San Diego 2011: Thursday: Wherein Pat Is (mostly) Not A Pervert

This is part of the San Diego Diary: Wednesday, Thursday Part I, Thursday Part II (Wootstock), and Friday Ad Infinitum.

*     *    *

Thursday is my big day at the con, I’m on a panel with a bunch of epic fantasy bigwigs including George Martin and  Brandon Sanderson. It’s my only panel at the con this year, and it’s going to be a big one.

So I make a point of getting up extra early so I’ll have time to perform my elaborate grooming rituals, anoint myself with scented oils, and carefully select which of my many stylish tuxedos I will wear to the convention.

My which I mean to say that I wake up at 11:00 and am walking to the con by 11:20.

  • 11:30 – Coffee.

Yeah. If I’m going to try be witty on the panel. I definitely need some. So I get some.

For those of you that are curious, it’s a large white chocolate mocha with hazelnut.

Yeah, yeah. I know it’s not the most macho coffee in the world. But I couldn’t get my usual. They didn’t have blueberry syrup.

  • 11:45 – Satyriasis

While heading up to my panel I get a text from a friend. Pooka is the lovely fan who took me under her wing at my very first ComicCon back in 2009. I was wandering aimlessly, trembling and dewy as a newborn fawn. She took pity on me and, to completely mix the metaphor, showed me the ropes.

Pooka’s message tells me she’s been standing in line for hours and is worried that she won’t be able to get in. I give her a call and let her know that this is the one place in the world that I might actually be able to use my meager crumb of celebrity and get her in the door.

So I get to the room and start to stroll down the line. Pooka isn’t hard to spot because she’s wearing six inch platform boots and… well… this:

Pooka is the one on the right. You can’t see it too well in this picture, but she’s also covered in glitter.

(Also, those aren’t cat ears, they’re horns. I made the mistake of calling her a catgirl and she pointed out my mistake.)

She’s only about 20 people from the front of the line, so I wander over and say hello. Then I pull her out of the line and we head to the door where I’m also going to try and work my mojo to get her and another friend.

I met Gregory Noveck at the con last year, he’s a fan of the books that works in the movie business, and he’s been kind enough to help clue me in to some of the mysteries of how Hollywood works.

I introduce the two of them, and we chat for a moment or two until the panel before mine finishes. Then I show my badge to the door guy and head inside with my two friends and a few of the other speakers and press people. Once I’m in, I can see that there’s actually a ton of seats available. Pooka didn’t need my help after all.

With Pooka and Greg are safely inside, I head out again to get a drink of water and burn a little nervous energy. I’m preoccupied with the upcoming panel, a little nervous because I’m going to be up there with some people who are a Pretty Big Deal.

It’s not until almost 5 minutes later that I start thinking of how this must have looked to the other people standing in line around Pooka.

So for the record, I’d like to officially state that I’m not a pervert.

Well, wait. Depending on your viewpoint, I probably am.

But I’d like to officially state that I’m not the particular flavor of tacky pervert I must have looked like to the casual observer. I didn’t just show up for my panel, troll down the line until I found some random, scantily-clad, hot girl, and pull her inside as some sort honorary arm candy. We know each other. We’re friends.


  • 12:00: The Epic Panel

(Click to Embiggen.)

We talked about epic fantasy.

It was a good panel, but we needed more time or fewer people. Seven is too many in my opinion, especially when you’ve got this many heavy hitters. Especially if you consider that we’re folks who tend to measure our word counts in terms of millions.

For the most part, I tried to keep my answers brief and to the point. And a little funny never hurts, either. I got a few good laughs from the audience and didn’t make an ass of myself, so I consider the experience a success.

If you’re interested in the details, you can check out some videos of the panel over here.

After the panel, Martin came up and shook my hand, said he’d really enjoyed my second book. Said it was a good, quick read. A page-turner.

I was caught completely off guard by this. I was stunned and flattered, in all honesty. Luckily, I didn’t have time to make an ass of myself because the people in charge quickly hustle us over to our….

