Monday, February 1, 2010
A few updates: Coolness and Prizes

Those of you who read last week's blog about the Gaiman-Day scale of coolness might be interested in this picture:

(Click to Embiggen)

These are just the weekly stats, and my numbers are artificially inflated by my recent blog post. But still, if you're like me, it's nice to get to play with the cool kids, even if it's just for a week or so.


In other news, we're still dealing with the aftermath of this year's fundraiser. It's going a lot slower this year because we've got WAY more stuff to sort, package, and ship out.

Just to give you a basis for comparison, this was our prize shelf last year:


I was really proud of that shelf and all the authors that contributed to it. But still, you can see that a lot of the books on there are mine.

These are our prize shelves this year...

(Click to Embiggen)

Huzzah.

This doesn't even include all the swag from Subterranean Press, as they're shipping out their own books. (God bless them.)

Try not to be distracted by the extreme coolness of my brick-and-board shelves which, I would like to mention, I put up by my very own self.

As you can see, a *lot* more authors chipped in this year. Which gives me a warm, glowy feeling of goodwill toward the entire sci-fi & fantasy community. It goes without saying that the donations from DAW and Gollancz made a world of difference, too.

And just so you know, we're not contacting all the winners beforehand. It would be *way* too much work. You'll know you've won something when a package shows up in the mail. Please don't e-mail to ask if you've won....

[Edit 2-2-10 Answers to a few questions:

I'm not going to post up a list of everyone's names that that won, because not everyone wants their name posted up on the internet. Just in case any of you were wondering, it's not cool to post personal information about people on the internet without asking first.

I'm not going to e-mail everyone asking if I can post their info up on the net either. Because, well... duh.

What I will be doing is asking folks to take pictures of themselves and their prizes, then we'll post them up here. That way, even if you didn't win something yourself, you can live vicariously through the joy of others. That's kinda what worldbuilders is all about.

The big winners I've already contacted personally. The people who won Gaiman and Sanderson's books, as well as the guy who won the golden ticket. I'll be putting up some information about them, if they're cool with it.

We can ship to PO boxes just fine. Don't worry about it. If something is strange or confusing about your address, rest assured that we'll contact you to sort it out.
End edit.]


More blogs on the way....

pat

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Saturday, October 3, 2009
Is Patrick Rothfuss Fashionable?

In my last post I said in an offhand way, "fashionistas among you will note my stylish geekware."

The joke, of course, lies in the fact that I am about as unfashionable as a person can be. I expect that the fashionistas pay as much attention to me as I pay to being fashionable. Which is to say, none. I am many things, but I am not one of the gliterati.

However, after that post, someone sent me a link to a blog that asked the question I thought nobody in their right mind would ever ask. Namely: Is Patrick Rothfuss Fashionable?

Share and enjoy,

pat

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Thursday, August 13, 2009
Muahahahahaha!

Right now I'm at GenCon, hunting the wily catgirl in her natural habitat.

While I'm busy, here's something interesting from the New Yorker.

Yeah. Seriously.

pat

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Saturday, February 14, 2009
My Trip to LA: Part One

So, it's been about a month since my trip to LA.

Now some folk will quibble and say that I was in *Pasadena,* not LA. But that is a distinction that matters primarily to folks who live in the LA area. To the rest of us, that entire gob of city there in Southern California is all LA.

It's best not to split hairs about these sorts of things. If we're going to get technical, I would have to explain to people that I'm not originally from Madison proper. I'm actually from the Town of Burke, right next to Madison. And right now I'm not in Hayward, hiding from the world and writing, I'm in the nearby township of Lenroot, or something like that.

These are pointless little truths that don't do anyone any good.

This is the art of storytelling, you see. Telling small lies in pursuit of a larger truth. The art of being a reader is being willing to work a little to get at the meat of the story, while at the same time accepting the occasional bent technicality and comma splice.

Anyway. LA was awesome. I was flown out by the lovely folks responsible for one of the winning pictures in the photo contest. Not only are these ladies lovely and willing to get naked for my book, but they are also rocket scientists. Seriously. So while I was out there, I got to take a tour of JPL and look at cool spaceship stuff.

I got to see oranges growing on trees. Which might not seem like a big deal for most of you, but for me it was pretty cool. I also saw lizards running around wild, and can now identify a eucalyptus tree. I got to play some new board games and walk around outside without wearing a coat or hat or anything.

