Category Archives: side projects

Update, FAQ, and Bast With His Shirt Off

Okay, there’s been a lot happening with the kickstarter in the last couple days, so today sharing some news. That will be the first part of the blog.

People have also been asking a lot of kickstarter question, so I’m going to answer a bunch of those. That will be the second part of the blog.

I will also be sharing art, making jokes, and engaging in my usual verbosic circumlocutions. But those will just be mixed through the entirety of the blog, as opposed to being in one particular place.

As I’m writing this, the Pairs Kickstarter has just passed 150K. So….

  • The Faen Deck Is Now Available

This is actually kinda old news by this point, as it unlocked at 130K.

Still, some celebration is in order, so here’s a picture of Bast with his shirt off.

3-Bast_v2-4

(Because I love you.)

  • Now Starring Veronica Belmont and Hank Green’s Butt

After I posted my last blog I started to think about the different cards in the Faen deck. Among the most interesting of these, for me, is The Mortal Guest.

Because what sort of Fae revel would it be without a mortal guest?

Then the question becomes, who would that mortal be? A farmer? A milkmaid? A tanner? And what would those guests be doing? Dancing? Singing? Cavorting?

It occurred to me that it would be a lot more fun to have several *different* mortal guests, each behaving according to their own desire.

So I gave Veronica Belmont a call, because a while back we’d talked about her lending her likeness to a different project. She thought being a Mortal Guest in the deck sounded like fun.

What would she like to be doing at the Faerie Revel, I asked. Singing? Dancing? Cavorting with…

Cavorting, she said. Cavorting with hunky faerie boys.

I’m not sure at what point I decided to call Hank Green, but it was an easy mental step for me to take. In my opinion, someone willing to film himself seducing a tree belongs at a faerie revel.

Hank was delighted to be invited. When, in the interest of full disclosure, I explained to him that there would be some mild cavorting going on, he said he’d happily allow his mortal likeness to be seduced by faerie women, if it was required for the artistic integrity of the deck, that is.

I also explained that… well… there was going to be some gentle nudity in the deck too. Felurian would be naked, because….

At that point, Hank burst out with something along the lines of, “You can totally show my bare ass!”

In that moment, my heart grew three sizes. And I realized I wanted nothing so much in the world as to show Hank Green’s naked ass in this deck of cards.

Those were the 140K stretch goal, and the 150K goal, respectively. Nate’s preliminary sketches are *amazing.*

If any of this bothers you, you probably want to check out the FAQ below, specifically the part titled: “How Sexy is the Faen Deck Going To Be?”

  • Party at PAX

Those of you who have done a few kickstarters know there are typically some high-end donation levels up past 1000 dollars.  I’ve heard them referred to as “Patron Levels” and not only do they offer up some cool perks, but they give people a chance to throw money at a project if they *really* want to show their support.

People were asking if we were going to add a level like that, so we did. It’s for a Pairs release party during PAX in Seattle.

At that level, you get twelve decks, the coin, the bookplate…

bookplate-sketch2[3]

…and all the other goodies included in the 120 dollar level. In addition to all that, you get a swag bag full of additional swag, too.

PLUS you get two tickets to the Pairs release party with James Ernest, Shane Tyree, Paul Peterson, myself, and whatever other cool geeks we manage to round up. And, given that it’s going to be PAX weekend, there will be some awesome geeks in town.

Personally, I’m hoping Phil Foglio will be there.

We’ll eat good food, hang out, and play games. If Catan is available, I will systematically play and destroy all who dare oppose me. Maybe we’ll be playtesting tak by that point. Or corners.

If only a few tickets sell, it will be a cosy affair. If more tickets sell, we’ll upgrade to full shindig level with a bigger venue where everything will be extra fancy and we’ll have some kind of hot cheese.

So now you know.

  • FAQ:

 

Can I order internationally?

Yes, the shipping just costs a little more. Details are right on the kickstarter page.

What decks are there again? What’s been unlocked?

There’s a new graphic showing this on the Kickstarter, but let me steal it and post it up here so everyone can see without having to click through:

Card display

(Click to Embiggen)

Why don’t you have a color Modegan card yet?

Well…. that’s my fault. I picked the hardest card in the Modegan deck to work on first, The High King. There’s a lot of iconography and detail work to get right, especially as this is the first glimpse of Modeg any of you are going to have. I spent hours on it with Shane… then realized it was all wrong and we had to start over.

