Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Books, and an Interview with Nnedi Okorafor




This is a Worldbuilders blog.





Nnedi Okorafor was one of the very first writers I met when I was starting my publishing career. We both won places in Volume 18 of Writers of the Future back in 2002, and we met out at the workshop in LA.

I think I even have a picture of us back then at the award Ceremony. Let me see if I can find it....

(Awww.... Look at us. We're cute as fluffy puppies...)

Nnedi's a dynamo, and way tougher than I am. After I got my master's degree, I left academia behind me, shaking the dust from my feet. But Nnedi got her PhD.

In fact, she got her PHD, had a baby, and launched her writing career pretty much all at the same time. Like I said: Dynamo.

But in addition to that, she's a lot of fun. So when I started thinking of doing interviews for Worldbuilders, I thought of Nnedi....

Heya Nnedi. Let's say you're at a party and you meet someone you wanted to impress. What sort of things about your writing career would you casually drop into the conversation to prove that you're awesome?

I'd mention that I won some awards and stuff and that I like to write about a Nigeria enslaved by juju-powered computers.

Which awards have you won? Anything super-cool?

My novel, Zahrah the Windseeker, won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature. That was cool because not only did I win $20,000 but I was flown to Nigerian for a ceremony where I got to meet one of my greatest idols, Sub-Saharan Africa's first Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka. Coolest day ever.

My children's book, Long Juju Man, won the Macmillan Writer's Prize for Africa. Last month, the University of Illinois gave me a Special Recognition Award. I've also been a finalist for the Tiptree Award, Golden Duck Award, Andre Norton Award, WSFA Small Press Award, Theodore Sturgeon Award, Essence Magazine Literary Award, an NAACP Image Award, blah blah.

Wow. That's a lot of mojo. Back in the sixth grade I won an award for doing the best lip sync in my com class, but you've totally got that beat.

Uh, dude, you also won the freakin' Quill Award and were a NYT bestseller. Can't forget those, man. ;-)

They just gave me the Quill because I'm pretty. What are you reading right now?

Otherland by Tad Williams. I read the series back when it first came out. My disgust with District 9 made me want to reread it; to wash away the grime. It's working. Next up, King's Under the Dome.

If you had to pick your favorite book of all time, what would it be?

The Talisman by Stephan King and Peter Straub. I first read it when I was twelve. That book unlocked a door in me that will never close. I still return to it every so often, despite the character of Speedy Parker being a "Magical Negro", heh.

That's a term I first heard of because of you, but not a lot of people know about it. Care to explain?

There are five points I came up with to spot a Magical Negro. Speedy Parker hits them all (well, number 3 is a little shaky until Black House). Here they are:

1. He or she is a person of color, typically black, often Native American, in a story about predominantly white characters.

2. He or she seems to have nothing better to do than help the white protagonist, who is often a stranger to the Magical Negro at first.

3. He or she disappears, dies, or sacrifices something of great value after or while helping the white protagonist.

4. He or she is uneducated, mentally handicapped, at a low position in life, or all of the above.

5. He or she is wise, patient, and spiritually in touch. Closer to the earth, one might say. He or she often literally has magical powers.

Check out my essay, "Stephen King's Super-Duper Magical Negroes", on the Strange Horizons website here.

If you lost a bet and had to stand under Neil Gaiman's window at midnight and serenade him. What song would you pick?

Lady Ga Ga's "Poker Face", the acoustic version.

Which would you rather do: cut out 20% of your current book, or insert a wacky talking animal sidekick (a la Disney movie) into half the chapters because the marketing people think it would make the book sell better.

Hey, I write for Disney (The Shadow Speaker is published by Disney and I'm writing a Disney Fairy chapter book titled Iridessa and the Fire-Bellied Dragon Frog). :-P. Plus I love wacky talking sidekick animals! I've got one in The Shadow Speaker. Well, Onion (Ejii's camel) speaks in monotone and with very very few words but yeah. :-D.

Heh. I've read Shadow Speaker, but I never thought of the Ejii's camel in the same vein as the classic Disney animal sidekick.

True. Onion's nothing like Abu in Aladdin or Mu-Shu the Dragon in Mulan. But I think the wacky Disney side-kick can be an asset when done with some finesse.

I like the idea of a sh*t-talking parrot or miniature hedgehog who makes no sense whenever she speaks. Or how about a jive-talking black monkey whose catchphrase is "AW DAAAYAUM"?

What's the best compliment you've ever received?

At a book signing, a grown man once told me that my YA novel Zahrah the Windseeker made him see spiders and insects everywhere he went for days. Ha ha, he looked relatively sane, but I guess you never know.

What's the most hurtful thing someone has ever said in a review of your book?

This white guy (won't mention names), once wrote that he wouldn't read my novels because it's full of black people and had no white characters to "balance it out". Nice.

If you could punch one literary figure, who would it be?

HA HA HA HA! OMG, dare I answer this…nah. My response would be absolutely SCANDALOUS.

Aww… Come on. You tell me yours and I'll tell you mine…

Believe me, you wouldn't believe who it is. It would be very very bad press for me to speak the name. It's utter blasphemy. But it makes me giggle that this name was the first thing to instantly pop into my head when I considered your question.

Okay. I don't want to get you in trouble...

The poet Edith Sitwell used to lie in an open coffin each day before she started writing. Do you have any little rituals that help you write?

I have a lot of rituals. An interesting one is that I must turn on my space heater and set it right beside me. Even during most of the summer days. I need to be hot when I write. Ok, that sounds kind of suggestive. Heh, you know what I mean.

Through an effort of pure will, I'll resist the urge to make the obvious joke....

I recently made a joke about "transition putty" on my blog. That being, of course, the what we writers buy at Home Depot to smooth out our rough transitions.


If you could have some sort of handyman tool like that, something like Plot Spackle or a Character Level. What would it be?

Natural-Looking Filler for those tough glaring gaps between the exciting parts of the story where crazy sh*t happens.

You can just say shit if you want. We're all friends here. Nobody's going to judge you.

Yeah, I figured it was ok with you. It's just that I judge myself. I was raised to never use profanity, so it's still odd for me. Ironically, I'm a big fan of cursing; it's one of the reasons I enjoy hip-hop so much. I do most of my cursing in my fiction. Like in my short story, "On the Road" in the Eclipse 3 Anthology.

Hmmm… Now that you mention it. I cuss a lot in real life, but not very much in my books. I wonder if there's a connection.

There is!

Maybe I need to save some of my cussing, so I can put it into a book later. I didn't know it was a finite resource.... Anyway, that's all I've got. Thanks so much for the interview, and thanks for donating some books to the cause.

:-). And thank you for putting it all together. I'm happy to be a part of it.



"Okorafor-Mbachu's imagination is stunning." - the New York Times


Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win hundreds of books like these: some signed, some limited edition, some out of print. Plus there's the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That's nice too.

And don't forget, I'm matching 50% of all donations made. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Trust me. You'll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want to go back to the main page for Worldbuilders, you can click HERE.



With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.


(I keep trying to write a limerick, but nothing rhymes with Subterranean.)

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Still even yet more books from DAW




This is a Worldbuilders blog.




Third time's a charm folks. Here's the third and final blog full of books from DAW. We've got stuff from some big-name authors. Both ARCs and some hardcover sets.

Share and Enjoy.


From Publishers Weekly, "Travel into another dimension is a popular fantasy ploy, but rarely accomplished with such humor, terror and even logic as in this stand-alone by bestseller Williams."


"Truly one of the great voices of speculative fiction, C.S. Friedman winds up her highly original Coldfire trilogy in brilliant fashion in CROWN OF SHADOWS... The sheer imaginative genius, not to mention incredible power, of Ms. Friedman's formidable storytelling gift is indescribable-you simply just have to experience it." -Romantic Times Magazine

A stunning novel, it combines good historical world-building, vampires, religion, and transcendence in a tale that is both entertaining and cathartic... A feast for those who like their fantasies dark, and as emotionally heady as a rich, red wine." -Locus

  • A set of the first two books in the Magister Trilogy, Feast of Souls and Wings of Wrath by C.S. Friedman.


"C.S. Friedman makes fantastic things-and frightening things-seem very real. Her characters are people, not just place-holders, and the worlds she creates are tangible as a live feed from the battlefront of a crash-landing in a savage and unfamiliar wilderness. She also writes bright, clear prose taht can shine like gemstones or cut like broken glass. If you haven't read her work you need to do something about that right now." - Tad Williams



From Library Journal, "Continuing the tale begun in Owlflight and Owlsight, Lackey's latest novel set in the world of Valdemar exhibits the author's characteristic attention to detail and character development. This welcome addition to the series belongs in most fantasy collections."


From Library Journal, "In the latest in her popular Valdemar series, Lackey combines the intensity of a young man's agonized coming of age with a tale of love, honor, and sacrifice. Essential for series fans, this title belongs in most fantasy collections."


SFsite reviewer Georges T. Dodds says, "Flights of Fantasy contains 10 original tales of birds of prey (plus one about crows) ranging from humorous to dark fantasy. There are tales of falconry, Native American tribal totem birds, Arthurian reincarnations, along with stubborn princesses and nasty sorcerers. There is also a novella by Mercedes Lackey which further develops one of the neglected characters of her recent novel, Black Swan [...] If you are a fantasy reader and bird-lover -- in particular of birds of prey -- you will likely enjoy much of the material in Flights of Fantasy."



From Publishers Weekly, "This uplifting tale, which contains a valuable lesson or two on the virtues of hard work, is a must-read for dragon lovers in particular and for fantasy fans in general."


From Library Journal, "Basing her latest fantasy on the tragic ballet Swan Lake, Lackey adds her own embellishments and interpretations to provide the story with a new ending."


From sffworld, "If the richness of the world and pacing are the best qualities of the book, these two come together quite strongly in the climax of the novel. Gods and men fighting in fantastical ships with magic and humanity’s freedom at stake – sure, a small encapsulation, but Marco builds to it quite well and the payoff is solid."


"This epic fantasy novel, first in a brand new series, is a well-crafted addition to a much-beloved genre. The book's characters are well-drawn, and although the plot is fairly dense, the story moves along at a smart pace...the author creates a compelling and entertaining read." - Voya

  • A hardcover set of John Marco's trilogy: The Eyes of God; The Devil's Armor; and The Sword of Angels.


"Mr. Marco has delivered an epic fantasy with heart and pathos. His characters are flawed and believable, wholly sympathetic to the reader. He paints a landscape of palace grandeur and desert desolation where magic is a reality and winning a battle is not winning the war." - Romantic Times


From Publishers Weekly, "Jude Fisher inaugurates his Fool's Gold series with Sorcery Rising, the story of a rebellious young knife maker's adventures at the great Allfair, held yearly in the shadow of a sacred rock that her people, the Eyrans, call Sur's Castle, and the Istrians (their former enemies) call Falla's Rock. Though Katla Aransen's boldness in climbing the mount puts her in grave danger, old feuds and strange sorcery seem equally threatening in a tale that asks as many questions as it answers."

  • A hardcover set of the Jude Fisher's trilogy Fool's Gold: Sorcery Rising, Wild Magic, and The Rose of the World.

From Booklist *Starred Review* "The nerve-wracking, intoxicating conclusion of the Fool's Gold series is the fabulous, multilayered, poetic story of a world, full of complex, painfully real, endearingly vulnerable characters, on the very brink of either enlightenment or extinction."

  • A hardcover copy of The Collected Short Fiction of C.J. Cherryh.
From Booklist, "This massive and valuable collection reprints all of Cherryh's short fiction, beginning with the contents of two out-of-print theme collections [...] Cherryh crafts even less impressive stories well enough to verify her reputation for brilliance and versatility."


From Publishers Weekly, "In the fifth entry in her chronicles of the Chanur clan, space-faring members of a catlike alien race called the hani, Cherryh includes more humor than previously while demonstrating a remarkable ability to imagine alien psychologies."



From the Booklist review of Defender: "This excellent and intelligent book by one of sf's most powerful imaginations sports a plot that is always complex, occasionally convoluted, and seldom independent of that of Precursor, to which it is the direct sequel, continuing another of Cherryh's sagas of human-alien interaction. Like its predecessor, it is a good read, too."


From the Publishers Weekly Starred Review, "The long-awaited, intricate sequel to Cherryh's Hugo-winning Cyteen (1989) brings events full circle. [...] Complex and rich, with beautifully rounded characters, this novel can stand alone, but will delight fans of Cyteen with extra layers of meaning that resonate between old and new."

This is the third blog with DAW's donations to the fundraiser. You can find the first one HERE and the second one HERE.

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win hundreds of books like these: some signed, some limited edition, some out of print. Plus there's the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That's nice too.

And don't forget, I'm matching 50% of all donations made. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Trust me. You'll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want to go back to the main page for Worldbuilders you can click HERE.



As always, with thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.


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More books from DAW




This is a Worldbuilders blog.




Okay folks, time for the rest of the DAW books. This blog has mostly ARCs. (Advance reading copies)

ARCs are cool because sometimes they're different from the original published book, and quite frequently they're "Uncorrected" which means that you can find typos in them. Remember, nothing makes you feel more superior than catching an author using "it's" when it should be "its."


From Kirkus Reviews, "This smoky mix of magic, legend, people both mythic and real, and the ancient savageries of war supplies a chronological link between Bradley's The Forest House, set in first-century Britain, and her Arthurian saga, The Mists of Avalon. [...] The prose is as smooth as those sacred stones on which so many interesting things take place."


From Kirkus Reviews, "Bradley poses her heroine a fine set of problems and supplies satisfying answers."


From Library Journal, "Coauthors Bradley and Lackey combine their considerable talents to illuminate a seminal event in Darkover's long histroy from both the Terran and Darkovan perspectives. Series fans will welcome this title."



From VOYA, "As her health declined, Bradley invited coauthor Ross to join her, not in a continuation of her 'modern' Darkover novels, but in a return to the Ages of Chaos in The Clingfire Trilogy. This riveting page-turner, full of action and suspense, fleshes out the characters introduced in previous books. Bradley, who died in 1999, could not have left her Darkover creation in better hands. Fans will be pleased, and those new to the world of Darkover have a treat in store for them."


Booklist calls it, "a high-class addition to Bradley's Darkover saga."

  • An ARC of The Burning Heart of Night by Ivan Cat.

