Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Gift For My Friends and Fans

A free holiday gift for my friends and fans! The first 70 pages of book three, The Secret Empire, available as a free PDF download on my website.

Also, book one, The Golden Cord and book two, The Dragon Hunters, are now eBooks on, click on the titles to see them online and click "Like" on Amazon.

Production delays have changed the release date for book three, which will now be available as an eBook and trade paperback by January 10, 2012. Thank you all for your support, and I am so fortunate to have such great friends and fans.

Happy holidays and here's to a great new year.

Paul Genesse

Author of The Secret Empire

Book Three of the Iron Dragon Series

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review of Steampunk'd

Excellent review of Steampunk'd.

I love reading reviews like this one. It made my already excellent day.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Nubian Queen in Steampunk'd, edited by Jean Rabe and Martin Greenburg

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fully crafted characters podcast


New podcast on crafting characters. I was on Dungeon Crawlers Radio. It's primarily a gaming podcast, but the principles work for novels too. Check it out here:

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The First Church of Digital Salvation

I’ve joined a new church. It’s called: The First Church of the Digital Salvation, and I first heard about it from the eVangelist himself, New York Times bestselling author Michael Stackpole, while I was at the recent World Fantasy Convention (San Diego, California 2011). Okay, so it’s not really a religious movement, but a publishing one. The paradigm of book publishing is shifting, and though I want to be part of the traditional model, I’m going to pursue the new one as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I do want some of my books to be in every bookstore in America and have one of the big publishers behind me, but a large part of the future is going to be ePublishing. I’ve already experimented with ePublishing with The Crimson Pact series that I’m editing, and soon (December 2011) my Iron Dragon series will be available as eBooks (as well as hard copies).

Part of my final conversion was because of a wonderful and long chat with two authors, K.W. Jeter, (also a member of the Church of Digital Salvation) and Michael Stackpole--the founder. Mr. Jeter is the guy famous for coining the term “steampunk” in addition to writing New York Times bestselling books.

The gist of what K.W. Jeter said to me is now online in a fascinating guest blog he wrote on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog. The link is at the end of this post.

One of the big take home points that Mr. Jeter made to me is this: traditional publishing is very frustrating to most authors. The process of writing a book often takes a year, then it takes a year for the literary agent to read it and sell it (the editor at the publisher doesn’t get back to the agent for a year quite often), then it takes two years (sometimes only one if you’re lucky) for the book to come out. Almost all books then go out of print, leaving the author even more frustrated.

There are also layers and layers of people at the publishing house who have to sign off on a project. The nature of the publishing industry is just slow and soul crushing for most people.

It doesn't have to be that way anymore. The eBook revolution has changed the rules and the whole paradigm is shifting.

Near the end of our talk, Mr. Jeter looked at me with some envy and said that I could go through most of my career without having to endure the pain that he and so many other authors have endured. I've already experienced my share of pain with traditional publishing, and the eBook revolution has given me new hope for the future.

K.W. Jeter gives a lot of great insights in his blog post on the eBook revolution, and read it here:

Happy writing and reading.

Paul Genesse
Member of The First Church of Digital Salvation
Editor of The Crimson Pact anthology series

The Founders of Steampunk


Hello Friends,

I attended a fascinating panel at the 2011 World Fantasy Convention held in San Diego, California: “The Founders of Steampunk.”

This was a very historic event, and fortunately, Moses Siregar, author extraordinaire, filmed it with the consent of the panelists. (linked at the end of this post)

This panel featured :

K.W. Jeter, James Blaylock, and Tim Powers.

John Berlyne served as the moderator. He's not a founder of steampunk, but is an expert on Tim Powers and wrote a book about Tim's works. He's also worked as a literary agent.

Here are a few notes I made during the panel and tidbits I wanted to share with all of you.

K.W. Jeter coined the term “steampunk” and he did so in 1987 in a letter to Locus Magazine.

Jeter, Blaylock and Powers were all students at Cal State Fullerton in 1969. They discovered Henry Mayhew’s book about London called, “London Labor London Poor,” which is a treasure trove of information on the Victorian era and the best research book on London ever. (Print copies are available for purchase online or you can find it as a free download—I’m not sure where, sorry).

Jeter, Blaylock, and Powers would each call dibs on specific parts of “London Labor London Poor” for their stories. The book has all the linguistic idioms of the times. There’s also a “London Underworld” book by Mayhew they mentioned as well, and it’s available as well.

My favorite quotes from the panel:

“We weren’t hampered by knowledge” (about science). “Any revision of history that we do is accidental, as we don’t know anything about the real history.” Tim Powers

“Imaginary science is better and more fun than real science.” K.W. Jeter

“Anubis Gates is a complete fake as far as steampunk.” Tim Powers (author of Anubis Gates)

“Homunculus (by James Blaylock 1986) and Infernal Devices (by K.W. Jeter 1987) are perfect steampunk.” Tim Powers *Side note, the sequel to Infernal Devices is coming out from Tor Books in 2013.

View the video of the panel here:


Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact anthology series

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Spellbound Book II of the Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia


Hi Friends,

Here's a review of Spellbound, a "grim" noir superhero novel set in an alternate history 1920's Earth. I love the first one and they put a blurb from me on the back of the book.

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact anthology series

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review of Monster Hunter Alpha by Larry Correia


Review of Monster Hunter Alpha by Larry Correia

Werewolves are awesome, and the coolest werewolf character I’ve ever read about is Earl Shackleford. He goes by Earl “Harbinger” now, and he’s in charge of the monster hunting company, Monster Hunter International (MHI) in New York Times bestselling author Larry Correia’s uber cool urban fantasy world that mirrors our own.

I’m so glad Correia gave Earl his own book, Monster Hunter Alpha, as Earl was an important and mysterious, but secondary character in Monster Hunter International and Monster Hunter Vendetta—both excellent novels. In this third installment of the New York Times bestselling Monster Hunter franchise we get to learn more about Earl’s background, partly through fascinating journal entries, and we get to see how bad ass werewolves really are.

Earl’s tough, and since he’s nigh immortal, he’s been around since before World War I, he has a lot of experience to draw upon—though he’s only in control of his curse and the moon madness for part of the month. His life is exciting, deadly, and never boring when he decides to take a vacation. That’s what he tells the gang at MHI. In truth, he’s found out that his arch nemesis has surfaced, a Russian werewolf named Nikolai who Earl last battled in the jungles of Viet Nam. Armed with little information—and a truck full of guns and silver bullets—our monster hunting hero (who keep in mind is also a monster) is drawn to a middle of nowhere town in the frozen wilds of Michigan’s upper peninsula during a harsh blizzard.

A whole town of innocent people is attacked when an ancient artifact, buried in a mine near the town for decades, is finally located by a very devious villain—whose identity is secret for most of the book. Monster Hunter Alpha starts fast, and the story evolves a little more slowly after that, but like almost all great horror novels, the set-up pays huge dividends later.

Earl is assisted not by his crew from MHI, (Owen Pitt and the gang will have other books, don’t worry) but by the town’s deputy sheriff, Heather Kerkonen, a red head with a lot of fight in her who is related to the Norwegian guy who found the amulet and buried it in the mine long ago. She’s a well drawn character and a perfect compliment to Earl. The two of them form the core of the book and let me tell you, this would make a great movie or TV series. I think the dialogue alone is a screenwriter’s dream and Correia writes very cinematic scenes with everything you’d want in a movie, or a great book.

Monster Hunter Alpha is a top-notch urban fantasy action-horror novel with great thrills, chills, dark humor, and serious carnage. BIG GUNS, cool characters, many werewolf on werewolf battles, horrifying monsters, and a snowplow scene that you will never forget mark this as a killer book. It’s a lot of entertainment for $7.99, and the story builds to a truly amazing climax at the end that made me smile and wish for the next volume, Monster Hunter Legion.

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact Series

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Give-Away on Goodreads

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Crimson Pact by Paul Genesse

The Crimson Pact

by Paul Genesse

Giveaway ends December 01, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Friday, October 14, 2011

Review of Net Impact by Donald J. Bingle


Net Impact by Donald J. Bingle is not your dad’s spy novel. This is a modern spy thriller about a realistic agent working for a shadow company, The Subsidiary, affiliated with several different sovereign nations. The details are crisp and main character is a fully drawn man with an exciting career in espionage, but a terrible life at home, as he rarely sees his wife and son, who are becoming more and more upset with his always gone lifestyle. His marriage is in serious trouble as he is sent on a mission to New Zealand to stop the transfer of unmanned drone plans and goes from there as our he uncovers the truth about a very diabolical plot apropos for our modern internet age.

