Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Look at the Head

This is a tough one.  Link to the title of the REAL film right here for a hint.  Another one is in the image title.

Solution is the image title of this image right here:

 Jet Li's Earless

Monday, October 30, 2006

Annotation + Rifftrax

Okay, so you guys need to check out Rifftrax.  In all honesty, this party we had on Saturday--where Spriggan brought a Rifftrack over and showed it to us--was one of the most amusing times I think I've had in a long time.

If you're not aware, this is what the MST3K (Mystery Science Theater 3000) guys have been doing lately.  Recording themselves making fun of movies, then offering them for download.  They're only three bucks, and they are a riot. 

We watched their version of Top Gun--you play the movie, then play these guys MP3 in the background.  There were a few times when I thought Pemberly was going to die from laughter. 

Of course, that might have just been the sight of Val Kilmer Tom Cruise trying to act.

Annotation here:  Chapter Ten Part One

Sunday, October 29, 2006


We had a nice fun party at my house yesterday.  I'll talk more about it tomorrow on the blog, but for now let me say thanks to everyone who came!

Read this comic.  Laugh.  Check back tomorrow for an Annotation.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Annotation + Link Dump


Not a lot to post today, so I did an extra-long Annotation.  Chapter Nine of Mistborn.

Also, check out this cool, MISTBORN-inspired piece of fan art:

Finally, there's a nice--if short--review of Mistborn up at Book Fetish.

As for my life, I'm working my way through the 2.0 draft of Warbreaker.  Should have a cleaned up version of Part One to post here pretty soon.  Remember my signing today in Sandy at 7:00, and the signing in downtown Salt Lake (at the Gateway) at 2:00 tomorrow. 

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Copy Magic + Alcatraz 2 Update


Time for a Story Prompt:

Copy Magic:  A person who can split themselves into two people, each part focusing on one aspect of themselves.  For instance, they can split off their compassion--leaving behind a version of themselves which is compassionless, and one that is very compassionate. 

This is a cool idea I came up with a few weeks back that has been rattling in my brain.  It seems like this could be a very interesting magic system--one based around the ability to focus on various parts of yourself.  You could use it for division of labor, or for specialization.

Obviously, I'm not the first person to think of something like this.  I believe there was a Michael Keaton movie a few years back that involved him cloning himself, and each clone having a different version of his personality. 

I honestly can't remember if the movie was any good, but the concept was interesting.  Then, of course, there's multiple man, who made an appearance in the latest X-Men movie.

What intrigues me about this idea, then, is not the pure originality, but the versatility.  I think that it has far more potential than has been used.  If you could slice off a part of yourself that had ALL of your artistic talent, and not much else to interfere with it, what could that focused piece of you do?  And, what would the other piece--the one with no artistic talent at all--act like?

I'll probably end up using this idea in a story eventually, but--like I always say--ideas are cheap.  I'm not the first one to have this particular one, even. 

It's how you use them that's important.

In other news, if you've read this far, then you might want to know that Alcatraz 2 was sent off to my editor and agent today.  You know what that means!  Alpha reader time.

If you're one of those whom I know in person, and whom I've trusted in previously for alpha reads, feel free to contact me and ask for this one.  I doubt I'll have any physical copies, however.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Warbreaker + Olives


Wednesday Warbreaker: Chapter Thirty

So, I had olives for lunch.  I feel very...I don't know.  Greek?  They eat olives over there a lot, don't they?

We're running into some fun with Mistborn 2.  It appears that the author, yours truly, has gone and made it too long.  Production is asking us to cut it down in order to save on costs.  My editor is arguing that it doesn't really need to get any shorter.  However, it looks like I might need to draft this book again, which is a bit annoying, since we've finally got it where we want it.  (Plus, 15k of that length came from additions that Moshe himself requested.)

In other news, this made me laugh.  You might remember a picture, posted by me a few weeks ago, of myself pointing a banana at the camera in a threatening manner.  Well, a reader emailed me and noted that they'd used it in a very special way....

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Amphigory Halloween Special

Okay, so it's only vaguely Halloweenish.  But there IS a Vampire in there.  I've been worrying that these things are too obscure sometimes, so I think I'll start offering two helpful pictures down below.  Click the first for a solution.  Simply mouse over the other and get the alternate text, which provides the answer.  Huzzah!

