Tag Archives: Wil Wheaton

Twitter – A Beautiful Game

So for a couple of years now, I’ve been a bit of a laughing stock in the geek community because I’m a luddite.

You see, I did not posses a smartphone. Neither did I have a twitter account.

This might not seem like a crippling social affliction, and most of the time it’s not. Most of the time I’m at home in Wisconsin, writing and hanging out with my little boy.

But then I go to a convention, like Origins, and while I’m there, I hang out with John Scalzi, Felicia Day, and Wil Wheaton. And while we’re playing games, someone snaps a picture. And then, when they’re posting it up online, someone looks at me and says “I’ll tag you here, What’s your twitter handle?”

And I say, “I’m not on twitter.”

Keep in mind who I’m hanging with here. Wil, John, and Felicia. If you added some sort of animal sidekick to this mix, I’m guessing they could join together and form a giant robot that would somehow defend the internet. The looks they give me are the worst sort of mingled pity and scorn….

Ah hell. I just realized *I’m* probably the animal sidekick in that group. I’m Lubar, the great shambling bear-man from the frozen tundra who is charmingly baffled by the subtle magic of the interweb.

Anyway, the point is that I’ve finally, *finally* taken the leap.

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But that’s only the beginning. The phone itself isn’t enough. To really wire myself in, I know I need to get on twitter.

*     *     *

Part of the reason I want to get on twitter is because it will save me time. I tend to be… um…. wordy. Verbose even. Sometimes a blog that starts out as a simple announcement turns into a 500 word screed.

Twitter will help me reign that impulse in a bit. I’ll be able to mention things to y’all without feeling the obligation to make a meaty blog about them.

The other reason I need to get on twitter is to stay in better touch with my readers.

You see, I’m not a total technological schmendrick. I’ve been on facebook since before it was cool, and I’ve slowly built my army over there. For years I’ve used facebook to clue-in readers when I’m doing events, running contests, or going to conventions….

But these days Facebook deliberately throttles back the reach of most pages. These days I’m encouraged to “boost” my posts by giving facebook money. If I don’t boost the posts (and I never do) the things I write there only show up on *half* my reader’s news feeds.

It happens all the time. I schedule a signing in Boston. I post on facebook letting people know about my signing in Boston. I go to Boston. I get home and later that day I see someone howling on my wall “You Were In BOSTON!!??!?”

Twitter doesn’t have this problem. If you follow me on twitter, and I post something on twitter, you’ll be able to decide for yourself if it’s worth reading.

But here’s the problem. I don’t want to spend ages slowly building up my twitter following.

Also, you only get to lose your twitter virginity once.

My thought is, why not have a little fun with this?

My thought is, why don’t we play a little game?

*     *     *

So here’s what I’ve done.

I’ve created six twitter accounts, all versions of the name “Pat Rothfuss.”

I’ve recruited 5 members of the geek glitterati. Friends who are good with words. They’re witty, wired-in, and social media savvy.

Starting today, each of them will claim one of those accounts at random and do their best to convince the world they’re the *real* Pat Rothfuss.

They’ll connive and scheme. They’ll share links, twitter at you, and generally attempt to exude an aura of Rothfuss-y-ness.

I will take the sixth profile and attempt to do the same.

The contest will run for two weeks and finish on Halloween at midnight.  Then everyone will vote on who they think the real Pat Rothfuss is.

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The winner gets that most valuable commodity of all: Bragging Rights.

Even better, the winner will have 1,000 dollars donated to the charity of their choice. The prize money being provided by DAW Books, my lovely publisher.

I might also see if I can find a trophy of some sort.

  • The Rules:

It should be blindingly obvious to everyone that I could win this game pretty easily. I could post up a selfie with today’s newspaper and that would be the end of it.

But what would be the fun in that?

The five other people who are playing are going to have to win through sheer cleverness, trickery, and guile. I plan on winning the same way.

What I’m getting at here, is that I’m looking to play a beautiful game. Why would I want to win anything other than a beautiful game?

Aside from my self-imposed handicap, there are only two rules:

1. Players can change anything on their twitter profiles except for their pictures. Those will remain the same throughout the contest. Otherwise things would just be too confusing.

2. Stories about Oot are out of bounds.

You see, I love telling stories about my little boy: (Codename Oot.)

A lot of the stories I tell are funny, silly, or irreverent. For example, on facebook I recently shared how Oot spent 20 minutes running around shouting “Gangnam Style!” and dancing naked.

I shared the story because it’s funny, and because he has no sense of shame at this point in his life.

But the thought of someone *else* making up a story along those lines…. It creeps me out a little bit.

So. No Oot stories. He’s out of bounds.

That’s it though. Everything else is fair game.

  • The Charities:

The charities are people are backing:  WorldbuildersArchitecture for HumanityTeach for America826LACon or Bust or Project Nightlight.

(Here’s a hint. I’m playing for my home team, Worldbuilders.)

If you want to know more about these charities, you can read some brief summaries over on the page where you can see all six twitter feeds at once.

TheRealRothfuss

Fair warning: We kinda threw this page together. If it gets hammered with 100,000 visitors in the next two days, it might crash.

So if you want to follow the contest, you might consider following all six of these accounts right now. That way you can watch the entire beautiful game without fear of tech glitches getting in the way.

