Part two of the Peter Hodges interview is now live over HERE, for those of you who are into that sort of thing....
Also, for those of you that are hanging around here in Central Wisconsin, I'll be at a little one-day convention in Wausau tomorrow. You can find some details HERE.
And lastly, for those of you on Facebook, we're having a bit of a shindig to celebrate the paperback release of the book. There will be cake* and fabulous prizes for people who are interested in participating. So stop on by if you're interested.
So apparently, when a book gets published, it either has a hard publication date, or a soft one. I don't know if these are technical terms or not, but that's how I've come to think of it....
When my book came out a year ago, it had a hard sell date. They even stamped the boxes with it. I wonder if I can still find the picture I took of it, back in the day.
Yeah. Here it is....
When I first saw this, I remember thinking, "Wow. They must take this release date thing pretty seriously."
Then I remember thinking about what someone would say if they had to call this number. "I need to report a violation?" Sounds dirty. Personally, I would probably go with something more dramatic. Something along the lines of screaming "Help! My book has been violated!"
So anyway, I was at a signing in Seattle this weekend, and I got two lovely surprises.
The first was that a lovely young woman showed up and described my book as, "a literary orgasm." Personally, I think that's something we should put on the cover.
The second cool thing was this....
(I'm talking about the one on the right. The hardcover is just there to provide perspective.)
Yay! The paperback! Isn't it just the cutest thing?
Now, the official release date is April 1st. But, apparently, this is a different sort of release date. I know this because when I was on my way home from Seattle, I stopped by the airport bookstores and saw copies on the shelves there too.
I just thought I'd let y'all know that it's out there.
Hmmm.... Now I feel like I should say something sales-pitchy in order to encourage people to buy it. But I can't think of anything halfway serious.
"The Name of the Wind: even in paperback it will still stop a bullet."
"Now with 100% less naked man chest!"
"Ladies, all the literary orgasmicness of the hardcover, conveniently travel-sized!"
That's all I've got. If any of you have any flashes of marketing brilliance, you can leave them in the comments section below.
I'm going to be flying out to Seattle soon, where I will be doing a few book signings and attending Norwescon.
That means that if you're interested of getting a signed copy of the fancy new hardcover, you only have a little time left to order one from The Signed Page. They're selling copies of the College Survival Guide too, if you're interested in reading some of my earlier writing.
Lastly, those of you who enjoyed The Guild video that I posted up a couple weeks ago might be interested in knowing that it's been nominated for an award. If you liked the show and would like to show your support, you can go HERE and vote for them in the "Series" category. Hopefully, if it wins a couple of these awards they'll be able to get some official sponsorship, which will make it easier for them to continue producing the series.
I have a warm place in my heart for St. Patrick's day. When I was in grade school, you got to bring a treat to share with the rest of the class on your birthday. Cookies or brownies or rice-crispy treats.
But my birthday is in July, so I could never bring in treats. I can't remember why this was so important to me as a kid, but it was.
So my mom, rather than being relieved at having one less chore in her busy life, came up with the idea that I could take cookies to school on St. Patrick's day, because my name was Patrick. That was the sort of person she was.
So we made sugar cookies shaped like Shamrocks and frosted them with green frosting. I helped. Or at least I remember helping. More likely I tried to help and got in the way instead.
So I got to bring cookies to school once a year, and my standing in kid society was saved.
As I write this, I realize not everyone might have done this at their schools, growing up. Maybe it just happened in my little corner of the sky.
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, just outside Madison. The Town of Burke, unincorporated. Lots of land, not many people.
For most of grade school, I went to the modern equivalent of a one-room schoolhouse called Pumpkin Hollow. No, I'm not kidding. It was called Pumpkin Hollow School.
It had four classrooms, one each for first through forth grades. The entire faculty consisted of four teachers, the aid, and the lunch lady. We borrowed music and art teachers from a bigger school district and they came out to visit us once a week.
I think this small school was a very special thing, though I didn't realize it back then. We had a really active group of parents that would organize great things for us. We went to see the Nutcracker Ballet every year, and we had little fairs in the springtime with craft booths and little games.
I remember the playground. You'll never see a playground like it these days. The equipment was good, old-fashioned dangerous, or made out of tires, or both. We had a tire swing. A real one that hung from a high branch, and because the rope was long you could really whip people around on it. We could have killed ourselves, but we didn't. It was fun. Good lord I miss recess. When did play get squeezed out of our daily curriculum?