National Association for the Advancement of Collared People

Monday, October 23, 2006

Back! Plus Annotation

Annotation: Mistborn Part One Wrap Up

Well, I've returned from Information Purgatory (aka Idaho).  It was a fun trip.  Got to see a cousin get married, and managed to sneak in some writing time  despite my family's best efforts.  Plus, my mother only had three projects for me to do--which means she showed quite a bit of restraint.  For her. 

In other news, we've finally been trying to organize our mounds of books.  Pemberly and I have a TON of them, as you might imagine.  Here's a shot of me building a Great Wall of Fantasy around myself as I try to alphabetize several boxes worth.

Know that this weekend, I'll be doing two signings in the Salt Lake area.  On Friday I'll be at the Sandy, Utah Barnes and Noble:

10180 S. State Street
Sandy, UT 84070 
(801) 233-0203

I'll be there from 7-9 on Friday, the 27th. 

I'll also be at the Barnes and Noble at the Gateway Mall on Saturday, the 28th.  Find me there from 2-5.

Gateway, 6 North Rio Grande Street,
Salt Lake City, UT
(801) 456-0100

Let's see...what else do I have to post?  Here's a comic.  Made me laugh. 

Stupid Pun tomorrow. 

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Alcatraz 2 Update + Annotation

New Annotation:  Mistborn Chapter Eight, second half.

All right, well, announcement time.  Alcatraz 2--tentatively titled THE SCRIVENER'S BONES--was finished yesterday. 

For those of you who don't know, the Alcatraz books are the middle grade fantasy series I'm working on for Scholastic.  They're set to start coming out November of next year, and I'm very excited about them.  There a lot of things you can get away with in children's fiction that you could never do in adult fiction.  We just take ourselves a little too seriously.

This second book clocks in at about 60k, about five hundred words shorter than the first book.  It constantly surprises me how I can somehow judge book lengths with an innate feeling now.  I can shoot for 60k and hit right on the mark, without having to pad or subtract from the story.  It just kind of happens.  Weird, eh?

Now, it's time to draft the book a couple more times.  Because I do the Alcatraz books kind of like extended free writes (this one took me about twenty days to write) I have to do a lot of work cleaning them up and drafting them.  But, it's very nice to have the book done!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Soul Stealing

Well, I'm on my way to Idaho this weekend for a cousin's wedding.  (Since this is Idaho we're talking about, is it more proper to say weddin'?  I'm not quite sure on that one.)  I'll stop by and sign some stock at the IF BN and perhaps the Pocatello Walden, so if you live up in them there parts, you can get yerself a signed book. 

Lets do a story prompt.

Idea of the Day: Pictures steal souls.  If you draw someone, or take a photograph of them, then you take away part of their soul or their abilities.

This, of course, comes from our own history.  There are several cultures who believe that a photograph can steal a person's soul, and there are even a few cultures out there who believe that any drawing of a person is taboo.  In India, there were many who believed up into the Twentieth century that taking a picture of a man made them live a shorter lifespan.

This is a fascinating concept to me.  How could you make a world where this really happened?  What would be the effects?  How would people then use drawings of people to form  a magic system?

Anyway, just a thought.  And, if story prompts aren't your thing, Sinfest has a great pun up today on its comic strip.  Be warned, however, that Sinfest is rather irreverent, and while this particular strip doesn't swear, others occasionally do.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Warbreaker + Mistcloak

Wednesday Warbreaker: Chapter Twenty-Nine

As always, find an explanation of Warbreaker--as well as all of the old chapters--right here.  Feedback appreciated!

And, just so you know, I'm totally sick.  Like, coughing, sneezing, throat sore, pressure behind my eyeballs sick.  Fortunately, I'm a writer.  What does that mean?  Well, I don't really have to go anywhere today.  I can just sit at home in my PJs and work on books for you lovely folks.  I just hope I don't end up making all of the characters sound grumpy....

To lighten your day, check out these pictures of a Mistcloak someone made for someone to wear on Halloween.  These are both active members on the TWG Forums, where my own forums happen to be hosted, so if you want to tell Nessa and Shrain how awesome they are, click right here.



Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Brad Pit Was Not Here


New Amphigory Eleven! 

If you need a hint, click on the face of Evil Bert:



Warbreaker Tomorrow

Sunday, October 15, 2006

EUOLogy: Religion Rant


We haven't had a really good rant here on the Bsblog for a while, so I thought I'd share something I've been thinking about lately.  It's not my intent to offend anyone, but I have some things to say about religion--particularly Christianity.  If these are sensitive topics to you, please don't let yourself take my comments TOO seriously.  I know I have a tenancy to ramble at times, and I'm not sure if I'll even get my thoughts down in a coherent manner.  But, here goes.  What the heck.  It's Sunday--what else am I gonna blather about?

I consider myself a Christian.  I am a believer in organized religion, and belong to one myself.  However, I get a little annoyed at something within the culture of religion in our country.  (And, it's probably not one of the things you're thinking about.)

It's this: Many people in many churches seem to have a lot to say on what a Christian should or shouldn't do.  You can find all sorts of rants about what kinds of practices a "Good" Christian should participate in.  These include everything from celebrating April Fools to reading Harry Potter

I find it a little annoying, and even disturbing, the way we throw around the word Christian.  I've studied the Bible.  I can find only a few things that REALLY stand out as being Christian.  (Meaning, they relate directly to things Christ taught.)

What is it to be Christian?  From what I've read, it means to be loving, patient, and non-hypocritical.  If you do something wrong, repent and try to do better. Those things are the soul of it.  Now, there are a lot of other things churches teach.  My own church teaches much more than these things, and that's fine.  However, I'd rather we didn't classify these things as "Christian." 

I'm a Mormon.  Mormons have a prohibition against drinking alcohol.  We think it came from God.  So, is it un-Christian to drink alcohol?  No.  Not in my opinion.  This doesn't relate to the soul of Christ's teachings.  So, while it's hard to be a good Latter-Day Saint if you drink alcohol, I don't think it's hard to be a good Christian if you do.

Churches are very free with their terminology.  Some say it's not Christian to support the UN (which seems silly to me).  Others say it's not Christian to support abortion.  (I happen to agree that abortion is wrong.) Yet, again, I don't think either is a place where it's right to use the word "Christian."

It dilutes the meaning.  I'm perfectly all right with people teaching that abortion--or even supporting the UN--is wrong.  I just suggest leaving Christ's name out of it.  If you want to teach Christianity, teach the REAL stuff.  The hardcore Christian doctrine. 

It's time for us to admit that the term "Christian" refers to far many more people than we might want it to.  Anyone who considers themselves a disciple of Christ is, by definition, a Christian.  As Pemberly says, "It's a mindset, not a checklist."

So, let's stop telling each other what good Christians do, and accept that someone can still be a follower of His--and follow His teachings--without believing like we do.

(Note.  This isn't an argument for "All churches are true".  I happen to believe my own Church is right, and will be happy to discuss why at length.  However, I can't tell someone that because they're not a member of my faith, they aren't a Christian.  They're Christian.  They're just not Mormon.)

Does that make any kind of sense at all?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

FAQ: Will there be a sequel to Elantris?

Here's one I get quite a bit.  A lot of people loved ELANTRIS, and want to know when/if I'll be writing a sequel.  So, here's my official answer:

One of the things I really wanted to do with ELANTRIS was make it a stand alone. I think that the fantasy field is too cluttered with series that should have ended long ago, and I--personally--am tired of waiting for years between books in my favorite series.  I am a little annoyed in particular when new writers release a series straight off, since I--as a reader--haven't been convinced that their writing deserves the investment of time a series takes.

However, more and more, I’m feeling that someday I will write a sequel to Elantris. A lot of people seem to want one, and there is a lot of the story that I’ve left untold--the origin of the Seons, the reason that the Dor and the landscapes are linked, the Fjordell magic. Doing book tours for Elantris and reading emails from readers has reminded me of all the wonderful things I wanted to do with that world.

