Category Archives: Worldbuilders 2010

Worldbuilders and a T-shirt Update

  • Worldbuilders

Well, Worldbuilders is finished for another year. Or rather, it’s finished for you guys. We here at home base still have a lot of finishing up to do. We’ve got to organize spreadsheets, do some number juggling, contact a handful of winners, and do a whole lot of packaging.

We’ll be doing the official worldbuilders re-cap in just a couple days. But here’s the short version: We are awesome.

The slightly longer version is that we’re awesome because we raised well over a quarter million dollars this year. (Over 285,000 dollars.)  Way better than my best expectations.

  • T-shirts

The main reason for this blog is to let folks know what’s going on with the t-shirts. Both Valerie and I have been getting e-mails about that lately.

For example, last week I got an e-mail from someone who said their shirt took months to arrive.

I responded that I was rather surprised at this, as the shirts had only gone on sale three weeks ago.

I know a lot of you are excited about the shirts, but please keep in mind the true time frame of events here. We started voting on shirts on November 9th. We got all four of them up in the store on Nov 22nd and put in our order with the printer a few days later, after making sure people were actually going to buy them.

Then, ever since the shirts came back from the printers on Dec 10th, we’ve been doing our best to get as many of them shipped out as quickly as possible.

Since the 10th, we’ve shipped out about 600 packages.

As a frame of reference, that’s more packages than we shipped out for all Worldbuilders in 2008:

Plus all the packages shipped out for Worldbuilders 2009:

It is, to put it plainly, a fuckton of packages. And that’s just the t-shirts. It doesn’t even count all the books and posters we’ve been selling out of the store either.

Everything said, we really didn’t know what we were getting into when we decided to do t-shirts this year. Not only did people order WAY more  than we expected. But the whole process has ended up taking a lot more time than we’d anticipated. Do you know how long it takes to fold 1500 t-shirts? And that’s nothing compared to how long it takes to prepare the envelopes and package them.

Then comes the post office. You know how long it takes to go through the line in the post office with 200 packages? Some of them going to England, Spain, Germany, Sweden?

Suffice to say you do not want to get stuck behind us in line.

  • The Complications

Because this was our first time doing t-shirts, we have had a few complications arise. Apparently, the original graphic we had for the Kingkiller design wasn’t high-quality enough to make a good-looking shirt.

The good news is that the lovely folks as Poseur Ink helped us catch the problem *before* we printed several hundred crap shirts. But the bad news is that it took us a while to contact the original designer and get that straightened out. That means the printing on that shirt got delayed.

After some deliberation, we decided to ship out the orders with everything *except* the Kingkiller shirts. That means if you ordered two Eolian shirts and one Kingkiller, we shipped you the two Eolian shirts by themselves (with a little explanatory note inside). Later on we’ll ship you the Kingkiller shirt at our own expense.

Also, it took us a while to track down some bigger sized t-shirts. I thought it would be easy, but it wasn’t. That means if you ordered anything bigger than an XXL, your order will take a little longer to fill. We’ve finally gotten them ordered, it will just take a little time.

I’m sorry for the delays. The truth is, we got in a little over our heads with the t-shirts this year and that means some of the packages are going to be getting to you more slowly than I’d like.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if all we were doing this last month was t-shirts. But figuring out all of the mechanics of it in the middle of the fundraiser was hard. Coping with all of the shipping and graphics while launching the store, running the fundraiser and finishing final edits on book two… well… it was just too much for me.

I’m sorry. I expected to sell a couple hundred t-shirts, not more than a thousand. I wasn’t ready for it, and because of that, some of your orders won’t be getting out as quickly as I’d like.

For the next 10 days or so, you shouldn’t expect orders through the store to go out quickly. My lovely assistant Valerie is taking a well-earned vacation, and my equally lovely but somewhat newer assistant will be heading out to spend Christmas with her family soon. (I haven’t asked her yet if it’s okay to put her name in the blog, so for now I think I’ll refer to her as… Pepper Pots. Or maybe Navi.)

Anyway, my point is that Valerie and Pepper are off having lives right now, which has made me realize that I should probably get back to my life, too. I need to spend some time with Sarah and Oot. I’ve been neglecting them in the last month’s rush, and I need to make up for that.

And I *really* need to start my Christmas shopping. You know how many presents I’ve bought so far? One. Just one. I wonder how everyone in my family would feel if they got t-shirts this year? If nothing else, I’ve gotten pretty good at wrapping them…

Wish me luck…

pat

Posted in Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat82 Responses

The Final Day, our Final Goal, our Final Donations.

Our Final Day:

Tomorrow, Worldbuilders is over for another year.

More precisely, after Friday Dec 17th 2:00 PST Worldbuilders will be over.

While this has been our best year so far, I feel a little bad that I wasn’t a little more organized.

I was planning on doing more author interviews like the ones I did last year. I wanted to write a blog about my adventures on House on the Rock to accompany Gaiman’s book. I wanted to write another about how I met Paolini at Comic-con to go with his donations. I’d planned on finishing the second half of my Perils of Fanfiction post from months ago.

Unfortunately, edits on book two took a lot more time and energy than I expected. And as a result, I had to let some of those plans go.

Because of that, we have a lot of items in this final blog that are cool enough to be set aside in blogs of their own.

But there’s just no more time. So you’re getting them all at once. Try not to let their combined awesome overwhelm you.

A Final Goal:

So yesterday in the blog that posted Neil Gaiman’s donation, I said I hoped we might be able to hit 150,000 dollars before the end of the fundraiser.

We hit that goal in less than ten hours. So I’ve decided to re-set the donation thermometer one last time.

Our last goal, the goal that I really don’t know if we’ll be able to meet, is going to be 166,700 dollars.

It’s an odd number. But if we raise that much money on our Team Heifer page it means that after Worldbuilders makes its matching donation, we will have raised a quarter million dollars for Heifer International this year.

That would be an amazing milestone. Plus when I’m trying to persuade people to donate books next year, I could say to them, “Last year we raised a quarter million dollars.” That’s a persuasive piece of information…

I don’t know if we’ll be able to make it. But I’m excited to try…

  • A copy of the UK and a copy of the US version of The Black Prism by Brent Weeks. Signed by the author.

