Monday, February 27, 2012

5 Reasons to Read (and Write) Fantasy

5 Reasons to Read (and Write) Fantasy
Guest Post by Coleen Torres

The genre of fantasy is one that you either love or you hate. Some people find it ridiculous and trivial, others think it is the most creative and freeing genre in the universe. Then there are others that don’t really have an opinion. They can’t say they hate it because they’ve never read it, but they can’t say they like it either. It is just there; dragons and wizards, fairies and wraiths, all those story-book characters come to live in adult novels. But there are good reasons to love fantasy, or at least dabble in it.

1. It is the first--The first books we are ever exposed to as children are fantasies. Princesses and knights fighting dragons. Sea monsters and fairies. Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, all those classic children’s tales are really fantasy. Who says you have to grow out of them? We all enjoyed the freedom of those stories, the unlimited child-like imagination they produced. Why not keep reading?

2. It allows you to be flexible-–People are always advising you to think outside the box. There’s nothing more ‘outside the box’ than fantasy. A complete world on its own, with its own rules and languages and morals. Not only do you learn to think differently by reading such things, but if you write them, you really get to dig deep and come up with your own ideas. Things you could never think of in everyday life now become commonplace in the world of your own making.

3. It allows you to learn–-When you create an entireworld as a writer, you get a better grasp on the one you are in. Why do things work the way they do? What are people’s motivations and desires? Why do they think or react that way or this way? Even more than drama, fantasy lets writer put characters into situations that mimic everyday life, but blow it way out of proportion. By putting characters in those situations, writers learn what makes characters in calmer situations react the way they do. After all, who hasn’t compared their boss to a dragon?

4. It allows you to stretch–-As a reader or a writer, you want to grow. You want to expand your understanding and imagination. What better way to do that than with fantasy. Literally anything you can come up with is fine. Your job is to make it all fit together. You stretch your brain, teaching it new ways of thinking and putting people and situations together to make sense.

5. It allows you to escape--There is enough pain and suffering in the world. Sometimes, you just want to escape from it all. That’s where fantasy really shines. Unlike the real-life drama of a romance novel, a crime novel, or a mystery, fantasy allows you to change worlds completely, with nothing to remind you of the problems you want to forget. Dive into a book and take some time off from the real world.

There are many things to be said for fantasy. It’s not a children’s genre. In fact, some of the best loved and longest lasting novels out there are fantasy. If you’ve never tried reading, or writing, a fantasy story, then try one today. You are sure to find something to love in this genre.

Author Bio:
This is a guest post by Coleen Torres from home phone service. You can find more about her at her profile.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Deseret News Article

(Photo by Freeman Stevenson)

Cool article about one of the book signings I did last week at Eborn Books at the South Towne Mall appeared in the Deseret News.

Both of the signings went really well and between 30-40 of my fans came to see me. There are still a few copies of my autographed books at the Eborn Bookstore at the South Towne Mall (second level right by the Dillards and the coffee shop) and at the Valley Fair Mall, also Eborn Books near the Famous Footwear.

Here's a link to the article in the Desert News.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Secret Empire

Friday, February 17, 2012

Two Book Signings at Eborn Books--Saturday, Feb. 18


This is a big deal. I'm signing books with three awesome writers. L.E. Modesitt (a legend) and Dave Farland (an icon), who are both New York Times bestsellers, and Byran Young, who is made of awesome, practically a Jedi Knight, who has actually met Yoda. I'm not kidding here.

If you come I can promise a free 11x17 inch poster of the cover of my third book, The Secret Empire. I'll also have copies of all my books in trade paperback, and some CD eBooks of both Crimson Pact anthologies.

First up, I'll be at the South Towne Mall from 11-1.
Then I'll be at the Valley Fair Mall from 2-4.

If you can't come, please check out these authors books on All of mine are now available as eBooks and trade paperbacks.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Five Questions About my Iron Dragon Series

Five question interview now live on Writers of the Future Winner Brad Beaulieu's website about my Iron Dragon Series:

 Click on the blog title to visit his site.

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Top Ten Moments at LTUE 2012

Top Ten Moments for me at Life, The Universe and Everything (LTUE) a writing conference held at Utah Valley University (UVU). This was its 30th year and still going strong.


#1 My friend and fan Lyda Mae doing a spontaneous tai chi routine for me in the middle of the lobby at UVU on the first day. She’s been confined to a wheel chair for years, but after a successful surgery SHE CAN WALK AGAIN! This was the best news of the weekend.

#2 James A. Owen’s keynote address, which was so incredibly inspiring (listen to the audio here, it’s worth your time). James is not only a motivational speaker, but is an amazing illustrator and author. Please check out his books after you listen to his speech.

#3 Having dinner with James A. Owen and some of my friends Thursday night. The best dinner ever at LTUE.

#4 Tracy Hickman saying he was having a “fan boy moment” when he ran into me while I was being interviewed on Residual Hauntings Revived

#5 Attending a seminar on how to give a good reading by Hugo and Campbell award winning author Mary Robinette Kowal—she’s the best reader in sci-fi fantasy writing today. She also did a two minute shadow puppet show—she’s a professional puppeteer and totally awesome.


#6 Listening to Mary Robinette Kowal read from her upcoming novel, Glamour in Glass, coming in April 2012. It’s Jane Austen with magic.



#7 Getting to hang out with Patrick Tracy, my best friend.


Authors Dan Wells, Paul Genesse, Larry Correia, and Zachary Hill

#8 Seeing so many friends and fans.


# 9 The Secret Empire (my third book) hitting number 57 on’s eBook bestseller list the first day of the conference. It went from 20,0000 to 57 that day.

#10 Selling out of Book 1, The Golden Cord in the UVU bookstore.

