Category Archives: Worldbuilders 2009

Mark Tremonti Signature Guitar – Signed by Creed

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

If you want details, click here.

Back in September, I got a piece of fanmail.

By itself, this isn’t that strange. A lot of folks contact me using the form on my website. A lot. While there are too many for me to reply to personally these days, I do read them all.

One thing I’ve learned by reading these messages is that a lot of different people read my book. Subconsciously, I always expect my readers to be like me. That’s to say I expect them to be youngish college students who are… well… kinda geeky.

(I know that I’m not *really* a college student anymore, but that’s still how I think of myself in my head. After spending 11 years in college, then teaching for a couple years, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to think of myself as anything other than a college student. In my head I’m also still in my twenties. And I’m thinner, too.)

But in the last couple years I’ve learned that not everyone who reads fantasy is a geek. Or at least not the sort of geek that I am. I’ve been contacted by soldiers in Iraq, lawyers, carpenters, politicians, a cage fighter, police, and aerospace engineers.

Well, the last one isn’t so surprising, actually. One of my my best friends in high school grew up to be an aerospace engineer, and we played D&D like nobody’s business.

The point is, by this point I should know better than to judge people by their profession. Geeks come in all shapes and sizes, and people aren’t defined by their jobs.

So back to the story: It’s September of last year, and I get an e-mail from Michael Tremonti. He tells me he’s Mark Tremonti’s brother and publicist. Apparently, Creed was going to be playing a show in Milwaukee, and they knew I lived in Wisconsin. So Michael was just dropping me a line to see if I’d like to come down, catch the show, and maybe hang out a little.

To be honest, at first I was pretty sure one of my friends had made a fake e-mail account and was screwing around with me. That seemed a lot more likely to me than a rockstar out there reading fantasy books. Aren’t Geeks and Rockstars diametrical opposites? Aren’t we supposed to be natural enemies in the wild?

It turns out we’re not. While e-mailing back and forth with Michael, he told me he and his brother used to play D&D in the basement just like the rest of us.

Again, I didn’t believe him. So they sent me this picture.


I am cowed by the might of your geekery, Mark. And I hereby promise never to question anyone’s geek heritage ever again. Not just D&D. But AD&D. That’s the real stuff. Back when the game was badass and you had to roll for things like parasitic infection when you traveled through a swamp.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it down to the show. This was back in September, and Sarah was big with baby. I knew if I drove down to Milwaukee, she’d go into labor. I was absolutely sure of it.

Still, we stayed in touch, and when I was starting to gather prizes for Worldbuilders, I dropped Michael a line and asked if they might be interested in donating a couple of signed CDs or something.

He replied, “How about we just give you a guitar instead?”

“What?” I said.



Thanks so much, Michael and Mark. This is really going above and beyond…

I have to say, all rockstar coolness aside, this is a really gorgeous guitar. Holding it, I was filled with a great desire to rock out.

Here’s the link to the auction.

This sort of thing is kinda unexplored territory for the fundraiser, as until now we’ve focused mostly on books and book-related stuff. So I’d appreciate it if y’all could help me spread the word a little bit. And sooner would be better than later, as the auction ends on January 15th.

Money raised by Worldbuilders goes to Heifer International, which helps people all over the world raise themselves up out of poverty and starvation. If you’d like to donate directly you can head over to my page at Team Heifer and I’ll match your donation by 50%. Trust me. You’ll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want more information about the Worldbuilders fundraiser itself, you can head to the main page HERE.

With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.

Also posted in meeting famous people, music, Wierd Shit | By Pat20 Responses

Books from Brent Weeks – Plus an Interview

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Time for another interview folks, this one with Brent Weeks author of the Night Angel Trilogy.

Heya Brent. Let’s say you’re at a party and you meet someone you wanted to impress. What sort of things about your writing career would you casually drop into the conversation to prove that you’re awesome?

Oh, I’d definitely drop the NY Times bestselling author bit, though with a self-deprecatory asterisk.

Yeah. That carries a ridiculous amount of weight. A couple months after I hit the Times, an editor at Penguin asked me, “How do you like your new first name?”

I gave her a dumb look.

She said, “You’re not Pat Rothfuss anymore. Now you’re New-York-Times-bestselling-author-Pat Rothfuss.”

And it was totally true. That’s how everyone introduced me at conventions for almost a year.

What’s your asterisk, by the way?

There are more NY Times lists than people think. There’s a fiction hardcover list, a fiction mass-market paperback list, non-fiction lists, self-help lists, and children’s lists. The list goes to 35, but due to… well, heck, I dunno, the cost of paper? the lists that get printed go only to 20.

I was on the list for 3 weeks, but I topped out at 29. One publisher who I gave a blurb to said, “Oh, we only count authors who hit the printed list as NY Times bestsellers.” Oh. I feel snobbed on.

