Category Archives: Surreal enthusiasm

Fanmail Q&A: Convention Adventures


I know you just did some touring around. You hit a bunch of conventions in Indianapolis, Chicago, and Seattle…

Why don’t you tell us about your trips? Not a lot of us can make it to your events, but we’d love to hear some cool stories from the road…

What was you’re favorite part of your travels?


*     *     *


The truth is, I always mean to write about my conventions/readings/adventures when I get back from them. Because honestly, something interesting always happens.

(What happens in Austin, stays in Austin.)

The problem is, when I get back from these things, I’m exhausted. Plus the travel has usually put me behind on a bunch of other projects. So I spend a couple days answering e-mail and trying to get caught up with things. By the time I *am* caught up, the convention has usually been over for a month. Or two. Or ten.

In fact, when I was at Gencon, someone asked me a question similar to yours. Except they asked about the book tour I did last year. 21 events in 21 days, all over the country.

“You never wrote about it on the blog,” she said.

“Oh sure I did,” I said.

“A little,” she said. “But not much at all. And I should know. I just recently found your blog and read the whole thing.”

“Wow,” I said. “Seriously?”

“Yeah,” she said. “I twisted my ankle so I couldn’t go hiking. It took me about three weeks and I kinda I read it all. The baby ducks. Your Aslan Story. The  Gaiman-Day unit of coolness…

I thought about it for a second, and realized that while I had *planned* to write blogs about some of my road adventures, I’d probably never gotten around to it.

Alternately, sometimes I start writing a blog, and never finish it because other things come up. I have a blog titled: “why people kill themselves in hotel rooms” that I’ve been trying to finish for more than a year now….

“So what was your favorite part of the tour?” she asked.”What was cool?”

I thought about it for a bit. Then told her the truth: There were a lot of cool things that happened. I met a lot of lovely readers. I got hugs and cookies and whiskey and knives…

And a plush unicorn Pegasus kitten.

I did a midnight reading in San Fransisco for the people that couldn’t fit into my earlier reading. Much to everyone’s surprise, more than 300 people showed up despite the ridiculously late hour.

My first signing was over 600 people. So many that I couldn’t take a picture of them all at once. So many that they filled two levels of the bookstore. I got to read in the Library of Congress. I met people that actually squeed with delight.

I met someone who had my name tattooed on her arm…

…which is a level of devotion that is equal parts flattering and terrifying. Especially given that book two wasn’t even out yet.

I got to do a reading at the Library of Congress. People dressed up in costumes….

But honestly? My favorite part came right at the end of the tour, when I met up with Sarah and Oot right at the end of the tour in Boston. I hadn’t seen them in a long while, and I missed Oot terribly.

Oot was barely a year an a half old at that point, so me being away for three weeks was a big deal. I got to see him at various points in the tour, but it was only for an hour or an evening at a time. And as I’ve made clear on the blog, when I’m away from him for a long period of time, I start to lose my shit. Around day five I become a wretched weepy thing, unable to go out in public without embarrassing myself.

It was even worse back then. He was so young. I was worried he wouldn’t remember me. Worried that he’d be shy of me….

So the first morning after the tour was over, we hung out in the hotel. We cuddled a little, and when he got bored with that, I asked him if he wanted to make a pillow fort.

He did. So we made a fort using the ridiculous number of pillows that those posh hotels feel obliged to put on your bed.

To all you parents out there. If you’re not making pillow forts with your kids, you’re really missing out. You don’t need a lot of pillows. Three or four is plenty. In some ways, it can be better without a lot of pillows, because then you can make yourself *part* of the fort. If your kid isn’t a big cuddler, you can get some clandestine snuggling that way.

Sarah and my dad went out for breakfast. Oot and I didn’t. We stayed in the hotel room and continued to made forts.

I told Oot that he better be careful, because there was a creature called the Goonch that would nibble his feet if they were hidden under the pillows. Then I would sneak my hand under the pillow and tickle him.

It has been more than a year since I started that little game, and it still hasn’t gotten old. Not for either of us.

