Category Archives: a billion links

The Opposite of Black Friday….

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

So the holiday shopping season is fast approaching. Later this week, corporations all over the US are going to pull every trick in the book to sell you crap. There will be madness in the stores. People will behave badly. There will be news stories about people getting hospitalized while trying to buy some plastic toy made in a third world country.

And you know, I get it. I want to buy my little boy every cute little thing I see in the store. Last year I bought him a plastic Thomas the Tank Engine that he can scoot around on. And he loves it.

But you know what else he loves? The cardboard poster tube I pulled out of the garbage at Worldbuilders central. I brought that home, and you know what he did? He slid it over his arm and said, “I have a robot arm! I can use it to freeze you! fpshhhhh! You’re a statue!”

I’m not going to say that he doesn’t play with Thomas anymore, because he does. But he plays with the tube just as much. He freezes me and Sarah with it, then thaws us out again. It’s a telescope. You can roll marbles through it. It’s a trumpet. It’s everything a little boy needs.

And it was free. Thomas cost me 95 bucks. I feel guilty about that sometimes. If I’d given that 95 bucks to Heifer, it would have paid for a lot of chickens. It means a lot of other little kids would be eating eggs right now. 95 bucks is almost a whole goat.

Every time I hear someone mention Black Friday, I cringe a little. And I think “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do something better than this?”

That’s part of the reason we’re trying something new at Worldbuilders this year. We’ve formed some official partnerships with a couple geek-centric businesses. And they’re doing two things.

1. They’ve donated cool stuff that you can go and buy in The Tinker’s Packs.

2. If you go buy some stuff from them, (carefully following the directions laid out below) they will give a percentage of that sale to us here at Worldbuilders.

Let me just jump right in and show you how cool they are…

The folks at Badali made the Talent Pipes that we’ve been selling in The Tinker’s Packs for years now. They turned out amazingly well, and I’ve actually seen people wearing them at conventions and book signings.

But recently, Badali has recently made a few other pieces jewelry based on my books.

The first of these is Denna’s Ring:

I have to tell you, they worked with me for a *long* time on this. Over the course of a year, they developed at least 6 different prototypes that I, like the precious little princess I am, looked at and said, “That’s beautiful, but it’s not quite right. Could we….?”

And then we’d chat about it, and they’d go make another version of the ring.

The truly impressive thing is that at no point did they stab me in the neck for being so freakishly obsessive about the design. They worked with me on the type of stone, on the style of the ring. On the feel of it. And, of course, on the knot work involved.

If you want to see more pictures of it, you can see them on Badali’s site over here.

The other thing that came out *very* recently is the Iron Wheel pendant:

It’s modeled after the one Chronicler wears. If you look closely, you’ll see the names of Tehlu’s angels written around the edge.

The coolest thing in my opinion? Badali went out of their way to find someone who would cast it in iron. This doesn’t happen much, because, y’know, nobody with any sense makes iron jewelry. But when I stressed that it really should BE iron, not just iron-ish. They went the extra mile and made it happen. 

Best of all, Badali doesn’t just do jewelry from my books.  They have something for just about every kind of geek out there. Whether you’re into Celtic or Cthulian. Sanderson or Tolkien, they’ve got something for you.

And here’s the best part, for the duration of our fundraiser, Badali is donating 10% of the sales on their site to Worldbuilders if you use the following coupon codes.

Not only will some of your money go to make the world a better place, but you’ll also get free USPS Priority Mail shipping for US customers and $9.00 off shipping for international customers.

The coupon code is WBLDUSA in the United States.

Non-US Orders should use coupon code WBLDINT.

Amanda’s Edit: Congratulations, everyone, we broke Badali’s website this morning!  If you weren’t able to use the coupon code, email janelle [squiggly-at-thinger] and she’ll sort it out for you to be sure you get your free/discounted shipping, and to be sure the 10% goes to Worldbuilders.

Do you folks remember the Bear Steins from last year? We put them up in the store, and they sold out inside of a day.

Click to see the many faces of Sea Bear Pots…

This year, Sea Bear joined forces with John Hill (Tree on the Hill Pottery) and Katherine Taylor (Front Room Clay) to create Three Marks Pottery Shoppe.  All three of these fine pottery-ists have agreed to have a super-hero team-up and sell pottery out of their Etsy shop to help benefit Worldbuilders.

And you know what? You don’t need a coupon code for this one. Because they’ve told us that 25% of all sales from their store will go straight to Worldbuilders.

Or, if you prefer, you can head over and buy some of their awesome bear steins straight from The Tinker’s Packs. They’re the perfect gift for the person in your life that wants to drink like a bad-ass Viking.

The same blog that talked about the Bear Steins last year also talked about the wonderful Jayne Hats created by Amanda Swenson.

This year, she’s donated even more handmade Jayne Hats to The Tinker’s Packs.

What’s more, if you buy anything on her Etsy store, Almost Wicked Stitcher, 20% of sales will go to Worldbuilders through the end of the fundraiser.

You can buy all manner of coolness there, including what she’s lovingly termed a Diabeetus Stache.  We’ve got one here at the office, and my lovely assistant Amanda here is particularly fond of it.

I posted a blog about this a while back, but I wanted to remind all of you that there’s a new, paperback edition of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle coming out from Sea Lion Books, from which 15%, then 20%, then 25% of the proceeds will come to Worldbuilders, depending on how many they sell.

This version and a color-cover limited edition are both for sale over at Sea Lion’s website.

