Meet the Mad Genius Club

The Regular Members of the Mad Genius Club

Dave Freer

Find his books here


Dave Freer is a former Marine Biologist who specialized in fish (an Ichthyologist), proving that you can end up as an academic even if you did win a sports bursary (for rock-climbing) to take you through college. At seventeen was a conscripted Medic during the Angolan/South African conflict. Politically from an old fashioned ‘liberal’ (you know, believing in equality of all people before the law, equality of opportunity, that sort of thing) anti-apartheid family this was quite an experience. He lived through it and came out as a 45 year old in a nineteen year old body, which may explain his frequent confusion. He is still deciding just what do when he grows up. His first postgraduate job was as Chief Scientific Officer for the Western Cape Commercial Shark fishery. As a biologist he’s spent a lot of time working in water no sane person would go near, having encounters (both in small boats and in the water) with sharks, crocodiles, hippopotamuses, electric rays and a number of other toxic/lethal creatures. He has worked as a salvage diver, run two major fish farms (he’s a very good plumber), as well as doing some steeplejack work. Additionally he has worked as the relief chef for a group of exclusive luxury game/ ecotourism/ whitewater-rafting lodges. He has an obsession with food, recreating traditional fare, something he uses in his books. He’s a top mountaineer and rock-climber, opening many of his country’s best rock routes. He’s a fanatical spiny-lobster diver and flyfisherman and the author of a number of articles on both. If it is dangerous and a little crazy — he’s done it. Besides writing some amazingly boring but fundamental papers on shark age and growth and reproductive biology, he has authored or co-authored about twenty novels, most of which are sf/fantasy. He’s also written a lot of shorter fiction, appearing in various collections.
He lives on a wonderful remote Island off the coast of Tasmania, Australia, a ten hour ferry trip to anywhere, with 3 dogs to do his thinking, 3 cats to be waited on, two sons to lead him astray, and a wonderful wife to be patient with him and them, although it is a task that would tax a saint. Sometimes he wonders why he does this. Other times he just wonders.

Sarah A. Hoyt

Find her books here.

SarahSarah A. Hoyt was born (and raised) in Portugal and now lives in Colorado with her husband, two sons, and a variable number of cats, depending on how many show up to beg on the door step.
In between lays the sort of resume that used to be de-rigueur for writers. She has never actually wrestled alligators, but she did at one point very briefly tie bows on bags of potpourri for a living. She has also washed dishes and ironed clothes for a living. Worst of all she was, for a long time, a multilingual scientific translator.
At some point, though, she got tired of making an honest living and started writing. She has over 23 — the number keeps changing — published novels, in science fiction, fantasy, mystery, historical mystery, historical fantasy and historical biography. Her short stories have been published in Analog, Asimov’s, Amazing Stories (under a previous management), Weird tales, and a number of anthologies from DAW and Baen. Her space-opera novel Darkship Thieves was the 2011 Prometheus Award Winner, and at this moment the third novel in the series, A Few Good Men, is a finalist for the honor.
She also writes under the names Sarah D’Almeida, Elise Hyatt and Sarah Marques.

Kate Paulk 

Find her books here. 

KateKate Paulk is a transplanted Australian with a young writing career, a hyperactive imagination, and a fondness for weird stuff. She has published enough short stories to be losing count, a novella, and Knights in Tarnished Armor, which doesn’t exactly fit any kind of category. Kate spends her time juggling the demands of software quality assurance (the day job), her husband, two very demanding cats, and the stories demanding attention.

Amanda S. Green

Find her books here. 

 I’m a mother, daughter, writer and editor. In other words, I’m four people living in a single body. Mind you, it gets very crowded in here at times, especially when my characters decide they need to be noisy.




Cedar Sanderson 

Find her books here

CedarCedar Sanderson was born an Air Force brat in Nebraska and spent her childhood en route to new duty stations. Her formative years after her father left the Air Force were spent being home-schooled on the Alaskan frontier. She removed to the “more urban” climes of New Hampshire at the beginning of high school. She has had the usual eclectic range of jobs for Fantasy/ SF authors, ranging from Comedy Magician to Apprentice Shepherdess. She counts the latter as more useful in controlling her four children and First Reader. Her fascination with science dates to her early childhood spent with her grandmother on the Oregon coast studying the flora and fauna and learning to prepare a meal from what she could glean from a tidal pool. This lead to a lifelong interest in science, cooking, and wild edibles. At present she is attending college in Ohio pursuing a dual STEM major in forensic science and microbiology this time around. Her first two times in college were for theology and liberal arts. She is maintaining an average of nearly 20 credit hours while running a household, an entertainment business, and writing multiple novels on the side. This has the result of leaving those watching her indefatigable efforts panting in exhaustion.

Dorothy Grant

Find her books here.

Dorothy and PeterDorothy Grant is the marketer for Peter Grant’s books, as well as a few other authors. She applies an eye for cover design, a love of data, and an endless curiosity about what makes humans tick to matching awesome books with their perfect audience. In her spare time, she flies a pre-WWII airplane she rebuilt, shoots guns much newer than that, and tries to coax her husband into spelunking. She also writes tactically correct scifi set in colony worlds.


Peter Grant

You can find his books here. 

PeterPeter Grant is an author of military scifi and space opera. He was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. Between military service, the IT industry and humanitarian involvement, he traveled throughout sub-Saharan Africa before being ordained as a pastor. He later emigrated to the USA, where he worked as a pastor and prison chaplain until an injury forced his retirement. His latest book is Forge a New Blade, part II of the Laredo War trilogy.

