Category Archives: a few words you’re probably going to have to look up

Wyrmwood Gaming: The Prophecy Gaming Table

I’m guessing if you read my blog, you’ve heard of Wyrmwood Gaming before.

They’re the ones who have produced the high-end Tak sets we’ve made. Both the ones in the initial kickstarter, the travel sets we have in the Tinker’s packs, and the one-of-a-kind set pictured above that’s currently up for grabs in the fundraiser’s prize lottery where every $10 bucks gets you a chance to win among thousands of games and books.

I love them with a fierce love, which is why we’ve done so much with them, including, for example, the wooden poker chip sets we did in our recent playing card Kickstarter.

But I’m not here to tell you about the cool stuff they’ve done in the past.

No. I’m here to tell you how cool they are right now…

*      *      *

About a week and a half ago, I went to PAX unplugged where I met up with some friends, played some D&D, and just generally mucked about and had a good time.

I stopped by the Wyrmwood booth too, because, as I mentioned, I love them. I looked around at some of the new stuff they had for sale, chatted with some of the folks there, checked out the Tak set they had on display…

And then, off to one side of their booth, I saw this:

And here’s the thing. This is the point at which words fail me. This table. It was so beautiful. Not just that, it was amazingly well designed and engineered.

This is going to sound a little crazy. But I couldn’t stop touching it. I was there, chatting to the folks running the booth, and I realized that for the last 10 minutes I’d been obsessively running my hands over the table. Almost… well… kinda petting it.

But no. That actually undersells what was going on. I was caressing the table. I’m sorry to put it in those terms. But I was. I was caressing this table in a sensual and loving manner. And I could not find it within myself to stop.

I honestly don’t want to make this weird. But I don’t know how else to explain to you how much I fell in love with this table. How it looked and how it felt.

And then they showed me how it worked. How the recessed playing area could be raised and lowered. How they used rare-earth magnets to secure the drink holders. How the leaves that covered the table were not only tongue-and-groove, and not only held together with magnets, but it also has a rubber gasket so if you spill something it won’t leak through and ruin your game underneath!

God. s I’m typing this, I’m actually angry and sad and frustrated that I can’t accurately describe to you how amazing it was.

Here’s a picture they took of me when I was there.

(Look at my hands.)

How ginchy is this table? Let me tell it you. If a Unicorn were a gaming table, this is the table it would be. If you went to god’s house to play D&D, this is what you’d see. This is the Tesla of gaming tables. It’s the one table to rule them all.

This is the Lin-Manuel Miranda of gaming tables.

Anyway. While I was talking to them, creepily caressing their table, I thanked them for the donations that they had already made to this year’s fundraiser. And then I mentioned, using my best used-car salesman tones, that if they wanted to donate a table to Worldbuilders, I’d do a really good job of showing it off to the world.

And here’s the thing. They said yes.

 

*     *     *

Yeah. So as of right now, there is a Black Walnut Prophecy table in the Worldbuilders prize lottery. That means for every ten bucks you donate, you get a chance to win. (Not only the table, but over $150,000 of other books, games, and geeky swag we’re giving away.)

By the way, here’s a video that shows off the table at some length. You should really check it out.

Let me say it again: This Black Walnut Prophecy table is being added into the lottery for *anyone* to win who donates $10 or more, and selects “GAMES” as one of the items they’d like to win.

The winner, in addition to the table, will also get up to $500 worth of rail accessories of the their choice (in matching Black Walnut, this would be roughly 4 cup holders and 4 component collectors). The total retail value of all of this is $10,500. And, again, anyone who selects games as one of the types of things they’d like to win is eligible to win this table. You could donate $10 and still possibly win this.

Now, there’s some things to take note of.

First of all, this table would be fulfilled at the end of May 2019. Wyrmwood has already sold a bunch of these tables, and they can’t promise it would be done any sooner than that. You’d know you won it early next year (when Worldbuilders does the prize draw) but you’d be waiting until May 2019 for it to arrive.

Additionally, a $500 shipping credit will be applied. Which is to say, you’d be responsible for paying any additional shipping costs for delivery. See, this table is huge, and hefty. Solid wood craftsmanship is like that. And since we’re not limiting this prize to only people in North America, there’s a chance the shipping could cost a LOT of money.

When the winner is selected, we’ll reach out to be sure they’re willing and able to cover any additional shipping costs. If the winner declines, we’ll draw another name and a new winner will be chosen.

Believe me when I say, you want this table. If you’ve been holding out on donating, now’s the time to jump in, and maybe you’ll win.

And also, if you get the chance, can you show the folks at Wyrmwood a little love when you get the chance? They’ve really gone above and beyond with this donation, and they deserve some kudos.

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Arts and Crafts, Beautiful Games, cool news, geeking out, Worldbuilders 2017 | By Pat9 Responses

Giving Tuesday: For the Love of Cows

As I type this, Worldbuilders has raised more than $279,000 dollars.

It’s also Giving Tuesday. And I’m going to be honest with you. Part of me really wants to be snarky about that. This year someone used the term “Thanksgiving Eve” around me, and I went on a tirade because no. No there is no such thing as that. We started with Thanksgiving. Then we got Black Friday and that was fine. Then there was small business Saturday and that was kinda okay. Because yay, small businesses…

But then there was Cyber Monday too, and you know what? Not everything has to have a day. Sometimes it’s just Wednesday. So no, thank you very much, it’s not Thanksgiving Eve.

