Saturday, March 28, 2009
Being Thankful.

Quite frequently, something happens in my life and I think, "I should mention this on my blog."

This is one of those unpleasant truths that I'm reluctant to come to grips with.

I think part of the problem is the word "blog." I never felt this way when I would think similar thoughts about the humor column I wrote, or when I think, "I'm going to put that in the novel."

I know a lot of people who struggle to think of material to put on their blogs. I'm the other way around. If I went with my natural tendencies, I'd be writing little stories up here every day, maybe more. Slowly I would move all my writing energy into the blog, then it would start eating into other parts of my life too. Drawing time and energy away from vital activities like eating and playing videogames. Eventually they would find my shriveled husk in front of the computer.

Because I don't blog all the things I think of, sometimes interesting little stories get left by the wayside. This ensaddens me.

For example, months ago, I was driving around with Sarah. We were bickering, which is like arguing, but cleverer. We're really good at bickering. We could bicker for our country if they ever made it an Olympic sport.

The key to our successful bickering is the fact that we argue about stupid shit. We're also articulate, witty, and in love. Lastly, I am funny as hell, and Sarah is absolutely batshit crazy.

This leads to great bickerings. Honestly, I wish I had a lot of them on tape.

So we're driving around, bickering, and Sarah says, "Whenever you call me a rule utilitarian it makes my womb clench."

And I thought, "I've got to mention this on my blog."

Not the reason for the bickering, which I can't remember. Not any of the context, which really isn't that important. I just wanted to share that sentence because I knew if I didn't, you'd never run into it at any other point in your lives. Ever.

Sometimes the blogs that get put off are more substantive. I put those off because they'll take a lot of time and energy to get right.

And sometimes they aren't hard to write, they just get buried in the ephemera of daily life. Then when I rediscover them, I think, "Shit. I can't believe I haven't posted anything about that yet..."

This is an example of something thus belated.

Those of you who have been on the blog for a while probably remember Captain Joe. If not for his comments on the blog, then for his strong showing in the photo contest last year....





After last year's minor debacle with the Locus Award, I posted a blog wherein I generally lamented the unfairness of all God's creation.

In response to that blog. Captain Joe sent me this.





And a close-up of the wordage.





Later, I found out he actually made it. Found the wood, burned it and glazed it. Installed the clock....

In short, it was some serious above the call of duty coolness.

So I just wanted to take this opportunity to share this coolness, and thank him for it in a very belated way. If I had my way, I would have them write "Winner of Captain Joe's Most Kickass Novel of the Century Award," on the new version of the book when it comes out. But I'm pretty sure the marketing people have their hearts set on the whole NYT bestseller thing....

Later folks,

pat

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Interview - Fantasy Literature
I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but a little while back, FantasyLiterature.net picked my book as the Best Book of 2007.

Now we've done an interview too, because we looove each other....

Enjoy,

pat

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posted by Pat at 25 Comments



Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Concerning the Hugos

Since the Hugo nominations for this year were announced, I've received a surprising amount of mail on the subject. So far it has ranged from friendly consolation to frothy outrage over the fact that I'm not one of the contenders for the "best novel" category.

I won't lie. I was hoping for a nomination. It would have been extremely cool. What's more, it would have given me an excuse to wear a tuxedo at Worldcon. I like wearing a tux.

Alas, it was not meant to be. But I did want to thank everyone for their kind words, the messages y'all have sent have been very sweet, and they have eased the sting.

But what I realized just today is that each of these e-mails I've received shows people at different stages of the grieving process. Take a look. (All items in quotes are from actual letters or comments left on the blog.)

1. Denial. "I can't believe you weren't nominated."

I can. The truth is, I'm really, really new to the scene. I've been a published author for almost exactly one year. And while it's been a great year, most people don't even know I exist. That makes it hard to win an award that's based on a popular vote.


2. Anger. "That's bullshit that you're not on there...seriously." "Dude, you were totally fucking robbed on the Hugo nods." "I feel like punching someone in the neck about this!"

There were a lot of these. However, please do not punch anyone in the neck on my behalf. Remember: Anger, fear, aggression... the dark side of the Hugos are they.


3. Bargaining. "Is there a write-in option for the Hugos? I would have voted, but I was sur [sic] that you were a shoe in."

Thank you, but there's nothing to be done at this point. The nominations themselves are exclusively write-in, but voting for the the award itself is not. Even then, only people who are attending Worldcon get to vote in the Hugos.


4. Depression. "The more I learn how these things work, the more I realize I have no respect for awards that are given out by popular vote."

Well, you know what they say about Democracy. It's the worst form of government except for every other one that's been tried....


5. Acceptance. "Let's hope that The Wise Man's Fear will be of the same quality and that it'll receive the nomination TNOTW clearly deserved."

I hope so too.


