WMF Photo Contest Part II – Pet Stew

These days I’m making an effort to catch up on some things I’ve been letting slide, some of them for an embarrassingly long period of time.

As you can guess from my last blog, one of the things I’m trying to catch up on is my correspondence. Other projects include cleaning out my closets and getting all my books onto shelves in some sort of decently organized fashion.

(I don’t know about you, but if my books aren’t properly organized, I never feel like my life is in order. And honestly? My books haven’t been organized in a long, long time….)

But one of the things I’ve let slide the longest is the Photo contest. The photo contest that I announced… um… back when book two came out in 2011.

Lord, that makes me cringe just to type it. I’m sorry everybody.

Eventually I realized that if I kept trying to finish this on my own, it could take another two years. So I went to my assistant Amanda, handed her the flash drive with the thousand-odd pictures on it, and said. “I’ve got about two thirds of these sorted out, and I’d value your opinion on the rest.”

Which she immediately realized is code for, “If someone doesn’t take point on this project it’s never going to get done in a thousand fucking years.”

She graciously took the reins, and now here we are….

If you want to refresh your memory about the photo contest (or if you’ve just started reading the blog recently and weren’t aware of it) here are some of the previous blogs:

The title of today’s blog, as you can see, is Pet Stew.

This is because when we break the photos down into categories, some of the groups are great big beastly things, like “Animals” and “Kids”

But some categories are tiny. Like this one with only two entries.

  • Stew.

This comes from the fact that before we were friends, the inestimable John Scalzi almost stopped reading The Name of the Wind on page three because I’d brought in a fantasy cliche he has a particular distaste for: people eating stew.

He tells the whole story here, if you’re interested.

Since John and I overlap in our readerships, a lot of readers know about this long standing joke. So….


Personally, I think I should get some promotional stickers printed up that say that. Then I’ll sneak into bookstores and do some guerrilla promotion…


This one is worth enbiggening. It took a minute before I noticed Kvothe is wielding a pot instead of his usual sword. That alone is enough to make it the winner in this tiniest of categories.

  • Animals. 

This was one of our biggest categories.

I’m sorry, I should probably say cat-egories. If I miss an easy one like that, they’ll drum me out of the punner’s union.

C. S. Lewis Laughing (2)

I have no idea what reaction this cat is having to my book, but I’m kinda glad I wasn’t nearby when it happened.

We got plenty of dogs, of course.

Westy in Glasses

Some of which I suspected might have been drugged prior to the photo shoot…

Good company_2

Or perhaps persuaded with a carefully placed bit of bacon…


I love this one’s expression. As if it’s saying, “Dude. Seriously?”


But we got a lot of other animals too. A much wider variety than the first photo contest.


(Actual footage.)


I heard this horse was actually kinda pissed off because Keth Selhen wasn’t in the second book at all…  (Extra points if you catch the obscure reference.)

I honestly can’t tell if this one is photoshopped or not. But if it’s not, it deserves a nod…

Horse jump

This lizard isn’t a skink, and I don’t mean to imply it’s a skink. I just like the word skink.

Green Anole Raves About Wise Man's Fear



I don’t know how you managed to catch that goldfish’s attention. But it looks like he’s totally into it.

But not as into it as this guinea pig….

IMG_1365a (2)

…who almost forced us to start a new category called: Awwwwww.

Where this puppy would have been a contender:


As would this cat:

Jack and ze book

Amanda has pet rats, so she kinda melted when she saw this one….

Wise Rat's Fear

She mentioned that her rats love my books too. I didn’t ask if she meant they used it as bedding….

Sometimes the title of a photo is all important:

needs more draccus

(“Needs More Draccus”)

*     *     *

We’ve got a few honorable mentions before we get to the winners here.

Amanda picked this one, because of the clever reference to the books.

Beware_of_dog_L (2)

You’ll have to click to embiggen and read the sign.

