences in approaching a short story vs. writing a novel and share market news on where you can send your tales.

How to Buff, Polish, and Make Your Manuscript Shine: Get an editor’s attention. Find yourself moving up in the slush pile, not sitting forever on the bottom. There are things you can do to your manuscript to make it move a little quicker and to lessen the chances it will get rejected.

The Fine Art of Schmoozing Your Way into Print: Sometimes it’s who you know that will help get you into print. Sometimes it’s what you learn about the publishing industry, editors, and agents that will help you make a sale. Conventions are a great place to meet folks who can help your writing career and to get the low-down on fantasy and science-fiction markets. We’ll teach you how to schmooze.

Agents, Taxes, and Other Important Yucky Things: Do you need an agent? And, if so, how do you get one? What can you declare as writing-related tax write-offs? What should you look for in contracts? These topics and more will be tackled by our panelists.

Brainstorming for the Game Market: Where do ideas come from in sculpting game manuscripts? Our authors share their tricks for coming up with plots and how to brainstorm to flesh out ideas into lengthy manuscripts. They’ll also cover how to avoid over-used subjects and how to make your submissions innovative and fresh.

Ooops! The Worst Mistakes to Make with Game Writing: Our panelists speak from experience . . . on what not to do. This is a humorous and important look at things to avoid if you want to be a freelance or full-time game writer.

New Ways to tell Old Stories in Game Writing: There are timeless themes in adventures and source material, but there are ways to cover them without your work reading like a cliché or feeling like a TV rerun. Learn how to twist old topics and put new spins on age-old themes.

Bang, Bang, You’re Dead! Fun Ways to Kill Your Gaming Characters: Not all non-player characters, and maybe not all PCs, should live to see the end of your story. Our panelists discuss when it’s time to kill ’em off and gleefully share ideas for helping the characters into the hereafter.

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Featured Author: Patrick Rothfuss


Patrick Rothfuss had the good fortune to be born in Wisconsin where long winters and lack of cable television brought about a love of reading and writing. His mother read to him as a child, and his father taught him to build things. If you are looking for the roots of his storytelling, look there.
Growing up, Pat didn't apply himself and failed to live up to his full potential. Despite the fact that he seemed to have no interest doing something productive with himself, Pat's parents continued to love him. They also were encouraging, but in a very general way, as he seemed to have no actual talents to speak of.
Having enjoyed the hard sciences in high school, Pat began college as a chemical engineer. He soon abandoned that, and decided to become a clinical psychologist. He eventually abandoned that as well, admitted he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life, and changed his major to Undeclared despite the fact that he had been in college for over three years.

Over the next six years Pat lived the life of an itinerant student, working three jobs and studying everything that interested him: philosophy, medieval history, eastern theater, anthropology, sociology.... After nine years as an undergraduate Pat was forced by university policy to finally complete his undergraduate degree.... in English.

While wandering through college, Pat learned he had a knack for writing. He wrote poetry for a local literary series, a satirical advice column for the local paper, and scripts for a radio comedy show. Two months before he graduated, Pat finally finished the project he had been working on for over seven years, a mammoth story centering around the life of a man named Kvothe.

After two excruciating years of grad school, Pat returned to teach at the University he had grown to love as a student. During this time his book was rejected by roughly every agent in the known universe. In 2002 a piece of Pat's novel, cleverly disguised as a short story, won first place in the Writers of the Future contest. Pat's story, The Road to Levinshir, was published in Volume 18 of their anthology, and they flew him out to their fabulous writers workshop in LA. It was at that workshop that Pat met Kevin Anderson, who introduced him to his agent, Matt Bialer. Eventually Matt brought Pat in contact with his current, beloved editor, Betsy Wollheim, president of DAW Books. And that's how The Name of the Wind came into existence.

Betsy is very proud that Pat won the Quill Award for his debut novel.

Pat continues to live in central Wisconsin. He still lacks cable television, and the long winters force him to stay inside and write. He still teaches at the college he grew to love as a student, and acts as advisor for the College Feminists and the local Fencing Club. When not reading and writing, Pat wastes his time playing video games, holds symposia at his house, and dabbles with alchemy in his basement. He loves the world and the characters he has created, and he loves that people are getting the chance to meet them.

What the reviewers are saying about

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

"THE NAME OF THE WIND marks the debut of a writer we would all do well to watch. Patrick Rothfuss has real talent, and his tale of Kvothe is deep and intricate and wondrous."
-Terry Brooks, 22-time New York Times bestselling author

"This is a magnificent book, a really fine story, highly readable and engrossing. I compliment young Pat. His first novel is a great one. Wow!"
-Anne McCaffrey

"From his childhood as a member of a close-knit family of the nomadic Edema Ruh to his first heady days as a student of magic at a prestigious university, humble bartender Kvothe relates the tale of how a boy beset by fate became a hero, a bard, a magician, and a legend. Rothfuss's first novel launches a trilogy relating not only the history of humankind but also the tale of a world threatened by an evil whose existence it desperately denies. The author explores the development of a person's character while examining the relationship between a legend and its reality and the truth that lies at the heart of stories. Elegantly told and layered with images of tales to come, this richly detailed 'autobiography' of a hero is highly recommended for libraries of any size."