He had a few plush toys with him, and I thought that maybe they would try to break into the fort. Add some drama to the game.

But Oot thought that if they wanted to come in the fort, that was fine by him. That made me unreasonably proud. No pointless antagonism. No warmongering. He just wanted to hang out in his fort with his friends.

So it went for about two hours, until Sarah and my dad got back from breakfast.

That was my favorite part of my book tour….

[Editorial note: I just searched my computer for an hour, looking for the pictures I know I took of little Oot in his pillow fort. I can’t find them and it breaks my heart a little.

Instead, please accept this picture of comparable cuteness]

(Click to Embiggen the Cute.)

I know we’re all programmed to think our kids are cute, but seriously. Look at him.

And that hair. I can’t bring myself to cut it. He’s just too pretty. About 80% of the people who meet him think he’s a little girl because of it. But I love it. Plus  can’t help but feel that will probably be healthy for him in the long run. Maybe if folks think he’s a girl for another couple years he’ll be slower to absorb some of the gender bullshit that’s constantly fucking up our culture.

*     *     *

Anyway Joe, I hope that kinda answers your questions. For one, it’s not that I try to keep these stories secret, it’s just that I tend to be busy and forgetful.

For two, generally speaking, my favorite part of these adventures is coming home to my little boy.

Rest assured that I’ll be sharing at least one cool story from Gencon in the semi-near future. One that Scalzi has already mentioned on his blog.

In the meantime, here’s one cool thing that happened in Chicago.

I wore a tux:

Oot wore a tuxedo shirt. We were quite the dashing pair….

Later all,


Also posted in book two, conventions, emo bullshit, fan coolness, Fanmail Q + A, Oot, Tales from the Con | By Pat60 Responses

Me me me memes…..

The title of this blog makes more sense if you pretend you’re singing it….

Today we’ve got some Link Salad and an interview.

So apparently, (he said without preamble) folks have been making Kvothe memes.

Like this:

In a similar vein, someone sent me a link to a blog appropriately titled “My God What Horrors have I wrought?” A blog in which they take several pictures of me and… well… lolcat them.

I really don’t have anything to say about either of these things. I find myself ambivalent, but strongly ambivalent.  It’s like feeling extra-medium about something.

It’s like yesterday. I was digging in the garden with Sarah, and I found a rock that was kinda cool, so I wanted to show it to her.

“Look at this cool rock,” I said.

She looked at it. “Cool,” she said.

“It’s flint,” I said.

Then I just stood there holding it. Kinda at a loss.

What are you going to do with it?” She asked.

“I don’t know,” I said.

And that’s where I kinda stalled out. The main thing I wanted was for other people to acknowledge that it was interesting. It wasn’t purposeful. It wasn’t useful. It was just….

There should be a word for that. I think we have a hole in the language. We need a word for something that feels more significant that it actually is. Or perhaps something which is only significant in that it possesses a feeling of significance beyond any practical value or purpose.

I think the word should be…. hygapean. Maybe just ‘agapean?’ Can you adjectiveize “agape?”

Is adjectiveize even a word? It should be. Adjectiveate?

Either way, I’m pretty sure I’ve just invented at least one word up there. So I can cross that off my list for the day.

I think ‘hygapean’ is the right way to go though.

Pronunciation: Huh Gape Ian. Emphasis on the first syllable.

Proper usage: “I used to have a crush on her, but it turns out my attraction was primarily hygapean.”

“Look at this hygapean rock I found.”

There. Now each of you has to use it at least once today and we’re all set.

Okay. Moving on.

In other news, here’s a photographer that makes me feel like I really should step up my game when it comes to taking pictures of my kid.

And lastly, here’s an interview I did over at Toonari.

Share and Enjoy,


Also posted in Interviews, Link salad, musings, The difference between 'slim' and 'slender' | By Pat76 Responses

A Different Sort of Interview

So as some of you know, Jo Walton has been doing an in-depth reading of my first two books over at for more than a year now.

