Category Archives: being awesome

The 2013 Fantasy Pin-up Calendar: Announcing our Authors

Last year, as some of you might remember, I accidentally published a calendar.

We did it as a fundraiser for Worldbuilders, and it fit in with our book-centered geekery pretty well because each month featured a pin-up based on a classic literary figure.

Like Mark Twain:

Lewis Carrol:

Or Nathanial Hawthorne:

At some point while working with the artist, Lee Moyer, we ended up discussing how it would be cool to do a similar sort of calendar, but with more modern authors.

Maybe even doing it with some of the more popular authors that write in the genres we love.

Maybe we could even do it with, say, some big-name fantasy authors.

So I made some phone calls. Lee did some sketches. And almost before we knew it, a bunch of amazingly generous fantasy authors had agreed to help us raise money for Worldbuilders.

Up until now we’ve kept a pretty tight lid on this project. But now it’s time to show off the cover and announce the authors that are involved.

Take a look:

You really need to click on that to see the bigger version. If only to read the names more clearly.

Seriously. Look at that. Gaiman AND Pratchett AND Harris AND Martin.

And Ray Bradbury. The man himself. He agreed to be a part of this not long before he passed away.

Really, there’s no names in there that aren’t big names. I’m solidly geeked about everyone involved.

This is all we’re showing off for now. Just a bit of a teaser. You’ll see some of the finished pin-ups in the weeks to come, and we won’t be shipping them out until November. But I wanted to let everyone know what was coming for a couple reasons….

  • A heads-up to retailers.

Do you run a bookstore or some other geek-friendly business? Do you love things that are awesome? Would you like to sell copies of the calendar and help make the world a better place?

If so, drop us an e-mail at:

questions [squiggly at sign] worldbuilders.org

We’ll make it happen.

  • A chance to pre-order.

You can pre-order your copy of the 2013 calendar right now if you like.

We’re even offering a special pre-order deal. If you order 2 or more calendars, you’ll get a $6.00 discount if you use coupon code PINMEUP.

Also, we’re shipping calendars out in the order they come in, so ordering early means you’ll get your calendar sooner.

But you need to remember that this is a pre-order.

Amanda’s Edit: Good news, everyone!  We’ve extended the pre-order to last through November 3rd, so you’ve got more time to get in your order!

Calendars won’t start shipping until early November.

Still, if you’re interested: you can head over right now and order copies from our online store: The Tinker’s Packs.

Later Space Cowboys,

pat

Also posted in cool news, cool things, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat50 Responses

On Being Manly

I’m still sorting pictures for the photo contest. The process got slowed down a little bit because Sarah and Oot got home on the 2nd, and I’ve been trying to hang out with them as much as possible before I leave for ComicCon in a week.

Sarah had a lot of stories about their vacation. They saw a bear, they went bowling for the first time, they went to some hot springs….

Oot had a different perspective on the the ten days he spent in Colorado.

He said he saw a machine with a green button and a yellow button. Then he sang me the song he’d learned while he was away (“On Top of Spaghetti”). Lastly, he asked if I’d like to see his “penis trick.”

I said I would like to see it, and was kinda relieved to discover it was just him dancing and jumping around naked.

Note to future Oot: Odds are, by the time you’re in highschool, the internet will have morphed into something new and terrifying, which means people will use it all the time and nobody will read text blogs anymore.

If you read this anyway, and you are embarrassed and angry at me for sharing this little story, just remember. I could have put up a video, but I didn’t. This is because I love you.

Then we had cake.

Why is there a tree on the cake? Because we told Oot it was a black forest cake. He said, “with trees?”

So yeah. That makes sense. It really should have trees, shouldn’t it?

The night after they got home, a bat somehow found its way into our house. Specifically, it found its way into Sarah and Oot’s room. Sarah discovered it around 3:30 AM, then came to get me.

Why? Well, I am the man of the house. I am powerful. Puissant even. I am an international bestselling author, after all. A warrior. A magician. A hero…

Anyway, the point is that bats at 3:30 are part of my job description, so she came to get me so I could deal with it.

This led to an exciting hour’s worth of adventure. Which in turn led to me sharing the following story on Facebook.

I just managed to catch a bat that had somehow gotten into my house.

I would like to reassure you all that I was extremely brave and manly through the whole process. At no point did I dive to the ground, flinch and hide my face, or emit anything resembling a high-pitched squeak.