So I’m going to be honest with you. I feel a little bit the same about Giving Tuesday. That cussed, contrary part of me *really* wants to have a problem with it. It feels kinda… artificial.

Boy, this isn’t the best way to start off a charity blog, is it? I’m doing this all wrong.

Here’s the thing. No matter how I happen to feel right now, today is still Giving Tuesday. It’s a day when a lot of people feel moved to donate to charity. And even at my most curmudgeonly, I think that’s pretty great.

And *because* it’s Giving Tuesday, I’m supposed to write a blog that will inspire y’all. To be generous. To dig deep. To think of others. To pick Worldbuilders as your charity of choice, donate, (and maybe win some fabulous prizes while you’re at it.)

I’ve written those blogs in the past. Typically about halfway through the fundraiser I get caught up in the excitement, write something passionate, and y’all warm my bitter heart & stomp out to donate. This has happened ever year so far, and it reinforces my belief that humanity is good. And that geeks in particular are lovely, empathetic, large-hearted individuals.

But this year… I don’t really have a great idea for a blog. I… honestly? I just feel so tired. Every day the news beats me down a little more. Every day it seems like the world is a little more on fire. Every day it seems like we’re just a little closer to the brink.

And we just had my dad’s funeral this weekend. I’m not bouncing back from that as quickly as I thought I would.

But the fact remains that it’s Giving Tuesday. And I’m the only one who can write this blog. So I’m writing a blog. And, apparently, I’m determined to make a mess of it. This really isn’t how it’s supposed to go….

*     *     *

I just got up from the computer and had a walk, pretty convinced that when I sat down again, I’d have to erase what I’d written and start over.

But instead, I found this on my dining room table.

(Click to embiggen)

This is a box my son brought over to my house a couple weeks ago at the beginning of our fundraiser. It’s full of change he’s been collecting all year. He *really* wants to get enough to buy a cow for a family through for Heifer International.

If you want to know why, here’s the video from a couple years ago:

My boy knows a cow costs $500, and he’s been working at it tirelessly. He scrounges the house for change, going through our pants pockets and couch cushions. He has emptied both his own piggy bank and his brother’s. He opened a store after Halloween, selling his candy haul piece by piece to anyone who came over to the house….

Sometimes he just straight-up shakes people down for money, explaining how helpful a cow can be to a family that doesn’t have much food or money. In fact, just this weekend at my dad’s visitation, I found out he was offering funeral home mints to people for a quarter. I explained, gently, that this might not be the best place for that. But not before he brought me a check a kind soul had written out to Worldbuilders.

Somehow I don’t think my dad would mind. Especially not given what I found in the box just now.

I think this must have come from a letter they exchanged over the last year. My dad wasn’t an easy man to persuade, but he had a soft spot for my little boy….

I don’t know if I have a real point to sharing this with you except to say that finding this box made me feel… happy. I feel proud of my boy. And right now, when my own enthusiasm is at a little bit of a low ebb, it’s nice to be able to borrow a little bit of excitement.

If you want to be excited about what a cow can do for a family, you should watch this video. It’s not even two minutes long.

Tomorrow, I think I’m going to show my boy that video. We’ll count his change and we’ll talk about cows.

In fact, I’m going to invite him to come livestream with me tomorrow, too. (For the next two weeks, I’m streaming to raise awareness of our fundraiser 4-7 CST every day.) Tomorrow, he and I will do it as a team. We’ll play some video games and talk about cows.

You can come on over to my stream and meet him, if you like. Maybe a little of his enthusiasm will rub off on you too.

That seems like a nice way to spend Giving Tuesday.

[edit: Amanda here! We’ve made a team page to support Oot and his change jar, so if you want to help him raise enough for a cow, you can donate here.]

*     *     *

Just to be clear, Heifer International doesn’t just deal in cows. It works with people around the world to improve their lives in the long term. They don’t give people a loaf of bread or a sack of rice. They provide animals and materials sometimes. But more importantly they provide education. They provide the training and tools to become better, more efficient farmers and business people.

Take Félix Octavio Rosales for example. He’d been farming for many years before he received Heifer training as a part of the Healthy and Sovereign Land project.

Félix and his wife, Mrs. Gómez, had been using chemical fertilizers and pesticides without understanding what they were doing and the harm they were causing to not just their farm, but their health.

They attended multiple workshops and training sessions with the Healthy and Sovereign Land project and were educated in how to make their own fertilizers and pesticides naturally. Instead of spending money on agricultural chemicals, they made their own out of the rabbit and guinea pig manure they already had at hand. Their soil has become nutrient rich, and the produce yield has increased significantly.

Mrs. Gómez has been able to sell the additional produce at the weekly market fair, empowering her to contribute income to her family.

“Another change is in my health,” Félix said. “I see this reflected in the way I feel when I work and when I have to walk long distances; I feel better. I see these changes because the food we eat is natural, without chemicals.”

And all of this was through education alone, provided by Heifer International.

The projects that involve gifts like chickens require training too, like Ndiolle Faye went through.

For many years, Faye’s family lived in poverty, struggling to get two meals a day during the off-season on their farm, and eating mostly millet the rest of the year. Faye was unable to go to school as a child, and though she tried to make it a priority to send her children to school, there was never enough money.

