Category Archives: Oot

Geeks Doing Good: News, Final Additions, and Cuteness

Well, we’re in the last couple days of our experimental fundraiser, and things are going remarkably well.

As I write this, we’re cresting over $80,000 dollars in our experimental mid-season fundraiser, and I couldn’t be happier. There have been a few bumps on the road, but so far everything has been going amazingly well.

Today we have several pieces of news, and a bunch of new items we’re throwing into the fundraiser.

Let’s lead off with the big news:

  • Signed copies of Slow Regard of Silent Things

Slow Regard - Front

We weren’t sure we’d be able to offer these, because I didn’t want to step on my publisher’s toes. But we just got the thumbs up to put them into the fundraiser.

Edit: To answer a question that’s come up a couple times: Yes, these will be first editions of the book.

1. Ordering the book here doesn’t mean you’ll get it sooner than anyone else. We’ll be shipping these out the day before publication, so the soonest they’ll arrive is on the pub date itself.

2. On the other hand, we will be printing some special foil stickers for the front of the book. They’ll say something like, “Patrick Rothfuss thinks I’m awesome.” or “Geeks doing good.”

3. There are two different options over in the IndieGoGo. The 45 dollar level is for folks in the US, the 65 dollar level is for international shipping.

4. I’m going to be completely honest with you. Odds are, you’ll be able to buy signed copies of the book cheaper cheaper than this.

Not only will I be doing a little tour when the book comes out, but there will be many stores with access to signed copies. You’ll probably be able to find a nice signed copy for yourself online for pretty close to the cover price of the book.

So why would you buy a copy from us here? Well… maybe you’ve got a thing for shiny stickers. Maybe seeing the donation total of the fundraiser rise makes joy well up in your chest. Maybe you’re hoping we hit some of our stretch goals (You’ll see those down in the blog later.)

Anyway. I wanted you to know this was an option now.

  • In other news, coloring.

A couple days ago, the I brought Oot over to the Worldbuilders office and we all took some time to appreciate the little things in life.

Specifically, we took our coloring book through some beta testing.

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It occurred to me that y’all haven’t actually seen very many pages from the coloring book. Allow me to fix that:

Princess Coloring Book 4

This one’s my personal favorite. I’m sure you can get the reference.

Princess Coloring Book 3

We are, in fact, all mad here. As you can see by some of the pages we colored.

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Kat did the one on the left. Brett and Maria did the one on the right. The middle picture is the same as the t-shirt:

Princess tee shirt image

That one Oot and I colored together. Looking at the picture, he said, “I think Mr. Whiffle is deciding to be a good guy.” So I wrote that in the corner and we both signed it.

Just for fun, we’ve thrown up these three colored pages up in the fundraiser too. We’re going to slide the other pages the team colored into the coloring books people order, just so you can feel better about your own ability to say within the lines.

If you get mine, I hope you put it on your fridge.

It was a lot of fun. If you’ve never been in a room full of adults coloring before, you honestly don’t know what you’re missing.

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It does help having at least one kid around, and someone with a monkey puppet, if you can find one.

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There was a surprising amount of competition, as well as a rather heated debate about what color the Doctor’s jacket should be.

Princess Coloring Book - Who

Since I was at Worldbuilders HQ with my boy, I decided to show him the Bast-Off cards we’re selling for the special edition of Rogues.  And, since we had the crayons out, I asked him if he’d like to draw a few as well.

He did.

Oot Bast 1 (3)

Just in case there was any doubt, mine is the one on the right. Oot’s Bast had a serious case of crazy arms, but Oot gave him a speech bubble to make up for it.

It was kinda nice to draw a few of these with my boy, as drawing next to Brett’s Illustrations has been a little… intimidating.

Bast Off 1 (13)

We’ve decided to throw these up in the IndieGoGo too, because some folks were asking if they could buy them through the fundraiser instead of the store. We put up a few of Oot’s attempts at Bast too. Just in case some of you are *really* into crayon.

A few other things we’ve put up in the last couple days:

  •  Kvothe’s court rings from Vintas, designed by Badali Jewelry

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I would like to point out that Badali actually went out of their way to make an iron ring. That’s not something that’s very easy to find….

