Saturday, June 28, 2008
Confusion Podcast.
For those of you who are interested, here's a recording of a panel I was on earlier this year out at Confusion. You could consider it a podcast, of sorts. I have to say, it wasn't my most gripping performance ever, as I was on a panel with a bunch of smart people with some good stuff to say on the subject.

However, to make up for my own lacking, you get the inestimable John Scalzi as moderator. He's a fun guy to listen to. If you haven't given his website a lookie-loo, you probably should.

Later all,

pat

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Thursday, June 26, 2008
Japanese Covers


So just a couple days ago, guess what came out?







(Click to Embiggen)


That's right - It's the Japanese version of the book.

I really like this interpretation of Kvothe. He's young. He's got some attitude going on. His hair is more manga than I typically picture it, but it's totally appropriate for the Japanese market. Plus, Kvothe himself says, "When left to its own devices it tends to make me look as if I've been set afire." So there you go.

This translation of the book was different in a lot of ways. For one thing, bringing the book into Japanese is much more difficult than, say, Dutch, or German. Not that every language doesn't pose its own problems. But there's just a lot of different cultural things going on, and the languages aren't really similar at all.

I'm guessing it's partly because of this that instead of one, I had a team of three Japanese translators working on the book. They were really great. They asked a lot of good questions, and included me in the decision making process. I like it when the translators ask questions or press me for clarification.

You see, when I wrote the book, I made a point not to over-describe everything. I also tried to make the book very full... of stuff.

Yeah. That's great. My book is full of stuff. They should put that on the cover: "The Name of the Wind - It's full of stuff."

What I mean is that I didn't want to club the reader over the head with everything. My strategy was to make sure that every page had enough cool things in it than if you missed half of them, you'd still have a good time. That means there's stuff for you to enjoy the second time around. That means you can like the book in a different way than your friend. And it means if you're a careful reader, you'll get more out of the book.

So I'm fine if the average reader doesn't get everything I put into the book. I expect that. I planned on it.

But if a translator doesn't notice something that I've put into the book very subtly, that's different. If they don't catch it, it can't be brought into the new version. And that's a problem, obviously. But these translators were really on the ball, and I'm guessing that not a lot slipped through the cracks with them.

There's another big difference in the Japanese edition. Apparently big, thick books aren't really the norm over there. So they broke this first book into three separate volumes. That means three separate covers for the first book....





Nice hands. Can you tell what scene this is?






And number three. Check out the dracus in the background. I would not want to fuck around with that thing.

I've been reading the comments and suggestions for future contests, and my gears are slowly turning. But more on that later. For now, I'm off to write.

pat


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Trailer for Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.


I don't know if it's possible for me to be more exicted about this than I already am.....


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Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Questions from fourth graders.

Recently, a fourth grade class wrote me a bunch of letters, asking me questions.

Now I've done a lot of interviews to date. But a lot of these questions were refreshingly new. Also they were easy to answer, which is always a treat. "What is your favorite color?" is way easier to deal with than, "What do you feel about the current state of the fantasy genre?"

So if you're curious, here they are.


How many books have you written?

I only have one book that you can buy in the store right now. But I have two other novels that are mostly written, and I'm working on fixing them up right now.

I also have a picture book that I've written. Right now I'm working with an artist who is drawing the pictures for it.


Is it hard to be an author?

Sometimes. It's fun having a book published. That's the easy part. People can buy it and read it. People ask you questions about it. That's nice.

But there's a lot of work that comes before your book gets into bookstores. I spent years working on my book before it was ready to get printed. My friends would call and ask I wanted to go to the movies, or play poker, or get dinner. I'd have to say, "No, I'm working on my book."

A lot of times they wouldn't want to take no for an answer. They'd say, "You can work on your book later." But if I kept putting it off, it never would have gotten done. It's a job, just like anything else. And that means that a lot of times I had to miss fun things to get my work done. That's when being an author is hard.


Where do you get your ideas?

