Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Home again, home again....

... jiggedy jig.

After about two solid weeks on the road, I'm back at home.

I really didn't plan on doing so many signings on this trip. But I seem to have a knack for starting things that I think will be small and having them spiral rapidly out of control.

Still, now I know I can do a reading/signing a day and not burn out. It was actually a lot of fun. In fact, if I hadn't been driving about six hours a day on top of that, it would have been downright relaxing.

The upshot is that it's much more likely I'll try to do a bit of a tour when book two comes out...

All the signings went remarkably well, by which I mean nobody threw anything at me or left the room crying halfway through. We got about a hundred people at each store, (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less) which really surprised me, as we kinda threw this whole thing together at the last minute. I'm still more than a little baffled by the fact that some people are willing to drive 2-3 hours to come see me read and get their book signed.

What were the signings like? About what you'd expect:



(Click to Embiggen)

More details in a day or so. Right now I'm still catching up on my sleep and wading through the last of my accumulated e-mail...

pat

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Monday, March 15, 2010
On the Road

Dear Pat,

I won't be able to make any of your readings over the next two weeks, but I was wondering. How do you get ready for something like that? I've done a little public speaking in the past, and it terrifies me. I can't help but think that it must be a million times worse if you're reading your own stuff to a huge roomful of people.

So that's my question. What does an author do to get ready for a public reading?

Best of luck on your trip.

Dan

The truth is Dan, I've wondered the same thing myself.

I mean, I know how *I* get ready for a reading. But I wonder what other authors go through when they're getting ready.

A lot of authors I've talked to admit to having public speaking jitters. Some of them downright hate it. But that's not a problem for me. Public speaking is old hat. I've done commencement addresses, sermons, lectures, and more panels than you can shake a stick at.

Plus I used to do improv comedy. And let me tell you, after you've done improv comedy, no other type of public speaking will ever scare you. It's like a trial by fire.

In general, I imagine other authors think about regular things before a signing tour. They worry about who's going to show up, or what they're going to read. Maybe they dither over what sort of shirt they're going to wear.

Me, I worry about my hair.

At least that's what I've been doing for the last several days. I'm about to leave on a little signing tour, 8 readings in 9 days. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm looking forward to seeing who shows up.

The problem is, I haven't had a haircut in about 8 months. It's something that never occurs to me until I have to make a public appearance. Normally every 3-4 months I'm forced to brush up against the edges of civilization. I go to a convention, or a wedding, or something, and so I get a haircut to clean myself up for that.

But lately I've been so busy with revisions and the new baby that I haven't done any of those things. And that means almost a whole year without a haircut. That means that I look like a cross between a hobo, John the Baptist come out of the desert, and a particularly shaggy Muppet. I look, in fact, like one of those green men statues. Except not green.

Normally I'm fine with this. But when I make public appearances I feel bad showing up looking all wodwo. I feel like if people show up to see me, I should try to groom myself down to the point where I won't frighten small children.

But here's the problem. This week when I tried to make an appointment for a haircut with the only person I trust to cut my hair and beard... but she couldn't fit me in to her schedule. And I can't trust some random barber. Last time I did that the fucker sheared me like a fucking sheep.

So now, the day before I drive off to do my signings, I'm faced with an awful choice. Show up looking like the crazy guy at the bus station, or risk a haircut that would make a prison barber wince. I still haven't decided...

The other thing that I think about before I go on a trip like this is what I'm going to listen to in the car. I've become a sucker for audiobooks lately, and this trip is going to put me behind the wheel for almost 40 hours.

So I've got a return question for some of you out there. Do you have any good audiobooks to recommend? I've already listened to everything by David Sedaris, Neil Gaiman, and Garrison Keillor.

Here. I'll start things out with a recommendation or two of my own.


The BBC dramatization of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.




These BBC audio productions of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are really great. What's even better is that they contain different materials than the original books. That means even if you know your the source material inside and out, you can still be pleasantly surprised.

The later ones weren't done my Adams himself. But I have to say (and this is something that you will probably never *ever* hear me say again) I liked the ending of the final audiobook better than I like the ending of Adam's original novel.

I know. Blasphemy.

Anyway. Trust me. These are brilliant. Share and enjoy.


Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde.



I listened to this just recently, and I was absolutely blown away by it.

That said, I don't know how I'd describe the entirety of it to someone.

It's funny without being goofy. It's clever without being pretentious. It's original without being desperate. And it has an element of what I consider the divine ridiculousness: a delightful, subtle, strangeness that is funny while still touching on some underlying truth.

I feel like I should say more about it, but I can't think of what else to say. Except, perhaps, that it's probably the best book I've read in a year or so. And Sarah really liked it too, if that sways you at all...

So what about you guys? Do y'all have any good audiobooks that you can recommend? I'm going to need a few more before I'm done with this trip....

P.S. I'm asking for audiobooks, mind you. Don't recommend a book that you liked and you're thinking *would* make a good audiobook. The narrator makes a huge difference in these things, so don't tell me it's good if you haven't listened to it yourself.

pat

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Saturday, March 6, 2010
Coming Soon to a Town Near You! (Offer Not Valid in Towns Not Near You)

As many of you know, a couple of days ago I decided to take a bit of a road trip down to Virginia. And, because I am an accommodating Midwesterner, I thought I might do a reading or two on my way down. So some folks could get their books signed, if they wanted.

When I posted up last week's blog looking for venues, I was hoping to maybe hear from 2 or 3 bookstores or libraries willing to help me throw a couple signings together. Maybe.

I didn't expect to get 30-40 offers. While it was terribly flattering, sorting everything out has been a bit of a logistical puzzle.

But I think I've finally got it all sussed. Here's the current list of times and places where I'll be stopping by to do readings and signings.

[Edit: All signings now confirmed.]


March 16th
7:00pm

Reading and Signing
Borders
348 East State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47906
Phone: 765-743-7775
Website


March 17th
2:00-3:00pm

Signing (No time for a reading here, I'm afraid.)
Josephbeth Book Store
692 Madison Road
Cincinnati OH 45208
Phone: 513-396-8960
Website


March 17th
7:00pm -

Reading and Signing
Josephbeth Book Store
161 Lexington Green Circle
Lexington, KY 40503-3323
Phone: 859-273-2911
Website


March 19
th 6:30pm -

Reading and Signing
Prince Books
109 East Main Street
Norfolk, VA 23510-1691
Phone: 757-622-9223
Website


March 20th
2:00-4:00

Reading and Signing
Books A Million
3312 Princess Anne Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23456

(757) 368-3167


March 22nd 7:00pm -

Reading and Signing
Borders
6701 Frontier Drive
Springfield, VA 22150
Phone: 703-924-4894
Website


March 23rd
7:00pm -

Reading and Signing
Barnes and Noble
5500 Buckeystown Pike (Fixed. Sorry.)
Frederick, MD 21704
Phone: 301-698-0121
Website


March 24th
7:00pm -

Reading and Signing
Joesephbeth Bookseller
24519 Cedar Road
Lyndhurst, OH 44124
Phone: 216-691-7000
Website

As you can see, there's not a lot of time in between those stops. So I probably won't be adding any more stops. I'll hit somewhere in Chicago in maybe a month or two, as that's relatively close to home and I can just drive down there any old time I feel like it.

I've had several people ask, "What exactly do you do at one of these readings?"

So here's the deal.

First, I drink a strong cup of coffee. Something like a white chocolate mocha with two shots of blackberry and four sugars. This is the source of my power. After one or two of these, I look like something out of Kulba Kahn and can lift up a truck.

Second, I hang out a bit and chat with the people that show up early.