The book signing itself turned out to be a marvelous success. We had a surprising number of people show up, I'm guessing 100 or 120. They had to bring out a bunch of extra chairs, and even then people were standing in the isles and sitting on the floor.

It was a good crowd. I read a few Survival Guides, a poem, and a snippet of book two. I told some stories, answered questions, and got a few laughs. Afterwards, I signed a buttload of books and got to chat one-on-one with folks. Someone brought me wine, someone else brought me an entire care package including memory sticks and tickets to Disneyland.

Though I love the swag, I feel obliged to remind folks that the "Something Cool" rule only applies to books you're mailing in for me to sign.

That said, if you have something you'd *really* like to give me, far be it from me to stop you….

Of particular interest was something that happened halfway through the reading. I was answering some question or another, and I looked out and saw Felicia Day sitting at the back of the crowd.

Now this is the point in the story where I don't exactly know what I should say. Normally when I'm telling a story out of my real life, I go with the truth, even when it's embarrassing or unflattering. I don't know exactly why I feel obliged to do this, but I do.

But for some reason, as I tell this story, I want to lie. I want to pretend I was laid-back about it. Pleased, of course, but also nonchalant. I'd like to portray myself as relaxed… cool. Like the Fonz from Happy Days. Or like the modern-day fantasy author version of the Fonz: Neil Gaiman.

I've seen Neil Gaiman a couple times. He's a great public speaker, funny, insightful. He knows how to work a crowd, and he's irritatingly good at reading his own work out loud.

Even better, he's terribly gracious in person. I once watched him get ambushed by a fan who was desperate to have Gaiman read his manuscript. The guy clung to Gaiman and wouldn't take no for an answer. I found it irritating from a distance of fifteen feet, but Gaiman was unfailingly polite through the whole exchange.

I'm not graceful in that way. I honestly don't know how I come across in public, but sometimes I expect that it's something like the way my old dog, Pup, used to behave.

He was a big liony mutt that I grew up with as a kid. An outside dog who never knew a fence, as we lived out in the country and let him run wild. He a smart dog, and a vicious hunter. He patrolled our house, protecting us from pretty much anything.

Despite the fact that he was a great hunter and defender, he was also very friendly. Unfortunately, it was like he never figured out that he wasn't a puppy anymore. When someone came over for a visit, Pup would jump up on them, putting his paws up on your chest (or your shoulders, if you were shorter) and lick your face.

This is fine behavior if you're a fluffy puppy with milk-breath, or if you're an adult dog hanging out with your family. But Pup treated everyone that way, even when he was full grown, shaggy, and smelling of whatever interesting he had found to roll in.

I suspect that's what I must be like when I'm in public most of the time. I'm this great shaggy beast who gets excited about meeting new people, and does the conversational equivalent of jumping up on people and licking them in the face.

This means that when I want to be socially graceful, I need some sort of internal touchstone about how I should act. So when I see Felicia Day sitting in the back of the room, I think to myself: WWNGD?

I'm guessing he would not, for example, stand up at his own reading and say: "Holy shit everybody! Felicia Day is here!"

So I didn't either. But I tell you, it was a near thing. I'm pretty sure I kept my game face on, and kept answering whatever question I was in the middle of. But the truth is, inside I was standing up and pointing, shouting: "Holy shit! Everybody! Felicia Day!" with all the enthusiasm of a four-year-old who has just seen his first real firetruck drive by on the street.

(Re-reading this, I think I need to add another item to my ever-growing list of Things You Should Never Compare a Woman to Under Any Circumstances. Number Seven: Firetruck. Perhaps any type of truck.

For the record, please note that this particular use of firetruck is being used to describe my reaction to Felicia, not Felicia herself.)





Anyway, after the reading, I managed to grab Felicia and chat for a bit before I started signing books. By this point I'd settled down a bit and was able to behave like a regular human being.

But still, every once in a while, my head would spin around a bit and I would think, "Wha? Who is this? Holy shit. I'm talking with Felicia Day!"

*****

Well folks, due to my tangential nature, this particular blog has ended up being WAY longer than I'd intended. I'll post the rest of it in a day or two, how's that?

In the mean time, if you don't know what the big deal is, you can go check out Dr. Horrible, where Felicia plays Penny. Or The Guild, which Felicia writes and produces in addition to playing the part of Codex.

Later,

pat

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Thursday, January 22, 2009
Just to let you know....