Thus: Hi, my name is New-York-Times-bestselling-author-but-only-on-the-internet Brent Weeks.

Oh man… you’re only on the extended list? Good lord, why I am I even bothering to talk to you?

I kid, I kid…

If you had to pick your favorite book of all time, what would it be?

The Name of the Wind?

Ahh… That’s why I’m talking to you. You’ve got me all blushy. Seriously though. What would your favorite be?

The monstrous compendium of Calvin & Hobbes.

Good choice. You’re relatively new to the publishing world. How often do you check your amazon sales rank?

Oh, hells, busted. I used to check it all the time. Then I found this service that would do the dirty work for me…free. Check out titlez.com. Then I would check that sucker every couple of days. But I can proudly say that I’ve been Amazon sober for several months–with only a teeny little bit of backsliding.

What’s the most shameful self-promotional thing you’ve ever done?

I joined Twitter? No, wait, I’ve done worse than that. I made some Stormtroopers pose with my books.

How about you?

Oh man. I don’t know if it’s the *most* shameful, but I have a bad habit of sending copies of my book to anyone I think might be remotely interested in it. Bloggers. Webcomic artists. Other authors. Everyone.

When The Name of the Wind was first published, I shotgunned books at least a hundred books out there, desperately hoping someone would read it, like it, and tell their friends.

What’s your revision process like? How many drafts do you go through? What’s the biggest cut you’ve ever made to a manuscript?

I cut the first thirty thousand words of The Way of Shadows. Then, much later, my agent told me to cut ten thousand words from Shadow’s Edge. I went through seven hundred pages with a red pen, hacking out everything that wasn’t necessary, and cut twenty thousand words. (Possibly a hundred pages, depending on spacing.)

I actually like revising. When you finish the first draft, a novel’s such a rough stone, flawed and ugly, with only little glimmers of what it could be. Revising makes it a polished stone, flawed and ugly, with medium-sized glimmers of what it could be.

We sound pretty similar there. I actually cut the first chapter of Name of the Wind before we published it. It was cool worldbuilding, but it slowed the book down too much.

How about this? We take both of our cut beginnings, polish them up, then find a few other authors and start an anthology. How does that sound to you?

Man, I dunno. I mean, you HAVE a reputation to crap on. Me? If I sink any lower, I’ll be the William Shatner of epic fantasy.

No… hold on a minute. I think this is a workable idea. If we got a few other authors who were willing to kick in their discarded chapters, it would be a cool collection that would give a peek into the creative process. It would show some of the behind-the-scenes worldbuilding we do that never makes it into the finished product.

Hell, we could call the anthology Worldbuilders. Then maybe donate some of the money it makes to next year’s fundraiser…

C’mon. Say you’ll do it. Remember: “The good of the many outweighs the good of the few…”

After computer switches and computer crashes… Man, I have no idea where that chunk is. Believe me, I’m all about cashing in for work I’ve already done, and giving proceeds to charity sounds good, too, but even if I found it… there’s polishing a raw gem, and there’s polishing poo. No matter how long you do the latter, it ain’t gonna shine.

Maybe it isn’t as bad as I remember. If I find it, I’ll let you know.

I’ll hold you to that. I like this idea….

What’s the most hurtful thing someone has ever said in a review of your book?

It wasn’t a review, but on a forum, someone posted a topic of “Brent Weeks raped Robert Jordan.” That was pretty cool, especially because RJ was pretty much a hero of mine.

Will you tell me yours?

I think it might have been the Amazon reviewer who said all my female characters were whores or June Cleaver clones. That stung a bit.

If you could punch one literary figure in the face, who would it be?

Hold it, you never said you were going to ask about Twilight. Bollocks to Team Edward. Come here, you shiny pansy! Oh, um… I mean, not gonna go there.

Author D. H. Lawrence confessed that he enjoyed climbing mulberry trees while naked. Do you have any little rituals that help you write?

He did that first? Ah, man… You’re telling me I have to come up with a new zany writer quirk for people to share about me?

I’m afraid so. You don’t want people starting a forum thread titled: Brent Weeks raped DH Lawrence.

Seriously though. No little quirks about your writing process? No little superstitions or foibles?

I have these three balls, labeled 1000, 1500, and 2000. I juggle them in increasingly difficult patterns until I drop one. Whichever one I drop is the number of words I have to write that day.

I also make up lies to tell on the internet.

I recently made a joke about “transition putty” on my blog. That being, of course, what we writers buy at Home Depot to smooth out our rough transitions.

If you could have some sort of handyman tool like that, something like Plot Spackle or a Character Level. What would it be?

So you’re the guy who’s buying up all the transition putty? They keep telling me it’s back ordered!

I do love !Vivify! brand Character Resurrection Screws. I had this guy who kept falling off my plot by dying, and a few of those suckers put him right back in place. I also have six–nope, nope–seven Plot Hole Shovels. I might need more…

Thanks again for agreeing to the interview. And for all the lovely swag you’ve donated to the fundraiser. You’re a champ.