Sometimes I get them from things I learned in school. I spent a lot of time in college and I learned a lot of cool things there. Mostly though, I just make things up in my head.

What is your favorite...

...food?

I really like sushi. But Mexican food is a close second place.

...book?


The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.

...genre?

Fantasy.

...author?

Neil Gaiman.


Are you married?

Nope. But I have a girlfriend. Her name is Sarah.

Do you have a middle name?

Yup. It's James.

Do you have pets?

Nope. I used to have a dog when I was growing up though. He was a big shaggy yellow dog named Pup. I also had dwarf hamster when I was in college. His name was Crazy.


Will there be a movie of your book?

Maybe. Right now we're talking to movie people and trying to get them interested. It takes a lot of different people with a lot of different skills to make a movie. You need a director, screenwriters, actors, producers. Right now we're trying to put together a team of people who would like to make the movie, but it's pretty complicated.

How do I become an author and get a book published?

The best way to get started is to practice writing. Write some stories or start a book. If it isn't very good at first, don't get discouraged. Nobody is that good when they just start out.

It's like when you're learning to ride a bike or Rollerblade. Everybody falls down when they're just starting out. It's embarrassing, and it hurts, but it's the only way to learn. That's how you get better with writing, too. You keep working on it and get a lot of practice.

How old were you when you wrote your first book?

I was about 15 when I started working on my first book back in high school. It had some good bits in it, but I never finished it. I made a bunch of mistakes writing it.

But it was really helpful to me in the long run. Since I made those mistakes in that first book, I knew how to avoid them in my second book.

What is your favorite TV show?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My second favorite is Firefly.



That's all for now, folks.

pat

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Friday, June 20, 2008
Photo Contest Wrap-up.


Today I was going to wax rhapsodic about the grand prize winners. However I find myself oddly tired, pressed for time, and feeling very thick in the head. I'm too tired to be all cleverness in my word makings.

So here's the bare bones version....

They = coolness.

Their fabulous prizes include:

1. I'll take them all out to dinner when I'm out in Indianapolis for Gencon.

2. Signed books, maps, and college survival guides for everyone on their team who wants them.

3. An early reading copy of The Wise Man's Fear, if such a thing would please them. If it doesn't, then I'll simply have to owe them a favor that they can call in at their leisure, all mobster style.

Now, before everyone gets all twitterpated and starts mewling for their own copy in the comments section. Let me just say, the book isn't ready to read yet. I'm still tweaking, re-writing, and revising.

Also, I need to say that I'm willing to trust them with an early version of the book because I've actually met these folks. They took me out to dinner a year ago, back before I was all award-draped and bestseller famous. They're cool, they're smart, and they bought me dinner. That + winning the contest means I feel I can trust them with an early version of the book.

Now before every man-jack of you starts trying to wheedle your own copy, let me re-direct your energies to something more productive: the next contest.

I'd like suggestions for making the next one even better. How should we handle it? More rules? Less rules? Different rules?

Discuss in the comments section below....


And it's bed for me....

pat


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Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Photo Contest Part X - The Grand Prize Winner

And here we have it. The end of the contest. The entry so awesome that I cannot even post it on the blog. I dare only reflect its infinite glory with a simple link.

When you get to their page, make sure that you click on the first page first. (It's the one that says "Chasing the Wind.") Then click through to follow the storyline. Yes. There's a storyline.

Wow. I just looked at it again. It made my honest-to-god tingly.

You know what? I'm not even going to talk about it right now. I don't want to distract you. You should just go, check it out, then come back here and leave a comment that tells them how unspeakably cool they are.

Go. Seriously.

pat

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Saturday, June 14, 2008
Photo Contest Part IX - Covers and Cosplay.

Well folks, we're almost at the end of the photos. I hope you've had as much fun as I have.

Our final category is: "Best Cosplay." But before we get to that, there was a small subcategory of photos that I haven't included yet: photos commenting about the covers of the book itself.






This is the real hot-button question, of course. How much naked man chest do you prefer?






A lot of people weighed in on the subject.





