Author Archives: Pat

The Final Day: Wherein I Kiss a Llama

Over the weekend, Worldbuilders passed $681,000 in donations.

This might seem like an odd benchmark to get excited about. But $681,000 is how much money we raised last year. Passing that is a big deal for us, especially considering that we moved our big event much earlier in the year, and cut the time of the fundraiser in half.

Honestly? I was worried we wouldn’t make it. But we did. In fact, as you can see from our thermometer, we’ve rocketed far past it. As I write this, we are just about to crest over $750,000, and we still have a full day to go. Three quarters of a million dollars.

Try saying that to yourself: “We’ve raised three quarters of a million dollars for Heifer International.” It has a nice sound, doesn’t it?

Because of this, on Sunday, I went looking for a llama to kiss….

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That’s the promise I made at the beginning of the fundraiser: if we beat last year’s total, I’d kiss whatever Heifer animal people voted for. I thought “goat” was going to be a shoe-in. But I realize now I was being hopelessly naive.

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It’s harder than you might think to find a llama to kiss. There are a few at nearby farms, but when we ask people if I can come kiss them, they tend to say things like: “You realize a llama will kick a hole straight through you, right?” or “Yeaaaah… Our llama isn’t really into that.” or “Son, what the hell is wrong with you?”

Then we found a place up in the north woods of Wisconsin. A Bed & Breakfast that specializes in Llama Kisses. When I heard the name of it, I knew we’d found the right place: Storybook Farm.

So I did what I normally do in these situations: I screwed things up. I was so busy trying to spread the word about the fundraiser that I didn’t call them until Sunday around 1:00 in the afternoon. That’s when I found out that they like people to make appointments *before* coming out to their place, y’know, like everyone does in civilized society.

“I’m so sorry,” I said. “This is completely my fault. But this is for a fundraiser. And its ending tomorrow. And I promised people. Is there any way I could make it worth your while to fit this in today?”

They said it was okay, but I felt like an ass.

So I get in my car and start to drive the 120+ miles farther up into the northern woods of Wisconsin. The temperature was at that perfect temperature where it’s warm enough for fog, but still cold enough for water to freeze on the roads.

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(Actual footage.)

It was a long drive.

When I got there, Jim and Bonnie came out to meet me. They were kind and gracious despite the fact that I’d rudely intruded on their Sunday. They didn’t understand why I was there, so I explained about Heifer International and what we were doing with Worldbuilders.

Then I got to meet some animals. I knew I was among friends when they introduced me to Tumnus the Goat.

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And there were Llamas there too. Of course.

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I think the Llama on the right is Congo. We got to be good friends.

I don’t want to get a reputation as a player, but I will say that several of the llamas were all up ons. I think it might have been the beard.

Here’s the thing. The video is fun. I had fun kissing the llamas, which I have to say are actually really, really pretty creatures. (Don’t make this weird.)

But that isn’t the point of this story. That’s just the plot of the story. The point is what happened next.

The owners of the place, Jim and Bonnie, spent an hour out in the muddy field with me, helping me out. Introducing me to the llamas. Bonnie got the Santa hat for me to wear. Jim engaged in llama distraction when it was needed and gave me the grain I used to tempt them into kissing me. (Don’t judge.) Bonnie worked the camera.

They spent an hour out in the freezing drizzle on their Sunday, helping me out. A Sunday I had rudely interrupted.

At the end of it. I tried to pay them. But they wouldn’t take my money. I explained that I knew their time was valuable, and that they had helped me keep a promise, and that’s really important to me. But they wouldn’t take my money. By that point I’d chatted with them for a while and learned that their house had burned down a while back and they were still recovering from that. I said I knew that they were running a business, and I was more than happy to…

But no. They just wouldn’t. “Take that money and buy a goat for someone,” Bonnie said.

That’s the point of the story, folks. People are good.

*     *     *

A couple days ago, Sarah made the questionable choice of reading an entire toy catalog to Oot. He showed it to me when I came home, all excited. He had circled about twenty things in it with a red pen, and explained each of them to me. There were two marble mazes. A laser game. A skeleton with removable organs. A fossil kit….

Score one for rampant consumerism.

Later on, he came into my office, clutching the magazine. He started to explain the items to me again, focusing especially on the little terrarium that is supposed to grow plants that look like brains and eyeballs, as well as carnivorous plants (A pitcher plant, I’m guessing from the illustration) and a plant that moves (A sensitive fern.)

“I remember these,” I said, interrupting him gently. “You showed this to me last night.”

“Oh yeah,” he said. “But I was just thinking that you could order all of these on your computer. Not all at once,” he said quickly. “You could do some e-mail. Then order one. Then do some more e-mail. And then order one.”

It breaks my heart that he knows how busy I am. That he feels like he has to fit himself in between my e-mails. I’ve been neglecting him during the fundraiser. today I kissed a llama more than I kissed him. That’s wrong. I’m going to start making that up to him starting tomorrow.

“Those are pretty cool,” I said to him, then added. “Did you know that some families don’t have very much money? There are some families that are so poor that the parents can’t afford to buy any toys at all for their children for Christmas?”

I was going to lead him down the garden path. Explain the concept of something like “Toys for Tots” to him. Make a plan with him about how we could go out together and buy toys for other families.

But he didn’t even give me the chance. He started chattering on almost as soon as I’d finished. “Oh,” he said. “Well if you could buy this one thing for me,” he pointed to the terrarium. “Then we could give all of those other toys to other kids.”

That was it. There was no hesitation. He didn’t have to think it through. I could see his face when I explained that some kids didn’t have toys. It was confusing to him. His is expression said the five-year-old equivalent of “Some kids have no toys? Seriously? What the Actual Fuck?”

So they should get all these other things. He was fine with just one present.

He’s my sweet boy. He’s good. That’s the moral of the story here. He gets it. It’s just sharing. It’s simple.

*     *     *

I’ve been seeing this happen all over the place during the fundraiser. I’m guessing you’ve seen a lot of it too….

For example, since Worldbuilders started early this year, some people were unable to participate. But regular blog commenters dorwinrin, Kthaeh, and Karissima got in contact with us, and set up a donation in honor of a commenter they saw who said they couldn’t kick anything in this year.

Here’s a comment someone made on the blog early on in the fundraiser:

“I’m pretty poor, but my wife and I have decided to refrain from ordering any takeout this month and put the resultant savings into Worldbuilders. I always forgot to donate in past years, but not this time!”

 But probably my favorite success story of the fundraiser is this one:

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Those of you who have been following the blog closely should recognize Charlotte.  Last week on the blog I mentioned that she’d shot a video and started her own donation page as part of our Worldbuilders fundraiser. She wanted to raise $500 for a Heifer, and so far people have chipped in enough money that she’s up in the top 5 supporting fundraisers now:

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It looks like she’s going to overtake the NaNoWriMo page soon….

On her page, folks have left comments like this:

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One of my favorite new things about Heifer’s new donation platform is the ability of people to make their own pages in support of our team. That means groups can get together and fundraise for Worldbuidlers while letting their particular geek flags fly. For example, the Wayward Backers is a group of people who banded together on facebook after they got to know each other during my first kickstarter campaign.

And there are warm fuzzies galore in the comments, like this one from the WriMos page:

“I recently got a scholarship out of nowhere, and I wanted to pay it forward somehow. I have been reading Pat’s blog for years, so this was perfect.”

Or these, from the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Club:

“I’ve wanted to donate for several years but haven’t been able to. This year we stumbled on a little unexpected income and decided this was the best use for it.”

