Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Boys and girls of every age
Wouldn't you like to see something strange?

Come with us and you will see
This, our town of Halloween

This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Pumpkins scream in the dead of night

This is Halloween, everybody make a scene
Trick or treat till the neighbors gonna die of fright
It's our town, everybody scream
In this town of Halloween

I am the one hiding under your bed
Teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red

I am the one hiding under yours stairs
Fingers like snakes and spiders in my hair

This is Halloween, this is Halloween

Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!
In this town we call home
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song

In this town, don't we love it now?
Everybody's waiting for the next surprise

Round that corner, man hiding in the trash can
Something's waiting now to pounce, and how you'll...

Scream! This is Halloween
Red 'n' black, slimy green

Aren't you scared?

Well, that's just fine
Say it once, say it twice
Take a chance and roll the dice
Ride with the moon in the dead of night

Everybody scream, everbody scream

In our town of Halloween!

I am the clown with the tear-away face
Here in a flash and gone without a trace

I am the "who" when you call, "Who's there?"
I am the wind blowing through your hair

I am the shadow on the moon at night
Filling your dreams to the brim with fright

This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!
Halloween! Halloween!

Tender lumplings everywhere
Life's no fun without a good scare

That's our job, but we're not mean
In our town of Halloween

In this town

Don't we love it now?
Everybody's waiting for the next surprise

Skeleton Jack might catch you in the back
And scream like a banshee
Make you jump out of your skin

This is Halloween, everyone scream
Wont' ya please make way for a very special guy

Our man jack is King of the Pumpkin patch
Everyone hail to the Pumpkin King now!

This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!

In this town we call home
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song

La la la la la la

Tuesday Tomorrow

Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: November 1st, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 592 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The marvelous land of Oz is knotted with social unrest: The Emerald City is mounting an invasion of Munchkinland, Glinda is under house arrest, and the Cowardly Lion is on the run from the law. And look who’s knocking at the door. It’s none other than Dorothy. Yes, that Dorothy.

Amid all this chaos, Elphaba’s granddaughter, the tiny green baby born at the close of Son of a Witch, has come of age. Now, Rain will take up her broom in an Oz wracked by war.

The stirring, long-awaited conclusion to the extraordinary bestselling series begun with Wicked, Out of Oz is a magical journey rife with revelations and reversals, reprisals and surprises — the hallmarks of the brilliant and unique imagination of Gregory Maguire."

The conclusion to Gregory Maguire's wonderful Wicked books which totally reinvented Oz... in the most devious of ways.

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
Published by: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: November 1st, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"It’s Christmastime, and the precocious Flavia de Luce—an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and a penchant for crime-solving—is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found, past midnight, strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must use every ounce of sly wit at her disposal to ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight."

This might just truly be the best Flavia book yet... AND the perfect Chirstmas present in one!

House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
Published by: Mulholland
Publication Date: November 1st, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Sherlock Holmes is the greatest detective in literary history. For the first time since the death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a new Holmes story has been sanctioned by his estate, whetting the appetites of fans everywhere. Information about the book will be revealed as deliberately as Holmes himself would unravel a knotty case, but bestselling novelist and Holmes expert Anthony Horowitz is sure to bring a compelling, atmospheric story to life. With access to the estate's archives and careful study of the original stories, Horowitz is sure to weave a tale that satisfies new fans as well as the most dedicated Baker Street Irregular."

A NEW, authorized Sherlock Holmes by the man you brought us Foyle's War and the best dramatizations of Midsomer Murders and Poirot you could expect to see! YES! Full of WIN!

Crossed by Ally Condi
Published by: Dutton
Publication Date: November 1st, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever. "

The first book, Matched, got such buzz I picked it up recently, and here's book two already.

The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
Published by: NAL
Publication Date: November 1st, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The delightful latest entry in the Pink Carnation series finds bumbling Turnip Fitzhugh in over his head when he visits sister Sally at boarding school, where a chance encounter with school mistress Arabella Dempsey lures the siblings into a complex web of espionage and derring-do. Guest appearances by Dempsey's best friend Jane Austen and characters from previous installments of the series round out the laugh-out-loud holiday-themed romance of intrigue. Readers familiar with the series will relish this newest installment and rejoice that Turnip has finally been given his due and a wonderful foil in Arabella. While readers never feel that the espionage aspect would actually put anyone in real danger, it definitely makes for an exciting story."

Easily the best book I read last year (both times I read it). If you love Jane Austen or Christmas BUY THIS BOOK!

The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick
Published by: BerkleyPublication Date: November 1st, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Nerd superstar Chris Hardwick offers his fellow "creative obsessives" crucial information needed to come out on top in the current Nerd uprising.

As a lifelong member of "The Nerd Herd," as he calls it, Chris Hardwick has learned all there is to know about Nerds. Developing a system, blog, and podcasts, Hardwick shares hard-earned wisdom about turning seeming weakness into world-dominating strengths in the hilarious self-help book, The Nerdist Way.

From keeping their heart rate below hummingbird levels to managing the avalanche of sadness that is their in-boxes; from becoming evil geniuses to attracting wealth by turning down work, Hardwick reveals the secrets that can help readers achieve their goals by tapping into their true nerdtastic selves.

Here Nerds will learn how to:
• Become their own time cop
• Tell panic attacks to go suck it
• Use incremental fitness to ward off predators

A Nerd's brain is a laser-it's time they learn to point and fire! "

I've been crushing on Chris Hardwick since the Singled Out Days. So glad he's gotten a second career doing what he does best, being a nerd. Still pissed I didn't get to see him at Wizard World Chicago, totally lame he was there only to interview Patrick Stewart...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review - Terry Pratchett's The Truth

The Truth by Terry Pratchett
Published by: Harper Torch
Publication Date: 2000
Format: Paperback, 368 Pages
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy
Movable type has come to Ankh Morpork. No longer are writers at the whims of the engravers guild. The element of time has changed. News is new! Instead of having to laboriously carve out a plate, just get the dwarves to slap together some letters and viola. William De Worde has always made his way in the world by collecting interesting information and sending it on to people of interest located in Discworld's vast countryside. Just the latest gossip about a duke or the latest bar brawl or the latest rumor about Lord Vetinari. Nonsense, but paying nonsense. Till one day an accident leads him to the dwarves and they show him that with their press and movable type, he can have his letters now.