Third (Readings only) I spend about an hour reading stuff and answering questions. What I read really depends on what people are in the mood for. Sometimes I read a few humor columns. Sometimes I read a little poetry. Sometimes I read a bit of one of my books.

In between readings I answer questions about pretty much anything. Sometimes I tell stories. Sometimes I give advice. There are occasional descents into madness.

Fourth, I sign books. Generally speaking, I'll write whatever you want in a book: a quote from Bast, a profession of my undying love, a letter of recommendation to grad school.

But it's best if you give me some direction. If you say to me, "Just write whatever..." there is a very real possibility that I will simply write "Whatever" in your book.

I will also try my very best to spell your name correctly. Though sometimes I fuck up.


Caveats and Addendum:

Do not touch my baby. Little Oot will be coming with me to some of these readings and signings. If you see him, you may gaze at him adoringly or coo in his direction. But touching him his not acceptable behavior.

No offense. But I don't you. I don't know where you've been. I don't know if you might be sick, or if you've been around someone sick. You might be a sociopath. You might be from Illinois.

Here's the deal. Oot is my first baby, and I'm very protective of him. So when planning your behavior around him, it would be safest if you thought of him as a tiny bear cub, and me as his momma bear. Any sudden movements or over-familiarity might lead to sudden and terrible wrath.



We clear here? Fair warning.

I occasionally cuss. I try to restrain myself if there are tiny kids present. But if the thought of hearing the word "shit" spoken aloud horrifies you, then... well... you're probably going to be horrified.

My handwriting is not pretty. My handwriting is such that young children mock me for it. Seriously.

You can have a hug if you ask nicely...


...Just don't get all handsy on me.


Lastly, one request. Since I'm scheduling these events not even two weeks ahead of time, there really isn't much time for typical promotion to spread the word about them. Most bookstores won't even be able to get up posters advertising these signings until next week.

So if you know someone that lives in the area who might be interested in coming. I'd be much obliged if you passed the news along to them. It's always so sad when I get an e-mail that says, "I just found out you were in [insert hometown here]! I can't believe I missed it!"


Thanks so much for your help everybody,

pat

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Sunday, February 28, 2010
Upcoming Appearances

For those of that might be interested, I have a couple appearances coming up in the next couple of months. You can see details on the tour page.

I'll be adding more dates to the tour page as new things get scheduled. I'm cutting down on my conventions a little this year because of Oot. But I will be attending PenguiCon this year. (And San Diego Comic Con, if I can somehow get hold of a badge.)

Plus, I'm thinking of taking a little road trip.

You see, Sarah has a family wedding that she really wants to go to down in Virginia Beach. Since I'm not thrilled with the thought of taking Oot on a plane, we're going to be driving down.

This means I'm going to be traveling through a big piece of the US I've never visited before. And whenever that happens, I wonder if there might be a bookstore or a library in the area that would be interested in hosting a reading/signing....

The wedding is on the 21st of March. That doesn't leave us a lot of time....

So here's the deal.

Here are the two potential routes I can take down to Virginia beach:


(Click to Embiggen)

You can also go look at the google map directly if you follow THIS LINK.

If you live in this part of the country and want to help set up a reading/signing there are two options.

Option One:

If you happen to own, manage, or work in a bookstore or library somewhere on this blue line, and you'd like to set up a reading/signing, you should drop me a via the contact form on the webpage.

Option Two:

If you don't manage a bookstore or a library, but you still want to help lure me into your neck of the woods, you could go ask your local bookstore/library to see if they'd like to host an event. Then, if they're interested, you can have them drop me a line. Again, using the contact form.


I know this is a relatively tight timetable, but I think we can make it work.

As an added incentive, if we do set up a reading or two, you can be relatively sure that you'll get to hear a bit of The Wise Man's Fear, as well as get a sneak peek at The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle.

(I'm so friggin excited about this book.)


A few helpful tips:

1. If you post a comment below that says, "Come to Cleveland!1!!!" it will not in any way facilitate my coming to Cleveland.

Like I said above, I need to get in contact with someone who has the authority to set up an event.

1b. Ditto about sending me the phone number of a local bookstore. I just don't have the time to call 100 places and track down the two or three that might be interested. It's way better if YOU call them and ask them. Then, if they're interested, you can send me a message with their contact information.

2. Please take note of the blue line in the map above. If your hometown/bookstore isn't on that blue line, it's going to be a lot harder for me to make the trip. I'm spending 40 hours driving down and back to Virginia. Since I have my baby with me, I'm not eager to add a long side trip.

2b. New York and Boston are not close to the blue line, just in case you were wondering.

2c. If you want to lure me off the blue line, it will probably require some manner of lavish bribe or exceptionally exciting venue.

2d. I will make one exception to 2c. If there's a willing bookstore in Canton, OH, I'll make the trip. Because it will give me an excuse to wear my Jayne hat, and sing "The Hero of Canton" at the reading.

3. Your house is not a viable venue for a reading. A good venue should have seating for at least 40 people and hopefully some way of selling books. A nearby coffeeshop is also a plus.

I honestly have no idea if this will work. But I'm guessing out of the thousands of people who read the blog, at least a few of them have to work in bookstores and libraries. I love doing readings and signings, so I'm hoping we can set up at least a couple appearances so I can meet some of y'all down there in the southeast.

Rest assured I'll post up a blog as soon as we manage to set anything up.

Thanks for your help,

pat

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Friday, June 26, 2009
Upcoming Appearances and Internet Etiquette

So the power was out in my neighborhood today. This doomed me to an afternoon of stewing in my own juice. The weather in Wisconsin right now has been roughly equivalent to living inside a dog's mouth. It was not a good day to be without air conditioning.

Also, the power outage threw a wrench into my plan to fine-tune and post another blog about Europe. So, instead, I decided to pass along some news and answer a piece of fanmail I got yesterday instead.

First the news: I've just finished updating the tour page.

The busy part of convention season is fast approaching, and I've got a lot of events scheduled over the next couple months. From relatively small conventions and signings here in Wisconsin (I'm in Wausau this Saturday, btw) to big conventions in Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Montreal, and San Diego.




(Rare footage of the elusive Rothfuss at his natural migratory habitat: the convention.)


At some of these conventions, I even get to be Guest of Honor. I'm not sure, but I think this means someone will be contractually obliged to fan me with a large palm leaf. I also expect to be given a shiny medal of some sort or at least a rather dapper-looking hat.




(The Rothfuss uses his bright plumage to lure readers into panels, where he devours them. )


So head on over to the page and take a look at where I'm going to be. I go to these to meet readers and hang out, so the more the merrier.


Now the piece of e-mail:
Pat,

I have a quick question I hope you don't mind answering. I saw you do that sometimes in your blogs.

After finishing The Name of the Wind, I called my local bookstore to see when the next book was coming out. They didn't know. So I called my local Library. They didn't know. So eventually, I gritted my teeth and borrowed a friend's internet and found your blog.

Over the next week I read all of it. Including most of the comments. I was a little addicted. I'm guessing it took me fifty hours.

I don't have a question about book two. Take your time. But as someone who doesn't spend a lot of time online, I am curious about this whole blog thing. Specifically about the comments you receive on your blog. After reading these, I feel like I know a lot of the posters.

Many of them are funny, and some of them are really clever... But some of them seem downright insensitive or rude.

What is up with that? Am I just oversensitive, or are a lot of the people commenting on your blog actually rather rude?

I'm tempted to say it's the former. I'm not really a blog reader. And I've always assumed that people smart enough to read your book would also be courteous and polite.

Sincerely,

Jen J.

Jen,

I've always assumed that people who read my book are not only intelligent and polite, but more attractive and better in bed than your average person. They also smell like fresh pie.

