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Friday, 28 November 2014

Worldbuilders Auction

It's no secret to anyone who's read my posts about books, or talked to me about my favorite authors, that I'm a giant fangirl about Patrick Rothfuss and his incredible stories.

Really, it's undignified.

But there it is - I'm a proper geek when it comes to Pat's overall coolness. His writing is in a class by itself and continually blows me away - whether a novel, a children's story, a blog post, or a review of someone else's book. His game recommendations always find their way into my son's ears. His blog posts often get read out loud when the laughter erupts within earshot of anyone in the family. And my best friend and I have traded Aolian pipe earrings for a signed and personalized copy of The Name of the Wind as favorite gifts. It's all her fault anyway - she's the one who first introduced me to Pat's books.

And then there's Worldbuilders. Because Pat wasn't cool enough.

He talks about his charity, and the donations to Heifer International far better than I ever could, so I'll leave that business to the master. You can find tons of information about the amazing things happening at Worldbuilders on Patrick Rothfuss' blog here, including a guest post from Vicki Clarke of Heifer International, describing their philosophy of making a difference. It's the basic "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime" approach to giving.

The first year of Worldbuilders I donated enough money to buy some chickens. I have chickens and the egg-collecting part of the day is THE BEST. Seriously, those creatures MAKE FOOD that feeds my family. Everyone needs chickens, so buying chickens was a no-brainer. I also sent a message to Pat through Goodreads offering to donate paperback copies of Marking Time to the lottery part of the charity. Everyone who donates to Worldbuilders gets their name entered into the lottery to win books and/or games which have been donated by publishers, authors, game designers, etc. The people at Worldbuilders were so generous with their thanks for the books and bookmarks I signed and shipped, and this year I was quite honored to be asked about donating again.

They've upped the ante though, and so I did, too. Besides books, I added a Victorian pin that had been inspiration for one worn by a Jack the Ripper victim in Marking Time, to go along with paperbacks of Marking Time and Tempting Fate. And when Maria, from Worldbuilders, asked whether there was something I'd be willing to auction, the only thing that came to mind is something I actually love to do - write a character whose name, at least, and usually some personality trait, is based on someone real.

Who knew there was a name for it? But Tuckerizations are a thing - named for Wilson Tucker, an American Science Fiction writer from the early twentieth century who made a habit of naming his characters after his friends.

My sons' names and quite a few of their characteristics are in my books. I needed a name for a random student at the school for Immortal Descendants, so I chose the name of one of my son's friends who had read book one and enjoyed it. His total delight at finding his name was a moment of pure joy for me.

So, this is why my picture's on ebay right now, and an auction for a Tuckerization is running for the next nine days. Because Changing Nature will be published in January, there's still time for me to slip the winning bidder's name into that book. They'll be an Immortal Descendant of some kind - not Monger, so don't bother giving me the name of an enemy - and I'm not doing a major rewrite on this book, so it'll just be a name. But the storyline associated with the name in Changing Nature will be continuing into Waging War, so that's where I can write a proper scene involving the Tuckerized Immortal Descendant.

I'm very excited about the research I'm doing for Waging War, and I'm looking forward to digging into the writing part. The scene will be fun, and the more information I get from the winning bidder about the person to whom the name belongs, the more I have to play with in their scene.

I'm going to assume, if you've found this blog, you might actually have read Marking Time, and maybe even Tempting Fate. Changing Nature is my favorite book yet, and Waging War is going to be a big, bold story. Please, consider putting a bid in on this Worldbuilders auction. ALL the money goes to Heifer International to buy livestock and seeds and trees for sustainable food sources to feed people in need, and someone gets the gift of immortalization in print - in TWO BOOKS of the Immortal Descendants series.

Here's the link to the ebay auction - please check it out, pass it around, and consider donating directly to Worldbuilders. Even ten dollars gets your name into the lottery to win books and games, and it's the kind of giving that continues to feed people long after the money is spent.

CLICK HERE to go to the ebay auction site for Worldbuilders. Check out all the items, and then scroll down the list for my picture. That's the auction for the Tuckerization in Changing Nature and Waging War. THANK YOU for looking, for reading, and for just generally putting up with all my Pat Rothfuss fangirling.

Seriously. Thank you.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Bilbo and Book Recommendations

Book recommendations are like pieces of advice - it's so satisfying to have exactly the right one to dispense to a person in need. There's approximately the same risk involved, too. Dislike the book I recommended and you might start to wonder about my reading tastes, and therefore, me as a person. Give bad advice, and, well... we all know how that ends. The reverse is also true. My friend, Angela became my friend because of books. She came into my house when we first met, saw my bookshelves, and said, "Oh, I know you."

It's true. I've been known to judge people by the books they like. I have an instant kinship, for example, with anyone who loves Ender's Game, Outlander, The Name of the Wind, Ship of Magic, and The Code Book. 

I know I can laugh and drink wine with friends who loved Neanderthal Seeks Human and any of the Charley Davidson series. And there are knowing nods and winks to be shared with readers of The Fever Series, The Elemental Mysteries, The Psy/Changling books, and the Shifter series by Patricia Briggs.

Then, of course, for the YA readers, it's all trilogies, with first books including: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Hunger Games, Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Thief, and City of Bones. The Graveyard Book stands in a category by itself, but so does everything else by Neil Gaiman.

And then there are the authors. Until I became one, authors were mystical, magical people who had access to impossible imaginations. Now, through the beautiful solidarity of writers, I actually know some, and through blogs, charities, and social media, have access to the everyday thoughts of others. Penny Reid is among the most generous and lovely of all writers I know, and the characters she creates would be my best friends if, you know, they were actual people. Patrick Rothfuss is a legend, a humanitarian, a giant geek, and so wryly funny in his blog postings it makes my son perk up as I'm laughing out loud, to declare, "Must be Patrick Rothfuss." And Neil Gaiman, like his books, is a category of human unto himself. Passionate, prolific, extraordinary, and a true gentleman. His advice tends toward fearless creativity, and his advocacy for childhood reading and libraries is inspiring.

Books and their authors, like the best advice-givers, also have a way of dispensing their truths in subtle and very effective ways. Ways that allow their readers to feel like they divined the truths for themselves through the characters and their stories.

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” 
― Neil GaimanCoraline

“We see the strengths and faults in others that we do not or cannot recognize in ourselves.” 
― Penny ReidNeanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance

“ The truth is that the world is full of dragons, and none of us are as powerful or cool as we’d like to be. And that sucks. But when you’re confronted with that fact, you can either crawl into a hole and quit, or you can get out there, take off your shoes, and Bilbo it up. “ — Patrick Rothfuss

I love the phrase, "Bilbo it up." It is such a part of our culture that a person doesn't even have to have read (or seen) The Hobbit to understand it. We instinctively know it means to pull ourselves up out of our cozy, comfortable lives, and just do whatever it is that confronts us.

The characters in my favorite books are always Bilboing it up. And just like my reading recommendations, it's the advice I most often give when someone asks, "How did you become an author?"

I read everything I could get my hands on, took off my shoes, and Bilbo'd it up.