Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review of Avatar


Review of the movie, Avatar (2009)

(no spoilers)

I was just blown away by the new movie Avatar, directed by James Cameron. I watched it on an IMAX screen in 3D, and am so glad I did. The movie will be spectacular on a regular movie screen, but in 3D it is just incredible. Reserve a seat and pay the extra money—and don’t bring a crying baby or little kid. Please, (exasperated sigh). Anyway, the movie was a feast for your eyes from start to finish. I’m going to see it again, and just pay extra attention to the stunning visuals.

The story itself is touching, but doesn’t break any new ground. However, it is one of those classic tales that works. It’s a science-fiction story with fantasy overtones. An outsider comes in and helps an indigenous people overcome an invasion. Regardless of the simple plot, James Cameron pulled it off. My hat is off to him. He knows what works story-wise, and as a published writer, I can see his skill on the screen, and in the dialogue. The movie got me many times, tugging at my heart and drawing me in. The message of environmental destruction is one we need to hear, and if you don’t like it, ask yourself why. Does the truth hurt?

Creating the world of Na’vi, and making it so believable is an achievement that will be remembered for decades. The world reminded me of my own creation, Ae’leron, which is where my Iron Dragon novels are set. The forest, the trees, the large moon in the sky was so Ae’leron—though my world is dark, whereas Avatar was bright. I also have the nasty flying creatures and ground creatures hunting people, except they are more traditional fantasy--griffins and wyverns. I do have six legged beasts, though, like the film. I just loved all the cliff and plateaus. I have such a fascination with cliffs and plateaus.

The emotion of the movie will also resonate and I found myself so completely drawn in that I forgot the time. At almost three hours long I was a little worried that my drink would outsize my bladder, but it didn’t bother me at all.

Do yourself a favor and be part of history. Go to the Imax or 3D theater near you and see a movie that will be good at home on your flat-screen someday, but it won’t be in 3D. This is a film that must be seen on the big screen.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord

Friday, December 18, 2009

Review of Steampunk edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer


Review of the World Fantasy Award Nominated Anthology, Steampunk (Tachyon Publications, 2008) edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer

What is steampunk? Well, it’s a sub-genre of science-fiction and fantasy that is totally awesome. Imagine Victorian era elegance and modern technology with a dash of rebellion, mashed together into crazy tales about steam-driven robots, dirigibles, insane inventors, and lots of well-mannered chaps in waistcoats living in an alternate history Earth—or maybe not Earth . . .

Steampunk is also a modern fashion movement with tons of devotees who wear corsets, brass goggles, Victorian era-looking dresses, waistcoats, and lots of other elegantly fabulous items.

The movie, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is steampunk, and the Hellboy movies have a steampunk feel to them as well.

Honestly, I had little clue what steampunk was until very recently. I was asked to write a steampunk story for an upcoming DAW Books anthology called, Steampunked. My deadline is February 1, 2010. I’ve been doing research for a couple of months now, and am going to begin the story today—after I write this review.

The anthology edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer is a great place to begin reading about steampunk. The introduction and essay at the end give excellent information about the genre, and the stories are awesome. Here are some of my favorite stories in the anthology:

*****Preface: Steampunk: “It’s a Clockwork Universe, Victoria” by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer. What a great intro to the genre and the book. The introduction that follows by Jess Nevins is excellent and will ground any reader in what steampunk is now, and what it was in the past.

*****Introduction: The 19th Century Roots of Steampunk by Jess Nevins. This is a non-fiction essay that goes over a ton of the seminal works and gives a history of the genre. Essential reading.

****Benediction: Excerpt from The Warlord of the Air by Michael Moorcock. What a cool story from a grandmaster in the field. The story is short and impactful and describes how a war might unfold in an alternate history Earth. Very enjoyable and a perfect place to begin the anthology.

***Lord Kelvin’s Machine by James P. Blaylock. This story epitomizes the genre and the author tells a story about a mad inventor and men trying to stop him. I found the style distant, but it was very interesting to read and captured the Victorian era feel.

*****The Giving Mouth by Ian R. MacLeod. This author has won the World Fantasy Award and this is my favorite story in the anthology. The style and the utter coolness of the strange world is breathtaking. I had to read it in one sitting and you can see right from the start that this author is a master of this craft. In my opinion, The Giving Mouth is the most powerful narrative in the entire book.

Here’s the first few lines of The Giving Mouth:

I was a child before I was your king. And even though the redbrick tower where I lived with my parents had many windows that gazed over the Pits, I was raised in what you think of as poverty. Each morning I woke on my pallet of stale straw to the scream of the shift whistle and the clang of the pit wheels. The sound was as familiar to me as birdsong, but the shock of grey light and mineral stench always came like a physical blow.
Put simply, I was a dreamer.

I need to read more stories and novels by Ian R. Macleod.

*****The God-Clown is Near by Jay Lake. What a crazy and madly entertaining story. Jay Lake is one of the most prolific and interesting writers living today. This story was extremely disconcerting and I loved every word. This is one of his Dark Town stories and I’m excited to read more of them.

***Seventy-Two Letters by Ted Chiang. World Fantasy Award winning author Ted Chiang has done it all in the short story markets, and is a master of the craft. He is a fascinating writer and this story was shockingly deep, written about an obtuse subject that kept me guessing regarding what was going to happen at the end. It was amazing that my interest was kept up through most of the story. The idea of making inanimate objects live by putting special names on them is cool, but overall, this one was a bit too long for my tastes. The story is a literary achievement with a cool character in a situation I’ve never imagined before, but it suffered from being too long and a little too hard to understand.

*****The Steam Man of the Prairie and the Dark Rider Get Down: A Dime Novel by Joe R. Lansdale. What an awesome story! This is in my top two in the antho. This tale pays homage from the old dime novel steampunk canon and makes it something fresh and new. You won’t see what’s coming, trust me. The Dark Rider is not who you expect. Oh my god is all I can say. Read this one for sure and it is not for the faint of heart. Though I’ve never met him, Joe R. Lansdale is a sick and twisted bastard, which makes him an awesome writer.

****The Martian Agent, A Planetary Romance by Michael Chabon. Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon’s story is not to be missed. He had me right from the start and I thoroughly enjoyed this alternate history tale about rebellion in an America that has never quite shrugged off the British Empire. The story is about the sons of a rebel leader and that is all I should say on the subject. Read it for sure.

*****Victoria by Paul Di Filippo is in my top three of the anthology. I saved this one for last and it was worth it. The story is big and pulls you in right from the start. The characters are well done and I had no idea where it was all going. In my opinion, this story epitomizes “steam,” and especially “punk.” There is a rebellion here on the highest levels and this story takes you to places that are extremely uncomfortable. I don’t want to ruin anything, so no spoilers here.

*****Minutes of the Last Meeting by Stepan Chapman. An alternate history tale about Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia. I loved this story. It sucked me in and the ideas are amazing. Nanotechnology, massive mechanized cavalry, steam driven computer minds, and much more make this one of the most imaginative stories in the antho.

There are several more stories in the book that I haven’t reviewed. Maybe you’ll find them to be even better than the ones I described? This is one of those anthologies that has taken some of the best and brightest writers in the field and packaged them up in a must read book. If you’re at all interested in steampunk, this is a wonderful place to start.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11 Book Signings


The kids at Bella Vista Elementary School rocking out! They are so cool.
(The links to all the pics are below)

Today was a good day. I visited Bella Vista Elementary and delivered some books to a few kids who ordered them after my last visit there. They asked me to come back and sign books, and since I love that school, I said "yes."

Then I did a book signing at the Sugarhouse Barnes and Noble. We sold out of The Golden Cord, and sold all but two of The Dragon Hunters, plus about 16 copies of Terribly Twisted Tales. I'm tripling and donating all the royalties earned today to Dyslexia Tutoring of Utah, a non-profit group that helps kid learn to read. They are doing important work and it's my honor to help support them.

After the signing at B&N, I had dinner with some friends and my wife, Tam at Noodles and Co. It was great to have dinner with Greg Michels, a former patient I took care of for about four months when he had a total artificial heart. He had it for 111 days and we become close friends. Now he has a heart transplant and is doing great. Richard and Sharon Dorrans were there as well. I work with Rich, he's in clinical engineering at the hospital, and his wife is one crazy redhead who is a huge reader of fantasy and sci-fi. She's a hoot to hang out with.

It was a fun day and here's a few pics.

Follow this link to the photos. You can download high quality images here.

Here's a link to the Facebook gallery with captions.

Happy holidays,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Book Signing to Benefit Dyslexic Kids

Hello Friends,

I hope you’re having a great holiday season. If you’re looking for a worthy cause to support please consider donating a few dollars to Dyslexia Tutoring of Utah, the only non-profit dyslexia tutoring group in Utah that helps kids and adults learn to read. One in five kids has the genetic disorder that is called dyslexia, and the disorder runs in families.