For those of you who are still stuck in the anger or bargaining stages, you could burn off a little of that energy in a productive way if you want. Namely, by casting your ballot in the Locus awards over here.

The Locus awards are a little different in that anyone can vote, not just a specific group of people, like the Nebulas or the Hugos. Plus they've been around for over thirty years, and are fairly prestigious in their own right.

Just make sure you follow the directions on the page before you cast your ballot. Anyone can vote, but anonymous votes are tossed out. And while there are pull-down menus, you can also write in your own votes in each category.

My book is eligible for both the "Best Fantasy Novel" AND "Best First Novel." Just in case you're interested.

Later all,

pat


Edit 9:45 PM: I've noticed a pleasant, but slightly unnerving trend in the comments on this note. While I'm flattered that people would vote for my book, I really hope that people aren't just hopping over the Locus Ballot just to vote for me.

I tend to assume that the vast majority of the people that read this blog tend to enjoy a lot of fantasy and sci-fi. So what I'm really hoping is that you hop over to the Locus Ballot and vote for ALL your favorite books and stories of the last year. All of them. And if it turns out you like five other books better than mine... well... then tough shit for The Name of the Wind.

I know this probably goes without saying, and that most of you understood what I meant the first time around. But I'd rather make sure of it than come off as a dirty vote-grubbing whore.

pat

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Thursday, February 14, 2008
Did I mention that I love librarians?

A while back, some helpful little elf sent me an e-mail telling me I'd made it onto a reading list. I took a quick peek at the link, thought "that's cool," then bookmarked it and wandered away to do other things. (I think it was a particularly heavy e-mail day.)

But today I went back and looked at it, and realized that it wasn't just some list. In a lot of ways, it's THE list. That's right. It's superlative.

The list is put out by "The Reading List Council" which "seeks to highlight outstanding genre fiction that merits special attention by general adult readers and the librarians who work with them."

From what I hear, the Reading List Council is an elite branch of the American Library Association. In order to join their selection committee you have to be able to kill a man with paperback copy of Animal Farm book while wearing a blindfold, bend a spoon using only the power of your mind, then deal with ten obnoxious library patrons in a row while smiling and being polite the whole time.

Yeah. Like I said. These folks are badass. I hear Rupert Giles washed out with them and had to settle for joining some other council instead.

Anyway, it turns out that there's just one reading list every year, and only one book from each genre gets selected. Stuff like Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, and, of course, Fantasy.

And I'm their fantasy pick for 2008. You can see the list HERE.

I thought this was plenty cool all by itself, until I scrolled down the page and saw some of the other fantasy titles that had been nominated. I recognized every name on the list: Jim Butcher,
Jacqueline Carey, Guy Gavriel Kay, Terry Pratchett. Rowling. Tolkien.

That's right. Folks like Rowling and Tolkien tied for second place.

And who's number one?

Me, baby.

Me.

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posted by Pat at 32 Comments



Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Official Announcement: The Campbell Award

A couple weeks ago, I got the following piece of fanmail...

Mr. Rothfuss,

I've been reading your blog for a while now, and I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that I really loved your book. I mean REALLY loved it. Probably the Best I've read in five years.

In fact, I loved it so much, I just nominated you for the Campbell award. I thing [sic] that there's going to be a bit of a showdown between you and Scott Lynch, but personally, I think you're a shoe-in.

Keep on Truckin,

I've removed his name for confidentiality reasons, so for simplicity's sake let's call him.... Susan.

Anyway, I replied to Susan and told him that while I was really flattered, I wasn't actually eligible for the Campbell Award.

For those of you who don't know. The Campbell Award is awarded at Worldcon. It's given out to the best new Sci-Fi/Fantasy author to appear on the scene. While it's not a Hugo itself, it *is* given out during the same award ceremony, and it's a pretty big deal. Honestly, I'd love to win it.

Unfortunately, I can't. You see, the Campbell is only awarded to new authors. You're only eligible for the first two years after your first publication, and "The Name of the Wind" wasn't the first thing I ever had in print. Back in 2002 I published my first and only short story, "The Road to Levinshir."

Very few people actually know about that story, but it still counts. That means my eligibility started in 2002, and ended in 2004. I was out of the running long before "The Name of the Wind" ever saw print.

I sent Susan an e-mail thanking him, explaining why I couldn't win, and letting him know that, generally speaking, calling me "Pat" is fine, as "Mr. Rothfuss" sounds oddly formal to me.

He e-mailed me back, saying:

Pat,

Thank you for e-mailing me back. That was unexpected. I just wish that I would have known earlier, or I wouldn't have wasted my time voting for you for the Campbell, and would have gone straight to nominating you for the Hugo instead.

Unfortunately, I've already sent in my Hugo nominations for this year, so I'll have to settle for rooting for you from the sidelines. Rest assured that if you make it onto the final ballot 'Best Novel' you'll have my vote.

