Sunday, September 30, 2007

Back...and Gone again! (+ Annotations)

I had a great time in Denver--and thank you so much to all you wonderful folks who drove so far to see me.  I swear I had more people from outside Denver show up than people actually from the city, which is rather humbling, when I think about it. 

I get to be home again this evening, then I'm off again!  (See you in Vegas tomorrow, Vegas people.)  Also, for those of you who complained about the lack of a signing in San Francisco proper, we've added a last-minute one.  David Farland and I will be dropping by BORDERLANDS BOOKS on Monday, October 8th around 7:00 pm.  This is an informal signing--we'll just be chatting with the staff, staying for about an hour, signing their stock, that sort of thing.  However, you're more than welcome to come meet us!  Also, note that we'll be going to Bay Book Company in Half Moon Bay an hour earlier than originally planned.  That event now starts at 6:00.

I apologize in advance for the sporadic nature of my updates over the next few weeks.  I'll try, at least, to get in a post with an annotation or two for MISTBORN 2 each week.  And, speaking of annotations, here you go:


I've been trying to call the books by their real names more lately.  Apparently, it's strange for people when I call WELL Mistborn 2 all the time, though that's what it is in my head.  The "WELL OF ASCENSION" is a subtitle to the real title, which is MISTBORN: BOOK TWO.  I actually wanted Tor to focus on the "MISTBORN" title in each of the books, with a smaller subtitle, but they decided to go the other way.  (With the "Book two of Mistborn" in smaller letters.)  I thought this was a mistake, but I've seen from some readers that they like it better the way Tor did it, so maybe I've been proven wrong! 

Sound off on my forums, LJ, or Facebook and let me know what you think.  It would be good for me to know this sort of thing for future series.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

EUOLogy: The word "Gaming" is outdated

So, the other day I was visiting my mother, half-listening to a conversation between her and some of her matronly friends. One of them mentioned that their nephew had a real gaming addiction.

That perked me right up. Gaming? Was this going to turn into one of those “Dungeons and Dragons is of the devil” conversations? I began to salivate. (I love those. As a fantasy author, a lifelong D&D player, AND a university graduate school trainee in the fine art of argument, I can make some noise on these topics. Good times.) Just as I was ready to pounce, however, she mentioned that her nephew kept driving to Vegas and blowing all of his money at the tables, and it was turning into a serious issue.

Oh. Right. Gambling. People used to refer to that as ‘gaming’, right? They have the “Nevada Gaming Commission” to regulate casinos, after all. So, if the guy’s blowing all of his money on gambling, yeah, that’s probably an issue his aunt can complain about. I deflated quietly and turned back to my computer, somewhat let down.

It occurs to me, however, that we really need a better term for all of this. “Gamer” never really was all that distinctive. Ask people on the street what it means, and you’re probably going to a lot of replies about video games, perhaps some about gambling. I have a sister in law who always says “Hey, you guys want to play some games?” In her context, it means the types of games with cards and dice.

I kind of cringe whenever she asks that, since--for some reason I can’t explain--I just don’t like card games. (Note: there is one shining exception to this, and that’s Magic: the Gathering, for which I have a voracious hunger. I can never get enough of those silly little cards. Must. Have. More.)


Anyway, gamer among my crowd means role playing gamer. To others, I’d assume it means one who plays tabletop games, like Heroclicks or old-school Warhammer. To some of you reading this, you have no clue what ANY of these things are, and probably think gaming refers to playing a nice round of kick-ball. (Also, you’d probably rather we stay off your lawn.)

On one aspect, I wonder why I like some of this and not others. Why is it that I dislike playing a game of cards when I go crazy for Magic? Why would I rather be punched in the face than be forced to play Heroclicks or Pirates of the Spanish whatsit, yet I enjoy role playing as a pirate? (Of course, to some, ‘role playing’ is used a corporate sense, where one is forced to play act some sort of situation that might happen at work. Dang. There’s another vague term.)

Regardless, it seems to me that we have a problem here. The fact of the matter is that as people in our society have more and more free time to blow on hobbies, and as traditionally nerdy things like video games become more and more mainstream (Read: Halo effect) the once innocent term “Gaming” has become far to confusing. And so, I decided to try a few suggested options:

Jockouching: As in, “Yo, I’m going to go grab some pizzas and go jockouching with Biff and Bart.” This one is for the guys who play video games, but who don’t consider yourselves nerdy in any other way--and would be offended at the implication that you’re doing anything other than being cool and manly. (I would have thrown the word beer into it too--jockcoubeering--but, well, we wouldn’t want you to strain yourselves.)

