Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review of Avatar

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Review of the movie, Avatar (2009)

(no spoilers)

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord
www.paulgenesse.com


Friday, December 18, 2009

Review of Steampunk edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Brandon Sanderson and Paul Genesse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best wishes,


Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Interview and Article in Survival By Storytelling Magazine

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

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

You can get a preview and check it out at http://stores.lulu.com/sbsmag where you can download it for only $5 or get a print copy for $9.

For you young writers out there, please check out: http://www.youngwritersonline.net/

Happy Writing!

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

Steampunk Short Story

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Steampunk Short Story


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

What is steampunk? Check out this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

Stygian Publications, short story contest




Stygian Publications—short story contest—see below


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

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



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

Happy Writing,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Neil Gaiman hitched a ride with me

October 25-26, 2009

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

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

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

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

Happy reading!

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series
www.paulgensse.com

Friday, October 23, 2009

Teen Reading Week Promo Video




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

Happy Reading

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

Dragon Hunters Book Tour Video Message



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

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

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

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

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

The next morning it was off to Phoenix!

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

YouTube Channels For History Buffs

Hello,

Here's a link from a friend of the Symposium, Amber Johnson. She posted the 100 best channels on YouTube for history buffs. I checked out the links and they're so great. Here's a place to start a little research on so many topics.

Or here's the full link: http://www.onlinecollege.org/2009/10/22/100-incredible-youtube-channels-for-history-buffs/


Happy writing!

Paul Genesse
Editor of the Writers' Symposium Ezine
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Golden Cord Podcast

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Hello,

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

http://web.me.com/paulgenesse/Site/Podcast/Entries/2009/10/17_The_Golden_Cord_Podcast.html

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord and The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com


Final Dragon Hunters Book Tour Schedule

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THE DRAGON HUNTERS BOOK TOUR


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

Saturday October 17, drive to Beatty, Nevada.

Sunday October 18, hang in Beatty with Mom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sun November 8, hang in Reno with family & friends

Mon November 9, leave for Salt Lake City.

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Writers' Symposium Ezine #9

The Writers’ Symposium Ezine

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

View a beautiful full color version with dozens of color pictures by downloading the PDF with all the good stuff and the previous issues at www.paulgenesse.com/writerssymposiumezine
(Issue #9 available on the website soon)

To subscribe, or unsubscribe please email:
WritersSymposium@paulgenesse.com

Visit the Writers’ Symposium Blog at www.WritersSymposium.blogspot.com

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

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From the Editor
===========================================

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

Paul Genesse, Editor and Author of THE DRAGON HUNTERS
www.paulgenesse.com

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Featured Author: Kerrie Hughes
=============================================

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


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Featured Content: Gamer Fantastic Intro by Kerrie Hughes
=====================================================================

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

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

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

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

But I digress . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kerrie (Keridwyn) Hughes, Editor of Gamer Fantastic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks

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

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

=================================================
New and Recent Novels, Anthologies and More by Symposium Authors
=================================================

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

THE THIRD SIGN, a novel by Gregory A. Wilson

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

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



GRANTS PASS, Anthology Edited by Jennifer Brozek

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

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



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



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


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



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



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

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

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

DEADER STILL BY ANTON STROUT RELEASED FEBRUARY 24, 2009



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

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



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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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



WHITE STAR by Elizabeth Vaughan

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



THE DRAGON HUNTERS, Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series

On this hunt, you give up everything.

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

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

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

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



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



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



IMAGINARY FRIENDS. We’ve all had them. We’ve all needed them. In this fun fantasy anthology, readers are given thirteen variations on what kinds of friends come in handy. Featuring stories by Jean Rabe, Don Bingle, Tim Waggoner, Paul Genesse and Jim C. Hines


DAGGER-STAR by Elizabeth Vaughan

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

DAGGER-STAR was released in April from Berkly Sensation. Visit www.eavwrites.com for all the details.



THE GOLDEN CORD, By Paul Genesse. A hunter must leave behind the woman he loves, give up all hope of survival, as he is forced to guide his most hated enemies to the lair of the dragon king.

“The plot is well constructed, the characters are wonderful, and the middle-ages setting creates an ominous feel. The cliffhanger ending will leave readers eager for more. BOOK ONE OF THE IRON DRAGON SERIES is a rich and compelling fantasy full of adventure, danger, dragons, battles, revenge, magic, and more.”
VOYA MAGAZINE

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

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



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


=====================================================
Final Thought
=====================================================

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

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

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

Paul Genesse, Editor and Author

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


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

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

www.writerssymposium.blogspot.com
Visit www.paulgenesse.com/writerssymposium

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Thank you!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord
www.paulgenesse.com



Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dragon Hunters Book Tour

DragonHuntersPosterTag-4.jpg


Hello Friends,


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

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

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

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


Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com







THE DRAGON HUNTERS BOOK TOUR


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

Saturday October 17, drive to Beatty, Nevada.

Sunday October 18, hang in Beatty with Mom.

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sun November 8, hang in Reno with family & friends

Mon November 9, leave for Salt Lake City.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Review of World War Z

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review of World War Z


The zombie apocalypse is over. The world has come back from the brink of destruction in this gripping account of the zombie war by author Max Brooks. Each chapter is an interview conducted by (Max Brooks), and is recounted in the voice of the interviewee, with rare interruptions by Mr. Brooks. I listened to the audio book on CD in my car. I believe that the CD’s are better than the book. Why? Because we get to hear the accents of the interviewees. The actors doing the voices are A-list, and do a remarkable job of conveying the emotion of the story. The interviews are all fantastic, especially the one about Paul Redeker, the ex-apartheid official who helped save South Africa. I listened to that one twice. I also really enjoyed the interview of the Iranian pilot. The characters interviewed run the gamut from grunts on the ground to high-up officials from various countries. Each story is great in its own way, and only a few times did I get out of the story, and thought:an actor is reading this. The audio book I bought was only $14.99 at Borders, but it was slightly abridged. I’d like to get the book and see what I missed.

The social commentary in this work is thought provoking, though you may not even realize what Brooks is hinting at while listening/reading the book. One clever touch is taking famous figures from today, though Brooks doesn’t name names, and skewering them for what he imagines they would do if the zombie war became real. He also points out how some countries would contribute to the catastrophe because of their nature—namely, China, Iran, India, Israel, South Africa, and the United States.

If you love this book, or are interested in it, you must read the free online stories called Tales from the Zombie War (search online and you’ll find it), which take us deeper into the zombie apocalypse.

World War Z was highly entertaining and totally worth the time to either read, or listen to it.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Clint Johnson presented Triple Duty Writing

Hello,


I went to a book signing and writing-workshop tonight at the South Towne Barnes and Noble in Sandy, Utah. I picked up a copy of The Green Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham, who is actually Clint Johnson this time around. R.D. Henham is the house name used in the Dragon Codex series.

Clint signed books for an hour, then he presented a writing-workshop for two hours in the B&N cafĂ©. There were fifteen of us, and Clint did an excellent job making us all think, beginners and published writers alike. I’ve heard him on panels a few times and really admire his teaching ability, which is why I went.

He called the presentation: Triple Duty Writing, using characterization to accomplish multiple things in your writing.

The idea is that all of your writing, each paragraph of your work can use characterization to set the scene and advance the plot. Sometimes, we just do one thing. We write a page of description (boring), or focus purely on characterization (too one dimensional), or we advance the plot (not satisfying enough). By doing all of those things with characterization you make the work stronger.

A couple of good points he made: A great way to reveal character is to show how they respond to other characters. Also, setting and plot are catalysts to cause the character to change. One of the main techniques is a character commenting on their environment, internally or externally. Clint made so many points, and I can’t rehash them all here, but then he gave us a ten-minute writing assignment. He let us choose from four scenarios and told us to use characterization to reveal who the character was, emphasizing the character by how they respond to the setting/event. I picked this one: a reporter finds a body that washed up on a beach.

Here’s what I wrote:

Tiny red crabs swarmed on the man’s dead body, crawling up the strands of seaweed that wrapped around him like funeral linen. Pristine Mexican beaches, right. The only thing that kept the tacos and margaritas I’d just had at the Buena Vista hotel was that the sea covered most of the smell. As a reporter working out of San Diego I’d seen corpses pulled out of the sea, but never after they’d been in the water for this long, and then on beach for maybe longer. Coming south of the border to get away from work as a crime reporter seemed like the dumbest idea I’d ever had, and I’d actually married Sofi twice. All I had wanted to do was have a few drinks, find an empty stretch of beach to work on my novel. Now I was in reporter mode wondering who in name of Jesus Christo this dead amigo was.

Some of us read our passage aloud and we discussed the techniques we used. It was a good assignment and there were some good insights given to all who shared their attempt.

Then, we had our next assignment. Rewrite the passage with an entirely different character. Here’s what I wrote.

Tiny red crabs swarmed on the dead man’s feet, crawling up the strands of seaweed that wrapped around him like wet newspaper. Another good day, Dirty Juan thought as he dragged the fresh corpse out of the waves. Mexican beaches had been rich pickings since the bendejo Americanos had started sinking boats of refugees heading north. The dead usually had their whole life savings strapped to their inner thighs with duct tape and that’s where he would look first on this one. Too bad it took a stack of pesocreds to buy a months worth of tortillas and beans. It didn’t matter that much to Dirty Juan. He could always find something to eat on the beach. Once you ground up the meat, and put on some salsa, it tasted almost liked pork.


