Author Archives: Pat

Books, Games, Terror, and Toddlers

As I sit down to write up my traditional blog full of Rothfuss-specific items I’m putting into the fundraiser, I notice that Worldbuilders has just crested over the $100,000 mark.

This fills me with joy. Not only because it confirms that all of you are lovely, generous people. But also because it means we’ve passed two stretch goals, and have just unlocked a third, where Nika Harper will do a Tarot reading for a goat.

What were the previous two stretch goals? Well, I brought my littlest boy (codename Cutie Snoo) into Worldbuilders the other day to see the team. While we were there, I found myself wondering what would happen if I introduced him to one of the … odder people that hangs around in our basement.

Namely, Cinder.


This is a life-sized statue created from whole cloth by Ravn Cotino. He kickstarted the project, then donated the statue to Worldbuilders.

If you’ve been following the Worldbuilders blog, you know how it arrived and has been freaking everyone out several months. Including me. Because let me tell you, nothing is better than showing up at Worldbuilders at midnight, knowing I’ll be able to have the place to myself while I sign books for the Tinker’s Packs. And then, while I’m catching up on the Nightvale podcast, I wander back to get a fresh pen and see this out of the corner of my eye….

Cinder crop

So yeah. It’s only natural that when I brought my not-yet-quite two year old toddler into the office, I proposed that we expose him to this tangible nightmare as a stretch goal for charity.

This is what happened.

If you want to see the other stretch goals as we unlock them, or see what’s coming in the future, you can take a peek at them on the Worldbuilders page.

Now, on to today’s prizes.

*     *     *

First and foremost we’ll start with the items going into the prize lottery. For every 10 dollars you kick in on our donation page you have a chance to win these items and many, many others.

Lottery Items

  • Card Decks: Sets of Name of the Wind, Pairs, and Geek a Week Decks


There are 3 different Name of the Wind decks (Limited, Unlimited, and Magician’s Deck), 4 different Pairs decks (Commonwealth, Princess & Mr. Whiffle, Modegan, and Faen), and 3 different Geek-a-Week decks (Season 1, Season 5, and Season 5 Limited).

I’m putting 10 of each set in, so that’s 30 prizes into the GAMES part of the lottery.

  • A Set of Foreign Editions in the Language of Your Choice


My books have been published in 35 different languages, and I get between 5-10 “author copies” of each edition. More if the book goes into multiple printings.

Whoever wins this item will receive everything I have published in the language of their choice. Love Portuguese? You can have O Nome Do VentoO Medo Do Homem Sábio, and A Música do Silêncio. Want to give the book to your Grandma who only speaks Estonian? We’ve got you covered. We even have the rare, out of print set of the 3-volume Japanese edition of Name of the Wind.

And if you don’t want to leave it to chance, you can always buy some copies straight out of the The Tinker’s Packs, where all proceeds go to Worldbuilders.

Stuff in the Store

Speaking of the store, we have a lot of items in there you might not be aware of. And for the duration of the fundraiser, all the sales in the store count toward raising our donation totals and unlocking new stretch goals.

  • T-shirts


We have a lot of t-shirts. So many we don’t have enough staff to model them. Our Eolian hoodie, a onesie, and a scarf, all over in the Apparel section of the store.

  • Games & Collectibles


There are lots of games in The Tinker’s Packs, including some limited edition game pieces, like the Draccus monster for King of Tokyo and King of New York (it works for either game).

We also have Boss Monster and Boss Monster 2, which has limited edition Bast & Bastas heroes you can kill (again, in either game). Plus there’s cool collectible game stuff like our True Copper Dice made by Shire Post Mint.

  • Jewelry


There’s lots of jewelry too, like the Pinny Arcade Talent Pipes pin, Auri’s Brazen Gear, the official Eolian Talent Pipes, and even Denna’s Ring. There’s a lot more than that, though, so be sure to head over and peruse to your heart’s desire.

Lottery AND Auction

There’s a lot of stuff that I wanted people to have a chance at winning, even though the items are bit more limited and rare. So for everything in this section, I’m putting one item up in an auction (for folks with more money, or who want a sure thing) and one going into the lottery (So everyone who donates gets a chance.)

  • Doodled Beta copy of Princess 2. A Matching Set of Numbered Princess 1 & 2. All signed by me and Nate Taylor.


These are all really rare.

When we were working on the second princess book, Nate would send me his newest illustrations, I’d get them printed and bound, then get feedback from friends. After that was done, I had a few left over, so Nate signed and doodled them. There’s one up for auction right here, and one in the lottery.

We also have fancy numbered editions of the Princess books.  They’re both numbered editions, leather bound, with beautiful signature pages signed by both me and Nate. We have two matching sets, so one is in the lottery, and the other is in an auction here.

  • Rare books: 1st Edition Name of the Wind. ARC copy of Unfettered.


Here you have it guys. I’ve had to start buying 1st editions off of people at signings to keep Worldbuilders stocked for things like this. One first edition/first printing of NOTW is going into the lottery, and the other is in an auction. We sold three of these for $2500 last summer, so I can only imagine what this will go for.

These ARCs of Unfettered are pretty rare too. The regular print run only had 5,000 copies, and there are only 250 of these ARCs.  Here’s the link to the auction if you just can’t leave it to chance, otherwise one is in the lottery as well.


There are some things that are just too specialized to put into the lottery, so we’re auctioning these off to make sure they’re going to get into the right hands.

  •  General Geekery: Limited Edition Boss Monster cards, Master Set of  Cealdish Coins, and 300 Chip Poker Set.


The first is an auction for the Quothe Ladykiller, Bast, and Bastas Hero Cards for Boss Monster. There were only ever 200 made, and we only have this one because a fan donated it back to us.  Auction is here.

We also have a 300-piece poker set from the Albino Dragon Kickstarter a while back. This contains 60 of each color chip, all three decks, plus some extras in in a lovely wooden case. The bidding starts here.

