Category Archives: babies

My Far Wanderings: San Diego and Spain

So this week begins the pure madness of my convention season.

Amanda and I did the math a few days ago and realized that between now and mid-September, I’m only home for 15 days. And those days are not all in a row.

First on the docket is…

  • San Diego Comic Con

I’ve made a habit of SDCC for years now, but this year I’m trying something a little different.

Because I hate being away from my family for large swaths of time, Sarah, Oot, and Cutie Snoo are coming with me to the con.

Cutie - 8 weeks

(The shirt was a gift. Honestly.)

Because I don’t normally travel with my kids, I think this would be a good time to establish some ground rules. Okay?

1. Being off-duty.

One of the main reasons I go to conventions is to see/hang out with/interact with my readers. I like meeting you guys.

That said, one of the *other* reasons I like going to conventions has nothing to do with you. It’s simply that I like going I like going to conventions. I like wandering the dealer’s room, looking at stuff, hanging out with my friends, and just being a geek.

Does that mean that I resent it when someone comes up to me in the dealer’s hall and asks for a picture or an autograph? No. Not really.

But you have to realize that sometimes I’m in a hurry to get somewhere. Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I haven’t eaten all day. Sometimes I’m enjoying the only free time I have available all day. Sometimes I’m just trying to get to the bathroom and you’re the third person to stop me in the hallway.

That means that if I beg off, and say, “No, I’m sorry, not right now.” You have to respect that.

I’m not saying you have to be delighted. I get that you might *really* have your heart set of getting a picture with me and the nearby statue of Sailor Moon. But it could be I’m late to a panel. It could be I only have 25 minutes to eat some food before I’ve got an interview. It could just be that I’m really, really weary and not feeling very social at the moment.

Let me put it this way. While at many points in the convention I am absolutely all-the-way there just for you. At other times I’m not. And if you hit me in one of those *not* times, I’m well within my rights to politely decline your request.

To simplify, when I’m at a convention, I exist in two possible states:

On Duty – Signing stuff. Doing panels. Taking pictures. Playing games.

Off Duty But Approachable – With the understanding that I might not be up for anything right now.

But now we have a third option, too: With My Family

If you see me at the convention and I’m carrying a baby, or pushing a stroller, or sharing an ice cream cone with my son that means I’m With My Family. During these times you should probably consider me extra-off duty.

Can we exchange companionable nods with one other? Sure. Can you offer up a geek solidarity fist bump? Absolutely.

But asking me to pose for a picture, sign a book, or explain the best way to get an agent? Not so much.

2. Don’t touch my kids.

I know. My children are fucking adorable. It’s like their mutant power.

And I know that wanting to touch kids is a totally normal mammalian response.

And I also know that a lot of you feel a connection with me, and with my kids. You’ve seen pictures of them. You’ve read stories about Cutie on facebook and seen the #OotSays hashtag on Twitter.

But seriously. Don’t touch them. I don’t know you. We don’t want them getting convention plague. And more likely than not, a stranger coming up and pawing at them is just going to freak them out.

And you *really* don’t want to see my grizzly bear type protective dad instincts kick in. You really don’t. Really. You don’t want to spend comic con in the hospital, and I don’t need the bad press.

So. Consider this fair warning. Tell your friends.

*     *     *

  • My San Diego Comic Con Schedule

Thursday, July 24
4-5pm Putting the Epic in Epic Fantasy Room: 25ABC
With Robin Hobb, Joe Abercrombie, Raymond E. Feist, Django Wexler, Morgan Rhodes, Sam Sykes, Moderated by Brent Weeks

5:30-6:30pm Signing table, AA09

Friday, July 25
1:30-2:30pm Playing Gloom with Geek and Sundry
JOLT ‘N JOES
379 4TH AVENUE, SAN DIEGO, CA 92101

Saturday, July 26

1-3pm Signing at Badali’s booth – #532
4:15-5:15pm Rulers of the Realm Final, Room 6A
With Joe Abercrombie, Diana Gabaldon, Lev Grossman, George R.R. Martin, and moderated by Ali T. Kokmen.

