Category Archives: contests

Photo Contest II: The Return

So I’ve been slowly digging through my backlog of fanmail. Most of it has been extraordinarily pleasant. There have been a few turds in there, but they’re so rare as to be statistical anomalies.

While reading them all, I’ve also found three letters similar to this one:

Dear Pat,

I read name of the wind long, long ago back in 2007. And I’ve been a reader of your blog for just about as long.

Back in 2008, when the paperback version of The Name of the Wind came out, you did a photo contest. I remember it was a ton of fun seeing all the photos people took of themselves and your book. Do you remember the girls that got naked and painted themselves with your book covers?

So I was mostly wondering, are you going to do a photo contest again? I remember you saying you were planning on it, but that was a long time ago…

Best Wishes,


“Do you remember the girls that got naked and painted themselves with your book covers?”

This is perhaps the most ridiculous question in the history of ever. Of course I remember that picture. I still consider it one of the absolute high points of my writing career. The blog I wrote about that picture back in 2008 is as true today as it was back then.

You want to know one of the best things about this picture? The women were honest-to-goodness rocket scientists. I shit you not. They were aerospace engineers.

The truth is, Sandra, I planned on doing a photo contest as soon as the second book came out. But with the chaos of revision followed by the book tour, I just plain forgot about it.

But now my failing memory has been jogged by you and several other diligent readers. Looking over the blogs from the first contest has warmed my heart and reminded me how much fun it was seeing all of those pictures.

Like this one of the most furious baby in the world:

Or the one where someone made pants for my books:

(Yes. Pants. For my book.)

All the entries from Captain Joe. My favoritest fan I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet.

(The name of his steed? Thunderplumb.)

Or one of my favoritest, simplest pictures:

So hell yes. Photo contest. Let’s do it again.

Here are the rules.

1. The picture doesn’t need to include you, but it does need to include the book.

2. Photo manipulation is legal, but by no means required.

3. Multiple entries are allowed.

4. Pictures will be judged on their general coolness. Categories will include anything I feel like, for example: “Most Awesome,” “Most Funny.” “Most Sexy” “Most Dramatic” and “Most Best.”

4b. I reserve the right to add extra categories, remove categories, and pretty much do whatever I like when it comes to the organization and presentation of the pictures.

5. You can’t do anything illegal or recklessly dangerous.

5B. Yes. Even if it’s cool.

5c. Yes. I’m serious. I won’t post up your picture at all if it’s obvious you’re playing in traffic or climbing a fence into a military base. Play nice. Be smart.

6. Winners will win. Winning will include some manner of prize. The nature of the prizes is yet to be determined, but I’ll do my best to make them cool.

7. All photos will be judged in a completely arbitrary and subjective manner.

8. Pictures should be jpgs no larger than 4 megs each. (Lest y’all crash my gmail account.)

9. You have one month to get your pictures submitted. The contest is over April 30th at Midnight.

[Edit April 25th] Contest Deadline Extended! New deadline is May 15th.

For those of you that are interested, here are the blogs that show some of the best pictures from the last contest:

Photo Contest Part I – Shrines

Photo Contest Part II – Babies

Photo Contest Part III – Anthropomorphic and Athletic

Photo Contest Part IV – Celebrities and Foreign Climes

Photo Contest Part V – Driving, Reading, and Animals

Photo Contest Part VI – Miscellaneous

Photo Contest Part VII – Drama

Photo Contest Part VIII – Eros, Filius, and Agape

Photo Contest Part IX – Covers and Cosplay

Photo Contest Part X – The Grand Prize Winner

If nothing else, you really need to check out that last one. The grand prize winner was awesome to such a degree that I’m still stunned by it. Time has not dimmed its luster by one iota. Their prize was that they got to beta-read book two.

How to Submit Your Picture.

E-mail your pictures to the following address: paperback.contest {swirly at sign}

If you send a picture to that e-mail address, make sure to include:

  • The photo(s). (duh.)
  • Your name.
  • How you want the photo to be credited, if it’s different than your name.
  • Your mailing address. (Where to send your fabulous prize.)

Are you ready? I’m so ready. I think this is going to be awesome.


P.S. If folks want to suggest things that might make good prizes, I’m open to suggestions in the comments below.

Also posted in calling on the legions, cool things, Photo Contest 2011 | By Pat93 Responses

High School Writer’s Workshop

Back in the long ago. Back in the beforetimes….

Specifically, back in 1990, I submitted a piece of writing to a contest. It was a first for me.

I didn’t go looking for the contest, a teacher mentioned it to me. So I decided to send something I’d already written for class. I was proud of my last paper, mostly because I’d gotten an A on it.

I looked at the contest’s different categories: Formal Essay, Short Story, Poetry… In the end I shrugged and I decided to call my piece of writing “Familiar Essay” and sent it in.

