Friday, May 30, 2008
Photo Contest Part VI - Miscellaneous

Well, I seem to be on the mend from my recent bout with hellish sick. It was one of those where, as my mom used to say, "You run for the bathroom and then don't know which end to point at the toilet."

Even in the moments when I was not in danger of sudden containment breach, my guts.... how to put this delicately.... They have been filled with terrible rumblings. Were we on a spaceship together, and my guts made this sort of noise. I believe that you would be fully justified in shooting me and stuffing my body out an airlock, rather than risk dealing with whatever alien life form eventually emerged with the express purpose of wrecking your shit.

But enough of that. On to today's winners. I've been saving some of the best for last:

There were a lot of pictures that didn't fit into any category. So I decided to lump them all together under Miscellaneous. That's what we have for you today:





Some of these were simple, if slightly quirky.




Some were slightly odd.




...and some were surreal.




Wii!




I really don't know how I should feel about this shot....

Right now I'm going with vaguely titillated, then weird and guilty.




"Aerlevsedi" is definitely worth some extra points.




You guys..... I.... I love you guys. I don't know who you are, but I'm guessing if I lived closer to you, we'd hang out. I'd bring over hex map (as opposed to your grid map) and teach you the Hero System ruleset so we could play in my world.

But alas....




These guys should go hang with the Barbies. I think that would be my favorite party ever.




I never expected The Name of the Wind to be scrapbooked. Ever. Never ever.





Someone familiar here, giving a bit of an Auri vibe. Plus: awesome tree.

As a side note, I think if I live a good life. I might see something like this when I die.

Hopefully just after I die though. Not just before. If I see this after I die, it's because an angel wants my autograph. If I see it just before I die, it's because a pretty young girl just pushed me out of a tree. Probably because I got all pervy on her.




I'm not sure why I like this one so much, but I do....




Science!




This looks like one of the old pieces of machinery you'd find in the Underthing.




(Click to Embiggen)

The Runner-Up. Most of the pictures will be familiar to you, but you'll have to embiggen it to read the text, and the text is really what makes this one shine.




(Click to Embiggen)

The Winner. You'll have to see the larger version of this one too. In fact, you'll probably need to see some parts of it kind of close up to appreciate what's going on....









Thanks again everyone who participated. And, as I've said before, info on claiming your prizes is in this blog post over here.

Still to come:"Best Cosplay" "Most Dramatic" and "Most Sexy."

I'm off to work on book two....

pat

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008
What Should I do #8: Penny Arcade
I am, to put it politely, terribly sick.

Not helping matters is the fact that I just found out that they're planning a sequel to the Hobbit.
As frequently happens, Penny Arcade managed to sum up my opinions on the matter pretty succinctly. I'm assuming most of you already read their comic, but on the off chance that you haven't. Well... you're really missing out.

What's Penny Arcade you might ask? Well imagine a Geek Gazette, where they lovingly sift and pre-chew the news so it's easier for you to consume. Remove 95% of all the bullshit and pretention that would normally go hand in hand with that, then add some brilliant, ridiculous humor. Season with a witty turn of phrase and a rage garnish and there you are - Penny Arcade.

It's nice for me that PA is out there, expressing my opinions on certain issues. That saves me the trouble of doing it myself, and frees up valuable hours for more writing, or, as is the case tonight, being violently ill.

Later,

pat

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Photo Contest Part V - Driving, Reading, and Animals

Apparently, the book has been doing a lot of traveling lately, forcing me to add a new category. "Best Transportational Photo."





This shows a degree of loving care that I appreciate.





Here, I can see my book isn't entirely safe.... But it's certainly having an adventure. That's a fair trade-off.




This shot shot gave me flashbacks to Microsoft's flight simulator. At the time I played it, the simulator was so accurate that you could count hours spent playing toward your total flying hours when applying for a pilot's licence. It was so accurate that the manual was thicker than your average college history text. So accurate that I never, ever, managed to successfully land a plane without crashing.





Please do not read my book while driving.





Please do not read my book while driving. Even if you have the ability to steer with your freakish monkey feet.






Please do not read the book while driving. Even if you're impatient for the audiobook. Runner-up.





Please do not.... Okay. Here's the deal. If you don't drive while reading the book, you two can have the win for this category. Fair?



