Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tales from the Con: Reading in Indianapolis
So when I was attending GenCon out in Indianapolis last month, I had several adventures.
For one, I got to eat at a Stake and Shake, which was pretty cool. This may not seem like a big deal for most of you, but... well... I don't get out much.
I also did a reading at the local library.
I love doing readings. But this one was especially fun, as I got to hang out with the folks from "...and Sewing is Half the Battle." They're the ones that won the photo contest
from a couple months ago.
They all came dressed in their costumes and did an intro to my reading, talking about what cosplay is, why folks do it, and how to dabble if you're interested.
I have to say that it was pretty cool showing up for my own reading and having a bunch of the characters from the book in attendance.
As a whole, I was too bemused to take a lot of pictures. But I got a huge kick out of this:
I don't remember writing a hippie into the book. But then again, I don't remember NOT writing a hippie into the book. Trapis, nice guy that he is, seems to be reserving judgement.
Haliax, as you might have guessed, is a big hit with the ladies. Why do they always go for the dark types?
Here's one I snapped of Haliax when he didn't think anyone was paying attention. Apparently when there aren't any chicks around he summons some sort of glowing orb, practicing to destroy his enemies. I can't say I'm surprised.
Ladies, let this be a lesson to you. Sure, cowls are sexy. Everyone loves a bad boy. But when you're dating evil, it's only a matter of time before you get the glowing orb.
Here's everyone. From top left to bottom right you have: Elodin, young girl (see below) Haliax, Bast and Urchin, Ambrose, glowing death orb, Hippie, Trapis, Denna, Kvothe and Fela.
I won't bore you with the whole story of the reading, but here are the high points.
- A 10 year old girl made fun of my handwriting.
She looked down at the book I was writing in. "Authors are supposed to use cursive," she informed me.
"Not me," I said cheerfully, scribbing away.
"Is that your name?" she asked.
She kept watching in disapproval, then said. "Authors are also supposed to have better handwriting than a third grader."
"You're fat," I said.
I didn't really. She was adorable. Plus, I was on an adulation buzz by that point and nothing could bring me down. I long ago came to grips with the fact that my handwriting looks like a psychotic grade schooler's ransom note. She wasn't telling me anything I didn't already know.
- At some point during the Q & A period, I used a terrible phrase.
I used to do improv comedy. This is a good thing. I know how to work a crowd and think on my feet. Public speaking doesn't freak me out. I'm relaxed. I make jokes. It's a good time.
The down side is that I'm not exactly working off a script. And that means sometimes I'll say awful things.
I'm not talking about cussing. I cuss all the time. It's not a big deal.
All humor is rooted in transgression. That means that most things that are genuinely funny also have the potential for being really offensive, or weird, or creepy.
I can't remember the exact context for this phrase, but I was answering a question. I think I was making fun of the fact that since I hit the NYT bestseller list, everyone seems to think I'm all rockstar famous.
As I said, I can't remember the exact context. But I do remember the phrase I used.
It was: "Come Ride the Rothfuss Train!"
Yeah. I even pronounced it with the exclamation point, which is something I very rarely do. It was one of those things that seems brilliant before you say it, but goes horrible as soon as it leaves your mouth.
There was a half-second of quiet, then I said. "I'm never going to say that ever again."
THAT got a laugh. A big laugh.
So later, when I was signing books, everyone
wanted me to write something about the Rothfuss train. So the story has a happy ending.
- I got to hang out with the "Sewing is Half the Battle" crew.
After the reading, we all hung out, and I treated them to dinner as part of their prize for their epic win the in the photo contest.
Eventually the restaurant closed, so we went to... you guessed it. Steak and Shake. My second trip in as many days. It was there that a talented artist who will remain nameless drew this on a placemat for me.
Yeah. It's the Rothfuss Train. Hop on. Ride it. You know you want to....
Labels: costumes, photo contest, small adventures, The Rothfuss Train
posted by Pat at
Friday, June 20, 2008
Photo Contest Wrap-up.
Today I was going to wax rhapsodic about the grand prize winners. However I find myself oddly tired, pressed for time, and feeling very thick in the head. I'm too tired to be all cleverness in my word makings.
So here's the bare bones version....