Next up is a Master Set of my Cealdish currency, made by the folks at Shire Post Mint. This even includes version 1.2 of the iron drab, which  you can’t get any other way. We only made 94 of these, and they’ve been sold out since about 2 hours after we made them available.

To bid on this, head over here.

  • Bookish Geekery: ARC of NOTW, ARC of WMF, Edited & Critiqued NOTW Text Scarf.


It’s getting harder to find ARC copies of The Name of the Wind, but we’ve got one up for auction. It’s one of the cool rarities where they didn’t print on the dust jacket image. Instead my editor, Betsy, wrote a note on the cover explaining why people should take a risk on this unknown author named Patrick Rothfuss.

There’s also a Wise Man’s Fear ARC looking for a new home, and if there’s a space for it on your shelf you can bid on it here. These are extremely rare (only 227 copies were ever printed), and all of them were numbered so that we’d know who had leaked their copy if one sold before the actual book release.

Those of you signed up for The Tinker’s Packs newsletter probably saw one of the new items launched last month, an infinity scarf printed with text from The Name of the Wind. I took the liberty of correcting some of the purpler prose on one of the scarves, and it’s going up for auction. This one is truly one-of-a-kind, because the team took my pen away before I could correct the rest of the scarves.

* * *

So there you go, folks. A bunch of signed and rare stuff in the Lottery, new items in the store, and unique items up for auction. A little bit of something for everybody.

Don’t forget: I’m streaming on Twitch every evening from 4:00-7:00 CST. I’ll either be working on Book 3 or playing Fallout 4 depending on which option people vote for.

The auctions for professional critiques of your manuscript go through Sunday, so be sure to check those out too.

Thanks for helping out, everyone. And thanks for spreading the word…

Posted in a billion links, Acts of Whimsy, babies, Cutie Snoo, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat26 Responses

Professional Critiques of your Manuscript

Today we’re launching one of my favorite parts of Worldbuilders. It’s something that I would have killed for back when I was struggling to get published. Something that I’ve never seen offered anywhere anywhere else.

This year, we have many big-hearted authors, editors, and agents are offering up their services for the good of the charity. (I’m doing it too, though my heart is a small, bitter thing.) We’re making ourselves available to read your unpublished manuscripts and give you our professional opinions on it.

Before, we’ve always auctioned these off, because that was the best option we had available to us. But it always bugged me a little, because I know that a lot of aspiring authors don’t have 500 bucks to spend on a critique, even it’s worth twice that much in terms of professional development.

This year, we’re still auctioning off a bunch. But we’re also making some available lottery style to anyone who donates on the WriMos for Worldbuilders team page.


(Witness the high quality graphics we get when Amanda does them instead of Brett…)

That’s right. If you donate specifically via that page, not only will you be entered into the general lottery (which currently has nearly $30,000 worth of prizes, and that number will only go up), you’ll also be entered into this special, secondary lottery for a manuscript critique.

There are stretch goals for more critiques, including one from a literary agent if the page raises $1,500. So share the news with your friend who has been slaving over their book for years. Let your friends who are doing NaNoWriMo know about it.

In addition to donating, we have critiques available for auction, for those of you who don’t want to just leave it to chance. If you don’t win one of these, you can always go in and donate to the WriMos page and still have a chance.

We’ve got them separated into the 3 categories, which can slightly correlate to the stages of your manuscript as well.

A NOTE BEFORE YOU DIVE IN: We’ve made each critique expandable here, so if you’re interested in one, you can click on it to expand out more information. PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION CAREFULLY.

Everyone is offering something a little different. Each author, editor, or agent is handling their auction in their own way…

  • Everyone has different skill sets, and they’re each offering something slightly different.
  • Some critiques are for 15,000 words of a manuscript, others are for 150,000 words.
  • The professionals below are busy people. Critiques will have to fit in their schedules.
  • When auctions mention “X pages” of a manuscript, that’s standard manuscript format.
  • Most importantly, you’re not buying an introduction to someone’s agent or editor here. You’re not winning representation with an agent. Or a foot in the door with an editor. That’s not what’s on the block. You’re getting writing advice from a professional.

Enough preamble. Let’s get to the auctions.

  • Critiques from Authors


Authors tend to have a good sense for a story, since that’s what they spend a lot of their time thinking about. If your manuscript is in a pretty good place, but you’re not sure about some aspects of your story, or the pacing, or something like that, these are the people you should talk to.

Brad Beaulieu - up to 10,000 words.

ConFusion 2012 cropped

Bradley P. Beaulieu is pleased to offer one story or chapter critique of up to 10,000 words. Brad will draft a formal review that will cover such things as how well the story opens, complicates, and closes, how well the characterization works, dialogue, tone, pacing, tension, and a host of other issues. Essentially, he’ll provide a formal review on the positives and negatives found in the story.

Bradley P. Beaulieu is the author of The Lays of Anuskaya, which begins with The Winds of Khalakovo, continues in The Straits of Galahesh, and concludes with The Flames of Shadam Khoreh. Brad’s new epic fantasy series, The Song of the Shattered Sands, has been sold to DAW Books in the US and Gollancz in the UK. The first book, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, was released in September of 2015. In addition to being an L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award winner, Brad’s stories have appeared in various other publications, including Realms of Fantasy Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Writers of the Future 20, and several anthologies from DAW Books. Brad is also one half of the dynamic duo who run Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers, and Fans. Mailing details and contact with Bradley will be set up following the auction.

Brenda Cooper - up to 12,000 words of a SF/F short story.


Award-winning Pacific Northwest writer Brenda Cooper will read and critique a science fiction or fantasy short story up to 12,000 words. Her novel-length work is primarily science fiction written for nine to ninety year old readers, and her short stories range across genres and age-groups.

In addition to the critique, Brenda will provide a copy of her latest collection, Cracking the Sky.

Brenda Cooper writes science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. Her most recent novel is EDGE OF DARK, which came out in March of 2015. Brenda is also a technology professional and a futurist.

Cassie Alexander - first 15,000 words.