I never got to read the last one aloud, whew!

Anyway, Clint did a great job and I’m really enjoying his new book, The Green Dragon Codex. Check out his website at http://clintjohnsonwrites.com/.

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Review of The Queen of Stone

The Queen of Stone (Eberron: Thorn of Breland, #1) The Queen of Stone by Keith Baker


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Queen of Stone
Thorn of Breland

The medusa on the cover made me pick it up, but the writing sucked me in. The first three chapters are extremely well-done, and kept me guessing for quite some time. If you love strong female characters, this is a book for you.

The main character is a super spy named Nyrielle Tam. Code name: Thorn. Picture OO7, except she’s a female half-elf who uses magic. Instead of all the technical gadgets that James Bond has, Thorn has magical items to help her on her secret impossible mission. The coolest item that she does have is her dagger, Steel. He’s intelligent, meaning that he can speak to her telepathically, but only when she touches him. Steel and Thorn have a very, well, thorny relationship. Steel knows a ton of things, can detect magical spells, and acts like a kind of radar and annoying mentor all at the same time. All Thorn has to do is pass him over any language and he can read it for her. What a weapon for a spy to have.

Her mission involves . . . Forget it. The mission is classified.

One of the big strengths of this novel is that Keith Baker created the world, which several other authors are now writing in. He knows the material and uses it to add just enough complexity to make it interesting. By the way, Eberron is the world that won the Wizards of the Coast Contest a few years ago. It is a fascinating place and I’ve enjoyed learning about it immensely.

If you’re interested in a new take on fantasy, check out Queen of Stone. The writing is very strong and don’t forget to pay attention to the little hints along the way. They are a big payoff at the end, which I did not see coming.


Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series
www.paulgenesse.com

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Review of District 9

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Review of District 9 (no spoilers)


The new movie, District 9 blew me away.

I saw District 9 in Indianapolis when I was at Gen Con a few days ago. I went with a couple of friends late one night. I’m glad I saw it, and thought it was completely awesome. I really felt like I had been kicked in the gut during parts of this movie. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s rated R for good reason. There are some really gory moments that made even me, the hard to shock nurse, cringe a little.

The story was brilliant. The film is shot like a documentary about what happened when we humans decided to move the aliens who had been stuck on Earth to a different holding camp. It follows one man, who was put in charge of the operation, interspersed with documentary style clips. I don’t want to say any more. I avoided watching the trailers and wanted to know as little as I could before seeing it.

Overall, the movie is a revelation and shows what can be accomplished when excellent film-making, amazing CGI, great acting, and tremendous writing come together. I can nit-pick the heck out of anything, but I can find almost nothing to pick at with this movie. Perhaps one line of dialog toward the end, but that’s it.

The two friends that I saw it with, writers Chris Pierson and Brad Beaulieu, discussed it afterwards. We were all just shocked at how good it was. The plot moved so fast, was so interesting, and kept our attention the whole time. The ending is not what you’d expect from Hollywood—though this was not really a Hollywood movie. Peter Jackson produced and a South African guy directed.

I give this movie five out of five stars. Go and see it on the big screen, but leave the squeamish friends, and the kids at home.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

Great First Lines

Hello,

One of the Gen Con panels was about great first lines. The panelists were, me (Paul Genesse), Patrick Rothfuss, Gregory A. Wilson, and Brad Beaulieu. Here is the list of great first lines that I read from during the panel.


Great First Lines:

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
--The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 1937


I always get the shakes before a drop.
--Robert. A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers, 1959


Sleeth’s great yellow eyes slid open; behind crystalline membranes, long slitted pupils expanded wide in the ebon darkness.
Dennis L. McKiernan, Dragondoom, 1990


The day they gave me my mask was the first day I felt truly alive.
--Michael A. Stackpole, Dark Glory War, 2000

“I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one. Or at least as close as we’re going to get.”
--Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game, 1985

“We should start back,” Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them. “The wildlings are dead.”
--George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones 1996

I am not, as they say, human.
--Brad Beaulieu, A Girl Named Rose

Prince Raoden of Arelon awoke early that morning, completely unaware that he had been damned for all eternity.
--Brandon Sanderson, Elantris 2005

I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife’s grave. Then I joined the army.
--John Scalzi, Old Man’s War 2005

It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.
--Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind, 2007

On one otherwise normal Tuesday evening I had the chance to live the American Dream. I was able to throw my incompetent jackass of a boss from a fourteenth story window.
--Larry Correia, Monster Hunter International 2009


In the week before their departure to Arrakis, when all the final scurrying about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul.
--Frank Herbet, Dune 1965

Gen Con 2009 Recap

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(Authors: Gregory A. Wilson, Monica Valentinelli, and Paul Genesse)


Gen Con 2009 Recap


Hello Friends,

I had a fabulous time at Gen Con this year. It was my best ever. I was on twelve one-hour panels, did two book signings, and did a reading with New York Times bestselling author, Patrick Rothfuss, who wrote The Name of the Wind. It was very busy, but very fun. The best thing was hanging out with the other members of the Writers’ Symposium and meeting my old friends and fans.

Gen Con is one of those amazing times where you don’t get any sleep, and never have enough time to see and do all that you want.

Thank you to all of you who signed up for the Writers’ Symposium Ezine. You’ll be getting the next issue in October. The old issues are available for download on the website, or the text versions are posted on the Writers’ Symposium Blog.

Here's a link to the pictures I took at Gen Con. You can download them in high quality from here:

http://gallery.me.com/paulgenesse#100227

Or view them on Facebook where I’ve written a commentary about many of the photos.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=137895&id=583339135&l=e0a3539aab

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Editor of the Writers’ Symposium Ezine
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

Interview of Author Paul Genesse

Hello,

Historical fiction writer, Linda Weaver Clark, interviewed me about book two, The Dragon Hunters. I also interviewed her, in a separate post, posted today.


Linda's Questions

Linda: As a fantasy author, do you have to do any research or does it come straight from your imagination? To create a world that doesn’t exist seems very difficult to me and takes real talent. How do you create a fantasy world?

Paul: My whole life is research—or at least that’s what I’d like to believe—especially when I’m watching TV in the wee hours of the morning or reading fiction when I should be studying some dense book on the history of Bronze Age warfare. Seriously, every interaction I have teaches me something that might end up in my novels or short stories. The educational shows, books, games, all of my traveling, and the many documentaries I watch contribute greatly to my writing. Building imaginary worlds that are believable takes a lot of thought and planning. I feel like every year of schooling, elementary school, junior high, high school, and especially college, has given me the tools necessary to create fantastical worlds. I think you need to have a solid understanding of history, geography, politics, culture, psychology, sociology, biology, and so much more to get it right. I spend time at the library, online, or on Amazon.com finding books that I have to have in my collection as references. The research never ends for me. I also find that having good conversations with intelligent friends about world building helps guide my research and leads me to fill in the gaps. The consequences of the choices you make when creating worlds are sometimes not obvious, but with a good working knowledge of our world, you can come up with the right idea. Just imagine if the world you created had magical lights that never went out, or a source of energy that never ran out. All of these seemingly minor things would change everything.

Linda: Do you put part of yourself into a character and does that person take on some of your personality traits? Since you write fantasy, do you pattern your characters after people you know? Do you have a favorite character and why?

Paul: The characters in my fiction all have some part of me in them, generally exaggerated. I can’t escape it. Sometimes I try to remove myself from the characters and make them totally different from me, but in truth—they all have some aspect of my personality. The main character in my Iron Dragon series, Drake, has a guardian personality like I have. I’m a registered nurse in a cardiac unit and I watch over people and protect them. Drake is very much like that. He lives to serve others and makes great sacrifices for those under his protection. I use the Meiers-Briggs personality templates as models for the main characters in my books. I feel it’s important to get a character’s psychology correct, or they just don’t feel right to the reader. My favorite character in my Iron Dragon books depends on the moment. When I’m writing Drake, he’s often my favorite character, but if I go to the depth of my soul, my favorite character is Bellor, (sounds like, Bel-LOR). He’s an old dwarven War Priest who has lost almost everything during his 250 years of life. He is wise and kind—a truly good guy who other people would sacrifice their lives to protect. He carries a heavy burden and knows that if he does not succeed, no one else will.

Linda: Your new novel, “The Dragon Hunters,” sounds very interesting. Could you please tell me how you developed your story? How did you come up with the idea? And what is the plot?

Paul: I’ve always thought that going after a dragon was the most interesting kind of fantasy story. Ever since I read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien I was in love with the concept. Finally, I wrote a series, The Iron Dragon novels, where the main idea is to defeat the Iron Dragon King and stop him from taking over the world. The description of the series is, “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 description of book two is, “The last of an order of dragon hunters must track down the daughter of the Iron Dragon King, and stop her from getting the Crystal Eye, an artifact that will cause the destruction of their world.”

Linda: What age group would you recommend for reading your books? Can adults and young adults appreciate them?

Paul: Library Journal gave me a great review and said that ages 12 and up should read the book. I find that 10-11 years olds love it as well, but the book is more for teens and adults. It’s very scary at times and has a significant amount of violence—though nothing more than kids see on TV or in video games every day. What’s made me feel good is that I’ve had an excellent response from adults. I have many fans who are in their twenties as well as older women who happen to be grandmothers. I think that almost everyone finds a character that they identify with in the Iron Dragon books, and that’s why they’ve been so well received. If I’ve done my job right, years from now, when people have forgotten the plot, they will remember the character that they loved.