SFsite says, "The Burning Heart of Night is a classic-style space opera, with plenty of suspense, sympathetic characters both human and alien, and interesting world building [...] It's entertaining, and the various concepts -- the biology of the fugueship, the ecology of New Ascension, the pathology of Scourge -- are credibly integrated into the plot."


Library Journal says, "From Ray Bradbury's gentle tale of love's conquest of fear ("The Love Affair"), never before published in the United States, to Michael Moorcock's ebullient homage to the Mars fiction of Leigh Brackett ("The Lost Sorceress of the Silent Citadel"), the 16 original stories in this collection capture the eternal fascination with the red planet. Including tales by Ian McDonald, Gene Wolfe, and other veteran sf authors, the stories in this volume range from science fantasy to high-tech adventure and belong in most libraries' sf collections."


From the back of the book: "What does the future hold for humankind? When we finally break free of this planet to launch ourselves into space on a more permanent basis, what will the classifieds of tomorrow read like? What will be the hottest jobs? Which positions will offer the chance for adventure, advancement, discovery, travel to distant worlds, and the accumulation of wealth?

Here are fourteen stories that answer these questions, tales of the challenges, perils, and responsibilities that workers of the future may have to face – from a librarian who could determine the fate of an alien race ... to a pair of space mechanics assigned a repair job for a species that despises humankind ... to a ballet instructor who must find a way to tailor human dance forms for a multilimbed sentient being ..."


Booklist gave this one a Starred Review, saying, "Farrell's smashing series outdoes itself with each new volume. This one constitutes a wonderful tale of transformations, personal for Sevei and Kayne, global for the evolving consciousness of two species in conflict. Good enough to be cast in gold."


From Booklist, "Gilligan's adventure-romance begins a new series, Silken Magic, set in an alternate seventeenth-century Europe [...] Gilligan creates an interesting world and develops it well, fills it with well-constructed characters, and engages them in a plot that definitely keeps one turning pages."


"these excellent newly made legends are as entertaining and imaginative." - Booklist


SFsite review by Rich Horton, "Past Imperfect is a themed original anthology on the subject of time travel. The dozen stories included ring some mostly familiar changes on the time travel idea: variations of visiting yourself in the past and fixing things, of falling in love with someone in the past, of visiting the past to collect something valuable when it is still cheap, and of tangling past events into paradoxical knots that seem cleverly resolved to the reader even as the participants are confused."


VOYA reviews the book, saying that "this futuristic tale, set in the year 2158, is more of a thriller than a sci-fi adventure.[...] Interesting characters, many of them teenagers, populate the story. The dialogue is quite realistic, and Greeno makes good use of romance, humor, and action to keep the story fast paced. The violent action is graphic. Young readers might get bogged down by political intrigue involving the pope and the ayatollah (don't ask). But the book is exciting, and each chapter's log entry format-date, time, location-is enjoyable."


"Fresh, witty and amusing. Great reading for a hot summer night." -Science Fiction Chronicle


VOYA, "This collection of original short stories about dragons, unicorns, and other legendary creatures finds well-established fantasy authors, such as Jody Lynn Nye, alongside others, including Pamela Luzier McCutcheon, who have never published fantasy fiction. This book will appeal to teens who read fantasy fiction, and it has the potential to be popular with mature Harry Potter fans."

Includes all-new, original stories by Jody Lynn Nye, Michelle West, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Josepha Sherman, P.N. Elrod, Rosemary Edghill, Gary A. Braunbeck and others."


From Booklist, "Although the emphasis is on humor throughout the collection, there is enough variety in it to please a broad range of fantasy readers."


From Booklist, "Given the career of an English boy named Harry, the creation of an American school for magic-workers was inevitable. Not inevitable was that the place be a fount of intelligent, if sometimes lightweight, entertainment."

"This entertaining blend of fantasy and history...invites comparison with Mary Stewart and Marion Zimmer Bradley." - Publishers Weekly

  • An ARC of Women Writing Science Fiction as Men edited by Mike Resnick.

Cynthia Ward says, "When an anthology is titled Women Writing Science Fiction as Men, readers expect either stories on the cutting edge of feminist/gender theory, or a tribute to the late James Tiptree, Jr., the female author everyone thought was male. However, the anthology meets neither expectation. It has a different mandate. [...] Ccontributors include some big names and hot up-and-comers, among them Kay Kenyon, Mercedes Lackey, Susan R. Matthews, Terry McGarry, Severna Park, Laura Resnick, Jennifer Roberson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Karen E. Taylor, and singer-songwriter Janis Ian."


From the back of the book: "In the fifth novel of the Sun Sword series, acclaimed author Michelle West returns to a war-torn world of noble houses divided and demon lords unleashed..."


I actually read this one a couple years ago and really enjoyed it...

"Fast-paced, witty and shrewd ... futuristic pulp for the thinking reader ... No one who got two paragraphs into this dark, droll, downright irresistible novel could ever bear to put it down until the last heart pounding moment."- SF Site

"A tongue-in-cheek hardboiled attitude .. good fun for those who can handle the concentrated doses of humor." - Locus



"Terrific! It's going to be classic..." - Marion Zimmer Bradley

This is the second blog with DAW's donations. You can find the first one HERE and the third one HERE.

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win hundreds of books like these. Some signed, some limited edition, some out of print. Plus there's the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That's nice too.

And don't forget, I'm matching 50% of all donations made. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Trust me. You'll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want to go back to the main page for the Worldbuilders fundraiser you can click HERE.



With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.


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Monday, December 28, 2009
Signed books from DAW






This is a Worldbuilders blog.



It should come as no surprise that DAW has a special place in my heart. They are my publisher, after all. And without my lovely editor Betsy, I wouldn't be where I am today.

Continuing a long chain of generosity and kindness, the folks at DAW have donated boxes and boxes of books to Worldbuilders this year: signed books, out of print books, ARC's....

The truth is, they sent so many books that I can't fit them all into one blog. So this first one will just be the signed copies.

  • Hardcover copies of City of Golden Shadow, River Blue Fire, and Sea of Silver Light by Tad Williams. Signed by the author.



Back in the day, when I was toiling away on an early version of my book, reading Tad's stuff gave me hope. I knew my book was going to be Big, and it reassured me that big, thick fantasy novels like The Dragonbone Chair had a place in the publishing world.

These days, Tad Williams and I share both an agent and an editor. In the publishing world, that makes us the equivalent of half-brothers. I met him one week before my own book hit the shelves, and I wrote one of my very first blogs about it. Here's a link, if you're interested.

Suffice to say that I'm fond of Tad for all sorts of reasons, so you really shouldn't trust my opinion about his books. I'm biased.

Instead why don't you trust the San Fransisco Chronicle when they describe the Otherland books as, "The ultimate virtual-reality saga, borrowing motifs from cyberpunk, mythology, and world history."

  • A hardcover copy of Tad Williams' Shadowmarch with signed bookplate.

"Packed with intriguing plot twists, this surreal fantasy takes the reader on a thrill ride." - Publishers Weekly

  • A hardcover copy of Tad Williams' The War of the Flowers with signed bookplate.

A modern faerie tale. Reviewing this book, Publishers Weekly said, "Williams's imagination is boundless..."

  • A hardcover copy of The Hidden City by Michelle West with signed bookplate.

Michelle West is another person that I'm hopelessly biased toward. Not only did she write my favorite review ever for my book, but she's a profoundly lovely person on top of it.

So instead you should listen to John Ottinger when he says that Hidden City..."is a worthy addition to the fantasy canon, both for its unusual nature, and its deep meanderings into the human psyche on the subjects of pain, loss, and hope in adversity."


SF Signal says, "A perfectly balanced combination of political intrigue, fast action and meticulous world building [...] never fails to involve the reader."


Harriet Klausner says Flight of this book is, "a terrific entry into the wonderful swashbuckling fantasy world of Mickey Zucker Reichert."



According to The Midwest Book Review, Stronghold "will delight any enthusiast of dragon fantasies and complex fantasy worlds [...] a stunning world replete with romance, power struggles, unexpected controntations between individuals and beasts, and political intrigue."


"This novel grips the reader with a swift-moving tale of political intrigue and economic survival in a world where the most dangerous secrets are never forgotten." - Publishers Weekly



"Owlsight will bring new fans into the fold, and please those who already love the land of Valdemar."-Starlog

  • A copy of Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit by Mercedes Lackey with signed insert.

From Rave Reviews, "Lackey is a spellbinding storyteller who keeps your heart in your mouth as she spins her intricate webs of magical adventure."


From Booklist, " Thanks to court intrigues and an attempt by foreign infiltrators to trick Valdemar to its disadvantage, Lackey makes a real page-turner out of Mags' and the collegia's development [...] this book’s outstanding characters, especially Mags, will greatly please Valdemar fans."

  • ARCs of the first two books in C. S. Friedman's Magister Trilogy: Feast of Souls and Wings of Wrath, both with signed bookplates.

"C.S. Friedman makes fantastic things-and frightening things-seem very real. Her characters are people, not just place-holders, and the worlds she creates are tangible as a live feed from the battlefront of a crash-landing in a savage and unfamiliar wilderness. She also writes bright, clear prose taht can shine like gemstones or cut like broken glass. If you haven't read her work you need to do something about that right now." - Tad Williams, bestselling author of Shadowmarch, Otherland and Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.

  • A copy of the ARC of The Wilding by C. S. Friedman with signed bookplate.


The Barnes & Noble Review, "richly detailed characters; complex, emotionally absorbing themes; and singularly original settings. In a genre where the inundation of mediocre story lines is like so much white noise, Friedman is a unique voice singing out loudly and clearly above the din."

  • A hardcover copy of King's Dragon by Kate Elliott. Signed by the author.


From Booklist, "The first volume of Crown of Stars, another complex fantasy saga of political and magical intrigue, bodes extremely well [...] The saga's world is exceedingly well built (including a working economy, for instance), its pacing is brisk enough to keep the pages fluttering, and its characters are, at this stage, at least archetypes who may develop into more. This certainly could become one of the best multivolume fantasies--fans, take note!"

  • A hardcover copy of The Burning Stone by Kate Elliott. Signed by the author.

From Kirkus Reviews, "Third entry in the Crown of Stars series following Prince of Dogs (1998) and King's Dragon (1997). The kingdoms of Wendar and Varre are riven by sorcery and strife [...] A solid addition to this respectable series. And, at this whopping length, it should keep the most avid fans happy for a few days."

  • A copy of the ARC for Crown of Stars by Kate Elliott with signed bookplate.

Library Journal says, "Continuing her epic tale of kings and common folk, warriors and priests, Elliott demonstrates her talent for combining magic and intrigue with grand-scale storytelling."



Publishers Weekly says, "Czerneda's world-building flair and fascinating characters set this intricate story well above most SF series prequels."

  • A copy of the ARC for Conspirator by C. J. Cherryh with signed bookplate.

"A large new Cherryh novel is always welcome [...] a return to the anthropological science fiction in which she has made such a name is a double pleasure [...] superlatively drawn aliens and characterization." - Chicago Sun-Times

  • A copy of the ARC for The High King's Tomb by Kristen Britain with signed bookplate.


"Kristen Britain is a very talented author who appears destined to be one of the genre's superstars." - Midwest Book Review


From Booklist, "This three-way collaboration is original in concept and superior in execution, notably better than anything any of its authors, which include Jennifer Roberson and Kate Elliott as well as Rawn, has produced on her own. [...] Characterizations and world-building are finely realized, Rawn and company have done their homework on art, the pacing is respectable, and overall, the romance justifies every one of its nearly 800 pages and demands its place in most fantasy collections."

There are two more blogs full of books that DAW has donated to Worldbuilders. Here's the second and third one. if you're interested.

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win hundreds of books: some signed, some limited edition, some out of print. Plus there's the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That's nice too.

And don't forget, I'm matching 50% of all donations made. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Trust me. You'll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want to go back to the main page for the Worldbuilders fundraiser and read all the details, you can click HERE.



With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.


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Friday, December 25, 2009
Joy to the World.

Hello everyone,

I've been letting things lull a bit over the holidays. I'm busy with family stuff, and I'm guessing most of you are too. Rest assured that in a couple of days Worldbuilders will be rolling along, strong as ever, and I'll be posting up more donations, auctions, interviews, and general coolness.

I might even be reading y'all a story, if I can figure out how to work my new video camera and post things on Youtube...

For now, I'll just pass along a few pieces of of good news:

Donations:

Over the last few days, we've raised over 12,000 dollars. We've shot past our most recent $50,000 goal, and well beyond $53,000 that we raised last year. I don't know about you, but this sudden burst of donations is the best Christmas present I could get. (I know not everybody celebrates Christmas, but I do. So for me, this is a Christmas present.)


I'll raise the limit on the thermometer later. For now, let's just bask in the warm glow of our collective awesome.

And yes, I'm still matching 50% of all donations.


Update from Peru:

For those of you who are curious about the specifics of what Heifer does. Here's a link to a file they sent me a couple months ago. It gives details about a project in Peru that Heifer funded with some of the money we raised last year.

Heifer Peru Project.doc

While it's a fairly technical document, it's worth a quick read through. It shows how Heifer is really taking the long view with these projects. They focus on education, ecological sustainability, and giving communities the tools they need to improve - and eventually thrive.

We're doing a good thing here folks. We're changing the world.

pat





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Friday, December 18, 2009
News, FAQ updates, and a Question
Alright folks. Today we're going to take a break from listing prizes. Instead, I'm going to pass along some Worldbuilders news and answer a few questions that have cropped up.

Lastly, I'd like to get everyone's opinion on what to do with few of the rockstar prizes that have been donated by Neil Gaiman and Brandon Sanderson.

News

Donations and book totals:

The big news is that we're only 18 days into the fundraiser and we've already raised over 36,000 dollars. That's not counting the any of the matching donations from Subterranean Press or myself.

In short, I think it's safe to say that we are pretty frikkin cool.

Donations keep arriving from authors and publishers. As of right now we have more than a thousand books worth over 30,000 dollars.