  • 1:30 Epic Signing

Everyone on the panel sits down to sign books for a while. Paolini and Martin were busy as bees. I wasn’t in nearly as big a demand, which was actually really nice as it gave me the chance to hang out and chat with the people that wanted their books signed. That’s something there isn’t time for me to do at some of the bigger events where we get 300+ people.

  • 2:30 – Ronin

I owe allegiance to no man. I wander the exhibit hall, a law unto myself, looking at catgirls and thinking a lot about waveform motion.

  • 4:30 – Christopher Fucking Moore.

I hear that Jim Butcher’s signing is finishing up at 4:30, so I wander over to meet him and see if he’s interested in grabbing an early dinner with Sanderson, Paolini and I.

As an unexpected treat, Amber Benson is there as well. I totally get a hug. Because I’m awesome.

Then I realize one of the other guys there signing books is Christopher Moore. And at first all I can think is, “Fucksocks!”

You see, up until a year ago, I’d never read anything Moore had written. Then I picked up a copy of You Suck to read on a plane and immediately fell in love. The next day I went to my local indi bookstore and bought every book he’d ever written.

I’ve been meaning to write a blog about his books for ages. But for now, let me simply say that he’s brilliant. Double plus brilliant.

I grab a quick handshake and do a brief, “Hello. Your stuff is incredible.” And leave it at that, lest I over-gush.

Then I buy the last two special-edition copies of Lamb they have for sale. (They look like bibles, gold leaf and everything) One is for me, and the other I’m going to use it as a prize for Worldbuilders later on this year.

  • 5:00 – Dinner

So Sanderson, Butcher, Paolini, and Rothfuss walk into a bar….

Or rather, we walk through a bar, and into a restaurant to have dinner. We’re accompanied by Christopher’s sister, Angela, and Jim’s friend, Priscilla Spencer. I know Priscilla from way back (She does Books for Boobs, among other things.) But I never realized that she was the same Priscilla that did Jim’s maps for the Codex Alera.

Yeah. I’m kinda thick sometimes.

We have a lovely time over dinner. We tell stories and engage in the geeky book talk.

Unfortunately, I have a previous engagement, and I have to leave far sooner than I’d like.

I stand up and put my napkin on the table. “I’m really sorry,” I say. “But I’ve got to get going. I’m doing a little cameo appearance at Wootstock.”

I try to say this casually. As if I do this sort thing all the time. But I’m pretty sure I sound smug as hell. Because the truth is, I’m really, really fucking excited about getting to be part of Wootstock.

Also, I am slightly terrified. Slightly completely terrified.

It turns out Jim and Priscilla have tickets for Wootstock, so we share a taxi on the way there….

I’m in a taxi with Jim Butcher, heading to a theater where I’m going to meet with members of the Geek Gliterati. I’m heading to a theater where I’m going to stand onstage, alone, and read something to a crowd of over 1000 people.

My life has become rather strange over the last couple years….

*     *     *

Next: Wootstock!

This entry was posted in conventions, geeking out, recommendations, Tales from the Con, videosBy Pat50 Responses


  1. Posted August 5, 2011 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    One of the many things I have always loved about you and your blog is how much of a *fan* you are. I mean, you’re a friggin NYT bestseller of one of the best epic fantasy series of all time, Amber Benson hugs you, Wil Wheaton declares on twitter that you will be friends, and yet you still geek out and act like it’s all a dream. It’s lovely and endearing and I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks for acting like you’re one of us little people. :)

    Hmmm… of we little people? No, it should be ‘us’ right? Object of the preposition and all that? Sounds weird since the you are leads into a predicate nominative…

  2. katelyn
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

    This is so full of win I can’t even believe it.

    • 3rdI
      Posted August 7, 2011 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

      I was thinking the same thing. It was an “epic” victory teehee

      Joking aside what would be your dream panel? What three or four authors would you most like seeing on a panel together?

