Category Archives: Oot

Professional Manuscript Critiques

As I write this, Worldbuilders has raised more than $92,000 for Heifer International.

So here’s a video. I could claim I’m posting it because it explains what we’re doing here at Worldbuilders, but that would be a lie. I’m posting it because my kids are in it, and my kids are seriously adorable.

So there you go. That’s what we’re doing. You can donate directly to Heifer International on the Worldbuilders team page, making the world a better place while (hopefully) winning fabulous prizes.

Or you can check out the Read-And-Critique auctions below….

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Today we’re auctioning off professional manuscript critiques from authors, editors, and agents.

This is an exceptionally rare opportunity. Authors occasionally read a manuscript for a friend, or do a quick critique at a convention. But if you want this sort of professional attention you usually have to attend a pretty serious workshop, like Clarion. Or you have to be a student at one of the rare universities that takes sci-fi and fantasy seriously enough to bring in a professional to teach a class.

You’ll notice that I personally don’t have a critique in today’s blog. That’s because if you win the favor auction I’m running, you can cash in that favor for a read-and-critique. Any manuscript. Any size. I’ll read the whole thing, mark it up, then call you on the phone and talk about it with you.

Now, before I list all the read-and-critique auctions, I’m going to have to put on my Dad Voice: a voice which contains all the baritone authority of my teacher voice, with an added subharmonic that implies if you screw this up, I’m going to be *really* disappointed in you.

“Please read the auction descriptions carefully.”

Each author, editor, or agent is handling their auction in their own way…

  • Everyone has different skill sets, and they’re each offering something slightly different.
  • Some critiques are for 15,000 words of a manuscript, others are for 150,000 words.
  • The professionals below are busy people. Critiques will have to fit in their schedules.
  • When auctions mention “X pages” of a manuscript, that’s standard manuscript format.
  • Most importantly, you’re not buying an introduction to someone’s agent or editor here. You’re not winning representation with an agent. Or a foot in the door with an editor. That’s not what’s on the block. You’re getting writing advice from a professional.

Okay. Enough preamble. Let’s move on to the awesome….

jaimeLeeMoyer_logoFinalJaime Lee Moyer is a speculative fiction writer, poet, and editor. She’s been offering up a read-and-critique with us for years, and we’re thrilled to have her back. She’s willing to comment on plot, pacing, character arc, voice, how well the “hook” or opening works, how well the story sustains her interest, and give overall, general impressions of the story. This will seriously help your story.

If you want to bid on this, head over here.

CassieAlexander

We’re always really grateful when people offer critiques that include feedback of the query letter and synopsis too. Because honestly, my lack of ability to write a decent query letter probably slowed down publication of The Name of the Wind by two years.

That’s what Cassie is offering here: a full critique includes your query letter, synopsis, and the first 15,000 words of your manuscript.

Here’s what a previous auction winner said of her critique:

“It was definitely worth it, and was probably the thing that’s helped with my writing the most. You were hard hitting on points that needed to be said, but still really supportive and complimented the things I did right. People couldn’t ask for a better person to critique their work.”

If you want to get your work critiqued by Cassie, bid over here.

Jen

Jennifer has been a literary agent since 2011, and is offering up a critique of your query letter, synopsis, and the first 15,000 words of your manuscript. She’s helped us out a in the past, and as an agent, she’s seen a *lot* of these, and has some valuable experience to share.

Bid on it over here.

  • David Pomerico will give a critique and commentary of the first 50 pages of your manuscript.

David Pomerico

David has been throwing his hat into the ring for these auctions for years, and is now the Executive Editor at Harper Voyager. He’s worked with some big names, including some New York Times bestsellers. (If you want more details, check out his auction listing).

He’s willing to read and give a detailed critique of the first 50 pages of your manuscript. You can head over here and bid.

josh

Josh is a fellow DAW author, and he’s kicked in critiques in the past. This year, he’s willing to read the first 100 pages of your novel and give you detailed notes and a general evaluation of the opening as well.

If you want this critique, there are more details over here.

josh

Not everybody writes novels. So Josh is offering up a read-and-critique of your short story. It will including a general evaluation of the story as well as some detailed notes and comments.