Copy of Picture

Cassie Alexander is offering a read and critique of the first 15,000 words of someone’s novel. You’re welcome to include your query letter and synopsis on top of that word count.

She’ll be critiquing for plot, pacing, readability, character arcs, voice, how well the opening works, and give overall, general impressions of the story.  All critiques will be done in MSWord via track changes, and will be done in under a month.

Cassie Alexander is the author of the five book Edie Spence urban fantasy series, comprised of Nightshifted, Moonshifted, Shapeshifted, Deadshifted, and Bloodshifted, and has been published in Germany, France, and the Republic of Czech. She’s an experienced workshopper, having attended Viable Paradise and Clarion West, and frequently is a writing workshop professional at conventions she attends.

Jeffe Kennedy - First chapter & synopsis critique.


Jeffe Kennedy is offering a first chapter & synopsis critique, along with genre analysis – particularly apropos for anyone writing in romance/romantic elements crossover novels in SFF.

She is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and has been nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose, has been nominated for best fantasy romance of the year. A fifth series, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, released starting with Going Under, followed by Under His Touch and Under Contract.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website:, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

Robert Redick - up to 20,000 words.


Back in the states after two years in Indonesia, Rob is the author of The Chathrand Voyage Quartet, described by Locus as “one of the most distinctive and appealing epic fantasies of the decade.” The series began with The Red Wolf Conspiracy and concluded in February 2013 with The Night of the Swarm. He is also a seasoned international development worker and writing teacher, with an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers in Asheville, NC. He loves all good storytelling but has a soft spot for the literary end of the SF/fantasy spectrum.

Rob is offering a critique of the beginning of your novel (to a maximum 20,000 words), and will also be glad to assess a pitch letter or brief summary of the same. He generally includes some line edits, but concentrates on providing no-nonsense, no-attitude feedback concerning structure, clarity, consistency, pacing and other fundamentals of narrative. Most importantly, Rob is always careful to search for your intentions and aspirations for the story, rather than imposing his own.

Michael J. Martinez - up to 25,000 words of a SF/F work.

MJM-author pic

Michael J. Martinez is the author of the DAEDALUS trilogy, the most recent of which, THE VENUSIAN GAMBIT, came out in May and earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. He’s also the author of the upcoming “spy-fi” series MAJESTIC-12, with MJ-12: INCEPTION due out next fall from Night Shade Books.

Michael will critique up to 25,000 words of your SF/F novel (or a shorter work), including both an overall opinion on the strength of the work, thoughts on individual sections, and ideas on direction and ways to improve. This doesn’t include line edits, but he’s willing to answer questions and engage in a dialogue to help make your work better!

Brett Hiorns - up to 150,000 words.

Copy of Monkey Picture

Brett Hiorns will read and critique your manuscript (up to 150,000 words).

Brett has been one of Pat’s go-to beta readers since the beginning, and was even called in as an alpha reader for Wise Man’s Fear (the book really didn’t make sense at that stage). He’s currently the voice behind a lot of the Worldbuilders website content and auction descriptions, and has done webcomic work, amusing movie reviews and plenty of longer-form horror fiction. Pat keeps pestering him to publish a book or two, but apparently he’s afraid of success.

His preferred genre is horror, but he’ll tackle fantasy and science fiction, or anything that sounds interesting. He also enjoys young adult fiction for its brevity and creativity.

Brett can help you with character voice and dialogue, concise writing, and the nuts and bolts of grammar and punctuation.  He’ll also analyze pacing and the consistency of world building, and he’ll do his best to poke holes in the book’s internal logic.

The critique will include reading up to 150,000 words, marking up the margins with suggestions, corrections, and random comments.  He will also type up a detailed explanation of the manuscript’s strong points and possible weaknesses, as well as clarifications and expansions of his marginal notes.

Pat Rothfuss - up to 150,000 words.

PatSigning - Color

Patrick Rothfuss (international bestselling author, lover of women, and hirsute iconoclast) will read your manuscript and give you critical feedback. (Up to, say, 150,000 words.) We’ll schedule this based on when your manuscript will be ready and the endless madness of my own schedular constraints.

I’ll read through your manuscript, scrawling notes and dirty words in the margins, then I’ll call you on the phone and we can discuss it. Or we could do a Google+ hangout. Or, if you live close, we can get together and chat over coffee.

I won’t write you up a detailed critique because that’s not how I roll. But we’ll chat for a couple of hours discussing the various strengths and weaknesses of the book, your writing craft, and I’ll offer any suggestions I might have. Then I’ll mail you back the manuscript with my notes on it.


  • Critiques from Editors & Agents


Editors and Agents are equally good at story, but they’re also good at marketability and editing. This is the “I feel pretty confident in my manuscript, and I’d like to see if it can be taken to the next level” level.

Joshua Palmatier - up to 7,500 words of a short story.

Copy of Picture-3

Joshua Palmatier (co­editor of the DAW Books anthologies AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE UR­BAR and THE MODERN FAE’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HUMANITY and the Zombies Need Brains anthologies CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs ALIENS and TEMPORALLY OUT OF ORDER) will read and evaluate your short story (up to 7500 words in standard manuscript format) within six weeks of submission. He will write a general evaluation of the story and mark up the manuscript using comments and track changes in the document itself, although this will NOT be a formal line or copy edit, simply commentary at specific points in the short story.

Joshua Palmatier ( has had six dark, epic fantasy novels published by DAW, most recently SHATTERING THE LEY, five short stories in various anthologies, and has co­edited four anthologies with Patricia Bray, including TEMPORALLY OUT OF ORDER. He is also founder of the small press Zombies Need Brains (, which focuses on producing quality SF&F­themed anthologies.  His experience is mostly with all forms of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. His intent will be to offer editorial advice on how to improve your novel and to use his experience as both author and editor to make it the best it can be.

 Joshua has requested that you send him your manuscript no later than July 1, 2016.

David Pomerico - first 50 double-spaced pages.