I did an interview with Brent Weeks last year. And this year he’s not only kicking in some books, but stepping up to the plate and helping me match donations as well. This earns him a warm place in my heart forever.

Black Prism is his new book, and BSC review says that it’s full of “Multiple twists and compelling  characters…a page-turner.”

  • A set of The Night Angel Trilogy: The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks. Signed by the author.

  • A set of Graphic Audio books of Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks. Both signed by the author.

“I was mesmerized from start to finish. Unforgettable characters, a plot that kept me guessing, nonstop action and the kind of in-depth storytelling that makes me admire a writer’s work.” – Terry Brooks

  • A hardcover set of Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini. Signed by the author.

As I mentioned above, this is one of the donations I wanted to set aside in its own blog.

You see, I met Paolini at Comic Con this year. He’s a hell of a nice guy. He conducted an interview with me on Suvudu. It was the first interview he’d ever conducted, and he did a way better job with it than I did with my first interview earlier that day with Sandeep Parikh.

The blog I was writing was a tricky one, and I talked a lot about the strange place Paolini occupies in fantasy. In some ways he is the biggest rags-to-riches story we have in the genre. Young kid writes a book, gets published, gets a movie, becomes an international bestseller.

A ton of people read his books. A ton of people love his stuff. Published in 50 countries.

On the other end of the spectrum there’s a big camp of people who get all bitchy and snarky whenever his name comes up. They talk about plagiarism and such.

My blog talked about my own preconceptions about Paolini’s work. Most importantly it talked about something embarrassing: that I judged his books without ever reading them. That’s a hard thing to admit, because I like to think that I’m better than that.

After months of tinkering on the blog, doing research, finding links. It was finally finished. It was about 2000 words long. I was going to post it last Sunday night. It was going to lead off our final week of the fundraiser. I even got my friend to illustrate it, depicting me in all my ignorant judgmental glory:

Then, about 45 minutes before I was finished with the blog, my computer crashed and I lost it.

I’ll reconstruct that blog eventually. Then everyone will get a chance to voice their opinions and discuss in the comments.

But not today. This isn’t the time or place for it, understand? During Worldbuilders geeks of all genres come together and make the world a better place. We do not snark and froth at each other no matter what our differences of opinion. Follow me?

In addition to these signed books that we’re adding to the general lottery, Christopher has offered up another set of books for auction….

  • A set of Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, signed and personalized by the author.

If you win this auction, Christopher Paolini will sign and personalize these books to you however you like.

To see more pictures or bid on this auction you can follow this link.

  • A copy of 3 Dead Princes, An Anarchist Fairy Tale by Danbert Nobacon and illustrations by Alex Cox. Signed by the author and illustrator. Donated by Exterminating Angel Press.

“This is a beautiful book. The illustrations are wonderful. It definitely rocks! I ought to know.” – Iggy Pop

  • A copy of Sorceries edited by Katharine Kerr. Signed by Katharine Kerr.

Another donation from Katherine Kerr who was nice enough to donate an original manuscript to the auction this year. Sorceries has been out of print for a while, so this signed copy is pretty cool.

  • A set of anthologies: Timeshares; Terribly Twisted Tales, signed by author Kelly Swails; and Stalking the Wild Hare, signed by author Dylan Birtolo.

Here we’ve got three different anthologies; a veritable buffett of new authors and stories to sample from. You have twisted faerie tales, hard sci-fi, epic fantasy, urban fantasy. A little bit of everything…

  • A copy of Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance edited by Lori Perkins. Signed by the author.

This anthology only needs two words to describe it: Zombie Romance.

Yeah. A whole anthology of Zombie Romance. I’m going to have to pick this one up…

  • A set of the October Daye Novels: by Seanan McGuire. Signed by the author.

“A refreshingly original story told in a wry, confident voice. Rosemary and Rue is a treat to read.” – Kelley Armstrong

 

If you’re a geek trying to raise geek children, you might want to check out this charming picture book for kids. It’s received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and is a 2011 ALSC Notable Nominee.

Here we have some lovely donations from Apex Books.

“Fresh, inventive, stylish and captivating, the work of a writer of unusual promise.” – Dean Koontz

  • A copy of The Apex Book of World SF edited by Lavie Tidhar.

“This literary window into the international world of imaginative fiction, the first in a new series, is sure to appeal to adventurous sf fans and readers of fiction in translation.” – Library Journal.

“Burrow’s debut is a swift-moving, pathos-free, creatively amusing riff on zombies from the zombie perspective.” – Publishers Weekly

“Braoddus and White are an unlikely pairing of talents that works astonishingly well. Orgy of Souls is a powerful, innovative work of fiction and one I recommend wholeheartedly. A damned fine read.” – James A. Moore

“Michael A. Burstein is an Isaac Asimov for the new millennium” – Robert J. Sawyer

“A remarkable collection, bursting at the seams with thought-provoking ideas and shattering visions.” – Brandon Massey

*     *     *

  • Two hardcover copies of The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade. The 11.5 Anniversary Edition. Signed by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins.

Earlier this year, I got a bit of thrill when I was mentioned on Penny Arcade on their blog.

Okay. That’s a slight understatement. I was giggly as a schoolgirl. It might even be fair to say that I was twitterpated.

When it happened, I realized that my life was pretty cool. I also decided that since I don’t get to play many video games these days, I was going to start celebrating the cool things that happen to me by giving myself achievements.

Getting mentioned on Penny Arcade, I decided, would be the first achievement I officially unlocked.

I even got a friend to do an illustration to commemorate the event:

Note to people who don’t read Penny Arcade: Wanged is a technical term.

Suffice it to say that I love me some Penny Arcade, and these books are lovely collections.  If you want more details than that, you can read the interview with Jerry Holkins I posted up just a couple hours ago.

“Sanderson knows how to wrap things up cleanly. He spins a world that’s easily complex and mysterious enough to warrant sequels, but prefers to end it climactically, answering many of his biggest questions, while leaving others to the imagination.” – The Onion

*     *     *

Lastly, we have another set of donations I wanted to put into its own blog.