Then Faye joined the Wax Bakh Self-Help Group as a part of a Heifer project.

“Assistance started with a series of trainings, building a hen house and the placement of four hens and an improved breed rooster,” she said. “There was great joy in my family and in the  community. I saw this as an opportunity to move ahead in life.”

She received the gift of a flock of chickens, which quickly grew from 5 birds to 155. Her family’s income greatly increased, and she was able to run a business as she’d always hoped to do.

Less than two years later, she had sold more than 100 chickens. She used that money to buy 2 young rams for the purpose of fattening them up and re-selling them, providing more income and further diversifying her farm. Now she buys and sells rams three times a year, and invests the money into her poultry farm as well as saving more for her family.

She no longer worries about paying for her children’s education. If she doesn’t have the money, she can simply sell some of her chickens at the beginning of the semester to pay for school fees, new clothes, and supplies.

By integrating livestock and agriculture, she increased her income while improving her family’s food security and nutrition. Growing the flock increased the quantity of manure available, which she used to replenish the soil. As a result, her farm yield has increased by 20 percent. She keeps a portion of the harvested produce to add nutritional diversity to their meals.

Now, two years after receiving her flock of chickens, her family eats three nutritious and diverse meals daily, all year long.

Faye has also participated in the Heifer Cornerstone of Passing on the Gift, where she shares her training and a starter flock of birds to families who are in need.

And get this: As of today, she has Passed on the Gift to 11 different families.

“I am a happy woman. I meet my needs, and support my family. I own a poultry farm and we eat well. I can sell poultry anytime we face any challenge. We eat eggs and chicken as we want. And I have basic livestock husbandry skills – all thanks to the Smallholder Income and Nutrition Project.”

***

Okay. Now I’m into it again. I’m excited. Are you feeling it? Because I’m feeling it….

This is what we’re doing with our fundraiser, folks. This is what Heifer International does, and everything you donate to the fundraiser goes to help programs like this.

The gift of Bountiful Harvest training costs $72.

The gift of a flock of chickens, and the training necessary to raise them, is only $20.

Clean water for a whole village costs $300.

A cow, of course, costs $500 dollars. As my son will no doubt explain to you tomorrow on our livestream.

If the world is getting you down, try joining us here at Worldbuilders. You can give a family the chance to be self-reliant. You can help parents feed their children. You can literally change someone’s life forever. Seriously.

Here’s that donate link one more time.

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Heifer International, Oot, Worldbuilders 2017 | By Pat9 Responses

Worldbuilders 2017

Welcome to you, geeks of all creeds and nations. Welcome, my beloved, bookish brethren and sistren. Welcome, my lovely, empathetic, large-hearted people.

It’s time to make the world a better place. It’s time to fly our flags and engage in fabulous ballyhoo. It’s time to feed hungry children (while winning fabulous prizes.)

It’s time for the annual Worldbuilders fundraiser.

Worldbuilders-Logo_Web--less-space

Over the years, people like you have helped Worldbuilders raise more than $7,000,000 to make the world a better place by partnering with charities such as Mercy Corps and First Book.

Our end-of-the-year fundraiser focuses on our favorite charity: Heifer International, an organization that gives people the training and tools to raise themselves out of poverty and starvation. For more than 60 years, Heifer has worked to improve education, sustainable agriculture, and local industry all over the world.

Don’t take my word for it though. Watch this instead. Seriously. It’s only a minute and a half.

This is what Heifer is all about. They don’t just poke food into hungry kids, they make it so families can control their own futures and take care of themselves. Heifer gives families chickens, and sheep so children have milk to drink, eggs to eat, and warm clothes to wear. They provide communities with clean water to drink, building materials to improve homes, and education that helps improve crop yields.

Heifer International helps people help themselves. It gives people the tools so that they can become self-sufficient. Forever.

If you want to be part of that, there are a few different ways you can contribute to the cause:

  • Option 1: The Lottery

This is the simplest option. Just head over to our fundraising page and donate.

When you donate on that page you’ll be entered into our prize lottery, which contains thousands of books, games, comics, and more.

For every $10 you donate on the fundraising page, your name will be entered into our random drawing. So if you donate $30 (enough for a flock of chickens) your name goes in three times. Donate enough for a goat ($120) and your name goes in 12 times. Enough to give clean water to a whole village ($300) you get 30 chances to win.

What’s in the lottery? A lot. So much that if I showed it to you all at once, the raw intensity of the aggregate awesome would cook your brain like a toad thrown into the sun.

So we’ve spread things out so that we can show them to you in all their glory without risking your precious brain. I’ll be posting up some of it here on my blog, but there will be content going up pretty much every weekday on the Worldbuilders website.

If you head over there, you can see *all* the geeky swag we’re giving away on our Lottery Library page. We’ll update it throughout the fundraiser as more donations come in….

You can also check out blogs full of prizes here:

In order to make sure everyone wins prizes they’ll love, when you make a donation, we let you pick what types of stuff you’d like to win…

As an added bonus, there are lots of sub-team pages you can donate to while still being part of the main fundraiser (and lottery).

There’s a team page for Professional Manuscript Critiques, which has a handful of fantastic authors and editors offering to critique your manuscript. If you donate on their page you’re eligible for the same lottery prizes as anyone else, PLUS those critiques.