Unfortunately, the internet is like a great machine designed to make humanity look stupid. Oh sure, there are good things the internet does for us. Smart things. Noble things. But for every one person using distributed computing to cure cancer, there are ten people forwarding me a letter that threatens impotence and the death of a fluffy kitten if I dare to break the chain.

The problem is this. The internet is allows people to do things very quickly.

Now don't get me wrong, some things are better done quickly. Getting someone to the hospital. Mowing the lawn. Making my 7-layer burrito.

But many things are not improved by speed. Most things, actually: Backrubs. Baths. Getting a haircut. Writing a novel. Cuddling. Kissing.

And blog commenting. Contrary to what people believe, fast is not always better in terms of communication.

The problem is, language is a slippery thing. People have a hard enough time getting their point across when they're face-to-face. Over the phone is harder because you can't see body language or facial expression.

But pure text is the hardest. That's why e-mail misunderstandings abound, because you don't even have timing or vocal inflection to help get your point across.

This means when a person types a comment without thinking things through, it's much more likely that their intended message will get lost and they'll seem rude when they really didn't mean to be.

Take my announcement today for example. I know what's going to happen as soon as I post about my upcoming convention appearances.

I'm going to get people posting comments that say things like: "Screw Indianapolis! Come to Mucwanigo!!! We have a bookstore!!!1!!"

Now this person probably wants to say three things:

1. They have a lot of enthusiasm for me and my work.
2. They won't be able to make it to Indianapolis and this ensaddens them.
3. They'd appreciate it if I came to Mucwanigo.

But despite the egregious overuse of exclamation points, this is not what this comment actually communicates. To a lot of readers, this comment seems rude. Here's why.

Signings and conventions require a great deal of effort on the author's part. Doing a even a handful of events like this means an author will spend dozens of hours on planes breathing recycled farts, hours scheduling panels and e-mailing plans, then days at the event itself.

It's also expensive, thousands of dollars on plane tickets, taxis, hotel rooms, and overpriced airport burritos.

Knowing all of this, a courteous internet user can understand why a comment of, "Why don't you ever come to St. Augustine?" seems a little insensitive.

At the same time, rude is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, too. That's why I try my best to read comments in the spirit they were written. That means looking at them with a generous eye sometimes, trying to cherish the enthusiasm and ignore the fact that the poster didn't take the time to think things through.

Still, when someone writes, "Minneapolis is a whole 30 miles away! Come to Wanamingo!" it's bound make me feel like a cat that's been rubbed backwards.

Not only is it issued as a command (which is never endearing) but it implies that even though the author is traveling several hundred miles, leaving his pregnant girlfriend home alone for the weekend, and effectively skipping his own birthday, he still isn't doing enough to please you.

So that's what I think is going on in the comments, Jen. Sure there are a few mean-spirited or genuinely snarky people out there making posts. But the vast majority of the people that come across as rude are probably just guilty of posting without thinking things through.

Of course my readers. My clever readers. My clever, polite, sexy, apple-pie readers are a class of person quite above the normal internet rabble. They think twice before they post. Some of them even think three times. Right?

Right?

Later space cowboys,

pat

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Thursday, June 4, 2009
Penicillin and Bruce Campbell

About a year ago, I noticed that whenever I do a big signing or a convention with a lot of panels, I end up getting sick as a dog afterwards.

So I started being more careful. I made a point of eating healthy while I'm there. I drink plenty of water and juice. I take vitamins and a zinc supplement. I wash my hands so often it looks like I'm channeling the spirit of Howard Hughes.

And it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. As soon as the convention or signing is over, I get sick. I might as well tongue-kiss everyone I meet at a convention. That way I'd at least feel like I deserved to get sick. Plus the pictures people posted on facebook would be *way* more interesting. Plus kissing is awesome.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. My sickness. It turns out I wasn't just being a big sissy baby. I didn't have swine flu, but I did have strep throat. That makes me feel a little better about the fact that I've spent the last week weeping like a little girl and doing shots of chloraseptic like a fratboy on a bet.

*Sigh* You know what sucks about being an experienced writer? The internal editor. Ten years about I would have written that last sentence and moved on with my life whistling merrily.

But now when I write it, I think:

  • This reinforces our negative cultural stereotype that implies women are weak and weepy.
  • This implies that all frat boys are clueless drunken fuck-ups.
  • If I write this, a half dozen people will leave comments saying, "I was the proud member of Epsilon Ometa Whateverthefuck fraternity in college. Not all of us are drunken idiots. My brothers and I maintained a 3.8 GPA, drank nothing but rainwater, and raised money for crippled kittens."

And then I sigh.

Of course, nobody will write in about the subtler, implied slur against women. Which makes me feel worse in some ways.

Don't get me wrong, the internal editor is a useful thing. It keeps me from getting in trouble. (Sometimes.) It makes me a better writer. It makes me a better human being.

But still, it's a shame. "Weeping like a little girl" is a lovely phrase. It really gets my point across. It conveys. And when you apply it to some great hairy bear of a man like me, it's got all sorts of humorous implications.

The same is true with the stereotype of the drunk sideways-cap wearing frat boy. It's a funny thing. It's a useful tool for humor.





The other obvious problem is that it takes so much more time to be a careful writer. Take today's post, for example. I was going to talk about being sick, or about my foreign taxi adventures, or about how great it is to be back home.

And what am I doing instead? Writing a blog about writing a blog. Merciful Buddha forgive me. It makes me long for the days when I was just a punk kid and wrote whatever the hell amused me with no thought for the repercussions.

Well, I promised myself I'd only spend an hour on today's blog. Taxi adventures and other musings will have to wait for a day or so…

Just to give this blog some shred of substance that isn't all meta, I should mention that this weekend I'll be at Florida Supercon in Miami where I plan on gazing adoringly at Bruce Campbell's magnificently sculptured ass.

I'll also be doing a reading, signing books, and all the rest of the usual stuff that I do when I'm Guest of Honor at a convention.

And don't worry, I'm on antibiotics now, so you won't catch strep off me.

pat

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Thursday, May 21, 2009
Signing In Taunton..
Sorry for the delay getting this information to you, but here's the information about the signing in Taunton on the 26th.

I'll be signing books and hanging out in the store from 1:00 until 3:00 in the afternoon. Then, for anyone who's interested, we'll wander off and find a place to hang out and talk. I'll answer questions, and maybe do a bit of informal reading. Maybe something from book two...

Here's the info for the Waterstones in Tauton, I think:

The County Hotel, East Street
GB - Taunton TA1 3LU
Tel: 01823 333 113

Gotta Run, I've got my Forbidden signing in 10 minutes...

pat

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Monday, May 4, 2009
Signings in Rome and Amsterdam.

Okay folks, I've got the first round of foreign book signings organized.

First off, we've got two in Rome:

Location: Le Storie
Date: Saturday, May 9, 2009
Time: 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Street: Via Giulio Rocco, 37/39
City: Rome

Here's the link to the appropriate facebook event, if you're into that sort of thing.
And a link to Le Storie bookshop.


Location: Fanucci Bookshop

Date: Sunday, May 10, 2009
Time: 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Street: Piazza Madama, 8
City: Rome

Here's the facebook event.


Then we've got one in Amsterdam.

Location: American Book Center – ABC Amsterdam
Date: Thursday, May 14, 2009
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Street: Spui 12, 1012 XA
City: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Here's the link to ABC bookstore.
And the facebook event.

In Amsterdam, because more of the locals speak English, I'll actually be doing a little bit of a reading, then a Q&A session before I sign books. I love doing Q&A.

Even better, my Dutch translator will be be making an appearance at this signing too. Lia Belt was my very first translator. Not only did she really hold my hand through the process, but she helped me understand a lot of the dangers of translation. It's because of her that I've made a point of getting in touch with all my other translators since then, trying my best to work with them so as little is lost in translation as possible.