David Pomerico is an Executive Editor at Harper Voyager, where he acquires and edits fantasy, science fiction, and horror while also overseeing the day-to-day direction of the imprint. Before joining Voyager, he was at Bantam Spectra, Del Rey, and 47North, working with a diverse group of authors and projects. His focus, editorially, is to help authors hone and polish their stories so that something he’s already committed himself to can reach the widest popular audience. He believes editing is a process of collaboration, and ultimately wants to work with authors who are looking not simply for a publisher, but a publishing partner.

You can probably Google him if you want to find out a bit more about him.

He’s offering a detailed critique and commentary (but not a line edit) for the first 50 pages or so of your manuscript (double­spaced, please—and no margin shenanigans!), which he will get back to you within three months of receiving the manuscript. Although it doesn’t need to be science fiction, fantasy, or horror (he reads pretty much all genres), those are his areas of expertise. And while he could possibly be blown away and want to make an offer on your book, this isn’t guaranteed (otherwise this might be a really pricey auction!).

Mike Braff - Approximately first 50 pages (rounded up to end of the chapter).

Copy of Picture-4

Mike Braff is an editor at Del Rey Books and has been part of the editorial team there for the past six years. He is in charge of the merciless slaying of enemies by battleaxe, the boarding and capturing of space craft in zero-g, and the management of a sect of magic users that secretly runs the paranormal underground in New York City. Not true, sadly, but he does love to read and acquire books about these things and other related sci-fi, fantasy, and urban fantasy topics.

Though he’s from New York originally, Mike once went to Canada for a few years to study Comparative Religion and World History at McGill University (BA ’07). Much to everyone’s surprise (including his own) the course of study proved useful when acquiring and editing fantastic stories for Del Rey, where Mike has been lucky enough to work with the likes of Pierce Brown, Kevin Hearne, Jason M. Hough, Matthew Stover, Ted Kosmatka, Alan Smale, and newcomer Indra Das, among many other talented authors. He lives in Brooklyn with a rescued pit bull named Ruby, adorable pictures of whom will be provided in abundance upon request.

 He’s offering a detailed critique and commentary for the first 50 pages or so of your manuscript (rounded up to the end of the last chapter). This is not a line edit, but Mike will get back to you within 90 days of receiving your manuscript with an editorial letter detailing his thoughts and suggestions.

 Jaime Lee Moyer - first 75 pages.

Copy of Picture-5

Jaime Lee Moyer is a speculative fiction writer, poet and editor. Jaime is the author of Delia’s Shadow (Tor, September 2013),  A Barricade In Hell (Tor, June 2014) and Against A Brightening Sky (October 2015). Delia’s Shadow won the 2009 Columbus Literary Award for Fiction, administered by Thurber House and funded by the Columbus Art Council, and is nominated for the Salt Lake County Libraries Reader’s Choice Award. She doesn’t take herself nearly as seriously as those credits imply. Jaime’s short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Lone Star Stories, and two of the well-respected Triangulations anthologies. She was the editor of the 2010 Rhysling Anthology for the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and a poetry and short fiction editor for a semi-pro zine for five years. Jaime is the current editor for the Online Writing Workshop For Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror monthly newsletter. For a short period of time she read slush for a literary agent, and has critiqued more novels and short stories than she wants to count.

Jaime Lee Moyer is offering a read and critique of the first 75 pages of your finished novel. While she won’t line edit for grammar, she will comment on plot, pacing, character arc, voice, how well the “hook” or opening works, how well the story sustains her interest, and give overall, general impressions of the story. Critique will be done in MSWord via track changes, but please use a readable font and double-space your work. The critique will be returned to you within three months, edit letters and deadlines allowing.

Matt Bialer - up to 20,000 words.

Copy of Copy of Matt-Bialer

Matt Bialer (literary agent) will read and evaluate the opening chapters of one manuscript (up to 20,000 words) within three months of submission, not including the last few weeks of December. He will read and critique, and help the author think about the issues that could be raised by editors at publishing houses.

He will write a general evaluation of the book, both strengths and weaknesses, but line editing is NOT included. If the book is fantastic or has the potential to be fantastic then offering representation is not out of the question — but representation is not a guarantee.


  • A Manuscript Copy Edit

new avi

This is something completely new this year. A copy edit is a really big deal, and honestly something that most people don’t think about. Most authors don’t get this chance until their book has already sold, but it makes a huge difference in the readability of a manuscript.

Richard Shealy - Either a novel-length copyedit, or short novel & pitch copyedit.

Richard Shealy has been a reader of SF/F as long as he can remember, and he finally figured out he might make a living from that by combining it with his horrifyingly enormous word-nerdery. In his still relatively new career (he started in this racket less than three years ago), he already has had the enormous pleasure and honor to work with a number of authors and editors from across multiple spectra, not to mention becoming completely certain that he has found his dream job (seriously, people pay you to nitpick their babies?). He tweets occasionally via @SFFCopyediting but far more prolifically in the guise of his alter ego,@SheckyX. Caveat: Taking anything seriously from the alter ego is a massive waste of time.

Richard is offering a copyedit of novel-length manuscript (or short story and its pitch). Includes typo correction, continuity observation, voice/character consistency, context-appropriate grammar adjustment, fact-checking where needed. For a list of works he has copyedited, visit and scroll down until you see the wall of cover images!

There you have it folks. You can bid on one of the 15 auctions we have going, or you can contribute to the WriMos for Worldbuilders page to be entered into the second lottery for other critiques.

Good luck…


Posted in the business of writing, the craft of writing, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat12 Responses

A Beautiful Game

This probably won’t come as a surprise to many of you, but I’m a geek for video games. Computer games in particular.

What you might not know is how deep my roots go: I’ve been playing computer games for 33 years. Since 1982. Since I was nine years old.

To give you a frame of reference, the first game I played was entirely text. Which is a good thing, because the computer I played it on didn’t have a hard drive. I learned to type playing those early Infocom games, and played some of them for *years* before finally solving them.