Even to the point of dressing up as their preferred cover.






And here you see my clever segue into the "Best Cosplay" category. Look like anyone you know?






Maybe this will help. When I started this contest up on Facebook, someone else took young Kvothe's posed picture and photoshopped him onto the cover. I think both the model and the photoshopper deserve an honorable mention prize.






Some of the pictures people took told a story.





Here, for example, we have an epic battle taking place for the love of a beautiful woman....






Or not.

Interesting side note: this is the look that women have been consistently giving me for the last 15 years. Admittedly, they usually have a pretty good reason....






I was especially tickled by the people who staged scenes from the book. This one is subtle, and the reference is easier to catch in the following version:










Here's the strapping young man we saw at the beginning of Part VIII, putting those abs to good use. Extra points for rescuing the lady and the book.






Anyone who's read The Name of the Wind should be able to identify this scene. But what really impressed me was the hard, white Dalonir cheese that they went to the trouble of including in the picture. That's the level of detail that gets you a pair of lovely runner-up prizes: one for Kvothe and one for Auri.





This is hot. The best part? Kvothe's drawn-on abs.






Winner. Such a sweet picture. I'm guessing most of you can identify this scene too.

We have a good degree of accuracy here too. Denna is all, "You're so dreamy." And Kvothe is thinking, "I wish Denna liked me.... Hey, are those cumulus or cirrus clouds.?"

Congrats. Both Kvothe and Denna can have a fabulous prize of their choosing.






This is so not cannon. Still, it's nice to see poor Kvothe get a little love...

Remember, if you've won, you need to follow the guidelines I laid down at the beginning of the contest in order to claim your swag. Now that all the winners are finally posted, I'm going to go through and start packaging and mailing things out.

Well.... I shouldn't say that ALL the winners are posted. There was one entry so amazing that I had to give it a post all its own. We'll see that next week, so stay tuned.

pat

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Thursday, June 12, 2008
Interview - Popmatters

There's a new interview over on Popmatters that was just posted up last week.

Share and enjoy. I'm off to write.

pat

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Monday, June 9, 2008
Photo Contest Part VIII - Eros, Filius, and Agape

One of the original categories I proposed for this contest was "Most Sexy." This was, of course, a shameless attempt to get young ladies to send me pictures of themselves all scantily clad.

As with all of my nefarious schemes, this one met with varying degrees of success.





Oh. I remember when I had abs. *Sigh.* A decade of sitting in front of a computer writing a novel has not been good for my physique. I hope y'all appreciate what I gave up for this novel....

Similarly, as the pictures started to roll in, I realized that that "sexy" was too narrow a term for this category. I needed to broaden the field a bit, but I can't think of a single way to describe them. "Most Lovely" isn't quite right either. Perhaps what we need is not a single broad term, but a group of more specific ones....

The ancient Greeks were wise enough to have three words for love: Filius, Eros, and Agape. Filius was family love, what you feel for your mom. Eros was sweaty love of the sort that you feel for best friend's hot mom. Agape is profound and elevated. A sort of soul love, like what you feel for your PlayStation, or Natalie Portman, or Joss Whedon.

Let's do it that way, let us divide and conquer.





Some people made blatant attempts to appeal to my prurient interests. But these heavy-handed photoshoppings were the exception to the rule.






Some photos, in fact, were very high-class. Elegant, even.






Here we have the flirtation that comes at the beginning of the relationship....






.... and the romance that comes later. You sure know how to treat a book, Captain Joe.






Awwww.... the sweetest picture.






Here, apparently my book has just competed in some manner of sexual Olympics. I'm pretty sure that low score up on the board is from the East German judge....






Only rarely in my life have I been looked at with this degree of adoration. This is an agape look.






Awwww... Filius.






And there was a fair share of straight-up sexy too. Good old-fashioned Eros never goes out of style.






We've got librarian sexy.






Hip-wader sexy. (Don't judge me.)