There’s also The Fishery: Kingkiller Prizes where we have a whole pile of Kingkiller-specific prizes that people have made. There’s things like fan-made art, a beautiful Cthaeh quilt, some hand-made Tak sets, and a lot more… (If you have something Kingkiller you’d like to donate to this mini lottery, get in touch at donations (at) worldbuilders.org.) Again, donating to this team gets you entries to the regular lottery, plus this exclusive lottery of themed goodies.

There’s a bunch of other team pages too. Too many to list here, but if you’re curious you can go here and check them out.

You can also make a team page of your own if you want. Set your own goals. Invite your friends or family. Create your own rewards, or maybe just try to rally people in a fandom you’re fond of….

  • Option 2: Auctions

Sometimes we get donations that are cool…but only to a select group of people. Some people would squee with delight at winning a portal gun, but some people  just wouldn’t be into it.

(sad, unhappy people)

The same thing is true with action figures, musical instruments, manuscripts, collectibles. Signed art and rare books. Cameo appearances in books. Manuscript critiques….

When things like that get donated, we put them up for auction.

All our current auctions are over on the Worldbuilders eBay page. Keep an eye on it. We’ll be adding stuff all the time.

The funds raised through the auctions will be going to Heifer International too, so you’re still helping us have a huge impact on the lives of people who need it.

  • The Sure Thing (The Holiday Gift Option.)

For those of you who want to have an absolute sure thing, we have an online store.

We have geekery from my books, games, t-shirts, and tons of other stuff for your perusal. You won’t be entered in our prize lottery, but all the profits will go to Worldbuilders and help make the world a better place.

Fun and Games.

Every year, we also do some fun events for Worldbuilders. We will be posting up whimsical videos on our youtube channel as always, and organizing another video game tournament along the lines of last year’s Overwatch Tournament.

And, in following of the tradition of the last two years, I’ll be…

  • Streaming on Twitch

For the last couple of years I’ve been livestreaming on Twitch to raise awareness of the charity. In the past I’ve done Q&A sessions about the craft of writing or mental health. We’ve played board games, had sing-alongs and blanket forts.

I’ve also played games, obviously. The last two years I’ve played Fallout 4 and Witcher 3. I’m not sure what I’m going to do this year, but I’ve heard good things about Destiny 2….

My Twitch schedule through the end of the fundraiser will be MONDAY – FRIDAY 4PM-7pm CST

(Unfortunately, I won’t be starting until Wednesday the 15th, because I’m away from my streaming computer right now.)

Note: I might also be streaming on the weekends. But those days will be more erratic, especially as I’ll be at PAX Unplugged from November 17th to the 20th, and I’ll also be skipping November 22nd to the 25th to spend Thanksgiving with my family.

The fabulous Amanda might do a stream or two on days where I’m not available, too. She seemed pretty excited to show you her Stardew Valley farm. I’m also going to bring in some other people to play games with, make funny talk, and just generally have a good time.

But you won’t catch wind of any of this, if you haven’t headed over here to my twitch channel, followed me there, then changed your settings so you get a notification when I start a new stream.

Important Links and Contact Information

Our website will have all of the information you’ll need, including how much money we’ve raised and how many prizes are currently in the lottery. Worldbuilders also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account for those of you who like to have the internet injected directly into your veins.

Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Check out our handy FAQ.

Want to donate something to Worldbuilders? Help us spread the word? Do a stretch goal? Write a story for your local paper? Drop us a line here: donations [at] worldbuilders.org.

All right folks. Are you ready? I’m so ready.

Let’s do this thing.

pat

P.S. Just in case you missed it, here’s one more link to our Fundraiser donation page.

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, calling on the legions, cool news, Worldbuilders 2017 | By Pat15 Responses

The Tak FAQ

Well folks, we’re in the home stretch of the Tak kickstarter. Since my last blog on the subject we’ve launched some new stuff, like a much-requested cloth board and the opportunity to buy Devi’s board separately from the boxed set, so that more people can afford to pick it up.

1a5e006cecaa06cf2593880636d5887a_original(Also available in the appropriately-named Gaelet’s Pack.)

As I write this, we’ve just topped $800,000 in the kickstarter. Almost 7,500 people have jumped in to play with us, and there’s only four days left for people who want to get in on the action. So if you know of anyone who might be interested, this would be the time to ping them.

Since we started the kickstarter, I’ve been fielding questions here in the comments of the blog and on twitter. But some of them have come up enough that it feels like we’re overdue for an FAQ.

  • So… I thought Tak was just a different name for Go.

Nope. Sorry. Different game.

  • Is this game accessible to the blind?

A little, but ultimately, not really.

When this question first came up, I thought we were pretty good. The pieces have different shapes, so you can tell them apart by touch. What’s more, the Arcanist’s board has grooves, so you can even feel the squares.

But then I looked into it, and saw what a game really needs to be usable by the blind. Among other things, it requires pieces that can’t be accidentally knocked over. And that would involve us prototyping some sort of pegged pieces and a pegged board to go with it. And there just isn’t enough time.

My suggestion? Maybe start a conversation in the Tak subreddit and see if someone has and idea about adapting the pieces. Or if you have a 3D printer, you could design and print your own pieces that are more blind-compatible. There’s a plethora of options.

  • Can I make my own set?

If we weren’t cool with that, we wouldn’t be encouraging people to do it as a stretch goal. We know if you play the game you’ll like it and probably want to pick up a copy. But to play it, you’re going to have to make up a set.