Some people who ordered their books a couple weeks ago e-mailed to ask why they hadn’t gotten their books yet. It turns out Sea Lion’s printer was hit by Hurricane Sandy, so they had to start printing over at a whole new facility. It’s set back their timeline a bit, but don’t worry, your books are still coming….

We’ve also got some great stuff going on in our own store.  We’ve already mentioned the Bear Steins and the Jayne Hats, but we also just got a brand-new shirt in.

A couple months back, a fan named Nate designed an awesome logo for Greysdale Mead, the drink of all discerning troupers.

 We used it to make a truly awesome shirt.


To make room for the Greysdale Mead shirt, we’re clearing out some of our older shirts. We’re selling off our remaining stock of the Worldbuilders shirts, (modeled below by beautiful assistant Kat) and the Denner Fishing t-shirt, (modeled by the ever-lovely Nicole.)

Just so you know, there are some guys that work for me too. But the ladies are the ones that like posing for t-shirt pictures.

After these are gone, we aren’t going to be printing any more. So if you want one you’d better order now.

  • 2013 Fantasy Calendar

Lastly, don’t forget that we’ve got the 2013 Pin-Up Calendars available too. We just launched a new sale on them to make it easier to buy them as gifts. So right now if you use the offer code BUYTHREE, you can get 3 calendars for $50. You save ten bucks and make some geeks in your life very happy.

And I’ve said it before folks, but I’ll say it again. Every penny you spend in The Tinker’s Packs goes to Worldbuilders. So you can buy some gifts and get a big warm fuzzy at the same time.

*     *     *

Remember, for every 10 dollars you donate on our Team Page, you get a chance to win these books and many more.

If you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can find them over here.

Or, if you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main page here.

Also posted in t-shirts, The Tinker's Packs, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat30 Responses

150K Blog: Rare Books and a Chance to Game with Pat

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

As I write this, we’ve raised over $202,000 which means we’ve beaten last year’s total by over ten thousand dollars.

This seems to indicate that we, as a group, are awesome.

I’m going to celebrate by moving our donation goal up to 225K. Part of me wants to shoot for 250K. It would be nice to say, “We raised a quarter million dollars this year.” But we only have a week left, and I don’t want my reach to exceed my grasp….

Unfortunately, this burst of generosity draws attention to the fact that I haven’t posted the 150K bonus blog yet.

I’ve been slow posting this blog because I wanted to do something a special for this milestone. Specifically, I wanted to post up a video of me reading a picture book to y’all.

The book is called Beatrice’s Goat, and it’s the story that made me fall in love with Heifer International.

I’m donating 10 copies to the fundraiser:

I’ve been planning this for months. I got permission from Heifer International to read the book in a video. I found a guy that does video editing here in Stevens Point. I looked into the proper pronunciations for the names….

I even (and this should really underline how seriously I was taking things) got a haircut so I wouldn’t look like a hobo on the video. Or at the very least, I’d look like a halfway respectable hobo.

Lastly, in a stroke of genius, I decided to bring my son into the project. He’s way more photogenic than I am, and he loves books. Why wouldn’t I shoot a video of me reading the book to him?

So yesterday I got the edited video back, sat down to to watch it…. and was appalled.

The problem is my voice, you see. I never realized that my voice goes up about three quarters of an octave when I read to little Oot.

You know how that uncomfortable feeling you get when you hear your own voice played back from a recording? That’s how I felt watching the video, except about a hundred times worse. I was in a constant state of cringe.

I know it’s a silly thing to be embarrassed about, but I don’t know if I want a video out there of me reading to my son in this goofy-ass voice.

Why am I telling y’all this? Well, over the last month, I’ve told a lot of people that I was planning on posting the video, so I figured I owed you an explanation as to why I’m not posting it up here with the books.

Sorry to sissy out on y’all…. Let me make it up to you by tossing some more cool stuff into the fundraiser.

*     *     *

As some of you on facebook might have already seen, when I was out at Confusion a week ago, a bunch of authors got together and played a game of D&D. Old school D&D. AD&D.

There was a lot of talent at the table: Peter V. Brett, Joe Abercrombie, Jim Hines, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear, and Jay Lake. Myke Cole and Saladin Ahmed ran things.

Brent Weeks did a write up of the adventure over here, if you want to hear the epic details of how we were almost killed by goblins.

Simply said, it was a great time. I got to cast Magic Missile and everything.

In order to pass on some of the geeky love, I’ve decided to run a game at the next convention I’m attending: Stellarcon 36.

So if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have an adventure in the Four Corners, this is your chance to find out.

The winners of this auction will get to play in a one-shot role-playing geekfest set in the Four Corners world. You will join Pat Rothfuss and Steve Long of HERO Games for a collaborative storytelling experience of such intensity that it will doubtless leave you a shattered wreck of a human being.

Pat will pre-generate characters and provide a brief explanation of the HERO gaming system. (You don’t need to know the system in order to play and enjoy the game.) The game will be run on Saturday, March 3, 2012 in the afternoon or evening.

In addition to a seat at the gaming table, the winners of these auctions will receive free memberships to StellarCon 36 where the game will be held.

StellarCon 36 runs from March 2nd – 4th, 2012. The convention will be held at the Best Western High Point Hotel in High Point, North Carolina.

Please note: this auction does not include food, lodging, or transportation to the convention.

Two more seats will be in auctioned or raffled off at the convention itself on March 3rd. Folks who are through registration by 11:00 AM will definitely still be able to throw their name in the hat and/or bid on those at the convention.