As of right now, each profile is virtually identical except for its name and the profile picture. While the pictures will remain the same, (as per rule #1 above) the profiles will doubtless change as soon as the players take charge.

A careful observer will notice that each of the profiles has one tweet from Oct 14th saying, “I am the real Pat Rothfuss.”

A *very* careful observer will notice that that post is actually from Oct 14th 2012. That’s how long I’ve been planning to do this contest, but I’ve never managed to get around to it until now.

Because the profiles have been sitting around for a while, some of them have collected different numbers of followers.

I’m guessing that in the next couple days they’re going to get a few more….

In case you’d like it again, here’s a link to the page where you can see and follow all of the accounts.

Game on,

pat

P.S. Just now, minutes before we launch this blog, it has occurred to me that we should have some sort of official hashtag associated with it.

I consulted with my staff, and my twitter-smart assistant Amanda has confirmed that yes, this is a good idea.

What’s more, she has implied to me that this tag could even be used to ask a question of all the different accounts at the same time. Something along the lines of “If you’re the *real* Pat Rothfuss, what’s your favorite flavor skittle?”

And then you’d somehow… um… hash things. Together. I guess that’s another thing I’m going to have to figure out…

Anyway, how about we use #TheRealRothfuss. Using it all the time would would probably be cumbersome and cluttery. But now it’s there for people if they want it. (Sorry to make y’all use caps, but otherwise it looks too much like “There Al Rothfuss.” Which would be some other, entirely lamer game.)

Posted in Achievement Unlocked!, Beautiful Games, contests, My brilliant ideas | By Pat93 Responses

More Guest Appearances and Delicious Comics

 

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

Okay folks, we’re in Non-Denominational-Holiday crunch-time here. So I’m going to pass along a few vital pieces of news about the fundraiser, then get straight to today’s donations.

1. I’m well aware that I owe y’all some payoff after hitting our first two stretch goals. And our 150K goal of an interview and open to the public Q&A with Amber Benson is looming on the horizon.

Rest assured, I’m getting those blogs ready. But right now isn’t the best time to post them because….

2. It’s almost Christmas. So if you’re thinking of ordering gifts like some t-shirts, signed books, or the 2013 fantasy calendar, through The Tinker’s Packs, you might want to order sooner rather than later so we can get stuff in the mail to you….

2b. There’s new stuff in The Tinker’s Packs today. Stuff I haven’t talked mentioned or described on the blog yet.

2c. Why haven’t I mentioned it on the blog yet? Because today we’re showing off stuff awesome webcomic creators have donated. Not only do we have unique art and doodle books. But some of these fabulous webcomic creators are auctioning off cameo appearances in their comics, much like our  authors did a couple days ago

3. Also because we’re perilously close to Christmas, we’ve launched some auctions early. That way you can bid now and (hopefully) get things in time for your non-denominational holiday of choice.

For a peek at all the Worldbuilders Auctions, click here. There’s all manner of unique geek swag up for grabs. Seriously.

*     *     *

Remember that while a few of the items below are being auctioned off, most of them are going into the Worldbuilders lottery. That means for every 10 bucks you donate to Heifer International over on the Worldbuilders Team page, you get a chance to win these cool books as well as thousands of others.

Plus, you get to make the world a better place, too.

Let’s not forget about that.

(Click to Embiggen. It’s worth it.)

If you’re an avid reader of webcomics, you may have heard about Webcomics Rampage down in Austin. Some of the coolest webcomic artists around attend it, and this year, everyone who went made a poster just for our fundraiser. It’s 22″ x 28″ of unadulterated awesome.

Well… I won’t lie to you. Some parts of it might be slightly adulterated, especially the part with Pintsize from Questionable Content.

It’s a way cool artifact of webcomic fandom.  If you’re interested, you should bid on its auction over here.

  • A set of Volumes 1 – 4 of Shortpacked! by David Willis. Signed and doodled by the artist.

Each copy of these books has a doodle in itcheck them out.

“Dave Willis has the unique ability to deliver the most deceptively evil punchlines with the most charmingly innocent illustrations.” – Brad Guigar

  • A copy of Volume 1 of Dumbing of Age by David Willis.  Signed and doodled by the artist.

“If you enjoy Willis’ other webcomics, or if the only reason you don’t enjoy them is because you can’t catch up with all of them, “Dumbing of Age” provides a fresh start with worn characters.” – Comics Alliance

  • A set of Volumes 1 & 2 of Wasted  Talent by Angela Melick.  Signed and doodled by the artist.

I’m particularly fond of these doodles, as well.

“Angela Melick’s a mechanical engineer as well as an amateur cartoonist, and many of the entries in her Wasted Talent webcomic focus on the small joys of efficiency and rooms filled with geeky coworkers…. It’s by no means an in-depth look into the life an engineer, but it’s a delight to see Melick so delighted with her career” – Lauren Davis

  • A copy of the choose-you-own-adventure book Trial of the Clone. Signed by the author: Zach Weinersmith of SMBC.

Okay. This is a really cool thing that Zach Weinersmith of SMBC dreamed up. It’s not just a choose-your own adventure story (though that would be cool enough. It’s a gamebook too.

Here’s a quote from their online store:

Trial of the Clone is a choosable pathway gamebook that allows the reader to make choices, interact with the world, and otherwise navigate through over 500 scenes and thousands of potential pathways. Readers can choose to simply read through the story or interact more fully with the book’s game by keeping track of statistics, items, and battles.

