Tag Archives: Jerry Holkins

The Final Day, our Final Goal, our Final Donations.

Our Final Day:

Tomorrow, Worldbuilders is over for another year.

More precisely, after Friday Dec 17th 2:00 PST Worldbuilders will be over.

While this has been our best year so far, I feel a little bad that I wasn’t a little more organized.

I was planning on doing more author interviews like the ones I did last year. I wanted to write a blog about my adventures on House on the Rock to accompany Gaiman’s book. I wanted to write another about how I met Paolini at Comic-con to go with his donations. I’d planned on finishing the second half of my Perils of Fanfiction post from months ago.

Unfortunately, edits on book two took a lot more time and energy than I expected. And as a result, I had to let some of those plans go.

Because of that, we have a lot of items in this final blog that are cool enough to be set aside in blogs of their own.

But there’s just no more time. So you’re getting them all at once. Try not to let their combined awesome overwhelm you.

A Final Goal:

So yesterday in the blog that posted Neil Gaiman’s donation, I said I hoped we might be able to hit 150,000 dollars before the end of the fundraiser.

We hit that goal in less than ten hours. So I’ve decided to re-set the donation thermometer one last time.

Our last goal, the goal that I really don’t know if we’ll be able to meet, is going to be 166,700 dollars.

It’s an odd number. But if we raise that much money on our Team Heifer page it means that after Worldbuilders makes its matching donation, we will have raised a quarter million dollars for Heifer International this year.

That would be an amazing milestone. Plus when I’m trying to persuade people to donate books next year, I could say to them, “Last year we raised a quarter million dollars.” That’s a persuasive piece of information…

I don’t know if we’ll be able to make it. But I’m excited to try…

  • A copy of the UK and a copy of the US version of The Black Prism by Brent Weeks. Signed by the author.

I did an interview with Brent Weeks last year. And this year he’s not only kicking in some books, but stepping up to the plate and helping me match donations as well. This earns him a warm place in my heart forever.

Black Prism is his new book, and BSC review says that it’s full of “Multiple twists and compelling  characters…a page-turner.”

  • A set of The Night Angel Trilogy: The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks. Signed by the author.

  • A set of Graphic Audio books of Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks. Both signed by the author.

“I was mesmerized from start to finish. Unforgettable characters, a plot that kept me guessing, nonstop action and the kind of in-depth storytelling that makes me admire a writer’s work.” – Terry Brooks

  • A hardcover set of Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini. Signed by the author.

As I mentioned above, this is one of the donations I wanted to set aside in its own blog.

You see, I met Paolini at Comic Con this year. He’s a hell of a nice guy. He conducted an interview with me on Suvudu. It was the first interview he’d ever conducted, and he did a way better job with it than I did with my first interview earlier that day with Sandeep Parikh.

The blog I was writing was a tricky one, and I talked a lot about the strange place Paolini occupies in fantasy. In some ways he is the biggest rags-to-riches story we have in the genre. Young kid writes a book, gets published, gets a movie, becomes an international bestseller.

A ton of people read his books. A ton of people love his stuff. Published in 50 countries.

On the other end of the spectrum there’s a big camp of people who get all bitchy and snarky whenever his name comes up. They talk about plagiarism and such.

My blog talked about my own preconceptions about Paolini’s work. Most importantly it talked about something embarrassing: that I judged his books without ever reading them. That’s a hard thing to admit, because I like to think that I’m better than that.

After months of tinkering on the blog, doing research, finding links. It was finally finished. It was about 2000 words long. I was going to post it last Sunday night. It was going to lead off our final week of the fundraiser. I even got my friend to illustrate it, depicting me in all my ignorant judgmental glory:

Then, about 45 minutes before I was finished with the blog, my computer crashed and I lost it.

I’ll reconstruct that blog eventually. Then everyone will get a chance to voice their opinions and discuss in the comments.

But not today. This isn’t the time or place for it, understand? During Worldbuilders geeks of all genres come together and make the world a better place. We do not snark and froth at each other no matter what our differences of opinion. Follow me?