  • More E’lir sets of Cealdish Currency

Elir Set Coins

I was hording a few, but the team encouraged me to give them up for the cause.

  • Copies of Unfettered, signed by several of the authors

20140709110524-Unfettered

  • Handcrafted Solid copper dice from Esoteric Garage.

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  • Legend of Neil DVDs signed by Felicia Day, Tony Janning, and Sandeep Parikh.

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There’s a bunch of other new stuff in there too: Alice in Wonderland cards, New Magnets, Badali’s new Dresden Files shield bracelet….

dresden's shield bracelet

(They’re so new, we’re only allowed to show you the teaser photos…)

Oh. I forgot, I wanted to show off another page of the calendar, too.

BelleCalendarPage

Honestly, there’s too much stuff to show you here. You should just go over there and look around….

We won’t be adding any more stuff to the fundraiser after today. So if you’ve been waiting to see the final goodies before you buy stuff, rest assured that this is the end of them.

Lastly, stretch goals.

On the reddit Q&A we did a couple days ago, I tricked Amanda into committing to getting the rest of the photo contest blogs up in a month if we hit 75K. And we did. So we will. Finally.

At $100,000 I’ll let go of a secret I’ve been holding for a while, and let y’all know the name of the world.

At $110,000 we’ll start including free stuff with some of the orders. Magnets. Bookplates. Coins.

After that, I’m not sure. I’ll do my best to think of something if we get that far.

Fundraiser ends at midnight on Monday the 14th. So if you want to get in on the action, make sure you get your order in.

Spread the word,

pat

Also posted in Geeks Doing Good, Worldbuilders | By Pat56 Responses

The Upcoming Festivities….

Not to let the cat out of the bag early here, but I figured I’d share what we having coming up on July 7th with those of you who make a habit of reading the blog.

Maybe this is a little silly, but I think of y’all… I don’t know really. I don’t want to say something like “core readership” because if you start using phrases like “core readership” then odds are you’re not far from using the word “utilize” instead of “use.” After that you’re only a few steps from enthusiastically using the term ‘synergy’ in regular conversation. And once that happens… well… it’s just a ever-tightening spiral until the end.

So while I don’t know what to call y’all exactly, I do think of the people who read this blog as the readers I know best, as I do make an effort to read the comments you write here. I also think of you guys as the folks that know *me* best, as you take the time to read through my great rambling bloggings.

By the way, have I mentioned that Cutie Snoo has just started to crawl? He’s wobbly as a youtube kitten. But when he sees something he wants to grab and stick in his gob, no amount of tipping over or face-planting will deter him. Seriously, the raw determination he possesses is really astounding.

In other cute-kid news, tonight I was feeling a little down. So I asked Oot if he would like to cuddle. He did, so we curled up on the couch. Then, while telling me a story he thrashed around dramatically and kicked me right in the nuts.

It was one of those good, sharp kicks. Where you’re given a moment of pain-free grace in which to think: I’m pretty sure he got me. But it doesn’t actually *hurt.* Maybe he just grazed them. Maybe….

And then, just when you start to really hope, the pain slowly blossoms. Like a lump of raw nausea forged from dull red iron.

I didn’t freak out on him. He didn’t mean to do it. He was just being a kid, and it was an accident.

Besides, years ago I worked out how to deal with these situations: Every time he kicks me in the nuts, I just make a note of it. Then, when he turns 16, gets his license, and asks to borrow the car, I’m going to say “no.” I’m going to say “no” once for every time he’s kicked me in the nuts.

At this point, he won’t be able to borrow the car until he’s 35.

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Sleep tight you innocent little fucker. Someday you’ll have kids, and they’ll kick you square in the junk and I will laugh and laugh and laugh.

Anyway, back to business. The upcoming festivities.

On the 7th we’re doing something new with Worldbuilders.  An experiment of sorts.

As most of you know, we tend to run a big fundraiser at the end of the year. We raise money for Heifer International by running a big lottery, some auctions, and occasionally selling things in the Tinker’s Packs.