Long before I ever tried to write a book, I tried to write a computer game. It had puzzles and monsters, and I wrote it in the only programming language I knew: basic. By the time I gave up on the project, the printout of the program was over 32 feet long.

Later on I played King’s Quest, Populous, Alone in the Dark…. But eventually I found Fallout and Fallout 2. They became the  yardstick I use as an example of how good a game can be.

There have been a lot of games I’ve wanted to play these past two years. Bioshock Infinite. Witcher 3. Dragon Age. Borderlands…. So many games I wanted to try. But I didn’t play any of them. I had writing to do, and Worldbuilders to oversee, and a new baby. Contracts to read. Foreign translations to assist with. I had to give up something, so I gave up the games.

This is to give you some context so you can realize how big a deal it was when I heard Fallout 4 was being released. I marked it on my calendar. I watched the trailers. I had someone build me a new computer so I could play it, because my current compy is about 8 years old….

Then I realized Fallout was coming out on November 10th. The same day I was scheduled to drive down to Milwaukee and interview Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Craynor as part of their Welcome to Night Vale book tour.

Even worse, Worldbuilder’s was starting its Big Yearly Fundraiser on November 9th. It happens every year around this time: My team and I rally the geek community to raise money for Heifer International. It’s a lot of fun, and aver the last several years, we’ve raised more than $3,500,000 dollars.

But it’s a lot of work. Every day we post up blogs full of books and games that we give away lottery-style to donors. Thousands of books and games supplied by publishers and authors. We launch dozens of auctions. We shoot video, post stretch goals, do AMA’s. And offer up new items in our online store.

In short, Fallout was dropping at the most insanely busy time of my year.

*     *     *

There’s another part of my life I’m guessing many of you already know about. But for those of you who don’t follow me much on social media…


(I wish it had been hard for me to find this example, but it wasn’t.)

It happens anywhere I have an online presence.


That’s a comment on a review I wrote on Goodreads. I’d shared a story about reading to my boys.

Tweet bitching

The moral of the story is that there are a lot of people who are really interested in reading book 3. And while I appreciate their sentiment, the way they express this desire… well… It’s exhausting at best.

Now this isn’t the only thing that happens to me online. Far from it. A lot of folks are amazingly kind and graceful.

Many of them step up to defend me from the abuse I’ve shown above:

Book Three - Shut the fuck up

So here’s some truths I think are fairly self-evident.

  • I want to play Fallout 4. And I deserve to play a game every once in a while.
  • I understand a lot of you are impatient for book three. (So am I, honestly.)
  • We *are* in the middle of the Worldbuilders fundraiser.

So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to have some fun with this. I have a supervillain-esque delight in certain types of gambling. So I’m going to put precious gaming time on the line for the good of the fundraiser.

As of now, anyone who donates to Worldbuilders gets to vote on what I do with this precious time I’ve set aside for gaming.

Behold: The Pat-o-Meter.

If you’re frothing at the mouth for book 3, this is your chance. In this limited time offer, I’m willing to let you have a say in how I spend my personal time if you’re willing to help us make the world a better place.

When you donate, you’ll see this option:


(Pick whatever one your heart desires. Seriously.)

Every day at 4:00 CST, we’ll tally the donations. And if people have ponied up and demanded I write more of book 3, I’ll give up my gaming time and put in another three hours above and beyond my normal writing time for the day.

What’s more, I’ll stream my writing session on Twitch.

If the will of the people is that I play Fallout 4, I’ll do a live stream of that instead. Since I haven’t gamed in a while, I expect the result will either be the live stream equivalent of riding a unicorn made entirely of orgasms. Or, if my mad skillz have atrophied, it might be an embarrassing train wreck as I’m endlessly killed by rats in the basement of whatever inn we start the adventure in.

Either way, I will have my snark turned up to eleven, so it’s bound to be a good time.

As an extra bonus, every day the Worldbuilders team will pull a random winner out of that day’s donors. (We’ll work it the same way we do the main lottery, where every 10 bucks you contribute gives you a chance to win the cool thing.) So even if your team doesn’t win, you have a chance to get something cool. These items will be specific to my books, and they’ll mostly be stuff you can’t buy in the store because I’ve only hoarded a few of them.


(Your donation will still enter you into the main prize lottery, too.)

You’ll be able to watch the live stream on my newly forged Twitch channel: I’ll start at 4:00 pm CST every night. If you don’t want to constantly be peeking at the widget, you can follow @FalloutVsBook3 on Twitter to see which side is currently winning….

We’re starting today (Thursday) and we’ll do this for two weeks. If folks enjoy it, maybe we’ll extend it all the way through the end of the fundraiser….

I’m going to be honest with you. I only had this idea a couple days ago, and until today, I wasn’t sure if we were actually going to be able to pull it off. As a result, we’re kinda making this up as we go along. (As you can see, above, we haven’t figured out a way to automate the widget, so the Worldbuilders team is having to update it manually.)

Because of this, we might tweak a few details as we move forward. Fair warning.

But no matter which team wins, I win. Either I get to play the game I love, or I get closer to moving book three off my back. This will be an interesting social experiment, I’m genuinely curious as to what will happen.

And no matter what, it will be a beautiful game.


P.S. If you don’t know anything about Worldbuilders. Here’s a link to the blog where I explain everything in some detail. Here’s a link to the auctions we’re currently running.

And here’s a link to the page where you can donate and case your vote.

Posted in Acts of Whimsy, Beautiful Games, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat235 Responses

Hundreds of Games from Mayfair

Last year, Mayfair Games came in as a sponsor for Worldbuilders. And to be honest, we were a little unprepared for the sheer level of awesome they brought to the table.

Some of you might remember the entire semi-trailer full of games….

It was so many games it took the Worldbuilders team 4 hours just to get them inside. (There were 18 pallets full.)

This year’s donation arrived on Monday, but this time it only took my team an hour and a half to get them inside. I like to think that it’s because my team has leveled up somehow, becoming more efficient. It’s better than the alternative, which is that over the past year they’ve somehow managed to become 200% stronger. That would not bode well for me, my position as leader and alpha male is already rather tenuous….