So I'm excited to meet her. I've invited her along to sign books too. After all, the Dutch version is more than half hers, and it's always seemed like a shame that translators don't get more credit for the work they do.

Edit: Additional: my Italian translator will be around during the Saturday signing in Rome.

Anyway, those are the first three signings we have planned. If you know anyone that might be interested, you'd be doing me a great favor if you passed the information along to them. We're setting these things up pretty quickly, so there isn't much time for word to spread.




(This illustration has nothing to do with a book signing.
I've merely inserted it here to confuse you.)


Despite the cool cover, I won't be doing any public signings in Paris. It's just too early. The book hasn't been out long enough there for people to want to show up for that sort of thing. And if there's one thing more depressing than sitting in a bookstore for two hours while everyone tries to avoid eye contact (As was the case in many of my early US signings) it's sitting around in a bookstore in Paris while people avoid making eye contact.

And for those of you in England, fret not. Things are in the works. Fabulous things. We'll have at least one in London, and hopefully a few more scattered around the rest of the country.

I'll post details as soon as those plans firm up. Soon.


Best,

pat

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009
A Love Note to Germany (And Other Things)

Okay. There's been a flurry of excited messaging ever since I mentioned I'd be making a trip to Europe, and was willing to sign books while I'm over there. Details are over here on the previous blog.

Here are a few general comments and some answers to questions in response to the hubbub.


To my German Readers:

Oh my German readers. I do love you. I love you with a fierce love that is big as the sky. I know there are many of you. I know you would like me to stop in your country and sign books and do various authory things.

Do not think that I scorn you. Do not think that I neglect you. Do not think I fail to appreciate you, because I do. It is because of you that I can now legitimately call myself "International Bestselling Author" Patrick Rothfuss.

Before that, I was forced to call myself merely "Skilled Lover of Women" Patrick Rothfuss or "That Strange Guy Who Sits in the Back of the Coffeeshop All the Time" Patrick Rothfuss.

I appreciate this. You must believe me. I love you.

But as for making a stop in Germany this time around. I just don't think I'm going to be able to.

You see, Sarah, she says. "I would like to go to Rome."

And I think, "Rome? Have they done five hardcover printings of my book in Rome? No. That was Germany. Did my book get all manner of cool reviews in Rome? No. That also was Germany. What of the swank little bookmark? Surely that was Rome? No. It was not."

But you see, Sarah, she has this baby in her. This baby gives her remarkable powers.





I say to Sarah, "Where would you like to go on your trip to Europe?

Sarah says, "I would like to go to Rome."

And lo. We go to Rome.

Sarah says, "Also, I would like to see Paris."

And suddenly, it is so.

I'm not saying I'll never visit you, Germany. I will. I promise. It's just that when I do visit, I want everything to be perfect. I don't want to rush this part of our relationship. I don't want to go too fast. We need to be sure we're both ready. I want this to be special for both of us.

Perhaps I'll come to visit when book two is translated. Or maybe when your paperback comes out. Hopefully, if the German publishers are willing to help, we can do it up proper and I'll hit a bunch of places all over Germany, rather than just making a two-day stop in one city.

Be patient, I love you.

Sincerely,

pat


To my readers in Dublin:

As above. I was really hoping to make it there during this trip, but it just didn't work out. You'll see me before too long. I promise.


To my readers in other countries:

I would love to come to Sweden. To Ireland. To Spain. To Belgium. To Estonia. To Finland. I would love to come to Russia. To the Czech Republic. To Turkey. To Wales. To Portugal....

I'm sure you can see the problem.

If you can't see the problem, it's this: if I went to all of these countries, I wouldn't have time to do anything but drive around. I wouldn't see anything except through the window of a train. It's pure logistics. I can't do it all this trip. Someday. Hopefully.


To people eager to help schedule a signing:

1. If you want your local bookstore to host a signing, you need to tell *them* you're excited about it, not me. I'm already interested in doing a signing. So are you. We're on the same page. We've established a rapport.

But without the bookstore it's just not going to work out. It's like a three-way. It doesn't matter how much you and me want it. Without that third person, it just doesn't work out.

2. If you have a friend/relative/lover/former roommate that works in a bookstore, and you think they'd be excited to help schedule a signing. Contact *them* about it, see if they're really interested, then have them drop me a line if they are.

3. If you want to contact me about a potential signing, use the contact form. If you post it in the comments, I won't know how to get in contact with you. I will be similarly helpless if you shout the information out your window, or write it on your bathroom mirror. Sad but true.

4. If your town isn't on the list of places I'm stopping, I probably won't be able to come out and do a signing. The possible exception to this is Manchester, as it's on my way between London and Edinburgh. But even that depends on the interest of the local bookstore. (See #1)

That said, if you're actually one of the folks in charge of scheduling events in a bookstore or a library, and you'd REALLY like me to stop in, you can still drop me a line.


A few quick answers:

Q: "Will I be posting up the dates, times, and places of the eventual signings?"

A: Um... Yes? Rest assured. I'll be posting them here on the blog, and on the Tour Schedule Page.


Q: "How's the book going?"

A: Very well. Don't bug me about it. It harshes my vibe.


Q: "Does Sarah have any news about the baby?"

A: I just asked her. Sarah says: "It's freaking huge."


Q: "I live in a town in Europe! We have a bookstore! You should come here!"

A: That is not a question. Also, please see above points one through four inclusive.


Hugs and kisses,

pat

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Friday, April 17, 2009
European Tour - a call for bookstores.

First: My Thanks

Thanks to everyone who offered their congratulations.

(I'd be more properly verbose and flowery, but I have to be brief here. I'm using borrowed internet up here in the northwoods of Wisconsin, and this place is closing in 15 minutes.)

Second: The Tour

A while back, I promised Sarah a trip to Europe. Now, with the baby coming, I'm realizing I'm going to have to either make good on that promise, or wait for years until we no longer have a newborn. Because dragging a newborn around an international trip is not cool on many levels.

So we're going. Sarah deserves her trip for putting up with my endless bullshit.

Soon I will be turning over a solid draft of my book for my editor to read and... well... edit. This will take her a while, because the book is beastly long and she's good at her job.

While she's doing that, I have a window of opportunity. Rather than sit around, twiddle my thumbs, and fret over what my editor will say, I'm going to take Sarah to Europe before she gets too big with baby to do more than waddle to the fridge and make me rub her feet.

I'm looking forward to the trip. It will do me good to take a break from the book for a bit. If I don't get a few weeks away from it in between drafts, I lose perspective.

Also, it will be nice to have a bit of a walkabout on my own before finalizing Kvothe's own set of adventure as he goes out to make his fortune in the wide world.


Third: Sending out the Call.

For years now, I've had folks in the UK and the rest of Europe saying things like, "When are you going to be coming to [insert name of foreign country here]??!!?"

Well now's the time.

I'm more that willing to do signings at the cities I'm stopping at. But since this is happening on the spur of the moment, I don't have time to go through official bookstore channels, or perform the typical courting dances with foreign bookstores: first researching, then calling around, then playing phone tag, then trying to convince them that it would be worth their while to order a dozen of my books and set up a card table....

By the time I finished that, I'd already be back in the US.

So here's where you come in.

I'm posting my itinerary below. What cities I'll be and where. If you own a bookstore (or work in one) and you'd like me to come in and do a signing, lovely. Drop me a message off the contact form and we'll set something up.

If you don't work in a bookstore, but you know a cool one you think would be interested, ask them if they might be interested. Then, if they are, drop me a message. Or have them do it.