Read sample chapters, listen to podcasts, watch videos about the Iron Dragon Series at www.paulgenesse.com.

Interview of Historical Fiction Author Linda Weaver Clark

Hello,

I recently interviewed Linda Weaver Clark, who writes historical fiction and teaches family legacy workshops all over the country. Check out the questions and answers below to learn more about how to write and research historical fiction. She also interviewed me, see separate post.

The Interview:

Paul: Thank you for doing the interview. How do you begin researching historical fiction? Do you come up with a long-term research plan, let it evolve naturally, visit the locations you’ll write about? Please comment on how long you spend doing the research, or give your usual range.

Linda: Research is an important part of writing historical fiction so I learn everything I can about the area my story takes place, also checking out the time period, any non-fictional characters, and historical facts. I find out everything I can to both educate my readers and to make the setting feel real. When I researched Bear Lake Valley, I didn’t only read about it but I went there and walked around. I was able to get a feel of the area so I could place my characters in the setting. Description is very important and I try to make the scenery believable. It usually takes me about one month of research before I begin writing.

When I did the research for my first book, “Melinda and the Wild West,” I found out that Butch Cassidy robbed the bank in Montpelier, Idaho in 1896. I was thrilled when I found that the city of Montpelier had recorded the incident. I used every detail in my novel. But I had to do more research since Butch Cassidy was a non-fictional character. I found out that he had a charming personality with a great wit and sense of humor. He never killed a person the whole time he was an outlaw and Cassidy referred to himself as the “Robin Hood of the West,” out to rob from the rich and give to the poor.

I also learned that the Bear Lake Monster was an old Indian legend in Bear Lake history. I read many accounts, testifying to its reality. Scotland has the Lock Ness Monster and Bear Lake Valley has theirs. Do they really exist? The mystery of the Bear Lake Monster has been an exciting part of Idaho history since the early 1800s but no one has been able to disprove its existence. Is the Bear Lake Monster fact or fiction, legend or myth? Whatever conclusion is drawn, the legend still lives on and brings a great deal of mystery and excitement to the community.


Paul: Do you have a plot and characters in mind before the research begins, or do you come up with it all as you're doing the research?

Linda: I usually develop my plot and characters after gaining some knowledge about the area. That way I know what I’m facing. For example, in my research I learned all about Old Ephraim, the ten-foot grizzly bear that roamed southern Idaho. He wrecked havoc everywhere he went, frightening the communities and killing sheep left and right. His story is legendary, told at many Boy Scout campfires. He’s real! After learning all about this old grizzly, then I developed my plot. Of course, I always put these historical facts as a subplot in my storyline but it makes for a very interesting story. For example, Old Ephraim is the subplot to “Jenny’s Dream.” Jenny has childhood memories that haunt her and won’t leave her alone, and she soon realizes that she has to learn to forgive before she can accomplish her dream. In the meantime, her father has vowed to put a stop to all this killing and goes after the ten-foot grizzly. I use every detail about how he stopped Old Ephraim in my novel.

I did the same thing with “David and the Bear Lake Monster.” The legend of this monster is a subplot, where David tries to disprove its existence. The story is about deep-rooted legends, long family traditions, and a few mysterious events!

David wonders why the town folk believe in this Bear Lake Monster. It just has to be a myth. While visiting the Roberts family, he finds himself entranced with one very special lady and ends up defending her honor several times. He finds out that Sarah has gone through more trials than the average person. She teaches him the importance of not dwelling on the past and how to love life. And how about the Bear Lake Monster? Does it really exist?

All my stories are for both adult and young adult. You can read a sample chapter on my website at: www.lindaweaverclarke.com.

Paul: How has the legacy and the history of your own family impacted your writing?

It has influenced my writing a great deal. I tend to use my own ancestor’s experiences in my novels, giving them to my fictional characters. Of course, in the back of each book I have “Author’s Notes” that let my readers know what is actually true.

For example, my great grandmother, Sarah Eckersley Robinson, was my inspiration for “David and the Bear Lake Monster.” She became deaf at the age of one and was a very brave and courageous woman. She never let her deafness stop her from developing her talents. I took a lot of her experiences from her biography and gave them to my heroine to bring some reality into my story. To me, the experiences of my ancestors have always intrigued me.

Sarah was known as one of the most graceful dancers in town. She never sat on the sidelines at dances because of her natural ability. She was known for gliding across the floor with ease, with just a touch of her partner’s hand. Sarah had such agility and gracefulness, not only on the dance floor, but also while swimming and diving. People would actually throw coins in the water so they could watch her dive after them. They would applaud, letting her know how much they enjoyed watching her, and then throw another coin in the water.

An intruder actually hid in her bedroom under her bed, thinking he could take advantage of her since she was deaf. He must have thought she was an easy victim but was sadly mistaken. She swatted him out from under her bed with a broom, and all the way out of the house, and down the street for a couple blocks, whacking him as she ran. She was a beautiful and spunky woman! Because of my admiration for my great grandmother, I named my character “Sarah.”

In my research about the “hearing impaired,” and talking to a dear friend who became deaf in her youth, I became educated about the struggles they have to bear. It was a surprise to find out that some struggle with self-esteem and the fear of darkness. I didn’t realize that concentrating on reading lips for long periods of time could be such a strain, resulting in a splitting headache. After all my research, I found that I had even more respect for my great grandmother and her disability. What a courageous woman!


Please visit Linda’s website www.lindaweaverclarke.com to learn more or read a description of her Family Legacy workshops and her bio below.

What Is Family Legacy?

It’s important to teach our children their heritage. Who are your ancestors? What were their traditions? Did they fight for a cause and what was it about? Each of us has a story from our ancestors or even our own story to tell. If these stories are unwritten, then how are your children going to know of their parentage? It’s up to us to write these experiences down. Turn your family history into a variety of interesting stories, something your children will be proud of.

Biography

Linda Weaver Clarke received her Bachelor of Arts Degree at Southern Utah University after raising six daughters. She now travels throughout the United States, teaching a “Family Legacy Workshop” at a variety of libraries, encouraging others to turn their family history and autobiography into a variety of interesting stories. Clarke is the author of Melinda and the Wild West, a semi-finalist for the “Reviewers Choice Award 2007.” The historical fiction series, “A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho” include the following novels: Melinda and the Wild West (2006), Edith and the Mysterious Stranger (2008), Jenny’s Dream (2009), David and the Bear Lake Monster (2009), and Elena, Woman of Courage (2009).


Paul: Thank you for doing the interview, Linda.

Best wishes!

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

Thursday, August 6, 2009

World-building, Religion

World-building: Religion
by Sabrina Klein

Religion is a funny thing that can, but doesn’t have to, influence EVERYTHING. Most people have no idea how much of a culture is rooted in religion. For instance, our own country came into existence partially because of religious persecution in England. Many of our laws and why they came about are solidly rooted from those religious ideals. That’s one of the major reasons people came here in droves, but it’s also the reason we separate church and state. That sense of equality we always toot about came about because the British outcasts living here all wanted to be free of persecution, the first amendment covers that. Other things in our culture came from the influence of religion. Our love of peace is partly due to the Quaker’s heavy belief in ‘turn the other cheek’.

Another example of a small thing influenced by religion is kosher foods. Why are the Jews not allowed to eat meat mixed with dairy products? It’s rooted in prevention of disease, but to make sure people did it Religious specialists (A.K.A. priests) and their leaders made it a religious law. The Islamic practice of woman only showing their hands and face is directly from their religious laws called the Sharia. Why don’t the Hindus eat beef? Cattle are holy creatures in some places their slaughter and consumption is forbidden. Religion can affect anything. Keep that in mind when you make one.

All faiths have certain commonalities such as; Prayer taboos, and who can and can’t be a priest/priestess. There are more, but I recommend seeing Anthony Wallace (1966; Religion: An Anthropological View; ISBN-10: 0394442717) for the full list. About his list though, you don’t have to include all of them in fact you shouldn’t. You should, however, include some way of communication between mortals and the gods. It’s the one essential thing in my opinion though a lack of it is an interesting problem in of itself. Religion covers those things which we as mortals cannot define; how the world was created, who controls those things beyond our reach, and why those things are the way they are. The more science that enters a culture to explain the world around them causes one of two things happens. Either the religion becomes more complex or it fades from lack of faith, and both of these things can be dangerous. Possibilities abound from it. Does the religion impress control to decrease its lack of validation, make threats, and/or grasp at anything to create a sense of presence from the god(s)? All these things carry consequences in plot and individual definitions of character.

All faiths have a way of connecting with the gods-what is it? Who are the gods? Are the nature based or aspect based-are they gods of emotion, actions, or things. For instance, Neptune (AKA Poseidon to the Greeks) was god of the sea and horses. Thousands of miles away in Ireland Mannon mac Llyr and or Llyr was god of the sea yet several deities were associated with horses. The sea is a gateway to the underworld for them both. Similar aspects but not, and this can be used to create strife or bring different cultures together. The Romans acculturated many religions to make their own.