The lovely folks at Badali Jewelry make rings, necklaces, pentants and pins. What’s more, some of the stuff they make is based off the jewelery in fantasy novels.

They got in contact with me recently in order to talk about plans for… things. Secret things. Things which will be revealed in the near future.

When they found out about Worldbuilders, they were eager to donate some of their stuff to the fundraiser.

Then I dropped Brandon Sanderson a line and asked if he’d be willing to donate some books to go along with the Jewlery. He said he would, because Brandon is a hell of a nice guy.

  • A hardcover set Mistborn, The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages of by Brandon Sanderson. Signed by the Author.

With accompanying Steel Alphabet Medallion from Badali Jewelry.

“Intrigue, politics, and conspiracies mesh complexly in a world Sanderson realizes in satisfying depth and peoples with impressive characters.” – Booklist

  • A hardcover copy of The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Signed by the Author.

With accompanying set of Asha’man Dragon pin and a Dedicated Sword pin from Badali Jewelry.

“The Wheel of Time . . . is a fantasy tale seldom equaled and still less often surpassed in English.”—Chicago Sun-Times

With accompanying Aon Omi Love Pendant from Badali Jewelry.

“Outstanding fantasy debut . . . . The intrigue and excitement grow steadily in this smoothly written, perfectly balanced narrative; by the end readers won’t want to put it down.” – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

I think that’s a great item to end the fundraiser on, don’t you?

I don’t need to mention that I can actually read what’s written on this ring, do I? That I can actually recite it from memory… in the original language?

No. I didn’t think so. Let’s pretend that I’m not quite that much of a geek.

*     *     *

Well folks. That’s it for this year. Remember that for every 10 dollars you donate on the Team Heifer page you get the chance to win these cool donations and hundreds of others.

We also have a few auctions that are still running for a little while. You can find them here.

Lastly, here’s the link to the main Worldbuilders page. You can head over there to see all the other donations and cool things.

Thanks again for eveything folks. Here’s hoping we can make our final goal.

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, BJ Hiorns Art, Nathan Taylor Art, videos | By Pat50 Responses

Books and an Interview with Jerry Holkins from Penny Arcade

I’ve been reading Penny Arcade for years. More than a decade, really. They’re funny, funny people, and I’ve recommended or referenced their comics in the blog several times over the years.

In brief, I’m a fan.

This year is the year I officially made contact with them. Mike mentioned my book on their page and talked about how he used some of the ideas out of it in his D&D campaign. So when I was at San Diego Comic Con I plucked up my courage and went over to their booth to talk to them.

This took a little bit of doing on my part, because in the realm of the geeks, these guys are… well… monolithic. They’re bigger than Oprah.

And, as I’ve said, I’m a fan. When you’re a fan of someone’s work, it’s hard to approach them and make small talk.

But small talk we did. Then we quickly moved beyond that and started in on the geek talk, which is more fun. At the end of it, we formed a little mutual admiration society.

Later on, Jerry was nice enough to read a beta version of WMF and give me feedback on it. Then I donated some books to their charity: Child’s Play. (I was delighted to chip in, as watching them start Child’s Play was one of the things that made me realize I could maybe run my own charity.)

They, in turn, donated some books to my charity, Worldbuilders.

  • Two Hardcover copies of The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade. The 11.5 Anniversary Edition. Signed by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins.

Lastly, I asked if Jerry would like to do an interview to go along with his books. He graciously accepted. He’s cool like that.

*     *     *

Heya Jerry.

Is that cool? Can I call you Jerry? Are we at that point in our relationship?

I think so.  You did let me look at your book before it was done, which I imagine was difficult, and it’s my policy to simply reflect the way people treat me, so yes.  We tight.

Okay let’s just jump right into the meat of things here. When I was younger, I played Zork. King’s Quest. The original Fallouts. Games that made you think. Games where you could occasionally screw things up so badly that you destroyed your chance of winning without even knowing it. Games that were at times so hard that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what to do.

In short, these were awesome games. They were games I was proud of when I’d finished them.

So here’s my question. Are games today predictable pap compared to that, or am I just being a curmudgeonly fuck?

My worldview allows for people who are curmudgeonly fucks and a game industry that offers predictable pap.  As far as games go, though, there were plenty of bad ones then as well.  There are bad books, too, not your books of course, but they’re out there!  Watch out for them.  There are both mediums, with all the standard ratios.  I can help you find what you want, though.  This is a service I often provide.

That’s one of the things I’ve always admired about y’all at PA. If you think something is crap, you say so. Boldly. With many invectives. That’s a freedom I don’t really have as an author….

Yes, well, you’ll have to content yourself with the fabrication of entire universes, then.

We all have our cross to bear.

What were your favorites games as a kid? Did you play Infocom games too?

Oh, sure.  And not just Infocom games, but the Trillium series that was based on much-loved science fiction and fantasy novels, all the way through the Sierra adventures that build a graphical world atop the parsers of old.

When I was trying to remember the name “Trillium,” I came across the following link:

It’s one of the most interesting/funny/sad things I’ve read in a long time.  We were, at one point, genuinely worried – there was an actual debate – about whether or not the introduction of graphics was a boon or a curse.

Heh. I remember back in 1994 when I used to MUD. I was out for dinner with some friends and the concept of a graphic mud came into the conversation. Everyone dismissed the idea as absolutely ridiculous. As technologically infeasible as teleportation. Everyone also agreed that the addition of graphics would remove much of the social element from the game.

Fast-Forward to now. It’s hard to even imagine a world without WOW, or The Guild for that matter…

At the PAX keynote, Warren Spector said that art forms are either disappearing from view or are co-opted by the larger culture.  I think it’s pretty clear which way it went.

So at this point you have a following that can legitimately be referred to as a horde. Does it ever get a little weird for you?

Well, if they were here underneath my desk all the time, maybe.  As it stands, it’s only a couple times a year that I’m genuinely exposed to the extent of the enthusiasm/antipathy for the site.

Extra points for use of the word “antipathy.”