Shane is a saint, really. He puts up with me being a real freak.

But the result ends up being some *beautiful* art:

Cards

Rest assured you’ll be seeing a couple cool examples of the Modegan Deck before too long though.

Are we going to hit 200K and unlock the Girl Genius Phil Foglio deck?

Absolutely. The last days for a kickstarter always end up huge. We’ll hit $200K easy.

 

Why did you bring in Hank and Veronica?

Short version? I thought it would be fun.

Long answer is the same as when I brought in Neil Gaiman and Felicia Day in the NOTW deck.

Some of these decks are going to be limited edition?

Yeah. The plan is for some of the decks to be re-printed indefinitely, showing up in game stores and conventions. Odds are they’ll retail for 10-12 dollars.

Other decks won’t be re-printed. They might only be sold in a few places after the kickstarter. And when they’re gone, they’re gone.

I think it’s fairly safe to say that the core deck will stay in print. Probably the Modegan deck too. Maybe… Pirates and Barmaids too?

Honestly, I’m just guessing right now. The best thing to do right now is if you want a deck, buy it now. If you want to have a spare deck, or one to give away as a gift, you might want to buy that now too….

So… just how sexy is this Faen deck going to be?

Apparently a non-zero number of people are concerned about how risque the Faen deck is going to be.

Unfortunately, there’s no solid metric that I can give you. I can’t say something like “It’ll be PG-13″ because that means different things to different people.

Instead, I’m going to tell you why you shouldn’t buy the Faen deck:

  • If the thought of seeing Felurian’s naked ass on a playing card will give you apoplexy, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If the thought of seeing Bast dance naked around a fire horrifies you, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If the sight of a bare breast will ruin your day, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If the thought of faeries seducing some mortal makes you uncomfortable, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If seeing a picture of two hunky elf dudes kissing will terribly offend you, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If Hank Green’s nude butt is going to freak you out, don’t buy the Faen deck.

On the other hand, if you like the thought of a deck of cards where consenting fictional characters cavort around playfully, some of them in moderate undress… well… then this deck might be for you.

Now is the deck going to be all full of nymph coochie and big wangly elf dong? No. I hope you know me better than that. (I’m saving that for my urban fantasy series.)

The Mortal Guest cards will be kinda naughty. Felurian will be naked, seen from behind. Remmen is currently wearing a loincloth and his cloak of autumn leaves. There will be hunky Fae boys with no shirts on. And that’s about it. Nobody’s going to be fucking a horse or anything. I’m not looking to do the Faerie version of Caligula here….

In brief, if you think this deck isn’t for you? It probably isn’t for you. The solution is to not buy it. That would be the right choice.

The *wrong* choice would be to buy it, unwrap it, look at it, get a magnifying class so you can see every tiny detail on the Faerie Revel card, become so angry you vomit molten bile, then have a stroke and die.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you.

I’m kinda confused about how I buy the decks I want…

Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you sign up at the 16 dollar level. You get one deck. After the kickstarter is finished, you get to pick your one deck from all the ones that have been unlocked.

If you sign up at the 42 dollar level, after the kickstarter is over you can pick out four decks. So you could grab 1 core deck, 1 princess deck, 1 Phil Foglio deck, and 1 copy of Falling, because you like the thought of playing a game where the object is to be the person who’s hitting the ground last.

Or you could buy 2 Princess decks and 2 Modegan decks.

Or you could buy 4 copies of the Faen deck, because you’re dirty.

 

But here’s the thing, once the kickstarter is over, it’s *over.* You won’t be able to add more decks after the kickstarter is closed.

Fair warning.

pat

Also posted in cool things, Dionysian force, Nathan Taylor Art, sexy | By Pat53 Responses

The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle – Part II

Those of you who have been around for a while know about the picture book I wrote a while back.

Some of you might even have heard me read it story-time style. It’s huge fun to read to a crowd, and I do it whenever a venue has sufficient AV setup available, because, y’know, picture book. With pictures.

Princess cover

(It’s not what it looks like.)

  • Side Note: we just recently managed to get more hardcover copies back in stock at the Tinker’s Packs, if you’re interested in picking one up. They were impossible to find for a while….