Creating gods is part of creating a cosmology. It’s an important question. In answering that question it brings up another. Which I have found is the nature of this thing-creating a cosmology- answer one question and it creates a zillion more. Wherever your god(s) live can a mortal get there? And if the answer is yes then there must be a gateway from the mortal world to the immortal universe. Or do the gods walk among mortals as they do in White Wolf’s Scarred Lands setting. If they do what form do they take? The Greek gods did this often, but they took forms to hide their identity. Do your gods hide their identity from mortals when they visit them? What is their purpose to their followers, and do your followers even know their true purpose?

There are three principles that are agreed upon in the anthropological world for why the gods exist. To explain earthly occurrences such as how nature works; Zeus is the god of thunder and rain his contemporaneous counterpart for the Mesoamericans was Chaac is god of rain. They help define the same thing almost exactly but developed independently, and have some differences and their overall personalities are different. They serve to explain the emotions or desires of humanity such as Aphrodite Greek goddess of love and Bridget goddess of Justice. Giving comfort to those who believe in them , whether they be mortal or not, some gods follow other gods-faith from their own could be essential, possibly by offering an alternative to oblivion at death, reincarnation is a favorite of the Hindus or the Elysian fields for the Romans.

There are a lot of questions that need answers when you create a religion. Here are some of the ones I’ve asked and answered…

Who are the religious specialists between the mortals and their gods, what are their powers and limitations, and how do they work?

How do you become a priest? When you create rules for this you MUST obey them, or you better come up with a darned good explanation for breaking the rule…don’t be cheesy and use this as an out for backing yourself in a corner...

Where do your gods reside?

How do your gods behave?

Where is the ‘other world’? How does time pass? How do you get there?

Do your gods get along? (immortal strife is one of the best known plots- IE: Yahweh & Lucifer)

What and who is considered good and evil?

What are the rules and tenants of your religion? What can mortals do to get in trouble with the gods, and what can the gods do to get in trouble with each other?

Creation of the world. How was physical world created, and how is it related to the realm of the gods. (See various creation myths to get an idea… there are some more fun than others.)

What does the realm of the gods look like? How is it arranged, and are the same laws of physics obeyed there?

What do your gods look like? …they don’t have to look the same as their believers or each other.

Who follows this religion and how is it practiced. Each aspect of a religion is practiced in a certain way for a REASON. Think this through.

Religion and cosmology go hand in hand and often times when you create one you will find you are also creating the other. Consistency is a must when doing this everything doesn’t have to make scientific sense just don’t violate and rules you create without making an explanation for it. You don’t need reason to have faith. Faith is the act of belief, but spirituality is about bringing faith to live and breathe within and acting on it. Remember faith is just that, faith, and not everything has to make sense to believe. The follower must make the choice to dismiss doubt.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Writers Symposium Ezine #8, Gen Con 2009 Seminar Overview Issue

The Writers’ Symposium Ezine

“Helping Writers Write”
Issue #8, August 2009
The Gen Con 2009 Writers’ Symposium Overview Issue

View the past issues, all beautiful full color PDF’s, with dozens of pictures by downloading the PDF at www.paulgenesse.com/writerssymposiumezine
(Issues #1 to #7 available now on the website)

To subscribe, or unsubscribe please email:
WritersSymposium@paulgenesse.com

Visit the Writers’ Symposium Blog at www.WritersSymposium.blogspot.com

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Contents
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From the Editor: Paul Genesse
Featured Content: The Future of Gaming by Donald J. Bingle
Featured Content: Gen Con 2009 Seminar Schedule and bios
List of Current Writers’ Symposium Members, Bios & Contact Info
Very Short Final Thought

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From the Editor
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This is the Gen Con 2009 Writers’ Symposium Seminar preview issue. It has a comprehensive list of all the seminars—nearly eighty hours worth—that will be given at the Gen Con convention (www.gencon.com) in Indianapolis, Indiana from August 13-16. Gen Con has been called the “Best Four Days in Gaming,” and now it’s becoming known as “The Best Four Days in Writing” because of the very popular writing tracks. This issue also features a hilarious article about the future of gaming by a famous player of games, and writer, Don Bingle.

Note: This issue will only be available as a text version. Please check the Writers’ Symposium web page for the past issues, which are available as beautiful PDF’s. Thanks for reading.

Paul Genesse, Editor and Author of THE DRAGON HUNTERS
www.paulgenesse.com



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Featured Content: The Future of Gaming: Give Games a Sporting Chance by Donald J. Bingle
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When you really think about it, the demise of sports was inevitable. Athletes were destined to become extinct; the poor adrenaline-soaked, lactic-acid-laden, mouth-breathing, muscle-bound, protein-shake-drinking freaks simply never stood a chance.
Some say the sports franchises were just victims of their own success, that the pay scales for athletes not only became fiscally irresponsible for team owners, but alienating for Joe-Six-Pack fans. The limited pool of true talent was so small and the owners so desperate to win at any cost in order to fuel their own vicarious fantasy lives that the bidding became emotional, irrational, sensational, and ultimately vindictive as owners, eager to show off the size of their cajones, bid up even minor and mediocre talents to exact revenge for losing a more renowned competitor to a rival. Toss in the carrying costs of a small army of replacements, substitutes, farm team players, coaches, assistant coaches, coordinators, trainers, technicians, cheerleaders, mascots, schedulers, travel consultants, accountants, marketers, lawyers, trademark licensors, and equipment wranglers and you’re beginning to talk real money. Add the capital cost of the sporting venue, associated practice fields, shoes, uniforms, sporting equipment, and jock straps (always extra large) and you begin to understand why sports was dominated by rich white guys who made their fortune doing something else, something productive, something remunerative, something with an underlying economic sense to it.
The money was crazy, sure, but so was the income—cities building huge, domed facilities with taxpayer funds even though the stadiums did nothing but sit idle three hundred days a year, television networks bilked billions out of beer pushers to broadcast their silly little games, and fans got ripped-off on everything from programs to hot dogs to officially-licensed shirts, caps, and all-terrain vehicles.
The whole crazy sports machine probably would have lumbered along like an offensive linesman on Vicodin if not for, well, the Vicodin. . .and drugs in general. The pressure to win, but even more importantly, the desire to make a boat-load of money in the bidding frenzy for talent, drove the simple-minded athlete to a simple solution: cheating. Soon steroids to build body-mass, amphetamines to provide a performance burst, human growth hormones to become taller, blood transfusions to enhance oxygenation, and numbing agents to allow playing with pain (or at least what would have been pain, but for the drugs) predominated in the locker room. Not soon after, revelations about drugs predominated on the sports page, in fantasy-league discussions, in Olympic committee meetings, in Congressional hearing rooms, and eventually, in the federal penitentiaries. Yep, people got locked up for cheating at sports. Sooner or later, all the sports were implicated—cycling, football, baseball, track, skiing, water polo, basketball, hockey, tennis, pole-vaulting, synchronized-swimming, and even curling (you can sweep like a banshee when you’re on crack).
Inevitably, the scourge of drugs in sports became a top-level concern not only of the rulers of sports, but the rulers of the world—moms. Mom didn’t want little Johnny hanging out with a bunch of guys sharing more than dirty stories in the locker room, but at the same time Mom didn’t want little Johnny coming home crying because he couldn’t compete and Dad getting all frustrated because his son played like a wuss on the field. Maybe it was better if Johnny just played a game with his friends in the basement or online.
Perhaps sports could have held their own in trench warfare with games—each with a phalanx of players and fans, the ranks ebbing and peaking with a periodicity dictated by the latest fads—if not for the injury factor. While it has always been true that people get hurt when they fling their bodies or balls or pucks or pretty much anything else at one another and that sports have always been associated with a certain number of tears, breaks, pulls, lacerations, concussions, and deaths to the competitors or to the fans nearby, modern tort law as brought to you by the modern tort lawyer (living the life of financial excess his father always dreamed about) has made such inevitable bashings and the associated bleeding, pain, and death very expensive. The ascendancy of the legal maxim that there is no injury which cannot be blamed on someone else—the team, the school, the facility, the ball, the equipment manufacturer, the coach, the teammate, the opponent, the city, or the relevant rule-making body for the sport, made injuries more expensive than utility outfielders.
But, again, more than the expense, there was Mom. Mom didn’t want Johnny getting hurt. Mom wanted Johnny protected from everything in life—bullies, teachers, gold-digging women, bad grades, homework, peer pressure, promiscuous women, drugs, hard work, snapped towels, athlete’s foot, and, of course, getting hurt playing games in the dirt. No sports for Johnny. Sports are dirty, dangerous, elitist, oriented only toward winning at all costs, and infested with slutty cheerleaders. Dad would have to get his vicarious thrills reading Sports Illustrated—Swimsuit Edition.
At the same time as sports spun into a downward spiral, gaming was on the rise. Mom wanted Johnny to be clean and safe and able to play despite the lack of physical prowess and to cooperate with others toward a group goal that would build his self-esteem, and keep him far, far away from slutty cheerleaders. Aside from a rare case of carpal-tunnel syndrome in someone with clearly inferior gaming equipment, there is no risk of injury (no bleeding, bruising, pulling, tearing, breaking, or concussing) in gaming. There are no tryouts to fuel anxiety, rage, or suicidal dismay. There are no coteries of coaches, trainers, mascots, or slutty cheerleaders. There are no stadiums to build, no fields to chalk, no significant expense of any kind. Everything is either imaginary or virtual and much of it is built by the players themselves.
And, so, it is not surprising that actual sports have become extinct (there are still sports-themed games) and games—table-top, virtual, one-on-one, team, or massively multiplayer—have become what sports once were, complete with fans, sponsorships (heavy on the caffeine-laden drinks, rather than beer), endorsements, pay-per-view competitions, superstars, box scores, televised championships, and, yes, slutty cheerleaders. Dad would be so proud.