This year, we’re trying something a little different. Instead of waiting a whole year, we’re going to do another smaller fundraiser here in July. Instead of having it last for a month, it’s only going to be one week long. Instead of having a big lottery and auctions, we’re going to be running it as an IndiGogo Campaign. So if you see something and think it’s awesome, you can just buy it. (As opposed to hoping you win it in the lottery, or bidding on it in an auction.)

The Worldbuilders Team has been putting this together for a couple months now, and we’re going to have some cool stuff in there: Book Bundles, a new T-shirt,  a Princess and Mr. Whiffle coloring book. AND we’re launching the 2015 calendar. Probably my favorite calendar we’ve done so far….

We’ve got cool stuff. Scads of it.

But, as always happens when you’re trying something for the first time, I’m getting a little nervous.

For one thing, we don’t really have a good name for it yet. The Worldbuilders Mid-Year Indigogo Geektastic Fundraiser doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

The other thing I’m a little nervous about is whether or not we’re going to be able to effectively spread the word about the fundraiser in this time frame. The entire thing is only going to be a week long….

Do you guys have any good ideas about what we might be able to call this? (And yes, I’m aware of the irony involved in my asking for help in giving something a name.)

Also, do y’all have any bright ideas about how we might be able to spread the word?

Ideas welcome in the comments below. Or, if you’d like to offer a particular type of help, you can contact us on the Worldbuilders page.

Stay hoopy fellow froods,

pat

Also posted in calling on the legions, Cutie Snoo, Worldbuilders | By Pat199 Responses

Adventures in Texas and Arizona

Well, I’m back from a week on the road, having hit Phoenix comic-con, Austin, and Dallas.

I always mean to chronicle these trips on the blog, but I rarely end up doing it. I never got around to talking about my trip to Spain where 2000 people showed up for my signing in Madrid. Or the second half of the story where I was at House on the Rock with Neil Gaiman….

Hell, I’ve never even gotten around to telling the stories of my first trip to Europe, and that was nearly five years ago.

So, rather than try and give a cohesive narrative of recent events down in Texas and Arizona, I’m just going to give some you the good-bits version. Sort of like a blog montage. A Blontage. Or perhaps a mog.

  • Phoenix ComicCon:

This was the first time hitting Phoenix ComicCon. And I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I literally *have* to say that. It’s in my contract.

Seriously though, I had a really good time. The main reason I went to the convention is because I’d heard they treated their authors really well, and had a really solid track of writer-centered programming.

And it was all true. They took very good care of me, and brought in a bunch of other authors, leading to some of the best panels I think I’ve ever been on. And I don’t say that lightly.

Batsu

Above is an actual picture from an actual panel. That’s John Scalzi body-checking Chuck Wendig while Aprilynne Pike looks on with near-teenage levels of ennui.

It was the Batsu Panel. It’s a long story.

On Friday night I had a show with Paul and Storm & John Scalzi, with other special guests including Amber Benson and Seanan McGuire. Needless to say, that was pretty awesome time.

This was also the first big con I’ve attended with my entire family.

Oot liked it.

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Sarah and Cutie had a pretty good time too…

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Most Awkward moment of the Con:

A guy comes up and says: Hey, can I introduce you to one of my friends? He looks just like you!

Me: Is it just a guy with a beard?

Him: No. He looks just like you!

He leaves and comes back with his friend, who is, in all fairness, a white male with brown hair and a full beard. However, we do not look very much alike aside from that.

Highly caffeinated, I hold forth on the subject that not all guys with beards look the same. People send me e-mails like that all the time. I don’t look like fucking Zach Galifianakis. We just both have fucking beards.

My screed is so sudden an intense that after a few minutes, both of them just walk away.

Then I feel guilty.

Near Miss of the Con:

John Scalzi and I almost kissed during the Author Batsu Panel, but then we stopped because Delilah S. Dawson cracked under the pressure.

Best part of the Con:

I had a short  break in my schedule on Saturday. So Oot and sat on the floor for an hour, shared an ice cream cone, and looked at costumes together.