I’m now an ambassador for dyslexia awareness and will be tripling and donating all the proceeds from my book signing today December 11, to Dyslexia Tutoring of Utah. I’ll be at the Sugarhouse Barnes and Noble from 3-6 PM signing copies of Terribly Twisted Tales ($7.99) featuring my story Revenge of the Little Match Girl, as well as both my novels, The Golden Cord and The Dragon Hunters. If you purchase books from my website in the next two days, I'll also donate the proceeds.

In other news, the Salt Lake City Tribune newspaper ran a feature article about me yesterday (Dec 10). Here's the link.

After the signing today, my wife Tam and I will be having dinner at Noodles and Co. next door to the Barnes and Noble. If you’re in the area we’d love to see you there.

Happy holidays!

Paul Genesse

Noodles & Co.
(801) 466-8880
1152 Eeast 2100 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84106

Barnes and Noble
(801) 463-2610
McIntyre Center
1104 East 2100 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Hello Friends,

I hope you’re having a great holiday season. If you’re looking for a worthy cause to support please consider donating a few dollars to Dyslexia Tutoring of Utah, the only non-profit dyslexia tutoring group in Utah that helps kids and adults learn to read. One in five kids has the genetic disorder that is called dyslexia, and the disorder runs in families.

I’m now an ambassador for dyslexia awareness and will be tripling and donating all the proceeds from my book signing today December 11, to Dyslexia Tutoring of Utah. I’ll be at the Sugarhouse Barnes and Noble from 3-6 PM signing copies of Terribly Twisted Tales ($7.99) featuring my story Revenge of the Little Match Girl, as well as both my novels, The Golden Cord and The Dragon Hunters. If you purchase books from my website in the next two days, I'll also donate the proceeds.

In other news, the Salt Lake City Tribune newspaper ran a feature article about me yesterday (Dec 10). Here's the link.

After the signing today, my wife Tam and I will be having dinner at Noodles and Co. next door to the Barnes and Noble. If you’re in the area we’d love to see you there.

Happy holidays!

Paul Genesse

Noodles & Co.
(801) 466-8880
1152 Eeast 2100 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84106

Barnes and Noble
(801) 463-2610
McIntyre Center
1104 East 2100 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84106

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dinner at Noodles and Co.


My wife Tam and I will be eating dinner at the Noodles and Co. in Sugarhouse this Friday, December 11 from 6:30 to 8:00 PM.

I'd love to see you there. Or if you want to come earlier and say hello, I have a book signing at the Barnes and Noble next door from 3-6. I'll be signing copies of Terribly Twisted Tales ($7.99) and copies of my novels.

All the proceeds from the signing will be tripled by me, and will go to Dyslexia Tutoring of Utah, a non-profit dyslexia tutoring group that helps people learn to read.

In other news, the Salt Lake City Tribune is running an article about me today (Dec 10). Here's the link: or check out the print paper, which should have a photo.

Happy holidays!


Noodles & Co.
(801) 466-8880
1152 E 2100 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84106

Barnes and Noble
McIntyre Center
1104 East 2100 South,
Salt Lake City, UT 84106 - (801) 463-2610

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Brandon Sanderson and Paul Genesse


I had dinner with my friends Brandon Sanderson and Larry Correia after Brandon's signing at the West Jordan Barnes and Noble. I'm so proud of Brandon for his job on the new Wheel of Time book--A Gathering Storm, which was just a #1 New York Times bestseller. And Larry has so many cool things going right now with his extremely popular Monster Hunter International book. Hopefully, Larry's movie deal will go through. It would translate so well to the big screen.

Getting to hang with Larry and Brandon is a treat for me because they’ve both just finished big mega book tours—like I just did. We’re all so mentally fried from doing all the traveling, promoting, and such. The three of us are looking forward to getting back to writing again.

Brandon has two more Wheel of Time books coming out, then he’s got his Way of Kings series, which will be huge! Maybe two million words!

Larry has Monster Hunter Alpha coming soon, and several other projects going. He’s sold four novels to Baen Books now, and I couldn’t be happier for him. When I read Monster Hunter International, I knew he had a long career ahead of him.

As far as my own writing, I don’t have a release date for book three yet. I’ll let you know when I do. I’ve also been asked to write two more short stories. One for DAW books, which will appear in Steampunked, an anthology coming out in a year or so. I don’t know the release date yet. The other will be for Stygian Press, and will be an Abyss Walker story in an Abyss Walker anthology. Good times. There is another short story project, the Crimson Pact, but I’ll post more on that later.

The good news for me is that I actually got back to writing last night. Things were flowing and I’m so glad to be working on book three again. I wrote a few new scenes for The Secret Empire and hope to finish the rewrite of the old manuscript in the next three months.

I also need to work on Medusa’s Daughter, which is so close to being done. I just have to write the epilogue and go over the book again. Then it goes to my alpha readers, Patrick, Brad, and Barb. I just need to find the love for it again . . .

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kathy Griffin Live in Salt Lake City


Got funny?

I just returned from seeing my favorite comedienne, Kathy Griffin, after her first stand-up gig ever in Salt Lake City. My wife, Tam also says Kathy is her favorite and we really enjoy her show, My Life on the D-List on the Bravo channel. Kathy killed the huge crowd at Abravanel Hall, keeping us laughing the whole night. She received a huge welcome and had us from the very moment she took to the stage. I’m so glad she didn’t hold back and belted out her particular brand of humor, colorful language and all, with lots of energy and panache. She deserves everything that she’s accomplished and she’s one of my heroes.

Her newest comedy CD, Suckin It For the Holidays has some of the same material on it that she used during the show, but there was a lot of new stuff. Kathy is so much fun to see live and her CD is so hilarious. I wish I could get a live CD from tonight’s show. She performed for an hour and a half and we loved every minute of it.

Check out this link to see a video of her live:

Happy holidays,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Interview and Article in Survival By Storytelling Magazine


The first issue of Survival by Storytelling Magazine just came out and features an article about writing and an interview of me. The magazine is dedicated to publishing fiction, non-fiction, and poetry by young authors—all under 25 years old. I don’t have a story in it, as I’m 36, but the editor asked me for an article on writing and did a cool interview. My article is called SIX IDEAS ON CREATING MEMORABLE CHARACTERS, and has lots of fun ways to get you started on character creation.

The 12 stories are a lot of fun and show that good stories can be written by people of any age.

You can get a preview and check it out at where you can download it for only $5 or get a print copy for $9.

For you young writers out there, please check out:

Happy Writing!

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Steampunk Short Story


Steampunk Short Story

I was fortunate enough to be asked to write a story for Jean Rabe’s next DAW anthology, Steampunked. I’ve been working on a story idea and have come up with a setting that I think has not been done before in this genre. I don’t want to say what it is now. However, I was able to attend a panel on Steampunk at the World Fantasy convention a few weeks ago and it got my mind going. I’m also reading a great anthology edited by Jeff and Ann Vandermeer called Steampunk right now. Pick it up if you get a chance. I’ve loved almost every story so far and think it’s totally awesome.

What is steampunk? Check out this link:

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Stygian Publications, short story contest

Stygian Publications—short story contest—see below

It’s official. I’m going to be writing a story for the upcoming Abyss Walker anthology. The creator, Shane Moore asked me to write a story and I’m very happy about saying “yes.” I met Shane at Gen Con 2009 and we’ve become friends. He’s my kind of guy and goes full-throttle to reach his goals. His Abyss Walker series of novels and graphic novels, has been very successful and I can see why.

If you want a chance to be in the anthology as well, check out the guidelines on the Stygian blog.

This is a great opportunity for fans of the series and anyone, to get published in a cool book.

Happy Writing,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

The Winds of Khalakovo


The above image has the feel of the unpublished novel I just read. The painting is by Ruan Jia, an amazing Chinese artist. I am a huge fan of his and please visit his website at:

The Winds of Khalakovo by Brad Beaulieu

I just finished reading, The Winds of Khalakovo, an unpublished novel by my friend and author, Brad Beaulieu—a Writers of the Future winner. It’s like A Song of Ice and Fire meets Earthsea. Winds was so awesome and I'm very fortunate to be one of the first people in the whole world to have gotten to read it and provide feedback to the author. I can't wait for Brad to sell this book. It's such an amazing work of epic fantasy set in a very unique world. Think of a fantasy Russia during the time of the czars with flying sailing ships that ply the freezing winds of an unforgiving world. The Winds of Khalakovo was a page-turner and Brad is such a great writer. The novel was 175,000 words, but it read really fast. As far as epic fantasy, this is the kind of book I look for—strong characters in lots of danger. There is a cool, satisfying ending, though we need more. Much more.

I’ve never read a fantasy with a Russian slant to it before, and the magic system of the book was so fascinating as well. I don’t want to give anything away, so I should stop writing, but suffice it to say that Brad’s book is tense and exciting. He keeps you guessing and wondering up to the very end. I know he and I are both working on perfecting some of the same things in our writing, so his style just gets me. I wish I was as good a writer as he is, and I’m thankful that he helps me edit my own projects.