"THE NAME OF THE WIND is quite simply the best fantasy novel of the past 10 years, although attaching a genre qualification threatens to damn it with faint praise. Say instead that THE NAME OF THE WIND is one of the best stories told in any medium in a decade. Author Patrick Rothfuss teaches English at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and he describes himself in self-deprecating terms as a perpetual student, role-playing geek, and connoisseur of rejection letters. That's all about to change. His debut novel combines the intricate stories-within-stories structure of The Arabian Nights with the academic setting of the Harry Potter series, and transforms it all into a brooding, thoroughly adult meditation on how heroism went wrong. More entries in the series, dubbed 'The Kingkiller Chronicle,' are promised; they can't appear fast enough."
-Onion AV Club

Read more reviews at


Author Alley Book Signing Schedule






10:00 AM

James Wyatt,

Rich Baker

R.A. Salvatore

Steve Schend,

Jonathan Rudder

11:00 AM

Jean Rabe,

Anton Strout

John Helfers,

Kerrie Hughes

Elizabeth Vaughan,

Brad Beaulieu

Richard Lee Byers

12:00 PM

Paul Genesse,

Kelly Swails

Donald Bingle,

Steve Schend

Patrick Rothfuss,

Paul Genesse

1:00 PM

Elizabeth Vaughan,

Jonathan Rudder

Mike Stackpole,

Tim Waggoner

Tim Waggoner,

Chris Pierson

2:00 PM

Chris Pierson,

Mike Stackpole

Paul Genesse,

Marc Tassin

John Helfers,

Kerrie Hughes

3:00 PM

Richard Lee Byers,

Donald Bingle

Anton Strout

Matt Forbeck

4:00 PM

Patrick Rothfuss

Matt Forbeck


New Novels by Symposium Authors


The Golden Cord, Book One of the Iron Dragon Series by Paul Genesse

The dragon king rises, and a hunter must leave behind the woman he loves, give up all 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.

What the reviewers are saying about The Golden Cord

Book one of the Iron Dragon
series is a rich and compelling fantasy full of adventure, danger, dragons, battles, revenge, magic, and more.” (full review below)

VOYA Magazine
Sara Cofer

The Golden Cord
is indeed a hellishly good read.”
The Pedestal Magazine
JoSelle Vanderhooft
“This debut novel promises to unlock a realm of magic and warfare in a unique world of cloud-bound lands and a mysterious Underworld.”

Library Journal, Jackie Cassada

Sara Cofer at VOYA Magazine writes:

The Golden Cord:
Dragons and Griffins are not the only dangers facing Clifton, a secret village in Ae’leron. The Dwarves enslave humans for their armies, forcing them into hiding. Drake Bloodstone, Clifton’s most vigilant guardian, would do anything to protect his people from Aevians and Dwarves. Ridiculed for choosing to guard instead of hunt, Drake realizes his destiny as a hunter when two Dwarves arrive in Clifton. The Dwarves seek a guide who will lead them on a quest to find their lost kin. Drake feels it is his sacred destiny to escort the Dwarves and volunteers to be their guide. After a few days, Drake discoveres the Dwarves are hiding their true purpose. They reveal that while they are in search of their lost kin, they are also Dragon Hunters and are tracking Draglune, the King of Dragons and the most Ancient Evil, who will bring a great war that will end the world. Drake knows he must do everything in his power to help stop Draglune and save his people. Book one of the Iron Dragon series is a rich and compelling fantasy full of adventure, danger, dragons, battles, revenge, magic, and more.
Readers will root for Drake, a strong character who struggles both physically and mentally with the sacred duty handed to him. Drake is becoming a man while learning to follow his heart and trust his enemies in order to save everything he loves. The plot is well constructed, the characters are wonderful, and the middle-ages setting creates an ominous feel. The cliffhanger ending will leave readers eager for more of this great recommendation for fans of Lord of the Rings.


Dagger-Star by Elizabeth Vaughan

After captivating readers with her Chronicles of the Warlands trilogy, USA Today Bestselling author, Elizabeth Vaughan now returns to that world with a beguiling tale of daggers and destiny, a cold and beautiful mercenary known as Red Gloves, and Josiah, a lone fighter emerging from the torched fields and razed farms of his homeland. All Josiah knows about the mysterious woman is her dagger-star birthmark, a sign that she is destined to free the people from a ruthless usurper's reign of terror.

Dagger-Star was released in April from Berkly Sensation. Visit for all the details.


Cross County by Tim Waggoner

When surviving gets this hard, death comes easy...

Cross County's secrets run deep. Settlers first came here hundreds of years ago, taking the land from local tribes sworn to guard its dark secrets. The Cross family now holds the power in the region. When a grisly murderer, hearkening back to a series of killing from years ago, shakes the community, it's up to the local sheriff to get to the bottom of things before it's too late.
Part murder mystery, part supernatural terror, Cross County will appeal to fans of Greg Iles and Patricia Cornell, as well as horror fans who love Stephen King and Dean Koontz.