It’s the best time I’ve had in a long, long while.

Best Quote from Oot: “Dad, that guy looks like the fancy man from Pirates of the Kerosene!”

 

  • Austin:

Signing at Independent bookstore: Book People.

Despite the fact that we only set up the event a week ahead of time, about 450 people turned up for the signing. It was a good time.

Someone brought me cookies with the multifarious covers of my books on them:

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I also got to see the Lego Trouper Wagon I mentioned on the blog a while back:

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You can still vote for it to become an official thing at Lego if you want.

I signed a saxophone, hugged a few people, and just generally had a good time. If you’d like more of the details, you can read about the event over here on their blog.

Best Quote: “My husband got to kiss Neil Patrick Harris. Will you kiss me?”

  • Barbeque and Breathing Fire:

The day after my signing, when I admitted that I’d never had Barbeque before, Paul & Storm and Brian Brushwood set out to fix the situation. It was good.

Then we went back to Brian’s place and he brought out his gear.

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(Note: the Play Doh was not part of the gear.)

Then Brian taught us how to eat fire. For reals.

Why would I do such a thing? Honestly, that question doesn’t even make sense. Why would I *not* do such a thing?

But the other reason is that this was the $575,000 stretch goal from last year’s Worldbuilders fundraiser.

Pat eating fire screenshot

I had a blast, and didn’t hurt myself hardly at all. We’ll be posting up a video showing the results as soon as we have a chance to edit things together.

  • Dallas.

On my last day in Texas, I got to hang out briefly with the cool folks who produce Cyanide and Happiness. Then it was off to do my last show with Paul and Storm.

Here we are during the infamous pirate song (The Captain’s Wife’s Lament.)

paulstorm-038

(The bottle of mead was also a gift from a fan.)

All in all, it was a rollicking good time. But honestly, I’m glad to be home.

*     *     *

Stay tuned to the blog. In just a couple days, we’ll be posting some long-anticipated stuff up in the Tinker’s Packs. We have limited quantities, and it’s going to be first-come first-serve.

Mark Talent Jot Drab Drab

Take care of each other folks,

pat

Also posted in Acts of Whimsy, conventions, Cutie Snoo, Tales from the Con | By Pat28 Responses

Something Like a Star

Tonight, Oot brought me a penny he’d found on the floor.

“Look,” he said. “It’s burned.”

Say something to us we can learn By heart and when alone repeat. Say something! And it says, 'I burn.'

It wasn’t a bad guess, everything said. A good guess, but wrong. It’s corroded.

For half a moment I thought about correcting him on this, but I didn’t.

Looking back, I could come up with some excuse for *why* I didn’t correct him. I could claim that corrosion is sort of like a slow chemical burning. But that would be bullshittery. The truth was, at that moment, it didn’t feel right to correct my boy. So I didn’t. I went with my gut.

“Maybe it got too close to the sun,” Oot said.

This was another good guess. Though it was probably wrong as well.

What pleased me is that my decision to keep my mouth shut paid such an immediate dividend.

If I’d told my boy the truth right away, he would have nodded and said, “Oh of course!” Or “Oh, I see!” And he would have gained a tiny fact. Namely, that a coin that looks like this is corroded. (Something he could have parroted back to me. But that he wouldn’t have understood in any meaningful way.)

But that’s not what happened. Instead, left to himself. His curiosity was engaged. He asked a question of himself, “How could this have gotten burned?”

Then he came up with an answer: It might have gotten to close to the sun.

This isn’t a bad guess. He knows fire would have to be pretty hot to burn metal. A match isn’t going to do it. What’s hotter than that? The sun.

And here’s the thing. He’s wrong. But the process he’s going though is good. What he’s actually doing, asking questions and attempting to figure out the answers, it’s the roots of rationality. The process he’s undertaking is the core of all true philosophy and science.

He looked at the penny again. “Actually,” He says. “It looks like moss.”

It’s called “verdigris,” I thought. It’s like rust, but it happens on copper instead of iron. Also, interesting fact, it’s mildly poisonous.

I thought that, but I kept my mouth shut.