A lot of people sent in pictures of themselves reading the book.





A lot of people.






A lot.




Of people.





There were several pictures of the book triumphing over homework.





If you look closely at this one, you can see that my book is also the wallpaper on the computer in the background.





You might recognise this lovely lady from before. She's the dancer we saw back in part three of the contest.






Runner-up. I love the smile here, she's obviously enjoying herself. If you're ever trapped on a desert island, we all know what you should bring.

The book, I mean. Not a pretty young lady in a dress. Though now that I'm thinking about it....






Winner. The staging here is great. It's also interesting to note that the book she's reading from is the promotional galley. That's the first version of the book that they ever printed. Don't feel too jealous if you don't have one though. I made about five thousand small changes and re-wrote several chapters between that version and when the hardcover came out.


Lastly, we have the "Book with Animals" category. Where, oddly enough, there were an disproportionately large number of bird-related entries.


















I view my inability to come up with a funny caption for this picture a personal failing on my part. If anyone can come up with something worthwhile in the comments section, I'd really appreciate it.




Awww....





Creepy.





Creepier.






Runner up.






Winner. I really love this picture. Not only is the composition really nice. Not only do I like turtles, but this is exactly how I feel sometimes when I'm doing revisions....




Rest assured that in these last two photos, the animals were handled well and set free in the end. Here are the two photographers (both of whom you've already seen at this point) saying goodbye to the turtle, who they had nicknamed "Diogenes."

Remember, if you're a winner or a runner-up, you get fabulous prizes. For details head over here.


I'm sorry for the weak ending to this post, and the lack of wit in the captioning. But as I started to enter the photos for the final category, I began to feel... profoundly.

I was at Wiscon this weekend, and there was a stomach flu getting spread around. I thought I'd dodged it, but, given that I feel a painful rumbling in my guts and I'm beginning to sweat, apparently not.

I was looking forward to working on more revisions to book two after I posted this, but I fear I'm in for a very unpleasant night instead.

Pray for me.

pat

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Friday, May 23, 2008
Photo Contest Part IV - Celebrities and Foriegn Climes
People have been taking pictures of the book all over the place.





Based on some of the other photos that were included with this one, I'm guessing this is actually an honest-to-goodness desert-y area. As opposed to a beach or a gravel quarry.





This one was, apparently, taken on Mount Hood.





Not all of the locations were exotic. This one was taken at Uncle Hugos, a bookstore that deals exclusively in fantasy/science fiction. In an interesting side note, the guy who runs Uncle Hugos was one of the very first people to get excited about the book after reading a galley copy, and to ask me to come out for a signing. So this bookstore has a special place in my heart.





I've had several photos where the book was shown with famous landmarks. This one brings back some memories. I haven't been out to the statue of liberty since I had to fetch that shipment of Ambrosia for UNATCO all those years ago....





Not all the landmarks that people used were universally well known. But anyone who has spent any significant amount of time in Madison knows exactly where this photo was shot.





Here we are above the clouds....





And here we are below the ground, in a New York city subway.





Here's another by the same photographer. Can you guess where it is?

I have to say, I really like the composition of these shots. Even if it didn't say, BITTER Photography I'd have a strong suspicion that they were taken by a pro.





Here's the runner up in "Most Foreign." This was taken in the catacombs in Italy. Apparently, the photographer got yelled at because taking pictures in there is, well, forbidden. The fact remains that it's a pretty awesome shot.




But this has to be the winner. Not only was this the photo that gave me the idea for this contest, you can't get much more foreign than this. The photographer told me that it was balmy out when he took this - a mere 60 degrees below.







And, because I admire ingenuity, an honorable mention for the photo of my book at the West Pole. Let me know which prize you'd like too.


Another thing I didn't anticipate when I started this contest was the celebrity angle. A lot of folks sent in pictures of the book with famous people.

Of course, sometimes the celebrities weren't really willing participants in this activity....





Other times the celebrities involved were completely fictional....





Or both.




Generally speaking though, the celebrities in question were desirous of the book....









Even Indiana Jones...




...and Benito Juarez.





Some celebrities were forced to make difficult choices....






Here's Captain Joe again. Looking to help out the allied powers. As we all know, the hardcover will stop a bullet.





Here's one obviously taken by a fellow Buffy Fan.