* * *

As you’ll see below, Brent really went above and beyond in his donation, sending along a bunch of different signed versions of his Night Angel Trilogy. Ready for them all? Here we go….

  • Two boxed sets of the Night Angel trilogy. Signed by the Author.

  • Two sets of The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows. Signed by the Author.

  • Two hardcover collections of the Entire Night Angel trilogy. Signed by the Author.


  • An ARC of The Way of Shadows. Signed by the Author.

  • Two sets of the audio books The Way of Shadows and Shadow’s Edge. Signed by the Author.


As you can see, Brent Weeks is one of those fancy lads who have already finished their trilogy. Three books, no waiting. Unlike some slackers out there…

A lot of folks have been raving about his books, but I’ll just stick to Terry Brooks when he says: “I was mesmerized from start to finish. Unforgettable characters, a plot that kept me guessing, non-stop action and the kind of in-depth storytelling that makes me admire a writer’s work.”

Remember folks, the fundraiser is over on January 15th. Until then, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win these books and hundreds of others like them.

I’m matching 50% of all donations made. So the money you kick in goes farther if you donate before the 15th. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Trust me. You’ll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want to go back to the main page for Worldbuilders to read the details and see all the cool prizes, you can click HERE.

With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.

Also posted in Me Interviewing Other Folks | By Pat36 Responses

A Veritable Cornucopia of Signed Books

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Here’s some more books, folks. And as you can see, we’ve been saving some of the best for last.

Also, in the interest of complete honesty, I’m over-tired and over-caffeinated right now. This makes me punchy, which means I probably shouldn’t be doing anything delicate like writing book descriptions.

Still, the fundraiser ends on January 15th, which means I really need to get these posted sooner rather than later. So I’m going to apologize in advance for anything bizarre or inappropriate I might say below.

Sorry.

  • An Advance Reading Copy of Neil Gaiman‘s American Gods. Signed by the author.


A great book, and I’m not just saying that because a chunk of it is set in Wisconsin. I’m saying that because I’m a complete geek for Neil Gaiman *and* a big chunk of it is set in Wisconsin.

“Original, engrossing, and endlessly inventive; a picaresque journey across America where the travelers are even stranger than the roadside attractions.” – George R. R. Martin

  • A hardcover copy of Small Favor – a Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Signed by the author.


Jim Butcher is another one of my favorite authors. In fact, he was one of the first authors I wrote about on the blog a long while back. I continue to love him despite the fact that writes two extremely well-crafted novels every year, thereby making me look like a chump.

From Publishers Weekly, “Butcher smoothly manages a sizable cast of allies and adversaries, doles out needed backstory with crisp efficiency and sustains just the right balance of hair’s-breadth tension and comic relief.”


“Crystal Rain is refreshing and imaginative, an exotic stew of cultures, myths, and technology.” –Kevin J. Anderson


Anyone who’s read the acknowledgments in NOTW knows I owe Kevin Anderson a great debt of thanks, as he helped get me started in the publishing world. On top of that, I now owe him even *more* thanks for donating this lovely ARC…

Publisher’s Weekly says, “Anderson’s sizzling sci-fi thriller resurrects the technology of miniaturization introduced in the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage. […] Casual sci-fi fans as well as newcomers to the genre will enjoy this well-paced, energetic narrative.”

  • A set of Jonathan Green‘s Pax Britannia: Unnatural History, Leviathan Rising and Human Nature. Unnatural History and Leviathan Rising are signed by the author.


From the back of the book: In two scant months the nation, and all her colonies, will celebrate 160 years of Queen Victoria’s glorious reign. But all is not well at the heart of the empire of Magna Britannia. A chain of events is about to be set in motion that, if not stopped, could lead to a world-shattering conclusion. It begins with a break-in at the Natural History Museum. A night watchman is murdered. An eminent Professor of Evolutionary Biology goes missing. Then a catastrophic Overground rail-crash unleashes the dinosaurs of London Zoo!

  • A copy of Just Desserts by Simon Haynes. Signed by the author.


Signed by the author, the merest touch of this book will cure scrofula. At least that’s what the promotional blurb says.

The Specusphere urges readers to “enjoy another fast and furious ride with the zap-happy, zany rapscallions.”

  • A copy of Space Magic, stories by David D. Levine. This special signed hardcover edition is limited to 100 numbered copies; this book is copy number AC-6.


Like Nnedi, David Levine is one of the folks I met when we got published in Writers of the Future Volume 18 together. David writes short stories like I’ll never be able to, and over the years his advice about how the publishing world works has been invaluable to me.

Space Magic is his first short story collection. His “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Short Story and “The Tail of the Golden Eagle” was a previous Hugo nominee; it also appeared on the Nebula preliminary ballot and was a finalist for the Sturgeon Award and Locus Award.

