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Archive for August, 2009

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I saw my favorite band perform live last night. Depeche Mode came to Salt Lake City on their Sounds of the Universe tour. Out of all the Depeche Mode shows I’ve been to, this was by far the best performance I’ve ever seen. They performed for two hours! From 9:06 to 11:05 PM. There were two encores and the band was kicking ass the whole time. I stopped counting how many times I got goosebumps. My wife Tammy, and my friends Stephenie and San were there beside me. Seeing the show with them made it so great.

One of the best things about this concert, was that we had seats right next to the stage. My Facebook page has the pics. (link below)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=139960&id=583339135&l=6c06fb7655

Wow. We were about twenty-five feet from the stage, right at the level of the stage itself. We could see the individual glitter flakes on Martin Gore. We were on Martin’s side of the stage, and got to see him exchanging guitars and interacting with the stage-hands. It was the closest I’ve ever been and I’m so glad I got those seats. I got them during the pre-sale, and I think it was blind luck that I got them. I didn’t have a choice, the computer just gave them to me.

The band performed just about all their big hits, plus five songs off the new album. Here’s the set list:

In Chains

Wrong

Hole To Feed

Walking In My Shoes

It’s No Good

A Question Of Time

Precious

Fly On The Windscreen

Jezebel

A Question Of Lust

Miles Away / The Truth Is

Policy Of Truth
In Your Room

I Feel You

Enjoy The Silence

Never Let Me Down Again
 


Encore #1

Shake The Disease

Stripped

Strangelove



Encore #2

Personal Jesus

Waiting For The Night (Bare Version)

In Chains—great opener, from the new album.
 My favorite song on the new one.
Wrong—it’s a rocking song live.

Hole To Feed
–not my favorite, but good live. Dave loves the rocky songs.
Walking In My Shoes—the best version I’ve ever heard. I got goosebumps.

It’s No Good—major crowd pleaser, so much fun.

A Question Of Time
–this one got a ton of people dancing—including me.
Precious
–one of my favorite DM songs. So amazing.
Fly On The Windscreen—powerful song. Dave was so into this song.

Jezebel—Martin sang this new song. Not my favorite, but he sounded good live.

A Question Of Lust
–awesome song by Martin. Incredible.
Miles Away / The Truth Is—not my favorite song off the new album, but rocking.

Policy Of Truth—such a great song and Dave was on fire.

In Your Room
–major goosebumps on this one. One of my favorite songs ever.
I Feel You—the best version they’ve done. So awesome and Dave was crazy!

Enjoy The Silence—the crowd went wild on this one. Martin’s guitar was good.

Never Let Me Down Again
–fabulous ender for the set. The whole crowd did the whole two arm waving thing that always happens with this song. The band was so happy at this point. We could see their expressions so well. They love their jobs and we love them.

Encore #1

Shake The Disease
–Martin sang this. Wow. Amazing first encore song. It showed how skilled Martin is, and how cool this song really is.
Stripped
–the crowd went wild. Dave was hard core.
Strangelove
–great version. Dave was into it, plus the video screen behind them showed an Asian girl sucking the toes of a beautiful (topless!!) redhead. The crowed loved this song. How could we not?


Encore #2

Personal Jesus—second encore! The crowd was the most crazy during this song. The crowd sang the chorus with so much gusto. We went crazy until they came back out.

Last song . . .


Waiting For The Night (Bare Version), Dave and Martin went out onto the long catwalk that jutted into the crowd and did an acoustic version of this classic song side by side. We saw them in profile, and were so close. It was a stunning way to end the show. Martin and Dave sang together and sounded so good. I did not want the show to end. Dave said the crowd was awesome and we gave them a huge standing ovation. The whole band got together, bowed, waved and we bid them farewell. Dave said he would see us all next time. Now I need to download the live versions of the songs from their website.
http://www.depechemode.com.

Tam and I had a great night.

Peace,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord
http://www.paulgenesse.com

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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
http://www.paulgenesse.com

View all my reviews >>

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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
http://www.paulgenesse.com

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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

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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
http://www.paulgenesse.com

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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 http://www.paulgenesse.com.

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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: http://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 http://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
http://www.paulgenesse.com

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