Category Archives: being awesome

The Final Day: Stories

As I write this, Worldbuilders has raised more than $1,200,000. Making this far-and-away our most successful fundraiser ever.

Simply said, it’s been an amazing year. Together we’ve raised enough money to change tens of thousands of lives forever. We are responsible for hundreds of families getting goats and sheep and pigs. We’ve raised enough money for hundreds of wells, thousands of chickens, millions of bees. We are planting forests full of trees. We are helping bring medicine and light and hope and self-reliance to people all over the world.

Because of your generosity and kindness, children will grow up healthy. Parents will go to sleep knowing their children had enough to eat that day. More importantly, those parents will sleep well, because they’ll have tools and resources to control their own lives and make sure their children will have food tomorrow, too.

We could not do this without you.

*     *     *

I have a fondness for stories in the same way that I have a fondness for drinking water and breathing air. Stories are how we learn the shape of the world. And, in certain circumstances, they help us shape the world into what we want it to be.

Given this, it’s not particularly surprising that during the fundraiser we’ve told stories about how Heifer International changes lives. We’ve told you about Fred, Florence, and their children, who lived the majority of their lives as refugees but who now run a successful farm thanks to the gift of a cow. We told you about the city of Bhairav, where yearly floods made it impossible for children to attend school until Heifer International helped the village to establish and maintain its own school.

But there are other stories in our fundraiser. Hundreds of tiny stories of people stepping up and chipping in to make Worldbuilders a success. Stories that have made me proud of you. Stories that, sometimes, have broken my heart a little.

There’s too many to share them all, but today we’re going to bring you a few. I hope you like them.

*     *     *

If you’ve been following us on twitter or facebook this last week, I’m guessing you’ve seen more than a few #BilboItUp pictures brought on by my recent blog.

Like this one from Riley:

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“37 degrees with snow from last night. No paychecks while I wait for my new job to start. Scraping by during the month of Christmas. Sounds like a good time to donate!”

Or this one from Kelly:

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“Digging a bit deeper so I can donate again.”

A lot of people have cashing in their change jars, like Adrienne:

“I’ve wanted to donate for years, but haven’t been able to.  This year I saved my change all year and have been able to save $20, which I am thrilled to donate to such a worthy cause,  I only wish it were more.”

Or Humberto, who took some things into perspective:

“A worthy cause I am glad to support. I could never solve my own problems with $10. At best I’d get a single lunch at Subway or Taco Bell. The idea that $10 can do so much for someone else has made me reach into my pocket several times. I’ll gladly pack lunch from home to give when I can. Keep up the awesome work.”

Some folks got their families involved, like Christopher and his kids:

“My 5 and 6 year old kids were so excited about donating to Heifer that they were willing to sell us their Halloween candy. The biggest dilemma was pig, goat or sheep. They took so long to decide that Worldbuilders started up and I’ve been waiting for a day like today. [With matching donations.] I’ll get to share with them that because of the generosity of others, their sheep just turned into a sheep and a pig and two goats. Thank you!”

John’s daughter had a similar process, and made sure he sent us pictures.

“I told my 7 year old daughter, Julia, about Worldbuilders, and she’s matching my $1000 contribution with $5 of her own.  She dug into her bank to do this… see attached photo.”

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(This is a pretty awesome bank.)

In the comments of my blog, Swiltam explained how she brought her kids in:

“Talked to my kids about it, they each have a small savings account (as a single mom of 5, so you can imagine how small, and at the same time, how big that might be). They’ve each decided to donate, and some of them have decided to forego what gifts they would have received so we can donate more. Thanks for the honesty and inspiration.”

Or Gary and his two little ones, who gave all of their money to help out after he explained it to them.

“I usually give $30 to Worldbuilders during the annual fund raising.  Today Dec. 1st I read the Blog entry Pat wrote about his Mom.  Then Pat wrote about matching and the Heifer matching as well even though he thought he was all done donating this year.  I shared the Blog entry to my 6 year old and my 9 year old and asked them if they wanted to give to the fundraiser from their own money.  They have a savings jar and a spending jar each.  They both wanted to donate and my 6yr old said he would give $20 and my 9yr old said he would give $10.  They are great kids and just amaze me at times like this.  So here is $30 from me and $30 from the boys.  Thank you for giving me this moment with my boys and what you do for all the other kids out there through Worldbuilders.”

Some people are donating Christmas gifts, like Gavin and his family:

“We’re skipping (almost) all Christmas presents this year as a family. We want to make sure 2 girls get the chance to go to school. All of our needs are met, it’s time we help others.”

Or like Lauren and her brother.

“My brother and I are both pretty bad at Christmas presents.  Our wants are either pathetically simple (I would like some warm socks) or wildly unattainable (a $2000 gaming laptop).  But neither of us actually need anything*, and Christmas should be about warm fuzzies and making the world better, not knicknacks that sit on a shelf.  So we’ve decided that the best way to say “I love you” sounds a lot like “I bought someone else a goat”.  So here we are.  Personally I hate goats, after some bad experiences at a camp petting zoo, but I wish this goat many happy years of providing healthy food and maybe some income to its family, on behalf of Dan Bradford and his lovely new wife Lisa.  Merry goatmas, everyone.”