Here’s a description of the novel that I found on Brad’s blog:

“The Winds of Khalakovo is an epic Russian fantasy, a tapestry that portrays the story of a once-unified nation marching steadily toward the brink of civil war, of a blight that is eroding the traditional way of life on the archipelagos, of a culture that against their most ardent beliefs is driven to acts of extreme violence. It is a story of two unlikely allies, a Prince and a young, autistic savant, who together set the wheels of the story in motion.”

What Brad does not mention is that besides the Prince, the other main characters are two incredibly strong women. Atiana and Rehada are totally different, but are both fascinating.

Let’s all hope that a major publisher snags this book and puts it out soon. I can’t wait to see the cover art for it. I think Donato Giancola or Brom would be perfect to paint the cover.

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The End of The Dragon Hunters Book Tour


Nanci Ross, Carrie Ross of Dyslexia Tutoring of Utah, and author Paul Genesse

The End.

Well, it was the end. The end of The Dragon Hunters book tour. My last event of my tour was at the South Towne Barnes and Noble in Sandy, Utah from 3-6 PM.

I was worried that no one would show up. It was snowing, and it was very cold outside. Would anyone come out on a day with such bad weather? I was pretty worried as Tam and I braved the ice and falling snow on the drive over to the bookstore.

Apparently, I was worried for nothing. It was my biggest and best book signing ever at a Barnes and Noble. We sold a ton of books, selling out of The Golden Cord and 15 copies of Terribly Twisted Tales featuring my story Revenge of the Little Match Girl. We had to tap into my personal stock of Golden Cords. They still have a few signed copies of The Dragon Hunters left and they said they were going to order more Golden Cords.

A bunch of the kids from the schools I visited came by, and people who were there to support Dyslexia Tutoring of Utah, a non-profit tutoring group dedicated to helping kids learn to read. I was a guest at their book fair, which lasted for 12 hours all day Saturday. I’m a spokesperson for them now and love being affiliated with them. Nanci and Carrie Ross (Nanci is the executive director) are great people doing important work for the kids. Part of the proceeds from the signing and all the book sales that day—if you mentioned them at the register—went to their group.

Having my last event of the tour be so successful was fantastic. I got to see several old friends, and made lots of new ones.

One kid got a free book. His name was Roberto. We met at his school the day before, and he wanted to go to my signing so badly, but didn't know where it was. Despite the fact that it was snowing, Roberto and his mom looked for me at two other bookstores--during a snowstorm--before they found me at the South Towne Barnes and Noble. His mom told me that Roberto didn't like reading, but after hearing me speak, he is totally into it now. I helped change his life and that makes the struggles of being a writer and doing book tours all worthwhile.

The tour had its ups and downs, but I’m glad I did it. Now, it’s time to get back to writing.

Here’s a link to the few pictures taken at the event.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pictures from The Dragon Hunters Book Tour

Hello Friends,

I’m finally back from my month long book tour. My blog has the details, and below are public links to the photos on Facebook. The tour went really well. Thanks so much for all of your support.

I have one more event, Saturday November 14 at the South Towne Mall Barnes and Noble in Sandy, Utah from 3-6 PM. A non-profit group, Dyslexia Tutoring of Utah is having me as their guest author for their book fair. A portion of the proceeds from any books—by me or anyone else—purchased in the store tomorrow go to the Dyslexia Tutoring group.

Free book raffle at 3:30 when you can win a copy of The Golden Cord, The Dragon Hunters, or one of my pirate stories—plus several other cool prizes.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Links to photos from the tour:

Sandy Schools:




San Francisco

World Fantasy in San Jose 2009:

The Wilson Family in Whittier, California

Santa Maria


Las Vegas

Boise/Nampa Idaho Visit

Indianapolis, Gen Con 2009

ConDuit Sci-Fi Fantasy convention in Salt Lake City, 2009

The Dragon Hunters Book Release Party
May 22, 2009,

Paul Genesse, Author and Editor

Author of The Dragon Hunters
Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series
(Five Star Books, May 2009)


Join me on Facebook,
Editor of the Writer's Symposium Ezine

Three Elementary Schools in Utah


Pictured above are some kids from Bella Vista Elementary School, in Cottonwood Heights. They were so awesome and this was my last school visit on the Dragon Hunters Book Tour. I'm so thrilled that my last visit went so well. The kids and I had a wonderful time, and they created a fabulous story about a little girl named Annabelle. I had 4th, 5th, and some 6th graders in the workshop, sixty total. Before that I spoke to about 180 kids and the speech went really well. Mary Lou Damjanovich set it all up, and the school is blessed to have her.

The day before I visited two schools in Sandy, Utah: Edgemont Elementary and Bell View Elementary. Both visits went great and I am so happy to have met so many cool kids. We created some amazing stories together and I'm always astounded by what the kids think of when we're creating the stories.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mayhem in Sparks (it's the city beside Reno)


Raarrrr! Red Robin brings out the animal in me, and my Uncle Rene Genesse.

Reno and Sparks, Nevada, November 5-8, 2009

It’s true. Some people were actually born in the Biggest Little City in the World—Reno, Nevada. I was born there, at St. Mary’s Hospital on May 29, 1973 at 7:38 AM. The weird thing is that I'm totally not a morning person.

Seriously, at the end of my book tour, I got to go to the place where I lived for five years, and then visited every holiday and summer for most of my youth.

Seeing my cousins, and old friends, was such a cool experience. I have the pictures to prove it (link below). When I was in Reno/Sparks, I also visited two schools, Marvin Moss Elementary, which went really well, and Swope Middle School—a truly amazing experience for me. At Marvin Moss, the writing workshop was really good, and the kids were so smart. They came up with a brilliant story about a blind girl with seeing-eye dog with supernatural powers. The story had it all. The kids get an A+.

My next stop was Swope Middle School. Several war veterans had just spoken about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan to the whole school (right before I came). For the first time ever at a school visit, I told the students a true story about how a Dragonlance book saved a soldier’s life. Tracy Hickman (the co-author of the book) told the story at a conference I attended, and I won’t repeat it here; but suffice it to say, books have a power that can truly save lives, which is why Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weiss were given the soldier’s medal, earned by him for bravery in combat. My visit to Swope was an amazing cap to my book tour. I gave one of the best speeches of the tour and I’m so happy I pulled it all together for the students.

The next day I had lunch with family and friends, then a book signing at the Reno Barnes and Noble, where I was the guest of Swope Middle School’s book fair. It went so well. Lots of kids came from Swope and Marvin Moss. I signed the last of my posters and had a big line. It was so great, and the dinner with family afterward was excellent. There was mayhem and fun at the dinner, and I got to hang with a cousin I hadn’t seen in many years. It was a wonderful night.

The very best thing about writing books, and going on tour has been seeing friends, family, and meeting the fans. Those connections matter a lot to me, and I met some amazing people. What I really hope is that I inspired the people I met along the way, because they inspired me.

Here’s the link to the pics:

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Attack of the Wild Turkeys


Sacramento, California, November 4-5, 2009

We were attacked by wild turkeys on our way to Sutterville Elementary School. Who knew that this could even happen in a subdivision of Sacramento?! We were driving from my cousin Colleen’s house to the school and a whole flock of them entered the road, and gobbled a dire warning. Had they come for revenge? It’s no secret what my favorite Thanksgiving food item is. The attack was brief and Tammy scared them off with our camera. Check out the pictures for proof on the Facebook public link, at the end of this post.

The visit at Sutterville was one of my best of the tour. I loved my speech to the kids, and the writing workshop was fantastic. We came up with an awesome story about a purple and black haired goth girl who is murdered by her father. It was very well done and I’m so thankful for the kids’ incredible ideas. The signing afterward was awesome, and a visit like this one made me feel so good about the tour.

The day before was also quite special, as I visited my cousin Emily at her school, California Middle School. I was very happy with my speech and the writing workshop was really fun. The kids came up with a story about a ginger haired girl, who liked to kill her cougar mom’s boyfriends. The story was the most twisted of the entire book tour and the students did a great job with it. Bravo to them!

Getting to visit my cousin Emily, and her friend, Jenna at the school and later at dinner, was a real highlight. We all had dinner over at cousin Joanna’s later, and it was wonderful to get to hang with my peeps. Check out the photos on Facebook:

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Deer Valley High School, Antioch, CA


Shantelle, "Telly" strikes a pose. Okay, she's my cousin, but you can't fake this kind of coolness!

Antioch, California November 3, 2009

My mother fit into a shoebox after she was born. The delivery occurred in a little house in Antioch, California, and her dad (my grandfather) delivered her. Somehow, she survived and I’ve been back with mom to visit her hometown several times. I’ve got a bunch of family there and love to visit.

