Search Results for: catgirl

More Convention News: Worldcon and PAX….

So earlier in the year, I annouced my current con schedule. On that schedule, I mentioned that I’d be hitting Worldcon, just like I do every year…

But about a month ago, the folks from Penny Arcade contacted me and asked if I’d like to come out to PAX.

I said I would like to come, I’ve wanted to hit PAX for *years*, but PAX overlaps Worldcon, and I already had plans.

Then they clarified, they wanted me to come out to PAX and play some D&D.

I told them it was tempting, as I do love me some tabletop. But, y’know, Worldcon….

But wait, they said. This isn’t just *any* D&D. You’d be be playing with Mike, Jerry, and Scott. You’d be the fourth member of Acquisitions Incorporated.

“…” I said eloquently. “But… I should really….”

Then they mentioned that they’d be willing to donate some money to Worldbuilders if I came out.

And that, as they say, was that.

I contacted Worldcon as soon as I knew. I had them pull me from the website and made sure they didn’t put me on any programming. I also went back and edited the blog I wrote about my 2013 appearances, and removed the Con from my tour schedule page.

But I couldn’t make an announcement on the blog until Penny Arcade made the news public that I was going to be involved this year.

Which they just did.

Acquisitions Incorporated announced that they were looking for a new intern a little while back: They had the first audition. Then a second one.

And now this:

So the bad news is that I’m bowing out of Worldcon this year. I’m sorry for the folks that were hoping to catch me there.

But the good news is that there will be a series of podcasts that everyone can listen to, and they’ll lead up to the main event at PAX, where I will D&D it up live onstage with Jerry, Mike, and Scott. That event will be recorded so there will be video footage of me making an idiot out of myself for y’all to share and enjoy.

I’ll also have a reading in Seattle at the University Bookstore when I’m out there, for those in the area who won’t be able to go to PAX.  There’s more information on my Tour Page, and on the Facebook Event.

Later, space cowboys…

pat

 

Posted in appearances, conventions, cool news | By Pat98 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

Posted in concerning storytelling, cool news, side projects, Stories about stories., Tales from the Con, The Story Board, video games, videos | By Pat151 Responses

Worldbuilders – A Pitch of Three Parts

Since our last blog Worldbuilders has raised another $20,000 dollars for Heifer International. That puts us at $328,000, soundly trouncing last year’s donation total of $311,000.

Not bad for a bunch of book-lovers and sci-fi geeks.

Speaking of, here’s a snippet of an e-mail I just got today:

Pat,

My boyfriend and I decided that instead of Valentine’s gifts, we’re donating to Worldbuilders. We’re both such adoring fans of yours and Kvothe’s, but you’ve also made us adoring fans of the children and families that benefit from a goat or chickens and the excrements that come from both. :)

Worldbuilders is our favorite time of year thanks to you, and we just wanted to really let you know. We love you Pat! Even if it’s not here yet, I think this Valentine’s Day is going to be the best one yet.

Warmly,

Sara 

I love you too, Sara. It’s because of people like you that Worldbuilders is a success.

Oh sure, we’re lucky enough to have some people stomp in with thousand-dollar donations. But the truth is, most of our money comes from regular folks chipping in what they can. More than 25% of the money we raise comes from people donating between 10 and 50 bucks.

I mention this because I’ve had people e-mail me saying they’re sorry they can only kick in ten or twenty bucks because they’re in college. Or because they have a new baby in the house. Or because they just lost their job.

What’s my point?

Well, my first point is to say that I know what it’s like to be strapped for cash. I was a college student for more than a decade and paid my own tuition through most of it working several jobs. After I finished grad school and got a job as a teacher, I was still poor enough to qualify for low-income housing.

Even now that I’m all internationally published and and whatnot, you know how I *really* measure my financial success?

It’s not that I can now afford burritos that cost more than 33 cents. It’s not that I can order Chinese food anytime I want. It’s not even the fact that recently, for the first time in my life, I bought a car for more than 500 dollars.

It’s this:

That’s my change jar. This is how I know I’m rich.

There are quarters in there.

There’s been a lot of no-quarters in the jar times in my life. I’ve had a fair amount of no-dimes times too. And there have been a few times when I’ve bought groceries with nickles and pennies. This is my metric for success.

My point is that I know how big a deal ten dollars can be.

My point is that when I get an e-mail that says, “I can only kick in twenty dollars because our car broke down right after Christmas.” I don’t think, “Twenty bucks? Is that it?”