Miscelaneous News:

  • I found a cheaper way to mail the Draccus posters internationally. So I'm dropping the shipping price from 28 dollars to 15 dollars. If you paid the old price, don't worry. I'll send you a paypal refund soon.
  • A cool bookstore called The Bookloft out in Massachusetts has started fundraiser of their own. For every copy of my book people buy, they're donating money to Worldbuilders. Needless to say, I'm flattered and thrilled. Next time I'm in the neighborhood, I'm going to stop by and take you all out to lunch, especially the brilliant employee who spearheaded the idea....
Also, I know the tendancy on e-bay acutions is to wait until the last 45 seconds of the auction then bid your ass off with the hope of getting the item cheap. While those tactics tend to work pretty well in general, remember that these auctions in specific are meant to raise money for Heifer international. So bidding early really wouldn't be a bad thing, would it?

FAQ


I ordered a book/galley/poster from you. When will I get it?

Man. I've got no idea. We've been getting things out the door as quickly as possible. But the mail is really slow this time of year because of the holidays. My advice is to be patient. Sending me an e-mail isn't going to make the package move any faster, it's just going to make me slower in mailing out everyone else's packages.

What are my odds of winning something if I donate?

As I said above, we've got over 1000 books. But because a lot of them are grouped into trilogies or sets, it breaks down to there being over 500 prizes.

That means if you donate 10 bucks, right now you've got about a 1 in 70 chance of winning something.

If you donate enough for a goat ($120) that means you have about a 1 in 6 chance of winning something. Pretty sweet odds, you have to admit.

Keep in mind these are rough estimates. And the odds will shimmy around a bit as new books come in and donation totals rise.

Can I still donate a signed copy of my book for the fundraiser?

Sure. But I'd get it in the mail quickly if I were you.

How come you're donating all these different versions of your book, but not the audio version?

Honestly, I just didn't think of it, the audiobook version is pretty new. I've got hardcovers of NOTW laying around the house, but I didn't have a spare audiobook sitting on my shelf.

But it's a good idea, so I went out bought one.


That this isn't *quite* the right picture. I bought the CD version, not the MP3 version. I figured anyone can use the CD version.

My uncle/mom/grampa speaks Polish/Spanish/Japaneese. If I donate double the cover price, can I buy a signed copy of one of those books directly from you?

Hmmm… I don't have all that many copies of some of my foreign translations. (Except for Spanish, I have a ton of those.) If you're really interested, drop an e-mail to paperback.contest [squigly atsign thinger] gmail.com and we'll work something out.

I wanted to get one of those Heifer Gift cards, that show you've made a donation in someone's name, but I couldn't find a way to get on the Team Heifer site. Can you help me?

I can. Heifer is sending me a bunch of the gift cards. If you've donated on my page and you want one of the cards. Drop us an e-mail at the address I just listed in the previous answer and we'll mail one (or more) out to you.


Is there a facebook event for the fundraiser that I can invite my friends to?

There is now.

Invite away. Thanks for helping to spread the word.

If I want to send you a cheque in the mail rather than donating directly on the Team Heifer site, do I send it to your PO Box?

Sure. Send it to:

Pat Rothfus
PO BOX 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481


Two Questions

1) Would people like it if I put a second "Golden Ticket" up for auction? More importantly, would you bid on it?


2) This year we have a couple extra-cool books that have been donated. Take a look:
  • A first edition hardcover of The Gathering Storm, signed by Brandon Sanderson, Harriet Jordan, and many others.



Brandon was nice enough to take some time out from his crazed touring schedule to send us this copy of The Gathering Storm, signed by himself, Harriet Jordan (Robert Jordan's wife) and many of the people who made the book possible, including his agent and some of the production staff at Tor.

  • A signed, numbered ARC of Stardust. Hardcover in its own slipcase. Signed by Neil Gaiman.



This is a gorgeous book. I covet it to an almost ridiculous degree.


So. Should I put these books up for auction, or should I add them to the general lottery?

The auction would be nice, because between the two of these I expect we'd raise at least a couple thousand dollars for Heifer.

But adding them to the general lottery would be cool too. That way everyone has a chance to win them, and it might make more people enthusiastic about donating.

What do you think? I'm really on the fence about this. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win hundreds of books: some signed, some limited edition, some out of print. Plus there's the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That's nice too.

And don't forget, I'm matching 50% of all donations made. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Trust me. You'll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want to go back to the main page for the Worldbuilders fundraiser and read all the details, you can click HERE.



pat

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
A Plethora of Signed Books





This is a Worldbuilders blog.




That's right. I said plethora. You want to make something of it?

Today we have even more delicious books as prizes for the fundraiser. All of these have been donated by the authors themselves. This means two things:

1. All these books are signed.
2. These authors are cool as hell.

Oh sure, I know. You're thinking that ALL fantasy and Sci-Fi authors are cool as hell. And yeah, that's pretty much true. But these folks have taken it to the next level. They're doubleplus good. They're hoopy. They're, like, Fonzie cool.

Alright, on to the books:

  • Two copies of The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and Other Odd Acquaintances by Peter S. Beagle. Signed by the author.

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a huge fan of Peter S. Beagle. This is a collection of some of his short fiction, including one of my favorite short stories of all time, "The Rhinoceros who Quoted Nietzsche." Man, just thinking of that story makes me want to go and read it right now....

Locus describes this book as, "a definite must for Beagle fans and lovers of fine fantasy."


This collection includes the Hugo Award-Winning story "Two Hearts," which is a sequel to The Last Unicorn. If you haven't read it, you don't know what you're missing.

I'm not the only one that's gushy over Beagle. Ursula K LeGuin herself says that he's "...An expert on those heart's reasons that reason does not know."

  • Two copies of We Never Talk About My Brother by Peter S. Beagle. Signed by the author.

Want a few more Beagle Quotes? Fine. Here you go...

"Peter S. Beagle has both opulence of imagination and mastery of style." - New York Times Book Review

"At his best, Peter S. Beagle outshines the moon, the sun, the stars, the entire galaxy." - Seattle Times

If all that doesn't convince you to give him a read, I don't know what will...


I've known David for a while, and talked about him and his first book at some length in a blog called, How David Anthony Durham Saved my Life.

But if you don't care what I think, (and why should you, really?) then you can trust Kirkus when they say that The Other Lands "boggles the mind and transcends genre."


I've gotten to know Jean Rabe pretty well over the last couple years. In addition to being a truly prolific writer, she runs the writer-track programming at Gen-Con in Indianapolis. There's some great programming there with some authors that I've really come to love over the years.

This book is something special, as it's Andre Norton's last book. Jean and Andre were frequent collaborators, and Jean says "This was an honor--to finish Andre Norton's last manuscript."

  • A copy of When the Husband is the Suspect by F. Lee Bailey with Jean Rabe. First edition hardcover signed by Jean Rabe.

Something a little outside our normal Fantasy and Sci-fi bounds here. Jean notes that "This was my first true-crime endeavor with F. Lee Bailey!"


Jean Rabe says, "I had great fun plotting this with Andre. I picked the Wisconsin place-she picked the historical setting."

  • A set of Martha Wells' series, The Fall of Ile-Rien: The Wizard Hunters, The Ships of Air, and The Gate of Gods. First edition hardcovers, signed by the author.

Locus says that Martha Well's books are, "Fascinating…A vastly entertaining and refreshingly different fantasy adventure with a surprisingly satisfying conclusion."

  • A copy of The Words of Their Roaring by Matthew Smith. Signed by the author.

From the back of the book: "London is now a city overrun by the zombie hordes. Most of the human survivors live from day to day, scraping together an existence among the ruins, avoiding the shambling, flesh-hungry undead that still stalk the streets. But for others this gruesome situation is an opportunity, a chance to establish a power base within the capital, now that authority has collapsed. For gang lord Harry Flowers, the plague is his chance to finally rule the city unopposed."

  • A set of Wanderlust and Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre. Signed by the author.

National bestselling author Sharon Shinn says that these books are, "An irresistible blend of action and attitude..."

  • Two copies of the Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon. First and second edition copies, both are signed by the author.

I met Cindy out at Comic Con this year. And she was very helpful during this year's fundraiser, helping me to spread the word to other authors who then donated books. Silver Phoenix is her first book, and I've heard nothing but good things about it.

Booklist gave her a starred review, and said: "If the cover image of a fearless Chinese heroine reminds readers of such films as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, that's intentional; the story inside will too. Pon's writing, both fluid and exhilarating, shines whether she's describing a dinner delicacy or what it feels like to stab an evil spirit in the gut."

  • A set of The Onyx Court series: Midnight Never Come and Ashes Lie by Marie Brennan. Signed by the author.

I haven't read these, but after checking out these two blurbs, I think I might wander over to Amazon...

"Stunningly conceived and exquisitely achieved... Brennan's myriad fantastical creations ring as true as her ear for Elizabethan and faerie dialogue" - Publishers Weekly

"...firmly rooted in real history, set in a convincingly-constructed Elizabethan England, but with a secret faerie court existing beneath London ... a political thriller, with conspiracies, spies and shady machinations..." - SFX Magazine, four-star review

  • A set of the series Doppelganger: Witch and Warrior by Marie Brennan. Signed by the author.

Dave Duncan says, "Doppelganger is a great read. The characters are admirable people, the magic is unconventional and unobtrusive, the pace never flags, and the plot will keep you turning pages right to the wholly satisfying finale."

  • A copy of The Clockwork King of Orl by Mike Wild. Signed by the author.

From the back of the book: "There's a whole world out there, and it isn't ours! The words of her mentor inspire Kali Hooper to explore the lost places of Twilight, unearth the secrets of the past, and discover the fate of the vanished Old Races. Including the mysterious construct known as the Clockwork King of Orl."


Child of Fire
was on Publishers Weekly "Best 100 Books of 2009" list. And Sherwood Smith says that, "Harry Connolly's story jets from 0 to 60 in five pages and never lets you brake for safety. He's a fantastic new voice."

  • A copy of Terribly Twisted Tales edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg. Signed by author Kelly Swails.

Kelly is one of the authors I know from the Gen-Con writer's track. Notw only is she a complete sweetheart, but Tor.com has called her writing "ingenious" and "thoroughly inventive."

  • A set of the Blue Kingdoms anthologies: Shades & Specters, Buxom Buccaneers and Pirates of the Blue Kingdoms. Signed by Kelly Swails.

How can you not want a book with the word Buxom in the title? It's just a fun word. Say it. "Buxom."

These Blue Kingdom anthologies are full of award-winning fantasy authors like Lorelei Shannon, Robert E. Vardeman, Kathleen Watness, Marc Tassin, Paul Genesse, Jean Rabe, Stephen D. Sullivan.... and, of course, Kelly Swails herself.


Publishers Weekly weekly says that Kessler and Kittredge, "create a dark world where the narrow line between hero and vigilante is defined by corporate interests [...] Jet and Iridium's multifaceted relationship will appeal to all who have come to want more from their superheroes than good vs. evil and mindless battles."

  • A set of Doctrine of Labyrinths: Melusine, The Virtu, The Mirador and Corambis by Sarah Monette. Hardcover first editions signed by the author.


Jacqueline Carey says that Malusine is, "A lush novel, rife with decadent magic, dehibilitating madness, and dubious deeds."

And in a starred review, Publishers Weekly speaks highly of Monette, calling her, "...a highly original writer with her own unique voice."


From Publishers Weekly: "Monette reconstructs the traditional English ghost story—insinuated horror, no gratuitous sex or violence—with a decidedly modern-day approach in this laudable collection of 10 necromantic mystery stories featuring introverted museum archivist Kyle Murchison Booth. [...] Cerebral, ethereal and stylishly understated, this entrancing collection will appeal to fans of literary horror, dark fantasy and supernatural mystery."

And remember, if you like Monette's stories, she's donated a signed manuscript of four uncollected Booth stories to the fundraiser. The auction is over later today, so if you don't bid soon you're out of luck...

  • A set of Kristen Britain's series: Green Rider, Rider's First Call and The High King's Tomb. Signed by the author.

In addition to donating a handwritten page of her fourth book's manuscript to the auctions, Kristen has given us a signed set of the first three Green Rider books. (The auction ends later today [Dec 16th] so if you're interested you'd better hurry...)

Anne McCaffrey called GREEN RIDER "a stunning first novel," and this trade edition of Green Rider features a 10th Anniversary introduction by the author.


Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win these books and hundreds of others like them. Plus there's the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That's nice too.

And don't forget, I'm matching 50% of all donations made. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Trust me. You'll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want to go back to the main page for the Worldbuilders fundraiser and read all the details, you can click HERE.


With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.

(Did I mention Subterranean is printing a new book of mine? I think I did...)

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Bad Moon Books





This is a Worldbuilders blog.




Imagine my delight when, for the second year, we received several hefty boxes of donations from Bad Moon Books.

Want to see them? Of course you do...

You'll forgive me if I'm not my normal verbose self today. Little Oot is sick, and I've got a lot of Christmas-is-coming things going on right now. Next year, I'm definitely starting the fundraiser earlier....

  • Three signed limited editions, one in traycase cover, of The Adventures of Mr. Maximillian Bacchus and His Travelling Circus by Clive Barker.

DAVID NIALL WILSON on Barker's new book: "From the first story, in which Indigo Murphy, the best bird handler in the world leaves the show to join in matrimony with the Duke Lorenzo de Medici, to the fabled court of Kubla Khan, the magic never stops. You will meet a young apple thief named Angelo with magic eyes, an orang-outang named Bathsheba, and a host of other amazing characters with names and personas cut like a patchwork quilt from the mythologies and dreams of the world. Though written forty years ago, these pages are littered with the same magical side steps that have always been woven into Clive Barker’s fiction."

  • An uncorrected proof of The Adventures of Mr. Maximillian Bacchus and His Travelling Circus by Clive Barker. Signed by the author.

As above, but in sexy ARC form.

  • A signed, numbered, limited edition of Shadow of the Dark Angel by Gene O'Neill.

"When is a serial killer novel about much more than just the murders? When the psychopath is in the skilled hands of a master storyteller. In Shadow Of The Dark Angel Gene O'Neill has crafted yet another multi-genre, mind blowing adventure into the dark heart of humanity. Part horror, part psychological thriller, and part police procedural, Shadow is sure to thrill his growing legion of fans. Highly recommended." - Gord Rollo, author of The Jigsaw Man

  • A signed numbered limited edition of Doc Good's Traveling Show by Gene O'Neill.

