Category Archives: Tales from the Con

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.)

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(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, Oot | By Pat28 Responses

“What Ho!”- A Belated Conclusion to an Adventure.

So I was at C2E2 last weekend, walking around the main hall with a friend, nodding and occationally fist-bumping readers who recognised me. (Too much hand-shaking leads to contagion at a convention.)

Eventually my friend asked, “What’s this Acquisiations Incorporated video people keep talking about?”

“I did a D&D thing with the guys from Penny Arcade and PVP last year,” I said. “We played a game at PAX Prime on stage. They taped it and put it online.”

“Why didn’t you put it up on your blog?” she said.

“I did,” I said.

“I’m pretty sure you didn’t,” she said.

I started to insist that I had, because I *remembered* doing it. I had a blast playing with them, and I even got Nate to do up some art for that blog post:

whatHo

But then I closed my mouth because over the last two years I’ve come to realize that I *intend* to write about a lot of stuff on the blog. But in reality, I don’t actually get around to finishing about 80% of the blogs I mean to.

Right now, for example, I have over 200 blogs that are in their “Draft” form here on WordPress. I am the king of broken promises.

When I got home, I looked online and saw I *had* posted a blog announcing my attendance at PAX, then another blog with more details about Acquisitions Inc….

But no blog with a follow-up link to the video itself.

So, for those of you who are reluctant to go clicking around all higgledy piggledy, here’s the 8-part audio podcast that leads up to the on-stage event.

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8

In my opinion, a lot of these are even better than what happens later in the video. The video is about 2 hours, but the podcasts all together are 4-5 hours of solid geeky fun. I’ve been role playing for more than 25 years at this point, and Mike, Jerry, and Scott are the best sort of folks to tabletop with. So funny and quick on their feet. And Chris Perkins as DM is absolutely brilliant….

For those of you who aren’t into the whole podcast thing, here’s a vastly abridged, somewhat bowdlerized animated version of the podcast.

And here’s the video of the PAX game itself.

[Warning: I sing.]

If you want to see *all* the delightful, shiny geekery, you can head over to the D&D website. Acquisitions Inc has been going strong for several seasons, and it’s all archived over there. So there’s plenty to keep you busy until May 15th when the next episode of Nightvale comes out….

pat

Also posted in Beautiful Games, gaming, geeking out, videos | By Pat25 Responses

What Happens At Signings, Stays At Signings (Unfortunately)

If I had to make a guess, I’d say that I’ve done over 200 signings since The Name of The Wind was first published back in 2007.

Maybe more. Maybe 250 or so.

I’ve done them in libraries and bookstores. At conventions and universities. I’ve done them in at least seven different countries.

I’ve done events where three people showed up (two of whom were friends) and I’ve done events where 900 people showed up.

And honestly? I’ve enjoyed them all. Big or small. Cosy or Chaotic. I really like getting together with my readers and hanging out. Because the vast, vast majority of my readers are genuinely cool people.

Every event has something that makes it unique. Some reader that was exceptionally kind, or a venue that was exceptionally cool, or a question that was particularly fun or insightful. Many times it’s all three of these.

And every time something like this happens, I think to myself, “I’m going to have to tell folks about this on my blog…”

But I rarely do. What usually happens is that after the signing, I’m exhausted. Then the next day, I’m either traveling, or segueing straight into a convention. Then after that I have to catch up on my e-mail and sleep and spend some time with my boy….

And by the time I’m caught up again, it’s usually been several days and I’m tangled up in another project, doing writing, or otherwise busy.

But last night I had another signing in Kansas at Mysteryscape, and some fun things happened, and I had a few spare hours today before ConQuesT kicks off, so I’ve decided to share a couple stories…

*     *     *

The first of these stories isn’t from last night though. It’s from earlier this month in Little Rock, when I did a reading at Heifer International’s headquarters.

After a couple hours of signing, a pair of young women came to the front of the line. They said, “We knew we couldn’t match wits with you, so we decided to match beards instead.”

Then they pulled out beards they had knitted, and put them on.

Seriously.

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Here we all are, stroking our respective beards thoughtfully…

They were even kind enough to give me one of the beards as a gift, so I could take it home and give it to Oot.

rothfuss-beards-001

I honestly don’t know what to make of his expression here. He looks a little dolorous, which is only appropriate for a dwarf, I guess. Sarah, who took the picture, assured me that he thought it was really cool.

I think we’re going to be wearing that a lot this upcoming winter….

The second story is a familiar theme  with an unexpected twist….

One of the things I hear a lot from people is how they found my book, or how they’ve shared it with other people.