As I said. I’m guessing most of you who read the blog already know about this book, since it’s been out since 2010 and I’ve talked about it on the blog several times since then.

What I’m guessing most of you *don’t* know is that about a year ago I wrote up a script for a sequel. Since then, the fabulous Nathan Taylor has been slaving away in the art mines, hewing beautiful graphics from the living rock.

I have to say I really like this arrangement. I spend a couple days writing a script, then get to turn the story over to someone else for, let’s be honest here, most of the heavy lifting. It’s so nice compared to having to do all the work on a story myself….

Anyway, we’ve finally reached the point where we’re announcing the book all official like:

The_Adventures_of_the_Princess_and_Mr_Whiffle_the_Dark_of_Deep_Below_BandW

(Click to Embiggen)

Those of you who have read the first book know how amazing Nate’s art is. When I teamed up with him that first time, I knew he was good, but I didn’t realize how good. The quality of his work really amazed me. He turned my amusing little story into something really brilliant and cool.

So imagine my surprise when I started to see the finished art for this second book, and it was even better than before. Like all real artists, Nate is always developing his craft, and as a result he’s even more amazing now.

For example, in my script, I wrote. “I want something imposing. This is no mere door. I want a fucking eldritch portal.”

Nate worked on it for a while, then sent met this:

The_Adventures_of_the_Princess_and_Mr_Whiffle_Page_Thirty_One

I said, “Yes. I think that is sufficiently eldritch.”

So what (I hear you ask) is this second book about?

Well… you should know by now that I don’t go in for spoilers. But I’m not opposed to offering up a bit of a teaser that doesn’t give anything away….

For one thing, the Princess gets a younger brother.

The_Adventures_of_the_Princess_and_Mr_Whiffle_Page_Three

(Say it with me: Awwwww….. )

For another, in this book the Princess goes exploring in the Deep Below.

And no, that’s not a spoiler. Why? Because it’s in the title of the book. It’s called “The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Dark of Deep Below.”

The_Adventures_of_the_Princess_and_Mr_Whiffle_2

There are a few versions of the book available for pre-order over at Subterranean Press.

The first is the lovely hardcover with the nice paper. The same format as the first princess book.

The second is the limited edition. That one’s leather bound, and signed by both me and Nate. Plus it has extra concept sketches from Nate, a color dust jacket, and will include my original script write-up (parts of which are pretty funny, if I do say so myself.)

The third is the lettered edition which has everything included in the limited version, AND its own slipcase AND a piece of unique hand-drawn art by Nate himself.

Fair warning, the Limited Edition of the first book sold out in less than 24 hours. So if you want one of these, you might want to make your order sooner rather than later.

Or you could just wander over there and take a sneak peek at more of the teaser pictures.

It’s your call…

pat

Also posted in Nathan Taylor Art, Subterranean Press, The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle | By Pat71 Responses

Concerning Games, Torment, and a Sense of Play

Let me tell you a story.

Well, actually, let me tell you a story that consists of several stories. And it’s *about* stories.

This should not surprise anyone, really. This is what I do.

*     *     *

Back in 2009 I attended Gen Con as author Guest of Honor. It was one of my first GOH gigs, and at a convention I’ve been attending off and on for most of my adult life.

That said, I was still a pretty new author in 2009. I only had one book out, and had only been published for two years. People came to my signings and panels. I had fun. But honestly, I wasn’t a very big deal.

Wandering around the dealer’s hall, at one point someone came up to me and said, “What makes you so honorable?” When I gave him a baffled look, he pointed down at the ribbon on my badge that said. “Guest of Honor.”

“Oh,” I said. “I write books.”

“Oh,” he said. And walked away.

*     *     *

After taking a break from Gen Con for a couple years, I headed back in 2012. I wasn’t GOH or anything, and was mostly going to play some games and hang out with friends, including my new bestie Robert Gifford of Geek Chic.

But in 2012 I’d been published for *five* years. And I had *two* books out. I’ve hit #1 on the New York Times. I’ve been hugged by Felicia Day. I’m not really a big deal, but I’m certainly a bigger deal than I ever was before….

The difference was most notable when I walked around the dealer’s room. People would stop and say, “Are you Patrick Rothfuss?” And we’d stop and chat a little bit. One particularly memorable couple came up to me and said, “That’s the best Pat Rothfuss cosplay we’ve ever seen! The beard looks so real!” and asked to get a picture with me.