Luckily, you can throw a set together from almost anything:

ChL3heKVEAAFBdn(Like Post-its.)

And play almost anywhere:

ChmDkW-W0AAfrxG(Like the Great Wall of China.)

Some folks have gone really crazy making their own sets:

CiRg7EqXEAIsaFj(Like this one made of iron. I think of as the Anti-Faen set.)

And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface, if you want to see a bunch more photos, you should check out the #Takgamephoto hashtag on twitter.

  • Can I make sets and then sell them?

Well… no. You shouldn’t do that. Because that’s kind-of a dick move.

Remember the kickstarter we’re running? Where we are… y’know, selling the game that we made? Selling something that belongs to someone else isn’t really a cool thing to do. Above and beyond the legality it’s just not respectful. James hammered this lovely, elegant game out of the pure awesome in his brain. And you know how he makes a living? Wait for it…. he sells games.

So yeah. Don’t do that. Kinda rude.

  • Why does it cost actual money to ship this thing? Don’t you have a magical teleporter to Europe?

Okay I know that’s not what you guys are actually saying, but the truth is, it kinda *sounds* like what you’re saying when you complain about how much international shipping costs.

I know it’s pricey. But please keep in mind that international shipping requires a box being carefully packed, then moved thousands of miles. This requires multiple planes and trucks. Multiple people. It is complicated and hard, and hard things cost money. I mean, there’s a *reason* spice used to cost so much, and it’s not just that the Fremen had a monopoly.

That said, we are sympathetic to your plight. And we were wondering if there was a way for multiple people to order games together and save on shipping. So we asked Carol, the true Mistress of Shipping Questions over at Cheapass, and here’s what she gave us.

I’ve fielded a few direct messages from people, and explained that all they need to do is back for one person (at even just the $5 level), and then do their add-ons through the pledge manager for up to another 10 games. That lets them see the exact postage as they go, and select the precise collection of products they want for their friend-group or buying club.

So there you go. Just team up with some friends and everyone saves money.

  • I have an idea for a rule change!

We’re pretty confident in the rules at this point. We wouldn’t have launched the game if we weren’t sure that the game was good.

  • I AM FROTHY WITH RAGE THAT YOU’RE MAKING THIS GAME AND NOT THE ONE I JUST INVENTED IN MY HEAD.

1. That is not a question.

2. I am happy you have a game in your head. You should make that game.

  • How can there be an Edema Ruh board or University board if Kvothe has never played before?

There’s a game I’ve played my whole life called euchre, and I’m guessing that 90% of you haven’t ever played it. Most of you have never played Go even though there’s probably group of devoted players in your nearby college or town. Ditto with bridge, or Sheepshead. Or any of  number of very common games.

Relax. Kvothe was only 12 when he lost his troupe, and he’s been kinda busy since then. Most importantly, not everyone experiences everything a culture has to offer.

  • I still don’t really understand how to play the game…

We have a video that will help with that.

  • How high do you think the kickstarter will go?

I honestly have no idea. Before we started, I was kinda hoping we’d get past $500K, but we passed that more than a week ago. I really don’t know where things are going to end up.

At this point, I’m just trying to be happy that so many people have been enjoying the game.

CiTPYTIUYAAJIhS

That said, I *have* been spending a lot of time over at Kicktraq. There’s a bunch of graphs and charts that juggle the kickstarter data over there, and I’m mildly addicted to it. Here’s a link if you’re the sort of person who likes graphs.

If you have any other questions, feel free to comment here on the blog, or drop them over on the kickstarter itself, where James and his crew will tackle them.

Later Space Cowboys,

pat

P.S. And a final link to the Kickstarter, for those of you would like to go check it out directly.

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, FAQ, side projects | By Pat54 Responses

Question Bedtime – Mornings Come and Go

It’s really not surprising that I’m a fan of M.C. Frontalot. We run in the same circles after all. We have a lot of the same friends, go to the same conventions…. I think we’ve even performed in the same shows a couple of different times.

What *is* surprising is how long it took for me to become a fan. I’ve known about him for ages, seen him perform, sat next to him at signings….

But here’s the thing. You can know someone, know about their work, and even enjoy their work without being a fan. For me, being a fan isn’t the same as just occasionally buying, listening to, or liking someone’s art.

The line between being a fan and a guy-who-enjoys-your-art can be blurry. But I know I’ve crossed that line when I feel compelled to spread the art around. For example, I regularly buy copies of Peter S. Beagle’s Last Unicorn to have handy when I want to give it away to people. That’s not something I do for every book I just enjoy.

This is what pushed me firmly into the fan camp for Frontalot:

MC_Frontalot_-_Question_BedtimeIt’s hard for me to express in words how much I adore this CD.

You know when you love something like a TV show and a new episode comes out? And you’re excited because you get more of that thing you love?

Finding this CD wasn’t like that for me. At all.

Listening to this CD was like finding something I loved that I never even knew I wanted before. It’s like it filled a hole in my soul I never knew existed.

It’s a collection of songs that retell classic folk stories. From the familiar little red riding hood to the delightfully obscure  Wakjąkága.

Do I even need to tell you how delighted I was to be listening to this collection of folktales and run into one that I didn’t even know? Do you know how rare that is for me? But here I am, already enjoying twelve colours of awesome out of these songs, grooving along, and suddenly *bam* Wakjąkága. Eating his own butt. And I’m like, what? Seriously? Did you just out-obscure me mythologically? While rapping? 