And some bad-boy sexy. Can you feel the sheer damn manliness rolling off this? Not a lot of guys seemed interested in sending in pictures of this sort, so I think it's worth the runner-up position.






Our winner. So lovely. (I assume this was before the duck showed up...)





(Click to Embiggen)


And the picture that stunned me. The extra-winner. Winner plus. The ladies who sent this in were careful to point out that they were reading Chapter 69: Wind or Women's Fancy.

Ladies, for going to such lengths, each of you may have whatever prizes you like. Plus, I'd like to send along something special. Would you have any interest in a couple copies of the ARC I've been hording? It only seems fair that you would each get one, as this was clearly a team effort.

This picture. I... I just don't know what to say. Part of me feels like I should try to be suave here. I feel like I should pretend...

Here's the deal. I think when we're young, we all dream of being famous. We see actors or rock stars on the news, and we want some of that for ourselves. It's a dream of power. It's a childish fantasy.

I'm a grown-up. Partly. And that grown-up part of me says, "You should be mature about this. Assuming an attitude of careful appreciation to this picture. Be calm and complimentary, but don't overdo it. Remember, you don't want to seem like some immature git. Or worse, an old pervert."

I'm also a feminist. Hell, I spent years as the ADVISOR to the local feminist group. That part of me is grumbling about women's bodies as objects, and... y'know... patriarchy and stuff.

These are just a few of the ways my superego is trying to assert itself. Trying to make me feel guilty. Trying to crush my joy thin and lifeless as a dry, brown leaf.

But no. I'm going to shrug off all that responsible-minded bullshit for a moment and tell you the truth. This is cool. This is the coolest thing ever. I look at this picture and I feel like a goofy teenager again. When I first saw it, I laughed with delight and joy. I told everyone about it.

I wish I could go back in time and talk to my poor, lonely, confused teenage self and say, "Pat, things are not going to go smoothly for you over the next couple years. You will make terrible mistakes. You will spend a decade getting your college degree and writing a unmarketable behemoth of a fantasy novel. Most people, even the ones that love and support you, will think that this is a pretty stupid thing to do, and they will be right in thinking that."

Then I would lean forward and say, "But if you keep writing, you will finish that book. And if you keep revising it, a publisher will buy it. They will pay you money for the story that came out of your head. And once that book is in print, there are people who will love your book. They will love it beyond all reason and expectation. They will love your book to such a degree that beautiful young women will strip naked and adorn their bodies with the image of your book, and then they will send you a picture of it!"

In my mind's eye, I can see the smile on the face of that teenage Pat. It is the smile I am wearing now. It goes deep down into my chest, and it feels good. It feels like being a stupid kid again.

Tomorrow it will probably fade. I'll probably feel a little embarrassed about the fuss I made over this picture. But for now, I am happy in a very non-mature, non-responsible way.

For now, I know that I am very lucky. Thank you all.

pat

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Friday, June 6, 2008
Interview - Dead Robots Society

As most of you know, when I do interviews, they're normally texty. That's what I do.

That said, I'm certainly not afraid of the sound of my own voice. Anyone who has caught me at a reading, seen me on panels at a convention, or had me as a teacher knows that I'm a talker.

So when the folks over a Dead Robots Society asked if they could do a podcast-type interview. I agreed. That said, I honestly have no idea how it turned out. We had the interview at about 2:00 in the afternoon, so I'd only been awake for maybe half an hour. That and a lack of coffee beforehand means that I didn't really feel like I was bringing my A game with me. My wit, while servicable, was probably not scintilating.

But since it's gone up, a few people have contacted me and said they liked it. More than that I can't say. I haven't listened to it, as the sound of my own voice played back to be makes me cringe.

Anyway, if you're interested, here's the link.

Later all,

pat

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Photo Contest Part VII - Drama


When I started the contest, I really didn't expect there to be so much drama involved.





Not only is this shot very well composed, but her expression here is priceless. It's halfway between "Alas!" and "Whatev."