Residual Hauntings Revived Interview


Hello Friends,

Here's a link to a really fun 15 minute interview I gave at a writers conference this past weekend on Residual Hauntings Revived with Tom Carr, Jess the Ghost Girl, and Russ Cook. My interview starts at the 35 minute mark.

Tracy Hickman came by during my interview and said some really nice things about me. It was so unexpected for him to say he was having a "fan boy" moment about me. Wow. It was so surreal.

Before my interview you've got a great interview with Charlie Harmon, the program director of LTUE, and then a hilarious interview with author David Butler, who has written some awesome novellas called, Rock Band Fights Evil 1 through 3 right now. You should hear Dave because he's so funny.

There's also an interview with New York Times Bestseller Larry Correia; horror writer and professor of creative writing, Michael Brent Collings; and the hilarious author Bill Housley.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Secret Empire, Book Three of the Iron Dragon Series
Editor of The Crimson Pact anthology Series

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Making a Book Trailer

I'm on a panel at 2:00 PM today Feb. 9, 2012 at a writing conference, LTUE, on making a book trailer, which is something I have some experience with. Below I've pasted some videos and links for people's reference.

Here are some questions we're going to answer:

How do you say enough about the book with out giving away too much?
Short answer: you use your elevator pitch line, a modified version of that for the text.

Are the worth they worth the expense and the hassle?
Yes, and possibly no.

Where are the best places for book trailers?
On your website and YouTube.

What are some good examples of book trailers?
Check below and look at the trailer for A Girl of Fire and Thorns and also look at The Crimson Pact trailer.

What equipment do you need?
Money or video editing software, and/or free images--I've posted links below to some stock photo sites I use.

This is the best book trailer I've ever seen. The book the trailer below is about is: A Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns - Book Trailer from Hilly and Hannah on Vimeo.

Go to Rae's website to learn more. She got this trailer for free. It showed up one morning in her inbox. She had no idea it was even being made. Totally amazing.

This is the book trailer I made for The Crimson Pact Volume 1

Please check out The Crimson Pact story trailers for volume 2 on, or on The Crimson Pact YouTube channel:

This is the book trailer a friend of mine made for The Dragon Hunters.

This is the book trailer for The Golden Cord, made by a friend of mine, with music by another friend of mine.

You can get awesome music for book trailers at

Find awesome pictures here:

and here:

You can see how my book trailers are posted on my website, here:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


The Secret Empire: Book Three of the Iron Dragon Series

The only outsiders who know the truth are dead.

To reach the secret lair of the dragon king, the last of an order of dragon hunters must cross a brutal desert defended by savage nomads and angry ghosts, uncover the hidden truth of the desert people, then on the eve of their final battle, survive a betrayal that will tear their group apart.

View the book on

Hello Friends,

Today is the official “Book Blast” day for my third novel, The Secret Empire. After a two year and three month wait, the third book in the Iron Dragon series out!

You can find all three books in the series on as eBooks and trade paperbacks right now, or you can get them from my CreateSpace eStore, links below, which is part of

Book one, The Golden Cord is available for only $2.99 on the Kindle, or FREE if you have a membership in Kindle Prime. The trade paperback is only $14.99. Book two and three are only $4.99 as eBooks.

Today, please help me get the word out, by forwarding this with a personal note, posting something on Facebook, blogging, tweeting, and telling your friends about this series. Word of mouth is the key, and is by far the most powerful thing you can do to help. Let your fantasy reader friends know the books are out.

As a favor to me, even if you’re not into these kind of books, please go to and click the orange colored “Like” (thumbs up button) beside any or all of the Iron Dragon book titles, and put them on your wish list. It’ll cue Amazon to promote the book. Just click on the links below.

I really need your help telling readers about my series and will appreciate anything you can do to help, and would love your support.

Here’s what the critics have said about the series:

“This is a story that’s worth your time. It’s almost like going back to that first fantasy novel that totally captivated you and you read it over and over again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.”

—Russell Davis, author, editor, and President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America about The Golden Cord.

“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

“With vivid world-building, Paul Genesse sets his characters on paths that wind and twist through the world as they try to reach their almost impossible goal—the death of the Dragon King. The characters are driven, each for their own reasons, united by their desire for honor, and vengeance for their kin. In the midst of a fantasy, Paul weaves in realistic themes of family and honor, prejudice and hate, love and redemption.”

—Elizabeth Vaughan, USA Today bestselling author of The Warlands trilogy

Thank you for reading this message, and please visit my blog where you’ll find a lot more information about book three, read the details of the publishing saga I’ve been through, and can read or download samples of the books on my website.

If you buy the books on CreateSpace—my personal affiliated storefront page, I get double the royalties. Do whatever is easiest for you, and thank you in advance for your support.

The Golden Cord, Book One of the Iron Dragon Series (399 pages)

• Trade Paperback at CreateSpace ($14.99):

The Dragon Hunters, Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series (414 pages)
• Trade Paperback at CreateSpace ($15.99):

The Secret Empire, Book Three of the Iron Dragon Series (666 pages)
• Trade Paperback at CreateSpace ($18.99):

Or go to the regular store site by clicking on the links below my signature file. I’ve also got some signings coming up in Utah, Feb. 10 at Utah Valley University from 8-10 PM Feb. 10 (Friday night), Eborn Books at the South Town Mall from 11-1 PM on Saturday Feb. 18, and Feb. 18 at the Valley Fair Mall at Eborn Books from 2-4 PM. Free 11x17 posters to anyone who comes.

I’m also available to do free school visits, book club visits, or teach writing workshops.

Best wishes and thank you again for all of your support.

Paul Genesse, Author and Editor

Author of The Iron Dragon Series (Now out in trade paperback and as eBooks!)
The Golden Cord: Book One
The Dragon Hunters: Book Two
The Secret Empire: Book Three (Released January 2012!)

