Dead Weight Blog Tour: All Aboard

deadweight-3“This is an amazing time to be a fan. At no other point in history has there been such a popular acceptance of geek and nerd culture coupled with the ability for independent artists to get their work out in front of the public…Without having to rely on corporate giants to decide what is worth presenting to the consumer, each artist, in this case M Todd Gallowglas, can present their material directly to the consumer. That gives us the power. We don’t have to read, play, watch, or listen to things created for the lowest common denominator or an overly broad and unfocused demographic, we can find exactly what we want, and give our money directly to the artist. I love this symbiotic relationship. If you want to immerse yourself in a story of a junkie bard veteran from a war where San Francisco was the front lines in an Unseelie incursion, you can. And believe me, I do.”

From the forward to DEAD WEIGHT: The Tombs by Damon Stone, Game Designer, Fantasy Flight Games

Welcome to the first stop on the DEAD WEIGHT blog tour. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trading emails and IMs with various writer pals and websites looking for places to host me. I’ve had so much interest that I’ve had to extend the tour by a couple of days twice. With each new stop adding a day, I’ve always kept The Genre Underground as my first stop. In some ways both DEAD WEIGHT and The Genre Underground are my experimental labors of love.

I love to experiment and twist things around in everything I do. Back when I was teaching swing ballroom dance, I would mix up steps and moves. In gaming, I always want to push the bounds of the rules – usually to the chagrin of my game masters. Same with writing, airsoft, my storytelling show. To quote a great, yet horrible, man, “The status is not quo.”

DEAD WEIGHT started in the back of my brain after reading, “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien. After reading the story, a question popped into my mind: “What would a platoon of Marines have to carry with them on a mission into faerie. That was over five years ago. Since then, it’s simmered in the dark corners of my imagination. It’s made me ask more questions about the story and the world it takes place in. Over the last year, the story and the characters began speaking to me again, only the story became a disjointed mish mash of a timeline…as happens with anything when you add a dash of the fey.

When I first conceived DEAD WEIGHT I only meant it to be a short story, maybe a novelette at most. The trouble is, my brain generally thinks in terms a bit more epic than short stories, and DEAD WEIGHT is no exception. More than that, its storyline twisted, turned, and became more disjointed around its own timeline. As I worked on putting the final draft together, I realized I had the perfect chance to try an experiment with how to get it out into the world. Tanks to the indie book revolution, the serialized novel is making a comeback. Amazon is even rolling out a new serial program.

In my mind, DEAD WEIGHT was made to be a serial. Even before I dreamed of self-publishing, I kept asking myself, “How am I going to get this published?” In its completed form, it’s too “big” for the standard Urban Fantasy, at least as far as conventional publishing circles consider for Urban Fantasy. Never mind the cheesy, easter egg, geek/nerd culture references seeded throughout, which several industry professionals told me would be a hard sell. That was before I mentioned the part where it’s also a post-apocalyptic war thriller with aspirations of epic fantasy woven into the narrative. However, thanks to the changes in publishing, both for both creators and consumers, I can put DEAD WEIGHT into the world in the way I best think serves the story. It’s an exciting time to be an artist in any medium. I’m pleased to be able to put DEAD WEIGHT at the forefront of the revolution. Over the next two weeks I’ll be hopping around the blog-o-sphere talking about DEAD WEIGHT, my work, and some of my philosophies as an artist. Hope you enjoy my insights, and if you decide to pick it up, I truly hope you enjoy “The Tombs” at least as much as I enjoyed writing it.

To see all the stops on the DEAD WEIGHT tour, head over to my website:

Tomorrow, my pal Patrick S Tomlinson asked me to stop by and talk about how I got into this writing game:

How To Find Quality Self-Published Books

Self-publishing is here to stay, and has become a viable option for writers. However, even with the stigma that used to hang over self-publishing fading, now readers have a new set of problems. The first of which is sorting through hundreds of thousands of books being self-publish every year. (Some reports say over 400,000 in 2012 alone.) Let’s face it, even with many of those books are produced by writers with an eye for quality, hiring editors and making sure to put out a product they can be proud of, the quality of many self-published books is iffy at best. I’ll be the first person to suggest to someone, just because you CAN self-publish a book, doesn’t mean you SHOULD self-publish a book.

