Category Archives: awards

Alternative Voting for the Discerning Reader

So last week, I wrote a blog about how I had a couple stories eligible for the Hugo awards this year.

As I mentioned then, it’s not the sort of blog I like to write. But still, I wanted to let people know that they could nominate the stories. Y’know, if they were into that sort of thing….

After I posted it, folks chimed in on the comments, saying things like: “Yay!” and “I’d love to vote for you! Where can I do that?”

For those of you who are curious, the details are here.

For those of you who are curious (but too lazy to click a link) the upshot is this: If you’re an attending member of Worldcon, (Or if you attended the convention last year) you can nominate works for the Hugos.  If you’re going to the convention, you can participate in the voting after the nominees are announced. (Or you can buy a supporting membership, which gives you the right to vote.)

This is another reason I’m not fond of writing awards blog like this. It feels too much like I’m saying: “Hey everyone! Want to do a thing? Well… most of you can’t. Sorry.”

So. For those of you who can’t vote are thereby ensaddened, here are a few things you could do instead:

  • Vote Anyway

Here’s what you do: Write my book’s name on a piece of paper, then fold that paper in half and put it into one of those suggestion boxes you see all over the place.


This approach has a lot to recommend it. First and foremost, you don’t have sign up for any conventions, fill out any annoying forms, click buttons, etc etc….


What’s more, these boxes are all over the place, so it’s really easy to vote.

Even better, you can vote as many times as you want.


Best of all, since you’re writing your own ballot, you aren’t limited to just nominating Slow Regard for a Hugo.


(Let’s be honest, this is a little boring.)

You’re the boss of this ballot. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste.



Seriously. Go whole hog. You can vote for *anything.*


(Yeah. That’s about right.)

Remember folks, if it’s worth doing. It’s worth doing in glitter pen.

Alternately, you can always…

  • Vote for Something Real

I enjoy living in my own little world as much as the next guy. But the sad fact is that my physical body is trapped here on earth.

And here’s the thing, unbeknownst to many of you, the spring primaries are today. These elections have notoriously poor turnouts. What that means is that in practical terms, anyone who votes in them has a disproportionately large effect on the elections in question.

So if y’all did about 20 minutes of googling, then went to vote, it would have a *huge* impact on who is going to be running your local government for the next couple years.

Just sayin.

  • Stars upon Thars

I know what you’re thinking. “But Pat,” you think, “Both of those options require me to leave my house! There are bears outside!”

Believe me, I know. I too am loathe to leave the womblike security of my home.

So if you’re borderline agoraphobic, or just lazy like me, let me reassure you that any author loves reviews just as much as a vote for an award.

The nice thing about giving reviews is that you don’t need to worry about whether a work is eligible for an an award (based on when it was published) or if it’s a novella or a novelette (based on how many words it has.) All that really matters is how you feel about the story.

So. If you wish you could vote for something of mine in the Hugos, but you can’t, feel free to write a few lines of nice review somewhere. Or tell a friend. Or go splash some stars onto it over at Goodreads or Barnes and Noble.

Or don’t. It’s all good with me. I’m just giving you options….


P.S. If anyone does the notecard thing, I’d love to see a picture of your self-made ballot….

Also posted in Arts and Crafts | By Pat46 Responses

Eligibility for Awards and Stuff

So. Here’s the thing. I seem to have accidentally written something last year.

When that happens, it sets off this whole weird chain of events. First the thing you write (maybe) gets published. Then (hopefully) people buy and/or read it.

And then, the next year, the thing you wrote becomes eligible for awards.

This is the life cycle of books.

Part of this process traditionally involves me making some sort of announcement to the world about my stuff being eligible for nomination. I say *traditionally* because it’s something that is commonly done among authors. Me personally? I’ve never done it.

This is mostly because it never occurs to me. When The Princess and Mr. Whiffle came out, I didn’t realize it could have been nominated for Best Graphic Story. When I did Storyboard for Geek and Sundry, I didn’t know it was eligible for Best Related Work.

The best example of my not remembering to mention my work is back in 2012 when I wrote a blog asking people to consider nominating Betsy Wollheim (my editor) for Best Long Form Editor.

The good news is that Betsy won that year. The stupid news is that when I wrote that blog post, I didn’t think to mention that The Wise Man’s Fear had been published in the previous year, and folks could have nominated it for Best Novel while they were at it.

So… yeah. As I mentioned in that blog: I’m the king of not having my shit together.


Also, to be honest, the thought of writing a blog where I ask people to vote for me… it makes me uncomfortable. Not for any good reason. I like reading other author’s posts where they talk about their work. But writing one myself… it’s never been that appealing….

So why am I writing a blog like that now? (In case you hadn’t guessed, that’s what this blog is about. Or it’s what the blog *will* be about, once I get to the point.)