In addition to these signed books that we’re adding to the general lottery, Christopher has offered up another set of books for auction….

  • A set of Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, signed and personalized by the author.

If you win this auction, Christopher Paolini will sign and personalize these books to you however you like.

To see more pictures or bid on this auction you can follow this link.

  • A copy of 3 Dead Princes, An Anarchist Fairy Tale by Danbert Nobacon and illustrations by Alex Cox. Signed by the author and illustrator. Donated by Exterminating Angel Press.

“This is a beautiful book. The illustrations are wonderful. It definitely rocks! I ought to know.” – Iggy Pop

  • A copy of Sorceries edited by Katharine Kerr. Signed by Katharine Kerr.

Another donation from Katherine Kerr who was nice enough to donate an original manuscript to the auction this year. Sorceries has been out of print for a while, so this signed copy is pretty cool.

  • A set of anthologies: Timeshares; Terribly Twisted Tales, signed by author Kelly Swails; and Stalking the Wild Hare, signed by author Dylan Birtolo.

Here we’ve got three different anthologies; a veritable buffett of new authors and stories to sample from. You have twisted faerie tales, hard sci-fi, epic fantasy, urban fantasy. A little bit of everything…

  • A copy of Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance edited by Lori Perkins. Signed by the author.

This anthology only needs two words to describe it: Zombie Romance.

Yeah. A whole anthology of Zombie Romance. I’m going to have to pick this one up…

  • A set of the October Daye Novels: by Seanan McGuire. Signed by the author.

“A refreshingly original story told in a wry, confident voice. Rosemary and Rue is a treat to read.” – Kelley Armstrong

 

If you’re a geek trying to raise geek children, you might want to check out this charming picture book for kids. It’s received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and is a 2011 ALSC Notable Nominee.

Here we have some lovely donations from Apex Books.

“Fresh, inventive, stylish and captivating, the work of a writer of unusual promise.” – Dean Koontz

  • A copy of The Apex Book of World SF edited by Lavie Tidhar.

“This literary window into the international world of imaginative fiction, the first in a new series, is sure to appeal to adventurous sf fans and readers of fiction in translation.” – Library Journal.

“Burrow’s debut is a swift-moving, pathos-free, creatively amusing riff on zombies from the zombie perspective.” – Publishers Weekly

“Braoddus and White are an unlikely pairing of talents that works astonishingly well. Orgy of Souls is a powerful, innovative work of fiction and one I recommend wholeheartedly. A damned fine read.” – James A. Moore

“Michael A. Burstein is an Isaac Asimov for the new millennium” – Robert J. Sawyer

“A remarkable collection, bursting at the seams with thought-provoking ideas and shattering visions.” – Brandon Massey

*     *     *

  • Two hardcover copies of The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade. The 11.5 Anniversary Edition. Signed by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins.

Earlier this year, I got a bit of thrill when I was mentioned on Penny Arcade on their blog.

Okay. That’s a slight understatement. I was giggly as a schoolgirl. It might even be fair to say that I was twitterpated.

When it happened, I realized that my life was pretty cool. I also decided that since I don’t get to play many video games these days, I was going to start celebrating the cool things that happen to me by giving myself achievements.

Getting mentioned on Penny Arcade, I decided, would be the first achievement I officially unlocked.

I even got a friend to do an illustration to commemorate the event:

Note to people who don’t read Penny Arcade: Wanged is a technical term.

Suffice it to say that I love me some Penny Arcade, and these books are lovely collections.  If you want more details than that, you can read the interview with Jerry Holkins I posted up just a couple hours ago.

“Sanderson knows how to wrap things up cleanly. He spins a world that’s easily complex and mysterious enough to warrant sequels, but prefers to end it climactically, answering many of his biggest questions, while leaving others to the imagination.” – The Onion

*     *     *

Lastly, we have another set of donations I wanted to put into its own blog.

The lovely folks at Badali Jewelry make rings, necklaces, pentants and pins. What’s more, some of the stuff they make is based off the jewelery in fantasy novels.

They got in contact with me recently in order to talk about plans for… things. Secret things. Things which will be revealed in the near future.