One of the most frequent questions I get while at conventions, whether on panels or just hanging out at the parties, is, “How can I tell if a self-published book is going to be worth the money.” It’s a valid question, one that I’ve worked at finding a definitive answer to. Well, I’m just one guy, and while trying to puzzle out something like a “sound bite” that I can rattle off when people ask me that, I thought I’d ask some of my writer and fannish pals what they think.

So, mission firmly in mind, I sent out the following question: “Can you give one piece of advice on how the discerning reader can pick out good quality self-published works from the quantity?” I think the responses are pretty interesting. (And see how many of them couldn’t keep it to one piece of advice.)


Christopher J. Garcia, Hugo Award winning writer/editor of The Drink Tank:

Three ways – first, look to the product. If it’s well-produced, if it’s got a solid cover image, if it LOOKS well-done, that’s a start. Few self-published works I’ve enjoyed have ever been slap-dash in production.

Second, Goodreads. If I can find works by the author on Goodreads, and if they’re not all comments on how awful they are, even if most of the reviews are middling, I use that as a sign of potential quality.

Finally, it’s all about the Author. Search, find their blog, their posts somewhere, anything. If THAT material is worth reading, it’s a very high likelihood that the rest of their stuff shall be readable too.


Steve Drew, moderator and community manager at /r/fantasy on Reddit:

My own personal reading habits are built from my own experience reading authors I enjoy, author recommendations, and recommendations from the r/Fantasy community. In the past, it was a bit pot-luck – buying a book based on the cover kind of crap. With the advent of the internet, I can find good books through recommendations from people I trust. (Typically blurbs from authors I enjoy and/or reviews.)

I read VERY few independent books – sticking more frequently to those that are published and tried-and-true. That’s based on me being a slower reader compared to most in this genre. I don’t have time for wading through books on my own.

I have heard from authors that their presence on r/Fantasy has led to sales. Some direct sales c/o their AMA or Writer of The Day presence. More from their long-term presence on the site. That certainly helps to differentiate.


Rachel Thompson, bestselling author of A Walk in the Snark, Mancode Exposed, and Broken Pieces:

Amazon, B&N, iBooks etc., all offer free samples of books. Read the sample or download it to your smartphone, laptop, or tablet (remember, all online bookstores have free reading apps; so for example, no Kindle is required to read Kindle eBooks, just the free app). As readers, we should be able to form an opinion on the quality of the book based on that sample.

Many authors will also give editing credit (just under the title), so that gives a reader information that the book has indeed been professionally edited.


Michael J Sullivan, bestselling author of the Riyria Revelations:

My Riyria Revelations were self-published before being picked up by the fantasy imprint of a big-five publisher (Orbit: fantasy imprint of Hachette Book Group), so I read quite a few self-published titles as I like to keep up on who is doing well and recommend books I like. It’s my way of giving back. I have a large waiting list (tbr pile) and the ones I have read are, with very few exceptions, well suited to my tastes. My preferred reading material is epic fantasy so I’m going to use links for that genre – but Amazon has all kinds of list for all kinds of reading preferences.

  1. I check the Amazon’s Kindle Epic Bestseller’s List and skip past the “big names” like Rothfuss, Sanderson, Martin. (A lower price is also a pretty good indication, although not always) that a book is self-published. From there I can also click on the Epic Top Rated List. Titles that are on both are usually a good bet because they have been highly rated and sell well.
  2. I use the “Look inside the book” or download a sample copy and if the writing intrigues me, I hit “buy.”