You can bid on the first game seat here.

The second seat here.

And the third seat here.

Or you can stalk all the auctions at once by following this link.

  • 10 first edition hardcover copies of The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. The first WMF books ever signed by Pat.

I wasn’t going to include any copies of my book in the fundraiser, then Penguin sent a couple boxes of books along to help out with the fundraiser.

They were the last remaining books that I signed in New York back in January of 2011, months before the book was even out. I wrote about the surreal experience in the blog.

I’ve taken the liberty of dating these books January 26, 2011. Which makes them something of a rarity, as they’re dated two months before the publication date.

  • One hardcover copy of Subterranean Press’s Tales of Dark Fantasy.

A long out-of-print collection featuring an early version of my short story, “The Road to Levinshir,” as well as stories by other notable authors like Mike Carey and Poppy Z Bright.

  • Three first edition copies of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle. Signed by the authors and doodled by Nate Taylor.

These are first edition copies that Nate was kind enough to doodle in:

I wish I could doodle….

  • Three hardcover copies of Gollancz 50th anniversary edition of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

Gollancz printed retro-style copies of 5 classic fantasy books in celebration of their 50th year in publishing. The fact that Name of the Wind made it into the mix still makes me blushy with pride.

The introduction in this book by Steaphen Deas makes me kinda blushy, too.

  • One copy of Your College Survival Guide. Signed by Patrick Rothfuss and doodled by B.J. Hiorns.

This book was my first publication from back in 2005. A shameful piece of my sordid past.

It’s a collection of of humor columns I wrote for the college paper between 1999 and 2003. Columns dealt with pressing philosophical issues such as the fast zombie/slow zombie debate as well as everyday problems like how to bribe your professor or start a career as a prostitute.

The book is full of illustrations by BJ Hiorns, the same guy that occasionally illustrates my blog. It also contains annotations where I explain how some columns got written, the lies I told, and what sort of trouble various jokes got me into.

Only 500 of these were printed, and I have less than a dozen left.

The last time I looked online, the only ones I could find were being sold for over 800 bucks on Amazon:

Here’s the doodle Brett did in this one.

You can see why I love him….

  • AUCTION: One-of-a-kind Leather-bound Hardcover of  The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

(Click to Embiggen. It’s worth it.)

Last but not least, we have a real gem.

This is a one-of-a-kind copy of The Name of the Wind, hand-bound in leather by bookbinder Hunter Ford.

This hardcover book is bound in blue Northamptonshire goat leather and decorated with gold acrylic paint. Printed on acid-free paper with marbled end pages, it is 636 pages with size 12 font and narrow margins.

It’s not just a rare book, it’s a unique book. And I’ll gladly sign it to the winner, if the winner so desires.

Our thanks to Hunter Ford for this treasure.

To see more pictures or bid on this book, click here.

*     *     *

Remember, for every 10 dollars you donate on our Team Page, you get a chance to win these books and many more.

Even better, if you chip in before February 7th of 2012, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation.

If you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can find them over here.

Or, if you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main page here.

Also posted in BJ Hiorns Art, gaming, geeking out, Tales from the Con, Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat40 Responses

San Diego 2011: Thursday Part II – Wootstock

This is part of my San Diego ComicCon diary from 2011. It’s sort of the middle of the story.

If you want the whole story, you might want to start reading at the beginning. Other parts include: Wednesday, Thursday Part I, and Friday Ad Infinitum.

*     *     *

Before I tell the story of Wootstock, I should give you a little background so things will make sense.

A stab at definition.

For those of you that don’t know about it, Wootstock is….

Wootstock is….

Well, it’s just Wootstock.

It’s sort of like a modern variety show. (Except nobody knows what a variety show is these days.)

Imagine A Prairie Home Companion if it was run by a bunch of sci-fi nerds. (Man, that’s no good either, does anyone else other than me listen to A Prairie Home Companion?)

Okay. How about this. There’s music. There’s comedy. There’s music-comedy. There’s skits. There’s cussing and nerd humor and poetry and, well…

It’s pretty much a big geek performance orgy.

Honestly, I’ve wanted a piece of Wootstock for ages. Ever since I first heard about it, I wanted in.

Now did I get a piece of the action?

I got an invitation from Ernest Cline.

I mentioned his book on the blog a while back. It’s called Ready Player One. And not only did I like it enough to give it a blurb. I liked it enough to dig up his e-mail address and gush to him directly about how much I loved it.

I think the entire content of my first e-mail was, “Your book is fucking awesome.”

I tried to get them to use that for the blurb on the back, (“This book is fucking awesome.” — Patrick Rothfuss) But their marketing people wouldn’t go for it.

Anyway, Ernest got an invite to Wootstock from Wil Wheaton, who is narrating the audiobook of Ready Player One. Ernest, being a generous human being, asked if I’d like to share some of his stage time.

I said yes. I said it in a firm, manly, baritone. Then I hung up the phone and laughed my most maniacal laugh.

Right. So. We all on the same page here?

7:00 – Backstage.

I walk up to the side door of the Balboa Theater in San Diego. Someone was waiting for me at the door, where they gave me this:

My very first All Access pass. It makes me feel like a rockstar.

I go backstage and down into the secret parts of the theater. It’s a magical sort of place. It’s a secret place that only the performers get to see, and it’s electric in a way that’s hard to describe. Everyone there is getting ready for the show. They’re excited, and a little nervous, and happy to see each other. Plus it’s comic-con, so we’re all a little exhausted. And a few of us are slightly tipsy, too… (Though not me, as I’m not much of a drinker.)