“My grandmother passed away this week. She was a very charitable person. In her honor, I’d love to offer what little support I can muster at the moment to give to this wonderful organization.”

Or Team Nerdfighteria:

“This is my fourth year donating. The first year, a goat. Every subsequent year, $250-300. I’m truly happy that, despite everything, I’m able to scrape together a decent amount of money to donate to the wonderful cause that is Heifer. Thanks Pat (and Amanda, and all the other helpers, donators, etc.) for publicizing and pushing this. I probably wouldn’t have started giving to charities if not for Worldbuilders. Thank you so much for encouraging me to be a positive force in the world.”

*     *     *

I could go on and on. But I’ll stop. Suffice to say that you’ve all impressed me yet again.

Let me leave you with a picture.

A couple days ago we took a picture of all the prizes we’re giving away for this year’s fundraiser. We had to do it as a panoramic, because… well… you can see why.

Prize Wall - all of it

Note that this picture doesn’t even include the 1000+ Mayfair games we’re giving away.

Last year we gave away about 1100 prizes. This year we giving away more than 2500. And many of those prizes contain multiple books and/or games. That means your odds of winning are really ridiculously good this year.

If you donate enough for honeybees ($30) you’ve got a 12% chance of winning something. Give a family a goat ($120) you’ve got a better than 40% chance of winning. Enough for a well that provides clean water ($300) and you’re up at 72%.

Prizes include signed and rare books, all manner of games, and, of course, the three favors from me….

Today’s your last chance to jump in. Tomorrow will be too late.

Here’s the link to donate.

Don’t miss it.

Posted in Oot, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat57 Responses

Games, Books, and a Video from Neil Gaiman

On Wednesday afternoon, Worldbuilders crossed the $600,000 mark on our fundraiser.

On Wednesday night, this happened:

neil jabberwocky tweets(There are some days I almost believe I’m one of the cool kids.)

Then, early yesterday morning, this happened:

Thank you, everyone for donating.

Thank you Neil for being your lovely, generous, kindhearted self.

We’ve got four days left in this year’s fundraiser, where every $10 you donate to Heifer International on our team page gives you the chance to win thousands of cool books and games in our lottery. (You can calculate the exact odds of winning something using the widget above.)

Now, on to today’s additions to the fundraiser. First the games:

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Munchkin is all of the fun of playing D&D with a lot more snark, sarcasm, and backstabbing. Plus, it’s a lot simpler, and you get to fight the Dread Gazebo.

If you’ve never played Munchkin, you really really should. These are all going into the lottery, so if you choose to receive games as a prize option when you donate, you might just get the chance.

  • Auction: Munchkin Game with signed Luggage Card

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In case you already know and love Munchkin, let’s sweeten the deal by adding the rare promotional Luggage card, signed and doodled by John Kovalic and signed by Steve Jackson. The Luggage, from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, is a semi-intelligent trunk with lots of little feet that acts as both luggage and bodyguard for the clueless, hapless, and a few other -lesses tourist, Twoflower. Twoflower eventually gives it to Rincewind, and along those lines, the Luggage in Munchkin will bounce from player to player depending on dice rolls.

Of course, just like in the book, you can never really get rid of it.

The Luggage card is *very* rare, so we’re auctioning it off with a signed copy of the game over here.

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This game is a nice twist to your traditional deck building game. In addition to buying and using new cards, the segments that make up the game board get removed from one side and added to the other during play, giving a videogame-like side scrolling feel, and challenging players to remain aware of things that had been visible and aren’t any longer.

Coolest thing of all? This game isn’t even out yet, so if you donate and win it in the lottery, you’ll be able to taunt your friends.

  • Auction: Hardcover copy of Magic the Gathering: Complete Collection. Signed by Matt Forbeck.

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This book contains 16 issues of the IDW “Dack Fayden” comic series, and it’s signed by Matt Forbeck with a sweet Worldbuilders inscription to boot. If you’re even a little into MTG worldbuilding, this is right up your alley.

You know you want it, so go bid on it here.

  • Copies of  Quarantine, including the First Aid Expansion. Signed by Mark Klassen.

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While the gameplay and rules are simple, this game will never be played the same way twice. Players are trying to build the biggest and most efficient hospital while taking care of the patients as they arrive and preventing those patients from spreading disease through the hospital.

Hospitals are built with an interesting “price-drafting” mechanic that requires some serious strategy to get the rooms you want for a reasonable price without losing them to the other players.

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Level 99 games is one of our newest sponsors, and we’re excited to have them. This game is a bit of a rarity as it’s two gaming elements I’ve never seen combined before. It’s a character-driven game with a physical element, so dexterity actually plays a part in your success.

All of these are going into the lottery where anyone who donates can win a copy.

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Here we have a real-time card game that simulates a chaotic bar brawl. It’s a simple game to pick up, but can be played as strategically or casually as the group wants. It’s all the fun of a bar fight without having to worry about the bloody knuckles! These are going into the lottery as well….

  • Auction: Full Name of the Wind Poker Box Set: 2 card covers, all 3 playing card decks, 300 poker chips, and a signed bookplate, all in a heavy wooden display case.

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This was a Kickstarter-exclusive item, so there’s nowhere to get them any more. Well… except from me, because I bought a few extras and hoarded them.

We put a few into our IndieGoGo fundraiser over the summer, where they sold out really quickly for 600 bucks each. Since then we’ve had more than a couple people come asking if there’s any other way they can get hold of one.

To see more detailed pictures of my chips, box, and other art, you can head over here.

  • Auction: Rare Tyranny of Dragons Pinny Arcade Pin.

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Some events at PAX will get you cool, rare pins. This one is from 2014. You got one if you attended the live show of Acquisitions Incorporated. I traded to get an extra one, and we’re auctioning it off over here.

  • A full set of Cards Against Humanity.

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I kind of assume all of you already know about CAH. It’s described as “A party game for horrible people” and that really says it all. I’ve played this game many, many times, always with horrifying and hilarious results.

What some folks don’t know is that folks at CAH are as lovely as their game is fun and horrible. They do a lot of charitable work, and happily donated two full sets of their game to us this year. (The base game, expansions 1-5, the 90′s pack, the 2012 and the 2013 holiday packs, and The Bigger Blacker Box.)

Due to the nature of this game… we’re probably going to call the winner before we put it in the mail. If you’ve played it, you know why.

  • Auction: The full set of CAH, including rare add-on packs and pins.

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This set has everything above, *plus* four of the rare, hard-to-come by expansion packs that only tend to get handed out at special events.

As an added bonus, I’m throwing in my own personal set of the pins they gave away at PAX Prime this year. You won’t see many of those around….

Head over here for more details, or to place your bids.

And now some lovely books. Some of these are going up for auction, but many of them are going into the lottery instead where if you donate, you can win them.

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I am a big fan of  The Oatmeal’s work. And if you’re not, you should be.

This year The Oatmeal (Matt) donated a bunch of stuff to the fundraiser, so we’re putting 4 of his books together in a bundle for you in the lottery.

The books are 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth, How to Tell if your Cat is Plotting to Kill You, Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants, and My Dog: The Paradox.

With titles like that, how could you *not* be intrigued?

  • A bundle of coolness from The Oatmeal: I <3 Tesla mug, I <3 Tesla Pin, and a rare signed original printing of 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth.

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We’ve also got a different Oatmeal bundle going into the lottery that has a mug, pin, and the much-more rare edition of Punch a Dolphin. This edition was printed before The Oatmeal started to make it big, so it’s a bit of a collector’s item.