And that’s pretty much all there is to it. I’m actually surprised when people say they have problems finding any “good” self-published books as I never have had any difficulty doing it the way I do.


Ian C. Esselmont: writes in the Malazan World with his long-time friend Steven Erikson:

I guess that what I would say is that it all comes down to that first page and first paragraph/opening. If authority is seen, or ‘felt’ in that first section, then to my mind, that’s where you catch, or lose, your scanning, hurried, reader.


Amber Scott, bestselling author of the Moon Magick Series:

In a bookstore, we browse, pick up a title, page through it and decide based on the impression we get. With ebooks, I see samples as a great way to do the same. Shop, sample, buy. Reviews can be bought and there’s a whole slew of authors with numbers in the thousands who did just that–purchased reviews. Ads are just that, advertisements paying for our attention. What it comes down to is taste. If my books are your taste, you’ll know by page one.


Hugh Howey: author Silo Saga, being Wool, Shift, and Dust, as well as the Molly Fyde books and I, Zombie:

I think the challenge for readers is similar to what is has always been: finding a book they’ll enjoy among the legions of books they won’t enjoy. Grabbing a random book out of a bookstore rarely works either. Most shoppers stick to an author they know or a book a friend recommended. When they do browse, they usually head to their favorite genre, check the cover art for the mood of the story, read the blurb, and then sample the first page.

Online shoppers should do the same. Filter for the genre you want, look for a professional cover, see if the blurb is well-written, and then read the free sample. One of the advantages here is that the indie author probably wrote the blurb, so if that is clunky or has mistakes, you can often move on to the next book. With the free online samples, there is so much to browse. It’s one of the reasons I think there’s never been a better time to be a reader.


Howard Taylor: writer and artist of the web comic Schlock Mercenary, also contributer to the Hugo Award winning audio podcast, Writing Excuses.


A good writer who pays close attention to the craft, and who has a solid feedback loop of alpha readers, beta readers, and copy editors, is going to get more than just the writing right. Why? Because they pay attention! In that vein, I totally judge books by their covers.

First: does the cover suit the genre? How does it stack up against mass-market books in this same space? A cover that fits the genre is a good sign that the author knows the space they’re working in.

Second: How is the back-cover copy (or the “description” on Amazon)? Does it grab you? Descriptions like these are some of the most difficult things to write, and they must be edited, polished, refined, then ground to powder rebuilt molecule by molecule. Strong back-cover copy is a good sign that the author is really committed to getting this whole thing right.

Third (this isn’t the cover, but it’s close): Has it been blurbed or reviewed by anybody you know? Ultimately your best guide to a good book is reading it and deciding for yourself whether it’s a good book. Since life’s too short for that, what are other people saying about the book? I’ll take a friend’s recommendation over a random five-star review any day. And to that end, if you read a book and love it, don’t be afraid to say so.


Damon Stone, producer and game designer for Fantasy Flight Games, including the Game of Thrones trading card game, Call of Chthulu card game, and Netrunner:

When I’m looking into buying self-published works I look for a number of different things but there are three main things I consider…

1) Has it been recommended to me by someone I know and trust? Personal endorsement is still the strongest factor in what I read and when I read it.

2) Are any pages made available, or chapter excerpt from the book. Nothing tells you as much about how an author writes, than the authors writing. 😉

3) Does the site I’m making my purchases from show what other books were purchased, viewed, or reviewed by people who have purchased or reviewed the work I’m considering? If someone is a fan of GRRM and Steven Erikson , or Steven Brust and Glen Cook, or Patrick Rothfuss and Neil Gaiman and viewed this work favorably, I have an idea of what I may find.


Lisa Rodgers, agent with the JABberwocky Literary Agency:

That’s actually a very interesting question that, in my opinion, doesn’t really have a “one true answer.” There are a number of variables that a “discerning reader” probably already knows to look at in order to “appraise” the quality of a book (whether it’s self or traditionally published), including cover art, book description, and reviews. Given all of that, I think personal recommendations from people whose reading tastes you trust would be my piece of advice.  I think it’s especially important for self-published work, since there is so much out there and their discoverability isn’t limited to physical shelf space.