Okay. I gotta calm down a little.

Last year at a convention, I go up to Frontalot and gush to such an extent that I’m probably lucky he didn’t signal security. Later on, he asks me if I’d be interested in helping him spread the word about the album by helping him debut one of the videos he made for it.

Which brings us to today.

The Song is Mornings Come and Go.

Watch it. Watch it ten times.

Here’s some words from brilliant, crazy brain of Frontalot himself:

I drew mostly from a Norwegian fairy tale called The Mastermaid, which I had been enamored of when I was little, reading it in my mom’s large illustrated copy of Idries Shah’s World  Tales. I think this text is identical to the one he used: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/norway120.html

I also pulled details (the tasks that the ogre assigns to the boy, the magic obstacles the maid throws down while escaping) from other countries’ versions of the story, including Nix Naught Nothing and Lady Feather Flight.

The Norwegian version has three acts: the boy protected the maid in the house of the beast, the obstacle flight, and the forgotten fiance, all of which come, I think, from even earlier folk tale traditions (forgotten fiance even figures into Hindu myths of Rama and Sita). I end the song at the very beginning of act III to emphasize what a terrible cad the ostensible hero of the story is.

The video is by Cheyenne Picardo. She decided that the story matches up well with the John Hughes movie Some Kind of Wonderful, with Stoltz as the boy, Thompson as the ogre, and Masterson as the mastermaid. Then she re-cast that as an OKCupid nightmare with local NY personalities: Bob the Drag Queen (officially announced to be on the upcoming season of Ru Paul’s Drag  Race, though appearing out of drag here), Hye Yun Park (star of “Hey Yun“), and Melissa Roth (NY stage actress). The big rotating kiss scene is a shot-for-shot from SKoW.

So… there’s a lot going on! You can explore that as deeply or as shallowly as you like.

The other videos from Question Bedtime were:

And all my other official music videos are in this playlist.

So there you go. I’ve been waiting to gush about this album for *months* now. But I had to wait until the video was done.

If you’d like a copy of the album for your very own, and you like supporting artists who make awesome things, you can buy it on Bandcamp or iTunes.

Myself, I’ve already bought six or seven copies. One for each car I drive (yes, I still use real CD’s) and others to give away as presents.

Share and enjoy everyone,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, music | By Pat40 Responses

Hollywood News

As many of you know, a few days before San Deigo Comic-Con this year, the option on my books expired.

What this means is that ages ago, I sold some people the rights (the option) to make a TV show based off The Kingkiller Chronicles. They tried to make it happen, but it didn’t work out. Then, when the option period expired, all the rights reverted back to me.

Just so you know, this sort of thing happens all the time. The vast majority of things that get optioned never get made. The same way that most people that think about writing a book never get it published. Shit happens. People lose interest. Things get complicated. Projects lose momentum.

I don’t have handy statistics at my fingertips, but I’d be willing to bet a dollar that more than 98% of all book options end this way, with no TV show or movie or anything happening.

Anyway, my rights reverted. It didn’t come as a huge shock to me.

This, on the other hand, was a surprise:

BiddingWar

(Click on the headline if you want to read the article.)

Because everyone was suddenly interested in the books,  I spent most of my Comic-Con having meetings with representatives from every major Hollywood power. At least that’s what it felt like to me. It was a strange experience, and I talked about it in some detail on the episode of Untitled Rothfuss podcast that Max and I recorded out at the convention.

To say that I didn’t know what I was doing in those meetings is a bit of an understatement. In fact, I remember starting several of the meetings by saying, “I have no idea what I’m supposed to do in this meeting.” I also dimly remember explaining to someone that there was no way you could turn The Name of the Wind into a movie. I explained it rather, well… emphatically for, like, 20 minutes. I’m pretty sure that’s fairly high on the list of things you’re not supposed to do in a meeting with someone who wants to turn your book into a movie.

I had fun though. It’s nice to be desired. For that brief moment in time I was the prettiest girl at the party, and everyone wanted to dance with me. (Only frequent readers of the blog can appreciate how clean I kept that little analogy.)

Princess Pat

The meetings weren’t stressful for this simple reason: I wasn’t that interested in turning my books into a movie. I know for a lot of authors, a movie deal is like the holy grail. It’s kinda free money. And if a movie gets made? Well, then, you get a truckload of cash, a bucket of fame, and your books get to hang out on the bestseller lists for a while. Usually a long, LONG while.

But honestly? Money’s never been a huge motivator for me. And my books already sell well. And I’m already more celebritous than I’m entirely comfortable with.

Most importantly though, I’ve never been that interested in a straight-up movie deal. Pretty much every fantasy movie created so far has been an action movie, or plot centered, or both. And my books aren’t like that. My books are about the characters. They’re about secrets and mysteries and the hidden turnings of the world. My books are all about antici-

 

-pation. And a movie, even a long movie, simply doesn’t have enough time to fit all of that stuff in. That’s why my original option was for a TV show. I wanted space for the story to breathe.

So when I met with these people from movie studios, I told them that I wasn’t terribly interested in a movie deal. Not to be a dick, but because I prefer to be honest with folks. I’m happy to have meetings, talk about stories, listen to a pitch…  As I said, it’s fun to be desired. It’s nice that you think my books are pretty. Let’s have a dance. But I wanted them to know that I wasn’t really planning on jumping into bed with anyone. (Damn. I knew the analogy was going to end up there eventually.)