"Listen up. I've been a Gene O'Neill fan since reading his daring and disturbing 'The Burden of Indigo' several years back. Gene is not just a good writer, he's a student of good writing, and has the kind of talent that just gets better with age and exposure to the elements." -Harry Shannon, author of Dead and Gone.

  • A signed, PC limited edition of Plague Monkey Spam by Steve Vernon.

How can you not want to read a book called Plauge Monkey Spam? The title alone says it all...

"Steve Vernon has tapped the strange fiction vein like never before." - Hellnotes

  • A signed, illustrated, limited edition of The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs and the Currently Accepted Habits of Nature by David Niall Wilson.

Description from Bad Moon Books: "From the moment Cletus and Sheriff Bob drag the corpse from the fishing hole to the final moments of terror, the action is non-stop, tense, and filled with surprises. Between the Reverend Dozier and his church, the swamp witch, the albino twins, and the local lodge's well-hidden secrets, the strange events in Old Mill, NC are pretty much out of control." Featuring illustrations by Zach McCain.

  • Two signed, limited editions of Wings of the Butterfly by John Urbancik.

"With Wings of the Butterfly, John Urbancik infuses his tale of shapeshifters, romance and pack rivalry with some unexpected and welcome surprises. Fluid prose, gore galore and all-too human characters make this unusual, fast-paced novella a must for fans who like their horror served blood-rare." - Bram Stoker Award winner Kealan Patrick Burke.



Promo copy: "In the great city of the dead, a dollar coin might buy your dearest wish. A photographer might capture her own heart. A breeze might reveal a raven. Listen to the sounds of the flute, listen to the soundless fireflies, listen to the ravensong. It's not only ghosts that wander the Necropolis."

  • Two signed, limited edition copes of House of Shadow & Ash by John Urbancik.

When his shadow cuts itself free, Philip discovers he absolutely needs his shadow to survive.

One reviewer says the book has "…subtle allusions to Shaherazade, some Ray Harrhausen skeltonic scenarios, and a tinge of Edgar Rice Burroughs…"

  • Two copies of The Day Before by John Skipp & Cody Goodfellow

"The end of civilization has never been so much fun." - Sarah Langan

  • A signed, numbered, limited edition of Vampire Outlaw of the Milky Way by Weston Ochse.

Brian Keene says: "Vampire Outlaw of the Milky Way is what would happen if Ray Bradbury and Lin Carter got together to write a space opera. Only Weston Ochse could write something like this. In lesser hands, it would fall apart. Weston is one of the best authors of our generation."

  • Two signed, limited editions of The Lucid Dreaming by Lisa Morton.

"A cold, calculating nightmare. Sharp as a finely honed blade. 'The Lucid Dreaming' cuts, separating the flesh before you even know you've been injured. It makes you bleed as a reader." - Del Howison, Bram Stoker Award-winning editor.


Horror Mall says this book is "A haunting tale of troubled youth, love gone bad, and demons both real and perceived."


Gene O'Neil says this book has, "slow but efficient creation of mood and unsettling spooky plot developments just out of clear sight, in many ways reminiscent of the 20th century classical stories... Do yourself a favor and read The Watching."


From the Bram Stoker award winning author of Miranda comes this new novella of love and terror and the mysteries of time.


Bram Stoker Award winner Kealan Patrick Burke says "Sex, drugs, and rock n' roll are back, in the Death Mobile drivin', leather jacket-clad corpse of Johnny Gruesome, a man who lives up to his name in every sense of the word. The reader is advised to put some Alice Cooper on high volume, crack open a can of beer and dive right in."

  • A signed, numbered, limited edition of The Scrubs by Simon Janus.

"The Scrubs is one merciless piece of work, and in both the setting of the Wormwood Scrubs Prison and its colorful, even tragic, inmates, Simon Janus has created a terse, tense, and powerful novella [...] An excellent achievement, and a real milestone in Janus' career." -Bram Stoker Award-winner Gary A. Braunbeck.

  • Two signed, limited editions of Restore from Backup by J.F. Gonzalez & Michael Oliveri.

Restore From Backup is a cautionary tale of the careful balances that exist between nature, magic, and technology... and the forces that bring them together.


"The Bitchfight is like a nesting doll of depravity--every time you think Arnzen has maxed-out the possible weirdness level, he pops open another doll and there's something even more fucked up inside. [...] Another twisted classic from one of my all-time favorite authors." -Jeff Strand, author of PRESSURE

  • A signed, numbered, limited edition of The Hunger of Empty Vessels by Scott Edelman.

"Like some creature out of Star Trek, Scott Edelman projects a zone of distortion that elevates all existence within its influence to the realm of the surreal." - Adam-Troy Castro

  • Five signed, limited editions of This Ghosting Tide by Simon Clark.

Richard Laymon calls Simon Clark, "a master of eerie thrills."


"...one of the most clever and original talents in contemporary horror." - Booklist

  • A signed, limited edition of Little Graveyard on the Prairie by Steven E. Wedel.

"Little Graveyard on the Prairie begins with a kind of homespun and cuddly feel--a father playing with his young daughter on a farm. But something isn't quite right out there in the Oklahoma boondocks at night. A nerve begins to twitch near the reader's left eye. The creepy feeling spreads, becomes more unsettling as one suspects something bad is going on. The slowly revealed reality of what is actually happening is truly chilling, but at the same time heart rending." - Gene O'Neill


Adam Groves says the book is, "...dark, and extremely so, but also oddly revelatory, literate and provocative."

That's all for today, folks. We'll be bringing you more donated books tomorrow.

If you want to head back to the main Worldbuilders page, click HERE.



With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.


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Monday, December 14, 2009
Auctions: A Professional Critique of Your Manuscript.





This is a Worldbuilders blog.





Last year, as part of the fundraiser, I offered to read people's manuscripts and give them feedback if they made a sizable donation to the Heifer.

The response was much more enthusiastic than I expected. Several people took me up on the offer, with some donations going over three thousand dollars.

So this year I decided to expand things a bit. I've gathered a few professionals willing to donate their critiquing skills to the cause. We're auctioning off one read-and critique from each of them.

My thought is this, with different people to choose from, everyone has a better chance of winning the critique that suits them the best. Also, since we're offering several options, the overall prices should probably be lower this year.

All auctions are starting at the price of one (1) penny. So go ahead and make a bid. Who knows, you might get lucky...

And remember folks, all the proceeds go to improving people's lives all over the world with Heifer International. Personally, I think these would make great Christmas gifts for that hard-to-shop for writer in your life...

[Edit: If your manuscript won't be ready to read for a month or two, that's fine. It's not like you win the auction and have to drop your book in the mail the very next day.

On the other hand, if your manuscript won't be ready for 8 or 9 months. You should probably wait and hope we do this again next year.]

  • A read-and-critique of your manuscript by novelist and industry insider Anton Strout.


I've known Anton for years, and though he happens to be my mortal enemy, I appreciate his willingness to help out Heifer International by donating his time and energy to the cause.

Official description of his critique is as follows:
Anton Strout (author of the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series for Ace Books) will read your manuscript and mark it up as he would his very own, probably with less swearing. He will make notes giving his approach to what you are trying to convey, offer critical suggestions and comment on what you've sent. Please bear in mind that this is in no way a promise or guarantee that your work will be published. What you're paying for is the opinion of someone who has worked for over a decade as a published author.

Anton has worked in both the writer's workshop environment as well as the business side of the industry at one of the major New York publishing houses. He will strive to return his critique to you in a timely fashion which is dependent on his availability due to deadlines with his publisher.
Interested? You can bid on the critique by Anton Strout over here.

  • A read-and-critique of the first 20,000 words of your manuscript by agent Matt Bialer.


Matt is my agent, and I love him to pieces. He worked with me on my book back before we had a publisher. He's all kinds of smart, understands stories, and I can honestly say that if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be where I am today.

You can get more of his professional information HERE.
Matt Bialer (literary agent) will read and evaluate the opening chapters of one manuscript (up to 20,000 words) within three months of submission, not including the last few weeks of December. He will read and critique, and help the author think about the issues that could be raised by editors at publishing houses. He will write a general evaluation of the book, both strengths and weaknesses, but line editing is NOT included. If the book is fantastic or has the potential to be fantastic then offering representation is not out of the question -- but representation is not a guarantee.
Interested? You can bid on this critique from Matt Bialer over here.

  • A read-and-critique of the first 20,000 words of your manuscript by Lindsay Ribar.
(Bam!)

Lindsay is Matt's assistant. That means she reads a lot of manuscripts and works intimately with the publishing world every day. What's more, she does work as a freelance editor. In short, she knows about stories, what sells, and how the industry works. What more could you ask for, really?

Here's the offical description of what she's offering:
Lindsay Ribar (assistant to Matt Bialer, freelance editor) will read and evaluate the opening chapters of one manuscript (up to 20,000 words) within six weeks of submission. She will write a general evaluation of the book, with a focus on character, language, and story structure. Line- and copy-editing are not included. Representation is not a guarantee, but not out of the question either. Lindsay is open to editing all genres of fiction, but keep in mind that the bulk of her experience lies in the realm of YA, fantasy, SF, thrillers, and mysteries.
Interested? You can bid on the critique by Lindsay Ribar over here.

(Me.)

Man. It's hard for me to do these promotional write-ups for myself. Let's see...

Before I became a published writer, I was a teacher for five years. Before that, I was a writing tutor for nine years. So I know something about giving productive feedback on a piece of writing. I've read roughly ten thousand novels, and my first book, the Name of the Wind, is published or forthcoming in 30 languages.

I think about stories all the time and am obsessive about revision. I also have a soothing baritone voice, an IQ in the 160s, and the ability to steal any other mutant's power just by touching them.

Ah hell... See? I can never take these things seriously. Just read the official description below for the details:
Patrick Rothfuss (international bestselling author, lover of women, and hirsute iconoclast) will read your manuscript and give you critical feedback. We'll schedule this based on when your manuscript will be ready and my own schedular constraints.

I'll read through your manuscript, scrawling notes and dirty words in the margins, then I'll call you on the phone and we can discuss it. I won't write you up a detailed critique because that's not how I roll. But we'll probably chat on the phone for a couple of hours discussing the various strengths and weaknesses of the book, your writing craft, and I'll offer any suggestions I might have.

If I think your book is super-awesome, I might be willing to pass it along to someone. But be very aware that what you're buying here is a critique, not a blurb or an introduction to the publishing world. A critique.
Interested? You can bid on the critique by Pat Rothfuss over here.

Remember folks, all these auctions will be ending next Sunday night (December 20th). Time is limited, so if you know someone that might be interested, I'd appreciate you spreading the word...


If you want to head back to the main Worldbuilders page, click HERE.


With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.


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Friday, December 11, 2009
Auctions from Doodled Books





This is a Worldbuilders blog.





Normally I like to wait at least a day between posts here on the blog so that one post doesn't accidentally bury another.

Fair warning, I'm breaking that rule today. That means if you're not careful you might miss yesterday's post that shows all the lovely books my UK publisher donated.

Okay. On to the new stuff. The time-sensitive stuff, we've got some auctions and they've only got five days left....


Last year when we ran the fundraiser, we had a few donations outside the realm of the free book.

My thought is this, everyone likes winning a free book. Even if it's not a book you'd ordinarily read, it's still nice to have. Maybe you try something new and expand your horizons a little. You can give it to a friend, donate it to the library, or sell it on e-bay. If nothing else, you can just put it on a prominent shelf so the world will think you look one book smarter.

But other donations aren't as universally cool. Manuscripts, for example. If you're a collector, or a huge fan of the author, odds are you'd love Love LOVE to have one. But if you aren't one of those things, winning a manuscript is going to leave you with a profound "meh" feeling.

Last year I just threw everything into the lottery because I didn't have time to figure out anything better. But this year I've decided to try a few auctions to see how they work out. Claire Main who runs Doodled Books over in the UK is handling the auctions for me, so I have one less thing to worry about.

This first batch of auctions will be some rare manuscripts and books. In a little while we'll be posting up some specialized services, like getting your own manuscript read and critiqued by industry professionals.

I'm mostly going to be putting up links and some very brief descriptions here. More detailed information and more pictures are available over on e-bay.

Keep in mind that the auction prices are all in pounds
, since Doodled books is based in England.

  • An amazing signed original manuscript from Katharine Kerr. The Black Raven, a Deverry novel.


Katharine has already donated some lovely books to the fundraiser, but this is a real treat: the original editorial manuscript of The Black Raven. As you can see if you click on any of the above pages, it's full of the original copyedits, notes and changes.

There's only one of these in existence, folks.

To bid and see more pictures you can head over to the auction HERE.



This story has only been e-published so far, and it hasn't been collected into a print volume yet. So a print copy, let alone a signed one, is a bit of a rarity.

A great gift for the Star Wars geek in your life, you can see more pictures and bid on it HERE.


Thanks again to John for donating another signed manuscript copy of one of his Lost Tribe of the Sith stories. Remember, these have only been e-published so far, so a signed print copy is a bit of a rarity.

A great gift for the Star Wars geek in your life, you can see more pictures and bid on it HERE.

  • A signed hardcover of the illustrated Finnish version of George RR Martin's A Game Of Thrones. Signed by the Author.


When I was out at Worldcon this year, I ran into my Finnish publisher and we started to talk about my plans for the upcoming fundraiser. They were nice enough to donate one of their new illustrated copies of Martin's A Game of Thrones. And even tracked him down to get him to sign it.

Just to be clear, this book is in Finnish. But on the plus side, it has some really cool pictures. So even if you can't read it, you can still enjoy it.

For more pictures or to bid in the auction, click HERE.

  • Signed manuscript collection of four Booth stories by Sarah Monette.

These are signed manuscript copies of the four published but uncollected Booth stories by Sarah Monette, including The Replacement. If you're a fan of her books and haven't had a chance to get hold of these stories yet, you've got a rare chance here.

For more details and pictures, you can head over HERE.



(Click to Embiggen and read Kristen's note yourself.)

Kristen describes the page thusly:
One handwritten, messy, doodled-upon page of draft from the manuscript of Green Rider #4: Blackveil, by Kristen Britain.

Will this snippet of timeless prose make it into the final book? That's up to the Great Editor. In the meantime, enjoy a sneak preview, *if* you're the highest bidder.
Link to the ebay auction is HERE.

The clock is ticking on all these auctions, folks. So if you know of anyone that might be interested I'd tell them soon. By next Thursday it will be too late.