Michael R. Underwood, author of Geekomancy and the forthcoming Celebromancy and North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books:

For me, the way to find excellent self-published books is to take recommendations from indie writers. I think indie SF/F writers are going to know best what the good indie SF/F books are, because they’re going to show up together in discussions, recommendation engines, and likely in social situations – indie authors are great about trading both business and craft tips, so they’re going to know who the exemplars in their community are at any given point.


Bill Waters, writer for about all things geek/pop culture related:

Over the last several years the publishing world (in games as well as books) has been completely turned on its head. Now it’s no longer a question about if an individual can be published, there’s any number of self-publishing routes available to individuals. However, it should be noted that even in the days of classic publishing, there was no lack of utterly terrible content out there. Now the challenge is that of discovery, among the white noise of all of the Appstore on mobile devices, in the Amazon Kindle store, and all of the other outlets available, each new publication is a speck among the masses. People go towards things that they know – those can be bestseller lists, reviews from professional critics (as well as from casual bloggers). Individual readers will now find information portals (podcasts, blogs, news feeds, etc) that resonates with that particular person’s tastes and they’ll use that as their primary channel for recommendations. That way their level of effort is reduced from a constant thrash of published titles to identifying a few reliable sources that they can use as the filter to the noise.


Brandon Sanderson, bestselling author of Mistborn, Way of Kings and the Hugo Award winning novella Soul of the Empire:

This is a tough question because the question of how do you pick out a non-self-published book, I mean it’s gotta be the same criteria, right? I don’t think the reader should worry so much about the source of the book as the content of the book. And how do you find out about books you’re going to enjoy? By function of what we do, you have to trust something. Either it’s going to be the blurb or the packaging, or hopefully you’ve had a friend read the book and recommend it to you.

I think that this is kind of a much smaller issue than a lot of people seem to be making it. Readers have always had way more to read than they have time to read, and finding the good stuff has always been kind of the quest of the reader, and I think most of us are pretty good at it and know what works for us. So I don’t know that it should matter between self-published and non-self-published. Use the same instincts.

Well, it seems like the more things change, the more things stay the same. If you’re looking for something new to read, don’t look so much at whether the book is published by an author or by a big publishing house; you’re going to get varying experiences with both. No matter where the book is coming from, just use the same process you’ve always used, no matter what that process is, to determine whether you try a new book or writer. If that process has worked to find good books in the past, it’s probably going keep working to find you good books in the future.

Happy reading!

Review: NEXUS by Ramez Naam

(Originally posted at on 2013-01-30)

nexus-75-dpi-197x300The best books are those that stay with you, that make you think about the questions they ask long after you put it down. In his stellar debut novel, Ramez Naam does exactly that. Naam offers us a near-future, roller-coaster adventure that will grab you by the throat and won’t let you go even once you finish the novel. This one will stay with you, and keep you thinking. I’m can’t say for sure, but I’m fairly certain, this one is going to be popping back into my brain from my subconscious for a long time yet.

In the book, Nexus is a nanotechnology “drug” that allows users to link wirelessly to each other’s brains. They can share thoughts, memories, and in some cases,  control each other’s actions. Previous iterations of the drug burn out of people’s systems in a short amount of time. It opens with the main protagonist of the story, Kade, experimenting with the permanent version of the “drug,” Nexus 5. He and some friends have created a computer operating system to integrate with the drug, so that it stays with them, and they can add programs and applications to it that make them essentially hyper-human. Needless to say, certain governmental agencies aren’t even remotely okay with this.  Within the first few pages of the book, Kade and his friends are neck-deep in trouble with the US government, but maybe, just maybe, if Kade helps the government, there might be a way out for he and his friends. And that’s as much of the plot as I’m going to give. Anything else would be a disservice to the reader.