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Gen Con 2009 Writers’ Symposium Seminar Schedule
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GEN CON 2009 WRITERS’ SYMPOSIUM SCHEDULE

Thursday, August 13th
8 a.m.
The Horse You Wrote In On
Horses can play a big role in fantasy fiction. Learn how to weave real details about horses into your story to make everything more believable. Panelists discuss reference material and how to add an element of the fantastic.

Stranger in a Stranger Land
No, this panel is not about Robert Heinlein, although his name might come up. Have you ever lived in or visited a foreign country where the change in culture was striking? Well, that's the feeling you need to give your character if he "isn't from around here." We'll discuss the "fish out of water" aspect of characterization and how to use it for drama and comedy.

9 a.m.
Outlines, Character Sketches, and Spreadsheets
How much work should you do before you start your novel? Some authors make detailed outlines. Others jot only a few notes. We'll discuss the pros and cons of putting in a lot of effort upfront, including character sketches and spreadsheets to track hair color and scars.

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency!
Whether your story is set in an imaginary world or in the real one, things that will pop a reader or an editor out of your story is inconsistency in naming conventions, make-believe words, and invented languages. Join us for a discussion on how to maintain consistency in your writing.

10 a.m.
Plot a Novel in 60 Minutes
You can do it, really, plot a novel in an hour. We'll show you how.

Pitching to Game Companies
Got a great idea for the next hot roleplaying game? Or do you want to land some freelance work from one of your favorite game companies? Panelists give advice on how to market your ideas and how to go about getting freelance contracts.

11 a.m.
Great Opening Lines
"Call me Ishmael." A great opening line hooks readers and keeps them turning the pages. Panelists discuss some of their favorite opening lines and give you tips on how you can craft opening sentences that will capture the attention of a reader (and hopefully an agent and editor, too).

Gamer Fantastic!
This summer saw the release of an anthology inspired by the Gen Con Game Fair. It is a collection of stories from thirteen writer-gamers, most of them in attendance at this convention. Come pick their brains about mixing gaming and writing, discuss books, get a copy of Gamer Fantastic, and stick around to hear a few of the stories read.

Noon
Writing the Trilogy
Is there more to your story than can fit into one book? Or is it the other way around-do you have too much material for your tale and need to cut a few hundred pages? Our panelists will tackle trilogies and open-ended series, including how to approach writing the multi-part saga and how to market it.

Reading
Chris Pierson and Steven Schend read from their Gamer Fantastic stories.

1 p.m.
Scribe Awards Ceremony
The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers presents awards for game-related fiction. Come meet the winners and learn about the IAMTW. Hosted by IAMTW member John Helfers.

How Roleplaying Games Can Make You a Better Writer
Sure, roleplaying games have probably taught you everything you need to know in life, but what can roleplaying games teach you about writing? We'll discuss several aspects, such as dialog, making your characters come alive, pacing, subplots, clues and misdirection, narrative description, managing combat scenes, making characters fit the story, and avoiding writer's block.

2 p.m.
Good Guys Wear Black Hats
And sometimes the bad guys wear white. In fantasy and science fiction the lines can blur between the heroes and villains. Panelists offer suggestions on crafting heroic villains and villainous heroes.

What Writers Can Learn from Wargamers
Want to add or improve the military flavor in your stories? Join us to discuss how playing games and learning strategy and tactics can help you figure out where the hero is and where the villain is, and how you can draw on battle tactics to put some ooomph in their meeting.

3 p.m.
Dry Spells and Survival Tips
Dry spells, poor salesmanship, frustrating editors, and day jobs are the bane of writers. We'll offer you advice on how to overcome unfortunate times, how to deal with rejection letters, and what you can do to keep plugging away at the keyboard.

What Gamers Can Learn From Writers
What is a hook, and why do I need it? How can I get my players really involved in my story? Join us for a panel discussion of what GMs can learn from writers, including tips on how to write your next adventure.

Pick My Brain-Jean Rabe
USA Today Bestselling author Jean Rabe, with more than two dozen novels and four dozen short stories, is ready to chat about life, the universe, and how to break into the market. Bring your questions.

4 p.m.
Before You Write a Single Word
New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole walks you through the basics of setting yourself up for success. From developing good core habits, working past simple, career killing mistakes and setting up writer's critiquing groups, to acquiring the physical tools needed to start writing; Mike covers it all. You're about to start on the most difficult and exhilarating journey of your life, and this seminar will show you what to pack and what skills you'll need to develop to get to the end.

Switching Gears: Fiction to Game Writing and Back Again
The genres require different styles of writing, and if you want to work in both industries you have to be able to switch gears . . . and don't let them hear the dice rolling when you do it.

Pick My Brain-Jennifer Brozek
She's written fiction and game material for enough years to be called a veteran! Jennifer Brozek is ready to offer advice on both writing fields, discuss her experiences working with Margaret Weis, and answer questions that aren't from the fields of physics or nuclear medicine.

5 p.m.
The Rules of Writing
New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole presents the Rules of Writing. These are the insider tips and tricks that you'd pick up in the first five years of your writing career, all presented here in an hour. Gleaned from personal experience and the experience of writers dating back to the 1930s, these tricks will cut three years out of your development as a writer

Shameless Self Promotion
Web pages and blogs and going to conventions . . . oh my! Promoting yourself and your writing is necessary in today's market. But how far should you go? Just how do you promote yourself without sounding desperate? Our panelists offer their sage advice on how to draw attention to you and your work economically and ethically.

6 p.m.
Reading
John Helfers and Kelly Swails

Reading
Brad Beaulieu and Gregory Wilson

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


Friday, August 14th
8 a.m.
Wicked Queens and Evil Kings, the dark side of royalty
The royals are supposed to protect the people, but much of the time they are the root of all the problems. Learn from our panelists how to create evil monarchs and hear about historical figures that can provide inspiration.

Short Story Workshop
A short story is not a novel in miniature. We'll discuss how to approach short fiction, including point of view, dialog, and characterization . . . and how to sell your material.

9 a.m.
Big on the Small Press
If the big houses turn you down, consider selling your manuscript to a small press publisher. It might be your best chance to get your foot in that proverbial publishing door. Does the small press give more freedom and assume less control? Authors and editors who have worked with small press publishers discuss the benefits and disadvantages.

Urban Fantasy
Is there still room in the market? Can the public handle another vampire detective? Our panelists have written urban fantasy and discuss the ingredients, what makes a successful fantasy city yarn, and how you can try to break into the genre.

Pick My Brain-Elizabeth Vaughan
USA Today Bestselling author Elizabeth Vaughan is in the mood to chat! Bring your questions and books to sign, and she'll happily accommodate you. Published internationally, Elizabeth is known for her Warlands fantasy romance trilogy from Tor and her new series including Dagger Star and White Star.

10 a.m.
Writing the Specialized Genre: Spy Stuff
You've seen the movies. You've read the books. You might even have played the games. But do you have what it takes to write a spy story or techno thriller? Whether serious or silly, spy novels have their own conventions. How do you learn about technology? What do you reveal and what do you keep secret? What has to be credible and what probably should be fantastic? We'd tell you who is on this panel, but then we'd have to kill you.

Writing for Children and the YA Market
How do you break in? Is it tough to write for kids? Panelists discuss the differences and similarities between the adult and YA market, how to approach your writing, and the publishing opportunities.

Pick My Brain-Paul Genesse
Paul's second novel is hot off the presses. His first, The Golden Cord, was a top-selling title for the Five Star book line. He's ready to talk about how he broke into the business, what he's working on now, and how he manages to write while working as a full-time cardiac care nurse.

11 a.m.
Writing the Specialized Genre: Girl Stuff
You've seen the movies. You've read (okay, looked at) the magazines. You may even have gone out on a date. But do you have what it takes to write a story or novel from a feminine point of view? Women aren't just men with different parts. How do you learn about their perspective? How do you handle combat, romance, and day-to-day interactions without alienating half of your potential readership?

Writing Right
What makes a successful writer? Work ethic? Luck? Are you born to write, or can you make yourself a writer? Our panelists discuss their approach to the craft and offer advice on improving your skills and productivity.

Noon
Writing the Specialized Genre: 3-2-1 Lift Off!
Just like any other world, when you set your scene in "outer space," there is science, technology, and terminology that will make your star system and space vehicles real to your readers. Join us for a discussion on space R&D, equipment, personnel, training, procedures, and more.

Reading
Anton Strout and Monica Valentinelli

1 p.m.
Writing the Specialized Genre: Sir, Yes Sir!
Is your next character a lieutenant in the Royal Navy patroling the seas of Mars? An alien sent to Earth as a liaison with the U.S. Marines? We'll discuss how to make your world and characters authentic, with an understanding of ranks, personnel, protocol, bases, equipment, civilians, dependents, and more.

What's Wrong With These People?
Should my character grow and learn? Which ones should be stagnant? Is my strong, silent type a little too silent? Authors and editors discuss problems with characters and how to fix heroes and villains who aren't working out quite right.