The caption to this one read: "The lute?... bah! A _real_ hero would have played the accordion."





The runner-up does a nice job of illustrating why I like Batman better than Superman. Superman obviously can't be bothered with the book. He's obviously too busy flexing and reciting the pledge of allegiance in his head.

Batman, on the other hand, is obviously into it. I could see him appreciating Kvothe's character.






And here's the Winner of the celebrity category. On one hand, this picture can't help but make me happy, as it is packed with all sorts of awesome: a beautiful woman, my book, and a Boba Fett made entirely out of Lego. But on the other hand, this picture makes me sad, as I'm guessing it's probably the closest thing to a three-way that I'll ever have.

Still, in terms of a three-way, you have to admit that's pretty hot.



There's more to come. And rest assured, I'm saving some of the best for last.

pat

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Goddamn Blogger....
Won't let me upload photos.

I am full of terrible rage. Hulk-style rage. Not the sissy green hulk either. I'm talking grey hulk. The sort of hulk that gets pissed and builds a bomb out of a stapler, but then smashes it and throws the jagged, pointy pieces at the internet. Throws them so hard that whoever is in charge of blogger wakes up screeling in pain, clutching their genitalia and trying to staunch their bloody nose.

GGggrrraaqaaaHHHG!!!

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Monday, May 19, 2008
Photo Contest Part III - Anthropomorphic and Athletic

Lots of pictures today. Let's get right to it, shall we?

First category: Most Athletic





Here's Captain Joe again, making me feel better about the fact that I still play on the springy horses too. The name of his mighty steed? Captain Joe dubbed him "Thunderplum."




I don't know what sport is being invented here. But I'm reasonably sure that 1) It kicks the ass off Polo. And 2) I really don't want to play without some serious protective gear.






I love this one for many reasons, not the least of which is that it led to me learning an awesome new word: arabesque.






I don't know the word for this pose, but I wish I did. I like to think that if I knew the word, I could make use of it at some future point in my life and be better off for it.






Why is this photo listed in "Most Athletic?" Well, apparently it was shot while running away from security on the set of Johnny Depp's new movie, "Public Enemies."






Someone might need a lesson about sharing. And about keeping his center of gravity low during a bout....





See? Apparently three people can read the book at once.





I really appreciate it when people are careful with the book. Since they have someone there whose express purpose is to catch the paperback if it falls, they get the runner-up position. Since it's a group shot, they each get a prize.





I love the pointy toes here....





Another item for my long list of Fun Stuff I Would Hurt Myself Doing.

Also, I would like everyone to appreciate the degree of restraint I'm showing by not making a swinger joke right now.





And the winner. Both ladies can have their choice of items from among the swag available. Also, you should rest comfortably in the knowledge that you rock the house, the casbah, and my socks, in roughly that order.


Next: Most Anthropomorphic

Another thing I didn't expect when I started this competition was that folks might dress up my books or to put them into people-ish situations. Such as this...





The caption for this photo was something along the lines of, "A great book, but does it cuddle?"

And yes, that is canned frosting and a pair of fuzzy handcuffs. It appears my book is continuing in the fine tradition of getting more action than me.

...or should that be "more action that I?" Meh. Witness the deep wellspring of my not really giving a damn.

Moving on.




This is my book reading a magazine. Some flights are so long that even your leisure reading can get bored.





This one is bound to screw with your perspective a little bit.....





... especially combined with the runner-up. Who knew my book was such a rebel?






But this is the unabashed winner. The caption:

Old Grandpa muses on the new addition to the family..."It's sure a good thing the little whippersnapper looks so much like my daughter. Look at that husband of hers - using a length of rope to hold up his pants. In my day, I had a rippling naked man chest - but I had to cast that vanity aside. Now days all you need is daisies to woo a woman and she'll ignore your ridiculous pants!"

Every time I look at this picture I find something new to love. But even before I read the caption, I was marveling at the pants.

The next time I'm at some convention, and there's a group of new authors hanging around at the bar trying to out-awesome each other, I'm going to sit back until everyone else has bragged their biggest brag. Then I'll pull out my trump card: "Someone made pants for my book," I'll say, "And then they took a picture of it."

So I declare this a double win. I'll send the genius behind it a couple of prizes of her choice. She deserves them.