That’s a bit of a boggling thought by itself right there. That there’s a whole community of folks over there that have been going over my books with a fine tooth comb for over a year. The fact that the discussion is being headed up my a World Fantasy Award winning novelist is the cherry on top of my surrealism sundae.

While it’s flattering knowing that the discussion is out there, I’ve been keeping myself away from the posts because I don’t really want to know *too* much about what speculation is going on. That sort of thing can be bad for a writer.

But when Jo contacted me to let me know that they were wrapping up book two, and folks were dying to ask me some questions, I couldn’t say no.

I only had two stipulations:

1. I wouldn’t give any spoilers.

2. I could be cryptic and evasive, if not downright opaque in my answers.

3. I reserved the right to make puns, flippant jokes, and obscure quotes without fear of reprisal.

Jo agreed and sent me the questions.

There were roughly a billion of them. So many that even after I weeded some out, the finished interview ended up being over a dozen pages long.

Because of this, we decided to split it in half. The first part is here on my blog. The second half is over on (I’ll give you the link later.)

What really impressed me was the nature of the questions. The quality of the questions. A lot of these made me stop and think. A lot more made me pull copies of my book down off the shelf to double check things before I gave an answer.

The truth is, I’ve never been asked questions like these before. Or at least I’ve never had to deal with so many of them packed into one short period of time. It felt a little bit like I was being tested on my own book. But in a good way.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the first half of the interview.

  • Geography

Why did you choose to give us the kind of map you did? Is there any hope of a really detailed map that contains locations of vital interest like Caluptena and Newarre?

This is a question that many, many people have asked. And I’ve been meaning to post a blog about it for years and years.

How here’s the deal: I’ll pass over this question lightly so I can spend more time on the rest of the interview. But I promise to post up a detailed answer here on my blog in just a month or so. Lhin?

As far as future maps go, where there is life, there is hope. (And need of vittles.) I’ll probably include some more detailed regional maps if/when I ever do the role playing game based off my book.

What is the physical shape of the world of the Four Corners? (Spherical, flat, hyperbolic, …)

I try to avoid hyperbole in my writing. I find it distasteful.

In a related question, what’s up with the moon being always full before the War of Naming?

I can only refer you to Chapter 102. At this time, all I have to say on the subject is right there.

Also, it’s not called the war of naming. It’s called the Creation War.

Were there any particularly cool scenes/ideas/random facts about the 4C world you had to leave out, and could you please tell us about them if so?

Generally speaking, I leave the cool parts in the book. When I take something out, it’s because it’s not cool enough, so it drags down the overall awesome of the book.

If I do cut something cool, it’s usually because there’s a better place for it somewhere else. There are two whole chapters that used to be in book one, that are now going to show up in book three. They work much better there.

Can you tell us about any locations we haven’t seen yet which we’ll be visiting on D3?

Hmmmm…. You see, the thing is, even a relatively innocuous question like this could be considered a spoiler to some people.

Let me give you an example. I’m going to assume you’re all solid geeks, and that you’ve already gone to see The Avengers.

(I’m going to talk about the movie, so consider this your spoiler alert.)

You know in the trailer for The Avengers where they show the hulk catching Iron Man out of the air?

That’s a spoiler.

Why? Here’s why.

There I am, watching in the theatre, watching Tony Stark flying off into space to jam a nuke up the ass of some aliens. Good times. High stakes. Big adventure. Then his HUD starts to get all crackly.

Now they’ve already established Tony as being the selfish guy who’s ripe for a transformational moment, ready to become the self-sacrificing hero. He’s just called his girlfriend to say goodbye.

And I think, “Oh shit. This is Joss Whedon directing this. He’s at the helm. He wouldn’t…. Fuck. No. Of course he would. Joss would totally kill off Tony Stark….”

Except that moment of honest dread only lasts a microsecond because I’ve seen in the trailer that the Hulk grabs Iron Man out of the air and slides down the building.

So I know he’s not going to snuff it. I’m robbed of my dramatic tension.


So I’ll answer this question, and give away a little piece of advance knowledge to the folks that hunger for such things.