There’s a blur of people all over the place. Some of them I recognize, like Adam Savage from Mythbusters. And the guys from Rifftrax (who used to do MST3K.)

I’m introduced to a few people in a whirlwind fashion. I shake hands and nod at names. But they all run out of me like water. If I say, “someone said” or “someone did” I’m not trying to protect anyone’s identity, or snub them. It’s because a lot of the evening is a blur to me. I suck at meeting people, and I only have space in my head for about 5 new names.

Then I turn around and Wil Wheaton is there.

It’s weird meeting someone you kinda already know. And I kinda know Wil from a bunch of different directions. From his blog, from Star Trek, from his books, and from the Guild.

Plus we e-mailed just a little a day or two before Wootstock. I won’t bullshit you, that made me kinda tingly.

Anyway, we’re introduced, and we shake hands. He thanks me for the nice things I said about his book on my blog. And I’m a little surprised that he’s read it, though I shouldn’t be, I suppose. I tell him that I loved it.

That’s all we have time for. The stage manager is gathering everyone up to make some announcements before the show.

We all jam into a room and Liz is introduced. She is the boss. She tells us how it’s all going to work. She tells us we can watch from backstage, and that we should, so that we don’t miss our cues. She tells us to stick to our allotted time. She tells us where the beer and pizza are.

Everyone else nods attentively. There are a few jokes. But all of this is old hat for most of them.

Me? I’m grinning like an idiot. The show hasn’t even started yet and I’m having the best time….

*     *     *

I should explain something. I used to do lots of group-performance type things. I used to sing in choirs. I used to do radio comedy. I used to act a little, and did a few plays, a musical or two.

I even used to do a little improv comedy. Which is like a trial by fire. Once you do improv comedy, no other type of performance will ever truly frighten you.

Now I didn’t do a lot of these things seriously. But I did them. I enjoyed them.

And I miss them.

You see, one of the downsides of being a writer is that it’s a very solitary occupation. If everything is going well with my writing, I’ll spend 10-12 hours a day alone, and the rest of my time sleeping. (Also alone, usually.)

When I do get out to do a reading or a convention, I have a lot of fun. I enjoy meeting fans and signing books. I enjoy doing Q&A and reading stuff to an audience. It’s a nice opportunity for me to go out and be social.

But while it’s social, it’s a very solitary type of performance. I’m up in front of 200-600 people talking. There’s just me and the audience.

I’d forgotten what it was like to be part of a group of performers. To be a piece of a WE.

It feels great.

*     *     *

Liz makes one last announcement. They’ve gone to the worst seat in the house and borrowed the person’s camera. They’re going to pass it around backstage and we’ll all take pictures with it. That way the poor schlub with the worst seat will have a cool memento of the show and, as a bonus, the pictures will go online so everyone can use them.

It’s only because of the photoset that I have a shot of Ernest and me backstage, wherein I am getting my Kawaii on.

The show kicks off, and after cadging a piece of free pizza, I head upstairs we head up onto stage and watch the show from the wings. The theatre is gorgeous. A place with some real style to it.

It’s certainly the biggest house I’ve ever played to, and I’m a little nervous. But despite the fact that I’m anxiously fretting over what exactly I’m going to read, I can’t help but get pulled in by Molly Lewis playing the ukulele.

Her songs crack me up as I watch from backstage, and it helps me relax a bit.

Then, as I’m watching her play, a little motion catches my attention from the corner of my eye. So I look over and see Wil Wheaton dancing.

Before that point, I liked Wil Wheaton. I knew he was cool. I respected him as a writer, enjoyed him as a performer, and admired him as a strong, smart, outspoken member of the geek community.

But backstage in the Balboa theatre, I watched Wil Wheaton do a happy, goofy little dance, and that was when I started to love him.

Soon afterwards, Ernest gets his cue and heads out onto stage. He reads some hardcore geek poetry. Good stuff. He’s a good performer, too. Gets a good reaction from the crowd.

Then he introduces me. I’m a surprise guest of sorts, as I’m not on the program. People cheer when they hear my name, which is kind of a shock. It’s then that I decide what I’m going to read. I’m not going to try to follow Ernest’s poetry with more poetry. I think he’s got me beat in that regard.

I’m not going to read a piece out of my book, either. Too clunky. I even decide against reading a piece of a short story I’m working on.

No. A whole theatre of people cheering and my new man-crush Wil Wheaton watching from the wings means I go straight to my best material. The piece I keep in my back pocket whenever I do a reading. My sure-fire winner. My big gun.

I pull out The Guinea Pig Story.

Those of you who have seen me at a live reading might have heard it. Most of you have not.

It’s one of of the humor pieces I wrote back in college. Theoretically I was writing an advice column, but realistically I was making fun of people and telling incriminating stories about my life.

Here’s the only video I was able to find of the performance. The first little bit of my performance is cut off there, but it’s only about a sentence of the letter someone wrote in, asking for advice about keeping pets in their dormroom.

[Edit: After searching around a bit, I found another video from farther back in the audience that shows my performance AND Ernest’s with Wil Wheaton’s introduction.]

I got a great reaction from the audience, and left the stage feeling roughly ten thousand feet tall.

8:00 – Random House Party

After hanging around for a while and watching a few more acts, Ernest said he was going over to the Random House party and asked if I’d like to come along.