I visited Aunt Darlene, then Deer Valley High School, then spoke in the Deer Vally High library. The speech went very well and the librarians were awesome. My biggest fan, Katrina Miller, was there. She’s read my books seven times each. She understands them like no one else does, and I’m grateful to have such cool fans. The school newspaper interviewed me as well. I also read a few pages from the beginning of book three (The Secret Empire), just for Katrina. She loved it. But I caused her to miss her bus. No worries. I gave her a ride home. Only the best for my biggest fan.

After the speech at the school library, I went over to Aunt Betty’s and had such scrumptious food (Grandma Ridolfi’s ravioli recipe is TOP SECRET by the way). Tam got to meet the family, and we had a wonderful time. Having my mom there was so special, and seeing my cousins was the best, especially Lacey Rose and Shantelle, “Telly.” Check out the pictures on the Facebook public link.

There’s no place like home, or Aunt Betty’s cooking.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

San Francisco & Miller Creek Middle School

San Francisco and San Rafael, November 1-2, 2009

There we were, surrounded by flesh-eating plants and poisonous flowers, when Tam reminded me we were not lost in the jungles of Venezuela. We were in the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. I met my wife, Tam, her sister Deanie, and our friends Lily, Cary, Glenn, and Jackie on Sunday morning at Lily and Cary’s apartment, which is right off the park. Deanie and Tammy (and our friends) had been touring San Francisco for the past couple of days, and finally I met up with them.

I hadn’t seen Tam in two weeks, so it was great seeing her again. Then we had an adventure in Golden Gate Park and fun was had by all. Check out the photos on Facebook with this link.

The next day I visited Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael, just north of San Francisco. Tammy, my friends (Glenn, Jackie, and Lorrie), were able to come along and I’m glad they were there. The speech went fairly well, not my favorite, then I did two writing workshops. They went all right, but I must have been off my game, as I had a little trouble getting the kids to focus on creating the story with me. The signing went well, and lunch afterward was great. I have such awesome friends who support me no matter what.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

World Fantasy 2009, San Jose

San Jose—World Fantasy

The World Fantasy convention was held in San Jose, California this year from October 29 to November 1. Tons of writers and some fans attended (1200 total, which is the maximum allowed at this professional convention). I was able to room with my writing buddies, Brad Beaulieu and Patrick Tracy. We had a good time and I was able to meet with many writers, publishers, agents, and a few editors. What happened at the convention? It’s top secret for now, but there were good things and bad things. Some doors closed, others opened. I don’t know what will happen next, but I got some excellent career advice from the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Russel Davis. He’s so cool and he loved my first book, The Golden Cord.

I attended some great panels, including one on steampunk. Since I was recently asked to write a steampunk short story for another DAW anthology, edited by Jean Rabe, and I’m doing all the research I can. It’s going to be a fun story and I’ve got an idea for the setting, and main character, but not the story. That will come soon. I’ve got until February 1, 2010 before I have to turn it in.

My book signing at the mass author signing was excellent, and meeting with my writing teachers, Kij Johnson, Mike Stackpole, and my editor, John Helfers was very cool. I met so many new friends and I’m looking forward to seeing them all again. Overall, the convention was a big success, with a few setbacks. Not everything is magical for me, though. I get kicked in the gut once in a while, and have to fight through the pain. The publishing industry is hurting, hence the writers are hurting. It’s so hard to be in this field, and even if you do almost everything right, you can still get the crap kicked out of you from time to time. The good thing for me is that I have such awesome friends to prop me up when I nearly fall down. Brad, Pat, Barbara Webb, and my new friends kept me going no matter what. Here's the public link to the Facebook pictures:

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Santa Maria, California

Santa Maria: Alice Shaw and Dunlap, October 27-28

When I was in sixth grade my best friend and I made an emerald castle in the desert. Okay, she provided the emeralds. I mostly helped by using old junk, like a discarded shower stall and tin sheeting. Our emerald castle was made out of junk, but in our imaginations, it was a magnificent fortress. Everything was perfect until the older kids came and kicked us out. Rotten kids! Christy and I were like the two kids in the book and movie, Bridge to Terabithia. We would explore the desert, hike around, and hang out with our other friend, Amanda. Who knows what would have happened if Christy had stayed in Beatty? I think we would have been great friends for years and years. Then tragedy struck. Not as bad as in Bridge to Terabithia, though. She moved away toward the end of sixth grade and I was heartbroken. Then we lost touch, seeing each other a couple of times after that. Then it was seventeen or so years later when we found each other on Facebook. She invited me to visit Santa Maria, a city near San Luis Obispo in California. I wanted to meet her, her husband Erik, and their three kids. We had a great visit and I loved going to the schools she set me up with.

Dunlap Elementary School, where Christy’s son Jack went, was one of my best school visits ever—in the top two for sure. The speech to a large group was one of my best performances of all time. Sometimes you just rock the house. I don’t always. But I connected with the kids and we had so much fun. Then the two writing workshops afterward went extremely well. The students came up with fabulous ideas and the stories we created were top-notch. Then I signed posters for the kids in some classrooms and hung out more. It was a wonderful visit from beginning to end. The presence of my friend, Christy, made it all the better. Did I mention she’s also the best cook in the world? Her husband Erik is good too. He made baby back ribs on his grill that were awesome. Christy’s fish tacos were incredible and I’m amazed Erik is in such good shape. If I were him, I’d have a big gut!!

That night I visited Alice Shaw Elementary from 7-9 PM. The principal, Janet Bertoldi, hosted an event for families from both Dunlap and Alice Shaw. It was very well attended and the event was a big hit. Speaking about writing and teaching the kids a writing workshop was fabulous. We came up with such a cool story. The signing afterward was incredibly successful.

Leaving Santa Maria was bittersweet. I’ll always be friends with Christy and really enjoyed meeting her family—especially her son, Jack. Here’s the public link to the Facebook pictures.

Happy reading!

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

What makes something perfect?

The Wilson’s in Whittier, plus Leffingwell Elementary School, October 26, 2009

While I was in Los Angeles on my book tour, I visited the city of Whittier, where my friends Jason and Natalie Wilson live with their kids, Ariel and Chara. I love them all so much, and am so happy to be “Uncle Paul” to Ariel and Chara. Jason is now Dr. Wilson, and works as a professor at Biola University after attaining his PhD in statistics. He’s such a good man and his kids are amazing. I wish I lived closer so I could see them more. The visit was too fast. I’ve got pictures on Facebook at this link:

I visited Leffingwell Elementary School in Whittier and had a good time speaking to the kids. The people at the school were very hospitable and I would definitely go back. Then I went to Whittier High School in Cerritos, which is one of the top-rated, if not the highest rated school, in all of California. I spoke to some students in the career center during lunch, and then did a writing workshop for about 120 students. It all went very well. It was my second time visiting them and I would absolutely go back. It was one of my better speeches, and the high school kids seemed to be quite into it. I love it when the speech comes off like that.

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Neil Gaiman hitched a ride with me

October 25-26, 2009

Neil Gaiman hitched a ride with me from Flagstaff to Los Angeles. It was a good trip. One I won’t forget. It’ll be forever remembered as the trip that I listened to American Gods (written by Neil Gaiman), on audio CD. To be clear, Neil wasn’t physically with me in the car. His words, however, were, and I really enjoyed the novel. The man reading the book was amazing.


The novel won the World Fantasy Award for best novel a few years ago, and I see why. I finally got the book and I’m glad that I did. The story is awesome and the scope of the novel was extremely impressive. Who knew that the ancient gods could fall so low? I don’t want to get into the nuts and bolts of the book, but let’s just say that the ancient gods have come to America with their worshippers. Now they exist as shadows of their former selves, barely gods anymore as they are worshipped very little, and seem very, very human. They drink, eat, love, and mostly steal. It was a fascinating book that follows a character named Shadow. Who is he? You’ll find out very slowly as you read the book—or listen to it. The novel is huge, but worth it in the end. It did have a slow pace most of the time, but I found it interesting throughout, even when the plot moved very little. I got a little sick of hearing about what they were eating all the time, but the detail was excellent. Gaiman’s ability to describe a scene is top-notch.

The social commentary in the book was brilliant and it holds up the mirror to America and shows us that worshipping certain technologies, (or personalities), has some serious consequences for all involved.

American Gods is a literary fantasy in my opinion, and I would recommend it to mature readers who want to see what all the fuss is about with Neil Gaiman. I knew he was cool, as I met him once, at World Fantasy in 2002 in Minneapolis. He’s an interesting and very charismatic man, and if you get a chance to hear him on a panel at a convention—don’t miss it.

Happy reading!

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NAU Homecoming Weekend 2009

Flagstaff, Arizona October 23-24, 2009
(see the pictures on Facebook)
Public link on Facebook:

Did you know I’m a lumberjack? It’s true. I’m a graduate of Northern Arizona University—mascott: Louie the Lumberjack. I graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. I returned for homecoming weekend and had a blast.

