Category Archives: Catgirl

Lesbian Unicorns

Pat,

I had to miss San Diego ComicCon this year. It’s my first one I’ve missed in five years. Many tears.

What did you think of it compared to last year? This was only your second ComiCon, wasn’t it?

Michelle

This was only my second ComiCon, Michelle. But I have to admit that it felt a lot different than the first one.

Part of the difference was that this year I knew the lay of the land. I knew where the all night deli was. I knew the layout of the dealer’s room and how to find the place with the good seafood.

The other big change was that this year I’m a dad. This was the longest stretch of time I’ve spent away from Oot since he’s been born. It was harder than I expected, and I missed him from the very first day.

For example, last year when I went to the con, my mental commentary was like this: “Hey! Hot girl dressed as Poison Ivy! Hot girl in chainmail! Hot catgirl! Batman!”

I make no excuses for this. I am who I am.

But this year when I walked around the con, I was thinking, “Oh, look at that baby! Cute baby! Baby dressed up as Yoda! Hot Catgirl! Batman!”

Also, this year I was smart enough to schedule times to meet people instead of just hoping we could get together. As a result, I got to have dinner with Brandon Sanderson and Christopher Paolini on Saturday night.

We had a lovely conversation, and at some point Paolini told us that in an early draft of his first book, the main character was named Kevin, not Eragon.

Not to be outdone, I said that in an early draft of The Name of the Wind, Kvothe was actually a lesbian unicorn.

I didn’t think much of it. This is the sort of thing I say all the time, and I don’t expect people to pay much attention to me.

But I failed to take into account twitter. Which led to someone sending me the profoundly bizarre e-mail.

So the next day when I was doing a reading and signing at Borders, one of my lovely readers brought me a present:

It is, of course, a lesbian unicorn. His name is Kvothe. You may of heard of him.

I had a good laugh over it, and thought that would be the last I ever heard of it. But after I get back from the Con, I find one of my friends has sent my the following surreal e-mail.

Pat,

Okay, so I am doing a search for “pink unicorn gay” in Google Images because, well, it’s a long story…  (Shut up!)

Thing is I spotted something very odd pretty early on in the results.

I swear to you this isn’t a set up or faked or anything.  I just typed in “pink unicorn gay” and this is what I got!

[name withheld for blackmail purposes]

(Click to Embiggen.)

So yeah. That was the unexpected result of this year’s ComiCon. Permenently linking Kvothe’s name with the phrase “Lesbian Unicorn.”

Working to make your day a little more surreal,

pat

Also posted in babies, conventions, fan coolness, lesbian unicorns | By Pat72 Responses

The Perils of Fan Fiction – Part I

Lately, I’ve been thinking about fanfic.

This is new to me. Up until this this point in my life, I’ve spent more time thinking about how turtles have sex than about fan fiction.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against fan fiction. It’s just….

It’s like this. Let’s say you came up to me and said, “So, what do you think about Dnipropetrovsk?”

I would look at you blankly.

Then you would say, “Dnipropetrovsk? Major Ukrainian industrial center?”

To which I would shake my head dumbly.

Dismayed, you would continue, “Come on! It’s the third largest city in the Ukraine! More than a million people live there! How can you not know about Dnipropetrovsk?”

At this point in the conversation, I would probably explain that I’m sure that Dnipropetrovsk plays a vital role in a lot of peoples’ lives. I’d admit that I’m not surprised that folks have strong feelings about how it used to be a major military asset for the USSR. I’m sure that a lot of people live, breathe, and spend a big chunk of their waking time thinking about Dnipropetrovsk.

But I’m just not one of those people. I’ve never known anyone from there. Never visited. Never seen a movie set in the city. For all these reasons, Dnipropetrovsk has been off my radar for my entire life.

It’s the same thing with fan fiction.

Admittedly, in these last several years, I’ve become aware of fan fiction through a slow osmosis. At any given convention there are going to be panels on the subject. You’ll hear conversations in the hall. Occasional jokes.

Even so, fan fiction has only been dimly present on the edge of my perception.

The one notable exception is that I’ve known, sooner or later, that someone was going to do fan fiction about my stuff. Using my characters. Set in my world.