Other booths where I tend to lurk:

  • Mysterious Galaxy: #1119
  • Penguin Booth: #1028
  • Badali: #532
  • Geek Chic: #4928
  • Thinkgeek: #3849
  • Karen Hallion: Artist’s Alley BB-11

If anything else comes up, I’ll probably just tweet about it.

  • Spain: Madrid and Aviles

After San Diego, I’ll be going straight to Spain.

First, I’ll be doing a live interview on Espacio Fundación Telefónica on Tuesday, July 29th.

The show starts at 19:00 (UTC+02) and it will also be broadcast on their podcast channel, so you can listen to it from anywhere. For more details, the podcast, and a chance to get tickets, visit their site at http://espacio.fundaciontelefonica.com/.

Then, I’ll be headed to Aviles to Celsius 232. From what I’ve heard, it’s a really cool con. What’s more, it has no badges or entrance fees, so anyone who is in the area can come see me.

Thursday, July 31
1:15 PM – 2:00 PM Adventures of the Princess Panel. Carpa de Actividades.
Conducted by Jorge Ivan Argiz.
2:00 PM – 2:45 PM Signing in the Carpa de Actividades.

Friday, August 1
10 AM – 12 PM Signing in the Carpa de Actividades.
6:15 PM -7:30 PM The Works of Patrick Rothfuss. Casa de la Cultura.
Conducted by Diego Garcia Cruz.

Saturday, August 2
10 AM t – 12 PM Signing in the Carpa de Actividades
6:15 PM -7:30 PM Three Different Approaches to Fantasy. Casa de la Cultura.
With Brandon Sanderson and Joe Abercrombie. Conducted by Cristina Macia and Jorge Ivan Argiz in the Casa de la Cultura

Hope to see some of you soon….

pat

Also posted in Being a Curmudgeon, conventions, How to be a Worthwhile Human Being | By Pat90 Responses

Introducing….

Everyone, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce someone to you….

Meet young master Kvothe:

IMAG0532

(You may have heard of him.)

You can click to embiggen if you like, but he’s pretty tiny. There’s only so much embiggening that can be done….

Here’s the story, and forgive me if I’m a little vague on the details, but I’ve promised his parents I’ll keep quiet about specifics for the most part.

I was contacted by a relative of little Kvothe a couple weeks ago. He mentioned that there had been a baby born in his family named Kvothe, as far as he could tell, my character was the only Kvothe out there.

(This is true. Somewhere in my files, I have a screen capture of a pre-publication google search that showed no hits on “Kvothe.” As far as I can tell, I was the first.)

My reaction to his e-mail was pretty much along the lines of “pull the other one, it’s got bells on.”

I wasn’t quite so British about it. (I’m reading some Pratchett right now, and it’s seeped into me.)

In fact, I think my whole response to his e-mail was, “Seriously?”

I honestly didn’t believe him.

I knew it might happen eventually. Statistically, it was probably going to happen sooner or later. I’ve already had one baby named out of the book a couple years back. But that was “Andan.” His name just comes up a couple times in the book, and if you wanted, you could always claim that you pulled the name from the Swedish word for “Breath” or something like that.

I’m pretty sure there’s a little girl with the middle name “Auri” out there too. Though I lost some e-mails a while back, and I can’t find record of it right now….

But yeah. They were serious. His name is Kvothe. They even sent me a picture of the birth certificate.

So there’s a little Kvothe out there in the world. It boggles the mind a little bit.

I feel an attachment to the little guy. I feel like a godfather or something, though I’m not. I feel like I’m responsible for him in a way.

All of which is crazy, of course. I’m aware of that. But I have a problem in this regard. It’s hard for me not to feel responsible for things.

Ah well, crazy or not, all I can really do is wish him the best….

Hello little Kvothe, 

It will probably be a long time before you read this, if ever. I just wanted to give you my best wishes and fond hopes for the future. 

I hope you grow up sweet and loving. I hope you grow up clever and strong. I hope you are happy.

I hope your life is hard, but not too hard. I hope you are careful, but not too careful. I hope you make beautiful mistakes and learn things. 