The most fascinating thing about the novel is the inclusion of the fictional virtual world of Reality 2 Be, think Second Life, where a lot of secret and illegal activity happens—which is not fiction. I had no idea, but in the virtual worlds of the internet money is transferred, criminals conduct clandestine meetings, and rebels and terrorists get together right under the nose of the world governments who have no idea of how to monitor and police the virtual worlds. Sure, we’ve seen spies infiltrate the lairs of the bad guys, but I hadn’t seen one infiltrate a virtual world before, and it was cool to see how the plot brought the virtual and real world together in a very fascinating twist.

The strength of the book is the accurate main character, who is so good at what he does, but not in a sort of silly James Bond way. This is more of a Jason Bourne crossed with that cool uncle of yours who was a lineman in football, then army ranger, and a cop before he became a private consultant. He’s a realistic spy, who uses his keen intellect and pragmatic philosophy to get the job done—and he’s known for causing mass destruction, but he gets the mission accomplished no matter what. Sure, there are a few gunfights, fires, computer hacking moments, and big explosions, but OMG, the ending is pretty amazing and I didn’t see that one coming. I’m pretty certain no spy has ever used what this guy used to accomplish the mission at the end.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as well as Bingle’s other novels, Forced Conversion and Greensword. His short fiction has always entertained me as well, and I look forward to his next project.

Net Impact is a short, punchy, realistic spy thriller for the modern age, and once you read this, you’ll never look at the internet the same way again.

Paul Genesse, author and editor

Monday, October 3, 2011

Review of Shadow Valley


Shadow Valley by Michael R. Collings

This is a very creepy horror novel by an esteemed and accomplished writer. The prose is smooth and interesting and builds to become quite intense at the end. The main character is Lila Ellis, a young woman who is trying to find out if anyone lives in an old house in a rural valley that is about to be flooded by a new dam project that will create a reservoir.

The book is short and easy to read, but it takes a while to really get going. The pace picks up when Lila gets into the house and discovers a chilling journal that spells out some of the sordid and complex history of the Stevenson family. Lila uncovers the secret past of the place and finds out about the curse that has taken so many people, especially young women who end up living there alone.

Right when Lila enters you know she’s made a huge mistake, but the twists are still quite interesting. The first thing she discovers is seventy boxes of chocolate with only one missing from each box. This was where it really started to get creepy and who knew that the smell of chocolate could be so scary? Collings excels at description and knows how to build an atmosphere of dread.

Overall, this is an interesting story, but some readers will find it a little slow. If you’re a fan of Stephen King, haunted house books, and family curses, this is definitely a book you'll enjoy.

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Top 10 Challenged Books of 2010

I found this list and wanted to share it.

Top 10 Challenged Books of 2010
By Pam Gaulin | Yahoo! Contributor Network – Wed, Sep 21, 2011

Danger! Books ahead! Each year during Banned Books Week, the American Library Associationshares its list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books of 2010. Banned Books Week 2011 occurs Sept. 24 to Oct. 1. Few classics make the list, but there are penguins, vampires, a part-time Indian and angst-ridden, sexually-curious teens.

No. 1 "And Tango Makes Three" by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Unlike the other books on the list, "And Tango Makes Three" is a picture book, inspired by the true story (based on an incident at Central Park Zoo in Manhattan) of two male penguins, Roy and Silo, successfully incubating an egg. According to the ALA, it has been challenged due to "homosexuality, religious viewpoint" and is considered "unsuited to age group" (preschool to grade 3) "And Tango Makes Three" has remained the number one challenged book since 2006, with the exception of 2009 when Lauren Myracle's "ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r" (series) was the most challenged book.

No. 2 "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie
Published in 2007, the book remained relatively under the censorship radar until 2010, debuting at the number two spot of most challenged books. The book is challenged for " offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, violence , and being unsuited to age group (grades seven through 10).

No. 3 "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley
This was the only classic to make the 2010 list. Reasons the book was challenged include: "insensitivity, offensive language, racism and being sexually explicit." Huxley was ranked 36th on the most challenged author list from 2000 to 2009, and No. 54 from 1990 to 1999, according to theALA.

No. 4 "Crank" by Ellen Hopkins
Hopkins' book has been compared to another frequently challenged book, "Go Ask Alice." Published in 2004, 2010 is the first year "Crank" makes the top 10 list, thanks to " drugs, offensive language, and being sexually explicit."

No. 5 The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
When the highly anticipated movie premieres in 2012, this dystopian novel may jump a few notches on the challenged list. The book is challenged for violence, sexual explicitness and is considered unsuited to its intended age group (grades seven and up).

No. 6 "Lush" by Natasha Friend
The main character lives in a dysfunctional family with and alcoholic father. Although it was published in 2006, 2010 is the first year the book makes it to the most challenged list. Reasons include:"drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group (grades 7 and up).

No. 7 "What My Mother Doesn't Know" by Sonya Sones
Sones' book has bounced off and on the most challenged list in the last decade, mainly for "sexism, being sexually explicit, unsuited to age group," according to ALA.

No. 8 Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Ehrenreich's book is the only non-fiction book on the list. Reasons for challenges include drugs, offensive language and religious viewpoint. It's also challenged due to its political viewpoint and for being "inaccurate," according to the ALA.

No. 9 "Revolutionary Voices" edited by Amy Sonnie
Rarely does a collection of stories make the top 10 list, but here it is. The book has been challenged for "homosexuality and being sexually explicit."

No. 10 "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer
Meyer's vampire phenomenon has dropped down in its ranking for 2010, last year there were even "more dangerous" books on the shelves. In 2009 "Twilight" the series ranked at number five. The series is challenged most frequently due to violence and its religious viewpoint.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dance with Dragons Review


I finished reading book five in the Song of Ice and Fire Series, Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin (GRRM) a couple of days ago. HBO is doing the show, Game of Thrones based on the books.

Anyway, GRRM is my favorite living fantasy author, and I loved the first three books. Book four, A Feast for Crows was suspect, and I hoped Dance would be awesome. It had some great moments and I really got into it after 500 pages (it's 1,000 pages long), but in the end, it had some major flaws and was so slow and ponderous for much of the book.

I read the last 500 pages in 24 hours, staying up for a really long time, but there was almost no resolution and the plot moved along not at all or perhaps took some steps backward. It's been five years since the last book and this one was a disappointment in the end, which makes me very sad. If GRRM pulls this off and finishes the series in seven books and the last two are triumphant, maybe these last two will be forgiven, but only time will tell. I have high hopes.

I could have written a giant review and gone over all the details, but I found two reviews on that really sum up all of my thoughts extremely well. Please check them out.

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact


Net Impact


Hi Friends,

I wanted to pass along some info about one of my favorite writers. Donald Bingle. I just started reading his new book, Net Impact and it's a very awesome spy thriller. Check out the promo email below from Don and please get a copy if it interests you. The trade paperback recently came out and you can also get an electronic copy. Check out the message below.

Happy Reading,

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact

Donald J. Bingle's new spy novel, Net Impact, is now out in trade paperback and the electronic version is on Barnes & Noble's website,, for the Nook eReader, and on for the Kindle. You can also order it through me and my website, as well as my publisher's (Alliteration Ink) website, Amazon, and other sites.

Hopefully, a few of you might read it and consider posting an honest and thoughtful review on your blog, social networking site, bookseller webpage, or other review site (Shelfari, Goodreads, etc.) to help get the ball rolling on word-of-mouth even before the official release date.

Here's the link for Nook:

Here's the link for Amazon/Kindle:

Or get it on Alliteration Ink's website:

Here's some promo text to tempt you.

Dick Thornby is not Hollywood's idea of a spy. In his rough and tumble job there are no tailored Italian suits, no bimbos eager to please, and no massive underground fortresses built by evil overlords seeking world domination—just an endless series of sinister threats to the safety and security of the billions of mundane citizens of the planet. Sure, Dick's tough and he knows a few tricks to help him get out of a tight spot, even if his boss accuses him of over-reliance on an abundance of explosives. But he's also got a mortgage, a wife upset by his frequent absences on "business" trips, and an increasingly alienated teen-age son who spends way too much time playing in gaming worlds on the computer.

When a mission to bust up an arms exchange in New Zealand goes spectacularly bad, ending with the showy destruction of the Dunedin port facility, Dick is thrown into a maze of conflict involving Hong Kong arms dealers, cyber-criminals, Chinese government goons attempting to suppress computer access by dissidents, and even militant Maoris seeking rocket launchers to shoot down tourist-laden jumbo jets. Then a young computer expert back at the Philadelphia headquarters for The Subsidiary, an international espionage agency created in the aftermath of 9/11, discovers that the bad guys are involved in a vast conspiracy. Dick is forced to partner with the espionage neophyte to battle evil on multiple fronts, leading to a final confrontation that incorporates real-world conspiracy theories and cutting-edge technology.

In the end, Dick can save his partner, save his marriage, save his son, or save the world, but he can't do it all.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Body or Soul by Chanté McCoy


Body or Soul

by Chanté McCoy

An earthquake rips through my body. I gasp, my breath taken away. Never before have I felt such pain. I’m afraid it will rip me apart. Is the time already so near? Will I find Darrius Papadas before the blessed event?