May 8-11 Rome

May 13-15 Amsterdam

May 17-19 Paris

May 21-25 London (And environs.)

May 27- 28 Edinburgh

May 30 Glasgow


Crap crap crap. The place is closing.

More later,

Fondly,

pat

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Upcoming appearances, and the woes of biography

I have trouble with simple things sometimes.

For example: I'm going to be Guest of Honor at Gencon this year.

That isn't the hard part. Truth is, being Guest of Honor is a pretty sweet gig. I had my first taste of it up in V-Con last year.

When you're GOH, the convention typically does lovely things for you, like pay for your hotel room and your flight out to the convention. Usually an author has to pay for all that out of their own pocket, which means it's really expensive to hit two or three cons in a year. Let alone the five or six I usually try to attend.

This year, through a weird confluence of events, I'm going to be Guest-of-Honoring at four different conventions. Details are over on the Tour Page, if you're interested.

One of these conventions is only a couple of weeks away, down in Madison. I'm sorry I haven't posted up the info about Oddcon sooner, but I've been busy writing, and I was called in as a last minute pinch-hitter GOH to replace Tobias Buckell. He had to bow out on account of his wife being super-pregnant. If you're interested, they've extended pre-registration until Friday because of the change of plans.

Anyway, in exchange for having our expenses paid, the GOH has certain responsibilities. The main one of these is to do stuff for the convention. We do more than the usual number of readings, signings, panels. Etc.

I don't have a problem with this. This is why I go to conventions. I like talking about stories. That's what I'm all about.

My problem was with something much simpler. As I mentioned above, I'm going to be the author GOH at Gencon this year. So they asked me to write a bio they can put in the program book....

This should be easy. It's short. 150 words. When I was born. Where I'm from. What I've done. Stuff like that.

But I overthink these things. It's a problem I have.

So I write a regular bio. Names. Dates. The Name of the Wind. Sold in 27 countries. Simple.

But then when I'm finished, I read that bio and it seems really dry and boring.

So I write a new bio. I want it to be better. Different. A little funny. I want it to be cool. Sexy even.

But then I read that one and it seems desperate, whorish. It's stupid and corny.

So I write a new bio. I tone it down, try to be subtle, understated, professional.

But then I read that one and it seems boring again, plus stiff and awkward. Plus fakey.

So, finally, I get fed up and write something like this:

Patrick Rothfuss sprung fully formed from Marge Rothfuss, his mother, in Madison Wisconsin. In a mere three months, Pat grew to the height of a man while teaching himself to read and write using only a shovel and a dead cat.

When the voices told him to, Pat left home to attend college in at University Wisconsin Stevens Point where he joined Slytherin house and had many wonderful adventures. After graduating, Pat evolved into a being of pure light and energy. Then he went to grad school and evolved even further into being composed entirely of bile, anger, binder twine, and sweet, sweet, methadone. After grad school Pat joined forces with five plucky Japanese schoolgirls to form a giant robot that fights crime.





Through all of this Pat has read fantasy, watched fantasy, and written fantasy. Some academics have suggested that Pat eats, sleeps, and breathes fantasy, but this is simply untrue. The truth is that Pat eats burritos, sleeps like a drooly baby, and breathes a white-hot plasma composed of molten gold and rage.

And you know what? I like this bio the best. If I'm going to spew out bullshit, I'd rather have it be pure, unadulterated bullshit.

By the way, a lot of you have been asking who's been doing my illustrations for the blog. It's not me. I can't draw worth a tinker's damn. My illustrator's name is Brett Hiorns, and he is awesome. You can say howdy to him in the comments, if you like.


That's all I've got for now. More news soon. Cool news. Stay tuned.

pat

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Monday, February 16, 2009
My Trip to LA: Part Two

Just a reminder folks. This is part two of a longer blog. Part one is over here.

[...]

I've had the chance to hang out with some pretty cool people over the last year: Peter S. Beagle, Tad Williams, Neil Gaiman. Folks I've idolized for a long time. But I never had this strange vertigo with any of them.

I've thought about it a lot since then, and right now my best guess is this.

I think talking to someone you've seen on TV is like meeting someone you already know. Your brain has become familiar with the image of this person, you know the texture of their voice, their body posture. For all intents and purposes, you know them.

Except you don't. You're just familiarized to the sensation of them. What's more disorienting is that if they're an actor, the personality you've attached to their image isn't really their own. Or at least it's not *entirely* their own.

I don't think it's the same with writers. When you're experiencing our work, you don't see our faces. You might get a peek inside our heads (or think you get a peek) but that doesn't lead to the same visual imprinting that you get from watching someone on screen.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I've probably watched Dr. Horrible over a hundred times since it came out. I haven't watched The Guild *quite* as much as that, but if you count the times I've re-watched each of the individual episodes, I've probably moved into the triple digits by now.

This means that in the last year, I've seen Felicia Day's face more than I've seen the face of my own sister. More than I've seen the faces of any of my friends who all live out of town. More than any real-world face except Sarah's, and honestly, during the week when Dr. Horrible was first released, that particular race might have been too close to call.

I think that's what where this strange vertigo came from. It was some rational part of me hitting my the degauss button in my brain again and again. Helping me realize that the person in front of me was fundamentally different from the person I had been watching on the screen of my computer.

And eventually it worked. I was able to settle down and talk with her and the moments of odd vertigo grew farther and farther apart. Unfortunately one of those moments happened when I was signing a book for her. A signing that I screwed up to a degree that still embarrasses me.

I also have to say that I was really impressed with everyone else at the signing. I know a lot of people must have recognized her, but from what I saw, nobody freaked out on her or hassled her.

Part of this I'm guessing has to do with the fact that we were in LA, but I'm willing to lay a lot of it on the fact that my readership seems to be composed of very cool, intelligent people.

For example, when I was signing books after the reading, a couple folks came up to the front of the line, and thanked me for introducing them to Dr. Horrible on my blog.

I motioned them a little closer and they leaned in. "Be cool about it," I said quietly, excited to get the chance to tell someone who could appreciate the news. "But Felicia Day is here. She's behind you, standing in line!" I grinned, vibrating with geeky joy. Probably looking like a garden gnome who has recently stumbled onto the a particularly interesting patch of mushrooms.

"We know!" They grinned too, just as excited as me.

After the signing, the lot of us went out to dinner: me, my gracious hosts, a few of their friends, and Felicia day.

We ended up at a small restaurant, where I had the best Thai food of my life. And I must say, sitting there, surrounded by rocket scientists, librarians, and other persons of eclectic occupation. Chatting and trading stories with Felicia day. It was my own personal Valhalla.





Lastly, since we're talking about public appearances, I'm going to be having a little reading up here in Hayward in a week or so.

So if you live up here in the north woods of Wisconsin and are not an elk, feel free to swing by. It should be a nice cozy event with just a few of us, so I'll have plenty of time to chat with everyone who comes. Plus, I hear there will be cookies.


February 26th, Thursday, 6:00-8:00

Hayward Public Library
10788 HWY 27/77
Hayward, WI 54843

For more info call 715-634-2161


And back to work for me,

pat

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Sunday, January 25, 2009
Reading/Booksigning in Wausau
I have retreated to my man-cave again, deep in the frozen north of Wisconsin near Hayward. The lack of internet, cell phones, or human companionship makes for good writing.

The downside is the same as he upside. It wouldn't be real isolation if I could flip it off with a switch.

That means on a day like today, when I want to check my e-mail and post a quick blog, I'm forced to extreme measures. The library is closed on Sundays here, so their computers are out. The local coffeeshop closes at 3:00, so I'm similarly boned. Deprived of both my life-giving caffeine and life stealing wi-fi.