With time spreading before him William doesn't know what to do. Soon he's back at the Dwarves little printing shed. The Dwarves reckon that perhaps the man on the street would like to read these bits of info that William is accumulating for his wealthy patrons in the provinces. The dwarves appear to be right. There is a demand. In fact, such a demand that soon he hires the daughter of his irate engraver, Sacharissa Cripslock as a cub reporter and Otto, a vampire with a good photographic eye.

Soon a rival newspaper springs up, a newspaper not so much into truth as sensation. When Lord Vetinari is accused of attempted murder, will the truth out? Or will people just believe what they want to believe. Perhaps Lord Vetinari was right when he told William that giving people what they thought they wanted was a dangerous thing.

The advent of movable type changed our world forever. I would not have been able to read this book if not for it's invention. Just think of the impact this had on the world. Anyone could have access to books and bibles. Learning and reading was no longer just for those who could afford it but for anyone! Terry Pratchett has distilled this down, as only he can, into a comedic tour de force that shows, not just what news can do to a community, but what sensation and speculation can do. Terry has sped up the evolution of type from the first newspaper to the gaudy celebrity hunters of today. He has shown us, not just what we are, but the dangers of what we are. 24 hour news channels and gossip whores....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Final Day in Discworld

Now my days in Discworld are coming to a close... at least in the sense of the convention. Never have I done so much at a convention and made sure I was there for everything I wanted to do... if there's a regret... maybe the auction, maybe not telling Terry how awesome he is. But I think everyone being their kind of indicates extreme levels of awesomeness. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I look back on it so fondly, not least of which getting to share it with my BFF Jess.

The final day started with a craft class and a book signing. The plan was for me to rush to the book signing and then Jess would hold my place in the class. Turns out Esther Friesner was earlier, seeing as I was going to get my "Nobody's..." books signed by her. So far I'd seen her at the opening ceremonies, she would come and rap at the closing ceremonies too as Foul Ole Ron... but I got my books signed, learned that Urban Fantasy/Sci-Fi anthology books pay really well and that her newest "Nobody's..." book takes place in Japan and will make all little girls cry. She's a funny one that Esther. But this meant that I was on time for Discworld Hearaldry! We where there to make our own personal Discworld Crest. What was interesting though was this craft class took a more, history vs. activity approach. We where told what certain things meant, like how a knight's helm meant there actually was a knight in the family, the wrong way diagonal meant you where a bastard, in the bedroom not the battlefield sense. I'm a person who is constantly thinking and doodling while people talk. When I'm at school, if a project is being talked about I start jotting down ideas in the margins. By the time the talk was over and the session coming to a close, I already had my crest done, while Jess said she had to think a lot more.

My crest, seen above, is probably bad Latin (I used google translate) for Read, Eat, Sleep, which are the most important things to me besides my art, which is represented by the Mac mouse in the center. The moon for sleep, the cupcake for eat and the book I think are pretty self explanatory. Now I just have to get these suckers on some business cards....

Lunch was a laid back affair followed by some bubble tea and a drive to the airport. Because of the timing I was actually able to go to the Rob Wilkins Kaffee Klatch. They had given up the pretense of having people signed up, though if they had checked I was on the list... after the 15 limit, but still there. Rob was shocked by the number of people who showed up. He was sure the packed little conference room couldn't possibly be his, but it was. It seems that Rob was able to woo everyone at the con and make them all just that little bit in love with Terry's assistant. He has the coolest job in the world after all! He talked a little about how he got where he is, via U2 oddly enough, also about how sad it will be once Terry's Alzheimer's really starts to take hold. The best bit though? When he read a little more from Snuff. This time it was basically the scene in Pride and Prejudice with Mrs. Bennet and all the girls talking about their prospects only with Sam Vimes thrown in asking them why they just don't all go out and get a job. Beyond awesome.

After the glories of Rob I ran to my Shambles making class. If you don't know what a Shamble is, it's a way to focus magical energy and ward off evil. It's made from stuff usually found in your pockets or near by and has to contain something alive, like an egg or a bug. They are used frequently in the books of Tiffany Aching and I have always wanted one. Bending twigs and tying string, using safety pins and the like was so much fun. Mine is technically not done... but then again, I made it in the time I had so Granny Weatherwax would say it's done I'm sure. Or, at least she'd stiffly and begrudgingly nod... a millimeter.

The closing ceremonies was a very loose affair, with Terry saying his goodbyes and saying that he hoped we'd be at the next North American Discworld Convention and that he hoped he would be as well.

Then, to make it into the record books, there was the largest public reading of Where's My Cow? the Pratchett children's book in which Sam Vimes reads a more Ankh-Morpork approved version of a bedtime story. Bugrit!

Following which Bernard Pearson, the cunning artificer himself told us to "piss off." A goodbye of true warmth in Ankh-Morpork.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tuesday Tomorrow

A Crimson Warning by Tasha Alexander
Published by: Minotaur
Publication Date: October 25th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Secrets prove deadly in this new novel from Tasha Alexander featuring Lady Emily Hargreaves. Some very prominent people in London are waking up to find their doorsteps smeared with red paint, the precursor to the revelation of a dark secret – and worse – by someone who enjoys destroying lives

Newly returned to her home in Mayfair, Lady Emily Hargreaves is looking forward to enjoying the delights of the season. The delights, that is, as defined by her own eccentricities—reading The Aeneid, waltzing with her dashing husband, and joining the Women’s Liberal Federation in the early stages of its campaign to win the vote for women. But an audacious vandal disturbs the peace in the capital city, splashing red paint on the neat edifices of the homes of London’s elite. This mark, impossible to hide, presages the revelation of scandalous secrets, driving the hapless victims into disgrace, despair and even death. Soon, all of London high society is living in fear of learning who will be the next target, and Lady Emily and her husband, Colin, favorite agent of the crown, must uncover the identity and reveal the motives of the twisted mind behind it all before another innocent life is lost."