Pam Uphoff

You can find her books here.

I was born and raised in California, and have lived more than half my life, now, in Texas.

Wonderful place. I caught almost the first bachelor I met here, and we’ve just celebrated our thirty-third anniversary.

My degree’s in Geology. After working for an oil company for almost ten years as a geophysicist, I “retired” to raise children. As they grew, I added oil painting, sculpting and throwing clay, breeding horses, volunteering in libraries and for the Boy Scouts, and worked as the treasurer for a friend’s political campaign. Sometime in those busy years, I turned a love of science fiction into a part time job reading slush, unsolicited manuscripts, for Baen Books (Mom? Someone is paying you to read??!!)

I’ve always written, published a few short stories. But now that the kids have flown the nest, I’m calling writing a full time job.


Brad R. Torgersen

You can find his books here.

Brad R. Torgersen is a multi-award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer whose book A Star-Wheeled Sky won the 2019 Dragon Award for Best Science Fiction Novel at the 33rd annual DragonCon fan convention in Atlanta, GA. A prolific short fiction author, Torgersen has published stories in numerous anthologies and magazines, to include several Best Of Year editions. Brad is named in Analog magazine’s who’s who of top Analog authors, alongside venerable writers like Larry Niven, Lois McMaster Bujold, Orson Scott Card, and Robert A. Heinlein. Married for almost 30 years, Brad is also a United States Army Reserve Chief Warrant Officer — with multiple deployments to his credit — and currently lives with his wife and daughter in the Mountain West.


Karen Myers

You can find her books here.

Karen Myers is a fantasy and science fiction author, best known for her heroic fantasy novels.

After a degree in Comparative Mythology from Yale University and a career as an industry pioneer building software companies, she has devoted herself to writing speculative fiction. Her stories feature heroes in real and imagined worlds filled with magic, space travel, and adventure.

When she’s not writing, she enjoys hunting, fishing, photography, and playing her fiddle.

Karen lives with her husband, dogs, and cats in an old log cabin in the mountains of central Pennsylvania, surrounded by wildlife. Bears, coyotes, deer, and possums visit often, and when she fiddles on her porch, the wild turkeys talk back.

Alma T. C. Boykin

You can find her books here.

Alma T. C. Boykin was born in the Midwest, moved to the Great Plains, and after a brief period living in places where trees almost outnumber people, returned to the plains. She escaped college with a BA, worked for a living, then returned for an advanced degree some years later. When not writing or rotating the cat, she teaches and does a few other odds and ends. Hobbies include cooking, reading, hiking, geology, astronomy, and music.

11 thoughts on “Meet the Mad Genius Club

Add yours

  1. Hi! I really like the “Bestselling Quality” post from May 21st. I wanted to comment directly on it, but for some reason, there’s no “Leave a Reply” box there.

    The system for deciding what’s a “Bestseller” really does sound crazy. Especially if publishers think “there must be something wrong” if a book sells better than they expected.

    What’s with the dig at YA, though? What do you mean its authors have “no business” telling original stories, or that its readers “renew”? In my view, having a younger target audience doesn’t prevent one from writing an original story, and on the other hand, there’s no such thing as a completely original story in any genre. All stories are inspired by something, whether by history, or the author’s experiences, or previous stories.

    I do see plenty of original elements in middle-grade and YA, though — Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck is told both in text form and with pages containing only cinematic black-and-white illustrations. Katya’s World, by Jonathan Howard, focuses on a teenage girl training to be part of a submarine crew on a planet with no landmasses — and, most refreshingly, there is no love interest subplot. The Book Thief is told from the point of view of Death. Nancy Garden’s Annie on my Mind (vague spoiler ahead) was the first YA love story between two girls that had a happy ending. I think there’s plenty of room for originality, no matter the audience.

    1. That’s the Latin word “genius” with its proper plural. However, the English word “genius” has a different plural. The English root word looks the same as the Latin one because English is a kleptomaniac magpie language and just swiped the root word from another language instead of evolving one of its own.

      Though I admit, I usually use the word “radii” instead of “radiuses”, but that’s just to be annoying…

  2. Dear Ms. Paulk:

    I just completed an interview this afternoon on talk radio WISR 680 AM in Pittsburgh with host Dave Malarkey of “It’s Your Turn.” It concerned my new science fiction release, “The Pilots of Borealis,” energy acquisition of the future, and quite a bit about the current controversy concerning “The Sad Puppies” and the dust-up at the Hugo Awards. For obvious reasons, I think you’d find it interesting–especially since I gave your side of the argument quite a bit of support. Please let me know where I muddled things? Thanks!

    Click on my website, scroll down the home page to “Media Links” and click the MP3 next to “It’s Your Turn.” –>


    David Nabhan

  3. I used to check in on madgeniusclub several times a week, but you apparently had an update on the site a few weeks ago such that now I have to give permission to WP and Gravitar to run a number of scripts on my browser before I can read the site. I limit, severely, the scripts that can run on my systems, so can no longer read madgeniusclub.

    Did you intentionally decide to throttle access to the site, or is this an unintended consequence?

    1. Unintended. We’re in the process of shifting things, and the two people who are overseeing the process are both a bit snowed-under right now. Thank you for mentioning the problem. Which browser are you running?

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