So yeah. This is cool. Between you and me? I just went and ordered 15 of them to give away as Christmas gifts to my geek friends.

“GWS is the comic for that that enjoy a good dildo joke and farty cat humor sandwiched between excellent character development and compelling storytelling.” – Erika Moen.

There are so many doodles...

I’ve been a fan of Questionable Content for years. Years and years.

Honestly, I’ve been a fan of a lot of these comics for years, but Questionable Content holds a special place in my heart because…

Honestly. I don’t know why. I just really love it. I’m considering going over to the team page and donating some money just so I’ll have a chance to win these doodled books myself.

What the hell. I think I will….

  • Auction: A set of Volumes 1 – 8 of Penny Arcade.  Signed by Tycho and Gabriel (AKA Jerry and Mike).  Includes a sheet of Penny Arcade stickers

Penny Arcade is one of the best nerd comics out there, and they’ve got a charity of their own, so it’s nice that they could spread the love and give us some books to auction off.

“If Pantheon is just another superhero book, Tiger Woods is just another golfer.” Wizard Magazine

  • Auction: A copy of Depressing Comic Book and a plushie from Cyanide and Happiness.  Signed by Rob DenBleyker.

This book isn’t for the faint of heart.  Half the reason we put it into an auction is so a poor, unsuspecting grandma doesn’t open it up and have a heart attack.  Gram-Gram might not be able to handle this comic.

Which is why so many of us love it.

You know you want the book and the butt-signed plushy too. So bid on it over here.

  • Auction: A set of Volumes 1 -4 of Super Stupor by R.K. Milholland.  Signed by the artist.

I think I’ve been reading Randy’s comics longer than anyone else’s on this blog. While I’ll always be a fan of Something Positive, I am rather fond of his new venture: Super Stupor, to0.

“If I were to try to sum up Randy Milholland’s comics in just a couple of words, I think the words ‘delightfully twisted’ would work nicely.” – Tangents Reviews

These are seriously awesome comics.  Bid on them, and they could be yours!

  • 9 sets of Omnibus Volumes 1 & 2 of Gutters. Signed by Ryan Sohmer.

These are gorgeous, Mammoth books. And our lovely sponsors over at Blind Ferret have given us a bunch of them for our lottery.
The Gutters is truly a unique webcomic beast… At the end of the day, the combination of a rotating art cast with Sohmer’s wit and criticism of the comic industry equals a damn funny webcomic that had the Unshaven Comics crew doing spit takes while we roamed through the archives. ” – ComicMix
  • Auction: A set of Omnibus Volumes 1 & 2 of Gutters.  Signed by Ryan Sohmer.

These books are cool enough that we’re going to throw a signed pair up in an auction so you can win them for yourself.

The winning bidder will appear in a future HijiNKS ENSUE comic. You will also get to suggest topics for the final comic (tv shows, movies, geekisms, etc) that you are interested in.

The winning bidder will also receive an 11X17″ print of their comic signed by the artist.

HijiNKS ENSUE is an online comic that delves into the deepest recesses of geek pop culture searching for funny. Casual geeks and obsessed fanboys alike can appreciate HijiNKS ENSUE’s unique perspective on TV, movies, sci-fi, technology and the internet. Ed Brubaker once said HijiNKS ENSUE “is like Doonesbury for nerds.” This was probably more of a compliment than an insult… probably.

To bid on this guest appearance head over here.

  • A set of Volumes 1 & 2 of Hijinks Ensue by Joel Watson. Signed by the artist.

I could get gushy about Joel’s comic, but why listen to me when you can listen to Wil Wheaton instead?

“Every time I read HijiNKS ENSUE, it’s like Joel shoved his hand into my brain, yanked out one of the geeky things that floats around in there, and turned it into a comic that I wish I’d written myself. And it’s hilarious every. Single. Time. HEY JOE GET OUT OF MY FUCKING HEAD.” – Wil Wheaton

  • Auction: Joel Watson Print – Signed by the artist.

I feel like I should mention that Joel has been a great help to Worldbuilders this year. Not only has he sent us books and cool art (see above.) but he helped coordinate donations from a lot of the webcomic creators you see here in this blog.

Plus, he was cool enough to donate a signed copy of his Game of Thrones inspired art, too. You can bid on it here.

  • Auction: Joel Watson Wil Wheaton prints – Signed by the artist.

The staff here at Worldbuilders guesses Wil Wheaton might want to buy one of these just to keep them out of the wrong hands. Any hands, really.

You, however, should bid on them over here so you can add them to the Wil Wheaton shrine you’ve built in your closet.

  • Auction: A Cameo appearance in the webcomic The Wizard of Quippley by Adam Casalino.

Adam Casalino will Tuckerize you! (Which isn’t really as dirty as it sounds.) That means he will incorporate your name into one of his up-coming comics in his webseries: ‘The Wizard of Quippley.’  Become a mighty dwarf of legend, or perhaps a dastardly wizard, or even a strange, far-off land.  Be forewarned, your name may be subject to Adam’s typical absurd comedy (let’s face it, it definitely will be).

To bid on this awesome tuckerization from this handsome man, go here.

A cameo in the fabulous comic Looking for Group. The winner will get “Fwooshed” by the undead sorcerer Richard.

