Friday, February 29, 2008
Name of the Wind - Italian style.

So today is the day that the Italian version of The Name of the Wind hits the shelves. While we've sold the foreign translation rights in a lot of countries so far, this is only the second version to actually make it into print, so I'm still experiencing some of that giddy, newbie author joy over the whole things.

I don't know if it's significant that the book is coming out on leap day. Except I think it means this book will age more slowly than the other versions of my book, only getting one year older for every seven normal years.

Wait. Seven? No. Four. I was thinking of dog years....

...

Man. Now I'm wondering what would happen if a dog is born on leap day.

Okay. I can figure this out. I used to be good a story problems, and that was before I studied symbolic logic. Let's see...

Given - one dog year is equal to seven human years.
Given - those born on leap day only age one year for every four calendar years.

If a dog was born on a leap day, after twenty-one calendar years, he would be:

A) 504 years old.
B) 36 years old
C) 42 years old.
D) Still bound by his duty.
E) Other

Anyway, back to the Italian translation. I haven't actually seen the book yet. Not in a real-world sense. I got the editor to send me a nice picture of the cover, but it's really not the same as holding a real book in your hands. It's roughly the same difference as seeing baby pictures and holding a baby.

Anyway, here's the cover. I think you'll all agree that it's a whole lot different than the US, UK, and Dutch covers that we've seen so far...




(As always, you can click the picture to embiggen it.)



I'm curious what y'all think of this cover, so feel free to drop a comment into the discussion below....

That's all I've got for now. More news is on the horizon, so stay tuned.

pat

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Ursula K. Le Guin


Did I mention that Ursula K. Le Guin read my book?

Did I mention that Ursula K. Le Guin liked my book?

Did I mention that Ursula K. Le Guin agreed to provide a blurb for the book?

"It is a rare and great pleasure to find a fantasist writing not only with the kind of accuracy of language absolutely essential to fantasy-making, but with real music in the words as well. Wherever Pat Rothfuss goes with the big story that begins with The Name of the Wind, he'll carry us with him as a good singer carries us through a song."

Yeah. Can I get a "wow" from the audience?

On a closely related note, if you've never read her Wizards of Earthsea books, you really need to. Not only are they absolutely brilliant, but they're one of the cornerstones of modern fantasy.





If you have read the Earthsea books, you should make sure you've checked out her more recent stuff too. She writes at a consistently awesome level that I hope to emulate over the years.

I've got a cool announcement to make, but you'll have to wait for Friday. It's a leap-day announcement. It's nothing HUGE, but... well... I think it's pretty cool....

Oh, and lastly, the deadline for nominating books for the Hugo ballot is only a couple days away. So if you were planning on doing it, but you're like me and you tend to forget what day it is, don't be caught unawares....

Later all,

pat

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Friday, February 22, 2008
Concerning Printings and a New Cover

Over the last year or so, I've learned a lot about the publishing industry.

I've always been a big reader, but I never spent much time wondering where books came from, or how they were made. Even when I started working on my books, I focused on the craft of writing, and not the particulars of getting published.

Because of this, I have weird gaps in my knowledge. For example, I just recently learned how identify different printings of books.

What's a printing? Well, when your book first comes out, your publisher takes a look at how many books the booksellers and distributors have ordered. Then the publisher prints enough books to cover those orders, plus some extra to have in the warehouse so that they can fill additional orders. That first printing is, well, the first printing.

These first printings can be of wildly different sizes. The first printing of the last Harry Potter book was huge, of course. While a lot of books by new authors get a very small first printings because the publishers don't know how well the book is going to sell.

From what I understand, a lot of books only get one printing.

But occasionally, something magical happens. Sometimes people keep buying a book from the stores, so those stores keep having to order more from the distributors. The distributors have to order more from the publisher, and then the publisher prints a new batch of the book: that's the second printing.

And so on, and so on...

I learned all of that fairly early on, but what I *didn't* know was how to tell the which printing was which. But now I do...

You know that page early on in the book with all that legal-y information on it?





Here's the one from my book. As always, guest starring my thumb...

Down here is the important bit.





Here's the tricky part. The line that says "First Hardcover Printing" doesn't actually tell you anything about the printing. It's the numbers underneath. Here all the numbers 1-10 are printed out. That means that this is a first printing.





Here's the second printing of my book. You can tell because the little number one is missing from the list. (Click the picture to embiggen.)




The fourth printing....