Later all,

pat


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Friday, May 16, 2008
Photo Contest Part II - Babies

Everyone, I would like you to meet Captain Joe. You saw him paying homage to the book in the last blog.




Though Joe put together a lovely shrine and took an excellent picture, I mentioned in that he couldn't win a prize in that category.

Joe came into the contest early, and he came in strong. He photoshopped, posed, dramatised, and wrote captions that cracked me up. What's more, he seems to have put his life at risk at least once or twice. As in this one, where apparently he climbed up onto a roof....





...to set up a scenic shot.





So why can't Joe win?

Well, the first problem is that Joe entered so many photos, of so many types, that if I let him win, he could, potentially, crowd out a lot of the other folks in the competition.

But the second reason is the larger of the two. You see, Joe is an Australian.

And I hate people from Australia.

No. Kidding. Just kidding. Well... I'm half kidding.... Joe is actually from Australia, Perth specifically. But I don't hold it against him.

The real problem is that back when I set this up, back when I was hoping to get maybe a dozen entries, I said that the picture needed to include the paperback. They don't have access to the US paperback in Australia yet.

This was a short-sighted mistake, and I don't plan on repeating it if (when) I do another one of these.

Still, I'm left with a problem. On one hand, it is a rule. IN a way, it's unfair to everyone else if I suddenly change it after the fact. But on the other hand, Joe's pictures were pretty cool, and, in my opinion, this sort of fanatical minioning should really be rewarded.

So here's the deal. In the upcoming blogs you'll see Joe's photos included in the categories such as "Most Sexy" "Most Dramatic," but he won't be eligible to win. Instead, I've decided to make create a new category for him. Let's call it... "Most Most."

What does Joe win? Well, that's a good question. I've got some various stuff to give away as prizes.

1. Good old-fashioned signed copies of my book. I've got a bunch of the new hardcovers here at my house, and though I love them, they are taking up quite a bit of shelf-space. I'll sign or personalize them and send them off to you if that's what you want.

2. Copies of my first published book, The College Survival Guide.



This is a collection of the first four years of a humor column I used to write. It came out in 2005 and they only printed about 500 copies. I still have a box of them here at my house, so I'll offer them up as prizes. Signed by me and my fabulous illustrator friend, Brett Hiorns.

3. Maps of the Four Corners, as rendered by my friend Nathan Taylor. Signed by both of us.




The winners and the runners-up can have their pick from these three. So if you see you're a winner or a runner up, you might want to send me an e-mail letting me know which you'd like, and your real-world address too, if you haven't done that already. Remember the address is paperback.contest {squiggly at thinger} gmail.com

In Joe's case, because he really went the extra mile, I'm also going to include either one of the old black-cover galley copies of the book, or one of my old manuscripts. Whatever makes him happier.

Now, on to today's category.


When I finally gathered all the pictures and tried to group them together, I found they didn't fit neatly into the categories I'd been expecting. Oh sure, there were dramatic pictures, and cute pictures, and pictures of people reading. I'd counted on that. What I hadn't anticipated were groups of pictures involving food, or birds, or babies.





This photoshopped one was the exception to the rule. Everyone else sent me pictures of their babies, which now that I think of it, is really unexpectedly sweet.





This guy has hair like mine.






Ah yes. This guy seems to have his priorities straight....






Eeeeeee! No! Don't bend the cover back like that!




Awwww.... This guy wants it too. What's more, he's picking it over a bunch of brightly colored toys. I think we could hang out.




The Runner-Up. This is about the cutest thing ever. I think it's a combination of the hoodie and the fact that the little pink elephant wants in on the action too.





But here is the undisputed winner. The caption that went along with this picture reads:

"Levi can't believe he has to wait so long to continue the story. A year is a long time for a 2 month old."

I don't know if there's something wrong with me, but every time I look at this picture I end up laughing. I've never seen anyone so absolutely furious in my entire life. It's nice to know that the angriest fan I ever have will never be this angry.


That's all for now folks. More on the way....

pat

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Thursday, May 15, 2008
Photo Contest Part I - Shrines.


When I first had the idea for the photo contest, it was completely off-the-cuff. I was making a facebook event for the paperback release date, and I thought, "What the hell. I'll offer prizes if people want to take pictures of themselves with the new book."