I won’t lie, it’s kinda fun. One of the main reasons I go to conventions is to meet up with my readers. My readers are lovely people.

Still, I was surprised at how *many* people recognized me. Artists, dealers running their booths. Catgirls.

On Sunday, a tall dark stranger came up to me and said, “You’re Pat Rothfuss, aren’t you?”

“Yup,” I said. We shook hands and I read his badge. “Nice to meet you Colin,” I gestured to the vast panoply of geekery around us. “How do you fit into all of this?”

“I write games,” he said.

“Role Playing stuff? Computer games?”

“Both,” he said. “I worked on Planescape back in the day…”

“The computer game?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Planescape Torment?” I asked.

He nodded again.

“You are fucking kidding me,” I said. “I was just talking to someone about Torment. That was one of the best games I’ve ever played.”

He looked at little surprised at this, “Wow,” he said. “I….”

“The narrative was brilliant,” I said. “It’s been ten years, and I haven’t known a game to come close to it.”

“Well…”

“I mean you had honest-to-god open-ended character development that was an integral part of the main narrative,” I said. “Nobody else has ever pulled that off as well. It was amazing.”

“It…”

“I still remember the interaction you could have with some of the NPC’s,” I said. “You actually had to be clever talking to them. You could offend them and piss them off. The writing was solid and smart. You had a branching narrative that still felt cohesive and engaging. I’ve never seen that handled so well except for maybe in the early Fallout games.”

“…”

“And the dialogue,” I said. “It was great. How the hell do you manage to write things like that? To keep track of all the different ways a conversation can go…?”

Eventually I shut up long enough for him to tell me he liked my books. We traded e-mail addresses, and he offered to show me what the dialogue trees looked like when you’re writing a computer game.

I was happy as a kid at Christmas.

*     *     *

A couple months later, in November, Colin and I chatted a bit.

“We’re going to be writing a game that will follow in Torment’s footsteps,” he said. “Good character. Good story.”

“I’m tingly at the very thought,” I said.

“Want to help write some of it?” he asked.

“Oh shit,” I said. “Yes. I’ve always wanted to take a poke a writing a computer game.”

“Cool,” Colin said.

“No,” I said. “I want to, but I can’t. I have to work on Book Three.”

“We don’t want you to write *all* of game,” Colin said. “Maybe just a side area. Subplot. A piece.”

I made a miserable noise. “I can’t.” I said. “My editor would be pissed. My readers would be pissed. I’m already behind schedule.”

“That sucks,” he said.

“Yeah,” I said.

I’m paraphrasing a bit, you realize. But the sentiment is dead-on. When I said “no” I felt like a kid who had to stay inside and practice the piano while all his friends got to go eat ice cream and have awesome sex on the moon.

Nate's illo

*     *     *

January 2013.

Colin: You sure?

Me: I really can’t. Revision is going slow. I should keep grinding away.

Colin: Fair enough. I understand.

*     *     *

March 5th

I bring in Colin McComb, Jerry Holkins (From Penny Arcade), and Veronica Belmont (From Sword and Laser) to talk about videogames and storytelling on Storyboard.

It ends up being one of my favorite episodes so far, probably because everyone is passionate and outspoken. Colin, Jerry, and Veronica all know so much more than I do on the subject, and that’s great.

(Sorry. It’s embedding ugly. Just click over to Youtube.)

Colin mentions the upcoming Torment game. They’re going to launch the kickstarter tomorrow. They’ve got a lot of great creative people on the project.

During the panel, I get a little crotchety about modern games. I make some noises along the lines of, “Video games are pissing away the storytelling opportunities available to them. There’s bad writing. Foolish mistakes. When I was a kid….”

Jerry steps in and says, “We’re at the helm now. If we see these things we don’t like, it’s our fault. [...] We can’t just point at it and expect the universe to fill it.”

It’s startling to hear. But he’s right, of course. I know he’s right.

*     *     *

March 6th

InXile launches their kickstarter for Torment: Tides of Numenera.

ca7e8489a13f74aa7858d6675437b0f8_large

They raise over $2,000,000 in less than a day. It seems like I’m not the only one who remembers those old games fondly.

*     *     *

March 7th

I realize the story I’m trying to write for an anthology isn’t working out. It’s my second attempt to write a story to fill this obligation I agreed to more than a year ago. I’m months overdue, and I feel like an asshole.