I didn’t know we were writing for points.  I would have done everything differently!  I would have used an augur; I might have held forth on the Uyghur.

Man. Even I had to look that last one up.

When did you first realize that you were famous?

When people started asking me questions like that, and worse, when they started expecting me to know the answer.  Fame, as a force, is an external entity.  I’m sure you know what I mean; you were working at night all the time on the book, more or less alone, and I’m certain that didn’t feel especially famous.  That felt like work.

Yeah. That was pretty much when it hit me too. One of my friends looked at me and said, “You do realize you’re a celebrity now, right?”

Of course, he immediately followed it up with, “A tiny, kinda shitty celebrity. But still…”

Indeed.  We need a stupid word to denigrate this state of quasi-importance.  Cewebrity, maybe?  I feel like that more or less destroys any pleasure to be had in the concept.

Be honest now. Do you ever get up in the morning and think to yourself, “Fuck, I’ve got to go to the office and play Videogames again…”

Good Christ, I wish that I could say something like that and have it be true!  This week, just to give you an example of the kinds of things I’m tasked with generally, is:

Generate Names For  (Top Secret)
Write 6-Page Animated Comic For (Top Secret)
Finish Penny Arcade: Book Seven (“Be Good, Little Puppy”)
Precipice

This is in addition to strips and posts and descriptions for the store and any other thing that needs text.  I’m not complaining; I like doing this stuff.  But there’s always lots to do!

Ah. That’s embarrassing. I made the same mistake about you that most people make about me. People assume being a writer is just divine inspiration, book tours, and rolling around in money. But a ton of time goes toward the business end of things, talking to translators, contracts, talking to the publisher.

I always pictured you a living in some sort of sybaritic pleasure dome. Your days filled with nothing but Fallout and Doritos.

Straighten me out. Roughly how many hours a day do you spend playing video games?

On a good day, with a game I want to play more than I want to paint miniatures or write, and no outstanding projects I can get a head start on, I can put in two and half/three hours. That’s the time from “after my bride goes to bed” up until midnight.

Wow. That certainly puts things in perspective.

So I’ve recently managed to spawn and I’m finding it to be a surprising amount of fun. I know you’ve got a youngins of your own… How old are they again?

I’ve got Elliot Jacob, who is five, and I’ve got Ronia Quinn, who is a wee lass of sixteen month.

How are you liking it so far?

I have a high opinion of the process, in general.  I was reading a book with Elliot yesterday, the Big Little Book For Dads or something like that, and it had a recipe in there for something called “Tennessee Corn Pone.”  I don’t know what Pone is, I’m good on Corn, but the regional distinctions specific to the various Pones are not known to me, and for some reason Pone just as a clump of sounds wadded together is funny on its own, and the two of us laughed uncontrollably at exactly the same thing.

That’s one example from a day full of incredible challenges and the occasional fleeting success.

That’s right, she’s just about the same age a Little Oot. He learned how to say “no.” Has Ronia figured that one out yet?

Nope, not yet.

Lucky duck. It was really cute at first, but he quickly realized that he could use that word to effectively re-shape reality. It’s like he’s leveled up and sunk all his points into this one ability: Power Word No, unlimited uses per day.

Is Ronia much of a talker? Oot pretty much sticks to “No” and “duck” at this point.

She’s started in with the compound signs – “more bye bye,” means let’s go, “cookie give cookie give cookie give,” that’s one we see a lot.

In all fairness, “cookie-give” really should be its own word.

I wish we would have done more baby-sign with Oot. There are times I can see that he’s frustrated because he wants to express himself and just can’t make the right words yet….

Okay. Serious business. I’ve been reading the stuff you’ve been writing: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness.

What’s the deal with that? I’m feeling a little threatened here. You’re supposed to make with the funny comics. I’m the one that writes the elaborately interwoven narrative thingers.

In the future,  I will try to interweave the thingers in a less elaborate way.  I’m horrified to think that my bullshit is in the same category as your work, on the same Internet.  Precipice is  process I’m using to learn how to write.  Like I said before, text is my responsibility, and I strongly suspect I’m going to be called on to make a book for Lookouts at some point.

Oh man. I loved Lookouts. That would be the coolest.

Seriously though. You have a hell of a turn of phrase. And not only can you write funny, which is the hardest kind of writing there is. But you manage to get some touching and disturbing in there too. A lot of folks can do one or two of those, but all of them? Not so much…

Truth is, your stuff reminds me of a unholy hybrid of Douglas Adams and Lovecraft. That’s never a combination I expected to see in my lifetime.

I don’t want to make a habit of quoting myself, that’s not who I want to be, but after I got Wise Man’s Fear in the mail to read through, I wrote this:

“I could never decide if I wanted to be Douglas Adams or H. P. Lovecraft when I grew up, and now that I’m grown up, I’ve decided that I don’t have to choose.”

That’s exactly who I want to be, so the fact that any of that is coming through at all means that maybe I’m doing okay.

Could you ever see yourself writing a novel?

A very, very short one maybe.  It might be that writing comic strips isn’t good training for longer form writing, because it’s my instinct to take a belt sander to every phrase until it’s ready for three tidy panels.

It shows. You’ve got a tight grip on your language. Usually that’s something I only see in folks that write a lot of poetry. It never occurred to me that you could develop the same sort of thing writing comics. Makes sense though. Limited space makes for a tight line.

The arc of my life thus far has been that something needs doing, and I become the person who is needed to do it.  I think we’ll need someone to write a book someday, maybe someday very soon.  I am preparing myself for this eventuality.

If it happens, I’ll come over and we can celebrate and/or console each other, depending on how well our respective projects are going.

Thanks so much for being willing to do this little interview. I really appreciate it.

Any parting words?

Congratulations on finishing your book, Pat.  I can’t wait to read version 1.0!

Aw shucks… I’ll make sure to send you and Mike a copy once it’s off the press…

*     *     *

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win cool books like these.

In addition, Worldbuilders is matching 50% of all donations made on our Team Heifer page until noon on Dec 17th.

For more details, or to see the other books you can win, you can head over to the main page HERE.