Well, about half a year ago, I was chatting with someone who pays better attention to the publishing world than I do. He mentioned that The Wise Man’s Fear almost made it onto the list of nominated novels that year. I think he said it was something like 8 votes short.

So this year, when I saw people start to make their Hugo eligibility posts, I thought maybe I should mention, in a casual, low-key sort of way, that The Slow Regard of Silent things is eligible for a Hugo award this year.

Slow Regard Cover Art

Here’s the thing. It’s not eligible for Best Novel. For the Hugos and Nebulas and such, a story has to be over 40,000 words to be considered a novel, this book falls short of that.

Also, while it’s full of pictures, I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t nominate it for Best Graphic Story, either.

It’s a novella. So if you’re the sort of person who votes in these sorts of things, and if you liked the book, you could nominate it for something like Best Novella.

But wait, there’s more.

I also had a story come out in Rogues anthology last year. It was the story about Bast called “The Lightning Tree.”

But that wasn’t a short story. (Like I was trying to write.) It ended up being a novella too, just barely.

I kinda wish I could do what I’ve seen other people do, post up a list of things I think y’all should consider for your Hugo nominations in all the categories, but the sad truth is, I’m woefully out of date with a lot of my reading. Any of y’all who follow me on Goodreads know that I’m constantly reading and talking about books on there.

The problem is this, most of those books came out years ago. Sometimes decades ago. Only rarely do I end up reading books that came out recently.

For example, it was only last week that I finally got around to reading Raising Steam. Yeah. A book by Terry Pratchett, one of my all-time favorite authors, and I’m only reading it 18 months after it came out.

Wait. I would recommend one thing. Box Trolls should get a nomination for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form). That movie was brilliant, and if you haven’t watched it, you’re missing out on one of the good things in life. The folks at Laika are my kind of crazy, and I love them with a passionate love.

Seriously. I just checked, and Box Trolls is out on DVD. You have no excuse. Go watch it.

So… yeah. That’s all I’ve got.

Anyway, there you go. My eligibility blog. Yay. Woo.

For those of you who aren’t able to vote, or who don’t care to vote, or who didn’t like what I wrote last year. He’s a picture of Auri, just so you have something to enjoy in this blog.


(Credit where credit is due.)

Sorry this blog is pretty limp. I’ve been writing it off and on all day, but my heart really hasn’t been in it. I’ll write something fun in the blog soon, but now I should go to bed…

Goodnight all,


Update: Because folks in the comments have been asking how they can nominate/vote in the Hugos, I’m posting up a link here.

The brief version is this: If you’re attending Worldcon this year (or if you attended Worldcon last year) you can nominate works and vote in the awards. Alternately, you can buy a supporting membership, and that also gives you the right to vote.

Posted in awards | By Pat19 Responses

On Being A Winner

Remember the David Gemmell award I talked about waaaaaay back in May?

You don’t? It’s the UK based contest. The one where I did a promotional interview after drinking too much coffee and talked about how I wanted to be Spider-Man?

Yeah. That contest. The one where the award they give out is an actual axe.

I won:

I have to say that I really approve of this trend. In the future, all awards I get should be weapons. Or a bejeweled crown. Or some manner of scepter that I can use to lord my awesomeness all over the peasantry.

The best part is that it’s actually a pretty good axe. I’ve already used it to destroy parts of our porch, and the old garage at the work house where this photo was taken.

(Click to Embiggen, If You Dare…)

And it’s not even sharpened yet. I’m thinking once I get a good edge on this, it will become my backup writing axe.

Have a great weekend everybody,


Also posted in accolades, being awesome, Dionysian force | By Pat70 Responses

And the Winner is….

Many of you already know that my editor, Betsy Wollheim, was nominated for the Hugo Award  this year. If for no other reason than I talked about it on the blog a couple times.

Guess what happened this Sunday night?

She won.

Thanks to everyone who voted for her, spread the word, or even quietly rooted for her from the sidelines.

The only downside? I wasn’t at the award ceremony. Because I’m an idiot.

You see, I *was* at Worldcon, and I assumed the Hugo Awards were going to be on Saturday night. So when Scott Kurtz and Kris Straub invited me out to Seattle to be on Kris and Scott’s Scott and Kris show on Sunday night, I said, “Sure.”

So while my editor was winning her Hugo. I was in Seattle, catching the tail end of PAX and doing…. well… this:

More details about the show, and a transcript of the Kris’s fanfic are here.

And I’m not saying the show wasn’t fun. Because obviously it was.

And I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy getting to meet Johnathan Coulton out at PAX, because I did. I super did. And I found out he’s read my books, which gives me a happy.

And I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy being in Seattle, visiting the Geek Chic headquarters, having a great signing at the University Bookstore, and having some amazing Thai food.

I’m just saying I wish I could have been there to see the look on Betsy’s face.