I visited my enduring friend, Jennifer Hayes and her family, did a book signing at the NAU bookstore, and went to the football game with a fellow NAU and Beatty grad, Natalie Kobinski (formerly Tobin). Visiting my good friend Jenny in Flagstaff, was fantastic. She has a great family, Ariel, Nicholas, and her husband, Byron. Jenny was my study partner in school, along with Leah Latham. The three of us made it through school together and I was so happy to see Jenny again. She’s one of those really amazingly nice people with a heart of gold. She’s been blessed with fabulous children, Ariel (12), and Nicholas (5). It was so cute to see how close their whole family was. I’m really happy for Jenny and going out to dinner with her was an excellent catch up time. I haven’t seen her in many years, though we’d send X-mas cards and such.

The book signing went well at the NAU Bookstore. The people there were really cool and I got a good amount of traffic. The NAU Bookstore people really know how to throw an event. I’d love to go back someday. Many thanks to Kathy and Ken.

The football game afterward was lots of fun. NAU beat up Idaho State and the people around us were really fun to watch the game with. I went with my friend (and adopted little sister, Natalie). She’s one of my very best friends and I love her dearly. Getting to see her and Jenny were the highlights of my Flagstaff trip.

Afterward, Natalie went back to Phoenix to her kids and I had a lovely evening with Jenny’s family at their home—once I found it! My GPS and I had a disagreement over where her house actually was. I blame the dark! I think my GPS needs nightvision goggles. Or may I do?

Anyway, simple little things like watching Jenny’s five year old play with their dog were priceless. The hang out time was great too, and Jenny gives the best and tightest hugs you could possibly imagine. I had to have two of those wonderful hugs before I left Sunday morning for my seven-hour drive to L.A.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Friday, October 23, 2009

My book tour in Phoenix

October 21, 2009


Getting to Phoenix, more precisely, Mesa, was not as easy as I thought it would be. Much of the road from Las Vegas to Phoenix is under construction. I had an 1.5 hour delay, and had to cancel part of my appearance at Stapely Junior High in Mesa. I was supposed to be there at 2:00, but got there at 2:35. I should have been there at 1:00 or 1:15. It was a very frustrating drive as I hit construction site after traffic jammed construction site all along the way.

Anyway, I made it and the visit was good. I got to hang out with a big fan, Nebraska Atwood and a bunch of cool kids. I was invited to speak at the school by Nebraska's dad and this kind of story makes it all worth while. Nebraska wasn't that into reading, was having some trouble with school, then he met me at a book signing and loved my books. Now he's a big reader and is doing really well in school. Nebraska's dad said I changed his son's life, and hearing things like that makes all of this struggle to be a writer worthwhile.

(the pics are all on Facebook)

Later that night I had dinner with my best friend from high school, Jordan Stephens, and his wife Karen, plus their great kids. It was so cool seeing them. I have awesome friends. I stayed with another high school and college friend, Natalie Kobinski and her family. Nat is like my little sister. I love her dearly. Her kid, Alex and Maya are very special as well.

The next day I made it to Diamond Canyon School in Anthem, Arizona. Three presentations to 6th and 5th graders, then I signed posters and sold books in the library at their book fair. What a fun time.

Dinner with friends and family at Red Robin, then a book signing at the Happy Valley Towne Center Barnes and Noble. The store was pretty dead, but I did well and sold a good amount of books. Some of the kids from the school came, and lots of old fans and friends. A good time was had by all, and seeing old friends from college was so cool.

Now I'm off to Flagstaff today. Thanks for reading.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Teen Reading Week Promo Video

Nationwide, it's teen reading week. The theme is "Read Beyond Reality." Here's a video I shot at Bob Miller Middle School promoting reading to the school. Librarian Scott Hensley is such a good librarian and the kids are in good hand with him.

Happy Reading

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Dragon Hunters Book Tour Video Message

Visiting Las Vegas was great. I went to Bob Miller Middle School in Henderson, and visited Scott Hensley, at his amazing library and taught writing to the students. Scott took a couple of videos of me. One is above. The other is in a post coming soon.

Then I went to George E. Harris Elementary School, where I went for five years. It was fabulous to give back to a school that helped me go so far. I went there last year and that was wonderful. I spoke to hundreds of kids, then taught a writing workshop, then signed a couple hundred posters putting the kids' names on them. I love those kids and their teachers are top notch. This is a school where I know I made a difference.

After that I was off to Paseo Verde Library, where I met up with Linda Hanks, a very cool librarian friend of mine. She interviewed me on camera and it went really well, though I only had a few minutes there. I'll be back with Linda in the Spring (in April) teaching at a writing conference.

Dinner was with Anthony Koerner, the grandson of my former coach, teacher, and principal, Keith Koerner. Anthony is a cool guy, a former marine, avid snow boarder, who found himself becoming an accountant. He's trying to get back into the military now, despite his injuries that slowed him for a while kept him out. He just loves the action and wants to blow sh*t up! I hadn't seen him in many years, and catching up with old friends is so special for me.

The book signing at the Charleston Barnes and Noble was okay, though book stores have been pretty slow lately. Some old friends came by and I met a few new fans. I stayed with the Stratton family, pics on Facebook, and seeing them is always a huge hit. I've got a lot of great people in my life and am very fortunate to have no less than two pairs of adoptive parents.

The next morning it was off to Phoenix!

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Golden Cord Podcast



Here's a link to the newly recorded podcast of the opening of The Golden Cord. I hope you enjoy it.

Or paste this into your browser:

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord and The Dragon Hunters

Final Dragon Hunters Book Tour Schedule



Saturday, October 10, Barnes & Noble Sugarhouse, Book Signing in Salt Lake City,
1-3, panel from 1-2, signing 2-3. Meet at Noodles and Co. next door 3:30-5:30.

Saturday October 17, drive to Beatty, Nevada.

Sunday October 18, hang in Beatty with Mom.

Monday October 19, Beatty Library writing workshop 3-5:00, drive to Vegas afterward.

Tuesday October 20, Las Vegas school visits, Bob Miller Middle School 8-9:50, Lunch, George E. Harris Elementary School 1:15-3, Drop by Paseo Verde Library (3:30), leave for Charleston Blvd. Dinner with friends: 4-6:30 at Claim Jumper, Barnes and Noble signing 7-9 PM (Charleston Blvd and Apache)

Wednesday October 21, Drive to Phoenix—Stapely Junior High in Mesa, 2-3:30
Dinner with Jordan and Karin Stephens at Rigatony’s.

Thursday October 22, Phoenix school visits
Diamond Canyon School, Jo Ellen Mercer: first group from 8:45-9:30, then Rich and Jake's classes from 9:30-10:15; Dinner from 4:30-6 at Red Robin, and book signing at the Happy Valley Barnes and Noble 6-8.

Fri Oct 23, Norterra Canyon Elementary School, 9:00 AM. Drive up to Flagstaff. Possible School Visit in Flagstaff. Leadership Council Reception at NAU 5-8 PM.

Sat October 24, book signing 11-1 Flagstaff, NAU Bookstore, Tailgate party, then the NAU Football game 3-6 PM—Homecoming! From 3-6.

Sun Oct 25, Drive to Whittier, CA, in the L.A. area.

Mon Oct 26, school visit, Leffingwell Elementary School 8:30-10:00;
Cerritos High School 12:20-1:45; Sign books at Borders books in Cerritos, Town Center.

Tues October 27, Drive to Santa Maria—to visit my friend Christy

Wed October 28, Santa Maria, visit Dunlap Elementary, and possibly Alice Shaw Elementary; sign books at B. Dalton in Santa Maria.

Thurs October 29, Drive to San Jose for the World Fantasy Convention.

Fri-Sat October 30-Nov 1, World Fantasy Convention. Go to a San Jose Sharks game with my buddy, Glenn.

Sun November 1; Pick my wife Tam in San Francisco. Spend time in Golden Gate Park, then drive to Marin County.

Mon November 2, Miller Creek Middle School (8-1:00), stay in Marin County, Sign books at Borders Books, 588 Francisco Blvd, West
San Rafael, CA

Tues November 3, Antioch, speak at the Deer Valley Library, 2-3, 3:20-4:00 hang with friends and family in library, 4-5ish speak in library, then hang until 6 PM; stay in Antioch; Family Dinner that night

Wed November 4 Drive to Sacramento, California Middle School.
Family Dinner

Thurs November 5, Sutterville Elementary School 9:15-11:00. Lunch with friends? Drive to Reno

Fri November 6, School Visits in Reno/Sparks, Marvin Moss (9:30-11:00); Swope Middle School 12-2 in the library--speak to 4 classes of 8th grade students. One set from 12-1 and the other from 1-2; Dinner with friends.