But here’s what we’re going to do. Let’s move this question WAAAAAY down to the end of the interview. Way at the end of the second piece over on We’ll have the tiny potential spoilers tucked away safely down there. Because I know some of you are like me, and you like your stories pure.

Does that sound fair?

Where do they get all of the chocolate from?

The same place we do. From coco beans.

  • Naming

Does time have a name that could be learned?

Boy. That’s a really good question. Any question I can’t answer off the top of my head is a good one.

Elodin would probably have a really great reply to this….

My gut response, given about a minute’s thought is that no, it doesn’t. No more than, say, height has a name.

That’s not cannon though. I might be wrong.

Does the difficulty of learning names vary from name to name, or namer to namer?

Oh god yes. That should be really obvious from the books.

What is the difference between shaping and naming?

That is a very good question. A very, very good question. You have no idea how good a question that is.

Whoever asked this, you’re going to really enjoy parts of book three….

Is there a Collective Sleeping Mind, akin to Jungian ideas of the collective unconscious?

While I’ll admit I find the concept of the collective unconscious appealing, I don’t really know if it exists in this world…. Let alone if it has an analog in the Four Corners….

And if so, did Iax take a big chunk of it, weave it into whole-cloth and Shape Faen, thus separating essential energy from the mortal world?

Boy. Wow. There are a bunch of assumptions in that question. I can count three distinct underlying implied concepts without even trying. It’s the onion-layered cosmological version of, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

So I’ll have to pass on answering it. But it’s a good question. It reveals that you’ve put a flattering amount of thought into figuring out how the world works.

  • Sympathy

You say sympathy was invented at the University. Are magics truly invented or just discovered and developed, like radio? If invented, are there other magics to be created? Does Kvothe create one? Is the Fae realm different from the 4C in the kind of magics that can be created there?

Merciful Buddah. A four question, question. You don’t write high-school essays by any chance, do you?

Questions like these are a huge mess to answer all at once, so I’m going to separate them out. One answer for each sentence.

1. I’m pretty sure I didn’t say that.

2. I’m pretty sure that a radio counts as an invention.

3. That’s a good question.

4. No spoilers. But nice try.

5. No. (But faen magic is notably different than the sort of magic normally practiced in the four corners.)

In Austin, you said there were six kinds of magic of which we’d seen five. What are they? If the sixth is a spoiler, what are the five we’ve seen?

Depending on how you look at things, there are a lot of different ways you could group, and therefore count, the different magics in the books.

For example. Sympathy and Sygaldry are both very similar, as they both deal almost exclusively with the manipulation of tangible force in all its varied forms.

Which means, of course, depending on how you count them, (or on how I was counting them that particular day in Austin) there could be more that six types of magic.

Still, here are the names of the five I’ve exposed you to in the book so far.


You’ve seen glimpses of one other, but you don’t have a name for it yet.

Are all the different types of magic (e.g., naming/shaping, sympathy/sygaldry, alchemy, glamourie, gramerie, etc.) fundamentally different, or are they actually different sides of the same six-sided die?

Whoops. Did I mention grammarie in the book by name.

[Pat goes to look.]

Huh. I guess I did, twice. That was probably later in the revision process.

So yeah, I guess that’s six magics I’ve shown in the books.

(Whoops. Seven. I just remembered one more that gets a whisper of a mention. And there’s an eighth you haven’t seen yet.)

To answer your question though, some types of magic are very much the same (as I mentioned above.) While others are very, very different.

Whether all types of magic somehow follow the same underlying principles is a matter of some discussion at the University. But nobody has discovered the Grand Unified Theory of magic, if that’s what you’re asking.

People have tried, of course. But mostly that’s the sort of thing that students talk about late at night when they get drunk. It’s also the sort of thing that rhetoricians and philosophers discuss. But those aren’t the sort of people Kvothe hangs out with.

*     *     *

For the second, larger chunk of the interview, you can head over here.

For bonus points, see if you can spot and identify all four of my quotes references in the interview. Without using google, lameass.



Also posted in fan coolness, geeking out, Interviews | By Pat78 Responses
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