KvotheDress

There was one exception. When I met with Lionsgate, I said, “If you come at me with a movie offer, it’s going to be a hard sell. I’m not that excited about movies by themselves. But you guys are different from a lot of other studios. Those guys are huge. Monolithic. But you’re more agile and innovative. Your movie people and your TV people actually know each other. They could work together. Share resources.

I continued: “If you came at me with a pitch that involved a television show AND a movie, I’d listen to that. I’d listen really hard, because something like that would let us be big-budget while still giving my story room to breathe. It would give people the ability to spend more time in my world. I can’t think of anyone who has really done that, but it seems like we could have the best of both worlds that way. And it seems to me that you guys are one of the only places that could realistically pull something like that off.”

Yeah. I’m from small-town Wisconsin. But I’m not stupid. And it’s impossible to have 15 hours of meeting with Hollywood people without learning something about who’s who and how that world fits together.

But ultimately, I was just shooting my mouth off and I knew it. I was running on too much caffeine and too little sleep, but I still realized what I was saying was something along the lines of, “I see you guys are offering me the moon, but I’d really like the moon AND a chocolate cake with solid gold frosting. And you need to make the cake from scratch.”

So comic-con finished up. I went home. My coach turned back into a pumpkin and my pretty dress turned back into a geeky-tshirt and kinda grubby pair of cargo shorts. Which is probably for the best. As I’m not very good at important meetings or dancing. I’m way too beardy to be a princess.

PumpkinPat

The End.

*     *     *

Then Lionsgate got in touch. “About that whole TV-show-and-a-movie thing you mentioned,” they said. “If we’re going to do some sort of big narratively intertwined multi-platform development deal based on your books, wouldn’t it make more sense to do a video game along with the TV show and movies? Because seriously, why wouldn’t we want to do a video game too?” (I’m paraphrasing a little here you understand.)

I said, “What?”

*     *     *

Since then, I’ve been talking with Lionsgate kind of a lot. Going over particulars. Talking serious talks.

And when I say, “I’ve been talking with Lionsgate” I mean “Me and my team of skilled movie-smart people who do this for a living and some of them are powerful, hard-eyed lawyers.” Because like I said, I’m from small-town Wisconsin, but I’m not stupid.

And I’ll be honest, from the first moment I sat down at the table, I was ready to walk away. I liked the way Lionsgate was willing to dream big with me about adapting my books. They were willing to think outside the box. They were willing to make a whole new box just so we could go outside of it.

But… well… Hollywood is scary. The contracts are, to be quite honest, horrifying. And the power differential is immense. Even the smallest of studios is more powerful than some countries. And the biggest author ever is kinda not a very big deal at all.

So yeah. Silly as it might sound, from the very beginning of this process, I was willing to walk away from the deal. I was almost looking for an excuse to do it, because life is too short. I didn’t want to get a sack of money and pat on the head, then spend the next three years watching helplessly as they molested my books.

LolliPat

So we started to negotiate, and that’s where I received my biggest surprise of all.

You see, I never expected a studio would treat me like a human being. But through this whole process, Lionsgate has treated me with amazing respect. I’ve made what to me seem like reasonable requests, and they responded to them… reasonably. And I’m not just talking about pretty words here, they’re making contractual agreements granting me control of things. They haven’t just been reasonable, they’ve been kind, and understanding.

WandPat

To be perfectly honest, it’s a bit disconcerting. I never anticipated that a Hollywood studio would treat me like a human being. Let alone want to work with me as a creative partner and respect the fact that I do, in fact, know a lot about how stories work. This story in particular.

So… yeah. That’s the news. Me and them, we’re gonna do a thing.

Lionsgate is making its own press release today and there will be stories in all manner of Hollywood news outlets pretty soon. It’s not a coincidence that my blog is launching up on the very same day as their big announcement. In the same hour, even. Lionsgate coordinated with me so I could share this news on my blog at the same time they’re launching their story.

This was important to me because if you read my blog or follow me on social media…  well… you’re a part of the reason my books are a big deal. A lot of you have been a part of my team for years, and I wanted the chance to tell you about this piece of news myself rather than have you hear it on the street.

The fact that Lionsgate was willing to go to some lengths to let me launch this blog simultaneously with their press release is another good sign, in my opinion. It shows they respect me, and it shows they respect you guys, too.

Now I know some of you will be reading this news with fear in your hearts. You’ll worry about them screwing it up. I understand. I know you love these books.

But hear me when I say this: You cannot love these books more than I do. You can’t care about them more than I do. I’ve put twenty years of my life into them. They ride next to my heart. They are my tangible soul.

And I’m not stupid. I hope by this point you know me well enough that you can trust me not to rush into… well… anything. If I cut a deal like this, it’s only because I really think there’s a chance for us to make something beautiful.

I’ll talk about this more on the blog later. I’ll answer questions and explain things and give more details.

Later. We’ll do that all later.

For now. Just for the next couple of days. How about we just let ourselves be a little excited about this? There will be plenty of time to fuss and fidget in the days to come. But right now, I’m not going to worry. Right now I’m just going to spend some time being a happy geek, excited at the thought of getting to see the Eolian or the Fishery. There are some scenes I’d love to see somewhere other than inside my own head.