So instead I'm next door, in the laundromat, typing on the mini that my dad gave me for Christmas. If I sit on this bench against the west wall, I can catch the edge of the coffeeshop's wifi. My great manly hands are too big for this keyboard, so I'll ask you to be forgiving of any tyops that slip through.

The details of my LA trip are still forthcoming. But for now I just wanted to mention a Reading/Q&A/Booksigning that I'll be doing in Central Wisconsin in just a week or so.

University Wisconsin Marathon County
February 3, 2009 - 7:00PM
Terrace Room
518 S. 7th Ave
Wausau, WI 54401


It's open to everyone, so if you're in the area, feel free to swing by....


Battery low, gotta go.

pat

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Thursday, January 1, 2009
California Here I Come....
For anyone who is interested, here's the details for the book signing I'll be doing in Pasadena in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, January 17th. 3:00

Borders
475 S. Lake Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101

As usual, I'll be doing a reading/Q&A followed by a signing.

I should have posted up this information weeks ago, but the fundraiser and the holiday slowed me down. If you know anyone in the area who you think would be interested, could you do me a favor and let them know? I hate it when I get back from one of these signings, post a blog about it, and then five people make comments like, "I didn't know you're were going to be in my hometown!!!1!"

Back to work on book two for me,

pat

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Monday, December 29, 2008
Home for the Holidays

While I live in the cozy little town of Stevens Point, I grew up near Madison. That's where my family is. It's home, in the biggest sense of the word. That's where I go when the family-type holidays roll around, and that's where I went this Christmas.

A couple months ago, I went down to Madison to attend Wiscon. It's nice to go to a convention that doesn't involve spending all day on a plane, and this one is practically in my backyard.

While I was there, I ended up hooking up with Tobias Buckell and David Anthony Durham. And by "hooking up" I mean that we were going to hang out at the coffee shop and chat. Not that they aren't attractive men and all... But... well. Yeah.

Anyway, before I go into the coffee shop, I hit the Jamba Juice next door. Because I love Jamba Juice. Specifically, I love the Orange Dream Machine smoothie. If there was a Jamba Juice here in Stevens Point, that is all I would eat. Ever.

So I get a smoothie and head across the street to the coffee shop. There, I order a mocha and politely ask if it's okay for me to bring in my smoothie. The hipster behind the counter is cool about it, and I tip him generously.

So Toby, David, and I are waiting for our drinks when a policeman shows up. Not mall security. This is a real cop, blue suit, badge, gun and everything.

This makes me edgy. Back in high-school my friends and I used to be hooligans. Our main hobby was toilet-papering houses. In a small town like Deforest (which is where I went to school) that means that you have to get pretty good at dodging the cops, because most of their job was keeping us from doing stuff like that. It was like an elaborate game of tag.

My friends and I were pretty good at it, and we were never caught. We developed highly sensitive cop radar that let us know when to run or hide.

The unfortunate result is that these days, whenever I see a cop, I feel like I've done something wrong. This isn't helped by the fact that at any given moment that I might be returning from, going to, carrying around, or at least thinking about something illegal.

So when I see the cop, I immediately feel shifty. I do a mental inventory of my pockets and backpack, wondering what I have on me that might get me in trouble. This is also a holdover from highschool. Back then, innocent things riding around in your car with you can get you in trouble. Things like fireworks, silly string, shaving cream, and, of course, the case of toilet paper in the trunk.

But I don't have anything on me. Lockpicks might raise an eyebrow, but they're legal to carry here in Wisconsin. I have a bottle of caffeine in my backpack. And while it looks suspicious, it's not illegal either. I'm clean.

Still, I can't help but feel like this cop is giving me the eye. I get my mocha and wander over to the condiment stand to add my requisite four or five sugars. I'm sure of it: he's looking me over. Is it because I have terrorist beard? That might single me out in line at the airport, but in a coffeeshop in downtown Madison? Not likely. There are hippies here aplenty.

I head over to the table Toby and David have picked out, and he's still watching me. What is it? Am I wearing my t-shirt that says, "You say tomato, I say fuck you." No. Is it my black leather trench coat? Am I just radiating latent guilt? What? What?

He comes over to the table where I've just taken off my coat. His expression is serious, he's frowning a little. Then it occurs to me - the Jamba Juice. He knows that I shouldn't have it here in the coffee shop. Is it illegal to have a carry-in?

He then he says. "Did you write The Name of the Wind?"

And I'm floored. He's read my book. We chatted for a bit, and I got to look popular in front of my fellow writers.

However, I knew that for what it was, a fluke. There had been a story about me in the paper a couple days before. A "Local Boy Does Good" sort of thing. They used a picture of me, and I have to admit I do have a bit of a distinctive look.

Jump forward to last week. Sarah and I are walking out to my car in the Borders parking lot. Heading toward the bookstore is a stranger, making more than the usual amount of eye-contact. As he had some respectable chin growth, I figured he was just expressing beard solidarity.

But then, as he comes closer he nods and says, "I like your work."

I say, "You're kidding me. You know who I am?"

He does, apparently. Still, I can pass this off as a fluke too. It did happen in the parking lot of a bookstore, after all.

But then, two days later, I'm at the post office mailing the check out to Heifer. When I hand the guy the envelope, he looks down at it, then says, "Are you the writer Pat Rothfuss?"

So... yeah. It was weird. Cool, but weird. It's nice that these last two things happened when Sarah was around, so she thinks I'm cooler than I really am. This is important because she's much prettier and nicer than me. I need to have something to balance the scales out.


In unrelated news, I'm going to be making an appearance at a bookstore in Pasadena on January 17th. I can't lay my hands on the details right now, but I'll post them up as soon as I can find the appropriate piece of paper.


Hope everyone is having a good time,

pat

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Saturday, September 27, 2008
Available for a limited time only....
Did I forget to mention that I'm going to be up in Canada next weekend?

In case I did, I am. I'm going to be up in Vancouver. (The one in BC, not the one in Washington.)

The reason for this particular outing is V-Con. While I've done a lot of conventions lately, this one marks two notable firsts in my life....

The first first is that I'm not just attending this convention, I'm actually one of the Guests of Honor. It's a pretty sweet gig so far. Not only are they paying my travel expenses, but I'm pretty sure that while I'm out there, someone is contractually obliged to fan me with a big leaf and feed me grapes.

The second first is a little embarrassing, actually. This will be the first time I've ever left the country. I feel like such an adult, I've got a passport and everything....

Anyway, I just thought I'd let y'all know that I was going to be out there. Part of the GOH gig is that I got to be very heavily involved with the programming, so I'm going to be doing readings, signings, and a metric ton of panels. So if you've ever wanted to hear me pontificate on all manner of diverse subjects, this is going to be a great opportunity.

Also, since I'm don't know when I'm going to be up in that neck of the woods again, I'm going to do a reading/signing/Q&A session at one of the local bookstores. It's on Tuesday the 7th (of October) at 7:00 at the Chapters out in Coquitlam. Because that signing got set up fairly recently, I've only made mention of it on Facebook so far. (Yeah, I'm on Facebook, feel free to add me if you're into that sort of thing.)

Generally speaking, if you're looking for information on my upcoming appearances, you can get the details over here on the "Tour Schedule" section of my webpage. I try to keep that as up to date as possible....

That's all for now folks. Enjoy your weekend.

pat

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Thursday, August 28, 2008
DragonCon

In less than ten hours I'll be leaving for DragonCon. I'm trying to look forward to it, but honestly, right now it's hard for me to see the convention as anything other than a pain in the ass.

Part of the problem is that I over-scheduled myself this month. Four conventions and a family vacation in August means that I've spent 9 days at home this month, everything else has been travel.