I didn’t hold out any high hopes for winning, but since I was a senior, I knew I should start thinking about colleges. And the prize for winning this contest was a thousand dollar scholarship to the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.

UW-SP also offered something called the High School Writer’s Workshop. If your writing was good enough, you got to skip school for the day, hang out on a college campus, and, presumably, learn something about writing.

The end of the story probably isn’t what you’d expect. I didn’t win. I was a distant runner-up. I was invited to attend the writer’s workshop, but I didn’t go. I can’t remember why, but given that I was a bit of an idiot back then, it’s quite possible that I simply forgot.

I did apply to UW-SP, because if the winner didn’t collect the scholarship, it went to the next runner up. If *they* didn’t go to Point either, it would continue down the line.

UW-SP was the only college that I got around to applying to. Again, I can’t remember why, exactly. But again, it’s safe to say that I probably just didn’t think of it. Or I forgot. Or I was busy watching Twin Peaks and playing D&D with my friends. As I’ve already pointed out, I was a bit of an idiot.

Later on, long after the application deadline had passed, I also applied to UW-Madison. Despite my obvious inability to follow instructions or read a calender, I got accepted there too.

That meant I had to chose between Stevens Point and Madison. Two schools that I knew absolutely nothing about.

I picked Stevens Point for the simple reason that it was 100 miles away. Close enough for a visit home, but not *too* close, if you know what I mean.

It’s strange the little things that shape our lives. The small choices that turn out to be so big in hindsight.

As many of you know, I stayed at UW-SP for nine years, taking classes and generally having a great time. Later on, after I got my Masters Degree, I came back to teach for a while. It’s where I still live.

Two years ago, they let me run the fiction category of the High School Writer’s Workshop. Last year I was the keynote speaker at the event.

And this year, for the first time ever, they’ve added a new category: Speculative Fiction.

(For those of you who don’t know. Speculative Fiction is what academics call Fantasy and Sci-Fi.)

And guess who’s running this new category? That’s right, baby. Me.

So if you’re a high-schooler who lives in Wisconsin, and you like to write fantasy and such. You might want to check out this link to the brochure containing all the information you need to submit something. (Hint: You need your teacher to help you submit.)

The deadline for submissions is Oct 15th.

I can’t say for certain why I didn’t mention this on the blog earlier. It might be that I was busy with book two. It might be that I forgot. Or it could be that after all these years, I’m still a bit of an idiot…

Have a good weekend everybody,


Also posted in musings, my dumbness | By Pat33 Responses

T-shirt Design Contest

So the response to the “would y’all like some t-shirts” question has been answered rather enthusiastically.

I was thinking if we got about 150 people expressing an interest it would be worth doing. Since we got over three times that many responses in less than a day, I’m thinking we’re good to go.

Here’s the plan. I’m eventually going to make t-shirts for three different things.

We’re going to start with the last of these as Worldbuilders won’t be starting up again for months, and Adventures won’t be published for another month or so. (I’m so excited…)

Here’s the problem with the plan: I really don’t have a good idea for a t-shirt design.

Part of the problem is that I work in a non-visual medium. I’m texty. And while I’m good at what I do, raw text doesn’t usually make the most compelling t-shirt design.

There are exceptions, of course….

Shirts like this are fun for a lot of reasons. First, you get to let your freak flag fly. This one not only expresses my undying love for Joss Whedon, but it’s a bit of a star-wars riff, AND the shirt itself is from one of my favorite webcomics. It’s a nerdy hat-trick.

Shirts like this are like wearing geek gang colors. If I’m at a convention and someone says they like my shirt, then I know we have something in common. We’ll have something to chat about if we’re standing together in line.

But, generally speaking, a t-shirt with a bit of a picture is way more interesting.

(Click to Embiggen.)

For those of you that can’t see it that clearly, the t-shirt says: “Pose as a team, ’cause shit just got real.” Yes I love the comic that spawned it, but the real reason I own that particular shirt is because it cracks me up.

Sometimes shirts express a universal truth.

Others provide social commentary.

Or give fair warning.

There are also shirts that I consider stealth geek shirts. For example:

Obviously I’m not stealthing very well right here. But the point is, if I leave the convention and take off my badge, the Fruit Oaty Bar t-shirt looks perfectly normal. It doesn’t scream GEEK! at everyone who looks at me. But at the same time, real Firefly can identify me as a true believer.

Also, it’s a really good color on me. I’m an autumn.

Here’s my thought. A couple years ago when I ran a photo contest, y’all amazed me with your creativity. People climbed onto rooftops, stripped naked, someone even sewed a pair of pants for my book.

I’m hoping to tap into that well of enthusiastic creativity again.

So here’s the deal. For two weeks we’ll be accepting submissions for t-shirt designs. (Until June 23rd) Then we’ll winnow through them and put up the cream of the crop here on the blog for people to discuss and vote on.