Haloing: As in, “Time for the lan party! What do you mean, what are we going to play? There are other games? Never heard of them.” This is for all you wonderful folks who started playing video games and having lan parties about ten years late--say, around the arrival of a certain console game that is now in its third installment.

PonyOrcing: As in, “Ooh, those shoulders would go GREAT with my cloak!” This one is for all you female MMO players who love World of Warcraft or Everquest for the sheer cuteness factor of having some massive orc you can dress up in matching outfits.

Val’zeb-droxing: As in, “Tonight I shall be playing my wizard cleric as we val’zeb-drox that module.” The term ‘role playing’ just doesn’t work; we need something that is all our own. Why not use a made up word that sounds cool that nobody can pronounce but us, with plenty of redundant punctuation marks. Brilliant!

Gambling: Yeah. Since when are these games? They’re more “Here, why don’t you pay us money so that we can. . .hey, look at the flashing lights! What were we doing again? Oh, right, you were giving us more money to give you. . .hey, look at that chick in skimpy clothing!”

Brandondoesntwantoplayyoursillycardgame-justgivehimsomeMagiccardsinsteading: Uh, yeah. You can figure this one.

I’m running out of steam, so I’ll stop before I hurt myself. Anyway, I’m sure you could come up with some of your own. I’m too lazy to do so--I have to go get my character sheet ready to send off to my brother so he can play Sinethar (yeah, my dual class elf wizard cleric) for me while I’m on book tour.

Maybe we should just go with “Nerding” on that one. . . .

Monday, September 24, 2007

Congrats Ms. Fish!

Hearty congratulations go out to Ms. Fish, who has won the Utah Arts Council's first place award for best YA book.  Way to go Fish!  This is a very prestigious award, and Janci richly deserves it.  She's an excellent author.

Let's other, less dramatic news, book tour starts this week in Denver!  I'll try to keep the blog going, but I don't know how consistent I'll be.  For now, two quick links.  First off, the second and final Alcatraz Sample chapter!  (If you missed the first, it's here.)

And, for fun, check this comic!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

2 Mistborn 2 Annotations!

It's been (rightly) pointed out to me that I've been forgetting to post these!  My apologies.  With the book tour looming, I sometimes get scatterbrained when it comes to the blog. 

Anyway, to make it up to you, here are two new annotations for Mistborn 2:
Chapter One
Chapter Two

Also, here's a nice review of Mistborn 2 that I happened to find.

Friday, September 21, 2007

David Farland Workshop

I keep meaning to post info about David Farland's novel writing workshop, but I keep forgetting.  But, let me post it now, finally.  Dave is a great author, and has been a lot of help to me in my career.  He's had tons of advice on the business and how to get published--it was while taking this same class (then offered at the local university) that I finally began to understand what it takes to make it in publishing.  Read at the bottom of this post for more information. 

Another book tour note--I've got a second date set for a signing in Logan, Utah.  We'll be at the Waldenbooks from 4-5:30.  So, if you live in Logan, make sure to come see me either at the Waldenbooks or the Borders!  Also, know that Dave and I will probably have time around some of our meals to hang out and chat with people.  So, if you'd like to get a group of aspiring writers together, or just readers, and take the two of us out to lunch or dinner, it can probably be arranged.  Let me know via an email or a post on my forums or my LJ. 

Dave's workshop info:

Who is teaching?
Dave is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling writer in two 
fields.   As an instructor, he has taught workshops in conjunction 
with the Writers of the Future, has taught upper-division classes in 
science fiction and fantasy writing at Brigham Young University, has 
appeared as a guest lecturer and instructor at dozens of conventions. 
Some past students who have recently published include New York Times 
bestselling author Brandon Mull, bestselling fantasy author Brandon 
Sanderson, hot new thriller writer Virginia Baker, and hot new 
children's fantasy author Jessica Day George.

What Will the Focus of the Workshop Be?
This class will focus on what to look for when editing your own work, 
and will teach you how to fix it. We'll be talking about such things 
as 'how to capture a wide audience,' 'how to make your description 
sing,' 'how to heighten the drama and humor in your stories,' and so 
on. In short, we'll be teaching you how to edit the content of your 
story, rather than just looking at stylistic elements. Beyond that, 
this class will deal heavily with the business of writing, how to sell 
to editors and agents, and how to market your books.