I need to get this story done and out of the way so I can get back to working on book three.

Though honestly, those revisions aren’t going that well either. It feels like a grind. It’s going slow.

*     *     *

March 10th

I’m at the Tucson Festival of Books, eating Pizza with Sam Sykes, Kevin Hearne, and Diana Gabaldon.

Sam Sykes says, “We’re at our most creative when we’re at play.” Then he tells a story about a famous director who would send people home for the day if they were taking their job too seriously.

And he’s right, of course. I know he’s right.

*     *     *

March 11th

Coming home from Tucson, I think to myself, “Fuck it. When I get home, I’m going to start a new story for that anthology. Something fun.”

*     *     *

March 12th

I decide I’m going to write a story about Bast.

I have no idea what the story will be about. I have no plan. I have no plot in my head. Honestly nothing.

When I teach, I stress that writing is not merely a communicative process. People think writers are effectively engaging in transcription. We have something in our heads, and we just write it down. That’s how people think stories happen.

But that’s not how it works. Writing can be communication. But most of the time, writing is a generative process. The story comes into being as it’s being written. It’s about discovery. Assuming you have to know what happens before you sit down to write is a rookie mistake.

So I sit my ass down. I decide I’m going to take my own advice. I’m going to write even though I have no plan. I’m going to write and see where it takes me.

I’m going to be irresponsible. I’m going to play.

At the end of the day, I’ve written 4,500 words.

*    *     *

March 12-16th

I write 16,000 words. Good solid words. That’s not even counting the crap I trimmed out and threw away. I finish the Bast story except for one or two small scenes. It will be a great fit for the anthology.

I feel great. I’m excited about writing again. I think about revising book three and it sounds fun. I want to get back to it.

If you don’t know how much 16,000 words is. Let me put it in perspective for you.

If I wrote 16,000 words every week. By the end of the year I would have produced over 800,000 words of text.

That’s twice as long as The Wise Man’s Fear.

If I can maintain my sense of play. I could easily write a book a year.

A book a year *plus* all the other things. Fun little stories. Poems and songs. Maps.

Games…

*     *    *

March 17th

I call Betsy, my editor. She’s glad to hear the writing’s going well again.

She’s not surprised that a fun side project has helped refresh me. She’s knows how writers’ brains work. She knows more about it than I do, actually. That’s her job.

She’s a great editor.

*     *     *

March 18th

I send Colin an e-mail. Then I decide to call him, instead because I know we’re getting down to the wire.

“Do you still want me?” I ask. “I know it’s kinda late.”

“We’d love to have you,” he said. “We can add you as a stretch goal.”

“How much writing are we talking about here?” I ask.

“Maybe 10,000 words,” Colin says. “More if you like. Less if you need it to be less.”

“Could I maybe help with some of the character arcs too?” I ask. “I’m pretty good with character. You could use me as a sounding board if nothing else, and ignore me if you think I’m being an idiot.”

“Um…. let me think,” Colin says sarcastically. I can hear the smile in his voice. “A chance to chat with you about stories and character development. I think the answer to that is…. yes. “

I want to for so many reasons. But still, I hesitate.

“We’ll pay you of course,” he says. He names a number. “I could get you more, if you need it.

“That seems fair,” I say. “I don’t want to put the squeeze on you.”

Then a knee-jerk instinct kicks in. “However…” I say in my best used-car salesman voice. “I do run a charity….”

“You mean Worldbuilders?” he says.

“Oh,” I say, pleasantly surprised. “You’ve heard of it.”

“Of course I’ve heard of it,” he says.

“Well,” I say slowly. “This year we started accepting corporate sponsorships….”

“I can make that happen,” Colin says. “I’ll talk to the boss, and one way or another, we’ll make it happen.”

“Okay,” I say. “You’ve got me.”

 *     *     *

So there you go. Pretty soon, within just a couple of hours, they’re going to be announcing my involvement in the project.

You can go and check out the Kickstarter over here.

I’m not going to lie. I think it’s going to be an awesome game, and I’m not just saying that because I’m writing a piece of it.

If you’re on the fence, here are a couple reasons to consider jumping into the kickstarter.

1. If you’re planning on buying the game eventually, it’s cheaper to buy it now.

2. If you know you’re going to want to try it later, chipping in early means they’ll be able to make it an even better game. More development money means more content.