Don't get me wrong, I've had some good times, (more stories will be forthcoming) but it's easy to have too much of a good thing.

Adding to my lack of enthusiasm about the con is the fact that I'm not going to be on any of the programming. One of the main reasons I go to conventions is so I can sit on panels and discuss writing, worldbuilding, and stuff like that. At Worldcon I did 6 or 7 hours of panels, autographings etc. At Gencon, I did 11 hours, not counting a reading and signing at the nearby Indianapolis library.

Dragoncon? 1 hour. I have a reading at 1:00 on Saturday and that's it. (So if you're looking to catch me at the con to get your book signed, that would be the easiest place to do it.)

And now, looking at the Dragoncon page, I see that for some reason I've actually been removed from the list of official guest authors. Oh totem spirits of the con, what have I done to anger you? Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves, and instead use our combined powers to usher in an age of peace, enlightenment, and fluffy bunnies.

That said, angry spirits, if you chose to stand against me, be aware that I have terrible powers at my disposal. Should conflict arise, I will destroy you as easily as Optimus Prime would tear the stuffing from a one-armed Muppet with a learning disability.





Humorous hyperbole aside, I am looking forward to the con. This will be my first Dragoncon, and I hear it's a hoot. It will be nice to just be able to stroll around and look at things, as opposed to rushing from one panel to another.

Plus, I'm thinking of wearing a kilt. That might be tricky, if I was doing a lot of panels. Panelists tend to sit up in front of the audience, and I'm not used to keeping my knees together....

For those of you who are going to be in the neighborhood, but don't want to brave the convention crowd. I'm going to be making a stop at the Decatur book festival while I'm in town. I'll be on a panel about Fantasy with Peter S. Beagle from 12:00 - 1:00 at the Decatur Library Stage, wherever that is.

Yeah. That's going to be cool. I'm also hoping to hang around a bit with Peter at bit at the convention. Now that we've already met once, hopefully I can be a little more relaxed.

If you happen to see me at the con, feel free to come up and say howdy and ask me to sign a book if you have one with you. I'm down with that.

That's all for now folks. Wish me luck,


pat


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Friday, March 28, 2008
Interview part II and a local convention.

Part two of the Peter Hodges interview is now live over HERE, for those of you who are into that sort of thing....

Also, for those of you that are hanging around here in Central Wisconsin, I'll be at a little one-day convention in Wausau tomorrow. You can find some details HERE.


And lastly, for those of you on Facebook, we're having a bit of a shindig to celebrate the paperback release of the book. There will be cake* and fabulous prizes for people who are interested in participating. So stop on by if you're interested.

pat




* (The cake is a lie.)

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Signed books and news about The Guild
I'm going to be flying out to Seattle soon, where I will be doing a few book signings and attending Norwescon.

That means that if you're interested of getting a signed copy of the fancy new hardcover, you only have a little time left to order one from The Signed Page. They're selling copies of the College Survival Guide too, if you're interested in reading some of my earlier writing.

Lastly, those of you who enjoyed The Guild video that I posted up a couple weeks ago might be interested in knowing that it's been nominated for an award. If you liked the show and would like to show your support, you can go HERE and vote for them in the "Series" category. Hopefully, if it wins a couple of these awards they'll be able to get some official sponsorship, which will make it easier for them to continue producing the series.

Voting ends on the 19th. So jump to it.

pat

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Thursday, March 6, 2008
Ask the Author #5: Where can I buy the new version of the book?


Since I posted up the new cover for The Name of the Wind, folks have been asking me where they can buy a copy.







Doubtless some of you want a copy of this book because it is clearly A Novel. I also know a lot of folks want this cover because the style will more closely match the hardcover for The Wise Man's Fear:





I understand your desire, and I feel your pain. I wanted this new cover too, and even though I'm the author, I still had a bitch of a time locating it. I had to hunt around for weeks before I managed to get my hands on one.

The truth is, I don't know where these new copies will be showing up. These are the books that currently live in the warehouse. If a store orders a book from the warehouse, this cover will probably get delivered to them. But if the bookstore orders from a distributor, the distributor might not have this fifth printing in stock. They might still have first printings, or third printings. It's a crap shoot.

However, since so many people were asking about it, I worked something out with a guy I met out in Seattle last year. His name is Shawn Speakman, and he runs a business that sells signed books over the magical interweb.

So, when I head out to Seattle at the end of the month for Norwescon, I'm going to swing by his place and sign a bunch of books for him. If you want one you can go order a copy at his store.

Please note that I'd be more than happy to personalize your book for you, free of charge. Just make sure you enter what you'd like me to write when you your order your book.

Now, the more astute of you that have doubtless already clicked on the link and noticed that Shawn is charging 29.95 for the books. Five bucks more than the cover price. This isn't because he's a greedy son of a bitch. No. Shawn is a high-class gentleman. I know this because Shawn is giving me that five bucks to help offset the cost of my plane ticket out there. If not for that, I wouldn't have been able to justify making the trip out to the coast.

Lastly, as an added bonus for those of you who have been dying to get hold of a copy of the Illustrated, Annotated, College Survival Guide, Shawn will be selling some of those too.

Those will be signed by me, and each will have a cool doodle and a signature by my longtime friend, illustrator, and co-conspirator, Brett Hiorns.


Later all,

pat

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Monday, March 3, 2008
Italian Style - Part Two.

Okay, before we do anything else, I feel like I should mention that I've updated the TOUR SCHEDULE part of the page. Over there you'll find a list of some conventions/readings/signings/etc that I'll be doing this year.

Of particular note are my two appearances in St. Paul this weekend. I'll be appearing at two separate libraries, one on Saturday, the other on Sunday. It's free for anyone to attend. I'll sign books if you bring them, and there will be books there to buy...

More events will be posted in the weeks to come. Seattle folk - I'll be out near y'all over Easter weekend. I'll be posting those details soon.

Okay. On to business.

Response to the Italian cover was every bit as varied as I expected. But there was rather more of it than I'd thought there would be. Since there were a lot of good comments and questions, I decided that I'd do a follow-up post to clarify a few things.





Points of interest and/or clarification.

  • The art is done by a guy named Brom.
I didn't know about him before someone made reference to the cover as Brom-art in the comments of the last blog, but I have seen his stuff before. Mostly on D&D books back in the day....

Side note: I am currently working on a theory that once you reach a certain degree of fame, you get bumped up to a new quantum energy state wherein you only need one name.

This is easier to achieve for artists (Donato, Brom) and musicians (Sting, Madonna).

It's much rarer for authors. I suspect they need way more energy, like electrons in different valence shells. So for writers, only the SUPER elite have enough juice to make the jump (Cervantes, Tolkien, Shakespeare, Chaucer).
  • Brom's website is OVER HERE if you're interested.

  • The art wasn't drawn for the book specifically. The Italian publisher bought the rights to a pre-existing piece of art to use as the cover for the book.
That means:
  • It's not Kvothe or one of the Chandrian. Don't sprain anything trying to make that fit in your head. (Though I would like to see Brom's take on the Chandrian.)
  • You didn't miss the part of the book where someone has an eye in his hand. Neither is the eye-hand a mistranslation issue or some strange cultural signifier.

  • My favorite comments on the cover:
  • Kip: "It's obviously a picture of Kvothe LARPing his favorite Vampire: The Requiem Character."
  • "They must have wanted to picture someone with good eye-hand coordination."
  • "NOTW? WTF?"
  • Sarah: "Kvothe has some sort of pointy pain stick. He should be careful or it will poke him in the hand-eye."

A few responses to questions and comments:
"Oh man Pat. As a graphic designer can I just say that that is a bad choice. There is no connection to the book that I can come up with at all. The thing on his hand is so prominent that people are going to wonder why its not in the book. It will be confusing. Then the really bad drop shadow, or black glow around the text is just bad design. The whole composition just was not meant to have text covering it."