Stay tuned folks, the final blog of the fundraiser will be posted in just a couple hours…

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, Me Interviewing Other Folks | By Pat12 Responses

A story, A gift, and A Book from Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has been very supportive of Worldbuilders from the very beginning. Not only has he helped spread the word about the fundraiser to his legion of fans, but he’s given us lovely donations of rare books.

Following in that fine tradition, here’s his donation for this year:


This is a pretty, pretty book. Hardcover in its own slipcase with original woodcut illustrations.

[Edit: Neil left a note in the comments below that I thought I'd post up here:

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.)

Now I have to go take a moment to get over the fact that Gaiman left a comment on my blog....]

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.

Simply said, this is a real treasure, signed by Zipes and Gaiman and Walker.

And we’re entering it into the general lottery. That means for every 10 bucks you donate to Heifer International on our Team Heifer webpage, you get the chance to win this book and hundreds of others.

Plus, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation. You can’t ask for a better deal than that…

Since we’re on the subject of cool books from Neil Gaiman, I’d like to share some good news and a little story…

Those of you who have been following the fundraiser probably remember the signed ARC of stardust that Gaiman donated last year.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, the person who won that book in 2009 donated it back to the fundraiser with instructions that we auction it off to raise more money for Worldbuilders.

So that’s exactly what we did. Much to my delight the ARC sold for over 2500 dollars to a lovely gentleman named Dan.

In a way, I was sad to see the book go. It’s been living here at Worldbuilders for more than two years now. It’s a beautiful book:

But still, $2500 bucks buys a lot of goats. No matter how you looked at the deal, it was a good trade.

So we contacted Dan to congratulate him, arrange payment details, and make sure we had the right shipping address for the book.

Then something strange happened.

Dan told us that he’d like to donate the book back to Worldbuilders again. He wants it entered in to next year’s lottery so that anyone can win it, not just the person with the most money.

Needless to say, I was stunned. This is a book that I have spent more than a little time coveting. It’s a book I considered bidding on myself in the auction. And if I’d won it, I wouldn’t have given it back. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have let anyone touch it….

But Dan, apparently, is a better person than I am.

We chatted for a while over e-mail, and when I asked Dan how he got to be so cool, he said a big piece of it was the fact that he was inspired by the story of how last year’s winner re-donated the book.

But most of the credit, he says, goes to his mom. She always made a point of donating to charity even though she never had a lot of money. Not only that, but she was a died-in-the-wool geek like the rest of us: she read fantasy and sci-fi, she played Infocom games…

I have to say, she sounds like my kind of lady.

Dan told me that she passed away this March. Most of the money he inherited from her went into buying this book. He thinks she would be proud and happy to know that the money will go to helping as many people as possible.

Dan also said that he was a big Gaiman fan, and that he hoped that this whole exchange didn’t give Gaiman a complex because nobody would keep his book….

Ever since I found out that Dan was redonating the book to Worldbuilders, I’ve been trying to think of something nice I can do for him in return.

Complicating the matter is the fact that Dan’s doesn’t want anything from me. When I saw he’d ordered a few t-shirts from the store, I tried to refund his money. He refused.

Then, last night when I way trying to plan out the blogs for the rest of the fundraiser, I realized I hadn’t posted up the auction for this year’s Golden Ticket yet. The winner of the Golden Ticket gets one official favor from me. As the Marquis de Carabas would say, “a really big favor.”

I’ve been meaning to post that auction for weeks, since last year’s auction was stupefyingly successful. (It raised over 15,000 dollars.) But in the process of posting all the other blogs, finishing revisions, and shipping t-shirts, the Golden Ticket auction went straight out of my head.

So this year, rather than auctioning it off, I think I’m just going to give it to Dan.

He can cash it in however he likes. If he wants, he can get an early look at The Wise Man’s Fear. If he’d prefer to get his name somewhere in book three, we can negotiate that instead.

Dan doesn’t know about this yet. I’m announcing this on the blog so that he won’t have a chance to say no.

And just in case you were thinking it, you can’t re-donate this to the fundraiser either, Dan. It’s yours.

For any of the rest of you who might be thinking, “Gee, I wish I had a Golden Ticket.” Remember that there’s already one in this year’s general lottery. That means for every ten bucks you donate on our Team Heifer page, you get another chance at winning it.

Lastly, I feel like I should mention that yesterday we blew past last year’s donation total.

That means that in the last three years we’ve raised more than a half a million dollars for Heifer International.

We’ve still got a couple days left before the end of the fundraiser, but still, I feel like I should start thanking people now for making the Fundraiser a success again this year:

Thank you Gaiman. Thank you Dan. Thank you to all the mothers out there that taught us to be generous even when times were tight. Thank you publishers and bookstores and authors for donating books. Thank you twitterers and bloggers for spreading the word. Thank you geeks of all colors and creeds. Thank you everyone.

Alright. Enough touchy- feely. Let’s see if we can hit $150,000 by the end of the fundraiser on Friday.

Edit: Wow. We hit 150,000 in less than ten hours. So I’ve decided to re-set the donation thermometer yet again.

Our last goal, the goal that I really don’t know if we’ll be able to meet, is going to be 166,700 dollars.

It’s a rather odd number. But if we raise that much it means that after Worldbuilders makes its matching donation, we will have raised a quarter million dollars for Heifer International this year.

That would be an amazing milestone for us. And it means that when I’m trying to persuade people to donate books next year, I could say to them, “Last year we raised a quarter million dollars.” That’s a persuasive piece of information…

I don’t know if we’ll be able to make it. But I’m excited to try…

pat

Also posted in fan coolness, Golden Ticket, Neil Gaiman | By Pat57 Responses

Books from DAW, Penguin, and The Book Scouts.

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Today we’ve got dozens and dozens of books. Signed books, sets of books, and Advance Reading Copies of books that won’t be published for months.

Let’s start with the ones donated by DAW. They’ve sent so many books that we’re going to start grouping a lot of them together, because listing them separately will take too long.

Some of these are obviously grouped together as books in a series. Others are grouped together by theme.