Nexus is fantastic. It’s brilliant. Feel free to tack on as many positive adjectives as you can come up with. It’s not just a well-written and thought-provoking book, it’s also highly entertaining. The “high ideas” Nexus calls the reader to consider are woven seemlessly into the plot by the characters. Through their interactions, conversations, and private musings, we see many sides of the trans and post human ideas Naam is working with. The best part is that while each character knows exactly where he or she stands on that particular issue at any moment (some characters do change their stance/outlook, and each of these moments of change come organically from the events they experience), Naam does not beat the reader over the head with any authorial agenda.  Or, if he does, I had such a great time reading the book and getting lost in the story that I completely missed it.

When I sat down to write this review, I tried to come up with pairs of writers I could compare the book to to give possible readers a feeling of what they are going to get. A few of the names bouncing in my head were: William Gibson, James Rollins, David Brin, Michael Chriton, Neal Stephenson, and more. While trying to pair a comparison down to two names I couldn’t. Naam’s tone and ideas are a unique  and fresh voice to science fiction. Do yourself a favor and get on the Ramez Naam band wagon now, so you can say, “I was there when.”

It would not surprise me in the least to see this on the Hugo ballet for best novel at this year’s World Science Fiction Convention.

Reviewed by M. Todd Gallowglas    MTGallowglas

Last Stop on the Road to WorldCon 2012

(by M. Todd Gallowglas)

I’m sitting here writing this on my flight into Chicago for the 70th Annual World Science Fiction Convention. This will be my fifth World Con, my first as a recognized “pro.” I love conventions. I remember going to them when I was younger, back before being even remotely into geeky/nerdy anything was anything but cool.

I’ve loved conventions ever since I went to my first one as a wide-eyed seventeen year old. Conventions were a place where I could go and be among a community where being into that Sci-Fi wasn’t just okay, it was actively encouraged. As a hopeful writer, conventions were a place I could get away from the “don’t quit your day job” naysayers, and where professional, working writers I read and admired became my personal cheerleading squad. In hindsight, I realize they weren’t cheering me on personally, but any young writer who showed up to be a part of the community. Still, it felt good.

So here I am years later, one of those writers myself, attending my first World Con. I’m going to be on the other side of that table at the panels. I’m going to be the one doing the reading. And I’ve gotten here via a road I never even dreamed of until last year. In the Science Fiction/Fantasy literary community, the Indie/self-publishing thing is in a strange place. I’ve gotten a whole lot of encouragement from some of my favorite writers, and then, a few minutes later, other writers who I count as friends have asked, “Why would you want to do that?” Even on a panel where I’ve discussed my bestseller status, two other panelists have said, “Whatever you do, don’t go Indie.” It’s an interesting experience being an Indie writer at a convention; I’m sure it’s going to be even more interesting being an Indie writer at the World Science Fiction convention.

Some might be asking, “If you get so much negativity, why go?” Well, I also get a lot of people cheering me on. At Westercon, Robin Hobb displayed my books in front of a packed panel, and David Brin told me he was proud of me. Talk about awesome! But even the approval is not the point.

We who write in the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror come from a rich community. With the Indie book revolution, I think many up-and-coming genre writers are publishing without any knowledge of that community, much less the desire to be part of it. That’s as shame. I think one of the biggest things we Indie writers can do for our success is show up to conventions and become as active as we can in that awesome community. This is not about selling books (though that’s a nice fringe benefit.) This is about gaining credibility with the community that reads the kind of stuff we write. It’s also about acknowledging the fan base, all across the gambits of mediums that make up our fandom, that has worked so hard for so long for us to gain the strong foothold we have now in mainstream culture.