It’s also important to note that this limited edition harcover of the book is numbered AC-6. Which means that it’s harder to hit than AC-10.

  • A copy of Saundra Mitchell‘s debut novel, Shadowed Summer. Signed by the author.


Booklist says that Shadowed Summer is, “Highly atmospheric, with pulse-pounding suspense and an elegiac ending.”

You hear that? Elegiac. How come nobody calls my book elegiac? I’m all kinds of elegiac.

  • A copy of The Six Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly. Signed by the author.


“The wildly imaginative Reilly has taken inspiration from comics, video games, thrillers and Code-style puzzle novels to create this rocket-fueled sequel to his 7 Deadly Wonders […] A tongue-in-cheek quality will help readers find this outlandish adventure thrilling.” — Publishers Weekly


“Wilson’s fantasy debut recalls the complexity of classic epic fantasy in the tradition of Robert Jordan. Combining adventure with mystery and memorable characters, this is a good choice for committed fantasy fans.” —Jackie Cassada, Library Journal

  • Two hardcover copies of To Ride Hell’s Chasm by Janny Wurts. Signed by the author.


“Janny Wurts writes with astonishing energy… it outght to be illegal for one person to have so much talent.” – Stephen R. Donaldson

  • One set of Webmage, Cybermancy, CodeSpell and MythOS by Kelly McCullough. All signed by the author.


“The most enjoyable science fantasy book I’ve read in the last four years.” – Christopher Stasheff

  • A set of Naked and Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays by David Sedaris. Both signed by the author.


David Sedaris is a brilliant author I only discovered a couple years ago when someone advised me to listen to his short piece “6-8 Black Men” on Youtube.

After less than a minute, Sedaris had a fan for life.

I’ve been meaning to post a blog recommending Sedaris’ books for almost a year. But something always seems to get in the way. For example, the last time I sat down to write a post about it, I got hung up about whether or not I wanted to use the word “boner” in the blog. Then I started to write a blog about how avoiding the use of the word “boner” revealed a lot about my revision process. Then I stopped writing that blog and did something else. True story.

Anyway, a couple months ago, I found out that David Sedaris was on tour here in the US. What’s more, I found out that he was making at stop Stevens Point. I still can’t imagine why he was here in Podunk, WI. His tour schedule was literally something like this: San Diego > San Francisco > Los Angeles > Salt Lake City > Stevens Point > New York. My suspicion is that he lost a bet with God.

Sedaris gave a great performance and was incredibly gracious in person, though I’m pretty sure I made a bit of an ass of myself when I got to the front of the signing line. I bought a couple of his books and rather than have him sign them to me, I had him just sign his name so I could use them for this fundraiser. Also a true story.

Washington Post Book World describes Sedaris as “Shrewd, wickedly funny […] one of America’s most prickly, and most delicious, young comic talents.”

There we go. Now I can go to sleep. Hopefully I didn’t say anything too awful…. If I did, enjoy it while it lasts, because I’ll probably just delete it when I wake up later today…

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win these books and hundreds of others like them. Plus there’s the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That’s nice too.

And don’t forget, I’m matching 50% of all donations made. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Trust me. You’ll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want to go back to the main page for Worldbuilders, you can click HERE.

With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.

Also posted in my dumbness, Neil Gaiman, recommendations, Subterranean Press | By Pat20 Responses

Auctions: Golden Ticket and an ARC of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle


This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Let’s deal with the simpler auction first, shall we?

  • An ARC of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed by Patrick Rothfuss and Nathan Taylor. Signed by the Author.



(I think of it as Coraline meets Calvin and Hobbes.)


I’ve already talked about the Princess book over on this blog. If you’d like more details on it,you can head over there.

Simply said, if you win this auction, you can get an Advance Reading Copy of this book now, rather than having to wait until July when it’s coming out through Subterranean Press. I’ll sign it for you too.

Interested? Here’s the link to the auction.

Note: for those of you interested in buying a copy of this book, you might want to do so sooner rather than later. Last I heard the print run was already more than half sold out…

  • The Golden Ticket.



(Note, contains no actual chocolate.)

Ever since I mentioned I was donating the Golden Ticket in one of the early posts of the fundraiser, people have been asking me questions about it.

Now that I’m auctioning one off, I should clarify a few things to make sure there’s no confusion or hurt feelings after the bidding’s done.

In the previous post about the golden ticket, here’s what I said.

“If you win this prize, I will owe you one (1) favor. You can cash it in however you like.

You want your name in book two? We can do that. You want me to read your book and give you some criticism? No problem. You want me to attend your local convention, perform your wedding ceremony, or just give you a nice backrub? Consider it done.

A few stipulations:

* The favor has to be legal. (More or less.)