Why have I been waiting so long to start this series? Because it's so awesome I will cry when I have to wait for new books (or so everyone tells me).

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
Published by: Random House
Publication Date: October 25th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 608 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The Legend of Beka Cooper gives Tamora Pierce's fans exactly what they want—a smart and savvy heroine making a name for herself on the mean streets of Tortall's Lower City—while offering plenty of appeal for new readers as well."

I really should admit this, though I'm scared to find the reaction. I've never read any Tamora Pierce. This is a situtation that I will fix, please don't throw rotten fruit and or vegetables at me please.

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: October 25th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 240 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie's favorite days. That's because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one-other than Celie, that is-takes the time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and their fate is unknown, it's up to Celie, with her secret knowledge of the castle's never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom. This delightful book from a fan- and bookseller-favorite kicks off a brand-new series sure to become a modern classic."

Just sounds like a ton of fun. Kind of a kids version of that crazy lady who kept buidling onto her house so the ghosts wouldn't get her.

Forest Born by Shannon Hale
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: October 25th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Hale adds a fourth entry to her Books of Bayern series with this exciting, stand-alone title focused on teenaged Rin, who follows her brother, Razo, from their forest home to the city’s royal court. Characters from the series’ previous titles all hold major roles in the ensuing adventures in which Rin joins a battle to protect Bayern from evil forces. As usual, Hale’s vivid, poetic language; romantic and action-filled plot twists; and friendship themes create a rich, satisfying read. But it’s Rin’s sensitively drawn struggle to recognize and accept her own power that will stay with readers most."

There was fan outcry when the 4th in the beloved Bayern books didn't have an illustrated cover and instead had pictures. Ick, pictures. Where was the wonderful Alison Jay artwork? Thank God for special editions eh? They can write wrongs, unless it's Star Wars and just makes more and more wrongs.

Emma by Jane Austen
Published by: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: October 25th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work, this Penguin Threads edition includes cover art by Jillian Tamaki and deluxe french flaps.

Commissioned by award-winning Penguin art director Paul Buckley, the Penguin Threads series debuts with cover art by Jillian Tamaki for three gift-worthy Penguin Classics. Sketched out in a traditional illustrative manner, then hand stitched using needle and thread, the final covers are sculpt embossed for a tactile, textured, and beautiful book design that will appeal to the Etsy(tm)-loving world of handmade crafts.

The Penguin Classics Deluxe series has been celebrated for its unique packaging and innovative design. The books of the Penguin Threads series will make truly special gifts and will be welcome additions to any craft or literature lover's collection."

Just look at the cover and realize that it was sewn! Yes, you copy won't be, but the one that they took to mold of and the design from was! Here is more about it, just marvel!

The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin
Published by: Orbit
Publication Date: October 25th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 624 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The incredible conclusion to the Inheritance Trilogy, from one of fantasy's most acclaimed stars.

For two thousand years the Arameri family has ruled the world by enslaving the very gods that created mortalkind. Now the gods are free, and the Arameri's ruthless grip is slipping. Yet they are all that stands between peace and world-spanning, unending war.

Shahar, last scion of the family, must choose her loyalties. She yearns to trust Sieh, the godling she loves. Yet her duty as Arameri heir is to uphold the family's interests, even if that means using and destroying everyone she cares for.

As long-suppressed rage and terrible new magics consume the world, the Maelstrom -- which even gods fear -- is summoned forth. Shahar and Sieh: mortal and god, lovers and enemies. Can they stand together against the chaos that threatens?

Includes a never before seen story set in the world of the Inheritance Trilogy."

Been meaning to start book one and look! I now don't have to wait ten years to finish the trilogy!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Book Review - Terry Pratchett's The Fifth Elephant

The Fifth Elephant, Discworld Book 24 by Terry Pratchett
Published by: HarperTorch
Publication Date: November 4th, 1999
Format: Paperback, 400 Pages
Challenge: Shifter Challenge 2011
Rating: ★★★★★
To Buy
Samuel Vimes, Watchman extraordinaire, is about to be out of his depths and his comfort zone... again. Lord Vetinari has need of a diplomat up in Uberwald to witness the crowning of the new dwarf king. Samuel is, sadly from his point of view, a Duke, therefore a perfect candidate for this goodwill mission. But Lord Vetinari's schemes are usually far more complex and far more cunningly thought out. If Vimes is to go to Uberwald, there is more to it than Vetinari is saying. He needs Vimes there, not a diplomat. Which means... well, Sam isn't sure what it means, but it could very easily tie in with the unrest of the dwarves in Ankh-Morpork who are brawling left right and center, and the disappearance of a replica of the loaf of dwarven bread that was stolen from a museum recently. Yes, dwarves do take their bread that seriously, especially when this "Stone of Scone" is the seat upon which the new king will be crowed. Taking a full entourage incorporating the ethnic diversity of Ankh-Morpork, from Cherie, the dwarf, to Detritus, the troll, Vimes sets out hubwards, with his wife Sybil viewing it as a second honeymoon, or technically a first, which they never got due to Sam's devotion to his job.