If you want to head back to the main Worldbuilders page, click HERE.


As always, with special thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.

(I'm proud I haven't misspelled Subterranean yet. It's a tricky word.)

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posted by Pat at 15 Comments



Thursday, December 10, 2009
Many lovely books from Gollancz Publishing





This is a Worldbuilders blog.





Well folks, the fundraiser's been going for just a little more than 10 days, and we've already hit 25,000 dollars. I think that means that we are awesome.

Well... almost. We're just a couple bucks short, but I'm calling it 25,000. Because that gives me an excuse to post up a celebratory blog full of more donated books.

Gollancz is my UK publisher. It is there, in ye olde London, where Gillian, my lovely UK editor, works.

When I was setting up this year's fundraiser, I dropped Gillian a line to see if they might be interested in donating a few books to a good cause. I'm pretty midwestern about these things: I never want to come across as pushy. "Just if you want to." I said. "No pressure. A couple books would be great. Whatever you have laying around the office..."

So imagine my delight and amazement when Gillian starts shipping over boxes and boxes of books, over 150 total. I so owe her a footrub.

Let's list them off, shall we?

  • Five sets of the first eight books by Charlaine Harris: Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, From Dead to Worse and Dead and Gone.

Booklist says that "Charlaine Harris is a superstar in the paranormal fantasy field- Just the right mixture of humour, intrigue, and excitement."

How's that for cool. These books don't just have humor, they have humour. Which is way better. Because it's Brittish.

I've actually read the first four of this series and was pleasantly surprised. They're a nice change from the dark, gothic drama of some of the urban fantasy out there. And now, thanks to Gollancz, you can own the whole set.

  • Five hardcover first editions of the collection of short stories of Charlaine Harris' heroine Sookie Stackhouse in A Touch of Dead.

This is a nice hardcover collection, and while I haven't read it personally, Bookpage says, "It's impossible not to love the wry, sexy Sookie, surely one of the most winning heroines to guide us through the dark side in a long time - maybe ever!"

  • Five copies of the Commemorative Edition of the Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft.

(Ia! Ia! Ia!)

This is a gorgeous book. If you've never read Lovecraft, you really should. He's one of the cornerstones of modern fantasy and horror, and his stories still pack a punch.

Don't believe me? Well, maybe you'll trust Steven King when he says, "Lovecraft opened the way for me, as he had done for others before me."

Still not convinced? How bout this quote blurb from Neil Gaiman:

"H.P. Lovecraft built the stage on which most of the last century's horror fiction was performed. As doomed as any of his protagonists, he put a worldview into words that has spread to infect the world. You need to read him-he's where the darkness starts."

Man, Gaiman's way better at this than me. I'm all, "Cornerstone of fantasy... blah blah blah." But that up there is a serious quote. I suck at blurbing.

  • Five copies of The Centenary Edition of The Complete Chronicles of Conan by Robert E. Howard.

Back before Conan the Barbarian was govenor of California, he was a character written by Robert E. Howard. Collected here, in the chronological order they were first published, are the definitive stories of Conan, exactly as Howard wrote them.

This is another one of those books that made me wish I wasn't a moral person. If I wasn't a moral person, you see, I could just take one of these for myself and nobody would ever know the difference.

Brain Williamson says, "The energy of the writing practically thrums off the page and often the sense of tension and unease invoked is genuinely unsettling. Read it, then use the weighty tome to smite your enemies, drive them before you and hear the lamentation of their women!"


Jacqueline Carey is bringing sexy back to epic fantasy.

Want to read the best plot synopsis ever? Here's what Publisher's Weekly has to say about this book, "The seventh installment in Carey's bestselling Kushiel series follows its youthful protagonist, Moirim, from bed to bed as she worships sexuality goddess Naamah."

There's more of course. But would you really bother reading it? Don't you already know enough to want this book?

  • Six ARC and five hardcover copies of The Cardinal's Blades by Pierre Pevel.

It's rare that a book gets translated from French into English. So you should probably sit up and take notice when it happens.

The Cardinal's Blades is part historical novel, part old-fashioned swashbuckling high-action adventure, and part classic fantasy. Award winning novelist Pierre Pevel has woven some of the best-loved fantasy tropes - musketeer-style adventuring, daring swordsmen, political intrigue, non-stop action and dragons - into a stunning new fantasy series set during the reign of Louis XIII.


I've heard this book described as, "an entire season of Firefly all in one book." Honestly, you don't get higher praise than that.

"Retribution Falls picks you up, whisks you swiftly and entertainingly along, and sets you down with a big smile on your face." - Joe Abercrombie

  • Five copies of The Stranger by Max Frei.

Kirkus reviews says, "If Harry Potter smoked cigarettes and took a certain matter-of-fact pleasure in administering touch justice, he might like Max Frei."


Kirkus gives Fire a starred review, and says that Cashore's book is "Fresh, hopeful, tragic and glorious."

  • Four copies of the ARC of Horns by Joe Hill.

Since he's Stephen King's son, Joe Hill must have absorbed some of his dad's mojo. Publishers Weekly calls him, "One of the most confident and assured new voices in horror and dark fantasy."


First off, Retromancer is a cool title. Second off, I have never, ever seen a book that color before. Then I hear this book has, "beautiful spies, advanced alien technology, killer robots, death rays, and a battle with an ancient god."

It sort of makes me wonder if my own books might be a little boring, honestly.


According to Daily Mail, "Those who like their sci-fi on an epic scale will be impressed by Reynolds' hugely imaginative, sprawling space adventure. Magnificent stuff."

  • Five sets of Alastair Reynolds' books: Revelation Space, Redemption Ark, Absolution Gap, Chasm City, Century Rain, Pushing Ice, The Prefect, House of Suns, Galactic North and Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days.

This is a hefty stack of books. We've got five sets of all ten books. Yet another collection I'd love to keep for my own shelf.

According to The London times, "Reynolds's narrative is truly breathtaking in scope and intricate in detail, making him a mastersinger of the space opera."

And Publishers Weekly says, "It's rare to find a writer with sufficient nerve and stamina to write novels that are big enough to justify using words like 'revelation' and 'redemption.' Reynolds pulls it off."


Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International you get a chance to win these books and hundreds of others. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in?

Or, if you want to go back to main page for the Worldbuilders fundraiser, you can click HERE.



As always, with special thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.

(I just noticed that little face in the "S" up there. Creepy...)

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posted by Pat at 26 Comments



Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Coming Soon: The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle.

Let me tell you a story.

Or rather, let me tell you a story about a story. (For those of you who know me, this shouldn't come as a surprise.)

Back in 2001, when I was toiling in the salt mines of grad school, my girlfriend Sarah and I had very different sleep schedules. I was up late, and she went to bed early.

One night, when she was going to bed, she jokingly asked me to tell her a story.

So I did, starting with with the most saccharine faerie-tale beginning I could think of: "Once upon a time," I said. "There was a Princess who lived in a Marzapan castle...."

The story was so cute and sweet that it began to irritate me even as I was telling it. And so I twisted it around until it was something entirely different. Something dark and strange. An older sort of Faerie tale.

When I finished, Sarah lay in bed, looking up at me with big eyes. "Now I can't sleep," she said.

So I told a second ending to the story. A sweet ending. A funny ending. A happy ending. An ending that made everything all better again. Sarah relaxed.

But that second ending irritated me again. It was too sweet and perfect.

So I gave the story a third ending. The perfect ending. An ending with teeth in it.

That night Sarah didn't get to sleep in any sort of timely fashion, but the next day she told some friends about it. I repeated the story for them, and one of them said, "I'd love to draw that."

Now a lot of times, that's where things would stop. But the friend who spoke up was none other than Nathan Taylor: he's the guy that drew the map for the US edition of the book. And he turned my puerile scrawlings for the Worldbuilder logo...



Into something cool and respectable looking:




I knew Nate was a great cartoonist and illustrator, as you can see for yourself over here or here.

But he completely blew me away with the illustrations he did for the Princess book. Here's a little taste:

(Awww...)

Just yesterday, Subterranean Press announced The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: the Thing Beneath the Bed on their website, making it available for pre-order.

So I wanted to mention it here on the blog as quickly as possible. Apparently it's been selling really quickly, and the limited leatherbound edition they're printing is already half sold-out. So if you want one of those, you should get over there and order it sooner rather than later.

Edit: Apparently everyone wanted a limited edition, so they sold out about 9:00 this morning. Sorry about that. I don't think anyone expected it to sell quite so quickly as that.

That said, it's only the limited edition that sold out. There are still regular hardcovers available.

Also, Bill over at Subterranean Press has offered to throw five ARC copies of the princess book in with his other donations to Worldbuilders. If you win one of those, you get to see the finished product months before it comes out.

  • Five ARC copies of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: the Thing Beneath the Bed by Patrick Rothfuss and Nathan Taylor. Signed by the Author.





It's a picture book that's not for children. I can say with some certainty that it should never be read to children. But it's perfect for adults with a dark sense of humor and a love of old-school faerie tales.

Stay tuned. We still have a lot more to come. New blogs every day or so...

pat

As always, with thanks to: Subterranean Press.



(Huzzah for Subterranean Press! Double Huzzah!)

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posted by Pat at 52 Comments



Monday, December 7, 2009
Abercrombie Books, and an Interview





This is a worldbuilders blog.




Over the last couple years, I've done a lot of interviews. I'm guessing somewhere between two and three hundred.

While I always enjoy them to some degree or other, I have noticed that a lot of questions tend to be the same. And things tend to be rather formal. Rarely does anyone ask me stupid, fun questions like, "Who would you rather kiss, Samuel Delany or George Martin?"

So when I started collecting books for the fundraiser, I thought I'd try doing some interviews of my own. Just to see what it's like on the other side of the desk, so to speak.

Joe Abercrombie is the first of these. He's donated some books (see below) I thought he might be willing to have some fun because he wasn't upset when I encouraged a roomful of people in Manchester to "mess up his pretty face."

I've talked about his books before on the blog. So I won't repeat myself here. Instead, let's get right to it...


Okay. Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Joe. Can I call you Joe?

We're all friends here. You can call me Mr. Abercrombie.

First let's get the introductions out of the way. Assume you met someone at a dinner party who had never heard of you. Assume you wanted to impress this person. Also, assume that you are really drunk. Let's say… five drinks. Drunk enough to brag but not drunk enough to slur. What would you say?

Don't you know who I am? You're joking. You do know. You do. You don't? I'm REALLY awesome. You'll just have to take my word for it, because I haven't won any awards. I've been passed over for being too edgy/safe/literary/commercial. I personally believe it's all politically motivated. I was nominated for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer, though, and the David Gemmel Legend Award. The Blade Itself is published or forthcoming in . . . let me see . . . 14 languages, I think? I do particularly well in Germany, like the Hoff. Come back. Come back here! Where are you going?

Let's start with an easy question, Mr. Abercrombie. If you were a tree, what sort of tree would you be?

An immense, thrusting, unconquerable English oak, starving the pitiful lesser saplings of other fantasy authors that crowd about its mighty trunk of all light and water, spreading its suffocating canopy across the fantasy landscape and making of it a blasted desert.

So which of these other pitiful other authors are you reading right now?

I am reading a book called Wolfsangel by MD Lachlan, a gory savage medieval Norse magical werewolf book. It's good. Out next year, I believe.

I am also reading a vast selection of bathroom, kitchen, radiator, insulation, wallpaper, furniture, and architectural catalogues.

Are you researching for some sort of bizarre fantasy DIY crossover novel?

Renovating and extending a house, but now that you've made that suggestion I may start. I think DIY/fantasy is an underexploited sector of the market.

If you had to pick your favorite book of all time, what would it be?

Wow, man, that's a tough question. I'm totally split between Best Served Cold and Last Argument of Kings. I tell you what, you can have the deciding vote. Which of those two is your favourite book of all time?

Of those, I'd have to say that Best Served Cold is my favorite. I have four of them on my coffee table and they work really well as coasters. Not only is it all title-ironic, but the thickness of the book makes it a great insulator.

I knew you didn't really want those books for some kind of charity giveaway…

Nah. I'm fixing up my house, too. I just throw all the books into a shredder and stuff the paper in the attic. Speaking as a conneseur of fantasy literature, your book has some serious R value.

You're relatively new to the publishing world. How has getting your book published changed your life?


To begin with, not very much. Publishing is, as you probably know yourself (and probably like most businesses when you get closely involved with them) a slow, unwieldy, mostly unglamorous, and largely unprofitable business. I'm still waiting to sweep down some marble steps in a white suit with a dirty martini in my hand while crowds of beautiful people applaud me.

For me it was a relatively slow burn – there was a year's wait between signing a contract and the first book being published, in which I continued pretty much as normal, just a bit more smug. There was a steady ramping up of excitement prior to the first book appearing, then a strange and eerie silence when it actually went out there.

All this time I was still doing my day job as a tv editor and writing in my spare time pretty much as I had been before I got a deal. But each book that came out in the trilogy did better, and dragged along the ones that came before, plus further rights were sold in foreign markets, which meant that I've gradually been able to commit more time to the writing without leaving my family to starve.

These days I've more or less given up on the editing and I'm lucky enough to be able to write full time, so I guess you could say that my life is totally changed since I was first published, but it's been a slow metamorphosis rather than an overnight transformation.

I wanted to ask about the film editing. You've done work for people like Barry White and Coldplay. Was it a cool gig? or were you the film equivalent of a code monkey – all of the work, none of the glory?

As you're probably well aware, editors in the book world often do a lot of the work for a fraction of the glory, and tend to serve as scapegoats for the wrath of readers. If people like a book – well written. If they hate it – badly edited. And the odd thing is that it's virtually impossible to tell from the finished product how good the editing is, as you've no idea what state it started in.

Editing in the TV world is not entirely dissimilar, and usually the aim of editing is to be entirely invisible so the audience is caught up in what they're watching. So the general public will rarely notice good editing, only bad.

Plus in TV you're part of a big team – directors, producers, executives, cameramen, and many more, all with important roles to play, and where directors and cameramen are always going to spend time on location, editors will typically work after the event, locked away with flickering screens in a darkened room, for hours on their own, struggling to shape the metaphorical silk purse from the sow's ear. So the glory is minimal. Having said that, it's a cool gig in that the work is pretty varied and creative, the pay is pretty good, and the freelance lifestyle gives you plenty of time off. If it hadn't been for that free time between jobs I might never have started writing.

