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Archive for April, 2012

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Today was a very good day. I spoke to a college creative writing class who had read and studied my short story, The Nubian Queen featured in the DAW Books anthology, Steampunk’d edited by Jean Rabe and Martin Greenberg.

It’s the first time a college class has ever studied my work, to my knowledge, and that was quite an honor. I was invited by professor Kent Bean of Snow College, who had heard me speak at Life The Universe and Everything (a writers conference in Utah), and he wanted me to speak to his students.

We spoke about the story and then about some nuts and bolts issues with creative writing and working as a full or part time writer. The whole thing was fun and I really enjoyed speaking to the students and hearing their questions about the story and writing itself.

Here’s a quick description of the story: In The Nubian Queen, the last descendent of Cleopatra the Great must risk everything to save her country in an 1800’s alternate history Earth where Egypt is the center of the world.

Here’s a link to a free podcast (34 minutes) of the first half of the story read by the awesome voice actress Annie O’Connel-Torgersen, and also a link to the book on Amazon.com.

I hope to someday write a novel about Queen Sahdi, but time will tell. If you’ve read the story, please write a review on Amazon.com and email me your thoughts, or post them here, about the story.

Best wishes,

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact anthology series and author of The Iron Dragon Series

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Review of Voices: Tales of Horror

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Voices: Tales of Horror by Stoker Award nominee Lawrence C. Connolly is a brilliant collection of short stories by a master writer. The thirteen stories are all memorable, and you can tell right from the start that you are in the hands of an exceptional writer. It’s easily understandable why so many horror and fantasy magazine editors bought these stories over the years, and why Connolly has received so much praise from the critics. I also very much enjoyed the short background essays/commentary on the stories that are interspersed between the tales. The illustrations by Jason Zerillo are also top notch, but the real gems are the stories themselves. I’ll mention several of them briefly in this review, and will leave you to peruse the reviews on Amazon for more, as they capture perfectly the essence of Connolly’s writing.

“Lesions” is a creepy story about a very bad man with a horrifying condition, tiny mouths with sharp teeth have appeared all over his body. He ends up looking for help and goes to a place where he thinks he can get it. Here’s the first line: Todd studied her, gauging the size of her head, breasts, and hands, imagining how they would look arranged in a crystal bowl.

Great opening line and the writing is impeccable. Connolly is a master of stripped down prose that is at the same time deep and emotional, but not cluttered, or overdone.

“Smuggling the Dead” is a fascinating story about an American hired to smuggle something very mysterious out of Russia, a small black cube made up of . . . well, you’ll have to read it to find out exactly what it is. The behind the scenes story about this one was also very intriguing and chronicles a trip Connolly made to Russia years ago.

“Decanting Oblivion” is about a bicycle messenger with a drug problem in a bizarre future Earth that has no-sleep factories where the workers go non-stop, as their need for sleep has been taken away. There’s a lot more to this story, and it’s very visceral and utterly fascinating. One of my favorites.

“Things” is about a gang of evil youngsters who tangle with the wrong old Italian lady. Sure, the young men had their fun breaking and entering old people’s houses and beating them up and stealing their stuff, but sometimes, you pick the wrong person to screw with.

“Flames” is one of my favorite stories in the anthology. It’s about three college students on their way home for Thanksgiving break, when their car breaks down and they are forced to take shelter in an abandoned house during a snowstorm. This one will leave you shivering, and whatever you do, don’t get too close to the flames.

“The Death Lantern” is literally a Sherlock Holmes story, from a themed anthology about our favorite inspector, and it delivers a bullet to the face. Well, a bullet to the face of a famous illusionist of the day. But is the film footage real? Or is it an elaborate hoax? The story is quite interesting and the new technology of moving pictures is discussed with a rather interesting angle that we who have grown up watching movies may not have ever considered.

“Die Angle” is a story inspired by a Bruce Springsteen song (for a themed collection that draws inspiration from Springsteen songs), and is about a man who returns to his hometown after being gone for many years. He’s going home because he’s been given a contract to kill someone. Chaos ensues and we get to meet some of our anti-hero’s old friends. The town is a really messed up place. The Boss would love this one, I think.