The road is fraught with peril, but a few assassins is nothing to Vimes, he'd be more concerned with whats happening in Ankh-Morpork if he knew his second in command Carrot had quit to search for his girlfriend Angua. His girlfriend who happens to be a werewolf and whose family happen to be quite powerful in Uberwald and will be on hand when Vimes arrives. This leaves Colon in charge, who, in his sudden rise to power, becomes a little despot with no Watch to watch. Back in Uberwald, Vimes has landed in the center of a great political struggle, the dwarves have divided into factions, the old guard versus the new, while the werewolves and the vampires try to tip the scales one way or another in order to gain more control. But even wrongly accused of an assassination attempt and hunted through the woods by Angua's insane brother Wolfie, Sam will make sure justice is served, because that's what his family is known for. Even if you have to cut off the head of the king, justice will be done.

I trully think that Sam Vimes and the City Watch are my second favorite group of people in Discworld. I'm sorry Sam, you are never going to unseat the witches... but your nod to their last story, Carpe Jugulum, with the Igors did make me oh so joyful. Discworld is just insane and funny and has everything from dwarven opera to werewolves that have spent too much time in wolf form and are becoming more and more like dogs. There is just no equal to Terry Pratchett's writing that goes from total absurdity to deep human insights at the drop of a hat. Everything always comes together in the end in an unpredictable way that just makes so much sense and leaves you happy and knowing you've read a great book. I'm also happy that there's still so many more for me to read. I just don't want Discworld to ever end. I hope, if you haven't already, you'll one day join me in the most wonderful of worlds that strides across space on the back of four elephants that ride the great turtle... after all, the Fifth Elephant had a bit of an accident...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Third Day in Discworld

Since day one rumors had been spreading that the reason the Good Omens panel had been moved from Saturday to Sunday was because Neil himself would be coming. To have Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett in the same room together would be ecstasy. This was literally too good to be true. Yet the rumors continued. To bide our time, in a totally fun and not at all arduous manner, Jess and I went to the Patrick Rothfuss reading. This was a rare occasion to be in a small venue with the great author, seeing as his booksingings now have upwards of 600 people showing up. We where such a small group that he handed out copies of his book, The Princess and Mr. Whiffle, which we read as a group. I have never had a more fun experience. Having the book read aloud while we turned page by page, but never before Patrick's command. It gave a whole new level to the work, I was sad to hand back my book, even if I had one at home, it would have been a memento forever. He also read an Edda (aka old Norse poetry) that he wrote for an anthology starring Will Wheaton. It was beyond funny and everyone should go get it now! Though, I will share the best line: "While beneath the bass of a murderous mewing, Came the thunderous thrum of Proud Petrifax purring." So, you're by now going, ok, Rothfuss isn't Pratchett, no matter how awesome he is... so back to the con...

I stepped into the auction for a few minutes, where items from/about/loosely connected to Discworld where being auctioned off, some for insane amounts of money. I did not win what I wanted because I don't know if I missed it or not... a few people had sheets about the auction lots, but it was the least organized of the events and left me slightly miffed. Auction, grumble, grumble... and after lunch my stomach was doing the grumble, grumble. Lunch, it did not agree with me... so the making of the Sock Mac Feegles was not so much, making, as harvesting the supplies for a later assembly. Also it was total chaos with no instruction and people who hadn't paid wandering in. Best to hit the bathroom... and then get in line to see if rumors can be true.

As it happens, rumors where true! The cheers for Neil and Terry walking in together must have been heard blocks away! Our seats where close, but not the best, all front row seats being "reserved"... we couldn't really see their faces, but just to hear Neil's voice was enough! It was a very odd voyeuristic Q&A where you felt like you where sitting watching Neil and Terry just chatting in their living room. They recounted many stories about how Good Omens was written, many of the anecdotes in the back of the newest paperback edition. They also upheld the belief that at one point the book started writing itself because there is one line they both love but they swear neither of them wrote it. They also discussed taking the picture for the back of the book (see above). Terry remembers thinking how cool the "black and white" look would be, only Neil laid claim to the black so he was nice and warm in this cemetery, in winter, in England. While Terry was wearing a pair of very lightweight cricket pants and all the cricket accoutrement, being the only white clothes they could find at that time of year. Therefore you have the cool laid back Gaiman who spent the day climbing on tombstones, and a cold Pratchett huddling in the meager warmth of the mausoleum.

At one point they sang a bit of a They Might be Giants song and at another point, while recounting meeting a crazy person who wanted to buy the rights to the book demonstrated their "escape plan." They where to employ the code word "Biggles." But this lady was so beyond Biggles levels, they both started to pretend to fly.

When Neil, near the end of the wondrous hour, got up and stood at the podium near us, he realized just how big the room was. Literally everyone from the convention came... well, they kept telling us not to miss it? And have I said... rumors? Here is Neil going, "Wow, there's people over here." It was nice to finally see his face and not just his dulcet tones.

The podium had a purpose, of which Terry was suspicious. Turns out, Neil was there to present the 2010 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy to Terry for I Shall Wear Midnight (which is one of my favorite books.)

Terry was very humble, with his short speech: "About Bloody Time."

After the glory of the Good Omens panel, the rest of the night could never compare. We went to the Gala Banquet hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Quirm. Appropriate because Wisconsin knows it's cheeses like Quirm does (note Terry's "Native Attire.") Of course, having a Vegan with you to a cheese extravaganza meant she ate much mushrooms and leafy greens. The food was decent, nothing to rave about, but nothing to complain about like the other people at our table did. At least they wheren't dressed up, because if we had been at some of the other tables... we would have felt very out of place. Terry was very genuine in his toast and seemed to be warming up to Wisconsin... but that couldn't keep us past the bizarre and appallingly bad comedy sports team that was there for "our entertainment." Going home, putting on PJs and watching Big Bang Theory was more our line of entertainment.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Review - Amanda Palmer's Evelyn Evelyn