Why? Because I am occasionally wise.

Because this is not the internet.

(Comic loveliness from the brilliant XKCD, of course.)

Because when a child comes to you in the full flush of discovery, brimming with excitement, correcting them is not the proper thing to do.

Because the truth is, facts can be small, sad things.

But learning to ask questions and guess at answers? That is the beginning of true understanding. Those are the bones of the world.

*     *     *

I have news. I’ll be posting about it as soon as I have internet in my house again. Stay tuned.

Also posted in The Art of Letting Go, Warning: Mild Literary Faffery | By Pat89 Responses

House Rules and Candy Land

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, or following me on any type of social media you realize that I’m a game player.

So it’s probably not a surprise that I like playing games with my little boy.

You probably also realize that I’m something of a hyper-critical curmudgeonly fuck. Which means I find a lot of things irritating.

For example, Candy Land:

orenstein_candyland

(This is what my version looked like when I was a kid.)

I’m not going to go off on some screed about game design here….

Ah hell. That’s a lie. I’m so going to. I didn’t mean to. I was just going to come in here and tell a cute story about my kid and then get out under 600 words. But I’ve kinda have to get this out or I’ll probably burst a vessel or something. I really shouldn’t keep this shit bottled up. I promise it will be a smallish, well-reasoned screed. Okay?

Dear everyone: Kids games should be games.

I know, I know. The main things we get from kid’s games isn’t competition. It isn’t intellectual stimulation. We’re not playing Traveler, here. We’re not looking for the subtle intricacies of Go. I get that. There are two primary things a kid’s game provides:

1. It gives you an excuse to hang out with your kids.

2. It gives your kids the basics of how to play a game.

This second one is not to be underestimated. When I started playing with Oot a year or so ago, I was amazed at how much of it wasn’t natural. The concept of taking turns, following rules. They need to be learned.

So yeah. I know those are the two biggies that you’re getting when you play a kid’s game. But you can still have some *game* in there.

Think about it. The main purpose of food is to get calories and nutrients, right? But we don’t just sit down and eat two cups of lard and a multivitamin, do we?

No. We do not. Not twice at any rate.

*     *     *

I remember playing Candy Land with my mom. It was fun. But I was a kid back then, so the bar for fun was fairly low. Pretty much anything a kid does with their loving parent is going to be fun. When I was older, my mom confessed that she’d gotten really tired of Candy Land. She used to hide the low-level candy cards because they made the game last forever.

Tedium is not the mark of a good game.

I felt a connection with my mom when, after playing Candy Land a couple times with Oot, I began to do the same thing. Because it *is* a tedious game, and not just for adults. Oot himself would start to zone out partway through the game. Not because he has a poor attention span, Oot will sit and read books for hours. He’ll work a puzzle on his own.

No. He’s bored because the game is tedious. And it’s tedious because there is no skill involved. You draw a card, you look at a card, you match a color, you move your piece.

Games that involve no skill are not good games.

Yesterday, after months of not playing, we brought out the game again and took another crack at it. Because he wanted to, and he asked nicely. And I can deal with some tedium if it makes him happy.

But we changed the game a little bit. We added a house rule where you drew two cards and got to pick which one you wanted.

With this small change, Candy Land became an actual game.

Sure there was still a huge random element to it, but now there was some skill as well. You had to make decisions.

CandyLand5

So what will it be, my little man? Green or red?

Suddenly, this game became fun for both of us. Not only was the race to the castle *much* faster. But you didn’t have to fear getting a “backer.” (Which is what Oot calls it when you get a card that makes you go backwards.)

Most important of all, there was suddenly some choice involved. He had a reason to pay attention. Which card do you want? Which will move you farther?

What really impressed me was when he got to this point on the board.

CandyLand4

“Oh no,” he said. “I hope I don’t get a green!”

(He didn’t want to get stuck in the Licorice Pit, you see. If you land on that particular green square, you lose your next turn.)

I took my turn and moved, then he took his turn and drew a double green and a double orange.

“I pick the two greens because I like green,” he said. Then he picked up his piece and looked at the board. He set his piece down again. “No. Wait,” he said. “I want the oranges instead.”