If you’ve got a short story, this is the guy for you. Bid on this critique over here.

  • Michael Braff will read and critique the first 50 pages of your manuscript.

Mike Braff

Michael is an editor at Del Rey, and has been for six years. He’s thrown in his critiques more than once in the past, and we’re happy to have him on board again. He’s willing to give a detailed critique and commentary of the first 50 pages of your manuscript, rounded up to the nearest chapter, which is generous.

If you want this one, bid here.

  • Michael Martinez will critique up to 25,000 words of your SF/F novel or shorter work.

Mike Martinez

Michael Martinez is an author, and is willing to read up to 25,000 words of any sci-fi or fantasy work you bring to him. He’ll give you an overall opinion, his thoughts on individual sections, and ideas on direction and ways to improve. He’s said that he’s happy to engage in a dialogue with you, which is definitely worth something.

Bid on this one over here.

  • David B. Coe will critique up to 15,000 words of your manuscript.

DavidBCoe

David B. Coe (also known as D.B. Jackson) is willing to critique some short fiction or the early chapters of your novel. He’s a prolific writer (he has 3 books coming out in 2015 alone), and he’s supported Worldbuilders for a good long time, so we really like him.

If you want a novel or short story critique, head over here and bid.

Bradley P. Beaulieu

Bradley P. Beaulieu graciously offered one story or chapter critique of up to 10,000 words. Brad’s offered critiques in the past, and everyone at Worldbuilders was glad to see him back again for more. Apart from writing a ridiculous amount of epic fantasy, Brad also kicked in a stretch goal last year, because he’s cool like that.

If you would like to bask in the coolness, by all means bid over here.

  • Michael R. Underwood will critique your submission packet AND have a Skype consultation on the feedback.

Michael R. Underwood

Mike writes a lot about geekiness, which is always a bonus in our book. This year, he’s willing to critique your query letter, synopsis, and the first 10,000 words of your manuscript. He will then have a Skype conversation with you to discuss the feedback, which we think is extra cool.

If you want your entire packet critiqued, head over here and bid.

  • Matt Bialer, my agent, will read up to 20,000 words of your manuscript.

Matt Bialer

Matt kicks in this critique every year. And my book would not be as good as it is today without him and his help.

He’s offering up a general evaluation of the book, with the perspective of the issues that could be raised by editors at publishing houses. It’s a really great perspective to have.

Matt also managed to jump in with us this morning, so his auction will be live later tonight. You’ll be able to bid on this one over here as soon as it’s live.

  • Worldbuilders Monkey Brett will read and critique your manuscript.

Brett Monkey

Brett has been one of my longest standing friends and readers. He’s given me invaluable feedback on all my books, Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear, and The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

What’s more, he’s a great writer in his own right. Not only is he currently the voice behind a lot of the Worldbuilders website content and auction descriptions, he’s done webcomic work, amusing movie reviews, and plenty of longer-form horror fiction. He also has a brilliant novel waiting in the wings that I keep pestering him to publish, too….

Suffice to say, he does great critique. If you want to get his advice on your work, bid here.

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Lastly, a success story.

Back in 2010, Gabriel Squailia won a read and critique in a Worldbuilders auction. He got it from my agent, Matt Bialer, and Matt was impressed enough to offer to represent Gabriel.

In spring of 2015, Gabriel’s first book is going to be published.

DeadBoysCover

We here at Worldbuilders think this is pretty awesome.

Now let me say it again. We’re not in any way claiming that this sort of thing will happen if you win one of the auctions. You’re buying a critique, and that’s it. Even so, this is proof that these critiques can lead to good things. It could happen. It has happened.

So there you go. Here’s a link to all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running. Keep in mind that there’s enough of them that they spill onto a second page.

Keep being awesome people.

pat

Also posted in Cutie Snoo, the business of writing, the craft of writing, videos, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat15 Responses

A Guy Game

Today Oot came up to me and asked me if I’d like to play a game.

“What kind of a game?” I asked him.

“Oh you know,” he explains, sounding very matter-of-fact. “A guy game. Because we’re both guys.”