Evelyn Evelyn by Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley
Published by: Dark Horse
Digital Edition Provided by Dark Horse
Publication Date: October 18th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 144 Pages
Rating: ★★★
To Buy
Evelyn Evelyn tells the story of conjoined twins who are very swiftly and violently orphaned and have to find there way through the seedier aspects of the world from circuses to the porn industry till they find some connection to others through the internet. When I saw that Amanda Palmer had a book out I really wanted to read it. This is, after all the missus of Neil Gaiman. I wish going in that I had known more about the evolution of these two characters confined to one body before diving into the book. I felt lost and at times and didn't pick up references, mainly because there is a world of Evelyn Evelyn outside the book. Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley perform as the conjoined twins, most recently at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. So all the references to songs that went over my head... well they're out there. I still enjoyed the bleak darker aspects of their world, but felt that the old world freak show aspects made the book more a period piece unto which the modern was thrust. Sideshow acts and Facebook seem of too vastly different worlds. I leave you with something that would have made my reading of the book far more enjoyable:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tuesday Tomorrow

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
Published by: Touchstone
Publication Date: October 18th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 464 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Passion. Danger. Witchcraft . . .
The Lady of the Rivers is #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory’s remarkable story of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford, a woman who navigated a treacherous path through the battle lines in the Wars of the Roses.

Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta always has had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she met his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and saw her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the wheel of fortune before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream.

Jacquetta is married to the Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, and he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the duke’s squire Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the duke’s death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.

The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of royal rivals. Not even their courage and loyalty can keep the House of Lancaster on the throne. Henry the king slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret the queen turns to untrustworthy favorites for help; and Richard, Duke of York, threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty.

Jacquetta fights for her king, her queen, and for her daughter Elizabeth for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York.

A sweeping, powerful story rich in passion and legend and drawing on years of research, The Lady of the Rivers tells the story of the real-life mother of the white queen."

Yeah, I know some people love her, some people hate her, I'm in the like column, so I'm looking forward to this.

Seizure by Katy Reichs
Published by: Razorbill
Publication Date: October 18th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 464 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The second novel in the Virals trilogy from #1 bestselling author and inspiration for the TV series Bones - Kathy Reichs!

Ever since Tory Brennan and her friends rescued Cooper, a kidnapped wolf pup with a rare strain of canine parvovirus, they've turned from regular kids into a crime-solving pack! But now the very place that brought them together - the Loggerhead Island Research Institute - is out of funding and will have to shut down. That is, unless the Virals can figure out a way to save it!

So when Tory learns of an old Charleston legend about a famous she-pirate, Anne Bonney, whose fortune was never found, she can't believe her luck - buried treasure is exactly what she needs to save the Institute on Loggerhead! Trouble is, she and her friends aren't the only ones looking for it. And this time, the Virals' special powers may not be enough to dig them out of trouble . . . "

Can't get enough Brennans? As in Bones? Well, lucky for you there's a YA fix for you.

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published by: Little Brown
Publication Date: October 18th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 528 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending."

Oh, series I've been wanting to read... now where is that first volume...

A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley
Published by: Bantam
Publication Date: October 18th, 2011
Format: Paperback, 432 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Stubborn, precocious Flavia de Luce seems old beyond her 11 years, but readers of her previous encounters with dead bodies and mystery know she has a vulnerable side, as well. Nowhere is that more visible than in her relationships with her distant father and her sisters, who constantly taunt her. In her latest adventure, the family is on the verge of bankruptcy. Father is auctioning his beloved stamps and selling the family silver. In the midst of this crisis, the irrepressible young snoop investigates the beating of a gypsy fortune-teller and the murder of a local thief, which seem somehow connected to a group of religious eccentrics, an antique shop, a missing baby, and a strange, fishy smell. Sound complicated? It is, but Bradley handles it so well you hardly notice. Buttressed by consistently quirky characters and an English country-village backdrop, Flavia's chatterbox narration reveals the amateur sleuth's obnoxiousness as well as her intellegence and irrepressible curiosity. The upshot is a spirited, surprisingly innocent tale, despite murky goings-on at its center. Think of Flavia as a new Sherlock in the making.

I ADORE Flavia. Now, this is my least favorite of the three/four... but, in a series that is so wonderful, that's not really an insult now is it? Plus, October, I know you're wanting to read about Gypsies? Am I right or am I right?

Evelyn Evelyn by Amanda Palmer & Jason Webley
Published by: Dark Horse
Publication Date: October 18th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 144 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Includes an afterword by award-winning author Neil Gaiman! Enthusiasts of genuine tragedy and celebrity intrique, gird your mental loins for an authentic tale of unbelievable hardship and epic catastrophe! This wholly true and accurate account details the extraordinary lives of Evelyn and Evelyn, a darling but unfortunate pair of conjoined twins who brave extreme circumstances of calamity and adversity, such as the bizarre and bloody night of their birth and subsequent orphaning; their early years on a chicken farm; shocking encounters with depraved gentlemen; life in the circus; the terrible fates of their dearest friends; and concluding with the sisters'' rise to international fame via the internet!"

This was... um... interesting. Just read the review tomorrow ok?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Review - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Published by: HarperTorch
Publication Date: 1990
Format: Paperback, 412 Pages
Challenge: Horror and Urban Fantasy
Rating: ★★
To Buy
Crawly and Aziraphale have quite literally been there since the beginning. Man, woman, garden, snake. Crawly was the snake. But nowadays he has the car and the suave clothes that befit his side while Aziraphale collects books. What else is there to do when you're waiting for the world to end? The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch predicted it all back in 1655. And that's not the nice that indicates the end of the world next Saturday is a good thing, it's the other, more "precise" kind. It's going to happen. Everything has been put in place, the "horsemen" are assembling, the time has come for the uprising of evil. If only there hadn't been that little mix up with the son of Satan a few years back... because if things had gone to plan it would have been nice and smooth, instead Crawly and Aziraphale aren't sure whose side they're on because they rather like the world as it is, even if any tape left overly long in a car will start blaring Freddie Mercury and Queen. Can you go up against a witch who always knew what was going to happen? Or can you thwart the omens?

