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

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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

From the Editor

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 ( 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

Featured Content: The Future of Gaming: Give Games a Sporting Chance by Donald J. Bingle

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.

Gen Con 2009 Writers’ Symposium Seminar 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.

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.

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.
John Helfers and Kelly Swails

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.

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.

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.
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.
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.
Mike Stackpole

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.

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?

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.
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.


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

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

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

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 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: and

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

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, 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

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

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

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 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 or her blog at, 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

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 ( or at his Web site ( He lives in New York with "fantastic" and real wife Clea, daughter Senavene, and dog Lilo.

Congratulations to Hugo Award Nominee, Editor John Helfers!

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.

New and Recent Novels, Anthologies and More by Symposium Authors

***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

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 for more.

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.


UNHOLY by Richard Lee. Byers
I saw something 
than I’ve ever seen before.
Something truly
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 a black cat who can call upon the powers of the “big cats” to wage a war against a cat who would be the ins and outs of cat politics and the perils of using mice as 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, 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 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.”

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

Watch a video about THE GOLDEN CORD and download the first chapter for free at .
Watch a video about The DRAGON HUNTERS ON, 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.

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

Jean Rabe
Paul Genesse
Don Bingle
Brad Beaulieu
Anton Strout
John Helfers
Pat Rothfuss
Luke Johnson
Kelly Swails
Tim Waggoner
Elizabeth Vaughan
Marc Tassin
Richard Lee Byers
Steve Schend
Janet Deaver-Pack
Daniel “Doc” Myers
Sabrina Klein elvenfire(at)
Kerrie Hughes
Linda Baker lbaker(at)
Chris Pierson cpierson72(at)
Jim C. Hines
Jennifer Brozek
Monica Valentinelli
Gregory A. Wilson

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

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!

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Last of the Mohicans Graphic Novel

Marvel Illustrated: Last Of The Mohicans Premiere HC (Marvel Illustrated) Marvel Illustrated: Last Of The Mohicans Premiere HC by Roy Thomas

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked up a graphic novel the other day of an American classic, James Fenimore Cooper's, The Last of the Mohicans. I haven't read the book for many years, but loved the movie with Daniel Day Louis. It's one of my favorites. The soundtrack is one of the best ever.

Anyway, the graphic novel was beautiful, with fabulous art. I really enjoyed how the adaptation tried to keep the flavor of the original book--with the archaic language and such. I can't remember the original book very well, so I can't discuss how true to the original story this was. There were huge differences between this work and the movie. No surprise there. I think the movie was actually better in some respects. The movie makers killed a lot more of the characters for one thing, and streamlined the plot, whereas this work is quite convoluted toward the end--which is more realistic. Hawkeye and Uncas were excellent characters and I enjoyed reading about them very much.

Overall, it was a quick and entertaining read, and I'd recommend it to those who are interested in reading a classic, but can't handle reading the actual book.

Happy Reading,

Paul Genesse

Author of The Dragon Hunters

View all my reviews.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Review of The Dragon Ring by Lettie Prell

Dragon Ring Dragon Ring by Lettie Prell

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Dragon Ring by Lettie Prell is such an original book. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. It’s mostly science-fiction with a little fantasy mixed in. The story starts in the not too distant future, possibly a hundred years from now, in the country of Guatemala. The whole country has just become the largest corporation in the world, with the guidance of a very innovative man.

The daughter of this innovative man is a child prodigy, and she is the main character in the novel. Nadine, a very smart half-Latina, is not only gifted in math, but she also has the ability to move outside of her body, projecting her consciousness to distant locations—as well as seeing flashes of the future. She is afraid of these abilities and refuses to use them after becoming frightened of her experiences as a child. Years later, she is thrown into a wild situation involving a project that her father was working on that will change the entire world, or perhaps destroy it.

Nadine, along with a young Native American scientist/engineer named Three Crows, and her cousin, Juan Carlos, plus a few other interesting characters must figure out what’s going on and intervene before a terrible calamity befalls the world.

The originality of the story is what really stood out for me. Lettie Prell mixes science, new age theories, an extremely inventive storyline, and a touch of magic to create a thoroughly enjoyable book. The ending totally surprised me and I had no idea it was coming. If you’re looking for something a little different with a unique view of what the future may bring, check out The Dragon Ring by Lettie Prell.

Paul Genesse

Author of The Dragon Hunters

View all my reviews.