“Beneath Between” is a mind-bending story that seemed like it was one of those chapter interludes where Connolly told about his writing life. It felt so real and for a moment I forgot I was reading fiction. I think writers especially will love this story, as it’s about a frustrated writer who made the decision not to submit his work for too long, and sees how it could have been when he ends up in the most awesome and bizarre bookstore ever.

“Junk’d” is a horror story about a couple of low life a-holes who end up in a car wreck. One walks away, one doesn’t, but there is so much more and this story goes to a whole new level of depravity. It’s so sick and twisted.

“Shrines” is my favorite story in the whole collection. It’s a novella with fantastical and sci-fi elements, and is a magnificent character study of a man who has lost the two most important people in his life. He is tempted by a possible scam that offers to reunite him with his dead wife and child. This story is so expertly drawn that I found myself pulled through the narrative and immersed completely. Few stories are so good that I lose myself, and I found that happened with this one.

I look forward very much to reading Connolly’s novel, Veins, and his other collections of short fiction.

Voices: Tales of Horror is Highly recommended,

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact and Author of the Iron Dragon Series

Also, check out this book trailer, which is really awesome and features illustrations from the book.

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The Haunted by Michaelbrent Collings is the creepiest book I’ve read in years. The writing is excellent and this short novel (273 pages, $4.99 eBook, $9.99 paperback) builds, and builds to a truly terrifying climax that takes up the last 170 pages. Pregnant Sarah and her husband, Cap move in to a remote old house surrounded by a sinister forest, and the haunting begins. Little things go on at first and the quiet opening made me wonder if this was going to be like the other haunted house books that I’ve read in the past. It definitely was not, as the ghosts in this novel don’t just make noises in the night, and hide in basements. They come after the main characters with knives that cut flesh. They are in your face and terrifying.

Cap and poor Sarah worry for their immortal souls and their unborn baby as a whole pack of murderous ghosts start a prolonged attack that takes up more than half the book. These are the most vicious ghosts I’ve ever read about, and Collings is a great writer who knows how to evoke a mood and pull you into the tight prose, that drips blood and terror.

If you’ve read a lot of haunted house books, this one may not seem to be much different at first, aside from the fantastic writing, but there is a twist at the end that most readers will not see coming—I admit that I didn’t—though I had suspicions whispering in the back of my mind. The ending really left me shivering and I love how well the twist was set up all through the book.

As a writer and editor myself, I really loved how Collings crafted his scenes, as the prose really punched me in the face, and made me cringe.

If you’re looking for a good scare and want a great read, The Haunted is an excellent book for you. I finally understand why Michaelbrent Collings has such a great reputation for being a really good writer, and he’s earned a lifelong fan. I will for sure be reading his other novels.

View the Haunted on Amazon.com

Paul Genesse
Author of the Iron Dragon series
Editor of the Crimson Pact anthology series

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I just watched the award winning movie, Winter’s Bone (2011) starring Jennifer Lawrence of The Hunger Games. See the movie that got her the role of a lifetime. This is a gritty and unflinching drama about a poor Ozark Mountain girl who has to keep her family going when her drug dealing father turns up missing. It won awards and I give it five stars. Jennifer was amazing.

This movie is a serious look at the casualties of the drug culture in the hinterlands of America. It’s a powerful movie and shows the amazing courage of a seventeen year old girl, who has to take charge of her broken family, including two young kids and a mentally ill (clinically depressed and more) mother who can’t function. Sound familiar?

This character (Ree Dolley) and Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games share a lot of the same characteristics and I know in my gut that the producers of The Hunger Games saw her in this movie and knew she was the one.

All the actors in this movie, some were just locals recruited to be in the film, were amazing, especially Ree’s little brother and sister, as well as her uncle.

Here’s a link to a fantastic review: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/sep/16/winters-bone-review

and

Here’s the link to the IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1399683/

In this scene Ree teaches her six year old sister and her little brother how to shoot squirrels, so they can feed themselves if something happens to her. In the next scene Jennifer Lawrence actually skins a squirrel on camera and guts it. PETA won’t be happy, but I’m sure the squirrel was eaten, and it was a very important scene in the movie. This one isn’t for the faint of heart, but it shows that Jennifer Lawrence is the real deal, a true actress who is destined to be a huge star.
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WRITING PRESENTATION AND BOOK SIGNING TOMORROW, APRIL 14 AT THE WHITMORE LIBRARY IN COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS!