When they found out about Worldbuilders, they were eager to donate some of their stuff to the fundraiser.

Then I dropped Brandon Sanderson a line and asked if he’d be willing to donate some books to go along with the Jewlery. He said he would, because Brandon is a hell of a nice guy.

  • A hardcover set Mistborn, The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages of by Brandon Sanderson. Signed by the Author.

With accompanying Steel Alphabet Medallion from Badali Jewelry.

“Intrigue, politics, and conspiracies mesh complexly in a world Sanderson realizes in satisfying depth and peoples with impressive characters.” – Booklist

  • A hardcover copy of The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Signed by the Author.

With accompanying set of Asha’man Dragon pin and a Dedicated Sword pin from Badali Jewelry.

“The Wheel of Time . . . is a fantasy tale seldom equaled and still less often surpassed in English.”—Chicago Sun-Times

With accompanying Aon Omi Love Pendant from Badali Jewelry.

“Outstanding fantasy debut . . . . The intrigue and excitement grow steadily in this smoothly written, perfectly balanced narrative; by the end readers won’t want to put it down.” – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

I think that’s a great item to end the fundraiser on, don’t you?

I don’t need to mention that I can actually read what’s written on this ring, do I? That I can actually recite it from memory… in the original language?

No. I didn’t think so. Let’s pretend that I’m not quite that much of a geek.

*     *     *

Well folks. That’s it for this year. Remember that for every 10 dollars you donate on the Team Heifer page you get the chance to win these cool donations and hundreds of others.

We also have a few auctions that are still running for a little while. You can find them here.

Lastly, here’s the link to the main Worldbuilders page. You can head over there to see all the other donations and cool things.

Thanks again for eveything folks. Here’s hoping we can make our final goal.

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

Posted in Achievement Unlocked!, BJ Hiorns Art, Nathan Taylor Art, videos, Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat50 Responses

Books and an Interview with Jerry Holkins from Penny Arcade

I’ve been reading Penny Arcade for years. More than a decade, really. They’re funny, funny people, and I’ve recommended or referenced their comics in the blog several times over the years.

In brief, I’m a fan.

This year is the year I officially made contact with them. Mike mentioned my book on their page and talked about how he used some of the ideas out of it in his D&D campaign. So when I was at San Diego Comic Con I plucked up my courage and went over to their booth to talk to them.

This took a little bit of doing on my part, because in the realm of the geeks, these guys are… well… monolithic. They’re bigger than Oprah.

And, as I’ve said, I’m a fan. When you’re a fan of someone’s work, it’s hard to approach them and make small talk.

But small talk we did. Then we quickly moved beyond that and started in on the geek talk, which is more fun. At the end of it, we formed a little mutual admiration society.

Later on, Jerry was nice enough to read a beta version of WMF and give me feedback on it. Then I donated some books to their charity: Child’s Play. (I was delighted to chip in, as watching them start Child’s Play was one of the things that made me realize I could maybe run my own charity.)

They, in turn, donated some books to my charity, Worldbuilders.

  • Two Hardcover copies of The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade. The 11.5 Anniversary Edition. Signed by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins.

Lastly, I asked if Jerry would like to do an interview to go along with his books. He graciously accepted. He’s cool like that.

*     *     *

Heya Jerry.

Is that cool? Can I call you Jerry? Are we at that point in our relationship?

I think so.  You did let me look at your book before it was done, which I imagine was difficult, and it’s my policy to simply reflect the way people treat me, so yes.  We tight.

Okay let’s just jump right into the meat of things here. When I was younger, I played Zork. King’s Quest. The original Fallouts. Games that made you think. Games where you could occasionally screw things up so badly that you destroyed your chance of winning without even knowing it. Games that were at times so hard that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what to do.

In short, these were awesome games. They were games I was proud of when I’d finished them.

So here’s my question. Are games today predictable pap compared to that, or am I just being a curmudgeonly fuck?