More blogs are coming. Big announcements. Cool news.

Stay tuned.



Also posted in cool news, fanfic, videos | By Pat28 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….




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

Alloy Of Law, Voting, and the Gemmell Award

So I just found out that The Wise Man’s Fear made the shortlist for the David Gemmell Legend award.

It’s flattering, because not only was Gemmell a great writer, but because whoever wins doesn’t just get a trophy or a certificate or something.

No. The winner of the David Gemmell legend award gets an axe.

Which you have to admit is pretty cool. It would certainly be a step up from my current writing axe.

The problem is this, when I wandered over to see who else was on the ballot, I saw that it was stacked with other really good books.

Most troubling for me, was the fact that it was up against Brandon Sanderson’s Alloy of Law.

When I saw that, I realized that I’d never actually gotten around to writing a review of Alloy, though I’d been meaning to for weeks and weeks.

I feel it’s my civic duty to talk spread the word about good books I’ve read. So I finally wrote it up and  posted it over on Goodreads.

For those of you who have some sort of odd, trauma-borne link-clicking phobia, here’s the jist of it:

“Sanderson has now been added to a very short list. Specifically, the list authors I wish to kill so that I might eat their livers and thereby gain their power.”

It’s a really good book. Not just because of the story. But because what he’s doing is really amazingly different. (Read the review if you want the details.)

So here’s the deal. One of the nice things bout the Gemmell Legend Award is that it’s decided by a popular vote. Y’all can go in and voice your opinions.

But the OTHER nice thing is that the voting goes until May 31st.

That means if I put up a link here, y’all have plenty of time to go out and read some of the other books on the list. Fairly assessing all the options and making an informed choice.

This is the thing you should do when you vote, you realize. Making informed choices is what gives you the right to call yourself a human being.

Consider this practice for other voting type things that might be looming on the horizon. When I put up the link, don’t just wander over there, bleating like a sheep, and click the name that looks most familiar to you. Don’t vote for the option all your friends have been talking about. Don’t vote for the person your parents trained you to vote for.

No. Look at your options. Gather data. Be a rational human and make a informed choice.

Trust me. It’s good practice. This is an important thing to practice.

And here’s your link.


Also posted in How to be a Worthwhile Human Being, recommendations | By Pat81 Responses

Friendly Reminder: Voting on the Hugos.

Last night I was up late reading (I’ll talk about that in a minute) so today I woke up at the crack of noon.

Blearily, I washed my face and trudged upstairs to check my e-mail. Because I was really behind on my e-mail and the weekend is a good chance for me to catch up.

When I got to the top of the stairs, Sarah was there, staring at me, her hands on her hips, her expression exhasperated and vaugely accusitory. “Well,’ she said, “he’s a boy!”

I’d only been awake for about three minutes, so I just stare at her in confusion. I was pretty sure we’d sorted that out fairly early on.

Then I hear Oot shouting from the bedroom, “I pee in the CORNER!”

Yup. He’s just like his dad. By which I mean he’s got good comedic timing.

Rest assured that later on, after I had showered and was fully awake, I did my fatherly duty and had a talk with Oot. I explained that we pee in the toilet. We also pee in our diapers. That’s good too. We sometimes can pee outside, which is cool, so long as nobody’s watching. And the bathtub is fair game too. But that’s pretty much it in terms of kosher places to pee. Although, come to think of it, the sink is also acceptable in certain rare situations. The corner is almost never a good place to pee, except in rare situations when you might be making some sort abstract political statement or attempting to connect with your roots as a true cynic.

At this point Sarah said that my talk probably wasn’t helping much.

Parenting is kinda hard if you’re an ethical relativist.

Anyway, the real point of this point is to mention that I spent most of the day reading all the short stories, novelettes, and novellas that were nominated for the Hugo awards this year.

For those of you who don’t know: the Hugo awards are kind of a Big Deal in the sci-fi and fantasy community. If you win one, you are offically awesome. Plus they give you a statue that looks like a rocket ship. Which you have to admit is pretty cool.

The Hugos are awarded every year at Worldcon. If you attend the convention, you get to vote on who’s stuff you think is best.

In the past, I’ve been bad about voting on the Hugos. But this year I’m making an effort to change that. I’ve decided I want to be a responsible member of the community, so I’ve been reading all the books and graphic novels and stories so I can cast a smart vote.

Just like any election, more informed votes = better results. So I thought I’d post up a friendly reminder for those of you who are like me. Specifically, for those of you who tend to put things off to the last minute, then occationally forget about them until it’s too late.

So yeah. If you’re heading out to Worldcon this year, and you haven’t voted yet, you might want to get on the stick.

Voting on the Hugos closes tomorrow (Sunday the 31st) at 11:59 PST.


Also posted in Oot | By Pat12 Responses
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