No. I think: You. Are. Awesome.

What’s my point? My point is that every year y’all impress me. Every year you make me proud to be a geek.

So, because we’ve beaten last year’s total with time to spare, I’m officially declaring this year’s fundraiser a success.

(Go Team!)

That said, we are not yet an amazing success. And personally, I like to shoot for amazing whenever I can.

The fundraiser is still going until January 21st at midnight. So today, I’m making my final pitch for Worldbuilders. And it will be in, *ahem* three parts.

  • Part One: What Heifer International Does.

I could go on again about how Heifer gives people a leg up rather than a handout. I could talk about how they’re education-based. How they promote long-term sustainable growth in communities.

But honestly, I’ve said it all before. So this time, how about I post up a video instead?

Four Families: India from Heifer International on Vimeo.

We good? Yeah. I thought so.

  • Part Two: Bigger Bang For Your Buck.

This year we’re trying out the stretch goal thing, and one of our big ones happens when we hit $400,000.

Specifically, if we hit 400,000 dollars before January 21st at midnight, I’ll donate $100,000 to Heifer, bringing our yearly total to over half a million.

If not, I will keep that money and do something stupid with it. I swear I will blow it on catgirls, methadone, and multiple pairs of the same kind of shoes.

That’s probably the best way to think about it. If we make it to $400,000, not only will Heifer get a boost, but you’ll be saving me from myself. Seriously. I can’t be trusted with this amount of money. I’m already about one haircut a year away from being Howard Hughes.

  • Part Three: The Odds are in Your Favor.

As many of you know, one of the cool things about Worldbuilders is that if you donate to Heifer International on our Team Page, you have the chance to win stuff.

(We have so many books we can’t even fit them all into one picture.)

Note that I say “stuff” because while most of our donation incentives are books, we also have comics, music, and DVD’s. There’s also other miscellany in the mix, like my offer to read-and-critique your unpublished manuscript, or chances to visit the Heifer Ranch with the Worldbuilders team.

You could even win a favor from me. Something which, in the auction we’re currently running, is going for a truly baffling amount of money.

So. How likely are you to win something? Very.

Right now, if you donated $10 to the fundraiser, you’d have about a 3% chance of winning something. About a 1 in 35 chance.

In mathematical terms, that means you’re approximately ten hajillion times more likely to win something from Worldbuilders than from any official lottery.

Let’s say you donate $60, enough for Heifer’s team to go in and provide education, support, and seedlings so folks can plant some trees.

Donating $60, you have a 15% chance of winning at least one prize. That’s about a 1 in 7 chance.

Plus farmers get to prevent soil erosion on their land. Plus that cute little girl gets to eat fresh fruit. Plus you get to have a huge warm fuzzy knowing you made the world a better place.

Or, let’s say you kick in 120 bucks. Enough to buy a goat.

With that donation, your odds of winning a prize are about 30% overall.  You have about a 1 in 3 chance of winning something.

Goats provide milk, rich in calcium and protein, wonderful for growing children. Plus the extra milk can be sold, which gives the family an extra source of income. Plus, goats have babies, which Heifer families pass on to their neighbors, improving their lives too….

Or you could go all the way up to $500 dollars, enough to buy a Heifer.

(This is Heifer International, after all.)

Donating enough to buy a heifer will get you a 76% chance to win something. And really good odds of winning more than one prize. (Every 10 dollars gives you an extra chance to win, remember.)

Cows produce nearly four gallons of milk a day, which means just one cow can act as the equivalent of a small business for the family selling the milk. This money gives people the chance to educate their children, buy medicine, and generally take control of their lives.

So there you go folks. My final pitch for the year. We’ll be posting more donations in the next couple days, but this is my last hard sell.

Here’s the link to the Worldbuilders donation page.

Lastly, I’d like to add that one of the best things you can do to help Worldbuilders is to spread the word. Any boost to our signal I would take as a great kindness. So feel free to share this post around, twitter it, or use excerpts of it in your own blog.

Though preferably not the part where I joked about methadone. That would be kinda odd taken out of context.

Later space cowboys,

pat

*     *     *

If you have any questions about worldbuilders, feel free to contact us at questions@worldbuilders.org.

We have some cool auctions ending soon. You can see all our current auctions here.

If you’d like to see all the items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can find all the details either on my blog, or by checking out our website.

Posted in calling on the legions, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat30 Responses

Why I Love My Editor….

Back in January, I mentioned on the blog that I thought my editor really deserved a Hugo nomination.