Editor of:
The Crimson Pact Volume 1

The Crimson Pact Volume 2
The Crimson Pact Volume 3 (coming in April 2012)

Author Website:
Author Blog:

Join me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @Paul_Genesse

Please book me for an event or school visit
by calling me at 801-282-5393 or email me at pgenesse (at) msn dot com

The Iron Dragon Series


The Golden Cord: Book One of the Iron Dragon Series
Some bonds can never be broken. 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 on a suicidal journey to the lair of the dragon king.
The Golden Cord: Book One of the Iron Dragon Series (Volume 1)

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.
The Dragon Hunters: Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series (Volume 2)

The Secret Empire: Book Three of the Iron Dragon Series

The only outsiders who know the truth are dead." To reach the secret lair of the dragon king, the last of an order or dragon hunters must cross a brutal desert defended by savage nomads and angry ghosts, uncover the hidden truth of the desert people, then on the eve of their final battle, survive a betrayal that will tear their group apart.
The Secret Empire: Book Three of the Iron Dragon Series (Volume 3)


Praise for Paul Genesse and The Golden Cord

“This is a story that’s worth your time. It’s almost like going back to that first fantasy novel that totally captivated you and you read it over and over again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.”
—Russell Davis, author, editor, and President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

“A good mix of action, angst, and romance. The Golden Cord has fine action sequences, like many a fantasy novel, but Paul Genesse takes the time to make the protagonist and his companions much more than hack and slashers. They have hopes, fears, doubts, secret motivations, and backstories that give the action gravitas. Plenty of swordplay and slaying for the action junkies, but also plenty of self-doubt and romance for those looking for a deeper story.”
—Donald J. Bingle, author of Forced Conversion

“Paul Genesse’s tale is elegantly written and filled with rich, believable heroes and villains. He transports you to a vibrant fantasy world that feels so real and complex you won’t want to leave. It is irresistible.”
—Jean Rabe, author of the Finest Trilogy from Tor Books

Praise for Paul Genesse and 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 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

“With vivid world-building, Paul Genesse sets his characters on paths that wind and twist through the world as they try to reach their almost impossible goal—the death of the Dragon King. The characters are driven, each for their own reasons, united by their desire for honor, and vengeance for their kin. In the midst of a fantasy, Paul weaves in realistic themes of family and honor, prejudice and hate, love and redemption.”

—Elizabeth Vaughan, USA Today bestselling author of The Warlands trilogy

Mr. Genesse has created a rich and interesting fantasy world, where man lives on top of giant plateaus surrounded by a demon filled void of mists. Terrible creatures own the sky, and everyone lives beneath cover in order to survive. Humans are slaves to the Drobin empire and wizards have been hunted almost to extinction by war priests.

I read the Golden Cord first and enjoyed it. The sequel, Dragon Hunters, is even better. The characters fight the traditional fantasy quest foes of dragons and evil cultists, but in addition, they have to grow as people, and also face their fears and prejudices. Overall the characters are believable and struggle with issues of faith and determination.

I'm eagerly looking forward to the rest of the series.

—Larry Correia - Author of Monster Hunter International

Vital Links:

The Golden Cord, Book One of the Iron Dragon Series
• ISBN-10: 0985003820
• ISBN-13: 978-0985003821

• Trade Paperback at CreateSpace ($14.99):

If you buy the book on CreateSpace I get double the royalties. Thank you!
• Trade Paperback at ($14.99):

• eBook($2.99):

The Dragon Hunters, Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series
• ISBN-10: 0985003812
• ISBN-13: 978-0985003814

If you buy the book on CreateSpace I get double the royalties. Thank you!
• Trade Paperback at CreateSpace:

• Trade Paperback at

• eBook ($4.99):

The Secret Empire, Book Three of the Iron Dragon Series
• ISBN-10: 0985003804
• ISBN-13: 978-0985003807

If you buy the book on CreateSpace I get double the royalties. Thank you!
• Trade Paperback at CreateSpace:

• Trade Paperback at

• eBook ($4.99):

The First Two Chapters of The Secret Empire


The first two chapters of The Secret Empire


I will protect the Secret Land. I will not speak of it. Outsiders will never hear of it from me. The desert will be barren to all outsiders. A land ofsand and death. To me, it will be a hidden garden of plenty. My garden. My home. My land. My people. Unless the Goddess Herself commands me, I will never leave the Secret Land. May I be cursed, and exiled to the Underworld if I break my oath. I vow in the name of Mother Amar’isis, that I will keep the secrets of Mephitia, in this life, and the one beyond.
—passage from the sacred oath of the Wings of Amar’isis

“Kill them quietly,” Bree’alla whispered.

The words echoed in Drake’s mind as she stared at him, waiting until he agreed to the vicious order. Her face was calm, as if killing the men creeping toward them meant nothing.

Drake forced himself to nod, his head barely moving. Bree’s green eyes narrowed in recognition, then she hid her dagger against her forearm, shielding the blade from the massive bright moon that dominated the sky over the shadowy landscape of the Khoram Desert.
How could she be so cold, so heartless?

It didn’t matter. It had to be done. Their journey to find the dragon hunters missing for forty years, and slay Draglûne had taken many lives already. Killing a few more deluded men who worshipped the Dragon King as a god would be a service to the people of the plateaus. He had to believe it, or pulling the triggers of his double crossbow would be even more difficult.

Bree had insisted they launch this surprise attack before entering the southern Mephitian lands. Her words had been clear. She would guide them no further until the cultist scouts were dead. Their enemies had never been this close, and turning to attack now would serve as a final warning.

The footfalls of men walking along the edge of the shallow wash made Drake’s heart pound faster. The dragon cultists were definitely following the tracks the companions’ vorrels had left only minutes before. He rechecked his double crossbow, feeling the tight cords and making certain the slender bolts lay perfectly in their tracks.

