Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wiscon: Part I
I've been back from Wiscon for two days, and I'm finally caught up on my sleep and my e-mail.
For those of you who don't know, Wiscon is a bit of a rarity. It's a feminist Sci-fi convention.
What does that mean? Several things...The paneling is slightly different:
When I went to Norwescon, they had a panel titled: "Where Have All the Great Monster Movies Gone?" Wiscon had a panel titled: "The Role of Women and Ethnic Minorities in Stargate."
There is a lean toward issues of race, class and gender at Wiscon, but it's just a lean. It's not the only thing that happens there. Wiscon still has panels on writing good high fantasy, the science of dark matter, and artificial intelligence. The difference is that at Wiscon the AI panel will be more likely to discuss the gender of the AI, and what that implies about society.The people that attend are slightly different:
At Wiscon you have less of the extreme freaky fans with borderline social dysfunction. This is nice.
However, there is a corresponding rise of Wiscon attendees with graduate degrees. Which, in a way, means they just have a different flavor of social dysfunction.
In practical terms this means that at Wiscon you'll have fewer people standing too close to you, interrupting you when you speak, or following you around explaining why Squire of Gothosis personally, very important to them. The trade off is that people at Wiscon are more likely to use words like, "hermeneutic," and "appropriation" and "trope."
I score this as a point for Wiscon, as I kinda like the word trope.
Trope.The activities are slightly different:
There is less filking and yiffing, more discoursing and unpacking of social constructs.
Simply said, at Wiscon, there's less geeking, and more speaking.
The amount of drinking and hobnobbing at the parties are roughly equal.
You'll see fewer people in costume at Wiscon. In fact, it wasn't until the very last day that I saw my requisite catgirl. Costumes are still there, but they tend to be more reserved, or designed along challenging gender rolls. Which is a fancy way of saying that there's a fair amount of cross-dressing. Though honestly, I saw a fair share of that at Norwescon too.
I'm not saying that I like one scene more than the other. I'm just pointing out the differences. Personally, I just like being around people who are doing what makes them happiest. If you're a woman who wants to dress up like a Klingon, fine. If you're a guy who wants to wear a red sequined evening dress, also fine. You want to do both, it's all cool with me, baby. Get down with your freaky self.
There, now we're all on the same page about Wiscon. Next post I'll give y'all the list of surrealness that happened while I was down there....
posted by Pat at
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Me and Gaiman (Or should that be Gaiman and I?)
So a few weeks ago, I was contacted by some people who are organizing a fantasy conference up at the University of Minnesota. They had just read my book and were wondering if I'd be interested in being a guest.
They were very flattering and said something along the lines of, "We're just getting started, so we can't pay you or anything, but if you check out our home page, you can see that if you come, you'll be getting not-paid with the best."
So I hopped over to their webpage, and what do I see? Neil Gaiman and Jack Zipes.
Zipes is one of the few scholars whose name I happen to know off the top of my head, and perhaps the only one whose name doesn't fill me with the urge to curse wildly and wreck up the place. You see, he's a folklorist. A faerie-tale theorist. I actually enjoyed
reading his stuff when I was in grad school. The man is brilliant.
And Gaiman.... Well... if you need me to explain who Neil Gaiman is, then first I'd have to find out how you've managed to get internet access while living under that heavy, heavy rock.
Needless to say, I got back to the lovely ladies who were organizing the conference and told them that I'd love nothing better than to show up free of charge. That, in fact, I would be happy to do just about anything in order to hang around breathing the same air as those two.
Fast forward to today when I was checking the date for the conference so I could put it up on my tour schedule, when I saw that they had updated the home page.Here's what I saw.
Not only am I mentioned in the same paragraph as Gaiman and Zipes, but did you see what was down toward the bottom?
Fantasy Matters is pleased to announce that Patrick Rothfuss will be a featured conference reader! The submission deadline for all papers, panels, and author submissions has been extended to June 15, 2007 to accommodate all participants, but in particular those interested in the fantasy themes and topics raised in Patrick's work.
Apparently, I have themes. And topics.
Damn. I'm all tingly. I need to go walk this off.
For those of you in southern Wisconsin, I'm going to be attending Wiscon this weekend in Madison. I'll be doing a reading, a signing, and talking on some panels. If you want more details, feel free to check out their homepage.
Labels: Neil Gaiman
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Thursday, May 17, 2007
For those of you who live near Chicago...
I'll be making an appearance down there tthis Sunday (the 20th) at 2:00. It's at the Borders in Oakbrook, specifically. (There's more specific info here on the Tour Page
I'll be doing a reading, then some Q & A, then a signing. If any of that sounds good to you, feel free to show up.
posted by Pat at
Friday, May 11, 2007
3 - 2 - 1 Contract
So for the last couple months we've been selling the foreign rights to the book. And by "we" I mean my agent and his compatriots. My contribution usually amounts to listening to the offer, then asking, "Is it a good offer?" They explain to me why it is, in fact, a good offer. Then I say, "Okay, let's do it." Yet another example of why it's so important to have an agent you can trust.