Looking For Group is a fantasy-based webcomic that updates twice a week. Written by Ryan Sohmer and illustrated by Lar deSouza, it has been ongoing since 2006.

You know you want a piece of this action. Go bid over here.

  • Auction: A set of Volumes 1 – 11 of Girl Genius.  Signed by Phil & Kaja Foglio.

If you don’t know Girl Genius, your life is a sad, sad thing, and you pretty much have to bid on these so you can remedy it.

So.  Do yourself a favor.  Go bid on this over here.

The winner will see her or his name (or the name of a designated driver, fiancee, creditor, beloved pet, etc.) appear within the Girl Genius comic story sometime within the next calendar year. The details are nebulous. Perhaps you will become the proprietor of a shop in Mechanicsburg. Perhaps you will be a walk-on character with lines. Perhaps you will die a heroes death, or go into that sweet good night sniveling like a punk. Perhaps you will become a reoccurring villain, or a last minute love interest (tricky, if we’re talking about your pet here). The possibilities are endless, mostly because we’re making this stuff up as we go along.

You know how much I love Girl Genius.  I even appeared as a Doctor in it once.

I’m not saying it was the high point of my life or anything. But it was probably up there in the top ten. Along with having sex and that one time I ate an entire cake.

So… yeah. So you should definitely go bid on this over here.

*     *     *

You have to admit that there’s enough coolness in this blog to cook your brain like a toad thrown into a volcano.

Remember that you can view *ALL* the current Worldbuilders auctions here on e-bay.

Or, if you’d like a chance to win these books and thousands of others, you can donate on the Worldbuilders Team Page, over at Heifer international. For every $10 you pitch in, you get another chance to win something cool.

If you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main page.

Posted in a billion links, Webcomics, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat10 Responses

San Diego 2011: Thursday Part II – Wootstock

This is part of my San Diego ComicCon diary from 2011. It’s sort of the middle of the story.

If you want the whole story, you might want to start reading at the beginning. Other parts include: Wednesday, Thursday Part I, and Friday Ad Infinitum.

*     *     *

Before I tell the story of Wootstock, I should give you a little background so things will make sense.

A stab at definition.

For those of you that don’t know about it, Wootstock is….

Wootstock is….

Well, it’s just Wootstock.

It’s sort of like a modern variety show. (Except nobody knows what a variety show is these days.)

Imagine A Prairie Home Companion if it was run by a bunch of sci-fi nerds. (Man, that’s no good either, does anyone else other than me listen to A Prairie Home Companion?)

Okay. How about this. There’s music. There’s comedy. There’s music-comedy. There’s skits. There’s cussing and nerd humor and poetry and, well…

It’s pretty much a big geek performance orgy.

Honestly, I’ve wanted a piece of Wootstock for ages. Ever since I first heard about it, I wanted in.

Now did I get a piece of the action?

I got an invitation from Ernest Cline.

I mentioned his book on the blog a while back. It’s called Ready Player One. And not only did I like it enough to give it a blurb. I liked it enough to dig up his e-mail address and gush to him directly about how much I loved it.

I think the entire content of my first e-mail was, “Your book is fucking awesome.”

I tried to get them to use that for the blurb on the back, (“This book is fucking awesome.” — Patrick Rothfuss) But their marketing people wouldn’t go for it.

Anyway, Ernest got an invite to Wootstock from Wil Wheaton, who is narrating the audiobook of Ready Player One. Ernest, being a generous human being, asked if I’d like to share some of his stage time.

I said yes. I said it in a firm, manly, baritone. Then I hung up the phone and laughed my most maniacal laugh.

Right. So. We all on the same page here?

7:00 – Backstage.

I walk up to the side door of the Balboa Theater in San Diego. Someone was waiting for me at the door, where they gave me this:

My very first All Access pass. It makes me feel like a rockstar.

I go backstage and down into the secret parts of the theater. It’s a magical sort of place. It’s a secret place that only the performers get to see, and it’s electric in a way that’s hard to describe. Everyone there is getting ready for the show. They’re excited, and a little nervous, and happy to see each other. Plus it’s comic-con, so we’re all a little exhausted. And a few of us are slightly tipsy, too… (Though not me, as I’m not much of a drinker.)

There’s a blur of people all over the place. Some of them I recognize, like Adam Savage from Mythbusters. And the guys from Rifftrax (who used to do MST3K.)

I’m introduced to a few people in a whirlwind fashion. I shake hands and nod at names. But they all run out of me like water. If I say, “someone said” or “someone did” I’m not trying to protect anyone’s identity, or snub them. It’s because a lot of the evening is a blur to me. I suck at meeting people, and I only have space in my head for about 5 new names.

Then I turn around and Wil Wheaton is there.

It’s weird meeting someone you kinda already know. And I kinda know Wil from a bunch of different directions. From his blog, from Star Trek, from his books, and from the Guild.

Plus we e-mailed just a little a day or two before Wootstock. I won’t bullshit you, that made me kinda tingly.

Anyway, we’re introduced, and we shake hands. He thanks me for the nice things I said about his book on my blog. And I’m a little surprised that he’s read it, though I shouldn’t be, I suppose. I tell him that I loved it.

That’s all we have time for. The stage manager is gathering everyone up to make some announcements before the show.