  • What sort of design should I submit?

Something cool. The particular flavor of cool I leave entirely to you. Rock my world.

  • What format should I use?

The best option, of course, is that you e-mail us a file with the lovingly crafted design. Even shirts that are just pure text need some graphic design to them.

However, if you’re like me, you have no graphic talent. If that’s the case, you might want to consider teaming up with a friend to design something.

Failing that, you could just send us your description of what you think the shirt should look like. If it seems like a cool idea, I’ll talk to one of my artist friends and see if they can whip something up.

  • Where do you send it?

e-mail it to: paperback.contest [squiggly atsign thinger]

  • What do I get out of it if you pick my design?

First, the envy of your peers. Bragging rights. Adulation and fawning praise.

Second, we’ll come to some sort of arrangement for compensation. If you like, I could just buy the design off you in the same way I’d pay a graphic designer.

Or, if you’d prefer, I could give you something else. I’ve got a handful of first-edition books around here that I could sign for you. And some ARC’s too, if you’re into collectibles. I’ve got posters and a bunch of other stuff. We’ll be able to work something out.

Also, you can probably make a play for some free shirts when they’re done.

Thanks for playing everyone. Remember, the deadline is June 23rd.


Also posted in a billion links, calling on the legions, Firefly | By Pat96 Responses

Tales from the Con: Reading in Indianapolis

So when I was attending GenCon out in Indianapolis last month, I had several adventures.

For one, I got to eat at a Stake and Shake, which was pretty cool. This may not seem like a big deal for most of you, but… well… I don’t get out much.

I also did a reading at the local library.

I love doing readings. But this one was especially fun, as I got to hang out with the folks from “…and Sewing is Half the Battle.” They’re the ones that won the photo contest from a couple months ago.

They all came dressed in their costumes and did an intro to my reading, talking about what cosplay is, why folks do it, and how to dabble if you’re interested.

I have to say that it was pretty cool showing up for my own reading and having a bunch of the characters from the book in attendance.

As a whole, I was too bemused to take a lot of pictures. But I got a huge kick out of this:

I don’t remember writing a hippie into the book. But then again, I don’t remember NOT writing a hippie into the book. Trapis, nice guy that he is, seems to be reserving judgement.

Haliax, as you might have guessed, is a big hit with the ladies. Why do they always go for the dark types?

Here’s one I snapped of Haliax when he didn’t think anyone was paying attention. Apparently when there aren’t any chicks around he summons some sort of glowing orb, practicing to destroy his enemies. I can’t say I’m surprised.

Ladies, let this be a lesson to you. Sure, cowls are sexy. Everyone loves a bad boy. But when you’re dating evil, it’s only a matter of time before you get the glowing orb.

Here’s everyone. From top left to bottom right you have: Elodin, young girl (see below) Haliax, Bast and Urchin, Ambrose, glowing death orb, Hippie, Trapis, Denna, Kvothe and Fela.

I won’t bore you with the whole story of the reading, but here are the high points.

  • A 10 year old girl made fun of my handwriting.

She looked down at the book I was writing in. “Authors are supposed to use cursive,” she informed me.

“Not me,” I said cheerfully, scribbing away.

“Is that your name?” she asked.


She kept watching in disapproval, then said. “Authors are also supposed to have better handwriting than a third grader.”

“You’re fat,” I said.

I didn’t really. She was adorable. Plus, I was on an adulation buzz by that point and nothing could bring me down. I long ago came to grips with the fact that my handwriting looks like a psychotic grade schooler’s ransom note. She wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know.

  • At some point during the Q & A period, I used a terrible phrase.

I used to do improv comedy. This is a good thing. I know how to work a crowd and think on my feet. Public speaking doesn’t freak me out. I’m relaxed. I make jokes. It’s a good time.

The down side is that I’m not exactly working off a script. And that means sometimes I’ll say awful things.

I’m not talking about cussing. I cuss all the time. It’s not a big deal.

All humor is rooted in transgression. That means that most things that are genuinely funny also have the potential for being really offensive, or weird, or creepy.

I can’t remember the exact context for this phrase, but I was answering a question. I think I was making fun of the fact that since I hit the NYT bestseller list, everyone seems to think I’m all rockstar famous.

As I said, I can’t remember the exact context. But I do remember the phrase I used.

It was: “Come Ride the Rothfuss Train!”

Yeah. I even pronounced it with the exclamation point, which is something I very rarely do. It was one of those things that seems brilliant before you say it, but goes horrible as soon as it leaves your mouth.

There was a half-second of quiet, then I said. “I’m never going to say that ever again.”

THAT got a laugh. A big laugh.

So later, when I was signing books, everyone wanted me to write something about the Rothfuss train. So the story has a happy ending.

  • I got to hang out with the “Sewing is Half the Battle” crew.