*not quite true, I really do need socks.

We had surprises too. People who went an extra mile, even after they’d already contributed something fabulous.

Authors Bishop O’Connell and Brenda Cooper matched the funds raised from their tuckerization auctions. BeLinda, the winner of the True Dungeon game auction, also matched what she paid for that auction with a donation.

There are some stories, though, that just floored us. Like this #BilboItUp.

Here’s one from the fundraiser page:

“In Hebrew the word for life is the same as the word for the number 18. It has become tradition to give gifts/donations in multiples of 18. It is my hope that my gift of $100 x 18 (life) touches 100 lives.”

$1800 is enough for 12 irrigation pumps.

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That doesn’t just install a pump (though that by itself is already pretty great). It gives farmers training in water conservation and irrigation techniques. 12 irrigation pumps help improve the yield of 12 different community farms. Which means those farmers will produce food more efficiently, and that makes it something they can sell for less. Which means the other people in their community can afford more food.

I think it’s safe to say that your donation will effect 100 x 18 people.

Of course, not everyone has 1800 dollars to give. Luckily people like Victoria understand that in Heifer’s hands, $20 bucks can change someone’s life, too.

“As a starving college student, I don’t have a lot of money, free time, or sleep. But I do have a roof over my head, food, and an education. Even though I can’t give a lot, I owe it to those with less than I do to give something. I hope the flock of ducks are cute as well as helpful!”

And Jeremy really hit it on the head:

“I often feel like I don’t have much (renting an apartment, used car, trouble saving for my own house) then I slap myself for being a spoiled idiot and think about people who have to plan ahead to drink water. This charity seems the best to me since it focuses on a sustainable environment. Fruit trees instead of canned peaches and the like.”

Honestly, there are so many of these little stories. If we included half of them, this blog would be ten thousand words long.

Okay. Just one more from Jacob:

“I’ve been farming for five years now, and have been lucky enough to help a small school in Tanzania start a farm so the children at the school can eat a simple lunch. Heifer International consistently renews my faith in humanity with the amazing work you do. Words cannot describe what a gift to the world you people are. Thank you.”

As I’ve said. Today is the final day for the fundraiser. We have until midnight UTC-8 to hit our final goal of $1,225,000, make use of all of the matching offered to us, and hit our final stretch goal.

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(Details over here, if you like.)

Okay fine. Just one more. From Ariella:

“My 8yo daughter heard me discussing WorldBuilders at the dinner table, and asked if she could donate. $2 may not be much, but it’s 15% of her savings. I think we’re doing something right with this one :)”

Thank you all so much, everyone. Thanks for caring. Thanks for helping out. And thanks for proving to me yet again that people are inherently good.

Here’s the link to the donation page. Just in case you might find a use for such a thing….

pat

Also posted in Geeks Doing Good, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat29 Responses

WMF Photo Contest Part XIII: Grand Prize Winners

Today we bring you the final part of the photo contest.

Those of you who were around for the beginning of this might remember that I extended our deadline because some people said they were trying to get permission from the FAA for what they were trying to do.

So really, it’s their fault that I haven’t finished the photo contest yet. If I’d had those two weeks, we would’ve finished the photo contest in a timely fashion.

I joke, I joke. And even if it was the truth and their small delay somehow *had* somehow cascaded into this longer one. I honestly think it would be worth it….

You know what? I’m not even going to be coy here. I’m going to skip the preamble and jump right to the end. I’m going to show you the goods.

Here’s what they did:

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This is my book. In space.

It’s. In. Space.

Look at that. It’s so high up that you can see a slight curvature of the earth. And my book.

So there. You know the end. But I’m guessing you’re going to stick around for the preamble anyway. Because you’re my readers. You know the journey is the worthier part…

*     *     *

Three folks from MIT collaborated to make this happen. Jay, Kristyn, and Mike. (With a strong assist from their friend Malcolm, who let them use his book.)

Their photo shoot started at 5am on a Saturday.

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They got a serious weather balloon, and started setup.

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Realize that these photos were taken in 2011. Four years ago. Digital cameras weren’t *quite* as pervasive then, and neither were superphones.

So they hacked an old camera to take pictures every 5 seconds, attached a phone that sent out a GPS signal every 30 seconds, and wrapped everything up in Styrofoam for protection during the flight.

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But they didn’t stop at getting a cool view of the city.

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You see how the clouds in the sky make the same ripple effect that wind makes on the waves? You see how that is the same ripple effect you see in the sand on the beach?

You know what that is? That is the name of the wind writ large across the face of the world, my friends.

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Hello you great, blue beautiful thing….

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It’s almost perfect. It just needs a little something….