I tell you, I practically burst with pride and joy.

With this one simple rule change, the game became engaging for both of us. He even taunted me.

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Which, as far as I’m concerned, is as vital a part of game playing as learning to take turns and follow rules.

The crafty little bastard even tried to coffeeshop me when I drew the popsicle.

Candlyland2

He’s like, “You should take the double blue, dad.”

Again, I glow with pride. That’s my boy. If you can’t win by the cards, you win the game with your mouth.

I beat him the first game. I was tempted to throw it, because I could tell he wanted to win. But that’s not doing him any favors. That’s another thing games teach us: how to lose. How to deal with disappointment. How to deal with the fact that sometimes, you just get shitty cards and there’s nothing you can do to fix it. And that sucks. Rub some dirt on it. Happens to everyone.

Also, Oot already taught me what happens when you don’t play straight with kids:

So I played that first game straight and beat him. He took it well, and because the game was shorter with the two-draw house rule, he was willing to jump right back in for a re-match. And, because it hadn’t been a tedious random trawl through sugar mountain, I was happy to give it another go too.

The second game I got an early lead again, and *really* considered throwing it. But I didn’t, and he won anyway. So that’s a good lesson for me, too: Sometimes I should just leave well enough alone.

It was also cool to see him get better at choosing which cards to pick. He’d always pick the doubles over the singles. But originally he liked to pick blue and green because he liked those colors better.

I didn’t tell him he was wrong, I just took my own turns and talked to myself, saying. “Hmmm. If I go to the blue, I go this far. If I take the orange, I go *this* far. I think I’ll take the orange, because it’s farther.”

By the second game, he was doing the same thing. Because kids are smart. They’re built to learn.

Why am I sharing this?

Well, partly because I love talking about games, and I love talking about my boy.

But I’m also telling you this story because I’m guessing a lot of you have kids, or you *will* have kids in the future. Or you’ll at least play with some kids. And this was such a simple, elegant fix to a classic children’s game that I couldn’t help but share it.

If any of you have suggestions for good kid’s games you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Play nice everyone,

pat

Also posted in gaming, mom | By Pat89 Responses

175K Stretch Goal – Music with Vi Hart

When I started Worldbuilders, my main goal was getting people to donate books. I’ve always considered that the heart of the fundraiser, and I spent a lot of time approaching authors and publishers, trying to bring them onboard.

But these days that’s not a problem any more. We’ve got a lot of authors who send us stuff every year. We’ve got publishers and collectors and bookstores that send us hundreds of books. Signed stuff. Rare stuff. Out of print stuff.

If I had to guess, I’d say this year we’re going to be giving away more than 50 or 60 thousand dollars worth of books to people who donate on our Team Heifer page.

That means these days, our problem isn’t getting more books (though more books is always nice). These days the challenge is getting the word out to people. Letting them know Worldbuilders exists. That’s why this year, we’ve been bringing in some geek celebrities to do some stretch goals

But here’s the thing, I know a lot of cool bookish geeks, because that’s the world I live in. But I don’t know many music-type geeks. And as for the video/youtube geeks… I know barely any at all.

So I called up Paul and Storm to see if they’d be willing to put me in contact with some folks who might be willing to help us spread the word. They agreed, and named a few names like The Doubleclicks and Molly Lewis.

“Is there anyone else you have in mind?” they asked.

“Well…” I said. “I know you’ve worked with Vi Hart in the past. If you’d be willing to introduce us….”

And I’ll be honest here. This last one wasn’t very much about Worldbuilders at all. It was more about the fact that I’ve had a huge geeky crush on Vi Hart for years now. Ever since I saw some of her videos….

So was I viciously exploiting my charity with the hope of making a connection with her? Yeah. A little bit. I’m not proud of the fact, but I won’t deny it either. I can occasionally be kind of an awful person.

Luckily Paul and Storm don’t know this. So they send a gracious e-mail introducing me to Vi. They briefly explain who I am, and mention Worldbuilders….