They = coolness.
Their fabulous prizes include:
1. I'll take them all out to dinner when I'm out in Indianapolis for Gencon.
2. Signed books, maps, and college survival guides for everyone on their team who wants them.
3. An early reading copy of The Wise Man's Fear, if such a thing would please them. If it doesn't, then I'll simply have to owe them a favor that they can call in at their leisure, all mobster style.
Now, before everyone gets all twitterpated and starts mewling for their own copy in the comments section. Let me just say, the book isn't ready to read yet. I'm still tweaking, re-writing, and revising.
Also, I need to say that I'm willing to trust them with an early version of the book because I've actually met these folks. They took me out to dinner a year ago, back before I was all award-draped and bestseller famous. They're cool, they're smart, and they bought me dinner. That + winning the contest means I feel I can trust them with an early version of the book.
Now before every man-jack of you starts trying to wheedle your own copy, let me re-direct your energies to something more productive: the next
I'd like suggestions for making the next one even better. How should we handle it? More rules? Less rules? Different rules?
Discuss in the comments section below....
And it's bed for me....
Labels: photo contest
posted by Pat at
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Photo Contest Part X - The Grand Prize Winner
And here we have it. The end of the contest. The entry so awesome that I cannot even post it on the blog. I dare only reflect its infinite glory with a simple link.
When you get to their page, make sure that you click on the first page first. (It's the one that says "Chasing the Wind.") Then click through to follow the storyline. Yes. There's a storyline.
Wow. I just looked at it again. It made my honest-to-god tingly.
You know what? I'm not even going to talk about it right now. I don't want to distract you. You should just go, check it out
, then come back here and leave a comment that tells them how unspeakably cool they are.
Labels: contests, cool things, costumes, fan coolness, photo contest
posted by Pat at
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Photo Contest Part IX - Covers and Cosplay.
Well folks, we're almost at the end of the photos. I hope you've had as much fun as I have.
Our final category is: "Best Cosplay." But before we get to that, there was a small subcategory of photos that I haven't included yet: photos commenting about the covers of the book itself.
This is the real hot-button question, of course. How much naked man chest do you prefer?
A lot of people weighed in on the subject.
Even to the point of dressing up as their preferred cover.
And here you see my clever segue into the "Best Cosplay" category. Look like anyone you know
Maybe this will help. When I started this contest up on Facebook
, someone else took young Kvothe's posed picture and photoshopped him onto the cover. I think both the model and the photoshopper deserve an honorable mention prize.
Some of the pictures people took told a story.
Here, for example, we have an epic battle taking place for the love of a beautiful woman....
Interesting side note: this is the look that women have been consistently giving me for the last 15 years. Admittedly, they usually have a pretty good reason....
I was especially tickled by the people who staged scenes from the book. This one is subtle, and the reference is easier to catch in the following version:
Here's the strapping young man we saw at the beginning of Part VIII
, putting those abs to good use. Extra points for rescuing the lady and
Anyone who's read The Name of the Wind should be able to identify this scene. But what really impressed me was the hard, white Dalonir cheese that they went to the trouble of including in the picture. That's the level of detail that gets you a pair of lovely runner-up prizes: one for Kvothe and one for Auri.
This is hot. The best part? Kvothe's drawn-on abs.
Winner. Such a sweet picture. I'm guessing most of you can identify this scene too.
We have a good degree of accuracy here too. Denna is all, "You're so dreamy." And Kvothe is thinking, "I wish Denna liked me.... Hey, are those cumulus or cirrus clouds.?"
Congrats. Both Kvothe and Denna can have a fabulous prize of their choosing.
This is so not cannon. Still, it's nice to see poor Kvothe get a little love...
Remember, if you've won, you need to follow the guidelines I laid down at the beginning of the contest
in order to claim your swag. Now that all the winners are finally posted, I'm going to go through and start packaging and mailing things out.
Well.... I shouldn't say that ALL the winners are posted. There was one entry so amazing that I had to give it a post all its own. We'll see that next week, so stay tuned.