One of these is going to a lucky winner in the lottery, but we’re putting a second set up for auction over here for those of you who want to get a hold of this rare early version of his book

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This YA novel won the 2012 Young Writers Prize. It’s an up and comer, and doing pretty well for itself. Plus, it’s written by a long time fan, our very own Captain Joe, winner of the previous photo contest and all-around awesome person.

Joe also pitched in a handmade quill from his desk, which is up for auction, but these copies of his book are going into the lottery.

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This is a great steampunk series, and Liesel was kind enough to send a signed ARC of the first book for the fundraiser. It’d be awesome to receive if you’ve never read it before, or if you’re a huge fan and want to start a collection, so we’ve got it in the lottery for you.

“Schwarz’s debut blossoms with possibilities for a future hinging on the brave and determined Elle, who both loves science and wields Light’s magic” – Publishers Weekly

  • Two Hundred and  Twenty-One Baker Streets: An Anthology of Holmesian Tales Across Time and Space. Signed by Jamie Wyman.

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Here’s a fun little anthology, which allowed authors to write about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in any time or place they’d like. There are stories all over the world, written from all different points of view, and lots of other twists you wouldn’t expect.

  • Auction: Unveiled. Signed by Jamie Wyman and comes with two bookmarks and two challenge coins.

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This is a signed copy of book 2 in Jamie’s Etudes in C# series, and comes with a couple of thematically-appropriate challenge coins..

“Quirky, unique, fast-paced, and with enough geek homages to make me feel at home, it’s a Puck-load of fun.” – Delilah S. Dawson

If you want to bid on the coolness, you can do so over here.

  • A set of The Portals Series: Heart of Briar and Soul of Fire. Both signed by Laura Anne Gilman.

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Laura Anne Gilman is a longtime supporter of Worldbuilders, so we’re happy to be putting her books into the lottery. As it is, her Deadline Cat is up for auction for those of you who love her work and need a little help dealing with deadlines of your own.

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Charitable work seems to come pretty naturally for Eric. All of the royalties he receives from sales of this book are donated to his local food bank. He inscribed these for Worldbuilders, so you’ll be reminded of both charitable actions. All it takes for the chance is your own $10 charitable donation

  • Copies of Little Brother. Signed and inscribed by Cory Doctorow.

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I want to gush about this book, but Neil Gaiman has written one of the most beautiful blurbs for it I’ve ever seen.

“A wonderful, important book…I’d recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I’ve read this year, and I’d want to get it into the hands of as many smart thirteen-year-olds, male and female, as I can. Because I think it’ll change lives.  Because some kids, maybe just a few, won’t be the same after they’ve read it. Maybe they’ll change politically, maybe technologically. Maybe it’ll just be the first book they loved or that spoke to their inner geek. Maybe they’ll want to argue about it and disagree with it. Maybe they’ll want to open their computer and see what’s in there. I don’t know. It made me want to be thirteen again right now, and reading it for the first time.” – Neil Gaiman.

They’re all in the lottery, to spread the love as much as possible.

  • A copy of Stardust. Signed and doodled by Neil Gaiman.

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This copy of Stardust was donated by some awesome fans. Even if you don’t win the Fabled Stardust ARC, you might get your hands on this awesome-and-doodled copy, since it’s in the lottery as well.

  • Copies of Angels & Visitations. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

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We’re tossing one of these awesome, illustrated collections of short stories into the lottery.

This collection has some of Gaiman’s earliest writing in it.  It was published before American GodsNeverwhere, even Smoke and Mirrors, and it was published by Dreamhaven. This is the only place you can find some of his non-fiction from the late 80s and early 90s.

There’s also a copy up for auction, since these are fairly collectible. If you want it, you can bid here.

  • Sets of novellas: Emperor’s Soul and limited edition Legion. Both signed by Brandon Sanderson.

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Brandon’s novellas are great, and these are both stand-alone or first in a series. Legion is one of only 1000 limited editions from Subterranean Press, as well, so it’s a great kit for reading up on some Sanderson.

We’ve also got a set up for auction, so you can bid on those over here.

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Many of you know about Malala Yousafzai already, but for those who don’t: she has been championing women’s rights, human rights, and education since she was 11 years old, writing blogs and giving interviews  She rose to worldwide fame after an assassination attempt in 2012 that left her in critical condition.

After she recovered, she went back to doing her thing again, except twice as hard as before.

She is a bit of a hero of mine. Someone shot her in the head for speaking out, and she got back up and kept trying to change the world.

I’m happy to say that Ms. Yousafzai collected her first Nobel prize just last Wednesday. We’re auctioning off a signed, first edition copy of her book over here.

*     *     *

Ending this blog with Malala Yousafzai, makes me realize I haven’t talked about one of my favorite things that Heifer does.

Heifer International - Bangladesh. January 2013. Increasing Community Capacity for Holistic Development (ICCHD) Project –I  (Project # 22-0620-08).  Bangladesh, which is a county about the size of Iowa, has around 162 million people.  Nearly 43 percent o

Heifer helps young girls get to go to school.

If your family is poor enough that food is hard to come by, you can’t even consider paying for school fees and books. If a family can only afford to send one child to school, they will almost always choose a boy over a girl. In some places, schooling isn’t even considered for women.

And personally, I think that sucks. If you haven’t noticed, most of the Worldbuilders team is composed of women, and the only reason this whole shindig happens is because of them. They’ve turned this fundraiser from a hot mess of catastrophe-curve enthusiasm into something that works. I never could do this without them.

I think about Malala, and my sister, and Charlotte from the video I posted in yesterday’s blog. I think about my mom. I wish you all could have met her. She remains one of the most generous, kind, and *capable* people I’ve ever known….

And then I think: what would these women have been like if they’d been denied an education because of prejudice or poverty?

Honestly? It horrifies me to think of it. I don’t want to live in that world. Beyond that, I wouldn’t be the person I am if my mother hadn’t raised me. And she wouldn’t have grown into the person she was if she’d never had the chance to go to school.

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Heifer International has long understood that the best way to create sustainable growth is through teaching, and for $275, you can send a young girl to school. $275 dollars gives gives a family the tools, livestock, and training so that they can generate enough income to pay for their daughter’s school fees and supplies.

And that’s not just for a year of school. What Heifer provides a family doesn’t just last, it grows. Chickens produce more chickens. Goats produce more goats. That means that all the years and years to come that family will have the money to pay for tuition, books, paper and uniforms. That one time donation sends a girl to school forever.

Remember Malala Yousafzai up there? One of the reasons someone tried to kill her is because her family runs a chain of schools in a region that frowns on the education of women. Hell, that wins the award for my biggest understatement ever. People went looking for her and shot her in the head so they could send the clear message that women shouldn’t be educated.

Heifer International is changing those attitudes.

With the help of Heifer’s education programs, we’re working to change how people view the value of education for everyone. Ms. Yousafzai is fighting for an important cause. And I’m proud to be part of that fight.

You can be part of it too.

Donate here.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat7 Responses

D&D, Swords from Westeros, and My Favorite Video of the Fundraiser….

We have been getting a lot of messages and comments as we approach the end of the fundraiser, asking what people can do to help out and be involved, so we thought we’d share some ideas with you today:

You can bid on one of the many auctions that are running and get yourself something cool and collectible.

You can also buy cool stuff in the store, where all the proceeds go to Worldbuilders.

Or you can do what 7-year-old Charlotte did.

You have to watch that. Seriously. I demand that you watch it.