Captain Joe, suspiciously without pants in this photo, includes the following caption:
"Why?" begs Captain Joe of the blood-red sky. "Take me too!"

"No," replied the Sky.

"But NOTW is too powerful for this world, too awesome - it hurts us."

"You have a pointy chin, Captain Joe, and I find your beard lacking."

Overcome with anguish and poor dialogue, Captain Joe despairs of ever finding true happiness again.




There were more than a few photos sent in showing the book in heavenly surroundings.






Or emanating what can only be considered a holy light.






Here we have holy light AND drama. A word of advice, if you ever see a glowing book outside your window at night. Don't follow it into the woods. I don't think that's safe at all.

Some pictures told stories. Bizarre stories. Captions are theirs, not mine.




"Enough of your bitch-bitch about carry three rocket *and* book. Everybody carry book. Everybody look for Chandrian. We find them - you be glad you have three rocket."




Before the gentle caress of Rothfuss, this poor soul was lost in self doubt, alcoholism and perhaps mental retardation....



After the gentle caress of Rothfuss, this man has become a success. He is now prepared for the trials and tribulations of everyday nerdom.





A lot of people obviously feel that the book will protect them from harm.






I'm guessing it would stop a sword thrust, now that I'm thinking of it.






Best. Fort. Ever. You'll totally be safe there. At least until one of the Borders staff shows up, bitches you out, and makes you put them back on the shelf....






When I first saw this picture, I really didn't know what to think. Vague threat? Dada art? My editor telling me that I needed to quit blogging and get to work on book two?





Then I realized it was a two-parter meant to demonstrate yet another way that The Name of the Wind can improve your lifestyle. I'm going to give this guy an honorable mention prize if for no other reason than he put my book in his pants.

However, the book is not merely a protective device. Apparently, it's a bit of an ass kicker too.





While I don't condone this sort of violence, I'm willing to bet that those peeps had it coming.

More often than not, my book seemed to get into fights with other books, rather than with sugary confections.




Joe's caption:
The release of the paperback edition of The Name of the Wind sparked a literary war - the Last Great Literary War. It scoured libraries, bookstores, and personal book collections alike. We lost - everyone lost - the world burned. No one saw the sheer awesomeness of a mass-market edition coming. In the end, there could be only one...

A lot of photos set up an antagonistic relationship between The Name of the Wind and another more firmly established fantasy series.




Some of the photos were symbolic.





Others were more passive aggressive.






But this one was my favorite. Runner-up, mostly because of the caption.
Lute-Playing, Wind-Naming, Dragon-Slayer: 7
Boy Wizard With Angst Issues: 0

Really, he never stood a chance.

Notice: No books were harmed in the taking of this photograph. Except for HP2, which had to be emergency rolly-carted out of the area. Trauma Librarians expect a full recovery.
On a side note, if I can't hack it as an author, I think I might try to be a trauma librarian next. That's a job I think I'd enjoy....




(Click to Embiggen)

And the winner.

Undoubtedly this is the goriest book battle ever. It is fair to point out that this was more a battle royal, as opposed to The Name of the Wind taking on all comers. Honestly, I'm just glad that Mists of Avalon took out Dark Tower early on. If not for that, I don't think I would have had much of a chance.

Two categories left. My two favorite categories: "Most Sexy" and "Best Cosplay."

Stay tuned.

pat


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Monday, June 2, 2008
A Glimpse of Things to Come.


I thought I might mention this, on the off chance that any of you might be interested....





What's this? An anthology of some sort? Nice cover by Dave McKean. Wow. It's got a story by Tim Powers. Oooh, one by Kage Baker, too. And another by... me?

Honestly, it's just weird to see my name included on the cover with these other folks.

So... yeah. There I am in a book that will be coming out in a couple months. And no, I haven't been dicking around, writing other stories instead of working on the second book. You see, the story included here is actually FROM the second book. It's called "The Road to Levinshir." It's an excerpt from "The Wise Man's Fear."

So. Looking for an early taste of book two? Look no further.

Enjoy,

pat

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