3. If a healthy number of my readers rush over and jump onboard, I get to look kinda cool to the developers. They’ll think things like, “Oh, maybe we didn’t make a horrible mistake bringing that Rothfuss guy in.”

4. You have to give these guys credit for supporting Worldbuilders. That’s mighty damn nice of them.

5. This is the first step in my extended master plan. If this goes well, it means we’re *much* more likely to see a Kingkiller game. More importantly, a Kingkiller game I’ll be able to have a direct hand in. Personally, I think that would about a thousand flavors of awesome.

Later Space Cowboys, I’m off to sleep. I’ve got a story to finish tomorrow….

pat

Also posted in concerning storytelling, cool news, Stories about stories., Tales from the Con, The Story Board, video games, videos | By Pat150 Responses

The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle

Those of you that have been around for a while probably already know about the picture book I did with Nate Taylor a couple years back: The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed.

The book was published back in 2010, but it’s been out of print for a long while. With the exception of the few copies we’ve had up in the Tinker’s Packs, people haven’t been able to get hold of it anywhere….

But now it’s being re-released in paperback. It’s got a new cover and everything….

They’re also doing a limited edition with a color version of the old cover, too.

[Edit: this limited edition version has a color cover. Just like I said above. Just the cover is color. Not the whole thing.]

What’s really interesting to me is that Nate (who did the coloring here) obviously thought of her dress as pink, whereas I’ve always thought of it as blue.

The new versions of the book have an new author’s note from me, if you’re into that sort of thing. But better than that, they have pages of Nate’s original concept sketches with both of our handwritten notes all over them. It was really neat for me to see those again after all these years….

Best of all, the folks at Sea Lion books are kicking a portion of all the profits raised from the sale of the book toward Worldbuilders this year. To start off, they’re donating 10% of each sale toward the fundraiser, but if they sell enough books, they’ve agreed to boost that percentage up to 15% 20% or even 25%

Personally, I think that’s really cool.

So. If you’d like to get a copy and help out Worldbuilders at the same time, you can pre-order it directly from Sea Lion over here. (The limited edition color-cover version is currently on sale, too.)

You can order it from other places, of course, but if you pre-order it there, then Sea Lion makes more money on the deal. Which means that Worldbuilders makes more money. And, in the interest of complete honesty, Nate and I get more money too.

Fair-warning: the pre-order sale will be done pretty soon, as the books will be shipping before Halloween.

Also I’m not sure how quickly the limited-edition color ones will sell out. The limited copies of Unfettered sold out pretty fast after I posted up the link….

Just so you know,

pat

Edit: A few more questions that Sea Lion noticed in the comments below and has asked me to answer.

1. The limited edition *will* come with the “This Shit is Not For Kids” sticker.

As always, I feel a slight twinge about this sticker, which on casual inspection makes my book look like a Caldecott Award winner. But then I remind myself that any parent that buys a book for a child based on an award sticker they don’t even read, deserves what’s coming to them.

2. The limited editions will still be for sale after Halloween, but they won’t be on sale. That’s just for the pre-order.

 

Also posted in cool news, Nathan Taylor Art, The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat53 Responses

The New Coolness or How I Accidentally Published a Calendar

So a couple months ago, I went to Worldcon in Reno. While I was there, I had dinner with some friends of friends. One of those people was artist and illustrator Lee Moyer.

I like graphic artists. I like them because they do something I can’t, which effectively makes them magicians.

They’re also fun to have dinner with. You can get them all worked up about the weirdest shit. They’ll get all frothy talking about color. They’ll doodle on napkins. They’ll criticize the layout of the menu.

Best of all, if they have an ipad with them, you can look at their stuff while you’re waiting for your food to show up. This is not something you can do if you are, say, an author who writes 400,000 word fantasy novels.

At that particular dinner in Reno, Lee did have his ipad on him. He showed me some of his work: book covers, posters, commissions….

“Hold on,” I said, pointing at a tiny thumbnail. “What’s that?”

“Oh,” he said, “That’s a project I’m working on. They’re pin-ups based on literary figures.”

He brought it up on the screen:

“That’s really cool,” I said.