He caught a glimpse of his enemies now, and counted five, just as Bree had reported earlier when she returned from her own scouting mission. The men suddenly paused, scanning the dim horizon in all directions. Had they heard the companions lying in wait? Or perhaps the cultists were afraid of meeting the fierce Mephitian nomads that defended these lands?

Meh’fee’shuns, Drake sounded out the foreign word in his mind.
The men pointed at the string of large pack animals, and the three dogs that Dabarius led across an area of flat desert just south of them, maintaining the ruse that the companions were unaware of their pursuers. The wizard had accepted the dangerous task, and had taken charge of the precious Sacred Scrolls of Amar’isis from Bree’alla. She had promised that if the scrolls were delivered to a safe place she would introduce them to someone who knew where Draglûne’s lair was located, though she did not know herself.

Carrying the scrolls was a task that Dabarius accepted gladly, and Drake knew the wizard wanted to look at them, and see if there were spells or knowledge he could use. Dabarius acted unconcerned if he were caught alone by Mephitian raiders or the cultists themselves as he led the vorrels away. His overconfidence worried Drake, but Dabarius was probably right about being able to handle himself if he were attacked, and the rib injury he’d suffered at the Cave of Wyrms was almost healed now.

Drake could barely see the tall, four-legged, and three-humped vorrels tied together in a chain. The dragon cultists would not realize only one man led the train of animals. They would believe the companions were walking alongside the beasts concealed in their tall shadows, and giving the vorrels a much-needed rest.

On the other side of Bree, Thor and Bellor kept their heads down, but Bellor made hand signs at Drake, asking how many enemies approached.
In reply, Drake raised five fingers, then signaled with his thumb and fingers slightly apart that they were very close.

Both of the broad-shouldered dwarves tensed up, ready to attack the cultists who had picked up their trail soon after the companions had departed from the Cave of Wyrms over ten days ago. Their enemies would not have caught up to them so rapidly if they hadn’t paused to recover from their battle with Verkahna to allow Dabarius to heal.

Drake sank down as the crunching sounds of the men’s footfalls grew louder. He slipped deeper into the shadows, remaining motionless and becoming the invisible hunter his father had taught him to be when he was a boy growing up in the Thornclaw Forest around Cliffton.

An irrational fear told him the cultists had seen him. There was no real cover here in the bleak and barren desert. He needed trees and brambles to hide himself in, not a dusty wash with faint shadows. The giant, cratered moon was far too bright and closer to the plateaus during this time of the year than at any other. The cultists would strike first before Bree gave the signal to attack. Had the ambush already gone horribly wrong?

The five men walked only an arms length away from Drake now. He could smell their stale sweat, the campfire smoke on their ragged desert robes.

Bree’alla exploded upward and slashed the back of a man’s ankle with her dagger, sweeping his legs out from under him. He fell, and she punched him in the throat before dragging him into the wash. Drake, Bellor, and Thor struck at almost the same moment.

Drake lifted his crossbow and squeezed the triggers at point blank range. The slender wooden bolts coated with a thin layer of lamp oil penetrated the side of the men’s ribcages at the level of their hearts, puncturing their lungs. The shafts passed all the way through the dying men, then sailed into the desert.

Bellor and Thor attacked the remaining pair of trackers, the moonlight revealing their stunned and exhausted expressions. Thor smashed one in the chest with his hammer, and Bellor hooked a man’s leg with his axe using the reach of the long-handled weapon to pull him down. Thor finished both of them off with rapid blows to their skulls.

The small man Bree had dragged into the wash lay pinned under her. She pressed one hand against his mouth while holding her blade against his throat. She whispered to him ominously in the Mephitian tongue. The man’s eyes filled with terror as the dust settled.

Drake wanted to help Bree by restraining the man himself. What if the cultist slipped free and stabbed her with a hidden blade? After all they’d been through, he couldn’t risk losing her now. He would shield her with his own flesh, accept any wound, die for her if he must.
Thor held Drake in place with a firm hand, then motioned for him to reload. “She’s got him. You keep watch.”

“Ask him how many are following.” Bellor let the prisoner see the moonlight glint off Wyrmslayer, the double-bitted axe the old Dracken Viergur War Priest had carried for over a hundred years.

The dwarves loomed over the captive while Drake reloaded, and searched the night for the main group of cultists. He glanced at the two men he had killed, trying not to think about who they were or who they had left behind. They followed the orders of Draglûne, like the men he had had to kill outside the Cave of Wyrms.

This just felt so different. He avoided looking at the bodies or at the two with crushed skulls that still oozed blood onto the thirsty sand. If they had wives or children, their families would never know what happened to them. It would be the same if he died out here in the treeless desert, so far from home.

Bree’alla whispered one last warning before she removed her hand from the prisoner’s mouth. He spoke to her with a pleading, quiet voice—probably begging for his life. She asked more questions and they spoke for a few moments until the man gave a one-word answer that made Bree blink with surprise.

“What did he say?” Thor’s harsh expression fixed on the prisoner.

“There are about twenty men, and thirty vorrels behind us in the main group.” Bree shook her head, as if disgusted with the prisoner.

“They’re closer than we thought,” Bellor said, “and there are far too many to face in the open.”

“They’re not planning an open attack,” Bree said. “They’d sneak into our camp and try to cut our throats when we slept.”

Drake trusted her prediction and felt rather relieved they wouldn’t try an overt assault. With Jep, Temus and his new dog, the desert hound on guard, the assassins would never be able to approach their camp unnoticed. The dogs would smell or hear the cultists long before they got close. For an instant, he feared Jep and Temus would not obey Dabarius. He wished they were at his side—where they belonged—instead of guarding the wizard and the vorrels while maintaining the ruse.

“Is that what he said, that they are going to cut our throats when we sleep?” Thor glowered at the terrified man.
Bree glanced at Drake. “He told me they were going to kill us the next time we stopped to rest.”