Though I was loathe to leave, I figured I should go and rub some elbows with some more bookish types. That’s kinda my job in some ways.

So I went to the party, hung out with some folks, and ended up riding a mechanical bull.

Why? No. Why is not the right question. I was at San Diego ComicCon. The proper question is “why the fuck not?”

That party was fun, but after about 45 minutes, I made my excuses and headed back to Wootstock. Because, y’know, Wootstock.

9:00 ish – More Wootstock.

I got back just in time for intermission, where I amused myself by handing out copies of the Chick Tract Dark Dungeons to members of the audience. I hope nobody thought I was serious….

After all my tracts were gone, I used my fancy pass to get backstage, feeling rockstar all over again. I wandered down to the dressing rooms and bumped into Felicia Day, who was also a surprise guest. I got a free hug and we chatted for about forty-five seconds before someone tells her she’s about to miss her entrance cue.

Somehow, someone managed to catch us on film during that brief moment. Proving that I’m not a big fibber.

I hang around and chat with folk, occasionally watching some of the show from backstage. I catch Jeff Lewis (Vork, for you Guildies out there) doing a piece of honest-to-god standup comedy. The man has amazing comic timing and delivery. As you’d already know if you were watching The Jeff Lewis 5-minute Comedy Hour.

11:30 ish – Autographing.

Eventually the show wraps up with a great closing number that I watch from the wings. Then I head downstairs to get my backpack and maybe another slice of pizza before I head out. When I’m gathering up my stuff, someone asks if I want to stick around and sign autographs. I shrug and agree, because I have nowhere else in particular to be.

Now over the last couple of years I’ve done a lot of signings. It’s old hat in a lot of ways. Usually I’m all alone. I’m a one-man-show.

But this one was different. A bunch of the performers were sticking around to sign posters and programs.

What’s more, at Wootstock, most of the people could give a damn about me. They’re there to see Wheaton, or Savage, or bask in the radiant glory of Paul and Storm.

And you know what? It was nice  doing a signing where most folks didn’t care who I was. It gave me a chance to goof off and get to know the people sitting on either side of me. To my left was the aforementioned Molly Lewis. And to my right was someone I didn’t know at all, but I quickly learned that she was Amy Berg, writer/producer for Eureka (among many other things.)

So we hang out and chat as the line of people slowly trickles past. I’m feeling pretty relaxed. I’ve had a good day. I was on a panel with George Martin, had dinner with Jim Butcher, and got to chat with Wil Wheaton. I went to a party with an actual velvet rope, and the bouncer nodded me through even though I wasn’t on the list. I rode the mechanical bull and didn’t hurt myself. I got a hug from Felicia day and made a thousand people laugh….

It’s  been a busy 14 hours, and I’m in that warm, happy place that comes when you know you don’t have to work any more. And, because I’m in a good mood, I start to joke around with the people coming through the line….

And that’s when I *really* start to get to know the people sitting on either side of me.  I draw a picture of a duck on someone’s poster, and they mock me for its utter terribleness. They mocked me with a sharp-tongued viciousness I haven’t experienced since most of my best friends moved away from Stevens Point.

So I abandoned drawing and started signing clever things on the posters. Then my neighbors started writing things on their posters that were clever-er. And I feel really put out by this, because normally *I* get to be the witty one, and they were out wittying me without hardly trying. I felt the sudden need to step up my game, to say nothing of wanting to buy some of Molly’s music and catch up on the current season of Eureka….

The signing went on for at least a couple hours, and it was the perfect end to the perfect day. As I left the theater I felt that strange, glowy feeling that comes when you level up. It wasn’t until I got home that I found out where the XP boost had come from:

Best of all, I’d made it through two entire days at the convention without making an ass of myself in front of anyone.

But then again, it was only Thursday….

*     *     *

Sorry this one was so long delayed. More soon…


Also posted in College Survival Guide, Consistent Verb Tense Is For Bitches, conventions, Felicia Day, meeting famous people, my rockstar life, the longest fucking blog ever, videos, Wil Wheaton | By Pat37 Responses

Delicious Webcomics and Guest Appearances

Before I talk about today’s donation, I need to mention that some of the auctions we’re running will be over soon. Most specifically, the signed ARC from Neil Gaiman and the signed collection of Girl Genius trades.

Fair warning. Don’t come crying to me because you weren’t paying attention and you missed out.

Also, don’t be too sad if the Gaiman ARC is out of your price range. He just sent us another cool book that we’ll be posting up in just a couple days. That one will be going into the general lottery, so everyone who donates on the team page will have a chance to win it.

*     *     *

In the past most of the books we’ve given away for Worldbuilders have been… well… books. This is because most of the creative types I know personally tend to be sci-fi and fantasy authors.

This year we’re branching out a bit. We’ve put some lovely graphic novels in the mix. And, because I’ve made some webcomic friends at conventions, I can start hitting them up for donations too.

Now I’m fully aware that the distinction between cartoonist and web-cartoonist is a line so fine that in most cases it’s pretty nonsensical. I’m mostly including these comics here because I either discovered these comics on the web, or because that’s the easiest place for you to check out their work.

Anyway, here are today’s books. Some of them are donated by the authors themselves. Some of them are donated by me because I love the comics and I like to spread the word about them.

I’ve been reading webcomics since 1999. So I make the mistake of assuming I know most of the cool comics that are up and running these days. Still, sometimes I’m painfully out of the loop. Wonderella was completely off my radar until somebody sent me this link.