How often do you check your amazon sales rank?

At one point it was getting a bit silly, so now I have to strictly limit myself to five times an hour. This has become a great deal easier since I discovered Sales Rank Express, a web application that allows you to check all your sales ranks simultaneously. Or those of everyone at your imprint, for that matter.

How many copies of your own books do you currently own?

Hard to say, since most of my books are packed up in boxes, but since I get sent several dozen of any new UK release and half a dozen of each foreign language edition, plus extra books whenever anything's reprinted, a lot more than is decent or functional. I'm currently looking at about fifteen UK and US Best Served Colds, a box full of new Blade Itself Mass Market Paperbacks, A box of Swedish Blade Itselves (Itselfs?) where they split the book in two therefore doubling the number I got sent, a stack of Russian ones, a Czech Before They are Hanged, and my Mum's old copy of Beowulf. I didn't write that last one, of course.

It's a strong possibility that there are more of my books inside my house than outside it.

What's the most shameful self-promotional thing you've ever done?

I am a venomously ambitious sociopath incapable of the feelings of shame or guilt.

Assume for a moment that you're me. (I'm from the American Midwest, so I have an abundance of shame and guilt.) Can you remember anything you've done that would make me blush with shame?

I can't remember anything particularly egregious, but in general as a writer you've got to do anything and everything you can to persuade people to read your books, especially when you're starting out. There are no points given for lights under bushels, and if you don't seem to be excited about your own work, how can you expect anyone else to be excited about reading it? But I can tell there's some story you're itching to tell. Come on now. Don't be shy. That beard isn't real, is it? I knew it.

It's real. But it's not really promotional. I use it to strike fear into the hearts of my enemies. And it makes it easier to dress up as Animal from the Muppets.

Speaking of, how do you feel about Muppets?

I feel some feelings of fuzzy nostalgia, but it's not a subject particularly close to my heart. I was more into Thundercats.

I'm curious because soon after reading your trilogy, I watched Labyrinth. In the special features, Jim Henson said, "When I go see a film, when I leave the theater, I like a few things: I like to be happier than I was when I went in, I like a film to leave me with a up feeling and I like picture to have a sense of substance." What is your personal philosophy about your books? How do you want people to feel when they leave the theatre, so to speak?

Nice question, and a tough one to answer. First off I'd like them to feel they've been entertained – thrilled, amused, tantalized, titillated, surprised, or some combination of the above.

Entertainment is the number one priority as far as I'm concerned. I'd like them to feel they've met some vivid, interesting, unusual characters, and that those people will stick with them for some time to come. And I suppose ideally I'd want them to be left with some questions about fantasy in general, about the role that simple stories of good and evil with happy endings play for us. But deeper points are optional – you have to accept that most people aren't going to take away everything you try to put into a book, and may even take away messages you never intended.

Above all, of course, I'd like people to shut my book with a burning need to pick up the next one…

I ask because... well... Your books are *dark*. I mean, I pride myself on writing some fairly gritty fantasy. Uncaring universe. People abuse their power. Bad things happen to good people. All that. But your stuff... it's a whole different level. I don't know if there are good people in your world. Everyone's just a different flavor of bastard. Many of them are endearing bastards, but still… I guess that's what I'm curious about. Are you purposely trying to portray a world that is unremittingly grim? Are you attempting to do the opposite of leaving the reader with that "up feeling" Henson mentioned?

Yeah, interesting question. It wasn't ever my intention to present something darker-than-thou, if you like, to do something punishingly cynical and depressing. I guess what I was mostly trying to do was present something that ran counter to the classic epic fantasy I'd read as a kid, and since a lot of that was quite sanitized, morally simple and optimistic, I have ended up with something quite grim. But then epic fantasy often flirts with very dark issues – with war, corruption, treachery, torture, buckets of violence – and the protagonists somehow come through the metaphorical filth with their armour all shiny.

I wanted to present a greyer, more complicated world with greyer, more complicated characters. As well as looking at the damage both physical and emotional that combat with edged weapons might really cause. As with anything, responses vary. Some readers find it unpalatably, or perhaps unconvincingly, dark and cynical, others find it relatively mild. I've even been taken to task for my cowardly happy endings, so, you know, one man's meat and all that…

What's the most hurtful thing someone has ever said in a review of your book?

Reactions of extreme distaste and hatred I actually quite enjoy, because they're at least strong reactions, and there's a good chance one person will love a book for the exact reason another despises it. Accusations of tedium or mediocrity I find most wounding.

Do you have a particular piece of grammar that you screw up regularly?

My spelling sucks when typing at speed. When reading sections back I find I have typed 'of' instead of 'off', 'there' instead of 'their' (or the other way round), and 'to' instead of 'too' with alarming frequency. I am also involved in an ongoing battle with my editor over my use of the word 'behind'. She insists on frequently adding 'him', 'her' or, 'them' afterward. I refuse, arguing the qualification is implicit in the context. But in general I don't think grammar should be taken too seriously. It's like manners. They are guidelines, not laws, and can be easily circumvented if you do it with charm.

If you could pick one person from all of history to punch, who would it be?

I once broke my hand punching a pile of paper in a rage. True story. I would therefore elect to punch a small person with a nice, soft face. Napoleon, maybe?

Judging by that answer, can I assume that your delightfully gritty fight scenes are not based on any personal experience?

I held a sword for the first time not very long ago, and it was quite a scary experience. You could feel how easy it would be to kill someone with it. I was slightly worried I would accidentally kill someone by moving my arm around quite gently. Makes you feel like a big man, though.

Alexandre Dumas wrote his nonfiction on rose-colored paper, his fiction on blue, and his poetry on yellow. Do you have any little rituals that help you write?

Of late I have attempted to impose discipline onto my process, by working in two two hour blocks each day, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, in which I only write, do not use the internet, and ignore all distractions. The rest of the day I am free to do whatever I like, replacing the old system of working at an incredibly low and inefficient level all the time, and feeling guilty whenever I wasn't writing while only actually really writing for about five minutes each day. The first day I tried it I wrote about four thousand words, responded to about a hundred emails, cleaned half the house and went to the gym, and I thought my life was changed. But it seems I am finding it harder and harder to commit to those magic two hour periods. Something always gets in the way.

I recently made a joke about Transition Putty on my blog. That being, of course, what we writers buy at Home Depot to smooth out our rough transitions. If you could have some sort of handyman tool like that, something like Plot Spackle or a Character Level, what would it be?

Once you've applied the transition putty and given it good time to set, can I also suggest an orbital segue sander. I find one of those with a really fine paper can make your transitions so smooth you won't even realize there their. I mean they're there.

I would have a description jackhammer. Dialogue and action come relatively naturally to me but I am sick and tired of the back-breaking effort of digging up all my descriptive passages by hand. I could also use the descripto-hammer to noisily smash up the descriptions of other authors and mix the bits into a kind of low-grade descriptive aggregate. I could then wedge it between sections of dialogue I am otherwise too lazy to link together properly, and I doubt anyone would notice the poor construction quality of my books until they all collapsed in an earthquake, by which time I would have sunk the profits in a hedge fund and be living it up in Bora Bora. Also, enormous power-tools make you feel almost as big a man as swords do.

An ending measure would be useful too, since I could then get a categorical reading on whether the endings of my books are shit or good. Readers don't seem to be able to give me a consistent measurement on that…

Thanks again, Mr. Abercrombie. I really appreciate you taking the time to chat. Not to mention chipping in some lovely books for the fundraiser. '

Least I could do. Pleasure talking to you and best of luck with the fundraising.

* * *

In order to help out with Worldbuilders, Mr. Abercrombie has been nice enough to donate the following lovely books.

  • Three copies of the first edition UK printing of Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold. Signed by the author.

  • Three copies of the first edition USA printing of Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold. Signed by the author.


Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win these books and many, many more. So head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in.

If you want details about what books are being given away, and how the whole fundraiser works, you can go to the main page for the Worldbuilders fundraiser HERE.

Auctions coming soon. Stay tuned.


With special thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.



(Oh Subterranean Press, how I love you...)

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posted by Pat at 36 Comments



Thursday, December 3, 2009
Luring the Draccus





This is a worldbuilders blog.




Let me tell you a little story. A while back, I got a piece of fanmail from a guy named Phil McDarby.

It was a nice e-mail. It had paragraphs and capital letters and punctuation and everything. It was all sorts of classy.

It also said some very nice things about my book, which I always enjoy. Then Phil mentioned that he was an artist and tossed me a link to his site. (I'm not going to link it yet, because if I do, you'll start browsing his page and forget to come back here to the blog.)

I took at look at his website and was amazed. Seriously amazed. I have no graphic ability of my own, so any sort of art is magic to me. But his stuff was above and beyond: gorgeous pictures that were photo-realistic while still being fantastic.

If you hadn't guessed, I'm kind of a fan of realistic/fantastic.

Most notably, I saw a picture called "The Amber Dragon's Horde," which showed a little dragon tiny as a sparrow. It looked like something you'd see in National Geographic.

So I e-mailed Phil back. I thanked him for the lovely note and complimented him on his work. I also said, in passing, "Have you ever given any thought as to what the Draccus might look like?"

Okay, I lie. It wasn't a casual comment at all. I was fishing....

Still, I was surprised when a week later I got an e-mail with a link to something wonderful.

Go on, click it. It's time. Go look at Phil's site. While you're at it, check out The Amber Dragon's Hoard, too.

I'm serious. Go click over there. I'll wait for you to come back...

In the months since then, Phil and I have been getting some stuff ready for you. He made some high-end prints of "Luring the Draccus." They're a limited run of 50 museum quality prints. They're signed by both of us, and I've written a unique quote on each one of them. Some of the quotes are from The Name of the Wind, and some are from The Wise Man's Fear.

If you want to buy one of those numbered prints, he has them up on his site over here.

Now I know some of you might be tempted to squawk about the price. But before you do, you need to realize a few things.

1) This isn't the sort of poster you buy for your dormroom. They're huge, on amazing paper, and printed with a degree of detail I didn't even know was possible outside a photograph. This is some serious high-end art.

2) It's nice for artists to make money off the art they create. Believe it or not, Phil doesn't get any money from you downloading his picture over the interweb. (Yes. I'm looking at you.) I have a publisher that pays to edit, print, and ship my books around. Phil doesn't. He paid for the printing and shipping of these posters by himself. (You don't even want to know what they cost him.)

3) One of these limited posters, 2 of 50 I think, is already for sale over here for a crazy amount of money. Way more than what Phil is charging.

4) Phil is letting me use his art to do a run of smaller posters exclusively for the Worldbuilders fundraiser.

My posters aren't nearly as posh as the limited edition ones. They're smaller, and we've had to crop the image a bit. But still, I'm really happy with how they turned out.

Here's a picture of one next to the paperback, so you can have a sense of scale....


(Click to Embiggen. It's awesome.)

A copy of Luring the Draccus will be $40. I've even got a silvery pen I'm using to sign it.

All the proceeds go to Heifer International, of course. Personally, I think they'd make great Christmas gifts....

  • If you're in the US, shipping will be $8.00. We'll be sending it to you in a sturdy, hermetically sealed cardboard tube. That's right. The great god Hermes Trismegistus will perform vast and terrible magics on your package to ensure its safety. Plus we'll use a whole lot of tape.
  • You can order as many posters as you like and the shipping will remain the same.






Luring the Draccus - USA





  • If you're somewhere else in the world, shipping will be $28 no matter how many you buy. So making a group order with some friends is probably a good idea. That is, if you have any friends. If you don't have any friends, you might want to console yourself by buying an extra poster.






Draccus:International Shipping





I have about 150 posters. When I was ordering them, that seemed like a really extravagant amount. But given that we sold out all my first edition copies of NOTW in three days, it could be that I've underestimated people's enthusiasm for the fundraiser.

What it comes down to is this, I'll print more posters if we need them, but that will take time. For now it's first come, first serve.

Thank you all for helping to make this year's fundraiser such an instant success. We're only four days in and we've already hit almost 13,000 dollars. I'm stunned.


See you later space cowboys,

pat

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posted by Pat at 60 Comments




A Plenitude of Signed Books

Here's the first batch of books donated by my brethren and sistren fantasy authors. Lovely books donated by lovely people.

If you don't know about the Worldbuilders fundraiser yet and want to know how you can win these delicious prizes, you can head over here for the details.



I've talked about Lev's lovely book before on the blog. So rather than repeat myself, I think I'll just put up a link to that blog if you're curious about what I had to say.

But really, do you need to listen to me when George RR Martin is slinging around praise like this? "The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish Whiskey is to a glass of weak tea."



Katharine Kerr donated some lovely things to the fundraiser this year. You'll be seeing one of her manuscripts in the first round of auctions this weekend.

Kirkus Reviews says, "In this hefty tome, Kerr turns from Celtic-tinged fantasy to sweepingly far-future adventure on an alien world. The plot is built around Jezro Khan, the exiled brother of the corrupt ruler of Kazrajistan, an Islamic society... "



Booklist says that Snares is, "..set on the borderline between sf and fantasy. It deals with Maggie Cory and the ups and downs of her and her descendants through five generations in an alternative San Francisco in which the 1960s were the prelude to a revolution... The novel has more northern California literary flavor than Kerr's previous work, but it also features most of her superior skills at characterization, world building, and graceful language."



From Booklist, "Kerr has written it up to her usual standard, which is among the highest for Celtic-derived fantasy sagas currently in progress. Faithful fans will be gratified, and any newcomers intrigued by this tale can retreat to its predecessors without fear of being disappointed."

  • A hardcover set of The Iron Dragon Series: The Golden Cord and The Dragon Hunters by Paul Genesse. Signed by the author.


New York Times Bestseller Michael Stackpole says, "Taut suspense and fantastic imagery make The Dragon Hunters a tale no fantasy fan will want to miss."



Here we have a bit of a treat. Not only is this a signed ARC of a book (Advanced Reading Copy.) But this book isn't even out on the shelves yet. That's right, you can use it to taunt your friends and make your enemies jealous. You can read it before it even hits the shelves, and with a blurb like the one below, you know you want to....