Anyway, today I drove down to Milwaukee to interview Jeffery Craynor and Joseph Fink, helping out with the tour they’re having for their delightful new book.

So guess what happens when I’m away? This happens….


(I wasn’t even gone 12 hours.)

You know, I’m not upset that as soon as I leave town, you all start to goof off. And I’m not upset that you made a fort out of the games Mayfair sent us….

No. It’s that you built a *square* fort. A circular fort would have been more aesthetically pleasing while at the same time being much more more structurally sound.

Also, where the hell are the crenelations?

I swear. It’s like you people haven’t been listening to a thing I’ve said all these years….

I’m not mad. I’m just…. disappointed.


 (If your game arrives damaged, blame Amanda.)

I’m going to have to come into the office tomorrow and make my disappointed dad face, aren’t I?

Anyway, as you can see, we have more than six hundred games that are going into our prize lottery. 100 of each of the following: Pillars of the Earth: Builders Duel, Dos Rios, Oceania, Patrician, Revolution: The Dutch Revolt, and Shear Panic.



That’s over $18,000 worth of games in this blog alone. Give or take a little, depending on if you value the ones touched by Amanda’s butt as worth more or less than their… uninitiated counterparts.

For every 10 dollars you chip in on our the donation page worldbuilders has set up, you have a chance to win these games, as well as everything else entered over the course of the fundraiser.

Big news tomorrow. Tune in for it.

Posted in gaming, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat10 Responses

Beautiful Jewelry from Badali

These past couple years, Badali has really extended their licensing with fantasy authors. As a result, they have a really great mix of nerdy jewelry from a multitude of fandoms.

This year they’re sharing a selection of those goodies with us, including a couple pieces they haven’t even made available to the public yet…

Let’s dive in.

  • Auctions: Oberon’s Iron Amulet and Atticus’s Necklace from the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.


The Iron Druid Chronicles have become an office favorite here at Worldbuilders. Almost everyone here has read them, and Oberon is particularly beloved among the Worldbuilders Crew.

There are two different pieces here. One is Oberon’s Iron Amulet, which is on a keychain, and there’s Atticus’s full charm necklace. Both amulets are made of real iron, and crafted with all of the incredible care that Badali puts into all of their jewelry.

You can bid on Oberon’s amulet here, or Atticus’s necklace right here. Auctions end on Sunday night, but you should definitely bid early and often.


This medallion shows the sixteen Allomantic metals from Sanderson’s irritatingly well-written Mistborn universe. It’s made of pewter, which isn’t currently available from Badali, so you’re getting a cool rarity if you pick this one up.

You can bid to have your own Steel Alphabet Medallion right here.

  • Auctions: Bridge Four Sterling Silver, Blue Enamel Medallion and Bridge Four Bronze Medallion from Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson.


This symbol was designed to be a symbol of honor for the Bridge Four crew in the Stormlight Archive. Badali did a beautiful job replicating the glyphs from the series, and we have two different options for you to bid on.

One is a blue enameled badge, set in sterling silver, while the other is an antiqued bronze badge, and slightly larger than the sterling silver one.

You can bid on the blue enamel medallion right here, or the bronze one over here.

  • AuctionsOathbringer Shardblade Necklace and Nan Glyph Necklace from Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson.


There’s a lot of cool jewelry to be had from the Stormlight Archive, and Badali didn’t hold back. The first auction here is for a pendant of the Oathbringer Shardblade, the legendary sword of the Knights Radiant. It’s got a round synthetic heliodor set into the hilt, showing of Badali’s incredible attention to detail.

The second one is the Nan Glyph Necklace, in all of its beautiful, smokestone-enameled glory. The glyph is associated with the Herald Nalan’Ein, with the ideal of justice, and would be a really nice holiday gift for the Stormlight Archive nerd in your life…

You can bid on the Nan Glyph Necklace here, or the Oathbringer Shardblade pendant here.


The Asha’man Dragon pin is a symbol of rank in the Wheel of Time series, and in the books they were originally created and distributed by Rand al’Thor. Luckily enough, you’re able to get your hands on one here, and all the proceeds will to go charity to boot.

The Wheel of Time image is really iconic, and Badali did a great job putting it into a pin, with all of its minute details. If you don’t feel good about pretending you’ve attained the status of Asha’man, but still want to show of your Wheel of Time cred, this is the way to go.

You can grab your own Asha’man Dragon Pin here, or the Wheel of Time pin here.


In Brian McClellan’s books, Powder Mages are people who can manipulate and draw strength from gunpowder. The most powerful of Powder Mages are awarded this pin as a part of their induction into the Powder Cabal, giving them carte blanche within the Adran army.

You too could be this cool. Bid on the pin right here.

  • Auctions: Underworld United Medallion and Underworld United Signet Ring from Court of the Dead.


The Underworld United symbol is from the original series Court of the Dead. It was forged as a symbol of allegiance to the Court of the Dead and worn as a sigil to the tenants the court holds dear…Balance, Loyalty, and Individuality.

The symbol is available both on a bronze medallion, as well as a sterling silver signet ring (in a size 8). If either of them tickle your fancy, you can bid on the medallion here, or the signet ring right here.

  • Auction: Elessar Elf Stone Pin from Lord of the Rings.


This is a particularly beautiful piece of jewelry. It’s Elessar, the gift Galadriel gave to Aragorn on behalf of Arwen as a token of hope and Arwen’s love.

You know, some of the deeper stuff that managed to get left out of the movies.

Get in on the bidding by clicking through over here.

  • Auctions: Ice Opal Earrings, for both pierced and un-pierced ears, from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.


Harry Dresden goes through some shit. Not the least of which are splitting migraines that need to be magically controlled. Luckily enough, he gets some help with that through the Ice Opal Earring.

Badali worked really hard on these earrings, and has managed to make them in two forms: one for people with pierced ears, and one with magnetic backs for those of us who maybe don’t want to pierce our ears, but still want to look badass.