Hello everyone,

This is just a quick note to let you know that I'm back from my trip to California and that the quiet here on my blog doesn't stem from the fans out there killing me and selling my furry pelt on e-bay.

It was a great time. A lovely break from my current lonely snowbound writing existence. I played board games, hung out with rocket scientists, and got to have a Jamba Juice with Felicia Day.

Yes. That's right. A Jamba Juice. I was pretty excited, let me tell you.

But before you go wishing you were me, be aware that I paid dearly for my decadent weekend. I was trapped in Minneapolis all Sunday due to Northwest Airline's asshattery. Monday, hours after returning home, I was brought low by a terrible plague. Don't ask for details, but know that I have only today recovered enough to crawl to my computer, check e-mail, and bask in the healing glow of Facebook.

More soon,

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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Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Concerning Fanmail: Part One

So while I wasn't paying attention, I apparently received my 1500th piece of fanmail.

Rather, I should probably say I recently received mail from my 1500th fan. There's been more mail than that, because sometimes I end up e-mailing back and forth with people who drop me a line. Interviews. Witty banter. Coy flirtation. Geek talk. That sort of thing.

But yeah. 1500, people have sent me messages. And that's just through the contact form on my webpage. That doesn't count the people who have dropped me a line through Myspace, or Facebook, or sent me a physical letter. I'm guessing that if I counted those, the number would rise up over two thousand.

It's a little stupefying now that I'm stopping to think of it.

I won't lie to you, fanmail is great. There have been occasional exceptions to this, like the guy who sent me a message saying that he hoped a dog would bite me on the nuts. But even that made me laugh.

I'll even go so far as to say that over the last year or so, fanmail has significantly improved the quality of my life. I've had some real emotional low points since the book came out. But many's the time when I'd get a little note from someone and it would salvage what was shaping up to be a real turd of a day.

Like today, for example. Today someone sent me a pair of fucking nunchucks. I'm not even kidding. Look:





Okay. This picture is crap. But the nunchucks are cool. They're heavy, solid. Not toys at all. And the only thing keeping me from swinging them around as an idiot is the thought of showing up as Guest of Honor at V-Con having broken my own nose.

They were sent to me as the "something cool" part of the package so I'd sign someone's book. I was understandably delighted.

Then, later, I was out running errands and found out my favorite restaurant had just shut down. This place made sandwiches so good that they were sexual. Not just regular sexual either. These sandwiches were transcendent. They were the sandwich equivalent of a three-way. It was like you, the sandwich, and a sexy god made entirely of bacon got together for a friendly yiff.

Anyway, my point is that my favorite restaurant closed. Depressing. I was ready to be really bummed out. Then I thought to myself, "Someone sent me nunchucks today. I have nunchucks at home right now that I can go and play with." And my day was saved.

Of course, not all fanmail is physical. But that doesn't mean that it isn't lovely. Take this excerpt, for example.

I want to thank you so very much. Your book brought me and my girlfriend closer together. Life is tough, my girlfriend and I have a 15 month old son (named after me!) and it seems all we do is work and work and occasionally work some more. Money is always tight and stress is always high, but your book brought a respite from our monotonous routine. J---- loved it (as I hope you guessed already). I had so much fun discussing the book with her I can not even put it to words.

Needless to say, reading something like that is every bit as good as getting nunchucks in the mail. What's more, that e-mail has the added bonus of having absolutely no chance of breaking my girlfriend's coffee mug. Which I just did.

In part two of this post, I'll share more of my favorite fanmail excerpts. Y'all have said some crazy stuff over the last year.

Stay tuned.

pat

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008
How to be Cool - A Primer.

As I've mentioned before, due to angering some fickle deity, I only had one scheduled event at DragonCon: a reading.

When I showed up to the con, the programming staff were nice enough to schedule me a signing too. Then, using my not inconsiderable charm, I sweet-talked my way onto a couple of the writing track panels.

The panels went pretty well. Since they were already on the schedule, they had good audiences. I gave a few good pieces of advice, got a few laughs, and avoided - for the most part - making an ass of myself. If I can do all three of those things, it's a good panel.

My signing was another matter entirely. Since it wasn't on the schedule, nobody knew about it. You could hear crickets. Two people showed up, and I was surprised to have that many.

Rest assured that my ego did not suffer any permanent trauma due to low attendance. Why is that? Well... mostly because of the signings I used to do back when my first story appeared in an anthology....