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There we go. Fucking rainbow. Done.

For those of you who are into numbers, the balloon went up at around 500 ft/min and reached approximately 75,000 feet.

So… yeah. My book has been into space. I’m *so* going to give John Scalzi a hard time about this the next time I see him…

Hold on. It only now occurs to me. Commercial planes don’t fly that high. And I doubt very much that anyone takes novels on rockets due to weight limitations….

That means The Wise Man’s Fear has probably set some sort of weird record. I’d bet a modest amount of money that it might be the first novel in the stratosphere. If not, maybe first hardcover novel. Or.. maybe… First Hardcover Fantasy Novel to Reach Stratosphere Via Balloon?

Does anyone know how to get in touch with Guinness?

You know what? It doesn’t even matter to me. The fact that someone did this with my book is cooler to me than I can express in words. (And when you read that, please consider who is writing it.)

So thank you, you excellent people.

Thank you, you shiny geeks.

Thank you.

*     *     *

I hope it’s obvious that this isn’t something the three of them just banged together in an afternoon. They made plans. Coordinated with the FAA. Make a test run…

Here’s a piece of the story that Mike sent along:

“During Jay’s practice flight he sent up the camera and when it came back down it landed in a wooded area, so he climbed through a bit of woods only to find it stuck about 40 feet up a tree, with not much remaining daylight he had to leave the camera up in the tree.

The next morning I went down with him to see how we were going to retrieve the camera and we stopped by Home Depot to pick up supplies. Jay went to get some pipe while I set about getting rope and duct tape. Turns out asking a clerk before he’s had his morning coffee what aisles rope and duct tape would be in will get you a raised eyebrow. Then trying to explain the situation away before you’ve had your morning coffee doesn’t alleviate his concern.

It ended up taking us the better part of the day throwing sticks, stones, lassos, trying to knock it from the tree with a 40’ pipe before it finally fell. Our triumph lasted long enough to find out the data was corrupted and “tech experts” were only able to recover the first 10 – 20k feet of the flight.”

Of the actual flight, they said this:

“One of the fun things about this project is the fact that you lose control of the balloon’s flight path the moment you let go of it. You can use weather radar and predictive models and they really mean absolutely nothing.  Once the balloon reaches a certain altitude the gps we were using stopped working, but we could track it once it dropped back below that altitude.  So for a couple hours we had nothing to do except find a local diner eat breakfast and wait(my favorite weekend activity).  The predictive model we used suggested the book would travel over 50 miles and land up near Marlborough, Massachusetts about 25 miles from the ocean.

So after breakfast we started driving that way to at least be in the general area.  We kept checking the GPS and eventually it resurfaced(not sure if thats the right word considering the book was coming back down) about 75 miles south of Marlborough and  less than 3 miles from the Atlantic.  So we turned the car around to drive toward the balloon.”

There you go. While it’s safe to say that I loved the thousands of pictures y’all sent in for the photo contest, there’s no denying that these guys went the extra mile.

I think it goes without saying that these guys deserve their gold talent pipes. My heart is full of joy when I look at these pictures. I am awash in the glow of their reflected cool.

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Because they went above and beyond *ahem* I’ll also be sending them some signed books (And a special copy for their friend who gave up his own copy for the cause) and any other swag their hearts might desire.

What’s more, if y’all are interested, next time I’m out in Boston I’d love to take y’all out to dinner. If you’re free, you can pick the place and it’s my treat. I also offer post-prandial libations and board games at a venue of choice.

Because honestly? You guys are people I want to hang out with. You’re my kind of crazy.

* * *

With that, the Photo Contest is finally a wrap. While I enjoyed it, you guys have no idea how nice it is to finally have the weight of it off my neck. I feel positively bubbly having expiated that particular long-term shame.

Lastly, because I’ve been focusing on getting the photo contest finished. There are a few quick announcements I should make.

1. Worldbuilders will be doing its second-annual mid-season fundraiser at the beginning of June.

Last year it went amazingly well, and we raised more than $200,000 for charity. So this year we’re doing it again. Bigger and better.

2. We’re launching a new t-shirt or two along with that fundraiser.

To that purpose, we’re going to have a quick t-shirt design contest. And I *do* mean quick. We’re launching it on Monday, and the window for submissions will only last for seven days. (Though if you’re reading this you can have a couple day’s head start.)

After a week is up, we’ll ask y’all to vote on which ones you like best and they’ll go up in the IndieGoGo.

 3. This afternoon, I’m going to be participating in the Twitter Fiction Festival.

I’m going to be writing a story on twitter. It’s going to be a bizarre melange of improvisational storytelling, old-school text adventure games, and raw caffeinated madness. You’ll control the character through suggesting the character’s actions. I’ll control the story by choosing which suggestions we use, and giving replies.

It’s going to be a glorious experiment that I expect will explode in a huge roiling ball of narrative flame.

I’ll be doing that from 3-4pm CT today. If you want to check it out, or participate, my twitter is right here.