Truth is, I’ve looked forward to it. When people start writing fan fiction about your stuff, it shows that your writing has attained a level of popularity. It’s like fanart, in my opinion. No matter how you feel about the art itself, the fact that someone went out of their way to do it is really flattering.

That’s the most I ever thought about it. The thought of folks writing a Potter vs. Kvothe cage match never really bugged me.

How other writers feel on the subject has never concerned me very much. I know emotions tend to run hot on the subject. Some people love fan fiction. Some people hate it. Some people view it as legally actionable, others see it as a crime against god and nature.

The first people I met who were firmly on one end of the spectrum are the awesome folks who won the photo contest that I ran a while back. The first time I ever met them out at Gencon, they expressed a firm distaste for fanfic. They even made up this picture for me.

When I went down to Indianapolis a year ago, I they dressed up for a reading I did at their local library. And, as a joke, I had Kvothe and Bast pose for kiss because we were talking about the bit of Yaoi that got written.

You can see from the expression on Kvothe’s face that she doesn’t condone this sort of behavior.

It didn’t really strike me as odd that people who engaged in cosplay would look down on people who wrote fan fiction. There is a viscous of territorialism in geek society, as shown by this flow chart that Brunching Shuttlecocks put together years ago:

(Click to Embiggen.)

It reminds me of a quote that used to get tossed around when I was in grad school. “Why is the competition on academia so fierce? Because the stakes are so low.”

I think some similar psychological force is at play in geekdom.

Hold on…. I just realized something. Our award-winning cosplayers, by putting together a series of images that tell a story have created a narrative. A narrative that features characters someone else created.

Does that make their entry to the photo contest fan fiction? Are they all closet fanficers?

Whoo boy. I’m glad I’m not there to hear the great wailing and gnashing of teeth right now. I’m guessing those are fighting words….

Anyway, I always figured how people felt about fanfic was a personal issue. It’s like Jefferson said: “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

That’s been my philosophy. You love fanfic? Fine. You hate it? Also fine. It really doesn’t effect my life in the least.

But then I accidentally wrote a piece of fan fiction, and everything changed….

(Stay tuned for part two, space cowboys.)

pat

Also posted in BJ Hiorns Art, cosplay, delicious fanarts, fanfic | By Pat84 Responses

San Diego Comic-Con 2009: The Highlights

I’ve wanted to go to San Diego Comic-con for years, but something always seems to keep me away. Two years ago it was a family vacation. Last year I was conducting a wedding.

This year was no different: I had an exciting adventure Wednesday morning. I was in the ER two hours before my plane was supposed to take off….

But while that story is a good story, exciting, full of drama and tragedy, it’s not really part of the convention. So I’ll pass it over for now. Suffice to say that despite many obstacles, 2009 was the year that I finally made it to San Diego Comic-con.

On Thursday, I met up with a fan called Pooka. I don’t always recognize my fans, even when they contact me before the convention. But in her case, I somehow managed to pick her out of the crowd:

(I’m the one with the beard.)

You can’t see her pink leggings in this picture, but you’ll have to trust me on the fact that her plumage is abundant and bright. She was nice enough to show me around the convention, as she’s a veteran comic-con attendee, and I’m just a newbie.

Pooka and her friends throw a party every year at the con: X-Sanguin. They invited me this year, and while I was flattered, I ended up taking a pass. I expect I’m not sexy enough to hang with the glitterati. Not even when I’m wearing my shades and pretending to be as cool as Neil Gaiman:

Pooka helped me find the room where my panel was being held. It was the only panel I was scheduled for at the convention proper, and to be honest, I was a little nervous. Not only was Jacqueline Carey on it, but Lev Grossman was moderating. Dude is scary smart.

I can’t find a picture of the entire panel, but here’s one of a few of the other folks, including Carey.

In the corner you can’t see Lev, but you can spot a copy of his soon-to be released book, The Magicians. I got to read an advance copy a little while back, and really enjoyed it. I’ll probably do an official recommendation on the blog a little closer to the release date.

The panel’s topic was “The Evolution of Fantasy.” I avoided making too much of an ass of myself and got a laugh or two. Which is as much as I can ever hope for on a panel. If you want more details, Lev wrote a column about it for Time. You can read it over here.