Charlotte has created her own page as a part of our Worldbuilders fundraiser, setting a goal of $500 to buy a heifer for a family that needs it. She’s also got the energy and go-get-em attitude to someday rule the world, so you might want to consider getting on her good side now by helping her out.

Several people have created their own pages as part of our fundraiser. There’s one for Nerdfighters. One for people who do NaNoWriMo. Some of them are offering their own stretch goals and their own prizes. (But they all are included in the main Worldbuilders lottery, and they all add to our total.)

I’m happy to see them all, but I hope I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings if I say that Charlotte’s page has made my day.

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Today’s blog is full of auctions. There’s a great variety of things, so read all the way to the bottom and see if there’s anything that piques your interest…

author d&d

Your chance to have a seat at the gaming table in the third year of Author D&D. Join these literary masters at Confusion as they D&D it up. If you want to know what it’s like, they’ve filmed it for the last three years, which you can watch here in an epic playlist.

The game itself will be on January 17 2015, and there will be books, dice, and other supplies provided. This doesn’t include travel or accommodations, though, so if you’re already planning on going to ConFusion, it’s a great opportunity.

Bid on the chance over here.

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Mikey Neumann is more than a great game designer (though he is that too, having worked on Half-Life 2, Brothers in Arms, and Borderlands), he’s also a fabulous public speaker, champion whist player, and a writer to boot.

This year, he was kind enough to write a short story just for us, and read it for us in a YouTube video you can see over here. This is the exact copy he was reading from in that video, and Mikey was nice enough to sign it and donate it for us to auction off.

If you’re interested, you can bid on it over here.

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These posters are designed by Steve Shell, an English and Theatre teacher from North Carolina. Each print features a period map of the setting of the text with a cutout of an iconic image or shape from the story and a cutout showing a special selection of text from the novel/poem/story.

There’s a full set of all 30 posters going into the lottery, and another one up for auction. Amanda’s totally bidding on this to give out to all of her friends who are English teachers.

If you want the auction, you can beat Amanda out over here.

Fabulous donations from Valyrian Steel

The folks over at Valyrian Steel started helping out with Worldbuilders last year, and this year they’ve stepped in to donate more of their officially licensed Game of Thrones replicas and memorabilia.

Nearly everything here is limited edition. Some of the items have as few as 500 available in the world, and a few of them are entirely sold out.

So if you, or someone you love, is a fan of Game of Thrones, read on….

  • Auction: The Hound’s Helm. Limited edition of 2,500.

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This is the helm of the Hound. Not only does it come with a display stand, but it’s also completely wearable.

The jaw opens and closes, and there’s silkscreened Clegane sigil on the stand, which shows that the folks at Valyrian Steel have a nice attention to detail.

If you want to be as badass as The Hound, bid over here.

  • Auction: Daenerys Bust. Limited edition of 2,000.

GOTDAENERYSBUST(I’m *not* going to make a bust joke. Here. Because I’m a professional. Mostly.)

Daenerys is one of the most loved characters in GOT, and this bust was made specifically to recall the closing scene of season 1.

To have the Mother of Dragons watch over you, bid here.

  • Auction: Tyrion Lannister Statue. Limited edition of 3,000.

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Everyone loves Tyrion, and here’s a limited edition statue they made of him before the second season of Game of Thrones. They asked for ideas of what to create a statue of, and were told that the moment Tyrion charges into the Battle of Blackwater would be awesome.

The producers even provided photographs that were taken during filming, expressly as sculpture reference for this piece.

Bid on it in all its coolness here.

  • Auction: Longclaw Damascus Steel Artist Proof. One of only 18.

Damascus Longclaw on Display

This is a real rarity here.

Not only is this a replica of John Snow’s blade, Longclaw, made of Damascus Steel. But this is one of the incredibly limited run of only 18 artists proofs that were made. Typically they were given to Very Important People, like George RR Martin, or folks who work on the show with HBO.

But the folks at Valyrian Steel have given us one as well, and we’re auctioning it off here for the hardcore fans. It even has the Night’s Watch Oath on the wooden plaque.

Want to be one of less than 20 people in the world with this blade, bid on it over here.

  • Auction: Ice Damascus Steel Artist Proof. One of only 18.

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The Stark family greatsword has a lot of history behind it, and plays an important role in Game of Thrones.

This is also one of 18 artist proofs, so we’ve put this one up for auction as well. The chance to grab this isn’t likely to come up again, so if you want it, you’ll need to bid on it here.

Stuff from Authors’ Desks

During our IndieGoGo fundraiser last summer, the Worldbuilders Team and I gave up a couple of precious and beloved things from our desks. We figured they might last until the final day of the fundraiser to sell out, but all 12 were gobbled up within the first couple of hours.

We all wrote careful notes to go with our items, explaining why we loved them so dearly, and shipped them out, happy to have raised some money for charity in return for a little bit of joy.

Fast forward to now, where a handful of authors who have helped with Worldbuilders are offering the same thing. This is a bit of an experiment for us. But I know as an aspiring author, I would have loved to have something from a pro-writer’s desk as my personal writing mojo. In fact, I’m considering bidding on some of these things in order to steal some of these other author’s powers….

Sherwood cat

This is a charming little cat figurine that Sherwood has kept on her desk for many many years. Since she was in the fifth grade, as a matter of fact.

This comes in a “Thanks for All You Do” velvet bag and a caligraphied note giving a little bit of history of the adorable cat. You can bid on it here.

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Jaime has been a big fan of comic books all her life, so her stuff from her desk has a definite theme: comics. Even the note she wrote explaining the gifts is on Superman stationery.

There’s her 2008 Comic Book Legal Defense Fund membership card, as well as some Superman post it notes. If you want to be half as cool as she is, you can bid on them here.

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Anne sent over a signed and inscribed copy of Written in Red to accompany Snack the Mini Moose. Apparently Snack has read the next book in Anne’s series and was really scared, so  they’re sending him along to someone who will take care of him. The note that comes with Snack was written by The Wolfgard.

According to The Wolfgard, “If you take good care of Snack, someday he will grow up to be Lunch.”

If you want to take care of Snack for Anne, you can bid on him over here.

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April also kicked in some signed copies of her books to go with her desk item. It’s fairly appropriate, since this piece of Victorian jewelry was a part o the what inspired the period and writing of this series of books from April.

If you want this little piece of coolness, bid on it here.

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Figment has been on Kristen’s desk since the 80s, when she picked him up from Walt Disney World. Back then, he was the mascot of Epcot, meant to be a manifestation of imagination, which Kristen loved.

He’s going to start sharing his magic with someone new, and if you want that to be you, you should bid on him here.

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Laura has been helping out with Worldbuilders for a long time in many ways. According to Laura, Deadline Cat ”has seen me through numerous deadlines with minimal loss of sanity.”

I’m seriously considering jumping in on this one….

If you could maybe use a Deadline Cat, you can bid on him here.

  • Auction: Joe Ducie‘s Handmade Italian Quill.

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Joe (who many of you may remember better as Captain Joe) had a very fancy, handmade quill he thought he’d share with us. Apparently, he won it off of a Fremchman in Canada, and never managed to use it properly. The full details are in the note photoed above, which you can read if you click to embiggen.

If you’d like Joe’s saucy best, you can bid on his quill (hur hur) right over here.

(I would just like to say that Amanda wrote that last bit. For Shame, Amanda. Way to bring down the tone of the blog after I took the high road by avoiding making a bust joke earlier….)

  • Auction: Martha Wells‘s Invitation to Deeper Than Swords.