2 p.m.
Writing the Specialized Genre: Cold Blue!
Setting your novel in a medical field, whether your character is a Laplander shaman or an EMT in Chicago requires specialized knowledge. Knowing the ins and outs of the medical field, such as R&D, personnel, training, procedures, emergency protocol, healing herbs, potions, etc., will make your setting sing with authenticity.

Building Tension
Creating a level of tension in any genre is important if you want to hold a reader's attention. We'll discuss some of the strategies for putting readers on the edge of their seat and keep them turning the pages.

Pick My Brain-Donald Bingle
Once known as the world's top-ranked role-playing gamer, Donald Bingle made the move from writing game material to fiction. He has two novels published . . . both with rave reviews . . . and more short stories than he cares to count. How did he make the switch from one genre to another? And how can he keep writing while holding down the demanding day job of an attorney? Ask him! He might even tell you about his time in a famous kazoo band.

3 p.m.
Writing the Specialized Genre: Cops and PIs
To make your detective or beat cop believable means you have to know something about laws, jurisdictions, procedures, investigative techniques, and much more. Join us for a look at police procedures, and how you can make your officer and precinct believable . . . even if your desk sergeant has three eyes and four arms.

Blood, Sweat, and Fears
How can you send shivers down your readers' backs? What is evil, and how can you portray it? Together, let's discover those things that go bump-in-the-night. You don't have to write in the horror genre to deliver a really good scare.

4 p.m.
Characterization
Characters are king in literature, and New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole brings you a toolbox full of techniques to create compelling and memorable characters. Readers read for and remember characters, and after this course, yours will be unforgettable, which will keep them coming back for more.

What's Taboo?
Sex, death, horror, and revenge . . . where is the line and when should you cross it in your manuscript? When is "it" too much? We'll take a look at "touchy subjects," the marketplace, and provide advice on when to tone things down.

Pick My Brain-Tim Waggoner
He's a master of multiple genres-fantasy, horror, urban fantasy, work-for-hire. Come chat with him and pick his brain!

5 p.m.
Plotting
New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole unravels the mysteries of creating compelling plots. A novel is a huge undertaking, written over weeks or months, and the plot has to hold it all together. From creating an outline to maintaining flexibility, this seminar gives you the insider knowledge that will separate you from all of your peers.

Writing Groups NOT Group Writing
Gee, if only there was a place (besides the Gen Con Writer's Symposium) where I could talk about my writing. I've tried my friends, but either their eyes glaze over when I try to chat about point of view shifts, nested flashbacks, and bookend structures or they run fleeing from the room when I start to describe my characters' backstories. I've tried my mom, my siblings, my spouse, and the barista at Starbucks, but they either pat me on the head and tell me that everything I write is wonderful, or they tell me that I'm wasting my time and will never amount to anything, or they tell me that I need to give them five bucks for the latte' and move along. I need a place where I will be encouraged, but still critiqued, a place where I can learn from another's comments and learn from commenting on other people's work, a place where I can network with other writers and maybe have a chance to get a break, a place where people understand not only the craft of writing, but the trials and tribulations of being a writer, and, most importantly, a place where someone will tell me honestly never to write a run-on sentence like this if I ever want to hope to sell my screenplay. I need a writers group. Where can I find one? How should it be run? What are the advantages and disadvantages of different sizes, com positions, formats? All will be revealed.

6 p.m.
Reading
Mike Stackpole

Reading
Elizabeth Vaughan and Marc Tassin

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

8 p.m.
Eye of Argon Round Robin Reading
It's baaack! The most insanely hilarious (or hilariously insane) public reading of what is arguably the worst (best?) piece of published fiction-ever! Thrill to the strange noises made by Grignr, the barbarian of very little words, and even less clothes! Cringe at the purple prose, run-on sentences, and detailed description of how time works (trust us, it has to be heard to be believed). Try to keep your sides from splitting with laughter as you watch other hapless victims-er, participants read this story aloud-and attempt to get through it with their sanity intact! All are welcome to join in the fun (?)--if you dare...

Saturday, August 15th
8 a.m.
Worldbuilding: Mythology
The mythology of your world makes a huge impact on how your story is perceived. Should you lift a mythology from an ancient culture? Twist a current one? Or create one from scratch? Our panelists take on making mythologies convincing, realistic, and interesting.

Pointed Views
First person, second person, or third-person point of view? How are you going to tell your story? How and when can you, or should you, shift points of view within a book, chapter, or scene? What are the advantages and disadvantages of revealing a character's internal thoughts? Our panelists will sift through each of the points of view and discuss how they decide which approach will tell a particular tale.

9 a.m.
Worldbuilding: Magic, Technology, and Evolution
We're living in a time when technological evolution has made a tremendous difference in most of our world's societies. What would your characters' evolutionary paths be if they used magic instead of computers? How does magic or science affect a society's evolution? We'll examine how patterns of change affect your world and characters and how to twist technology with magic or vice versa.

Make Them Breathe
Great characters are arguably the most important element in fiction or games. Learn practical techniques that will make the characters in your stories or games unforgettable and real to the readers and players.

10 a.m.
Worldbuilding: Creating a Cosmology or Religion
Are your characters Catholic? Atheists? Seekers? Or do they worship the Great Goldfish in the Sky? Creating a cosmology or religion from scratch is a fun and exciting part of writing in alternate times or worlds. Our panelists explore how to get started.

The Editor's Point of View
There's nothing wrong with writing just for yourself. But most of us also want to get published. Join our panelists for a discussion that may help get your manuscript out of the slushpile and into an editor's hands.

11 a.m.
Worldbuilding: Twisting Real World Cultures
You can create a shiny new culture for your world, or you can take two that already exist and entwine them to make something with a built-in believability factor. How about a cowboy priesthood? What would change if your Amazonic heroine came from Tibet? Our panelists teach you how to twist existing cultures to make a whole new world.

Should Every Story Have a Happy Ending?
Would Lord of the Rings have been better if Frodo lived happily ever after? Do the animated movies from Pixar and Disney have it right? Or should we put more darkness in our fiction? Most fantasy and science fiction books have happy endings, but not all of them. Join us for a discussion of the benefits of tragic versus happy endings, and to pull the former off without losing your readers.

Noon
Food For Thought
A key ingredient to believable characters and stories is food. Heroes, villains, and the supporting cast have to eat from time to time. How can you enrich your writing by adding a dining experience or two? What does food say about the world you've crafted?

Reading
Donald Bingle and Tim Waggoner

1 p.m.
Sharing Worlds
Our panelists got their start writing in shared worlds. Sometimes it's a great avenue for getting your name on the cover of a book. Shared world fiction sells well. But how do you get your foot in the door? Is it satisfying enough to write in a universe someone else created? What are the challenges and advantages? We'll point out a few of the disadvantages, too.

The Name of . . . Patrick Rothfuss
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss was propelled to the New York Times Bestseller list and has won numerous awards. Meet the author, who will discuss the elements that went into the story, and what he's working on next.

2 p.m.
Chummers and 'Mechs and Writing for Catalyst
Hoi, Chummer, want to walk down the mean streets of America in 2072, with a cyberarm and a magic spell at the ready? Or perhaps you'd rather go to interstellar war in a 40-foot-tall robot? Join the Novel Line Developer for Catalyst Game Labs, along with a couple of the other folks to find out what is in store for these two fictional futures.

The Writer's Spirit
Why do you write? And for whom are you writing? What keeps you at the keyboard day after day? Or do you need the motivation to put yourself there? Join us for a discussion of how to stay true to your beliefs and spirit, even as you plunge into the politics and business of getting published.

Pick My Brain-Anton Strout
Dead to Me, Anton's first novel, propelled him to the top of the urban fantasy charts. His second book was released this spring, and he's hard at work on another. He manages to write while working full time for Penguin and handling the hectic life of a New Yorker. Bring your questions and prepare to be informed and entertained.

3 p.m.
21 Days to a Novel
New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole presents his three week program for preparing yourself to write a novel. This set of 21 exercises is broken down to give you everything from character creation to world building, practical plotting devices, dialog development and character voice creation tools. This program is a practical, kick-in-the-pants place to start your career.

Hunting Dragons
Why has going after dragons been so popular in fiction? Our panelists discuss classic dragon hunters like Beowulf, Saint George, and Bilbo Baggins, in addition to how the hunt has changed over the years. Learn how to shape the classic story into something fresh and exciting.

4 p.m.
Edit to Perfection
So, you've got your pile of 100,000 words. What now? New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole guides you through the intricacies of actually editing your novel. He'll cover those tough questions, like what needs to be trimmed, where do things need to be tightened, and what to do when characters are present, but just not engaged in the story. He'll even provide that key bit of advice so you know when your book is done, and ready to send in to an editor.

Stealing History
Why recreate the wheel each time you create a story, character, or world? Yes, you can build your knighthood or priesthood or religion or society from scratch, but taking what's historically known and warping it might fit the proverbial bill and add depth and believability. Join our panelists for a discussion on how we can mine our own rich history for characters, backgrounds, worlds, cosmology, scenery, and more.

5 p.m.
Wring Careers in the Post-Paper Era
New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole-the first author to offer fiction on the iPhone/iPod Touch through Apple's Appstore-gives you an up to date look at the digital revolution and explains how you can profit and develop your career. Mike's watched his Internet income from writing double every year for the past three years, with the trend accelerating in 2009. If you intend to have a career in writing, this scouting report and practical action plan for the future is a must.