Description from the author: The superheroine Wonderella is lazy, crude, self-absorbed and short-sighted… which might make her the most authentically American superhero in existence. Her awkward situations and active avoidance of heroic deeds can only be categorized as “Non Adventures.”

This is a great example of a book that could easily go in just about any category. Comic. Webcomic. Graphic novel. Manga. Kim’s stories are sweet and strange and profoundly touching.

But you don’t need me to gush about him. This book has a blurb from Scott McCloud himself, calling it, “A literate, funny and beautiful piece of fiction.”

  • Two copies of Xeno’s Arrow, Book 1: The Intergalactic Zoo by Greg Beettam and Stephen Geigen-Miller. Signed and doodled.

We’ve got two copies of this book, not just signed, but doodled in too. Xeno’s Arrow is the story of a group of aliens who decide to escape from an Intergalactic Zoo. It’s more of an ongoing story than a gag comic, but that isn’t to say that it doesn’t have its funny moments, too…

Ignition is the first printed compilation of Carpe Chaos comics, a surprisingly slick-looking collection includes multiple stories: Filter Dregs, Strength in Numbers, Moments of Elation, Worst Case Scenario, Hard Lessons, and the first chapter (and half of the second) of Rising Up. There’s some cool worldbuilding going on in here, and their website puts mine to shame…

  • A copy of North World by Lars Brown. Signed and doodled by the author.

From Amazon: “Northworld really isn’t that different from our own… the biggest difference is the presence of mythical monsters, talking bears, arcane arts, and, of course, the heroes who stand ready to defend the innocent and helpless from these extraordinary threats!”

  • A set of The Book of Biff, #1-5 by Chris Halbeck. Signed and doodled by the author.

I can’t remember when I first stumbled onto Biff, but these comics are like little zen stories. They’re little haiku of bizarre misery. Fun stuff.

  • Two copies of Galaxion Book 1: The Jump by Tara Tallan. Signed and sketched by the author/illustrator.

I picked up Galaxion when I was at a Penguicon earlier this year. I always enjoy picking up books from webcomics I haven’t heard of before, just to try something new. I have to say that I enjoyed this one and I’m eagerly awaiting the second installment.

Each book includes a Galaxion-themed pad of sticky notes and a pin-back button.

“Tara Tallan has done a superb job; the cast is varied and have a viable chemistry that is fun to watch.” – Tangents Reviews

  • A set of Gunnerkrigg Court books: Vol 1 Orientation and Vol 2 Research by Tom Siddell.

You don’t need me to talk this comic up to you. It’s got a blurb from Gaiman:

“I was thrilled to hear that my favorite webcomic was going to be collected on paper. I wish that Antimony Carver and her adventures and mysteries and myths, not to mention her school, has been around when I was a boy, to shape and warp and twist my growing mind – but I don’t think you could ever grow too old to delight in Gunnerkrigg Court.” – Neil Gaiman

I’ve mentioned Lev Yilmaz  on the blog before. But it turns out that in addition to his hilarious deadpan youtube videos, Lev also does some really nice comic work too, vaguely in the style of Matt Groening.

In my experience, it’s rare that a comic is exceptionally smart, socially aware, and funny. But somehow Cat and Girl consistently manages all three.

As I mentioned long ago on the blog, this is one of my favorite comics, and I’ve been reading it forever. You should really check it out.

From Amazon: “There is a place, set in a reality and time unlike our own, where the eating of small children is not necessarily frowned upon…where prophecy, magic, and adventure is as common place as setting fire to and then re-animating a chipmunk into a skeletal minion (it happens more than you’d think); and where an epic journey can begin by an accident of fate. This is the world of Looking For Group.”

  • A copy of Goblins: Book 1 by Tarol Hunt.

Goblins has been one of my favorite webcomics ever since I found out about it. The art has grown in leaps and bounds into something really impressive. And it’s so rare that a storyline that deals with geek gaming humor also has an incredible sense of dramatic tension and an almost heartbreaking series of character arcs that stem from really emotional scenes. I swear that this comic has made me tear up a couple of times.

This is one of my absolute favorite comics, as I’ve said many times on the blog. Adding to my love is the fact that Tarol did a hysterical comic to help me promote the paperback release of The Name of the Wind.

You should really read it. But it has a strong storyline, so you have to start at the beginning…

When I stumbled onto the Devil’s Panties, it consumed about 8 hours of my life as I went through and I read the entire archive in almost one sitting. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s vaguely autobiographical, talks about the real-life adventures of comic artist Jenny Breeden.

After reading the comic, I actually met her at Dragon Con in 2007. And despite all of the other cool people who were there, she was one of the ones I was most excited to see. I was thrilled to buy this book and get it signed by her.

But now, for the good of the cause, I am donating it to Worldbuilders.

  • A copy of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories by Nicholas Gurewitch.

This is a collection of the strips from Perry Bible Fellowship. While the comic itself isn’t currently being updated, you should really check it out if you haven’t already. It’s really the pinnacle of bizarre, dark humor. Over the years I’ve bought at least five copies just to give away as gifts…

  • A full set Yu+Me Dream Volumes 1-4 By Megan Rose Gedris.

I picked this comic up on a whim at a convention. Then, after reading the first volume, I had to go back and pick up the next two. I had to wait for the fourth volume to come out in print. But now that the story’s finished, you can read it the way I wanted to, in one great gluttonous chunk.