After the panel, I had a signing where some fans gave me an awesome little Voodoo doll. (Or mommet, if you will.)

(Yes. It’s got little screws sticking out of its head.)

When I asked how they’d like me to sign their books, they said they wanted to be designated as official Fanatical Minions. Nobody’s ever asked that before, so they got to be Fantastical Minions #1 and #2.

I felt obliged to point out that the numbers were not a ranking system. Just a designation.

After the signing I got to hang out a bit with Cindy Pon. Whose first book just came out. She’s a lot of fun, and if you hop over to her blog, you’ll see her dressed up as Chun Li the next day at the con. Needless to say, she’s my kind of person…

Capping off Thursday, I got to have Dinner with Greg Dean from Real Life comics. We’ve known each other for a while, but never met in person. Dinner was lovely and the conversation…. Well…. I had a great time. But I don’t know if I can say the same for Greg and Liz.

You see, most people have conversational filters. Not so much with me. So when something interesting happens in my life, I tell stories about it. Even if these stories are… odd.

As I’ve mentioned, when I was leaving for the convention I had… an adventure. An adventure that I shared with them….

You should probably just go read the comic he wrote about it…

Last but not least, I saw the first Name of the Wind t-shirt ever at the convention:

How cool is that? Extra minion points. Doubleplus good.

Thanks all for now, folks. But come back soon, there’s going to be a blog in a day or so that will need some audience participation…

pat

Also posted in conventions, fan coolness | By Pat43 Responses

Reaping the Whirlwind

First, I’d like everyone to take a moment and appreciate the clever title of this post. I’m unreasonably proud of it.

We good? Okay.

After a long week, Sarah and I have finally managed to tie up about 99% of the loose ends on the fundraiser. We’ve drawn numbers, sorted prizes, sent e-mails, and packaged nearly everything up.

And when I saw “we,” I mean “Sarah.” I did a lot of the sifting, number juggling, and e-mailing, but Sarah was the package queen.

Awww…. She loves those packages. Those hundreds and hundreds of packages.

Also, as you can see in the lower lefthand corner, the holy light these prizes exude can shine through cardboard, tape, and two layers of bubble wrap. It’s powerful stuff.

I’d also like to note that these packages do not include the Subterranean Press books. Because not only was Subterranean Press cool enough to donate a great pile of stuff, they were nice enough to handle all the shipping for those books too. Which is why I am filled with love for them.

And speaking of love….

Here Sarah is modeling the catgirl hat many of you have seen before. I wanted to prove that I actually did buy it for her, and wasn’t secretly keeping it for myself.

Simply said, the fundraiser would have been impossible without Sarah. She spent dozens of hours bundling up books, running errands, and generally getting everything done. Hell, the trip to the post office alone took two full hours, and that was with a friend with a van helping.

Everyone say, “Thank you Sarah.”

And now, answers to some final questions.

  • Things went really crazy right at the end of the fundraiser. What happened?

Things did go a little crazy. On December 9th, I mentioned on the blog that I thought we had a decent chance of breaking $40,000. Then, we raised over $16,000 in the next two days, tearing past $50,000 and leaving me worried that I was going to have to take out a loan so I could cover my half.

A big piece of this was brought about by folks spreading the word on their blogs. Most notably, Neil Gaiman.

I’d heard through the grapevine that Gaiman was a bit of a Heifer supporter, so I sent him a little e-mail, asking if he’d be interested in mentioning it on his blog.

I should have realized that asking for something like this would be like sticking my tongue into…. well… into anything, really. In my experience, whenever you stick your tongue into something, the outcome is going to be either very exciting, very dangerous, or both.

This was one of those “both” situations. After his blog, Gaiman’s readers flooded over to participate in the festivities. Felicia Day mentioned it on her blog too. Plus, I know a lot of folks were finishing their own personal fundraisers and/or waiting until the very end to make their donations. Hence the crazy.

Rest assured, everyone who got their donations in by the 11th was entered into the lottery.

And yes, I’m all twitterpated that Gaiman referred to me as a “good author.” Though I hope at least some of that was referring to my storytelling as opposed to my ethics.