Accessing the Alpha State
Want to explore a way to reach "Eureka!" moments with your writing? Join us for a session about brain waves, specifically alpha waves. We'll explore ways to reach an alpha state-a state of relaxation with awareness-which can give your writing a boost of creativity and energy.

6 p.m.
Reading
Patrick Rothfuss and Paul Genesse

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

Sunday, August 16th
8 a.m.
Pimping and Schmoozing
Sometimes getting published is being in the right place at the right time with the right pitch. Our panelists go over the ins and outs of self promotion and how to approach that editor, agent, or publisher without seeming pushy or obnoxious.

Tough Guys and Gals in Fiction
Hard-edged characters are very popular . . . Conan, Xena, Laura Croft, the Terminator, and the Punisher. Why do we like the shoot first, ask questions later characters? What is their place in modern fiction, and how can we use them in our own stories?

9 a.m.
Going to the Market
So you've got a manuscript, and you want to sell it . . . but where? We'll look at markets for novels, short stories, and articles. And we'll teach you how to search for hungry marketplaces you can pitch to. We'll even give you a list of publications and publishers that will help.

Pardon Me, But I'm a Writer . . .
. . . and I'd like to know all about . . . . Do you need to know what goes on in the kitchen of a Japanese restaurant? How a horse moves? Which everyday plants are poisonous? What ratlines are? Research is an important part of writing, and sometimes it involves approaching others for information. Join us for a fun panel on how to get information from mundanes without appearing to be crazy.

10 a.m.
The Business of Writing: Agents and Query Letters
You've got the novel, or at least a great proposal. Now all you have to do is sell it, and that involves writing the all-important query letter and maybe searching for an agent. What does it take to get the editor and agent to want to read your book? We'll share our success stories and provide sources for improving your chances.

Crafting Non-Human Characters: It's More Than a Monster Mash
Fantasy and science fiction is rife with main and secondary characters that aren't quite human. It's tough for writers to think like aliens or horses or celestial butterflies, so what can we do to make these characters real? How can you breathe life into them and get human readers to care about them?

11 a.m.
Avoiding Pitfalls
All writers make mistakes . . . we'll give you tips on how to avoid some of them. Calling agents and editors every week to check on manuscripts? Paying people a fee to represent you? Using British spelling 'cause it looks cool? Mixing fonts to make the manuscript look pretty . . . listen to authors and editors give you advice on what not to do.

Writer's Roundtable
Bring your questions. This is a Q&A, and we'll tackle things you might have missed in earlier panels or didn't get covered. We'll talk about whatever is on your mind.


Biographies:

Linda P. Baker's novels, The Irda and Tears of the Night Sky, with Nancy Varian Berberick, have been published internationally. She has short stories in more than a dozen anthologies, including a short story, in City Fantastic, due out 2009. In her 'real life,' Linda is a researcher and non-fiction writer/editor of websites and brochures. She and her pack, which consists of husband, Larry, and fur child, Grady, live in Mobile, Alabama.

Bradley P. Beaulieu is a writer of speculative fiction who figured he'd better get serious about writing before he found himself on the wrong side of a lifelong career in software. His story, "In the Eyes of the Empress's Cat," was voted a Notable Stories of 2006 by the Million Writers Award. Other stories have appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Writers of the Future, the Intergalactic Medicine Show, and several DAW anthologies. He lives in Racine, Wisconsin, with his wife, daughter, and two cats, where he enjoys cooking spicy dishes and hiding out on the weekends with his family. For more, please visit www.quillings.com.

Donald J. Bingle has been to every Gen Con save one (honeymoon) since 1979. Back when he was the world's top-ranked role-playing gamer, he would play RPGA tournaments 16 hours a day, every day, during the con. For a few years he took a session or three off to help man a dealer's booth for Timemaster and other rpg products. Now, he is doing almost a score of writing and critiquing panels. Don is the author of three novels, two screenplays, a TV pilot treatment, a novella, a novelette, a bunch of game adventures and source material, and a score of short stories in the science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comedy genres. His latest novel is the darkly comedic eco-thriller, GREENSWORD: A Tale of Extreme Global Warming. His has short stories appearing in Gamer Fantastic and Zombies, Raccoons, and Killer Bunnies this summer/fall. Visit his website at www.donaldjbingle.com.

Richard Lee Byers is the author of more than thirty fantasy and horror novels, including Dissolution, The Rage, and Unclean. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. A resident of the Tampa Bay area, he spends much of his free time fencing and playing poker. Visit him online at www.richardleebyers.com.

Lawrence C. Connolly's fiction has appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Cemetery Dance, Rod Serling's Twilight Zone Magazine and numerous best-of collections, among them Year's Best Horror Stories, Best of Borderlands, and Best of Fantasy and Science Fiction (from Audible.com). His novel Veins is (as of this writing) on the Preliminary Ballot for the 2008 Bram Stoker Award. Most recent publications include Visions, a collection of his fantasy and science fiction stories from the past 30 years, and Veins: a Soundtrack, an audio companion to his critically acclaimed novel, both from Fantasist Enterprises. For more information, visit: www.VeinsTheNovel.com and www.LawrenceCConnolly.com.

A toy castle is what sent Paul Genesse over the edge and into madness. Dragons and castles-plus a pile of dungeons-gave him reason to live from elementary school through college at Northern Arizona University. He loved his English classes, but pursued his other passion and earned a bachelor's degree in Nursing Science in 1996. He's a registered nurse in a cardiac unit where he works the night shift keeping the forces of darkness away from his patients. He's also worked as a copyeditor and proofreader for a small press publisher. Paul's ten short stories have been published in various anthologies and the first two of his novels in the IRON DRAGON SERIES, The Golden Cord and The Dragon Hunters are out now. Both feature covers by world famous fantasy artist, Ciruelo Cabral. Paul has loved participating in the Writers' Symposium over the years and is the editor of the free Writers' Symposium Ezine, dedicated to "Helping Writers Write." To sign up for the ezine or watch a video about the IRON DRAGON books, visit him online at www.paulgenesse.com.

John Helfers is an author and editor currently living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During his fourteen years working for Martin H. Greenberg at Tekno Books, he has edited fifteen short story anthologies for DAW, as well as numerous other ones and novels for other publishers in all genres. He has also worked with well-known authors and co-editors such as Lawrence Block, Larry Bond, Anne Perry, Jeffery Deaver, Michael Connelly, Walter J. Boyne, Harold W. Coyle, Stephen Coonts, Charlaine Harris, Margaret Weis, Kim Harrison, Mercedes Lackey, and Kevin J. Anderson. He has also published more than thirty-five short stories in anthologies such as If I Were an Evil Overlord, Time Twisters, and Places to Be, People to Kill. He has written media tie-in fiction for the Dragonlance®, Transformers®, Battletech and Shadowrun universes, among others. He has written both fiction and nonfiction, including the third novel in the first authorized trilogy based on The Twilight Zone™ television series, the YA novel Tom Clancy's Net Force Explorers: Cloak and Dagger, and a history of the United States Navy. His most recent published novel is Room 59: The Finish Line. Recently he signed a multi-book contract with Worldwide Publishing for their long-running Deathlands action series. He also edited the new Shadowrun anthology Spells & Chrome, forthcoming from Catalyst Game Labs.

Kerrie Hughes has edited six anthologies, two of which are on the shelves this year; Gamer Fantastic in June, and Zombies, Raccoons, and Killer Bunnies in October. She has also published three short stories and done research and editing for two compendiums; The Vorkosigan Companion, and the Valdemar Companion. Currently she is working on two more anthologies, Chicks Kick Ass, and The Girls Guide to Guns and Monsters, as well as the newest compendium, The Dresden Files Companion. She is also working on her first novel while taking a hiatus from getting a counseling degree. On a personal note, she does volunteer work at the Green Bay Sexual Assault Center and someday hopes to become a counselor part-time while writing full-time.


Brittiany A. Koren has worked at Tekno Books for legendary anthologist and book packager Martin H. Greenberg for many years. In her spare time, she works with beginning writers, helping them hone their craft, and also does freelance editing for the Five Star Publishing lines. She has also edited fantasy and science fiction anthologies for DAW Books; her first, titled Single White Vampire Seeks Same, is about blind dates with supernatural creatures. Other anthologies include Pharaoh Fantastic, Fantasy Gone Wrong, and Places to Be, People to Kill, a June 2007 release. Her world changed forever when she met her husband Michael, a long-time gamer, in 1991. They now have three children, all gamers themselves, and spend family time playing Rock Band, role-playing games, or on PC adventure games.

Daniel Myers is a database programmer, aspiring author, eccentric cook, and amateur food historian. Several years back he discovered a secret manuscript which would turn the culinary world upside down. Unfortunately, he misinterpreted it as a recipe for clam chowder, left it on a table in a library, and completely forgot about it. Currently he runs MedievalCookery.com, which is where he puts his research notes and recipes from medieval France and England.

Wes Nicholson is a freelance writer who started writing roleplaying supplements and moved on to short fiction. He has had short stories published in the fantasy and science fiction genres and is currently working on fantasy, crime, and horror pieces. Wes lives in Canberra, Australia, with his wife, three children, two dogs, and a manic cat. His first full length novel is coming - really, it is.