As soon as I read their introduction, I begin to obsess about my response. I start to think about how to be appropriately complimentary without coming across as a deranged fan. I start planning the tone of the e-mail, agonizing over how I will attempt to be enthusiastic about the fundraiser without being boring or self-indulgent.

But most of all, I’m desperately trying to think of something I can say that will make me look cool to Vi Hart.

Then, before I manage to write a single sentence, I see Vi has already replied to Paul and Storm’s e-mail. I click on the message, and it says:

Pat,

The yellow edition of The Name of the Wind that I won in the lottery a couple Worldbuilders ago is right here on my desk. I may have heard of you.

Vi

And I just sit there, stupefied. I think, “Wait. She knows who I am?”

And then I think, “Wait. She knows about Worldbuilders, too? She already knows about Worldbuilders and *donated* in the past? And won something?”

Then I think. “Hold on. Did she actually maybe just reference my book in her e-mail to me?”

And I am suddenly filled with a warm, glowy joy.

We’ve had several conversations since then, both on the phone and over e-mail. She is every bit as sharp and fun as I’d imagined. Simply said, even the few too-brief conversations I’ve had with her have changed the way I think about certain things. Which is about the nicest thing I can think to say about anyone.

To cut to the end of the story, Vi and I have decided to be bestest forever friends.

*     *     *

In the course of talking about stretch goal stuff, I mentioned to Vi that I had some lyrics lying around from the book. Songs that weren’t really songs, so to speak. Because a song without words is still music. But a song without music is just irritatingly formatted text.

I’d written the lyrics for Knackerman Knackerman a decade ago. It was kind of a round. Kind of dark with some layered meanings. I’d always thought of it as a duet for two female voices, and I remember the lyrics being pretty cool. Would she be interested in turning one of those into, y’know…. music?

She would.

So I went digging through my archives. And I found the lyrics. I remembered them being cool. They weren’t cool.

I e-mailed Vi and said I didn’t know if I’d be able to find them. Would she maybe be interested in taking a crack at Tinker Tanner?

She said she’d wait. She really liked the idea of Knackerman.

I e-mailed back and explained that I’d found the lyrics, but they weren’t any good. That they were, in fact, quite bad.

She said she’d still like to see them.

I explained I was afraid to send her these lyrics. I worried that they might make her lose respect for me. I worried that the lyrics might actually make her dumber. They might, in fact kill a piece of her brain. Maybe an important piece. Like the piece that stores the memory of fluffy kittens or the ability to taste pie.

She reminded me that we were best friends now, that it was okay.

I tidied up the lyrics a bit and sent them. I apologized for the fact that I shifted verse forms and pointed out the meter was uneven. I told her I was sorry for recklessly endangering her future ability to enjoy kittens and pie.

She replied:

Oh Rothfriend you lovely creature you don’t understand, this is a DUET, for two female voices, and it is a song, and songs that people sing do things, they grow their own special lumps and become unique, and what a lovely creature to wake up next to. Sometimes when I read a poem I can simply hear it in my head (I think I got this skill reading fantasy books. Hooray Tolkien!) and, well, ok, I’m just going to make a very quick recording so you get why the verse form isn’t a problem and then you can make edits if you want.

And the e-mail had an attachment. It was a song. She’d just… y’know… Done it.

And I thought. What the hell? What the serious hell?

About a year ago, I did a really bad magic trick for my 3 year old son. I used slight of hand and misdirection so clumsy that it would have made Pen and Teller weep tears of blood.

But it was enough to fool my son, and when he saw that I had made three blueberries disappear, he looked up at me with unalloyed awe in his expression. He looked at me and said, “Dad, you are quite a wizard!”

That’s how I felt just then, as I opened the e-mail and listened to the song. I felt awe and confusion and an almost holy fear. What sort of person can do this? I thought. Who can just look at some words and then make music out of them? Who does that?

My new best friend, Vi Hart, that’s who.

We talked more, and it changed my understanding of music. And I tweaked the lyrics again, because I’m me.

And here we are.

Thanks so much, Vi. I can’t say that big enough or loud enough.