Sat November 7, Lunch at the Macaroni Grill 1-3, then Book signing at the Barnes and Noble 3-5, Reno, NV. Book raffle at 3:00
Dinner with family

Sun November 8, hang in Reno with family & friends

Mon November 9, leave for Salt Lake City.

Wed November 11, Salt Lake City (8:00 AM Coordinating Council Meeting, Intermountain Medical Center)

Thursday November 12, Sandy, UT, Edgemont Elementary School, morning visit

Friday November 13, Sandy, UT, Bella Vista Elementary School, 9:40-11:40

Saturday November 14, Possible TV interview on channel 2, then signing at the Barnes and Noble South Town Mall. Dyslexia Tutoring of Utah is having Paul Genesse as their guest of honor at their book fair from 3-6 PM. Reading and Q&A at 3:00, free book raffle at 3:30, free poster signing from 3:30-6:00.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Writers' Symposium Ezine #9

The Writers’ Symposium Ezine

“Helping Writers Write”
Issue #9, June 2009
The Geeks and Gamers Issue

Or view a beautiful full color version with dozens of color pictures by downloading the PDF with all the good stuff and the previous issues at
(Issue #9 available on the website soon)

To subscribe, or unsubscribe please email:

Visit the Writers’ Symposium Blog at


From the Editor: Paul Genesse
Featured Author Bio: Kerrie Hughes
Featured Content: Intro to Gamer Fantastic by Kerrie Hughes
Featured Content: Just A Geek by Jim C. Hines
New and Current Releases from Writers’ Symposium Members
List of Current Writers’ Symposium Members & Contact Info
Final Thought

From the Editor

Warning! If you’re reading this there is a chance that you might be a geek. Or a gamer. I am definitely both. Some of you may prefer other terms, and that’s fine. Whatever label you choose to accept or reject, you probably love fantasy and science fiction. You read it. You might write it, and you are very interested in it. This issue will give some support, rather than techniques on how to be a writer, in addition to announcing all the new releases from Symposium. There’s a great treatise on her love of geeks and gamers by editor Kerrie Hughes, and a very honest examination of his geek self by Jim Hines. I think that many of you will recognize Jim and Kerrie’s stories as having parallels to your own lives, and their words will tell you a lot about what it’s like to be a writer, and a geek.

Paul Genesse, Editor and Author of THE DRAGON HUNTERS

Featured Author: Kerrie Hughes

Kerrie Hughes is having a midlife crisis; she has the experience of someone 200, the whimsy of someone 12, but being 45 is making her dream of body upgrades. She writes, studies, and amuses 4 cats, and 1 husband on a daily basis. She collects LEGO, Uglydolls, bizarre purses, Hello Kitty, Toki Doki, and various toys. She has edited 7 anthologies, and written 7 short stories and worked on 2 compendiums. Current work includes more anthologies, compendiums and some longer projects. In her spare time she enjoys gamer and writer conventions and traveling to various museums. She’s considering becoming a starving artist/writer. Her life’s ambition is to leave behind a large body of work and enjoy every single day of immortality.

Featured Content: Gamer Fantastic Intro by Kerrie Hughes

I love Geeks. That’s right, I said it. I love geeks . . . and gamers and nerds . . . and writers of course.
If I had not been living in the Bible Belt when D&D was first created I would have been playing in someone’s basement instead of drinking beer in a cornfield with my friends around a bonfire. What can I say? It was Kansas and there was nothing else to do. Mind you it didn’t stop me from becoming Wiccan at age 16. Thank you Scott Cunningham and independent bookstores everywhere. Nowadays Wichita is the main hub for drug smuggling in the Midwest. See what becomes of good clean living and thinking that slaying dragons and rescuing princesses is satanic.

It would be years later, and I would be in my thirties before I played my first role-playing game, it was Vampire: The Requiem, and that’s where I met my third and final, I hope, husband John Helfers. What a geek! He was honest and kind and a diabolical gamemaster who lived vicariously via the game board. I became a geek and never looked back. Now for my fellow feminists, I did not become a geek because of a guy. I became one because it freed me to be anyone I wanted to be and to wield a sword or magic missile with careless abandon or as a team. It empowered my imagination like nothing had before. I could play a villain or a saint or possibly even a monster with fangs and claws. Yum!

I know every geek in this book and I admire them all. It’s a great community with ups and downs, subtleties and intrigue. The behind-the-scenes stories are just as good as the public ones and I delight in hearing everything they have to say. Well, almost everything. I must admit that when people quote rulebooks like they know them by heart I have to take a mental snooze. Probably because I just can’t keep up with the details.

My one regret was that I did not meet Gary Gygax. I had a chance at the 2007 Gen Con but I was too chicken. I walked past a jolly fellow in a loud shirt and made note of the name on his badge, he smiled and nodded as did I but it took a full 10 seconds for the name to register. I turned back to introduce myself but he was talking to some fans in really cool costumes and I figured I would just move along. After all, I’m just one of a million other geeks, and not a sorceress in flowing purple robes with loads of arcane spells and cleavage. I should have just walked up and introduced myself anyway, I met James Doohan many years back at a Star Trek convention and he blessed me with compliments and kissed my hand! I’m sure Gary would have been just as gracious. At least that’s the way it goes in my geek fantasies.

But I digress . . .

What I really want to say is I’ve done a few of these anthologies now, and I have to conclude that this one has been my favorite. Special thanks go to Chris Pierson, who wrote the story, “Escapism.” His stories always seem to be filled with death and destruction, he gave me nightmares about the future of the world. On a completely unrelated note he has recently become a father for the first time, and will be raising the next generation of geeks and releasing them unto the world.

I also just love Don Bingle and his story “Gaming Circle.” He always gives me a great story and if you ever get a chance to hear him read his work, give yourself a treat and go, he has an incredible speaking voice. Also check out his website for more of his work, some of which appears in my other anthologies.

Thanks also go to Jody Lynn Nye, who just happens to strongly resemble an elf (coincidence—I think not!), for her story that combines the origins of psychology with that of gaming. I have been called the “Queen of the Geeks” by many of my friends but I assure you she is the one who deserves the royal title.

Speaking of origins and Fantasy royalty, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, who is an authority on fairies, takes us to Lake Geneva with “Game Testing.” It might make you want to take a trip to lower Wisconsin some day, as she assures me that much of the story is true. I’m definitely going to look more closely at the houses the next time I get down there.

I also want to give special thanks to Ed Greenwood. Not just for his deviously delicious story, “Rescuing The Elf Princess Again,” but for writing the very heartfelt eulogy for E. Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons who passed away last year.
And finally, before you enjoy these wonderful tales remember this . . .

The geeks shall inherit the earth, and if not then they will at least survive in the dark with a game grid, some die, a gallon of caffeinated beverage and some very unhealthy crunchy cheesy things. (Hail Wisconsin!)

Kerrie (Keridwyn) Hughes, Editor of Gamer Fantastic

Just a Geek, article by Jim C. Hines, (Book by Wil Wheaton)

It was early 2004. I had just signed a deal with Five Star to publish Goblin Quest. This would be my first published fantasy novel, hopefully bringing me one step closer to actually Making It As A Writer. With Five Star being a small specialty press, I was on my own when it came to blurbs. So I e-mailed a few people I knew. On a whim, after reading one of Wheaton’s blog columns about gaming, I wrote him a quick e-mail.
Six hours later, I bounded away from the computer, grabbed my wife by the arms, and said, “Holy @#$%, Wil Wheaton said he’d read my book!”
Not only did he read it, he provided my favorite blurb ever, calling Goblin Quest “Too f***ing cool for words!” He also hooked me up with John Kovalic, who went on to provide another blurb.
It’s hard to put into words how much that meant. I was a nobody in the writing world. I had friends signing deals with major publishers, and I was with a press that might sell 500 copies if I was lucky. I felt like a fraud, and I was terrified people were going to find out.
Having Wil Wheaton agree to read the book, and his follow-up e-mails saying how much he enjoyed it . . . well, it didn’t make the crazy go away, but it helped. It helped a lot.

So now it’s five years later, and I finally got my hands on Wil’s book Just a Geek, a collection of blog posts and original material chronicling Wil’s decision to leave Star Trek, his efforts to find work in Hollywood, the struggle to balance career and family, and his eventual decision to give this writing thing a try.
I’ve read for years, so I knew he was a good writer, and I fully expected to enjoy the book. What I didn’t expect was how much I would relate to the stories he shared. How many of you writers out there can connect to this:
The hundreds of adoring fans I’d hoped to see did show up . . . when people like Kevin Smith and the cast of the short-lived Witchblade took up temporary residence at tables near mine.
Yep. That could be me at one of several group book signings I’ve done next to folks like John Scalzi or Mike Resnick. Or how about:
“I would often be one of the final two or three actors to be considered. But consistently coming in second or third was actually worse than not making it past the first round of meetings. It was like scaling Mount Everest, only to die within sight of the summit . . . over and over again.
I think every writer goes through this stage, where we’re getting ‘Almost, but not quite’rejections and going bugnut insane trying to figure out why we can’t make the cut when we’re so freaking close!”
There were other pieces that jumped out at me. Wil mentions legal battles with his stepsons’ father, and the overwhelming lawyer bills that come with them. (Been there, done that.) He writes about choosing between going with his family on a vacation or staying home in order to make it to auditions. (Some of you might remember when I missed half of my family vacation in order to make the deadline on Mermaid).