* It has to be something I can actually do. (Duh)

* I can’t make anyone fall in love.

Other than that, I’ll do my best to grant your wish….”

Aside from the last two sentences (which were really just a joking reference to Aladdin) I thought this was pretty clear. But since then, people have sent me e-mail asking questions that made me realize the wide scope of things people *could* ask for as a favor.

So here’s a few more formal guidelines.

Examples of things you could use the golden ticket for:

  • If you missed the previous auction, or just didn’t manage to win, you could ask me to read and critique your manuscript.
  • You could ask for one of the numbered museum quality copies of the Luring the Draccus posters. Phil was nice enough to give me a couple, and I’d part with one for this.
  • You could ask to get an early look at The Wise Man’s Fear. (As soon as it’s ready to show around.)

Examples of things you *can’t* use the Golden Ticket for:

  • I won’t give out details about what happens in the third book. I don’t go in for spoilers.
  • You can’t ask to change the course of the book so that, say, Kvothe and Elodin have a sex scene. Or Kvothe and Ambrose have a sex scene. Or so that someone dies, or doesn’t die, or has a threesome with Bast and Chronicler, or whatever. Sorry.
  • I won’t blurb your book. I’d gladly *read* your book and consider blurbing it, but that’s not something you can buy, at least not from me. I decided years ago that I didn’t want to be a blurb whore, and that I’d only blurb books I truly enjoyed and could recommend wholeheartedly.
  • I won’t re-name my child, buy you a car, beat up your ex-boyfriend, or become physically intimate with you.
  • Well… let’s call that last one a maybe. Anything more than a kiss and backrub would have to be approved by Sarah.

As you can see, there’s a lot of room between these two extremes. Someone asked if I would come out to their house, make them dinner, and tell them a story. My response was that that sounded fine to me so long as:

1) They didn’t mind waiting until I can work it into my travel plans.
2) They like pasta.
3) They don’t kill me and wear my skin like a coat.

See how easy I am to work with?

Here’s the link to the auction.

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win fabulous prizes. Plus there’s the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That’s nice too.

And don’t forget, I’m matching 50% of all donations made. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Trust me. You’ll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want to go back to the main page for Worldbuilders, you can click HERE.

With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.

Also posted in Golden Ticket, Subterranean Press, The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle | By Pat28 Responses

Sanderson, Gaiman, and a piece of iron that fell from the sky…

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Those of you who have been following the fundraiser closely will know that I’ve been debating what to do with a few of the books that were donated.

Specifically, I’ve been wondering what to do with two very lovely, very collectible books given to us by Neil Gaiman and Brandon Sanderson.

After reading the hundred plus suggestions that were made on the blog and doing a lot of thinking, I’ve decided *not* to auction these books off. I’m going to enter them into the general lottery instead.

I’m not going to witter on about all the pros and cons I weighed to come up with this decision. Suffice to say that:

1. I think the books will be a nice draw for the lottery, and will help tempt people to donate a little more for a chance to win something so cool.

2. It’s nice to have a couple super-rare prizes in the mix.

3. The lottery appeals to my egalitarian nature. Everyone has a chance to win.

That said, here are the two new additions to the lottery:

 

  • A first edition hardcover of The Gathering Storm, signed by Brandon Sanderson, Harriet Jordan, and many others.

 

 



Brandon was nice enough to take some time out from his crazed touring schedule to send us this copy of The Gathering Storm, signed by himself, Harriet Jordan (Robert Jordan’s wife) and many of the people who made the book possible, including his agent and some of the production staff at Tor.

 

  • A signed, numbered ARC of Stardust. Hardcover in its own slipcase. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

 

 




This is a gorgeous book. I covet it to an almost ridiculous degree.

It’s a numbered ARC of Stardust: number 28 of 250. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

Also, because I’m a bit of a geek, I’ll donate a little extra something to go along with Gaiman’s book. I happen to have a piece of the Gibeon meteorite laying around the house. It seems like an appropriate addition to this book, as it’s an actual piece of iron that fell from the sky.

Here’s a picture:

(Click to Embiggen)

I’m sorry it’s not a very good picture. I can’t find my camera, and I had trouble making Sarah’s focus in on it properly. For reference, it’s about an inch and a half on a side and weighs about 60 grams.

Gibeon meteorites are one of the rarer types, made almost entirely of nickel and iron. The top of the piece you see here is covered in a black coating called the fusion crust, caused by the surface of the meteorite getting really hot as it passes through the atmosphere.

You can see a better example of it in this picture:

(That’s not my hand.)


The smooth faces where the meteorite has been cut show one of the cooler things about the Gibeon irons. There’s a pattern embedded in the iron that looks like frost. And in some ways, it is like frost. Except frost shows up when water freezes, and these marks show up when iron and nickel slowly cool down over millions of years.