  • A hardcover set of Shadowmarch: Shadowmarch, Shadowplay, Shadowrise, and Shadowheart by Tad Williams.

“Impressive… packed with intriguing plot twists, this surreal fantasy takes the reader on a thrill ride… The author’s richly detailed world will enchant established fans and win new converts.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Epic fantasy you can get lost in for days, not just hours” – Locus

“With this volume, bestseller Hickman creates memorable characters and realms of immense richness, while holding the reader enthralled with exhilarating action.” – Publishers Weekly

  • A set of Green Rider, First Rider’s Call, The High King’s Tomb and an ARC of the latest book Blackveil by Kristen Britain. Set includes a signed bookplate.

The ARC of blackveil in this set is really cool, as that book won’t be hitting the shelves until Februar, 2011.

“A fresh fantasy.” – Kirkus Reviews

“This outstanding speculative novel is action-packed and fast-moving, and Duane’s lavish, expansive world building already seems eerily prescient.” -  Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“…one of the finest current writers of speculative fiction.” – Kirkus Reviews

Nnedi was one of the authors I interviewed last year. And Who Fears Death is one of the few books I’ve actually blurbed.

“Nnedi Okorafor continues her epic journey into literary greatness. She manages to create worlds within worlds, stories that feel timeless, in language and settings we have not seen before…. She is in the passing lane now, and she is starting to pull away. Catch her now.” — Luis Alberto Urrea, bestselling author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter and Pulitzer Prize finalist.

“Both wondrously magical and terribly realistic.” – The Washington Post

“History aficionado and champion fencer Aurelia Kim Murray investigates her taciturn grandmother’s European roots and her own identity in Smith’s sweeping, feminist Ruritanian romance. [...] a lively heroine, mysterious ghosts, and a complex and intricate plot always get the action going.” – Publishers Weekly

“Brilliantly detailed worldbuilding and complicated characters makes this an engrossing read.” – Laura Anne Gilman

Here’s a group of three flavors of fantasy novel ranging from demons to Norse sword fighters to ghosts and haunts.

  • An urban-modern fantasy paperback set: The Enchanted Emporium by Tanya Huff and Trolls in the Hamptons by Celia Jerome.

Two modern fantasy books of actual fantasies: running a curiosity shop in a local community which includes the odd witch or dragon, and having one’s character come to life (pretty cool even if your character happens to be a giant red troll…)

Here we’ve got Sci-Fi that runs the gamut from genetically altered humans battling to control their planet, aliens visiting earth, or explorations into the furthest reaches of space.

Yeah. I said ‘gamut.’ You want to make something of it?

Personally, I love the title “Touched by an Alien.”

  • A copy of The Stepsister Scheme and an ARC of Red Hood’s Revenge by Jim C. Hines.

Jim Hines already donated a signed book earlier in the fundraiser. But this set is another chance to be reintroduced to fairy tale characters: warrior princess Talia (Sleeping Beauty), fellow princess-adventurers Danielle (Cinderella) and Snow (Snow White) and the shape-shifting assassin Roudette (Red Riding Hood).


A threesome of detective/gangster novels with more magic, demons and faeries than you can shake a stick at. *

*(Given certain pre-set standards for stick-size and shaking frequency.)

  • A set of sci-fi ARCs:  Conspirator by  C. J. Cherryh and The Wilding by C. S. Friedman. Set includes signed bookplates by C. J. Cherryh and C. S. Friedman.

A winning combination: C. J. and C. S. with two stories of war and diplomacy between races in a grand setting of powerful civilizations spanning worlds.

  • A Valdemar ARCs: Intrigues and Finding the Way by Mercedes Lackey. Set includes signed bookplate by Mercedes Lackey.

“Lackey is a spellbinding storyteller who keeps your heart in your mouth as she spins her intricate webs of magical adventure.”–Rave Reviews

*     *     *

Next we have some lovely books and ARC’s donated by Penguin books.

I hadn’t heard of this book before, but now that I’ve read a little about it, I’m going to have to check it out. I like it when someone takes tired fantasy cliches and puts a clever, thoughtful spin on them…

“Turner’s debut is a massively entertaining and seriously revisionist zombie novel. How revisionist? Well, her characters communicate with each other eloquently (although, to humans, it sounds like a lot of grunts). They remember their past lives. They have thoughts and emotions, and when a new kind of creature, a sort of human-zombie hybrid, appears out of nowhere, they feel fear. The author has taken the familiar zombie clichés and given them a good shake. ” – David Pitt from Booklist (starred review)

This is an ARC for a book that won’t be hitting the shelves until the end of the year. Since the book isn’t out yet, there aren’t many reviews available. But I’m willing to go out on a limb and guess that there’s a griffin in the book….

  • A set of Destroyermen: Into the Storm, Maelstrom, and Distant Thunders by Taylor Anderson.

‘”Taylor Anderson and his patched-up four-stackers have steamed to the forefront of alternative history. All aboard for a cracking great read!” – E. E. Knight, Author of Fall with Honor

“I dipped my toe into Destroyerman: Into the Storm and when I looked up, it was two in the morning.” – S. M. Stirling

*     *     *

This year a few bookstores were cool enough to help out by donating to Worldbuilders too. Here we have a bunch of lovely signed books from The Book Scouts.

  • A hardcover first edition of Worldbinder by David Farland. Signed by the author.

“The Runelords is a first rate tale, an epic fantasy that more than delivers on its promise. Read it soon and treat yourself to an adventure you won’t forget.”–Terry Brooks

  • A hardcover first edition of The Lair of Bones by David Farland. Signed by the author.

“David Farland’s Runelords books are among the best fantasies on the market today. Great characters, a fascinating concept, and some really nasty monsters make each novel a pleasure to read.” – Kevin J. Anderson

  • A hardcover first edition of Five Odd Honors: Breaking the Wall by Jane Lindskold. Signed by the author.

I like this one because it has a golden monkey on the cover. I have simple tastes. That’s all it takes to win me over: golden monkey.