And that, I thought, was that. The thought that anyone would nominate me for the Campbell or the Hugo filled me with lovely warm feelings. I didn't give much thought to winning, because honestly, those awards get won by huge authors like Gaiman and Rowling and Susanna Clarke....

Then I got another e-mail that said pretty much the same thing as Susan's. They loved the book and nominated me for the Campbell. I e-mailed them back and told them the truth...

Then I got a third e-mail and realized I needed to put out an official statement of some kind....

So here's the official announcement:

*ahem*

If you're thinking of nominating me for the Campbell, thank you very much. I'm flattered.

But I'm not eligible. It makes me feel bad that people are wasting their votes on me when there are other cool new authors out there that would love your nominations. (Folks like Joe Abercrombie, the aforementioned Scott Lynch, Kat Richardson.... There's too many to mention, check out a full list over HERE.)

That said, if you're absolutely dying to nominate "The Name of the Wind" for something, feel free to mark me down on your Hugo nomination ballot for "Best Novel." I am eligible for that.

Truthfully, the odds are vastly against me winning the Hugo, but I'll admit that even the thought of making it onto the preliminary ballot makes me all tingly. I mean seriously, look at the award itself....




It's a frikkin rocket. How cool is that? All phallic jokes aside, I swear if I won that thing I'd carry it around with me for a solid year, making rocket noises and flying it through the air.

Then, when my arms got tired, I would affix it to a gold chain and wear it around my neck, not only would it be the most badass author bling imaginable, but it would protect me from accidentally dying before book two comes out by stopping bullets and deflecting laserbeams.

Okay.... At some point that stopped being an official announcement and turned into me being a total geek about something shaped like a toy. I think I'm going to stop blogging now and put this energy into revising The Wise Man's Fear....

Later all,

pat

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008
On the coolness of Librarians

So I just found out The Name of the Wind won a new award....

YALSA announces 2008 Alex Awards

PHILADELPHIA - The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), has selected 10 adult books that will appeal to teen readers to receive the 2008 Alex Awards.



I can see the headlines now: "Patrick Rothfuss appeals to teens." My friends are going to have a field day with this...

Seriously though, I'm terribly flattered. When the American Library Association likes your book, you know you must be doing something right. Librarians kick ass, and the more of them you get together in one place, the more powerful they become. Like Voltron.

This will also help me feel more comfortable answering a question that I've been getting asked on and off for the last several months. Namely, "Is your book for kids?"

Up until now, the only answer I've had for this has sounded extremely dodgy. I say, "Well, it kinda depends on what you mean by "kids," and it kinda depends on what you mean by 'for.'"

Do you see what I'm getting at? I read the Lord of the Rings when I was 11 or so. I don't know if it was *for* me, but I certainly enjoyed it....

Up until now, when someone asked me this question try to pin down the specific age of the kid they're asking about. Sixteen? Sure. Fourteen? Yeah, probably. Twelve? Hmmm.... I'm not sure...

I even know some families that have read my book to their kids who were 5-6 years old. Apparently, the young-uns dug it. I wouldn't have anticipated that in a hundred years. Those kids must have some kick-ass vocabulary....

Now, however, I don't have to feel strange about answering this question. The professionals have weighed in on the subject. Huzzah.

For more information, and to see the other Alex award winners, you can check out the press release HERE.

That's all for today. I've been putting together the announcement-type newspost I've hinted at a couple times, but it won't be ready until tomorrow. I've got AFK busyness all today....


Forshadowingly yours,

pat

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Monday, December 3, 2007
.... and I'm back.

Hello there everyone. Sorry I've been away for so long.

One of the problems with doing a blog like this....

You know, only after typing that sentence did I realize something. I don't really consider this a blog. Rather, I know this is a blog. This entity that you show up and read is a blog. But I don't think of myself as *writing* blogs. I think of myself as writing something else. Something nameless. Something somewhere between a news post, an editorial column, and an open letter to the world.

Anyway, as I was saying, one of the problems with writing something like this. (Something that I update according to my whimsy, but that a fair number of people show up and read.) Is that if I don't post anything for a while, it actually starts getting harder to post. After two weeks of silence, I start to feel like like I should have something *Really Cool* so say when I come back.

But I don't. I don't even really have any especially exciting reason for not posting for a while. Truth is, Me Being Busy Playing Catch-Up After A Convention + End of The Semester Grading + Thanksgiving + Two Signings = Radio Silence on My End.

I've been so busy lately that I haven't even checked my Amazon Ranking for, like, two or three days.... an unprecedented event.

(470, by the way.)

Let's see, what news do I have? The Name of the Wind has been nominated for Borders' Original Voices award for 2007. Point of interest, I'm the only person in my category whose title does not have a colon in it. For some reason that fills me with pride.