In my secret heart of hearts, I was thinking that it would be cool if I got maybe eight or ten pictures. Enough so that I could post them up in a blog, have some fun, and give prizes to everyone who played along.

I even had a secret backup plan. If not enough people participated, I would take some photos on my own to pad things out so I wouldn't look like a big loser.

Suffice to say that I am officially stunned by the response. We ended with over five hundred pictures, so many pictures that it's taken me hours and hours to download, label, and organize them. I'm sorry that not everyone can get prizes, and that I can't even display all of them. There were just so many....

Anyway, today we're going to start with just one category: Best Shrine.






Nice genuflection, you really stuck the dismount.






I like the fact that each of my books seems to have access to its own sword here.







Kneeling in reverential awe - check. Scenic backdrop - check. Dramatic sunset - bonus points.

Wait... is.... is that a frikkin gunblade? Yes. Yes it is.

While it would seem like this picture would be a shoe-in for the win, the mastermind behind it, Captain Joe, can't win this category. You'll learn why in more detail during the next blog, but rest assured, this level of awesome will not go unrewarded.






Here's the runner-up. The Name of the Wind in paperback, playing king of the hill. If you look closely, there's also a little plush draccus there.





The Winner. At first I thought this might be a very surreal candlelit dinner for a college student, but then I realized that the flowers, food, and drink were being offered up in tribute to the book. Also, the composition of the photo is really nice, though I'll admit that the lighting makes me wonder if there might not also be a black goat and a knife just off frame.

Remember kids, blood sacrifices won't get you book two any faster.

The clincher? The person who built the shrine got not only my favorite brand of ramen, but my favorite flavor too. Mmmmm.... Chicken.


Next blog we'll get more photos, along with a discussion of what the winners actually win, and the revelation of Captain Joe's tragic secret.

Later all,

pat



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Monday, May 12, 2008
Interviews, etc

I did an interview a couple weeks ago over here, but I forgot to link to it until just now.

Also, for those of you who haven't seen it already, Tarol Hunt over at Goblins did an awesome comic about the book. (It's the second comic on the page, you'll have to scroll down a bit.)

And lastly, this week I managed to hit the top 10 on the New York Times:




(Click to Embiggen)


That's all for now. I'll start announcing the winners of the photo contest later this week, so stay tuned....

pat

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008
What Should I do #7: New Authors


For the last couple months, I've been meaning to bring some books to your attention. I would think to myself: "Self, you should really mention this book to people your blog."

But then I'd get busy. Or some time-sensitive piece of news would come up, like a book signing or making the New York Times list. Or I'd be distracted by something shiny, or edible, or both.

So, without further ado, here are some authors that you might not be aware of.


David Keck - In The Eye of Heaven.





I read David Keck's book couple years back and really enjoyed it, but there is a caveat: This is not your typical fantasy novel.

We all know most fantasy novels are set in fairly generic medieval settings. The world Keck creates is different. His world is dark ages. Mankind is not on the top of the food chain, and the world is full of dangerous, mythic forces that are not to be fucked with.

At the same time the story remains very realistic. I don't think I've ever read another book that does a better job of depicting the real hardships of a mercenary knight in the dark ages. His description of an injured knight going to a dentist was delightfully spot-on.

Keck's writing style is unique as well. His descriptions are brief, almost poetic in places. Very different than the long, ponderous description that is common with so many fantasy novels these days. To use an artistic analogy: this book is more like a Monet painting than a photograph.

Because of this, the story feels almost dreamlike at times, as the main character moves back and forth between the harsh realities of tournament combat and strange dealings with otherworldly powers. I think this element of Keck's writing caught a lot of readers unprepared, and let to some unfair reviews of his work. You don't bitch because a Monet painting is blurry. It's supposed to be that way, that's the effect the artist was trying to achieve....

The second book in Keck's series came out fairly recently (In a Time of Treason). But starting a series with the second book is not civilized behavior, and people who do it go to the special hell reserved for child molesters and people who talk in the theater.

Anyway, I really enjoyed liked it. But be warned: This is not your typical fantasy novel.


Anton Strout - Dead to Me.





As a fellow fantasy author and one of the founding members of the League of Reluctant Adults, you would think that Anton Strout would be my friend. In fact, it would be reasonable for you to assume that he has my respect and admiration.