“Fans of Charles de Lint and Jim Butcher will enjoy this intricate, beautifully written urban fantasy and will wait impatiently for the next installment.” – VOYA

  • A set of hardcover copies of Harbingers and Ground Zero, Repairman Jack Novels by Paul Wilson. Both signed by the author.

“Part hard-boiled detective novel, part “Matrix”and all fun, Wilson’s latest and, perhaps, greatest kept me up all night.  A pulse-pounding novel that grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go even when it’s over.” – Eric Van Lustbader, author of The Testament

  • A hardcover copy of The Dark-Eyes’ War by David B. Coe. Signed by the author.

“Coe manages to take several serious, weighty issues, approach them from distinctly different points of view and make you sympathetic toward characters who sometimes act selfishly or viciously.  He absolutely nails the plot and sequencing.” – Romantic Times 

  • A hardcover copy of Rules of Ascension by David B. Coe. Signed by the author.

“This sword and sorcery epic gathers momentum like a runaway moving van.” -  Publishers Weekly

“The consistent excellence of L.E. Modesitt makes him by far the most entertaining of today’s fantasy writers.” – Romantic Times

  • A hardcover copy of To Ride Hell’s Chasm by Janny Wurts. Signed by the author.

“Janny Wurts writes with astonishing energy… it ought to be illegal for one person to have so much talent.” – Stephen R. Donaldson

  • A copy of Traitor’s Knot by Janny Wurts. Signed by the author.

“Wurts is in fine form here, providing endless twists and turns of plot and an artful complexity that is marvelous to behold.”  – Booklist

  • A hardcover copy of Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber. Signed by the author.

“Altogether, there is enough conflict to allow a natural storyteller like Weber to make a large, splendid novel that opens another saga. The saga being Weber’s form of choice and high achievement, hopes for the rest of it are definitely elevated.” – Roland Green from Booklist (starred review)

*     *     *

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win these books and hundreds of others like them.

In addition to that, Worldbuilders is matching 50% of all donations made on our Team Heifer page.

For more details, or to see the other books you can win, you can head over to the main page HERE.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat13 Responses

Foreign Books, Rare Manuscripts, Signed Maps, and More…

This weekend we had a snowstorm big enough to collapse a few buildings, close highways, and kill people all through the Midwest. There were were reports of a lamb born with two heads that sang with the voice of a small child. Stars fell from the sky, there was a rain of blood, and people found that they could twitter 145 characters.

I also turned in the final version of The Wise Man’s Fear to the printers. I’m sure it’s just coincidence.

Now that I’m free from the shackles of editing, I can finally post last few auctions and donations. In the next few days we’ll have touching stories, interviews, books from celebrities, and all manner of awesome.

So stay tuned until the Dec 17th, because we’ve been saving some of the best for last.

Here’s what we have today…

  • A set of young adult books and a signed copy of The Last Unicorn.

Back in September, I answered a piece of fanmail that asked me what books I would recommend for YA readers.

It was a fun blog to write. It must have been a fun blog to read, too. As we racked up almost 500 comments from people eager to talk about their favorite YA books.

Then, when I was starting up this year’s fundraiser, a generous reader contacted me and offered to donate all the books I’d recommended to Worldbuilders. She suggested I auction them off as a set.

I said it sounded like a fun idea. So here they are.

In addition to the books, I’ve added something of my own. A copy of the 25th anniversary edition DVD of the Last Unicorn, signed by Peter S. Beagle himself.

To see more pictures or to bid on this collection of books you can follow this link.

  • A map of Alera and a hardcover first edition of First Lords Fury by Jim Butcher. The book is signed by Jim Butcher and the map is signed by Jim Butcher and the illustrator Priscilla Spencer.

Note: The Lesbian Unicorn, cool octopus and Valerie’s knights are being used for display purposes only, and are NOT included in this auction.

If you’re a map geek like me, then you have to love this map of Alera. Not only is it very posh, but it’s signed by both author Jim Butcher and the illustrator, Pricilla Spencer.

(If this auction gets out of your price range, you can buy signed copies of Priscilla’s map over here on this site. Sales of the map go to support Books For Boobs, a charity with the best name ever….)

Oh. And we’re including a book, too. It’s a first edition hardcover, signed by Jim Butcher himself.)

It’s pretty good if you’re into that whole epic fantasy thing.

To see more pictures or to bid on this book/map set you can follow this link.

  • The original typewritten manuscript for The Fire Dragon by Katharine Kerr. Signed by the author. With signed paperback copy.

What we have here folks, is a real rarity. Katherine Kerr was generous enough to donate the original manuscript for The Fire Dragon to Worldbuilders this year.

Not only is this a unique item, it’s actually a relic of a bygone age.

Let me explain. When my first book came out in 2007, they gave a paper printout of the book to the copy editor. Then the copy editor read the manuscript and marked up the pages, making comments and corrections. My editor also made comments on the manuscript.

Then we sat down and talked about the changes that needed to be made. Some of them small grammatical things, some of them bigger issues.

I liked the process. I liked looking at proofreaders marks on a manuscript. It felt cool to me. It was an arcane process. A little outdated, sure. But most holy rituals are a little dated when you think about it.

What I didn’t realize was that I was participating in something that was the very end of an era.

This year. Hell, this month when I went over the comments and corrections for Wise Man’s Fear, it was all on screen. It was all tracked changes and embedded comments in a Word file.

There was no paper, and honestly, I missed it.

Talking to other authors and editors who have been in the game longer than me, I get the impression I’m in the real minority with these feelings. The new way is easier, faster, cleaner.

But still…

Anyway, my point is that not only is Katherine Kerr’s manuscript a one-of-a-kind collector’s item. But living, working, paper manuscripts like this are no longer being produced. Their time has passed.

But thanks to Kerr’s generosity, you can get this piece of publishing history for your very own if you win this auction.

To see more pictures or to bid on this manuscript you can follow this link.

Katherine Kerr has also donated foreign translations of Daggerspell and Dark Spell to Worldbuilders this year. We have copies in Dutch, Finnish, Russian, and French. All of them are signed.

Since these are items that will be of great interest to some people, but of very limited use to many others, we’ve decided not to add them to the general lottery.