Writers’ Symposium Member Releases


The Dimension Next Door. Editor, Kerrie Hughes has a new anthology with 13 brand-new stories about the realities just around the corner from our own, featuring stories by Paul Genesse, Brad Beaulieu, Don Bingle, Chris Pierson, Steven Schend and Anton Strout.

Brad Beaulieu’s short story, “Lest Our Passage Be Forgotten”, is in Realms of Fantasy. It’s a story about the Land of the Dead, about those still living, and the fireworks that connect the two. It came out in the March/April issue of the magazine. He also has a story called No Viviremos Como Presos", which was picked up by Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show releasing in late 2008.

Anton Strout’s novel, Dead To Me is an urban fantasy featuring a man working on the right side of law—with talents that come from left field. This just in: it’s very, very, very,

funny. And Ace books has given Anton a five book deal!

Luke Johnson is the editor and co-author of several gaming books. Check out his World of Warcraft book, Dark Factions. See all of his gaming related work at:

Imaginary Friends: Thirteen original tales of those companions—some human—some not, conjured from imagination in times of need. Featuring stories by Paul Genesse, Don Bingle, and the ghost editing of John Helfers.

The Fellowship Fantastic Anthology, edited by Kerrie Hughes, features stories by several Writers’ Symposium members: Paul Genesse, Don Bingle, Chris Pierson, Brad Beaulieu and the famous Alan Dean Foster.

Future Americas: Oh say can you see— sixteen original stories about the America to come. Sixteen authors have taken up the challenge of gazing into the future and seeing where America may be the day after tomorrow. Edited by John Helfers and featuring a story by Don Bingle.

Under Cover of Darkness, edited by Julie Czerneda and Jana Paniccia. The Prix Award Winning Anthology featuring Shadow of the Scimitar by Janet Deaver-Pack. From the true role of the Freemasons to Chronographers who steal pieces of time to an assassin hired by a group that reweaves the threads of history, here are fourteen imaginative tales of time and space and realms beyond our own-all watched over, preserved, or changed by those who work covertly under cover of darkness.

Future Wars edited by Denise, War—what is it good for? It’s good for 19 all-new tales from the battlefield...
Nineteen all-new tales that look at war from the perspective of everyone from human to alien, pixie to toy. From epic intergalactic struggles for the future of humankind to the microcosm of a single abandoned toy soldier in a boy’s backyard; from a chemical experiment gone horribly wrong to a young recruit who may hold the key to “understanding” the enemy; from a half-mortal knight trying to avert a war with the Elfin Host to a Battle of Trenton fought against seven-foot tall Saurians, Front Lines brings together a diverse array of imaginative explorations of the phenomenon of war. Featuring a story by Symposium member Don Bingle and others.

Dagger-Star, a novel by Elizabeth Vaughan was released in April from Berkly Sensation and has gotten excellent reviews. After captivating readers with her Chronicles of the Warlands trilogy, our very own USA Today Bestselling author, Elizabeth Vaughan now returns to that world with a beguiling tale of daggers and destiny, a cold and beautiful mercenary known as Red Gloves, and Josiah, a lone fighter emerging from the torched fields and razed farms of his homeland. All Josiah knows about the mysterious woman is her dagger-star birthmark, a sign that she is destined to free the people from a ruthless usurper's reign of terror.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is now out in paperback and has become a New York Times Bestseller! It also won the prestigious Quill Award! Please visit for more about the book and the amazing author.


Writers’ Symposium Members—Visit them on their sites or on the W.S. Blog


Jean Rabe

Paul Genesse

Don Bingle

Brad Beaulieu

Anton Strout

John Helfers

Pat Rothfuss

Luke Johnson

Kelly Swails

Tim Waggoner

Elizabeth Vaughan

Marc Tassin

Richard Lee Byers

Steve Schend

Janet Deaver-Pack

Daniel “Doc” Myers

Sabrina Klein

Kerrie Hughes


Chris Pierson


Final Thought


I was so excited when Pat won the Quill Award and now he’s a New York Times Bestselling author! The paperback of the book is out and I think you should all get it, and have Pat sign it at Gen Con. I hope to see you there! Thanks for reading and here’s a quote about Pat’s book.

Paul Genesse, Editor

"Hail Patrick Rothfuss! A new giant is striding the land. THE NAME OF THE WIND is an astonishing novel that just happens to be the writer's first. The bestsellers' lists and the award ballots are beckoning toward Rothfuss, and readers will be clamoring for more of the riveting life story of Kvothe. Bravo, I say! Bravo!"
-Robert J. Sawyer,
Hugo Award-winning author of ROLLBACK


Thank you for reading the ezine. Please forward it to all your friends interested in writing or reading. Please visit the Writers Symposium Blog for more information on writing—and to interact with the members of the symposium. Thanks again!



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