So, I've begun to unofficially work on ideas for a second book, but they are only in embryo right now.  My main focus is the Mistborn series.  You see, when I first wrote Elantris, I wasn’t certain whether or not it would get published. So, I started working on other projects while I tried to sell it.  Mistborn was one of those projects.  Once I sold Elatnris, Tor wanted something else from me ASAP, and so they bought Mistborn as well.  (In the same contract, actually.)  So, I thought it better to focus on the series I was working on at the time, rather than returning to the Elantris world immediately, which was by then several years old to me. 

Elantris was my first published book.  It is very special to me.  And so, when I do write a sequel, I want it to be right and work right, so I'm going to take my time on it.  In the mean time, my next projects are the remaining Mistborn books, the Alcatraz series, and Warbreaker.  Anyone who liked Elantris should find a whole lot to enjoy in these books, and you can rest confident that someday you'll be able to return to Opelon.  It's just a few years off still. 

Friday, October 13, 2006

Mistborn 2 Update + Annotation

New Annotation: Chapter Seven second half

All right, the final edit of MISTBORN:THE WELL OF ASCENSION has been sent off to Tor.  We'll be doing advanced manuscripts and the like for it asap.  Release date is set for July 2007.  We were hoping to get it out earlier, but Tor's schedule makes things just a little tough, since they have so much to release.  A newer, smaller author like myself takes what he can get, particularly if they offer him a summer month, which is a very good time for a book release.  It means we can't put MB3 out next year too, but that's life. 

Cover art sketch teaser is below:

This was an interesting book to write.  It was the first real sequel I'd ever written, and I'd heard lots of horror stories from people about their first sequel.  I remember Terry Brooks saying that getting the second Shannara book approved took years and years, including completely throwing away one manuscript and starting over.

I didn't have that trouble at all, fortunately.  My editor and agent liked the book from the start, even though it was one of the most challenging books I've ever written.  Getting the beginning right was particularly hard.  All of that "Reintroduce the reader to the world" stuff is kind of tough to do, particularly in a setting like mine, which includes a very complex magic system and the like. 

I finally got a balance I liked, and I'll begin writing the annotations for this book once the copyedit comes in November or December.  Until then, it's full-speed ahead on Alcatraz 2!  Oh, and just to be balanced, here's a picture of what I look like when I get up in the morning.  (Pemberly complained quite loudly about the picture of her I posted two days back.)  Fair is fair.

Do not provoke the author.  He's known to bite, throw things, and immortalize you in his text as a poor fool who gets thrown off a wall and eaten by rampaging koloss. 

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fearless + Idea


Saw FEARLESS last night, and liked it just fine.  It was a good movie, though not a great one.  The transitions were a bit abrupt, and the ending forced, but the cinematography was good and the story interesting enough, if simple.

And, of course, it had some good Kung Fu.  But that's to be expected.

Didn't leave me with as much questions as Hero did, or as many concerns, but it did leave me thinking about China and what their people think of their government.  In some ways, a movie like this expresses some very cool ideals--protecting the weak, harmony of spirit and body, focus on contest in order to better yourself, not beat the other guy.

And yet, China is a scary, scary place when it comes to some of their human rights issues.  The concept of giving up of yourself for the state is a part, even, of a movie like this.  And that makes me worry, just a bit. How far would they be willing to go for state? At what point does their need to unify people, and bring peace to them, turn into a desire to conquer the world for its own good? People in their movies can be perfectly serene and respectful toward you while at the same time beating the crap out of you--for your own good.

Either way, we went out for Chinese food afterward, and the movie spawned an idea in my head.

Write a story about a person who's sole job is to play music for other people while they work. 

There's a scene in Fearless where everyone is working the rice fields except for one woman, who sits and plays music for them.  I liked the scene because it made me think about that person.  What is their life like?  How do the others regard them?

I know that work (particularly manual labor) is A LOT easier for me when I have music to go along with it.  We always read stories about minstrels playing in taverns and the like, or perhaps shepherds playing flutes by themselves in the fields, but you don't commonly hear about people who played music FOR the workers.  There are so many different ways you could go with this that I see plenty of cool stories coming from this one idea. 

It's always nice to come up with a job for your main character that is different from what people tend to see.  I've been guilty of using the standards myself too often, and so I'm looking for other things.

Annotation tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Warbreaker + Contracts

Wednesday Warbreaker:  Chapter 28!