My worldview allows for people who are curmudgeonly fucks and a game industry that offers predictable pap.  As far as games go, though, there were plenty of bad ones then as well.  There are bad books, too, not your books of course, but they’re out there!  Watch out for them.  There are both mediums, with all the standard ratios.  I can help you find what you want, though.  This is a service I often provide.

That’s one of the things I’ve always admired about y’all at PA. If you think something is crap, you say so. Boldly. With many invectives. That’s a freedom I don’t really have as an author….

Yes, well, you’ll have to content yourself with the fabrication of entire universes, then.

We all have our cross to bear.

What were your favorites games as a kid? Did you play Infocom games too?

Oh, sure.  And not just Infocom games, but the Trillium series that was based on much-loved science fiction and fantasy novels, all the way through the Sierra adventures that build a graphical world atop the parsers of old.

When I was trying to remember the name “Trillium,” I came across the following link:

It’s one of the most interesting/funny/sad things I’ve read in a long time.  We were, at one point, genuinely worried – there was an actual debate – about whether or not the introduction of graphics was a boon or a curse.

Heh. I remember back in 1994 when I used to MUD. I was out for dinner with some friends and the concept of a graphic mud came into the conversation. Everyone dismissed the idea as absolutely ridiculous. As technologically infeasible as teleportation. Everyone also agreed that the addition of graphics would remove much of the social element from the game.

Fast-Forward to now. It’s hard to even imagine a world without WOW, or The Guild for that matter…

At the PAX keynote, Warren Spector said that art forms are either disappearing from view or are co-opted by the larger culture.  I think it’s pretty clear which way it went.

So at this point you have a following that can legitimately be referred to as a horde. Does it ever get a little weird for you?

Well, if they were here underneath my desk all the time, maybe.  As it stands, it’s only a couple times a year that I’m genuinely exposed to the extent of the enthusiasm/antipathy for the site.

Extra points for use of the word “antipathy.”

I didn’t know we were writing for points.  I would have done everything differently!  I would have used an augur; I might have held forth on the Uyghur.

Man. Even I had to look that last one up.

When did you first realize that you were famous?

When people started asking me questions like that, and worse, when they started expecting me to know the answer.  Fame, as a force, is an external entity.  I’m sure you know what I mean; you were working at night all the time on the book, more or less alone, and I’m certain that didn’t feel especially famous.  That felt like work.

Yeah. That was pretty much when it hit me too. One of my friends looked at me and said, “You do realize you’re a celebrity now, right?”

Of course, he immediately followed it up with, “A tiny, kinda shitty celebrity. But still…”

Indeed.  We need a stupid word to denigrate this state of quasi-importance.  Cewebrity, maybe?  I feel like that more or less destroys any pleasure to be had in the concept.

Be honest now. Do you ever get up in the morning and think to yourself, “Fuck, I’ve got to go to the office and play Videogames again…”

Good Christ, I wish that I could say something like that and have it be true!  This week, just to give you an example of the kinds of things I’m tasked with generally, is:

Generate Names For  (Top Secret)
Write 6-Page Animated Comic For (Top Secret)
Finish Penny Arcade: Book Seven (“Be Good, Little Puppy”)
Precipice

This is in addition to strips and posts and descriptions for the store and any other thing that needs text.  I’m not complaining; I like doing this stuff.  But there’s always lots to do!

Ah. That’s embarrassing. I made the same mistake about you that most people make about me. People assume being a writer is just divine inspiration, book tours, and rolling around in money. But a ton of time goes toward the business end of things, talking to translators, contracts, talking to the publisher.

I always pictured you a living in some sort of sybaritic pleasure dome. Your days filled with nothing but Fallout and Doritos.

Straighten me out. Roughly how many hours a day do you spend playing video games?

On a good day, with a game I want to play more than I want to paint miniatures or write, and no outstanding projects I can get a head start on, I can put in two and half/three hours. That’s the time from “after my bride goes to bed” up until midnight.

Wow. That certainly puts things in perspective.

So I’ve recently managed to spawn and I’m finding it to be a surprising amount of fun. I know you’ve got a youngins of your own… How old are they again?