“Let them try,” Thor said.

Drake eyed Bree’alla critically. “Bree, what else did he say?”
She hesitated. “He said the Iron Brothers who survived the battle outside the Cave of Wyrms fled toward the village of Mitara. A cultist leader that I know of found them and rallied them. He leads them now.”

“Who is this man who has led the chase after us?” Bellor asked.

“He’s a high ranking member in the Iron Brotherhood,” Bree said. “He’d been watching the villages in case we passed that way after we escaped from Arayden.”

“Only one man?” Bellor asked.

“He had orders to kill us,” Bree said.

“Humph.” Thor scoffed and rolled his eyes.

“Since we killed the other leaders in Arayden and at the Cave of Wyrms,” Bree said, “this vile man controls the Iron Brotherhood in the Khoram Desert now. He is called, Shai’keen.” The loathing in Bree’s voice made Drake wonder about the kind of atrocities Shai’keen had visited upon Bree’alla’s people.

“Tell me about this man,” Bellor said.

She released her hold on the prisoner and stood up. “Shai’keen is a heartless assassin.”

Thor stared at her flatly. “Like you?”

She glared at the dwarf. “He’s killed many of my order in Arayden. And their families. Shai’keen is the main reason why there are so few Wings of Amar’isis left in Arayden.” Bree sheathed her dagger and rested her hand on the grip of her longsword. “He is nothing like me.” She glared at Thor, her expression promising violence if he insulted her again.
“Now, now,” Bellor said. “Thor, stop being rude to our guide. Accept our apologies, Bree’alla. Please.”

She turned away. Drake wanted to believe Bree wasn’t a killer like Shai’keen. She wasn’t an assassin, was she? He thought of her more as a spy, and a swordswoman for the Wings of Amar’isis. Who the Wings actually served, he did not know, and Bree wouldn’t say. Ever. There must be a High Priestess of Amar’isis that Bree reported to. He had long suspected that she was taking them to a hidden temple dedicated to the Winged Goddess.

“We’ll be wary of this Shai’keen,” Bellor said.
Thor snorted with disgust. “I have no doubt I’ve killed better men than him.”

Bree stepped away from the prisoner, and tossed his short sword and knife into the center of a spiny bush. The man trembled as he clutched at the bleeding wound on the back of his ankle. She whispered to the others in case the man knew the Nexan tongue. “It’s decided. There’s too many of them to fight. We should catch up to Dabarius. We have to get through the gap between Zaratek’s Deep and the Sand Lake before sunrise or the way will be closed to us. We can’t be on this side of the gap after sunrise.”

“Closed by what?” Drake whispered.
She turned away, her eyes fixed on the horizon outlined by the silvery moonlight.

“Go on ahead.” Thor motioned to his friends as he looked over the prisoner. The dwarven warrior squeezed the handle of his blacksteel war hammer. “I’ll take care of him.”

“He’s wounded,” Drake said, his blood rising with disgust. “He’s no threat to us now. They’ll come after us no matter what we do. Leave him.”

“No.” Bellor spat out the word, surprising Drake with his angry tone. The old dwarf bypassed Drake and locked eyes his former apprentice, as if one hundred and fifty year old Thor Hargrim, full Dracken Viergur Priest and Champion of the Drobin Army had returned to being a lowly apprentice in need of correction. “Thor is right. We’re not going anywhere until this man is taken care of. Thor, bind his wound and give him some of your water.” Bellor said something else, this time in Drobin. The words hung in the air and Drake wished he’d paid better attention to the language lessons Bellor had given him in Khierson City.
The younger dwarf nodded, and reluctantly tore a strip of cloth from a dead man’s robe, and tied it around the bleeding gash on the back of the cultist’s ankle. Thor handed the Mephitian a small waterskin, and motioned for him to drink. Thor flashed a reassuring smile at the man, and Drake thought there might be hope for Thor yet.

The dragon cultist tipped his head back and gulped the water. After his third swig Thor bashed him on the back of the skull with a precise blow from the shaft of his hammer. The man collapsed and lay unmoving.
Drake gasped in shock.

Bellor turned away with a satisfied look as Bree shrugged, unconcerned.
Thor picked up the waterskin, wiped off the spout, and avoided Drake’s gaze while he had a long drink.
“How could you do that?” Drake pulled the waterskin away from Thor and wondered if Bellor had told him to do that. Only callous Drobin soldiers bound for the Underworld would do such a thing. Thor and Bellor were different. Weren’t they? If Dabarius had seen this he would probably kill Thor with some of his Lightning magic or choke him with one of his special battle holds.

Thor glanced up at Drake. “You’ve had too much sun. He’s not dead. It was a stunning blow. Good soldiers follow orders, and I followed Master Bellor’s. I made certain he won’t be telling his fellows about us for a few hours. If he even remembers us.”

“Lower your voices,” Bree’alla whispered.
Drake knelt beside the Mephitian who was still breathing—although very slowly. The man would remember them, especially Bree. She was unforgettable.
“Don’t worry about him,” Bree said, “it would have been kinder if we’d killed him.”
They all looked at her.

“Shai’keen will murder him?” Drake asked.

“No. He’ll probably leave him behind,” Bree said. “He’ll be gone from this world soon enough. Didn’t you see how pitiful they all looked? These trackers were half-dead already. They’re too weak to face us. Shai’keen is sending them all to die. They don’t have enough vorrels to carry supplies for that many men and trek this far into the Khoram and back out.”

“And still they come after us,” Bellor said. “Zealous fools.”

“Verkahna was one of their gods,” Bree said, “and Shai’keen cannot let her death go unavenged. No matter the cost or pain.”
Drake remembered the excruciating journey from Arayden to the Cave of Wyrms without enough water or rations. That had only been a few days. He couldn’t imagine a nearly two-week trek deep into the Khoram with limited supplies.

