Monday, December 3, 2007
.... and I'm back.

Hello there everyone. Sorry I've been away for so long.

One of the problems with doing a blog like this....

You know, only after typing that sentence did I realize something. I don't really consider this a blog. Rather, I know this is a blog. This entity that you show up and read is a blog. But I don't think of myself as *writing* blogs. I think of myself as writing something else. Something nameless. Something somewhere between a news post, an editorial column, and an open letter to the world.

Anyway, as I was saying, one of the problems with writing something like this. (Something that I update according to my whimsy, but that a fair number of people show up and read.) Is that if I don't post anything for a while, it actually starts getting harder to post. After two weeks of silence, I start to feel like like I should have something *Really Cool* so say when I come back.

But I don't. I don't even really have any especially exciting reason for not posting for a while. Truth is, Me Being Busy Playing Catch-Up After A Convention + End of The Semester Grading + Thanksgiving + Two Signings = Radio Silence on My End.

I've been so busy lately that I haven't even checked my Amazon Ranking for, like, two or three days.... an unprecedented event.

(470, by the way.)

Let's see, what news do I have? The Name of the Wind has been nominated for Borders' Original Voices award for 2007. Point of interest, I'm the only person in my category whose title does not have a colon in it. For some reason that fills me with pride.

It just snowed here in Wisconsin. About 10 inches. My first snowfall as a homeowner. I shoveled for a solid hour tonight, great exercise that has reminded me how truly out of shape I've become. Take it from me, kids, being a writer has certain perks, but physique isn't one of them.

Other news.... Hmmmm... it seems like after almost three weeks of being gone, I should have more to report....

Oh, right, my meeting with Gaiman.

In brief, it was pretty cool. About four hours before Gaiman was scheduled to do his reading, I went from being nervous about meeting him, to a different sort of nervous. Suddenly I was worried that Gaiman wasn't going to be cool enough to live up to my expectations.

I know it's silly to idolize authors. I know this because I *am* an author, and it's silly for people to idolize me. Over these last couple months I've had people get nervous about meeting me and/or have various degrees of anxiety-related endearing geekiness when we talk. When people e-mail me and tell me that they're nervous about meeting me a signing or a reading, I laugh and say, "Believe me, I'm really not that impressive."

Anyone who has actually met me will back me up on this...

So I know firsthand that it's silly. Authors are just people. But the fact remains that when we love a book, we want to love the person who wrote the book. We want them to be as cool as the stories they write, and Gaiman writes one hell of a story...

So as Gaiman's reading approached, I grew increasingly nervous. What if he wasn't cool enough?

I needn't have worried. He was very relaxed and laid back. Very witty and articulate. He's a marvelous public speaker. He gave us a early taste of his upcoming "The Graveyard Book." He's a great reader, too. Though I wasn't surprised by that, as I really enjoyed the audio book story collection, "Fragile Things" which he read himself.

My reading was a half-hour after his, a hard act to follow. But I muddled through as best I could, reading a bit of my novel, a bit of poetry, and an essay I once wrote on the slow vs. fast zombies debate. It was a pretty good time.

I had about five minutes left in my time slot, and was trying to decide how to fill it, when one of the people organizing the conference came in and said, "Mr Gaiman wants to make sure he has a chance to talk to Pat before he leaves. I'm afraid I'm going to have to steal him..."

I gave the audience a look that said, "Are y'all cool with me heading out a little early?" They looked back, "Are you kidding? It's Neil Gaiman! Run you fool, run!"

So I went over to meet him. I tried my best to not be a total spaz when we met. I didn't want to be all gushy and fanboy. Personally, I enjoy it when people get a little geeky over my writing, but I figure he has to get that sort of thing all the time, and it has to be wearying after the first ten years or so.

So we hung out and chatted for a bit. Me and Neil. I have a picture somewhere, but I can't find it right now...

He was, as they say, "a hell of a regular guy." He told me that he'd had the chance to read the first few chapters of my book, because his publisher in England had given him a copy. He said something very flattering about my writing, but unfortunately, the book was too big to fit it into his carry-on luggage for his flight home. (The UK book is even bigger than the US version.) After that his life got a little busy, what with two movies coming out, books, signings, and generally being Neil Gaiman. So he kinda lost track of it. I can understand that. I'm overwhelmed right now and I can't be a fraction of as busy as he is...

So yeah. The whole experience was lovely. We chatted and I asked him some comic-book questions, as I have some people sniffing around about doing the graphic novel adaptations of the book. It was lovely, and he gave some good advice.

Now here's the crux of the story. Gaiman got ready to leave, but before he could head out, one of the con-goers caught him. The guy asked if he could send Gaiman a copy of his brother's novel to read, so that Gaiman could give him some feedback. Gaiman politely refused, explaining that he wished he could, but he really didn't have the time.