It wasn't a perfect place by any means. I don't mean to imply that. Even small groups of children can be cruel. There was one girl that everyone said had cooties, and we teased her though I didn't care and I was her friend anyway. None of the cool guys liked me very much, which sucked.
Ms. Otto, the aid, had strong old-school views about propriety, and she didn't approve of the boys and girls playing together. We could mingle together on the equipment, or play tag, but we couldn't cluster together in and make up our own games. A boy who played with the girls was given the worst punishment possible: he was forced to sit on the steps.
I spent a lot of time on the steps. Don't misunderstand me. I was not a young Casanova. I just preferred the company of girls. Generally speaking, I still do.
Once I brought an old Indian Spearhead to school to show the other kids. It was real, we'd found it when we were digging in the garden. But when I took it out to recess, I showed it to a girl and told her that it was sharp and it could cut her. I wasn't really threatening her, but I wasn't exactly *not* threatening her either. I was being tough, and slightly wicked, and I knew it.
The girl told Ms. Otto, and I had to sit on the steps and they took the spearhead away. Later that day, my teacher Miss Anderson gave me a serious talking to and gave me the spearhead back.
That was it. I was deeply ashamed, and I knew deep in my heart that what I'd done was Wrong.
I also felt like I'd dodged a bullet because they hadn't told my parents. Everything worked out smoothly, and I learned something. These days, they would have called homeland security, put me in therapy, and installed flint detectors on all the school doorways.
It was, everything said, a good place to grow up. It was too small for any severe social stratification. When your entire class is only 18 kids, the cool kids (Like Chad VanEss) still weren't that much cooler than the uncool kids. And the prettiest girl (Jody Mulcahy) wasn't that much prettier than the least pretty girl.
They closed Pumpkin Hollow not long after I left. Probably for budget reasons. I drive past it every once in a while when I'm at home. A small business has set up shop in the building, and I always want to stop and ask if I can look around. But I never do.
But in my dreams I go there. Sometimes the school is abandoned as I look around. Sometimes the new owners let me in and I see the old school half-hidden under the renovations. Sometimes I'm with someone, showing them around, saying, "This is the room where we had art class." "This was Ms. Stewart's room." "Everything is so small. How did twenty kids ever play dodge ball here?"
They are melancholy dreams, full of a deep, slow sadness. They always end the same way. After moving from room to room, I lay down on the floor and cry. Not for anything, or about anything. Simply because I am full of sadness, and I miss something that is so long gone that I can no longer remember what it was, or put it into words.
I would give each of you a shamrock cookie today, if I could. But that is beyond me. So instead I wish each of you happiness, joy in the changing of the seasons, dreams free of melancholy, and hope of new friendships on the near horizon.
In recent news, I got my first piece of hatemail the other day. The author, enraged by the fact that the second book wasn't going to be published on time, told me he wished a dog would bite me on the balls.
There was more to the letter, of course, but that was pretty much the gist of it.
For those of you looking to occupy yourselves in a more productive way while waiting for book two to come out, allow me to make a friendly suggestion: The Guild.
I stumbled onto the Guild about half a year ago and laughed my ass off. If you play computer games, or know anyone who does, odds say you'll laugh your ass off too...
Then, months later, one of my friends forwarded THIS LINK to me.
For those of you too lazy to click, it was a blog post someone made about my book. They liked the book, but they had some pointed comments about the sort of covers they put on fantasy novels these days....
Then I looked more closely, and I realized that the person writing the blog was actress Felicia Day. You've probably seen her in a bunch of things, but my personal geekery stems from the fact that she played Vi on season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I know I should be cooler than this, but the truth is, I was overwhelmed with geeky joy at the thought of her reading my book and liking it.
It was only after looking over Felicia's blog, that I realized she was in The Guild too. Not only does she play Codex, but she actually writes the script for it too....
Anyway, here's the first episode of the guild to get you started.
Ask the Author #5: Where can I buy the new version of the book?
Since I posted up the new cover for The Name of the Wind, folks have been asking me where they can buy a copy.
Doubtless some of you want a copy of this book because it is clearly A Novel. I also know a lot of folks want this cover because the style will more closely match the hardcover for The Wise Man's Fear:
I understand your desire, and I feel your pain. I wanted this new cover too, and even though I'm the author, I still had a bitch of a time locating it. I had to hunt around for weeks before I managed to get my hands on one.