You can bid on the pierced version right here, and the magnetic version over here.

  • Auction: Dresden’s Force Ring from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.


This is something that hasn’t been released yet, and we’re super grateful to Badali for letting us get the first crack at it.

This is Harry Dresden’s Force Ring. That nifty piece of wizardy that stores back a little bit of kinetic energy every time Harry moves his arm, so when he wants to pack a big punch he can release all of that energy he’s been storing through days or weeks of walking, waving, and working out.

It’s sterling silver, size 12 for display or a chain, and available right here for you to bid on.

  • Auction: Pentacle Necklace with Margaret LeFay’s Ruby from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.


The Pentacle Necklace is something Badali’s had around for a while, but as you can see, this is a little different.

This is their first available necklace with Margaret LeFay’s ruby inlaid to the middle. This ruby gives Harry all of his mother’s knowledge of the Ways through the Nevernever, and it’s a cool addition to an already-cool piece.

You can be one of the first to own one if you bid on it over here.

* * *

Badali’s always been good to us, so be sure to check out the auctions if they interest you, and thank Badali for being so awesome.

If you want to see all of the auctions, make a donation to be entered into the lottery, or otherwise peruse the fundraiser so far, you can find everything you might want in these fancy clickable pictures below.

[Edit: Hey guys, Amanda here! Badali just let us know that they've added another layer to the awesome they're doing for us. In addition to these auctions, they've got a coupon code in their online store for anyone who doesn't want to risk not getting an item.

This years code will be WBLD15 and it will give you $10.00 Off Shipping, and Badali Jewelry will match 10% of the value of Items Purchased to us here at Worldbuilders! It runs until December 31st, so do all of your nerdy holiday shopping there, and help out the cause.]

See some of you in Milwaukee tonight,


Posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat1 Response

Fantastic Books from Subterranean Press

This year begins like many years before it, with some amazing books from Subterranean Press.

It’s because of them that we get to start our big yearly fundraiser out right. As they donate a ton of books that are designed to be high-quality, long-lasting beautiful works of art.

They’ve been with us from the beginning, and every year we’re delighted to see them return.

Enough gushing. We’ve got books to showcase. All of these are signed, numbered, and limited editions, and pretty much all of them are going into the lottery where anyone has a chance to win them if they’re willing to chip in some money to make the world a better place.

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Working for Bigfoot. Signed by Jim Butcher.


This is a collection of 3 Dresden Files novellas surrounding his jobs working for Bigfoot and his scion son, Irwin. If that’s not enough for you, then add in that there are beautiful illustrations from Vincent Chong.

It’s a beautiful and funny collection, so if you’re interested, we have 20 copies in the lottery. Every $10 you donate gives you another chance to win.

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Stinger. Signed by Robert McCammon.


Here we have a beautiful reprint of one of Robert McCammon’s classic stories. There are new interior illustrations by Les Edwards, and we have 20 out of the 1000 ever printed right here for you to drool over.

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Blue World. Signed by Robert McCammon.


This collection of short stories has full-color interior illustrations by Vincent Chong, which are exclusive to the 1000 book print run of limited editions. It has 16 McCammon short stories, including 3 that were previously uncollected.

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Voice of the Fire. Signed by Alan Moore.


If you know anything about comics, you know who Alan Moore is.

Voice of the Fire was Alan Moore’s first novel, and while he’s generally known for his graphic novels (WatchmenV for Vendetta, and From Hell), you know this novel is pretty stand out too, because if it wasn’t it wouldn’t have an introduction by Joe Hill.

Did we mention it’s also illustrated by Dave McKean, too? Because it who else could you bring in for a project like this?

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Best of Nancy Kress. Signed by Nancy Kress.


“Another candidate for the title of best collection of the year, in a year that’s turning out to be very strong for short-story collections, is The Best of Nancy Kress… worth it for the extensive amount of really first-class fiction you get, including several Hugo and Nebula Award winners.” –Locus

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Savages. Signed by K.J. Parker.


“Parker delivers another solid standalone adventure filled with political and social intrigue…there’s much to enjoy in the well-crafted action, battle sequences, and assorted political and social twists within a society in upheaval.” –Publishers Weekly

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Teaching the Dog to Read. Signed by Jonathan Carroll.


This cover made Amanda all kinds of uncomfortable. Which means it probably did its job.

“Carroll’s pacing is perfect, as he introduces new elements of oddness one by one. And his insight into matters of the heart is deep. ‘There are moments in any relationship which can come at the beginning, middle or end, where everything balances on a single word or sentence.’ In elegant yet utterly unpretentious prose, Carroll provides one of those pivotal instances right here.” –Locus Online

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Best of Gregory Benford. Signed by Gregory Benford.


“The Best of Gregory Benford, edited by David G. Hartwell, brings together almost 40 of his 200 stories. They’re the best introduction you can find to how scientists think…. The odd thing is that, for all the chill of the situations, this collection is actually ‘heartwarming’ (to use an adjective Mr. Benford would scorn)” –The Wall Street Journal


“Valente’s Prohibtion-era spin on the classic story of ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’ is thoroughly eerie and enchanting… this fresh fairytale gets under your skin quicker than Zelda Fair’s black-market booze.” –RT Reviews

  • 25 numbered, limited edition copies of The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Dark of Deep Below. Signed by me and Nate Taylor.


The Princess books are my beloved, demented little side project, and this is a really cool edition of the second one. In the back it has an extra section of Nate’s concept sketches, as well as my original script for the book, which ended up being *really* different from the final thing.

It has signatures from me and Nate, and it’s numbered.  There are 25 of these going into the lottery, and only 2,000 were printed.

  • Auction: One Complete Set of Everything Published in 2015. That’s 41 books total.


(You really want to click this to embiggen it. Trust me.)

In addition to being our longest-standing sponsor. Sub Press has made a regular habit of donating one of our coolest auction items every year.