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Martha’s desk item is bonus cool, because it was all about the opening of the Texas A&M University Cushing Library’s exhibit Deeper Than Swords, which was about the work of George R.R. Martin.

It includes a packet of info and pictures from the exhibit, as well as the invitation itself, some postcards, and a cool sword letter opener. Martha wrote up a letter with the full details of the event (since she got two invitations, she used one and sent us the other).

If you want your own set of memorabilia, you can bid on it right here.

* * *

We hit Neil Gaiman’s stretch goal yesterday afternoon. He’ll be filming it shortly, but in the meantime, there are plenty of others you can watch to keep yourself entertained.

Me? It looks like I better start calling around to see if I can find some farmer who is willing to let me kiss his Llama…

pat

Posted in Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat18 Responses

More Awesome Books

We’re winding down here, folks. As of  tonight (Tuesday, Dec 9th) all of this year’s auctions are live.

We haven’t talked about all of them yet in the blog, but they’re all posted up on e-bay in all their glory. So if you’d like a sneak peek of some things coming up, there you go.

A lot of stuff in today’s blog. Most of these books are signed, doodled in, and/or rare.

What’s more, we have several books in today’s blog that are Advance Reading Copies of books that won’t be hitting the shelves for months. That means you have unprecedented chances to get hold of books before your friends. so you can taunt them and post up teaser reviews on Goodreads.

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Earlier in the fundraiser, when we ran our auctions for Professional Manuscript Critiques, we told the story of Gabriel Squailia. Back in 2010, he won a read-and-critique in a Worldbuilders auction from my agent, Matt Bialer. Matt liked it enough to offer to represent Gabriel, and this spring, Gabriel’s book is going to be published.

We were really excited to hear about it, and asked Gabriel if we could talk about his success story. He was more than happy to let us, and sent over two ARCs of the upcoming book as well. A few people on Goodreads have had the good luck to get a copy from Gabriel in person, and they seem to like it quite a bit.

We’ve thrown one into the lottery, and we’ve also got one up for auction. Bid on it over here.

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Sherwood Smith has been a fantastic supporter over the years. This donation is particularly awesome, mostly because it’s one of only three that exist in the entire world.

This is a special reprinting of her 2002 YA fantasy novel Crown Duel, containing the corrected ebook text, the short story “Vidanric’s Birthday Surprise,” and several scenes from Vidanric’s point of view. Sherwood has lovingly decorated this book for us, including detailing the first letter of every chapter with calligraphy. It’s truly a beautiful thing.

To see more pictures, or to place a bid, head over here.

  • Copies of The Fault in Our Stars. Signed by John Green.

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Amanda told me once that John Green was her favorite author.

That’s right. She said it right to my face. She didn’t even pretend to feel bad about it. I took it as a challenge, and started reading his books, convinced that she was crazy. But I ended up really enjoying them. I wrote up a Goodreads Review of Looking for Alaska, which mostly features me feeling guilty about all of the pain I’ve caused my readers.

John sent over some signed copies The Fault in Our Stars. We’ve put all of them into the lottery except for one, and that one’s going up for auction and you can bid on it over here.

  • Copies of Indigo Heartfire. Signed by Jo Marryat.

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These books were printed specially just for Worldbuilders. They even say so right on the cover, so whoever wins this knows that they’ve got one out of 10 copies in the world. They’re really cool, and all going into the lottery.

  • Auction: ARC of Mirror Sight. Signed, inscribed, and doodled by Kristen Britain.

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Last year, Kristen Britain donated a signed dust jacket and doodled page of the rough draft of the book. Now that it’s been published, we’ve got a great, signed ARC of the book, and so we’re auctioning it off just for you. It includes a doodle of the most determined-looking hummingbird I’ve ever seen.

Bid on it here.

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“Catherynne Valente writes in the language of dreams, which is not rational and yet always makes sense. I could read the poems in this book a hundred times and find new meanings, new pleasures in them. It is an astonishingly beautiful and deeply satisfying accomplishment … A brilliant, beautiful book.” – Theodora Goss

Catherynne Valente has a way of taking beautiful words and twining them together to make them stronger, bolder, and more delicate, all at once. I enjoyed her longer fiction quite a bit, particularly The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland…, and this book of her shorter work is just as lovely.

  • Auction: A set of The Others Series: Written in Red, Murder of Crows, and an ARC of Vision in Silver. All signed by Anne Bishop.

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Anne sent over a complete set of The Others, including an ARC of the 3rd book in the series, Vision in Silver, which doesn’t come out until March. Fans of the series could get an early read of the book, and folks who know fans can lord it over them for the next few months.

Bid here to do just that.

“A stunningly original yarn, deeply imagined, beautifully articulated and set forth in clean, limpid, sensual prose.” – Kirkus Reviews

  • Hardcover copies of the Memoirs of Lady Trent: A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents. Signed and inscribed to Worldbuilders by Marie Brennan.

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My new favorite thing authors are doing is inscribing their books to Worldbuilders. Marie Brennan sent these along and we’re happy to be putting these gorgeous books up into the lottery.

“Saturated with the joy and urgency of discovery and scientific curiosity.” – Publishers Weekly

  • Auction: Lettered, slipcased, and leatherbound edition of The Asimov Chronicles. Signed by Isaac Asimov and illustrators Ron Lindhan and Val Lakey Lindhan.

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This, my friends, is something extremely rare.

Those of you watching the early part of the Worldbuilders Livestream yesterday may have seen a few of us smelling the book, since it smells like its beautiful wood slipcase and leather. This book was severely limited, and features one story from each of Asimov’s 50 years writing them.

It’s a beautiful, signed edition. It’s lettered SS out of 52 lettered copies, very hard to track down, and it’s up for auction over here.

  • The Great Bazaar & Brayan’s Gold and Messenger’s Legacy. Both signed by Peter V. Brett and include a signed bookplate.

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We love Peter V. Brett around here, and these are seriously gorgeous editions of his novellas. They’re from the UK, so they’re extra posh.

We’ve thrown a set into the lottery, including the first three books in the seriesThe Warded ManThe Desert Spear, and The Daylight War.

There’s also a set of the two novellas up for auctionfor those of you who know how badly you need them.

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This is a Subterranean Press publication, so you know it’s going to be beautiful. Vincent Chong did the cover art as well as the interior illustrations, and for this specific copy he’s signed it and doodled it beautifully. (Embiggen the above picture to see the beautiful illustration.)

Even more, it’s completely sold out, so if you want to grab it, you’re going to have to get it here.

  • Auction: An ARC of Trial of Intentions . Signed by Peter Orullian, won’t be out until May of 2015.

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Some of you may remember Peter’s musical support of Worldbuilders the last few years. This year he’s sent us a very early copy of his upcoming novel, so we’re auctioning it off. Whosoever wins this auction will get a great treat in getting to read this five months early…

“An ambitious story in the mold of Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind.” – Kevin J. Anderson.

If you want that chance, bid here.

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I love Terry Pratchett, and this collection of short stories would be a great way to be introduced to his work, if you live under a rock and have never read any before. Not only is this book signed by him, but it has his cool holographic seal as well.

“Clever, neatly constructed and funny. Pratchett is one of the great comic writers and storytellers of our time.” – Guardian

  • A hardcover set of Discworld novels: Reaper ManMortHogfather, and Soul Music by Terry Pratchett.

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These are particularly beautiful. Gollancz wanted to print nice, affordable hardcover editions of the Discworld books, and the ones they’ve done so far have knocked it out of the park. We’ve got four of them collected here, each one featuring fan-favorite anthropomorphic personification Death, and we’ve put them into the lottery.