However, nothing could be further from the truth. Strout is, among other things, my mortal enemy. The sordid details of our long-standing feud are multifarious, and I cannot in good conscience list them in a blog that children might read.

Suffice to say that I have many worthwhile reasons to scorn the man, none of which have to do with the fact that he seems to have more luck with the ladies than I do. Nevertheless, I am a gentleman, so I'll mention his book here. Just to show that I am the better person.

I have not read his first book myself, for obvious reasons, but I've heard others say good things. They say that it's urban fantasy with a strong comic twist. Charline Harris gave him a glowing blurb, so if you like her stuff, you might like his too.



Jim Hines - Goblin Quest.





One of my favorite things is when fantasy authors play with the conventions of the genre. Joss Whedon, of course, is the champion of this. The whole premise of Buffy the Vampire Slayer starts with the question, "What if that ditsy, helpless blond who gets killed in the horror movie actually kicked some ass instead of running away then falling down?"

Hines is good at playing this game too, except he asks a different question: "What do Goblins do when they're not getting killed by adventurers?"

These are fun books. They're lighthearted, humorous, and have some good storytelling to boot. Best of all, Hines takes the time to actually create a well-developed world for the stories to take place in, complete with a fresh cosmology, and a unique goblin culture.

Added bonus? Hines has written the next two books in the series: Goblin Hero and Goblin War. They're already in print, so you don't have to wait to read the rest of the series, unlike... um... some other authors. Who will remain nameless.


I think I'll stop at three. If you want more, you can always check out my previous recommendations by clicking on the "recommendations" label down below. Elegant in its simplicity, isn't it?

Later all,

pat

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Monday, May 5, 2008
Interviewing Felicia


Over the last year, I've given a lot of interviews. I haven't counted, but I'm guessing there have been somewhere between thirty and forty.

Generally speaking, I enjoy them. I have a strong oracular element in my personality, which means that when people ask me questions, I feel moved, compelled even, to answer them.

But that's only half the story. I'm also a big asker of questions. I have a vast curiosity about all manner of things.

Combine this with my profound geekery, and you can understand why, when I got the opportunity to interview the fabulous and talented Felicia Day, I jumped at the chance.

Behold the result....

------------







So tell us a little bit about yourself....

I'm a professional actor (meaning I pay the bills solely with acting work, cross fingers) and I've lived in Los Angeles for almost 8 years now. I moved here after going to the University of Texas at Austin and getting Mathematics and Violin degrees. Natural progression to acting, don't you think?

I consider myself a "Jennifer of all trades" meaning I do a LOT of things PRETTY well. It's not a good long-term plan, but it's my personality.


Okay, I'll take the bait. If you started as a mathematician and violinist, what prompted you to make the transition into acting?

I got a bad tendentious in my left pinky during college which caused me a lot of pain when I played. I had to get cortisone shots in the joint to keep playing. (It actually hurts when I play too much Guitar Hero now, LOL). That, combined with the narrow reality of a professional classical musician's career choices, made me decide to focus on the other thing that brought me joy after college: Acting!

I also feel obliged to mention for all my fellow geeks out there, that one of your acting gigs was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Felicia here played Vi in season seven.

So what have you been up to lately?

Recently my focus has been on creating web content. I'm the creator of the web series called "The Guild," which is about a group of online gamers.


It's awesome on toast, and I'm not the only one who thinks so, as it recently won a bunch of fabulous awards, too. How did you get involved in working on that?


I created the show as a half-hour television pilot after I shook a two year addiction to World of Warcraft. People read the script, thought it was funny, but thought it was too "niche" for TV because it's about a group of online gamers. My friend and producing partner Kim Evey had just had fabulous success with her own YouTube videos, so after reading my script, she suggested we do it for the internet. We shot the first two episodes with our producer, Jane Selle Morgan, on our own dime, and after that we've been wholly supported by viewer donations through Paypal! It's pretty cool. Like PBS for online web series.


Hold on. You actually quit WOW? You don't play at all anymore?


Well, up until a month or so I did. I actually re-upped my account to see if I could play a normal amount of time (and to do some "research" for the show, haha). I had to quit cold turkey in the beginning though, it was consuming my life. I would move any WOW related tasks to the front of the queue, over career and family even. It got bad. Thankfully, my experience playing now is much more casual. I've only logged on a few times in a the whole month and it was easy to log off again after a few hours, keeping it short and sweet and playing with friends. Cross fingers I can sustain that!