I picked this one because I have no idea how this person managed to attract the attention of these squirrels…


Plus, I really like squirrels. Back when my life was simpler, I would carry around a pocket full of peanuts. If I saw a squirrel, I’d sit down and make friends. Usually in the space of half an hour, I could get it to trust me enough to come take a peanut out of my hand…

True story.


Third place:


Now. Those of you with good memories will remember that I expressly forbade anyone from doing anything dangerous in these photos. But Ty here emailed me saying that he works at a Wildlife Educator and Large Animal Trainer, and he works with the alligators all the time.

So while yeah, this is dangerous in potentia, it’s not dangerous for this particular person in this particular place. So I’m going to allow it.

This alligator’s name is Goliath. Just in case you were wondering.

Second Place:

Many of you who have heard me read at events know that I have a somewhat checkered history when it comes to Guinea Pigs.


(Cue: “Also Sprach Zarathustra.”)

And the one below is a favorite. Though I don’t know if it’s cute, or really kinda creepy….

wmf 063.1s

Lastly, Ladies and Gentlemen, as the head-and-shoulders winner, I would like to introduce you the animal I refer to as “Ugly Cat.”

DSCI0041 (2)

Please don’t think that I gave him this name as a pejorative. It’s purely descriptive.

Sorry. Purr-ly descriptive.

DSCI0019 (2)

The truth is, I have come to love Ugly Cat with a fierce love. When I look at pictures of him (her?) with my book, I am filled with a warm glow of joy. Quite often I laugh aloud.

DSCI0038 (2)

I love you, Ugly Cat.

I highly recommend you embiggen at least one of those pictures, so you can share my joy.

*     *     *

Winners will be contacted and sent copies of the fabled gold talent pipes:

Gold Pipes

And what the hell. We’ll give pipes to the Honorable Mentions, too. On account of me taking a mortal age to finally post up the results of the contest.

If you’re curious about the rest of the pictures we received, you can check them out over here. It made me sad to not show them all, but a blog with 60 pictures is raw fucking madness, so a cut had to be made.

There’s more Ugly Cat over there, and guinea pigs, and a newt, too, if I’m remembering correctly.

Stay tuned to the blog these next couple weeks. I’m going to be posting a lot more. Not only will I be making up for lost time with the photo contest, but we’ve got big things happening and cool news to share.


This entry was posted in fan coolness, Photo Contest 2011. By Pat35 Responses


  1. Marcus Cox
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    Oh man, I feel terrible for laughing at Ugly Cat’s face, but it’s so amusing to me for some reason. I love cats.

    It’s good to see more of these going up. I frequently forget about this until you bring it up again. I can’t wait to see more.

  2. Posted October 14, 2013 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    OH man, I was thinking that Raven with the book would be a winner, then I really liked the little white doggy, soooo cute.

    But Ugly Cat…omg. As soon as I saw that cats face I explosively laughed.
    I’m not much of a cat person really, but seriously, that is exactly the kind of cat every person should have. I especially liked the one with his/her foot on the book…that face. LOL.

    Omg….I need to leave this blog now. I’m at work and I just keep scrolling back up to that cats face and laughing. Move over Grumpy Cat.

  3. SilverTpt
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    Everyone should embiggen “The Wise Man’s Stew.” Felurian Cocktail? Genius.

    • Posted October 14, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

      Wow. I didn’t even notice that they’d changed the title, too. That person has some real photoshop skills….

      • Avruch
        Posted October 15, 2013 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

        Wow how did you not notice! Also, did you see it says “Recipes Vol 1” beneath your name?

  4. PHXDale
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    Today is my birthday – so seeing posts about the photo contest brought a huge smile to my face, like finding a letter from a long-lost loved one. Thank you for taking me back to yesteryear when this all came about! Happy organizing!

  5. hendric
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    I believe you mean the “Punner’s onion”, cause every time you cut one, someone cries…

  6. sackmana
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    Not quite a newt, but rather my spotted salamander, whose name is either Fred or Winifred. We were never able to determine his/her gender.