The point is, it’s an aptly-named book. There’s a blunt honestly to the writing. You don’t feel like you’re reading about a celebrity; you’re reading about a guy who, like most of the folks reading this review, is just a geek (albeit one with 10,000 times as many Twitter followers as most of us). If writing is about creating a connection between author and reader, then Wheaton is a damn good writer.
If you’ve read his blog, you know Wil Wheaton can write. Just a Geek shows he can do it at book-length, tying individual stories and blog entries together into a larger story, one which starts with Wil Wheaton trying to Prove to Everyone That Quitting Star Trek Wasn’t A Mistake, and ending with Wil Wheaton, Author. Wil’s book is now out in paperback. Check it out.

To read more of Jim’s thoughts about writing or being a geek, please visit

Mermaid’s Madness was released October 6, 2009.
What would happen if a star writer went back to the darker themes of the original fairy tales for plots, and then crossed the Disney princesses with Charlie’s Angels? What he’d end up with is The Mermaid's Madness-a whole new take on The Little Mermaid. And with Jim C. Hines, of Jig the Goblin fame, penning the tale, you can bet it won’t be “They lived happily ever after.”

Another awesome book, just released, is Ethan Gilsdorf’s

Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks

This is a great book and I was lucky enough to meet the author at Gen Con in August of 2009, when we did a book signing together.

What could one man find if he embarked on a journey through fantasy world after fantasy world?
In an enthralling blend of travelogue, pop culture analysis, and memoir, forty-year-old former D&D addict Ethan Gilsdorf crisscrosses America, the world, and other worlds—from Boston to New Zealand, and Planet Earth to the realm of Aggramar.
Check out

New and Recent Novels, Anthologies and More by Symposium Authors

The Writers’ Symposium welcomes it’s newest member, Greg Wilson, who spoke on many of the panels at Gen Con this year. Visit him online at

THE THIRD SIGN, a novel by Gregory A. Wilson

“Wilson's fantasy debut recalls the complexity of classic epic fantasy in the tradition of Robert Jordan. Combining adventure with mystery and memorable characters, this is a good choice for committed fantasy fans.”
—Jackie Cassada, Library Journal

“In The Third Sign, Gregory Wilson pulls off the single most difficult feat of magic in an epic fantasy: he makes it real...A very satisfying tale from an intriguing new voice.”
—David Niall Wilson, Bram Stoker award winning author of “Deep Blue” and “The Relic of the Dawn.”

GRANTS PASS, Anthology Edited by Jennifer Brozek

The apocalypse has arrived.
Humanity was decimated by bio-terrorism; three engineered plagues were let loose on the world. Barely anyone has survived.
Just a year before the collapse, Grants Pass, Oregon, USA, was publicly labeled as a place of sanctuary in a whimsical online, “what if” post. Now, it has become one of the last known refuges, and the hope, of mankind.
Would you go to Grants Pass based on the words of someone you’ve never met?

Featuring stories by Jennifer Brozek, Jay Lake and Ed Greenwood, plus many more.
Visit for more.

18 original stories that take familiar fairy tales and shift them around to give them an entirely new slant. Like, Revenge of the Little Match Girl—where one of the most innocent characters of all time becomes a homicidal pyromaniac.
Edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg. Read stories by Dennis L. McKiernan, Chris Pierson, Kathleen Watness, Jim C. Hines, Stephen D. Sullivan, Paul Genesse, Skip & Penny Williams, Elizabeth A. Vaughan, Janet Deaver-Pack, Kelly Swails, and Michael A. Stackpole. Released May 2009

GAMER FANTASTIC, Edited by Kerrie Hughes
From a teenager who finds a better future in virtual reality; to a private investigator hired to find a dying man’s grandson in the midst of a virtual reality theme park; from a person gifted with the power to pull things out of books into the real world; to a psychologist using fantasy role-playing to heal his patients; from a gaming convention where the real winners may not be who they seem to be; to a multi-layered role-playing game that leads participants from reality to reality and games within games—these imaginative and fascinating new tales will captivate both lovers of original fantasy and anyone who has ever fallen under the spell of role-playing games. Edited by Kerrie Hughes. Releasing July 1, 2009. Featuring stories by Donald Bingle, etc. . . .

Released October 2009. From a farmer at war with Nature’s creatures, to dangerous doings when the henhouse goes on-line, to the hazards of keeping company with a book wyrm, here are ingenious tales that will make readers laugh or cry-or double-check to make sure that their windows and doors are firmly locked against the things that prowl the night. Stories by Don Bingle, Anton Strout, Alexander B Potter, Elizabeth A Vaughn, Carrie Vaughn, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Brenda Cooper, John Pitt, Tim Waggoner, Larry D. Sweazy, Richard Lee Byers and more.

GOBLIN NATION, By Jean Rabe. The climactic conclusion to The Stonetellers saga!
Goblin Nation concludes Jean Rabe’s Stonetellers trilogy, finding Direfang and his army of goblins and hobgoblins deep in the Qualinesti Forest. Although they are far from the Dark Knights' mining camp they escaped from, they are also far from safe. The forest is fraught with its own deadly dangers--with the entire world seemingly bent on keeping the goblins from founding their new homeland. But Direfang is resolute and will risk all their lives in a final bid for freedom.

DEADER STILL by Anton Strout
“Following Simon’s adventures is like being the pinball in an especially antic game, but it's well worth the wear and tear.”
-Charlaine Harris, author of the SOOKIE STACKHOUSE series.

It’s hard to defeat evil on a budget. Just ask Simon Canderous.

It’s been 737 days since the Department of Extraordinary Affairs’ last vampire incursion, but that streak appears to have ended when a boat full of dead lawyers is found in the Hudson River. Using the power of psychometry—the ability to divine the history of an object by touching it—agent Simon Canderous discovers that the booze cruise was crashed by something that sucked all the blood out of the litigators. Now, his workday may never end—until his life does.


UNHOLY by Richard Lee. Byers
I saw something 
than I’ve ever seen before.
Something truly
I understand now what drove Fastrin mad.
Why he was willing to slaughter us all.

The formerly green fields lie in war-torn ruins. The formerly living populace is undead. And the formerly brilliant necromancer, the mastermind behind the civil war that drove the ruling council into exile, appears to have gone insane. But rumor spreads of a reason behind his randomness -- a reason all survivors of Thay must rally against.
Releasing February 3, 2009

CATOPOLIS, Edited by Janet Deaver-Pack
Seventeen original stories about the “city of cats.”
Set in a world that exists on the same plane as humans, yet is hidden from us, CATOPOLIS introduces readers to an assortment of cats, ranging from a feline Seer who must take destiny into her own paws to defeat a dictatorial tomcat a black cat who can call upon the powers of the “big cats” to wage a war against a cat who would be the ins and outs of cat politics and the perils of using mice as a cat burglar looking for a musical treasure for his “boss.”
Featuring stories by Richard Lee Byers, Paul Genesse, Don Bingle, Jean Rabe, Marc Tassin, Elizabeth Vaughan and more.

THE STEPSISTER SCHEME by Jim C. Hines. What would happen if an author went back to the darker themes of the original fairy tales for his plots, and then crossed the Disney princesses with Charlie’s Angels? What’s delivered is THE STEPSISTER SCHEME—a whole new take on what happened to Cinderella and her prince after the wedding. And with Jim C. Hines penning the tale readers can bet it won’t be “and they lived happily ever after.”

“These princesses will give ‘Charlie’s Angels’ a serious run for the money, and leave ‘em in the dust.” –Esther Friesner, author of NOBODY’S PRINCESS
Releasing January 6, 2009

GREENSWORD is a dark comedy about the environment, extremism, stupid criminals, and the lengths to which people will go to avoid getting a real job.

They’re about to save the world; they just don’t want to get caught doing it.
Says Hugo and Nebula Award Winner, Robert J. Sawyer: “Science fiction has always been a great vehicle for biting satire and social commentary­­from H. G. Wells’ THE TIME MACHINE right on up to Donald Bingle’s engrossing, GREENSWORD, Bingle is a terrific writer.”
Releasing January 21, 2009

DAY TWO: THE WISE MAN’S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss

“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”

An escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune.

In The Wise Man’s Fear Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.

Releasing sometime in the near future. Visit Pat’s blog for all the details and congratulate Pat on the birth of his new baby.