It’s called a Widmanstätten pattern. And it forms because the different alloys of nickel and iron cool at slightly different rates while the molten iron is in space. The effect can’t be duplicated on earth, so it only shows up in iron-nickel meteorites.

Each different meteorite fall has a different mix of iron and nickel, so they each have a slightly different pattern. In my opinion, the Gibeon’s is one of the coolest looking.

Here’s a better picture if you want to see what it looks like:


That’s not my hand either, and the photo is actually from a site called Arizona Skies. If you’re curious to get more information about meteorites, or just look at some cool pictures, they’re a good place to start.

Okay. Enough meteoriticist geekery. I need some dinner.


Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win these books and hundreds more like them. Plus there’s the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That’s nice too.

So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Not only will you be automatically entered in the lottery to win these books and more. But I’m matching 50% of all donations made. Trust me. You’ll feel great afterward.

If you want all the details about the Worldbuilders fundraiser, you can read all the details HERE.

Oh, and Happy New Years…

pat

Also posted in Neil Gaiman, Stardust ARC | By Pat26 Responses

Books, and an Interview with Nnedi Okorafor

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Nnedi Okorafor was one of the very first writers I met when I was starting my publishing career. We both won places in Volume 18 of Writers of the Future back in 2002, and we met out at the workshop in LA.

I think I even have a picture of us back then at the award Ceremony. Let me see if I can find it….

(Awww…. Look at us. We’re cute as fluffy puppies…)

Nnedi’s a dynamo, and way tougher than I am. After I got my master’s degree, I left academia behind me, shaking the dust from my feet. But Nnedi got her PhD.

In fact, she got her PHD, had a baby, and launched her writing career pretty much all at the same time. Like I said: Dynamo.

But in addition to that, she’s a lot of fun. So when I started thinking of doing interviews for Worldbuilders, I thought of Nnedi….

Heya Nnedi. Let’s say you’re at a party and you meet someone you wanted to impress. What sort of things about your writing career would you casually drop into the conversation to prove that you’re awesome?

I’d mention that I won some awards and stuff and that I like to write about a Nigeria enslaved by juju-powered computers.

Which awards have you won? Anything super-cool?

My novel, Zahrah the Windseeker, won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature. That was cool because not only did I win $20,000 but I was flown to Nigerian for a ceremony where I got to meet one of my greatest idols, Sub-Saharan Africa’s first Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka. Coolest day ever.

My children’s book, Long Juju Man, won the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa. Last month, the University of Illinois gave me a Special Recognition Award. I’ve also been a finalist for the Tiptree Award, Golden Duck Award, Andre Norton Award, WSFA Small Press Award, Theodore Sturgeon Award, Essence Magazine Literary Award, an NAACP Image Award, blah blah.

Wow. That’s a lot of mojo. Back in the sixth grade I won an award for doing the best lip sync in my com class, but you’ve totally got that beat.

Uh, dude, you also won the freakin’ Quill Award and were a NYT bestseller. Can’t forget those, man. ;-)

They just gave me the Quill because I’m pretty. What are you reading right now?

Otherland by Tad Williams. I read the series back when it first came out. My disgust with District 9 made me want to reread it; to wash away the grime. It’s working. Next up, King’s Under the Dome.

If you had to pick your favorite book of all time, what would it be?

The Talisman by Stephan King and Peter Straub. I first read it when I was twelve. That book unlocked a door in me that will never close. I still return to it every so often, despite the character of Speedy Parker being a “Magical Negro”, heh.

That’s a term I first heard of because of you, but not a lot of people know about it. Care to explain?

There are five points I came up with to spot a Magical Negro. Speedy Parker hits them all (well, number 3 is a little shaky until Black House). Here they are:

1. He or she is a person of color, typically black, often Native American, in a story about predominantly white characters.

2. He or she seems to have nothing better to do than help the white protagonist, who is often a stranger to the Magical Negro at first.

3. He or she disappears, dies, or sacrifices something of great value after or while helping the white protagonist.

4. He or she is uneducated, mentally handicapped, at a low position in life, or all of the above.

5. He or she is wise, patient, and spiritually in touch. Closer to the earth, one might say. He or she often literally has magical powers.

Check out my essay, “Stephen King’s Super-Duper Magical Negroes”, on the Strange Horizons website here.

If you lost a bet and had to stand under Neil Gaiman’s window at midnight and serenade him. What song would you pick?

Lady Ga Ga’s “Poker Face”, the acoustic version.

Which would you rather do: cut out 20% of your current book, or insert a wacky talking animal sidekick (a la Disney movie) into half the chapters because the marketing people think it would make the book sell better.

Hey, I write for Disney (The Shadow Speaker is published by Disney and I’m writing a Disney Fairy chapter book titled Iridessa and the Fire-Bellied Dragon Frog). :-P. Plus I love wacky talking sidekick animals! I’ve got one in The Shadow Speaker. Well, Onion (Ejii’s camel) speaks in monotone and with very very few words but yeah. :-D.