We all jam into a room and Liz is introduced. She is the boss. She tells us how it’s all going to work. She tells us we can watch from backstage, and that we should, so that we don’t miss our cues. She tells us to stick to our allotted time. She tells us where the beer and pizza are.

Everyone else nods attentively. There are a few jokes. But all of this is old hat for most of them.

Me? I’m grinning like an idiot. The show hasn’t even started yet and I’m having the best time….

*     *     *

I should explain something. I used to do lots of group-performance type things. I used to sing in choirs. I used to do radio comedy. I used to act a little, and did a few plays, a musical or two.

I even used to do a little improv comedy. Which is like a trial by fire. Once you do improv comedy, no other type of performance will ever truly frighten you.

Now I didn’t do a lot of these things seriously. But I did them. I enjoyed them.

And I miss them.

You see, one of the downsides of being a writer is that it’s a very solitary occupation. If everything is going well with my writing, I’ll spend 10-12 hours a day alone, and the rest of my time sleeping. (Also alone, usually.)

When I do get out to do a reading or a convention, I have a lot of fun. I enjoy meeting fans and signing books. I enjoy doing Q&A and reading stuff to an audience. It’s a nice opportunity for me to go out and be social.

But while it’s social, it’s a very solitary type of performance. I’m up in front of 200-600 people talking. There’s just me and the audience.

I’d forgotten what it was like to be part of a group of performers. To be a piece of a WE.

It feels great.

*     *     *

Liz makes one last announcement. They’ve gone to the worst seat in the house and borrowed the person’s camera. They’re going to pass it around backstage and we’ll all take pictures with it. That way the poor schlub with the worst seat will have a cool memento of the show and, as a bonus, the pictures will go online so everyone can use them.

It’s only because of the photoset that I have a shot of Ernest and me backstage, wherein I am getting my Kawaii on.

The show kicks off, and after cadging a piece of free pizza, I head upstairs we head up onto stage and watch the show from the wings. The theatre is gorgeous. A place with some real style to it.

It’s certainly the biggest house I’ve ever played to, and I’m a little nervous. But despite the fact that I’m anxiously fretting over what exactly I’m going to read, I can’t help but get pulled in by Molly Lewis playing the ukulele.

Her songs crack me up as I watch from backstage, and it helps me relax a bit.

Then, as I’m watching her play, a little motion catches my attention from the corner of my eye. So I look over and see Wil Wheaton dancing.

Before that point, I liked Wil Wheaton. I knew he was cool. I respected him as a writer, enjoyed him as a performer, and admired him as a strong, smart, outspoken member of the geek community.

But backstage in the Balboa theatre, I watched Wil Wheaton do a happy, goofy little dance, and that was when I started to love him.

Soon afterwards, Ernest gets his cue and heads out onto stage. He reads some hardcore geek poetry. Good stuff. He’s a good performer, too. Gets a good reaction from the crowd.

Then he introduces me. I’m a surprise guest of sorts, as I’m not on the program. People cheer when they hear my name, which is kind of a shock. It’s then that I decide what I’m going to read. I’m not going to try to follow Ernest’s poetry with more poetry. I think he’s got me beat in that regard.

I’m not going to read a piece out of my book, either. Too clunky. I even decide against reading a piece of a short story I’m working on.

No. A whole theatre of people cheering and my new man-crush Wil Wheaton watching from the wings means I go straight to my best material. The piece I keep in my back pocket whenever I do a reading. My sure-fire winner. My big gun.

I pull out The Guinea Pig Story.

Those of you who have seen me at a live reading might have heard it. Most of you have not.

It’s one of of the humor pieces I wrote back in college. Theoretically I was writing an advice column, but realistically I was making fun of people and telling incriminating stories about my life.

Here’s the only video I was able to find of the performance. The first little bit of my performance is cut off there, but it’s only about a sentence of the letter someone wrote in, asking for advice about keeping pets in their dormroom.

[Edit: After searching around a bit, I found another video from farther back in the audience that shows my performance AND Ernest’s with Wil Wheaton’s introduction.]

I got a great reaction from the audience, and left the stage feeling roughly ten thousand feet tall.

8:00 – Random House Party

After hanging around for a while and watching a few more acts, Ernest said he was going over to the Random House party and asked if I’d like to come along.

Though I was loathe to leave, I figured I should go and rub some elbows with some more bookish types. That’s kinda my job in some ways.

So I went to the party, hung out with some folks, and ended up riding a mechanical bull.

Why? No. Why is not the right question. I was at San Diego ComicCon. The proper question is “why the fuck not?”

That party was fun, but after about 45 minutes, I made my excuses and headed back to Wootstock. Because, y’know, Wootstock.

9:00 ish – More Wootstock.

I got back just in time for intermission, where I amused myself by handing out copies of the Chick Tract Dark Dungeons to members of the audience. I hope nobody thought I was serious….

After all my tracts were gone, I used my fancy pass to get backstage, feeling rockstar all over again. I wandered down to the dressing rooms and bumped into Felicia Day, who was also a surprise guest. I got a free hug and we chatted for about forty-five seconds before someone tells her she’s about to miss her entrance cue.

Somehow, someone managed to catch us on film during that brief moment. Proving that I’m not a big fibber.