  • The donations hit nearly $55,000. How much are you matching?

The other day I asked Sarah, “What do you want for Christmas?”

Nothing you can afford to get me,” she said huffily.

And we laugh. This has become the running joke in our house.

I’ve decided to match all the donations. I could have stopped at forty thousand, but I said I’d keep matching until the 11th, and I like to keep my promises.

  • What was the final total?

If you’ve read the blog that started it all, you know I offered two options to people who wanted to donate. There was the Sure Thing option, and the Lottery option.

A surprising number of people chose the Sure Thing, which meant they mailed me a check and I mailed them something back, usually a book or a map signed however they wanted it.

(Click to Embiggen)

A *lot* of people chose this option. So many that I ran out of first edition books. The total amount raised from the Sure Thing option was over six thousand dollars.

That, plus my matching donation from the lottery, minus the cost of postage and packaging materials, brings us to $58,493.14

I’m showing you the check not as proof that I’m mailing it, but because it took me ten friggin minutes to write this thing out. I screwed up five checks before I managed to get it right. I misspelled “ninty,” wrote the wrong amount, wrote the wrong year, and failed more than once to get the total to fit on the line.

I keep pretending that I’m a grown-up, but I’m not.

Anyway, this money, plus the donations that were made directly to the Heifer page, makes a grand total of $113,466.28.

I don’t have words enough to express how happy this makes me. I firmly believe that deep down, people are fundamentally good. But it’s nice to have some data that backs that sentiment up every once in a while.

I’d like to thank all the authors who donated books, all the people who mentioned the fundraiser on their blogs, and all the people who donated money to the cause. Yay us.

  • Are you planning on doing this again next year?

Yes. But I’m planning on doing some things differently.

More stuff. A lot of people wanted to contribute books or other goodies to this year’s auction, but they didn’t hear about the fundraiser until it was nearly finished. I’ve already got stuff piling up for next year’s fundraiser.

Streamlined lottery. Next year, when you make your donation you’ll be able to mark what prizes you’re interested in. That way if you win something, it will be something you’re sure to like.

Auctions. Some prizes are really cool, but only to a very select group of people. So next year we’re going to auction those items off separately. These might be things like manuscripts. Or they might be services, like an author agreeing to insert your name into an upcoming book, a lawyer offering legal consultation, or feedback on a manuscript from a literary agent.

  • I want to be a part of next year’s fundraiser. How can I help?

Donate. Want to chip in a signed book or two? Lovely. Have a cool collectible or unique skill you think would be a worthwhile addition? Wonderful. I’m already collecting prizes for next year. Send them along.

Or maybe you’d like to be an even bigger part of the fundraiser? I’m going to be looking for official sponsors to help me match donations for next year. I’d like to be able to do all of it on my own again, but I just can’t afford it.

If you’d like to help out, drop me a line on my contact form or send an e-mail to Paperback.contest (squiggly at thinger) gmail.com.

Spread the word. Not everyone has signed books to donate or money to throw around. But you can help a lot by letting people know about the fundraiser. A lot of the prizes I received came from authors who contacted me, saying, “A fan sent me an e-mail about your fundraiser and I’d love to be a part of it.” So if you know someone that might be interested in helping, donating a prize, or potentially being a sponsor, talk to them about it. It’s a big help.

Help me come up with a name.
We *really* need a name, folks. We can’t keep calling it “The Heifer Fundraiser.” It lacks panache. Names are important things, you know. And they can tell you a lot about a fundraiser.

Right now, the best I’ve been able to come up with is “Worldbuilders.” But we need something catchier than that. I know that a lot of you are word-clever, as shown by your constant, witty definitions of the word verification giberish. Funnel the churning magma of your creativity toward this problem and I’m sure we can come up with something good.

In fact, let’s try to get the ball rolling in the comments below. Serious suggestions only please. Believe me, I’ve come up with enough sarcastic-sounding ones on my own…. (Geeks for Goats being the least lame of these.)

Thanks again everyone,

pat

Also posted in baby ducks, cool things, Heifer International, Neil Gaiman, Sarah, Worldbuilders 2008 | By Pat75 Responses
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