  • Auction: A first edition hardcover copy of The Illustrated Eric. Signed by Terry Pratchett.

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“A hearty dose of comedy and genuine slapstick humor.” – Library Journal

This awesome hardcover sendup of the Faust story has a built-in bookmark, as well as plenty of illustrations by Josh Kirby. Not only is it a first edition, but it’s signed by Pratchett himself. Any collector should be excited to grab this, and so if you want it, it’s up for auction over here.

  • First edition copies of The Art of Asking. Signed by Amanda Palmer.

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Amanda Palmer is a rockstar in both the literal and figurative sense. This book is a great look at what it means to ask for help, and the ways that people can overcome their fears of doing so to have a more meaningful encounter with people.

As someone who lives in the midwest, where we could never ask for help even if we were dying, reading this is like delving into some arcane mystery. The thought of merely asking someone for help is utterly alien to most of us, and it’s a bit of an eye-opener.

We’re putting several signed copies of this into the lottery, and one up for auction over here.

  • First edition copies of Fortunately, the Milk. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

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Gaiman is a fantastic author, and we all know that, but he’s a particularly fantastic author of children’s books. This one came out last year, and it’s really wonderful. Oot really enjoyed it. So that’s some high praise there.

We’ve got two first editions, so we’re putting one in the lottery, and one up for auction right here.

  • First edition copies of The Graveyard Book. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

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I’ve listened to the audiobook version of this with Oot a while back. He really enjoyed it, and I wrote about his response to it in a Goodreads review. It was his first introduction to an audiobook, and I’m glad I started him out on Gaiman.

There are a few copies here, so again, we’ve got some in the lottery and we also have one up for auction which you can bid on here.

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Amanda lusts after this book like you wouldn’t believe. It’s number 10 of 250. When we had one back in 2010, Gaiman said this:

A note — the SNOW GLASS APPLES book is the text of the Play for Voices (as recorded by Seeing Ear Theatre, starring Bebe Neuwirth), with the Queen’s dialogue printed in red ink. (I only found one for sale online, for over $300.)

They only printed 250 of these, and even when you could buy them from Biting Dog Press they would cost you over a hundred bucks. But the book has been sold out for ages, of course.

Because the people here in the office knew I’d bid on it in an auction, we’ve decided to put this special book into the lottery. Something extra cool and rare that anyone can win so long as they donate $10 or more on the Worldbuilders home page.

Whoever wins it, I hope they give it a loving home.

* * *

Thanks to everyone who’s been pitching in. There are a lot of stretch goals being unlocked, including the newest Hank Green video, which Amanda described as, “impossible not to dance to.”

Speaking of dancing, if you haven’t seen Kevin Hearne’s Thriller Video, you are missing one of the finer things in life.

Continue being awesome, everyone.

Spread the word.

Six days left.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat13 Responses

Making Change With My Boy

For those of you who don’t know, I have a little boy. I won’t tell you his name, because his name is his own business. And he’ll share it with the world when he’s ready.

Online, I refer to him as Oot.

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He is my heart’s delight. He is my sweet boy.

This is a story about him. Because that’s what I do. I tell stories.

*     *     *

A while back, I wrote a blog about my change jar.

Unspeakable Wealth

(Yeah. My kitchen is pretty orange.)

In that long-ago blog, I talked about how strange it is for me to have quarters in my change jar. For the majority of my life, the quarters have been picked out to make ends meet when times get tight. There’s been a lot of time when my change jar didn’t have many dimes in it either….

In brief, my change jar is a constant reminder to me that I am rich.

One of the things I like about Heifer is that they can do a lot with a little. Even when my change jar was mostly nickles and pennies, even if all I could scrounge up was twenty bucks at the end of the year, I knew Heifer could use that money to change someone’s life.

These last couple years, I’ve developed a habit of taking my change jar to the bank, cashing it out, and donating that money to Heifer at the end of the Worldbuilders fundraiser. I make other donations too, of course. But this one is special to me.

The change jar is really cool to Oot. Part of this is because we kept all coins away from him for a long while after he swallowed that dime. But the bigger part of it is that he has my genes, and that means he thinks coins are cool. Because they are.

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(Luckily, he did not inherit my fashion sense.)

So last year when I was getting ready to take my coins to the bank, Oot asked if he could help. He didn’t really know what I was doing, he mostly just wanted to play with the coins and spend time with me. I’d been busy with the fundraiser, and he hadn’t seen much of me.

First he moved all his coins into his lunchbox. Then he found a new jar he liked better and started moving all the coins into that instead.

While I was waiting, I asked him what we should do with the change from the jar.

Honestly, I was expecting this to be a teachable moment. I was going to explain why we should help other people. Why that was important.

But he didn’t need that explained. He was on board from the beginning. They don’t have chocolate? We should give them some. Not enough food? We should give people seeds. We should give people water. We should give people a cow so they can have milk to drink.

I swear I didn’t coach him at all. This video is edited for time, but if you like, you can watch the full video over here. It shows more of his thought process, as well as me breaking down crying at the end. (Oot didn’t understand why, and sweet boy that he is, he offered to go get me a tissue.)

I could claim I got all weepy because I was low on sleep and a little emotionally fragile at the end of last year’s fundraiser. But while it does tend to be an exhausting time of year for me, that wouldn’t really be the truth. The truth is that he’s so good that it just breaks my heart.

The world seems so bleak sometimes. But he gives me hope. Y’all give me hope too. Every year Worldbuilders reminds me that there a lot of people in the world who want to make things better. You have no idea how much that means to me.

Thanks so much, everyone.

Here’s a link to our donation page if you’d like to chip in.

*     *     *

A few pieces of news today. Note our shiny new widget.

Because I have been known to suck at math, the fabulous Vi Hart lent us her considerable calculatory skills to determine how likely you are to win a prize in the Worldbuilders lottery based on how much you donate.

The odds are *really* good this year. We made our tech guys double check that they were pulling numbers from the right place. It’s absurd how good the odds are, and we’re not even done adding prizes yet.

In other news, the Worldbuilders Team is livestreaming the entire day in the office. I’ll probably be strolling through there as well like a great shambling mythical beast.

We’ve got an AMA tonight as well, along with some of the faboo authors that are helping us out. So feel free to swing by there with your questions. We’ll have answers. Or at least a sleep-deprived level of snark….

One last time, here’s the link to donate.

And here’s the link to the blog that explains all the details of the fundraiser.

Later Space Cowboys,

pat

Posted in Oot, Warm Fuzzies, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat42 Responses

Graphic Novels and Beautiful Books

So while I was off in Seattle for a quick trip, we hit our 500,000 dollar stretch goal.

Which means this is happening:

Yeah. The delightful Brothers Chaps over at Homestar Runner are going to put together a full-length video of Strong Bad (re)writing and reading that beloved children’s classic, The Ocelot and The Porridge Maiden. I think Hans Christian Anderson wrote the original version of that one late in his life when he was addicted to cough syrup. 

Needless to say, this is pretty cool for me. As I’ve been a fan of Homestar for nigh unto a decade.

If you don’t understand why this is cool, you should probably head over here and browse around.

Those of you who do understand why it’s cool: Spread the word.

And now, today’s books

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  • Copies of In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang. Signed and inscribed to Worldbuilders by Cory Doctorow.

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Everything about the description of this book made Amanda want it. MMORPGs? Yes. Cover blurb by Felicia Day? Awesome. An honest and beautiful take on poverty, culture clash, and adolescence? Abso-freaking-lutely.