The truth is, I don't know where these new copies will be showing up. These are the books that currently live in the warehouse. If a store orders a book from the warehouse, this cover will probably get delivered to them. But if the bookstore orders from a distributor, the distributor might not have this fifth printing in stock. They might still have first printings, or third printings. It's a crap shoot.
However, since so many people were asking about it, I worked something out with a guy I met out in Seattle last year. His name is Shawn Speakman, and he runs a business that sells signed books over the magical interweb.
So, when I head out to Seattle at the end of the month for Norwescon, I'm going to swing by his place and sign a bunch of books for him. If you want one you can go order a copy at his store.
Please note that I'd be more than happy to personalize your book for you, free of charge. Just make sure you enter what you'd like me to write when you your order your book.
Now, the more astute of you that have doubtless already clicked on the link and noticed that Shawn is charging 29.95 for the books. Five bucks more than the cover price. This isn't because he's a greedy son of a bitch. No. Shawn is a high-class gentleman. I know this because Shawn is giving me that five bucks to help offset the cost of my plane ticket out there. If not for that, I wouldn't have been able to justify making the trip out to the coast.
Lastly, as an added bonus for those of you who have been dying to get hold of a copy of the Illustrated, Annotated, College Survival Guide, Shawn will be selling some of those too.
Those will be signed by me, and each will have a cool doodle and a signature by my longtime friend, illustrator, and co-conspirator, Brett Hiorns.
So today someone came up to me and said, "Have you heard the news?"
"Yeah," I said.
"Yeah," he sighed, "the end of an era."
"To tell you the truth," I said. "I can't quite believe it. I'm a little shook up."
My friend looked at me, surprised. "I didn't know you were that into football. You never struck me as the the type."
"What does football have to do with this?"
"Brett Farve announced his retirement today."
"Fuck Brett Farve," I said. "Gary Gygax is dead."
"Who's that?" they said.
For those of you who don't know your roots, Gary Gygax created D&D. That means he pretty much created roll playing. It's fair to say that Gygax's work has had as much impact on the fantasy genre as anyone. He wasn't just a cornerstone, he was a keystone.
I found out about D&D back in the fifth grade. D&D has always been the refuge of the geeky and unpopular kids. But I was below even that low social strata. I was the kid that wasn't cool enough for the D&D kids to play with.
I checked out a copy of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons from the library and read it all the way through. That was back when AD&D was... well... Advanced.
Monsters and treasure and dungeons. Goblins. These days it all seems cliche, but back then.... it was all wondrous and strange. It wasn't just that someone had given you an world to play in, regular books do that. No, with D&D someone had given me the tools to make my own world, and I realized I liked doing that. I liked it a lot...
Eventually I found people to play D&D with. Some of my best memories from high school are playing D&D with my friends, Steven and Ryan. After all these years, they're the only two high school friends I really keep in contact with.
I remember getting the Master D&D rules for Christmas one year. I was maybe 10 or 12. Remember the black box? I read them at my Grampa's house the next day when we went there for breakfast on Christmas day.
"This game requires no gameboard because the action takes place in your imagination."
I learned what a ballista was, and a mangonel. I used to make maps on grid paper. I designed a huge walled city with elaborate fortifications. I made plans for trying to defeat a Tarasque. Instead of a high school graduation party, I asked my parents if I could go up to our cabin for a week with Steve and Ryan. For that week, pretty much all we did was play D&D.
What was my character's name that weekend? His name was Kvothe.
That early Kvothe really didn't have much in common with the modern version. Except, perhaps, that his wisdom was rather low. I started him at first level, too. You nerdcore folks out there know what I'm talking about. The rest of you can't know what that's like, playing a first level wild mage with three hit points and only two spells a day: both of them Nahal's Reckless Dwoemer. He spent a lot of time unconscious.
When I roll play these days, I use a different system. I know I can't go back. If I tried to play basic D&D again, it wouldn't work out. It would be like trying to hook up with my old high-school crush. But the truth is, you love best what you love first. And I loved D&D before I was cynical, before I knew what a cliche was, and before I understood about death. I can't go back. It wouldn't work.
But still, I wish I could.
One of my favorite comics, Order of the Stick, did a tribute strip to Mr Gygax, you can CHECK IT OUT HERE. It states the case pretty well. Thanks Mr. Gygax. I wouldn't be a writer if not for you... And even if I were, I wouldn't have written this book.