      I would have to go with Pat, Tad Williams, Scott Bakker and Joe Abercrombie. That would make for some fascinating discussion methinks.

  3. taylor_s
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

    That was all fascinating. I wish the entire panel was there — or more so, that I was able to be there in person!

    I love your writing, from books to blog posts, and they never fail to entertain and provide wonderful insight.

    A rather strange life, quite perhaps, but I dearly hope it’s one that you love! It seems like the panel was a great experience, and to start that all with a seat-in with Jim Butcher… whew. What a day!

    I look forward to hearing about Wootstock!

  4. He without a clever name
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

    Crazy awesome. That is all.

  5. saintburns
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

    Christopher Moore is amazing! I thought Lamb was hilarious and I really want to read Fool.

    • Posted August 7, 2011 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

      Fool was brilliant. Probably my favorite book of his, in all honesty….

      • Barb
        Posted August 19, 2011 at 10:26 PM | Permalink

        You are fucking awesome. I read “Fool” several years ago, but in a moment of utter stupidity forgot to write down the title/author before I returned the book to the library. I’m going to go to write it on a wall in permanent marker now before I forget again…sheer brilliance.

  6. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 11:50 PM | Permalink

    Your life is awesome.

  7. justajenjen
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 11:52 PM | Permalink

    Mr. Martin is a nice guy, isn’t he? Back when Feast for Crows came out, he came to do a book signing in Carmel, IN at the Barnes and Noble. I was still working for BN at the Lafayette, IN location and the manager of the Carmel store had been one of the assistant managers at my store. My friends and I used our connections to get to go to the back where Mr. Martin was waiting to join the employees session. I think I managed to say something to him that didn’t involve all short words and drooling.

    Don’t worry, Pat. You’re the only author that got a hand knitted Serenity burp cloth from me. And I think I got through talking to you without drooling, too.

  8. eighty1
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

    I got a text from a friend about this panel, realized I wasn’t going to make it and was extremely pissed. That will not happen next year, dagnabbit.

  9. laura118b
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

    Priscilla posting a picture of you in a knit cap and squeeing like a fan girl is what made me pick up your first book. I wanted to see what kind of book this crazy guy would write. I am so glad I did that!

  10. Vince
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

    Pat, thank you for a smile today. You’re awesome and I hope you are able to stay this open to your fans.

    Posted August 6, 2011 at 12:35 AM | Permalink

    My friend took a picture of you signing my book while taking a sip of your drink. Being a starbucks employee, i knew your drink before you said it in this blog. Stalker step 1: success.

    You should try it with raspberry :D

  12. Uwila
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

    Hi! Thank you so much for letting me over-gush at you. I missed the panel (thanks for the link!), but getting to go to the Epic Signing was awesome.

    Thank you for signing my over-loved paperback. It was the best part of the whole entire convention.

  13. court88
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 1:21 AM | Permalink

    I couldnt help but squeal at the thought of a table full of such awesome fantasy authors! Oh how I wish I had been in that restaurant *sigh* I think I may have cried. I think I may still…

  14. Full-time Joke
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 1:51 AM | Permalink

    Pat totally stole the show on that panel. Well done. Good stuff all around! Hear-hear!

  15. Arcy
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 2:38 AM | Permalink

    I think this is the first time in the history of blogs that I have been on the edge of my seat waiting for the “to be continued”.

    • Posted August 7, 2011 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

      Dun Dun Dun!

      (That’s supposed to be dramatic music….)

      • Sokol
        Posted August 9, 2011 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

        Wow, and I totally played the music in my head while reading it.

        Off topic, just finished Jim Butcher’s Ghost Story over the weekend, and yes it was amazing…. Harry is so hosed.

  16. Amicus
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

    Nice! One day I will get time away from work to go to a Comic-con.
    you were hilarious on the epic panel; Thanks for the link to the video if it! :)

  17. Posted August 6, 2011 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

    So….we just finished reading outloud The Autobiography of Ben Franklin and then listening to The Great Courses, American Literature CD series of lectures. It is for Tim’s 9th grade in school you see. Then, this morning I read many of your blog notes and begin to think….