“A lovely graphic novel for gamer girls of all ages.” – Felicia Day

“The combination of girls-only gaming; gorgeous, stylized artwork; and a meaningful, sophisticated message about online gaming makes this a surefire hit for readers everywhere, especially girls.” – Booklist, starred review

Normally we don’t put two blurbs up for books, but this one seems to warrant it.

We have several copies of this, most are going into the lottery, but we’re also putting one up for auction, so you can bid on that over here.

  • Copies of Through the Woods. Signed and doodled by Emily Carroll.

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I read this book a couple nights ago, and honestly? It kinda freaked me out.

And I mean that in the best possible way. These stories were unsettling. Unnerving. I read it before going to bed, and after I finished it, it had given me too much of a wiggins, and I had to read something else before I could turn off the light and get some sleep. Seriously. I’m 40 years old, and this book *got* to me.

Simply said, I *loved* this book. It’s probably one of the best things I’ve read all year.

Before you think to yourself, “I don’t want to read anything that causes a great brimful font man-toughness like Rothfuss to flip his shit.” Let me share with you what one of the worldbuilders team had to say about this book:

“I’ve loved Em Carroll for years, ever since I read ‘His Face All Red’ – that particular story still sticks with me and gives me the shivers in the best way possible. Her haunting stories could scare the pants off the most hardened hearts (which I definitely am not), and the beautiful artwork just makes the words all the more chilling. Even if you don’t like scary things, go buy this. I scare easier than a cute kitten and I still loved Through The Woods.”

The copies we have are signed and doodled in them by the author/illustrator. Most are going into the lottery, but we’re putting one up for auction, so if you want to see some of the art, or bid on it, you can head over here.

This year, faboo publisher First Second Books sent us some graphic novels as well…

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I’ve enjoyed a lot of Box Brown’s work over the years, so I was excited to see this book included in First Second’s donations. Plus, who doesn’t want to know more about Andre the Giant?

“Larger-than-average André the Giant had a larger-than-life personality to match, and award-winning cartoonist Brown manages to capture the legendary wrestler’s career in charming, heartfelt black-and-white panels.” – Booklist

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“Expect readers to clamor for the next installments of this.” – Kirkus Reviews

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“A sort of Games of Thrones for the younger set, this epic adventure is filled with battles, swords, and ancestors showing up as ghosts and zombies … Giallongo’s artwork is gorgeous, filled with rich colors that capture the wildness of the mountain. He gives even the faces of passing animals complex emotions.” – Publishers Weekly

  • Copies of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff.

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It’s great to see a series with a strong and adventurous heroine, and from the looks of this book we’ll get that and more.

“… destined to join the ranks of such classic duos as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. A scrumptious Turkish delight.” – School Library Journal

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I read this comic last year, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was the first project of a new publisher: Improper Books.

Simply said, I dug it. And after they read my gushy review about it online, the folks in charge sent some along to the fundraiser. They’re cool like that.

“Porcelain is a gorgeous, gothic fever dream, beautiful and terrifying and funny and sad all at once. It is also that precious rarity, a perfect comic.” – Lev Grossman

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These come from my very own collection. As I’ve mentioned before in the blog, I love Girl Genius and I love all of you, so it seemed only fitting to bring those things together.

As it says above, these are signed, so we’re auctioning them off over here.

  • Sets of 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth and How to Tell if your Cat is Plotting to Kill You. Punch a Dolphin is signed and doodled by The Oatmeal.

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I did a signing with Matt Inman (also known as The Oatmeal) a while back, and it was a blast. He let me touch his Tesla (which isn’t a euphemism) and I was delighted to discover that he’s as delightful in person as his writing might suggest.

He was kind enough to send us some copies of his books, so we put one set into the lottery for all of y’all to enjoy. And another set up for auction, where you can bid with gleeful abandon.

Books from Dreamhaven.

Last but not least, we’ve got some lovely stuff from Dreamhaven Books. Dreamhaven is a bookstore (and publisher) located in the Twin Cities, and they’ve been supporting Worldbuidlers for ages. They also are Neil Gaiman’s go-to bookstore since he has a house so close to there, and because of that they carry a lot of exclusive and otherwise cool Gaiman items, some of which are included down below…

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Greg is the owner of Dreamhaven, and he’s put together a collection of stories about bookstores. Something that’s close to our hearts. This is the original hardcover printing with more than 5 bookstore-centered stories, and an introduction by Neil Gaiman.

  • Hardcover, first edition copies of The Night We Buried Road Dog by Jack Cady.

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This is a collection of short stories by the Nebula and World Fantasy Award winning author Jack Cady, who passed away back in 2004.

Greg discovered a box full of first edition copies, and sent them all along to us. They’re hard to come by, many of you will have the chance to win them in the lottery if you donate to Heifer International on our the team page.

  • Auction: A hardcover copy of The Best American Comics 2010. Edited and signed by Neil Gaiman.

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The Best American Comics series invites a guest editor every year to choose the best comics from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and the Internet. Back in 2010, Neil was asked, and it created an awesome collection.

“It’s hard to flip through this book without finding a lot worth reading (and rereading).” - The Onion, A.V. Club

If you want to add this to your collection, or just want to read what Neil thought were the best comics of the year 2010, bid over here.

  •  Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion by Neil Gaiman.

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Published in 1988, this is one of Gaiman’s earlier works. It’s a great examination of the Hitchhiker’s Guide universe and all that surrounds it.

“Definitely a devotee’s book, Don’t Panic operates on several levels at once. The book pokes hilarious fun at the tell-all books by cult heroes as well as at the industry that inevitably grows up around phenomenal successes like Douglas Adams’s bizarre, witty radio series and ensuing novels.” – Publishers Weekly

  • 50 copies of Now We are Sick: An Anthology of Nasty Verse edited by Neil Gaiman and Stephen Jones.

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“Slick, gross, humorous, wry, slanted, poignant, moving, vomit-inducing and great, great fun . . . If you have the same warped sense of black humor as I do, then this is a definite must.” – Starburst

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Neil Gaiman worked on the reboot of this series and made it entirely his own. There’s also beautiful art within the series by John Romita Jr, who’s done a lot of other great work for Marvel. This includes a gallery of all the original comic covers, Romita’s character sketches, and Neil’s original pitch to Marvel for the project.

“Gaiman’s storytelling savvy combined with Romita’s distinct and compelling artwork makes this omnibus collection of all seven Eternal comic books an absolute must-have for all those who call themselves comic book fans.” – B&N Review

There are also two copies (one of each cover) up for auction, so you can bid on the green cover over here, and the comic cover over here.

  • 20 copies each of Telling Tales and Speaking in Tongues CDs, both by Neil Gaiman.

GaimanCDs

These are a bit more rare. They were published Dreamhaven Books, which makes them extra cool, and also means that’s really the only place you can get them easily.

Or, you could donate some money to the Team Page and have a chance to win them while making the world suck less.

  • Rare, limited edition, slipcased copies of Anansi Boys. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

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Everybody here in the office is coveting this book.

This is a super-rare and beautiful edition of Anansi Boys, featuring some great artwork. Aside from the book itself being full of awesome, there’s a companion notebook containing all sorts of goodies: an interview with Neil, his original outline, deleted scenes, manuscript pages…

We’ve got one going into the lottery, and another up for auction, over here.

* * *

We’ve unlocked some great stretch goals in the last week or so, so be sure to swing by the Worldbuilders website to check them out.