But they guy wouldn't take the gracious refusal. He asked if Gaiman would maybe just look at a few chapters instead. Gaiman explained, again, that there just weren't enough hours in the day, and besides, his brother would probably get better, more in-depth advice from a local writer's group....

But the guy really wouldn't take no for an answer. He tried a few more times from different angles. And here's the thing: Gaiman stayed cool through the whole thing. He didn't get bitchy or snippy or exasperated. Considering that he must get hit like that all the time, I was truly impressed.

The end. Moral: Gaiman is awesome.

I think that's all I've got for now....

Oh... one other thing. I've been invited by writer/author John Scalzi to offer up one of my already written blogs for promotional re-post on his site: Whatever.

Any advice? Of the blogs you've read on here, which one do you think would be best for amusing/entertaining/hooking in new readers?

I'd appreciate it if you let me know what you think in the comments below.

Later all,


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Anonymous Not-creepy Girl said...

Ahh...a Pat news fix. How nice.

I think "Leaving, On a Jet Plane" was pretty funny, and it would introduce the fact that you won a Quill. "Butterflies..." was funny too.

My favorite is probably "What Good Is Fantasy, Anyway," but it's not really amusing. Just cool.

And I for one think you are just as impressive in person as in this blog/newsletter whatever you want to call it. Which is pretty dang impressive.

December 3, 2007 7:16 AM  
Anonymous CL said...

I like the "Science Experiment" post, where you give an example of what you do to motivate yourself when you're feelin all unmotivy.

December 3, 2007 7:50 AM  
Blogger Haplo Peart said...

I don't have any suggestions, but I did want to say that its much cool you got the invite from Scalzi. He's a hell of a nice guy himself and keeps one of the best blogs around! My usual morning routine is to hit yours, his and check Card's site (he don't keep a blog but his writings from his local newspaper get posted weekly, but its a crap shoot what day)

December 3, 2007 8:35 AM  
Blogger Anton Strout said...

That's it. Next time I'm going to make you sign my chest so I can have it tattooed there for eternity. It'll help your coolness coping mechanism in your epic quest for Neilness.

December 3, 2007 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Gehennaheretic said...

I suggest I suck at life... because it showcases your achievements and balances it with humble approachability and humor without resorting to murderous muppet art.

Congrats on your handling your meeting with Neil Gaiman. Sounds like you were smooth with a capital smoo.

December 3, 2007 9:34 AM  
Blogger Ancient Reader said...

I am so glad you're back; I was beginning to worry that some major malfunction might have occurred at the FantasyMatters convention.
I certainly understand about life catching up with you at times;just please type a few lines telling us that.
My favorite of your blogs is the one where you come clean about your major sadness re your mom. It showed a different depth to you. I know I may be the only one who chooses this blog, but it is by far my favorite. And I do realize that it would not be a logical choice for a PR spot, but it really speaks to me. Thanks and God bless.

December 3, 2007 11:28 AM  
Blogger kilks401 said...

My favorite was the "Why fantasy matters" blog. Thats the one that hooked me and got me to come back to check your blog.

December 3, 2007 11:42 AM  
Blogger Shane said...

Can you please post your essay on the zombie thing? It's topic near and dear to my heart. My father played a particularly slow one in the original Dawn of the Dead.

December 3, 2007 3:11 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

I still get a kick out of your comments about flying and packing for your trip to Norwescon. Makes me smile...

December 3, 2007 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

Yes, the contents of your backpack were highly entertaining.

Of course, if you gave that one, you would also need the sequel in which you state your dislike of airport security. And the cool old keys.

December 3, 2007 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I loved the "Today I Suck at Life"

December 3, 2007 6:31 PM  
Blogger Mary J. said...

Hi Pat!

So glad to hear that you did not spaz out and visit Muppet mayhem on Neil Gaiman. It's nice to see someone you admire handle a situation graciously. (Remember the downtown coffee shop?) Anyway, I would like to add my vote for the blog from:
Friday, July 6, 2007

Makes me giggle to think of it...

December 3, 2007 6:58 PM  
Blogger d8/d12 said...

I would choose “My Misspent Youth”. It is funny and touches on a problem most new authors would not think about. Personally, I practiced my signature way back in High School in preparation for art school and a carrier as a famous artist (it didn’t happen).Still, I think a good signature is something everyone should cultivate.

December 3, 2007 8:11 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Did you just try not to directly mention how I tripped and fell on my way to meeting you?

Oh, and you ARE that awesome. Just so you know.

I liked the Fantasy post, personally. It wasn't FUNNY, but it was really good. I suppose I get amused every time I read your blog/article/thingy.

Actually, this one was good too. It made me all excited for you.

December 3, 2007 8:14 PM  
Blogger Abalieno said...

You may want to give a look at this forum thread.

It's about the rumored postponement of your second book in the series to 2009 instead of next year as everyone expected. Maybe you can shed some light and the true motivation about a so long delay.

It created quite a stir in the forums.

At the end most people read the blog because they loved the books and as a complement/updates to those books.