    Self Made Man…..

    The American Success Story…..

    Eternal Optimist….

    Pat?…..yea…I think you rate!

    Great job.

    It is a pleasure reading your thoughts.
    I wonder how your blog will influence your Autobiography: Or is this the new Autobiography of our time?

    My first contact with your work was through my son Tim. He’s elevating my mind from a mainly lit reader to a fantasty/ sci fi wanna be!

    Rejena and Tim
    We be fans!

  18. lbsleeper
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 6:16 AM | Permalink

    Very, very cool. I hope to listen to one of those panels one day.

    My husband and I met Priscilla at your signing in Brooklyn, NY earlier this year. We talked about how awesome your books are and then rattled off other books that we really enjoyed. When we mentioned Jim Butcher and his Codex Alera she told us the whole story about how she ended up doing the maps for the books. So cool.

  19. Reven1874
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 7:33 AM | Permalink

    I would say freaking awsome but just doesn’t have that it factor.

  20. Jutmoost
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 8:07 AM | Permalink


    What the hell is fucksocks?

    • Posted August 7, 2011 at 10:44 PM | Permalink

      It’s a reference to something in Moore’s books….

  21. Chasing30
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    It’s funny to hear about how you geek out on other authors that you admire when I think about how others must geek out when they meet you. When you’re at a signing, does everyone say the same thing? Or do most people have a different take on “ohmygodI’myourbiggestfanever”? Do you get tired of hearing a particular statement over and over or is there a behavior that drives you just nuts? I’ve always wondered what goes on inside a celebrity’s head when they are faced with their adoring fans- perhaps because I may be one of the slightly less gracious sort. If I wasa celebrity that is.

  22. @**@
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    I’m sensing a possible piece of blog-worthy backstory for Christopher Moore’s two words. (He, too, is one of my favorites. I was lucky enough to read Biff first…. GLORIOUS!!!)

    My mind is reeling with all sorts of funny applications for YA…

    Explain puh-lease?! [various gesticulations of Scalzi-like fuzzy animal wheedling]

  23. Tager
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    Sounds great! Seems like you’re enjoying yourself a whole lot more then previous conventions!

  24. priscellie
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    “So there I was, enjoying a low-key, relaxing dinner with Jim Butcher, Pat Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Chris Paolini, and his sister…” It’s like the litera-geek equivalent of a “Dear Penthouse” letter.

    I had a fantastic time, Pat. It was the highlight of my con! Heck it was the highlight of every con I’ve been to. Thanks for being cool with me tagging along. :D

  25. dressner
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 2:14 PM | Permalink

    I’d pull her out of a line too Pat.

  26. Marc
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

    That’s cool that GRRM has read your books. Now you should return the favor and read his, so that we may all be able to geek out together on this website.

  27. EatmyFace
    Posted August 7, 2011 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

    Wow you shook hands with Martin? lucky.
    but anyways after like my fifth playthrough of dragon age origins i have been seeing some very faint similarities to the lethany and the Quen…….. did you play to much origins….

  28. AJF312
    Posted August 7, 2011 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    Haha you totally got the loudest applause. And the win the most funny award

  29. ObbiQuiet
    Posted August 7, 2011 at 11:47 PM | Permalink

    Christopher Moore! Wow, I have to revisit him. My gf a few years ago got me a copy of Lamb, and while reading I couldn’t help but thinking “I wish I thought of this first”. He isn’t thoroughly hilarious, but the parts that aren’t super funny are balanced by being very creative. It was one of the coolest adventure stories I had read in a while.

    There’s also a beautiful irony in that I think the next book I read was The Name of the Wind, which erased Moore from my mind. And who reminds me of him? Patrick Rothfuss.

    Yes, hello, Internets? Connect me to Amazon, please. Yes, I know he’s sleeping.