It will help if you picture me as equal parts Crocodile Hunter (except I was up against an animal that’s pretty much the same as a mouse) James Bond (except I have a beard) and Clint Eastwood (except I was using a powder-blue bed sheet instead of a gun.)

Suffice to say I have defended my home, my woman, and my child. And I did it with considerable composure and panache.

The main reason I mention this is because a couple hours ago, someone sent me a picture they drew, memorializing the event, and I wanted to share it with y’all….

(You should really click to embiggen it.)

 

That was exactly what it was like. Exactly.

pat

Also posted in day in the life, Oot | By Pat73 Responses

Yay Me!

Over the last year and a half a lot of folks have e-mailed me, asking if there’s a place they can buy signed copies of my books.

Other folks email me because they *know* there’s an online store, but they can’t find it.

In the last year, I’d say I’ve had roughly ten billion e-mails of this sort. (I’m rounding up.)

While the e-mails have been a little repetitious, they’ve never irritated me. It’s my own fault that there’s never been any sort of permanent link to the store on the website.

The best we’ve had until now is occasional links in the blog itself. Which is dumb. It’s like having a fully stocked refrigerator, except you can only open the door by walking into the bathroom and putting your foot in the toilet.

Actually, it’s not really anything like that. That’s a really awful analogy. I’m kinda tired right now, so my word-put-togethering is not all, um, good. I apologize.

Anyway, this blog celebrates the first step in the long path of tweaking and updating the website, something I’ve been meaning to do for years.

Those of you reading this blog directly off my site will see the new graphic up there on the right. It’s a little widget that will take people directly to the store where we sell signed books, posters, and other miscellany. A place we’ve decided to name The Tinker’s Packs.

I’m not going to lie to you. Nate sent me the art earlier today, and I’m really inordinately proud of the fact that I bunged that silly little widget together on my own.

I know for a lot of you, maybe even *most* of you, doing something like that is about as difficult as writing a check. But you have to understand that I know about as much html as your average dancing bear. So yeah. I’m gonna feel all sorts of self-sufficient because I didn’t have to run to one of my tech-smart friends for help on this.

For those of you that are interested, here’s a pic you can click to see a bigger version of the art:

Go on. Bask in its untrammeled glory. (I had to trammel it a bit to get it to fit in the space available for the widget.)

As always, all money spent in the store still goes directly to Worldbuilders. We’re not changing that.

So… yeah. That’s all I’ve got right now. I was just proud about my widget and wanted to share. Rest assured that in the relatively near future, we’ll be updating the website, adding some new stuff, streamlining the store, and generally embettering everything.

Later space cowboys….

pat

Also posted in my dumbness, Nathan Taylor Art | By Pat49 Responses

Celebrating….

So I’ve been trying to remember what it is a person does when he isn’t working on a book 10 hours a day, then blogging, running a fundraiser, and mailing t-shirts for the other six hours he’s awake.

Sarah informed me that what a person does is go get a Christmas tree. She informed me of this very firmly. Several times. With increasing levels of frantic need in her voice. Getting a tree was very important to Sarah. She made it clear that if we did not go pick out a tree, together, our relationship would suffer irreparable damage.

So we got a tree. We did this pretty much the very day after I posted the last blog. It made me feel like a big man lifting it up and tying it to the roof of the car. Oot watched me with muted awe, amazed that I could lift up something so big.

I sawed off the bottom, which is more exercise than I’ve had in months. And while I wasn’t that excited about it at the beginning, the tree is actually pretty awesome.  It makes the house smell piney and nice.

We also made gingerbread men to hang on the tree, because Sarah wanted to, and I owe her because I’ve been neglecting family-ish things pretty severely over these last several months.

I’ve never decorated a gingerbread man before, but I was pretty sure it was supposed to go something like this:

And so that’s the first one I did. Then I tried to do a Santa, but it really sucked. Then I got bored.

You see, I have a strong contrary element in my personality. Plus I have a real problem when it comes to strictly adhereing to genre guidelines. So my next gingerbread people were more… meta.

I’m especially proud of this one:

To me, his expression really conveys the mute horror and existential doubt occasionally brought about by the holiday season.

At first Sarah expressed a little mute horror of her own at my cookie decorations. But there are only so many cute gingerbread people you can make before it starts to grate on you a little, so eventually she got into the spirit of things and made an emo gingerbread man. I made one too…

I think they’re in love….