Who Should Attend?
This class is best for writers who are serious about getting 
published.  This will be an intensive class, and you will be working 
8-12 hours per day. If you aren't up to that challenge, please don't 
apply. You need to be able to take criticism gracefully and to 
critique others with both gentleness and firmness.  You will need to 
be willing to do the following: 1) Buy and read several textbooks on 
writing before coming to the workshop. 2) Finish the first 25 pages of 
your novel, along with a 5-page outline before coming to the workshop. 
3) Read and critique others? work during the course of the workshop. 
4) Be prepared to rewrite your own work during the course of the 
workshop (which means that you will need a computer or typewriter, and 
get access to a printer).

When and Where Will the Workshop be Held?
March 31 thru April 5, 2008, in Saint George, Utah (Hotel Venue to be 

What Will it Cost?
Tuition is $400. Payment must be made in full in order to reserve a 
spot. If you have to cancel, the tuition will be reimbursed in full up 
to 60 days prior to the workshop. It will be reimbursed at a rate of 
50% from 59 days to 14 days prior to the workshop. But there will be 
no reimbursement if you cancel within 14 days.
To Register or for further information? Email, 
or phone him at 435-986-3858.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More Alcatraz Numbered Copies!

Suddenly, I feel like I'm geocaching or something.  Anyway, I left behind numbers 24 and 25 at the Sugarhouse Barnes and Noble in Salt Lake.  So, if you live nearby, you can get numbered copies!  (The computer said there were four books in the store, but I couldn't find the other two.  The two I signed were in the children's section right on the shelf.)

Other news items of note: First off, my wife says that I need to post a link to her blog.  She's posted a rebuttle to the Pemberly Moment I posted last week, and feels that readers need to be aware of a place they can go to read the truth.  So, if  you want to hear my wife's side of the story, go here--but I warn you, she totally makes stuff up. 

Some items of book tour news.  I am confirmed at Bay Book Company in Half Moon Bay for Friday the fifth.  I've had it on the list for a while, but it was the last one I needed confirmation from.  Also, I've set up a second 'mini' signing in Vegas for those of you who can't get to the signing at the Borders.  I'll also be doing a signing at the Borders Express in the Meadows Mall from around 3-5.  I SHOULD also be doing a reading and presentation at a local Library at around 2.  Stay tuned for details!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

EUOLogy: Goodbye Mr. Jordan

Cross posted from the EUOLgy section of my website:

My career, like many young fantasy authors, has been deeply influenced by Robert Jordan, and I find his passing a to be a tragedy for the entire community. 

I still remember the first time I saw EYE OF THE WORLD on bookshelves. I was at my local comic store, which was the place where I bought my fantasy books. I went to buy the next book in the Guardians of the Flame series, and while browsing the new paperback shelf, I saw this HUGE fantasy novel there.

It was so big that it scared me, and I didn’t buy it. (This is particularly ironic for me, who now regularly publishes books of 250,000 words or so.) Still, I can almost FEEL that moment, standing and holding the book in my hands, listening to someone play an antiquated upright of Cadash in the background.

EYE had such a beautiful Darryl Sweet cover. I’m often down on him as an artist, but with EYE OF THE WORLD, I remember why he became one of the powerhouses he is now. I think, even still, the cover of EYE is the best he’s ever done--one of the best in fantasy. I remember opening the cover and seeing the second illustration on the inside flap, and wondering if it was a rejected cover design.

Either way, I loved the cover. The feel of the troop marching along, Lan and Moiraine proud and face forward. . . . The cover screamed epic.

I bought the book a few weeks later, and loved it. I was happy when, several years later, the next book came out in hardback. I couldn’t afford it then, but I could afford DRAGON REBORN when it was in hardcover, and so I bought it. That has been my tradition ever since--I buy them, even if I haven’t read the last two, as I wait for the series to finish.

I still think EYE is one of the greatest fantasy books ever written. It signifies an era, the culmination of the epic quest genre which had been brewing since Tolkien initiated it in the 60’s. The Wheel of Time dominated my reading during the 90’s, influencing heavily my first few attempts at my own fantasy novels. I think it did that to pretty much all of us; even many of the most literarily snobbish of fantasy readers were youths when I was, and read EYE OF THE WORLD when I did.

Eventually, I found myself reacting AGAINST Wheel of Time in my writing. Not because I disliked Jordan, but because I felt he’d captured the epic quest story so well that I wanted to explore new grounds. As his books chronicled sweeping scenes of motion set behind characters traveling all across his world, I started to set mine in single cities. As his stories focused on peasants who became kings, I began to tell stories about kings who became peasants. One of them those was ELANTRIS.