WHITE STAR by Elizabeth Vaughan

The Lady High Priestess Evelyn, known as Evie to her friends, is a healer, dedicated to using her magic in the service of the goddess to aid others and give strength where it is needed. Orrin Blackheart couldn’t be more different. With his black armor, a black name and a blacker reputation, he’s been feared and hated in equal parts. So on his defeat and capture in battle, the Goddesses insistence that Evie saves him from a death sentence astonishes them both—as does the growing attraction between them. But in saving Orrin Evie condemns herself to a prohibition on her magic and a penance posting on the edges of the land, while to retain his salvation Orrin must battle a spreading plague across the land. Fate clearly has plans for them both—but to fulfill them, both must survive the perils ahead.
Releasing April 7, 2009

THE DRAGON HUNTERS, Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series

On this hunt, you give up everything.

The last of an order of dragon hunters must track down the dragon king’s daughter and stop her from getting the Crystal Eye, an ancient artifact that will cause the destruction of their world.

Advance Praise for THE DRAGON HUNTERS:
“Genesse stresses the necessity of trust between races and cultures and the perils of bias and dissention, and he keeps the plot moving quickly . . .”
—Publishers Weekly

“Paul Genesse is a talented writer with two rare gifts: the ability to create wonderful worlds, and the skill to share them with his readers. Through his deft handling of magic and mythic creatures, Paul Genesse transports us into a realm of wild imagining. Taut suspense and fantastic imagery make The Dragon Hunters a tale no fantasy fan will want to miss.”
—Michael A. Stackpole, New York Times bestselling author of the Star Wars novel I, Jedi

Read the first two chapters for free at, isten to a free podcast of Paul reading the book, or watch a video on YouTube.

DEATH MARCH –Jean Rabe. Escaping from the slave pens of a Dark Knight mining camp was no easy feat, but what awaits Direfang, a former hobgoblin slave who has become the reluctant general of a growing goblin army is every bit as perilous.

BLACKSTAFF TOWER—Steven Schend. Young friends stumble across a terrifying conspiracy that holds the heir to the Blackstaff, the defender of the city of Waterdeep, in terrible danger.

IMAGINARY FRIENDS. 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. Featuring stories by Jean Rabe, Don Bingle, Tim Waggoner, Paul Genesse and Jim C. Hines

DAGGER-STAR by Elizabeth Vaughan

After captivating readers with her CHRONICLE 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.

THE GOLDEN CORD, By Paul Genesse. 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 dragon king.

“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. BOOK ONE OF THE IRON DRAGON SERIES is a rich and compelling fantasy full of adventure, danger, dragons, battles, revenge, magic, and more.”

“THE GOLDEN CORD is indeed a hellishly good read.”

Watch a video about THE GOLDEN CORD and download the first chapter for free at .
Watch a video about The DRAGON HUNTERS ON, coming soon to the website.

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.

Final Thought

Whether you’re a geek or not, I think that those of us who love fantasy and science-fiction have to stick together. We understand each other’s fascination with other worlds.

I find it so cool that though we may have never met, we’ve actually gone on amazing adventures together many times. How? Because we read The Hobbit or the Narnia books when we were kids, or we’ve seen the same movies, or played the same role-playing games. There is a bond between us that goes beyond whatever label society wants to put on our foreheads. I’m not embarrassed about my passion for fantasy anymore. I embrace it. So what? I’m a fantasy geek. I love dragons and castles and heroes. I want everyone, especially the kids, to know that it’s okay if they love them too.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see many of you while I’m on my Dragon Hunters Book Tour in October and November of 2009.

Paul Genesse, Editor and Author

Visit to see the details, but I’ll be in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Flagstaff, L.A., Santa Maria, San Francisco, San Rafael, Antioch, Sacramento, Reno, and Salt Lake City.

Writers’ Symposium Members—Visit them on their sites or on the W.S. Blog--contact info there
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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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Congrats to my friend, Gail, the Utah Poet of the Year


Congratulations to my friend, Gail Schimmelpfennig, the Utah Poet of the Year

I had a good day, despite the fact that I managed only two hours of sleep the night before. I’m just on a night schedule, I’m fine.

Saturday, October 10, I had a book signing with some fellow writer friends, Larry Correia—author of Monster Hunter International, John Brown—author of Servant of a Dark God, Jessica Day George—author of Dragon Spear, and Mette Ivie Harrison—author of The Princess and the Bear. We were at the Sugarhouse Barnes and Noble, doing a panel that answered audience questions about writing. It was lots of fun and it’s always good to see my friends and visit with fans. A few people who had read book two came to say hello, and ask about book three. I don’t have a release date yet, but The Secret Empire is progressing well. I’m rewriting the manuscript now.

After the event, my wife, Tammy, most of us panelists, and some friends went over to the Noodles and Co. for some food. It was a great time, and I’m so thankful for my wife, friends and fans. They really do keep me going when times are tough.

Then, my wife Tammy and I went by the Salt Lake City Library to honor a friend for a massive achievement. I met Gail Schimmelpfennig in a writers group several years ago and immediately liked her. She is one of those really awesome people and helped me when I was a newer writer. It’s important to know that Gail is a breast cancer survivor. Her book, The Frozen Kingdom, is a powerful collection of poems inspired by her struggle to live. I heard her read from her book Saturday night, and her poems are powerful and moving. I’m reading the book now, and she truly is an astonishing poet.

Heartfelt congratulations to dear Gail, for her book, The Frozen Kingdom, published by the Utah Poetry Society. I’m so thankful that I was able to attend the beautiful ceremony honoring an exceptional woman.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dragon Hunters Book Tour


Hello Friends,

I hope you’re all doing well. I’m about to kick off another book tour (of the Western U.S.), and was hoping to see you along the way, or we can catch up online with email or on Facebook.

In a couple of days I’ve got a book signing in Salt Lake City on Saturday October 10, then on October 17 I leave on The Dragon Hunters book tour. I’ll be in Las Vegas, Beatty, Phoenix, Flagstaff, L.A., Santa Maria, San Jose, San Francisco, San Rafael, Antioch, Sacramento, and Reno teaching writing in many schools and doing book signings. The details are on my website,

When I’m in each city I’m trying to organize a lunch or dinner gathering with friends and family. Everyone is welcome and please let me know if you’re in the area and would like to get together. Saturday Oct. 10 we’re gathering at Noodles & Co. at 3:30 for some food and fun. The tour dates are below. I’d love to see you.

Best wishes to you all and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters


Saturday, October 10, Barnes & Noble Sugarhouse, Book Signing in Salt Lake City,
1-3, panel from 1-2, signing 2-3. Meet at Noodles and Co. next door 3:30-5:30.

Saturday October 17, drive to Beatty, Nevada.

Sunday October 18, hang in Beatty with Mom.

Monday October 19, Beatty school visits and library visit 3-4:30, drive to Vegas afterward.

Tuesday October 20, Possible TV interview, Las Vegas school visits, Bob Miller Middle School 8-9:50, George E. Harris Elementary School 1:15-3, Charleston Blvd. Barnes and Noble signing 7-9 PM

Wednesday October 21, Drive to Phoenix—Stapely Junior High in Mesa, 2-3:30
Dinner with friends.

Thursday October 22, Phoenix school visits and book signing at the Happy Valley Barnes and Noble 6-8

Fri Oct 23, Drive up to Flagstaff, author talk Friday night (time to be determined).
Dinner with friends.

Sat October 24, book signing 11-1 Flagstaff, NAU Bookstore, NAU Football game—Homecoming! Dinner with friends.

Sun Oct 25, Drive to Whittier, CA, in the L.A. area.

Mon Oct 26, school visit, Leffingwell Elementary School 8:30-10:00;
Cerritos High School 12:20-1:45; Sign books at Borders books in Cerritos, Town Center.

Tues October 27, Drive to Santa Maria—to visit my friend Christy

Wed October 28, Santa Maria, two school visits, Dunlap and Alice Shaw Elementary, sign books at B. Dalton in Santa Maria

Thurs October 29, Drive to San Jose for the World Fantasy Convention.

Fri-Sat October 30-Nov 1, World Fantasy Convention

Sun November 1; Pick my wife Tam in San Francisco. Spend time in Golden Gate Park, then drive to Marin County.

Mon November 2, Miller Creek Middle School (8-12:30), stay in Marin County, Sign books at Borders Books, 588 Francisco Blvd, West
San Rafael, CA

Tues November 3, Antioch, speak at the Deer Valley Library; stay in Antioch

Wed November 4 Drive to Sacramento, California Middle School, (time?)

Thurs November 5, Sutterville Elementary School 9:15-11:00, Drive to Reno

Fri November 6, School Visits in Reno/Sparks, Mendive Middle School 8-9; Marvin Moss (9:30-11:00); Swope Middle School 12-2; dinner with friends.

Sat November 7 Book signing Barnes and Noble 3-5, Reno, NV. Book raffle at 3:00
Lunch with friends, dinner with family

Sun November 8, hang in Reno with family & friends

Mon November 9, leave for Salt Lake City.