Chris Pierson has written eight novels set in the Dragonlance world, most recently the Taladas Trilogy, as well as numerous short stories in assorted anthologies - Terribly Twisted Tales and Gamer Fantastic being the latest. He works as a senior world designer and resident Tolkien freak for The Lord of the Rings Online at Turbine Games. Born in Canada, Chris has lived in the Boston area long enough to become a Red Sox fan but not long enough to develop the accent. He currently lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, with his wife Rebekah and Chloe, the awesomest baby girl in the world.


Jean Rabe tugs on old socks with her old dogs when she isn't writing. When she isn't editing, she tosses tennis balls for her young dog. She's the author of two dozen fantasy novels and more than 50 short stories. Her next novel, Goblin Nation, is set for an October release. She's edited several anthologies and more magazines than she cares to count. Visit her website at www.jeanrabe.com.

Since 1990, Steven Schend has worked full-time or freelance as an editor, developer, designer, writer, or assistant manager for at least six publishers on dozens of fictional worlds. He's published two novels and six short stories as of March 2009, with many more to come. Steven now lives with his wife in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he teaches and works feverishly on novels and stories in worlds of his own. For more on Steven and his fictional worlds, see www.steveneschend.com.

Fantasy author Anton Strout writes the popular Simon Canderous urban fantasy series which includes last year's Dead To Me and this year's Deader Still from Ace Books. He was born in the Berkshire Hills, mere miles from writing heavyweights Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, and currently lives in scenic New Jersey (where nothing paranormal ever really happens, he assures you). In his scant spare time, his is a writer, a sometimes actor, sometimes musician, occasional RPGer, and the world's most casual and controller smashing video gamer. He currently works in the exciting world of publishing and yes, it is as glamorous as it sounds.

Kelly Swails is a clinical microbiologist by day and a writer by night. When she's not manipulating dangerous pathogens or unruly characters, she can be found blogging, reading, knitting, or playing games. There's a rumor that she sleeps occasionally, but that has yet to be proven. Currently she is writing a YA science-fiction thriller. You can find her on the web at www.kellyswails.com.


Marc Tassin was enthralled by books from a very early age, and he often considered trying his hand at writing. Then, a few years back, Marc started attending the Gen Con Writer's Symposiums. Inspired by the advice and support offered by the panelists, Marc stopped thinking about writing and started actually writing. Since then, Marc has published numerous short stories, articles, and game materials and has loved every minute of it. Marc lives in a small town just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his wife Tanya and their two children.

Monica Valentinelli splits her time between writing, working as an online marketer, and filling the role of project manager for the horror and dark fantasy webzine www.flamesrising.com. As a freelance writer for the gaming industry, Monica has more than a dozen game and game fiction credits to her name including: Worlds of the Dead by Eden Studios, an award-winning fiction piece entitled "Promises, Promises" for Promethean by White Wolf, and her recent novella "Twin Designs," which was part of the collection Tales of the Seven Dogs Society for the game Aletheia by Abstract Nova Press. To read more about Monica, visit her urban fantasy novel series located at www.violetwar.com or her blog at www.mlvwrites.com, which is geared toward helping "new" writers embrace writing as a hobby or as a career.

Elizabeth A. Vaughan's most recent novel is 'White Star', part of the "Star Series" published by Berkely Sensation She strongly believes that the only good movies are the ones with gratuitous swords or lasers. At the present, she is owned by three incredibly spoiled cats and lives in the Northwest Territory, on the outskirts of the Black Swamp, along Mad Anthony's Trail on the banks of the Maumee River.

Tim Waggoner's most recent novels are the urban fantasy Nekropolis and Stargate: SG-1: Valhalla. Overall, he's published twenty novels and two short story collections. He teaches creative writing at Sinclair Community College and in Seton Hill University's Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. Visit him on the web at www.timwaggoner.com.

Gregory A. Wilson is an associate professor of English at St. John's University. His first novel, a work of epic fantasy entitled The Third Sign, was published by Five Star Press (an imprint of Cengage) in June of 2009, and his second novel Icarus is currently on submission to agents and publishers while he works on a third. He has written academic articles for a number of journals, published a book (The Problem in the Middle: Liminal Space and the Court Masque) with Clemson University Press, and won an award for a national playwriting contest. But his chief teaching and writing love is fantasy fiction, from the seminal work of J.R.R.Tolkien to the fascinating projects of writers like Neil Gaiman. When not writing or teaching, he may be found performing as lead singer and trumpet player for the progressive rock band The Road (www.thebandtheroad.com) or at his Web site (www.gregoryawilson.com). He lives in New York with "fantastic" and real wife Clea, daughter Senavene, and dog Lilo.


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Congratulations to Hugo Award Nominee, Editor John Helfers!
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Congratulations to John Helfers, who was recently nominated for a prestigious Hugo award for his editing with the very cool Vorkosigan Companion, which was co-edited by Lillian Stewart Carl. John is an amazing editor, a very busy writer doing tons of projects, and a big fan of Lois McMasters-Bujold’s Vorkosigan books, which chronicle the life of Miles Vorkosigan—who is short of stature, but big of heart and intellect. I recently read my first Vorkosigan novel and loved it. We wish John the best and hope he walks away from World Con in Montreal with a Hugo.


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New and Recent Novels, Anthologies and More by Symposium Authors
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***The Writers’ Symposium welcomes it’s newest member, Greg Wilson, who will be speaking on many of the panels at Gen Con this year. Visit him online at gregoryawilson.com/thirdsign/

THE THIRD SIGN, a novel by Gregory A. Wilson

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

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



GRANTS PASS, Anthology Edited by Jennifer Brozek

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

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



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



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



DEADER STILL by Anton Strout
“Following Simon’s adventures is like being the pinball in an especially antic game, but it's well worth the wear and tear.”
-Charlaine Harris, author of the SOOKIE STACKHOUSE series.
It’s hard to defeat evil on a budget. Just ask Simon Canderous.

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

DEADER STILL BY ANTON STROUT RELEASED FEBRUARY 24, 2009



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

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



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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

Releasing sometime in the near future. Visit Pat’s blog for all the details.



WHITE STAR by Elizabeth Vaughan

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



THE DRAGON HUNTERS, Book Two of the Iron Dragon Series

On this hunt, you give up everything.

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

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

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

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



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



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



IMAGINARY FRIENDS. We’ve all had them. We’ve all needed them. In this fun fantasy anthology, readers are given thirteen variations on what kinds of friends come in handy. Featuring stories by Jean Rabe, Don Bingle, Tim Waggoner, Paul Genesse and Jim C. Hines.



CROSS COUNTY by Tim Waggoner
When surviving gets this hard, death comes easy...

CROSS COUNTY secrets run deep. Settlers first came here hundreds of years ago, taking the land from local tribes sworn to guard its dark secrets. The Cross family now holds the power in the region. When a grisly murderer, hearkening back to a series of killing from years ago, shakes the community, it's up to the local sheriff to get to the bottom of things before it's too late.

Part murder mystery, part supernatural terror, CROSS COUNTY will appeal to fans of Greg Iles and Patricia Cornell, as well as horror fans who love Stephen King and Dean Koontz.



DAGGER-STAR by Elizabeth Vaughan

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

DAGGER-STAR was released in April from Berkly Sensation. Visit www.eavwrites.com for all the details.



THE GOLDEN CORD, By Paul Genesse. A hunter must leave behind the woman he loves, give up all hope of survival, as he is forced to guide his most hated enemies to the lair of the dragon king.

“The plot is well constructed, the characters are wonderful, and the middle-ages setting creates an ominous feel. The cliffhanger ending will leave readers eager for more. BOOK ONE OF THE IRON DRAGON SERIES is a rich and compelling fantasy full of adventure, danger, dragons, battles, revenge, magic, and more.”
VOYA MAGAZINE

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

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



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


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

Jean Rabe www.jeanrabe.com
Paul Genesse www.paulgenesse.com
Don Bingle www.orphyte.com/donaldjbingle
Brad Beaulieu www.quillings.com
Anton Strout www.antonstrout.com
John Helfers stonehenge@new.rr.com
Pat Rothfuss www.patrickrothfuss.com/blog/blog.html
Luke Johnson www.lukejohnson.com
Kelly Swails www.kellyswails.blogspot.com
Tim Waggoner www.timwaggoner.com
Elizabeth Vaughan www.eavwrites.com
Marc Tassin www.marctassin.com
Richard Lee Byers www.richardleebyers.com
Steve Schend www.brainstormfront.livejournal.com/
Janet Deaver-Pack www.janetpack.com/
Daniel “Doc” Myers www.medievalcookery.com/
Sabrina Klein elvenfire(at)att.net
Kerrie Hughes stonehenge@new.rr.com
Linda Baker lbaker(at)zebra.net
Chris Pierson cpierson72(at)comcast.net
Jim C. Hines www.sff.net/people/jchines/
Jennifer Brozek www.jenniferbrozek.com/
Monica Valentinelli www.mlvwrites.com
Gregory A. Wilson www.gregoryawilson.com

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Very Short Final Thought
==============================================================

Thank you all for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this issue of the Writers’ Symposium Ezine. If you can’t make it to Gen Con this year, please look into coming next year. We have so much fun and you’ll be glad you came.

Happy writing!

Paul Genesse, Editor and Author

P.S. Don’t forget to look at the new world-building article by Sabrina Klein at writerssymposium.blogspot.com.

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

www.writerssymposium.blogspot.com
Visit www.paulgenesse.com/writerssymposium

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