And lastly, the fifth printing:





The fifth printing is actually easier to spot than the other ones, as it has one additional subtle difference:




That's right. The fifth printing of the hardcover got an awesome new cover. I was really flattered that the publisher would do this. I really like the way it looks.

This means that Shirtless Kvothe and Angry Stone Man are a thing of the past. So hang on to them, folks. In five or ten years you'll be able to e-bay them and put your kids through college.

Also note that this cover makes it very clear that I am a winner, and that The Name of the Wind is a novel. If you were confused about either of those things, you can rest easier now.

Later,

pat

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Ask the Author #4: How Do I Pronounce Kvothe's name?

And now for a little T&A...

No. Wait. That should be Q&A. Sorry...


Dear Pat,

I know you're busy, but how exactly do you pronounce "Kvothe?"

I know it's similar to "quothe," but I'm still not sure how it sounds. Can you help clarify the specific phonetic pronunciation?


The initial "kv" sound in "Kvothe" doesn't crop up in standard English that often. But it does appear in the Yiddish term "kvetch."

The "o" is the same as in "roll" or "hole."

The "e" is silent.

If you've been pronouncing it wrong, don't sweat it. You're not alone. I've heard a lot of different pronunciations over this last year:

Kvahthe. (With the middle sound like you're saying "Ahhh" at the doctor's office.)

Kvothay. (With the ending rhyming with "prey.")

Kvothee, Kvahthay.... No no no. You're all making it harder than it needs to be. That's why I put that bit in right at the beginning of his story. "My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as 'Quothe.'"

Kv + Quothe = Kvothe. Simple.

Still, even this confusion makes me happy. I remember the Raistlin/Rastlin arguments me and my friends had years ago.

Wow, that's a warm fuzzy thought. My first year in college, out at someone's house, drinking homemade sangria in their kitchen and arguing about Dragonlance. I remember thinking, "I never knew there were this many people like me out in the world."

Those were good times. It almost makes me want to not post this up. That way, people can have that same sort of pointless argument about my book as I used to have about Weiss and Hickmann's.

Nah. I'll leave this up. That way when there's an argument, y'all can step in and seem supercool because you've got the inside scoop.

Oh, and one other thing. Tarbean isn't pronounced tar + bean.

It's tar + bee + en. The end is similar to how you say "Caribbean."

And now you know...

pat

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Friday, February 15, 2008
YES!

This is awesome. Seriously.

I've known about the fanfic community for years now, though I've never myself gone swimming in those dark waters.

In fact, not too long ago someone apparently had a dream where I was acting as a councilor for fanfic-traumatized characters. They wrote about their dream over HERE on Deviantart....

While that is cool, it's not what I'm excited about.

I've known for a while that it was only a matter of time since someone did fanfic based on The Name of the Wind. I've also known that it was only a matter of time before someone did some Yaoi fanfic.

As soon as this idea got into my head, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Every couple weeks it would pop back into my head and I'd do a quick google search to see if anything was out there yet. I'd keyword search "Kvothe Bast" "Kvothe Yaoi" "'Name of the Wind'" yaoi." But there was never anything...

It's been months since I went looking. But tonight I was doing an e-mail interview and made a joke about it. Then I googled: "Bast Kvothe kissing."

Bingo.

I have truly arrived on the scene as a fantasy author.

Happily yours,

pat

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Thursday, February 14, 2008
Did I mention that I love librarians?

A while back, some helpful little elf sent me an e-mail telling me I'd made it onto a reading list. I took a quick peek at the link, thought "that's cool," then bookmarked it and wandered away to do other things. (I think it was a particularly heavy e-mail day.)

But today I went back and looked at it, and realized that it wasn't just some list. In a lot of ways, it's THE list. That's right. It's superlative.

The list is put out by "The Reading List Council" which "seeks to highlight outstanding genre fiction that merits special attention by general adult readers and the librarians who work with them."

From what I hear, the Reading List Council is an elite branch of the American Library Association. In order to join their selection committee you have to be able to kill a man with paperback copy of Animal Farm book while wearing a blindfold, bend a spoon using only the power of your mind, then deal with ten obnoxious library patrons in a row while smiling and being polite the whole time.

Yeah. Like I said. These folks are badass. I hear Rupert Giles washed out with them and had to settle for joining some other council instead.

Anyway, it turns out that there's just one reading list every year, and only one book from each genre gets selected. Stuff like Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, and, of course, Fantasy.

And I'm their fantasy pick for 2008. You can see the list HERE.