Movement to the north caught Drake’s attention. A man rode a vorrel at the very limit of Drake’s vision. The Clifftoner pointed and motioned for his friends to duck down. More riders slowly appeared in a column.

“It’s Shai’keen,” Bree whispered.

“Have they seen us?” Bellor asked.

“They have,” Bree said, “we must run.”


I shot the Giergun war chief in the chest from forty-five paces. His soldiers dragged his body into the trees and I ran for my life.
—Gavin Bloodstone, from the Bloodstone Chronicles.

Drake aimed at the riders in the distance. Hitting one of them from this range, just under fifty yards, would be extremely difficult, even though the Drobin made spring-steel crossbow arms of Heartseeker could easily cast a bolt that far. He tried to pick out the rider with the most confidence. If he could kill their leader, Shai’keen, what would the followers do?

“Killing one of them might not slow them down,” Bellor said.

“What if I killed Shai’keen?” Drake whispered, thinking of a story his grandfather had once one told him. “Which one is he? The first rider or the second?” He considered switching out his bolts. He needed his best long-range shafts for this. He reached for the special quiver on his belt, which held his thorn bolt, the symbolic shaft every hunter from Cliffton earned when he became a man. He was surprised for an instant when his fingers touched the second bolt in the quiver. Ethan’s thorn bolt. Though his deceased best friend had not earned it, Drake had made the shaft and carried it as a tribute to his friend.

“Forget it. I can’t tell which one is Shai’keen,” Bree said. “We have to go. Now keep your heads down, and stay in the wash.”

The two thorn bolts stayed in Drake’s quiver. A hunter only used them in the most dire of circumstances. This was not the time.

Bree’alla ran south along the wash, and Drake followed, watching her back and the approaching riders.

Thor gritted his teeth. Bellor took in a lungful of air, shook his head, and ran after Bree. Drake followed as Bellor and Thor struggled to keep up as they fled from Shai’keen and the riders. Their route wended its way toward Dabarius and the vorrels who had disappeared from view moments earlier. The riders followed, but at a slow pace. Perhaps they hadn’t seen them after all?

A few paces beyond the wash, Bree came to an abrupt halt and knelt down. A bleached human skeleton lay on the ground. The skeleton’s hands and foot bones were missing, and cut marks indicated the limbs had been severed by an axe or sword. Withered leather straps attached to stakes had once tied the person to the ground. No evidence of clothing remained.

Drake remembered what Bree and Dabarius had told them. The desert tribesmen would stake intruders under the sun. Their stripped bodies would be covered in oil that would cook them during the hottest part of the day. Their feet and hands would be severed, and then cauterized with torches. They would suffer a slow, agonizing death as the sun killed them.

Bellor and Thor caught up and stopped beside the skeleton. The two Drobin gazed into the desert using the bright moonlight, and their dwarven eyes unhindered by the night, to see further than Drake could. He paid close attention to Bellor, wondering if the War Priest sensed any restless spirits.

Thor motioned left and right. “There are more lying in a straight line in both directions. How far does it go?”

“From the Sand Lake to the edge of Zaratek’s Deep,” Bree’alla said.

Drake reeled at the distance, the sheer carnage. “How many?”

“Over a thousand, perhaps twice that,” Bree said, “I don’t really know.”

“A final warning to turn back.” Bellor tugged on his beard. “And yet I don’t sense the spirits of any of these men lingering—and there are always those who don’t pass to the other side.”

“Will they do this to us if they catch us?” Drake asked.
She nodded her head. “The nomads will inflict this punishment upon all of us if they catch us. Anyone who crosses the border like we are planning will suffer the Seh’ken’rah.”

“The what?” Bellor asked.

Bree’alla hesitated, her face grim. “The tribesmen call this death the Seh’ken’rah, the Embrace of the Sun.”

Bellor ground his teeth, Thor cursed under his breath, and Drake looked for Shai’keen and the riders behind them.

“We cross this boundary if you want to find Draglûne’s lair.” Bree stood up. “I’m going to take us a secret way. With any luck, they won’t be able to follow.”

“Lead on,” Bellor said, motioning for her to continue.

A short time later, covered in sweat despite the cool desert night, the breathless companions caught up to the wizard and the string of ten vorrels a half-mile south of the gruesome border.

The tall, dark-haired wizard lay on his belly at the crest of a low dune. He waved for them to crouch down as they approached. Bellor collapsed on the soft sand and tried to catch his breath while Bree, Drake and Thor crawled up to see what Dabarius was looking at.
Jep and Temus, Drake’s two bullmastiff dogs who had been guarding Dabarius, wagged their tails and sniffed at them all. The dogs greeted Drake with dry noses, then ringed Bellor who appeared to need the most attention. The slender desert hound, a saluki that had once been owned by the cultists of the Cave of Wyrms, rubbed against Drake, his slender tail whipping about as it prodded him with his long snout. He patted the gentle dog. “I’m all right, Skinny. Now sit.” The dog licked Drake’s hand. “Sit.” The hound sat down, its sad brown eyes never leaving him as he joined his friends lying on the dune.

“The scouts are dead?” Dabarius asked.

Bree nodded. “Why’d you stop?”

Dabarius pointed straight ahead—due south.

A line of mounted vorrel riders in white robes and head coverings who carried slender lances waited at the crest of a dune ahead of them.

Drake counted at least a dozen. They didn’t look like Shai’keen’s men.

“They’ve seen me and the vorrels,” Dabarius said. “They’ve sent a rider galloping to the southwest.”

“Nomads?” Bellor asked as he crawled up to join them, his breathing still ragged.

Bree didn’t respond for a long moment. “We can’t get past them without a fight and dozens more will be here by sunrise.”

“We’ll have to try,” Bellor said.