Heh. I’ve read Shadow Speaker, but I never thought of the Ejii’s camel in the same vein as the classic Disney animal sidekick.

True. Onion’s nothing like Abu in Aladdin or Mu-Shu the Dragon in Mulan. But I think the wacky Disney side-kick can be an asset when done with some finesse.

I like the idea of a sh*t-talking parrot or miniature hedgehog who makes no sense whenever she speaks. Or how about a jive-talking black monkey whose catchphrase is “AW DAAAYAUM”?

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

At a book signing, a grown man once told me that my YA novel Zahrah the Windseeker made him see spiders and insects everywhere he went for days. Ha ha, he looked relatively sane, but I guess you never know.

What’s the most hurtful thing someone has ever said in a review of your book?

This white guy (won’t mention names), once wrote that he wouldn’t read my novels because it’s full of black people and had no white characters to “balance it out”. Nice.

If you could punch one literary figure, who would it be?

HA HA HA HA! OMG, dare I answer this…nah. My response would be absolutely SCANDALOUS.

Aww… Come on. You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine…

Believe me, you wouldn’t believe who it is. It would be very very bad press for me to speak the name. It’s utter blasphemy. But it makes me giggle that this name was the first thing to instantly pop into my head when I considered your question.

Okay. I don’t want to get you in trouble…

The poet Edith Sitwell used to lie in an open coffin each day before she started writing. Do you have any little rituals that help you write?

I have a lot of rituals. An interesting one is that I must turn on my space heater and set it right beside me. Even during most of the summer days. I need to be hot when I write. Ok, that sounds kind of suggestive. Heh, you know what I mean.

Through an effort of pure will, I’ll resist the urge to make the obvious joke….

I recently made a joke about “transition putty” on my blog. That being, of course, the what we writers buy at Home Depot to smooth out our rough transitions.

If you could have some sort of handyman tool like that, something like Plot Spackle or a Character Level. What would it be?

Natural-Looking Filler for those tough glaring gaps between the exciting parts of the story where crazy sh*t happens.

You can just say shit if you want. We’re all friends here. Nobody’s going to judge you.

Yeah, I figured it was ok with you. It’s just that I judge myself. I was raised to never use profanity, so it’s still odd for me. Ironically, I’m a big fan of cursing; it’s one of the reasons I enjoy hip-hop so much. I do most of my cursing in my fiction. Like in my short story, “On the Road” in the Eclipse 3 Anthology.

Hmmm… Now that you mention it. I cuss a lot in real life, but not very much in my books. I wonder if there’s a connection.

There is!

Maybe I need to save some of my cussing, so I can put it into a book later. I didn’t know it was a finite resource…. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Thanks so much for the interview, and thanks for donating some books to the cause.

:-). And thank you for putting it all together. I’m happy to be a part of it.


“Okorafor-Mbachu’s imagination is stunning.” – the New York Times


Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win hundreds of books like these: some signed, some limited edition, some out of print. Plus there’s the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That’s nice too.

And don’t forget, I’m matching 50% of all donations made. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Trust me. You’ll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want to go back to the main page for Worldbuilders, you can click HERE.

With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.


(I keep trying to write a limerick, but nothing rhymes with Subterranean.)
Also posted in recommendations, Subterranean Press | By Pat21 Responses

Still even yet more books from DAW

This is a Worldbuilders blog.
Third time’s a charm folks. Here’s the third and final blog full of books from DAW. We’ve got stuff from some big-name authors. Both ARCs and some hardcover sets.

Share and Enjoy.


From Publishers Weekly, “Travel into another dimension is a popular fantasy ploy, but rarely accomplished with such humor, terror and even logic as in this stand-alone by bestseller Williams.”


“Truly one of the great voices of speculative fiction, C.S. Friedman winds up her highly original Coldfire trilogy in brilliant fashion in CROWN OF SHADOWS… The sheer imaginative genius, not to mention incredible power, of Ms. Friedman’s formidable storytelling gift is indescribable-you simply just have to experience it.” -Romantic Times Magazine

A stunning novel, it combines good historical world-building, vampires, religion, and transcendence in a tale that is both entertaining and cathartic… A feast for those who like their fantasies dark, and as emotionally heady as a rich, red wine.” -Locus

  • A set of the first two books in the Magister Trilogy, Feast of Souls and Wings of Wrath by C.S. Friedman.


“C.S. Friedman makes fantastic things-and frightening things-seem very real. Her characters are people, not just place-holders, and the worlds she creates are tangible as a live feed from the battlefront of a crash-landing in a savage and unfamiliar wilderness. She also writes bright, clear prose taht can shine like gemstones or cut like broken glass. If you haven’t read her work you need to do something about that right now.” – Tad Williams


From Library Journal, “Continuing the tale begun in Owlflight and Owlsight, Lackey’s latest novel set in the world of Valdemar exhibits the author’s characteristic attention to detail and character development. This welcome addition to the series belongs in most fantasy collections.”