Rather than a moment of silence, why don't those of us who used to play the game share a little D&D story in the comments below.
Okay, before we do anything else, I feel like I should mention that I've updated the TOUR SCHEDULE part of the page. Over there you'll find a list of some conventions/readings/signings/etc that I'll be doing this year.
Of particular note are my two appearances in St. Paul this weekend. I'll be appearing at two separate libraries, one on Saturday, the other on Sunday. It's free for anyone to attend. I'll sign books if you bring them, and there will be books there to buy...
More events will be posted in the weeks to come. Seattle folk - I'll be out near y'all over Easter weekend. I'll be posting those details soon.
Okay. On to business.
Response to the Italian cover was every bit as varied as I expected. But there was rather more of it than I'd thought there would be. Since there were a lot of good comments and questions, I decided that I'd do a follow-up post to clarify a few things.
Points of interest and/or clarification.
The art is done by a guy named Brom.
I didn't know about him before someone made reference to the cover as Brom-art in the comments of the last blog, but I have seen his stuff before. Mostly on D&D books back in the day....
Side note: I am currently working on a theory that once you reach a certain degree of fame, you get bumped up to a new quantum energy state wherein you only need one name.
This is easier to achieve for artists (Donato, Brom) and musicians (Sting, Madonna).
It's much rarer for authors. I suspect they need way more energy, like electrons in different valence shells. So for writers, only the SUPER elite have enough juice to make the jump (Cervantes, Tolkien, Shakespeare, Chaucer).
The art wasn't drawn for the book specifically. The Italian publisher bought the rights to a pre-existing piece of art to use as the cover for the book.
It's not Kvothe or one of the Chandrian. Don't sprain anything trying to make that fit in your head. (Though I would like to see Brom's take on the Chandrian.)
You didn't miss the part of the book where someone has an eye in his hand. Neither is the eye-hand a mistranslation issue or some strange cultural signifier.
My favorite comments on the cover:
Kip: "It's obviously a picture of Kvothe LARPing his favorite Vampire: The Requiem Character."
"They must have wanted to picture someone with good eye-hand coordination."
Sarah: "Kvothe has some sort of pointy pain stick. He should be careful or it will poke him in the hand-eye."
A few responses to questions and comments:
"Oh man Pat. As a graphic designer can I just say that that is a bad choice. There is no connection to the book that I can come up with at all. The thing on his hand is so prominent that people are going to wonder why its not in the book. It will be confusing. Then the really bad drop shadow, or black glow around the text is just bad design. The whole composition just was not meant to have text covering it."
I think you're right about the composition of the piece. It obviously wasn't meant to be obscured. I got the permission to show the original artwork from Brom: So here it is...
I'm pretty sure that they used that black shadow and my name to cover up Gothy McHotBod's nipple ring.
And yes, for those of you who are wondering, my chest looks exactly like that when I take my shirt off. By which I mean that I am pale as a bleached ghost on a moonlit night.
Christian asked: "Pat, I am very curious as to who that person is on the cover of the Italian version of your book. I'm pretty sure you would have a big say into what visually depicts your book to first time ( and in my case, long-time) readers."
Typically, authors get little-to-no say as to the covers of their books. Part of this is because the cover is, ultimately, a marketing choice, rather than an artistic one. And truthfully, publishers know more about marketing than authors do. Also, authors are word-smart, not necessarily picture smart.
That said, in my opinion it is a shame that authors aren't included in that process more frequently.
I did get to participate in the discussion about my US covers. But that is the exception to the rule, as my publisher, DAW, is very considerate. And my editor, Betsy, respects my opinion on these things. Still, they didn't say, "what do you think we should do." they said, "Here's what we're planning, what do you think?"
Still, it's nice to be asked.
My French publisher asked for my thoughts in the planning stage, and my Japanese editor asked early on if I had any suggestions as to who I would like as an artist. But none of the other foreign editors have included me so far. The first time I saw the Italian cover was about a week ago...
In a few of my more recent foreign contracts, I have approval of the final covers. But that doesn't mean that I get to design them. If the books continue to sell well, I'll probably get even more say in the future. I'm guessing.
"Why do they keep changing the cover? What's wrong with original Shirtless Kvothe and Green man?"
Those covers belong to the US publisher. The foreign publishers would have to buy the rights to them if they wanted to use them. They probably don't want to do that because they're marketing the book to an entirely different culture.
That's all for now, folks. I'm back to work on book two...