After that, just a couple days before Christmas, our car broke down. Sarah was actually driving it down to our mechanic because the clutch was behaving oddly, and it died about a mile before she got there. Transmission was utterly shot. They can fix it, but it will take a couple days to get the parts.

By the time we got the diagnosis on the 24th, all the rental places were closed. And you can’t rent a car on Christmas. And in Stevens Point you can’t rent a car on the Sunday after Christmas either.

So the precious few days I’d been counting on to catch up with my shopping were spent car-less. And since I couldn’t shop, I spent some time playing Fallout New Vegas instead.

Merry Christmas to me.

pat

P.S. In a related Christmas Miracle, the Kingkiller shirts showed up on the 24th. My assistants are off for the holidays, so I had to borrow a car to move them over to the place where we do the packaging. Yesterday I slogged away for about 10 hours to get as many of them packaged up as I could. I really owe the folks at the post office something nice for putting up with me….

So rest assured, t-shirts are on the way as quickly as I can get them out the door.

Also posted in Oot, Sarah | By Pat36 Responses

New Publication: Clash of the Geeks.

When The Name of the Wind came out back in 2007, something strange started to happen. Occasionally someone invited me to write something, usually a story for an anthology.

It was a new experience for me. But despite the fact that I was flattered, I turned all the invitations down saying, “I don’t really write many short stories. Besides, I really have to work on getting my second book out.”

I didn’t meet that first deadline for book two for various reasons. But still, I felt like turning down those offers was the responsible thing to do. I was trying to behave like a grown-up, you see.

In 2008 the paperback came out and I hit the New York Times Bestseller list. Because of that I got even more attention. Offers to write comic books, video games,  and more invitations to anthologies.

Again, I turned them down, saying, “I don’t have much experience writing short stories. Besides, I really need to focus on book two.”

A lot of these offers were for really cool anthologies, mind you. It was hard to turn down the chance to be published alongside some other big-name authors. Still, I felt morally obliged to refuse and focus on book two. I was trying hard to be a professional.

I continued along these lines until early this year when Suvudu held their cage match. They paired up various fantasy characters in head-to-head fights. I was flattered that Kvothe was included, but looking at the brackets, I saw that if Kvothe made it to the second round, he’d have to go up against Aslan.

That’s not an easy fight to win, and I kept thinking about how the scene would play out. How exactly, I wondered, would Kvothe win that fight?

Then the folks at Suvudu asked if I’d like to write up my version of the scene. So I did.

And you know what? It was fun. It was amazingly, delightfully fun. I’d actually forgotten how nice it was to write something just for pure shits and giggles. It didn’t eat up my precious writing time as I’d been fearing. Instead, it reminded me how much fun writing could be.

I thought to myself, “Fuck being a grown-up. I started writing to have fun. Now that I’m published, I should be doing fun things…”

And you know what? As soon as I gave up trying to be all professional and responsible (things that don’t come naturally to me, as a rule) my writing immediately improved. I wrote faster, and better, and I had more fun doing it.

Fast forward to earlier this year. I get an e-mail from John Scalzi. He sends me an e-mail that says (This is a paraphrase, mind you.)

Question: Would you have space on your schedule for a short (about 2K) story? It would be for a short (silly) story collection designed to raise money for the Lupus foundation. Deadline end of July-ish. Story doesn’t necessarily have to be “good” in a classic sense; in fact, it might be better if it’s not.

I think to myself. This sounds fun. It’s for charity. It’s short (I can do 2000 words standing on my head.) And he’s pretty much said it’s okay if my story ends up sucking. He’s practically encouraging me to suck.

So I e-mailed Scalzi back, and our e-mail exchange went roughly like this.

ME: Okay, I’m interested. What are the details?

HIM: Write a story about the events leading up to, and culminating in, the attached picture (which is a rough sketch; final picture to come).

(Click to embiggen)

ME: WTF?

HIM: For the sake of clarity, the person at the top is Wil Wheaton; the person at the bottom is me.

ME: Merciful Buddha…. Can you give me any context? Some framework I can use to cage this madness?

HIM: No. No context. Just write something. No slash. Otherwise, knock yourself out.

So there I am, utterly confusticated and bebothered. This is the first piece of short fiction I’ve agreed to write, and all I can think is, “What the fuck can I possibly write about this?”

This question spins around in my head for a couple days. I think, “Can I write a story about Scalzi and Wheaton playing D&D? Is that too geeky?  A holodeck adventure? Too cheap? Do I dare write the absolutely forbidden, ‘It was all just a dream’ story?”