Your new bestie,

pat

*     *     *

Please remember that these stretch goals are designed to promote Worldbuilders.

If you liked this awesome thing, please consider donating on our Heifer International Team Page. The more money we raise, the more cool things we do.

For more details about Worldbuilders, including a list of our past and future stretch goals, you can head on over here.

Also posted in fanmail, geeking out, meeting famous people, music, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat42 Responses

An Update and a Story

It’s been a busy week here at Worldbuilders central. We got a surprising number of orders for Unfettered in the Tinker’s Packs, along with people taking the chance to buy t-shirts, posters, and other assorted ephemera.

After I mentioned the book on Monday’s blog, we had about 500 orders, which is (if you’ll excuse my language) a shit-ton of orders for us to process in a week. But my team rose to the challenge, stared it grimly in the eye, and destroyed it.

Or, if we didn’t destroy it, we at least gruesomely maimed it.

I think my analogy is falling apart here.

My point is that everyone’s orders are being processed and shipped out with such speed and efficiency that you’d think that we were entirely staffed with some manner of high-tech robot ninjas. We’ve got the first 350 out the door already, and would be even further along if not for the whole federal holiday/post office being closed on the 4th of July thing.

First, I’d like to thank so many of you for supporting both Worldbuilders and Shawn by buying the anthology off the tinker’s packs.

Second, I should mention that if you’re one of those people who feels a burning desire to pick up first edition copies of books, they’re selling *much* faster than I’d anticipated. I asked Shawn, and it turns out that the first printing of this book was only 5000 copies. He’s sold a couple thousand. I’ve sold 500. The rest are going to get snapped up pretty quickly….

Thirdly, if you don’t know what the deal with the anthology is, you can read the introduction I wrote for the book over on Goodreads.

Lastly, a story about Oot….

*     *     *

DSCN1171

The man himself, showing off his new fruit-and-music tattoo.

When he showed it to me, he explained that it was pretty cool and that it made him super tough.

“How tough?” I asked.

Super Tough

Wow. That’s pretty tough.

But that’s not the story. That’s just the prologue.

This is the story….

A couple days ago, the two of us were taking a walk, giving mom some time to herself. We were looking at trees mostly.

On this particular walk, Oot also had brought a sack with him. He told me it was his bird sack. That’s where he’s going to put the birds he catches. Into the sack. He’s obsessed with trying to catch birds right now. Chases them all over.

And Honestly? I wish him the best. Aim high. Dream the dream.

Then out of the blue he says, “Y’know dad, I’d like to see you write your own book.”

“What was that?” I ask. It’s caught me a little off guard. He knows I’m an author, but he’s never asked anything like this before.

Then I realize this is probably because two blocks back, I stopped to chat with some folks out doing yard work. A husband and wife, older than me. What I think of as grandparent age.

Are you that author? they asked.

I am that author, I said.

We can’t can’t wait until the third book, they say.

Side note: If I ever get snippy or terse about people being on my case about book three, it’s because of this sort of thing. It’s not mean spirited. And honestly, taken by itself, it’s fine. Flattering even. And it’s loads better than someone screeling, “Why aren’t you writing the next book right now!!!”

The problem is that it’s incessant. I don’t just get it online. I don’t just get it when I go to conventions. I get it when I go for a walk around the block with my boy. Three years of this sort of thing wear a guy down.

 Anyway, Oot repeats himself, he says, “I’d like to see you write your own book.”

I thought about it a little bit, then asked, “What do you think that would look like?”

“Oh you know,” he said, very matter-of-fact. “You’d pull a feather out of a turkey. Then dip it in some ink and write on some paper.”

I nodded. “That is probably what it would look like.”

Then I asked, “How much time do you think it takes to write a book?”

“Oh you know,” he said. “Not so long….”

I’ll admit my heart fell a little bit when he said that. I found myself thinking, Oh Oot, not you too….

But then he kept going, “…but long.”

And you know what? He’s exactly right. That’s exactly how much time it takes to write a book: Not so long, but long.

Just in case you were wondering….

pat

Also posted in Stories about stories., The Tinker's Packs | By Pat136 Responses
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