I hope you always have ten good friends who are close to you. I hope you know that you are loved. I hope you make the world a better place.

Thanks for making me smile, 

pat

Also posted in naming, Surreal enthusiasm | By Pat67 Responses

House on the Rock Part 1: Deadlines and Ducks

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays.

When I was young, I dressed up and went trick-or-treating in my Grampa’s neighborhood because we lived out in the country.

Me, my sister Jamie (the witch), and two of our cousins.

When I was in highschool, I toilet papered people’s houses. (Mostly friends’ houses, honestly. It was a sign of affection.)

When I was in college, I started throwing parties. In fact, I think the first party ever threw was a Halloween party back in 1993. The theme was “Come as your favorite god.” I dressed as Pan, and later that night, downtown with my friends, I got into the only fight of my life dressed in nothing but a leather vest, horns, and a pair of furry tights.

Later in my life, after I had sold my book but before I was published, I went to the Penguin Halloween party dressed as a garden gnome. (Penguin the publisher. It was not a party for actual penguins.)

Note: this was before Anton Strout put on his costume.

I had a smashingly good time. It was the first time I met most of the folks I still work with to this day. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to start our professional relationships off on the right foot.

I mention these things to give you a frame of reference.  Halloween is one of my favorite Holidays.

Earlier this year, my lovely assistant Valerie brought some cool news to my attention. Neil Gaiman was having an event at House on the Rock over Halloween weekend. I was thrilled. I bought tickets for me, Sarah and Oot, my sister, as well as Valerie and several friends.

True, it meant I would have to miss the World Fantasy Convention again. And that’s a convention that, as as professional, I should really make an effort to attend. But this was all the coolness of Halloween, plus Neil Gaiman, PLUS House on the Rock. It was like some sort of mythic trifecta. On top of it all, the event was close enough for me to drive to.

How could I not go?

*     *     *

By the time Friday the 29th rolls around I am a complete mess. I’ve been revising The Wise Man’s Fear for months. Endless revision. Sometimes for fourteen hours at a stretch. My deadline looms over me, and the thought of having to finally let go of the book forever is absolutely terrifying.

At this point I know that planning on going to the House on the Rock was a huge mistake. I have to turn in the book on Nov 1st, and they’re going to use that version to print the Advance Reading Copies of the book. It’s not the final draft of the book, but it’s the version major reviewers and bookbuyers will read. This is a big deal.

Everyone says it will be good for me to get away for the weekend. I need a vacation. I’ve earned it. Etc. But the truth is, if I stayed home, I know I could get another 30 hours of work done on the book.

But I have to go. Sarah will be disappointed if I don’t. I’m meeting friends there, one of them I haven’t seen in more than a year. I’m part of a group costume. I’m moderating a panel on Saturday. I have to go.

We’re late leaving for House on the Rock. It’s my fault, I spent all night revising and didn’t pack. Since I only got four hours of sleep, Sarah offers to drive, and I ride in the back next to Oot. It’s nice, because I don’t get to spend as much time with him as I like. The two and a half hours in the car is more time than I’ve spent with him in the last three days combined.

Oot and I hang out on the ride down to Spring Green. I make up little songs for him. We both play with his feet. He can say “duck” now, so that gives us something to talk about.

Eventually he falls asleep, and I’m thinking of doing the same when the Magellan starts giving us bullshit directions. I don’t handle it well, and I’m bitchy at Sarah and her co-pilot Joyce. They deal with my bullshit with remarkable aplomb.

We make it to House on the Rock with time to spare. There’s some confusion with the tickets, but the House on the Rock people are cool and it all gets worked out.

I meet a couple of friends. I meet my sister. She’s one of my favorite people, and I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I’d like. Hanging out with her helps me settle my shit down a little. We share Oot back and forth, taking turns holding him. The three of us talk about ducks.

7:00 rolls around. The beginning of the festivities. Neil Gaiman is doing a reading and Q&A in a big tent next to the visitor’s center. We take places in the back, partly because I’m a lurker, and partly so that if Oot gets scrawbly we can take him out the back exit before he bothers folks.