This always warms my bitter old heart, not just because I like selling more books, (though I do) but because reccomending a book to a friend is one of the most sincere forms of flattery there is. If you read someone I wrote and like it enough to tell a friend, that means I’ve done something right. That means more to me than any sort of professional review….

So last night, someone got to the front of the line and they didn’t just tell me how word of my book had been spread around their circle of friends, they *showed* me…..

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Nobody’s ever done this before…. and it was really cool to see how one person liking a book and talking about it can start a sort of avalanche. And it’s also fun to notice things like the fact that everyone seems to have teamed up on Timothy over on the left side there….

Even cooler was the fact that these folks showed up en mass and we all got to do a picture together. Here’s the one where I said, “Let’s do Crazy Eyes.”

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You should really click this to embiggen it, if for no other reason than to see the little girl sitting next to me. She’s *into* it.

Lastly, some lovely folks noticed a facebook post a while back where I commented on how I liked some photgraphy tricks people were doing.

So they came out and helped me do some of my own….

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I lost a little power because my heel came up, but generally speaking, I think this is pretty good for my first Hadouken.

force choke

The force choke comes at little more naturally to me. I worry what that might signify….

That’s all for now, folks.

pat

P.S. I haven’t had time to write up a properly detailed blog about our kickstarter yet. But I thought I’d put a link up here now, as the limited edition decks are selling out pretty fast….

 

Also posted in fan coolness | By Pat36 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.

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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, side projects, Stories about stories., The Story Board, video games, videos | By Pat150 Responses

Fanmail Q&A: Convention Adventures

Pat,

I know you just did some touring around. You hit a bunch of conventions in Indianapolis, Chicago, and Seattle…

Why don’t you tell us about your trips? Not a lot of us can make it to your events, but we’d love to hear some cool stories from the road…

What was you’re favorite part of your travels?

Joe.

*     *     *

Joe,

The truth is, I always mean to write about my conventions/readings/adventures when I get back from them. Because honestly, something interesting always happens.

(What happens in Austin, stays in Austin.)

The problem is, when I get back from these things, I’m exhausted. Plus the travel has usually put me behind on a bunch of other projects. So I spend a couple days answering e-mail and trying to get caught up with things. By the time I *am* caught up, the convention has usually been over for a month. Or two. Or ten.

In fact, when I was at Gencon, someone asked me a question similar to yours. Except they asked about the book tour I did last year. 21 events in 21 days, all over the country.

“You never wrote about it on the blog,” she said.

“Oh sure I did,” I said.

“A little,” she said. “But not much at all. And I should know. I just recently found your blog and read the whole thing.”

“Wow,” I said. “Seriously?”

“Yeah,” she said. “I twisted my ankle so I couldn’t go hiking. It took me about three weeks and I kinda I read it all. The baby ducks. Your Aslan Story. The  Gaiman-Day unit of coolness…

I thought about it for a second, and realized that while I had *planned* to write blogs about some of my road adventures, I’d probably never gotten around to it.

Alternately, sometimes I start writing a blog, and never finish it because other things come up. I have a blog titled: “why people kill themselves in hotel rooms” that I’ve been trying to finish for more than a year now….

“So what was your favorite part of the tour?” she asked.”What was cool?”

I thought about it for a bit. Then told her the truth: There were a lot of cool things that happened. I met a lot of lovely readers. I got hugs and cookies and whiskey and knives…

And a plush unicorn Pegasus kitten.

I did a midnight reading in San Fransisco for the people that couldn’t fit into my earlier reading. Much to everyone’s surprise, more than 300 people showed up despite the ridiculously late hour.

My first signing was over 600 people. So many that I couldn’t take a picture of them all at once. So many that they filled two levels of the bookstore. I got to read in the Library of Congress. I met people that actually squeed with delight.

I met someone who had my name tattooed on her arm…

…which is a level of devotion that is equal parts flattering and terrifying. Especially given that book two wasn’t even out yet.

I got to do a reading at the Library of Congress. People dressed up in costumes….

But honestly? My favorite part came right at the end of the tour, when I met up with Sarah and Oot right at the end of the tour in Boston. I hadn’t seen them in a long while, and I missed Oot terribly.

Oot was barely a year an a half old at that point, so me being away for three weeks was a big deal. I got to see him at various points in the tour, but it was only for an hour or an evening at a time. And as I’ve made clear on the blog, when I’m away from him for a long period of time, I start to lose my shit. Around day five I become a wretched weepy thing, unable to go out in public without embarrassing myself.

It was even worse back then. He was so young. I was worried he wouldn’t remember me. Worried that he’d be shy of me….