See you later, space cowboys…

pat

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, fan coolness, Photo Contest 2011 | By Pat29 Responses

A Thank You from Worldbuilders….

Heya everybody,

So Monday morning I turned in the pretty-much-entirely-done manuscript for The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

Want a peek at the French Cover?

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(That was a rhetorical question. I was going to show it to you no matter what…)

Edit: As the comments below mention, the above cover is not actually the French cover. This is:

JAC La Musique du Silence (38)V1

(I’m sure you can see how I made the mistake at four in the morning.)

It’s a hard thing for me, letting go of a manuscript. Other authors are very matter of fact about it. But for me, obsessive word tinker than I am, I hate knowing that after a certain point I won’t be able to go in and fix things any more. That means the time leading up to my deadline tends to be an endless white-hot madness of intense, obsessive work.

So the last two days have consisted of me catching up on my sleep and trying to remember exactly what it is that I *do* when I’m not obsessively revising 14 hours a day.

I know it was pretty bad because when I came home tonight my little boy said to me: “You know Dad, you just got done with a deadline.” He said the last word with special emphasis. “And deadlines are a *lot* of work.”

It made me smile, not only because he’s cute as a button. But because it’s always nice to get some sympathy.

But it also let me know that he and Mom had had a talk about deadlines. Which probably meant he had gone to her with questions like, “Why don’t I ever see dad any more?” and “How come daddy falls asleep every time he sits down?”

Anyway, now that I’m at least slightly recovered, I get to start catching up on some things that I’ve been putting off.

Like posting the thank-you video from last year’s Worldbuilders fundraiser.

Before you watch it, I’d just like to thank everyone involved. We blew the top of things this last year, and your generosity has changed thousands of lives….

Wait, rather than type all of this out, I’m going just put up the video. There’s no real sense in me saying thank you before the thank-you video, is there?

Also, even all those wonderful people can mess things up sometimes, so we’ve got the usual blooper reel as well.

Honestly, I make much better bloopers than I do raw video….

Thanks for being awesome everybody.

And if you missed out on last year’s fundraiser. Or if watching that video made you eager for the next one to start. Well… we’ve got a little surprise coming up in a couple of weeks. We’re going to be trying something a little different early in July.

So keep an eye out for that.

pat

P.S. Yes. I’m an inveterate tease. You should all know that by now….

Also posted in cool things, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat45 Responses

The Philosopher’s Stone

Okay guys. Are you ready? This is my best idea ever.

Did you know if you mix tea and cup-a-soup together it tastes really good?

It does.

I’m not going to tell you which kind of tea or which flavor cup-a-soup, because honestly, I think I might want to patent this. I’m serious. It’s like I’ve discovered the philosopher’s stone.

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I have an unhealthy fondness for cup-a-soup. I drink… well… kind of a lot of it, and I’m not proud of that. It’s also not a secret that I have a burgeoning substance abuse problem when it comes to caffeine, either.

But here’s the beauty of the situation. When you put these two things together, they form an elegant balance.

Sure the cup-a-soup has my entire day’s worth of sodium in a single serving, but the caffeine in the tea is a diuretic. Zero sum.

Sure the cup-a-soup is full of MSG and terrible artificial preservatives, but the tea is full of all sorts of healthy antioxidants, so I’m pretty sure they just cancel each other out.

It’s low calorie. It’s delicious. It’s cheap. It fills me with energy. I’m pretty sure it’s boosting my metabolism right now. I’m pretty sure if I keep drinking this, I’ll be able to communicate directly with angels and shit. When I market this, I’m going to put this on the side of the box: Now With More Enochian!

My heart is beating really fast right now. That’s how I know it’s working.

How did I have this brilliant idea? I’m glad you asked. See, I had a lot of e-mail to get through this morning, so I made a big cup of tea and drank half of it.

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And then I wanted cup-a-soup, so I made some and drank half of it:

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I know what you’re thinking. “Wow Pat. Your life is pretty glamorous! Someday I hope I become a #1 New York Times Bestselling author so I can eat soup in a cup and have a desk that consists of a piece of particle board sitting on two filing cabinets!!!!”

Well fine. Be that way. Mock all you like. You’re just jealous because it never occurred to you to do this:

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No, I’m not talking about the photoshop filter. I’m talking about mixing tea and soup together to form a miraculous uberbeverage that is going to revolutionize life as we know it and usher in an age of peace and harmony to all mankind.

Now you might be looking at saying to yourself, “Wow, that’s a pretty big mug, Pat.”

Yes. It is a big mug. Self-actualization is not for the faint of heart. And besides, the size of the mug is just going to be another selling point of my miraculous three-tiered souper-tea regimen. Each of those mugs contains a full quart of liquid. That means after drinking both of them, I’ve already had all eight of my recommended eight-ounce servings of water for the day. And it’s not even 10:00 yet.