Gaiman is charming as always. Gentle and funny and well-spoken. I’ve never heard him otherwise. Oot does get a little noisy. Not fussy, he just likes to talk and doesn’t understand that sometimes he just has to shush. He gets that from me. Sarah takes him out of the tent for a bit. Then she comes back and I grab Oot so she can listen to Gaiman for a while.

Oot and I go into the visitor center so he can take off his coat and walk around. He’s a pretty good walker now, and doesn’t fall very much at all.

Sarah comes in and checks on us ten minutes later. I appreciate that. Sometimes Oot gets unhappy, and nothing can make it better but mom. But right now he’s pretty content, and I’m having a good time too. As I’ve said, I haven’t spent much time with him lately. So I send Sarah back to listen to Gaiman. I’ve heard him speak a couple times before, but she hasn’t.

Oot and I explore a the visitor center. There’s a little wooden bridge that goes over a stream, and it’s really exciting to him. Unfortunately, he’s not too steady on the going up or the coming down. But that’s what makes it exciting for him, I think. I hold his hand and he goes up and down. Up and down.

I’ve brought along a wooden spoon and we play with it. There’s a lot you can do with a wooden spoon. Not only does it go in your mouth, which is fun, but you can bang it on things. You can also poke things with the spoon.

Sarah comes back to check on us. I give her the thumbs up and make a shooing motion. She goes back to listen to Gaiman.

Oot makes it clear that he is determined to explore the trashcan. It is on the floor, and therefore part of his domain. He will not be thwarted in his desire so long as he remains on the floor.

So I pick him up and we walk around for a bit. He can say words other than than “duck.” He can also say, “that.” To the untrained ear, these might sound the same, but I can tell the difference between “duck” “dog” “that” and “dad” though I doubt any linguist in the world could do the same.

So I carry him around and he points at things. When he points, he says, “that.” I’m not entirely sure what he means when he says this, though I have theories. Sometimes I think he’s curious about something he sees, so I tell him what it’s called. Sometimes I think he wants to touch it, so we go touch it.

But most of the time, I think he’s just enjoying being able to communicate. It has to be hard for babies. For so many months all they have is one way to express themselves. They can cry. They have one note, and they have to use it for everything: hunger, discomfort, frustration, boredom, loneliness.

Later on they learn more notes. They can laugh to express joy. They can grunt or suck or grab to express desire. But that’s it. Still very limited.

But now Oot can point and say, “that.” This is a big deal. This is levels beyond what he could do a few months ago. This is abstract.  He’s not just feeling something, he’s actively focusing his attention. He’s apprehending. This isn’t just expression, it’s communication.

What he’s really doing, I think, is saying, “Look. I can see a thing. I’m aware of it, and I want you to know that I’m aware of it.”

At this point in his life, this is the closest he can come to telling me a story.

This is a big deal. So we walk around looking at things. There’s a plant with a bright flower all yellow and red. There’s a wooden bench. There’s a wall. He points at them. He says, “that.”

I nod and point, too. “That,” I agree.

I put him back in his coat,  and together we go back to the tent. We listen to the very end of Neil’s Q&A. People laugh. People applaud. Oot claps too. He smiles. He doesn’t really understand what the applause is for. He’s not clapping for anything. When he claps, he’s saying, “I know something good has happened, and I’m a part of it. We’re all happy.”

And he’s right.

Part two [soon]

Also posted in musings, My checkered past, Neil Gaiman, Oot, the longest fucking blog ever | By Pat54 Responses

Kvothe and Friends

So a while back, Oot had his first birthday. Which meant that he had his first birthday party.

Personally, I didn’t really see the point in this. While my baby is a lump of weaponized cute, he is still mostly a lump. He doesn’t know it’s his birthday. He doesn’t even know it’s a party.

And as for presents, they’re really lost on him. One of the many things Oot and I have in common is the ability to be vastly amused by common household items. Given the choice to play with a cardboard tube and, say, a Porsche, both of us would probably end up playing with the tube.

All of that said, the party was a good time, and an excuse to see a lot of friends that I haven’t seen for a long time.

And as for the presents…

Book-in-Leaves
… one was a little cooler than the rest.