In addition to playing the female lead in The Guild (Codex) you also write the script. Is this your first experience with screenwriting? Is it something that you're interested in pursuing more of in the future?

I have 4 or 5 scripts written... halfway. The Guild was the first one I actually finished and rewrote and polished. It took an amazing amount of sheer will to get it on the page because I haven't been writing since I was a kid like most accomplished writers. I absolutely admire writers more because of the whole process. I can't believe YOU got through so many HUNDRED pages with your book! Phenomenal!!


Well... I didn't write the whole book straight through, you know. I stopped around page 450 to get a sandwich and use the bathroom.

How do you go about your own writing?

The key for me was letting myself write badly at first in order to have something to rewrite and make better later on. I constantly have to beat down a perfectionist voice in my head. It holds me back in a lot of areas. Thankfully, the success (and fun) of writing the Guild has encouraged me to start writing other things and pursuing writing more seriously. I have several projects in the works now for TV and film. Getting them done is my main goal this summer!


Ooooh. I'm all tantalized. Can you tell us anything about your other projects?


They're still in the development stages, but one is a half-hour comedy, and the other is my ATTEMPT to add more fantasy into the hour-long genre. We'll see if it works!


One of the hardest parts of being a writer is actually trying to sell the book. A lot of authors spend years racking up rejections. Is the auditioning process similar to that?

Ooooh yes. It's even worse (well, from my perspective!) After you send in your book and get rejected, at least you get your book back and can take it other places. As an actor, you go in and do your interpretation of a role, and when you're rejected, they give it to someone else. It's not a judgment that you're necessarily bad, you just aren't what they're looking for, but it's hard not to take it personally. The mechanics of the actor's audition process is grueling, and I never ever will get to the point where I'm not anxious and nervous when I go in to read for a part.


Though it fills me with shame, I constantly check my Amazon Sales rank to see how well my book is selling. Most authors admit to doing the same thing. Is there anything similar that actors do?

Of course! Ratings are a #1 topic of conversation with anyone in the industry! Personally, I check my hits on YouTube a lot, especially the first few days after we post a video. The immediate feedback of the internet is pretty gratifying (and horrific depending on the comments : ) ) I have Google Alerts set up on my name and the show name and other phrases to constantly update me on what the web is saying about me/the show. After a while you get a much thicker skin, haha.


What sorts of things have people said over the years? Can you give us an example of something that's really gotten under your skin?

I really hate the racist comments against my cast members, I remove all those comments immediately. It's surprising how many they actually are, especially after we get featured on the front page of YouTube.

I also am irritated when people make fun of us for only putting out an episode a month, implying we're lazy or something. It touches on the part of me that is frustrated we don't have the budget or means to do them any quicker, but also shows that a lot of people don't understand what it takes to make a 5 minute short that looks much better than the average video. We don't just have one guy holding the camera, we have a real crew, who are all professionals, and who are working for free or near free. Hopefully for the next season that will not be an issue, as we're talking with several people who are interested in financing the show.


What's the weirdest fan moment you've ever had?

Well, I actually interact with fans on an everyday basis because I'm so wedded to the internet, so fan communication is actually a two way street with me and I generally ask fans for more stuff than they do of me! But the best experience I've had recently is when I visited Austin, and my brother and Dad and I went to Bed Bath and Beyond together to get a bath mat of all things, and a guy who worked there came up and asked me if I was Codex. Right in front of my Dad, which was so cool because not only did I create that character myself from scratch, my Dad got to see the reality that what I'm doing is "known". It was a great feeling.


You recently got to work with Joss Whedon on "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog." What can you tell us about that?


I can tell you that it's going to be make a lot of people want to sing after hearing the music. Joss and his brothers Zack and Jed and Jed's fiance Maurissa wrote the show together to go on the internet in three parts. Joss had seen The Guild and had been percolating the idea of an internet musical for a while, and he said that watching the Guild was a part of the inspiration to get it done; that and the strike.


Hold on. You inspired Joss Whedon?