  30. Tungil
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 6:31 AM | Permalink

    Thank you so much for sharing your stories! I enjoy your blog almost as much as your books!
    Greetings from Germany!

  31. cheech1898
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    Hi Pat – what’s the story behind the “Two words – ‘young adult'” reference in The Esteemed Mr. Fucksocks’ “Lamb” signature?

  32. Frank
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

    Jeez, George R.R. Martin looks positively bummed out on the panel. And I know why. The biggest beard is not his.

  33. redcrest
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Ahh, cliffhanger! I didn’t realize reading a blog could leave you feeling so anticipatory about What Comes Next. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since it’s coming from The Great Rothfuss. XD

    One question–why did Christopher Moore write “Two Words: Young Adult” on your copy of Lamb? Were you talking about how YA is taking over the world? Or was he just calling you a young’un?

  34. Diego
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,

    I was there in the panel, and as i told you on the ComicCon sunday, when you were walking around the Dark Horse place. You were the best speaker (sorry for my english). So, i haven’t heard about you until that day, but after hearing your speeach i really want to read your work, Because you’re a clever guy with a lot of personality. Do you know if its possible to find your books in spanish??

    • Diego
      Posted August 8, 2011 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

      Haha, i just went to the library (just to block’s from my work) and your book was there, “El nombre del Viento” its a beautifull edition. I really want to start it.
      Best Regards

  35. Posted August 9, 2011 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    I can’t wait to read your Friday report (cause I’m all vain like that).

    Also: I started it, goddamn you. I know it makes no sense, but I was really hoping it would suck, or at least have a slow opening where I could yawn and put it down for a few months while I caught up on Con stuff and life. Maybe I wanted it to suck so then I could just be a friend of yours who wasn’t one of your drooling sycophants. “King of the drooling sycophants,” that is a name you have earned. I’m only like 8 or 9 chapters in and you’ve changed my life. I love words again. Fucker. Don’t you know I have shit to do?

    Anyway, I hope to see you again before next Con. I hope you make it back to St Louis or our travels intersect elsewhere, cause now I’ve some drooling to do. Fucker.

    Best always,

  36. Barentanz
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    Speaking of Paolini, I don’t think you ever did post the promised blog of your interview with him.

  37. Beej
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 1:21 PM | Permalink


    I have just seen the perfect site for you.

    It’s hilarious. Seriously.

  38. Hypnomaniac
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    Jealousy abounds. First you get on a panel with some of the best fantasy authors around, next George R.R. Martin says that your work is good, THEN you casually invite Jim fuckin’ Butcher out to dinner with you, Brian Sanderson, and Christopher Paolini. Then I boink over to NPR and see that you are Number 18 on their top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy list (Congrats on that, by the way). You obviously must have saved the Pope’s life in one of your past lives. Nothing else could possibly explain this much greatness happening to one person, this quickly.

    Nah, just kidding. I’m nothing but happy for you… (I’m going to keep repeating that until it is true.)

  39. ccomer38
    Posted August 12, 2011 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

    yayyy I just saw the NPR top 100 sci-fi books and Kingkiller chronicles is number 18!! congratulations!!!

  40. semirose
    Posted August 12, 2011 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

    Oh hey, I see the back of my head in that pic of your panel (at first it was like hey I have a shirt like that and my hair is…oh that’s me). Panel was awesome by the way but yeah more time would have been awesome.

  41. hxwhite
    Posted August 14, 2011 at 2:43 AM | Permalink

    Speaking of w00tstock, I filmed a few videos that can be seen here:

    . . . and this video that is named “w00tstock 3.0 – 06. Ernie Cline and Patrick Rothfuss” that can be seen here:



  42. Posted August 24, 2011 at 3:48 AM | Permalink

    Oh. My. Gods.

    You had dinner with Christopher fucking Paolini. And his sister, who the character Angela is based on.

    Two of my favourite fantasy authors – in the top three EVER – had dinner together.

    I think i’m going to curl up in a corner and freak out right now.

    Did I ever mention how much you rule?

  43. chat
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

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