That’s right. I’ve figured out all the angles. I can feel myself getting healthier by the minute. I think my entire body is turning into pure energy. What does a stroke feel like? Does it feel like you are becoming a being of pure transcendent light? Probably not. I think it’s more likely that I’m just fast-tracking my way to Nirvana here.

I’m fine. Today is going to be a really productive day. I’m fine.

*     *     *

In other news. The Pairs Kickstarter is clipping along nicely.

There are five decks unlocked right now, and we just passed the stretch goal for the second one of mine: the Modegan Deck with art by Shane Tyree.

I’m really looking forward to giving y’all a look into that world. You haven’t even caught a glimpse of Modeg yet. It’s a very different place.

We’ve got two more of my decks lined up as future stretch goals too. One is a Princess and Mr. Whiffle deck, and the other one is a Faen deck. Specifically, it’s set in the Twilight court, the corner of the Fae where Felurian and Bast hie from.

The art for both of those will be done by the excellent Nathan Taylor.

Nate's Sketches

Nate drew these sketches to tease y’all a bit, but remember we’re only going to be doing those decks when they get unlocked around the 115K level.

We’re well on our way to hit that, mind you. I’m just letting you know. Full disclosure.

I’ll be making a more detailed update about the Kickstarter early next week, including showing off some more of the art.

But for now, here’s the link to the kickstarter if you want it.

Fondly,

pat

Also posted in My brilliant ideas, Terrible Science | By Pat73 Responses

2014 Calendars – Fantasy and Philantropy

So for the last couple of years, Worldbuidlers has put out a calendar to help raise money for charity.

This year, we decided to up our game and put out TWO calendars:

The first one we put together with help from Heifer International itself to showcase the good work they do all over the world:

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The second is filled with joyful geekery, featuring a bunch of cool fantasy authors… and me.

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Right now, both of these calendars are up for sale in our online store, The Tinker’s Packs.

If you want, you could hop over right now and buy them. But if you’d like more details first….

  • The Heifer Calendar:

One of the things that’s always bothered me about charity fundraisers is that they frequently center around guilt and pity.

We’ve all seen the TV commercials. They show you starving, desperate children and say, “For the price of a cup of coffee, you can feed this child. Not even fancy coffee. We’re talking shitty truck-stop coffee with powdered creamer in it. Not that you would ever drink that. Today you had a half-decaf mocha with blueberry syrup and extra whip that cost you six bucks, you fat, disgusting American bastard.”

I’m paraphrasing, of course. But you know what I’m talking about. You see one of those commercials and if you have any empathy at all… well… it’s just crushing. Whenever I saw one, it always made me feel helpless and hopeless.

The first time I ever saw something different was Sarah Mclachlan’s video, World On Fire. Way back in 2004.

The premise for the video was this: They took the $150,000 a video normally costs, and put that money toward different charitable causes instead.

After all these years, I still remember one moment in the video where they said they’d helped send kids to school. Then they showed a picture of this little girl sitting in a classroom. And she was *so* fucking happy to be going to school and learning things. She was beaming with joy.

A screw it, I’ll just post the video here so you can see it yourself if you want….

The part I’m talking about is right at the 1 minute mark.

I remember watching that video, and thinking “This. Is. Awesome. What Sarah McLachlin has done here is Awesome.”

Then, after a moment, I remember thinking, “I want to be awesome too.”

What’s my point? Here’s my point.

When we decided to put together our own Heifer International themed calendar, that’s the feeling I wanted to replicate. I didn’t want people to feel guilty or sad or depressed at the state of the world.

I wanted you to look at this calendar and think: This is Awesome. What Heifer is doing is Awesome.

So our calendar is full of stories of people that Heifer has helped over the years. People who got a little help, then used those resources to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.

Stuff like this:

After working on their own for 21 years, the women in Azacualpa village saw things begin to change in 2005 when 22 families received heifers from Heifer International.

Four years later, in 2009, they received chickens and completed two rounds of Passing on the Gift, sharing chickens with other families in their community. Seeing the positive results from these first two projects, the women wanted to try something a bit more ambitious.

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“We wanted something more to do to generate more income,” said Maria Elsa (bottom left, with her husband and grandchildren). From this, the Southern Cashew Enterprise Association was born, with Maria serving as president.

Heifer provided the materials and hired builders to construct the storage rooms and ovens for this cashew enterprise. They also provided 200 cashew tree seedlings.

In 2012, a drought destroyed most of the area’s corn harvest. The cashew business, however, along with the ability to sell eggs and milk from their livestock, still provided income for the families in Maria’s village.

Maria gets almost four gallons of milk a day; she uses one gallon for her family and sells the rest.

Victoriano Gonzalez, Maria’s husband, said, “I never expected to see a cow in my yard and now we have four.” While the women work, their husbands have taken over more of the household chores.

“Now our husbands bring us food while we are working,” Maria said.

 This! This is what it’s all about. Heifer helps people, then those people help themselves. Then they help *other* people help themselves.