He smiled and pulled up another one:

I had to look at this one for a while. The Twain reference was obvious, but this…

“Oh god,” I said. “That’s Hawthorne, isn’t it? It’s Hester Prynne from the Scarlet Letter. She’s got an A tattooed on her chest!”

He brought up another one:

“That’s got to be Dickens, right?”

Lee nodded.

“What are these for?” I asked.

“A calendar,” he explained. “Literary pin-ups.”

“That’s something I’d hang on my wall,” I said. “Sexy but not smutty. Clever. Bookish. Where can I buy one?”

“I’m having trouble finding someone to print it,” he admitted. “I think people would love it, but the big calendar companies don’t seem interested.”

“You have twelve of these?” I asked.

“Yeah. It’s pretty much all ready to go.”

I looked at the sexy chimney sweep. She smiled at me.

“Hell,” I said. “I’ll print it.”

Lee looked at me oddly. This is not a thing authors normally say to illustrators.

“You see,” I said, “I run a charity called Worldbuilders….”

*     *     *

Fast forward to today.

The calendars are back from the printer and they’re gorgeous. We pulled out all the stops with satin finish and nice heavy paper. They really turned out nice.

I was going to wait until we officially started Worldbuilders to put them up in the store. But the truth is, I’m too excited to wait….

So instead, I’ve decided to give y’all a chance to order the calendar before the fundraiser officially starts up this year. Not only can you get some of your holiday shopping done a little early, but if you order now, we’ll be able to ship them out to you right away, before Worldbuilders starts making things crazy busy around here.

If you’re curious what some of the other months look like, here’s a peek at the back cover:

(Click to Embiggen)

A few additional notes:

1. As always, all the money you spend in The Tinker’s Packs goes directly to Worldbuilders.

2. If you order three calendars, you can get free shipping anywhere in the US. (Or 8 bucks off international shipping.) Just enter the code: LITERACY when you’re checking out.

3. You might want to order sooner rather than later. We’re probably not going to do a second print run of these, so when they’re gone, they’re gone….

4. [Edit 7:30 AM] Please be aware that there are two *different* calendar listings in the store. One of them is for art collectors. It’s signed by the artist, and it doesn’t have any holes punched in it. We’re only doing 50 of those, and we’re selling them for 75 dollars. The regular calendar is much more reasonably priced….

And one last time, just in case you missed the link to the store.

Share and enjoy, folks.

pat

P.S. If you don’t know what Worldbuilders is, you can take a peek at last year’s fundraiser over here.

Also posted in cool things, sexy, The Tinker's Packs, Things I Like, Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat47 Responses

New Publication: Clash of the Geeks.

When The Name of the Wind came out back in 2007, something strange started to happen. Occasionally someone invited me to write something, usually a story for an anthology.

It was a new experience for me. But despite the fact that I was flattered, I turned all the invitations down saying, “I don’t really write many short stories. Besides, I really have to work on getting my second book out.”

I didn’t meet that first deadline for book two for various reasons. But still, I felt like turning down those offers was the responsible thing to do. I was trying to behave like a grown-up, you see.

In 2008 the paperback came out and I hit the New York Times Bestseller list. Because of that I got even more attention. Offers to write comic books, video games,  and more invitations to anthologies.

Again, I turned them down, saying, “I don’t have much experience writing short stories. Besides, I really need to focus on book two.”

A lot of these offers were for really cool anthologies, mind you. It was hard to turn down the chance to be published alongside some other big-name authors. Still, I felt morally obliged to refuse and focus on book two. I was trying hard to be a professional.

I continued along these lines until early this year when Suvudu held their cage match. They paired up various fantasy characters in head-to-head fights. I was flattered that Kvothe was included, but looking at the brackets, I saw that if Kvothe made it to the second round, he’d have to go up against Aslan.

That’s not an easy fight to win, and I kept thinking about how the scene would play out. How exactly, I wondered, would Kvothe win that fight?

Then the folks at Suvudu asked if I’d like to write up my version of the scene. So I did.

And you know what? It was fun. It was amazingly, delightfully fun. I’d actually forgotten how nice it was to write something just for pure shits and giggles. It didn’t eat up my precious writing time as I’d been fearing. Instead, it reminded me how much fun writing could be.

I thought to myself, “Fuck being a grown-up. I started writing to have fun. Now that I’m published, I should be doing fun things…”

And you know what? As soon as I gave up trying to be all professional and responsible (things that don’t come naturally to me, as a rule) my writing immediately improved. I wrote faster, and better, and I had more fun doing it.