Then it occurs to me that I’m approaching this from the wrong direction. I shouldn’t be trying to turn this picture into a joke. I shouldn’t try to be cute or gimmicky.

No. The events taking place in this picture are obviously epic. My story needs to be epic. And since it can’t be epic in length, it has to be epic in form….

So that’s how I ended up writing a poetic edda. For those of you who aren’t complete geeks, an edda is an old alliterative poem. Like Beowulf. Or the old Norse legends Tolkien ripped off when he was writing the Lord of the Rings.

Once I knew how to handle the story, I ended up having a ton of fun with it. I even brought in a certain celebrity in a cameo role…

Of course poetic edda aren’t supposed to be written in modern English, so I ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to get the meter right. But you know my motto: if it’s worth writing, it’s worth obsessively revising.

And now, months later, I’m finally able to present you with the finished project:

(Beware, lest the awesome blind you…)

Check it out. I get third billing. How cool is that shit?

You can download the anthology for free, but I’d like to politely ask y’all to keep in mind that we’re trying to raise money for the Lupus foundation. For all intents and purposes, these stories are brought to you by the Lupus Foundation.

That means if you can afford it, donating to the cause would be a terribly kind thing to do. I know you have it in you. Make me proud.

You can download the anthology and revel in its majesty over here.

Share and enjoy,

pat

Also posted in book covers, calling on the legions, cool news, side projects, Wil Wheaton | By Pat80 Responses

Locus Magazine

I’ve been cutting back on conventions this year so I can focus on revisions and my pretty new baby.

I’d even decided to skip Wiscon this year, even though it’s in Madison, which means it’s practically in my backyard.

But then I found out my friend Nnedi was going to be Guest of Honor there this year. (Remember Nnedi? I interviewed her for Worldbuilders last year, and talked about her book a couple months ago.) Anyway, getting asked to be GOH at Wiscon is a pretty big deal, and I don’t see Nnedi nearly as much as I’d like, so I decided to go.

Then the people at Locus dropped me an e-mail, asking if I wanted to do an interview. I said, “Sure.” Because Locus is a pretty big deal in the Sci-Fi Fantasy publishing world. And I like doing interviews, especially when they’re in person. I spend enough time typing.

So I meet up with the lovely folks from Locus. The interview is fun. They ask good questions. We hang out. Then they say, “Do you mind if we take some pictures?”

And I’m like, “Sure, if you’re into that sort of thing.”

Then a couple weeks ago, this shows up in the mail:

My first thought? “If I’d known they were going to put me on the cover, I would have gotten a haircut….”

My second thought was, “I’m on the cover of Locus.”

My third thought was, “Shit. This is kind of a big deal. I hope I don’t sound like an idiot…”

Then I open up the magazine and burst out laughing. Here’s what I see:

Why don’t we zoom in on that a little?

Yeah. There you go. You can click that to embiggen it if you want, but you might want to be careful, lest the intensity of my sheer awesome reduce you to a quivering wreck.

For those of you who are curious. My t-shirt says: “My Marxist feminist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.” It’s a very specialized sort of joke, and there really isn’t any point in me explaining it if you don’t get it. Suffice to say that Wiscon is a feminist Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention. It’s the only place I can wear the shirt where people think it’s funny.

Anyway, after I had a good laugh at this picture I was much more relaxed. I get very nervous when people take me too seriously.

I read the interview and was very pleased that I didn’t come off sounding like an idiot. It was a lot more wide-ranging than a lot of the interviews I do, and we talked about some stuff I don’t normally talk about.

If you want a taste of it, there’s a few excerpts over on Locus’ website.

Still revising. One week ’til deadline.

pat

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, cool things, Interviews | By Pat64 Responses

There and Back Again….

So I’m back from Penguicon and the signing off near Detroit.

Both events were a good time. I had the chance to read the Princess Book to a few people, hung out with other author types and talked geeky writing talk. It was fun. I’ve even got a few pictures to share…

I’ll post those things later. Today I’m going to talk about part of the convention that usually gets glossed over: The traveling.

The truth is, traveling is one of the hardest parts of going to conventions. It is for me at least.

Conventions themselves are easy for me. I meet people, sign books, talk on panels, and do readings. It’s exhausting, but it’s not hard. I’m a fairly decent public speaker, and I like meeting fans and other authors. So conventions are a treat for me. They’re a break from my otherwise rather unsocial and solitary life.