“Impossible,” Bree said. “Even if we eluded them tonight, they would find us in the morning.“

Drake decided he wasn’t going to become part of the skeletal boundary.

He would go back and they would ambush the main group of cultists. They were numerous, but weakened. Maybe they could win.

“We can’t go back,” Bree said, reading his expression. “Shai’keen is in our way, and the chasm of Zaratek’s Deep to the west bars our passage.”

“What about East?” Drake asked.

“The Sand Lake lies there.” Bree’s eyes reflected the moonlight, and he saw hesitation—worry. “It’s not far from here. I’d planned to skirt the edge of it to avoid being spotted by the nomads. Now we can’t.”

“What way can we go?” Bellor asked.

The moonlight hit Bree in the face, and her scant freckles stood out more as she paled. “We’ll have to go into the Sand Lake.”
The fear in Bree’s face and the worry in her voice unsettled Drake even more. What was she so afraid of in the Sand Lake?

“The nomads won’t follow us there,” Bree said, her voice monotone, as she answered the question hanging in the air.

“Then what’s the matter?” Bellor asked. “We’re not going to stay here and end up mutilated and staked out under the sun.”
“There are worse ways to die.” Bree’s words and expression were deadly serious.

“What are you not telling us?” Bellor asked.

“It would be better to leave that unsaid for now.” Bree avoided looking at anyone. “Some things are drawn to you by the mere mention of them.”
Bellor’s golden-brown eyes looked haunted as he nodded in agreement.

“Ask nothing more for now,” Bree said. “If we hurry, we can enter the Sand Lake just after the sun has risen. Then we trek south and get out before sunset.”

“And if we don’t get out before the sun sets?” Bellor asked.
Bree let out a long sigh. “We’ll wish we had tried to fight our way past the nomads and risked the Seh’ken’rah.”

View The Secret Empire on Amazon

Acknowledgements Page from The Secret Empire


Acknowledgements Page from The Secret Empire:

I finished the first draft of what has become The Secret Empire in 2002. Ten years later the book is finally coming out, though this version bears little resemblance to the manuscript I wrote back then. The story is roughly the same, but I’m a much better writer now, though I know I still have a lot to learn. It took me years to become a good enough writer to break into publishing, and in 2006 I sold book one, The Golden Cord, to John Helfers at Five Star Books, which came out in 2008, followed by book two, The Dragon Hunters which released in October of 2009. There has been a two year and three month gap between book two and three coming out.

Traditional publishing is a rough business, and despite The Golden Cord becoming Five Star Books bestselling fantasy of all time, their fantasy/science-fiction line was not doing well overall, and they cut that whole segment of their business. The publisher tried to keep me alone, and finish the series, but upper management said no, as one book could not make enough money to keep an entire line open. So, I was orphaned in late 2009, with no publisher for the rest of the proposed five book series of which I had manuscripts already written, and plenty of fans who wanted to read them.

I soon learned that the major publishers will not touch orphaned series, and all the small presses I spoke with offered me very little aside from long wait times to hear back from them, which is normal, and awful contracts.

I went from being ecstatic after book one was so successful, my very first published novel, to very depressed when I heard my publisher was stopping all fantasy publications. It’s been a rough three years for most everyone, (2009-2011) as the U.S. and world economy has taken a dive, and the worst I can say is that my 401K lost some money and I lost my publisher. Some people lost their house, or their lifesavings, and so I do not have a lot to complain about.

Fortunately for me, the paradigm of publishing has changed in the past couple of years. Electronic books are making huge gains, and print on demand services like CreateSpace by have become part of publishing that will never go away. I finally chose an outlet for the Iron Dragon Series and in late 2011 decided that I would put the rest of the books out myself, with the help of my published writer/editor friends and The need to get the books out there became an obsession, and after years of little progress I was sprinting to get the manuscript I’d had for years, rewritten and edited.

I was fortunate to have the editorial help of Bradley P. Beaulieu, the acclaimed author of the Lays of Anuskaya series from Nightshade Books. Book one, The Winds of Khalakovo}, and book two, The Straits of Galahesh are both incredible fantasy novels, and Brad is a far better writer than I will ever be. He helped me improve this book tremendously, and I know that Brad would be a fabulous editor for any major publisher. I’m fortunate to have him as a friend, and next time I promise I’ll give him a lot longer to look at the manuscript, as I really wanted to get this book out there, and made him rush. His ideas were gold and I did my best to implement his thoughts in this final draft. The mistakes are mine alone, and the awesome ideas mostly come from Brad and the other big influence on this book, Pat.

Patrick M. Tracy, my college roommate and best friend, has been the most influential person on this book, my life as a writer, and the whole series in general. Pat suffered through this manuscript back in 2002 and earlier, and has helped me craft and shape this story more than any other. He and I have spent hundreds of hours talking about these books, and he’s been patient and kind the whole way. I need a lot of hand holding sometimes and Pat is the best guy ever to brainstorm with. I come up with an idea and he makes it nastier. Pat and I have been going down this author path together for years and I’m so impressed with his skill as a writer and poet. Find his short fiction and you’ll see what I mean. Some of the best lines in this book are Pat’s. He helped keep me going during those tough times after my books were orphaned and I could not ask for a better friend.

My loving and beautiful wife, Tammy has been extremely supportive as well, and allows me to write and keep crazy schedules. I read her all the proof pages out loud and she’s put up with this story the longest out of anyone. We’ve been together since 1995 and soon after that I was thinking of the world of Ae’leron and the Dragon King. Tammy has been the most important person in my life, and I am blessed with a lot of great friends and family, but without Tam, nothing would be possible.

I also want to acknowledge the amazing cover artist, Ciruelo Cabral, whose images have graced the covers of the Iron Dragon Series. His yearly Dragons calendars are stunning, and please find them every year, as they are available in all the stores. He inspires me a lot and his work is perfect for the Iron Dragon Series.