The pain recedes. Slowly, my lungs work again, and I push off from the wall of the tall rocky tower to continue down the etched steps, each footfall hesitant until I feel the stone beneath me. The stairs are too steep for my short legs. They shake. And my mind still spins from being sent from my home atop the mountain and the vision of Deacon Stefanou lying bloody at the feet of the Reverend Abbot. How quickly the world changed after years of sameness.

The village, my destination, sprawls in the shadowed triangular plain below. From above, with their white walls and red clay-tiled roofs, the houses look like a cluster of square-cut revani almond cake. My empty stomach gurgles at the thought. I’m thirsty too from the climb down. I suck the insides of my cheeks.

It feels like I’ll never reach the bottom, though I near the canopy of sycamores and laurels reaching toward the sky. On the narrow stairway with its long drop, I feel suspended between the ground and the open blue above, an odd purgatory bridging heaven and earth. The winter wind sliding around the mountain side threatens to push me earthward. At its calmest, the wind chills me, billowing my loose tunic cinched at the waist. My thin leggings do little against the cold. I wish I’d had time to grab my heavy cloak.

Another tremor ripples through me. Not as bad as before. I stay upright, although it is harder with the growing child inside. No longer a quickening, it pushes out my sides and kicks and shoves within. When it stretches, my skin grows taut, and bumps rise and fall along my left side. I walk lopsided, increasingly hunched from the sharing of my body with another.

I should have told the Abbot about the baby. I know that. But, when I first realized it, I was scared. What could I say? Was it blasphemy or a blessing? I couldn’t decide. I can read the Holy Book, taught by the monks. I studied it at night, after my chores, hoping to find a clue as to what was happening. The scriptures that rang true, speaking to what can only be a miracle, were the stories of Mary and the miraculous conception of Christ. Perhaps the Holy Spirit had also visited me.

Before I approached the Abbot to tell him all, time ran out. He sent me fleeing from the monastery. Now I wonder whether I will ever see home again.

Read the rest of this awesome story in The Crimson Pact Volume 2

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Crimson Pact Volume 2


The Pact is back and demons are as devious as ever in The Crimson Pact Volume 2.

Read 28 original stories (over 500 pages in print!), including many sequels to stories in volume one. Suzzanne Myers’s powerful flash fiction piece, “Withered Tree” continues with the exceptional short story, “Seven Dogs.” Chanté McCoy’s “Inside Monastic Walls” is followed by the literally gut-wrenching follow-up short story, “Body and Soul.” Urban fantasy mayhem is off the charts with rising star Patrick Tomlinson’s “Monsters in the Closet” and D. Robert Hamm’s “Karma.” Steampunk your thing? EA Younker’s steampunk apocalypse tale “Stand,” Sarah Hans’ sequel about professor Campion, “A More Ideal Vessel,” and Elaine Blose’s steampunk Western “Wayward Brother” will whet your appetite. The dark fantasy and adventure continues in “Dark Archive,” Sarah Kanning writes how Danielle from “Hidden Collection” must deal with the lingering effects of being possessed by a demon. Volume two mixes sequels from Gloria Weber, Justin Swapp, and Isaac Bell with new stories from Lester Smith, K.E. McGee, Adam Israel, Valerie Dircks, T.S. Rhodes, Elizabeth Shack, Daniel Alonso, and Nayad Monroe.

New York Times Bestselling author and Campbell award nominee Larry Correia presents an exclusive short story, “Son of Fire, Son of Thunder” co-authored by Steven Diamond, about an FBI paranormal investigator and a bad ass marine who knows the exact moment of his own death. Travel to the alternate history Earth of the “Red Bandanna Boys” by Patrick M. Tracy and find out how ruthless you have to be to survive the slums of St. Nikolayev. Follow “The Trail of Blood” by Alex Haig, a horrifying Western about a bounty hunter who wants vengeance, not money. Hunt for Nazis in a disturbing 1950’s America in “Hunters Incorporated” by Kelly Swails. Patrol the steaming jungles of Vietnam with a squad of soldiers in Lon Prater’s “Last Rites in the Big Green Empty.” Then enter the mind of a godlike demon in Donald J. Bingle’s ambitions tale, “Dark Garden,” or visit the creepy shadow world created by Richard Lee Byers in “Light and Dark.”

Watch your back, the demons are coming. Check out the book on or get it from the publisher, Alliteration Ink., where you will get the eBook in all formats.

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact Volumes 1 and 2

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Autograph Session at World Con--Saturday 1-2PM

I found out I'll be autographing at World Con with the following authors: John Joseph Adams, Rachel Bloom, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Ian McDonald, Jo Walton, Sheila Williams, and Larry Niven.

Wow. Larry Niven is a legend, as is John Joseph Adams. I'm friends with Diana Pharaoh Francis, and look forward to meeting the others.

I'll be giving away free stuff and signing autographs from 1-2 PM in the dealer's room, and will give away some free posters and more . . .

Paul Genesse

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My World Con 2011 Schedule

My World Con Schedule:

I'm arriving on Thursday afternoon, August 18 and am staying in the Peppermill Hotel

That night I'm planning dinner with friends and I'm going to attend the Night Bazaar Party at the Atlantis Hotel

Take Tammy dancing?

Friday August 19: Hang at the con, see friends and enjoy panels and more. I might even go to the pool with Tammy.

Saturday August 20: Signing at 1:00 PM. I'll have only two copies of The Crimson Pact Volume 1 ($15), plus some eBooks burned on CD's ($5), and everyone who comes will get a free limited edition poster of the cover of The Crimson Pact Volume 1, and Volume 2.

The signing is . . .

When: Sat 1pm – 2pm
Where: Hall 2 (RSCC)
Who: Paul Genesse, with: John Joseph Adams, Ian McDonald, Jo Walton


Editing Anthologies
When: Sat 3pm – 4pm
Where: A09 (RSCC)
Who: David Malki! (M), Jennifer Brozek, John Joseph Adams, Ellen Datlow
(I'm planning on attending this panel.)

How do editors approach anthologies? Do they just call their friends, or do they (or their assistants) plow through slushpiles? Do the “Best ofs” present special issues?


Hugo Award Ceremony
When: 8pm – 10pm (approx.)
Where: Tuscany Ballroom (Peppermill)

Take Tammy Dancing?!

Sunday: Sleep in! Maybe hit the pool, say goodbye to friends who are leaving, but I'm staying until Wednesday to relax and visit friends and family who live in the Reno area.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hard Magic Review


Hard Magic by New York Times bestselling author Larry Correia is a really great book and so much fun to read. Imagine X-Men crossed with the 1920’s period show by HBO, Boardwalk Empire. It sounds awesome, and it turned out to live up to its billing.

This novel is the first in the Grimnoir Chronicles and promises to be a really fantastic series, with three books under contract—book two, Spellbound is coming out November 1, 2011 by the way so there’s not long to wait for the sequel.

Hard Magic is set in an alternate history Earth where people all over the world have spontaneously manifested what can only be described as super powers—it can’t be magical powers, can it? This awakening happened in the late 1800’s, I believe, and world has been changed forever. People usually have only one power and can change gravity, teleport, and do many of the things you’d imagine superheroes can do, except maybe fly. Those with powers are called “Actives” and the rest of the people in the world, who are the major majority, are mostly frightened by them and there is a backlash, similar to the mutant backlash in X-Men. People usually have only one power and are known by names such as: Heavies, Brutes, Fades, Cogs, Mouths, Movers, Finders, Healers, Pale Horses, Weatherman, Torches, Travelers, and so many more.

The world building is top notch and well researched. The time period is 1920’s or 30’s and the alternate history alone makes this worth the read. Various figures from our own history are in this novel or are mentioned and it’s cool to see the exciting spin that Correia put on things. There are also little quotes at the beginning of the chapters that give insight into the world and the history of things. World War I was so much worse than the one from our history—which is saying a lot—and many of the characters in the book are veterans, with terrible memories of the fighting in Europe. It’s definitely dark stuff, but very fascinating.

There are a lot of characters in this book, but the main ones are Jake Sullivan (a Heavy), the big guy featured on the cover, and a hick girl from Oklahoma named Faye (she’s a Traveler), who just might be the most powerful “Active” in the world, though no one really understands that fact until late in the book . . .

Jake Sullivan is a hard-boiled hero who has been in prison and is still in love with Delilah, a dame with a disreputable past, and some serious power (she’s a Brute). Delilah is on the cover, though she should have had brown hair. Anyway, they’re both great characters, but this is an ensemble book with multiple points of views, which is a weakness in most fiction, but Correia never switches POV’s in mid sentence and breaks chapters or sections before going to a new character. This makes it a little hard to follow at times, but after you get familiar with everyone it’s easy to keep all the characters straight and this story couldn’t have been told from one or two points of view. There’s also a great glossary in the back that details much of the world building related to the powers that the “Actives” have. I also liked the illustrations in the book, which were drawn in the 1930’s pulp style by Zachary Hill.