    • Posted October 14, 2013 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

      You could just role with Fred either way, it will be like the character on Angel. LOL

      I ran into this same problem with my rat when I first got it, it was too small for me to personally tell the gender. I named it Winchell, turned out to be a girl, I just went with it. Gave me many opportunities to go on diatribes about judging others and gender stigmas…..

      That being said, if Pat ever wants to get Oot a sweet pet, rats are the way to go if you aren’t into dealing with a dog. They’re really smart and fun. The only reason I stopped getting them was they’re lifespan was far to short, it’s heartbreaking to watch your little friend go after only 5 short years at best.

      • Amanda
        Posted October 14, 2013 at 10:37 PM | Permalink

        I’ve only ever had females, but they are always the sweetest, and I love them a lot. It’s true that their life spans are too short, though – I’ve had four pass away, and I miss them all :(

        • Posted October 15, 2013 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

          I could only take two. After the second past away it was just too much for me, I spent a lot of time with her and had her trained to do some tricks even. She loved to run up to you in her ball when you were sitting on the couch and get spun…it was ridiculous, but awesome. Tons of personality.

          Got a dog after she past away. A small one, with an average 20 year lifespan…..although it will probably be way worse when he dies now that I’m thinking about it….

          yah…not gonna think about that….but rats are really cool and good short commitment to pet care before taking a big leap. If I ever have a kid I’ll definitely start there.

  7. oiamslain
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

    So, do I count as an “honorable mention” for the stew category, since technically I was runner-up in this vast category with the 40% more pic??? I have to ask; pipes are on the line!

  8. waifofthenorth
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

    Is now a good time to mention, I named my cat Auri? She’s shy and likes hiding under things.


    I think Ugly Cat could give Grumpy Cat a run for his money!

    • Bokonon
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

      I also have a cat named from your books. His name is Taborlin, and he’s a giant black-and-white splotchy tomcat who got his name because he has a little splotch of a black goatee that gives him a wizardly look. He’s super mellow, but the only part of him that merits the “the Great” title is his girth. One time when he was a kitten he jumped with great determination off a dresser toward his cat tree, and just didn’t quite make it. I couldn’t help but thinking in my mind “So Taborlin fell, but he was not afraid…”

  9. Ippswich
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    I’m so excited you’re posting the winners to the photo contest! I submitted one and I’m pretty sure it would be in the category of “whoa, this is too strange to ignore”. But in a funny, laugh out loud kinda way – not in a “whoa this chick needs help kinda way…”

    I love seeing the animal pictures though, I used to have pet rats as well and they were so curious and sweet. We called them biddy boys. Actually all rats we see now are called biddy boys.

    But I’m rambling… thanks for finishing up with the photo contest and good luck everyone!

  10. maine character
    Posted October 15, 2013 at 1:12 AM | Permalink

    Your story about squirrels reminded me of Grizzly Adams.

    “And that was when he discovered he had a special kinda way with animals. They’d just come right up to him like he was a natural part of the wilderness.”

  11. kerys
    Posted October 15, 2013 at 2:09 AM | Permalink

    It may not even be an honorable mention, but:

    Woohoo! My meticulously befriended wild, green anole made it onto the blog! If we were still on speaking terms, I’d let him know, but he’s never forgiven me for moving to a different building in our apartment complex. I don’t think anyone else in my old building will loan him books.

  12. AlistairM
    Posted October 15, 2013 at 5:02 AM | Permalink

    That reminds me I’ve got a few Degu chew marks on my copy of The Name of the Wind.

    I should have taken a photo instead of grabbing him.

  13. Oatmeal
    Posted October 15, 2013 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    So, I don’t want to be that person, but I’m going to be since nobody else asked yet.
    Will those folks who got chosen for the Doctor Seuss themed prequel also get pipes?
    If not, that’s cool, it’s awesome enough just knowing a picture I took got posted on the blog. But if so … well … then I won’t have to buy Husband a Christmas gift, and that would be super great.