Fast forward to earlier this year. I get an e-mail from John Scalzi. He sends me an e-mail that says (This is a paraphrase, mind you.)

Question: Would you have space on your schedule for a short (about 2K) story? It would be for a short (silly) story collection designed to raise money for the Lupus foundation. Deadline end of July-ish. Story doesn’t necessarily have to be “good” in a classic sense; in fact, it might be better if it’s not.

I think to myself. This sounds fun. It’s for charity. It’s short (I can do 2000 words standing on my head.) And he’s pretty much said it’s okay if my story ends up sucking. He’s practically encouraging me to suck.

So I e-mailed Scalzi back, and our e-mail exchange went roughly like this.

ME: Okay, I’m interested. What are the details?

HIM: Write a story about the events leading up to, and culminating in, the attached picture (which is a rough sketch; final picture to come).

(Click to embiggen)

ME: WTF?

HIM: For the sake of clarity, the person at the top is Wil Wheaton; the person at the bottom is me.

ME: Merciful Buddha…. Can you give me any context? Some framework I can use to cage this madness?

HIM: No. No context. Just write something. No slash. Otherwise, knock yourself out.

So there I am, utterly confusticated and bebothered. This is the first piece of short fiction I’ve agreed to write, and all I can think is, “What the fuck can I possibly write about this?”

This question spins around in my head for a couple days. I think, “Can I write a story about Scalzi and Wheaton playing D&D? Is that too geeky?  A holodeck adventure? Too cheap? Do I dare write the absolutely forbidden, ‘It was all just a dream’ story?”

Then it occurs to me that I’m approaching this from the wrong direction. I shouldn’t be trying to turn this picture into a joke. I shouldn’t try to be cute or gimmicky.

No. The events taking place in this picture are obviously epic. My story needs to be epic. And since it can’t be epic in length, it has to be epic in form….

So that’s how I ended up writing a poetic edda. For those of you who aren’t complete geeks, an edda is an old alliterative poem. Like Beowulf. Or the old Norse legends Tolkien ripped off when he was writing the Lord of the Rings.

Once I knew how to handle the story, I ended up having a ton of fun with it. I even brought in a certain celebrity in a cameo role…

Of course poetic edda aren’t supposed to be written in modern English, so I ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to get the meter right. But you know my motto: if it’s worth writing, it’s worth obsessively revising.

And now, months later, I’m finally able to present you with the finished project:

(Beware, lest the awesome blind you…)

Check it out. I get third billing. How cool is that shit?

You can download the anthology for free, but I’d like to politely ask y’all to keep in mind that we’re trying to raise money for the Lupus foundation. For all intents and purposes, these stories are brought to you by the Lupus Foundation.

That means if you can afford it, donating to the cause would be a terribly kind thing to do. I know you have it in you. Make me proud.

You can download the anthology and revel in its majesty over here.

Share and enjoy,

pat

Also posted in being awesome, book covers, calling on the legions, cool news, Wil Wheaton | By Pat80 Responses

A New Addition to the Family

Much to my delight, something arrived in the mail today:

(Click to Embiggen.)

That’s right, I was so excited about finally holding a real-life copy of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle that I actually went outside to take a picture of it.

It was strange outside the house. Everything was very bright and green. There was some sort of fiery orb in the sky that burned me….

Seriously though, I’m so happy with how the book turned out. It’s gorgeous.

Best of all, since these boxes of books showed up today, I’ll be able to take them down to my reading near Milwaukee this Saturday.

That means if you swing by the reading, you’ll be one of the first people to hear me read the whole story. And, if you want, you can buy a copy before they’re even in stores.

The books literally just got in from the printers. So the folks at Subterranean Press are still busy processing them. That means they won’t be shipping for a little bit. But the good news is that if you haven’t ordered it yet, you still have a day or so to get free shipping.

Or you can come down to Waukesha on this Saturday and pick up a copy. Did I mention I’m doing reading and a signing there? I’m pretty sure I did.

Man, I really need to get some sleep. Even new-book excitement can’t change the fact that I’ve been up for 40 hours.

Sweet dreams everyone,

pat

Also posted in appearances, cool things, signing books, The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle | By Pat57 Responses
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