For me, that is. I don’t think Oot will be able to appreciate it for a while. Let’s get a close-up…

(You might need to embiggen this to appreciate it.)

It’s a book one of my friends made by taping pictures over one of those heavy-duty kid books with the cardboard pages. Most of the art came from various places on Deviantart.

(Though the cover is by Marc Simonetti from the French translation of my book.)

Want to read along with me?

This version of Kvothe is by Lucy Artiss. She is a lovely person who I met at a booksigning in London more than a year ago. She gave me copies of her drawings of Kvothe, Denna, and Kvothe’s parents, which I absolutely adored. I’ve been meaning to write a blog about them ever since, but with one thing and another, I just never got around to it. Because I’m a jerk.

Kvothe and Wagon.

When I read this to Oot, I usually say, “Denna is hot as nobody’s business.” Then, if Sarah is around, I also add, “She is also a little bit crazy. Most women are crazy. But that’s okay, because crazy women are strangely compelling and roughly 35% hotter than ordinary women.”

The art is another one of Lucy’s.

Picture credit for Auri.

Picture credit for The Wind.

That’s all for now folks. I’ve got to get back to revisions….

pat

Also posted in cool things, Oot | By Pat63 Responses

Lesbian Unicorns

Pat,

I had to miss San Diego ComicCon this year. It’s my first one I’ve missed in five years. Many tears.

What did you think of it compared to last year? This was only your second ComiCon, wasn’t it?

Michelle

This was only my second ComiCon, Michelle. But I have to admit that it felt a lot different than the first one.

Part of the difference was that this year I knew the lay of the land. I knew where the all night deli was. I knew the layout of the dealer’s room and how to find the place with the good seafood.

The other big change was that this year I’m a dad. This was the longest stretch of time I’ve spent away from Oot since he’s been born. It was harder than I expected, and I missed him from the very first day.

For example, last year when I went to the con, my mental commentary was like this: “Hey! Hot girl dressed as Poison Ivy! Hot girl in chainmail! Hot catgirl! Batman!”

I make no excuses for this. I am who I am.

But this year when I walked around the con, I was thinking, “Oh, look at that baby! Cute baby! Baby dressed up as Yoda! Hot Catgirl! Batman!”

Also, this year I was smart enough to schedule times to meet people instead of just hoping we could get together. As a result, I got to have dinner with Brandon Sanderson and Christopher Paolini on Saturday night.

We had a lovely conversation, and at some point Paolini told us that in an early draft of his first book, the main character was named Kevin, not Eragon.

Not to be outdone, I said that in an early draft of The Name of the Wind, Kvothe was actually a lesbian unicorn.

I didn’t think much of it. This is the sort of thing I say all the time, and I don’t expect people to pay much attention to me.

But I failed to take into account twitter. Which led to someone sending me the profoundly bizarre e-mail.

So the next day when I was doing a reading and signing at Borders, one of my lovely readers brought me a present:

It is, of course, a lesbian unicorn. His name is Kvothe. You may of heard of him.

I had a good laugh over it, and thought that would be the last I ever heard of it. But after I get back from the Con, I find one of my friends has sent my the following surreal e-mail.

Pat,

Okay, so I am doing a search for “pink unicorn gay” in Google Images because, well, it’s a long story…  (Shut up!)

Thing is I spotted something very odd pretty early on in the results.

I swear to you this isn’t a set up or faked or anything.  I just typed in “pink unicorn gay” and this is what I got!

[name withheld for blackmail purposes]

(Click to Embiggen.)

So yeah. That was the unexpected result of this year’s ComiCon. Permenently linking Kvothe’s name with the phrase “Lesbian Unicorn.”

Working to make your day a little more surreal,

pat

Also posted in Catgirl, conventions, fan coolness, lesbian unicorns | By Pat72 Responses

A New Addition to the Family: Portugal

The Name of the Wind just came out in Portugal. They tell me that at the beginning of the month it was actually #7 on the bestseller lists over there. Which, I will admit, gives me a little bit of a tingle….