And you *don’t* have to shell out 60 cents a day, every day, forever, just to keep some poor kid from starving. When I did that, I felt like I was throwing stones into a well. I felt like it would never *really* make things better.

But here’s the thing: you send some money to Heifer, and they use it to help people make significant, long-term changes in their lives. Now when I donate money, it feels like I’m throwing a stone and Heifer is making sure that stone lands in *just* the right place so that it triggers an avalanche of awesome that will go on for decades, improving the lives of thousands of people.

If you buy this calendar, you are throwing a stone too. I hope that every day you look at it and think: That is awesome. And I am awesome too because I helped.

  • The Beyond Words Fantasy Calendar:

The second calendar we’re doing this year is fantasy-themed. But unlike last year’s calendar that focused on fantasy characters. This calendar focuses on the authors themselves.

For example, Brandon Sanderson:

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Or Lauren Oliver:

oliver-updated(It’s worth it to embiggen this.)

Or Gregory Maquire:

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As you can see, the point wasn’t to dress up the authors as something out of their own books. (Gregory isn’t dressed up as someone from Wicked, for example.) This was a chance to… well… to do something fun and cool.

There are a lot of cool authors involved in this project, including:

If you’d like to see more of the pictures, you can peek at some more over in The Tinker’s Packs.

  • A special offer:

Now I can hear many of you out there howling, “How can I possibly choose between these two awesome calendars? I love Heifer, but I’m also a big geeky fan of [insert author name here]!!”

First off, rest assured that if you buy *either* of these calendars, money will go toward supporting Heifer International.

But really, why buy only one calendar? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a calendar in your office AND in your kitchen? A calendar at home *and* a calendar at work?

And what about Christmas presents? Think of those older relatives that are hard to shop for. Do you really want to give them another kitten calendar? A scented candle? No. You really don’t.

But if you give them a Heifer Calendar, you can explain to them how the money went to a *really* good cause. Then they get to feel awesome, too.

Calendar-2-forSo here’s the deal we’re offering. If you buy more than one calendar, we’ll give you a break on the price.

  • If you buy two calendars, you get $5 off.
  • If you buy three calendars, you get $10 off.

You can mix and match to your heart’s content. Here’s the link the the calendar combo deals on The Tinker’s Packs.

  • The fine details:

A few other things you might want to know:

1. If you buy the Beyond Words calendar, your money will support First Book as well as Worldbuilders.

2. The Beyond Words calendar isn’t *quite* back from the printer yet.

It should be finished in a week or so. And we’ll be shipping it soon after. That’s why it’s listed in the store as a pre-order.

So if you order a calendar bundle including Beyond Worlds, we’ll wait until *all* your calendars are ready before we mail them. It will take a little longer, but shipping is much cheaper that way.

3. Last year, a lot of people complained that while the calendar was attractive, it was hard to use.

The reason for this was that the re was little functional space for writing down doctor’s appointments, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.

We’ve fixed that this year. Both our calendars have nice, big colored boxes for you to write in.

  • Being in the Loop:

As you all know, I end up being really busy. That means I don’t always get to write blogs as quickly as I’d like.

This blog is a great example of that. I’ve been working on it for days.

But the people who follow The Tinker’s Packs on Facebook and Twitter heard about the calendars almost a week ago. That means they’ve already had a chance to place their orders, and in some cases have already received their calendars, giving them the chance to be very smug among their geek friends.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss stuff like this, it would be a good idea to follow those accounts. Especially as I don’t always blog about everything we put up in the store, and a lot of time, items are limited….

More cool things happening soon. Really soon. Stay tuned.

pat

P.S. If you’d like to sell some of our calendars in your store, or just buy in bulk, drop us a line at questions@worldbuilders.org.

P.P.S. If you’d like to help out Worldbuilders in some other way, drop us a line at donations@worldbuilders.org.

Also posted in Heifer International, The Tinker's Packs, Warm Fuzzies, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat24 Responses

Name of the Wind Kickstarter: Final Days and the Coolest. News. Ever.

Honestly folks, I don’t even know where to begin today. I’ve got a lot of cool news to share about the Kickstarter.

And this is legitimately cool news. Not bullshit cool news that I just made up so I could pimp the project one last time before it closes in less than two days.

devi-colored

(Click to Embiggen Devi)

Because it *is* over in less than two days. Be warned.

Note: Please stay tuned to the end. Or skip directly down there. We have stunning news at the end of the blog.

  • We Crushed Everything

In the last blog I wrote about this project, I mentioned that if our Kickstarter hit 160K we would be the highest funded card-based Kickstarter ever.

The next day y’all stomped in to the tune of about 70,000 dollars, blowing past that goal and every other stretch goal we’d planned out.

In celebration, Shane drew a picture of me as a sort of great Krakken-bearded beast.

8bfc4f37d96d96c6fbd507a7959386a2_large

Because everyone loved it so much, we made the art available as magnet and t-shirt add-ons.