Please, fellow Indie writers, I implore you to start attending conventions proudly as an indie writer. Don’t just make plans to go to World Con next year, also look into your local and regional conventions – even if you can’t get onto any panels, show up and be part of the community. Remember, if we’re writing books in these genres, it’s a good chance that we’re fans of these genres. Go hang out with the other fans, both professional and amateurs and enjoy being among like-minded friends for a weekend.

Interview with Jennifer Brozek

(Interview by M. Todd Gallowglas)

I’ve known Jennifer Brozek for about a year, having met her at last year’s World Science Fiction convention. We’ve maintained a correspondence over that time and chatted similar interests and business at the occasional convention. She is one dedicated and hard-working lady, attending multiple conventions per year while and always has at least two or three projects in the wings waiting for her to wrap up work on the two, or three, or dozen she’s currently working on. I’ve found her especially welcoming to both fans and up-and-coming professionals. And with all this, she can turn that all off in a moment’s notice and scare you sheet white without even half trying, which is why she’s on her way to becoming the new first lady of horror.

The Genre Underground is pleased to have her on board for the Road to World Con event.

GU: When did you attend your first convention? Did you start as a fan or a pro?

JLB: The first convention I remember regularly going to was DunDraCon in San Ramon, CA. It is the largest west coast gaming convention. I think I started going back in 1994. I went as a fan. All my friends are gamers and we all went together as a group. I didn’t start going to conventions as a pro until August 2006. My first pro convention was GenCon.

GU: With the amount of conventions you attend per year, I think it’s safe to assume that you feel it’s important for pros and semi-pros in our community to attend conventions. Why do you feel it is so important for writers to attend conventions?

JLB: Editors and publishers are looking for new talent and new ideas. Authors are looking for someone to publish them. I’ve discovered that one good face-to-face meeting with the right person will open up doors like you would not believe.

I met author/editor John Helfers at GenCon in 2006. I pitched an anthology to him. He thought it was a great idea but it wasn’t quite there yet. Over time, I got to know John and he watched me work my ass off on other projects until in 2010 – after only meeting him and his editor wife, Kerrie, at conventions – he had me meet him for a business meeting. It was there he asked me to pitch him anthologies for DAW. Out of that meeting came the DAW anthology HUMAN FOR A DAY.

Not soon enough for you? Here’s me on the other end of the story. As an editor for my own magazine, I looked for new authors. In 2007, I met an author whom I invited to write for the magazine. As it turned out, he already had and been rejected—twice. We talked and I remembered both stories. I told him what was wrong with each and what was the next year’s theme and asked him to try again. He did and he got it.

That author is Dylan Birtolo. From there, Dylan and I ended up writing an RPG supplement for Colonial Gothic together, THE ROSS-ALLEN LETTERS. I have also published him in the semi-pro anthologies: THE BEAST WITHIN 2 and SPACE TRAMPS as well as the pro anthology HUMAN FOR A DAY. He is also in a forthcoming anthology, COINS OF CHAOS, and will always be one of my “go to” authors because of how easy he is to work with.

If I had not met Dylan in 2007, I don’t know if any of these other publications would have happened.

GU: What is your favorite part of going to conventions?

I think sitting down and talking with industry friends I only know online as well as meeting new industry friends. I love the social aspect of conventions and meeting people. Conventions are part of my job. They aren’t all fun and games. So, I take joy where I can and I learn what I can about the people I have worked with or will work with.

GU: What one piece of advice would you give to the neo-pro attending a convention for the first time with “PRO” on their membership badge?

Believe it or not, it is not all about you. It is very exciting to be a PRO and you want everyone to know about your books but if you only talk about you, your books, your stuff, no one is going to be interested. You want to demonstrate a depth and breadth of knowledge—other authors, other works, other editors you admire and try to emulate. When you are on a panel, illustrate your talking points with examples from other authors as well as your own work.

When you are at a party or in the green room or just in the hallway, just be you. Be a real person and not someone trying to sell your book. Eventually, the conversation will come around to you and what you do. That’s when you talk about you and your stuff. That’s when your conversation partner is interested.