While you can see how this book has developed the cult following it has, it still just wasn't it for me. I felt hollow after reading it, most likely due to my inflated expectations. I've read Gaiman and Pratchett at the top of their game, and I just didn't feel this was it... of course, this was before they where GAIMAN and PRATCHETT. Their styles where not yet formed, but I will say they worked well together. They claim that they can't tell who wrote what and they think that perhaps the book started writing itself at some point. I agree with this, not with the book writing it's own text, but who knows, but the bite about who wrote what. The book had a cohesion that made it feel that it was written by one person. The ideas where melded together into one perfect vision and did not feel like two competing minds, which is often the case when two writers collaborate.

More than any gripes I have with plot or character, which I don't really have except that I really thought that Satan's son shouldn't have been such a boring twit, my problem was that it felt so dated, so 1980s. Ansaphones? Really? Ok, I mean, sure they have been referenced on Dr Who recently, as well as being part of the common vernacular of England, but it still made it feel past it's day. Which brings me back to these authors at their current prime. They don't feel dated! Pick up any Discworld book, it feels fresh and now. Grab American Gods before it becomes mainstream with the HBO series. These are classics. Maybe in a few more years the dated will become nostalgia and I'll like. Every book changes every time you read it. I can see why people have wanted an adaptation or a sequel for years, because there is so much you could do now to update this and make it relevant. So many avenues you could explore. As for the original... not my favorite. But as for the Queen joke, it was worth buying the book. That was priceless.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Second Day in Discworld

Morning came all too soon and I thought, was I crazy signing up to do crafts first thing in the morning? Again, yes to the crazy, no to the wrong. It was actually quite relaxing and calm. At first my friend Jess and I where thinking, oh, this looks lame, just pieces of paper to color. But no! It was vinyl! So cool and colored really well. My Igor (seen above) is a very dandy Igor. A fop if you would. The gentleman's gentleman of the undead. After our Igor session, which being our first craft session made us realize that the sessions needed to be far longer to get anything done. I didn't even finish my Igor! But Jess and I had a lot of fun switching and trading body parts.

After this I went to a book signing with Stephen Player. Stephen Player is the artist who did the art for the Discworld and Ankh-Morpork maps as well as all the art for the illustrated Wee Free Men. Stephen was incredibly nice and I got to share a little story with him, because his poster he did for the con had the Wisconsin State Capital on it, I said that he probably doesn't know that it's the second largest in the US, it was the first, but it had to be rebuilt because there can not be a capital building taller than the one in Washington D.C. Take that history classes! Make me tour that Capital repeatedly, I will retain something.

After a long lunch and a little shopping we got there nice and early for Terry's panel on his new book series, The Long Earth, being written with Stephen Baxter. Some of the book is even set in Madison! The basic idea is that there are any number of earths, but say you want to go to earth 50, you have to go through earth 1-49 to get to it. In essence, chain parallel worlds. Could be an interesting concept. Stephen works with the sciencey bits and Terry works with the storytelling bits. Should be out in 2012, and I'll be sure to pick up a copy.

After this we had an hour till the "Talk with Terry." Aka, Rob and Terry just chatting. In that time Jess bravely kept the seats, which where multiply attacked by invading forces, including a cameraman! I went to see Patrick Rothfuss, which was something that caused a bit of a to-do. The problem was, the website stated all "Kaffee Klatches" (of which this was one) where going to be lottery to determine the 15 people to attend. This was not the case, it was first come first serve. I, being older, wiser, and more willing to make people stick to what they say, raised a bit of a kerfuffle. I was going and that was that. In the end I won. I thank the people at the con for working with me and admitting there was a mistake and letting me participate and not giving me something to look back on and be pissed about. The Klatch ran long so I was a few minutes late to the talk... oops.

Rob and Terry just sat and talked about their normal kind of day while Rob fought to keep Terry talking into the microphone. They reminisced about this little town they found in New Zealand that was straight out of another time, which ironically was on the same day they went to visit Hobbiton, which is out of a different world. Rob said that he never wanted to leave Hobbiton and he was sad he couldn't post or share any of the pictures he took, but he said it was still worth it. They also discussed that Terry has never let Rob be employee of the month, that honor always being bestowed on the cat, because she never talks about her grandma. For picture of said employee click here. It was also rumored that Terry is planing on writing his autobiography and that most days he feels like a cat with a really long tail in a room full of rocking chairs.

Instead of staying for the Masque, we went out for Chinese food, some book browsing and a game of skittles, which is a wicked awesome British pub game that everyone should play and which I shouldn't have taught to Matt because he got way too good too fast.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Haunted Wisconsin Giveaway!

The Prize:
A copy of the new edition of Haunted Wisconsin by Michael Norman

The Rules:
1. Open to EVERYONE, just because you haven't been following me all along doesn't mean you don't matter, you just get more entries if you prove you love me by following.
2. Please make sure I have a way to contact you if your name is drawn, either your blogger profile or a link to your website/blog or you could even include your email address with your comment(s).
3. Contest ends Monday, October 31st at 11:59PM CST (Yes, that's Halloween y'all, the PERFECT time to read this book)
4. How to enter:

Answer me this: What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

5. And for those addicted to getting extra entries:

  • +1 for answering the question above
  • +2 for becoming a follower
  • +10 if you are already a follower
  • +10 for each time you advertise this contest - blog post, sidebar, twitter (please @MzLizard), etc. (but you only get credit for the first post, so tweet all you like, and I thank you for it, but you'll only get the +10 once). Also please leave a link!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tuesday Tomorrow

Snuff by Terry Pratchett
Published by: Harper
Publication Date: October 11th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"At long last, Lady Sybil has lured her husband, Sam Vimes, on a well-deserved holiday away from the crime and grime of Ankh-Morpork. But for the commander of the City Watch, a vacation in the country is anything but relaxing. The balls, the teas, the muck—not to mention all that fresh air and birdsong—are more than a bit taxing on a cynical city-born and -bred copper.