Labels: book covers, contests, costumes, fan coolness, photo contest
posted by Pat at
Monday, June 9, 2008
Photo Contest Part VIII - Eros, Filius, and Agape
One of the original categories I proposed for this contest was "Most Sexy." This was, of course, a shameless attempt to get young ladies to send me pictures of themselves all scantily clad.
As with all of my nefarious schemes, this one met with varying degrees of success.
Oh. I remember when I had abs. *Sigh.* A decade of sitting in front of a computer writing a novel has not been good for my physique. I hope y'all appreciate what I gave up for this novel....
Similarly, as the pictures started to roll in, I realized that that "sexy" was too narrow a term for this category. I needed to broaden the field a bit, but I can't think of a single way to describe them. "Most Lovely" isn't quite right either. Perhaps what we need is not a single broad term, but a group of more specific ones....
The ancient Greeks were wise enough to have three words for love: Filius, Eros, and Agape. Filius was family love, what you feel for your mom. Eros was sweaty love of the sort that you feel for best friend's hot mom. Agape is profound and elevated. A sort of soul love, like what you feel for your PlayStation, or Natalie Portman, or Joss Whedon.
Let's do it that way, let us divide and conquer.
Some people made blatant attempts to appeal to my prurient interests. But these heavy-handed photoshoppings were the exception to the rule.
Some photos, in fact, were very high-class. Elegant, even.
Here we have the flirtation that comes at the beginning of the relationship....
.... and the romance that comes later. You sure know how to treat a book, Captain Joe.
Awwww.... the sweetest picture.
Here, apparently my book has just competed in some manner of sexual Olympics. I'm pretty sure that low score up on the board is from the East German judge....
Only rarely in my life have I been looked at with this degree of adoration. This is an agape look.
And there was a fair share of straight-up sexy too. Good old-fashioned Eros never goes out of style.
We've got librarian sexy.
Hip-wader sexy. (Don't judge me.)
And some bad-boy sexy. Can you feel the sheer damn manliness rolling off this? Not a lot of guys seemed interested in sending in pictures of this sort, so I think it's worth the runner-up position.
Our winner. So lovely. (I assume this was before the duck showed up
(Click to Embiggen)
And the picture that stunned me. The extra-winner. Winner plus. The ladies who sent this in were careful to point out that they were reading Chapter 69: Wind or Women's Fancy.
Ladies, for going to such lengths, each of you may have whatever prizes you like. Plus, I'd like to send along something special. Would you have any interest in a couple copies of the ARC
I've been hording? It only seems fair that you would each get one, as this was clearly a team effort.
This picture. I... I just don't know what to say. Part of me feels like I should try to be suave here. I feel like I should pretend...
Here's the deal. I think when we're young, we all dream of being famous. We see actors or rock stars on the news, and we want some of that for ourselves. It's a dream of power. It's a childish fantasy.
I'm a grown-up. Partly. And that grown-up part of me says, "You should be mature about this. Assuming an attitude of careful appreciation to this picture. Be calm and complimentary, but don't overdo it. Remember, you don't want to seem like some immature git. Or worse, an old pervert."
I'm also a feminist. Hell, I spent years as the ADVISOR to the local feminist group. That part of me is grumbling about women's bodies as objects, and... y'know... patriarchy and stuff.
These are just a few of the ways my superego is trying to assert itself. Trying to make me feel guilty. Trying to crush my joy thin and lifeless as a dry, brown leaf.
But no. I'm going to shrug off all that responsible-minded bullshit for a moment and tell you the truth. This is cool. This is the coolest thing ever. I look at this picture and I feel like a goofy teenager again. When I first saw it, I laughed with delight and joy. I told everyone about it.
I wish I could go back in time and talk to my poor, lonely, confused teenage self and say, "Pat, things are not going to go smoothly for you over the next couple years. You will make terrible mistakes. You will spend a decade getting your college degree and writing a unmarketable behemoth of a fantasy novel. Most people, even the ones that love and support you, will think that this is a pretty stupid thing to do, and they will be right in thinking that."
Then I would lean forward and say, "But if you keep writing, you will finish that book. And if you keep revising it, a publisher will buy it. They will pay you money for the story that came out of your head. And once that book is in print, there are people who will love your book. They will love it beyond all reason and expectation. They will love your book to such a degree that beautiful young women will strip naked and adorn their bodies with the image of your book, and then they will send you a picture of it!