"SILVER is a wild combination of Indiana Jones, The Da Vinci Code, and The Omen. Read this book...before the world ends." -- Kevin J Anderson

  • A hardcover set of The Crossroads Trilogy: Spirit Gate, Shadow Gate, and Traitors' Gate by Kate Elliott. Signed by the author.


One of my fellow DAW authors, Kate has donated a full hardcover set of her Crossroads trilogy. Fantasy Book Critic calls it "...Elliott’s best work and is highly recommended to both fans of the author and any readers who appreciate fantasy in the vein of Robin Hobb, Jacqueline Carey, and J.V. Jones..."



Publisher's Weekly gave this one a starred review, saying, "Editor Scalzi and four well-known writers thoughtfully postulate the evolution of cities, transcending post-apocalyptic cliches to envision genuinely new communities and relationships. [...] Each story shines on its own; as a group they reinforce one another, building a multifaceted view of a realistic and hopeful urban future."



Romantic times says How Not to Make a Wish is, "Fresh and often hysterically funny, this story also has a solid emotional core. Heroine Kira's first-person perspective keeps it all real for the reader."

  • A copy of the uncorrected proof for Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. Signed by the author.


Another one of those sexy ARC's. I've heard good things about this one, and it's in my own personal to-read pile. I've heard it referred to as fairy tale noir. I wish I could come up with a sexy description like that for my book.

Publisher's weekly says, "Singer-songwriter McGuire adeptly infuses her debut with hardboiled sensibilities and a wide array of mythological influences, set against a moody San Francisco backdrop. October Toby Daye is half-human, half-faerie, a changeling PI with a foot in both worlds."



Romantic Times says nightlife is: "Tightly plotted and fast-paced, this book is full of twists and turns that take the reader for one heck of a ride."




I've heard this book described as, "A comedy of errors with mistaken identities ambiguous sexuality, skate god stage geeks, ... and true love." What more really needs to be said?

Well, maybe this blurb from Publisher's weekly: "Evocative of Boy Meets Boy and Dramarama, this makes for fun, thought-provoking reading."



"Displaying an enviable gift for pacing and action, Battles's debut novel is a page-turner that may remind some readers of the cult TV spy series Alias... Admirers of quality espionage fiction can look forward to a new series worth following." - Publishers Weekly

  • A hardcover copy of The Deceived by Brett Battles. Signed by the author.


BookList says, this is is a "tightly written page-turner, filled with tradecraft and offering as much action as a James Bond film... a wild ride."



  • Three ARCs of the The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas. US release date: February 2010.


Stephen Deas is a hell of a nice guy. We had dinner when I was in London a while back, and the fact that I haven't gotten around to reading his book fills me with constant shame.

Stephen also send along some of the new ARC's for the US version of the book, as it's not out here in the states yet. He's also sent along a couple copies of the UK version. For people who like their color spelled colour.

  • One trade and one hardcover of The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas. Signed by the author.


Wait, what? He's got a Joe Abercrombie blurb on his book? Man.... I don't have an Abercrombie quote. Now I only feel half as guilty...

If an Abercrombie quote isn't enough for you, Brent Weeks says it's, "A stirring debut. Stephen Deas's dragons are inscrutable, beautiful, magical, unstoppable... and really, really pissed off."


Remember, every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International gives you a chance to win these books and hundreds of others, so head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in.

Or, if you want to go back to main page for the Worldbuilders fundraiser, you can click HERE.


With special thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.



(Woo!)

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posted by Pat at 23 Comments



Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Subterranean Press Prizes

This blog lists generous donations made to the Worldbuilders fundraiser by:




If you want details about the fundraiser itself, you should read the blog HERE.



I've known the folks at Subterranean Press for a long while.
Bill Schafer contacted me barely two weeks after The Name of the Wind hit the shelves and asked if I'd like to contribute a story to an anthology. It was one of the first clues I had that I might have done something right with my first book.

Subterranean Press publishes gorgeous books. Beautiful paper. Beautiful bindings. Stuff by great authors. Stuff that's out of print. Stuff by Neil Gaiman, Tim Powers, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury....

The last time I bought stuff off their website, I looked at my shopping cart and found myself thinking, "Next time I sell them a story, I should just negotiate my contract in store credit and save them the trouble of sending me a check."

Last year Bill stunned me with his generosity, donating over $8,000 in books to the fundraiser. This year, he stunned me again, donating almost three times as many books. Beautiful hardcovers. Many of them limited editions. Many of them signed.

What's more, he's helping Worldbuilders match donations this year. That's right, Subterranean Press will be providing funds to match 50% of the first 10,000 dollars donated this year.

This has earned him an eternal place in my heart, because it makes it much less likely that I'll have to sell my house to match the donations this year.

Alright. Enough ebullience. Let's look at some books.










(Are these cool covers or what?)


I'm a huge Tim Powers fan. Last Call was the book that really convinced me how brilliant he was, and the sequels are just as good.

I have it on good authority that owning these books will give you the strength of ten men, cure any illness afflicting you, and grant you eternal youth.


If you don't believe me, then how about trusting the Los Angeles Daily News when they say Last Call is "Riveting...lyrical and brutal...a thrilling tale of gambling, fate and fantastic adventure."




Subterranean Press describes The Terror as "a rigorously researched historical novel and a compelling homage to one of the seminal SF/Horror films of the 1950s. It is popular fiction of the highest order, the kind of intense, wholly absorbing epic only Dan Simmons could have written."


Joe Hill's a new writer who already has more than a few accolades to his name, including beating me out for Best Debut Novel in the Locus Awards last year.

I really enjoyed his book Heart Shaped Box, and while I haven't read Locke and Key, Publisher's Weekly says that it "...delivers on all counts, boasting a solid story bolstered by exceptional work from Chilean artist Rodriguez."




Library Journal says the Onion Girl is "set in a modern world that borders on a dimension of myth and legend, de Lint highlights the life of one of his most popular characters. A master storyteller, he blends Celtic, Native American, and other cultures into a seamless mythology that resonates with magic and truth."
This is a collection of five stories written by King and adapted to film: Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (film version: The Shawshank Redemption), 1408, Children of the Corn, The Mangler and Low Men in Yellow Coats (film version: Hearts in Atlantis). Each story includes an introduction and commentary by King himself.


I'm sure many of you already know about John Scalzi through his blog Whatever. If not, I'd suggest you read this book to get to know him, but you might not have enough light to make out the text where you live, under what is undoubtedly a heavy, heavy rock.

Publisher's Weekly says: "If J. G. Ballard and H. P. Lovecraft had ever collaborated on a space opera, the results might have been like this: ferociously inventive, painfully vivid, dispassionately bleak and dreadfully memorable."


Bookslist reports that, "Dahlquist’s sequel to The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters (2007) is dark indeed... fans of Tobsha Learner’s Soul (2008) and Jonathan Barnes' Somnambulist (2008) will enjoy this surreal Victorian journey into the nightmarish possibilities of mind swapping"


Where Everything Ends
is a collection of three of Ray Bradbury's classical detective stories: Death is a Lonely Business, A Graveyard for Lunatics, and Let's All Kill Constance.

On a personal note, I have to tell you that
when I read Death is a Lonely Business ten years ago, it rocked my world. I grew up reading Bradbury, and I expect a lot from his work. Even so, it still knocked me over.

I didn't even know about the third book in this series right now. Is it legal for me to donate money to my own fundraiser with the hopes that I'll win something? Probably not. I'm kinda dodgy, and I'd probably rig things so I'd win.

Anyway, you don't have to take my word that this is an awesome book. Green Man Review says that it's "a trio of fine detective novels (together with the short story that provided the starting point) from Bradbury in his inimitable style. He plays with the conventions, but since he so obviously loves the genre, this is easily forgiven — embraced, even — because the end results are, simply put, fine additions to the canon."


Remember, every 10 dollars you donate gives you a chance to win these and hundreds of other cool prizes, so head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in.

Want more details about how it all works? Check out the Worldbuilder's blog HERE.

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posted by Pat at 14 Comments




Pat's donations and the Golden Ticket

This blog is part of the Worldbuilders fundraiser. If you want details about the fundraiser itself, click the picture below.




Okay folks. Worldbuilders is kinda my baby. So I guess I should donate my books first.

Here's what I'm throwing into the mix:

  • 5 signed hardcover copies of the Name of the Wind.




These are anywhere from 2nd printing to 6th printing, all with the sexy new blue cover.

  • 3 copies of the College Survival Guide. Signed by me and the illustrator.




This book was my first publication, and it's a shameful piece of my sordid past. It's a collection of of humor columns I wrote for the college paper between 1999 and 2003. Columns dealt with pressing philosophical issues such as the fast zombies/slow zombies debate as well as everyday problems like how to bribe your professor or start a career as a prostitute.

The book is full of illustrations by BJ Hiorns, the same guy that illustrates my blog. It also contains annotations where I explain how some columns got written, the lies I told, and what sort of trouble various jokes got me into.

Only 500 copies were printed, so the Guide is hard to come by these days. Collectors sell them for as much as 200 bucks. Myself, I think it's perfect for reading on the toilet.

  • 2 First edition copies of the Name of the Wind. Signed by me.




Both of these with the out-of-print covers. One with the green man (above) and one with the Fabio. You wouldn't believe what some people are charging for these things out there.

  • 3 Copies of Tales of Dark Fantasy. Signed by me.




This is the Subterranean Press anthology that printed my short story, "The Road to Levinshir," which is an excerpt from The Wise Man's Fear.

It also has some great stories by folks like Tim Powers and Kage Baker. It's a beautiful hardcover book, and the cover price was $40, and that was back before it sold out. Now it's hard to find one for less than 80 bucks.

  • 1 Copy of the original galley for The Name of the Wind. Signed by me.




A galley is an early version of a book that publishers occasionally print in order to promote a book. This version of the book was before the final edits, so there are about 5000 small changes I made before publication, as well as two chapters that I re-wrote almost entirely.

There weren't that many of these printed, and the last one of them I saw on e-bay was going for over a hundred dollars. The few signed ones out there are going for more than that...

  • The Golden Ticket.




I've thought long and hard about what sort of big prize I could offer this year. Last year I donated one of my old editorial manuscripts. But I'm aware that while collectors might think that sort of thing is cool, not everyone is interested.

I could offer to put your name in book two, but not everyone who's donating to the fundraiser is a fan of mine. I could offer to critique your manuscript and give you feedback, but not everyone is working on a novel....

So here's what I've decided. If you win this prize, I will owe you one (1) favor. You can cash it in however you like.

You want your name in book two? We can do that. You want me to read your book and give you some criticism? No problem. You want me to attend your local convention, perform your wedding ceremony, or just give you a nice backrub? Consider it done.

A few stipulations:

  • The favor has to be legal. (More or less.)
  • It has to be something I can actually do. (Duh)
  • I can't make anyone fall in love.

Other than that, I'll do my best to grant your wish. Personally, I'm really curious as to what the winner will come up with...


Remember, every 10 dollars you donate gives you a chance to win these and hundreds of other cool books, so head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in.

Want to go back to main page for Worldbuilders? Click HERE.


And, as always, special thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.



(All Hail Subterranean Press!)

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posted by Pat at 16 Comments




Worldbuilders FAQ - (And a critique of Batman)

This is the FAQ for the Worldbuilder's fundraiser. If you have a question, please check to see f the answer is here before sending me a message.

If you want details about the fundraiser, click HERE.

  • "When does the Fundraiser end?"
January 15th. Make sure to make your donations before then to take advantage of matching funds and to be included in the prize lottery.

  • "I love that you're doing this. Can I post about this on my blog?"
Nothing would make me happier. The fundraiser depends on everyone spreading the word. Tell your friends on Myspace. Twitter it. Post up a link of facebook. The more the merrier.

That said, I would prefer if you would link to my blog, rather than trying to copy-and-paste my post. That page gets updated whenever we get new prizes or something changes, so it's best if people go there to get the newest information.

  • "How can I be a Worldbuilders sponsor like Subterranean Press?"
If you're really interested, drop me a message at Paperback.contest (squiggly at thinger) gmail.com

  • "What's our current donation total?"

Click Here to Donate

  • "I plan on donating to Heifer Int'l this year as a gift to my parents. In the past, donating directly, I received a card verifying the donation. If I donate through your page will I still receive the same type of gift card/verification?"
For those of you who are new to Heifer, this is the card he's talking about:




(Click to Embiggen)

Heifer has sent me a bunch of the gift cards. If you've donated on my page and you want one of the cards. Drop me an e-mail at paperback.contest [squigly atsign thinger] gmail.com and I'll mail one (or more) out to you.

  • "Can I donate to Heifer International using paypal?"
Nope. Sorry. But if you have Paypal, I'm guessing you have a credit card. You can use that to donate directly onto my page.

  • "I don't have a credit card. If I mail you a check will you enter me in the lottery and match my donation?"
Absolutely.

  • "Can I send you cash?"
Muahahahahah....

Um.... Wait. No. You really shouldn't. It's just risky all around.

However, if you don't have a checking account or a credit card, you could get a money order and send that to me. I'll enter you in the lottery, and double your donation.

  • "If your name goes into the lottery hat multiple times, can you win multiple prizes? The first prize your name is drawn for? The Coolest prize your name is drawn for? How will that work?"
Here's how it will work.

Say you donate 120 dollars, enough for a goat.



Your name would go into the final drawing 12 times. Then, if we draw your name out of the hat and you win a signed book, your name is still in there 11 times for the rest of the drawing.

That means you could, conceivably, win 12 prizes.

You bet. Personally, I can't think of a better way of keeping The Man away from your money.

  • "I have something I'd like to donate to your lottery option. Where can I send it?"
Well... before you drop that macrame owl into the mail, why don't you drop me an e-mail at Paperback.contest (squiggly at thinger) gmail.com and tell me what you're thinking of sending.

It's not that I don't appreciate your generosity, and it's not that I have anything against macrame. Or owls. It's just that right now we kind of have a tight focus of things we're giving away as prizes. It's mostly SFF books with a little associated music. For now, I think it might be best if we keep that focus.

  • "How come you didn't invite me to donate a book to your fundraiser? Isn't my book good enough for you?"
If I know you and I didn't send you a request, it's probably because I don't feel like I know you well enough to come begging for donations. I know this is hard to believe, but I am kinda bashful about things like that.