I’m guessing there’s some scenes y’all would like to see, too….

See you later Space Cowboys,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, BJ Hiorns Art, cool news, movie talk, the longest fucking blog ever, the man behind the curtain, trepidation | By Pat288 Responses

WMF Photo Contest Part VII: Sexy

Well folks, time for me to expiate another tiny crumb of my crushing karmic debt by posting up part seven of the long delayed photo contest.

Previously: [Prologue] [Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV] [Part V] [Part VI]

This is the blog that many of you have been waiting for: the sexy blog.

S

(Like so.)

“But Pat,” I hear you say, “What does that picture have to do with sex?”

Trust that all will be explained, my faithful readers. Context is important. Trust that each of these pictures has something sexy going on in it, even if it’s not immediately obvious…

IMG_1496

Keep in mind that back when we held this photo contest, book two was only recently released. For some people, the amount of sex in the second book was a bit of a surprise, which is understandable, I suppose, given that in NOTW, Kvothe kinda thought about kissing a girl this one time. Whereas in WMF he performs vast and varied feats of sexomancy.

So I expected some jokes/pictures making reference to that.

Rothfa Sutra

TURTLE 1: Let’s try Thousand Hands.

TURTLE 2: I don’t have hands!!!

That said, I wasn’t really surprised at the number of sexy pictures that were sent in. Even with the first photo contest, we had a fair amount of sexiness happen.

After all, one thing we all have in common here is that we love books:

TheWooingOfABook_final

No, I mean some of my readers really *love* books.

IMG_1552-1

What I *didn’t* realize is that sometimes books love other books.

SONY DSC

(This picture it titled “Kvothe with Felurian.”)

Now before any of you get offended, let me remind you that both of those books are consenting adults. Whatever they do in their own time is really their own business.

Now where were we?

Ummm... Yeah. I just wont even explain this

Wow. Yeah. Okay. You go, UK edition of WMF. You do you. Literally.

Though y’know, if you’re going to swing that way, you should probably invite some of Jaqueline Carey’s books over, I think they might be into that sort of….

Wait. What? Someone already made that joke?

The things I do in the name of Research...

Is it just me or does my book look *really* smug in that picture?

I know it’s not right to be jealous of your own book, but it just seems like it’s constantly getting more action than I am.

Speaking of which, let’s award the….

Honorable mention:

038-1

For giving a new meaning to “Curling up in bed with a good book.”

Winner:

There’s a bit of a story here. Follow along.

SONY DSC

Dressed up fancy.

SONY DSC

Romantic, candlelit dinner.

A bit of mood music. (The purse is a nice touch.)

S

It’s worth embiggening this so you can see what music they have playing.

S

Now see? This is why context is everything. If you look at this picture by itself, all you see is blatant disregard for a book cover.

But seeing it in this chain of images… Well… It makes me feel like I might want to slap an NSFW on this blog….

S

Goddammit. Again my book ends up in a threeway. With Twins.

S

Wow. Yeah. That’s…. that’s kinda hot in the weirdest, most context-specific way possible.

For somehow making books piled on a couch erotic. You win some talent pipes. My hat’s off to you.

Here’s the photostream just of the books doing it.

We also had a fair number of folks taking sexy pictures *with* the book….

In fact, the number of people willing to get all nekkid with my book is something that fills some eternally adolescent piece of me with geeky delight.

IMG_1974-1

This seems like a strange thing to mention, but I really like the rounded corners in this picture. Can anyone explain why *that* is the thing I notice when someone gets nearly naked and takes a picture of themselves with my book?

Img0608

Huzzah for sideboob!

K

I like the subtlety of this one.

076

I love the thought of the strange looks this person got while taking pictures of my book in a Victoria’s Secret in a mall somewhere…

entry001

Apparently, two fans from Germany decided that taking pictures for the photo contest sounded much more interesting than studying for their exams.

I approve.

Honorable Mentions:

shower-sex1

According to the e-mail that was sent: this fan went to the extra effort of photo-shopping her otherwise clean, crisp pictures so they looked like they were from the set of a cheap 70’s porn movie. I admire that attention to detail.

endowed

I assume they’re talking about how much they like big books.

Our Winner:

for my girlfriend

I have to say, this is probably one of my favorite pictures from the entire photo contest. When it showed up, I was full of geeky joy.

I wasn’t the only one, either. Amanda has gone on the record as saying that this guy makes her all sorts of tingly.

You see, the last contest had some sexy, but it was sadly lacking in beefcake. Not only is this guy beautiful, but this a really well-composed picture. Nice lighting, too.

But then, almost immediately, I was ensaddened. You see, the rules of the contest stated that the picture needed to include a copy of The Wise Man’s Fear. And as you can see, the picture he sent uses The Name of the Wind.

So I e-mailed him back, told him he was awesome, and explained the problem. I wanted him to win the sexiness category, but the rules said that the book needed to be Wise Man’s Fear…

_DSC0255

So he re-took the picture and sent it off to us. Thereby cementing his position as Winner of the Sexy.

As usual, the winners and honorable mentions will be sent their Gold Talent Pipe pins.

Here’s the photostream of all of the people who were in the category.

More soon, folks.

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, fan coolness, NSFW (Depending on Where You Work), Photo Contest 2011, sexy | By Pat15 Responses
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