Imagine my delight when the list of Hugo nominees for 2012 came out, and there she was on the short list of nominees: Betsy Wollheim.

Weeks later, I was surprised to discover that in the 30+ years Betsy has been an editor, this is the first time she’s ever made it onto the shortlist.

It was more than a little startling to me. I mean, Betsy is Editor-in-Chief at DAW, one of the few publishers I knew about before I gave a damn about getting published. She’s never been nominated?

I think part of the reason she’s been overlooked is that while DAW is a great publisher, it’s not one of the hulking monoliths in the business. In fact, DAW is one of the very, very rare publishers that’s still privately owned. Betsy’s dad started it back in 1971. The “W” in DAW stands for Wollheim.

The other part of the reason I think Betsy’s never been nominated is that she’s not a big self-promoter.

I get that. Being from the Midwest, I’m not a big fan of self-promotion myself.

Now before people get their knickers in a twist and go pointing out that I have at times been a big old self-promoting whore, let me clarify.

Yes. I do promotion. Doing promotion is, unfortunately, a big part of being a published author.

So yeah. I do signings. I do readings. I run the blog. I go to conventions, sit on panels, and talk about writing.

But, generally speaking, that’s about as far as I’m comfortable going. I make myself visible in the hope that if someone finds me interesting, then they’ll be tempted to pick up one of my books.

What I *don’t* do is run around trying to sell people my book. Neither do I try to convince people that I’m awesome. I try to *be* awesome, and hope that people will notice.

Maybe that’s a fine line, but I’m more than willing to draw it in the sand.

Similarly, Betsy does promotion. Of course she does. It’s even *more* part of her job than it is mine. She promotes books. She promotes her authors. She promotes DAW.

But, generally speaking, she doesn’t promote herself.

So I’m going to put in a good word for her.

And I’m going to do it the same way I do everything, by telling a little story…

*     *     *

Back in the late summer of 2007, I was teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown and I didn’t even know it.

On the surface, things were great. The Name of the Wind was getting really amazing review. Sales were good. Foreign countries were buying the translation rights. I had grown-up money for the first time in my life, and I used it to buy a house with my girlfriend.

In fact, things were so great, that I didn’t realize what a mess I was.

I’d been doing every bit of promotion that came my way. All sorts of conventions. Every interview somebody asked me to do. Readings and signings all over the place.

And whenever people asked about book two, I told them the same thing: that I already had a good solid draft, and that it would be out in a year.

This is in 2007, mind you.

When I finally sat down to work on the book, I realized the draft was *much * rougher than I remembered. The truth was, I’d been focusing all my energy on Name of the Wind for years while book two just sat their gathering dust. It was pretty shabby when I took a close look at it.

So I realized I had a lot of work to do. I quit my job teaching. I quit teaching fencing at the YMCA. I quit advising the College Feminists.

I kinda quit everything except for writing.

Aside from the roughness of the draft, my other problem was the fact that I’d never written to a deadline before. I was going from 14 years of being a hobby writer, straight into being a bestseller, and it was a huge mental adjustment. I was also a bit of an emotional wreck because my mom had died just a few months before the book came out.

And I’m not just saying that. I remember one night when I was writing frantically, I felt a pain in my chest and a numbness in my left arm.

My first thought was kinda surprised:  “I’m having a heart attack.”

My second thought was one of relief: “If I have a heart attack, nobody can blame me if the book is late.”

Seriously. That was my immediate thought. Not, “Oh shit, I’m gonna die!” Not, “I should call 911.” Not even, “Oh man, I’m never going to be able to cross ‘catgirl threeway’ off my bucket list.”

(In my opinion, it would be a shame if I never got to use this pic in a blog)

Anyway, my point is that when you’re *glad* to have a heart attack, something’s going wrong in your head.

I don’t tell Betsy about any of this, of course. Because I’m a newbie and I’m scared to death that I’m going to ruin my big chance with my for-real publisher. So I keep telling her everything is fine, and she keeps asking to see the draft of book two.

But I put her off again and again. Another month. Another two weeks. Four more days….

Eventually she says she *needs* it. Seriously. Now.

So I send it to her. It’s a mess. The beginning 100 pages are just a tangle.

Just to make it clear how different it was from the finished version:

1. The manuscript I gave Betsy was 150,000 words shorter than the eventual print version of the book.

2. Vashet didn’t exist. At all.  Bredon didn’t exist. At all.

3. There was no Adem hand talk. No tak. No ring rituals in Severen.

4. There are whole chapters that were nothing more than this:

Chapter 31: [need title]

(Something happens with Ambrose here.)