After the reading, we all hung out, and I treated them to dinner as part of their prize for their epic win in the photo contest.

Eventually the restaurant closed, so we went to… you guessed it. Steak and Shake. My second trip in as many days. It was there that a talented artist who will remain nameless drew this on a placemat for me.

Yeah. It’s the Rothfuss Train. Hop on. Ride it. You know you want to….

Later all,


Also posted in conventions, small adventures | By Pat30 Responses

Photo Contest Wrap-up.

Today I was going to wax rhapsodic about the grand prize winners. However I find myself oddly tired, pressed for time, and feeling very thick in the head. I’m too tired to be all cleverness in my word makings.

So here’s the bare bones version….

They = coolness.

Their fabulous prizes include:

1. I’ll take them all out to dinner when I’m out in Indianapolis for Gencon.

2. Signed books, maps, and college survival guides for everyone on their team who wants them.

3. An early reading copy of The Wise Man’s Fear, if such a thing would please them. If it doesn’t, then I’ll simply have to owe them a favor that they can call in at their leisure, all mobster style.

Now, before everyone gets all twitterpated and starts mewling for their own copy in the comments section. Let me just say, the book isn’t ready to read yet. I’m still tweaking, re-writing, and revising.

Also, I need to say that I’m willing to trust them with an early version of the book because I’ve actually met these folks. They took me out to dinner a year ago, back before I was all award-draped and bestseller famous. They’re cool, they’re smart, and they bought me dinner. That + winning the contest means I feel I can trust them with an early version of the book.

Now before every man-jack of you starts trying to wheedle your own copy, let me re-direct your energies to something more productive: the next contest.

I’d like suggestions for making the next one even better. How should we handle it? More rules? Less rules? Different rules?

Discuss in the comments section below….

And it’s bed for me….


Posted in contests | By Pat39 Responses

Photo Contest Part X – The Grand Prize Winner

And here we have it. The end of the contest. The entry so awesome that I cannot even post it on the blog. I dare only reflect its infinite glory with a simple link.

When you get to their page, make sure that you click on the first page first. (It’s the one that says “Chasing the Wind.”) Then click through to follow the storyline. Yes. There’s a storyline.

Wow. I just looked at it again. It made my honest-to-god tingly.

You know what? I’m not even going to talk about it right now. I don’t want to distract you. You should just go, check it out, then come back here and leave a comment that tells them how unspeakably cool they are.

Go. Seriously.


Also posted in cool things, fan coolness | By Pat45 Responses

Photo Contest Part IX – Covers and Cosplay.

Well folks, we’re almost at the end of the photos. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have.

Our final category is: “Best Cosplay.” But before we get to that, there was a small subcategory of photos that I haven’t included yet: photos commenting about the covers of the book itself.

This is the real hot-button question, of course. How much naked man chest do you prefer?

A lot of people weighed in on the subject.

Even to the point of dressing up as their preferred cover.

And here you see my clever segue into the “Best Cosplay” category. Look like anyone you know?

Maybe this will help. When I started this contest up on Facebook, someone else took young Kvothe’s posed picture and photoshopped him onto the cover. I think both the model and the photoshopper deserve an honorable mention prize.

Some of the pictures people took told a story.

Here, for example, we have an epic battle taking place for the love of a beautiful woman….

Or not.

Interesting side note: this is the look that women have been consistently giving me for the last 15 years. Admittedly, they usually have a pretty good reason….

I was especially tickled by the people who staged scenes from the book. This one is subtle, and the reference is easier to catch in the following version:

Here’s the strapping young man we saw at the beginning of Part VIII, putting those abs to good use. Extra points for rescuing the lady and the book.
Anyone who’s read The Name of the Wind should be able to identify this scene. But what really impressed me was the hard, white Dalonir cheese that they went to the trouble of including in the picture. That’s the level of detail that gets you a pair of lovely runner-up prizes: one for Kvothe and one for Auri.

This is hot. The best part? Kvothe’s drawn-on abs.

Winner. Such a sweet picture. I’m guessing most of you can identify this scene too.

We have a good degree of accuracy here too. Denna is all, “You’re so dreamy.” And Kvothe is thinking, “I wish Denna liked me…. Hey, are those cumulus or cirrus clouds.?”

Congrats. Both Kvothe and Denna can have a fabulous prize of their choosing.

This is so not cannon. Still, it’s nice to see poor Kvothe get a little love…

Remember, if you’ve won, you need to follow the guidelines I laid down at the beginning of the contest in order to claim your swag. Now that all the winners are finally posted, I’m going to go through and start packaging and mailing things out.

Well…. I shouldn’t say that ALL the winners are posted. There was one entry so amazing that I had to give it a post all its own. We’ll see that next week, so stay tuned.


Also posted in book covers, fan coolness | By Pat13 Responses
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