Instead, we’re putting them up for sale in the Worldbuilder’s store: The Tinker’s Packs.

I will admit that when Katherine donated these books, I had a wonderful thought. What if a bunch of fantasy authors all donated their spare foreign editions to Worldbuilders?

You see, whenever a publisher prints your book, they send you a couple free copies. When you get books in your native language, they’re useful. You can give them as gifts. You can send them to reviewers. You can sell them on street corners to impressionable children…

But when your foreign publishers send you books, it’s harder to put them to good use. I usually give one to the Library, then put the rest on a majestic shelf that I use to intimidate my enemies.

While that’s a lot of fun, giving them to a worthy charity is also a really good idea.

Maybe if enough authors donate their unused foreign editions, we can make Worldbuilders the place to shop for multi-language editions of cool Sci-fi and Fantasy novels.

The following donation gives me hope that my dream might not be too far from becoming a reality….

A couple months ago when I started spreading the word about the Worldbuilders, my Portuguese publisher Gailivro dropped me a line.

I have to say I have a warm spot in my heart for Gailivro. Not only did they publish a lovely edition of my book with a cool cover. But they also did a movie-style trailer for the book to help promote it.

Better still, Gailivro also publishes the lovely Peter V. Brett who I interviewed for last year’s fundraiser. They offered to donate some Portuguese translations of his book to the fundraiser. I said that would be terribly kind of them.

Then they asked me if I could use some other Portuguese books, too.

I assured them I could find a good home for any books they cared to send….

Thanks for chipping in, Gailivro.

*     *     *

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win hundreds of books, DVD’s and other types of assorted coolness.

In addition to that, Worldbuilders is matching 50% of all donations made on our Team Heifer page before Dec 17th.

For more details about Worldbuilders, the auctions we’re running, and the other donated books, you can head over HERE.

P.S. There’s still a little time left to bid on the auction for the signed Brett Favre Jersey, too.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat19 Responses

A story, an update, a milestone, and a little extra time…

The Story:

So last week, John Scalzi posted up a blog taunting folks with his ARC of the Wise Man’s Fear.

I was jealous. Partly because he had a copy of my galley and I didn’t. But also because *I* wanted to taunt people. But I couldn’t, because I didn’t have a copy yet.

But look what showed up a couple days ago.

(As always, guest starring my thumb.)

Needless to say, it’s really nice to see a bound copy of the story after all these years. Even though this isn’t quite the finished, polished, tweaked,  as-perfect-as-we-can-make-it version that will be hitting the shelves in March.

Because I was excited, I brought home the ARC and took it into the bedroom where Sarah was hanging out with Oot. She thought it was pretty cool, too. But surprisingly enough, out of the three of us, it was actually Oot who was the most enthralled with the book.

It was funny, because the book is almost as big as he is. It has some serious heft, and weighs in at (and I’m not even exaggerating here) a full three pounds. Still, he wanted to play with it. He opened it and turned some pages. He pushed it around on the bed. He even did a “nice touch” on the cover, displaying one of his newer, rarer skills by petting it gently.

But while Oot loves books, he’s not always gentle with them. So after a couple minutes of closely supervised play with his younger sibling, I tried to take the book away.

Oot wasn’t having any of that. He clutched at the book, shaking his head. “Noo,” he said. “Noo noo noonoonoo….”

This is a new word for him, but you’d be amazed at the amount of distressed dismay that he manages to pack into those two simple phonemes.

So I stopped trying to take it away from him. He immediately relaxed, picked up the book, put it down again, then gave it a hug.

It was, quite honestly, the most adorable thing.

An Update:

T-shirts came back from the printer yesterday. Simply said, they’re gorgeous. I’m so pleased.

I’m really relieved. This whole t-shirt thing is completely unexplored territory for us, and it’s proven to be a lot more complicated than I expected. We couldn’t have made things work without all the considerate help from the lovely folks over at Poseur Ink.

The fabulous Worldbuilders team was up packaging late last night, and we’re shipping out hundreds of shirts today. Tomorrow, we’ll be shipping out hundreds more. Rest assured that we’re getting your orders out as quickly as we can. But be aware that we’re sending a LOT of shirts…

That means e-mailing to ask where your particular shirt is won’t get you your stuff any faster. Quite the opposite in fact.

[Edit: if you're looking for a link to the store to buy a shirt, here it is... ]

A Milestone:

Yesterday, Worldbuilders passed the 100,000 dollar mark. This gives me a huge happy.

I’ve raised the donation goal on the Team Heifer page to $128,926. That might seem like a strange number, but I chose it for a particular reason. If we can raise that much money, it means we’ve beaten last year’s total.

It would be a pretty big deal if we managed to do that. It would mean that Worldbuilders is continuing to thrive and grow as a charity.

Personally, I think we can make it. The combined force of our geekery is mighty. We cannot be stopped.

An extension:

When I started this year’s fundraiser back in November, I planned to run things for one month, ending the fundraiser on Dec 13th.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. But there have been a few problems with that as an end date.

1. The first problem is that we still have a bunch of cool donations we haven’t managed to make public yet. We got more stuff than I expected this year, and that means we still have books from Gaiman, Sanderson, Butcher, and many others that we haven’t even mentioned on the blog. There isn’t time to post them all in the next three days.

2. The second complication is my own production deadlines. I have to turn in my page proofs for The Wise Man’s Fear on Dec 13th. This is the last step in a long, LONG process of revision. This is my last chance to catch any little mistakes that might slip into the finished work. My very really seriously final last chance.

Needless to say, it takes a long time to read a book this big. And I realized yesterday between posting new blogs, shipping t-shirts, and occasionally eating and sleeping. I couldn’t get everything done by Dec 13th.

So we’re extending the end of the fundraiser by about a week. The new end date for donations is noon Dec 17th (12:00 PM, pacific standard time.)

That will be enough time so that I can give my novel the attention it deserves, AND post up the rest of the donations so people have sufficient time to bask in their radiant glory before the end of the fundraiser.

Have a great weekend folks, and keep an eye on the blog, some of the best stuff is still to come….

pat

Also posted in cool things | By Pat56 Responses
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