  • A set of Side A and Side B, edited by Rachel Dukes. 

These are two comic anthologies where a boatload of talented comic artists tell stories about lives influenced by music. After reading the reviews, I went over to Poseur Ink and ordered a couple copies for myself. (Bonus: they’re on sale right now for the holidays.)

“there are lush, flowing borderless works; punky, scratchy pieces that wear aggro on their sleeve; deceptively simple illustrations that wouldn’t look out of place in a children’s book, arty tales that use tone without line (and would look good in a French cafe); and arch photo-reproduction work that is so hip it bleeds. And the range of tales! Intensely personal, autobiographical tales; whimiscal flights of fancy; love and hate; joy and loss; robots and spaceships and clockwork people – they are all in here!” George Watson for Geek Speak.

  • A copy of Errant Story Volume One by Michael Poe. Signed by the author.

I’ve been reading Michael Poe’s comics since back before I was published. This is a signed copy of the first volume of Errant Story. A series that’s worth loving if only for its name…

I love Allison’s comics because they’re funny, surreal, and have brilliant use of the language. Also, one of the main characters, Shelly, reminds me of Sarah.

Though she doesn’t read many webcomics, Sarah likes this one, too. I think its because she likes watching someone as delightfully chipper and batshit crazy as she is.

(Edit: I was going to donate my copy of Allison’s Skellington, too. But I see it’s out of print now. So I’m keeping it. There are some lines I will not cross, even for Worldbuilders.)

Odds are, if you read webcomics, you already know about PVP. But just in case you don’t, you might want to check them out. They’re one of my daily reads for years now. Kurtz’s comic is a cool mix of humor, ongoing story, healthy red-blooded American geekery.

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Last but not least, we have two webcomic artists who really stepped up to the plate for Worldbuilders this year. The first of these is Greg Dean of Real Life.

Greg has been doing webcomics almost as long as anyone out there. He started up Real Life back in 1999, making him one of the rare people that can say they’ve been in the business more than a decade.

I met up with Greg at San Diego Comic-con in 2009, and we got to hang out. Greg wrote a comic about the encounter which is pretty much entirely true.

Despite my obvious conversational barbarism, Greg has not shunned me. Instead, he’s offered to help out Worldbuilders by donating a guest appearance in his comic.

  • A guest appearance in Greg Dean’s Real Life.

The details:

The winner of this auction will collaborate with webcomic artist Greg Dean on guest appearance in Real Life. While an appearance in only one comic is guaranteed, the guest appearance may span more than one strip if the character becomes entangled in a longer storyline or subplot. While the nature of the strip will be collaborative, the final call on content does belong to Greg.

Greg will also include a signed, framed, print of the comic as well, embossed and sparkling with all sorts of awesomeness.

You can check out the Real Life auction and place your bids over here.

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The other webcomic artist going above and beyond the call of duty to help out Worldbuilders this year is Howard Taylor.

I met Howard at Penguicon this year, and, well… kinda made an ass of myself in front of him. (I think I might be detecting a trend here…)

But again, despite my lack of social grace, Howard was willing to help out with Worldbuilders by donating both some lovely signed books and a named appearance in his comic, Schlock Mercenary.

Let’s list the books first:

  • Two copies of Schlock Mercenary: The Teraport Wars. Numbered, first edition with signed cover and sketch by  Howard Taylor.

  • Two copies of Schlock Mercenary: Resident Mad Scientist. Numbered, first edition with signed cover and sketch by  Howard Taylor.

  • A copy of Schlock Numbered: Under New Management. Numbered, first edition with signed cover and sketch by  Howard Taylor.

Schlock Mercenary is another one of the rare webcomics that’s been around since the olden times. And when these books showed up I felt morally obliged to… inspect them. For shipping damage. On a page-by-page basis….

While I was inspecting them, I was amazed at how easy it is to start reading the comic at any point in the story. (That’s why I’m handing these comics out individually instead of as a set.) The footnotes and additional information provided in the books reminded me that Howard is scary smart, and puts a ton of thought into the science of even some of his simple throwaway gags.

Each of these books has a hand-drawn sketch on the final page.  These sketches were part of the release for each book and quantities were limited.

  • A named appearance in Howard Taylor’s Schlock Mercenary.

The details:

The winner of the auction will have one or more of their given names used as a character name in the Schlock Mercenary online comic. The name will appear at least once in the next 8 months.  The survival or death of your named character is solely at the discretion of Howard.

If the winner provides a mailing address, Howard will send the original strip art once the comic has aired.

You can check out the Schlock Mercenary auction and place your bids over here.

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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 before Dec 13th.

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

Also posted in Webcomics, Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat26 Responses


It occurs to me that I haven’t mentioned the current season of The Guild on the blog yet.

This makes me feel strangely guilty, as if I’ve failed to uphold my end of some unspoken agreement we have here on the blog. Namely, that I will occasionally remind you of some cool things that are out there, so you can enjoy them.

Included in the category of cool things, of course, is The Legend of Neil. I think I already linked to it when I posted up the interview I did with Sandeep at Comic-con. But what the hell, you can have another link. It’s free.

Lastly, for those of you that don’t make a habit of checking out my tour page or the events I post up on the Facebook fan page. I’m at Madcon this weekend in… well… in Madison, obviously. Or maybe not obviously. I suppose it could be a convention for people who were mad….