(This is a chapter from a free e-book I'm releasing on-line.  Please read the previous chapters here, if you are interested.  Also, I love to get feedback, since this book is in a very rough draft form!)

And, in other news, the Scholastic Contracts are sighed!  Finally!

I knew it was going to happen, but still it's a little bit unsettling to have a deal like that looming over your head, contracts unsigned.  The worrier in you can still come up with problems and issues that could pop up.  Indeed, we had a series of tough negotiations on these contracts where my agent called a couple of times and asked me at what point I would like to take the series back out and shop it to others!  (Not that he was saying we'd do it for certain--he just wanted to know where the breaking point was.)

However, Joshua and Steve came through for me and got the points on the contract we needed.  Movie rights, should we sell them, are secured to us.  So are the issues surrounding out-of-print and a lot of other tiny details.  It's always a give and take process.

But, they're done, and it's official.  Scholastic will be publishing the ALCATRAZ series.  Now we just need to come up with a title....

So, here's a shot of me signing the contracts on Saturday: 

Yes, I know, I'm in my pajamas.  I figured that made sense--they are, after all, the uniform I wear to work every day.

Close up, with--I noticed--my social security number displayed prominently.  Lovely.  (Scribble scribble.)

And, a picture of Permberly because she was silly enough to let me grab the camera before she could and download the pictures!

Always something cool for you here on the BS BLog. (And yes, that is the infamous MelonSlayer in the background.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hint is in the image title....


His name is the Thing.  He likes to dance--and to clobber.

In case you didn't know, "Amphigory Eleven" is the title of the little visual pun website I'm working on.  Eventually, these will all cross post over there as well.  But, for now, you get them here.  It's a pun, it's a puzzle, it's an image.  It may not actually be funny.  That's kind of the point.

If I had any respect for life, liberty, and the pursuit of people not having to deal with really bad jokes, I'd probably apologize to you for things such as the one I just posted.  Instead, I'll just link to someone who's actually funny.  That'll balance it out, right?

Warbreaker tomorrow.   

Monday, October 09, 2006

Annotation + Various Things

First off, let there be a new annotation for Mistborn!  Chapter Seven, first half.

Now, for your further entertainment, I present a feature which is quickly becoming a crowd favorite.  I give you, a Pemberly moment:

"I broke a nail when I got gas yesterday."

(This is, of course, another quote by my wife taken completely out off context and printed quite unfairly for your amusement.  Think about it for a few moments.)

Finally, Beam Me Up!

(And thank you very much to everyone who commented on the Alcatraz title post on Saturday.  I'll be responding to those comments pretty soon here.)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Alcatraz Two

It's actually a little bit strange to be working on this book.  Since the first one was such a free-write, coming in a blitz of creativity, it's a challenge to follow that up. 

I'm a little worried I won't get the voice right.  The problem is, I wrote the first book in third-person then changed it to first-person at my agent's suggestion.  So, I had a round-about method of getting to the final product.  Now, I have to do that voice straight out.

Plus, I have to be funny.  Being funny is strange--sometimes, things just flow right out, and they're amusing.  Other times, you really have to force it, and you're never sure if it's actually amusing or not.  Plus, as the Amphigory comics I've been posting prove, humor itself is so subjective that it's kind of dangerous to do in the first place.  No matter what you write, someone is going to think it's lame. 

But, I'm determined to make this series work, and I'm pleased with the three chapters I have done.  If anyone's read the first Alcatraz book, by the way, I'm open to suggestions on the title.  I called it ALCATRAZ INITIATED originally, but we've decided that INITIATED is too tough a word to use in the title of the book.

Right now, we're looking at THE UTTERLY UNHEROIC ADVENTURES OF ALCATRAZ SMEDRY verses THE EVIL LIBRARIANS or something like that.  It would be nice to get Alcatraz's full name in the title, so that we indicate that the book isn't about the prison.  It's also good to get librarians in the title, since that's one of the more amusing parts of the book.

My trouble is I don't want the book to sound too much like a joke.  In my mind, it's an amusing story--but not a gag story.  There's a difference to me.  An amusing story is something you can enjoy, hopefully, on several levels.  Pratchet and Adams are amusing writers.  Gags are things like the Naked Gun movies.  Quick, dismissible comedy.  I'm hoping for more of the former and less of the later, and I don't want a title that makes someone think that the book isn't going to have character or plot just because it has some amusing sections.