I thought this was plenty cool all by itself, until I scrolled down the page and saw some of the other fantasy titles that had been nominated. I recognized every name on the list: Jim Butcher,
Jacqueline Carey, Guy Gavriel Kay, Terry Pratchett. Rowling. Tolkien.

That's right. Folks like Rowling and Tolkien tied for second place.

And who's number one?

Me, baby.

Me.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008
My Complicated Life

Okay. I'm pretty sure I've already pointed out Sinfest to y'all. But this one really cracked me up. I keep going back to the page, re-reading it, and laughing. So go read it then come back here. I'll wait...

.
.
.

Okay. For those of you who don't already know, I live in Wisconsin. In the winter, Wisconsin is cold. For some of you who don't live in a similar climate, it's probably hard for you to understand how cold. Recently we've been having a few snaps around here where it drops down to more than 20 below, not counting the wind-chill.

Don't get me wrong. I know other places are colder. I'm not trying to start a my-home-is-colder-than-your-home sort of pissing contest here. Because, honestly, pissing at these temperatures can be downright dangerous. I'm just laying the groundwork for a story here. I'm setting the scene. Wisconsin + Winter = Cold (+/- Damn).

Another thing that you might not know is the fact that I like squirrels. Mostly I like the big fluffy grey ones. When I have more free time, and the weather is more clement, I have been known to keep peanuts in my coat pocket. Then, if I see a squirrel and I don't have anything pressing to do, I sit down and spend a half hour slowly gaining the trust of a squirrel until they feel comfortable coming to take the peanut out of my hand.

Knowing these two things, you can understand that when I found a dead squirrel on my front lawn, I was ensaddened. I felt kind of responsible, because it is my house. And I don't have birdfeeders or anything where they can get easy food. And it's been so *cold* lately....

So, whelmed with guilt, I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of peanuts, and last night at 3:30 in the morning I'm standing at my back door with an armload of them, ready to strew them around my backyard.

That's when I realized that I had accidentally bought _salted_ peanuts.

I threw them out into the yard anyway, because it is really cold, and it's likely to stay that way for a couple days. But now I'm worried that the squirrels are out there, really cold and really thirsty because they just ate a bunch of salty peanuts. Where do they get water when it's this cold? Do they have to eat snow? Can you imagine living outside when it's this cold, then having to eat snow because you're thirsty?

Can squirrels get hypertension?

Anyway, that's what's going on with me lately. I hope everything is less anxious with all of you, regardless of geography, climate, and local fauna.

Fondly,

pat

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Monday, February 11, 2008
The Perils of Translation: Part 2

Hello there everyone,

Since I made my post about the translations of the book, a few people have asked if I would make my list of Translator guidelines public.

Unfortunately, I can't. Well... that's not true. I won't. There are too many secrets in there.

Even if there weren't secrets I'd be hesitant to do it. Not just because I'm cussed (though I am.) But because a lot of the beauty in a book comes from the things that are inobvious. If I pointed them all out to you, it would ruin it. It's like when you have to explain a joke, you might get it afterwards, but it's not really funny.

Still, since people asked, I can give you a little non-spoiler taste of the sort of questions that are asked, and the way that I tend to answer them. Just so you can see....


"Shamble-Men. Is this a term you've come up with yourself? I'm not happy with my translation for it yet. It doesn't sound frightening enough in Dutch."

The Shamble-men are entirely my own creation. The term doesn't sound particularly scary in English either. But it have vaguely menacing, creepy overtones. This is partly because there is an old usage of the word "shambles" that also means a place where you butcher animals.

(That's where we get the expression, "This place is a shambles." Nowadays it means messy, but back in the day it meant strewn with bloody guts.)

Stagger-men would just be drunk. Shuffle men would be oldd and slightly silly.

Imagine a homeless person, bundled against the cold, raggedy with a lot of hair. They're dirty and ragged, and walking in a slow walk, as if they're sick or hurt or very tired. It's a slow slightly unsteady walk, dragging their feet a little. That's what I'm trying to capture with "shamble."

But the name should be vaguely menacing if you can manage it.

"In Tarbean, Pike calls Kvothe "Nalt." What does this mean?"

"Nalt" is a mildly derogatory slang term. It's a reference to Emperor Nalto, who mismanaged the Aturan Empire so badly that it collapsed.... The name is mentioned briefly during Kvothe's first admissions interview.

"One last thing that I'd like to ask you, is your permission to change the names of Jake, Graham, Shep and Carter to more general-sounding names. These names have a very English sound, and though I initially had no intention of changing them, they keep "poking me in the eye" when I read the book in Dutch. Most or all other names are pretty universal. These I would like to change to Jaap (which is actually how we Dutchies abbreviate Jacob), Gard, Stef and Karsten."