So the first morning after the tour was over, we hung out in the hotel. We cuddled a little, and when he got bored with that, I asked him if he wanted to make a pillow fort.

He did. So we made a fort using the ridiculous number of pillows that those posh hotels feel obliged to put on your bed.

To all you parents out there. If you’re not making pillow forts with your kids, you’re really missing out. You don’t need a lot of pillows. Three or four is plenty. In some ways, it can be better without a lot of pillows, because then you can make yourself *part* of the fort. If your kid isn’t a big cuddler, you can get some clandestine snuggling that way.

Sarah and my dad went out for breakfast. Oot and I didn’t. We stayed in the hotel room and continued to made forts.

I told Oot that he better be careful, because there was a creature called the Goonch that would nibble his feet if they were hidden under the pillows. Then I would sneak my hand under the pillow and tickle him.

It has been more than a year since I started that little game, and it still hasn’t gotten old. Not for either of us.

He had a few plush toys with him, and I thought that maybe they would try to break into the fort. Add some drama to the game.

But Oot thought that if they wanted to come in the fort, that was fine by him. That made me unreasonably proud. No pointless antagonism. No warmongering. He just wanted to hang out in his fort with his friends.

So it went for about two hours, until Sarah and my dad got back from breakfast.

That was my favorite part of my book tour….

[Editorial note: I just searched my computer for an hour, looking for the pictures I know I took of little Oot in his pillow fort. I can't find them and it breaks my heart a little.

Instead, please accept this picture of comparable cuteness]

(Click to Embiggen the Cute.)

I know we’re all programmed to think our kids are cute, but seriously. Look at him.

And that hair. I can’t bring myself to cut it. He’s just too pretty. About 80% of the people who meet him think he’s a little girl because of it. But I love it. Plus  can’t help but feel that will probably be healthy for him in the long run. Maybe if folks think he’s a girl for another couple years he’ll be slower to absorb some of the gender bullshit that’s constantly fucking up our culture.

*     *     *

Anyway Joe, I hope that kinda answers your questions. For one, it’s not that I try to keep these stories secret, it’s just that I tend to be busy and forgetful.

For two, generally speaking, my favorite part of these adventures is coming home to my little boy.

Rest assured that I’ll be sharing at least one cool story from Gencon in the semi-near future. One that Scalzi has already mentioned on his blog.

In the meantime, here’s one cool thing that happened in Chicago.

I wore a tux:

Oot wore a tuxedo shirt. We were quite the dashing pair….

Later all,

pat

Also posted in book two, conventions, emo bullshit, fan coolness, Fanmail Q + A, Oot, Surreal enthusiasm | By Pat60 Responses

A Happy Ending…

Those of you who follow my Facebook page might have caught wind of a little adventure I had out at San Diego ComicCon this year.

Specifically, you might have read this post I made on Saturday night.

*     *     *

Okay. Everybody, I need your help.

I’m at ComicCon. I met a lovely Swedish fan who said that she’d flown out to the con mostly to see me.

I said, Wow. Really?

She said, Yes Really.

So I got her phone number, and told her that when I had a spare couple hours I’d call her so we could grab coffee or something. My thought is, you come from Sweden to see me, I can spare time for coffee.

But when I called her an hour ago, someone else answered the phone. She’d left her phone on a bus, and a stranger had found it.

So I tracked that person down and got the phone.

So here’s the deal. Swedish fan. I have your phone. I was an idiot, and I didn’t write down your name, so I can’t find you on facebook.

You should call your phone, and we’ll arrange to get it back to you. Plus maybe grab coffee.

Or you should message me here on facebook, and we’ll get in contact that way.

Everyone else, could you Like this and share this around so she has a decent chance of seeing it?

Or, if you know who this is, can you send her a message to let her know what’s up?

Thanks everyone,

pat

*     *     *

I felt really bad for her, how much must it suck to be in a foreign country and lose your phone?

This was all I could think to do. Not much of a master plan, but it’s the only thing I could think to do.

I would have looked though her phone for a number or some information I could use to contact her. But it locked itself down and required a password. At least, I *think* that’s what it was asking for. It was in Swedish, after all.

On top of that, I felt jerky that I couldn’t remember her name. True, I’d signed about a hundred books before we swapped numbers, but I still felt jerky about it. That at least would have given me a place to start trying to track her down.

Thankfully, my lovely readers backed my play on facebook, liking and sharing my message-in-a-bottle post to a ridiculous degree. Thousands of folk helped out. This provides further proof for my “People are inherently good” theory.