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I hear this, and I sigh a little inside. We’ve tried really hard to keep the gender stereotype stuff away from him. I don’t want him to think that trucks are for boys and dolls are for girls. That boys are tough and girls are delicate. When I tell him stories, the heroes win because they’re clever instead of being strong, and sometimes it’s the prince that needs rescuing, not the princess.

But I can’t watch every piece of media before he does. Or every book before he reads it. Besides, this stuff is insidious. It’s everywhere. And I know that despite my best intentions I sometimes tend to reinforce stereotypes without meaning to.

It’s like trying to keep dust out of your house. You can do a lot, but ultimately, *you* are one of the main reasons there’s dust. You track it in on your clothes without knowing it. And even if you somehow managed to avoid that, you’d still shed skin cells. Even if you don’t want to. This constant, low-grade sexism is everywhere. It sneaks in.

But they can’t all be learning experiences. Sometimes you just want to play a game with your kid. Sometimes you watch The Princess Bride because you love it, and it’s a really great movie even though there is only one woman in it, and Buttercup is pretty much the epitome of a useless trophy damsel.

Sometimes you’re going to lose a little. That’s the way of things. It stings, but all I can do is try my best and hope he grows up having internalized less of this cultural bullshit than me. Then he won’t have to work so hard to be a halfway decent human being.

Then, years from now when he has kids, he can help them be even better than he is. And so on. I might lose a battle here and there, but I’m taking the long view. I’m aiming to win the war.

So it’s okay. We’ll play a guy game.

“What sort of guy game would you like to play?” I ask him.

“Well,” he says. “Maybe me and you could play a game where we make a house.”

I’m okay with that. It’s a good game. I did a lot of construction projects with my dad when I was little. At least it’s not killing-things game. It’s a making-things game. I’ll take what I can get.

So we go into the room and he explains the game to me. We’re dragons, and we’re making a house. In the house we’re going to make a nest. And in the nest we have some eggs. Our job is to take care of the eggs, keep them warm and safe until they hatch.

After they hatch, we’ll take care of the baby dragons. We’ll bring them food to eat and toys and soft things to cuddle up with.

You know. A guy game. Because we’re both guys.

Some days you lose despite your best efforts. Some days you win without even trying.

Be good everyone,

pat

Also posted in Beautiful Games, Because I Love | By Pat84 Responses

Ice Bucket Challenge

I’m assuming at this point that you’ve heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge.

I’d heard about it. And it struck me as something fun and silly. But I didn’t have much desire to participate.

For one thing, I already do a bunch of charity work with Worldbuilders.

For another thing, I live in Wisconsin. That means for about 3 months out of every year just walking outside is like getting a bucket of ice dumped over your head.

I figured I’d be tagged eventually. But my intention was to smile, nod, make a donation, and move on with my life. I’m kinda busy these days….

Then this happened:

If it had been anyone other than Jim Butcher….

But that doesn’t matter, I guess. It was Jim. So I figured it was time to cowboy up.

I know, I know, I only called out two people. Sue me. I had dry ice bubbling around my precious nethers, so I wasn’t operating at 100%. And it wasn’t like we could go back and do a second take.

Who would I call out for my third if I had a chance to go back and change it? Joss Whedon? Felicia Day? Tina Fey? Max Temkin? Molly Lewis? Tad Williams? The Oatmeal?

The problem is I don’t know who’s already done it. I kinda live under a rock, and I’ve been sick these last couple days (I have no idea why.) So we’ll just leave that third one hanging. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to do the challenge, this is it.

So. There you go. Share the videos. Donate. Spread the word….

pat

P.S. I would just like it to be known that I wasn’t responsible for editing together the video. My semi-loyal crew did that. You’d think it would be enough to let them douse me with buckets of ice and water. But no, they had to tuck in that little bit at the end, too….

P.P.S. Don’t goof around with dry ice if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s really easy to burn yourself. Or so I hear….

Also posted in dicking around, hubris, Jim Butcher, my dumbness | By Pat40 Responses

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.

P1060866

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.

20140709110640-Princess_Coloring_Pages

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

20140708112904-Edges-IndieGoGo_Size

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.

20140709110539-Copper_Dice_in_Hand

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

20140710115609-Legend_of_Neil_Poster_and_DVD

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
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