I only saw Robert Jordan one time. By then, I had begun attending the conventions. You could say I’d become a journeyman writer; I’d developed my style, and was now looking to learn about the business. At World Fantasy one year (I think it was Montreal), I saw a man in a hat and beard walk by in the hotel hallway outside a convention room. He was alone, yet distinguished, as he walked with his cane. I’d never seen him sit on panels, yet I felt that I should know who he was. I turned to the person beside me and asked.

“That?” they said as the figure hobbled around the corner. “That was James Oliver Rigney, Jr."


"Robert Jordan," they said.  "That was Robert Jordan."

Eventually, I got an offer on one of my books from an editor whom I’d met at that same World Fantasy convention. My agent suggested that we play the field, using that offer as bait to hook a larger deal at another publisher. But, this offer had come from Tor. Robert Jordan’s publisher. Some fifteen years after I’d picked up that first printing copy of EYE OF THE WORLD, I still felt the influence of Jordan. Tor was his publisher. That MEANT fantasy to me. It’s where I wanted to be.

I took the deal.

Now, he’s gone. I’m sure many see this as an opportunity, not a tragedy. Who is the heir apparent? I wonder how many authors emailed their editors Monday, asking if someone was needed to finish the EYE OF THE WORLD series. Even if none of them are chosen for that task, there will be a feeling that Tor needs to push somebody to fill the hole in their line-up.

And yet, I sit here thinking that something has CHANGED. Something is missing. Some hated you, Mr. Jordan, claiming you represented all that is terrible about popular fantasy. Others revered you as the only one who got it RIGHT.

Personally, I simply feel indebted to you. You showed me what it was to have vision and scope in a fantasy series--you showed me what could be done. I still believe that without your success, many younger authors like myself would never have had a chance at publishing their dreams.

You go quietly, but leave us trembling.

Brandon Sanderson

Friday, September 14, 2007

Numbered Alcatraz Copies for Sale (+Amphigory)

I stopped by my local Waldenbooks today and they had copies of Alcatraz in.  Since we've only had a 'soft' release on this one, and since I'm not planning a big release party, I went ahead and signed the copies on the shelves--and, as you may know, I always stick to my "First fifty signed get numbers" philosophy.  (At a release party, I'll number up to as many people buy them there, though I make a special note for the first fifty.)

So, if you want a numbered copy of Alcatraz, you can head to the Waldenbooks in the Provo Town Center Mall, though you'll want to hurry.  They only had twenty or so in stock, and so I sighed those.  (They turned out to be numbers 3-21, since two people got to me last week with copies.)  I know that the Walden will mail copies if you talk to the right person (Ashley, the manager, is your best bet) so those of you out of state might be able to get one if you want.

And, so that this post is more entertaining than just me promoting myself, here are a couple of features we haven't done in a little while.  First, a Pemberly moment.  (A Quote from my wife taken out of context.)

"It's hard to tell heads and bums apart." -- My beloved wife.  She has trouble with this sometimes, apparently.  She's going to kill me for posting that, by the way.  Perhaps I can distract her with an Amphigory!

Amphigory Header copy


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mega Post of stuff + Annotation

Thanks to everyone who has been looking over the Beta site for us.  Your comments are really helpful.  I've posted some updates there, including a new 'About' page for Mistborn 1.  I also reworked the sample chapters for Mistborn 1 so that they're formatted for the web in an easier to read way, as well has having 'next' links at the bottom. 

Before I say anything else, here's a new Mistborn 2 annotation:  Dedication

I'm still not sure what to make of Alcatraz being out so early.  Will we sell more copies because it slipped onto shelves sneakily like that, or will we sell fewer because it's hard to generate buzz?  Things move so slowly in the publishing industry sometimes that it can take a lot of patience.  In the meantime, I'm polishing up a revision of Alcatraz 2 and gearing up to write the third book. 

By the way, I had one of the dates for the Denver portion of my tour wrong.  The signing at the Waldenbooks is on Saturday, not on Friday.  Also, for you booksellers, know that I'll be at both MPIBA and NCIBA.  See you there!

(Also, random linkage of the day: one of the more amusing Elantris reviews I've seen.  Also, laugh at Sam Logan's wit!  Laugh I tell you!

acomic )

Monday, September 10, 2007

New Beta Site!

Folks, were' going to ask for your help on this one.  We're nearing completion of the new and updated website.  Most of the changes are things you can't see--my brother has been working on them for about two years now.  However, the new site ALSO includes a new visual overlay and--hopefully--a much easier framework for finding all of the cool things I like to post.

The beta of the new site can be seen right here!