Yet a policeman will find a crime anywhere if he decides to look hard enough, and it’s not long before a body is discovered, and Sam—out of his jurisdiction, out of his element, and out of bacon sandwiches (thanks to his well-meaning wife)—must rely on his instincts, guile, and street smarts to see justice done. As he sets off on the chase, though, he must remember to watch where he steps. . . . This is the countryside, after all, and the streets most definitely are not paved with gold."

Every year the new Terry Pratchett book is something to look forward to. But this year, oh this yeah! I went to the North American Discworld Convention and there was a few select readings from the book. It's Discworld meets Jane Austen, it's all my heart could have wanted with Samuel Vimes. MUST READ NOW!

As the Pig Turns by M.C. Beaton
Published by: Minotaur
Publication Date: October 11th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Winter Parva is a “picturesque” (touristy) Cotswold village with gift shops, a medieval market hall, and thatched cottages. After a disappointing Christmas season, the parish council has decided to hold a special event in January, complete with old-fashioned costumes, morris dancing, and a pig roast on the village green.

Always one for a good roasting, Agatha Raisin organizes an outing to enjoy the merriment. The rotary spit turning over a bed of blazing charcoals is sure to please on this foggy and blistery evening. But as the fog lifts slightly, the sharp-eyed Agatha notices something peculiar about the pig: a tattoo of a heart with an arrow through it and the name Amy.

“Stop!” she screams suddenly. “Pigs don’t have tattoos.”

The “pig,” in fact, is Gary Beech, a policeman not exactly beloved by the locals, including Agatha herself. Although Agatha has every intention of leaving matters to the police, everything changes when the Gary’s ex-wife, Amy, hires Agatha’s detective agency to investigate—and another murder ensues. With that provocation, how could any sleuth as vain and competitive (and secretly insecure) as Agatha do anything other than solve the case herself?"

For my mom, the M.C. Beaton addict (and no, she doesn't want an intervention).

Jane Austen Made Me Do It by Lauren Willig et al
Published by: Balantine
Publication Date: October 11th, 2011
Format: Paperback, 464 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
" “My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” If you just heaved a contented sigh at Mr. Darcy’s heartfelt words, then you, dear reader, are in good company. Here is a delightful collection of never-before-published stories inspired by Jane Austen—her novels, her life, her wit, her world.

In Lauren Willig’s “A Night at Northanger,” a young woman who doesn’t believe in ghosts meets a familiar specter at the infamous abbey; Jane Odiwe’s “Waiting” captures the exquisite uncertainty of Persuasion’s Wentworth and Anne as they await her family’s approval of their betrothal; Adriana Trigiani’s “Love and Best Wishes, Aunt Jane” imagines a modern-day Austen giving her niece advice upon her engagement; in Diana Birchall’s “Jane Austen’s Cat,” our beloved Jane tells her nieces “cat tales” based on her novels; Laurie Viera Rigler’s “Intolerable Stupidity” finds Mr. Darcy bringing charges against all the writers of Pride and Prejudice sequels, spin-offs, and retellings; in Janet Mullany’s “Jane Austen, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” a teacher at an all-girls school invokes the Beatles to help her students understand Sense and Sensibility; and in Jo Beverley’s “Jane and the Mistletoe Kiss,” a widow doesn’t believe she’ll have a second chance at love . . . until a Miss Austen suggests otherwise.

Regency or contemporary, romantic or fantastical, each of these marvelous stories reaffirms the incomparable influence of one of history’s most cherished authors."

Yeah Jane Austen! Yeah lots of authors I love. Sure, it's uneven... but the best stories in here would be worth the price just for one of them!

Twilight the Graphic Novel Volume Two by Syephenie Meyer
Published by: Yen
Publication Date: October 11th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 240 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Having uncovered the dark secret of her enigmatic classmate, Edward Cullen, Bella Swan embraces her feelings for him, trusting Edward to keep her safe despite the risks. When a rival clan of vampires makes its way into Forks, though, the danger to Bella has never been more real. Will she make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the people dearest to her?

The second volume of Twilight: The Graphic Novelcompletes the visual adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's worldwide bestselling debut novel and is a must-have for any collector's library."

OMG! I wonder how it ends? No, seriously, how long are the going to take to do all the books as graphic novels?

Haunted Wisconsin by Michael Norman
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication Date: October 15th, 2011
Format: Paperback, 272 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Grab a cozy blanket, light a few flickering candles, and enjoy the unnerving tales of Haunted Wisconsin. Gathered from personal interviews with credible eyewitnesses, on-site explorations, historical archives, newspaper reports, and other sources, these scores of reports date from Wisconsin’s early settlement days to recent inexplicable events.

You’ll read about Wisconsin’s most famous haunted house, Summerwind; three Milwaukee men who encountered the beautiful ghost of National Avenue; a phantom basketball player; a spectral horse that signaled death in the pioneer era of the Wisconsin Dells; a poltergeist in St. Croix County who attracted a crowd of more than three hundred spectators; the Ridgeway Ghost who haunts the driftless valleys of southwestern Wisconsin; a swinging railroad lantern held by unseen hands; the Ghost Island of the Chippewa Flowage; and many others. Are ghosts real? That’s for you to decide!

Now available in a Third Edition with updates and several new accounts, Haunted Wisconsin remains a favorite collection of unexplained midwestern tales, enjoyed by readers of all ages."

Re-release of Michael Norman's Haunted Wisconsin. Love the new cover and edition. Plus, you could win this beautiful new edition thanks to the publishers sending me one! You know you want it!