I hang around and chat with folk, occasionally watching some of the show from backstage. I catch Jeff Lewis (Vork, for you Guildies out there) doing a piece of honest-to-god standup comedy. The man has amazing comic timing and delivery. As you’d already know if you were watching The Jeff Lewis 5-minute Comedy Hour.

11:30 ish – Autographing.

Eventually the show wraps up with a great closing number that I watch from the wings. Then I head downstairs to get my backpack and maybe another slice of pizza before I head out. When I’m gathering up my stuff, someone asks if I want to stick around and sign autographs. I shrug and agree, because I have nowhere else in particular to be.

Now over the last couple of years I’ve done a lot of signings. It’s old hat in a lot of ways. Usually I’m all alone. I’m a one-man-show.

But this one was different. A bunch of the performers were sticking around to sign posters and programs.

What’s more, at Wootstock, most of the people could give a damn about me. They’re there to see Wheaton, or Savage, or bask in the radiant glory of Paul and Storm.

And you know what? It was nice  doing a signing where most folks didn’t care who I was. It gave me a chance to goof off and get to know the people sitting on either side of me. To my left was the aforementioned Molly Lewis. And to my right was someone I didn’t know at all, but I quickly learned that she was Amy Berg, writer/producer for Eureka (among many other things.)

So we hang out and chat as the line of people slowly trickles past. I’m feeling pretty relaxed. I’ve had a good day. I was on a panel with George Martin, had dinner with Jim Butcher, and got to chat with Wil Wheaton. I went to a party with an actual velvet rope, and the bouncer nodded me through even though I wasn’t on the list. I rode the mechanical bull and didn’t hurt myself. I got a hug from Felicia day and made a thousand people laugh….

It’s  been a busy 14 hours, and I’m in that warm, happy place that comes when you know you don’t have to work any more. And, because I’m in a good mood, I start to joke around with the people coming through the line….

And that’s when I *really* start to get to know the people sitting on either side of me.  I draw a picture of a duck on someone’s poster, and they mock me for its utter terribleness. They mocked me with a sharp-tongued viciousness I haven’t experienced since most of my best friends moved away from Stevens Point.

So I abandoned drawing and started signing clever things on the posters. Then my neighbors started writing things on their posters that were clever-er. And I feel really put out by this, because normally *I* get to be the witty one, and they were out wittying me without hardly trying. I felt the sudden need to step up my game, to say nothing of wanting to buy some of Molly’s music and catch up on the current season of Eureka….

The signing went on for at least a couple hours, and it was the perfect end to the perfect day. As I left the theater I felt that strange, glowy feeling that comes when you level up. It wasn’t until I got home that I found out where the XP boost had come from:

Best of all, I’d made it through two entire days at the convention without making an ass of myself in front of anyone.

But then again, it was only Thursday….

*     *     *

Sorry this one was so long delayed. More soon…

pat

Posted in a billion links, College Survival Guide, Consistent Verb Tense Is For Bitches, conventions, Felicia Day, meeting famous people, my rockstar life, the longest fucking blog ever, videos, Wil Wheaton | By Pat37 Responses

Brilliance Audio, BBC, Unicorns and Felicia Day

You know what’s surprising? If you google “Unicorns and Felicia Day” you don’t get any direct hits.

I find myself oddly proud to be the first.

With less than a week to go, Worldbuilders is still going strong. We’ve raised more than 92,000 dollars for Heifer International so far, and I’m hoping we can break 100,000 by the end of the week.

So remember, if you donate on our team page before Dec 13th, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation. Plus you have the chance to win all sorts of cool swag like this:

Y’all know about The Guild, right? If you’re geeky enough to have discovered our fundraiser, I kinda already assume you know about the Guild.

But even if you do know about The Guild, you might not have heard about this yet, as it’s pretty new:

  • A copy of The Guild comic written by Felicia Day and illustrated by Jim Rugg.

Over the years I’ve come to think of The Onion’s A.V. Club as the gold-standard of reviews. This isn’t just because they gave my book one of the best reviews ever. It’s because if the reviewers in the A.V. Club think something is crap, they aren’t afraid to say so, at great length, and with many scathing words.

So read the following blurb with that in mind.

“Seamlessly integrates with the web series’ mixture of discomfort humor and deep understanding of-and wry sympathy for-gaming nerddom.” -The Onion’s A.V. Club

  • Five copies of the full-cast BBC radio dramatization The Adventures of Sexton Blake.

I’ve gushed about this on a previous blog. And after buying at least a dozen copies to give away as gifts I couldn’t help myself from picking up another five just to donate to Worldbuilders.

I do this in order to share the joy with as many people as possible. If you’ve ever read a Sherlock Holmes story you’ll laugh your ass of at this BBC production of the Adventures of Sexton Blake.

Anyone who’s been reading my blog for any amount of time knows how I feel about Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Let’s just take that as read, shall we?

I’ve picked up five copies just for Worldbuilders this year because if you haven’t watched it, you really need to. And if you have watched it, but haven’t caught the musical commentary on the DVD then you’re really missing out.

Next we’ve got some lovely audiobooks from Brilliance audio.

  • A copy of the unabridged audio book of Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. Read by Sam Tsoutsouvas.

While I never made it to the end of Goodkind’s series, I do have a certain fondness for this first book. I read it in 1998, back when I was having a bit of a creative slump. Reading this book for the first time jazzed me back up a little and got me back into working on The Name of the Wind.