In my mind's eye, I can see the smile on the face of that teenage Pat. It is the smile I am wearing now. It goes deep down into my chest, and it feels good. It feels like being a stupid kid again.
Tomorrow it will probably fade. I'll probably feel a little embarrassed about the fuss I made over this picture. But for now, I am happy in a very non-mature, non-responsible way.
For now, I know that I am very lucky. Thank you all.
Labels: contests, fan coolness, joy, photo contest, sexy
posted by Pat at
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Photo Contest Part VII - Drama
When I started the contest, I really didn't expect there to be so much drama involved.
Not only is this shot very well composed, but her expression here is priceless. It's halfway between "Alas!" and "Whatev."
Captain Joe, suspiciously without pants in this photo, includes the following caption:
"Why?" begs Captain Joe of the blood-red sky. "Take me too!"
"No," replied the Sky.
"But NOTW is too powerful for this world, too awesome - it hurts us."
"You have a pointy chin, Captain Joe, and I find your beard lacking."
Overcome with anguish and poor dialogue, Captain Joe despairs of ever finding true happiness again.
There were more than a few photos sent in showing the book in heavenly surroundings.
Or emanating what can only be considered a holy light.
Here we have holy light AND drama. A word of advice, if you ever see a glowing book outside your window at night. Don't follow it into the woods. I don't think that's safe at all.
Some pictures told stories. Bizarre stories. Captions are theirs, not mine.
"Enough of your bitch-bitch about carry three rocket *and* book. Everybody carry book. Everybody look for Chandrian. We find them - you be glad you have three rocket."
Before the gentle caress of Rothfuss, this poor soul was lost in self doubt, alcoholism and perhaps mental retardation....
After the gentle caress of Rothfuss, this man has become a success. He is now prepared for the trials and tribulations of everyday nerdom.
A lot of people obviously feel that the book will protect them from harm.
I'm guessing it would stop a sword thrust, now that I'm thinking of it.
Best. Fort. Ever. You'll totally be safe there. At least until one of the Borders staff shows up, bitches you out, and makes you put them back on the shelf....
When I first saw this picture, I really didn't know what to think. Vague threat? Dada art? My editor telling me that I needed to quit blogging and get to work on book two?
Then I realized it was a two-parter meant to demonstrate yet another way that The Name of the Wind can improve your lifestyle. I'm going to give this guy an honorable mention prize if for no other reason than he put my book in his pants.
However, the book is not merely a protective device. Apparently, it's a bit of an ass kicker too.
While I don't condone this sort of violence, I'm willing to bet that those peeps had it coming.
More often than not, my book seemed to get into fights with other books, rather than with sugary confections.
The release of the paperback edition of The Name of the Wind sparked a literary war - the Last Great Literary War. It scoured libraries, bookstores, and personal book collections alike. We lost - everyone lost - the world burned. No one saw the sheer awesomeness of a mass-market edition coming. In the end, there could be only one...
A lot of photos set up an antagonistic relationship between The Name of the Wind and another more firmly established fantasy series.
Some of the photos were symbolic.
Others were more passive aggressive.
But this one was my favorite. Runner-up, mostly because of the caption.
Lute-Playing, Wind-Naming, Dragon-Slayer: 7
Boy Wizard With Angst Issues: 0
Really, he never stood a chance.
Notice: No books were harmed in the taking of this photograph. Except for HP2, which had to be emergency rolly-carted out of the area. Trauma Librarians expect a full recovery.
On a side note, if I can't hack it as an author, I think I might try to be a trauma librarian next. That's a job I think I'd enjoy....
(Click to Embiggen)
And the winner.
Undoubtedly this is the goriest book battle ever. It is fair to point out that this was more a battle royal, as opposed to The Name of the Wind taking on all comers. Honestly, I'm just glad that Mists of Avalon took out Dark Tower early on. If not for that, I don't think I would have had much of a chance.
Two categories left. My two favorite categories: "Most Sexy" and "Best Cosplay."
Labels: contests, fan coolness, photo contest
posted by Pat at
Bookmark this Blog
(IE and Firefox users only - Safari users, click Command-D)