I think you're right about the composition of the piece. It obviously wasn't meant to be obscured. I got the permission to show the original artwork from Brom: So here it is...





I'm pretty sure that they used that black shadow and my name to cover up Gothy McHotBod's nipple ring.

And yes, for those of you who are wondering, my chest looks exactly like that when I take my shirt off. By which I mean that I am pale as a bleached ghost on a moonlit night.

Christian asked: "Pat, I am very curious as to who that person is on the cover of the Italian version of your book. I'm pretty sure you would have a big say into what visually depicts your book to first time ( and in my case, long-time) readers."

Typically, authors get little-to-no say as to the covers of their books. Part of this is because the cover is, ultimately, a marketing choice, rather than an artistic one. And truthfully, publishers know more about marketing than authors do. Also, authors are word-smart, not necessarily picture smart.

That said, in my opinion it is a shame that authors aren't included in that process more frequently.

I did get to participate in the discussion about my US covers. But that is the exception to the rule, as my publisher, DAW, is very considerate. And my editor, Betsy, respects my opinion on these things. Still, they didn't say, "what do you think we should do." they said, "Here's what we're planning, what do you think?"

Still, it's nice to be asked.

My French publisher asked for my thoughts in the planning stage, and my Japanese editor asked early on if I had any suggestions as to who I would like as an artist. But none of the other foreign editors have included me so far. The first time I saw the Italian cover was about a week ago...

In a few of my more recent foreign contracts, I have approval of the final covers. But that doesn't mean that I get to design them. If the books continue to sell well, I'll probably get even more say in the future. I'm guessing.

"Why do they keep changing the cover? What's wrong with original Shirtless Kvothe and Green man?"
Those covers belong to the US publisher. The foreign publishers would have to buy the rights to them if they wanted to use them. They probably don't want to do that because they're marketing the book to an entirely different culture.


That's all for now, folks. I'm back to work on book two...

pat

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Thursday, January 10, 2008
A Convention, A Trip to Boston, and a Touching Story

First, an announcement for those of you Michigan area. I'm going to be at Confusion Jan 18th through the 20th. I'll be signing books, speaking on panels, and generally getting my geek on. Stop on by if that sort of thing sounds like a good time to you....

Second, an apology. Over the last year I've fallen into a bad habit. I post a blog announcing some appearance I'm going to make, then, when I come back, I make a post along the lines of, "Whew. I'm back. It was cool, I'll give you the details later."

But then, of course, I never do.

This isn't because I don't love y'all. It's because this past year I've been really over-busy. Typically I spend all weekend at a con, come back exhausted, then spend most of the week catching up on everything I'd fallen behind on because I was out of town. Then, by the time I'm caught up, it's usually time for me to leave town again....

As a result, there are a bunch of stories I've been meaning to tell, but haven't. I've met cool people, discovered cool games and books, and frequently made an ass of myself in a variety of amusing ways. The last one, if you haven't guessed yet, is a particular specialty of mine.





So expect to see some of those convention stories popping up over the next couple months. Hopefully they'll be somewhat amusing, if not particularly timely.


Thirdly and lastly, the story.

My recent trip to Boston was, by and large, a lot of fun. The trip itself was made extra exciting by the fact that I was traveling through airport security without a form of government ID.

You see, just before the holiday season, I accidentally left my driver's licence at K-mart when returning a defective broom (It sounds like there's an interesting story there, but trust me, there isn't.) Afterward, K-mart called to tell me my licence was there, but because I went home for the holidays instead of rushing to their store to pick it up, K-mart decided to be helpful and drop my ID in the mail.

Of course I didn't find this out until three hours before my plane was supposed to leave for Boston. Making things even more lovely was the fact that they had mailed it out in the middle of the holiday post office crunch. And that they had mailed it to the wrong address.

Rather than take this opportunity to invent scathing new cusses and inflict them on the hapless K-mart employee, I took the high road with the hope that it will help me accumulate good karma. so that the next time I reincarnate I get to come back as something really cool.

For those of you who don't know, karma is like.... Well, you know how you can collect box tops, or Camel-cash or Kool-aid points and trade them in for prizes? I'm a little fuzzy on the concept, but I'm pretty sure that's what Karma is like. It's like Kool-Aid points for your soul. I want to collect enough Karma Points so that I get to reincarnate as Optimus Prime, Allyson Hannigan, or a glowing orb made entirely out of fluffy puppies and orgasms.

What was I talking about again...? Oh yeah. Boston....

Anyway, I made the trip with much anxiety, but no actual trouble. Despite my fears, they did not probe me in any unseemly ways. In fact, they tossed my luggage a lot less viciously than they normally do when I'm trying to play by the rules. Maybe I'll make a habit of leaving my

Out in Boston I met up with the publicity people from my UK publisher. They were a lovely crew and we shot a bunch of video interview footage. Among other things I told a joke about a gorilla, and attempted to speak with a Norwegian accent. The Gollancz marketing people were a blast, and I hope that had as good a time as I did....

I'm told that we might get to see some of that footage eventually on youtube, I'm told. If that happens, I'll post it up here....

We had a remarkably good turnout at Pandemonium books despite the bitter, bitter cold. I read a little and answered questions. I really enjoy doing Q&A, talking about writing and the world I've created.

However, one question caught me off guard as I'd never been asked it before. It was, "How cool is it to be you?" I didn't really have a good answer for that....

I also got to sign a book "To E-bay" which is something I've always wanted to do.

If you're interested in more details, an attendee posted up a blog about the signing HERE including several pictures of me. Yes, I know that the shirt I'm wearing to the signing is the same one I'm wearing in my author photo on the webpage. It's not a coincidence. The truth is, I only own one shirt.

I did not, as many of you speculated, get my ass handed to me at Catan. But that's only because we didn't actually get a chance to play. Two lovely people showed up and informed me that they actually worked on the computer version of Catan. One of them had a cool travel set of Catan with her, and I got the feeling that if we did get into it, I'd start off winning a game for fifty cents and the evening would end with me stark naked, owing each of them thousands of dollars.

The next day before I flew home, I went to the Boston aquarium. Where I formed the following opinions: penguins stink, seals are cool, fish are weird.

I also got to touch a sea anemone with my finger. And, no offence to the other cool things that happened out there, I have to say that that was, without a doubt, my favorite part of the trip....





Seriously, it was really cool.

Later all,

pat

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Thursday, December 27, 2007
Boston Signing - January 3rd

For those of you in the Boston area, here are the details:

I'm going to be at Pandemonium Books at 7:00 on January 3rd. If you need directions or need to contact them, you can get the details HERE.

I'll be reading and answering questions for about an hour, (or until we get bored.) Then I'll sign some books, hang out, and chat. Cool thing is, Pandemonium stays open until 10:00 AND it sells games as well as books. So if there's time after that, I just might try to kick somebody's ass at Catan....





It has been scientifically proven that I cannot be beaten at Catan. If anyone claims to have beaten me, they are lying. If they aren't lying, then some outside force must have influenced the game, thereby rendering it statistically insignificant.

In short: Bring it on.

Back to the signing: since I've scheduled it on such short notice, I'd appreciate it if any of you would help spread the word. Especially if you live in the Boston area, know folks around there, or are visiting for the holidays. Thanks much in advance...


In other news, I seem to have topped the Onion's list of Best Books of 2007. Yay Me!

This particular list means a little extra to me because I grew up reading the Onion in Madison. This was way back around 1990, WAY before it went national. When I was in high school, my dream job was to write for them, and now they're writing about me.

It's a strange world.

pat

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