We currently stand at 440,000 dollars. Almost three times the previous record. The video of me singing will be forthcoming.

  • More Jots

I added 100 more jots to the kickstarter, doubling the previous levels.

I mention this early in the blog so those you can hopefully go and grab some before they’re all gone again.

Jot-ty1-02

Here’s a picture of the finished product, complete with the maker’s mark. Rest assured, more jots will be available in the future. Both in the Tinker’s Packs, and as a Worldbuilders fundraiser toward the end of the year.

  • Better Gaff Cards

Here’s the thing: all poker decks come with 2 gaff cards. They’re pretty useless. They usually have the rules for poker or some advertizement.

Shane and I came up with the idea of replacing them with something cool. We set stretch goals, then burned right through them….

So now we’re having:

1. A Lorren Gaff card that people can use as a bookmark. (Image forthcoming.)

2. A Willem Gaff card that you can use as a replacement card in your deck in case one of the cards is damaged.

All the Limited and Unlimited decks will have these Gaff cards included free.

We do this because we love you.

  • Signed Lorren Bookplates

Using the Lorren card art, Shane is going to make me a bookplate. My very first bookplate ever.

There’s only two ways of getting this bookplate.

1. You can add one to your order for five bucks. (Up to three.)

2. You get one for free if your order is $135 or more.

That’s it. Those are the only two ways to get them.

Would I love to include these bookplates with every order? Yes. But as it is, please understand that I’m going to be signing, like, 3000 of them. If I gave one away with every order, I’d be signing them for *days.*

That said, we have a stretch goal set at 450K. If we hit that, I’ll give one to everyone who buys in for 100 bucks or more.

  • Marked Cards

Or, as I like to think of it, the Taborlin deck.

I’ve always wanted a deck of marked cards. So I asked Shane if we could do one. And he said yes. And so we are…

You can add a marked deck to any Kickstarter pledge for 15 bucks. And they have a different back from the others.

tabback[3]

(I love the imagery here.)

Now here’s the thing: am I creating a deck of cards for cheaters?

No. I’m making a marked deck of cards. Because I think it’s cool.

Now you could use this deck of cards for evil if you wanted. But that’s your choice. You can use a screwdriver to kill someone if you wanted. That’s not necessarily what a screwdriver is for.

I like to think of this as the Taborlin deck because it will be *awesome* for card tricks.

Also, I’d get together with my friends and have a night of poker where everyone *tries* to cheat. Where it is effectively, *fair* to cheat. We would also probably drink whiskey and pretend to be cowboys of some sort.

Because I am seven years old inside, apparently.

In this deck, the gaff cards won’t be Wil and Lorren. They’ll contain the details of the marked-card cypher.

  • International shipping on the poker sets

Because several of you asked for this in the comments, we’ve added that as a special donation tier. (The rest of you can add the box sets as a simple add-on.)

541d706d0a2f5bc9a1ca85a7d8946817_large

The international shipping is expensive, but that’s because those high-quality clay chips are *heavy* and we’re going to be packaging them very, very carefully.

  • Guest appearances by Neil Gaiman and Felicia Day

Neil and Felicia graciously allowed us to use their likenesses for our two jokers: Elodin and Auri.

We listed these as stretch goals and met them less than a day later.

Reactions were divided. Some people made a vast ululating *squee* noise. Others said something along the lines of, “Boo! I want to see the *real* Auri and Elodin!”

So I just want to clarify things. We aren’t just going to draw Gaiman as Elodin, as if he were doing some sort of cosplay. That would be lame.

(Actually, that would be kinda awesome….)

But no. That’s not what’s going on here at all.

First off, the main reason Shane and I thought of Neil and Felicia is because they both possess certain characteristics we feel are very appropriate to Elodin and Auri.

Hell, I did an interview with Felicia on my blog back in 2008. Back before she was FELICIA DAY. While we were chatting, I asked which part she’d pick if she could play anyone in The Name of the Wind movie. She said, “My dream role would be Auri. I like playing damaged goods….”

And I thought, Yeah. I could totally see that. She has a whimsy about her that would be perfect….

Does that mean Auri is going to have red hair like Felicia? No. Obviously not. Auri will have Auri’s hair. But her expression and face will be influenced by Felicia’s because it works for the character.

It’s the same way we brought Jim Butcher in as everyone’s favorite Jackass:

amsam1

(God. I want to slap him so much….)

It doesn’t really look too much like Jim, but if you know it’s there, you can spot it.

Gaiman is a similar good fit for Elodin. Trust me about this. Neil and Felicia are perfect for my two wise fools.

  • Superhero Team-Up

Almost exactly 24 hours ago, I did a video conference with Shane and Erik, the folks behind Albino Dragon. We were going to plan our strategies for the final days of the kickstarter. Plan stretch goals. Talk strategy.

But before we could get into that, Shane said, “We’d like to give 5% of Albino Dragon to Worldbuilders.”

“Sorry?” I said.