    • christie
      Posted October 15, 2013 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

      I believe the Seuss entry had well liked photos, but possibly not winners:

      But this year, there were so many photos that a single miscellaneous blog couldn’t begin to fit them all. So instead, I’ve decided to start off the contest with a bunch of the photos that I liked, but that for one reason or another didn’t make the final cut.

      Hope that helped. Sorry it might not get pipes.

      • Oatmeal
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

        Yeah, that’s what I’m figuring as well. But a girl can dream. ;o)

        • christie
          Posted October 16, 2013 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

          Always dream! Dreams are good.

          I am so curious…which photo was yours?

          • Oatmeal
            Posted October 16, 2013 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

            The one that’s next to the second time that it says “I will not read it in a tree”

          • christie
            Posted October 17, 2013 at 1:00 AM | Permalink

            I like it. Artistic and interesting. Thanks

  14. Neville Longbottom
    Posted October 15, 2013 at 10:16 AM | Permalink

    I’ve known several women who have had pet rats, but never any men.

    I have no idea if this means anything…

    • Robo
      Posted October 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

      I had a pet rat once. But it strangely disappeared after I invited Richard Gere over to dinner.

    • Posted October 15, 2013 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

      I’ve known a couple men who had pet rats, but I agree, I’ve known a lot more woman who had pet rats.

      I’m fairly certain woman are just more susceptible to being won over by furriness…..

  15. Ryuyasha
    Posted October 15, 2013 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    So is it too much to hope that the honorable mentions from the action category get pipes too? Naw, I know that this one took a lot longer to come out.

  16. pikeamus
    Posted October 16, 2013 at 6:14 AM | Permalink

    Hmm. Maybe I need to rewrite a line or two in my current project. I’m writing a setting that draws on Croatia, and the single best thing I ate when I visited was a traditional pasticada – a stew. I was going to use the word stew instead so it was more familiar to readers, but if I’m in trope territory maybe i won’t.

    There’s always another damn thing to edit.

    • Oatmeal
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:46 AM | Permalink

      That depends. Are they eating stew that they just whipped up on the road? Or are they in a place where one would reasonably and realistically eat stew?

      • pikeamus
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 5:13 AM | Permalink

        They are in a konoba, a tavern essentially. I’ll probably end up using the word tavern for familiarity as well though I’m more on the fence on this one. Actually the first time it comes up they don’t even eat it, it’s just a passing note that the konoba is reknowned for it’s stew. A later scene opens with our hero eating said stew in said tavern.

        Maybe I’m overthinking and just doing a find and replace on “stew” for “pasticada” would solve the problem. :)

  17. Cocoa
    Posted October 16, 2013 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    I will also confess to laughing hysterically at Ugly Cat, though at least some of it is that the first photo is so very very ‘I’m gonna cut you if you touch my book’ *G*

  18. guessingo
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    Scalzi talked about how Redheads heroes are cliched in Fantasy. Other than Rand Al’Thor I can’t think of any other redheads other than Kvothe. Who are the other redhead hero characters?

    • Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

      A few who come to mind:

      Red Sonja
      Poison Ivy
      Weasley’s of Harry Potter.
      Melissandre from ASOIAF (tons of others in ASOIAF but she’s the one who popped into my mind first)
      Armand from Vampire Chronicles…..

      Personally, I always found black hair to be the clichéd one. Though if I remember correctly, red heads do have some history of persecution for the coloring.

  19. Chatles
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:57 PM | Permalink

    i wish i had heard or read about this before now, i am not one for blogs really but when i hear of contests like these well it hits harder than one would expect to, nose stuck too beep in books recently “name of the wind” and “wise man’s fear” all over again and each time i notice few more things more references between books it just keeps on giving, and i figure ill probably read them both again before you “doors of stone come out” possibly more than once. now i guess must visit your website far more often to learn of these things for i must participate in the next one!

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