They were brutal. Most signings are when you're a new writer. Typically you spend two hours sitting at a card table in front of a Waldenbooks at the local mall. Then everyone ignores you. Pointedly ignores you. Ignores you as if they fear making eye contact will give them herpes.

Those early signings, while grueling, did a great job of setting my expectations low. These days, if I have a signing and two or three people talk to me, I consider it a win. Everything beyond that is gravy.

The other reason my ego wasn't bruised by the low turn-out is that earlier this month at Worldcon, when my signing *was* on the schedule, I got a turnout that surprised so much that I took a picture of the line:





By comparison, my DragonCon signing is pretty relaxing. I talk to the two people who stop by, drink my coffee, and read the program book making plans to stalk Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarin, and Jewel Staite.

Then I pack up and head over to my reading. My expectations understandably low.

Imagine my surprise when I see that the room is pretty much full. It's surprising to me that all these people, in the middle of all the glamour and weird of DragonCon, have chosen to show up and listen to me read. What's more, they all started to applaud when I came in the door.

It was a good feeling. I felt cool. Really cool. I was a hoopy frood. I was about .8 of a Gaiman on the cool-o-meter, which is pretty cool.

I briefly excused myself to use the bathroom - as I said, it was exciting - then did my reading. They laughed at my jokes, asked good questions, and didn't hassle me too much about book two. In brief, it was a great crowd.

When my hour was up, so many people wanted me to sign that, after a half hour, I needed to move the remainder into the hallway because the next reading was scheduled to begin. Then I signed in the hallway for another half hour.

Needless to say, I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Then I realized that my zipper was down. Which means that it had been down since I used the bathroom right before the reading.

Thank you, oh universe, for reminding me of the truth. While I may be all that and a bag of chips, I'm usually all that and a bag of chips who doesn't know his zipper is open.

I learned my lesson though. Later that night, in order to prevent any further zipper-related embarrassment, I changed into my kilt before I went out to dinner with some of the folks who had participated in the photo contest a couple months back:





And a good time was had by all....

pat

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Monday, March 26, 2007
My Misspent Youth.
So a couple days ago, I come home, open the door, and find this waiting for me:



My first thought is that I might have blacked out and overdone it on Amazon again. But when I looked closer I realized what was really going on:








My book. My baby.

My next thought was that these might be my author copies. But there was WAY too many for that. Then I remembered that a couple weeks ago, one of the PR people at Penguin told me that a bookstore owner had read the advance copy of the book and really loved it. He wanted to buy a hundred copies for his store, and was wondering if I would sign them for him.

I said, "sure, no problem," then pretty much forgot about it.

Carrying all the books inside really made me realize that 100 books is, to put it delicately, a whole shitload. And this is just for one store....

So anyway, I pulled out a book and decided to get started. I figured this was going to take me a while, unpacking, signing, then repacking the books to ship back out.

But before I even opened the first book, I was paralyzed with performance anxiety. Seriously. I held the pen and thought, "What if my signature doesn't look... well... authory enough?"

You know that phase you go through when you're in middle school, where you practice your signature so you're ready for when you become a rock star and have to sign autographs all the time? I know most of my peer group went through this somewhere between the ages of 11 and 16. One of my friends actually developed an entire variant style of cursive writing that he's used ever since. It was, and still is, totally cool looking.

Anyway, I never went through that phase. I wanted to be a rock star. But I suspected I didn't have the right sort of hair. I also had the penmanship of a demented monkey. Plus, I was lazy and had no musical talent to speak of.

Instead I wasted my time reading books, talking to girls, and doing my physics homework. As I looked down at the hundred books I was supposed to sign, I mourned my misspent youth.

So I sat down and signed my name a couple times. Its one of those things that's easy if you're not thinking about it, and hard when you're concentrating too much. I suddenly became very aware of the fact that the O leading into the T and the H is kinda hard to do quickly. If you rush it, you get tripped up and your H gets tangled up with the F.

That's right. Laugh it up. It's a hard name to sign, especially when you're obsessing, and nervous, and you have, at best, the penmanship of a third grader.

Anyway, I toughed it out and did my best. I still think my signature looks a little goofy, and there are a few of them where the H looks like it's getting freaky with the F, and the F might not be entirely cool with it. But still, given the fact that I started this whole process with a significant handicap, I think I did pretty well.

I just finished the last one, repacked the boxes, and got them ready to send out.

So before I go to bed, I'd like to give you aspiring writers out there some advice. Learn from my mistakes. Practice your signature now.

pat

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