GU: What one piece of advice would you give to the hopeful writer attending the convention hoping to make contacts and network?

Writing is a job. So is publishing and editing. If you are looking to network, in essence, you are looking to have an informal job interview. You need to look the part: clean and presentable. Personally, for men and women, I say no t-shirts because it makes you stand out. Men: polo shirts, bowling shirts, button downs. Women: casual nice, boat neck, blouse, tunic.

You also need to have good timing – bathrooms and, unless you are having lunch/dinner with your networking target, mealtimes are not good times. If they are at a dealer’s table, you need to know when to step to the side to allow them to do the job of selling their wares. No one appreciates having their tables blocked by someone who wants to sell them something.

I go into a whole lot of detail on this in my book, INDUSTRY TALK, because I’ve been pitched to in some of the most inconvenient places.

So, the short thought is: Writing is a job. Treat is and all contacts like a business with proper etiquette.

GU: With the rise of Indie and self-published writers leaping so easily in the market creating some controversy within the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror community, what place do you feel those writers have within the community of Fandom?

Considering I’m doing it all: self-publishing, semi-pro publishing, and pro publishing, I think there is a place. I think that self-published authors have a lot more work to do on the business side of things than they first imagine. They will have a smaller market share of the audience in general but if they do good work, get a good editor, treat their book with the respect and care it deserves, they will have a home in their chosen fandom.

I do think self-published authors have a hard road to travel. Especially if they don’t have a good reputation already to rely on. Those self-published authors who do not do their due diligence will reap the reward of a resounding silence.

There will always be pro authors who say self-published authors aren’t professional and there will always be self-published authors who say that pro authors are slaves to the big publishing houses. For me, I say find your niche and find your comfort zone and then write the crap out of it—figuratively and literally.

GU: Within your personal work, which project did you enjoy working on the most? Which do you think best defines you as a writer? What do you have in the works that readers can look forward to?

This is hard to answer. I really enjoyed writing INDUSTRY TALK: AN INSIDER’S LOOK AT WRITING RPGS AND EDITING ANTHOLOGIES because it encapsulated so much of what I have learned and wanted to pass on to other people. I get a lot of the same questions asked over and over and over again. So, I answered them in a book. I’m pleased with the book and think it’s pretty smashing.

But, at the heart of me, I am a writer. I love writing. I’ve got a number of things coming out in late 2012 that will be my new favorite thing. But, in the meantime, if you want to see the world how I see it, my favorite book is IN A GILDED LIGHT: 105 TALES OF THE MACABRE. Every story is under a thousand words and lasts all day.  I warn you, though. A bunch of reviewers had nightmares while reading this book.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. We’ll see you at World Con.

Thank you for your interview. I’ll see you all at WorldCon.

Interview with Paul Genesse

(Interview by M. Todd Gallowglas)

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Genesse years ago at the World Fantasy Convention in Austin Texas, and I’ve bumped into him at many conventions since. The thing that impressed me most when I first met him, and continues to impress me when we chat at conventions or we interact online, is that Mr. Genesse is a consummate professional, at all times, cordial, pleasant, and fully attentive in every conversation I’ve seen him a part of. He is both a writer and a fan, and one of the strongest examples of why the symbiotic relationship between science fiction and fantasy professionals and fans is not only really cool but a necessity for our mutual growth.

The Genre Underground is pleased to have him take time out of his insanely busy schedule to speak with us on the Road to World Con event.

GU: Your convention schedule seems daunting to the point of insanity. On average, how many conventions to you attend per year?

Paul Genesse: Six at the most. Usually about five.

GU: Most writers, especially those hungry and hopefuls who dream of making it big, can likely see the benefits of attending big conventions like World Con. Why do you think it’s important for pros, or those hoping to be pros, to attend regional and local conventions as well?