Before you go there, however, let me explain some things.  First off, it's not done yet.  Most of the things to fix at this point have to do with updating content and writing explanations.  So, there are some holes!  We're not worried about that as much as we are about how easy things are to find.  My old site was...well, rough.  Nobody could find anything.  (Except maybe Ookla, but he knows everything anyway.)

So, what we need your help on is feedback regarding FINDING things.  Is this site any easier to navigate?  My brother has put together a kind of scavenger hunt, and has asked for beta testers to see if they can find things.  The link to the survey/hunt is at the top.  I'd suggest opening a new window or tab to look for the things he asks you to find, then write your experiences in the form on the survey as you go.  Also, know that on the survey page itself there are a LOT of typos.  (My brother wrote it, and he's a code monkey, not an English major.)  Since that page will be taken down before we go live anyway, it's not a problem.  So, don't worry about reporting bugs on the 'report bugs here' page! ;)

Other than that, have fun, look around, see what you can find and what you think.  Leave us specific feedback on the survey form, or post general impressions on my LJ or forums

Thanks a ton! 

Friday, September 07, 2007

Annotations + Comic

Mistborn 2 new annotation: Acknowledgements.

And, because that one is lame and short, here's a good one: Maps and Interior Art.

Thanks to everyone who has been buying and sending word of being able to find Alcatraz in the stores!  (And as an aside, I just noticed that the clever, talented, and well-mannered Paul Christopher just posted a first review for Alcatraz.  Thanks!)  It's been cool to see where the book can be found (Florida) and where it can't be found (my local Barnes and Noble store).  Hopefully, we'll gain momentum on this one as the real release date approaches!

In other interesting news, the artist of that comic I wanted to post on Wednesday contacted me.  (If you didn't see it quickly enough, I linked a comic, then found that my link directed to the front page instead of the specific comic in the archive I liked.  So, I took the link down.)  He was very gracious, and seemed like a cool guy.  He said "Just go ahead and post a copy of the comic and link me!"  So, here's the link, and here's the comic:

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fun Times + Annotation

Okay, so Alcatraz IS indeed being shipped by Amazon.  I've also had confirmations that it's out on shelves in at least three states. 

I'm not annoyed, really, to have the book come out this much ahead of what I was told. But it does throw things off a little bit.  I don't have the Alcatraz website done, and a lot of my readers just dropped 28 bucks to grab Mistborn 2.  I don't like that we've got another book out so close to the other release, even if this one is a lot cheaper than my Tor hardbacks. 

It does, however, make things really nice for promotion--I can tour when both books are fresh.  Also, people who finish MB2 and want more to read will be able to grab Alcatraz now without having to wait.

Anyway, I think it's time to start up the Annotations for Mistborn 2.  Here's one for the title page.

Also, because I can, random link to a funny comic!

(EDIT--No link to funny comic, since I can't link to a specific one in the archives, just the main page. Stupid comic.)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Alcatraz Out???

Uh...well, my agent called today to tell me he found a copy of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians on a bookshelf today.  They apparently shipped last week to bookstores.  Now, the official on-sale date is still October 1st, so some stores may decide to keep them in the back until then.  (Hopefully they won't get lost back there.)  However, some stores are putting them out.  Plus, it looks like Amazon is shipping the book right now, rather than making you wait.

Can anyone else confirm this?  I'm a little surprised to see the book going on sale this early.  But, I guess early is better, right?  (Going to make it tough to break any sales records or anything if some bookstores put it out now, but others wait until next month, but whatever.) 

So, if you've been waiting for this one (or, if you're done with Mistborn 2 and now want to see what I'd do with a more lighthearted story) go pick up a copy!  Sample Chapter right here!

In related news, I completely forgot to blog about a book edited by a friend of mine.  Stacy Whitman is a long time pal, and an editor over at Wizard's of the Coast.  She's been very excited for the release of Hallowmere, by Tiffany Trent, and I wanted to throw a link and a congratulations their way.  The book came out last week, I believe.  If you like Victorian teen girl fic with a creepy side to it, then this is the book for you!

And, something more lighthearted.  I just HAVE to blog about this one.  If you didn't know, my wife and I are having our first child this November.  Pemberly has been working furious, like all expectant moms, to get the house ready for the little one.  Last week takes the cake, however, as she came home with a matching nightgown and baby jumper for herself and the kid. 

Matching.  Now, this may not surprise most of you, but that's not the sort of thing my wife does.  She's very non-girly.  It was amusing because she showed it to me with an almost guilty air, claiming that it wasn't her fault that she did something that 'cute'.  Marketing and hormones contrived together to make her, apparently, buy it against her will.