It just snowed here in Wisconsin. About 10 inches. My first snowfall as a homeowner. I shoveled for a solid hour tonight, great exercise that has reminded me how truly out of shape I've become. Take it from me, kids, being a writer has certain perks, but physique isn't one of them.

Other news.... Hmmmm... it seems like after almost three weeks of being gone, I should have more to report....

Oh, right, my meeting with Gaiman.

In brief, it was pretty cool. About four hours before Gaiman was scheduled to do his reading, I went from being nervous about meeting him, to a different sort of nervous. Suddenly I was worried that Gaiman wasn't going to be cool enough to live up to my expectations.

I know it's silly to idolize authors. I know this because I *am* an author, and it's silly for people to idolize me. Over these last couple months I've had people get nervous about meeting me and/or have various degrees of anxiety-related endearing geekiness when we talk. When people e-mail me and tell me that they're nervous about meeting me a signing or a reading, I laugh and say, "Believe me, I'm really not that impressive."

Anyone who has actually met me will back me up on this...

So I know firsthand that it's silly. Authors are just people. But the fact remains that when we love a book, we want to love the person who wrote the book. We want them to be as cool as the stories they write, and Gaiman writes one hell of a story...

So as Gaiman's reading approached, I grew increasingly nervous. What if he wasn't cool enough?

I needn't have worried. He was very relaxed and laid back. Very witty and articulate. He's a marvelous public speaker. He gave us a early taste of his upcoming "The Graveyard Book." He's a great reader, too. Though I wasn't surprised by that, as I really enjoyed the audio book story collection, "Fragile Things" which he read himself.

My reading was a half-hour after his, a hard act to follow. But I muddled through as best I could, reading a bit of my novel, a bit of poetry, and an essay I once wrote on the slow vs. fast zombies debate. It was a pretty good time.

I had about five minutes left in my time slot, and was trying to decide how to fill it, when one of the people organizing the conference came in and said, "Mr Gaiman wants to make sure he has a chance to talk to Pat before he leaves. I'm afraid I'm going to have to steal him..."

I gave the audience a look that said, "Are y'all cool with me heading out a little early?" They looked back, "Are you kidding? It's Neil Gaiman! Run you fool, run!"

So I went over to meet him. I tried my best to not be a total spaz when we met. I didn't want to be all gushy and fanboy. Personally, I enjoy it when people get a little geeky over my writing, but I figure he has to get that sort of thing all the time, and it has to be wearying after the first ten years or so.

So we hung out and chatted for a bit. Me and Neil. I have a picture somewhere, but I can't find it right now...

He was, as they say, "a hell of a regular guy." He told me that he'd had the chance to read the first few chapters of my book, because his publisher in England had given him a copy. He said something very flattering about my writing, but unfortunately, the book was too big to fit it into his carry-on luggage for his flight home. (The UK book is even bigger than the US version.) After that his life got a little busy, what with two movies coming out, books, signings, and generally being Neil Gaiman. So he kinda lost track of it. I can understand that. I'm overwhelmed right now and I can't be a fraction of as busy as he is...

So yeah. The whole experience was lovely. We chatted and I asked him some comic-book questions, as I have some people sniffing around about doing the graphic novel adaptations of the book. It was lovely, and he gave some good advice.

Now here's the crux of the story. Gaiman got ready to leave, but before he could head out, one of the con-goers caught him. The guy asked if he could send Gaiman a copy of his brother's novel to read, so that Gaiman could give him some feedback. Gaiman politely refused, explaining that he wished he could, but he really didn't have the time.

But they guy wouldn't take the gracious refusal. He asked if Gaiman would maybe just look at a few chapters instead. Gaiman explained, again, that there just weren't enough hours in the day, and besides, his brother would probably get better, more in-depth advice from a local writer's group....

But the guy really wouldn't take no for an answer. He tried a few more times from different angles. And here's the thing: Gaiman stayed cool through the whole thing. He didn't get bitchy or snippy or exasperated. Considering that he must get hit like that all the time, I was truly impressed.

The end. Moral: Gaiman is awesome.

I think that's all I've got for now....

Oh... one other thing. I've been invited by writer/author John Scalzi to offer up one of my already written blogs for promotional re-post on his site: Whatever.

Any advice? Of the blogs you've read on here, which one do you think would be best for amusing/entertaining/hooking in new readers?

I'd appreciate it if you let me know what you think in the comments below.

Later all,

pat

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posted by Pat at 31 Comments



Tuesday, September 11, 2007
More than slightly stunned...


I just won the Quill Award....






This is... This is really big. Steven Cobert [Edit: Sorry, that should have been "Colbert."] is opening the show. Al Gore and Scott McCloud are going to be there because they won in their respective categories.

I guess I really will have to get a tuxedo now. And soon. The award ceremony is less than two months away...


Wow.

pat

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