Then, on Wednesday night, (the 29th) I’m doing a little panel for the Wisconsin Book Festival, also in Madison. My talk is going to be in the overture center, which makes me feel all posh. I’ll probably fancy myself up for the special occasion in the only way I know how: by taking a shower and making sure I’m wearing pants. I also plan on limiting myself to only the most erudite cussings. (They must have at least three syllables or a Latin root.)

That’s all for now, folks. Have a good weekend.


P.S. Since I’m throwing out links to random cool things. Here’s a link to an article about Joss Whedon that I very much enjoyed.

Also posted in appearances, Joss Whedon, miscelany | By Pat46 Responses

T-shirt Design Contest

So the response to the “would y’all like some t-shirts” question has been answered rather enthusiastically.

I was thinking if we got about 150 people expressing an interest it would be worth doing. Since we got over three times that many responses in less than a day, I’m thinking we’re good to go.

Here’s the plan. I’m eventually going to make t-shirts for three different things.

We’re going to start with the last of these as Worldbuilders won’t be starting up again for months, and Adventures won’t be published for another month or so. (I’m so excited…)

Here’s the problem with the plan: I really don’t have a good idea for a t-shirt design.

Part of the problem is that I work in a non-visual medium. I’m texty. And while I’m good at what I do, raw text doesn’t usually make the most compelling t-shirt design.

There are exceptions, of course….

Shirts like this are fun for a lot of reasons. First, you get to let your freak flag fly. This one not only expresses my undying love for Joss Whedon, but it’s a bit of a star-wars riff, AND the shirt itself is from one of my favorite webcomics. It’s a nerdy hat-trick.

Shirts like this are like wearing geek gang colors. If I’m at a convention and someone says they like my shirt, then I know we have something in common. We’ll have something to chat about if we’re standing together in line.

But, generally speaking, a t-shirt with a bit of a picture is way more interesting.

(Click to Embiggen.)

For those of you that can’t see it that clearly, the t-shirt says: “Pose as a team, ’cause shit just got real.” Yes I love the comic that spawned it, but the real reason I own that particular shirt is because it cracks me up.

Sometimes shirts express a universal truth.

Others provide social commentary.

Or give fair warning.

There are also shirts that I consider stealth geek shirts. For example:

Obviously I’m not stealthing very well right here. But the point is, if I leave the convention and take off my badge, the Fruit Oaty Bar t-shirt looks perfectly normal. It doesn’t scream GEEK! at everyone who looks at me. But at the same time, real Firefly can identify me as a true believer.

Also, it’s a really good color on me. I’m an autumn.

Here’s my thought. A couple years ago when I ran a photo contest, y’all amazed me with your creativity. People climbed onto rooftops, stripped naked, someone even sewed a pair of pants for my book.

I’m hoping to tap into that well of enthusiastic creativity again.

So here’s the deal. For two weeks we’ll be accepting submissions for t-shirt designs. (Until June 23rd) Then we’ll winnow through them and put up the cream of the crop here on the blog for people to discuss and vote on.

  • What sort of design should I submit?

Something cool. The particular flavor of cool I leave entirely to you. Rock my world.

  • What format should I use?

The best option, of course, is that you e-mail us a file with the lovingly crafted design. Even shirts that are just pure text need some graphic design to them.

However, if you’re like me, you have no graphic talent. If that’s the case, you might want to consider teaming up with a friend to design something.

Failing that, you could just send us your description of what you think the shirt should look like. If it seems like a cool idea, I’ll talk to one of my artist friends and see if they can whip something up.

  • Where do you send it?

e-mail it to: paperback.contest [squiggly atsign thinger]

  • What do I get out of it if you pick my design?

First, the envy of your peers. Bragging rights. Adulation and fawning praise.

Second, we’ll come to some sort of arrangement for compensation. If you like, I could just buy the design off you in the same way I’d pay a graphic designer.

Or, if you’d prefer, I could give you something else. I’ve got a handful of first-edition books around here that I could sign for you. And some ARC’s too, if you’re into collectibles. I’ve got posters and a bunch of other stuff. We’ll be able to work something out.

Also, you can probably make a play for some free shirts when they’re done.

Thanks for playing everyone. Remember, the deadline is June 23rd.


Also posted in calling on the legions, contests, Firefly | By Pat95 Responses

Books for Boobs

Sometimes I write a great blog and then struggle over the title for a ridiculous amount of time before eventually settling on something vaguely mediocre.

Other times, I write the title first and then think to myself, “Well, that pretty much says it all. Everything is going to be downhill from there.”

This is one of those times.

Earlier today someone sent me a message saying, “Are you going to blog about the books for boobs thing you did?”

My first thought was, “What the hell are they talking about? Was this something I did at a convention when I was really sleep deprived and crazy on sugary mochas? What did I do?”

I thought about it for a minute and dragged up a memory from a convention last July. “How the hell did they find out about that?” I thought to myself. “Did someone get pictures and post them on their blog?”

Luckily, it turns out I was thinking of something entirely different. But that, as they say, is a story for another time.

Books for Boobs is a charity event I donated a book to last year. They’re auctioning off stuff from different authors, including Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson, my mortal enemy Anton Strout, and the recently mentioned Amber Benson.

I recommend you go and check it out if only because I look kinda good in the picture they took of me. Forgive me my tiny moment of vanity, but it’s such a rare treat for me to see a picture of myself that doesn’t make me look like a bloody shambles.

Here’s the link.

Have a great weekend everybody….


Also posted in conventions, Jim Butcher, my beard | By Pat46 Responses
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