December 3, 2007 8:30 PM  
Blogger Mary J. said...

Drool... a forum. About NOTW and Pat. We so need that!
Anyway, last semi-official word I heard in August was that it was being pushed from April of '08 to July of '08. Don't make me come up there and knock on your door for the facts, Pat! :-)>

December 3, 2007 9:41 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

The " Dear Fed-Ex: Why do you hate my book?" one was the first one I read, and I've been reading ever since. It had pictures, man!

However, I became a true follower when you mentioned the Joss Whedon dinner a few posts later.

I'm rereading NotW right this very moment. I just had to read 100 pages or so because I couldn't leave poor Kvothe in creepy Tarbean. Do you think my lit professor will accept that as an excuse for my not having finished Pedro Paramo?

December 3, 2007 10:46 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

First time commenting.

I could send you an email saying how much I appreciate Name of the Wind - but I believe that I a comment shall suffice for the time considering that I want you to write not read emails.

I never knew that each book would come out by the year. Is everything on schedule?

By the way - nice, entertaining blog. We aren't looking for anything special - just some insight.

December 4, 2007 12:56 AM  
Anonymous Binn said...

Nice to see you had a great time with Neil. As to which blog to submit, just pick the one you had the most fun writing. Thats the key, each of them show that you have a sense of humour and as such its the only way to distinguish between them. Just have fun.

I loved John's Old Mans War, entertained me no end and Im not really a massive fan of the written Sci-Fi.

December 4, 2007 3:46 AM  
Anonymous Tim L. said...

To abalieno:

I attended Pat's signing in De Forest. Unfortunately, the rumors are true. Pat confirmed that Book 2 (Wise Man's Fear) will be delayed until ~April 2009.

He gave many compelling reasons for this and, as a dedicated fan, I believe Pat and DAW are doing the right thing.

To Pat:

That was an awesome signing in De Forest. I was glad I could fly out from Maine to attend.

As for which blog I would pick, it would be any of your "About the Author" ones. Then again, all of your writing is funny and outstanding.


Tim L.

December 4, 2007 7:30 AM  
Anonymous jessica said...

That sucks if the book is delayed that long. But I can't imagine Pat (or his editor) would delay it without a good reason.

I guess I don't mind _that_ much since I didn't even realize till I was halfway through the book that it was part of an unfinished trilogy.

I looked at that forum, and sheesh, thank God there's no forum like that about me! Strangely, the most angry posts seemed to be from people who didn't like the book much anyway....

December 4, 2007 8:04 AM  
Anonymous sengeitawn said...

Why Fantasy Matters is my vote.
Cheers, Sengei

December 4, 2007 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Kalligenia said...

Hmmm... it's a tough choice. I like "Dear Fed-Ex" and "Today I Suck at Life" for different reasons. I'll put my vote to the second one.

December 4, 2007 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Pat,

Maybe a bolg about your singing Christmas carrols at your Rib Mountain B&N book signing would make a good blog entry.

By the way I want that 6 seconds of my life back.


December 4, 2007 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Josie said...

My personal favorite was "An evening in the life." It combines touching insight, a humorous story, and some of your views on being an author.

Going back and looking for my favorite blog post made me think about how long I've been reading this. It feels like a lot less time has passed since I read your book and looked you up. I'm glad to say that I still look forward to seeing what you're going to put up next. This is just one more reason to love you, Pat. Keep up the good work! :)

December 4, 2007 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Llyralei said...

"I'm leaving for Norwescon" was absolutely hysterical. So was "Leaving On a Jet Plane". I'd vote for one of those. :P

Argh, it's so hard to choose. You have so many amazing posts. XD

December 4, 2007 5:36 PM  
Anonymous J said...

Today I suck at life ... you know, for the other dude's blog

December 5, 2007 9:14 AM  
Blogger ringerads said...

I always like "My first signing". Sounds like something stupid I would do. No offense, Pat.

December 5, 2007 5:25 PM  
Blogger michaelk said...

I just fininshed the name of the wind today, and i can honestly say that it is the best book iv'e ever read. To think that the wise mans fear is more than a year away is very saddening, thats the worst thing about starting trilogies that aren't done yet. I am having the hardest time deciding what to read now, any suggestions ?..haha

December 5, 2007 10:53 PM  
Blogger Kelly Swails said...

Dude, I like the post with the letter from the fan. That was the best fan letter ever.

Oh, and don't underestimate yourself. Your beard is way impressive in person. :)

December 6, 2007 8:00 PM  
Blogger KMack said...

I just wanted to say that the idea of a graphic novel of The Name Of The Wind fills me with more glee than I convey through the cold medium of an online blog comment. I read Gaiman's own Stardust through the illustrated Charles Vess edition and loved the fact that these amazing pictures surrounded the text. Not only that, but as far as I could tell the book wasn't abridged either. So, I just wanted to say that I would be so absolutely thrilled if you did do this.

January 17, 2009 5:01 PM  

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