Correia keeps the action going at a rapid pace and the enemies of the heroes, who are members of the Grimnoir Society, are really bad news. In the Grimnoir universe, The Imperium is of course, the Empire of Japan, and they’re starting to take over using their own specially developed Actives who are after a weapon that will allow them to take over the world. The heroes, mostly Grimnoir Knights, get to battle machine gun and sword wielding samurai that are nigh indestructible, teleporting ninjas, zombies, gangsters, and more. There’s airships, superhero smack downs, lots of guns, and great writing. If you enjoy lots of action and have a special place in your heart for super heroes, this is the book for you.

Highly Recommended

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact Volume 1 & 2

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How To Behave On A Panel

My friend, Steven Saus sent along a great link to The Crimson Pact authors about a blog post regarding how to behave when you're on a panel.

Here's the link to Michelle's excellent post.

And here's the email I sent out in reply:

Steven, thanks for sending along that link. I just read all of Michelle's lengthy post on panels and most of the 44 comments I saw today. She's correct to a major degree and it's definitely a good idea to follow her advice.

The panel is about X, X being the topic of the panel, not you, (Y). If the moderator asks you about how you handled X (the panel topic) in a story or novel, you (Y) are allowed to talk about it, which equals Z, but keep Z relevant and brief and entertaining--no long discourses--which bother almost everyone and will cause the wrong kind of ZZZZZZZZ to happen.

There's a slippery slope when it comes to talking about your own work, but I can't go with what Michelle was endorsing 100%, which is never talking about your own work, as apparently Connie Willis never talks about her own work. I think you have to talk about it very briefly when you give your introduction in the beginning, and at the end when you say thank you to the audience, and when someone asks about it--which is usually the moderator--which is what Michelle endorsed as well.

I've attended a ton of panels over the past 19 years, and have been on a ton more since 2005, and they're hard to pull off without a good moderator.

I recommend getting in at least one mention of your work, at the end of the panel after you say thank you where you make your final thought about the panel topic, and then say, "Thanks for coming to this panel, and I'll be doing a reading of my urban fantasy story, _________, from The Crimson Pact anthology tomorrow at 3 in the Cedar room, and I hope to see you there. I'm going to give away a free e-copy of the antho at the end of the reading. Thanks again."

Hand the mic to the moderator. Wait outside for a few minutes and see if anyone wants to chat.

Another bit of advice: Prepare yourself for the panel. Research the topic and never, ever say, "I have no idea why I'm on this panel." You're a writer, prep for it, do some research. I almost always walk out if someone on the panel says that line now. It feels like they're wasting my time. If the other panelists are great authorities on this topic, I'll stick around, but if the whole panel acts like they don't have any knowledge on the topic and are just bullshitting me, I don't like it.

Michelle's blog post is a good one for sure, so if you're going to be on a panel please check it out.

Paul Genesse, Author and Editor

Editor of The Crimson Pact Volume 1
(Alliteration Ink., March 2011)

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dungeon Crawlers Radio Interview

Here's a link to an interview I did with Dungeon Crawlers Radio. You can stream it or download it here. I spill lots of details on what I've been up to and how rough the publishing industry can be.

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact

Friday, June 10, 2011

Review of The Crimson Pact Volume 1

Review of The Crimson Pact Volume 1

Here’s insight into why I accepted each story for my first anthology.

First of all I’m very proud of the stories in The Crimson Pact Volume 1, which released as an eBook from Alliteration Ink in late March 2011 and is available from the major eBook stores or in all eBook formats at The authors did a great job and I was so pleased to help craft this collection.

Here’s an editor’s review of what you’ll find in this 26 story anthology, which includes a New York Times Bestselling author, many previously published novelists, and several flash fiction authors (1,000 words or less is considered flash) who won a spot after an open call for submissions. The stories are high fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, several styles of steampunk, fantasy noir, and a few post-apocalyptic fantasy stories. There’s definitely something for everyone.

What’s it about? Well, the whole anthology series creates a shared world without a shared world with this premise: The Crimson Pact vowed to destroy the demons of the Rusted Vale . . . but the demons had their own secret plan and escaped, invading dozens of worlds . . . These are stories set in many different worlds about the men and women who have refused to let the demons win.

Here’s a short review of each of the stories in the order they appear in the eBook.

The Failed Crusade by Paul Genesse and Patrick Tracy

It’s gotten a lot of excellent reviews and you can read it for free right here. I’m very proud of it, but the lion’s share of the credit goes to Patrick Tracy, who took an idea and made it awesome. We shaped the story together, but it was mostly Pat who did the writing. Barbara Webb also helped edit this story and the end product turned out great.

The Failed Crusade is about a doomed general trying to destroy the last remnants of a demonic army. In the carnage that remains after the last great battle, he discovers that his enemies have been smarter than anyone imagined. In the moment when they should have been annihilated, the demons escaped into other unsuspecting worlds. The only way for him to pursue them and fulfill the Pact is to cross the void as a spirit . . . by sacrificing his own life.

Solitary Life by Donald J. Bingle

I chose this story to open the anthology because of the awesome voice Don used in this first person narrator story. I love the first person point of view (POV) when it’s done well. The main character recounts his final days as a chief warden in a medieval prison on a distant world. A mysterious prisoner comes to his attention and events occur which impacts everyone. I think it’s a great story and I thought it was a good way to ease people into this extremely varied anthology. Don has written a ton of excellent short stories and novels and his skill is evident in Solitary Life.

Inside Monastic Walls by Chanté McCoy

I love this flash story and my slush reader pleaded with me to accept this into the anthology. He wrote “you, want, want, want this one!!!” I also loved it and was so happy that Chanté submitted. It turned out to be one of my favorites in the whole anthology. The story is set in Greece, in an area of orthodox monasteries called Meteora. It’s set in the early 1900’s and recounts the tale of young Phideas, whose monastery is invaded by a darkly evil thing and the poor boy is right in the middle of it all. I was totally creeped out by this story. There is a sequel coming in volume 2 and it’s as awesome as the first one.

Brother’s Keeper by Lester Smith

This is a fun flash piece by a legendary writer, Lester Smith, who is one of my personal inspirations. I had a devilish grin when I read Brother’s Keeper and very much enjoyed the voice of the narrator. I think you will too.

Stained with Nightmare Juice by Isaac Bell

This is a brilliant piece of urban fantasy and I loved it. It’s in the top three best short stories in the collection. The narrator is a somewhat crazy homeless man (who has totally lost his marbles, figuratively and literally). He’s got some unique abilities and sees spirits all the time—or is he just schizophrenic? The tone and style are a bit on the profane side, but I completely thought it was realistic and I very much enjoyed this story about demonic spirits coming to the streets of a major city and causing mayhem. The narrator enlists a man with his own powers called Oldshoe to help track down and root out the demons. I was so blown away by this piece and I think most of you will be as well. I’m still thinking about the story months after I first read it.

To Duty Sworn by Jess Hartley

Jess Hartley is a very accomplished author and her skill is apparent from the first few lines. The story tells of a disciple of the Brotherhood of Saint Hubert who is given a very delicate and serious task. This is a character study set in a medieval world and I loved the archaic feel to the prose. The story itself has you wondering what’s going to happen up to the last line.

Hidden Collection by Sarah Kanning

Who knew libraries had such dark secrets hidden in them? Sarah Kanning knows and she’s shared this tale about a young librarian who wants to get her eyes on the hidden collection at the new library she ends up working in. What she finds probably should have been burned and her life is never going to be same. I’m hoping for a sequel in volume 2.

Inquest by Barbara J. Webb

This modern day urban fantasy set in the southern part of the U.S. tells the tale of a young priest with some magical talents (think about the movie Constantine and Keanu Reeves character for a reference). The priest is giving a type of deposition (it’s an inquest) to his superiors about an incident involving a small town, a summoning ritual, and multiple deaths. The twists in this story and horror elements make it so awesome.

The Things That Crawl by Richard Lee Byers

This story will creep you out. It’s an urban, or rather rural fantasy set in the swamps of Florida during a hurricane. The main character, a cop with a lot of personal issues ends up in what I think of as a really scary Stephen King movie.
There are many things that crawl and the villain is so nasty. I love this story.

Monsters Under the Bed by Patrick S. Tomlinson

This turned out to be one of the most popular stories in the anthology and I love how it turned out. It’s about a female paranormal investigator who is brought in to help solve a particularly grisly murder. She’s teamed with a male cop and the tension is quite good. There is also a missing little girl and a monster that I will refrain from mentioning, as I don’t want to give any spoilers. There will be a sequel in volume 2.