“Wonderfully creative, seamless, and stirring.” – Kirkus Review

Whenever I read Catherynne Valente’s stuff, I’m made uncomfortably aware of the fact that she’s probably way smarter than me.

That said, she writes a hell of a book, and I was proud to discover she was one of the other authors who was writing for Scalzi’s Unicorn Pegasus Kitten chapbook.

While I haven’t listened to the audio version of Palimpsest, I have read it. Valente has a gorgeous use of language and she’s created a completely unique world. Plus the book is kinda sexy. Plus it has an awesome cover. Plus extra points for use of the word “palimpsest.”

“Overflowing with poetic images and epic repetition, Valente’s story washes us to an unexpected shore. –Regina Schroeder for Booklist.

First off, this is written by Bill Willingham. So you know you’re in for a good time.

Second off, this is actually a Fables novel. So you know you’re getting to explore a well-developed world with a cool mythic underpinning.

Lastly, this book is read by Wil Wheaton.

So there you go. Even before you consider the fact that this is in a neat collector’s tin, you’ve already got a trifecta of cool.

  • An unabridged set of Vol 1 and 2 of The Baroque Cycle: Quicksilver and King of the Vagabonds by Neal Stephenson. Read by Simon Prebble.

“BBC announcer/Shakespearean actor Prebble’s performance is wonderfully nuanced. His authoritative narration, combined with his chameleon-like facility for character and accent, is nothing short of enchanting… The experience of listening to this audiobook is something rare, as it’s a literary tale that brings history, science and philosophy to life in a heartily entertaining fashion.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • A copy of the unabridged audio book of Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Read by Arthur Morly. Stories by Neil Gaiman, Robert Silverberg, Kage Baker and many more.

“The 23 stories not only capture the unique feel of Vance’s dying universe but stand individually as one of the strongest gatherings of writers to pay homage to one of their own. This is highly recommended.” – Library Journal (starred review)

  • A copy of the unabridged audio book of Wolfsbane and Mistletoe: Hair Raising Holiday Tales edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner. Read by MacLeod Andrews and Tanya Eby. Stories by Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, and more.

“Fresh, interesting tales…[that] star some of the more famous series characters like Sookie Stackhouse.” – Alternative Worlds

“A captivating collection…offers up the Christmas spirit in a wonderfully wicked way.” – Darque Reviews

  • A copy of the unabridged audio book of Many Bloody Returns edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner. Read by Luke Daniels and Teri Clark Linden. Stories by Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong and more.

“Thoroughly enjoyable…a toothsome collection of birthday treats you will not want to miss.” – Monsters and Critics

“Toothsome” is a word you don’t hear enough anymore. I’m going to make a point of using it today…

  • A copy of the unabridged audio book of Death’s Excellent Vacation edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner. Read by Christopher Lane and Amanda Ronconi. Stories by Charlaine Harris, Katie MacAlister, Jeaniene Frost and more.

“Harris and Kelner’s third short-story anthology sends paranormals on vacation… Sarah Smith, Daniel Stashower, L.A. Banks, Lilith Saintcrow, and Sharan Newman also contribute quality work, and readers will find this collection a great sampler for discovering authors they’ll want to follow.” – Publisher’s Weekly

  • A copy of the unabridged audio book of Intrigues: Book Two of the Collegium Chronicles by Mercedes Lackey. Read by Nick Podehl.

“Lackey makes a real page-turner out of Mags’ and the collegia’s development… this book’s outstanding characters, especially Mags, will greatly please Valdemar fans.” – Booklist

  • Two copies of the unabridged audio book of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, read by Nick Podehl. Signed by the author.

I had to get a special pen to sign these. I actually left the house. I don’t like to do that very often, so you better appreciate it.

  • A copy of The Last Unicorn DVD. Signed by author Peter S. Beagle.

This movie was made back when an author could actually be directly involved in creating a movie. Since Peter was actually had a hand in this project, it’s surprisingly true to the novel. Both in the tone of the story and the text of the dialogue itself.

This is a really great movie. It was animated by Rankin/Bass, the same folks that did the original animated Hobbit movie. It’s got a great score, and is very faithful to the spirit of the original novel. It’s sweet, mythic, tender, and frightening in places, just like any good old fashioned fairy tale is supposed to be.

*     *     *

Lastly Conlan Press has donated a couple unique items that I can’t help but auction off.

What we have here are original film cells from The Last Unicorn movie. Each of them in a clear protective envelope signed by Peter S. Beagle himself.

If you want more details about the cells, or if you want to order a specific set of cells as, you can check out Peter S. Beagle’s newsletter over here.

  • The Last Unicorn 35mm Vintage Film Cells. Signed by Peter S. Beagle.

This is what Beagle’s signature looks like on the protective envelope.

When I think of all the magician characters I’ve read over the years, only a few really stand out. Gandalf is the first of these, of course. But after that comes Merlin, Pug, and Schmendrick.

To see more pictures or to bid on this Vintage Film Cell featuring Schmendrick the magician you can follow this link.

This cell shows a classic Rankin/Bass landscape with the unicorn on the hillside at night.

To see more pictures or to bid on this Vintage Film Cell from the Last Unicorn, you can follow this link.

And here we have a cell with a close-up of the unicorn herself.