That’s how bad parts of it were.

So anyway, I send it off to Betsy, nervous as hell. She calls me a couple days later, real concern in her voice, and says, “Pat, this is really rough….”

I say, “Yeah. I know. But I can do it. I can put in the hours.”

Betsy says, “It’s going to be a *lot* of work. There are some real problems in here. Some parts are really skimpy.”

I say, “Yeah. I’m making good progress though. I’ve got my new workspace set up and everything.”

She says, “Book two has to be really solid, you know. People have high expectations. It’s really going to determine the course of your career.”

I say, “I promised book two would be out in a year. I just need to knuckle down and write hard for the next five months. No breaks. I can do it.”

She says, “That’s not really how your process works though. You’re a reviser. You like to get feedback from your readers and tinker with things. There won’t be any time for that if you’re still drafting the book now….”

I say, “I promised though. And I’ve scheduled it out. I’ve been writing 14 hours a day, and so long as I can keep that up….”

She says, “I really don’t think you can make this book as good as it needs to be.”

I say, “I can. I know I can do it.”

She says, “I’m pulling the book out of the production schedule.”

I’m stunned into silence, just standing there in my kitchen. I suddenly feel… good. Like someone had been standing on my chest and they just got off. “You can do that?” I asked her.

“Yeah,” she says, “I’m pulling it. You can’t disappoint people with the second book.”

I say, “Oh thank god.”

*     *     *

I’m paraphrasing a bit, of course.

After that she gave me the space I needed to figure out what the hell I was doing. Time to get my head together. When I gave her the much better draft of the book, she argued with me about some of the bad choices I’d made, and we hammered them out together.

In a nutshell, she saved my career. Probably saved my relationship and my mental health, too.

Needless to say, I think the world of her. She’s an editor that really cares about her authors.

Last year in April, she had her first #1 New York Times Bestseller. (Me)

Last year in October, one of her authors won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. (Nnedi Okorafor.)

And now, after 30 years in the business, she’s just had her first Hugo nomination.

Betsy has my vote. And if you’re eligible, I’m sure she’d like to have yours too.

She’d never say so herself, though. That’s why I’m saying it for her.

Later Space Cowboys….

pat

 

 

Posted in awards, My checkered past, my terrible wrath, the man behind the curtain, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat37 Responses

New Interviews

In my last blog I mentioned I was going to be doing a signing  in Columbus at the end of the month. Afterwards, more than a few people asked if the timing of my visit was a freakish coincidence, or if I was going to be a guest at Origins.

(For those of you who don’t know, Origins is a big gaming convention that’s going on that weekend in Columbus.)

The answer to this question is both yes and no. I am going to be there, but I’m mostly going to be ghosting the convention. Not in the traditional sense, I plan on getting a badge and everything. But I’m not going as an official guest like Felicia Day and Will Wheaton are going to be.

I might do a panel or two if they have an empty seat and want me to pontificate on one thing or another, but mostly I plan on bumming around and talking to people. See what new games are coming out. Maybe rub some elbows. Maybe see if anyone would be interested in doing a board game set in the Four Corners world….

It’s rare that I go to a convention where I’m not being all officially authorious. Usually I’m booked pretty tight with signings and talkings. Since I’m ghosting this one, maybe I’ll play a few games instead. If I’m feeling exceptionally energetic, I might even see if they have a spot open in one of the LARPs.

Yeah. I’ll admit it. I’ve LARPed in the past.

(You can embiggen this. But you probably shouldn’t)

Okay. Fine. I can’t blame that photo on a LARP. I was just dicking around. And that’s mostly what I’ll be doing at Origins, dicking around.

Maybe I’ll see if I can find another catgirl hat, then I’ll stalk Wil Wheaton, then at an opportune moment, I’ll put it on, and rush toward him, arms outstretched, uttering my loudest profundo basso, “SQEEEEEE!”

Yeah. I think I’m going to have a good time.

And if I find out that I am doing any particular panels ahead of time, I’ll come back to this blog and post the details on them right here.

(Placeholder for potential details.)

  • Anyway, on to business. Today we have some new interviews:

This first one is by my UK publisher, Gollancz. It’s a brief interview they’re using to draw a little attention to the fact that I’ve been shortlisted for the David Gemmel Award this year. (Voting ends May 31st).