Sins of the Father by Kathy Watness

This short story is an urban (actually rural) fantasy with the feel of a traditional fantasy. It’s the most poetic and beautiful story in the collection and is about a woman named Sylvia who has powers over spirits and the dead. Sylvia and her fey partner have to battle a dark spirit that has gotten loose into her world. Kathy Watness really did a great job. The imagery, the world building, and the character are all top notch.

Crimson Mail by Gloria Weber

This flash fiction piece has it all, death, disasters, a great character in a tough situation and all in under 1,000 words.

Cherry Picking by Rebecca L. Brown

Rebecca is an excellent and accomplished British writer and she wrote an awesome flash fiction story in the urban fantasy vein about a demonic drug dealer with very beautiful hands. This is what flash fiction is all about. Check it out and see how a pro does it right.

Chicago’s Finest by T.S. Rhodes

This is a wonderful flash piece about the girliest cop in Chicago who has a very unexpected encounter with a demon at her nephew’s school. Strong character is critical and Rhodes pulls it off well. I’m hoping for a sequel in volume 2.

The Transition by Justin Swapp

A fascinating flash piece about a young language student in Spain who has an encounter with a man with a whole lot more going on that meets the eye. I enjoyed the twist and won’t spoil it here. Justin Swapp has a bright career ahead of him.

Brotherhood Fall of New York by Garrett Piglia

A diamond in the rough is how I think of Garrett Piglia, a young man with a great imagination who is at the beginning of a long writing career. This story is alternate history and is set in New York City, which has been invaded by demons that may have been released by the Nazis. The story follows squad of grunts on a very important mission and is written in the form of a journal. Gripping stuff.

Frankie’s Girl by Kelly Swails

Here’s a really fun and entertaining story set in the 1920’s and featuring the bawdy girlfriend of a really evil gangster. This is the first short story in the collection that will probably make you laugh, then will horrify you the next moment. The bad girl main character’s narration is brilliant and I hope I get to hear Kelly read this story at a convention sometime.

Shell of a Man by Daniel Myers

Who knew there would be a hard-boiled detective story in this anthology? Daniel “Doc” Myers pulls off a classic gumshoe tale with a demonic twist. The distinctive voice of the main character is spot on. I loved it.

An Ideal Vessel by Sarah Hans

Steampunk has a lot of variation and this story is set in a turn of the century America where an inventor’s robotic creation is inhabited by a traveler from another world. I was fascinated by the alternate history presented and loved the characters. Extremely entertaining story and great steampunk.

Love, Gangsters, and Demons by Elaine Blose

Wildly inventive and entertaining steampunkish romance. Love, Gangsters and Demons by Elaine Blose is a story set in a 1930’s alternate world very similar to our own, but filled with many different creatures and people with pretty amazing powers. The main character has a gift, more like a curse, and her power is needed to help defeat the demons invading the city. I loved the main character, who is a woman with some unique friends. Extremely creative story.

Bull King by Larry Correia

New York Times bestselling author Larry Correia contributed a story set in his Grim Noir novel series and Bull King is part of his book, Hard Magic. Think X-Men meets the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. The story is set in a 1930’s Earth where many humans have developed what can only be described as super powers. Bull King has lots of ass kicking, explosions and trigger-pulling superheroes wearing Fedora hats. Yes, the book is awesome and this will give you a good taste.

Run by EA Younker

I love this flash story. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world, similar to our own that’s being destroyed by demon possessed steampunk robots. The main character, a young woman, has to flee for her life and deal with her husband who is not dealing very well with the situation.

Plastic by Craig Nybo

Plastic is a short and brutal flash fiction piece about a world where the demons have taken over and are literally “Big Brother.” The main character is a rebellious man who has run afoul of the law. It kind of reminded me of Judge Dredd crossed with George Orwells 1984. Very well done.

Red Test by Patrick M. Tracy

A young woman must pass the test to join a gang of demon killers. All she has to do is go by herself into an abandoned warehouse with a crappy shotgun and kill a demon. Excellent writing and a powerful story.

Withered Tree by Suzzanne Myers

The Road meets Mad Max in the awesome story, Withered Tree by Suzzanne Myers. It’s one of the best stories in the anthology and features a small band of survivors in an apocalyptic world who face a life and death decision. The female main character is great and I can’t wait for the sequel.

Of the Breaking of Stars by Chris Pierson

Novelist and short story writer Chris Pierson may have delivered the best story of his entire career so far when he wrote Of the Breaking of the Stars. I’ve read most of his short stories and am a huge fan of his novels, but this is my favorite ever. This story, a novella really, is in the top two in the whole anthology and that’s why it has such a place of honor, the last story in the collection. It’s set in a very unique fantasy world reminiscent of a magical ancient Babylon. It’s written in the form or journal entries and chronicles the life of a very sympathetic and scholarly man who is bearing witness to the destruction of his world. This story has it all and had me from the opening line to closing sentence.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

No-Tusks Dramatic Reading

No Tusks Dramatic Reading from Patrick Tracy on Vimeo.

Patrick Tracy and I reading my story "No Tusks" at the CONduit Sci-Fi and Fantasy convention in Salt Lake City, May 28, 2011. It's very inappropriate!

"No Tusks" is a poignant story of a young orc searching for his true path in life...well, no it isn't. It's about eating worms, getting rocks thrown at your nuts, and otherwise having a tough time, all the while plotting the destruction of your enemies.

Hope you enjoy our tomfoolery.

This story will come out in an anthology which features Shane Moore's Abyss Walker world, of which there are many novels. Shane asked me to write an orc story set in his world and how could I say no?

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact

Medusa's Daughter, Update

Hello Friends,

I’ve been working on my novel, Medusa’s Daughter, a love story set in ancient Greece. I just completed a rewrite of the whole manuscript. It went from 83,000 words to 95,000 words. I added a lot of description and details, lacking from the previous draft. I also cut a bunch of stuff that didn’t need to be there and added a few new scenes/chapters. I need to do at least one more full pass on the manuscript and do a bunch of specific tasks.

The rewrite was guided by some excellent critiques that I received from some writer friends (mainly Brad Beaulieu, Suzzanne Myers, Patrick Tracy, Barbara Webb, Kelly Swails, and a few others who provided some great feedback). I did my best to do everything they said to do, which was tough. Their input was key.

Restructuring the novel was a difficult task—moving chapters around and rethinking how to present the material and backing off certain repetitive elements. The main male character’s point of view (POV) chapters were changed completely and I wrote a few new short chapters that helped the book a lot, and filled out his storyline. I also re-shuffled the handful of Medusa POV chapters and interspersed them into the book from early on, rather than having most of them toward the end of the book.

There are still a lot of tasks left to do, mostly involving adding even more details of the island where the book mostly takes place, and the ancient Aegean world in general. I decided to set the book around 1300 BCE, which is when the Bronze Age collapsed and there were 200 years of Dark Ages. We don’t have that much information about what happened then, but there is enough for me and it’s where I’ve decided to set the Medusa Myth, which I’ve been playing with liberally. I’m saying that this book is happening before the Trojan War, if that helps your frame of reference.

I’ve been reading a lot of books about the world of 1300 BCE, mostly history books about the ancient Hittites, Greeks, and Egyptians. I also found a great book by Janet Morris that came out in 1983 called, I, The Sun, which has been awesome and has shed some light on how one author tackled this approximate time period. Ben Bova just released a book called, The Hittite, which I’m reading as well, as seeing how other authors handle this time period does inform me. Mary Renault’s books set in ancient Greece have been great as well and she is my main inspiration, though I’m not writing in the same style she did, (first person narrator with a somewhat poetic license).

Medusa’s Daughter takes place after Mary Renault’s two books, The King Must Die and The Bull From the Sea, which tell the Theseus myth, as he was a major founding king of Athens.

Anyway, I’ve been working on this novel for a few years now, or rather, I haven’t been working on the novel, and other projects have taken precedence. Now I’m back at it and hope to get it out to an agent later this summer.

You can read a draft of the first two chapters on my website.

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact

Friday, May 13, 2011

Priest Movie Review


Tonight I was able to see an advanced screening of the new movie, Priest. It was an adaptation of a graphic novel and had a comic book feel to it, though the story and dialogue was terribly derivative. It seemed like I'd heard every line before. The actors did what they could with the material they had and I'm sure they were doing exactly what the director told them to do. A friend thought the Priests were very like Jedi and I agree. I found a review (by Xamtaro) that says everything I would have written and more.

Check this link for all the details about the movie:

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Interview with Author Justin Swapp

Here's a great interview with Justin Swapp, one of my authors in The Crimson Pact Volume 1. He's interviewed by another Crimson Pact author, Chante McCoy.

Best wishes and don't forget, the deadline for a flash story for Volume 2 is June 6, 2011.

Happy writing,

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact

"The 20 Most Important Russian Reads"

"The 20 Most Important Russian Reads"

I found this article on the most important books written by Russians and wanted to post it. Check out the link and the article here:

My buddy, Patrick Tracy says that One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn is incredible.