The Cottonwood Heights Arts Council presents “Write for the Heights,” a six-month series of writing workshops and a writing contest open to all Salt Lake County residents. Whitmore Library will host the program’s kickoff event on Saturday, April 14 at 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM The program will feature authors Owen Ashton, Helena Duncan, Paul Genesse, Amy Wadsworth, Jesse Parent, and Robison Wells. At the end of the event, authors will be available to autograph books. (20 minute presentations by each author, then a signing from 1-2PM.)

http://www.slcolibrary.org/le/lesp/

The long workshop I’m teaching by myself is Saturday June 16 on Creating
Conflict, but come tomorrow!

JUNE 16, 2012
Creating Conflict: Make war, not peace! Ruffle the feathers of your characters. Stir the pot of emotions. Add a fistfight or two. Craft a clever and entertaining argument among your heroes. Not all conflict has to be bloody or increase the body count, but it does have to keep the reader turning the pages. Author and editor, Paul Genesse (juh-NESS) will discuss the art of adding conflict to your stories, and will guide you through a hands-on workshop which will include creating, revising, and crafting fiction that will make your work stand out above the rest.

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UGeek Interview

Video Table of Contents:
– 00:10 – Existing Projects
– 01:55 – About “The Crimson Pact” Authors & Content
– 02:25 – About “Flash Fiction”
– 03:20 – About Utah and Horror, and the Gross-out Contest
– 05:05 – Experience with Publishing
– 09:25 – The Future of Publishing
– 11:25 – Summary, Sign-Off, & the Next Anthology

This is a UGeekTV interview with Paul Genesse, author of “The Iron Dragon” novel series and editor of “The Crimson Pact” anthology series. This video was shot on location at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 31, 2012.

For more information please visit www.paulgenesse.com or www.thecrimsonpact.com

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Right after the awesome Mike Mignola, the creator of Hellboy was interviewed, I was interviewed by the Residual Hauntings Revived crew (Russ Cook, Jess the Ghost Girl–who had a broken mic, and Tom Carr). Patrick Tracy was also interviewed with me at the same time, and we had a lot of fun.

Here’s the link to the 20 minute podcast interview. You can hear Mike Mignnola right before Pat and I go on. All of the interviews at World Horror are on the same podcast (cut together), which is really long, but you can easily skip around on it.

You can stream the podcast or download it.

To get to the Crimson Pact part, skip to the one hour and forty seven minute mark and 30 seconds, where Pat and I go on.

We discuss lots of stories, including: Don Darling’s “The Ronin’s Mark” in The Crimson Pact Volume 3, and Don’s Volume 4 story, “Ronin’s Resolve”; Larry Correia and Steven Diamond’s “Son of Fire, Son of Thunder” (Crimson Pact Volume 2); and “That Which We Fear” (Crimson Pact Volume 3), Barbara Webb “Inquest” (Crimson Pact Volume 1) and “St. Petersburg” (Barbara’s forthcoming novel featuring a character from “Inquest,” and Kelly Swails horror story “The Last Breakfast” featured on the flash fiction website nbns.wordpress.com/.

We also talk about my Iron Dragon Series and my short story, “No-Tusks” set in Shane Moore’s Abyss Walker world.

Live shows are tough, and I’m sorry if I offended any of the newer writers out there. It’s tough when you’re new, especially when your story is compared to established professionals, but you have to start somewhere. I found a lot of great stories by new writers in The Crimson Pact volumes 1 and 2, and am glad I chose them.

Listen at the 1:47 and 30 second mark. Here’s the link:

http://residualhauntings.podomatic.com/entry/2012-04-02T19_41_35-07_00

Best wishes and Humble apologies,

Paul Genesse
Editor of The Crimson Pact Volumes 1, 2, 3.
www.thecrimsonpact.com

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