Paul Genesse: It’s all about who you know, when you’re trying to sell fiction. You have to meet editors, publishers and agents. There are a few people who don’t follow this model, but very few. Once you’ve attained a certain level of skill in writing, personal contacts come into play big time. I believe that meeting the editors and other writers at various conventions, like World Con and World Fantasy are invaluable. Once you’re serious about selling something in the science fiction or fantasy genre, go to World Fantasy or World Con.

GU: What is your favorite part of going to conventions?

Paul Genesse: Seeing my fans, friends, fellow writers and editors who share so much in common with me. We all get to reconnect and support each other. I’ve been going to conventions regularly since 1997, and the people who have helped me along the way are like family, but family of my choosing, and without them I literally could not go on.

GU: As I said when introducing you, you are always the consummate professional. How important is it for neo-pros and hopeful pros to have this quality of interaction while at conventions?

Paul Genesse: It’s very important. Just be polite and treat the people you meet with respect. Don’t say anything negative, and behave in a very civil manner. Writers are normal people and we’re at the convention to meet people, so be cool and don’t stress too badly about saying hello. You can ask for advice, but don’t pitch your novel for five minutes. Don’t pitch your novel period, unless it makes perfect sense to do so. If they’re an editor, you can ask if they’re taking unsolicited submissions, and go from there. If they’re not, don’t pitch your novel. Coming up with an elevator pitch is crucial. Thirty words or less.

GU: You’ve been fairly active in the small-press world of publishing with last year’s release of The Crimson Pact Volume 1 (Volumes 2-4 are also out now) and, if I understand correctly, you are breaking into the Indie Scene a you’ve retrieved the rights to your Iron Dragon Series. With the rise of Indie and self-published writers leaping so easily in the market creating some controversy within the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror community, what place do you feel those writers have within the Fandom community?

Paul Genesse: We’re all writers. We all have something to say, and we all have a place in the community. My advice is that you don’t self-publish until you’ve reached a professional level. That’s hard to define sometimes, but if you find the right people, they can tell you if you’re ready yet or need more practice. Independent/self-published writers can be just as good as those who have sold to major publishers, but be careful, and don’t rush things out into the market.

In the Fandom community, self-published authors can take whatever role they want. There are awards in fan categories at World Con. The fans keep this business going and if you want to write fan fiction or whatever, enjoy yourself. Perhaps you don’t put your real name on it, but that’s your call. If your goal is to do something else and sell to a bigger publisher, it might be better for you to work on your own material.

GU: When can we expect to see the Crimson Pact Vol. 5? Do you have any other exciting projects in the works that you’d care to share with the Genre Underground’s followers?

Paul Genesse: I just met with the publisher of The Crimson Pact series, Steven Saus of Alliteration Ink at Gen Con 2012 in Indianapolis and we’ve decided that The Crimson Pact Volume 5 is going to happen. The deadline will be around February 2013. Stay tuned for news about it on and the possibility of submitting. The Crimson Pact Volume 3 just came out as a trade paperback, and Volume 4 followed as an eBook—and will soon be a trade paperback. Currently I’m working on a rewrite of my novel, Medusa’s Daughter, a love story set in ancient Greece about Medusa and the daughter I think she had. Also, I just had an essay come out in 8th Day Genesis, a World Building Guide for Writers and Creatives.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. We’ll see you at World Con.

Paul Genesse: I’ll see you there and drop by my website, for more information.


Paul Genesse (juh-NESS—like finesse) spends endless hours in his basement writing fantasy novels, adding to his list of published short stories available from DAW Books and various other publishers, and editing the four volumes of the demon themedCrimson Pact anthology series. His first novel, The Golden Cord, book one of his Iron Dragon Series became the bestselling fantasy his publisher has ever had. Book two, The Dragon Hunters, and book three, The Secret Empire, all set in the treacherous plateau world of Ae’leron, are out now and available as trade paperbacks and eBooks. Learn secrets of the world, download the first ten chapters of The Golden Cord for free, and view maps by visiting