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Big Writing Update

Okay, I’m finally going to tell you all the details about what’s been happening with my Iron Dragon Series. Some of you already know about some of it, but I’ve purposefully kept some things under wraps, because it was too painful to reveal to everyone I met. The answers are below and big secret is that I was orphaned by my publisher who was having financial troubles (the economic meltdown affected them as well), despite the success of The Golden Cord. Keep reading to find out the details and I hope that none of you ever have to go through what I’ve been through. The good news is that the rest of the books are coming out soon.

Now, one of my new friends and fans, Paul Barney asked to interview me and here are his questions and my answers. It’s better if you read these in order . . .

1. *******What are the current projects that you’re working on and when should we expect to see them?

I’ve got three major projects right now: Medusa’s Daughter, The Iron Dragon Series, and The Crimson Pact anthology series.

#1. I’m working on rewriting/editing my unsold novel, Medusa’s Daughter, a fantasy set in ancient Greece that tells the real story behind the Medusa myth. You can read the first two chapters on my website and learn more. When I’m done working on this, which should be by May sometime, I’m going to send it out to an agent who is interested and I have great confidence that this will sell to a major publisher. I’ve spent a couple of years NOT WORKING on this project. The reasons are many, but overall I just didn’t make it a priority and was working on other projects and dealing with some depression related to being orphaned by the publisher of my Iron Dragon Books. More on that later.

#2. I’m going to finish up book three of my Iron Dragon Series, The Secret Empire by the end of 2011. The Secret Empire is halfway edited, and I must rewrite/edit the second half, which will happen this summer. I’ve got 85,000 words edited, and need to do the rest. I promise the book will come out by the end of the year as a trade paperback and as an eBook. The entire series will be available in eBook and trade paperback form by the end of 2011. Book four will come out in 2012 and book five, the finale, will probably be in 2013, but perhaps sooner. The first two volumes will also come out as trade paperbacks, though book two may be delayed on purpose. Book one will be out for sure, and book two will eventually, though it’s still in print as a hard cover and I may wait until it’s out of print before I put it out as a trade paperback—as I don’t have all the rights yet. (More on this later in the post)

#3. I’m going to be working on editing The Crimson Pact, Volume 2 very soon with my business partner Steven Saus. The deadline for flash fiction submissions is June 6, and this is an open call. The first volume which I edited, came out in eBook on March 20, and was made up of 26 stories, (15 short, 11 flash). It was 140,000 words total and took me three months of frantic work. I’m really proud of it. Please check out and watch the book trailer and read the frame story, co-authored by Patrick M. Tracy and I. The story, The Failed Crusade sets up the rest of the stories.

2. *******How did you break into the writing business?

I have a very detailed description of how I broke in on my website. Here’s the link, but suffice it to say, I met the right person/people, then I became a much better writer, then I was given a chance, and I made it in. Read this for all the details, but keep in mind that it really depends on meeting the right person and evolving your craft enough to a publishable level. Why don’t you finish reading this post, then follow this link later.

3. ***********What are some of your thoughts on the current upheaval regarding the book industry and by that I mean, borders claiming bankruptcy, Barnes and Noble closing stores and the upswing of tablet computers?

Borders was badly run from top to bottom from my experience and research. They were as a whole, disorganized, rude and incompetent. I met some very nice people at Borders during book signings and such, but their whole system was badly done. Book selling is a tough gig, and people are just not reading like they used to. Tablet computers are increasing their market share and eventually will have a big chunk of the market, but for a while, it’s going to be quite small, like it is now. Until kids grow up using eBooks in school instead of printed text books, people will still want print books. In ten years how many iPads and Kindles purchased right now will even work? Not many, but that dusty first edition on my shelf will be very readable. However, the future is in eBooks and they will continue to gather market share as time goes on. Transferring your old eBooks to your newest eReader device will probably work out fine, but not everyone will do that and they’ll lose their eBooks. Very sad indeed.

4. ******** How is the change in the market affecting you and your publishers?

The bad economy had a huge impact on me. Here’s what happened . . .

My first novel, The Golden Cord, book one in my Iron Dragon Series (2008) was the bestselling fantasy my publisher, Five Star Books had ever had, and is now out of print after six printings and many thousands of sales—no I won’t give the exact number—but I do have all the rights to it now. The only new copies are available on my website. You can find used copies on So, I made my publisher some good money and was a star, but then the higher ups cut Five Star’s whole fantasy and sci-fi line, which happened in 2009 as the economy went to Hell and people stopped buying books—as they were out of work and their house was being foreclosed on. The worst thing that happened to me was that I lost my publisher, but I still have my health, my wife, my house, and my job as a nurse.

My series was orphaned. I had been offered over the phone at least three books by Five Star Books, right after they found out the sales figures for book one, but then BAM! It was over with them, though the editors all tried to keep just me, but the upper managers said “We can’t just keep one author. We won’t make that much money with one.” They were used to 36 books a year, so, they cut the whole line and made no exceptions for a hard working marketer like me. I did so much marketing and the book was a success because of all of that and more. My reward was being orphaned in mid series leaving many fans wanting more and the pressure on me was building to get the next book out.

It was horrible, and I was quite depressed about it and have been for some time, and I don’t know when I’ll totally get over this. Someday, probably when the series is done and out. Starting in May of 2009, as book two was coming out, I negotiated with some small press publishers. I found out that the majors won’t touch a series that’s been orphaned (learning that was horribly painful and I won’t tell that story online, but if we ever become friends I’ll tell you about it in person). The small press publishers offered me next to nothing, so I’ve decided to self-publish the rest of my series, which will work out fine as I have a fan base already and people are clamoring for the next book. The whole series will come out as eBooks and there will be a print on demand option that will get you a trade paperback. The good news is that the books will come out, but book three was delayed about one and half years. It should have come out by May of 2010, but won’t come out until the end of 2011.

5. ******** What are your thoughts about electronic publishing?

I think it’s great and my latest project, The Crimson Pact is an experiment with e-publishing. Read the website to learn more about it, but I think it’s the future, though print books will never go away. The thing is you have to look at the bottom line, and it’s just so cheap to publish eBooks compared to print books. Writers with established fan bases are already starting to bypass traditional publishers and go right to their audience. Publishers take most of the risk and pay the author 10%. With ePublishing the author can get a much bigger percentage.

6 ********Is ePublishing changing the way you write, and has it had an impact on short stories?

Yes, because it’s so cheap to put out an eBook, I didn’t have to limit the word count in Volume 1 of The Crimson Pact, which is made up of 26 short stories. I went for a huge anthology, 140,000 words, rather than limit it to under 100,000, as most anthologies are. Also, I’m not worried about my word count (well, not that worried) in the rest of my Iron Dragon books. The print on demand books might be a little more expensive, but I’m not going to worry that much about it. Some authors are selling short stories to their fans as eBooks and making quite a nice bit of cash, much more than they would receive from traditional magazines or book anthologies. However, most eBooks do not sell very well, and make the author very little.

7. ***********Do you think that eBooks that are self-published are of a lesser quality than books that go through traditional publishers? Aren’t traditional publishers a gatekeeper for quality?

Yes, definitely most eBooks that are self-published are of a lesser quality that those that have been vetted by editors and publishers, but not all of them and they should be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Crimson Pact, which is an eBook, is not vanity or self-publishing, and has an editor (hey, I’m not the best, but I do have some skills), and is published by a small press publisher, Alliteration Ink. It has an editor and a publisher, unlike many self-published eBooks, which desperately need an editor.

The stories I accepted came from almost all traditionally/previously published authors and even a New York Times bestseller, Larry Correia. The stories are of high quality as my partner and I kept the bar very high. I rejected a lot of stories, even ones from writers who were asked to submit. It was not pretty for me, but the book turned out to be great, and I didn’t want to compromise anything.

Many self-published books are crap, sorry to say, but then you have the exceptions, like: Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia, which was my favorite book of 2009. He self-published it as a print book in 2007, I think, then got some important fans—namely the owner of an influential independent bookstore, who pushed his book and got it on the bestseller list of Entertainment Weekly, which ended Larry with a publishing deal with Baen Books. Larry then hit the NYT Bestseller list with book two, Monster Hunter Vendetta. He is the example of what not to do—and will say so himself—but it worked for him, which means that with a quality book like Monster Hunter International and some fortuitous events, brought about by Larry’s hard work, can get wonderful things.