The other possibility is that I lost your e-mail, or that it just slipped my mind. I do have a new baby in the house, and things are kinda Chaotic around here.

But if you've got a book or an ARC you think would fit in into the mix, I'd love to include it. Send it to:

Pat Rothfuss
P.O BOX 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481

  • "How come you're only matching 50% of the donations this year? Last year you matched everything dollar for dollar."
While last year was fun, it kinda used up all my money. When I donated that 58,000 dollars, it left me pretty much broke.

Because of some foreign sales (Thanks Germany!) I managed to pay my taxes and put some more money in the bank. But I worry that if the fundraiser takes off again this year, I'll have to sell my house or something to match all the donations.

Plus I have a baby now. I've got to be a little bit of a grown-up and save some money on Oot's behalf.

  • "Can I do some fundraising of my own, then donate it and have you match it?"
By all means. Have a bakesale. Search under the couch cushions at your friends' houses. Show people at work the website then pass the hat. I'm matching donations from any and all who want to chip in.

But make sure you get it in by January 15th. And make sure you donate through THE PAGE I SET UP. That's the only way I can track donations.

  • "I can buy chicks on your page, but not baby ducks!"

Yeah. They don't offer all the different options on the donor pages. The cost of a flock of ducks is the same as for the chicks: $20.

"How much of my donation to Heifer goes to actually helping people?"
This is a fair question. A lot of so-called charities are actually just scams that collect money, then use a very small amount of it for the intended purpose.

But trust me that I've done my research. Heifer is an award-winning charity for a reason. They've been doing good works for over 60 years.

Heifer keeps all its financial records available to the public, and 75% of everything it collects go directly toward helping people.

Here's a nice visual breakdown from Heifer's site.




You can see here that less than seven percent of their money goes toward administration. That's exceptional.

  • "I love that you're willing to donate to charity. Would you match my donation to [insert name of charity here] instead?"
Everyone has their favorite charity. As I said a year ago when I started the first fundraiser, I know there are a lot of good causes out there, and people have very personal attachments to them. Emotions run high in these areas.

Someone contacted me asking about animal shelters, another about diabetes. A third person posted a comment on the blog, arguing that people living in the US shouldn't give money to charities that support causes outside the US. I erased the post because it was harshing my groove, then I felt guilty about it because the person was very polite in making their point.

But here's what I'm getting at. I think it's important not to go all Bruce Wayne in these situations.

Follow along with me on this. Bruce Wayne's folks were killed by criminals, so he grows up and becomes Batman in order to fight crime. Because he hates crime. Because his parents were killed by crime.

Now I like Batman as much as the next guy. Good stories. Batarangs. Men in tights. He's probably my favorite superhero.

But the fact is, his whole Batman deal is pretty self-indulgent.

Think about it. Dude is a multi-billionaire. If he wanted to make the world a better place, he could create a foundation 100 times bigger than Heifer International. He could build shelters for battered women, schools in low-income neighborhoods. Sustainable agriculture. Renewable energy.

What does he do with his money? He builds super-gadgets so he can fight crime. Drives a rocket car.

Yes I know that Bruce Wayne is also a philanthropist. Don't quibble. He does a tiny bit of charity, and a whole big shitload of being Batman.

Why? Well... because it wouldn't be much of a comic if he didn't. But the other answer is, he fights crime because it makes him feel good. Not because it does good. There's a difference.

Cancer got my mom not too long ago, and it took a good hard swing at my dad, too. That means that I should be raising money for cancer research because I hate cancer, right?

Well.... no. Do I hate cancer? Of course. But if I just focused on fighting cancer for the rest of my life, I'd kind of be doing it for selfish reasons. Instead, I'd rather focus on making people's lives better. I'd like to focus on doing good, then let the feeling good be the side effect.

That's why I'm focusing on Heifer. They help people all over the world, not just here in the US. Why? Because people all over the world have it really shitty and they need help. To say that some people deserve my help more just because they're from the same country.... Nah. That's not my game. I'm playing for team human, not team USA.

Does that make sense? Wait.... What was the question again?

Oh. Yeah. Will I match donations somewhere else instead of Heifer? Respectfully, I'll pass. I'm not saying you should stop loving your charity. But I've put some thought into this, and I'm going to stick with Heifer for now.


If you have questions that aren't answered here, post them in the comments below and I'll answer them as soon as I'm able...

To go back to the main Worldbuilders page, click HERE.


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posted by Pat at 17 Comments




Personalized books for sale

[This is a blog about the Worldbuilder's fundraiser. If you don't know what that is, you can get the details HERE.]

Over the last couple months, people have been contacting me, asking if I'm still signing books like I mentioned in my blog from long ago.

The simple answer is, "yes." You mail me the book, something cool, and a check for return postage, and I'll sign your book.

But for the Worldbuilders fundraiser, I'm streamlining the process. Rather than having you pay shipping both ways, you can just buy a book, I'll sign it however you like, then I'll ship it back to you. Hopefully in time for Christmas.

I can inscribe any of the following books however you like and mail them off to you.





These are anywhere from the second printing to the 6th printing. All of them have the cool new blue cover. Signed however you like.

  • Your College Survival Guide.




This book was my first publication, and it's a shameful piece of my sordid past. It's a collection of of humor columns I wrote for the college paper between 1999 and 2003. Columns dealt with pressing philosophical issues such as the fast zombies/slow zombies debate as well as everyday problems like how to bribe your professor or start a career as a prostitute.

The book is full of illustrations by BJ Hiorns, the same guy that illustrates my blog. It also contains annotations where I explain how some columns got written, the lies I told, and what sort of trouble various jokes got me into

Only 500 copies were printed, so the Guide is hard to come by these days. Collectors sell them for as much as 200 bucks. Myself, I think it's perfect for reading on the toilet.

  • First edition copies of the Name of the Wind. [SOLD OUT]




I've got about 20 of these. Some with the green man cover (above) some with the Fabio, and some that have been re-covered with the blue jackets. You wouldn't believe what some people are charging for these things out there.

I can sign this however you like, but make sure to specify in your order which cover you'd like.

Edit: As of December 3rd, I've run out of the first editions. They went WAY more quickly than I'd ever guessed. If I can find some more, I'll put them up here again. But for now we're sold out. Sorry.

If you mailed in your order, and it's postmarked on the 3rd or earlier, I'll should have enough books to cover your order. But if your mailed-in order has a later postmark than that, we'll contact you contact you and see what you'd like done with your check.


  • Tales of Dark Fantasy.




This is the Subterranean Press anthology that printed my short story, "The Road to Levinshir," which is an excerpt from The Wise Man's Fear.

It's a beautiful hardcover book with stories by folks like Tim Powers and Kage Baker. The cover price was $40, and that was back before it went out of print. Now it's hard to find one for less than 80 bucks.

  • Original galley proofs of The Name of the Wind.




A galley is an early version of a book that publishers occasionally print to promote a book. This version of The Name of the Wind came before the final edits, so there are about 5000 small changes I made before publication, as well as two chapters that I re-wrote almost entirely.

There weren't that many of these printed, and I have a handful that I kept for sentimental reasons. The last one of them I saw on e-bay was going for over a hundred dollars, and that was a year ago. The few signed ones out there are going for more than that...

  • Please be aware that I have limited copies of these. So they might sell out kinda fast depending on how many people are interested.
For the most part, prices for the books are double what they cost me, plus a little for packaging. I can get a 6th edition hardcover for 20 bucks, so they're up there for 45. Tales of Dark Fantasy is out of print, and would cost me 50 bucks off Amazon, so they're going for 105....

The reason for this is that it's in keeping with the fundraiser matching donations. If someone buys a book from me for 20 dollars and then I donate the money. They really haven't donated. They just bought a book. Follow me?

And remember, all the money goes to Heifer.

* Signed hardcover - $45

* Signed copy of Your College Survival Guide - $85

* Signed copy of Tales of Dark Fantasy - $105

* Signed First Edition Hardcover - $145 [Sold out.]

* Signed galley proof - $255


You can pay one of two ways:

  • By Mail:

1. Write the following information on a 3 x 5 note card:

A) Which item you want.

B) EXACTLY what you'd like me to write in the book.

I have no problem personalizing books, but please be specific about what you'd like. Asking for a quote from Bast is fine. Asking me to wish someone luck in their own writing is fine. "Happy Birthday Schmendrick." "To the best lover I've ever had." It's all good.

But if your card says, "write whatever you want." I will write, "Whatever you want" in the book. Seriously.

C) Your return address.

D) Contact information. Either a phone number or an e-mail address where you can be reached.

2. Include a check. Make it out to me because I'll be using a couple bucks from each one to cover postage before I make the lump donation to Heifer at the end of the fundraiser.

3. Mail the note card and the check to:

Pat Rothfuss
P.O. Box 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481


Rules for International orders:

If you live outside the US and want to buy a book, the rules are a little different. International shipping is expensive, and you need to fill out your check a certain way or my bank won't cash it.

It costs me about $25 dollars to ship a book internationally. Every additional book in the same package adds $10 to the cost of shipping.

So here's what you do:

1) Add the extra 25 dollars (or more, if you have more books) to the prices I've listed above.

2) Add three bucks to cover the fee that the bank is going to charge me to cash your check.

3) Convert it into your local currency. (euros, pounds, rupees, whatever)

4) Write me a check using your local currency. (This is important. Don't write me a check in dollars if that isn't what they use where you live.)

5) Mail it off to me with the other information I've asked for written on a notecard.

  • By Paypal
You can pay online with paypal. But make sure you include your contact information and detailed signing instructions with your order.

Note: When you pay on paypal. Make sure you include how you want me to sign the book BEFORE YOU COMPLETE YOUR TRANSACTION. Seriously. Look around, find the little area where you can add extra instructions and put your signing instructions in there.




Choose Which Book You'd Like...






That's all we've got for now, folks. Hopefully before too long we'll have t-shirts and posters for sale too. Keep an eye on the blog.

Want to go back to main page for Worldbuilders? Click HERE.



As always, special thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.



(All Hail Subterranean Press!)

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posted by Pat at 25 Comments




Worldbuilders 2009

What's that you say? You'd like to make the world a better place while simultaneously winning fabulous prizes?



Well today is your lucky day.

Heifer International is my favorite charity. It helps people raise themselves up out of poverty and starvation. All over the world Heifer promotes education, sustainable agriculture, and local industry.

They don't just keep kids from starving, they make it so families can take care of themselves. They give goats, sheep, and chickens to families so their children have milk to drink, warm clothes to wear, and eggs to eat.




(Are you ready? I'm so ready. Let's do it.)


This year we've got a couple different options for donating.


Option 1 – The Lottery.

This is the option most people will want. It's simple. You hop directly over to the page I've set up at Team Heifer, and donate.

When you donate using my page at team Heifer, two things happen.

1. Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation. That means your ten-dollar donation becomes fifteen dollars. If you donate two goats, it becomes three goats. And so on.

2. You'll be entered in the lottery.

After the fundraiser is over on January 15th, we'll have random drawing for all the swag that's been donated by authors and publishers over the last couple months. More than a thousand books, DVD's and CD's.

For every 10 bucks you donate, your name will get entered into the drawing once. If you donate thirty bucks, your name goes in three times. Think of it as buying tickets, if you like.

We've had *way* too many books donated for me to post them all up at once. It's a prize-rich environment, with over a thousand books.

So I'll be putting up a new blog full of donated books pretty much every day or so, just to keep people from being overwhelmed with all the awesome. Make sure to check back often.


Last year we raised 114,000 dollars for Heifer International. I'm hoping this year we can do even better.

Dec 1st - Fundraiser begins.
Dec 3rd - 10,000 dollars raised.
Dec 10th - 25,000 dollars raised.
Dec 25th - 50,000 dollars raised.
Jan 1st - 76,000 dollars raised. [Last year's total beaten! Woo!]
Jan 6th - 90,000 dollars raised.
Jan 10th - 100,000 dollars raised.


Well folks, we've got about five days left to the fundraiser, and I've re-set the thermometer for what I'm guessing is going to be the last time.

$106836.28 may seem like kind of a strange target, but I assure you it's significant. It's exactly twice the amount that people donated last year. If we can raise it, I think we'll have pretty conclusive proof for the stunning awesomeness of us.

Personally, I think we can make it. But remember, the fundraiser is over at the end of January 15th. So if you're been waiting to chip in, now's the time.





Option Two: The Sure Thing.

Or, as I like to think of it, the Christmas Present option.

For those of you who aren't interested in the lottery, I have some stuff you can just buy. All the proceeds will go directly to Heifer International.

  • Worldbuilders T-shirts. [Sorry, not this year.]

Option Three: Auctions.

This year we've decided to auction off some of the rarer items and specialized services people have donated.

We've got industry professionals willing to read your fledgling manuscript and give you feedback. We've got a limited edition Stardust ARC signed by Neil Gaiman and a copy of The Gathering Storm signed by Brandon Sanderson and the production team at Tor. We've got original manuscripts, software, and a rockstar's guitar. Stay tuned for details.


A Quick Plea For Sanity

Lastly, I'd like to ask everyone to please read the instructions/directions carefully before they donate.

I know you're excited. I'm excited too. We're going to raise some money, make the world a better place, and end up with big warm fuzzy feelings.

But here's the problem. If you're *too* excited, you'll end up clicking buttons all higgledy-piggledy, forgetting vital steps and leaving things out. (Especially when buying things with Paypal) Then you'll send me an e-mail that says something like: "I'm sorry, but I forgot to include my shipping address/t-shirt size/signing instructions. Could you please fix it for me?"

I know I'm bound to get one or two e-mails like this. No biggie. But each one is like a cold drop of water eroding my warm fuzzy feeling. If I get, say, a hundred, I'll have no warm fuzzy left at all. I'll be left with nothing but a cold prickly feeling.

You don't want to give me a cold prickly, do you?

I'm sure you don't. And I'm sure that you'll read the instructions carefully.


FAQ.

Have questions about the fundraiser? Most of them are probably answered over in the FAQ. Even if your question isn't answered, I talk about Batman a bit, so it won't be a complete waste of your time.

And, just in case you missed it, here's the link to the Team Heifer donation page.


Rock on,

pat


Special thanks to our sponsor: Subterranean Press.



(Huzzah for Subterranean Press! Double Huzzah!)

Labels: ,

posted by Pat at 41 Comments



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