I’ve got Elliot Jacob, who is five, and I’ve got Ronia Quinn, who is a wee lass of sixteen month.

How are you liking it so far?

I have a high opinion of the process, in general.  I was reading a book with Elliot yesterday, the Big Little Book For Dads or something like that, and it had a recipe in there for something called “Tennessee Corn Pone.”  I don’t know what Pone is, I’m good on Corn, but the regional distinctions specific to the various Pones are not known to me, and for some reason Pone just as a clump of sounds wadded together is funny on its own, and the two of us laughed uncontrollably at exactly the same thing.

That’s one example from a day full of incredible challenges and the occasional fleeting success.

That’s right, she’s just about the same age a Little Oot. He learned how to say “no.” Has Ronia figured that one out yet?

Nope, not yet.

Lucky duck. It was really cute at first, but he quickly realized that he could use that word to effectively re-shape reality. It’s like he’s leveled up and sunk all his points into this one ability: Power Word No, unlimited uses per day.

Is Ronia much of a talker? Oot pretty much sticks to “No” and “duck” at this point.

She’s started in with the compound signs – “more bye bye,” means let’s go, “cookie give cookie give cookie give,” that’s one we see a lot.

In all fairness, “cookie-give” really should be its own word.

I wish we would have done more baby-sign with Oot. There are times I can see that he’s frustrated because he wants to express himself and just can’t make the right words yet….

Okay. Serious business. I’ve been reading the stuff you’ve been writing: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness.

What’s the deal with that? I’m feeling a little threatened here. You’re supposed to make with the funny comics. I’m the one that writes the elaborately interwoven narrative thingers.

In the future,  I will try to interweave the thingers in a less elaborate way.  I’m horrified to think that my bullshit is in the same category as your work, on the same Internet.  Precipice is  process I’m using to learn how to write.  Like I said before, text is my responsibility, and I strongly suspect I’m going to be called on to make a book for Lookouts at some point.

Oh man. I loved Lookouts. That would be the coolest.

Seriously though. You have a hell of a turn of phrase. And not only can you write funny, which is the hardest kind of writing there is. But you manage to get some touching and disturbing in there too. A lot of folks can do one or two of those, but all of them? Not so much…

Truth is, your stuff reminds me of a unholy hybrid of Douglas Adams and Lovecraft. That’s never a combination I expected to see in my lifetime.

I don’t want to make a habit of quoting myself, that’s not who I want to be, but after I got Wise Man’s Fear in the mail to read through, I wrote this:

“I could never decide if I wanted to be Douglas Adams or H. P. Lovecraft when I grew up, and now that I’m grown up, I’ve decided that I don’t have to choose.”

That’s exactly who I want to be, so the fact that any of that is coming through at all means that maybe I’m doing okay.

Could you ever see yourself writing a novel?

A very, very short one maybe.  It might be that writing comic strips isn’t good training for longer form writing, because it’s my instinct to take a belt sander to every phrase until it’s ready for three tidy panels.

It shows. You’ve got a tight grip on your language. Usually that’s something I only see in folks that write a lot of poetry. It never occurred to me that you could develop the same sort of thing writing comics. Makes sense though. Limited space makes for a tight line.

The arc of my life thus far has been that something needs doing, and I become the person who is needed to do it.  I think we’ll need someone to write a book someday, maybe someday very soon.  I am preparing myself for this eventuality.

If it happens, I’ll come over and we can celebrate and/or console each other, depending on how well our respective projects are going.

Thanks so much for being willing to do this little interview. I really appreciate it.

Any parting words?

Congratulations on finishing your book, Pat.  I can’t wait to read version 1.0!

Aw shucks… I’ll make sure to send you and Mike a copy once it’s off the press…

*     *     *

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win cool books like these.

In addition, Worldbuilders is matching 50% of all donations made on our Team Heifer page until noon on Dec 17th.

For more details, or to see the other books you can win, you can head over to the main page HERE.

Stay tuned folks, the final blog of the fundraiser will be posted in just a couple hours…

pat

Posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, Me Interviewing Other Folks, Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat12 Responses
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