To see more pictures or bid on this Vintage Film Cell from the Last Unicorn, you can follow this link.

*     *     *

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win these cool audiobooks and hundreds of others like them.

In addition to that, Worldbuilders is matching 50% of all donations made on our Team Heifer page before Dec 13th.

For more details about Worldbuilders, the auctions we’re running, and the other donated books, you can head over HERE.

Posted in Dr. Horrible, Felicia Day, Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat34 Responses

New Publication: Clash of the Geeks.

When The Name of the Wind came out back in 2007, something strange started to happen. Occasionally someone invited me to write something, usually a story for an anthology.

It was a new experience for me. But despite the fact that I was flattered, I turned all the invitations down saying, “I don’t really write many short stories. Besides, I really have to work on getting my second book out.”

I didn’t meet that first deadline for book two for various reasons. But still, I felt like turning down those offers was the responsible thing to do. I was trying to behave like a grown-up, you see.

In 2008 the paperback came out and I hit the New York Times Bestseller list. Because of that I got even more attention. Offers to write comic books, video games,  and more invitations to anthologies.

Again, I turned them down, saying, “I don’t have much experience writing short stories. Besides, I really need to focus on book two.”

A lot of these offers were for really cool anthologies, mind you. It was hard to turn down the chance to be published alongside some other big-name authors. Still, I felt morally obliged to refuse and focus on book two. I was trying hard to be a professional.

I continued along these lines until early this year when Suvudu held their cage match. They paired up various fantasy characters in head-to-head fights. I was flattered that Kvothe was included, but looking at the brackets, I saw that if Kvothe made it to the second round, he’d have to go up against Aslan.

That’s not an easy fight to win, and I kept thinking about how the scene would play out. How exactly, I wondered, would Kvothe win that fight?

Then the folks at Suvudu asked if I’d like to write up my version of the scene. So I did.

And you know what? It was fun. It was amazingly, delightfully fun. I’d actually forgotten how nice it was to write something just for pure shits and giggles. It didn’t eat up my precious writing time as I’d been fearing. Instead, it reminded me how much fun writing could be.

I thought to myself, “Fuck being a grown-up. I started writing to have fun. Now that I’m published, I should be doing fun things…”

And you know what? As soon as I gave up trying to be all professional and responsible (things that don’t come naturally to me, as a rule) my writing immediately improved. I wrote faster, and better, and I had more fun doing it.

Fast forward to earlier this year. I get an e-mail from John Scalzi. He sends me an e-mail that says (This is a paraphrase, mind you.)

Question: Would you have space on your schedule for a short (about 2K) story? It would be for a short (silly) story collection designed to raise money for the Lupus foundation. Deadline end of July-ish. Story doesn’t necessarily have to be “good” in a classic sense; in fact, it might be better if it’s not.

I think to myself. This sounds fun. It’s for charity. It’s short (I can do 2000 words standing on my head.) And he’s pretty much said it’s okay if my story ends up sucking. He’s practically encouraging me to suck.

So I e-mailed Scalzi back, and our e-mail exchange went roughly like this.

ME: Okay, I’m interested. What are the details?

HIM: Write a story about the events leading up to, and culminating in, the attached picture (which is a rough sketch; final picture to come).

(Click to embiggen)

ME: WTF?

HIM: For the sake of clarity, the person at the top is Wil Wheaton; the person at the bottom is me.

ME: Merciful Buddha…. Can you give me any context? Some framework I can use to cage this madness?

HIM: No. No context. Just write something. No slash. Otherwise, knock yourself out.

So there I am, utterly confusticated and bebothered. This is the first piece of short fiction I’ve agreed to write, and all I can think is, “What the fuck can I possibly write about this?”

This question spins around in my head for a couple days. I think, “Can I write a story about Scalzi and Wheaton playing D&D? Is that too geeky?  A holodeck adventure? Too cheap? Do I dare write the absolutely forbidden, ‘It was all just a dream’ story?”

Then it occurs to me that I’m approaching this from the wrong direction. I shouldn’t be trying to turn this picture into a joke. I shouldn’t try to be cute or gimmicky.

No. The events taking place in this picture are obviously epic. My story needs to be epic. And since it can’t be epic in length, it has to be epic in form….

So that’s how I ended up writing a poetic edda. For those of you who aren’t complete geeks, an edda is an old alliterative poem. Like Beowulf. Or the old Norse legends Tolkien ripped off when he was writing the Lord of the Rings.

Once I knew how to handle the story, I ended up having a ton of fun with it. I even brought in a certain celebrity in a cameo role…

Of course poetic edda aren’t supposed to be written in modern English, so I ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to get the meter right. But you know my motto: if it’s worth writing, it’s worth obsessively revising.

And now, months later, I’m finally able to present you with the finished project:

(Beware, lest the awesome blind you…)

Check it out. I get third billing. How cool is that shit?

You can download the anthology for free, but I’d like to politely ask y’all to keep in mind that we’re trying to raise money for the Lupus foundation. For all intents and purposes, these stories are brought to you by the Lupus Foundation.

That means if you can afford it, donating to the cause would be a terribly kind thing to do. I know you have it in you. Make me proud.

You can download the anthology and revel in its majesty over here.

Share and enjoy,

pat

Posted in being awesome, book covers, calling on the legions, cool news, side projects, Wil Wheaton | By Pat80 Responses
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