Overall, self-publishing is not a great move if you want to be taken seriously by the traditional publishing industry, but it can work out great in the end. That’s what I’m hoping for now with my Iron Dragon novels. Luckily, the Iron Dragon Series were bought by a very respected small press, Five Star Books, but then the unthinkable happened. I was orphaned through no fault of my own, so I have some cover there from the pure self-published stigma. Most importantly, I have a couple of great editors to help me finish the series, Bradley P. Beaulieu, author of the critically acclaimed Winds of Khalakovo, will have a big hand, like he has had in all of my books, with the rest of the series. He guides me every step of the way and I know he’d be one of the best editors at a major house if he wanted to do that job. Also, Patrick M. Tracy, an accomplished writer and a brainstorming machine, will be there with me as well, so the quality of the rest of my series will actually be better than the first two, as I’m a better writer now than I was when the books came out back in 2008 and 2009. Keep in mind I wrote most of the books years before that and the subsequent volumes must be rewritten/re-edited now.

8. ******** Do you prefer physical books or eBooks?

I prefer reading physical books. I read a lot on computer screens and enjoy getting away from them sometimes. I like the smell of the paper and the art on the cover, and the feel of the pages and being able to get away from my computer. I don’t yet own an eReader, though I have many friends who swear by them and love them. I can see their tremendous advantages and if I wasn’t so into my laptop I would own an iPad or a Kindle.

9. ************ If there was a story you wanted to read, not write but read, what would that story entail?

The story would be about the fall of the Hittite Empire between 1,500 and 2,000 B.C. and would be written like Mary Renault’s books about ancient Greece—with a first person point of view. It would be from the point of view of a Hittite Prince or warrior fighting to keep the empire together. There is very little written history and no novels from my knowledge from this time period and I am fascinated by what was happening then. The time of the Hittite Empire’s fall is the time period of Medusa’s Daughter, and I’ve been researching it a lot. As far as historical fiction, I love the books by Wilbur Smith set in ancient Egypt (River God, Warlock). Stephen King thinks Wilbur Smith is the best in the business. Also, I love Mary Renault’s novels set in ancient Greece, (The King Must Die, The Bull from the Sea, The Last of the Wine) and would love to read more like them. She’s up there with Tolkien with me.

********* What are you passionate about right now, something that doesn’t have to do with writing?

Working as a nurse, like I’ve been doing since 1996. I love it most of the time, and I make a difference and that feels very good to me. I work my ass off in the hospital on a cardiac floor and I’ve helped build a great place to go when you’re sick. The team around me is so awesome and we keep winning all of the awards, plus most of the patient’s love us and truly appreciate what we do for them. It’s like being on a championship team that has won several championships in a row. My work is so hard, and I work the night shift, but it’s rewarding and I’m very passionate about being a nurse.

11. *********Do you have any trunk novels you want to get published? And if so how would you try to get them published?

I don’t have any true trunk novels. I have Medusa’s Daughter, but it’s going to find a home someday and trunk novels are usually the first novel or novels that you write when you’re a newbie. My first novel was The Golden Cord, and after about fifty drafts, it ended up getting published. If it hadn’t, it would be my trunk series, and I’d have 550,000 words sunk into it, as I wrote all five books before the first one was accepted for publication. If I had a trunk novel, I would suggest leaving it there and starting fresh. Sometimes you have to let your first works go and write new books. It’s easy for me to give that advice, but very hard to implement if you’ve got an unpublished novel that you love. It is possible to get your trunk novel published, but I’d recommend letting it go if you think it’s terribly flawed. Chalk it up to experience. There is a statement floating around that your first million words are crap, but I’d say that’s not right. It’s different for everyone, but we all grow and evolve as writers.

12. ********Is there anything other thing you would like share or talk about?

There is hope if you really want to get published via the traditional route and publish novels. It’s a matter of intelligent striving. However, for those of you who are faint of heart, just stop now. I’m serious. It might severely ruin your life if you publish a novel because of what might happen next. My editor said after my first book came out, now the really hard work begins for you. He was right. Short stories are fun and don’t really cause too many hassles, but the woes of being a published novelist are many. Your books might not sell enough and you lose your contract and have to change your name, which happened to a friend of mine. Or you might get some terrible reviews, which hurt your confidence, even though a bunch of readers love your work, or any number of other negative things might happen. Getting orphaned is something I never imagined, but it’s one of many things that can go wrong. Your editor can leave, which is a common thing that can happen, and then you’re suddenly no ones project with no release date in sight. There are so many things that can hurt your confidence in this business and make it so you don’t want to write. I know several writers who sold their first book and then nose-dived after that when the reality of getting published collided with their expectations. Better to be a lifelong reader and writing hobbyist than become a broken writer. Find the love that you have for writing and cultivate it. Don’t let the bastards get you down! Write the book that you want to write. Let’s all hope that it’s commercial enough to sell, and that you know the right people to sell it.

Happy writing,

Paul Genesse

Author and Editor

The Night Bazaar Interview

Hello Friends,

I was a guest blogger on The Night Bazaar blog recently, and here's the link.
The Night Bazaar has a ton of great posts on it, so please check it out.

Paul Genesse

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Interview with Author Bradley P. Beaulieu


I’m pleased to interview my great friend and writer buddy, Brad Beaulieu. We’ll be discussing his new novel,
The Winds of Khalakovo, Book One of the Lays of Anuskaya, which comes out the first of April 2011 from Nightshade Books as a trade paperback and as an eBook. Winds is a sweeping epic fantasy with a Czarist Russian and Persian feel, a unique combination to be sure. I’m so proud of Brad’s accomplishment with the world building and the story. I’ve been involved with this novel for several years now, and have had a part in the revisions, so I’ve seen it go from an awesome book with an amazing concept to a truly exceptional one with a fully fleshed out world.

Brad has had his short stories published in the most prestigious speculative fiction publications including Realms of Fantasy, The Intergalactic Medicine Show, Writers of the Future, and several anthologies from DAW Books. He’s also the father of two and the husband to a wonderful woman, Joanne. They live in Wisconsin and besides being an excellent writer, Brad is an amazing cook.

Photo of Author Bradley P. Beaulieu

Now onto the book . . .

The Winds of Khalakovo has been described as: George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire meet Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea in this sweeping epic fantasy filled with windships, elemental sprits, political intrigue and passion.

The reviews have been glowing and here are a few lines from a few of them:

“Elegantly crafted, refreshingly creative . . .”

–C.S. Friedman, bestselling author of The Coldfire Trilogy

The Winds of Khalokovo is filled with clean prose, intelligent language, and brilliant imagination. Reading this fantasy was like sinking my teeth into a rich and exotic dessert.

—Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show

Exactly the kind of fantasy I like to read.

—Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Saga of the Seven Suns

“The prose is often poetic . . . and the characters have welcome depth”

–Publisher’s Weekly

“Well worth exploring . . .”

–Glen Cook, bestselling author of The Black Company

The boldly imagined new world and sharply drawn characters will pull you into The Winds of Khalakovo and won't let you go until the last page. —Michael A. Stackpole, New York Times bestselling author of I, Jedi

The back cover says: Among inhospitable and unforgiving seas stands Khalakovo, a mountainous archipelago of seven islands, its prominent eyrie stretching a thousand feet into the sky. Serviced by windships bearing goods and dignitaries, Khalakovo’s eyrie stands at the crossroads of world trade. But all is not well in Khalakovo. Conflict has erupted between the ruling Landed, the indigenous Aramahn, and the fanatical Maharraht, and a wasting disease has grown rampant over the past decade. Now, Khalakovo is to play host to the Nine Dukes, a meeting which will weigh heavily upon Khalakovo’s future.

When an elemental spirit attacks an incoming windship, murdering the Grand Duke and his retinue, Prince Nikandr, heir to the scepter of Khalakovo, is tasked with finding the child prodigy believed to be behind the summoning. However, Nikandr discovers that the boy is an autistic savant who may hold the key to lifting the blight that has been sweeping the islands. Can the Dukes, thirsty for revenge, be held at bay? Can Khalakovo be saved? The elusive answer drifts upon the Winds of Khalakovo . . .

Now on to the interview . . .

Congratulations on Winds, Brad. You deserve the praise and acclaim so much, and I’m really happy for you.

Thanks so much, Paul. And thanks for having me for the interview. It’s a lot of fun talking about the book now that it’s out in the world.

For me, with writing, it’s all about the characters, and you’ve got three amazing characters in Winds who drive the plot. You’ve got Prince Nikandr Khalakovo, the main protagonist; Rehada, his Aramahn lover who is also a spy and worse; and Atiana Vostroma, Nikandr’s betrothed, who arrives to cement a much-needed political marriage. Why did you decide to use three characters, and which one did you have the most fun writing?

I actually started with only two: Nikandr and Atiana. I was telling the tale through the eyes of the Landed, the people that rule the islands. But what I found was that revealing other aspects of the story, particularly those that needed to be viewed through the eyes of the peaceful Aramahn, were too difficult to tell without another viewpoint. I was starting to perform all sorts of literary gyrations just to get those parts of the story onto the page, so adding a new character became the perfect solution.