But the traveling isn’t fun. It’s expensive, irritating, and time consuming. Worst of all, I seem to get sick every time I go on an extended plane ride.

That’s the main reason that I do so many events here in the midwest. And that’s the reason that I decided to drive to Penguicon.

It takes about 8-9 hours to drive from central Wisconsin to Troy, MI. Still, given check-in times and layovers, that’s only a couple hours longer than a plane. Plus it’s cheaper and I don’t have to worry about people groping through my luggage.

The trip to the convention was relatively uneventful. I made a pitstop in Madison to hang out with some friends I don’t see nearly often enough and helped one of them move some furniture around in his new apartment.

Have I ever mentioned that I used to be a professional mover? It was only a summer job, and I was in better shape back then. But still, it’s nice to keep my hand in, just in case this whole writing thing doesn’t pan out for me in the long run.

It’s on the way back from the convention that things get interesting. After my library reading I hop in my car, enter my home address on my Magellan, and start driving.

I feel I should mention here, in yet another tangent, that I feel morally conflicted about the Magellan. I got it as a Christmas present from my dad, and it’s wonderfully convenient. But at the same time I believe devices like this are actively endumbening the populace. You should be able to read a map, folks. You should know which direction north is.

Did I ever mention I used to be a delivery driver too? I was. I can read a map. What’s more, using a brilliant mixture of zen navigation, Aristotelian logic, and pure rage I can get you your package and/or delicious sandwich relatively close to on-time.

That’s another fallback career for me.

That said, I do use the Magellan when I’m in unfamiliar territory. I don’t have a map of Detroit. It’s quick, easy, and usually accurate.

Note the *usually.*

The Magellan tells me to turn right, then left, then right. I just follow along, as most of my attention is focused on listening to Warren Ellis’ Crooked Little Vein on audiobook.

But something doesn’t feel right. I look at the one of the passing signs and see that I’m heading north. I pull over in a gas station and have a discussion with the machine:

Me: What the fuck, Magellan?

It: Calculating Route.

Me: No. Seriously. What the fuck?

It: Turn right onto North 74.

Me: North isn’t the right way to go.

It: Ding!

Me: I’m going to Stevens Point. In Wisconsin. Through Madison.

It: Calculating route. Stevens Point is 974 miles away.

Me: The fuck it is. Go south.

It: Ding! Turn right onto North 74.

So I throw the thing into the footwell of the car. I throw it hard, too. So it knows who’s in charge. You people might have to deal with that sort of insolent backtalk from your machine overlords, but not me. I work with machines in one way: they do what I say or I fucking destroy them and do it myself. I consider myself a Darwinistic force in machine evolution. I’m encouraging them to evolve along more helpful lines.

The gas station is depressing. The woman behind the counter doesn’t know which road leads back to I 94. She doesn’t think the gas station has any maps to sell. She suggests I get directions from someone who has an iphone. She has one eyebrow. Not kidding.

So I find the maps myself, buy one, and get back into the car. Using the map and eight seconds of rational thought, I find the sensible route home.

After two hours the Magellan’s battery starts to die and it chirps at me pitifully from the passenger-side footwell. I let it starve for another ten minutes then bring it out and we have another conversation.

Me: How far away is Stevens Point?

It: 820 miles?

Me: What’s your name?

It: M-Magellan?

Me: No. Your name is bitch. I’m asking you one more time, how do you get to Stevens Point?

It: You should head south through Chicago on I 94.

Me: That’s right I should.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that an hour later, after paying a toll, my driver side window refuses to roll back up. Machines tend to stick together like that.

So I pull over at another gas station and kick the hell out of the door for a while. I do this partly in case it’s a loose wire or something that can be fixed by kicking, but also as a warning for any other machines nearby that are considering insubordination.

Then I go into the gas station and explain the situation. I don’t want to drive another three hours with damp, 50 degree air blowing into my ear. Cardboard and duct tape isn’t good either, as it would limit my visibility too much. The attendant there is cool, and lets me poke around in back looking for useful supplies until I find a roll of that plastic stuff you use to wrap up pallets.

Did I ever mention I used to work in a warehouse? I did.

I have to say, even though I’ve been out of the game for about two decades, I still have some mad pallet-wrapping skills.

Then I went home.

Everything said, it was still way better than flying.

pat

Also posted in conventions, day in the life, tangentality | By Pat94 Responses
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