I haven’t actually held one in my hands yet, but the cover looks pretty cool:

I always like seeing new covers for the book. Especially when the art has obviously been commissioned especially for the book.

Though I’ve only recently become a father, I’ve compared writing a book to having a baby for years. My mom used to refer to it as “her grandbook.” And one of my friends used to ask about it in those terms. We wouldn’t see each other for months, and when we got together and caught up on the news, she’d eventually ask, “And how’s the baby doing…?”

Now that I’ve been a dad for a couple of weeks, I realize that the baby analogy is better than I thought. Before I was mostly referring to the emotional connection you feel to your own book. But now, having dealt with a newborn, I realize that writing a book is not entirely dissimilar to actually raising a child.

You feed it. Change it. Cuddle it. Dress it. Undress it. Change it. Feed it. Change it. Change it. Get it to take a nap. Change it.

And then, at the end of the day, you look at it and realize that it’s pretty useless.

Don’t get me wrong, you love it. You love it like nobody’s business. But unless you’re an idiot, you realize this thing really isn’t good for anything yet. You’re going to have months and months of thankless, repetitive work before it’s capable of going out into the world on its own.

Later, when your book is published, it’s very cool and very scary. That’s when your baby has grown up enough to leave the nest. It’s out there, meeting people all on its own. If you’ve raised it properly, it hopefully makes a good impression. Hopefully it makes friends.

But the foreign editions of the book are… different. It’s still my baby, but it’s not *really* my baby. It’s like someone has cloned my baby and dressed it up in lederhosen and made it smoke a pipe for marketing reasons.

Yeah. The analogy really starts to fall apart after a while, I guess.

What was my point? No point. I don’t always have to have a point, you know….

Wait! I guess I do have a point. It’s that sometimes they make your baby smoke a pipe and you have to shrug it off. You don’t know what sells books in Bangladesh, or Berlin, or Brigadoon. For the most part, you have to trust that the publisher knows what they’re doing. For all you know, those Doonies are loonies for pipes…

But it’s nice when you see the marketing and it appeals to your aesthetic. Like the trailer I posted before. Or this picture that I stumbled onto when I was googling up an image of the cover for this blog.

(Click to Embiggen)

I’m guessing this is a promotional poster. If it is, I wish I had a copy. I like the tagline across the top. “Kvothe: Magician, Musician, Thief, Assassin and… Hero.”

Hell, if I’d have been able to come up with promo copy like that on my own, it wouldn’t have taken me five years to sell the thing.

Later, you hoopy froods….

pat

Also posted in book covers, cool things, foreign happenings, translation | By Pat55 Responses

What all the Fuss is about….

It’s been a busy couple days over here.

Because:

There are many of you out there who deserve to hear this news by phone. Or by getting an e-mail. Or through a sarcastic gorrilagram of some sort. But I just can’t manage it right now. As you can see by the picture, we’re all pretty tired around here.

Everyone always says things like, “The labor was 8 hours long…” or “She was in labor for 15 hours.” Or something like that. I don’t know where to officially start counting the official labor, but she started having contractions Friday night, and we had the baby Tuesday morning. So no matter how you count it, it was long.

The end result is pretty good though. Little Oot is healthy and happy. He resembles his daddy in that he likes boobs and sleeping. Everything else will be sorted out later.

I won’t trouble you with his measurements. I’ve never really understood the desire people have to quantify a baby. “He’s X big and Y long,” As if the baby is a fish you’re not sure you’re going to keep. Or some prize potato you’re hoping will win a prize at the county fair.

Rest assured that he does posses mass and volume. He has all three dimensions and the requisite number of usual parts. He is a boy child. A Libra. Full of grace. An ox. Pinkish in color. Soft. And we have just received independent verification that he is cute as a button.

I’ve been stockpiling blogs over the last couple months, so you’ll see some of those when I’m too busy writing and being domestic to write a new one. If anything, posts will probably be more frequent for a while.

If you have a piece of baby advice (and it seems like everyone I meet does) feel free to post it below. I will also accept cute baby stories. Everyone likes cute baby stories.

Sweet dreams everyone,

pat

Also posted in Oot, Sarah | By Pat316 Responses
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