He said it was a PART of what spurred the work on Dr. Horrible. Don't make it seem like I'm claiming too much credit for it!! I worked with him on Buffy a few years ago and was crazy lucky enough for him to hire me for the part of Penny. I can't tell you what a fabulous experience it was working on it, the script and songs are fantastic! For someone in Joss' position to do something this experimental is great because not only is it going to be a huge success, it's going to make people look at internet content in a new way. I can't wait for it to be released!


Do you have a date for that?


I believe he said it will be released on the internet before Comicon.


Okay. I have to ask. Is Joss Whedon as cool as I think he is?


Yes, he's worthy of every kind of crush you could develop, I hate to say it. He's one of the most creative people I've ever met and he has a good and true heart. A real gentleman and a pleasure to be around.


Oh good. I have such a crush. I'm one tiny step away from setting up a little shrine in my house. It's only through a supreme effort of will that I've kept myself from doing something extreme to get him a copy of my book. I don't want to be that guy....


Let's say the impossible happens and The Name of the Wind gets made into a movie. We both agree it would be dreamy if Joss Whedon wrote or directed it, but what would your ideal cast be if you got your pick?

OMG that's hard, I'd have to read it again to refresh (the paperback is by my bed just for that purpose actually, haha!!)

Kvothe = Damien Lewis or a young version of him. (Life cop show, Band of Brothers) Jesse Tyler Ferguson also came to mind? (The Class)

Bast = the guy from American Beauty, Wes Bentley (What happened to him?)

Denna = Kiera Knightly or Natalie Portman definitely. Or the girl from Serenity: Morena Baccarin?


Oooh. Good picks. I hadn't ever thought of Morena Baccarin as Denna....

Would you have any interest in playing a part yourself?


My dream role would be Auri. I like playing damaged goods, haha.


So you live in LA, where everyone is beautiful. What happens when you take a trip to somewhere like Wisconsin. Is it traumatic looking at us regular folks?

That's funny! It is true that LA is filled with freakily beautiful people. I feel a lot prettier when I go out of town because the bar is set SOO high here! In LA I'm considered for the "plain" or "homely" characters mostly, I get called in for every one of those roles. They end up being more fun to play in the end, so I definitely don't mind. But going back to Austin and dressing up and getting head turns, that's pretty fun too, haha!


What's the worst part of the whole actor gig?

Auditioning. It's the most important part of the career, but you don't know that going into it. You have to consider auditioning the sole (unpaid) function of an acting career. When you actually get hired, that's the exception. And it's the thing that keeps you going, of course: Those moments when you're on set and working. There's nothing like it!


Any advice for aspiring actors and actresses out there?


Don't expect someone to pick you up off the street and make you a star: That's like winning the lottery. Make your own work. It will fill your hours with fulfillment and also lead to things you'd never expect.


Like with The Guild?


Yes! Like me with "The Guild"!


-----------


In a gesture of inspiring largess, Felicia has said that she's willing to give away 10 autographed photos to folks out there that would like one. Well, eleven pictures, if you're counting mine....

If you'd like to be part of the random drawing for one of those pictures, why don't you send me an e-mail at paperback.contest {swirly at symbol} gmail.com with your mailing address. We'll leave the drawing open until... say... May 12th.

Lastly, today marks the end of the paperback photo contest. I have to say that the response has been beyond anything I could have reasonably expected. There have been so many submissions that it's going to take me at least a week just to sort them out, judge the best of them, and award some prizes.

That means if you spaced out and forgot to send your entry in, you can probably sneak it in tomorrow and I'll pretend to be too busy sorting to notice....

Later all,

pat

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posted by Pat at 16 Comments



Friday, May 2, 2008
A new interview with Felicia Day

I just finished an interview with the fabulous Felicia Day: actress, creative mind behind The Guild, and all-around good person geek.

I had a lot of fun chatting with her, if you're interested you can find it over here at her blog.


Also, if you live in the central Wisconsin area, I'm going to be having a booksigning at the local independant bookstore, Bookfinders. It's this Sunday from 11:00 to 1:00. Feel free to show up and hang out, I'm expecting it to be pretty relaxed there, so I should have time to chat with folks who stop by...

Address and contact info:

1001 A Brilowski Rd
Stevens Point, WI 54481
715-341-8300


Later all,

pat

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posted by Pat at 17 Comments



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