One of the ones we passed recently is a livestream of a day in the office here at Worldbuilders HQ. It’s going to be tomorrow, Tuesday, December 9 and we’ll probably start it around 12pm CST so that folks can tune in during the day or in the evening when they get home. We’ll definitely be here late that day, so be prepared to see us in all of our frantic glory as we get everything ready for the final days of the fundraiser. We can’t promise to be as cute as something like a Panda Cam, but the team does tend to flail around almost as much as baby pandas, so there’s that.

I’ll be in the office helping out (or at least trying to), and in the evening I’ll be having an AMA on Reddit, so we’ll be hanging out and answering questions while that goes on as well.

We’ve got 8 days left, folks. Help us spread the word so we can end things with a bang….

Posted in graphic novels, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat7 Responses

A Truckload of Games from Mayfair

Here at Worldbuilders, we’ve been known to occasionally engage in some enthusiastic exaggeration. We might sometimes say someone gave us “a ton of books” when in truth, it was a *lot* of books that did not actually weigh 2000 pounds.

But in this particular case, we’re not being hyperbolic. Mayfair Games has literally sent us a truckload of games.

And it wasn’t a little truck either. There were so many games we had to get a forklift to unload it.

So yeah. There are a *lot* of games here. And we’re putting more than a thousand of them into the lottery. That means for every $10 you donate to Heifer International on the Worldbuilders team page, you get the chance to win these games as well as all the other goodies in the lottery.

*     *     *

We here at Worldbuilders take our jobs seriously. When people donate something to the fundraiser, we do our best to learn everything about it so we can show it off to good effect. We feel it’s our duty to become familiar with the prizes.

In the pursuit of that duty, we made a point of playing several of these games. We did it for you, really. And for charity.

One of the things I was pleased to discover is that the games we tried out were easy to learn and quick to play. Not that I don’t enjoy a nice, brisk twelve hour game of Civilization, mind you. But that sort of game isn’t for everyone.

A lot of these you can play in an hour or so. And if you’ve ever wasted a whole evening grinding away at a game of Monopoly that simply would not die, you know that’s a good thing.

  • 100 copies of Horus.

Horus

Horus is one of the games the team managed to crack open and play together. It’s a civilization building game where you vie for control of regions along the Nile.

IMG_20141203_123147

Things got pretty heated. It’s a good game for a group, and Rachel had this to say about it:

I loved the game’s art, and even if I didn’t end up being King of Egypt, it was really fun trying! We all kind of teamed up against Adam at first, and then Nicole turned traitor and started stealing EVERYTHING. I don’t think Nicole and I should play games together….

Ah yes. Resentment and the end of friendships. The hallmarks of an excellent game….

  • 100 copies of Wacky Wacky West.

WackyWest

This game won Spiel des Jahres. Which my four years of high school German allows me to translate as, “Game of the Year.”

Through bluffing and deception, you are trying to develop the a town in the old west that is mostly full of… well… outhouses. Build things you want, prevent other players from doing so, and destroy things in your way.

  • 100 copies of Anno 1503.

MFG3302-cm

This game is based on a computer game, which if you’re a skeptical person like myself, might tempt you to dismiss it. But this game was designed by Klaus Teuber, the same guy who made Catan. So personally, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

You sail around, searching for outposts, trade agreements, or treasure to bring back to the motherland, and use those resources to build up your colonies. But as colonies grow, there’s risk for some gold-greedy pirates to come along and destroy everything…

  • 100 copies of Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Journey_Journeying

Look at it journeying, there.

Adam played this one over Thanksgiving with some friends. Here’s what he had to say:

This is a fun competitive/co-op board game to see who can gather the most fame and come out on top. When we played, my friends and I had a blast trying to collect the most fossils and gold while at the same time conniving to prevent the others from doing the same. The rules are easy enough to figure out so after a single read-through, you’ll be set to play.

  • 100 copies of Nautilus, Adventure in the Deep.

Nautilus

In Nautilus, groups of researchers come together to search for lost treasures, build and develop an underwater city and, most importantly, search for the lost city of Atlantis. Each researcher has his or her own passions and goals, though everyone is motivated by treasure and money.

  • 100 copies of Justinian.

Justinian

This is a game of court favor, specifically the favor of Emperor Justinian, through bribery of the other influential people in court. It’s hard to predict which members of the court will have the Emperor’s ear in the end, so you have to choose wisely and carefully…

This game sparked a wonderful history discussion that went about like this:

Me: [Looking down at the board] So… this one’s about saints?
Kat: No, it’s about Justinian, the Byzantine Emperor.
Me: Ah. Of course. Yes. I was… testing you.
Kat: Glad my history degree finally paid for itself.
  • 100 copies of Toledo.

Toledo

Who doesn’t want to be a 17th century Spanish swordmaker? In Toledo, you send your five helpers to collect the finest metals and gems to craft the best swords, as well as duel with other swordsmen to defend your honor.

It combines worker placement and hand management into a fun, family-friendly game, so gamers new and old can enjoy it if they win it in the lottery.

  • 100 copies of Amazonas.

Amazonas2

Amanda’s been playing this one with her gaming group, and they’ve been enjoying it. She wrote this to share with y’all:

You’re searching for rare plants and animals in the jungles of Amazonas. Your goal is to build outposts in specific places, while encountering as much of the flora and fauna as possible and making sure the other adventurers don’t beat you to the places you want to go. Competitive, but mostly strategic, and a lot of fun. Great game.

  • 100 copies of Grand Prix.

GrandPrix

This game is great for families and larger groups, since it plays up to six (rather than just four). It’s a racing game that uses cards to help you move cars on the track, then bid on which car you’d like to control. Since that can change between turns, you need to keep all of the cars in the running until the end, in the hopes that you end up controlling the leading car at the finish line.

  • 100 copies of La Strada.

LaStrada2

The team played this one together as well.

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You’re trying to establish trade routes to major and minor settlements, preferably places your competition can’t get to. It’s simple and elegant, while still being a lot of fun to play and has potential for some serious strategy.

Nicole felt particularly strongly about it:

I really liked La Strada.  Finding the most efficient way to use my resources while sneaking past Rachel was an enjoyable challenge.  That said, Rachel totally squashed me, so there may have to be a rematch in our near future…

  • 100 copies of Weinhandler.

Weinhandler2

I played this one with the team. Generally speaking, I try to avoid playing games with them. It’s bad for morale, as I tend to viciously destroy all who stand against me.

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(This is the expression I make when I’m destroying all who oppose me.)

The fact that I won wasn’t particularly surprising. That’s just the natural order of things. What surprised me was how much strategy there was compared to the simplicity of the rules. What’s more, it’s a nice small box, so it can travel easy.

The fact that it’s a relatively brief game is nice too. After our first play-through, we decided to try it again with five people instead of three.

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(Brett is being rules monkey.)

And because I know they’ll point it out in the comments if I don’t admit to it here. Yes. It’s true. I didn’t win the second game.

* * *

So there you go, 1100 new games added to the Worldbuilders lottery. So when you donate make sure you remember to let us know what sort of stuff you’d like to win:

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 9.17.18 PM

If you’d like to see the other stuff you can win in the lottery, including thousands of books, many of them rare, signed, or otherwise fancy, you can head over to the blog where I list all the donations and explain what Worldbuilders is.

Or, if you’ve heard enough and want to make the world a better place while winning cool prizes, you can make your tax-deductible donation directly to Heifer International over here.

See you later space cowboys…

Posted in gaming, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat15 Responses
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