From Library Journal, “In the latest in her popular Valdemar series, Lackey combines the intensity of a young man’s agonized coming of age with a tale of love, honor, and sacrifice. Essential for series fans, this title belongs in most fantasy collections.”


SFsite reviewer Georges T. Dodds says, “Flights of Fantasy contains 10 original tales of birds of prey (plus one about crows) ranging from humorous to dark fantasy. There are tales of falconry, Native American tribal totem birds, Arthurian reincarnations, along with stubborn princesses and nasty sorcerers. There is also a novella by Mercedes Lackey which further develops one of the neglected characters of her recent novel, Black Swan […] If you are a fantasy reader and bird-lover — in particular of birds of prey — you will likely enjoy much of the material in Flights of Fantasy.”


From Publishers Weekly, “This uplifting tale, which contains a valuable lesson or two on the virtues of hard work, is a must-read for dragon lovers in particular and for fantasy fans in general.”


From Library Journal, “Basing her latest fantasy on the tragic ballet Swan Lake, Lackey adds her own embellishments and interpretations to provide the story with a new ending.”


From sffworld, “If the richness of the world and pacing are the best qualities of the book, these two come together quite strongly in the climax of the novel. Gods and men fighting in fantastical ships with magic and humanity’s freedom at stake – sure, a small encapsulation, but Marco builds to it quite well and the payoff is solid.”


“This epic fantasy novel, first in a brand new series, is a well-crafted addition to a much-beloved genre. The book’s characters are well-drawn, and although the plot is fairly dense, the story moves along at a smart pace…the author creates a compelling and entertaining read.” – Voya

  • A hardcover set of John Marco‘s trilogy: The Eyes of God; The Devil’s Armor; and The Sword of Angels.


“Mr. Marco has delivered an epic fantasy with heart and pathos. His characters are flawed and believable, wholly sympathetic to the reader. He paints a landscape of palace grandeur and desert desolation where magic is a reality and winning a battle is not winning the war.” – Romantic Times


From Publishers Weekly, “Jude Fisher inaugurates his Fool’s Gold series with Sorcery Rising, the story of a rebellious young knife maker’s adventures at the great Allfair, held yearly in the shadow of a sacred rock that her people, the Eyrans, call Sur’s Castle, and the Istrians (their former enemies) call Falla’s Rock. Though Katla Aransen’s boldness in climbing the mount puts her in grave danger, old feuds and strange sorcery seem equally threatening in a tale that asks as many questions as it answers.”

  • A hardcover set of the Jude Fisher‘s trilogy Fool’s Gold: Sorcery Rising, Wild Magic, and The Rose of the World.


From Booklist *Starred Review* “The nerve-wracking, intoxicating conclusion of the Fool’s Gold series is the fabulous, multilayered, poetic story of a world, full of complex, painfully real, endearingly vulnerable characters, on the very brink of either enlightenment or extinction.”

  • A hardcover copy of The Collected Short Fiction of C.J. Cherryh.

From Booklist, “This massive and valuable collection reprints all of Cherryh’s short fiction, beginning with the contents of two out-of-print theme collections […] Cherryh crafts even less impressive stories well enough to verify her reputation for brilliance and versatility.”


From Publishers Weekly, “In the fifth entry in her chronicles of the Chanur clan, space-faring members of a catlike alien race called the hani, Cherryh includes more humor than previously while demonstrating a remarkable ability to imagine alien psychologies.”



From the Booklist review of Defender: “This excellent and intelligent book by one of sf’s most powerful imaginations sports a plot that is always complex, occasionally convoluted, and seldom independent of that of Precursor, to which it is the direct sequel, continuing another of Cherryh’s sagas of human-alien interaction. Like its predecessor, it is a good read, too.”


From the Publishers Weekly Starred Review, “The long-awaited, intricate sequel to Cherryh’s Hugo-winning Cyteen (1989) brings events full circle. […] Complex and rich, with beautifully rounded characters, this novel can stand alone, but will delight fans of Cyteen with extra layers of meaning that resonate between old and new.”

This is the third blog with DAW’s donations to the fundraiser. You can find the first one HERE and the second one HERE.

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win hundreds of books like these: some signed, some limited edition, some out of print. Plus there’s the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That’s nice too.

And don’t forget, I’m matching 50% of all donations made. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Trust me. You’ll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want to go back to the main page for Worldbuilders you can click HERE.

As always, with thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.

Also posted in Subterranean Press | By Pat10 Responses
  • Our Store

  • Previous Posts

  • Archives

  • My Twitter

  • Bookmark this Blog

    (IE and Firefox users only - Safari users, click Command-D)