I want to thank my amazing fans all over the world who pushed me to get this book out there, and especially my readers in Utah where I live. Thanks to Jordan Stephens, Jason and Natalie Wilson, Cheryl and Chris O’Malley, Katrina Miller, Glenn Lee, Barbara Webb, Seth Warn, Rebecca Shelley, Adam Davies, K.C. Anderson, Craig Lloyd, my parents, my friends at the hospital where I work as a cardiac nurse, and all the writers, librarians, and teachers who have inspired me to follow this dream.

Thank you all for your support and I hope you enjoy reading The Secret Empire.

Paul Genesse
January 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

Life, The Universe, and Everyting 2012


I'll be a guest at a writing conference, Life, The Universe and Everything, Feb 9-11, 2012 at Utah Valley University in Orem.

My schedule is as follows:

Thursday Feb. 9:
Lunch with friends: who wants to come along?
2:00 PM -Making a Book Trailer
(Paul Genesse, Heather Monson (M), Dan Wells, Angela Corbett, Lani Woodland)

Friday Feb. 10:
Lunch with friends: who wants to come along?
Book Signing 8-10PM
Please come and get a FREE DRAGON 11x17 poster!

Saturday 12 Noon Feb 11:
-Religion in Science Fiction: Is It Possible?
(L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Zachary Hill, Paul Genesse, Scott Parkin, Dan Lind (M), Eric James Stone)

Lunch with friends, who wants to come along?

3:00 PM Reading for 25 minutes. I'll be reading from The Secret Empire, and there will be death, mayhem, an ambush, and free stuff! I'll give out at least one free book.

More Information:

Paul Genesse
Author of The Secret Empire

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Guest Blog by Joshua Palmatier about Gritty Fantasy

I met author and editor Joshua Palmatier in 2005 at the World Fantasy convention in Madison, Wisconsin. We had breakfast and later at the convention I heard him read from his novel, The Skewed Throne, book one of his “Throne of Amenkor” trilogy. I was blown away by the reading, and his novel, The Skewed Throne became my favorite book of the year. It’s an impressive, realistic, and dark fantasy novel with awesome details, and tons of action. Here’s a post he offered to allow me to share from his blog about gritty fantasy, which he does so well.

First off, thanks, Paul, for inviting me to guest blog today. I really appreciate it.

I recently attended Arisia, an SF&F con in Boston, and while there I participated in a panel called “Mud and Blood: The Grittier Side of Fantasy.” This was not a surprise, since the most common adjective used to describe my book is “gritty.” But the basic idea behind the panel was to talk about dark fantasy. I thought it would be a good topic for my guest post.

The main question is, what is it about dark fantasy that intrigues me as a writer, and do I really need to include all of the mud and blood, the dirt and grit? The answer is yes. *grin*

I have to admit that I don’t sit down and intentionally write “dark fantasy.” I never thought of my books as dark, I simply wrote them, the way they wanted to be written. (I’m an organic writer, which means I just sit down and write to see what happens; very little planning ahead of time.) And for me, a book and the characters in it aren’t realistic unless they have to deal with the mud and blood, dirt and grit. Those are the elements that make the world real for me, and so I include them naturally. They’re a part of life.

I also feel that people don’t change unless they’re forced into it. We’d all rather stay the way we are, so in order for a character to have a believable character arc in a book, some rather serious and significant emotional pain needs to be inflicted. We often joke that writers like to torture their characters, but it isn’t really a joke. If we expect the character to change, SOMETHING has to happen. Often, that “something” isn’t nice. And in the end, this is what makes characters interesting and gets the reader involved. Being forced to deal with the gritty reality of life is what draws the reader in and makes them sympathetic to the character.

That doesn’t mean that, as a writer, you can’t take it too far. There is a line that has to be drawn by every writer and every book, a line that the mud and blood, dirt and grit, shouldn’t cross. It differs from book to book, but a reader can only take so much grime and so much character torturing before they lose their sympathy and simply start thinking the writer is cruel. Writers need to balance the “dark” with some hope. In my first book, THE SKEWED THRONE, my character, Varis, starts out in the slums called the Dredge. I spent a lot of time trying to make the Dredge as real and believable as possible. Varis is struggling to merely survive, and for a while it feels as if she may not succeed. I couldn’t possibly write an entire book where this was the dominant feeling. At some point, you have to introduce something to counter the grit and give the reader hope that things will change. In my book, Varis meets a Seeker named Erick, who begins training her to be an assassin. That doesn’t mean there aren’t painful experiences yet to come, even after she escapes the Dredge, but at every stage there is hope that, sometime soon, good things will come. And eventually, they do.


So, in my opinion, you need some mud and blood, some dirt and grit, in order to make the world feel more real, and in order to make the character arc believable. Making the world believable in a fantasy novel is even more important than in other novels. But you have to be careful that you don’t take it too far an alienate the reader from not only your world, but the sympathy they have with your characters as well.


Joshua Palmatier (aka Benjamin Tate) is a fantasy writer with DAW Books, with two series on the shelf, a few short stories, and is co-editor with Patricia Bray of two anthologies. Check out the “Throne of Amenkor” trilogy—The Skewed Throne, The Cracked Throne, and The Vacant Throne—under the Joshua Palmatier name. And look for the “Well” series—Well of Sorrows and the just released Leaves of Flame—by Benjamin Tate. Short stories are included in the anthologies Close Encounters of the Urban Kind (edited by Jennifer Brozek), Beauty Has Her Way (Jennifer Brozek), and River (Alma Alexander). And the two anthologies he’s co-edited are After Hours: Tales from the Ur-bar and the upcoming The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity (March 2012). Find out more about both names at and, as well as on Facebook, LiveJournal (jpsorrow), and Twitter (bentateauthor).