Fair warning, this one’s kinda short, and I was realllly punchy when I answered their questions. Really punchy.

The second interview was a little different for me. It was done by a woman who normally runs a fashion blog. So a few of the questions ended up being a little different than what I’m normally asked.  I think I might have horrified them a little when I told them I only own one pair of pants.

That’s all for now, folks. Share and enjoy.

pat

Posted in accolades, appearances, Interviews | By Pat39 Responses

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.

Honestly.

  • 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!

Posted in conventions, geeking out, recommendations, Tales from the Con, videos | By Pat50 Responses

My First Discworld Convention

So this weekend I went to NADWcon: The North American Discworld convention.

I know what you’re thinking. Technically there shouldn’t be a “W” in that acronym. But without it, they’d have to call the convention NADcon, and that would attract the entirely wrong sort of attendee.

Truth is, the last thing I needed in my schedule right now was another convention. It’s not that I don’t enjoy cons, I do. I love hanging out with other geeks, being on panels, doing readings and signing books. It’s a good time.

But conventions tend to be expensive, exhausting, and time-consuming. Any two of those are hard to deal with, but all three together can be a crushing combination. Especially now that little Oot is in the picture. He’s sentient enough to miss me, and I feel guilty leaving him for days at a time.

Luckily, this con was in Madison, which is pretty much my backyard. I can drive there in less than two hours, and Sarah and Oot can come along with relatively little hassle.

But the real reason I was willing to go to this convention was the fact that Terry Pratchett was attending.

I’ve talked about Pratchett’s books on the blog before. Most specifically, his book Nation, and the Tiffany Aching series.

I haven’t bothered mentioning him much more than that for the simple reason that I assume you’ve already read his stuff. If you read my books, you read fantasy. And if you read fantasy, you know about Terry Pratchett. Q.E.D.

Anyway. Suffice to say that I’m a Pratchett fan. I’ve been reading him for more than 20 years, and the thought of getting to see him in person was too much to pass up.

The convention was a different experience for me. I’m used to cons where all different types of geeks get together and revel in their nerdery. You’ll see someone dressed up as Harry Dresden chatting with a hot vulcan girl. You’ll see a catgirl playing Catan with a kid wearing a Dalek outfit.

But at this con, the focus was all Pratchett, and 98% of that focus was Discworld.

That means no catgirls. Many feegles.

I did a tiny signing and a tiny reading. I wasn’t really an official part of the convention because I don’t have anything to do with Pratchett (other than liking him a bunch.) But that itself was nice in a way, as it meant I could spend time with my family.

Cool things:

  • There was a guy there who did crazy-cool balloon animals. I’m not talking about a hat or a poodle or shit like that. I’m talking about Death Riding A Motorcycle.

Or Granny Weatherwax:

He also did a cool dragon for Oot:

This picture doesn’t do the dragon justice. You’ll have to take my word for the fact that it’s awesome, and it looks like it’s breathing fire.

  • I got to hear Terry talk about writing and tell stories.

A lot of the biggest panels were ones featuring Terry himself. Including one about his work on The Long Earth with Steven Baxter.

  • Swag.

I bought a copy of Thud! and some coins and stamps from Discworld. It’s cool to see things like stamps from a fictional world. They’re an odd combination of souvenir and artifact. I’d love to make some coins set in the Four Corners world….

  • Neil Gaiman.

Neil made a surprise appearance at the con where he and Terry spent a couple of hours talking about Good Omens on a panel. It was cool watching them tell embarrassing stories about each other. They knew each other back in the day, back before they strode the earth like titans.

Oot slept through the panel, which was nice, as that meant Sarah and I both got to listen to it, as opposed to having to tag-team and take turns watching him.

He woke up at the very end, just as Gaiman was presenting Pratchett with an award. After looking around bleerily for a moment, he correctly sensed the mood of the room and burst out with a preemptive “Yay!”

It was a sentiment pretty much everyone shared.

It was a good time overall. Oot made some kid-aged friends and got to climb stairs, so he was happy. Sarah got to go to a con and bum around State Street a bit, so she had a good time, too.

But for me, the high point of the weekend was on the last day of the con, when I got Terry Pratchett’s autograph.

More about that tomorrow,

pat

Posted in conventions, Oot, Sarah, Tales from the Con | By Pat33 Responses
  • Our Store

  • Previous Posts

  • Archives

  • My Twitter

  • Bookmark this Blog

    (IE and Firefox users only - Safari users, click Command-D)