We'll see. 

Friday, October 06, 2006

Annotation + Pictures

New Annotation is up:  Mistborn Chapter Six

Don't have a lot else to say today.  I'm working on Alcatraz 2, though I didn't really get as much done today as I would have liked.  Had a nice chat with my editor about some final tweaks to Mistborn 2, and then talked to Isaac about the maps.  Everything is coming together nicely, and the edit of MB2 turned out really well. 

So, how about some wedding pictures before I head off to the gym?

A nice shot of us with the swords crossed, and neither of us have terribly stupid looks on our faces.  Pemberly and I share more than one personality quirk, and one of those is the fact that we're rather un-photogenic.  Most of the pictures from the wedding were downright ridiculous. 

Oh, you want one of those?  Well, if you insist....

Ah, there I am, being my usual charming self.  How nice.

And, finally, why not throw up a shot of Pemberly's father?  He's a semi-professional singer/songwriter, and consented to do some songs at our wedding--including several inspired by Emily herself. 

(That's him on the left.) 

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sludge World

Time for an:

(Bask in the New Art glyph.  Ooo.)

Idea of the Day: Sludge world.  All of the people live on islands surrounded by a large, thick sludge.  (Or something equally disturbing.)   Touching it isn't really healthy.

So, where did the sludge come from?  What does it do to you?  How do people cross it?  Why did I come up with a loony idea like this? 

I honestly don't know.  It seemed fairly cool to me when I was imagining it.  Lots of room to expand on the world, and lots of room for the setting to influence culture and society.  Mostly, I like this one for the visuals.  Kind of reminds me of the old cartoon Pirates of Darkwater, which was a show that never really went as far as it could have.

In other news, check out today's Sheldon  and laugh:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Warbreaker + Ramblings

Wednesday Warbreaker: Chapter 27!  (Assuming I linked it right this week....)

As always, find more chapters--and the discussion about this chapter--on my forums.

Also, this right here just totally cracked me up:  (Read the whole comic to get the full effect.)

In other news of note, I DON'T have a booksigning this weekend, despite what I reported earlier.  That particular Borders actually closed down.  (The entire mall is doing renovations.)

I do, however, have signings at the Gateway Barnes and Noble in Salt Lake (Saturday the 28th from 2-5), as well as at the Sandy Barnes and Noble (Friday the 27th from 7-9).  If you can't make those, don't worry!  I'll be in Layton and back at West Jordan (With Dave Farland and L.E. Modesitt Jr.!) next month.  Not to mention at BYU one more time. 

Also, I will be going through California, Oregon, and Washington this December.  Just keep that in mind.  I'll do an official post about that later.

And, for fun, random wedding picture!

I dare you to find someone else who has a photo from their reception that looks like that one!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

He thought it was French....

Tuesday Means new Amphigory Eleven! 


Click the image of Crazy Brandon for a spoiler.



Soon, we plan to throw up a website just for these.  They'll still get mirrored over to the blog, so you don't have to worry about that.  However, they'll also have their own site where you can just click backward to see the archives of the bad puns. 

Warbreaker tomorrow.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Alcatraz 2 + Annotation

First off, new Mistborn Annotation!  We're up to chapter five, and I think this is a fairly good one.  Note that we're aware of the problem with the hidden text, and are working on it.  The spoilers in this one and the previous chapter aren't that big, however, so it's really okay to see them.

Second, here's a screenshot for you:

For those of you in the know, you'll recognize that as the opening page to ALCATRAZ 2, the middle-grade fantasy series I'm working on for Scholastic Books.  I've officially started work on it.  Let the rejoicing commence. 

This series is going to be SLICK folks.  I'm very pleased with the first book, and it's getting all kinds of attention over at Scholastic.  The release is still a year away, so I hope I don't get you too excited too quickly.  If you want sample chapters of the first book, just fire me off an email via my website or via gandalf--insert at symbol--rickstranger.com.   

And, just so that I can stick in another picture, here's a random Google Video link to a crazy Eva video.  (No, not the one you're thinking of...)