And you know what? It worked. When I got back to my hotel room late that night, I had a message:

Hi Pat, this is your Swedish fan with the lost phone!

Have to admit its a bit surreal though, first meeting you, my absolute favorite author and getting your phone number plus possibility of a having a coffee at my first ever stay in America. That was really more than my little fan heart could take. Then the feeling of hitting rock bottom when I lost the phone with said number a day later. Now finding your message on the fb, it goes way beyond surreal and into the realms of things that just don’t happen in real life!

Her name, it turned out, was Jenny. I remember it now.

We messaged back and forth, set up a time and place, and the next day I got together with Jenny and her traveling companions.

We got our coffee and had a lovely conversation about many things, including how we Americans have serious problems with women, sex, and women’s sexuality. This is a favorite topic of mine, and it was nice to discuss it with folks who aren’t part of American culture. It was a good time.

Jenny also gave me a picture she’d drawn of Kvothe. I’d post it up here, but I don’t have access to it on this computer. I’ll scan it in and post it up later.

So there you go. Those of you who were curious have the end of the story. And it’s a happy ending to boot.

We all need a happy ending every now and then….

pat

Also posted in cool news, European Adventures, social networking | By Pat63 Responses

A Spathic Convention

Every year there are a few conventions I make a point of attending.

I go to Worldcon because the paneling is really top notch. I go to World Fantasy because it gives me the chance to hang out with other authors I’d never get a chance to see.

And, of course, I go to San Diego ComicCon for many, many reasons.

But I also make a point of going to a few other conventions every year. The main reason I do this is so I can get to different parts of the country and meet readers I might not get a chance to see otherwise.

Which is why, just a couple months ago, I was Guest of Honor at a little convention called Stellarcon.

Whenever I’m GOH at a con, interesting things happen. So for those of you who don’t get to attend, here’s the highlight reel from this year’s Stellarcon.

I’ll admit to having a terrible green-eyed envy of artists. (And by artists I mean people who do art. (And by art, I mean taking something out of your head and making a picture out of it.))

That said, the modern artists I can name off the top of my head I can probably fit on two hands. Mark Poole is one of those artists, because he was doing art for Magic Cards back at the beginning. Back when I used to play it. Back before it was cool.

Yeah. Okay. I’m just kidding. Playing magic is never cool.

So I was surprising when we sat next to each other at the opening ceremonies and Mark turned to me, introduced himself, and said he was a big fan.

I was a little shocked. I still think of myself as the new kid on the scene, publishing-wise. It  knocks me for a bit of a loop when other professionals know who I am.

For the record, Mark is a really nice guy.

I’ve known about John even longer than I’ve known about Mark, because I grew up reading his comic in his the Wisconsin State Journal. We share Madison, Wisconsin as our home town, so it seemed a little odd that I’d end up traveling to North Carolina before I finally got to meet him….

And you know what? I didn’t get to meet him. We sat two seats away from each other at opening ceremonies, and that’s the closest we got to each other over the space of the whole convention.

The Moral of the story? I end up being really busy at cons most of the time. I used to try make plans to meet with my friends and hang out, but these days I know better. Between readings, signings, panels, and occationally running a tabletop game, I just don’t have a lot of free time left over.

But this story had a happy ending. John and I ran into each other in the Madison airport and got to chat there. Small world.

  • I had an… intimate signing experience.

When I got home from Stellarcon, Sarah was in the kitchen, feeding Oot some dinner.

“How was the convention?” she shouted to me.

“I got to sign a boob!” I said.

“A naked boob?” she asked.

“A gentleman doesn’t speak of such things,” I said.

Which is a total lie, of course, because I wouldn’t shut up about it for a week. Someone asking you to sign their boob  is one of those mythical things that everyone jokes about, but it never really happens.

Except it did. It totally did.

Now just to be clear. The boob wasn’t naked. And she asked me. Without any instigation on my end.

To say I was surprised is a bit of an understatement.

But you know what? It was cool. Because for a brief moment, I got to feel like a rockstar.

(Note that Pikachu has turned his back on me, ashamed.)

Truthfully, I wasn’t very suave about the whole thing. I couldn’t stop laughing.  And as you can see in the above picture, I was more than a little blushy and flustered by the end of it.

Luckily, the young lady in question was very forgiving when I explained it was my first time. (It was her first time too.) Who knew that signing a boob would actually prove to be pretty tricky?

By the end of the experience, the two of us were good friends. What’s more, Pikachu stopped judging me so harshly, and Sarah really didn’t mind at all.

Honestly though, I think Oot was a little jealous.

Later all,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Achievement Unlocked!, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat37 Responses
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