These days, the lovely folks at Subterranean Press set aside one of every single book they publish over the course of the year just to give to Worldbuilders. There are 41 books in this set, and almost all of them are signed, limited or otherwise amazingly sparkly.

A lot of these books are sold out at this point, which means this is the only place you can conceivably get a copy.

There’s a bunch of stuff in there designed to make you tingly, but of particular interest to me were two lovely slipcased of Tim Powers books, including Drawing of the Dark. There’s a slipcased Diamond Age too. There’s some Gaiman in there, and Leckie, and Abercrombie…

Seriously, the Worldbuilders team had to slap my hands away from these books so I’d quit pawing at them.

It’s a huge prize, and one we want to make sure goes to a collector or other enthusiastic geek, so it’s up for auction right over here, where you’ll also be able to see the full list of all 41 books.

* * *

There we go. As always, Subterranean Press has started us off right with hundreds of books in the lottery and one massive auction.

Don’t forget that every $10 donation you make to our fundraising page gets you another chance to win something in the lottery.

Ready for the cool clickable image thing?

Mmmmm… clickable…..

Posted in Subterranean Press, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat6 Responses

Worldbuilders 2015

It’s that time, folks. Who’s ready to make the world a better place while winning fabulous prizes?Worldbuilders-Logo_Web_Smaller Heifer International is my favorite charity. It helps people raise themselves out of poverty and starvation. For more than 60 years, Heifer has worked to improve education, sustainable agriculture, and local industry all over the world.

They don’t just keep kids from starving, they make it so people can take care of themselves. They give families goats, chickens, and sheep so children have milk to drink, eggs to eat, and warm clothes to wear. They provide communities with clean water to drink, building materials to improve homes, and business training to help families become self-sufficient.

goat 4

(This is my favorite time of the year. Let’s do something awesome, folks.)

We’re always looking for ways to improve the fundraiser. So while much of Worldbuilders is the same as last year, some things are entirely new, and some things have changed a little. So even if you’re a Worldbuilders Veteran, you might want to give this blog a close look so you don’t miss any changes.

As always, you’ve got three different options for donating:

  • Option 1: The Lottery.

This is the option most of you will want. It’s quick, easy, and tax deductible. You just hop directly over to the fundraiser page we’ve set up, and donate.

When you donate on that page, two things happen.

1. You’ll move us closer to our stretch goals (shown below).

2. You’ll be entered into our lottery, which contains over $100,000 worth of games and books.

For every $10 you donate on our fundraiser page, your name will be entered into our random drawing for all the swag that’s been donated. Thousands of books, comics, and games.

So if you donate $30, (enough for a flock of chickens) your name goes in three times. Donate enough for a goat ($120) and your name goes in 12 times.

What’s in the lottery? A lot. So much that if I showed it to you all at once, the raw intensity of the aggregate awesome would cook your brain like a toad thrown into the sun. So for everyone’s safety, we’ll be posting up a new blog every weekday until the end of the fundraiser on December 14th. Occasionally we might take a Wednesday off, during which I will graciously allow the Worldbuilders team time to eat and sleep.

You can see *all* the books currently in the mix on our snazzy Lottery Library page, which will be updated throughout the fundraiser.

Or you can check out the individual blogs here:

Thanks to our sponsors, we have even more games in this year’s fundraiser. A lot more. We know some of you aren’t big gamers, so you’ll be able to select whether you want to win books, games, or books AND games.


That way everyone gets what they like best.

Another thing we’re doing is that every day for the next two weeks, you can vote with your charity dollars what I’m going to do for the evening: play Fallout 4 or work on Book 3.

Here’s the current progress. Check back often to see what’s in the lead…

Stretch goals.

To help spread the word about the fundraiser (and encourage donations) we’ve brought members of the geek community together to do whimsical things as our donation total grows. There will be fan fiction, tongue twisters, alcohol, cooking, and so, so much more….

Note: Worldbuilders ends December 14, 2015 at 11:59 pm UTC-11. To be eligible for the lottery, you must have made your donation on the Fundraiser Page before then.

  • Option 2: The Sure Thing

For those of you who might be interested in getting some holiday shopping done early, we have a well-stocked store, lovingly named The Tinker’s Packs.  All proceeds from the store go to Worldbuilders, as well as helping nudge our donation total up to hit our stretch goals.

We’ve got t-shirtsposters, and other coolness available for purchase. We also have foreign editions of many titles, donated and signed by the authors.

Additionally, this year we’ve published another calendar featuring the art of the wonderful Karen Hallion.


(Click to embiggen)

You can see many more pictures of the calendar in The Tinker’s Packs.

We’ll be adding new items to the store throughout the fundraiser, so keep an eye on the blog. If you’re worried you might miss some of the coolness, you can sign up for the newsletter, or follow the Tinker’s Packs on Twitter and Facebook. We’ll post updates there whenever something new happens.

  • Option 3: Auctions.

Sometimes we get donations that are really cool… but only to a select group of people. Some people would squee with delight at winning a portal gun, but some people (sad, unhappy people) have never played Portal, and as a result they just don’t care.

The same thing is true with action figures, musical instruments, manuscripts, or other collectibles.

So we put those items up for auction.

This year we have professionals willing to read and critique unpublished manuscripts. We have signed art and rare books. We’re auctioning off cameo appearances in comics and the chance to have your name in upcoming books.

All our current auctions are over on the Worldbuilders eBay page. Keep an eye on it. We’ll be adding stuff all the time.

Important Links and Contact Information

Our website has all of the information you’ll need, including a nifty bar that shows off how much money we’ve raised from all of our various avenues. Worldbuilders also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account for those of you who like to have the internet injected directly into your veins.

If you have a question that isn’t answered here, you could check out our handy FAQ.

Want to donate something to Worldbuilders? Help us spread the word? Do a stretch goal? Write a story for your local paper? Drop us a line here: donations [at]

All right folks. Are you ready? I’m so ready.

Let’s do this thing.


P.S. Just in case you missed it, here’s one more link to our Fundraiser donation page.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat7 Responses
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