“We’d like to give 5% of Albino Dragon to Worldbuilders.”

And then I just kinda sat there. I knew what he’d said, but I didn’t quite believe he’d said it.

So I asked. “Do you mean you’d like to give Worldbuilders a piece of the profit from this project? More than we already negotiated?”

No, he said. Then he explained again.

“Are you serious?” I asked.

Shane and Erik have built this company themselves with their time and energy, with their blood and sweat and money.

And they want to give a piece of it to Worldbuilders.

We couldn’t mention it on the kickstarter itself, of course. Because kickstarter projects can’t be directly associated with charities.

But yes, they were serious.

“And if we hit 500,000 before the end of the kickstarter,” Erik said. “We’d like to give you another 5%.”

It’s not often that I’m caught completely flat-footed and at a loss for words. But I was, I honestly was.

Eventually I kinda pulled myself together. “That’s really amazingly generous of you guys,” I said. “It’s amazingly kind of you. I’m so flattered, and I’m floored, and I’m stupefied. It’s one of the most ridiculously generous things anyone has ever offered me, and I don’t know how to respond.”

Then I paused and took a deep breath. “But maybe you want to think this over. Chat about it. Make sure it’s something you really want to do. We can talk about it some more tomorrow.”

And they kinda laughed at me. They explained that they’d already thought it over and talked about it. Which is why they were making me the offer now.

I nodded for a while kinda absentmindedly, getting my head together.

“If you let me tell this story on my blog,” I said. “Me and my people will blow the fucking roof off the last two days of this kickstarter. We will bring thunder and fury to your very door. We will shake the earth.”

They said they were okay with that.

So. Here is our 500K stretch goal.

500k

Now. Let’s be honest here. Are Shane and Erik being generous? Absolutely.

Are they being perfect, saintlike altruists? No. They’re clever folks. Really amazingly clever. Because with a single piece of outside-the-box thinking and startling generosity, they’ve brought me onto their team. I’m going to *so* many projects with them in the future. So many.

And you know what? I’m fine with that. Because they do awesome work.

This is the best sort of cleverness. The sort of cleverness where everyone is awesome, and everyone wins.

Now I’m not asking y’all to rush over and join the kickstarter. If you’ve already signed up, I’m not asking you to run over and increase your order.

But if you were thinking of picking up some of the new add-ons anyway…. Well, you can make that purchase knowing that an even larger portion of the money is going to a good cause.

And if you have a friend that loves NOTW, and you wanted to buy them an deck of cards as early Christmas present…. Well, you can rest assured that not only will that deck be as awesome as I can make it, but that the money is going directly to the artists. To the company they themselves own.

And if you wanted to twitter about this. Or talk about it on your blog. Or drop a link to this blog on facebook….

Well, I’d take that as a kindness. Because we have less than two days left.

And I’d really like to show Shane and Erik that they’ve made a good choice here.

Later space cowboys,

pat

P.S. If you have any questions about the kickstarter. You can ask them in the comments here. I’ll answer the ones I can. But tomorrow’s a busy day, and I’m flying out to Ohio for a convention.

So if some of the more kickstarter-savvy among you can help out with some answers too, I’d really appreciate it.

Also posted in calling on the legions, cool news, Felicia Day, Jim Butcher, Neil Gaiman | By Pat135 Responses

Preview, Review, Redo

Still recovering from the fundraiser and my recent trip to LA. Most of my time is spent catching up on sleep, writing, and spending time with my boy…

Even so, I’ve got some stuff I ought to share. Three things, actually. Because… well… y’know. Three.

  • First off…

…here’s a Kickstarter thing I’m involved with for next year. A cool, fantasy-themed photography calendar.

What they can’t mention on Kickstarter is that the proceeds from the project will go to support charity.

What charity, you ask? Why Worldbuilders, of course. And another favorite of mine, First Book.

But Kickstarter won’t let you discuss charity stuff on their site. So Lauren, the photographer spearheading the project, goes into it in more detail over here.

  • Secondarily…

Anyone interested in the classics might want to take a look at my goodreads review of Go, Dog, Go!

Here’s a teaser for those of you disinclined to click a link….

I respect what the author is attempting to do here, thematically. Eastman is a philosopher at heart, examining how things relate to one another. Are we a green dog or a yellow one? Is it day or night? These are big questions, and they need to be asked….

You can read the whole thing over on goodreads. Or, if you’re really trying to avoid doing any work today, you can browse through all my reviews on there…

  • Thirdly and lastly…. 

For those of you who have not yet seen the pictures, last week at Confusion I did a thing with some other authors.

I will speak no more of it, merely provide a link.

Be careful, once you’ve seen it, you can’t un-see it.

If you happen to be the odd sort of person who *wants* to see something like that, perhaps even multiple times, you can bid on a rare, multiple-autographed copy of it over here.

Proceeds, as always, go to charity.

pat

Also posted in Fucking With You, recommendations | By Pat27 Responses
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