Those names are meant to be very plain, rustic even. They should be very common, rural names. If you need to change them to make them appear that way for your culture, that's a great idea.

Keep in mind that Carter is, by profession, a carter: someone who drives a cart for a living. It would be nice to maintain that...

That's all for now. PLEASE don't take this an an invitation to pepper me with questions about the book. If that happens, all it will do is cut into my writing time, slowing down my revisions of book two...

Besides, a little bird told me that we'll actually be getting a forum pretty soon, and when that goes live it will be the perfect place for questions and answers and of all sorts. So if you've got a question, don't worry, its time will come. Just write it down and save it for the upcoming forum shindig.

Later all,

pat


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Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Daily adventures: The Dentist.

So today I went to the dentist.

This might not seem like a big deal to y'all. In fact, for a lot of you, I'm guessing a trip to the dentist is no more of an event than going to get the oil changed in your car or buying a new pair of shoes. That is to say, its falls under the category of routine maintenance for your life.

But you see, I haven't been to the dentist in a while. A long while. An amount of while that would be considered obscene by many people.

Yes yes. I know everyone puts off going to the dentist. You're supposed to go every six months, or a year. But you forget, or you avoid it, and one year stretches into two, or three, or five.

But, as with all things, I've taken it to the next level. For me it's been so long that I can only dimly remember the last time. My last dentist was a huge Italian man with fingers like sausages. He looked like an honest-to-god mobster, and when he mentioned that I wasn't flossing, it sounded like something out of the Godfather. Like if I didn't floss, he was going to send someone around to my house to straighten me out....

Also, the brand name of the little workstation they had next to the chair? "Cavitron" I shit you not. The thing was called The Cavitron.

It would be funny to say that that experience traumatized me, and that's why I haven't been back for so long. But the it wouldn't be the truth. I thought all that was funny as hell.

The truth is, I just never think of going. And when I DO think of going, I worry that when I show up they're going to say something like, "Well, it's too late. Our only option now is to surgically remove your whole mouth in the most excruciating manner possible."

So, of course, it's easier to avoid the whole situation.

How long has it been? It has been, at my best guess, eleven years. Maybe twelve.

And I don't floss. At all. It would be impossible to floss less than I do, unless you somehow invented a machine that made negative flossing possible.

So, to cut to the chase, I went in to the dentist and got to experience the new tool. Apparently that sharp metal pokey thing was getting blase. Now they have much cooler high-tech version of that. It combines all the pokiness of the metal tool, with a tiny spray of water and a feeling like...

You know when someone runs their fingernail over a chalkboard and you feel it back in the base of your neck. It's like that. Except it's the pokey thing and my teeth making the noise. Huzzah for science.

But deep in my heart I know I've earned this. This is Penance. It's fair. This poor hygienist wasn't planning on dealing with this today and they probably scheduled my cleaning thinking that they'd only need the regular amount of time. I can't blame them for being a little rough and a little hurried.

Still, part of me wonders if there is an upscale dentist option out there. I mean, I don't think Brad Pitt goes in to the dentist and has someone scrape away at him like this. It's just undignified.

Anyway, it's good for me. Not only because my teeth did need cleaning, but because I haven't practiced my Buddhist meditation lately, and I typically only do that in situations like this.

Here's my philosophy. Any wanker can meditate at home, listening to Enya and sitting on his yoga mat. That's for sissies. You managed to clear your mind from all distractions? Wow. Congratulations. You want an organic, sugar-free walnut and raisin cookie to celebrate?

Me? I'm badass. My thought is that if you can relax, clear your mind, and contemplate the four noble truths while someone is drilling your teeth, then you've got your place in the universe pretty well sorted out. Meditating while under extreme conditions is like going running while you're wearing leg weights and occationally stopping to have a fistfight with a shark. Except, y'know, with your brain.

So I meditate in the dentist's chair. I meditate while flying through a thunderstorm sitting next to a mom with a screaming baby, while getting stitches with no anesthetic at the doctor's office, and, once, in the fourth row of a Gwar concert. Keep your circle breathing to yourself, hippie. I've got so much pranjna I don't even know what to do with it all.

And the end of the story? I'm fine. No cavities. No trouble. I'm the first to admit that this little story would work better with a moral at the end. But that's just not the way some stories actually happen.

Goodnight everyone,

pat

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