Friday, October 7, 2011

My First Day in Discworld

For a short while, all too short, Discworld came to Madison, Wisconsin. From July 8th to the 11th I was a traveller in a very familiar land. Everywhere I went I'd run into favorite characters, from Sergeant Angua to a plethora of Twoflowers. I had a little passport that would be stamped whenever I ventured in this hotel cum fantastical land. I think they might have even placed four giant elephants and a space turtle under it, but I can't prove this... But the highlight was the very center of the con, the man in black... Terry Pratchett. The man who must look around and wonder, what have I done.

Because I live in town, I ventured down the night before to get all my registration taken care of, as well as to sign up for the multitude of crafting sessions my friend Jess and I where determined to participate in (they delayed craft registration till the next morning). Our goals? See everything with Terry Pratchett then craft the hell out of Discworld. Do to my early registration the first thing I would be doing on Friday was meeting Terry Pratchett. Now, this was a bit intimidating. I thought I'd have the whole weekend to prepare, but no. I got up bright and early and headed to the con to succeed in my craftacular registration, of which I succeeded fully! Over the next three days we would be making Igors, crafting our own Nac Mac Feegles, designing our own personal crest and making shambles, of which I was very excited. There where tons more I would have loved to have done, but there's only so much time in a day!

So, to the Terry signing I went, where there was almost a riot. The source? They strictly forbade autographs, based on Terry's Alzheimer's, opting for Terry handing out a special bookplate and stamping our passports. What happened next led to hew and outcry. They said Terry would stamp a book if we had it. HEW CRY WAIL! Me, I got on the phone, located someone in my house, told them to located the turquoise book on the top shelf near the window in my library, the limited edition of I Shall Wear Midnight and deliver it to me outside the Concourse... it was done, it was achieved. I now have the one book I love more than any other stamped, sticker and fingerprinted by the man. The fingerprinting surprised me, it's a far more intimate thing that a signature. I will treasure it always.

Sadly, I didn't really get to say anything to the man himself, because the lady in front of me was sweet but didn't really understand signing line etiquette and I ended up getting bitched at by the guy who kept the flow going... sigh. Felt like a little bit of a wasted opportunity, but then again, these things happen. Also, it's not like I wasn't going to be seeing him every chance I could all weekend!

The opening ceremonies where interesting. They kicked off with a song and dance number to the might Om. Here you can see Om singing with the help of one of his disciples. They where quickly eshewed away and the Seamstresses Guild took over. They where the ones who initiated this con back in 2009... but even for founders, I started to get sick of all the double entendres rather quickly.  As a woman, I don't think I'd like to be making aspersions against my character for four days straight.

Terry was then brought forth and the Gods of Discworld paid tribute to him. One of the gods took a bit of a tumble and had to get stitches, but it didn't slow down the ceremony, and the paramedics attended to her backstage. Apparently she was in her 80s! Back to the ceremony. Two amusing things, Terry very much liked Bastet, the cat God, even pulling her tail, and the God with the bubbles was fun two. One thing learned from this. Terry is very bad at remembering to speak into the microphone, no matter how many times people try to fix it. Therefore, I was glad I was used to arriving at events early. For the ceremonies I was in the second or third row... barring one incident, I was in the front row for every other talk he did.

After the opening ceremonies, there was to be a reading. AKA "Reading with Rob." Rob Wilkins is Terry's assistant. So while Terry sat back and relaxed (yes, that does involve removing the ever present hat!) Rob read. Now, I should mention, I'm not the best at listening to people talk for long periods of time. As Patrick Rothfuss has said, he starts to see peoples interest waning after the first 15 minutes. Hence he likes to do small little bits to keep people awake. I agree with Pat. I am horrible after about 5 minutes. I remember I went to a reading of Dante's Inferno at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York for Maundy Thursday... so dull... so long... in fact, the person who signed their section was the most interesting part. Anyway, here I was, front row for an hour long reading. Was I crazy? Well, yes, that's been long since established. But rumors where that he was going to be reading from Snuff, the upcoming Discworld novel. This made me excited. This reading also made me fall a little bit in love with Rob Wilkins.

Rob takes such joy in what he reads, sometimes having to pause the regain his composure. I don't know if I will ever be able to read a Discworld book again without hearing him in my head. I hadn't read much up on Snuff, so imagine my surprise when it's Samuel Vimes going to his wife's estate in the country. It's Discworld does period miniseries. Sam Vimes does Pride and Prejudice. It was so funny and wonderful that I didn't want it to end. Knowing that I'd have to wait till this month, three whole months after hearing Rob read was a harsh blow. I want to know more about the apples that go up versus down. I just need it now!

While listening to Rob I also started to devise a theory, I'm very good at multitasking. Rob seems to combine all the best of British actors I like. I saw a bit of Adrian Lukis, aka that naughty Wickham from Pride and Prejudice. But then Rob smiled and, dear lord, if it wasn't the smile of Richard Armitage I would be struck down. At this point I was kind of a goner in my Rob crush. My friend Jess said that there was a little bit of Martin Freeman she could see peaking through. So here is the Rob Wilkins mathematical formulae:

After the reading I went forth and retrived my Jess from the airport and had some dinner with my Matt and Jess (ironically at a restaurant besieged by Discworld people). After dinner we had a production by The Cromulent Shakespeare Company doing a play of The Wyrd Sisters. It had luckily been long enough since I read it so that it wasn't predictable. Magrat was a little too masculine and hippy dippy for me, but Granny Weatherwax, though being portrayed by a young woman, so had the posture and just all out presence of Granny Weatherwax it was amazingly well done. I was very happy and surprised by how fun and good it was, even if a little embarrassed that when there was this audience participation part and we had to jump in a circle and I found out that Terry Pratchett was standing behind me, seeing me in all my wacko glory. After a quick trip to the Seamstress Guild's party, to bed to bed, for there where to be Igors bright and early in the morning.

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