More recently, the contracts have been coming in. It's a new and exciting world of me not really knowing what the hell I'm doing. You know those reading comprehension tests you took back in high school where you had to read a passage and then answer a question? These contracts are like that, except instead of a low SAT score, I'm worried if I don't pay attention someone will slide in some a clause that gives them the legal right to one of my testicles or something.
This is the most recent contract to show up, the Russian one....
I'm not exactly sure what they use for money over there. Rupees or something like that. Regular money would be nice so I could pay off my credit card debt, but once these contracts go through, I'll be able to buy a better shield and stock up on arrows. If I have enough left over after I'm done with that, I might buy a blue potion, too. Just to be safe....
Labels: foreign happenings
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Thursday, May 10, 2007
Something I forgot....
Tonight I got an e-mail from a friend who just discovered Robin Hobb's review of my book. I wasn't surprised that they were geeking out about it, but I was surprised that they had only found out about it now, over a month after the fact. I told them that if they kept an eye on my blogs, they'd get a heads-up when cool things like this happened.
They told me that they did
read the blogs, and that I'd never mentioned it.
I didn't believe them, of course, but looking through my previous blogs proved them right. That's when I realized this must have been one of the things I meant
to write about, then didn't. This happens with unfortunate regularity.
What happened was this. Last year, when we were trying to collect author blurbs for the back of the book, I mentioned that I'd love to get a quote from Robin Hobb. I've loved her stuff for years. When I read her Assassin books back in the day, they gave me hope that my character-centered story might actually be publishable.
I scraped together all the courage in my timid Midwestern self, and introduced myself to Robin through e-mail. She was gracious enough to accept an ARC of the book (Advance Reading Copy) but told me straight up that she was really busy with deadlines, and that she usually doesn't read or blurb new authors. There just weren't enough hours in the day. I told her I understood entirely, and that I was flattered that she was willing to talk with me and accept a copy of the book.
Months passed, and we got blurbs from some great authors: Williams and Anderson and Brooks and more. I didn't hear from Robin, and I figured she was still working against her deadline. I liked that option better than the though that she'd given it a try and simply didn't like it. It must have been her deadlines. Of course.
Then, about a week before my book's publication date, I got an unexpected e-mail. Robin told me she'd finally got around to reading it, and she thought it was great. What's more, she actually went out of her way to post a review up on Amazon. As it was too late to get a blurb from her on the cover.
To put it simply, I was filled with geeky joy. That's probably why I forgot to write up a little blog about it. I was too tingly.
So for those of you who haven't already seen it. Here's a link to the review
on my page. Or, if you'd prefer, you can go check it out directly on the Amazon site
For you Hobb fans out there, sorry I didn't mention this before. Better late than never.
Labels: Authors, reviews
posted by Pat at
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Minnneapolis makes me sick....
When I got a stomach flu before before heading out to Minneapolis
on the 21st of April, I was willing to pass it off as inconvenient coincidence. But after I headed out last weekend to do signings at Dreamhaven
and Uncle Hugo's
, I came back with a nasty head cold.
That's twice. When something happens twice in a row, I'm pretty sure it's science.
Despite this, Minneapolis seems like a really nice place. Plenty of coffee shops and the streets are in a lovely grid pattern that makes them very easy to navigate. That's something you can take for granted if you grow up in a city like Madison, which is built on an ismus
, and doesn't have 100 meters of straight road in the entire city limits.
I made it to both bookstores on time. I had fun chatting with folks, didn't misspell any names, and the folks at Uncle Hugo's
gave me Pocky
Because of this trip, people who would like to buy signed copies of the book online can get them from Dreamhaven.
Not only will they let you pick which cover you want, but if you order from them before the 20th
, you can get me to personalize it when I meet up with them again at Wiscon
After two signings, a radio interview, and a business
dinner with two cool grad students who are putting together a fantasy conference at the University, I was pretty shagged out. My publisher had generously offered to pay for a hotel room Saturday night. (Their exact quote was, "We don't want to you die before you finish editing book two.") However, I figured I would push on through and save them the money.
That's when things started to get interesting. Around 1:30 in the morning, I missed my turn-off and drove 40 miles in the wrong direction. Then I try to navigate
the back roads trying to fix my route without backtracking.
So of course I get pulled over by a cop because I'm going too fast for the back roads
. But he's actually really cool and lets me go without a ticket. What's more, he tells me that there's a bridge out ahead, and tells me a quicker way to get around it than the official detour.
So I drive the remaining 90 miles home on the back roads
. I saw two skunks, a possum, and 23 deer. Seriously. 23. It was actually kind of fun because it gave me an excuse to honk the horn a lot. And honking your horn is kinda fun if you're sleep deprived at three in the morning. Or if you never really grew up in the first place and just enjoy honking it. Or both.
So I call it a successful trip. Cop, but no ticket. Deer, but no wreck. Detour, but not by much. Pocky. Horn. And I got to meet cool people and talk about my book. It was pretty much the perfect day.
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