I loved delving into all three characters for different reasons, but as for which one I had the most fun writing, it would have to be Nikandr. He was the one I identified with the most, partly because he was male, but also—and I’ll be frank here—I had a hell of a time writing the fight scenes. Although I don’t shy away from physical scenes with the female characters, Nikandr gets the lion’s share of them, and writing about windship battles, musket fire, and detailing the sword fights through Nikandr’s eyes was great fun.

What makes Prince Nikandr so interesting? Tell us about where he began as a character and who he became as you wrote the book.

One of my favorite things about the people of the Grand Duchy, especially those of royal blood, is that they value family above nearly everything else. Religion isn’t organized in the world of Erahm, but if the people of the Grand Duchy have any religion at all it is embodied in the notion that those that have come before care for those that come after. The term “the ancients” is used throughout the book, and it embodies this notion: that one’s ancestors seek to protect from beyond the grave.

I like to think that each of the Duchies embraces this notion, sometimes to the detriment of the Grand Duchy as a whole. They squabble with one another, they even fight, all with this notion of protecting their family. There are marriages between the royal families, and so loyalties that seem straightforward become complex when you consider where wives were raised, where their families come from and still live. Things get muddy quickly.

The thing I like about Nikandr is that in a way he is the embodiment of these ideals. He loves his family, and yet he wants to honor Atiana and his new family. And of course there is a major wrench thrown into the works in the form of Rehada—not only is she not of royal blood, she is one of the Aramahn.

Nikandr, like so many of the Landed people, struggles with the choices he is forced to make with respect to the political struggles that have been brewing, but also over what to do with the boy, Nasim. On the one hand, he thinks Nasim is someone who should be protected and who may come to help the Grand Duchy. On the other hand, there are clear indications that Nasim was involved with something terrible that happened on Khakovo’s shores.

It was a delicious mix to put Nikandr in. He’s the probably the least conflicted of the three main characters, but he has some very tough choices he has to make. This, in the end, is where I like characters to be. I want them to be in positions where the choices that lie before them are neither attractive nor clean.

Rehada, Nikandr’s Aramahn lover is my favorite character in the book. She’s a very conflicted character. She’s a courtesan, a mother, a spy, and worse. Plus she’s a wielder of powerful fire magic, a woman who can control fire elementals. How did you manage to craft such an intriguing character? How does she manage to sizzle on the page?


While Nikandr is the character I identify with the most, I will admit that Rehada became my favorite character as well. Both her and Soroush. Why? Because they are complex, and they had the most surprises for me along the way. This has as much to do with their culture as it does them as characters. While I was brainstorming the world and the cultures of the Aramahn (who are peace-loving) and the Maharraht (a splinter group of the Aramahn who have forsaken their peace-loving ways to wage war on the Landed), I came to a crossroads. I couldn’t quite reconcile how the Maharraht could have drifted so far from one of the central tenets of their religion: do no harm to others.

The Aramahn and Maharraht, though they borrow greatly from Persian culture, draw more upon Buddhism for their religious beliefs. They believe in reincarnation and they strive for enlightenment—if not in this life, then hopefully the next. When I was looking at the artwork I was using to represent Rehada’s character, it occurred to me that the tear on her cheek came from some profound disappointment in herself. I continued working that thread, and I realized—it was one of those lightning bolt moments—that she was disappointed because she had betrayed her beliefs. It was from that single tear that the Maharraht were truly born. They see themselves as sacrificing themselves and their path to enlightenment so that the rest of their people—the Aramahn—won’t have to.

This, I think, is the primary reason Rehada leaps off the page. She’s very conflicted, and from that comes tension that’s hard to look away from.

Atiana, Nikandr’s betrothed turns out to be the biggest surprise of the novel for me. She ends up being such a strong character who makes tough decisions and owns them. I think it’s rare to have two incredibly strong female protagonists in a novel. Tell us about Atiana and tell us how her character evolved as you drafted the book.

Yeah, Atiana was a lot of fun as well. She’s a princess, one of three triplets, and she comes from a rather sheltered world. Her other two sisters have already been married away. She, the youngest by minutes, is being married to Nikandr to cement the increasingly strained relationship between the Anuskaya's two most powerful duchies. Shortly after arriving on Khalakovo for her impending marriage, she is thrust along with everyone else into the mystery surrounding the death of the Grand Duke. But Atiana wasn’t really ready for this. She’s unprepared for these challenges, so it was interesting for me to see her grow, to rise to the occasion.

She is also our link to the aether, the stuff that lies between the material and spiritual planes. She is asked to become a Matra, one who submerges herself into frigidly cold water to slip into a trancelike state and reach “the dark,” as it’s known. This was one of the most interesting aspects of the world, the ability of the landed women to navigate the dark to communicate over long distances and to keep a watchful eye on their Duchy for the presence of the Maharraht. And Atiana is the window through which we view that world-within-a-world. It was great fun writing those scenes, but even greater fun seeing Atiana blossom and rise above her role as “youngest.”

How did you psychologically handle the revisions to this book? It went through many different layers, and the beginning scenes changed so many times. How did you deal with all of this and how did you not go freaking insane?

Who says I didn’t go insane?

Seriously, though, I did go through a lot of changes and drafts. Not Pat Rothfuss numbers, mind you, but quite a few just the same. I’ve written larger books before, but this one was the largest by far, and it’s an indicator of how deep and wide the world is. I realized as I was starting to write just how much I loved the world and the characters, and I tried to be careful to keep my mind open to cool, new, exciting things that I could add to enrich it. I didn’t just grab anything that came to mind, but I did “try things on for size” quite often. If they fit, I kept them. If not, I tossed them. But it made for a story that changed fairly significantly from first to final draft.

By the third or fourth draft, I had a pretty good idea of what this story was. Things were grounded by then, so it was just a matter of polishing the story as much as I could before submitting.

Twelve-masted wind ships!? How did you come up with the idea for them? I love that they sail through the sky with the Aramahn controlling elemental wind spirits and the ships have masts poking out in four directions—not to mention the cannon and muskets. The book cover really captures the ship so well.

Well, the windships came while I was brainstorming the world itself. The Grand Duchy is comprised of nine archipelagos, each one of them a single Duchy. Centuries ago the only people that visited the miserably cold islands were the Aramahn, who traveled the world on simple skiffs. Eventually, though, the people of Yrstanla—the only large continent on the planet—followed the Aramahn. They adopted their ships, and modified them for their own use. They made them larger, more able to carry cargo and—eventually—weapons.

The skiffs of the Aramahn were more traditional “ships of the sky” that you see in classic literature. They had a hull and a single mast that the wind masters use to harness the winds and travel as they will. But I’d always been bothered by the larger flying ships modeled after the age of sail. The physics would never work, and so I found myself trying to find a new design, and it occurred to me that they would use sails in all directions, not just above. I have all sorts of things worked out as to how they work, like how the “rudder” captures the ley lines of the islands to align the ship a certain way, but my geek meter is starting to peg red, so I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead. For me, though, these ships were a neat twist on a familiar theme. I’m glad they made it onto the cover.

The climax of the novel builds to an amazing pitch. I greatly admire how it all came together. Did you spend forever figuring out how to put all of that together? How hard was constructing the ending?

Actually the ending was not nearly as hard as the middle. It’s not called the muddle in the middle for no reason. It’s somewhat easy to take the threads you’ve shown to the reader in the beginning and complicate them so that there are more. The story begins to expand like a point in time expanding to a “cone” of possibilities. The tough part comes when you have to start pulling those threads in. (Here the cone starts to draw in to more of a football shape.) You have to begin preparing for the end of the book pretty early on in the process or you’ll find that too many things are going too far afield. If you don’t watch it, you’ll have a gnarled mess of mismatched threads instead of a tapestry.

So as I do start to narrow the possibilities and point the story generally toward the end, it starts to resolve itself like an image in the mist. Then it’s just a matter of tying up all the threads. No easy thing, but it’s still easier than the middle. The middle can bite my ass.

Now, to the most important question: when is book two coming out and what is it called? Can you give us a teaser about it?

The second book is called The Straits of Galahesh. It begins five years after the events of The Winds of Khalakovo. I don’t want to get too spoilery, but I think it’s safe to talk about how the story widens. The islands of the Grand Duchy, where the events portrayed in Winds take place, are situated near a larger continent, the motherland of Yrstanla. The empire there that has been at peace with Anuskaya for generations. However, trouble begins brewing as the Empire sets its sights once again on the islands they once ruled.

The next book still takes place largely throughout the islands of the Grand Duchy, but we begin to explore the Empire and its peoples and customs. We also learn more about Nasim's mysterious past. In the third book, this trend continues. The story moves onto the mainland itself as the characters, once and for all, try to deal with the source of the blight and the terrible wasting disease.

Download the first fifteen chapters of The Winds of Khalakovo for free here, watch the book trailer and read some reviews, and enjoy riding the wind.

Here's a link to buy the book for only $14.99.

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